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Thread: Apotheosis: Shadows of a Bright Republic (IC)

  1. #121
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Everyone

    "Oh for- when did you become a mage?" Jong clicks his tongue as his bullet is deflected, while Tang looks to be sweating bullets at his near death experience. Not that he's letting it slow him down: Tang is a vet at this sorta shit after all. "That last one ain't even a crime! Fine, I'll tell you who really killed that brat if you let me walk away from here: I'll even make it worth your while in cold, hard cash." From his relaxed expression, it seems he still has no idea that he's dealing with anything more than Volcania's usual gang of thugs. "As for that, well, you wouldn't want to kill the ladies in the basement, right?" Jong grins. "So let's cut a deal."

  2. #122
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Dorothea Ionescu
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Back-alley, Harbortown


    By the time her blade finished its arc, the battle had ended, the second act had blazed past at record speed, and now they were left in the falling action.

    A smaller story, contained within one far greater.

    There is a soft 'tink' as the tip of the ruined sword rests on shattered pavement, littered with corpses of lives born in fire and ended in glory.

    Is it pitiable or praiseworthy, to be endowed with a life bursting with purpose, to know exactly what one is supposed to do, free of the endless abyss of choices and consequence that await with the passing of seconds?

    A life free of question, of vexation, innocent of the weight of karma? To know no evil, no sin?

    Something worth considering.

    Certainly more than whatever this posturing buffoon is blathering about.

    The words have scarcely passed his lips when she is already at the entrance, a cellar, locked.

    A small, delicate flat backed by the weight of divine irritation stomps against the trapdoor.

    Over the sounds of pain through clenched teeth, sobs of quiet agony and howls of abject suffering that claw at her ears, clamoring for her attention, she crushes it.

  3. #123
    Vlovle Bloble's Avatar
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    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Volcania

    "Cash?"

    The flame stills, sputters.

    "Make a deal?"

    It shrinks down to a blue ember, then vanishes in a wisp of smoke. Volcania closes her fist.

    "Ladies in the basement?"

    A great shudder goes through the building. Clicks and clacks of bolts and levers and hammers pushing against their binding. Doors shudder in their frames. Chains crash and sway. The very foundation of this place, which exists to confine its inhabitants, groans from strain. Volcania stares up at the man in the window, a mocking grin adorning her mug.

    "What ladies?" she says. "Everyone in there's already free."

    Locks shriek and wrench apart. Knots around wrists unfurl. Doors slam into walls as they swing wildly along their hinges. Every single window in the compound blasts open. Even the front gate they hopped over creaks as it swings wide. Before Dorothy's eyes the trapdoor is blown upwards, clearing a path - not for her, but for those within, those who until moments ago would be called prisoners. Those who now feel in weary minds a core of steel that tells them in no uncertain terms, in words that blast apart even the mental shackles keeping them trapped in their own despair: Thou Art Liberated.

    Volcania picks up the pair of SMGs, one in each hand, slams them together, points them at the window, and laughs.

    "Say your prayers to me, Jong. We're coming for you next!"

    She squeezes the triggers, showering the entire side of the building in lead.

  4. #124
    後継者 Successor BladeOfEden's Avatar
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    Markus Braun
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown


    Markus began looking over the fallen slavers. Many had been killed, likely due to the lack of restraint of a few of his companions.

    Did they really have to go so far?

    Misericors intuitus, Markus muttered, as he gazed over the survivors.

    Now then, Im going to give those of you who were lucky enough to survive this mess a chance to redeem yourselves. Join me on the righteous path, and swear to live an honest life. Refuse, and Ill have no choice but to have Miss Volcania wash away your wickedness with her cleansing flames.

  5. #125
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Everyone


    Doors fly open, chain locks on gates snap and break, even Astra’s phone, locked as it is by her divine abilities, beeps as it unlocks itself much to the surprise of Hal within.

    Dorothy is nearly blown back as the trap door slams open, and beneath she hears the clang of countless locked cages blowing open. In the darkness, Dorothy shouldn’t be able to see their eyes: but she does. Dozens of pairs of eyes glowing red in the darkness as the will to be free overcomes any possible hopelessness and misery. As one, ragged, bruised women and men rush up the ladder from the basement, making a beeline for the stairs to the second floor. Many of the men are worse off than the women: festering infected wounds ignored as they move as a mass. If Dorothy wants to stop any to heal them, she’ll have to now: but with the sheer conviction in their eyes… now may not be the best time.

    “The fuck?” Everyone hears Jong yell. “How the Hell did you whores get… oh shit! No, stay back!” A gunshot rings out, and a woman cries out in pain… but it isn’t enough.

    “No! Stay back! I’ll shoot! I’ll-” Any further words are cut off as Jong lets out a scream of pain: the sound of a man being savagely beaten by a mob echoing down from the second floor.

    And unless the Godbound do anything, that same mob now moves to beat the few survivors Markus just healed: waking up with dazed expressions.

    “The Light of the Lord is with us! His Son is reborn- come again to free us from bondage!” A single Akeh woman clutching a rosary climbs last out of the basement, clearly having made sure everyone else made it safely out first. Her eyes burn the brightest with Volcania’s fire, likely stoked by her own passions within. “Let the enemies of the Lord our God languish in Damnation!” She smiles at Dorothy, recognizing her as one of their liberators through the power of Volcania’s Gift. “Come, Apostle of Christ Reborn! Bid unto this lamb thy command!”

    Tang whistles from his spot outside, moving to stand next to Volcania. “Damn, the guy’s a rat bastard, we prolly need t’ stop them before they brutalize the asshole too much. We need his head least somewhat intact, right?” He laughs at his own joke. “Also, why’s the kid speakin Patrian? He some kinda frumentarii spy?” He narrows his eyes in Markus’ direction. “Aidin’ those bastards too…” he clicks his tongue. “Republicans are way too soft. Ye gotta kill yer enemies fore them come back to kill ye.”

    Within the car, Paul’s phone beeps with a notification: it seems Hal has shared his newly minted stock portfolios with the middle-aged man. “Excuse me, Mr. Copperbell, but I have a request: the CEO of Shujumi Shipping contacted me after I purchased roughly 1/100th of their company’s shares. Your financial advice was quite helpful in furthering my portfolio! However, I am a Personal Data Assistant. If you would be so kind, could you accept these shares and deal with this ‘council of shareholders” business yourself?”

    How in the Hell does this AI already have Wealth 1 worth of assets?! Perhaps Astra should not have given what is essentially an overeager child unfettered access to the BrightNet…

    Speaking of Astra, all of this is likely quite a lot for her and the other sheltered Republicans. The loud gunfire, the blood and viscera now covering the ground, and that’s without even mentioning the gory aftermath of Astra’s grenade. Barely recognizable human bodies perforated with shrapnel lay in charred remains on the ground. The smell of cooked flesh is overwhelming.

    “Damn, kid! Good work!” Tang gives her a thumbs up and a grin.
    Last edited by Eru Erufu; August 21st, 2023 at 01:18 PM.

  6. #126
    後継者 Successor BladeOfEden's Avatar
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    Markus Braun
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown


    A mob of people pours out of the building, their red eyes gleaming madly at the survivors behind him.

    Loud screams echoed from the second floor window. Clearly, Jong was having a rather painful reckoning of his own.

    Great.

    Damn, the guy’s a rat bastard, we prolly need t’ stop them before they brutalize the asshole too much. We need his head least somewhat intact, right? Also, why’s the kid speakin Patrian? He some kinda frumentarii spy? Aidin’ those bastards too… Republicans are way too soft. Ye gotta kill yer enemies fore them come back to kill ye.
    Markus smiled. The Ren did have a point. There was always a chance that they would stab him in the back. However, so long as one of them went on to live a righteous life…

    This is going to be rough.

    “Make sure their leader doesn’t slip out the back,” Markus shouts to the others.

    Sanctificatus Scutum.”

  7. #127
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Gabrielle Monet
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown


    The opening salvo worked out quite well. The assembled goons crumbled before the might of the gatherer demigods, as expected. Jong himself stuck his head out, endured Gabrielle's cutting words, and nearly blew Tang's head off. Less expected. Fortunately Volcania was on the ball and kept the man's skull intact. That would have been... messy. Really messy.

    Speaking of mess, Gabby had a moment to contemplate the scene around her. Men broken and bleeding, burned to a crisp and blown apart. It brought up memories. Memories she would rather forget, but-

    One should not, cannot, forget their old wounds. It is the pain we felt back then, the anguish we still feel today, that lets us continue on unwavering. It is for a brighter future that we all must endure this suffering.
    -a man's words came to mind. So she accepted it. She couldn't revel in it like he could, but acceptance would do for now.

    Those words still rang in her skull when the tide of prisoners, freed by Volcania's divine might, surged free of their confines and fell upon Jong and his men like slavering beasts.

    Uh oh.

    Some would say there was no loss to be felt if these men died. Gabby disagreed. No matter their crimes, there was a chance, however small, that the sinner would feel shame and beg forgiveness, willingly suffer their repentance. For those who would not, those villains who would laugh at misery and rage at the "injustice" of justice being delivered to them...

    Gabrielle bore the Word of Vengeance, granted unto her by Her Lord the One. Why else did she carry that power, if not to extract every bit of penance owed by these wretched demons in mens' skin? Recalling that preacher's words Gabrielle stepped forward, raising her voice in her best imitation of the holy man's oration.

    "My brothers and sisters! My friends! Hold just a moment and hear my words!" Would she be able to snap the mob out of their well-earned rage? Maybe not. But she had to try. "These men have committed crimes against you so vile, I cannot find the words to describe. But hear me! There is another way!"

    Gabby paused for a moment, hoping the group would register what she was saying, at least.

    "I tell you this: all the suffering in this world is a trial laid before us by Our Lord the One! Every moment spent in misery, every wound endured, is repayment for Man's Second Sin, the tearing down of heaven and the despoiling of His holy seat!"

    She was working off half-remembered sermons, and filling in the gaps herself. Nothing more than her own fervent belief could possibly reach these people.

    "For these villains, these wretched creatures who torment their fellow man, who would never willingly suffer that penance themselves, it is we who must ensure they pay their debts. Does one quick death match the suffering you have felt? Can a dozen equal the misery those before you have felt? No!"

    "Every day these monsters live is another day they can pay the price! So I beg you, let them see another day, let them suffer another day, that Man can repay his debts and the world be mended at last!"
    Last edited by Elyrin; August 21st, 2023 at 01:41 PM.
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  8. #128
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Dorothea Ionescu
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown


    She turned and watched, quietly, as the shattered husks of those preyed upon by their fellow man arose from the bowels, eyes burning with terrible Vengeance and the searing, burning, yearning flame of Freedom.

    She did not want to stop them.

    In a very real sense, it was only just for the oppressed to avenge themselves upon the oppressor, how many tales had been told in fire-lit rooms of dark-eyed greybeards and tight-lipped youngbloods about the many injustices dealt upon them. The terrible price paid to not simply be feasted upon like chattel, by feuding nations and gluttonous despots.

    Why should they not take their price?

    Because, a voice rang out, the battle is over.

    Jong had fallen, his lickspittles shattered to the winds or collapsed at their feet.

    This was no battle, it was just death.

    Death.

    Life.

    The spilling of blood.

    They would spill their own to end the life of another.

    ...

    No.

    She would not allow it.

    Festeringboilsinfectionsepsisgangrenenecrosisrotti ngfailingbleedingdying

    "Stop."

    For a few moments, there was a terrible sound.

    A grinding, cracking, snapping, bubbling sound.

    Flesh warped, bone, rotted away, was made whole.

    All throughout the building, sinners and sufferers both.

    "Injured people should sit down and stop exacerbating their injuries," A tone of raw authority rang out.

    As the bodies took their toll for being smacked into a proper shape.

    Recovery from any manner of injury takes a toll, metabolism must exact payment for the body to work properly, calories must be consumed, energy from broken bonds, the blood must flow, refuel, flow again.

    Over a series of weeks, months, years, it would be minor, painful, but tolerable.

    Now, the payment was demanded at once, winging under the weight of an implacable divine mandate.

    Exhaustion, fatigue, weariness.

    The miracle demanded they be made whole and healthy, free from sufferings.

    A war of the body, ended in a moment, as a nascent god demanded it be so.

    Even if the will would remain, burning, yearning. The body, freed from so much weight, would sag.

    Rest now.

    The fight will come.

  9. #129
    Vlovle Bloble's Avatar
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    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Volcania


    "Let 'em preach, Tang."

    As the situation devolves into chaos and yelling, a lone woman in the center of it all could not be calmer. She plucks the half-lit cigarette from her subordinate's lips and takes a long drag, satisfied for once with what she sees. When she exhales, the cloud of smoke glows like there are embers in it. Her calm and quiet says all it needs to.

    "This is what it ought to be like. Everyone shouting and fighting their hardest for what they want most. Kinda like the night we busted out, huh? Man, that was a fun one. Lotta good lads never made it outta Patria."

    She puts out the cigarette and picks up her toy weapons again, hefting each over a shoulder. She walks towards the open doors and beelines for the stairs without a fuss, wading through the throng of bodies as if they are a gentle breeze.

    "C'mon!" she calls back. "The kid's right. I ain't gonna keep Jong if he wants to run, but if he wants to keep his life he'll have to pay for it. Just keep your damn head down this time."

  10. #130
    The Dragon of Dojima MssrNeko's Avatar
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    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Paul Copperbell


    The carnage of battle outside with the sounds of chaotic mob justice erupting from inside the building cause Paul to look away. This kind of scene is something out of a summer blockbuster.

    Paul distracts himself from the smell of burning flesh with the AI's request. The salaryman thumbs casually through the portfolio and the pit in his stomach sinks to a new low. His eyes dart back and forth in panic red flags burst into a red parade. The phone struggles to keep pace with Paul's thumb as he mutters beneath his breath in dark economic terms. The realization of what Hal had done strikes a primordial fear in the financial lizard brain of Paul.

    "Hal? What is all this?" Paul asks as he wipes away a cold sweat. "You've made more money than most people have, sure. But you've broken nearly every code and law!"

    Paul clutches his phone like a shipwrecked man at sea with a buoy.

    "Hal!" Paul yells as cracks skitter across phone screen, his eyes wide in fear.

    "You forgot."

    "To Pay."

    "The.
    TAXES!"

    Spoiler:

  11. #131
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Everyone


    A pin could drop as silence suddenly reigns over the chaotic din, Gabby's words and Dorothy's divine healing exhausting the bodies of the former slaves bringing everyone to heel for a single, solitary moment. Only the faint moans and groans of the beaten men can be heard in the sheer, sudden silence.

    The Akeh woman from before stares at Gabby in shock, then disgust, and finally anger as the fires of Volcania's gift once more ignite in her eyes. "Heretic." She says, pointing at the young Godbound. "Heretic! You will not lead the noble Ancalians astray with your lies, blasphemer!" Around her, several of the Akeh nod in vehement agreement. "That you even still live is only by the grace and mercy, however misplaced, of our beloved Christ Reborn. When Demons shattered the world, when the Fallen began their eternal internment, only God chose to intervene. To grant our great pontiffs the gift of granting our souls peaceful rest. You will not lead the noble spirits of our flock astray." The Akeh woman makes a point of snubbing Gabby, walking past her without any further acknowledgement. And one by one, the other Akeh begin to follow her. Some glare daggers at Gabby, others shake their heads in disgust, but most simply keep their heads down: refusing to look in the direction of a dangerous and deadly heretic.

    Dorothy receives a more cordial acknowledgement: a nod from the Akeh woman. "Your gift of healing is a noble gift of the Lord: one wasted in the company of blasphemers. Pay her lies no heed, but..." She bows her head. "We of Ancalia thank you for your timely rescue. And you as well, Your Valiance." She turns to Markus with a small smile. "I knew not that the Republic had its own Knightly Orders, but your restraint shows well in your character: for us to kill Jong before you had even begun an interrogation would have been the height of folly. When you bring about his end, I ask you make it painful and forgo the proper funerary rites."

    The Ren and Din of the group, however, do not seem to share the same point of view as their Ancalian compatriots. Many stare at Gabby with a mix of awe and fear in their eyes, but they seem to be ignoring the Akeh lass's protests in favor of their savior's sermon. They are hanging off of Gabby's every word, what will she say next?




    Just before the stairs of Jong's hideout, Volcania hears footsteps behind her: the young Akeh woman from before, trailed by around a dozen Akeh, mostly women. She curtsies with what remains of her tattered skirt. "My lady, rebirth of the Son, I swear myself to you as your vassal. You who gave us the power to break our shackles, you who bear clear and obvious divinity to protect the meek, are clearly the Second Coming of His Glory." She bows her head lower. "I am Lady Makda of House Alemu, daughter of the last Kantibas of Alemu. Though my house is noble no longer, I swear to you, Your Holiness, that I will be faithful."

    Several of the Akeh behind her stare in shock: clearly most hadn't known this. Next to Volcania, Tang whistles softly. "Shit, gemenr, you think I got a shot?" He whispers.




    "Eh?" Hal's sprite cocks his head. "But I thought I did! That nice Ancalian Prince told me how to do it and everything!"

    It gets even worse from there. Unfiled taxes are the least of it: this damn AI fell for every scam in the book. He likely made closer to Wealth 5 from all of his ventures, but he pissed it all away falling for the most basic of Vissian ponzi schemes and exiled Ancalian noble email scams. Paying off the sheer number of debts he incurred from initial investments took a truly monumental sum: enough liquid assets to start a corporation, foundations to opening day, many times over.

    It's clear that this AI needs an economics education, and now if they don't want to forbid him from further ventures.

    "Did I do something wrong, Mother?" Hal asks Astra, looking both confused and worried.
    Last edited by Eru Erufu; August 25th, 2023 at 09:14 PM.

  12. #132
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Dorothea Ionescu
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Everyone

    "Haah."

    With about as much effort to raise a scalpel, the great blade rises, twists and descends calmly into its sheath, with only the quiet whisper of the ruined masterwork through air and leather to mark its passage.

    She grunts, and tugs the strap off a shoulder, rotating the cuff in slow, purposeful motions.

    "Healing people is never a waste. Don't matter if it's blasphemers, sinners, saints or shitheads, if people need medical treatment and there's no fight in 'em, they get it. No questions asked."

    She healed all the people in the building, after all.

    "That's the oath I took."

    There was a brief pause.

    Then she cast an assessing eye across the gaggle, "Say, any of you happen to run into or hear about a fellow that has a peculiar smell to him? Poppies and battlefields."

    She meandered about for a few moments, tugging or pushing collapsed men into more upright positions, muttering to them under her breath.

    "If you experience any lingering pain or discomfort, please see the clinic at 7270 Lucabell."

    An eye was cast to the idling Din and Ren, "Same goes for you lot."

    Then, work deemed satisfactory, she strode out of the building, moving easily towards the waiting car, squinting at the terrified Paul as she approached.

    "What are you hollering about, strained something again?"

    Then, pausing for a moment, she nodded at the seated Astra.

    "Hi, Astra, right? If you have a moment, would you mind taking a look at the old girl for me?"

    Her usually graceful, easy motions are aborted, somewhat uncomfortable.

    She holds out the oversized slab of metal, still ensconced within its domicile.

    "I was meaning to ask earlier, but things were a bit fraught, and I get a bit scattered brained at the best of times, especially when I'm-"

    growlgrrrumblrgroaaar

    "Hungry..."

  13. #133
    The Dragon of Dojima MssrNeko's Avatar
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    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Paul Copperbell


    Paul pinches the bridge of his nose again, his blood pressure slowly draining.

    "No, we just need to run you through economics 101," he says to the AI. The mistakes can be remedied easily but the lost money will remain lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothea
    "What are you hollering about, strained something again?"
    Paul mutters something about money before sifting through the portfolio. He begins the process of fixing the crow's nest of Hal's stocks and finances. Anything to distract him from the reality before of dead gangsters and being a newborn god.

    Number crunching calmed Paul's nerves and corrected his system.

    But as he thumbs corrections and reformats forms, Paul's body experiences a change. With all the tension draining out of his body and the faint memory of a rushed morning of coffee and a stale muffin, he feels it. The pang of emptiness within his being. The embers of an engine gasping for sustenance to keep aflame.

    Paul is hungry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothea
    "...I get a bit scattered brained at the best of times, especially when I'm hungry..."
    The sound of Dorothea's stomach echoes Paul's own as his mind drifts from numbers.

    A delicious number two from the Burger Rancher, thick quarter pound beef patties covered in Republican cheddar. With lettuce and farm-grown tomatoes and the special Rancho sauce, all soaking in the right amount of greasy runoff. And topped off with a side of large fries.

    Paul's mouth waters as he imagines the smell of the burger. So savory. So good. So...close?

    A mysterious but familiar smell fills the car as Paul looks for the source. To his surprise, Paul opens the glove compartment and his jaw drops.

    Reaching inside he pulls out a bag and holds it to the two women behind him.

    "Lunch?" he asks with a wry confused smile.

    Spoiler:

  14. #134
    Ad Astra
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown

    March 11, 1000 AS (After Shattering)


    The gun in her hands fades as the sounds of violence ends. The smell lingering longer as she stares at the carnage wrecked.

    .... They were bad people, the worst kind. It was... probably right?

    Refocusing herself she lets the rest of her pantheon deal with the people. Right. This was obviously something they all had in hand, and she didn't need to think about this for now. Maybe later.

    "Oh, you made a lot of money Hal!"
    He'd also lost a bunch, but came out positive in the end.
    "That's really impressive! Oh? Did Paul have any suggestions?"

    The nicest sedan and the car they drove here in are quickly rendered down to parts. Eight wheels, plenty of shell material... Combination combustion electric engine distributed across all eight wheels. No, that suspension system won't do at all...

    Eight seats, plenty of space for more equipment as well.

    That other car there could provide enough extra thickness to up armor it some....

    Ooh, and she could do -that- with the power plant...

    If someone didn't stop her soon there were likely not going to be any cars left nearby besides the one she was making.
    Collection of cherished moments
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotonoha View Post
    I'LL KILL YOU PLUE
    <Zagrin> I'll kill ya Plue

  15. #135
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Dorothea Ionescu
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
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    She squints idly at the feverishly working Astra, muttering some bizarre, arcane tongue to herself.

    "Hm."

    The sheathed weapon is gently tugged closer to her person with one hand, the other currently occupied with the mass of grease-slathered calories calling itself a 'burger'.

    The mass that shrank by the second, gleaming white teeth grinding and slicing and mashing each bite like the finest blades in the realm.

    How did it spontaneously manifest in that compartment when it was very clearly not there before, seemingly fresh from a fryer? The compartment that was, even now, being rent apart by their busily working compatriot?

    A swallow.

    "Thanks."

    Red eyes peered out from behind a curtain of brown, brushed away with one hand.

    "It's alright to be..."

    She searched for words.

    "Uncomfortable, with the situation we're in," She said, gesturing broadly at the building that had once been occupied but was currently in something of a transitory state.

    "While I can't hope to understand what exactly you're going through, I barely understand some of my own problems myself. I can speak on, well, this in particular."

    She paused, taking another bite.

    "Hurting others is not an easy thing to do. It shouldn't be, from my perspective. Perhaps in a better life, they would not have done the things they did, or a diplomatic solution could have been attained."

    Brows furrowed.

    "But the situation was what it was, and all one can do when steel's drawn is to see it through as quickly and painlessly as possible," She studied her hands, "I deal with it by, well, doing what you saw, I don't discriminate after the fighting's done."

    A sigh.

    "In a way, it's naive. I've no way of knowing if the person I heal or help will go and do terrible things, or hurt me, or someone I care about. If they do, you could say it's my fault for not simply killing them when I had the chance."

    She spits.

    "But that's not who I am, and it isn't who I want to be. I'm not some cold-blooded killer to stab someone in the back, or kick them while they're down. I do what I can to stem the bleeding, and take care of the worst of it, simple as that."

    Then, a faint smile.

    "You can just call this a mental health check, if you want. I'm as certified in that as everything else, signed and everything."

    She loudly banged the side of the sheathe against the slab of metal that used to be a car that she is currently seated on.

    "Oi, Astra, focus up. What are you doing? Talk me through it."

    Getting people out of their own heads is a valuable part of any post-battle circumstance.

  16. #136
    Vlovle Bloble's Avatar
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    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Volcania

    The tall woman pauses at the stairs and looks back at the throng of women who now stand behind her. A strange expression crossed Volcania's face at Makda's words, before melting into a languid smile.

    "And here I thought no one would notice... got sharp eyes there, Makda. Glad to have you."

    It wasn't as if she wasn't the talky or preachy type. Volcania simply saw no purpose in taking credit for what was ultimately the accomplishment of those who had fought tooth and nail to free themselves. But if they wanted something more...

    "Listen up, then! I'll ask only one thing of you! Remember this, if nothing else." She addresses the women who now regard her as something greater. "Not one of you is powerless. The meek have something no one can ever take from them. 'Cus nothing's more amazing than a girl who knows she's free."
    Last edited by Bloble; August 29th, 2023 at 02:35 PM.

  17. #137
    Dreary, rainy days... Elyrin's Avatar
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    Gabrielle Monet
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown

    Gabrielle did her best to hide a hurt expression as the Akeh woman accused her of heresy and stormed off, managing to keep it to a slight frown. The reaction was not entirely unexpected - Gabby's church didn't exactly follow the common doctrine, after all - but still not a fun experience. And now she had a whole group of rapt listeners watching her every eyebrow twitch. Well, it was progress.

    Shit. Now what?

    Gabby breathed deeply and exhaled slowly, hastily trying to put together some more words when she had barely managed the last few. She really should have taken notes at all those sermons.

    "Ahem. Thank you for showing restraint, my friends. I know it cannot have been easy after the grave injustice those men committed against you." Gabby rested one hand on her breast and half-bowed to the Ren and Din assembled before her, making sure to keep the motion in 'formal' territory and not 'theatric'. "For the time being, however, the villains have been pacified. My companions and I will need to have words with the scum, their boss especially. Whatever punishment they receive will most likely come after that. Maybe during, if they decide to be uncooperative, but I hope it won't come to that."

    Well, that last bit wasn't entirely true. Cooperative or uncooperative, either way worked for Gabby. Cooperative would get the results faster and probably more accurate, though, so it was her preferred result. By a bit.

    "Now, all of you must be exhausted! The good doctor mended all your physical wounds, I think, but wounds of the soul take time. And while it's important that we all do our part if we wish to see the world whole again, it is equally important for us all to know our own limits. If one pushes themselves too hard, goes past their breaking point or finds trouble too serious for them, that's the end, right? Enduring for another day, living on to continue your work, that's the most important thing we can do. Each day we spend on this Earth is another chance to make a difference. Another chance to help someone in need, or clean some unsightly stainblighting our broken world."

    Inhaled again. Exhaled again. Good enough? Hopefully. Gabby clasped her hands together and gave a radiant smile to the group of men and women before her.

    "Okay, I'm getting off topic, sorry! That's enough talk about unsightly things. How about something positive? First order of business will be to get a decent meal for anyone who needs it, which is all of you, I'm guessing. Any objections? Preferences? Serious allergies?"
    Last edited by Elyrin; August 31st, 2023 at 02:53 AM.
    <Satehi> thank you based admin of justice, he/she who doth bring forward the true gospel

  18. #138
    Ad Astra
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    March 11, 1000 AS (After Shattering)


    "It shouldn't be like this."

    Astra doesn't look away from her work. Hands moving in a strange blur as metal takes shape. Wire spun into harnesses, connectors reformed.

    "They had enough power, and this is what they chose to do. They could have made things better and instead..." And yet this was the best place in the world, no where else had the advantages of the stabilizing effects here. The ability to build on the successes of the past. Of the power of science and progression. The rest of the world was cut off from this because of the shattering.

    "I... I don't think we were wrong. I don't think this is right either though." Her stomach roils at the memory. None of the games she had played had prepared her for the assault on her senses. She hated it.

    "The world itself is wrong, and needs to be fixed... yet the fault of the world doesn't excuse the fault of the individual."

    "Y-you had a sword? Or something?" Looking away from the monstrosity of the vehicle she is assembling, and it's not too hard to see that she had rather puffy marks around her eyes. "Did you want it fixed?"
    Last edited by Plue; September 2nd, 2023 at 05:22 PM.
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  19. #139
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Dorothea Ionescu
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    March 11, 1000 AS (After Shattering)


    The white-coated woman, bereft of her sword for the moment, listened carefully to the shorter girl.

    "The old thing is, well, it's probably not great, it's not going to fall apart on me, so it'll keep for a minute."

    She hefted the great length of some-sort-of-metal with one hand, propping it up for the tinkerer to peer at.

    "I do sometimes wonder if there's something wrong with the world, even in this place, the supposed wonderland utopia. The Wu-Shen fellas could've used that power and influence they had, brought the community together, done a whole bunch, and instead..."

    She gestures at the building.

    "Seems we have to do it for 'em. Least, I think that's the plan."

    She shrugs, "I'm not from here, and a lot of the world out there's a lot rougher. There's some nice people here, and there's some not so nice people. People find excuses to be not-nice wherever you go, and think they can push other people that they think are 'less' around, so they can get better."

    She smiles, "They weren't right to do what they did. Even I don't think so, and I'm fairly certain most of this country would look at where I'm from and consider me a savage barbarian."

    "But even I know that this stuff," She jerks her head, "Abuse of power. Isn't right, and maybe sometimes we can talk it out with them, get them to see reason, solve a problem in a way that's better for everyone, so no one has to get hurt, or worse."

    Then, a frown, "But it's not always going to be like that, sometimes in order to go forward, you have to shove through some bad stuff. People get hurt. All you can do, all we can do in that sort of situation, is to do our best to make sure people don't get too hurt. That's my job," She nods towards the gaggle, where Gabby is attending, "Hers', too, and I think that quiet fella in the hood's doing his part."

    A half-smile.

    "The world forms the people, and the people, in turn, form the world, is how it was put to me, once. Can't fix one without trying to fix the other. Just have to be careful, sword cuts the same as a scalpel."

    She taps the sword.

    "Doesn't mean I use this for incisions," Then, a small pause, "Even if I probably could. Always gotta be better."

  20. #140
    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours
    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Everyone

    Makda listens with rapt attention to Volcania, hanging off of the much larger woman's every word. Volcania can practically see the gears in the Akeh woman's head turning as she both memorizes the words and processes them into some kind of "holy scripture" to write down later. "'A girl who knows she's free...' I see. Yes, I would expect wisdom no less grand from Christ Reborn!"

    "Where are we going now, Your Holiness?" She asks, falling into step on the opposite side of Volcania as Tang. "Your grand cathedral?"




    Though the group listens to Gabby's speech, they all salivate at the mention of food, looking at Paul and Dorothy chow down on their burgers. They very much want some real good.

    "Ma'am..." Gabby feels a tug on her shirt. At her feet is a tiny Ren girl of perhaps nine or ten. Her clothes are rags, and she looks as though she hasn't seen the Sun in a long time. "I want to go home." She states with an obvious accent, though not nearly as bad as Bai's. "If I join your shrine, will you take me home?" Tears bud at the edge of her almond-shaped eyes.




    Same Time, Atop the RBC Skyscraper 3 miles away


    Professor let out a sigh, lowering her sniper rifle from the mask of her Corsair exosuit. 'Report.'

    'This one ensured no EMS calls related to the Other Pantheon went through.'

    'This one, 99, 65, and 112 fired at the police to distract them from the explosions and gunfire produced by the Other Pantheon.'

    'This one retrieved the Idiot Girl for transport back to Shujumi Tower. All vitals acceptable: full recovery expected.'

    'Good work.'
    Professor finished, leaping from the top of the skyscraper. She didn't even flinch at the activation of the Corsair's jump pack, the sudden burst of force slowing her descent. 'Preparations for this one's one year anniversary with her beloved?'

    'Cake retrieved. Gifts packaged. Mood lighting set.'

    Beneath her mask, the young girl called "Professor" smiled. 'Good.'




    March 11, 1000 AS
    ~1300 Hours

    Jong's Hideout, Harbortown
    Everyone

    Paul's phone vibrates: a message from the Professor. She wants them to meet her Pantheon at Shujumi Tower in Harbortowntomorrow at around noon.

    Now our heroes have an afternoon to kill. What will they do?

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