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Everything posted by Eto

  1. [ theo ; -- add. m. e. l. for: a. s. t. ]  -- status. legios ; dormant ] grey ; knight of loyalty -- "Luthadel," Theo repeats, the word foreign on his tongue. It was good to finally put a name to the place they had been in for quite some time; while he would never admit this outright to any of the fellow agents in his immediate vicinity, there is a certain sense of unrest in his chest now calmed by the information. Being unaware of any place reminds him of how he had been when he'd first woken up, after that battle -- completely unaware of how the world had changed and left him behind. He doesn't intend to feel nor think about that again, and so Theo crosses his arms and nods in response. "That blond guy," he says, remembering back to the debriefing meeting and what had happened before he'd seen fit to spear Duke alive, "he said we were returning, right? To help with his efforts. In that case, do you want to gather more information on this 'Lord Ruler'?" He means it mostly as a question to Arch, but he notes how fascinated his husband currently looks with the two humans caught in their discussion. Realising he would get nowhere with this -- and of course, Arch would sacrifice their mission details for a human's comfort anyday -- Theo simply sighs. "Or we can investigate your world," he says to Towa, turning to her. "If you want to know more, or how to get back." [ duke ; -- add. c ; for. j. e. ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke splutters in response to the sudden jet of cold water that runs down his front, realising his plan to look cool has abruptly been shattered into a million pieces. As if it was ever there to start with, Vylcan comments, without any particular emotion, but Duke gets what the fairy is trying to say. Desperately trying to claw back the fragments of his dignity, Duke hangs his head as he loosens his grip on the facet, allowing it to hang sadly in his grasp. He realises soon after that Jowan is laughing, and -- well. While he would have liked Jowan's attention -- really, he'd taken off his shirt with absolutely no reaction? Why did he even do his morning exercises in the first place? -- more than this embarrassing outlier, Duke blinks and realises that he doesn't mind the sound of the other man's voice. If anything, it is pleasant to hear and a delight upon his ears, and -- he wants to hear the mage laugh more, always. So he grins, accepting his mistake. Nothing to do about it now than laugh, he thinks, and so he holds up the facet threateningly for just a second. "I'll wash yours too," he says, with a wink, before he retreats to show that it is a joke. Setting the facet back into the sink -- and being careful not to press any buttons -- he turns to Jowan and the two girls with a rueful smile. "Sorry," he says, shrugging haplessly. "Made a mistake." Then, he reaches up and pulls off his tank easily, folding the wet piece of clothing between his hands. Striding over to the chair he had previously been sitting in, Duke intends to slip on his jacket. It wasn't ideal, and he usually doesn't directly wear his jacket for fear of dirtying it, but he couldn't exactly walk around shirtless either -- could he?
  2. [ duke ; -- add. c ; for. j. e. ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Did they not know there was a debriefing? Duke stares at the two girls, momentarily incredulous, and then sighs as he runs a hand through his hair. They really need better beginner's introduction courses. although he is not personally very fond of meetings, it would be bad for any newcomer to the X-Dreamers to miss a briefing meeting and therefore crucial information. "It's fine," he says, giving Chikako a quick smile to relieve her worries; it seems they had been momentarily arguing over this new information only a second earlier, and he wants them to understand that it's nothing major. "Usually debriefings are important to go to, but take it from me -- nothing really happens. Regardless, try not to miss anything in the future, alright? Just ask a senior agent if there's anything going on. Don't wanna miss anything super important to your meeting or something." Why was he playing the role of information terminal, now? He's quite possibly the worst person for this job, Duke jokes internally to himself, and laughs out loud at the thought. "Really, it's fine. Just be a little more attentive next time." He turns immediately at the sound of Jowan's voice, wondering if the other man has noticed ... anything, but to his disappointment Jowan skims over the room with an impassive face and turns to Evonna, asking for instructions. "Of course," he responds, rather loudly, and exaggeratedly pulls the facet from the sink; he peeks over his shoulder, wondering if Jowan is perhaps watching as he very slowly, with his bare arms, pulls the facet towards himself. "Can start by washing your hands," he says, holding the facet in his hands. He points the nozzle towards his palms, one hand on top, except he has forgotten that the sink facet happens to have a switch on the top to turn on the water once it's been stretched out. The only thing he succeeds in doing is giving Jowan an abrupt demonstration on how not to wash your hands, as he switches the water on suddenly and sprays his entire front with cold water.
  3. [ duke ; -- add. c ; for. j. e. ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke nods in confirmation to Evonna's question. He's baked before ... kind of. He has watched enough people do it, anyways, from spending his free time in the kitchen to following other agents around in hopes of stealing some of their food for later. Plus, how hard could it be? You put ingredients into a bowl and waited for some time. He's done that before, countless times, on the road. Acknowledging the command -- it seems Evonna is careful in the kitchen, an act he respects but doesn't understand -- Duke quickly washes his hands in the sink, rolling his shoulders back as he does so with a wince. He had hit the ground rather hard earlier, and while there was no permanent damage done he still exhales with a ringing finality, working the stress from his muscles. Afterwards, he turns to the oven. Admittedly, he has never used this machine before. Meals in X-Dreamers were usually prepared en mass by the luma or whichever agent had a certain knack for cooking, and while he is not completely oblivious to the inner workings of their kitchen, his talents extend only so far as to making some drinks. "Sure," he says anyways, breaking in the silence of the room with a comfortable word, and pokes at the buttons on the oven. The machine instantly lights up, blinking at him, and Duke stares at the numbers displayed on the screen as he presses the arrow keys up and down. What was a Celsius? Probably some unknown kitchen slang, he reasons to himself, and continues to fiddle with the oven until the display number reads: 176. Satisfied, Duke leaves the oven alone and turns back, curiously staring at what the others were doing. "How was the marketplace?" he asks, completely curious as to how the situation had played out. "Shouldn't you two be at the mission debriefing meeting?" Still, he couldn't blame them for skipping it. His own report aside, he had completely tuned out of his own meeting, with the exception of Kelsier's sensational speech.
  4. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- New agents? Duke blinks at the two girls before him, surprised by the sudden explanation. The dark-haired one -- Chikako, he remembers -- is surprisingly eloquent with her words, explaining the situation and defusing what little tension had momentarily arisen very easily. Well, that was good. They needed more peacekeepers in the organization, anyways, and he is always willing to meet new people. "The marketplace has returned?" he asks, more as a way to gather his thoughts than anything -- if this was true, he suspected the other agents may be debriefing already. In that case, he could potentially ask Pascal about opening a way back to Kelsier's world very soon, and the thought only strengthens his resolve to do better this time -- to win a victory for everyone, now. Realising the room is silent, awaiting his response, Duke loosens his posture. "Well, looks like you've already met everyone higher ranked than me, if you're bringing up Stan and Xander," he says, with a shrug. "Feel free; the kitchen is communal anyways." As if to accentuate his words, he gestures by sweeping an arm grandly towards the counter, winking. "The room is your oyster, as they say. If you're baking for everyone, though, at least let me give you a hand." As he speaks, he takes off his jacket to avoid dirtying the sleeves; he drapes the finery over the back of the chair he had been sitting in only a moment before, unclasping his cape to fold it clumsily and stack it on top of his jacket. Left with only the white tank, he stares for a second. "Probably shouldn't have worn white," he analyses, amused, before offering a handshake to both girls. "Duke Lefevre. You can call me Commander, Duke, or a devil-worshipper; I've heard all three. That's Jowan," he adds, tilting his head over to the silent mage.
  5. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke blinks, smiling as he nods in agreement with Jowan's words. Whatever he can contribute to a fight -- he will do so gladly, and it is encouraging to hear that his abilities are useful. He falters, however, when the mage continues speaking and lets it slip that his explanation was ... less than stellar. He pauses, taking a drink of his cocoa before he can think to respond. It is not so much the criticism that offends him, only the implications. He -- would have assumed he was over it, by now. "Sorry," he says softly, giving the other man a half-smile. "I want to explain more, but it's ... there are some things I don't want to think about." An understatement, and Jowan deserves much more than what he is giving him -- the other man is so patient and understanding, but the blond shakes his head and clears his mind of memories. "Fairies," he says, lifting his mug in a toast. "If we ever go back to my place, I can show better than explain. I'm not exactly good with words." In response to Jowan's words, the blond nods eagerly. "Please," he says, almost as soon as the other man finishes his sentence. "I want to know." He leans forward, intending to place a hand on the other man's forearm -- his uninjured one -- but springs apart just as there is movement in the corner of his eye, and he turns to find two unfamiliar girls standing nearby. Before he can say anything, the brunette -- with curly hair, and an imposing air -- gives a quick greeting before shouldering her way into the kitchen. Duke stares at Jowan, bewildered, before the blond remembers that, technically speaking, he is the one in authority here. Watching as the girl sets down ingredients on the table and looks around for ... something, he sighs before emptying his mug and standing up. He makes his way to the sink, looping around Jowan's back as he does so, and he pats the other man on the shoulder, leaning down. "Raincheck," he murmurs, before straightening. Placing his empty mug into the sink, he turns around to face the brunette girl. "You know," he says, crossing his arms, though his voice remains friendly. "Usually people ask before barging in. What are you looking for? Or actually, who are you?" Did the gateway have an accident again? Empress, he does not want to have to be the one to deal with that. Hopefully there weren't a bunch of new people roaming the base without supervision now. He sees the black-haired girl wave from her place a little further, and -- well, at least she's not moving around as if she owns the area. He gives her a nod back, sliding his attention to the other girl.
  6. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ]  -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke looks over his shoulder, nodding clarification when Jowan indeed picks up the correct shaker, full of cinnamon. How had he missed that? At the question, he blinks. "Go for it," he says. "You don't have to ask me for permission, everything here's communal. You could eat the entire thing if you wanted to," he adds, shrugging. He turns his attention back to the mugs when the kettle flips up, slow steam rising into the air as the water has finished boiling. Pouring the water into the two drinks, he collects the mugs and easily slides one of them over to Jowan, relaxed. Before he can think to say something, or even consider an alternate topic of conversation, the mage has beaten him to the punch. He opens his mouth to say something in response, but stops; there is a certain method by which Jowan recalls the battle, as if he had been analysing things all along. And he had noticed the slightest change in the ability of his barriers -- something Duke is sure he would have missed, had their situations been switched. It is endearing, to say the very least, and the blond smiles and takes a sip first. "You're not misremembering," he clarifies, before laughing. "But you are very attentive. My barriers work differently here compared to my world, to an ally and to an enemy. Your bolt passed through since I was able to allow it to do so; we were directly fighting alongside one another. But with Kelsier, your bolt came as a surprise and would've been counted as an attack, so I didn't have time to register it to let it through. I guess in battle you should always tell me before you want to do something." However, something Jowan had said earlier has Duke lean forward, confused. "I thought we had the magic discussion already," the blond says, puzzled. "Didn't I explain everything with Kelsier? What more is there?" Vylcan sighs in response as soon as the question leaves his lips, and Duke tilts his head, wondering.
  7. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke's gaze flutters from Jowan's as the other man talks, the blond comprehending his words. "You adapt as you can," he says. "It's not a weakness to dream of better times. Of safety and peace. I'm sure that's something all men have wished for before." Duke hums, drumming his fingers along the table. "Better a blind man than a paranoid man, some would think," he muses. "If you hold yourself back from aiding others because you're too afraid to hurt them instead, you'll only hurt yourself in the process." He stands, collecting their mugs; he sweeps both and brings them over to the counter, setting them down. "I've found some people work better under command, and others are better giving such commands. There's no shame to either. It depends on you to find those who you feel you can trust and work alongside with, and those who you believe will have your back. When that happens -- your mistakes are that of our own, and your healing as well." The blond looks over his shoulder, quirking his lips into a smile. "A man by himself cannot succeed in much -- if anything. He will work himself to death, or be labelled a criminal. But many men, gathered together -- that is when you have a mission, and a message. I've had the honour of leading many armies into battle, and I have never regretted one." He pauses then. Never? Perhaps -- but Elias is not here, and the past is behind him. He talks -- of subjective justice and allied positions, but he cannot keep the image of Elias' dark magic uncurling across the battlefield, suffocating men into the ground below, sweeping a dark wave of plague across the land from his mind. Justice may be blind, but surely even she would smell the stench of death rising from the fields. "We all fight for some cause." To prevent Elias' madness from reaching this planet. "And none of us have walked through life free of mistakes. It is simply a question of how you adapt." And how you take your vengeance -- whether it be through cruelty or forgiveness. In response to Jowan's words, he simply smiles. "Don't thank me. Just sharing a couple things I've found on the field. All things considered, I'm still quite the amateur compared to some of the people here." He opens the cupboard, drawing the can of hot chocolate out once more. "I'm sure some of them think my role on the battlefield is just theatrical, but I've learnt not to question the underdogs." He winks at the mage, bringing the mood back. "Another cup? I'm going to make myself a proper one, this time. Do you see the cinnamon anywhere, actually?"
  8. [ duke ; -- add. 0 ; for. j ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke sulks when Jowan teases him; he wraps his fingers around the glass of water in his hands and fills it up once more, taking a sip. He can still taste it, and is just about to complain about the bitterness when -- Jowan's next words bring him back to the present, and Duke blinks at the other man for a second, eyes wide. Then, he sets the glass down and sighs: a noise that expels the air from his lungs and collects his thoughts. "When I was young," he says slowly, "I watched my parents burn alive in the war." A pause. "I thought it was unfair. There were things I couldn't understand: why them? What had they done? And then I was adopted by a man -- my brother, Ace." He holds out a hand; between his fingers, thin flickers of blue dance along his palm. "I'm afraid I haven't been entirely honest. Vylcan chose me, and I carry his abilities within me, but his counterpart rejected me. Without her -- without Victoria, I have no claim to any throne. A murder I commit is a crime; a murder someone with both commits is for justice." He breaks the barrier in his hand, resting his palms on the counter as he leans back, relaxed. "Vylcan and fairies the fairies of my world are kingsmakers, shapers of the world, ambassadors of the Empress herself. But a shield is nothing with a sword, and a sword is nothing without a shield. You cannot only protect people. You must strike, too, to prevent them from being hurt. My parents hid themselves from the war, and they died. Ace killed a prince, and he won." "Did the prince deserve it?" Duke tilts his head. "Probably not. He was young, and issuing commands to win the war. I am a commander now, and I too give commands. The war continued, and I was the right hand of my liege. I lead good soldiers to their deaths, and killed my enemies. And then I turned my back on my liege, and went my own way." Duke smiles. "If you're looking for good people, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place. X-Dre is full of murderers, tyrants, rebels. We have absolute kings and radical terrorists. The only thing that unites everyone here is an internal urge to protect what you think of as right -- and I haven't doubted a single person in this organization thus far." He drums his fingers along the counter. "I've come to realise that you eventually have to make your own judgement about people. Justice is subjective. Victory is for those who claim it. A prince will save his failing kingdom, even when it is riddled with slavery and dark magic, because it is the security he desires. A revolutionary will throw royal children from the rooftops, burn lineages to the ground, so that oppression may never rise again. But you," Duke gestures, with the glass still in his fingers, to Jowan. "Have obvious doubts about your own actions. Keep that." He sets the glass in the sink, done with his drink. "The only danger in committing a crime is when you are blinded to your own actions. A man who beheads a king and feels nothing but pride is a dangerous one. Feel regret, and pity, but never falter in your actions moving forward." He sits down, folding his hands and smiling. "So no, I don't have a problem with any of your actions. The pleasure of your company isn't unfair to me; I've spent my entire life -- and time in this organization -- around murderers and turncoats. It's just a matter of how you present yourself."
  9. [ theo ; -- add. m. e. l. for: a. s. t. ]  -- status. legios ; dormant ] grey ; knight of loyalty -- Theo hears the protest of the princess as he raises his arm up; he pauses just slightly, seconds away from slamming a metal gauntlet down onto the mysterious object. Technically speaking, he was a knight no longer -- he had no inhibitions to follow commands. So why -- did he pause? It seems that question is answered for him a second later, when he feels a familiar hand slot into place of his own, Arch guiding his arm down as the angel speaks in soft, hushed tones. The angel's light blue eyes are bright in the faint light filtering in from the library windows, and Theo holds his gaze for a second. Witnessing the other man's reaction to Towa's words, Theo lowers his arm. Then, he shrugs and sidesteps to allow Towa to step forward. "Worth a shot," he says, as he concedes to the princess and allows her to go onwards. Perhaps his method was not the best in regards to how to operate the machine, but it had been the first thing to come to mind -- but they are not alone anymore, and there were people from other worlds with different sources of knowledge. Perhaps it was better to leave the dealings of foreign objects to them, considering the princess seemed to have recognised the strange machine. Despite his internal monologue, Theo finds himself staring at Sorey warily as the brown-haired boy steps up in response to Arch's words. He had called out as well, when Theo had lifted his hand -- why did it seem they were so opposed to his actions? -- and now, he was speaking. To the air, apparently. Theo tenses instinctively, but the other members of his group seem to be perfectly fine -- too preoccupied with the interaction, it seemed. Before he can take any objection to the brown-haired boy's strange actions, Sorey turns back to them with a smile on his features, and an explanation. The handheld thing? Theo blinks past Sorey to stare at the strange, round device. It seemed it would perfectly fit a palm, but how would he know that? Unless he had analysed the object seriously in a matter of seconds, and made a conclusion -- but there was no way this Sorey's brains were on par with that of Annette, to figure out technomagi so quickly. "What does the box do, though?" he asks, staring at the screen. Information Terminal? What kind of information could it give, with only a flat screen? [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Jowan speaks quickly. Too quickly, in fact, and the mage's words come out in a spill of information that Duke nearly misses. His thoughts are clouded, tripping around one another, as he processes the information the other man had just relayed to him. He blinks, staring at the other man's quickly reddening face, and feels the tips of his ears grow hot. "Oh," he says, in response. "I -- cool. Thank you. You ... you too have eyes." Pull it together, Lefevre, he thinks. This revelation ... it had completely screwed over the soft letdown he was preparing himself for. Completely sidestepped his plans. Wait -- was Jowan implying what he thought? "No, wait," Duke says, a little too forcefully, determined to get his words out before the other man could speak. He needs to be smooth, suave -- spill out all his thoughts so there are no more misunderstandings. "You really think I'm pretty?" he asks instead, but before Jowan can either confirm or deny the statement, Duke's thoughts catch up to him -- as if all at once, and it is breathtaking. "Oh Empress, me too." He doesn't think to clarify that he is talking about Jowan, not himself. Duke, Vylcan says. What are you doing? He didn't reject me, Duke thinks back, his voice filled with shock. The first time ... had worked? But it never works -- at least, not in his experience. In response to Jowan's latter words, Duke straightens in the chair, leaning slightly forward as a more serious expression overtakes his features. "No," he says finally. "I ... despite everything, I trust Kelsier. I think he's just trying to do the best for his people, in the way that he knows -- and well, if someone acts with good intentions and the outcome is bad, I don't really think you can fault him, everything considered." A pause. "Right and wrong is hard to distinguish sometimes. My world -- and the many worlds out there -- are filled with injustices, some more than others. I won't ever fault anyone for doing what he has to do to survive. That saved my life when I was younger." His eyes drift upwards, thinking. "But I don't think you were wrong to react that way, either. We're on safe territory; he should have warned you before doing anything, especially considering you're a part of the X-Dreamers now, and he's just a guest. Never heard of a guest purposefully attacking the hosts, and I'm sure Twilight wouldn't be too happy to receive that report, either." His perfectly planned, oft-rehearsed speech for a content rejection deleted ("thank you, let's just be friends then, you have a glorious figure worth that of a God -- did that still not work?"), Duke throws caution to the wind. "Well." He leans back in his chair, hands drumming the side of his mug, his heart beating too fast to take a proper sip, "I have those emotions, too -- as in, I like you. A lot. So this," he says, motioning with a finger between the two of them. "We can work on." He gives the other man a smile, and then raises the mug to his lips and finally takes a sip of the hot chocolate. His drink is significantly cooled down by now, but still radiating some heat and smelling of rich chocolate, and Duke takes a large sip. Seconds later, he spits it entirely back into his mug and breaks into a cough, straightening up as he tries to calm himself from the sudden shock. He immediately stands up, near-running to the sink, and fills up a glass with water and throws it back. "Wrong condiment," he finally says, wiping the side of his mouth. "Erugh, I can still taste it."
  10. i cant format properly i’m on mobile yes hello this is duke — Duke smiles encouragingly as Jowan repeats the word, his pronunciation slightly more formal this time around. Was the other man really unaware of such a thing, to the extent that even the word would be so mysterious to him? He wonders what other things the other man does not know, perhaps — and if he could have the honour of showing them to him. Jowan’s reaction to the drink is wonderful to see — his eyes widen as he first tastes the beverage, and he gazes at it with an almost childlike wonder, as if he can’t quite believe what he’s drinking. In response, Duke smiles softly, following the rim of his cup with his fingertips. “Slow down,” he says, but without any real ill intent. “I’ll make some more if you want, gotta get through that tin somehow.” He sets aside the shaker, gazing at Jowan curiously. “Really,” he says, more a placeholder than anything. “I’m not one for too many sweets, but there’s a lot around the castle; I think we can probably nab a couple chocolate bars from somewhere. I have some candies too, we can ...” He breaks off just as he realises he was about to invite Jowan back to his room. A lifetime ago, that would have been easy; he would have suggested it with a wink perhaps, but Jowan’s frozen expression only minutes before is still burned into his mind. Swallowing, Duke smiles. “I’ll bring them out sometime. You can try them.” Then, he raises his mug, about to take a sip of his own drink, but before he can Jowan speaks. Duke pauses, setting down his drink — the sweet cinnamon would have to wait another time — and clasps his hands together, sighing. “You didn’t make me uncomfortable,” he explains. “I like ... talking to you. Touching you. I like” — here, he gestures with a loose hand, to all of Jowan. “You.” “But I saw what happened,” he says further, before the other man could interject. “How horrified you looked at Kelsier. You’re my friend first and foremost, and I would never wish anything that makes you uncomfortable happen.” Then, he cups his hands around the mug, and smiles softly. “I was really happy when you complimented me,” he confesses, “before that happened. Guess I hoped it was true.”
  11. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Hearing Jowan's laugh is reassuring, even if it breaks the silence in the otherwise quiet room and is a little too loud. Privately, Duke thanks whatever spirits lie above that most of the agents are still elsewhere; many are preoccupied on another mission, and the rest of their scattered group seems to have wandered off for their own amusements. Briefly, he wonders what they are up to. Have Stan and Lara finally resolved their tension and gotten together? No, he'd eat his entire shoe if that would happen in the span of only an hour or so. Jowan talks about Vylcan, and it is strange; the mage seems uneasy, and Duke remembers that sharing minds is something that people from other universes seem to find strange. It is weird, considering it is the highest honour on his world. "Yes," he confirms. "But he's friendly, and never intrudes. More of a mentor, than anything -- just a dead man who can't take physical form, but that's a story for another day. He quite likes you, actually." I have no particular feelings towards this man, Vylcan says. But you seem rather fond of him. Waving it off, Duke sets the mugs down on the counter and tips the small switch of the kettle, boiling water. Huh. Was there water in the object before he started it? Well, he'll find out if it starts steaming and shrieking eventually. Having water or not isn't the big concern -- the issue is, Jowan doesn't seem to know ... chocolate? "Chocolate," he repeats, staring at the other man with a raised eyebrow. Huh. That is a ... first. Most of the time, food from other worlds are relatively the same, and once more Duke wonders exactly what kind of place Jowan sprung from. For what it was worth, it didn't sound like a very nice area. Well, he doesn't have to return now, or ever. Humming to himself, Duke folds his arms and waits for the water to boil, explaining as he does so. "It's a sort of ... delicacy, I suppose. Lots of people eat it as a bar, it's sweet and melts in your mouth. But for our purposes, we're just going to be drinking this" -- and here, he smacks the top of the tin of hot chocolate powder, stored away from stormy nights and a mission well done. "Because Xander doesn't allow large blocks of chocolate in the kitchen anymore after someone tried to boil whiskey and pour it on top of the chocolate bars to make alcoholic hot chocolate." Who could've done such a thing, Vylcan asks, amused. "Anyways, he's not here, so I can't go pester him to make something for us. Plus, I feel like getting him to come would be awkward right now; he permanently moves in his armour and I always have the temptation to stick a knife in there and see if I can flip it, like a lobster. That aside -- it's delicious, trust me." While he was speaking, the water -- so there was water inside after all! He wonders who could have filled it -- boils and screeches to a halt, and he casually dumps the powder into the mugs and pours the water over top of it. Then, Duke pauses. You should probably let him decide his own condiments, Vylcan says carefully. "Here," Duke says, passing one of the mugs to Jowan. "Careful, it's hot; blow on it." Then, he slides the stools until they are facing one another, and sits down as well. Grabbing his own mug, Duke takes one of the small bottles on the table -- he hopes it's the cinnamon and not the salt ---- and lightly sprinkles his drink, watching Jowan the entire time. "Do you like it?" he questions, staring at Jowan with bright eyes.
  12. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Inside the kitchen, things are awkward, at best. Jowan perches on one of the tall barstools, fidgeting with his hands, and Duke sighs. The silence between them is long and heavy, almost suffocating in the air, and the blond drums his fingers on the island's countertop, marveling at the feel of the cool marble underneath his fingertips. X-Dreamers headquarters ... it doesn't compare to some of the beauties of the world he has seen in his adventures, but he can always appreciate a well-kept kitchen. Whether or not the kitchen appreciated some of his more eccentric creations, well -- the jury was still out on that one. With nothing to do, Duke busies himself; he preoccupies himself with pulling two mugs and two plates from the shelves, familiar with where everything is now. He would rather prepare something, than -- is he deflecting? No, that won't do. You'll have to talk to him eventually, Vylcan says, more prominent now that things have settled down and it is just the two of them. I still remember how long you pinned after that other boy. "Don't bring up my embarrassing sexual history," Duke says aloud, louder than he expected; perhaps the quietness of the kitchen had lured him into a false sense of security, one where he had forgotten Jowan is nearby entirely. Staring at the mage with a caught-in-headlights look, Duke gives a faint laugh and taps on the edge of his head. "Sorry. He's telling me to actually talk to you. I suppose he's right sometimes." Then, he holds up the two mugs and smiles. "Want something to drink? I'll make hot chocolate."
  13. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke turns, feeling the sway of his cape brush his boots as he does so. He can't quite place what he is feeling right now -- it is not disappointment as he would have expected, because a certain part of him still holds onto faith. He remembers the talk on the bridge, the way Jowan's hands had felt in his own, sliding his gloved fingers down the other man's arms. The faint trace of his veins, lining the part where his wrist spills into his palms -- and his skin, not quite as rough as Duke had expected, warm and alive underneath his own. He has half a mind to turn back, bring Kelsier forward on his challenge -- the older man was ready to fight at any time, after all, but the blond stops. That is not him -- at least, he doesn't think so. He has spent his life in service to the cause instead of declaring outright war, and he intends to make good on his promises to liberate Dynarst's land. Challenging Kelsier right now, in the heat of the moment -- that would not do, not when his abilities would be helpful to the organization at large. The act of compromise. It leaves neither side satisfied, but it is the best alternative to crushing everyone in the immediate vicinity under his barriers. He has seen that once, and the results were ... effective, but less than desired, all things considered. Instead, he makes his way forward, surging towards the castle with full intentions to sulk in Stan's room, perhaps, but stops when he realises Jowan is following. The other man is quiet, sullen, every step called forth with hesitation, and Duke nearly gives in and says something when Jowan speaks first. His words are careful, hesitant, choppy. Duke sighs internally, rolling his shoulders back. And then, still with his back turned to Jowan, the blond man raises his arms up and stretches, feeling the tension in his shoulders loosen as he rolls his arms back. Not just a spell? Which portion, entirely -- did they make the same assumptions? Then, he turns to Jowan. "I think we should talk," he says. "Kitchen?"
  14. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Dynarst approached with the bots, and Duke straightened; he prepared to speak to the brown-shelled one, to ask or perhaps offer a jest at its expense, but before he can even confirm Typheus' acceptance of his tour proposal, Duke is drawn away by Jowan's touch. He turns, smiling -- he is always ready to embrace the other man, and it lightens his heart to know the mage is so willing to touch him now, only to stop dead in his tracks. Jowan -- called him pretty? There is a certain spark in the other man's gaze, a roaring awe that lights something within Duke's chest and makes him smile. He had ... his doubts about beginning something. His track record is not exactly the best, and there are things better left unsaid between the emerging friendship between Jowan and him, but this confirms -- ! He is just about to respond, to jest alongside the other man, confident and secure in the air between them, before the expression on Jowan's face abruptly twists and the other man's expression changes. Jowan's voice is not loud: it is quiet, just like the mage -- small, quiet, hushed, a desperate whisper in the dead of night, a shot into a blank nothingness. His grip on Duke's arm tightens, and the blond turns in response; he places a hand over the other man's as without really thinking. It is instinctive, as he sweeps himself in front of Jowan, planting himself between Kelsier and the mage. What happened? It had all been so fast -- one second he had been preparing to return the other man's compliment, and the other he was -- here. What happened? But this is not the time. He is jolted into action as Jowan drops his arm; the darker man steps back as if burnt, his eyes focused on nothing in particular, and he breaks off his sentence mid-speech. Immediately, Duke grabs onto the other's arm -- his uninjured one, this time -- "Look at me," he says, his voice steady, as he reaches up and places his hands onto Jowan's shoulders, bringing the space between them closer. "It's alright. Look at me." He presses their foreheads together, taking a breath -- sharing in the space between them. This is not new. He has seen this before -- a kind of battlefield aliment, a haunt of memories long past that he has seen in those who have seen the worst of humanity. He is no fool -- only an idealistic stranger raised in the best place on earth, in his world. There are those who are not so fortunate. He pulls himself from Jowan, although he still holds the other man with one hand. He slips his hand into the other's, turning to Kelsier with fire in his eyes. "I challenged the Inquisitor without hesitation. I will fight the Lord Ruler with that same fire. You have my loyalty, but should you harm the people I consider allies -- make no mistake, I will do the same to you." The area surrounding them grows cold, a secret challenge issued in the moment before them, before Duke takes a breath and closes his eyes. He is a senior agent. One of low standing here, true, but he has reigned before -- as Guard Commander, as Lord, as Elias' right hand. One does not survive all those encounters not understanding which battles to pick. And he has survived -- where others have died. Where kings have fallen and had their heads held on spikes. He is not his brother, nor Elias -- he is calmer, quieter, more forgiving, but he has been raised among wolves. He doesn't understand what bewitchment Kelsier must have used on the other man, but -- to play with emotions, when his heart, raw and beating and roaring in his ears, is already so vulnerable -- He considered it, Jowan returning his feelings, but perhaps he is too quick to draw his card. The other man -- what they have said can be easily jousts between friends. To think that Kelsier would do such a thing -- He swallows. Perhaps another time he would have given anything for a manipulator of thoughts, back when Chevire had been tall and standing, when Elias had been a spark in the night with his hungry eyes and large hands. And Cas -- "I'm exercising my right as senior agent," Duke announces. "This conversation is over." He turns to Jowan, dropping the mage's hand, giving the other man a tight smile. He remembers -- how quickly the other man had dropped his arm upon realising what happened, how quickly his expression had turned. It is telling enough. "Don't worry," he says. "Just a spell. It happens. No hard feelings." Then, he turns and begins to walk back to the building.
  15. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke jumps in surprise when Jowan jerks himself away, startled, and a second later the blond realises his mistake. Right -- Jowan's arm. He'd completely forgotten, and and in the panic the blond looks at the other man, distressed. He drops the man's other arm, face concerned. "Sorry, sorry," he immediately says. "Are you okay?" Jowan's words are reassuring, but not enough, and Duke blinks at him guiltily. He hadn't intended to hurt the other man -- he'd just been so caught up in the moment. Stunned, the blond nods in response to the other man's next words, completely disregarding the correct spelling; he wanted to ask Jowan exactly what the mage meant by the 'guh sound', but it is not the correct time to do so. Dynarst's response breaks him out of his thoughts, and Duke turns immediately, his attention caught by the skaa. The other man's movements are endearing, as Dynarst makes a wide gesture with his arms to emphasize the hug. And -- he had spelt it as Duke had, too. The blond turns, wondering if Jowan had heard, but the mage seems preoccupied with Kelsier's explanation. Not wanting to interrupt, Duke turns his attention back to Dynarst. Common sense tells him he should walk up and close the gap between the two of them to continue their conversation, but he doesn't want to leave Kelsier's side -- and Jowan's. "H-U-G," he yells back, repeating what Jowan had said even though it held no real meaning, and giving the skaa a thumbs up. "We can practise sometime. It'll be great!" Then, he glances at the robot that Dynarst had pointed to. Well -- that hadn't been the one the stabbed him, at least, although he holds no ill-will towards Fiddlesticks either. "I'll show you the rooms sometime too; they have showers! You can bring your friend!" Briefly, he wonders if the robots wash. Perhaps? Their shells looked awfully clean, glistening as they moved. With a hand, he beckons them closer; he wants to introduce Kelsier to Dynarst, but at the same time -- he is entirely unsure what they are doing now. The fight was over, it seemed, and the place worse off for it -- but he is not too concerned with how the scenery of this world appears to outsiders, and so Duke smiles and straightens his posture. Perhaps you should let Twilight know the outside grass has been set on fire, Vylcan says. Duke nods in response, but does not move from his position.
  16. [ theo ; -- add. m. e. l. for: a. s. t. ]  -- status. legios ; dormant ] grey ; knight of loyalty -- Of course. He should have expected this -- Arch's patience in dealing with humans was endless, after all. In response, Theo only gives a slight growl, nodding his head to concede to the angel's point. Perhaps some humans are okay, but species aside, Theo is fully aware that enemies exist no matter the creature involved. As far as he was concerned, the blond with the face tattoo was an enemy and nothing more. He is sure he can find some time when Arch is not looking to teach the blond a lesson in mocking a ... wrong audience. He is caught up in his own thoughts, and only comes back to attention when Arch speaks -- huh, that's weird. He must have misread the situation, for only a minute earlier his husband had been staring rather intensely at the empty corner of the room. Well, it was Arch. Perhaps he was momentarily caught up in thinking about how much he hated demons again. Theo still remembers the time he almost fell off a cliff because he had been so preoccupied. He comes up beside Arch, arms crossed as he stares at the curious device the angel is pointing to. "Looks like something Annette would know," he replies. "Maybe if you hit it hard enough it'll activate. Here, let me try." He makes a move to smash the delicate small boxes below the larger metal box, inscribed with various letters. A spell, maybe? No matter -- he can hit through anything. [ duke ; -- add. d. ; for. k. j. f. t. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke cocks his head he separates from Jowan, staring inquisitively at the other's response. The other man hadn't hugged him back, and now he said this -- could it be? "No," the blond replies slowly. "It's called a hug. H-U-F-H." As if to emphasize his point, he squeezes the other man's forearms, his hands having slid down to rest on Jowan's arms. "You usually hug the other person back. We can practise," Duke suggests, almost too quickly -- because he likes touching Jowan, feeling the other man's form against his own, and although they have only known each other for a short while the mage's presence by his side is comforting, after all they have been through. But he is perhaps too quick to push -- he doesn't want Jowan to feel uncomfortable, after all, and the other man is an almost violent shade of red. Was it the unfamiliarity of the situation? "That's okay," Duke says, grinning. "When I got here, I had no idea what rulers did. Stan had to tell me they were used to measure things, and then he caught me measuring my --" He is cut off by Kelsier's voice, and Duke trails into nothing as he watches the older man step out of the water, completely unbothered. Starstruck, Duke barely notices the spoons suddenly hitting his shins. Fantastic! Kelsier had called their match fantastic. Duke feels himself unable to keep the smile off his face, a silly grin having established itself permanently on his features as he nods in response to the blond man's further words, hearing none of them, until he followed the movement of Kelsier's head with his eyes and noticed they were not alone. Dynarst -- when had he gotten here? And the strange robots, as well, and Duke instinctively brushes the edge of his arm almost self-consciously. That had been ... interesting. Well, no matter. Accidents happened all the time, and he's not dead. That is the most important note, all other things aside. "Dynarst!" Duke calls, giving the other man a wave. He hoped the skaa was enjoying their world so far -- perhaps he had to show the other man a room, just as he had done with Jowan. What interesting things had he seen? Come to think of it, he had left immediately after the briefing was over, uncertain what had happened to the skaa otherwise. "What have you been up?" he says to the skaa, although it is more a loud yell than anything -- he is unwilling to leave Jowan's side, but the mage seems perfectly entrenched in Kelsier's description of the levels of magic in his world. "Did you see the mess hall? The hallway? I got stabbed there, it was fantastic, I think there's still a broken railing. What friends have you made? Are they my friends? Have you ever hugged?"
  17. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Jowan, to his surprise, starts running within the fire. Duke almost skids to a halt then, too shocked at what he was seeing -- why didn't the other man just avoid it, like a rational human being, or shoot straight up from it, like Kelsier? -- but he regains his thoughts and continues running, only stopping when he reaches the beginning of the maze a short while from Jowan. The mage is smiling despite his actions, and Duke swallows, hard, at the look of pride on the other man's face. It suits him -- lights up his features, makes him look younger, in a way, and Duke takes a step forward without thinking. Is this a bad idea? Perhaps, and Duke falters sightly, a hum rising in the back of his throat. He should -- clear his throat, crack a joke, turn away -- And then Jowan speaks once more, lamenting his handiwork, and the other man turns away briefly to look at the patches in the grass behind him, the slowly dying flames vanishing as they licked up what fuel they could find on the ground. He rubs his cheek with one hand, wondering to himself, and, well ... He was never too in control of his own actions, anyways. He closes the gap between them easy, only a short distance between their shoes, and throws his arms around the other's neck, pressing him close. Jowan smells of soot and faint burning, but his form is warm. Duke smiles despite himself, aware the other man can't see his face -- he presses his nose into Jowan's shoulder, unable to contain his grin. The other man's breath is heavy, perhaps from his earlier run. "Just a bit," he agrees. He decides against telling Jowan his win is forfeit -- he had put down his barriers already, after all -- but he will take doing some paperwork over letting go of the other man. Whether or not Jowan is ready to redo his reports after they've been rejected -- well, that's another thought for another day.
  18. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Everything next happens so fast. One second he is laughing at the stunned expression on Jowan's face as the other man falls backwards, very clearly betrayed by his barriers, and then next -- something hits his barriers and he winces almost instinctively, even if it does not hurt per se. He is still not used to the heightened senstivity of his barriers in worlds apart from his own, even though he has been here for so long -- it should be something he knows by now. His momentarily halt in thought is replaced by shock when he realises -- the ground has caught fire, and the bright blue flames lap at the edges of his barriers, consuming the dry grass below. Was that -- Jowan? Well, that was one day to figure out the interior of his maze. It is not a detailed plan, something he constructed all too quickly in response to Kelsier's actions, but regardless; he debates dropping his barriers to allow the two men free passage out, considering time is of the essence. Before he can act on his thought, Duke is stunned for the second time. Kelsier shoots up into the sky, straight as an arrow, and the older man is a dark blot in the sky, his clothing ablaze and illuminating the midday sun. Against the clear blue sky of their beautiful planet, Kelsier stands out -- in an impressive, terrifying way, as a harbinger of news beyond what anyone's mind could comprehend. Then the Survivor turns sharply, and Duke takes an instinctive step back; Kelsier enters their mortal atmosphere once more by crashing into the pond in a grandiose display of power, a spray of waves that laps up the grass surrounding the pond and quenches the flames licking at the small strands. Duke stands, stunned and a mixture of awed and terrified. The older man grins at him, face calm and hair slicked back by the impact, water running down his face and neck in rivets. Duke feels his heart jump in his chest, amazed at this sheer display of dominance, and for a second he is tempted to start clapping, questioning -- anything to have Kelsier's eyes focus on him once more. But then he remembers the maze, and with it -- Jowan! The other man is alone now, within his barriers, and Duke would make a joke about continuing to box him in until he finally could figure a way out, if the mage was not currently stuck within his constructs while the ground was on fire. Duke swallows, tearing his gaze away from Kelsier, and almost immediately begins to run towards the maze, breaking down his barriers as he does so. He skids, avoiding the fire consuming the grass in a linear path as a result of his ministrations, and subsequently the barriers he'd set up harden to blue for a second before scattering into harmless pieces, disappearing from existence too quickly. His path cleared, he runs towards Jowan.
  19. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Kelsier's reserved air momentarily changes; the older man stumbles briefly and Duke falters in his pacing, distracted by Kelsier's actions. Then, a second later, the blond turns around and barely manages a step forward before he smacks into the other wall before him, and Duke gives a wince of sympathy. What happened? Kelsier's condition is concerning, and for a second the blond almost wants to give up on the play, call the situation off. However, he takes a wary glance around him, just now noticing the various spoons scattered around their feet, and instantly his suspicions are heighhted -- very obviously he had just played them with a ruse, and Kelsier is smart enough to return the favour to him. For the moment, as they were practising anyways, he sees no reason to be too concerned over medical issues. Jowan's voice draws him away from Kelsier's plight, and the blond blinks. The other man's offer is tempting, and he would give anything to have a nice, enjoyable chat with Jowan while they watch Kelsier bump into things, but his dinner is at stake here. He greatly values every meal of the day -- it was important, after all. "Sure," he yells back instead, pretending to think hard for a second. "But only because I looooove you." He exaggerates the word greatly, dragging it out with a smile on his features. Then, he watches with absolute delight as the other man makes a move to get out and ends up smacking headfirst onto the barrier Duke had erected there for that specific reason. "But I believe in you more," Duke grins. "And we were interrupted last time. Do your best! I'll do your paperwork for an entire month if you get out. It won't be great, and you'll probably have to redo it and get a scolding, but I'll do it."
  20. hello its me and my headcanons qzgs fans look away replacing vincent please and thank you! i’ll bring him in with the 4ths rather than mission 2, since i think that mission's not really in a place to accept new people rn (??) Name: Vaccaria [ 王不留行 ] Origin: The King’s Avatar Info: A legendary witch known only as ‘The Magician’ in his homeworld, Vaccaria brings devastating elements down on his foes with calm mastery. Although he has a reputation for being ruthless against his enemies, he is fiercely loyal to those who win his trust. Likes birds better than people. Abilities: Witch [ class ] - The Witch class is a magical user with high attack and speed, specialising in casting spells and creating elements to rain from the sky. The main weapons of this class are the broom and various potion bottles. Flight: Vaccaria is capable of flying through the area on his broom, to quite a large distance and range. This is his preferred method of transportation when on the battlefield. Potions: Vaccaria is capable of creating elements through the various potions and bottles tucked away within his cloak; how exactly he gets these is a mystery. Usually, this is used by throwing the potion into the air or on the ground, shattering it. Spells: Vaccaria’s various spells have different casting times and mana costs. A full list can be found on Discord. Enchantment: Vaccaria is capable of enchanting the end of his broom with fire or ice in order to rain down that element on the ground where he flies over; as a result, environments when he is fighting can get messy very quickly. Link to wiki: x Extra: Vaccaria is technically pulled from Glory itself so he doesn’t have a player per se, but his personality and interactions are based on Wang Jiexi. His class, Witch, has high attack and low defense -- I’m translating this as him being light and agile, but physically weak. Vaccaria is known as The First Witch. His second nickname, the Magician, comes from his unexpected and erratic playstyle on the battlefield; in fact, his actions are so unexpected that even his allies have a hard time adapting to his shifts. As a result, Vaccaria has had to restrain and change his method when working with the guild, but he has a secret fondness for one on one battles in which he doesn’t have to worry about others. His broom’s name is Stardust Extermination this is very important please address it properly
  21. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke arches a single brow at Kelsier's words, even though the older man's baritone sends a shiver down his back; his words are familiar, recalling a distant time of revolution and glory that he desperately wishes to relive. He surges forward almost instinctively, wanting to hear more -- wanting Kelsier to speak further. However, the spell is quite easily broken by the sudden rebound of the spoons Kelsier had directed -- where had they come from? -- towards him, originally. Duke watches, feeling the faint twinge as his barriers are hit by a series of dull objects, and then can't help but let out a sudden laugh, gone as quickly as it had come, when Kelsier stumbles back, cursing. It seems Jowan follows suit a second later, casting a familiar-looking spell that glimmers faintly before fluttering across his invisible wall as well, fading into nothing. The other man seems surprised by this action, and -- huh. Hadn't Jowan been listening? He is near-certain he covered the specifics of Vylcan's power in his earlier explanation; the other man should have realised magic would not work. At least, his explanation had seemingly made sense to him -- and Kelsier had liked it, too! Maybe Jowan was just confused? Well, no time to think about that now. He holds a single finger, grinning triumphantly to himself; Duke paces across the short strip of grass, eyes fluttering closed as a smug look overtakes his features. "An invisible maze!" he says. "I like to welcome everyone this way." He directs his stare towards Kelsier, and then sliding over to Jowan. "If you can find a way out, I'll give you my dinners for a week." You can't keep repeating the same tricks, Vylcan says, but at least the spirit seems in much better spirits now that he isn't getting beaten on. He'll take that as a win, regardless.
  22. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- "I am paying attention," Duke replies, in the same tone as a sulking child. "It's not helping." Regardless, he is not truly upset; his attention is quickly stolen by his attempt to intimidate Kelsier, and only a second later does Duke hear an almost exasperated Vylcan say -- Behind. Perhaps the fairy has figured out that Jowan does not intend to hurt him, or that he trusts Jowan after their time spent together -- to which the thought brings a smile onto Duke's features, but he reacts accordingly. The brief falter in the other's movements is enough for Duke to realise he is under attack -- again?! -- and Duke slides his hands forward, moving the wall between him and Kelsier in one fluid swipe as he barely manages to step out of the attack's range in time. The lightning crackles and splits across the shimmering blue spray of his border, sparks flying as it catches the edge of his arm and he winces. The feeling -- is not painful, but it is a sudden jolt that makes him stop abruptly. His pause is enough time for Kelsier to launch his counterattack. For a second, Duke wonders if he has been played -- are Jowan and Kelsier somehow double-teaming against him? It seems that way, for Kelsier takes advantage of his halt to send the spoon in his hand -- it pulls away easily as his fingers allow -- flying towards the edge of his barrier, and Duke swallows. Oh no. There is a long-echoing sigh in his mind, as if Vylcan himself is debating the reasons to say anything at all. The spoon hits him in the face, exactly where Theo had punched him previous, and Duke immediately grabs his face and backs up, doubling over as he groans. The shimmering wall before him disappears in his plight, and in his momentary blindness he completely misses Kelsier's next actions. With the way you are fighting, Vylcan says, his voice heavy, one would think you are more a trainee than a Commander. "The situation is hardly fair to my abilities," Duke replies, low so that only Vylcan can hear. Is adaption not the point of leading? Point taken, Duke thinks. With that, he takes a quick cursory glance around the dome before either man can react, thinking to himself. Then, he takes a step back, flinging himself almost violently out of the dome; the blue walls part slightly to allow his exit, and then Duke smiles. The dome itself begins to crumble; the shapes are flowing in every which way, the exterior becoming more liquid in consistency than a solid. Shapes begin to arrange before the two men; various walls, of all shapes and sizes, before the images shimmer once and disappear completely. "There," Duke says, holding up his hands. "You've won. My face hurts." Then, he enlarges the invisible wall between each man just slightly, so that it would be impossible to jump over the barrier. Unable to refrain from smiling slightly, he blinks innocently at the two men gathered before him.
  23. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- For the second time that day, he is stunned. He reacts slowly -- too slowly, to Jowan's sudden movements, mostly because he is not expecting it. After all, it was Jowan -- the man looks as if he has never heard a joke before in his life. But perhaps his assumptions are wrong, for as soon as Duke makes his pun the other man blinks at him, face unchanging, before there is a movement and -- It's cold. That is the first thing he notices, but not dangerously so; it seems the other man is not so much attacking as he is reprimanding him, and the thought makes Duke grin despite himself. So he had appreciated -- a very special way -- his pun! He is just about to say something, to perhaps slide his arms around the other man and lament his sudden frostiness, when suddenly his mind blanks and there is a shout -- Duke! Vylcan's warning comes a second too late, as the heel of Kelsier's boot collides with his back dead centre, and Duke staggers forwards, a cough startled out of him from the sudden attack. He tries to recollect his thoughts, but they are confused -- he had been admiring Jowan's friendly play only a second earlier, and now -- You are in a terrible position, Vylcan says disapprovingly, the spirit stirred from his rest in response to the sudden attack. Without even a blade. He acknowledges this with a faint groan, his back suddenly throbbing, and Duke folds his arms to turn around and stare at Kelsier. In the thin distance between them, a wall grows upwards until its faintly-blue form separates them. "Not fair," the blond complains, almost sulking. In response to his words, the top corners of his dome droop inwards, as if reacting to his emotions. "I didn't know were fistfighting." With a wary glance, he watches carefully for Kelsier's next movements. [ theo ; -- add. 0 for: a. ]  -- status. legios ; dormant ] grey ; knight of loyalty -- "If he continues, he won't have a throat to tell stories from," Theo mutters in response to his husband's words, although his body language shows otherwise; the knight physically relaxes in response to Arch's words, comfortable once more. Perhaps he had been a bit ... quick to action. Friends? At Arch's words, Theo tunes into the conversation with his full attention; he draws himself away from his self-introduction to Cure Scarlet and stares curiously. What ... was Arch referring to? Hidden attackers, or something else? With every passing second he grows ever more suspicious of this 'Sorey''s actions.
  24. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Kelsier's action is entirely unexpected -- he'd figured the older man would inspect his barriers, ask some questions -- and Duke acts without thinking, too familiar with surprise attacks to really consider his opponent before he draws up a shimmering blue barrier before him, hardening the shape so it would receive the full blunt of the weapon coming his way. Except the object isn't a weapon -- at least, he doesn't think so -- and is instead a spoon similar to the one one Kelsier had handed him earlier. It is too late, however, when he makes that realisation: he watches with increasing horror as the spoon rebounds off his glowing barrier and hits Kelsier square between the eyes. For a moment, there is silence; Duke has half a mind to turn his head and stare at Jowan until the other man can find a way to resolve this situation, but his nerves relax significantly when he realises the older man is smiling. Smiling -- that's good, right? Well, if he won't take it to heart, then Duke won't either. "Didn't know we were fighting already," he says, drawing out his words as he dissipates the barrier he had just created, vanishing in a shower of blue sparks. "Seems like you got a bit of a ... head start." Then, he blinks and turns to look at Jowan excitedly, wondering if the other man appreciated his joke.
  25. [ duke ; -- add. n/a ; for. k. j. ] -- status.  vylcan ; secondary ] by your sword -- shield me from judgement! -- Duke zones out when Kelsier responds to Jowan's questions; he doesn't quite mean to, but there is something dull about the way their voices are spoken, too calm and too steady in the nice morning air. His attention is immediately stolen by the blades of grass slowly shifting in response to the stirring winds, and Duke takes a sweeping glance around the area, marveling in the nice hills and the crystal-blue ponds, before he realises the subject of conversation has moved on. He tunes in, just as Jowan begins his tale of how they fought the Inquisitor. Blinking and nodding at times -- and looking rapidly between Kelsier and Jowan to see if they notice him paying attention -- he fills in the blanks of Jowan's tale with his thoughts as he recalls what had happened. When the mage finishes recounting his experiences, Duke gives a wide smile. "That was a good recollection," he says brightly, before the grin on his features takes a more devilish tune and he spins on his heels, ready. "For an academic report." "It was thrilling," he says, shouldering his way into the interaction and glancing at Kelsier to see if the older man is paying attention. "I thought we were done for, but I was wrong! The creatures of your world are strong indeed, but I knew from Dynarst's description that losing that battle would be a greater loss than any injury. So!" Here, he begins to move; around the three men, a circle of glowing blue begins to echo from somewhere within the earth, as his borders slowly creep up from behind their backs, sliding through the air to create physical shape in the form of three distinct walls. "I did my best," he says, "but I couldn't do it without Jowan's aid, nor without Dynarst's information. I owe a lot to their combined support." As he speaks, the walls begin to grow upwards, their edges crystal shimmering blue, before they combine into one and the three of them are surrounded by his barriers, etching upwards. "I collapsed the bridge so we could make a quick getaway, even if we couldn't succeed in battle immediately. A commander has to analyse the situation, after all." He purposefully leaves out that he usually has tacticians for this sort of thing. "But regardless, if we were to head back -- rest assured I wouldn't hesitate to fight again." As he finishes speaking, the three walls meet in the centre of their heads, creating a dome that echoes around the three of them, locking them in. Duke looks up quickly, analysing the situation; he makes it so that his barriers are bluer than usual, not their usual unseen shape, so that Kelsier may analyse them to his heart's content. "You have my shield," he says to the older man, meeting his gaze.