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The Way of the Blue [Lantern OC]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by AverusBlack, May 2, 2021.

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  1. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    I like Vara. She's a fun grumpy Interovert.

    Also nice update. World building and a potentially existential threat. A good combo.
     
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  2. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    I can't help but notice that Fear is leading the way in this plan.

    I was surprised to learn that The Seal is a physical location, I expected it to be an Oort Cloud Dimensional Prison Wall locking in the solar system/locking out the universe, like what contained Lord Moldovia Of The Green Flame

    I suspect the temple, being White Light themed, either contains A Black Ring user, A White Ring user, or both.

    I also suspect that The Seal isn't a prison, it's an access window, and if they want the help of the White Light Ring maintaining the temple, they need to complete the timed mission and plug in the Batteries, or else the access window loses power and the temple dimensionally collapses any goodies inside.
     
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  3. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Not a bad guess. Not entirely correct though. :) I never said it was the temple of white light, just light. Malvolio aside, whats on the other side of the seal - and what else the seal might be doing - will be important later.
     
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  4. Threadmarks: On A Moonlit Walk - Interlude (Arrival)
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    They arrived in the middle of a sandstorm.

    When Emil made it through the gate he was immediately thankful for the closed environmental seal of his suit. Combat doctrine in the last fifty years had emphasized adaptability and mobility in the expectation that eventually, the Zerosi Mobile Infantry would be operating in pretty much any environment. The armor itself was effectively a fortified, idiot-proof spacesuit he could live in for a couple of months if necessary. Although they didn't have any kind of energy shield small enough to fit on an individual the suits armor plates could build a charge as both a means of discouraging close quarters combat and to form a weak repelling field, which was going to be handy very, very soon it would seem.

    As he arrived he kept walking, signals from his people lighting up all around him as they arrive. They fan out, each lit up on each others HUD despite the lack of visibility. It wasn't hindering their ability to track each other or where they were very much. Optical vision only gets you so far and they had other kinds of eyes.

    Nobody was talking but that changed once the mech pilots began to arrive. The mechs themselves were hexapods, the pilots inside sitting comfortably in the middle of the 'body'. Vaguely resembling large mechanical spiders the two front legs could double as actionable manipulators so that the mechs could have 'hands'. Their pilots weren't part of the ZMI, an associate service outside of his chain of command under normal circumstances but who now belonged to him and his unit.

    "Ha-ha, look at that, Ruthless."

    "Can't see shit, cap'n."

    "You're goddamned right we can't. Good to see you boys made it through with us, how's life down on the ground?"

    Emil flicked his eyes to the left for half a second, then up, opening his comm and setting it to the open channel. "About as good as we can expect when we're talking, Champ. Try not to spam up the comms too much, please."

    "Gotcha, General. Ruthless, quit spamming the comms."

    "Fuck you, Champ." She was laughing as she said it, though.

    He could see the last of his people appear on his HUD. Good. "Listen up folks, we've come out in the middle of a haboob so we're gonna sit tight. Keep your plating repelling so that you don't get buried too much and don't stay in one spot for too long. Champ, bring your lunkers around and sit down in a box around us, please. You're going to serve as our windbreaks until this passes."

    "What if it don't pass, General?"

    "Don't worry too much about it, Ruthless. Worst case scenario we follow you ugly lugs while you take point and we start looking for signals. Ain't gonna find shit in this blow but that doesn't mean we can't try."

    As he and the others grouped together the mechs moved to drop down around them, forming a wall against the wind and taking the brunt of it for them. With nothing shooting at them and no reason to worry about traveling in the short term they sat down and got comfortable, leaning against or sitting on the mechs themselves, killing time.

    The storm lasted most of the day and into the night, clearing just before dawn.

    They slept, but restlessly, the wind howling around them the whole night. No breakfast but the ration bars today, not without setting up camp. Not a practical option, it would seem. They were picking up the locator beacons from the vehicles that came through on the initial expedition.

    Nearly three hundred miles to the south, on the other side of a distant mountain range. Inconvenient, but workable.

    After spending an entire day lounging around, most of them were eager to get moving. Emil obliged. At full speed the mechs could top nearly 100kph but doing so would cause repair issues for them, forcing them to stop later and check over for wear and tear or subtle damage. Since the infantry could keep up easily with the skids in their boots, skating just above the sand, they leisurely took their time crossing the desert as the mountains ahead grew larger day by day.

    That wasn't to say the desert itself didn't have its appeals. Sealed away from the heat, exposed only when eating - and only then when they wanted solid food, the suits nutrient mix would keep them ticking just fine in a pinch - they didn't suffer for the journey and had time to admire the various desert plants they found and catalogued, the small life forms they ran into. On the second day they crossed an oasis where many different inhabitants of the desert were gathered or drifting through, taking the time to test and purify the water, refill their stores and take notes of the species they found there before moving on.

    As they got closer to the mountains the desert began to give way to a dry, overly determined shrub land that seemed to exist purely to spite the desert. None of the plants looked green, all of them desiccated and with the consistency of wax paper. They didn't pay much attention to it as they passed through.

    As the land began to slope up and broken ridges became sheer rock faces, the mechs began using a mix of grappling lines and climbing ability to scale rock faces, occasionally hauled vertically by the ZMI and then anchored manually to ensure a good fixture. Getting up high would be a boon in the long run.

    By the fifth day they were nearly 7000ft above sea level, the green countryside of the south laid out before them.

    Here, the mechs earned their keep. The ZMI climbed aboard the mechs in lines, holding positions against their hull and adding to their overall weight but surrounding the mechs on all sides. The skids in their boots weren't antigravity, exactly. Producing a gravity plate in the bottom of ones shoe simply acted as a singular weak repulsor, allowing the soldier to carry both themselves and a couple hundred pounds of weight just above any surface so long as the suits had power. That wasn't a problem since they could charge off the mechs.

    Once they were all in position, the mechs flung themselves forwards into the open air and all of the ZMI activated their boot skids at once, pointed down as they clung to the sides of the mechs. Collectively the repelling force allowed the mechs to glide, a controlled fall like sliding forward in the air. The six legs of the units were acting as stabilizers as they soared downward at a speed only an idiot could love.

    As they did it, his people were laughing and whooping and Emil couldn't help but smile.

    The landing wasn't soft. Above the treeline they let go, allowing the mechs to fall and kicking off them, separating themselves. The ZMI circled the area, gliding down to join the mechs on the ground. Still seventy-six miles away - they were too far to the west - but now they were on the right side of the mountains and he still had everybody. Plus, that was a pretty fun maneuver that none of them had over gotten to try before.

    As they began to make their way east, Emil began to get impatient.

    Soon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
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  5. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    Good to see they could get a signal, but strange to see that they made no attempts "on screen" to ping for response pings.

    You can't see without being seen.
     
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  6. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    It's just IFF
     
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  7. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    I got some shit going on irl and I'm not sure when I can update. Soon as I can but I'm looking for a new place to live and it's basically eating up all my time at the moment.
     
  8. ChestBurster

    ChestBurster Getting out there.

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    I've watched this thread a couple of months ago and the story is still continuing which makes me very happy.

    So far you've made two pairs of alliances and one neutral. It makes me wonder when Indigo and Violet will pop up and what side they'll take. Of course, the game would change if the last two lanterns will team up and I'd like to see what it will mean when Compassion and Love join the circle as a duo.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: On A Moonlit Walk - 08
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Flying with Mina is really distracting. I'm trying to keep my head in the game here but she keeps flying ahead of me and with that outfit I can see everything. I'm trying not to look at her because getting involved with her would cause more problems than it would solve but I can't help but find her attractive and it's not like I'm drowning in women, really. I really like Elise but she's not flipping the same kind of switches in my hindbrain. Mina looks very human.

    Instead I'm trying to focus on the scans I'm taking of the area we're passing over. She's led me north, far into the desert. It's pretty quiet out here but there's signs of life all around and a network of organically shaped tunnels crisscross the bedrock underneath the sand. Something relatively big and diggy lives out here, hiding from the fierce sun. I wondered why this area was a desert at first but then I realized the mountain ranges to the south must be creating a rain barrier and this desert spans the equator across this part of the continent.

    It's not all barren, though. The sand is a very fine white, broken by red-brown rocks and occasionally some ruins. Nothing like a town, just broken slabs of stone in vaguely square or rectangular structures, hinting at buildings that once were. No way to tell who lived there, when or why, not just passing over anyways. It does leave me wondering if the subsurface dwellers are dangerous though. A pattern of new arrivals appearing and then being attacked by the locals is beginning to form and I want to put a stop to that but it'll be some time before my political and reputation influences allow for that.

    "We're not too far now. Hey, you look distracted." I look over to Mina as she calls back to me, using the ring to keep my eyes locked on her face.

    "I'm alright, don't worry. I was just thinking."

    "Ooooh, throw me a feather?"

    "What?"

    "Oh. Sorry." She titters, giggling. "It's a Tovari thing. Pan birds would shake their wings and vocalize at you when they were upset, so 'throw me a feather' is an idiom meaning 'tell me what you're thinking'."

    I nod at her. "So you are Tovari."

    "Yep! I'm from the east. Ooh, you look surprised."

    "I've heard the east was dangerous, violent."

    "It can be. In some ways. I'm far more animated than most of us, the ring forces me to revel in the emotions so I'm not surprised you mistook me for one of our hillbilly cousins to the west."

    "No? So this city of yours, it's in Eastern Tovalon."

    "Oh, yes." She says it absentmindedly, slowing down as I come to a stop next to her. She's pointing down at the surface. "There it is."

    It would be easy to overlook it. The cut surface of the temple into the cliff face is in an oddly shaped fold in the rock, almost like a dimple. Unless you saw it head-on from ground level it would be easy to miss with the overhang hiding it from the air.

    "Did you reshape the rock?"

    "No. Guarding the temple isn't a problem." I give her a curious look but she just smiles saucily at me and then zooms down towards the entrance.

    Well. Okay.

    Following her in I come to land beside her where she's hovering just above the sand. As soon as my feet touch the surface, two guards burst out of the sand in front of us, blocking the temple door. They're both insectoid, resembling huge pillbugs, shaking the sand off. A short shriek and they shuffle a little, watching us before diving back down under the sand.

    "Fuck was that?"

    "The guards. We don't know much about them, they span the whole desert. When we talk to them, they don't answer, despite the translations but it's clear they're intelligent and consider anybody with a ring authorized to be here. If you scan around you'll find there's bone fragments all over this area from people who they decided didn't belong here."

    I nod slowly, then follow her as she slips inside, swaying her hips and making her tail curl in an S shape behind her. When I look up her ears are pinned backwards to hear me better.

    "Are you doing that on purpose?"

    "Doing what on purpose?" She managed to make it sound sultry.

    "I think you know what."

    "You mean how I look?" She turns her head to look over her shoulder at me. "You're cute, single and kind. I wear an orange ring. Why are you surprised I think you might make a good potential mate?"

    "Other than how I feel about it?"

    "Oh, that rarely matters with boys. Almost none object to a random fling now and then." She turns to look at me, smirking. "It's just us here, you know. No one around to report on anything we might do." She's meandering closer to me, stepping into my personal space. "So what do you want to do?"

    I lean in close, my nose almost touching hers, lowering my voice. "I want to see this temple and go home." When I step around her, walking past.

    She gives me an incredulous look as I do it. "Really? You know I can feel how much you desire me, right?"

    "What I want and what I can get aren't the same thing. I don't know you well enough to calculate the implications of doing you. For all I know you think it's marriage and I'll never be rid of you. I like you okay Mina, you've been honest with us. But I don't love you and I barely know you. I'd be an idiot to just go for the first pair of boobs I see, no matter how nice they look or how much you like showing them off."

    She's giving me a look which is almost... approving? "Mmm. Cute and you have a brain. Okay." She nods. "I'm not even offended, that's pretty sound reasoning. So, you're saying there's a chance?"

    I exhale sharply through my nose, bowing my head and smiling a little. "Are you always like this?"

    "I'm a girl who knows what she wants." She slips past me and - cheeky little shit, she just smacked my ass - heads into the doorway we're approaching into the temple. Then I follow her in.

    The main chamber is round and domed. The red, orange and yellow batteries are in placements around what is... calling it an arch is a simplification. I'm not sure what the shape is-

    It is an icosahedron.

    Oh. Okay, thank you ring. An icosahedron formed with metal bars set into a base of black stone. The inside of the 'gate' is filled with a strangely chromatic white light which seems to shift and change color without changing color at the same time, like some kind of optical illusion. It's like when you stare at a single spot too long and your brain tries to fill in the blanks around your vision, only I'm looking right at it and the shifts seem to change the hue of white somehow. It's bizarre.

    "This is it? No other guards besides the bugs?"

    "And the desert. There's nothing out here, after all. Just getting here without flying would be incredibly hazardous."

    "I suppose so."

    "Is this proof enough for you? Enough to convince you to move the blue core here?"

    I nod slowly. "Yes. Though I think I'll do something about added guards if I can."

    "Good! Can we transition back now? This dry air sucks."

    I nod, turning to head back outside with her, then rising into the air. She slips close to me and wraps herself around my arm, pressing her chest against me before I transition us back to the mountains just outside Durjak and politely untangle myself from her, leaving her smirking as I head down to the castle proper and land on the balcony outside the residence.

    Elise looks relieved to see me. "So?"

    I nod at her. "It's like they said, the red, yellow and orange batteries were there. So was this 'seal'."

    "Well, that's something. A new problem has popped up while you were gone, though."

    I glance at Nemesis and Vara, but Elise shakes her head. "Well, don't keep me in suspense. What is it?"

    She takes a deep breath, collecting herself. "A large group of genkits has followed us here from Zero -"

    "That's great news!"

    "-and reported that they've spotted a large army to the west of us, headed our way."

    "How large?"

    "They couldn't say. It was too large."

    Well.

    Shit.
     
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  10. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Might do another update tonight, depends on how things go. Sorry about the delays.
     
  11. Threadmarks: On A Moonlit Walk - 09
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    I'm at the gates of Durjak with Elise. Ren, Mason and (somewhat unexpectedly) Zack are hanging out just outside the gates to deal with the majority of the new arrivals while Elise and I talk with her father. Seems he's done well for himself, mostly due to Bradley hinting around that he was the one who convinced me to help out Durjak in the first place. None of them really thought I'd go quite this far but seeing how it worked out he's gotten a lot of rep points out of it and folk take him far more seriously for it. He's risen to be Mason and Ren's right-hand man in dealing with the townspeople and the role is fitting him like a measured suit.

    When Elise's father marches up to the gates I can see her environmental shield intensify as she forces herself to suppress the urge to rush over to him. When he approaches us the genkit force outside the city lines up neatly though informally, keeping formation but being relaxed enough to joke around and loosen up a bit while the adults are talking.

    "General Luther."

    "Lieutenant Luther." He pulls his helmet off, ruffling the fur around his head a little and then one ear as he talks. "Why are you out of uniform? And glowing green?"

    Elise remains stoic for all of about five seconds before she makes a trilling aaaaa noise and bounces over to hug him, almost knocking him over on the spot. I can't help but smile, no matter how serious the situation is. "I'M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU DAD!"

    "Shh, shh." He's laughing too, hugging Elise. "Inside voice, Elise. This is supposed to be serious."

    "I know, I'm just... really glad to see you." She takes a deep breath, then exhales slowly. "A lot has happened. This ring is why I'm glowing." She turns to gesture to me. "I want to introduce to you to Lord Ainsley, the blue ring bearer. He'll tell you he's not a lord, but then you'll actually meet the other humans in town and they'll all tell you he's full of shit."

    General Luther steps up to me, offering the hand that isn't carrying his weapon. "My pleasure to meet you, Ainsley."

    I shake his hand firmly and grin. "Likewise, General. If your folks are anything like the genkits I've met so far, they'll be a welcome addition to this city."

    "You have the housing to billet us?"

    "No, dad." Elise shakes her head. "But the rings can... they can do a lot of things. That'll take a full debriefing, preferably with some cannabis involved so you don't fall out of your chair."

    He makes a casual phew noise. "That bad, huh? Worse than Somalia?"

    "Way worse than Somalia. With a bit of that bullshit in Japan mixed in."

    That makes him look concerned. "You're right, that sounds like it'll take some doing to listen to. You both know about the message we sent ahead?"

    I nod. "This army, what can you tell us?"

    Elise grabs both our arms, walking between us as he turns and sticks two fingers into his mouth, making a sharp whistle at his troops. They begin breaking up their formations, the mechs lumbering to face outwards from the walls as genkits begin filtering into the town. Then he turns to walk with us, answering the question as he hugs Elise to his side. "They're a mix of all kinds of species we've never seen before, but I'd say about two thirds of them were humans. Didn't see any high technology but there was a lot of pikes, spears, shields, that sort of thing. Probably close-range weapons as well, but.. no guns, not even muskets. They flew banners with a red sword, its blade held by a white fist on a black standard."

    Elise nods. "Medieval armies mostly had short, violent battles in close quarters combat and they weren't always armored the way you'd see in movies and stories. Different combat roles had different levels of protection and archers played a big role in how effective infantry could operate. Magic adds a new dimension to that problem too. Wards will mean that their military formations will be different than what we might predict based on medieval human wars."

    Luther nods. "Magic? Seriously?"

    "Seriously."

    "Okay, look, I know pranking the old man can be funny but -"

    Elise is hovering in front of him and suddenly the ferret has his tongue. She makes a construct hammer, then a rifle, then a suit of armor, then a rocket construct six times our size hovering in the air above the roofs. Luther is giving her the most intense look of concern I've ever seen on a ferrets face, though in fairness, Elise is the only one I know.

    "That's... what else can you do?"

    "Full debriefing, dad. C'mon." She lands and dismisses the construct as she goes ahead of us towards the inn.

    Luther turns his head to look at me. "You can do this too?"

    I nod to him. "Yes. Everything she can do. Perhaps more. The different colors seem to have various unique properties and refer to the emotion the ring itself runs on."

    "Empathic weapons?"

    "No, tools. A utility survival knife is still a potential weapon, isn't it?"

    "I suppose you have a point. Where did you find them?"

    "I'll let Elise tell the story of hers but mine? I have only guesses. We were entertaining three guests of other colors working out an agreement when your people arrived."

    "So... what emotions then?"

    "Me? I'm hope. Elise is strength of will. Fear, Rage and Avarice were who we were negotiating with."

    "Are there others?"

    "Yes and no. Other colors, but not other users, yet. Another story to be explained."

    He nods. "Elise likes you. She treats you like one of us. How'd that come to be, I wonder? Hm?" He's giving me a curious look as we approach the inn and I shrug, holding the door open for him. "Hope.. spreads, General. Durjak was a pretty sleepy town when I first arrived."

    Elise is already sitting in one of the booths and chatting with Bradley, grinning like a loon. Looks like she's already ahead of us in placing orders, good show. Luther heads over to join her in the booth, nodding politely to Bradley, who nods back and heads off to get the drinks.

    "Why didn't you build a second gate on this side, Elise? What happened?"

    "An attack. Happens a lot with new arrivals here. We drove them off with minimal losses but the opening spread hit us with their version of artillery. It wrecked one of the thunkers completely and partially ruined another. We fixed a third and forth up from the wrecks."

    Bradley heads over to us with a pitcher of beer and a smoking tray. "I'll be back in about twenty minutes with some food." He points at Luther. "We don't have steaks, you okay with bird meat?"

    "What kind of bird?"

    "I have a hard time saying its name, we just call them flockas. Kind of like a chicken but with twice the attitude and three times the size."

    "Sounds good, thank you." Bradley nods to him and heads off to the back, leaving Luther looking thoughtful.

    "What's on your mind, General?"

    "This is the first time I've come to a human-run establishment and nobody reacted strangely. It's different, in a good way." He looks at Elise. "I can see why your group chose to stay here. None of them are Purists at all?"

    "Not a one in the city." Elise reaches over to pour her and Luther some beer while I begin rolling smokes for us as she talks. "Let's start with our first time meeting Ainsley, since that's where it all really began..."

    Huge army bearing down on the city. I'd guess we have maybe four hundred genkits in total to fight, if they all want to fight. From what I've seen so far, I'm pretty sure it'll be harder to get them not to, now that they're self-identifying with the town. This place has become their place and they won't give it up without giving somebody a bloody nose.

    Still, four hundred soldiers isn't enough. Maybe if I can convince Mina... maybe. I'm not sure if Elise and I can do it by ourselves.

    But I'm sure we'll be okay in the end.

    Right?
     
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  12. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    I think doing anything with Mina would be really distracting. Talking about the socio-economic effects of toothpaste with Mina would be distracting.
    Because she wants you to see everything. And if she wants you to see everything its okay to look.
    Elise clearly needs to step up her game and drown him a little. I'm sure she can find a fun way to do that.
    Then hope your hindering flips those switches. Or elise could will herself into a more human form for escapades I guess.

    Also I wonder what part in particularis very human. Perhaps her eyes? Or her hands? :D
    Again she won't mind. Look just don't touch.

    Or look and touch but tell her she has to share with Elise.
    I wonder if they have a queen? And how long they have been there.
    I mean worryingly she's not wrong per say. Perhaps on a moral level it's sone kind of Manipulative coercion/taking advantage of him. But it is easier for jot girls to seduce guys even if they know they shouldn't be seduced.


    Also obviously he wants to hug her and go for a long walks along the beach. Which is really lucky because a desert is like a beach only without the ocean!
    I'm guessing it's somewhere between "lots" and "take me now".
    Yay honest communication instead of awkward dancing around the issue!


    Also praise the booooobs!!!!
    Ah she approves of his brain!

    Also mandatory meme.
    [​IMG]
    Maybe elise needs to take a page from Mina's book ans slap his arse too? I mean she does get naked around him a lot but I think the genkit casual Nudity thing has prevented him considering Elise might have other reasons for being naked around him.

    Like wanting him to see her naked.
    That's good!

    That's not so good!
    Sweeet!
    I mean a ring can make tentacles so I guess there is some Japan mixed in.
    I'm sure a few od then are still unsettled by them and you may have problems the other way with people who like the Genkits a bit much... but no pre existing racism or hatred. A nice clean slate you've made a good impression on.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Why do I hear boss music? - 01
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Hovering with Elise, we're carrying Mason, Ren, Zack, Kuri and Emil with our rings. We're about thirty miles west of Durjak in the sky above the approaching army, which has staked camp in the open plains where the treeline breaks. Campfires, tents and makeshift workspaces dot the plains as far as we can see, which is considerable since we're about a hundred meters up in the air. Elise was right, this is too much.

    Ring, can you get an estimated head count?

    Scans are inconclusive due to an unknown form of interference. Most likely possibilities are arcane warding or metametals. Estimation based on optical scans puts the count at roughly 1.2 million individuals.

    And the only way to find out how far back this stretches is to fly around their whole army and parade ourselves. Fuck.

    "How did we miss this?" It's Zack asking the question, staring down in the same direction the rest of us are. "I thought you guys flew around the whole continent?"

    "No, it was mostly just me and I wasn't touring so much as flitting from one problem into another for a little bit. They've got something to muddle with my ring scans and it's pretty widespread, so probably magic of some kind. You're right though." I shake my head, disappointed in myself. "I should have made more of an effort."

    "They don't have cavalry." Ren is pointing. "Look. They have stables for mounts, but look at their mounts. Legs out to the side like that suggest they're cold-blooded. That means they can be fast but only in short bursts, not like mammals who always have the engine running. They won't be the cavalry mounts, those need stamina. They have something else."

    Mason nods. "I agree. They have archers everywhere too, you can see the fletching tents, look at the racks of quivers. They rely on archery, maybe enhanced into artillary somehow?"

    "Magically enhanced arrows?" Zack frowns. "Seriously?"

    "If casting magic tires you out it would sidestep that, maybe. We don't know enough to guess properly."

    "If they don't have artillery they would want to have something like it and we know magic can serve that role. It's how we got hit so hard in the first place." Ren folds her arms. "What do you think their intentions are?"

    My eyes glow as I look down, look into them. I don't need to, but I raise my hand to show the others I'm doing something. Ring, show me their hope.

    The blue glow my visual cortex is interpreting as an image isn't literally there, I don't think. At least, the others aren't reacting to it and neither is anyone below. But the glow has a depth to it I can't describe properly either, like noise but... not. Conflicting hopes, individual hopes, things changing as they interact with each other or learn new things or time passes, all of it a mosaic that's always shifting, like a face that's always turning into another face without ever being a single solid image.

    This isn't what I'd hoped to see, though. I take a deep breath, stilling my mind and focusing on my breathing for a moment, closing my eyes. The blue glow is more muted now but still there in my minds eye. This was far easier with small groups.

    When I open my eyes again my focus isn't in any one spot, my eyes relaxed, my mind the same. Easier to get a more general sense of things this way. Not encouraging, though.

    "They're conquerors who see themselves as liberators, trying to do what I'm doing, but through force majeure. A general sense of hoping their campaign can end, going home, that sort of thing. Hoping the next battle won't be too difficult because they know there's one coming up." I can't help but sigh. "Meaning us."

    "Well that's pretty fucking unfortunate for them." Elise said it but Ren is laughing, cackling. Mason, Zack and I all turn to look at her but Elise and Emil seem to be taking it in stride.

    "This is great! I haven't had a proper battle in decades, at least. Endless fucking soldiers as far as the eye can see, maybe some bastard down there can survive more than fifteen seconds of me beating on their ass." She actually cracks her knuckles, grinning. I think that's a grin, anyways. It seems to involve a lot of teeth.

    "We should try to talk to them at least once, Ren." Emil shakes his head.

    "But Emil -"

    "I'm still the ranking officer, colonel. Don't abuse my informal nature and start thinking it means you get to argue with me or I will put you on your ass."

    He says it casually, offhandedly but I can see Ren straighten up like she actually thinks he can do it. Shit, maybe he can, what do I know about these people. "Gotcha, sir. Just an excessive enthusiasm for putting shitheads in their place. Sir."

    "Time and place, Ren. You'll get your chance, I'm thinking." Emil sighs. "Still, it's policy to at least try first. With Elise and Ainsley we don't even have to risk anybody. You two think you can pull us out if we go down there and they're not keen on chatting?"

    Elise snorts. "Oh, yeah. We're powerful in our own right but when we synchronize, we get even stronger. Maybe we won't win a standing battle but we don't have to, a retreat action will do just fine."

    "I'd also prefer to talk to them first, I think. The Ren Strategy can be our backup plan. We also need to find out what these people are like, I don't agree with what method they're using but if their overall plan is to form an established government, I need to find out what kind of government they're trying to establish. If they're genuinely improving the living conditions of the places they annex, do we want to stop them?"

    "Uh, yes?" Zack is giving me an incredulous look. "Obviously? Ainsley, we like being self-determined. Not having to pay taxes? It's great. We get to keep the fruits of our labor, sometimes literally when the harvest comes in. We don't need some fucking lord telling us what to do - we have you."

    "
    I have a suggestion." Kuri raises a hand and we all turn to look at her. "Let's work with that idea. Ainsley and Elise claim lordship over this area with Mason, Ren and Luther as the military council. We already have an established reputation east of here. Thanks to me all of Skal knows about us now and thanks to Ainsley, Tovalon does too. Let's use that. We're not going to talk to them as representatives of a town, we're going to talk to them representing an independent duchy. No ones given Ainsley any kind of rank so we'll name him a Duke. It's one step down from royalty, isn't it?"

    I chuckle. "Where'd you learn that?"

    "Durjak may not have a library, but it does have books."

    "Kuri, you can't read."

    "I can now. Durjak has readers who dream, too."

    "We'll... talk about the implications of that later, I think. For now, let's go find out what these people want."
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
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  14. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    That's a big enough army to be a proper WAAAGH!

    How the hell are they managing this with medieval logistics technology?
     
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  15. ChestBurster

    ChestBurster Getting out there.

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    1.2 million is a large force. How long has this army been in the works? How long has their civilization been going on? Find out on the next episode of I'm Blue Da Ba Di Da Army gonna get stomped.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  16. Chojin Patriarch

    Chojin Patriarch Veteran Lurker

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    Running a bit behind, but this should let me put the stress of one of my computers having broken down aside...
    Heh. He really has settled into the role of a local ruler, no matter how he denies, it, hasn't he? At least he's starting to get comfortable with it.

    As much of an asshole that he is, I have to admit, he's got style.

    Well, the lady isn't subtle, that's for sure. Goes with the Orange Light, I suppose.

    Ah, so the red ring does have the same condition of binding itself to the wearer's body, I see. No easy removal for her.

    I suspect the only response from it when she asks it something is an angry growl. Entirely appropriate for the red AI.

    Forgive, but never forget, eh? A sensible methodology.

    I see Mina's got her eye on more than one catch, as expected. Though I find how the Genkits forge friendships very interesting.

    Good to see she's not forced to be a frothing rage-beast all day every day.

    So she's not happy about the mental side effects of the edges of the spectrum. I have to wonder if Ainsley's has been having any effect on him...

    And there's no guarantee whoever took it up wouldn't end up as much of an asshole... Though if he's covering his fear with a veneer f jerkishness, that's understandable.

    I figured Mina wasn't the first. Presumably she's not like that because she's more in touch with her desires, so the ring doesn't have to force her as much...

    Well, that's never a good sign. Interesting that Mina's not interested in Nemesis, though. I guess she can see through the facade into the rotten structure inside.

    Which Black ultimately wants to do to White, in most cases. All that noisy life getting up in death's business, and all that...

    So many questions, so few answers. I can almost hear the frustration.

    A rational explanation, but hardly a comforting one.

    I suspect his compliments make her skin crawl...

    Well, that's good, at least. Not that torturing him half to death was any better.

    Hold on to that feeling, Ainsley, I have the suspicion you'll be feeling it often around her.

    They sure don't do things by half, do they? I guess they've needed it to survive, though.

    An interesting design, and a lot more logical than the usual 'humanoid knight' style most people imagine.

    Love the byplay. Goes to show the difference between the forces. And I bet the General's reputation is what earned him their service...

    Given their equipment, hardly a significant distance, even with the mountains.

    And I've no doubt those who saw them will be spreading stories of them as they travel on... Bit hard to be discreet with giant mechanical bugs, after all...

    Okay, even with a fear of falling, that sounds like fun...

    Especially when she's so unabashedly open about showing it off. I can understand his distraction...

    ...What's the likelihood that they flew right past the General's party without noticing? Then again, a few dozen kilometers' difference and they might not have seen a thing.

    An interesting look at the difference in cultures...

    Now, how much did the city shape her, or she shaped the city, I wonder.

    Interesting. At least the temple isn't unprotected.

    You'll have to negotiate with Elise on that front, methinks.

    Yeah, no, I think Ainsley's smart enough to understand 'Don't stick it in crazy.'

    Take it up with Elise. And maybe Kuri, too.

    Trippy.

    Always somethign to keep him busy...

    ...That's bad...

    ...You said it.

    Heh. Never know how some people are going to take to changes. Sounds like Bradley's one of the good ones.

    Ah, family reunions. Boy, has she got a lot to tell him...

    ...A hell of a lot.

    ...Wow, that does not sound fun. And a solid reminder that Elise is older than she looks...

    Yeah, those colours just scream 'evil overlord', don't they? I wonder what the troops involved think of it?

    A fun consideration in fantasy worlds. What happens when large-scale protective barriers are a thing, after all? Or squads of people who can fling explosions with a few words, a pinch of sulphur and some guano...

    ...I'm guessing their world doesn't have a DC universe, then, or it's faded into obscurity. I'd laugh if some retro comics fanboy amongst the ranks recognised 'green Lantern shit'...

    So is a shovel. Though I doubt the General needs to give Ainsley 'the speech'. Elise can take care of herself in that regard...

    Quite a concerning one. I can tell the General is going to have more than a few new worry lines before the day is out...

    Living the old maxim: In times of crisis, fools build barriers, but the wise build bridges.

    And of course the General would recognise that the one carrying the needed gate parts was the unlucky one...

    Sounds like quite the meal. I'll bet their handlers are missing a finger or two each.

    I suppose he's still finding it hard to sink in that this is a whole different world...

    Never lose hope, Ainsley, it's your strength...
     
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  17. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Haha, after all...

    What could go wrong, yeah?



    With style and aplomb, of course
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Why do I hear boss music? - 02
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    After a quick lecture by Ren on why giving your enemy intelligence is a stupid thing to do we collectively decided to hold off on flashing the rings too much when approaching these guys, which is why Elise, Kuri, Zack and I are crammed into the back of one of the souped up rovers the genkits call 'thunkers'. I can tell why, now. Spartan and simple but reinforced in every way possible, it's like riding on air when I thought it would be something like riding in a tin can. The 'roads' are usually crap, unpaved and muddy on wet days, full of potholes and ruts on dry ones. This car ride is making it difficult to feel any of them very hard and it's giving me time to run scans and think as we approach their lines.

    As we approach their lines I spot scouts sitting in out of the way spots. They don't appear to be moving to try and get back to their forces to report on us so I can only guess they have some kind of communication method. Ring, are we picking up anything that looks like a comm device?

    Not from any of the scouts. However, instances of isolated high technology exist on random persons within their forces, consistent with the level of technological spread seen in other examples of cultures encountered.

    So some of them come from places with fancy things, but it's mostly just what people had on their person when they got stuck on Terra?

    Affirmative.

    Anything I should know about or be planning for?

    Affirmative.

    Ah, fuck. Somebody has what the ring thinks is a nanite infection. When I think of nanites all I can think of is Replicators and I'm suddenly very thankful I haven't actually run into a stargate so far because that's not a can of worms I want to fuck with at all. Nanites are dangerous though, in about a million different ways. I glance at the others and quietly scan them for a baseline comparison to use after the meeting to make sure nobody is carrying any unwanted new friends.

    Their defensive lines are reinforced with ad-hoc ramparts made of rough cut stone smeared with dirt. It looks like they used magic or something to tear up parts of the bedrock and force it to the surface. Elise pulls the rover up and brings it to a stop, the suicide doors opening the back cabin. We step out together and their soldiers don't do much more than watch us.

    Interesting, seeing their gear up close. It's not standardized but they're all wearing red. Not the whole outfit but each of them has something which is red. A shirt, a sash, a bandolier, part of their armor perhaps, but something. Each of their weapons has a red strip tied just under the sharp bits. They're just watching us with professional disinterest since it's clear we're not here to pick a fight with a force this small.

    I look at the others only to find they're looking at me. Oh, right, I'm in charge, aren't I?

    Affirmative.

    Thanks, ring. Not sure what I'd do without you, really.

    You would probably be dead by now.

    I need to stop lending you to Kuri. You're getting sassy.

    Walking towards their ramparts, I hold my arms wide. "I'd like to have a conversation with your leaders, if you could take me to them."

    "Aye, we could. Why would we do that?"

    "Because I asked nicely?"

    The man I'm speaking to shrugs, fingers hooked in his belt. "Makes little difference, really. You'll be part of the empire soon enough either way. You're not the first to come trying to negotiate, it's always the same you know. They'll just tell you to surrender or fuck off and you'll either surrender or fuck off, then we'll beat you and you'll end up under our rule anyways. Only we'll be pissed at you now. Why don't you just save yourself the trouble, mate?"

    I can hear Elise growl quietly next to me, so I put a hand on her shoulder. She looks at me and stops, forcing herself to relax. I look up at the man. "I won't insult your intelligence by asking the same thing again, because you got the message the first time. I have no intention of taking your advice and wish to carry on anyways. Now, why don't you be a good lad and go find some adults for me to talk to?"

    The man stares at me for a moment before jumping down off the rampart and walking towards us aggressively, spinning his pike and pointing it at me as he approaches at a march. I sigh both outwardly and inwardly. Okay, I guess we're doing it like this, then.

    He doesn't get the chance though, as Elise unholsters her weapon and shoots him in the chest, the man seizing up and dropping to the ground as I hear the clickclickclick of a taser. She retracts the lines and I can hear the weapon whirring as it prepares to deploy again, the fight gone out of the man. She walks over and casually kicks his pike away, then walks back to stand just behind my right shoulder.

    None of his buddies have moved to help, continuing to just sort of watch. One of them nods and heads off while the others chuckle at their comrades fate. The guy on the ground is picking himself up again so I speak up enough for him to hear. "Elise, I didn't know you could taze somebody through leather armor."

    "Usually. you don't. That wasn't a taser."

    "What was it?"

    "Weapon for frying automated weapon platforms. Hunter-killer androids. You shoot them until their armor is wrecked and then hit them with that to fry the computers. It only sort of works as a taser. If he wasn't wearing the armor, he'd probably need surgery to get the barbs out. Still might."

    The man in question is trying to stagger to his feet, only to fall over backwards again, his buddies chuckling at him. What a lovely bunch.

    "Were you trying to give him a heart attack?"

    "No, pretty much got what I was going for, here."

    "Good show. Hopefully we don't have to do that again."

    The one who vanished behind the ramparts returned, gesturing at us. As we approach the gap in the wall we pass the guy who charged us, who's giving Elise a confused, angry look. She gives him the middle finger without actually looking at him before we vanish behind the wall.

    The man who gestured at us is waiting. "One of the commanders is coming from the back of the line here to speak to you. You will wait here."

    We're getting looks. No, Kuri and Elise are getting looks. I'm not sure how to parse it. Interest or controlled hostility?

    I don't think I like this.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: Why do I hear boss music? - Interlude (The Boy, Before)
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    When Aetius woke, the room was filled with light. Somebody had lit incense in the room to wake him, letting the scent pull him out of sleep rather than anything so barbaric as to shake him or yell at him. The smoke had filled the air, turning the sunlight into god rays splayed across his wardrobe and bookshelves, glimmering with every color as the glass in his window split the light up in funny ways.

    Pulling himself out of the bed he wandered naked over to the washbin, recently filled with heated water by the same servant who'd lit the incense. The flowers in the water gave it a pleasant scent and he dunked his head into it, washing behind his ears and flicking them, then running his hands over his face in a way that had always felt natural to him. He did this every morning and had for as long as he could remember. When Father reminisced, he spoke of how he'd insisted on trying to heat the water himself if they argued and had done so since the day he arrived. By now they were used to the habit and he no longer had to ask, but it had been ten years so that wasn't very surprising.

    Standing up he took a deep breath, then dropped to the floor, beginning his morning exercises. The movements and exertion were automatic, something he'd internalized through repetition, leaving him free to think. Today was the day.

    Since he'd arrived he'd been training for this, working for this. It was considered a great honor to bond with the black armor but the trial was said to be dangerous, so dangerous that only one out of a thousand survived it. The uninitiated weren't told what it was, exactly. The whole thing took place up in the shrine where the armor was kept when it wasn't bonded to somebody.

    But when it was...! He's heard the stories, seen the etchings in the temple of history. The bonding was rare, only happening every few centuries, the potential bearers training and striving to be worthy of bearing it and carrying the black flag of the red fist. Today would be his brothers chance and should Lucien fall, it would be down to him.

    Their mother had tried to convince them otherwise. Begged them, really. But being so different from the others, he and Lucien had been forced their entire lives to prove themselves. To their peers, to their family and later, to the Elite. In a way they'd always be outsiders but if one of them actually managed it, they'd be beyond all question. But she felt they were throwing their lives away recklessly. It hardened his heart to think of the look on her face when he was resolved to try anyways.

    He stopped and stood up, swaying on the spot for a moment as that memory held sway over him. Then he shook it off and went to prepare for the day. Half an hour later he was dressed, hating the feel of the cloth messing his fur up but by now he was resigned to it. Making his way through the castle he passed some of the servants, though he pretended not to notice them. It was easier for both parties.

    When he arrived at the gates Lucien was already there, sitting atop a Pan with a second one nearby waiting for him. "Took you long enough, Aetius. Are you sufficiently convinced you're pretty enough to do this, now?"

    He kicked off the ground, mounting the bird and making it squawk and turn its head to side-eye him indignantly. It shook itself out a little - to mess with him back, he suspected - and then turned to follow along with Lucien's mount as they began their trot towards the shrine. "I'm always pretty enough, Lucien. None of my morning ritual is about vanity, it's about the routine."

    "Is that why you smell like a girl?"

    "You're the only one who gets annoyed by it, Lucien. The others, they don't smell things like we do. To them it's just mildly pleasant."

    "You smell like a girl who wallowed in girly smoke."

    "You're just mad I have a sense of style and you're wearing leathers."

    "Leathers made from things I've hunted, yes. Every single part of my armor was earned, brother. That's why I'm going to get the armor."

    Aetius shook his head, chuckling.

    When they arrived at the shrine they dismounted, walking up the steps together, finding the doors open already. They were expected. Two of the initiated were waiting for them, wearing bright centurion armor and bearing gleaming spears, carrying shields with the standard of the red fist. They were led deep into the shrine, passing closed doors with guards like the ones leading them who sort of loomed with the unspoken message that should they try to pass into any part of the shrine not open to them that they would dearly regret it.

    In the back of his mind he wondered if they did that for the humans who tried this as well.

    When they reached the chamber they didn't find the trial of strength or battle they were expecting. A dozen of the centurions were scattered around the room and in the middle of it hung the armor in midair, suspended by some force they weren't able to see directly. They weren't the only ones there to attempt it either, a human boy in a blank mask stood with them. No mask would hide him or Lucien, so they clearly had simply skipped that part of it.

    The centurions took the human boy to try first. As he approached the armor the plates seem to melt and slide back, leaving it open. The boy looked around at the guards but nobody was giving an explanation so he turned around, stepping back into the armor and letting it flow around his chest. It extended halfway down his legs when it began to slow and then stop, leaving him looking uncertain before he made a wet gurgling noise and exploded.

    The gore only extended out a few feet from the armor, leaving him shocked and surprised by unmolested by it. It burnt away a few seconds later, ashes flickering around the armor before those vanished slowly as well. For the first time, one of the monks spoke up.

    "Ah, a shame. We had high hopes for that one."

    They collectively turned to look at Lucien and suddenly Lucien didn't look so sure about this.

    "It is time, young prince. You cannot turn back now."

    The armor slid open again in front of them, tempting and promising but not promising anything particularly good. Lucien was making a clear effort to rally himself before stepping forward, looking uncertain as he stepped into the armor and let it enclose around him. It got halfway down his chest before it slid open again suddenly and Lucien was ejected forward violently, hitting the ground and sliding into a wall. Two of the centurions went to tend to him.

    "Ah, that went better than the last one did, at least. They don't usually survive a rejection."

    And then everyone was looking at him.

    Years of paying strict attention to his body language so he couldn't get things wrong. Years of schooling his emotions so they couldn't be weaponized against him. Years of self-control and discipline are all that kept him from showing the terror he was feeling. He walked forward slowly, methodically, stepping into the armor and clenching his jaw to keep his teeth from chattering. He wouldn't show weakness here. He couldn't.

    He could feel it flowing around his chest, down his wait. Down his legs. His heart was thumping in his chest as he expected the rejection, the moment when he knew something was terribly, terribly wrong. It never came. The feeling closed his feet and hands, then flowed up over his head and he took a deep breath instinctively, closing his eyes. There never came a feeling like he was underwater, though.

    After a few seconds he opened his eyes again and found the room around him visible but slightly disfigured by the lines of the helmet, as though he were seeing through clear, shaped glass. He knew that wouldn't be the case. Looking down at his hands he could see the gauntlets.

    I did it.

    "Send a message to the king." The monk was pointing at one of the guards. "Go, at once."

    "No." Aetius raised his head, looking at the monk. Then the smoke began to flow from the armor, forming green wings that expanded outward, forming a spear in the same way.

    "I'll tell him myself."
     
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  20. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    Intriguing!

    So he smells like a girl? Has this been verified by others with lesser noses?

    Also the armor likes him! Yay for cooperation!

    And I think the king may be getting that message at the point of a sword. Possible a glowing green one?
     
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  21. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Nah that was just Lucien razzing him, as brothers are wont to do
     
  22. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    Oh. I expected as much but him smelling like like girl because of some weird biological quiek having females smell like flowers would have been cool.


    Also thanks for the updates.


    Any chance of seeing a modern human who embraced their new life and new world and settled down with a completely different species? Because humans being human I know someone would be going "furry waifus! Alien waifus" and squeeing.
     
  23. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    I'm not dead, neither is this story

    My life just kind of sucks right now. Sorry I haven't been updating so much.

    I'll try to have something up by the end of the day and to get at least kind of back on track, a post every day or two is better than none at all and I've been letting myself get distracted with irl problems
     
  24. Threadmarks: Why do I hear boss music? - Interlude (The Boy, After)
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    "You don't have to do this." Lucien said it quietly to him, now that they were out of the audience chamber and away from listening guards. "There's got to be another way."

    "There isn't." Aetius sounded so, so tired. Heart weary. "So long as I'm in the armor, I have no choice. I'm compelled to obey."

    "But this is insane, you can't just -"

    "Do you think I want to be in this position? If I could take it off I would." He laughed wanly. "All that time we spent thinking it was the greatest honor in the world, wanting to be big heroes. What a joke."

    "It's not very funny."

    "No. No, it isn't." He bowed his head. "There's nothing I can do, here. I thought I was going to cover myself in glory. Instead I'm just an enforcer with delusions of grandeur." He sounded disgusted with himself.

    "What are we going to do? This is insane, we can't do this. He's talking about a crusade."

    "We don't do anything." He looked over at Lucien. "You need to escape. To get out, while there's still a chance. I'm trapped but you could still get away before this insanity burns all of us together. I don't have a choice, I have to lead this campaign. What I want doesn't factor into it." He shakes his head. "But I don't want to see the day he orders me to kill you and I'm forced to do it. It's horrible doing it to people I don't even know."

    "How can you do it, Aetius? How? Can you not resist at all?"

    "Resist?" Aetius looks at him sideways. "There's nothing to resist. My will isn't my own. It just overwrites parts of me until it's carried out. The idea of not doing it isn't something I can think about. I'm a windmill trapped in a gust, resistance has nothing to do with it."

    "I can't just leave you here. I can't. Even after everything... We've only just started to rebuild things."

    "I don't blame you for being upset about the armor, Lucien. You didn't know what it was like."

    "I'm still a fucking ass for everything I did, though. I can't just walk away now."

    "It could be your death warrant, Lucien."

    "I know."





    "Aetius. You disappoint me."

    Kneeling, head bowed, he was barely keeping himself upright. His arms were shaking with the effort of holding his own body up. The fight had been long for melee combat, lengthened by the wards and the skills of the warriors he'd slain. The effort to fight his way through the guard to make it to this room had been titanic. Nearly an hour of nonstop fighting as he made his way through the palace guards to get here, it get Lucien back.

    All to get here and be suborned by the fucking armor. He wasn't supposed to be here!

    "Your brother is a traitor. Why do you try to save him?"

    "He's... still... my brother."

    "Hardly a compelling reason when it comes to treachery. It's interesting that it took this long to finally figure out what it would take to make you raise your hand against me. I should have threatened Lucien ages ago."

    The Black King sounded thoughtful to Aetius. Planned, it had all been planned. All to corner him, take away room to maneuver. To take away Lucien, his most valuable support. To neuter him. Make him a tool. He wanted to get up and attack, screamed at his body to move, but it wouldn't.

    He felt betrayed by himself.

    "Well, I certainly can't just let you two get away with it. What kind of example would that set? No, no." He shakes his head, the leather creaking slightly. "Aetius, stand."

    And then he was on his feet. Lucien was on the floor not thirty feet from him and he couldn't make himself move to help. The inability was driving him mad, making him shake as he warred with the compulsion to obey.

    "You're still just a man." Lucien sounded like he was in pain and Aetius made a little sound as something inside him died. "All you had to do was not be evil and we'd have followed you forever. Why? Why do this?"

    "Idiots. Children. You're not even two decades old and think you know everything. I am centuries old! You mewling, pathetic children would be nothing without me. You were nothing without me! Scattered villages and refugees. I made you strong, I made you stand together and this is how you repay me? With betrayel?"

    "You're orchestrating a genocide!"


    "I'm cleaning house. This world is going to be whatever we make it, Lucien. Do you want a world of chaos and confusion, or order and law? Building societies takes blood, time and effort, child. You'll never understand."

    "You used us." Aetius growled the words out, forcing the issue. His 'father' turned in surprise at his ability to say anything at all. "Because we were different. Non-human."

    "Yes. Yes, I did."

    "You enslave non humans and expected us to follow you?"

    "Mmmm, no. I expected you to rebel just like you're doing, so I set it up to crush your spirit when you finally broke and tried it."

    "WHY?"

    "Humans are inherently superior, obviously. Why else would we be dominant in so many different realities? I never expected either of you to don the armor but I was surprised and dismayed when one of you managed it. It was nice to have the Black Knight back, but at the same time, it was a demihuman. So I either had to break your will or change your beliefs and since I had no way to do the latter, I opted for the former."

    "I'll never break. I'll find a way to get free of this, of you."

    "No, you won't." He scoffed. "Better men than you have tried. Now, kill your brother. I have a lunch to attend and I intend to have you there at my side."

    Aetius felt his body move, saw through his own eyes, felt his own hands as Lucien fought back against him. Not that it mattered.

    But his mind went away, went inside, unable to deal with what he was being made to do.

    He was never the same afterwards.
     
  25. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    Sadness.

    So I guess this is a look into the society of the army approaching the main cast, perhaps set before those events since I expect Aetius will be in said army. Poor guy.

    Seems like his armor is based on the Anti Green Rings.
     
  26. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    Now then, how is it possible that there is more than one Yellow Enlightened? No wait, that would be colored quotation marks, not yellow text... so whatever The Black King is, it is somehow powered by Yellow Light, or is itself a projection of Yellow Light.

    ...is this Parallax's current host?
     
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  27. Threadmarks: Why do I hear boss music? - 03
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    I'm starting to get a sense of these people as we wait. They feel rough, the way prison inmates might feel rough. None of them will talk to us, which is making getting information difficult, but that isn't stopping us. I touch Elise's hand with two fingers under the guise of turning to look at her.

    I don't think this is a volunteer army. Look at the way they go about their jobs, talk to each other.

    Yes. No sense of cohesion. Not like us.

    I nod slightly, turning as Elise points behind me. A figure flying overhead, I can see a wingspread above them which tucks as they dive towards the ground. The soldiers scatter as they bomb in, spreading the wings at the last second and creating a backdraft around us as they arrest themselves midair.

    It's a person in black armor carrying another person, a human smaller than them. Can't make out much of the armored guy. The outfit is covering his entire body but he stands up straight and the wings - which were green - dissipate like smoke. I glance at Elise to find her looking at me and both of us are thinking the same thing.

    Like her ring, almost.

    The black knight doesn't say anything but the commander stands up and adjusts his uniform a little. An older man with a grizzled face, he has a couple days of stubble on his cheeks and a goatee. His uniform is black and red, almost science fiction like, not plate armor but molded armor sections around his body. He looks us over, dismisses Elise, Kuri and Ren and turns to face me and Zack.

    "Well, what do you want?"

    Yes, I can tell this is going to be a treat. "I want you to leave. Durjak isn't yours to take."

    "I don't see how you're planning to stop us."

    "No. You wouldn't, would you? That would make us stupid." Ren speaks up, enunciating slowly for the man as though he were an idiot.

    His face twitches. "Not difficult when it comes to demihumans." I can feel the entire demeanor of Elise and Ren change instantly. Kuri looks a little offended but those two tighten fists, readjust their balance. I don't think they even know they're doing it.

    I nod slowly. "Yes, I thought you might say that. And my friend is right, we're not going to tell you how. We are perfectly capable of making this far, far more painful than you ever anticipated. Why did you say that just now?"

    "Say what?"

    "Are you human supremacists?" Elise sounds controlled. Pushing her anger down.

    The man sighs. "Look, if you can't shut your pets up-"

    And then he's flying.

    Oh shit. I think I've somewhat underestimated just how much these genkits hate 'purists'.

    Chaos blooms around us like a wave. The black knight takes to the air going after his commander as the soldiers around us begins grabbing weapons and charging. Ren screams something incoherent and joyous as fighting breaks out, grabbing the nearest soldier by the face and using him like a living club as she swings him around violently and knocks over four others. So much for that guys neck, I guess. Zack and Kuri aren't armed but he quickly grabs a dropped pike and takes position next to her. For her part, Kuri doesn't look that concerned. Almost resigned to it, really.

    So much for keeping the rings secret, I suppose. I create a circular barrier around us as Elise creates a construct gatling gun, unloading on the soldiers charging the barrier. They're getting mowed down but they're also swarming us, piling over their dead friends to hit the barrier with everything from arrows to pikes.

    Arrows drop in around us and I close the barrier into a dome, dropping to one knee with a grunt as they impact and explode like artillery shells, cracks forming in the barrier. I focus on how much I hope we're getting out of this unscathed and reknit the barrier together, a wave of blue coursing up the cable of light I have maintaining it. Then more arrows start hitting.

    "As much fun as this is, we can't stay here forever. Elise, we need to pull out now."

    She opens her mouth to reply when my barrier is shattered, pain lancing up my arm. The arrows have stopped and so have the soldiers but it's because the black knight is back, smashing into the barrier from above and coming down next to me as the feedback hits me. It's Ren and Zack who react first, the latter doing a legsweep as Ren turns to smash the black knights face with her fist, sending him flying sideways in a ragdoll which he swiftly recovers from with a handstand and a flip to his feet.

    The black knight holds his hand out and green smoke forms a pike, only for Elise to shoot him in the chest, forcing him to make the pike into a tower shield. Yes, very much like constructs. He charges us with the shield as Elise fires at him and we split at the last second, letting him fly past us, only for one of my filaments to reach out and form a construct spring underneath him.

    When he's sent barreling upwards instead of just forwards Elise takes the opportunity to form a proper railgun, orienting it on him and firing. The round hits him in the head, ragdolling him again and sending him flying into a stables, the animals panicking as he tears through the feeble wooden structure. A second later he flies up out of the building, landing hard in a three-point superhero stance about twenty feet in front of us. There's a piece of his helmet missing where the round hit him but somehow the guy is intact underneath.

    "Oh, shit." Elise says it softly next to me and when I look at her, she looks shocked. "What the fuck?" / "What the fuck?"

    She and Ren say it at the same time in almost the same tone and I take a harder look at the black knight, who appears to be panting and taking our hesitation as a sign to rest a moment. The hole in his helmet -

    "I don't understand."

    "Ainsley, he's a genkit."
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
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  28. Assblaster5000

    Assblaster5000 Not too sore, are you?

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    There are many things I could say about this chuckle fuck, but I have a question instead.

    How are you so good at making people so utterly fucking despicable? Because this is a talent, and I'm impressed by it.
     
  29. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    Blooded Experience: the author has a family full of the same sort, as has been mentioned before, if you read the posts between chapters.
     
  30. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    I have met many in my lifetime, yes
     
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