The Tower of Druaga (Game Thread)

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* Flashback - Aleister's Perspective *

Aleister watched with a disgruntled look on his face, as the head miner flew off from the fight. He had just brought his scythe down, only to discover that he destroyed a icy replica of the miner. "Curses. Oh well, there is always the next time." Aleister thought to himself, saddened, but not disheartened, that he didn't claim that particular soul. It was then, that the ice shards fell upon the graveyard, but they were much larger then before. He looked up at the sky, and saw the device.

"So that is whats causing the problem then." Aleister remarked with an audible sigh, as shards began to fall on the graveyard.

"Better get to it then." He added with a slight chuckle, as he began to shift his way up to the device. Aleister then summoned another shield to cover the group. Despite being enhanced by the Reaper, it still took him all his might to keep the shield stable. After a few brief moments, the weather device let out a powerful shockwave, which sent Aleister plummeting to the ground. During his descent, he could see the clouds parting, revealing a clear night sky, that grew only brighter as the sun rose over the mountains.

It was as he was about to land, that he started to flicker between his two forms, not before reverting back to his regular self. Aleister landed with a slight electrical discharge, but the others were too far away to be affected by it. Irkalla soon landed next to him, planting itself into the ground; then it suddenly faded away in a purple mist.

The others were soon walking closer to him, so Aleister stood up, stretching afterwards, before calling out to them. "I think that might have been a bigger challenge than fighting the lead miner." He said, pointing skyward afterwards. The weather control device soon landed on top of the church steps, and rolled down them, landing next to Atticus.

"So, um...mission accomplished. I suppose..." He said, a combination of pride and terror in his face. Then Caedis stood next to him, still bleeding and blood running down her face. She just stood there, breathing heavily, not saying anything. Atticus noticed this and walked over.

"Um, Caedis you can calm down now." Caedis didn't seem to register to that. "Maybe you should take a seat." Atticus remarked, placing a hand on Caedis's shoulder, to try and get her attention. It was at that precise moment, when Caedis reacted, punching the inventor in the face. Aleister visibly winced from the blow.

"Ouch." He thought to himself.

* End of Flashback *

Aleister was about to sit back down, when a friendly face, leapt into his arms.

"Aleister!" Faunra shouted, hugging him tightly. Aleister could only smile, and hug back.
"It is good to see you too Faunra." He replied, kissing her briefly. "Going to have to put you down I'm afraid. I'm aching in quite a few places."

After putting Faunra down, she quickly slapped him across the shoulder. "Why didn't you tell me about your... thing?" She asked with her usual smirk.

"Oh, that. Listen, can it wait for a little bit, feeling a little warn out is all. Probably best if I told the others as well, that way, it won't be as big a shock."

Cecilia was glad it was over, the ice, the fighting, who wouldn't be relieved. Though by no means was anyone not unscathed or otherwise, especially a certain winged warrior of wonder.

Stretching her arms back she heard...
"Um, Caedis you can calm down now."

From Atticus, followed by the oh too familiar sound of fist meeting flesh. turning and moving towards Caedis and company,

"Fights over, and if you hold a grudge against him (jerking her right hands thumb at him) mind settling it another time? I'm sure we could all use a rest."

Her voice was relaxed, but her mind was alert, ready to grapple with Caedis in case she was still feeling like walking on the war path.

Caedis looked down on the fallen Atticus. Even in her raged state, some sense of satisfaction came from smacking the annoying inventor.

But with the fight done, her breathing had slowed, and her hands began to shake. Caedis' vision was pounding with her heartbeat and consciousness was hard to keep hold of at this point. The battle seemed to have taken its toll on Caedis as she staggered towards the newest climber in their group.

"You!... you...want... to fight me... don't you..." Caedis mumbled. She brought up her hand to punch Cecilia but she only fell forward onto her, consciousness slipped out from under her.

Quickly grabbing caedis and falling a bit along side her to cushion the shock. (imagine when you fall in to a wall, as opposed to a spring) Slinging her satchel around and bringing Caedis in to a position like carrying a sleeping figure, she began to check and tend to any minor wounds. Her satchel flowing outward with rag, bottle (water), and such to make sure she could see the difference between the enemy and her own blood.

Carrying on her back she looked at everyone else, standing tall as if Caedis barely weighed a thing, "Shall we get back to that one house then? I'm sure we can get medical care for everyone, and a mug of something steaming."

Looking at Etrius, "He looks pretty smashed, I can carry him as well..." Striding over she felt a bit giddy with adrenaline, as she opened up her ghosted limbs again. She knew after this much ghosting she'd end up with a headache like an avalanche, but for now she was going down the hill with the wind streaming past her.

"Does anyone else need a leg up? I'm sure I can handle the extra weight, I figure it's no big deal. I'll even lead the way if that's okay with her (waving a hand towards Conney), I got a sense of direction and map of the town." she tapped her head with a real hand and smiled wrly.

Damien saw Aleister's shift and stooped to pick up his helmet, or whatever was left of it, the face plate had been ripped open and the top was in slivers. He set it against his belt and it stayed, to his surprise, considering it's current condition.

He walked back to where Etrius was laid out on the snow. He picked him up and slung the winged man over his undamaged shoulder.

"It's best if we leave now, we need some kind of shelter, it's too cold for everyone out here. And who knows when those miners will come back, or whatever they're afraid of."

He cared little for Aleister's reasons for changing into that, but he made another note to trust him even less if he didn't trust them with this. Now was time for the possibly dying, not the differences between the group.

Etrius' eyes fluttered open as the sunlight washed away the murderous clouds. He felt his heart beat powerfully in his chest. He smiled at the beautiful sight.

The seraphim looked over at Atticus and said with a strained but confident voice, "I told you I would save this place."

He was on his feet now. He covered his eye with his hand and marched forward towards the town. There was passion burning within him, and it could be felt by the whole group. This battered young man had fallen out of the sky, and he would still not give up.

"It's best if we leave now, we need some kind of shelter, it's too cold for everyone out here. And who knows when those miners will come back, or whatever they're afraid of."

"I say we just head back to Conrad's place." Atticus said while rubbing his face due to Caedis's punch. He would've worried about it a bit more, but Damien's last few words lingered on in his head. "-or whatever they'er afraid of." Atticus quickly glanced at Aleister. The woman who called herself Amanda used her ghost limbs to carry Caedis and soon after, Etrius.

"Does anyone else need a leg up? I'm sure I can handle the extra weight, I figure it's no big deal. I'll even lead the way if that's okay with her" She said, pointing at Conney. I got a sense of direction and map of the town." She tapped her head with a real hand and gave a wry smile.

"Handy indeed..." Atticus thought to himself as Conney began walking away from the group.

"Uh yeah, it's fine. Go on ahead, I'll be a minute anyway." She walked under an arch and into the graveyard, out of sight of the rest of the group. Atticus figured he knew where she was going.

"I told you I would save this place." A weak voice said near Amanda. Etrius shakily moved himself away from the ghost limbs and regained some of his strength.

"That you did, that you did..." Atticus said, slightly hoping that Etrius hadn't seen those few seconds of terror caused by the Elemental Predominanting Device. Atticuc was also hoping that what had happened was simply a malfunction. He walked over to the Seraphim and quickly patted him on the back, a few puffs of steam rising from Etrius's skin. Atticus yawned a bit.

"Well, let's start walking back then." Atticus groggily muttered. Amanda led the way, the group slowly walking back through the streets, some of the larger of ice shards now parted. The entire town was a wreck, broken glass strewn through the street. Chucks of wood were torn from entire houses, even a couple of walls. As the group walked, Atticus noted a few faces looking around walls, cellar doors, and out of what was left of windows. He figured the townsfolk were simply realizing the storm was over and trying to come to grips with the whole thing. But the look they gave the group troubled Atticus so he simply looked away.

As the group made their way to Conrad's house, a fuzzy greenish-bluish behemoth giddily shambled out of his pen.

"Glad to see you're okay!" Atticus heard Conney say as she ran over, stuffing something into her pocket. Conney petted Wooly for a bit as the rest of the group entered the cellar. Conrad quickly rushed over to the group.

"By the fates, you somehow did it! I-I can't believe this! Though, and not to sound ungrateful, what took you so long? The ruins aren't that far away off."

"Oh no, by no means was it hard. I mean traversing your way through a storm of ice trying to impail every orifice of your being is a walk in a winter wonderland, not to mention a group of killer minor minions of malignant intent if seems." she said this with a smile and the humor of a sarcastic slush ball.

She barely batted a lash and the wooly beast though her inner tourist was going "Ooo," but at the same timer her even more inner head ache was creeping with #$%@%^&.

LEtting out a grumble she looked around for a clear spot to set Caedis down, and maybe for her to sit against a wall as well asshe felt a pulse of pain push forward. Wincing slightly her mind wandered to days training back 'home' and wondering other thoughts.

(Captcha Magical realism... Fitting)

Prail was exhausted, the battle rush was wearing off finally. Maybe just take herself off her feet for a while.

She'd only just managed the walk back and now she was having to avoid the furry monster again. Way too hot for her liking. Prail backed away before noticing Caedis, they hadn't gotten off to the best start had they?
Maybe now was a chance for Prail to set that right.

Sitting across from the new woman Prail offered the candle again. It contained the basics of her species should be useful. Prail even lit it for her the smoke was already filling the air. She had to make a conscious effort to keep from inhaling didn't want the information to go to waste.

As Cecilia leaned against a wall she silently watched Prail light another candle, raising a brow and looking tired as her head ached. She smelled the smoke and sneezed.

Then her mind REALLY began to ache, letting out a groan of pain, and clutching her head, she wondered if it was possible to be allergic to a candle. Brief clarity passed through and she had to blink as her mind filled like a glass with water.

"Okay..."

Prail was glad to see the new woman accepting the smoke. It was a lot to take in; the other's had had months.
Hoping for her to return the favour Prail pointed to the woman tilting her head slightly to indicate curiosity.
Prail also pointed to herself. The idea was essentially offering a QnA. Maybe Prail should have learnt to write.
A flyer emerged from her tail. It approached the woman gingerly. Looking to investigate.

As the group walked through the town, Aleister clutched to his right shoulder, which was bleeding from the battle with the head miner. Faunra was helping him along, placing an arm around his back for additional support. They soon arrived back at Conrad's house, with Wooly walking out of its pen to meet them. Breaking off from Faunra, he sat himself down on a nearby bench away from the others, grunting in pain.

"Ahh, didn't know injuries I sustained as a Reaper, would still linger when I changed back. Funny, didn't feel any pain from the initial strike. Perhaps, when I am a Reaper, my endurance is increased, allowing me to shrug off more lethal blows. Ahh, god this hurts." Aleister grabbed a handful of snow with his free hand, and compacted it into a ball, and applied it to the wound, the cooling sensation it brought on, sent a wave of relief throughout him. "Ahhhh, that, is, nice." He thought calmly to himself.

Aleister then looked around the others, all reeling from the pain that they suffered during the battle, as far as he could tell, not one of them had come away without injuries; the most effected being Etrius, but he was being looked after by Faunra. Perhaps, the truth, would help them beat back the pain a little.

"So, I take you want to know what happened to me?"

"Oh no, by no means was it hard. I mean traversing your way through a storm of ice trying to impail every orifice of your being is a walk in a winter wonderland, not to mention a group of killer miner minions of malignant intent if seems." Amanda remarked as Prail lit a candle. Atticus got a whiff of it as it passed Amanda. Suddenly a lot of things made sense. "Well, that would've been useful months ago." Atticus silently thought to himself.

As she mentioned the miners Conrad stopped for a minute confused. "I don't see why anyone would just attack you, storm or not." Conrad said, talking slowly as if something was bothering him.

Atticus sighed. "Yeah, well someone did. Oh, and in case you guys missed this while you were trying not to get torn to bits by their claws and pickaxes, those weren't humans in those mining suits."

Conrad's breathing increased a bit. "Well, that sure is strange, now isn't it?"

Faunra was busy helping the injured, setting up a makeshift infirmary before the battered mansion. Few had escaped the ambush without harm and as much as the others would have like to disagree, we were hardly prepared for the fight. She started by checking over Etrius who was the most injured. she was thrilled to see his internal bleeding had apparently stopped, drastically increasing his odds of survival.

From there she made her way to next most injured, Caedis, who was thankfully still asleep. She did what she could for the sleeping amazon, cleaning and covering the wounds. Thereafter, time passed in a blur. With Aleister down for the count with the shoulder wound, she was the only person in the group who knew how to treat a wound. From climber to climber, she patched the wounds they had received fixing the most dangerous first. Even a few of the more injured villagers - more scared of dying than the climbers - made their way into the line that was forming before her.

It was weird how time passed while applying bandages and giving out medication. The world around her seemed in-concrete, a haze of motion without substance. She could have sworn she saw Aleister at one point, but the idea to check never crossed her mind. After what could have been minutes, hours, or days, Faunra reached into her medical supplies, and came up empty. Looking into the pouch, she found she had been reduced to anti-toxin, hangover cures, medical tools, and other medical supplies unhelpful in the situation. The realization drew her from the haze, allowing her to finally see what had happened.

The town was in shambles, Ice shards having pierced the buildings in a thousand places. This however, was secondary to what else she saw. Around her, the nurses and doctors from the medical center before had set up, already doing everything they could to help the injured towns folk. Faunra couldn't help but smile. "Maybe towns do have some advantages." she mumbled to herself.

As she looked at the people around them however, she noticed another sight - they all seemed to be acting strangely. Some watched her like a hawk might an injured mouse, their eyes unflinching. Others did everything they could to hold no eye contact, trying desperately to not-remember her existence. A few of the doctors and nurses looked on with a hint of fear - an emotion common in everyone's eyes. The conclusion was obvious, even in her muddled state of mind: the towns folk were scared of the group of climbers. The nurse from before, the one who had given them supplies, mouthed for her to leave, near panic on her face in the fear that the incident at the medical center would repeat itself.

Taking the queue, she made her way down into the basement with the other adventurers. "So much for big goddamn heroes." she muttered.

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The new snow left a layer of white on the ground turned red with the blood of an uprising. Caedis' breath escaped in small wisps, not wanting to draw the attention from the armed men surrounding the stage above her. She was trapped, at least until the crowd dispersed and the rebels turned away. Caedis was hid among the boxes directly beneath the stage after escaping the burning castle that was her home. Next to the stage was a large grave, freshly dug. It was where a large garden used to be but now they were burying something more than seeds.

"There's no way out, there are guards all over the place!" One of her sisters said behind Caedis.

"We just have to stay here hidden then." The eldest said. There were three of them underneath the stage, trapped by circumstance and with no way out.

Then the drums sounded and the spectacle was about to begin. The bloodthirsty crowd began to pile into the square chanting words of hate and scorn intended for the nobility that once ruled Helliot or more specifically Caedis' family. Darius was the one leading the crowd, enticing them into a chant. He was always the master of the audience, a showman first and a warrior second. Darius turned to his men behind the stands and whistled for them to bring out the cages which held Caedis's father and two brothers. All of them with their heads to the ground. The rebels brought them out of the cage and forced them onto the stage while Darius called for the crowd's attention.

"Listen, brothers and sisters of Helliot! These tyrants are here today to pay for the crimes they committed and the promises that they refuse to follow through. How long have we toiled underneath their whip and sword? How long have they usurped us and taken our livelihoods away with a pull of a string? Long enough!"

The stage above them creaked and rocked as all of them were tied onto a pole facing the angry crowd. Darius went up on stage.

"These tyrants before us are guilty for their crimes and how do criminals, let alone tyrants, pay for said crimes? Death!"

The crowd cheered and threw slander towards the men on stage especially towards Caedis' father. Darius took out his dagger and looked at the crowd again.

"We the people of Helliot will longer fall underneath the boot of the few and starting from this day on this land will be ruled by the people!"

Darius then took his dagger to their throats, slitting them open. He started with the brothers first, cutting in lines across their throats. The crowd cheered as blood ran down their silk shirts and golden necklaces. Caedis and her sisters tried to remain silent as blood started to seep down through the gaps of the wooden stage. Finally Darius came upon the father. He was a mess and seeing his sons slaughtered before him reduced him to a bawling mess. He begged for Darius to stop, to cease his actions but Darius only smiled wider. He fetched a sword first and sliced his stomach open for the world to see.

"Look how his lies spill out onto ground!" Darius was narrating now and the audience cheered him on. He went behind the pole and cut him loose. The father fell onto the stage, clutching his intestines as they spilled out. Caedis was underneath it all as the pole was over her. Blood sprinkled down onto her but she couldn't move. If she did then the guards and the crowd would notice. Darius fetched an axe and raised it over his head. Caedis looked up and saw her father's scared eyes which found her for a split second. The axe fell down, decapitating him. Caedis was still but on the inside she was burning from guilt. She couldn't breath or move even to avoid the splatters of blood which fell on her.

Darius jumped down from the stage and fetched the head. He picked it up and mounted it onto his spear. He stuck it into the ground for all to see and his head turned briefly in Caedis' direction. Darius knew Caedis was there.

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Caedis snapped out of her sleep and breathed heavily. She immediately looked around, wondering where she was but soon Caedis recognized the dark, cool basement of Conrad. Her companions looked battle-weary and tired from the battle which she had some memory of even when she snapped. Caedis recalled briefly, the battle that ensued around her while she disposed of the miners around her. Finally them closing the deadly storm and her punching Atticus in the face.

It was then that Caedis noticed the fresh bandages wrapped around her hands, and most of her wounds. Caedis assumed that it was Faunra, considering her knowledge of how to heal wounds. Then, as if on cue, Faunra climbed down from the surface and into the basement.

"So much for big goddamn heroes."

"What happened?" Caedis asked.

Ceciila looked pensive, for a moment, and she smiled warmly enough towards Prail,
"I'm just another climber with a head for maps and markings, raised by wisdom and logic, hung from the tree of knowledge, and plucked being ripe as could be."
Her voice was calm as her eyes drifted in a glazed way, flickering at everyone, Atticus talking with Conrad, Aleister on a bench talking to the arrived Faunra.
She wondered if she could learn a thing or two from Faunra concerning medicine, she was great when it came to sew, wrap, apply pressure, and more physical bits, but basic otherwise.
Damien and Etrius along with the the others displayed good skills in fighting and seemed honorable in a sense that none were looking to back stab or otherwise from appearance.

All this passed in a flash of pain from her head that she barely showed, followed by, "Not much to say, though I'm sure you'd have a lot to tell right?" She chuckled in dry humor, the candle and Prail in general were fascinating. Despite the library incident she got a gut feeling that Prail was alright.

As Caedis woke, Cecilia briefly wondered offering an explanation, but didn't feel up to it, along with a plethora of questions of new climbers getting familiar. At least with Prail it was easier... At least she thought as much.

Legs folded, back against a wall, and arms in her lap, she looked relaxed.

"What happened?" Caedis asked. In her fatigue addled state mind, it took her a few moments to realize the question was directed at her.

"Ah... the townsfolk are looking for someone to blame for the storm and we happen to be good scape goats. For now they are preoccupied with the injured, but I get the feeling it's only a matter of time before they come looking for blood." she said, giving the explanation.

Seeing the pang of worry go across some peoples faces, she amended her statement. "Lets see... Given the number of injured, I bet it will be several hours before the people start to gather, then another hour or two of hard drinking before they get the idea to form a mob, then another hour to remember where we are so we should be safe for a while yet." she finished.

With the pang of worry eased slightly for the moment, a new look of mild confusion replaced it. With a sigh, she made one last addendum. "What. This is hardly my first experience with a mob out for me." she added. She consciously chose not to look at the group members in the face, not wanting to explain - if they were curious they could ask Atticus; he'd been there for some of the fun ones.

*Flashback - Aleister's Perspective (Medical Assistance)*

Aleister watched from the sidelines, as Faunra started treating the wounds of the injured townspeople, putting on a brave face despite the numbers. He decided to assist her, to help ease the workload. But, there was still the problem of shoulder wound. Aleister tied the scarf around his armpit, making it into a tourniquet, which would help reduce the bleeding. He then used some snow to help clean the blood off, and reduce the swelling.

The pair of them spent an hour or so applying various herbs, wrapping bandages, and mending broken bones. Throughout this, they had spent around a third of the medical supplies given to them earlier by the nurse; but Aleister was convinced that they had enough to last the group for a while. He quietly helped her in situations, that required more than one person to solve, not that she noticed. Then again, Aleister should of been resting that wound from the head miner's sword.

During this period of time, he found that a sword fragment had become stuck in his shoulder, and gave it a quick pull, which managed to relieve a large amount of pain that he could feel.

*End of Flashback*

As he sat back down, Aleister could see signs of fatigue showing on Faunra's face, and she began looking weaker. When there was a quiet moment in the conversation, he decided to speak up.

"You know Faunra, you should probably rest. After all, you've been running yourself ragged helping these people."

"You know Faunra, you should probably rest. After all, you've been running yourself ragged helping these people." Aleister said when the conversation had quieted a bit.

For a moment she was going to argue with him, but when she opened her mouth a yawn erupted in the arguments place. "I'll just take a seat." she conceded, finding a wooden bench against a wall and settling on it. The conversation continued around her, but as time passed, it seemed to grow hazy and gibbering. She was so intent on listening to the strange sound, she never even noticed when she fell into reverie.

"Lets see... Given the number of injured, I bet it will be several hours before the people start to gather, then another hour or two of hard drinking before they get the idea to form a mob, then another hour to remember where we are so we should be safe for a while yet."

Atticus grinned grimly, slightly remembering how shortly after they'd met and Faunra had done her job, he and Faunra had been run out of Torinia by an angry mob along with a few soldiers. And then that already empty grin disappeared as Atticus realized that whatever happened to the town and the rest of the group within the next few hours was probably his fault. He'd used the device and it had stopped the storm, but those few seconds of ramped up chaos...Atticus sat down himself.

"This is my fault. I caused this. The storm itself was bad enough, but those few seconds of extra carnage caused by the device, caused by me nearly destroyed the damn town. Well, isn't that just great..." Atticus muttered to himself before looking back at Conrad. Conney had now entered the cellar and was whispering something to her father about the miners. Atticus sat there watching them for a moment before saying, "Hey, anything you want to share with the rest of us?"

Conney stood there trying to play it off but Conrad wasn't as discrete. It was obvious that something was seriously bothering the man.

"I suppose so. You see, about 6 years back we attempted to mine under the castle ruins after finding a few tunnels. We sent in a group of miners to sorta check everything out, mark how far the tunnels went, see if there was actually anything worth mining out." Conrad's voice then got a bit lower.

"They started seeing things and hearing things. Things that weren't there, things that would attack them, and they all were just sorta freaked out. I was still learning about psychology and they decided that I should deal with their troubles, asses them, calm them, etc. My assessment determined whether or not they left the tunnels or kept digging.After some research, I simply summed it all up the experiences as stress, a few accidents in the tunnels, and proposed that perhaps the air down there was playing tricks on them. We got them all new suits and gas masks, to see if it would cause a change. If not, we were to pull them out immediately and forget about the tunnels for awhile. " Conrad stood there for a second, just breathing.

"It did. The next day their bodies were found naked and mutilated, entire chunks missing. And to make matters worse, their worried wives had come to see if they could help them relax. You know bring homemade food, a few kissing here and there, tell them how the kids were doing, all that. They'd gone into the mines, only wearing gas mask, were simply nowhere to be found." Conrad sighed. "The old tunnels were buried and the rest of the area was turned into a graveyard.

[b]"That's when strange things started happening around town. Random assaults, women, disappearing, basic machinery stolen. And then a year later the dragon incident happened. Our town has spent the last 5 years still recovering from that. This year was surprisingly peaceful, all was going well. It seemed like it might be a nice regular year. But now that this has happened...Why must the fates punish us so?" Conrad uttered with sorrow, as Conney helped the old man sit down. Even with his age, Conrad had plenty of life in him but at that moment he looked like a walking corpse.

Atticus simply sat there, taking it in, not really sure what to say. If what he'd heard was right, a slew of terrible events was centered around yesterdays date. Faunra's words still bounced in his head, bothering him and prompting Atticus to ask this. "So, with a history of terrible incidents all centered around practically the same date...how long until they finally decide to do something about it?"

editing

Aleister sat back as he listened to the history of this place unfold, only moving to lay his coat over Faunra like a blanket, she seemed to be sleeping peacefully next to him. He occasionally stroked her hair, which made her look more calm, and probably helped her sleep better. A brief smile could be seen as he did this. But then, his attention was drawn to a question that Atticus asked.

"-how long until they finally decide to do something about it?" Aleister decided to enter the conversation.

"Maybe it because, something, or someone is preventing them from doing so. You can me mad if you want Atticus, but I have a feeling that there is another force; someone who is manipulating events from behind the scenes. We can't see them, even if they are hiding in plain sight. But they are there."

He then hearkened back to an earlier point in the conversation.

"Don't beat yourself up entirely for what happened just now Atticus. You didn't know that the weather device would act in such a manner. Besides, how many other times have you used that device in the manner that you did today? Perhaps, this is as good an opportunity, to understand the inner workings of that device, so you can make improvements upon it. I'm not criticizing you in anyway Atticus. Every great invention, requires care and attention now and again."

Prail was half listening to the story half paying attention to Cecilia. Prail was glad to see things weren't totally ruined between them. One of her flyers had brought over a map which Cecilia hadn't seemed to have objected to.
Prail had begun inspecting them. Her eye radials sharpened and she took in details. The woman was clearly travelled, and then Prail noticed, there were a few things she recognised. Early Lallow perhaps.
Prail pointed out a few odd structures, one was dome like looked just like a lallow hatchery.
Prail wondered.
She used one of her venoms as inks. The drawing was actually pretty good; she'd drawn a candle and a question mark trying to ask in essence what her partner thought of the information.

Cecilia kept one ear to the rest of the group, and on Prail as she drew a bit, looking at the picture..
"The Candle? Interesting with the effects and in general I have to admit." She shrugged a bit letting her mind relax a bit.

As the conversation drew to the other side of forces, the invention, and possible mob mentality towards outsiders.
"So Prail, I think Damien said things were going to get hostile around here for climbers, think your group mind one more?" Her voice was a bit more quiet.

She took out her own pen and rolled it between her fingers pondering.

"Maybe it because, something, or someone is preventing them from doing so. You can call me mad if you want Atticus, but I have a feeling that there is another force; someone who is manipulating events from behind the scenes. We can't see them, even if they are hiding in plain sight. But they are there."

Atticus hadn't really noticed anything off about the town, or felt like he was being watched. Though, with the whole Spiriah and Master thing, Atticus wasn't sure anymore. "Something else in control..." Atticus pondered for a bit.

Conrad looked around a bit, as if something was still on him mind. The old man thought about certain patients he'd dealt with, those who spoke of hearing voices and seeing things that weren't there. But what if the strange happenings throughout town, it was becoming pretty evident these were more than coincidences. He looked over at Stonefuse, remembering their talk of statues and then remembering what the miners told him before they all died. A question popped into his head, a question Conrad finally began to ask himself. Why was he always so vigilant in disproving his patients fears and illusions? Was he simply trying to calm him or did something want him to calm them?

Atticus couldn't focus on Aleister's question, still bothered about what had happened during the storm.

"Don't beat yourself up entirely for what happened just now Atticus. You didn't know that the weather device would act in such a manner. Besides, how many other times have you used that device in the manner that you did today? Perhaps, this is as good an opportunity, to understand the inner workings of that device, so you can make improvements upon it. I'm not criticizing you in anyway Atticus. Every great invention, requires care and attention now and again."

Atticus nodded at Aleister. At the end of the day, he had changed the weather, a pretty big accomplishment. But there were still people dead and homeless on his account. He quickly thanked Aleister, but couldn't help but think of that strange cloaked form he'd seen him in.

"If anyone else saw his transformation, they can bring it up. But for right now, I'll let him decide whether or not he wants to explain it." Atticus decided. His throughts were interrupted by Amanda's question.

"So Prail, I think Damien said things were going to get hostile around here for climbers, think your group mind one more?" She asked quietly. Atticus walked over.

"Hey, the more the merrier, Miss Handy."


Across town, a group of miners, craftsmen, shop owners, authorities, and townsfolk of all types stood around, finding anything they could use as a weapon. Enough was enough. Their town had been ravaged too many times, too much blood had been shed, and it was time to finally get revenge for it all.

"I don't know what these climbers think they're doing, but we're not gonna let it pass! Are we?!" A man yelled.

"NO!" The mob chanted in unison.

Faunra's head slightly tilted, the loud chant just tickling her ears. It wasn't enough to alarm her or pull her from the clutches of sleep, but she heard it. Just barely.

Prail trumped something that could have meant anything and wagged her tail slightly.
Prail pointed to herself, specifically the pointier, hornier and more venomous parts before pointing to Cecilia and giving a dismissive wave of her wrist.
Prail produced another drawing. A picture of Cecilia with her many arms next to a picture of her own flyers with a few question marks, asking about their relationship.
There was also a picture of what looked like a fleshy ring with vein like structures coming off it.

"We're fine Prail, I'm sure we can have each others back." she gave a gentle punch on the shoulder, glancing at the fleshy ring drawing.

"I'm afraid I don't quite get that..."

"Hey more the merrier, Miss Handy

Sharp Ears she briefly thought, "Thanks, though are you the spoken leader?" She asked a bit monotone and dryly, differing from her warm tone she was using with Prail. It wasn't hostile, but it was one of neutrality.

Shame Prail hadn't been understood what she'd meant was a sort of we'll if they'll accept me they'll hardly find you objectionable.
Prail added to her drawing, an arrow from the ring pointing to a human's chest with a question mark. Didn't humans have those? She has to wonder what theirs looked like.
Prail even considered trying writing words.
"Home?"

Realization dawned on her, memories of the Guild and classes to accept the horrors of reality flared. "Acceptance" it was called, and typically involved seeing and believing in many things.
Cecilia remembered the class learning of Cannibalism and even how they might have to do such a thing to better endeavor their journey.

The organs tended to stick in ones mind the most,
"Ah." With her left hand she drew a simple but well known example of the human heart, and linked it with a line to Prail's image. (At least she assumed that was what she meant)

Taking out a scrap piece of paper she began to draw a bit, without even looking down at here paper.
If you can't memorize and map your own map from mind to paper blind, then don't bother trying Was another old teaching as she drew.

It was a simple but flowing image of a wooden house like a manor, followed by small figures of many kids, and a few orderly looking men and women.
Under one figure with a hair band she wrote Ce-, then stopped and quickly scribbled with ink and put down Amanda.
"Just an orphan from levels below..."

She wrote a few things pretty quickly.
Aw Fan? She didn't recognise the word, she'd have to ask about it.
She also added something next to the word Amanda. She copied the word and next to it drew a tan curve (from 0 to 360 degrees) trying to show the two as equivalent.
Prail has to wonder why they'd decide on the name they were using. Then again they probably couldn't pronounce a mathematical function. She wasn't even sure they'd recognise the image.
An image she was certain that wouldn't recognise was her picture of her home. I'm not even going to try describing it here I wouldn't do it justice.

"Yup, Amanda." Jerking her thumb to her chest, the back of her mind said safety was in names, further back was saying trust was safety, any further down was just silly.

Cecilia already had in mind the fact that orphan was hard to transfer over, so she got out another scrap while drawing and switched over, showing some basic animal pairs with a child between them, then herself crossing out her parents.

She wasn't sure if the meaning would transfer over well but thought it was better if anything.

Faunra shifted in her sleep at the distant sound. It annoyed her but she wasn't sure why. With her mind tied up in her livid-dreaming, she could not understand the meaning of the words. As such, she moved herself slightly, trying to make out the noise. "What did it mean?" her still conscious self asked; "Why are they screaming "no" at the top of their lungs?" After several minutes of uncomfortable listening, she gave up - if it got louder she would try to hear it again, but until then - rest was a higher priority; who knew when the town would come by to kick them?

To rectify the discomfort, she unconsciously pulled up the garment that had become her blanket and moved closer to the nearest source of warmth. That this warmth could be a person never crossed her mind - all she knew was that the warmth was comforting.

In doing so, the distant sound of unknown meaning became muffled and less threatening. Everything seemed so far away - just where Faunra like it.

Caedis pushed herself from her seat, still groggy from the battle and sore from the wounds. Still she looked around, trying to find her spear but it was nowhere to be found. Her worries shifted to the location of her weapon rather than her well-being. Caedis scanned her fellow climbers noticing them either busy or asleep. It seemed like a good time than any other and she went towards the entrance.

"I'll be back. Need to find my spear." Caedis said curtly.

On the surface, the blowing winds and ruined village made Caedis feel slightly sympathetic for the villagers. From what she's heard, this type of chaos isn't anything new to them but she wondered how they were able to bounce back from disasters like these. After a few moments of searching, she found it lying next to a puddle of dried blood most likely the miner's blood.

Caedis used the spear as a sort of walking stick as she made her way back but lack of villagers concerned her as well. With all this debris and rubble one would think the villagers would be busy trying to clean it up but they were nowhere to be found. Perhaps Faunra was right about the angry mob that was to come after them and in that case, Caedis walked faster to the basement.

As he continued to listen to the conversations that surrounded him, Aleister noticed a few confused and somewhat worried looks from some of the others; from the looks of it, they seemed to be focused on him. He thought it best, to tell them now, so the shock was easier to bear. Aleister then sat up on the bench, and clasped his hands together. The fire that went on behind him seemed to grow ever so slightly.

"You're probably all wondering, what I was during that battle just now; that cloaked man, wielding a scythe. Well then, if it shall put minds at ease,-" He then briefly turned his head to Damien, before turning back towards the centre. "-or if your demanding explanations, then I shall oblige to the best of my abilities."

"First, I must explain why I did not tell you lot earlier about him. The simple answer is, I didn't not know how best to explain at the time, without you all thinking that I had gone mad, or if I was simply dreaming that I had become an embodiment of death." A few slight gasps came from around the room at this announcement. "You see, I had only gained this ability, just before, and during the fight with the false lizard queen, Calgradni; which is coincidently, where this story begins."

"Now, before I actually tell you the story, I must explain that this is the truth. No falsehoods. No deceptions."

"Now then, where shall I begin. Of course, with Calgradni..."

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Purpose of The Order

"As you are all well aware, I disappeared just before the battle with Calgradni, taken away by two men in scythes, being told that their superior had a job proposition for me, along with some useful information. But, what I didn't tell you, was the overall specifics of the conversation."

"You see, the two men from earlier, and my superior as it were, Dante Sutcliff, belong to an organization, known as the Shinigami Order, otherwise known, as Grim Reapers. Their job, is to gather the souls of the recently, or about to be deceased, so that the balance between life and death is maintained; for something most unpleasant will occur, if a soul lingers in the realm of the living for too long. To achieve this goal, they consult books, known as the Tome of Death Records."

"These books, contain every single scrap of information about a person's life. Anything and every action that a someone has committed, is all recorded in the Death Records. The Reapers use these books, to determine when a soul is ready, whether or not the person is allowed a second chance, or if it is the end of their story. More often or not, their story ends. When a book is finished, they are taken back to the library at the headquarters for storage, and perhaps consolation for other Reapers; whilst the soul is sent to the Purgatory realm, for slumber, and to obtain the finer details."

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Power and Reassurance of The Order

"As for why I was chosen to become a Grim Reaper, according to my superior, I have potential as it were. What Dante meant, I am unsure about, but I have a feeling, that the meaning of that message, will become clearer to me, as we continue on our journey."

"Now then, you are probably all wondering about the transformation into my Reaper Form itself. You do not have to worry, I have it under my control, there is little reason for me to go rogue on you all. As for what I receive when I become a Reaper; it is mostly enhancements to my strength, speed, reflexes, and magic; but I also gain a short range teleport ability."

"Finally, you will only see me in that form, when there is a soul to claim. Just like when I was there for Calgradni's soul".

"I do not fully comprehend everything about it, and I am still learning what the Reaper can do."

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Why he became a Reaper?

"As to why I accepted the proposition, was that they would provide me knowledge, on Michelle Knox's whereabouts. You see, I have had trouble location her, for a bandit, she leaves very few clue. But also, it was her specifically, that killed my mentor."

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The fire grew slightly colder, as Aleister finished his story. He then sat up.

"Does that answer a few questions?"

Damien waited for Caedis near the entrance to where everyone was gathered around the wounded. He'd done what he could, resetting bones and securing wounds, but he was little more than a field doctor and didn't stretch past his abilities. The fool woman left and searched for her spear back at the mountain, she came limping back and Damien leaned down to help her, a simple hand lightly gripping an arm, nothing more. He knew she trusted few enough people as it was and had more than a few qualms about pity and help she didn't think she needed.

He continued to help the townsfolk however he could, carrying patients to and from beds if it was needed and doing anything he could. He only half-listened to Aleister's reasoning behind leaving them to fight the dragon on the previous level. There was only so much he could hear between helping and passing by the fire Aleister had sat down by. He understood that the man was simply trying to track down a murderer. What he didn't understand is why the man decided that now was a good time to explain, there was so much work to be done and Damien wanted to help these people out however he could before they were at the very least, asked to leave.

"It leaves behind more questions than answers, Aleister. Now just sit there, you'll need your strength soon enough."

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