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With This Ring (Young Justice SI) (Thread Fourteen)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Mr Zoat, Jan 27, 2019.

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  1. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Having never played the Witcher, I have no idea.
     
  2. Tzeentch

    Tzeentch Know what you're doing yet?

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    Well, there's always the books one can read and the game walkthroughs one watch!

    The Netflix series has it's good parts, but I think it diverges more than a little from the source material.
     
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  3. ironbabyjones

    ironbabyjones Making the rounds.

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    (binge reading old chapters)
    I played HeroQuest! Man, that was great fun. I recently sold my copy for around $140. That, too, was great fun.
     
  4. Darko

    Darko Connoisseur.

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    maybe 'at his hulking'
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Otherworld (part 14)
    Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    2nd May
    01:43 GMT -5


    Back on the cart, with Mr Yao in the back with Leonid and me and both of them not yawning. I suppose that between Russian military academy and Chinese boot camp they've become accustomed to disrupted sleep cycles. Outside the cart our surroundings flicker and fade, partially illusory and partially spatially displaced.

    If any of us were actually magicians I'm sure this would be fascinating. Especially considering that their formal magic education is bound to be worse than what their oath-following kindred have.

    "Mistress Butler." She turns her head to regard Mr. Yao, her neck just a little too long and too flexible when compared to human norms. "Do you know who or what it was that attacked us?"

    "Something invisible, was it? You couldn't see it even when you knew it was there?"

    "Saw one of them pretty well." I take the blood sample out of subspace and hold it out to her. "Tough, but not unbeatable."

    "You killed one of them?"

    "Probably not. Even with a nasty hole in its chest, it managed to disengage. Starfire thinks he hit something, but we couldn't pierce their illusion."

    Disturbingly elongated fingers pluck the vial from my hand.

    "We can use this. We may finally be able to undo their 'fluences."

    Abednego glances at her. "Have your people suffered from their depravations?"

    "Aye, we have. At first 'twas little more than a light touch 'pon our wards. Then people began to vanish. The first few were taken when they were alone. Then they began acting more openly, stealing our folk away in the middle of crowds, of locked rooms! What are they!?"

    "We're not sure, but there's a chance that they're Sheeda. Actual Sheeda from the Land of Summer's End. The place from which Melmoth fled."

    "If they seek him, they're seeking in the wrong place. Our village is nowhere near his grave."

    I suppose that the Sheeda wouldn't necessarily know… No, it's the first thing someone they were torturing would say, isn't it? A truth that would make the pain stop and get their attackers to leave their family alone. 'The place you want is nowhere near here. Go there instead of here.' Did they.. just not bother asking?

    "How long do they go between abductions?"

    "They have no pattern."

    Mr. Yao frowns. "Do your people have no military? No government which could send aid?"

    She turns and bares her teeth at Abednego. "Have you told them nothing?"

    "I felt it best for them to see with their own eyes."

    "We were forty eight. Now we are twenty seven. We have no grundymen so raise creatures of the Sheeda to aid us."

    "Is your settlement one of the larger ones?"

    "We do not have so many settlements that that question has meaning. Not that I have knowledge of. If we gather in numbers his kind come to destroy us."

    Abednego doesn't look around. "No pilgrim such as I stood amongst that host, Mistress Butler. You'd not tolerate me here if one did."

    "Hm." I try scanning her, and the clumsily-stitched glyphs on her cloak's collar shimmer.

    "What are you about!?"

    "I was thinking that it shouldn't be too hard to reconfigure your body. I doubt that Columbia has fully accurate censuses. If you looked like a Sheeda-altered human rather than a warlock, it should be easy enough for your people to slip back into society."

    "Fool! Altering our form with magic causes this."

    Abednego shakes his head. "Nay, Mistress Butler. 'Tis the breaking of the oath and the spell bound to it that causes warlocks to change. None of your folk have sworn the oath-."

    "Some have."

    I frown. "Why?"

    "The fools feel the guilt of their ancestors. That this is a punishment sent by God. Perhaps some hope that they may be absolved, changed back and so return to 'righteous' society."

    "Can't help with God, but if all that's happening is that your Sheeda genetic characteristics are getting hyper stimulated, resetting it should be easy enough. You'll need to remove your ward, but-."

    "Hah!" I think that's a genuine expression of amusement; her altered facial structures make it difficult to tell. "Is this the type of man your land breeds, who would snatch a woman's cloak from her body within minutes of meeting her!"

    "Yes, because I derive most satisfaction from solving problems, and this is an eminently solvable one. Failing that, it shouldn't be too hard for us to relocate all 'warlock-breed' to another part of the planet. You'd be safe from the Columbians there, at least for a few centuries."

    "And what do you want in return?"

    "Technically, nothing. I'd do it without asking anything in return. We would like information on the Sheeda, examples of their physiology and technology and any leads you have on who it was that attacked us, but if you refused us I'd still try to help you anyway."

    She regards me cautiously for a few moments.

    "We are hunters and farmers. We know little of the Sheeda. Any help I could give you, you could get better elsewhere. The witch-man's people could help you more."

    "I said I'd help for nothing, and you think I might take that back because you're offering something?"

    "And the other villages could offer you more. One… They try to study magics that are forbidden. I have not tried to confront them because I lack the power, but if our attackers are warlock-breed who found some way to change themselves further, that is where I would look."

    Mr. Yao nods.

    "We shall enquire with them once we have seen to your people's needs. If-."

    The cart appears on the bank of a small river, a crudely-built town just ahead of us. No paving here, and I suspect that if we were in the rainy part of the local year the streets would be a quagmire. Ghostly lights illuminate the buildings, which are a mixture; wattle and daub walls are the most common, though some appear to be tents with leather in place of canvas. Some have roofs crudely made from bundles of branches and others use what looks like segments of the shell of giant beetles. As for the people, Mistress Butler appears to be an average representative. Some are closer to human norms, with a signature mutation or two. I see one man with standard puritan dress who could pass in Columbia if not for the strange tentacle-like structures which emerge from his head. The most extreme example has all of Mistress Butler's mutations, as well as compound eyes, fangs and a single dragonfly wing emerging from their back.

    "Aye, not a pretty sight, are we?"

    "I've seen worse."

    "I'faith, if my brother and sister witch-hunters saw these people as we do now, I believe there would be less animosity between us." Abednego pulls on the reins and the horses come to a halt. "If it please you, Mistress Butler, take us to the site of one of the disappearances. Even my more fanatical brethren would say that the presence of true Sheeda should be my priority."
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
  6. Darko

    Darko Connoisseur.

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    'elongated'

    remove 'a'

    maybe 'are a mixture'

    maybe 'pleases'
     
  7. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Thank you, corrected.
     
  8. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Thank you, corrected.
    I think I'll leave that one.
     
  9. Chojin Patriarch

    Chojin Patriarch Veteran Lurker

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    More quick travel? Handy for saving time. Looks like this little side-quest might be over quicker than you thought.

    Oh, that must be creepy. Like an owl.

    And that one little vial of blood may be more valuable than anything else he could give them...

    If nothing else, they know they're in for a fight if they come back.

    So they have been having difficulties with Sheeda raiders too. Good to have that confirmed.

    Nothing good for any of you.

    Not that they'd bother asking, would they? They didn't seem too inquisitive with OL's group. Unless they planned to kill the 'glow-user' then capture the rest.

    Indeed, how likely would they be to believe what they're told? It's why torture like that isn't the best method of interrogation...

    Presumably, they're striking whenever they feel like it...

    You can taste the 'are these people idiots?' she's feeling.

    Yeah, that would interfere with creating larger communities...

    Honestly, OL, scanning a lady without asking first? How rude!

    I doubt it's that simple.

    Because of course they have. Let me guess, they regret their choices and want to rejoin Columbian society?

    Figured. Because people are people no matter where you go.

    Now, now. The man has a significant other. Think of it like a doctor's appointment.

    Because she can't believe anyone would be charitable to 'her kind'... What a life she must have led.

    Weighing up whether he's speaking the truth or not, eh?

    He almost sounds offended.

    Hmm... I bet that other band of Warlock-breed invited the Sheeda here, and are using them to eliminate competition... Foolish, if it's true.

    A motley assortment of people. And OL's probably seen stranger.

    Just amongst the NEMO forces, at least. Never mind stuff like the Green Lanterns' stranger members.

    It's a threat to everyone. because when they're done picking off the smaller groups, they'll come at the Columbians in force...

    And the plot thickens. I wonder just how easy it'd be to restore the less outright severe mutations. And whether they'll just come back the first time the person tries to use any magic...

    "I felt it best for them to see with their own eyes."
     
  10. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Thank you, corrected.
     
  11. Darko

    Darko Connoisseur.

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    Or this:



    Yet it did not stop him from having a baby with the giant spider even after he started dating Jade.

    He's founded a group full of strange looking people.

    Don't forget the Un Men he met in Aberrance.
     
  12. Vaermina

    Vaermina Experienced.

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    You can be blocked by 5 cent note paper glyphs, so this surprises nobody.
     
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  13. Darko

    Darko Connoisseur.

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    He's actually capable of bypassing some wards now(see the Gotham episode), but it takes a fair bit of power to do so, and if he tried that she may become hostile, as he's trying to view her soul.

    They're trying a diplomatic approach with the warlocks.
     
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  14. Citizen

    Citizen Experienced.

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    Not sure if this should be 'grundymen to raise creatures' or if I'm just not reading it correctly.
     
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  15. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Read it as: We have no grundymen and therefore raise creatures of the Sheeda to aid us instead.
     
  16. Vaermina

    Vaermina Experienced.

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    With his empathic vision, not ring scanners.
     
  17. Darko

    Darko Connoisseur.

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    Hey Zoat, can Paul bypass wards when he uses his rings now by adding extra power to them to scan for things, like how he can see emotions through wards by adding extra power to his rings?
     
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  18. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    If he didn't mind severely irritating a potential ally and possibly destroying her clothing or decapitating her with the flashback, sure.
     
  19. Darko

    Darko Connoisseur.

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    Okay I get why he wouldn't try to more deeply scan her, but does this mean that it's possible for him to bypass wards if he adds more power to his scans?
     
  20. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Burn through, but certainly.
     
  21. rdfox

    rdfox Getting sticky.

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    Hell, just admit it, Paul. You've fucked worse. Well, fist-fucked. Maybe not intentionally, but still...
     
  22. Assblaster5000

    Assblaster5000 Not too sore, are you?

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    Question, since the Witch-Bread/Columbians are, seemingly, in another section of the multiverse in what appears to be a fully functioning solar system, maybe even galaxy/universe, would that mean the Earth 16 Humanity, and presumably other versions as well depending on how exactly this situation works as far as the wider multiverse is concerned, would classify as an inter-stellar civilization?

    Just a neat thought I had in the shower this morning.
     
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  23. Threadmarks: Otherworld (part 15)
    Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    2nd May
    01:50 GMT -5


    "This is a maggot pit."

    It's a maggot pit.

    A hundred and thirty three Sheeda maggots writhe at the bottom of a steep-walled pit as a local youth throws the chopped entrails of various local animals down to them. The maggots orientate on them at once, squirming towards them. The youth has skin of a shade of deep pink that I've never seen on a human, and his fangs are so pronounced that they jut out from his mouth top and bottom. He's also really thin, though I'm not sure if that's a mutation or just his build.

    Or malnutrition.

    "What happens when they reach maturity?"

    "They don't." He raises his right hand, a witch-sign glimmering between his fingers. He swipes it over the rim of the maggot-pit, and as it swings I see the invisible signs branded on the 'foreheads' of each of the maggots illuminated by its ethereal light. "We bind them to this form as we in turn are bound."

    "And what do you get out of them?"

    "Maggot milk."

    I blink. "And you..? Drink it?"

    He looks at me like I'm an idiot. "No, good sir. It's a resin. We use it to keep the water from our homes and our boat."

    I nod and.. look away from the maggot pile as they pull the offal into their mouths. Aside from the other four pits I can't see any other pastoral areas. They've tried to keep as much of the tree cover from the surrounding areas as possible, and the sloped sides of the gully we're in create a canopy of greenery which will probably make this place dim even in the day.

    "Mistress Butler mentioned other farm animals?"

    "We let them roam. We couldn't feed the live ones close to the village, and the dead ones we keep for times of direst need."

    I look at the giant undead cricket-spider that's staring off towards the village edge. I suppose that being hunted by the Sheeda is a pretty good example of a dire emergency.

    "Do the maggots react to the intruders?"

    "No reaction I could ken. Though they are maggots, sirrah."

    Fair point. Not like they're about to start singing. Still, I can scan them and their undead fellow Sheeda creatures without difficulty, and I've found something jolly interesting. There are segments of their genetic material which are shared, completely identical between each type of Sheeda creature and the warlock-breed but not the Columbians. But I'm not completely sure what it actually does. It looks like it creates a protein which absorbs contaminants in the blood stream to aid the liver in filtering them out into the waste system… But the physiology of a maggot is radically different to the physiology of a giant insect. I'd assume that it's engineered in, but there are several ways to create something that would be better at the job. And they also share chunks of non-coding DNA whose purpose I can't decipher.

    I suppose if Melmoth was just breeding naturally… Or raping the women in his power for the fun of it, he wouldn't check which parts were transmitted due to a lack of genetic technology or a lack of desire. But they're active in all warlock-kind, whatever their physical mutations.

    "Tell me, do the physical changes you possess relate to those of your parents?"

    "My mother shared my teeth, sirrah. But if there's a pattern beyond that, I see it not."

    They don't run in families, but there are definite commonalities of style. The same things are mutated, and in only so many ways. They're not just getting animal parts randomly grafted on or having their bodies twisted like they were plasticine in the hands of a cruel child. There's some purpose at work here.

    I sigh inwardly. But I think it's a purpose that requires a team of biomancers to understand.

    "Did you grow up around here?"

    "Somewhat close to here. Then the witch-hunters came, and their.. fire."

    Ah.

    "I'm sorry to hear that."

    He snorts a humourless laugh. "'Tis our lot in life. Neither our mannish forebears nor our Sheeda forebears have any love for us, and most warlocks don't either."

    "I'm-." I frown. "People like yourself, or first generation warlocks?"

    "Both. I have only seen a warlock once, and he and his grundymen hurried through here without stopping. They felt only contempt for us. I could taste it."

    "Literally or metaphorically?"

    "Literally, though his scowl made his mind plain." He shrugs. "I taste it with my eyes."

    "By spell, or an innate ability?"

    Another shrug. "I don't use witch-sign, but maybe there is some other kind of magic? May I take my leave, sirrah?"

    "Oh. Of course."

    He turns and strides away, which-. He's been feeling my avarice. That… Must be uncomfortable. And if he's just feeling that it's there, he might not see what it is that I want.

    I give him time to get away, then walk away from the pit and back towards Mistress Butler's home. Two rooms and a dirt floor, though the glyphs around the wall work to keep out moisture. Along with the maggot milk, presumably. There's a saw propped up against the outside wall, and it isn't made of metal. It couldn't be; they have no way to mine iron or copper and trade with the Columbians isn't possible. And stealing would be entirely too risky. Instead, this saw is made from part of a macro-insectoid's body. A foreleg, I think, with glyphs carved into it to extend its lifespan.

    The door is open so I wander inside, where Abednego, Mistress Butler and Leonid are looking over a crude map. They look around as they hear me approach.

    "We need actual researchers. I think there's something revealing going on, but I don't have the skills to study it."

    Abednego raises his eyebrows very slightly. "Oh?"

    "I'm not a magician. I can recognise some things based on what I've studied, but if someone's done something genuinely original there's no direct way for me to study it. Unless someone wants to go warlock while I watch so I can see exactly what happens."

    "What is it that you have found?"

    "There are certain characteristics of the body common to warlock-breed and all Sheeda creatures that I've been able to examine. It's not in people like yourself, or completely Sheeda-free humans like Starfire or me."

    "Be it in the grundymen?"

    I nod. "Yes. It's probably why branding works. Have you ever tried to brand a warlock?"

    "No. Pistol shot is my preference for such as they."

    "Do you know if it works?"

    He shakes his head. "It has not occurred to any who would put it to paper to try. And I'll not be expecting the warlock-breed to volunteer for such treatment any more than I would turn myself warlock to assuage your curiosity."

    I nod. "Mistress Butler, would your people mind our magicians coming here?"

    "Now?"

    "No, not right away. We only brought one with us and he's busy at the moment. It will be several months from now. And in the mean time… Would you like me to do some work on your town?"
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  24. Darko

    Darko Connoisseur.

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    'as a local'

    'to aid'

    'do the'

    'if someone'
     
  25. Handlewithcare

    Handlewithcare I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Ah, good old fashioned helping. No politics, no complex entanglements, just making some folks lives better. Nice.
     
  26. Stsword

    Stsword Versed in the lewd.

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    For anyone curious, Sheeda Maggots don't really look much like maggots...

    [​IMG]
     
  27. Chojin Patriarch

    Chojin Patriarch Veteran Lurker

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    Well, they certainly don't lack for imagination, certainly. Also: Ick.

    Why not any two, or all three combined? This isn't the best life for anyone, I suspect. We've already heard about those who want a better life than they have...

    Sensible. Gods only know what they'd turn into, except that it'd be nasty.

    ...Cows aren't an option? Or even goats?

    Ah. Well, I suppose 'milk' is as good a name for it... Wonder how it does as a sealant...

    Wonder what, since it's unlikely they have cattle or sheep.

    ...What would it even eat? And what the hell does it taste like?

    Yeah, maggots aren't really known for their responsiveness to stimuli, beyond 'eat it' or 'flee it'.

    A trace of whatever genetic modification created the Sheeda in the first place? And interesting that it was done that way rather than easier methods. Evidently whoever created it wasn't concerned with efficiency.

    Interesting. While they're born with mutations, they're not entirely hereditary. Perhaps whatever's managing these mutations is glitched out, causing random changes.

    One for the Atlantean teams. And that's if they can ever set up trading.

    Explains why he spoke of his mother in the past tense...

    So they don't consider themselves amongst the Warlocks proper? Merle their offcasts and byblows, then?

    Uh, do you mean...

    ...I don't even know what to say to that.

    Huh. Man, these people have some strange traits. It's like the mutants in Marvel universes, manifesting all manner of odd powers, many of which are entirely useless.

    Let's hope he didn't take OL's curiosity as something more venal...

    I shudder at what the insect it came from would need a saw-like limb for... Carving bark off toughened plants to feed on sap, maybe? Or one hell of a combative adaption...

    Unfortunately, delegation will have to wait until you can leave...

    I don't think anyone will want to volunteer for that, given the stigma it has... Even if he can guarantee his ability to undo the changes.

    So something not present in all Columbians, but rather introduced by the effects of the broken oath? Strange. Very strange...

    I rather suspect they'd not stand still for the attempt to be made, given the time it takes. I doubt it's all too pleasant.

    Yeah, that's likely to be a dead end for investigation. Unless OL can get really lucky.

    Like fabrication of useful tools, and reinforcing structural supports in the buildings? Maybe even making proper housing, maybe...

    Good to see OL getting data, and trying to win hearts and minds. And a fascinating glimpse at the sort of processes the Warlock-breed use to get by out here...

    ...from our homes and our boat.
    They've tried to keep as much of the tree cover...
    ...like they were plasticine in the hands...
     
  28. moralrelativity

    moralrelativity Recovering pendant.

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    it -> if
     
  29. iamnuff

    iamnuff Connoisseur.

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    I was wondering if he'd offer.

    Then again, he did offer to relocate them entirely, so it might be more sensible to just move them first, then build them proper stone/brick houses after the move.
     
  30. Prognostic Hannya

    Prognostic Hannya Knight in the Yuri Crusade

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    Will never get tired of "cheerfully helpful in the middle of a world-ending crisis" Paul

    "Oh, the Sheeda are coming to destroy our world and yours? That's crazy. Want me to fix up the pipes in your house?"
     
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