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

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Rising Dawn: Hallways

Jenny | Chrysalis

"Duly noted. Now, sadly, I can only do so much myself. While I am a doctor, I'm not the kind that you might need. Thankfully, there is a fully staffed medical department, as you are well aware, and if it makes you feel better, I'll gladly stay with you. I understand that you are frightened after what happened and I want you to know that I have zero intention of letting you get hurt like that again..." Jenny reassured her before raising her hand slightly, prompting a few of the medical supplies she had on hand to glow before they began to rise off the floor.
"That being said, we need to get some wounds of these cleaned up. Biology might not be my forte in medicine but I would be correct for assuming that the blood is meant to be inside the body, right?" she joked once more as Chrysalis was given a medium-high quality patch job, seeing how she had neglected them so.
"Now, I would offer you a ride, but there is only one seat on this thing. Are you able to walk on your own or would you like the assistance?..." She then offered as she started to pack up, planning on leading her there herself.

The Rising Dawn

Diana | Blade

"....uhhhhh..." Blade droned as a slight blush appeared on his face, while he was clearly one of the denser males Diana had the "Pleasure" of running into, he at least seemed to understand that she was kinda coming onto him. (Least before she got to the part about threatening to stuff him in a fridge)
"How did you know I hate-... *Ahem* uhhhh...You know-....ummmm..." He rambled on as he weighed up the options (and consequences) and realized that, as her instructor, maybe it might be good for him to let her take the lead.
"...Y-yeah...Sure! Sure, I mean, Jenny won't mind anyway. Just-...Right, less talkative, uhhh Okay then...Lead the way..." He nervously smiled before motioning her onward, feeling rather glad to not be in a ice cold fridge or freezer right now.
"And, uh....don't let Hiryu know...or at least tell him it was-...sorry, shutting up."

Thanks for the help on this

The Escapist Avatar Adventures

Rising Dawn: Hallways

David West | Laeta

"...I am literally incapable of doing a single thing right today, aren't I?...god fucking dammit..." David bemoaned as he watched the creature he had "Saved" get rather painfully impaled against the wall by the incoming darkness.
Wiping some of the blood splatter off his face, he heard the voice of the creature say something, right before another cat-like creature seemed to crawl into view.
"...Didn't you am I not tripping balls right now" He stammered as he pointed to the cat then back to where the last cat had been rather violently skinned and finally back to the cat.
Needless to say, this made the part where he started talking about how he "Meddled in his plans" rather calmly before getting slain again by Blackharte rather confusing.
"...I-...what?...What the hell do you mean employee? The hell kinda business are you running? Wait-..." He trailed off right as Blackharte was about to kill him for the 3rd time.
"WHOA-WHOA-WHOA-WAIT! Ask it about Alice Morrow! Just do it, it say it can't lie. Is Alice Morrow an employee of yours? Fucking answer me, I have that bitch in my skull for some reason and lord knows it doesn't take a smart man to know this shit is connected somehow!" He then shouted at Kyuubey, figuring that he might be able to finally get a straight answer as to the mayhem that had been straining his sanity all day.

Rising Dawn ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2:00 PM

Lt. Dolores Selmy

There was a knock on the door. Most of the semen and blood had dried at this point, but the saline musk lingered somewhat in the room. I closed my eyes. They hurt.

"Lieutenant," came a strong gentle voice. A man, Eastern European by his timbre, Japanese by his accent. It had to be Rugal. There was no other. "Are you decent?"

I had to stop myself from laughing. I was so pathetic. My stomach still hurt so badly that I couldn't move from where Isaac had left me. Though the external bleeding had stopped, the bruises on my sides and below my navel were still spreading. At this point, I was really just waiting to die. There was nothing sexy about being injured. There was nothing sexy about being at the edge of oblivion. It was cold and lonely, just as dad said.

"You can come in," I said. There was no point now. No point. Who cares. I want this world to end. The thought lingered in the back of my mind. It was like a the flicker of flame on a new match, shimmering in the uncaring cold of a winter storm. There was something nice about that thought. No. Not nice. It was attractive. I wanted it. An end. A murderous vengeance, to bring a apathetic world to the same sobbing wreck that it had reduced me to.

The door opened. I looked up. It was Rugal.

I tried my best to sit up, but the best I could do was prop myself up on my arms. My legs lay uselessly on my bed. I brushed my hair out of my eyes. "How can I help you?" I said as calmly as I could. I wanted empathy, pity. I wanted someone to pick me up and hold me close. I tell me that they would kill for me.

I wanted to feel powerful, to feel needed. To be irreplaceable. But more than that, I wanted other people to feel uncomfortable, for them to look at me and advert their eyes. To frown in pity or scowl in fury. I wanted them to not only feel because of me, but feel strongly.

That's why I made no attempt to cover myself, or to even acknowledge the state that I was in. No. I was going to act like nothing was wrong. This way I would look strong. I would look powerful, standing up even in the face of great adversity. People will admire me, and those that don't will pity me.

I smiled. Sincerely, I smiled. It was unconscious, an old muscle memory from when I was a child. "Please, don't be shy. Come in. Turn on the lights if you would. I've been laying here in the dark for quite some time."

A small white ferret landed on my bed next to me. It looked familiar. A stuffed animal? I thought. Did Isaac leave this here?

It blinked.

"You really should put on some clothes," it said matter-of-factly, "you will become ill if you stay exposed like this."

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures
Rising Dawn's Main Kitchen
Captain Avanovonov | Lt. Mandez | Nina and Phillip

The menu within Phillip's grasp lowered as Lt Mandez informed him of the need to be a single unit in the kitchen. While it was true that a divided kitchen was a failing kitchen, and Phillip had never cooked with anyone else other than Nina; this explanation didn't really answer what he'd been trying to bring up. Spinning around the menu to face him, a single tentacle flicked back and forth across the side of his chef's hat like he was thinking. Phillip had intended to make something for that unknown eldritch being that's first appeared amongst the chaos caused by Balance's death on his own, but seeing no option sufficent for such a creature given the caliber of the staff was simply inconcevable. Obviously they'd know food like this was mediocre at best if not worst, they'd need something else, but this Avanovonov seemed content with this oversight? Despite the Captain's apparent resilence to Phillip's aura, he'd still feel Phillip's 'eyes' on him in that moment, perhaps trying to figure out what was going on.

This didn't take long to find an answer as this new woman appeared with her 'stardust'. The woman herself held little interest to Phillip, looks and appearance were something Nina was far more engrossed in, but the contents of that purple vial was another story entirely. Truth be told, Phillip had never encountered this spice before nor the location it was procured. Flicking a limp tentacle at Lt Mandez' question, the noodle monster leaned in as the contents were sprinkled on the pig skins only to suddenly recoil and freeze practically all movement. They were putting that on the food?!

Orrin would feel Phillip's presense upon him as Lt Mandez mentioned him, several tentacles swiveled in his direction. It was brief however, but eventually Phillip would slink down the stool he sat on and move over to take over the majority of Orrin's sauce pots. Before the chef could add his own helping of stardust, Phillip gathered up all the other spices he was going to use for these sauces and deliberately pointed out the correct order minus the stardust. If Orrin still moved to pepper the 'stardust' in, a rubbery black tendril swiftly snatched his hand and upper arm. The touch was far more startling than the grip strength. It was clammy, cool to the touch, and immediately made his skin crawl. His grip wouldn't be crushing at all, more like if Orrin had stuffed his hand into a vat of hardened plaster, unable to move as his arm was forced to place the stardust down gently on the countertop.


"Is that so? Well, apology accepted then, shouldn't have jumped to conclusions like that." Nina replied back to the Captain explaining himself, feeling a bit dumb for being so defensive. Her attention however was diverted as she felt someone's eyes upon her. Matching the side glance the woman, she was a bit surprised to see that white skin being as nigh transparent as it was. The red dress looked quite nice too, something she might have liked to worn to this party if she had the time to change her hair a bit. And as the nameless woman stepped out from the kitchen, Nina's gaze lingered before turning back to the Captain. "So she's your ace up your sleeve? Might have to ask her for her number later." She replied, then swiftly added. "Hair dye number..."

Listening to the story about this stardust spice, Nina was arguably unsure of what to think. Sure she could tell from what Lt Mandez was making that spice was all kinds of flavourful, but could a spice that supposedly killed gods be harmless? Sure, if she was back home, she'd scoff at such a claim. Here on the Rising Dawn was another story entirely there were legitimate people here that very well come be near godlike, even considering Nina's questionable insight she knew this at the very least. Not to appear gullible, but even when it came to movies taking legends like that at face value could have really changed the course of a picture. "Well that's good, I can certainly tell it smells that much better from over here. It's probably crazy expensive too, a name like Stardust really sells the 'This is the best you can get!' after all." She answered, unsure if she should bring up her own issues with this addition. Maybe she'd ask Phillip later?

Captain Avanovonov's little warning was telling, Nina's eyes clearly recognizing this guy wasn't just saying that for the heck of it. Moreover, she got the feeling like she wasn't going to get a straight answer from him even if she asked. "I'll take you up on that..." She hesitantly replied. "Just um... let's let Phillip finish up here and we'll get outta your hair?" Nina asked, looking back over to the tentacle monster, having gotten working on several sauce pans and pots. "Phillip! How long do you figure that'll take?" She shouted over to him. The little horror continued working as Nina replied back to the Captain. "Another 10 minutes give or take, that should be fine."

It wouldn't take long at all to finish up the sauces, but the extra time Phillip was using for another dish. Nina would spot a familiar jar creep out of the tentacles, jet black in its contents with a sloshing ichor that the Captain very well might recognize. Thankfully Phillip had used his own cooking items for this, no one would need to worry about contamination from this dish as Phillip soon approached with what could only be described as an eldritch variant of Squid Ink Pasta. Be it a trick of the eyes this dish seemed to slowly churn much like Phillip's own mass, a crawling pasta that seemed far more lively than anything else on a plate in the kitchen. Phillip would slink passed the Captain, setting the plate down and continue moving to the door. "We're going?" Nina questioned, standing up as Phillip snatching up the box of clothes she'd been looking through. "Well ya, I said we'd head out but you're kinda leaving in a bit of a hurry don't you think? Who's that for?" She asked pointing back at the plate. "Hey, Phillip wait up! Sorry about that, um... we're gonna go! Thanks for the hospitality!" She said as she quickly ran off to catch up with Phillip who'd already exited into the hallway.

Rising Dawn: Lt. Dolores Selmy's Room: Rugal, Dolores, ???

"Please, don't be shy. Come in. Turn on the lights if you would. I've been laying here in the dark for quite some time."

"Lituen-...what in the-..." Rugal stammered as he quickly regretted not listening to that damn witch about following up this lead.
It wasn't an enjoyable experience, seeing someone on his ship in such a state, but not because he was a stranger to this kind of conduct.
No, in his-..."Crueler" moments, he thought nothing of it, just another means to get what he wanted.
He sold people, "Gifted" them to important clients and if Luke was around, he'd gladly sell his soul in order to be able to say he was above that himself.
But no...that time had long since passed, leaving him with only sadness and regret at seeing the young soldier like that.
Part of him was hoping that this was all some misunderstanding but for now?

"...It's okay, I'm here to help. Here, put this on. I'll find a First Aid." He instinctively said before taking off his trademark jacket and attempting to help her put it on.
He quickly forgot about the investigation, it was hard for a guilty man like him to remember it right now as his jacket fit-...well, it didn't fit actually.
It felt more like a blanket then even the blankets she was laying on, soft fabric both inside and out as it covered her modesty.
If nothing else, Dolores would start to gain an understanding as to why this man never seemed to wear anything else.
But as Rugal began to look for the First Aid, a strange white creature made it's presence known.

"You really should put on some clothes," it said matter-of-factly, "you will become ill if you stay exposed like this."

Rugal paused when he heard the creature seemingly belittle the battered (Least as far as he knew) woman.
Cancelling his search for the moment, his eyes fell upon the creature before he asked with a stern voice: "I'm going to ask you a question and for your sake, your answer had better be a good one. Who are you and why are you here?"
It might seem a bit foolish to fixate on this creature, but for all he might know, he could be the abuser!

[[Main Scenario]]

laeta's story


The black mass froze at the word "Alice." BlackHarte paused, as if considering something and then turned to face David. His green eye manifested on his inky black skin. That pause was all Laeta needed. She had sprung into action, moving as fast as she could across the ground while still carrying Vettya in her arms. She dove and grabbed Kyuubey from the middle of BlackHarte's body and landed on the wall that David was leaning on before dropping to the floor once she lost her momentum.

Kyuubey landed on the floor. His blank face hid his amusement.

"God above," Laeta gasped, shaking her head, "that was definitely a scene."

"Gwaaa," Vettya seconded.

"Alice Morrow?" Kyuubey repeated, "I am not capable of lying. This is true. So you can rest at ease when I say that my employee is definitely not Alice Morrow. In fact I don't remember ever meeting anyone named Alice Morrow before."

"There," BlackHarte said. He crept toward the four organics sitting at the wall. "you have your answer, David West. Now hand over the trespasser to me."

"Fuck off!" Laeta held Kyuubey close, nestling his head between her breast and arm. "This poor thing wasn't doing anything wrong! You were trying to kill him! Look at him, he's shaken..." Laeta ran a hand down Kyuubey's back and scratched at its fur.

BlackHarte swirled around Laeta, but kept his distance. It didn't look like he wanted to commit to entering the young woman's sphere of influence. "David West. I was the one that saved you from the abominations when you inherited your new abilities. Trust me when I say that this creature is dangerous. Take it from the girl."

Luke's Story

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose free will.

Luke found his lip curling as he heard Venia's story - how she so "graciously" swallowed the lives of those living in this world; how she appointed a self declared sense of justice, how she made the choice for their redemption (or rather, destruction); and to top it all off, this girl this CHILD acting as an adjudicator!

What right did she posses? This "Balance" was no power player Lucifer had seen to personally (and he knew quite a few Gods and devils).

Lucifer's previous fear of this creature ignited into a conflagration of rage in it's place - this was the exact opposite of what he was, what his essence stood for. His purpose was to act as an option, a choice, an offer not... Not this.

To hell with courtesy.

The corners of his mouth quirked upwards, teeth bared. While it may have appeared to be a smile, it did not reach his eyes. No, it was more akin to a cornered animal, a beast baring it's fangs to warn off it's opponent. Lucifer have been outmatched, but he would not lay down - not after being insulted so wholly in his core. Pointing at the girl, he barked an accusation at her,

"You really are a child!

The gods are bound by rules for a reason - if we imposed our wills any which way, the worlds would never survive. Look at this place. Look at what you have wrought upon it. There is nothing here. You had no right to do what you have done, you cannot just impose a *will* upon the mortals - what is free will if a choice is made by someone else?"

His frowned deepened, his wings flaring in annoyance as he continued, his voice taking a mocking edge, "Yet, your justification for it was "Boo hoo, the humans were violent! They did terrible things and waged war! They were all evil!" So, stop me if you heard this one, they blamed someone else for it, right? They grew jealous of your sisters, was it? Big deal. Humans have always been flawed. They do bad things and blame everything but themselves for it. I would know, with how often I hear 'the Devil made me do it'! Yet, in every putrid, shit-stained, festering pile of degeneracy - there will always be those who stand against such cruelty. The humanitarians, the generous, the meek... And you destroyed it all - wiping the slate because you didn't like it. Black and white doesn't work in the multiverse, child. I think it's time you go to bed."

Lucifer lowered his hand to his side and drew his blade from a space between spaces - the suit of his human guise shifting into that of devilishly spiked armor, his brow bearing an equally ornate circlet. With a glare, the Devil declared,

"You said my name. You know what I am - and you are foolish to think I would embrace you, He spat at the ground before looking back at the girl, "That's what I think of your mercy. If you want me so badly, come and get me."

With that, he waved a hand over his blade, an unholy flame licking its way across the edges, before he swung in an arc towards the girl and her sickly golden mess of dead souls and languid sentiments.

He probably could not kill this girl. Hell, he was contemplating an escape route not 5 seconds ago; and it was fresh in mind in case this little plan went south. He wanted to be a distraction for the Dawn? Flipping the bird at the monster should suffice.

Massively Sorry for the Delay

The Rising Dawn: Hanger Bay

Adel | AI Dimitri | Anjali | Garm | Teri

Pain was something that Adel was sadly used to, as was his reactions to it.
Everything he knew was telling him that he had to get out of here and quickly before he lost himself once more.
He could almost see himself, a loyal soldier to a madman's desires for power and if that connection could be-
...Wait...what happened?...That sensation of dread, that voice was gone.
It was only about now that Adel noticed the gem that Teri had pushed into his hand.
"I'm gonna want this back eventually - but if you hold onto it, it'll keep your mind safe. Now, will you please stop cutting yourself up and let me help you?"
"...Ahhhh..." Adel stammered, not really sure of what to make of this, but if it kept his will his own...

"...S-sorry-....M-y mind, it's-....not always mine..." He confessed as he began to calm down, even so much as willingly returning to the Medical ward, though he kept that gem rather close, holding onto it so hard it was impressive.
Seriously, a lesser man tried holding onto a rock that hard would have driven it right though his palms and out the back of his hand!

[[Side Story]]

lucifer's story

"Fight on, wicked child, for the memory of your mother."

Venia's body came apart at unholy flame, shimmering in the presence of his hate-filled blow. The rain of her blood landed on Luke's face, buried his sword and quenched the flames in her golden light. Several steps away the swirling mist of Mercy coalesced and remade that frail doll-like body Venia used to speak.

The Mercy that wet Luke's skin burned softly - it hummed with that same strange music that the sea above resonated with. A soft mix of vocal harmonies and wailing strings. A symphony of ephemeral emotions brought forth by an absent mind. He realized quickly that her blood was drawing away his energy. Like water drew heat when it evaporated, this golden abomination drew negative emotions to itself before evaporating back to it's ethereal body above.

"You are in need of my love, lost child," Venia said, taking some steps forward with her arms open. "You will find in me the same peace that you seek. In me is the heartbeat of your mother, the gentle embrace of sleep, and unity with the world. Come and join the choir of your peers."

The rainfall became a torrential storm. It was like the sea of ether above had begun to collapse.

The bonfire flickered.

Venia walked toward Luke slowly, taking one sure step at a time in the thin layer of Mercy that had accumulated on the city streets, and holding out her arms as if to invite him into an embrace. Her childish frame and innocent gait was unnerving as it was infuriating. She had no respect for the concept of death, or fear, or she had no idea how to even fathom those concepts.

The idea that someone did not want to become one with her was foreign to this entity.

Lucifer spread his wings again, and with a flap, moved himself towards the bonfire. While he had in fact provoked the monster before him, it was becoming alarmingly clear he'd have to tread carefully with choice of attacks. Obviously, splash damage and anything that made blood fly would be inefficient. His sword would not serve him as well here. Holding up his free hand, Lucifer concentrated once more (an instantaneous effort for one so well versed such as him) and waved his hand in an arc.

At first, it appeared there was nothing, but the discordant howl of the "music" of the Mercy was quickly finding a competitor, the rains changing direction towards Venia as a fierce gale was picking up. Refuse and litter on the streets fluttered and were torn away like leaves, dust from the buildings scattered, before pieces of them began to tear and fly towards his opponent. Lucifer's immaculate looks, well maintained with magic and good hairgel - had even come undone, golden locks blowing towards his opponent, as with cutting winds that wanted equal parts to push her back and crush her with the rubble of their landscape.

The whipping winds struck Venia and cast her back into her constituent mist. The girl vanished as the rain of her Mercy came down on Luke. For a while there was nothing but the sounds of rainfall and twisted winds. Then the cold returned, a sudden and inexplicable darkness that froze the ruined world once again in time. Gone were the rubble, the buildings, the cars, the tanks, the corpses of the world. There was nothing but darkness and the accursed liquid light swirling above and below.

The bonfire flickered.

Venia appeared again. This time she stood far away in the darkness. The light she emitted lit up the ground beneath her. She was standing on a pile of broken concrete. The rest of the world was only visible as dark shadows under the running streams of liquid light.

There was pity in her eyes. "You fight so hard and with such hate. It is no wonder that Alice would try to keep you to herself," she smiled sadly, her wide red eyes were wet with tears, "You deserve so much better. Please, calm down. I'm not here to hurt anyone."

There was a warmth from behind, where the winds had been blowing from. A small soft body wrapped it's arms around Luke's midriff. He felt the soft push of her flesh, the sweet fragrance of her hair, and the sudden and inexplicable draining of his will to fight from him. He didn't sense her second body... he couldn't have. There was too much of that damned blood.

There was a crimson flare, like a lotus bloom.

The little girl fractured and shattered, cast back into the blackness that made up the dead world.

"You fool! Run! Run! Run while you can!" A billow of a blood-red cape flickered before Luke. It was a phantom of the Red Mage, created by the memories of the bonfire keeping the dark at bay. He turned around, green eyes gleaming. "Do you really think that this monster is worth fighting? Leave, go far away! Run as far as you can! Come back after you've learned what this thing is, and bring the rest of the heroes with you!"

At first, Luke thought the phantom was speaking to him, but then he quickly realized that it was looking through him. Behind him.

At another phantom, a golden-haired sorcerer holding onto the curled-up body of a young pre-teen girl. The hero from before, Lucieon.

"Get her safe! Make her strong, and then come back for us. We'll hold that thing off while you go!"

The phantom of Lucieon grabbed the bonfire and vanished.

Lucifer shuddered at the onslaught of situations and questions that were assailing his mind. What the everloving hell was this thing, that so quickly and easily evaded his magic? He thought he had a grasp on her nature - some form of entity that could destroy worlds, that was self righteous and self satisfying; these things were true, but it didn't quite cut to the core of the abomination that just tried to absorb him. Who was this Alice that Venia spoke of? Why did she want him to herself? And for that matter, what would she do if her plan succeeded? It was so quickly averted by the small fire with the sword plunged in it, that Lucifer was loathe to think of what this entity would do with him.

Yet, with the strange mirage of Red Mage and Luceion, a strange sense of Deja Vu washed over Lucifer, as he followed Lucieon's actions, reaching for the Bonfire behind him. In a bid to conserve his magic and energy, Lucifer bid his armor and sword away; quickly shifting back to his Humanoid form with bartender uniform. Hair still askew from the magical wind, he concentrated his magic on the Bonfire, blindly reaching into it's network of locations before he jumped, his thoughts primarily crossing to "anywhere but here".

He wanted away from this madness, he wanted away from the girl who attempted to take him. He wanted desperately to be back on the Dawn, with friends and loved ones, to feel the Boss' presence in the back of his mind again. He wanted home, but Home was the last place he needed to be.


The trip was sudden and draining. Where it was once like leaping through the space between worlds, this was different. He was being pulled through oblivion by a force unknown to him. He watched distant realities fly past him, each grey and dark, a tableau of old civilization consumed by the accursed golden sea.

Then the trip was over and Luke found himself sitting on a stone floor in front of an old bonfire. Lazy crackling flames dancing in the ashes and throwing glowing embers into the air around it. It was dark here too, but the air was warm. There was a musky scent of books and wood as well as wet stone.

As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw dim blue lights flickering between stone towers stacked with books. Lazy butterflied drifted between shelves, illuminating hundreds of thousands of old leather-bound scripture. The darkness here wasn't hostile. It was normal and mundane. A shadow that was a result of being deep underground. In fact, if he closed his eyes, he could hear the distant song of running water and the roar of several waterfalls.

He must have been really deep.

A butterfly landed in front of him. It's antennae touched his fingers as it beat it's wing and let loose a cloud of luminescent scales. Then - as he was used to by now - a girl appeared in a flash of light. She was short, had red hair in a clean cut bob, wore long thick cotton robes and held a oak staff. The butterflies congregated on this small witch.

"I guess you are one of Lusiya's friends?" she asked. "My name is Jiyamuanna il Callaxiakio, I'm the Flutterstorm Herald, if that's easier for you to say. Otherwise you can just call me Jiyam." She looked around. "Sorry to say, but Lusiya-senpai is out at the moment, though I could see if Lady Teres-"

"That won't be necessary. You are dismissed Jiyam. Go see if Gissella needs help resetting her arena for the next batch of adventurers."

Jiyam bowed suddenly, "Lady Teresa! I did not know that you had left your chambers!"

Teresa smiled and pat Jiyam on the head, "It is quite alright. This man's arrival is something special. Please, give us some privacy."

Jiyam nodded and vanished, taking her swarm of butterflies with her.

Teresa took several steps around Luke, eyeing him carefully. Then she put a finger on her chin, "You look quite shaken. Would you like some tea? Or maybe something to eat?" The stone beneath her feet was soft like foam. "Where have you been?" The girl was older than the previous one. She looked quite similar to Venia, but was older. Had longer white hair that ended in soft pink highlights. Her eyes were red as well, but playful instead of inhuman. Thick streaks of missing flesh ran across her body, letting a literal river of blood run across her skin in contained paths.

She had blood, not that abhorrent golden mercy. That was good at least.

"I can smell Venia on you, you poor thing," she offered her hand to Luke, "My name is Teresa. I'm one of BlackHarte's daughters. Nice to meet you."

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures
The Rising Dawn Airship: Hallways just outside the Command Bridge
Miia | Hillary the Slime

The silver woman would stand there, a puzzled look across her face. In the matter of a few sentences, this odd girl had managed to thrust quite a few new terms at Hillary. What was a snake? Who's Medusa? Was the snake or this Medusa the mythological being? And why did they want to eat people's shoes? So many odd and strange questions to ask, but which to start with plagued the admittedly simple slime.

"Um... well no, Hillary hasn't introduced herself yet to..." Her head tilted to the side, trying to remember who exactly she'd properly greeted herself to. She was pretty sure she'd said her hello's to the two dragon cuties, and maybe Angelus as well? But the majority seemed to know her before she could say a 'Hello, my name is Hillary what's your's?'. Word must travel really fast here! "But yes! I am always a Slime! Even when the times she might not look like one, like now!" She answered, smacking an open hand to the middle of her chest. A noticeable 'taaang' sound rang out from the impact.

"I am wondering though, why do you say that's pretty crazy? Hillary certainly has seen other things change like she does." She insisted, looking over her arm for good measure as if to check she was still metallic, her head pausing a moment as her vision was drawn to the figurine in her hand. "Like this! This is certainly not a part of me, but it definitely doesn't look like this shiny metal either! Well, normally at least." [1]

'I wonder if snakes are like lizards? Or! Maybe legless lizards? Maybe she likes warm things or maybe even limestone?' She thought to herself before finally asking. "Is there anything Hillary could do to make you feel better Ms Alamia? Rugal seems to be in a big hurry and..." The Slime trailed off a moment as Nadalia and the adorables as well as Caim and Angelus made out to their own objectives. Unaware of the sheer severity looming over the Dawn, Hillary just waves her unoccupied arm. "Hillary will be around... hereish when you get back! Good luck!" She shouted out to them before turning back to Miia. "Lots of other people too! I don't want to not be helpful if I can help it. What can Hillary do to make you feel better, you were looking very stressed not long ago at all!" Hillary requested, feeling like even if she wasn't gonna be part of the main story, she might as well do something instead of simply collecting dust.

[1] The figurine in question for reference has a solid base, with three females standing on it facing forward. A younger girl no more than 10 was held close by one woman looking to be in her late teens with a blind fold and a middle aged woman whom stood on either side of the young girl.It was a bit crude in some respects, but the overall quality was enough that one could make out a lot of facial features.

Rising Dawn ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2:15 PM

Lt. Dolores Selmy

Kyuubey cocked it's head. "You can see me?" Rugal felt off-balance when he looked at Kyuubey. It wasn't it's nature, or anything eldritch like that. No. He paused and gave it thought. Then he realized it, he could only see Kyuubey through one eye. In his normal human eye, the little white creature wasn't visible.

"That is interesting," it said. It paced toward me and put a paw on my face. It made a soft squeaking noise when it's padded limb hit my skin. "Since you asked, my name is Kyuubey. I am here to visit one of my employees."

"I assume you are talking about me?" I asked.

It gave me a dead look with its ruby red eyes. "Something like that."

Kyuubey. That name felt familiar. It returned it's gaze to Rugal, "The straight answer is no, I did not do this, nor did anyone affiliated with me do this. What I came here to do has nothing to do with you nor this girl I'm standing on top of. I grant girls wishes," it said, looking at me with what I assumed to be disgust, "not self-destructive nightmares."

It took two steps and leaped onto my wheelchair. "Now help her get dressed. She's due at a party in forty-five minutes. If I were you, I wouldn't miss that for the world."

Rising Dawn: Lt. Dolores Selmy's Room: Rugal, Dolores, Kyuubey

Now THAT was a strange feature, not being able to see the creature though both his eyes.
Most likely a side effect of all that long term Bionic Eye-useage, though after everything that happened? He didn't know anymore.
Still, once the creature explained himself, that seemed to be the end of that as the creature talked about this "Party" the Lt. was planning for the lot of them.
"...Very well. If this doesn't concern you, then would you wait outside? Leave us." He plainly ordered Kyuubey out of the room before turning his attention back to Dolores.
"...A lot of strange things have transpired since you started handing out those invitations. I don't know what is the case, but for now, I think we should get you to that party. Now, how may I assist?" He then asked before helping the woman get ready, being sure to be formal and polite as he did so.
Hell, he even went so far as to assist with makeup and hair ("I take pride in my appearance. Combat isn't all I know.") before helping her make it to the party.

Thanks for doing

Caramel Frappe:
Most of the heavy lifting here

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures
The Rising Dawn Airship: Command Bridge
Nadalia | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg

Nadalia observed as the two cuties hung around her, the way they talked, how their body language synced with their personalities ... she detested dragons to a certain extent, but, these weren't the mindless dragons she had fought back in her kingdom. They acted like people, to a point she somewhat felt a bit, awkward about their visual appearances. Were they even dragons?? She didn't know, only Angelus was a real one in her eyes, but the ancient beast hid itself under human flesh, wanting to blend alongside mortals.

Without warning, Nadalia had a sudden image pop into her head ... it was a split second, but she surely had something emerge from the bottom of her consciousness.

What was that just now? She asked herself, placing a hand onto her head. Firmly shaking it, she saw how Ton Ton was making a call for David, lying to him about 'meeting up' when they knew it was to bring him in for questioning.

Still, she wasn't against that method, would definitely help get him in without having to get physical, possibly risk hurting the man when Rugal made it clear that nothing was to happen to David. "Cadolbolg, Ton Ton ... allow me to make this clear. If David is to retreat from our group ... do not be alarmed. The man is cowardly, it does not indicate that he's a traitor to the crew. I'll handle him from there if he scurries off."

There was an abrupt pause in the pair's conversation after Nadalia's declaration, before the duo looked at each other, and then Nadalia with a perplexed expression (only further emphasized by the tilt of Cadolbolg's head). A moment's silence passed, before Ton Ton said in a manner unlike his usual polite tone, "You... do realize we came to help right? Don't get me wrong ma'am, I'm sure you're strong and all, but if you recall - we came because we were trying to prevent David from running? If what that Vihaan man said is true, we don't have a lot of time to be chasing people around."

"Yeah. Not to mention, I don't think any of us really believe David did anything bad - Ton Ton and I have probably been around him longer than you have - he's one of our parents' best friends! He can be kinda silly, and he drinks that stuff Father says for us not to drink, but he's no bad guy. What probably happened is he stepped into something nasty and it just looks bad! Like there was this one time he ate too much food and danced and then he pu-"

"I think we're getting a little off topic... The point is, Miss, I don't think we should jumping the gun here. Innocent till proven guilty, right?"

Their innocence made Nadalia feel slightly, uneasy. While it could be seen as cute by most or something to make those around friends feel safe ... the Iron Queen knew better. She had spies and assassins among her people within the kingdom, those she would of invited to her quarters for a drink with the amount of trust she had for them. Anyone is capable of turning their back on you, if the reason was justified enough. But, she did not wish to debate with these little dragons, for she had a mission to fulfill and didn't want to leave Rugal disappointed ... not after what happened back at the Citadel.

".. Let's be on our way then. Delaying this further will only make it harder to find David. Be on our way then~" Without even waiting for Ton Ton or Cadolbolg to get a word in, she began moving, likely to ask some of the crew mates where they've last seen him.

It was then they both heard the gunshot echo down the hallways...followed by 3 more...

Rising Dawn: Hallways

David West | Laeta

David was in a situation that a lot of this training didn't exactly leave him well equipped for.
I mean, while he did hunt a bit back in the countryside of Connacht where he grew up, most of those animals he killed weren't someone's pet or being hunted down by-...whatever the hell you would call something like Blackharte.
Still, He/She/It/??? Made it's case and he was going to honor his word, even if he didn't really enjoy it.
"...Laeta...going to have to ask you to stand aside..." He said as he slowly pulled out his weapon.
"Blackharte, I know we don't talk much, but you better not be fucking with me right now. I've head it up to here-" He started, holding his hand high above his head, a common gesture among annoyed young men like himself.
"-With people fucking with me today. Laeta...Come on, don't make this harder then it has to be..." He then added before slowly taking aim at the creature she was holding.

"Drop the creature on the ground, then stand back. It'll be quick and clean and the last place you want to be is holding it when the time comes." He warned her, keeping his resolve solid regardless of how she acted.
"...Fuck everything about this man..." He muttered as he noticed a opening where he could take the shot.
"...GRAAAH! FUCK-" He muttered before taking the shot, nailing the little creature in the skull, followed by 3 more rounds to it's body to make sure it didn't get back up.
Shaking slightly after that, he then wiped some sweat (and slight splatter) off his face before sighing "Do what you got to do man...Sorry Laeta...Swear to Christ there better be some booze at this party..."
Fresh off what was possibly his latest fuck up, David turned the corner before walking right in front of Ton Ton, Cadolbolg and Nadalia.
He paused once he saw them, realizing that he still had blood and even a bit of fur on his face and he was less then a few feet away from the corpse.
"...Uhhh....hi..." He waved, well aware of how this all looked.

"...Alright, so I know this looks bad, but I swear that I can explain-"

The Rising Dawn Adventures

Rising Dawn: Hallways
Jenny | Chrysalis | Dr. Violet

"... If I make it out alive and all, i'll buy you a drink. A girl's night out, all on me. It's the least I can do."

"Well, if you are buying, be sure to put it on a tab. Once I get into the Sake...Woooo! Once I get going, it's hard to stop me!" Jenny replied back, being nice enough to hold onto Chrysalis's hands as one of the experianced doctors of the Rising Dawn went to them-

"Ah! Hello there!"

The former Hier to G-Corp soon walked over, now sporting a violet colored rimestone doctor's coat along with his dyed hair and trademark glasses (Where he got that would be one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Rising Dawn).
"Oh? Violet? What are you doing here?"
Violet paused for a moment as he tried to figure out the best way to answer that, deciding upon "Well-...Tokyo is kinda a different place now. There has been a bit of-...a "Board Re-Shuffle" of sorts back at the company and-...well, we bothered you enough over that Bison Business so think it's only fair I helped out a bit here. While my doctorate is for more technical matters, I am however more then qualified to use the automated systems here. Not quite the same as being a medical professional but these systems are on par with what NOD-..."G-corp" had in their own medical department. So shall we begin?"

While the two females might have been uneasy being tended to by a Doctor that looked like a pimp, his bedside manner wasn't too bad as he began to scan some of Chrysalis's wounds with a machine before a series of robotic arms started to treat her wounds.
"Wow...Seen some action, huh?...Wait-...I'm sorry, have we met before?" Violet then asked, trying to see if he could remember the last time he had seen a woman like Chrysalis.
"...Were you at a Corporate function in Mexico? Something about combating gangland violence? Was being run by one of the people behind it? Ended in a SWAT raid? I remember waking up in a Japanese bath-house afterwards for some reason..."
It was now that Chrysalis realized that this was the man handing the machine that could turn her into a fur coat, though Jenny's presence was rather calming, good luck figuring out if it was just her being there or some kind of Jedi Mind Trick on her part however...

This person gave some insights for this little episode.

[[Side Story]]

lucifer's story


Luke blinked owlishly at the very friendly greeting, and nodded numbly to the offer of tea and a snack, the words "I have several questions," tumbling out of his mouth before he remembered his manners and shook Teresa's hand, "Erm... but the tea and food sounds nice. Thank you. My name is Lucas Cypress, but everyone calls me Luke."

Truly, he was very tired after his recent excursion, and noted that he was positively soaked to the bone as well (Venia's rain being to thank for that). He shivered involuntarily at the reaction, his wings flicking water from all around him. He winced when he heard the splatter of liquid on the tiles and the sizzle of the fire turning the droplets to steam, as well as callously splashing his host (albiet accidentally). He blanched, averting his gaze before seating himself close to the flame, taking in the warmth of heat in the stead of chill. A moment of silence passed, before he murmured an apology to his host, "I.. Am not usually this rude. Forgive me. I'm cold, I'm tired, and I was in fact assaulted by this Venia you mentioned... Though," he cast a quick look back, "I can't help but notice the resemblance. I take you two are sisters? And, if that's the case, both of you are daughters of this 'Blackharte'."

He pondered that name after the question hung in the air, thinking back to what he knew of "Blackharte". He hadn't interacted with the little blob of darkness frequently, but he was aware of it lurking on the Dawn, a silent watcher of it's inhabitants. One could argue it was less affable version of the AIs that aided in the Dawn's maintenance - seeing all, but speaking little. How very strange, that a little creature such as that could have children. Did it asexually reproduced, like the amoeba it resembled? Or did it.... Luke stopped himself from pursuing that line of thought, shuddering at the mere implication.

His contemplation was interrupted by the arrival of snacks, and Luke saw that the arrangement was rather sweet - in a very literal sense. There were several kinds of cake brought to the fire, slabs of several different sponges and creme combinations - chocolate, raspberry, lemon - a veritable garden of edibles. While it wasn't exactly what he was hoping for, beggars couldn't be choosers, and his host was gracious enough to offer. Cautiously electing to have a slice of a pink cake, Luke took an experimental bite to find that alongside it's bright pink sponge, it contained a mixture of raspberry jam and freshly whipped creme between the layers, with small slices of the fruit inside. Although he was more in the mood for something like a sandwich, this was surprisingly refreshing! Additionally, the cakes came with a hearty pot of tea, and quaint little cups. The liquid poured to be an amber color, and the worn out bartender looked forward to feeling that wonderful warmth that came with a hot beverage on a cold day. While he was able to get that was more like drinking lemonade than tea - just as sweet as some of the other confections offered. Luke's face involuntarily grimaced, his worn out state contributing to his lack of self control; but forced himself to keep drinking the sweet "medicine", taking in the warmth that had trickled down into his stomach and began to work its way to the tips of his fingers and toes. So much so did the effect have on perking him up, the bartender forced himself through a second and third cup, finishing by placing it gently on the ground before turning back to the fire.

"Thank you... I said I had questions, and I still do - but I never answered your's. Yes, I did encounter Venia - but it wasn't my intention. I am not from this world. I act on behalf of someone else back home, and it's for their sakes that I'm here. For whatever reason, something affected the leylines back home, seemingly cutting us off from...Everything it seems. The world we are in looks like our own, but everything about it looks wrong, falsified. I can't explain it properly, aside that it simply is. Further more, members of my group who are divinely attuned noticed that they could not feel the presence of their divine patrons anymore - and the more I investigated, the more damning the evidence appears. I am someone who is able to travel worlds on my own, So I 'jumped', trying to view the situation from the 'outside'. Through that travel I initially saw... I saw something."

Luke drew his knees close to his chest, resting his chin on them as he tried to recall his recent experience, "Imagine if you will, the deepest ocean you've ever seen. You're afloat in the waters, no boat in sight, it's night-time, and the clouds have covered the moon. It's quiet, but in the silence you've only yourself and your thoughts. Then - you feel something try to drag you under. For a brief moment, I was in a darkness like that - some strange space between worlds where nothing seemed to exist - then I felt a great looming presence in that darkness, and it almost swallowed me. In my escape, that's how I encountered Venia. She seems to be pointed in the direction of the world I left, and all of my companions are in danger if she can break through the wall her - no, I guess 'your' would be the better word, Father had errected - some sort of grouping of clouds she couldn't escape. I tried to talk to her, get some answers, but the more the conversation went on, the more hostile it became. Were it not for one of these fires", he gestured to the Bonfire they rested at, "I would have been consumed. But - what bothers me, aside from her complete disregard for human life, is that she had her gaze fixed on that world, and I don't know how to stop it... Additionally, she someone wanted me, or, to use her words 'wanted to keep me to herself'. Someone named 'Alice'. It's a pretty common name, but I haven't met one recently aside from Cooper, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't wanna see me again."

He chuckled sardonically at the thought, then turned back to Teresa, "So there you have it, your answer and my questions bundled together. Two for the price of one, aren't I generous?"

Shoulders slumping again, Luke turned back to the fire, waiting for his host to take this all in...

[[Side Story]]

lucifer's story

"The blood runs thick in my family, distant though we may be, we look as one."

Rising Dawn ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2:45 PM

Lt. Dolores Selmy

It felt nice to have help from someone like Rugal, I had to admit. It was different from Isaac's fumbling inexperience, Laeta's overbearing familiarity, and father's cold manipulation. He set my hair gently into loose airy curls that fell around my shoulders, slipped one of my white dresses over me and set me in my chair. I shivered. He reached into my closet again and pulled out a black knit scarf and draped it over my shoulders. I was almost shocked at how normal I looked after the few things that he had done.

It kind of reminded me of how I looked before my high school prom, all gussied up in white and black, blonde curls gently dancing with each bob of my head. Lips tinted glossy red with lipstick and the blush in my cheeks bronze instead of pink.

"Thanks," I said. I didn't know what else to say. While this wasn't the type of attention I wanted or expected, it was a nice change of pace from the storm of feelings that came before. As he pushed me out of my room I had to laugh. Was this what it was like to have a good father? Someone who was unconditional about his kindness, with an understanding and compassionate heart. Someone who spoke little and acted powerfully.

I felt my cheeks get a little hot.

Rising Dawn ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2:55 PM

Lt. Dolores Selmy

The commons room was decorated. No, to say that it was decorated was an insult to the 1021st company. It was beautiful. They had come in the morning and set tiles to the floor in a meander of deep maroon and white, then they had laid luxurious rugs over it as to create soft walkways for barefoot guests. The tables were wood, each carved from trees of the same grove so that not only the colors matched naturally, but the soft swirls in the wood were of the same pattern.

The plates and platters were of china and silver. The food was set out wide and far. Cakes, tarts, candies, meats, cheeses, wines, cocktails, fruits, rolls, and salads were left in mixed smatterings over the long tables. Near the walls some staff were attending metal rows of the entrees.

Pastas, crisp pork skins, soups, and roasts. Steaks and cutlets, slices of fowl and marrow-on-bread. Baked pineapples full of rive and shrimp, steamed fish slathered with scallions and sauces. Red hot curries and chili sitting menacingly in small cups with a side of bright white truffle creme.

On the far side they had set up a stage and a live band was tuning their cellos and violins to the instructions of a young conductor.

Kyuubey climbed up the side of my wheelchair and rest his head on my shoulder, "Everything you could have dreamed of right?"

Some of the staff were already settling into the seats set near the walls. There was a girl there that gave me the chills. She had deep dark red eyes and purple hair that was so long that she had it pooled in her lap. Her uniform was maroon. She was staring directly at me and Kyuubey. Mnemosyne... a special forces agent. What was she doing here?

"Yeah... now all we need are the people." I looked up at Rugal and placed my hand on his. "Thank you for getting me here. Can you do me a favor and tell all the other heroes that it's time?"

"The party is about to begin."

I dont know if you caught the memo, but Kyuubey doesn't actually bleed.

the silence:
Sorry on my end as well.

The Rising Dawn: Medical Bay

Adel | AI Dimitri | Anjali | Garm | Teri

With Adel finally calming down and being able to return to a bed in the Med Bay, Teri could feel the tension in her gut finally release. Her primary objective was now safe and sound, Luke was still investigating the magic outage on her end, and she had someone to thank for Adel's swift recovery. But first, she had to put down one last safety net. With Adel settled into the bed, Teri very gently tapped the hand holding her stone and said, "You don't need to hold it so tightly. I just keep it in my pocket and it works just fine.. that and I don't want you to break it."

A soft whisper of a laugh echoed in the Medical Bay, before she continued, "Now, I know I can't be here 24/7, but if you need me, you can call Dimitri," She pointed up at the ceiling and finished, "You just need to say his name, and he'll hear you. Do that, and I'll come running. Now, I gotta go, but I'll be back. You stay here, okay?"

She gave Adel a final little wave before she move to join Garm and Anjali back outside of the Med Bay, the wolf waiting patiently for her return. He had been conversing with the undead woman prior to her arrival, and finally answered a question she had for him back when they found the young martial artist,

"I am Garm. I am winter wolf from the north. My pack is here on the Rising Dawn, and my companion is the doctor you met earlier. I guard her with my life, and we one in battle. I don't know how else to answer the question, really. I am Garm. That's all I really need to know."

His ear flicked to the sound of approaching footsteps, bringing the Cleric in question into view. She gave a little bow to Anjali and began, "I know our initial introductions were a bit rushed, but I wanted to thank you again for finding Adel. I was worried sick when I found out he went off like that. Anyways, now that he's stable again, let me introduce myself properly," She held out a hand to Anjali in a friendly offer of a handshake, "My name is Teri. I'm one of the doctors here. My friend there has probably introduced himself, but he's my best friend and buddy, Garm. And you are...?"

Rising Dawn: Hallways

David West | Laeta | Nadalia | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg

"I smell gunpowder... David, did you shoot that thing? It looks kinda like an animal. And what's that one? It looks like black jelly!"
Cadolbolg looked ready to hover over the strange amorphous creature (Blackharte) and took a heavy, curious whiff of air near it, Ton Ton dismounting to let Cadolbolg indulge himself (and maybe try to get a lick of what's going on, he hoped). Taking the look at the scene the little Tonberry knight took a deep breath, covered his face and slowly counted to ten in his head.

"One... Two...You can do this Ton Ton...Okay? Okay."

He told Nadalia he'd give the Irishman the benefit of a doubt. He said he'd be the reasonable one here, citing "innocent till proven guilty" and all that. Time to own up to it. Uncovering his face again, Ton Ton looked between the dead animal, Laeta, Blackharte, and David, and very pointedly asked,

"Right, so this looks really bad. David, what is that dead thing you're holding, and why did you shoot it? You're the only one with a gun here, so that's a pretty safe assumption. Here's your chance. Please explain what's going on."

Cadolbolg, on the other hand, was sniffing out the "crime scene" in rapid interest, looking over Blackharte (Who didn't really smell like anything), and then to the body David held in his hands. It was strange, to see a dead thing with several holes, but containing no blood, only red. It reminded the small dragon of a well baked cake - the layers of color being so separate in the creature's biology they were almost unreal. Stranger even, like a cake, the creature had sort of "sweet" scent to it Cadolbolg couldn't describe properly - a sort of floral-ness, like cleans sheets or the smell of fresh fruit. It was bewildering, that something dead and with bullets riddling it's body should smell so pleasant. Even moreso, the more Cadolbolg sniffed around, he noticed something strange,

"H-hey, wait a minute - I smell another one of these."

Ton Ton's head turned towards his brother in confusion, before he followed Cadolbolg's gaze upwards... towards the ventilation shaft....

[[Main Scenario]]

Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

Angelus's gaze flickered from Donnell to her pact partner, before her mind raced at the possibilities at hand. Donnell was suspected to be up to no good - and now she had a gaping stomach wound after speaking with a strange 3rd party. They could try to imprison her in this room and attempt an interrogation, but that risked Donnell's health. With the amount she could see on the object as well as her, Angelus had reason to suspect that since the Captain wasn't currently shaking and freaking out - something magical or supernatural had to be at play here... though Donnell did not know that Angelus knew (or she believed this to be so at minimum). She could play on that sympathy, maybe even get the Captain to be escorted to the room which had straps on the beds for patient safety. A perfect cover for imprisonment and interrogation with all the wrappings of kindly intent.

With a flick of her hand and a "thread" of a "feeling" of her pact link with Caim, the mute had already stationed himself at the door behind Angelus and the Major, allowing Angelus and the Major to slip inside, but with him as the standing guard. His sword remained drawn, but the tip remained low to the ground. With his training as a soldier, he'd be a fool to put the sword away, even if his partner was going to attempt some semblance of diplomacy, he was on edge after all the strange sounds he heard moments ago. His eyes were focused on the ventilation shafts above them, tracing from Donnell's desk to elsewhere. Whatever it was, he wished he could follow the trail of pipes instead; see whatever creature had made itself burrowing through the shafts. Though, with some luck, perhaps it'd trip some kind of wire in the shafts instead. The younger of Rugal's adoptive progeny, Melethia, was fond of setting traps in there. He'd keep an ear out for explosion.

Back to Angelus, she stepped inside of the room carefully, Kingsblood remaining on her hip instead of in her currently bared hands. Her voice took a careful, soothing tone, the kind she used for her children after a terrible nightmare, "Well, I think the first of our questions should be what's happened to you, Captain. It looks like you suffered a terrible wound, I can smell the blood from here. Who did this to you, and why? We just want to help you; and we can even escort you to the Med Bay in case whatever did this comes back. You'd be much safer there, wouldn't you agree, Major?"

The dragoness turned her head to the Major, and hoped beyond hope that Titania could see what her gambit was, and was willing to play along...

Rising Dawn: Lt. Dolores Selmy's Room: Rugal, Dolores, Rising Dawn Staff

Ahhh...Now this was a part of his old life that he didn't regret: The parties.
Middle Eastern Lords, Terrorist Leaders, US Business moguls (Except that one, he kept trying to urinate on the dancers), he rubbed shoulders with them all.
It was a welcome distraction from the madness of the Rising Dawn, why he even sampled a nose from the selections of wines available to ensure their quality.
"Hmmmm...Italian Vintage. Fine choice. Also, I might suggest that bottle be left next to the baked goods, it's a brilliant compliment to such treats." He advised as he let the staff do their thing. he missed such pleasures, while he was a busy man, he always found time to micromanage the parties.
Once he was done, he returned to the host of the event, hearing her request for her to summon the crew.

"I believe that can be arranged..." He kindly remarked, his gaze returning to that strange creature before he went to do so.
Part of him could believe this was some kind of trap, that Dolores knew more then she was letting on but at least here, he would be able to monitor her.
On top of that, it might be a good chance to monitor the rest of the suspects in the investigation, as well as account for everyone's movements.
"Dimitri, broadcast this please. *Ahem*"

"Attention all Crew, this is Acting Captain Bernstein. Could you please report to Recreation room. The 1021st company has prepared a rather lovely private function for all of you. I shall be attending myself and I do hope to see you all there."

He spoke with authority and grace, a hard combination to get right, before cutting the intercom.
Returning to the hostess, he then kindly asked "Now then Lieutenant, is there anything else I might do to assist?"
That was the one part of such parties he didn't enjoy: Masking suspicion and contempt with

The Escapist Avatar Adventures
The Rising Dawn Airship: Nina's Room
Nina | Phillip

Within her room, Nina was making good use of the desk provided. Two large jars had been placed at its ends, one nearly filled completely with pens, pencils and markers of all kinds, shapes and colours, while the other had a lonely two. A grumpy look on her face, what she'd thought was a clever plan had quickly turned on her head to her utmost surprise. While it hadn't backfired on her catastrophically like one would expect when messing with things they hardly understood, to say the result was unexpected was an understatement. Hopefully those stains would come out of the desk?

Separating the duo, Nina started to sign her name for the umpteenth time in the book, long lost the cautious of the first attempts as well as the flair of those thereafter. With that task complete, she leaned in to the page staring at the letter intently. 'Just try it mother fucker, you just stay there and be done with it! This is a Copic original, it costs an arm and a leg to just get one of these stupid things! Don't be such a petty little asshole!' Unblinking she continued to glare at the book until something finally grabbed her attention.

"Attention all Crew, this is Acting Captain Bernstein. Could you please report to Recreation room. The 1021st company has prepared a rather lovely private function for all of you. I shall be attending myself and I do hope to see you all there."

The call to action had caught Nina off guard, partly because she hadn't realized there was a speaking in her room in the first place. Pivoting in the chair by her desk, she looked up at the noisy voice coming from the speaker. She wasn't entirely sure who was speaking there since she'd never met Rugal in person proper, but the message was received. Looking down at her phone, she practically kicked the chair aside as she screamed "AH PHILLIP, WE'RE LATE! IT'S ALREADY STARTED!" The tentacle monster closing the fridge with a slam, several tentacles coiling at this news. "There's no time for arguing, we gotta get going now!" Nina said as she picked up the ebony book from the table and groaned as ink started to drip from its pages. "Not now! We gotta get going you silly thing!" She retorted at the weeping tome, shaking it violently as ink dripped onto waiting sheets of paper long coated in a rainbow of colours dotted with black. With her things collected, and book tucked back into Phillip's folds, Nina set off for the recreation center.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures
The Rising Dawn Airship: Recreation Room
Nina | Phillip | Rugal Bernstein | Dolores | Rising Dawn Staff |

Arriving at the party, Phillip was still sporting the same chef's hat he'd had previously, but Nina was looking completely different. Gone were the fancy dress, stockings, jewelry and shoes in exchange for what could never be described as fancy. A yellow sweater with a large chocolate stain on its front, ripped jeans that seemed worn down not for fashion sake, and grass stained sneakers were some of the highlights of this ensemble. Needless to say, she was turning heads and for the wrong reasons. Regardless, she merely turned her nose up at them in a defiant attempt to impart she didn't care what they thought of her at the moment.

For the exceptionally perceptive though, they might take note that under the hoodie, Nina was still wearing a fashionable level of makeup, her hair was still styled as it spilled out from under the hood and when compared apart from the clothing, seemed to have its own particular flare that was clearly its own thing, done up to complement clothing that wasn't currently there. "Wow, they weren't kidding, this is fantastic!" She mused happily, taking in the decor on display. The immaculate tile work, gorgeous rug selection, pulsating flesh sacks, and overall atmosphere were almost oppressive in just how contrary it was compared to the rest of the ship. It was almost like they were in another reality entirely, if only she knew.

Surveying the area, Nina didn't see anyone she immediately recognized, at least until she spotted the purple haired woman from earlier. She'd take a step forward before turning to Phillip on her shoulders. "What? Ya, I was gonna go talk to her about- Well ya, I know she brought that spice over but- I suppose I could always talk to her later, she looks kinda busy anyways." She conversed with Phillip before looking for option B, something that would catch her eye, an icebreaker. And without too much hassle, she found it.

"That's a really nice cat you have there, such a pretty coat she's got." She said aloud when she neared Dolores, tilting her head to get a better look. "It reminds me a lot of the cat my grandparents had when I was a kid, Begee." Her green lipstick parted to display a warm smile as she looked from the girl in the wheelchair to her... muscular attendant? He certainly looked the part for such a place even if his muscles were huge. "Not sure how long this has been in the works for, but that Lieutenant sure pulled out all the stops! I'm Nina by the way, Nina Zaczoltski." She offered them a hand while raising another to denote her companion. "And this is Phillip, play nice and say hello." She added as Phillip lifted the brim of his chef's hat.

[[Main Scenario]]

Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"A child cannot give consent."

Kyuubey turned and padded away, flicking his tail back and forth as he left through the ventilation shaft. He stepped over some traps and deftly danced across multiple gaps in his path. He didn't feel, not in the traditional sense. He was already moving on to the next plan. He cast a sidelong glance back.

She would be his.


"How could you!" Laeta screamed. She held the corpse of the small animal in her arms. Blank red eyes gazed skyward amidst a shallow field of white fur. "You don't even know what it was!" Tears streamed down her face, dripping from her chin down onto the broken mess of a creature.

BlackHarte recoiled, seemingly afraid of the teenage girl. "It is better this way. I thank you David West."

"Mr. West... I thought better of you. Better of a hero!" Laeta got up and clenched her fists. Her emotions were in disarray. Her heart firing on all cylinders. She wanted to punch him, to scream. To get up and throttle the undulating black mass that bowed its head before her. She was so frustrated!

She spun around and slammed her foot into the wall. The Rising Dawn creaked, tilting slightly toward the right before the stabilizing thrusters turned on. Her knees buckled and she collapsed onto the floor. Laeta was shaking, blue eyes staring straight forward into the emptiness of the hallway, her face contorting to hold back tears she was too old to shed. Her legs bent outward at strange angles. The outburst had blows out her knees, and now she had to wait while her body stitched itself back together.

BlackHarte put his hand on the wall and quietly repaired the abused metal.

"I know that you are upset..." BlackHarte paused, searching for a word that he could use to address Laeta, "I know that you are upset about this, mistress Laeta. But this was necessary. That creature is a dangerous pest."

"It was sentient," she shot back, "How could anything that can talk be a 'pest'?" She shook her head, "Do you really believe that somehow his life is worth less than a humans? Than our own? All lives are sacred! I cannot believe any of you!"

Laeta looked at Cadolbolg and Ton Ton. "Would you go so far as to order the murder of those two? Or would you not, because they are familiar to you? This creature was asking for help and you killed it in cold blood!" She shook her head, hair fluttering softly from side to side.


"I'm fine," Captain Donnell said softly. She placed the small black orb on the table and sat up straight, covering her wound with her jacket. "The wound looks more gruesome than it really is." She was wary, but collected. Angelus could see the gears switching in the Captain's brain from "child being attacked by a tentacle monster" to "intelligence captain of the most dangerous group of individuals in the world."

Titania leaned back and shook her head, "It is unwise to lie to a commanding officer."

"I am not lying," Captain Donnell repeated, "really, I am fine." She picked up the small black ball and turned it over in her hands. "I had a nightmare, something quite awful. Visions of a world without heroes... and there was a girl there. So young, beautiful and pure." She paused. "I had lost myself for quite some time afterwards. Our most secretive host pried this from my body, the cause of my wayward dreams. That is all."

"Let me take a look at that," Titania picked up the black ball from Donnell's hand. She peered at it, turning it over several times. "Artificial, but lacking in imperfections. The material's not anything scientific, but neither is it magical. It's ethereal, it's almost like it has weight without mass."

"Keep it, by all means. It is of no value to me. I'm just glad that it's not inside of me anymore."

"Attention all Crew, this is Acting Captain Bernstein. Could you please report to Recreation room? The 1021st company has prepared a rather lovely private function for all of you. I shall be attending myself and I do hope to see you all there."

Donnell smiled suddenly and got up. "We should respond to those summons, Ms. Hero, Major la Fey. I have the hunch that you'll find many of your answers there."

[[Main Scenario]]

Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"We should respond to those summons, Ms. Hero, Major la Fey. I have the hunch that you'll find many of your answers there."

Angelus' lip curled at the dismissal. She had tried to be kindly, gentle even (though admittedly, part of that was a ruse); and she did not take kindly to being brushed aside for a *party* of all things. She was already sensing her pact partner's anxious energy regarding the wherabouts of this perpetrator, and now it appeared it was on the loose in the ventilation of the Dawn!

Taking an agressive step past the Major, Angelus pointed an accusatory finger at Donnell, "This is not to be borne! You think we will just stop our investigation because of some god's be damned PARTY?! That *thing* that ripped that orb out of your body so easily is running amok on our ship! We heard it speak before it entered, what does it want? Why did it remove that thing from you? And where does it plan to go next? I will not have my home being treated as a playground to the unknown. ANSWER ME!"

Donnell drew Maria and placed the gun at Angelus' stomach. "Do not misunderstand your position," Donnell?s finger was resting lazily on the trigger guard instead of the trigger, "it has been a long time since any of the heroes has been in control of this ship. What BlackHarte wills is not information allowed to either hero or staff. I may be small, but do not think for a moment that any of you have physical dominance over me."

This impudent girl, this insect, to presume that a great dragon was not indomitable! Oh, how Angelus wanted to show her the true power of dragonfire, to make her quail and shudder before her might, to show the scouring powers of her teeth and fangs. Confound this human flesh, confound this human form! She would not be treated thusly if this child could see what she was capable of. Her pride challenged thusly, fire singed in her blood and begged to be unleashed, to smote this interloper who continued to be so infuriatingly evasive. Her lip curled to a full snarl as she began to say, "We shall see about tha-"


In the air between all parties, a PDA's mechanical tones rang, Caim finally stepping in to 'speak', "We have a name. That's more than enough for now. Let's go." What followed after was not heard by anyone but the pact pair, as Caim added quietly, "Rugal said his daughter cannot heal right now. As much as I share your feelings and want to proceed in the same way, we can't do anything too bold at the moment."

With a growl, the dragoness took a step back and spat back, "This is not over. Major, I believe we have our first lead. Shall we?"

Titania put herself between Angelus and Donnell, carefully keeping a bead on the Captain's left hand as they left,
"I've got an uneasy feeling. Go to the party Angelus, I need to find Ruby."

With a solemn nod from the dragoness, the duo excused themselves from the room. Once the two were out of earshot, Caim, who could feel the rolling anger off of his companion as if it were a tangible force, attempted to calm his companion with an amiable comment, "You know, since we're going to a party and all; you could dress the part? I already polished my armor, so I'm set."

He only earned a huff in response.

Recreation Room: The Party

The duo arrived on scene in a manner most would consider fashionable - late. In spite of her previous protests, Angelus did eventually elect to pick a slinky red number with leg room to spare. Kingsblood sheathed on her hip, and a hearty approval from her pact partner, Angelus lead the "charge" into the banquet hall and surveyed the scene. There was already a number of delicacies lined up and ready to go for the rest of the prospective members of the Dawn, whenever they deigned fit to arrive. At one table stood Rugal and the supposed facilitator of this party, Dolores; who were chatting up the girl Caim had found in the base earlier. She (Nina) seemed to be a bit underdressed for the occasion, with only a hooded sweatshirt and jeans to speak of. Perhaps, as was a common sentiment among mortals, she deigned fit to wear a favorite for such engagements? On her arm rested the strangness that was Phillip, bearing an absurdly large chef's hat to boot. Angelus interest was ever so slightly piqued at the ensemble, and contemplated how multiple limbs could be useful for such a profession...Though how it saw she had no idea. Next was Dorlores, she piqued Angleus' interests for a number of reasons. Angelus did not encounter Dolores many a time, but she did see how the girl acted... "Odd" on the battle field. Strange that it were, that a girl she did not know terribly well deign it fit to throw this party and give her an explicit invitation. Finally, Angelus' thoughts turned to the King of Fighters himself, Angelus surmising that he was probably schmoozing it up as a figurehead should; and turned to go in another direction of the banquet hall. If nothing else, the food smelled good, and being angry did work up an appetite.

She snagged a couple of meatballs on a stick and chewed thoughtfully, her eyes darting about the room. Looking back to her partner, she noted he already looked uncomfortable with the situation, a creature of physical force suddenly thrust into a matter of intrigue and subterfuge. He had told her once that courtly matters were never his forte, finding comfort in practicing his weapon skills and training long until he grew tired. And with that - the dragoness had an idea. Let her sword arm be a shield, to deflect attention while she rooted about the party for clues. That shouldn't be too difficult with Rugal around - they could just talk about training, or reminiscence; easy. After she finished nibbling another meatball, she spoke idly, as if she were speaking of the weather, "We saw Bernstein and the girl hosting this party earlier. Go talk to them. They won't expect anything out of you."

The mute's gaze flickered to the dragoness, his expression first turning to one of indignation - before Angelus 'sent' her intentions to him, her expression unchanging as she reached for something else. He stopped, thought for a moment, and then brusquely grabbed something of his own before he moved towards the duo in question, the ghost of a smile flickering on his face. With that, the dragon was free to hunt. With her new snack in tow, she began to mill in the room herself, her eyes, ears, and nose on the prowl for something unusual, something to hint towards this "Black Heart"...

Rising Dawn ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3:05 PM

Lt. Dolores Selmy

The strings on the stage, directed by the young director who had been familiar to the pains of the heart and soul, sang melancholy. The ebb and flow of the bows on the string were like breaths, high inhales and long exhales. They were sighing and humming together in that solemn choir. I couldn't place the song, but it sounded like something classical. Something sad. It embodied autumn itself. Quivering notes of falling leaves and bare branches cast against gloomy skies captured by long pulls against melodic wood. It was sad, but not mourning. A passing, but not death.

Rugal put his hands on my shoulders. I jumped.

"Ah," I settled down and grabbed Kyuubey and put it in my lap. "I... I must have drifted off. I'm sorry."

I reached out for Nina's hand and shook it. "Nice to meet you Nina, Phillip." I smiled. The squirming mass of tentacles looked at me, looked through me. It looked transfixed, as if gazing upon a familiar face. "Ah..." I forced myself to smile. "Yes, I've always wanted a cat as a child, but we moved so much that I never could have. It's nice to have someone that you can count on being at home."

"Nice to meet you! My name is Kyuubey!" Kyuubey said, flicking its tail back and forth lazily. It seemed almost as if Kyuuby and Phillip were addressing each other instead of us.

"Oh!" I forgot to introduce myself. "I'm Dolo..." I paused. The name seemed strange and foreign on my tongue. But it was my name. It had always been my name right? I started again, "My name is Dolo..." I paused. I closed my eyes. It sounded so wrong.

Your name is Dolores. It means to suffer.

"My name is Dolores."

Kyuubey turned around, "Is that so?"

"My name is Dolores Selmy," I repeated. It still didn't feel right. "Lieutenant Dolores Selmy, of the 263rd support squadron."

"Ain't that a bit of a shitty way to introduce yourself?" I felt a sharp pain crack between my shoulders. Long strands of airy red hair fell into my vision as Molly tossed her hair back. She looked... so much more beautiful now. Almost like she had suddenly found herself comfortable in her own body. Her blue eyes were bright, her skin was tan. The scars and callouses on her hands had been owned. Molly grinned, "She's Dolly, from California."

"You've woken with such energy." I had heard that she had fallen asleep while I was in operation. Had she been asleep this entire time? What was with this sudden change of mood? It was like she was a completely different person.

"I'm Molly Faust, but most people her just call me Faust," she put her hand on my head and played with my cowlick, "I'm one of Dolly here's oldest friends. It's really nice to see that this weeb shut-in is making friends other than me."

"Stoooop," I groaned. I felt my cheeks getting hot. Her personality had changed so much, I had to wonder if that was still the serious and kindhearted Molly I knew. Suddenly I felt the blood drain from my face.

The clack of her heels echoed through my head. Mnemosyne had gotten up and left.

"It is quite strange though, for so many people to be able to see me," Kyuubey shook its head, looking at Phillip, "It's very strange. The level of karmic gravity of the people on this ship is easily two hundred to three hundred times the normal amount. The only time I've seen this before was a result of consistent use of temporal manipulation techniques."

Captain Donnell passed us and retreated deep into the growing crowd of people.

Molly looked around, "Now where did John get off too. I swear he was with me when we got here."

A sullen looking man approached. I swallowed. Caim? Caim. His name was Caim. "Oh, Caim. How nice of you to join us. Is there something I can help you with?"

Kyuubey's tail scratched the underside of my chin as his tail flicked madly side to side.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures
The Rising Dawn Airship: Recreation Room
Nina | Phillip | Rugal Bernstein | Caim & Angelus | Dolores & Kyuubey | Rising Dawn Staff |

"Ah yes, Ms. Zaczoltski. Rugal Bernstein, I believe we've met before. Glad you could join us." Rugal kindly remarked as he shook Nina's hand.
Well, shake mightn't be the best term to use, seeing how his hand encased hers entirely, the only thing stopping him from crushing everything above the wrist was his manners.
"I do hope you enjoy yoursel-...Hm?" He was about to go though one of several pre-written greetings he had drilled into his head during his criminal endeavors, only to pause when he realized that the host of the party seemed to have dozed off.
"...Pardon me a moment." He remarked as he gently spurred Dolores awake, though his concern only grew when she seemed to have a hard time either remembering or just saying her name.
Even as Molly made her presence known, he kept his attention on Dolores and especially on Kyuubey, noting the somewhat "Off" interactions between the woman and her pet(?) who was now talking about quantum mechanics of all things. ("Because that's a great ice-breaker...")
"Lieutenant...I have to ask, are you certain you are well? I don't mean offense or anything. Just you seem a bit...zoned out for a moment there. Might I get you a water? Perhaps some food?" He then suggested, doing a pretty good job of using concern as a means to an end.

As he flagged down a waiter, he noticed Caim making his way towards him, slipping back into "Meet and Greet" mode as he joked "Ah, Mr. Caerleon. Saw you from a mile away, perhaps next time you could wear some armor with that all that polish, eh?"
Of course, while his mouth was moving and words were coming out, it was far from the message he was trying to get to Caim as he made use of the rings.
"Act natural. Don't let on that we are communicating like this. Something is rather strange with Dolores. I believe that it might be connected to what happened earlier. I don't know anything for certain yet, just be careful and play along. Nearly everyone on the ship is here. Might as well make the most of it for our investigation-"
"-Ahh, but I ramble. Now, I trust you know the Lieutenant?..." He said as he made the introductions, masking his intent and actions flawlessly.

Rising Dawn: Hallways

David West | Laeta | Nadalia | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg

"...This day, just-...this fucking day man..."

Being honest, I'm not really talented enough to write the sheer confusion David felt right now.
So many people getting him to do stuff, go here, shoot that.
While that came naturally to him as a solider, he didn't really have a great answer when he was asked why he did what he did.
It was then that he began to make his case, rather aggressively to Laeta.
"Hey, Kid! Back off! Listen...I don't know if you've been living under a rock or some-shit but some real "Stranger Things" type shit is happening around here. And-and I'm not talking about Katya screwing with the simulator or whatever the hell Wanderer did after dark that shack of his. We're talking REALLY messed up, Lovecraftian shit. Did you not see me running around like a mad-man earlier? And I'm sorry, I really am. But if what he there said is true, that was needed to help unfuck the situation. I don't know what it was, but this is just how things are sometimes. I signed up to protect people, to put up with this shit so they don't have to. Was it the right call? I believe so and if it isn't I'll live with that. Now get off my back, I think we have much bigger problems at the moment."

Turning back to Nadalia, Ton Ton and Cadolbolg, he then explained "The-...Black-thingy over here was chasing that creature, I asked what was going on and apparently, that creature has something to do what the hell is going on here. He said it was a threat so I took care of it. So yeah...Did what I had to...Wasn't fun, wasn't enjoyable...So...can we go off? Nadalia, you understand, right? Back me up here?"
While it wasn't the best defense ever, fate seemed to throw him a bone when everyone's attention turned to the vents.
"Ahhh-...Here, don't go asking me to pull that shit again, alright? Can't we get that killer robot Teri and Dimitri adopted to take care of this? Don't care if you got an air-tight reason, West's out. He's on break. Got it?!" He barked at Blackharte, not really in the mood for another Old Yeller moment.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | The Rising Dawn | Recreation Room
"What a swanky party. Would be a shame if someone were to crash it."
B.C. | Mio | Nina & Phillip | Rugal | Caim & Angelus | Dolores and Kyuubey | Others

For someone who was rarely, if ever, invited to parties, B.C. was more than aware of how important presentation was in regards to them. Not just looking appropriate--or inappropriate depending on one's aims--for the party in question, but one's entrance. So when both B.C. and Mio strode into the recreation ballroom, she had to admit that despite the fierce competition in terms of who looked the best among the guests, she and her "date" Mio definitely weren't wanting for style.

She gave a slightly edged smile to everyone else in the room while she was hooked arm-in-arm with the Pirate Captain, clad in a dress that would've been the envy of any old-fashioned pirate wench. A low-cut crimson blouse that showed off just a little too much cleavage, a black leather corset, an earthy brown ruffled skirt, red sash around the waist, finished off with a pair of high-heeled leather boots. Her hair was even loosely braided, and she took the opportunity to put on some minimal makeup. After all, why mess too much with natural beauty?

All-in-all, she was rather proud of the whole getup. It hadn't taken much work to put together, since all she needed to do was break into a few of the private rooms and raid their wardrobes. Really, she was expecting most of what she found to be examples of poor taste, but was pleasantly surprised by the offerings they had.

"Well, I can say I recognize a few faces, but not many. So, what do you say, Cap'n? Why don't we check out the bar first? Then we can schmooze, maybe make some new 'friends'." the Convict suggested with a sly, mischievous smile.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | The Rising Dawn | Recreation Room
"One Chubby Bunny, Two Chubby Bunny, Three CHUBBY BUNNY!"
B.C. | Mio | Nina & Phillip | Rugal | Caim & Angelus | Dolores and Kyuubey | Others

"Not to worry, I know yesterday was a pretty busy event for us all, and today hasn't been much tamer. Lack of sleep, frayed nerves and, and well... if I'm being honest some boring background music; I can't blame you for nodding off at bit." Nina mused to the Lietenant. A crack smile briefly appeared upon Nina's face as she looked over Dolores more, turning to her many limbed companion remarking. "Heh, ya there are quite a few similarities huh?.. Hey not like that!" She then added abruptly patting her hand across the front of Phillip's form, shooing the unheard comments away. None the less, Nina mirrored Dolores' false smile with a genuine one of her own as the woman chatted about the endearing quest for pet ownership. "Ya I get that. Someone being there after a long day of whatever, good or bad, with a waiting ear to listen to your stories regardless of how it went. And you know, a nice lap warmer for the winter months~"

Oddly Kyuubey's introduction was met with little fanfare from both, but moreso Nina. Despite the clear concise greeting, she appeared to be largely ignored by her. No smile, nod or wave even, like the alien horror's words failed to connect. Phillip by contrast may not have answered in similar means, but Kyuubey would feel the brief weigh of Phillip's presence upon him. It was not as cold shouldered as a simple glance or a momentary head tilt, but the feeling of 'I acknowledge you' would linger in the cat's form.

Likewise as Angelus made her visual sweep of the patrons present currently, she too would feel a similar effect. A shiver would run down the back of her neck as the hairs stood straight, even at this distance Phillip was aware of her analysing him to some degree. It wasn't a feeling of hostility, curiosity or peeked interest; it was just there. It persisted well after his focus shifted elsewhere, diminishing down to a distant whisper in the back of her mind. 'It's still over there', 'That thing, it's still there', '...hi...' the voice, her voice, informed her like some sick iteration of Navi. Given all this, there was one last thing that would cross Angelus' mind, this wasn't the first time she'd seen Phillip in that hat. No this was the second time much like it was the second time she's seen him as well, and likewise the second time she'd seen Nina. Although that meant little at first glance, it might help disprove Nina's attire now was simply a matter of comfort.

Back to growing group, Nina was taken aback at the sheer size disparagy between her and Rugal. To say she was relieved Rugal showed restraint not to simply crush her hand in his titanic grasp was an understatement. "Uh, ya we have haven't we. I was a bit... peeved then. But of course I'm here, I got an invitation to come after all." Nina stated, patting at her pockets as she quickly realized. "I forgot the invitation didn't I..? Ya, I forgot it... Well it was from this one weirdo named-"

"Oh! I'm Dolo..." The woman spoke up, realizing she was the last to introduce herself proper. 'Oh shoot she hasn't introduced herself yet, shit that'd kinda a dick move on my-' "My name is Dolo..." "Well it's uh-" "My name is Dolores." 'Oh hey, that's neat she has the same name as that Lieu-' "My name is Dolores Selmy," 'Uh oh...' "Lieutenant Dolores Selmy, of the 263rd support squadron." In the span of a few moments, Nina had gone from fairly content to total disaster control paranoia. THIS was Lieutenant Dolores!? Just how many times had she unknowningly put her foot in her mouth already? Having never seen her before, not knowing her was one thing, insulting her musical choices, calling her flat, and a weirdo was another thing entirely! 'Oh fuck! Oh fuck!! What do I do!? This is a nightmare! With all these wackos I would have thought their Lieutenant would be, well..., something not like her! She's so plain and yet I'm so fucking boned!!' Her only saving grace being the concerned Rugal drawing Dolores' attention away from her, but for how long?

Like an angel from the heavens to answer her prayers, Molly appeared and with that an out! It was odd she didn't recognize her, Molly had been the one to help get Nina back to her place to get their things after all. Nina had touched herself up with some nice makeup but that couldn't possibly be the reason. Regardless, she suited her purpose of keeping Dolores' attention while Rugal began chatting with a very spiffy Caim. A knight in shining armour, it was almost laughable just how literal Caim was taking that trope. "Heh, but Molly, we've already met. You're looking good." Nina replied back to Molly, still trying to think of a way out of this pickle. At least nothing else could go wrong or screwy right?

"It is quite strange though, for so many people to be able to see me," Kyuubey shook its head, looking at Phillip, "It's very strange. The level of karmic gravity of the people on this ship is easily two hundred to three hundred times the normal amount. The only time I've seen this before was a result of consistent use of temporal manipulation techniques."

".̶̨͖̥̮̟̤̮͑̃̓̇͐̿̇͑́͠.͕̙̻͈̙͐̓͊̽̔͂͊͟͞.̵̧͎͇̰̪̘̿͛͗̐̈́̀Í̷̛̬͇͍̪̙̘͑̇͗̃̇͋̇͘ s̸̨̛̭̜̦̪̥̪͆́̿͛̏͞ŭ̶͈͓̞̙̜̫͓̀̀̎̊̀̌̍̇͝.̴̛̥̟̩̭͙͔͙̄̆͂͑̾̑̿͢p̵̣̙̭̤͑̎͐̍́͜͝͝ớ̡̥̯̻̣͕̭̖͔̈̿̀͛́͛̽.̩̼̤̭̠͔̖̺̉̿̄̉͘͢͜͞ĕ̦̟̪̱̪̱̰͇̮̭̒͛̑͆̂.̸̲͚̦̓̃͑̽͐̉̕͟͢.̛͈̱̼̗̝͂͛̽͂̉̆͊͝͠.̹͈̖͍̝̝͑̀͛̋̚s̸̨̹̭̹̘͈̅̂͐̔͐̽̃͂͜͡.̗͉̤̙̖͊̊̎̑̓̽̋̇͘ȍ̶̗̥̻̝̣͖̊̉̄͌̏̊͆̃͢͢ͅͅ.̴̧͓͎̰̣͉̭͕͂͋͌̾̈́.̗̜̦͉͙͓̫̱͓̼͑̂̅͐͑͐̚.͉͉̬̯͑̄͌̂̀̎͟͝"

A voice answered back through the void, a fair chunk lost in transition, but Kyuubey alone would still pick up the remnants none the less. Because he wasn't eldritch nor corrupted by any real means, so the fact he managed to pick up on anything was telling of just how alien that furball was. This also caught Nina off guard as Phillip hadn't apparently answered anyone around them, which was odd since Phillip was a noodle monster of few words most of the time. Why would he agree with someone with the mildest of interest when no one had asked him anything? But she wouldn't have much time to dwell on it as finally, FINALLY I SAY, an out finally arrived! "Now where did John get off too. I swear he was with me when we got here." "OH! I could go and have a look for him! Couldn't be that hard to find, and I could even get some water for Dolores at the same time!" She cut in, not allowing someone else to ruin this perfect opportunity as she walked passed Caim and gave him a wave.

Once she was finally at the food counters she let out a deep groan. "This is prom all over again I swear. 'cuse me, waiter? Can I get a glass of water, a nice mixed drink of whatever, and a plate of some finger foods." She requested. "And lay off that stardust junk, it's bad for you apparently!" She added, unsure if Dolores was particularily picky on anything. "So, who was that you were talking to just now?""And who's Kyuubey?""Wait, the cat? The cat talks!? Since when!?""Oooooh... That explains why that voice was more coherent... Well, let's sit tight here for a bit. We can look for John, look for that butthole that ruined my dress, and think of some way to apologize to the Lieutenant for us being idiots.""Yes, us! You called her flat as a board! Ugh, just... act cool, and we'll make this work. All is not lost, I hope."

[[Side Story]]

lucifer's story

"You want something done right, do it yourself."

[1] A half truth at best, but our dear Devil can't just out himself as *the Devil*.

[[Side Story]]

lucifer's story


Teresa stared off into the middle distance. Her hands danced over her cup of tea. Her fingertips played with the steam rising off of the amber liquid. The steam ebbed and flowed until they became small droplets of water floating just inches from Teresa's fingertips. She placed her other hand on her chin as if in thought.

"I have seen what the Rising Dawn is capable of, and I must say," she turned to look at Luke. Her eyes were so vibrantly red that they seemed to glow. "All of you combined don't stand a chance against Venia, much less Alice. I think it would be best if you stayed here with me. My world is safe from both the meddling of my sisters and the passage of time." Splashed the droplets back into her cup, "Besides, with Venia gumming up the aetherspace, you're not going to be able to jump anywhere accurately much less breach BlackHarte's barrier."

Luke only crossed his arms at this assessment, a frown forming on his face as he answered, "Well, I wouldn't say that's entirely true. Venia herself asked me how I punched through the barrier when we first met on that plane of clouds. Additionally, If what you say is true about her strength, then it seems to me I've more reason to find the entity I spoke of; even if I have to make the jump a thousand times to find Her. I won't sit by and let that brat destroy everything."

Teresa rolled her eyes, "BlackHarte's barrier is one way. Things can come out, but not go in. Otherwise he wouldn't be able to watch what was going on."

"That's the thing, though, isn't it? I need to keep going out to find Her."

"And what are you going to do once you find your patron? Wage holy war upon Venia?"

"If it comes to it, yes. Best case scenario, Venia is simply locked up in a little pocket like this one. Should that prove insufficient..."

"You'll destroy her?"

"Perhaps. It's not like she's given us much choice to the contrary."

"You've fought her, can you honestly tell me that something as alien as her is capable of dying?"

Luke simply shrugged, "Maybe, maybe not. If she can't die, then I'll work on sealing her. If she cannot be sealed, I'll try to split her up somehow. And if that doesn't work... I don't know. But I'll cross that bridge should I get there."

Teresa paused, looking once again out into the middle distance, at how empty the library around them was, "And if you do defeat her, what of the countless number that she has dissolved within herself? Is it a mercy to strip them of their paradise?"

"Do you consider oblivion 'paradise'?"

"Of all the players in my world that were consumed by Venia in her passing, I would struggle to convince myself that any one did not willingly join her embrace." Teresa shook her head, "I do not know what it is like within her mercy, but it is not so cleanly adversarial as I would like."

The winged man shook his head, "They're already gone. The spectres she made were simply that - ephemeral, unreal. Illusions in the shape of those who passed. I briefly touched her Mercy - it felt like I was being drained into nothing, gound into a powder for the ashes to be spread to the winds. They're gone, Teresa. No matter what we do, they cannot come back, and they do not perceive as we do. We can do nothing for them."

"You speak with such certainty that it almost borders on hubris. Erika's world was spiteful and bitter, for that is her way. When Venia passes by my world, I can still feel them, scattered but there." "They are not wholly gone, for death is not truly Venus's way. No, I refuse to believe it to be so."
"To do that would mean that I have waited for my players to return for such time in vain."

The Fallen one drew pause at that comment, and contemplated the thought. If they were truly alive, how did they manage it? With a sigh, he let his head hang as he spoke, "Well, I know I can't save their souls. It's not in my power. The Boss might be able to, but at best that's a gamble. I don't know how she'd do it, but salvation was always Her gig."

With a tired laugh he added, "Though, I did think of something really stupid just now. You think of those souls could tear her from the inside out?"

Teresa laughed sadly, "If only it was that easy, right? It's a nice trope."

"Tropes have root in something. The hero is swallowed by the dragon and cuts its way out of the beast's stomach."
He shuffled in his seat and leaned more towards the fire, "So maybe I can't get to the Boss. Maybe you're right about Blackharte's barrier. If that were the case, I'd hit the point where I'd be willing to try just about anything."

"Even with all of our navel gazing, we still don't truly know what Venia is, let alone if we can defeat her," Teresa shrugged, "Maybe we're the bad guys this time. Who knows."

"Wouldn't be the first time I'd be called that. If that was the price to pay, I'll take it gladly."
"But, at the same time", the winged man stood up, cracked his neck and stretched his arms up towards the ceiling, "Ruminating over the possibilities isn't going to get anything done. I don't know about you, but I'm going to try and find The Boss again. Thank you for the tea."

"Well you won't be able to leave without my blessing, unlike BlackHarte's, my barrier is not one way."

"Are you planning on stopping me?"

"I'm not going to just let you wander off and die, if that's what you mean."

"Whether or not I die, that's my decision to make," he paused, his mind flitting to more intimate matters before he started again, playing off the hesitance as another moment of stretching, "I would prefer not to die, but at the same time, there are those I'd prefer to keep alive, or at bare minimum, whole. I know I've talked about my job at length, but I'll admit the personal stake does help me to keep going on this goose chase."

Teresa rose from her seat with as much gravitas as she could muster. Her eyes glistened in the dim light of fluttering butterflies as she spoke, "Wouldn't your patron be sad if you died? It's better if you just stay here, with me." She paused, lips pursed and eyes cast down. Luke couldn't see well in the dimness, but she definitely felt like she was crying. "I know that if one of my sons ran off trying save the lives of all his friends and died, I would be sad. I wouldn't care that it was his job, or that it was his choice or that he died happy. All I would know is that someone I care about would never be here."

Luke only shook his head somberly at Teresa's plea, stepped forward, and gently patted her on the head in an almost fatherly manner, "I'm sorry Teresa, but that's not how it works. Sitting back and letting terrible happen is sometimes just as bad as committing the crime yourself. And while it may be subject to debate whether or not Venia is truly evil - I can't stand here and do nothing. My very being demands for me to fight against it. I act on behalf of the Freedom of Choice, and she is my antithesis by making the choice for others. I have to leave. Please, let me through the barrier."

"No!" Teresa's voice came out raw and unfiltered with a volume that surprised even herself. The library froze in time and drained of color. Even the crackling flames of the bonfire held still as stone. "I'm not going to be alone again! No! No! No!" She shook her head violently from side to side, wiping away the tears streaming down her cheeks before they touched the bloody scars on her face. "I'm not going to let Venia take another player! I can't! I won't! It's been so long... so long since someone's visited me. And I can't, don't leave. Stay here, even just for a little while longer. Because if you leave, I know, you'll never come back."

"Hmn..." An idea in the Devil's mind, a precarious one, but an idea nonetheless, if Teresa was truly worried about being alone then perhaps he could change his travel plans a little, "Well, you could come with me, if being lonely is your only objection. Help me get to the Dawn, and I can drop you off with more than enough people for you to talk to."

Teresa seemed taken aback, "You mean... leave my Labyrinth!?" Her voice was dripping with incredulity, as if Luke has just asked her to do the impossible. "I... I... I never..."

Luke only tilted his head to Teresa in return, and said in a matter of fact tone, "Never crossed your mind, did it? The bird cannot learn to fly unless it leaves the nest, after all."

"Of course it crossed my mind, idiot!" she turned away, "It's just that... outside... I'm no more than what I once was. I'm only as strong as I am because I'm in here."

"Well, I need to go, and you don't want to be alone. Seems like a happy medium to me. Besides," He stretched out his hands up to the library, "Consider this place. It's a library, a place of knowledge. You could spend ages reading every book in here, and you could still learn something new after that. That's the beauty of being alive - the living can always change. You say you will be 'reduced' once you leave the labyrinth. You could learn how to manage yourself outside of it. put it in a storytelling element, put yourself through a training montage to make up for it."

"The living can change," Teresa muttered under her breath, "then what of me who has in so many eons not changed at all."

"Staying around in one place that you control doesn't lend much to changing, does it?"
He tapped his ear with snide grin, "You need to be exposed to people other than yourself if you want to become someone different. Or, to borrow from a phrase, 'no man is an island'. Rather, they're more like archipelagos, fragments of memories, and people brought together in one chain. If all you were doing was sitting here for others to visit you, it's no surprise you never changed - you didn't put in the effort to start the process."

"Your metaphors are about as palatable as your smugness," Teresa said bitterly. "has your patron never taught you the niceties required when you're talking to a girl?" She turned and looked out at her library, her home, her creation. Even full of all manners of creatures of her design, guardians of her molding, servants of her desires, it felt hollow and empty without her players. "You should have hugged me and told me to trust you, that when I left I would see that the world you're fighting for, the people you're saving, are worth the sacrifice. You should have told me that I would make new friends, new family, and then once this is all over I could bring them back here."

"Can't be too nice when you were threatening to make me your hostage. Besides, you'll see it for yourself soon enough."

She tilted her head back as far as it could go and cast a sidelong glance at Luke, "You are as arrogant as you are tactless." she smiled "well, at least you never forgot who you were actually talking to. I guess you're not one that's much into moe." Teresa shrugged and held out her hand, "I'll join you on your journey to find your patron, but I cannot follow you back to your world. That path is one that even I cannot take."

"Well, I was originally planning to drop you off at my world, but if you really can't go, I'll make do." He took her hand and was about to ready the magics when a question struck him, breaking his concentration "What on earth is moe?"

Rising Dawn: Hallways

David West | Laeta | Nadalia | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg

Between David trying to patch things up, Laeta's anger, and the black thing only trying to reassure her, Cadolbolg's attention was still towards the ventilation system. Taking a quick look at his pact partner, Cadolbolg said in a matter-of-fact manner, "You're better at the talking thing - you can handle this. I'm gonna follow that weird scent in the vents."
He took another sniff of the strange bloodless corpse to get a good idea of what the scent was, and then flew up to the vents, his little claws and tail making short work of the grating....and would probably be put towards another repair bill. Nonetheless, the turtle-dragon child was able to skuttle his way in - following in hot pursuit of the strange scent he caught earlier....

Back with the group below the vent; Ton Ton more than a little conflicted about the whole scenario, especially with a crying young lady in front of them. However, as uncomfortable as the thought made him feel - she was right in a way. They had no idea what the hole-ridden thing was, and if the advice of a third party declared it to be a threat then... What was there to be done? The Rising Dawn knew who he was, the Dawn knew who Cadolbolg was, their motivations, their powers. This... thing, on the ground... They knew nothing of it.

Thinking this all over, he looked back to Laeta, and sighed. She looked so young, and her heart really was in the right place. How could he blame her for being so angry? Even if the creature David shot was an enemy, it did a darn good job masquerading as something innocent. It almost reminded him of the Mistress - as much as she played fantasy video games (including the ones she drew inspiration for Ton Ton from), The Mistress never enjoyed anyone actually getting hurt - especially if it was something that could talk back. "You're not the mean Tonberries", the Mistress often told him, "You're one of the nice ones, and you wouldn't fight against the good guys! You'd talk things out first." Ton Ton mulled over the conflicting thoughts in his mind once more, before he willed his Daemon-Fighting equipment away, then stepped forward to speak;

"I'll admit, I'm a little biased here. We came in late, and David says that black creature there told him to do what he did. I trust David, because he is a man of integrity; even in tough situations...Even in situations like now. From what I'm seeing, this creature here," He indicated to the shifting mass of black, "It seems well disposed to you, and means nothing but your safety in mind. Because of that, I can't but think of enemies I've encountered in this world and my homeland.

I've seen many terrible and strange creatures; beings that preyed on kind and gentle hearts like yours. In my homeland, myself and my comrades would work together to protect those kinds of people; kind, and gentle souls, some of which were much younger than you. The creatures that preyed upon them would work insidiously, either attacking while our charges had their backs turned, or preying on them in their dreams. Sometimes, to pull us away, those creatures would pretend to be something friendly, and would strike before it was too late; leaving our charge exposed.

Because of this experience, I... have my doubts about the legitimacy of that white creature's intentions towards you. Of course, I haven't heard it speak, but I can't help but wonder... If your guardian was so agitated by it, then perhaps it wasn't as kind or innocent as it appeared."

He took a step towards the upset girl, his little arms clasped closely to his chest, "I'm sorry you had to see what you did, but sometimes our work isn't happy, and sometimes the results look, well, terrible. But please understand, we do this sort of thing so kind people like you don't have to. That all said, it's not much but," he opened arms wide and offered what any (former) stuffed animal would, "I know hugs are very helpful during stressful situations."

[[Main Scenario]]

Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"A daughter's duty is to herself, not you."

Laeta threw her arms around Ton Ton and picked him up. Her head was filled with erratic thoughts as she squeezed the Tonberry. She was so frustrated, she rocked side to side. Slowly Laeta brought Ton Ton under her chin and rest her head against his smooth round dome of a face. She smothered the poor thing in herself but couldn't shake the uneasy feeling she had both in her stomach and her heart.

BlackHarte hovered awkwardly some distance away. His body shifted back and forth on the floor in the same tempo as Laeta's bobbing head.

There was silence for quite some time as Laeta mulled over the thoughts in her head. She slouched. Her teeth itched. It was a growing urge, starting from her gums and spread through the rest of her mouth. She felt it in her jaw, in the gaps between her teeth, and dancing on her palette. She put her head against Ton Ton, and clutching him tight, kissed him on the head. She felt the pressure of his skin against her lips and against her teeth. It helped alleviate some of the urges.

But then without thinking she bit down gently on his skin. Unlike humans, he didn't taste slightly of salt. It wasn't much, but the texture was there. She liked it. Laeta chewed a little bit on Ton Ton's skin lightly, and then pulled back. She wondered how good it would feel to have the flesh and blood in her mouth.

She kissed Ton Ton again, lost in the sensations of the small warm creature against her body.

BlackHarte's arm struck Laeta in the middle of her forehead and sent her careening backwards into the wall. Thin black tendrils wrapped themselves around Ton Ton and gently pulled him back toward Nadalia and David. Thick white smoke billowed out of the tendril that touched Laeta. BlackHarte recoiled as if in pain.

"Ah..." Laeta said softly, sitting back up, "I... what happened?" She shook her head and ran her fingers through her long brown hair. "I feel... funny..." Her teeth still itched terribly.

"I apologize, Mistress Laeta, Master Ton Ton," he cut off the smoking tendril from his body mass and let it sublime into nothingness, "If I did not hesitate for so long, I would have stopped things from getting this far."

Laeta stood up, her legs having knit themselves back together, "What are you talking about?" She was unsteady, her eyes were unfocused, and her gait had a strange sway to it. "I feel... funny."

BlackHarte turned to the others and put himself between them and Laeta, "Do not be alarmed. She is not under the influence of anything. This is a natural part of her metabolism." He paused. "That being said, I would recommend that we all move swiftly in the opposite direction while we discuss the nature of this incident. I am sure that Mistress Laeta will catch up with us once she is more lucid."


The vents were dark but full of two conflicting scents. One was that linen like smell of the foreigner, the other was the acrid iron of a shifting mass off in the distance. That was at least familiar. As Cadolbolg delved deeper along the winding path of the creature, he found himself in many places.

There were pools of it's scent at access points all over the ship. It had been watching each of the heroes' rooms, it had been watching in the cafeteria, in the training rooms, in the medical bays. It had even been in two of the staff rooms, one of which smelled terribly of a pungent odor not unlike squid and dried fish.

Then finally Cadolbolg tracked it down to the recreation room, where he was assailed with an array of aromas - food, people, perfumes - but most specifically he saw the owner of that light linen smell.

It was sitting comfortable in the lap of a blonde haired girl, waving it's tail back and forth lazily. It cast a glance up at Cadolbolg in the vents. "Are all underdeveloped creatures this nosy? Well, I suppose you are fortunate. That is a good seat to bear witness." Kyuubey turned away, his permanent grin grew. "This is the event of a thousand lifetimes. Quite literally indeed."


Titania rushed through the empty halls of the Rising Dawn, her cloak flapped behind her madly. She had given up all context of being Major la Fey and had evoked enough magic to fly down the halls as fast as she needed to. Her eyes scanned as much as she could. There was nothing here. It was as if all the lines of causality had just upped and vanished.

"Ruby!" Titania called out, stopping at an intersection, "Deborah!"

No answer. She shook her head. Her eyes showed her everything about this world and what she saw was impossibly broken. It was a dollhouse, built haphazardly to house it's tenants temporarily. It should have been easy then to pinpoint those two. They should be shining like stars in the night sky, pieces of real causality in a world of dead and fake projections.

But they weren't. Almost nobody did.

BlackHarte was tailing her some steps behind. She could see his writhing mass of a body moving inside of the metal walls of the ship. He too had lost much of his causality. A being of his stature should be brilliant gold, almost blinding to see, but he only glimmered a dull orange in the cold landscape.

Titania stopped and turned around to face him. He made no attempt to hide himself.

He appeared, holding a gnarled wooden staff and robed in ornate white. He was not smiling, nor did he have the same air of confidence about him. The monster standing before Titania was not so much a monster anymore.

"That's not the usual avatar, BlackHarte," Titania mocked.

No, he answered. He was inside her head.

How annoying.

He was silent. Then he spoke, catching Titania completely off guard, "Ruby has been excised."

"What do you mean?" Titania growled, "and why are you speaking? Aren't you a telepath?"

"I am nothing so crude. I am reason, I am Solomon," he said impassively. He bowed his head, "This is not the first time we have met, but this is the first time we have acknowledged one another."

"Right," Titania returned his polite bow. "You want to explain what is happening? Where's Ruby, and where is Deborah? In fact, why don't you also tell me why there's no strings of causality anywhere on this ship right now?"

Solomon looked at Titania. His eyes were tired and sad, but he spoke with the same firm apathy as before, "I have asked Naamah to shelter them for the time being. They are safe, as is the rest of this continuity, at least what we could salvage."

"You sound like you're preparing for the end of the goddamn world."

"Something to that nature. The future is uncertain, even to us now. We are taking precautions. Those who are not entangled here have been excised and protected. Those who could not be have had snapshots created of their karmic destinies."

"And your main body is in the safe room? Is that why your power is so underwhelming right now?"

"That is correct." Solomon turned to look behind him as if he was watching someone invisible speak. Then he turned back to Titania, "For those that are like us and have the Eyes to witness, I have been moving to gather and bring into Naamah's sepulcher. It is safe there from the unraveling of causality."

Titania glared at him with suspicion, "Why are you being so upfront about all of this? Isn't it more your style to be cryptic and difficult? Or to do things without asking and explain after you've done what you needed to do?"

"You, like us, are gifted with the blessing of true agency, as is with several others on this ship. Those who are blessed have retained their karmic destinies even until now. In this way we cannot subordinate their character with our own power." He held out his hand, "We require the permission of that one to do so."

"It really is like the end of the fucking world." She put her hand in his.

"It will be so in fifteen minutes."

Rising Dawn: Hallways

David West | Laeta | Nadalia | Ton Ton | Cadolbolg

...Well, that just fucking happened. David remarked as he watched the-..."Exchange" Laeta Ton Ton and Blackharte unfold.
"...Did-...did she just try to fucking eat him?...What the shite?" He then asked out-loud, glancing over to the others as if to say "I wasn't the only one who saw that, right?".
Still, he was glad to be out of that PR Nightmare, while it wasn't quite "Shooting a Reporter in the face at a Press Conference" bad, it wasn't exactly enjoyable either way.

"Thanks Ton, Promise I'll make it up to you, and her, if I can help it." He sighed before Blackharte started talking about why exactly this meeting of theirs occurred.
"Alright, might want to give the lady some air And put a bit of distance between us and that mouth of hers." He lightly jabbed as him and the gang began to leave the woman behind.
"Alright, so recap: Vihaan asked me to fiddle with a computer in the lower levels, something exploded, I got the entire HR database smashed into my skull, then you asked me to shoot the little animal thingy. Now, this is the part where you explain something and everything that happened in the last few hours makes sense. So, from the top, like you are explaining it to a small child. Blackharte: What the hell is going on? Answers, now, all over my face. Do it." He then rambled as he pulled out his flask, about to top up his blood alcohol supply only to find it empty.

"...Second item on the agenda: More booze."

[[Main Scenario]]

Glimmer of Hope
titania's story

"A daughter's duty is to herself, not you."

Niflheim cocked his head as they ran away from Laeta, who followed them at a haphazard pace. "You would ask such a thing of me, Mr. West?" He placed his eyes forward as he wrapped his arms around Ton Ton to gently speed the Tonberry along. Niflheim thought silently to himself for a brief moment before speaking again.

His voice was not so calm and resolute as it usually was. "It is strange, since I was about to ask you the same thing. What is happening, Mr. West?"

"Hey guys... wait up. You guys are moving way to fast."

Niflheim urged the rest of the party to hasten.

"Do you guys not feel this at all? It's... oh my head... it's everywhere, so thick. This fog. What's happening? It's really hot and really humid. Are any of you feeling this?"

"David West," Niflheim said, "I want you to put down your flask and for once in your life to think. What did that machine imprint on you? What have you been able to see now that you've inherited Causality?"

He slapped David on the back of the head.

"Is this 'HR Database' of yours really all it is? Or is that stupid monkey brain of yours only processing it on a surface level? Think you unlucky idiot. Stop acting like I have all of the answers to everything. I'm only a little deeper in this bloody mess than you are."

Niflheim drew himself to his full intimidating height, "You like to perpetuate the idea that you are the layman in this group, but you have gotten far too complacent in your charade. You now always expect others who are more powerful than you, smarter than you, to sort out your troubles. You used to contribute nothing because you had nothing to contribute." Niflheim made a low growling noise as he looked over his shoulder, "But now that you do have something of use, you have grown too dependent to use it to help the rest of us. All you know how to do are shoot, cry, drink, and crack unfunny jokes."

"David West, you are a hero. It's time to start acting like one."

[[Side Story]]

lucifer's story

"What is this 'naa' business? Sounds like a bad cat impression."

In spite of that little... Slip-up, with the "mo-ay" business, Luke was ready to try again. Teleportation was always a bit more of a pain when it was more than yourself. By one's own lonesome, it was as simple of thinking of yourself in one place, than another. With a passenger, you had to consider that your tag-along didn't lose any organs or limbs along the way; and in the interests of mitigating that, some extra chanting was required.

Refocusing on his task at hand, Luke closed his eyes and held a hand in the air as the strains of Celestial filled the space around them, seeming to whisper from all angles. He focused his jump on his old home - a home where She reigned supreme -

"I know this is a heavy burden to bear, but you are the only one I entrust with this task. Will you do this for me?"

"Of course. It had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong."

A place where he was not welcome to again.

With the last syllable whispered, in one moment the pair was - in another they were not.

There was turbulence, terrible and frightening. Once again, the space between the planes was in tulmutuous chaos. But as they left the sphere of influence of the monstrosity called Venia, they crossed another consciousness - one familiar to Luke at least. She cast a side-long glance as they passed, and held her old oaken staff close to small body. "Be careful, the world you left no longer the same is."

Within the same instant she had appeared, Naamah dissappeared.

Then they were there. But something was off. Luke knew that the strangeness had only lasted for at most two days, but here he felt the full weight of lost time on his shoulders. It felt like it had been years.

Luke - no, he was Lucifer again, took a moment to acclimate again, his breath leaving his body in a shallow gasp. The Boss' presence in this place washed over in a wave, an impact he didn't realize would feel so strong. The void the Boss' disappearance (or rather, the Boss being locked out) left behind hurt more than he thought - a hole that was left behind. Here, it was warm, inviting, like a hug almost. The Boss was aware he had come, and the radiating presence he felt in his hear, nay, his soul, was proof of that. It was strange, how you could get so used to something after it had been gone for so long - was it really that long? Why did it feel like he had been gone for eons? What happened here? He shouldn't have been living out Junior's story of the Prodigal Son - this should have been a simple jaunt to and from the Material Plane of his standard universe.

He blinked, surprised that he felt something wet on his cheek, and wiped it aside, looking down at his much shorter companion, "Well, no time like the present. Gimme a sec to put my game face on-"

He concentrated for a moment, then allowed his form to shift and shimmer into something a little more..dramatic. The extra pairs of wings were a bit much, but honestly, did any of the Host REALLY remember what he looked like? Flexing his extra appendages and cracking his neck, Lucifer shot Teresa a mischevious grin, "Stick close to me and they shouldn't get to you. Appearances are everything around here," before walking on ahead into the depths of Heaven - and to the Boss herself.

Teresa looked around with equal parts amazement and confusion, "This is what you call Paradise? This presence is suffocating. It's like I'm stuck inside of my mother's womb."

"This is Administration. I suspect it feels different between here and where all the souls rest. Technically speaking, my kind don't need to eat while up in this plane. They're sustained by the Presence of God, which might be why it feels so heavy to you."

As the pair walked up towards the Boss' office, they could see swathes of Angels giving Lucifer and his companion admittance, shying to the sides whenever they were so much as within a meter of the Fallen one. Eventually, the duo made their way to the place Lucifer liked to jokingly call "the Principal's Office". It appeared as a giant pair of white doors, guarded on either side by a pair of Thrones, spinning and churning in place. The Wheels within Wheels festooned with eyes regarded Lucifer and Teresa like one would regard an uninvited mafia don - with scorn and fear. They looked unsure about what to do, before another "wave" of the Boss washed over them, granting them permittance to enter; the Thrones falling back in response. The double doors of white opened, and with a flash of light, the two were placed in what appeared to be a gigantic white office. Each were seated in a comfortable white chair, and before them was a white desk, and on the top of it was seated a child, a young girl who appeared no older than 8. The child's skin was a dark brown, her hair set in a series of black braids down her back, and she wore simple clothes, reminiscent of a kid on a snow day. The only thing that belayed her age was her expression; calm, peaceful, patient, a picture perfect icon of tranquility. The Lord's Presence was thickest here, washing over Lucifer and his travelling partner almost inquisitively, like a relative who hadn't seen you since you were an infant, the expression faltering and turning sad. Lucifer let himself smile ever so faintly, and said to Teresa, "She thought you'd be more comfortable if She took that form again."

"That's very kind of her," Teresa said. Even she wasn't sure if she was being sarcastic or not. "But I am more bothered by this... presence. It reminds me... it reminds me of BlackHarte." Teresa tugged at her mantle to loosen it somewhat. Sweat beaded on her head.

Lucifer rolled his eyes at the comparison and said in a matter of fact manner, "Well she's not going to eat you, if that's what you're thinking. Boss is pretty laissez-faire with most matters anyways...Speaking of-"

"It is nice to hear you still speak so well of me, Lucifer."

He looked up towards the girl on the desk, his shoulders slumping as he gave the news, "That's beside the point. We have a problem, a big problem. As in, I-actually-you-to-step-in, sort of problem."

"I knew there was a problem as soon as you and My Cleric disappeared from My sight. Where have you two been? Surely you realize how long you have been gone."

"...How long has that been? It should have only been a couple days for us..."

"It's been a thousand years, give or take." Teresa said nonchalantly. Teresa swung her head back and forth, "You're pretty calm for a God. I think we could learn a lot with how lenient you are with your creations."

The child's smile remained sad, and she nodded solemnly, "One of my first acts was to establish the freedom of choice. Without the ability to do Wrong, Good cannot exist. I have learned this lesson many times as I've maintained this position by watching my children. The Rule may exist, but it is not absolute. Laws can be used to harm, Good intentions can cause ill. All things are subjective. For that, reason, my Son was sent on Earth while I maintain this place." She regarded Teresa a moment longer, her expression remaining sad, "I am sorry you have suffered so much."
As for the Fallen Son himself, he was a bit more focused on the information Teresa had so calmly brought up. His voice raised into an angry, "WHAT?!" at the mere implication. Lucifer's wings - false they may be - flared behind him in a feathery arc, almost resembling a spooked bird, "That can't be right, I just told her good-bye no more than a couple hours ago, this whole mess took place over the course of a day! Boss, say it ain't so - tell me this kid is just telling a bad joke!"

The Boss' expression remained gentle, but sad.

"...No...But - if that's true then... " The Devil felt the weight of the Dawn's collective absence finally crush down on him, causing him to fall back in his chair, his expression blank. A single human year was nothing to him. A decade, an hour. A century was a bit more sizable, more to watch and more to see, but a thousand years - that was really a benchmark. Human civilizations rose and fell in the span of time; and he had been there for some of them! To think of being absent from his position for so long, it felt draining, damning even.

The Boss waited patiently as Her son had his emotional breakdown, as it would not be the first nor the last of his outbursts. She knew this to be true, and in all things, it would pass. Her gaze turned back to Teresa expectantly, as if she anticipated either additional clarification, or perhaps to weather another remark.

"It's not that time moves differently inside of the Labyrinth, it's just that that world's been reloaded so many times the save file's becoming corrupted."

"Wh-what.. does that even mean? Don't tell me this is an apocalypse scenario..."

"Nothing so dire. It just means that Alice's game must come to an end," Teresa sat down in the chair and stretched, letting her mantle drop off her shoulders so that her bare skin could breathe. "Several of the players in her game have already become aware. I just suspect that the labyrinth will collapse in a few more months."

Lucifer perked up at the news, sighing in relief, "So when the Labryinth collapses, they'll be back in the 'proper' world...Though I imagine it's going to be a bit of a shock when they come back... Of course, this means we can focus on Venia."

Turning back to the Boss, Lucifer's expression was set, his confidence swirlling back in his breast, "So, I said I needed your help with something, here's how it is...."

Someone helped me wriiiite this~

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