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The Ship Called The Styx

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There are many worlds, many universes and dimensions, in the multiverse. Endless variety exists in these worlds, with every fantasy and impossibility having its own homeworld. Whether the tales inspire the world to exist or vice-versa is a hotly debated subjected in some circles. Each universe follows its own path around the core of the multiverse as they move like vast, ghostly planets orbiting a faint Sun; parallel universes break off from them every second as choices are made or not made, trailing behind them as remora fish trail behind a shark on the seas of Earth. Although usually each plane of existence is kept separate and unaware of the others, when the planes collide doors can open, allowing living beings to travel from one plane to another- whether they want to or not. Such doors are mostly short-lived, only lasting a few seconds to an hour at the most, meaning that only a handful of civilisations are aware of their existence and even fewer have truly mastered them. But, as always, there is one exception, a place where worlds meet and mingle. Those who know of it give it many names; the most common being the Sea of Fate.


This sea spans many worlds, perhaps as few as a hundred or as many as a thousand - the true number may never be known. Very few are aware of the Sea of Fate's existence which, given that awareness of the multiverse is sparse in itself, means that their numbers rarely enter the double figures; most of those who find the Sea are heading somewhere else entirely, and those who manage to leave almost never stumble upon it again. Still, there are some ships who sail the Sea with some regularity, going about their mysterious business in privacy and silence.


The Styx is one of those ships, and possibly the newest of the lot. Even those who are familiar with the Sea- like the blind captain who once sailed with five of the Eternal Champions- would be hard pressed to say anything about it or decide for certain just when it first appeared. The only crew it seems to have is its captain, a tall, gaunt man clad in dark armour with eyes the colour of the night. It seems to sail without purpose, empty and silent apart from the faint sound of sobbing that may or may not be the captain himself. But all that's about to change as one by one they appear, struggling and bobbing along in the Styx's wake; the captain seems to take pity on them, throwing down a rope and pulling the them aboard to join the rag-tag group of castaways.


Men and women from all worlds and walks of life, those who have been pulled from the Sea have only one thing in common. They're all dead, and they all have unfinished business. Each of them has died, whether by the hands of another or themselves, with great regrets in their hearts; regrets so great that their souls could not rest or pass on, instead finding their way to the Sea and hence to the Styx. They are chained to their past existences by the events of their lives, unable to find peace in whatever afterlife their world possesses and unable to go back to the lands of the living. And it is here on the Styx they are offered a second chance- if they perform as many good deeds as it takes to absolve them of their past sins then they will be able to leave the Styx and move on. Where they move on to, whether they choose to pass on to their afterlife or take the risk and step back into their old lives as living people, is up to them. But until then, they cannot leave the ship for anything other than their 'missions'; to attempt escape would be to wipe themselves from existence entirely, as if they had never been. Failure, you see, is not an option...


So, To The Present...

A group of men and women from many different worlds have found themselves on a mysterious ship called the Styx after their deaths; all of them have lived harsh or otherwise unpleasant lives, often becoming criminals or otherwise doing unpleasant things that they regret. They are approached by its 'captain' (a man called Lord Curze, the first of them to arrive on the ship) who says he has a message to pass on to them from a mysterious individual called Lord. The message goes thus: if they stay, then Lord will help them absolve themselves of their past sins and free them of their regrets.


Those who accept stay on the ship, following directions that mysteriously appear on a scroll in the captain's cabin and battling evil wherever Lord directs them. Those who don't accept simply... vanish, and nobody but the captain and Lord ever remembers they had existed. The castaways are starting to get the feeling that they are not the first group to come aboard the Styx, that others had been there before them- and failed. Some are starting to think that the offer that they have been given is too good to be true and that there must be some sort of catch...


On the day of their arrival, the newest set of orders arrives, detailing their first mission together:

Dear castaways,


A serial killer is targeting families in London, England, on Earth 42; his body count is currently at ten- three men, two women and five children. The local law enforcement are helpless, for the killer does not come from their world. He is something they have never seen before and cannot hope to tackle, but you can. If you succeed in finding and stopping the killer, then you are one step on the road to fre redemption.


Don't feel the need to rush to this. You have all the time in the worlds, after all.


Yours with regards,



This is just the first of what could be many missions together. But it's not time for action yet; it is time for them to take their bearings, to meet their new shipmates and to truly begin the next strange stage in their 'lives'.



1. No Godmodding, powerplaying or other unpleasantness; you know the Dragon Cave rules.


2. No Mary Sues or Gary Stues, thank you. Everyone has flaws, and real flaws- not just "They care too much" or "Their weakness is death". These are criminals and people with deep regrets.


3. This is SEMI-LIT. I'd like five lines or more with full, grammatically correct sentences in each post, please- that's around a hundred words or more- although, I can understand the occasional lapse into the four line mark from time to time. We all have off days.


4. As with the sentences, please try your best to spell correctly; most browsers do have a spell-check function nowadays. But, like with the sentences, I'm not that harsh. I'm not a good speller or typist myself, sometimes.


5. Please post here or on the OOC thread (if there is one) if you expect to be gone more than two days; if you don't feel up to posting or just lack inspiration, you can post that as well. I know I will.


6. Be prepared to wait for others. I, for example, am a student at University; I have work that needs to be done, and understandably that will sometimes take priority over my RPing.


7. If you've read this, write in your Other section whether or not your character has heard of Lord Curze before.


8. And, most importantly, have fun!














Origin: (Which book/TV show/film/comic/other medium are they from?)


Looks: (Link to pictures, but add at least three sentences of description.)




History: (Optional, but recommended.)


Regrets: (Not optional.)


Weapon: (Maximum of two; be reasonable. Must be hand-held.)


Skills/Abilities: (What can they do- box? Swordfight? Cook? Start fires? Move things with their minds? Sing?)









[B]Origin:[/B] (Which book/TV show/film/comic/other medium are they from?)

[B]Looks:[/B] (Link to pictures, but add at least three sentences of description.)


[B]History:[/B] (Optional, but recommended.)

[B]Regrets:[/B] (Not optional.)

[B]Weapon:[/B] (Maximum of two; be reasonable. Must be hand-held.)

[B]Skills/Abilities:[/B] (What can they do- box? Swordfight? Cook? Start fires? Move things with their minds? Sing?)


Edited by Ruins

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Lord Konrad Curze- Ruins

Primarch and captain of the Styx. Origin Nostramo, Warhammer 40k.


Lord- Ruins

The mysterious giver of orders. Origin unknown.


03491- Silver_Voices

Phoenix shifter and lab-grown assassin. Origin Earth 741.


Fallion- Packgoater/Gator

The man with no face. Origin Earth.


Odette- Fortune86

The telepathic human-fae hybrid. Origin OC.


OOC Thread!

Edited by Ruins

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((Something horrible. So horrible Lord doesn't want to say... wink.gif But as far as the rest know, yes- they vanish.))

Edited by Ruins

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Packgoater's pretty much got it there- also, there's a... hidden catch, shall we say, about vanishing. You don't want it to happen to you, believe me.


As for their appearance, they're basically solid ghosts that walk and talk and all that sort of stuff; so their appearances could be modified by sufficiently strong emotions, yes, but most changes would be minor. This is mostly for plot convenience than anything else, to be honest, since they'll have to pass amongst the living without attracting too much attention, although sex change would fit in that category, I guess. For example, my character has shrunk a few feet- both due to his rather lowly opinion of himself and the fact that he used to be about ten foot tall- and has a livid red mark on his throat from the blow that killed him, seeing as both the action and the context behind it are very important to him. (Their personalities can also change, due to the trauma of death and finding themselves treading water in a mysterious ocean...)


If you found spelling errors, that is odd... Chrome does have a spellcheck, after all. Then again, I have been corrected on my spelling before because of the differences between American and British English; we tend to add extra letters to things, like humour, archaeologist and foetus. smile.gif

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((Whee, first post!))


The lower decks of the Styx were enshrouded in gloom, as always, making it difficult for most eyes to pick their way through the creaking passageways and to their destination; this was not because of any darkness outside- for the Sea was always bathed in a soft, almost grey glow that issued from no visible Sun- nor did it seem to be just because the lower decks lacked any sort of windows. No, it was a deeper, more pervasive gloom that the flickering lamps dotted along the creaking corridors could never hope to banish, seeming to be in a way to be less about the lack of light and more about the total lack of joy. It was despair and hopelessness made visible, the darkest emotions drifting through the ship's atmosphere like clouds of dark smog. It gathered in the deepest corners and hid under the furniture; it followed the captain around like an ethereal cloak as he headed from his chosen sleeping area in the lowest storage decks to his slightly more light and airy day cabin.


Thanks to a mixture of familiarity and good night vision, Lord Curze could always move through the Styx where others would stumble on assorted, seemingly misplaced objects or find their leg trapped in the floorboards as a particularly rotten section of timber gave way beneath their weight. As such he arrived in his cabin without incident, taking off his long, black cloak and draping it across the back of his baroque chair with one smooth movement; he sat a second later, looking intently at a piece of blank parchment that lay on the blood-red surface of his otherwise empty writing desk. For a long moment nothing happened- as one might expect it to- then Curze spoke, seemingly to thin air. His voice was quiet and slightly harsh, the metallic edge of long disuse underlining every word. "I had another vision last night."


Slowly, as if an invisible hand were writing, words in dark maroon ink began to appear on the parchment. Did you now?


"Yes." the Primarch answered simply; he paused for a second, thinking. "There's going to be more, isn't there? I saw them."


There could well be... What exactly did you see?


"Fire and blood. A silver wind. And a blank white space- a field of snow, perhaps. I have no idea what it means." Curze gave the parchment a meaningful glance.


And you assume I know any better? For simple words on a page, they had a very amused air to them. I may have some power, my dear Konrad, but I'm not omnipotent- though it is flattering to see that you think I am capable of such acts...


Curze looked even more unhappy than usual at this; he had told the mysterious Lord time and again that he hated his use of... that name, but his complaints never seemed to be listened to. In fact, he'd got the feeling that his unknown correspondent was mocking him on purpose. After a while he had grown extremely frustrated and simply given up voicing his displeasure, although it didn't mean he had somehow grown to enjoy it or would allow anyone else to address him in that manner. So he merely scowled and asked: "When do you think they will be coming? Or is that beyond the scope of your knowledge, too?"


If handwriting could laugh, this one did. Around about now... I'd get to the top deck quite soon, if I were you- we wouldn't want your new friends to drown now, would we?


The Primarch didn't even pause to say farewell before he left, picking up and putting on his cloak as he stood; it billowed out behind him as he strode from the cabin, letting the door shut behind him as if to make a final statement about his feelings for Lord. There was something like a quiet chuckle from the empty cabin, but Curze was striding up the stairs to the top deck and too far away to hear it, even if he would have cared.


The top deck was much lighter than below, the cloud-filled sky letting in a weak, watery light which illuminated the Sea around the Styx; it was blinding compared to the gloom below decks, and Curze had to blink a few times before his eyes adjusted to the new environment. Striding to the side, he looked out over the lazy waves, his black eyes peeled for any little figures or dark dots in the cold grey waters that heralded the arrival of his newest crew members. 'Was he even telling the truth?' the Primarch wondered silently, shading his eyes with a hand. 'Are they arriving now, or is he simply mocking me like before- trying to make me hope so he can crush it? He certainly enjoys that...'

Edited by Ruins

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((Gah, short. We... are allowed to post, right?))


With a gasp, he was jolted to consciousness. His porcelain eyelids snapped open, revealing what seemed to be lack of eyes, instead just mere holes in his head. In the head, rather. Hands gloved in black groped in the water, swirling the sea around him. His cape was splayed all about him, and he was most certainly wet. For a moment he started sinking, his face staring at his gloved hand, the whole solidity of him. And then he thrashed, he fought the water, brought himself back up from its chilling icy depth, opened the mouth on the face that looked more like a mask than something made of skin. He inhaled the salty air, brought this taste into his lungs, and exhaled slowly, as if savoring the movement itself, or perhaps the air he had consumed. He knew he could not tread water forever, knew he was going to die. Was he dead? Or was he alive? Last he knew, he had been on death row. But it was of no matter, what mattered now was surviving now. And there, if he looked close enough, was his savior. A ship.


The only reason he saw the thing was because he was so close to it. There was a man aboard, but he seemed to be looking far off, not so close, where the porcelain man was trying to save himself. There was something about the ship that was depressing, even horrifying, but he could see the other side of it too. It provided hope for him, he thought. What that hope might be, he didn't know, but he had the oddest emotion towards this ship, as if its very presence soothed him. Why did it, though? He vaguely thought some form of redemption might be attached, but what for? Death Row. The thought had flashed into his mind, and it forced him to remember. Why had he been there again? The schoolhouse. Why? The teacher. Who had he killed? The man he sought after along with a school full of children. He trembled with this in his mind, for he knew it true. He had tainted others lives, just as his had been tainted. His parents' death. His birthday. A cake. He was Fallion, he was. His last name didn't matter, his middle name was useless. He was just Fallion.


"Help! Help a man and let me up!" he cried, his voice a smooth, deep tone that was vaguely frightening. He started treading with only one hand, reaching another towards the ship. He needed up. He needed out of this water. He needed to dry his clothes and find out who this man was, where Fallion was, and why the hell this place was so fogged up.

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Hearing a voice from below, Lord Curze glanced in its direction; there was a figure struggling in the cold waters of the Sea, what looked like a black cloak swirling around its form and a pale, oddly smooth face looking up at him. The Primarch frowned. There was something... off about that face, something that did quite sit right in his mind, but the stranger was too far down for him to tell what exactly was so troubling him. Anyway, now wasn't the time to stand there and gawp like an idiot or a sheep or an idiot sheep: the Sea was rather cold, he knew that from bitter experience, and even if the man was a strong swimmer there was a chance he could perish from the cold before too long. And who knows what would happen to the both of them if Curze allowed that to occur. 'At the very least,' he thought, glancing about for a rope. 'Lord would get very angry with me indeed. And that could be... troublesome.'


"Stay there!" he called down to the little swimming figure. "I will get you a rope."


Turning away from the side, the Primarch surveyed the deck with a hint of what might have been dismay; like the corridors underneath, the surface of the ship was littered with strange and random objects left in strange and random places. Each came from a different mission, whether it was taken on board by himself or the last band of castaways, and though most were now useless because of the 'departure' he somehow couldn't bring himself to throw it all away. Though he might justify the decision by saying to himself that it would be dangerous- he had no idea what world they would end up in if he threw them in the Sea- there was another part of him that scorned that excuse and whispered mockingly that he must be getting soft. The rest of Curze denied this vehemently, providing up to a hundred different recent memories as proof, and the whispering part was vastly over-ruled. He was not soft. No matter what happened, he was the Night Haunter. He was fear and justice and punishment. Nothing else.


Coming out of his brief reverie, Lord Curze moved down the ship in his search for a rope. Had he had more crew members, the search would have been much easier; as it was, he had to look between all the detritus by himself, hoping that the stranger didn't drown while he was still searching. Eventually he found a coil of heavy rope wedged between two heavy trunks under the stairs, bearing it swiftly to the ship's rail and sending one end spinning down to the figure below. It was just then that he managed to work out what was so wrong about his face. He didn't have one.


"Xenos!" he whispered, a look of disgust crossing his face.


Curze felt tempted to hurl the rope back up and watch the creature tread water until it slipped under the surface; maybe even throw a few useless items at it to help it on it's way. From the newcomer's face- or lack of one- he had judged it to be a xeno, an alien, and an enemy of humankind. 'The xenos, the witch and the mutant... The enemies of mankind.' he remembered, one hand stretched out before him and grasping the rope as he debated what to do next. On the one hand, he could let it drown or allow it to come on board and simply wring its neck like a kitten. This was what his upbringing and those tiny remnants of his soul that remained loyal to the Imperium were screaming. On the other hand, though, he might be risking the wrath of Lord (a creature of unknown ability and unpredictable temperament) or simply killing another human being in a very convincing mask. Two pairs of pure black eyes met as Curze turned his over in his head, and seconds passed... Until he made a decision.


Sighing deeply, Curze held the rope and prepared to pull his newest crewman onto the ship as soon as the stranger had a hold of it.

Edited by Ruins

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((I have some time for a quick post, just to get Odette rolling. Hopefully I'll be able to make another post either tonight or tomorrow.))


She had no idea how long she had been floating in the dark water, her silver hair spread out round her like a glistening halo. She was completely wet through, although the water from the sea was not what had wet her face. Odette continued to stare up unseeing at the lifeless sky above her, her grey eyes fixed elsewhere.


Look Odette. They come apart so easily. All you have to do is pull. It's hard to believe that our father was one of these fragile creatures isn't it? Teeth come out so quickly. It's like pulling grapes from the vine.


"Please stop it" Odette whispered to no one.

They make so much noise. But not one of them sound alike. The voices of the little ones have a much higher pitch too. They sound like Killmoulis. Especially when I poke their eyes. Do you remember when we used to play with them? You used to cry when I cut off their ears.


"Please stop."


You're crying now aren't you? You always were so easy to upset. Are you lonely wherever you are? Don't worry Odette, I'll soon find a way to travel between the worlds. I just need to find the right person. When I do, I'll come looking for you. Then we can play together again. I'll just finish here with these few. It won't take too long, they've lost a lot of blood. I didn't think such a small body could hold so much.


"Stop it!" cried Odette, raising her arms and trying to cover her ears in a futile attempt to drown out her brother's words. The movement caused a disturbance in the water and she was no longer in the right position to float properly on the sea's surface. Odette began to sink below the waves, but she was too preoccupied with curling up in herself to notice.

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Hearing a faint cry, Curze looked up and scanned the slow, grey waves for any sign of what made the noise; sure enough, he saw a little disturbance in the water a good way away from the ship, as if something floating on the surface had moved suddenly. He paused, keeping his eyes on where he had spotted the movement, and began to think. The cry had sounded female- he should know, he was an expert on screams of all kinds- and sounded like one of great distress. Not panic, though. For some reason he suspected that the shock of finding herself in the Sea wasn't what made the mystery woman cry out. But if dying and then finding herself in an endless Sea wasn't enough to make her scream, what was?


Looking down, he considered the xenos that he had just thrown the rope down to with a thoughtful expression. Should he pull him out now, or make him endure a few more minutes in the cold waters of the Sea? Curze couldn't recall ever learning about hypothermia, and he'd forgotten just how much or how little of that kind of punishment ordinary human beings could take. They tended to be either shockingly resilient or horrifyingly fragile, depending on who you picked; some of them came apart like badly-made toys, snapping and leaking everywhere. So leaving them out there even a few more seconds may just result in two more floating, bloated corpses tomorrow. Then again, leaving him there was much more practical and saved a lot of time. There was no point him leaving the ship if there was someone already in the water, and he was needed on deck to pull them both safely onto the Styx; preventing them both from sinking into the depths, however, was a quite different problem. The Primarch thought on this puzzle for a few seconds before coming up with a solution.


"Do no catch hold just yet." he called to the xenos, his voice rasping from not being used in so long but full of the authority he'd wielded as a son of the Emperor of Mankind; as Curze spoke, he tied his end of the rope to the strongest-looking part of the rail he could see. "I need you to do a task for me before you come aboard. I will throw something to you, then you will find the woman who cried out and use this to stop her- or the both of you- from sinking. Do you understand?"


Having said that, he left the side of the ship and, with a small grunt of effort, picked up what appeared to be a small soft-wood table. It might have been made out of balsa since Curze broke off the legs one by one with deceptive ease, leaving the table ready to be thrown over the side and into the Sea. It landed with a sound somewhere between a smack and a splash, around three metres away from the xenos. Lord Curze then returned to his former spot, watching the stranger keenly to see what he did. If he failed this impromptu but important test, then the sentence would be the same as for anyone who failed the Night Haunter- death, the bloodier and more painful the better.

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'Guide this one to where the traveler never tires, the lover never leaves, the hungry never starve.'


"Guide this one, Kalahira, and she..."


Adrian Shepard's last words still rang in her mind, still tumbled from her scarred lips. The final prayer to an alien goddess, but one that had seemed more real than any human god she'd ever heard of.


Her mind still rang with the memories of those she was leaving behind, the incredible pain that came with activating the Crucible, the freezing... cold... of the sea?


With a sharp gasp, Adrian's eyes flew open and she only briefly glimpsed the cloudy gray sky above before her panicked movements sent her sinking into the water like she was nothing but a stone. She spluttered and coughed as she struggled to keep her head above the surface- for all her training, for being the savior of the galaxy, swimming had never been her strong suit in peak condition. Now? She was freezing, burning and stinging, the saltwater was incredibly painful on her burn wounds. And she was so very, very tired.


Of course she was tired- she was dead! She had known she would die ever since that final blast back on Earth. She'd seen her own blood, she'd choked on it when she finally came to face the Catalyst, and she welcomed the searing oblivion that came with activating the console.


She finally managed to roll onto her back and float on the waves, her breath coming in short, shallow, pained gasps as she tried to take stock of where she was. She was dead, for one, she wouldn't believe anything else. She'd had her miracle two years ago, and with the way things ended, she was pretty sure there hadn't even been a body to recover.


So perhaps... this was the Sea? Her final test to overcome to earn an eternal rest, to see the only person she'd loved just once more? Despite her confusion, Adrian doubted it. There was supposed to be light. Light and warmth and the guiding hand of the goddess, not cold and gloom and pain, not a...


Was that a ship?


Her vision was rather blurry, but Adrian could swear she saw a ship on the horizon, bobbing up and down on the murky waves. Whatever it was, wherever she was, it was the first destination she had. Adrian grit her teeth and began to swim (or floundering wildly about until she moved forward, anyway) towards the ship, praying that it might hold some answers.

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What... What is this? The brunette looked around frantically. She wasn't on ground, but... Water?! Her guess was proven correct as she began to sink under the cold, foaming waves. She tried to call her wings of fire to pull her from the dark depths, but the swirling ocean quickly put out her flames with a sizzle. The dousing burned her half-shifted body, and she cried out in pain. She fully shifted, becoming a full fledged phoenix, but was still too caught in the clutches of the sea to pull herself from the boiling water. The flames encircled her, creating a cloud of steam to rise from where she gasped for breath. The surging waves bored holes into her wings and caused her to sink further, shoving her head under.


She transformed back into a human and fought her way to the surface again, but much of her energy had been sucked away. Her arms felt like they were bound by heavy chains, and she was unable to move them. She had only been around so much water once before, when she had attacked the president of an organization on a boat. But she had been above the water that time, never in it. She reached out, trying to grab hold of something, anything, but the dark water just slipped through her grip and pounded on her head. She only just was able to stick her face above the surface and take a breath before she sunk again. She kicked her legs frantically, breaking into the air once again.


This time, she saw a dark structure looming in the distance. She tried to call out to it, but instead got a mouthful of sea water. She coughed hoarsely, trying to expel the water from her lungs. This momentary distraction caused her to loose her momentum, and now she was back under the water. She fought the current, but in her mind the battle was already lost. She would be better off lost at the bottom of the sea than anywhere else. Still, something kept her going. She struggled to climb higher, but her body stiffened up. She couldn't do anything to stop her slow falling.

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Fallion was very much relieved as he saw he captain turn towards him in recognition. Better yet, a rope was being found. These were the important things that he was aware of just then. The subtler things he recalled ad he watched the man turn and think to another bold problem -a scream. A feminine scream, one that Fallion couldn't tell if it was made of frustration, annoyance, or fear. Perhaps it was merely of desperation. Fallion was no expert. But naturally as Fallion was already treading water, he would be expected to fetch the lass. Unfortunately, he was tired and didn't wish to. A clear vibe from the man told him he'd best go to it.


"Very well. Another death is not required. No, she should live. I shall save her, a human life," he murmured, his head tilting upward as he watched the wooden bench splash into the water, sending droplets all over him. He culled his hands and dug them into the water, swimming towards the old wood. With his arms he pulled it to his chest, leaning his weight onto it carefully. His head turned as he tried to figure out where the owner of the voice was. The fog did not help him in this matter, but he continued to nobly struggle for the screamer. And finally he saw her, a dark sinking shape in the fog. He was sure it was her, for her eyes, nose, and lips were reddened from crying. Why did she cry? Why did she curl into a ball and sink below, silver hair billowing around her? Why did she choose to sink to what would certainly be death? There was a reason for everything. So why, then? Why?


"I heard you calling. Here take my hand," Fallion offered, holding the bench int one hand to keep it by him, and with the other he reached toward the drowning woman. His blank, dark eyes were slightly narrowed in a show of determination, clearly showing the face atop his head was not a mask, but rather made of skin. He found himself wondering if her hair was naturally like that, or if she had dyed it. Why someone would dye her hair that color he didn't know, but it was the most probable answer. Somewhere else nearby he heard yet another cry. It wad likely another wayward soul, one that he'd have to pick up. His legs churned the water, holding him afloat. He wanted to tell the girl to hurry up. He needed to save the other one too. The other screamer. That's what he'd call them, once he tot them onto the boat. It suited them. After all, they had screamed.


"C'mon, hurry up. There are other people to save, and your time is running out."

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Odette wasn't aware of the presense of another until they spoke. Even then at first she didn't quite realise what she had heared. Odette opened her eyes and gazed in wonder at the creature before her. It wasn't the strangest face she had ever seen, but she could not tell if it was human or not. But that didn't matter. They had a voice, a voice she could listen to, focus on, and use to drown out her brother's continous monologue of the horrors he was creating.


The pale faced creature was holding out their hand. In desperation Odette reached through the gloomy water for it and put her hand in her saviour's.


"Please don't stop talking" she begged. "Please don't leave me alone with him."


Odette pulled herself closer and grabbed onto the piece of wood the pale faced man was using as a float. She shivered, but her chill had nothing to do with the coldness of the sea.

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Curze nodded to himself, and for second the corners of his grim line of a mouth might have twitched upwards in the ghost of a smile; the xenos passed the test- this one, at least. He had to admit that he was pleased with the speed in which he had made his way into the ever-present fog to find the newest arrival, even if that didn't quite make up for the suspicions that Curze had that he was something other than human and the conundrum that, if he had already turned his back this far on his father's ways, why should he still care about his hatred of non-human races? But now was not the time to be debating such issues; only when the xenos had found the woman and taken her on board would he worry about whether he should be allowed to live or whether he should be killed at once.


Then another scream broke through the mist, and Lord Curze sighed for the second time that day- or night. Like in his homeworld, the lack of any real Sun in the sky made it hard to tell the passage of time; days blended into each other, becoming months or even years before anyone noticed. If time even existed here, that was. All this he reflected on as he across the half-rotten deck, rapping on the main mast three times as he passed in on his way to the wheel.


"We need to move." he muttered- obviously to himself, as the ship couldn't possibly hear him to obey. ...Could it?


At once the Styx shifted slowly, drifting from its once-static position and, despite it's glaring lack of sails, gliding with great slowness through the grey Sea; it moved with the grace of a shark, cutting through the water with an air of purpose. It was evident from the way it moved that it was a warship, as if the rows of rusted cannons below deck weren't proof enough. Steering the ship with great care, Lord Curze directed it towards the second scream and what appeared to be a large patch of boiling water- what kind of crew was he being brought here? Thankfully this movement also brought it closer to the xenos and the woman he was rescuing, but not so close that they were swamped by the waves the Styx's movement produced.


"Stop." muttered the Primarch, tapping the wheel three times; the ship became still and almost immovable once more. Moving to the rail once more, he scanned the Sea to check on the xeno's rescue efforts- they seemed to be going well- and look for any extra crew members that might have slipped past unnoticed during the drama. Sure enough, there seemed to be a little figure struggling gamely through the waves, although they seemed perfectly capable of reaching the Styx under their own steam. 'Good.' he thought, resting his arms on the railing; it creaked ominously. 'I'm not here to baby them; if they cannot fight or otherwise make themselves useful, then they are no good to me.' But, judging by the amount of screaming and thrashing going on, this current batch was less than stellar. And mostly female. It wasn't that he thought that woman couldn't fight (battling alongside or even hearing of his father's Sisters of Silence would soon correct anyone who held that belief) but that Curze, as a Primarch, was more used to commanding an all-male battle force. There were, after all, no such thing as female Astartes. Would they need different treatment, fighting styles? He'd heard a lot about ordinary human females, not much of it complementary.


'If I ever were a religious man, this would be about the time I started praying.' And so it was that possibly the only joke Curze had told or would ever tell in his first life and his next, passing unnoticed and unheard and was forgotten forever about thirty seconds later. See it, enjoy it, and kiss it goodbye.

Edited by Ruins

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Adrian's swimming gradually evened out the longer she moved, her body growing at least somewhat used to the pain and cold. It was just like any other grueling mission, she could let herself hurt when it was over, but absolutely no sooner; and she could even bring herself to appreciate the pain this time. Pain meant she was alive, alive and breathing even if she was struggling in some dark, unknown sea.


The ship seemed to be moving closer, but another sound brought her attention away from the vessel. Adrian began treading water and catching her breath as best as she could, looking around frantically for the source of the noise. After a few moments, she caught just a glimpse of it, a girl struggling in the water before completely sinking below the waves.


"Hey! Over here!" Adrian shouted towards the ship, as loud as she could manage. "We've got someone sinking!"


But she knew that wouldn't be enough, and after only a second of thinking about it, Adrian dove beneath the waves. She wasn't just keeping herself alive this time, this was saving someone else, and that gave her a fresh burst of energy and sheer will to keep going. Thankfully, the girl hadn't been too far away, and Adrian soon managed to get to her. She wrapped an arm around the sinking girl's waist and only just managed to get the both of them up to the surface.


"Hey, kid! Are you with me?" she said, her voice sharp and urgent. "If you can hear me, keep moving, there's a ship nearby!"

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((My posts are pretty good so far for only being done on my kindle fire. xd.png Luckily I have my laptop back again, so long posts shall be back! biggrin.gif))


Fallion's strength was begging to ebb. He could feel it in the muscles in his legs, the arm that held to the bench. It was an aching soreness, and he was beginning to feel mild fear. He was now responsible for this girl's life, and he couldn't let her die. The chilling dark water waited for them, hungering to pull them into the deep. But instead of doing the easy thing and falling back into its swamp depths, releasing his pain into it, but forever feeling regret for the atrocity he had committed, he fought back. His hand gripped her's tightly, he shifted to put his arm around her and hold her to the plank. All this in a moment. In this moment he was thinking, his brain startlingly alive and wired. This girl, she didn't want to be left alone with 'him.' There wasn't anyone around her, though, and he didn't see how him talking would frighten away a beast. This must've been something psychological, then.


"It's alright. I won't leave you alone. See that ship, the dark thing in the mist? It's going to save us. It has a rope, and a man is aboard who sent me to save you. I haven't been atop it yet, but this man clearly does not wish us ill, otherwise he would have let you drowned. Everything will be fine. You see this water, here? Feel it chill your bones and lap against your skin? We shall be out of it soon, and warmed. Perhaps there will be blankets, hot soup. If there is not, I can make some. What is your favorite thing to eat?" Fallion rambled, trying to think of topics and quickly speaking so as not to upset her. He was staring at her, his black eyes, though could not be seen doing this, were studying her facial expressions. He himself was displaying one of sympathy and concern.


One might wonder at this point how a man who had previously slaughtered children could have come to this. He was helping a girl of his own free will. Why? If one could travel back to his past, they'd see the reason for his killings. His pain and hurt had caused this. His birthday had caused it. Guilt was definitely an enormous part. You see, it was on his birthday his parents had died. They had died getting cake for him, because the cake they had before contained peanut oil, which Fallion couldn't have. The had left the house, driven in their car, only to be hit rushing back. It was his fault. If he had just said it was fine. If he hadn't been a whiny six-year-old, only caring about himself. This bitterness had filled himself up, creating a hole inside him, one that he had created. He had eaten himself away until there was barely an emotion left in him. He had thought maybe killing would solve it. Give people what had been done to him. Perhaps this twisted revenge would heal him. But it did not. Now, he realized, it was time to move on, to correct his wrong doings. And this act of kindness did upon him bestow just a little bit of the flesh that hole had contained. A small, tiny bit. But his skeleton at least had a lump of flesh hanging on it now.


"Once, there was a little boy who always got what he wanted. Being the prince of a far away land, the little boy's needs were always filled. His parents, the king and the queen, were always eager to make sure this was done.

Then one day, he asked for too much. His parents were asked to bring him a wizard, and they set to find the wisest and smartest wizard of them all. But when the wizard came, he was very displeased with the little boy, so he decided to show the boy true hardship.

The boy was left in the palace, but his parents were taken away, and he was sent to live with a group of lions.

Now, the lions were very nice lions, but the boy was scared of them, so he growled and snapped at them, and bit their cub. So they sent him to the wizard to live.

The wizard was very nice to the boy, but the boy didn't appreciate the wizard. Instead he became very mean. He stole from people the things they loved most.

When the wizard found out, he became very displeased. He banished the boy to a strange land. Then the boy was sorry, and after enduring many hardships, was sent back to the palace to live with his parents," Fallion murmured, his story nothing more than a metaphor for his own life.

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The girl closed her eyes, ready for the end. She braced herself as she was about to inhale the tinged water, but then she felt herself being pulled from the water. For a moment she struggled to escape their grasp, but then relaxed as she thought there wasn't much else she could do. She was already too weak to swim, she wouldn't have enough strength to resist their pull. Her pale face suddenly emerged from the depths and she sputtered as she once again was above the surface. "Wh-what?" She wasn't able to clearly see the person who was speaking to her, but she was suddenly grateful for them. "A boat?" Her teeth chattered as she looked up at the looming structure. A spark of hope ignited within her. Was this ship here to help? She tried to swim closer to the ship but was pushed back by the waves it created with it's bobbing. She glanced at her rescuer, their identity still unclear. Thankfully, they were holding her so her head was above the water. "I just need to get... a little bit further from the water. Then I'd be able to lift both of us out."

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"I ca... I can''t get you up any more," Adrian said, struggling for breath between cold and fatigue. "I'm sorry, but... come on, let's keep going. We can get closer to the ship, they'll have to have something to help, a... a float, a rope, anything. Just keep swimming with me, we'll get there."


To enforce the point, she continued moving towards the ship, fighting against the waves surrounding it the closer they got. They had to survive this, or at least, the girl had to. Again (even in death, it had to haunt her?) her mind flashed to the day she left Earth, seeing the Reaper blasting the escape shuttle and killing all on board, including the child who had run from her. It was one thing to know people had died, it was another to see the death of someone she directly tried to save. She wasn't going to let that happen again.

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Lord Curze had spared the shouter a glance when they called, looking around just in time to see them dive underneath the waves; in a few seconds they'd surfaced again, evidently towing the sinking screamer- well, one of the sinking screamers, anyway- along with them. He had managed to find a telescope (as well a more-than-slightly frayed old rope) after a quick search in a nearby trunk and, raising it to one eye, had taken a closer look at the two approaching figures. It had affirmed his suspicions that he was going to have a mostly-female crew, and he'd wondered about the implications of that as he watched them come closer to the Styx. 'That one looks like a soldier,' he thought to himself, his pure black eyes sweeping the swimming woman with an appraising glance. She has the scars of one who has seen much hardship... At least she will be able to cope with her duties- the rest of the crew I cannot be to sure about. I know it is my duty- or was my duty, rather- to help humanity, but there is a limit to what I can do. Especially here.'


When he thought they were close enough, Curze took his extra rope- the one that wasn't tied to the railing- and threw it as far as he could towards the two women. Thankfully, he was still strong, even after death, and it only landed a metre away. "Hold onto this!" the Primarch called, then waved his free hand to show that he was ready to pull them in. It wasn't a very friendly wave, which was to be expected as he wasn't a very friendly-looking person. In fact, he cut a rather imposing figure, with his black eyes, pale skin and a suit of armour that was specifically designed to intimidate. All in all, you could forgive anyone for being a little cowed, looking at him.

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((So sorry to keep you waiting guys. I've been a bit busier than I thought I would be lately. That and we have new kittens for me to play with o3o))


While most people might think that the pale faced man was rambling and just ignore him, Odette hung onto his every word. Even though she might not understand the history behind his story, that she had something else to focus on other than her brother was a lifeline. His words pierced the dark monotone of her brother like a beacon on a dark sea, which was what Odette was becoming vaguely aware of around her. Though moments ago she was in danger of drowning, with the voice of her rescuer punching holes into her mental woes, Odette was able to realise for the first time where she was, which was not what she had been expecting when her brother devoured her.


Hanging both onto the plank of wood and the pale faced man lest one of them should float away and abandon her, Odette looked around at the surrounding waters. This was unlike a sea she had ever seen before, and she had seen many.


When the pale faced came to the end of his story Odette fixed her grey eyes on his black ones.


"What had the prince asked for that was too much?"

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Adrian didn't need telling twice. As soon as she heard the captain- well, the person she assumed to be the captain- shout, she swam the short length over to the rope, still holding tight to the girl she had pulled up from the waters. She fumbled slightly, working almost entirely with one hand, but she soon got the rope tied around the both of them.


"Alright, just hang on to this. We'll be safe soon," she said, looking at the girl for a moment before turning her eyes back to the captain. Who- for that matter, what- was he? He seemed human, skin tone was in the right range and he had hair... but those eyes! It seemed... well, she couldn't say unnatural, it was the norm for drell, but this man looked nothing like one of them...

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When Lord Curze saw that the two women had been safely attached to the offered rope, he began to haul them up from the water and to the top deck; it was fortunate for the castaways that he was quite a bit stronger than your average human being, even one of his height, although it was quite a bit of effort even for him. He ended up on the other side of the wide deck and almost parallel to the old planks before the two arrived at the railings, a slight flush of effort appearing on his ghostly pale cheekbones. The task was made a little easier by the myriad of decorative carvings and wooden curlicues on the side of the ship, which made it almost like the two of them were ascending a climbing wall while wearing a rather primitive safety harness.


Once the two women were safely on the deck with him, the Primarch dropped the rope and gave them a more detailed once-over; he was correct in thinking that the first woman was a soldier, who had seemed have died a violent death judging by the raw burns all over her limbs. 'Died in the line of duty, most likely...' he thought, though it did puzzle him as to why she would be only wearing a shirt and a pair of rather unusual short trousers- he'd never seen shorts before, he hadn't really lived that sort of life. Still, it would be good to have a fellow fighter on board, someone he knew he could rely on not to die at the first hardship. The second woman was more of a conundrum. She seemed pale and delicate, not very special at all, leading him to wonder what sort of regrets she would have that led her to the Styx and how exactly she managed to briefly boil the water around her like she had. But those were puzzles for a little later. For now, not only were there still castaways in the Sea, these two were metaphorically soaked to the bone with chilling water. There was a chance that they could perish if they didn't dry off soon; he could explain their mission once they were all in one room and recovering from their sudden swim.


After glancing briefly over the side to make sure that the xenos and the third woman hadn't sunk while his attentions were elsewhere, Lord Curze decided that he had time for a brief introduction while they waited. "Welcome to the Styx." he said, bowing slightly and slightly ironically. His voice was as harsh and whispery as ever. "I'm sure there are many questions you wish to be answered, but they will have to wait until the whole crew is gathered on-board..."- The Primarch pointed at the two bobbing figures still in the Sea- "For now, all you need to know is that I am your captain. My name is Lord Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter. I am- or rather, was- the Primarch of the Night Lords Legion, so I'm sure you can understand I am used to being obeyed. And you are?"

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Adrian shivered violently as she and the other girl were lifted from the water, and as much as she tried to stop them, she felt her eyes sting and water involuntarily with tears.


'Damn it... this isn't any time to cry,' she told herself, though she was at least thankful that she'd held herself together long enough to actually be of some use. Adrian focused on being as helpful as possible on the climb up, pushing off of the various carvings or other footholds on the side of the ship until they had been pulled over the railing.


Still shaking with cold and pain, Adrian untied the rope and dropped to her knees, momentarily completely incapacitated by the events that had just occurred. A faint crackling could be heard, and light purple sparks flickered over Shepard's body- it seemed her biotic abilities were still around, and she fought to regain control of herself before accidentally hurting someone, she'd had enough of that the first time she had died.


Finally, she stopped shaking enough to get to her feet and look her rescuer in the eye (well, as much as she could anyway) and listen to what he had to say. Kondrad Cruze? An... unusual name, but she'd heard stranger. Granted, most of those were hanar Soul Names, but that was not for now.


"I am Commander Adrian Shepard II, Human Systems Alliance, commander of the SSV Normandy and Council Spectre," she said, extending a hand as she waited for a response. She wasn't quite sure if he outranked her or not, but when in doubt, one was to defer and remain as polite as humanly possible. His mention of bring a Primarch, though... that was interesting.


"If I may speak again for a moment... you don't look like any turian I've ever seen," she said, looking Kruze over once more. No plates, no fringe, five fingers, and he stood significantly taller than any turian- or for that matter, human- she'd come across.

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Lord Curze took a step back when purple sparks started to crackle over the soldier woman's body, his eyes narrowing; the only time he had seen such light-shows was when his brother Lord Magnus had used his psyker abilities, bending the fabrics of space and time to his whims- could she be a psyker, too, and what effect would dying and coming to the Sea have on her abilities? Even Magnus wasn't in control of his magic all the time... The Primarch felt brief, strange pang as he remembered his red-headed (and red-skinned) brother, but the feeling soon passed and was for the most past completely ignored.


So it was with some caution that he watched her get back to her feet, not wanting to loose any of his crew members- or even himself- if she were to suddenly loose control and lash out with her powers, as psykers were wont to do when stressed or in severe pain.


Nonetheless, he listened to her introduction with the same emotion, but now tinged with a reluctant hint of curiosity. Most of the words she used meant nothing to him, but he'd met enough castaways and travelled across the Sea long enough to know there were some strange worlds out there in the multiverse. Perhaps the Human Systems Alliance was like the Imperium of Man that he used to serve, maybe even it's parallel in their system. Perhaps they could have something in common, something that would aid her transition from obeying her old masters to obeying him. Lord Curze took her offered hand to shake it after a few seconds of hesitation and let go as soon as politely possible, his own armoured hand having the tell-tale stiffness of one who wasn't used to physical contact of almost any sort.


"Pleased to meet you, Commander." he said, sounding a little awkward; he was more used to those introduced to him kneeling and bowing their heads as a sign of respect, not wishing to shake his hand, but he supposed Shepard had knelt earlier. And she was not supposed to know all of his ways just by looking at him. Then things took a turn for the... awkward. Curze's nearly ever-present frown deepened when she said he didn't look like any turian she'd ever seen; that sounded like a xenos race if he'd ever heard of one, and the comparison deeply insulted him. He was human, after all, and even if he had turned his back on most of them he certainly was no alien.


"Perhaps because I am not a... turian, whatever type of xenos they may be. I can tell that you come from a different galaxy than I; if any... ALIEN in my home plane of existence appropriated our title, neither I nor any of my brothers would rest until they had tracked down the scum and punished them with the full force of our ability. Their planet would burn, and I would personally make sure nothing green or good ever grew on it again." he said, no- he practically spat the words out, or perhaps hissed them. Either way, it was clear he wasn't very happy at all. "No- learn this now, Commander, and learn it well. A Primarch is a son of the Immortal Emperor on Mankind, born to command one of the eighteen Legions of his Astartes- Space Marines, as some call them. We were, every single one of us, made to be the peak of human ability and an expert in whatever field we chose to make our own. Each one of us has rid entire planets of xenos infestation to make way for human settlement, as our father commanded us to... Until the Heresy, anyway, but that is not the point. The point is, though I may be fairly called a traitor and perhaps even a Chaos-worshipper, Commander, one thing I will not stand to be called is a xenos. Is that clear?"


He stood up straight as he finished, black eyes glaring at her and chest heaving slightly with the effort of speaking more now as he had in whole months.

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Adrian frowned slightly at Curze's handshake, but she passed it off without much more thought. She knew little about the man, but he didn't strike her as the type to be used to physical contact of any form.


What he said next, however, cut as deeply as any blade or bullet she'd ever felt in her flesh. What sort of world was this man from? The only thing she could relate it to was Cerberus, and she'd gone out of her way to ensure it was clear that she did not, and would never even remotely share their sentiments. It took everything in her to not just unleash an attack on the man then and there, and part of that was because it seemed like he was the only one capable of steering the ship. Finally, after several moments, she trusted herself to speak.


"Perfectly clear," she said, with only the faintest quiver to her voice. She never took her eyes off of Curze, but as she continued, her voice was colored with a fury she'd allowed herself to feel only a handful of times in her career.


"I'll have you know though, you will not insult any 'xenos' when you are in my presence. I don't know what pathetic excuse for a galaxy you must come from, but where I'm from? Humanity is nothing special. We were the aliens, we were the troublemakers. I spent the best years of my life working with aliens, I considered them my closest friends, my brothers and sisters, even a lover in the case of one. They did more for me, more for the galaxy, than any human-centric organization I ever saw. I don't know what your Legion is, but I believe we had something similar in my galaxy. They were called Cerberus, and they were guilty of the most disgusting crimes I ever saw. They cared only to control, to wipe out alien life if it got in humanity's way. And they brutalized their very own soldiers, turned them into... monsters, horrible things!"


Shepard paused, taking a deep breath and doing her best to calm herself, she could feel a familiar prickling on her skin. If she didn't calm down, it was entirely likely she would unleash a shockwave, or gods forbid, flat-out charge the man.


"I am grateful that you saved me. But Cerberus did the same thing, and I still killed them any chance I got. I even convinced their leader to kill himself. Things may be different here, but I'm still Commander Shepard, and I will not take crap from anyone. Are we clear?"

Edited by Dr. Paine

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