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X-DREAMERS [mission 01: ash and sand]

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# Commercial District -- Stan, etc. #


Oh! We could always use the trackers to find each other,” came the angel's voice through the communicator. "Instead of going to a particular location, we could both just follow the signal on the trackers until we bump into each other. Finding one another shouldn’t be a problem at all. 


Duke's voice followed, and Stan admitted he did feel a sense of relief at knowing that the other man was okay enough to talk. "Absolutely. We'll use the cubes to run into each other as opposed to arranging somewhere to meet -- we can avoid confusion and directions that way. Stan, hear that?


"Got it," Stan replied through his phone. "Just head out our way and we can meet in the middle. See you soon! Over and out."


While it seemed like everyone was alright, Stan didn't quite trust everyone to not screw up the teleportation back to the base and so, it was probably the safest option to regroup before heading back together and solving the little problem Cistina had got herself caught in. Tightening his grip on the lantern-like hourglass and fighting his exhaustion, he continued forth with a new resolve to finish this without any more incidents. 





Lamar was seized with an overwhelming feeling of dread at the armored man's words. He was about to protest his accusation -- he didn't lose her, nor did he let her go! But the older man's words continued on an on in a single breath and had begun to spiral into a run-on sentence of the story of his life as his fingers dug in with increased strength into Lamar's shoulder.


"He's going to adopt her? Never see her again?" the boy said, incredulous. His face scrunched, partly from disbelief, and partly because losing Cam forever wasn't particularly something that he liked to think about, even if in this world Mistings were found and killed every day. "Like, take her to Heaven?" he asked. It all sounded suspiciously like a euphemism for death -- though if it weren't, the whole... multiverse thing was so over his head that he didn't think it would be possible to ever pay her a visit.  Theo's voice sounded too serious. That angel sounded just a little out of his mind from the description. He became increasingly more nervous. 


Cam didn't need to be adopted. Cam had a mom and a dad who loved her. Cam had never been cast out to die just because she was never meant to exist. 


"No-- no demon blood," he stammers, lost in his thoughts and barely catching the rest of the words. "Just, skaa-- mostly. I guess I'm safe then?" He manages to laugh nervously, even if it lacked his usual lighthearted tone. Theo let go of him, but Lamar made no move to run. He then offered to talk to his angel friend to sort out the confusion.


"Thank you," he said, but Theo was already off following the other two. Lamar ran to catch up with them. 




# Grigor's House -- Dynarst, Duke, etc. #


"Got it," the voice answered through all the cubes present. Dynarst continued to stare at it, surprised at the vibrations he felt through his hands from holding it. "Just head out our way and we can meet in the middle. See you soon! Over and out."


"Sounds like a good way to do it," Grigor agreed. "I'll have to stay here, of course, but as long as you go in secret."


The man grabbed Dynarst by the arm as he was about to leave with Lefevre and Jowan. Dynarst turned to look at his friend, but could not muster the courage to make direct eye contact. He could never get used those piercing eyes that were of a nobleman's colors, light blue eyes that awoke some subconscious fear in him every time he saw them.


"You will join the rebellion," Grigor said. It was not a question. It was a statement that implied that Dynarst already had his mind set. He didn't. Not really. Seeing his hesitation, Grigor continued. "Your father fought and died trying. But things will be different this time." He subtly motioned to the otherworldly men with his chin. Though the Duke was still a little unsteady, the rest of them looked right and ready to fight the world once more. "I keep telling you this: how would he feel if he knew you just... gave up like this?"


Dynarst pursed his lips. His expression turned dark. "Aren't there tons of other skaa out there that are easier to rally than me? Why don't you ask them?"


He turned, then left down the stairs and out the door.




# East Hasting District -- XDRS Reunite! # 


With both anchors secured and everyone seemingly in one piece, this was the first real time Stan had the chance to properly observe his surroundings ever since his first scouting mission with Xker. His eyes had always been glued to the tracker and his attention was diverted elsewhere -- now he could freely observe how the city's small streets twisted and branched into darkness. Some roads were small and winding, others gridded and square, as if, curiously, they had developed independent of each other. It was safer to follow the major streets, but a part of him did long for the little bit of danger that came with wandering through sketchy alleyways.


He just refused to put others through those same risks. At least, not such a big group. Not Duke, not Cistina.


Not Lara.


There was nothing he could have done against the sand creature, and there was nothing he had done against that inquisitor earlier. Functionally, in the multiverse where people could move things with their minds, teleport, and nuke cities at the snap of a finger, Stan realized that he was more than useless. Not that he was one of the best space cowboys back in his world anyway, not by a long shot, but at least he could hold his own against people whose weapons stopped at 'guns' and 'bigger guns'. 


He could see that Lamar was eerily quiet despite his earlier bravado. He too looked around, but his relaxed posture almost seemed forced -- or was that just Stan's own imagination?


The two groups met around the same time in a clearing within the alleyways. Other than Jowan, who seemed to have bled earlier but was now bandaged up by Badu, Duke had one other companion in the form of the street worker he had spoken to earlier that day. That event felt like a week ago... Even if, according to the sun in the sky, their whole operation barely took part of the afternoon. (Then again, it was entirely possible, Stan acknowledged, that the days could be longer or shorter depending on the planet and the world.) Beside Duke and Jowan and the sweep man were Arch, Badu, and Cam, as expected. Everyone was here. Nobody was fatally injured or otherwise about to die.


It was the smoothest thing so far in this whole mission. Stan nearly expected something to happen to either his group or Duke's, as if this was a movie where someone were hell-bent on keeping them separated. Something was finally going right. No sort of unluckiness today! Seemed like the Lord Ruler wasn't a saturday morning cartoon villain with increasingly elaborate plans up his sleeves. He probably didn't even know the XDRS existed. Which was good. It was probably a good idea to keep out of the way of an all-powerful tyrant. 


"Duke," Stan said. His expression softened. He could finally relax. "It might be an unpopular opinion, but I'm glad to see you're alive."




Cam lifted her head, looking forward to the approaching group they were about to meet up with again. When she caught sight of them, her expression cycled through disbelief, anger, sadness, then simmering frustration toward one specific member.


Before Lamar could open is mouth, she cut right in. "Laverne!" she shouted, accusation sparking through her voice and stopping Lamar right in his tracks. "You have the gall to show up now?!"


He forced himself to smile. He hadn't heard his old name in a long time. "Well, I didn't really believe the multiverse stuff, but I guess it was true." The boy raised both his shoulders and shrugged. "They really are weirdos going around, stealing back artefacts. Who would've known?"


Cam whined, too upset to reply; she buried her face in Arch's side, taking refuge under his wings and muscular physique. 


"Hey, hey hey," Lamar continued. He held his hands out in front of him to try and console her, even though they were standing far, far apart.  "Is this about...! Come on, I know I haven't checked in in almost a year, but if I stayed, I could have put you all in danger!"


"Father is dead, Laverne!" she screeched back. "You weren't there to save him from the sand!"

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Lara smiled warmly when she saw Duke. She knew for Stan’s sake it was a huge relief. But somewhere deep down, she knew she didn’t want to lose a teammate, even if that said teammate could be annoying sometimes. Wasn’t everybody just a little annoying from time to time? She waved.


Agreed, it is nice to see you alive and in one piece. Same to you, Jowan, Arch, Cam, and I suppose Badu as well.” Lara chuckled a little bit. She felt as if a weight were lifted off of her, Lord knew what would have happened if any of them died. Lara knew herself well enough to know that she would shoulder some of the blame on herself, since she felt that there was something that she could have done to help prevent that. But no, she was too busy falling into pits of weird sand. Lara frowned a little, reflecting.


She did feel awful that she contributed to Stan’s overall stress on this mission. He was usually such a light-hearted man, it almost killed her to see him in that state of depression and anxiety. That plus her little snap earlier, she was just a little surprised that Stan seemed to relax.  She supposed an apology was in order, but that could wait, couldn’t it? They had to get home, but first they needed to figure out what was going on between Lamar and Cam. 


That wouldn’t take very long at all. Lara noticed Cam’s facial expression as she yelled, “Laverne! You have the gall to show up now?” Her brow furrowed at the mention of the name. Going from “the forest” to “the ocean”, hm? I suppose it’s nature themed, but yet… What a strange name change- Lara stop overthinking it.Laverne…?” She leaned back against a building and watched the exchange take place. Not wanting to interject with a remark of her own, she decided to get whatever information she could from this conversation, or would it turn into a screaming match? She hoped for the former, considering she already had a growing headache from the events of the afternoon. 


Lamar seemed to be more casual with his approach. “Well, I didn't really believe the multiverse stuff, but I guess it was true. They really are weirdos going around, stealing back artefacts. Who would've known?” Lara narrowed her eyes at this. Something about Lamar just rubbed her the wrong way. Perhaps it was his approach to her in the beginning, how he bad-mouthed her earlier, or how he was speaking to Cam as if nothing was wrong. Something was a bit off though, he didn’t seem quite as relaxed as he made it appear. Lara may not have liked Cam at first, but the girl was beginning to grow on her. She certainly didn’t like to see the poor girl in distress, as she was just beginning to realize the severity of the situation and how it must’ve affected her. How it must’ve affected the residents here. Nothing about this world seemed particularly pleasant, so Lara took a moment, closed her eyes, and checked her privilege. 


Cam was very distressed, whining and hiding against Arch. She almost wanted to give the girl a hug, she knew for a fact that something was very, very wrong. “Hey hey hey, Is this about...! Come on, I know I haven't checked in in almost a year, but if I stayed, I could have put you all in danger!” Lara glared at him. He left her for a bloody year? She didn’t quite get their connection, but if they were close at some point and he decided to do this…! She felt her stance turn aggressive, as if she were going to strangle the boy right then and there. But Lara couldn’t do anything. It was as if she were frozen. Perhaps that was her self control holding her back, something in the back of her mind telling her that if she got involved, things would get much worse. Yet she still stood there, completely outraged.


Cam’s voice raised into a scream. “Father is dead, Laverne! You weren't there to save him from the sand!” Lara’s whole pose dissolved, her face changing to awe. She lost her father. Lara knew exactly how that felt. Her feelings of empathy came to her in waves, and she caught herself almost hugging her own body. Her shoulders were drooped, her whole posture had changed from just a moment ago. It was apparent that these two shared a father, or at least that was what she could infer. That would make sense as to why he started to question their intentions with her, and why he seemed dismayed at the thought of her being adopted by someone. It made some degree of sense, did it not? 


My God,” she murmured, “I…” She covered her mouth and took a couple of steps back. This was what the sand did. It ripped families apart, it destroyed lives, it… destroyed everything. She remembered how she lost her own father, how they couldn’t even find an identifiable body… She had known he was gone, and it felt that a part of her had died as well. Was that how Cam felt? Did she lose a piece of herself too? The pure grief that laced Cam’s voice made that even more apparent. That poor girl… And her own brother couldn’t be bothered to stick around. 

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# Yusei #


The inquisitor grins. A grand smile that goes right up to his eyes, forming wrinkles around the steel spikes. It seemed like the mysterious intruder decided to get serious at the same time he did. The obsidian of his axe was stopped by something solid, and the clash rang through his ears and through the hazy air. Fractures spread through the crystal of his weapon at the force, chipping the glass and destroying one of the edges against something it couldn't cut through. He whipped it to the side to throw off the stray bits. 


The creature that suddenly appeared out of nothingness was a bright blue blur in his vision. Human-shaped, all metal; under its outer shell was, like the other two metal beings, infinitely finer assemblies of smaller metal pieces that moved in sync to move the larger whole. It was nothing like them, however, both in shape and in its behavior, moving immediately to defend its master.


Yes... This man was one of those who had come from another world. A human with no exceptional abilities, except for making monsters appear. What did this mean? First the half-living corpses, then these repeated encounters with beings not from anywhere on Scadrial. The Lord Ruler was still frustratingly silent on the matter. The inquisitor grits his teeth, his smile transforming into a grimace. 


He jumps towards the monster, activating steel, and pushes against the heavy metal creature. The repelling force of the magic tosses him into the open sky and causes Junk Warrior to stumble; he rights himself in the air and waits until gravity overtakes him and he begins to fall. This time he burns iron and pulls, dropping -- feet first -- at an incredible speed. 


This man had put up a surprisingly good fight, considering his circumstances, but the Steel Inquisitor could not allow him to summon any further trouble.  




Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Name: Lara Croft


[Players-- Stan, Duke, Jowan, Theo, Arch, Badu]

[Support-- Cam, Laverne Lamar, Dynarst]

[Status-- Seething and Melting at the same time]


~You had the gall~~


Lara snapped out of her stupor when she noticed Theo shove Duke, which made him slam directly into Stan. She glared at Theo, who seemed to notice nobody else but Arch. Gritting her teeth together, Lara shot them both a glance. It was just a fall, so it didn’t appear that the two really needed help, thank the Good Lord above. She didn’t think she could deal with any more injuries during this bloody mission. Her leg still ached a little from that god damned concoction that Badu shot into it. All Lara wanted to do was go back to base and recover, was that too much to ask?


What the bloody hell Theo, Jowan’s injured and your dumb ass broke Stan’s arm, hell-- even your bloody husband is hurt, can we avoid any more mishaps until we get back to base?” Of course, that never reached him, since her voice lowered to a mumble. He had the gall to do something like that? Had she had a spouse on the team, would she really have pushed everyone aside, risking injury, to reunite with them. She was Lady Croft, Countess of Abbingdon-- she assumed that she would have the manners to say “pardon me, my spouse is right there”, would she not? Did she really have the temerity to do that to people?


Perhaps there was something in her that would want to do that. Her mind wandered just a little, using Stan as a placeholder for her spouse without her noticing it. Right, if I were to make my way over to Stan, the two options would be to move around everyone else or politely squeeze through. Only in a large crowd would I resort to pushing through, right? I couldn’t go to that extreme, could I? Perhaps had Stan been gravely injured… Had he been dying and I needed to make my way to see him one last time. Yes, perhaps in that instance would shoving be anywhere near appropriate. Stan-- Stan??? Where the bloody hell…?


Surely she didn’t see him as a possible husband, did she? No no no, she felt some sort of way towards him, but surely not a love like Theo and Arch seemed to have… Right? No, no, it wasn’t that deep. No way would it ever be that deep. He was a crush and nothing more. Lara imagined herself stomping her foot to that. She leaned back against the wall and looked back at the crying Cam, her eyes changing back from rage to dismay. What in the hell could she do to help this girl? There was nothing she could do, she didn't seem the least bit motherly on the outside. Lara was a woman, for sure, but she wasn't a maternal figure to anyone. Had she been her mum, perhaps she would have had that comforting aura that could have helped keep Cam calm. Some may have been concerned about the noises she made because they were irked, and under normal circumstances that would've angered Lara to hell and back. But her heart had melted. She had felt Cam's pain, or something quite close. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to scold herself for not knowing what to do. 


Lara heard Theo threatening Badu. She didn't quite like Badu either, but that was excessive. Still, this time her mood did not shift. What the hell was wrong with her? Normally she could throttle Theo for being so awful. Normally she would sit with a heart of stone in a situation like this. She normally refused to show emotion, but anyone who looked at her now could read her like a book. Her eyes told all, even when the rest of her face wouldn't, although in this case even her body told how she was feeling- tense, heartbroken, angry, and empathy. There were two people she wanted to give a hug right now, but she didn't quite have the arm's reach. Nor did she have the boldness to offer either or both of them a hug. Every ounce of confidence, for whatever reason, seemed to drain away for the time being. Ah yes, she was weak, but she refused to admit that to herself. 


Edited by Mikasa361

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[ Ready Player -- Yusei Fudo ; Steel Inquisitor ]

Support -- Junk Warrior ;

Status ; Battle -- Engage ; Injury

Deck ; Standby }


Survival Mode -- Trust ; The Cards


Yusei fell to the ground as soon as the Inquisitor released him, his knees immediately buckling under his weight. Falling forward, he kept himself from completely falling by coming to rest against his forearms, head bowed as he sucked in a full breath of air for the first time in too long. His lungs ached at the relief, his marred chest burned. Metal shifted, a shadow flitted across the ground, and Yusei jerked his gaze upward. Blue eyes hardened, narrowing at the figure that plummeted. The duelist surged to his feet, staggering a step back and snatching at his side as the wound at his hip reminded him of its pressing existence. Blood coated his glove. 


Junk Warrior slid into position, drowning the man in its shadow as its arms came up, crossing before its helmeted face. The Inquisitor's boot made contact, a loud clang shocking the air from the impact. The force made the Warrior stumble, backing towards Yusei even as he hurried to move. Twisting, Yusei escaped from Junk Warrior's shadow. He had a decision to make: stay or take the chance to flee. 


He couldn't leave Junk Warrior behind, such a thing never felt right. It reached out for the Inquisitor, metal hand spread with curled fingers. A grating sound rose from the machine as it fisted its other hand, iron knuckles rushing forward. Brilliant gold light began to expand from its fist, an illuminated silhouette enveloping the limb.

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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-” 

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   Distracted yet Again

   The two would originally be bickering by now. They were like two trains trying to outpace each other; one tidbit of conversation would spiral off into mild debate and the occasional splash of reality. Instead though, the two tall mechanisms walked down the street in silence, the architecture of the imposing buildings lining it echoing each whir of movement and every time their claws scratched up the paving stones.
   Fiddlesticks didn't care for silence. It was nice, but it forced her to entertain herself, and her head always sounded too loud to her. Plus she hasn't had the best experience with trying to work by herself.
   Typheus, on the other hand, was very accustomed to his head. A little too much. He couldn't help but sink into his thoughts and let his minor regret about abandoning Yusei turn into a gut-twisting - or rather, engine-pounding - worry.
   Fiddlesticks' engine though was always pounding out of built-in anxiety. So when a soft clang came from the distance, quiet enough to be dismissed, she perked up right away, swinging around and slamming her tail into her partner.
   "Fidds! Watch it!"
   "What's that?"
   "What's what?" Typheus' brief annoyance disappeared and he turned to where she faced.
   "I heard something."

   The Superiority model considered for second how likely it was that she was just finding ways to distract herself, until a much louder clang reached them through a nearby winding alleyway. He perked up, standing up a bit higher as if he could see over the buildings.
   "There it is again!"
   "It might just be civilians. Some you didn't scare away," Typheus reasoned. Fiddlesticks raised her microphone sensitivity, giving in to curiosity. Her partner watched her tilt her head with acute attention. "...What is it?"
   "I don't hear much," she admitted, "but there are scrapes and things."
   "It's probably nothing," Typheus said again, but he didn't leave. A thought had occurred to him: "Do you hear talking?"
   Fiddlesticks looked up, expecting to hear some, but quickly shook her head in the Xinschi-uual manner, dislodging a thin coat of ash that had settled on her. He subconsciously brushed the flyaway particles off his arms. "I'll take a look."

   "It doesn't sound organized," she said in a warning tone, backing off to give him some space. He crouched and fanned his wings, powering them on. In two seconds their whirs escalated into full thruster blast, launching him into the sky and scattering dust back onto the Pusher model. While she sputtered and flushed out her air intake he flew up several stories, up above the smaller buildings but still below the tallest ones, and panned around in a full circle, searching for anything amiss.
   There was nothing to see at this height. With the thruster fire he couldn't hear a thing any further than a block away. He could still hear Fiddlesticks' binary though:
   "I heard a shout! It sounded like pain!"
   Of course she would word it like that, the white mech thought, swiveling back where the noises supposedly came from. He watched the sea of rooftops for a second, but still spotted nothing. A civilian brawl, maybe. All it's doing is stalling us. He looked back down to join up with his partner but saw her rushing through the alleyway.
   "Fidds!" he barked, dashing down to her yet stopping just before his wings hit the close roofs. "FIDDS!"
   "It's a fight!" was all she yelled back. He groaned loudly, watching her thunder ahead before power-jumping over a home, not taking into account what might be on the other side.
   "Dang it! Why did I get the pugnacious one?" he muttered. He shot one last look out where he knew the canal was before following the mech. "Fidds!!"

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< STATUS: Minor Injury; Concerned >

< LOCATION: East Hasting District >

< AGENTS: Stan | Lara | Duke | Jowan | Theo | Badu >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Cam | Lamar | Dynarst >



The camaraderie created by the agents’ reunion was quickly soured as Cam suddenly began yelling at a “Laverne” before burying herself into Arch’s wings. Arch’s immediate reaction is to draw Cam closer, enveloping her underneath his lower wing.

“I’m sorry, Cam,” Arch says but the words seemed hollow as Cam whined pitifully into the refuge of Arch’s wing. In lieu of anything of substance to say, Arch gently squeezed Cam’s shoulder. It had been a while since Arch had comforted someone over the death of a loved one, but if his several millenniums of life and his own experiences with his own daughter taught him anything then it was that he didn’t have to heart to stand by idly when a human suffered especially when said human was a child. Pursuing his lips, Arch’s mind whirled as he tried to figure out what words he could possibly say to help soothe Cam.


The familiar clanking of metal drew nearer, prompting Arch to lift his head as his husband approached the pair. Arch watched, lips opening slightly in surprise as Theo kneeled down in front of Cam, just as Arch did earlier, and began to speak to her in a low, comforting tone. Theo was tolerant of few and showed genuine compassion to even fewer. Though Arch did not think Theo would be intentionally cruel to a child, he could not help but feel his chest swell with affection as Theo spoke to Cam. The corners of Arch’s lips twitched upward as Theo’s eyes briefly met his own. Arch was proud of his husband for being so kind and gentle to a child while Arch himself was struggling to come up with the right words to say. Well, he was proud up until Theo turned around and began harassing one of the other humans.


“Theo!” Arch’s eyes narrowed as he glared at his husband. “Stop threatening our allies!” Arch frowned as the pride he once felt rapidly transformed into disappointment. Arch barely reigned in the urge to summon Sherkyle and whap Theo in the head with it just for even thinking about pressing his spear to an innocent human’s throat. Arch was well aware that Theo didn’t work well with individuals he didn’t like, but he wasn’t sure how Theo wasn’t going to find people he enjoyed the company of if he was outright hostile to anyone that wasn’t his husband, his daughter, or his best friend. It was something they could have to discuss more at length preferably after Theo listened to reason and abandoned all plans to touch the anxious man’s throat.

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b66ab1c5efcb9f5adfe252bf9169f6c7.png [ theo ; -- add. d. b. c. l. ; for. s / l / j / a / t ]

-- status.

legios ; AAAAAAA ]

grey ; knight of loyalty



Theo whips around; the other man's manner disgusts him, with how uncertain he is in his actions and his words. Back in his day -- when the Grey Republic had been strong and proud and beautiful, orders were followed out without any doubt for their commander, with absolute order, because the slightest stray could mean life or death on the battlefield.


But he is not there -- not anymore, and he does not have the former status someone of his name would command back in the days of glory. Still this does not stop his anger from rising quick within his chest, the familiar stirring of a commander's impatience at the disorderly conduct of his teammates that would certainly cost them in war. Perhaps he is too used to a life filled with battle, but it is not a bad thing -- rather, it is precisely what he has trained for since his youth. 


The girl's voice annoys him, accusatory and rough in her words, and it is clear she has never seen the vestiges of war. Still, her voice lowers to a mumble and he does not find it worthwhile to pursue the matter further; he simply sends her a glare and allows the quick spark of lightning between his fingertips to be proof enough of his attention. He would not accept any words against him in such a cowardly manner -- not when she should say it to his face and fight him outright. He turns to her, prepared to speak as his thoughts stir him up to action.


"Unlike some, I'm only taking action on the iss --"


He is interrupted in his thoughts, however, when a sharp voice cuts through the air; Theo jerks in surprise at the sound of Arch's voice, firm and biting, and the knight looks back at his husband, meeting his eyes. 


It is clear that Arch is angry, but Theo does not fully understand why -- he is threatening their allies, true, but out of good will, and it is not something he is not used to. Even on the same side he would expect others to be on their feet regarding certain issues, and Theo cannot guess why Arch is scolding him instead of the people that fail to act. 


Regardless, the other's words sour his mood and Theo's gaze flickers away, not wanting to meet the other man's eyes when he is angry, not like this. He knows of Arch's dedication to the humans as a whole, does not necessarily disagree with his love for the people -- after all, he was a knight sworn to protect the citizens of his nation. But the citizens of his nation were completely different from the men heading into battle, and he cannot understand why those that should justifiably be left at base would come and freeze in the line of battle. 


But perhaps he is thinking too deeply into it -- because he is not in the Grey Republic, and he is not the superior command here. The superior command, it seems, is buried under the man with the tattoo and the white cloak, and Theo glares at the two as they struggle and talk among themselves, obviously joking around. 


"Forgive me," he says instead, stiffly to the man he had threatened only moments earlier to murder. "I seem to have forgotten my place." He speaks with a sideeye at Arch, who he is aware has his lips downturned into a frown, the human girl pressed into his side, and Theo scowls, only realising he is now glaring at the bandaged man he was apologising to only a moment prior. Schooling his face back into order, Theo blinks at the nervous man and turns without waiting for a response. Arch has spoken to him before about keeping calm, but Theo finds it frustrating in that it seems no one can understand his motivations behind his words. With a sudden urge to kick the two men still tangled up on the ground, Theo turns and brushes past his husband, briefly faltering as he came into contact with the other man. Theo looks at Arch, his eyes suddenly regretful for a split second, before he heads a little while away from the ground and stares up at the sky.


He's thinking too deeply about it. 


After all, he was never one to anguish about the past -- only to move on. 


Summoning a spear of lightning between his fingers, Theo pauses briefly, thinking to himself. So perhaps he had been a bit harsh in his words -- or perhaps he should not have spoken so callously with his husband nearby. Arch was still injured, and Theo is not going to let his anger distract himself from getting his husband proper medical care. 


"AAAAA," he screams instead, throwing the conjured weapon straight into the sky; Theo watches as it soars upwards, into the thick ashy dust up ahead, and a brief spark of red lightning is barely seen through the haze as he disintegrates it and watches the effects ripple through the sky.


Then, he spins around and glares straight at the brown-haired girl and the bandaged man. He doesn't say anything, but the implication is clear. Smiling, Theo heads back to Arch's side, quiet and satisfied with himself. 

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Name: Lara Croft

[Players-- Stan, Duke, Jowan, Theo, Arch, Badu]
[Support-- Cam, Laverne Lamar, Dynarst]
[Status-- Recovering]



Lara’s blood pressure and heart rate greatly escalated when Theo’s lightning formed at his fingertips. She was lucky Arch was there to stop him, but she swallowed. If anything, that was her only physical reaction besides a change of stance. She was ready to do a dodge roll if Theo’s lighting was sent her direction. Lara secretly thanked all the gods she knew of for sending this angel on the mission with them. Her life was made just a little bit longer thanks to him.


Still, yet, he summoned a spear of lighting. But instead of sending it at her, he sent it at the sky, much to her relief. He screamed, glared, smiled to himself, and skulked back to Arch’s side. Well, she thought to herself, Now I know to leave it to Arch to keep him in line. Hopefully I don’t go on another mission with this one without the angel. She leaned back against the building and focused back on Lamar and Cam. With Theo’s little tantrum out of the way, she had time to think and reflect.


She didn’t want to let his outburst affect her too much. Instead, she had to hand it to him. It did seem to knock her out of her pathetic little sad-fest. Remembering her mistakes did her no good here. Instead, she walked to the Stan and Duke dog pile. Carefully and with a gentle touch she lifted Duke off of Stan and placed him on his feet. 


Oi. You alright?”  She glanced him over for a second. She gave him a gentle smile. “You appear to be, but just checking.” She glanced at Stan. “You as well.” While still concerned for Duke, she offered her hand to Stan. It felt weird to her, the idea of picking him up. Maybe it was how she felt about him? Maybe it was simply the fact that he just got rekt and he might not like it if she touched him? Who knew. They both seemed alright, much to her relief.


Edited by Mikasa361

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Stan - East Hasting District


The other man looked as if he had something to say, but had instead chosen to relax his shoulders and smile. Dumb Duke. Stan thought he saw a ghost of himself in that younger man sometimes; he could see in him that reckless, carefree boy who laughed to hide his own feelings. 


"Sometimes it be that way," he answered him as he approached with his small talk. "You get used to it after the first ten hours. And if we were stranded, we could probably pick up a few dudes and start a potato farm or something..." The man trailed off, his attention pulled towards the little explosive meeting between Lamar and his... ward? He didn't quite care for Cam's family drama. While it did stir emotions with him, he chased them away. People who were off-world were none of their business, unless they related directly to the mission. In a way, it did -- and it was a grim reminder that the sand was surely still accumulating in the city's water supply.


Hm... He had an easier time banishing his compassion when he was younger. What had happened?


His balance was suddenly thrown off -- with an unexpected force, Duke had fallen towards him. The two men toppled and only when he hit the floor did Stan process what had happened. (Theo happened.)


Lying on the cold hard ground for the third time today, he groaned and threw his head back, sighing in defeat as he felt the weight of another man on top of him. Sometimes... it be that way. The younger man's chest felt firm against his own, but his buttons and ornaments pressed uncomfortably against him. At least, unlike Theo's two hundred pounds of armor, all Duke wore was the crisp fabric of his uniform and the light material of the cape covering them both. Stan's nose pressed into his shoulder and, closing his eyes, he noticed that Duke smelled far cleaner than he himself did. It made him self-conscious, even if he himself had the excuse of being in the land of ash and dust for twice as long.


"Duke..." he muttered. He lifted his chin to move his lips closer and scrape his stubble against his soft cheek, whispering his deathbed request into Duke's ear.  "Tell everyone... to use their cubes... before it's too late..."


Lara was quick to call out his melodrama, of course. She forcefully pried Duke off of him and, expression unreadable, offered him a hand. Stan gladly took it without hesitation this time. Back on his feet, he held her hand for a touch too long -- savoring the moment and giving it a gentle parting squeeze -- before letting go. "Thanks," he sheepishly added, looking down and trying not to have his shame show when she stared at him. The man with the face tattoo was probably one of the only people that made Stan feel like himself again, but... he couldn't help but feel a little judged.



#The Whole Gang #


Theo's words do little to calm the storm welling in Cam's chest, and while in the moment she can't accept what he said about forgiving those who leave for long periods of time, she understands that, considering all things, his words are correct. She does not want to accept them as correct, and instead steps back, wordlessly, and lets the others argue amongst themselves on their own. That man -- Theo -- was not as tender as soft as the man with four wings... But that moment had an uncharacteristic softness to it, and it was very brief. He had now returned to his usual yelling, ending in a crescendo where, echoing Cam's own feelings, he tossed his weapon straight up into the sky with unimaginable force.


Dynarst watched the spear fly from the man's hands and pierce the dusty heavens and explode into a crack of red lightning. He gapes with his lips parted, horror slowly seeping through him as he realized the consequences of the thunder strike.


Surely, the inquisitors would be distracted enough to not investigate the strange occurrence, right?


"We should move," he says, eyes still in the sky. 


"Is as good a time as any to head back, then. " The man in green looked into the sky as well. Dynarst watches as he flipped open his handheld device to input a code and paused, then added a few heartbeats later: "Grab our guests too. Wouldn't want them caught in the crossfire. We'll talk at base."


A blue light envelops him, and he begins to count down seven seconds. Stan clamps his phone between his teeth and grabs Lamar by the shirt collar before the youth could protest. "Rehall opshun shood be on he cube, heck the cube n hrab on!!!"


In hindsight, it might have been smarter to explain it first before initiating the warp. All he could do now is pray that the veterans were sensible enough to not leave anyone behind on accident, because the last thing they needed now was another rescue mission.


Hold on... He only had one hand, and that was the one holding Lamar.


Where was the--!


His eyes zeroed in on the fallen hourglass, and he frantically yelled through his phone to call attention to it before he was warped away.  "Alho!!! Hake the hanc--"





# Yusei #


Yusei is lucky. Lucky enough to half a deck full of friends willing to defend him.


The punch from Junk Warrior sends the inquisitor tumbling and for a split second, shock registers on the creature's face. He rights himself in the air, landing nimbly on his feet, the only visible sign of his pain showing through a sliver of gritted teeth. 


He stumbles backwards one and a half steps, then decides that it would be wiser to deal with the spine-haired man on another occasion. The inquisitor has reason to believe that this man might be related to all the strange happenings around town and that, in retrospect, it was wise to not kill him on sight.


And perhaps -- the inquisitor continues to muse to himself -- his rather unique abilities could be stolen for the inquisitors' own use? It would be a shame to treat this otherworldly traveler like any other human and merely steal his strength. A voice in the back of his mind almost seemed to hum in agreement at the thought.


The steel-eyed man stands perfectly still, staring back unnervingly at Yusei from thirty paces away. And then, he turns and leaps away, up and up, disappearing among the pointed rooftops of the nearest buildings.

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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   We Found Each Other Quickly

   It doesn't take long for a two-ton machine to barrel through alleys toward conflict. The slowest part was picking up speed; once Fidds had it she just threw herself over obstacles, drifted corners, and jumped over walls, repeatedly dinging things up on the way. None of them screamed though so it was okay, right?
   Typheus cringed every time she hit something. She was going too fast to notice - or care - what they were, he knew. That's why he bothered letting her come here though, was for a good fight and provide incentive to help the X-Dreamers; and the Pusher model seemed to have already forgotten the disappoint of realizing this wasn't Zirhon.
   She sure can be daft, can't she? The irony is she can have strokes of brilliance, they're just very selective. She must have firmware corruption somewhere... but she won't let him dive into her mind that deep.
   He flicked his eye back up ahead to avoid flying into any buildings. Maybe once she's calmed down, he thought, without a shred of hope of it ever happening.

   Fiddlesticks twisted to kill her speed when she burst out onto a wider street. She dug in her claws and left long scratches behind on the paving, kicking up loose sand and ash in the cracks. She had almost hit the home on the other side of the street before she had broken enough speed to move again.
   The scene! All she caught from it in two seconds was that there was a shorter person standing in front of a big one, which was closer to her size. Typheus slowed down above the scene, caught by surprise. She automatically charged forward.
   Five steps in she spotted the bright yellow streaks on the small one's head.
   She belly-flopped on the ground to kill her speed seconds before Typheus could intercept her. The Superiority model dashed past her but gracefully twisted it into a landing, skidding out in front of the metal humanoid in preparation of an attack. He stood there for a minute, meeting its red gaze.
   This... wasn't the attacker. Yusei was behind it, not in front of it, and it hadn't turned around. He heard a nasty hiss from Fiddlesticks as she picked herself up to challenge it.
   "Fidds wait! It's Yusei's!" he shouted. The hiss died in the mech's speaker.
   "What's Yusei's? The drone?!"
   "It's not attacking him," Typheus reasoned. Fiddlesticks grumbled something in Xinschi.
   "Where's his foe?"
   Typheus darted some glances around him, a bit concerned about the shorter construct in front of him but also remembering that Yusei could somehow summon things. He didn't see anyone around... He looked back at the machine, still posed defensively but with his blades sheathed. Maybe he should hack it first?

   He heard the distinctive purr-growl of a Xinschi-uual, coming from Fiddlesticks. He circled around the machine and spotted her going down on all fours, crawling toward Yusei. With eye contact broken, the unknown machine immediately spun around and knelt to catch the engineer as he stumbled into it.
   "Ty... he's hurt."
   He didn't really need his partner to point it out to him. Yusei was favoring the side away from him, face puckered from withheld pain. Alarm bells went off in the mech's head, and he looked around more thoroughly, but still didn't see anyone else around. Fiddlesticks pushed her head into his hurt side, giving him a bit more support. It was the least she could do since she couldn't beat up his assailant, but it still didn't feel like proper payment for repairing her earlier.
   "What happened?" Typheus asked, finally approaching the engineer, "We heard noises, but-" he paused to look at the blue machine again, "-where did it go? What did it look like?"

Edited by skwerl56767

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[ Ready Player -- Yusei Fudo ; Typheus ; Fiddlestickes ; ]

Support -- Junk Warrior ;

Status ; Battle -- Disengage ; Injury

Deck ; Standby }


Regroup -- Take Stock ; Return Home


Junk Warrior struck the being, red eyes tracking the human as he righted himself in midair and came to land upon the ground with practiced ease. The metal beast watched the enemy as he steps back briefly. Yusei studied the nailed gaze of the Inquisitor, moments ticking past while silence stretched out. Finally, the Inquisitor turned and fled, disappearing from sight beyond the buildings. Yusei's narrowed his eyes. A heartbeat after, his shoulders sag. 


Staggering, Yusei pulled his hand away from his side, briefly glimpsing the dark crimson coating his glove. Grimacing, he looked up as Junk Warrior came close, its round silver faceplate filling the duelist's vision. "You never fail me," Yusei breathed out. Gingerly, hoping to maintain his balance, he brought his other hand up and pinched the bridge of his nose as he shut his eyes. Something was making noise in the distance and it was coming closer. Fast.


Junk Warrior stood, metal shifting and cloth scarf swaying with its movement. The being stepped to shield Yusei, even as it took a few steps forward. Searching, Yusei's gaze swept across the cityscape, vision growing hazy and forcing him to squint in an attempt to focus it. He heard the clinking metal, the rush of a thruster. "Typheus." The mech's name fluttered from his lips with the rush of recognition, urging his feet into motion again.




Despite himself, the corner of his mouth ticked upward slightly. Fiddlesticks slammed into the ground, front plating scraping up dirt and gravel, even when she began to hiss while Junk Warrior stared at the silver machine. "Fidds wait! It's Yusei's!" Typheus was faster, the sharper observation giving Yusei time to get near as Fiddlesticks responded.


"What's Yusei's? The drone?!"

"It's not attacking him." The man couldn't decipher the strange sound that followed but maybe it didn't matter.
"Where's his foe?" Right then, Junk Warrior turned away from the mechs, snatching Yusei just as he knee buckled under his weight. 


"Ty... he's hurt." 


Fiddlesticks was next to him,  her brilliant eye staring steadily. Flicking a reassuring smile across his face, Yusei attempted to stand better, pushing against Junk Warrior's forearm for leverage. Adrenaline was fading. He needed to move faster before he crashed."I'll be okay." Admittedly, he wasn't certain if that was true or a lie. Still, the bronze mech nudged him, clearly intending to support him. Unfortunately, the impact of solid metal jarred against his offended body, electrifying his nerves with a bolt of pain. Involuntarily, he jerked and uttered a strangled grunt. 


He nearly missed the end of Typheus's questions. Taking a moment to breath in and find his voice as the fresh throbbing eased into something more bearable, Yusei turned his blue gaze upon the other mech. His lips curved downward. "Inquisitor, a human with nails skewering its body. He ambushed me with a double-ended ax," he managed to grind out. 


The land was starting to tilt. Sucking in a sharp breath, Yusei let go of Junk Warrior and pitched sideways, quickly shoving his free hand into his pant pocket. Before he could hit the ground, Junk Warrior snatched his elbow, arresting his fall and allowing the man to fish free the small device he needed. "Home. Quickly," he gapped. The white surface of the device was already smudged with red. Faintly, at the recesses of his mind, Yusei wasn't surprised that virtually everything on his person would end up soiled somehow in his present state. 


"I activate this, we'll return to base in a few seconds." He was dizzy and briefly he wondered if his words were coming out right or slurred. Yusei was going to have to recall Junk Warrior, return the creature to his deck. "You need... contact." Inhaling deeply, he tried to steady himself as best he could, shifting his hold on the palm-sized device so he could swipe Junk Warrior's card off his duel disk. Immediately, the being pixilated and vanished into nothing, its card seamlessly mixing in with the rest of the deck. 


With Fiddlesticks still crouched beside him, Yusei reached over and grabbed onto one of the mobile spires that sprouted from her head. "Hold tightly," he instructed, catching sight of Typheus's movement. As soon as the silver mech had a hold on his friend, Yusei pressed the button. For more than one heartbeat, worry slowly crawled up his flesh as exhaustion tickled his muscles, making him fearful of his grip. Grinding his teeth together, he curled his fingers as tight as he could around Fiddlesticks's spike. 


Again, the world tilted. Or maybe it never stopped. Funny, he couldn't remember the last time he felt nauseated by a shift. He had to shut his eyes against the ashen landscape -

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< STATUS: Minor Injury; Annoyed >

< LOCATION: East Hasting District >

< AGENTS: Badu >



Theo’s stiff apology to distressed human did little to alleviate Arch’s anger. Arch could clearly see that Theo’s apology. He continued to glare daggers at the poor human as though it was his fault for having emotions. Arch narrowed his eyes at his husband, pressing his lips together to keep back words that didn’t need to be said. Were he the same man he had been a decade prior, Arch wouldn’t have had the restraint to stop himself from marching straight up to Theo to yell at him for daring to speak so crudely to a human. Arch knew that Theo had crossed a line, but as Theo walked passed him, meeting his gaze just long enough for Arch to see regret flicker across his eyes, Arch knew that he didn’t have the heart to reprimed the knight then and there. Perhaps, Arch thought idly as Theo set the sky aflame with red light as per usual, he could speak to the timid human once they returned to base. It would be nice if Arch could make up for his husband’s transgressions.


The other humans, while slightly modified by Theo’s display of anger, deal with the tantrum in stride. Arch watches curiously as the senior agents pull out their own cubes, grabbing the nearest person before disappearing into a shimmering ray of light that fades out of existence just as quickly as it came. Arch quickly fishes out his own cube. He holds the device out in his outstretched hand, raising an eyebrow as he realizes that he doesn’t quite know how to operate it. As though he had read his mind, Duke walked up to Arch with his own cube out. Arch watched intently and with some degree of awe as Duke began to carefully explain how to teleport back to base. As he fiddled with his own cube, Arch could not help but smile at the small smiling face that appeared on the screen. The tiny cube reminded Arch of Annette’s inventions. He never could understand the complexity of her creations but he always found their cheerful personas to be delightfully entertaining.


“Duke, would you mind telling me about—” As Arch glanced up from the cube, he found himself standing alone. Arch blinked slowly, glancing around to find that he, Cam, and Badu were the only ones left. He supposed he had been so preoccupied with being amused by the cube that he must have missed everyone leaving. Arch hummed to himself softly, looking back down at the cube in his hand. Well, he supposed there was no reason to stay. Arch softly patted Cam’s head to reassure himself she was still within reach. Turning his head, Arch looked over at Badu who had been oddly silent throughout both Theo’s tantrum and the other agents’ departure.


“Duke said we needed to hold onto each other to teleport,” Arch said. Holding Cam close to his chest, Arch strode over to Badu and grabbed her hand with his free hand. Arch stared at their intertwined hands, squeezing once for reassurance. With this thumb Arch scrolled through the options on the cube until he located the button Duke had shown him. “Hold on,” Arch said as he tightened his grip on both Cam and Badu. He pressed the button and within an instant, his world became a whirlwind of white light. The ground disappeared from underneath him, giving away to empty air. The light was positively blinding and for a moment there was nothing else and then—

Edited by Doctortear

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Finding coordinates... ok.


Mission ID: 0101-3

Participants: Giorno, Mista, Raine, Natsuki, Duke, Jowan, (Guest(s): Kelsier and Dynarst)

World: Scadrial [Mistborn]

Location: Luthadel

Time: Early Evening

Current Environment: Light Mists

Status: Getting up to speed






The jolt was sudden, even if it was expected. Kelsier had kept his eyes open wide in an attempt to decipher the secrets of worldhopping. Clear air and glaringly green grasses were replaced almost instantaneously with the familiar stench of a city covered in soot, as if one wiped away a picture in his line of sight to reveal another one underneath. The XDRS’ base even now felt like a fever dream, now that he was back. Kelsier wanted to show everyone what he had seen — flowers, grasses, sky... Even if those things were from another world, they were real, and that made Kelsier all the more convinced that this was how his world should have been. 


He was still burning tin. The wet mists swirled around him in response to his allomancy. For some reason, tin helped allomancers to see through the mists, putting them at a distinct advantage. It didn’t make sense, but that’s how it worked. The skaa who had accompanied them — Dynarst the street-sweeper — seemed to be incredibly nervous about the mists and hung behind Duke like a shadow, gripping the end of his cloak as if his life depended on it. It wasn’t hard to see why people like him would be so superstitious about the fog, if assassins and monsters lurked within. All that said, even without tin the mists were not too thick this evening. He could make out the limelights pouring out the windows and the pointed silhouettes of houses and keeps. Keep Hasting, if his sense of direction was correct. Which meant that Club’s shop was right around the corner. From the extravagance of the lights, Kelsier assumed that the Hastings were hosting a ball tonight — though he hadn’t gotten wind of that, curiously. Was it a surprise event? They weren’t supposed to hold one for a couple months. Either way, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to sow a little discord, at the very least. 


For now, though, Kelsier turned his attention away from the castle. The nobles will still be doing their frivolous dances come sunrise, giving him plenty of time to revisit the premises later. He had otherworldly guests to entertain first. The bird that Giorno gave him was the brightest-looking thing on Kelsier’s ensemble and it was a constant and unfortunate reminder than they were here for other reasons.


We’ll see if my crew’s in tonight,” Kelsier stated. “Follow me.” At the very least, the safehouse would have extra vials of metal on hand. And his ever-important mistcloak. 


While Raine was a little apprehensive about following Kelsier's lead, it appeared that they didn't really have much of a choice. He was the one who knew these streets the best. She cupped a hand over the delicate creature that Giorno gave her, and followed. The man led them confidently down sidestreets up to the backside of a store like any other, where ash had already been accumulating for days. 


Kelsier took the vial of steel that kid had reluctantly given him back at the green star world and downed its contents. He didn't doubt he could scale the wall all the way up to the window without allomancy, but this just made it a little easier. He dropped one of the teaspoons he stole from the dining hall and pushed on it while jumping. His steelpush sent him flying upwards just enough for him to grip the windowsill with both hands. With a grunt of effort, he pulled himself up and into the room, where five middle aged men -- one as blond as Kelsier -- bore solemn expressions over their respective drinks by candlelight.


"Whats up, Dox?" Kelsier asked, adding a laugh at the end once he realized that the room was uncharacteristically tense. "Breeze, Clubs, Ham! You all look like you've just seen a ghost."


Dockson was the first one to break the silence, standing up in a fit of rage while slamming his palms onto the table. Breeze moved to steady his wine glass while he watched Dockson point an accusing finger at Kelsier while yelling. "Where the hell  have you been?! You disappear without a trace for nearly three months, presumably to do something bloody insane, and you show up the day we finally decided to toast your death?!"


"I, for one, am offended that you would pronounce me dead after a meager three months," Kelsier retorted, palms up. Then the words set in. "Three months...!? How could it have been so long...? I've only been gone for a week! At most!" He swung himself around and looked out the window where the XDRS was gathered, seeing an explanation but knowing better than to yell down towards the street. Three months!


Kelsier then turned to his crew members. "The strange people down there are with me. Let them into the kitchen. I suppose we have some catching up to do."





Kelsier -- Club's Shop, Kitchen

[ with dockson, breeze, clubs, ham, marsh (and spook) ] - [ meet the xdrs ]


Having jumped back out the window to avoid explaining any further, Kelsier had motioned the agents to follow him to a concealed door opened from the inside by one of the servants. The door led to a set of stone steps downwards, and opened up to a larger den lit by bright torches and the hearth itself. Six people sat at a wide table, waiting -- three middle-aged gentlemen (one of whom bore a striking resemblance to Kelsier), a bulky, slightly younger man, an older gnarled-looking man, and a boy who sat at the far end, slouched and looking out of place. Kelsier nodded to himself, satisfied that all the key members of his crew were present, bar Vin and Sazed who were likely keeping an eye on the political climate. The number of agents added managed to fill the room but there were enough seats for everyone.


The one who had brought his wine glass down, Breeze, was the most portly of the men and bore a perfectly groomed mustache. He wore a dark shirt under his vest, for once. He was usually quite colorful, though Kelsier supposed he wore the one black shirt owned just for the occasion. Breeze absently swirled his wine and once everyone seemed to be comfortable, he spoke to break the tension. "You never cease to amaze me, Kell. Your brother was certain you were still alive, and I'm pleasantly surprised that Mr. Ironeyes ended up being correct."


"If you haven't witnessed his corpse, he's not dead yet," Marsh warned, his bitter voice concealing his other emotions. He looked nearly identical to Kelsier, save for his piercing blue gaze and the fact that he looked like he had never smiled a day in his life. "He has a knack for beating the odds."


Dockson, the intense-looking man with a half-beard, cut in before Kelsier could reply. "It's been two and a half months since we last spotted you. We've been continuing preparations as per plan, but I wish I were lying when I say that everyone has been losing morale. In the last few weeks, particularly, the skaa of the western districts have been afflicted by an illness they've been calling Mistblight. Some even go as far as calling it retribution for worshiping the Survivor instead of the Lord Ruler."


"It's not uncommon for time to be de-synchronized," Raine explained. "It is part of the reason we tend not to leave a world during a mission unless we absolutely must. However, could it be that the time difference is getting more severe? From our prior knowledge, it should have only been about three weeks, barring an error in our records..."


Kelsier narrowed his eyes. Three weeks was still a lot of time. They probably didn't inform him so as to avoid getting him to rush their departure, but they definitely should have. "Crew," he addressed his own people, "meet the eXtra Dimensional Restoration Squad. They're here on official business to help with the sand that's supposedly in this city. As you can plainly see, they're not really from Luthadel, or anywhere else known to us..."


He locked eyes with his brother. "They have flowers on their world, Marsh. It was-- it felt unreal. They're from a whole other universe."


"You really are insane," Dockson grumbled, putting an exasperated hand to his face. "I don't even doubt what you're saying with dimensions and universes, stuff that Ham's usually rambling about. But every day you make me wonder how the hell you get tangled up in these kinds of things."


"Mostly I ponder the existence of alternate timelines, or alternate universes very similar to our own..." Hammond clarified. Out of Kelsier's crew, he seemed the most out of place with his neat, military haircut and sleeveless uniform which exposed his muscled arms. Kelsier assumed that Dockson must have chewed him out on ripping the sleeves off himself. 


"Those exist too," Mista added helpfully. "There was this one universe Giorno and I visited where everything was the same, except Giorno's dad stuck around and we had a nice Chirstmas dinner..."


"Must have been great," Ham mused. "Seeing an alternate universe version of yourself must be jarring, especially if they're doing better than you. Think there's a timeline out there where we just get to live our lives without worrying about the Empire? Have you ever thought about or needed to replace and live as an alternate version of yourself, temporarily or forever? We think about how it would be nice, but in that case, which one is the real instance of 'you'?"

"Enough of that," Raine interjected. She bit at her lip once she realized how snappish her tone was. She had no desire to continue this theoretical discussion.


Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Allies: Duke, Raine, Natsuki, Giorno, Mista, Kelsier, Kelsier's Crew, Dynarst
Location: Club's Shop


Jowan wrings his hands, ready to try to pick up as much information as he can. He’s unused to this kind of setting, all dimly lit and secretive, and he doesn’t want to miss anything or fall behind. 


Duke, of course, manages to distract him almost immediately. Jowan looks at Marsh nervously, convinced that the man had heard because of how loud Duke was. He doesn’t notice the man’s hair so much as he notices his eyes, blue and piercing. Marsh’s gaze falls upon him for a moment and Jowan looks away, uncomfortable. Marsh’s eyes aren’t the same shade as Neria’s had been, but he’s reminded of her all the same. “I guess so,” he mumbles, much quieter than Duke had been. Surely there’s better things to focus on. 


Alternate versions of themselves…? Duke sounds so confident, so assured in his position, but Jowan can’t feel the same way. The idea is disconcerting; is it possible that there’s a version of him somewhere that’s just better? Smarter, better at magic, a Jowan that didn’t make so many awful decisions? One that never picked up the knife? 


Well. Even in the most idea of circumstances, he’s sure that he’d have messed it up somehow. Couldn’t have escaped with Lily. Couldn’t have passed his Harrowing if he stayed. He’d never really stood a chance, but he’d still managed to make everything worse along the way. 


The small bird the Giorno gave him -- he doesn’t know what it’s called, but he wants to know -- cries, a shark aak-aak sound, as it hops around and clings to different parts of his shirt. The sight is cheering, and he allows himself a small smile. If only he could just sit and watch the small creature. It’s fascinating -- at the circle there had been some seabirds, but they’d been difficult to see through the high windows, and he’s never interacted with an animal so closely before. Hesitantly, he holds out a finger, and the bird makes a short jump to land on it. 






Allies: Duke, Raine, Jowan, Giorno, Mista, Kelsier, Kelsier's Crew, Dynarst
Location: Club's Shop


“Our priority is the Anchors,” Natsuki says, though they doubt that Duke will listen. The only thing they really need to know about the sickness is how to avoid it, and Duke likely wishes to cure it or something similarly fanciful. They know how deadly and politically important plagues can be, but even slowing its spread would require time and resources that they don’t have. Frankly, the illness doesn’t sound particularly relevant to their mission, and nor does the discussion about parallel worlds. “What do you know of the golden sand and people turning into monsters upon contact with it?” they ask. 

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Kelsier -- Club's Shop, Kitchen

[ with dockson, breeze, clubs, ham, marsh (and spook) ] - [ planning with the xdrs ]


Ham nods in agreement to Duke's musings, satisfied with the answer. "Very astute. It's true that I wouldn't be the man today if it weren't for the conditions of this world."


"That's exactly it," answers Dockson. "Saves us some explaining. The monsters and the sickness are one and the same. We don't think the transformations have anything to do with the mists themselves and have even less to do with the Lord Ruler, but superstitions end up having disproportionate power... After all, both the mists rise and the walking corpses shamble at night."


Kelsier scratches his chin, thinking. The colorful bird Giorno had given him took the opportunity to wiggle out from his coat and flutter down onto the table, attracting an inquisitive expression from Marsh. "This is setting us back more than I ever could have anticipated," he says. "Given that we will be clearing out the sand anyway, that's one miracle we need people to witness. Is there any way to get the victims to turn back to normal?"


Raine pauses. She knew Kelsier wanted to make himself into a myth but didn't think he would be so overt with his intentions. Fearlessly walking among the sick and healing them would no doubt make him seem like a divine figure. Whether or not that was a good thing was yet to be seen. "If we can contain one of the monsters, I'll see what I can do." If there was anything the multiverse taught her, there was always a way. In her own world she herself performed the feat once (and only once), though there were so many variables in play here that it would be hard to say if her magic would save a sand creature or obliterate it. She hesitated to make any promises. Staring intently at a knot on the table to avoid eye contact, she rationally adds, "However, it would be unwise to compromise our own safety if we are attacked, so in fight assume the creatures are beyond saving." She looks at the agents. "Jowan, do you still have the document? According to the information I have compiled, the most effective weapon against the sand creatures is the Dagger of Time, currently under Giorno's care, which also renders the wielder immune to the sand's effects.


"Before you get any further," Kelsier interjects, "I'm going to get Vin and Sazed, so we won't need to explain this twice."


"She's probably out dancing with that little rich boy at the Hastings Ball down the boulevard," Breeze teases, eyes squinted mischievously. "Biggest event of the month, you know. Unfortunately, she hasn't fallen out of love yet. I'm surprised neither of them has moved on from the little fling, despite all the vitriol from Dox."


Kelsier is silent for an uncomfortable amount of time, then showed his widest grin of the night. "Sounds like we have a party to crash. We probably won't be making a move on the sand until tomorrow once everyone is rested, so that would leave time for you all to get acquainted." Before anyone could stop him, he leaves the table, jogging upstairs to prepare himself. His avian companion takes flight and pursues him.


"There he goes again," Dockson sighs. He puts a hand to his forehead. "You don't need to follow his antics tonight. We can get some rooms prepared for you."


Amidst the talking, Dynarst felt very, very out of place. He thought that it would be simple enough to follow along and contribute. In reality, he was too aware of his own presence to pay attention to what was being said. 

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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ptvytK0.png Q8AevHe.gif


< STATUS: Stable; Suspicious >

< LOCATION: Club's Shop - Kitchen >

< AGENTS: Duke, Jowan, Raine, Natsuki >

< OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Mista, Kelsier, Dockson, Breeze, Clubs, Ham, Marsh, Spook >


Duke going anywhere alone with a stranger was a recipe for disaster. Well, on a technical standpoint, he requested Jowan and Dynarst to accompany him so he wasn’t completely alone; however Jowan was a new agent Giorno knew very little about and Dynarst was, according to the last mission report, some man Duke plucked off the streets. Normally, Giorno wouldn’t be so keen on keeping tabs on newer agents or allies of X-Dreamers, but considering the kind of company Duke kept, and the man’s tendency to veer off the mission plan, he saw little reason to let Duke wander off with the wannabe Messiah. 


“Your hospitality is much appreciated,” Giorno said, turning to face the man called Dockson. He placed a hand delicately on his chest and gave a small, polite bow. “Unfortunately, I must decline it for now. Out of everyone here, I am the most experienced with going to other worlds and helping them dispose of whatever problems they might have.” Giorno straightened himself upright. “If Kelsier has to go out to find a few more of your crew, then I would like to go with him. After all, I do have the Dagger of Time with me.” Giorno patted the sheath of the aforementioned dagger strapped tightly around his waist. “On the off-chance that we do run into some of the sand creatures, I’ll need to be there.” 


As Giorno was speaking to Kelsier’s crew, GER slowly manifested behind Raine and Natsuki. It floated into their personal bubbles to make its presence apparent. It gently grabbed onto their shoulders and leaned its head towards their ears as it began to speak in a low whisper, completely inaudible to everyone else in the room. 


“I’ll keep an eye on Duke, Kelsier, Jowan, and Dynarst,” GER said in Giorno’s voice. “At least one of you should remain here and learn more about this crew before we continue tomorrow morning. The more we know, the better.” Releasing its hold on Raine’s and Natsuki’s shoulders, GER pushed itself away from them before vanishing in thin air. 


With that settled, Giorno clasped his hands behind his back and strode towards where Duke and his companions stood. 

“I hope you don’t mind me intruding on your little escapade,” Giorno said, glancing between Duke, Jowan, and Kelsier. “I’d like us to finish this up as quickly and safely as possible. If we do end up getting into a fight with one of the monsters, or anyone for that matter, I got the dagger and I can heal you if need be.” Looking over his shoulder, Giorno gave Mista a knowing glance before turning his head back towards the men in front of him. “I should let you know, Mista goes where I go and—” Giorno stared straight at Duke. “—if you need more hands then Mista is the man you’re looking for. He has twelve extra hands he can bring out whenever he wants.” 

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Posted (edited)


Kelsier and co. and co. -- Club's Shop, Kitchen

[ with dockson, breeze, clubs, ham, marsh (and spook) ] - [ refueled and ready ]


"Yeah, me and the Pistols are ready to catch any ball that comes our way!" Mista declares in response to both Duke and Giorno. As soon as he uttered their name, Mista's stand materializes in a halo around his head. 


"Mistaaa--" Number Seven whines, floating towards his eye level. "We're splitting up already? We just regrouped with the agents!"


Dynarst's heart sinks. He was called upon by Duke -- to come along? It was a terribly high honor but also a terribly high request. He looks to the side, not committing -- but not objecting, either.


Feeling a presence behind her, Raine did not flinch or acknowledge Giorno's message outwardly, but she makes a note of it. The youth had the uncanny ability to throw his voice, using his stand abilities. His suggestion was sound and the half-elf was planning to stay and listen even if Giorno never suggested it. She sensed that there was little trust to go around at the moment between the two parties. Staying would be the most rational choice. Ultimately, she trusts her fellow agent to tail both Duke and Kelsier, and, in turn, she wouldn't let him down with her information-gathering (and hopefully, diplomacy).


"We'll take your offer for shelter tonight, Dockson," Raine agrees. "I will remain here instead of following them. Goddess knows we've been having a long day. Thank you again for your hospitality."


Marsh's intense eyes dart around the room, from Raine and Natsuki, then to each of the other agents in turn before settling towards Raine and Natsuki again. He looks pensive, but he does not say anything. 


The stomping of boots down the stairs over the tense silence causes half of the gathered people to look towards the doorway, where Kelsier re-emerged, looking rather refreshed. He had a fresh set of clothes under his mistcloak and his lorikeet perched on an outstretched hand, but also appeared to stand a little straighter and looked less tired overall.


Full of reserves, Raine guesses. Refilled and ready to go. 


"Has everyone rubbed shoulders I was upstairs?" Kelsier jests. "Come on, be a little friendlier! We're not some cold professionals."


"I feel a chill. I'm a cold professional and I take offense to that," Breeze clarifies. 


"Professional pain in the ass," Ham retorts. This gets their youngest member, Spook, to attempt to and fail at holding back an embarrassingly loud snicker.


"Looks like you have an escort party tonight," Dockson says, bringing them back to business. If Kelsier was disappointed, he does not show it. For the people who knew him well, it was certain that he expected to have the opportunity to show Duke the city at night -- else he would have jumped out the window and disappeared into the night as soon as he was ready. "A number of these agents want to tag along."


Kelsier shrugs, entirely unaware of Mista's Pistols swarming towards his face, trying to get a better look. "Shouldn't be too troublesome." Turning to Duke, he adds, "We'll need to stay out of sight so we might not get into the party proper, though your uniform might be somewhat passable for the current men's fashion." He heads towards the steps leading up to the back door.


"Hold on," Marsh interrupts. "Since you're travelling by foot anyway, allow me to come along for some air."


Kelsier pauses on the stairway. He looks down at his brother for an intense second, understanding that Marsh wanted to say something to him -- preferably in private. He doesn't really want to give his brother the satisfaction of doing so at the moment, so, he turns away and continues climbing. "Suit yourself."




Out in the mists, everything is eerily quiet. The fog was heavy enough to reduce visibility but not completely mask where they were going, and the limelights that Keep Hastings pointed towards the sky beamed signals into the air. Hastings was the second greatest of the Ten Houses of Luthadel. The fact that they were still doing an event despite the worries of contracting Mistblight was definitely a show of their strength... But then again, most nobles thought that they were above catching the diseases of the common people.


Even surrounded by people much more powerful than him, Dynarst feels incredibly uneasy... or were the powerful people part of the problem? With nothing to hold onto, he sort of just wrings his hands together nervously. Not only were the mists supposedly supernatural, but they also could hide much more mundane threats in the shadows.


"Stop." Marsh was so sudden that it actually catches Kelsier off guard. The steel-eyed man is still -- too still, among the mists shifting around him. Dynarst would have mistaken him for a devil, if he hadn't met the man before. "There is something amiss."


Despite the warning, Kelsier proceeds, but with a new sense of caution in his steps. He sneaks toward the front gates of the Hastings, his back against the wall protecting the compound as to hide himself within the shadows it cast. The iron-piked gates were open to let carriages in, but his tin-sight pierced through the fog and saw that the front yard was empty. It was well into the night that everyone would have arrived and had their coaches and horses tended to in the stables, but it was unusual to see no one milling about on the front court. That would have been an excellent farce: Hastings hosting a ball, and no one showing up because they feared the mistblight.


A trap?


With no one on the front yard, there goes his first plan to show Duke the wicked colors of the nobility. Under the veneer of bright lights and pleasantries, they were exceptionally cruel. Sometimes beggars made their way onto the lawn, and sometimes, those self-righteous sootbags would order them executed on the spot. Thinking about it makes Kelsier reach to claw at his concealed scars, but he refrains from doing so.


Edited by TehUltimateMage

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