The steel coffee cup is almost scalding in your hands, but you keep a tight hold of it anyway, looking out over the deck of the USS Phoenix. Beyond where you sit lies the beached Shark. Several teams swarm over it, setting charges in an effort to scuttle it. The propellor is, according to some officer type ‘fucked’, and they don’t have the equipment to pull the submarine out to sea, or the time, seeing how these waters are still hotly contested. Even now, the crew of the cruiser pace and watch like they’re expecting to see Japanese naval vessels on the horizon at any moment now.You’d share their concern, but you’re too exhausted. In the past… fuck, four hours, you could have very nearly died a total of at least three times. Adrenaline and a survival instinct honed to a razor’s keen edge kept you going, but now the danger has passed and…Fuck, you feel terrified.The shakes come first, and no matter how hard you try, they will not be suppressed. Then follows the nausea; the weakness. Finally, you thrown up over the edge of the ship, sweat running in rivulets down your face. It’s ten minutes before you feel steady enough to pick yourself up and stand, and even then, your knees feel as though they might give out underneath you at any moment.Your coffee is split all over the deck. Damned waste. It was hot and it was full of caffeiene and it was exactly what you needed. You hear a sound like distant thunder and raise your head to see a great gout of smoke rising from area you roughly recall is around the entrance to the lair of the merfolk. Grim’s reinforcements are earning their keep, evidently.They’d arrived scant moments after the American relief had, brought in through the same way you and your own group had. Altering all the memories of the submariners would have been a pretty unenviable task, you daresay. Erasing the memory of the merfolk would have been difficult enough on its own.Oh well, you muse to yourself. That’s not a detail you need to concern yourself with.You had braced for an immediate attack with the appearance of so much fresh meat, but it had never come. Evidently even the merfolk knew it was crazy to take on an entire battlegroup head on. A shame you hadn’t had such numbers when you’d arrived.“Penny for your thoughts?”You’re too tired to jump in surprise. No footsteps, not so much as a twitch of breath or even a hint of a scent to indicate that he was there. What the fuck is he?You remain in sullen silence, sitting back in your original seat before the rush of fear had overwhelmed you. Grim glances down at the deck--and at your spilled coffee--before returning to you.(Cont.)
>>2945212“You should eat something,” he says.“I don’t feel very hungry.”“That’ll change in an hour. You burned a lot of calories over the past few hours and you’re no longer powered by adrenaline.”“Maybe.”“So, eat.”“Maybe.”He stands there for a moment longer before exhaling softly and taking a seat next to you. You wonder how you look to any outsiders: an old man and his son? Grandson? The thought is curiously funny to you, and you stifle a giggle.“What is it?”“Nothing important,” you say.…Time passes, and the two of you sit in silence. A muted rattle of gunfire draws your attention back towards the direction of the explosion.“You did good, today.”You turn your head to face the old man, who is regarding you with the same goddamned stoic face he seems to wear perpetually, cause emotions are for sissies.Wait, hold on a moment…Did he just compliment you?“Uh…” you manage.“I mean it. You went almost completely blind into a situation none of us expected and came out alive. Not only alive--you accomplished your original objective to boot.”You snort derisively, “Not like I was alone.”“No, you weren’t,” he agrees, “And they’ll be commended too. None of you were familiar with one another in any way, shape or form. Yet you pulled it off.”“We just smashed a crystal and shot up a few fishfolk,” you wave him off, “besides, all the warships arriving would have chased them off anyway. We probably could have just stayed put and it would have turned out fine.”“Don’t be so sure. When dealing with artifacts such as the one you and the others encountered… well, to say one should treat lightly would be an understatement of some degree. Had you not destroyed it, maybe the merfolk would have been sufficiently emboldened that they would swarm the entire battlegroup. Maybe they would have conjured up some dark and terrible force to beach them the way we were--after all, we still don’t know what exactly pulled us in, although suspicions abound.”(Cont.)
>>2945219“Good to know,” you mutter, your mood souring at the possibility of being dragged into another sodden nightmare when you were starting to wind down, and you lapse into another period of quiet as the sun begins its slow but inevitable dip over the horizon. A childish part of you doesn’t want it to set; to give the monsters you’ve now seen face to face the freedom to act as they pleased. To prey on unsuspecting man.On you.You shiver, telling yourself it’s just a chill, choosing to pointedly ignore the fact that you’re just offshore of a tropical island which, if not for the decidedly less than pleasant inhabitants, would fit the bill of a jungle paradise.You glance back to Grim, who is sitting almost ramrod straight.>Seriously. Why did you drag me into this?>What’s happening with Sm--er, Naru? I’m going out on a limb and guessing that you’re poaching her from the Navy, right?>When can I go home?>What can you tell me about the artifact I blew up?>I'm still feeling pretty stuffed up and cold-y, but we'll see how things play out. Stay tuned for a follow-up post regarding crits.
>As an aside, I'm still pondering over whether or not to implement crit successes/fails (1-5 being abject failure and 96-100 being crit success). One idea I had if they were to be taken would be to include certain bonuses for success. Nothing outlandish, likely just a positive/negative modifier to a set number of future rolls, though I acknowledge that such a feature would be situational and likely require tweaking with time. If you'd like to see them implemented WITH said bonuses reply to this individual post with a YY. If you'd like to see them implemented, but with no modifier bonuses, leave a YN. If you don't want to see crits at all, just leave an N. I'll leave this particular vote open until the end of the thread on Friday.
And obligitory meta post.Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrostyZippoArchive (now with a correct tag as opposed to broad as fuck tags): http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Paranormal%20Agent%20QuestFirst thread which wasn't archived correctly because Frosty can't into goodfink: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2907129/
>>2945222>What can you tell me about the artifact I blew up?>What’s happening with Sm--er, Naru? I’m going out on a limb and guessing that you’re poaching her from the Navy, right?>>2945226YN.
>>2945222>>What can you tell me about the artifact I blew up?If he against crit die if that's the margin.
>>2945276I'd be against*. Apologies posting from my mobile.
>What’s happening with Sm--er, Naru? I’m going out on a limb and guessing that you’re poaching her from the Navy, right?>>2945226YN
Calling it here and writing.
>>2945222“So,” you say, more out of a need to break the silence than any desire to talk to Grim, “what exactly can you tell me about the artifact that I destroyed back there?”“That depends,” he says, after a moment’s pause, resting his hands on top of his ever-present walking cane and leaning forwards onto it. “It was blocking long-range telepathic communication, but not local. It was also sapping your magic away, and your reactions when exposed directly would indicate that this leaching effect only grew stronger, though I can’t be a hundred percent certain whether that was due to its proximity or the fact that you were no longer shielded by the earth itself.”You have to fight not to roll your eyes, “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”“How am I supposed to know what you meant?”“Don’t pretend to be dense, I know too damn well you aren’t.”“Son,” he says, and this time his voice is low and decisive, “There are ancient and very dark things in this universe. You asked me about young Mr Lovecraft earlier?” You nod, “Then I suspect you already know exactly what kind of artifact you encountered in the depths of the lair, Mr Bauer.”...you aren’t sure how to respond to that.So instead, you switch topics. Kind of.“So, this checkup you want me to go through when we get back to headquarters?”“I want to ensure you aren’t being manipulated; that there’s nothing that’s attached itself to your psyche. From our conversation now, I don’t expect to find anything.”“But if there is…?”His lack of a response is… less than reassuring.“How would you know if I was being manipulated in any way?”“I’d know.”“No, serious--”“I’d know.”“When you’re ready to know about these things, you will be informed,” Grim tells you, “Until then, I ask that you be patient.”Right. Be patient. First he abducts you from your damn life, then he sends you into mortal peril, now he’s telling you that he’s keeping secrets all for your own benefit. Thanks for nothing, old man.Your mood is, by now, sufficiently sour, and you pick yourself up, “I’m going to get myself some more coffee.”Grim says nothing, and you turn away with barely concealed disgust. Your damn mind could be on the line, and he withholds information from you. It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?>Head inside and actually get some fresh coffee>Head inside and maybe get a bite to eat. Just a little. Certainly not because you’re feeling a bit peckish or anything, no sir.>See if you can’t stir up some of your own special brand of trouble with the crew. Maybe relieving some of them of their cash will ease your mood.>Find a rack and just… try to forget today ever even happened.
>Head inside and maybe get a bite to eat. Just a little. Certainly not because you’re feeling a bit peckish or anything, no sir.Food is good!
Well, it seems /qst/ is rather more dead than usual, which works out all right for my physical wellbeing in this case because it means I can chug down a few pills and fuck off to bed. I didn't have anything major in store for this thread, anyway, so it's all right if things go a little slower. Will update when I wake up. Thanks to everyone that tunes in.
>>2945507>Head inside and actually get some fresh coffee and maybe get a bite to eat. Just a little. Certainly not because you’re feeling a bit peckish or anything, no sir.
>>2945507>>Head inside and actually get some fresh coffee
>>2945507>>Head inside and maybe get a bite to eat. Just a little. Certainly not because you’re feeling a bit peckish or anything, no sir.
>>2945507>>Head inside and maybe get a bite to eat. Just a little. Certainly not because you’re feeling a bit peckish or anything, no sir.It's just that time of year
>>2945507>Head inside and maybe get a bite to eat. Just a little. Certainly not because you’re feeling a bit peckish or anything, no sir.
>>2945507You decide to head to the canteen (or mess or whatever silly name these navy types call it) and actually get yourself something to eat. And probably some more coffee, too. It’s certainly not because the old man told you to, or that you’re feeling a little peckish.It takes a bit of asking around, and given the combat alert, the sailors are generally slow to give you directions on account of being constantly on the lookout for the Japanese. You’d think with three other warships about the crew of the Phoenix could afford to be less tense. Evidently not. The thought brings you back to your friends from NY, and you spend a moment wondering where they are now. All of them went into the Army, as you recall; big Freddie Green, wiry Dave Kelley, oily Sam Winters and gangly Jack Murphy.You hope they’re doing okay.The thought of your old partners in crime elevates your previously dark mood and you find yourself in the enlisted mess feeling much better. A few gaggles of naval ratings are scattered across the tables, but you find one occupied by Arnold and Naru--or rather, her alter-ego Smith, having re-applied her glamour as soon as you approached the crew of the Shark. Shrugging, you grab yourself a tin tray of what could only loosely be called food by dint of the way that everyone else seems to be chowing down without too much moaning.Truly, you are living the high life.You also grab yourself another coffee and plop yourself down next to them. You notice immediately that Arnold is has almost finished his own grub, and given the way he eyes Naru’s own meal, you’re certain he’d be asking for seconds if he could. For her part, the Japanese mage eyes him warily, one arm wrapped around her tray defensively, almost she’s expecting him to just out and try to steal it.“Oh, all right, mate?” Arnold greets as you arrive. Naru appears grateful for your arrival, if only so that his focus is split.“Better,” you say, picking up a glop of… something you think is meat.“Food ain’t bad,” Arnold says through a mouthful, “If I’d known you’d eat like this, I’d’ve signed up for the Royal Navy instead.”You can only stare and shake your head, while Naru gives him an even stare.“You do know that this is US Navy chow, right?”He shrugs, “Well, s’pose it ain’t like it matters now, eh? Same fer you, right? I ‘eard your Captain givin’ the old man a hell of a tongue lashin’ earlier.”Naru’s shoulders slump. Yeah. You had a hunch that Grim wouldn’t let a talent like hers slip away.“Yeah,” she, or ‘he’ says, “Captain wasn’t happy about it.”“Are you?” you ask, pretty sure you already know the answer.“How would you feel if this old guy came from out of nowhere and just uprooted you from everything you know and love?”…>1d100 for blank stare
>>2945622I think it is bc of flu season, but I may be a little off the mark.
Rolled 83 (1d100)>>2946654
Rolled 13 (1d100)>>2946654
Rolled 10 (1d100)>>2946654
Rolled 37 (1d100)>>2946654
Rolled 46 (1d100)>>2946654
>>2946654You affix the glamoured-up Asian woman with a flat stare.“No,” you say, utterly deadpan, “I have absolutely no clue what that would be like at all.”You will give her this: she at least has the good grace to look embarrassed, her face reddening until one could almost mistake it for a tomato.“Sorry,” she says, sheepish, “I just kind of assumed...”“Yeah, you did. Let me tell you something: not even half a day ago, I was still at home, about to enjoy a nice evening and, at the time, what I hoped would be equally nice company.”“Wait, seriously?”“Uh huh,” you nod.“Wow… talk about a change of scenery.”You’d call it something a lot less flattering, but it is what it is, and despite all your grousing it won’t change the fact that it’s happened. Grim seems set on keeping you around for the long haul, and though you wish it could be otherwise, stick around you will.“So, don’t you hate him for that?” she asks.You give her a look as though she’s sprouted a second head.“Of course I fucking well do. He’s yanked me out to fight goddamned monsters thousands of miles from home knowing damn well that I’m no soldier,” you bite out, growing more and more pissed off with every syllable that passes your lips. “And to top it all off, I fry an object of ancient evil and he insists on having me checked out for it but also won’t tell me a goddamn thing about it!”You stop, having run out of breath and suck a lungful of air in.“Feel better?” Naru asks, one eyebrow cocked at you.“No,” you grump.She shrugs and returns to her meal, noticing that Arnold’s already finished his and is now eyeing up your portion.“Oi, you gonna eat that?” he asks you, glancing down to your tray.You honestly don’t know, yet. It looks only vaguely edible, and you’ve not got even the first clue as to what it even is. Your grumbling stomach, however, prompts you to give it a try, at the very least.Quite honestly, it’s not half as bad as you were expecting. It’s not great, but it’s not inedible either, and it isn’t long before you’ve wolfed down the entire tray’s worth of food. Arnold seems disappointed.“You’d think he hadn’t had two helpings of everything already, geez,” Naru mutters.“I like what I like,” the large Brit says, defensive.“Clearly.”You sit and regard the two for a moment.>Change the topic: ask them about whatever this new outfit of yours is called and what they make of it.>Change the topic: ask them about something else (write-in)>You’ve eaten. Maybe you’ll head off to catch a few winks.>Now that you feel a little more energised, maybe you can find something a little more your speed and maybe ‘earn’ some extra money.
>>2948060>Change the topic: ask them about whatever this new outfit of yours is called and what they make of it.
>>2948060>>Change the topic: ask them about whatever this new outfit of yours is called and what they make of it.
>>2948060>You’ve eaten. Maybe you’ll head off to catch a few winks.
>>2948060>>>Change the topic: ask them about whatever this new outfit of yours is called and what they make of it.
Calling the vote here and writing.
>>2948060“So, what do you make of all of it, then?” you ask.“Make of what?” Naru returns.“This... “ you wave an arm, and make sure to lower your voice, “whatever it is we’ve been dragged into: A secret society of government-sponsored mages that fight monsters. Fuck, I don’t even know the name of it.”“D’vision Six,” Arnold tells you.“What?”“The name of it. ‘S called Division Six,” he pauses, “Though I’ve ‘eard some folk call it Paracom or some nonsense. Short fer Paranormal Combat unit or something like.”“Division Six?” you roll the word around, “Well, it certainly rolls off the tongue well enough. What about the other five Divisions, though?”All you get are two shrugs in response.Figures.“I dunno, though,” Arnold says, sounding curiously considerate, “I think the idea ovvit’s a noble one… though I wish I’d known about it earlier,” he trails off towards the end. You recall something about ‘getting even’ on his end. No doubt now that it’s almost certainly monster-related.Naru seems a little less convinced, “I guess I can kind of see the need, especially if shit like what we just went through is happening all around the world. But if Grim’s going to just yank people out of their lives and into a war none of them want any part of, I can’t see morale being especially high.”You regard her with a curious look, and she returns your stare like you’re about to ask a really dumb question, “Look, I served on a submarine for the past three months. I know a thing or two about something called ‘unity of purpose’. Damn near all of us signed up because we wanted to serve our country--don’t fucking start,” she raises a finger at you as you open your mouth to comment on her ah, origins. Once she’s sure the snark isn’t coming, she continues, “A lot of us knew what we were in for and none of us needed much in the way of convincing that what we were doing would, ultimately, be for the greater good. I’m learning now that this isn’t the first time your spooky boss has plucked someone out of the air to fight fucking monsters. Maybe it is for some grand cause, but the way he’s gone about it so far; he’s going to need to do a lot of convincing if he wants to get people to start actually batting for his team and not just cause they feel he’ll toss ‘em in a cell if they don’t toe the line.”You can see her point. Quite well, in fact, given you’re both living it. Again, you feel whatever good humour you felt in that moment bleed away as the reality of your situation reasserts itself.(Cont.)
>>2949330“From the sound of it, he’s an extremely influential old man with backing in a lot of places--including foreign governments,” you remark drily, “I don’t think he needs anyone’s sympathy.”“Not sayin’ he deserves it, but ‘ave a think for a mo: you’ve got a newly set-up gang who’s got to hunt monsters in the world. That needs talent, it does. It also needs fundin’, cause Lord knows no one’s going to work for free. I mean, you remember what the home base was like when we were there, yeah?” he asks you. It’s not difficult to remember: you were practically freezing your ass off the whole time you were there. Still, you nod, curious to see where he’s going with this line of thinking.“How recent do you think that place was built that stuff you’d think would be as important as bleedin’ heating hasn’t been properly fixed in yet? And the tent as well? It smacks of, I dunno… improvisation. I think on top of bein’ new, he’s also strapped for cash--I mean, come on, it’s bleedin’ war out there. ‘Ow many governments do you think’ll want to spend cash on some fancy suit’s secret war when they’re already fightin’ fer their very existence? I think Grimmy’s been set a deadline of some sort and he needs results sharpish, and that’s made ‘im desperate.”“You think he’s desperate?” now that really raises eyebrows. He certainly doesn’t act like a man under pressure, “And what’s this theory about a deadline? Who would he even report to?”“I dunno, maybe a committee of these governments he gets all his stuff from? I mean, if he’s resorted to all but kidnappin’ folks, well even considerin’ the nature of all this, that don’t strike me as something he could just get away with, right?”You shake your head at his naiveté, but can’t help but wonder that maybe, on some level, the big man’s got it right. Regardless, it’s given you more to ponder on than your dismal luck. Not feeling much more of a reason to stick around, you pick yourself up from the table, say your goodbyes and decide to go wander around and find a way to kill some time. As you leave the mess, you spot the unmistakable profile of Diedrich rounding a corner. Given your private suspicions regarding the man, you’re half-tempted to follow him in case you can catch anything incriminating. The rest of you just wants to lie down somewhere.>Fuck it, he’s here and so are you. Follow him.>Fuck that, it’s a problem you’ll sort out when you don’t feel like ass. Go take that nap.
>>2949332>Fuck it, he’s here and so are you. Follow him.
>>2949332>Fuck that, it’s a problem you’ll sort out when you don’t feel like ass. Go take that nap.
>>2949332>>Fuck that, it’s a problem you’ll sort out when you don’t feel like ass. Go take that nap.
>>2949332>>Fuck it, he’s here and so are you. Follow him.If it becomes a bigger problem we can think on it then. Lets just focus on getting our bearings and staying alive in this new niche.
>>2949332>>>Fuck it, he’s here and so are you. Follow him.
Christ above I forgot just how shit the wifi at my folks' is. Vote called.
>>2949332You really want to take that nap; Diedrich’s a problem for later, that same part of you says; he’s probably off to take one himself for all you know.Maybe, but he’s here, and so are you. If he’s up to anything untoward, you plan to nip it in the bud now.So follow him you do.He weaves his way through the bowels of the ship, getting the odd curious look from the crew, but no one attempts to stop him. Hell, anyone looking at him would get the idea that he’s a man on a mission, though the fact that he’s a tall, burly, sharp-eyed blond man probably helps too. He doesn’t once check behind himself. That means one of three things: that he’s convinced there’s no possibility that he’s being tailed; that he’s got a way of detecting whether or not he’s being followed (something you don’t find likely, if your hunch about the man are correct); or he’s genuinely not up to no good, meaning your efforts are a waste of time.You aren’t sure which would irritate you more.It’s in a dark corner of what you think is Engineering that he finally stops. The place is sweltering, loud and the air is equally thick with the acrid cocktail stink of asbestos, machine oil and sweat. Despite this, you’ve not passed any of the crew for a period of time, now, though you’re sure they’re doing something very important and necessary. Not like you know what makes this tub float. He glances about, and you conceal yourself behind a… fuck, you don’t know something. Diedrich doesn’t see you, your previous lifestyle having given you a knack for avoiding being seen when you didn’t want to be.Diedrich sits himself down and leans against a humming machine, his eyes squeezed shut. For a moment, it looks like all he’s going to be guilty of is napping in a decidedly un-nappable place, but then he reaches into his jacket and retrieves what appears to be a small sheet of paper. It’s a small thing, and could well be anything from the mundane to the menacing.Or at least, so you think, right up until the moment he almost crushes it in one meaty hand and holds it and his other hand up to his face.Then his chest hitches, and even over the din of pumping and humming and all manner of -ing-ing machinery, you can make out the unmistakable sob of a man taken too close to the edge. You pause, not having expected this, of all things. The German had struck you as wary, yes, but arrogantly confident and haughty, convinced of his own superiority. Was this just another act? It couldn’t be. There was no one to see it…Unless his bluster had been the act…Well… this changes things. You aren’t sure exactly what, yet. But it does.>For all his bark, he’s just as human as the rest of you and clearly needed to blow off some stress of his own. Leave him be.>You aren’t a shrink, but leaving him alone like this doesn’t feel right. Plus, you may as well let him know the jig is up on his invincible ubermensch act. Go talk.
>>2951974>For all his bark, he’s just as human as the rest of you and clearly needed to blow off some stress of his own. Leave him be.
>>2951974>For all his bark, he’s just as human as the rest of you and clearly needed to blow off some stress of his own. Leave him be.There will be a time to confront him on this. Just not right now.
>>2951974>>>For all his bark, he’s just as human as the rest of you and clearly needed to blow off some stress of his own. Leave him be.
I can't really say anything else except that I'm sorry for the lack of recent updates. Life finds a way to suck.>>2951974You aren’t quite sure how to feel about this fresh development. But you are certain that now isn’t much of a time to prod and pry. Later, perhaps. Now would probably only spark a confrontation that you don’t really feel up to participating in. Let him weep or nap or do whatever he needs to in order to destress. Lord above knew you hadn’t looked much better a scant half-hour ago.So you turn and walk quietly away, Diedrich’s sobs quickly fading beneath the hissing, clank and hum of the Engineering deck.Now, you think, would be an excellent time for a nap.The odyssey to find a suitable spot is a thankfully uneventful one; you scour belowdecks for a suitable place to rest your head, winding through the narrow interior of the cruiser. You spot Nathaniel at one point, who looks like a man on a mission. For a heartbeat, you’re tempted to see what he’s up to as well. In the same instant, you disregard the idea. You don’t really feel like talking and you doubt it would yield any greater insights or perspectives you’ve not heard already. So instead you continue the search and, scant minutes later, come across a presently unoccupied hammock belowdecks and, never having experienced the novelty, drop yourself inside. For a moment, you fear you’ll tip yourself over and out, but once the rocking linen begins to slow, you swiftly find it relaxing. You wouldn’t truly mind having one of these at home.Yawning, you shut your eyes and think on the day’s events. And what a day it was. Maybe you’ll go through another breakdown when you wake up. Maybe you won’t. Maybe Lady Luck will grace you with the largest boon ever granted to a man and you’ll find yourself free of this.And maybe pigs will fly.Man can but dream.With heavy eyes and heavier limbs, sleep comes quickly, and your mind wanders into whichever place it is find yourself…>In a watery nightmare...>In a fond childhood memory...>In an alleyway scuffle...
>>2954666>In a fond childhood memory...We're gonna need them to pull through this shitheap
>>2954666>In a fond childhood memory...
>>2954666>In a watery nightmare...
>>2954666>In a watery nightmare...Get it over with while sleeping so it won't bother us when we're awake
>>2954666>>In a fond childhood memory...
>>2954666>n a fond childhood memory...
Calling and writing.
>>2954666The old, worn leather chest sits, like so many other things in your attic, collecting dust. The leather, once a lustrous brown, or so your father told you, has been bleached by too much exposure to the sun at some point in the past. More curious, though, is the book that rests atop it. It too, is leather-bound, but unlike the chest, it is anything but plain. Symbols and glyphs decorate it, forming patterns that make your eyes sting the longer you look at them. All of them form around--or from--what looks like some kind of animal skull that seems to give you a baleful glare in the dim light of the attic.You’ve seen your pa put that thing away every time he catches you up here staring, and each time you come back, there it lies again. Same spot; not so much as a speck of dust on its crocodile-green binding. You’re certain that your father doesn’t take it out again. So that means it’s on you to catch that old thing in the act.So far, though, your vigil goes… poorly.It’s just sitting there, like it always does, as it always will do, and like any other boy your age, you’re starting to get bored. Being on the lookout for danger and menace just doesn’t hold much appeal when there’s no danger and menace going on. All you’re doing is straining your eyes.“I thought I’d find you up here.”You jump, not having heard your old man approach.“Not a day after your birthday and you’re right back to old habits,” he says. He hoists you up with both arms and you squeal in half-protest and half-delight. He sets you down and glances over at the chest. For a heartbeat, you think you see your pa’s expression harden, his warm eyes freezing over as he glances in the direction of the old book. That can’t have been, though; your dad’s the nicest man you know. He hardly ever gets angry or mean.(Cont.)
>>2956133“Come on now, Adam,” he says, setting you down, “I think you know what time it is.”Excitement courses through you. The unbreakable birthday promise he made to you! Magic! Real magic!“Yeah!” you cry in jubilation, “I’m going to learn so much so fast! I’m going to be the greatest wizard ever!”“Mage,” your father interrupts with a chuckle, “we’re called ‘Mages’, son.”“Mage! Wizard! Whatever! I’m going to learn spells!”“That you are, Adam,” he says, taking a knee next to you before clasping your shoulder with a hand and looking you dead in the eye, “But I need you to promise me something in return.”“Sure,” you say, cocking your head at him, “Anything.”“You have to take this absolutely one hundred percent seriously,” he says, and you know that he too is serious as he tells you this, even through your excitement, “The big things and the little things--especially the little things. Magic can be extremely dangerous if rushed, and I don’t want you getting yourself or others hurt. So promise me this, son.”“Yeah, dad.”“Don’t ‘Yeah, dad,’” he says. His grip on your shoulder tightens enough to make you want to yelp, “I need you to promise me.”You search his face. There’s love, of course. Trepidation. Fatherly concern. Fear…“I promise.”He pulls you close for a tight hug, which you return after a moment’s pause.“Good boy.”He releases his hold on you and stands back up to his full height. A tall man, even by grown-up standards, he towers over you. A not-insignificant part of you hopes you’ll be as big as he is one day.“Now, come and follow me. I told you I’d teach you all I knew and I’m a man of my word. Only question now is which you’d like to learn first.”First?! You feel like you’ve visited the candy store and been told to take as much as you want of everything! Where do you even start?>Glamour! The way he can change the way he looks and sounds is SO cool!>Illusioncraft! You could make all sorts of cool things, like dragons, or knights, or animals or even make it look like you just vanished into thin air!>Fire magic! Make fireworks look like puny firecrackers next to your arcane might! Also great for scaring rats or bullies!
>>2956134>Illusioncraft! You could make all sorts of cool things, like dragons, or knights, or animals or even make it look like you just vanished into thin air!
>>2956134>Illusioncraft! You could make all sorts of cool things, like dragons, or knights, or animals or even make it look like you just vanished into thin air!Pluss, it might help us hide from Jimmy. He's so mean all the time!
>>2956134>Fire magic! Make fireworks look like puny firecrackers next to your arcane might! Also great for scaring rats or bullies!
>>2956134>>>Illusioncraft! You could make all sorts of cool things, like dragons, or knights, or animals or even make it look like you just vanished into thin air!
Vote called. Commencing with the writing thing.
>>2956134Your dad can do a lot of really, really awesome stuff, but of the things you know he can do, there’s one that sticks out the most to you.“Can we start with those really cool illusions that you can do?”He blinks down at you, “I thought for sure you’d pick the fire magic.”“Nah. Besides I’m going to be learning that later, right?”He chuckles and claps you on your shoulder, “All right, Adam. Come with me.”He leads you into a room you’d always assumed was just a spare on the second floor of your home; the largest room by far with a clear space. It’s only now that you realise that it may have been for--“Here’s where you’ll be practising, alongside me.”“Cool,” you whisper, facing your pa with a wide, toothy grin.“All right. Now I don’t think I need to tell you that magic is like the air we breathe--it’s all around us, and, of course, vital to our casting.”“Dad, you’re telling me anyway,” you say with a pout. You already know all this stuff. His response is another low chuckle before carrying on.“Mages like us can feel these winds of magic and manipulate them. It takes some focus, and a lot of practice, but if you get good enough...” he waves a hand in front of you…...and vanishes into thin air before your eyes, wiping himself away like he’s been cleaned from a dirty window. You giggle in delight and anticipation.He reappears next to you.“Now, obviously, I’m not going to expect you to be able to do something like that straight off the bat. It took me a whole year to get that trick down, so we’ll start with something simple for now. I want you to concentrate. Picture something in your hand. An apple, or a baseball, whatever you like.”You open the palm of your hand and stare down, imagining.“Illusioncraft is the easiest magic to learn, but if you’re good at it, well, there’s no limit to what you can create. Once you have the image in mind, you need to make it real; you need to reach out and grasp the winds--don’t literally reach out,” he adds with a grin as you raise your other arm, “You have to reach out with your sixth sense.”“My sixth sense?”“You’re already a mage, Adam. It’s just a case of tapping into the power. Ever since birth, you’ll have been able to feel it--a whisper in the wind; a gentle breeze in a quiet room. It’s the Winds, son. They’re always around you, and if you just reach out, you can grasp them.”Some of that doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, but maybe it doesn’t have to. Not yet, anyway.So, you concentrate real hard and think of the image you want to conjure.>1d100
Rolled 60 (1d100)>>2958068
Rolled 2 (1d100)>>2958068
Rolled 75 (1d100)>>2958068
Rolled 43 (1d100)>>2958068
Rolled 15 (1d100)>>2958068
Rolled 80 (1d100)>>2958068
Rolled 30 (1d100)>>2958068
>>2958068Some years later, you’d muse back on this day. After all, how often is it that a person is told: ‘All right, lad. Here’s how you do magic. Go do it.’ On the upside, your youthful mind makes following your father’s instructions remarkably simple: feel the wind; catch the wind; use the wind to make something appear out of thin air.Awesome.You have an image in mind already--your old baseball. A tatty, mouldy old thing that looked as though it had seen more years than even your dad. It smelt like old socks, it had a weird habit of curving to the left every time you threw it (something your backstabbing pal, Jimmy, attributed to your lack of skill, which was a load of baloney, of course), and you missed it terribly.With that in mind, you feel yourself pluck at a strand of what you can only describe as power. Fleeting, willowy, fragile; a mere fraction of an infinitely greater whole. You almost gasp at the sensation. Is this what your dad felt like whenever he used his own magic? You could definitely get used to this. You feel… good. Great, in fact. Like you could take on a whole army yourself!“Well how about that…” you hear your father breathe in wonderment. You glance down and find, to your blossoming triumph, that an almost perfect replica of your old baseball sits in your hand. Its outline is faintly blurred; being this close, you could hardly not notice, but you think you could fool even the sharpest-eyed individual at even a modest distance.“I do believe, my boy,” your pa says, a proud twinkle in his eyes that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, “that you’re a natural-born illusionist.”“Cool!” you pause, then add, “What’s an illusionist?”The only response you get is laughter, but he’s not laughing at you. This, you know for certain.“Well, Adam, I suppose an easy way of explaining would be to tell you to look in the mirror. An illusionist is you, son. And I suppose, for doing such a fine job on your first attempt, you’ve earned yourself a reward.”He reaches into his back pocket and retrieves--no, is that Hershey’s?!In that moment, you were sure that no other dad in the history of dads was as great as yours.The day fades away, and with it, the memory. Six years later, your father would be dead, leaving you to face the world alone, not even a man. The good times you shared, however, along with all the lessons he strived to teach, would stay with you until your own dying day.(Cont.)
>>2958831The idea shifts your consciousness along, and you find yourself at a junction. Three tunnels stretch before you. The one leading straight ahead takes you to an alley in New York, another memory to revisit. The other two are… distinctly less obvious.They are about as opposite as it is possible to be. One impossibly bright, the other dark and wet. Faint sounds echo from both. Through the light, you think you can smell sweat and metal. Through the dark is the distinctive scent of mould, and what you think is rotting, water-logged wood. You think there’s a very faint blue glow in the depths of the pitch black tunnel, but you can’t be entirely certain.>Forward into the light.>Go into the Dark and Hollow places.>Wander into Memory Lane once more.
>>2958833>>Go into the Dark and Hollow places.
>>2958833>Go into the Dark and Hollow places.
>>2958833>Forward into the light.
>>2958833Dark and hollow places of course
>>2958833>into the darknessWell it's time to meet whatever yomshagnasty we pissed off I guess.
Not convinced that a new thread is necessary. We'll stick with this one until the end of the week and see where we are.>>2958833You want to move on, but a force compels you into the dark, and before you’re even aware of it, it suffocates you. The reek of saltwater is overbearing, and you can hear the constant, echoing drip-drip of water droplets in a cave. Something stirs in the pitch black.And then you start to see things.Aeons pass in the time it takes to blink. Towering cities of man are gradually reduced to tiny encampments and then they’re gone altogether, replaced by rolling plains or lush forests. These in turn become frozen and wind-blasted wastelands.A thing falls from the sky. A great, blue crystal that shatters the ice upon impact. An explosion unlike anything the world had or ever will witnessed. The crystal breaks too, and the pieces scatter.One falls into a crevice that will be subsumed by the rise of a great ocean.Images flash through your mind, too many for you to keep track of. You only vaguely make out a handful of these: A webbed hand clutching a shard of crystal. A mesmerised, inhuman face. Dozens of scaled forms wondering and marvelling at the ethereal beauty of the shard. A human sacrifice. The Shard shines with all the intensity of the sun.Then a voice. Deep, booming, and ancient beyond any mortal man’s comprehension.The Sleeper awakens.A thump.The Sleeper awakens.Another thump.Prepare.You wake with a sore throat and a throbbing head. You notice first that you are not in the hammock you had commandeered, but instead on the uncomfortable steel deck.You are also surrounded.Grim stands above you, unreadable as ever, flanked by Arnold, Nathaniel and Naru, as well as a couple of sailors. With one exception, they’re all staring down at you in… concern?Now you are worried.“Uh, what’s wrong?” you ask, and immediately regret doing so. Your voice is hoarse and each syllable you speak feels like rubbing sand through your throat.“You tell us,” Arnold says, cocking his head at you, “You damn near woke up ‘alf the bleedin’ vessel with your screamin’.”“Screaming?” You wince. Talking still bad.“Creepier than the…” Naru, still all glamoured up, casts a subtle glance at the other US sailors, “shit we saw on the island hiding from Tojo. You just kept screaming and screaming yourself raw. You have some kind of flashback or something?”You recall parts of what felt like either a good dream, or a reminder of better times.>Grim. That check-up you wanted me to take? I want it now.>I’m fine, thanks. Just a shitty dream.>Just leave me be. I wanted a few minutes to quake and break down in peace.
>>2961543>Grim. That check-up you wanted me to take? I want it now.Oh fan-fucking-tastic. Seems we've a connection to whatever was using that crystal... or whatever that thing was jumped ships and into US.
>>2961608Yeah this, hopefully we can nip this in the bud.
>>2961543>Grim. That check-up you wanted me to take? I want it now.And make sure to tell Grim the message we received at the end of the dream.
>>2961543>>Grim. That check-up you wanted me to take? I want it now.
>>2961543You glance up at the old man. It still hurts to talk, but it has to be done. Something is happening to you and you don’t like it one bit.“Grim, that check-up you said you wanted me to take?”“Yes?” The look in his eye makes you think he already knows what you’re about to ask.“I want it now.”He is silent for a moment, before nodding, “Get up,” he tells you, “And follow me.”The others look at you funny, but no one steps in front of you as you’re hauled to your feet before following Grim. He leads you through the ship and into what looks like a fairly spacious room. An officer’s quarters, most likely. Which one, you couldn’t say with any degree of accuracy, you’re no sailor. Probably not the Captain’s, though.“This isn’t the way I wanted this to be undertaken,” Grim says, over his shoulder at you, “But if there is something in the recesses of your mind, it’s moving quicker than I would have expected it to.”You feel a chill, knowing that whatever you’re about to go through is likely to be less than pleasant.“You know what it is?”He says nothing, tapping his walking cane on the ground instead. Blackness spreads out from the tip, rushing over each and every surface until you’re standing in what looks like an inked-up outline of the room you currently occupy. You’d find it creepier but for the fact that you’ve encountered already much weirder stuff.“So, how does this work, exactly?” you try, instead.“In ideal circumstances, I would have Miss Fox and a coterie of her fellows to delve into your psyche and search for any trace of corruption.”Corruption? You’re liking the sound of this less and less.“Since that is no longer possible, I will have to perform the task myself,” he continues, “Rest assured, however, if there is any lingering presence within you at all, I will excise it.”“Really feeling the love he--”Your smart-Aleck remark is cut off when Grim lurches forward with the impetus of a man a quarter his age, slamming the point of his walking cane into your stomach. You drop, instantly rendered unconscious.And then you begin to dream again.>1d100
Rolled 7 (1d100)>>2962391'ere we go
Rolled 84 (1d100)>>2962391Rolls have been low in a lot of quests lately...here's hoping this isn't also one of them.
Rolled 4 (1d100)>>2962391Ruth roh
Another day until I get back to my home and a consistent internet connection. Yay.>>2962391You only barely recall what ran through your head the last time your dreams were probed. This one goes much differently. You can almost feel Grim combing your… well, hell, what do you call it? Mindscape? Mindrealm?Relax, you hear his voice, sounding like it comes from everywhere at once, Let me in, and I will help you.“Because you’ve given me so many reasons to trust you, already,” you snipe.You do not have to like me, Mister Bauer, but, difficult as it may seem, I do, in fact, have your best interests at heart.“Just get this over with.”As you wish.To give the old coot some credit, he only plies the more recent memories; those of your descent into the lair. He sees it all: the fight down, the crystal, the effect it had on everyone, and the way you destroyed it. You hear him hum, though you can’t tell whether it’s in dissatisfaction or whether it’s something else.You’re remarkably lucid, he muses.“Is that a compliment?”Most of those touched by a Shard are not… quite whole. Either the presence in this shard was extremely weak, or...“Or, what?”Hm...“Enough games, Grim. This is all happening in my head. I think I deserve an answer or two.”Later. This is a delicate process and, furthermore, not an area in which I specialise.“Fantastic.”More rummaging through your innermost thoughts occurs. You’d have thought it would feel… weirder, but there’s nothing. No dizziness or lightheadedness of any sort. Like watching a movie, you observe your second encounter with this Shard thing from a spectator’s perspective. It’s… indescribably odd, to view experiences and hear thoughts of your own from outside.Then you come to your dream. He lingers a moment on a memory of a tender lesson with your father before briskly moving on, slowing as he reaches the next part of your dream. It’s curious, how you can be so affected yet remember ultimately so little of them when you stop to have a moment. As you watch for yourself, however, this rushes back to you in force.The Sleeper awakens. Prepare.You catch what you feel certain is a growl, and, unbidden, a fresh scene appears to you. Unfamiliar, and certainly nothing you’ve ever lived through. A man--young, strong, surrounded by allies--stands before a Shard of even greater size and infinitely stronger malevolence. The man gives a command and the army charges.Next you know, you’re awake again. The officer’s quarters are back to normal, and Grim looms over you like a stone-faced sentinel.“Good news: that dream you had was the only lingering after-effect of your contact with the Shard. You’re clean.”“So to speak,” you murmur, still feeling like canned death. Groaning, you pick yourself up.“I saw something while I was under,” you tell him.(Cont.)
>>2963474“I’d have been worried if you hadn’t,” Grim says, “The more muddled your memories are, the worse it would have been. That particular Shard was… pitifully weak.”You think back to your encounter with the thing in the merfolk’s cavern. There had been nothing pitiful or weak about it, and you shudder to think what a larger piece might have done to you.“No, I mean I saw… I think I saw…”Grim eyes you with curiosity. You’re all but certain you caught a glimpse of the old man’s past. He knows what these things are, that much is obvious. That he’d been fighting them for most of his life, however?“What are these Shards, exactly?” you ask him.“A part of something altogether greater,” Grim tells you, “Something older than anyone will ever know and of the purest evil.”You wait for more, but the old man keeps mum.>That cannot be it. There’s more to it. There always is with anything involving you.>No, you know what, that thing--however weak--was in my head, and it only got there because you dragged me into this mess. You owe me an explanation.>Fine, keep your damned secrets. Hope it doesn’t get someone killed one day.
>>2963476>Fine, keep your damned secrets. Hope it doesn’t get someone killed one day.The less I hear about these shards and ages old evil the better honestly.
>>2963476>Fine, keep your damned secrets. Hope it doesn’t get someone killed one day.Let's try to preserve our sanity, yes?
>>2963476>No, you know what, that thing--however weak--was in my head, and it only got there because you dragged me into this mess. You owe me an explanation.
>>2949332>Fine, keep your damned secrets. Hope it doesn’t get someone killed one day.We will end up finding out about it anyway. Forcing the case here will just piss off our 'boss' more. Just let it slide for now and we can press others for the information later. People are bound to talk with so much mindbreaking shit happening.
>>2963476>ask about The Sleeper
>>2963476>Fine, keep your damned secrets. Hope it doesn’t get someone killed one day. Or Worse.
Calling the vote here.Also just a heads up, but I'm starting another job in a few days. Shifts are a lot more irregular than the one I'm currently working, but it pays quite a bit better, so we'll play it by ear and see how it all works out.
>>2963476A part of you wants to interrogate him about this Sleeper thing. Almost immediately as the thought arises, you bite down on it. Grim’s made it all too damned clear that he’s not giving up anything. Paranoid old…“Fine,” you grind out, “Keep your damned secrets. I just hope it doesn’t get anyone killed someday.”Or worse, you muse to yourself. It always seemed like a corny thing to say, but having witnessed a shred of what can only be otherworldly power, you feel that there’s more than a little truth in the saying that there are things worse than death.So, once again, you stomp away from the old man in a distinctly foul mood. A small, timid voice in your head reminds you that he did make sure nothing else untoward was living inside your head. The rest of you tells it to shut up. It does.You pace the entire length of the Phoenix until it’s time to leave, restless and irritable. It’s Arnold who lets you know, accompanying you back to the shore, where you’re told a summoning circle awaits to take you back to the Antarctic. You don’t really want to step foot back there, but Arnold seems fairly assured that the Merfolk infestation has been ‘right proper mopped up.’You’ll reserve the right to say ‘Told you so,’ in the big meetup in Hell if you end up decapitated within the next half hour.Out of sight of the assorted American sailors, a sizeable group stands before you in a cleared-out area just beyond the beach that the Shark washed up on. Or was dragged up on. Come to think, you never did find out exactly how they’d managed to pull you up. You’re pretty confident it wasn’t a Kraken--not that you’ll pretend to understand how submarines function, except at the most basic level, but you’re certain that someone would have noticed a giant goddamn squid dragging your collective asses along.You shake your head. Another mystery for another time. Hopefully never.“Good work, everyone,” Grim says, standing in the middle, “This endeavour began unsteady, but through the quick thinking, determination, and perseverance of every man and woman here, we have made the world a little safer today. Congratulations. I could not have asked for better.”(Cont.)
>>2964584He glances down. A handful of covered bodies lie at his feet--casualties in the effort to cleanse the lair--everyone else follows the old man's gaze. Most appear solemn; a few, however, are distinctly upset. Friends, you assume. Hard luck. You didn’t know any of them at all, but you’d have to be an extremely shitty person not to feel even a little sympathy for those they left behind.“Once again, the sacrifice of the few safeguards the many. The ordinary public will never know of their bravery, but we will forever remember. We will leave in five minutes. If any of you wish to say a few parting words to the departed, you may do so. Otherwise, get set to go home.”Home.You release a humourless, low chuckle. No one pays you any attention, either filing out to stand and wait on the circle you’ll be taking back to Antarctica or chatting somberly amongst themselves; those who knew the poor bastards who’d taken a bloody exit from this mortal coil, you’re sure. No place for you.You catch sight of the others you’d buddied up with. Grim and Nathaniel stand off to one side, chatting to each other in a quiet sort of way that makes you think they certainly wouldn’t appreciate eavesdroppers. More secrets, you think, the bitterness returning in force. For the briest microcosm of a second, you’re tempted to listen in. You discard the idea. For starters, there’s no cover of any sort, and with all these other people you don’t know lurking about... bah.So you turn your eyes on the other three.Arnold sits down on the ground, chewing away at something he stuffed into his mouth with one meaty paw. He seems probably the most well-adjusted of all of you, which is probably worrying in of itself. If you want to make the effort to drag yourself out of your sour mood, he’d probably be the best bet by a long shot.Further away is Diedrich, his stone-faced expression betraying nothing that indicated he had broken down wailing like a lost child hardly an hour beforehand. You still don’t know what to make of the man. Maybe a chat will help you figure him out. Or not.Lastly is Naru. The tiny Japanese sneak has dropped her glamour, now that she’s out of sight of her fellow American sailors. She appears distinctly unhappy, and you know well the feeling of being yanked from your own life into something you never wanted to be a part of. Maybe you could lend an ear? Just because it didn’t happen for you doesn’t mean you can’t share the love, so to speak.>Chat with Arnold. He’s been the closest thing to a companion you’ve had so far, and you could use some cheering up.>Talk with Diedrich. Find out what makes the big German tick. Maybe confirm some private suspicions of yours too.>Converse with Naru. You’ve got a lot more in common than you think either of you knows.
>>2964591>>Converse with Naru. You’ve got a lot more in common than you think either of you knows.
>Converse with Naru. You’ve got a lot more in common than you think either of you knows.
>>2964591>Talk with Diedrich. Find out what makes the big German tick. Maybe confirm some private suspicions of yours too.
>>2964591>Converse with Naru. You’ve got a lot more in common than you think either of you knows.
>>2964591>>Converse with Naru. You’ve got a lot more in common than you think either of you knows."Ready to freeze your ass off sailor boy?"
Chatting with the smoll Japanese girl it is. I wonder who could have instigated such a trend in vote. Calling and writing.
>>2967460I wonder... It's almost like this small, Japanese woman has showed up at least three times already.Almost like an OC waifu, or even a self-insert... Hmmm...
>>2964591You shrug and plop yourself down next to Naru, who eyes you warily as you do so.“So,” you start, “Ready to freeze your ass off, sailor boy?”She gives you the stink eye for the comment before the rest of your greeting registers and she raises an eyebrow in puzzlement.“Wait, what?”“You know where we’re going, right?” you ask, suspecting that she doesn’t.“Uh… wherever it is you people have set up your base of operations?”Technically correct, you suppose.“You know what, you’ll see for yourself. Just be prepared to snag yourself a coat. Maybe yours will come without an owner.”“Oookay?”“So, how are you feeling?”“Like I’ve lost control of my life,” she replies, blunt and dour.“Yeah, I know how that feels.”“I guess so,” she pauses, working her jaw like she’s about to say more. You watch her think better of it, then come back to it, decide against it, and then finally decide to go ahead and ask all in the span of a few seconds, “What did you do, before all this? I mean, you look young enough to have been caught by the draft, but you’re clearly not a soldier.”You bark a sharp, sour note of laughter, “No. No, I am definitely not a soldier. I was…” you mull on it, before deciding once more that it’s not worth dressing up, “I was a crook who didn’t want to be pulled away from the life I had.”“A crook? Like… a gangster?”You scoff, “Please. Me? A mobster goon? I like to think I’m a breed above.”(Cont.)
>>2967539“Certainly full enough of yourself,” she mutters. You ignore the snipe, feeling yourself relax a fraction as you retread familiar ground.“I was a con artist,” you tell her, “Games--cards, mostly, but I dabbled in a few others too--and tricks. With the occasional bit of thievery when the need arose.”You notice the dirty look return in force, “Yeah, yeah, I know,” you wave her off, “I’m a scummy person. Try growing up in the backend of New York with no skills and barely an education; see how you turn out.”“No skills?” she scoffs, “You know fucking magic.”“Yeah, I did. Best thing my old man ever taught me…” it’s your turn to pause, as you reflect on the dream you had before the other one.A silence falls upon you, before Naru starts to talk.“I grew up on the East Coast in Bremerton,” Naru tells you, “My folks migrated over from… well, I think you can guess,” she shrugs, like that explains it all, “I went to a decent school, but… it wasn’t all that great.”She doesn’t need to elaborate on that. You can well imagine the shit she must have had to take for the way she looked. After all, you saw it on a daily basis. You’ve never felt personally inclined to take part in any of it, yourself. In your experience, people were more than capable of being particularly cruel to just about anyone if it suited their own needs, skin tone be damned.“Had one friend there, though,” she says, a soft smile on her face, “he was a foreigner like I was. French, I think. Marc was his name.”You catch the past-tense, and though you think it may be a sore subject, you ask anyway.“You still friends now?”She pauses for a long time, her expression frozen. Eventually, it wavers and disappears, leaving her face blank and unreadable. In other circumstances, you’d remark that she could kill it at Poker.“No,” she says, finally, “Not anymore.”Hm, well, that was interesting. Another outcast like you, for sure. Probably time for a switch in topics, though.(Cont.)
>>2967540“I assume your folks taught your own magic--still haven’t seen that in action, by the by,” you say, as much for the sake of just keeping the conversation going as it is to keep your mind off of other, more frustrating things, than anything else.“It’s not that interesting to watch,” Naru says, sounding a little more alive, obviously pleased to get off the topic of her childhood friend, “I pretty much just point my fingers, chant, and it happens. Not so different to firing a gun, to be honest, and the results can be about as gruesome depending on my mood. I’ve got more pain hexes than you can shake a stick at, a couple of binding curses, some others with a little more utility, and one that…” she glances away, uncomfortable, “that I don’t really like to break out.”“You can perform a glamour, too,” you note, “A pretty good one, I might add, and I know a good thing or two about illusioncraft.”She shrugs, “I just kind of… did it one day. An old colleague of my dad’s came around and taught me the basics. I could never create anything even close to what you did in the jungle, but disguising myself came… really easily.”She leans back and stares up at the sky, “I got good enough to make myself look like just another American girl when I turned sixteen. It was... “ she shakes her head, “I didn’t get any weird looks. No one made any comments when I popped into a candy store. I bought myself a dress...“You remain quiet as she opens up, “It was... so weird and so nice all at the same time. I could be myself without… looking like myself.”She sighs. You wait for her to continue, but she does not. Maybe another change in topic is required?>So, how’d you find yourself in the Navy?>Talk a little about your own upbringing.>Try to prompt her to continue talking. You’re curious.
>>2967540>Bremerton>East CoastFuck I meant WEST. Goddamnit.
>>2967541>Talk a little about your own upbringing.
>>2967541>So, how’d you find yourself in the Navy?
>>2967541>Talk a little about your own upbringing.>French friendhmm
>>2968647Goddamn suicidal sexy baguettes!
>>2968647I have no idea what you're talking about, get out of my office.Also, calling the vote and doing the thing that makes words.
>>2967541Well, she told you a fair bit more about herself than you were expecting. You guess it’s only polite to respond in kind.“We were a pretty poor-off family, me and my dad,” you start, and you see catch her gaze falling from the bright, afternoon sky to turn on you, “I know he worked at a factory, but he never talked about it, much. Probably not that much to talk about, to be fair,” you ponder, chuckling.“You and your dad? What about your mom?”“Died young enough that I don’t remember a thing about her,” you tell her.“Shit. Sorry.”You shrug. Twenty-six years was plenty of time to get over something you’d never known. Of course, you’d seen photos that dad had shown you: a youthful, constantly beaming blonde woman with a set of piercing eyes you certainly didn’t inherit from your pa. A lot of the time, you’d wondered what it might have been like to grow up with her as the other kids you knew had. Sometimes you’d liked to pretend that if you wished hard enough, she’d show up on your doorstep one day, smiles all around.Those weren’t particularly happy times. But now’s not the time to get melancholy over ancient history.“I’m sure it was a lot, lot worse for my old man. He’s the one you should feel really sorry for. Except you can’t do that, either, cause he’s been cold near on ten years, now.”“Oh… fuck, now I am sorry.”“Life sucks sometimes; learnt it fast, and often the hard way. It’s why I took to being a crook. Just wasn’t any other way for me to keep on top of everything--all these things I suddenly needed to think about--and I knew I had access to certain skills that others didn’t, so… I took full advantage. It was difficult at first. Had a few folks get real close to catching me in the act, because of course I didn’t even know what the word ‘subtlety’ even meant,” you grimace, “I probably spent more time patching myself up in that first year and a half than I ever did counting coin. Believe it or not, most folks don’t take kindly to swindlers, even ones as good-looking as me.”That actually gets a half-giggle from her. Feels nice, making a girl laugh.“So, I tried again; learned what I could from whoever I could, and, gradually, I started to get better--get great. You get your good days and your bad days, of course, but I began to make enough to get by, and some time later, I began to earn enough to actually start living for a change. New York’s not such a bad place to do that.”“Must be nice, coming from somewhere famous like that,” Naru murmurs, “I tell folks I come from Bremerton and most of them just give me a blank stare.”(Cont.)
>>2969549“It helps with a certain class of people, sure,” good times indeed, even if they were fleeting at most. Naru gives you a squint, but you keep a straight, neutral face, “But, honestly, it’s… well, in the grand scheme of things, it’s just another place.”“Hmm, I guess,” she doesn’t sound particularly convinced, but that’s fine.You’re about to carry on, but you notice the others tramping over alongside Grim and Nathaniel. The old man does a quick headcount to ensure no one’s wandered off anywhere, then taps his cane in the dead centre of the summoning circle.“Close your eyes,” he suggests. Everyone does so, and you feel the familiar gut-ripping sensation of being transported through reality to cross hundreds upon hundreds of miles in the time it takes to blink. When it stops, you find yourself back in the great summoning chamber you arrived in initially, instead of the marquee. Naru immediately shivers behind you as the cold bites deep. You can’t help but feel sorry for her with only a thin shirt and pants, as well as her boots. A thought occurs to you.“How’d you manage to get a uniform your size, anyway?”“Lot of work,” she tells you through her chattering teeth, and that’s all she appears willing to tell you on that subject. You grab her a coat anyway, which she accepts with a grateful nod.“Wh-where the hell is this, the North Pole?”“Opposite end,” you tell her with a half-smirk, finding your own coat.“F-f-f-fucking Antarctica? Really?” she asks, sounding more flabbergasted than anything else.“It’s not so bad,” Arnold chimes, lumbering alongside the two of you, “Dunno about yours, but my room’s pretty sweet. Got me own bathroom ‘n all.”You raise an eyebrow at him, and you catch Naru mirroring the act.“I’m serious. Got more space than I ever did in the old place back ‘ome.”Well, that certainly demanded investigation. You wonder where your room is. Might be a good idea to ask. Actually it might be a decent idea just to have a wander around in general to get a feel for place, seeing how you’re stuck here and all.>1d100 First result only. High/low results won't have a positive/negative impact.
Rolled 82 (1d100)>>2969559
>>2969559You part ways with Naru and Arnold and set out. The great command room appears just as busy as it did the first time, but a lifetime living in the Big Apple has made you adept at weaving through crowds, and you’re through without getting yourself waylaid.The way to the canteen is already familiar to you; you’ve always had a knack for directions. Past it, however, is a long hallway, through which you find the entranceways to what seem to be a whole heap of storerooms housing various articles, from clothing to food to complicated-looking machinery to… all kinds of trinkets: Idols and totems and lockets. Probably all charmed or ensorcelled or loaded with all sorts of weird and wonderful enchantments.Right at the end is a large elevator, big enough to carry quite a number of people or other large items all at once. Hopping aboard, you find that there are only 3 levels. You decide to go up, and after the doors close you spent a few quiet moments in the humming elevator before reaching the upper floor. It appears to be the residential area, or at least, you can’t imagine what else the rows upon rows of evenly-spaced doors would signify. You try one of the handles, but it’s locked. Figures.You wander around some more and find what looks like a recreation area. A couple of televisions are set up, as well as a radio set and a large pool table sits in the middle of the room. A large shelf with a selection of board games sits beyond it next to a smattering of small tables, as well as an even larger bookshelf.Another doorway to another long corridor draws your attention, and you walk on through and see... How the hell did they build all this?Two squash courts, a basketball court, a big swimming pool, and a large and well-equipped gymnasium… what the fuck kind of money is backing this project that Grim could afford to get all this? The resources involved… not to mention the fact that it’s all the way down in the fucking South Pole. It boggles the mind!Voices behind you draw your attention, and through the door steps two individuals. One is an old woman, or at least, an older woman. Not quite Grim’s age, but she certainly looks as though she’s getting there. The other is also a woman, much younger and strikingly pretty, with long hair that looks almost platinum in the bright light.“Ah, I see we have a visitor already. You are new, I assume?” asks the old woman--American, but there’s a hint of something else in her rough voice. Something you don’t recognise.>Yeah, just giving myself a tour. Won’t get in your way.>Yes, but I was just on my way out.>You the tour guide? May I join you?
>>2970229>>Yeah, just giving myself a tour. Won’t get in your way.
>>2970229>Yeah, just giving myself a tour. Won’t get in your way.
>>2970229>Yeah, just giving myself a tour. Won’t get in your way.A better question is wht the hell the base has all this and NO HEATING.
>>2971839Try to get central heating up and running in an ice cave without flooding yourself.(To be frank Grimm could probably do it with magic bullshit)
>>2970229“Just giving myself a tour, I won’t get in your way,” you tell the pair. The young woman says nothing, but the older lady gives you an arched eyebrow.“Well, I just arrived today, I figured I’d better get a handle on the place if I’m going to be staying,” you wince, realising you probably sounded a lot more defensive than you meant to.The both of them regard you for a moment; two sets of gray eyes, one suspicious and ever-so-slightly squinting, the other is… just empty. You affix the younger woman with a look that she returns. There is not so much as a twitch as she matches your gaze. You notice that there is a little smile on her face that is entirely fake as not even a hint of it reaches her eyes. It’s… creepy.“Well, I suppose before I carry on, I should likely introduce myself as I’m sure we’d cross paths sooner or later,” the old woman says, stepping forward. “Chief Operations Manager Rowe. Effectively, I’m Grim’s Right Hand.”Well, that’s a comforting opener if ever you’ve heard one. You note that she doesn’t offer her hand for a shake.“Adam Bauer,” you return, then incline your head in the younger woman’s direction, “Does she have a name at all?”“Iszolda Romanova,” she says, her youthful voice entirely at odds with that… weird smile of hers. Unlike Rowe, who’s ever-so-minor accent you still haven’t placed, you can tell this Iszolda is Russian beyond any shadow of a doubt. You feel like a dog with its hackles raised, even though you know it’s dumb. All the stories you hear about the Reds, though, keep flitting through your head…“You are uneasy,” the Russian notes.You really don’t like the way she said that like it was the most obvious thing.“It is fine. I did not agree to come here to be liked.”“What did you come here for?”“An opportunity.”“What; save the world? Make a difference?”It’s incredible how the room feels like it actually just got a few degrees chillier with just an ever so slight lowering of her head and that fucking smile still plastered to her face like a paper mask.“Not quite.”Right. You’d like to be away from the attractive lady who makes your skin crawl worse than the Merfolk did, now.“Okay, well, that’s… interesting,” you say, “I think I’ll just see myself out, thanks.”(Cont.)
>>2972766You feel their eyes remain on you until you round the corner, where you wipe off a bead of sweat from your forehead and shiver. Do they just snatch up a heap of basket cases in this outfit? Well, you hadn’t been much keen to visit Russia even beforehand, but anywhere that breeds someone like Iszolda you definitely don’t want to see in person. Of course, knowing your current trend of luck, that likely means you’ll be headed there sometime in the immediate future.You set foot back on the elevator, and it’s only as you do so that you feel your stomach grumble. Christ, you’re famished. You’re also still tired, having been through one hell of an ordeal scant hours ago. Maybe the exploring can wait?>There’s just the basement, or bottom floor, or whatever it’s called to go. Surely you can manage popping down for a quick look.>It CAN wait, actually. Go get something to eat and find where you’re bunking down before you collapse from exhaustion and/or hunger.
>>2972769>It CAN wait, actually. Go get something to eat and find where you’re bunking down before you collapse from exhaustion and/or hunger.
>>2972769>>It CAN wait, actually. Go get something to eat and find where you’re bunking down before you collapse from exhaustion and/or hunger.
>>2972769>>There’s just the basement, or bottom floor, or whatever it’s called to go. Surely you can manage popping down for a quick look.
Calling it here. Writing.
>>2972769Another stomach rumble, this one accompanied by an ache, settles the matter. Exploring can wait. You need grub and then you think you’ll just collapse wherever it is you’ve been placed.Popping down is an easy matter, as is locating the chow hall. You grab a tray and fill ‘er up. Mashed potatoes, beef stew and steamed vegetables are the order of the day, and to your surprise they actually taste pretty damned good. So good in fact that you don’t notice that you have company until your plate is thoroughly cleaned.“Enjoying the food, I see,” Zafi observes with some amusement. Instantly, your guard is up. She favours you with a soft giggle.“Please, Adam, what am I going to do; help coerce you into joining a more dangerous agency?”Point, but wary you remain. Even so, you can’t help wandering all over her curves as she sits there, chin propped on one curled fist while she rests her elbow on the table. She can hardly not notice your ogling, but she makes no mention of it.Stupid sexy French bl-“So, would you like me to tell you where you’re staying?”You narrow your eyes at her, but nod slowly. She reaches into a pocket and, from it, retrieves what is unmistakably a set of keys. Zafi hands them to you with a languid smirk.“Room 243.”“Please tell me you’ve not already been inside.”“I hardly need to. All of the staff rooms look the exact same.”“That’s… comforting.”“It’s not so bad. You’ll see for yourself, I’m sure. I’ve certainly slept in less comfortable places.”You find that hard to believe, stunning figure like hers, but you suppose being a part of this… come to think, you still don’t even know the name of your new outfit. Regardless, you’re sure she’s probably seen peril at least a handful of times, though marked by them she doesn’t appear to be. Maybe she charmed the beasties, too, a snide little voice titters in the back of your head.“So, how are you finding it, so far?”>Peachy.>I was ripped from my perfectly comfortable life and now I’ve faced down murderous merfolk and had something old and ancient poke inside my head. You tell me how that sounds.>You owe me a LOT more than dinner and a good time.>No, I'm not going to give you whatever sick satisfaction you crave, foreign harlot.
>>2975480>I was ripped from my perfectly comfortable life and now I’ve faced down murderous merfolk and had something old and ancient poke inside my head. You tell me how that sounds.Maybe delivered with a monotone, tired tone of voice?
>>2975480>>I was ripped from my perfectly comfortable life and now I’ve faced down murderous merfolk and had something old and ancient poke inside my head. You tell me how that sounds.>>2975497With the most deadpan stare humanly possible
>>2975583And then go to ask for seconds, we're a growing boy after all.
>>2975480>I was ripped from my perfectly comfortable life and now I’ve faced down murderous merfolk and had something old and ancient poke inside my head. You tell me how that sounds.>>2975698More food, and then maybe go take a nap, stress is not a friend.
>Old and ancient poke inside my head.You know, now that I think about it. This could be taken as an insult aimed at Grim.He's not around the mess hall, is he?
>>2975480>I was ripped from my perfectly comfortable life and now I’ve faced down murderous merfolk and had something old and ancient poke inside my head. You tell me how that sounds.
Calling the vote. I'm feeling pretty smashed but I'll try and crank out the update before I pass out.
>>2975480Yelling was never something you were particularly fond of, even at those who assuredly deserved it. Frequently all you saw it result in was an escalation to whatever conflict was occurring. Conflict isn’t your game.This lady, though, is asking for something.So something is what you’re going to give.“I was ripped from my hardly perfect, but perfectly comfortable life, and now I’ve had to face down murderous merfolk and had something ancient poke around inside my head like it’s the engine of a car. So you tell me how that sounds.”You deliver all that in quite possibly the most deadpan voice you’ve ever utilised in your life. You’d feel a little proud if not for the fact you’ve basically just summed up your lot in life and it sucks even more to hear out loud. Of course, as you do so, you’ve fixed the Frenchwoman with a very, very tired look.“I think Mister Grim would be offended to hear you speak of him in such fashion,” she says with a soft smirk.You don’t think he’s the type to take anything anyone says with less than a grinder’s worth of salt, but that’s her opinion and you guess she’s welcome to it. It is a free country.Well... relatively speaking.“Regardless, I’m pleased to see you at least have the energy to act snippy with me. I’m also, of course, pleased to see that you and the others returned in one piece. Dez was quite beside herself with worry when she could not reach any of you.”“That a fact?”“Query, question and snap if you will,” she says, “but if nothing else, understand that no one here is out to get you. I did what I did because I believed you to be a worthwhile addition to the organisation. I am sorry that it occurred under those circumstances but that will be the only apology you get for it.”With that, she stands up, leaving the set of keys next to you.“Have a good evening, Adam.”And just like that, she gets up and saunters away. You catch yourself staring at the way her hips sway and force yourself to tear your gaze away with a grunt of self-disgust. Did she seem apologetic? Maybe. Doesn’t change the fact that what she did went completely against your own will. Going to take a looot more than a body to die for and a gorgeous voice mixed with a few words to smooth something like that over. You’re honest with your desires, but that doesn’t mean you’re weak-willed or easily-swayed.Frustrated for all kinds of reasons you can think of (and a few more you can’t), you pick up your tray and grab yourself another helping of what is actually pretty great food. You were expecting military slop. Instead you’ve got what can only be a few hairs shy of the Ritz. All right, Grim earns a point for that. It’s good, and you wolf it down without a moment’s hesitation.“Cor. I thought I was ‘ungry.”(Cont.)
>>2977723That distinctive accent can only belong to Arnold, who shunts himself into Zafi’s former spot next to you with a loud rattle as he attempts to slide his considerable bulk in. It takes some wrangling, but he manages. You feel some of your ill humour subside at the sight of the hulking Brit.“What brings you here?” you ask, wincing as soon as the words leave your mouth, because you’re sure you already know the answ-“Grub. What else?”Yeah.He shrugs and begins the messy process of devouring his meal. A few other staff glance over, curious, and soon regret the decision as Arnold’s evidently non-existent table manners make them queasy. They soon get up and leave, giving you some unintended privacy.Well, now you’ve got Arnold, and in him slightly better company. Fantastic.>He seems content to eat in companionable silence. Fair enough. Finish your seconds, wish him well, and hit the hay. Today was exhausting.>Arnold plopped himself down next to you and it only seems fair to indulge in some light and polite conversation. Ask him about himself: where he comes from, what he did, etc.
>>2977735>Arnold plopped himself down next to you and it only seems fair to indulge in some light and polite conversation. Ask him about himself: where he comes from, what he did, etc.
>>2977735>>Arnold plopped himself down next to you and it only seems fair to indulge in some light and polite conversation. Ask him about himself: where he comes from, what he did, etc.
Calling das vote here. Update soon fellow stalker.
>>2979003Incoming cheeki breeki.
>>2977735Conversation isn’t something you feel particularly up to, but the man went out of his way to keep you company, and you figure a few extra minutes won’t hurt. Besides, the man seems pretty handy in a fight, and having an extra pair of eyes watching your back is never a bad thing.You ponder briefly over how to pull his attention away from his guzzling, before shrugging and deciding the direct approach probably suits someone like Arnold anyway.“So, I don’t think I asked you what you did before you got roped into this weird old world.”“Y’didn’t,” he says in between mouthfuls, “Not really time fer it, what with all the shootin’ and travellin’ and tryin’ not to be eaten-in’.”You incline your head, conceding the point. He swallows another obscene portion and releases a hearty belch that you think could be heard from the other end of the facility.“Ahh, that’s good scoff,” he sighs in contentment before turning his attention to you, “Not all that much t’say, if I’m honest. I was a little ragamuffin from South-East London; third’o six other little ‘uns and brothers all. Proper ‘ooligan, so I was; ‘Terror of our cosy little burb’ our Chalkie’d say.”You think that means he had one of those ‘rough’n’tough’ childhoods, though from the sound of it, he was the one doing the roughing. You can relate to an extent.“Then, one day, I duffed up the wrong bloke and me mam took me t’task. Got a hidin’ from ‘er I still got marks from even now, but I reckon it was what I needed. Got meself a proper job not long after with two of me brothers on Canary Wharf where we got filched by the Merchant Navy when Jerry started bangin’ on the wrong doors. I remember it like it was yesterday; mostly cause it was probably the most pissin’ awful weather we’d ‘ad fer ages.”You listen as he describes the particulars of his conscription. Truthfully it sounds much easier than your own. Basic weapons training, but most of the work appeared to be handling of cargo. There’s a certain aspect of it that you suppose you can see the appeal of: roaming the seas, going to see all sorts of places beyond the city you grew up in. There’s also some you don’t: namely that if a German warship should appear on the horizon and give chase, you were almost assuredly sunk, unless you were a part of a convoy, but even those didn’t sound especially safe.
>>2979033“I tell you,” he continues, “Them U-boats are the work of the devil hisself. Watched one hauler capsize after taking two torpedoes from one of the little shits. Y’ever ‘eard a ship break in half? Hell of a racket, and the screams the poor sods onboard were makin’ didn’t much add to the charm’ve it. They were damned lucky the actual Navy was on ‘and to chase the bleedin’ thing off so we could slow down and scoop up the drifters,” he shudders, “Nasty way t’go, if you ask me: alone, slowly freezin’ t’death in the ocean, waves carrying you to Lord only knows where. An’ we were the lucky sods who got the southbound run. I can only pray for the poor bastards having to make the runs north to the Ruskies.”“Wouldn’t have thought it’d be that bad,” you say, “I mean, you can swim, right? Surely it'd be a simple thing to just... haul yourself to shore?”He looks at you as though you’ve just said something supremely stupid, “Y’ever swum more'n a couple lengths before?” You shake your head. You’d been for a few dips in a couple of the less-frequented waterfronts in your youth like most other lads had, but that had mostly been to cool off in a hot summer’s day.“Try it sometime. Swimmin’ ain’t as easy a thing as I think you believe it is. Never mind when there’s waves eight times yer size batting yer about. You could try swimmin’ for days on end on even some’o the calmer days on the Atlantic and you’d probably not make a lot of distance,” he grimaces, Then there’s the bleedin’ cold itself, which would be bad enough on its own. One of me crewmates went overboard on one long haul not three months back and we ‘ad a hell of a time fishin’ him out of the drink. Died almost as soon as we got ‘im back onboard of the cold. Can’t have been longer than an ‘alf hour he was in there for.”Mental note: never fall off a ship anywhere that isn’t nice and warm.“That sounds lovely,” you say, trying to shake the image you now have of your cold, frozen and waterlogged corpse being hoisted from a vast, empty and dark sea, “but, moving on, now; what saw you show up here?”He hesitates, and there’s a look of uncertainty in his eyes. Curious. The way his eyes glaze over and his complete halting of breath makes you wonder if perhaps there’s not some trauma there, too.>Hey, it’s fine. You don’t want to share, it’s all good.>How about you regale him the story of how you almost died at the claws of a Lycan? One horrific tale for another.>Try pressing for details.
>>2979035>How about you regale him the story of how you almost died at the claws of a Lycan? One horrific tale for another.
>>2979035>Hey, it’s fine. You don’t want to share, it’s all good.And then>How about you regale him the story of how you almost died at the claws of a Lycan? One horrific tale for another.
>>2979035>>2979075He doesn't have to share, but it's a good topic to change to.
Hmm. Calling the vote and starting the writing thing.
>>2979035Prying is rarely fun, unless you’ve got the individual in question buttered up some. Usually with a light charm of your own or some very honeyed-up words. Obviously, something happened to the big man at your side the day he was brought in. You wonder if maybe telling a story of your own will get him to open up…“Hey, it’s all right,” you say, “If you don’t want to tell, you don’t have to. So let me do it instead.”He blinks and looks down at you, his puzzlement all too plain.“A couple years back, I went up north with a few of my friends from the city,” you start, “honestly we only did it because of a stupid bet. One of my buddies, Jimmy, thought he had a shot with this country girl he happened to meet just before who lived just on the stateline between us and New Jersey.”Arnold says nothing; doesn’t even continue eating--not that there’s much left of the various courses he demolished in the span of a few minutes--as he listens to your tale.“So, of course, the rest of us, being the true friends we were, ragged on him endlessly for it, until he snapped and said he could have her wrapped around his finger in two days. So we told him to put his money where his mouth was,” you chuckle at the memory; Jimmy Barnes, beet red with embarrassment and frustration and trying very hard not to just swear at all of you and storm off as a chorus of guffaws and cackles serenaded every other line of crap that spewed from his mouth.“It took some doing, but he managed to get us all a lift out of town and where we needed to go. Place was pretty barebones back then--probably still is today, but nice enough to visit, I guess.”“Sensin’ that there’s more t’this than just a bloke tryin’ ‘is luck with a nice bird,” Arnold ponders aloud.“You guessed right there. A few locals had gone missing over the last few weeks. Known to wander, or so I remember hearing, so it wasn’t unusual for them to be gone for a long while, but they usually tended to check in at least to let folks know they were still all right. Not so this time around, so people were already a little skittish,” Arnold nods along.“Anyway, Jimmy gets a bright idea that he’s got to go out into the wild and grab himself some flowers for her, but he’s scared shitless of the idea that people are going missing, so he gets us to accompany him out on this little errand come noon.”“Sounds bloody lovely.”“It wasn’t so bad, to be honest. It was peak Summer; days were piping hot and we had plenty of water. We more more annoyed that we had to traipse around for Jimmy to try to get himself a girl who was actually not as interested as he made out.”“She weren’t?”(Cont.)
>>2979890“Of course she wasn’t,” you say, “Not least because she already had a feller back in her hometown, so good luck there, Jimmy. Not that this was going to stop him. He was sure that all he needed were a few pilfered plants and she’d be swooning for him,” you roll your eyes and shake your head.“Of course, he had to find the things, first, so out we went. Spent a good hour and half searching--or watching Jimmy search, anyway--before most of us got bored and started to head back to see what else we could find to do. As we did so, wouldn’t you know, the rain started to come down something fierce. I got split up from the others, when I took shelter underneath a forest canopy, and there…” you pause, taking a breath and bracing yourself for the memory…“I remember it all too damn clearly; coiled beneath a tree like a spring and ready to pounce, slavering at the mouth. It was thin. Rake-thin, like it hadn’t eaten in weeks. It was missing an arm, too. Maybe it caught it and ripped it off on a trap or something? I don’t know. It was there and so was I; first time I’d even seen a Lycan.”“Well, you’re still breathin’, so obviously you escaped it,” Arnold notes, stating the apparent with some gusto, “How’d yer do it?”>It was all down to panic-amplified reflexes, allowing me to stay just ahead of the beast.>I was scared, but I’d done my reading. I kept it at arms length with some basic fire magic.>It was injured and starving but it was still lethal if I let it go and I wasn’t about to let it come across my friends. I kept it busy with illusions.
>>2979892>Panic-amplified reflexesTell you what, if i was walking around in the rain and I stumbled across a fucking werewolf by accident I don't think i'd be thinking too clearly. I'd be too busy going SHIT SHIT SHIT to think. But at the same time I think a good portion of my panicked reaction would be>KILL IT WITH FIRE
>>2979892>I was scared, but I’d done my reading. I kept it at arms length with some basic fire magic.
>>2979892>>I was scared, but I’d done my reading. I kept it at arms length with some basic fire magic.
>>2979892>>It was all down to panic-amplified reflexes, allowing me to stay just ahead of the beast.
>>2979892>It was injured and starving but it was still lethal if I let it go and I wasn’t about to let it come across my friends. I kept it busy with illusions.
Rolled 2 (1d2)Well, first tie it seems. I don't think this gets enough traffic for a runoff vote to be worth doing and I do need to wrap this thread up, so Imma just bust out the old 1d2 decider.1 - Fire2 - Illusions
>>2979892“Well, scared as I was, I knew what I was looking at as soon as it started to make its move. It was injured, definitely starving, but still lethal as all the legions of hell and I wasn’t about to let it happen across my friends if I managed to escape it, not even Jimmy. So I had to break out the big guns.”“The fireballs?” Arnold ventures.“No, actually, my illusioncraft finally got a good workout. I led the thing on a dance through the forest. I learned quickly that just firing off a few copies of myself to lead it astray only gave it a few moment’s pause before it honed in on me through my scent. So, I had to get creative.”It was the first time you’d truly tried to manipulate the senses of another living being. Previously, all your efforts had been based purely on sight. Narrow-minded, to be sure, but you were still building up experience.“I managed to avoid it the first few times by timing my casting at almost the exact moment the creature would try to strike. That would usually throw it off enough for me to get some more distance, but it soon got wise to my little strategy. I knew that if I kept it up, it’d just end up taking a chunk out of my neck, eventually.”“This is where the ‘creative’ part comes in, I s’pose?”“You guessed it. I had to completely fool the thing--scent, sight, sound--if I wanted to make it out of those woods alive. Fortunately, I guess life-threatening peril is an excellent teacher. It was difficult, especially on the run with that thing clawing at my back all the while--I’m still counting my lucky stars that it was practically half-dead when I stumbled across it. If it had been in good shape, I’d have been killed for sure.“So, I got to work. I focused, in as much as I could, anyway, and put as much as I could into the things I was creating. What they’d sound like; what they’d smell like, and let me tell you; conjuring up the scent of sweat isn’t as easy as you’d think it is. My first success… kind of wasn’t, really. But it put me on the right track: for almost twenty seconds, I had it completely fooled. Then it caught the cartoon rabbit, whereupon it vanished before its eyes and I had my hungry friend right back on my tail again.”Arnold chuckles, “Yer not makin’ these Lycans sound like much of a threat, y’know.”“As I said: this one was pretty much just too dumb to know it was dead already. I reckon if I hadn’t come along when I did, it may have just laid down and died of its own accord. The prospect of fresh blood?” you shiver.(Cont.)
>>2981584 “Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. The rabbit. It was a pretty pathetic thing, actually. I literally just based him off a cartoon I read in the paper, gave him a stink like wet, stray dog--plenty of those growing up where I did--and plopped it down closer to it than I was and the thing went for it like free gold. As I said, it didn’t last, but it gave me more ideas, until eventually I found a way to lead on a merry little dance through the forest and far enough away from me to catch my breath.”You pause, grimacing as you recall the next part of the tale, “It didn’t last, of course. This was still all so new to me and I don’t think anything I conjured lasted longer than a couple of minutes at most. I found myself in an old, abandoned cabin and had just sat down when down it comes through the goddamned ceiling, all claws and teeth and slobber. Not going to lie--I pissed myself a little. Thought it had me dead to rights; no way to manoeuvre with all the debris and tired as all get out. But luck was on my side again as it landed badly--heard the snap as its ankle just… went. I managed to clamber away, gashing my palm open on some of the splintered wood as I did, and got one last cast off.”“What ‘appened?” Arnold breathes, and you swear he’d be hanging on the edge of his seat if it were at all possible for such a big man.“There was a beam that must have been weakened by age or rot or something, I don’t know. The Lycan’s entrance must have been the final straw that broke its back. My last illusion took that thing crashing right into it, and everything above just gave out. Collapsed completely on top of it. Pinned my leg right down and definitely did something bad to it, but I was alive, and the Lycan was buried and definitely dead.”“So what ‘appened next?”“Well,” you grin, sheepishly, “after spending a good while just cowering, afraid that if I moved even the slightest, that thing would come crashing out of the pile to finish me off, I finally mustered up enough courage to try and free myself--gently, of course. Took some doing, but I got it off and managed to limp most of the way back to the town, where I met two of my buddies on the way.”“They ‘elped you back, I s’pose, yeah?”“Not before they had a good, long laugh at my expense for getting myself lost in the woods and chased by a hungry wolf.”(Cont.)
>>2981585“You didn’t tell ‘em it was a--?”“No,” you shake your head, “They were my friends, but none of them came from where I did. Besides, they’d never have believed me. Hell, I sure wouldn’t have. That was the furthest down south any Lycan’s come in a long, long time.”Arnold hums, pondering.“Anyway, Jimmy got himself a slap from that girl he was so damn sweet on and a punch from me and we all went home. So, yeah. That’s how I survived a Lycan attack.”“Huh,” he grunts, “Strange thing, this world of ours, innit?”“You can say that again,” you agree.Arnold is silent for a brief moment before sucking in a breath.And then he tells you of a dark and stormy night...>And that's all I wanted to get through for thread number 3. Thanks to all of you for participating and the next thread will be up tonight after I get off work, where we'll see things from Arnie's perspective this time around. Once again, thanks for dropping in, and hopefully I'll see you again in a few hours' time.