The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    In what was a rather close call, Sheema moves back and holds Galadhil up in front of her to stop the worst of the arcane bolts fired down on her. As a Perallan princess, Sheema is not quite one to know how to block a magic bolt like how she might block an arrow. In a way it's easier to block a magic bolt as Galadhil's miraculous construction causes the spell to fizzle on contact. What she didn't expect was to have so much force thrown behind the bolt that it'd catch her feet off-guard.

    The result was several bolts striking her afterward, nailing her shoulder and knees, and sending her tumbling briefly on the ground. Had she not blocked the first one, the rest would've struck her more directly.

    Makhana, made of hardier stuff given she's a dire rhino, took up a more defensive position as the bolts came at her. It wasn't herself that she was worried about, though whatever magic that was knocked her and her silver hide around well. Instead she was concerned over it hitting her more-fragile allies... Which is to say, the shaman-like summoner this Tara woman brought with her.

    So Daryll has the fortune of the "younger" Makhana coming to guard him; though she is not without a small begrudging attitude toward him. Her rhinoceros head turns to look at him and gives a quick glare as if asking, "Why didn't you dodge?" Her expression is still a far cry from the death grimaces all the others gave him earlier; she's giving him only a small benefit of the doubt which is still more forgiving than how everyone else has acted towards him.

    Sheema, getting back on her feet, whistles to call Makhana over as the dire rhino charges forth over to her. Hopping on the matriarch's head, Shemma grips Galadhil tightly as the rhino flicks her head up and sends her up in the air. The large, animal-assisted leap gives Sheema an additional boost of momentum as she dives down with Galadhil's sharp tip aimed right at Warlock!

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Makhana will just Aid Sheema as her action. She will use All-Out Attack +5/-5 and Teamwork to try and give Sheema the highest result she can: (1d20+18)[22]
    Using Extra Effort to Aid Sheema again!

    Sheema will do an attack on Warlock with Galadhil and Mark Prey. Power Attack +3/-3. DC 26 Toughness and DC 21 Will vs Impaired/Vulnerable + Disabled/Defenseless on hit: (1d20+11)[14] Add any Aid benefits from Makhana after this.
    And using Extra Effort to attack again! This time using Galadhil and Frenzied Fighter with the same modifiers as before. DC 26 + Multiattack on hit: (1d20+11)[12] Again, add Aid benefits from Makhana's EE.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "Hello, it is me again!"

    Josh had leapt up to Brace's position and, with his arms folded, twisted about and about with his legs flailing out in a kick combination that had to consist of at least twenty strikes. His last kick once again propelled him off of the wizard, sending him back down to the ground.

    Spoiler
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    Standard Action: Flurry of Blows on wizard-man, Power Attack 5, Attack (1d20+11)[17] for DC 26+Multiattack Damage.
    Move-By Action: Back to where I was.

    Status: Normal.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Gestalt blinks away the lost time. He realizes he was caught under Brace's spell

    Damnit. This is why he wanted Bruja to help him with avoiding the Magic

    Alright. Breath. Start over.

    Spoiler
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    Move: Prepare Summon
    Standard: Summon Bruja

    Sorry, short post. Gotta pack

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Round 3

    Warlock deflected Tara's disintegrating bolt, but he couldn't block her and the Spirit of the Pitiless Sea simultaneously, and the latter knocked him reeling briefly, even as Tara's storm played itself out with a few more bolts of lightning that wore at his wards. He was briefly distracted as first Mandragora and then Simon brought up his daughter, giving Simon an opening to land a blow, but Warlock's wards absorbed it harmlessly. Makhana forced him towards Sheema - there was no deflecting an opponent as massive as the rhino, necessitating a dodge - but Warlock hurled up a barrier to block her spear. On came Josh, with kick after kick. Physically, Brace couldn't hope to dodge fast enough to avoid them, but with thought-quick casting, he blinked away from the attack. Even if Josh reoriented on his new position, he vanished again, rapid teleportation keeping him just ahead of the speedster, even if to the rest of the battlefield neither appeared as anything more than a faint blur.
    Summit swooped in on a disk of earth, flying past Warlock and launching a battering ram of earth at his back as he reappeared from his multiple teleports. He didn't have time to dodge, but he snapped his fingers and the earth launching for him shattered.

    And then he looked at Mandragora, and cackled.

    "You think the gods want an end to malice? Hah! It's nothing but a fanciful story! The Negative side of the gods is every bit as much and as True a part of them as the positive - where do you think my power comes from in the first place!? Why do you think I call myself the Warlock!?"

    "The night my daughter was born, I had my Dream. In it, I was visited by a herald of the Truth, who told me that one day, forces beyond my control would take her from me. Then I was visited by one of the Truth's angels, who told me that if I stayed true to the teachings of the gods, I would have the strength to endure the loss, and turn the pain of it to the benefit of the world."

    "But once the angel had gone, I received a third visitor, a demon who offered me an alternative. Not the strength to endure the loss, but the power to save my daughter! And because I made that choice, I was able to serve the Master when he rose to power, and Amanda now gets to live a peaceful, happy, safe life under the personal protection of the most powerful Dreamer on the planet!"

    "But you know what the funny thing is, Mandragora? That angel and that demon? They were both servants of the Truth. It's the dirty little secret of the Deionist faith. The gods don't actually care which we choose. Perhaps the Positive path is better for the planet as a whole. But it is an equally valid option to choose the path that is better for us personally!"

    "Here is the Truth of the power the gods gave me! Choke on it and die!"
    the Warlock screamed, pointing an imperious finger at Mandragora. Crackling black energy shot at him, which if it struck, would sear through the phytomorph in wave after wave of agony, before he yanked his hand back into a closed fist, seeking to draw his life force, his very Spiritual Energy, out to consume for his own power.

    But the Warlock had erred. He had made one critical mistake.

    He had gone on that rant in earshot of Darryll Harrens, former Professor of Magical Ethics.

    "That...is the most nonsensical justification for misused power I have ever heard," Darryll patiently informed him (while simultaneously summoning a giant air elemental, because you know, Darryll, and all). And, um, let's be clear, Darryll has heard some pretty nonsensical justifications for misused power in the past. Not to call anybody out or anything. Tara. "The impact that the world at large has on our own well-being is so massively important that to say the one can be pit against the other is sheerest folly. Or does this 'peaceful, happy, safe' life that your daughter now enjoys actually somehow still include all the myriad benefits of the society that Legion has destroyed? I can understand as well as anyone the impulse to take ethically and even practically indefensible choices for the sake of one you love. But let us not pretend it is anything other than a failing of character to do so, however strong our convictions that for all it is the wrong choice, it is the only one we can make."

    The nice thing about being a summoner, was that it let you pontificate while your minions continued dispensing any necessary beat-downs. The water spirit gestured, unleashing its magic to try to turn the very air in Warlock's lungs to water. The earth spirit raised a barrier of earthen magic around its allies - they and their attacks would pass right through it, but it would shield them from return fire from Warlock.

    Tara regarded Darryll with a fondly-amused smile. She had honestly missed listening to his lectures on ethics (particularly when she wasn't the target of them). Still, it didn't distract her from the battle at hand, as she unleashed the full force of her magic to try to cut the Warlock off from his own.

    Spoiler
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    Warlock:
    Move: Dazed.
    Free: Monologue.
    Standard: Attack Mandragora with Torment at (1d20+15)[21]. On a hit, Will DC 25 vs. Weaken All Defenses. Miss due to the +2 Defense from Recover.
    Extra Effort - Additional Standard Action: Attack Mandragora with Life Leech at (1d20+15)[30]. On a hit, Toughness DC 30 vs. Damage, Fortitude DC 25 vs. Weaken Stamina. Warlock receives Rebalanced Healing at (1d20+15)[24], with degrees capped by the degrees of Damage inflicted. Mandragora take a Hero Point as he buys off the fatigue. Hit
    End of Turn: Regenerates a Bruise.

    Darryll:
    Move: Nah.
    Free: Nitpick the other supervillain's monologue.
    Free: Maintain full situational awareness of the pot/kettle distinction.
    Standard: Summon the Spirit of the Wild Winds.

    Spirit of the Pitiless Sea:
    Move: Nah.
    Standard: Drown on Warlock. Fortitude ((1d20+15)[16]) DC 24 vs. Cumulative Dazed+Impaired/Stunned+Disabled/Incapacitated. Stunned+Disabled

    Spirit of the Impassive Mountain:
    Move: Nah.
    Standard: Raise Earth. Tara, Darryll, the Spirits, Simon, Gestalt, and Brujah are shielded by a Selective, Rank 14 Created object, which is itself Deflected at 1d10+24. Other allies may pass through it freely, so if you end your turn inside you're shielded too.

    Tara:
    Move: Nah.
    Free: Augmentation on self.

    16 points to raise Ritual of the Broken Dream to rank 16 from 12.
    32 points to add Linked Affliction 16 (Impaired/Disabled/Transformed; Fortitude; Progressive, Limited [Dreamer Powers Only]) to Ritual of the Broken Dream.
    2 points for Flight 1.

    Standard: Ritual of the Broken Dream on Warlock at (1d20+14)[18]. On a hit, Will ((1d20+15)[31]) DC (1d20+14)[33] vs. Sustained Nullify Dreamer Powers and Fortitude ((1d20+15)[16]) DC 24 vs. Progressive Powers Impaired/Disabled/Transformed. Miss

    All PCs are on turn.
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2018-09-14 at 08:40 PM.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

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  5. - Top - End - #65
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    So Warlock really didn't understand. He understood that we're given a choice, but hadn't really thought about the consequences. This is why the gods encourage us to choose what is right - because what is best for the whole is what is best for individuals in the end, even if it causes us pain now. Mandragora was about to respond, but Daryll's rebuttal made him feel like he was out of his league in the dialogue department.

    So instead, he showed Warlock his conviction by facing the mage's energy head-on, trusting in his spiritual energy to repel the attack. His dreamer powers and his conviction pulled through for him, dissipating the hatred-infused blast. He then lashed his vines once more at Brace, intent on grasping him tightly so the blows of the others could strike with precision.

    Spoiler: Actions
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    Standard: Vine Lash on Warlock. Since Warlock is stunned, All-out Attack for 2 and Power Attack for 1. (1d20+12)[25]. On a hit, DC 27 Toughness vs. damage and DC 27/26 Strength/Dodge vs. grab.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    As someone who hasn't studied Deionism much, Sheema is left very confused by the spiritual argument Mandagora and Warlock had going. Being from Peral made these discussions sound like fantastical beliefs that she, put simply, didn't believe in. Not that she had to interject; they've got a right to believe in whatever they want.

    She is, however, impressed with Daryll's ethics lesson; he gives them out so easily during battle. Which brings the question: how did he think it'd be fine to 'protect' Tara by joining her enemy?

    Actually, that's probably a long story that no one has time to listen to.

    Instead, Sheema keeps herself in a pincer against Warlock as she and Makhana circle the villain. As if coordinating without speech, the two at once bring forth a quick barrage of attacks on Warlock!

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Alright, let's try this again.

    Makhana will Aid Sheema on her attack, All-Out Attack +5/-5: (1d20+13)[16]

    Sheema will use Mark Prey on Warlock with Galadhil to try and hit him with afflictions. Power Attack +2/-2. Due to Disabled, DC 30 Toughness + DC 25 Will vs Impaired/Vulnerable + Disabled/Defenseless on hit: (1d20+12)[22] Add Makhana's Aid depending on her result.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "And you'd know a thing or two about making ethically indefensible choices for the sake of someone you love, wouldn't you, Daryll? Also, pretty sure the Utilitarianism you're proposing died a swift death at the hands of A Modest Proposal where the value of a life is concerned."

    Simon threw more punches into the air, but the barrage he'd been launching at Warlock abruptly cut off. He'd changed tactics. Rather than continuing to throw the released in a continual flurry, he was building it up while watching Mandragora from the corner of his eye. Just as the vine man struck he clapped his hands together and brought the energy he'd built together on Warlock in an attempt to hold him motionless while the vine man wrapped him up.

    Spoiler
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    Free: Continue the philosophical debate with a reference.
    Move: Nah.
    Free: Set attack array to Tactics Tactics Tactics.
    Standard: Aid Mandragora at (1d20+19)[37] Mandragora gets +5 to hit. Summit gets +5 to Hit. Triggers Reaction Team Attack to boost Grab DC, AOA 3, PA 5. (1d20+17)[32]
    Last edited by Dorni; 2018-09-17 at 06:53 PM.
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "Alright, that's time, you're done." Josh went to finish Warlock off with a final rush of attacks.

    Spoiler
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    Standard Action: Flurry of Blows, Power Attack 5. Attack (1d20+11)[23] for DC 31+Multiattack Damage.

    Status: Normal.

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Warlock...kinda gaped as Mandragora just shrugged off the full force of his power like nothing.

    Protip: When you're fighting an enormous water elemental, gaping with your mouth hanging open is kinda the worst thing you can do. The water elemental easily transmuted the air in Warlock's lungs to water, instantly leaving him coughing and heaving.

    It was an opportunity the team didn't waste, capitalizing on the momentary weakness with a stunning display of teamwork and tactics. Simon led the attack, wearing at the wizard's wards so that when Mandragora caught him in his vines, he could get several of them wrapped around one. The phytomorph held him up to Sheema and Makhana, the rhino using her bulk to force the bound mage hard against Sheema's spear as she plunged it into his side. Warlock gasped with pain, devolving into another choking fit as his lungs only caught water, his concentration on his defensive magic utterly broken. Josh came racing in to score the takedown, hammering blow after blow on his no-longer-warded flesh, leaving him unconscious in seconds, water leaking from his mouth.

    Things seemed to be going as swimmingly as the exact opposite of a land war in Peral for the others as well. The area was covered in swiftly-fading ectoplasm from the various summons that Wulther, Judy, Daniel, and Future Makhana had destroyed. And mere moments after Warlock dropped, a hideous avian screech sounded from the air. Down went the Rainbow Phoenix, plummeting to the ground with Future Sheema basically surfing on its back, her spear planted in the base of its neck and...somehow kinda steering it down despite the fact that its wings were currently dissolving into a spray of multicolored sparkss in the hands of Future Josh and Flashpoint. When the bird impacted, its entire body exploded into a fireworks-like spray, Future Sheema kinda sliding through it along the ground until she planted Galadhil to halt her movement perfectly beside her past self.

    "Great job guys," she said, casually as if it had been nothing but a pleasant exercise. "All aboard the rhinos!"

    "One moment," Tara said, pointing a green-glowing finger at the fallen Warlock as she focused her power...

    Spoiler
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    Battle over! Everybody take a Hero Point!

    If anybody cares to stop Tara you have time to do so, otherwise she will totally disintegrate the guy and sleep like a baby afterwards.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

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  10. - Top - End - #70
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Vroooom!

    Warlock's body was gone, and Josh sat cheekily in the position where it had been - now Tara's finger was pointing at him.

    "That man is a national treasure, you can't have him."

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Grim ranger's Avatar

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    Left standing and feeling bit useless as the rest mopped the floor with Warlock, Summit went on to quietly board Makhana, looking at the future Heiress with expression rendered unreadable by his stony mask. "...That was quick. Had lot of practice?" he guessed, shaking his head. "...I don't know what I am even doing here, heh. Clearly my future self did not care enough to make an appearance."

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Well. There you have it. It's official.

    Josh was packed full of enough sheer cheeky irreverence to confound even Tara Ellens herself.

    Well played, everybody. Time to pack it in. I guess I'll just start working on the Indelar War Game and...no? We're not done here yet? Okay then.

    Tara just stared at Josh for a moment not...entirely sure how to respond to that. Flashpoint shot her a commisseratory look. Without another word, she just climbed back atop Makhana.

    Darryll was also eyeing Josh, but not with befuddlement. More with interest. But after a moment or two, he quietly followed his paramour, leaving his elementals to take up a perimeter guard.

    Future Josh looked to his past self. "So where'd you put him, exactly? We've got some old SIDE tech at the base that should be able to hold him."

    Spoiler: Insight DC 20
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    Both Future Josh and Future Sheema seemed to take the whole event in stride. Neither of them called Tara out on what she was about to do, or show any sign of either approval or disapproval for Josh's response. You get the sense that while they're fine with taking Warlock prisoner, neither of them would have been particularly opposed to Tara's solution either.


    Future Sheema gave a wryly-amused grin at Summit's quip, although when he brought up his future self, she looked more serious. "That wasn't his preference. But this mission called for a fast extraction force, and he - you - um..." just because she was from the future didn't mean that she was especially used to all this time travel nonsense. "He, I guess? Kinda has his hands full at home anyway. It's not easy for him. But I guess leadership rarely is."

    Once everyone was mounted up, the trek continued. There were a couple more close calls on the way, but at the speed the rhinos moved, it didn't take long before the group reached its destination.

    The outer edges of the Glade were a charred, blackened ruin, perfectly in keeping with the milieu of this ruined future Adaros. But the ash and destruction gradually gave way to the lush, tropical greenery that the Megablock-sized park was famed for. By fifty yards in, the damage was nothing but a memory - the huge park somehow stood almost entirely in-tact in the midst of the ruined city, a shining green beacon of life and hope.

    But this wasn't to say it looked entirely like the Glade of the past. Rising from the center of it was something very, very new - a towering keep of solid stone, honestly looking more like a small mountain that had somehow risen in the rough shape of a castle, towering over even the tallest topical trees in the glade. The keep was the first part of it that had been visible on approach, and it projected a sensation of strength and uncompromising defense better than even the sturdiest of old-school Adaran military architecture.

    Mandragora and Summit would both recognize the image of the keep rising up from the tropical landscape from the fleeting vision they had had earlier, when they had raised the barrier to hold back the Master and his forces.

    As the group passed through the charred, blasted ashscape that bordered the Glade, they would notice that there was basically a line of trees that created a border between the damaged area and the whole area. Some of those trees themselves showed marks of fire, ice, lightning, and physical weapon alike, but they still stood strong, a barrier against the dangers without that had somehow not been broken even by the power of the Master's armies. There was something about those trees. A pensive, almost watchful quality.

    As the group passed beneath their boughs, there was a definite feeling that flowed through them. A buoyant energy. And they could hear a voice. A softly-spoken male voice that seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere, from all around them and right inside their ears. "Welcome, my friends. You will be safe here."

    It was unquestionably Eric's voice.

    Spoiler
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    Everybody's fatigue is reset to normal.
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2018-09-21 at 07:11 PM.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
    M&M 3e Character Guide

  13. - Top - End - #73
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    "Um, you know the old Gorivido's Pizza on 53rd? The last one before they went bankrupt? Yeah it's still standing, I like, I put him in the arcade machine."

    ---

    "No way!" Josh spun about as he investigated the Glade in its current state, not sure what to think.

    "You made it even cooler!"

  14. - Top - End - #74
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Mandragora breathed a sigh of relief when Josh whisked Warlock away from whatever Tara was planning to do to him. In spite of all Brace had done, Eric believed that the man was just lost and in need of a better way forward. He had the start of a good heart - a love for his daughter - but simply refused to see that what happens to those around his daughter is just as important as what happens to her. Then again, Mandragora may have been the only one to think that.

    Seeing the destruction evident in the outer edges of the Glade was particularly horrifying for the vine man, but that horror was soon replaced with hope. The border trees stood proud and strong in spite of their injuries. Though overall the place looked far less natural than it should, it was incredible to see it so well-protected. When he fortress came into view, Mandragora glared in awe for a moment before clarifying to the others "That's the fortress I saw back when we retreated from Legion."

    After hearing... himself(?) speak, Eric asked "Did you help us earlier?"

  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Leviath hadn't made a single move to save Warlock. It seemed weird to him, and had got him thinking throughout the trip actually, but he thought he had found the answer

    He was seeing this timeline as meaningless. He had long rejected it, as one that was fading away and would collapse. It was the timeline where he was The Master. Of course he didn't care for it. Ignored every event on it

    That was seeming incredibly childish now though. Was he really about to let a man die because he thought the circumstances were meaningless? It seemed, like he wasn't nearly as distant from future Leviath sometimes.

    "Seems the Earth's champions sure are working together"

    Not wanting to spend all his time in silence, he goes back to actually talking with the group

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    Simon made no move to stop Tara, and it wasn't because he was frozen or indecisive. It wasn't only because it was futile. What were they going to do? Turn him over to the nonexistent police to be arrested and sent to the nonexistent jail? No. Even if it were practical, that stuff was for criminals. Not for a war. Warlock wasn't a criminal. He was a powerful enemy asset to be removed from the board.

    So he was faintly disappointed when Josh made his move, but now wasn't the time.

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

    Simon smiled as he studied what had become of the Glade. No wonder Legion had never taken it. The fortress that Summit and Mandragora had raised was impressive. Beyond impressive. And also saddening. Their future selves had gained in power, yes, but Legion had become powerful enough to level Illessia itself. Taking Mandragora's current power and growth rate, extrapolating his future growth rate very generously and multiplying for limiting himself to becoming a genius loci... he shouldn't have resulted in being nearly powerful enough to hold off Legion. The Spiritual Energy gulf was just too vast. He'd done something else, something extra to give the transformation even more omph. It was a sacrifice play. Not everything that was Eric had made the transfer.

    To see that the kid who had become a Hero after the Disappearance had the strength of character to make that sacrifice... that was something worth honoring. Heros and soldiers alike sometimes boasted about being willing to fall on the grenade, but not many of them could bring themselves to do it when the moment arrived. "Thank you, Eric."
    Everyone makes mistakes. Our fate and our character is not determined by the mistakes we make, but by how we react to them.

  17. - Top - End - #77
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Sheema and Makhana didn't have much to say or react to as far as Warlock's fate went. Neither of them know this supervillain even as everyone else apparently does. Sheema has to admit that she's a bit... numbed with this timeline. If this is a future not supposed to exist, then any actions taken here won't matter, right? It's not like the death of a villain here will reflect her own world... That... is how time travel works...?

    Long story short, Sheema and Makhana weren't opposed to Tara simply offing Warlock, but good on Josh going the extra mile!

    ---

    "Wow..." Sheema gasps in awe as the group comes up to the Glade. She never knew such a place exists in Ilessia, much less one that happens to be somewhat nearby Adaros. It... reminds her of home, of Peral. Makhana agrees as she nods to the respective trees as if they are actually alive. Even the dire rhino has a respect for nature, though the trees in Peral are more massive, hulking skyscrapers than these smaller creatures. Still, for their size they have weathered a lot; that's worth Makhana's hard-to-earn respect.

    The voice sure gets to Sheema's head as she hugs her dad tightly. "Hey, wasn't that you? Mandagora, was it?" She points out the voice echoing from... everywhere, as she gives the plant and vine-controller a smile. "Is this actually your place? Now I wish I asked you to help settle and tend a forest next to the farm." Not that such a process is as quick as tending an animal farm but Sheema did hope to make one for some of the animals to rest in, away from the endless skies and plains.

    ...She misses the place already. Hope the animals are fine.

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Entering the Glade was definitely an experience. Whatever devastation had ravaged the surrounding area had apparently been kept at bay...although not without considerable effort. Summit couldn't help but to afford the plant hero somewhat more respect in light of the discovery: it seemed he'd have long way to go still to match any of these people.

    Voices in one's head, though? It was still creepy, even if done by someone apparently benevolent.

    "We'll see about "safe" I suppose... although only way I can imagine matching this would be to likely dig down until I became heart of some particularly large and unyielding mountain" he mused, trying to reach down into the earth with his senses to feel around some and see if the place held more secrets still in its very soil. "I do recall the fortress as well. Somewhat grandiose invitation, but I suppose it got the job done."

    Well, at least his dry, blunt quippage remained continuous as ever. At least it'd cover up some of his uncertainty and insecurity about the entire thing. He didn't really feel he had a place in this cross-chronal adventure at all, having been little more than a spectator before being dragged feet first into all the craziness of Dreamer life.

    Turning to look at the elder Sheema again, he tilted his head somewhat quizzically. "I do have to say I don't understand jack about time travel, but I am thoroughly confused about older-me becoming some sort of bigshot. He couldn't just pull away from all this, huh?" he asked dryly, his voice shifting like sand as he sighed. "The idiot."
    Last edited by Grim ranger; 2018-09-25 at 04:31 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #79
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    Sheema can't help but look back at Summit and try to encourage him. The guy seems really down lately, though he perhaps cannot be blamed. He's stumbled into a time he doesn't know, surrounded by people he doesn't know, does not understand what is going on, and hasn't seen his future self at all.

    "Really? You seem like you'd make a great leader Summit." She gives him a smile as her back turns to look at him behind her.
    "I mean you keep your cool, you got a great way of talking, and you think before you leap, unlike some people I know."
    She gives her dad a playful slap on the shoulder. She loves Wulther but sometimes can't help but play coy in a friendly way.

    Granted, what she's saying about Summit may not be accurate to what she knows about Aquila. She does believe he's capable of leadership, as fantastical as it seems right now, but might she be putting him on a pedestal?

  20. - Top - End - #80
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    Eric's voice again came from all around, after Mandragora's question, "I...believe Summit had drawn on some of my power earlier, but projected it beyond my borders. I...think it was fairly recently? Is that what you mean? I'm afraid I have little awareness of what happens outside."

    A little bit of a tremor seemed to pass through the soil and rustle the trees when Simon spoke his thanks...or perhaps more precisely, when he addressed Future Eric by name. William shot him a look, and Flashpoint actually cast an angry glare his way.

    Jenny said, softly, and not accusingly, but clearly enough so everyone could hear, "We, um, just call him Glade, now." There was...a definite wistfulness in her voice when she said it.

    "I'm sorry," Glade said, sounding just a touch sheepish. "It's...the memories they...it's hard," he said, clearly not really able to explain it well. "You didn't know." Although his voice still came from everywhere, it somehow seemed focused on Flashpoint and William. William gave an accepting nod, Flashpoint a dismissive wave.

    Future Josh cheering stamped out any awkwardness that the moment might have brought about by chiming in, "I actually prefer Big G, personally. You know, whichever."

    Future Sheema didn't contest Summit's words...but she did seem kinda amused by them, biting her lip as if to keep from laughing or speaking. Although she did back up her past self with an affectionate, "He does."

    As the group moved deeper into the Glade, the carnage and destruction of its outer borders and the city beyond it almost seemed like it could fade into just an unpleasant memory - although even here, the staticky black flecks of nothingness continued to crackle over everything. Here, everything was green and whole and vibrant. And there was more to it. The air was clean and clear, free of any spoke or other particulates, and the group passed several streams and ponds. Those had existed previously, but they were fed by water from the city's municipal resources. Indeed, the abundance of tropical plantlife that had always been what made the Glade so special required extensive and elaborate use of the city's pipelines - rain wasn't exactly a common thing in Adaros.

    But how they kept the water coming became apparent soon enough, as the group crossed paths with a few patrols of its residents - people in medieval-style armor and equipped with archaic weapons, the tabards over their mail displaying colored outlines of what looked like a medical cross.

    The Cross, however, no longer appeared Broken.

    In time, the group reached the keep proper, its outer walls defended by more Knights, as well as people in powered armor that looked like it might have been based on a sort of hybrid ADE/OUT-SIDE design, though clearly there had been some work done on it in the past ten years.

    The doors to the keep swung open at a gesture from the Earth Knights guarding them - they were big enough to allow admittance even to Makhana (the Makhanas, whatever).

    Though outside the keep was all solid, craggy rock, like a mountain raised from the group in the rough shape of a castle, inside was smooth stone and modern lights, the occasional Active Crystal screen, and - most important for Adaros - air conditioning. There were also a selection of indoor plants and trees at fairly regular intervals. In the big foyer you walked into...a pretty big crowd had gathered, and they let up a cheer when the group entered. There was somewhere in the vicinity of a thousand people, mostly civilians by the looks of it. There were some familiar faces in the front.

    The more familiar of the faces present were gathered near the front, though. Future Aquila was center stage, right across from the door, seeming in command of the crowd even as the attention was focused on you guys entering. Flanking him, like the advisors to a king, were Future Simon and...some other man that most of the group might not recognize. Although Gestalt could place his face as that of the time traveler who had wearing the form of Simon way back when the Master had sent his army to the past. Dr. Annabelle Colt was sitting in her hoverchair behind them, with Lorelei Winters standing beside her.

    Aquila would quickly place Javan and his family, standing only a bit aside from his future self. Mandragora could spot a few familiar faces from the Glade, such as Ollie and Cara.

    Spoiler: Simon, Perception DC 30
    Show
    And though she's not up front, you manage to spot Spectre blending in the crowd. She's clearly got an eye on you though, and gives you an approving upnod and little wave when she notices you've spotted her.


    But perhaps just as clear were the faces that weren't there. Neither Judy nor Wulther were present, which post of their past selves seemed to immediately notice. Of course, nobody who had vanished in the Disappearance - Mandragora's father and grandfather, Aaron Burke, and Cathy Stewart, most notably - were present. Neither was Mandragora's mother Viviana. And aside from their own future selves, not a single solitary member of either Hero Corps or the Assembly Cleanup Crew could be found among the crowd.

    As the cheer died down, it became apparent that it might have been more for the rescue team than you guys, because it seemed like most of the crowd only really noticed you for the first time then. For the most part, they seemed kinda bemused, or maybe a bit weirded out, on seeing you, with a couple notable exceptions. Among the civilians and others who made up the bulk of the crowd, there was not a single gaze that looked upon Mandragora with anything less than a sense of grateful awe.

    Just as there was not a single one that looked upon Gestalt with anything but anger, hatred, or fear. From somewhere in the crowd, some random voice popped up in a half-sobbing, angry cry of, "How could you?" only to receive a quelling glare from Future Summit and shocked, "are-you-crazy?" looks from pretty much everybody in a ten foot radius.

    Future Josh and Flashpoint led the way in, walking side by side. Without looking at each other, they fistbumped and headed off in opposite directions. Future Sheema hopped off of Future Makhana - who let a kinda tremor roll through her body as a none-too-polite request for everyone riding her to kindly get off - and headed over towards Summit, Simon, and the others with them. Wulther, Judy, and even Darryll (who was earning looks almost as cold as Gestalt was) seemed...a bit uncertain about how to proceed here, although uncertainty was never a trait Tara could be accused of, and she immediately barked to the nearest Knight she could see, "This man has suffered extensive Spiritual Energy drain and needs rest and care," with a gesture to the other Dreamer they had rescued, who was still passed out. Jenny and William hopped down to the floor, but they stayed by you guys. They didn't say anything, but you could kinda tell from how they were looking at you that they were there to help if you had any questions or were just feeling overwhelmed by it all.

    After a few brief words with Future Sheema, Future Summit and Simon, and those with them, approached the group.

    "Okay, before anything else, I just want to say, I am so sorry for shooting you. Seriously. Mission parameters, but honestly I felt just sick about it," he said to Mandragora, who may or may not have had any idea why this man was apologizing for shooting him.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Okay guys. You have like a dozen or so NPCs here you can interact with or not as you choose, and perhaps a few more revelations about how this timeline went down, so it is all you! Go wild.
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2018-09-26 at 03:08 PM.
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  21. - Top - End - #81
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    Zip.

    Josh appeared in front of Flashpoint. The look on his face was almost apologetic for what minor bullying he'd been doling out since his arrival, but he did not look sheepish - this was Josh taking all the time in the world to choose his words and his expression.

    "You did a lot of good today, Flashpoint, but I have to know. Tara, for all her strength, can't run or hide from Legion...but I figure you can. Why would you come here? Why would you go straight?"

    --

    "Hey Simon." Josh did his best to catch his mentor while he was alone.

    "I felt like you didn't approve when I saved Warlock. I'd like to know why that was."

    --

    "Hey, future me!" Josh jogged to catch up to himself. It bothered him how tall the guy was.

    "Uh, hey man, so...adulthood. You got any tips for me?"

  22. - Top - End - #82
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    Sheema... certainly didn't see what she expected. For one, she couldn't believe the Cross knights are here helping everyone, much less under orders from Summit. That's gotta be a testament to his leadership, however he managed it. The massive batch of people are just as stunning. There's so many people here. She looked around to see where where her dad's future self could be... and didn't see him. Her mood briefly, only very briefly, dies down. her own dad is still with her simply because time travelers helped save him; without them, Wulther would have been long gone in Peral by now.

    Both Sheema and Makhana are... also a bit lost, It seems like the actual time travelers know far more about everyone here, as if they've been here before. Why have Hero Corps members five years after Sheema's present been time traveling like it's a Perallan road trip?

    A Perallan road trip, worth noting, is like your typical road trip but on an animal capable of smashing trees and hostile dire animals in her way. It's a fun time; Sheema can attest!

    Without saying anything, Sheema offers a smile to Gestalt and a small rub of his shoulder to help with the seemingly-unending torrent of anger lashed out by the group of people. She doesn't understand; how did Gestalt become... whatever in spirits that the Master is? Gestalt should be given at least some sympathy for what he hasn't done. The dark-skinned princess also gives a smile to Summit. "Well, maybe you can get some answers now," she says to her friend, nodding her head to future Summit. "As some Ilessians say: break a leg." That's how the term goes, right?

    Sheema gets off Makhana as the dire rhino is put in care of Wulther and, again, Judy. It's always amusing for the dire rhino to be like a guardian to the shy super-genius, so long as Makhana does not have to be presented as a beast of burden just for the sake of someone she barely knows. Sheema, meanwhile, takes the all-important action of approaching her future self. "So..." The younger Sheema looks a little coy as she considers whether to ask simply or be very blunt with the nickname. In the end, she compromises. "What's with the 'Ma' nickname? I never thought Makhana took well to being called something so cute."

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    So...how did one even describe the new sights? Aquila was personally having some trouble, but he tried his best regardless, valiantly trying to make sense of the absolute WRECK of a timeline.

    The whole hideout, whilst an exemplary show of cooperation and combined strength, still spoke quite a bit of desperation to his senses. True, they had retained their foothold despite obviously fierce assault against the outer perimeter of the place, but how long could that last? It was obvious that everyone involved had grown stronger, but they were still no match to their opposition. The sheer enormity of the task ahead made him shiver somewhat.

    There were some positive surprises as well, of course, and the Knights being present did make him tilt his head curiously, his stone mask observing them quietly as the rhinos tromped on by the ragtag defenders. This sort of alliance was definitely surprising, but also fairly uplifting. Seeing the followers of his element doing something better with their time than attempting to tear down modern civilization almost made him want to congratulate them in person, but he had a feeling such might get weird fairly quickly: perhaps it would be a gesture better saved for less busy time. From the look of things, he'd have lot of people to speak to around here, and knowing their enemy all too little time to do it.

    Future Sheema apparently stifling giggling at his words also brought some levity to the situation, causing the earth prince to roll his eyes somewhat. Maybe some things really never changed, and in this case it was a good thing: Sheema had been a good friend of his so far, after all.

    Their entrance to the Keep proper had its ups and downs, but Aquila found himself distracted by perhaps somewhat vain and selfish urge, focusing his attention mostly at his future self...and family? Whilst glad to see them all alive along with his best friend, he was definitely surprised by their presence. And as for his own future self...

    Somehow, he could feel the man through the stone of the keep like one might feel heat radiating off a bonfire, their identical powers momentarily brushing against each other before he withdrew his sense from the rock below himself. Perhaps he had truly gotten stronger, but how exactly had the whole leadership position occurred? Aquila had to admit he was dying to know. Of course, it'd be a real pain to figure out what about himself his futureself knew and what he didn't. Time travel was bound to be tricky like that.

    Sliding off Makhana and nodding to Sheema with "just the one?", he went on to walk forward, still glad in his earthen armor as he approached his older self. Stopping a few steps away as future Aquila turned to face him, he considered what to say.

    The two of them stood still, staring at each other for a moment, Aquila's stony suit of armor contrasting sharply with the apparent easy confidence of his casually dressed elderself.

    Finally deciding to break the tension, he allowed the mask on his face to collapse into sand, revealing his face. "...So, no eyepatch? As a leader figure of resistance movement in bleak future, I think you have contractual obligation to wear such and maybe a bandanna, along with speaking only in gruff macho whisper" he deadpanned, folding his arms. "I have...so many other questions as well, though. But let's start with few easy ones: just what the HELL has happened to the world and what exactly convinced you to go and keep doing this?"
    Last edited by Grim ranger; 2018-09-29 at 05:55 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #84
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    Mandragora looked quizzically at the agent, and said (completely oblivious to the awkwardness he was creating) "Um, I guess I'm not sure what you're apologizing for, but I... forgive you?"

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    Leviath can rather feel the sparks in everyone's staring at him. They'd probably watch his every action like a hawk, analyze his every moment

    Well he was still pissed, so let them have it. Simon provided him with a perfect opportunity for being snappy and inviting retribuition. Let them start the arguments so they could move on to more important matters

    "I remember attempted homicide on my innocent person, but don't worry, I'd longe forgave you. Ask yourself. You still a Relic?

  26. - Top - End - #86
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    "I'm sorry as well." The statement carried multiple levels of meaning, all sincere. That they were so sensitive about Er- Glade's transformation despite being surrounded by so much devastation outside his boundaries also spoke volumes.

    As they moved deeper in, Simon compiled a mental catalog. It wasn't hopeless, but it looked grim and the absences were notable. But first things first was to get a better grasp on the situation. This timeline's history came second. Assuming this timeline would continue to exist long enough for it to matter.

    Simon approached the dias and shook his own hand. "What's our next move?"

    Even as he spoke the words, half of his attention was focused on his neural uplink. It would make for faster discussion with himself.


    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Going to try and cautiously establish a network connection with Future Simon. Assuming its successful, his first questions are going to be about how secure the connection is.


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

    Simon looked over at Josh, weighing his answer. There wasn't any uncertainty in his eyes, just resignation. "What do you suppose happens when Warlock wakes up?"
    Last edited by Dorni; 2018-10-01 at 09:42 PM.
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  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Josh, with Flashpoint

    As you zipped over, Flashpoint cast you a withering glare, his lip curling briefly with contempt. All of your experiences with him had been in an alternate timeline, but clearly, the sight of you at your present age brought back some manner of less-than-positive memories.

    Glancing aloofly away, he scoffed and replied, "You wouldn't understand..."

    Spoiler: Insight or Deception DC...uh, 7
    Show
    ...Yeah he's totally just playing up the whole "aloof anti-hero" thing. You don't think he actually has any particular reservations about answering your question if you want to press him for it.


    Josh, with Future Josh

    "Haha...yeah, man, what a thing. I mean..."

    There's a casual amusement in his voice, totally laid-back. It has all the hallmarks of building up to a less-than-serious answer. Some quip or anecdote or maybe a non-sequitur. But then...he hesitated. It was one of those brief flickers of hesitation that few but another speedster were likely to notice.

    His voice got a touch more serious, then, tinged perhaps with just the faintest note of regret as he answered, "Just take it seriously, man. You'll do fine."

    Main Hall

    Much of the crowd began to disperse, as the heroes talked with their future selves and others.

    Future Sheema - a woman who, let us not forget, busted right into the Master's inner sanctum with no powers, no hesitation, and no flips given - actually briefly froze when her past self asked her that question, a distinctly deer-in-headlights look on her face. (Not a Perallan deer, mind. The look of a Perallan deer in headlights was rather more "come at me, bro" than that cliche normally alluded to.) After a moment, she replied with a kinda frozen smile and in a slightly-too-high-pitched voice, "Oh! Right! That...!"

    There were...a few more moments of hesitation as Future Sheema seemed to unsuccessfully attempt to begin answering a couple times. Then she looked to Wulther, who had silently followed you. "I... Is she, I mean...ready to know this?"

    Wulther kinda blinked in incomprehension, "Ready to know...?"

    If anything, that reply had left Future Sheema even more flustered. Her eyes widened in shock. "You don't know..." she said softly. It was not a question, for all the dazed uncertainty in her voice.

    Weirdly enough, she then looked across the way to meet Makhana's gaze - your Makhana's. There was a silent question in her eyes.

    --

    "Hmph. They'd have to hit me with enough force to put out my eye first. As for headgear, I prefer a crown," Future Summit replied in a gruff, macho whisper, fixing you with an intense stare that was just, just this side of a glare.

    But after a few moments, you could see the twitch of a smile at the corner of his lips. He was clearly just yanking your chain.

    Your more serious question, he answered in a normal voice...well, for a certain value of normal. He spoke like he looked and like he moved, with casual confidence. His voice was a clear, ringing baritone, and it seemed less loud than simply present, like he could be heard over the din of a battlefield, or across a whole auditorium. "Short version? Nine years ago, the Gestalt of our time...suffered a tragedy. He became obsessed with undoing it. The others...could go into more detail about that than I can. But as I understand it, he began working in secret. Made deals he shouldn't have." Future Summit's eyes flicked momentarily to Tara as he said so. "His power grew in leaps and bounds, until almost a year ago he was finally able to enact some sort of ritual that...well, it summoned millions of people from the past, melding the calling with his powers to turn them into an army of permanent summoned minions, binding our time to the past and giving him the forces he needed to overwhelm the opposition that had risen up to stop him. Over the past several months, his forces have essentially conquered Ilessia and Limbra both. Most of the other countries of the world are preparing for if he invades them. The fear of him is such that it drove Gil to make a political alliance with Haptarus, and they have jointly conquered Indelar in the name of banding the continent together in preparation for his invasion. Only Marketh retains its independence. For now."

    "So, what happened to the world? It fell under siege by a megalomaniacal supervillain with more power than anyone's ever seen. I should hope that also sufficiently answers your second question."


    --

    "You don't remember?" the agent asked Mandragora in...some disbelief.

    "You did shoot him in the back," Future Simon pointed out, a bit wryly, before looking to Gestalt. He gave him just a little upnod at his statement of forgiveness, more a gesture of acknowledgement than appreciation, and certainly not of regret. What they had done to Gestalt might not have been fair, and in the end might not have even been necessary, but he wasn't going to feel bad about it. Just because Plan B had worked didn't mean it hadn't been the best choice for Plan A.

    Sometimes, you made the hard decisions. If they worked out, it usually meant you'd have to live with the consequences.

    He shook his past self's hand, and when Gestalt asked if he were still a Relic, he actually grinned a bit. As when they had first encountered him in the alternate past, Future Simon did seem somewhat more sentimental - or maybe the better term was nostalgic - than his past self. "Me? I'd say you guys are the relics of the past here," he responded. "Honestly surreal to see you all here. A little disappointed your Annabelle isn't with you, though. I was kind of looking forward to finally hearing an explanation of how she managed to hack our comms. Our version - I kid you not - swears she doesn't remember," he jibed with a teasing glance her way. Future Annabelle just crinkled her eyes at him in a minute glare.

    Spoiler: Daimon
    Show
    Your uplink isn't accepted...but the reason why is clear. If Annabelle's past self had somehow been able to not just hack Future Simon's communications security, but tap into a communication stream going to another time entirely, there was quite simply no way to guarantee security with personal devices in her presence. Any private discussions you wanted to have with your future self was going to have to wait until you had actual privacy.


    "But on to business," he said then, more seriously, in answer to his past self's question. "Lorelei has been hard at work configuring her time machine to take you to your proper times. As of this morning, she was running some final tests, and last I checked she was confident it would be ready in a few hours at most. So it's really just a waiting game. Sit tight, and we'll have you home shortly. Weird timeline mishaps are no longer a matter of concern, so if you have any questions or anything, feel free. Of course, since we're in different timelines now, any future information, from your perspectives, that we provide you shouldn't be taken as reliable for your eventual experiences. But at least we don't have to be arbitrarily cryptic anymore."
    Last edited by Quellian-dyrae; 2018-10-02 at 01:16 AM.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    PirateGuy

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    Simon

    "Well, he wakes up here, contained. Future me will make sure of that. Lots of different kinds of Dreamers are difficult to contain, but mages like him? Come on, man. He won't be doing anything."

    Future Josh

    Future Josh's answer was a little dissatisfying. Not terribly, but enough to make Josh pause and look at him for a second. He looked at his future self just the way that Simon had been looking at him a few minutes ago. In doing that, he made an observation.

    When they first 'met' in a vision a few months ago, Josh had been terrified of Future Josh. Or, to be more accurate, terrified of the fact that challenges were coming his way that were horrible enough that they could turn him into the man that he was seeing. But then, not longer after that, he took on Flashpoint. Alone, in the middle of the ocean where he'd never be found. And he fought to what might be called a stalemate. On that day, he didn't feel the fear anymore - only peace. But it was a peace that came from superiority - next time he saw a guy like Flashpoint, he would think to himself, I can beat you if I want to. If I need to. He didn't think those words, but he always believed them. He looked at every big challenge and scary opponent with that mentality - he had just now met Past Flashpoint, and the way he dealt with that obstacle clearly said that he believed those words.

    "You're dying, Josh."

    The reason he was uncomfortable now was that, as he looked at his mighty Future Self, his instincts kicked in - he sized the other speedster up, and he knew in his mind that the words were there - I can beat you if I want to. If I need to. That was informing his choice of words, and it was informing the feeling of disappointment that he couldn't shake.

    The very manifestation of everything he knew he had to become was standing right in front of him. But to Josh's brain, constantly hyped on adrenaline and danger after being almost killed however many times, all he could see was another stepping stone that he would overcome if necessary. When had his subconscious mind decided, without telling him, that even the literal Future Josh was just another challenge that could inevitably be beaten? And was it correct?

    Questions for later, he figured. For now he just hoped that the other him couldn't sense the condescension he was trying not to feel.

    "Pretty soon, after we go...this is where it ends for you. Don't be sheepish with me - if there's something you can tell me, then you should tell me."

    Flashpoint

    "No, mate, I want to understand."

    Josh didn't stop staring, his resolution growing as Cyrus gave him the shoulder.

    "I've not been great to you, have I? I went back in time, bullied you, harassed you, and beat you. You're a super-villain, and I'm trying to get you into prison, but it's still abusive behaviour. Now you're here, saving our lives, and I'm realising that you're a human and I'm regretting all of the negative things I've said to you. The...the unnecessary ones, I mean. I once saved the General Commander of Hero Corps by insulting you, I'm not taking that back."

    "You don't have to posture around me. You, uh...you can't, because we both know who's who between us, right? Deep down? I'm here to empathise with you. Just tell me why you're here."

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Sheema gives a quizzed look at her older self's hesitation. This isn't like her at all. Sheema isn't one to struggle when she has to say something. As typical, the younger Sheema now wants to know more than before.

    She turns her head to look over at Makhana as well; the dire rhino merely keeping an eye on Judy and staring at the scientist's strange devices in skepticism. Sheema simply blinks at her lifelong friend of a dire rhino before looking back at her older self. "Is... there something I should know?"

    ---

    Well... That happened.

    Sheema takes a bit of time away from her older self and her dad, letting Makhana keep an eye on them while the heiress gathers her thoughts. How much did pass by these ten years from her own time? It almost feels like opening some box of forbidden information, learning far more than one should ever know.

    With Galadhil on her back, Sheema walks forward to perhaps the one person everyone else wouldn't approach: Tara Ellens. Sheema doesn't know better, too naive to realize what'll happen in the future. She just sees Tara as any other person.

    "Hey," she greets Tara with a small smile, taking a seat on a reinforced bark bench at the side of the wall. "What a day it's been..." Sheema speaks quietly as she looks around the room. Her eyes fixate on Daryll, the man which everyone here seems to hate alongside Gestalt. Sheema lets silence take over briefly before curiosity gets the better of her. "Hey, Tara?" She looks up to the future-except-already-is supervillain. "Your... friend, Daryll. Do you love him?" The question is sudden, perhaps a little too heavy given the subject. "He really cares for you. Spirits, he seems like he'd die for you if it'd save you. Do you feel the same for him?" There's no hint of malice in Sheema's voice; she's just curious. Tara and Daryll... do not seem like the nicest people to her. This may be the only time Sheema can talk to Tara like a fellow human being.

  30. - Top - End - #90
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Quellian-dyrae's Avatar

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    Default Re: In Dreams to Come 2 - Back to the Future

    Josh and Josh

    Future Josh...chuckled. Not mockingly or dismissively, though perhaps a bit bemusedly. Your words didn't crack through his calm exterior to reveal some truth hidden beneath. He really was just that chill.

    "I don't believe that," he answered, and he meant it. "And I'm not playing games. That is, straight-up, the best piece of advice I can give you."

    "Look,"
    he said, not bothering with the pause that made it look like he was taking time to collect his thoughts. Such dramatics were pointless for other speedsters. "You're a Dreamer. Not just that, but a Hero-level Dreamer. With an advanced super-speed power. You can get anywhere in the world in seconds, and your passport is up to date. You can do anything you set your mind to, because you have literally all the time in the world to figure out how. There is virtually no threat you can't evade, no event you can't attend. You have the ability to make as much or as little money as you wish, whether you want to spend an hour a week just to be able to cover expenses, make a good salary doing good work with Hero Corps or the ACC, or make bank actually spending effort putting your speed to a marketable purpose."

    "So when I tell you you'll be fine, I'm not just brushing you off. I mean it literally. You'd have to make a concerted effort to mess up what you have. Barring some stupidly overpowered former-friend summoning an invincible army to threaten your entire country, I suppose, but even in that circumstance it's like...still here, you know?"

    "But the thing of it is, while you have it good, you also have it easy. 99% of everything you do is going to be trivial to accomplish. 99% of everything you want is going to be so easy to get it will practically fall into your lap.
    And that...you know, it can trick you. Make you complacent. Make you think anything that does take actual effort is more trouble than it's worth, if you're not careful. But the thing is, that 1% that you actually have to struggle for...I don't know, but sometimes I think it might actually be more important than all the rest combined."
    Again, that faint, faint hint of reflective regret.

    Josh and Flashpoint

    Flashpoint regarded you for a moment (microsecond, whatever) with an aloof gaze, but an attentive one, as if he were sizing you up. "So it was you," he said. It wasn't a question. "The Prophet. But it was this you, traveling through time. Which explains why the version of you that I know always swore it wasn't him and he had no idea what I was talking about. Hm. Well, that's nice to finally know."

    "The fact is Miles that you and I are a lot alike. At the end of the day, we both use our power, our speed, to do what we wish and live the life we want. The only really significant difference is that you have a qualm about hurting others, and I don't."

    "Could I have escaped? Sure. Even Legion has nothing short of his phoenix that can keep up with me, and he would have had no reason to hunt me in any event. But I have never been a villain of the likes of Legion or Ellens, or even the Recruiter. I simply didn't mind hurting people to get what I wanted. But the things I wanted were things that society provided. Fine food. Comfortable places to live. Entertainment. Luxuries. Interesting things to keep me occupied.
    Even company and conversation. You would be amazed the sort of stories people will tell you when they are terrified for their lives. It may surprise you to learn, this would not be the first time I battled a villain whose goals were sufficiently destructive in scope that I felt they might infringe on my lifestyle."


    "...Besides, he killed Brava, so if I kill him I get credit by proxy," he finished with a smirk.

    Sheema and Sheema

    Future Sheema got a wan look on her face as Makhana didn't offer her any help. The dire rhino may or may not have even been paying attention.

    Then again, it was entirely possible that she herself didn't understand what Future Sheema did.

    The fact that her father didn't know...impacted the decision, although in all truth she couldn't quite say how. She had deduced that he hadn't told her because he hadn't thought she was ready to hear it, and then after he had been taken...well, there had never been another chance. That he just didn't know changed the equation, took his wisdom out of the calculation. On the other hand...was she ready?

    How would she have reacted, if she had learned this when she was only a teenager?

    Future Sheema couldn't say for sure. The years of additional experience had taken her too far from that mindset, that time in her life, to confidently model her behavior. All she could say for sure...was that she would want to know.

    [COLOR="#EE82EE]"Sheema...you're a gifted warrior. A Legend in the making. But Makhana is the Matriarch of the Rhinos. Dad's the Rhino King, sure, but he doesn't have actual dominion over them and he definitely doesn't have dominion over her. It- actually, no, I'm still technically you, so I don't have to ask. I know you've wondered before why she follows you."

    "I assume Dad still hasn't told you how Mom died?"[/COLOR]

    Wulther looked a bit uncomfortable. "Honey...I know I haven't told you much about your mother.
    It's...hard for me. But part of what makes it hard is...I don't actually know how she died. She...It was..."
    his voice grew choked and he trailed off, looking away from both versions of his daughter. As long ago as it had been, that wound was still too raw.

    Future Sheema set a gentle hand on his arm. "She had left Rivinas on a hunt, and hadn't returned," she finished for him, before facing you squarely. "Our mother was Chelle Naoumov, daughter of Yolanda Naoumov, granddaughter of Sonowa Yamada, and great-granddaughter of Uri Yamada.
    And I could list for you a hundred other names going back generations. That spear,"
    she said, with a nod at Galadhil, "has been wielded by seven of our maternal ancestors. It is a line of great Hunters and warriors, and our mother was no exception."

    Quietly, with tears in his eyes and tightness in his voice, Wulther confirmed, "She was the greatest Hunter in Rivinas."

    Sheema nodded with a bittersweet smile. "You met Jenny Cade during the rescue. She's a precog.
    Well, an oracle, really. About six years ago she started looking into the past as well as the future. She helped me learn about our Mom. Including how she died."

    "There had been reports of tyrannosaur attacks on some of our outlying farms. She went to scout, try to locate the Beast's lair so she could assess the threat it presented and return with a full party. When she found it, it turned out that it wasn't a normal tyrannosaur. It was ancient. And it was in the middle of a fight. With Makhana. The Matriarch of the Rhinos had long been...well, not an ally, quite, but something of a symbol for Rivinas. But an ancient tyrannosaur was a more powerful Beast than even she. She was badly injured. Mom jumped in."


    Future Sheema fell quiet. Wulter's mouth was hanging open some. There was no need for her to continue. Anyone with a modicum of Perallan lore, and knowledge of your strange bond with Makhana, would know what had happened next.

    "I started calling her Ma," Future Sheema said quietly, and there were a hint of tears in her eyes too now, as she gazed fondly over at the two versions of the dire rhino, "Because...at least on some level, that's exactly who she is."

    Sheema and Tara

    Darryll blinked as Sheema asked her question. "That...is an awfully personal question to ask of someone you only just met," he pointed out, a trifle protectively.

    "It's alright," Tara told him gently. A look was exchanged. Something definitely passed between them.

    You might not expect it from a supervillain who had threatened entire countries, who had done things previously believed impossible, who had wielded APEX as a weapon, but Tara was not actually particularly averse to talking about her feelings.

    (To be fair, though, the sheer volume and vitriol of her posts on the Orphans of Paradise forum might have provided a bit of a clue to some.)

    She answered the question openly and without shame. She didn't even seem to mind that Darryll was there to hear it. It was nothing he didn't already know, nothing she hadn't already told him. "Your assessment of Darryll is exactly correct, and quite astute. Although I suppose it is not exactly something he keeps secret," she said, giving him a fond smile. "As far as my feelings for him..."

    Tara sighed, and her jaw clenched slightly. Regret fell across her face. "I...try to love him.
    And I want to feel for him what he feels for me. I say the words, and take the actions. I rationally recognize his love and his loyalty, and I do my conscious best to return it. But I am not sure that I succeed, and I am quite sure that I do not feel for him what he feels for me. I...can't."

    "I'm a broken person, Sheema. I was born on Paradisia. I had a family who I loved more intensely than I could possibly describe. My mother, my father, my sisters and my big brother...they were my world. I can still remember how it felt, to love people like that. And it still-"
    she kinda cut off as a tear dropped from each of her eyes, and she swallowed hard a lump in her throat. Darryll set a hand on her back, in silent support. And though he didn't even seem conscious of it, he was now glaring at you minutely, as if he blamed you for her pain.

    Tara took a shuddery breath before continuing, "And I had believed they loved me as much, but it wasn't true. On my tenth birthday, a priest named Earl Winters came to my house and used his power to divine whether I would be a Dreamer. He had not seen it when I was born, and he did not see it now."

    The pain in Tara's voice was slowly morphing into anger, the grief in her eyes to fury. "Only Dreamers may live on Paradisia. Children not predicted to become Dreamers may remain until their twentieth birthday, but Paradisia advises them to be sent away earlier. There are penalties...the functional equivalent of fines, for families that refuse. Fines! My family gave me up, they exiled me to Ilessia at ten years old, for little more than a bit of energy conservation! And then they had the gall to tell me it was for my own good!" she spat those final three words with all the hatred in the world.

    It took Tara a moment to calm enough to continue. "And you know what happened the day before I turned twenty? I had my Dream," she said, with the bitter amusement of one who was the butt of some grand cosmic joke. "The priest was wrong. And if they had just kept me, everything would have been fine. They even would have received reparations for the 'fines', by Paradisian law. I could have gone back, but of course I didn't. Why would I? There was nobody there who cared about me."

    Tara wound down from her rant. "Rather a detour from the question you asked, huh?" she asked, with a bit of amusement. "More information than you wanted, I'll warrant. But it's the risk you take, when you ask questions so personal. But getting back to the original subject, I know Darryll's love for me is true, and I do my best to act in accordance with that. But I also knew that my family loved me truly, until it turned out that they didn't. So as much as I may want to, I cannot feel for him what he feels for me. My family murdered my capacity for such feelings when I was ten years old. All I can do is act out the closest facsimile I can based on observation of the behavior of others. And though I cannot understand it, he has assured me that that is enough."

    "Would I die if it would save him? Again, from a rational standpoint, I would be willing to. He would be deserving of that loyalty, and I cannot but believe that if this world could have only one of us in it, it would be better off by far with him than me. But he has sworn elsewise from me. It is his contention that in that extremity, I could survive without him better than he could survive without me. So in the practical sense, no. I would not die for him. But you may rest assured that his killer absolutely would."
    That was neither boast nor warning. It was a simple statement of fact.
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

    If brevity is the soul of wit, I'm witty like a vampire!

    World of Aranth
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