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Zor

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Everything posted by Zor

  1. Anders Allies: Keaton, Ray, Tsuki, Leo Most of the enemies slipped on the grease, but two kept their footing and the ones on the ground wouldn’t remain there for long. The urge to flee was counteracted by Justice’s desire to stay fight protect, but there was little that they could do but hiss and lash their tail. Keaton howled in pain, and Anders spun around to see what was wrong. At the sight of the blood staining Keaton’s fur he pushed Justice to the back of his mind to stop the spirit from interfering with his healing spells, but that didn’t do any good if -- Whatever curse the box had placed himself under must have lifted, because he suddenly found himself in human form once again. After a taking a brief moment to recover from the disorientation of his viewpoint rising several feet he held out his staff and cast a group healing spell. Green light gathered around his staff, then spread to envelop the injuries of Keaton, Ray, and Tsuki. The magic was enough to stop any bleeding and close small wounds, but was too rushed and unrefined to heal most of the injuries completely. To try to keep the fallen Heartless from re-entering the battle he swung his staff in a wide arc in their direction. The temperature around the Heartless dropped sharply, and a crescent large, jagged spikes of ice emerged from the ground in the wake of the staff’s tip. Status: Uninjured, not a cat Justice: inactive Panacea: active Natsuki Allies: Raine Natsuki allowed themself a contented sigh in a moment of weakness as warmth flowed from Raine’s hand and into their body. If they leaned into the touch a little, it was only because of the tension melting from their body. “Thank you,” they said softly, suppressing the tinge of disappointment they felt when Raine removed her hand. The cold did strange things to the mind. “We could go for a less eventful mission once in awhile, I think.” They felt like they should say something else -- something about having missed Raine, or being glad to see them again, but they don’t know how to say it without it sounding awkward or as if they only missed Raine’s magic. Expressing their emotions had never been rewarded, and so it didn’t come easily to them. They felt as though they were somehow missing something, but they didn’t say anything else. Status: Uninjured, confused
  2. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [IC - BASE]

    Jowan Allies (?): Duke, Kelsier, Dynarst, etc. Status: Injured (bandaged wound on arm, exhausted, gay) can I take another step? I've done everything I can "Sure, okay. Leave me with the children while you go have your love tryst, that's absolutely fine, not like the rest of us have significant others to get back or anything, nope." Well, that confirms that Duke has someone, right? Of course he did- it wasn’t a surprise or anything, Duke looked great and was very- Duke. It wasn’t like it mattered or anything. Jowan has no reason to care, and he was happy for him. Blood loss did weird things sometimes and he really needs to stop staring and Duke like some kind of weirdo. He looks away, trying to seem interested by Theo and Arch (which isn’t that difficult, given that one of them had been threatening him a moment ago). Bright light envelopes him and he’s transported back to the Gateway. It seems as crowded as it was the last time he’d been teleported there, but this time he recognizes most of the people present. Being aware of what’s happening (as well as not being chained up) makes for a far more pleasant arrival, and he takes a moment to breathe deeply and gaze at the scene. He doesn’t have long to relax. A fist catches the side of Duke’s face and Jowan startles, raising his hands defensively. It’s over before he can do anything or even understand why Theo had attacked Duke (and he decides that it’s probably best to stay away from Theo and the matter entirely). There’s a tall, confident blond man that Dynarst introduces as “the Survivor” that Jowan doesn’t recognize. He doesn’t learn exactly what the Survivor survived, or if he has an actual name, but he must be important because-- oh, Maker, Duke is calling the Survivor “Lord”, should he be bowing or something? He would have been fine with listening and trying to figure out what’s going on (preferably from a seated position), but Duke introduces him and he has to think up a response. His brains skids -- he’s not used to being given credit from anyone but Neria, and rolling his eyes and making a quip isn’t appropriate here. Whatever connection he thinks he feels with Duke isn’t real, and he can’t pretend otherwise. Right in front of an apparently very important man is an especially bad time. Duke isn’t bowing and neither is Dynarst, so it’s probably best to just follow their lead, right? Jowan starts to nod his head to confirm what Duke had said -- -- but then, Duke was also stuttering and Dynarst almost seems too shocked to think. It can’t hurt, right -- ? He ends up doing a stiff, jerky movement that leaves him in an awkward bow. His back curves, stretching his scars, and he’s glad that having his head down gives him an excuse to look at the ground. He’s safe, he knows that, but exposing his back is enough to make him tense in anticipation of the next blow. Maybe it’s Kelsier’s presence that makes a simple act so unpleasant. Authority figures and nobility have never brought anything but pain. Despite how friendly Kelsier appears and how much he talks of freeing the people, Jowan can’t help the way his chest tightens at the title “Lord”. “Lord Survivor, I only did what I could to help,” he says, his voice taking on some of the dull cadence of a servant that has learned that showing fear makes the punishments worse. He straightens himself and unclenches the fists at his sides, but is unable to look at Kelsier. Instead, he watches Duke’s reactions. Duke’s visibly nervous with awe, and practically seems to be vibrating at the chance to help Kelsier. It’s no surprise, with how prepared Duke was to charge into the Lord Ruler’s castle earlier. Jowan wants to help, really, and he doesn’t want to let his personal issues get in the way, but he doesn’t want to think about that at the moment. It’s been too long of a day to consider going back to fighting or talking to more people. He’d already agreed to follow Duke with whatever he decides to do, so he nods in agreement with his speech, but Maker, he wants to rest.
  3. Natsuki Allies: Raine Status: Injured [burn on arm, chilled, injured leg, old stab wound, various minor wounds] Perhaps it had been a mistake to brush off Xander’s concerns. Natsuki curled up on the ground, hands shoved into their pants to coax some warmth back into their cold-stiffened fingers. The back of their neck stung, having been completely exposed to the wind, but the rest of their body hardly felt better. A few of their fingers on each hand were numb. They remained there for far longer than they should have. The fighting continued around them, but they couldn’t seem to force themself to move. Their exhausted body refused to do anything but curl increasingly tight around itself, desperately trying to hold onto any scrap of warm that remained. The sounds of the battle dimmed and they managed to unfold themself for a moment and stand, a sick feeling in their gut. It was frightening that they could have died if the attack was stronger, but more important was how useless they’d been. Was everyone else okay? "Natsuki!" They shoved their hands into their armpits and stumbled towards Raine, grateful when the healer moved to meet them halfway. “I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize anyone,” they said, shaking their head. “Is anyone else injured?” They wouldn’t question Raine if she thought it was best to heal them now (not after being threatened by Sveta for doing so so many times), but they had to ask, even if they felt awful. Even the old stab wound in their gut ached, and that was the least of it. None of it was even close to life-threatening, though, so they could wait. Xander was already gone, rushing off to see Illidan, and -- well, okay, they could see why. Illidan's skin had turned an even more unnatural shade, and even though he was larger it looked like he'd suffered for not having a shirt. They weren't sure why anyone would walk into battle without a shirt, especially while carrying such impractical weapons, but it wasn't their place to judge while he was hurt. Even if he'd kidnapped Xander twice and had been reckless and incompetent for the entire mission. Was Xander mad at them? Not they were worried about that or anything, it just seemed weird that he hadn't waited to see if they were alright. They didn't need him to, of course, it was better that he didn't, really. Xander was busy with Illidan, and there was no reason for them to feel upset about that. Which they didn't.
  4. Name: Karen Origin: Animorphs: Redux Info: A friendly, contemplative boy with a slug in his head. Gained the power to morph from alien technology. Abilities: Morphing: Karen can acquire the DNA of any animal by touching it. The acquiring process takes a few seconds, and during that time the animal is put in a trance-like state. Once he has acquired an animal’s DNA he can morph into it at any time. The process of morphing takes approximately two minutes. Additionally: Morphing heals all injuries He can remain in morph for up to two hours. Any longer and he would lose the ability to morph and become trapped. It’s possible to morph in skintight clothing, though anything bulky is left behind Current morphs: Female spotted hyena A dozen different dogs, five cats, two ferrets, a rabbit, four domestic rats, a corn snake, a domestic goat, two horses, a budgie, and a Syrian hamster Feral rock pigeon Canada goose Common gull Fly, dragonfly, several different types of moth, mosquito, various other common arachnids and insects House mouse American crow Red-tailed hawk Prairie falcon California sea lion Nidrak Thoughtspeech: While in morph Karen is able to project his thoughts in a form of telepathy. Thoughtspeech can be kept private and sent to only specific people or it can be broadcast to anyone within range. It isn’t blocked by walls, but has a limited range. Link to wiki: N/A Extra: N/A Name: Nidrak 682 of the Set Dareth Pool Origin: Animorphs: Redux Info: A small slug that hangs out in Karen’s brain. A defector from the Yeerk Empire. Abilities: Controller: Nidrak can enter a host’s brain by crawling through their ear. Once inside, xe is able to read the host’s thoughts and memories, control their movements, and act as the host would. A particularly willful host can briefly disrupt xir control, but the host is otherwise unable to do anything without xir permission. Timekeeping: Xe has a mental clock, accurate plus or minus a few minutes. Yeerkish Science: Xe has fairly strong knowledge of physics and computer science. Link to wiki: Yeerks Extra: Xe needs to leave xir host to feed every three days, which they do by swimming in a pool of nutrients and basking in Kandrona rays. Kandrona rays can be produced artificially by a Kandrona generator.
  5. Anders Allies: Ray, Keaton Justice: Active Status: Uninjured / Cat Anders hissed, somehow managing to be startled that they’d succeeded in making Keaton drop them. His fur puffed up further in offense, despite how the rough landing had been entirely the fault of him and Justice. They were about to take off away from Keaton and the dark shapes when they spotted two of the kittens fleeing from the safety of the box. As terrified as he was, Anders wasn’t about to let two kittens get lost, and neither was Justice. They were spurred into action, but their paw slipped across the ground as they tried to take their first step. For a few moments Anders’ paws flew every which way as they struggled to keep upright. Unable to gain any traction against the slick ground they fell, barely managing to avoid faceplanting. What…? Anders took a brief moment to lift his paw in front of his face to examine the greasy substance coating it (and all of his fur, urgh), but Justice urged him onwards. No time. They pushed themself to their feet, hissing in frustration to see that the kittens had disappeared from view. A blue tail flicked and followed Ranulf behind a stall. As much as Anders hated to leave them, he pushed down Justice’s urging to go after them, now to focus on the situation at hand. Ranulf would likely be able to find them first, and at least they were headed away from the dark creatures attacking them. The remaining kittens seemed content enough to stay in the box for the moment, and the Heartless ignored it They didn’t know how long that would last, but it let Justice focus on the more pressing concern of the two Heartless attacking Keaton. Before Anders could even think of stopping Justice he found himself being flung through the air towards the head of one of the Heartless that was attacking Keaton. It was an incredibly stupid choice, given how it looked like those claws could tear them in half in a moment, but Anders went with it, hoping to distract the shadow creature. His claws hooked deep into the Heartless’ neck and shoulders and they yowled as they bit down into strange flesh, strength augmented by Justice’s power.
  6. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [mission 01: ash and sand]

    Jowan [ less than happy reunion ] He’s glad when they finally meet up with Stan and the others again. His limbs feel heavy and there’s a persistent reminder about how nice sitting down would be in the back of his skull. They hadn’t quite made it back to the base yet, but surely nothing else of note would happen. It wasn’t as though he’d done much to be helpful, but his feet scuff against the cobblestones regardless. He stands off to the side when the two groups meet, feeling awkward. The walk had been quiet; he barely even knows Cam’s name, and he definitely doesn’t know anything about her family life or why Lara’s reaction is so extreme. Jowan’s not used to such outward displays of emotion. Not from adults, at least. Children were a very different matter. He should know how strongly children can react to losing a father. Cam’s reaction is fully justified, but that doesn’t explain Lara. He thinks for a moment that he should be comforting Cam, but a tall armored man with a furry ruff -- Theo, right? -- beats him to it. Privately, he’s relieved. He’d have probably just made things worse, and Theo seems capable enough. That thought is banished when Theo turns to him, all of the previous softness gone from his voice. His eyes widen and he glances at Arch, half convinced by the urgency in Theo’s voice that Arch is bleeding out. The only injury he could see was a gash on Arch’s wing, It had stained the white feathers brown and crimson, but the injury had been there before Arch had arrived at the safehouse and was already half dried. The volume of blood is somewhat concerning, but maybe wings just bled a lot, like head wounds? That would make sense, right? Either way, he has no idea what he’s supposed to do about it. He’s never done first aid on someone else before, and he can’t see how one would wrap bandages around the wing with all of those feathers in the way. “I-”
  7. Natsuki [ Marketplace Jail Cell ; please believe me ] Xander! Natsuki felt a pang of worry mixed with their relief. Xander was the reinforcement that they had hoped for, but at the same time they worried about his safety. His armor didn’t make him invincible, and he was charging into a ruined pile of rubble and dust. A single misstep in the low visibility could mean a twisted ankle, and then he’d be vulnerable to the dragon. Not as though there were many other options. The dragon had to be contained, and the ruined cell was as good of a place as any. “I’m fine,” they said quickly, barely able to spare Xander a glance between looking at the ground, back to the dragon, and scanning the rest of their surroundings. They blinked, and when they opened their eyes the nictitating membranes were hidden again. The improved clarity of their surroundings helped, but they were mostly concerned with not worrying Xander. In the moment, they couldn’t remember whether he’d seen the cloudy membranes before. Xander’s approach had forced them to stop their retreat, and they used the moment to straighten themself. Legs apart, feet steady on stable pieces of rubble, bruised muscles tensed and poised to prepare them to move in any direction. They picked out pathways through the rubble, eyes flickering between potential footholds. It wasn’t perfect, but when they next moved it wouldn’t be with the disoriented stumbling they’d used before. Xander pulled them towards himself, and in the expectation of unseen danger they let themself fall limp towards him, a foot striking back against the ground to stop them from falling over completely. Nothing whizzed past them or otherwise showed that their previous location was more dangerous than the one that Xander had pulled them towards. Confusion swiftly changed to annoyance as they realized that Xander’s movement had been more of a gentle tug than a yank, not meant to drag them out of immediate danger. Why hadn’t Xander left them yet? They would be safer if he left them to flee on their own, and as much as letting others fight while they escaped bothered them they knew they’d only get in the way if they stayed. "Do you need to leave? I... do not think…” Damn it. They stepped back and away from Xander, putting some distance between them, and straightened their spine, focusing more on appearances than the stability of their stance. A point on their shin burned from the strain, but they ignored it. They moved their uninjured arm away from their injury and let it to hang down by their side, joints loose, trying to make the movement look natural rather than forced. The slight tension around their mouth and eyes told them that they hadn’t entirely succeeded, but they hoped that Xander would get the message. “...but I have no issue with taking you to safety-” “I’m fine,” they insisted. “Go help Reshiram.” It felt wrong to give an order to a king of all people and a pit of dread settled in their stomach, but they couldn’t let Xander keep wasting time for them. The creeping feeling that they were being coddled was almost worse than the fear of going against the chain of command. At least when Xander had bought them food it’d been outside of battle. Didn’t Xander trust them to do their part? Had they portrayed such weakness that he didn’t believe in their ability to do something so simple as get out of danger? Xander had his own duties, and the idea that they couldn’t be relied on to do their part, that they were a burden, twisted like a parasite in their gut.
  8. Anders [ let gO !! ] Anders should have been paying more attention to his surroundings, especially in such a crowded and unfamiliar place. Stupid, to be so easily distracted. Maybe he’d have been able to notice earlier had he been better rested, but as it was his warning yowl came too late to be of any help. His fur puffed out and his lips curled into a snarl. He tried to stand up to arch his back and better see the specters, but Keaton’s thick arms restrained him against his vibrating chest. One thing that Anders and cats had in common was that neither enjoyed being trapped. All thoughts of staying where he was safe from the not-shades were chased from his mind by flee flee flee. Justice was of little help; though he didn’t have a fear of confinement, Anders’ emotions still affected him and he burst forward to protect his friend. Anders’ fur diffused the blue glow from his skin, but his eyes shone clearly. They renewed their attempts to get free with Justice’s strength, uncaring if they hurt Keaton in the midst of Anders’ panic.
  9. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [mission 01: ash and sand]

    Jowan [ don't scare us like that ] Oh, oh no. Jowan hadn’t meant to put Grigor in danger, but the cube was no longer making the faint hissing noise it had made while the call was active. That meant that he wasn’t in contact with Stan anymore, right? If only he knew how to call him back, he would have been able to tell him to make sure that the four-winged guy (Arch, right?) to be careful. Not that he knew how much that would help anyway. Was it even possible for a winged man to be subtle? Might as well just add not thinking about the danger he was putting the rebellion in to his list of failures. He froze at the rattling of the door. His mind ran through a list of things that he had to hide (notes, books, wounds, knives, bandages) and he tugged down at the ends of his sleeves -- but why was the door rattling? The Circle didn’t have any locks outside of the Templar living areas. There shouldn't be any more warning than the sound of heavy footsteps. He didn’t resist as Grigor dragged him towards the window. Better to not struggle. Less punishment that way. It wasn’t until they reached the window and Grigor started shoving him out of it that he remembered and started to struggle, to little avail. Grigor was stronger and Jowan was too distracted to find proper leverage. “But Duke--” Duke was still unconscious and wouldn’t be able to defend himself at all. Jowan at least still had his mana, and even if he couldn’t fight very well in his current state he had to do something to protect Duke from whatever horror was coming up the stairs. “No, we have to--” Grigor suddenly stopped pushing him, and Jowan fell backwards unopposed. His back hit the ground with a thud and he scrambled to right himself to see what had entered the room. Oh. He let himself slump back against the wall and tried to slow his breathing, suddenly feeling very tired in despite the adrenaline still running through his veins. Inhale, exhale. Arch was just standing there politely, as though he hadn’t just barged in and scared them half to death. “Try knocking next time, won’t you,“ he tried to snap, but he was too tired for his words to have much bite. He placed a hand to his chest and focused on the too-rapid beating. "Oh -- hi Arch," Duke! Jowan turned his head to look, and his eyebrows raised in surprise to see that Duke was already standing. “You should still be resting,” he said weakly. For someone who had just been dead to the world, Duke looked far too awake. Shouldn’t he still be lying down?
  10. Natsuki [ Marketplace Jail Cell ; this is fine ] Natsuki frowned at Xander’s words. They were glad to hear that he was alright, but was using the communicator something that they had to worry about? They hadn’t been explicitly told that they were allowed to use their communicator and the idea of breaking the rules sent a pang of guilt and fear through them, but surely if it had been left with them -- Reverberations traveled up from the floor to their feet. Something big was approaching. There was no time to react or give a warning before something large and grey tore into the cell. All Natsuki could do to resist the impact was twist away from the wall and shield their eyes with their arms and nictitating membranes. A shower of stones and dust crashed into their back and they collided with the ground. Pain shot up their elbows and the wind was knocked out of their lungs. Distantly, they noted that their cube had fallen from their grasp and had tumbled off into a corner somewhere. Struggling for air in the thick atmosphere they pushed themself to their feet, ignoring the pain in their arms. “Raine!?” They coughed, then pulled their collar over their nose to filter out the worst of the choking dust. It was difficult to see through the chaos and cloudy membranes over their eyes, but they had to move immediately. They stumbled forward, trying to avoid tripping over the pieces of brick and mortar in their path. It felt wrong to start trying to escape without verifying that their teammate was okay, but if she knew anything about fights Raine would be doing the same. The situation had simply happened too quickly, and trying to help each other would just get them both killed. In any other circumstances… They didn’t get far before the ground shook and opened under their feet. Walls crumbled around them, chunks of stone the size of their torso falling to the ground with deafening crashes. A few bursts of flame shot out of the new cracks in the floor. I thought magic wouldn’t work here!? Obviously their assumption had been wrong, and they paid the price for it when their arm got too close to a gout of flame. They jerked their arm away and grit their teeth, but couldn’t stop the ragged groan of pain from escaping their throat. Just had to keep moving. Everything else could be dealt with later.
  11. Natsuki [ let’s just talk our way out and it’ll all be fine ] Natsuki hissed under their breath in frustration as Illidan carried Xander off yet again. This was too much to deal with at once. Illidan had abandoned them, Xander was kidnapped (again), the dragon was fleeing, etcetera etcetera, and they couldn’t even call for backup. At least the marketplace’s police had arrived to help. ☙~❧ They picked themself off of a hard concrete floor, rubbing at a spot on their shoulder that had been caught between concrete and bone. They caught the tail end of what Raine had been saying -- something about Illidan’s actions proving that new agents needed basic training, which Natsuki completely agreed with. How much smoother would things have gone if they hadn’t dragged new agents out onto the field without so much as telling them not to kidnap people? That was something to worry about later. For now, they (along with Raine and some sort of cat-like being) were locked in a cell. The bars were made of some sort of energy, and the large mirror was different, but the general layout was recognizable enough as a jail. They stretched out their arms, testing their range of mobility. Oddly enough, they didn’t feel groggy or like they had a headache at all. No injuries, either. Their belt was gone, however, as were most of the contents of their pockets. Their captors had left the cube, however, which was either a major oversight or surprisingly polite. Presumably it was the latter, given how thorough they had otherwise been. “Will they?” they asked the black cat-like being. “Good.” The sooner the guards came, the sooner they could clear up the misunderstanding. Natsuki hadn’t even fought in self defense, so they knew that they hadn’t done anything illegal. If they were lucky, the dragon that had attacked Reshiram had been captured as well. They didn’t pay much mind to the yelling from the other cells, as there was really no reason to panic. It’d all be sorted out soon. “In the meantime, I’ll call Xander and let him know that we’re alright.” They held the cube out in front of themself and tapped in Xander’s number. “Xander? This is Natsuki. Raine and I are in police custody, but we’re unharmed and in no danger. Please report your status. Over.” They tried to keep the worry out of their voice. He’d been fine the last time he’d been kidnapped, and worrying would do no good.
  12. Anders [ --hey! ] Anders folded his ears back and gave a few token lashes of his tail. There were worse things than being (hopefully) temporarily stuck as a cat -- there was that one time that Hawke made him touch an amulet that made him mute for three days -- but he wasn’t pleased by it. He was nearly defenseless and was completely unable to use his magic. What if someone got hurt? The small size and agility of a cat was useful for some things (mostly for lazing around in sunbeams), but being able to willingly shift back and forth was different. He was preoccupied with his sudden… condition, and so didn’t notice Keaton swooping down from behind him. Instinctively, he drove his claws into Keaton’s sleeve to keep himself from slipping. A soft growl left his throat, but when Keaton asked if it was alright he stopped. Keaton, well, he wasn’t actually bad at holding cats. Anders’ legs were supported properly, and he was pressed comfortably against Keaton’s chest. It was pretty warm, actually. Not having to walk or worry about getting lost or trampled underfoot was kind of nice as well. After thinking about it for a moment he let out a soft mmrph of assent. ☙~❧ Anders’ fur puffed up and his ears flattened as the strong scent of fox hit his nose. One, small and cream colored, rested on the stall. He’d thought that they were going to meet cat people, not fox people. Foxes were fine, really! Small, and cute, and kind of like cats. They just also happened to make his cat body want to run or fight, so it would have been rather nice to receive a warning. He tried to force his fur to lie flat, but he was pretty sure that his tail would have been lashing if it wasn’t pinned against his body. Trying to help or not, he still didn’t want Kaden, a complete stranger, to touch his ears. He glared and Kaden and drew himself into a tighter ball, in the process snuggling deeper into Keaton’s arms. Fortunately the action didn’t take long, but Kaden’s assessment that the ears were real was hardly helpful. Wasn’t Keaton’s ability to hold him evidence enough? There hadn’t been any need to touch him. His bad mood wasn’t improved by Kaden’s inability to guess at how long the enchantment would take to fade, but a flash of white light and the appearance of a blond boy was enough to distract him from his irritation. His ears pricked up towards Ray and the boy and he extended his neck to better see. He mmrphed in amusement at the tangle of limbs that Ray and the boy had gotten caught it, but it was strange. The cream kitten hadn’t left the box until after he and Ray had touched the box, and he’d surely been exposed for longer, but Ray still had her ears and Anders was still stuck as a cat. Was the fading of the enchantment not entirely related to time, then? He hadn’t seen the cream kitten do anything else that could have broken the enchantment, unless heightened emotional states were a factor. It could be random, but that didn’t give them any hints about what to do next.
  13. Anders [ science ] Well, that was a bit troublesome. Anders probably should have stopped Ray from sticking her hand in the box, but he had been a little occupied by the way that Leonardo da Kittinci leaned into his hand and closed his eyes. Some things in life were just more important than stopped small children from acquiring potentially permanent magical body modifications. Things like kittens yawning and nearly falling over, sweet Maker. Had he died? No. Anders repressed a sigh. Eight years and Justice still hadn’t gotten the point of a rhetorical question. He probably wouldn’t any time soon. As distracting as Catilla the Hun knocking over Leonardo da Kittinci again was, Keaton shouting and tackling Ranulf was enough to draw his attention. At first his heart leapt at the sight of such large creatures fighting each other, but it only took him a moment for him to realize that it wasn’t a true fight. There wasn’t any blood, for one thing. It did give him the opportunity to see that Keaton’s wolfskin body, though still massive, had been blessed with catness as well. He craned his neck to try to see the beans in question, but Keaton’s body blocked the view. How disappointing. He supposed it was a bit fortunate: he wasn’t sure if he could’ve resisted tackling and cuddling Keaton if he saw the giant beans. “Aren’t we supposed to be looking for cat supplies?” he asked, but his voice was weak. Truthfully, he didn’t want to leave the cats. It was nice to relax, and he hadn’t in… quite long time. Not that he’d had the opportunity too; it had been vital to finish their plans without delay. Every second that Hawke had tried to make him sleep or visit the Hanged Man was another moment that mages were in chains. Sloth! Picking up cat supplies didn’t have the same urgency, whether he’d promised or not. Somewhat grudgingly, Justice agreed. It helped that Justice wasn’t entirely invested in the cats the way that Anders was. Maybe Anders could convince him. Though, Ray getting ears did give him an idea -- Do not. -- the ears were rather cute, and -- Stop it. -- twice could just be a coincidence, right? They couldn’t be sure that the box was some magical artifact that gave people tails if he didn’t test it. Why, it would be wrong to not try it out. We don’t know -- Ignoring Justice’s protests, Anders quietly slipped his hand into the box. The first thing he noticed was that his eyes were far closer to the ground than they should have been. The second thing he noticed was that he was fluffy orange tabby again. Justice, predictably, was upset. Anders was a bit on edge as well; being a cat did make him feel much more vulnerable in most cases. The cat instincts begged him to run and hide from the multitude of people and noises, but Anders managed to stay put (albeit with a very bristly tail). It wasn’t like he couldn’t just turn back -- Huh. Well then.
  14. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [mission 01: ash and sand]

    Jowan [ should have just let it go to voicemail ] "Duke? Duke, are you there? Status report." The cube slipped from Jowan’s hands and he fumbled with it, struggling to catch it. It bounced off of his fingertips and clattered to the floor. He stared at it, hands still outstretched. "Anyone there hearing this? Please answer. Just lean in and speak normally at the non-threatening cube." "You do it," Well. Did he have to? Because he really didn’t want to explain that in the short time they’d been away Duke had promised to aid a local revolution, fought two guards, destroyed a bridge, and fallen unconscious. Seeing that no one else was going to touch the cube he leaned down and picked it up. He held it too close to his mouth when he spoke. “Uh, this is Jowan, hello. Duke is…” he paused, trying to think of a way to put it delicately. “Unconscious right now. But we’re safe!” He moved the cube away from his mouth (though it was still close enough for Stan to hear) and turned his head towards Grigor. “We are safe, right?” he stage-whispered before moving the cube back to his mouth and confirming, “We’re safe,” without waiting for an answer. "There were... some complications, but Cistina ran after the anchor?"
  15. Anders [ disrupting pets is unjust ] “You don’t have to do that,” he said quickly. Ray was, what, twelve? Eleven? He couldn’t accept money from her, not when he didn’t even let Hawke give him extra money and when she probably needed it more. Scraping by with the bare minimum was something that he was used to, and just because he was in a different world didn't mean he couldn't keep doing it. But… if it meant that the cats were safe… “Thank you,” he said, quiet. Anders swiftly withdrew his hand, feeling both disappointed and a little embarrassed. Petting another person was weird, wasn’t it? It was definitely weird. Though… Keaton hadn’t exactly seemed opposed to the idea. He’d started to lean in, hadn’t he? Anders was pretty sure that he had, and Keaton had sniffed him, so that was something. Maybe he’d get another chance. Not that he needed one. Nope. Touching those soft ears wasn’t the most important goal in his life at the moment. He ignored Justice’s grumbling about how lying was unjust, even if it was to himself, because it was the truth. Getting supplies for the cats was the most important goal for him. “Well, I didn’t do anything,” he said. Though I would have if I could. “Maybe the box had something to do with it?” He eyed the box, which now seemed much more ominous -- aw, but he still couldn’t be wary of the box when Leonardo da Kittinci’s ears were poking over the top. Maybe it was best to avoid touching it if it could be something that Xenon would want to collect, but the kittens! He reached out a hand to rub behind Leonardo da Kittinci’s ears. Natsuki [ Kyurem Fight - Talking with Illidan & co. ] Natsuki stepped back in shock, dropping their hands so that the taser pointed at the ground and away from Xander. Their eyes widened as though they’d been slapped and excuses danced along the tip of their tongue -- that they’d thought he was in danger, that Illidan had kidnapped him, that Illidan had gone rogue. None of that was worth the air that it would take to explain; they’d messed up, and apologies wouldn’t do anything to fix that. The best they could hope for was following their current orders and accepting that there would be more reprimandations later. They took a brief moment to reorientate themself, swallowing and holstering their holster. Switching tracks of thought was made both easier and more difficult by the combat drugs; on one hand their mind felt sharpened, but on the other they felt excited, restless. Too many stimulants for the situation? They tried to damp the buzzing feeling in their limbs as they spoke quickly but clearly. “There was a dragon of some sort. I didn’t see it all, but it attacked and somehow absorbed Reshiram and is now going on a rampage. I’ve been helping civilians escape, but some others have been fighting the dragon. It’s powerful, whatever it is -- it’s fighting multiple people at once and doesn’t seem to be stopping. I saw it use some sort of energy attack.” Hopefully that was all the information that was expected of them, because they hadn’t seen everything and didn’t understand what they had seen. They were still confused about what had happened with Illidan, and were sure that it showed on their face. Xander’s clothes were stained with blood, but Raine’s presence meant that he was fine, physically. Yet… They frowned. His face was more heavily lined than usual, as if he was in pain. It didn't make any sense, unless Raine hadn't finished healing him. Had he been that badly injured? Natsuki had plenty of questions about that, among other things, but didn’t deserve to ask or take up any more of the group’s time. It took them a moment to answer Illidan's question, their brain still classifying him as an enemy and so reluctant to share information with him. “...It’s a taser,” they said. “It shoots out two prongs and then electricity travels between them. Usually it isn’t lethal.”
  16. Natsuki [ Kyurem Fight - Talking with Illidan & co. ] Natsuki scanned the area for something else that they could do to help. Instead, they spotted the reason for one of their troubles -- Illidan. He wheeled around in the air, almost appearing to be looking around for something. He carried two people, Xander and -- Raine? Why did he have her? It didn’t take Illidan long to find whatever it was he was looking for, and as he dove Natsuki ran to where his trajectory suggested that he’d land. As they did so, they reached for and unholstered their taser. They almost wished that they could have gone for their gun, given that Xander and Raine could be in danger, but such a thing would have been beyond reckless. More drugs pumped through their veins, spurred by the continued release of adrenaline. A delicate balance of positive and negative feedbacks, but relatively crude compared to some of the other things that the universities could produce. Enough to let them push themself a little harder, slow down their perception of time a bit, but hardly good for their body in the long run. Even so, it was practically considered standard issue. “Stop! Let them go,” they yelled, pointing the taser straight at Illidan’s chest. If they were lucky, he would be able to understand the threat that the weapon represented. “Raine,” they said, giving the healer a nod of acknowledgment.
  17. Anders [ keaton… is now pettable... ] Anders wanted desperately to join Akatsuki and Keaton in petting the kittens, but first he had to finish talking to Ranulf. The area around the box had gotten fairly crowded, anyway, and he'd gotten his chance to pet Leonardo da Kittinci (short though it was). He nodded, mentally taking note of all of the things that the kittens needed. He wasn’t exactly sure where any of it could be found and didn’t remember seeing anything that looked like cat supplies on the way (not that he’d been looking). It couldn’t be that hard, though, and it wasn’t like he had anything else to do. There was one other problem. He stuck his hands into his pockets and withdrew two pieces of copper and a piece of silver. He had no idea what the coins would be worth at the Market -- or if he would even be able to find someone willing to take them -- but they wouldn’t have been enough even in Kirkwall. Pascal had said something about mentioning her name, but it didn’t seem right to ask XDRE for anything, especially when he wasn’t planning on getting involved with them. “Maybe I could heal someone…” he murmured, returning the coins to his pocket. He didn’t normally charge for healing, subsiding on donations, the odd Hightowner, and loot from Hawke’s expeditions, but he was hardly in Darktown anymore. People could likely afford it here, and if not, he had a lyrium potion that might be worth something. That was better saved for emergencies, though, and as much as he cared, retrieving food for the kittens wasn’t an emergency. “Huh?” Keaton had, somehow, managed to get into trouble without even leaving Anders’ sight. Well, in a sense. Another way of looking at it was that he’d been improved. His ears were shorter, and his tail flicked in clear interest. Adorable. “Keaton?” he asked, and waited a moment for Keaton to turn around. Keaton had certainly been willing enough to be pet before -- maybe that offer still stood? Feeling almost mesmerized by the way that Keaton’s ear twitched, he slowly lifted his hand and reached forward, giving Keaton plenty of time to push his hand out of the way. His ears looked so soft.
  18. Natsuki [ Kyurem Fight ] Natsuki pushed themself back to their feet, wincing at their new injuries. Bits of gravel had embedded into their palms from when they used their hands to break their fall, and the axe’s head had grazed their shoulder. They reached to touch the wound, and their hand came back lightly bloodied. That was fine. A bit of blood was to be expected, but the slash wasn’t doing more than seeping and sending throbbing feelings of pain down their arm. They supposed that it could have been much worse, considering the damage that such a weapon could have done. No one had been seriously injured, so -- An animalistic screech of pain rent the air. They turned to look, eyes wide, unsure of what they were seeing. Magic, clearly, but they had no idea what kind. A creature of some sort had attacked Reshiram, and now had taken on some of their appearance. I will be free. I will… I will be whole. Ominous. They had to help Reshiram, but they had no idea how the creature had absorbed them, let alone how to free them. Unsure of what to do, they turned to Xander, both for orders and to see if he was okay. They hoped -- expected -- to see him standing triumphantly over the sword, or whatever it was that people did after defeating magical floating swords. Instead, they saw him being carried by Illidan, a panicked expression on his face. “Xander!” Their hand shot to the holster at their side, pulling out their gun, but no, they couldn’t. Even if the marketplace hadn’t been so crowded, they had just as much chance of hitting Xander as they had of hitting Illidan. They held the gun at hip level, arms shaking, as Illidan flew away. Things had all gone to hell so quickly -- two people that were their responsibility were in danger, and they couldn’t do anything to help either of them. If either of them died -- Wait. Breathe. A few seconds. A flood of calming hormones was released, slowing their breathing and allowing them to think clearly. Out of habit, they took note about how the hormones affected them: effective, but the release was a bit slow. Normal, then, and difficult to change without increasing the rate of false positive releases. Not that that mattered now. Right. They scanned the creature that had attacked Reshiram, and their heart sank. It was clear that it was powerful, whatever it was, and they doubted that taser barbs would pierce its hide even if they did manage to get close enough. They reholstered their gun with steady hands; it wouldn’t be of any use either, not where there was such a high chance of hitting innocents. Crowd control was the best that they could manage. They began directing the fleeing pedestrians away from the fight, hoping that they knew the marketplace well enough that they weren’t directing people into a dead end. They picked up a small creature that was trying to run from the fighting and carried it a street away to safety, watching the creature that had absorbed Reshiram the entire time. For now the evacuation attempts were going well, but that could change swiftly if the fighting damaged the streets. Anders [ look at their widdle paws! ] Anders tried to prepare himself for whatever it was that Ranulf planned on showing him, but he still let out a small “oh!” when Ranulf transformed. It would have been difficult not to; Ranulf had both shapeshifted and turned into a beautiful cat. He resisted the urge to stick his hand out for Ranulf to sniff; it’d probably be rude to, and Ranulf had already established that he appreciated his personal space. At least it wasn’t that weird. The telepathy was new, but Anders was quite familiar with shapeshifters. Justice warned him to keep quiet about his own shapeshifting abilities, which was silly. Even he wasn’t stupid enough to reveal such a thing to someone that he had just met. Well, Keaton already knew. And turning into a cat would be a great way to play with the kittens. Maybe he was a little tempted. He could completely understand Ranulf’s desire to sit in a box. Boxes were wonderful. Very cozy. Nice and warm. Focus. Right. Not sleeping for two days tended to make that difficult, but he’d fought drakes after longer. Having a conversation shouldn’t be so difficult. “I’m not really sure,” he admitted. “Shopping, apparently, but no one told us what to look for, so. That wasn’t very smart of them, was it? I guess that makes our job making sure that Keaton doesn’t get into trouble.” He glanced at Keaton, making sure that he hadn’t run off in the past five seconds. “So, is there any way that we can help you with the kittens?” Maybe he’d regret saying that, but they were adorable and he would do anything for them.
  19. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [mission 01: ash and sand]

    Jowan “Right,” he says, thankful for the reminder. He nearly collapses onto an empty cot and gratefully accepts the warm bowl of soup. “Thank you.” Fancy or not, the soup is far better than most of the meals he’s had recently, and that was when the guards remembered to feed him. He takes some time to begin eating the soup, but soon feels as though he should help Dynarst explain. “We… we aren’t from here, no. We’re supposed to be… saving universes by retrieving items, I don’t -- I don’t really understand it fully myself. Duke could explain better,” he says, gesturing towards Duke with his spoon. He looks down at his soup and takes another bite, trying to ignore the reminder about Duke’s unconscious state. “Oh! Proof, well,” he fumbles for a moment, dropping the spoon into the bowl to free up a hand. Balancing the bowl on his leg and raising his free hand, he focuses. The hand bursts into flame. He lets the flames linger for a few moments, then shakes it to put the flames out. “People can’t do that here, right?” “Duke has this cube thing that can contact the rest of our team,” he says later, placing the empty bowl on the ground beside the cot and standing up. Blackness clouds his vision and he screws his eyes shut, waiting for the loss of vision to pass. Eating had helped, but he still feels unsteady on his feet, and he’s careful to avoid stumbling as he walks to Duke’s cot. “Sorry,” he mutters despite Duke being unable to hear him. Though he tries to avoid touching Duke’s chest while retrieving the cube (probably looking rather silly doing so), his fingers brush against it. Cube in hand, he returns to the cot that he had been sitting on, then realizes his error. “Oh.” Despite flipping it around and examining all six sides of the cube, he’s unable to figure out how it’s supposed to be used.
  20. Natsuki [ Goblin’s Shop ] Natsuki gazed briefly at the items for sale before directing their attention back to watching the crowds. It wasn’t that the items for sale weren’t interesting; far from it. There were mechanical contraptions made of gears and springs, strange glowing rings, shimmering fabrics, and more. They would have loved to run their hands over the quilled pauldrons and ask about the strange white whistle shaped like two clasped hands, but they weren’t the right person to try to understand such things. They felt like they’d adapted well enough, but magic still made their head spin when they thought about it too hard. It went against everything that had been drilled into their head -- conservation of matter, conservation of energy, the need for efficiency, every feature having a price. Had more biology been involved they could have perhaps made themself useful in scanning the shop for anything useful, but it seemed as though most worlds had technology based upon machines or magic. Understandable, really, given how many drawbacks biotech had. All in all, they were much better suited to guarding Xander and Illidan while they found the sword they were looking for. They took a moment to take another bite of their (delicious) burger, but nearly choked on it when Illidan mentioned the sword choosing Xander. They shouldn’t have been surprised; of course the least convenient thing possible had happened. It was par for the course for X-DRE, almost as though the organization attracted unfortunate coincidences. How was one even supposed to fight a sword? They didn’t have any vital organs (or organs at all) to attack. “No. You can’t.” They faltered, realizing that they’d just tried to tell Xander what to do. “I mean… it’s dangerous.” They felt like smacking themself. Of course it was dangerous, and Xander was strong, but they were worried about him, damn it. The sword had risen up into the air on its own -- would it even give a warning before trying to stab him? They had to help if it looked like he was going to lose, whether it was supposed to be a one-on-one battle or not. Preparing for a fight, they placed their half-eaten burger on a bare patch of the goblin’s table and took inventory of their weapons. They didn’t have anything that could be used in the market or that could reliably hit the sword, and it wasn’t like a sword could be cuffed anyway, but -- There was a clattering behind them, and for a brief moment they turned around. Reshiram, apparently the cause of the noise, bolted, and Natsuki nearly ran after them. A lost and nervous rookie was just as important as a fight with a sword, and at least they could almost trust Xander to take care of himself. Unfortunately, Reshiram wasn’t the only problem, nor was Quel’delar the only floating weapon. An axe with a large blue eye rose into the air and started swinging itself around wildly, and continued to do so after being attacked by a large dragon. Without thinking through their actions too much they lunged towards the axe, hoping to grab its handle or at least distract it. Anders [ cats! ] The small, black kitten Anders held was adorable. Its limbs were long for its size, and it stared up at him with bright, mismatched eyes. A blue breakaway collar on its neck was embroidered with Leonardo da Kittinci, the name almost too long to fit. Perhaps it was a pun of some sort? Precious. “Oh, of course!” he said, giving Leonardo da Kittinci one last pet before leaning down and returning him to the box. The kitten began to crawl towards the edges of the box for another escape attempt, but a brown bob-tailed kitten clumsily tackled him with a triumphant “mew!”. Guess the other kittens really did care about keeping their sibling with them. That, or the brown tabby -- Catilla the Hun -- just liked to play. Unsurprisingly, Keaton took the opportunity to crowd far too close to the cat-eared man in an attempt to sniff at him. For a “wolfskin” he acted uncomfortably doglike. Not that Anders hated dogs, but cats were far cuter and nicer. That, and it was completely unfair that he owed Dog money. He had to have cheated at Diamondback, the mongrel. “Anders,” he said. “Laguz?” Maybe he shouldn’t have trusted Ranulf so quickly -- Justice certainly didn’t think so -- but he seemed harmless. More to the point, he had a box full of kittens with him, and he looked tired. Even in the marketplace (where he was pretty sure that he’d seen a winged werewolf with far too many eyes) holding a box of kittens probably wasn’t something done without a reason. “It’s great that you’re from the same place and all, but why the adorable little darlings?” He looked down at the box, where Catilla the Hun was chewing on a disgruntled and pinned Leonardo da Kittinci’s ear, and smiled.
  21. Natsuki [ Good Eats ] Ah, it was the person that Xander had headbutted once. He hardly seemed like the safest person to associate with, but it wasn’t Natsuki’s place to judge. Having more contacts in the marketplace, even if they were only street food vendors, was an asset. Besides, Xander got along well with him, and Xander hadn’t been too badly injured. They’d been worried about him, of course; maybe Xander was trying to get revenge for how much they’d fussed over him that day. They more or less tuned out Xander’s conversation with Shepard, trying to ignore the mention of ‘short human lifespans’ in particular. Instead, they looked over the menu. The food sounded greasy, meaty, and high-calorie -- perfect. They felt a flare of curiosity when Xander mentioned some of the food being poisonous -- but no, it wasn’t the time to ask about that. There was no reason to learn more about it, so they quashed the desire to ask. Instead, they only said, “I’ll have the bacon burger, thank you.” The air gained an odd chill as they waited for their food to be cooked. Normally the marketplace was a comfortable temperature -- why would that change? There was no wind to bring in fresh air. Rubbing their fingers together to keep them warm, they looked around for a potential source. Though they weren’t sure what they were looking for, they did notice that some of the other shoppers looked confused by the cold as well. This wasn’t a normal occurrence, then. The white-haired rookie looked scared as well, but they hadn’t stopped looking scared. They frowned at Illidan’s request, considering it. They felt as though the group should investigate the cold, but upon reflection, it was likely that they were just jumpy. A bit of cold, however much Natsuki hated it, wasn’t hurting anyone. Besides, leaving to look at a sword had a chance of getting them out of the cold. “I don’t see why not. Just keep an eye out.” They didn’t elaborate, feeling somewhat embarrassed that they were so worried about nothing.
  22. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [mission 01: ash and sand]

    Jowan He’s exhausted and wishes that he could sit down on the ground again, but he follows Dynarst without complaint. The path that he follows hardly seems straight, and almost seems to loop back on itself a few times, but Jowan assumes that Dynarst has a reason for that. Maybe it’s to keep people from following them. The house, like the others around it, is small and coated in a thick layer of ash and grime. Jowan is less sure that the concealed panel in the door is standard, but he questions neither it nor the “offer” that Dynarst mentions. His suspicions about the house not being entirely legal are increased by the number of cots, both occupied and otherwise, on the top floor. It’s convenient for their purposes, at least, even if Jowan is concerned that they’re getting wrapped up in something that they shouldn’t be. Maybe it’s too late to worry about that; Duke had already antagonized the local authorities enough, and maybe he wasn’t wrong to. He wrings his hands as Dynarst places Duke on the bed, concerned. Duke’s chest rises and falls slowly but steadily, and there is an almost peaceful expression on his face. It’s worrisome that he’s been out for so long, but he doesn’t seem to be dying. Perhaps he's just sleeping deeply enough to not be woken by a giant metal golem carrying him around. It's a comforting thought, at least. Jowan could use some sleep himself. Calling it “a long day” was a bit of an understatement -- he’d gone from nearly being made Tranquil to being dragged to the Gateway to this. The only time he’d really been able to rest (if one could call it that) was when he’d had a shower, and that itself had been confusing enough. He’s not sure if he wants to be asleep when Duke wakes up, though -- surely waking up in an unfamiliar place would be disconcerting. There’s still a few things that he needs to do first as well, like trying to contact Stan and the others. Would they be worried? He doesn't think that getting into a fight like this was part of the plan, especially because the Anchor is nowhere nearby, now. “Thank you,” he says to the blue-eyed man, Grigor. For a moment he bites his lip and bunches his eyebrows together, wondering how to explain. He quickly decides that he shouldn’t bother trying, and instead continues with, “Could I have some water? And food?” He doesn’t think much of the question, only thinking about how he hasn’t eaten for hours and how faint he feels.
  23. Anders [ keaton stop ] The bazaar was, though similar to trade cities such as Amaranthine, more chaotic and brightly colored than he expected. Smelled a lot nicer than Amaranthine, too. A good portion of the people milling around had, like Keaton, appendages or features that normal humans, elves, and dwarves lacked. A few were hardly recognizable as people at all, resembling small dragons, large birds, or other strange creatures more than anything. He wasn’t quite sure why he or any of the other newcomers were there -- no one had given them any kind of list, and encouraging them to come for no reason seemed to be inviting disaster. Someone was sure to get lost in the winding marketplace, at best. That someone would probably be Keaton, who had already disappeared from his side. Anders spun around, scanning around for Keaton in the crowd. There! Anders was moving before he even considered why he was bothering -- Keaton wasn’t his responsibility, and there was nothing stopping him from leaving the dog. Justice’s influence, perhaps. “Keaton, wait!” he called, doubting that it would attract Keaton’s attention. Weaving through the crowd slowed him, but fortunately Keaton seemed distracted by absolutely everyone around himself. Really, there was a lot to see, but that didn’t mean that he had to run off- mew! Anders skidded to a stop and turned towards the source of the sound. A man stood with his back to a market stall, holding a large cardboard box in his arms. His hair was a shade of blue that would have been shocking had Anders seen it a day ago, and he wore some sort of orange headband or hat. His odd appearance didn’t stop there -- his eyes were mismatched, there were small blue tattoos on his jawbone, and two feline ears were hidden in his hair. Far more important than the odd man was the black kitten poking its head out of the box. “Keaton, come here!” he tried, looking over his shoulder to yell at the dog. If it didn’t work, Ray could handle him. The kitten managed to pull itself halfway out of the box, teetering over the edge. The man fumbled with the box, trying to adjust his grip so that he could push the kitten back down, but Anders was faster. Gently, he grabbed the kitten and pulled it close to his chest so that it couldn’t fall, despite its squirming. Mew! the kitten yelled, evidently displeased by the way that its attempts at exploring had been thwarted. Natsuki [ I'm fine, really ] In theory, the marketplace was a terrible place. Nothing had gone wrong during any of the X-Dreamers’ past trips, but that didn’t mean that it was completely safe. The constant flow of people from different worlds made it impossible to track the culture or motivations of the crowd, and there were far too many opportunities to hide weapons. Wings and large cloaks created bulges that could conceal guns, and there was the ever-constant reminder of how many people had powerful physical or magical abilities. Trips to the marketplace were unpredictable, in short, and Natsuki had to be alert in order to keep the group safe. The number of rookies coming along didn’t help matters. In practice, it was almost nostalgic. Not that the marketplace didn't have an air of danger, but when did they ever feel safe? The people, despite how potentially dangerous they were, were for the most part familiar. Some went beyond anything that they had seen in their world, like a man whose head floated a few inches above his shoulders, but Natsuki was used to modified people and gigantic dogs. The horns and strange eye colors were normal. The familiarity of unusual people wouldn’t be enough, but the overall atmosphere was -- nice. Like the farmer’s market that they had managed to visit a few times. A little more personal, unique, cut off from the politics and endless progression of the world. They knew that such a view was unrealistic and tinted by rose-colored glasses, but it was comforting to pretend. They froze for a moment at the touch of Xander’s hand to their wrist. “Thank you, but I’m not going to keel over.” It wasn’t the physical contact itself that scared them -- they were far too used to being poked and prodded for that. They would have to put a little less time into work and put a little more effort into visibly taking care of themself. It was something that they should have learned by now, but habits were difficult to change after eighteen years. Pretending wouldn’t take too much time, and they would still- Exhaling, they let themself be dragged along behind Xander. “I can take… I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name,” they said, looking towards the tall demonic-looking man. “I’m Natsuki. A pleasure to meet you.” They continued. “I can take him and myself to get food, Xander. You don’t need to come with us if you have other things to do.” They doubted that Xander would accept, but they felt compelled to offer anyway. It was strange and somewhat frightening, having someone that wanted them to stay healthy for altruistic reasons. They kept finding themself looking for a selfish motive for Xander’s actions -- perhaps he simply wanted them to be able to fight well, and didn’t trust them to judge their own body. His actions made that seem unlikely, but at least it was easy to understand.
  24. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [mission 01: ash and sand]

    Jowan A feeling of dread settles in Jowan’s stomach even as he reaches over to start unwinding the bandage. He and Duke were both too exhausted for another fight, but he should have seen this coming. They should have kept moving instead of stopping to talk about their feelings, of all things. Now they’d die, and it’ll be his fault because he should have said something. The dull realization hurts, but he’s so tired. Maybe they could create enough of a delay to allow Dynarst to escape. Before he can muster up the courage to let the blood start flowing again Duke claims to recognize the metal beast hurtling towards them. Jowan squints; he’s not sure how Duke recognizes much when it’s moving so quickly and erratically. The pounding in his chest doesn’t help, telling him to run, but his feet remain planted on the ground. He tells himself that it’s because Dynarst is relying on him, but in truth he’s not sure if he’d be able to move if he tried. He’s amazed by Duke’s ability to stand tall in the face of a giant robot stopping feet from him; even Jowan stumbles backward, despite being farther away than Duke is. He hopes that it’s bravery and not a lack of reflexes that keeps Duke from moving, anyway. Now that the creature has stopped, he’s able to recognize it as well. Was… was that one Fiddlesticks? He knows that there are two of the terrifying robot things and that the other one was darker, but he can’t remember which was which. Has she come to finish the job and kill Duke? A few drops of blood fall to the cobblestones at his feet, but he waits. The tension in the air is so thick that he can barely draw breath. Duke’s dry comment about bleeding out doesn’t help -- Jowan doesn’t want to hear about Duke nearly dying, not when he’s so likely to die for real now. The robot goes straight to business, not even bothering to introduce himself. He’s not Fiddlesticks, at least, but he’s looking for her and that’s enough to convince Jowan that he should stay as far from the robot as possible. Maybe it’s not very heroic, but he wants to leave, to find whatever shelter Dynarst proposed. He doesn’t know how to interrupt to say this -- it feels like any sudden movement he makes could result in the robot focusing that yellow eye on him.
  25. Zor

    X-DREAMERS [IC - BASE]

    Anders [ The Castle | Main Entryway ] The longer Keaton talked, the more confused Anders felt. He actually seemed to consider the idea of intentionally keeping corpses around, which was somewhat disturbing. They were a major disease risk, no matter what Keaton thought about the aesthetics. Dust, bones, broken glass- he’d love Darktown. Maybe he could visit sometime, and they could take bets on how long it would take for him to get a lung infection from sniffing everything. Personally, Anders was happy enough to have a roof over his head. Justice was, anyway. A roof and a lack of corpses. Before he could express his disgust with Keaton’s interior decorating tastes, two people entered the room. One was carrying some sort of yellow stuffed animal and the other looked young and nervous, but they both looked otherwise normal (if dressed oddly). They didn’t have any tails or animal ears that he could see, anyway, nor did their postures indicate that they were interested in fighting. The young dark-haired girl looked quite nervous, actually. Anders kept his guard up and watched them carefully anyway. He felt far too on edge to relax, even if the newcomers looked harmless. “I noticed,” he muttered to Keaton, who seemed intent on making sure that they were all aware that a shouting person had entered the room. He was content to stand back while Keaton ran forward and the stuffed animal thing revealed itself to be alive. Strange. More concerning was the sudden appearance of another person, this one carrying a staff. A mage? That didn’t make sense- where had he come from? "Careful, Sorey, I have a real bad feeling about this.” “Don’t we all,” Anders sighed, removing his hair tie and pulling his hair back again. There was also a dog, but Anders had reached the limit of how much one could be surprised in one day. This one was much smaller than (though still as excitable as) Hawke’s Marbari, at least. “A shopping trip,” he deadpanned. Sure. Why not. It wasn’t like they had anything better to do. There was always something that needed to be done. ...but then, they couldn’t do any of it. Brewing potions required supplies, healing required patients- even working on his manifesto required ink and paper, which he didn’t have. The thought made his fingers twitch, but he was trapped there. “Why not.”