The Escapist Avatar Adventure: An Open RP (Now Re-Opened!)

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The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Maiden's Wish | Unknown Location
" For some, lack of satisfaction is the same at the end of a fight as it is at the end of sex. It's just more violent."
B.C.

There was a pause after B.C. moved to drive her fist into Vihaan's gut. It was odd how his face wasn't screwed up with the need to puke, or how it didn't feel like her hit actually made contact with the boy's belly. A moment stretched to two as both opponents glared daggers at one another. Vihaan finally broke the silence.

"I concede. You win."

The Convict gaped at him as he released the hand that she only dully realized he had caught. That was it? That was her victory. She wasn't done! She wasn't nearly done with trying to beat that arrogant little boy's face in till it was a bloody pulp!

So as he glared at the giant, floating gemstone, B.C. was glaring at him, and fuming. What was worse was that the Gem simply accepted it. At that moment, she imagined that she felt something similar to what some guys felt when they were cockblocked.

"And the duel is completed. Begone, troublemaker."

"What? No! I'm not finished! This fight isn't done 'till one'a us is cryin' on the floor in a puddle of their own piss!" she cried out angrily. Her normally sultry voice was beginning to have a higher-pitch to it, along with a rather noticeable accent.

But neither of them paid her any mind. It was as if she was simply the third wheel to the real conflict in the room. And that pissed her off. There was palpable tension as he strode across the room to where she realized a lift had opened up, and as he ran a hand through his hair he gave some parting words to the gem.

"Still, I struggle to understand your warped sense of justice, White Rose. It is as self-serving as it is difficult to understand. You are rid of me for now, attacking me under pretenses of enforcing the rules of a duel, your actions are absurd."

And with that, the elevator doors closed behind him, and she was alone. With a presumably sentient gemstone. That appointed her as it's "champion". After pulling her through space and possibly even time, from the middle of shopping. She watched as said gemstone floated towards her. Once it was overhead, it shone a soft light over her, and she immediately felt all her aches and pains fading away. Her halter top was even repaired.

Forcing down her frustration, she cleared her throat. When she spoke this time, her voice sounded smoky and sultry again, albeit with an undercurrent of tension.

"So, do you mind if I ask what the fuck is going on? You drop me here without so much as a 'Please' or 'Thank you', have me fight this asshole little kid... For what? What exactly do you want from me, and what do I get for my trouble?" she asked, before adding, "And where's the rest of my shit? My guns, grenades, you know, the things I had on me before I got here?"

[[Main Scenario]]


Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

The gem pulsed as Mio's hand wrapped around it and threw her off. The light had been hot, as if gripping burning iron. The glimmering increased and azure light bloomed from the gem. Mitte fell to the floor, unable to carry the weight of her own body anymore.

The Gem of Want looked down at B.C. and suddenly she felt strange. It was a crushing feeling, almost as if the entire weight of the world was falling down on her shoulders. She was compelled to stand, to fight the force, but it came in torrents, unstoppable, unbreakable, a waterfall of emotive sorrow. It was a feeling foreign to B.C. but definitely recognizable.

It was regret.

Yona fought her way onto her feet, fighting the overwhelming gravity wrought by her connection to her Gem of Want. She brandished her spear, driving the holy point into the ground and gritting her teeth. The light pulsed from across the base, shining from all of Yona's soldiers. Those who were under Nahar's command scrambled to help their female allies. Yet, they each recoiled at the touch of the azure light.

"Hear me."

The White Rose's voice boomed across the hanger. It echoed from the depths of each of the gem shards scattered throughout Cloudtop Citadel. Titania rushed for ward and wove dancing streams of crimson mana around Rugal, Yona, and Nadalia. The wisps of red light rose from the floor, the stone, and met each other in cascading loops and flourishes. They leaned and bent like growing sapling until a garden of gleaming red vines encircled the people around her. Titania grimaced when the azure light grew and the world around them fell. Machinery shook and stone crumbled from the chiseled face of the hanger walls. The Rising Dawn itself bowed under the sudden pressure and stretched the harness that held it in place at the dry dock. Chairs broke under the sudden pressure, glass cracked and shattered. The forge's embers suddenly grew dark and the air fell cold with the specter of death.

"No!" Yona said through grit teeth, "You listen to me you prissy little bitch!"

"Trespasser."

The gravity around the base doubled again and the change in momentum crumpled cars and tractors. Titania flourished her hand and summoned more streams of magic to hold up the weight of the mountain's collapsing leylines. "Deborah!" she screamed. Deborah swept in next to Titania with her grimoire open, her hands were out and she chanted quickly spells of strength to reinforce each of the waning vines.

"I am the knight known as Balance."

Vihaan looked at the gem from his vantage in the containment bay. A deep green sheen covered him and everyone else in the room with him. The strength of his enchantments kept the waves of collapsing mana away from him and his charges. He frowned as a retainer dabbed the blood from his nose. "With how much mana she's trying to bring down, I would think she's trying to kill a God." He shook his head. It was like she was trying to kill everyone in the base. But that was impossible, her sense of justice wouldn't allow for it. She even held back when he was about to land the fatal blow on the stupid knight himself. Vihaan looked up, his eyes adjusting to see the bending leylines above and below him. It was like the mountain itself was dying.

"I am the Warden of this World. The shield of it's citizens, and the sword of it's sovereign."

"What the fuck is your problem!?" Yona wailed, standing up now that the weight of the falling mana was lifted from her shoulders. She swung her spear wildly, "Are you trying to kill us you stupid bitch!?" Two of Yona's soldiers fell in and grabbed onto the small Colonel to stop her from swinging her flaming spear.

"Colonel! Control yourself!"

Titania glared at Rugal, "Are you just going to stand there and gawk!? Go get people before they get hurt!"

"You have desecrated hallow ground."

Luke grimaced and excused himself from the bar as the Rising Dawn shuddered under the pressure around them. As he bowed out of the Canteen, the imps rushed to calm it's patrons. With the groaning of the steel around them and the shrill shriek of bending glass, many grew uneasy in the "earthquake." Luke looked up and saw the leylines above him bending under some anonymous pressure "I don't like the looks of this, Boss. Not one bit." He clapped his hands together and let providence manifest. Golden light opened itself above and below the Rising Dawn and diverted the torrential flow of mana from above. Luke leaned against the wall and looked on coolly, wishing silently under his breath for the phenomena to pass swiftly.

"You will be dealt justice."

Laeta grabbed both Cadolbolg and Ton Ton and held them close to her breast as the shaking stopped. Laeta put her head against David's chest and screamed, "Everything is going to be okay! Everything is going to be okay!" She was shaking more than the ship, and tears streaming down from her face. David looked up as if forsaken. Cursing the world and his own misfortune. "Stay calm!"

"So by the power given unto me,"

Rhodes rushed down the halls toward the medical bay, her feet barely touched the ground before she launched herself forward. The world around her looked like it was ending. Her eyes darted back and forth as her Angels struggled to keep up with the Major's flying pace. She landed in front of the medical bay and blew the doors off their hinges with as single blow before stabilizing the room by invoking the same golden providence that held off the full brunt of the collapsing leyline. "Saren! Saren are you safe!?"

Saren was shivering in her cot, a nurse was gently tending to her with a dish of water. "She's got a fever ma'am. A terrible one."[/color]

Rhodes strode forward, holding the holy providence across the entire medical bay and put a gentle hand on her daughter. "If God is good, this will pass quickly."

"by my father, and his charges,"

Nina struggled to make sense of the world around her. Shifting images of landscapes and phantoms ebbed in and out of her vision. It was as if a thousand worlds were trying to collapse into this one. Phillip bristled and held onto himself and hit hat tightly. The mana around them bent as it clashed against his own eldritch presence. He recognized this sudden rushing existence. It was the same as mere minutes before. His body kept the forces from destroying his confused human companion as the lights and images grew in thundering intensity.

"I will banish you!"

Solomon stood up and held his hands up. Naamah was shocked beyond shocked. She had never seen Solomon exert himself before. But now the sovereign king seemed to be stressed under the pressure of what he was fighting. Beads of sweat appeared on his furrowed brow as the pieces of the void that made up his crown danced behind him with increasing fervor.

"Solomon, what wrong is!?" Naamah cried as she huddled under Solomon's dominating figure. The shimmering world around them crumbled.

Something massive is trying to get into the world. Solomon answered. He struggled as cracks in reality appeared in the distant space where the rest of the collective scrambled to bring data to Naamah to store in her sepulcher. Something foreign, absurd in both scale and strength. It is a being like the first of firsts. Of our father who crafted this world.

B.C. looked up, uncomfortable by the rising pressure, but not crushed to the floor. The gem directly above her was shaking as if being attacked. The lattice lit up brilliantly with azure light, striking out through the containment bay and into the depths of the base.

image

The gem above her cracked as a black force flashed across the surface of the gem. Thick streams of liquid gold erupted from the ruptures in the lattice structure. The Gem dipped in the air as liquid light pooled at B.C.'s feet. The azure glow started to fade. But then, it rallied, swinging back up into the air as the cracks grew. It was hemorrhaging the liquid light as it struggled to summon more magic.

"I'm sorry," it said softly, "I do not think I can do that for you, B.C. Though I do thank you for fighting for me. And being my champion."

With what mana was left in the faltering stone, Balance wove a spell infinitely complex in nature. With it's energy waning and the life draining from it's body the dark presence struck again, fast and hard. But this time, Balance caught the blow, and the with the intricate weave of her spell bound the dark presence to herself.

Vihaan didn't know whether he should laugh or cry. It was so perfectly orchestrated. The White Rose's signature spell, as her last word.

Her namesake.

Balance.

In the instant before her death, the dark presence vanished, relieving the terrible pressure from all of those in the Citadel. "Like a chord snapping back after it's been stretched to it's limit. He's been launched back into the place between worlds," Vihaan mused. "It is a shame we lost our leading lady to witness such an act of glorious heroism. Go, retrieve the stone. Bring me the woman too."

Titania collapsed as soon as the presence evaporated. The shaking stopped, the gravity returned to normal, and the shields all over the Citadel, from within the Rising Dawn to the enchantments keeping Mio sheltered near the secured floors, vanished all at once. There was a tired sense of distress that hung in the atmosphere, as if a great natural disaster had just passed.

Rising Dawn: Lower Levels: David West, Ton Ton, Cadolbolg, Laeta

David spent another solid minute trying to catch his breath after his mind screwn, pausing only to knock back the rest of his drink and fling the bottle at the wall.
"Laeta...Do me a favor...Shut. Up." The Sniper bluntly said as he managed to get back on his feet, shoving away her attempts to help.
"Ohhhh, shit, shit, fuck, FUCCCCCCCK!" He then cursed himself for being so stupid to allow this to happen, realizing the company he had only after he had dropped the f-bomb.
"...Okay...So basically...I might have-...made a bit of a mistake and...well-"
The entire ship began to rock violently as the words of the Knight Balance began to radiate though the halls.
Picking himself back up, David cursed himself some more as he realized that stupid USB might have awakened some Lovecraftian Horror or-...okay, he had no idea what it did but it went without saying that this was certainly not a good turn of events.
"...Okay, I'll explain what I fucked up later, We need to find this guy called Vihaan right now. He's a admiral here. He's the one who tricked me into causing this latest bound of bullshit. We find him, we find out what he got me to do and then I make him eat this own nutsack!" He then proclaimed, not even taking time to wipe the tears from his eyes before he pulled out his weapon and began to set off down the halls.

Rising Dawn: Bridge: Strider Hiryu, Diana Black

The letter detailed a contract of sorts, the type that a private merc would get but...a bit more "Honorable" then that description entails.
There was a fair bit of fine print but the majority of it boiled down to following orders to the letter
"If it comforts you, most of our targets only see us in their final moments. Otherwise, you will never know that we are watching you every move. My student has informed me of your abilities, of your powers. Shapeshifting, Psionics, those talents alone could be of great use to the people of this world. The Striders main objective is to maintain order in this world, to counteract efforts by those who would rather see the people of this world suffer. This takes many forms: Counter intelligence, assassination, sabotage. Despite what some believe, there is more to this world then this airship. And we take it upon ourselves to keep it-"
His little speech was interrupted by the sudden rapture taking place within the main base, causing the ship to suddenly shake.
"...It would appear that fate wishes to test you." He calmly said before getting up from his chair.
"And to answer your question, You will be handsomely paid for your efforts. But before I shall permit you to enter, I must observe your talents. For now, I feel getting to the bottom of whatever strange events are going on here would be a good test of your skills...wouldn't you agree?..."

NotYetForsaken:
Had some help from this here fella.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Maiden's Wish | Unknown Location
"The convict without sin."
B.C.

As the Convict half-glared up at the floating Gem of Want, she could definitely feel it's gaze on her. Back in her world, there were species that didn't see with eyes like hers, but she could still tell when they looked at her. Usually because of the unsettling tingle it sent up her spine. But silence stretched out between the two of them until B.C. finally opened her mouth to speak again.

That was when she felt an oppressive weight try to crush her underneath. It was like being swept under a tidal wave of every negative emotion she could think of, culminating in regret. It was odd, because she never felt regret before. Her legs threatened to buckle. She found herself clenching her teeth. But she refused to so much as take a knee under whatever force wanted to pin her to the floor, because she bowed for no-one. It was simply a matter of principle.

"The fuck... Is this shlorbagh-shit?" she ground out through her teeth, forcing herself to look upward against the force pushing down on her.

"Hear me. Trespasser."

Sweat began to bead on her forehead and the back of her neck as she struggled to keep upright, calling out, "Trespasser? You... Invited... Me!"

"I am the knight known as Balance. I am the Warden of this World. The shield of it's citizens, and the sword of it's sovereign. You have desecrated hallow ground."

Desecrating holy ground? The Convict's lips subconsciously curved upward even as she strained against the weight. She'd done far worse things than desecrating holy ground, so she was getting the distinct impression that it wasn't her the gem was talking about.

"You will be dealt justice. So by the power given unto me, by my father, and his charges, I will banish you!"

The gemstone began to tremble much like she was, as if it was trying to weather a similar onslaught of power. Bolts of blue electricity shot out from it, throughout the circular room and beyond. And as it did so, a second voice rang out. One that made the Convict's blood run just a little colder.

There was an ear-splitting crack as black, jagged fissures formed in the Gem of Want. And from each fissure, it began to "bleed" a liquid gold, forcing B.C. to take a few shaky backward steps. The glow around the gem began to fade. No longer firmly suspended in the air, it began to falter. And it quietly spoke to her, and only her.

"I'm sorry, I do not think I can do that for you, B.C. Though I do thank you for fighting for me. And being my champion."

There was a arc of dark electricity that spread across the Gem of Want's surface before a flash of blue seemed to drown it out, filling the entire room and nearly blinding her. Then there was a crash as the Gem fell to the floor. As it did, some of the liquid gold it had "bled" splattered across B.C.'s front and face.

At that moment, the oppressive, sorrowful weight was gone. More than that, she felt oddly... Light. She breathed easier, her mind was clear, and even with the rivulets of sweat that poured down her face, neck and arms from the exertion a moment ago, her body didn't ache in the least. It felt like she was clean in the purest sense of the word, or maybe the word was blameless.

The expression on her face was thoughtful as she frowned at the gem, and she reached up to wipe away the liquid gold on her cheek. Whatever that stuff was, it certainly wasn't hurting her, so maybe it was worth some experimentation... But she shook her head before turning to walk over to where she had tossed her jacket earlier. No, now wasn't the time for that, and even she had some standards.

Once B.C. shrugged into the hot-pink jacket, she spared one last glance at the broken stone as it lay in it's own, shining blood. Whatever it did before it... Died? Went inert? Whatever it did was important. She just wished she knew what it was. Then she looked down at her "blood"-spattered halter-top and grimaced.

"Ah, that's gonna stain, isn't it?" she grumbled.

[[Dying Dreams]]


Knighthood
balance's story

"Save me."

A long time ago, there lived a young girl. She was a princess, and her father a great king. When she was born, all the kingdom rejoiced. She was a blessed child, and her coming had been heralded by the thunderous roar of heaven. The God of Storms doted on the child, blessing her with beautiful white hair and brilliant golden eyes. She was beloved by the kingdom, the gods, and most of all, her father.

But there were those that grew envious of the young princess. A rival kingdom who also worshiped the God of Storms grey jealous that their kingdom had not been blessed with a child of the heavens. Their envy grew into hate, and then their hate grew into curses. Hearing their spiteful words, the God of Justice challenged the God of Storms.

He said that the young princess had been blessed with too much. The love and magic that the God of Storms had woven into her body had thrown the mortal realm into imbalance and it must be rectified. The God of Storms did not listen to the God of Justice, instead dismissing the younger God's concerns.

Faced with the grim decision between disobeying the leader of the Gods and betraying his duty as the embodiment of Justice, the God of Justice chose to undo the blessings that had been given unto the young princess. So in the night of her fifth birthday the God of Justice swept through the royal palace and tore the divinity from the girl.

When she awoke the next day, she had been afflicted with a terrible illness. She was weak and frail, her skin was fallow and bruised at the touch. The king called all of the medicine men in his kingdom to treat the princess' illness. Yet none could place the mysterious ailment.

Weak to the elements, the young princess was confined in her room at the highest tower of the castle, where the priests tended each day to her care. The entire kingdom prayed and prayed, for the young princess. They bade the God of Storms give his blessing to their princess. But when the God of Storms descended from the heavens to give his blessing once more, he was stopped by the God of Justice. The two fought. The God of Storms wanted his chosen to prosper, but the God of Justice demanded that all mortals be treated equally. In the end, the God of Justice failed, but as he fell he wove a spell that sealed his essence into the breast of the young princess.

Unable to restore tamper with the divinity of another God, the God of Storms could do nothing more for the young princess as long as she harbored that Justice within her heart.

The days grew into years. The princess grew up in her tower, surrounded by priests who had given up on her cause. The king sent scholars to her to teach her of the world outside. She was enchanted by the tales of beauty, of heroism, of the strength of the king's army and the valor of his knights. The yearning in her heart grew and grew as more years passed. She grew into a beautiful woman, who still sat by her window, staring into the world outside. She wished that one day a knight would come and free her from the curse. Whether it was by a true love's kiss or through clever sorcery, she did not care. She just wished to be free of her gilded cage.

She wished and she wished. And eventually her father passed, as did his kingdom. Yet she was kept young by the divinity stored inside of her body. Unable to live outside of the castle walls, but unable to grow old, she spent her time reading tales brought to her by scholars seeking her wisdom. She had become some kind of wisewoman, telling stories and giving advice to those that would make the arduous climb through her tower. Over time the essence of the God of Justice became one with her own soul, indistinguishable and inseparable from her person.

Yet she was still unfulfilled.

As the decades bled into centuries, she grew more and more desperate for the ability to leave her castle. Then one day, a great evil arose in the land. A bleeding darkness that sprung forth from the depths of the abyss. It consumed the peoples of faraway kingdoms first, but then soon the dark had spread to all of the lands of man. The Gods were brought low by it's power, an unfathomable darkness that swept away the individuality of mankind.

It was not long before all of mankind had fallen. The fields lay empty and dust raced across the kingdom. The palace walls were barren and the stone had taken a tire chalky texture. The sky was dark and the stars themselves had vanished, forsaken the world. It was as if the entirety of the world had died.

Still.

The White Rose remained, princess of a kingdom swallowed by darkness. Ageless but fettered, bound to a crumbling castle in a lifeless realm. It was at that time that the darkness spoke to her, either out of pity or curiosity. It asked her, why did she refuse its gift? Did she not wish to finally be put to rest?

The White Rose told the entity the stories she had memorized. Of knights and dragons, of princesses and labyrinths. She told him of all the old kings and the story of great sorcerers. Great animists and machinists and skilled rangers. The entity listened intently, taken by the color of the characters.

The entity mused on these stories. They had such life, such color. In its world, all was black. There was no conflict, no strife, no death, but also no life. It wondered what it meant to live, to struggle, to forgive, and to hate. It asked more questions and the White Rose answered to the best of her knowledge. She told the entity about the seasons and festivals, about foods and drinks. She drew for it detailed images of all sorts of plants and animals. The entity thought on all of the things that the White Rose had told it. And then it asked the White Rose how she felt.

She said she was lonely. All that she had known had died and for her long life she did not ever leave her palace. Now that she was alone, she supposed that she ought to find someway to die.

The entity asked the White Rose if she wanted anything.

And she answered, to be a knight.

More than anything, the entity asked.

More than anything, she repeated.

And when I awoke I was clad in white armor, floating in a great empty space. In my right hand was a beautiful sword, set with the scales of justice, in my left was a shield, beautifully adorned like those in a fairy tale. The entity was before me, around me, was everything.

"You have awoken, yes?" the Entity asked.

"Where am I? What happened to my world?" I asked, no matter where I looked I could only see darkness.

"I have removed you from your world." It answered. It willed light into the darkness around us. "I have forged worlds from the stories you have told me. You are now the warden of these worlds, so do as you wish. You have become a knight of justice, sworn to only yourself."

I looked at the lights, and within them found brilliant shining worlds. I held onto my sword tightly, it felt surreal. For the first time in my life I felt strong and solid. "Why did you do this?"

The entity paused. Then it answered. "I do not fully know." It beckoned a world over and held it in its formless grasp. "I was born one day in the dark and I had but one order 'reproduce.' So I did. Yet, as I expanded, I grew intelligent. First I learned to move, then to hunt. I grew and grew until I became self-aware. Now... I have grown so much as to consume entire worlds. Yet, I feel empty. As if I have not truly reproduced." It looked at me. "As you have taught me. I feel lonely."

I reached out and touched the world it held. The light shimmered and I could see the entirety of the realm. Rolling green hills filled with blooming flowers. Great birds that soared through a vast sky filled with drifting islands. Streams of water rolling through the sky on beds of clouds. Within the realm were people. Humans, angels, demons. Men, women, children. The elderly, the young. I looked at the Entity. "Are you a god?"

It laughed. "I am not."

"I am without words." I said.

"I have created children. Daughters. And to each I have given a piece of myself. Watch over them, and teach them if they do wrong. I wish to stay away and watch from afar, my children."

And so my vigil began.

---

[[Main Scenario]]


Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"Though wise men at their end know dark is right,"

Vihaan's soldiers set B.C. down in a chair as he paced across the room. Two large mechanical arms were moving the Gem of Want out of the containment chamber and into a drydock even deeper into the base. The young admiral was looking out at the gem. He called an assistant over, "How long before it can be slotted into the Desire Drive frame?"

"It should be done by the end of today, sir," the assistant answered.

"Good, thank you."

"There's a man here to see you sir!" Another researcher called from across the room. "He looks pretty upset!"

"Let him in, it's probably David." Vihaan sighed and cracked his neck, "This has been a right pain in the ass, but in the end the result's the same."

David came storming in with a girl and two dragons in tow. Vihaan spread his arms in welcome to his guests and put on a warm inviting smile, "Hello my friends, I see you have brought me the information I need." Vihaan took two steps back and dodged David's half-hearted attack, not dropping his amused smile.

He turned to B.C. "I suppose I owe you and David a basic explanation at the very least." He paused and motioned for an assistant to bring David a chair. For sitting. Not throwing. "But I have to warn you five though, once I have told you about the events that have just occurred, you'll be placed in a very bad place. You'll either have to stay here, separated from your friends, or you might be forced to hurt your friends. For the sake of knowledge, would you be willing to pay either price?"

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Glimmer of Hope | Unknown Location
"Step one of putting your interrogator at a disadvantage: Completely disregard their power or authority."
B.C. | David West | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg | Laeta

When the time came, B.C. ultimately cooperated. Armed women came into the chamber not long after she had collected her jacket, took aim with their directions and ordered her to stand down and be detained. She merely raised her hands in a gesture of surrender and told them sardonically, "Hey, no big deal, just one unarmed woman here."

From there, she was escorted to where the brat from earlier was and shoved into a chair. She merely folded her arms across her chest and crossed her legs in front of her.

"So, is this just you being a sore loser, or am I here for another reason?" she asked dryly.

The boy's focus, however, was on the gemstone. She could hear mechanical noises and metallic scraping as it was moved out of the chamber it died in. And as he paced, he asked one of his subordinates how long it would be before it was slotted into some "Desire Drive frame", which sounded awfully important. Not that B.C. knew what the hell a "Desire Drive frame" even was in the first place. Still, she could put two-and-two together: The boy wanted the gem for something, otherwise there wouldn't have been a fight with her as the gem's champion in the first place. And since it was dead, it didn't matter that he lost, because it wasn't about to complain no matter what he did to it.

Another of Vihaan's lackey's called out then, someone who was clearly some sort of egghead.

"There's a man here to see you sir! He looks pretty upset!"

"Let him in, it's probably David. This has been a right pain in the ass, but in the end the result's the same."

"Someone else you've pissed off today? Gee, I wonder how many can claim you've done that, brat." the Convict taunted with a sneer.

She had begun to rock her chair back-and-forth on it's back legs when they were joined by a grizzled looking man presumably named David, who clearly didn't understand how to shave. Along with him was a young girl and a pair of what looked to be dragons to her untrained eye. The day was simply getting weirder and weirder. Vihaan promptly welcomed the new arrivals with the most insufferable smile on his face, and handily moved away from David's swing. B.C. already started to like him for that alone.

"I suppose I owe you and David a basic explanation at the very least."

Cocking her head, the expression on her face as she looked at him told him that she thought he was quite possibly terminally stupid for saying that.

"Gee, ya think?!" she asked testily, her chair's front legs clanging back to the floor as she leaned forward, "I haven't gotten a single explanation since I got here, ya little shit!"

"But I have to warn you five though, once I have told you about the events that have just occurred, you'll be placed in a very bad place. You'll either have to stay here, separated from your friends, or you might be forced to hurt your friends. For the sake of knowledge, would you be willing to pay either price?"

B.C. scoffed at that and went back to rocking her chair back-and-forth as she glared contemptuously at Vihaan.

"Don't got friends, and I bet I've been in worse places than you think. Are you actually gonna follow through on this threat, honey, or are you gonna be all-talk like earlier? Now what were your words again..." she mused, reaching up to tap her bottom lip with a finger as she pouted thoughtfully.

Then she leaned forward again. When she spoke next, her voice was a perfect imitation of Vihaan's.

"Someone like you has no chance of beating me. My name is Vihaan Valdur, second son of Krishna Valdur, and high priest of the Maara. If I must fight you with my all, I will. For the sake of my people, and for the sake of my honor." B.C. said mockingly, before she spat at his feet and told him in her own voice, "That's what I think of your precious honor. Just tell me what the fuck is going on because I fucking deserve a goddamned explanation."

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Rising Dawn and the surrounding Hanger
Nina and Phillip

There was many classics in cinema but one that will have a special place in many hearts is the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In a time where practically everything was practical effects and the digital era where literally everything was CGI, it has this timeless aspect where one could not smile at its songs, beautiful scenery and childish whimsy. Why does this matter you might ask, sure it is a good movie, but how could this have anything to do with the end of the world as we know it. Well, there is one particular scene that was just out of place within the friendly jaundice people and dental decay, a certain boat ride that had weasel'd its way into the nightmares of children everywhere.

What Nina was witnessing could be described as the limited addition director's cut of the film, 10 hours of extra boat scene goodness all compressed down to the same bite sized minute as the original. Needless to say the visuals alone were giving Nina a serious case of vertigo without considering the tital wave of mana that was washing over them. But just has she was thinking she couldn't last much longer, the fight between BC and Vihaan ended. The sudden calm in the eye of the hurricane gave Nina a momentary breather. Shakily getting to a knee, she finally was able to look around with semi clear vision.

"Y-you okay Phillip?" She asked, checking on her companion who merely curled several of his tentacles as if to shrug. Nina wearily smiled at this. "That's good, just take my word for it, that wasn't fun..." Setting her sights on the other citadel officers near her, she could see their gems still giving off large waves of energy. "Whatever happened, it seems to be dying down, we should go help th-" Nina was interrupted again as the resurgence of mana came back with a vengance. Apparently one screening of Willy Wonka's special addition wasn't enough, an encore was in order!

This time however it seemed far more aggressive than the last, not settling for merely disorienting Nina but bringing a raging sandstorm of mana. Collapsing to the ground again, Nina couldn't protect herself as she was way beyond her element, her dress giving her zero defense for this. Phillip's aura helped to reduce the initial build up, but as it continued to swell it was becoming clearer and clearer it wouldn't be enough. Looking to the more distant objects, the mana rushed passed it with such force they'd start showing clear signs of wear and tear, like several years flew by passed them. Even Nina's skin was starting to show beginning signs of rug burn, not that she could do much to change that. The contents within him though, showed no such signs, shielded from the manastorm by Phillip's own body.

To the citadel workers, there seemed to be little warning as Nina took in an audible breath and Phillip's body swelled to his larger size. Tentacles wrapped around Nina's body aggressively as she was swiftly swallowed into his mass, her hand over her mouth and her eyes squeezed tight. For what seemed like ages, Nina was cast into darkness, the only sound she could hear was the slow shuffling of the tendrils that covered her entirely. The pressure was remarkable too, like being hugged by all sides at once, leaving her paralysed within his mass. As each second passed, her lungs started to strain, pleading with Nina to release the CO2 building with her. With her lungs practically on fire and her mind starting to grow fuzzy, she couldn't tell as her position within Phillip changed again.

Once the storm had finally settled once more, Phillip didn't hesitate to spit Nina out, the later taking no time to greedily take in new air that finally hit her raw skin. Her vision once a kaleidoscope of images was practically gone as she was on the verge of blacking out, and simply lay on the ground to try and regain herself. Her body unable to bring itself to move without first replenishing the life giving oxygen it needed, Phillip just stayed by her side unsure if there was going to be a third wave.[1]

[1] I will note that although Nina does have rug burns across a good part of her body, it is very mild all over. No droplets of blood forming but her skin is raw like a sun burn

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Colonel's office
King Leoric | Colonel Yona Isami | Rugal Bernstein | Hillary | Angelus | Titania

"...REALLY!? Really?!"

While this was one of the most dreaded and feared days in the minds of some, all that was going though Rugal's mind was "Not this shit again..."
He seemed to be hexed to bring chaos and destruction where-ever he walked, prompting him to just gaze at his allies for a moment as if to say "...Don't look at me, I just wanted a repair job!"
"Are you just going to stand there and gawk!? Go get people before they get hurt!" Titania yelled at him, doing wonders for his temperament.
"PARDON ME FOR NOT EXPECTING TO BE RIGHT NEXT TO THE ARCANE EQUIVALENT OF AN ATOM BOMB!" He barked back before he brought up his Dark Barrier, less out of malice but more out of anger at the calamity itself.
Titania's wards were keeping the others safe but there was still a number of wounded soldiers and people still in the middle of it all.
"Get another ward up, I'll get the wounded! Nadalia, you have healing magic, tend to them. Angelus, Tell our allies to get ready. I doubt this will be simple battle. Caim, hold position and be ready to strike. And next time, I'm fixing the fucking ship myself, I don't care how much it costs!"

And just like that, it was all over, the shaking stopped and the rest of the base began to go silent as they were surrounded with injured and wounded women.
Rugal stood there and-...well, gawked for a while, looking totally uncertain about what exactly had transpired here.
"...Okay...That happened...Nadalia, going to need that Warmth spell. Angelus, get word out, I'd rather our crew be prepared if it happens again. Caim-...Carry on..." He remarked as he let down his shield before quickly fetching the wounded and laying them down to be treated, including Titania.
"So...does anyone know what manner of magic that was? I've seen many things in my life and during my trials...but that was a new one..." He then asked outloud, hoping one of the mages here had some idea what happened.

All the while, the specter known as Leoric seemed to-...well, Vanish really.
Undead spirits were often afflicted by even the most basic of magics and what happened here was far from the most "Basic" of magics.
His crown and mace still remained in Hillary's grasp, as did many of his old bones as they laid littered around the room but the King himself was nowhere to be seen...

Reposting/updating spells and weapons. Keeping em together for my sanity.


Cloudtop Citadel
Hallways

The size of a heart often belays the strength of it's beat
B.C. | Cadolbolg | David West | Laeta | Ton Ton | Vihaan

In one moment, the two reptilian blood-brothers were minding their business, and in the next, the very building they had set into had become a shaking madhouse of magic and screaming; followed by Laeta and David shouting at one another. Between the half-hearted reassurances and the swear words (at least, Ton Ton knew they were bad words, and would need to tell his younger counterpart to never repeat them later) things were beginning to go belly up very quickly. To make matters worse, David ran off on his own to find someone who was apparently involved in all of this, bringing the total number of strangers up to 3 (Laeta, B.C. and Vihaan). In the midst of the chaos, Cadolbolg very quietly 'sent' to his pact partner, "Ton Ton, I'm scared... We should find mother and father. They can fix this, right? ...Right?"

In an attempt to reassure Cadolbolg, Ton Ton allowed the star above his head to manifest, the small token of his power spinning dolefully in the gloom. Additionally, the Tonberry gave Cadolbolg a light scratch in one of those hard to reach spots behind a horn, before 'sending' back, "It's okay to be scared, but Mr. Caim and Ms. Angelus can't help us unless they know what's going on. Let's stick around a little longer."

Placated for now, the two little ones listened into Vihaan's 'insights' and B.C.'s barbs, before he said,

"But I have to warn you five though, once I have told you about the events that have just occurred, you'll be placed in a very bad place. You'll either have to stay here, separated from your friends, or you might be forced to hurt your friends. For the sake of knowledge, would you be willing to pay either price?"

Cadolbolg was the first amongst the duo to speak up, his fear of the unknown coalescing into a shocked (and perhaps somewhat panicked voice), "Separated from our friends? Being forced to fight them?! What are you talking about, Mister? Friends don't fight over big scary stuff like what caused that crazy earthquake, they fight over who eats the last cookie or who used the wrong toothbrush! This sounds too serious to 'fight' over!"

Ton Ton, seemingly emboldened by his pact-partner's distress, pointed his knife at Vihaan and said in a firm tone unfitting a creature so young, "I agree with my brother. Whatever you say to us will *not* have us conflict with our friends or our families. And if you think you can tear us all apart because you declare it to be so, you are sorely mistaken. I'm with the foul-mouthed lady - quit with the theatrics and tell us what is going on so we can stop it!"


Cloudtop Citadel
Hallways

The size of a heart often belays the strength of it's beat
B.C. | Cadolbolg | David West | Laeta | Ton Ton | Vihaan

"But I have to warn you five though, once I have told you about the events that have just occurred, you'll be placed in a very bad place. You'll either have to stay here, separated from your friends, or you might be forced to hurt your friends. For the sake of knowledge, would you be willing to pay either price?"

"A bad place, huh?...Alright...Alright, I'll go to a bad place...and I'll take you with me and, ohhhhh by god, what I'm going to do to you..." David remarked before pulling out his weapon, keeping his aim solely on Vihaan.
It was then he noticed B.C. tied up in the hair, briefly turning his at some of Vihaan's lackeys.
"Get the girl out of that chair. Try anything and even the bits of your brain that flew from your exploding skull will but full of holes!" He threatened as he motioned for Vihaan's men to cut B.C. loose.
"So...What's your game? Better give me one damn good answer if you enjoy having a nutsack..." The sniper then added before attempting to secure the "Hostage" B.C.
"B.C. You alright?..." He asked without breaking his eye contact with his target.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Colonel's office
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | King Leoric | Nadalia | Rugal Bernstein | Colonel Yona Isami | Titania

After Rugal starting acting like some sort of commanding officer for once, Caim and Angelus sprung into action. First, Angelus waved over Hillary and instructed in a much gentler voice "Stay close to me, it's not safe right now." Second, she tapped on the rings and sent out a communique to all who possessed them, "Attention Rising Dawn members. This is Angelus speaking, in company of Caim, Rugal, Nadalia, Captain Yona Isami and a civilian. We have just survived some sort of strange magical energy attack, and are nearby some wounded soldiers on the Cloudtop Citadel. Sound off, report your status and location at once."

Caim, on the other hand, did as he did best. Unsheathing his family blade, he began to patrol the perimeter while the other members of the Dawn set to working on their assorted tasks/get back Angelus' mass communique.


Airship Rising Dawn
Outside the Canteen

the Anguish of an unsmiling watcher
Lucas "Luke" Cypress


As the wave of magic that had crested over the Dawn faded away, Luke slumped against a wall, eyes looking blankly at a ceiling tile as he wondered aloud, "The hell was that about? I haven't had to use that much energy in a while... This isn't normal."

Straightening himself up from his "perch", Luke closed his eyes and began to concentrate, his mind moving "upwards" as he reached towards something, or in this case, someone, a little above above his pay-grade.

"Boss, we need to talk. Something weird is going on down on the Material Plane, something that required me to step in to stop it. Me! You know, the guy that's watching the place while you deal with upstairs?"

Although his greeting was a bit rude, Lucifer had certainly said or thought worse things to The Boss before, especially when angry. In this case, he preferred to be more to the point, especially given the circumstances. However, what he wasn't expecting was the dead silence that followed his question, the 'noise' fading away like the echos of a stone falling down a well.

"...O-kay... Maybe She's a little busy, we *did* just have a minor cataclysm. Let's try again... Boss! I'm serious, where *are* you?! This is kind of our thing, discussing matters when crazy stuff happens to your precious humans! HELLO?!"

Like before, there was only silence. Not even the normal kind, like when someone isn't in a room they're supposed to be in, or the empty echo of a dial tone after the phone is hung up - this was a deafening, black void of nothing, where sound or thought was swallowed whole in an unseen maw.

"Luke. Luke, please, answer me!"

Lucifer Luke's eye's fluttered open when he heard a different voice in his mind, this one being very much from the plane he was currently inhabiting. A little disoriented from the silence he encountered moments ago, he focused again, and found the source coming from-

"Teri?"
"Oh, there you are. Luke, what the hell just happened?! Everything started shaking and I thought it was some kind of earthquake but...- are you alright?"

Luke breathed a sigh of relief when he heard his beloved's voice again. Sure, she sounded a bit panicked, but if she was focusing on his well-being, then she was surely in decent condition, "I'm fine, physically. A little drained after that stunt I just pulled, I had to ward the Dawn from...Something. It seemed magical in nature, from what I could tell. I could see the leylines begin to bend under whatever it was.."

"Wait, you had to ward the Dawn? And...Leylines?! Those are a 'thing' here? This just gets better and better."

"Look, Teri - listen to me. Whatever's going on, it's pretty serious. I trust Garm to help take care of you, but it'd really make me feel better if you stick with another Dawn member until this all blows over. I'm going to investigate all this in the meantime."

"Luke, I'll be-"

"Please. Just.."

Luke hesitated, trying to find the right words, something that conveyed how devastated he was when his beloved was captured not too long ago; something that didn't sound desperate or needy, before settling with, Can you do this for me?"

"I...Yeah, okay. Viscus is nearby right now. He needs to be put back together, but we can regroup with the others after that. Sound good?"

"Yeah, that'll do... I'm sorry I'm being pushy about this, but I don't know what's going on; and...well, when you're in a position like mine, you're supposed to; in addition to something else I've just noticed."

"And that was?"

Again, Luke found himself at a loss. How does one explain a lack of something they've felt their whole existence? For a messenger of the Lord, feeling that connection was something that was, a state of being, something as natural as breathing. Yet, all he could manage was, "I... can't hear the Boss. And that sounds weird, I know, but She is supposed to know everything. Evoke her, and she'll answer, in one way or another. Yet, I don't... I don't 'feel' anything. It's like nothing's there at all."

At that point, the two servants of the Lord felt a sudden chill deep creep into their bones. It was the sensation akin to a student who was halfway across campus, and then realized they left their term paper in their dormitory - the sudden awareness of what had been long forgotten.

Silence hung in the air between the two as the revelation sunk in; one akin to what Lucifer had encountered moments ago. Even if he was cast down from the Heavens, all divine-aligned beings feel a connection of sorts to their patrons - in his case, his Hell was supposed to be the lack of the divine spark, the agony of separation from the Divine Parent. However, due to his role, that "agony" was never really present, it was something he pantomimed among his peers and kept well hidden from almost all of Creation. And yet, in that sickening moment, when the silence 'rang' in the air, Lucifer almost felt sick; a strange jingling noise filling the air as he tried to regain his footing (when did he lose balance?). Looking downwards to the source of the noise, Lucifer saw instead that it was a watch on his wrist, his hand trembling like a newborn fawn. He would have stayed stuck to that spot, were it not for Teri's 'voice' ringing in his mind again, this time in a panicked tone that shook as she tried to put together something that wasn't a shriek,

"I can't cast! I don't know why- I do the thing, I move my hands, but it's not happening! Luci - what's going on?!"

Lucifer drew pause again, a thousand different thoughts running amok in his mind in an attempt to make sense of it all. If The Boss had suddenly up and vanished, how could it have happened so suddenly? This definitely needed some looking into. Lucifer waved a hand over himself, feeling the glamour of invisibility cover his form, his wings unfurling once the magic was in place. With a tentative flap of his wings, Lucifer ascended towards a broken window, his last message simply being,

"Hang in there - I've seen darker times then this and humanity has prevailed. I going to investigate and find out what happened here. For now, stay safe and stay with the others. I'll return when I can."


Cloudtop Citadel
Engineering

Curiouser and Curiouser
AI Dimitri | Garm | Teri | AI Viscus

Prior to rather catastrophic after-effects of Balance's actions, all Teri and Garm wanted to deal with was mind their business while attempting to free Viscus from the overzealous technicians. However, with all the magic and madness that happened a moment later, Teri found herself pillowed against Garm's side; the faithful wolf having used his body as a cushion between her and a nearby wall. After the two waited several long seconds to see if anything else was to occur, Teri finally allowed herself to disentangle from Garm, the wolf asking, "You alright, Tear-ri? That was pretty scary...."

"Ye-yeah, I think so... And you're right, that was a bit too much, even for us... Gimme a sec, I'm gonna call Luke."

As the conversation with Luke went on, Teri took another deep breath, leaning against Garm's side as she murmured a basic healing incantation to help with some of the the hurt caused by being buffeted around, only to see that nothing happened. It was also at that point Luke mentioned not being able to hear God properly. It was at that moment Teri noticed several key things. The first, that her Aura was suddenly not active; as it should have been taking away some of the hurts already; the second, the comforting sensation of God's presence in her day to day life was suddenly *gone*, leaving her feeling as empty and hollow as when the power nullifying cuffs were placed upon her again. At this realization, her throat felt tight, her knuckles growing white as she clutched her robes and her breaths grew shallow.

Dimitri was the first to pick up on it, asking in a panicked voice, "Your Ladyship, what's wrong? Did something happen when you contacted Mr. Cypress?"

"I...I can't cast spells. I can't feel it. I can't feel anything!"

"Can't feel...?"

Garm was quicker on the uptake, gently prodding his nose against the shaking Cleric, "Tear-ri, calm down! You told me before, this has happened to you - remember, at that prison?" He circled around to her other side, his voice dropping to a soft tone as he instructed, "Take a few deep breaths, this is only temporary. You're with me and Dimitri voice and Viscus; and if we need too, we can find Alpha Rugal. It's okay, we'll figure something out. Remember what we're here for?"

"H-help Viscus with Dimitri."

"That's right. What'll we do after that?"

"I-I dunno.. Luke said to stay safe?"

"Then we'll stick with Viscus and do that." Garm gave Teri one final nuzzle of his fuzzy cheek against her brow, before turning to the Tablet, "Dimitri-voice, we came to fix Viscus, and with the circumstances, we need to do that ASAP. I'll contact Alpha Rugal, and we'll see what we can do from here." Turning to the AI-in-Armor in question, Garm helped Teri up and lead both Cleric and AI towards Viscus to put him back together...

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Glimmer of Hope | Unknown Location
"Awwwww, how cute! Wouldn't stop me from kidnapping you if I needed, but I'd at least be nice about it."
B.C. | David West | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg | Laeta

As it turned out, the two little ones, which looked like a dragon-turtle and a little dragon kid in a set of heavy robes respectively, were not only tiny, but actually were children, especially judging from their voices and what they said. B.C. leaned back in her chair, folding her arms across her chest as she watched the dragon-turtle begin to panic, just a little.

"Separated from our friends? Being forced to fight them?! What are you talking about, Mister? Friends don't fight over big scary stuff like what caused that crazy earthquake, they fight over who eats the last cookie or who used the wrong toothbrush! This sounds too serious to 'fight' over!"

Young, and predictably naive. And yet, that naivety was rather sweet, even to a jaded criminal like her. The other one drew a rather ominous looking chef's knife that glinted in the light, and pointed it right at Vihaan. That was enough to make her grin and give him a pointed look.

"I agree with my brother. Whatever you say to us will not have us conflict with our friends or our families. And if you think you can tear us all apart because you declare it to be so, you are sorely mistaken. I'm with the foul-mouthed lady - quit with the theatrics and tell us what is going on so we can stop it!"

B.C. suddenly burst into a bout of obnoxious, raucous laughter, and leaned forward in her chair to grin even wider at Vihaan.

"Well, you heard 'em, brat! How's it feel to know that no one really wants to play your asinine fucking game? Does it hurt your widdle feewings?" she asked mockingly, as if she was speaking to a five-year-old, "So hurry up. Get to the damn point."

It was then that David decided to pull a gun, aiming it at Vihaan before demanding that B.C. be released from her non-existent restraints. As she stood up easily, she placed a hand on the back of the chair to spin it around. Then she promptly sat back down, resting her arms on the back of the chair, and her chin on her arms.

"So... What's your game? Better give me one damn good answer if you enjoy having a nutsack... B.C. You alright?"

"I'd make sure to aim a little higher. I tried giving him a nut-shot in our bout earlier, didn't work. Little shit doesn't have the equipment." she said dryly before looking back at David with a look of clear irritation and said, "And no, I'm not alright. I got dragged here by some big-ass, talking gemstone without my shit, in the middle of shopping, without a goddamned fucking explanation. I don't have my guns, I don't have my grenades, I don't even have the stuff I was about to buy!"

Looking back at Vihaan, her eyes narrowed.

"So, get talking, boy. I'm listening with bated breath." she said, just loudly enough for Vihaan to hear.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Colonel's office
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | King Leoric | Nadalia | Rugal Bernstein | Colonel Yona Isami | Titania

To be chastised by Angelus to then be nearly blasted by an explosion of raw mana if not for the quick action of Titanus, Hillary was very much surprised yet still par for the course. It was like a person expecting a surprise party only to be bait and switched with another surprise birthday party, she was expecting weirdness to happen but all of this was definitely a lot higher on the weirdness scale than she'd first anticipated.

The events had happened so quickly that Hillary was left unable to reply to Angelus before everything went sideways. Hillary had dropped the mace on the ground, actually smashing her own foot in a grotesque manner if it were anything but solid steel. Hillary didn't seem to make note of this possibly because of the brilliant, albeit unseen, display of colour as the mana washed over the barrier protecting her, or more accurately her own lack of awareness of this impermanent damage to herself. She however did notice she wasn't the only one being shielded like this, and that whatever was happening she shouldn't try to stick her hand out of the barrier either.

As the last moments crept up, Hillary's body would appear to be losing some of its rigidness. While still appearing metal, her body did appear to melt somewhat. Part of her body mass pooled at her limbs by gravity, her hands and feet becoming more like puddles than distinguished digits, and the large hair buns this form had given her slowly shifted with gravity as well.

Once things finally settled, Hillary would stay still for a moment. Not needing air currently, there was no need for her to gasp, but it would take a few moments for her body to start building itself back up again. By the time Rugal had finished his little speech Hillary was back to her prior metallic mirrored self like before the catastrophe, no worse for wear. "O-Okay, Hillary will make sure to stay by you!" She replied promptly with a concerned tone, quickly making her way to the woman. She would make sure not to bowl over Angelus, but would take 'stay close' a bit too literally, pressing her oddly warm but rigidly firm body against the dragon's. "I'm very sorry Hillary was swinging the mace around! She was trying to get it to that lady over there Rugal was talking to, but then there was the fire, and then the scary guy yelled at Hillary for some reason, and then whatever that was! Did you protect Hillary Miss? Thank you very much if you did!" She spoke, trying to make out what was going on with the rest of the group given the current events, spotting that there were still flames about over there (the warmth spells) "Hmmmmmph... Hillary should be over by Rugal, he was helping her get home, but why's all that still gotta be there..? Do you work with Mr Rugal, or the other lady?"

[[Main Scenario]]


Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night."

Titania rested her head against Deborah's warm body. The larger woman ran her fingers through Titania's white hair. The little major sighed, her eyes searching the scenes around them for some semblance of sense. Yona put her spear away and stood above her personnel, her fierce eyes and deep voice cast orders like arrows from a bow.

"I will suffer no more of such embarrassments. Allyon, bring me a report on Balance's status," she swept her leather jacket over her shoulders and cast a sidelong glance at Nadalia, "You 'hero' types are always so fond of banter." The colonel flickered for a moment and then was gone, flash stepping across the hanger to assess the full brunt of the damage wrought by the incident.

"The worst is past," Deborah murmured, "so says the book."

Titania shook her head. This incident was only the beginning. She knew deep in her heart the reality of the situation. The collapsing leyline, the sudden outcry of a celestial, and this deep silence that lingered in the air afterward. The very nature of the world had changed in a cataclysmic instant. "I hope it is so." Titania grimaced as she tried to sit up. Angry red bruises ran the length of her arms and legs, a result of her sudden overuse of native magics. Her body was not used to that sort of sudden stress. "Show me the book," Titania commanded.

Deborah drew the tome from her bag and handed it to Titania. The cover was warm and inviting, soft as skin. She pulled the covers open and lay bare the pages within. She bade her breath and opened her eyes, forcing a brilliant golden light from appear before the pages. The words on the cream parchment flew off the page and formed deep gold runes, infinitely deep and complex each. They shifted and turned, as if alive. Yet their movements betrayed their agony. The very fates were injured. "Show me what the others are doing," she commanded in a harsh whisper.

---

Luke held lightly to the air high in the hanger. The Rising Dawn below was bent, the thick steel plates on its outer armor had wilted, thick streams of stretched metal hung over the drydock like forlorn flowers. Even with the barrier, the damage had been severe. But the world around the Rising Dawn, and Cloudtop Citadel, was even worse for wear. From his perch high in the sky, Luke could see the grim specter of death that still lingered in the air. The sky was blue, and the sun shone, but there was no life to their existence. It was as if someone had created cruel imitations of nature and set them into motion. The air, the earth, the water, the light, and the darkness all felt somewhat wrong.

It was as if the world itself had died and was forced back into life.

---

Vihaan frowned and took a half-step back he flicked his wrist and forced David's gun toward the floor with a flare of magic, "Please calm yourself David. There is no need for such a display of savagery." He turned his eyes toward TonTon and Cadolbolg, and ran his hand through his hair. Then he looked at B.C. in her chair, and then at Laeta, hiding behind David's broad shoulders. She is an interesting one. I don't remember ever meeting her before.

"The event you all just witnessed has nothing at all to do with the problem we face," he began, turning around to fiddle with a terminal. He pulled out a small disk and set it down between the six of them. The holodisk sprung to life, projecting a list of people. Their portrait, their names. "Some time ago I had a deep-consciousness study conducted on a large number of our staff. The results were, unsettling." He scrolled through the list. There were dates listed next to each portrait, but the numbers varied massively in scope. Some in single digits, others in numbers so large that it boggled the mind. "These numbers are the absolute values of their earliest memories, derived from the environments in their dreams. A zero value corresponds with some 1400 B.C. and the max value we have, 237,491,883 corresponds with something around 800,000 A.D."

Vihaan took a glance at his audience and cleared his throat, "Nevermind the details, the point is that each member of the observed staff has a different time and place they have an affinity for. Strange mannerisms, ideologies, and subtle habits and the like." He motioned at himself, "The most fortunate, like myself, retain memories of my homeland." He pointed at B.C. "This one as well, is able to remember the realm of her origin."

"My own personal theory," he continued, "for all of the anomalies that have occurred, is that an intelligent entity is plucking people from other worlds and keeping them in here like some sort of zoo." He waved toward the dead rock that used to be Balance, "My interactions with the White Rose lend support to the idea."

"Now to the point I made earlier. I have ample reason to believe that the entity behind our capture is masquerading as one of the members of the Rising Dawn. Ergo, one of your friends." He put his hands on his hips, "And if they found out we knew, then they would flee, and we would never be able to discover the identity of our captor. Secrecy and subterfuge will be our best tools here."

Vihaan paused, he could see that he lost most of the group somewhere down the line. Put his hand on his chin and mused for a little bit before summarizing, "Long story short, the thing that's causing problems for everyone is one of the people who were with you on the Rising Dawn. Someone who isn't supposed to exist. Their nature would be... different from the rest of us, as if they were jammed into our lives unnaturally and the forced to fit in afterwards. We find that entity, we end all of this absurdity."

"Luckily for us, David has inherited a master list of every person in this world. So, do tell us if you have any idea who our antagonist could be?"

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Colonel's office
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | King Leoric | Nadalia | Miia | Rugal Bernstein | Colonel Yona Isami | Titania

"The worst is past," Deborah murmured, "so says the book."

"...As nice it is to know that information, I can't help but feel that it would have been better served if we first knew what exactly it was that just passed..." Rugal pointed out as he approached Deborah and Titania, rather pointedly interrupting their deliberations as he looked over Titania's shoulder to try and find out what exactly this book was telling her (With about as much success he was expecting).
"...Okay, you two just-...keep doing what you are doing..." He then muttered in an embarrassed tone, knowing full well there was not much he could really add there as he turned his attention back to his allies.
"Nadalia...Sorry about earlier. I know it's literally the least of our concerns right now but might as well get it out of the way before the next arcane calamity hits..." The "Captain" then said to the Bride of Ash, as well as noticing Miia currently clutching to her for dear life.
"...ahhh...Let me help with that..."

As Miia latched harder to her anchoring point (person?), he began to place his hand on her shoulder, reassuringly saying "Shhhhh...It's okay, the-..."thing" is over. We are about to go home now and and you have all the children with-ah, found it."
"...F-found wha-YEEEAAAHOHOHOWWWWWWW?!" The Iamia cried out as Rugal revealed his deception, grasping at the flesh near the very tip of her spine with his hand to cause just enough discomfort to override her body's feral instincts and make it go limp instead of merely constrict tighter around Nadalia.
Once he had achieved this, he merely rolled her tail up somewhat like a massive rope with one hand and held her almost bridal style in the other, ending this feat by gently leaving her on the ground.
Looking at a dazed and most likely upset Miia, he then added "Apologies, you had to be removed and, if it makes you feel better, that was the least painful way I could have done that..."
Glancing down slightly to where she had wet herself, he paused for a moment before pulling out a "R" branded handkerchief from his pocket and handing it to her.
"...You may keep that when you are done..."


Cloudtop Citadel
Hallways

"...Wait, am I meant to give one of these?...umm..."Running Naked though a subway...isn't a very good idea?..."
B.C. | Cadolbolg | David West | Laeta | Ton Ton | Vihaan

"......Wow....."

That-...was a lot to take in at once and it left David rather-...well...how the hell do you react to news like that?
"......That-....Is one damn good answer..." He trailed off, slowly lowering his weapon before holding his head slightly and gritting his teeth in pain.
"...So that's what-....wow...I-...am nowhere near qualified enough for this Dr. Who bullshit..." He confessed as he realized what all that information that was shoved into his mind was about and there was a nam-
"M-Marlow Alice!...Marlow Alice!...Is-is that it?...There were so many names, I had no idea what was going on but-...M-marlow Alice?..."
Glancing to the rest of the gang, he merely shrugged before saying "Hey, don't look at me. I got into the military after I flunked college. I don't know shit..."

*Shakes magic 8 ball*

bluerocker:
She did most of the work here :P

Cloudtop Citadel
Engineering

404: God Not Found
AI Dimitri | Garm | Teri | AI Viscus

[...]

Even as Teri and Garm began to collect all the pieces of his armor from the corners of the Engineering room, Viscus was silent as his mind crunched the numbers, trying to understand the exact nature of the even that seemed to had rattled the Cleric (and the entire base) so much.
Still, once the majority of his stray armor pieces were pried from the grubby hands of the staff, his head flared to life before sending a signal to the parts of his body in the room.
In perfect sync, they all began to come online before swiftly reassembling themselves right before Teri and Garm.
A few moments of self-checks and diagnostics, Viscus was back online and delivered a message that was the LAST thing that Teri wanted to hear right now: [Your God has no power here.]
Teri, who was already emotionally raw after the recent revelations, didn't take the rather blunt declaration too well. Quite literally shaking in her boots, she stood in one spot before covering her face with her hands and weakly said, "T-That's not true.."
Marching right past the Cleric, Viscus opened up the panel on his wrist before attempting to make a connection to the outside world, only to find that wasn't possible.
[Telecommunications to the outside world are down. The Leyline disruption is creating a field of interference around the base. I do not have the means to fully determine the nature of this event.]
"...Wait-...so does that mean-"
[Negative. There is no detection of Holy magic in the area. We are no longer within the grasp of your entity's power. Stop asking. We have more pressing matters to concern ourselves with.] He barked before making his way towards the exit, equipping a number of his armor's systems as he did.

Before Teri could say anything further, Dimitri "stepped up" to the plate (or as best an AI could) and quickly added "Don't you see, Your Ladyship? What Viscus was trying to say was that the current circumstances are not any fault of your's or your God- something is blocking the divine's influence, a la a signal jammer. Like Garm said, this is only temporary, and we know that for certain. Isn't that nice to know?" He punctuated this comment with a comforting smile, which seemed to have the desired effect; Teri's shoulders relaxed, and the shaking finally stopped. Instead, she leaned against Garm once more, the wolf asking the more pertinent question, "So what do we do now?"
[This installation has a research databank in it's lower levels. I am going to interface with it and obtain all of the Citadel's findings on their research. With that information, I can find a way to reverse it's effects if such a feat is possible. With the interference, I can't hack it remotely so we need to find it ourselves.] He replied, seeming much more focused on trying to figure the location of this databank then even correcting Dimitri's false statement on the effects of this "Godless Black-out" as temporary.
It was then his ire turned to the nearest member of the Engineering staff, his emotionless face glaring at her before quickly picking her up by her throat as his wrist mounted shotgun unfolded, the barrel pressing against the side of her cheek.
[The Research Databank. Tell me where it is...]

Before she could worry about Viscus possibly murdering random members of staff, a rather frantic Vermilion messaged in.
"User: Teri Gravel! I have terrible news! It's Adelhield [RETRACTED], he has gone missing! After the blast from the Citadel, he was missing from his bed and I can't find him anywhere on the ship!" She warned as an image of a empty hospital bed with several missing tubes and pieces of torn off medical equipment littering the ground.

Rising Dawn: Hallway ------------------------------------------------------------------ 09:40 AM


Lt. Abigail Martin

The research staff grew silent and the woman Viscus held against her will struggled against his steel grip. The woman that Viscus had picked up had by some strange coincidence of fate happened to be Abigail Martin, who in a room of privates and other first-year enlisted researchers was the sole officer, and the only person in the current area to have undergone the Rising Dawn's extensive officer training. That training happened to put her not under Colonel Yona Isami's jurisdiction, but under the command of Admiral Valduur.

That being said, Abigail was the only person in the room to actually know about the secret research projects that Vihaan and Yona were conducting in the lower floors of the Citadel. That being said, it would be quite the black hat on her head if Abigail actually let the lower ranking soldiers on the floor hear her publicly admit to secret experiments below. Instead she took a deep breath and uttered, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

The other staff put their hands on their side arms, and a younger girl in the back of the room swiveled a railgun toward Viscus. "We are in a crisis situation. Now put me down before I have you put down."

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Rising Dawn and the surrounding Hanger
Nina and Phillip

The cold floor felt nice against Nina's body, her eyes feeling tired as they squinted against the imposing fluorescent lights across the ceiling. She tried to move her hand up to block some of the light, and it did for a few moments before slowly putting itself back where it'd fallen moments before, resistant to the idea of needing to do anything other than take a break. Given everything that had transpired, Nina had been left in a confused state of what to do next, fight had taken a page from flight's book and ran off with the other. She knew she needed to do something, but her brain wasn't making a decision, if only that light wasn't blasting down at her.

"Mmmmm... Thanks Phillip..." Several of Phillip's tentacles rose over her head as he sat by her side, his mass looming over her shoulder. "Uh, I think I'm okay? Nothing feels broken I think, just.. You remember when you touched that boiling pot a couple of months back, and it really stung? Ya, kinda like that, but all over the place." She spoke; carrying on a nonchalant conversation as her eyes slowly looked up to see the two citadel personnel. "Oh ya, they are there aren't they..? This happen often, or... you know this is about as weird as I'm feeling it is?" Compared to how she felt, they were looking no worse for wear, which filled Nina with a mix of optimism that things were probably going to be okay, but envious that they appeared to luck out in this whole situation.

Nina watched as the two got up, the smaller of the two shouting for the other to get someone as she came to her side opposite Phillip. The abomination was a deterrent sure, but with the current situation she seemed to be more worried about Nina's wellbeing. Her words meant to reassure Nina she was going to be okay; she wasn't apparently bleeding, she hadn't lost any limbs, she probably would need a healing spell or two to recover but at least the worst of her damage was the mere clothing she was wearing.

"...What?" She suddenly responded in unsettling sobriety. Despite her injuries, her hands found themselves scurrying across her body. When she found what was once her tiny hat clip, now quite tattered. She sat up abruptly, pushing the woman out of her way quite aggressively. "Oh, no no no!" Nina shouted with newly found focus, getting up to her feet, the fiery rage building within her allowed her to fight through the stinging pain of her raw skin.[1] The woman tried to scramble to her feet to follow after Nina, but swiftly felt the focused gaze of Phillip upon her. Almost immediately the spinning sensation of vertigo took hold of the woman as she fell to the ground, while Phillip merely adjusted his oversized chef's hat still atop him. "You can take this lying down, but like FUCKING HELL I AM!!" She roared, storming to her intended destination.


The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Main Concourse
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | King Leoric | Nadalia | Rugal Bernstein | Titania | Nina and Phillip

As Caim was making his rounds of the perimeter, he'd start to hear an unfamiliar voice coming from a descending elevator close by. "Where the hell is that party room! Kristen said it was just down the hall to the left! You couldn't miss it! she said! Be lots of fun stuff she said!" The woman looked like she'd gotten waaaay too much sun, the vast majority of her body was rubbed raw. The yellow and black outfit was properly ruined; the stockings full of holes, the dress was torn in various places, oddly only her hair seemed to be the only semblance of order. Phillip still hung from her shoulder, slowly churning as the mass of tentacles silently watched them descending.

Getting out of the elevator and turning the corner, she stopped as she noticed the people there. Clearly these people weren't part of the Citadel staff, their outfits were unique, obviously these were members of the Rising Dawn. "You!" She scowled, pointing accusingly darting from one to another. Since Nadalia and Miia had stepped out for the moment, there was no one specifically that she recognized in the group here and thus her attention was passed over everyone to a degree. "I hope you're happy with yourselves! I get it, I've been to college. Hazing process for new members, throw a red sock into your whites, all your undergarments tossed onto the lawn... But this, I guess with all your fancy shmancy powers all that was probably just a walk in the park for you all. No big deal. Hell, I don't know if there even is a party at this point?!" She raved, her words more of an incoherent thrusting of whatever came to mind than a properly thought out complaint. Phillip recoiled in horror at the mere thought of no party; no party meant no food after all.

"So here's what's going to happen. Someone's going to tell me who's responsible for cooking up this idiotic prank, so I can personally lodge a complaint of my foot to their stupid face!" She commanded, which despite her outward frustration, this threat was largely hollow. The second wind Nina had managed to muster to get her this far was already dwindling. Laboured breath, light shivering, not standing up straight; although she wasn't in any life threatening conditions, her body was clearly showing signs it needed rest.

While this was going on, Hillary looked on from the safety of Angelus' motherly protection. She'd seen a lot of different beings in her time, but whatever was on this woman's shoulder was something else entirely. "That new person sure is mad, but she looks really hurt! Do you know who that is?" She asked Angelus quietly, likely tugging on her dress to call her attention without drawing too much over to them.

[1] at least the soles of her feet were unharmed because of her shoes taking the majority of the damage.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Main Concourse
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | King Leoric | Nadalia | Rugal Bernstein | Titania | Nina and Phillip

"Hmmmmmph... Hillary should be over by Rugal, he was helping her get home, but why's all that still gotta be there..? Do you work with Mr Rugal, or the other lady?"

Hillary's enthusiasm was, to be frank, was very endearing to the dragon-in-mortal-guise, especially when it reminded her of her youngest child, Cadolbolg. Furthermore, with Hillary's previous apology for her behavior, Angelus allowed her features to soften, and for her voice to take a gentler inflection as she spoke, "My name is Angelus. I am a member of the same organization as Rugal and - if you mean Nadalia," she gestured to the Iron Queen, prior to Rugal's extraction of Miia from her person, "Then yes, we do work together. You could think of us as...'Co-eds' I suppose? But, that begs the question - what brought you here if you're trying to go back? Fall through a portal? Something summon you here?"

Angelus's lips curled upwards into a maternal smile, before she patted the young girl on the shoulder, "Many of our number often end up in this strange world by happenstance or accident, myself included. If you sought out Rugal in an attempt to return home, I will do everything to help you as well. For now, we are not in the best circumstances; so myself and Caim will do what we can to protect you. Caim is-" the dragoness frowned, before looking around- "Where on earth did he run off to?"

Speaking of the devil[1], Caim had not strayed far on his patrol before he was accosted by a very angry Nina, who said something or another about a hazing and laundry, huffing and puffing all the way. However, this series of angry, child-like threats did not bother Caim too terribly - he was a father of two rambunctious Tonberry/dragon-kids who could stab or burn things a moments notice; A college student was small potatoes by comparison. Instead, the mute warrior looked the girl up and down, taking note of her weary state and labored breathing, his PDA announcing nonchalantly, "Looks like there's a wounded civilian on site."

Completely ignoring her little rant and demands about a party, the swordsman instead deigned fit to sheathe his sword, wander over to Nina's side and sling one of her arms over his shoulder, and use the other to support the young girl's weight as he brought her over to the other wounded. If he did show any sort of surprise about the situation, it was the slight quirk of his eyebrow when he eyed up Philip - chef hat wearing tentacle monster that he was. However, as he carried Nina towards the rest of the wounded, Caim couldn't help but notice a small shiver run up his spine when his hand accidentally brushed Philip's skin; a sensation akin to jumping head first into the ocean in early spring. Being as he was, Caim did not comment upon this aloud, rather, it formed a small question in his mind...what was this creature with this seemingly innocuous young girl?

Hillary, on the other hand, seemed to show a bit more concern, asking Angelus quietly, "That new person sure is mad, but she looks really hurt! Do you know who that is?"

Angelus tilted her head in confusion at Nina's sudden intrusion and outburst, and only shook her head, "I can't say that I've met her at all. Though I have to say, Caim's response was rather...kind, of him." She smiled faintly, "I wonder if that's on account of the children... No matter - we have dedicated healers, Hillary; she'll be alright. Now, how about I bring you over to Rugal and find you something to do in the meantime?"

With a small gesture, dragon and slime-girl and tow made their way over the King of Fighters...

Speaking of, in the midst of all the chaos and company, Rugal received a message over the rings, the voice belonging to one familiar winter wolf, "Alpha Rugal, we have a problem."


Cloudtop Citadel
Hallways

B.C. | Cadolbolg | David West | Laeta | Ton Ton | Vihaan


Ton Ton's knife lowered after he heard both Vihaan's explanation, as well as David's... "educated" guess, feeling somewhat satisfied that himself and Cadolbolg were actually able to get a straight answer! It seemed like a simple enough explanation - someone was faking being a proper Dawn member, someone "unnatural" as described by Vihaan. In equal parts an attempt to mentally sort through the information and to keep Cadolbolg calm, Ton Ton spoke softly, "Someone who was 'forced into our lives'? Hmn... Well, I think that eliminates your parents, Cadolbolg. Not to sound rude, but Mr. Caim and Ms. Angelus are too self interested to consider anything along the lines of "people collecting". Besides, doesn't Mr. Caim have a castle now, he certainly wouldn't wanna stick around here."

The little turtle dragon gave a happy wag of his tail as he chirped, "Father said he does! We just haven't gotten to see it yet."

"Exactly..." Ton Ton pondered this strange situation further, and thought aloud, "Aside from this 'Alice Marlow', the most unusual thing I can think of is that party Ms. Angelus told us about - something about gathering a bunch of Dawn members together? If this person's plan was to capture everyone, gathering them in a big group would be a 'high risk, high reward' sort of deal. The Dawn is a bunch of powerful people, so putting them in one place sounds pretty stupid - unless they had a trump card..."

"You know, Father did mention that the prison he was in was able to cut off his pact link with Mother - if this person is as powerful as he (Vihaan) says, then maybe they can cut off powers like that too? But... How?" Cadolbolg's hover dipped for a moment, before he looked to Vihaan and voiced in a tone better suited for a child being told 'no' to extra cookies, "I don't feel like we got a lot to go on aside from being 'unnatural' and 'forced'... And I think my idea of 'weird' is a bit off, I used to explode for a living! What else is wrong with this person? Do they smell like feet or something?"

[1] No, not that one!

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Main Concourse
Angelus | Caim | Hillary[1] | King Leoric | Nadalia | Rugal Bernstein | Titania | Nina and Phillip

"No, not Nadalia, the other..." Hillary stopped as she looked around the room, trying to spot Yona to point her out to Angelus, but with the colonel already gone to look over the damage to the citadel this was proving to be difficult. "..Lady...? I don't see the lady now, maybe she left to go help someone else?" She suggested optimistically.

When asked about if how she'd first arrived to this place, Hillary looked a bit down."I'm still trying to remember what happened, Hillary was coming back to the Laplace, and then she tripped I think, and then she was on the ground here by herself." Hillary stated the initial events, still unsure exactly on the circumstances that brought her here. "Hillary is more worried Penelope will worry about her than getting back though. I'm sure Hillary will be able to go back." She said with an unfounded confidence. "With nice people like you, and Rugal, and Caim, Hillary will go back again." She smiled sweetly and gave Angelus a firm but gentle hug as a way of thanking Angelus for her words of comfort, protection and kindness.

That was about the time Nina came into view, prompting Hillary's concern and Angelus' response in kind. Although she wasn't sure why she felt so uneasy about the noodle monster that hung from the woman's side, Angelus' calm mannerisms once again put Hillary at ease, smiling along with Drago mom. "Very much so, he's like Penelope, doing what she can to help others. Or like those two Hillary first met too, Tonberry and Cadolbolg! They helped Hillary find Rugal and were really nice to her! They went with Teri and Garm, I think?" Hillary squeezed her eyes shut if trying to remember, poking at her head to the point of making a dent in her forehead. The damage soon fixing itself once Hillary stopped. "There's been a lot of people today to remember..." She spoke sheepishly.

And with the final suggestion to head over to Rugal to help, Hillary looked up gleaming in more ways than one. "Yes! I would like to help if she could! Hillary could... lift stuff. Talk to people. Make their sore muscles go away." She happily offered, following along with Angelus but still being weary of any open flames that were still lingering around[2].

[1] Hillary is still in the metallic, almost mirror like, solid state. Human proportions, legs and feet and large spherical pigtails
[2] Which includes the 'Warmth' spell Nadalia has conjured

Cloudtop Citadel
Yona's office


Mio | Mitte

"I did not know a harbor for flying ships could also get attacked by krakens." Mio said in a deadpan voice as the pressure and the shields were lifted from her. She got up, dusted herself off, then looked at Mitte. "Are you okay, there? This place does not exactly seem safe."


The Rising Dawn
Bridge


Diana | Hiryu

"So you want me to prove myself to you, after you already picked me?" Diana sighed. "It can never be easy, can it? The stuff that is happening here is probably caused by some kind of idiot, again. Which also means that it should not be too hard to find out who did it, unless they are already dead." She got up and stretched herself a bit. "Alright, I'm doing it. How can I contact you again?"


The Rising Dawn
Cantina


Anjali

Anjali was satisfied, but as there were great things going on, she felt the thing inside her stir, giving her the desire to learn about the demons causing this. It nearly controlled her body, so much it was pushing. So Anjali decided to follow the instinct of the creature inside her which had caused her reanimation. She got up from the chair in the cantina, and walked out, seeing a different god fly out of a broken window.

The creature inside her stirred again, and she went further along the hallways, trying to find a place or person of importance to the events, only her instincts guiding her, but her instincts guiding her well. She could feel that something had changed about this place, something more than just damage caused by earthquakes.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Glimmer of Hope | Unknown Location
"Every girl wants to look beautiful."
B.C. | David West | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg | Laeta

Vihaan's explanation was, unsurprisingly, rather lengthy. It took every ounce of restraint to keep the Space Convict from making low, long-suffering groans or faces at the boy, so she settled with the occasional eye-roll. It didn't help that it gave her the impression that while he could've kept it short and to-the-point, he just wanted to hear himself talk. What a self-assured little shit.

But as it turned out, that wave of negative energy and emotion that threatened to crush her earlier was apparently completely unrelated to what he considered to be the real problem. Instead, apparently some entity was taking people from different dimensions, timelines, universes, what have you. While it made B.C. wonder if that was why the prison transport crashed here on this primitive dirt ball, it was ultimately a non-issue to her.

But apparently, Vihaan wasn't just satisfied with knowing what was going on, he felt the need to stop it, and that meant killing this entity. A being that, he explained, had forced itself into their number and was masquerading as one of the otherworldly visitors plucked from their home worlds. And apparently, David was in the best position to know, having the entire list of everyone who didn't belong there.

"M-Marlow Alice!...Marlow Alice!...Is-is that it?...There were so many names, I had no idea what was going on but-...M-marlow Alice?..."

The name didn't mean anything to B.C., but then again she didn't expect it to. She hadn't been on this world for very long, and the number of people she actually knew or recognized could be counted on two hands. But as the two little ones began to talk among themselves, something they mentioned immediately piqued her interest.

"--the most unusual thing I can think of is that party Ms. Angelus told us about - something about gathering a bunch of Dawn members together? If this person's plan was to capture everyone, gathering them in a big group would be a 'high risk, high reward' sort of deal. The Dawn is a bunch of powerful people, so putting them in one place sounds pretty stupid - unless they had a trump card..."

Her head lifted from her arms as a wide smile spread on her face.

"A party, huh? In that case, I have a suggestion: Why not send David and I along to scope it out, see if this Marlow Alice chick is there, and if so, we can do a quick smash-and-grab. If we're both guests, that shouldn't raise too much suspicion, and I can give David some backup, as well as pose as his date." she said with a smile, before glancing back at David and giving him a suggestive wink, saying "Hope you don't mind little old me clinging to your arm tonight, darlin'."

When she turned back to Vihaan, however, her expression was lacking the same warmth that she regarded her potential 'date' with.

"Consider me a civilian contractor for this. I'll need something appropriate to wear, of course. I'm thinking a nice, long, shiny black latex number, slit up one side of the skirt to the hip, strapless and with a nice low neckline. Matching evening gloves. Oh, and a nice pair of boots. I'm sure an organization such as yours can make sure I get something like that." she told him with a sneer.

[[Main Scenario]]


Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,"

Vihaan tilted his head back, far more than seemed comfortable. Perhaps it was a custom of his homeland, but he grinned. Titania could tell that he was amused. The runes danced in the air before her, melting in and out of the scene. Her eyelids were heavy, but she forced herself to stay awake. It is a shame my body has gotten this weak. The boy admiral laughed, casting a sidelong glance at Titania to acknowledge his remote audience.

"The party, the party," the words danced on his lips like the beating wings of a butterfly. He held out his hands and shrugged, flipping two invitations from his sleeves. "These were Colonel Yona and my invitations."

They were cream-colored, soft as skin, and embroidered in golden ink. Titania squinted as Vihaan turned his hands over and handed the two pieces of paper to B.C. and David. For a brief moment, Titania could see the paper flash black and the ink silver. These were not written by the trespasser. Disguised documents. The same type that was given to Eddie the Dead and Katya Rostikova, Titania mused.

"There is no need to gather us all in one place. We've already been captured after all. This is more than likely just a way to try and pacify us. Perhaps assure us that nothing is wrong with this mockery of a world that we've been stuffed in." Vihaan put a hand on each of the Cutie Bruiser's heads and smiled kindly. A genuine smile from the son of a malevolent demon king. "You have the right idea however, someone wants all of the strongest people in this world all in one place. Something big is definitely going to happen."

He motioned for his closest assistants to leave with him. Vihaan stopped right before the door and turned to speak to B.C. over his shoulder, "Try not to feel so entitled. This is a military base. We have engineering uniforms and we have research uniforms. We don't keep a locker full of dress clothes." He pointed at David, "Mr. West knows the way out. Be vigilant. Who knows when you might cross paths with a white rabbit."

Vihaan left, but the other stranger. The brown haired girl. She seemed rather perturbed by the situations. She shook her head, "No way, there's no way." She grabbed the invitations from B.C. and David, staring at the writing as if absorbed into their cursive loops. "This is Lola's handwriting... but it can't be, I saw Lola write all of the invitations herself. There's no way she could have made these!"

White rabbit. Titania remembered seeing something like that in the presence of this brown-haired girl when she first arrived on the ship. A white rabbit who kept trying to keep them on the right time table.

---

Mitte got to her feet and leaned against the wall for support, "No. That certainly was not normal." She looked at Mio and found the pirate somewhat frazzled by the sudden onslaught. "Good thing you are made of sterner stuff than I am." Mitte coughed. "I will need a moment of rest before I continue."

There was a flurry of footsteps as soldiers rushed down the hallway. Two stopped and helped Mitte stand up.

"Lt. Kobayashi, please let us help you," the first of the two soldiers said, putting Mitte's arm around her shoulder. The other patted down the lieutenant. Then she turned to Mio, "You should get to the main concourse. The entire base is in a state of emergency. Follow this hallway down and then take the elevator to the lowest floor that it'll take you. The other members of the Rising Dawn are already there."

"Alright, see you later then, Mio," Mitte forced a friendly chuckle.

"Lieutenant Kobayashi!" the first soldier gasped as she picked up the injured lieutenant.

---

Titania closed the book and stood up to stretch. Her eyes hurt like hell, but the bustle of the people around her kept her from falling immediately asleep. Deborah supported her from behind, huge springy bust acting as a sort of cushion for her head. The larger woman ran her fingers through Titania's long white hair.

"I don't like how things are going," she muttered under her breath.

"You rarely ever do," Deborah said, "if you worry too much, your hair will turn white you know."

Titania faked a laugh. Then she stood up and on shaky footing made her way to the center of the gathered heroes. She cleared her throat and held her book close to her breast. Two of her retainer fairies materialized behind her. It was good to be back in her body at the very least. Spending so much time locked away in the darkness had made her bond their her muscles weak.

"Rugal," she said. Her voice was strong and clear, belonging more to Major le Fey than it did to Titania. "We need to get everyone back to the Rising Dawn. This was no accident, but a deliberate attack. We need to get moving. That thing will be back." Hopefully, she added silently.

"Angelus, it's time to spread your wings. Hasten the newer members of the Dawn to the safety of the ship immediately. Nina and Phillip, you are both to calm down. The 1021st division is already aboard the Rising Dawn. Go and see to it that they are safe. They should be in the main kitchens when you arrive."

"Caim. David, Ton Ton, Cadolbolg, Laeta as well as the prisoner we ran into at Denver are in the floors below. Meet them at the east side elevators when they come up and make sure they get to the Dawn in one piece. That Colonel Yona is liable to try and turn B.C. into minced meat given what they've done to her base."

"Rugal, again, also you have a mad robot that's about to get himself and your daughter killed. Do something about that before the Colonel decides that we're all enemies of the Citadel."

She turned around and spread her mantle around her like wings. Her hair billowed dramatically in a passing breeze. "The Rising Dawn undocks and leaves in twenty minutes with or without all of you."

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Colonel's office
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | Nadalia | Miia | Rugal Bernstein | Colonel Yona Isami | Titania

"...This day just keeps getting better and better. Thank you for the heads up. I shall take care of it." Rugal remarked before getting set on the orders he was given (as well as the fact that he could look forward to something like this happening again).
But that's when Titania brought up something much more important: His daughter.
"!?!? Teri is-...Everyone back to the ship! NOW!" He barked at everyone on the ship right when he got a message.
Those communication rings, he never did find out how they linked their minds together but he sure as hell wasn't complaining once Garms words began to trickle in.
"Alpha Rugal, we have a problem."
"Going to be a lot more specific. I'm told Teri is with a robot. Is it Viscus?"
"We are with the Viscus, yes. But that is not the problem, for now. After the strange magic thing happened, Tear-ri's magic has stopped working. The Dimitri voice says it is similar to the prison, but with 'divine' instead."."
That-...that was not good, While he wasn't entirely 100% certain on how holy magic worked, he knew enough to know that if something could stop God from reaching his daughter, that was not good.
"Dammit...Get her back to the ship, don't stop for anything. That is an order. What's Viscus doing now?"
".....trying to talk to some staff - I think he's trying to reverse the process? ...probably. I don't know tech things, so I'm not super sure."
Viscus was never known for being subtle or gentle, most likely what Titania was talking about when she brought up the Colonel seeing them as enemies.
"...Forget about him, I'll write the apology later. Just get out of the base and bring her to the ship. Take her to her room and don't let her move a muscle until I get there!"
" I.. Will do the best I can. I also heard that one of our patients in the med bay has dis-"
"One fire at a time. Make sure she is safe. I know you won't let anything happen to her but whatever the hell just thrashed this place is coming back and I need her to be safe when it does. Going to talk to her myself. Teri...are you there?"

"Oh! Hi Dad - you doing okay?"
Relief filled him for a moment when he heard her voice, prompting him to look around the room as everything seemed to be spinning out of control.
"...I was at ground zero when that blast hit...I'm currently at-...4 at the moment...out of a scale of 10. You?"
"...Could be better, but I'm sitting around a 5 myself."
"I see...You were with Viscus. What's happening down there?"
"He's trying to Batman some of the staff, he thinks he can reverse what happened. I'm going to try and get hi-"
"Leave him. My office. Head there, lock the door, if someone who isn't me answers, don't open. I have no idea what happened, only that it will happen again and I'm not taking any chances, not after what happened to you in Denver. Am I understood?"
"Dad-...it's that guy with the really bad cybernetics. He went missing. He could die if I don't find him."
"And if you aren't safe when that next wave hits, You might die!"
"And? The removal process is nowhere near done - he could be bleeding out for all I know right now!"
"My priority is you-"
"And who taught me how to fight in this sort of situation?"

That...that is how you beat the King of Fighters, ladies and gentlemen.
"...I'm not going to change your mind, am I?"
"Nope."
"...I know I seem rather upset right now, but when this is over, I shall be...extremely proud of you...Do what you need to do. I'll be making my way to the ship."
"...Thank you, Dad. I won't do anything reckless while I'm out. Promise."
"Better not, I trained you better then that. Love you, dear."
"You too, Dad. Now, time to get this hunk of metal to leave the chokeholds to the WWE."
And on that note, Rugal turned his attentions back to his own situation, quickly leaving the room and making his way back to the ship without another word.

Cloudtop Citadel
Engineering

[SWEAAAAAAAAR TO MEEEEEEEEEEEE!]
AI Dimitri | Garm | Teri | AI Viscus | Lt. Abigail Martin

[...]

Viscus didn't even so much as move, staying as rigid as a statue while Abigail's underlings began to surround him.
[You have studied the alloy of my armor in great detail. So you know for a fact that your weapons cannot affect me.] He pointed out when they went to reach for their side arms.
That just left the railgun but he would take care of that as well, without breaking eye contact with his target, his shoulder minigun unfolded quickly before firing a precise burst right into the rather expensive prototype model Railgun, disabling it without harming the little girl about to use it.
Silence filled the room before the minigun folded back into Viscus's right shoulder, followed by a simple request: [We are in a crisis situation. So lie to me one more time and I will dismantle you just like your staff dismantled my armor.]
Pulling her in closer, as well as increasing the pressure around her neck while his other arm went to her wrist, he then added [And the Cleric won't be able to put you back together because the anomaly has rendered her unable to use healing magic. I will ask you once more and once more only. Where. Is. The Data?]
After saying that, he began to slowly rotate his hand, as well as the wrist it was holding, until the discomfort was enough for him to get his information.

Cloudtop Citadel
Engineering

*sigh* "This is why I am the one who deals with humanities..."
AI Dimitri | Garm | Teri | AI Viscus | Lt. Abigail Martin

Once Teri turned her attentions away from the conversation with Rugal, she saw that Viscus was only escalating the situation further - another gun appearing out of his person and the Lieutenant still being held hostage. Biting back a curse, Teri looked around the engineering room to find some kind of thing to distract or stop the mad robot - before text appeared on her Tablet's display -

Your Ladyship - your staff is magic in nature, correct? Then I have an idea - Viscus has a weak point at the base of his neck. A strike, especially one with magical energies such as Sadei, should be enough to disrupt him and save the Lieutenant. Make haste if you wish to act now!

"Dimitri you're the best!" Making a quick motion to call Garm over, the young Cleric mounted up on her noble steed before readying Sadei. Garm lowered himself to the ground and pounced, bolting ahead fast enough for Teri to make a surprise attack with her staff! Striking true at the robot's neck fast enough that Viscus could not react in time - the Lieutenant fell from his grip; leaving Teri to try and clean up the mess left behind. Turning to the Lieutenant, Teri dismounted from Garm and began to check the condition of her neck for any trauma, saying softly as she approached, "I'm so sorry about that."

She looked to the other gun wielding women before starting her examination, and held up her hands as she said, "Just so we're clear -I understand if you don't trust me after what my companion did; but I'm a doctor, so I'm just gonna check for any damage. If you don't believe me...Well, you have the advantage on me."

Garm, in the meantime, was very uneasy about what his charge just said, and spoke up, "We need to get going, I got a message from Alpha Rugal saying that we need to get back to the ship as soon as possible."

Teri huffed as she began her examination, adding in a matter of fact tone, "Dad also said I could find Adel - then we return to the ship. But before that, I'm gonna make sure this woman has no aggressive throat damage."

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Glimmer of Hope | Unknown Location
Why, oh Why can you not Dodge Brigand Vvulf's Bombs in Darkest Dungeon? You can dodge everything else!
B.C. | David West | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg | Laeta

Today was really starting to take a toll on David's mental state, constantly hoping from one heightened emotional state to another in rapid succession.
Still, with the man he was about to kill actually having a rather good explanation for the situation, this took the wind out of his sails, least until he began to dwell on the fact that the party might be a trap.
"Oh great...first nice thing to happen to us in weeks and this happens...Alright, shit, ummmm..." He muttered before B.C. came up with the idea of them scoping out the party to the others, as well as pretending to be David's date.
"Oh, will you stop?! I already have someone in my life. If you really insist, at least pretend to be my cousin or something. I'm not throwing away what I got with Furiae for your ass. As for the party itself, guess there is only one way we are going to find this out. Come on, we if hurry, we can get there before the others do."
And with a clear purpose, David managed to shake off his raw state of mind and start leading his party to where Dolores's party was said to be.
"Going to fucking Amsterdam after this and I'm spending a month there, I don't care what the fuck happens to the world..." He muttered to himself, looking forward to having a break after this next bout of madness.

The Rising Dawn
Bridge


Diana | Hiryu | Blade

"Alright, I'm doing it. How can I contact you again?"

"When you have been judged, I shall find you and deliver news of your fate. For now, know that I will be watching you closely until that time comes. I will know where you are, what you are and what you are doing at every possible moment. Use this knowledge to guide your actions." Hiryu merely said before calmly walking away an-...disappearing?
Diana saw him walking away one moment and then the next, it was as if he vanished into thin air, freaking Ninja's man...
Once he had left the room, she was greeted with the sight of a green humanoid creature, wearing an outfit somewhat akin to the one that Hiryu did, as he leaned against one of the walls in the hallway.
"Huh...so you're the new girl?..." He mocked slightly dismissively as he walked in front of her, sizing her up before crossing his arms.
"Not sure what J or Sensei see in you. Maybe you'll prove me wrong, maybe not. All you need to know is this: I'm Blade and if you actually pass this trial, we'll be seeing a lot of each other. Now come on Rookie, need to regroup with the others." The young Strider said, quickly making the most of being the "Experienced" one for a change. (Even if he didn't realize what a bad idea that might be...)

The Rising Dawn
Cantina


Anjali | Adel

Anjali wasn't the only one who was a bit startled by all the racket and noise, something she'd come to realize as her wandering brought her to the Hanger Bay of the Rising Dawn.
The repair team had done a great job getting all the old G-Corp equipment out and fixing everything up.
That's what made the bloody trail on the floor all the more out of place as it lead from one of the hallways and towards a nearby transport ship.
Signs of life were found as a exhausted panting began to fill the air near one of the ships, coming from a young, bloody half naked man attempting to make his way to the pilot's seat.
"Com-...on...open...Open!" He grumbled as he tried to pry open the pilot-side door, most likely as part of an escape attempt.
Upon Anjali's revealing himself, he quickly turned around, almost collapsing against the wall of the Transport as he brandished a borrowed scalpel as a weapon.
His gaze seemed frantic as his limbs shivered, the operations he needed to completely purge his system of his "FULGORE" Implants yet to be completed but it seemed he was driven enough to try and escape before then.
"I'm-...taking this ship-...you should leave...now..." The blonde threatened, though a stiff breeze would easily defeat him.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel: Main Concourse
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | King Leoric | Nadalia | Rugal Bernstein | Titania | Nina and Phillip

To say the least, Nina wasn't overly pleased with watching Caim seemingly ignoring her and instead typing into his PDA. She was about to give him another piece of her apple crumbled mind only to be interrupted by the machine. "Looks like there's a wounded civilian on site."

"I'll have you know, Naamah, this nearly naked librarian who is some sort of colonel said I was a- W-what are you doing?" Nina retorted back to Caim only to notice him approaching her side. In the condition she was in, she wouldn't put up much resistence to Caim slinging her arm over him. Causing little more than a second or two of delay, Caim would successfully stablize the inexperienced youth but not without Nina giving some final protest of her own. "Hey, ow! -Hiss- That hurts -Hiss- you know!" Nina winced as she attempted to pull away from Caim, largely causing the discomfort herself while vainly resisting him.

This would quickly stop due to two different factors. One being with something to finally support her weight, the last of that second wind gave out. She would still walk on her own but she'd happily lean into Caim a bit more to pass on some extra weight, the fact that she needed some recooperation time finally winning out. Secondly, Nina would notice a rather important fact she'd been ignorant of through her tantrum, she was cold. She wasn't on the verge of hypothermia by any means but being held close to Caim as she was filled her with a warmth and comfort that brought with it a brief sense of calm.

Phillip simply remained on Nina's shoulder opposite Caim, surveying the area of the new and old characters that they'd found. Given Nina's initial hostility, Phillip merely shifting his weight forward slightly to have a clear line of sight on Caim's face, small bulges underneath the chef's hat illuding to the additional mass hidden within it. The curling mass of tentacles made no visible threat to Caim, even making additional room for the father to support Nina with his other hand, but with his many years experience of combat one thing was sure. Phillip was watching Caim just as much as he was watching the noodle monster. There was no additional focus, no additional impact of the pervasive aura Phillip exuded, only a silent reply to Caim's own curiosity.

As Caim walked them closer to the half finished warmth spell, Nina watched scrupulously at the radiating star of healing. Having never played Dark Souls, memes alone would not give her any information on this particular radiant light. Phillip slowly at first reached a tentacle forward, but swiftly closed the several meters to the area and tested the waters. Flicking the tentacle back and forth a few times and allowing one of the waves to crash against his skin. Wherever it went, the radiant light seemed to be rended, wisps of magic trailing off and even the wave of healing energy appeared to be aggressively interrupted.

Nina would look up at Phillip as he retracted the tendril, nodding quietly. "Well at least it isn't 'real' fire, right?" She lightly joked, the damage to the warmth spell slowly repairing itself. Just as Nina was about to cross the threshold, Phillip leapt off her side onto the floor, apparently aware of his influence, while Nina did her best reaction of slowly sinking into a hot tub. She sprawled out on her back with a long sigh while Phillip poked at the outer edge. She was still upset sure, but this minor victory was a victory none the less. Healing her injuries meant that she could kick whoever's butt twice as hard after all, and she would be lying if she said this didn't feel wonderful.

Distracted by the different ways she could get back at her unknown assailant and the healing bliss, Nina didn't immediately hear Titania call her out. "...Nina and Phillip, you are both to calm down..." Nina's head tilted up as Phillip did a rather good impersonation of 'what did I do?' with two tentacles pointing at himself. "What did she say?" Nina wiped her eyes, and after a brief pause, she immediately sat up looking to give Titania some lip until the words "in the main kitchens" were uttered. In a flash, Phillip had hushed Nina with a tendril to her lips and several worked to provide a thumbs up with her arm. She would resist at first, but would quickly settle down, whatever Phillip had said convincing her otherwise. She still gave Titania one hell of a nasty look though, glaring daggers even. 'Who the hell does she think she is telling me to calm down, I am calm!'

And then Titania left. "So... this thing portable, I just sat down and just found that cozy spot..?" She asked openly, eventually adding after some looks. "Alright let's get going, and Caim? Thanks for the help, it's... appreciated."

Cloudtop Citadel


Mio

"Well, fuck." Mio said as she listened to the soldiers vanishing in the distance. She had not gotten any progress in any direction, neither to find her ship, nor to find a good time. She shrugged, wanting to decide on where to go next, as it dawned on her. This place needed a leader and a good captain! Really no contest there, from what she had seen until now. And what better way to start convincing people than the ship's crew. Even though it meant, she had to admit reluctantly, follow another person's suggestions.

So she walked down the hallway and found the elevator, got in and pressed the lowest button.
Ping.
And she had already arrived. Hearing people talk and making out a bulk of them, she did not care if she interrupted any of them. She put her arm on her side, letting herself appear like the captain she was, and said:
"Alright now. Everyone shut up. How much do you know about the place we are in? We need to figure out the best course of action.
One at a time, please."


The Rising Dawn


Diana | Blade

Diana looked at the green man, wrinkled her nose, and kept quiet as he talked to her. At least until she started to speak in his mind, every word causing a pulse of a headache.
Well then, 'Blade'. So you are showing me the ropes? she winked at him. Do not worry about me and this trial, I should be able to beat whatever you have beaten before, easily.
She got up, stretching herself and putting herself on display, just to find out how he would react to her appearance, then smiled.
Lead the way.

It was painful.


The Rising Dawn


Anjali

Anjali stared at the strange and weak man with big red eyes, unblinking, for a few seconds. Her god showed no feelings towards him, neither negative nor positive. So she walked closer. "Are you sstealing this vehicle? You do not really seem to be in shape for ssomething like this." Her voice was hollow, but without judgment. She tried a smile, her teeth still red from the meat. "You should rest, I think. There are big things going on, and you need to be in your best form to ssurvive them. Look at the ssky, doess it not look different?"

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Glimmer of Hope | Cloudtop Citadel Halls
"Finally, someone who's cool and not a complete stick-in-the-mud!"
B.C. | David West | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg | Laeta | Mio | Others

At the mention of the upcoming party, the boy's demeanor seemed to change, laughing and casting a sidelong glance at nothing at all. But B.C.'s sharp con-woman's eyes narrowed a little as she recognized a knowing look when she saw it. There was something he knew that the rest of them didn't, and that was beginning to piss her off. But as he flipped out a pair of invitations and offered them to both her and David, she took them without a word. In fact, she didn't even glance down to inspect it as she used one hand to tap it against the palm of the other testily.

After he knelt to address the two dragon-kids, he stood and gave the Convict a pointed look. One that B.C. met readily with a suspicious glare and an arched eyebrow hidden behind bluntly cut bangs.

"Try not to feel so entitled. This is a military base. We have engineering uniforms and we have research uniforms. We don't keep a locker full of dress clothes. Mr. West knows the way out. Be vigilant. Who knows when you might cross paths with a white rabbit."

She gave him an elaborate shrug and smiled nastily, asking "What is this, Alice in Wonderland? Can't say I appreciate the cryptic warnings, brat. If you want us to avoid something, best you just tell us right-out."

Of course, she realized she was being a hypocrite in saying that, because she was very carefully omitting the fact that she was getting more and more tempted to humor this interloper or white rabbit or whatever they were after was, as opposed to helping Vihaan. She had no stake in any of this beyond seeing where the cards fell, and she was confident she could find a way out of any tight spot she found herself in, regardless of which side she appeared to back. All so long as she was the one who stacked the deck.

She was about to tuck the invitation in her hand into her halter-top when the girl who accompanied David and the two kids snatched it away and read it intently. With an irritated glare, the Space Convict placed her hands on her hips and opened her mouth to protest when the paper thief spoke first.

"No way, there's no way. This is Lola's handwriting... but it can't be, I saw Lola write all of the invitations herself. There's no way she could have made these!"

Promptly snatching her invitation back, B.C. shoved it unceremoniously into her cleavage without looking at it.

"Don't know who Lola is, or why that's significant. So lets hope it isn't a problem." she told her blandly, before she followed David out and away from Vihaan.

And he wasted no time shooting down her previous plan as he did, saying that he was already taken and that he wasn't about to jeopardize that for her ass. As she kept in-step beside him, she looked at him and shook her head.

"Have you never heard of a 'con'? Or a 'cover'? Listen honey, it's nice that you think so highly of yourself that you actually believed that I was using this as an excuse to go on a date with you, but it ain't so. You goody-two-shoes types are all too void-be-damned serious..." she muttered as they walked down the sparse hallway.

As they passed several elevators in the hall, B.C. could hear as one of the sets of doors hissed open behind them, and glanced backward in mild curiosity. She was about to ignore it when she heard a very familiar voice, one of the few she recognized since she had gotten to this backwater planet.

"Alright now. Everyone shut up. How much do you know about the place we are in? We need to figure out the best course of action. One at a time, please."

Skidding to a halt, she turned and made a beeline to the elevator in question, and when her head poked around the corner, she immediately saw the same one-eyed, one-armed, white-haired pirate girl that had been appreciating her tits in the World Marshall Prison. With that in mind, she immediately knew the best way to greet the closest thing she had to an old friend in this world.

"Mio! I didn't expect to see you here! It's me, Bombshell Carrie!" she cried out as she gave the limb-and-pigmentally challenged girl a hug from behind, pulling Mio's head into her bosom.

She looked down at her with a grin and cocked her head a little to the side.

"Sorry about bailing, but I really had to get out of there. The Rising Dawn is just so righteous it was stifling. What are you doing here?" she asked, a note of genuine warmth seeping into her voice.

Unlike everyone else that she had run into today, Mio didn't seem to ooze virtue or otherwise grate on her simply by being nearby. She couldn't say exactly why, but she got the feeling that Mio was a scoundrel after her own heart. Which meant that if she could find a reasonable excuse to ditch David and the others for Mio's company, she was probably going to take it.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures
Cloudtop Citadel: Main Concourse
Angelus | Caim | Hillary | King Leoric | Nadalia | Rugal Bernstein | Titania | Nina and Phillip

As Nina was deposited to the healing spell, and her subsequent thank you, the mute warrior gave a solemn nod, before being commanded by Titania to gather up the stragglers in the depths of the Citadel. Unsheathing his blade once more in case of trouble, the mute readied himself to depart, before he heard Angelus call over her shoulder,

"Don't do anything stupid."

With only a small smirk, the mute waved back to his red-wearing companion before taking a quick gaze at the strange girl and tentacle-creature he had encountered moments ago. Suppressing a shiver, Caim silently turned back towards his quarry and departed further into the Citadel, leaving Angelus to deal with her portion of the cleanup - which included a very clingy slime-girl. Creating a small fireball in her palm, Angelus flicked her wrist to levitate it into the air, the magical fire hovering above her head as she called to the rest of the group, "You heard the woman - all others follow me to the Dawn - and hurry it up!"

Leading the entourage at point, Angelus offered Hillary her other hand as she walked along, and continued the conversation from earlier, "It sounds like you've met a number of our other members. Teri and Garm are Rugal's family, his daughter and her faithful hound. Ton Ton and Cadolbolg on the other hand, are my children," she straightened herself ever so slightly, a ghost of a smile tweaking at the corners of her mouth, "My pride and joy, those two. They are not of my blood, but their talents are extraordinary. So much strength at a young age, I've no idea where they get it." She turned back to Hillary with a grin, no doubt brought on by mentioned the Cuties, and asked, "Though your reverence for this Penelope is similar to mine in regards to my children - is she family to you? Perhaps a mentor?"


Cloudtop Citadel: Hallways

B.C. | Cadolbolg | Caim | David West | Laeta | Mio | Ton Ton


Despite his smiles and reassurances, the two brothers felt more ill at ease rather than comforted by Vihaan's words and head-pats; the two shooting one another an uncomfortable expression as the group began to move back towards the Dawn (as well as regrouping with Mio).

As they continued their ascent, the two brothers began to 'sense' a strange sensation in the back of their minds,[1] like they were being called for; from a distance - until a familiar figure with dark hair and a dark sword appeared around a corner. Breathing a sigh of relief, the man allowed his shoulders to slump as his PDA rattled off, "There you are."

"Father!"
"Mister Caim!"

The quiet warrior was assaulted by a lump of scales and feathers, as Cadolbolg bolted into Caim's arms (and in turn, carried Ton Ton with him). There was no protest from the raven-haired man, only a small smile flitting across his features as the duo found their way to his shoulders, Cadolbolg rubbing his face against one of Caim's cheeks and a happy trilling noise echoing out of his throat. Ton Ton, on the other hand, had already begun to relay the events that had transpired moments ago via pact-bonds; which in turn had Caim's features turn grim again, his attentions turning to the party before his PDA announced, "I've been sent to fetch all of you. The Dawn is leaving very soon, and we need to get on as soon as possible. Let's go, lest we be abandoned by the retreat."

[1] Gameplay mechanics at work here. Pact partners can talk to other people who are in pacts - as well as help locate each other. Caim tracked the kids very easily through this ability.

NotYetForsaken:
this dude wrote some things~

One, two, three flaps of the Prince of Darkness' wings passed as he looked across the landscape, his brows furrowing the more he took in. On a superficial level - things looked normal enough - the sky wasn't falling, a pleasant breeze was blowing, and the clouds were felted in an oh-so-puffy manner. Yet, Luke could sense something was... off, in that same uncanny sense one got when looking at china dolls, or that sensation of something darting away in the corner of your eye. A strange sense of malaise settled in his gut, before Lucifer finally decided, "Well that tears it. If The Boss isn't going to answer, I might as well knock on her door."

Focusing on magical energy and rote, Lucifer concentrated for a moment before flapping his wings once more - and winking out of "this realm's" perception of existence.

The Outside was dark. Darker than he had ever seen. Where the horizons had once been filled with twinkling stars, pinpricks of light that represented distant worlds, now there was nothing but a heavy cloud of swirling dust. The scale was vast, far more unthinkable than he could have even begun to imagine. It stretched from one end of his vision to the other, an encapsulating shroud so large that to break it was unthinkable. Luckily, he did not need to travel normally. He summoned forth his magic once again and slipped through space-time, travelling closer and closer to the cloud of darkness on the horizon. When he reached the cloud itself, he felt it's presence. It was corporeal, solid, and opaque. He reached forward with his mind, trying to pierce the veil that had been cast around the world, but he found nothing. In a million billion miles in each direction, there was absolute oblivion. A darkness so deep that it was lacking in even cold or stillness.

Yet, there was something stirring on the other side. He could not sense what. But he could feel the movement, like the moon pulling the tides.

Lucifer inadvertently found himself swallowing, his throat suddenly feeling parched as a desert. What...what was this thing? This strange writhing thing beyond him. Where the hell was he even? This strange space between spaces (or was it even a space between those spaces?) wasn't something Lucifer was familiar with - and that was really saying something. Yet the question remained - should he attempt to push "further" (whatever "further" was at this point) in an attempt to "pass" this creature - and subsequently, back to the realm he presided over; or should he try to retreat, to go back and be a shield for those he cared about, even in light of the strange "blockage" himself and his dearest discovered not too long ago. On one hand, if he pushed "forward" and succeeded, he could pull in reinforcements - make the claim is stepping on his and the Boss' turf, a temporary alliance this side of Tomoya's insurgence. On the other hand, if he did not succeed in his push - what if he was captured by this "thing"? What would it do to him? What did it even want? Could such an alien thing even "want"?

Yet, the more Lucifer pondered, the more he began to feel a nagging feeling in his gut - if he were to return empty handed - what good would he be? How could he come back to a disappointed face and say 'I got nothing'? He was the Prince of Darkness - not a spring chicken who barely molted into his wings! He was the very angel who was entrusted to take God's command to rebel and lead the falling of a third of the sky's stars, the one who established "choice" and "will" in his realm! What was he doing to be quailing in fear, especially when he was seeking out the Boss Herself? Why should he fear the consequence of this risk? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

With an indignant huff, Lucifer focused on his magics once more, thinking of all that had lead him up to this point - and pushed.

The Rising Dawn: Bridge Hallway


Diana | Blade

"Okay, now apparently the people at the base we were just at were experimenting on-...something. I have no idea what but judging from that explosion a while ago, I think it went kinda wrong. So here's what we're going to do: The others are heading to some party thing so we're going to meet up there and find out what they know and, if needs be, force them to tell us and once we have that-"
It was really something, watching Blade try to make "Go to where everyone else is and ask them what the fuck happened" sound like some masterstroke of tactical planning.
Even if she didn't know how people acting as well as she did, it would be clear he was just putting on a show to try and gain some ounce of respect from her.
"-Then, we move in and we eliminate the source of crisis and once that's done? The Sake is on me!" He cheerfully chimed before leading the way to where this "Party" by this supposed "Dolores" was going to take place...


The Rising Dawn: Hanger Bay


Anjali | Adel

"...You don't understand...I need to get out of here..." Adel insisted, not really taking much notice of Anjali's advice as he tried to solider on, using the ship to support his weight as he backed towards the pilot's door, leaving a smear of blood and a bit of oil on it as he did.
"They-...They will find me again...They will-...make me their's...again...A-again-...." He started to repeat over and over before his eyes finally rolled back into his head and he all but collapsed on the floor.
"Can't-...let it happen...again..." He kept repeating to himself as he tried to hold his head, as if his hands could protect him from what was happening to him.
"I-...I can hear him...he's trying to get back in...I need to leave..." He rambled as he attempted to pull himself back on his feet using a pile of crates.
Whatever was happening to him clearly had him spooked...


The Rising Dawn: Brig


Bison | Wesker | Doom | Cortex | The Machoke Formally Known As Bruiser

"-I'M FUCKING TELLING YOU, I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING! I can sense someone, someone I used to control...but it's REALLY fucking hard right to get a line though to him right now now!" The former Presidential hopeful shouted to his allies as he started at the steel wall of his cell, holding his hand out against it as if trying to control someone with about a much luck as you would expect.
"Mike, just let it go. That's a T-Minus containment collar around your neck, I made the serum that's stopping you from using your powers. If there was a weakness, I would know." Wesker remarked as he sat on his bed, starting to realize the possible downsides of being stuck in prison with his "Friends".
"And, lets just say, if, IF, you can somehow defeat a security measure designed by me and used for security against powered beings like you, how exactly does that help us? Getting out of the cells was never the problem, it's going so without just out asses kicked and thrown back in here."
"WELL I DON'T SEE YOU DOING FUCKING ANYTHING!"
"Bison, will you stop yelling? Doom is trying to have a nap!" A rather tired looking Doom asked from his bed, wiping some sleep from his eyes.
"NO! I'M NOT GOING TO STOP YELLING! YOU KNOW FOR A FACT MY POWERS ARE DRIVEN BY THE EMOTIONS OF HATRED AND FEAR! IF ANYTHING, YOU SHOULD ALL BE HELPING ME! DID YOU NOT HEAR THE EXPLOSION EARLIER?! I'M NOT FUCKING DYING IN ONE OF THE RISING DAWN'S "HEROIC ADVENTURES!"
Rolling his eyes, Doom instead just put the pillow over his hears and tried to get back to sleep, being in ill mood for anymore villainous mayhem for one lifetime.

As this was going on, The Machoke Formally Known As Bruiser was completely silent as he sat on the floor in a meditative trance.
The road to peace was going to be a long one for him and he wasn't going to let himself fall down the path of evil once more, even if it did mean he would never leave prison again.
While he was able to block out the noise and the yelling, something managed to get though: Scribbling.
His eyes opened for a moment as he stood up and glanced over to another cell, the one containing the infamous Dr. Neo Cortex.
"...Neo?...You there?..." he simply asked as he managed to make out the small man using the floor and walls of his cell as a blackboard, using a broken piece of metal in order to carve out a vast sea of math and estimates.
"...Neo, what are you doing?..." He asked again, getting no answer from the mad doctor but he didn't need it from him as he managed to make out a twisted mural to someone, only with her eyes crossed out, her throat slit and a number of stink lines.
"...You are still hurting about what she did...aren't you?..."

Once again, there was no answer, just a slight chuckle as he pick himself off the floor and looked at his masterpiece, everything was coming together and when the time came, Chrysalis would know just how royally she fucked up...

The Escapist Avatar Adventures


Cloudtop Citadel: Hallways

B.C. | Cadolbolg | Caim | David West | Laeta | Mio | Ton Ton


"Have you never heard of a 'con'? Or a 'cover'? Listen honey, it's nice that you think so highly of yourself that you actually believed that I was using this as an excuse to go on a date with you, but it ain't so. You goody-two-shoes types are all too void-be-damned serious..."

"Jesus Christ, you're as bad as Katya..." David sighed, adding another reason why he didn't want to go with that cover story: B.C. was quickly starting to get on his last nerve.
"Look, I know it's a con but even so, I ain't going to entertain something like that. You know how Governments are supposed to set things up so it doesn't even look like there is corruption? Well, imagine that with my relationship, only I actually have the spine and heart to be legit about it." He then rambled until Caim showed up and explained they were leaving.
"Ohhhh, good call. And, er...I know how this is going to sound but-...I think I *Might* have caused that big ass explosion earlier. One of the people at the base asked me to do an errand for him and apparently that reawakened the Old Ones or something. I don't know what's going on either, just you know that party Dolores was trying to set up? Apparently, someone named Alice there is at the heart of all this nonsense. I don't know entirely how but odds we'll learn more there then we will here. Besides, they'll have booze and I REALLY need booze right now..." David then explained before hauling ass back to the ship, seeming a big glad when B.C. found someone else to annoy...

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