The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    [Command Center]

    Wenomir looks, if it's possible, more unhappy than before.

    "I know the person who bound the apocalypse-kids' souls is alive. But she's vanished like a needle in a haystack. I'm going to turn the Nexus upside down if I have to, but that'll take a while. In the meantime... someone joined up with us who has a lot of expertise in magical binding and lockdown. She might just be able to help."
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  2. - Top - End - #242
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    [Command Center]

    "Elaborate." It's a blunt statement from Two, but not as rude as she could be given what she could do to fill in the blanks. "Having ways out of the worst-case scenario grows more important by the second."
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  3. - Top - End - #243
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    [Command Center]

    Wenomir shrugs.

    "Her name is Geneva. She was our member before the vermin took our previous base and she spent some time away after that. Now she's back. She's a magic scientist studying dimensional properties... all of it goes above my head, but I've had her developing countermeasures against the vermin's gating ability. It might work against One. She's pretty resourceful."
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  4. - Top - End - #244
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    [Command Center]

    Two considers the suggestion for a moment. "I believe their method involves plane-shifting teleportation? Not the first thing that would seem relevant to this problem, but, actually...yes, I can see how that could be adapted against a ghost. Death does tend to send someone along on their way in that same sense, so the principles behind locking a soul in a particular area postmortem and preventing it from going to its normal destination probably aren't too different, especially when the pull of death for us is weak enough already, which we know from him to begin with. That's not complete, since then you still have to stop him from floating freely and simply leaving of his own accord within the physical plane or just smashing everything, but that is an interesting start."

    Maybe Wenomir has learned something from listening to all the magical and scientific types rambling around him constantly.
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  5. - Top - End - #245
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    [Command Center]

    Another shrug from Wenomir.

    "It's possible. You'd have to speak with her directly. She's the closest to a relevant specialist that's immediately available. I do know a scholar who deals in souls and spirits. She's not a member of Vigil, strictly speaking, but we cooperate. That said, she's more of a theoretician than practician in this field. So that's our two options until I find... whoever Kr is now."
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  6. - Top - End - #246
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    [The Kitchens!]

    No doubt the VIGIL chef (whoever that might be) will be just thrilled to have Zee poking around in their kitchen.

    Mostly she examines meat, though other food stuffs are scrutinized, too. The worms weren't SUPER noticeable when she had encountered them before. She had needed to get pretty close before she picked up the faint whiff of rotten faerie magic from them.

    After ten minutes or so of inspection, she'll return to Wenomir.

    "Well! The grease filter on the hood over there could stand to be cleaned and I found some evidence of mice chewing at a bag of rice, but no evil doom bugs!" she declares. That's a mostly clean bill of health. "Just to be safe, you guys should probably make sure to get your food supplies directly from the villages and farms Outside instead of relying on any Inside distributors. And the people who work under you probably shouldn't be getting any meat products from Inside, either."

    She gives one of the two adventurers an apologetic look.

    "Sorry Hensin, that means no Surf-Side Burger Shack until this mess is all cleared up," she says sadly. "I can still vouch for anything coming through Trog's, but staying away from meat Inside is the safest 'I don't want to get eaten by worms' route."
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  7. - Top - End - #247
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    [Command Center]

    Two raises an eyebrow. "There is a slight problem with that," she reminds Wenomir, in her brainwashed drone voice. "No, really, though, what are the odds of anyone here agreeing to help me directly if I don't drop the act? I'd rather as few as possible knew that."
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  8. - Top - End - #248
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    [Command Center]

    Wenomir looks unimpressed. More so than usual. It's a subtle shift in his perpetually gloomy expression.

    "I could order Geneva to work with you despite that," he says. "But I would rather not, since this will rely on you cooperating smoothly. And I have no authority over Ambrosia to begin with."

    [The Kitchens!]

    Wenomir sighs.

    "That won't be cheap, but I suppose it's better than being eaten by doom-bugs. Infesting food is just low."
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  9. - Top - End - #249
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    [Command Center]

    "You could simply request a method to contain a ghost and prevent it from acting, but I suppose the operation's execution would be more difficult to deal with. I will attempt to explain the situation under that persona. But...now that I think of it, there is one more thing about him and Three." Two frowns. "I've never had the opportunity to ask, too busy not dying, but we've never been able to find out the source of One's belief that he could absorb the three of us. He has no power to know that. Before all this, Three reported a vague sense of something in three directions, probably matching where all of us were. I can't say I feel it, but it's likely a trait of the ghostly ones. It doesn't explain how he knows to do that. Someone or something told him, which means he might know more. You could attempt to interrogate him after capture, but he's been doing this for the better part of forty years, and the probability of him cracking now is...negligible." She pauses, looking like she's spacing out, before snapping out of it, and her expression's only soured further.

    "And if his source knew all this about us, especially Three, then they knew One had no chance of ever controlling an amalgam with A-3 in it, whichever A-3 it was. He might just be a dupe. Don't take that as a reason to show him mercy, though, he's still been trying to eat us for the better part of forty years. Mostly me, Three and Four showed up later."
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  10. - Top - End - #250
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    [Command Center]

    "I'm not a big proponent of lying to my people," Wenomir says. "I leave that to politicians. My mother didn't raise any liars." That may have been a joke. "So, One has an informant. You don't know who that is, but it's entirely possible they're far smarter than he is and using him. This is not a cheerful implication."
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  11. - Top - End - #251
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    [The Kitchens!]

    "The only other option would be to have me inspect everything that's brought in here until the detectors are working," Zee admits with a frown. "And I doubt your cook would like me poking at all the food."

    The cook is already giving her looks.

    No doubt the NPC is well aware that Zee is a PC cook who has been around for quite some time and it's all too easy for PCs to displace NPCs from their jobs!

    And that would be terrible!

    "These things aren't above using under-handed tactics. Subterfuge and duplicity comes part and parcel with what they are. And they aren't that tough compared to your average adventurer, so they're going to use every nasty trick they can come up with."

    Which isn't encouraging at all.

    "I think, maybe, just a general sweep of the grounds from here?" Zee suggests. "I'm not getting the impression they're up here yet, thank goodness."
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  12. - Top - End - #252
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    [Command Center]

    Two nods. "That's correct. I don't know how anyone would know, though, outside of unnatural longevity. Not when I'm the peak of knowledge-related powers. I didn't mention it before because at the time it seemed unnecessary, but with all this about Three...I hope you can come up with some way of learning more about this. I'm not going near them."
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  13. - Top - End - #253
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    [The Kitchens!]

    "A general sweep won't hurt," Wenomir admits. "If those things manage to infiltrate us, that'll leave the rest of the Nexus wide open."

    [Command Center]

    Wenomir shakes his head.

    "Knowledge-related powers are sometimes less effective than old-fashioned digging. And possibly making sure no one else who's breathing knows about it. I'll see what I can find out about 'Three'."
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  14. - Top - End - #254
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    [Command Center]

    "In that case, I have little left to say. Direct me to this Geneva's lab. I'm not spending more than a day around here, though, as I will have to leave for safety reasons. One will know if I stay in one place too long." Two could just get the directions herself...but it's probably best if Wenomir's seen with her to back her up.
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  15. - Top - End - #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Magtok View Post
    The first probably gets a dagger buried in its throat, before Laz tries to flip the elemental on her back up and over her head, onto the ground. The second and third are much more fortunate, in that doing all of that takes up most of the zombie knight's focus, and they're set upon her before she has time to work out another strategy. That's fine, though, this is fine. She'll work out an escape plan in just a moment, don't you worry. She'll figure out how to get these stupid magma monsters off of her in just a few seconds. The leader of VIGIL is watching, so Jenette isn't allowed to fail. She's come too far to be a massive disappointment and get kicked out of VIGIL on her first day.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    [Outside the Base]

    Calm Reed backs away a bit, looking around. If only she were an Air Aspect and could blow all this fog away. But she can't, so with her vision obscured and obstructed, all she can do is focus and wait for the beast to come at her. She stands, motionless, in a ready martial stance.[/COLOR]
    [Outside the Base]

    The first elemental seem to scream soundlessly as Laz buries the dagger in it and is then flipped over at the other attackers.
    The second elemental loses its grip of the saint and attempts to grapple her leg instead as the first elemental disintegrates and simply fades away.
    The third elemental keeps her right arm grappled though, clinging onto her as she can hear the fourth elemental approaching. It's coming straight for her ribbon.

    Calm Reed won't see the hydra, in fact she can no longer hear the flap of its mighty wings. Yet it is clearly still alive as she can hear it loudly growl as if to challenge or intimidate her. It's there somewhere, in that huge cloud of vog along with Saint Laz.

  16. - Top - End - #256
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    [Command Center ==> Geneva's Lab]

    Wenomir nods and leads Two towards the laboratory area, where he'll knock on the door of Geneva's lab. Hopefully she's home.
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  17. - Top - End - #257
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    [Geneva's Lab]

    At the knock, there comes a "Come in!" a few seconds later. Sounds like a pretty normal woman, right?

    When the door is opened, Wenomir and Two will be met by what is VERY distinctly not organized chaos. The lab is very neatly laid out, everything in its proper place. Messes are kept to a minimum. There are no half-finished projects everywhere. There aren't any messy whiteboards. There's only order and diligence.

    Geneva herself is sitting on her haunches over a work table, carefully assembling a small bumpy egg-shaped device. Five more of them, identical to the one she's working on, are lined up in a neat little row next to her. The hippogriff is, as usual, dressed in a jumpsuit with her old flight jacket over it. Her flight goggles have been swapped out for a pair of dark welding goggles. Because eye protection is very important!

    That's why she insisted on having an emergency eye-wash station installed.

    Proper precautions are a sign of civilization after all.

    "Oh, Wenomir, perfect timing! I have five of the sequester grenades finished so far. The testing on the prototype was successful, but I'm sure you already knew that since I sent the report to your office."

    The report was the size of a small novel and technically dense enough to collapse into a scientific jargon black-hole.

    "I don't really have the space to set up mass-production, but I can finish about two of them a day provided I don't have too many interruptions. Ideally we would want to equip as many people as possible in the event of another demonic incursion," she continues as she ceases her work and turns toward Wenomir and two. Geneva's about the size of an adult lioness, so pretty big. Where the hippogriff's fur is exposed, it's a dusky grey with a lighter tone around her head. She's reminiscent of a harpy eagle, though the proportions of her head are MUCH more human-like, making room for a large brain. Intense avian eyes regard Two. "Oh. You brought a, umm, a guest?"

    [Belated Welcome Wagon]

    And so the general sweep begins!

    Zee will allow Wenomir to pick the route and destinations since she's not particularly familiar with the base's layout.

    The cook is glad to have her gone.

    "I'll admit, Wenomir, I really don't know very much about you," she says as she follows him. "All I've really heard are stories of martial prowess. Where did you come from? How did you find yourself in the Nexus, if you don't mind me asking?"

    Uh oh.

    Zee's trying to give him opportunity to talk about backstory stuff.
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  18. - Top - End - #258
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    Arriving

    Cessie returns the curtsies with a deep nod. "My reputation proceeds me." She extends a hand. "How do you do, miss Fleece? I bid you welcome to VIGIL." The lady sorceress puts her hands together once they've shaken. "How are you interested in helping us exactly, if I may ask?"
    Arriving

    "To be entirely truthful, I'm not sure my talents would be adequate enough for membership."
    She admits, reaching up to brush some of her hair past her horns to straighten it out after the curtsy. "I have no ability to fight, but I am able to commune with all manner of beasts and animals, even though normally hostile to anything that isn't itself. They also have an instinctual desire to protect me and not harm me. Just...uh...I don't do hydras. I can, but I've learned in the past that they get too possessive and it caused a horrid mess where I needed rescuing." She adds, sounding a bit sheepish about admitting that story but feeling like it was necessary.

  19. - Top - End - #259
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    Arriving

    Cessie nods. "I see." She replies without commenting further on what had been said. Each VIGIL member was very unique and their backstories were often just as exceptional. "So why do you come to us and not say, GloG? We are a military organization after all. Most members are expected to fight." She observes.

  20. - Top - End - #260
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    [Command Center -> Geneva's Lab]

    The robotic guard/AI clone heads back to the shuttle, while Two follows. Two, for reference, is a woman in a dark military uniform bearing no recognizable rank insignia, only small lion's head emblems on the shoulders that mark her nominal allegiance. Her short, military cut hair is noticeably partly greyed, though she looks no more than in her thirties otherwise, and her hands are recognizably robotic, matte-black cybernetics. It's noticeable when she walks that while her feet initially resemble boots of some variety, those are actually cybernetic as well, visible in how they bend and move.

    "Would it be possible for you to permanently contain a ghost?" Two asks, bluntly, reverting to her emotionless robotic act. "Plane-shifting bears some similarities to the principles involved , notably the soul leaving this plane of existence to reach its postmortem destination. The ability to stop this is insufficient alone, but we believe it may be a start. This capability is required to prevent the amalgamation of four already-significant powers into one and/or the re-absorption of these powers into a fractured extraplanar entity whose psychological state we believe to be dangerously volatile."
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  21. - Top - End - #261
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    [Geneva's Lab]

    "Right..." Wenomir decides to provide an introduction that Two neglected to. "This is... you can call her 'Two'. We're cooperating on stopping an extremely dangerous individual. And we need a way to contain a soul in order to do that."

    [Belated Welcome Wagon]

    Wenomir is silent for a moment as Zee asks him an entirely different sort of question.

    "I come from nowhere," he says. "A small, run-down village called Raven's Ford. I was born a peasant to a family of peasants, except to keep tending the fields and break my back for the sake of my betters. He shakes his head. "As for how I came to be here... that's a longer story that begins with me killing someone in what you could call a brawl or a duel."
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    Arriving

    "I had considered GLoG, but ultimately I find the organization too...quiet."
    Fleece explains with a moment of contemplation. "I would much rather let that place have their peace than drag trouble with me. Through happenstance, bad luck, or coincidence, I find myself in more trouble than most. Sure, I should have learned to fight but that is what I can talk to animals or beasts for if necessary. Anything from a lowly snake to a great dragon."

    "But...well, apart from that...I can't die. If nothing else, I imagine even having an extra body like that could be of use."

  23. - Top - End - #263
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    [Geneva's Lab]

    The voice had gone quiet when the guests appeared, as she generally tries not to interfere much in Geneva's social life. She chatters during projects and research, but that's different.
    Less meddlesome, more helpful.

    By the time Two finishes her little request, the voice is spluttering.
    By the time Wenomir finishes his, the voice is screeching.

    Up until now, since they've been reunited, Purple has done a pretty good job of seeming well comported, if perhaps slightly depressed at times. The general insinuation of this job request seems to have rather swiftly kicked her over to somewhere just shy of a ballistic meltdown.
    ABSOLUTELY NOT! NO! WE CAN'T TAMPER WITH SOULS AGAIN! TELL THEM NO! NO! NEVER!
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  24. - Top - End - #264
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    [Geneva's Lab]

    Geneva's smile falters slightly when Two begins talking about trapping ghosts. "Umm..."

    Then Wenomir describes what would be, for lack of a better term, a soul jar, Geneva's ears lay flat. "That would... umm..."

    Then the little voice in her head goes absolutely berserk for fairly justified reasons.

    From where I stand now, after the war...here...it's dark zebra magic, blasphemous and dangerous to even look at.

    Anxiety is rapidly building. Geneva unconsciously poofs out her feathers and slightly spreads her wings to make herself look bigger. Her breathing is getting a bit rapid as her mind helpfully plays back all the lovely things she encountered over the years born of necromancy.

    Take a break, I'll handle this one.

    Then she takes a deep breath, centers herself with a few simple psionic exercises, and tries her best to be diplomatic about this.

    "It's... possible. But it would require the use of necromancy that I'm not familiar with. And even if I were familiar with it, there are some very profound ethical issues that its use raises,"
    Geneva replies slowly. "The magical solution would be perverse. There might be some technological solutions, however. Ghosts were captured and contained safely back in Unova, but whether or not they were actually the souls of the deceased was a matter of some pretty intense debate. There's another form of technological ghost capture that I'm aware of involving the use of precisely applied charged particle streams to immobilize them and a magnetically shielded muon trap to contain them. That's... well outside of my field of expertise. And I'm mostly just familiar with it from reputation."

    Ghostbusters.

    She watched Ghostbusters once.

    But given that this is the Nexus?

    Building something like that is probably possible.

    Just not something she's terribly familiar with.


    [Belated Welcome Wagon]

    "I'll admit I don't know much about peasantry, save for what I've read in history books on feudalism," Zee replies thoughtfully. "It must be like a whole different world."

    Especially since she was born in a modern city. Or at leas the original Zee was born in a city? Maybe? She isn't totally sure. It's complicated.

    "It's good that you set your sights higher, though. Though I guess with the way feudalism works, setting your sights higher would be considered a bad thing?" she reasons. Then shrugs. "So someone died in a duel. Did you flee here? Or where there other steps along the way?"

    It sounds like she wouldn't mind hearing the long story.
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  25. - Top - End - #265
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    [Outside the Base]

    Calm Reed backs away a bit, looking around. If only she were an Air Aspect and could blow all this fog away. But she can't, so with her vision obscured and obstructed, all she can do is focus and wait for the beast to come at her. She stands, motionless, in a ready martial stance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    [Outside the Base]

    The first elemental seem to scream soundlessly as Laz buries the dagger in it and is then flipped over at the other attackers.
    The second elemental loses its grip of the saint and attempts to grapple her leg instead as the first elemental disintegrates and simply fades away.
    The third elemental keeps her right arm grappled though, clinging onto her as she can hear the fourth elemental approaching. It's coming straight for her ribbon.

    Calm Reed won't see the hydra, in fact she can no longer hear the flap of its mighty wings. Yet it is clearly still alive as she can hear it loudly growl as if to challenge or intimidate her. It's there somewhere, in that huge cloud of vog along with Saint Laz.
    "Rrarrgh!" Saint Lazarus drives her fist towards the face of the third elemental, punching with enough force to break a few of her own fingers, and quite likely the elemental's entire face. If that's enough to get her arm free, she kicks at the second elemental and tries to drop on top of the thing and repeatedly plunge her dagger into it until it fades away like the others. That sneaky fourth elemental might still get her ribbon, given the distractions going on, but she has no intention of making it easy for any of them.
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    [Geneva's Lab]

    "I am aware of the ethical concerns and am prepared to make concessions to ensure any method used does not enter other hands. The target, should it alleviate these concerns to any extent, aims to devour the souls of three others, myself included, to assimilate our abilities and -" Two's voice suddenly becomes something else entirely, a sound like nails on a chalkboard forced to crudely imitate a masculine voice, grating, with an odd echoing quality. The imitation doesn't keep the monotone, either, instead sounding every bit an egotistical power-mad lunatic, if one can discern that in the face of how awful it sounds. "- become a perfect god and show the world true power, as he would put it." She mercifully reverts to her monotonous, normal voice quickly.

    There is absolutely no way that...sound came from organic vocal cords.

    "Simply locking him in a single area would also be sufficient. However, it would be more difficult to guard, and to avoid his destructive potential, such a system would have to be satellite-based. Otherwise he would destroy it."
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  27. - Top - End - #267
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Devixer's Avatar

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    Default Re: VVVVVigil: Valorous Veterans Vanquishing Venal Vermin

    Lower Village – The Lakeshore

    Iamar sat at the shore, looking out at the lake, characteristic grimace on her face. She wasn't sure what she was still doing here. Was it to fight? No, certainly not. She detested fighting with all that she was. She wasn't the type to rush into danger with a grin and absolute confidence. She hated every feeling that came with combat, from the initial fear to the resistance against her sword to watching her opponent's life fade away.

    Surely there was something else, then. She spared a glance to the sheathed shamshir that lay beside her – she had unbuckled it from her waist when she came to this place. She sighed, perhaps in frustration with herself. In a way, she envied those like Wenomir, who found their calling in combat. She only fought to defend those who couldn't, not because she wanted it.

    “Nothing to mope about, I suppose,” she muttered to herself, before taking the sword in her hand and standing up. Instead of buckling it to her, she carried it loosely at her side as she started to walk along the shore.
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  28. - Top - End - #268
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: VVVVVigil: Valorous Veterans Vanquishing Venal Vermin

    [Geneva's Lab]

    Wenomir can't hear the furious argument in Geneva's head, but her reaction doesn't escape him. It seems they've inadvertently hit a nerve.

    "I'm aware of the murky morality of messing with souls," he says. "I wouldn't ask if it weren't important and you're the closest to an expert that I have available."

    [Outside the Base]

    With the beast grounded, there's only one thing left to do. Calm Reed walks stoically into the vog, keeping her ears peeled for the monster and ready to strike if it lunges. Her Anima keeps churning and twisting around her.

    [Belated Welcome Wagon]

    "I've read about feudalism, and that's not what my homeland was," Wenomir clarifies. "I was a peasant, thus supposedly ordained by the goddess Mokosz to work the land. I wasn't descended from those who had allegedly ridden with the war-god Jarowit long ago, so I could never be a proper warrior." He rolls his shoulders. "As I was rotting in a cell, some alchemists greased some palms to whisk me away as a test subject for their experiments in creating slayers of demons. You must have heard about how I used to have an unhealthy pale complexion and red eyes."
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    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  29. - Top - End - #269
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: VVVVVigil: Valorous Veterans Vanquishing Venal Vermin

    [Outside the Base]

    The third elemental's face is punched in and it collapses on the ground into a big pile of ash which quickly simply fades out of existence.
    But as she is stabbing the second elemental the fourth one is closing in.

    Yet before in can reach the ribbon, the ground underneath them all suddenly shakes violently, throwing the elemental, and potentially Saint Laz, to the ground as the area they're in seem to be experiencing a limited earthquake.

    The cause of said strangely limited earthquake is coming straight towards Calm Reed. The monk can't miss it as the hydra's footsteps are literary causing a earthquake underneath it as it roars. She can feel it coming towards her, she can feel it so strongly that she might fall over as the ground shakes violently.

    Arriving

    "You can't die? That's useful." The sorceress raises an eyebrow. "Though I rather not want to test that claim right this moment. Therefore, you should probably demonstrate your other skill first. However, unlike MERC and GloG, we don't actually have a great deal of animals living here. The only one I can think of is our druid who only is an animal part-time. Though perhaps some other of members have a pet you could try out your talents on?"

  30. - Top - End - #270
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: VVVVVigil: Valorous Veterans Vanquishing Venal Vermin

    [Geneva's Lab]

    Murky morality? Murky morality? I can't imagine a single thing more vile!
    The outright screeching has died down a bit, after Geneva's lack of immediate obedience restores some degree of rationality and hope to the situation.
    And the fact that Wenomir and Two don't immediately turn into jerks about it.

    There are still numerous and, in her mind, irreconcilable problems however.
    Geneva, permanently trapping a soul outside of magical means isn't any better. It's just a different tool for the same effect. At the end of the day, it isn't even a real solution. The problem will still exist, just waiting to spring back out again. Remember the Discord story?
    She can feel rationality hammering back into place, brick by mental brick as she goes.

    Problem solving. There's nothing like it.

    With more data, we could give them a better option. A sane option.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

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