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View Full Version : Y.Z. Act IV [PG-16]


parallelzero
July 16th, 2008, 11:20 AM
OOC thread can be found here (http://www.pokecommunity.com/showthread.php?p=3708984).

The City of Seratis, Alta | 7:05PM
"Even though we came here upon hearing news of a festival, why is it nothing seems to be happening, Saki? I knew this would be an incomprehensible waste of time." The young boy, dressed far older than he appeared, spat as he ridiculed nobody in particular. A passing girl raised an eyebrow at the boy, who in turn responded by raising his nose to the air. Women were below the great Yuki, heir of the Sumeragi fortune. The only one he needed was his dear sister, and he didn't even hold her on that high of a pedestal despite the fact that they shared the same body. He had only agreed to come out this far from their previous location in Carn since they really had nowhere else to go, and maybe a festival could have brightened their spirits. But, alas, there was no festival to be found here. Though, maybe it wasn't a total loss. This city was famous for it's beautiful cobblestone walkways that tread alongside crystal clear streams and waterfalls throughout the entirety of the city. It was nearly nightfall, and thus the entire scene was decorated in a lovely orange hue. It, however, was not a practical place to spend an extended vacation. Alta was one of the few countries where residents of Carn and Tealia vacationed, and with what had been happening in Tealia recently, conflicts have been starting up in places where the two peoples interact. Yuki was from Tealia himself, but he was removed from home recently. The depth of the situation there was lost to him.

Though it was highly abnormal. This was the second largest city aside from the capital in this country, so where was everyone? The streets were abnormally bare aside from a few people running around frantically from place to place, and the odd traveller that seemed to be as confused as he was. "Maybe the festival is somewhere else in the city?" a familiar voice chimed in Yuki's head. The voice was similar to his own, albeit a bit higher and more feminine. "We came all this way, so we might as well check it out anyways~?"

"I suppose..." Yuki replied aloud once again as he tapped his right index finger against the jacket of his black suit on the opposite arm as he considered their situation. "But don't things seem abnormally quiet?"

---

"Ehhh? What do you mean Carn is going to try to invade Alta today?!" The cloaked figure threw down his glass of cream soda in protest against the bartender who had left him with that little piece of information. God awful timing to pick up a mission in this damn country. But, on the bright side, maybe his reward would double if he met with any trouble. Beside his seat at the bar, a single, steel hoop stood up against the smooth mahogany that was the bar. A design like ivy wrapping itself around the weapon was etched into the steel, and it reflected the dim light of the near-empty bar. The cloaked individual had no plans to reveal his face, nor his identity. He had a high paying job to do, hopefully enough for his mom to at least look at him again, even if the task at hand was essentially a murder mission.

The bartender looked at the cloaked individual as if he were high. "I don't see how ya couldn'ta heard, news of them there Carn flagships headin' 'wards Alta has been on the news since yesterday. Everyone who wuz afraid flew the coop shortly after. You'd best do the same. I hear they got hold of some pretty powerful technology recently. Be best to not go picking any fights with 'em. At least if ya want to keep yur shady little head!" The smelly old bartender managed a laugh, which left the cloaked figure in a state of sweatdroppage. Though, new technology? Carn had been advancing just a little too quickly recently. It was fishy at best. But Carn had some powerful soldiers, didn't they? Maybe this was his chance to actually get a challenge out of a fight!

---

Yuki brushed his bangs aside as he glanced blankly down at the object presented before him. Whatever the hell these two young men were moving, it certainly looked heavy. The object in question was a large, metallic crate with a dial on the side. It was silver, shiny, and large enough to fit a person in if the need arose, though it was unlikely. "Excuse me, could you tell me what that item is?" Yuki needed to know. He had a thirsty for knowledge, as did his sister, so even the little things needed explanation.

"This?" One of the young men asked as he dropped his end down, before swiping his arm across his forehead to wipe the sweat free. "This is a container for carrying livestock. It's new. Apparently is knocks the animals out cold and keeps them preserved or something like that."

"Do you know what's inside?"

"Nope. Just supposed to deliver it to the given address."

"Can I take a look?"

"Well, I don't see the har-"

"BANG!" A mahstion bullet flew from down the road a ways, the man's brains flying out the side of his head as his body fell to the ground. Yuki turned in the direction of the gunshot, and found a small batallion of Carn soldiers. Carn? Here? And why the hostility? Gunshots, swords, and screams began to rise up from across the city. Yuki, panicked, grabbed the metal crate and ran, dragging the more than heavy item behind him as he ducked into a nearby alleyway. Not good, not good, not good. Seeing no other option, he stashed the crate behind a garbage can in order to make it look like waste, and jumped in. He'd rather hide with some pigs than have his brains blown out by the entire Carn military force.

What he felt his body pressing against was not a pig, however. It was far too soft, and shapely, and it had a nice smell - like flowers. Yuki finally opened his eyes, and found him staring at the face of a cute girl. Once again in shock, he leapt out of container. There... there was a body in there! This was not looking to be one of his better days...

Loki
July 16th, 2008, 01:06 PM
Dimitri frowned, rolling his shoulders and stretching his back. These artificial wings had to be the most uncomfortable thing he’d ever worn, and with six piercings (or more?) on his face, he’d worn quite a few uncomfortable things in his lifetime. How could anyone stand having something jutting out of their backs? It was impossible to sit comfortably, and they ruined his balance, no thanks to the added air resistance. But the boarding parks above ground were generally better facilities than the ones in the Underground. There was no way to say ‘no’ to that. And not only that, but custom boards were actually worth buying up here. Dimitri folded his skyboard down and laced the strap through its slot, pulling the machine onto his shoulder as he stood up. He sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets, glancing around at the other boarders who were either being dorks and just gliding, or being intelligent and actually executing tricks other than crapped out ollies. His work was done today, as six hours of boarding from opening hour to now was just enough to suffice for the day. As he trudged around the half pipes and past the concession stand that sold mediocre food. At least it wasn’t stale chips and expired soda though, like it was in Dimitri’s home park. As he walked out, he said nothing to anyone. It was better not to get to know above grounders. They would kick you off the island soon as they figured out the wings on your back were fake. And a fall from the sky to the ground was not Dimitri’s idea of sick air. Okay, well it would be sick air, but coordinating freaking out and getting a skyboard put together probably wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.

The chains on his wallet that were hooked onto one of his belt loops clinked against each other, the sound adding to the small tinkle that came from the flat metal earrings on his right ear. It was hard not to look insecure, surrounded by people who only passed their glances over him because he was wearing a pair of fake wings. It was hard not to feel pushed in by danger at all sides. Good thing he wasn’t claustrophobic. But Dimitri had long accepted that he just generally wasn’t welcome here, and the price of taking advantage of the better stuff up here was being alone. Well. Not that there were many people waiting for him down in the Underneath. He wouldn’t have been surprised if Kenny, Big Ben, Slinky, and Boss were all whittling away their time in jail or something, comparing tattoo’s of women on their arms that they could make dance by flexing their bicep. Or something repulsive like that. Dimitri didn’t like seeing the same people twice, so he limited himself to hanging around more deserted cities that had people who didn’t want to talk to you. It wasn’t hard to find the perfect country for that. Tealian people talked to Tealian people, Carn people talked to Carn people, Beta and Gregar people never really came here, and well. Underneather’s weren’t usually in Seratis. But you can damn well guess that Dimitri was the one Underneather who was walking through the streets of Seratis without a single worry in his head, even when people were frantically running in the opposite direction, screaming and panicking. The works.

“Hmm…” Dimitri stopped walking after being shoved aside by a man running for dear life, peering after him with a raised eyebrow, “That was kind of rude. He didn’t even say ‘Pardon me’ or anything.” After a moment of silence, Dimitri shrugged it off. “Oh well. No harm done.” He took a few more paces to the building he’d taken up residence in, a moderately respectable building that looked recently abandoned. Stepping into the lobby of the apartment building, he looked towards the main desk and quirked his eyebrow again, his piercings moving as well. “… Huh, maybe Jackie went for a run too.”

He hardly flinched at the sound of a gunshot, instead looking over his shoulder with a lightly surprised look on his face. “… Am I in Alta, or the Underneath?” Stepping to the side of the window, he cautiously peered out of the corner, down the street. Ooh, those uniforms that those people stampeding up the road were… Carn? Maybe. Dimitri wasn’t exactly too knowledgable on above ground matters, other than skyboarding. He twitched the curtains open a little farther to reveal that the building would soon be quickly vacated, empty, and therefore, not worth invading, before retreating upstairs to his loft, standing casually in front of his collection of iron pipes. Picking a random one, he stuck the metal between his skyboard and notched the curved end into one of the decorative holes in the leather strap. “Wish Slinky was here. I need to bail.” Dimitri mumbled to himself, sitting down on his bed and peering out the window.

’Hopefully these soldiers are as stupid as the guy we used to steal bread from.’ Dimitri thought, picking up an iron pipe that was lighter than the one on his back, just in case. Always be ready, or something like that. Getting kicked off the island was kind of likely, and Dimitri had mostly planned for it. But getting kicked off the island by getting shot was not in Dimitri’s to-do list.

parallelzero
July 23rd, 2008, 01:44 PM
"Oi, we can't just stand around here, nii-chan. Those soldiers are going to find us sooner or later!" Saki echoed in Yuki's mind. He was quite aware of that fact, but what the hell was he supposed to do? There was a person is the goddamn container, probably in a deep sleep or something. Why? His guess was any good as any, but it was a life he could possibly save if he brought it with him. Speaking of which, why the hell was there a massacre going on right before his eyes? Sure King Piper had made some indecent decisions in the past, but ordering something like this... Then there was Tealia. Princess Evaline wasn't a bad person like the citizans made her out to be, but throwing that woman into politics in a foreign country wasn't a very smart move. Yuki had always rationalized the move as someone trying to get rid of her. It seemed that way, at least. Anyways, if Alta fell to Carn, then that left Beta and Gregar as the only airborne regions not under the control of Carn. If he lived long enough, he'd be interested to see the response of those two countries along with Flazure and the Underneath. Not that Yuki had any respect for the wingless. Wingless bandits were the reason he and his sister almost died after all. "BEHIND YOU!"

Not a moment after the warning had been cast occured before the steel of Yuki's chakrams met the steel of a large ring-like object, which flew back to it's owner on the rooftop above. A smirk was seen from beneath the black cloak of the attacker as his black, feathered wings ruffled in the back. "Eh, you're not bad. I didn't expect you to pull two weapons out of your pockets, let alone in time to block my attack. If I wasn't in a hurry, I might have liked to have some fun with you." The figure sank into the building following his words. Well, he didn't sink into the building exactly. It was most likely a pool of teleportation dation that formed beneath his feet. That meant this person was either a dation user, or he had an accomplice that was.

Yuki stood at the ready, his arms down and out to the sides, the silver loops in his hands reflecting the setting sun as he quieted his breath. In order to anticipate the attack of someone who lurked in the shadows, one had to understand the shadows, after all. If he was quiet and at the ready, when the attacker made his move, he'd know exactly where it was coming from. This was far from easy, as the sound of explosions and gunfire all over the city was highly distracting, especially when one of those shots could be coming at you. Several seconds past with no action from either side, but Yuki finally whipped the two chakrams down at the ground before him just as a dation pool opened and the assassin's head popped out. The dual blow to the head knocked the attacker back into the hole he came, appearing several seconds out of where he had teleported from atop the building and tumbling to the ground below in a dazed manner. Yuki just watched, unamused, as the attacker through off his cloak, swaying back and forth like a drunk. His orange hair was certainly something to laugh at it, not to mention his shirt and jeans were black. Yuki needed all his self control not to shout out 'HAPPY HALLOWEEN!' and laugh, although Saki was doing her fair share of it where the teen couldn't hear. "Okay, I'll admit, you're a bit talented kid, but I really need to kill that Semi back there before I get killed first."

"Semi? Back there?" Yuki's eyes glanced back at the cooling container. So that's what was in there. The bi-product of a human and a skill. Hate for skills was bad enough, but one unfortunate enough to be born from both sides must live a godawful life. Wouldn't someone like that be in Teflin, though? Unless they were cast away, maybe... But Yuki didn't discriminate against skills, so why would he against Semis? A life is a life. "With what's going on here, I'm going to save what I can. Semi or no."

The orange-haired boy spat on the cobblestone path to his left as he put his hands on his hips. "Listen kid, I don't know what's with you and your lame outfit, but you probably don't understand the world too well. People need to do things to make money, or else they die. Me, I gotta kill that Semi or else-"

"You'll die, is that it?" The teen seemed irritated at having his sentence finished for him. "So someone else's life in exchange for yours is okay?" Yuki's words didn't have much impact by themselves, but his tone of voice was cold and unamused, so it had a chilling effect. "Selfish people like you are despicable. You're the one who deserves to die."

Soren sweatdropped. This kid's life must have been one hell of a ride for him to write someone off based on one comment. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but there was more riding on his situation than just money. He sighed, and gripped his hoop tightly before charging at the boy, only to suddenly disappear and appear behind Yuki. "Tag!" Was all Soren heard as he swung the weapon at his target. But, he found himself blinded by a bright light - well, it wasn't that bright, but at the close quarters it was enough to knock out his vision for a second - and his attack didn't connect. He was quickly met by a foot to the face, however, as something jumped up off of it. "Oi, I'm a lot faster than Yuki-nii-chan, so try to keep up, 'kay?" Soren's vision finally cleared, and his original guess of that voice being female was correct. Now, this girl standing seven feet away from him... looked a lot like the boy from before, although the gothic lolita outfit was a lot farther up on the weird scale than the suit the boy had on. Though she said "nii-chan", right? So she was probably his sister. but where did this Yuki fellow run off to? Soren couldn't pinpoint his presence anywhere. Though, this was bad.

"I... don't hurt girls." He murmured submissively as his eyes hit the ground. It had been the one thing that his mom had drilled into his head... which may be why he's never beaten her in a fight.

"Then how were you intending to kill me? You are here to kill me, correct?" A lifeless, female voice called from behind Saki. Soren almost had a heart attack as his eyes adjusted to the increasing darkness and saw a girl, probably fifteen or sixteen, nude behind the girl who stood in his way. Plus... the tattoo above her left breast... the black, half-moon, that was the identifying mark of a Semi, their brand, if you will. Saki panicked first of all, having not heard this individual approach from behind. The girl had an unusual, greyish white hair colour, and her blue eyes looked like they belonged to a doll more than anything. Picking a tattered, dirty robe off of a nearby garbage can, Saki threw it over the girl. It smelled like garbage, but the Semi didn't complain. Soren just whimpered in defeat. He really wouldn't be able to carry out his mission after all.

"Hey, what are you brats doing back here?!" A rough man's voice shouted from the end of the alleyway, and his shadow was cast down the way, but since he was in the path of the sun, they couldn't make out his appearance. "You should be out getting killed like everyone else!" He held up a mahstion pistol and pointed it at Saki. "They say women and children first, right? Well you're both, so might as well!"

Loki
July 23rd, 2008, 02:33 PM
“Today…” Dimitri said to himself, sweatdropping as he backed up against the window of his one room flat, feeling behind him for the latch, “Just isn’t going very well.” Three soldiers had burst into his room. Well damn if the room was dusty and he couldn’t hold back a sneeze. It wasn’t like he was a neat freak or anything like that. Erk, three mahstion guns pointed at him was not a case of Dimitri’s happy time. “W-Why don’t we just… be friends?” Dimitri tried, to no avail as he ducked behind his dresser, multiple holes appearing in the stuff scattered around the room. “Hey this stuff is expensive you kno- woah!” Dimitri pulled his head back behind the metal furniture looking at the clean hole that had been burned through the wall- right behind where his head had been a few seconds ago. Honestly, he’d been raised to run from fat men wearing aprons and carrying a hammer or something, not fit men wearing uniforms and carrying guns! “So like, how has your day been?” Dimitri stalled from behind his dresser. Three gunshots answered his question. “Oh, you know you should find a psychiatrist or something, I hear they’re great for relieving-“ Dimitri put his feet up against the back of the dresser, shoving it out towards the soldiers as he finished his sentence, “Stress!”

…. Oh, but he hadn’t counted on the fact that the dresser was too heavy to reach the guy in the middle. Well crap. So much for that.

“Eh- well you know how it is, survival of the….. okay um. Toodles!” Dimitri smashed out of the window, whipping out his skyboard and just barely landing on it before crashing to the ground. A two-story fall wasn’t enough time to do anything graceful, damn it, not to mention the three soldiers had piled out of the window to shoot down towards him. “Man what is with these above grounders?” Dimitri grumbled to himself, strapping his feet into the board as he sped along, in the opposite direction in which the soldiers had been moving. The roads were essentially empty now, remnants of the raid littering the streets. “I’ll bash their faces in if they trash the park-“ Dimitri let out another high-pitched yelp as he crashed into a soldier, the nose of his skyboard connecting with the side of the man’s face at at least 75 miles per hour, if not more for the fact that Dimitri was trying to escape from a bunch of people who were playing war. Flying off of his skyboard, Dimitri managed to twist himself into a secure landing, muttering to himself as soon as his feet hit ground, “Saaafe- wait- not!” He spun around, his eyes wide as he stared at the nose of his skyboard, which looked essentially unharmed. Letting out a sigh of relief, he hurried back to his skyboard, picking it up and wiping the tip with the end of his shirt. “Good thing it hit his cheek, otherwise it might’ve dented!” He looked down at the unconscious soldier, “You would’ve owed me three hundred dollars in repairs, be grateful.” Finishing the one-sided conversation by stepping on the man’s head and giving his face a good bash with the end of his iron pipe, Dimitri gave him a thumbs down, “And tell your buddies that that was for trashing my place.” Unfolding his skyboard, Dimitri muttered irritably to himself, “Stupid people being stupid-“

Dimitri’s lazy gaze settled on the group down the alleyway before giving a bright smile as if he hadn't just knocked the living daylights out of a dangerous man on accident. “… Well hi there folks! I’m a little busy, you know, what with this um…” Dimitri brought the end of his iron pipe onto the man’s head again, a sickening crack sending visible shivers from his toes to the tip of his head, “Ooh, my bad. That didn’t sound too good. Well uh. You guys look kinda-…” Dimitri’s sentence was cut short as he caught sight of the esssentially nude girl. Or at least, she was nude from the back, since he'd interuppted just when that... whatever it was had been thrown over her front. He coughed and waved his hand through the air in front of his nose and mouth, as if trying to wave away a bad scent, “Uh…. Busy. I guess.” Dimitri shook his head, “What the heck am I saying, you know, it’s not decent for a girl to be walking around wearin’ squat, or whatever that lump of... whatever is. Especially with these guys," Dimitri poked at the man's lifeless head, "running around like Santa’s coming to town. You all friends and stuff? Cause like, friends don't let friends run around half... you know.” Dimitri motioned up and down, failing to read the situation in all ways possible.

parallelzero
July 30th, 2008, 08:17 PM
Silence hung over the alleyway like a neuce in a medieval courtyard. Soren and Saki sweatdropped at the newcomer's arrival. He wasn't exactly... graceful. "Man, you're lame." The large mouth of the Semi hunter blurted out after regaining his composure. Saki, as well as Yuki in her consciousness, both sweatdropped again at how accurately the attacker had summed up their own feelings on the stranger. With all that was going on at that very moment, it was hard to keep track of things. "And hey, don't throw me in with the likes of these people. Like I'd be friends with a Se- OW!" The boy was cut off my the stomping of the horned girl's foot onto his own, as if she was saying 'finish that sentence and I'll kill you'. Safe to say, he shut his trap soon after, throwing his right hand behind his back.

Feeling the need to cover up, Saki spoke next. "Ahh, we actually aren't of any relation. My cousin and myself were in town on a visit when Carn came a short while ago. We had to run. There wasn't time to get her changed!"

"Dirty li-AOWWWW!" Soren shrieked at the reuniting of Saki's foot with his own.

The Semi girl, in all the commotion, tore a long strand of hair from her own head, the locks weaving as they began to glow, a long chain resting in place of the hair that once was. "If I may. It is not safe here. We should move somewhere safer before continuing." Yeesh, she seemed to be awfully calm for being half nude in the middle of an alleyway during a hostile takeover by the most powerful country in the world.

"Fine, fine. We'll sort this mess out later. Name's Soren, by the way." The attacker - Soren - finally coughed up his identity as he threw his hoop around his left shoulder. "Chances are they've got the exits sealed off, which means the only way out of here is down."

"...Down?"

"Yeah, the Underneath. This city is on the edge of Alta, after all."

"Hmm... Yuki seems to agree with your idea. So I guess I have no choice but to go along. Saki is my name~!" Saki replied cheerfully. Soren raised an eyebrow. That name again. Yuki was it? Who was she speaking for? It sounded like she was referencing a fael, but didn't she refer to him as her brother earlier? "And what's your name?" She turned to the Semi, who looked back blankly, and answered with only one word.

"...Miki."

"Okay Miki! Let's go!" Saki exclaimed, dragging the Semi out into the streets once more. Thankfully, the soldiers seemed to be off in another area. But... the beautiful streams running through the beautiful city... they were red with blood. Saki lurched, not being very strong when it came to the gruesome, and deterred away from the water.

Soren sweatdropped. "Great, looks like I'm babysitting now. You want to come too? It'd be stupid to try and get out of here alone at this point." Soren murmured after jerking an uncaring finger at Dimitri.

---

"Sir... it's questionable enough that we were told to slaughter an entire city, but why are we throwing all of the bodies into the water?" The black haired, orange eyed footsoldier questioned her superior as she leaned against her spear. Saria Delsworth was a little more than troubled by her King's orders as of late. "Surely the rest of the troops don't agree-"

"They don't." The heavily armored man replied. "And neither do I, but we have our orders. With all of these bodies floating downstream, I guess whoever is in charge of strategy wanted the bodies to fall to the Underneath where'd they'd be a beacon of terror... I guess."

"We didn't even get an explanation for this slaughter. This is god awful." One of Saria's fellow soldiers added. As if she didn't know."

"Saria, I know you're young, and not used to this kind of thing, so why don't you join Kelvin's squad near the edge? They should have the lightest workload." The general added, apparently concerned for the girl's well being. Well, that was to be expected. He had adopted her, after all.

Loki
July 30th, 2008, 09:14 PM
Dimitri raised an eyebrow, shouldering his skyboard and leaning his weight onto his left leg, “Man, you people’d get shot on sight in the Underground, goin’ around tellin’ people they’re lame when they just saved your butt. Or… I think I did anyway.” Dimitri glanced down at the dead soldier and shrugged, “But the point is, you guys, or well, you guy,” Dimitri jerked his chin towards Soren, “Should get some first impression manners, you know? Anyway, you lot can’t say much about me being lame to begin with. I mean...” He pointed around at them with a general movement of his arm, “You guys aren’t exactly Cool-Cover material either.” Dimitri paused, chewing on the inside of his lower lip as he shoved his hands into his pockets. Daaaaamn. He got up here for what, a year odd and now he was getting ushered back down. That kind of sucked. “You seem to be pretty laid back about going down. I dunno, most people are usually more wary of the people down there. I mean. Mob of racist people down there,” Dimitri pointed down, “Or mob of soldiers with… guns…..” Dimitri trailed off, rubbing his chin in thought, “Hmm. I have a good point. Well!” Dimitri stood up properly, bowing gracefully, and letting a friendly grin spread across his face when he straightened again, “It’s nice to meet you all, Yuki and Saki, Miki, Soren. Since we’re just going by first names, I’m Dimitri. I’ll tag along, since I can’t really take a shot.” Dimitri twirled his iron pipe in his right hand as he sidled up to the group, walking past them towards the edge of the city. “Why’re these guys storming the town anyway? I don’t think anything was going on before today.” Dimitri looked over his shoulder, flipping out his skyboard again and sitting on the floating device, “I mean, not that I keep up with current events, but you know. Oh and um.” Dimitri pointed to Miki, “I think we should get her something less shoddy before we go down. You know. Just so people don’t think she’s a hooker or something. We could probably raid any random house along the way, since chances are whoever lives in it is dead- or, not coming back again.”

Down under again, huh? Dimitri hooked his ankles together. Oooh, definitely not a happy prospect for him. Still, at least he wasn’t the one with the shortest end of the stick here. Hm. But reconsider, he was the only one out of all of them who had walked freely without care for getting mauled just for having wings in the Underground. He didn’t exactly have any hiding tricks, and taking off a pair of already uncomfortable artificial wings didn’t exactly sound like a professional massage to him. Dimitri’s conflicting second thoughts were impossible to see though, a calm, carefree smile on his face. Hey, if he had to pick between being trapped in a raid, or going home…. Home wasn’t really much better, but it was better by a slice. Might as well soak up the nostalgia, right?

“Ah, another thing!” Dimitri piped up, “Before we go, what’s the closest city under this one?” He looked pointedly at Soren, since he assumed; Hey. It was his idea. Dimitri assumed that he knew where they were going.

Alter Ego
August 1st, 2008, 04:02 AM
The rivers of Alta were widely renowned for their beauty, countless sappy poets bleeding their hearts out onto paper in praise of romantic sojourns to the great unknown, floating over the edge and beyond with nothing but the clear waters of the river below you and the endless sky above.

These poets, it occurred to Pethalamine, had probably never taken a dip into an actual Altan river, never experienced the biting chill of the water, the countless tiny parasites gliding on top of its surface and by its banks and gleefully biting into vulnerable flesh, or - above all - the revolting collection of refuse that the good citizens of Seratis threw in there.

Admittedly, the presence of hundreds upon hundreds of rotting corpses was not exactly helping to romanticize the moment.

Inhaling sharply, the girl had to exercise all of her inner resolve not to vomit at the stench that invaded her nostrils from all sides, or - worse yet - make a grimace or other body movement that would attract attention to her. She had taken the precaution to cover her face with a damp piece of cloth in an attempt to ward off the worst fumes, but even so her position, smack dab in the middle of the growing procession of corpses heading downstream, was far from pleasant. As repulsive as the smell was, however, it was ironically savior as well. Cold-blooded and merciless in their killing though they were, Carn soldiers seemed no better at handling the grotesque drama playing out on the river than the rest. Only a few deigned to even look at their handiwork directly as it floated past below their eyes, even fewer could tolerate the smell enough to even come close, and no-one was really inclined to give the pile of cadavers a closer inspection.

It had seemed like a good idea at first, disguising herself as the only thing that the soldiers weren't actively shooting at and simply float by, unnoticed and unhindered, out from the very core of the besieged city, and technically she supposed that it still was, but no amount of careful planning and theoretical knowledge could have prepared her for the horror of the downriver trip. The oppressive silence of the countless dead that served to keep her afloat, the strain of remaining completely motionless, the constant fear of discovery, the numbing cold of the water, and above all, the nauseating stench of death that clung to her, seeping in beneath the drenched garments and through the skin, into her very being.

It seemed like a good idea...Pethalamine would have laughed had she had the strength and position to do so. How perfectly that single phrase encapsulated this entire excursion. Yes, it had seemed like a good idea, to both her adoptive mother and - she supposed - her to seek the counsel of a foreign fael expert on the situation with her insipid faels - if they even were faels, fidgety little things. The girl subconsciously pressed her left forearm closer to the body beneath her in a vain attempt to silence the barely audible whining sound from her tattoo at this point - and what a good idea it would be to see the festival too! There at the same time, after all, and only a short side-trip away. What a perfect opportunity for Pethalamine to see a bit of the world outside of her books and Beta! And Faewyn would even get to visit the grave of a close friend of hers, something which the jerk - formally known as Aertan - had always adamantly opposed, insisting that getting mixed up with 'those people' again, no matter how remotely, would only lead to trouble.

Looking at their current situation, Pethalamine found herself thinking that maybe, just maybe, the jerk had had a point for once. The so-called 'expert' had been a complete hack; all he had done was poke and prod her a few times, ask a number of banal questions, and have a long and complicated conversation with her foster mother, only to finally give it up on the third day with a vague promise to 'keep in touch' if he came up with anything new, and of course they had barely managed a few steps inside of Seratis before all hell broke lose. The girl never did manage to find out quite what had happened, why it had happened, or even who was making it happen; one moment they were inspecting the city and the next Faewyn was ushering her into a hiding spot, just moments before strange men in uniform stormed in from all sides. One thing had led to another, and before Pethalamine knew she was marooned in a foreign city with seemingly everyone wanting to kill her and her foster mother nowhere in sight.

"I don't like this either..." she murmured soothingly to the agitated dog shape on her arm, immediately regretting it as a new wave of nausea washed over her. She couldn't keep going like this for long, she knew, but she was so close. Was that...was that not the city gate up ahead? That and-the knot in her stomach tightened, soldiers, lots of them, busily at work with a set of long poles as they attempted to break up a clog that the carcasses downstream had created. There was no way of getting past that one unnoticed, none; risk or no she had to get out NOW.

Fighting back the nausea, the girl concentrated as best she could, a slim film of Dation seeping out from her fingertips and stretching out over the corpses. With her strength drained and point of observation inconvenient to say the least, negotiating the current was no small task for Pethalamine, but slowly she managed to angle her morbid little barge towards the right-hand riverbank, finally slipping off over the side and into the water as the bodies continued downstream.

The river was, if possible, just as repulsive as the collection corpses she had hitched a ride on, and the scholar's attire was certainly far from well-suited for swimming, but she eventually managed to half-climb, half-collapse onto the pavement by the river, dripping with bloodstained water and gasping between desperate attempts at breathing and equally demanding retching fits. Eventually, she managed to calm her breathing down to a manageable tempo, even as her heart continued thumping like mad in her chest. She was soaked, she was cold, and she was still feeling faint, but she was alive. In spite of the circumstances, Pethalamine couldn't help cheering up just a little at this, the newfound energy allowing her to rise to her feet, if somewhat shakily.

It was then that she noticed them.

With a frightened yelp, the girl took a step backwards at the sight of what was a bizarre company to seem the least. Between the weird punk with the skyboard and the lolita chick it seemed safe to assume that these weren't with the Carn soldiers, but even so...they were definitely strange (a somewhat hypocritical thought, considering that she herself probably resembled some Victorian era corpse both in appearance and smell at the moment), not to mention armed. Besides, he didn't like the look of the guy with the ponytail. Garm was, at this point, agitated beyond all hope, his frantic movements a faint blur of motion beneath the drenched sleeve of her outfit, and Pethalamine's right hand instinctively moved to clamp over and cover the spot; she had already been pawned off to the highest bidder once, and she certainly didn't want to let these ruffians onto anything that would make them want to do the same.

"You..." she murmured, taking another cautious step back, only to realize that she was now precariously close to the edge of the river, effectively boxed in by this strange crowd, "...who are you people? I warn you." coming from her petite, shivering and drenched form, the words appeared as pitiful as the feeble gathering of dation she amassed around her free hand in an attempt to enforce her threat, "Try to hurt me and I will take at least one of you down with me, I swear! I have nothing to do with whatever stupid war you're involved in so just back off!"


OOC: Whee...some good old morbidness for the opening post. It's...kind of random but I needed some way to throw Pethalamine in there from the get go and this is best I could come up with at the moment.

parallelzero
August 1st, 2008, 10:28 PM
OOC: lol short. But to be fair, it's 2:30AM and there wasn't a lot to say.

"Z-z-z-z-ZOMBIE!" Soren exclaimed at the arrival of Pethalamine. Saki had to admit. A girl rising from the gruesome waters of the dead was certainly unlikely, as well as highly disturbing, but there was still a chance that this was a living, breathing girl. Although, she wasn't looking to be the type of girl that Saki would be friends with. Her appearance, as it stood, was so... morbid. Needless to say, as overcautious as he was with Saki's safety, Yuki had already traded places with his sister and was working on a prison for the new guest. Wind began to spin round and around where the girl stood as it created a violent twister around the Pathalamine with the girl in the core. One step would be enough to get her caught in the vortex and have her sweapt away. Of course, it wasn't enough to hold most people, but he needed to guage her ability. Saki protested, but was quickly silenced. She wouldn't go against his wishes. She owed him too much.

Yuki approached the twister, removing the chakrams from the pockets of his dress pants again. "I'll ask once. Your name, occupation, and reason for being in that... state, please?"

"...." Soren was having trouble processing what had just happened, but he wasn't an idiot, so he pieced it together eventually. "Absolute resonance. The sharing of one body, of one soul. Is that it? Is that what you two are?" No reply was recieved from Yuki, but maybe that silence was more than enough. But for a brother and sister to end up in those circumstances... it was difficult to consider any possibilities.

"...When two become one..." Miki murmured to herself as she held the sheet over her front with one hand, and fiddled with the chain in her free, left hand, although for the most part the chain was floating around her. "...Isn't that... love?"

Loki
August 1st, 2008, 11:18 PM
OoC: Argh. /facepalm. Too much going on at once. xD;

iC: Dimitri's attention was being torn back and forth. What was going on? Between the girl, the other girl that was now a guy, or wait no that wasn't it, wait, what was going on again? One thing at a time, he told himself, nodded slightly. Dimitri tilted his hip towards the front of his skyboard, directing himself between the new arrival and Yuki's lovely prison of wind and complicated weapons. (Wow, those fit in his pockets without cutting a gazillion holes in them? Sick pockets.) His face spelled out exasperation as he raised an eyebrow, "Man, you guys really do top the cake in terms of manners. The girl hasn't done anything to you and you start harassing her with mahstion. I mean seriously, in the situation we're in, it's like, hey, walking, bloody girl in lolita dress. Not the most trustworthy silhouette in town, yeah? But seriously, that's biased; I mean lookit me!" Dimitri yanked lightly on his metal earring, "Do I look like Polly Pocket to you? You attack everyone who approaches you, or is it just habit?" Dimitri shook his head folding his arms, “Cause, you know, I’m not walking through hostile streets with you if you’re going to go all wionus on anyone who invades your personal space.” Dimitri then pointed his finger to Soren, “And don’t change the subject so fast, please. I can’t keep up with you guys. The fael-body-changing thing is one thing, the new girl is another. Let us handle them one at a time, because the former really doesn’t matter. He, she, it, is what he, she, it, is.”

Dimitri spun around on his skyboard, scratching the back of his head as he surveyed the new girl, “And, to answer your question, since you asked first,” Dimitri threw a bored look over his shoulder at Saki/Whoever before turning back to Pethalamine, “We’re just a band of rag tag acquaintances on our way out of town. No worries, I’m not involved in whatever war this is either, other than a victim of getting my flat ransacked, so we won’t attack y- well…” Dimitri paused, throwing another look over at Saki/Whoever, “I guess it’s too late to assure you that we won’t attack you. But hey, no harm done.” The Underneather laughed lightly, even in this wild situation. He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, settling into his seat on the floating skyboard, “So- Oh right right, sorry.”

Sitting back on his skyboard, the young male continued to babble on endlessly, “I’m running my mouth again, but maybe we should get a move on? I mean, the soldiers'll eventually come back, and it’s not like I’m concerned or anything, but aren’t we- you know, trying to escape? Ah but, I dunno about going under with a girl in a sheet and another girl in an antique murder dress. We’ll already stand out more than enough with these fancy thingamajigs sticking outta our spines. I personally don’t think you guys are thinking this through, but hey, nobody cares, or is listening, so honestly.”

Dimitri took a deep breath and let all the air rush out of him. Wow that was a mouthful. Twenty bucks said that this group of manner-less tards didn’t hear a single word of it, too. Man, there was wrapped up in your own world, and then there was obsessed with your own world. They knew how to tune people out. Dang he needed that ability. Seriously though, he liked taking things at his own pace, which was much slower than the speed these people wanted to go. But between their rudeness and his want to admonish them for it, his own principles were starting to collide and butt heads. Ahhh nevermind. Dimitri regretted his decision to tag along. Ahhh well he wasn't exactly being very nice either. The morning's events had spoiled his disposition. Backing out now would be rude though. Honestly, he’d rather go down alone, than with these people. They’d just make escape from the radar harder. Especially that one fael-reila-switch-happy girl-guy, if he kept up with the windworks. Huh, well. Maybe it was fun, switching back and forth. Dimitri had never really tried doing anything with his faels before. They were both either indifferent or annoyed, so they weren’t usually up for anything like that. Not that Dimitri’s very poor mahstion skills helped their relationship any.

“Soooooo….” Dimitri pulled his legs up onto his board, crossing his legs pretzel style as he tried to keep an uninterested expression off his face, trying to look as friendly and amused as usual, “I guess since you guys all seem to got your own plan, I’ll just, go along. Just… better first impressions, please.”

Alter Ego
August 2nd, 2008, 01:14 AM
Zombie? Pethalamine couldn't help giving Soren a quizzical glance, but she quickly masked it as the implications hit her. She was a complete mess right now, after all, no doubt very much resemblant of the corpses that had kept her company during the escape, and she had just crawled out of the river. Anyone suitably jumpy or superstitious would have come to this conclusion, and maybe...just maybe she could play this undeath thing to her advantage.

Before the girl could give this route any further consideration, however, a burst of Wionus suddenly engulfed her, shortly followed by a foreign male demanding...well, her life story in short, basically. Beneath the damp clump of hair still loyally covering it, Serret's tattoo snarled in indignation, and had the negafael's physical manifestation possessed eyes of its own, they would surely have been giving Yuki a glare just as hateful as the one Pethalamine was already providing. There were very few things that the scholar would ever admit to having in common with her faels, but an intense dislike for being caged up was one of them, and veiled threats was another. Slowly, the girl's lips parted, only to shut themselves again. Whoever this weird guy was, he/she/it certainly hadn't made a friend in Pethalamine, and the girl was far from co-operative when it came to dealing with non-friends. Yet, at the same time...'I'll ask once' was about as clear as subtext got. She was fairly confident in her ability to teleport out of this little trick - it was only a very basic trapping mahstion, after all; she was pretty sure that she had seen the very procedure detailed in one of her foster mother's research journals - but escaping through this mob, especially in her current condition, was a completely different matter.

It was then that Pethalamine's salvation, for the second time that day, came from the most unexpected of sources. Had the girl possessed even half of Faewyn's youthful exuberance - and not been trapped in a miniature whirlwind - she would surely have pounced Dimitri out of sheer gratitude. The skyboarding punk had looked like your average street trash at first glance, but as she listened to his words the scholar couldn't help thinking that his was - quite possibly - the only voice of reason in the bizarre ensemble.

"Great Ophelia, a stranger who doesn't want to chop me up, blast me with mahstion, or shoot me?" she remarked with sarcasm so thick that it was practically tangible, "It must be my lucky day. The name is Pethalamine, scholar of pre-Y.Z. history. And if you must know..." she added in Yuki's direction, "I'm in this 'state', as you put it, because I've just spent the last hour or so playing dead with my cadaver pals over there." she jerked her head towards the river behind her, "Not the most pleasant experience I've had, but I thought it was preferable to being dead for good. And no, I'm not a zombie." she added to the ponytail guy, "I am just extremely cold, wet, exhausted, covered by a number of things I don't really want to identify and quite fed up with having sharp things pointed in my direction, so now that we've established that you're not after my head and that I'm not after the flesh of the living..." with a carefully indifferent expression on her face, the scholar summoned up what little mahstion she still had at her disposal, using her foot to trace out a small circle in the limited area she had at her disposal and vanishing into the pool of dation that formed inside it, only to rise a split second later right behind her would-be captor's back.

"...how about putting those away before they get you into a needless fight, hmm?" she nodded towards the chakrams in the male's hands, "I'm with the skyboarder; this place is already swarming with soldiers out to get us, so the last thing we need to do is to turn on each other as well." as she spoke, Pethalamine absent-mindedly grasped a handful of her auburn hair and wrung it out, a small burst of pale red water hitting the pavement with a splash. The scholar bit her lip in thought, these people were certainly far from her preferred company (her, herself, a book, and possibly her foster mother) but as much as it she mistrusted them, she also realized that they were her best bet at getting out of this alive.

Her only bet, too, if one wanted to be meticulous about these things.

"I'm coming along too, if you don't mind." she added to no-one in particular, "I don't know where you're headed, but it can't really be much worse than this, can it?"

parallelzero
August 2nd, 2008, 09:22 AM
In Yuki's opinion, he had done nothing wrong. His father had taught him that being overcautious was a key factor in both work and life. Trust no one, unless you can keep them close to you. After his father died and his uncle cast him aside, he began to live those words, not opening the way to himself and Saki for barely anyone. People didn't deserve friendship if they were just going to abuse it. "Dimitri, was it? Shut up. I'm just with you people because Saki and I agreed it's our only way out." He didn't even spare the skyboarder a glance, and he wasn't even going to bother addressing this new girl. It's interesting to note that he indeed DIDN'T put away his chakrams, and ended up keeping them at his side. "And I'd like it if you'd not speak foolishly about our situation. 'He, she, it', was it? Have some respect for those who've been through more than you ever will." There was a long pause after this line. He was getting complaints from Saki about his behaviour. He didn't care, though, this was for her sake as much as it was his. "And if you don't want to go down, shut up and go back. I won't have a guilty conscious when I hear you were massacred by Carn soldiers. Wings or no wings, we're safer down there than here. Which brings me to you." He glanced backwards at Miki, who didn't seem very wary of her surroundings. In fact, it seemed like she was daydreaming as the chain coiled in the air around her. Yuki hadn't considered the fact that her identity wasn't known to Pethalamine or Dimitri yet. "You being here is like a target on our backs. Not to mention you have no wings, so there's no possible way for you to descend without dying."

"Oi, oi, calm down!" Soren finally intervened. This boy's tone, it was just sickening. "Just who the hell do you think you are, speaking crap like that? So this girl isn't a zombie, my bad. But just because we're all different from you does NOT give you the right to talk down to us. Heir to a superfamous company or whatever, you are not better than us, Yuki Sumeragi." Ah, the boy looked a little bit shocked. At least from the behind angle... if you could tell such a thing. Oh well Soren just assumed so anyways. Not at any point had Yuki nor Saki mentioned their last name, but Soren had thought Yuki looked familiar. A few years ago, the boy was featured in an article in a business magazine known as "SINE". It was some super long, super boring story about how the boy was set to inherit his father's company, but they questioned the boy's capability after 'losing his only twin sister'. There was also a picture, which lead to this recollection. "So, do I get points or-"

"Shut up, assassin."

"..." This guy was going to be a pain to get along with. Yup...

Loki
August 2nd, 2008, 12:12 PM
Dimitri shrugged, smiling to himself. This guy really was… well not so much amusing as high on his own ego. ’Shut up, huh…’ Dimitri thought to himself, neither offended nor planning on being offended over such a rude remark, ’Isn't he charming.’ He saluted in obligation to Yuki, dragging his forefinger and thumb across his lips and tossing the ‘key’ over his shoulder. Hm, one really had to wonder how old he, she, it was. Or more like, he, since the Saki personality seemed more agreeable. He was certainly acting as though he was the most important person in the world. Well, it wasn’t as though Dimitri thought of himself as more important, but self-importance was one of those things people normally kept to themselves, right? Modesty, false, honest, neither, whatever. Dimitri listened to Yuki blow a fuse, giving the man all his attention. Seemed that he’d probably blow another fuse if Dimitri ignored him, and if all his fuses were gone before they got anywhere, then it would not be a happy journey. Hm, but that last point seemed like something he could add to.

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about the wingless-clothing-less girl. She can hitch a ride with me.” Dimitri pointed to his skyboard, grabbing the edge and shifting his legs out from underneath him. Planting his feet onto the machine, he stood up and shifted aside for a moment. “It’s not really a carrier thing, but I’ll stand on the nose and pull out the lasso, so that I can navigate without pressing the back heel and she can sit there.” He pointed to the other spot where his feet were supposed to be situated, “So are those all the grievances you need to share? We can leave now, right?” Ah, that came out sounding more ‘uncaring’ than he’d intended, “Er, not that I don’t care that you got issues with me or anything- I’ll do my best to respect those who have been through more than I have. So I’m just gonna refer to you and Saki collectively as ‘they’ or ‘them’. ‘It’ was kind of rude, so like… yeah sorry about that.” ’If this guy was a girl, he’d be one high maintenance girlfriend.’ Squatting down as the thought ran through his head, Dimitri unlatched the small square on the back of his sky board, pulling out a bracelet sized red rubber loop. The lasso was attached to a long black wire that was dispensed from the inside of the skyboard, a customized element that was mostly for tricks, like spinning the skyboard around under the user’s feet or something. “Unless Miki’s got a better way of getting down, like, I dunno, she could probably do it with wionus or make something out of dation, if that’s her cup of tea. But if you want to go on the skyboard express,” He pushed his fingers through the loop of the lasso, grabbing onto it and pulling on it so that it was long enough for him to grasp even on the other side of his board as he moved aside, “…Hop on, I guess. We got time, since the great Yuki doesn’t seem keen on going anywhere anytime soon.” Dimitri grinned and gave Yuki a thumbs up with his free hand to show that he was kidding, although inside he was greatly regretting even spewing out the joke.

That unfriendly, no-sense-of-humor type guy would probably just get more wound up. And again, “respecting those who had been through more than he’d ever go through”, Dimitri repeated to himself, though not really having ever considered it sincerely. So Wiz had been right all along; Above grounders were all spoiled brats who didn’t appreciate their own fortune of being born with wings.

"Oh right," Dimitri quickly changed the subject, "Pethalamine, was it? Nice to meet you, I'm Dimitri, that's Soren, Yuki and-or Saki, and Miki. I don't have any qualms with you coming along, but I'm not the mastermind behind this operation, so my opinion doesn't really count much here."

Alter Ego
August 3rd, 2008, 01:13 PM
Once again, Pethalamine made as if to speak but then shut her mouth without letting a single sound escape. Sure, she was not exactly the chummiest girl on the block herself, but this Yuki character was in a league of his own, sporting cold indifference in her direction will being a downright scolding little nag in Dimitri's. 'Have some respect for those who've been through more than you ever will.', huh? Talk about hypocrisy. Who was this uppity boy, to say that his (or her, Pethalamine was still having trouble wrapping her mind around the whole two-people-one-body concept) suffering was so much greater than anybody else's? Had he, perhaps, been cursed at birth with a pair of grotesque marks that not only went around whining and biting people but also served as an open gawking license for every curious jerk in the whole wide world? Had he been torn away from everything and everyone he knew not once, not twice, but three times? Had his mother pawned him off like a bothersome pet?

Faewyn would not have stood for this kind of attitude, this she knew from personal experience. Faewyn would have spoken up in that understanding, world-loving tone of hers and talked and reasoned for hours, days, even weeks if need be until Yuki would finally have been forced to admit that life really wasn't as horrible as he made it out to be, that everyone had their own problems to deal with and that he - and everyone else - would be happier if he just tried to make the best of what he had instead of dwelling on all the things he didn't. But Pethalamine was no Faewyn, no matter how much she admired and envied her foster mother's ability to genuinely care for a complete stranger, or how hard she tried to emulate it. Pethalamine was Pethalamine was Pethalamine, law of identity, and Pethalamine's prime concern was always Pethalamine, law of priority. Everything else had the value that Pethalamine assigned to it, law of relative importance. She didn't care for Yuki; whatever this grievous burden he was carrying on his back and using to justify his boorish attitude was, she had no interest in sharing it. She didn't care for Soren either, Miki even less. Dimitri was...nice, she supposed, but that didn't mean that she was going to stick her own neck out for him. Pethalamine just didn't bond with people that fast.

So where did that leave her? Surrounded by an argument that she had no interest in, knowing that someone should be mending the bridges they all seemed so eager to burn but not feeling any real inclination to be that someone, the girl did the one thing she was used to doing in situations like this: she stayed out of it. Taking a few steps away from Yuki to avoid getting caught in the crossfire, the scholar focused her attention on getting rid of the worst water. The dress she could do nothing about, not under the current circumstances anyway, but a few minutes' effort was all it took for her to get out of her boots, let out the small lakes that had somehow managed to form inside of them, and put the boots back on. They were still wet, but at least they didn't go 'sploosh' every time she took a step.

"Pethalamine, was it?"

The girl's head snapped to attention with a light amount of shock. Having focused on re-lacing her second boot - a surprisingly difficult task given the annoying way her fingers kept shaking - she had been completely oblivious to the skyboarder's approach until he addressed her directly, offering introductions both for himself and the rest.

"It's...nice to meet you too, I suppose." the girl managed in response, though it was somewhat lacking in enthusiasm, "And...I'm going to need help with the flying too, you know." she gestured towards her quite blatantly wing-free back, "Normally, I could use a dation wrap, but my condition being what it is, I don't think I could make it stable enough and I don't really relish the prospect of losing control in mid-air. So do you think you can fit another person on that skyboard or can Miki fly somehow or can someone else here help with it or..?" she let the question hang in the air, hugging herself in a vain attempt to gain some warmth as a particularly strong breeze brushed past, "And if everyone is done sulking and arguing, could we please move?" she added, "I'm freezing here."

parallelzero
August 7th, 2008, 09:42 AM
Miki gave Dimitri a wary nod at the skyboard offer. She didn't have any other way down, not that it mattered much to her anyways.

"Peth, if I can call you that," Soren was next to speak up, while ushering for the group to keep moving. Yuki had fallen silent at the negative reaction that he had recieved from the group. But that's how he wanted it. For his safety, and Saki's more importantly, he couldn't make 'friends'. The word 'friend' was just a mask for the word 'traitor', at least as his life experiences had shown him. He didn't care about what the others were talking about either, but listening to them was the preference above listening to Saki complain about how he acted, or the bloodcurling screams in the distance. "I'm a dation user as well, so I should be able to get you down there if you need it." Soren grabbed the cloak that he had been wearing earlier, which had been hanging over his shoulder the entire time, and tossed it to the younger girl. "If you're freezing, wear that for a while. It's pretty warm." Though he couldn't help but consider the possibility of putting it through the wash eighty times to even get a little bit of the smell of corpse out of it. A chill ran up the boy's spine, however, when he saw Yuki glaring back at him. "W-...what?"

"We have a half-naked girl in our company, why didn't you give that to her earlier?"

"Oh, he must be a pervert!" Saki chimed in everyone's mind.

"...Disgusting."

"Though didn't you jump in the container with her when she was naked?"

"..."

Soren glanced back at Miki, who was lagging behind the rest quite significantly. It was true, he had been an idiot and had forgotten. But he was no pervert! But... how was she clothed? Was she not wearing just a cloth barely five minutes ago? Now she was wearing an entire outfit (http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/Daiaki711/gallery_17804_8_811571.png) complete with black legging, a white skirt, and white and black torso, long white sleeves, and even black ribbon in her hair. Just what powers did that girl have? Or at least, Semi's in general. Maybe it'd be worth learning more about her before deciding on how to kill her. But could he really do it? She looked so harmless, mind you the chain snaking around her body without actually touching her anywhere was creepy, like she had some psychic powers, but not someone you could kill without thinking twice. And her eyes, why were they so emotionless?

Then there was Dimitri. Soren didn't know what it was, but he couldn't shake a bad feeling about him. Maybe it was because he knew nothing about him - not that he knew more about the others, but something was nagging at him. Something seemed off. "So if you have wings, Dimitri, why ride a skyboard? Surely only Underneath people use those these day-" He bit his tongue, remembering someone else who goes against that stereotype. "Nevermind, my uncle rides as well."

"Why is this trip so easy?" Yuki finally spoke aloud. "We haven't encountered a soldier since meeting up with Dimitri. Something isn't right..."

Alter Ego
August 7th, 2008, 10:21 AM
"If you make sure to pronounce the 'h'." Pethalamine replied in a slightly softer tone than earlier, nodding curtly as she wrapped the cloak around herself as best she could, savoring the warmth it brought, "Long story; don't want to get into it."

As with the earlier argument, the scholar chose not to speak up as Soren and Yuki went head-to-head once more, focusing on the road ahead of them instead. Certainly, despite her initial misgivings, the guy who had declared her a zombie was now showing some sign of manners, but in Pethalamine's book that only went down as compensation for his earlier scream; it wasn't like she was about to become his protector either now, was it? The girl absent-mindedly rubbed her left forearm, now carefully covered by the cloak, vainly attempting to ease Garm's frantic movements beneath. Despite things technically looking up, the plufael only seemed to be getting more and more agitated, and besides...Yuki made a good point. For being at the heart of a military occupation, this city was way too quiet. Were were all the-?

"Ga-ghh..!"

Without any prior warning, a jolt of pain suddenly ran down Pethalamine's left forearm, causing her to lose her balance and grasp it with all her might. The sensation was truly hard to explain, at least to anyone who wasn't a schizophrenic; it was as if her very arm had suddenly grown fangs and bit itself, and the girl immediately realized what was causing it.

"Over...there, eh?" she mumbled, her glance traveling towards a nearby alley. Out loud, however, she still needed to cover up her strange behavior, "Don't worry." she added to the others, just in case, "It's...just a little muscle ache, caught me off guard, that's all." she demonstratively massaged her forearm, "See? It's already letting up. Anyway, I-I think I saw something over there just now." she nodded towards the alley, "Just, give me a second and I'll-"

'This had better be important...' she thought for herself, shooting a discreet glare at her arm before turning her attention back to the alleyway.

Soon thereafter, however, the scholar staggered back, her face considerably paler than before as she raised a hand to her mouth.

"Guys..." she managed weakly, still staring mesmerized at the sight in front of her, "...I think I know where all the guards went."

Dead, they were all dead, a quick pulse check had been enough to confirm that, but...there were so many. The girl stared in disbelief at the squad of carn soldiers lined up in geometrically perfect rows within the otherwise chaotic alleyway, their skin and bodies flawless, save for the grotesque expressions of pain frozen on their faces, each with their hands crossed over their chest, as if guarding something precious. "Who..?" Pethalamine stammered once fairly confident that her breakfast wouldn't attempt an escape with the words, "Who could have done something like this? And...why are they all holding Ophelian crucifixes? I thought Carn worshiped Thylonstus!"


OOC: Awwright...intro-ish little plot twist for Alderian. Sorry if this is totally screwing with your plans, but this could all just be a smaller bad acting in the shadow of the big bad, so...

Loki
August 7th, 2008, 10:57 AM
Man, these people. Dimitri had been quite confused after Soren finished speaking; After all, he'd struck a sensitive nerve by asking why Dimitri was using a skyboard instead of flying, and while Dimitri already had a great excuse for this thought up by his instructor ages ago, he was stopped short when Soren took back the statement by mentioning that his uncle did the same. So, what now? Was Dimitri in the clear? Was he still being suspected? Did he have to say anything? What-what-what-what? Calm down, that was Dimitri’s first course of action. Address the problems at hand; One, Miki being completely dressed in the blink of an eye. Two, figuring out a way to inform Miki that she would be getting on the other side of the skyboard once they reached the edge of town; for the fact that Dimitri had now let go of the lasso and was occupying the entire board. She seemed like she kind of had a drifting attention span, so it would be important to pick a time when she was actually listening, otherwise he might end up hauling two people’s weight all the way to the end of town; not exactly power efficient for a board designed for tricks instead of carrying weight. Three, the fact that Pethalamine didn’t have a way down either. Four, the fact that Yuki was obviously implying that Dimitri was the reason for the lack of soliders. (Which he wasn’t, because if they knew who he was, they’d pounce on him any chance they got.) And five, the realization that Miki and Pethalamine didn’t have wings. Dimitri stared unabashed at Pethalamine first, since she was the one who openly voiced that she had no wings. Then at Miki, who had said nothing about it, but.. it was still quite obvious. “Wait, so… how did you guys not get thrown off the island if you don’t have wings? What if someone from the above ground realized that you-“

Dimitri was quickly silenced by Pethalamine’s sudden cry of discomfort. “???” Was all that Dimitri was really thinking of at the precise moment when he raised an inquiring eyebrow at Pethalamine, but under his main train of thought, Dimitri was relieved that the young girl had interrupted him. ‘Above Ground’ was a term mostly made popular in the Underground. It wasn’t as if people from above would use a degrading term like that to refer to themselves. Close slip, probably. He’d just been so excited at the prospect of other Underneather’s at his side that he’d totally forgotten that there were regular people with wings here too. Kicking at the back of his skyboard, Dimitri swiftly glided through the air to position himself behind Pethalamine, peering over the top of her head- a height advantage provided by the fact that his skyboard was already about half the length of a grown man’s legs off the ground anyway. He blinked, registering the dead soldiers, mostly eyeing their wings. His lack of deductive skills of course made him completely oblivious to the fact that they held Ophelian symbols in their dead hands. But his lack of respect for the dead also earned a whistle from him as he scratched his cheek with an index finger heavily weighed down by silver rings.

“Now that’s what I call genocide.” Dimitri commented, completely unfazed and unconcerned by the scene of carnage. Ah- wait. He turned to Yuki, remembering his accusation that no soldiers had appeared since he’d shown up, quickly covering up for the slip of his tongue, “I-I’m not with them though, just so we’re all clear! It’s just a coincidence that someone beat the pulp out of them after I came around! It doesn’t have anything to do with me so-… Well I guess we’re just lucky that they got beaten to a pulp.”

parallelzero
August 7th, 2008, 08:28 PM
"I am from Telfin. I was knocked unconscious and shipped out of the city to here, apparently, where I can only assume I was sent to be killed." It was the most Miki had said yet, and Soren couldn't help but feel a little ashamed about her words. He was meant to kill her, after all. The money he was to get from the job would be more than enough to last him ten years, but did this girl really deserve to die for the way she was born? It wasn't a decision she made herself, it just kind of happened. But couldn't that be said about Underneathers, as well? Soren himself wasn't, personally, fond of them at all thanks to some unpleasant experiences, but the theory could be applied just the same. Though to be exiled from the only safe haven for skills was quite the feat. Was humanity really that fickle that something born of opposing races could be rejected by both as well?

After unconsciously following Pethalamine, Soren was snapped out of his train of thought by the cry of the leading girl. "...How the hell do you manage this? There isn't a scratch on them!" Soren exclaimed after examining one of the corpses nearby. "Judging by the crucifixes, it was an elitist group of some sort, obviously into the Ophelian faith. As many as these soldiers have probably killed today, this seems a little... much. Extreme is probably a better word. Anyways, I'm all for getting the hell out of here so whatever the hell happened to them doesn't happen to us!"

"I concur. It's getting dark anyways, and we're close to the edge of the city." Yuki replied in a manner that had Soren raising an eyebrow. When the emphasis on 'dark'? He had been looking more and more skittish as the day got darker. Was he afraid of the dark? The boy seemed to be on the outskirts of the alley, where the streetlights dimly lit the area along with the almost set sun. Wasn't he a sitting duck like that? "..."

Yuki felt a sharp stab to his back as something pierced his flesh. It was only a little, but it still hurt enough for him to wince. "ANSWER MY QUESTIONS. WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY COMRADES?" The voice was clearly female, and obviously from a Carn soldier. Judging by the size of the object stuck in his back, it was most likely a knife or the end of a spear. And considering the volume of voice he was hearing, she was probably physically too far away from him to be using a knife. The voice was far from controlled. In fact, the girl seemed downright distraught. It could be for other reasons, but I'm sure anyone finding bodies, apparently undamaged, as such, would react that way. "WHY DID YOU KILL MY FATHER!?" Or not. Yuki's eyes went wide as the pole slid all the way through his flesh, before breaching the other side. Thankfully, it was the side opposite his heart, so he wasn't guaranteed death. As the spear was brough back out from where it came, blood began to gush from the now open wound before he fell flat on his face.

Soren wanted to jump up in joy at the boy's fall, but he'd save that for later. The form that stood behind the now wounded boy was for certain a girl. Her hair was long and black, and she was wearing a warm gray mandarin collared sleeveless ao dai dress, the skirt of the ao dai cropped just below her midsection, while the cool gray underskirt is cut off the front for easier movement, and left at full length in the back. Underneath the white lined dress is a pair of cotton capri's, the fabric notched at the knees to reveal intricate black lace. Her orange eyes were leaking like a faucet, and they were wide and far from sane looking. What was fuelling this girl now was probably revenge. Great. Wrong place to be at the wrong time. He glanced over at Pethalamine after a short moment of silence. "This is your fault, you know."

OOC: Saria. (http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/Daiaki711/gallery_2064_8_227599.png)

Alter Ego
August 8th, 2008, 12:40 AM
"Agreed." Pethalamine concurred with another curt nod as the subject of leaving was brought up, rising up from beside the body she had been inspecting, left arm still carefully covered by the cloak, "Whatever killed these soldiers is obviously a lot more than we can handle. Besides, if we stay here any longer there's a chance that we might be-"

The sickening sound of metal piercing through flesh interrupted the scholar's remark, "...implicated." she finished rather unnecessarily, turning on her heel to face the raving woman who had just skewered Yuki without a second thought, demanding to know why they had killed her father in a rather high-strung voice. The girl's face paled just a little bit, the body she had just been inspecting was the one that had struck her as most decorated - implying the highest rank in the group - surely that couldn't have been-? This was bad...this was really bad. Unless they did something fast, Yuki would soon bleed to death, and while she didn't particularly care for the obnoxious rich kid, that didn't mean that she enjoyed seeing him killed right in front of her eyes. Besides, given the sheer hysteria of this woman, it was heavily implied that they would be the next to follow.

"This is your fault, you know."

Soren's attempt at blame-shifting caught Pethalamine completely off guard, earning him a withering glare and a sharp kick to the ankle from the scholar. What was he thinking? Picking an argument now out of all times? Even for Soren, this kind of childishness was just too much-she paused. No, this wasn't the way to go about this. In a situation like this, she shouldn't be thinking of this as a mistake but an opportunity. Maybe, just maybe, Soren - or failing that, Dimitri - would be bright enough to co-operate with her on this.

"Well excuse me." she scoffed, louder than before, "The next time I find an alleyway full of dead people, I will just keep quiet and let you walk straight into whatever is responsible for it, shall I?" she shook her head disapprovingly, "You know, I'm surprised that, given how easy you are to distract, you haven't led us straight into a sneak attack yet!"

Pethalamine bit the inside of her lip, turning her glance back to the spear-toter. 'I distract; you sneak attack.' had any of them managed to catch the emphasis trick? She certainly hoped so, because otherwise this was going to get ugly.

"And as for you." she continued flatly, turning the glare of her single visible eye to meet Saria's, "As much as I'd like to claim credit, we've done nothing to these soldiers. Nor has any of us killed your father, whoever that is. We, unlike your lot, are not bloodthirsty murderers." she nodded curtly towards Yuki's bleeding form, not relinquishing her glare for a second. If this wasn't enough to provoke a reaction from the hysteric woman then she couldn't really think of what would, and given her current mental state the soldier would undoubtedly do something reckless and leave an opening for anyone from the group to attack. The die, as they said, was cast.

Loki
August 8th, 2008, 04:56 PM
ooc: I feel like I'm doing serious injustice to RP'ing right now. xD;; I need to change Dimitri's personality, because I just can't pull off one character like AE. D:

ic: Dimitri’s expression was one of a lightly surprised look as he shifted his foot, turning the skyboard around to face the grief-stricken but otherwise young looking girl. (A soldier? Above grounders. Absolutely no regard for age.) However many surprise attacks, anything involving violence seemed to have very little effect on him. His hands casually set in his pockets, Dimitri tilted his head to look at the spear jutting through Yuki’s chest, bringing it back upright when it was removed. As far as Dimitri could tell, he would live. Unless he was as pretty-rich-boy as he seemed, in which he would simply bleed to death and be done with his apparently not-so-happy life. Standing silently on his skyboard, he looked over his shoulders, checking to see if there was possibly any other raving mad soldier left in grief and despair running up to stab him in the back. Nope. No one that he could see, thank goodness. While he failed to bring his entire head to face the new enemy, Dimitri’s eyebrows raised ever so slightly when he slid his gaze back to the scene. He slid off his skyboard, leaning his elbows on the smooth surface. Seeing that this would be yet another hold-up that might take some time, he wasn’t really interested in putting unesseccary strain on his most precious possession. And besides, the two iron pipes he’d brought with him ran across the sides of the skyboard. With his arms like this, it would be easier to whip them out and catch the tip of the spear in it’s hollow confines if the mad-woman decided to attack. He let his eyes move to Pethalamine as she spoke, listening quietly but not really understanding what she meant.

"You know, I'm surprised that, given how easy you are to distract, you haven't led us straight into a sneak attack yet!"

Hidden message? Nothing of the sort, to Dimitri. If anyone wanted to get through a thickheaded person like him, they needed to wink first, and give him at least five minutes to think it through. “Come on guys, chill out for a second! She wants us to answer her questions, so before another one of us,” [i]’With more worth to the goodness of humanity, unlike mister ego on the floor over there,[i]’ Dimitri added to himself, as he looked around at his temporary companions, “gets attacked, let’s let the little lady calm down, y’know?” Turning back to Saria he smiled and tried to think back on what she’d asked, accidentally rambling off yet again.

“Well, Miss, we didn’t do anything to these soldiers, other than gawk a bit. And quite honestly, I think it’s rather hypocritical of you to be having a huge fit over your father’s death, considering that your friends and possibly, yourself, were all stampeding through town killing every person in sight left and right. Did you think that all the people in town have absolutely no relation with each other? Did you think that none of the bodies in the river don’t have a family? I mean, I’m very sorry about your father and I don’t mean to be rude but you really should think it through before you go around stabbing people.” Dimitri took a second look at the girl’s face however and heaved a heavy sigh, “…Not that you look like you’ve got any inclination to think about it, let alone listen to me…. But you seem interested in answers, so back to your questions. Please pay attention if it’s convenient.”

“First, ‘who are we’. Well we’re just various people, some who came for the festival the soldiers spoiled, me a resident of the town, my place trampled by a bunch of strangers, and well they have their own little story that isn’t involved with this mess. Then, what we did to your friends… We didn’t do squat to your comrades, but I’m assuming your comrades are those dead people over there? Oh wait if they are, I take that back.” The punk-teen rubbed his chin, remembering how he met Soren, Yuki, and Miki to begin with. “I accidentally ran into one awhile back with my skyboard because I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. We don’t know who your father is, so we- or at least, I, don’t have any motive for killing him; therefore, unless he’s the guy I ran into earlier- which, I’m very sorry if that was your old man- we didn’t kill him, it was probably someone else who’s also running for their lives, or possibly a mutiny?”

Dimitri’s lack of being in a peaceful environment for half of his life was definitely shining through by the sheer fact that he was as calm as still water, even after someone who was supposed to be his comrade, albeit disagreeable, was near-fatally or fatally stabbed. “So if the guy I killed was your dad, then it’s my fault, not the pretty boy on the floor over there. Actually someone should probably tend to that hole in his torso…”

parallelzero
August 9th, 2008, 04:22 PM
Soren sweatdropped as a grimmer and grimmer look grew on his face. Dimitri and Peth REALLY needed to think about what they were saying before they said it. Sure, Peth tried to be smart by using Soren's attempt at blame as a ways to spell out the real scenario - the one in which they were innocent - but she finished her little gimmick by insulting the girl's people. Yeah, let's pour bleach on the wound. That'll calm her down. And then there was Dimitri, who skipped the bleach and went right for the nitroglycerin. He admitted to injuring at least one - which she'd most likely use as justification for killing them if her orders weren't already enough. They were being naive by assuming they could try and rationalize and/or maniulate the scenario as to not end up killed by someone in the state this girl was in. She definately wasn't anymore amused than she was before those two opened their traps. And what was with Peth's gesture? Soren excelled in fighting. He was no fool when it came to that subject. A sneak attack would be stupid here. Besides, Soren thirsted for battle. If anyone was fighting here, it'd be him. He shrugged his shoulders, which allowed the hoop that was thrown around his right shoulder to slide down his arm and into his hand. Now there was still a problem. Even if he attacked, he still didn't know what mahstion this girl had. It could backfire entirely, but ah well.

Saria had noticed this gesture and labelled it as hostile - though if Soren had dropped a pin on the ground she would have labelled it as hostile. Her 'father' had been killed! These people must have done it! These people! They were the only ones around, after all! She dropped her spear to her side, the orange rope tied to the back dropping with it. Soren initially took this as a sign of surrender, but found himself eating his own assumption as flames erupted from the alleyway exits. Fionus, huh? She couldn't do too much with- "Ah! MY HAIR! MY HAIR!" Little balls of fionus began raining from the sky. It was a technique Soren had never seen before. Of course, making all of those little fireballs would drain her energy a lot faster than normal attacks. Not hesitating, Soren brought his right arm up into the air until it was at about neck height, and thrusted it into the wall beside him as it became enveloped by the darkness. The hoop reappeared from before Saria's feet, and the weapon flew up and smacked her in the jaw, knocking her to the ground. Sure, he probably could have done worse, but he had already said he didn't kill women.

A gust of wind blew through the alley, extinguishing the flames as Yuki was the first to exit the deathtrap in the direction of the edge, clenching the wound in his chest and walking in a crippled manner. "Jeez, he doesn't waste time..." Soren murmured to nobody in particular. "Oh well, let's go while she's disoriented. If she really cares that much, she'll catch up at some point."

Alter Ego
August 10th, 2008, 12:49 AM
The moment Dimitri spoke up, fear was the only thing that kept Pethalamine from screaming out in pure frustration. Her ploy, quite obviously, had gone right over the skyboarder's head, meaning that she had put herself straight on the line of fire for no gain whatsoever. And fire was most certainly on its way. The madwoman's expression immediately hit a new level of batcrap crazy when the scholar finished her speech, the thin line of her patience practically went 'twang' when Dimitri effectively confessed to having murdered a Carn soldier, and it most certainly went 'snap' when Soren dropped his hoop.

What happened next went too fast for Pethalamine to fully comprehend, the girl barely having the time to raise her arms to shield her face from the incoming fireballs before it was all over. Luckily, everything about Pethalamine save the cloak she wore was soaked to the core, and as such the flames did not manage to gain much foothold, but much to her displeasure, the scholar noted that her already abused dress had gained a number of new burn marks. Brilliant, just brilliant, though given the circumstances she supposed that they had gotten off easy.

"Oh well, let's go while she's disoriented. If she really cares that much, she'll catch up at some point."

"To be honest, I would prefer it if she didn't." Pethalamine replied, kicking Saria's spear further away from her body as she passed, just in case the psycho lady would wake up and start stabbing again, "And shouldn't we at least...disarm her or something? Or do something about Yuki's wound? Oh, never mind." she scoffed, noting that everyone else, Yuki included, seemed fully content with simply walking away from the scene, "Let's just get away from this place, then."

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


Despite the beauty of the sunlight shining through its tinted glass windows, the chapel was desolate and melancholy, the overturned benches and damaged lectern evidence that not even this sacred place had been left unravaged by the invasion. Dried blood coated the flagstone, and one of the beautiful windows had been shattered, countless colorful glass shards littering the floor in front of it.

The soldier made as if to scream, but no sound escaped his lips, his body contorting in a grotesque pantomime of the act. He watched this performance with mild curiosity for a few minutes before the realization struck him.

"Ahh...I forgot to grow your tongue back this time, didn't I?"

Despite the kind tone of the question, the soldier merely stared back at him in fear before finally offering a weak nod.

"Yes, I imagine that would make answering my questions a bit more problematic." the man continued, lionus wrapping around his hand once more as he reached it towards his helpless victim, "My apologies, but screaming does distress me so. Now." the gaze of his warm, light brown eyes hardened, "Who is responsible for this massacre?"

"You..." the man spluttered as the missing organ was finally returned to him, "You monster! Thylonstus shall see you burn in hell for what you've-AAAARGH!"

"You're false god is dead." the man interrupted harshly, his interaction partner's attempt at a reply mercilessly cut off by the fresh blast of near-lethal Lionus enveloping his body, "Unless you wish to join him in the lightless abyss which he belongs to, answer me now: who ordered the massacre?"

"I don't know!" the soldier screamed, his pupils still wide from the shock of the attack, "I don't know! Even the commander didn't know! And even if I did know I would never tell it to someone like-"

"I see." the man remarked softly, watching with mild interest as the soldier's body slumped down to the floor, its heart stopped for good, "I shall pray for your soul, even though you do not deserve it."

Carefully slipping a small crucifix into the dead man's hands, the male rose up, facing the single undefiled statue of the goddess that remained, "Do not worry, mother." he said, his hand instinctively clenching to a fist, "I will find the ones responsible for this evil and route them in your name. And then..." his smile reached an almost manic proportion, "...your perfect world will be reality."

Loki
August 10th, 2008, 03:43 PM
As much as he loved fireballs, Dimitri had to admit that he'd been expecting a more frontal attack- say, with that spear. Dodging vital parts, grabbing the spear once it got close or- in the worst case scenario, sunk into his flesh, and giving the girl a good crack on the neck to let her chill out for a few hours had been the plan, but it really was hopeless. "Holy shi-!" Dimitri spluttered as he'd noticed the girl's action that was decidedly different from what he'd been expecting. Not exactly being a mahstion master himself, the fact that mahstion even existed often slipped his mind. His position that had been originally to make grabbing his weapon more easily now turned into a position that was ideal for dodging the fireballs, as he used his arms to push the skyboard upside down and ducked under it. The turbines on the bottom blew any fireballs away from on top, so that Dimitri's precious baby of a skyboard wouldn't get burnt, and Dimitri's precious treasure of a head and hair wouldn't catch fire. At this point, Dimitri succeeded in being generally useless until Saria was down for the count. Well, that sat well with Dimitri anyway. He didn’t like mahstion, especially since it was a cheap way of going about things in battle. One should rely on brains and brawn, not magic and skill.

But it was really showing that nobody was doing a good job of being a ‘team’. Not that they’d ever officially labeled the rag tag group a team, but it was kind of like it’d been a long time ago, with him, Wiz, Slinky, and Tank. None of them were really ‘friends’ in the beginning. Just a bunch of brats who banded together to survive in a world where there were trashy adults and even trashier kids. As everyone here had only just met each other, their plans didn't really mesh. In fact, each plan pretty much ignored the other altogether. Dimitri sighed, longing for a leader like Wiz. But, Soren's plan didn’t do a bad job in the long run, so all that was well, ended well. As soon as Yuki’s wionus had blown away the fireballs, Dimitri quickly slipped out from underneath his board to check for any damages. Which, thankfully there weren’t; because otherwise, he would’ve wanted to take Saria along to throw her mercilessly off the edge, rather than take her along because he felt sorry for her. But as things were, Dimitri wasn’t really sure of how he’d go about taking her with them out of pity, either. He certainly didn’t have any room on his board. He didn’t have room for two, Miki and Pethalamine, let alone three, with the addition of Saria. Man, why were all these people without rides females? Dimitri rolled his eyes to himself, turning his skyboard back upright and glancing from Yuki to Saria. Yuki’s wound needed to be treated before going down to the Underneath. There wouldn’t exactly be great facilities to handle that sort of thing down there; everyone fended for themselves, so who would want to give out bandages to some stranger? (One with wings, no less.)

“Hold on.” Dimitri announced, pulling his skyboard along as he walked over to Saria. After all, he never let his most prized possession leave his side; ever. A blow to the jaw wouldn’t put her lights out for good, Dimitri reasoned, bending over to pick her up and deliver a chop to the neck that would really shut her down for awhile. “We should ditch this place, I agree, but if Monsieur Massacre comes back, it won’t be good if she’s just lying in the middle of the road. I mean, not that I want her to follow us,” Dimitri explained as he sat her up against an empty bakery lining the street, “But since we can’t console her, we shouldn’t make things worse for her either.” He raised an eyebrow at the fact that his poor job of dragging her aside had left her sitting in a somewhat lopsided position. “… Well it’s good enough. Let’s go.”

Pulling out his lasso again, he stepped up onto his skyboard with ease, sliding through the air so that he stood to the right of Miki, pushing the left edge down with his foot so that she could get on as he looked over at Soren. He wanted to know for sure what was going down with Pethalamine’s method of going down to the Underneath, since he wasn't able to give her a ride himself. “You’re gonna give Pethalamine a ride with mahstion, right Soren?”

As good at remembering things like names and faces and comments Dimitri was, mahstion types flew over his head as swiftly as secret ploys did. And it seemed he wasn’t very good at remembering anything regarding Yuki, as it appeared the fact that he was gravely injured had already flown out of Dimitri's brain. But then again, maybe he did remember, and had just failed to mention it, as he normally would’ve. After all, who was he to go against divine retribution? Karma? Or whatever the heck had spurred that now unconscious girl to pick the most worthy of getting stabbed out of all of them?

parallelzero
August 11th, 2008, 08:43 AM
"Well, it's not really a ride. It works like any other mahstion portal. It's just, the distance is so great that I'll only be able to send one person through." Soren removed a torn map from his left pocket after throwing his hoop over his shoulder again. He surveyed it, trying to ignore Dimitri's act of sympathy towards the girl. Sure, he didn't kill girls, but if it was indirectly his fault, he didn't care as much. They'd be better off leaving her to die if she really did come after them - though that was unlikely. It was definately best that their little group part ways after the descent, because quite frankly, they got along as well as tazmanian devils fighting over territory. But where to go after the descent? That's what he was trying to figure out by looking at this old, crusty map. Ah, perfect! "It looks like Tempest isn't too far off from our landing point. Being the port city it is, I'm sure it has plenty of ships running in different directions. We can take them to where we want to go afterwards." It sounded good on paper, but was it really that easy? For one, the Underneath didn't take kindly to the winged, unless of course you were in Azern, in which the opposite was true. Not to mention they had no way of knowing where else Carn was. It'd be best to call his uncle when he had the chance. He was on the police force in Meredy, so maybe he'd have an idea.

"So are we going, or what? It's probably far from a good idea hanging around here." A familiar yet unfamiliar voice chimed. Soren glanced up from his map to see Saki, who was grasping one arm with her other, apparently in boredom. Er... this was still weird. "Stop looking at me like that! Yuki needs to recover, so he's going to be sitting things out for a little bit while my lionus repairs his wounds!" They used different mahstion as well? That was interesting to know.

Soren sighed. It's not like he didn't know they were in a rush. but he had to figure out where to have the portal end. "Now, my big issue with this method is that we either leave Peth alone her for a moment, or she goes first and we meet her down there, since a mahstion portal is one hell of a faster method to descend. I'll leave it to Peth to decide what she'd rather do."

"OH! RIGHT! Hi Pethalamine! I'm Saki!" The girl exclaimed after realizing she had yet to introduce herself, extending a hand to shake in the process... even if the girl still smelled bad.

In the meantime, Miki finally got the hint to step onto Dimitri's board, and did so without saying a word, the chain still floating around her. She seemed unphased by anything that had happened thus far.

---

"Hey, dad, why haven't you been home much, lately?" The twelve year old girl peered over her father's shoulder at the paper he was writing on. "It feels like you're never here, and I miss you!"

The father glanced back at his daughter, his brown hair spiked slightly in the front, and sweatdropped while giving a forced smile. What was he supposed to say? 'Sorry, I've been doing undercover work for Princess Evaline in order to figure out what was going on'? 'A bunch of people were just slaughtered in Alta so I've got more on my plate than usual'? Nah, not really things you say to your twelve year old kid. "I've just been really busy with work down at the station, honey. I'll be around more soon, I promise, Rosalynne."

Alter Ego
August 11th, 2008, 09:29 AM
Pethalamine couldn't help staring just a little at Dimitri's efforts at helping out the strange woman who had tried to kill all of them a few minutes ago. Sure, from the way he had behaved earlier, the scholar had already figured that this skyboarder guy was a pretty friendly and helpful person, but concern for someone who was not only a stranger but had also tried killing him a mere moment ago and would probably do so again? No, that was quite definitely not normal in her book. In fact, she had not seen such behavior since...

Well, since Faewyn to be honest. Even as Dimitri declared that he was done, the young woman continued staring at their unconscious assailant for a while more.

"I really hope you're sane enough to appreciate that." she said, though of course not loudly enough for anyone in their group to catch on, casting one last glance at Saria before turning to follow the others.

The Sumeragi duo, meanwhile, had pulled their gender bender trick once more, effectively drawing any attention that might have been directed at Pethalamine's lagging to themselves, the lolita from before immediately snapping to attention and offering introductions.

"Umm...hi." she managed in return. This girl sure was...loud, definitely not Pethalamine's favorite kind of person, but - the scholar couldn't help thinking as she returned the handshake, performing a tiny curtsy out of instinct - right now she was still prepared to credit this little girl with not being Yuki, and so she added, fairly convincingly, "Nice to meet you."

As the subject shifted to her method of transport down to the surface, Pethalamine's expression contorted to a frown, however, only for a mirthless little smile to replace it a few moments later, "Funny, isn't it?" she asked at last, "If I go first, there's a chance that you will just cut off the portal halfway through and let me drop to my death, or neglect the deceleration component, which will result in the same, yet if I chose to stay behind, you could just head off on your own and leave me up here to be killed instead." she tilted her head to the side, peering carefully at the mercenary, as if in search of even the slightest signs of treachery, an expression of bemusement still etched on her features, "Either way, Mr.Soren, it looks like I will be entrusting a near-stranger with my life. Funny how the world works, isn't it?" she shook her head, as if to dislodge the current train of thought, "But we don't exactly have the time to discuss philosophy, do we? So for now, I guess I'll just trust your word on that you don't kill women and go down first." she nodded, "Whenever you are ready, then."

Loki
August 11th, 2008, 12:07 PM
As soon as Miki had stepped securely onto the skyboard, Dimitri sank his weight onto his right foot, bringing the left side up. He laughed at Pethalamine’s statements, interjecting, “Don’t give him any ideas- g-BUH” But with the push on his foot combined with his pull on the lasso, the left side shot up, while the right side shot down, toppling the pilot cheek-first into the ground. His body was strung up in the air due to his foot, which had caught the edge of the board. After taking a moment to register what had happened, the victim let out his crushed voice, “… Ow.” It wasn’t so much having his cheek thrust into the gravel that hurt, but more like the earrings in his right ear which had conveniently stabbed themselves into the side of his head. Anchoring his hands on the ground and pushing himself up, Dimitri nearly faceplanted again, if it weren’t for the fact that his arms were keeping him mostly upright. The grip of his foot on the edge of his board quickly slipped when he'd pushed himself off the ground and sent the rest of his body back to earth. “I’m okay- it’s all good!” Dimitri announced, getting to his feet and rubbing the spot behind his ear where he’d been pricked by one of his earrings and stepping back onto his skyboard. This time he took out the right lasso, muttering to himself as he pulled to even his weight with hers, “I dunno why I thought you were heavier than me…”

While he’d been planning on moving out as soon as Miki had gotten on, there was a little delay when he noticed a smear of red on his hand that had rubbed the place he'd been stabbed by his accessories. “Hm…” Dimitri’s cheerful expression flinched at the sharp sting in his ear. He brought his free hand up, feeling around before expertly using one hand to unfasten the dangling metal rectangle earring from his earlobe, not wanting to let go of the lasso for a precaution against toppling off again. As soon as he pulled the earring in sight though, he made a rare, irritated expression at the blood dripping off the end, “Well damn.”

He bit the flat metal between his teeth as he reached to his ear again to check the extent of the damage. “Hrh, well vats vud.” Dimitri said incoherently, taking the earring out of his mouth and shoving it into his pocket, “Least it didn’t rip all the way.” He rubbed the crimson liquid between his fingers until it was just a red smear and looked over at Soren, dropping the entire subject over the fact that his earring had torn his earlobe a little from the fall. “So we’re basically going to whatever city we see first on the way down, which would be this ‘Tempest’, right? I don’t really know the names of any cities in the Underneath.” And that was no lie. He may have grown up in the Underneath, but it was such a vast expanse; and it wasn’t as though he’d ever received a formal education on geography. Just reading, math, the basics, and that was only because that way, you wouldn’t get ripped off by mechanics. All he knew was the town he’d grown up in and the specific area’s name; “The Slums” and as Wiz put it, “The Crappiest Place on Mother Earth.” Though the latter probably wasn’t its official name.


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


The man sitting at the kitchen table had never been any good at admitting that he was capable of any kind of ‘tender’ feelings. Pansy, girly emotions like love and worry were just too embarrassing to express for the strung up male. But by the tint of bright bubblegum pink flushing his cheeks, it was obvious that he was very very concerned. Or maybe it was his unnaturally tight grip on that morning’s newspaper, which of course, he was reading well past morning due to the fact that most of that portion of the day had been spent in a meeting with the C.E.O. and various other managers.

Though only in his late forties, a head of pure white hair often made him look older than he really was; and the tight knit eyebrows that revealed his irritation at being unable to peacefully be updated on the current events did nothing to make his forehead look any younger. While having had perfect vision in his younger years, old age was catching up, and he now had been forced to wear a pair of rimless glasses at all times, unless he wanted to be walking into poles left and right. (Because Haeon’t and Geote most certainly would not warn him beforehand, relishing anything comedic to entertain them these days due to Aertan's not-so-exiciting occupation.)

“ARGH!” Aertan finally smashed his paper together and threw it down onto the wooden surface, because Tylonstus- or well, Ophelia, knew that it was impossible for him to read up on the latest avalanche. At least not while worries of whether Faewyn (who took priority) and that irritating know-it-all brat were okay filled his head. They’d only gone to Alta, so he didn’t need to be this worried, but it was habit for the man who worried whenever anything important of his was out of his sight. The headache that split his head was the exact reason he’d been so against the trip in the first place- but noooo, Alicel needed a visit, and that irritating know-it-all brat wanted to go to the festival. Gripping his head between his hands, his face turned into a shade of brick red embarrassment as he found zero ways to vent his frustration.

“I knew I should’ve gone with them!”

parallelzero
August 14th, 2008, 09:37 AM
"Graceful." Saki couldn't help but take a humourous jab at Dimitri's miscalculation. It looked like it hurt, but it was funny none the less. Soren, however, didn't seem that amused. Though, Saki figured Soren looked like the kind of person who made a lot of 'miscalculations', so it was probably his life experiences that prevented him from finding it as funny as she did. Then again, that wasn't to say she had never miscalculated in her lifetime. Her near-death experience was attributed to a miscalculation, even though they were only kids at the time. Though, even Miki seemed slightly amused. It wasn't as obvious as it would have been on a normal person, as she didn't laugh or smile, but her eyes kind of lit up... At least she thought they did.

Soren began preparation for the descent as he reached into his pocket and began to fiddle around in there as if he was looking for something particular. "Well, Tempest is probably our best bet if we want to live, as well. Because it's a port town, a lot of winged pass through. Hostilities shouldn't be as bad there as they would anywhere else. Of course, as we are now, we have no way if Carn has made any other moves. Though, before testing their luck on the Underneath, I bet they'll shoot for Gregar and Beta. Considering the size of those countries, that won't take long..." He fell silent for a moment as he revealed a small, metallic ball from his pocket. It appeared to have an eye - that is, a hole with glass covering it. He crept over to the edge, paying no mind to the vast expanse of nothingness with the presence of the water in the distance as he dropped the ball off the edge. "I'm also concerned about Flazure. It was the center of the last war, but I'm not sure if it will side with anyone or stay neutral. Nonetheless, I have friends there, so I hope it doesn't get too out of hand..."

"So what did you just drop?" Saki inquired as she peered over the edge, a gust of wind knocking her back a bit and making her struggle to stay upright."

"...Camera?" Miki asked. Soren seemed a little shocked that she knew what it was. Sumeragi Co. had only released these miniature cameras a month ago, after all.

Soren nodded as he reached into the opposite pocket and pulled out a pair of black sunglasses that he placed over his eyes. He hit a button, and what the camera was seeing became clear before him. "Since I can't use a portal without first seeing where I'm linking it to, this little device is useful for helping me accomplish just that." He flinched slightly as the ball made contact with the sand below, giving him a clear view of the vast expanse before him. Tempest was clearly in the distance. He threw his right hand forward as dation began to form in a pool in the air before them. "Okay, Peth, just go through. The rest of you should start ahead as well, since I need to be here to keep this open."

Alter Ego
August 14th, 2008, 10:24 AM
Pethalamine winced slightly as Dimitri made contact with the pavement, effectively stabbing himself with his various accessories in the process. Despite the skyboarder's assurance of being okay, that had looked...painful, and unlike the other ladies in their little group, she didn't really find it funny in the least. Even so, she was still not her mother and certainly not about to rush over with handkerchief, antiseptic, and bandages in tow either, especially since she had none of the above at hand and the situation still wasn't the right for fussing over small injuries. She made a note of asking about it later...if there would be a later, that is.

The moment Soren mentioned a potential invasion of Beta, however, the scholar's thoughts were immediately snapped away from the whole Dimitri incident.

"But...they wouldn't do that, surely?" she asked, though with not much conviction. After all, after this massacre there were very few acts she would put past Carn, "I-I thought they were afraid to attack because Beta was holding too much valuable information about Carn's defense systems, information which they would release to Tealia the moment the treaty is broken? They wouldn't want to risk a counter-invasion like that...would they? Besides, our intelligence gathering is top-rate, there's no way they could stage something this big without anyone noticing!" she shook her head in disbelief, obviously bothered by the situation despite her words. Bothered to the point that she didn't even pay much attention to the small piece of technological marvel that Soren had procured, something that would normally have set her off on a long rant about the history of such devices and how they had roots far deeper than what current knowledge could even reach.

As the portal appeared, however, the young woman quickly erased even these musings from her mind. Even though she didn't need to focus to maintaining this portal like she usually would have, peace of mind was still important when traveling through dation conduits. When you were blatantly cheating the space-time continuum, the last thing you needed to do was panic and do something stupid that would help it catch onto what you were up to.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, the scholar nodded in confirmation, "I'll see you down below, then." she said simply, stepping forward and allowing the dation to drag her into its embrace.

What followed basically just felt like a really, really long fall, even though she knew that in real time this was fast transportation indeed. She kept her eyes shut (there was nothing to see, after all), relishing the short period of complete weightlessness before her body instinctively tensed in preparation for the ride's end.

Contrary to what her body had been expecting, the landing was far from hard. With a soft thump, Pethalamine's feet met sand, the scholar staggering slightly as her body re-adjusted to standing on earth again, but managing to maintain her balance. Sand, eh? Just the finishing touch her abused dress needed. Fighting back the shallow thought, she made a bit more distance between herself and the portal opening on this side. There were others on their way, after all, and the last thing she wanted was to have them land on her head.

Loki
August 14th, 2008, 01:19 PM
ooc: such extreme fail. Dx

ic: Dimitri scratched the back of his head with his left hand, eyebrow raised as he mumbled to himself, “Wouldn’t it be faster if we all just went through the portal…?” But that might entice a long-winded speech about mahstion, which would be troublesome because as far as the sky boarder was concerned, he didn’t want to learn any more about mahstion than he already knew. Therefore, he kept his lips sealed on the subject, forgetting about Saki's sarcastic jab while he pondered over the different travelling methods. “Well, sit- or… stand, tight.” Dimitri commented to Miki, “You might want to grab onto the edge or something.” Dimitri brought his shoulder up and rubbed his jaw line and the lobe of his ear with the edge of his sleeveless shirt. “Tch…” He shook his head, wiping off his aggravated expression as he grinned brightly to Soren, “Well, see you down below!” Tugging on the lasso, the sky board lumbered off the edge of the big slab of land known as Alta. Putting his hand against his forehead like a visor, Dimitri squinted for even a little glimpse of the city they wanted to go to. But the altitude combined with green goggles didn’t really help, so Dimitri shrugged, tugging on the lasso. If anything, Dimitri was experiencing the freefall that he’d been stubbornly dodging for the past few years, albeit with a little engine resistance and some tweaks in the balance from the lasso. Dimitri said nothing during the fall, staring down as he surveyed the expanse below them. He pulled the lasso behind him, turning the board to avoid passing through a cloud. Last thing he wanted was to get soaked. As soon as he’d cleared most of the clouds, Dimitri slowed the board, looking around.

Ah, well. It wasn’t hard to spot the town they were looking for. It was now that Dimitri realized a particularly troubling fact; they hadn’t made a rendezvous point. He glanced at Miki, his blank and bored expression considerably different from the cheerful face he’d put on earlier. Well, he didn’t think she’d care anyway. She didn’t really seem like the type to care about anything. It wouldn’t be a problem for Dimitri if they weren’t able to find Soren right away though. Neither he nor Miki had win- Dimitri pulled the board to a spluttering stop, his eyes wide as he threw a hand behind him and felt his back.

“Oh for cryin’ out loud.” Dimitri twisted around, looking at the fake wings on his back, “What am I doing. We’re already down here, why don’t we just go to some other country where there are winged people? We could be going to Tealia, it’s not like the only direction we can go is down!” Dimitri hung his head, feeling incredibly stupid. He couldn’t exactly just rip off his wings out of nowhere. Especially since these babies were damn hard to get in the first place! Dimitri cursed particularly vehemently as he shoved a hand in his pockets, “Well I guess I’d be an ass to ditch now. Damn retarded plan this was...” Dimitri blinked, remembering that he wasn’t the only one on the skyboard. “… Oh, sorry about that. I guess I should get moving-” He pressed down on the skyboard and it leapt back to life, “-instead of just sitting around complaining.”

Being in what he considered the Underground already, he moved at a considerably more leisurely pace. It wasn’t long before Dimitri completely forgot about his own stupidity. It was like seeing an entirely different face to his own home. The people here certainly weren’t rich and wonderful, but… everyone was clean. There were respectable shops, and their windows weren’t broken, and everyone was dressed in decent clothes and… it was nothing like the Underneath he knew. As he came to a stop at the edge of Tempest, Dimitri stepped off his skyboard, turning around to Miki, “I don’t want to have my board out within the city limits.” He explained, “So we’ll walk to wherever it is that Soren expects to find us. Is that okay?”

Looking around, Dimitri hardly noticed that he’d lost interest in the entire game, or well, adventure. He'd failed to offer Miki a hand off of the skyboard as he probably would’ve done so earlier, as the gentleman he was... supposed to be. Somehow, he felt more insecure down here than he had up in Alta. Like walking into his own house, except it was filled with important strangers. And it wasn’t that he wanted to hide his board; they were so much more common down here. He wanted to hide his wings. He didn't want to get hostile looks from people who were just like him. As he waited for Miki to disembark, he looked over his shoulder, trying to shove the thought out of his head.

“You want to try looking for him down at the ports? Mr. Leader was talking about them, so it’d probably be our best bet.”

parallelzero
August 21st, 2008, 08:46 AM
Was Pethalamine just oblivious to the state of the world, or was she being ignorant? That's all Soren wondered as she tried to shoot down the idea of Carn invading Beta. Tealia? Tealia wasn't an obstacle now that Princess Evaline had been placed there as a figurehead while Carn council members controlled everything without her knowledge. There was no threat to be had from Tealia, which meant Carn was free to do what it wanted unless the Underneath rallied, which was equally as unlikely. As Pethalamine eventually stepped through the portal, Soren felt as if a big chunk of his already diminishing energy had been torn from his body. Making a portal that worked required a lot of dation, and unless the user was well versed in the technique, substantial amounts of energy were required. Thankfully, Soren wasn't horrible at them, so if needed he could probably go through himself - albeit he'd be more tired than if he had to descend. It wouldn't come to that anyways. That's what he thought. Then again, he wasn't thinking about any of what was about to occur.

The night sky suddenly turned bright red - like fire - as any clouds were seemingly vaporized in the slowly descending light. The fact that this was no ordinary light could be seen from across the world, as it was perfectly cylindrical in shape and it was slowly moving down towards the entire country of Alta. Soren panicked, and did whatever came to mind. Usually, it would have been to just jump through that warp and run at full speed, but that girl they knocked unconscious was still here! If that light coming towards them - was it getting faster? - was dangerous, which it most likely was considering how the day was going, he needed to save whoever he could despite their allegiance.

---

Miki began to shriek an ear piercing cry of pain as the light appeared, sending her tumbling off the sky board and onto the ground, her hands clamped tightly around her head as he body began to shake. Saki arrived shortly after and began to hold the girl, not exactly sure what to do, but assuming she had a better idea than Dimitri. "Just what the hell is going on!?" She called over the wailing of the Semi girl. This wasn't good, not good at all. "And have you heard anything from Soren and Pethalamine!?" That was another problem that needed o be addressed they hadn't arrived yet, and Soren was going to be the last to leave. She gasped as the light finally made contact with the floating country, which lit a flame the second contact was made. Pieces of the country began to crumble and fall to the land below as the light pierced a hole right through the center of the country, obliterating almost two thirds of the land in one blast, while leaving the edges of the land to slowly fall, threatening to crash into the tiny villages below. Thankfully Tempest was a ways away from that point. But, as the solid rock and city finally hit the ground, a large shockwave spread across the land, knocking most to their feet and most houses to the ground. Fortunately, Saki had used Yuki's wionus to create a barrier around their group, albeit the use of a mahstion unlike her own left her a little fatigued.

"Oi... Oi... what the hell..." Soren's voice rung as a dation portal opened before them and Soren spilled out, pulling Peth by the right arm and holding the girl from before in his other arm. After grabbing the girl, he had barely had any time to dash for the portal. From that point, he had to grab Pethalamine and run until he could see Tempest in the distance, where he spawned a portal for three people and ran through. He fell to the ground in exhaustion after making his entrance, not paying attention as the light began to retreat back into the sky.

---

"So it's begun..." The red haired man murmured as he sipped a cup of tea from a top the lighthouse in Tempest. He looked up at the light, his eyes glazing over with a similar colour of orangey red.

"What's begun, Mr. Evalice?" Stahn's purple haired assistant questioned as he too watched... then again, it was unlikely many people weren't drawn to this.


"The beginning of the end, Tsukasa." He took another sip of his tea. "Contact Ms. Eve Dular, have her send out a warrant for the arrest of any survivors. I want them brought to me."

---

"aimo aimo
neder rushe
noina miria
ender prodea
fotomi

koko wa attaka na umi dayo

ru-rei rureia
sora wo mau hibari wa nami da
ru-rei rureia
omae wa yasashi midori no ko

aimo aimo
ne-deru ru-she
noina miria
enderu purodea
fotomi

koko wa attaka na umi dayo"

The phoenix girl stood singing, at a quiet shrine just outside of Flazure. She had never been told what the lyrics meant - as they were in languages unknown to her... or anyone. But, as that light descended in the distance, she felt they just applied.

---

As the light finally disappeared and the night sky returned, all was still. Miki had become quiet, now passed out with a cold sweat, and Soren had at least gotten his breath back. Alta - or what was left of it - sat idly atop many of the villages that used to reside below it, Azern included, sand thick in the air around that area. "Now what?" Soren finally got up the nerve to ask. "We have two unconscious girls, and things aren't looking too good. Maybe we should check into an inn?" He didn't recieve any sort of recognition from Saki, who seemed to be lost in thought. "Well, we just can't stay here."

"Halt, you're all under arrest." A commanding voice echoed as the group found themselves surrounded by officers of Tempest, dressed in shiny blue uniforms.

"...OH SCREW OFF!"

OOC: The song mentioned (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBGdX01iZmM)

Alter Ego
August 21st, 2008, 09:25 AM
If there was one thing Pethalamine hated, it was suspense. The time she had spent in the wasteland just outside of Tempest, waiting for someone - anyone - else to appear, had certainly held a lot more of this quality than she was comfortable with. In part, there had of course been the concern of being encountered by wild animals or underneather hostiles while there was no-one around to protect her, but for some inexplicable reason, she felt that this was the least of the dangers at the moment. Something about the whole situation just filled her with a strange, primordial kind of dread that she couldn't quite put her finger on, and her faels were hardly easing the worry. Garm, of course, was nothing short of frantic - nothing new there - but what really worried her was that even the normally stoic Serret seemed to be on edge, coiled up by her eye and hissing quietly in agitation.

Then the red light struck.

The events that followed were a complete blur to the scholar, and had she not known better, she would have sworn that it was some sort of bizarre nightmare. Right there, in front of her eyes, the entire continent of Alta was shattered to pieces. Transfixed by the sheer magnitude of the destruction she was bearing witness to, the young woman could do nothing but gape in awe, feeling like an outsider in her own body, unable to move even as her senses told her that moving was the one and only thing that she should have been doing right now. It was then that a hand grasped her arm, yanking her back into the comforting darkness where there was nothing to see.

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


"..."

Even when the dust had settled, Pethalamine was still having trouble forming sentences, staring nonplussed at the small cloud of dust that still lingered where the country had once been, slowly dissipating in the wind. The scholar swallowed hard, so lost in her thought that she didn't even notice the solitary tear running down her cheek, the only outward indicator of what was going on inside of her. A single thought ran through her mind again and again, eventually forcing her mouth to give it form.

"Mother..."

She paid no heed to Soren's words, nor to the two unconscious women on the ground. She did not even stop to question why the psychotic spear-wielder they had run into earlier was with them. In fact, it was not until the word 'arrest' popped up that Pethalamine's attention was finally returned to the world around her.

"Arrest?" the scholar's eyes widened even further, her voice shrill and high-pitched as she instinctively took shelter behind Soren and Dimitri, "On what charges?!"

Even as the words left her lips, the scholar realized how empty they were. These men surely couldn't care any less about what ever it was they had or hadn't done, just as how the destruction of Alta had - in all likelihood - nothing to do with the country in question. It had just happened to be there and been raided and blown up, just like they had just happened to be here and were now getting arrested through no fault of their own. Pethalamine's right hand discreetly slid into the small bundle that she had made of the cloak, her hands tightening around the small, comfortably solid metallic object within. It was her secret trump card, a mahstion gun she had pilfered when 'inspecting' the corpses earlier. She might not have had much fight in her, and powerful though it was, this one weapon would not be enough to turn the tables against such odds, but somehow just holding the weapon in her hand brought a peculiar kind of comfort.

"We've-we've done nothing wrong."

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


Slowly, the brilliant red light faded away, the pinkish tint escaping from the clouds as they finally reverted to their usual color. If there was one thing to be said for the destruction of Alta, it was that it was truly beautiful. Unreal, even. The casual onlooker would probably have mistaken it for nothing more than a spectacular sunset, perhaps stopping to marvel at it for a moment or writing a short poem about the sight.

For the people aboard the Solemn Condolence, however, it was so much more than that.

It was quite the irony that, of all the vessels moored in Alta that fateful day, only a funeral barge had left carrying live passengers. Originally constructed to send the countless victims of the plague off to a worthy end, the Solemn Condolence was hardly a cheerful vessel. Colored an austere white, with nothing but the basic necessities in traveling comfort, it was truly a vessel for business and business only, but it had a small deck where one could be alone with their thoughts, and right now that was all she needed.

Brushing a few strands of her peculiar teal hair out of her face, the woman wiped away the worst of the tears from her face, only for new ones to replace them. She made no effort to stop. She was already well into her forties, and long past caring about appearances. Besides, holding your sorrow back never helped. She had tried that trick after her mother had passed away, and all it had brought her was five years of inner anguish. Better to let it all out, cry until you could cry no more.

"Faewyn, right?"

The woman paused, wiping away the tears again as she turned to face the stranger. It was one of the few refugees who had managed to make the escape together with her. It was a man who, about her age - or possibly a little younger - his messy black hair, half-shaved stubble of a beard and hastily assembled attire of shirt, vest and trousers - coupled with a pair of cheap shades for his eyes - evidence that he had been caught as off guard as the rest. Despite his ramshackle appearance, however, the thing that really caught one's eyes was the peculiar pair of metallic, clearly artificial wings jutting from his back.

"I don't mean to be nosy, you understand." the man continued, "But you've been out here in the gale for almost two hours now, aren't you getting a little cold?"

"A little." Faewyn confessed, nodding, "But...that's alright. I...don't think I could stay beneath deck with the rest right now."

The man gave a sympathetic little noise, "You had family there too, huh?"

"A daughter."

"I see."

For a moment, both of them just stared out towards the distance where Alta used to be. The man didn't introduce himself and Faewyn didn't press the matter. Eventually, however, the stranger spoke up again.

"Hard to believe they're gone, huh?"

"Yes...it's rather overwhelming." Faewyn confessed, "I mean, a whole continent full of people-"

"I was talking about lost family."

"Oh..."

There was silence again. But this time, Faewyn was the one who broke it.

"So...did you...?"

"Have family that I lost?" the man finished, "More than you can count, though none in Alta, thank Ophelia for small favors. Plague took 'em."

"Oh....I'm sorry."

"Not your fault." the stranger replied with a nonchalant shrug, "Don't care much either. The past is the past and now is now."

"You don't miss them?" there was a slightly accusatory edge to Faewyn's tone, "Are you really telling me you don't mist your loved ones at all?"

"Should I?" the man retorted calmly, "Like I said; the past is the past. We can't change it and we can't get it back, so where's the gain in brooding over it? You can cry and mope and complain about the past all you want, you can blame yourself and whine about why did I do this and why didn't I do that for the rest of your life, but at the end of the day that's just self-gratification. The dead won't know and the dead won't care, game over, all bets off; that's what being dead is all about, see?"

Faewyn was stunned, a few stray tears still running down her cheeks as her mouth struggled in vain to form a comeback.

"Oh crap, I went and overdid that, didn't I?" the man asked, scratching his head, "I meant no offense, lady. All I'm saying is that neglecting what you do have because you can't accept not having something is no way to live your life. Just something to think about, yeah?" with that, he gave the stunned woman a small pat on the shoulder before promptly turning around and heading back below deck, but not before he imparted one last piece of his mind, "Sorry...to hear about your kid."

And with that, the door was shut behind him, leaving Faewyn on her own once more.

Loki
August 21st, 2008, 03:14 PM
It was like the end of the world. Or at least, that was a fleeting thought that crossed Dimitri’s mind. He looked over his shoulders, spinning around to get a look at his surroundings. He was looking for something, though at the time, he didn’t really know what. It was like the end of his ears, was the subconscious thought that Dimitri had when he heard Miki shrieking. “Hey!” He shouted over the noise, squatting by her side to see if she had anything other than a nasty bruise from toppling off his skyboard. Saki appeared out of nowhere, and Dimitri backed off. He wasn’t good with females screaming in pain. When she demanded to know what was going on, Dimitri threw his hands up to shoulder-height, saying in a desperately confused manner, “I have no idea!!” Well to say the least, Dimitri was interested in the situation again. Interested in getting out more than ever before, if you wanted to look at the fine print. “Soren and Pethalamine are MIA, as far as I’m conce-“ The sounds of a continent falling apart came about that time, as Dimitri flinched and cut off his sentence. Slipping backwards at the force of the impact sent across the surface by the falling masses of land, Dimitri quickly found himself on his rear-end, looking up at whatever was left of Alta. He heard nothing when Soren and Pethalamine showed up, staring up at the empty space in the sky. His father figure of an instructor had left him in Alta; therefore, he probably wasn’t even on that continent anymore, right? Dimitri took a deep breath, consolidating himself for the time being by convincing himself that that old geezer’s wanderlust had probably taken him to Tealia, or something like that, where the danger of getting found would be higher…

He snapped to attention at the slightest glimpse of blue- a color that he’d been well trained to avoid since he was conscious of anything at all. And he was surrounded by it. That geezer always got him into deep trouble, indirectly, or more often, directly.

“Arrested…?” Was all Dimitri could mumble to himself in disbelief. He couldn’t exactly ask “For what”, because when he did, an entire list of things came to mind. Robbery, assault, the likes. He flinched once more however, when he vaguely heard someone utter a rude statement to the policemen. There was a difference between being rude the first time you meet someone, and being rude when you ran into officials.

Dimitri tried not to let the ashamed expression show on his face. Wiz would most certainly laugh his butt off if he saw Tric now. In a predicament Wiz would've conjured up a way to weasel out of in an instant, Dimitri was drawing up a blank.

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

Very little ever stirred or piqued the interest of the rosy pink haired tycoon. He loved adventure, and had seeked it the ends of the earth, even after he’d survived what one might’ve called the greatest adventure ever. Of course, the charming man in his late thirties hadn’t escaped his escapades unscathed. It was intriguing to see his face when one half wasn’t bandaged up as it was now; as a perfectly straight line split down his body, separated the right side, which was just past his most handsome years, and the left, where the skin was burned and distorted. His pink hair was spiked up, instead of out to the sides like his younger years. His bangs, left intact, hung in his eyes, the prickly strands held away from his ocular organs by a pair of rimless, yellow lensed glasses. His entirely sable suit was cut and designed more like what someone would wear to the clubs, rather than an office. But leave it to Levi Jaquez to look as if he were going out for a night with five women, rather than off to commandeer the largest business that restricted all activity to Tealia, and stretched their stubby little fingers into Carn through means of an ally company. Of course, he had also sent various donations to other countries, contributing to the finances used to build Telfin, contributing any funds that were requested of him for Flazure, anywhere he could recall a personal connection to.

But by the wide, olive green eye that was visible on the right half of his face, and the fact that his tanned hand was hanging limp after having dropped his royal blue fountain pen, Levi Jaquez was most certainly surprised. Underneath that look of disbelief, Levi felt compelled to hop onto his personal airship and go for a spin around Alta- or, well, if he abided by the news he’d just received, where Alta once was. Levi scratched the corner of his lip- of course, on the right side, not wrapped up in bandages. He was having trouble convincing himself that in the span of less time than it took him to make a situation worse than it was before, an entire continent was just… defunct.

“It’s been six long and wonderful years since I hired you,” Levi raised an eyebrow at his secretary, who stiffened at the way he began his response, “But I think I’m gonna have to let you go. I think you need to check into an asylum or something…”

He laughed at the expression on the man’s face, but waved his hand before he could respond, “Naw, I’m just kiddin’! Tell it to the crier- I don’t particularly care. We don’t have any banks there anyway….” Levi’s expression grew serious, “… Right?”

“No sir.” The secretary replied, getting somewhat used to the C.E.O.’s love for antagonizing people when he was bored.

Mr. Jaquez threw a leg over the other, bouncing his winged foot up and down with a carefree smile instantly brightening his features- making him look as young as the free teenager he’d once been, “Well then, that means that I don’t have any particular concerns with that continent. Just tell me when it affects our business, and then I’ll give you an ear, mmkay?”

He pushed the floor and spun around in his chair, peering out of the large window behind him. He honestly couldn’t dig up any personal attachments with that place. Meeting Sol after awhile, for a parfait. He could do that at any country. Otherwise, there really wasn’t- Oh. Well, any traces of his fling as Gil were probably just about annihilated. Kind of a shame, even though Levi hadn’t exactly treasured anything from his experience as a female. Levi looked down at his quite flat chest, looking back up and leaning his head back, “Some things just don’t change~”

parallelzero
August 22nd, 2008, 09:42 AM
Auricia Raito, although thirty five years of age, didn't look a day over twenty five when she wasn't disguised. It was her curse - the curse all skills were cursed with. They aged physically a lot slower than normal people. As she watched the red light fall that night, she came to wonder how she had come to survive long enough to witness the tragedy, especially when she had been cast from the only safe haven for Skills years ago when she had her human lover taken from her and locked away. She was being hidden by a friend, a wyvern woman that suffered from a similar curse. It wasn't easy hiding in Flazure, however. As requested by her rescuer, she was required to hide in the form of a tween phoenix girl studying at the shrine her rescuer resided at. Red twin tailed hair, red eyes, those extravagantly orange, red, and yellow coloured wings, not to mention the significant age change, it was no easy form for her to swallow. But, she was indebted to this wyvern. The wyvern people were similar to skills by the fact that they aged slower, but that slower aging didn't begin until they turned about twenty years of age.

High Priestess Ellianne Ducharme was thirty eight, but didn't look any older than twenty seven. Her days at the Evliantice Shrine on the outskirts of Flazure had been peaceful the past twenty years, if not for the odd interruption by the girl she was housing. Much to her embarrassment, she had been confessed to years ago by a young man she had travelled with, but she had to decline as a result of both her heritage and the kind of life they would have to lead. The Wyvern and Phoenix tribes were discriminated against still, albeit not as much. Even if something were to happen between them, they'd never be left in peace. So, for his sake, she let him go. She was born frail, and had a disease that was known as incurable up until that time, so she used that as an excuse as well. A remedy was eventually found, however, and she was spared. As the red light shone that night, however, she felt like she needed to see him again. Just once more, despite the amount of time that had passed. She was given a chance shortly after the light disappeared.

"But, Father Willems, you want me to leave the shrine in order to take care of a girl you want to sing?" The silver haired woman was a little bit shocked. All of a sudden, she had been approached and requested to accompany a young Phoenix teen with some kind of singing talent around the globe to go on a 'tour'. He said something along the lines of 'the world needing talent like hers right now'. It was extremely off the the Father to give such an idea, but things were looking pretty grim after Alta's apparent fall. The girl's name was Lyrum, and she was only sixteen years old. Apparently she was quite the natural. But accompanying this girl as a type of mother figure? Why did she have to leave the shrine for such a thing? "And what about Auri? She has nobody else! Not to mention how dangerous this is!"

The old man stroked his white beard vigorously as he stared back at the young woman. Anyone could appreciate how much she had matured physically since arriving at the shrine. She had 'filled out in all the right places' as it were. Though she still dressed in a light blue traveling gown complete with a gold necklace and several gold chain bracelets hanging loosely off her wrists. Her hair was wavy, and fell down to her behind, her bangs brushed slightly to the sides. "Lyrum has accepted the risks. As should you. From what I've heard, you've had your fair share of danger in the past. Weren't you even friends with Skills at one point? Isn't that why only my shrine took you in? Because you didn't mention it?" The silence was a good enough confirmation for him. "You can take Auri with you. She's young, but she's capable of such a trip."

"You don't know the half of it." Ellianne mentally sweatdropped at how Auricia would react to hearing herself talked about like that.

---

"I'm with the others. On which charges are you arresting us?" Saki questioned as she rose from Miki's side, obviously the most calm about this. Though, she'd be panicking if Yuki wasn't walking her through what to do. Two of their group were unconscious, and the entirety of the party was tired. Putting up a struggle was no good, so they'd have to make due for now and follow their orders. Soren was seemingly surveying for an escape route, but they were clearly surrounded. He eventually submitted, and let his guard down. "Surely you don't assume we're responsi-"

"No ma'am, we're just required to bring in any survivors for questioning." One of the officers replied. Saki felt a quick prick in the neck, and began to feel drowsy. "But you'll all need to take a quick nap first." Soren began to suffer from a similar feeling. "These tranq darts should work just fine." Soren and Saki didn't have any time to protest before they fell into a deep sleep.

When Soren awoke, the sun was shining brightly in his eyes. It must have been late afternoon at least, and he found himself, surprisingly, amidst the soft white sheets of a bed in a large victorian-style room. "What the hell...?" He murmured as he dragged his butt out of the sleeping utility, and found himself in a white pair of pajamas. He was more or less expecting to wake up in a prison. As he walked by the mirror, he realized why he didn't wear white too often. Orange hair does not go well with white clothing. As he peered out the crack in the door, he found himself staring at Saki, in a white nightgown, staring back at him.

"Oh, you're awake. We're supposed to go downstairs." She didn't explain where the were, but she didn't seem to be in a panic. Soren hadn't really noticed before, because with her black dress, they didn't really seem out of place, but Saki had an intriguing pair of horns on her head. He wasn't distracted by them for long, as he was suddenly snapped back to the reality that they were in a strange house that seemed to be MASSIVE with all it's hallways. When they arrived in the equally massive living room, they took a seat amidst the sea of leather. Their host sat on a stage before them, apparently uninterested as he sipped back a cup of tea.

"Let's wait for the others before we begin, shall we~"

---

"Hmm? A letter from Stahn?" Reid Davies murmured as he sifted through his mail. He took it out of the envelope and skimmed it carefully, before almost spitting out his coffee all over the kitchen table. "He wants me to WHAT!?"

Alter Ego
August 22nd, 2008, 11:24 AM
Pethalamine woke up slowly that afternoon, savoring the softness of the sheets, the warmth of the sunlight on her skin and the perfect calmness of the moment. It was only a few moments later, as she lazily pried her eyelids open, that she realized that this was not her room. Not her familiar, comfortable bed. Not the familiar home too small for one mother, one child, and one Aertan, and the moment the realization struck her, the events from last night came back in full force.

With an barely muffled scream, the young woman bolted upright, immediately becoming aware of a number of things. One, this room - while containing a bit more white than she was comfortable with outside of a hospital setting - was certainly not a prison cell. It was too airy and well-decorated, and there were no bars or locks in sight. Second, her old dress was gone, replaced by a comfortingly frilly white nightgown. Most notably, however, the unpleasant scent from yestereve was now but a memory, her skin now smelling of a highly potent detergent of some kind. Apparently, whoever had brought her here had at least had the decency to give her a good bath. But wait, if someone had cleaned her up and changed her clothes, then that meant that that someone had also-

"Crap!"

Blushing violently, Pethalamine pulled the sheet she had slept under higher to cover what little of her body was visible. Yes, if someone had really done all this for her then that someone had surely also seen her in a way that she most certainly did not want to be seen. More pressingly, however, she - and the young woman certainly hoped that this someone was a 'she' - would also have seen the birthmarks. The thought made Pethalamine feel even more vulnerable than that of having been seen in the nude, her left hand instinctively tightening around nothing.

Of course there was nothing, she inwardly reprimanded herself, what kind of lunatic would abduct someone only to restore her mahstion abilities and leave her a deadly weapon right within...hand's reach? The scholar could hardly believe her eyes as they fell on the gun resting calmly on a nightstand by the bed. It was definitely just as intact as when she had taken it, if not even moreso, its sleek, metal surface now bearing a sheen that suggested recent cleaning. Why, someone had even been thoughtful enough to provide a holster. For a moment, she simply stared at the object in disbelief. The entire weirdness of this was just...too much. Was this some kind of trap? A muffled whine at the back of her mind heartily supported this notion, but after a few moments, Pethalamine reached for the weapon nonetheless, attaching the holster to her side. Trap or no, there was still a fleeting chance that her captor had underestimated her abilities, and if this was the case, the more firepower she could bring to a potentially ugly escape, the better.

Drawing some comfort from this line of thought, Pethalamine finally got up from the bed, cautiously inspecting the room in search for some kind of clue as to who had brought her here or why, or - failing that - at least some clothing that wouldn't make her feel so...exposed. Much to her dismay, the room had very little to offer in either department and so she finally settled for tearing off a small part of the sheet and wrapping it around her forearm to cover Garm's tattoo before exiting the room.

As disconcerting as the room she had woken up in had been, it was nothing compared to the rest of the house. The first time she had accompanied her foster mother to work, Pethalamine distinctly recalled having been impressed by the sheer size of the Betan university, but compared to this mansion, with its seemingly endless maze of near-identical hallways, the structure had been...tiny. It didn't take long for the scholar to get completely lost, and even more frightened than before. Needless to say, her relief was practically tangible when she finally stumbled into the living room and spotted a familiar face.

"Soren! Saki! Thank goodness." the young woman heaved a sigh of relief as she approached two of her companions from the day before. Though neither was hardly a highly trusted friend of hers, they were at least something familiar, and right now this was all Pethalamine could ask for, "I thought I was going to be lost in those hallways forever. Do...either of you have any idea why we're-?" she paused, her attention finally snapping to the figure on stage.

"You." at the back of her mind, Garm's quiet whimper escalated to a panicked howl. As if Pethalamine had needed more confirmation that this person was bad news, "You're the one responsible for all of this, aren't you?"


OOC: Awright, hope you don't mind the whole 'leaving the gun' thing. I just figured that Stahn wouldn't exactly think of Pethalamine as a serious threat, armed or no, and would do something random like that just to mess with her. XD I'll edit if it bothers you, though.

Loki
August 22nd, 2008, 03:25 PM
Dimitri was a pretty graceful sleeper, unlike one might expect. Once he was out, he didn’t move. He was rather like a ragdoll, albeit, alive and breathing. But it usually took him about half an hour to get fully awake. Half an hour of contemplating what he had to do that day, whether he’d be able to give himself an extra hour or whether he’d have to get up right away. The smooth sheets, comfortable mattress and fluffy pillow however, smelled unfamiliar, felt unfamiliar, and were altogether better than anything he’d ever slept in before. As such, the first thought that ran through Dimitri’s head was that he was not in a familiar place. This was enough to get Dimitri to open his eyes right away. His eyes darted back and forth, without him moving his head at all. As soon as he deemed himself in a generally safe place, he calmly sat up, observing his surroundings with bleary eyes. He yawned, not bothering to cover his mouth, due to the lack of anyone else in clear sight of the premises. The yawn was more than enough to force Dimitri’s eyes wide open once again however. He felt no metal on his face. Or his ears. He slapped a hand onto his face. No metal. He scrambled to extract his other hand from under the sheets and felt around his ears. No metal. He looked down on his person, feeling for his jewelry case. White clothes. A white sleeveless tank made of thin cotton, and a pair of long white pajama pants. Definitely not what he normally wore to bed.

Throwing the sheets off, he spied a white mirror standing in the corner of the room, and rushed over. Ugh. He contorted his face into a disgusted look as he caught sight of his piercing, goggle-free face. It was impossible to see the holes where his earrings should’ve been, unless one really looked closely, but he had the faintest goggle tan on the outer edges of his eyes. Not too strong, due to the fact that he normally rode his skyboard indoors, but regardless… “I look like a goody-two-shoes.” Dimitri announced to himself, pulling the white tee down past his waist, only to have it bounce back up to its regular station at his hips.

He looked around. Well, if everything was this white, at least he knew that everything was clean. Better than he could say for his… now non-existent home. Dimitri let out a strangled cry upon thinking of ‘home’. Where was his skyboard?! He spun around and shuddered with relief when he saw it leaning silently against the windowsill. It looked newly cleaned, waxed, and polished. Maybe it had even been tuned up. Dimitri checked the sides. Even his iron pipes were there. They were clean too. As time passed, Dimitri was getting more and more relaxed. There didn’t seem to be much threat here.

As he stood up, Dimitri calmly checked over his back, and of course, his wings sat quietly where they always were. Or, had recently, always been. Pulling his skyboard onto his back, Dimitri decided that such a chaste room was too boring for his tastes. Poking his head into the hallway, he looked to his left; then to his right. Seeing not a single living person, he proceeded to wander aimlessly down the hallways, ignoring the fact that it probably wasn’t exactly prudent to be wandering around an unfamiliar place after getting forcefully arrested. It was a few exaggerated minutes of aimless adventure before Dimitri’s undeniable record of good luck brought his path right past the living room. He caught a glimpse of Soren’s unmistakable flaring orange hair as he passed, and taking a few steps backwards to peer into the room, smiled brightly at the familiar group. “Well hey everyone! Where we at?” He looked around and also caught sight of Stahn after following Pethalamine’s gaze. His expression changed from cheer to intrigue for a moment before it changed once again, to confusion. “… Is Miki not here yet?”

His question was interrupted as usual however, by the frustrated, distressed shriek of a young woman’s voice as a door slammed open. He distinctly labeled the voice as not Miki’s; he’d already heard her while she was screaming. Speaking of which…

“I DEMAND THAT SOMEONE TELL ME WHERE MY, CONSIDERABLY MORE FASHIONABLE CLOTHES ARE, RIGHT. NOW!!!! ….AND SOMEBODY TELL ME WHERE I AM!”

But apparently whoever was sending shivers down Dimitri’s spine with her shrill voice didn’t really expect an answer, because the door slammed shut again, and all was silent. Which meant that she probably wasn’t storming through the hallways.

Dimitri looked over his shoulder in surprise, sticking a finger in his accessory-free ear.

What the heck?





A few hours earlier:


“… I’m going back up to Tealia….” Came a sleepy drone as a shaggy haired teen stepped out from the basement of a shop lined with paintings.

“Okay, whatever.” The nonchalant reply came from his little sister, obviously a prima donna with irresistibly shimmery black hair that was combed to perfection, and tapered steely orbs for eyes that held a sharp and calculating gaze. Her outfit for the day consisted of a pair of royal purple knee-high socks a pair of ballet-toed four inch high brown heels- patterned with khaki threading through the leather, a gray, royal blue, and tan short-sleeved dress with a matching belt cinching her waist in. Above the belt, the collar was single breasted, open all the way to the last button that sat right above the belt, revealing a pale turquoise lace top underneath. A pair of silver dangling earrings hung from her ears, large metallic circles spinning lazily as she painted her nails a plum pink. Around her neck, a scarf matching her dress in both pattern and fabric. In her hair, a head band, naturally matching. Believe it or not; this wasn’t even the most fashionable ensemble in her closet. Blowing delicately on her nails as she replaced the brush into it’s bottle, the girl who was resemblant of someone walking down the runway peered up at her considerably less put-together brother.

“And I’m stuck here for another week or so, right?” She didn’t give him more than perhaps three seconds of her gaze as she looked back down at her nails, scrutinizing an already near-flawless job.

Jazz pulled some brown paper over his painting-in-progress, waiting until he was finished cleaning up the small area in the shop roped off for his studio before replying, “Yeah… I think so…”

“’Kay.” Natalija replied, turning around in her stool and fixing her head band, the multiple black bracelets of all different designs clacking against each other as she moved her hands, “See you in a week then.”

But it was Natalija’s misfortunate choice to leave the shop unattended and go out shopping for whatever caught her eye that landed her on the streets when the red lights flashed across the sky. Being knocked to her feet was hardly any fun, but being arrested was not apart of Natalija’s plans. She’d resisted quite effectively until someone cheated.

And then she woke up in an unfamiliar place, wearing a disgustingly, hideously, repulsively simplistic nightgown; that was taboo, all white.

Ew much?

Of course, the outfit was the only thing that she was particularly concerned about, as she had no doubts that she could easily bust out of here whenever she liked. She was confident in her skills.

Thus, proceeding with her headstrong ways, and bossy attitude, Natalija threw the door open, and quite frankly, let it all out. She wanted her clothes. She wanted to know where she was. And though she didn’t mention it, they had five minutes before she was going to throw a fit. And when Dation Masters throw fits, they don’t do it quietly.

“Humph!” Natalija stalked across the room, sitting down on the bed. Crossing one leg over the other, folding her arms, and sticking her nose in the air, it was obvious that Natalija was a handful, and most certainly not about to exert herself when she’d been forced here against her will anyway. They brought her here. If they wanted to keep her here, then they would have to come to her. She would not go to them, like a lamb to be herded.

parallelzero
August 23rd, 2008, 08:35 AM
"Miki? Is that her na-"

“I DEMAND THAT SOMEONE TELL ME WHERE MY, CONSIDERABLY MORE FASHIONABLE CLOTHES ARE, RIGHT. NOW!!!! ….AND SOMEBODY TELL ME WHERE I AM!”

Soren sweatdropped. "Remind me to never meet the source of that shriek." He murmured to himself quietly as he considered the point Dimitri brought up. It was true, Miki wasn't there. Nor was that girl he would probably get scrutinized later for saving. Now, the big problem was that they didn't know where they were, or who this was, or what was going to happen next. In fact, as it stood, they were in the worst possible situation imaginable. Left in the dark in an unfamiliar location while presented with an unfamiliar adversary. Well, this man could very well be a friend rather than a foe, but there was an ominous vibe about this man, like he couldn't possibly ever tell the whole truth. Not to mention he looked a few grains short of a sandbox, sitting up on that wooden stage on a wooden chair, sipping tea, while those were the ONLY things on that stage.

The man twiddled with his teacup for a few moments after the yelling came from the upper floor. Was he thinking of what to say, or was he just purposely wasting time? It was hard to tell by the look of concentration on his face. He eventually held the teacup into the air as he was apparently looking at it from a different angle. "Actually, she won't be joining us. In fact, don't count on ever seeing that Semi again. She won't be around much longer anyways." He rotated the teacup, not even making eye contact with the group. Soren raised his right eyebrow. Was he going to kill her? No, by the sound of it, he was in the process of killing her. "Don't look at me like that." Soren snapped out of thought, thinking he was being addressed, but it turned out the man was staring at Saki, who seemed more than aggravated. It was the first time Soren had ever seen her like that. "Patient #394, I'll have you know I'm just taking her apart, not killing her."

The way he addressed her seemed like more than enough to set her off completely, and a chakram flew at the man, only to be caught by the man as it began to hoola-hoop around his raised index finger. "I see you haven't changed, Dr. Evalice, experimenting on whatever- whoever you can get a hold of. Like... my brother and me!" Was this the man who had fused Yuki and Saki's souls? If so, he had to be a genius. Though, according to Saki's claim, he sounded like a mad scientist. "Why didn't you just let me die!? Why did you trap us in this hell of a form you bastard!"

"Your father paid, so I did. And I got valuable research data. It's a little late to be complaining. Besides, the Semi needs to be disposed of somehow, unless you want another Alta incident. Apparently you don't understand why Semi's are killed. They're bad luck, you see. They bring about disaster."

"That can't be her fault, it's impossible for her to have done-" Soren was quickly cut off. Apparently this guy didn't like being interrupted.

"Oh really? My intitial scan of her body found a peculiar device wired to her brain. There's a signal radiating from it, probably relaying information to another source. It's quite possible she didn't cause it directly, and she may not have been aware of the device. Either way, it's too risky to let her loose with that thing still active. The only way to remove it is by force, and that'll kill her."

Something didn't fit here according to Soren. He did a scan of her? Did that mean he scanned them all individually? Who knew what else he could have done to them during this time? "And who the hell would have a reason to destroy a country? It would have to be planned, wouldn't it?" Stahn Evalice didn't answer immediately. He just fiddled with his teacup. "ANSWER ME."

"Okay, fine." The man replied, surprise by the shouting almost leading to the dropping of said cup. "What if I said it wasn't planned? What if I suggested the culprit wasn't a force present on this world?"

"...Are you suggesting aliens are the cause?" Soren sweatdropped. This was probably the farthest answer from what Soren was expecting.

"Not really."

"Then?"

"Who knows?" Soren almost fell over. "Anyways, I need you all to do something for me. I need you to help a friend in Tealia."

"Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. We just want to leave, we're not doing anything for you!" Saki exclaimed in rebuttle. "We just want to go home, nothing else!"

A grin appeared on Stahn's face. An unsettling one. "I can always have you locked up right now for conspiring with the Semi. It wouldn't be too hard considering you were found with her. And Soren, I'm sure you've realized who I am by now. I'm sure you've heard stories. You should know why if you, say, tried to flee after you left, what would happen."

"Stories...? ...? ...ACKSANAKO! That was you? YOU'RE the one with that bizarre training method?" He didn't want to bother explaining it to the rest of the group. It was just... too weird.

Stahn's grin grew larger. "Yup, that's me. And I already took care of injecting you all with a special syrum. So, get defiant, and I'll play a little game with you~"

"What kind of game are you playing, Witch Doctor?" Yuki had found the opportunity to switch with Saki, his wounds finally healed from the night before. He hadn't been following everything completely, but he knew enough.

"The best kind, Mr. Heir. The kind for my own satisfaction. Well, that and Princess Evaline. I owe her a favor. Anyways, maybe I'll take a little something from each of you as insurance. What do you guys value most? Hand it over~" His glare shot at Yuki as he threw a small ball at the boy. A small blast of light shot out of the ball and struck Yuki, and the boy collapsed after having something torn from him. "I usually use this for capturing people's faels, but I guess it works on her too, huh?" He threw the black orb up and down in the air, Saki trapped inside. "Now what about the rest of you? Anything is possible for me, I can assure you."

OOC: Go! SAKI! I CHOOSE YOU! ...Anyways, you can have Stahn take whatever. You know how sick he is. XD

Alter Ego
August 23rd, 2008, 10:09 AM
OOC: Soo...I'm assuming we can do a little character control of Stahn in this instance? 'Cause, you know, Peth is going to be difficult about this one and I don't want to hold the entire show up just for her little temper tantrum. :<

IC:

The scream caught Pethalamine completely off guard, causing her to wince and raise her hands to protect her ears from the brutal onslaught. If there was one thing she hated more than suspense, it was loud noises. Massaging her ears, she couldn't help wondering if this day could possibly get any worse.

This, as it so happened, was precisely the point where the ominous stranger up on the stage finally decided to give his teacup a rest and address them, effectively confirming that the day did indeed have potential to get much, much worse. While most of what was said went completely over her head, the young woman did not fail to notice how effortlessly this stranger had caught a chakram in mid-flight. And if this hadn't been enough, what followed in short order certainly was.

"...I already took care of injecting you all with a special serum."

Pethalamine froze at the words, her hand - which had been discreetly reaching for the gun without her even paying full attention - immediately stopping at her side. So that was why. That was why there had been no bars, no locks, why he had left her without a mahstion suppression bracelet and with the weapon so readily at hand. He had rigged this all up into a system where he couldn't lose, no matter what. The scholar grit her teeth, her hands clenching into fists as an indignant snarl from Serret escaped the private sphere of her own mind and entered the common consciousness. Right now, however, Pethalamine didn't particularly care.

Just like that.

After all these years, after all those long, lonely nights she had laid awake, promising herself over and over that no-one would get to use her ever again, she had been enslaved once again, just like that. Once again, her life was a subject she herself had no say in, and once again, she had been powerless to stop it. All her studies, all her hard work, all of it amounted to nothing! Damn it. Damn it all!

On the outside, Pethalamine looked just plain absent, her head hung slightly and the mass of auburn hair covering it effectively shielding her face from view. She gave no reaction to the little confrontation between Yuki and Stahn, she didn't even look up when Saki's soul was snatched away. Only when the scholar herself was directly addressed did she betray any sign of life.

It was faint at first, a slight heaving of the shoulders, easily mistaken for crying. Only when she finally threw her head up and raised her voice did the sound become clear enough to identify. Laughter. Loud, mocking, near-hysterical laughter that rang back and forth across the room, persistent without containing even a hint of true mirth. The disturbing behavior continued for a few more minutes until Pethalamine finally settled a little, her laughing slowly petering off as she re-organized her hair.

"You find this amusing?"

Despite the fear and sheer desperation still grasping her, Pethalamine met her captor's stare without flinching, "Yes, I do, actually." she replied in just as even a voice as Stahn had used, "Would you like to know why? It's because I just realized that I have nothing you can take." a lightly manic grin spread across her features as she elaborated, "You already took my earthly possessions when you captured us, and that explosion took the last thing resembling family that I had. I can hardly speak of having freedom anymore, and you probably conducted any other indignities I could think of - and more - to me while I was unconscious. To my way of thinking, that leaves me with precisely two things I would attach any kind of value to anymore. My life, and these people here." she nodded towards what little remained of their group, "Regardless of which you try to take, it won't gain you anything. Now, unless you can think up a very convincing reason for me to stay, I'll take my leave of your creepy and mentally deranged company, thank you very much." with that, Pethalamine promptly turned on her heel and marched towards the nearest door with all the dignity that a woman dressed in nothing but a frilly nightgown could muster.

"Did you forget about the serum?" Stahn inquired, his voice still not betraying anything beyond casual interest, "If you walk out of that door, I'll have no choice but to-"

"Make me live the rest of my life as a freak?" Pethalamine interrupted, granting him a last, scornful glance, "In case it somehow escaped your notice, you old pervert, I'm quite used to that. Or perhaps you mean to kill me?" she spat at the floor, offering Stahn her most vicious glare as she hissed, "Go ahead. I'd wager even that beats working for you." with rather more force that what was necessary, Pethalamine yanked the door open, causing it to connect with the wall with a loud slam.

"My, my, what a bother..." Stahn sighed, apparently addressing the teacup, "How about this, then? If you work for me, I will remove something you are not fond of." his glance rose a tad, focusing meaningfully on the makeshift bandage on Pethalamine's arm, "How does that deal sound to you, ms. Ayre?"

Against her better judgment, the young woman paused in the doorframe, "You're saying...you can get rid of them?" she tried another scoff, but it didn't sound quite as convincing as before, "That's impossible."

"Ms. Ayre." the man reiterated, his voice now definitely bearing a tinge of irritation, "I assure you, there are very few things in this field that are impossible to me, as I am sure Patient #394 would happily attest to. I have already taken the liberty of examining your...condition and while I'll admit that it's mildly interesting, it is hardly the incurable disease you make it out to be."

Pethalamine shook her head in disbelief, "So, supposing that you really can do something, then..." she continued softly, "What assurance do I have that you'll stick to your word?"

"None whatsoever." Stahn replied cheerfully, "But supposing you really are at a liberty to choose, what other options do you have?"

The scholar grit her teeth. She should just have walked out through that door, technically she still could, but now both of them knew she wouldn't do it. She had slipped in her words and Stahn had immediately seen right through them. It was true. Pethalamine had always detested her birthmarks above all else, and even in her happiest years she would happily have gambled all she had on a chance, no matter how slim, to get rid of them. She still would. Even if it meant sacrificing her precious freedom, even if she knew that this Stahn was not to be trusted under any circumstances, she just couldn't ignore this.

Hope. Oh, how she hated her own ability to hope at times.

"Alright." she hissed at last, "I'll play your little game for now, Evalice, but I warn you. If I ever get the chance, I will kill you for this."

Still seething with anger, Pethalamine reluctantly shut the door again, stalking over to one of the many armchairs in the room and settling down on it, arms defiantly folded over her chest.

"Let's hear it, then." she barked.

Loki
August 23rd, 2008, 02:44 PM
Dimitri stood idly by the door as Soren and the man on the stage held a conversation that he didn’t really follow very well. Patient #394? They wouldn’t see Miki again? Dimitri didn’t press the subject, since Stahn assured them that she was just being taken apart. Whatever that meant. And he also didn’t press the subject due to the revelation of her having a chip in her head that would cause trouble. Whatever that meant. But Dimitri did know that he didn’t have any interest in someone who would just make his life more complicated than it had somehow already become. Leaning on the wall, Dimitri racked his brain for what a Semi was, but failed to conjur up anything not related to trickboarding. It seemed like a pretty seriously subject, so he wasn’t surprised that he didn’t know about it. Peering around the room, the skyboarder let his attention stray as he spent his time wondering where they were. Were they still in the Underground, or were they Above Ground now? But Stahn caught his attention at once when he announced that he’d already injected something-or-other in all of them. Dimitri took a moment to consider whether he wanted to frown or not, and in the end, failed to move his expression even a millimeter, his eyes now fixed on Stahn, prompting him to continue. But he didn’t even have to think about whether or not he wanted to frown when Stahn demanded something valuable from them. His expression darkened, at the threat of having something as important as maybe, his skyboard, taken from him. It was certainly as if another Dimitri had stepped into the room and taken the place of the first one; a considerably more disagreeable, hostile Dimitri. This guy seriously thought they’d just hand something over? Dimitri’s glare lowered to the black ball in Stahn’s hand before he looked back up, unfaltering. This man was incredibly… arrogant. The perfect example of why Wiz hated above grounders, holding their noses above everyone else.

He stood silently, turning his mistrusting eyes to Pethalamine as she spoke up, though he failed to pay any more attention to this conversation than the one before. He wanted to know what would happen if he just stuck with whatever would happen to him if he didn’t comply, before making his choice. But just in case, Dimitri sifted through his memories to try to find something of importance to him. Not his skyboard. He would rather die than give that up. His earrings…? They didn’t really have any sentimental value, but it was always worth a shot. Just fabricate lies about them, so that they seemed more important than they were? Folding his arms, Dimitri closed his eyes to think, an ugly look still on his features. Ugh, something that would be convincingly valuable…. His eyelids opened when Pethalamine’s conversation seemed nearly over. It was probably Dimitri’s turn, soon enough.

“I’m under the impression that we’ll be getting whatever it is we give you back,” Dimitri’s chilly voice spoke up, “After we’ve completed whatever favor you did such a poor job of asked for.” He pushed himself off the wall and slid his skyboard off his shoulder, laying it on the floor carelessly, “Are my wings of enough value for you?” Dimitri glanced around the ridiculously huge room that was just one of many in this equally ridiculously huge house, “I mean, if you keep them for me while we’re down in the Underground, that turns this troublesome scenario into a mutually profitable thing. They fetch a fair price on the market, if that helps.” Dimitri hitched up a charming smile, despite his misgivings. He didn’t need the wings anymore, he reasoned; His home in Alta was gone, as was the rink. There was no reason to go Above ground anymore.

Though Dimitri was completely willing to get rid of the wings to make movement in the Underground less obnoxiously obvious, it wasn’t a well-thought out offer. If he’d kept up with current events, he’d know that at the mention of Princess Evaline, there would be something to be done Above Ground, where wings were most essential. And if Dimitri had thought it through, he’d remember that the wings were a direct gift from his most important person. But at this time, any thoughts of that person had flown out of Dimitri’s consideration. It was contradictory, that he was the most important person to Dimitri, but Dimitri rarely thought of him, but it was true nonetheless. It was only for a fleeting moment when his residence for the past three years had been annihilated did Dimitri consider his instructor, and by now, the man who was gone more than he was around, had disappeared yet again.

“That’s fine.” Stahn’s uninterested voice answered.

And now presented to Dimitri was the problem of taking out his wings. A problem that Stahn alleviated quite easily. “You can feel the prongs that keep it in place in your back, right? Just think about moving them out. Like if you were moving your arm or something.”

Pain shocked Dimitri for a moment before a heavy clatter of metal fell onto the floor. He turned around and looked at the wings on the floor ruefully. He bent over to pick it up, but an even longer, sharp stab ran up and down his back, as if someone had stabbed him multiple times. He uttered no sound, only moving his lips to shape out a string of curse words. He knew that it was just pain and not an actual fatal wound, so making a scene wasn’t really in his list of things to do. But he still found himself somewhat crippled. Removing something that had been embedded in his spine so quickly, and then moving so freely afterwards…. Probably not the best thing to ameliorate the condition of the holes in his back where the wings had been firmly rooted for so long, was what Dimitri considered to himself as he felt something sticky slide down his back. He was bleeding more often than he liked. Which reminded him, his ear seemed to be completely healed now…?

Again, a scream interrupted any thoughts running through his head.

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

“LET GO OF ME!!” Natalija shrieked as furiously as she could while her captor forcefully dragged her down the halls. The petite kidnapped girl was kicking her legs in stubborn protest while desperately trying to pry the mahstion bracelet off of her wrist, “LETGOLETGOLETGO, YOU UGLY-PURPLE HAIRED FASHION-FAUX-PAS! AHHHHH!!!!! STAY AT LEAST TEN FEET AWAY FROM ME YOU- EEEEEK, JUST GET AWAY FROM MEEEEEEE!!!!”

The routine continued all the way to the living room, Tsukasa, the ‘kidnapper’, ignoring her to the fullest as he dragged her across the house. Without her mahstion, she seemed to be no threat at all, her fists that pounded on Tsukasa’s grasp only doing so much as maybe giving an intentional massage to his arms. What an amazing lack of upper body strength…

“I DEMAND THAT YOU STOP-RIGHT-NO- Iiee!!!” Natalija landed butt first after Tsukasa threw her into the room. Huffing in indignance, Natalija quickly sat up properly, pushing her somewhat disheveled hair back from her face before letting it fall back in place; perfect, flawless as ever. She looked around, as though daring anyone to say anything. She stood up, smoothing her hair and patting her somewhat flushed cheeks. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she folded her arms, throwing an aggravated glare across the party in the room before catching sight of Stahn on the stage, the only one not dressed entirely in white. (Though the guy who was bleeding from his back next to the door had some red on his clothes now, that didn’t concern Natalija in the least.) She stared at Stahn, the obvious ringmaster, for a moment before her thin patience stretched itself to its limit of eight seconds. Her adamant gray orbs fired up again. She would’ve very much liked to furrow her brow in fury, but that would cause wrinkles; as such, she settled for an imperious look, doing her best to look dignified now that she was in the company of more than one person, “…Well?? What is it you want from me that is so important that you had to arrest me in the middle of painting my nails? I only got the first coat done, for your information.”

parallelzero
August 25th, 2008, 10:38 AM
Soren watched as everything was taken, curious about what the heck he could give up. Pethalamine came first, and after a bit of talking back and forth, they settled on Stahn removing something from her. Whatever this something was, he had no clue. "Don't listen to him. That man... he twists his words. He won't give you what he promises!" Yuki attempted to interject in Pethalamine's decision, perhaps the first non-insulting thing he had said that day. The boy was still on his knees, apparently exhausted and infuriated from having his sister torn from him. But, it wasn't like they were being given the choice to say 'no' here. Dimitri came next, and with it the revelation that he was an Underneather. Soren scoffed, partially because he had been lying about his identity the whole time, but mostly because he disliked Underneathers from his experiences with them, and kind of because he had a bad vibe about the guy all along. The process involved in removing those fake wings looked... excruciatingly painful, however, not as painful as, say, having REAL wings pulled from your flesh. But, in the end, that left him as the only one present to have something taken from him.

"Hm... you don't appear to have anything of worth, do you?" Soren's eye twitched as Stahn addressed him. Nothing of worth? Was he being insulted? "In fact, you look quite worthless. I could take your hoop, but you'll need to be able to defend yourself for this mission. Hm... what to do with someone so worthless..." Every time he said the word 'worthless', Soren felt like he was having an arrow thrust throw his heart. Did he really have nothing to give? Well, he was broke, he was unemployed, he was kicked out of his house... Okay, maybe he was a little worthless, but still...


“I DEMAND THAT YOU STOP-RIGHT-NO- Iiee!!!” Once again, the shrieking of that girl who shrieked earlier echoed in the room. This time, however, it was in a much closer proximity as she was basically thrown in the room. “…Well?? What is it you want from me that is so important that you had to arrest me in the middle of painting my nails? I only got the first coat done, for your information.” Soren's eye twitched in irritation, while Yuki seemed to disregard her presence entirely. Soren was typically obedient to women, as that had been the way he'd been raised. But that girl... no way would he listen to that type of girl, with a container of make up shoved so far up her ass that... nevermind.

"..." Stahn paused as Natalija made her less than quiet and peaceful entrance. It actually felt like the room more or less became a graveyard, as it fell into utter silence without the ever talking Stahn to continue to speak. "Okay, for you two," he took a moment to point at both Soren and the girl, "Soren T. Florence and Natalija Dagnija-Nikolajs," the boy couldn't help but wonder what the hell kind of name that was, "As your payments, you'll be forced to stay within two meters of each other at all times. If you stray from those two meters for more than five seconds at a time, then... let's just say you'll be getting familiar with the values of one another really quickly. Yes... a street boy and a pretty little girl... This will be an interesting social experiment..."

"SOCIAL EXPERIMENT?" Soren barked, definitely unhappy with his assignment. He'd much rather have like... a leg taken or something. "I thought you were supposed to take something of value!"

"You value your dignity, don't you? Or what little you have of it, anyways." Arrow to the heart. Stahn spun the teacup around on the tip of his finger. " 3... 2..." Soren was quick to jump beside Natalija in fear of what he meant by 'getting familiar with the values of each other'. "Anyways, you have until tomorrow to get ready. You can stay here tonight, and your normal clothes should be in your rooms now. I'll have Mr. Florence's items transferred to Ms. Nikolajs' room."

Loki
August 25th, 2008, 04:15 PM
Natalija stood dumbfounded, trying to decide whether she wanted to believe what this whacked out man was saying, or to simply disregard it because that unfashionable guy was standing in her personal space. Eyeing him over once, she decided that she didn't want to risk it; no matter what. Natalija folded her arms, unusually silent as she processed the information. If she chose to believe this man, then she'd have an annoying shadow following her around everywhere. But this man seemed capable of things that she didn't really want to press further on for details. Her contemptuous eyes spared only a slightest second for Dimitri, who was trying to mop up some blood. She let her gaze linger a little longer on the wings on the floor, which had reverted to a metallic, skeletal look. Artificial wings. Natalija proceeded to look at Yuki, on the floor. Nothing of interested. She completely skipped over Pethalamine. The little glance she'd gotten at Pethalamine? Made her sick to her stomach. She was so out of fashion, it was to the point where even Natalija, in all her prideful snobbishness, was embarrassed. For the girl, not herself. Natalija jut her hip out to the side, sticking her nose in the air in the direction opposite Soren. “As long as he doesn’t get in my way, I don’t really care. But F.Y.I.,” Natalija held up a hand, as though trying to block out the view of Soren as she turned back to address Stahn, “He sleeps on the floor. Unless you’re so kind as to bring an extra bed for him, because I am not sleeping in the same bed as last week’s social disaster. Oh and, um.” Natalija swirled her index finger through the air at Soren, though continued to fail to even glance at him, “We’re going to have to do something about those clothes. Dressed like that, you don’t even look like one of the dog- oh, excuse me, boys in the neighborhood-“

Natalija paused, before letting out an irritated sigh, “Nevermind, nevermind.”

Dimitri groaned, rolling his eyes. For once, he agreed with Soren on something. This girl wasn’t just high-maintenance. She was like… indescribable. Rude in every sense, yet she seemed so oblivious to that fact. And honestly, Dimitri had never in his entire life met such a… prima donna. It was mildly interesting for him, though he knew he never wanted to go through the experience again.

“Um,” Dimitri spoke up, trying to motion to his back which was still bleeding. Natalija quickly interjected however, giving him no time to bring attention to his little situation.

“So since I’ve technically agreed to do your dirty work or whatever we’re here for,” Natalija spat out the words as crudely as she could, “You can have this back.” She stuck her wrist out, a mahstion bracelet dangling off of the slender joint, “It clashes with this unflattering night-dress, and I can't get my clothes for tomorrow if I'm wearing this." Natalija let her eyes fix onto the door out while she waved an index finger to Soren again, "And as for you, Mister Orangutan- excuse me, Mister Florence, we're going back to my room soon enough, and of course, you're coming with, thanks to this two meter business. By the way, one meter is my personal space bubble; please stay out of it."

Alter Ego
August 26th, 2008, 12:55 AM
Pethalamine had half a mind to reply to Yuki's warning, to give some kind of explanation for the behavior she herself didn't even understand, but before she had time to even begin, a new stranger was tossed into the room, immediately drawing all attention onto herself and just refusing to let any of it go.

As Natalija's tirade drew on and on, Pethalamine's eyebrow twitched, thoughts of scratching and barking, which - she was quite sure - had not been conceived in her mind persistently assailing her thoughts. For once, it seemed, both reila and faels were in complete agreement: this obnoxious woman with her ridiculous clown mask of make-up, her ear-rending voice, and insufferable holier-than-thou manner was nothing you wanted to stay in close proximity to if you could mortally avoid it. The scholar had gotten herself quite a good scope of looks during her time at the circus, ranging from awe and adoration to fear, hatred, disgust, and even pity, and the fleeting one this particular individual had thrown her was definitely not appreciated. Even as Natalija's rant continued unabated, Pethalamine abruptly rose to her feet, forcing her hands away from any thoughts of clenching.

"Dimitri." she said, seizing on the best excuse available to get away from this person, "We can't have you bleeding like that. Come on, I'll bandage that for you." with that, she promptly snatched the male and began hand-walking him - and herself - away from the wicked little witch occupying the room as fast as was possible without giving a too obvious impression of escape, "If you'll excuse us, then?" she offered a nod and a brief bob of a curtsy to the others before duly ushering the skyboarder ahead of her and out of the door, taking care to shut it properly behind her.

"Right." Pethalamine said, heaving quite an obvious sigh of relief at being in a different room than Natalija, "I'm pretty sure there was a medicine cabinet in my room." 'which had better be in a completely different direction than that witch's' her mind added, "It's not that far away, so just follow me, alright?"

parallelzero
August 28th, 2008, 07:37 AM
OOC: Quick post so it doesn't look like I'm completely shafting the RP for Tales of Vesperia time. XD Also, I start school next Tuesday so I won't be able to post until the nights (or whatever my night is for AE, XD).

IC:

Yuki took more than a minute to gather his thoughts. Saki was gone, and without her or a fael, his mind was quite empty, bleak, dark. He hated the dark. He was afraid of the dark. No, he needed to be with people for there to be some kind of light, or else he wouldn't be able to go on! As he skimmed his alternatives to fill his void, his right hand came up to his chest where blood was starting to stain the white clothing and roll down his stomach. Saki's lionus had been holding the wound closed thus far, but after being forcefully removed, her grip broke. Who would be most useful in a situation like this? Basically he had two choices. He could tag along with Soren and Natalija, but from the sounds of things, he didn't want to be anywhere near them. Especially if they broke the 3 meter limit - and he was almost certain is would inevitably happen if they were driven into combat. The mightier-than-thou brat looked a lot less athletic than Soren, so she'd probably end up left behind. That left Dimitri and Pethalamine as his other option, and he even overheard them talking about a medicine cabinet. He had an excuse to go with them! "Er... I'm coming along with you two, if that's alright." Yuki uncharacteristically approached the Underneather and the girl he could only label as the better of two female evils in the group right now. "There wasn't a medicine cabinet in my room, and my wound has opened..." He felt pathetic. Did he really need people at his side that bad?

Soren, on the other hand, was more than willing to get rid of a certain person at his side. It had only been a few moments since Stahn's announcement about their situation, and he had already counted a number of seven slaps that he wanted to give her. Most girls he would listen to without a second though, but this girl was all kinds of obnoxious. He was almost at the point of stepping outside the three meters and going, 'Here, see what it's like to be a dog'. But he wouldn't, because there was no way he wanted to be a prissy stuck up little brat like she was. Stahn, on the other hand, seemed to find this entire situation humorous. Though, by the stories Soren had heard, he wasn't surprised. "I'll see to it that the bed is large enough to fit you both." As if he was being completely ignorant to the fact that she was stating otherwise. "And before I forget, you can't cheat by leaving him on one end of a door. If a door or wall is obstructing your three meters, I'll consider it punishment time." Soren's head hung even farther down. He had to have absolutely the worst price ever. "Now, now, scat, go get dressed and whatever." Dressed? Right. Didn't that mean they had to get changed in each others presence?

"Whatever, I don't want to be doing this anymore than you do, Princess, but let's just co-operate for now. I have no intention of finding out what this 'punishment' is."

Loki
August 28th, 2008, 02:53 PM
Dimitri sweatdropped, somewhat intrigued at how in one fell swoop, that girl had managed to send everyone in the room skyrocketing with frustration and annoyance. "Sure thing. Oh, and thank you." He replied, obediently following Pethalamine. He didn't mention anything about his sudden switch from Alta-citizen to Underneather. It was so automatic for him to just take off the wings that he didn't think twice of it. It was almost as if he'd never even been wearing the wings in the first place. He looked over his shoulder in surprise when Yuki announced that he would be coming as well, but his face stiffened as he gingerly turned back into a normal standing position; the stance that sent the least arcing jolts of sore aches up his back. He turned slowly and gave Yuki a thumbs up. The guy had just lost his fael, probably wasn’t feeling too hot. Though Dimitri wasn’t too sure if he’d miss Uno or Une. “Sure it’s alright! Um, well…” Dimitri glanced at Pethalamine who had been the person who’d originally extended the offer, being sure to keep up with her as he addressed Yuki at the same time. “It’s alright with me, anyway…”

In the meantime, Natalija’s beautiful face (that was ruined by her hideous personality) formed a delicate frown as she glanced down at the unremoved mahstion bracelet. “… Perhaps another time. I want to get changed.” She stood stock still for another moment, a look of slight discomfort moving her eyes across the floor. Natalija wasn’t wearing gloves, so she didn’t want to drag Soren along with her bare hands; but she also didn’t want to risk Soren having slow reflexes, and her speed walking becoming a bad combo and making them lose before even ten minutes were over. She glanced at Soren as quickly as she could to ascertain where his limb was, and grabbed his arm, immediately pulling him out of the room. Sure she had no upper body strength, but when it came to herding people around, she got an extra strength bonus from her bossiness. “I walk fast, so I expect you to keep up with me.” She spoke calmly, not particularly discouraged by Stahn’s punishment; yet. “I assure you that I’m not interested in looking at what I’m sure are toned abs while you’re changing or showering or whatever, and the reason why I wanted separate beds, amongst other more important reasons, is because I’m not exactly the most peaceful sleeper.” Natalija stopped her tirade and fast paced stalk for a moment, sighing in a dejected way. “I can’t seem to find a way to train myself not to move while I’m sleeping. Maybe I should’ve…” She trailed off, thinking of various ways to add yet another ‘perfect’ thing to her list.

“Well anyway.” Natalija looked up, shaking the thoughts from her mind. There was no one in the halls, so thankfully for Pethalamine, Natalija’s room did seem to be in a different direction. “Since we have to be so close to each other, I think I should tell you a few things about myself first. One, if you can’t tell already, I’m not exactly very athletic. I can probably keep up with you, even in heels, but I don’t do marathons or sprints, just so you know. Two, my name is Natalija Dagnija-Nikolajs if you didn’t catch it earlier. Dagnija is my mother’s maiden name, and Nikolaj’s is my father’s last name, if you’re wondering why it’s mashed together. I use it like this to differentiate myself from my other relatives.” ‘Other Relatives’ came out in a low hostile hiss, but her voice quickly returned to normal when she wrenched the door to her room open. “And three, if you want to go anywhere, tell me first, because I’m not used to paying attention to what other people are doing, so I won’t have good reflexes if you suddenly go somewhere. Ah, four, I’m not good at talking to people, so if you want to tell me a little about yourself, go for it; but hopefully we can be strangers after this conversation.”

She peered around the room and clapped her hands together, taking a step towards the bed where her lovely outfit was waiting. She paused however, looking down at Soren’s feet and using her fingers to roughly measure the distance from the door to the bed. It was more than enough. Natalija skipped over to her dress like a little girl and her eyes sparkled at the clothes like a little girl looking at a handmade doll set. “I feel blessed to have a fashion sense better than whoever picked out this sorry-excuse for a nightgown!”

Natalija retracted her arms from the sleeves of the white night dress, saying as she proceeded to pull off the garment. As if she cared what the geek in the doorway thought of her. Besides, Natalija was confident that even if she was lacking in certain areas, she had nothing much to be ashamed of. Modesty was most certainly in Natalija’s dictionary, but it didn’t really apply to someone whom she’d be stuck spending too much time with for awhile now anyway. Tugging the pale turquoise-green camisole over her torso and pulling it to its full extent just above her belly button, Natalija spoke once again as she pulled the dress up to her waist and put her arms through the short sleeves, reaching behind her an managing to zip the back of the dress halfway up before she pouted in disappointment.

“Will you help me zip this up Soren? I can’t do it myself, no thanks to this bracelet.” The obvious change from ‘Mr. Orangutan’ to ‘Soren’ was probably not something completely noticeable, but for anyone paying attention to Natalija’s disposition, it was obvious that it was her little way of saying ‘Please’ without actually saying it. It seemed that even through all her stuffy pride, if it meant getting a garment on properly, she wasn't about to get picky about who it was that was... well, being requested to help out. Even through all this however, Natalija didn't bother to wait for a reply, picking up a wad of fabric and turning it over in her hand while standing expectantly for some assistance. Mumbling to herself, “Hm, I wonder if my scarf is in the bathroom…” she sifted through the pile of accessories in her hand and uttered a pleased “Oh!” when she separated a scarf from the headband.

Alter Ego
August 29th, 2008, 12:57 AM
At first, Pethalamine didn't respond one way or the other to Yuki's surprise request, not even stopping until she had reached the door to her room. She had actually been hoping to question Dimitri about the situation with his wings, perhaps even managing to justify her own conspicuous lack thereof, but with this third wheel added to the equation that would be...troublesome to say the least. Her initial instinct was to just keep on walking and ignore the prat, but...Yuki really was a mess right now. And not just in the physical sense of the word. He...had just had his sister taken hostage, hadn't he? As much as the scholar would have wanted to just give mr.'individual-survival' a taste of his own medicine, she just didn't have the heart for it. Yuki was a jerk, yes, but Yuki was also bleeding quite badly, and in a quite unstable mental state too, by the looks of it. A few years ago, that wouldn't even have earned a raised eyebrow from Pethalamine, but...

"Oh, alright then." she conceded at last, inwardly cursing herself for having picked up on her foster mother's good Samaritan habits as she promptly wrenched the door open. She could still convince herself that she didn't care about this arrogant boy, but that didn't mean she could just leave him in the hallway to bleed. Faewyn would not have stood for it, and hers was a memory Pethalamine wanted to cherish, "Both of you, in." she gave an authoritative nod in the direction of the doorway.

It was not until she herself had stepped into the room that the whole weirdness of the situation fully stuck Pethalamine. Here she was, clad in nothing but a nightgown, escorting two near-stranger men into her bedroom. She could only imagine what conclusions an outsider would have drawn from all of this.

No, she told herself sternly, promptly shoving any beginnings of embarrassment out of her mind, this was neither the time nor the place for bashfulness. All she had to do was keep it strictly business and there would be nothing to be embarrassed about.

"Right." she said briskly, appearing to address the medicine cabinet she was currently pillaging for bandages and anti-septic, "Shirts off, both of you. I need to see what I'm treating. And Dimitri?" she cast a half-glance in the skyboarder's direction, "Lie down on your stomach, if you please; that should keep your wound from bleeding too much." the young woman turned back to her search, an expression of mild annoyance on her face, "Why are there no anti-bacterial wipes here?" she huffed, promptly turning on her heels and depositing her findings on the bedside, "I'm going to go see if there's something I can use in the bathroom. Excuse me for a moment."

parallelzero
August 30th, 2008, 09:12 AM
"I have to walk faster to keep up with you, and I have to pace myself for you in all aspects of combat as well." Soren sighed. This was going to be a little more than challenging to survive the next little while without breaching three meters. Challenging indeed. The halls indeed did look all the same as they walked through, or rather he was dragged through. It was a wonder she knew where she was going. Half of the time he was watching and listen to Natalija, however. He needed to examine her personality so he didn't end up setting her off again. He perked up when she mentioned her unruly sleeping habits, which got a chuckle out of the boy. "You know, I've been sleeping outside on the ground for the few years of my life. Well, at least ever since my parents decided I was too expensive for them. If we don't get separate beds, and it doesn't sound like that bastard will be giving them to us, I can stand a few kicks. Better than being chewed on by bugs and large furry animals... and beaten by the occasional drunk." Ah, life experiences better off forgotten.

After finishing her self introduction, Natalija opened the door to her room. Soren was quick to spot his things lying on the floor in a corner, his hoop included. It must have been in his room before, he had just missed it. When she mentioned the fact that hopefully they could be strangers when the whole ordeal was over, Soren couldn't help but nod. However, he had a sinking feeling that he'd be seeing this girl even after Stahn's little game. She began to approach the bed, and Soren caught a glimpse of hearing watching the distance. Good. At least she was paying attention. "My name is Soren T. Florence. The T. stands for Terrance, but Soren Terrance Florence doesn't have even the slightest ring to it. Um..." He was trying to think up something interesting to say, but to be quite honest he didn't lead a very interesting life. "I'm a dation user, myself, and a wield that metallic hoop over there in the corner. I was born in Azern... though I suppose Alta crushed Azern, and I was raised in Carn. My parents kicked me out of the house when they became unable to support me."

Natalija eventually began to undress, but she did so without mentioning it and he ended up getting a quick glimpse of her pulling off the night gown before he quickly spun around, not intending to see anymore. Oh, sure, he had seen girls naked before, but fear of being smacked around was a powerful thing. She eventually beckoned him over to zip up her outfit, and he did so as a favor - god forbid he'd need one from her at some point. He couldn't help but stare dumbfoundedly at what she was wearing. "You know... battle might not be as difficult if you wore something a little more... suited for the occasion. Sure, it looks nice," And he had to admit, she was kind of cute in it. Not REALLY cute! Just kinda... "But I can't imagine it gives you much flexibility." He began to count distance as he wandered over to his pile of clothing, and made haste to pull down the pair of white bed pants and slip on a pair of red boxers while Natalija was - hopefully - not looking. He proceeded to pull up his tight black jeans, in which every little tear was still in tact. White socks went on next, followed by his skate shoes. He was a bit slower with changing his shirt, as he had no modesty in regards to whether she saw his upper body. His black shirt came on as per usual , the red grungey X as apparent on the front of his shirt as it always had been. Finally his necklace went around his neck, the cross on the end dangling down in front of his chest.

"Now I have a favor I want to ask of you." Soren murmured as he took a seat on the bed. "Cut the ponytail off of the back of my head, would ya? I can't do it by myself since I can't see back there, and I bet it's bugging you really bad."

---

Yuki was cooperative with Pethalamine's order, and swiftly took off his shirt. He was only fifteen, so he didn't really care. But he didn't speak, but rather stared at the wound on the right side of his chest, which was still bleeding. He was a little out of it still, and seriously needed to be snapped back to reality at some point.

Alter Ego
August 30th, 2008, 09:45 AM
"Nothing usable except the towels, huh?"

Pethalamine cast a disapproving glance at the contents of the bathroom. For all his flamboyance and would-be omnipotence, this Ivalice person's idea of what constituted proper medical supplies was lacking at best. The scholar might not have been a doctor, but even she could tell that this setup was pitiful at best. Muttering quiet curses at her captors' incompetence, the young woman duly soaked a set of bandages in anti-septic, carefully balancing them on one arm while the other held a set of water-soaked towels.

When she finally nudged the bathroom door, open again, Pethalamine briefly paused, still unprepared to face the sight of Yuki's bare back and - specifically - the hole in it. Judging by the fact that blood was dripping out from the front, she supposed it was reasonable to assume that the wound went straight through, but to be honest, she prefered not to think too much about that.

"Well." she said at last, half to just catch someone's attention and counteract the awkwardness of the situation, half to snap herself out from staring at the wound, "It looks like I'll have to start with Yuki's wound, since it's gone all the way through." freeing one hand from its load, Pethalamine snapped her fingers, the coil of dation that this simple action spawned bearing a striking resemblance to a snake as it wrapped itself around the boy's chest, forming a makeshift bandage to keep the blood from pouring out, "Dimitri, please make yourself as comfortable as you can and don't try to move around too much, alright?"

Grabbing one of the previously wet towels, Pethalamine then set to work with cleaning up the plentiful supply of crusted blood that had formed around the wound. Clean the wound first, that was basic. Not only did it counteract bacterial infection, it was also the only way to form any kind of accurate assessment of the wound.

"Say, Yuki." the scholar added as she moved on to repeat the process with the wound on the front side, "You know this Stahn character, right? Why...that is, do you have any idea what he could be up to?" it was an awkward attempt at a save and she could hear it, but given the boy's defensive attitude, Pethalamine was quite sure that bluntly asking him about his relation to this psycho doctor probably wouldn't go to well, "Your wound is pretty neat, by the way." she added in an off-hand kind of way, "You're lucky; that spear could easily have punctured a lung or other important organ, but it looks like it went straight past them. Lionus would help, but I think...I think if you just keep it bandaged and clean, it should heal without any bigger complications."

Loki
August 30th, 2008, 10:34 AM
As Soren spoke, Natalija continued to dress, sliding black beaded bracelets onto her wrist as she nonchalantly replied to his opinion on her clothes, "I'm not the kind of person who ends up getting in fights every other day." She pointedly smoothed the skirt of her dress before tying her scarf around her neck. She was silent for a moment as she delicately ran her fingers through her hair, preparing to put the headband on. The silence was a signal that she was comprehending what Soren had said. A dation user, but that particular bit didn't interest her much. Other dation users were always inferior to her skills anyway. She was somewhat curious as to how he could fight with something that looked like a child’s toy, but she didn’t press the subject. “And besides, that’s the reason I wanted this mahstion bracelet off. I have clothes at home that are more suited for doing things other than sitting around and looking pretty in Jazz’s shop, but I wasn’t exactly expecting to get abducted today.” Natalija didn’t once turn around while Soren was getting dressed, because for one, just by looking at his figure through the hideous pajama’s he’d been wearing earlier, it wasn’t really something that she’d be interested in, and for two, she was too busy fretting over the headband in her hair. After securing the knots on her scarf and hairpiece, she was midway through pulling on the pair of black gloves that she brought and wore everywhere. Except when she’d been painting her nails, earlier, but really. She was halfway through pulling her long purple sock up to her knees, to match the other one when Soren addressed her again.

"Now I have a favor I want to ask of you."

Natalija looked over at Soren out of the corner of her eye while continuing to pull her socks tight across her shins, making no other indication that she’d heard him. "Cut the ponytail off of the back of my head, would ya? I can't do it by myself since I can't see back there, and I bet it's bugging you really bad."

She immediately stood up, staring at him with wide eyes and a shocked expression. It wasn’t a quick glance like before, but instead, a full five seconds of trying to register what he was mentioning before she covered the lower portion of her face to hide the estatic grin across her face. If it had been any other favor, she probably would’ve refused without a second thought, but that hideous, overgrown rattail- gone! Oh she liked Soren better already, if not in personality, at least in the all-important appearance. Natalija was about to gush out her approval before catching herself. Close call. It was so terribly uncharacteristic of her to be so excited over anything regarding another person other than her brother or herself, that she was sure she didn’t want to give this near stranger the honor of Clearing her throat and piling up her dignity again, she replied calmly, “Sure. And it wasn’t bugging me much, I didn’t see it before now, but I’m glad you want to get rid of it.” Clearing her throat in the feminine way she always did it, Natalija pat her hair down as if it would help calm her. She chastised herself for being so easily pleased so early on in this game, feeling as though she’d lost and quickly building up her rude discrepancies once again. Not bothering to put on her heels for the time being, Natalija wandered around the room within her three meter distance, sifting through the drawers of a desk for a pair of scissors. In the left drawer was a neat stationary set, and Natalija extracted a pair of scissors with a serene smile of satisfaction on her face that quickly disappeared when she turned around.

“Hmmm…” She mumbled, tapping a gloved finger against what was once perfectly glossed lips. First things first, Natalija plopped down behind Soren, being sure to sit with her legs to the right, properly held together at the ankles as she looked at his hair from the left and right. She shoved the thought of the terrible color it was, before pulling the tie out, pressing the side of the cold metal scissors against her cheek lightly as she thought of what to do. “I’m not going to do anything complicated.” She announced, getting onto her knees so that she was a little taller than Soren- who was too tall for her, even when sitting. Starting from the right, Natalija was sure of her own skills with scissors. After all, she refused to let anyone but her bring something to her hair, and she had to keep her hair styled as well. She left it somewhat long, heavily layered, and shaggy, not bothering to catch his hair on anything like a towel. She would pick up the strands later. Sliding off the bed and moving around so that she could see Soren from the front, Natalija cut a barely visible speck of hair off of one strand on the left of his face. “Perfect.” Natalija let a smug, self-satisfied smile cross her face, though she was actually happier about the fact that the guy who would be following her about everywhere looked so much more presentable.

“I want to see if that irritable old man put my cosmetics in the bathroom, so come and take a look while I’m at it.” Natalija commanded, walking over to the bathroom without waiting for him.

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


Dimitri looked unsure when Pethalamine told him to lay flat on the bed, having had no problems with pulling his shirt off due to his complete lack of bad intentions. He eventually did, but propped his head up with his hand, glancing over at Yuki. He looked like his mind was somewhere out in space. Dimitri found himself without words, not really knowing what to say to Yuki and wishing that Pethalamine was still in the room. Dimitri tried to push aside any annoyances the boy had inflicted earlier, but now that he didn’t have his fael who was considerably more agreeable, Dimitri found it was harder to be quite as forgiving. His wish was granted however, when Pethalamine entered the room, and he relaxed, letting his face fall into the pillow it had been hovering above. Thank goodness. He was interested in the subject that Pethalamine had brought up however, and so while keeping his torso still, he turned his face to look at the two, giving his attention to the conversation.

parallelzero
August 31st, 2008, 08:39 AM
"Stahn Evalice is a scientist of the highest caliber. There isn't a soul in the scientific field that doesn't know his name. But, he's known for his bizarre experiments and experimentation on the human body." Yuki began his explanation. He wasn't particularly interested in bringing up his past experiences with that man, but given the circumstances it was probably best he gave his point of view while he was being treated. These people would be the ones he had to cooperate with in order to save Saki, so there was no harm in it, right? "He's also known for his revolutionary skills in the medical field." This would be hard to explain without giving them the full story, so he resolved to at list give them a gist of the situation. "When Saki and I were kids, we were kidnapped and put up for ransom. We were scared, hungry, and almost dead after an unprecedented amount of time passed in that dirty, cold, old building. So we devised an escape plan. Unfortunately, we were chased to the roof of the building, where I accidentally made a wrong step and fell off the building. In a panic... I grabbed by twin sister and pulled her down with me." Why was he forcing himself to remember this? "Saki died that day, and it was my fault. But... but that bastard placed her soul in me so that she could live. Ever since then she's been suffering, trying to do what she could for me because she feels she owes me a great debt for hosting her. That man... he committed the sin of reviving the dead. I will get him for it someday." And, he fell silent again.

---

"Why ARE you wearing a mahstion bracelet anyways?" Soren inquired, thinking of a few possible reasons as she did the favor he requested. He wasn't wearing one. He wanted to ask who this 'Jazz' person was, but he didn't want to pry too hard into her life in fear of having his hand bitten off or something. She proceeded to cut his hair, and he had to admit that the result wasn't half bad. At least, it didn't seem that way from the mirror in the bathroom. He would have just chopped it off and settled with that, really. He thought back to her comment about the bracelet, and took her hand suddenly, obviously invading her personal space as dation snaked up her arm and enveloped the bracelet, only to fade into nothingness. "Hm... like I thought. These things don't neutralize all mahstion, just the mahstion of the person wearing it... anyways, there ya go." He considered offering an apology for grabbing her, but getting rid of that bracelet was more than enough.

Loki
August 31st, 2008, 10:35 AM
Natalija frowned as she peered through the drawers. No make-up in sight. She at the very least wanted to clean off what was already on her face. After all, sleeping with make-up on was never good for your skin. She finally put her hands on the edge of the sink, scrutinizing the faded gray eyeshadow. She ignored Soren’s question since he had no need to know, and also because her make-up was more important at the moment. What really clinched her attention however was when Soren grabbed her. Natalija was just about ready to let out another ear-splitting shriek, but she ever so slightly relaxed her tense body when she noticed he’d grabbed her hand- which was thankfully still gloved. Her eyes were still wide and trained upon his hand though, her hand trembling as she resisted the urge to rip her hand out of his. She squeezed her eyes shut when unfamiliar Dation slithered up her arm and… Natalija peeked one eye open, before turning to look at her bare wrist incredulously. She had to fight another smile, pleased at the fact that the bracelet was gone, but irritated at the fact that she even had any inclination to act like a little girl getting her first pony.

Almost at once, a white rabbit like creature hopped onto Natalija’s shoulder, its small paws hanging on while the rest of its somewhat chubby body hung limply behind her. It’s pink, wide eyes stared curiously at Soren, before a black version of the white one popped up on his shoulder. This one however, was not quite so stationary as the white one, running around his neck and poking its head down his shirt, snaking around him all the way to his feet and finally crawling back up his shirt to pat its paws on Soren’s cheeks before falling back to the ground.

“Tag!” An ethereal voice giggled, the white creature suppressing silent laughter.

“He seems okay.” Another, deeper voice interjected, the black one sitting upon the ground and peering up at Soren while its delicate tail swished back and forth.

Natalija folded her arms, a look of extreme displeasure crossing her face as the two creatures watched her carefully. “Nobody said…” Natalija grabbed the creatures by the backs of their necks, “That you could come out!!” She yelled, a portal appearing as she threw the two into the black hole. Brushing her hands off, the portal remained open as she sighed irritably, “But since you’ve already taken the liberty, be useful. Minke, my make-up box and hair accessories. Meine, the yellow tank, red capri’s, and matching yellow flats, if you will.” Natalija sighed putting her hands on her hips before looking over at Soren. She quickly folded her arms.

“I’ll forgive you for touching me because you only got my gloves, and because you got rid of the bracelet, but…” Natalija stuck her nose in the air, “Don’t do that again, Mr. Orangu-“

“Here you go!” Minke, the white creature, hopped through the portal, holding up two boxes in his small hands, one black, one brown.

“Oh, thank you.” Natalija forgot all about Soren, bending over to pluck the boxes from Minke’s hands and setting it on the bathroom counter.

The black creature hopped through the portal again, bearing a yellow tank top with illegible black words spattered across the front and some yellow ballet flats. “The painter is looking for your capri’s right now.”

Natalija’s let out an annoyed, “Tch.” Before pointing at Meine, “Tell him that he better not go through my closet without gloves on! I don’t want his dirty hands on my stuff.” She spat before turning back to the counter, ignoring Minke and Meine as they put her new clothes next to the two boxes. Removing the brown one from atop the black one, she opened the black box to reveal an incredible collection of make-up, all organized meticulously by color, brand, and type. “I’m going to take awhile.” She said to Soren, completely letting the fact that he’d been the source of a dilemma just seconds earlier. First things first, she removed a cotton ball from one of the small drawers, soaking it in make-up remover as she removed the make-up on her eyes. She never wore things like powder, or concealer, or even foundation. She prided herself on perfect skin, so why did she need to wear those things that would only make her look pasty?

“These ones?” Meine’s voice came as the portal closed behind him.

Natalija spared a glance for the red capri’s in Meine’s hands. “Mmhmm, thanks Meine.”

In the meantime, Minke was sitting on the counter beside Soren, staring curiously before inquiring, “My name is Minke, what’s yours, Mister?”

Alter Ego
August 31st, 2008, 10:38 AM
Pethalamine didn't interject when Yuki - much to her surprise - decided to be talkative for a change, instead focusing on getting the bandages applied properly. Her mind was busily at work, however. Evalice...was famous? Then surely she must have seen his name somewhere in mother's books? Come to think of it, that did ring a bell. But which one was it? Despite being specialized - not only into fael research but specifically the branch of fael possession - Faewyn Ayre maintained a personal library that truly went every which way in topics. Cookbooks and techno maniac magazines happily mingled with medical journals and the occasional tome detailing highly experimental mahstion of mass destruction, and to top it off, the good professor's organizational skills were lacking at best. As a naive newcomer to the household, Pethalamine had once attempted to create an organization system for the teeming, practically living, mass of obscure information that her foster-mother had assembled, but before long she had grown to adopt Aertan's more pragmatic approach of 'just stick it in the nearest bookshelf and don't spill anything on it'. Business and paperwork had its own cabinet; everything else just went wherever Faewyn happened to put it down. It was a chaotic system, especially for one used to a careful and rigorously ordered lifestyle like Pethalamine's, but it worked surprisingly well.

"When Saki and I were kids, we were kidnapped and put up for ransom."

Pethalamine was caught off guard as the topic of the conversation suddenly jumped to Yuki's past, the scholar accidentally applying a good bit more force to her work than tightening the bandages would really have required. Fortunately, the dation wrap was still in place, preventing the more serious injuries that this maneuver might have caused. The boy himself didn't seem bothered, however, elaborating on his little hostage experience with a lot more detail than Pethalamine would really have cared for. The scholar felt like giving her patient the weirded out stare of a lifetime. Opening up about painful moments from your past was one thing, giving an impromptu presentation on them was another. Even if it was to impress a point of some kind, couldn't he just have said that Saki died in an fall and left it at that? Realizing that her hand had stopped somewhere along the path of fetching a set of dry bandages to cover the soaked ones, the young woman promptly turned back to her work, as much as her tongue was itching to make some kind of remark on this, good manners forbade it. This was not the right time to start burning bridges.

'Seriously, though.' she found heself thinking as she started applying the second layer, 'What is he expecting me to say? Sorry your life sucks?'. That, in Pethalamine's opinion, was the most tedious thing about being a good person. Most polite conversations you could handwave off with a small set of rehearsed phrases, for most conversations there was a right way to follow, but every once in a while someone decided to throw her a curve ball like this one. Had the boy settled for just retelling his gory little escapade, a few apologetic nothings would have passed for a response, but what was she supposed to say about that ugly, vicious ending? 'Great, save a piece for me'? No, that would make her sound like some kind of bloodthirsy maniac. 'I understand that you've suffered, but killing for revenge is wrong'? That would sound like she was siding with Stahn. Blow it off and concentrate on the suffering thing? That would be evasive. So what was she expected to say then? What was the right answer for this problem? If there was one thing Pethalamine really, really couldn't stand - besides suspense and loud noises - it was not knowing the right answer to something.

"Umm...that's..." Pethalamine made a desperate attempt at finding something demanding with the final tightening of the bandage, any excuse for a delayed response, but was met with miserable failure, "I mean...I don't mean to be rude, but...just...why are you sharing this with us, all of a sudden?"

She felt like kicking herself. Or Yuki. No, definitely Yuki. How dare he act all vulnerable and pitiable like that, only to smack her over the head with something like this the moment she let her guard down? The whole situation was just...embarassing, and Yuki's sudden silence was not helping matters.

"Anyway." Pethalamine continued in an attempt to break up the awkward moment, "Your wound is all bandaged now. Just make sure to keep those dry and clean and get them changed regularly. Oh, and try not to strain your upper body too much; you don't want to cause a rip. Right." she snapped her fingers again, the dation wrap evaporating as suddenly as it had appeared as the scholar reached for a new wet towel, "Dimitri's turn, then."

Loki
August 31st, 2008, 10:55 AM
Dimitri hadn't even tried to hide his expression of surprise. His wide eyes, raised eyebrows, and slightly gaping mouth had, "Wait, what?" written all over it. As soon as Pethalamine spoke however, Dimitri quickly snapped back to reality, donning a blank, and a little sympathetic look on his face. Kidnapped and held for ransom, huh? (Was this what he'd been referring to when he said "people who suffered more than you ever would"?) Clearing his throat to see if he could wave away any more of the awkwardness, Dimitri mumbled, "Oh, I... I see. I'm sorry about your sister."

That aside, Dimitri tried to pick out the things about what Pethalamine had actually been asking from the story. Obviously, it had been a good idea not to give this guy- Stahn Evalice, was what Yuki had said- his skyboard. But no matter how hard he tried, somehow, Yuki spilling his guts had made Dimitri feel obligated to say something about himself. It was only fair… But Dimitri really wasn’t into saying anything in-depth, like Yuki had. “Er, if it makes you feel any better, I know how it feels to live in a dunghole of a place?” Dimitri mentally slapped himself. That wasn’t anywhere near the main point of his story! "I'll try to steer clear of Mr. Evalice then." Last ditch effort to save the conversation.

Dimitri was terribly glad when Pethalamine announced it was his turn. “Ah-um, thanks.” Dimitri stuttered out, trying to forget his embarrassment at totally slipping up in what he’d said to try and “comfort” Yuki. He’d probably made things worse. Dimitri stuffed his face in his pillow, still mentally beating himself up.

parallelzero
September 6th, 2008, 09:28 AM
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for your pity." Yuki snapped back quickly - in a manner that he would have the previous night - at Pethalamine, who was the first to exhibit any kind of confusion at what he was saying. When his wounds were finally bandaged, he sat upwards, and eventually found his way into a standing position, although the new bandages were uncomfortably tight, making it slightly harder to breath than usual. "I just thought it was better that you have an understanding that this guy doesn't give a damn what happens to the people he uses. There's no guarantee you'll get what you want, Pethalamine, there's no guarantee Dimitri will get his wings back, and there's certainly no guarantee he'll give Saki back."

“Er, if it makes you feel any better, I know how it feels to live in a dunghole of a place?” Dimitri blurted out suddenly. Yuki didn't even give the boy the time of day, pausing slightly while already irritated by Pethalamine's reaction, as he closed his eyes slightly and walked out of the room.

"...Thanks for the bandages."

---

"What... the hell?" Soren was a little more than irritated by the appearance by these strange... rabbit things, that he could only assume were Natalija's faels. His own faels, Terra and Tesla, didn't really talk a whole lot, but these two... not only were the animals, they were about as jumpy as a kid on a new trampoline. He watched the girl order the things around through a portal, which he assumed lead to her home, and the eventually brought back a hearty supply of personal belongings to their reila. But to have them materialize so well, despite their annoying appearance, Natalija must have had some wicked concentration. The boy was suddenly thrown off as the white annoyance addressed him, asking for his name. "Er... Soren." He replied, not exactly how to reply to the rabbit thinger ma bob.

OOC: Obviously at a lack of what to say here. XD

Alter Ego
September 6th, 2008, 09:45 AM
Pethalamine couldn't help rolling her eyes as Yuki left the room with a final tirade far closer to his usual manner. "Well, he's still a regular ray of sunshine, isn't he?" she remarked, proceeding with cleaning up the two holes on Dimitri's back with far more routine than the first operation had been. They bled quite a bit, but artificially made as they were, the holes were far neater and less delicate than Yuki's injury had been, and so the operation did not take too long. It shouldn't either. Sure, these technically weren't her pretty white sheets getting dirtied here, but she was still the one who would have to sleep in this room and she would have much preferred it if she didn't have to do so in the midst of other people's bloodstains. Pethalamine had had quite enough of blood and assorted body parts for a while, thank you very much.

"Oh yeah." the scholar added, the original question she had wanted to pose coming back to her at the sight of the two identical holes, "I've been meaning to ask. Your wings..." she bit her lip, briefly considering the most tactful approach as she began applying the first layer of bandages, "...did you lose them in an accident or something?"

Loki
September 6th, 2008, 10:19 AM
Dimitri smiled wryly at the door, "He's just a cup full of sugar." He agreed sarcastically to Pethalamine's comment, though without the usual scornful tone that came with sarcasm. Sure Yuki hadn't exactly been too graceful with his words, but Dimitri was pretty sure that he should've figured out by now to just keep his trap shut. His smile wiped clean off when Pethalamine inquired as to why his wings were artificial, and the idea she tossed into the air made Dimitri stiffen for a second before he quickly regained composure, forcing himself to relax and smile into the pillow his face was stuffed into. Lifting his head so that he could speak, he laughed a little at the idea that though Pethalamine had shown her discomfort at Yuki spewing his history, she’d just directly asked him for his. He failed to elaborate, merely answering the bare minimum that was still counted as a polite response. “Oh no, I’ve never had real wings before.” And he left it to the girl to guess the rest.

He put his head back down on the pillow, staring at the white cotton fibers. An Undergrounder, posing as an Abovegrounder. Especially someone from the slums, the place where people got the most reputation for being barbaric towards winged beings… He felt, in every way, the traitor that he’d left as. “What about you? I’ve been assuming you’re from the Underneath, but did you lose your wings in an accident, or are you like me?”

A crow amongst a flock of doves. Dimitri trained his eyes on the pillow, resisting the urge to look up, as if he might be able to see the remains of Alta on the ceiling.

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

“Okay.” Natalija announced, ignoring Soren’s annoyance to the fullest as she examined her face for any lingering traces of make-up. She didn’t look much different, save for the fact that her eyes were brighter without the mascara and gunpowder gray eyeshadow, and her lips looked pale compared to the pink gloss she’d been wearing before. She pulled the clips in her hair out, letting her bangs fall on her face again as Meine replaced the hair accessories in their proper place. She was almost done, but Natalija didn’t bother to say anything about that to Soren as she sifted through the make-up box, extracting a tube of orange chapstick. She turned her back to the mirror and leaned against the sink, applying the lip moisturizer while observing the conversation Minke had dredged up with a bored expression.

”Soren!” Minke’s form continued to the maintain the wide, blank black eyes, but it’s voice that echoed throughout the minds in the vicinity was obviously overjoyed to meet a new playmate. ”It’s nice to meet you! I’m Natti’s plufael, and the black one over there is Meine. Her negafael, that is! Sorry about before, Meine was just checking you out for bad vibes! He has bad manners, see! Oh oh, bad manners, what am I saying!” Minke bounced up and down in place, its childish voice spread into a smile, ”Thank you so much for getting rid of the bracelet!”

“Alrighty,” Natalija interrupted, capping the chapstick and tossing it over her shoulder as Meine caught it and reorganized the boxes by its side. She picked Minke up by the back of his neck, “That’s enough.” She tossed him into the air and caught the small creature in the crook of her arm, while Meine hopped onto her shoulder like a hawk. “I’m staying in here, for the time being, you do what you want.” Natalija exited the bathroom, Meine quickly hopping off of her shoulder to keep the door from closing behind her. Mahstion bracelet or no, he was obviously aware of the situation.

Alter Ego
September 6th, 2008, 10:42 AM
Pethalamine paused as her question was shot right back at her. She didn't like it, sure, but it was bound to come up eventually, so she thought it better to address the issue straight away so as to not come off as evasive. How she was going to phrase her reply precisely, however, was another matter. Now on one hand, Dimitri had all but confessed to being an underneather already, so doing the same herself could potentially create some form of underneather solidarity between them, but...was that worth letting everyone else in on it? There was no telling who Dimitri might babble out the secret to if he got involved in an argument over it, and that was the last thing she needed.

"I..." Pethalamine began at last, "Well, I suppose you could call it a genetic defect, if you like. I have never had real wings either, not even fakes. Make no mistake, though." she added, "I'm a resident of Beta, and thus about as much of an underneather as anybody else there, wings or no. I've never thought of that place as home and wouldn't know my way there at all. If that is or isn't like you, I can't say."

And that was truth. A selective, obscured kind of truth, yes, but truth all the same. She didn't know the underneath, her official citizenship was in Beta, and - when you came right down to it - being born without wings could be classified as something of a genetic defect these days. The fact that she had been born down there - not to mention her whole history in the circus - was hardly relevant.

"Anyway, that should do it." the scholar concluded, tying up the last end of the bandages, "It's not constricting your chest too badly, right? I had to wrap them all the way around to make sure they stayed in place. You shouldn't have any bigger problems with this, as those holes look pretty small and neatly made, but I suggest you avoid leaning on that part unless necessary."

parallelzero
September 7th, 2008, 10:09 AM
"...Natti?" Soren raised an eyebrow at the rabbit thing, not quite sure what it was referring to. He didn't comment when Natalija told him to 'do what he wanted' - that was just rude considering their circumstances - but rather trailed behind her. It eventually dawned on him that 'Natti' was a reference to Natalija, and he barely silenced a laugh at the thought that a girl that acted so highly of her own accord would allow herself to be called such a name. He shuddered at what she'd do to him if he ever called her that, however. He'd be lucky to have any particles of his body remaining, most likely. He smiled painfully at the thought as he made his way into the bedroom, resisting the urge to kick Meine on the way out.

He hadn't thought of it until now, but just what the hell was going on outside of this building? Alta had just been obliterated, and along with it a good fraction of the planet's population. It was probably a chaotic mess with people thinking it was the apocalypse and other various whacked theories. As his mind wandered to the topic of whether or not the rest of his family - his mom, his dad, his uncle and aunt, and his cousins - were okay, he felt his consciousness begin to fade away. Come to think of it, there had been a peculiar smell in the air for the last minute or so... But by the time he had thought about it, it was far too late as he fell to the ground with a thud, the last thought on his mind being that hopefully there was still three meters between himself and that girl.

The morning sun is what eventually brought Soren back to reality. There had been no doubt that he had fallen under the influence of sleeping gas, and looking out the other bodies drooped across the wood-paneled floor, it seemed as the others had as well. Thankfully, Natalija was still in his range, though she was thrown on top of him, which made moving rather difficult. From what he could tell, they were in a rather bland cabin of sorts, most likely aboard a sky ship bound to the destination Stahn had mentioned the day prior. He eventually grew impatient in waiting for the girl to awaken herself, so he instead rolled slightly away so that she fell with a thud where his body had been before. It would certainly wake her up, but they should probably all be awake at this point anyways.

The ship suddenly began to shake, indicating that getting up was probably in their best interests as the sound of mahstion guns firing could be heard. "This ship is now under siege to the Death Stars!" Could be heard from outside. They were a pirate group, were they not? The assumption was confirmed when the door was busted open by a couple of men in torn up shirts, pants and black and red bandanas, wielding swords. they were met, however, by a blast of dation to the face, knocking them out of the room.

"Everyone up!" Soren shouted, rather irritated by this rude awakening. As Yuki opened his eyes, he certainly didn't feel any better.

---

It was already the next morning... already. Ellianne couldn't help but sigh in frustration at Lyrum, the girl she and Auri had been assigned to take around the world to 'sing'. They had taken a ship up to Tealia, so it wasn't all bad, but this Phoenix girl was born and raised in Flazure, and had yet to see the outside world. She was easily sidetracked, and even a little bit ditzy. There was something about her, however, that reminded her of a friend she had long ago. She passed away, unfortunately. "Hey, Miss Ellianne? Where exactly are we going?" Lyrum inquired as the wandered the cobblestone streets of Tealia, her smile glaring. It was surprising, actually, that being with this girl, her flaming hair long and wavy, dressed in nothing but a simple, white blouse and knee-length jean skirt was all that had been keeping her sane since Alta's fall. She trailed along beside the Wyvern woman, who was dressed in her usual traveling gown, her hands clutched together behind her back as she walked, her bright red eyes looking up enthusiastically.

"You're going to see Reid, right?" Auri chimed in, her red eyes blinking curiously up at the Wyvern woman, who seemed less than pleased by having to do this. But, they didn't have enough money to afford a hotel, and asking Levi was out of the question. They needed a place to stay. But, Reid had married Adela, and had two kids. Would he even accept her as she was now? With the obvious age difference? She glanced down at Auri, who was dressed in a pair of tight jeans and a tee shirt that had black and white horizontal stripes running across, her phoenix wings sticking out from the back. It reminded Ellianne that Auricia was making sacrifices herself, and gave her a little bit of incentive to carry on. Every so often, Auri would clutch onto the half a heart necklace she wore around her neck. It was, without a doubt, a present from Ashton, and it broke the woman's heart to see her doing it.

They eventually came upon a section in town that was populated by rows and rows of neat and pretty, brick townhouses, probably three or four stories each. It didn't take long for Ellianne to spot the one she was looking for, as a young girl, probably around the age Auricia was posing as now, was outside gardening. Ellianne recognized her from pictures Reid had sent her. "Excuse me, are you Rosalynne?" She approached the girl and bent over to see what she was doing. Ellianne didn't approve of the name Reid - and it was definately Reid - had given her, but upon closer inspection, she was a really cute girl. Though why she was gardening while in a white sundress seemed a little unorthodox. Though, she surprisingly hadn't gotten it dirty. She was biting her tongue as she tried to get the sunflower to stay rooted in the soul, and she didn't reply until she eventually gave up.

"Ah, yup!" The girl replied cheerfully as she stood up, wiping some beads of sweat off her forehead. Her hair had obviously been done up by Adela. There was no way Reid could have managed to put so many hairpins in and gotten those inward curls at the neck. he had never been good with hair. Rosalynne's eyes surveyed the group, and she noticed Auri first - or more specifically, her wings. "Hey! You're a Phoenix? Cool! I've never seen a real one!" She ran over and grabbed Auri's hand. "I'm Rosalynne, what's your name?" There was no mistake. This girl was... energetic - definately not an Adela trait. Auri seemed a little bit shocked by the sudden encounter, and blushed in embarrassment.

"My name is Auri!" She managed to blurt out cheerfully. Lyrum felt a little but left out as both of the other two seemed to have socialized with this unknown girl, yet the girl had yet to talk with her. "Is your mom or dad home at all?"

"Yup, I'll go get them!" The girl dashed back into the house and began to shout. "MOM! MOM! THERE'S A PHOENIX GIRL HERE! A REAL ONE! SHE WANTS TO SEE YOU!"

The trio just sweatdropped.

Alter Ego
September 7th, 2008, 12:24 PM
Where am I?

'Weak, still so very weak...'

What happened?

'Danger, mistress! Danger! Forgive my insolence, but wake up! Danger!'

No matter how hard she tried, Pethalamine could see nothing but darkness on all sides. It took her a few moments to figure out that opening her eyelids might have helped with that matter, but...they felt so heavy, heavy and uncooperative, just like the rest of her body. Why...why was it so hard to move? She remembered treating Dimitri's wounds, she remembered having excused her lack of wings (how, though? Had she succeeded? It was hard to remember). She remembered something else, though: a smell. She felt it was important, but right now, she felt that something else was far more pressing.

'Just as I thought...'

How did I get here? How did it get dark?

'Mistress, please!'

The scholar shuddered as something scraped across her skin, like clawed feet, but lighter, barely any pressure at all. Up the back of her neck, making her hairs stand on edge, down over her eye. Somewhere in the distance, someone was screaming, muffled, incomprehensible words. A thud. She winced at a complaint from the region of her hip, even though the pain felt just as distant and unreal as everything else. One thing was definitely real, though; she was in danger. something nudged her arm, back and forth, but she couldn't understand what...or why.

A sigh, closer this time, yet not from her mouth. Slowly, her arm rose up, one finger at a time clasping something cold and hard and raising it upwards. Slowly, clumsily, as if someone beside herself was grasping her uncooperative arm and making it work, one joint at a time.

'...you really are hopeless without us.'

Then her index finger tightened around something, and her secluded world shattered with a massive bang.

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


The sky pirate reeled back in alarm as a single eye of what he had taken for an unconscious victim suddenly sprung wide open, the peculiar tattoo around it appearing to stare right into him with terrifying intensity. He barely had the time to notice the cold steel of the gun barrel against his chest before it was too late.

BANG!

The noise felt like the most terrifying and violent thing that Pethalamine had ever experienced, the scholar suddenly jumping to her feet, wide awake and gun already pointed at the next intruder before her mind managed to catch up. They were in a room of some kind. No, not just any room; a cabin. Yes, definitely a cabin. Stahn had mentioned something about needing to visit a different country, hadn't he? They were probably in flight, then, which led her to the scruffy-looking man who was now lying a few feet away, face looked into a passive mask of horror, the small, almost surgically precise hole on his chest creating a grotesque contrast with the gaping one at his back, where the compressed dation had expanded with a vengeance, painting the floor beneath and a good bit behind the unfortunate man red. The force of the shot had apparently sent him right back through the door he had attempted to break through, and unfortunately - at least from his point of view - Pethalamine had been lying right beside said door. A sore spot on her hip where the door frame had bashed into it told her that much.

Pethalamine instantly retreated closer to Soren and the others, clasping the mahstion gun still pointed towards the doorway with two, slightly shaking hands as she prepared for the battle to come. There were plenty of questions she felt like asking, but right now, pure survival instinct told her that this was not the time to ask; this was the time to shoot first and ask questions later, and by the looks of it, there was still plenty of work to be done in the shooting department.

Loki
September 7th, 2008, 02:30 PM
If it had been anyone else making the announcement, Adela probably would’ve been grouchier than a drenched cat. However, since it was her cutest, most beloved daughter, Adela took a deep breath to calm herself. She made a fast beeline for the door, wanting to ascertain Rosalynne’s safety first things first. Phoenix people were bad news! Adela had long gotten over her dislike for the race itself, but bad news meant that if there was someone like that at their door, it was undoubtedly… Adela cleared her throat to recompose herself. No need to let Rosalynne see her throw the wooden spoon in her hand at the guests.

While she refused to admit her age, Adela had failed to change much other than in stature, and a few small wrinkles around her eyes which she’d made quite the fuss over when she’d first discovered them. She looked younger than she really was, with her now deep teal hair cascading to the small of her back, her bangs hastily brushed aside and hooked behind her ears. She wore a plain black skirt under a red quarter sleeved turtleneck cotton shirt, her clothes defended from flour and other ingredients by a white apron. At first, Adela was just as she was, ignoring the guests entirely and hurrying over to Rosalynne to give her a doting smile. If there was anything she hadn’t expected in her youth, it was her utter devotion to her children- they were her entire life now, and she had little interest in anything but her family. “Thanks sweet pea,” She said lightly pinching Rosalynne’s nose between her slender fingers. Her genuine smile quickly turned extremely forced after turning to the visitors. “Might I ask- …” Adela paused. She tilted her head to the side, catching sight of Ellianne. She certainly had been expecting it to be Ellianne, but it was different, seeing her in person. Adela’s smile grew just a little more genuine. Just a little. “Ellianne! Well in that case, come on in.” Adela ushered them into the house without further ado, not wanting to garner any more attention from the rest of the block as they already had. “Reid was here just a second ago, but he may have run off. Make yourselves at home, I’m going to see if he’s still here.”

“Reid!” Adela called up the stairs, “Some people are here to see you!”

Deeming her job done, Adela turned to Ellianne again, “It’s nice to see you again, Ellianne. How have you been?”


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


“Ouch.” Natalija mumbled, sitting up as Soren yelled for everyone to get up. She peered around, her imperious gaze settling on the sky pirates rushing into the room. She glanced at her wrist and saw no mahstion bracelet. She glanced up at Soren, then at Pethalamine. Moving back, Natalija calmly got to her feet summoning up Minke, who hopped onto her outstretched hand. His tail swished back and forth very slowly as he watched the fight unfold. Natalija made no move of offense towards the sky pirates, simply standing where she was and registering with despair that she wasn’t wearing make-up. At the very least, she was intrigued to find that she was already in her yellow tank top, the black grunge text diagonally splattered across the front neatly arranged over her red capri’s, along with her slender flat bottomed shoes that were much easier to travel in than her heels. Someone had been considerate of where they were going. She was pretty sure that Meine had forced himself out while she was unconscious, because who other than him would’ve known that when she was wearing this outfit, her hair needed to be pulled up into a pony tail? Meine knew every one of her outfits, Meine and… Natalija’s expression darkened at the thought of the other person who had memorized all of her different arrangements. It very well could’ve been him.

“Have fun.” She commented to everyone else as Minke waited to throw up a barrier at her command. “I’m just going to watch, okay?”

Dimitri couldn’t keep his mouth from gaping in shock at Natalija’s attitude as he pulled an iron pipe off of his skyboard (he thanked the gods it here) and blocked a swing of a sword with it. “Hah?!”

“You heard me.” Natalija’s replied promptly, folding her arms, moving to the very back of the room, where it would be least likely for any pirate to reach.

Selfish woman, Dimitri rolled his eyes pulling his iron pipe into the air and bringing it down mercilessly on a pirate’s head. He flinched. Ooh his back was real sore. Another sword crashed down onto his iron pipe, and Dimitri kicked the weapon out of the pirates’ hand, smashing the end of his pipe into the man’s face as he mumbled over to the others, “What the heck is going on?”

“As you can see,” Natalija replied sarcastically, “We’re under attack. Quit chatting.”

“I don’t see you helping any!” Dimitri shot back shrilly, raising his eyebrows in disbelief at the girl behind him.

Natalija stuck her nose in the air, “Hmph!”

Unbelievable!!

ooc: no aertan. :(

Alter Ego
September 8th, 2008, 05:02 AM
OOC: We must compensate for this deficit with a bit of Faewyn, then. :O

IC:

Had she had enough leisure-time to do so, Pethalamine would have rolled here eyes at Natalija's attitude. As it was, however, she was far too preoccupied with keeping her head and body in touch with each other. There was one problem with this new weapon of hers, the scholar realized, and that was her own ineptitude in handling it. The recoil was already giving her major aiming problems, not that it made much difference in these close quarters, but more crucially, it was affecting her focus, the dation shots bending, warping or expanding in the most bizarre ways every time something disrupted her concentration, though fortunately she had yet to hit anyone from her group.

"It would be polite to lend a hand, you know." she grit out at Natalija, bringing up the gunbarrel in an emergency parry against one attack while conjuring a small portal in front of another, the sword gliding neatly into the first attacker's back, something which the young woman immediately capitalized on by firing another wild shot at the second assailant, this one howling loudly as it made a lightning-quick u-turn and - fortunately - smacked the pirate on the back of his head. There were still plenty more, though, and this cramped space was not a good fighting ground for her, at all. Especially with little-miss-fashion-critic hogging a good portion of-

Pethalamine's train of thought suddenly came to a halt, a sly smile spreading across her features, even as she came inches away from having her head lobbed off. That fael-creature...thing's barrier looked pretty sturdy, no reason not to take advantage of it.

"You know what?" the scholar added suddenly, addressing no-one in particular as she lowered her gun, focusing the full extent of her mahstion control on a regular spell instead, "You actually have a very good idea, Natalija. In fact..." without warning, four separate tendrils of dation suddenly shot out from her body, each grasping one group member and yanking them with her as she conjured up one more portal, the lot of them appearing beside the uncooperative dation user accompanied by an unceremonious 'glorp' sound.

"...it's so good I think we're just going to borrow that idea for a while. So what's it going to be, princess?" she continued, once again taking aim with her gun, "Are you keeping up this barrier and sheltering us too or would you prefer to talk this over with the gentlemen over there? Oh, and before you try anything funny, you might want to take a look at that." she gestured towards the coils of dation still lingering around them, "Those are warp links; if one of us teleports, the rest follow suit. Just for your information." she finished in a mock-sweet voice.

It was pretty advanced mahstion to use just to prove a point, especially with so many links involved, but Pethalamine still felt a tinge of pride over her handiwork, confident that not even that little witch could weasel her way out of this one.

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


"Dear passengers, we are now arriving in wonderfully pictoresque Beta, the weather is clear and the temperature is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, please keep your seats in upright and your seatbelts fastened until we have landed safely and the seatbelt sign has been switched off. We thank you for flying with morbid airlines and hope to see you again. Have a nice day."

A few passengers managed miserable attempts at grins, recognizing the impersonation of an airline attendant and being desperate enough to attempt finding some humor in their situation, others merely glared in annoyance, some cried. Most just stared silently at their feet as the somber little group disembarked onto the snow-swept streets of the Betan port town, some met by equally tearful relatives, some lumbering towards the immigrance office in a vaguely cohesive pack, and some simply heading out aimlessly into the streets.

Entropoint five, Beta. Even after an entire continent had been reduced to rubble, the place was so much like itself it was almost frightening. Same ordered, compactly-built, brick and steel houses, same slanting streets, same little cafés and local shops, occupied by the same business as usual, as if nothing of note had happened. Yet...it wasn't the same, she had known it wouldn't. It was the same feeling she had felt after Verdance passed away; just something missing. It all just confirmed the decision she had known she would make for a long while already. Probably about the last one Aertan would even want to hear right now.

Sighing heavily, Faewyn paused in front of the door to her home, catching the locks of her haphazardly hanging hair and tying them up into the usual ponytail. It was not a hairstyle suitable for an academic of distinction, she had once been informed, just like she had been told that the simplistic combination of dark red tank top and black cargos was not appropriate for a woman her age at all, but it was in these small decisions that you could feel like you were in control. Besides, it wasn't like Aertan was one to critique her appearance one way or the other anyway. Even so, she wanted to looks as close to normal as she could, though the thin rings around her eyes and the absence of the usual carefree smile could not be remedied right now.

The door opened with a simple turn of a key, admitting Faewyn inside. No-one was in the entry hall, but knowing the man she had spent her last twenty-and-counting years with, she knew where to look, immediately directing her steps towards the usual tantrum area. And sure enough, a fresh-looking crumpled newspaper in the doorway confirmed the suspicion. Taking one last, deep breath, Faewyn stepped into the room, knocking politely on the doorframe, in full knowledge that nothing broke into a tantrum quite like a polite interjection.

"Aertan?" she ventured, but the rest of her carefully thought-out explanation was lost to the moment as she lunged forward and caught the ex-priest in a tight hug, her composure breaking as fresh tears welled out from her eyes, "She's gone..." she whimpered, "She-she's...gone..."

Loki
September 8th, 2008, 05:07 PM
ooc: Great, just sapped four hours of my afternoon. xDDD

If there was any way to say “Excuse me?” with body language, Natalija has just perfected the stance. Her left hip jut out to the side, her folded arms knit tightly across her chest and her right leg bent ever so slightly to match her height. Her eyes gave one sweeping glance of pity for the girl who had tried to prod her into joining the fight. (She still didn’t approve of her fashion sense, which was ten thousand times worse than any of the other clowns in this group.) Natalija scoffed, as unbelieving of Pethalamine’s conduct as she had been of Natalija’s. “What-ever.” Natalija retorted in the most snobbish ‘holier-than-thou’ tone that she could muster. And considering that Natalija almost always spoke in this manner, her voice was practically pounding the fact that Natalija was completely unimpressed. “I honestly don’t see why you guys are so determined to make me help out; it was obviously under control, was it not?” Natalija shook her head delicately, rolling her eyes as her ponytail danced back and forth. During this period of time, she hadn’t even glanced at the pirates, who were beating on Minke’s barrier, which had expanded to completely block off the men from moving even an inch further. Natalija did not enjoy being interrupted. “If you have the time and stamina to move everyone else behind me and open warp links, honestly, I think there are more productive things you can be doing, my dear hand maiden.” She waved her hand towards the pile of men trying to break through Minke’s barrier. Natalija sighed, turning to the little white creature watching the pirates beat upon its barrier with increasing fascination.

“Hmm, Minke, how much longer can you keep this up?”

’If they keep making mashed potatoes out of the guys in the front, maybe half an hour…?’ Minke answered, looking over his shoulder at Natalija, ’Why?’

“You heard the annoying fael.” Natalija announced, examining their surroundings carefully. She let her haughty eyes rest on Pethalamine expectantly for a moment before she snapped, “Well, kids first.”

Dimitri resisted the urge to scoff. Mahstion. It wasn’t surprising to him that this annoying high-maintenance girl used the cowardly method of fighting. But he wasn’t too pleased with himself at the moment either. He was technically just the same, not really contributing much. He wanted to sit out of the fight, but he was sure that he wouldn’t be able to handle being criticized as nonchalantly as Natalija had.

“Ahh, I think we’re supposed to have individual barriers… is that what you meant Pethalamine?” Dimitri asked, but not before sweatdropping. He could feel Natalija’s gaze digging holes through his head.

Natalija was indeed, glaring at him incredulously, as though trying to decide whether he was serious or not. She was completely silent before she ignored him entirely. He couldn’t possibly be expecting her to waste her concentration on them.

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

Holding a mug of now cold tea, Aertan stared out of the window without the slightest trace of emotion on his face. His glasses were discarded on the kitchen table, and he had really done nothing for the past few hours but watch the snow fall gently from the sky, closing his eyes every now and then to rest his gaze. The different newspapers and magazines lay strewn across the floor, evidence that he’d been completely unconvinced that Alta had been blown out of the sky. But an unexpected visitor whom had left but a few hours ago had been the clincher for the now aging man. And the visitor had dug up old memories that pierced Aertan’s conscience mercilessly now. Jetane, with his paling chestnut hair and now dull yellow eyes, had dropped by to confirm that Alta was completely gone, having seen the empty space where it had once been with his own eyes on his way to Beta. He’d already been worried sick over Faewyn- and even that brat, but the fact that his worries weren’t for nothing tore at his hollow chest. He breathed out and watched the cold vapors escape. He’d not bothered to keep his body warm with Fionus as he usually had. He hadn’t spared a single thought for Haeon’t and Geote, two of whom were bustling about the room trying to help. They sensed the distress of their reila, the only reason that Geote had gone out of his way to make tea, while Haeon’t hid stubbornly in her wing, also lamenting.

Jetane’s visit had reminded Aertan of his old ways; and the first time he’d met Faewyn. It… certainly hadn’t been the best way to meet her. And then the first time he met that brat. Which probably hadn’t been the best way to meet her either. Aertan moved away from the window, dropping the curtains down as he placed the untouched beverage down on a table, falling into a chair as Geote took advantage of the moment that Aertan had actually brought his consciousness back in check with reality to light a fire. Running his hands through his hair, Aertan hung his head, staring at the floor. “I can’t believe it.” He finally choked out, letting any of his tears fall directly onto the ground as he fought to retain control.

Geote turned, the eye in his palm blinking slowly before coming back to Aertan’s side, quietly patting the man on the head as if he were a child. “I shouldn’t have let them go.” Aertan murmured. “I knew it. I knew it- and I still let them go, and-“

The door opened. Aertan froze, and Geote whirled around to stare at the doorframe. Footsteps. Geote whipped back into Aertan’s wings, the claw jutting out of the end spinning around before stiffening in place. And then someone knocked on the door. Aertan stood, wondering if he was just dreaming. Or, Aertan considered, deflating, it could be Jetane again. But the person who appeared in the doorway was no old hunter who had found it in him to visit his junior twenty-five years later to confirm the worst piece of news he’d ever hear. The person who appeared in the doorway was exactly who he’d been dying to see, and all at once, Aertan realized that he was terribly cold. And that she probably was too.

“Aertan?” The voice was oh, oh so real. Almost tangible. It wasn’t but seconds until the cold vapor escaping his mouth disappeared, warmth returning to his fingertips as he returned her hug, relief washing through him.

But ‘she’s gone’ drained him again. He’d never gotten along well with that girl. She’d always been successful in frustrating him to the point that he was tempted to pull out his hair, and her wild sense of style made him embarrassed to even be seen in public with her. It was nowhere near as awkward as Faewyn’s sense of style, which garnered considerably fewer stares.

“It’s okay Faewyn,” Aertan replied quickly, in as soothing a whisper as he could muster, jumping back to his senses as he smoothed Faewyn’s hair, “It’ll be okay.” He tightened his hold on Faewyn, as though she’d suddenly bolt out of the room to try and look for the girl. He remembered this scene too. Twenty-five years ago, when she’d had the same break-down over her mother. When Aertan had been unable to say anything. But this time, he knew the person that Faewyn was grieving for. He knew that cunning little pint-sized terror, and he knew that a random stampede wasn’t good enough to stop her. And by the time that light had beat down on the country, she had probably been long gone. She knew her way around life. That’s just the way she was. He swallowed his pride, “Pethalamine,” The name left a bitter taste of regret in his mouth, having choked it out for the first after all this time at such a terrible time, “is incredibly smart. I’m sure that she’s okay Faewyn. It’s going to be fine….”

The sound of his voice stabbed at himself. The silence he’d submerged himself in before was being pierced by his own attempts at calming Faewyn’s sobs, and his new worries. Burying his face in Faewyn’s hair, he let his shoulders relax ever so slightly, “I’m so glad you’re alive.”

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

“That’s terrible.” An ashen haired man said in shock, putting down a tube full of vile green liquid. “When did that happen?”

“This morning.” Replied the young boy, who was peering into the greenhouse from the doorway, “Mammy told me to come tell you.”

Lazarus mustered up a smile. “Well tell you Mother thanks for me then.”

The boy nodded and ran off. After a moment of hesitation, Lazarus pulled off his lab coat, draping it on the coat hanger beside the door. Always smartly dressed in a button-up polo and a pair of pressed pants, Lazarus rarely wore colors other than black and white, the former consisting of his color palette of choice for the day. His hair fell just past the middle of his neck, while his bangs were parted just so that the tips just barely impeded the view in his ailing left eye. The rest was hastily brushed away from his face, which was currently somewhat melancholy at the news. Alicel, Ella, and Reks had been there. The garden that he’d kept alive for so long had been there. And that now empty house in the mountains had been there. He hadn’t visited Alta much, in all honesty. He had found no desire in him to leave Gregar after leaving Flazure. He’d found little desire to do anything, really. It was his father who’d pressed him back into the science bureau, and his father who pressed him into inheriting the library along with his research. Hard work made a man, he claimed. “Lazus!” It pained him to admit it, but he didn’t want to hear that woman’s voice right now.

“Hmm?” Lazarus looked over at the woman who was watering a small garden of vegetables.

“Are you taking the day off?” She asked knowingly, “I can take care of things here.”

Lazarus hesitated. “… That would be wonderful.” He smiled again, and the woman nodded, pleased with herself. His father had berated him over and over for making her wait, but Lazarus hadn’t paid any attention to it. As far as he was concerned, he wasn’t even interested. So she wasn’t waiting. But it still made him feel somewhat guilty for not being able to say anything outright when she asked him to lunch or coffee. He’d gotten over it, of course- being sent away by Ellianne. But, his interest in romance had dwindled away entirely, though he still kept his garden of roses in pristine shape. There was no point, Lazarus had told himself. It wasn’t like he had time for it anyway.

Lazarus sighed and looked up at the sky. That was probably what Alta looked like now. The thought was depressing.

Maybe visiting Levi would do him a little good. That man always had something interesting to be done. And depressing things never seemed to affect that man's endlessly cheerful disposition.

parallelzero
September 8th, 2008, 08:12 PM
Soren was a fighter. He liked to fight. It gave him a sense of being. So, not to anyone's surprise, the fact that his forced partner didn't want to fight and would rather hide behind a barrier was not something he could take lying down. Obviously, hiding in this one room while the pirates stormed in was NOT going to rid them of the fact that there were pirates in the first place, barrier or no. They were going to be crawling all over the ship, and they couldn't stay behind within the protective shield forever. Not to mention there were some absolute flaws to this plan. As a dation user himself, that much was obvious. He couldn't help but think, however, that Pethalamine's little intervention only made things more complicated than it needed to be. Really, they could have just let the girl get attacked, and she probably would have fought to defend herself. Unless she didn't value her life, of course. Though, things were as they were now, and there wasn't much he could do about it. But at least as things stood, he could take out enemies, even if it was nowhere near as fun as hand-to-hand combat.

Finally getting to his feet, Yuki made his best attempt to rationalize a possible escape. Unfortunately, the results he calculated didn't seem particularly encouraging. A pirate ship usually carried a crew of fifty to sixty members these days, and they were headed by a captain that didn't hold it's position for no good reason. The toughest of the touch, most pirate captains outranked even the highest officers in the greatest military powers the world had to offer. These grunts, as easy as they'd be to take down would the girls stop their bickering and get rid of the annoying wall, would probably be child's play. They had no mahstion. If they did, they'd have utilized the big hole in this defense by now. His attention was suddenly drawn in the direction in which the sound that resembled a power saw could be heard. Soren had already decided to make the first move, as the hoop he carried was held horizontally between his hands, spinning rapidly as dation around the boy's hands propelled it. Sparks began to fly as the friction between the dation and the hoop became stronger and stronger, until he grabbed it with the right hand - which was still propelling the hoop - and threw it. It took off at an alarming rate, dation enveloping it so that it would make it safely to the other side of the barrier without causing any potential damage. Upon reappearing on the other side, it began to ricochet wildly off the walls, skulls, and other body parts present in the room, smashing the wood and leaving some of the pirates dead.

The weapon came to a complete halt, however, as an individual unlike the others before him entered the small cabin. It didn't make contact with anything - it just dropped in it's place. It was easy to tell that this man was the Captain. The room felt as if it was being placed under a whole lot of pressure - a good sign he was on a whole different level than them when it came to mahstion output. This man, large in a very fat and tall way, was garbed in the standard Carn uniform, with the significant difference that it was coloured a very bloody shade of red, and he was wearing a black cape. Neither Soren nor Yuki were familiar with pirate politics, so they knew nothing of his name or why he was garbed in such a manner, but Gevaldo the Giant was not a man you trifled with. The Giant managed a good chuckle as he examined the group. "So, Jertralla was afraid of a few kids, eh? The 'great Stahn' must be running out of options if he sent this pathetic lot..." Soren raised an eyebrow. So was he hired to kill them? Who was this Jertralla person? But... there was no way any of the group stood a chance against this giant as individuals, and they were nowhere in the range of any particular level of teamwork. "I can kill the boys I guess... but the girls might fetch a pretty penny on the market... might even keep one for myself." His large, grubby fingers ran across his stubble as he paid particular attention to Natalija. "Yes, yes, maybe you..."

Yuki couldn't help but feel frustrated. This bastard was arrogant enough to not even address them. Though, at his level, was there any need? He could kill them in an instant. "Maybe I'll just hurry up and kill those male eyesores first." His originally calm tone raised to something a little more maniacal as his eyes locked onto Soren. "Yes, yes, you first." The boy raised his hand to recall his hoop as a method of defense, but it wasn't soon enough and a large tendril of dation leaped from the the floor below him and grabbed him by the neck, dragging him back and threw the ground. When he found himself in the light once again, he was before the man, the dation tendril choking him slowly. Three meters was definitely violated, and the seconds just ticked by. But at this point, he didn't care. He just wanted to get through this without dying. The remaining seconds for Natalija and himself suddenly ran out, and he found himself knocked out. Gevaldo, assuming him dead, tossed Soren into the still active barrier, his 'corpse' falling to the ground in a slump.

The Giant looked to Dimitri next, but was interrupted by the sound of the ground shaking below. If one was outside, they would have seen the tower erupting from the sands below Tealia. It slowly grew and grew until it pierced Tealia itself, coming right through and out the other side, decimating any villages that were unfortunate enough to be in it's path. Well, the villages and the ship Stahn's group was on, as it had been stopped just before it's arrival in Meredy by pirates. The solid black tower's edge hit the ship, tearing it clear in two, and thankfully Gevaldo was on the opposing half. The black tower, which appeared nothing more than a huge black spike sticking from the ground, continued to climp and climb until it was beyond even the highest clouds, but not before leaving the half a ship to fall.

Yuki was a little more than sore all over shortly after the ship made contact with the ground, wooden planks on the ground and dust in the air everywhere. If not for the soil the rising tower had overturned, he would have been dead, without a doubt. But where were they? Outside of Meredy? With a city on the horizon, that looked to be the case, but... and then there was the problem of this big black tower beside him...

OOC: Got lazy near the end.

Alter Ego
September 10th, 2008, 07:23 AM
"Well, so sorry that I'm not doing anything more productive than trying to ensure that none of us gets their head lobbed off here." Pethalamine retorted, responding to Natalija's uppity attitude with her own favored argumentational body language, eyes set to look just a little bit beyond the addressed, as if she was really conversing with something a few inches beyond their skull, expression suggesting that the rest of said person was interrupting this discourse, rest of body still half-mindedly doing something else, in this case firing wild shots of dation through the floor and back up, allowing them to strike the frustrated pirates at random from the most bizarre angles. The whole pose would have worked better had she been curled up with a book in her hands, but this would have to do. Dimitri's suggestion was not even heeded; no, this was a battle now. "Maybe if you would stop acting like a petulant child for once, you wouldn't always need a 'hand maiden' like myself to clean up your-"

It was then that the captain made his entrance, the magnitude of his mahstion presence large enough to drag Pethalamine away from the blossoming cat fight and over to examining their new opponent instead. Strong, really strong. A lot moreso than even her or Natalija. This...could be bad. What's more, the repulsive man's attitude was almost as insufferable as Natalija's. Sell her off, huh? The scholar's grip of her gun tightened, a low growl at the back of her mind announcing its support of the decision, strong or no, that wandering tub of lard had another thing coming if he seriously thought she would let herself be treated like that again. By anyone.

The woman barely had the time to sever Soren's link - and keep the rest of them from being dragged out into the open - as he was dragged down through the floor and duly choked. This captain wasn't just obnoxious, then, he was also arrogant, pulling a foe so close to himself when he could easily have choked him from safety behind the barrier. The scholar gave a sympathetic vince as Soren struck the barrier, desperately going through all of the mahstion techniques she had learned in the hopes of finding something, anything, that could give her the edge in a situation like this. Then, without warning, the ship lurched violently as something black shot straight through its hull, knocking Pethalamine off balance, a sharp pain at the back of her skull becoming the last thing she experienced before the world went dark again.

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


Once again, Pethalamine saw nothing but darkness in front of her, and once again, her body felt heavier than it should have been. This sensation...what was this sensation?

"Open your eyes."

Pethalamine flinched at the low, husky voice. She was sure that no-one she knew spoke like that, yet it sounded...familiar somehow. "...I can't..." she replied feebly, attempting to coax movement out of her continuously uncooperative muscles, "...they won't..."

"Not those eyes." the voice snapped irritably, "You had best forget about that body for the time being. Use your other eyes."

"...my...other eyes?"

"Yes."

The other party seemed to consider this sufficient explanation, its expectation practically tangible as it waited in silence on the still-baffled Pethalamine.

"...I...I don't-" the young woman insisted.

"That's right, you don't." the voice concurred with obvious distaste, "Don't want to, that is. As usual." he gave an irritated sigh, "I can't believe I'm even bothering with this."

"Don't...want?" Pethalamine echoed.

"Precisely." the voice concurred, growing more distant but ever more irritable, soft footsteps confirming that its source was leaving, "I will just leave you to it then, shall I?"

"No!" she cried out, a sudden feeling of panic striking her, "Wait! I want to see! I want to move! I don't want you to-I don't want you to go!"

The footsteps came to a halt, only to be replaced by awkward silence once more.

"I...I don't want...to be alone here." Pethalamine finished, feeling truly pathetic. She still couldn't see, but somehow she felt like this other...person was giving her a piteous look.

"You do." he replied evenly, "You say that you don't, you may even think that you don't, but you do. It is not in my power to change that."

"I don't understand." the young woman insisted.

"So find out." the voice replied, "Isn't history your area of expertise?"

"...history?"

"That is all I will say." the voice concluded, "The rest is for you to figure out."

And all was quiet again.

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


"...history?"

The sunlight felt incredibly harsh to Pethalamine, the scholar slowly raising an arm to cover her watering eyes from it as she finally came to. To say that she felt a bit sore was an understatement. Her whole body felt like one, huge aching bruise. Her head felt the worst, though, throbbing furiously around the area that she had bumped before the fall. It was a miracle that nothing seemed broken. Groaning quietly as she attempted to fit the three overlaping views of the world in front of her into one, Pethalamine slowly rose up into a sitting position, and - when this did not seem to break anything - onto one knee, bracing herself against a piece of debris jutting out of the ground nearby as she finally got up on her feet. She still felt dizzy, disbalanced, and more than a little sore, but at least she was alive...sort of. The young woman squinted at the only other upright human figure she could spot, eventually managing to identify him.

"Yuki?" she ventured, staggering slightly as she moved a bit closer to the boy, "You're...alright. Have you seen Dimitri, or...any of the-" she flinched, raising a hand to grab the back of her head as it gave a particularly sharp complaint, "...any of the others?" she finished, grimacing at the pain and subconsciously using her free hand to pull the locks at the front a bit further over her right eye.

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


Aertan's might not have been the warmest of embraces, but just like so many years ago, it was the greatest comfort Faewyn could have asked for, the woman's sobs slowly ebbing away. He was still there, no matter what she could always count on him being there in the end, and it was precisely this feeling that made her feel so inclined to believe him when he said that everything would be alright. She didn't respond at first, not verbally at least, simply tightening her own hold and keeping her face buried in the ex-priest's shoulder.

"It's...just like way back then, isn't it?" Faewyn ventured at last, managing a hint of a smile, "Our first hug." she chuckled, despite herself, "I guess everything really is going to be alright then. Thank you, I really needed to hear you say that. And...I'm sorry I worried you."

Faewyn sighed, leaning against the volunteered shoulder once more, she would really have wanted to just end the talking here, but she knew she couldn't. Now came the hard part, and her carefully planned speech for it was long gone.

"You realize I'll still want to go and look for her, right?" she murmured at last, "Pethalamine has no wings, and it's an awfully long distance between Alta and the next continent. The only way she could have gone is down." Faewyn took a brief pause, knowing that what came next would probably be the most heavily objected part, "I'm going to call Reid." she said at last, "He's the only underneather I know, and he could still have contacts. Someone he knows might have heard something. Besides, I'm sure Adela can relate; she can convince him even if I can't."

Loki
September 10th, 2008, 03:02 PM
"I'm waking up in all the strangest places." Dimitri mumbled to himself, shaking some dirt out of the insides of his iron pipe before reattaching it to his skyboard- which had thankfully not gotten too beaten up in the tumble. Brushing off his clothes, Dimitri pulled a slender box out of his pocket, flipping it open and balancing it on his leg. Lip rings, earrings, studs, more rings for his eyebrows, more studs, and by the time he was finished administering all his accessories, save for leaving the torn lobe more time for scarring, Dimitri was starting to wonder why Soren was still sprawled across the ground. "Hey, wake up Soren."

"Hmmmm." He turned over.

Wait a second. Natalija's eyes jolted open, as she glanced over at Dimitri.

"Where we at...?" He mused, to himself, looking around hopelessly. "Pretty fancy tower we got behind us. Fancy city in front of us...."

Soren? Natalija's ponytail was in the wrong place on her head. She reached up to adjust it. Wrong clothes on her skin. Wrong arms. Wrong hands. No gloves. Natalija looked down. Wrong outfit. Ugly. Outfit. Natalija took a deep breath, and Dimitri turned around. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" Wrong voice.

Dimitri sweatdropped, "Chill out..."

"Don't tell me to chill out," Natalija replied in Soren's voice, probably butchering any image he'd been trying to pass off, "I have like, every right to be freaking out right now. The brightest lightbulb in the fixture has just gone and landed me in one of the most boring outfits- ever. I mean, this T-shirt, is disgusting. At least spread out your grunge if you're gonna do a print tee. And these jeans- if I wanted to air out my legs, I would do it by wearing shorts. And what the heck is dragging me down-“ Natalija looked down at the hoop in her hand. Just more confirmation that Stahn’s punishment had been a body swap. “Ugh!” Natalija, in Soren’s less-than-adequate body, got to her feet, brushed herself off without much shame to the fact that she was in someone elses body and stumbled a little. “He’s too tall.” She muttered in explanation as Dimitri stared at whom he’d once thought was Soren with an utterly stupid, dumbstruck look on his face. His mouth was wide open in confusion, and Natalija glared at him. “What, do I make him look good or something?”

“…” If anyone had been hard to understand, it was this girl, “Right… the whole three meters business… You know,” Dimitri said shaking away the cloud of confusion that was growing by the second, “I’m not even going to ask.”

“Good.” Natalija stuck her nose in the air.

Dimitri slapped a hand to his mouth, trying not to burst out in laughter, but only succeeding halfway. He’d never expected to hear Soren’s voice in that terribly stuck-up, almost valley-girl accent.

“Come on. We’re finding Orangutan, because I know he’s just going to be a klutz and ruin everything. He should be grateful I wasn’t wearing heels.” Natalija stormed past Dimitri, who followed, laughing wildly as he couldn’t hold it in anymore. His back now throbbed dully, not enough to keep him from enjoying himself freely. Being knocked out all the time was probably pretty helpful, in terms of resting, as ironic as it was.


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


Aertan felt a very slight smile when Faewyn referenced the same thing he was thinking about. Yeah. Definitely like the first time. He wanted to tell her that it was okay that she worried him, but if he said it, he wasn’t sure if he could keep himself from tagging on a: “You worry me every hour of the day”. And that certainly wouldn’t help; nor did he want her to know that he was constantly fretting over every little thing. But while he was still contemplating a response, Faewyn dropped the bomb he’d so wanted to never bring up. He said nothing and didn’t move for a few seconds before unraveling his arms from around Faewyn, dropping his hands to lightly grasp hers as he looked down at her with a slightly uncomfortable gaze. He opened his mouth to say something but changed his mind, closing it again before finally giving a reluctant nod. He took a deep breath, tightening his hands around hers for a second.

“If that’s what you want to do.” Aertan said evenly, looking away to the fire, “But this time, I’m going with you. Especially if you’re going to visit that troublemaker.” Sighing, he was now at a loss of what to say. He didn’t approve of any of it. But he definitely understood why Faewyn wanted to go; which was why he wasn’t stopping her, unlike before, when she’d insisted on going to Alta for the most pointless reasons. “We’re too old for big adventures Faewyn. If we do find Pethalamine, we have to let the brat handle it. I’m definitely not going to let you go down to the Underneath.” He hated being bossy like this, but compared to Alta, the Underneath was in a whole different picture. Aertan was more than just against her going down if Pethalamine did show up there. Aertan leaned his head back, heaving a long, heavy sigh.

"I really don't like that guy." Aertan groaned.

Reid was just the kind of person you'd want to...

Sock in the face for not giving a proper goodbye like a normal person, damn it.

parallelzero
September 10th, 2008, 05:22 PM
"I think the Princess is just a bit away..." Yuki made reference to Natalija's presence in response to Pethalamine's inquiry. He sounded tired, and he wasn't particularly in the mood to keep up a 'rawr' facade for the moment. It certainly wasn't the time or place. "She seems to be pretty beaten up though - will probably hurt a little more than a bit. There's a large piece of glass in her stomach we should probably remove as well. Her hairs a mess, so I bet she won't be too cheery even if we do that much for her before she wakes." Though really, they were all in the same boat at that point. Even Yuki had sustained a multitude of bruises and cuts, not to mention that his chest wound had opened up once again. Great, just great. "I'm pretty sure I heard Dimitri and Soren a little while ago, so they can't be too far away. You shouldn't move for a little bit, though. I'll tend to Natalija." Not that he was in any state to be actively doing things himself, but his sense of pride told him that he owed her a favor for bandaging him up earlier.

Yuki waded through the sea of debris, every so often taking the time to catch his breath or cover a bleeding wound, and while doing so he's glance up at the tower, which was at that point eclipsing the sun. Just what the hell was going on? The people were going to get more and more panicked if things proceeded like this. Not being an avid scholar himself, he had no clue what this could possibly mean. Chances were Soren or Pethalamine would have some ideas, however. He finally reached his goal, and struggled to kneel down beside her. Like this... Natalija didn't look like the little monster she actually was. She was actually kind of peaceful. That's when it dawned on him. The fact that Soren and Natalija had exceeded their limit. He had to proceed with caution. With Stahn, there was no telling what he could have done to them as punishment. He was quick to shake cautiousness when it looked as if the girl wasn't breathing, and put his hand up to her chest to feel for a pulse from her heart. Sure enough, there was one, thankfully.

He almost had a panic attack when the girl opened her eyes - well, it was more like she was squinting, trying to make out what it was she was looking at. Natalija's eyes were watery, as well, which came as no surprise considering that glass fragment in her stomach was probably causing some kind of pain. Interestingly enough, even with the fall her clothing was still in a relatively good condition. Even the glass had lodged itself in her stomach after her shirt had become loose and fallen up a bit. He was quick to remove his hand from where it was before, but the girl just kept watching. "Yuki? Is everyone okay? I felt like I was just hit by a bus..." Yuki, at this point, was a little flabbergasted. He was even more surprised when she ran a hand through her now extremely messy hair and didn't immediately fix it. Not to mention she wasn't running her mouth like she had an extremely bad case of verbal diarrhea.

Soren didn't know what to think when he woke up. There was Yuki, his hand on his chest. Was he checking for his heartbeat? He certainly felt half dead, that much was for sure. If circumstances were normal, he would, at the very least, be able to move properly, and have quite a bit of energy remaining. But, his muscles ached, and he felt extremely drained. Not to mention the great abnormality in his voice when he addressed Yuki. His voice was a lot higher, a lot melodic. Yet, it was irritatingly familiar. Puzzled, he ran his right hand through his hair and found that it was a little thicker and longer than usual, not to mention that black strands were hanging down over his eyes. "Yuki..." Ugh, so that's what happened. He knew who's voice it was now. "I'm... Natalija... aren't I?" Yuki nodded in reply, looking even more confused than he did before. That was Soren's queue to sit up quickly, only to find himself back on the ground and the glass shot into his body further.

"You... shouldn't make any sudden movements. Not with that embedded in your flesh. So I guess this is what that bastard did to you and her, eh, Soren?" Yuki replied, offering the girl a hand with no particular sign of emotion on his face. "Oi, Pethalamine! Natalija and Soren swapped bodies!"

Soren turned crimson, the fact sounding extremely surreal to even himself. Eventually, he got to his... well, her feet, and struggled with keep such a position. His whole body ached, and Natalija was not a girl who exercised often, if at all. That much was obvious. But, he could tell she was a practiced dation user. There was way more present in his system than he was used to. "As much as I'd love to take the time to get used to this, we should probably get help first. This form has a lot of power, so I should be able to warp us to my uncle's from here..." It was still difficult listening to himself talk, but he had to admit he sounded sweeter than the ever witchy Natalija. Though he was not looking forward to meeting with her again.

"GUYS! WE HAVE A WAY OUT! YOU SHOULD TRY AND GET OVER HERE!" Yuki shouted, hoping the others would hear. It would not be easy moving Natalija's body elsewhere in the condition it was in, and she didn't look like she was in any mood to be carried.

Alter Ego
September 12th, 2008, 05:15 PM
Pethalamine nodded slowly, seating herself on a nearby rock. Yuki sure didn't look any better suited for walking about, but the scholar's stomach still felt like it had been punched into her spine and her headache was as persistent as ever, so she really wasn't in the mood to argue about anything that meant less exertion and less looking at messy wounds for her. She was lucky, she supposed, to just have gotten off with being battered and bruised, but hunched over in a vain attempt to make her body ache a bit less as she was, she really couldn't think of herself as particularly fortunate.

As she sat there by herself, Pethalamine couldn't help her gaze drifting over to the imposing shape of the black tower reaching up towards the sky above, far further than her gaze would carry. 'Tower of Babel', she couldn't help thinking, chuckling quietly at her own historian tendencies. What a nonsensical connection to make; it was hardly like Ophelia was going to smite the structure down and break up the languages or anything...right? With all the strange goings on lately, the scholar couldn't help feeling just a bit less secure about that reasoning than usual, turning her gaze away from the imposing structure. 'Nonsense.' she told herself, 'This is no time to take on ancient superstitions.'

"Oi, Pethalamine! Natalija and Soren swapped bodies!"

The scholar blinked, half-surprised by how readily her mind accepted this absurd statement. But then, with everything else she had experienced these past two days, a simple body swap seemed almost comfortingly normal.

"Okay!" she called back, slowly rising to her feet as she added to herself, "Right. I've really been around these people too long."

Giving a tired martyr sigh, Pethalamine half-limped her way over to Yuki and what she supposed she should be thinking of as Soren now, slumping down next to the latter and giving a nod of acknowledgement to confirm that she was ready whenever they were.

'Wow...' she thought for herself as caught a glimpse of Soren's wounds, 'That little witch is going to blow her top when she sees this.'

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


At first, Faewyn seemed on the verge of protesting, but then thought the better of it. Honest concern was something she had never been good in arguing against, and right now, Aertan's manner exhuded it.

"Alright." she said softly, "No underneath, promise. But if there is any way I can help that doesn't put me in direct danger, don't expect me not to take it."

Finally breaking contact with the ex-priest, the aging scholar raised her index fingers to her temples, a habit she had taken to whenever communicating with her faels.

'Isaire, you were listening, correct?'

'Yes, m'am.' the plufael responded wearily, 'I assume you want me to contact Mistral? I should warn you, something about her reila's signature is not quite normal, I'm not sure if-'

'Actually, I was hoping that you could get in touch with Xaviae.' Faewyn interrupted, 'I think I'd rather confide in Adela first; Reid might just end up deciding on something rash without telling anyone about it. You can manage Xaviae, right? Even at this distance?'

'No problem.' Isaire replied, 'It may take a while, but distances between souls are relative at best. There are loopholes.'

Faewyn couldn't help smiling just a little. Even after all these years, the plufael still wanted to assure her that even the most exerting requests were no problem at all, 'Then please use them.' she shot back, 'Tell him to tell Adela that...' she paused for a moment, '...that we really need to talk to her and Reid face-to-face. And that it's really urgent, alright? Ask if it's okay for us to come over straight away.'

'As you wish. And Faewyn?'

'Hmm?'

'Please don't do anything reckless while I'm gone.'

The professor couldn't help shaking her head as she felt her plufael's presence grow a bit more distant than usual. Whether he knew it or not, Aertan was certainly not the only one who fussed over her safety every waking our of the day.

"Isaire's taking the message." she told him, though this was probably redundant, leaning down to scoop up the various discarded newspapers and magazines and placing them in a haphazard stack on the nearest table, "Regardless of the answer, we should probably pack." there was a rather apologetic edge to her smile as she faced Aertan again, "We might not come back for a while."

Loki
September 12th, 2008, 07:11 PM
ooc: Wow I fricked up this post. Let's celebrate. <_< Are you going to have Isaire say something in your next post, or was I supposed to figure that Isaire showed up? Because I'm still waiting on a Reid part from David, and moving Adela right now would be kind of too much self-interaction. D:


Natalija had hated being in Soren’s body since the very start, but there was one thing that she hated the most. It wasn’t the fact that he wasn’t nearly as fashionable as she’d have liked, and it wasn’t that his mahstion prowress was considerably lower than hers; It was the fact that Soren didn’t seem to be hungry at the moment. Natalija swallowed a lump in her throat. She felt utterly sick. It had been a long time since she’d been as full as Soren was now, having grown incredibly used to having a stomach that was bordering on half-full. She felt disgustingly fat and was glad for the fact that there was no mirror around. She didn’t think she’d be able to handle seeing it; his orange hair, tacky jeans, and even tackier shirt. But even worse than that, she wouldn’t be able to handle seeing the muscle. It was okay on other people, but now that she was in this body, the extra bulk that Soren carried, though it wasn’t exactly as much as she’d been expecting, Natalija was ready to burst out in tears. It wasn’t easy to get as skinny as she was. But regardless, the young fashion star was holding up rather well on the outside, considering her utter despair on the inside. But that was her specialty, so even though she was just about ready to gag, her irritated expression stayed put.

Dimitri stopped following Natalija obediently, wrenching his hand out of the vice-grip she had on his wrist. Natalija spun around, crabbed at the fact that Dimitri had the nerve to- “… Yuki says they found a way out.”

“So you’re psychic now?” Natalija jabbed sarcastically.

“No, I just have better hearing than you.” Dimitri put his hands behind his ears.

“Right, because you have huge ears and amplifiers attached to them.” Natalija shot back just as quickly.

Dimitri was silent for a moment. The comeback he’d thought up sounded terribly ridiculous compared to the jab at his earrings. “His voice came from over here.” Dimitri finally sighed in defeat, as Natalija stuck her nose in the air, following Dimitri and looking more acrimonious than she’d ever been.

“Yuki?” Dimitri peered around the corner of the tower, spotting the other three and waving cheerfully, “Hey! We’re over here!” He paused when he started getting nearer. “Woah, you guys are really beat up.”

Natalija scoffed, “That’s because I had the sense to make a barrier-“ She caught sight of her body and took a sharp breath. Catching her hand over her mouth and forcing herself not to throw up from the mixed sight of her own precious body mangled as it was, and the unnatural amount of food in Soren’s stomach. After she was in the safe zone, she clenched her fists, tightening her arms against her body in a pose that probably would’ve only conveyed the purpose if she’d been in her body, instead of Soren’s. “What did you do to my body?! And- You destroyed my favorite shirt!! I can’t believe you!!!” She slapped her hands to her head in the middle of her shrill tirade, unconsciously rearranging the hairstyle of her new body, “That shirt has a huge sentimental value, thank you very much!”

Dimitri sweatdropped. The condition of her body was only a little fore note compared to her shirt. “You owe me another shirt! And it can’t just be any shirt! I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but you better!! And my beautiful hair!! It’s ruined!!!”

“I think we should focus on healing that wound, first-“

“Well, duh. That’s a given. What do I need to spell that out too? Do I need to point out the fact that Soren,” She motioned to the body she was currently occupying with her hands, “is practically unscathed compared to me? Ugh! Absolutely no etiquette. I swear to god.”

Dimitri shoved Natalija aside, earning an indignant, “Uh, excuse me?” He ignored her however, and plowed on, finding that he was getting extremely tired of being shoved out of the picture by her queen-bee attitude.

“You said we have a way out of her, Yuki?” Dimitri asked, his voice dripping poisonous honey. He was no longer as particularly concerned about Natalija’s body as he’d originally been.


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


Aertan watched Faewyn for a long time. He was already having second thoughts about this. After a moment of staring down at the floor, he shook his head, walking over to the table and sliding on his glasses so that he could see properly again. “Alright.” Was the best he could offer for everything Faewyn had said. He certainly wasn’t pleased with himself for being so selfish about everything, but he wasn’t exactly an adventure seeker, like Reid. But he didn’t want to be more like an overbearing, overprotective father to Faewyn. That would be… The very thought supported his decision to let Faewyn go, even if he’d sort of cheated by setting some rules.

Haeon’t tossed two logs of wood into the fire as Aertan flicked his finger towards it half-heartedly, the hearth igniting from Geote’s weak, dwindling flames into a healthy source of warmth. He certainly felt better than before though. At least this time, he’d be with her. And damn, he’d have to deal it out with his boss too. Fionus users weren’t exactly in demand, but it wasn’t exactly party-day at the station when someone who could burn through the piles of snow without much trouble decided to take an extended leave. “Go ahead and write a letter to Brandon.” Aertan said, glancing at his substitute left hand, the eye in Haeon’t’s palm blinking before looking around, reaching into a different room for a paper and pen.


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

A dark figure walked through the Slums, the perpetually dim streets and overcast sky creating the perfect backdrop for his gloomy appearance. He was dressed entirely in black, save for his red tie, and his thin, waist-length black hair drifted through the air behind him as he walked at a casual pace. His long bangs partially obscured the glint in his eye, but the slight, cunning smile on his face was more than enough to reveal the rest of his expression. The few people scattered about at this time of day, when people should’ve been bustling about the streets, avoiding walking too close to him. Not because of his sinister aura, but because he was dressed in clean, spotless clothes. He was obviously not from the Slums. He obviously did not belong to the Slums. And even stranger, he seemed to be enjoying his time in the Slums, which was a feat, even for the very people who lived there. The man associated himself with few people, but those who knew him, such as his tailor, or single butler, knew him only as “Guile”. Not a single person was stupid enough to believe that this was his real name, but not a single person was stupid enough to ask him for his real name. He set himself apart, and this particular mission was probably the one that would bring him closest to people other than himself. Of course, despite the urgency of this mission, The Watcher, as he liked to call himself, had absolutely no intentions of rushing himself. Having decided on a passing fancy to make a short detour to the Slums, he was glad he had.

Such a beautifully impoverished place. This was indeed, the best breeding ground for humans who would value others, and survive through teamwork and loyalty. Those who did not band together with others died. Quite the simple process. Those who did band with others, survived and grew to become strong both independently, and with others. Quite the simple process.

Being in the slums was a win-win situation to the mystery man, Guile.

But he had no intentions of sticking around and getting his suit dirtied by a poor beggar who hadn’t yet learned the rules of survival in the world. And so Guile made quick work of his survey, before swiftly exiting the worst, yet in Guile’s opinion the best, place in the Underneath.

Alter Ego
September 13th, 2008, 08:45 AM
OOC: Ehh...I pretty much left it open so neither approach would conflict with anything. Isaire making an entry right about...now. :3

Oh, and just as a heads up? His part is probably going to look a bit...crack-inspired. XD

And just as an FYI, I don't have any particular plans for the old priest-poser guy who's pulling Alderian's strings right now, so if you want to use him as a disposable antagonist or whatever, go right ahead. I just figured that a guy like Stahn would have plenty of people who would like to see him dead. x3

IC:

Isaire shut his eyes, inhaling slowly as he allowed the mist that constituted his wings to scatter into a thin circle around his waist instead. He had a favored form of visualization for this particular technique, and it was that of a ring. Right now, he was standing in the center of a ring formed by his wings, in the center of a lake, the boundary of which formed a ring. This lake was in the center of a verdant valley, surrounded by a mountain boundary which also formed a ring. The mountains were in the center of a small floating islet, the edge of which formed a ring. This islet was at the center of a Betan territory, which formed a ring. This territory was at the center of a looser belt of of floating continents and islands, owned by Gregar, Tealia, Flazure, and Carn respectively. Another ring at the center of the ring that was the Earth's circumference, which was at the center of another ring formed by the moon's orbit, which-

The plufael forced that train of thought to a halt, a drop of sweat running down his brow. That had been close...far too close to losing his sense of self to the ever-expanding maze of rings. He needed to conserve his energy if he wanted to find his way back. No, not back, he reprimanded himself, this was not motion in any direction; that was why it worked. This was simply a shift in perspective. He was still in the center of the ring, which was the moon's orbit, but also the Earth's circumference. At the center of this ring was another arbitary ring of islands and islets; at its center, Tealia. At the center of Tealia, when looked at widely enough, a cluster of cities and towns formed a ring, with a specific city at its center. At the center of this city, a ring of houses, and at the center of this ring, the Davies' home. At the center of a circle of rooms within this home, a room with people in it. At the center of a ring made of these people, Adela's head. The circumference of Adela's head made a ring, and at the center of this ring was her mind. At the center of her mind, a forest of trees, and at the center of these trees, one particular tree.

That was right, the mother tree was at the center of the ring. Isaire had not moved an inch since he began his journey at the center of the ring, so he was also there. Thus they both had to be at the center of the ring. The plufael held his eyes shut for a few moments more, staring down the universe in his own mind, baiting it to find fault in this reasoning. All was silent, all was still.

And the universe blinked.

Isaire shuddered slightly, even as he saw the forest of Adela's mindscape form in front of his eyes, wiping the worst of the sweat off his brow. Despite looking every bit the child that his form had been twenty-five years ago, he was aging, and this level of concentration took its toll. Definitely not something to make a habit of.

"Xaviae?" he called, peering varily into the forest around him as his wings slowly shifted back into their usual angelic shape. It may not have been as disconcerting as what Reid's mind would undoubtedly have had to offer, but the plufael had never felt very comfortable about this particular forest. The sooner he got this message delivered the better, "I have an important message for your reila!"

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


Faewyn couldn't help feeling just a little bit guilty as Aertan mentioned his boss, and specifically the need to write him a message. She hated causing him trouble like this, even if it was for important reasons, "Sorry..." she mumbled, briefly placing a hand on the man's shoulder, "I didn't mean to cause trouble for you like this."

"Oh, that's right!" Faewyn suddenly exclaimed, a sudden flash of realization causing her to flip up the noteook and pencil she still routinely carried with her, "I'm going to have to contact the university; they probably think I'm dead." she bit the eraser tip of the pencil in thought, "Hmm...wonder if I can file this under 'field research'?" she thought out loud, scratching down a number of tentative beginnings on the blank page in front of her. It wasn't that she was really that engaged in optimizing such trivial things, especially at a time like this, but right now, any form of distraction to keep her from agonizing over why the reply wasn't already there was a good thing.

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


The Tealian pilgrim sanctuary was as spartan and desolate as ever, devoid of virtually all ornaments save for a single, imposing statuette depicting the goddess which dominated the prayer hall, and a tinted glass window with the sacred symbol of their faith on it behind it. It was devoid of funding too, with chipped walls and flagging paint, wrapped in a constant half-gloom with its hopelessly insufficient lighting, yet to Alderian it had been home ever since his flight from Telfin, and there was no other place he would rather have been. Especially in times as dark as these.

"You are sad, mother." the skill murmured, still in the same kneeling position he had maintained for an entire day now, head bent towards the feet of the statuette, hands clasped together in prayer, "You are sad and angry, but fear not. I am here now. I am here. I will be your wrath. Simply guide me, and I will purge this rotten world of all who would harm you."

The statue remained as silent as it had been for this entire time, silent and disapproving.

"Why?" he hissed, straining against his own impatience, "Why will you not speak to me, mother? Why will you not tell me what angers you so? You are suffering, I can feel it; why will you not speak? Why-" his concentration finally broke, the skill grasping his head with both hands, "Why..." he whimpered, "...why can I never feel anything but your displeasure?"

"Because displeasure is all that the goddess can feel right now, Alderian."

Upon hearing his name, the skill snapped to attention, slowly rising to confront the aging, robed man who strode towards him, his eyes covered by a scrap of cloth as always.

"But why, father?" he asked, head still respectfully bowed, "I have converted so many faithless, I have followed your teachings to the letter. Surely, surely it all must have made some kind of change?"

The older priest shook his head slowly, "It is not enough, my son." he said, "This world has rotted and festered for centuries, plagued by heresy and earthly sin. The Goddess' anger runs deep, and is not easily satiated. Apologies of word and thought are nothing at this point; we must make them into action. Do you understand?"

"Of course, father." Alderian replied, "But what...what can I possibly do to-?"

"Have faith." his superior replied, grasping the skill by his shoulders and locking eyes with him, "You are a holy avenger, Alderian. An embodiment of Her wrath. She has placed the greatest of trusts in you; will you repay her with doubt?!"

The skill's eyes widened, his head shaking violently, "Never!" he exclaimed, newfound passion lighting in his eyes.

The older priest's crinkly mouth formed into a smile, "That is well." he replied evenly, "Are you prepared for a new mission, son?"

"I am, father."

"Excellent." the old man replied, gesturing for the other to follow as he guided him into his office - a deppresingly spartan room much like the rest, though a desk and other basic office equipment was present - and pulling out a file with a small photograph tacked to the upper edge, which he pushed across the surface of the desk and over to the skill for inspection, "This." the priest said evenly, "Is the man responsible for the destruction of Alta. Stahn Evalice, a godless man whose arrogance knows no bounds. He tampers not just with the human body, but with souls as well, experimenting on people and faels alike." he shook his head slowly, while Alderian merely stared in revolted disbelief at the file in front of him, "We have long been aware of his presence, but he hides his trail well and is difficult to trace. It is my belief that the fate that befell Alta is a direct consequence of his godless machinations. He is highly dangerous and must be eliminated, do you undestand?"

"Of course, father." Alderian replied, his expression dead serious, "I shall hunt him down and put an end to his evil immediately."

"Hold." his elder interrupted, raising up a hand to forestall the other's rising from the chair, "Evalice is a cunning foe and not so easily tracked down. Not even I could keep track of his movements until the Goddess' intervention provoked him into tipping his hand. We must do nothing that would cause him to retreat back into his hole and out of our reach again, do you understand?"

Alderian breathed heavily, clenching his fists, but nodded, settling down again, "Then what must be done?"

In response, the priest pushed over a number of far less detailed files, their haphazard construction making it quite obvious that they had been compiled in the hurry, "These." he said, indicating the files, "Are all survivors from the destruction of Alta with no prior connection to each other, all of them arrested in Tempest on unspecified charges shortly therafter before disappearing without a trace. It is common knowledge that the authorities in this area are easily swayed, and my informants have confirmed that this very same group boarded an airship headed for this very city. There is no doubt in my mind that these are - if not prior servants of this fiend - at the very least recruits swayed to serve Evalice's cause. What I would have you do, my son, is inflitrate this group, determine if they have been coerced into working with him or are doing so voluntarily, and most importantly: earn their trust and gain an audience with their ringleader. Then, when you are certain that there are no distractions, eliminate him. Do you have any problems with this, Alderian?"

The skill's reply was instantaneous, "No, father." he said, "It shall be as you say."

"Then there is only one thing remaining." the old priest replied, procurring a small bracelet from a draw in the desk and fitting it onto the confused Alderian's arm, well beneath the sleeve, "This is a mahstion suppression bracelet." he elaborated as the device clicked into its place, "It will limit your powers to the level of an ordinary individual so that they will not draw undue attention. You must also refrain from exhibiting any of your other...talents, unless necessary. Do not - I repeat, do not - allow your true power to be exposed unless fulfilling your mission depends on it. You are to join them solely in the capacity of a peaceful healer, is this clear?"

"It is clear."

"Then I shall pray for your success, my son." the elder replied, "Please treat yourself as best you can and prepare for a journey. I shall send word to you when the time is ripe for you to make your entrance. Ophelia be with you."

"You as well, father."

parallelzero
September 13th, 2008, 10:14 AM
Sip of coffee, sheet of paperwork. Another sip of coffee, another sheet of paperwork. Thus was Reid's routine every day he wasn't required to work on the field. As of late, the paperwork had been increasing substantial. Aside from the usually murders, robberies, and missing children, he now had to work on the humongous missing people report that surfaced after Alta's destruction. He chuckled to himself when he considered the fact that he wasn't as concerned with the problem as everyone else, but he'd looked death in the eyes far too many times in the past for him to even bother being afraid anymore. Besides, if it was for his wife and children, he would be strong - no, he would be even stronger if it meant protecting them, his precious family. His father had never really been there for him, well at least until he offered his life in order to save Reid from the plague, but that didn't really make up for eighteen years of negligence. He was never going to be like his own father. Never.

When he initially overheard Rosalynne shouting something about a Phoenix, he was quick to dismiss it as her playing a game. She didn't like going out that much, and when her brother left she often played games with herself that made little sense. Even at school, she preferred keeping to herself than befriending different people. That wasn't to say she didn't have any friends, she was actually quite popular thanks to her overenthusiastic personality. It wasn't until Adela called him down that Reid actually got up. It was about time for a break anyways. "Who d'ya think it is?" A young woman's voice echoed in his mind. Reid's fael, Mistral, had not changed at all in the past twenty years. She had refused to let appearance go past twenty, and thus that was the appearance she retained. Her light green hair was straight, and fell just below her bottom, and her eyes, one dark green and one light green, were as bright as ever. She even wore the same, white sundress she wore years ago, persistent on changing as little as possible. The question she posed wasn't very difficult to solve. A Phoenix looking for him? That could only be someone of relation to Ellianne. He had been keeping touch with her by letter all these years, but out of fear of the still present - though not as strong - discrimination, she had resolved not to leave the confines of her church and Flazure.

Meanwhile, outside, Rosalynne had returned to dragging Auri around, showing her various flowers and such as Lyrum accompanied them, apparently pleased to be with the youths as she smiled gently at the children and calmly carried on random conversation with them. Ellianne, on the other hand, was preoccupied with Adela, who seemed to be much more the woman than she had been twenty years ago. The way she treated her child... she was a very dedicated mother, that much was obvious. "Ah, how have I been?" She was a bit nervous, and found it weird that Adela hadn't commented on her age and appearance. But, it was common knowledge these days, so maybe she didn't care? She followed the woman as far as the stairs, but a sudden rumbling caught her off guard and she fell to her knees. That was when the black tower began to rise, the citizens overcoming a similar panic to the one that happened with Alta's fall. Lyrum took the initiative to lead Rosalynne inside with a warm smile the moment she felt the ground begin to shake, but Auri stayed back to watch. Reid too, as he reached the bottom of the stairs, raced out past Ellianne to see what the hell was going on now. First Alta, and then this? Some serious investigating needed to be done. And where was his son when all of this was happening?

The tremors finally subsided, and the tower stopped climbing, allowing for the group to regain their composure. It was interesting, to Reid at least, that the tower had struck down an air ship, that fell quickly to the ground after being split in two. He finally noticed Ellianne, and reached a hand out to her, a forced smile on his face. "Hey, it's been a while!"

Ellianne sweatdropped, but took his hand nonetheless and he pulled her back up to her feet. "You don't have to fake a smile, you know. I can tell this isn't a good time..."

"AH REID!" Auri leaped at the man, who caught the tween Phoenix girl with a little bit of confusion. He had obviously never met this person before, so how was she so familiar with him? He opened his mouth to inquire, but the girl cut him off. "It's me! Auricia! It's been a while!"

"...Auricia? Why do you... look like that?"

"She told me to!" The Phoenix child spat at Ellianne, who sweatdropped again.

"And the girl with you? The one who was inside with my daughter?"

"Lyrum. She's a singer. We're accompanying her as an order by my church. She's why we're here, actually... We need a way to talk to the Princess, and a place to rest." Ellianne took note of the exasperated look on the man's face at the implied connection he had to Evaline. It was obvious he still kept in touch with her, probably through mail or something. At least, that's what she assumed.

Reid glanced over at his wife, afraid to give them the okay on staying there without her okay as well.

---

The girl awoke in pure darkness in a cold sweat, with one word quivering on her lips. "Delphagues". Miki was quick to hear the sounds of people scattering all about, and she eventually fell unconscious once more.

---

Soren was in no mood to argue with the little witch, even if she was in his body. The glass sharp and various other wounds proved distraction enough, but then there was his constant hunger. For the love of god, did this girl eat? What the hell did she run off of? No wonder it was so difficult to move in her unfit body! Thankfully, Yuki took up sharp tongue on his behalf, since he was definitely not in a talking mood. "You do realize that he was unconscious, right? As in, he couldn't possible put up a barrier. Also, for the love of god, shut the hell up. We're all tired, we're all hurt, and we don't frigging care about what happened to a replaceable shirt! Your body is going to be in a lot worse condition if we don't treat it soon!" Talking to Soren's body about this was pretty damn awkward. There were so many others things wrong about the situation they were in, as well. There was also a lot of little things to sort out later, like how to refer to them in public.

"Would you guys... shut up? I'm exhausted." Soren managed to mumble in his sickly sweet female voice, so different from Natalija's usual tone. "So it turns out the witch is a little dation machine, so I think I can transfer us all to a place I know in Meredy where we can get help... So everyone hang tight a minute." Despite his lack of food, sleep, a healthy body, and an abundance of energy, he managed to concentrate enough to spawn a small pool of dation below the group that slowly expanded, dragging down the group members as it reached them.

---

"Er..." Reid was a bit confused when a dation portal appeared above the ground on his lawn and spat a group of bloody travelers onto the ground. He recognized Soren, but didn't rush to help. Something didn't feel right. Once again, he glanced at Adela to get an okay to do anything.

Loki
September 13th, 2008, 11:47 AM
Caught off guard by the tremors, Adela’s feet felt like jelly underneath her after they’d disappeared. And then Reid came running past her. And then Lyrum brought Rosalynne back inside. Adela reacted to the latter, moving over to Rosalynne and making sure that she was alright, before looking over at Reid, who had apparently deemed the quake as nothing major. She sweatdropped when he greeted Ellianne. What an excellent way to crack twenty years. Adela would’ve listened attentively, but after discerning that Rosalynne was unscatched and giving the little girl a quick peck on the forehead in relief, she’d quickly moved over to the door, peering out nervously as she tried to locate her older child. He was probably fine, as he was more rebellious and stubborn compared to Rosalynne, but the doting parent she was, she couldn’t help but worry. Twisting the hem of her shirt around her index finger, Adela jumped in surprise a little when the people behind her suddenly stopped talking, and she recalled the conversation that had only just barely registered in her mind. “A-Ah, well it’s fine with me, but shouldn’t Auricia be in-“

An unfamiliar dation signature interrupted her as she spun around, peering outside as a portal dropped a whole gaggle of people onto her front lawn. “… Terrance!” Adela exclaimed in surprise, her eyes widening as she looked around at Reid, completely baffled. Seeing that he was obviously not about to do anything while her temper on edge (she liked visitors, but there was a limit, really.) she swiftly hurried over to the boy, who was quite flustered. “What happened here? Who are these people-“

“Me?” Natalija snarled at Yuki, “If anyone should shut the hell up it’s you- how dare a low life like you say that to me while you guys are wasting my power just so we can- Hey!!”

Dimitri shoved Soren, or in this case, Natalija, aside, waving his hand at Adela and apologizing, “I’m very sorry about this, could you give us a minute to sort things out? We’re having a few issues right no-“

“I don’t have any issues whatsoever! It’s those two,” Natalija pointed at her body and Yuki, “That have the problem!”

“Stop it already,” Dimitri snapped, “You realize that you’re in Soren’s body right now, so these people think your Soren, right?”

“As if I care- Mmmff!!” Natalija turned positively green as a wad of dirt stuck itself in her mouth.

“Very sorry.” Dimitri said again, sweatdropping as he shoved Natalija behind him, “This one’s not Soren.”

At this point, Adela was at a loss for words. She took a few steps back into the house and looked over at Reid in confusion. This… not so amiable looking young man was not doing a good job of explaining what was going on; but Soren’s periodic interjections weren’t really helping either. Something was off- and it wasn’t just the way Soren was talking. And then there was the girl, dressed in the strangest outfit. She was vaguely familiar, but Adela couldn’t place her finger on it, no matter how much she strained to dig up the memory. The girl who looked to be in the worst condition was also somewhat familiar. Well no, maybe not her herself… Adela was utterly confused. “Wait a minute-“

“Just keep quiet for like, five minutes woman!” Dimitri snapped, cracking his hand across Natalija’s neck. She was out like a light. Oops. Dimitri looked helplessly from Soren's unconcious body to the real Soren in Natalija's body, before finally stammering, “… Or… y’know. An… an hour works too…. Argh, I’m sorry Soren, I totally didn’t mean to knock you out- or well not you but- you know, it wasn’t on purpose and I don’t have anything against you it’s just that-“

“ENOUGH ALREADY.” Adela barked. Dimitri looked over at the teal haired woman, who looked like her patience had long run out. “Everyone inside, you’re making a scene! Whichever one of you is Terrance- if he’s even here, you have a lot of explaining to do! Another portal appeared under the group, and Adela turned around indoors, ushering Rosalynne onto the stairs away from the travelers as she spun around with her hands on her hips, “First things first, the half dead ones need to be healed. I trust I can leave that to you Auricia, and I guess that’ll be your payment for lodging, because I’ll have you know that scrubbing blood off the floor and washing it off the lawn is not my idea of a happy weekend. And quite frankly, I’m going to go look for-“

“Woah, Mom.” A tawny haired boy with wide questioning green eyes stood in the doorway. His sleeveless royal blue hoodie had slid off his shoulder, revealing the graphic prints on his white, cap-sleeved T-shirt. His black cargo shorts were torn at the knee, and a little trickle blood was slowly streaming down his leg, pooling in the heel of his flip-flops. He looked somewhat out of breath, as if he’d made it home as fast as he could, “What’s going on?” His eyes were on the group of people in the middle of the living room, as confused as his mother about the strange gathering.

“Serge!” Adela’s voice came shrill as she rushed over to the boy, fussing over his knee, “What happened to your leg?!”

“Oh,“ Serge looked down at his leg as if it was nothing, “A sword fell on me during the tremor. It just stings a little since it scraped off some of my skin, but I didn’t get cut too bad. Where’s Dad and-“ Serge looked up, spotting Rosalynne on the stairs. And then he scanned the rest of the room for his father- whom he found relatively fast, even in the huge mess. “Okay, so everyone’s okay. Except those people.” Serge raised an eyebrow at Soren, “Well, Soren looks fine. Do you need me to help out?” He looked over at his mother, who looked as if all her patience had been revitalized at the sight of her relatively safe son. No longer worrying over the most important aspect now, Adela shook her head.

“Go fix up your knee. I would do it myself but-“ Adela glared heartily at Soren. Or at least, his body.

“It’s okay Ma.” Serge sweatdropped, kicking off his flip flops outside and smearing the blood on his heel across the concrete steps before hopping inside on one leg, “Seriously, it’s just a scrape.” He was careful not to get too much blood on the floor, knowing how anal his mother was about keeping the house clean. “Lynn, get the first aid kit for me.” Serge paused, adding a quick, “Please.” At the end as he carefully scaled the stairs.

In the meantime, Adela had paused, folding her arms and looking wholly detached from anyone in the room again.

’Isaire?’ Xaviae stepped out from the edge of the clearing, looking as unchanged as Mistral, and his lack of insight hadn’t changed at all. He hardly even noticed Isaire’s discomfort, smiling cheerfully and making small talk. ’Well this is rare. What’s up?’

Alter Ego
September 13th, 2008, 12:43 PM
“… Terrance!”

Pethalamine had a headache.

“Me?” Natalija, who looked like Soren, snarled at Yuki, “If anyone should shut the hell up it’s you- how dare a low life like you say that to me while you guys are wasting my power just so we can- Hey!!”

A big, throbbing headache.

“I don’t have any issues whatsoever!" Soren's body continued in a comically shrill falsetto, "It’s those two that have the problem!”

"Could you..." Pethalamine began slowly, grasping her forehead as her eyes lazily drifted from phoenix girl, to boy-that-was-girl, to girl-that-was-boy, to the strangers who were supposedly the aunt and uncle of the girl-who-was-actually-a-boy.

“Stop it already,” Dimitri snapped, “You realize that you’re in Soren’s body right now, so these people think your Soren, right?”

"Could you all...just...please..."

“Just keep quiet for like, five minutes woman!”

Pethalamine blinked as the most immediate source of pain for her was suddenly silenced by the most unlikely of sources. Even Dimitri's patience, it seemed, had its limits. This was far from a permanent fix, however, as it was now the unidentified teal-haired lady's turn to kick any last notion of acceptable decibel levels to the curb.

She had a point about making a scene, the scholar supposed as she was ushered inside along with the others, and was probably justified in having a fit over all of this, seeing as how they had all just popped up battered and bleeding in the middle of her neat little lawn, but that didn't exactly make the process any easier on her ears. It was strange, though, when the teal-haired woman scowled like that...it...made her look familiar somehow. The chaos around her and the unyielding complaints of her body didn't give Pethalamine much chance to analyze this further, however, especially when a little boy - unidentified teal-hair's son, she assumed - decided to add to the scene by barging in with a bleeding knee.

Pethalamine raised her hand to her head again, feeling even dizzier and more disoriented than before. As much as this looked like a conversation she did not want a part in, she finally spoke up.

"...m'am?" she ventured at last, painfully aware of how much the expression on Adela's face at the moment resembled her regular look when she was immersed in a book. Specifically, the 'don't even think about bothering me' look, "...I don't want to impose but, I...could really use a lie-down...or at least something to lean on. Is there any chance that I could..?" her question peetered out. She was not in a good shape for spouting polite nothings right now.

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


'Yes, it's...not often I do this.' Isaire managed a strained smile in response to Xaviae's greeting. Not that he seemed to notice the difference, oblivious as usual, 'Look, I'd love to talk, but this is urgent and it's not healthy for me to maintain such a large distance from my reila, as I'm sure you know. Faewyn really needs to speak with both Adela and her husband as soon as possible. It's...about Pethalamine.' he dearly hoped that Xaviae - or Adela, at the very least - remembered the name, 'Could you please relay this message to your Reila and ask her if it is alright for Faewyn and Aertan to pay a visit?'

parallelzero
September 20th, 2008, 06:44 AM
Soren couldn't help but think that perhaps this wasn't the best place to transport the group, what with the body swap and all. He was now painfully recalling his aunt's explosive nature when it came to anyone but her children.

"Me? A low life? My family is in possession of more money than she could ever dream of!" Apparently Yuki had been irritated enough by Natalija to talk down to her even after she had been knocked out by Dimitri, which Soren was unimpressed with considering he would hopefully be re-inhabiting that body sometime soon. He probably would have yelled at Dimitri, if not for the fact that he was tired and beat up as it is, and moving that many people via dation appeared to zap a lot of energy, even for Natalija's form. He still hadn't fully grasped the fact that he wasn't himself yet, partly because he'd been pretty much immobile since he woke up thanks to the wounds her body sustained.

“ENOUGH ALREADY.” Adela barked. Great, she had absolutely lost it now. He was screwed. “Everyone inside, you’re making a scene! Whichever one of you is Terrance- if he’s even here, you have a lot of explaining to do!" Totally screwed. Not that he really had the energy to speak up and say 'It's me!', he was having enough problems lifting his head to watch what was going on. He could tell, at the very least, that his uncle had already picked him out from the crowd. If had done that much, then since he knew Stahn, he probably had an idea of what was going on.

It wasn't much longer after that he found himself upon a bed - which had as few sheets as possible to avoid staining - with the little phoenix girl beside him, a warm light radiating from her hands, which were placed over the stomach wound. When he was completely bandaged up, he was permitted to leave the room in search of the others. It wasn't very hard, as his uncle's townhouse wasn't particularly large and he had come to visit multiple times. However, he found himself stopping every so often to adjust to Natalija's form. The very first thought that came to mind was how hungry he was. Apparently, this girl was the type who starved herself just to stay ultra thin, and as he ran his delicate hand over his stomach atop her torn shirt, he could tell she really was thin. And weak. Weak was definitely something Natalija was physically. Barely any muscle, which made it hard to lift things, stretch properly, or even walk. In the end, he had to recall how Natalija walked and mimicked it best he could. He had no idea how he was going to fight if he had to.

He eventually came upon the living room on the second floor, which was a location where people seemed to be gathering. Soren's body was sprawled across the couch, still unconscious, and Yuki seemed to be in the middle of a discussion with Reid. "Yeah, that's right. We'll do it tomorrow evening, so you should all get some rest tonight." His Uncle took a sip of a cup of coffee after finishing his sentence, and noticed Soren in the corner of his eye. "Ah, are you feeling better, Soren? Yuki here explained everything, and it's actually kind of funny!" Soren's eye twitched in disapproval. There was nothing humorous about this mess. He began absent mindedly playing with the much longer hair than he was used to. He was aware that it was a total mess, which was why he wanted to fix it before the real Natalija woke up. "It's also funny that Stahn's asked me to work with you... though I guess I'm really the only way to get an audience with Eva at this point..." The man REALLY hoped his wife wasn't listening. He had kept his communications with the Princess absolutely secret by request of Evaline, and if she overheard she'd probably kill him.

"SOREN! Is that really you!?" Rosalynne, apparently having returned from bringing the first aid to her dearest older brother, leaped into his arms. Though, he was lacking the upper body strength he usually had, and they toppled to the floor from the impact. "Why the heck do you look like that? Huh? HUH? You look so pretty!" He sweatdropped. Only Rosalynne would word it so that it sounded kind of positive.

OOC: I found time to post. \o/ Didn't get a lot accomplished, but I found time. \o/

Loki
September 20th, 2008, 08:24 PM
While Adela had seemingly disappeared, Serge sidled into the room, putting a pot of coffee down on the table before situating himself in the corner of the room. His face was a mixture of confusion and mirth at Soren’s new form, but he neglected to ask about it. With such an interesting crowd, it just didn’t seem right for someone as boring and average as him to interject. His mother was quick in entering the room after him, running a hand through the roots of her hair, no longer able to drag her fingers through the long strands. After brushing aside a few stray bangs, Adela sat down staring coolly at Reid with her arms folded. Her expression demanded an explanation from him as well. She wasn’t about to doubt for a second that the reason for all these intruders were attracted here because of him. She, unlike her son, had absolutely no problems with interrupting the conversation, piping up, “Faewyn just contacted me; Her and Aertan will be coming over as well. I haven’t the faintest idea why they think you would know something about this girl named Pethalamine, but I won’t ask right now. It sounds urgent so they’ll probably be here soon. Since these are your guests, I’ll let you think of something Reid, but I seriously doubt we have room for eight- ten people. If you can manage it though, I don’t mind them being here.”

Dimitri blinked, saying nothing until Adela left the room, announcing that she was going to be downstairs making lunch if anyone needed her. As soon as the door swung shut behind her, he looked over at Soren; or… Natalija… Or… Whatever! He was having trouble distinguishing the two in his thoughts. “Soren, is the Pethalamine she mentioned our Pethalamine?”

“Who cares?”

Dimitri jumped at the voice from the couch, Soren’s face glaring at him in utter contempt. Natalija cracked her neck, sitting up and rubbing it. Throwing one leg over the other, Natalija hardly made even half the effort to copy Soren’s movements as he was exerting to mimic hers; She was perfectly content with acting the way she always did. Though, it seemed the irritation at getting knocked out had somewhat calmed her down, a reverse effect completely unexplainable. “What’re we doing here anyway?” She asked, propping her head up on her hand as she stared contemptuously around the room, giving a little “hmph!” when she noticed Yuki. “And how long are you going to walk around in my body with my hair in that condition, Florence? If I get split ends you’re a dead man.” Yawning, if Natalija hadn’t been stuck in Soren’s body, she probably would’ve looked very much like a pampered feline who’d just woken up from a satisfying nap. Albeit, a somewhat grumpy cat.

“How’d you wake up so fast?” Dimitri asked, seemingly no longer inclined to bend to her will, “I’m pretty sure I hit you kind of hard.”

“Dunno.” Natalija’s curt response came, getting straight to the point, “Soren’s body has better vitality than mine. Like I was saying. What are we here for?”

But like it or not, in Queen Bee mode, Natalija wasn’t going to be sidetracked by some random worker bee like Dimitri.

Alter Ego
September 21st, 2008, 03:08 PM
"Mmmph..."

Pethalamine sighed, shifting her position once more. Her headache had subsided, and somewhere during her flickering in and out of sleep, she vaguely recalled someone having come around to treat the various bruises and abrasions on her body. She wasn't bleeding, she wasn't bruised, she wasn't nauseous, she wasn't deathly tired. Given the recent events, this should have felt like heaven, yet something kept nagging at her mind...

The scholar twisted around again, trying to make sense of the feeling. Hunger? No, her stomach had recently been bent and turned in a number of interesting ways whose existence she had not even been aware of until now. Healed or no, eating was still far from a priority right now. Thirst, then? Her throat felt just a bit dry, but not to any really bothersome extent. Faels? Surprisingly, they were both docile at the moment, no doubt soothed by the solitude of the guest room. This feeling...it went beyond mere physical cravings, beyond such trivialities as hunger or pain. This was a spiritual need, a gaping hole in her very being, and it would not be filled...she could not feel whole, not until...

...she found herself a nice, long book.

Groaning into the pillow, Pethalamine lingered in the bed a few moments more before reluctantly rising to her feet again. She just couldn't help it. Learning how to read, it had not only been one of her proudest achievements but also the very thing that brought her and Faewyn from an arrangement of convenience to acting like genuine mother and daughter. Reading was more than just a passtime or hobby to her; it was a way of life. Now that she thought about it, her tendency to reach for the gun...it wasn't even self-preservation but sheer instinct, the necessity to hold something in place of the usual, reassuring bulk of the tome, that strange feeling of exposure without a book to peer over. All this time...the source of all her discomfort had been something that simple?

Chuckling softly for herself, Pethalamine slid down from between the sheets and onto the cool floor beneath, chosing to proceed barefoot rather than tempting the fates by tracking the assembled dirt on her boots about the house. A book, that was all she needed. She wasn't even that picky about what kind of book right now. Just as long as it was comfortably thick and heavy and had a large enough wall of text to shield her from the outside world, she would be more than happy.

The Davies' house was a foreign one to Pethalamine, even as she couldn't help the nagging feeling of familiarity, and so she chose to simply stroll around at random, rationalizing that - unlike Stahn's creepy mansion - this was still a reasonably proportioned house where all corridors would eventually lead somewhere.

"Pethalamine?"

Surprised by hearing her name uttered, the scholar abruptly halted her march, pausing by the entrance to a slightly larger room than the others - living room, she found herself pegging it. For a few seconds, she simply lingered by the doorframe, half-contemplating whether she really wanted to go in there, half-hoping that the conversation about her would continue. When the conversation swung over to get another one of Natalija's rants, however, the young woman eventually conceded to circumstances, stepping properly into the room, knocking somewhat hesitantly on the doorframe.

"I...would appreciate knowing that as well." she reluctantly concured with Natalija's request for explanations, casting a hesitant glance at the only adult stranger in the room. Vaguely familiar too, now that she got a closer look at him, though just like before the where and when refused to surface, so the notion was quickly dismissed, "And..." the scholar bit her lip, "...this may sound like an odd request, but do you have any books around here? Mahstion, history, that sort of thing? I'm not that picky about the topic, but it would really mean a lot if I could..." she felt the color rise to her cheeks, painfuly aware of how odd this whole thing sounded, "...if I could just settle down and read for a bit." the scholar finished lamely, feeling even more awkward than before as she moved a bit closer to the group, off-handedly watching Soren as he was being healed.

parallelzero
September 22nd, 2008, 03:35 PM
Reid was a little more than uncomfortable when it came around to that time where Adela began to stare at him with her arms crossed. Why was she looking at him like all of this was his fault? Well... it was his fault, but not directly! He just had them dumped on him! Curse that Stahn! And then there was the problem of the Soren - witchy girl switch. It was kind of nostalgic, considering all the crap he had been put through by Stahn. But, he didn't appreciate the blackmail that was tagged onto the letter. 'If you don't comply, I wonder how your kids would like to get to know Armon and Sanako'. That guy was just as ridiculous as ever. Rosalynne and Serge really didn't need to see, let alone know about those times.

Of course, as Adela mentioned a girl named Pethalamine before deterring from the living room to make lunch, he knew who she was. Stahn's letter from the day before had specified her name, along with the rest of the people here. Speaking of the letter, now would probably be the best time, but his children had stumbled upon the room as well. "Rosalynne, can you take Serge to go help mom with lunch? There's a lot of people to feed today."

"Yup! Okay daddy!" Rosalynne exclaimed, running to grab her brother and dragging him down the stairs. There was a short silence afterwards, in which only the sound of Ellianne using wation to wash the lawn clear of blood outside could be heard. Of course, the silence was interrupted by Pethalamine, in which everyone almost faceplanted at the request she had at such a time. Before Reid could reply, his nephew finally got fed up with the person occupying his body, as the body of the girl he could only guess was 'Natalija' burst out in a high screech.

"I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT SPLIT ENDS ARE. THIS ISN'T MY FAULT, SO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, FIX IT YOURSELF." Probably wasn't the smartest thing to say.

"ANYWAYS." Reid interjected, afraid of his kids or wife coming back sometime soon. "Judging by the fact that he sent this many people to me, I'm guessing he didn't think I could handle it."

Yuki sat upon a couch, his head resting on his arm which was resting on the armrest (surprise!). "Handle what? From what I gathered, we're supposed to kill some people in order to save Carn's 'innocent' Princess. Why is this something you can't handle on your own? I can tell just by being in the room with you that your wionus abilities are much greater than my own." It was weird, actually. With most people, their mahstion signal felt somewhat unstable. But, with Reid, and his wife, it was completely stable. Could it be related to their faels somehow? Where they in sync? "Call me crazy, but it seems like we're more or less insurance for a much larger investment."

"..." That kid was sharp. That, or he had good hunches. "Yeah, the task is to eliminate the Carn leaders here with strong ties to their Council. Princess Evaline is only here as a figurehead really, not even allowed to leave her room. And I guess you could call yourselves Stahn's insurance. Since this operation means I'll have to kill my own sister, I guess he wanted to make sure I could do it."

"Your... sister? Aunt Ailia? She's part of Evaline's guard, isn't she?" Soren inquired. He felt like he just had a spike shoved through his chest. His Uncle always seemed to get along so well with his sister, and she had always treated Soren so kindly.

"Yeah... and the one keeping he Princess locked up."

Loki
September 22nd, 2008, 06:06 PM
Natalija gave Soren the chilliest look before upturning her nose, listening to Reid with a grumpy face. As soon as he finished on the note that he’d have to kill his own sister, Natalija quickly jumped back to the subject that she’d wanted to cover, practically ignoring Reid’s entire tirade. “So what, you want me to help you do my hair and my outfits while having to coordinate yours at the same time?” Natalija pointed to her new head of orange hair before rolling her eyes, “You need to learn how to dress and take care of my body. And for your information, my hair needs to be air dried, so don’t touch a blow dryer. And you don’t know what split ends are? Ugh. It’s called Trichoptilosis, and it happens when someone’s hair is fried or damaged. And if you don’t brush out my hair, I’m at higher risk of getting split ends. I’ve already cut off all the split ends on your head when I trimmed it earlier, so I guess you should count yourself a little lucky that I’m the one taking care of it now, because I’m sure you’d just go and ruin it again. Anyway, you come here.” Natalija motioned toward Soren, but frowned when nothing happened. She waved her hand more violently, and a block of Dation pushed her irritatingly disheveled body over to the couch she was lounging on. After forcefully pushing Dimitri off the other end, Natalija pulled Soren onto the couch, sitting up as she turned him around so that she could get a good view of her own hair. “I was actually considering the fact that you will look like a complete idiot if I fix it, since I wouldn’t really pin your image with someone who’s fond of playing with my hair.” She said, laboriously unknotting the hair with her fingers, for lack of brush, and for lack of motivation to ask for one. “But if you insist.”

“So,” Dimitri interjected before Natalija could continue, though somewhat expecting her to continue speaking while he was anyway, “I’m going to be honest here and say that I have absolutely no idea what the state of the government in the above ground is like, so I pretty much have no idea what you’re talking about, and I think you forgot to answer Pethalamine’s question Mr…?”

Natalija cut back in, “Princess Evaline is a representative from Carn; She isn’t actually apart of the royal Tealian family, whose line ended before most of us were even born. She’s the younger sister of King Dian VII, who is currently the ruling figure in Carn, and the Alta territories after being confirmed as the proper heir to throne twenty years ago, having taken back his title from a false prince. Little Miss History over there could probably tell you more.” Natalija ran her- or well, Soren’s, hands through the black strands, feeling for any knots that may have tied themselves in the mess that was her perfect hair. Moving on to the next portion, she began work on a very small knot in a single strand saying, “I’d say that most of us will probably be more of baggage than insurance.” She looked pointedly at Yuki, without much reason except for the fact that she had begun to harbor an intense dislike for that particular person.

"Well I get why Stahn roped me in then..." Dimitri mumbled, "But as much as I wouldn't understand how it feels to have to kill a family member, it wouldn't sit right with me to make you do it if you don't want to sir. Couldn't you just reason with her? I'm sure... well, not sure, but probably she'd consider it..."

"Tch." Natalija's curt interjection came, "If that was the case, then I could go home- in my body to boot, don't you think?"

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

Click.

The quiet sound of the laminated glass hooks latching back in their place around the silver rings around his fingers was like an exploding bomb in the deathly silence. But Guile was content with sitting where he was for a moment longer. He had very little care for this mission. The only reason he’d even agreed to it was one, because it was her, and two, because he never rejected orders from the top. Stifling a sigh, Guile flexed his fingers. The rings that served as his weapons were fitted perfectly to his hand. While he hadn’t actually met the manufacturer himself, he had handpicked the man. Solomon Deror Pace. Anyone who had a semblance of importance in the world; Guile had memorized everything he could about them. The man was an expert weapons master, as far as making an imaginary weapon come to life. His under-the-surface business dealings were an extension of his time running with a gang that terrorized the rich in Tealia, and he owned a company that produced mostly vehicles such as the skyboard, and various kinds of airships. He was also on good, albeit ailing, terms with the current King of Carn. And with that, Guile decided that it would probably be for the best if he got a move on. They were probably watching him.

Guile lifted his bloodshot, crimson eyes up to the door across the way. He really didn’t want to catch the attention of anyone down here. And he really didn’t like knowing everything that was going on. But he supposed, if he never experienced these things firsthand, he’d grow rusty. And that would… kind of suck. He liked fieldwork. Sitting up onto his heels, Guile glanced left, then right. Left again as he leaned forward on his toes and repeated the process.

Nobody.

What, was it vacation day? Which, Guile knew it wasn’t. Freely standing from his hiding spot, Guile sighed and looked up around the ceiling, waving at nothing in particular. Of course, the purpose was for camera’s, if there were any. He wasn’t sure how important that girl was to Stahn’s weird hobbies. Opening the door without much restraint, he smoothed out the jacket of his suit, brushing his hair over his shoulder as he closed the door behind it. What an unpleasantly dark room. Flexing his fingers, the slender man examined the room calmly for camera’s. Halfway through his overview, he decided that he really didn’t care. And he finally wrenched his gaze to the girl on the table. What a familiar face. Stepping over to the side of the table, Guile’s unfeeling eyes let irritation flicker across his blank face. What a pain, more like. She couldn’t even defend herself now. Now and always, he corrected himself.

Bending down to look at the cuffs binding her to the table, Guile sighed in annoyance, standing up. He was highly considering just sticking around until she woke up. That sounded like a grand idea. Hm.

Guile took a short breath before blowing on her face, the pale blonde strands of her long hair flying away. Well. It had been worth a try.

Maybe ten, or a dozen years ago, Guile would’ve reached out and pinched her nose until she woke up. But he’d long outgrown that childish business- and hopefully she had too. “Hey.” Guile murmured, monotone, as he pushed her shoulder lightly. He frowned- ever so slightly. Hardly noticeable, but there nonetheless. Squatting down, Guile pulled out two needles and sighed, deciding to make quick work of the things binding her to the table first, and dragging her out whether she was conscious or not. “Stupid.” He grumbled. If an outsider saw it, it would most certainly seem as if Guile did not like the girl on the table. But this was already stretching the interaction limit for Guile, and Miki wasn’t even conscious.

Alter Ego
September 24th, 2008, 01:40 PM
Pethalamine gave a decidedly resigned sigh at the cold reception her request got, wordlessly seizing an unoccupied newspaper from a nearby table and sitting down to read it as Reid began his tirade, banking on that if this was some manner of explicitly forbidden act she would be told as much in short order. Anywhere outside of the Ayre household and the university was exactly the same; no understanding at all for that inherent need to keep your mind from detoriating in misuse. But then again, the scholar concluded, paying half-minded attention to the arguing she now felt so blissfully distanced from, that certainly explained a thing or two about the state of the world.

She felt no particularly strong emotions during the briefing, not even at the point where Reid quite matter-of-factly stated that this particular mission entailed him killing his own sister. This man was a complete stranger to Pethalamine; their only relation was the very vague link of being family with someone she might have cared about just enough to not actively stab in the back for personal benefit. In other words: his concerns were not hers, and with the comforting wall of black on white between herself and his body language, she was able to take the news quite calmly, even though this hardly raised her opinion of Evalice. The fact that she, herself, would be involved in this - even if it was only as 'insurance', as it were - was a slightly larger bother, but she reasoned that running from Tealian - or Carnite - law enforcement was easier than escaping from whatever obscure chemical compounds were currently frolicking around her bloodstream. Besides, if Evalice - against all expectation - did live up to his promise, she would be able to shed all of her major physical identifiers without too much trouble. The hairstyle, the clothing, not too hard to shed at all. Oh, it wasn't something she was particularly keen on doing, but it could be done if necessary. And even if Stahn didn't live up to his promise...well, in that case he would most likely not want anything traced back to himself, so he would have thought of some kind of cover-up. Either way, her safety was not seriously threatened for the time being.

"Evaline Diane," the scholar spoke up, apparently taking Natalija's snide remark as an actual prompt to elaborate, even as her eyes remained glued to the newspaper, "And her brother were both sentenced to death for high treason by the usurper 'prince', but they were rescued in the nick of time by an unknown third party. Rumor has it that it was the work of the Archai squad, the closest thing to soldiers that Flazure had at the time, due to their prior allegiance to the late Rosaline Dian; others credit a secret special unit of the Carn resistance, whose members supposedly had supernatural powers." she shrugged, "Whatever the case, this mysterious third party disappeared shortly after the rescue without leaving any clue of their identity. Or so official sources have it. Though personally, I think they're just saying that to save face as the near-complete lack of even eyewitness accounts for a feat that was supposedly performed in front of hundreds of people hardly sounds feasible." she nonchalantly flipped over a new page, "My hypothesis would be that someone broke into the official networks and erased the information, either that or someone in a position of considerable power has reasons to sit on it." she paused for a moment before adding, with a dismissive wave of her hand, "Not that any of this is particularly relevant at the moment, of course. Carry on."

And with that, Pethalamine returned her full attention to the newspaper, paying very little heed to the world around her until she was forced to reluctantly set it aside, having reached the end of the last article, "So, are you going to do it, then?" she asked, vaguely directing her question towards Reid, "Kill your own sister, I mean."

parallelzero
September 27th, 2008, 09:45 AM
As the conversation carried on, Soren felt less and less like listening to it. He quickly became lost in it all as Natalija, against his will, fiddled with his hair. How was this all connected? Was it connected to twenty years ago maybe? And the fact that his uncle had to kill his sister, that alone was too sad, sad enough to make him want to cry, but everyone else seemed to be taking it in stride. Maybe it was because this was his family they were talking about, that he felt more overwhelmed than anyone else. But, he didn't want to say anything to the others. "OF COURSE HE ISN'T GOING TO KILL HER!" Yuki surprisingly shouted out as he got to his feet in haste in response to Pethalamine's comment. "No brother would ever kill their sister, ev-"

"I will." The interruption by his uncle snapped Soren's eyes open and his mind back to reality. Yuki bit his tongue mid-sentence in reaction. Apparently this hit a little too close to home for the both of them.

"BUT WHY? You grew up with her, right!? You shared memories, right?! You love her, right!?" Yuki had no intention of letting this go. His sister was his everything, after all. He had no way of comprehending why a brother would even give a second thought to actually doing it. It just didn't make sense.

Reid took a moment to reply, a moment to collect his thoughts, and that moment almost tore Soren in two. Part of the reason he had been kicked out in the real world by his parents was because they felt he was too soft, especially in regards to people he became acquainted with, to be a truly superb fighter. It was part of the reason he couldn't bring himself to kill Miki, and now it was taking it's toll on his personal feelings towards his Uncle's situation. "Because the world is more important than my love for my sister, that's why. I've seen a lot in my life, enough to realize that I can't be selfish. For my family, too-"

"YOU'RE CONTRADICTING YOURSELF! You say you can't be selfish, but then you bring up the safety of your family! You don't really want to-" Yuki was unaware of the fact that Soren had risen, despite the fact that Natalija was still working on his hair, and had slowly made his way over to the twin. It wasn't long after until Soren's - well, Natalija's - hand flew across Yuki's face, leaving the boy in silence.

"...Mind your own business." Soren then began to walk towards the door to the living room, apparently at his limit. "I'm going out for a while, I might be gone until it gets dark. See ya..." And with that, he was gone, the sound of the door slamming below could be heard as he left the house.

Yuki, in the meantime, sat back down, holding his face. In his eyes, he hadn't done anything wrong, had he? "Pethalamine, my study is downstairs if you're interested. I have a lot of articles leading as far back as the kidnapping of Princess Rosaline down there. There's probably some stuff you haven't heard of, as well. As for the rest of you, I guess you can do whatever you feel like until the morning. Just don't stay out too late, since the Carn soldiers here like to poke their noses out when it's dark. The operation is tomorrow night, so try and get some sleep."

Alter Ego
September 30th, 2008, 02:56 PM
Pethalamine didn't give any immediate response to Yuki's latest outburst, save for slowly reaching up a hand to massage her newly upset ear. Of all the things she so intensely disliked about this whole arrangement, this all-out war on her eardrums was rapidly becoming her pet peeve. Why oh why could this 'group' of theirs not keep their conversation on acceptable decibel levels for more than fifteen minutes at a time? She was vaguely aware of Soren leaving in some kind of huff, and far more pressingly aware of the fact that Soren's - well, Natalija's - hair still hadn't been completely done, meaning that the countdown to wicked harpy rage surely couldn't be more than five seconds. Just as Pethalamine was about to excuse herself from the disaster-area-to-be, however, their host finally said something that caught her full and undivided attention.

"Pethalamine, my study is downstairs if you're interested. I have a lot of articles leading as far back as the kidnapping of Princess Rosaline down there. There's probably some stuff you haven't heard of, as well."

"Really?" the scholar's eyes widened at the thought, her expression cracking into a genuine smile for the first time since this whole endeavor had begun, "Thank you, sir, I think I'll go and do just that. If you'll excuse me, then?" she added the last part to the benefit of the remaining group members, though the hasty way with which she made her departure from the room made it quite obvious that any objections would not be noted. As she stopped by the shaken boy - currently looking much more like a person who would soon have to kill his own sister than the person who would actually have to - she couldn't help speaking her mind, however.

"Yuki." Pethalamine said evenly, "Siblings kill each other all the time. Accidents, rage, jealousy, power games; just open any history book and you'll find more examples than you can care to count. Parents have been known to kill their own children too, or sell them off to slavery just for profit." she shook her head, fighting to keep her tone detached at the last example, "There's no such thing as an unbreakable bond; it's just a question of how much strain it takes to break it. He may love his sister and have a lifetime of precious memories with her, but if whatever is placed on the other end of the scales is heavier then that's all there is to it. Like it or not, that's the way the world works, so just let him handle his own sibling relations as he sees fit and be glad you're not the one making that choice, alright?"

Not waiting for any response on the matter, the scholar then proceeded in the direction of the downward staircase, adding over her shoulder "If you need me, you know where you'll find me."

Loki
September 30th, 2008, 05:45 PM
Natalija pouted when Soren waltzed out of the door. If she had been any normal person, she would’ve immediately called him back in worry for her body. However, not really caring whatever trouble he got into, the girl simply lamented the fact that he was leaving dressed the way he was. She would simply have to find a way to get back at him later. Which really wouldn’t be that hard. Sighing and sitting back onto the couch, Natalija glanced over at Yuki. She had to admit- though never out loud, she didn’t particularly hate her older brother. But this was not the main spur. She knew he was better than her, and could kill her if he really wanted to. And being the younger sister, she would definitely not appreciate being killed by the only person in the world who had a semblance of importance. And speaking of that person, she hoped that Soren didn’t run into him; because he’d most certainly ask what had happened to the shirt he’d bought her with his extra pocket money. She held up her hand to fiddle with her nails, but let her hand drop again in disappointment. Stupid body.

Taking in all this political stuff about the above grounders all at once was really not something he was absorbing very well. Something about false kings, and unknown… wait, what was it again? Dimitri decided against asking, since Pethalamine had already left, and he didn’t want to bother the hosts any more than the rest of the group probably already had. He glanced over at Natalija, wondering why she wasn’t saying anything. She almost always had some way to make the silence disappear in a flash. She did not speak however, staring off into space towards the door where Soren and Pethalamine had just disappeared from. She looked deep in thought. Dimitri guessed it had something to do with Soren, and not Pethalamine.

“I think… I’ll go see if I can help with lunch at all.” Dimitri began awkwardly, moving over to leave the room as well, but not before nearly running straight into Serge.

“Oh- sorry.” Serge quickly said, stepping back at the same time Dimitri did. He leaned over to look at his father, “Mom says lunch is ready anytime you guys are done up here.” She’d said more, including things that probably would’ve made his dad make that face of exasperation at his mom’s not-quite-so-subtle stabs at his conscience. But he liked it when his dad was home, and had decided against making any more reason for him to escape the homefront. He hopped down the stairs, cushioning his landing with a small burst of wionus. He hardly flinched when his mother shrilly reprimanded him.

“Serge, what have I told you about using mahstion in the house?! I won’t put up with it next time young man!” She pounded a plate down on the table hard enough for the sound to make its point, but not enough so that the ceramic broke. “Walk down the stairs like a normal person would!”

“Okay.” Serge called back, with full intentions of not actually wasting his time and energy to actually walk down all the stairs when he could just hop them all at once. “What do you want to do about Soren?”

“Leave him be,” Adela replied, not feeling up to arguing with Serge’s obvious bid to change the subject, “He’ll come back before it gets dark. The boy has enough sense to know that walking around in a girl’s body after night isn’t the best idea. Now come on, hurry up and eat. I’m not heating it back up if the food gets cold. Reid, hurry up won’t you?!” Adela called up the stairs before retreating into the kitchen again to check on the cookies in the oven.

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

It was not the fact that Guile’s face even expressed emotion that showed the extent of his displeasure, it was the ugly, contorted look on his face that showed the extent of his displeasure. He was not fond of touching other people- let alone women. And he was even less fond of carrying them, because he wasn’t exactly the strongest macho man in the circus. But he had to admit, after all these years, he definitely felt that she’d changed less than he. And he certainly had to admit that simply walking out of the almighty, freaky, crazy, Stahn Evalice’s lab unhindered was certainly not suspicious at all. Not. Suspicious. At all. Ha. Guile’s jokes were certainly as cold as his demeanor, as he quickly followed up with the rational explanation. Either he was in for a pretty little trap, or his higher ups had muddled with the mission to make sure they didn’t lose an agent. Well. They were weaklings anyway…. Most of them.

The young gentleman was most certainly not interested in walking all the way back to his small countryside manor in the middle of nowhere on Gregar with an unconscious woman as luggage. Therefore, a safe distance away from the lab, blessing his lack of needing to exert much effort on the mission and cursing the boring waste of time it had been, Guile set Miki down against one of the tree’s, pulling out a cigarette and jabbing it into his mouth. He reconsidered, looking over at the unconscious girl. Well damn. Pushing the rolled tobacco back into the packet, Guile tossed it aside. He reconsidered that too. Leaving an object like that in the middle of nowhere without prior approval was strictly against protocol. Well damn.

Sighing heavily, Guile leaned back against a tree, pulling the crystal hook out of the silver ring on his left index finger before letting it snap back in place. Repeating the process over and over again, Guile idly and patiently waited for Miki to wake up. Patience was his forte now, unlike back when Miki had still actually known who he was. According to the report, he shouldn’t expect much from her now. Which made it ever more detestable to be on this mission.

parallelzero
October 1st, 2008, 04:22 PM
"I'm going out for a bit as well. I won't be around for lunch, probably not dinner either." Yuki murmured as he got up, stuffing his hands into the pockets on the pants of his suit. He had to use all of his self control to refrain from going after Pethalamine for her comments. The part where she mentioned accidents hit him like a brick, reminding him that Saki 'died' as a result of his blunder all those years ago. The fact that one would willingly kill someone they loved was one he could not bring himself to accept. Of course, all he had in the world was the love from his sister, so it wasn't particularly bizarre for him to possess this way of thinking. On his way towards the exit, he accidentally ran into Rosalynne, who fell back onto the floor with a thud, and refrained from apologizing as he walked out the door. Would that man even kill his own daughter if he had to? Reid and Adela seemed to dote too much on their children, it would probably impossible for them to. So wouldn't that be a double standard? 'Would you kill your own daughter?' wasn't a question he was about to go asking in order to find out, however. Anyways, there was someone else he had to talk to, and that required going somewhere he never had wanted to go again.

---

Not even five minutes out of the house and Soren had already run into trouble. Great. He had heard rumors that ever since the passing away of the royal family twenty years prior, crime had gone up substantially, but he wasn't expecting to run into thugs three blocks away in broad daylight. "...Can I help you?" He murmured intimidatingly - or at least it would have seemed that way if he wasn't in the body of an obviously unfit, sixteen year old girl. It was a weird time to consider it, but why had he left earlier? Sure it was sad that his uncle had to kill his own sister, but it was unavoidable, right? It was for the best, right? But why did it feel wrong. Everything as of recently had felt wrong in one way or another. Something just didn't feel right. And what happened to Miki? Sure, he was supposed to kill her, but was leaving her in Stahn's hands the right choice? That man... something was seriously wrong with him.

He would have liked to dwell on his inner feelings a little while longer, but the punch to the gut, which brought fluids flying out of his mouth as he lurched forward snapped him back to reality. "OI! GIRLIE! Not the time or place to be zonin' out! Didn't ya here me? Get off our turf!" Oh, so this guy was interested in a fight, was he? He was pretty muscular, but he was dressed in the raggiest of rags. He mentally slapped himself for considering the man's wardrobe at such a time. Too much time around Natalija, apparently, else Stahn's little punishment was doing more than it originally seemed to be.

Soren, after regaining his composure, glanced lazily to the left, and then to the right. "Your 'turf'? Can you show me where it says your name? I can't see anything like that..." If it was a fight this man wanted, Soren would gladly provide it.

"You wench! I don't need no signs!" He threw his fist again, but he stopped as whatever-the-hell-you-called-what-he-was-wearing lit ablaze, sending him running. Soren recognized the mahstion presence. It was that older Phoenix girl from his Uncle's house earlier.

She surfaced from behind a small building nearby, laughing. "Well, it looks like you can deal with thugs here the same way you can back home!" Back home? She was from Flazure, right? Well, it was highly unlikely she wasn't. "Saves you getting Beat up, right, Soren?" How did she know his name? He had never introduced himself, especially in this form.

Lyrum made her way over to girl whom she apparently knew was really a boy. She seemed intent on talking, as she watched him curiously as she approached. Soren couldn't deny that she was cute, despite the fact that she had Phoenix wings. The fact that she had them wasn't exactly weird, but society was still a little discriminant against them. Her outfit - a white blouse and blue denim skirt - was really simple, but it really seemed to suit her at the same time. Even so, he wanted to get the first word in after being shown up. "I could have handled him."

"Oh? You could? Could you even handle me right now? You wouldn't be able to fight in her body like you could your own, not to mention I can tell you barely have enough energy to be walking around. I think you owe me~." Owe her? Was this girl after something? He wasn't really in the mood for her games. "And since you look a little sad, and I want to see the city, maybe if you come along with me you'll cheer up a little!" Soren sweatdropped. That logic didn't even make sense!

He proceeded to sigh. "Fine, it'd probably be more trouble for me if I left you alone and something happened to you, since you're my uncle's guest and all."

"'Kay, it's a date!"

"...It's a what?"

---

Light, was it? That brightness, was it daylight, or was it the too familiar light positioned above the table she had been torn open on? Whichever it was, Miki was aware of it, which meant that she had finally regained consciousness. Now the issue was opening her eyes, which had been glued shut for the last little while. After struggling for a little bit, she finally managed to open them, only to throw her hands up in the way of her field of vision to block the terrible sun beyond the tree branches. She could sense another presence with her as well, and it seemed familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time.

She rolled her head in the direction of the presence, her usual look of lifelessness plastered on her face. Looking at this man that was beside her, it made her head hurt, a lot. "Are you here to kill me as well?"

Loki
October 1st, 2008, 05:24 PM
Natalija was extremely distracted. She was hardly focusing on what she was eating, but was most certainly eating more of it than she normally would. Though each type of food was separated with at least a centimeter between them on her plate, Natalija had to say that this was probably the most she’d eaten in one sitting for quite a long while. She was terribly worried about Soren. Or more like, her body. She ran into trouble all over the place, because her sharp eyes seemed like she was glaring all the time, and then she was- of course, irresistibly beautiful. And wouldn’t it be the worst if Soren ran into Jazz? Natalija let her fork fall back onto her plate at the thought.

“I’m really sorry we’re intruding on you on such short notice like this.” Dimitri was saying, strangely host to more table manners than should’ve been attributed to such a wild looking person as he was. If anything, Dimitri was just trying to find an excuse to start a conversation. He wasn’t the type who could sit still at an awkward silence that consisted only of the clinking of chinaware and glass, especially at a stranger’s table.

“It’s fine.” Adela replied coolly, stirring her glass of lemonade, “People come and go in this household on a regular basis.”

“R-… Really?” Dimitri asked, wondering if that was enough to keep the conversation going.

Serge leaned back in his seat, tilting on the back legs of his chair. A fork hanging from his mouth bobbed up and down as he stared at Dimitri. “Hey, Mister…?”

“Oh- Just Dimitri. I’m not that old.” Dimitri let out an awkward laugh that earned him a glare of annoyance from Natalija. She hated his personality almost as much as she hated Yuki’s.

“Dimitri then.” Serge continued, “Do you mind if I ask why you have so many piercings?”

Adela rolled her eyes, “Serge. Please.”

“I’m just wondering!” Serge threw his hands up in defense, quickly taking the fork out of his mouth before Adela could get on his case about that too.

Dimitri sweatdropped, “No it’s totally fine. There’s really no reason other than the other boarders at the boarding park did the same thing. I don’t like standing out too much.”

Natalija snorted. She smirked, clearing her throat and interjecting in a simpering tone, “Excuse me. Totally unintentional, I assure you.”

As much as she hated to admit it, Natalija’s attitude painfully reminded Adela of her own quite a few years back. The now aged woman slid her gaze over to Reid uncomfortably. She hadn’t had the greatest relationship with him when she’d been acting the way Natalija had been…. Bad memories. Adela wrenched her eyes away and focused on her plate. She didn’t really enjoy reminiscing that far back.

“So Ellianne.” Adela smiled over at the other woman, cutting through the tension without a second thought, “Have you been doing well?”

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

Guile’s eyes snapped open as he looked over at Miki. He was somewhat disappointed at her first comment. No. He mentally slapped himself. Even if she remembered who he was, she probably couldn’t have recognized him anyway. Mirroring her expression Guile couldn’t help but exert a sarcastic response, annoyed at the fact that she didn’t know who he was. “Of course, I went through all the trouble of getting you out of there and waiting for you to wake up just so I could kill you.” Guile got to his feet, brushing off his suit and rubbing his eyes. Suppressing a yawn, Guile pocketed his hands, looking down at Miki. Without bothering to extend a hand to the girl who was supposed to be a stranger, and without bothering to introduce himself, Guile looked around the forest, ascertaining his location one more time. As soon as he figured out the right direction he looked down at Miki. Her lack of expression bothered him, because it made him vaguely aware of how his own face looked. “Your name?” The question came more as a command than anything else.

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

He had always been a tall, gangly person. No matter what, he never seemed to put much weight on. Thus, he preferred to hide his physical ineptitude underneath a deep navy blue cloak, pulled together at the base of his neck by gold tassle rope, two ruby brooches on either side. Underneath, he wore a black formal shirt over a white mailcoach style cravat. His pressed black pants and simple black shoes would not be the first giveaway to his status, but the golden crown on his head was most certainly enough to give enough hint. His cloak billowed out behind him as he walked confidently across the red carpeting. Before, he shuffled. Before, he stuttered. But now, he stood proud, walked straight, and was known for his curt tongue.

Piper Dian was not a young spineless teenager any longer. He was a twisted man who had long blurred the line marking the barrier between the person he’d envisioned himself to be, and the person that he needed to be. His chestnut brown hair had not changed at all in twenty years, not in style, not in its unruly curling at the ends, and nor, to his great displeasure, had his soft green eyes lost their baby-like charm. King Dian VII had an ugly look across his face. The deepest frown creased his forehead as his eyes almost looked intimidating. He was not amused by the loss of an entire territory. He was so irritated that he ignored the man with smooth blonde hair and icy blue eyes in a black pinstriped suit standing beside the arch of Piper’s bedroom door. He was so irritated that he didn’t give a second thought to the fact that Solomon was probably here to give a report on the state of affairs in Tealia after that tower had crashed through it.

The King was not interested in those petty affairs. “Princess Evaline is safe.” He heard Solomon say.

“My happiest sentiments.” Piper replied, waving the affair off without much consideration. He ignored Solomon’s disgruntled frown. He didn’t care what other people thought of him. Or maybe he cared too much. If he needed to change to look better for fifty people, he would change. The opinion of one man would change nothing.

Solomon turned on his heel, the clicking of his slick black shoes muted against the soft carpet.

Piper Dian had just lost the battle, but most certainly not the war.

parallelzero
October 1st, 2008, 06:50 PM
"You say you don't like standing out, but wouldn't removing them at this point make you... not stand out as much?" Reid interjected into the conversation with Dimitri. He glanced back at his own wings after considering the fact that the young man had none. It was strange that nobody had inquired about his wings yet, since one was black, the other white - which symbolized the unity of his plufael and negafael, just like the differing shades of green his eyes were. "So, by 'boarders' do you mean skyboarders? I've been a boarder since I was just a little kid. I find it more convenient than flying with wings."

"Hey! Daddy!" Rosalynne chimed in suddenly, her eyes shining brightly. "Can I get cool piercin-"

"No."

Ellianne sweatdropped. "No hesitation." Throughout the chatter, Ellianne had noticed something funny. Both Reid and Adela shared something in common with the boy and girl at the table with them. Reid and Dimitri had skyboarding, Adela and Natalija had... their general attitude, at least Adela used to be similar. She recalled how scary she found Adela back in the day. "Ah, I've been fine, thank you for asking!" She replied to the woman's inquiry with a gentle smile as she clasped her hands together cheerfully. "I've been very busy at my church, so busy that I haven't had much time to myself..." Her cheery voice sank slightly as her lack of free time came to light. "But, I've been visiting the doctor a lot lately - you see, he's been treating my blind eye - and it's starting to look like I might be able to see properly again in the near future!" Ah, that was right. Reid had forgotten, but Ellianne was blind in one eye, and she was even mute at one point. All from traumas caused by discrimination back before the formation of Flazure. "How about you guys? You have such cute kids! I'm totally jealous!" She deterred from her original topic idea. She was originally going to inquire about Lazarus, but figured later would be a better time to do it.

Something had been bugging Reid since lunch began. "Where did that girl, and Auricia go?"

"Oh, well, Lyrum insisted on going off to see the town for a little while, but when I told her it was too dangerous she ran off anyways! She's pretty strong, but also kind of absent minded as well, so I sent Auricia to tail her."

"Absent minded, huh? I bet they get along swimmingly!" Mistral giggled to Reid, whom ignored her thoroughly. Ellianne was one of his dear friends, he wouldn't make fun of her.

"Hey! Hey! Serge! Did you hear yet? Since we don't have enough room, I have to stay in your room tonight! We should make it cool! Like a sleepover!" Rosalynne got way too excited over little things. But she loved her brother a lot, so it was natural for her.

OOC: I'll do the other parts later. Shouldn't affect anyone here though, so feel free to move on.

Loki
October 1st, 2008, 07:24 PM
OoC: HUrray for pointless luncheon chit-chat.

iC:

Dimitri fiddled with one of his earrings, looking up at the ceiling thoughtfully, "... That's a good point. Well, I haven't had the chance to take them out since we came, and they look pretty normal where we were before this, so I guess I didn't think it was a problem. I'll take them out sometime after lunch." Dimitri shrugged, considering that removing earrings from his face probably wasn't the number one thing that everyone wanted to see while eating. Catching up, Dimitri gushed out excitedly, “I live for skyboarding! I’ve only been tricking out for a few years, but it’s enough to get on the halfpipes and not make a complete fool of yourself. I think they’re really convenient too, because… well, they’re convenient.” Which was just another way of saying, ‘Well, I don’t have wings. Oh well!’. Dimitri grinned at Rosalynne, feeling considerably better than he’d felt before now that it was less awkward. “Do you ride as a means of transportation, are you a trick boarder, or are you a racer?” Dimitri asked Reid.

“Well busy is better than bored!” Adela replied, “That’s wonderful news Ellianne, hopefully you’ll come see us once your eye is better?”

“What?” Serge looked down at Rosalynne at the news of having to share a room before looking up at his mother, who was busy chatting with Ellianne. Sure, he got along great with his little sister, considering the fact that they were… well, siblings. But still, it wasn’t like Rosalynne was five anymore. Serge sighed, giving a lopsided smile to Rosalynne. She didn’t even care, probably. “Alright, alright.” Serge finally decided that there would be no helping it. Especially since she was so hyped for it. “This means I’m sleeping on the floor, doesn’t it?” He laughed, knowing that this was the case without even having to ask. “Let’s find something new to put in the garden out front.”

Adela glanced over at Serge and Rosalynne before looking back at Ellianne, “We’re doing well, but Reid is awfully busy. And like usual, he likes keeping secrets.” Adela shrugged it off, “I’ve learned not to ask. Those two are both more like Reid than me though. Although Serge’s attitude sometimes gets the better of him.”

The boy in question pretended not to hear, engrossing himself in showing Rosalynne how to make a detailed castle out of the mashed potatoes.

“He likes to spend time with Levi, and I suspect that’s where he picks up his bad tongue.” Adela shook her head disapprovingly.

“Levi is awesome.” Serge interjected, looking up from his half-finished castle before quickly escaping more confrontation with his mother upon the subject.

“He’s a bad influence, and it’s Mr. Jaquez to you, Serge, mind your manners.” Adela replied without hesitation, before turning back to her conversation with Ellianne, “Anyway.” Adela was about to ask whether Ellianne had anyone she was seeing, but remembered Ellianne’s feelings for Reid all those years ago. As much as Adela felt Ellianne was not the kind of person to cling to those kinds of sentiments, the current Adela was not the kind of person who brought up those kinds of old memories. “So why is Auricia dressed up as a phoenix girl? Last I heard she’d gone to Telfin with… Oh… I can’t remember his name. The Lieutenant. Why is she with you?” Adela asked, lacing her hands together and resting her chin on her fingers.

parallelzero
October 4th, 2008, 07:40 AM
"And you saw the graveyard as a fitting place to go first… because?" Soren still wasn't particularly amused at the events unfolding before him. First he irrationally left his uncle's, then he had somehow been weasled into accompanying this Lyrum girl, only to have her lead him to the graveyard. It wasn't a safe trip, either, as looks were shot at them by the civilians wherever they went. A Phoenix anywhere outside of Flazure was a rare sight to see, and people seemed to be making the best of it. He had even gotten some looks from men himself, though he figured they weren't the same kind of looks, considering he was currently in the form of a young woman. Well, here they were, anyways. At least they got there in one piece, that was all that mattered. Though it was a weird place to request to go to first, especially considering how out of the way it was. Meredy's overly gigantic cemetary was positioned on the very edge of the city, where trees and other plants grew more commonly. The large, grassy fields which flowed below the entrance were coated with tombstones of varying size and shape, with a lone building off in the distance that appeared to be made of marble and in the shape of a large church. Apparently that building was their definition, as Lyrum took off towards it in a dash without even giving Soren a heads up. He attempted to chase after her, but the fact that Natalija didn't excercise actively kicked in like an overdose of Advil and he ran out of energy.

When he eventually caught up – and it took a long while – he found the Phoenix girl before a tombstone just outside the church-like building. She was knelt down, and obviously praying before the stone that read 'IN MEMORY OF CARN'S 8th PRINCESS, ROSALINE DIAN.' The one beside it belonged to the 7th princess, Juliet Dian, and both of them seemed to have had flowers lain at them recently. It was curious that one of Tealia's cemetary's housed Carn politicians. It was unlikely that the real bodies were there, but rather the stones were there as reminders. "Do you know about Princess Dian, Soren?" Lyrum questioned quietly as she rose from her praying position. Soren nodded. "You know how she tried to establish Flazure, right? Well, I'm grateful, but I also hate her for it at the same time." She... hated her? Why? She did a good thing, didn't she? The girl's face saddened. "Sure, without Flazure, I may not be standing here today, but because Flazure exists, I've been previously unable to leave it. It's like that for a lot of people. People still don't completely accept us, and since we're trapped and rarely seen, good things don't happen to those who try to leave. Because of Flazure, my people have basically been imprisoned..."

Soren supposed it made sense for the most part, but there was something that didn't fit. "You make it sound as if outer forces have been keeping Flazure's residents pinned inside, but you know that's not true. If the fact that the sight of Phoenix and Wyverns is rare, than the fact that they don't come out into the rest of the world often is the problem. You can't thrust the blame on Rosaline Dian for something your people are doing to themselves." It had been nagging him this whole time, but he felt as if he had once had a conversation along these lines with someone before. For the life of him, however, he couldn't remember when and with whom. Lyrum's eyes darted down to the ground at Soren's statement, and he suddenly felt pretty guilty. He hadn't considered the fact that he'd make her upset. Looking to right his wrong, he grabbed her hand and began dragging her away, the suddenness of it making her gasp and eventually follow willingly. "Hey, we're pretty close to a great restaurant! I bet you're hungry, so it'll be my treat!" He could hear the girl giggling behind him. "What?"

"Thanks."

"Huh?"

"Maybe you'll understand someday."

---

"But Serge! Who would live in a mashed potato castle?" Rosalynne, as nonsensical as ever, commented amidst the conversation with the adults about Serge and his visits to Levi. It made sense to Ellianne that they still kept contact with that man, considering he helped pay for Reid's surgery all those years ago. Also, the fact that Reid was still keeping secrets was no surprise, and he didn't seem to be denying it. He had once told her back in the day that if he had kids, there was no way he'd be like his own father. It was obvious he was nothing like his own father, considering the way he smiled when he watched his kids.

However, she was unpleasantly taken by surprise when Adela questioned Auricia's ordeal. She didn't think the skill would want her telling the story, but these were people they had known for a long time, after all. "Well, Auricia showed up at my place a few years ago. When I found her unconscious outside of my door, she was badly beaten, bruised, and cut, and she didn't reawaken for a few days later. While she recovered, her original body is badly scarred from the cuts she received. From what she told me, Telfin is a very Skill-centric place in which they don't accept outsiders. Considering what outsiders do to them, that's no surprise. Ashton had been living with her there for a while, but one day a horde of people came and took him away, while beating her badly as punishment for loving a human. Already wounded badly, and carrying a serum in her blood that prevented her wounds from healing as quickly as they should for a Skill, she attempted to travel to Flazure, but found herself engaged in more conflicts, in which she ended up even more beaten. She's recovered somewhat to this day, but she often zones out and I often find her crying..." This was a bit much for Reid to swallow. What had happened to Ashton exactly? From the sounds of things, Auricia didn't know either, but she had been through one hell of a lot. If this had been twenty years ago, before they became allies, Reid could have cared less about these people, but now...

---

"Miki." The girl stated firmly, not bothering to get up. She wasn't showing it, but she was in pain. Who was this guy, and why did looking at him make her head hurt. "What is your name, and what do you intend with me?" The chain was beginning to float around her again, ready to strike if this man intended her harm.

Alter Ego
October 5th, 2008, 05:03 PM
The study was everything Pethalamine had grown to expect from personal studies. Quiet, out of the way, just slightly cramped, maintained in a state of orderly chaos - though admittedly not nearly as bad as her own mother's. Heaving a sigh of deepest contentment, allowing her body to sink down into a vacant chair, a bundle of old newspaper clippings and articles clutched tightly to her chest. This, she found herself thinking as she inhaled the scent of the aging paper and ink, this was what bliss was all about.

The collection itself was already impressive, especially since she hadn't had the man pegged as a scholarly type to begin with. Articles, pictures, even genuine correspondence from the time of the skill crisis, the apostle incident, and even before that - Pethalamine's heart nearly skipped a beat - there was even material from the time prior to the crowning of the late Rosaline Dian. Despite his rather...non-scholarly appearance, their host must have had a considerable interest in Y.Z. history. Either that or, part of her mind rebelled, he must actually have been there and known the people involved.

As amazing a discovery as these things were for her, however, what really caught her attention was a solitary letter that had been wedged in between a pair of articles.

"It...can't be." Pethalamine froze in the middle of picking the letter up, her gaze nailed to the familiar loops and curves covering the paper's surface, "This...this handwriting is..."

She knew it was horribly bad manners and probably even outright illegal, but the scholar couldn't help letting her eyes travel across the lines of writing in front of them. 'Dear Reid,' the letter began, 'How are you these days? I haven't heard from you since when you two got married (congratulations again, by the way! I really wish I could have been there as a bridesmaid like we agreed on all those years ago) and I must admit I'm slightly worried. If there really is something bothering you, then please share. You are among friends here; there's no reason you should have to handle all of this on your own. Around here, we're doing fine. The adoption had a bit of a rocky start (you heard about this from Adela already, right? I'm a mother too now), but I really get the feeling that Pethalamine and Aertan are warming up to each other, even if they don't want to admit it. (it's funny how much those two are alike in some respects) We should really meet face-to-face again sometime, shouldn't we? I know we're all pretty tied up with managing our lives these days, but it would be good to get together again for old times' sake, and I would really want to introduce you to Pethalamine, especially after all the stories she has heard about you guys. So please, let's get in touch again sometime, okay? After all these years, I bet there is a lot of things we would have to talk about. Besides, I want to ask something too. (still working on my book, you know)

Love,
Faewyn'

For a moment, Pethalamine could do nothing but gape at the letter, all the bothersome little clues from the back of her mind finally falling into place. Reid Davies...that guy with the weirdly colored wings and eyes was...Reid Davies? The Reid Davies? The man who had been at the center of no less than three of this century's most remarkable historical events? The same person her mother had told all those incredible stories about? The person whose mere name could make Aertan snort loudly and change the subject? But wait, that would have made that household tyrant...Adela? One of Faewyn's old friends from her active adventuring days? But that would mean that she had just been signed up to kill someone very important to her mother's treasured friends, perhaps even someone directly precious to Faewyn herself. The scholar forced herself to release the letter in order to avoid crumpling it as her hand clenched into a fist.

"Damn you, Stahn..." she grit out, "Damn you..."

This ordeal has suddenly gotten a whole lot messier.

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

"Tsk."

The woman's face pulled into a displeased frown that distorted her otherwise fairly attractive features, her eyes glaring daggers at the bracelet latched quite prominently to her arm, well outside of the range covered by her attire. It wouldn't budge, of course, and it wouldn't do to break it. She vaguely considered severing the arm and then reattaching after the pesky accessory was off, but decided against it. This was all supposed to be in secrecy, after all; apparently she would just have to make do for now.

"What a bother." she scoffed, her hair twisting and shaping to a twin braid matching that on the unconscious body on the ground, the strands slowly shifting from a dark gray to a pleasant, light brown. The outfit was flashy and horribly coordinated in color, probably owing to the young age of the body it was meant for, and no matter how carefully she mimicked the girl's appearance, she new that she'd never get comfortable in it. Better to just make this fast and get it over with.

Well, the targets had made it painfully easy to trail them at least. If the dolled up, dark-haired diva wouldn't have stood out enough on her own, the phoenix girl with her certainly would. Between the two of them, there was no shortage of conspicuous glances and sightings to follow. What she needed to do next, however, was a different matter.

"Kissy?"

The whiny, childish voice at the back of her head did little to improve the woman's mood, but she took it in stride.

"What?"

"Should we really be doing this? Deredere didn't say anything about-"

"That's only because he didn't think that far yet."

"But-"

"Look, Cheradine, just make sure nothing interrupts our reila's rest." the negafael interrupted impatiently, "Alderian will be thankful for this."

She could practically feel her benevolent twin's sceptical glance at the back of her neck, "...really?"

"Yes, really." the woman replied without missing a beat, "Promise."

"Weeell..." the plufael paused for a moment, but eventually gave in to her nature, "Alright! Leave it to me, Kissy! Deredere won't miss a blink!"

"Excellent."

With a moment's concentration, the woman banished all but the most politely neutral of expressions from her countenance, slipping in shortly behind her target duo as they made their way towards the restaurant.

Just one injury.

All she needed was one, sufficient injury on either of them and everything else would work out. She could just bide her time and wait.

...

...in this horrible body. Bleah.

Loki
October 5th, 2008, 07:26 PM
Adela blinked, taken slightly aback. Serge crinkled his nose, thinking hard on the dilemma at hand.

"The ants." He finally nodded solemly to Rosalynne's question, having obviously decided that the conversation had continued and there was no need for him to interject on the heavy subject the adults were discussing; nor did he need to bring Rosalynne's attention to it, “But that’s only when you go out and have picnics and then leave it there for them. So you have to practice while you get the chance.” Rosalynne was so ditzy sometimes, Serge thought, an amused grin spreading across his face as he pushed his spoon back down on his potatoes, crushing the castle back into a lumpy shape and taking a good chunk off of it, glancing at his father with a somewhat disappointed look. The last thing Serge wanted was for his dad to go off somewhere again, and if he knew his dad, he knew that this story was enough to send Reid Davies back into action. Or maybe he was already in action. Serge sighed, not a dejected one, but more of an “Oh-well-can’t-help-it” sigh. He supposed that his dad wouldn’t be his dad if he acted otherwise.

Dimitri stared at Ellianne, his chewing slowed after having tuned into her conversation since Reid had failed to answer his question. He had no idea what skill’s were, but he decided that now wasn’t the time to ask. Of course he’d heard of Telfin. He wasn’t that out of touch. But he didn’t know what its significance was.

Natalija eyed the silvery haired woman, a look of irritation apparent across Soren’s features. She rolled her eyes, standing up, “Excuse me, but I need to fix Soren’s appearance. Thank you for the meal.” She said stiffly, before sweeping out of the door.

Dimitri slapped his forehead, “I’m sorry- I think she’s naturally like that.” At least she’d said thank you. That in itself was probably pushing it already though, Dimitri hung his head in embarrassment.

Ugh, everyone and everything. That house was seriously filled with too much angst for her own tastes. Natalija stormed through the streets of Tealia, opening a portal in her path and reappearing in front of a secluded country-styled manor somewhat compact for its decal. Kicking open the wooden fence, Natalija stormed across the cobblestone path and opened the door, knowing it was unlocked. He never kept the door locked. In fact, he was standing at the base of the stairs, eyebrows raised at Natalija with a slender calico cat in his arms.

“… Um.” He spoke, not particularly caring that a seemingly complete stranger had just burst into his home, “Welcome?”

The calico mewed sweetly, and the bed-headed teenager blinked. “Oh.” Silence enveloped the trio for the longest time before he finally spoke, “Stahn got to you already?”

“SO THIS IS YOUR FAULT?!?!!” Natalija shrieked, throwing a punch at her older brother, who turned his head out of the way. Natalija quickly regained her composure after having been evaded rather easily, running a hand through Soren’s hair. “Nevermind that. I need to fix this body, and I need to borrow some of your clothes.”

Jazz stared at Natalija. Again, silence. Natalija had learned patience with Jazz, who often took ages to put together a response. “What do you think Mimi?”

The cat yawned, leaping out of Jazz’s arms and prancing into the living room. “… Well, I guess…” Jazz turned around, scaling the stairs again. Natalija listened carefully as she followed him, trying to find any traces of other life in the house. “Mom and Dad aren’t home…” Jazz replied, watching Natalija out of the corner of his eye. Natalija glared at him, hating him for knowing why she was so guarded. Regardless, she relaxed, letting herself look around Jazz’s room. His room was a maze, it’s walls made of books and business related documents. Jazz somehow found his way to the back of the room, opening the door to his closet and reaching in, throwing out a random pair of pants and a shirt. Which, in Natalija’s opinion, were not acceptable. Tracing Jazz’s steps, she removed him from her path and found her desired garments herself. It was at a time like this that Natalija approved of Jazz’s bad habit for buying clothes that were much too long for him. Soren, taller than Jazz, fit- somewhat, perfectly. A plain, slender cut black polo shirt, a pair of loose, stone-tumbled jeans, lightly torn up and down the left leg with a nice hole in the knee on the right leg was Natalija’s main choices. The holes had black fabric stitched onto the insides of the jeans, so that the legs underneath couldn’t be seen- something that had seriously peeved Natalija concerning Soren’s original pants.

“… Do my shoes… even fit?”

“Kind of.” Natalija replied without much interest as she laced together the deep brown leather hiking boots, “They’re kind of big, but if I wear socks with them, it shouldn’t be a problem.” Tucking the jeans into the top of the mid-shin high shoes, Natalija scoured the closet and snatched up a square silver watch and a matching ring.

“… That’s mine.” Jazz sighed.

Natalija rolled her eyes, “And so is everything else I’m wearing? You don’t need to state the obvious.” After completing her new outfit, she held her arms out, “So, what do you think Jazz?”

“I think you should’ve just bought new clothes instead of swiping mine.”

“As if I’d spend my money on that.” Natalija replied arrogantly, stepping over a smaller stack of files, “I’m going to go pick out some clothes for tomorrow now.”

“My closet… is that way.” Jazz pointed in the opposite direction Natalija was headed.

Natalija stared at her brother for a moment, as if trying to decide whether he was serious or not. As soon as she decided he was, she scoffed, “It’s not for this body. Right now, the guy who’s supposed to be in this body is running around in mine, and I am not letting him wear just whatever he wants. He’d dress me up in the most disgusting combination ever. Did you see what I was wearing when I came in here? Yeah. Yeah. Thought so.” Natalija slammed the door to Jazz’s room shut behind her.

“… It was that bad…. Huh?” Jazz sighed, eyeing the pile of foreign clothes on the floor of his bedroom. Sometimes, he worried for his younger sister. She hadn’t given a second thought to the fact that was changing in another person’s body; somebody who might be a little shyer than she was. Oh well. Better she get over it faster than she stand there squealing and protesting over the fact that it was ‘embarrassing’ or ‘indecent’. Jazz picked up one of the files that had been knocked out of place, ruffling through it’s pages.

Well, whatever.


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


Guile sighed, turning around and putting his hands in his pockets, “That’s some real gratitude you have.” He muttered sarcastically, answering her questions nonetheless, “My name is Guile, and I assure you that I do not care about your lineage or race, if that’s why you’re so wary of me. My intentions are to bring you back to my home where you can have a proper rest and meal before I turn you out so that you can go and do whatever it is that you do.” Eyeing the chains warily for a moment, this was about all the attention that Guile paid to them. He thus ignored them as he stepped over to Miki, putting his hands under her arms and hoisting her to her feet, “Now walk. I’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy it if they found you, so don’t waste your energy on attacking me, and don’t waste my time by being hostile with me. Let’s go.”

He turned again, letting an expression of distaste cross his face when he turned away. It was more bitter than he’d expected, not being remembered. But that wasn’t important. The completion of the mission was most important right now. Guile paused his train of thought on the subject for a second. Actually, he’d already completed his mission, now that she wasn’t with Stahn anymore. But he wasn’t about to leave her in the middle of nowhere.

parallelzero
October 6th, 2008, 05:24 AM
OOC: Post from school, GO.

Ever since they had left the graveyard, Soren had been feeling uneasy. It wasn’t his regular, ‘oh my god I’m with a girl’ uneasy either. That had been thrown to the fishes the second he became one himself. As he walked with Lyrum in tow, he made sure to stay cautious in case any kind of problem were to arise. He was travelling with a phoenix, after all, so the threat of an attack was likely… not to mention there was that thug they had dealt with earlier. Either way, something was up, not that it was easy to pinpoint what. The streets were relatively calm, but more often or not there were people on the side of the road preaching about it being the end of the world and encouraging people to take what they could when they had the chance. It was lucky that the people weren’t listening, as if the citizens had taken on such a belief so soon, the town would turn to chaos. Though, they were probably stupidly thinking ‘just because it happened to Alta, doesn’t mean it won’t happen here’ despite the large tower sticking out of the ground. Soren’s eyes wandered to that tower, and his mind did as well. What purpose did that large black tower – or was it a spire? – have? Why was it here? Where did it come from? There were just too many questions he had no choice but to ignore until their work for Stahn was done.

“Whaaat? I thought you were taking me to a nice restaurant?” Lyrum whined upon arriving at their destination. Soren sweatdropped. It had certainly been a nice spot the year before, but now… The smell of charcoal ran thick as the smoldered remains of a building stood amidst the other shops on the street. “Do people in Tealia really eat in such places?” Soren almost fell over. Was she for real?

“NO! It looks like someone burned it down… Well, that sucks…” He was more disheartened that he had lost a potential safe house until his bad vibe passed. Seeing no other choice, he decided to deter to a different location. “It’s fine, I know a coffee shoppe we can go to just down the street! The food isn’t as nice, but it’s a really cute place!” Lyrum broke out in hysterical laughter. “…What!?”

“No… no… it’s just… you sounded like such a girl just now…” Soren sweatdropped. Apparently his enthusiasm as a girl sounded quite feminine? Argh, whatever.

---

“Adela, did Faewyn and Aertan mention when they’d be stopping by?” Reid inquired his wife after Natalija had departed, partly to break the angsty mood that now floated in the room, aside from Rosalynne complaining about Serge ruining the castle that was meant for the ants. Chances were Pethalamine had stumbled onto something revolutionary for her by now, considering Reid kept anything and everything related to the old days down there, so she’d probably want to confront her parents sooner or later… or maybe even him. Then he reminded himself that he had previously been in a conversation with Dimitri, only to have the discussion with Ellianne – who now looked depressed in regards to telling Auricia’s secret – lead him astray. “Oh, sorry Dimitri. I raced from a while, and I use it for transportation, but I never quite got into tricks. My old board is downstairs in the study if you wanted to look at it, but the model is probably obsolete at this point.” He chuckled to himself. That old white board had been through a lot.

---

“No, I want to go to Tealia. I feel I need to go there, so I will leave you now.” Miki shot down Guile’s request, not particularly fond of the idea of listening to everything this fellow said. She had overheard, in the lab, that Stahn had sent those people from before to Meredy, and for some reason she felt rather drawn to them, albeit she had no clue why. She would not thank this man for saving her, because she could not yet grasp his intentions, nor did she have any intention of trying. Him, paired with this headache, they were all just obstacles now.

Loki
October 6th, 2008, 05:53 PM
Guile turned around again. "... Tealia." He stated, as though trying to believe this absurd and seemingly pointless desire. Putting his hands into his pockets, he fingered the pack of cigarettes inside them. A gentlemanly smile crossed his features, a cool, unfeeling one that often ended up making people even warier than him than when he showed no emotion at all. "I see. Well then, please don't let me stop you. I trust you'll be able to find your way there without much trouble." Guile was beyond hiding the sarcasm at this point, steadily growing to hate this stranger. He couldn’t blame her. He was sure she couldn’t help it. Otherwise she would’ve corrected him when he’d introduced himself. But he still wanted to blame her for irritating him, for being so arrogant as to reject his generosity when she should’ve known that it was a rare thing. Shoving it out of his head, Guile extracted the smokes, turning the brand away from her as he slid one of the rolls of paper and nicotine out of the somewhat crushed packaging. “Good luck getting to Tealia.” The end of his cigarette glowed with the flame from an ornate silver lighter while he tried to decide whether he should go directly back now, or spend some more time touring the Underneath.

Blowing out a stream of smoke, Guile examined the cigarette in his fingers. He felt calmer already. So, he’d been right all along. Objects were always more reliable than humans. Wow, depressing. Guile wiped his mind of any emotions he might have felt earlier, returning to his usual face before clamping the cigarette between his lips. He pulled a hand into the air and twitched his wrist to the side, bidding a silent goodbye to the stranger behind him that wasn’t the Miki he’d wanted to see. Maybe he’d see her again when she remembered everything. Or maybe she wouldn’t want to see him if she did remember. Guile lowered his hand. One thing was for sure.

It would be better if he just stopped thinking about all this in general.

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

Adela was somewhat glad at Reid’s interjection, having had not much to say. She certainly hadn’t been expecting something like what Ellianne had said. She’d been expecting lighter circumstances, like, just getting out to see the world, or… something. “Ah, I’m not sure, but they’ll probably be here soon? If Aertan is coming,” Adela rolled her eyes at the name, though was somewhat embarrassed for having done so after the story, glancing apologetically at Ellianne before continuing, “They’re probably not going to waste time, unless Aertan’s done some serious upgrades with his personality.” She sighed, almost surprised at how many of her old comrades she’d never really quite ended up liking much. “I don’t think we have enough stuff for as many people staying here. I’m going on the assumption that Aertan will want to stay as far away from this house as much as he can manage, so he and Faewyn will probably find boarding elsewhere. And then Ellianne and company can stay in the guest room, though it might be a little tight- I apologize…” Adela looked pointedly at Dimitri, who sweatdropped, “And I guess you guys can stay in Rosalynne’s room. We have couches downstairs and upstairs too, so that’ll accommodate for three more people… How many people did you have again?”

“Ah, I think the only people who will insist on a bed is Natalija, Yuki, and Pethalamine, if even the last two. Well, Natalija might make Soren take a bed too, since he’s in her body, but… three places is more than enough, I can sleep on the floor without a problem.” Dimitri explained.

“Well then, I’ll leave it to you guys to decide on that…” Adela shrugged, obviously deciding that her role in the matter was over, turning to her meal again and listening to Serge and Rosalynne’s antics with slight amusement.

Alter Ego
October 8th, 2008, 04:10 PM
The woman who most definitely did not refer to herself as 'Kissy' paused for a moment to give the duo she had been tailing a quizzical glance. These two certainly had...eccentric tastes in locales. First a graveyard and now a run-down restaurant? What was the next stop? City morgue? She bit her lip in though, at this rate, she'd end up looking like a whackjob stalker for tailing them...was that their plan? Had these two actually...caught on? Did they know they were being followed?

“NO! It looks like someone burned it down… Well, that sucks…”

The negafael was fairly sure that this was one of those situations that the local manga-obsessors described as sweatdrop-worthy, but not being one of them, she kept her perspiration under control. Apparently they didn't, then. But even so, she couldn't keep this tailing up for long without it getting overly conspicuous to anyone less oblivious than these two. Besides, given their current track record there was no telling what kind of warzone the 'cute coffe shop' would be. No, this called for a more proactive response, even if it involved a bit of risk.

"Hey, s'cuse me!" she hated this act. She hated this body's voice - like an over-excited little bird, she couldn't help thinking - she hated the perky little sparrow wings, she hated the little mannerisms she had been forced to memorize to pull this act off, but she kept all of that carefully reined in as she offered a cheerful wave to the duo, "Yeah, girl with the cool wings and other girl! You two lovebirds are new around here, huh?" she tilted her head, "Sorry, couldn't help overhearing. Name's Ami. I work at a restaurant just a short walk away from here. We only just set up this week, so it would be great to have some new customers. Whaddaya' say, huh?" she beamed at the both of them with an impeccably world-loving expression. All she needed was one break; one lucky break.

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

Saying that Pethalamine was too angry to think straight could not have been further from the truth. Yes, she was angry; angry enough to think with perfect clarity. Stahn wasn't the reason for this anger, though; not all of it, anyway. There was something else that had occurred to her as she sat there, calming her nerves with knowledge from days long passed, a move easily as low and manipulative as Stahn's. The more she thought about it, the more it made sense. This room was full of history, personal history, history involving her mother to a considerable degree. What was the obvious conclusion for anyone who read through this information? That Reid Davies was a very important friend of Faewyn's. And what was in it for someone to convey this message? Convincing someone to whom Faewyn was very important that it was in their interest to see to the well being of Reid Davies.

The scholar's hand clenched and unclenched rapidly. Faewyn, her mother, had been so...open about everything in her letters, writing often and candidly about every up and down in raising her, of the old days and how she missed all her old friends. How happy she was that Reid had finally settled down. And this-this...Reid had taken all those feelings and coldly used them to his own advantage. There was no way he could claim ignorance about who she was; it was obvious that he knew, but rather than coming out clean and simply introducing himself as a friend of Faewyn's, he had chosen to let her find out for herself, to impress the full depth of the situation on her. Manipulation...if there was one thing worse than tension, loud noises, and people messing with her body, it was people messing with her emotions.

Pethalamine wasn't about to just charge into the dining room and start flinging accusations, however. No matter the crime, that just wasn't her. Instead, she stepped inside in full, chilly composure, pausing to look Reid square in the eye.

"Thank you very much for letting me look through your study, Mr.Davies." she said evenly, even managing a brief curtsy out of politeness, "Your collection was really...interesting. I can definitely see why Mr. Evalice regards you as a friend."

And that was all she really had to say on the matter, her countenance easing up by a number of notches as she turned to include Adela and the others into her little speech, "Oh, we haven't been properly introduced yet, have we?" the scholar continued in a pleasant tone, "My name is Pethalamine. Pethalamine Ayre." she bobbed another tiny curtsy, "A pleasure to meet you."

Loki
October 8th, 2008, 05:07 PM
Adela was a bit surprised at the coldness with which the young girl addressed Reid. It was always in her book of natures law that people naturally felt that Reid was simply easier to get along with than anyone else in the world. Actually, that was probably the reason she’d even laid eyes on him in the first place, rather than turning her nose up to him like with every other guy she’d met before her mother had gone off and done the unthinkable. Well. Unthinkable at the time anyway. In fact, he was so agreeable, that she, who was still rather high strung about the smallest of things, had decided to leave the man be and let him harbor his secrets as he pleased. After all these years, she had certainly learned that if there was anyone she could not fully wrap in her ring of absolute dictatorship, it was Reid. Any remotely affectionate thought for him and how much she’d learned about his quirks quickly evaporated however, like a droplet of water in the hottest, driest desert ever to grace the planet. Her light expression grew scandalized as soon as she heard the word ‘Evalice’. It had certainly been twenty years, but there was no way in all of good heaven and hell that she could ever forget that irritatingly contemptuous old geezer who really had a knack for making things worse and better at the same time.

Roosting on her growing disgust and rage for a moment, Adela listened to Pethalamine absentmindedly before flashing a dangerously sweet smile, “It’s nice to meet you too sweetie, my name is Adela. Pethalamine, was it? I knew I recognized that name when I heard it. You’ll have some visitors in just a moment, but I’m sorry I can’t contain myself for the duration of a full-blown conversation about it.” She quickly fixed her lethal stare at Reid, looking as venomous as she did when she’d seen him for the first time in five years as an officer of a militia squad based in Flazure. Standing up and clenching her fists, Adela stoutly attached them to her waist, taking a deep breath and letting it out. It didn’t really help much, and Dimitri braced himself, now familiar with that expression from Natalija. Serge peered curiously at his mother. He’d always heard that she was a demon, but she’d never really been like that in front of him and Rosalynne. In fact, if she hadn’t been consumed by the fact that one of Reid’s grand secrets was being chummy with Stahn Evalice, she would’ve sent Serge and Rosalynne outside.

As it were: “Reid Davies, that young lady better not have just said Evalice!” Adela lectured, trying to keep her shrill voice under control. She knew what she’d heard though, and she wasn’t about to give Reid a break to deny it, “And you know how I feel about that lousy excuse for a man! I will not have him anywhere near this household- or anyone else in this family!”

Serge’s interested was officially piqued, but the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach was starting to become more important.

Adela, however, seemed to realize that she’d completely blown her top, and taking multiple calming lungfuls of air, she snapped curtly, “You leave your business with Stahn on the front doorstep! Don’t you bring another piece of him past that threshold!” She pointed toward the front door, before giving a huff. Snatching up her plate, Adela stormed into the kitchen without waiting for Reid to explain himself. He always had a good reason, but to Adela, not even the world would be a good enough reason for Reid to bring anything reminiscent of that repulsive man anywhere near Serge and Rosalynne.

Serge himself would’ve preferred that the first time he saw his mother getting angry not be towards his father. It was certainly the most uncomfortable feeling he’d ever had, sitting there in the hanging tension after an argument- no matter how short- between his parents who had an otherwise very positive relationship. Finally, he snapped out of it and stood up. “Come on Rosalynne,” He said, steering his younger sister out of her chair and out the door with him, as he glanced between his father and the swinging kitchen doors before letting the front door swing shut behind him, “We better let Mom cool off for awhile.”

Dimitri, however, sat where he was, debating whether he should follow. He rubbed his arm, glancing at Pethalamine. He hadn’t been expecting that. And, as far as he was concerned, he didn’t see any reason for Pethalamine to expect it either. Unless that was another thing she’d read up on. He resisted the urge to ask Pethalamine if she wanted to roam around town. He didn’t want to seem rude, as if he were avoiding the house. But he felt rude already, sitting there in the middle of a little feud that probably would’ve been better left private. Obviously, the lady of the house was similar to Natalija in terms of not quite caring what others thought, and not just their expressions and tendencies to leave behind very, very awkward situations.

“I.. think I’m going to go look at that skyboard, if you don’t mind Mr. Davies.” Dimitri said, getting to his feet as well as he looked over at Pethalamine, “You were just at the study, right? Mind showing me where it is…?”

Alter Ego
October 11th, 2008, 07:27 AM
Pethalamine was honestly surprised, though not necessarily in a bad way. She had assumed that Stahn's name wouldn't be taken well, and had been sure that Reid would catch the implication of her stressing his kinship with Stahn. What she had managed to trigger, however, was so much more than that. The moment she heard Adela's sugary sweet response, so much like her own, the scholar knew that she had unleashed the worst kind of trouble that Reid could have asked for. And sure enough, it didn't take long for Adela's fury to explode in all of its fiery glory, forcing Pethalamine to shield her ears as best she could without making it overly obvious that she was doing so and drawing the enraged housewife's anger to herself.

Fortunately for most concerned, Adeal's outburst was short but furious as she soon stormed demonstratively out of the kitchen, leaving an awkward field of silence in her wake. Fortunately for Pethalamine, however, Dimitri decided to provide an escape route this time around, asking her for directions to the study.

"Oh, of course." she replied, nodding curtly in goodbye towards Reid before turning back to the task at hand, "I think I even saw the skyboard you're talking about; just come with me."

And with that, she promptly ushered Dimitri along with her, out of the kitchen and towards space you could actually breathe in. The awkward silence stuck with her throughout the journey, however. What was she supposed to say about what had just happened, after all? 'Wow, didn't expect it would be that easy to screw him over'? She had meant to hurt Reid with her words and she wasn't sorry for it; even if the damage had been wider than intended it was still no more than he deserved.

"Well, there it is." she finally managed in lame comment, gesturing towards the worn, white object resting against a wall in a study, "Enjoy...I guess?"

parallelzero
October 16th, 2008, 07:40 AM
The appearance of this girl was more than enough to incite further suspicions in the paranoid youth. The first sign was that she referred to them as ‘lovebirds’, since that wasn’t a way you’d normally address two girls unless it was somewhat obvious they had a ‘thing’, which in Soren’s mind was difficult to surmise given their current interactions. She introduced herself as ‘Amy’, and proceeded to invite them to a ‘new restaurant’ nearby. Again, that was odd, considering the section of town they were in wasn’t at all a convenient place to set up any kind of shop. Something about this girl’s aura felt off, and it was something he had sensed before in someone else. But who? That Phoenix girl that had been with Lyrum before, perhaps? Or was it maybe Miki? He bit Natalija’s lip at the fact that he had reminded himself of Miki. Something about that girl was still gnawing at him. But what if this ‘Amy’ actually intended them harm? There’s no way they’d stand a chance with Soren in Natalija’s less than suitable body for his style, not to mention the body was still in the process of a recharge.

Lyrum looked to Soren before answering the girl’s request. Unlike him, she had no suspicions whatsoever – natural for someone who hadn’t been that exposed to the real world. For Soren, someone who had spent the last few years of his life on the street, however, he knew that suspicions were one of the main entities that would keep you alive. It was a dog eat dog world, and some dogs would do whatever they had to even if it meant dirtying their hands. This was why there was so much conflict in the world. This was why his uncle had to kill his own sister. In the end, his response was solidified as he took Lyrum’s wrist and began to drag her away. The Phoenix girl didn’t protest, but seemed a little confused. “I apologize, but I promised the owner of another shop I’d eat there tonight~” Soren chimed in a sweet tone that would probably make Natalija kill him if she ever heard him use it. It was an obvious lie, but hopefully it would shake this pursuer.

---

Somehow, someway, Reid couldn’t help but feel that he had just ended up on the end of another misunderstanding. Clearly Pethalamine Ayre had just taken a stab at him, as well as set off his wife at the same time, but what the heck could he do about it? He had no choice but to follow the instructions sent to him by Stahn at this point, so he wasn’t permitted to reveal the plan or acknowledge Pethalamine’s name. The real problem was that Stahn was blackmailing him in the first place. That man was a living example of why constant experimentation with the human form was a mistake. He had ended up branching his personality into two separate beings. Stahn Evalice – the ‘witch doctor’ that had lost any interest in the feelings of anyone but himself, and Melody – his original form, a girl who became a monster as a result of Apostle and Skill testing who was much too different from Stahn.

Even so… what to do now? Ellianne was watching him as if she was expecting him to chase after Adela, but that probably wouldn’t work. He had learned over time – and arguments aplenty as in most relationships – that she wouldn’t listen unless he gave her a chance to calm down first. He sighed, and rose from the table. “Hey, Dimitri? Did you want to go for a ride? I need to clear my head!” He called, but was suddenly interrupted by the ringing of his portable phone. The ‘cellphone’ was really quite a wonder. You could call anyone, anywhere, so it was really convenient. As an independent officer of the police in town, he was often informed about cases in and about the city that were ongoing. He would, if he had time, take on any that suited his interests. What he heard over the phone just turned out to be one of those things.

“Murder in the CEO office of Sumeragi Co. Only suspect is a boy by the name of Yuki Sumeragi, next in line to the company.”

“…You interested in checking out the prison if we go for a ride?” This was not going to be a good day.

Loki
October 16th, 2008, 07:45 PM
Dimitri sighed, scratching the back of his head as he glanced at the skyboard in the room. It certainly was probably one of those glory gems that were out of production, but to the young skyboarder, it just looked like an old piece of the past that needed to be put in a museum or something. Shoving his hands into his pockets, Dimitri kept a safe distance from the object, shrugging as he mumbled, “I wasn’t really interested in seeing it in the first place. I just didn’t want to stick around for a fight.” He looked around the study, half in awe at how much stuff there was in here, half in boredom of being surrounded by books. At an equal loss of words as the girl beside him, Dimitri fished for a subject, “Is something bothering you Pethalamine?” Hm. Not really the thing that Dimitri wanted to know right now, in all honesty. He’d had enough drama for one day. He liked his days boring and calm. But hey. Couldn’t hurt to ask.

Especially since he didn’t get an answer. Hearing Reid’s proposal to go for a ride, Dimitri would’ve eagerly consented but for two things. One, he would be caught dead walking into a park with a guy Reid’s age. Two, he didn’t really think Reid was the type to go to skate parks anyway. But it was certainly a better idea than staying around here and doing nothing. He wanted to get out anyway. “Sure!” Dimitri called back, swiftly forgetting all about the two problems he’d thought up but seconds earlier. Reid’s addition to the proposal intrigued Dimitri more than the first, in all honesty. He’d never been to a prison. Probably gotten close to getting into one against his will more than once, but he’d never actually stepped into one of those fancy establishments where they locked people up for whatever amount of time. “Sure!” He reiterated, adjusting his neon green goggles and glancing at the dinosaur in the corner again. Well, good luck to that thing. It didn’t look as if it’d seen action in a long time. He gave a thumbs up to Pethalamine before leaving the study once more, retracing his steps back to the dining table. He wasn’t interested in the things in the study, at all.

“Why’re we stopping by a prison anyway?” Dimitri asked lightly, picking up his own skyboard, unfolding it and locking the latches in place.

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

Levi was not one to stick around for an entire business day. As such, he had returned early as soon as lunch break was announced, leaving the rest of the business to… whoever was in charge when he wasn’t around. Sitting on the edge of the fountain located smack in the middle of his front courtyard, the successful banker had a smirk playing across his lips as he observed his approaching guest through a pair of rimless sunglasses. He seemed highly amused, raised eyebrows disappearing into his rosy fringe.

“Y’know, I went fishing this morning. I was trying to catch some ladies, but lookie here!” Levi joked, “I reeled in a nerd, past his prime and in need of some serious fashion advice.”

“Ha ha.” Lazarus replied, handing his suitcase to a maid and tugging on his black sports jacket, as he situated himself in front of his junior, “You kill me every time Levi.”

“Can I guess you’re here because Alta being blown to smithereens has finally woken you up and let you take the first vacation from your boring job in ten years?”

“I suppose.” Lazarus replied, shrugging. “I thought it might be a good idea to visit you for once.” Lazarus leaned back, taking in the size of Levi’s… house. “I see your taste in home living hasn’t changed much.”

“Hey.” Levi shrugged, “This is just for the ladies and visitors. I personally prefer the junky flat downtown. But you get funny looks when you’re walking through there dressed in a brand name suit, y’know what I mean?” Levi slapped his knees and got to his feet, heading towards the manor and striking up the main point that he’d been waiting to share with Lazarus since he’d caught wind that Lazarus was arriving. “I heard a particular silver haired wyvern lady is in town. A vacation isn’t exactly relaxing if your name is Lazarus and Ellianne is in the same country.”

Lazarus stopped in his tracks. “Why is Ellianne here?”

Levi shrugged again, “Hey, I didn’t get any details. She arrived today, be glad I even know she’s around. Now c’mon. That whack-o skill sent me a bottle of rum. I think it’s poisoned, and you should tell me if it is. Because I’ll be damned; it’s a good year.”

“Whack-o skill?” Lazarus asked, thankful for the change in subject.

“Yeah, the one with the red hair who liked to rip off his limbs and stuff.”

“…Why’d he send you alcohol?”

“Okay, well it wasn’t him who sent it to me, but it originally belonged to him. Or something.” Levi shrugged. “Rasch sent it to me. It was a follow up gift for inviting him to the business party last month. He said he doesn’t drink.”

“Which is smart.” Lazarus pointed out, prepared to start berating Levi about his drinking habits again.

“Which is stupid.” Levi corrected, before Lazarus could continue.

Alter Ego
October 19th, 2008, 09:20 AM
Pethalamine nodded in understanding as Dimitri came clean about why he had asked to see the old pop culture relic, regretting her sheepish statement even more now than she did when she first said it out loud. She would have protested and said that she knew as much, but before she got the chance, Dimitri caught her off guard by asking if there was something bothering her.

The scholar hesitated for a moment, especially surprised as Dimitri was about the last person she had expected such a personal question from, and it was precisely this pocket of silence that Reid seized on to invite Dimitri along with him for...whatever it was skyboarders did together. The underneather was quick to oblige, leaving with a simple thumbs up.

"Right, don't let me keep you."

Pethalamine's parting words sounded rather pathetic even to her, though with a little luck Dimitri hadn't been paying attention to them anyway, dashing off like he did. She didn't even fully understand why she sounded so...disappointed. After all, it wasn't like she had felt any great urge to spill any emotional talk on Dimitri out of all people - Ophelia knew it would just go beyond his head anyway - nor had she ever felt any great urge to unburden any of the thoughts in her head on anyone, so why?

"Nonsense." she scoffed, turning back to exploring the stacks of articles in the hopes of finding something to help her whittle away the time and forget that she was stranded in a strange house surrounded by practical strangers, "I'm analyzing myself too much."

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


Had the current act not entailed otherwise, Kisei would have wrinkled her nose in disdain. The phoenix girl had swallowed the story without a hitch, but her companion was surely one of the most paranoid creatures she had ever encountered. The excuse reeked of a fib, and the rest of the dissheveled girl's manner practically oozed emergency retreat. Something had triggered an entire row of warning flags in the back of that one's mind, but what? It couldn't had been her aura, she was sure. Tedious the suppression bracelet may have been, but it normalized her mahstion signature to an utterly mediocre level. It would have taken a trained expert to catch the tell-tale signs the suppression gave off, and though she was ready to put a number of labels on the dark-haired girl in front of her, that wasn't one of them. It must have been something she said then, but what? Lovebirds? The phoenix girl's behavior certainly bordered on flirty, unconventional though it was considering they were of the same gender, so that hadn't be too much of a stretch...right? And this particular body did belong to a worker at a recently established café so she hadn't needed to fake that at all. Well whatever the case, she had made this gambit, so she would play it to its end at least.

"Aww...come on!" she whined in the childish, high-pitched voice, "Can't I even tempt ya' with some discount vouchers?" she pulled out a handfull of the aforementioned paper slips and waggled them in front of her rapidly retreating prey like a rattle in front of a stubborn child, "50% off from one purchase for every first-time customer, only valid this week."

parallelzero
October 20th, 2008, 06:46 AM
OOC: Short post from school, GO!

“Thanks for the offer but we’ll pass.” Soren couldn’t help but feel threatened by this girl now. She was pushing for them to come to this café, but why? It could have sincerely been an invitation by a worker from a nearby restaurant, but with the feeling he was getting and the nearby aura, even she wasn’t to be trusted. Lyrum just stayed quiet, believing that Soren genuinely had his reasons. What was it about this girl now that was bothering him? “Besides, if you’re giving out 50% off vouchers, then I’m guessing your food isn’t very good, or at least very healthy. To keep a figure we have to eat right.” That… was probably the first indication that he was grabbing for straws, especially to Lyrum who knew his situation. Truth be told, Soren had yet to feed himself since waking up in Natalija’s body, and the fact that the wound was still there and not completely healed just made him even hungry. When he began to think about food, the mentioned stomach suddenly growled, which made him bite Natalija’s lip and spin around again, grabbing for Lyrum’s wrist again and began to drag her away. Of course, nothing ever goes right for him, and it was unfortunate that the sudden turn he committed to grab the Phoenix girl tore open the lionus that was holding his stomach wound closed, and blood began to drip through the already torn shirt and onto the ground before him as he walked.

Lyrum was the first to stop at the sight of this. “Hey! Hey! You’re bleeding!”

---

“Eh? Why?” Reid repeated the question Dimitri had asked as they met at the front door. He was slouched over in an attempt to tie his shoelaces in a rush before kicking a panel in the nearby wall that released a more modern skyboard. Come to think of it, he found it interesting that nobody had commented on his strange wings. One was white and angelic, while the other was black and demonic after all – yet he still rode a skyboard. “Well, it seems Yuki may have gone and killed his own Uncle…” That was some bad news right there. It sounded preposterous, but from what Stahn had sent him information-wise on the boy, it was a possibility. Heir to a company usurped by his uncle, his sister taken from him. The motivation was there, but they’d have to gather a bit of information before coming to any real conclusions. He really didn’t need this on top of the Ailia thing.

He didn’t need any of this.

Alter Ego
October 21st, 2008, 03:45 AM
"Hey now, that's pretty rude." Kisei continued on in her faux persona, pouting at Soren, "It's called a 'promotional campaign' you know, and-" she suddenly clasped her hand to her mouth, even as her inward self was grinning in triumph, "-you're bleeding!"

It really took quite a bit of the negafael's acting skill not to let her glee over the situation become audible as she rushed over to help support the bleeding girl. A long-term wound, a wound that could require medical attention at any given time; she could hardly have inflicted better herself, and this way she didn't have to create a messy scene either!

"This looks bad." she could say quite truthfully, not to say that she had actually given the wound a proper inspection, turning her attention to the phoenix girl, who was clearly the more impressionable of the two, "Come on; there's an Ophelian pilgrim sanctuary near here where they can heal this, no questions asked." she cast a meaningful look at Lyrum's wings, "Since I reckon' you don't want any of that 'phoenix did it' junk to deal with, yeah? Gimme' a hand here." with that, she promptly placed an arm behind Soren's back to keep him - well, her as far as she was concerned - steady, expecting the phoenix girl to do the same, "They can't charge ya' none either; goes against their ethos."

Loki
October 22nd, 2008, 01:11 PM
ooc: I should be doing my Chemistry lab right now. D:< But because I LOVE you guys:

ic: Dimitri blinked stupidly at Reid, feeling around his skyboard fruitlessly for the loop that would bind the straps of his skyboard tightly out of the way. He finally tore his gaze away, looking down with a frustrated grimace as he shoved the straps through the loop and sighed, “Hmm, the guy is pretty….” Dimitri faltered for lack of better word, “… Weird, I guess. But I wouldn’t pin him as the kind to go frolicking off to kill his family members after making that big speech earlier.” The orange-haired wonder shrugged, “But hey, it’s not like we have anywhere better to go. Or at least, I don’t.” Dimitri yanked the door open and stepped out, rolling his shoulders and stretching. His back certainly felt better after being healed up. They’d already been light scabs by the time that one phoenix girl had tended to them, so he felt like a new person already. Or maybe it was the quiet whir of his skyboard starting up. Ah, what a lovely sound. It was hard for Dimitri not to throw himself across the skyboard and just savor the sense of normalcy it exuded. Finally. Something from life before… yesterday. Or the day before? Dimitri had long stopped counting. So much happened all at once, what with Stahn’s intervention, that he had to really concentrate to remember the last time he saw his crummy flat.

And Dimitri, hopping onto his skyboard, was in no mood to concentrate on anything by the object he was standing on. He pushed his right toe down, spinning around before digging the board to a stop once again. Brakes were good, as expected. Dimitri put his hands down on the board, flipping his legs up into a handstand and bouncing the board. Balance- both his and the board, hadn’t rusted either. He spun his legs back onto the board landing with a thump and putting a fist on his hip. Pulling out the gold hooked earrings in his right ear, he shoved them into his pocket, not wanting to risk the same problems as before if he ran into any difficulties. Which, he decided with a resigned sigh, was inevitable. At least Mr. Davies had had the foresight to pick a more modern skyboard. Albeit, one that was built more for speed than tricks, as should’ve been expected from a racer.

“Oh.” Dimitri looked to his right, a portal of Dation forming as Soren- dressed in new clothes that screamed Natalija, emerged. “Welcome back.”

“Hmph.” Soren- Natalija, that is, stuck her nose into the air. “Whatever.” She said in one smooth roll of her tongue, sticking up her hand, which was weighed down at the wrist by a black sling pack. “If you see Soren, tell him that I have some new clothes for him, and that he better blitz it back here if he knows what’s good for him.”

Dimitri raised his eyebrows, leaning his weight onto one leg. “Sure, but it would be faster if you just went to go find him. I don’t think I’ll run into him, unless he decided to visit the-”

Natalija gave Dimitri an incredulous look, matching Dimitri’s pose mockingly. “Did I ask for the faster method?”

“Well, you didn’t ask in the first-“

“Don’t even try.” Natalija replied quickly, interrupting Dimitri once again, “Don’t. Even.” She stalked into the house without another word.

Dimitri ran a hand through his hand, letting his bangs fall back over his right goggle lens before tilting his head back. He’d have his fill of apologizing for her before the day was done, for sure.

parallelzero
October 24th, 2008, 06:20 AM
This probably wasn’t the best time for the wound to act up, that was for sure. This girl, while it wasn’t absolutely obvious, seemed a little too enthused in regards to directing them to the nearest sanctuary for some good old fashion healing. She practically jumped on the chance, which smelled of fish; rotting, decaying, horribly smelling fish. The comment she threw at Lyrum appeared to hit quite hard as well, as the girl piped down the second she brought up the possibility of the Phoenix being accused. Soren was anything but unfamiliar with the sanctuaries present on church grounds. His father was an ex-priest after all. After his mother had given birth to him, however, he had abandoned the church forever, yet the scholarly man liked to talk to his son about the holy grounds a lot. That was before he was removed from his home with a lousy excuse, however. The most important thing he had been told, however, was that he was not to set ground on any churches under any circumstances on accord with ‘health issues’. But he was in Natalija’s body now, right? So he wouldn’t get sick or anything, most likely. Even with the restaurant girl supporting him, he swayed back and forth, the sudden blood loss zapping mostly any strength he had. Damn weak body, damn weak girl, damn Stahn.

“Fine, I’ll go.” Soren bit Natalija’s lip as he stumbled forward, knowing opening a dation warp at this point was just reckless and most likely impossible. Speaking of that girl, she was going to be pissed that her clothes were getting further bloodstained, but oh well. He glanced back at the girl, just as suspicious as before. “But only if you drop the act.” Blood loss was taking a toll on his vision now, as when he looked ahead his vision became clouded and blurred. He was leaning mostly on Lyrum, who hadn’t spoken since ‘Amy’’s comment. “Then you can… lead the way.”

---

Reid pondered for a moment. The boy raised a valid point in regards to the possible guilt of Yuki. He didn’t seem like the kind of person who would kill his family, but… “In his speech earlier, he only specified a sibling, didn’t he? His Uncle isn’t even his direct family. Even so, we’ll need a better understanding of the situation before jumping to conclusions. Apparently there was enough evidence to take him in as a likely suspect, so…” It was true. The authorities around here required at least some sort of evidence of one’s presence at the crime scene at the time of the murder in order to arrest them. “On a slightly different note, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on all that’s happened recently. Alta, that tower, Stahn. I want to know what you think.” A lot had happened that had yet to be addressed by any sort of authorities. It was surprising that Meredy wasn’t in an uproar, though with the presence of same of Carn’s military, that was understandable. Other towns, however, probably weren’t faring so well.

As if on cue to ruin his conversation as he brought his board to his side, Natalija appeared. She appeared… dressed ridiculously in Soren’s body. He would have laughed himself silly if he didn’t know she’d probably smack the crap out of him for it. She kind of reminded him of Adela when she was a lot younger – before they had kids. This girl probably needed to realize what she had before she could improve her personality at all. Maybe, over the course of their journey, she’d find that. His journey helped him find a lot, after all. Even to this day, he was living and learning. Living and learning all for his family. “I think there still food inside if you’d like some…” Reid offered, not expecting her to accept amidst it all, but figuring he should anyways. He just hoped she didn’t go off to corrupt his daughter or worse, talk to his wife…

Loki
October 24th, 2008, 10:09 PM
Dimitri laughed brightly at what he thought was the absurdity of Reid’s question. He proceeded to ignore Natalija who swirled around, crossing her arms tightly across Soren’s chest, and waited patiently for her sure-fire tirade to cease.

“Thank you for the offer.” She said, more gently now that she could eat without restraint, and now that the offer wasn’t like dangling a brownie in front of someone who had to stop themselves from reaching out for it. “But I’ll have to decline. Bad habits die hard.” She stated as-a-matter-of-factly, before shutting the door behind her.

Dimitri was still grinning when he raised an eyebrow at Reid. “Mr. Davies, I’m sure you can tell by my back that I’m not from this place- or any other place up here, so I don’t know why you’d want my opinion. But I’ll try to give you my honest outlook, if you’d like to listen: I couldn’t tell you much about Alta other than the fact that I don’t have a home anymore, and my favorite half-pipe is blown to smithereens. The tower I haven’t given much thought for, other than wondering if there’s anything even in the tower or if it’s just one big mass of a building. And Mr. Evalice…” Dimitri trailed off, his expression growing more thoughtful than cheery. “I guess he’s kinda… a weird guy. He hasn’t done anything to me that I can’t forgive though, so I don’t particularly mind him. You know him too, right?”

ooc: Crappy post, but I don't know what else to put. :B

Alter Ego
October 30th, 2008, 01:30 PM
"Act?"

Kisei purposefully drew out her answer to the latest of Soren's rude comments as she started out the process of shepherding the boy's - or, as far as she was concerned, girl's - body towards the pilgrim sanctuary. Had she seen any serious intelligence behind this remark, she might actually have felt inclined to act on it, but as it was...it was just painfully obvious that the deluded little girl was grasping at straws, and she felt no particular inclination to offer one.

"Most people, would call this being a decent person. Ya' know, not feeling the need to blurt out every nasty remark that pops into your head? And not tossing accusations at someone who's just trying to be nice?" she propped the girl up against the sanctuary wall, rather more roughly than necessary though not enough so to cause serious damage, before turning to knock on the door, "You should really try it sometime."

Were it not for the sign and the depiction of the Ophelian cross above the door, the pilgrim sanctuary could quite easily have passed for nothing more than a healf-heartedly maintained warehouse-gone-appartement among many others in the area, which - if one wished to be meticulous about these things - it technically was. The worshippers had done their best to make the place look presentable, but the naked electric lights did little to bring warmth to the cold, gray walls of the sanctuary and only managed a half-hearted attempt at keeping the darkness at bay, the gloom doggedly lurking in every corner, like a swarm of cockroaches waiting for someone to flip the light switch off, but the place was - at the very least - sanitary. The priest who came to meet them was not a much cheerier sight, clad in a worn robe that looked very much like it had been fashioned out of a potato sack as he was.

"Good evening, sister." the brother in attendance duty half-yawned, squinting at the group through sleepy eyes, "How can the servants of Ophelia aid you in this late hour?"

Kisei rolled her eyes, discreetly nudging Soren - in all his bloodied glory - forward, "Take a guess, brother." she replied, "My friend here ran into some gang trouble and got herself cut in the scuffle. Odds are they were after the quiet lil' girl here."

The priest's eyes widened as she finally acknowledge both Soren's wound and Lyrum's wings, the man quickly performing some form of holy sign with his hand, "Ophelia's mercy." he mumbled, distraught, "...on my last ten minutes of watch. Come in, come in." he gestured towards both Soren and Lyrum at this point, "I shall lead you to the treatment chamber. Sister," she turned to Kisei, "Could you possibly so kind as to notify the healers? They are found in..."

"...the third room to the right." she grinned at the quizzical expression, winking, "We've had some orders to this place, brother. I'm on it." she then turned to briefly address Soren, "Well, there you go then miss conspiracy theorist. Right where I said you'd be, and I have yet to stab you in the back, sell you out to foreign spies, or try to slip a cup of poisoned coffee to you. Aren't ya lucky?"

Without allowing any chance of retort, she then headed out into the gloom of the main hall, soon vanishing from sight, while the attending priest turned to the situation at hand, licking his lips nervously.

"Umm...miss...phoenix?" he ventured, "Your continued aid in supporting the patient would be appreciated, so please...the treatment room is but a short distance away, but we should make haste."


OOC: So yeah, David, since I recon' you don't want to spend any extra posts on this, feel free to just fast forward the whole treatment thing however you like, and I'll jump in to wrap this up when Soren's recovering, 'kay? :3

parallelzero
November 2nd, 2008, 09:16 AM
It was a shame. Soren didn't particularly have the willpower to retort at the moment as the pain from earlier in the day had taken Natalija's body hostage once again. Even with Lyrum supporting him, it was a struggle of unthinkable proportions to walk to the treatment room. He had been struggling to walk the entire time with the large change in weight and proportions from what he was used to, but now with the blood loss disorienting him, it was even worse and he had trouble keeping any form of footing. They eventually reached their destination - albeit Lyrum wondered if the attending priest had taken into consideration the patient's condition when he called the room only 'a short distance away'.

Soren was eventually shown to a bed and tended too, against his will of course. Though, he wasn't particularly in a state to go against any of the treatment he was receiving. The words that girl had used earlier left him troubled. Was the excuse about a gang fight necessary at all? She could have clearly mentioned that it was just a wound that had reopened. Not to mention this was a church, so they couldn't really deny someone in his state treatment. Whatever. The sooner they got out of that place, the better. Lyrum needed to be taken back soon, before anyone started to worry, at least.

---

"So you were found at the scene of the crime, holding the apparent murder weapon, which was YOUR chakram, covered in blood..." Reid was trying to grasp at words to explain what he had just learned. It was fortunate Yuki hadn't been placed on trial and found guilty already - there was sure as hell enough evidence to support such a thing. It was ridiculous, and it set back the plans for the next day immensely. Unfortunately, that didn't negate the task they had to participate in that coming time. Yuki said nothing in response to Reid's comments, in fact it didn't seem like he was listening at all. Was it shock, or guilt that had placed him in such a vow of absolute silence? Either way, there was probably no way of getting him out of the cell before the next day, if at all. With this in mind, the grown man left the holding cell to meet Dimitri in the waiting room.

The boy hadn't been permitted entrance, as Yuki was a murder suspect and Reid only held clearance for himself. "We should be heading back now. It's probably time I lay everything out on the table for my wife, after all." He managed a grin, not really wanted to tell Dimitri the bad news. "And... we probably won't see Yuki for a while..."

Alter Ego
November 2nd, 2008, 10:37 AM
"Ahh...so these are our guests?"

Though better lit than the rest of the sanctuary, the treatment room still had an air about it that could quite generously be described as 'chilly' and the voice intruding on it did little to help that sensation. Much like most of the sanctuary's residents, the man at its head was clad in a simple robe, though his was gray and both better shaped and maintained than those of the rest, the single, gilded chain with an Ophelian cross at the end that he wore being the only thing that marked him as higher ranked than the others, though the scrap of cloth over his eyes was certainly attention-drawing enough.

"I heard of your...unfortunate encounter, young lady." he added, moving a bit closer to Soren and nodding in acknowledgment, "My brothers tell me that you are on your way to recovery, and though I can not truthfully say that I see this," he gave a rueful chuckle, indicating the scrap of cloth over his eyes, "I shall take them at their word. Oh, but excuse my manners. Here I am, speaking like a visiting friend, and I have not even introduced myself." he gave another polite nod in the girls' direction, "I am Father Chutnik, the overseer of this sanctuary, though that is truly nothing but a formality. There are, after all, no ranks before Mother Ophelia. Now I imagine that you must still be tired from your ordeal, but there is a matter about your condition that we truly must discuss. If I may?"

Taking the silence for an answer, the priest strode over and propped himself down on a small barstool next to the bed Soren had been laid down on, "Your wound was quite deep, sister." he said gravely, "Too much so for Lionus to heal in so short a time. My brothers have done the best they can, but in order to make a full recovery, the wound must be administered regular treatments for an extended period of time. I do not mean to impose on private matters that are none of my concern, but out of duty to Ophelia and my oath to serve the well-being of her children, I must ask...will you have access to medical attention once you leave this sancutary's walls?"

Loki
November 2nd, 2008, 10:54 AM
Aertan was vaguely aware that ever since getting off that cursed funeral ship thing whatever Faewyn called it, every one of his sentences almost inevitably started with “I hate”. He couldn’t help it. He hated Tealia. It reminded him too much of Carn. He hated airships. In fact, he hated every place in the world other than Beta. He hated everything around him except for the one thing which he loved the most; the very reason why he was begrudgingly clamping his mouth shut about all his complaints and duly wandering through the quaint neighborhood with a sour expression on his face. His right and only hand was shoved into his pocket, with his olive green cargo jacket hanging from the nook between his wrist and waist. His left arm was held securely to the side of his torso, the end of the sleeve flowing freely so that if Aertan shook back the black cloth of his long sleeved v-neck, one could see the long smoothed scar of a missing hand. To his left, Haeont’ carried his and Faewyn’s things, leaving Aertan to concentrate on scrutinizing the different town houses to find the address of his unfortunate destination. And to his mild interest, two children sat outside the house he was looking for. Undoubtedly the children of Adela and Reid.

The boy, tawny haired and looking a little troubled, barely noticed Aertan until he’d crumpled the slip of paper that had a crude map upon it and tossed it into the air with his right hand. The son looked up when Geote burst out of his confinement and caught it in his gangly fingers. So Aertan wasn’t exactly the kind of person you ran into on a daily basis. That much, Reid’s son seemed to derive, as he pulled the girl Aertan assumed was his sister closer to him.

The action made Aertan’s brow fall in frustration. Like father, like son. Well. Fine.

Aertan ignored the boy, shoving his hand into his pocket again and letting Geote stretch over to knock on the door, “We’re not staying for long Faewyn, so-

“Faewyn?” The boy piped up, "Oh, my mom is expecting-“

The door wrenched open, Adela standing in the doorway looking very eager to see whoever it was behind the door. Her face broke out into a smile, and practically written across Aertan’s face was: “Who is this person?” The Adela he knew was not nearly this…

“Hello!” She cried happily, leaving a baffled expression on Aertan’s face and rushing over to Faewyn, “I’m so glad you’re here, just seeing you is such a relief. I was so caught up with Reid being… well, you know, that I completely forgot to tell you that Pethalamine is here! Oh and I forgot to tell her that you were coming too... Well come in, come in! Reid isn't here right now, he's down at the station, but Pethalamine should be in his study right now."

Now if Aertan’s jaw ever stopped working, it stopped working now. He gaped stupidly at Adela before glaring dangerous daggers at the doorframe. “You’re kidding me. PETHALAMINE." He yelled threateningly, hoping very much that she had a very good reason to have not sent him word of her well-being.

Damn if she thought this was another one of her not-so-funny jokes.


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

"Oh." Dimitri stood up, letting his skyboard come off his shoulder as he contemplated what Reid meant. "I guess... we should go back then."

parallelzero
November 2nd, 2008, 11:21 AM
...Chutnik? Soren's inner child wanted to laugh out loud at that name. It was certainly... different in sound than most names in these parts. The man himself was pretty bone chilling, the atmosphere giving absolutely no leeway for the imagination to make him seem like less of a creeper. His chuckling was annoying, his mannerisms fishy, and the fact that he was being referred to as a 'sister' was really starting to set in negatively, like he had been trying to ignore the fact the entire time but was being constantly reminded. It was understandable what he asked next - it was natural to make sure that the patient had a reasonable means to deal with their wounds in the aftermath of the initial treatment, and there was a problem with what he was asked. There was no lionus nor a wation user in their group. "Well, no, there isn't anyone, but I'm sure I can check in at clinics every so often, could I not?" He spoke for the first time since being brought into the room. He really wanted to get out of the church, away from this guy. He wanted to go back to worrying about the next day, not the present.

OOC: REALLY short post before work to give AE something to work with. We need to get this done. XD

Alter Ego
November 2nd, 2008, 01:08 PM
Though it may not have been most people's first choice for transportation, the Solemn Condolence had definitely proven to be the fastest route available. How he had done it she had not managed to get complete notes on, but somehow their rather peculiar 'captain' had managed to tweak the funeral barge's engines into providing far more thrust than they had originally been designed for - 'Airships are just like really clumsy fake wings' he had explained 'just got to know which places to tweak' - cutting down on their travel time considerably.

This fact had already put Faewyn in better spirits, the thought of soon meeting old friends enhancing it further, and as such she endured Aertan's grumpiness with her usual placid manner, latched onto his arm as they strolled through the Tealian suburbs. Such a nice-looking place this was, and how long it had been since she had actually gotten to visit someplace outside of business. For all his good traits, most of which he actively worked to conceal, Aertan was a very sedentary person by nature, making any family trip that extended beyond the borders of the town they had settled in tricky negotiation at best; anything outside of Beta was practically impossible. This, however, was not the moment to start bringing such things up, Faewyn reminded herself, the gloom pressing in a bit closer on her, her grip around Aertan's arm instinctively tightening a little. Family trips were not something you worried yourself over when the question of whether or not you could still be said to have a family was on the table. She spared an encouraging smile at the Davies' children, immediately recognizing them from the letters and occasional pictures that Adela had shared, but though coddling over children was certainly right up her alley, Adela's words immediately overrode the instinct.

"I was so caught up with Reid being… well, you know, that I completely forgot to tell you that Pethalamine is here!"

"Pethalamine is..?" Faewyn repeated, dumbstruck for a moment until her mind caught up with the good knews. Pethalamine wasn't just safe; she was here. She recited these words slowly for herself in her mind, over and over again, the happiness and relief bubbling up inside her until they had no choice but to burst, "Thank you!" acting on pure impulse, Faewyn caught her old friend in a surprise hug, though she relinquished it fairly quickly, dabbing away at the tears of joy that had escaped with her outburst, "I'm-I'm so relieved." she muttered, "I-it's a long story, and I'm not sure if she has told you the whole of it, but let's get to that later. It's...nice to see you again, Ade-"

"PETHALAMINE!"

Much like Faewyn, Aertan had seemed overwhelmed by this insight at first and was no less moved by it, even if his way of expressing it was quite different, his threatening yell resonating loud and clear down the rooms and corridors of the Davies' house. The woman couldn't help smiling. Even after all these years, this was still Aertan's first and predominant way of expressing concern, and true to the usual pattern in their peculiar little relationship, Pethalamine eventually arrived at the scene, just before the man would have felt obligated to yell again yet never a second earlier than that, a heavy-looking treatise in her hand and that air of carefully calibrated calmness about her. The whole scene was so familiar, it felt almost unreal to Faewyn and as much as she wanted to rush forward and give her daughter a hug that would have made the one Adela had gotten look like mere child's play in comparison, she didn't want to break this particular scene and remained rooted.

Seemingly bound by the same peculiar spell, Pethalamine paused for a moment, her eyes travelling from one person to the next in turn, her lips slowly parting as she formed her response.

"You don't have to shout." she said flatly.

And with those simple words, the word had gone back to normal.

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

The priest shook his head at Soren's suggestion, a troubled look spreading across his features, "I'm afraid it's not that simple, sister." he replied, "Your bleeding now...it was a reopening, was it not? Oh, don't worry," he added to forestall any explanations, "I shall not press on why your friend saw fit to twist the truth like she did; the key point is the nature of your wound. It is large and consequently frail. The Linous wrap should hold in casual situations, but if you end up in a scuffle or over-extend your mahstion capabilities, you may well cause another rip...most likely with results similar to these. You will need a Lionus user or licensed physician that you can call on to administer aid at virtually any time to avoid complications. Seeing as you apparently have neither, I have...a proposal to make." the priest brought his fingertips together, looking thoughtful for a while, "I will not lie to you; I do see gain of sorts for me in this situation, though it will surely be just as beneficial for you. You see, I have faced a bit of a quandry with one of the young ones of my flock...Alderian, a promising young acolyte with a strong sense of justice. He is well-versed in healing arts, but he still needs to learn the ways of the world and to temper his manner with compassion, and so I was hoping...hoping that I could offer his services to you as in the capacity of a medical aide. He will administer any treatment or healing you wish, and in exchange, all I ask is that you provide him with basic housing and nourishment, possibly acquaint him with the outside world a little if you find it in your heart to do so. I realize that this may seem like quite an imposition..." he added apologetically, "...and I regret to come off as someone who would take advantage of you in your time of need, but the only other solution I can offer in good conscience is that you stay at this sanctuary - or a medical institution of your choice - until you have fully recovered, and I would truly not wish to curtail your freedom in such a way." the priest bowed his head a little in thought before promptly rising to his feet, "I have taken up enough of your time now, I think." he announced, "It is late and the streets are unsafe at this hour, so please...stay here for the night and think my offer over. There is no need to rush a decision, especially so soon after your recent ordeal. You can give word of your decision to the attending brother at any time and he shall pass it on and have the necessary arrangements made. Now then," he gave a last nod of acknowledgement to the two, "I wish you a swift recovery and a good night. Ophelia's blessings on you both." and with that, he turned around and left the room.

parallelzero
November 3rd, 2008, 10:06 AM
This was, indeed, a really difficult decision to make. His personal feelings aside, there were very large cons in either proposed solution. If he was admitted into a hospital of some sort, he'd be kept there and unable to aid with the operation the next day - not that he wanted to help his uncle kill his sister - but who knew what punishment he'd receive from Stahn for not participating. He was already in Natalija's body, and things would be a lot worse if he got trapped in it forever. On the other hand, if he allowed this Alderian person to come along, that would be involving civilians and leaking Stahn's secret. Again, who knew what punishment he'd receive for such an act. Was this it, though? Was this the trap? It was a possibility for sure, but he couldn't really prove it, nor did he have the energy to try. In the end, there was no choice but to choose the lesser of two evils. "Have this Alderian fellow meet us at 328 Rellian Boulevard around lunch tomorrow. We'll be taking our leave in the early morning." He had no intention of staying very long in the morning. This place didn't feel right, but with his wound he couldn't just get up and leave. "Is that okay with you?" He turned his head to look at Lyrum, whom had stayed quiet during the entirety of the stay. She seemed distracted.

"A-ah. Yes! It's okay with me!"

---

The night came and went, and it was a rough night indeed. Soren's condition worsened for a bit, giving him a slight fever, but thankfully he pulled through okay for the morning. He and Lyrum ended up leaving at 6am sharp, and it took them about an hour to get back to his Uncle's. Upon arrival, the found Reid asleep on the front doorstep. As they approached in order to enter the home, the man opened his eyes and sat up. "Er..." he didn't really have any real way to explain this without sounding bad.

"Did Aunt Adela make you sleep outside?" Soren sighed, not at all surprised by the concept.

It wasn't one hundred percent correct, as he had chosen to sleep outside. "Well, I went ahead and told her about you know," he made an effort to keep the information about Stahn quiet as Lyrum was innocent in regards to the situation with the man. "But I chose to sleep out here since we received some more guests - Pethalamine's parents, actually - while you were gone, and there really wasn't anywhere else to sleep." Pethalamine's parents? Soren couldn't even imagine what they were like, considering Pethalamine was in a world all her own. "So, what the heck were you doing out with that girl all night? Did you try something indecent with that girl's body?"

Soren lit up bright red. "HELL NO! Why would I!?" Lyrum was laughing. She had never thought of it like that, but the possibility was there.

"Well, you did go out alone with a girl for the entire not, so what am I supposed to assume?"

"What are you supposed to assume, Daddy?" Rosalynne peered from behind the front door, obviously having eavesdropped for some time now. "What was Soren doing with Miss Phoenix?"

"He was supposed to be playing games with me!" The Phoenix girl made her best lame attempt at covering up, though it just got a sweatdrop out of Reid and Soren.

Alter Ego
November 4th, 2008, 02:45 PM
Pethalamine slept peacefully that night, moreso than she had done in months, her dreams completely devoid of disembodied voices, ominous speeches and oppressive darkness. To the casual observer this would have seemed odd, given that the events of last eve had been anything but peaceful, but there had been something strangely...relieving about the shouting match she and Aertan had managed to get caught up in. As if she had gotten to take all the pent-up anger, hurt, and ire inside her and just let it out in one, fell swoop.

The girl couldn't help grinning in spite of herself as she rubbed her lightly sore throat with one hand, searching for her boots with the other, for once in her life, just for that small moment of stubborn glaring between them before Faewyn had broken the entire fight with a group hug, she thought she had caught a glimpse of what her mother had seen in the jerk.

Not that it changed the fact that he was a jerk, mind you.

Pethalamine gave a rueful sigh. This would have been such a perfect spot to put the 'happily ever after' on this whole story, but she knew that this wouldn't do. Stahn had seen to that, and now...now she would have to give the most difficult explanation of her life, as - between the little display of family drama and Faewyn's consequent interest in resolving the argument between Reid and Adela - the scholar doubted that the whole 'pawns of a mad scientist' thing had even been brought into discussion. She really, really wasn't looking forward to this.

As fortune would have it, however, there was currently an entirely different explanation going on.

"So, what the heck were you doing out with that girl all night? Did you try something indecent with that girl's body?"

Pethalamine paused for a moment, stunned by the mental picture this formed and - more specifically - the thought of how the real Natalija would have reacted to such a thing. She couldn't help a chuckle, in spite of herself, one that was joined in far more heartily from the other end of the Davies' quaint little garden.

"Oh come now, don't be so hard on him, Reid." Faewyn chided, beaming like the sun itself as she strode over to the group, "Youths should get to roam a little. And besides," she winked, "when you think about the things you were up to at his age."

"Umm...mother?" Pethalamine finally managed, weakly raising her hand.

"Oh, good morning, Pethalamine." Faewyn replied cheerfully, offering a small wave in return, "Your new friends must really be having a good influence on you; normally you wouldn't be up until-"

"Mother," the girl interrupted in a slightly more flustered tone, finally raising her finger to point out the rather eyecatching object slung over Faewyn's shoulder, "Why are you-?"

"Oh, this?" Faewyn asked, finally catching on as she cast a glance at the beast of a crossobw slung across her back and secured by a simple leather strap, it's bottom end nearly scraping the pavement while the horizontal part easily spanned her thin shoulders. Only her, Pethalamine couldn't help thinking as she saw the honest surprise in Faewyn's manner, only her mother could treat a weapon theoretically capable of punching through a solid steel wall as casually as most people would treat a sling bag, "I heard there was a talented artificier in town, so I decided to have this old thing checked up and recalibrated now that I had the chance to. You know how my regular supplier refused to do maintenance on this and-"

Yes indeed, after a misfire during the last maintenance had come an inch away from ripping his hand off. Pethalamine might even have seen fit to remark as much, but before she had the chance to do so, a polite cough interrupted the blossoming conversation.

"Ah...if I may interrupt?"

Pethalamine blinked...and stared. Now she was not usually one to stare and gape after boys - treating it as a childish and unitellectual passtime far better suited for the 'idiots her age' - but this particular male was something quite out of the ordinary. His body was...well, she supposed that it matched the sort of thing that ordinary twit girls liked to swoon over. Fit, certainly, but not bulgingly muscular, flawless skin, oh-so-soulful eyes, and all that rubbish, but Pethalamine's attention was far more focused on the hair. It was...silvery, like an old person's, yet with far more luster to it, and the combination created an absolutely bizarre end result that was only further enhanced by the rather severe combination of black trousers dark gray shirt, the thin golden colored trim around its collar and the flauntingly displayed gold necklace with the Ophelian symbol on it around his neck being the only spots of color in the gloom, a small knapsack of belongings clasped in his hands.

"Alderian Reis." the peculiar appartition introduced himself, bowing slightly, before elaborating at the blank looks he was receiving, "I'm not too late, I hope? The young lady," he indicated Soren at this point, "asked me to come to this address."

Pethalamine's glance turned slowly to the person currently occupying Natalija's body, "Soren..." she said evenly, "...when you said you didn't do anything inappropriate with that girl..."

Loki
November 4th, 2008, 05:06 PM
Natalija stood opposite her now-disturbing reflection, having been doing so for a very long amount of time now, debating a very dire subject in her mind: Should she take a shower?

The fashion queen was sure that she would be unable to last an entire day in this body without being sure of its cleanliness at least once, but two problems stood in her way. One, she considered that Soren would probably not really appreciate the idea of her taking a shower in his body- though heaven knew he needed the shower, because more than fourteen hours without a proper shower was like sinning. Now, true to Natalija’s indifferent and self-gratifying personality, she didn’t really care much about the first issue. As far as she was concerned, Soren’s opinion didn’t really matter when compared to being hygienic. However, the second issue was what had kept her staring into Soren’s face with troubled eyes for the past ten minutes. Natalija was certainly not shy- she had convinced herself of that within two seconds after wandering into the bathroom upon instinct. But she hadn’t quite convinced herself that she herself would place showering over seeing parts of Soren that she wasn’t really quite interested in. Underwear was one thing. This, however, was another. At her age, of course, it was probably a perfectly healthy, albeit preferably unmentioned notion. Still. Stahn could’ve picked a more handsome body, so that she wouldn’t have to face this dilemma.

She sighed, pulling the wrinkled T-shirt she’d slept in up, revealing Soren’s stomach. She made a face. He certainly had grade A abs. But she couldn’t push the thought out of her head. These were Soren’s abs. She heaved another sigh, wrinkling her brow together. She looked to her right, at the shower. Then her left, at the door, which was shut and locked tight.

“…” Soren’s reflection in the mirror contorted as if he’d just eaten something extremely bitter. At this point, Natalija simply did not care. She wanted nothing to do with unwashed hair, and that was the priority that soared above any and all problems. “Too bad for him.” She voiced, shrugging, shifting her attention off of the fact that it was not his discomfort that she’d been debating, “It’s probably not even worth seeing.”

--

Dimitri, however, was not quite so nonchalant about the matter. He’d been waiting irritably for whoever had decided to occupy the bathroom for such an unreasonable amount of time, before he heard the familiar voice. And Dimitri was not the fastest thinker, but it wasn’t hard to figure out exactly what Natalija was referencing. All at once, any need to use the toilet left Dimitri’s mind as he clamped his hands over his ears, turning a little red, a little purple, and a little green. He immediately found his way back to his room and decided he’d just go ahead and get dressed. He opened the box of earrings, and contemplated. He’d grown a little fond of these little buggers. One or two wouldn’t hurt, or gather much attention, he reasoned. Besides, his lack of wings garnered more attention than earrings ever would. He slid two lip rings on, and immediately shut the box, pocketing it and resisting any temptation to complete his usual look. He looked up at the ceiling of Serge’s room, before sighing. Today would be the day they’d have to do… whatever it was they wanted to do.

What a pain.

--

“Nothing I can recall.” Aertan’s chilly response came as Adela glared at him from over her mug of tea.

“It’s called holding up your side of the conversation, old man.” Adela shot.

Aertan took a sip of his coffee- black, simple, and bitter, turning the page of the newspaper from the week before last that he’d brought with him. “Excuse me if I’m not interested in recounting the wonderful, lovey-dovey days that I’ve spent the last twenty-five years with my lovely beloved Faewyn.” He said, the words escaping his mouth only because they were directed in mocking sarcasm at what Adela had been somewhat expecting. “As enjoyable as they were, I don’t dwell in the past, and am simply looking forward to the future.”

“Profound.” Adela’s equally sarcastic remark came. She paused in her small argument with Aertan however, when she heard footsteps calmly descending. Looking over her shoulder, she immediately identified Terrance, who was actually Natalija. Confusing, but she hadn’t asked, especially since they were obviously involved with Stahn, who would’ve found the swap amusing, most likely. Speaking of Stahn, the thought renewed Adela’s grudge against her husband, and she immediately folded her arms tightly across her chest. Aertan couldn’t suppress the urge to roll his eyes, and so he did. Thankfully, not catching Adela’s attention when he did so.

Natalija strolled across the room, excusing herself distractedly as she shifted Pethalamine and, apparently, Pethalamine’s mother, so that she could get through.

“Good morning.” Natalija’s cold, infuriated tone was released with Soren’s voice, so that it was almost like a strangled growl. “I hope you enjoyed yourself last night.” She glanced at the unfamiliar stranger for a full three seconds, letting an eyebrow shoot up in a “Ew, who is that?” sort of manner, before turning her angry attention back onto Soren. “And I seriously hope that you won’t put it against me if I castrate you at this point. Have you seen yourself? You look terrible. Do you know what that means? That means that I look terrible. Would it be okay with you if I just went ahead and shaved off all your hair?” Natalija didn’t wait for a response, “I didn’t think so. While my body is in dirty, ripped clothing, I have gone to the trouble of getting you a new, clean set of clothes that are considerably more fashionable than your original choice. And then you run off with another girl for an entire night. You realize that you are in my body? I will be sure to harass-“ Natalija searched her mind for another male, “Dimitri if I even catch wind that you were seen with her. I don’t want to know what you did with her, but implications are more than enough. Now I don’t care what you have to say, I don’t care if you’re grumpy, I don’t care if you’re tired. You. Bath. New clothes. Fixed hair. Now.”

Natalija took swift advantage of her newfound strength in picking up her body, which she found satisfyingly light, and marching back through the door, up the stairs, and into the bathroom, ignoring any protest that Soren might have.

Because even if she seemed angry, it had taken a lot for Natalija not to simply faint from the shock of seeing her body.

And true to her nature.

Natalija hadn’t even noticed that Yuki was gone.

But that wasn't important in the least. Natalija worked with speed and precision, deciding that she didn't trust Soren with picking the right amount of conditioner to balance out the amount of shampoo used, and thus she switched from shower to bath. She decidedly failed to realize that Soren might face the same dilemma as herself. And if the thought had ever crossed her mind, well, as far as she was concerned, he could close his eyes if it was really that big a deal. While waiting for the conditioner to absorb, Natalija bustled about, refolding the clothes she'd brought back into a neat little pile beside the sink. Selfish as she was, when it came to consideration when coordinating outfits, Natalija was unsurpassed. While she wasn't afraid of letting Soren catch a little chill, because that was a necessary sacrifice for style, she had pointedly picked out a pair of ballet flats, brown toed with white belting across the top to begin the transition to a rosy pink. Walking and fighting would be no problem. Then the outfit was loose; not too tight, thus leaving plenty of leeway. But there was enough fabric that he wouldn't die of the cold, and the rather exposed legs Natalija had remedied with a pair of black leggings threaded with bright pink. As she ordered Soren around, Natalija was adding last minute final touches to the outfit in her head, before finally sitting Soren down on the closed toilet lid and delicately drying off her long black hair, getting it as dry as she could with a towel before expertly brushing her hair straight down and twisting various damp pieces around the brush so that her hair wouldn't look unnaturally- and unstylishly, straight.

Sitting back when she was done, she sighed and put the ballet flats on the floor, giving one quick look at Soren's outfit. The main piece was a pale robins egg blue overall-like garment, cinched in at the waist, seperating two strips of fabric that were the straps of the overalls, and the shorts portion, which were loose and comfy. Underneath, was an extremely lowcut white 3/4 sleeved peasant shirt, the low collar remedied by a red-pink camisole underneath.

"Done." She breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction, clapping her hands together. It probably would've been cuter had she been in her own body. "Now don't lay on the hair weird, or let it get ruffled, or it'll dry weird. I guess we'll forgo the make-up. I don't want to have to deal with the amateur model issue of twitching eyes and stiff faces. You're free to go!"

Natalija was now in a very good mood. The only question was how long it would last.

ooc: Blitz'd it through the pretty-up-Soren scene. I have to go to bed.

parallelzero
November 5th, 2008, 10:31 AM
"N-n-NO! I didn't do anything!" Soren turned bright red as he was overcome by embarrassment. Perhaps allowing this Alderian fellow to come to the house was a little bit unintelligent. Though, he was not expecting things to turn out like this. "Lyrum will vouch for me! It's just my stomach wound reopened last night and I had no choice but to seek treatment! They made me stay the night there, and if I didn't agree to bring this guy along they were going to force me to stay in a hospital for a while!" His explanation was met by laughter from Reid, and confusion from Rosalynne, whom had lost track of the conversation a long time prior.

Reid found this extra hilarious. "Well, I can't really take the Phoenix girl's word at face value considering she'd obviously cover for you if you did what I think you did..." At the same time, he was a little less than pleased that his nephew had ended up adding a new face to their ranks. Even so, it worked out well. "I guess the boy can stay, considering we're now short an extra pair of hands. You guys will only be taking care of guards anyways. You might as well explain to him what's going on, Soren-"

Of course, there had to be some kind of interruption. Reid's life was always interrupted. Someone always had something to say that they thought was more important than what he was saying. In this case, it was Natalija. “And I seriously hope that you won’t put it against me if I castrate you at this point. Have you seen yourself? You look terrible. Do you know what that means? That means that I look terrible. Would it be okay with you if I just went ahead and shaved off all your hair?” Natalija didn’t wait for a response, “I didn’t think so. While my body is in dirty, ripped clothing, I have gone to the trouble of getting you a new, clean set of clothes that are considerably more fashionable than your original choice. And then you run off with another girl for an entire night. You realize that you are in my body? I will be sure to harass-“ Natalija searched her mind for another male, “Dimitri if I even catch wind that you were seen with her. I don’t want to know what you did with her, but implications are more than enough. Now I don’t care what you have to say, I don’t care if you’re grumpy, I don’t care if you’re tired. You. Bath. New clothes. Fixed hair. Now.”

Soren's face turned pale as Natalija addressed him. This was probably not going to end well under any sort of plausible circumstance, and as she went on, he became more and more concerned for his own well being. He felt bad, of course, for being partially responsible, but for the most part it wasn't his fault! The girl-in-boy ended up picking Soren up - which made him turn bright red nonetheless - and began to carry him away. "WAIT! I can't go in the bath!" Somehow, he figured she didn't care.

Reid in the meantime, felt very ignored. He was in charge of everything, yet nobody was listening! "Pethalamine?" He called inside, having obviously lost the original person he was going to utilize. "Could you brief this Alderian fellow for me?" He rose to his feet after sitting on the steps for so long. "We'll be leaving soon on a surprise trip before tonight, so I was hoping we could get him caught up beforehand."

"Um... Mr. Reid? Where's Ellianne?" Lyrum inquired, not seeing the wyvern lady anywhere.

"She went out looking for an agent for you early this morning. She wanted us to bring you along for now, but just until this evening."

---

Soren in the meantime had been thrown into his own little hell. Natalija wasted no time throwing him into the bath and shower, completely naked, without even caring that he was uncomfortable, nor did she seem to care that he could see everything. His eyes were kept closed at first, but over time he had no choice but to keep them open in order to finish the remainder of the shower experience. When all was done in the shower, the girl dressed him like he was some sort of doll. The resulting outfit wasn't bad for moving in, but the fact that it was clearly designed for the fashionable girl. The strangest part of the outfit was the black leggings, which would take some getting used to considering it was not a normal piece of clothing you'd find a guy wearing. "This is... really cold..." He sighed as he crossed his arms in an attempt to warm himself up. It certainly allowed a draft with the open bottoms, and he was still having problems walking in the shoes he had been confined to.

After being set free, he murmured an ungrateful "Thanks..." and wandered into the living room, where everyone seemed to be gathering. At least, Reid, Lyrum and Rosalynne were there. "Aww, look at the cute Princess!" Reid chuckled as he sat up.

"DADDY! I thought you said I was your Princess!" Rosalynne butted in, not amused by the title Soren had just been given.

"You are, you are! But doesn't your big cousin Soren look pretty?"

"Yeah! Yeah! You look pretty, Soren!"

"Great..." Was the only response he could muster at this point. "By the way, where is Yuki?"

"Prison."

"Ah... wait, huh?"

"It's a long story, but it's why we need the extra hands. I'll tell you on the way to the party, Princess."

"...Party?"

"You'll see later." Somehow, it seemed like an awful day to go to a party, considerin what was going to conspire that evening.

Alter Ego
November 8th, 2008, 11:20 AM
Now Pethalamine was not usually one to laugh at other people's suffering, not in public and especially not while her mother was in earshot, but Soren's predicament was like something straight out of a sitcom. Just when her laughter was at its peak, however, Reid suddenly dropped the bombshell on her, requiring that she explain the entire mess to their newest dupe.

"Hey, just a minute!" Pethalamine protested, raising up both hands in objection to the notion as the man made his retreat, "I never said I'd-"

"Your assistance is much appreciated, madame Pethalamine." the strange boy remarked, homing in on her in turn with an apologetic smile, "I seem to have misspoken somehow."

Madame? The scholar's eyebrow twitched. Oh, he had misspoken alright, in more ways than he knew, but before she could tell him as much, her mother had already joined into the discussion.

"Situation?" Faewyn inquired, raising an eyebrow, "Taking care of guards? I think I'd better hear this explanation of yours too, Pethalamine."

"I-" Pethalamine took an instinctive step back, feeling very much cornered, but eventually gave a sigh of forfeit, "...alright, I wanted to talk with you about this anyway."

Brilliant. Just the explanation she had been hoping to avoid.

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


Faewyn was...well, angry would probably have been an overstatement, but her mouth was currently pulled into a tight line quite uncharacteristic of her. A clear sign of disapproval that Pethalamine was not used to seeing.

"Well, Reid, I can't say I'm pleased with this." she finally announced from her spot in the room, having followed the conversation in silence thus far, "I'm maintaining the belief that you have good reasons for all of this, but right now that won't do. If my daughter is going to be involved in this...thing, however remotely, there are three things I want you to clarify for me at the very least." she took a deep breath, obviously not enjoying the process but clearly not about to back down, "Who precisely is this Stahn character? Why do you feel compelled to go to such lengths for him, and above all." she locked eyes with her old friend, her gaze hardening, "Do you swear...swear on your life that Pethalamine will not be harmed in this? I...know you like to keep your secrets, Reid." she said as evenly as she could, "And I've been trying to respect your reasons for doing so, but there are...there are secrets you can keep even from your friends and others that you just-" she forced her hand to unclench from the fist it had slowly curled up into, "-that you just don't."

"Mother..." Pethalamine mumbled, finding it hard to come to terms with this new side of Faewyn.

"I don't know exactly what you are talking about," Alderian conceeded, anxiously toying with his necklace, "But this...doesn't sit very well with me either." he shook his head slowly, "However, if-if these guards are wicked men then I suppose this is justice of a sort." he stared transfixed at the cross, "Isn't that right...Ophelia?"

Loki
November 8th, 2008, 12:05 PM
Aertan frowned. It was not your average frown. Nor was it the deep, angry expression that he normally would've shown in this situation. It a very calm, disapproving look that he directed to Reid, very calmly observing both Adela and Reid. Now, normally in situations like this, he would burst out in adamant protest, snarling something about not dragging other people and families into his stupid adventures. But Aertan felt fear. He was not ashamed to admit that he was not about to place himself in the line of fire between Faewyn and Reid at the moment, as he quietly sipped his coffee, trying his best to be a wallflower in this conversation. He didn’t approve of Reid dragging his family into this. If anything, he should just drag his son in place of Pethalamine. The boy didn’t really look like a fighter, though. But that didn’t justify bringing the brat along instead. This Stahn person must’ve been from Reid’s little journey after he and Faewyn and Alicel had stepped out of the limelight. He glanced at Adela, who was stubbornly trying to make a grocery list without saying a word to anyone, though she wanted to hear what this whole business was about at the same time.

“If it doesn’t sit well with you,” Natalija spat bitterly at Alderian, her eyes flashing dangerously, “Then why are you even here? Nobody asked you to come.” She faltered in her irritation at the man and threw her glare at Soren with the most venomous gaze she’d given him since she’d met him, “Right?”

Dimitri sighed, looking very tired of the entire business, and trying to divert Natalija's accusing attention off of Soren.

“Aren’t we going to a party or something?” He said, his head sunk into his palm as he tried his very best to keep listening, "I mean, we'll probably be late at this rate, or something like that."

parallelzero
November 8th, 2008, 12:52 PM
He had been expecting this. A full out tag team attack by the entire group. What could possibly make Reid Davies act like the dog of Stahn Evalice, a clearly psychotic man? He glanced around nervously, noticing two people he needed out of the room before he could say anything. "Serge, can you take Rosalynne outside until we're finished in here?" He waited for his kids to leave, before leaning forward in his couch seat. "First of all, I better explain the situation. Princess Evaline is being held captive by her guards - more specifically her head guard, Ailia Davies. Evaline is just being used as a figurehead. Any decisions made for Tealia are not made by her. For whatever reason, my little sister seems to be going along with Carn's little plan, and I need to... get rid of her. Stahn sent me who he did as backup in case I couldn't do it myself." He grit his teeth before taking a sip of coffee from the nearby table. He figured everyone would need a second to digest this new information. "The reason I can't say no is because he's blackmailing me. 'If you don't comply, then let's just say Armon and Sanako will be making a reappearance. Think of how your kids would react to that.' That's what he wrote in the letter."

"Huh? What's that mean? Who are Armon and Sanako?" Soren inquired, having heard the names before but not exactly remembering who they were.

"Armon is Adela's male form, and Sanako is my female form. Stahn cursed us into those forms back when we trained with him years and years ago." Soren wanted to burst out laughing, but at the same time it was serious. If there was any such ridiculous thing in the world that could have dangerous consequences, this was it.

"So genderbending seems to be one of his hobbies." Soren murmured to himself, the story becoming more familiar. Perhaps he had been told when he was young? "That explains this ridiculous situation..." He made reference to his form as he ran a hand over one of the leggings, which he found to be more and more bizarre. He was ignoring Natalija, who tried to dismiss Alderian.

"But, anyways! We're going to a party of a friend of mine! She's really rich, and she promised us outfits for the afternoon as well! We'll get them when we get there. So until tonight, let's just enjoy ourselves!" It wasn't a very subtle topic change, but he tried.

Alter Ego
November 10th, 2008, 12:02 PM
"Well, as a matter of fact." Alderian replied, his voice betraying nothing but polite confusion over Natalija's rather openly hostile matter, "She did make a request that I arrive at this address. Oh, but I assure you, I am only here in the capacity of charity work for my church to look after her wound, so if you are the young lady's boyfriend-"

It was at this point that a carefully aimed kick to the shin cut the priest's explanation short, a warning look meeting his before he managed to protest, "Don't." Pethalamine mouthed, "Say. That. Word. Ever." an order which Alderian very prudently chose to heed.

Faewyn's mouth, meanwhile, remained firmly pulled into its uncharacteristic state of disapproval, "You'll have to excuse me if I'm not exactly in a party mood right now." she said as evenly as she could, "And you still didn't answer my question." noting her old friend's evasion attempts, she took a small, non-threatening step forwards and forced their gazes to meet again, "Do you promise that you will do all you can to keep my daughter safe? Because if you can't, then..." she took a deep breath, obviously not liking the words that were about to follow, "...then you and I have nothing more to say to each other."

Loki
November 10th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Adela's eyes flashed, and Natalija, sensing a fellow queen's sudden rise to power, decided to let Alderian have his day, albeit he treaded on a very fine sheet of ice as it were. (And she was resisting the urge to tell Soren to stop feeling her up, but she bit her tongue on that subject too.) Getting to her feet with a loud clatter, Adela's eyes blazed with anger, as she resisted the urge to yell at Reid in front of other people again, her hands clenched into tight fists, her lips pulled into a stern frown. "And you didn't think it wasn't important to tell me something like that until the last minute. No, it's not important to let me know that any misstep from you, and I could wake up sometime this week as the wrong gender. I don’t know about you Reid, but the way Stahn works, he might as well turn us into those stupid forms right here right now, because he doesn’t hold his word and you know that. He gets bored, and the bastard does what he wants to, but you think it’s better to just bottle it all up and let me think that you’re just having a FINE time without me. Faewyn,” Adela bit into Faewyn’s dialogue, her stance obviously showing that she was not concerned in the least towards Faewyn’s change in attitude, “I understand your concern, and I’m sure if it’s Reid, then he’ll do everything in his power to keep Pethalamine safe. And if not him, then you have all these-“ Adela threw her hands and indicated towards the theoretical strangers in her living room, “You have all these other people who know about the situation who will certainly help as well.” Adela glared at Reid, “You go on your little adventure. You go save the world again, and you go get yourself mixed up with Evaline and her brother. It doesn’t have anything to do with me.”

Adela gave one sweeping glance across the room before untying her apron and setting it on the dining table, “If you need me, I’ll be at Levi’s.” She swept out of the door, and Dimitri was very close to seeing if the butter knife from Aertan’s unfinished toast would cut the tension. Natalija’s face registered a mix between annoyance at being outdone, and anxiety at what would come next. If she was brash and never made the situation better, she was at least sensitive enough to know that she was the negative, and just now, everything had just dived off the deep end. Anything that came out of her pretty lips- or at least, if they were actually her lips, they’d be pretty- anything she dared to say, would not help, being one of the so called strangers who had been in on the whole operations.

Aertan’s jaw had long ceased to function, and any of his manners regarding “Not staring like a stupid mule” had flown right out of his head. He knew Adela was a spoiled, bratty girl, and that she had probably become a grumpy old lady, but she now had an eloquent way of doing it; not just eloquent, but a nice, stabbing gracefulness that almost made him feel like he’d been backed into a corner. Not only that, she’d challenged a furious Faewyn at the same time, something that he himself couldn’t even imagine. And then there was the nagging question that didn’t nearly pique his concern as much as Faewyn’s reaction to Adela’s furious outbreak: Who was Levi?

Dimitri swallowed a lump in his throat, looking around and lacing his fingers. He couldn’t help Mr. Davies with his situation with his wife. He didn’t know anything about either of them. But as far as Pethalamine and her mother and… Dimitri was having a hard time deciding if the man at the table who was now trying his best to refocus himself on a week-old newspaper was her father. But regardless, he knew Pethalamine well enough to make a call on it. Mr. Davies had a lot of problems to solve, and a lot of pills to swallow. “Excuse me,” He spoke up, “I’m not sure if it helps- ma’am,” He couldn’t find in all his impeccable memory for faces and names the proper way to address Pethalamine’s mother, “I can make that promise. Er, the promise to make sure that she’ll be safe, that is. B-Between myself and Pethalamine’s own abilities, there shouldn’t be any cause to worry…”

Natalija was being considerate, but not considerate enough to conceal the utter disbelief in Dimitri’s implications that he had any abilities to speak of at all. As far as she was concerned, Pethalamine would end up doing all the protecting in the end if she was unfortunate enough to get stuck with that stuffed animal. He certainly hadn’t displayed anything more than average skills in the last battle. In fact, she found it hard to recall if he’d even participated at all. Dimitri himself was starting to regret voicing his opinion as well. He wasn’t good at distinguishing ally from foe, so when it came to battle, it was like a free-for-all for him. Certainly not a trait that went well with protecting people. And then there was the problem that Pethalamine’s mother had never actually seen his skills in action. His, er, mentionable skills. His shoulders sank in embarrassment, “But I guess I’m getting a little impertinent.”

Alter Ego
November 12th, 2008, 04:53 AM
Pethalamine was not an easily rattled person and her mask of polite indifference was very hard to break when she put her mind to maintaining it, but even she couldn't help an incredulous expression at Dimitri's words, though she quickly corrected herself. Him...protecting her? She knew that it was bad to look down at someone extending such a selfless gesture, but when it came to protectors...well, she could think of quite a few she would have preferred over the skyboarder. Not to mention that these words, coming from the generally non-comittal Dimitri, probably weren't intended the way that Faewyn would take them. In spite of this, Pethalamine knew that this was precisely the sort of thing her mother needed to get her peace of mind, and so she was quick to wipe the incredulous expression off her face.

Faewyn blinked, observing Dimitri through teary eyes before abruptly lashing out, catching him in a hug, "Thank...thank you." she managed, making an obvious effort to calm herself as she released the youth from her grip, "It's...a relief to know that Pethalamine has made good friends like you." she dabbed a bit at the tears forming around her eyes, "I'll-I'll take your word for it then, young man. I don't know what your skills are precisely, but please just bring my daughter back safe. That is all I ask."

She took a deep breath, slowly normalizing, "I...think you need to give Adela her space right now, Reid." she remarked, "And a proper apology when she's calmed down a little. Explaining motives is all well and good, but sometimes...sometimes the sentiment is more important than the words. You really do need to open up to people more." she shook her head, "I...think I'll have to go and lie down for a moment. This has been a lot to take in at once and I need to sort out my thoughts." she paused by the exit of the room for a moment, offering a friendly smile to the younger occupants of the room, "I'm sorry if I made things overly awkward for you."

"Mother."

"Take care then, Pethalamine. And...try to have fun at that party."

parallelzero
November 12th, 2008, 08:30 AM
Lyrum was having the worst time trying to follow what was going on. Stahn? Genderbending? Miss Ellianne had told her that she had been on many strange adventures before coming to Flazure, and since she knew Reid as well, had something similar happened to her? She became even more lost as her attention was drawn to the conversation about the Dimitri fellow protecting the oddly dressed girl. It was, to her anyways, a cute thing to say. Was there maybe something between them? The line seemed so cheesy though, and Soren suppressed a little laugh at how cheesy the whole thing was. Reid would have laughed as well, but he had suffered from speaking similar lines in the past, especially around the time he once thought he was going to die.

Speaking of Reid, depression was the state he was left in after Adela stormed out. He had, of course, forgotten to mention something of extreme importance when he gave his explanation - the fact that if he had said anything before, the transformation would have occurred had not reached Adela’s ears. If he had been given any room to add that, perhaps things wouldn’t have ended up so terribly. Of course, his wife was never one to say stupid things, and her analysis was spot on as always. There was no guarantee that Stahn would hold up his end of the bargain, but it was better than not doing anything and letting the man do it anyways. If only Melody still had some form of control, this probably would never have happened. The man’s depression quickly turned into confusion at Faewyn’s words in regards to the protection comment. If it had been Rosalynne, his own daughter, he would never have let her go out to battle with some random guy whom he didn’t know, where he knew there was the chance she wouldn’t come back. He just wouldn’t be able to do it. Reid smiled slightly as Faewyn addressed him. “I’ll keep my secrets if it keeps my family safe, but I understand what you’re saying. Maybe if I need to protect my family, I should at least tell them the secrets too.”

What his Uncle said, Soren thought was kind of stupid. If anyone ever overheard that that wanted to cause the man any harm, his family would be an easy target. When Faeywn brought the topic of the party back up, he couldn’t help but let his eyes wander without enthusiasm over to meet Natalija. “You’re… going to dress me up again when we get there, aren’t you?”

--

In the end, they were picked up by a bus and taken to the Blanc Estate. Soren gathered it was the Blanc that was a friend of Reid’s. He used to work with his Aunt, so chances were Reid had also decided to go there with the intent of asking about Ailia. When the entered the massive ballroom, they were quickly met with stares. Everyone was dressed up, and even Soren felt out of place. It wasn’t long until they were ushered off to the side by some of the servants, who led them to what appeared to be two gigantic closets. One for guys, and one for girls. Soren groaned. “Do we really need to dress up?”

Loki
November 12th, 2008, 06:54 PM
Dimitri flushed, keeping a polite smile on his face as he stammered an awkward, “N-No problem.” It didn’t help that he’d never been hugged, as far as he could remember. This was a new experience, and as he tried to recover from it, he oddly realized that with her enthusiasm, she was probably expecting him to actually end up doing something. Errr…. Dimitri looked over at Pethalamine, very quickly drowning in his own confusion. But he quickly brushed it off with a shrug, giving a smile that probably had more to do with the chummy feeling from being hugged for the first time than actually letting the subject go. Pethalamine probably hadn’t been expecting much more from him than Natalija was, and that was just fine with him. He might have to put a little more effort in, but it was nothing big. Besides, he needed his wings back, too, so it was kind of like a win-win situation. Dimitri’s loved it when there were no cons to a plan. (No cons that he noticed, anyway.) And then, Pethalamine’s mother went and tried to ease the situation between Mr. Davies and his wife. She did a much grander job of it than Dimitri would’ve, much to his relief.

Aertan folded his paper back into its original shape, glancing over at Pethalamine with a blank expression. He was half expecting a bratty response, but he balanced his chin on his right hand anyway, speaking clearly, “Don’t cause any unnecessary trouble for Mr. Davies you brat-“ Aertan cleared his throat quickly and corrected himself, “Pethalamine. I expect you to bear a better attitude than you do with me.” He picked the paper up again, turning it over to the back and reading a new article with half-hearted interest. “I assume that while you’re gone, it would only be fair of me and Faewyn to watch your children while you go off and make trouble for the world again.”

“Cheesy.” Natalija stated bluntly to Reid, sticking her nose in the air afterwards in defense. But her eyebrow flew up when Soren asked if she’d be dressing him up. “Are you serious? Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I?” She asked, rolling her eyes at the stupid question, “You better get used to walking in heels before anyone sees you stumble, just so you know. Because flats do not go with fancy dresses.”

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

“Now, I’m just getting all sorts of surprising guests tonight, aren’t I?”

“Shut up.”

Levi shut his mouth, staring warily as Adela marched past his threshold without invitation. He was not one to stand in the way of a grouchy housewife, because frankly, those were the types of women that he hated the most. Naggy, whiny, and not cute at all, in all the worst ways. Putting his hands in his pockets as she folded her arms, standing in the middle of the front hall imperiously he ventured for a casual question, “What brings you here?”

“Reid is being stupid again.” Adela sniffed, putting her arms by her sides again. Levi sighed, looking up at the chandelier. Fidgety women were never a good sign. He hated fidgety women too.

“So let me guess,” Levi replied, “You’re crashing at my place tonight?”

“I hate it when you put it like that, but I suppose.”

“Fine with me, I love guests. But I got a party to attend tonight, and you’re a little… old to be my partner.” Levi scratched the back of his head, raising an eyebrow. He froze for a second, remembering a very important fact before snapping his fingers, “You can go with Lazarus? He’s comin’ too and he’s even older than you are!”

“Stop stressing old, Levi, it’s not like I look like a fifty year old grandma.”

“Hmm, that would be in the eye of the behold-“

A light chuckle came, and Adela turned a less angry gaze on Lazarus, who was smiling at Levi in amusement, “I’d stop there, if I were you. For a bachelor as old as you, you’re sure bad at handling your older women. I’m sure the party should help take your mind off of Reid, so why don’t you come along Adela?” Lazarus adjusted the dark navy blue tie around his neck, “You can just accompany us, if you’d like. I’m sure Liza would appreciate having some female company.” He blinked at Adela’s bluntly inquiring expression and shrugged, “Liza is Levi’s little sister. She’s busy getting ready right now. Why don’t you go meet her now?”

Adela sized up the respectable scientist and remembered that Reid was also attending a party. How many people in town could be throwing a party all at the same time? She smiled pleasantly, “I would love to meet Liza.” It had been far too long since she’d last dressed up, and she wasn’t about to stay in someone else’s house all by herself without the host present.

“Ah, and for tonight, it’s not “Levi”,” Levi called after Adela as Lazarus stepped back to the doorway he came from to direct Adela to Liza’s dressing room, “It’s ‘Ivel’!”

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Perfect. A smirk crossed Natalija’s face as she switched into "Control Everything" mode. She loved closets that were bigger than her own, especially if she could pick freely from them. It was the one thing she was willing to lose out on. She had a perfect understanding of how different designs of dresses fit on her body, so she ruled out any dresses that relied on full figures upon walking into the girl’s closet, ignoring protests with a, “I’ll do it myself,” as she flicked the hangers past her eyes with expert speed. It wasn’t long before Natalija triumphantly pulled a dark yellow green dress from the racks, a strapless taffeta ball gown held up in the air. Tone-on-tone stripes cascaded up and down the body of the dress, the empire sash done into an off-center bow, a rhinestone brooch in place of the bow’s knot. The torso was fitted through the bust and hips becoming a pick-up skirt accented with a bubble hemline. Natalija quickly launched into a spin on why the dress was perfect, though she was sure Soren didn’t care. “The chest isn’t too full, perfect for a flat chested girl. Lucky for me, too, since I don’t have a chest. The puffy stuff on the bottom; a bubble hemline, will hide the fact that you probably can’t walk in heels at all.” Natalija handed the dress to Soren, looking over at the shoes with sparkles in her eyes.

Dimitri sweatdropped as he watched Nataija’s antics, before being ushered into the men’s closet by a servant, “Uh- I- uhh, I don’t-“ He began, stammering and very keen on staying out of the closet, “I don’t really do f-formal clothes, I really-“

“Quiet, I’ll deal with you later.” Natalija snapped at Dimitri, who looked at Soren, as though asking him to convince her otherwise.

“Alright well I have to pick my outfit and Dimitri’s too; since I don’t trust that guy with fashion, and…” Natalija turned her criticizing eye on Pethalamine, “Miss Fashion Faux-Pas is already wearing her formal gear, so I don’t need to deal with her. Here, these are your shoes,” She shoved a pair of peep-toe sling-back metallic black shoes, “They have thicker heels, so they’re easier to walk in. You better not stumble- it’s only 3 inches tall. I’m being considerate.” She quickly made her way into the closet next door, waving off a servant again and unabashedly pulling Dimitri’s shirt up and examining his torso, much to his chagrin.

“You’re coming on a little strong.” Dimitri said sarcastically, rather pleased with his joke though knowing that he’d earn a glare from Nataljia, who quickly discerned his size and pulled his shirt back down with the expected expression on her face.

“You wish.” She replied irritably, handing him a dark crimson fullback vest, “You’d probably look like a zoo exhibit with a coat…” She mused, looking at the selection, “So this should be fine.” She handed him a black tie and said, “Find the rest yourself.”

Punishment for the jab, Dimitri concluded. Still, he was rather glad he hadn’t gotten the complete package. Natalija spent considerably more time on her own attire than his, though she immediately pulled out a pinstriped black blazer and a royal blue dress shirt to go underneath. A white tie, and she was finished. Fast. Dimitri was still trying to figure out the shirts.

“Tuxedo’s are boring.” She sighed, fixing her knotted silver cuff links, before automatically making Dimitri her next doll, “Dresses are so much more interesting.” She rambled off about how there was nothing special about men’s formal wear as she briefly interjected with reasons as to what she was picking, for example, the black dress shirt, which would prevent him from looking as if he just weren’t wearing his jacket. And then she tore the black tie out of Dimitri’s grasp and replaced it with a metallic silver one, tying it into the proper knot before pulling it looser. “Perfect. You look just like an unsuccessful businessman.” She smirked at Dimitri’s confused face. Her work was done in terms of him, and she silently pointed to the rack with rows of pants, and then to a pair of shoes with heavy treads.

Alter Ego
November 13th, 2008, 10:11 AM
Pethalamine merely scoffed at Natalija's remark, glaring at the girl-in-boy's-body from the corner of her eye until she had left the room. Though she had obviously meant to insult, the nail-obsessing little witch had actually been more accurate than she had known. Totally out of norm though her dress may have been for casual occasions, it was - in fact - only slightly out of norm as formal wear went. Besides, a quick look at the selection of dresses confirmed what she had feared from the start.

"Don't any of these things cover your arms?" the scholar moaned, regretting her remark the moment it had slipped. For a moment, she had almost forgotten that Garm's tattoo was a secret as far as the rest as the group was concerned, though fortunately the only one currently sharing the room with her was Soren, who was probably too shocked by the clothes he had been saddled with to pay attention to such details, "Guess there's no helping it, then." the girl continued rather hastily, determinedly shutting the closet and commencing a number of adjustment operations with the various strings on her outfit, allowing the sleeves and hem to descend into their full, impractical glory, "This will have to do." she announced, smoothing out the newly extended parts of her attire to get rid of the worst wrinkling that their captivity had caused, before stopping for a sympathetic look at Soren and his little ordeal, "Think you'll manage with those?"

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Alderian was...well, not a party person. Parties were sinful, extravagant occasions where all manner of indecencies and shameless acts were committed and the thought did not sit well with him. Even so, he kept reminding himself, he would have to endure this trial for the greater good that his mission would bring. It was a sacrifice, a sacrifice to restore peace of mind for Ophelia. He also had an oligation to see to that girl's continued health, and he would not shirk from it.

'You are sure...this is fine?' he stared at the mirror, observing the plain but - Kisei had assured him - servicable combination of white dress shirt, black tuxedo, black trousers, and black bow tie, 'The others seem to be...'

"The others are here for entertainment." the negafael replied offhandedly, "You are here for work. This is completely in accordance with formal requirements."

The priest nodded, straightening his tie one last time before slowly turning to the other two, obviously waiting for someone else to make the first move.

parallelzero
November 13th, 2008, 10:39 AM
Soren felt more and more uncomfortable the longer he allowed Natalija to look through the closet as she pleased. He was praying she would have some consideration, praying that she would keep in mind that he did not want to go gallivanting around looking like some sort of peacock, praying she wouldn't pick something ridiculous, and praying that he wouldn't have to be dolled up. Ophelia wasn't listening today. His heart rate - or rather the heart rate of the body he was inhabiting, raised and fell as Natalija went past some utterly ridiculous outfits. Above all else, he did not want to attract the attention of any guys at this party, because God forbid he wouldn't punch them in the face for trying. Then again, it wouldn't really be uncharacteristic of Natalija to do such a thing, would it?

Natalija finally picked an outfit after a long time of Soren following her and twiddling his thumbs. If he was a little more inclined to do so, he probably would have cried. The skirt portion of this yellow-green dress... why was it so... big? Girls actually wore that kind of stuff? He could tell just from one glance, that this was going to be an experience he was soon going to force himself to forget. Oddly, he was rather put down by the chest comment, despite the fact that Natalija was basically insulting herself. After shoving some equally painful looking shoes in his hands, despite saying she was being generous, the girl stormed off to the guy's change room to dress the other gentleman of their group, which came off as rather disturbing. Soren sank into depression, as he trudged over into the corner of the changeroom. He had yet to change himself in this body, and he still had a lot of doubts about it. "This thing doesn't even have straps..." He whimpered as he held the dress up after setting the shoes down beside him. "And why is the bottom so..." It was then that he saw Pethalamine in the corner of his eye, though he quickly looked away as she was adjusting her dress. He had completely forgotten she was there, and with Lyrum unable to attend the party because of her wings, that made her the only other girl in the room. "H-hey... Peth?" He had noticed something when he had looked over before, while she was adjusting her dress. On her arm, was that a tattoo? Maybe he'd ask about it later. "D-do you think you could... help me get dressed? I don't think I can manage getting changed into this thing, let alone walking around in it..." He blushed sincerely, really not sure what went where. Natalija would probably kill him if she saw it, though.

---

"You sure you're okay going out like that?" Reid inquired to the seemingly young violet haired woman, dressed in a simple, black dress. Her hair fell all the way down her back, although two black bows separated it into pieces in the back. Her eyes, the same shade of violet as her hair, shone back at the man. It was hard for Reid to believe that Auricia was actually only twenty eight physically. She looked so young, so vibrant, in comparison to himself, who was nearing forty. It was hard to believe he had fought alongside her twenty years before.

Auricia pulled on a pair of black heels before clicking her feet onto the ground. "I need to get out of that little body once in a while, right? Besides, since Ellianne is waiting with Lyrum in one of the guest rooms, she asked me to see if perhaps Lazarus was here. If I don't recognize him, hopefully he'll recognize me..." She stepped out onto the floor of the hall, where people where dancing and others drinking merrily around the room, with a determination that would have been uncharacteristic of her years ago when she was reliant on Ashton. How had she felt when she lost him, Reid wondered? With that question on his mind, he went to look for the host. Hopefully Blanc could help. If not, Ilya was probably around somewhere...

Alter Ego
November 13th, 2008, 02:47 PM
Pethalamine blinked at Soren's request, taking a few moments to get over the shock of a genuine blush on that face before her mind snapped back to the reality of who was occupying the body. This really was going to take some getting used to.

"Alright." she replied, unable to resist a small chuckle, despite her best attempts at muffling it as she grasped the hapless boy by the arm and led him in behind one of the screens that had been set up in the room precisely for this purposes. Oh, she knew that that wasn't the real Natalija, but even so, the memory of that helpless expression on the face of someone she disliked so much was definitely worth treasuring, "Lucky for you, I used to do a bit of part-time work with precisely this sort of thing. Now then, start by removing your flats, if you please. I'm sure you'll find this less awkward than making me have to do it."

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


Pethalamine was no stranger to demanding clothing. On the contrary, her rather unusual fashion sense made encounters with it a near daily occurrence, but getting dressed was a quite different matter than dressing someone up, and Soren could hardly boast the same kind of experience. Nonetheless, after a number of more or less well executed instructions and the occasional manual correction on Pethalamine's part, she eventually managed to fit Soren into his formal wear, making a last-minute adjustment on the sash before taking a step back to inspect her handiwork, slowly nodding in approval.

"You have the clothes." she conceded, "Now you need the manner. Chin up, no blushing or trying to look inconspicuous - you'll only look awkward - no jumping or other sudden movements that could cause..." she let her glance travel to the top of the garment before concluding diplomatically, "...things that you wouldn't want happening. Mind the hemline too, so it doesn't get stuck any place awkward and lead to equally undesirable situations. You'll have to change your stride too. Your steps are so wide you'll be liable to trip on your own dress if you don't sprain something with your heels first. Try moving with shorter steps and in a more dignified manner. Like this." she gave a quick demonstration of the walk, "Your movements will be slower, but it's better than wobbling or tripping over. Now, if you go ahead and practice that for a moment I'll go ahead and send a servant for...ahem, the boys, shall I? I'm sure Natalija will have taught you more than you ever wanted to know about dresses and walking in heels before the evening is through."

Loki
November 13th, 2008, 04:05 PM
Liza Jaquez was nothing like her older brother, save for their matching, vibrant olive eyes. Her long cornsilk blonde hair cascaded in elegant waves down to her back, and Adela could’ve bet money that Liza was a skill manipulating her appearance, the woman looked so young. She was in an electric blue mermaid dress, scattered with small sparkling rhinestones. And the biggest difference between herself and Levi? Adela identified it with much relief and satisfaction. Liza’s manners were impeccable. She had smiled with a sweet innocence throughout Lazarus’ introduction, her smile growing brighter as Adela was identified as one of her dearest older brother’s old acquaintances, though Lazarus stretched it to include “friends”. Adela felt like a pauper in Liza’s refined presence, the unassuming woman the perfect princess in every manner. However, the housewife quickly swept the feeling under the carpet, because Adela was not the type to stay feeling inferior for long. The other woman’s meek personality would be her downfall, Adela assured herself, feeling much better about her own, defiant one. As such, Adela had not accepted either Liza or Lazarus’ assistance in constructing her attire for the evening. After finding herself in a very large closet full of dresses that could no longer be worn by Levi’s late mother due to the fact that they had been worn once already, and after giving up on the idea of looking through all of them upon contemplating, Adela had found herself a dress acceptable for her age; and generally flawless skin. A beaded strapless gown with attached satin belt about the empire waist was held in place by a diamond brooch, an A-line skirt reaching her knees. A matching navy bolero jacket with 3/4 sleeves hid the fact that the dress was strapless, quite unbefitting of a woman her age unless accompanied by a scarf of some sort, which Adela was not keen on. It had been a long time since she’d last worn high heels, but after a moments stroll, she picked up the old tricks, and was quite satisfied with herself.

But she quickly remembered that she hated parties upon arriving. Levi was effectively dragging his three accomplices around with him in his socializing antics, and Adela was getting tired of the chatter, fast. Lazarus tried his best to keep her mood pleasant by trying to point out some people, but it was really impossible. Levi was all smiles in his silver sports jacket and teal dress shirt. Adela had severely disapproved of his loose black tie, the knot laying on the very middle of his chest as though he’d just finished with a party, not as if he were attending one. Though he seemed casually dressed compared to some other attendants, nobody seemed particularly phased by it, which didn’t surprise the pristine woman in navy, simply earned more of her disapproval.

Adela refused a glass of champagne, wanting her keep her head clear throughout the chaos around her. It wasn’t really chaos per say, but any party, to Adela, was just doomed to be a disorganized mess. Liza excused herself at one point, briefly introducing her husband before leaving with him. And then at another point, Adela refused to keep following ‘Ivel’ around like a servant, choosing to stand a fair distance from the dance floor and sitting down at one of the small tables. “I don’t know why you deal with him.”

Lazarus smiled wryly, “He’s good at lifting a gloomy mood. Isn’t that why you’re here too?”

Adela folded her arms, “No.” She answered without hesitation, “I’m here because I can yell and be cranky at him all I want and he doesn’t hold it against me.”

“Well, that too.” Lazarus laughed.

“So, you’re here because…?”

“I heard about Alta, and I thought I needed to go someplace where it wasn’t a big deal. Levi doesn’t like keeping up with current events, so it’s nice to block out the fact that Alta’s gone if he never brings it up. Liza is nice enough not to mention it either, but she’s only been around lately because Roman has had business in Beta, and she doesn’t like the cold.” Lazarus shrugged, “I think I’m going to go back to Gregar soon though.”

“Because Ellianne’s here?”

Lazarus’ elbow slipped off the table in surprise, but he quickly caught himself as he shook his head adamantly, “It’s not like I don’t want to see her, if you’re thinking the way Levi is. I just don’t think it’s absolutely essential that I do. It’s just not… important anymore.” He shrugged, looking a little dissatisfied with his answer, but unable to conjure up a more accurate description.

“What isn’t important anymore?” Levi asked, pulling a seat over and plopping down in it, “Whatcha guys talkin’ bout?”

“Nothing.” Lazarus replied with a pleasant smile, “Done with greetings?”

Levi moved one shoulder up and let it drop, “If not, then they can come look for me. Can’t find that Blanc guy for the life of me, but since when did I ever say hello and goodbye to the host anyway? Haven't seen him in person for awhile anyway. Maybe I said hi to him and never realized it was him?”

parallelzero
November 14th, 2008, 11:07 AM
Soren, like the guy he was, followed Pethalamine’s instructions to the very best of his ability. Even after the dress was on and secure, he wondered just how it wasn’t falling down without straps of any sort. It was weird, having an article of clothing on that outlined the entire body. The outfit he had on before had been at least baggy enough that he didn’t notice them as much, but this dress outlined the curves Natalija had – minus the chest. The skirt portion was the weirdest, as it blew up like a bubble. He was afraid of it dragging when he walked, but a couple of large, wobbly (thanks to the heels) steps showed that this was not the case. He had to admit, Natalija did have a pretty body. He waited as Pethalamine made the final adjustments to his outfit, watching the mirror with an interest that he would not normally have had. It wasn’t until Pethalamine started to give him behavioral advice that he became concerned with his situation. No sudden movements? Small, slow steps? The guy was paranoid and he walked everywhere fast! Even so, he mimiced the girls walk, terribly embarassed that he was behaving in such a way.

“You realize you’re asking me to act like a girl, right?” He sighed as he flattened down the stomach of the dress. “I was expecting this, since Uncle did ask that Natalija and I get referred to as each other’s names in public eye, but it’s a lot to ask, isn’t it? I don’t know how to really behave like a girl, and what if I get flirted with or something? I don’t know if I can take it…” It was true, and this would probably be the weakest state that anyone had ever seen Soren in recently. His eyes glanced over at one of the maids in the room, who had been seemingly eyeing her since her entrance into the closet. Had a smile crept across her face when he voiced his concern about acting?

--

Auricia wasn’t having any luck. There were far too many people at this party to identify a single man. She stopped to rub her shoulder at one point, as one of the scars from her troubles in Telfin had been acting up. During this single moment, she was knocked back by a man accidentally, and she stumbled into an area of tables. After regaining her sense of things, she glanced around at where she was now. At a table nearby… Was that Adela? But who were those guys with her? They looked familiar, but she couldn’t place a finger on it. “Oi! Adela!” She exclaimed as she speed walked over to the table, hoping she could get some sort of lead to Lazarus’ location. “Have you seen Lazarus? Ellianne wanted to see if I could find him, but… I don’t know what he looks like any longer…” She didn't take into account that she hadn't shown Adela her real form in 20 years either.

Loki
November 14th, 2008, 07:46 PM
Adela looked over at Auricia with a bored and even glare. If she was here, then Reid was probably here too. Before she had the chance to answer Levi jumped to his feet and hooked his arm around Auricia's neck, "Hey, you're that one girl from the old days!" He dragged over another chair and steered Auricia into it, "I dunno if you remember me, but I'm Levi! Actually we never really talked much, so I guess... Oh well, I was on okay terms with Fla...." He trailed off, rummaging his head for a different subject before finally registering what Auricia had actually said. His face brightened like a light bulb, the expression very similar to that of a young teenaged girl's when she's just been asked out by the guy of her dreams. He directed this disgustingly feminine face to Lazarus, the look switching to the proud father.

Lazarus craned his neck around, looking at Auricia with a slightly confused look, and ignoring Levi. "Where's Ellianne?"

"Auricia, you're target's right here." Adela pointed to Lazarus, who turned around in his seat so that he wouldn't have to twist his neck.

"Sorry, I've gotten old and wrinkly. It's probably hard to tell that I'm the same person from back then," Lazarus chuckled, rubbing the wrinkles around his eyes, "But, something about Ellianne looking for me. Does she need something?"

Levi gave a knowing look to Adela who rolled her eyes at him. He seriously hadn't matured at all. "Should I go look for her, or...?" Lazarus looked around, not really expecting to spot the silvery hair that he couldn't call familiar anymore. It was unfortunate that he hadn't seen her in so long. He had to admit, that it would be nice to be able to see everyone again. Reid, Ellianne, maybe even the skills. Actually he'd already seen Rasch a few months ago, and he knew it would be impossible- and undesirable, to meet with Dieter, who lived in Telfin.


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


"Oh you look adorableeeee!" Natalija gushed, her hands clasped in front of her chin as she looked at the final product. "Absolutely stunning Soren, you look incredible. Or more like, I look incredible. Did I lose weight? I think I did." Natalija flipped the orange fringe from her eyes, "I outdo myself sometimes." After a proper session of self-gratitude, Natalija attached a black chandelier around Soren's neck, and pinned the long black hair into a half up-do with a crystal and green rhinestone hair comb. "Perfect!" She chirped, clapping her hands together. After another moment of self-satisfaction, Natalija cleared her throat, slouching her pose so that she was a little more casual, a little more guy like, a little more Jazz-like.

"So moving on," She said with an uncharacteristically friendly sort of apathy that she was obvious copying directly from someone else, "When you're walking in heels, you can't slouch. Don't roll your shoulders forward, like you're trying to box yourself in with your own shoulders, hold your head high and your shoulders low. Stand up straight, and even if your back starts to hurt, then you gotta stand straight until you find a chair. When you sit, you can't cross your legs, and you can't fold your arms. If you fold your arms, the dress will slip, which of course, isn't a good thing. Hmm, and then..." Natalija paused, trying to think of something else. "Oh!" She smiled pleasantly, "You'll be staying with me for the duration of the party, so I'll deal with any suitors. Actually, Dimitri, that can be your job tonight. You can be Soren's bouncer!"

"I can be his what?" Dimitri asked, still trying to get adjusted to the tight vest, "I'm not a bully, Natalija. Why don't you just stay with him? Your original idea was better."

Natalija scoffed, "You're right for once. My first idea was better."

Dimitri stifled his laughter, but couldn't bring himself to point out that he'd been trying to flatter her.

"Come on, let's go." Natalija commanded. "When you walk in heels, you need to put one foot in front of the other- not literally, but I mean you need to walk in a straight line. Imagine a straight line, and align your feet to it. Pay attention to where you're going, don't walk too slow, and don't walk too fast. Put your whole foot down; Not heel then toe, because you'll bump if you do. Bend your foot forward and walk like that. The skirt will hide any other ugly movements. If by some chance you run into some stairs, you grab the part of the skirt that a-lines, and lift it just enough so that you can step up without stepping on the hem. Same thing applies for both up and down staircases. If by some chance you meet someone who recognizes me, glare, and walk away with your nose in the air. I think I've covered everything...."

She snapped her fingers, "And as for me, I'll be mimicking my older brother in terms of attitude, which means I probably won't say much, and I won't stand up too straight. You don't strike me as the kind of guy who would, so no need to give you an image that doesn't match you. I'm probably going to walk with an even but slow stride, mostly to give you time to keep up with me in your heels. If you have any other instructions for me, you can feel free to tell me, and I'll consider adding them to my list of things to pay attention to."

parallelzero
November 16th, 2008, 10:42 AM
Reid had never liked the home of Blanc A. Syntran. It was large, hollow, and for the most part, completely empty. At this moment, it seemed even worse than usual as all of his usual staff were tending to the party. The hall leading to the host's quarters was particularly long, and the lights quite dim. Reid had talked to him about fixing that, but the man never seemed to bother getting around to it. He had never been much of a worker, so he was pretty lucky when he ended up winning the lottery which allowed him to not do anything for the rest of his life. His win had been a little fishy, though, as it occurred just before things went awry with Evaline Dian's administration. He ended up getting discharged, rather than him quitting, as did Ilya. Reid took a second to glance at one of the many pieces of art littered along the hallway. It was just... an apple on a black background? He realized that he wasn't an academic and would probably never fully understand art, but... what?

It took a few more minutes of hiking to make it to the host's quarters. Reid had been there enough to come to the point of not knocking upon entrance, and rather just let himself in. He had a million questions to ask the man before his confrontation with Ailia, and he needed answers no matter what. Blanc's room had always been extravagant, with the latest and most interesting gadgets. A hot tub in the middle of the room, facing a large television, and the most gigantic bed beside a massive window were some of the highlights. But why were the lights off? That was his first thought, but something else caught his attention while he felt around for a light switch. There was a particularly foul stench in the air, like something had been burning. He finally found the switch he was looking for, just in time to hear a gun pulled up to the side of his head.

The cold steel to his head aside, the sight he saw in the room was not a pleasant one. Blood was splattered all across the large window, with a charred body - probably Blanc's - laying below it. Whomever did this, was sickeningly thorough. "So you've been watching my movements after all, huh, Ailia?"

"Sorry, Reid, I never could keep you out of my sight." The reply came in a distraught tone. And then there was the sound of gunfire.

---

"You probably lost all that weight when you had your stomach cut open..." Soren murmured inaudibly to nobody in particular, remembering the bandages that were wrapped around his stomach at the moment, though they weren't noticeable under the dress despite it's tightness. He still couldn't see why Natalija was blaming him for that incident in the first place, it's not like he was conscious during that time or anything. As the girl-in-boy continued her lecture, Soren nearly fell asleep. "YOU EXPECT ME TO REMEMBER ALL THAT!?" He finally snapped, irritated by the absurdity she was spouting. "That would all take me several days to learn, and I have five minutes! Let's be realis-"

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Soren became completely alert as the sound of gunfire was heard, but not alert fast enough to have an arm wrapped around his neck and a pistol shoved into his mouth. To top it all off, the captor dropped something onto the ground that was emitting a strange gas, that was seemingly knocking off his ties to his mahstion. Basically, he wouldn't be able to use it for the time being. "Don't move, any of you Stahn experiments, or else this boy will die." Well, the maid seemed to know that he was a he, and that he was of relation to Stahn. So... crap. There was some chance of escape, but then several other 'staff' came along, all armed as well, and surrounded their group. Great. Just great.

---

The gunshots were heard in the dancing hall as well, immediately sending the guests into alarm. Those who ran for the exits were quickly killed by the mansion staff, whether they were adult or children, and the guests were eventually pressured into remaining in the dining area. "All of the guests here have been deemed necessary sacrifices in order for Princess Evaline's glorious reign to continue." A feminine voice, somewhat familiar to Auricia, boomed over some sort of speaker system. Basically, whoever it was was announcing that the people at the party were threats to the Princess. "If you run, you will be killed inhumanely. But if you stay, you'll be provided with a drug that will kill you painlessly. Choose wisely, cannon fodder. Also, it has come to my attention that there are Skills present in your crowd. When they are found, anyone with any relation to them will be shot." It wasn't long after this that something poked into Auricia's side, giving her a near fatal electric shock, which gave an extraordinarily large butler a chance to pull her away from the others.

"Lazarus... go get Ellianne... she's in one of the downstairs bedrooms... before it's too... late." Dammit, they had fallen for such an obvious trap. Out of the group present at the party, not enough were mahstion users to be able to break out by themselves. They were done indeed.

---

Elsewhere in the crowd of captives, a young man and woman chatted idly amongst themselves. "Hey, Sid, what are we waiting for exactly?" The brown haired girl inquired. Unlike the rest of the party guests, she hadn't been given a chance to get dressed as she arrived just before all went to hell, and she was still clad in a pair of dark green short shorts and a grey tee, accompanied by black boots. There was usually more to her outfit, but she had been told she would be provided with formal clothing, so she had only come, to her, half dressed.

"Just wait, Kayleigh, just wait."

Loki
November 16th, 2008, 12:59 PM
Lazarus was on his feet at the sound of gunshots, looking around wildly for the source and bracing himself for whatever was to come; which was hopefully nothing. Levi sat down, crossing one leg over the other as he settled into his chair comfortably, examining the scene of chaos around him with an exasperated and bored expression. No matter what, he needed to keep a pretense of cool calmness, though the wings on his feet flittered ever so slightly with his displeasure at being caught up in such a troublesome scene. A choking sound reached Levi’s ears, and he turned to see Lazarus trying to console Adela, who had both hand pressed to her face, trying to silence sobs of worry and fear as she tried to identify anyone who would tell her where her husband was in the crowd, or even better, if she could see the man himself through her blurred vision. “I’m sure he’s fine,” Lazarus was whispering urgently, patting Adela’s head as though she were only half her age, “Reid is fine, he can take care of himself, he always shows up just fine, you’ll see. We’ll find him after this is over and he’ll be fine.” It wasn’t helping much, Levi noted with apathy. But what he was unable to note with apathy, was Auricia.

“Oi!” Levi jumped out of his seat, knowing that he couldn’t do anything against the burly butler. If he moved unnecessarily, the crowd might be killed. How many potential patrons and partners had been killed already? Levi clenched his fists and quickly remembered the mention of association with skills. Gritting his teeth, Levi glanced at Adela, but she’d already disappeared, along with Lazarus. What the hell. Levi looked around wildly, realizing he was totally alone. When the hell had they ran off?! Levi hooked his foot on the bottom of a table and kicked it towards the butler. Levi was out of his league, but in a burst of wionus, Levi was close enough to get a hit, ignoring the table that was still only halfway to it’s target. He didn’t kick the man’s face, instead, let his wings catch on the flesh of his head, and then brought his leg around to rip off half the man’s face. He hadn’t rusted at all, but then again, he’d hadn’t really had the chance the rust. Serge was getting better at landing a hit every time he dropped by. And experience had given Levi a sharper wit than in the past.

---

Natalija was frozen, staring at the pistol aimed in her body’s mouth, and overcome with wondering what would happen to them if the man shot her body, with Soren inside of it. Would they both die? She didn’t want that. She didn’t want anyone to die, and so it took her a great effort not to crane her neck around and look for Dimitri and Pethalamine. She stood with as little motion as she could, following the mans orders begrudgingly as she resisted burning tears, thoughts pressing at the corners of her mind as she desperately tried to keep her tongue in check. She hated this losing feeling. This feeling that the peace of antagonizing Soren earlier with her ramblings, the peace, was already so far away. “S-…” She swallowed her words, glaring at the people around them. She was useless. Ever the useless one. Any misstep and her body was toast.

Dimitri in the meantime, looked relatively calm, surveying the ceiling and other guests in mild interest. Being surrounded on all sides wasn’t exactly new to him, but an advantage in the situation compared to before was that he could see most of his enemies this time. He glanced at Pethalamine out of the corner of his eye. So much for protecting. He fixed his eyes on Soren for a moment before glancing around. No escape but up. He didn’t have wings though. He had his skyboard on his person- it never left his side – but he would be able to drag more than one person out of the line of fire. But, he considered the situation before clenching his fist. Soren couldn’t use mahstion. But just because he was in the body with the highest capabilities, didn’t mean that he was the only one who could use it. The man had specified not to move. But Dimitri could use his mahstion without moving. He bit the inside of his lip. That probably counted as something that would incite a shot. In that case, he’d rely on someone else. Clenching his fists, Dimitri stared at the chandelier. It was held up by metal. Metal chains. Metal, he knew, was made of earth. After all, how else was such a frequently used skyboad such as his completely undented? The chains unbound themselves, and the chandelier fell. The lens in his goggles, hooked to his belt, shattered. The shards scattered across the floor as Dimitri blew the very little mahstion he had on the move. But then, more earth exploded from the ground as Dimitri’s golden blonde hair turned a vivid shade of black. A smug smirk crossed his face as a tidal wave of earth pushed the surrounding people away covering them in a tight prison, earth on top of earth as the layers that sealed them inside continued to grow without ceasing.

“Go ahead.” Dimitri’s voice was deeper, rougher, and distinctly female. It was quickly muffled by a porous gas mask that formed out of nowhere, attaching itself to the lower portion of Dimitri’s face and giving a raspy, almost robotic quality to the voice. “I couldn’t care less what you did to that kid.” A spike of earth aimed towards the maid who had not been sealed away snaked through the air before splintering into multiple parts, all aiming for her vitals.

Natalija fell to her knees in a mixture of anxiety and terror. Dimitri wasn’t himself. That was apparent. She quickly concluded he was probably under the influence of one of his faels. But she understood that this was worse than the passive Dimitri. If it was the negafael, as it probably was, it wouldn’t care about any existence but it’s own. Her body was screwed. She couldn’t conjur up Soren’s mahstion. Her brain was fried, concentration on anything in such a poorly trained body out of the question.

---

Lazarus wondered what was going on upstairs, what with all the shaking, but focused on finding Ellianne. He could feel her mahstion signature lingering through the air. It was a cold familiarity. He ran past the bedroom doors, before feeling a peak in the signature, stopping in his tracks and shaking. He was scared. He was afraid of what she would say, what she would do. He was afraid that she had been the victim of the gunshots earlier. He was afraid that someone would find him. He felt fear pressing in all around him as she pushed open a door tentatively, trying to urge himself on. He couldn’t be thinking of things like, how to face her. How to admit to himself that he had honestly never wanted to see her again. All his regrets boiled up into a momentary hatred. He hated her for making him come to her again. It wasn’t her fault, he assured himself. But it made him boil. She’d rejected him. And he still had to chase her?

He pushed both the door and the thoughts aside, bursting into the room and thinking that the only thing that mattered was that she was still alive. If he wanted to hate her, he could do it later. It was most important to him now, that everyone came out of this in one piece. Able to be healed from this experience. He thought, that would definitely be the nicest thing he could wish for at the moment.

“Ellianne!”

ooc: Too much to cover, can't ask any questions since David isn't online, will edit later when David reads this if I interpreted something wrong or if I screwed something up. :/ I'm really displeased with this post, as you might be able to imagine after reading it. [/goes to die now]

Alter Ego
November 17th, 2008, 01:36 PM
As Soren voiced his concerns, Pethalamine made as if to reply, but the words never managed to escape her mouth as an intense pain suddenly shot down her arm, forcing her to clasp it tightly and bite her teeth together to keep the scream in, tears of pain welling up behind her eyelids while the frantic howling of her plufael finally breached her consciousness. Something was wrong, horribly wrong, and she barely had the time to reach for the gun concealed beneath her dress - under the pretext of adjusting her boot - when she found out precisely what.

Pethalamine was no fool or reckless hero by nature. She was a survivor. And as such she immediately rose back to a peaceful upright position as the orders were barked and the weapons pointed. Trap, huh? The scholar grit her teeth, surveying the situation. She still had her mahstion, though given the rapidly spreading gas that was a temporary blessing at best, and the gun was still firmly clenched in her hand, thankfully concealed by the impractical length of her sleeves. Teleporting out of this mess should have been academic, but...her glance travelled across the helplessly crying Natalija, to the passive-looking Dimitri, to the equally passive Alderian and then finally to the hostage of the hour, Soren. They were too spread out for her to teleport on her own, and Natalija's nervous breakdown made relying on her an absurdity. She had the element of surprise, enough so to get one shot before the soldiers caught up, but the problem was there were plenty of soldiers and precious little room to hide. Hopeless, was this really...

"Hopeless." Pethalamine flinched, completely unprepared for hearing the husky voice anywhere outside of her dreams, but she quickly concealed it to avoid drawing any further attention, "To be cowed by a foe this insignificant." the voice continued with obvious disdain, "You truly are hopeless, little girl."

"Please..." the girl replied, trying in vain not to inhale the gas rapidly sapping her powers, "...you're my fael, right? Please help me. There's nothing I can do, nothing that would save-"

"You could easily have escaped," the voice remarked, "Opened up a portal before the gas could reach you and avoided the massacre, but you didn't. And why didn't you do it?"

"I-"

"I will tell you." the voice snarled, "It is because you are weak, frightened and cowed. Clinging to anyone who offers you even the tiniest hint of shelter or sympathy, hiding behind the strength of others because you don't dare to develop any of your own."

"I don't-" the scholar protested, "I'm not-"

"You are cattle, little girl." the voice persisted with utter contempt, "A sheep mindlessly following its herd, thinking that there is safety in numbers, thinking that it does not need to fend for itself, thinking that someone else will think for it. Willingly oblivious to the simple truth that every lamb's life ends in slaughter."

"That's not true!" Pethalamine retorted, "That's not true! I've fought for all my life, I've fought for my survival all on my own! I've scratched and crawled my way up from nothing to where I am today! I've survived horrors worse than you can imagine-"

"Then do so again." the voice replied, unimpressed, it's presence slowly starting to fade, "Prove to me that you are predator and not prey; I do not deal with the domesticated."

"Wait!"

"I'll be watching your 'struggle'...Pet."

"Don't go-don't leave me, don't leave me to-"

The crash of chandelier meeting floor broke Pethalamine's internal argument, the girl barely having time to jump aside to avoid the impact and the shock wave that followed. It was then, in the middle of the chaos that Dimitri's unexpectedly awakened fael caused, that the scholar saw her chance. Without stopping to think, she lunged straight at the assailant holding Soren captive, bringing her mahstion gun to bear despite being all but completely drained of the energy required to fire it. Fortunately, that was not what she intended to do with it, as became all too clear to the shocked guard when the butt of the gun connected squarely with her nose, followed by Pethalamine's body slamming into hers and sending her reeling backwards, enough to separate hostage and hostage holder, the latters gun firing blindly into the ceiling.

Still riding on instinct, the scholar grasped the boy-gone-girl and dragged him with her down onto the floor, lying down as flat as she could as the bullets began raining down on all sides. It wasn't until a few moments later, when a splotch of blood that was certainly not hers struck the back of her neck, that Pethalamine noticed the presence of someone else above them, her eyes widening at the sight.

"You?"

"Don't...worry." Alderian croaked back, stubbornly standing his ground, body extended as far as possible to cover the two others on the ground beneath him and blood running down in countless tiny rivulets from the wounds covering his body, "I...I won't let them...hurt you."

"Are you crazy?" the scholar hissed, making a move to yank the priest down, but to no avail, "You can't use your mahstion in this gas! You'll get killed!"

"Don't worry." Alderian repeated, a look somewhere halfway between determination and madness on his face as he maintained the covering pose, even as another shot grazed his side, "I won't die. Ophelia...won't...won't let me...die, and by her grace, neither will-neither will...you."

The priest inhaled sharply as a shot struck him square in the back, only to...stop?

Pethalamine couldn't help staring in morbid fascination as a bullet passed clean through the male's torso, only for the hole behind it to close seamlessly, muscle, fat, tendons, blood vessels, and bone reweaving themselves. And not only there; the other wounds on his body were closing in a similar manner, even though the caked blood and tattered clothes made it hard to see.

"What..." Pethalamine gasped, "What are you?"

"A servant of Ophelia." the priested replied airily, "Nothing more or less."

Loki
November 17th, 2008, 05:56 PM
Let me go. I'll take care of everything.

Dimitri's hands had somehow wound up on his face, trying to tear the gas mask from his mouth and nose. He couldn't breathe, and he couldn't see. Standing in a dead land, naked trees hung sadly against each other, the yellow grass blowing through the chilly wind to reveal dry earth underneath his bare feet. "Mmmph!" The mask smothered his desperate cry as he gripped his head, squeezing his eyes shut. A splitting pain cracked through his skull, as he tried to fall to the ground. But invisible strings held him up on his shaking knees. He felt like everything inside of him was being sucked right out, due to the reality being that pieces of earth continued to spiral around him like a tornado, regardless of the fact that he’d long passed his limit. Beads of sweat rolled down the sides of his face as he tried to force back his fael. He didn’t know his faels well, as he never spoke with them, and they’d never tried speaking with him. He knew what they looked like, which is how he identified the gas mask and black hair as his negafael’s. He hated this sensation of not being in control of his own body. He hated moving without commanding himself to do so. It was like being a puppet, and it was the strangest, most uncomfortable feeling he’d ever experienced.

Come on sweet heart. Look, I’ve saved everyone. That hopeless situation has been turned into something where everyone can escape just fine. Let me finish the job sweet heart. You can’t use eation. You used it all up just with that little feat of breaking off the chandelier!

The mask began to dissipate, and through the cracks, Dimitri partially filled his lungs again. You’ll pass out soon sweet heart, and then we’ll both be in trouble. Unnilennium isn’t too pleased with you either. The voice chuckled, calmly amused by the scene at hand. You’ve always been the stupid child. Just because you were selfish once, you can’t be selfish again? Give me a break. You only get one life. Live it out to the end! You’re first and last gift from a family you never knew! Keep it! Exist! Dimitri’s eyes burned with hot tears, but none rolled past his eyes as the voice continued to taunt him, Why are you holding onto your pride? You’ve already failed in protecting that sweet child you promised to. Look, you’ve done nothing. Dimitri’s eyes were forced to the side, though he tried to fix his eyes on the floor. Pethalamine and Soren were being protected by that stranger, and judging by the state of his clothes, he’d been hit more than just once. Look sweet heart, that’s what protecting does to you. You’re not made for it sweet heart. You’re too selfish. Are you so selfish that you won’t accept my help? Will you just die because you don’t want your freedom taken away?

Dimitri fell to the floor, the mask disappeared, and his hair turned golden blonde again.

I’m not afraid to die. Are you?

“Natalija!” Dimitri shouted hoarsely, and the girl snapped to her senses, the imminent danger gone, “Do something!”

She stared at Dimitri without reaction for a split second before regaining her composure, “Don’t order me around!” She barked back, flinging her arm aside and waves of dation engulfing Pethalamine, Soren, and Alderian before slithering over to Dimitri. Outside the gates of the estate, Natalija thought, picturing the place she’d seen with all her might. She felt the familiar sensation of passing through a portal and then she hit cold pavement. “Ouch!” She grunted, landing roughly on her side. The portal had spit them out in the middle of the air, stopping just half a dozen inches from her imagined destination. She blew long strands of orange hair out of her face and composed herself, calming down to try and preserve the drips and bits of dation she had left. “Soren, are you okay?!” She inquired frantically after him as soon as she began stumbling to her feet, though from her expression, it was obvious that she was no longer concerned about him, but the body he inhabited.

parallelzero
November 20th, 2008, 06:22 AM
From Soren's point of view, the whole situation was one big horror event. For starters, he had a man - who was of a much stronger stature than his current body - almost choking him while holding a pistol in his mouth. He was a fighter at hearts, used to putting his life on the line, but not once in his adventures had he been so scared like he was at that very moment. He thought he was over his fear of death, but apparently not. Next, Dimitri’s sudden transformation came into effect, leaving Soren more concerned about the safety of the others than himself. His own negafael had acted up before, acting on Soren’s self interests, but nothing good every came of it for the innocent nearby. He wasn’t permitted much time – not that he had a lot - to dwell on that issue before Pethalamine assaulted his captor, knocking him away from the man and down to the ground with her. He managed to meekly thank her, though the dress had ripped amidst the rescue. At this point, enough had happened to shake the boy up, and his attention strayed from everything unfolding as shock began to take hold. His face lost its colour and everything felt hazed as Natalija finally managed to transfer them somewhere safe.

To top off the dreaded experience, Soren was treated with his face into the pavement as the dation dropped them from several feet in the air. The drop left him winded, making it difficult for him to get up. The taste of cold metal was still on his lips, along with the taste of Natalija’s sweat. Speaking of Natalija, the girl made haste to come over to him, obviously concerned about her body and not the trauma he had just suffered from. Though, to be fair, the acute stress reaction he was now suffering from was affecting her body. “I’m fine…” He lied, if only to keep the girl’s mind at ease. Unfortunately, his legs gave way and he began to fall forward.

--

“Get out, stupid soldier!” The sharp cry of a girl – obviously fed with fear – boomed as Lazarus charged through the door. He probably wasn’t expecting the large ball of fionus that was flying at his face, but thankfully Ellianne, who was hiding in the shadows at the back of the room, realized it was not an enemy at the last moment and negated the ball of flame with a small wall of ice. “Miss Ellianne! What if he’s trying to kill us!?” Ellianne managed a gentle smile at the girl. She reminded her too much of Flaire for her own good. When Ellianne was still young, Flaire became her friend and acted as her eyes and mouth, driving off any unwanted people that would threaten her fragility. Ah, that was so long ago.

Now, the problem was explaining who Lazarus was. “…How are you doing, Lazarus?” She managed another smile, despite the fear she felt in her heart. Over the twenty year span, the physical age between the two had changed significantly, and she had not died from disease like she told Lazarus she would when she broke it off with him. Fortunately, she realized, it was not the time for idle chit chat. “We should probably get going. We don’t know when they’ll start searching down here…”

--

An explosion was heard from the same place the gunshots were heard earlier, as the room collapsed and two figures flew out amidst the dust. Thanks to unexpected circumstances, Reid had avoided instant death, only receiving bullets in his left arm and another place. He really had to thank that white haired girl for pushing Ailia at the last possible second, though how she got into that room was questionable at best. But now here he flew, using his wings for once in the freezing cold afternoon air – which he cursed, since he avoided using his wings in the cold and rode a skyboard to avoid his strange wings locking due to the cold. His own sister had fired two shots at him, so apparently this fight was real now. The two faced each other in the air for the final battle. Reid couldn’t help notice the ominous glow the black tower in the background, behind his sister, was giving off, but now probably wasn’t the time to worry about that.

Alter Ego
November 23rd, 2008, 08:26 AM
"Miss!"

Technically, Alderian had gotten the briefing on the body swap situation, but a gut instinct was a gut instinct, and his was telling him to rush to Soren's aid the moment he saw her - well, him - falter, oblivious to the fact that his shirt and blazer had been torn to shreds in the crossfire and that his body, by all forms of logic, should have followed suit.

"Is...is your wound troubling you again?" the priest ventured, lionus dutifully coiling around his hand, "Do not fear, I will set it right in just a moment."

It took Pethalamine a few minutes of staring at cold pavement and breathing uncontaminated air to realize where she was, and a few more for her mind to catch up with everything that had just passed and conclude that maybe getting up from the pavement would be a good idea.

"...Dimitri?" she ventured at last, cautiously approaching the skyboarder and reaching out a tentative hand to help him up on his feet. Somewhere within the maelstorm of noise and bullets, there had been a scream even more blood-curling than the others and what Dimitri had just been subjected to was surely a textbook example of fael posession. It didn't take a genius to figure out one plus one, "...are you alright? Your...negafael is back under control, right?"

There was a distinct disadvantage to having been mentored by a fael expert, and that was living with and experiencing the world through the footnotes. Whether you wanted them or not. Fael possession could only mean one of two things: a drastic difference in power level between fael and reila which allowed the fael to wrest control of the host body or a willful forfeit of the body by the reila. Judging by the scream and the struggle Dimitri had been put through, one option was effectively shut out. The negafael was gone now, but it could resurface the moment Dimitri displayed even the slightest hint of hesitance or weakness.

The glowing tower remained firmly behind her back, unnoticed in the far more personal commotion.

Loki
November 23rd, 2008, 01:09 PM
Dimitri felt like he’d just ran five miles at a full head on sprint without a pause to breathe or a pause for water. He was utterly exhausted, and he couldn’t feel the slightest drop of mahstion or vitality in his entire body. He closed his eyes to listen carefully. He couldn’t hear anything but blurred voices. Not the clear, sharpness of that woman. Relaxing at the relief of being unable to hear that deep sinister voice, Dimitri pushed himself off the ground, his arms shaking horribly as the energy he’d mustered for the movement was wiped clean from his limbs. He caught himself by landing on his elbows, curling his legs up under him and forcing himself upright. Hanging his head back, he sighed, letting some blood back into his face and waiting for his vision to realign itself. “I’m fine but,” Dimitri swallowed hard, trying to clear his voice as he dodged the question as to whether his fael was gone. He didn’t want to think of it if she wasn’t. “That’s not important.” After another pause to catch his breath, he spoke more clearly, “Are you okay?”

He immediately laughed dryly at his own inquiry, bringing a hand to his forehead and pushing back his bangs to let the cool night air hit his face which was now burning with embarrassment. He shifted his hand down to cover a bitter smile that he didn’t want anyone to see. He wasn’t a bitter person, and he didn’t want to be making the face he was. He couldn’t help it though. His incompetence killed him every time he was reminded of it. “I’ve always sucked at keeping promises.” He mumbled through his hand, the words practically indecipherable as he thought of the rush of running through the stifling, dirty air in the Slums, hearing hurt and angry voice chasing after him as he saved himself selfishly from a world he wasn’t good enough for. Dimitri shoved the thought aside. “I’m sorry.” He said, dropping his hand and putting a blank look on his face as he stared at his skyboard, which was lying a few feet away.

Meanwhile, Natalija was fully poised to catch her falling body, berate Soren for lying to her, and then she was intercepted.

Intercepted.

Her face drew itself into an irritated expression as she folded her arms at Alderian, clamping tightly down on her- or Soren’s, tongue, only because he was doing that lionus mumbo jumbo. She wanted to go home. Why was she mixed up in this stupid mess? Clenching her fists, she held her hands against her head, thinking hard. Somewhere, anywhere. Farther away. She wanted to go home, even if that terrible woman was there. Even if that neglectful man was there. But it was too far. She couldn’t take them all, no matter how much energy she mustered. She imagined the Davies’ house, and found that too far. She felt like an outcast again. Dimitri was talking to Pethalamine, and vice versa. Soren with Alderian. She occupied herself furiously by thinking. It would be better if they all managed to get somewhere hidden. Somewhere less open, and vulnerable. “We need to move.” She spoke up, looking to her left and right, trying to identify where she was. “Otherwise they’ll find us.”

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

Lazarus swallowed a yelp when a fireball was suddenly hurled at him, and he was halfway through pulling up a wall of eation before a wall of ice got in the way first. He stared stupidly at the ice for a moment, as if having a hard time swallowing the proof. He stared at Ellianne for a moment, listening to her polite question before regaining his senses and resisting the urge to ask who the girl beside her was. But he couldn’t help but turn his face away, avoiding her gaze and question. He’d been fine, he wanted to say. He’d done a lot of research, gotten better at controlling his mahstion, and he hated that she was smiling at him.

“We don’t have time to talk.” He said, more curtly than he intended, and immediately realizing this, he turned an apologetic look over his shoulder. He did not retract the statement however, nor vocally apologize for it, instead adding, “Let’s go, before they find you.”

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

“Watch.” A thick glass tumbler filled with amber liquid crashed down onto a perfect, ornate oak table, drops of whiskey splashing onto it's surface. The dark room was illuminated by the sinister glow of the tower, as Giles’ furious eyes burned his frustration onto the light, the wall he sat before made of glass to allow him perfect surveillance of his playground. “I’ll destroy everything you’ve ever fought for.”

He stood up from the red upholstered armchair and swept out of the room, his thin black hair twisting behind him as he threw the glass tumbler across the room, shattering the mirror and his distant reflection. “And we’ll end everything that ever was in this world.”

parallelzero
November 24th, 2008, 08:25 AM
“No, no, it’s not the wound!” Soren protested, struggling against Alderian’s grasp, fully aware that there was no blood bleeding from the flesh of his current body. “I’m just a little bit shaken up, that’s all. I used up a lot of my energy when I got… scared.” The fact that he still hadn’t shaken off the near death experience was apparent, as the body still shook slightly. He had always been a battle maniac, a fearless fighter. Why was it he was being shaken up so easily by something like having a gun shoved in his mouth? Was it because he had been powerless? Had having a weak body and an inability to use mahstion reduced him to what he was now? It wasn’t until the dark glow of the tower began to intensify that he managed to stand himself back up on his own two feet. “Something isn’t right… and everyone isn’t out yet! We should help them!” The truth reawakened his panic, and he tumbled backwards again, but thankfully caught himself

“…Are you really in any condition to be saying that, Soren?” It was a voice Soren hadn’t heard in a few days, and even the voice itself had changed slightly. “Though not that I blame you, it may very well be the end of your world.” Miki appeared from behind a nearby building, dressed in the attire she had last been seen in over a day ago. If anything was different about her, it was her eyes, which seemed to have obtained the light they had been missing during their last encounter. “Even though I can’t believe they went as far as to make a move without my consent…” Her voice got quieter and quieter as she continued, the edge of her index finger brought up to her lip while she thought, the chain floating around her gently. “If the Tower of Zante is here, then that means they intend on… I see… then it would be best to neutralize the effects in this area by using Aldon’s Key…”

“Wait! Miki!? What are you talking about? The end of our world? What’s going on!?” Soren was the first to burst out in confusion. This girl was talking about some pretty serious stuff, and he wanted some clarification. Of course, this wasn’t helping his condition.

Miki said nothing for a moment, but decided to pose a question. “Do you people like your world?” The answer was obvious. Every world had its flaws, but it was still home. “Well I like it as well, and I feel you have a right to live. But, other people feel otherwise, and that tower you see there is a tool for helping their cause…” She nodded towards the tower. “Unless you stop them,” she then pointed to Reid and Ailia in the sky, who seemed to be attacking each other quite violently, “There is no guarantee I can help protect your world with the weapon my people have created. We need Ophelia’s Core to stop causing interference…”


OOC: Will post an Ellianne part later.

Loki
November 24th, 2008, 09:31 PM
“Stop talking about thing we don’t understand.” Natalija barked immediately after Miki finished her tirade, folding her arms and glaring at her, “Whoever you are, if you want our help, opinion, whatever you’re seeking, stop mumbling, speak clearly, and explain properly! Tower of whatever, our world, your world, these people, those people, do you want me to get down on my hands and knees and beg you for more information? Are you waiting for me to look stupid like Mr. “What’s Going On?!” over there? Tough luck. You want us to stop them? Explain in more detail than, ‘The end of the world’! Excuse me but, we have a mission to carry out that dictates whether or not Soren and I get our regular bodies back, and that mission includes that girl,” Natalija jabbed her index finger towards Ailia’s figure, or whichever one she was through the shadow of dark, “Kicking the bucket! And I’m sick-and-tired-of-you-people-dragging-us-around on a leash like dogs! I’m not here to do your every last convenience!” Natalija snarled, unfurling her frustration and anger on Miki. “I, hate this world.” She put a hand on the base of her neck, indicating to herself, “All I’ve seen are disgusting people who can’t do anything but make other people’s lives miserable. Don’t assume we’re all hunky dory and that we all love the things we are and the things we do. We’re not hunky dory, so if you guys want to have a little angst-fest over here over the end of the world, FINE. I’ve had enough of all this, and you know what? Tell Stahn that nobody pushes all my buttons and gets to drag me around like a ragdoll. I’ve had enough of that in my life, so if you’re interested in getting your body back Soren,” She whirled back on him, “You take it to Stahn, because I don’t care anymore.”

A small white rabbit half its normal size appeared out of nowhere on Soren’s shoulder, peering after its reila’s departing figure in a resound silence. After blinking twice, it turned to Soren, ’If you’re worried about being stuck in her body, I’m sure she’ll be back later. Natti’s probably just a little past her patience limit.’

“Aren’t we all.” Dimitri sighed, flopping back onto the ground, too tired to ask Miki how she knew all this, too tired to ask her where she’d been and how she found them. He didn’t want to deal with Natalija’s temper tantrum, and he didn’t want to think about how Stahn would punish them for letting Natalija go. He had half a mind to try to convince her to stay, but he didn’t care anymore either. She was more trouble than she was worth. All she was good for so far had been mahstion, and her unlimited access to that was in her own body, and then there was the nice headache she gave everyone whenever she opened her mouth. He didn’t particularly like this world either, he had to admit. He’d done himself and everyone around him no justice, but he certainly didn’t want it to end. There were a lot of people still here –hopefully- that he wanted to see again.

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

Lazarus failed to speak a single word as he pushed his disheveled hair away from his face with one hand, twitching his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose with the other as he slowly made his way up four flights of stairs. He felt it would be best, but wrong, if he simply brushed over all the things that he and Ellianne had left open ended. He reached into his back pocket and drew out a set of keys- a huge collection, at least twenty of them. As he shuffled through them, he decided the best thing to do now would be to explain. “This is one of Levi’s flats. You should be safe here for the night, since this one is registered in a false name.” The door swung open to reveal a strangely un-Levi-like apartment. Quaint, with only a small amount of randomly collected luxury furnishings. Lazarus stared at the glowing tower on the far right of the window directly across from him and frowned. “Come in.” He said, leaving the door open as he strode briskly across the premise and immediately wrenched the curtains closed. He could still see the burning lights inside Blanc’s mansion before the red curtains blocked them.

After this deed was done, Lazarus peered carefully around the rest of the room, ushering Ellianne and the other girl inside and shutting the door behind them. Heaving a sigh of half relief, Lazarus couldn’t help but still feel on edge. He should be expecting Levi any minute now, unless they chose to escape to different apartments. That man really did have too many hiding places throughout the city.

Lazarus turned around from the door and opened his mouth to say something. It was time to confront the issue at hand. Now a better time than any.

But he closed his mouth and glanced at the floor. “I… see that your disease is gone?”

Alter Ego
November 26th, 2008, 02:05 PM
"This world is evil..." Alderian mumbled in his usual half-absent way, as if to join into Natalija's complaint, absent-mindedly toying with his Ophelian cross, "Perhaps...I do not wish to cheapen the value of a human life, but...perhaps...an end for it all is the only way to put the Goddess' mind at ease. Perhaps-"

"Enough!"

Had Pethalamine been more like her mother, she would probably not have silenced the priest in such a harsh manner, nor would she have dropped into awkward silence as Dimitri started blaming himself and Natalija wented at the world in general. But Pethalamine was not Faewyn, she couldn't bring herself to feel any greater sympathy or even pity for these people. In the place of these emotions, however, another filled her senses just as thoroughly, an emotion that she had thought hard to restrain but which had finally overcome her self-discipline.

Disgust.

"You." completely disregarding the other's explosive temper and the furry little pest that had appeared to cover for her, the scholar snatched Natalija by the arm and bluntly whirled her around to bring them face-to-face, "You think being in a guy's body is rough." with one motion of carefully calculated anger, Pethalamine did something she would never even have considered under normal circumstances, pulling aside her carefully arranged fringe and revealing Serret's tattoo in its full glory. The three-tailed cat was an unnerving sight under normal circumstances, but the intensity of her anger and loathing seemed to be feeding it, the cat shape joining into its host's accusation with a resentful hiss, glaring at Natalija through the eye it was nestling around, its pupil tinted a vivid crimson color that created a disturbing contrast with the regular green eye on the left, "This is what I've woken up to every morning of my life. There's another one on my arm, you know. They're noisy, they're fidgety, they move about, they hiss and bark and itch and scratch and bite. And no, it doesn't get any better with time. And you think you're being played with like a ragdoll?" she gave a mirthless little laugh, "Try spending four years of your life locked up in a cage, barely large enough for you to stand properly. Try being led about by a leash and taught tricks like an animal, put up on display for every ignorant bastard who has a coin or two to spare for the pleasure. Oh, but mommy and daddy didn't love you enough or pay enough interest to your oh-so-perfectly polished nails, or come to that very special rehersal, so now you think the world owes you something. Is that right? Well tell you what." not bothering or wanting to give the little primadonna a chance to get a word in edgewise, she raised her hand and delivered a slap square across her face, "My parents sold me out before I could even walk or talk. I don't know their faces or their names. What they did or who they were. Forst most of my life I've owned nothing, not the place I lived, not the food I ate, not the clothes on my back, not even my own body. I had to fight for everything, every. Last. Thing. Do you have any idea what that's like?" she shook her head, "If you want to fold your arms and sulk over how poorly everyone is treating you, go right ahead, but don't you dare...don't you dare act like you know what real slavery is like."

"As for you." Pethalamine promptly spun around , turning an accusing finger and the glare of the eye she shared with Serret to Dimitri in turn, "You say you're sorry, but in truth the only one you feel that way for is yourself. Sorry I don't know what to do, sorry I'm so weak, sorry I can't keep my own fael under control, sorry I failed promise. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Such an utterly pointless word." the last sentence came out closer to a snarl than speech, the cat shape around her eye seeming to extend just a little with every vicious sentiment, the red shade in her eye slowly deepening. Though it was hard to tell for sure, the feline creature seemed to have gone from a displeased snarl to something more...like a smirk, "You think those meaningless phrases are going to make it all better, don't you? Think that your problems will just fade away if you ignore them for long enough? Well here's the bottom line: they won't. Failures don't just miraculously starting succeeding, the weak don't magically become strong, wrongs don't turn to right. That's nothing but fairytales and wishful thinking. Freedom, knowledge, strength, a family that gives a damn. No-one is just going to come up and give these things to you; you're the one who has to reach out and seek them. You don't want to be weak anymore? Don't want to fail another promise? Don't want to be taken over by your fael? Then stop wallowing in your self-pity and do something about it!"

"Madame Pethalamine-" Alderian interjected, only to earn the glare in turn.

"Shut up." the voice was barely noticeable as Pethalamine's anymore. Hoarse from the rant, deeper, more menacing, like the barely constrained growl of a predator. Slowly but surely, the white tattoo was spreading across her skin, growing, the three tails lazily snaking their way down the side of her neck, a faint aura of dation spreading in its wake, "You're the worst."

"You are not yourself." the priest persisted, oblivious to "Please, do not push away your friends-"

"What do you know?" the scholar snarled, "What the hell do you think you know about who I am? What do any of you think you know?"

"The Goddess teaches-"

"Your Goddess is a lie."

Alderian tensed visibly at these words, his expression hardening, "Do not jest about such things, madame." he replied icily, "The Goddess is always with us. She shares her very essence with us! Is the existence of faels not enough to-"

"I said it is your goddess who is a lie." Pethalamine interrupted, "The kind, caring, loving Ophelia who watches over all." she spat at the pavement in a decidedly unladylike manner, "That is a myth. Ophelia is just like the world she created: cruel, selfish and uncaring. These marks of mine are her handiwork, you know." she gave another mirthless chuckle, putting on a would-be reverent tone, "The greatest blessing from Ophelia herself. Her 'love' and 'caring' branded onto my skin for all eternity. Like a slaver's mark. Damning me to live my life as an outcast, a freak! What kind of goddess does such a thing?"

The priest inhaled and exhaled sharply, struggling to form words under this verbal onslaught, and Pethalamine, surprisingly seemed equally winded after her tirade, though no less resentful as she struggled to keep the teardrop attempting to escape her eye from doing so. Her resentment was almost tangible, like a foul gas that clung to the air around her, and even Serret seemed to shrink away from it, the tattoo halting its advance and slowly curling up again.

"You know why I even got involved in this mess?" she asked rhetorically as the mark finally settled onto its original place, now refusing to make eye contact with anyone, hand clamped over her left arm, at the precise spot where Garm's tattoo was located, "Why I submitted to serving someone else even though I promised myself never to suffer such an indignity again? To get rid of these. Just...to get rid of these." she laughed bitterly, "You don't need to say it. It's stupid, I know, but that's how much I hate them, just as I hate the Goddess who branded them on me, just as I hate this cruel, heartless world she created. But you know what? No matter how much I hate this world, I'm not going to let it end like this. I still have things to accomplish with this life of mine and I refuse to let anyone end it for me." she turned to Miki, "I just have to stop those two for now, right? Fine. But I expect a full explanation once this has been settled."

Loki
November 26th, 2008, 03:49 PM
Natalija stood silently, listening to Pethalamine with an irritated and ‘holier-than-thou’ look on her face, getting redder and redder with every word. “Thanks for the life story,” She said with a cold chuckle, “But, read my lips. I. Don’t. Care. Who’s whining?” Natalija mocked Pethalamine, “Aww, my life sucked. Aww, I didn’t have parents to be there for me. Aww, I can’t stand to hear other people whine because I’ve had it worse, and nobody else can even begin to compare, so they obviously don’t have the right to talk about it in front of me.” Natalija put her hand up to her mouth, spat delicately into it, and slapped Pethalamine back, speaking evenly with her nose wrinkled as if she’d smelt something disgusting. Nothing but cool contempt for a girl who’s opinion she didn’t have a single ounce of care for, and a sense of superiority to this girl in her face as she deadpanned, “Shut up. You think you don’t care about my problems? Well I can assure you I don’t give a damn about your little sob story. You want to blame those tattoo’s on your skin? Aww, well it’s called make-up, and- Oh! Forgive me! You can’t AFFORD make-up, let me guess, because nobody loves you and nobody will pay for it! My apologies. You’ve never owned anything, so of course you can’t cover up with cosmetics. Well you know what? You’re the one who’s ashamed of them. You’re the one who hides them. If you don’t want to get lead around on a leash, then DON’T, because right now, all you are is Stahn’s little pawn, this woman’s little servant, and SLAVE to your tattoo’s. You judge me bitch, but you have no right. Better that you didn’t have parents, because- guess what? Oh my goodness! NOBODY CARES.” Natalija folded her arms, quickly calming back down to a hiss, “I’ll do what I want, and you? You keep your worthless opinion to yourself. You want to tell me how hard your life has been? You want me to tell you that you’ve been treated like trash? Well sweet heart, I think you’re trash too, so looks like you’ve been done right all your life. You think you’re any better than I am?” Natalija cackled a genuine, disbelieving mirth in her voice, “In your dreams! You’re just as ungrateful as I am, you’re just as much of a little witch as I am, so don’t YOU dare. Don’t you dare think you have the right to even criticize me.”

Dimitri had already dragged himself to his feet, rubbing the back of his neck. He seemed considerably less impacted by Pethalamine’s outburst than Natalija, and gave only a simple half smile as he picked up his skyboard in silence and unfolded, sitting on it so that he could be upright, drawing his energy from a sympathetic plufael who was bristling with indignity at Pethalamine's words, feeling like she'd just been insulted. After all, Une had always been considerate towards Dimitri, even if he never noticed. He was still drained though, and he felt like he was about to die from everything being hurled at him at once.

“You’re not going to SAY anything?!” Natalija shrieked accusingly at Dimitri, whirling upon him as well. He shrugged.

Natalija clenched her fists, “You’re not going to defend yourself!? What- are you a coward too? A little coward who’ll have a meltdown whenever someone expresses the way they really feel, like her?! Or are you too much of a goody-two-shoes to say anything to her?!”

Dimitri sighed, but continued to maintain his silence, growing uncomfortable from being put on the spot.

“You’re just a doormat, aren’t you? She is right. You’re worthless.”

Dimitri’s eyes flashed and he glared calmly at her, responding in a strained voice unlike his usual casual cheer, “Why should I say anything to her?”

Natalija faltered, feeling like she'd just wasted a lot of words. She flushed and stormed off, “I don’t ever want to see any of you, ever again.”

Dimitri turned his eyes away and stared down the dark street, trying to wipe his face of the frustration he felt. He didn’t need the wake-up call, but Pethalamine had been so kind to give it to him anyway. He was simmering on the inside, slowly beginning to boil. It wasn’t as easy as saying it, he wanted to shout. She shouldn’t talk about things she didn’t know. He wasn’t going to lie, everything that had happened to him was his fault. Everything he could have prevented by making a better decision. But he hated being told that by someone who didn’t mean it. She was just mad, and she’d pointlessly ripped open all of his wounds. He closed his eyes, and swallowed hard. He tried not to think about it. He focused on the issue at hand. Stop Reid, or the end of the world. Dimitri found himself not willing to dwell on that either. He didn’t want to look at anyone, feeling a burning sensation on his throat as he kept his mouth tightly shut and his face stubbornly blank. At the very least, he wasn’t like Natalija.




Giles disappeared from the scene, appearing beside an aged blonde man with a soul patch on his chin. He was tall and burly, wearing a black suit that matched Giles' save for the orange silk tie. “You smell like alcohol.” Came his fatherly tone of sympathy, mixed with a shot of amusement at Giles' predicament.

“I only had one glass.” Giles replied nonchalantly, rubbing his eyes, "I'm not a kid anymore."

“Then can I guess that you didn’t find who you were looking for?”

Silence overcame the room, only the rattling sounds of someone pounding away at a keyboard breaching the quiet contemplation. Sure Giles had found her. But she wasn’t who he was looking for anymore. He would probably never find the girl he’d been looking for. Giles' companion heaved a sigh at the lack of an answer.

“You sure it’s not just you?” The man turned around and exited the control room, “After all, you’re a different person too. Who knows, maybe you're both looking for people who don't exist anymore.”

“I can’t go back.”

Laughter. “You’d be dead if you did.”

The heavy steel door shut with a resounding thud and click of the latch.

parallelzero
November 26th, 2008, 07:28 PM
"Oi, Sid. This is bad! At this rate, this city is done for!" The brown haired girl shouted to the blond haired boy after a spike of rock erupted from beneath the feet of some of the soldiers occupying the mansion. Everyone had gotten out safe at this point, but the pair had become surrounded just as they intended to leave. There was something wrong with this men, and the light of the tower brought out the consistency with them all as the glow reflected off their faces. They were mechanical.

Sid bit his upper lip before striking down another "soldier" with his large scythe. "Unfortunately, we underestimated Exeri's influence up here." Nothing was going according to plan. "Kay, go protect the home I told you about earlier, and make sure you keep an eye out for Little-Miss-Leader. She should be snapping out of it soon, if she hasn't already."

---

"Great, I'm being comforted by a furball..." Soren murmured to himself as Natalija's rabbit... thingy appeared. His displeasure at this fact was quickly turned to displeasure as Pethalamine began to yell, quickly dragging Natalija back into the fray. Luckily, he wasn't brought up once in their little fits, somehow managing to avoid the conversation despite his multiple attempts to interject. He couldn't help but feel sorry for Dimitri, as he recognized that power wasn't always easy to control and it wasn't totally his fault that he lost control. But... wasn't the conversation getting a little off track? End of the world, anybody? Not until Natalija finally stormed off did he come to realize the problem with the results of the conflict. "OI! GET BACK HERE WITH MY BODY!" His new found panic was quick to redirect itself Pethalamine, whom was the spark that ignited the issue. "DID YOU HAVE TO START YELLING NOW?! EVEN AFTER WHAT MIKI JUST SAID, YOU DECIDED NOW WAS THE TIME TO START AN INTERNAL CONFLICT!? YOU-" His hands quickly shot up to his head as he was overtaken by a wave of pain.

His eyes closed instinctively, and when they reopened he was not where he had been standing before. He glanced around as the pain subsided, and realized that the rest of the group had disappeared. That, or he had moved away from the group. He could tell from the scenery and the fact that his Uncle was still in the sky that he hadn't traveled too far - maybe a block or two - and had he grown taller? YES. YES. YES HE HAD. A quick examination revealed that he had regained his own body... even though it was still dressed in the tuxedo from earlier.

Darkness formed a loop around his right shoulder as his hoop materialized from the dissipating darkness, and he glanced up at the sky. He could fight again.

---

"You're not Ailia..." Reid finally concluded after several minutes of combat with the blond haired women. Ailia was never the type of girl to do what she had been doing - he believed that with all his heart - not to mention, this person was making a crucial mistake that gave away her identity, or lack thereof. "Ailia holds a gun with her left hand since she's left handed, but you're using your right hand!" His breaths had begun to draw themselves out, as the pain from the bullet wounds came in full force. It wouldn't be much longer before he lost consciousness. There was also the issue of that tower, but he had no choice but to entrust that to everyone else.

The woman grinned maniacally, her form dissolving into darkness, which revealed the form of a young girl. More like, a young demon. She had no wings, and he could sense no mahstion radiating off her body, so just how the hell was she staying afloat? And the maniac gaze she gave made her look like she had just stepped out of an asylum after only twenty minutes of treatment - and the extra large, white straight jacket she was wearing didn't help any (even considering it was way too large for her and hung off her arms). Her fire-red locks, shoulder length, blew wildly in the wind. "FINALLY~~~~~ I don't have to worry about maintaining that fleshy form ANYMORE. Five years in a body you're not used to causes havoc on your mind, y'know. 'Specially if you're just simulated life like m'self." Reid's eyes narrowed. Simulated life? What the hell was she, then? She was an enemy, and that was all he needed to know for now, anyways. "Guessin' that tower," she jerked her thumb - at least, Reid though so, he couldn't tell since it was buried in the sleeve - at the structure behind her, "can't be operatin' until I get what I'm s'posed to, seein' as it's operated on that thing's energy. So, yer Ophelian Core, please?"

Reid wasn't given time to react as the girl held out her hands, a dark red ray of light erupting from beneath the sleeves and striking the man square in the center of the chest. It penetrated and flesh, and Reid keeled over in the air, barely managing to stay in flight as the light began to tear something, what he knew was his Ophelia's Core, from within his soul. As the tiny white orb, no larger than a marble, was drawn towards the girl, it began to glow the same ominous colour as the black tower in the backdrop, which was quick to began shaking, until a high pitched ringing was suddenly emitted, shaking the city of Meredy.

---

"Miss? Who are you?" Rosalynne made an inquiry to the brown haired girl who had barged into her home only moments before. Kayleigh didn't give a response. There wasn't time as the ground began to shake and the ringing noise filled the air. She acted quickly, throwing a small ball at the ground which began to emit it's own ringing for a second, before a dome of what seemed to be lionus erupted, seeping outside and forming a barrier around the Davies home. Outside of the protected dome, through the window, Kayleigh watch as people grabbed for their chests in pain, before dying almost instantly after. She covered the young girl's eyes, not wanting the child to witness to eradication of the city she was born and raised in.

They had been too late after all.

---

Meanwhile, Miki had established a barrier of her own around her group, with many other white domes of lionus being seen of in the near distance - probably the surviving party guests being protected by other agents of her unit. People began to drop like flies outside, some desperately crawling towards to sphere with the last of their lives. The fact that she couldn't save everyone was just overwhelming to the once emotionless girl, and the girl began to cry as the rest of her memory returned.

---

"W-what's going on!?" Lyrum exclaimed, the ringing still loud where they were. Thankfully, they had come to a place close enough to the rescue site that the barrier protected them as well. But... the unprotected people. The city was dying, everyone was dying!"

"...Lazarus!" Ellianne exclaimed as she turned to the man, obviously afraid.

---

Soren had made a mistake. A big mistake. Unaware of what was occurring in the sky, he had dation warped to a location directly between Reid and the strange girl in order to prevent the worst possible outcome from occurring. "Uncle, you need to-" He didn't get to finish his sentence after emerging from the portal as he was overwhelmed by the pain in his lower chest created by the fact that he had appeared right in the line of red energy that grasped Reid's Ophelia's Core. The boy's eyes grew wide as the girl behind him began to shout in frustration. The core was dragged into his chest by the light, and his body was quickly paralyzed by the foreign object's entrance into his very soul. The red light severed, an uncertain factor having interrupted it's path, leaving Soren to start plummeting to the ground, his eyes glazed over and his body under severe physical stress. With the core placed in a host, however, the ringing subsided and the tower cracked down the middle, eventually dissipated into darkness having served it's purpose.

If not for Sid, who caught the boy in mid-air while leaving Reid to fend for himself, though the mysterious girl had seemingly disappeared with the tower, Soren would have died there and then. The boy was not in good condition though. If studies had proven anything, then it was unlikely he'd make it through the next hour. He had to act fast, for the boy's sake and for the sake of the core, which his people so desperately needed, but at the same time he had a duty to rescue the Leader. It wasn't hard to locate that girl though, as her energy signature was so unique, and he dove down to her positioning. Usually, he'd have to activate a small scale portal to save energy in the transference device, but that took time, so a large scale emergency transferal would have to do. It meant he'd be dragging above grounders below, but it was better than nothing. Besides, they had reason to bring these kids under their protection now.

Sid made contact with the ground in the center of Miki's group, taking her by surprise as the ground began to glow blue - a light meant to place transferees unconscious for a week, since as while in emergency use, the transferal could bring along unwanted people, and eventually collapsed into a hole that lead to unconscious down into unexplored domain.


ONE WEEK LATER

"Miss Miki! Are you finally awake!?" A girl's voice shouted loudly in the white haired girl's right ear as her eyes struggled against the blinding white light above her. When her vision cleared, Kayleigh's presence became painfully obvious, as did her location. She was in the medical bay in the headquarters of the Upper World Protection Committee (UWPC), but why? "Sid had to use the emergency gate, so you've been out for nearly a week! Exeri has been 'knocking on our door' the entire time looking for that Ophelia's Core Sid brought back, too! It's been horrible! But I guess you need to rest, huh?"

Miki weakly nodded, before having a quick glance around the room. It seemed none of the above grounders had been harmed, but Soren was missing. "What's the status on the boy who assimilated with the core?"

"He's still alive..." Kay's eyes hit the floor. "But if we extract the core this soon after having it forced into his body, he'll die for sure. Not to mention his soul has basically been crushed. It'll be a miracle if he ever regains consciousness. There are of course methods, but they're expensive and we didn't want to go ahead without your permission..."

"Hmm..." Miki pondered as she glanced out the nearby window at the city she had been away from for so long. It felt so long ago that she had agreed to immerse herself in the above world to defend it's existence, though she hadn't intend on having her mind altered. it was dusk, as the sun was setting beyond the bridge. Large buildings towered off in the distance, beyond the cobblestone square beneath her window. The sound of trains off in the distance was rather soothing after having been absent so long, as well. "Let's see what the others think. He's their comrade, after all."

OOC: LOOONG. Basically what we're modeling the city after. (http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h88/EvileBell/10-1.jpg)

Loki
November 26th, 2008, 09:11 PM
’I’m not made of fur!’ Minke replied indignantly, ’My form is one hundred percent dation, thank you very much!’ He looked over ruefully at where Natalija had disappeared. She was mad. He could feel his own anger rising, though he didn’t feel any personal anger, since Pethalamine had technically said nothing particularly wrong in his opinion. He anger was bristling to the brim however, and it was starting to seep into him. Soren flinched and Minke looked over at his reila’s body in confusion as its inhabitant clutched at its head. ’Soren?’

A heavy shaking overcame the body as Natalija crashed onto her knees, her eyes wide before she looked up and around.

Almost instantly her expression grew disgusted, “You people again. Well as long as I’m back in my body, that’s fine. Now I can leave properly-“

’Natti!’ Minke’s tail wagged wildly, ’Me and Meine missed you like craaaazy-‘

Natalija picked Minke up by the back of his neck and flung him into a dation portal, “Who said you could come out?!” She threw a dirty glare at Pethalamine, feeling much better now that she was in her proper body. “Tch!” She rolled her eyes, waving her hand and opening a dation portal. It disappeared at once however, when the Ophelian Core was drawn out of Reid, and Natalija’s world began to pulsate. A white barrier stopped the shaking as Natalija spun around to look first at Reid and Ailia, then to the tower, “What’s going on?!” She asked, adamanatly demanding the answer from Miki. She was different now, in her own body. Confident of her own abilities now, she wasn’t afraid of anything. Until she spotted the dying people outside. Her eyes went wide and she stared dumbfounded. And then she remembered something that was important. “Jazz!” Her hands shot up to her face as the thought dawned on her, “Jazz!!” Whirling around a dation portal opened and Minke hopped through it, having not noticed anything until seeing Natalija’s face. “Jazz, Minke, is Jazz okay?!”

’… I don’t know. He’s not at home though?’

Natalija bit her thumbnail nervously, squeezing her waist with her other hand.

Dimitri looked around silently. Again, his reaction was nothing like that of Natalija’s. She’d insisted that she wouldn’t care if the world ended, and yet now she obviously did. He’d reported that it wouldn’t be bad, but he didn’t advocate it. And by the look on his cool expression, the perfect view of dying people had no particular effect on him. He didn’t care for strangers, especially not at this point in time. Dimitri closed his eyes though and turned his face away from the dying people. He wasn’t as moved by this as Miki was. But that didn’t mean he was pleased about it. It was unfair that all these people had to die, and that they got to live.

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


Aertan was not pleased about the uninvited, unidentifiable intruder, but that changed when people started dying. Seeing that Rosalynne was being taken care of by the maid, the man grabbed the trembling Davies son and pushed him back to Faewyn, “Close your eyes!” He commanded roughly, and Serge’s hands immediately flew to his ears as he clamped his eyelids shut.

“What’s going on?” Aertan took only a second to look out the window at the dying people before drawing all the curtains, “This is absolutely insane…”

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

“...Lazarus!” Ellianne’s voice came, afraid. Lazarus drew her and Lyrum into a tight circle, covering one of each of their ears with his hands as he peered through the crack in the curtain’s he’d just drawn. It wasn’t pretty, the sight just beyond the white dome.

“It’ll be fine.” He assured them, his voice stronger than it should’ve been, “Don’t listen and don’t look. It looks like we’re okay in here, so don’t worry.” After a few moments that seemed like an eternity, the ringing stopped, and Lazarus looked up and breathed a sigh of relief as he lowered his hands, stepping across the threshold to look through the curtains. The glow was gone. They were okay.

But everyone else...?



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



Dimitri turned his head, listening to the strangers talk. He’d been awake for awhile now. But he’d taken the chance when he found out that the others were still unconscious to rest and ponder over things. “We’re not comrades.” Dimitri interjected as if offended by the term, folding his hands over his stomach as he stared up at the ceiling, “So I think it’d be better if you made the choice Miki. I’m sorry-“ Dimitri faltered at the word, but furrowed his brow and continued, “I don’t really know what’s going on. But I don’t think anyone in this group has the right to decide for Soren. So since it would be your facility and expenses, the person with the most right to choose is you.” He closed his eyes again. “I’m going back to sleep, if that’s alright.” He turned over, glad that he had a wall to face. He felt like a week hadn’t been enough time to let the last conversation they’d had die. Especially since he’d been unconscious for most of that week. It felt like yesterday, and he was still somewhat annoyed.

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

“I see a secret.” Garrett smirked, his beady black eyes examining Giles as the man stared out the window. He was now dressed in a plain long-sleeved polo shirt tucked into a pair of extra-long khaki’s for his extra long legs. “You can’t hide from me~”

“Doesn’t mean I have to tell you.” Giles replied coolly, wearing only his black dress shirt and red tie. “But here’s a secret; I hate this place.”

Garrett laughed, a deep, rolling laughter as he shook his head. “That’s not a secret, kid. You got blackmailed here. ‘Course you hate it. See, me? I love this place. So quiet and peaceful, and the buildings are absolutely beautiful. Such a wonderful Victorian style, mixed with modern elegance and buildings that stretch so high into the sky that you can’t even see where they end. It’s an adventure Giles! You have to enjoy yourself!”

Giles scoffed, “I don’t want to follow her wherever she goes. Just because she’s not above ground anymore, why does that mean I can’t stay there either-“

“The uppers love to see you squirm, kid. You gain so much more from this job than anyone else, y’know. And who would’ve ever expected your girl to become the head of the opposing faction? You be glad the uppers keep their word- mostly. You keep running from this Giles, and as your father-of-sorts, I can’t let my cute little son abandon the only girl who would even look at him. You’re a pretty creepy kid, y’know that?”

“First of all,” Giles said to the blonde man, smiling in amusement, his mood considerably better now that he’d gotten a week off from work- even if it was just a compensation vacation since the top had breached his conditions, “Miki isn’t my girl. We were friends when I was nine and she was like, seven. And we’re not even friends anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t remember me. And secondly, they haven’t kept their promise at all.” He folded his arms and sighed, “How is changing her memory and sending her out in the above ground without knowing anything at all leaving her alone? I just don’t want to hear their excuses. And thirdly, you’re not my father-of-sorts, so don’t even try, old man.”

Garrett settled back into his wicker chair, equally amused, and looking like he wanted to say something. He didn’t though, and Giles was glad of it. Because he’d remembered what Garrett had said earlier. A secret, huh? Giles turned his eyes and relaxed expression towards the window, watching the different kinds of people passing by and letting his eyes linger on the group of children playing jacks on the front steps of the daycare across the street. The secret was that Miki had brought above grounders with her. He couldn’t find any of the people he’d seen that day in Meredy, and they weren’t dead. Miki had been too close for them to have been dead. And since she was back in the Underground again, where else could they be? It would be hard for them to grasp the existence of a world entirely different from their own. It was somewhat nostalgic, when he’d found out that there was another world above his. Dang that had been a long time ago, when his peaceful, isolated life was turned upside down. His laptop began to beep and a crystal hook latched onto the switch and pushing the tab aside with the flick of Giles’ wrist, a wire extending from the ring on his index finger. The screen automatically stood upright, revealing new mission details.

“You’re a lazy bastard, you know that?”

Giles didn’t reply as he looked at the screen. “Vacations never last.” Giles sighed, looking around his apartment. “They want me to report on the situation in Meredy.” He rolled his eyes, but had a pleased look on his face nonetheless, “How could it be anything but rock bottom?”

Garrett leaned over, “And I’m stuck hanging out down here, huh? No mission for me.”

“You don’t come with strings attached. They have to keep me busy so I don’t run away.” Giles replied jokingly, sweeping out of the door as he pulled his jacket on.

Alter Ego
December 2nd, 2008, 12:44 PM
All alone.

The bars of the cage were cold against her skin, the cage cold and cramped, and the darkness so thick and all-pervasive she could barely see her hand in front of her face, but she didn't mind it. It was quiet, it was peaceful, and she didn't have to be near anyone.

"So this is how it's going to be, is it?"

"Shut up." she didn't dignify the white cat outside of the bars with as much as a glance, just like she had decided not to do a while ago already. A long while. What a pesky little thing it was.

"You think you can just hide."

"I'm not listening."

"Sit here in your little cage, all alone, shut the world out. That's your plan, isn't it?"

"Go away."

"That's not what you said a moment ago."

"Just go away."

"You talk like that's an option here, little girl."

"Leave me be!" the girl snarled, finally raising her head from her knees and shooting a vicious glare at the cat, which it returned with an equal one from its vividly scarlet eyes, "I don't want you! I reject you!"

"Yes, you like to do that, don't you." her negafael snarled back, "Reject, throw away, that's all you were ever any good at, isn't it? Your family, your fellow freakshows, your companions, you think you'll get what you want if you just keep rejecting everything else, don't you?!"

"I don't want anything!" she yelled, "Least of all from you!"

"Like you have a choice!" the cat scoffed, "Look at you. Caged, shut in. In your world, there where you could be anything you wish, you choose to be nothing but a miserable little slave. Well you know what?" his glare intensified, "Slaves don't have a choice and slaves don't get a say. You gave up your own power over this realm when you shunned us, and if you want it back, you're going to have to earn it."

"Well I don't!" Pethalamine snarled, "I already told you, I don't want anything to do with any of you! Just go away!"

"Not," the negafael persisted calmly, "Unless you make me. I already told you," a bemused smirk played on his face, "I don't take orders from the domesticated."

"Why you-!"

"Now, now, that's more like it." the negafael smirked, gracefully stepping back, just enough so the girl couldn't reach him through the bars, "It was barely a flicker, but your fighting spirit is still in there. Now come, show me what you can do...pet!"

"I'm not."

"Not what?" the cat teased, "A pet? The pet is the one who is kept in a cage, my dear, and that is certainly not me."

"I'm not-" the girl persisted.

"Prove it to me!"

"I'm not-"

"Not what?!" the negafael thundered, "I am the ruler of this realm, woman! Do you have something to say to me or not?!"

The girl gave a mirthless grin, "I'm not the one in the cage."

And sure enough, the bars were surrounding her negafael now, but contrary to the reaction she had expected, the cat smirked in response.

"You're not." he conceded, "But are you sure you're alright with that?"

It was then that gravity caught up with her, the girl barely having the time to latch onto the cage bars as whatever strange force of will that had kept her standing on the endless void beneath her suddenly gave in.

"Still clinging to it..." the negafael remarked, shaking his head as he approached the struggling figure, lazily raising a paw and extending the claws out of it one by one, "We can't have that, can we?"

The girl's eyes widened at the sight, "No..." she pleaded, "Don't-"

"This is the only favor you will ever get from me."

The girl tried to scream but found no voice as a searing pain shot through her hand, causing her grip to falter and sending her tumbling down into the lightless abbyss below.

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


Consciousness came onto Pethalamine far more abruptly than she would have wanted, the scholar still trembling quietly where she lay, feeling no real inclination to get up. She was still shaken from the dream, or vision, or...whatever it had been, and her throat still felt a tad sore from the screaming - though whether she had done such while unconscious or during the argument still far too fresh in memory she couldn't tell - but what really bothered her was her conscience.

She had said a lot of stupid things that night. No, not just said, shouted them out for all to hear, and the all too vivid memory of her own behavior made her cringe. Natalija...she...she didn't feel that bad about Natalija, it wasn't like that ill-tempered little witch was bothered anyway, but the others. Alderian...still seemed to be out of it, at least as much as a discreet peek in the priest's direction could reveal, he had risked his own life to protect her and had done nothing to earn such harsh treatment. But even more than that, her conscience ached for Dimitri, enough so that she didn't dare look at him. That look he had given her...Pethalamine had thought she knew all the looks the world had to offer, but never before had she seen one so sincerely and thoroughly hurt. Her words hadn't just hit a sore spot, they had gouged into it and ripped it wide open. And for what reason?

Dimitri...if anyone in the world hadn't wished her or anybody else ill it was Dimitri. Pethalamine was usually not one to care this vividly for other people's feelings, but in this case there was no escaping it. The guilt was there and refused to go away, more obnoxious and awkward than any tattoo the world had to offer could ever be.

"I...agree." she mumbled as the skyboarder spoke his piece, still refusing to meet anyone's gaze, "We...haven't been very good comrades to him."

She would make it up to him. She had no idea how she was supposed to do it, but somehow she would make everything she had said on that stupid night up to him.

parallelzero
December 2nd, 2008, 02:20 PM
After the display that afternoon, Miki was hardly surprised with the reactions she was getting from the group. "Ah, alright. Maybe I was a little naive..." Her voice was laced with disappointment as she threw her legs over the side of her bed, brushing down the white nightgown that had been placed on her as she rose. Her right hand wandered over to the nightstand aside the bed, and pushed down on a button upon a small green sphere. Several seconds afterwards, her gown began to glow, eventually reshaping itself into the outfit she was familiar with. A closet sphere - an invention that came about after the creation of the above lands, otherwise known as Lumera. The closet sphere was capable of changing cloth and similar materials into energy form and absorbing it, available to be recalled whenever needed. They were as common as bags nowadays, and came in an assortment of shapes, sizes, and colours. "Kayleigh, I'm going to take a trip to Thedora Mines to gather some ore for his operation."

"Ah, but Miki! You must have realized the attack on Meredy was their attempt to have you assassinated, right? Thedora may only be on the edge of the city, but it's still occupied by Exeri! Not to mention, Exeri's officials are there inspecting right now!" Kay protested, running over to the white haired girl and blocking the way out from between her bed and what she assumed was Sid's, although he was absent. He'd probably taken off to check on his fiance or something.

Miki didn't respond to Kayleigh's reasoning right away, but rather took a moment to think about her response. "I know I'm taking a gamble, but I think there's a chance I may be able to barter with one of the agents there." If she remembered correctly... that was Giles, right? If anyone could help her, it would be him, even if they were on opposing sides. "Besides, it's my fault all of this happened, so I need to at least own up to it and help save that man." A man Soren was not, but Miki was still younger than him, so boy really wasn't appropriate. "You should go back to your salon for now and await orders. I'll have one of the others here make sure these guys don't do anything stupid in my absence. If their existence down here becomes known, there's no doubt we'll have bother Exeri and the Knights after their lives." The 'Knights' were an organization backed directly by the government of the world. They relied heavily on guns, and there was no way the group of Lumerians would stand a chance. "If under any circumstance they need to leave, I'll have someone assigned to accompany them. After all, they can't use their mahstion down here, and they can't act suspicious, GOT IT?" The last part was directed mostly at the group who were 'sleeping'.

---

"Why did you lose?"
"Why are you asleep?"
"Why do you hurt?"
"Why can't you cry?"
"Why are you weak?"
"Why aren't you strong?"
"Why not just give up?"
"Why not let yourself die?"
"Why don't you remember?"
"Why don't you care?"
"Why do you try?"
"When will you realize?"
"When will you admit defeat?"
"When will you stop?"
"When will you grow up?"
"When will you get stronger?"
"What is your purpose?"
"What makes you cry?"
"What will you do now?"
"What have you done?"
"What didn't you do?"
"Who did you love?"
"Who did you kill?"
"Who left you for dead?"
"Who's fault is that?"
"Who showed you hate?"
"Who showed you happiness?"
"Has anyone ever shown you happiness?"
"Can we answer for you?"
"No, no they haven't."

---

The small girl awoke with a start, the lenses that composed her eyes shifting in order to adjust to the light. She brought her right arm up to her forehead, and wiped away beads of simulated sweat with the sleeve of her unraveled straight jacket. Those stupid designer had made her too human when they created her. It had been several months since she, SYN07632, codename 'RAY' had been assigned to kill and take the role of Ailia Davies in a mission to draw out the Ophelian Core and the leader of the UWPC, Miki. They had also taken a chance to play around with her personality, even giving her a weird accent to see if it was possible. Thank god they had fixed that. Ever since that day, she had been having the same nightmare. The voices... they were so unfamiliar, and why did they ask so many questions? She wasn't really human, and she had never had dreams before, so what was it? Was she seeing the dreams of another? Or was it something more?

Where was she now? Thedora Mine, was it? That place where they excavated Synthius Ore, which was the key ingredient in the creation of Synthetic Humans like herself. Great, just where she wanted to be. She appeared to be in a bedroom, probably one shared with Giles, her maintainer, as the screen of a laptop on a nearby metal desk flashed in indication of a message. She wearily got to her feet in order to see what needed to be said, before relaying the message aloud to nobody in particular. "Giles. There's an important guest to see you at the entrance of the mine. Make sure you bring her back with you? Huh?"

---

"Back off!" Miki shouted from the ground before getting another blow to the head from a nightstick of one of the mine's guards. "I'm here on business, not to disrupt anything!"

"Like we care!" The first guard yelled, taking another swing at the girl. "You were stupid enough to come here without a weapon, or even a guard, and we've lost plenty of comrades to your group, so this is what you deserve!"

Loki
December 2nd, 2008, 04:19 PM
Can’t sleep?

Dimitri could hear a very gentle, ladylike voice piercing his thoughts. It was clear as day, and rang like a bell in the middle of a dead silence. He said and thought nothing in response, but subconsciously, he must’ve given her an answer, because she chuckled, the sound of beads shuffling across each other disturbing the purity of her voice. His eyes were closed, but refused to cave in to sleep. Instead, on the inside of his eyelids, a woman he recognized as his plufael was sitting underneath a plum tree in full blossom, lonely and radiant in the middle of a barren land he noticed was the very same as the place where he’d been trapped earlier. Smooth cobblestone stretched out underneath her, keeping her elegant kimono and long snow white hair from touching the dry soil. She was ethereal, prim and proper. Before, Dimitri had only seen the slightest blur of her, heard only the garbled sounds of her voice filtering through a thick screen. Dimitri shifted uncomfortably. He generally didn’t like voices in his head, and she was no different. You’re safe from Une for the time being, if you’re worried. She spoke lightly, her voice reverberating off invisible walls, You have no mahstion for either of us to use. Only the barest amount that allows us to exist remains. Give it a week or so, sweetie, me and Une will restore your catalyst.

She disappeared, and with nothing left to see, Dimitri opened his eyes. He heard Miki leave, and contemplated his options for just a moment before sitting up, scratching the back of his head and bending his neck left and right. “I’m not tired.” He declared with a sigh, dropping his hand back into his lap and wondering what Soren would want. It was a major decision like this that really let Dimitri know how loosely tied together they’d all been. Soren would certainly want to live. And if not, that was easily rectified. But still, making the call for someone didn’t sit right with Dimitri. What if the price Soren had to pay for his life- as there definitely was one, if they hadn’t just gone ahead and done it – was more tolling than losing his life altogether? If only he’d inquired for more details, even if it was out of his place.

A surprised yelp snagged Dimitri’s attention as he noticed that Natalija’s bed was empty, only a skewed pillow left in place.

He quickly pulled his blankets up over his face as he resisted a laugh, only stifling it after letting out a snicker. Natalija had quickly gotten to her feet, wide awake after seemingly tumbling off her bed. She was beet red, tangled in her sheets and tugging them away from her legs. She looked around at the bed she’d fallen from and instantly justified herself, “Who sleeps on such small beds?!” She blew her long black hair from her face before quickly abandoning the blankets and fixing her hair with her fingers, flushed with embarrassment. Natalija was not the most graceful sleeper, but nobody in this room knew that. She’d only told Soren, and he was…?

Quickly dodging the subject, Natalija brushed herself off, asking- or more like demanding, “Where’s Soren?”

Dimitri’s gaze settled on the wall beside him as he shrugged. Natalija wasn’t worried about his well being- Soren’s that was. Dimitri would’ve had a more remorseful expression if he was dead, and since he didn’t, Soren was obviously still alive, but probably not in the best fix. What she did care about was the fact that he’d give her an unsatisfactory answer, and after a humbling experience like falling off the side of a bed, she wasn’t about to let these unfriendly people avoid her questions. She skipped Pethalamine immediately and fixated her gaze on Alderian, “Well??”

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

The nightstick hovered in the air, the force of the guard’s strength and the crystal hooks tightly wrapped around the hand and handle of the man fighting for control. He had a pleasant, sickly poisonous smile on his face, but this hardly phased the two men, who had long gotten used to the calculating look on the dark agent’s face. They didn’t think the man could show any other expression, simply because he didn’t, no matter what the situation had been when he’d passed through the doors of the mine. “You are right that you shouldn’t care about what she’s here for.” He spoke, his eyes narrowed into a critical gaze, “But you are wrong in the sense that you assume you have the authority to decide her punishments for opposing us.” Giles tugged his fist closer to himself, and the guard was pulled towards Giles, away from Miki.

“That woman is under my jurisdiction.” Giles’ face held no recognition for the person in front of him. “Get up.” He commanded her curtly, but in a very business like tone. He didn’t wait for her to get up on her own, instead grabbing her arm and pulling her to her feet. “If anyone else comes, detain them.” Giles instructed the guards, “I’ll take care of them as well.”

He slammed the door shut behind him and wrenched his arm away from Miki immediately, not looking at her nor speaking. The door was probably heavy enough to keep the guards from hearing them, but better safe than sorry. After walking a ways through empty halls, he motioned her to step into a bare office, a meeting room that was rarely used since mines weren’t the most desirable place for an organization of Exeri’s caliber to hold meetings at. He shut the door behind him, locking it so that nobody would walk in unexpectedly.

“Do you enjoy putting my position in jeopardy?” He sighed throwing a glare at her over his shoulder as he leaned against the door, crossing his arms, “You realize that I can’t just meet you whenever you feel like-…” He faltered and turned one of his rings over in his right hand, thinking about how he’d either justify letting her go or shutting up the guards up front. “Well whatever,” He muttered, before raising his voice to a clearer volume, “I’m guessing you came here knowing I’d be here, as much as I wish I weren’t.” He thought irritably of the robot-girl he was stuck sharing a room with, and wondered why they hadn’t just sent her back to his flat. Probably something to do with Synthius. “So. What do you want?” Giles asked in exasperation, trying his best not to crumple from the fact that she had had absolutely no regard for the fact that she was totally surrounded by enemies, even himself, who had yet to properly decide whether he would treat her as an enemy. Giles supposed that this meeting would make him choose his side once and for all.

The thought was enough to cause a good headache.

parallelzero
December 2nd, 2008, 06:27 PM
"I'm sorry!" Miki couldn't help but execute apologizing as her first action. "I'm sorry for being a burden to you, just like when we were kids, but I need a favor!" She was aware of it. Aware she was asking her enemy for help, aware she was surrounded from all sides, aware that there was a chance Giles would do her in himself, but this was a chance she needed to take. "A companion of mine is ill thanks to my doing, and I need some Synthius to help tend to him. I can give you money, you know I inherited my family's fortune, and I'll even pay large sums for scraps if that's what it takes!" She got on her knees to beg, one of the biggest sins for one of her economic status. Of course, her riches were to be expected, seeing as she ran a government party, albeit a smaller one. "It doesn't have to be a lot, so you won't get caught! Please!" She knew how he'd react. He wouldn't like this one bit. He'd probably think less of her because of it. She was being selfish, trying to make up for sinning, but there was no way to undo what she had done.

---

One week had passed, and things in the upper lands had not improved in the least. Reid had fallen unconscious after the ordeal, and Adela had gone missing, leaving their children to the friends they left behind as well. Rosalynne Davies stared blankly out at the land below from the edge of the airship she had been asked to board. The had to leave Meredy, apparently, to go to the city which housed the hospital where her father had been taken down in Flazure. She hadn't spoken a word in a week. Not to her brother, not to anybody. When she was alone, she cried, and when she was with others, she acted as if she had no emotions at all.

"I don't understand how it came to this..." Ellianne murmured to herself from a bench on the opposing side of the ship, audible enough for Lyrum to hear. "Reid's unconscious, Adela's missing, all of those kids who were with Reid - Faewyn and Aertan's daughter included - went missing... It must be hard on the kids."

"That's why we're helping taking care of them right now, right? I'm sure it'll work out!" Lyrum, ever the optimist, added, receiving a dull sigh from Auricia, still in child form, depressed that even she couldn't get Rosalynne to say anything.

"But they've really left us in a big pickle this time..." Auricia managed to murmur, before going quiet again.

Loki
December 2nd, 2008, 08:24 PM
“Synthius…” Giles repeated, his brain thinking fast and calculating all the different factors he needed to consider. He sighed, stopping his train of thought halfway. “You’re distracting me.” Giles sat down cross legged in front of Miki, “Begging isn’t going to help, and I don’t need your money- or more like, I don’t want it.” He drummed his fingers on his cheekbone, looking at the stains on the wall of the meeting room and contemplating. After a short silence, he rubbed his eyes and spoke, “Alright, fine. I’ll get you some Synthius, but I can’t get you much raw Synthius. I can order extra parts for RAY, but I just got finished repairing her this morning with the parts I ordered last week….” Giles shook his head at the idea, rejecting it, “I’ll figure it out. In the meantime, you should leave. If they find out I met you- um, with your memory in one piece…” Giles shook his head again. “I have a method of getting Synthius, but I doubt RAY would change shape for us, let alone steal Synthius. She hates this place as it is, and she’s not even awake yet…”

Giles stood up, “I need something to appease the uppers for letting you go and stealing Synthius. They watch me, since they know I used to be friends with you. It’s unreasonable, but the only solution I can think of is… locking you up for the Synthius. Which-“ Giles immediately interrupted himself, “Is not an option.”

parallelzero
December 3rd, 2008, 08:30 AM
It was frustrating to Miki that Giles actually made a pretty important point. She was putting his position at risk - though she'd probably be better off not caring about what happened to him considering he was the enemy in this situation. She had come here knowing she'd have to give something up, and other than herself and money, there was really only one more thing she could offer up. "It's too late now to avoid him and the core from becoming a single entity, considering the leech-like nature of that item, but I can give you the boy if you promise you’ll construct a body to keep him alive.” It was the worst possible solution possible – giving the enemy what they wanted. As long as Soren was bound to that core, they wouldn’t be able to use it for whatever they wanted to, but it needed a host to stay completely active. Basically, it’s cultivation within Reid Davies was the best possible state to have taken it in, but now that it has found a host, Exeri would have to keep the boy alive somehow until they could find a way to separate his soul from the core, or else the core would die as well. It was complicated, Miki had noted, and the item probably had many other strange attributes that had remained dormant until a week ago. She didn’t know why they wanted this item, but her guilt for dragging the group of above grounders into the problems of below was too strong to let one of them die. It wasn’t like any of Soren’s group seemed to care for him anyways, so really…

She reached into her pocket and removed a cellphone, assuming the deal would be okay. It was regrettable, but maybe they could save Soren from Exeri later on… “Yes? Have the patient moved to Thedora via transport ring immediately. Co-ordinates C45.644 Did I get the ore? …Something like that. Alright, thanks.” The transport ring was a fairly recent invention, a device for converting even people and machines into energy and transporting them to set points. It ran on a lot of power though, and they were limited to one a city. Thankfully, Miki’s group was in possession of one. It wasn’t long before a light began to glow in the hollow room, originating near the door. When it faded, Soren, on a wheeled bed was present, dressed in a white nightgown with the chest of the gown ripped open to reveal slowly blackening flesh around his chest. A sign that the core was corroding him. “You’ll need to apply a large amount of energy after opening his chest to get the core to reveal itself. If you take it out, you’ll need to place it in a synthetic body immediately to preserve the boy’s soul and consciousness, which will in turn keep the core from deactivating, which I’m sure your people don’t want.” She took one final look back, and headed for the door. “I guess I’ll be leaving now.”

--

“What do you mean Miss Miki gave the subject over to Exeri!?” One of the soldiers shouted in the hall outside of the room the group was located in. “Doesn’t that mean we gave them what they wanted!?”

“SILENCE.” Sid’s voice boomed afterwards. “The leader must have had a good reason. Besides, we have no idea why they even want the darn thing. Now quite down, you know my fiancé is sleeping in the next room over! Not to mention our ‘guests’.”

“Ah… sorry sir. I forgot Siina was ill… You have my sympathies.”

“Its fine, she’s due for a full recovery any day soon. Just keep it down…”

“Sir!”

“What did I say?”

“Sorry…”

Loki
December 4th, 2008, 06:37 PM
Giles stood up when Soren entered the meeting room and he threw Miki a brief, questioning look before ignoring it. He would get a heyday for this, and he didn’t need to concern himself with her choice if she was the one who had made it. “You have a deal, with me anyway.” Giles stepped over to Soren and observe the corrosion of the core, shaking his head and looking up at Miki, “I’ll stretch my powers and see if I can get him under my jurisdiction. But I already have another synthetic human, and I don’t know if they’ll agree to keeping him alive or storing it in the body of an Exeri loyalist. I’ll try my best to keep him alive though, if that’s the most important thing on your side.” Giles stepped past Miki and opened the door, kicking the stand down and motioning for her to go out. He turned and rolled Soren’s bed out of the meeting room and tied his hair back into a ponytail with one hand. “Be careful on your way out. I can’t save you if you get in trouble, since I better get this kid hooked up to something to keep his lungs and heart working while I make his new body.”

He began to push the bed towards the morgue-like room where bodies were created with the synthius mined just a few stories down before he faltered, looking down at Soren with a worn out look. Another little seed of trouble. Shaking his head, Giles put the metal to the pedal as he tried to make up for the time he’d wasted thinking. That was such a bad habit.

As soon as Soren was all hooked up, Giles was glad for once that he’d studied this practice and actually done it so many times. This would definitely be the pinnacle of his career both in Exeri and as a synthetic body creator. He left the abandoned room to retrieve two containers of synthius, and then his box of repair tools from his room. He was surprised to see Ray up and about. “Oh? You’re awake.” Giles commented off-handedly, collecting his scattered tools and dropping them messily in his normally meticulously organized toolbox. “You’ll kill me for asking, but wanna help me make a new body for the Ophelian Core?” The lid of the box snapped shut and Giles shrugged, not waiting for Ray to answer as he swept out of the room again, hurrying to Soren’s side and sliding a stainless steel table. Cracking his fingers, Giles put pencil behind his ear, a compass between his teeth, and busied himself with measurements, and began making a smaller version of the tall teenaged boy, about the abnormally large size of a preteen. This would take a lot of Synthius. He dropped a collection of different rulers all hooked together by a ring and pulled out his cellphone, hitting “1” and putting it on speaker as he tossed it onto the rolling table that held his tools.

“I don’t suppose you know how to read a clock, Mr. Aliot.” A calm yet displeased voice replied.

“But I know you won’t care once you know what I’ve got.” He replied pointedly.

An interested silence spurred Giles on to make his impromptu report.

Alter Ego
December 5th, 2008, 02:26 PM
Despite the guilt and insecurity weighing down on her, Pethalamine couldn't help being entertained by Natalija's little moment of embarrassment, hastily burying her face in the pillow to stifle her mirth before it could spark a fresh argument. If there was one thing none of them needed right now, it was another argument.

Unbeknownst to her, however, an argument was precisely what Alderian had been involved in up to this point. Kisei was not normally one to openly scold her reila, but when she did she did so with a vengeance and the priest had been left with no illusions about what she thought of his actions during the ambush.

'...should I tell them?' he ventured, his body still betraying no sign of consciousness. Natalija's loud demands had effectively muffled the answer she had been seeking, but a skill's ears were not so easily distracted. He had caught the whole thing just as effectively as the conversation preceeding it, though at the moment he found himself wishing that he hadn't.

'You may as well.' his negafael replied in a resigned, though far from pleased, tone, 'With this kind of laxness, it's only a matter of time until someone slips up and divulges this information anyway, and after your last little venture the last thing we need to do is draw any in-group hostility towards us.'

'Understood.'

The moment he let his act down, the priest's eyes snapped open with almost unnatural abruptness, already focused straight on Natalija's before he had opened them, "Soren...is no longer among us." he replied, though a glance at the sheer shock reaction on Pethalamine's face immediately made him regret his words, "Oh, forgive my poor phrasing. The young man you speak of is assuredly alive, but..." he couldn't help a troubled expression, "Just now...I overheard two people in the corridor discussing his case. Apparently, he is to be transfered into the care of a group called Exeri. Just what this group is, I do not know, but judging by madame Miki's explanation earlier, Soren is in a rather poor condition, so I can only pray that this group has a means to cure him." he sighed, slowly raising himself to a sitting position, "That is all I know. It seems we are to be placed under surveilance, so hopefully whoever is appointed to this task will be able to answer any further questions." he offered an apologetic smile, "I am sorry I can not be of more assistance, madame."

Surveilance...was it? Pethalamine's heart sank, even as her body finally dropped any pretense of getting more rest and rose up to a sitting position as well. It wasn't really anything she hadn't heard already, but hearing somebody else say it in such a matter-of-fact way brought the reality of their situation to an uncomfortable level of intimacy. They were prisoners, weren't they? Nothing but a handful of prisoners trapped in some kind of complicated power game. And Soren...though the priest had probably simply been too tactful to say it, Soren had just been elevated to a high-value pawn in said game and summarily traded off for goodness knew what. The very thought sickened her, and the realization that she had effectively approved all of this by refusing to take a stand on the matter definitely wasn't making things any better.

But...she couldn't say it, could she? Not after she had let all of it happen without raising a finger. Not before she came up with something, anything, they could do about the situation. The scholar couldn't help a rather desperate glance in Dimitri's direction. He had been the first to decline any rights for a say in this, right? Was he...facing the same kind of realization as her right now?

Loki
December 9th, 2008, 04:49 PM
“Done.” Giles smiled in satisfaction. He’d announced to RAY that he was finished, but he wasn’t about to clean up and get some much-needed sleep. He had some double-checking to do. Dropping his molding tools and leaving the Synthius on the lifeless body’s perfectly trimmed nails to stiffen, he tilted the metal table up so that he could easily very a good view of the body. Measurements looked good, and as far as he was concerned, everything was close to perfect. Tugging gently at the dirty blonde tresses flowing down the body’s shoulders, Giles acknowledged they were firmly attached. He tugged harder, then gripped a handful in his hand. Excellent. Everything was looking good. Using his gloved thumb to push the lids of the body’s eyes back, he double checked the eden green color of the eyes, the clarity, and then, whether they were focused properly or not. He’d accidentally made a lazy eye in his first body, and he hated fixing eyes. (They were usually squishy and gross.) “Alright Ray,” Giles said, stepping back and examining his work, “You can deal with fixing his hair later, but go find him a set of clothes.”

“Alrighty Soren.” Giles said, pushing a button as the robotic body returned to it’s original position parallel to the floor. Rolling it over beside the dying body, Giles brushed a few strands of jet black hair from his line of sight. The skin around his eyes weren’t red with rubbing anymore, as it had been a long time since Giles had paused to give his bad habit a little notice. He looked incredibly normal, if it weren’t for the fact that he’d just been playing mad scientist. Normal simply didn’t apply with Giles. “Well I wouldn’t meet interesting people if I was normal.” Giles shrugged, musing to himself as he pulled down what looked like an upside down satellite dish and positioned it over the blackening flesh in the center of Soren’s chest. He pressed ‘1’ on his cellphone again, sure that his boss was awake by now.

“I’m going to need someone to come in and fix the original body. I can deal with keeping it functioning until then.”

“Fine. I’ll arrange for that, and the preservation.” The recipient of the call hung up at once, and Giles stepped back from the two bodies, sitting behind a make-shift control panel that he’d set up while the main mold of Synthius for the body had been finishing it’s job. Giles hit the switch, and a high pitched whining sound emitted from the machine, his nimble fingers poised and ready to immediately move the core with the machine to the new body as soon as the core was extracted.


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

Natalija sat down as Alderian explained, looking rather docile, though not much more concerned than before. As soon as he finished his last word, Natalija folded her arms tightly, and hooked her legs together by the ankles. “So they just gave him away like an object? Without even consulting us?”

“She asked.” Dimitri replied sharply, defending Miki even though the Miki who’d sent Soren away was not the girl he’d originally met. “Miki’s not as inconsiderate as you.”

“I’m not inconsiderate.” Natalija shot back, “I think about everything, but why ask? My opinion is always the best anyway.”

“Oh yeah, I agree.” Dimitri replied sarcastically. Natalija silently fumed at Dimitri, then decided to add Alderian, that woman, and Soren in the whole jumble. Since when did Dimitri get the spine to talk back to her? She didn’t appreciate having to stand up for herself against a wimp like him. Pethalamine and Soren were a different story, since they weren’t doormats. And then Alderian. He didn’t have to send her halfway to dumbfounded shock before pulling her back by correcting himself. And that woman just stepped in and pulled a Stahn out of nowhere. Ugh, that ugly girl would pay for it later. Natalija wasn’t about to let herself get jerked around again, she’d see. And then even worse, Soren. What the heck was he doing, going off and getting himself into a situation where he’d end up running off to some other group and leaving her here with the three creepers? Sure he was a creeper too, but Pethalamine and her dresses, Alderian and his god, and Dimitri and whatever pill he’d swallowed? She preferred Soren’s melodramatic ways any day. And what the heck. Natalija added Pethalamine while she was at it. So she was in a room full of people she hated even more than Soren.

Wonderful.

“I want to go with him!” Natalija complained like a spoiled little girl being denied an expensive doll house. “I don’t want to stay here! Where are we anyway?!”

Dimitri sighed, plopping back down on his bed and rolling over to face the wall. “They’ll explain it sooner or later, it’s not like we know anything more than you.”

“That’s true.” Natalija replied instantaneously, referring to his last line, taking it in the way that would be more offending to everyone else. “I can’t argue with you there.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder, running her fingers through her straight locks as haughtily as she could. Holding her other hand out and flattening her palm, she held it up to the ceiling, commanding, “Minke, Meine.”

Nothing happened, and Natalija blinked, frowning.

“Minke!” She barked, “Get out here now!”

She shook her hand trying to get even a drop of mahstion out of herself. But nothing happened, and neither the white or black creatures appeared. Natalija had transcended angry at this point, and was silently simmering, waiting impatiently to blow her fuse at anyone who dared to light it.

parallelzero
January 7th, 2009, 01:25 PM
OOC: Figure I better revive this before it's one month expiry. XD

IC:
"Special delivery~!" The clearly enthusiastic voice of Kay dinged throughout the room as she came through the entrance way to the medical bay, Sid being dragged behind her in a comical manner. He didn't look too pleased. The girl threw her right hand in the air, and the sound of metal clinking together filled the room. Dangling from her petite hand was what appeared to be a group of thin, metallic bracelets. "These babies are fresh from our Research and Development department! They'll let you use mahstion down here, seeing as you can't because it's way too dense as it is..." Kay had apparently not taken into consideration that she was still wearing her work outfit, her brown hair pulled back into a ponytail and an apron resting over her body that had the word 'KAYstyle' on them. She had apparently received the news of the bracelets and raced out of her hair salon, which was only a block away.

Sid sighed. Kay never was very thorough. "What she means is, what you consider mahstion up in your little world is actually a really watered down form of mahstion. Mahstion is actually the exhaust from our machines that has seeped up into your world. As it travels through the layer of crust above us and into your world, it thins out, which is why you people can use it in such a strange manner. That bracelet will thin out the mahstion around you so that you can defend yourselves until we can get you back to the surface." He paused for a minute, thinking of how to continue wording his sentences. "Think of it as an apology for borrowing your acquaintance for now. We'll get him back later, for sure." Throughout Sid's speech, Kay made a point to nod every so often. "Now, if you guys want to go out and see the town tonight, I have a subordinate who can accompany you since Miki is busy with things, Kay has to tend to her shop, and my fiance will be going into labor soon, so..." He turned a bit red at the end. His main purpose for bringing that up was to prevent them from bugging the young woman later, but the concept that he'd be a father soon still flustered him. "A-anyways, she's a bit of a klutz, but she'll be suitable for a guide if you want to borrow her?"

---

"Gillllles! I don't want a brother! Why can't I have a sister?" RAY whined, unhappy with the choice of an external appearance Giles had given the new machine as she wandered off in search of an outfit. She could always edit it's appearance later if she wanted to in secret, but Giles might get mad, so she'd leave it for now. Her clothing quest took her near and far, but she eventually settled on an outfit that she assumed the being would like based on the attire of his old body. If this idiot hadn't gotten in the way of her extraction, he wouldn't have ended up like that anyways! She eventually returned to where Giles' was, holding the outfit close to his body due to the amount of clothing involved. Torn up, blue jeans she found in a garbage disposal, a white shirt she found in one of the residences, and a navy blue hoodie she found in the shop in residence made up the outfit. Her kind didn't need undergarments, seeing as there was nothing to hide. "Gilllles! I found some stuff!"

Loki
January 7th, 2009, 03:36 PM
"And now we're really done." Giles let out a sigh and relaxed his shoulders, tossing aside a scalpel and clay molding tools that he'd used to make the smallest details, "It's been awhile since I made a whole body... I hope it works..." Stretching his arms to the ceiling, he mumbled a word of thanks to Ray before he turned the metal bed that the new body rested upon back to parallel. Pulling a rolling chair to the side of the body, the agent pulled his long black hair out of it's restraints and leaned back. "Would you mind getting him dressed before he wakes up, Ray?" Giles spun around in the chair and scooted himself over to a desk where various papers were scattered, measurements and functional information scribbled down. Drawing out four new sheets of paper, Giles proceeded to absentmindedly recopy the information in a neater format.

He'd been so shocked by seeing Miki at first that he hadn't really registered it was her. Then, her urgency had again, postponed his sense of reality. And lastly, the pressing issue of fixing the boy a new body before his original deteriorated any further had consumed him. But now that he sat down to this boring and tedious task, Giles remembered things he'd forgotten, both good and bad memories. The reason he was here, the first time he'd met the girl in question, and then... Giles' pen stopped moving as he blinked, stills of memory flashing in his mind in faded color. It was late. Giles shook his head and continued writing, more vigorously. It was late on the clock, and it was late to remember things that would change nothing in the end.

There was an endless canyon separating them now, the ground trembling on either side. One land mass would have to fall if the other would become stable.

What a disgusting comparison. Giles put his pen down and looked over at the blonde on the surgical table. What an unfortunate existence.

"I wonder..." Giles said, spinning around and wondering how long it would take for him to regain conciousness, "What this boy's name is." Giles glanced at Ray, as if confirming whether she held the same curiousity as well.

---

Dimitri had little to no reaction to Kay's announcement that they would be able to use mahstion due to the bracelets. What mahstion could he use? He'd only recovered a small amount of his already small ability in a week. And he wasn't planning on staying here for long. There was no where else he could go though, even if he went back to his world. No, his level? Dimitri wondered, compared to the Underneath- was this place better, or worse? He couldn't tell just by looking outside. Everything seemed distant, and unreal. The fumes they were talking about, billowed from various buildings that spiraled high into the sky. “Thanks.” Dimitri said, an unfeeling smile touching his face before he turned back to staring at his blankets. What had they done to Soren in their indifference? Dimitri honestly didn’t want to stick around and find out. He certainly hadn’t felt very attached to the boy. He was rude, overemotional, and freaked out about all the smallest things. But it had still been Dimitri who had made the initial decision to leave Soren’s well-being to near strangers. Miki, he’d known for a full… few hours. Soren was hunting her, so she couldn’t possib-

…. Wait. Dimitri’s brow furrowed, but he said nothing. He wasn’t keen on voicing his concerns about the particular issue nagging at him, as he did… trust Miki as far as trust could stretch in a few hours but it was a dangerous possibility that Dimitri had to keep in mind.

“Yay!” Dimitri jerked out of his train of thought at the familiar voice in an unfamiliar register and emotion. Natalija was overjoyed.

“Oh this redefines my opinion of you guys!” Natalija hurried over to the girl, “You may have a horrid taste in nightgowns, but you’re so considerate!” Natalija immediately put one on, “And it’s plain, so as long as I don’t wear any gold jewelry- oh, but then I can’t wear any red…” Natalija perked up, “By the way,” Her voice was dead serious now, “That ‘style’, part of your apron. Does that mean style as in… fashion? Hair? Clothes? Is there shopping outside? Because if there is, I want to go! Does your guide person know the brands? Oh is the currency down here different?” Natalija bombarded the two with questions, completely ignoring Sid’s mention of his fiancé and him about to become a father. First of all, she was not a fan of close relationships like that. Second of all, pregnancy and childbirth was prospect that made her stomach churn with nausea, and she wanted nothing to do with it.

But... Natalija paused in her shower of questions.

"... And," She added carefully, toning her question so that it sounded less concerned about Soren himself, and rather that she was curious as to their intentions, "What are you doing with Soren...?"

Dimitri, on the other hand, hadn’t really paid enough attention to give a polite congratulations after Sid had mentioned Soren's situation, as he turned without saying anything to Natalija's outburst and returned to his own thoughts.

parallelzero
January 13th, 2009, 09:31 AM
While Soren drifted through unconsciousness, he was provided with images he'd never seen before, as if someone else's memories were being flashed before him. He could tell, after hearing all the stories, was that he was witnessing his Uncle's adventures when he was young. He could see his Aunt, his mom and dad, everything. From the moment he rescued Princess Rosaline from the clutches of death's fingers, to the betrayal of his closest friend, to the battles with the Apostles, to his time with the Archai Squad of Flazure, to his strange time training with Stahn Evalice, to the deaths of many of his friends, to the defeat of the evil God Tylonstus. With this, more things made sense to him than ever before. The thing that had knocked him out, it was called an 'Ophelian Core', a part of Opehlia herself. The memories continued, eventually reaching to the day Soren was born. At that very moment though, the memories shut off, and he found himself in darkness again, two figures standing before him.

"I'm sorry master, that's all we can allow you to see for now." Tia, Soren's plufael announced as she bowed apologetically, her wavy black locks falling down over her white, gothic lolita attire. Black frills decorated the dress portion of the simple, yet extremely puffy, with a black bow tied up in the back. She wore stockings as well, black and white horizontal stripes alternating every few inches until they reached her pair of black Mary-Jane shoes. Even her eyes were kind of eerie, the colour being the same white as her dress. The negafael, Telsa, looked almost identical to the one she considered her sister, the only noticable differences being that her hair was straight, and all of the black and white on her outfit was the opposite of Tia's, the outfit itself slightly torn in areas to give her a super eerie appearance. Soren chose not to rely on them too much. They were useless in battle, since they were everything he wasn't. They were obedient, calm, polite and they hated violence. What use were they? For a person who liked to fight, they weren't at all. But, recent events had brought him to rethink that.

"Why can't I see the rest?" Soren finally murmured a reply, pretty flustered from all that had happened, and from the sinking feeling that he was going to wake up in a situation he really didn't want to be in.

"That's because, Master, we feel you would go off and do something irrational. We'll show you when you're ready, though." Telsa was the one to reply, as she bowed in apology as well. "It seems it's about time you wake up. If you need us in the future, please do not hesitate to call us. We have a special guest now after all." She was obviously referencing the core. And, as she predicted, his darkness began to grow back into light.

"I wonder... what this boy's name is?"

"Me too... but, wait! Giles! You never answered my question earlier!"

They were voices he didn't recognize. A man and a young girl, was it? Why did he feel so... stiff? He could smell machines as his eyes began to adjust, a strange camera lens-like sound echoing in his mind as he tried to view his surroundings. He was also concerned because he seemed to have no heartbeat. At least, when he was unconscious he could feel it, but now... "Where... am I?"

"Ah!" RAY exclaimed at the sudden movement of her fellow machine. She ran over and grabbed it's hand. Her new friend was awake! "You're in Thedora Mine. My name is RAY! Can we be friends, please?! What's your name!?" Her enthusiasm was more than apparent at the whole situation.

"Ah... sure. It's Soren." Soren, still dazed, replied, getting a little squee out of the girl. "Can someone explain what's going on?" He sat up, the stiffness still apparent. It... didn't feel like it normally did when he sat up from lying down. And why was everything so big? He brought his hand in front of him, and noticed that it was way too small. Too the touch, it was cold, as if there was no blood flowing through his body. He brushed a blond strand of hair out of his eyes, and noted that it was not his hair color at all. He looked up quickly at the man. "What the hell did you do to my body!?"

"See!" RAY shouted at Giles, totally off of the point. "You should have made it a sister!"

---

"Kya! Sorry I'm late Captain Sid!" A brown haired youth gasped as she ran through the door to the medical room, obviously short of breath. The brown haired, brown eyed girl was dressed in what Sid would consider unusual clothes, although he had little grasp on fashion. A pair of extremely short, teal shorts covered her lower half, leaving a lot of leg showing, and she had on a plain, violet t-shirt. The piece of clothing that made her outfit a bit bizarre to him was the piece of clothing that went over top of both previous pieces of clothing mentioned. It was like a black micro-dress that went over of both, but it had pockets so it was kind of like a shirt? He wasn't sure, he just thought it was weird. She wore silver-coloured sandals, along with black legwarmers with some teal material on top. Her hair was done up in a single ponytail by a floral decoration, and had a white bracelet on her right arm. Draped over her dainty shoulder was a green bag, in a design he would never attempt to explain in his life. She was the kind of girl he would have had a crush on if he was six years younger. He'd be around her age of sixteen then.

Sid sighed, having had actually wanted her to wait downstairs until after he had gotten consent. "Why were you late, anyways?"

"Well it is dark out, sir. I wasn't expecting to be called to work at such an hour on my day off!"

"So basically, you were out spending your paycheck on shopping again and lost track of time?" The dreary facial expression he got in return was confirmation enough, and he chuckled a little. "This girl is Aya. She, like you, was brought down from the above. Her circumstances were... different, though. I'm sure she'll tell you if she feels like it. She's, like I mentioned, a little bit scatterbrained, but I hope you'll all get along."

"Hm..." Aya mumbled as she surveyed the group. None of them were dressed yet, so it was hard for her to judge them accurately yet. "Pleasure to meet you!"

OOC: Aya (http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/Daiaki711/052.jpg)

Alter Ego
January 14th, 2009, 09:16 AM
Had she possessed the energy to do so, Pethalamine would have screamed out in sheer frustration. She was used to discovering new facts and things, certainly. That was what being a scholar was all about, but she was used to uncovering these things one bit at a time; not having them tossed at her in huge blasts of revelation like everyone she had come across since this craziness had started seemed so intent on doing. It was...disconcerting.

Mahstion, wings, the great mysteries of the world...all the result of an underground waste problem? The more time she had to mull on it, the deeper the absurdity of the whole thing sank in, until at last...she simply couldn't hold it in.

Full aware that her companions would take it as the final confirmation of her insanity, the scholar abruptly broke out into a fit of laughter, retreating back down onto her bed to avoid bumping into anything. No cruel, sadistic creator goddess out to make her life miserable, no supernatural forces meddling in her life and stalking her every step; just regular people with a waste disposal problem. The world wasn't out to get her; just raving mad. To be able to take an insecurity that had gnawed at her for as long as she could remember and laugh it straight in the face...such relief could not be put into words, and so she expressed it in the one way she knew how.

The laughter continued for a good while yet, how long precisely she couldn't tell, but when she could finally control herself again, her stomach ached just a little. It wasn't a bad kind of aching, though; far from it. A good laugh. How long had it been since she had last afforded herself that? She had almost forgotten how good it felt, but coming back to it now, she felt a rare moment of actually understanding her mother's outlook on life. Sure, the world was still a cold, uncaring, selfish place, but if she let that get to her, she would just be letting the world win and she wasn't about to do that.

With the remnants of her unexpected burst of mirth still tugging at the ends of her lips, Pethalamine finally picked up her offered bracelet and slipped it on without argument. It was around this time, that her usual sense of prim and proper manners caught up with her.

"Oh, sorry..." she added in Aya's direction, still unwilling to shake off the last remnants of mirth clinging to her, "...it's, I wasn't laughing at you, it's just that...well, I finally realized something." she shook her head, well aware that Natalija would probably be dying to insert a jab at that one, "Anyway, I'm Pethalamine. Pleasure to meet you...Aya, right?" she took a pause, "Oh, and..." she purposefully dragged her sentence out just a bit, in preparation for the veritable bombshell, "...you wouldn't happen to have any spare clothes around here that I could borrow, would you? I...well, it just feels like a change would be appropriate, you know?

For the first time in longer than she could put a number on, the scholar was feeling almost at peace with her place in the world. Sure, things may still have been somewhat bleak for her and the others, but now they...well, they didn't seem as hopeless like they had before. Where there was a will there was a way, and right now she had plenty of will. They would get Soren back, she would find a way to make up for her outburst, they were going to clear whatever mess they had to clear and have this whole affair over with, and somehow she would even solve the problem with the damn tattoos. She didn't have the faintest idea of how any of this would be done, but somehow it all felt fully possible.

Somewhere at the back of her mind, a cat snarled in displeasure.

Alderian, meanwhile, did not look nearly as entertained, merely staring straight ahead with a slightly glazed look in his eyes, one hand fiddling feverishly with his Ophelian cross. He seemed to be muttering a prayer of some kind, but his voice was too low for any of the words to be made out.

Mahstion.

Surely, surely.

No matter what these people said, mahstion was Ophelia's blessing upon her chosen people...right?

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

"So, how long will you be keeping this act up...hmm?"

The shop assistant took a brief pause, lowering the broom in his hands - not that it had been doing much productive work for the last while anyway - and turned an inquisitive glance in his employer's direction. Granted, his body was most not exactly average shop assistant material; even nearing his fifties with the blonde color of his hair slowly fading towards gray, he still had the lean, muscular physique of a routined fighter, the many scars on his tanned skin remaining as testaments to his experience, but even so...

"That's rather cruel of you, madame Silth." he chided in a would-be hurt tone, "I may not be the best of floor sweepers but I am deeply hurt that you would suggest I'm not trying."

His employer merely shook her head slowly, taking another dainty sip of tea from the teacup held in her delicate hands. Her employee may have attracted a few raised eyebrows, but she herself certainly did not come far behind. Between the short, wavy, blonde hair - its color shifting through orange to a deep red by the tips in a dye job that would have taken your average stylist hours to perfect - and her red dress, which - in contrast to the hair - branched out through orange to bright yellow by the hem, its sheer outrageousness finished off with the intricate leaf paterns it was decorated, Argalie Silth was probably among the most conspicuous individuals in the entire neighborhood. And that, as it so happened, suited Argalie just fine.

"This may come as a surprise to you." the twenty-something replied mildly, replacing the teacup onto its saucer, "But Argalie, she is not an idiot. That strange disturbance a week back, Exeri expressing sudden increased interest in materials used for radiation treatment and advanced surgery equipment, you fidgeting about like a child of five, you would have her believe this is all coincidence? Hah!" she took another sip of her tea, "Even if you clip its wings, a bird is still a bird. All it takes for it to remember is to see the flock. Is Argalie not correct?"

The assistant bit back the witty retort he had planned. Messing around with first person Argalie was one thing, but third person Argalie was all about the business; trying to mislead her was like digging your own grave...and in the end she would make you like the shovel clean. Many an opportunistic businessman had learned this lesson the hard way as they had tried to wrest ownership of Silth Pharmaceuticals from beneath her after her father's death.

"My-my, seems like Argalie is too sharp for me." he confessed with a cheerful chuckle, "But you can tell her not to worry, it's only a small diversion-"

"Then go."

The male raised an eyebrow, "Excuse me?"

"Argalie said go." his employer repeated calmly, "Go and see the strange birds that tumbled down from above. If it is only a small diversion, it should not take long...yes?"

"But the store-" he waved the broom feebly at his surroundings, "Are you sure you'll be able to handle this all on your own?"

"This may also surprise you." Argalie replied, composed as ever, "But Argalie is not incompetent either, nor is she defenseless." with a nonchalant wrist motion, she flicked out a small blade that had been concealed inside the sleeve of her shirt, absent-mindedly trimming the nail on her index finger with it, "A bird longing for home makes for poor company and an even worse assistant. You are on paid leave until you have this out of your system, Mr.Everard, so stop inspecting all the fillings on your proverbial gift horse's teeth and go."

The male tensed slightly at the name, but he dutifully placed the broom aside and offered his employer a courteous little bow, "As you wish, then." he replied, turning around and heading towards the door. Just as he was about to exit, however, the male paused briefly, "But don't call me by that name...it's not mine anymore."

Argalie let out the tiniest hint of a tired sigh, "As you would have it...Pendragon." she replied placidly, "Just stop loitering and go already."

Pendragon nodded, the door slamming shut behind him a moment later.

"Silly man..." the young businesswoman muttered at her teacup, "You say you've left all that behind you, but you still wear that tragedy like a badge of honor."


OOC: Character introduction and de-emoification of Pethalamine...go! Yay, looks like I've finally gotten over my writer's block for this RP. :3

Loki
January 14th, 2009, 03:33 PM
Sitting back and watching the young boy soak in his surroundings and new conditions, Giles said nothing upon his awakening, letting Ray smother herself all over him in enthusiasm. Well, keeping Ray in a good mood was also somewhat apart of his job description, so that was just fine with him. The boy’s name was Soren, apparently. Giles would have to request for someone to look into the boy’s history later on. He pulled his fingers through his hair, not a single tangle blocking their progress through the raven locks, though he’d kept his hair up in a hasty ponytail for the past god knows how long. “Well let’s begin with what’s going on, shall we?” Giles crossed one leg over the other, rubbing his eyes harder than usual. He was so tired, but he would feel sorry for the kid if he was to spend the next eight or so hours wondering what had happened.

“I’m not sure what your exact circumstances are, but you were brought here by a young lady of whom I share an acquaintance with.” Giles began formally, but soon decided to drop the formal front, “She was pretty desperate to save you. Ah, but you might not even know why your life was in danger? Alright, well let’s rewind all the way back to the beginning then…” Stretching and yawning, Giles set the beginning of the story at an explanation of Ophelian Cores- or at least, a vague one. “An Ophelian Core is something that can be found in the bodies of Ophelia’s chosen ones. We know of a handful of people who contain these cores, but we singled out your uncle. Why? Well, we’ll save that story for another day. Let’s just say that Ophelian Core hosts aren’t usually normal people, and your uncle’s circumstances were the easiest to disrupt. But you kind of got in the way of our business, and the core we were extracting from your uncle redirected into your body- which is not good, because it began to suck out your lifeforce and erode at your existence. Unpleasant indeed. Well now, first thing. Removing the Ophelian Core from its host is not an easy ordeal, and is currently impossible up in your world without killing the host. However, this young lady who wanted to save you brought you down here. Perhaps we’ll explain the differences between your world and my own some other time, but the point is, it’s possible to extract a core from someone in this world.” Giles paused, irritated by the long winded speech that was coming from him of all people. To drag on the silence, Giles redirected Soren’s attention to his original body- ragged and hooked up to life sustaining machines until the officials came to take it a preservation chamber.

After a few moments of letting the sight sink in, Giles continued reluctantly, “People are bonded with the Core. That’s why they die when it’s removed. And that’s why you can probably think of a few things about your uncle you didn’t know before. And that’s why you, along with the Core, are in a new body, specifically designed not to be eroded by the power of the Core. And your old body will be moved to our facilities, put back together, and… you get to roam around in a fake body for now. Kind of like Ray here.”

Standing up, Giles brushed off his suit, though residue from the process of creating a body was smeared across the fine fabric no matter what. “Hopefully that’ll answer any of your imminent questions, but any more in detail you may ask Ray, or myself, after some rest, a fresh change of clothes, and a status update. My name is Giles, and for the time being, you will be under my jurisdiction. If any part of your body feels strange, please do not hesitate to inform me. I’ll fix it for you right away should you ask. And in your world, my name is Guile, so please keep that in mind. Ray, keep Soren in this room for the time being. Feel free to tell him anything you find relevant, but remember to tell him about the neuro-implants.”

With that, Giles walked over to a tray, eight silver rings scattered across the surface. As soon as they were safely secured on his fingers again, he stalked out of the room, nodding to Soren and Ray before pulling the door shut behind him.


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


Natalija tapped her chin, narrowing a scrutinizing eye at Aya.

Fashion…. Perhaps a 90% perfect. Trends weren’t quite executed to their best, however.
Personality was a definite 0%. Natalija hated bubbly girls like that. It was like purposely demoralizing the female intelligence level. Ugh.

But due to the fact that Aya had earned higher than a 50% on her fashion mark in Natalija’s imaginary gradebook on people, Natalija’s criticizing expression managed a plain smile. And the girl had been out shopping? Perfect. She held her hand up at her shoulder in a short notion of greeting, “Nice to meet you too! Oh, and my name is Natalija Nikolajs.”

Raising an eyebrow at Natalija, Dimitri was at a loss for Natalija’s… Well… Civility, towards the other girl. She was so harsh towards everyone else, it was like she was a completely different person. But then he raised both eyebrows at Pethalamine’s outburst- this time an outburst of laughter. Sinking his head into the nook of his hand, Dimitri was both relieved and resentful of the fact that his sour mood was quickly being washed away. He wanted to laugh at Natalija’s act, and he wanted to ask Pethalamine if she was laughing at Natalija. Though Pethalamine eventually explained that she’d realized something, Dimitri couldn’t really decipher the point of this comment, and decided not a laugh or ask anything at all. He nodded to Aya and offered a polite response: “The pleasure is all mine. I’m sorry to change the subject, but…” Dimitri looked over at Alderian, perhaps the only person in the group that he wasn’t irritated with, “Is everything okay?”

Natalija’s expression had “Who cares?” written all over it, but she said nothing, sitting back down on the bed and crossing one leg over the other, moving on with the conversation without waiting for Alderian. “Wait, is it nighttime?” She asked urgently, “Well that means that the stores are closing… So there’s probably nowhere to go shopping…” She folded her arms, “When are you going to bring Soren back? Well more like, can I help at all? Because if we’re working on saving him, then I can always go shopping some other time.” Natalija reasoned with herself, likely trying to convince herself more than anyone else in the room, “And I can take the time to look through some magazines and get in touch with the fashion down here…” She was tempted to tell the three strangers in the room to not let Pethalamine choose her own outfit, as it would surely be gaudy beyond dried vomit on pavement, but she didn’t think it would make a difference. Unlike Dimitri, Natalija had already long gotten over Pethalamine’s outburst earlier- after all, it was a regular occurrence for Natalija, and it wasn’t like she’d been particularly fond of Pethalamine to begin with, seeing as the girl was a 0% for fashion and 0% for personality.

“Well I hope we’ll get along too! If there’s still time to go out tonight, I’m all for it!” Natalija looked expectantly over at the others.

“I’ll pass,” Dimitri replied immediately, “You seem like the kind of person who makes everyone else carry the bags, and I’d rather stay here.”

Loki
January 14th, 2009, 03:34 PM
Sitting back and watching the young boy soak in his surroundings and new conditions, Giles said nothing upon his awakening, letting Ray smother herself all over him in enthusiasm. Well, keeping Ray in a good mood was also somewhat apart of his job description, so that was just fine with him. The boy’s name was Soren, apparently. Giles would have to request for someone to look into the boy’s history later on. He pulled his fingers through his hair, not a single tangle blocking their progress through the raven locks, though he’d kept his hair up in a hasty ponytail for the past god knows how long. “Well let’s begin with what’s going on, shall we?” Giles crossed one leg over the other, rubbing his eyes harder than usual. He was so tired, but he would feel sorry for the kid if he was to spend the next eight or so hours wondering what had happened.

“I’m not sure what your exact circumstances are, but you were brought here by a young lady of whom I share an acquaintance with.” Giles began formally, but soon decided to drop the formal front, “She was pretty desperate to save you. Ah, but you might not even know why your life was in danger? Alright, well let’s rewind all the way back to the beginning then…” Stretching and yawning, Giles set the beginning of the story at an explanation of Ophelian Cores- or at least, a vague one. “An Ophelian Core is something that can be found in the bodies of Ophelia’s chosen ones. We know of a handful of people who contain these cores, but we singled out your uncle. Why? Well, we’ll save that story for another day. Let’s just say that Ophelian Core hosts aren’t usually normal people, and your uncle’s circumstances were the easiest to disrupt. But you kind of got in the way of our business, and the core we were extracting from your uncle redirected into your body- which is not good, because it began to suck out your lifeforce and erode at your existence. Unpleasant indeed. Well now, first thing. Removing the Ophelian Core from its host is not an easy ordeal, and is currently impossible up in your world without killing the host. However, this young lady who wanted to save you brought you down here. Perhaps we’ll explain the differences between your world and my own some other time, but the point is, it’s possible to extract a core from someone in this world.” Giles paused, irritated by the long winded speech that was coming from him of all people. To drag on the silence, Giles redirected Soren’s attention to his original body- ragged and hooked up to life sustaining machines until the officials came to take it a preservation chamber.

After a few moments of letting the sight sink in, Giles continued reluctantly, “People are bonded with the Core. That’s why they die when it’s removed. And that’s why you can probably think of a few things about your uncle you didn’t know before. And that’s why you, along with the Core, are in a new body, specifically designed not to be eroded by the power of the Core. And your old body will be moved to our facilities, put back together, and… you get to roam around in a fake body for now. Kind of like Ray here.”

Standing up, Giles brushed off his suit, though residue from the process of creating a body was smeared across the fine fabric no matter what. “Hopefully that’ll answer any of your imminent questions, but any more in detail you may ask Ray, or myself, after some rest, a fresh change of clothes, and a status update. My name is Giles, and for the time being, you will be under my jurisdiction. If any part of your body feels strange, please do not hesitate to inform me. I’ll fix it for you right away should you ask. And in your world, my name is Guile, so please keep that in mind. Ray, keep Soren in this room for the time being. Feel free to tell him anything you find relevant, but remember to tell him about the neuro-implants.”

With that, Giles walked over to a tray, eight silver rings scattered across the surface. As soon as they were safely secured on his fingers again, he stalked out of the room, nodding to Soren and Ray before pulling the door shut behind him.


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


Natalija tapped her chin, narrowing a scrutinizing eye at Aya.

Fashion…. Perhaps a 90% perfect. Trends weren’t quite executed to their best, however.
Personality was a definite 0%. Natalija hated bubbly girls like that. It was like purposely demoralizing the female intelligence level. Ugh.

But due to the fact that Aya had earned higher than a 50% on her fashion mark in Natalija’s imaginary gradebook on people, Natalija’s criticizing expression managed a plain smile. And the girl had been out shopping? Perfect. She held her hand up at her shoulder in a short notion of greeting, “Nice to meet you too! Oh, and my name is Natalija Nikolajs.”

Raising an eyebrow at Natalija, Dimitri was at a loss for Natalija’s… Well… Civility, towards the other girl. She was so harsh towards everyone else, it was like she was a completely different person. But then he raised both eyebrows at Pethalamine’s outburst- this time an outburst of laughter. Sinking his head into the nook of his hand, Dimitri was both relieved and resentful of the fact that his sour mood was quickly being washed away. He wanted to laugh at Natalija’s act, and he wanted to ask Pethalamine if she was laughing at Natalija. Though Pethalamine eventually explained that she’d realized something, Dimitri couldn’t really decipher the point of this comment, and decided not a laugh or ask anything at all. He nodded to Aya and offered a polite response: “The pleasure is all mine. I’m sorry to change the subject, but…” Dimitri looked over at Alderian, perhaps the only person in the group that he wasn’t irritated with, “Is everything okay?”

Natalija’s expression had “Who cares?” written all over it, but she said nothing, sitting back down on the bed and crossing one leg over the other, moving on with the conversation without waiting for Alderian. “Wait, is it nighttime?” She asked urgently, “Well that means that the stores are closing… So there’s probably nowhere to go shopping…” She folded her arms, “When are you going to bring Soren back? Well more like, can I help at all? Because if we’re working on saving him, then I can always go shopping some other time.” Natalija reasoned with herself, likely trying to convince herself more than anyone else in the room, “And I can take the time to look through some magazines and get in touch with the fashion down here…” She was tempted to tell the three strangers in the room to not let Pethalamine choose her own outfit, as it would surely be gaudy beyond dried vomit on pavement, but she didn’t think it would make a difference. Unlike Dimitri, Natalija had already long gotten over Pethalamine’s outburst earlier- after all, it was a regular occurrence for Natalija, and it wasn’t like she’d been particularly fond of Pethalamine to begin with, seeing as the girl was a 0% for fashion and 0% for personality.

“Well I hope we’ll get along too! If there’s still time to go out tonight, I’m all for it!” Natalija looked expectantly over at the others.

“I’ll pass,” Dimitri replied immediately, “You seem like the kind of person who makes everyone else carry the bags, and I’d rather stay here.”

parallelzero
January 15th, 2009, 06:21 AM
“Except my body isn’t a replacement, it’s the only one I have!” RAY interjected around the point of time Giles was explaining Soren’s body to him. Soren, to say the least, was very concerned for his safety as of now. From what it sounded like, he was to be kept where this Giles man could keep watch, and from the looks of things that meant he wasn’t getting free anytime soon. He understood what the core was, now, at the very least, and why he was in this strange body. Well… he kind of understood it, but some knowledge was better than none. This girl, at the very least, was similar to him, so he had no reason to feel isolated because of his condition. But… if the core being removed killed the host, what had happened to his Uncle? There was so much that was uncertain right now, like where the heck he was. He didn’t say a thing until after the man left, leaving him alone with the girl. For some reason… he couldn’t bring himself to trust that wingless man, and he had no intention of working under him against his will.

Unfortunately, all of Soren’s questions became replaced with a single one. “Neuro-implants?” He turned to the girl, who was still looking at him wide-eyed like she had just gotten a new toy. Words probably couldn’t express RAY’s joy, though, as she had never had a person other than Giles around. It was forbidden for her to interact with others too much, after all.

The red haired girl’s response was quick and to the point. “It’s insurance! So that you don’t go doing anything stupid! Basically, it’s their way of controlling you, I have them too…” The explanation seemed to get the girl depressed, something Soren had not intended on doing. RAY was not his enemy, that much he could identify. That Giles person and the people in charge of him, however…

The questions continued later into the night. Soren had a lot to learn, and only a short time to learn it, after all.

--

Aya took all of the greetings with a smile. It wasn’t until Natalija inquired about the shopping that she decided to contribute something else to the conversation. “You don’t have to worry about stores closing down here. Most shopping complexes are maintained by only a few people and a bunch of machines, so most stores stay open twenty four hours! But… we’ll get to that later.” She nodded at Sid and Kay, indicating that she could take everything from there. “We confiscated your clothing, so the first thing we need to do is shop anyways. If you want something temporary, we did tuck your clothes in the closet at the back of the room, however.” She motioned to the white doors. “I suggest buying new ones, as you don’t want to stand out too much. Luckily, the citizens aren’t aware of your world, so we should be able to pass you off as cosplayers or something, but if an Exeri or other government official sees you, we may have more to worry about than needed.” She picked a small, blue orb out of her pocket and dropped it on the ground before her. Upon hitting the ground, it expanded into a light that created a glowing circle on the ground. “When you’re ready, step on this circle. It will take you to Reytva, one of the clothing stores in the city. If you have any other questions, think of them and you can ask me there.”

OOC: Short, but I’m posting from school.

Loki
January 16th, 2009, 10:02 PM
OOC: Like, fifty percent of this post is just describing clothes. Skip it if you wish. D: [/just realized that Dimitri is platinum blonde. Wtf? Why do I suck so much at remembering my own characters? xDD]



“In other words, I have to come along unless I want to wear pajama’s everwhere…” Dimitri sighed, averting his eyes from Natalija’s triumphant expression. After a moment of consideration, he kicked his sheets away from his legs, untangling himself and getting out of the bed. His legs buckled upon receiving the full weight of his body, and he sat back down. It’d been a long time since he’d last stood up, apparently. His legs felt like jello when he actually tried to walk on them. He wasted no time in getting back up and waiting for himself to steady again before bending over and stretching. He pulled on the edge of his pajama shirt and wondered if one day, he’d stop suddenly waking up in different clothes than he fell asleep in. Even if it had only happened once before, it was still a very strange sensation, to know someone else had dressed you for sleep. He was highly amused with Natalija’s dreamy expression. It was obvious that she only got this worked up over these kinds of things, and he’d seen the blank shock register on her face when Aya had said “24 hours”. He shook his head and remembered that as soon as Natalija was done with her shopping spree, she’d go back to her irritable self. Stepping back to the closet and opening it up, he saw a group of ragged formal clothes, and also their original outfits from before they’d changed. He failed to mention to Natalija that she had one more outfit to go with, at the very least. He doubted she’d care, what with a whole new shopping experience opening up for her. He extracted a box out of the pocket of his trousers and set it down on his bed, opening it to reveal his earrings and such. Sifting through the contents with his index finger, he picked out five different metal pieces. Two metal rings on his left eyebrow, one stud on the far side of his lower lip, and two hoops for his left cartilage. As soon as everything was in place, he snapped the box shut again and set it on the floor beside his ever-precious skyboard, which had miraculously survived the adventure, following him faithfully the entire way.

Natalija in the meantime, had already departed for the store- whatever its name was. She didn’t quite understand how it worked, but when it came to shopping, there was nothing Natalija couldn’t figure out.

… At least, since there was a machine which was taking her step-by-step through the holographic display….

“This is so cool…” Natalija mumbled to herself, rotating through various outfit choices. Her keen eyes gave a full half second for each article of clothing before she moved on, and every now and then, she would switch to the next part of the outfit- accessory, bottoms, shoes, and as her outfit came together, Natalija’s frown deepened. The device was incredible. But somehow, she was unsatisfied with the trendy look she’d chosen. She felt out of place, looking at her reflection dressed like she had before. She shook her head and quickly changed it again. And again. And then once more before she was moderately satisfied. An off-the shoulder, loose mini-dress made of deep midnight blue twill over a pair of black leggings lined with lace around the hems, stood in the holographic reflection before her. It was hard to adjust to the fact that she could see what she was trying on without even actually putting it on. Natalija worried over the fit, but decided that they must’ve at least somehow accommodated for that. A loose belt cinched the dress in around her waist, and a pair of black ballet flats covered her feet. A criss-crossing halter with two-inch straps crossing around her neck underneath the dress made the look a little less morbid and simply more professional.

“This is fine.” She gave the okay for the outfit in her reflection and designated her hair to be put up in a ponytail with no alterations to her bangs, a white rhinestone flower decorating her pony. In order to counter the dark colors of her ensemble, she chose flashy gold shimmer eyeshadow, light eyeliner, and clear gloss. It’d been awhile since she’d last gotten the chance to put on any make-up, and she was ecstatic. She was already in full ensemble by the time Dimitri reluctantly stepped through the circle and was halfway through flinching when he arrived at the store. Natalija waved at him cheerfully, sitting on a couch and waiting for everyone else. He didn’t return the favor, simply raising an eyebrow at the notion and wondering what was wrong with Natalija before being steered away by a machine.

It took him an even shorter amount of time than Natalija, despite her speed shopping abilities, as he chose his clothes fairly easily- in other words, he wasn’t sure about fashion down here, so he chose a random one. He was okay with the sleeveless shirt he saw, which ended up being a long white cargo shirt. After that, he chose the first pair of shorts that were long enough for him- a black pair that sagged just below his knees. The first pair of shoes he saw- a pair of gray boatshoes lined with orange-yellow leather string were good enough for him, though he’d never really worn those kinds of shoes before. He’d cared about how he looked before this whole incident.

But that was before he’d met Natalija, who made caring about how you looked look like a sin. In all honesty, Dimitri hated the white shirt. It would get stained in a heartbeat, but he didn’t find the motivation in him to change it. He was losing interest in this little game fast, and like any gamer, it was at the point where everything is just button mashing.

“Ohh, good outfit!” Natalija applauded when Dimitri walked out of the dressing room, still frowning at the white shirt. He looked up an frowned at Natalija, half contemplating going back in and changing his choice. But this weird system of shopping… it was too weird. He didn’t want to deal with any more of it. “I’m surprised you picked something like that! Well other than your piercings, which are still gaudy. But still... Soren could learn one or two things from this ensemble…”

“I didn't pick these clothes, and Soren’s not here.” Dimitri pointed out.

“Hmph.” Natalija stuck her nose in the air, “He will be.”

At least when she was confident about things like that, her arrogance was more positive than negative. "I wonder if they even sell clothes that fit Pethalamine and Alderian's tastes here." Dimitri wondered aloud, thinking about each of the other two's unique tastes in clothes.

Alter Ego
January 18th, 2009, 12:01 PM
Alderian offered Dimitri a blank look at the inquiry, the kind that only someone who had had the central belief of their life smashed to pieces in front of their eyes could give.

"...it's...nothing." he lied, "Please, do not concern yourself with it."

And sure enough, everyone soon got other things to concern themselves with as Aya spoke up, introducing a surprise shopping tour to their program. Normally, Pethalamine would have balked at the notion, but now was...different. As unlikely as it was, she actually found the prospect rather...exciting, though of course not nearly as much as Natalija did. The Ayre household was home to many forms of knowledge, but knowledge of fashion had never been among them. Her mother had supposedly received some fashion advice from a beloved friend some twenty years past, but that was hardly applicable anymore, and somewhere down the line, even the fashion-comatose Pethalamine had to concede, Faewyn had surely taken a wrong turn and left the good advice standing by the roadside to watch the spectacle in polite bemusement and Aertan, true to his nature, had never been one to speak his mind on the subject.

As such, Pethalamine found herself quite awed by the sheer range of options that the peculiar machine presented her with. Oh, the fashion harpy was going to berate whatever choice she made, that much was for sure, but right now the scholar didn't care all that much. She had an idea...a vision of sorts, and changing into more practical wear was part of it, fashion be damned. Much like Natalija, the girl seemed to be cycling through the countless choices in an instinctive manner, but unlike her more fashion-conscious companion, the scholar's choices were really just that; instinct. A blunt comparison method that took the first thing that resonated with her vaguely defined vision and approved it with no further questions asked.

A number of decisions later, the girl cycled over to the 'advanced' options of the selection, a thrilled smile spreading across her face as she noticed just what the wonderful little device was capable of, punching in one, last command. A little surprise...for later, one that came with the distinct pleasure of getitng to tell Natalija that she herself had inspired it.

The scholar afforded herself another small smile at the thought, casting one last glance at her outfit in the display - not that she would have spotted everything that was surely unacceptable about it - before nodding for herself and stepping back into view.

Pethalamine's new attire came like a peculiar antithesis of sorts to its predecessor. Where her last one would have been better suited for an old lady of eighty or above, this one may as well have been fitted on a boy. A peach-orange, zippered sleeveless hoodie now served to cover her torso, fitted above a white, long-sleeved shirt, while a pair of tan cargo pants reached down all the way to the sneakers on her feet, these bearing a color scheme of white and the same orange as her hoodie, the long strands of her hair at the back now tied into a long, bristled ponytail at the back to keep them from getting tangled. For better or for worse, the only default for clothing choice she possessed that had any relevance to this millenium was her mother's, and these clothes were, if nothing else, at least far more comfortable to move around in, the holster and gun already having been hidden between the double-layer shirt combination. The real surprise, of course, was hidden someplace completely different, but that could be used to shock a certain someone later down the line. Even though their resident fashion critic had yet to open her mouth, Pethalamine could practically smell the scathing criticism around her already. She didn't let that bother her, however, casually striding over to the group and offering them a polite nod.

"Done." she announced, in case there was any doubt on that matter, casting a mildly interested glance at the others, "...what's keeping Alderian?"

What indeed? Fashion challenged Pethalamine may have been, but compared to the priest she held considerable advantage in that regard. For one, she was only in the possession of a single discordant fashion sense.

"But Dere-Dereeee..!" Cheradine bawled, indicating a particularly gaudy-looking, sparkly jacket in the selection, "Look at it! It's perfect!"

"Perfectly ridiculous." Kisei retorted scathingly, "We are doing this change to be less conspicuous; not more. Reserved colors are called for."

"Aww...but Kissy!" the plufael protested, "That's what you'd wear for a funeral! It's soooo...boring! Dere-Dere doesn't like it either, right?"

The priest sighed irritably, doing his best to block out the argument raging inside his head as he sifted through the available articles of clothing. It was all very annoying, and right now there were so many things he needed to think about, none of which involved articles of clothing. Personally, he had seen nothing wrong with simple black and white, but given how that was apparently conspicuous here, he supposed that he would have to break out of his usual pattern, no matter how much Kisei objected.

...this was going to take a while.

When he finally emerged, Alderian's expression remained as politely neutral as ever, but there was just a hint of tenseness in his manner as he joined up with the group again. It had been a long, tedious negotiation effort, but finally, plufael, negafael, and reila had reached a compromise of sorts: nondescript white tennis shirt - Kisei's last stand on the matter - loosely fitting, asparagus colored trousers held in place by a brown belt - these picked by Cheradine, much to the priest's chagrin - and a pair of red and white sneakers that Alderian had snatched at random out of sheer frustration with the whole process. It was a mismatched ensemble, cheradine having insisted on adding a thicker kind of shirt - this one pink out of all things - to the combination, but having settled for the compromise of Alderian carrying it along for now rather than actually wearing it. That definitely settled one thing: Cheradine wasn't going to be controlling this body any time soon.

"Could we...possibly move along now?" the priest asked somewhat testily.


OOC: Que the imminent detonation of Natalija. Ah, me and my fashion-unconscious little babies. You should know better than letting them loose in a clothing store. XD

Loki
January 18th, 2009, 09:27 PM
To Pethalamine, Natalija gave only a simple expression that spoke everything she needed to say: "What were you thinking?" Perhaps it wouldn't have been so terrible had it not been a complete flip-flop from the dreary fashion faux-pas that Pethalamine had been wearing earlier, and her draping hair getting in the way of everything like curtains. And it was so tomboyish, it was... weird, to say the least. Natalija threw a look at Dimitri, as if daring him to run with his polite ways and compliment her on the hideous ensemble. He said nothing, but he looked just as surprised as Natalija had earlier upon seeing Pethalamine’s choices. The only difference is that he didn’t make a face when he looked away, but instead glanced around for another chair. It wasn’t necessary though, because Alderian was out by the time Dimitri had taken his first step towards the chair he’d discovered. Now, Natalija had though Pethalamine’s cargo pants were the most disgusting things she’d ever seen a girl wear, excluding that weird moth-eaten dress she’d worn earlier, but Alderian easily topped Natalija’s list of worst outfit of all time. However, instead of a screeching harpy lecture, he received something that may have been more insulting than the former. She burst out into laughter, easily comparable to Pethalamine’s earlier outburst- but she quickly choked it back, clearing her throat and smiling as she held back her mirth. “That outfit is absolutely hideous!” She blurted out incredulously, before getting another load of Alderian’s jacket.

“PFFFT!” Turning around in her chair and facing away from the others, she tried her hardest to stifle wild giggles. His outfit was too ridiculous! Too ridiculous!

Dimitri laughed as well, though his was good-naturedly, while Natalija was simply laughing at Alderian altogether. “I think you’re going to stand out a little more than you would’ve before in that outfit.” He said, grinning. He may not have been a fashion-freak like Natalija, but he sure knew an irreparably hideous outfit when he saw one. “But hey, if that’s what floats your boat-“

Natalija’s laughter stopped and she spun around again, dead serious, “I refuse to walk out of this store, with that man…” She pointed accusingly at Alderian and paused, fighting a smile when she saw his outfit again, “… wearing a pink COW on his back, and those vomit-colored VEGGIES on his legs!” She snapped, “That’s even worse than Pethalamine’s granny dresses! I mean, that pink, with that green!”

And cue launch of lecture. Alderian was getting the full package deal. “I mean, the outfit would look fine if it were for those sneakers and the jacket! Though I do kind of think the green doesn’t compliment your hair, that’s not even a big deal compared to that shirt-thing! Who designs this kind of stuff?! They need to get shot, that’s what.” Natalija fussed about, but she didn’t really seem willing to alter Alderian without his consent. He was… creepy, to say the least, and nothing like Soren and Dimitri, who were just wet rags to her that she could swing around at her every whim. “Change!” She stood up, putting her hands on her hips, “Three colors maximum! And two of them have to be neutral colors! Brown, black, or white! Argh!” Natalija threw her hands in the air, tugging on her ponytail, “I can’t even stand to look at you anymore without getting a cramp from laughing!”

Dimitri shoved his hands into the pockets of his shorts, standing idly and watching in amusement. It was obvious that Natalija was very close to just ripping the offending pink article to shreds, but it was also obvious that she was having a huge internal conflict about getting too close to Alderian. What a show.

“Get rid of it!” She squawked, blocking him from her eyes by holding up her hands. She wasn’t about to touch her make-up after it’d just been perfectly applied, “I can’t take it anymore!!”

“Chill out Natalija.” Dimitri scoffed, scratching the back of his head and pulling at the ends of his hair to pull them out of their flattened state from slumber, “Just let him wear what he wants. You didn’t have a problem when he was wearing those robe-things.”

“That,” Nataljia jabbed her index finger at Dimitri, “Was because he didn’t look like an eighty-year-old man trying to look ‘hip’ and ‘trendy’ WAY after his prime! Just look at it! He’s dressed like a clown! Like a preppy nerd gone wrong!! Alderian, right? You can’t wear that. I won’t allow you to make yourself a public display of ridicule, especially since we’ll probably be walking within a vicinity of ten yards of each other. ”

Heaving a sigh and shaking his head, the loser of the argument looked up at the ceiling lights and said nothing more, simply waiting to see how his amusement might be furthered by Alderian’s reaction to Natalija spontaneous combustion. After all, usually she had a very straightforward response to things. A very negative, "I hate it" sort of response. But Alderian's outfit had been so perfectly ridiculous to Natalija that she'd changed from absolutely entertained, like Dimitri, to absolutely scandalized.

Then there was Pethalamine, who had somewhat... taken a dramatic change in the last few minutes.

Dimitri shifted his weight to his left leg, still avoiding anyone's gaze. He felt much better, though he felt sort of bad that it had been at Alderian's expense.

And at the same time, he felt terrible, for having been such a prissy kid beforehand. He needed to get his act together before they left the store, he told himself.

Definitely.

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

Little tendrils of steam curled up in the air, a hot cup of untouched coffee slowly growing colder, despite the pleasant weather beyond the quaint house’s window. The house was neat, but dusty, dirty, and worn with lack of use. Peering out at the rolling green hills, Adela sighed, folding her arms tightly across her chest as a chill ran through her body. It felt cold, though it was quite warm. She wanted to know how Reid was, how Serge and Rosalynne were. But she was trapped in this stupid summer house that was too old for its own good, and was only still standing because her father had kept it in a livable state for a few years. But as true to her father, it may have still been in existence, but it was messier than Adela remembered. She didn’t have the heart to clean up though, and Jeckt didn’t nearly care enough about that. All the cared about was making sure that Adela didn’t go off and put his existence in jeopardy as well. Thus why she was here. He’d quickly overpowered a panicking Xaviae and taken over Adela, to prevent her from going back to where the children were. It wasn’t necessarily safe there, and Jeckt didn’t give a butt about those two annoying brats. So he’d locked her up in this place, where he knew she would not have a pleasant stay, and where he knew he’d have the upper hand in a takeover every time she attempted to leave. It felt like it had been months since the incident at Meredy, months since she’d last seen her children. Serge and Rosalynne would be fine, she’d told herself. Aertan and Faewyn had been with them. They would’ve figured something out. Somehow.

Swallowing a lump in her throat, Adela stared longingly out of the window, feeling like a pet in a cage. Probably how the wyverns and phoenix’s would’ve felt. She felt a little sorry for them, knowing that they’d been in this house as well, feeling the sinking worry in the bottom of their stomachs.

“It’s been a week.” Adela’s voice spoke to seemingly no-one.

‘Really? I hadn’t even noticed.’ Replied a voice that obviously didn’t care.

“Let me out.”

’Well if I let you out, then you’ll run after the little kiddies and Reid, no doubt? Reid, who makes more trouble than he’s worth. You agree, don’t you? You showed me you did. And even if you didn’t agree, then who’s to say Xaviae wouldn’t run off to go find his lover?’ Jeckt scoffed, crossing one leg over the other as he peered into a crystal ball that glimmered eerily in the dark night of Adela’s mind. Unlike Mistral and Xaviae, Jeckt had allowed himself quite a few years of aging, and looked in his mid-thirties. His attire had yet again changed, but only back to a more traditional Chinese attire that was comparable to his first appearance as Adela’s plufael. ’I think we should stay here just a little longer, don’t you?’

“Jeckt-!”

’I’ve let you two do as you please for twenty years.’ Jeckt sighed, leaning back onto the grassy clearing, ’I’ll do as I please.’

Alter Ego
January 19th, 2009, 01:54 PM
Pethalamine merely smiled in return to the surprised expressions she received. Ever since her epiphany, she couldn't help this strange feeling of mirth bubbling inside her, and the sheer incredulousness in Natalija's eyes was making it churn even louder. Whether they knew it or not, they were - to the scholar's way of thinking - actually confirming that her vision had been fulfilled. Not even the people who had been with her ever since this craziness had started, people who had arguably seen more of who and what she was than anyone short of her adoptive parents, had anticipated this change at all; to a stranger, she would no doubt even register as the same person. Pethalamine wore an ancient, Victorian-style dress. This had gone beyond the statis of a mere general observation and become an accepted part of distinguishing that which was Pethalamine from that which wasn't. No Victorian dress; no Pethalamine. She would probably have to cut the hair too, to complete the transformation, but even with her newfound optimism, there was a limit to how much she was prepared to change in one go. There was a continuum to uphold so that she herself would remember that she was, indeed, Pethalamine Ayre.

Pethalamine's personal musings on the intricacies of identity were cut short at Natalija's outburst, however. Granted, even the scholar - who herself was far from a fashion expert - could tell that something was off about the priest's clothes, but unlike the others she didn't actually laugh, having seen enough peculiar clothing combinations in her life to be quite used to even this sort of thing. Besides, there was something about Alderian's expression as he calmly stood and received it all...and the suffering look from when he had first stepped in.

It was like...Natalija was only saying what he himself had thought.

It was then that she heard it, about the last response she had expected. Crying. Briefly, her gaze rested on Alderian, but she quickly ruled him out from the list of possible sources. He looked pained, but he certainly wasn't weeping, and what's more this voice...it belonged to a little girl and it was resounding in her head.

"Dere-dereee!" a piteous voice that sounded like a ten-year old child bawled, "That mean old witch hurt my feeeeelings!"

Alderian gave a long, weary sigh, "Thank you for your most tactful response, madame." he shot in Natalija's direction, "Cheradine, please-"

"But she insulted it! These clothes are pretty! You!" Pethalamine could practically see the accusatory finger jabbed towards Natalija in her mind's eye, a disconcerting sensation all of its own, "You're just jealous because you're an ugly old witch and can't look pretty without hiding your face behind a mask of that gooey, sticky stuff!"

The disembodied sensation of a stuck-out tongue finished off the retort, but this - as it turned out - was only the plufael gaining wind. As the high-pitched tirade drew on, resonating inside her skull where no amount of ear plugging could help, Pethalamine thought she had begun to realize just why Alderian had submitted to this kind of treatment.

"You...have faels?" she ventured in the priest's direction.

Alderian grimaced and nodded in return, "Cheradine and Kisei." he replied, "Ophelia's blessing upon her faithful, though..." he made a face as Cheradine's voice hit a painfully high pitch, "...at times I will admit that it feels like more of a trial." he sighed, "I was hoping I could avoid this through compromising with her, but there's no stopping her when she's gotten that worked up. I'll go and change into something a bit less...colorful, shall I?"

"And I think we have all learned an important lesson here." a harsher female voice chimed in, "When I say it is too gaudy to wear, it is too gaudy to wear."

"Indeed."

Pethalamine could have sworn that there was a hint of relief beneath the suffering in the priest's tone as he turned away. Unfortunately, even as he did so, the plufael's ever more frustrated rant repeated itself in ever tighter cycles of 'mean', 'old', 'ugly', and 'witch, like a slighted puppy furiously chasing its own tail.

Grimacing at what would most likely become a nice, strong headache later down the line, the scholar slipped into an unoccupied chair of her own.

"And here I thought my faels were obnoxious..." she mumbled, shaking her head.

parallelzero
January 21st, 2009, 12:16 PM
Even Aya had problems stifling laughter after seeing the getup Alderian had come out in. "If... I'm from up there like you guys... I DEFINITELY didn't get my fashion sense from them!" Her sentence was broken up by laughter, although she quickly regained her composure. She glanced apologetically over to Natalija, whom she was afraid of offending with that statement after getting it all out. She was also quick to root herself in the discussion of faels. "Oh, I have faels as well, but unfortunately they aren't as talkative as me!"

"Of course we don't. You hog all of the conversations!" An irritated voice echoed, though nothing made any sort of appearance. "Besides, you know just as well as we do that we were manufactured, unlike theirs. We're 'not as good'" The last comment was rather spiteful, as if the fael held it against the ones of the other group for being the real thing.

Aya seemed rather disheartened by the faels negativity. "That's not true, Wrei! You're plenty good!"

"No we're not, and neither are you! That's why all three of us were thrown-" A new voice interjected, only to stop himself after remembering there was company. This voice was higher than the first, and seemingly more energetic.

"Aaaah, so, since you all have clothes now, maybe we should get moving?" Aya motioned to the sliding door before walking through the doors herself. It was cool outside, what with a slight breeze and all, but it was still a nice night, with the moon out and all. The cobblestone street was lit with bright streetlights, large buildings toppling over top the road, each one containing stores of every sort. So, welcome to Zeta. This is a city, that if you were looking on one of your maps, would fall somewhere below the Tealian city of Meredy. I'm sure you're wondering about the sky, seeing as technically we're underground. To be perfectly honest, nobody knows how or why it's there. It's been there since the formation of your world, or so we're taught." The girl bit her tongue, not sure what else to say. "Umm... this is the shopping district, so it's a lot brighter than the others... Well, let's do it this way. Does anyone have any questions or kinds of places they'd like to go? Most places outside of the shopping district may be closed, though, so save any kinds of unique places for the morning!"

---

"Hmm... that's odd." The glossy lips of a child formed the words as her ice blue eyes blinked, reflecting the light of the holo-screen before her and her master. Her hair, long and the same icy blue colour, was tied into two pigtails that went to either side of her body and down alongside her white uniform, which fit her petite body tightly. The uniform resembled something a stewardess would wear, with a small white cap atop her head - complete with the Exeri logo emblazoned in it, a large red 'E' in a tahoma-like font with a large chunk of the letter cut near the bottom in a circular fashion that gave it the impression that something had been cut out with a cookie cutter. It was simple, but they were masked by their reputation of being a political party, so simplicity was needed. There was also a red scarf tied around her neck, the bow being on the right side of her small neck. The rest of the outfit consisted of a white blouse and white skirt, which was super short considering her small stature, but still managed to reach her knees. Her legs were bare, and she wore a pair of white, flat ballet slippers. "Master, an unregistered synthetic just came online around the Thedora Mine area." Her voice had genuine concern, even though she didn't care for her master at all. It wasn't like she was given a choice as to who her master was, considering her status.

There was some rustling across the room as a man shifted through some papers. It was difficult to make out his appearance due to the darkness, but he was a man of very tall stature. A rough, snaky voice called back to the girl. "Did you sense it, KI?" The girl nodded. "Hmm... Thedora Mine? Who do we have stationed there now that has the ability to activate synthetics?"

"Officer 452, Giles, sir. All of the others are currently here working on that project. Should I disable the bogey?" KI replied, her mind half on the network that ran synthetics, half in her conversation with her master.

The voice came back again, inflicted with some sort of enthusiasm. "Giles, eh? No, leave it for now. We can always dispose of it later if it proves to be a problem. After all, it may be a good diversion for Miss Miki. Only a little more time, after all, until that wretched upper world is gone forever." The synthetic girl went back to her previous job of calculating Exeri's budget. "Let's see how useful you prove to be, indeed..."

Loki
January 21st, 2009, 07:22 PM
’UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WAAAAAHHHHH’

Dimitri flinched, rudely knocked out of his train of thoughts by a sharp, piercing voice that joined in the orchaestra that Alderian’s fael was already making. ’N-N-NATTI IS-ISN’T A WIIIIITCH!’ It wailed incessantly, a small ball of white mahstion tumbling onto the floor from mid air and making a huge fuss. It unrolled itself to reveal none other than Minke, who was pounding the tips of his feet and his hind legs on the ground as he protested to Cheradine’s name calling, ’AND SHE ISN’T OLD, OR UGLY, AND IT’S CALLED MAKE-UP NOT STICK-GOOEY-STUFF, AND, AND, MUH-MUH-MY NATTI WOULDN’T BE JEALOUS OF SOMEONE LIKE YOUR REILA YOU BIG-‘ A huge hiccup that sent the little creature into the air interrupted it’s sentence, ’FAT, UGLY, MEANIE-BUTT-FACED BUUUUUULLLLLLLYYYYYYYYY’

The skyboarder clamped both hands over his face as he practically died of laughter, the little furball dragging itself over to him and weakly punching his leg, ’ISH-HIC!-ISH NAWT FUUUUNNEEEEEEEEY!!’ This only caused Dimitri to laugh even harder.

“No, no, it’s not.” He gasped through his laughter, “S-Sorry-“

“Don’t apologize.” Natalija barked, wrenching Minke off of Dimitri and throwing the loudly protesting fael halfway across the room. Minke disappeared entirely just before smacking into the wall however as Natalija brushed her hair off her shoulder with a huff.

“Take it as a blessing your faels don’t talk much.” Natalija sighed, folding her arms, “Mine never shut up. And stop laughing!” Natalija snapped, “It’s not funny, because I’m NOT ugly, and I’m NOT a witch, and I’M NOT jealous of HIM.” She pointed a rigid finger towards the direction where Alderian had wandered off to to make her point but received only a shaky grin from Dimitri, showing that he was very close to bursting again. “And!” She spun around again, “You better not be laughing at Minke!!”

She heaved a heavy sigh, smiling contentedly at her own little outburst. She’d officially gotten that out of her system, and thus, civility could once again be picked up. Turning to address Aya, she put a hand on her hip and snapped her other to kick off her side of the conversation. “Oh I agree, the people from where I come from can be so tacky sometimes. It’s like, look at your own body shape in the mirror for once, you know?” She shook her head, following Aya out and looking around. It was much more… exotic than she was used to. The buildings felt like they were just barely teetering on the edge of their foundations, leaning perilously over the streets. The buildings themselves were incredibly intricate, as if every complex were as expensive as the spacious houses of her father’s business friends. She felt so…. Perfect. More than ever before, she felt like she really fit. Her clothes, with her surroundings. Before, she’d always stuck out against everyone else, but this was different! So different!

“Places to go…?” Natalija pondered out loud as she absorbed in her new surroundings, “No where in particular….” She turned around to look behind her, a mesmerized expression on her face.

Places he wanted to go? Not really. Dimitri leaned against the wall of the building they had just exited, waiting to see if someone else would speak up while he was still making up his mind about what he wanted to do. He was sure someone would, knowing this group of crazy kids. He wasn’t tired, since he’d been sleeping for nearly a week already. Otherwise, he would’ve asked to go back to the room that they’d woken up in. And he wasn’t interested in changing right after getting dressed anyway.

But what could he tell Aya? He’d never exactly been here before. He’d never heard of this place, either, so it wasn’t as if he knew all the best places in town that he wanted to visit. But hand in hand with the notion that he had no idea where he was, he had a gazillion questions for their guide. The problem was, he didn’t know in which order to ask them. Where were they? Why do the people down here know that the upper world exists, but the upper world doesn’t know the lower does? Why is everything so advanced down here when things above this world’s sky were so much more primitive? Why didn’t anyone here have wings? If this was what was under the Underneath, then what about the history that the abovegrounders learned? Why was mahstion concentrated up where he was from? Were the events in the past few weeks due to the world underneath? If so, why? And then, what happened to Soren? And what would happen to them? Dimitri dropped his forehead into his hand as he thought in circles. So many questions, but where to begin? What would be the easiest, most straightforward way to sort everything out?

“Oh, I have two questions!” Natalija held up an index finger as she thought of her inquiries, “One: Is there an art shop anywhere near here? Preferably one that sells acrylic paints in sets?” She held up another finger, “And second, I’m sure we’re all wondering this, but what did you guys do with Soren?”

Dimitri looked up. He was interested in the second one. And mildly in the first. What did Natalija want with paints? And what had they done with Soren? They’d all been awfully vague and evasive about the subject, having completely not answered the question the first time Natalija had asked.

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

“No.” Giles replied, tightening his newly knotted necktie, a cellphone clamped between his ear and shoulder as he re-arranged his cuffs, “I haven’t had the chance to run diagnostics on how he’s adapting, but I don’t think I’m going to anyway. He seems like the type who’d tell someone if something were bothering him, and if not that’s his problem…. Yeah, but I don’t make mistakes old man. They woke me up an hour after I fell asleep to nag about the transportation of the kid’s body to better facilitated location, so I had to go and oversee that... ... Yeah, the kid had a cow over it, but that’s natural. We took his body somewhere he couldn’t see it. I’d freak out too. Well anyway, I went back to bed after that, and I just got up, so I’m gonna go ahead and see if he has any more questions, make sure he doesn’t have some weird limp or something….. Course there wouldn’t be a limp, I was just kidding, I wouldn’t make a stupid mistake like that. …. That’s true. Well I guess that’ll put a smile on Ray’s face.” The last line was delivered with three tons of sarcasm, and a silence prolonged as Giles listened to the other person speak.

“Yeah, works for me. See you upside then.” He twisted the phone shut and dropped it in his inner breast pocket, rubbing his eyes and pulling pieces of his long black hair in front of his face. He sighed, and left the room, strolling over to the new room where Soren had been relocated during the move of his original body. It wasn’t like it was a very pleasant room, the one where synthetic bodies were created. The newer one was more comfortable, even if by only a margin more. Pushing the door open, Giles twirled a pen around in his spindly fingers, “Morning kid.” He greeted Soren, though neglected to actually look at him when he was talking, “Rise ‘n shine, we gotta get some stuff done today.” Giles rearranged the papers on his clipboard, “Before that, you can ask me any questions, if Ray hasn’t answered them all already, but make it quick, cause I gotta eat eventually.”

Alter Ego
February 1st, 2009, 11:30 AM
"My face only looks that way because it's reflecting yours!" Cheradine shot back at Minke's accusation, throwing in another impression of a poked out tongue, though the fael was not given much time to retort as Natalija promptly seized and banished it.

This did little to dispel the general humorousness of what had just occurred, however, and Dimitri was certainly not the only one who had to struggle to keep their face straight.

It was at this point that the group set off, the scholar making as if to object about the continuous absence of Alderian until she noticed him right beside them. He was dressed like a common office worker now, the kind your gaze just kind of slid over without paying attention to, and Pethalamine couldn't help a slight grin. He looked so much like the people who occasionally popped by from the jerk's workplace, it was almost nostalgic.

"Ah, something wrong again?" the priest asked, catching the grin.

"Oh, no, no, no." the scholar replied hastily, shaking her head, "You just...reminded me of someone, that's all. Very inconspicuous."

Though now that she thought about it, in company as colorful as theirs, that may have been kind of conspicuous in its own right. As she mused on this, their tour moved on to questions and requests, the scholar immediately perking up.

"Is there a library in this city?" she asked immediately, "Or a book store? Maybe a university that runs either of those? I'd like to know more about the history of this place. And...well, mahstion too. The other side of the story, you know? And..." she took a pause, a thought suddenly occurring to her, "Oh, who or what is Exeri? You transferred Soren to them, right?"

Okay, so her clothing may have taken an about-face turn, but that didn't mean Pethalamine was going to stop being a scholar any time soon. Or a literature geek, for that matter. History that could change the understanding of the world as they knew it and shed light on one of the greatest mysteries within; what self-respecting scholar would pass up on something like that? It was a golden opportunity, and with the hectic pace things had kept thus far, there was no telling whether she'd ever get such a chance again.

Among the people milling about the street, a solitary figure donning a rather garish red overcoat paused, apparently to adjust the wrapped cloth-wrapped bundle slung across his back - a stick of some kind, perhaps a broom. For the briefest of moments, his gaze lingered on the group, but then he continued on, just a moment before Kisei would have given in to her suspicions and alerted her - currently rather preoccupied - reila.

parallelzero
February 2nd, 2009, 07:20 PM
"If you're looking for a school, there's the Sekt University in the educational sector of town. It has an extensive library, and there are quite a few bookstores scattered in that general area of the campus. I'm pretty sure there's an arts and crafts store on the campus as well... I'm a student there, so if you'd like I can grant you two entrance in the morning? Let's wait until then, though, as unlike you guys, I've been up all day!" Aya's status as a student was something to be admired, considering how hard it was to become one with the current education system set in place. Schooling was something that cost a lot of money, so not a lot of emphasis was placed on learning for the youth. Scholars were few and far between, most having to join political groups in order to fund their own learning. Those who could not afford school did little things like run shops or participate in physically bearing jobs to get by. "Miss Miki prepared some hotel rooms for you guys tonight, and apparently I'll be staying with you all as well, just to keep an eye on things."

She paused for a moment as she pointed to a building behind her, towering maybe fifty floors into the sky. It was way taller and way more modern in appearance than anything the others would have ever seen. Conveniently, she wouldn't have to open another portal this way. "As for your question about Exeri, Miss Ayre," Aya added quickly at the end, being as formal as she usually was with names, "You could say they're a party dedicated to the upkeep of the natural world. Down here, very little is natural anymore, seeing as the sky is fake and most of the plantation is scientifically altered to grow in these conditions. Exeri supports these remaining natural qualities, but that's only a guise. Since everyday people here aren't aware of your world, Exeri campaigns in secret in support of eliminating your world. All the attacks that happened up there a week ago were the fault of their weapons. If you friend was taken to them, I wouldn't normally guarantee his safety, but Miss Miki took him personally, so I have a feeling he'll be okay..." She looked lost in thought for another moment, before turning her back to the group and heading towards to complex. "Come on, let's all get you checked in! I'm tiiiiiired! You can save anything else for the morning!"

"Slacker."

"Shut up!"

---

"I don't have any questions to ask you. RAY explained things just find." Soren rudely replied to Giles' comments. As he stood from the sitting position against the wall he had been in prior to the man's entrance, the red haired girl laying beside him stirred in her sleep, eventually opening her eyes. He had been told by that girl that synthetics didn't require sleep, yet she had dozed off shortly after finishing their seven hour long discussion. Apparently they didn't need to, but they could. He, on the other hand, hadn't slept a wink as he had been busy contemplating his situation the entire time. He was in a body unfamiliar to him, in a city unfamiliar to him, in a world unfamiliar to him. The only ally he had at the moment was this girl, as she had made herself clear during the night. She apparently didn't believe in what this group that had him hostage what was doing, but had no way of leaving due to her technological specs. She'd have nobody to care for her if she left, not to mention those neural implants... "Well, maybe not everything. Just what is it you intend to do with me? I can't imagine I'll be getting my body back anytime soon."

OOC: Crap post, but Aya being my only usable character in the main group right now is impeding what I can do. XD Your next posts should time skip to the morning, and if you'd like you can assume Aya escorted whoever wanted to go to the campus and took off for a little while as she left them to her own devices. The others can be hanging around the hotel, I suppose. There's a nice pool and casino if any characters like to swim or gamble? XD

Loki
February 4th, 2009, 08:47 PM
Pinching Minke’s paws between her forefingers and thumbs, Natalija had been sitting in bed doing virtually nothing for ten minutes, just twisting Minke around like a stuffed animal. She was deep in thought as the little fael made no protest against the unusual treatment. The night earlier, Natalija had disappointedly washed off all her make-up, knowing that it would be impractical to keep it on from now on. It was impossible to know when she could take it off, so it would be better if she just didn’t wear it. And afterwards, she’d used nearly all her might to send Minke up to the place she so vividly remembered as her home for a total of three seconds before he bounced back, reporting that there were no conscious minds inside her home to anchor off in. Natalija was worried, but not quite yet beside herself. She knew that her brother had been in Tealia for a reason, and that was something about business, but would that business be in Meredy? Would that disaster have spread close enough to the outer bounds of the city limits to affect her home, which lay only a handful of miles away from the capital? Sliding back under the covers of her bed, she hugged Minke tightly, silently staring at the sunlight filtering through the cracks in the ruby curtains. Her father had been in Meredy, probably. His office was there. And if her father was in Meredy, then her mother probably had been too. She had never really liked either of them. Her mother had always liked Jazz better, because he was her first and only baby son. Her father hated that Natalja constantly lost to her Mother’s worthless first husband’s son. Jazz had always been the best to her, but she’d never really appreciated that either. He was a rival and an enemy, not a brother or a friend. But he couldn’t be any of those if he was dead. Natalija squeezed her plufael tighter, and Minke looked up, his ears pressed flat against his head.

“Natti…?” He ventured, but Natalija didn’t seem to hear him. She closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep, but thoughts about her family kept her awake. Her father always gave her whatever she wanted, so she should naturally have mourned his death, shouldn’t she? But she wasn’t even sure if he was dead or not. And even if he was, Natalija didn’t really feel like she was mourning him because with him had gone her source of money. He never deserved a familial love though. She turned over, the light burning through her eyelids disappearing into cool blotches of blue color. She took solace in the fact that she definitely didn’t care that her mother was dead. All the woman ever did was nag at her and brag about Jazz. She felt like a step-mother, and Natalija treated her like one, and had never really ever registered or accepted that fact that she was her real mother.

“Natti, you know, they might be in the shop in the Underneath.” Minke offered, and Natalija released him from her grasp, propping him up on her pillow beside her. Meine appeared as well, curling up at the other end of the pillow just beyond Minke and using the white creature’s back as a head rest.

“I know.” She replied, grabbing a fistful of her blankets and pulling them up over her shoulder, “It’d just be nice to know for sure though.”

Minke and Meine glanced at each other. They were too far away to be able to pick up signatures, or sense Jazz’s faels, Judicialis and Maledictio. “You know, he doesn’t usually talk about my sense of fashion, like other people do.” Natalija mentioned, out of the blue as her faels gave her their full attention, “But he did tell me that he didn’t like my hair a few years ago, when I was still trying to beat him.”

Meine’s tail swished back and forth very slowly as he chose his words. He knew Natalija loved her hair, and Jazz hated it. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it in a bad way.”

“I kind of agree with him now.” Natalija pulled her gaze up to Meine, “I don’t like it. It just gets in the way, and it’s too hard to maintain. With this crazy schedule where sometimes we don’t end up getting a good shower for a week thanks to being unconscious… I don’t want to deal with it anymore.” She sat up suddenly, and the two faels did the same.

“Cut it off.”

Meine’s tail stopped moving. “… Wait are you-“

“To… just under my chin.”

“Natti, but you always said that your hair was the-“

“I think,” Natalija interrupted, “That this little side-trip with Soren, Pethalamine, Dimitri, and Alderian is doing a little good. I think it’s a lot easier to talk to them than it is to other people. Maybe they’re just getting used to the way I am, but even if they’re not really friends, I think I see why Jazz wanted me to stop hanging around him. I see now that he wasn’t just good at making friends, he was… good at pushing them away too. But I don’t talk to Jazz about things that I’ve talked about recently. So he wouldn’t be able to see my changes.” Natalija put her hands under her hair and pushed it behind her shoulders, “Do you… sorta get it?”

“Of course we understand, Natti, we work inside your head.” Minke piped up, “But won’t you regret it? What if… what if he’s not there to see it?”

Natalija frowned, “… He’ll definitely see it. Now c’mon, before I change my mind again! I don’t have all day. Meine, you do it- use as much energy you need to make it work, and just make some scissors yourself.”

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

Giles took this chance to raise an eyebrow at Soren. He said nothing in response to Soren’s rude reply, but decided that since he had no questions, this was a good time to stop talking like a radio talk show host. As Giles arranged himself in a seat in the corner of the room, he wondered why Miki was so interested in saving this boy. He certainly didn’t see why anyone would want this ingrate to live, though he supposed that Miki- being Miki, wouldn’t have had to suffer seeing this irritating side of the kid. Giles just had a knack for drawing out the defensive side of people- and it wasn’t like he didn’t know why. He just wondered why people couldn’t see past his… usually menacing and sly appearance.

"Well, maybe not everything. Just what is it you intend to do with me? I can't imagine I'll be getting my body back anytime soon."

Giles looked up from his folded hands, smiling pleasantly. “Professionally speaking, for the time being you’ll be acting as another unit, like RAY. You’ll just be helping with menial tasks during missions. Including the reconnaissance mission we have today. My partner, Mr. Garrett Berkebile, will be joining us for this mission,” Giles looked pointedly at Ray with a much kinder look and tone than the one he was using with Soren. Though his run-in with Miki now felt so far away that the relaxed, warm tone that he’d been using the night before had long washed away, and he was back to the way he usually was. “Currently, it’s most likely that you won’t get your body. The chances rise and fall depending on you.” Giles crossed one leg over the other, “Nothing’s set in stone.”


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

Grass, grass, grass. It was like Alicel’s house, except there weren’t any mountains; It was all flat. For the longest stretch, it was flat, and grass. “I think I’m going to go crazy.” Aertan mumbled under his breath, narrowing an eye in annoyance, as he craned his neck around to look at Faewyn, “Are you sure it’s this way? I get the feeling we’re walking in circles. I can’t feel any signatures around here.” But then again, he’d very quickly gotten much worse at sensing other people’s signatures and faels a few years after parting ways with Reid and Adela. The ability had simply faded and lost it’s effectiveness over time.

Alter Ego
February 14th, 2009, 03:05 PM
Pethalamine heaved a contented sigh as she slipped in between the sheets of the hotel bed, savoring their soft cleanliness. In the trash can behind said bed, a thick mane of auburn hair lay abandoned, the scholar absent-mindedly running a hand through the shorter, far more manageable, shoulder-length remnants thereof. It had been an impulse decision, one she was positive Natalija would scold as being even less fashionable than her previous hairstyle, and it felt a bit...lonely to be without the usual covering of auburn trailing behind her, but she had to admit that it felt strangely pleasing too...and certainly a lot less intrusive, though she still made a point of leaving enough for the usual fringe to cover the tattoo. Baby steps; baby steps.

"You think it's that easy, do you?"

The girl cocked a lazy glance in the direction of the nearest mirror, none-too-surprised to find an affronted looking feline shape glaring back at her through the reflection of her own eye. She wasn't sure if it was the change in clothes, or the new haircut, or something completely different, but for the first time since she couldn't recall when...she felt no anxiety meeting that glare.

"Discard, discard, discard." the negafael snarled, "You think you'll find your place in life just by throwing everything that doesn't suit your tastes away? You think those people will accept you if you just change again?"

"You think they will if I don't?" Pethalamine shot back cheekily, "Seems to me they pretty much hate the way I was, but you know what?" she shrugged, "So do I; even if they won't like me better, I will."

"Will you, really?" the cat gave a sceptical snort, "It's your own history that you despise, Pet, and you should know better than anyone...you can't erase history."

"True." the scholar conceded, an impish smile playing around her features, "But after today, you should know..."

"Know what?" the negafael snarled indignantly.

Pethalamine's smile widened a little, "Sometimes it's written down dead wrong."

"Happy illusions."

"It's a step up from unhappy ones." Pethalamine retorted, promptly turning onto her other side and pulling the covers closer around herself, "Good night, you old grouch."

Pethalamine got a little scratch just over her right eye for that one, but she merely grinned into her pillow and bore it.

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


Meanwhile, within his quarters at Silth Pharmaceuticals, one Pendragon was having a far harder time getting to sleep, twisting and turning in his bed as a single, obnoxious phrase kept playing back and forth through his head.

"Miss Ayre."

She had called her miss Ayre; there was no mistaking it. And those bright, colorful, mismatched clothes...there could not possibly be that many Ayres who would willingly wear something like that. Yet...that girl had obviously been far too young to be that Ayre. That Ayre would have been a Mrs. Ayre by now, and since there was also a Ms. Ayre, that meant that there would most likely also be a Mr. Ayre.

His stomach knotted itself at the thought, even though he kept telling himself that he should have expected this. No, he should have known this. Of course she would have moved on. Of course she would have found someone, someone who wasn't-

"You will see her."

The assistant snapped to attention, twisting around to see her employer towering above him, an exasperated expression on her face.

"Madame Silth, I don't know who you-"

"That Ayre girl." Argalie replied matter-of-factly.

Pendragon had to double-check to make sure his mouth wasn't gaping while he steadied himself enough to speak, "How...how did you know it's-?"

"Argalie, she has her ways." the woman replied, a hint of a smile playing around her features, "And besides...you have a tendency to think out loud, Mr. Pendragon."

"I see..." the man replied, blushing slightly. He soon regained his composure, though, determinedly looking elsewhere, "You're wrong, though; I don't plan on going to see her."

"That wasn't a question." Argalie replied flatly, tossing a rather heavy tome into Pendragon's lap, "Mahstion; a History," she elaborated, "A book on loan from the Sekt University library. Argalie has been informed that they would very much like it back as all of their copies are currently loaned out. You, as Argalie's assitant, will of course deliver it for her. Argalie would imagine that the Ayre girl has interest in this book also, so it is fair to assume that you will see her there."

"...I see..."

"Indeed you do." Argalie confirmed, "Just as you see the dirt and dust in the corner's of this pharmacy, yet you are all too reluctant to do what needs to be done about it."

"Oh?" Pendragon retorted, "And what might that be?"

"Sweep, Mr.Pendragon." the pharmacist replied, "And not under the carpet this time."

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


"Mmm?"

It took a while for Faewyn to register the ex-priest's words, her eyes still shut in concentration as she felt a fresh wave of mahstion residue brush against her, the mingling signals in the air like so many different breezes, each with slightly differing direction, speed, and warmth. She had often made a habit of borrowing Isaire's ability like this just for the joy of it, but this time she actuall had to pay attention to what she was doing. The signature was faint, but there was no way she could be mistaken on the faint scent of the mother tree on it.

"I'm worried about Adela too." she replied in a off-beat kind of way, slowing her pace just enough to slip her arm behind Aertan's back, "Her signature is very weak, but..." she took a pause, focusing on the scent of tree bark, the fain rustle of imaginary leaves, the trail slowly distinguishing itself from the plethora of others in front of her mind's eye, and at the end of that trail...

Her eyes abruptly snapped open, "That house." she declared, index finger pointed at a run-down structure that had most likely been a quaint little countryside retreat once upon a time, "Adela...is definitely in that house."

Loki
February 15th, 2009, 10:18 PM
Aertan flushed an embarrassed frown crossing his face. It wasn’t because Faewyn had wrapped her arm around his back. He wasn’t that immature anymore, as he’d promptly slung his arm around her shoulders without a second thought. But what his face was warming up for was the fact that Faewyn always read him like an open book. He had opened his mouth to say that he has never said he’d been worried about Adela, but he knew that Faewyn probably knew that. He was worried, despite the fact that he wasn’t particularly fond of her. It was nice to have someone who understood him inside and out, and he’d always wanted to take a little trip back to Carn just to see the Father and show him the gem of his life. He didn’t think that the old man was still there though. If he was, he was an incredibly old man, probably the shriveled Head of Church that Aertan used to always gape freely at. The super ancient guy who was always kindly to everyone, but serious about business and religion. Mentally rolling his eyes at the thought of religion, Aertan redirected his thoughts to Faewyn, who had pointed out the crummy house in the distance. It looked much out of care.

“Jeez, what the heck’s she doing in there?” Aertan grumbled, taking Faewyn’s hand in his remaining one as he picked up the pace.

Geote stretched out as far as he could go, his single eye bulging out as he stared at the house in the distance. As soon as he’d gotten a good look, he reeled back in, and he made a fist. When his fingers peeled away again, a mouth was in place, his scratchy hoarse voice reporting his findings, “Sealed up from what little I can see. I can actually feel her signature when I’m over there, so either she’s sealed herself up in there, or one of her faels has. My bets are on Jeckt. That guy was always a creeper.”

“And you’re not.” Haeon’t put in sarcastically.

As soon as they were close enough to the door, Haeon’t reached out and started knocking, while Aertan sized up the door and glanced over at Faewyn, “Well, I don’t know if-“

Aertan’s suggestion, which was to bust down the door, was executed by Geote before he could finish proposing it to Faewyn. He reeled back and flung his fist at the door, busting in while Haeon’t rolled her eye at him.

parallelzero
February 16th, 2009, 12:46 PM
Soren said nothing throughout Giles' explanation of his potential future, the only fact that made any real difference to him being that he had a reconnaissance mission later in the day. Would this be his chance to escape? Surely it would be easy enough for him to sneak away the chance he was let free of this building, but there was far too much piled up against him for him to pull it off without having a significant loss. His body was in their custody, first of all, and there was no way he was living like this, in this body for the rest of his life. He could make the intention of getting it back later, but that wasn't to say that if he did pull off an escape, that they wouldn't dispose of the body. The neural implants posed the biggest problem. From RAY's explanation the night before, it sounded like by using it, they could take control of this strange body of his. Although, it also seemed it was that Giles fellow who possessed the power to do such a thing. There was still far too much to consider before he could formulate a plan, really.

RAY, on the other hand, showed some expression, or rather an abundance of it when Giles' partner was mentioned. Her original look of fatigue was replaced by a serious one as she butted in between Soren and his captor. "Giles! You know I don't like him! Why is he coming along!?" The line between human and not was still a very fine one, especially with fully functioning synthetics now in production, although there are few that have been produced. It wasn't uncommon for a synthetic to be looked down upon. And, while Mr. Berkebile may not have been one of the people who did, RAY experiences with humans in the past had surely lead her to distrust most of them. "You shouldn't get Soren mixed up with him either!"

"No, it's okay." Soren defended himself as he walked up behind the girl, hands in his pockets in a manner that exuded defiance. "So what you're saying, Mr. Giles, is that if I'm a good boy I'll get my body back sooner, right? Well then, what's this reconnaissance mission you mentioned?"

---

Aya Balthazair glanced sleepily over at the cup of coffee she had placed beside the papers on the desk she was making use of in the hotel. It was a small desk, that had been clean before her arrival, but keeping it clean became more and more of an issue as she realized exactly how many assignments she had due the next day. She had never been much of a procrastinator, but the events that had unfolded during the evening had ruined her day off, and thus she had become responsible for finishing three papers overnight. Just why, exactly, did Sid suggest she pick up Synthetics as one of her elective courses? There was much more work in that course, at least the same amount as the amount she got in all her History courses combined - and she was majoring in History! Sure, it was an up and coming technology, and there was a big promise of money in it in the near future, but it really wasn't something she thought she would be getting into. "Done!" She exclaimed, just in time for her alarm to go off at seven in the morning, and she slumped back in her chair, closing her eyes for just a moment before getting back onto her feet. It wasn't the first time she had been forced awake all night, and she had certainly done it before under more dangerous conditions.

The girl's mind wandered off to think about her guests and their origins. She had been told that she had come from there too, and she certainly had scars on her back where wings should have been, but she couldn't recall anything about it or how she ended up below in the first place. It was something that had been haunting her as far as she could remember, and she intended on finding out someday. Maybe, if she was lucky, she'd be able to return there someday. Maybe then she'd have the answers to her questions.

She finally decided that she needed to get ready to accompany those who wanted to explore a bit more during the day, and headed off to the shower. She knew, from her study of history, that piping was one of the few devices that had ceased to evolve over time. It was a practical method of moving water throughout a building, and it was still used for baths and showers. When she was done her shower, she wandered over to her navy blue closet sphere, clad only in a towel as she sifted through the various outfits she had. Since they were nearby mountains, the city was more often than not cooler than your typical city. It was a great distance away from the equator, as well, which didn't really help with the temperature. The falsified sun still worked in the same way as the real one mentioned in the history books from thousands of years in the past, which made absolutely no sense, but was something nobody really wanted to pursue. She eventually decided on something a little warmer than her outfit from the day before. The clothing materialized on her body, and she proceeded to adjust it.

She had chosen a grey-blue skirt that fell part way down her thighs, a small gap lying between it and the thin, black stockings she was wearing. She wore white shoes, with legwarmers that took on a blue and white, traditional appearance as well. Aya also had on a long sleeved, white shirt with the sleeves cuffed at the end, a navy blue jacket over top that went just past her shoulders and ended with rings of faux fur. Her light brown hair was down, a purple hat fitting loosely over top. After adding just a tad of makeup, she exited the room, making sure to lock it behind her, assignments in hand. If she was going to the school district for Pethalamine and Natalija, she might as well drop them off while she was there. Aya continued down to the hotel lobby, where she had the attendant call each of the rooms to gather anyone who was interested down in the lobby.

OOC: Aya's outfit is something like this (http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/Daiaki711/056.jpg).

Loki
February 16th, 2009, 02:47 PM
Giles put his forehead in his hand as he twisted the silver ring on his index finger around. Honestly, Garret had never done anything to RAY and she freaked out every time she heard his name. He was just a little awkward. “I know you don’t like him RAY, but he’s not going to eat you or anything. He’ll just be helping with the report, you know how some of these things go.” Giles would put all his stake in RAY being able to produce a polished and flawless report, but she was a synthetic body. And it wasn’t like Soren, she was synthetic from head to toe. Would anyone take the report seriously? They would compare it to a computer from ages past being set in front of a scene of disaster and trying to process the scene into numbers and patterns. Unreliable. Garrett was always better with words, and so it would just be better to have him there, in Giles’ honest opinion. Giles turned his attention back to Soren’s inquiries and sighed.

“Well,” Giles answered, running his left hand through his hair as he thought hard, “I suppose you’ve got the right idea. The mission is very simple. We return to what is left of Meredy in the above world, and report on its current condition. We will then decide whether there needs to be further action taken. Your role is minimal since I’ve yet to integrate any outstanding abilities in your body. You only have one ability, and that is to record information you see or hear. You’ll be recording the list of the deceased. RAY will teach you how to use this function,” Giles looked over pointedly at the girl, “Before she continues her role in collecting damage statistics and residue of whatever it was that Miki’s group used to nullify the effect of our machine. If there is any, that is. If not, that’s fine, just ignore it.” He nodded and finished up, “Garrett and myself will be scoping out the terrain, and if all has gone according to plan, then we’ll be finished before the day is over. It’s not a particularly taxing mission this time.”

He stood up, straightening his jacket and looking at his watch, “We leave in an hour. And my name is Guile above ground. Don’t forget. I’m sure any more questions you have can be entertained later. I need to go meet Garrett in the front.”

Sweeping out of the room, Giles loosened as soon as the door clicked shut behind him. Miki cared about that kid, but he was so stubborn and shut up that Giles couldn’t tell if he really mattered, or if he was just another one of those people that she barely knew and worried about just because she was too good a person to the world. He hated that part of her at times. She made so much trouble for herself when she stuck her neck out for other people. He pulled out a cigarette. Her parents had trusted him enough to send her to his family, and yet here he was. He yanked the fragrant tobacco from his lips in frustration. He didn’t like standing on the other side of her at all. Pressing the back of his wrist against his temple, he sighed, strolling briskly through the metal corridors towards the exit. He knew from the start that it would turn out like this. What a sick world. It would’ve been better to go back to the times when he would have to cut half an hour out of his synthetics research to comfort the crybaby who had suddenly been thrust into his life by his old benefactors- the kind people who had been so generous as to support his studies.

“You look distracted. Missed me by a mile.”

Giles looked up and turned around behind him. Garrett Berkebile, dressed in a casual suit with a loose green tie and a pair of square silver rimmed spectacles, leaned against the door of the empty meeting room Giles had used to converse with Miki not long ago.

“S-….” Giles stammered in surprise before quickly recomposing himself and shoving his hands into his pockets, “Sorry.”

“Understandable.” Garrett answered, holding a hand up to refuse Giles’ apology, “You’ve decided?”

Giles averted his gaze, “Not quite.”

“Better think it through.” The old man tapped his temple, pointedly looking down the hall from where Giles had come, “You’re neck is going to get cut off if you stick it out any more.”

Giles extracted his hands, stiffening into straight posture as a stern look crossed his features. A pause, and then, “You don’t think it’s worth it?”

Garrett laughed, scoffing at Giles’ question. Shaking his head he said nothing for a few minutes, still chuckling to himself before tuning it down to a mere smile. He looked down at the tips of his perfectly polished shoes, choosing his words carefully before looking up at the low ceiling, shaking his head again. He looked over at Giles, and shrugged.

“You should ask yourself that.”


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

"... O-Oh, the paint set." Natalija looked at the device, confused as to how it functioned, "Right I'll... be there."

When nothing happened, it was apparent that she had been talking to herself. Well, whatever. Now she'd have to get dressed. She chose the same attire from the night prior, her long black hair still intact. She'd copped out at the last second, no thanks to Meine and Minke asking her if she was positively one hundred percent sure at least a thousand times. And Natalija didn't like copping out. She was extremely displeased with herself as she pulled her hair into a messy bun, arranging it so that everything looked just right. She recalled Minke and Meine, deciding that going out on the town was a good chance for her to distract herself and recover the mahstion she'd used to send Minke so far off.

A paint set. She knew more about paint than she'd ever wanted to, and she hoped that the shops would know just as much. She wanted Gouaches, her favorite kind of paint, but whether she would be fortunate enough to find an entire set was another question in it's entirety.

After wandering around, she found it was rather easy to get to the lobby. There was always a sign just when she needed it. Maybe that was on purpose? This world was so different, it was hard to wrap her head around it. Clothes that materialized just when you wanted them, and so many other things that were simply impossible to put into words. She recognized things that existed in the above ground as well, and she wondered if they appeared after someone in the above ground from the underground dropped it? Or maybe... She didn't know at all, but it was almost like a game.

"Aya!" Natalija waved to the girl resisting the urge to make a face at her hat. The rest of the outfit was great, and then out of nowhere... well, at least the rest of the outfit was great. "Sorry about that, I wasn't really awake yet..."

Alter Ego
February 20th, 2009, 03:22 PM
Come morning, Pethalamine had a little cut to mind, but it was hardly enough to dampen her mood when she found out - contrary to what she had half-expected - that the room around her had not changed, blown up, or become infested with people who wanted her dead overnight. Savoring this rare occasion, she had taken ample time with her morning preparations, eventually arriving in the lobby and feeling far more relaxed and cheerful than she had in a long time. She wasn't sure what would draw the bigger stare from her far less pleased-looking companions to be, the presence of a contented smile or the absence of about half a back's worth of hair, but even this question was one more of amusement than worry to her right now.

"Good morning." she gave a nod of acknowledgement to both Aya and Natalija, "I'm not terribly late, am I?"

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


"During times of great stress," Faewyn replied airily, full aware that Aertan's question had been more rhetorical than anything else, "Dation users tend to gravitate towards the locations they find instinctively 'safe'." a faint smile spread across her features, "Remember when Pethalamine was first learning to teleport? She'd pop up right next to me when she was having her nightmares. This place...must have felt similar to Adela once upon a time, so when her self-preservation instinct kicked in, this is where she appeared. Either that, or it's the reasoning of one of her faels."

The crash of Geote smashing in the door snapped Faewyn back to attention, though her expression was more bemused than anything else as she stepped in over the remains of the entrance.

"Adela?" she called inside, peering into the gloom of the building, "Are you alright?"

parallelzero
March 1st, 2009, 01:32 PM
"Miss Aya, if you intend on taking those people out today, please be cautious." The hotel clerk, Gianno, informed the girl as she waited for the other two to show up. He stroked his black beard with a rough looking left hand as his bored, grey eyes ran over a computer screen, back and forth, taking in the contact. "Exeri apparently has some agents wandering around town today, no doubt investigating. I'd find it likely that a reconnaissance unit stationed in the city caught sight of your little tour yesterday and contacted a higher up. The enemy units are of Ledreique's Reassignment Bureau, so it's likely they just think some stray winged have escaped from one of the camps and are wandering around."

"Ledreique, huh?" Aya replied, not particularly enthused by the name. Exeri was divided into smaller bureaus, each in charge of different aspects of the organization. The Reassignment Bureau, headed by Alphonse Ledreique, was a science based bureau focused on integrating any winged who'd been smuggled underground into the underground society. Any winged below were not permitted back to the surface, as that could lead to awareness of the world below, and that would be disastrous. So, the Reassignment Bureau took custody of those winged and did a variety of things with them. The lucky ones were tortured into giving up on the above, and re-released into the public under new identities, their wings stripped from their bodies, while the unlucky had been placed under intensive experiments on top of the torture. Aya's blood boiled at the thought of Ledreique. That man had taken everything from her, but she had no idea what everything was. Her faels reacted in kind to her own feelings, having a similar distaste for the man. "I'm not particularly worried about the Reassignment Bureau. They're one of Exeri's weakest units physically, and we finally found a way to allow the uppers to use their own abilities down here. But, could you do me a favor? If any of the remaining guests attempt to leave, contact Sid or Kay. We can't leave them unsupervised if Exeri wants to stick their nose in our city." That was one thing they had on their side. The city, Whaile, was under the Upper World Protection Committee's control, and most of the civilians had their support. The UWPC, like Exeri, was a party that lied to the public, seeing as the upper world was, for the most part, a hush-hush fact. So, the the rest of the world, they were known as the United World Peace Corps. Anyways, if any trouble was stirred, they'd be able to handle it.

The two girls finally showed up, and Aya exchanged greetings with them. From what she gathered, Natalija and Pethalamine did not seem to be on very good terms. If, of course, they intended to survive down below without losing their wings, if not their lives, they would all need to learn to co-operate. She glanced over at a clock mounted on the wall, and let out a squeal of discomfort, nearly dropping the papers in her arms in the process. "CRAP! I need to hand in these papers in five minutes! How did I lose track of so much time!? There's no way we can walk that far in such a short time, and my teleportation sphere is still recharging from yesterday!"

"Relax." Gianno murmured unenthusiastically as his hand drifted to a switch behind the desk. The sound of the switch being flicked was heard, and a light suddenly began to shine beneath their feet, enveloping them. When the light disappeared, they were gone. "I knew that anti-theft equipment had other uses..." The man mused as he brushed his long black hair out of his eyes.

Moments after, Aya and the two girls appeared in a flash of light in the middle of a cobblestone walkway. There was a large school just in front of them, though it looked more like a Medieval castle tricked out with new technology more than anything. Shops were littered everywhere else, all dealing with books and other scholarly things. "I... can't believe he used the anti-theft trap on us!" The girl exclaimed, a little shocked by the bumpy teleportation ride. "That was only meant to be used to expel unwanted people from the hotel to a far away place. Well... I guess it did the job." She sighed, before the gonging of a bell brought her back to reality. "CRAAAAAAAAP!" She grabbed Natalija and Pethalamine's hands, and began to run off with the girls in tow. "The library is inside, so we'll go there before the art shop, but I REALLY NEED TO HAND THESE PAPERS IN!"

It was a wonder Aya had so much energy after not getting any sleep, but her education really was important, so she couldn't afford to be tired. After dropping her stuff off, which had been ripped and crumpled by trying to drag the girls behind her while still having the papers in her hand, she took them to the school's ridiculously large library. It was the size of at least a small football field, and was packed with wooden shelves upon wooden shelves of books, with small study areas positioned in various places with couches and tables. It was still morning, so there weren't many students around. "So, Pethalamine, were you looking for anything in particular? "

OOC: Soren part coming later...

Loki
March 2nd, 2009, 07:03 PM
Natalija stood idly to the side as Aya carried on a conversation with the man behind the desk. For some reason, everything down here seemed huge. Huge, grand, modern. But then again, she might not have seen everything yet. Every city had the grungy side to it, no matter where it was. Or at least, that was what she had always thought. After she realized that she would probably never understand what Aya was talking about, she tuned out entirely, looking up and around the hotel. It was a good feeling, to have people around other than Pethalamine, Dimitri, Alderian, and... well.... Soren, if he'd been here. She liked feeling like she had to look good, keep up an image. It was her whole purpose before she'd been dragged into this crazy business. But, she was beginning to think- just faintly, that she didn't mind all this exploration. Jazz had always preached about getting out and seeing the world, and it certainly wasn't boring, like she’d thought it was. It was much more exciting than watching his stupid art studio’s and bargaining with the rare customers that passed through. She peered down at her nails, looking at the last remnants of her nail polish. It was amazing that it was still there, but she still remembered the first time she’d been complaining about not being able to finish the last coats. It had seemed insignificant in the past, but suddenly she felt the urge to fix them. Picking off little chips of color as she waited for Aya, she wasn’t nearly as prepared for the anti-theft device as she could’ve been.

"U-WAH!” She yelped as a bright light practically blinded her and sent her reeling in one direction, and then before she could finish falling, pushed her back the other direction. Stumbling to catch her balance when she hit solid ground again, she decided that even if she liked the conveniences of the technology down here, it was still something that had to do some getting used to. She much preferred airships. Speaking of that… Natalija looked up at the sky, and wondered if there was even enough space up there to fly an airship. It was an artificial sky, wasn’t it? Was it like… just blue paint with white clouds on top? Speaking of… Natalija straightened, still looking up. She was dumbfounded for a second, but she hadn’t noticed before, since they’d arrived during the night. “The sky is blue!” She pointed up, making a face that was very un-Natalija like in repulsive disgust. Why in sweet jesus was the sky blue?! “Wha-…” She was halfway through beginning a freak-out fest, but realized that down here, it must’ve been normal to have a blue sky, unlike the above ground’s purple one. It was absolutely mindboggling to her, but she zipped her mouth. She was still staring in disbelief when Aya grabbed her hand and dragged her and Pethalamine down the cobblestone paths however.

“HEY! What are you doing?!” Natalija screeched, not particularly fond of strenuous exercise such as running. But she forgot about the impudence that Aya had shown after she stumbled into the library and got another good look.

She then promptly decided that something had to be wrong with this entire world. Who in the world would want this many books?! Natalija corrected herself on that thought, because she could certainly think of someone who could. She glanced over at Pethalamine with a narrowed eye of sheer loathing. Bet the girl would go wild over this nerd-palace. Putting her hands on her hips and jutting her left one out, she wondered if there were any different painting mediums in this world. Now that would be something Jazz would flip over. And maybe there were some fashion magazines? Aya’s style seemed a little off compared to what Natalija was used to, so fashion was probably different from the above ground. She had to catch up…

Suddenly, Natalija wasn’t too repulsed by the massive amount of books.


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


It was an absolute ghost town. It wasn’t an old ghost town, but rather one where it was as if everyone simply decided to get up one day and leave. Giles looked around, pressing a black handkerchief to his nose to block out the pungent smell of death and blood. The handkerchief itself was a curious item. Though the one he used was very similar to something he would pick- black silk with red embroidery of the letters “G.O.A.” in the corner, in his left breast pocket remained another handkerchief, white and folded with blue thread lining the edges. It was a minor detail, the fact that Giles was carrying two handkerchiefs, but it seemed to have been thus overlooked. “I think we’ve done this place enough justice.” Giles said through the silk cloth, and Garrett, peering into an empty café, hollered back that he couldn’t hear a thing Giles was saying. Not bothering to repeat himself, Giles examined his surroundings. It wasn’t as if there was much to see. He hated boring missions like this, but even more he hated missions filled with action. His place was with a scalpel and molder- making synthetic humans. And in a way, he sometimes liked to think that this was the main reason why Exeri kept him, despite all the trouble he caused. Giles didn’t understand any other reason they were desperate to keep him tied down- it wasn’t as if he didn’t agree with their policies and actions, but they seemed more keen to him than anyone else. Or maybe that was just an observation Garrett had made that had unknowingly stuck.

“I don’t think we need to come back here.” Garrett commented, kicking the toe of his polished shoes into the dirt and letting a little cloud of dust waft away, “There’s less here than I expected. You’d think some people would be smart and stay. You know what they say; lightning never strikes twice.”

“I wouldn’t make that bet if it were me.” Giles reasoned, looking at his watch and registering the time. Just a few more hours to make his choice. He glanced up and over at the huge mass of land beyond Meredy’s limits. Gravestone upon gravestone, all lined up. Big and small, crude and perfect, all jumbled into an ugly mess. “There’s no reason to look at the terrain here.” Giles commented to Garrett before making his way over to the edge of the tombstones.

Half of them weren’t even labeled. The cause of death was the same for each and every one. An unexplainable cause of death. Just mass dying. He considered the fact that he, who killed all these people, shouldn’t be walking through here like it was nothing- like taking a stroll through the park. But then, he decided that these people had died for good reason. He stepped into the graveyard, looking around for his newest underling.

“Soren.” Giles called out, glancing over his shoulder to see that Garrett was nowhere in sight, “Let me ask you something before you continue recording.” He folded the handkerchief and pocketed it, running a hand through his hair as he searched for words. He didn’t want to seem too threatening, or demanding. He didn’t want to give a question that would leave space for Soren to scurry out of a direct question, like he always did. But it was beyond Giles. “What do you know about Miki?” Hm. Strange question that seemed for too touchy. “I apologize, that doesn’t seem quite right. We’re on opposite sides after all. Perhaps what I mean is, why do you think Miki is so keen on letting you live?”

That was a little better. He wanted to know for sure. If this kid was worth the trouble he’d make.

Alter Ego
March 17th, 2009, 02:07 PM
For most practical purposes, Aya may as well have been addressing a wall as far as Pethalamine was concerned. The moment they stepped onto university grounds, a vaguely dreamy expression overtook the scholar's features. This place was so different from her familiar university back on Beta, yet completely the same in all the ways that mattered, and for Pethalamine, a university as good as a second home. The hectic dashes of students racing against deadlines, the quiet rustling of pages turned and scribbling of pencil against paper, the very presence of volumes upon volumes of assembled knowledge...it was almost enough to make her homesick. The moment they stepped into the actual library, however, any such melancholy thoughts were wiped from her mind, leaving behind a blissful smile.

As far as she was concerned, this place may as well have been heaven.

"So, Pethalamine, were you looking for anything in particular?"

Pethalamine had already snatched the first book that came within her reach and flicked over to the index by the time Aya's question finally reached her ears, the scholar blinking once before the fact that there were other people present caught up with her again.

"Well, I..."

Such a question to ask. She wasn't just looking for something in particular; she was looking for many somethings. In fact, had their practical constraints not been what they were, she would probably have been on the prowl for everything in particular. That wasn't what was being asked here, though, and so she reluctantly made her pick.

"I'd like to have something that explains mahstion? As thoroughly as possible, all the way from the very basics. And...if there is something to that effect about the history of life down here, that would be good too, but mahstion is the number one thing." she turned a hopeful glance to Aya, practically brimming with enthusiasm, "Do you know of anything like that?"

parallelzero
March 31st, 2009, 03:58 PM
OOC: NO SECOND PAGE FOR YOU MR. YZ! Also, this post has been brought to you via a joint effort between Loki and myself.

“There’s nobody…” Soren was shocked by the vast expanse of uninhabited space that was spread before his eyes. RAY had been sent off to scout nearby, and Giles had yet to come to him about anything at this point. “Everyone… died?” He collapsed to his knees, the thought that he’d only been there goofing off with everyone a week before stinging painfully. What became of his Uncle? His Aunt? His cousins? His travel companions? Despite Natalija’s less than pleasant attitude, he would have killed to hear she wasn’t dead. “I… can’t even cry…” He came to the realization that synthetics had no tear ducts, so no matter how hard he wanted to cry, he couldn’t. So, out of frustration, he punched the ground several times before letting out a scream.

It was around this time that Giles approached him. If he was in any circumstance, he would have assaulted the man and questioned why his organization had done such a thing. So many people had died! It just wasn’t right! The upper world wasn’t some sort of experiment to be messed with! It was his home – everyone’s home! That being said, he was a little shocked when Giles inquired about Miki’s motive. He had gotten this vibe a couple of times now, that this man had some sort of connection with her. With his own interests in mind, he answered the question. “When I met Miki, she was the unwillingly brainwashed girl you shoved into our land. It was by pure coincidence we met.” He recalled that he had originally been asked to assassinate that girl. It was almost funny how much the situation had changed since then. “She was that way almost the entire time I knew her, but I get the feeling she wouldn’t let anyone die if she could help it. I get the feeling she knows the pain of losing someone…” It was the best he could put into words. Ever since the moment he had met her, she had seemed lonely, sad. It was the best he had to go off of.


Giles pocketed his hands, scrutinizing Soren’s answer for a few moments. So maybe his own organization had been the one who had put Miki up here in the first place, but he hated how Soren made it out to sound like he’d been the one to suggest the idea, or execute it. He hadn’t known, and if he had, it wouldn’t have happened. Coincidence? That was definitely just like Miki. Helping out strangers first, asking questions later. He hated that part of her. It made him worry all the time. And yet, it was such an admirable trait. Giles diverted his eyes at the last line that Soren spoke. She certainly knew. She certainly did. He looked out over the makeshift grave markers, wondering why he had been so impacted by the deaths of her parents, while he felt nothing for these hundreds of people, dead. Perhaps he just wasn’t like her. He couldn’t… relate to people he didn’t know. Well, that was probably why he was standing where he was, rather than inside a laboratory researching some insignificant thing that would captivate his attention for hours. The man shook his head and sat down in front of a nameless cross. “A lot of people in organizations like ours know the pain of losing people they care about kid. Happens so much that some of us don’t even care to give it the time of day anymore.” Giles pulled out a cigarette, bringing the flame of his steel lighter towards the end and then snapping the lid shut to extinguish the flame in the little silver object. After taking a thoughtful puff and blowing the smoke out of his mouth, “I can’t protect Miki, because I’m standing on the other side of a line I can’t cross. I don’t trust you, Soren. But I can’t imagine that you trust me either. So I don’t think we need to waste our time getting to be friends.”

After bowing his head politely to the grave before him, Giles stood up, pocketing his lighter. “So I have a good deal for you. If you can protect Miki, whether it’s in my stead or not, I’ll give you your body, your friends, and your freedom.” Giles’ thin lips curled into a smirk, “Not too shabby, eh?”

It was a little shocking. Soren had not considered the possibility that Giles would offer him freedom just like that, with his body as well. And… he mentioned his friends? They were alive? “That’s a little bit of a risky move considering your rank, is it not?” He questioned, completely suspicious of the man’s motive. “Do you really care that much for Miki to send me back as help, completely endangering yourself, or are you setting me up for something?” There certainly wasn’t much to base this offer on in terms of trust, but at any rate, did he really have anything to lose at this point?

“G-Giles! I just made a friend, and you’re sending him away?!” RAY’s voice, saddened from overhearing the conversation, whined as she appeared from behind a nearby building. She looked as if she was about to cry, but Soren knew she couldn’t. “In the end, my feelings don’t matter at all, do they? I’m just a replicable tool…”

Giles gave a wry smile, patting RAY on the head, “Do you think Soren will be happy if he stays with us? Maybe eventually, but as a friend, it’s not right to keep him here if he doesn’t want to be here.” Giles straightened, looking off at Garrett, who was peering into an empty window, “I am willing to compromise my position, but if you want to know the story, you’ll have to ask Miki when you see her. I believe in what this organization is trying to do- not what they’re going to give me on my pay check, or the title I have in front of my name. I’m just an agent, not a big wig, so what happens to me can’t be any worse than getting the boot. And there’s more ways than one to get what I want done, done.” Sighing he let out another breath of smoke, looking down at his little artificial partner, “So RAY. What have I said about jumping to conclusions?” Giles smiled, knocking his knuckle gently against her forehead, “Nobody ever said you couldn’t go with him. He’ll need a little help to find and get back into his body. I’ve got some places to go before all hell breaks out when the uppers find out I let their precious core give me the slip. So don’t look at me like that.”

Soren just listened. Even with what he said, there was still room for doubt. But, if he did get out of this pickle, he would be asking Miki about her relationship with this man. His attention turned to RAY, who seemed rather distracted. “Giles… is that a suggestion or an order?” RAY asked, not exactly sure what was wrong with her. Her feelings were artificial, sure, but this was the first time she had experienced this feeling. She had been with Giles for a rather long time now, and leaving him out of her own volition just didn’t feel right. “Won’t you be lonely without me?”

Silence for a moment. With one hand up to his cigarette, about to pull it out again, he found himself frozen as he looked down at RAY in surprise. Lonely? He’d never considered that. He frowned, pulling out his smoke and crushing it under his foot, “It’s an order RAY. Don’t ask questions.” He turned and started back into the empty city.


---


“Ah, well, you can probably find the mahstion information in the back left corner with the history books!” Aya exclaimed, a little freaked out my Pethalamine’s enthusiasm. She had never, ever seen anyone get that excited at the prospect of learning. But, it seemed like the girl would want to spend more time in the library then she possibly would, so a change in plan for the day would be needed. She reached into her bag, and pulled out a small, green cellphone, before placing it in Pethalamine’s hand. “This is a portable phone. I’m going to take Natalija to look at the art store, so if something happens, call me on that, okay?”

With that said and done, she lead the other girl off campus and into a small art store on the side of the street nearby the school grounds. They were greeted by a young man with a very large mustache that gave Aya the willies. The store itself was quaint, with paints, papers, clays, you name it, all lining the small aisles and shelves. “There aren’t a lot of artists outside of fashion designers, these days.” She commented to Natalija as she waited for her to finish. “Just what do you intend to do with whatever you’re looking for anyways?”

Loki
March 31st, 2009, 06:41 PM
"Hm?" Natalija looked over at Aya, not really paying attention as she searched through the paint sets, "Oh, well my step-brother is a painter, so I thought I'd get him a gift while I’m here." Reaching out and examining a tube of brick red arcrylic, she fell quiet for a minute or two before putting the paint back on the shelf and moving towards the inside of the store, adding as a tentative afterthought, "I'm not sure if he's still alive or not though…. And I’m not sure if I’ll get to see him again either." She pulled down a set of paints. If she bought a set, maybe she’d feel better. The idea of going home and giving them to Jazz, and watching his face contort in confusion. And then have him lecture her on how the paints she picked out were obviously low quality and that he wouldn’t use it- but then he’d use them anyway, because he could make them beautiful, no matter what. Natalija took a deep breath, shoving the scenario out of her mind. She hardened her expression again, making a face at herself. Ugh! What a disgusting scene! He was the one who’d made her suffer and into this weird thing that nobody liked, so why should she do anything but throw the paints at him and get his stupid clothes stained for the rest of eternity?!

“This please.” Natalija snapped, irritated at herself as she plopped a box of fancy paints on the counter. She’d picked a set that she couldn’t pronounce and had never seen in Jazz’s own art shop, so that was good enough for her. Oh wait. She flushed and looked over to Aya, “Um…. I… don’t know what the currency is down here….?”

parallelzero
March 31st, 2009, 08:21 PM
Aya listened intently to Natalija as she poked around a few paints herself. She didn't really know what to say and all, as the girl clearly expressed that the step-brother could be dead - no doubt because of the stunts Exeri pulled in the upper world. It was sad, but at the same time Natalija's attitude was kind of refreshing. It took a rare type of person to face the type of pain she was in using the method she was attempting.

She sweatdropped at Natalija's money conundrum, and considered the fact that she may have left Pethalamine in a similar situation. Nah, Pethalamine would just sit and read. In the end, Aya ended up paying for the books after explaining how the dollar worked, before leading the above-ground girl outside. "It must be nice, having someone you rely on and love like you do your step-brother..." Aya said suddenly, having had it on her mind since Natalija's explanation in the store. "Like you know, I have no memory of my old life, and all I really have to confide into are my faels. Maybe before I came down here, I had someone like that..."

"What are you implying? That I'm not good to talk to!? You're pretty stupid, Aya!" The girl's plufael spat, not exactly happy with the comment, unhappy to the point of harassing his reila in the back of her mind.

Aya winced, apparently taking some form of punishment for the misunderstanding. "Stop it Wrei! I'm sorry!"

"Shut up for a second, Aya! Don't you notice anything weird?" Wrei froze, taking control of the girl's body for a moment to scan the area. The streets were empty. Why were the streets empty?

"Natalija, let's run. We need to go get Peth!" Aya exclaimed as she grabbed the girl's hand and began to run back in the direction from whence they came.

Inside the paint shop, the owner put down the phone. It had struck him as strange that the one girl didn't understand the money, and Exeri was sure as hell paying a whole lot for Winged these days - way more than Miki's group was paying to keep their mouths shut about the whole upper-land thing.

---

"This city is called Zeta, huh?" Soren inquired as he stepped into the sunlight in a flesh and bone body for the first time in days. Giles had stayed true to his word, Soren's body having been left at a Thedora Mine checkpoint just outside the outskirts of the city. With RAY's help, he had no problems completing the transfer, although it was ridiculously painful. For the time being, he was sewed up while the core stabilized inside his body, but after his experience being cut up in Natalija's body, it wasn't such a problem. Conveniently, a small device had been left in the building as well, providing the boy with a selection of clothes to choose from.

In the end, the flesh and bone boy had decided on a basic, yet practical outfit, hopefully one Natalija wouldn't yell at him for the first time they met again. A pair of black slacks, a long white dress shirt, with a green-blue sweater with a black hood made up the basics of his new attire, while his shoes were fit comfortably with regular, white tennis shoes. A small silver necklace hung loosely around his neck, and he kept in his pocket a tiny black ball that somehow contained his hoop.

For the meantime, however, he had decided to explore. RAY had decided to stay behind for a little while, crushed by being abandoned by Giles. He had said he would come back for her later, and he would, but he felt bad for her. Giles had good intentions in mind, but had he been considering RAY's feelings?

With this on his mind, the boy wandered freely into an area of the city that seemed like it came straight out a storybook, with what seemed to be a small castle nearby and a lovely cobblestone walkway. But, as he went deeper and deeper into the area, there seemed to be less and less people around.

A sudden explosion right beside Soren knocked him to the ground as a cackling erupted behind him. "You're a stupid boy, aren't you? Walking around with your wings out like that in public~" A skinny, old looking man, clad in what appeared to be a cloak that was split right down the center, white on one side and black on the other approached him, tossing a small red orb up and down in his hands. Soren got back onto his feet, before taking out the weapon orb that he had been provided with and crushing it with his hand. The orb erupted in a burst of white light that took the form of his hoop only moments later. "Black, feathery wings, too~ Mr. Ledrique will be pleased with me, we've only examined one other specimen like you before~"

Soren sighed, not particularly in the mood. "You're a creepy old man, you know that? I don't know what you're talking about, or who this Mr. Ledrique is, but if you want to fight me I won't run away. In fact, I'm out of practice, I could use a warm up..." He went to throw his hoop, powered by the channeling of dation to his hands, but as he went to let go, no dation came and the ridiculously heavy hoop landed on his toe, causing a loud whelp. "Ah... crap." Come to think of it, he hadn't heard a word from his faels since getting his old body back...

"It seems you made a little miscalculation, Winged. Now, it's my turn to show off a little!" The old man crushed the orb in his hand, and the light materialized into a ridiculously large scythe for a man that size.


In the meantime, Aya had dragged Natalija almost all the way back to the school, before stumbling onto the fight. "Dammit... The Reassignment Bureau..." She muttered, referencing the old man. Someone had tipped them off, and somehow this boy with black wings had ended up targeted.

Loki
March 31st, 2009, 09:47 PM
Natalija snorted at the notion that Jazz was someone she relied on and loved, “Are you kidding me?! I hate my brother so much! He’s so perfect that it makes my life miserable!” She laced her fingers behind her back, the paint set slung across her torso by the means of a black strap. She’d wanted a portable one like this so she could always keep it with her, and it… actually was pretty fashionable, in a way. It was kind of cute- maybe that was a better way of saying it. “He’s fun when he’s not off doing everything better than I can, but almost right after someone tells me that he’s a thousand times bett-“ She was interrupted by Aya’s fael, but found that… since it was Aya, who was actually really nice to her compared to most people she’d met, she didn’t mind getting cut off. Besides, she was delving too far into herself. She didn’t want to tell some stranger like Aya everything about herself. It was such a pathetic story, after all. “What’s going- Ooon?!” She dragged out the last word as Aya pulled her back to the library. Natalija had felt like today was such a busy day, rushing here and there, but everything before now had been good and positive. But now… why was it so eerily quiet when just minutes ago it had been bustling with students?

As she ran she wondered why in the good heck they were running for Pethalamine. That girl could take care of herself just fine. She had time to bribe her own allies during battle, she had enough skill to spare to get rid of anyone on her tail! A little irritated at the thought of Pethalamine’s earlier outburst, and still seething over it, she wrenched her wrist out of Aya’s grip and muttered, “I’m not going to help that gir-“

Eh? Aya was apparently too distracted to notice, and Natalija could tell why. Grody old man. 1 O’clock. Natalija scrunched up her nose in disgust, her head reeling back as she scrutinized the man’s utter lack of anything attractive. But that wasn’t nearly as important to her when she noticed the other guy. And boy was she glad to see him!

“Soren!” She shrieked, pointing at him with wide shocked eyes, “WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?!?!”

The sound of metal crashing against stone was heard as Natalija clumsily stumbled away just in time to dodge the old man. “We’re a little busy- lady.”

Natalija blinked, taking a moment to register what had just happened. She was sure she saw two or three strands of sliced black hair floating down to the ground. And she was damned if she saw what she saw. “You…..” Her expression darkened as she looked at the man with easily the most conceited, irritated face she’d ever made in front of anyone in the entire world, “Do you realize what you’ve done…?” She asked, her voice dripping with poison as she got to her feet, dation streaking out from all directions, a shrill shriek echoing through the air, “YOU RUINED MY BEAUTIFUL HAIR!!!!”

An unearthly scream every higher pitched than Natalija’s ripped through the air as a black beast emerged from the dation, leaping out and staring the old man down with six menacing red eyes lined up beside each other, long and slender teeth like needles protruding from it’s mouth. Each pointed tooth was easily at least six inches in length, angled randomly so that every bite would be absolute hell. The rest of Meine’s beast form was generally that of a big cat’s, except his front paws were in the shape of huge clawed hands, and his tail was immeasurably long as it twisted through the air. At the current moment, an axe ended the tail, and a forked tongue twitched in and out between the repulsive muzzle. “Meine!” Natalija snarled, “I NEVER want to see that man in front of me again!”

Another scream that seemed to echo through the air and Meine disappeared, dropping out of a mahstion portal behind the man in the blink of an eye. He dodged Meine’s attack- one that would’ve left him headless, but the dation spread across the floor made the entire area Meine’s territory. Dropping to the ground again, Meine melted into the black puddles across the ground, appearing right beside the old man one last time. “I said,” Natalija barked at her negafael viciously, “GET RID OF HIM.” Huge, teeth appeared- at least quadruple the size that they were in Meine’s jaws. They rose up, surrounding the old man as the normally adorable fael swallowed him whole, dragging him into the depths of his dation portals to deal with him elsewhere. The black puddles slithered back towards Natalija, disappearing into her black wings. “Tch.” She flipped her hair behind her shoulder, “Can’t do anything right the first time around. Disgusting man had it coming.” She ran a hand through her black tresses before stopping, grabbing a handful and examining it. “THAT- THAT JERK GOT A WHOLE CHUNK OF MY HAIR!” A whole chunk ended up behind three inches off of perhaps thirty strands. It was a big deal.

“Ugh!” At least, it was to Natalija.

After fuming over the fact that her hair was uneven now, she turned a glare on Soren, barking, “And you! Where have you been?! I’ve been stuck with Pethalamine, Dimitri, and creepy McPriestPriest, without any semblance of normality in sight! Well!" She huffed, "It’s about time you showed up! I was this close to missing you!!” She snapped, putting her hands on her hips, “So you better have a good explanation for making me get so close to worrying about you!”

parallelzero
April 1st, 2009, 02:46 PM
"Argh! You mean this outfit isn't any good either!?" Soren shouted, at first more annoyed at Natalija's comment than relieved that he had found one of his friends. "I even dressed with you in mind!" He considered the fact that the way he had worded that sounded wrong, but only after he said it. By that time, however, Natalija's hair had already been cut, and it was already far too late to consider rewording his sentence.

Around the time that Meine materialized in his grotesque form, a girl unfamiliar to Soren dragged him off to the side, out of harm's way. She identified herself as Aya, one of Miki's subordinates, before snapping a necklace around his wrist. The moment this occurred, contact was regained with his faels, the first thing occurring being a simple "Master?" from Tia.

"So this is how Natalija is using her dation, huh?" Soren asked as his attention was drawn back to the fight. How Natalija could lose it so much over a bit of hair was a mystery to him, and this whole display seemed kind of overboard. As the man was pulled into the dark abyss of dation, he felt a little sorry for him, and a little scared of Natalija. But, at the same time, he was overjoyed to find her again, and even after being irrationally scolded - which was, as usual, in her character - he hugged her for a moment before thinking about the implications of what he had just done. He let go quickly, backing off to try and dodge anything she might try throwing at him. "Ah, s-sorry! I was just afraid everyone had died, as all, I got a little excited..." He was reminded of when he had been in Meredy. Nothing was living there anymore. His friends could have been some of the many that died, and the condition of his family was unknown. "Sorry for not finding you guys sooner, but I had an encounter with the people who destroyed both Alta and Meredy..."

Loki
April 1st, 2009, 09:18 PM
Flushing Natalija was halfway through punching Soren to effectively get him off of her- but he was smart enough to back away first, and that was just a tad bit frustrating. “This,” She motioned to herself, snapping bitterly, “is no touch merchandise! I didn’t miss you THAT much!” Folding her arms tightly, she diverted her gaze and fixed it on a nearby building, “And I wouldn’t have died that easily, so don’t you worry about me. I’m insulted- I was even about to compliment you on your out-….” Her face loosened in realization at the last thing Soren had said. The people who… who what? Her head snapped back and she opened her mouth to say something, but…. She decided against it, and continued her sentence, a little less riled up now that she was a little preoccupied, “I was even about to compliment you on your outfit...” Drumming her fingers against her lips, she thought for a moment or two before pulling back up a look of annoyance and superiority. It was one thing to talk about Jazz to Aya. Another to talk about him with Soren. “But the only reason why I don’t have anything to point out is because it’s simple, so don’t go off getting any of your weird clothes again just because I said one outfit looked nice!” She tightened her arms again, spinning around on her heel as she stalked away towards where she thought the library might be.

“Come on!” She barked at him, “You’ll see none of us are dead. Pethalamine’s in the library, alive and being a nerd as usual. Dimitri and Alderian are back at the hotel, but I don’t know what they’re doing. I’m sure Pethalamine will be ecstatic to see you. Maybe she’ll yell at you for once! Cranky… stubborn…..” Natalija stormed away, holding her head high and dignified as a black puddle formed behind her and materialized into a little black rabbit-like creature. “Hmph!” She huffed, sticking her nose in the air. Trotting behind her for a few paces, Meine then paused and glanced over his shoulder at Soren and Aya. A second or two later, his back arched and he evaporated into thin air.

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

Life. Gosh why did everything just suck so much? Serge wiped his eyes off on his sleeve as a reflex, but there were really no tears left. He’d lost all his friends. Levi had gone god knows where. And his mom and dad were good as gone. He splashed his face with cold water- ice cold water that had little crystals in it. Pulling a tendril of water out of the sink with his mahstion, he pressed the sphere against his forehead, letting it spread into an oval. He’d felt like he’d been living a dream for the past few days. An unamusing, stupid dream where he was…. Alone. Rosalynne had been hit hard- probably harder than himself, since she had been so much more sheltered than he. But honestly, he couldn’t find it in him to give up his own woes to help her. Serge just felt so… worthless. As if living was completely pointless now that an apparent apocalypse was headed their way. He hung his head, staring at the ripples that the drops of water from his bangs made as they fell back into the sink. He didn’t like it here at all. Flazure. Phoenix’s and Wyverns left and right, all staring at him because he wasn’t one. It was… worse than school, in all honesty.

“I want to go home…” He mumbled to himself, letting the water on his forehead splash back to its rightful place. A moment’s silence, and then laughter rang through his ears. It was the first time he’d heard laughing in awhile, and it sounded… so foreign. Before he had time to turn around however, a towel flew into his face, barreling at him at speeds obviously only possible when propelled by wionus, or some kind of machine.

“OOF!” He grunted, nearly tripping back over a toilet. Another gust of wionus, perfectly calculated to counteract his falling motion back to where he was simply standing saved him from cracking his head open against the porcelain however, and the towel fell off of his face to reveal a wonderfully familiar man with rosy hair. He was dressed in a pair of black slacks, shoved into his shin-high boots, along with a teal long-sleeved mechanic’s shirt. The sleeves were rolled up, probably to keep them out of his way, and on his hands, a pair of simple brown leather gloves. What was strange about his attire wasn’t the actual clothing however. It was the fact that the sunglasses that were usually perched before his olive green eyes had been replaced by a pair of teal goggles with yellow lenses, sitting across his head just above his forehead. “Levi!” Serge cried, rushing over and flinging his arms around the man’s torso.

“Hey kid!” The man laughed, ruffling the boys hair and holding him at arms length, “You look like crap!”

“Sh-Shut up!” Serge stammered as his eyes began tearing up, “Y-You d-do too!”

“Hey!” Levi took a step back, putting his hands on his hips, “This was totally my look when I was travelling with your old man. I think it’s a pretty cool look, don’t you? Oh yeah, ‘nd I usedta talk laik this ya?”

Serge nodded, taking some time to register the fact that just a semblance of his old life was still alive- and still cracking jokes. “Lizzy gave me these goggles,” He was saying, adjusting them so that they were situated further back, “But both her and her man…. Well they didn’t really manage as well as I did.” He paused for a moment before looking down at Serge, “So I hear you been depressed.”

“Anyone would be…” He mumbled, hanging his head, “Anyone but you anyway.”

“Hey, all I need to know is that Lizzy would be mad at me if I gave her anything more than a second thought. All she’d want is for me to keep her with me always, so you need to liven up too. Y’think Asher and Milly want you staring at yourself in the mirror all day? Come on, you know Asher’d want you to go scope out some ladies, and Milly would want you to be doing something good for once.” Levi grabbed the scruff of Serge’s shirt, pulling him out of the bathroom and out the door of the room that Levi had stumbled into without knocking. “Now you go find your sister this minute and give her a smile and a hug or something. The poor lady is as wilted as a flower, and as an older brother, you gotta grow some balls and buck up.”

“What do I say to her?” Serge asked, a little irritated now at Levi’s carefree attitude in such a serious situation, “Mom is gone and Dad is half dead?”

Levi clicked his tongue, folding his arms, “Man you’re as dull as your dad now aren’t you?” He grinned and slung an arm around the teen’s shoulders, saying a little more gently, “Naw kid, what you tell your sister is that your mom’s coming down here to see you guys soon. She stopped by the house to pick up some things first though, so you two need to… Be happy! Or something. Cause she’s been locked up all this time by her stupid negafael, so you don’t give her any trouble yeah?”

Serge stared at Levi in disbelief for a moment before looking away, “Rosalynne’s not-“

“You never know till you try, and it’s always better to regret doing something than to regret not doing it. So go. Get your butt out there and look for her.” Levi pointed at Serge, “Are you a man??”

Silence, hesitation, and then a confident, “Damn right I am!”

“That’s what I thought!” Levi laughed, “Now don’t tell your mom I taught you that word and go!”

parallelzero
April 6th, 2009, 03:11 PM
"So, Princess, I trust you're doing alright?" The brown haired man clad in a black suit asked the woman beside him seriously. Somehow, Sid had been suckered into escorting Carn's Princess to the capital city. The whole fiasco from a week before had left her aware of the existence of the world below, and it had taken a large toll on her overall. She was being escorted here alongside Sid in this castle towards the King's chamber in the rattiest of outfits. Her shoulder-length, blue hair was in a dirty mess, and she wore a torn up, white blouse and a seemingly over worn pair of jeans. She seemed filthy, and that filth made the thirty-two year old woman seem even older than she was. Just how had this woman been living for the past week? If he had known she looked like that, he would have dressed down, not up!

No answer. Well, that was understandable. She was one of the few survivors of an absurd disaster - one that shouldn't have come about in the first place. An entire city, the one she lived in and was charged with protecting, had been killed off in the blink of an eye along with most of the family and friends she kept nearby. Thanks to some foresight by Kay due to reconnaissance work, however, they had managed to protect the Princess and a few other groups of individuals, including the Davies family and the Princess' only daughter, who was, as they spoke, being transferred under Kay's surveillance.

The two just kept walking, escorted by a butler, before they arrived before a pair of large doors leading to the throne room. Princess Evaline Ria Dian, over the years, had been putting up with her brother's absurdities. She said not a word when the King scooped up a leaderless Tealia, nor did she mention anything to the public when the soldiers began to disrespect Tealia's citizens. She didn't even say anything against him - or rather some other higher power, she could not confirm her brother's role in this - when she was forced to bear the child of a noble to act as a possible heir to the throne. But the events that transpired at Alta, and the new realization that what her brother had been doing had triggered the annihilation of their world had finally set her in a different direction. Even if he was her dear brother, he needed to own up to what he was doing.

"Please wait inside until the King arrives. He will be with you shortly." The butler announced as he opened the doors, which creaked loudly. Sid and the woman stepped inside, Sid bowing in thanks to the butler before the door shut behind him. As a precaution, Sid had brought along some technology from the underground. From what he had heard about this King, it was best that he be ready for any kind of situation.


---


Rosalynne Davies had said not a word, not a word since arriving in Flazure. She sat on the shore of a small underground lake nearby a church, her face buried in her knees as she listened to the water splash and voices in the town behind her chatter. Ellianne had lead her there, thinking she'd like the quiet. With her father was being hospitalized nearby, her mother missing, and her brother off somewhere, she felt ridiculously alone, to the point where the moment she had been entirely alone she had broken out in tears. Auricia had been watching her in secret from inside the church, but there was nothing she could do, even in the child-like Phoenix form she now had. Lyrum had run off to get supplies, as the church Ellianne was a priestess at and Auricia volunteered at was housing quite a number of refugees from both Alta and Meredy, while everyone else was in location unknown.

"Um... excuse me? Have you seen a young, wingless, brown-haired woman around here?" A soft voice inquired from behind Rosalynne, the crying girl suddenly started into turning around and looking. The origin of the voice was a young girl, most likely around Rosalynne's own age - maybe a bit younger. Her short, straight hair was coloured like the rocks in the cavern, a chalky gray, while a lacy hairband sat atop her head. A lacey black dress sat rather nicely on the petite girl's body, although it seemed slightly dirty from what was probably a long trip, judging by her worn down brown sandals. Her right forearm was bandaged, and her hands rested together on her lap as she stood, her amber eyes dimly reflecting the little natural light this city received. Her pure white wings seemed badly damaged, with feathers missing here and there and even some splotches stained with blood. What exactly had this girl gone through? "I seemed to have separated from her when she went off to examine someone's hair... or something. Uh... are you okay?" The girl asked, noticing a dampness under Rosalynne's eyes that she quickly rubbed away to hide the fact that she had been crying.

Ms. Davies said not a word as she took the girl's hand and lead her into the streets. She'd help this girl find who she was looking for, considering the condition she was in, but after that she intended on going back to being alone. Since, while this girl looked like she hurt on the outside, Rosalynne herself hurt too much on the inside to bear it.


---


"I'm not going to lie, it was even a little relieving to see her act that way!" Soren exclaimed, not really phased by Natalija's outburst. He was just happy to see that she was alive. And everyone was? Perhaps his luck was getting better after all? The boy glanced at Aya, before moving forward. "We better get going. Don't want to make the princess wait, after all!" He was clearly referring to Natalija. Though, the prospect of being yelled at by Pethalamine had never occurred to him. Would everyone be mad at him for being gone so long?

Moments later, they arrived in the library, Soren poking around at various things like a child, clearly lacking the ability to hold himself back like the others were, and as a result often got scolded by Aya who had the intention of maintaining her student status on the campus. As Exeri's little stunt earlier had put most of the student populace into hiding, it wasn't that much of a problem that Soren was waltzing around with black wings in tow, but Exeri knew they were there anyways so it wasn't such a big deal. They just needed to get Peth and get out. "Did you find what you were looking for, Pethalamine?" Aya asked politely, not mentioning Soren in the least.

The boy, on the other hand, made his existence more than known. "I think 'yes' is the right answer here, considering two more of those strangely cloaked people from Exeri just seemed to appear outside..."

OOC: The girl. (http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/Daiaki711/1b74571caf61581d443a481d86b7ac00.jpg?t=1239074529)

Loki
April 6th, 2009, 07:50 PM
There was no King.

Instead, his disillusioned, most trusted advisor stood one step below the throne, staring down at Evaline and her company. His blonde hair was, as usual, impeccably brushed aside, while his signature pinstriped suit remained ironed and flawless. His normally sharp and icy eyes showed little more than guilt and shame at the condition Evaline had chosen to arrive in. Partially because he thought of the hardship she must have suffered in order to reach this status. Partially because he knew that Piper would make no obvious note of it, though the King would certainly send a good punch and degrading line his direction in retaliation for not keeping a closer eye on her. But what could he have done? His business was overflowing with horrible profits due to the demand for transportation. Any personnel he’d had in Meredy, the only extension of his Carn based business, had been utterly annihilated. And how could you convince people to go, in order to help organize the transportation of hundreds of dead bodies to their families? Solomon pushed the thought from his head, stepping down the remaining two steps and kneeling respectfully. “Princess Evaline,” His voice shook in fear of her late retaliation. Would she think that he, the man who had constantly been at Piper’s heels advising against his actions, had had his hand in the terrible events that Carn rippled across the world? Would she think that he, who had enjoyed teasing her as a child and acted as her protector in place of the fact that she had no personal guard, would have anything but her well-being in his mind? Of course she would. He had done nothing, for nearly twenty years. Had not spoken out for her. Had not objected to her relocation. Had not crushed the arrogant fools who used her as their puppets. He had not even rejected the idea of her bearing a child, despite the fact that his suppressed feelings had crushed before they had even the chance to show. He felt a pang, and bowed his head lower. “My apologies,” Steadying his voice but speaking quietly, Solomon stared hard at the lush fibers of the red rug, “His Majesty is-“

“No need for formalities, Solomon.” King Dian’s voice cut through as he strode in behind Evaline and Sid. It was rare, that he was caught without an escort of some sort. But, it could be said that his escort had preceded his entrance, and was already kneeling at the foot of the throne. “Pick your head up, we all know each other.” He brushed right past his younger sister without even a glance. His careless tone implied a smile on his face, but it was quite the contrary. He looked indifferent, almost displeased, and Solomon got to his feet, moving out of the younger man’s way. The King spun around, sitting stiffly into his red velvet seat. He crossed one leg over the other, leaning his head into his fist as he examined his sister. “I’m sure you arrived here in that state hoping that I would inquire after your past escapades, and the reason as to why you have chosen to appear before me as such. However, Solomon, I hope you remember, has already informed me of the happenings in Meredy and Tealia. I am appalled that they even allowed you in here, looking like that.” He glanced meaningfully at a maid who stood at the ready. She tensed, but his tone was amused and light when he spoke again. “Maid, you are lucky that my beloved sister is here. For that, you live to see another day of your life within this castle. That man, there.” King Dian leaned back in his seat, examining Sid from top to bottom with dislike, “I don’t recognize him.”

“I hired him.” Solomon interjected, bowing in apology, “Forgive my rash actions. I did not consult you, as it was around the time that Alta was rendered obsolete.”

“… Fine then.” Piper looked back over at Evaline, “Then, my dearest sister. I haven’t seen you for many years, and I have yet to catch wind that you’ve made any progress on your promise to our mother. Have the governors been blocking the truth from me?” His interest in Evaline’s prescence was dissolving fast. He didn’t know how to speak to her anymore. He could hardly remember the time when they were practically inseparable. But those were the exact memories that kept him from summoning her to the castle. Why would she want to see what he had become? She had always thought of him as the best. What was he now? Piper’s smile grew faker, more dangerous as his insides collapsed at the reason why she was here. He knew, that he had done many unforgivable things. Unforgivable to her, at the very least. Just steps. Just babysteps to make Carn the greatest nation in history. Biding his time, he had thought in the beginning that he might be the one to bring change to Carn’s reputation. He had been unable to do so, but knew what he would do in place of it.

“Or would you rather tell me the concerns you have that have brought you back to this place after so long?”

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

Serge hadn’t really spent much time wandering the streets recently, so it was hard for him to get around. By the time he noticed, he was already thouroughly lost, with absolutely no idea where he was. He couldn’t see the church anywhere, and he wasn’t exactly sure he liked seeing all of the same wings everywhere. It was creeping him out. He hurried along, looking up and down the alleyways and glancing meekly into the faces of passing people- mostly the people shorter than him. There weren’t many, and so he quickly deducted that he was looking in the wrong place. Serge didn’t think Rosalynne would enjoy a crowded place like this anyway. But now the problem of getting out was fresh before him, and he had no idea as to a solution. Giving up on his futile fight against the current of the crowd, he tried his best to look around, thinking every now and then that he might ask for directions. Shyness and anxiety at his new surroundings silenced him however, and he continued to get more and more lost until he finally ended up in a place where the masses thinned out. Where…? Serge brushed his clothes off, hesitating when he noticed how wrinkled and old they looked. He was still wearing the green and yellow polo, and the black slacks that he’d changed into before leaving that day. Well… he’d change after he found Rosalynne. He wanted to try calling out for her, but he didn’t want to attract attention. So what was he even doing out here? He was just… taking up space.

“Man you’re a hard kid to tail.” Levi laughed as Serge felt himself get picked up and thrown over the man’s shoulder. Whenever they would spar, Serge had never won, but he’d never really known that Levi was strong enough to pick up a fifteen-year-old boy, even if he was a little on the smaller side, “I almost lost you in the crowd back there! Kinda figured y’wouldn’t know your way around here.”

“Have you been here before?” Serge asked, not really protesting to being lifted up. He was glad that someone else he knew was here now.

“Nope!” Levi replied without much thought. Well, someone else to be lost with. “But what do I need with being here prior? Tell me, where do you think your little sister is? Y’think she’s in town?” He gestured behind him with his free hand and Serge looked up at the bustling streets.

“She’s probably somewhere quiet, where she can be alone.” He pointed out, realizing that in his excitement, he hadn’t paused to think things through, “Maybe the lake? Miss Ducharme has asked me if I wanted to go before, but I always declined.”

“Well see I knew it.” Levi notioned, “Her signature reminds me of your daddy’s.”

---- >

“Now see here,” Levi spoke again when he landed, the huge wings on his feet shrinking back to their original size as he landed with a heavy thud, “She’s made a friend!”

Dumping his load off his shoulder, Serge gave an ‘oof’ as he landed face first into the ground. His head ringing from the impact, it took him a few moments to gather himself, letting his mentor introduce himself while he sat up and found his bearings again. “Nice to meet’cha young lady Rosalynne, I don’t believe we’ve ever had a formal introduction, but I hope you recognize me as the guy your charming ma’s always slammin’ the door on the minute she opens it! I’m Levi Jaquez,” He bowed, excessively showing off before straightening again, “But I’m just sendin’ this cute kid over here cause he can’t find you himself!”

Serge pushed Levi aside, getting to his feet, “Rosalynne, they found Mom!”

“A man and woman- Aertan and Faewyn.” Levi interjected from behind, “I thought you guys might know them but I don’t know anything about them at all so-“

“And she’s coming tomorrow! She’s gonna bring some stuff from home, so….” Serge trailed off, lost for words after reporting his news, “So I’m sure Dad’ll be better soon and… stuff.”

Silence for a moment before Levi kicked a clump of dirt on the ground, “Well I got some business with an old pal so I better split.” He’d obviously made the silence awkward for himself, but Serge had felt that the silence had been somewhat comfortable. Rosalynne was no where near okay, but he was glad she was still in one piece. Just an hour ago, he wouldn’t have been able to confirm even that- he was just so wrapped up in his own affairs. “See ya!” And Levi was gone as fast as he’d come. He had a large agenda. And giving Reid’s little punk a pick me up was no where near as massive as Levi’s next move. His next move was one that he was now willing to make only because most of his business had collapsed. The losses sustained were bearable though, and Levi wasn’t exactly alien to the idea of going back to a more exciting lifestyle. Even if he was a few years past that prime, he was closer than anyone else he used to know.

“… So, um…” Serge looked over at the unfamiliar girl. Was she a friend, like Levi had said? “… Who’s that?”

parallelzero
April 29th, 2009, 06:56 PM
"My apologies, your highness, I should have met with you sooner but had not the chance." Sid bowed apologetically when the formidable man had finished talking. The young man was a little more than irritated with the progress that had been made since their entrance into the room. That man seemed to speak down to everyone, included his own sister. The tone of voice and comments directed at his sister were filled with a twisted disappointment, despite all she had endured over the past little while. He glanced over at the woman he had accompanied, and noted the fire in her eyes. They had originally agreed upon Sid speaking for her since she didn't want unnecessary conflict between siblings, but clearly it was too late to be worrying about that. Still, when she had spoken of her childhood, this tyrant of a man had been described as sweet and loving. How did things change so much over the years?

Her brother's words hurt, they hurt a lot. Not just the content, but the way they were spoken as well. Evaline almost broke down at first, but as the words kept coming, she adjusted her state of mind to accept what her dearest brother had become. "Brother, stop it with the promise garbage! How do you expect me to paint beautiful pictures of a bloody world? You know what happened in Alta, in Meredy, so why are you standing up there like nothing is wrong? Something IS wrong, Piper. You ask why I came here dressed like this? It's because that's all I am to you, isn't it? A dirty, throwaway puppet." Her eyes shot a sympathetic glance at Solomon, whom she assumed was in no better a situation. "You used me as a figurehead in Tealia while your council did what they willed, making the people suffer. I was forced to enlist the help of an old friend to investigate these disturbances, and I trust his reports. Maybe you remember Reid, brother?" The princess had no intention of letting up. Not yet, she still had bases to cover. "And then, out of nowhere, you forced me to conceive a child with a stranger, all in the name of making an heir, am I right? Do you know what kind of hell that was? Why the hell couldn't you have produced a child on your own!? I've never even seen that man again, and my poor daughter is going to grow up not knowing who her father is! What happened to you? What happened to your kindness...?"

Sid took the moment to press a small button on the inside of the sleeve of his suit. Thankfully he had decided to bring the voice recorder after all. What the mighty King chose to say may be of use later, after all.

---

Rosalynne gave a sigh of relief at the announcement about her mother, but she was nowhere near any possible state of recovery yet. She, for the most part, ignored Levi's introduction, only focusing on what her older brother told her. Even if their mom came back, so what? Their dad was still unconscious, and everyone she knew in Meredy was dead, even her cousin Soren.

"Ah, I apologize for not introducing myself." The young girl held her free, bandaged hand to her chest as she bowed politely. "My name is Hailey. I got separated from my escort, and came across your sister - you are siblings, yes? - by mistake. I explained my situation to her, and she seems to want to help me. I'm unfamiliar with Flazure, you see, having grown up in Tealia with my mother, so I'm afraid I haven't any idea where to look..."

---

Hours. It had been hours since they had gone to the library and found no trace of Pethalamine. They searched, and searched, and ultimately found nothing. It wasn't until Aya received an order from their headquarters that she had no choice but to drag Soren and Natalija back to HQ, where those who had stayed at the hotel had been taken as well. Soren messaged RAY to meet him there eventually as well, and thus the depressing walk back to the HQ commenced, and eventually concluded as they were lead into a room with the others as Miki met with other members of her organization to determine a next move, although she was unaware of Soren's presence.

Loki
April 29th, 2009, 08:14 PM
You wouldn’t have ever guessed it. But amusing! Oh this girl was so very amusing.

King Dian laughed. That’s all. He just laughed at the end of Evaline’s little tirade of all her little troubles. Oh what a funny little girl she was. She’d always been funny, and that’s what he liked best about her. Even if the circumstances were this terrible, when was the last time King Dian had laughed? The Piper inside him no longer writhed in protest- he’d been silenced long ago. And with his murder, the kindness had fled as well. “Garbage! Solomon,” The man in question turned his head down in acknowledgment of the King’s address, “Do you remember when Evaline would speak of nothing but her promise to our mother? That wonderful woman?”

Solomon did not hesitate, knowing that when they spoke of the past, he could raise his head. And he did, facing King Dian with no smile to mask his distance from the man on the throne. “I remember quite clearly.”

“See now Evaline. It’s not garbage. Even Sol remembers.” It was King Dian who stood, pushing his cloak out behind him and pacing the area around his throne, “But I remember even more clearly than you. I’m well on my way to keeping my promise to our mother. Course, I never told you what that was, did I? No matter, it’s not important to you anyway.” He eyed Solomon after seeing his sister throw a sympathetic look to him, “It is your opinion,” He wrenched his gaze back to the abominable spectacle before him, “that I think of you as a ‘dirty, throw away puppet’. But what is my opinion, of what you think of me?” He shook his head, and pulled his crown off, watching the gems catch the light. “What am I to you? A tyrant? A disappointment?” He let his crown clatter to the floor, “A failure?” Laughing, he scooped up accessory and twirled it around his index finger, staring down at his sister with his head held high, “I find no reason for me to start sharing my reasons for doing the things I do. Never have I told you before- and while there’s a first for everything, this is not the time for that first.” King Dian plopped the crown back on his head, crooked. But he could care less. Such a superficial thing held no value to him. He remembered the mention of Reid, and sat back down in his chair, laughing harder than even before, “Reid? I do remember that man. Levi was there as well, Solomon- that arrogant man who tromps into my hall as if it were his own home! Ahhh, so the good for nothing knight has finally proved some use to you. I see…. Is this why Solomon has neglected to visit Tealia for the past year or so?”

The man in question turned his head down again, flushing out of growing frustration and embarrassment. He was making a victim out of Solomon. A casualty of this personal battle between the King and a sister he’d never really known! It was at this time that Solomon really doubted whether the Piper in the King was anywhere to be found. That last shred of sanity that kept Piper alive. It must’ve been forgotten already. The King was normally so civil, so honest, and so kind. At least, towards Solomon. It was… degrading, to be treated like all the other advisers. And the subject of Evaline’s daughter made him burn with resentment. He was almost waiting for King Dian to blame him for the stranger. For having turned down the offer that had originally been directed at him. He couldn’t do something like that, and how anyone with a trace of Piper in them could even imagine that had been beyond him. But it was apparent now that Piper had been gone for a long, long time. And it was growing more and more apparent as the conversation dragged on.

“Evaline, if you do not enjoy the company of your daughter, I’m not forcing you to keep her.” King Dian pointed out bluntly, “And if she needs a father, than all she need do is look for wherever a certain advisor in this room has chosen to exile him.”

Solomon’s knee’s buckled, but he regained his balance, his face burning now. “I-It was not I who drove him out of Tealia...” He swallowed a lump in his throat, “Your Highness.”

“Solomon, I’m in no mood to uproot your feeble defense. Do not speak until I ask you to. Evaline, have you quite finished with your grievances? I’m quite sure that neither of us can stand each other’s company for much longer. At least, I certainly can’t. The good and justice that you demand from me is something I cannot give to you. Anything else you ask of me, I will consider. Otherwise, you have no purpose here.”

parallelzero
May 1st, 2009, 10:16 AM
So the man resorted to answering her questions obscurely, huh? That was all that was on Sid's mind as he continued to stand by and watch everything unfold. If he didn't dodge the question entirely, he answered her question with a question. Despite how out of touch he seemed to be, he must have lied a lot in the past to acquire such a talent in regards to wording. However, Sid couldn't forget why he was present. Aside from doubling as Evaline's security, he had also come to raise the King's awareness in regards to any attacks by Exeri in the future. It went without saying that Carn would be the next, most obvious target. Though, judging by the atmosphere, it would be difficult to convince the King of anything at any point. He seemed too distant from reality, that was for sure.

"Piper, how much do you really remember about mother? About your promise?" Evaline inquired seriously. It had been a ridiculously long time since their childhood, so there was a high probability that her brother's memory of those times had become corrupt along the way. The man continued to ask her questions about what she thought of him, and she could really tell there was nothing left as he seemed to become more and inhuman. "Yes, you are inhumane, and you are a tyrant, but you're also my brother, which is why I want to try and forgive you for what you've done!" But, she knew at this point there probably wouldn't be a chance for her to forgive him. He didn't seem to have any intention of feeling sorry, at least, especially not when he commented on the daughter ordeal. "I love my daughter very much, not that you'd understand what that is anymore, brother. I have no intention of getting rid of her. But keep in mind I have no intention of handing her over to you at any point, either. She will not succeed you as the ruler of Carn, so I suggest you go and look for an alternative way to name an heir!"

Sid spoke up. This was getting too rough, so it was time for him to stick his neck in. "Your highness, if you could just please listen to me for a moment. You need to forget your current affairs and place focus on protecting your country for the next little while. It is very possibly that what befell Alta and Tealia could occur here as well..."

Loki
May 1st, 2009, 02:58 PM
All the amusement had long drained from Piper’s face, and in it’s place, his face had contorted into a look of disbelief. Fury and disappointment. “What do I remember about our mother?” He began, venom dripping from his voice as he violently stood from his chair, storming down the stairs with fists clenched and eyes wide with anger. “I remember everything!” His voice began to escalate in volume and Solomon rushed over, grabbing the man’s cloak without much grace and pulling him back, blocking him from reaching the duo in the middle of the hall. “I’ve never asked for your forgiveness Evaline! You’re the one who expected me to keep my promise to that woman, and you abandoned yours- who wants your forgiveness?!” He roared, trying to push Solomon out of the way. But not even twenty years had changed his physical build. He was still as scrawny as ever, and Solomon had no trouble in holding him back, “I don’t understand anymore.” His voice halved in volume, but it still rang clear in the hall. The Piper of the past would be in tears by now, but not a single look of sadness could be found on his face. All that was left was resentment as he tried to reason with himself, “We’re not family anymore. You call me brother- I call you sister, but everything is fake. What is love? Is it like when I would dote on you- spend every living minute of my life thinking of you and your well-being?”

“Piper, calm down!” Solomon snapped, but the King paid him no mind.

“You want to forgive me for the things I’ve done? Then find it in yourself to do so! Nothing changes until the wheels are turned, and nothing ends if it doesn’t start!” Shoulder’s heaving as he fought for his breath, he glared into the face of his younger sister. How she’d aged. He wondered what he would see if he looked into the mirror after seeing her. A hardened, old man who had no compassion left for an empty world? Or would his outsides be as youthful as he’d always thought they were? Simply young on the outside, withered and dead on the inside? “I have no need for your daughter. An heir is never what she was destined to be. At least, not my heir. My intentions are not fit for your ears, nor your guard. Get out of my sight. You will not forgive me, nor will you ever lay your eyes on me again. I will do the same to you.” He slumped away from Solomon and turned his back on his sister. His face was not hardened with the years. It was hardened with resolve to escape this unsettling meeting. He didn’t need to face their accusations, nor did he want to. As he took a deep breath and took a few brisk steps into the door off the hallway, he paused once more. “You came to me, hoping that I would save you and my land. But your pleas are empty to me. I will not extend my power to a purpose that has no room for compassion for me. I will not dance in the palm of your hand as I have in the council’s. You’re all the same.”

Solomon flinched when the door clicked shut behind King Dian, and he turned to look over at the two in the hall with a tired face and wary eyes that no longer had the energy to stand in the middle.

“Kid,” He addressed Sid, “there’s nothing we can do against something that can kill an entire city with one flash of light.” Rubbing his eyes with his thumb and forefinger, Solomon sat down on the steps leading to the throne, “If you have a suggestion, I’m open to hear it- and the same with your reasoning as to why Carn would be chosen before a smaller continent, such as Gregar or Beta. After all, that was the original pattern, with a smaller country; Alta, then Tealia. I’m sure I can do something as the head advisor and knight of the King. Piper was the wrong person to seek. He’s never worried himself with anyone outside of me or Evaline, and now he hardly worries himself with anything at all."

Solomon paused dropping his hands from his face and lacing them together as he regarded the two stoically.

"He won't help you in protecting this country and its people."

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

If one could get dressed in the blink of an eye, Dimitri had managed to do it. As soon as he heard the news that Pethalamine was gone, he’d bolted right out of bed and demanded details. As soon as he heard that there were no details, he was determined to find them himself. Sure he’d been angry at Pethalamine only minutes earlier, but for goodness sakes, he would keep this damned promise of his to protect her even if it killed him! He wouldn’t be a liar this time. Dimitri paused when he passed the mirror on his way out the hotel room, thinking that he looked strange. Not just his clothes, but the bags he usually had under his eyes were gone. He felt healthier, almost, from not straining himself over much of anything for nearly a week. Like half the load he was bearing had been lifted. Tearing his gaze away from his reflection, Dimitri shoved the observations from his mind and furrowed his brow together. Pethalamine’s disappearance was opening his eyes as to just how much danger they were in. They were like a handful of black sheep in a world full of white ones. But he’d felt almost… comfortable, in a way. He and Pethalamine had no wings to begin with- they didn’t stand out quite as much as Soren and Natalija did. Even then, Natalija’s wings were 2D, and could fold in. Soren wasn’t even with them anymore, and Alderian didn’t have wings either…. Dimitri stopped barreling down the stairs. That really was a strange coincidence. But perhaps… it wasn’t a coincidence? Stop!

Dimitri shook his head violently, storming down towards the lobby. He was getting so sidetracked! His mind was pulling itself left and right as it finally registered the real depth of the situation it was in. Calm and cool was essential in a situation like this… but that just wasn’t something that Dimitri was capable of. As soon as he caught sight of the familiar long black tresses in the lobby, he rushed towards the girl, running right past the man that was supposed to escort him to the room they’d be waiting inside.

“Natalija!” He called, “What happened? What happened to Pethalamine?” So many questions running through his mind. Had she even tried to save Peth? Had she seen her captor? Was Peth even captured? Had she left on her own accord, feeling unwelcome as both he and Natalija shunned her for her outburst? What if all this was his fault, after he’d promised to protect her? He grabbed Natalija’s arm as the girl held her nose in the air, ignoring him, “What’s going on?!”

Natalija’s eyes flashed and she glared at the blonde. “Hell if I know!” She snapped, pulling her arm out of his grasp, “I’m not her babysitter, you are.” Flipping her hair over her shoulder she continued towards the room as if she had never been interrupted. At a loss as to whether he disliked Natalija or Pethalamine more, Dimitri almost missed the extra party member that had returned. But alas, he didn’t.

“Soren!” He exclaimed, looking the once MIA dation user over. Other than being dressed differently, he looked… totally fine! And different clothes weren’t exactly reserved just for him, considering that Dimitri and everyone else had chosen new ensembles as well. “Where have you been?"

parallelzero
May 6th, 2009, 03:30 PM
“It’s okay, Solomon, we came here expecting as much.” Sid sighed as he guided the woman beside him up to the other man. Evaline looked at Solomon with worried eyes, despite the fact that she seemed to be in an even worse condition. “Is there any way of you sneaking away from the King at any point? Perhaps in the night? What I have to share isn’t something for the ears of everyone… Actually, she has matters to discuss with you as well…”

“Solomon, are you really okay here? Shouldn’t you leave?” Evaline interjected, rather disheartened from the whole experience. “Surely he isn’t treating you well! You could come with us now!”

“Now now, Princess. Calm down, you know it’s bad for your health if you get too worked up.” Sid grabbed hold of her to calm her down

---

“Oh, you know, I was out sampling the lollipop and gumdrop trees in the magical fairy land of make believe…” Soren replied sarcastically with a smile, trying to at least lighten up the mood a little bit as he ran a hand through his hair in disarray. Where was RAY? She was late, and there was little chance it was on purpose. Had she been found? Although, he feared when the synthetic girl made her appearance, the others, particularly Natalija, wouldn’t be too pleased. RAY wasn’t exactly the most charming of people, let alone the fact that she was partially responsible for the events in Meredy. “In all seriousness, let’s just say the quiet little Miki we met a while ago saved my life through some extraordinary means. Let’s also say I was in the custody of the enemy for a short while.” Of course, he’d probably get questions over this later, but for now it was the best reply he could give without getting into too much detail. He wouldn’t mention it to them yet, but he’d been getting a nagging feeling ever since Pethalamine had disappeared, as if it was a premonition of things to come.

Aya, on the other hand, was confused. She still had very little idea what was going on, but she knew she was responsible for Pethalamine’s disappearance and would probably be strictly punished for it. If only she hadn’t left her alone, then maybe none of this would have happened. She sat in her seat, staring at the ground with disappointed and scared eyes, as if she was on death row. The organization wasn’t one to kill those who made mistakes, but she could be stripped of her ranks or worse, which would mean she wouldn’t have her education funded anymore. If that were the case, she’d be forced to get remedial work to barely get by in life, but she didn’t want that!

Her thoughts were interrupted as the figure that was her leader opened the door and stepped in. Her eyes glanced at Soren for but a moment, glancing away and then back at him again as if she was shocked by his presence. She’d have to talk to him later about what happened. Her eyes then wandered to Aya as she pushed white bangs out from in front of her eyes. “What occurred today was something that none of us could have prevented, is what I’d like to say, and is what I feel, but unfortunately the other executives feel a degree of blame is to be placed on you, Aya. I’m sorry I didn’t consider the fact that Exeri would invade our own community…” The girl seemed saddened, shaken up as if she had been scolded in whatever meeting she had been involved in. Perhaps her position of power wasn’t as great as Soren had originally given her credit for. “As a result, you’ll need to be punished. But, I pulled some strings and had your punishment softened. Instead of demotion and abolishment from the organization, the consensus was that you should escort our guests back to the surface and aid them in the task we have for them.”

“Er… sorry?” Soren perked up at the thought of going back up to the surface again. It seemed like they were only being used to accomplish some goal. Luckily, it wasn’t as shallow as he assumed it was going to be. Or, at least, it didn’t seem that way.

“We want to send you back to the surface. As the only surface dwellers that know about this world, you are the only ones with the knowledge to convince the upper leaders of this world and the threat Exeri presents. Now that they’re aware that you are all down here, as well, it’s important we get you out of their grasp as well.” Miki sighed as she took a seat beside Aya, looking rather fatigued. It was no doubt something had gone wrong. “As you heard, Aya will be going with you. But I as well will come, for the sake of meeting with a boy who might be rather helpful for our cause. We’ll be leaving tomorrow morning, so gather anything you need in the meantime. I’ve had security increased throughout the city, so you should have nothing to worry about, I’d hope.”

Aya was out of it. She was going… to the surface? To where she was born? Her homeland?

Loki
May 6th, 2009, 06:43 PM
Solomon looked up, a wry, bemused smile twisting his lips, “Can I get away? Sure can, right now, tonight, tomorrow, yesterday, anytime I want, Piper can’t stop me.” He leaned back a little, his smile growing sturdier with confidence. It was just a front. He wanted to crumple into a helpless ball on the ground. The glorious, golden chance! Exactly what he’d been waiting for, for so many years! “But I can’t go with you anymore.” Solomon stood, pushing the sleeve of his pristine black suit back to examine the hands on his silver watch, “I’ve left Carn before, about a decade ago, but if I cross the borders without the King’s permission now, I run the risk of having my company getting a royal kick in the ass.” He chuckled half-heartedly, “Literally. Anyway, Piper treats me the same as he used to, most of the time, so it’s not like I’m suffering. Well, compared to the other advisors…” He trailed off, thinking of some other occurrences. But the memory that their fates hadn’t been solely Piper’s fault snapped Solomon back to the matter at hand as he avoided his thoughts. Patting Evaline on the head, as if he were still fourteen and she, seven, he strolled past her and her guard, looking up and around at the ceiling.

“I’ll be fine though.” He stated vaguely, “There’s no need for you to worry.” He turned again to face Sid, “I can pull political strings for you unless Piper decides to blocks them, but he won’t. He never really notices. The only problem is, I can’t help you outside of Carn. A friend of mine can, however, if you’re interested in roping in Beta for your cause. He should be arriving at my home in about half an hour. I have to meet him there, and if you’d like to accompany me, you may. He’ll be here all week, so please drop by at your leisure if now is not convenient.”


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


Dimitri didn’t get it at first, but as soon as it hit him that Soren was just kidding around, a tentative smile graced Dimitri’s face. He wasn’t sure if he should laugh or brush it off, but he chose the latter, “Well I guess what matters is that you’re in one piece.” He said, awkwardly trying to fish out of his memory as to how he acted the last time he was under moderately normal circumstances with Soren. He realized with amusement that he’d pretty much never been in a normal environment with him. But apparently now, such was life. Unfortunately, he was a little too worried to be amused to the point where he would be able to go back to normal. Otherwise, he probably would’ve tried to cheer up Aya, who looked quite apprehensive as to her fate. Otherwise, he probably would’ve given Miki a cheerful greeting, perhaps to also try to lighten the mood. Instead, he listened quietly and attentively, resisting the urge to interrupt the once strange girl who had ridden beside him on his skyboard. “Wait a second,” Dimitri interjected, his brow furrowed in displeasure, “What about Pethalamine? She’s down here, isn’t she? I want to look for her- maybe try to save her or something. We can’t just…” He trailed off, slumping into a seat. Leave her behind? But isn’t that technically exactly what they’d done to Soren? And Soren didn’t even seem to notice. A pang of guilt hit Dimitri square in the cheek and he shut up.

“Right,” Natalija scoffed, finding the whole fiasco rather comical, “You, who couldn’t protect Pethalamine in your own home base, will protect us in our territory. Right, I’ll put my stock in that. But hey, I’m not against going back up. Means less time lugging this baby around.” She patted the wooden box slung across her shoulder like a messenger bag, “When are we leaving?”

“Uh, and I need my skyboard… before we go.” Dimitri mentioned sheepishly, knowing that it was a stupid request in such a time of crisis. But it was the only real thing he actually owned nowadays, so he wasn’t exactly keen on the idea of leaving it in a world that might not be accessible later on.

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


White lilies popped out of the ground nearly everywhere, swaying in the gentle breeze as a dark figure strolled down the cobblestone path. Behind him, a quaint little home stood silently, the small build suggesting a once tight fit for the family that lived inside it. But ask anyone in town, and they would tell you that the family who lived there was the happiest around- and the traces remained. An aging picnic table on a porch leading into the backyard, a swinging bench, a hammock and swing hanging from the large trees protecting the house from outsiders. It wasn’t big, but it had all the necessities of a dream home. The inside, deafeningly quiet and empty, was just as simple as the exterior. Plain pastel papered walls, soft carpet and hardwood flooring, homey furnishings, and a fire place that had obviously been used many times during it’s prime. Hardly the place where you would think a genius boy who ended up losing the race to the top would have grown up. Hardly the place where you’d think an agent of Exeri lived his life, carefree and unhindered. Hardly the place where you’d think to find a wealthy man’s orphan. Hardly the place where you’d think she’d blossomed into the leader of a resistance movement. But it was here where everything… everything began.

Holding a bouquet of hibiscus flowers, Giles Orlando Aliot stood as lonely as his home, at least five miles away from the nearest town. How things had spiraled out of control like this, he’d been unable to grasp. Then again, that was why he’d lost his title as a prodigy. Because there were things that he still couldn’t understand. He laid the bouquet down between two granite plaques, brushing roots, twigs and dirt off of the glossy black surface that read off the names of his parents: Orlando James Aliot, and Lillian Reira Aliot. Kneeling on one knee for just a moment, Giles read the dates, the names, the details of each before standing again. Looking around himself, he found he much preferred this scene of calm peace. Just a light, cool breeze that felt good on your face- that made the grass and flowers rustle in an orchestra of soothing sound. Nothing to see but home, and miles of nature. Where had he lost all that? Perhaps when he went to the crowded, plugged up cities for University?

Giles turned back down the path he’d came. The path that lead directly north from the back door to the two plaques that held a memory of his parent for as long as this land remained untouched.

Just a little longer now, and his last stretch of freedom would be gone, no thanks to that little punk. He’d better not have forgotten his promise already, Giles thought, lighting a cigarette and peering up at the dimming sky, where the first signs of stars were beginning to glow.


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


“Ah…” Serge hesitated. Tealia. Were those bandages…? No, that couldn’t be right. Anyone not in the barriers had been utterly annihilated, hadn’t they? It wasn’t like a bomb or anything. “I see.” He followed up with a cheerful smile that he only put half of his honesty in, “Well I don’t know Flazure as well as Rosalynne does, so I can’t help you out, but I hope you don’t mind if I accompany you. I’m not sure I should let my little sister walk around town on her own- I haven’t been very good about that lately, but better late then never. Uh, shall we go to… wherever you want to go?”

parallelzero
May 17th, 2009, 09:28 AM
"Well, the truth is, I don't think there is a whole lot that can be done politically." Sid muttered quietly, so that only the three could hear. "As for the reasoning, I'd rather present it before both you and your friend. However, before I meet with you both, I should probably take the Princess to get cleaned up and rested, so perhaps in the morning tomorrow?" Evaline nodded in agreement, though she was more distracted by Solomon. Had he been lying about how he was being treated? He was definitely still keeping something from her... Her thoughts, however, were interrupted by the nostalgic feeling of having her head patted by him. It had been a very long time since that last happened, before she was sent to Tealia at least. But how long ago was that? She had lost track of time a long while ago. After all, what use was time when you were held essentially captive in a castle?

---

Soren understood where Dimitri was trying to come from. It didn't make sense for them to just leave Pethalamine behind, but on the other hand what could they really do about it? They knew little to nothing about this land, it's people, it's science. They'd have to waste time learning all of these things if they wanted to save her themselves, so it was only natural that to save her quickly, they themselves would not be sent to do it. Besides, if someone was good enough to snatch up Pethalamine, that would mean they must be strong. That, or they were really smart with how they went about catching her. For all they knew, they could have gotten her with some strange technology they'd never seen or heard of due to it's underground origins.

“You, who couldn’t protect Pethalamine in your own home base, will protect us in our territory." Natalija spoke up in a manner that was to be expected of her, although it had a much more severe effect than usual. Aya, who was already distressed enough about her whole failure, took the girl's words personally and began to cry quietly to herself. Although, it didn't become apparent until Natalija finished her selfish little rant, and Aya rose from her seat and left the room, probably to go off finish crying somewhere.

Soren rose from his seat shortly after. He needed to find RAY, and it wouldn't hurt to check on the girl at the same time. Before he left, however, he gave Natalija a rather annoyed glare. Would she ever learn to consider the feelings of others? He sighed, and left the room.

"Well, Dimitri, you have until the morning to get it, and if you haven't gotten it, it should be in the holding room downstairs..." Miki explained, trying to dodge the sudden tension. It was unfortunate that Aya had a rather low self-esteem. She was a strong person otherwise...

---

"I'm sorry to trouble you!" Hailey exclaimed as she bowed to Serge suddenly. "I promise I'll have my escort repay you when we find her!" The small girl looked deep in thought for a moment before finally speaking again. "I think she said that if we got separated, to meet her at the entrance to the town. But, I can't remember where we came in and I've become a little disoriented as to my location... If you could just help me get there, I'd be ever so greatful!"

---

How long had it been now? A great number of years, that much was certain, since he had been locked up in this ridiculous prison in Telfin. The extremely thin man had committed no crime other than not being a Skill and living with his beloved in that city, but they stripped him of his freedom and exiled his lover. Ex-Lieutenant Ashton Tappen was in no condition to do much of anything in the near future. His once red hair had grown long and untamed, his unfed, thin ,thirty eight year old body draped in nothing but a common rag to keep himself warm in the cold, dark cell. He wasn't even sure why he tried so hard to stay alive anymore. It was quite obvious he'd never be freed to see Auricia, and with what his ears had caught about Alta and Meredy, it seemed likely he'd die in that cell through supernatural means before he died of hunger or old age.

---

"KI, I have something I'd like to ask of you." The shadowy man spoke to his synthetic human assistant as he browsed through Giles' record of the last day or two. Both that bogey and RAY were now reported as missing, which meant he was doing something he shouldn't be. Of course, KI would have nothing to say against what her master was about to ask of her. She was loyal, through and through. After all, she was just a machine. "I'd like you to work alongside Mr. Giles for a little while. Remind him what his job is supposed to be, would you?"

"Yes master." The blue haired synthetic spoke in reply.

Loki
May 17th, 2009, 08:10 PM
“Mmmm! This is pretty damn good.”

Solomon’s brow furrowed, but the blinding light that was burning his eyelids prevented him from opening his eyes. What the heck. Who gave the maids permission to open his curtains before he’d woken up? Who-…. Who the heck was speaking? Solomon bolted upright, his tousled blonde hair flying away as he came face to face with Levi sitting at the end of his King sized bed. Dirty boots on his perfect silk sheets and comforter! Eating a parfait like it was his own home! Solomon sighed, letting his head fall back onto his pillow, “Go away.” Solomon groaned, his voice muffled by the soft object beneath his head. He was in no mood for Levi’s antics. Not after a disaster like yesterday. He just wanted to sleep the day away, not get out of bed all day. A red flag flew up in the back of Solomon’s head, telling him that he was forgetting something extremely important- but who cared? He was exhausted. After he’d gotten home last night, there had been another huge pile of pointless things to sign and sift through. All the transportation that had burst into activity after people began moving around in search of a safer place to live was overloading his company. Airships were flown in for repairs and out of the hangar within hours. Solomon wouldn’t be surprised if he’d have to go in himself and start doing some extra handiwork himself soon.

“Nope!” Levi replied cheerfully to Solomon’s lifeless command, “I intent to enjoy my parfait, and bother you for the next week or so. Dieter has already started to move, and it’ll take him about a week to get here. Once he’s here, I’ll go ahead and run along, but for the time being… RISE AND SHIIIINE SOLOMON THE SOL SHINE OF THE WORLD, RISE AND- oof!” A pillow slammed square into Levi’s face as Solomon grumbled about waking up early, dragging himself out of bed to get dressed.

The red flag waved again, and Solomon realized what he’d forgotten. Crap, Evaline and her guard guy was coming today!

“Levi!” Solomon grabbed the man in question by the collar, “Go downstairs and wait for Evaline. She’ll be here soon with some guy to talk about protecting Carn from a potential attack. I know you’re busy with helping your skill friend, but I need you to talk to Rasch and some other businessmen if the guy wants to get other countries in on this too.” Solomon snapped his fingers and a fresh set of clothes was by his side in less than a minute, “I can’t leave Carn, so you have to do this for me. I’m going to take a shower- don’t say or do anything stupid. Treat it like a transaction, Levi. A transaction. I’ll invest some more in your bank if you’ll just do this one thing right for me.” With that, Solomon disappeared behind a door.

Levi, baffled as he sat on the edge of the luxurious bed with his spoon halfway to his mouth said nothing during the entire tirade. “… Okay!” He called at the tightly shut door, “… Whatever!”

He stuck the spoon in his mouth and scrambled off the bed, handing the half-eaten dessert to a maid before bursting out the door to Solomon’s room. He slid down the banister, propelling himself along by means of wionus, and before one could even blink, he was sitting on the railing on the first floor, sighing with impatience. “He’s acting like I’m late but they’re not even here yet!” Who was coming? Levi wasn’t sure. Why were they coming? Levi wasn’t sure. But hey, it was important to Solomon, which meant the person coming was important, and the reason they were coming was also of importance. Probably.


--------


Natalija dampened, her haughty attitude sliding off like a glove as she watched Aya leave, “I-I wasn’t talking about you! I was talking about-….” Natalija trailed off, flushing when Soren glared at her. It wasn’t as if he knew Aya at all, and yet here he was acting like she’d just committed a huge sin! Oohh how infuriating to be thrown into a stereotype like that! She actually didn’t mind Aya, even if… it was true that she thought that, as a bodyguard, the girl was useless. But she’d done a lot to help Natalija, and really? She had a good sense of fashion, which was more than enough to leave Natalija simmering in her own annoyance at picking the wrong words.

“Nice.” Dimitri commented off-handedly.

“SHUT UP!” Natalija screeched as Dimitri pretended not to notice, paying attention to Miki now as he plastered on a faded smile.

“Oh thanks, I’ll go get it now. I’m not going anywhere, so nobody’ll see it, hopefully.” Dimitri replied, looking over to the guide who had brought Natalija and Soren to the room, “So uh, where is this holding room…?”

----------

“Uh…” Serge leaned back in surprise, “Sure, no problem.” Who the heck bowed these days? “The entrance… um. Well like I said, I’m not really sure where that is since I haven’t been wandering around Flazure much. Rosalynne, you know where it is, right…?” Serge asked, uncomfortable with Hailey’s excitement and expectations.

------

“Mary, I’m closing up,” A man with ruby red hair announced as he turned a sign hanging in the doorway over, “Put up the chairs, would you?” He appeared no older than twenty-two, though his actual age was probably debatable. His frame was thin and angular, a scrunchy plaid monochrome scarf around his neck, while a long gray t-shirt fit loosely around his torso. A pair of distressed black jeans stuffed into the tops of his black military boots made this rather trendy look drop his age another handful of years, and the signature eyepatch was still stretched around his head. Dieter Glynn Isidior was different. His personality was different, his appearance was different, and he was just… different. Considerably calmer, the lack of any real sources of blood or gore to excite him had dulled his once impatient and sadistic attitude. After all, common bar brawls, which happened a lot at the Bloody Mary, were pretty damn boring. And besides, it would be a bad influence on the little teenage girl who helped him out. He’d picked her up simply on a whim when he was first shut up in Telfin, before all hell had broken loose with Auricia. A toddler at the time, she’d since grown into quite the young lady. A surprise, considering her legal guardian had once been a demon.

“Okay, coming!” The sound of light feet pattered across the ceiling before Mary herself appeared, stumbling down the stairs as fast as her feet could go. She was thirteen, well trained in the ways of the world, but was still lovable and sweet. Her brown hair was pulled into two twintails on either side of her head, softly curled to sit in front of her shoulders. Of course, she was the one who did her own hair. Her eyes were huge, innocent and green with a button nose and a cheerful smile on her face. Dieter watched her rather unsympathetically as she missed a few steps and fought to regain her balance. He lit a cigarette and sighed as he moved past the gate that kept customers from wandering into Dieter’s territory.

“Walk slower, you’re gonna trip and break something.” Dieter hung his apron on a coat rack behind the bar, dumping his rag in the sink.

“Kay.” Mary replied, pulling chairs up onto the tables.

“I’m gonna be gone tonight.”

“Kay!”

“I might not come back.”

“Kay~”

“Ever.”

Mary dropped the stool that had been in her hands, not even flinching at the fact that it had fallen on her toes. The red marks on her feet disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. “Why?” She demanded in a defeated little soprano trill.

Dieter smiled and motioned her over to the bar. Mary skillfully jumped atop the counter and spun around so that her feet sat in the stainless steel sink. “I’m gonna bust Uncle Ash outta jail.” He whispered, smirking as Mary’s face lit up in excitement.

“No way!”

One couldn’t be completely pure when raised by Dieter. “Take me with you!!” Mary squealed, “I can help! You know I can! And I can hold transformations for a long long time, so it won’t be a problem, so take me with you!”

“Well what about the bar?” Dieter asked, motioning to the polished cherry oak structure, “You wanna shut it down?”

“I wanna go with you.” Mary replied, ignoring the questions Dieter had asked. She knew it was his way of trying to make her stay.

“Not on the breakout. But we’ll run past the bar, and you can come with us then, if all goes well.” Dieter replied, not pressing the subject. “Either way, go upstairs for now, and lock all the doors and windows. I’m pretty sure you’ll be getting some visitors if operation Get Outta This Bird Coop fails. Come on, go.” He shooed Mary off, without giving her any details. She saw it as an adventure. Just another way to end an endless life. Dieter agreed. What an adventure it would be. But he knew now that this particular escapade meant something to Auricia. To Ashton. Dieter blew out a lungful of smoke, tugging at his hand. He couldn’t fail. A self-confident grin passed his lips. One that hadn’t graced his face since the days of killing and murdering en masse. Even if it failed, oh Dieter would have his fricking fun tonight whether the anal officials of Telfin wanted him to or not.

parallelzero
June 7th, 2009, 05:19 PM
"Back up to our world, huh?" Soren played with the idea in his mind for a little while before stepping outside of the big building for some fresh air. Surely it was a good thing that they were going back up, but would there even be anything waiting for them up there? What he had seen of Meredy - a ghost town - was disheartening to say the least, but there was a chance of anyone surviving? And, what if Exeri launched another attack on the world? What was there reason for doing so? There were too many questions that needed answering. Hands in his pockets, he wandered over to a large fountain in front of the building before taking a seat. The water caught the golden light the now-setting sun cast, which created a beautiful sight indeed. A light mist was cast off onto his wings, which ruffled slightly at the unusually chilly feeling. Would everything really be okay? Pethalamine's disappearance was troubling, but he hadn't known her enough to be truly upset. Did that make him a bad person?

The sound of footsteps to his side caught Soren's attention, although he didn't turn to look. "The rest of the people you've been with are probably thinking similar things, you know." RAY's voice, undoubtedly, spoke as the synthetic girl came into view, looking rather depressed. It was probable that she was having regrets about leaving Giles alone, which was why she had taken so long to catch up to him. Her blue eyes were sparkling in the shining light as she sat down beside whom was apparently her new master, long red hair blowing gently in the breeze behind her. Her small body was clad in a simple black dress with a white lace wrapped around the middle of her torso. She wore simple, petite boots and a headset seemed to be mounted on her head almost permanently, most likely for communication between her and Exeri. Was it still active?

It took Soren a moment to respond to what she said as he formulated his response. "Yeah, I know. They aren't just my concerns, they're everyone's." But still, it didn't make the answers come any easier. He had to figure out a way to ascertain what had happened to his family, first of all. While it didn't seem like it way down there, the surface was a total mess right now, which meant it would be hard to locate people even if they were alive...

---

When Rosalynne didn't respond to Serge's inquiry, Hailey took it upon herself to answer for the intentional mute. The lost girl couldn't help but wonder about what happened to these two she had found on her little adventure of misdirection. She wasn't going to ask, of course, since that would be rude, but she had the right to wonder. "I don't think she knows where it is, actually. She's been leading me around aimlessly thus far... I apologize for being a burden!" She bowed again, apparently troubled by the fact that she was causing them trouble.

"Ah! Hailey! There you are!" The voice of Kay wrang over the crowd as the young, brown haired women gently grabbed the small wrist of the girl she was supposed to be accompanying. "Man, I was so freaking terrified that I had lost you!" The girl had her shoulderlength hair in a ponytail, and was wearing a pair of jeans and a black halter-top. She looked exhausted. "If I didn't find you, Sid would have... ugh, I don't even want to think about it- Aren't you two the Davies children?" She suddenly changed the track of her conversation when she noticed Serge and Rosalynne. She had been the one who had saved their household from Exeri's last attack, so that's how they were acquainted provided the kids had any recollection of that day. The girl looked... out of it? Like she had no will to live. It wasn't surprising, considering what were probably her circumstances at the time...

---

"Um... excuse me? Is Solomon around here anywhere?" The essentially-former Princess Evaline inquired on the first floor of the place they had been directed to. Her filthy attire from the day before discarded, she was now clad in the strangest things for royalty to wear - a pair of blue jeans and a white blouse, her hair brushed back straight with her bangs parted to one side. She at least looked... better than the day before. Sid walked up behind her, still clad in the same suit from the day before. This was becoming a hassle. And would they even believe him?

OOC: RAY (http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/Daiaki711/Untitled-1-3.jpg)

Loki
June 7th, 2009, 07:27 PM
Fwooooo….

Dieter let out a lungful of smoke, having taken the deepest drag he could manage before he finished his last pack in Telfin. Hopefully. Dropping the butt onto the cobblestone and crushing it with the toe of his textured boots, the ruby haired man took a swig of soda and let the bottle clatter to the floor. Lovely- gotta catch their attention first.

“Who’s there?!” A gruff voice called, enticing Dieter to stroll out of the alleyway as if it weren’t half past ten. Nobody had any business down in the prison at this hour, but the loose stride that Dieter used to stumble over to the two guards gave him the look of an average Friday night drunkard. Good. Let them think what they wanted. Let them think as much as they want, so long as they didn’t act. “Ugh.” The guard curled his lip at the strong smell of alcohol that Dieter constantly carried on himself, despite having never drank regularly, “Go home sir, this is no place fo-“ The rest of the man’s sentence was replaced with a sickening crunch and a disgusting squelch. Then another two matching sounds, coming from his companion. Ohhhhh yes. A demented smile curled onto the bartender’s lips. It had been far too long since he’d gotten his fair share of blood. Pulling the knives out of the two men’s head, Dieter chuckled to himself, the touches of insanity washing off of Dieter’s face as he calmed down. Time to raise the roof.

“Loooo~sers.” Dieter taunted at the dead bodies before spitting on the ground beside them. Gripping his left hand in his right, he dug his fingers into his own skin- harder, tighter, pulling with all the strength in his right arm. Crack! Dieter took a deep breath. There went the bones. One quick flick of the wrist- there went the skin and flesh. “Good. Now let’s see if it still works...” The dismembered hand reformed itself into a gun, and Dieter smirked, waving it around before biting the barrel between his teeth to open the door with his remaining hand. “Pardon the intrusion.” He muttered, amused as he closed the door behind him and slunk through the dark halls. The forearm of Dieter’s now amputated left arm reformed itself into another gun, the trigger pulled by refiguring the upper part of his arm. Goodness knows it was a good thing he wasn’t wearing his T-shirt, but rather a loose black, longsleeved top. “Good morning!” Dieter trilled, catching the attention of a guard and putting a bullet through his heart. “Or maybe not~!” He continued his carefree commentary, peering into various cells before something that was to be expected happened.

“There’s the bell!” Dieter laughed, waving his gun at the bells ringing throughout the corridors. He turned to look at an inmate, grinning as the glint of madness returned to his eyes, “Sorry, but you’re not who I’m looking for.”

The old Dieter would’ve put holes through the man without a second thought. But this Dieter put holes in all the padlocks. Would the inmates run? Leave? Riot? Psh. As if Dieter cared. They could do whatever they wanted. He strolled deeper into the prison, putting bullet holes in padlocks and guards and just about everything, really. At one point, he met a rather valiant guard who sank a knife just inches away from his heart. Well it would’ve been game over, but unfortunately the little green horn missed. Dropping his gun, Dieter pulled off his eye patch, and watched in satisfaction as the blood that poured from his monstrous eye pierced straight though the other man’s eye. It was like a one-man show, except the prisoners freed along the way were causing a bit of a ruckus too. “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Dieter called, peering like an innocent schoolgirl into the different holding cells. Where was that pesky human?

“Low and behold, it’s my old friend Ashton! Fancy seeing you here, huh?” Dieter snickered, putting a bullet through the locks on the human’s cell and kicking the door open. He seemed to calm down at the sight of his target as he finally took the time to look over his shoulders, no longer shooting bullets left and right. Rather, he looked just as calm as he usually did behind the bar at the Bloody Mary. “Aaaalrighty then. Time to bust out of this chicken coop. Ah-“ Dieter held up a finger, though that finger ended up somehow being his middle finger, “Not just this coop, for the record.” He waved his hand around, “All’a Telfin. Oh and let me tell you somethin’, your opinions mean just as much as they always have.” Dieter tapped the place where his old collar had been, pointing out that it was no longer there, “Nothing. So we’re bustin’ out whether you like it or not. Damn, you human’s age fast, don’tcha? And what’s with your clothes?” Dieter pulled off his plaid scarf and draped it onto Ashton’s head as he stepped back into the hall, “I’ll get Mary to grab you some clothes.” Dieter smirked as he shot another round of bullets down the hall, “Riot time, riot time~” He sang as he reattached his hand and lifted the skinny man with ease by the waist. “Keep your hands and feet off the ground, don’t let your face eat pavement and we’re good.” He pointed his finger down the hall and a blaze of fionus erupted. It was now a race against the flames- except Dieter was the one igniting them as he went, and some of the flames didn’t keep due to the fact that there was little in the prison to burn. But bodies made for good fuel and there was a good amount of those, whether it was from the rush to get out after being freed, or guards being killed and/or trampled in the process.

It wasn’t hard to get out. There was so much chaos, Dieter only put bullets through about five or ten people before slinking back into the alleyways that he knew like the back of his hand. Through the inside workings of buildings, Dieter saluted to his friends, all mongrels or conmen who gave one look at Ashton and laughed. They’d have to find a new place to drink, they laughed as Dieter strolled through at a swift pace. “You’ve missed quite a bit Lieutenant,” Dieter stated, unlocking a door and throwing it open to find an empty bar.

Dropping Ashton to the floor without much care for the aging man, Dieter called up the stairs, “Decided to take the inroads Mary! Get me three changes of clothes and get ready to split!”

“You’re back already?!” The girlish voice trilled as quick footsteps sounded across the second floor, “O-Okay, I’ll be right there!”

Dieter opened the refridgerator, pulling out a small container of pasta and a small glass bottle of milk. “That’s all we have time for if you’re planning on getting food in you before we get out of here. Mary!!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming!! Should I bring my white blouse or my green one?!”

“WHO CAR….” Dieter heaved a heavy sigh, before calling back up the stairs, “THE GREEN ONE.”

Flipping the tab of a grape soda can, Dieter leaned against the counter, examining his bloody shirt in silence. Eh. He wasn’t too fond of silence. “Hope y’don’t mind me busting your butt out of that place.” Dieter commented, looking over at Ashton. He’d known it was the Lieutenant on the spot. Human had that distinct smell about them that stuck no matter where they went. Dieter took a sip. The smell that wouldn’t wash off no matter how long they stayed with skills.

“Okay I’m ready!” Dressed in shorts held up by suspenders and a somewhat frilly green blouse, Mary thundered down the stairs with a messenger bag slung across her shoulders and a change of clothes in the nook of her arm.

“Good!” Dieter trashed his soda and unlocked the front door, “We’re taking the high road out.”

“Oooooh, good idea!” Mary clapped her hands before handing Ashton the change of clothes without giving him any instructions, “I already put the deed to the shop in Nanny’s desk drawer, so she’ll figure out what to do with it. All our money is in here too!” Mary tapped her bag.


---


“You have awfully high-maintenance friends Erik.” Two men who were completely identical in appearance, right down to the silver rimmed glasses framing their dark red eyes stood in the shadow of Telfin’s looming walls. One was smirking in the shimmering moonlight, his hands in the pocket of his suit. As Dieter might put it, he had the scent of a human. “Breaking out of Telfin isn’t exactly an order we usually fulfill. I was thinking more… political bribes? Something that wouldn’t involve me standing here at an ungodly hour past bedtime anyway.”

But the one who did not smell human had no expression at all. He folded his arms, replying indifferently to his companion’s comment, “That’s the price of dying, Rasch.”


----


Serge knit his eyebrows together as he stared at Rosalynne, a little annoyed, a little disappointed. She was taking it hard, which was understandable, but she was making it hard for everyone around her. But he’d been doing just the same until about an hour or two ago. He turned his gaze away from his little sister, who wouldn’t even say a word at the fact that their mother was coming back. Not even a word. Serge tightened his jaw, before looking back at Hailey, “You’re not a burden. I’m sorry my sister hasn’t been much help- I’m sure she didn’t mean to lead you around without any destination in mind for too long.” Serge sighed, “Let’s go back to the chur-“

“Ah, Hailey!”

Serge froze, throwing a dirty glare over his shoulder at the approaching woman. As soon as she inquired as to whether he and Rosalynne were Reid and Adela’s children, he let out an irritated, “Tch!” Last person he wanted to see. A stranger to remind him of that night. “We’re leaving Rosalynne.” He announced harshly without acknowledging Kay. He grabbed his younger sister’s hand and tugged her in the opposite direction that Kay had come from. It was unfair to Kay, but she was the one who’d saved him. It wasn’t fair that he was still alive. And it was her fault. She didn’t understand anything. Not that he understood much either. Why was he feeling such animosity towards… everyone all of a sudden? Like, in an instant, it felt like it was everyone else’s fault. Serge tightened his grip on Rosalynne, his thoughts spiraling out of control.

---

A young butler who definitely hadn’t been in the industry for long brightened at the sight of guests, flashing a refreshing smile, “The master is currently still in bed, but if you’d wait just a moment, I shall go wake him-“

“No need!” Levi hopped off of his perch on the banister, sliding up beside Evaline and draping an arm on her shoulder, “I’ve already done the honors of waking Sol from his beauty sleep. He is currently in the middle of his morning ritual of showering and doing whatever it is he’s been doing to his hair for the past thirty years, so if you’d like to have a seat while we wait for Solomon to get prettied up, we can take a stop at the nearest coffee shop, or maybe we can take a stroll in his garde- OOF!” Levi twisted around and landed face first into the marble floor with his butt in the air.

“My sincerest apologies!” The butler smiled as brightly as ever, despite the fact that his white gloved hand was clenched into a fist that had just punched the lights out of an unsuspecting Levi, “I was sure I’d gotten rid of every last pest in this humble abode! I must be sure to be more diligent in my duties.”

“Stop making a fuss!”

Levi turned his head towards the staircase and the butler snapped to attention. So much for doing whatever he’d been doing to his hair for the past thirty years. His damp blonde hair stuck to his face in places and stood up in others, but in front of such company as a guard he’d never met, and Evaline, he didn’t see much point in getting fancy. “Sorry about that.” Solomon sighed, looking over at Levi and adjusting the cuffs on his black formal shirt, “I’ve asked Dean to punch Levi whenever he does something uncouth, you see.” Brushing off his fine, pressed black slacks, Solomon motioned for Evaline and Sid to follow him.

“Come on Levi, stop making a fool of yourself.” Solomon commented, strolling past his rosy-haired partner in business and crime without making any effort to help the man up.

“Who are these people anyway?” Levi asked, getting up as if nothing had happened and straightening his shirt as he followed Solomon into the adjacent room.

Following the blonde into the library, Levi slid into a seat before even the man who lead the troupe, treating the place like his own home. Which Levi considered to be one of his many homes anyway. Solomon himself sat down in a leather arm chair to Levi’s right just as another servant placed a pitcher of water and glass teacups down on the table, and laced his fingers together on top of his crossed legs. “So, like I said yesterday, this is my… friend, who can help your cause.”

Levi sat up, “Business it is!” He pulled his goggles off and set them down in his lap, painting an amiable smile onto his face, “Apologies for earlier- it’s a bad habit. Hopefully we can go ahead and move right past that. I haven’t heard much, but I’m all ears whenever you’d like to begin ma'am-” Levi looked pointedly at Sid, acknowledging his presence for the first time, "and sir."

parallelzero
June 30th, 2009, 09:14 AM
"Eeeeh? We're taking this thing? Isn't this an artifact of the ancient Earth?" Aya exclaimed in protest the next morning, having stumbled upon the site of their propulsion to the surface. Having been warped ahead of time with Miki in order to deal with preparations, the girl had been provided with a first look at their method of transportation. Definitely from an era long before the existence of the upper world, the wall-wards pointed, black aircraft complete with two cockpits for the pilots and a cargo bay for where they assumingly would be cramped into. Upon closer examination, she found the code SR-71 etched onto the bottom of the jet plane in red paint. She wasn't sure, but maybe this was an ancient military aircraft that had been upgraded using modern technology, as apparent by the engines which seemingly took the main source of energy these days, terra crystals. A small glass chamber was hooked up to the engine, a large green crystal sparkling from within. These crystals had so much energy in them, yet nobody knew where they came from. It was one of their world's mysteries.

Miki was off talking to the two that would act as their pilots for their great ascent, her eyes wandering to Aya ever so often to make sure she was okay. Was it really best to take that girl along to the surface? Considering her physical condition, along with her mental one, it seemed like a lot could go wrong. The executives of the UWPC just wanted her out of their hair, that much was for sure, especially since they still didn't trust her due to being tested on by Exeri.

It wasn't long after that the others started to arrive, the first, curiously enough, being Soren and a young girl of some sort. A young girl that was clearly synthetic based on the irremovable headset on her head. This synthetic girl quickly found herself subject to examination from Aya, whom wanted to check if everything if everything was in order, much to RAY's dislike. "Er... could you please stop?" The synthetic asked out of irritation, not having expected anyone in her new master's group to know a thing about synthetics. Soren was sharply asked where he'd gotten here, to which he only shrugged as RAY went to hide behind the boy in order to avoid being subject to more ridicule.

"I just kind of stumbled into her, I guess."


---


Hailey panicked at the sudden outburst by Serge as he attempted to lead his little sister away, and the girl grabbed onto his other hand in an attempt to make him stay. What did they have against Kay? She wasn't a bad person or anything. If she was, her mother wouldn't have let her go with her. "Wait! Please at least stay until I can find you a suitable payment as a thank you!" Kay watched with her eyes focused on the boy and girl. She had an idea what kind of thoughts were going through that boy's head, and she couldn't help but feel slightly guilty. Yet, at the same time the fact that they were bumming around, taking their lives for granted was kind of irritating. People died, it happens all the time, and people still move on. She knew they were just kids, but... still...


---


Completely changed into a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt that hung off his ridiculously thin Ashton came back into sight. He had been grateful to Dieter for what he had done, but hadn't been able to muster words throughout the whole ordeal. The sunlight burned his eyes for the first time in twenty years, and for once he could smell fresh air. It was ironic that the one who bailed him out had been the one Skill that had shown him the most aggression back in his youth... Well, he supposed he was still young, just not as young as he used to be. He ran a hand through his long, crimson hair as he confronted the Skill. "I guess I owe you thanks for once." Ah, when was the last time he used his voice? It seemed so deep now. However, he wasn't delayed when it came to speaking his mind, cutting to the need-to-know almost right after. "Who's... the girl?" He pointed to Mary, before stating his next question - the most important question - right after. "And do you have any idea where Auricia is?"

Loki
July 2nd, 2009, 08:36 PM
“……” Natalija had as of yet, adamantly ignored RAY’s presence in its entirety. As soon as she’d taken the effort to introduce herself to the random, out-of-nowhere newcomer, Natalija had then ceased all conversation. It was obvious that Natalija wasn’t about the bite any bait, and it would take her awhile to get used to this…. This… apparently fake human being, which was a seriously creepy idea in itself, suddenly shoving herself into the party. Well it’s not like Natalija was about to chase her out, since the more to do the fighting, world-saving, and general dirty work the better, but… If she turned out anything like Pethalamine….

The kidnapped girl in question however, was exactly what had hindered Dimitri’s sunny attitude from shining through to RAY. In a way, he felt like Soren was trying to replace Pethalamine with her. Of course, he trusted that Soren wouldn’t do such a thing, but somehow he couldn’t get that though out of his head whenever her looked at the girl. This isn’t to say that he wanted her to know that he was comparing her to someone else, and so he was naturally very polite and cordial…. But the idea that they were leaving Pethalamine behind… was eating away at him. He looked over his shoulder, wanting to turn around and go looking for her. He’d been assured that by going back aboveground, they’d garner the attention of Exeri and they’d come sniffing around eventually, but sitting around and waiting… doing nothing. That was no better than exactly what Pethalamine had criticized him for earlier. All he could do was apologize. Say he was sorry. Never able to take action. Shifting his skyboard higher on to his shoulder, he listened to Soren’s brief explanation half-heartedly. He didn’t even want to know anymore, really. He didn’t really care. “So does anyone know where we’re going first?”


--

Serge felt someone grab onto his hand, and he turned around with an irritated look on his face. The expression softened when Hailey declared that she wanted to thank him, and he narrowed an eye in confusion, “What- Are you serious? I haven’t done anything for you but get you more lost than before. There’s nothing to thank me for.” He loosened his pull away from Hailey and sighed, repeating his point without realizing he’d already said it, “I didn’t actually do anything.”

--

“Ah?” Dieter looked over his shoulder with his good eye, “Oh. Uh. Yeah sure, you’re welcome.”

Mary pouted, clasping her hands together under her chin, “You don’t remember me Uncle Ash???”

“That’s the little girl I picked up in the gutters when we first got transferred to this chicken coup.” Dieter interjected, “She was still a toddler around the time you got locked up. She says she remembers you, but she doesn’t, so don’t worry about it.” He opened the door to his bar, poking his head out without much care. Ah, well, it seemed as if they had yet to identify him. It would be hard, since Dieter had abused his mutation permit that allowed him to hide the scars on his face by walking around town as a stranger for the better half of the last twenty years. Or more like, another skill that was supposed to live a clean lifestyle. The Dieter that strolled out of the Bloody Mary was a man who had never stepped foot outside of his bar. They’d have to find a patron to identify him, and even then, the thugs around the area probably wouldn’t be too keen on showing officials around. All perfectly planned for this day. “Auri-chii? What,” Dieter laughed, “You think I busted you out for your sake? Course I know where she is, idiot. We’re headed there soon as we get the frick outta here.”

Tugging on the messenger bag slung across her shoulders, Mary filled Ashton in on the details, ignoring Dieter’s earlier jab about how she probably didn’t remember Ashton, “Uncle Erik is waiting for us outside the walls. We’ll stop by one of his houses in Tealia, before we go to where Aunty Auricia is.”


---


“Oh look, here they come.” Rasch put a hand to his brow, narrowing his eyes to get a better view of the three dashing towards the duo, “Better get a move on then.”

As soon as they neared, a soft smile crossed the once emotionless twin who had chosen to keep his lips sealed for the last ten minutes. Erik tilted his head forward towards the escapees, “Welcome back, Lieutenant.”

“Yeah well something like that.” Dieter huffed, folding his arms as Mary launched herself at Erik and gave him a bear hug which he seemed to not even notice, “Let’s get outta here before those pansies get the balls to step out of their precious walls.” He bent back and pulled off his eyepatch, shape-shifting on the spot before any of his blood hit the ground. With sandy blonde hair and blue eyes, Dieter shook his head and shivered, “Feels gross to be in someone else’s face.”

“Looked gross too.” Mary commented, hiding behind Erik and emerging as a younger version of herself, save for the fact that her hair was also blonde.

“You set?” Rasch asked, looking at his watch, “Our airship is ready to leave whenever.”

Dieter glared over at Rasch, his nose twitching for a second before he let his arms drop to his sides, “You must be the real Rasch.”

Erik ushered Dieter and Ashton towards the edge of the land allocated for Telfin, a small airship concealed past the edge of the mesa that Telfin sat upon. “We’ll discuss that later, Dieter.”

parallelzero
July 15th, 2009, 10:01 AM
"That... was ridiculous..." Soren grumbled, sprawled out on the grass nearby their landing location, the sound of the jet engines winding down being heard in the background. They had landed exactly where Miki had told them they would when Dimitri inquired: the town of Selance on the very edge of Tealia, which was essentially Tealia's connection with Flazure, with the Phoenix and Wyvern nation buried in the surface of the ground underneath the floating continent. Soren himself had only been there once - a quiet country town with dirt roads, many farms, one main street, and a bustling air port that exchanged supplies and people with the nation below. However, the pilots of this aircraft had chosen to avoid the air port entirely, landing in a grassy field just outside the town. Though, the rationale made sense, considering the jetplane was utilizing a fuel long lost to the upper world that the undergrounders seemed to refer to as 'Lumera'.

The flight up itself was nothing to scoff at. Going so fast up a narrow crack in the crust in an ancient flying machine was unnerving enough without the added stress of almost running out of fuel. Even RAY seemed physically dazed as she tripped around in an attempt to regain movement in her artificial legs. On the other hand, Miki seemed completely fine as she almost instantly began walking towards the town, silently beckoning the others to follow. Aya was following, her eyes dashing back and forth at everything. This was the world she was born into, yet it all looked so unfamiliar! Soren watched her from a distance as she basically drooled over everything. He put his right hand into his pocket before beginning to follow as well, RAY trailing behind without saying much. She had committed crimes in this world, and she felt guilty for it, after all. Even so, she got the weirdest feeling she was being watched.

"You'd best not get too intimate with her, that Aya girl..." A voice echoed in Soren's mind, his plufael speaking. When he inquired as to why, he received no answer.

"Hey! Wait a sec. Where are we even going?" Aya finally inquired, the question having been weighing on Soren as well. They were at this town, so now what?

After a minute of silence, as if she was prone to long pauses, Miki spoke. "We have business in Alta, we'll leave when the next airship does..."

Soren sweatdropped. Alta was gone. Would airships even go there? If they had enough fuel, they'd probably be there already.

Loki
July 15th, 2009, 10:34 AM
Ironically, the person who seemed most affected by the ride up the disconcerting tunnel to the surface was none other than the person who was most accustomed to spinning around in the air on his sky board. Stumbling around and seeing lots of spots, Dimitri was having trouble standing up straight, let alone figuring out where they were. It wasn’t as if he’d ever really gone anywhere other than Alta and Tealia that one time, since he really wasn’t supposed to be up here. Had they just.. sped right past the Underneath? Well he didn’t have time to ponder that. It seemed like any thought floating up to his conciousness dropped away all at once to make room for the fact that he was really dizzy. Natalija herself seemed a little off-register when she stepped off, her knees buckling as she tried her best to still look refined.

“W-What a horrible…” Natalija managed to choke out, putting a hand to her forehead and pushing back her bangs to feel the nice breeze tickling the grass around them, “… contraption…”

“No kidding.” Dimitri coughed, slapping his face and picking up his skyboard, still wobbly, “I never thought I’d say I hated flying.” He began to follow after the rest of the group, shaking his head and trying to fix his center of balance.

“W-Wait a second!” Natalija called, not getting up as she summoned Minke, holding him close as she whispered something in the little white bunny’s ear, “Hurry up okay?”

Minke let out a squeak before disappearing into a pool of a gloopy black substance that opened up in front of Natalija. As soon as he was gone, she let out a long sigh, shivering before dragging herself to her feet. “S-So… How are we supposed to get to Alta if… Alta doesn’t even exist anymore?” She asked, feeling no energy to be sarcastic or crude as she struggled to keep up. The others seemed fine, but that was because they were healthier than she was- they had a stronger composition. But she, who often skipped meals and never really exercised, was not exactly cut out for things like high velocity jet rides.


----


“Ouch.” Giles flinched, moving back as an irritated Garrett shoved the alcohol swab onto the bleeding bruise beside his partner’s mouth, “I said ouch!” Giles barked, swatting Garrett away as he scrambled off to a safe distance, grumbling in annoyance as he glared at his reflection in the mirror. He’d been slugged a good one on the corner of his mouth, but otherwise went seemingly unpunished for letting Soren and RAY go. It was torture that he wasn’t locked up right now, and he was sure that he’d rather be shut up in punishment, than out here, anticipating his sure-fire demise. Having to guess when and where they’d pull the real punishment. … But thinking about it more wouldn’t change the fact that Giles had somehow postponed the repercussions of letting one of the most important resources go. Pulling the clips out of his hair that were pinning the black locks away from his face, Giles stood up, “It’ll heal on it’s own, so leave it alone.”

If things had been the way they’d been before, Garrett probably would’ve tutted his tongue and continued to harass Giles over letting him clean up the wound. But Garrett had been very careful around Giles as of late. After the loss of RAY, she’d been promptly replaced by another synthetic. KI was her name, or something like that. She was… different from RAY, to say the least, and Garrett could tell that Giles was having a hard time warming up to her. It was hard to tell if he was even trying.

“Let me guess, I don’t have any missions.”

Garrett smiled wryly, “Who’d trust you with missions?”

Giles scoffed, glancing over at KI, the synthetic that was now under his jurisdiction. He sat back down. “That’s true.”