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    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Buccaneer’s Bounty
    Position : None
    Posts : 296
    Guild : None
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 1,012,320

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Augur Concordia
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 20th August 2021, 10:51 am

    Continuing from this thread...

    Life always seemed to happen the wrong way. Maybe it was all a big hoax, this talk about being optimistic. Maybe there was some dark, evil being out there that obtained its sustenance from the mishap and misery of the mortal race, and so it had moved its vassals to go out there and tell people to hope. Hope, because there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. Hope, because after the rains, or the harsh winter, the sun would still shine, and spring would return. Hope, because every cloud had a silver lining, and the darkest hour was the closest to the much desired dawn. They would speak so inspiringly, and the one who was on the verge of giving up would take another deep breath, and push forward. Perhaps with the next one, she would strike gold. Perhaps the next relationship would be the right one. And thus, mortals would base their entire future on sheer, fickle probability.

    And surely, the evil being would laugh.

    It would laugh, because while it is true that tunnels don’t go on forever, sometimes, the tunnel would open into blackest night, a pitch darkness that would make the claustrophobia inducing tunnel walls seem to be a bastion of refuge. It would laugh, because once upon a time, when people hoped for the sun, winter came and refused to leave until the world burned to death, to be born anew from the blood of slain gods. It would laugh, because mushroom clouds were still clouds, and yet they offered no silver, only a fiery death. And it would laugh, because the darkest hour was not the one closest to dawn, but the one when the nightmares came in all their wild terror.

    The evil being was probably laughing now.

    Goethe struggled to keep his head, but he knew that the coming of the Diophage had violently thrust a spanner into the cogs of his plans. If everything had worked out as he had expected, the Devil Butcher would have been defeated, captured, or maybe even killed, and he would have only one more issue to worry about. He was starting to come to the conclusion that as far as he was concerned, nothing ever happened the way he expected it to. Perhaps his inability to sense the Devil Butcher with the Eyes of the Claviger should have been the first note of warning, but it had been an opportunity too tempting to let slide. It had been “too tempting”, because it had probably been a trap.

    In hindsight, Goethe could see how well thought out the snare he had danced into had been so craftily constructed. At some point, the “god hunters”, as they liked to refer to themselves, had begun to realize that he was making plans to move against them, or they had always been expecting this day. They had most likely understood that now that he was becoming stronger, he would attack soon enough. So, they had decided to separate themselves and go in separate ways, for the time being. This would force his hand, cause him to take advantage of this ‘favorable’ turn of events, as the god hunters had been hardly ever seen apart before now. And so he had come, like a mouse into the mousetrap. Despite the overwhelming pain, a part of him reluctantly admitted that they had played the better game.

    With a grunt, he pushed himself up onto an elbow. He dared not attempt to rest on his knees, because of the amputation of his left leg. His elbow slipped on the stone floor, slick with blood, and he fell back on his face. He bit back a cry of anguish. Taking slow, deep breaths, he tried to clear his mind and focus. The worst thing for him to do now would be to panic. If he could get himself back under control, perhaps he could still activate his powers one last time, and bury the three of them down here. No, that would likely not work, because it was certain the Diophage had somehow teleported herself back to this dungeon. There was no other way to explain how she had covered such a large distance very quickly, and the only entrance to the dungeon had been in Goethe’s vision during the interrogation, so she had not sneaked in.

    The clacking of high heels began, and drew closer to his head. ”You look quite beaten up, Ivan. That was unexpected. He had help?” Her voice sounded chiding, but there was a tenderness to it, like she was worried for his wellbeing. He heard Ivan cough. ”Actually, he did this by himself, Luna. I underestimated him. Besides, as you know, I didn’t bring my full kit.” There was a bit of silence. They were probably looking at him. It still felt odd; Goethe could not pick them with his extrasensory power, which was already clearing enough for him to pick all the corners of the dungeon. His Spirit Arms were still too weak to be employed effectively, so he waited, and hoped he had the time to do so.

    ”He looks weak. I mean, I just cut off one leg...” Ivan’s voice came from a closer position. ”Anyone would go into shock if they lost a limb the way he did. I’d say he’s rather stout for his age. I expected him to be screaming at the top of his lungs. Besides, I think he’s still conscious.”

    ”Oh crap!”

    The clicking of heeled shoes stopped right in front of his head, which was turned away. After a second, Goethe felt something slip beneath him and lift him off the floor. It felt like some sort of fluid, but it was not wet. Realizing that his eyes had been screwed shut due to the agony he was undergoing, he forced them open, and saw that the same shadows that had wrapped themselves around the woman at her arrival were holding him aloft. She was staring into his face, a frown of curiosity on her face. Her hair was long and black, and it, as well as her black clothes, seemed to dissolve into the shroud of shadow that extended from her to him. She had an attractive face, but there was something about those dark eyes that Goethe found unnerving.

    ”Oh yes, he’s awake.”

    Goethe tried to look as brave as he could, and struggled harder to find his voice. ”You fight dirty,” was the first thing he managed to say. It surprised him, even. Luna laughed. ”Yes, he is a stout one, Ivan,” she said over her shoulder. Then her expression became more menacing. ”I have never been a patient person, so now that we have the brat in our grasp, we may as well begin.”

    Whatever it was, Goethe was sure it would end up with him dying, but if it involved the Imbalance of Despair Ivan was talking about, then their ingredients were not complete. Goethe was suffering, yes, but he was not dejected. He felt a little at peace even, because his friends were not here to be threatened. And now that he was sure that his death would not bring about the introduction of some laughing, otherworldly evil being, now was the best time to ultimately atone for his sin. Goethe had gained some clarity of mind. He ought to be able to use his powers now...

    ”Let’s torture him,” the woman suddenly said, as a tendril of shadow sharpened itself and plunged into his right thigh without warning. Goethe made a sound in his throat, but it refused to build up into a cry. The tendril writhed and pushed, but Goethe bit back on his pain and did not make any more sound. She tilted her head to one side, watching him, a sudden look of delight appearing on her face. ”Oh? How long will you last like that? How long until you scream and beg me for mercy? I haven’t started anything, you know?”

    ”Restrain yourself a little, my dear. Exsanguination is still a cause of death nowadays. He will be of no use to us dead. And seeing as he somehow managed to sever the direct link he had with the Metropolitan King, his death would be a grievous loss.”

    The woman frowned, obviously displeased, but the piercing tendril withdrew itself. ”You can really be a spoilsport at time, you know?” she complained. ”So, how do you want to create the Imbalance?”

    Ivan shrugged. ”Well, he has friends, as you know. So, if we laid his hands on one of them...” Luna’s eyes brightened. ”Beautiful! And those ones, we can kill, right? Right?” Ivan stepped up closer to her, and cupped her chin in a hand. He smiled back into her eyes. ”With as much imagination as we can afford, my dear.”

    ”You guys are one sick couple.”

    As one, they looked at him, then were abruptly thrust away from him. Goethe fell, but managed to balance himself on his remaining leg. It was a good thing he did not slip and fall again, because not only would it be disgraceful, it would be very disadvantageous. He was awake, and he could still fight. They would want to beat him into submission. Maybe he would battle them until they were left with no choice but to kill him. That way, he would not end up fulfilling their evil plans. That was it, then.

    A fight to the death.

    Luna pointed at him, as her shadows whipped out against him. His Spectral Shield sprang up, blocking the relentless onslaught from one side. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the Devil Butcher skirting along the wall, trying to get out of his line of sight. He was getting desperate, fighting against two foes, and desperate times called for desperate measures.

    The both of them stopped when the black ball appeared above Goethe’s open hand.

    ”I’m glad to see you guys remember this little fella,” Goethe said. ”But of course you would. This was what obliterated the entire village.”

    ”Aren’t you being a little hasty?” the woman asked, her eyebrows raised. She looked calm, but Goethe knew she was worried. They were underground, and if there was really anyone alive who knew of the destructive capabilities of the Oblivion Bomb, it was these two: Ivan and Luna. The Devil Butcher and the Diophage. Quite frankly, Goethe had not conjured it because he was interested in a standoff. This was going to be the end. However, he wanted to be sure that if he was going down, the both of them would be coming with him. And since he was worried that the Diophage could teleport, he needed her to be here when this bomb went off. He considered that the temple might be destroyed, but if it killed the two of them, he was sure that would be a bit pardonable. Besides, no one was in the temple any longer. All the cultists that had been knocked out had been sent to the X-Dimension, to prevent them interfering in any subsequent fights.

    But Goethe did not detonate the bomb. Not yet.

    Instead, he reached out as quickly as he could with his Spirit Arms, grasping the Diophage and the Devil Butcher at the same time. The move seemed to surprise them somewhat, catching them off guard, and this would increase his chances of getting them hit by his bomb. However, he had watched  enough vids to know that if he started any cool speeches or last words, he would only be giving them the opportunity to break free.

    Under his breath, he said: ”Friends, thank you for everything. Sorry I couldn’t say goodbye...”

    Ivan cursed as the Oblivion Bomb flickered, then suddenly expanded, engulfing the entire room in a magical conflagration that explained why the spell was named such. The explosion was over in a moment, and there was just a fraction of a second, before tons of earth came collapsing in on whoever was unfortunate to be in the dungeon.

    That fraction of a second was enough for Baynard to appear suddenly, grab Goethe and vanish, leaving the Diophage and Devil Butcher to be buried in the earth. There was a flash of light, and Goethe appeared alone, in a room he couldn’t recognize. He could barely recognize anything, anyway, as he rapidly slipped into unconsciousness, the stress and injuries of the day taking their toll on him.

    WC: 2084


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : The World Serpent
    Position : None
    Posts : 619
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,742,725

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Yoza Kengen
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Fraag 23rd August 2021, 9:46 am

    Hosenka was one of those places one could get used to living in. Its architecture was beautiful, and although not exactly on the mark, did remind Suzhen a lot of home. A good number of places in Hosenka looked like some places in Chun Zai Qiu, Dongxia’s largest city, and just being around such architecture made the sting of homesickness much less. It wasn’t that Suzhen could not go back to Dongxia; she just felt like there was still so much to do here in Fiore, and thus the urge to travel back to her homeland was staved off from time to time, by her sense of duty. And though, as a mage of reasonable power, her work and responsibilities had grown, it was satisfying to see that slowly she was beginning to be recognized as someone whom people could look up to. Still, she felt like she had not done enough; it was that feeling that drove her. Well, all work and no play made Jill a dull girl, and Suzhen needed time to rest and relax, though her workaholic side made her not see so much of R&R time. But when she did, she, in her own opinion, was excessive. And this was one of those excessive days.

    Suzhen had spent a considerable time of the day doing nothing but lazing around, soaking herself in the hot springs and thoroughly enjoying herself. And then she had gone shopping. It was little news that most of the people who lived in Hosenka had chosen this place as their abode because of its flashy lifestyles. Suzhen, however, had chosen it because it was the closest town to the guild hall of Luminous Rose, the guild to which she had presently affiliated herself with. And while the town’s architectural layout was certainly a plus, the presence of spas in the town had cinched the deal. Yet Suzhen was no profligate fool. She knew the value of spending and only spoilt herself when she had set aside enough money to do so, like today. She never touched her savings, unless there was a great emergency which required the use of money. Even though she was a self-confessed hedonist, the scholar of Dongxia was very prudent in her spending ways.

    Today, however, Suzhen was not so sure she had been completely prudent, yet she was glad for every gram worth of items she had bought, and every second of services paid for. Of course, this meant that she would not be doing some large degree of spending anytime soon. It mattered little. She wasn’t that covetous. Humming a Dongxian dancing tune to herself, laden with shopping bags, the young Dongxian woman climbed the stairs to her apartment (a small, humble but cozy thing), fumbled for the keys a little, then unlocked the door and made her way into her sanctum, one of the few places in the world wherein she was sure she would find peace. Still humming, she placed her shopping bags down, and made her way to her bedroom, taking off her shoes as she did so. She opened the doors, flicked on the light switch, and froze. For lying down on her bed was a young man, dirty, and missing a leg, blood from the truncated stump quickly ruining her bed, a young man she recognized immediately. It was Goethe Ackermann, one of the few people in the world whom she could call a close friend.

    In a moment of amazing fortitude, Suzhen did not scream, though she ran to his side, forgetting the things that needed unpacking outside the room, or the shoes she had discarded without a care at the door of the bedroom. Tears sprang to her eyes as she feared the worst, but her psychic level of feeling, bestowed on her by her Ophidian Attunement to the sensory powers of feeling, made her realize that he was not yet dead; she could still sense life, and faint emotions emanating from his battered body. Still he seemed to be on the brink of death. Immediately, Suzhen realized that she was the only thing standing between him and his death. Without missing a beat, the Dongxian scholar clapped her hands together, and a green glow began emanating from her and bathing the entire room in a gentle glow, visible even with the light on. ”Teiryudo: Soyokaze!” she intoned silently, projecting healing energies out of her soul and creating a zone of healing magic. She was not sure if her healing spell could regenerate lost limbs; she had not tried this before, but what mattered most as at now was getting him from the point of death. She maintained the spell until she could hear Goethe breathing softly. His condition was no longer critical. But what had happened to him?

    Focusing to the utmost, Suzhen placed a hand on the unconscious man and channeled her energies, trying to place a mental grip on the past. Images flashed and she saw two people, enemies; shadows attacking, severing the man’s leg; she saw him detonate something black, plunging where he had been, as well as his two foes, into apparent oblivion; she saw Bayne, his rabbit-like friend grab him, and then the scenario blinked to her room and Bayne was gone. Bayne had saved him, teleported him here. But where was the rabbit? Probably had gone to get help. A part of Suzhen was very angry with Goethe, though she understood his desire not to want to burden others with his own problems. She was similar, maybe even worse. Imagining the pain he had to have endured made the tears, which had been seeking release, flow. But Suzhen was not going to just sit here and cry. In the hope that her Soyokaze could restore his leg, she would keep pouring healing energies into him till he was whole again. The fact that the Soyokaze could restore lost energy, reinvigorating her allies, suggested the hope that it could possibly restore lost limbs as well. Suzhen took her ‘praying’ stance again, and reactivated the spell. When the spell’s duration was exhausted, she would reactivate it again. This continued for a while, before she opened her eyes and looked at the comatose form, and realized that the stump was longer than it had been before. There was hope. But she was getting winded. She would not be able to keep this up long enough to grow his leg back… unless….

    Her irises turned bright bronze, as a flux of magical energy whipped round the room, scattering the originally pristine and well-organized room, as Suzhen entered Serpentine Force. Then she resumed casting the healing spell, over and over again. She continued until she was certain that even to save her life, she could not even summon a modicum of spirit power. And to prove her point, her body forcibly shut off the Serpentine Force. Totally exhausted, she dropped to her knees, but noticed with joy that Goethe’s leg was whole again. Then exhaustion reigned, and she rested her arms on the bed and her head on her arms, drifting off into a deep sleep, the tears still drying on her face.


    WC: 1197
    PWC: 1197
    TWC: 3281


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Bai Suzhen of Fenghai | Bank
    Golden Lacrima in effect till 11th July 2022
    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Buccaneer’s Bounty
    Position : None
    Posts : 296
    Guild : None
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 1,012,320

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Augur Concordia
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 25th August 2021, 7:50 am

    The last thing Goethe remembered was that he had sensed Baynard come and whisk him out of the jaws of death in the nick of time, but he couldn't tell where he had been taken to, or why he had come to this place, for that matter. Maybe it was a safe house that Bayne somehow kept, though the sights he took in before blacking out suggested that the room he had found himself in belonged to a female. He had been to weak, too tired to be concerned at entering an unfamiliar environment, and as is usually the case with stress induced slumber, was currently too comatose to care. Thus, he was totally oblivious when Suzhen found him so strangely transported into her personal space. He remained unaware of her labors over his health, and while his body healed, thanks to her healing spell, his mind swam in an insensible, insensate murk that had no bearing of time and space.

    Now, Goethe by himself was incapable of teleportation, and the one who brought him to Suzhen's place was nowhere to be found. Where was Baynard? A strange anomaly it was, that had separated the two. Naturally, Baynard had been very displeased on rousing himself from the effects of the Memory Bomb. He didn't know which one took preeminence in the place of his feeling wronged: the fact that Goethe had memory bombed him, or the other fact that he had been outsmarted by Goethe. Whichever the case, he was not keen on letting Goethe off easy. There had been some good news: the teleportation field he had activated to get the children out of the dungeon had gone straight to their little hideout in the Haunted Village. Arnoba had already woken up, and had left to head for the temple, when she sensed Baynard's return. The event was rather auspicious, for if she had been in the room by the time the Memory Bomb came in with Bayne and the children, she would have had another bout of sleep to contend with.

    Returning to the hideout, she had met a quartet of sleepers. The children could stay here till they recovered, but she had been worried for Goethe, whom she knew was in a battle, due to the psychic bond they shared. Being one with some control over mental forces, Arnoba had hastened Baynard's awakening, and he had revealed to her Goethe's reasons for wanting to face this dark aspect of his past alone. Deciding that it was best to face the future along with Goethe, despite his fear of losing them being more substantial if they were around him (in his opinion), they had assayed to return to the haunted temple. However, while Baynard was physically awake, it appeared that his powers of Dimension magic were taking their time to catch up with his senses. Thus, they had had to take the longer route of physical movement.

    Arnoba had sensed the entrance of the Diophage, and Goethe's pain, and still Baynard couldn't get the Absolute Space up and running soon enough. By the time he had gotten it under control to some degree, Goethe had created the Oblivion Bomb. Arnoba did not fear the bomb's effect on him; it wouldn't harm him in any way. However, creating such a destructive device beneath the ground was asking for a cave-in, and that would definitely be the end of him. Still, she had not wanted to risk getting herself and Baynard getting caught up in the blast. This called for very precise timing. Once the Bomb had run its course, Baynard would warp in and get him out at once. There was still a very minute amount of time that could be exploited before the ground above Goethe would descend on him and snuff out his life.

    When she gave Baynard the signal, he teleported, and he went alone. Arnoba had briefly wondered if he was leaving her out of the danger, or it was a side effect of his powers just waking up. Either way, it was probably easier to transport one person, so that wasn't a cause for offense. She had been rather alarmed, however, when she noticed that Baynard had not reappeared beside her, but she surmised the probable cause of it, and waited patiently for his return. In a moment, Baynard had returned alone, his powers acting up again. They both came to the conclusion that the cause of the malfunctioned teleportation was due to the aftereffects of the Memory Bomb, and the power of Goethe's mind "hijacking Baynard's idea of safety". This meant that wherever Goethe had been dropped off, he knew the owner of that place, and considered himself safe with them. In essence, while Baynard had meant to take him back to Arnoba, Goethe had been thinking of someone in his last thoughts (as he had supposed), and his extraordinary psychic powers had sent him, using Baynard's dimensional powers, to that location. Sharing a bond with Goethe meant that Arnoba could find him, and both had been surprised when they realized that he had been transported to far off Hosenka, virtually on the other side of Fiore.

    When Baynard felt that he was in total control of his abilities, he teleported with Arnoba to the location Goethe was in. In a moment, they found themselves in a cozy bedroom, which looked like it had once been properly organized, but some wind had managed to come in and blow things all over the place. To their surprise and joy, Goethe was complete in body, no longer missing his left leg, though the blood on the bed showed that he had still bled some more before being healed. Beside him, the violet-haired Dongxian slept on her knees, her head resting on the bed. It was obvious that she had been responsible for Goethe's healing, and had exhausted herself doing so.

    So as not to disturb either of the sleepers, Arnoba and Baynard quietly made themselves comfortable, the both of them sitting as lightly as possible on the bed. They would wait for Suzhen to wake up, and they would try to explain all that they had been up to, because she would surely want to know. Goethe could sleep as long as he wanted. There would be enough people cross with him when he opened his eyes.

    For now, Arnoba and Baynard were relieved that he was still alive and in one piece. And although neither said it to the other, they wanted to believe that the premonition of death had been finally averted, with the deaths of the Diophage and Devil Butcher.

    WC: 1108
    TPWC: 3192
    TWC: 4389


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : The World Serpent
    Position : None
    Posts : 619
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,742,725

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Yoza Kengen
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Fraag 26th August 2021, 10:19 am

    Suzhen did not know how long she had been asleep. She only knew that her dreams had been rather weird. Perhaps it was a mixture of the fact that her White Snake Divination was allowing her to glean residual psychic energies from the form of her sleeping friend and her own natural troubles of having the World Snake torture her mind when she was asleep, but her dreams were extremely difficult to put a grasp on, like something kept skittering at the edge of her consciousness, always fleeing as soon as she attempted to focus her attention on it. Interestingly, though, although she saw the terrible form of the World Snake, it had not seemed to be interested in her, a rather rare occurrence, but was apparently intent on minding its own business, something she neither understood, nor complained about.

    After a few moments of chasing around what may not have been there, Suzhen woke up to where she was in the physical world. Night had fallen, but for how long, she did not know. It had been evening when she discovered the maimed form of Goethe on her bed. The first thing she would have done would have been to check the time, but the Fenghai Scholar realized that she was not alone in the room with Goethe.  Initially, panic ballooned in her mind, but she calmed herself mentally and turned her head to see Arnoba and Bayne, both sitting silently on the bed and looking at her. Her eyes widened involuntarily, as she remembered she had been crying before exhaustion had claimed her consciousness. She rubbed at her already dry cheeks, then gently gestured to the two waiting forms to leave the room with her, so as not to disturb the sleeper. Having led them out and closed the bedroom door silently behind her, Suzhen directed them to the living area of her habitation, gave them seats at her dining table, and requested some time.

    Hurriedly, she ran to the bathroom, cleaned her face and removed the hair pin which had been hanging carelessly in her purple hair, after going into Serpentine Force mode had messed up her hair. Then she gathered up her hair in a simple, yet elegant, style, secured it once more with the pin, and went into the kitchen, where she quickly brewed tea, and served out a number of honey cakes. The advantage of her often feeling hungry was that she always made sure her house was full of food, and as such, she never had worries about entertaining visitors. Placing all the wares on a wide tray, Suzhen emerged from the kitchen and carefully deposited the tray on the dining table before her guests. She had not mixed anything with the tea, in case either Arnoba or Bayne wanted their tea black. There was a generous supply of milk and sugar, though. Suzhen also set out four plates, with the hope that Goethe would eventually join them at the meal. Then she poured herself a cup of tea, liberally adding milk and sugar.

    "Welcome to my humble abode, both of you," Suzhen said with a gentle smile. "I hope you're both hungry, so please help yourselves to as much as you want. And don't worry about eating me out of house and home; you can't." She said that part with some pride, though she didn't elaborate on what she meant. Then she placed three cakes on her plate, took a bite out of one, sipped tea, and placed the tea cup down on the table, giving a satisfied exhalation, as she closed her eyes with a soft smile. Jade Water Tea was her favorite Dongxian brand of tea. There was something about the aroma and taste that seemed to calm her nerves when she was worried. It was why she had chosen this specific brand. Suzhen had at least eight different brands of tea in her pantry. The she opened her eyes, and the smile was gone, her soft features serious, though with worry, not hostility.

    "Tell me everything."


    WC: 677
    PWC: 1874
    TWC: 5066


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Bai Suzhen of Fenghai | Bank
    Golden Lacrima in effect till 11th July 2022
    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Buccaneer’s Bounty
    Position : None
    Posts : 296
    Guild : None
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 1,012,320

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Augur Concordia
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 26th August 2021, 11:12 pm

    As they watched Suzhen and Goethe sleep, Arnoba and Baynard discussed silently, using Arnoba’s telepathic means. Baynard was relieved that Arnoba had gotten over her initial anger with him; he suspected though, that she believed that Goethe had talked him into it, against his better judgment. And that was quite very much the truth. As they conversed, they both agreed that Goethe was pushing himself, and everything too far, acting the way he was, but as they spoke of the events that had led up to this day, the both of them understood to some extent why he had acted so rashly.

    ”Goethe doesn’t say much about his past,” Arnoba said, in her telepathic manner of speaking, while her eyes stayed focused on the wall opposite her, her back ramrod straight, and her entire being unmoving. One would have thought her to be a wax statue. ”How much has he told you about his childhood?”

    ”I honestly haven’t probed far,” Baynard replied using the psychic channel. Unlike her, the lagomorphic creature fidgeted continuously, but as gently as possible, so as not to awaken the sleepers. He wasn’t the kind of person to keep still for long periods of time. ”I always detected that was one of the very few topics he didn’t want to talk about.”

    Arnoba nodded, though her eyes never left the wall. ”I think recalling it  brought him a great amount of sorrow... however, I doubt he would mind us talking about it now. He has run from it long enough, and it appears Fate is not willing to let him go any farther.” Baynard was silent, but his expression was expectant, so Arnoba continued.

    ”As you know, Goethe’s family name is ‘Ackermann’, but he is not the ninth person to be called Goethe or any such thing. The reason he bears that...” She tilted her head slightly. ”The Dongxian is stirring.”

    And just a second later, Suzhen turned to look at them. Expectedly, she seemed surprised to see them sitting on the bed and keeping her company. It was interesting how she did not speak, just to ensure that Goethe was not disturbed, though Baynard had no idea whether with what the young man had gone through, he would not stay unconscious if they tried to rouse him. Still, he silently obeyed, tiptoeing after Suzhen, and wondering how Arnoba made moving so silently so easy. They followed her to the dining table and sat down, nodding as both a sign of thanks and an approval to her asking for a little time. It was her house, after all.

    As they waited for their host to reappear, they spent their time appreciating her beautiful and tidy living room. Without sharing their thoughts, they both agreed that the Dongxian had very good taste. Arnoba turned to look at Bayne, the hint of a smirk on her face. ”Goethe could learn a thing or two about this place.” Baynard chuckled silently. The young man seemed to have a distaste for clutter, and his living apartment was rather Spartan. In fact, Baynard was very sure that his workshop, where he spent hours tinkering with Goethe, was more furnished than his kitchen. Goethe really didn’t care much about a homely house, it seemed. Wherever he could put his tools, and crash on a bed, was more or less enough for him.

    The  Dongxian lady returned, armed with a tray laden with some good stuff. ”Now, this is something Goethe should learn from. Thank you, ma’am. You sure know how to treat guests.” Arnoba gave him a chiding look. Baynard laughed in reply and held up his hands. ”Come on, now, until Goethe has visitors, which he rarely ever does, he’s guilty until proven innocent.”

    Both of them, after saying their thanks, each took a teacup, but their reactions to the tea were different. Arnoba took a gentle sip and paused, then a rare, elusive smile crossed her features and was gone a moment later, as she took a longer sip and exhaled slowly. Baynard did not bother tasting it before he followed Suzhen’s lead, applied milk and sugar lavishly. Satisfied with the very sweet tea, Baynard nodded after a taste. ”Ah yes! Just the sugar I need.”

    As one, all the expressions in the room took on a sober mood. Suzhen wanted to know what was going on, and that was normal. On a good, or even bad day, Arnoba was not one to share secrets, but since it was clear that Goethe trusted her more than almost anyone else on Earthland, there was no point keeping things from her.

    ”You deserve that much, having been such a good friend to Goethe. It might take a while. Baynard, I was about telling you more about Goethe’s past when Lady Suzhen awakened. I shall continue from that point.

    “As I said Goethe is called the Ninth for a particular reason, and not because he is the ninth person in the Ackermann line to bear that name. Goethe is the ninth and last of a series of experiments, and the only successful one. His clan, the Ackermanns, from what I knew about them, were a people deranged. They worshipped extraterrestrial entities of cosmic proportions called the Great Old Ones. I assume you might have heard of them, Lady Suzhen.”


    Arnoba continued sipping her tea, but her smooth voice flowed into Suzhen’s and Baynard’s thoughts without the natural interruptions a speaking person would make, when trying to ingest something. ”For Baynard’s sake, I will describe them slightly. They were creatures that ruled in ancient times, in various dimensions, including this one. Fortunately, their power was not absolute, and more fortunately, there exist other beings of power that look upon this plane with more benign intentions. For these Great Old Ones only took interest in mortal races, for the sole purpose of driving them irredeemably and irreparably insane, and then obtaining humor and sustenance from nightmarish ways their subjects destroyed themselves. It is still not fully known how they left this Earthland dimension alone. Some say that they got bored and moved on. Unlikely. Others say that new gods came around and overthrew them in a Titanomachy that wrested control from their grasp. Perhaps this is more acceptable, but what matters is that they were gone, and could not return by themselves.

    “You can trust mortal races to have strange and bizarre ideas. Some people believed that restoring the Great Old Ones to power on this world would grant them boons from these patron deities, and they began to worship them. The Great Old Ones, being beings of immense power, had tried different means by which they could pierce the membrane that separated them from our world. While they failed every time, part of their will got through at various points. These worshippers were able to establish contact, and thus the influence of the Great Old Ones never died away. While most of the Great Old Ones were content to manipulate and drive souls into chaos from where they stayed imprisoned beyond the Plane, some still tried to breach the ban placed on them. The particular being implicated with the Ackermann family is one such example.”


    She nibbled daintily at a honey cake, as the story went on. [i]”Goethe’s is an old family, and throughout the ages, they had tried perfecting the device that would bring this Great Old One over. I do not know which of Goethe’s ancestors came upon the plan that would eventually work, but it was one close to his generation, most likely his grandfather. With the many resources under his control, this Ackermann patriarch set up his personal scientific facility, and passed the ‘honors’ to the younger of his two sons, Anton Ackermann. From what Goethe told me, the patriarch was usually like a priest, who could hear the voice of the Great Old One, which eventually ran him violently insane. At that point, a ritual would pass on this burden to his successor. Somehow, I feel that Anton’s brother, Ivan Ackermann, was still somehow able to hear the Great Old One, though I cannot guess how.

    “Eight experiments, all sons of Anton, failed, but the ninth showed promise, and lived. The idea was to create a vessel fit to house the madness inducing essence of the Great Old One, by planting a ‘cosmic egg’ within their chest. The cosmic egg ended up killing the eight that preceded Goethe, but our young fried proved compatible.”[/]


    ”Turns out, they still hit another brick wall.”

    Goethe stood at the bedroom door, his expression inscrutable. It seemed to flicker between disappointment, pleasure and confusion, before settling into something somber. ”Many of the Great Old Ones were locked in some sort of stupor, from which they might never wake. The job of the cosmic egg was to absorb all the horrible emotions felt by its host, and when these emotions had accumulated enough, they would jump start the bastard awake, who would then take possession of the host’s body and start building power.”

    Goethe walked briskly to the table, avoiding all their eyes until he had seated himself. He settled into the chair directly opposite Suzhen, and then lifted his head, so that he was looking directly into her eyes.

    ”Before I continue, I am very grateful for all you’ve done for me. I don’t know if I’ve said it before, Suzhen, but one couldn’t ask for a better friend. And it is because of this very reason that I would die before I let you get harmed on my account.” He gave a bitter laugh. ”And I couldn’t even see that to the end.”

    Arnoba looked like she was going to let Goethe have it, give him a piece of her mind. Here were people worrying about him, and he was allowing himself get caught up in self-pity. She remained silent, however. The most eligible person to talk sense into his head was not her. That particular reservation was not meant for Arnoba, at least not yet.

    WC: 1674
    TPWC: 4866
    TWC: 6740


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Fraag
    Fraag

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    First Magic: Yoza Kengen
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    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Fraag 30th August 2021, 6:33 am

    Arnoba, in her silent, telepathic way, began delving into the past life of the man who was presently sleeping on her bed. Arnoba's assumption that Suzhen had heard of entities known as the Great Old Ones was correct; the Dongxian scholar had come across a number of texts which mentioned them in various levels of detail. Some were just mere acknowledgments of the fact that they existed, or at the very least, the concept of them existed. Others had tried to go into details about their characteristics, behaviors, forms of worship that had been accorded them, and a lot of other miscellaneous matters. But in every work that had information on these creatures beyond a cursory mention, heck, even in a few of the ones that just had a few words on the Great Old Ones, one things was glaringly obvious. The Great Old Ones were malevolent. Even the sources written by fawning members of the Great Old Ones Fanboy Club (Suzhen, with no little bit of amusement, realized that the acronym read GOOF Club), despite their language written from the viewpoint of pathetic servitude, could not entirely hide the fact that the Great Old Ones were almost entirely evil. The GOOF writers had, of course, tried to excuse such things with poorly adapted platitudes suggesting how the human mind cannot perceive such greatness, or that humans were being tested and the weak weeded out. It changed nothing about the fact that the Great Old Ones were bad news.

    Suzhen was more familiar with the 'New Gods ousting Old Gods' tale; as a matter of fact, in general academic circles, that was the more accepted theory. Arnoba's mention of how mortals had strange and crazy ideas with respect to the Great Old Ones was quite known to Suzhen, as she had read a number of books written by GOOFs. So she wasn't surprised that said GOOFs would have been trying to bring their gods back to, more or less, destroy the world. What Suzhen found interesting was that the Ackermanns were GOOFs. Except Goethe, for all intents and purposes. She wondered how he would feel anytime his family history was brought up. No wonder he had seemed so secretive. And Goethe hadn't even been born as a normal child was, with the intention of the child's parents raising them and creating a family unit. No, Goethe's purpose in life was to serve as the vessel of a Great Old One which, true to form, had the lovely habit of running those who could hear its voice mad. A fair reward for loyalty, as far as Suzhen was concerned.

    The idea of a child being born to serve as a vessel for some otherworldly entity was not particularly strange to Suzhen, seeing as she had a somewhat similar case going for her, only thing being that in her case, it didn't seem as if she had been born for the sole purpose of being the vessel of the World Snake. It seemed to have been a matter of luck... very bad luck, in the Dongxian's opinion. The World Snake had decided to pick a soul with whom Fate probably had a grudge, or something like that. It had picked her. She was still quite unsure about the details of how the whole selection process for World Snakery occurred, but it seemed to be so far a random process, unlike that of the Ackermanns. Suzhen wondered how people would be invested in worshipping such beings, whose interest only seemed to be in the depraved destruction of sentient life, and the world in which such life existed. But then, she had learned to understand that most times, human motivations would always be difficult to rationalize, due to the different points of view and individual biases owned by people.

    At the sound of a new voice, Suzhen turned to look at Goethe who stood at the door to the bedroom. She was glad to see that the regeneration of his leg had been more or less seamless, as the young man was able to walk over to the table and seat himself unaided, and without any obvious difficulty. It was times like this that she felt pleased that with all her academic pursuits, she had taken the time to delve deeply into the field of medicine. Goethe looked into Suzhen's eyes and thanked her for everything. She smiled warmly but said nothing, allowing him to continue speaking. It seemed that whatever he had been doing, he had most likely refused to get her involved, because he did not want her to get hurt because of him. But what he was saying seemed pointless to Suzhen. If anything, it was Goethe who had been hurt and on the brink of death. Suzhen had never been harmed by him nor his actions, unless her sleeping from exhaustion at healing him was what he was talking about, and she was quite certain that she had only been fatigued, not injured. So, to cut a long story short, he wasn't making sense, especially when he said he could not even succeed in preventing her from getting hurt on his account.

    Suzhen picked a cake as though she wanted to eat it, before suddenly flinging it at her friend's forehead. The cake had been infused with her Mushinken: Juuryokushou, so it would spill no crumbs nor shatter if it struck. For all intents and purposes, it would ricochet off Goethe's head, acting and feeling like a rubber ball. If it hit its mark, Suzhen would catch the cake when it rebounded. If Goethe managed to dodge it, it would bounce off the near wall, and she would catch it as well. If Goethe decided to catch it, it was his to keep. And the moment it had stopped moving, the magic would have left it, meaning it would just be a normal honey cake, waiting to be eaten. "Will you stop being a ninny, Goethe," she said sternly, although even with her sternness, her voice did not sound too harsh. "What are you talking about not seeing anything through to the end? The only times I've ever been hurt with you around were during the Bello-Pergrandian hostilities, and when I kissed that hedgehog-bearded guy back in Rose Garden. And you had absolutely nothing to do with those events. Oh, and the sea being mean to me back in Cedar. But that was only my pride. So, if you've not finished cleaning up whatever mess you're in, I'm joining you to do it, because I can, and we're not discussing further about that."

    She leaned back, a gentler look on her features now. "So, what specifically haven't you seen to the end, who mangled you the way they did, and where are they now?" the Dongxian asked, her voice now quiet, though there seemed to be some ominous aspect to it. She disliked her friends being injured. Someone cutting off a leg meant the person probably wanted to kill Goethe. If such a person was still alive, Suzhen meant to personally voice her displeasure... with more than just her voice.


    WC: 1190
    PWC: 3064
    TWC: 7930


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Bai Suzhen of Fenghai | Bank
    Golden Lacrima in effect till 11th July 2022
    Digit v2
    Digit v2

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    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 30th August 2021, 9:38 am

    Quite frankly, Goethe had expected an outburst. He had intentionally not apologized for being such a bother and disrupting Suzhen's plans for the evening with his unannounced arrival. It was not because he didn't care about her feelings, or what she wanted to do; on the contrary, the mere fact that she had been inadvertently swept into this whole mess was killing him inside. But he knew that some people softened up after receiving an apology. He would ask for her forgiveness, after she had chewed him up one side and down the other. He deserved that... and he owed her that much, if anything. So, he watched as she picked the little cake. Most likely, she would eat it, processing his words, and then the verbal onslaught would come afterwards. Without breaking eye contact, he waited.

    Goethe had prepared himself for many things, but he wasn't ready for a cake flying at his face. He could have easily tilted his head out of the way, or even caught it deftly, but he made no movements whatsoever. Some more temperamental people could get violent, and while Goethe had factored such into his mental preparations, he had been of the opinion that Suzhen wasn't the type. If this was her choice of rebuke, he would take it. He had thought that she would take the approach of a dramatic diatribe, but there was more than enough time for that, after the cake had exploded on his face in a shower of crumbs...

    ... but that was another unexpected turn of events. The honey cake bounced off his face like a rubber ball, having been thrown with such accuracy that it went right back into Suzhen's palm. His indigo eyes wide, he stared at his older friend, who looked a bit cross. He had to say, though, even while showing her displeasure, there was still a tender aspect to her that softened the blow of her annoyance. It only made him feel worse that she had been dragged into such undesirous circumstances such as his. But there was nothing he could do about it, because, as he had feared, she was determined to help him bear the burden to its end. He knew it was pointless to argue with her on this matter, for even if he tried to keep her away, she wouldn't let him, and being stronger than him, he would not easily get away scot-free with trying the Memory Bomb trick, which he had used on Arnie and Baynard, with Suzhen.

    His premonition seemed to be taking shape in the physical world, in spite of everything he had done to avert it.

    Goethe let out a long sigh. Perhaps he would just resign himself to fate and see how things played out. While he did not want any harm to come to his friends, he could see that he was starting to act selfish and inconsiderate (strangely enough), the more he tried to alienate them from his woes. Maybe they were meant to face it together.

    But the thought of anyone of them dying...

    He gave his Dongxian friend a rueful smile. "I will answer all your questions, and acquiesce to your decision, but first, I will apologize. To everyone. I'm sorry. For trying to push you all away, when all you did was genuinely care about my wellbeing, for being selfish while you guys were there for me, I am sorry. I guess at this point, I have come to my own decision: I will let things flow the way they will, and I will let you help me as much as you can, but understand that the sorrow will be mine to bear eternally, if any of you die on me."

    In reply, Arnoba set a cup of Jade Water Tea in front of Goethe. "Oh, you silly boy! What makes you think you have the right to risk life and limb for others, and then refuse that they should help you? Everyone in this room knows what they're getting themselves into, and even if we don't, we're prepared to face it at your side. You've borne too many burdens all by yourself, in the name of 'atonement'. Maybe it's time to give yourself a fresh start."

    Although it was a telepathic relay, everyone in the room could hear it in their thoughts. Goethe looked at the cup, then at the faces of his friends, his emotions getting the better of him. "You guys..." was all he  could say, his voice shaking, before he stopped himself for fear that he would burst into loud sobs. A tear still managed to escape his watery eyes and run its way down his cheek. While he was grateful, an almost overwhelming sense of sadness clutched at his heart, because he knew.

    While he was asleep, he had dreamed. The premonitions remained the same. One of his friends was still going to die.

    Eventually, Goethe managed to control himself, and took a gulp of the tea. "It's tea, not soda! You're meant to sip and savor, not guzzle it." Goethe smiled at the soft chastisement, as he stared at the cup, only just realizing that the tea was neat, without any sugar or milk added. Still, it had a calming, agreeable taste. "I guess Arnie has filled you in about my past enough for you to make enough accurate deductions about my past. And you may ask me whatever questions on anything that isn't clear, if you please. You deserve that much.

    Now, you wanted to know what I could not see to the end. Well, it was me dying. Twice now, I have been denied my demise, but whether it be for good or ill, I cannot say. Who sliced off my leg, you ask? My aunt, if I remember correctly. Yes, as you know, I hail from such a lovely family. And where are the perpetrators of my hurt? Buried, I'd wager, but I still fear that won't be enough to hold them."
    He took a gentler sip of his drink, then looked at each face in the room.

    "I'll come clean with all of you; I voiced my fears to Bayne earlier today, and I've tried hard to keep it from Arnie up till now, but it's best you all know what the future holds. I don't know if you're aware, Suzhen, but I'm a psychic. And I can see things, omens that hint at the future. They've rarely proven false, for as long as I can recall, and the more repeatedly I get a premonition, the more likely and at hand that event is. I've had various dreams, over the past few weeks, but they've all pointed to the same event. And even while you healed me, it came again. Three times, actually. And it's message is now clear:

    Someone in this room will not see the sunrise of tomorrow."


    He wished there was an easier way to say it, but nothing he could think of would serve to reduce the  blow of the announcement. He then waited quietly, in case Suzhen had aught to ask of him.

    WC: 1192
    TPWC: 6058
    TWC: 9122


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Fraag
    Fraag

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    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Fraag 30th August 2021, 11:01 am

    Having utilized the cake in her hand the way she wanted to, as a nifty flying projectile of rebuke, Suzhen put it in her mouth and the paused briefly, the briefest glint of alarm flashing across her features. Having served as a missile that brought her justice and goodwill to Goethe, was the cake still sanitary? She bit slowly, the more rational part of her mind explaining that the cake would have most likely not been compromised, seeing as the Mushinken: Juuryokushou spell would have coated it, protecting it from gaining dirt as it made its exit from her hand, accomplished its passage through the air to Goethe's face and returned back to her hand. That was probably acceptable. The cake, for its own part, did not taste particularly compromised in any way, so Suzhen tried not to bother her mind about it any longer. There was still the voice that screamed, "that cake was on someone's face!", but it was getting easier to ignore by the second. Besides, there were other matters of greater importance that had Suzhen's attention at the present moment. Goethe's apology was accepted very quickly by the Dongxian, as she nodded and pushed down the questionable cake with a sip of tea. Goethe, for all his desires to do things by himself, seemed rather emotional. This was good. It would be easier to know how he felt without him having to use words. And right now, Suzhen knew he was grateful. That, for her, was enough.

    It seemed Goethe had been trying to kill himself again. He really needed to stop. "I know this seems to be out of left field and all that, but could I give you some relationship advice?" the Dongxian asked, before pausing just a second to sip her tea, after Goethe had finished speaking. She did not want to interrupt him until he was through with what he had to say, as interrupting did have a way of throwing people off balance when they were in the process of relaying difficult news. "Stop trying to get yourself killed. It's not very attractive among potential relationship mates. Unless, of course, your intention is to live a lonely life in seclusion and hiding away from the world." Then there was a pause. A somewhat uncomfortable pause. Because even for herself, Suzhen did not know what to think. She had just spoken in order to try to lighten the ambience, but what Goethe had said was quite unnerving. She herself had some sort of psychic abilities, and while she knew that precognition could be a tacky thing, it seemed a rather unwise thing to ignore the warnings they came with. But the future was not fixed. Or at least, she hoped it wasn't.

    It seemed, if what Goethe had said was anything to go by, that most things in this vision were fixed. The only variable she was sure of was who was going to die, and who was not. And now the understanding of why Goethe had been trying to protect his friends by excluding them from his troubles began to make more sense to Suzhen. The thought of knowing one was going to lose a friend, and the suspicion that this friend that would die would most likely do so because of him. In other words, if he wasn't involved with them, they would probably have a longer life to live. "Goethe, now I understand," she said softly. "And while I am still not going to go back on my decision to see this thing through to the end, I now think I can empathize with your reasons for trying not to have us involved in all these matters. I'm sorry you've had to go through all this, and as your friend, my job is to help you get the best possible outcome, though I must admit I have no idea what it is. The thought of one of us dying is quite disturbing, but if it's decreed, we'll just have to see it through. Though I'd like to know who indeed is responsible for making such decisions of fate. I have a good many complaints of my own to tender."

    Suzhen looked out of the window. Night had descended already on the bright and flashy Hosenka, and even with all the activity, things were slowly beginning to settle, and little by little, aside the 24 hour shops, businesses and people were preparing to close for the night. Turning her attention from the darkness beyond the glass, Suzhen faced her friend once more. "I shall assume that whatever your visions have been, they have not exactly given you any more details aside one of us not surviving the night, yeah? Well, since it's already night, I'd like to figure out, are we going to be attacked? I have a feeling that the death in question isn't just sleeping and not waking up again. And if you mentioned that those who inflicted the injury on you are still alive, then I want to assume they, or something relating to them, would be responsible for what is going to happen. If this is the case, then I would request that we all get ready for battle. I don't think I have any other questions to ask, except this: you did mention the person who cut off your leg, that lovely aunt of yours whom I'm very much dying to meet, but you used a plural afterwards when talking about her, which means she isn't alone. How many foes are we expecting? Could you tell us everything about them? 'To be forewarned' and all those things the wise like to throw at us less experienced ones from time to time...."

    Suzhen paused and let out a sigh. "If you're sure that one of us is going to die, the best thing to do is ensure that we sell ourselves quite dearly when the time comes. But I'm personally convinced that we shouldn't give in to despair. Maybe we can change our fates...." She couldn't help remembering that she usually tended to be unlucky when fate was involved. But the dead could not be toyed with by Fate.


    WC: 1033
    PWC: 4097
    TWC: 10155


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Bai Suzhen of Fenghai | Bank
    Golden Lacrima in effect till 11th July 2022
    Digit v2
    Digit v2

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    Experience : 1,012,320

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Augur Concordia
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 30th August 2021, 1:47 pm

    Everyone in the room took the news very calmly. Well, it wasn't news to Bayne, and Arnoba had learnt about it recently, before this exact moment. The one who was hearing this for the first time was Suzhen, and she managed to take it calmly, even throwing in some lighthearted advice. Goethe kind of lost the rest of what she was saying after "potential relationship mates". Was she suggesting that she "potentially" fit into this category? Or was she just informing him of how much this would be  a turn-off to that special someone, if he ever managed to find her? Come to think of it, Suzhen was the only female he actually knew well enough to call a friend. That said a lot about his social life. Placing a firm mental hand on his thoughts, Goethe tried to forced them back to the present, to the room where they all sat. Suzhen was older than he was. Some people preferred dating older girls, but he didn't know whether his mind had identified it as cool or somehow odd.

    Focus on the now, he urged himself. If they all survived this, he would have the hope of considering "what ifs". But for now, Goethe's foreseeable future ended at the threshold of tonight, and tomorrow morning would determine the next steps he had to take. His mind brought under control, finally, it was best to set about finding out how to make the best use of tonight.

    Goethe was silent when his scholar friend finally understood his actions. Admittedly, he felt a little ashamed of some of the more extreme steps he had taken, but he was glad that she could get behind why he had acted the way he did. She seemed more or less fatalistic by her statement, although she was obviously neither pleased nor completely resigned to the way things had turned out. The last thing she said before falling silent hinted at the fact that things had happened in her life that she had no control or power over, things that she would have wished to change. Of course, he had no idea whether they were a little more trivial than his predicament, or if they bore similar gravitas, or were even more severe. If they lived through this, maybe he would find out eventually, and perhaps be of help and repay her good deeds.

    So many "maybes" hanging on just one night.

    Realizing that he was terribly hungry, Goethe helped himself to some of the cakes, although he did not lose all decorum by wolfing them down vulgarly in a lady's presence. Suzhen eventually brought up the most relevant question to all this, in his opinion: the possibility of attack, and what knowledge he had of his assailants. Washing down his cake with the fragrant tea, he waited for Suzhen to finish framing her questions.

    "Alright, let's start from the top. Concerning my visions, they are terribly annoying, because they don't even tell me just how many friends I'm expected to lose. I just know that someone dies... but it could be more than one person. It could be all three of you in this room..."

    "Then let it be a consolation to you that we'll be dying on our own terms, not theirs. It's high time you stopped worrying about the fates of others and became a little selfish. Worry about yourself a little. You haven't said whether your prophecies mention that you'll be the one to do the dying, so I think you should also see to your own interests. And before you start, if you so much as give me any self-depreciatory vibes, I might just spare whatever or whoever it is that's sending you these visions and kill you myself. You take care of yourself, Goethe, and leave us to worry about ourselves. Having said all that, I feel we've settled all issues concerning visions, unless Suzhen has more to inquire about. You may continue, Goethe."

    On a normal day, Goethe would have comically gone into a tirade about how unfair life was for allowing rabbits to talk down on him, but tonight, he only smiled softly. "None of you should go dying on me, then." He looked from one face to the other as he said these words, indicating that he meant it for everyone in the room: Suzhen, Arnoba and Bayne.

    "Now, concerning being attacked, I'm very positive on that. Obviously, today offered them an opportunity they would be loathe to pass up, and I wouldn't be surprised if they are looking for me as I speak. So, yes, Suzhen: prepare for battle we must."

    Goethe smiled at Suzhen's words. To use "lovely" as an adjective for Luna was an interesting choice, even if the Dongxian was not aware of it. Luna was a beautiful woman, but she had always unnerved Goethe down to his marrows anytime he had set his eyes on her. And today, when she'd shorn off his leg, it had been no different. She had this otherworldly creepiness about her that he couldn't shake. "Ah, yes. On my 'lovely' auntie Luna: There's two of them. Herself, and her husband, Ivan, my daddy's elder brother. So, it's sort of a family thing, as you can see.

    "What much I know about them, I'll give in detail: they're called the Diophage and the Devil Butcher. The 'God Hunters', that's the ambitious name they gave themselves. I  never knew them to really possess magic, up until the day I was successfully made the host of the Great Old One, and annihilated the village with an Oblivion Bomb. It's a nasty spell, just expands into a large ball of negative energy that turns everything to dust within its space. Everything, but the very powerful... meh, I digress.

    "The man, Ivan, the Devil Butcher, has a knife. It's a cosmic tool called the Black Tooth, and while I am not yet sure of the extent of its abilities, it seems to be able to make cuts in the fabric of reality. Now that I think about it, perhaps the Diophage crawled out through one of the gashes he had made in the air, while we were locked in combat. Creepy. He can also summon eldritch creatures through these rifts in space, or maybe they open to another dimension populated with those uglies. Whichever the case, he's one of those types that doesn't fight straight.

    As for the Diophage, she's got a cloak of blackness that surrounds her. I want to assume that it had both defensive and offensive properties, because the stuff punched a hole in my leg like my leg was tissue paper. And either she, or uncle Ivan, has some sort of teleporting ability, because what we heard was that she was on her way to the Monster lands, next thing, she was cutting me into steak. That's all I know about them. Oh, they somehow managed to evade detection from my scrying abilities. It seemed like an innate ability, because when I bumped into Ivan, he was just as surprised to see me as I was to see him."


    Goethe suddenly frowned, then jerked his head upright, like a bloodhound that had caught the scent of its bleeding quarry in the air. "They're on to us. Somehow, they can sense me. No, wait. I can sense only the Diophage. It's like opening a window. By looking outside, you run the risk of being seen from without. But that means that she'll find me soon enough. She's scrying, and I know a thing or two about scrying, so I can avoid her detection, but for a while.

    "Suzhen, make whatever preparations you need to. I can promise you about five minutes, after which I suggest we teleport to a different location, one devoid of people and property, where we can do battle without fear of endangering innocent lives. Besides, it's always nice to have a home to return to. I wouldn't want anyone to destroy your house."


    So saying, he rose to his feet. "Bayne, I need a change of clothes. Arnie, keep auntie Luna off my trail for as long as you can. Suzhen, when you're ready, I'd like you to select our choice of battle, preferably a place with less buildings and zero people that you know, close to this place."

    The Diophage was trying to find him. He didn't know how she was doing it, but now that he could sense her in turn, he could at least be warned of any surprise attacks from her end. It was the Devil Butcher he was a bit more worried about. He hoped that the eerie man was not already lurking close by.

    WC: 1455
    TPWC: 7513
    TWC: 11610


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : The World Serpent
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    Posts : 619
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,742,725

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Yoza Kengen
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Fraag 2nd September 2021, 10:21 am

    As Suzhen expected the precision of Goethe’s visions was particularly sketchy, although they would have probably come true enough times for him to be wary of disregarding the premonitions. It was good to see that, just like herself, Goethe’s friends had no intentions of backing out and running away, just because the threat of death was looming somewhere in the distance. Bayne advised Goethe to be a bit ‘selfish’ himself; Suzhen did not consider this to be selfishness, though she was sure the rabbit creature was being metaphorical. No matter how altruistic someone wanted to be, it made no sense to always totally sacrifice one’s self for the ‘good’ of whoever existed around you. Because nobody was infinite; even the World Snake, which boasted of infinite powers, did seem to have its own limitations, else Suzhen was quite sure she would not have been free willed enough to bake honey cakes, savor the smell and taste of Jade Water Tea, and discuss Great Old Ones with friends. If, according to what she had read and observed, the World Snake loved things done with reckless abandon, especially murder and destruction, if it had been as powerful as the stories and the cults made it seem, it should by now have had taken over her mind, and she would probably have been somewhere desolating the countryside, if she had not been put down for her wanton acts of destruction.

    She had been right about her assumption of the event of an impending attack, now all that was left to do was figure out just how much time was left to prepare. Suzhen wondered if she would have been able to take the strain of having family members try to kill her from time to time. It was quite sad to see that family was never always what it was meant to be. Which was probably why family bonds were not always maintained. In the end, for Suzhen, family meant people she could trust with her secrets, people who she knew would be ready to take a bullet for her, and likewise, she was always ready to do the same for such. In fact, she was more likely to prevent those whom she valued from taking bullets for her. She would do the bullet taking. Perhaps it was the excessive vitality conferred on her by the World Snake that made Suzhen so willing to throw herself in the line of danger for her friends. In her opinion, it was best to use what one had to one’s advantage. Suzhen’s was tanking things in the face better than most others, and so she would not hesitate to do that again today, especially where a friend was involved.

    Goethe’s aunt and uncle seemed quite powerful, although Suzhen was not sure who the bigger threat was. It seemed to be the Diophage, in her opinion. If one could prevent the Devil Butcher from using his knife, perhaps by disarming the knife or disabling his hands somehow (Suzhen was not sure that destroying such a weapon was rather feasible for a combat strategy), he might not be so much of an issue. However, the moment he was allowed to start carving the fabric of reality into ribbons, whatever battle was being fought would probably begin to go downhill pretty fast. And daggers were more offensive than defensive weapons. If the man had a staff weapon, Suzhen could have seen how he could fight both offensively and defensively. Having a dagger meant that he was supposed to be on the offensive, which suggested the tactic of putting him on the defensive as a rather viable option. The Diophage’s shadow cloak, however, seemed too versatile to allow for the effectiveness of such a simple, yet efficacious battle strategy. The cloak could be used for offense and defense, and that meant the Diophage would be a much more versatile opponent. Suzhen was already seeing who she wanted to fight. This was one of the things she hated about the World Serpent and its influence. Her desire for combat. Already, she was getting excited, although her face remained stoic. Suzhen chided herself inwardly. Such behavior was almost immoral; it was shameful of her. And yet, she almost couldn’t wait to get into battle against someone like the Diophage.

    It seemed Arnoba could hold off the scrying attempts of Goethe’s wacky family, preventing them from laying a fix on his location. That was good; it meant everyone could prepare for the battle to come. Goethe asked Suzhen to select a place where they could all fight to their hearts content, away from where people could get caught up in the fighting. Suzhen nodded with a smile, hoping the expression wasn’t revealing too much of her excitement. ”Fortunately for everyone, I know just the place,” the Dongxian scholar replied. ”You all know that Hosenka is famous for its hot springs, yes? Well, that means there’s some mild volcanic activity in the region. To the west of the town, there is some patch of waste land created by lava flows. The volcanic activity had been apparently quite aggressive in the past, but everything seems to have settled down enough to make Hosenka thrive on what it had once been. But the area I mentioned is quite poor for urban expansion, though a few adventurous folk may hike around there from time to time. Still, I doubt anyone will be hiking at night, and as such we should be able to fight without fear that any innoecents will be caught in our crossfire. That being said, please give me a few minutes. If a battle is imminent, it would not do at all not to be dressed for the occasion.”

    So saying, the Dongxian scholar rose to her feet and entered her bedroom, shutting the door behind her. The room was still a mess, but there would be time to rearrange it once she got back from the coming battle… provided she got back. Still, she wasn’t afraid. Suzhen dressed up for battle, and chose three arms with which she would proceed to face her opponents when they appeared. Xiaoqing was coiled and held in her belt, the Kraken’s Lament was slung across her back, and in her hand she held the monk’s spade, Fahai. Having bedecked herself thus, the Dongxian came out of her room into the living area of her apartment and nodded. ”I am ready for this.”


    WC: 1075
    PWC: 5172
    TWC: 12685


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Bai Suzhen of Fenghai | Bank
    Golden Lacrima in effect till 11th July 2022
    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Buccaneer’s Bounty
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    Mentor : None
    Experience : 1,012,320

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Augur Concordia
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 2nd September 2021, 4:38 pm

    Goethe smiled in return when Suzhen mentioned the desolate wasteland close to Hosenka. Oh wait! They were in Hosenka? The hot springs town? That was some serious traveling Baynard had pulled off, because they were on the other side of the Fat Monsterlands, almost at the very other end of Fiore when compared to the location of the Haunted Village. Goethe was sure that the God Hunters would have no issues traversing space and time like he had done, but he trusted in Arnoba's ability to keep them cloaked from spying eyes until everyone was ready to do battle.

    Suzhen excused herself, heading into her bedroom to prepare. That was very favorable for Goethe; he did not feel too comfortable changing in front of a woman. Not that he really had anything to be shy about, he often told himself, his body was athletic enough. Still, he was a bit self conscious. Baynard always poked fun at him, calling him scrawny every now and then, and saying that he needed  to put on more muscle mass if he wanted to be the kind of hunk that could sweep girls off their feet. He had originally armed himself with ripostes, but to his horror, Arnoba had taken Bayne's side, insisting that his wiry frame was due to his not eating enough. Well, that had silenced him. Baynard's win.

    In a flash, Baynard handed him a parcel. The advantage of having your own storage space was that at any point in time, as long as magic was not prohibited, one could reach in and bring forth whatever one needed... provided it had been stored in the Space, of course. Bayne had all sorts of things stashed away, and being the kind of person who gave much thought to his outward appearance, he had always insisted that Baynard carried an extra stash of clothes on his behalf. After all, the looks heavily influenced the "cool" factor.

    By the time Suzhen emerged, Goethe was ready himself, though he didn't really look like he was about to head into battle. Instead of armor, he wore a fresh set of clothes: a black jacket, white shirt, khaki pants and combat boots. he had rubbed off as much grime as he could with his old, ragged clothes, and Bayne had stashed them away, so as not to litter Suzhen's neat and tidy living room. He noticed her clothes, and the weapons she had armed herself with. Like himself, she did not opt for armor. Perhaps she believed that the body, when well trained, was good enough a weapon or armor as anyone else out there. Anyway, he felt that she had managed to pull off a stunning look that her weapons and shield lent a suave fierceness to, but before he could speak, his lagomorphic friend beat him to it.

    "You should learn a thing or two from Bai Suzhen," Baynard said, in a didactic tone. "Elegance and battle-readiness were never better mixed. You, young man, look like you're prepping for an evening stroll."

    Goethe chuckled as he pushed himself off the wall he leaned against. "Yeah, well... You know how I roll. I am my buckler, and my arsenal is me." He gave Suzhen a slight smile. "Looking good, Suzhen. Yeah, I was beaten to it by that little punk, but I may as well still say it."

    He then looked to Arnoba and Baynard. "While a part of me feels irresponsible for saying this, I am itching for some payback. Let's win this night, so we can have a tomorrow to celebrate in." Arnoba nodded, while Baynard punched the palm of his other hand.

    "Westward, Baynard. Warp us."

    The four of them vanished. The first time they appeared, they were still in Hosenka. Baynard had underestimated the town's size since this was his first time of coming here. However, looking around was enough for him to calculate the required distance correctly, and they vanished again. This time, they appeared in the midst of a lava field. Fortunately, like Suzhen had said, the volcano responsible for this mess had let up, so they were not standing among gaping fissures in the ground that were reminiscent of a hell scape. Goethe looked around. The plain was quite vast. Doing battle here would not hurt any bystanders. Besides his Eyes of the Claviger had informed him that there was no living soul here, besides them... though that was soon to change. He nodded.

    "This will do quite nicely."

    Arnoba glanced at Goethe. "They've sensed us."

    "No better time than this, yes?" He took a battle stance. "Brace yourselves, people. They're coming."

    Nothing happened for the first second. All of a sudden, a pinprick of light sent a weak beam that was eaten up by the darkness. The dull light became a bit brighter, and anyone with sharp eyes or other senses not dulled by the darkness would notice that a pointed golden object had pushed through. It drew a jagged line across empty space, which collapsed and opened into a yawning maw of abyssal blackness. And through that aberration in space, they stepped forth.

    The Diophage and the Devil Butcher.

    Both of them smiled as one, on seeing Goethe, but were obviously surprised to see Suzhen. They stared at her curiously for a moment, then the Diophage grinned. It was never different to Goethe when that woman smiled. It was always unnerving.

    "My, my! Husband, it looks like our dear Goethe has made new friends. And she has such a delicious body too."

    Ivan spread out his arms. "Yes. This couldn't have gone more beautifully. We have another person to add to his despair. Thank you for presenting yourself to us, young lady. Oh, what a lovely..."

    "Initial Limiter Break: Drive I!" The magic pressure intensified around Goethe as his muscles thickened noticeably. "I don't have time to listen to this nonsense. Arnie, Baynard, you guys are giving Suzhen and myself cover fire. I don't know how Suzhen likes her battles, but feel free to interrupt in mine as you see fit. This is not an honorable, one-on-one battle, or whatever name you would want to call it. It's a beat-the-hell-out-of-you fest, because I've got a life to return to."

    He wanted to charge, but he felt there was something important for him to do. He had lived his life trying to protect his friends and not trusting in their power to help him. Perhaps, this time, even though he didn't feel it was safe, he would let his friends handle their fights as they saw fit. He had worked with Arnie and Bayne. They had a good team combination. And Suzhen? He didn't know the half of her capabilities, but from what he had seen about her during that battle on Bellum's borders, he knew she was insanely more durable than she looked. Probably hardier than him, even. She would dictate this pace.

    "Who do you want to have a go at? I have a vendetta with both of them, so bashing anyone's face in will give me pleasure enough."

    Luna and Ivan still smiled at them, very assured of their abilities that they were waiting for the younger mages to strike first. "I hope the delicious looking girl is not like Goethe. The grumpy brat doesn't know how to scream when you gut him. Are you a screamer, dear?" she asked Suzhen, an expectant look in her black, unsettling eyes.

    Goethe was one of the good guys. He always wanted to be a hero. But he had never wanted more to kill a person in his life, than this moment.

    WC: 1274
    TPWC: 8787
    TWC: 13959


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : The World Serpent
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    Posts : 619
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    First Magic: Yoza Kengen
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Fraag 7th September 2021, 9:41 am

    To be honest, Suzhen was a little bit confused as to Goethe’s choice of dressing for battle, seeing as he looked, as Bayne had aptly put it, although with a good amount of genial acridity, like someone about to proceed on an evening stroll. But this was only because he did not look like he was going to battle. Suzhen soon realized her error and corrected herself. The only reason Goethe’s look had puzzled her was because he was not, like she was, lugging an arsenal into the fray. While that was a normal thing to do, the fact that Goethe seemed to have access to some otherworldly storage space simply meant that he did not need to be walking about with his weapons in tow, a feat Suzhen could not say for herself. And to look at things critically, if one were to subtract the chain weapon in her belt, the large shield on her back, and the monk’s spade in her hand, from her present attire, one would have been hard pressed to say she was going out with fighting in mind, perhaps something more like an evening social event or some such similar human engagement. And while her elegant dress provided total ease of movement in any direction, the fact was that well-made clothes, no matter how elegant or simple, no matter how formal or casual, were meant to allow their wearer no restrictions as far as movement, a very fundamental part of combat, was concerned. So, Goethe’s outfit, while not expected, was practical enough: comfortable and easy to move in.

    The Dongxian scholar grinned at the compliments she received from Goethe and Bayne. ”Thank you both,” she replied, feeling her cheeks color a little, hopefully not enough to be noticed. She had been raised to dress as impressively as possible for whatever occasion she was supposed to be attending, even if the occasion involved the risk of getting killed. Of course, her experiences in life had given her dress sense its own unique flair, which involved showing some skin, to the disappointment of prudes everywhere. That was their most unfortunate problem. Suzhen had long since stopped trying to explain herself to those who challenged her about why she dressed the way she did, and had learned to shrug off insults, discrete and unveiled. Of course, she had also received praise for her fashion style, and that was always much more acceptable to her than the disparagements. ”I love a good party after some hard work,” the scholar replied to Goethe’s statement about winning the night. Although there were worries, she was glad that Goethe wasn’t sounding despondent as he and his friends rallied to face the future.

    They teleported, courtesy of Bayne. Suzhen squinted at the change of lights. Something didn’t seem right; where they were should have been rather dark, due to the lack of human lighting. There also seemed to be more noise than was to be expected on a lava flat. As Suzhen looked round, she realized why. They were still in Hosenka. A few faces turned to them in surprise and confusion, and Suzhen waved with a smile at someone whom she thought looked attractive. And then they were gone again, this time reappearing in a large empty desolation. Suzhen’s eyes quickly adjusted to the gloom; the place was rather dark, lit by nothing but the light of the full moon high in the sky, whose light was actually decent enough to ply the trade of battle therewith. However, Suzhen did not require light to fight by. She hoped her opponent, or opponents, would not be as fortunate as she was. But all that was left to do was wait. Time would reveal who or what she would be fighting today. The whole ground was generally level, but there were some large chunks of igneous rock lying about here and there, a testament to the days long ago when the volcanic activity of this place made it practically impossible to dwell in. Suzhen picked out a rock lying almost as high as her waist, and seated herself on it, watching her friend and fellow mage as he called a warning for the group to prepare for battle.

    A second passed. Then a light seemed to spring from the darkness, but there was something ominous, something cheerless about that light. According to Suzhen’s paranormal sense, it seemed that something hard and sharp was materializing in the air; Suzhen soon realized that it was not as much an object materializing as it was an object pushing through from another dimension into the one which Earthland claimed space. Soon, this interdimensional interloper began to cut downwards, creating a jagged tear in space time, and two figures stepped through it, a man and a woman. Of course, Suzhen already knew who they were, having been told of their identities. It appeared they had expected Goethe to be alone, but Suzhen’s presence did not seem to worry them in the least. The woman, the Diophage, Luna, was grinning at her. She was quite pretty, but Goethe was right; there was something that made Suzhen feel rather perturbed about that smile. Still she managed to maintain a straight face, even as she remained seated on her rock. Goethe did not seem interested in talking, and had already activated his magic. Suzhen shared his sentiment, which made her mildly pissed off by the fact that the fact that the Devil Butcher and his wife seemed to be in a loquacious mood today. She kept her head straight, facing the two foes, although her eyes moved to the right to look at the ready Goethe. Then her eyes returned to face forward, settling on the Diophage’s dark unsettling ones as Luna wondered if she was good at screaming. ”Well, I squeal a lot when my favorite team scores a point; would that be fine with you?” the scholar retorted, rising and gripping Fahai, her monk’s spade, in both hands. ”Bayne, Arnie, please feel free to interrupt my fight to your hearts’ content,” Suzhen communicated telepathically to all her allies, using her own telepathic ability. She felt proud that she could utilize such a power as useful as Arnoba’s own. ”I’m hopeful that the Diophage and her dear husband shouldn’t be able to eavesdrop on our mental chatter. This is where I shall keep you all updated on my battle plans. Working in sync may be one of the greatest advantages we’ll have in this fight.”

    Slowly, she began twirling her monk’s spade as she began walking forward, her eyes on the Diophage. But then suddenly she was gone, appearing right beside the Diophage, having used her Shinken: Shinryuu Bougai to suddenly close the distance between herself and her opponent. Without pausing or changing momentum, Suzhen translated the latest twirl of her pole weapon into a horizontal swing, with the wide flat blade aimed at the Diophage’s neck.


    WC:1157
    PWC: 6329
    TWC: 15116


    _____________________________________________________________________________________


    Bai Suzhen of Fenghai | Bank
    Golden Lacrima in effect till 11th July 2022
    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Buccaneer’s Bounty
    Position : None
    Posts : 296
    Guild : None
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 1,012,320

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Augur Concordia
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 8th September 2021, 11:44 pm

    His Dongxian friend had an interesting sense of humor, Goethe thought, as she replied Luna’s taunting question. Still, as Suzhen spoke to the three of her allies telepathically, Goethe frowned slightly. For all intents and purposes, it would appear that he was visibly offended at the Diophage using a casual tone to consider torturing Suzhen. Naturally, his aunt’s words were displeasing to him; everything about her was, at this point in time, but his brows had creased for a completely different reason. He didn’t know that Suzhen could use telepathy, and if she had ever used it in his presence during a battle or some other event, he had assumed it was Arnoba doing it. He was not displeased, though. Quite on the contrary, it was very helpful, as using a psychic channel to communicate would keep the enemy in the dark concerning their plans.

    ”A very splendid idea, Lady Bai Suzhen,” Arnoba agreed, her crimson eyes focused on the enemy. ”Baynard and I shall hold back and monitor the fight, and will step in when our aid is necessary, or you require it. While Goethe has an ability that lets him enjoy an improved perception of his surroundings, I believe that battle might be a little distracting. Hence, I shall also keep an eye on the entire field of combat, and notify you of any changes. Good luck to us all.”

    At that point, Suzhen made her move, and Goethe waited for a few moments before making his. Hers was a teleport that took everyone by surprise, because it seemed that she was going to walk, or run towards the Diophage and then strike with the monk’s spade. In the next instant, she was beside the Diophage, her weapon aiming at her neck for an elegant but brutally effective decapitation. Luna had not even turned fast enough to see the incoming strike, and it looked like the battle would be decided at that moment. However, the living shadow that acted as the Diophage’s overcoat suddenly flexed outwards, intercepting the trajectory of the spade like blade and stopping it successfully. Luna turned and looked at Suzhen, the surprised expression still maintained on her face.

    ”My, aren’t you the sneaky one!” she asked, her smile creeping back, as the shadows began wrapping around the blade of the monk’s spade, and seeking to travel up the shaft. And Ivan, who watched the battle between the two women unfold with interest, opened his mouth to speak, but instead made a strangled sound of surprise. Goethe had crossed the distance between them while he was distracted, and like Suzhen, he was not interested in allowing this battle stretch out. Using his Astral Arsenal, Goethe had formed two identical long daggers, and one he thrust straight into the Devil Butcher’s neck. As the man stared at him in shock, he spun round to the man’s back, drawing the blade along with him, while he plunged the second into Ivan’s back. Blood spurted out from his chest, and in one final move, Goethe withdrew the blade in Ivan’s chest and completed the slicing off of his head with the other.

    ”One down...” Goethe said in a low voice, as he turned to look at the Diophage. He took a slightly crouching stance, ready to charge at the Diophage in the next moment. But he wanted to be careful with this. It was very possible that she could attempt to redirect an attack of his at Suzhen, or try to steer him into any counterattack Suzhen was planning against her writhing shadows. And it was that wariness that saved him. Just as Goethe lurched forward, Arnobia’s voice came in urgently:

    ”Goethe! Look out!”

    As he turned his head, he noticed the Devil Buther’s decapitated body move, an arm reaching out to hold Goethe’s ankle, while the other grasped for the Black Tooth. Already prepared for something unexpected, the movement of pitching forward, caused by the snagging of his leg, was transformed into a graceful roll, as Goethe whipped both daggers through the offending hand’s wrist, and maneuvered out of the range of the Black Tooth. He would not bother to try guarding against the Black Tooth, because he fortunately remembered how it had bypassed his defenses the last time he endeavored to block it. Avoidance would be the best option, until he figured out exactly how it worked. Twisting his body and ending up in a crouch, facing the Devil Butcher’s mangled corpse, he observed that he had cut the hand clean off the rest of the arm. Still, the body moved, seemingly oblivious to the pain. It rose to its feet, skewered the dismembered hand with the Black Tooth, and stabbed the black dagger into the stump of the limb. The hand seemed to melt in some places, as it grafted itself back with his body, and moments later, the headless body pulled the dagger out of a fully restored hand. Then the body reached down and picked the head, which opened its eyes a moment later.

    ”I forget that you are such a rude, unmannered brat, Goethe Ackermann,” Ivan’s head said.

    ”Yeah well, seeing as your head is talking to me, instead of staying dead, consider me slighted in turn,” he quipped back, already over the surprise of being talked to by a cut off head.

    He still could not sense the Devil Butcher, despite his Eyes of the Claviger activated, so Arnoba must have noticed him with her physical eyes to be able to sound the warning. Their powers were pretty much attuned to the same frequencies, so Goethe was quite certain that her own extrasensory perception would not be able to pick Ivan’s presence. Still, with her monitoring the battlefield, he was not at a disadvantage. She could make use of ocular vision to perceive what was invisible to his psychic sense.

    ”Alright, people. Things just got very abnormal. Anyone know anything about killing things that refuse to stay dead?”

    Without warning, Luna’s tendrils of shadow lashed out at Goethe, from the side facing away from Suzhen, jagged blades forming along the edges of the wispy coils. Suzhen would feel that whatever pressure the shadows had been exerting on her weapon had been drastically reduced, like Luna had loosened her grip somewhat. It appeared that the woman, in her rage at Goethe cutting up her husband, completely ignored Suzhen, as she tried to flay the flesh from Goethe’s bones.

    ”You little rat!” she screamed.

    The tendrils struck without pity, and blood was sprayed high into the air, by virtue of the vicious onslaught. However, to the obvious surprise of Luna, she found her attacks shearing into Ivan’s still headless body. That was strange; Goethe was supposed to be standing there... It was then she noticed that Goethe stood further away, at the exact point Ivan had been when she had attacked the white haired boy. The Devil Butcher, on the other hand, was right where Goethe had been retorting to the beheaded man’s rebuke. Goethe gave her a disgusted look.

    ”Uncle Freak Factor is still... alive, and well, obviously, so could you please stop overdoing it?”

    ”Perfectly played, wouldn’t you say?” Baynard asked in the psychic channel.

    ”Without a doubt, Bayne. Good one.”

    ”If the Devil Butcher seems immortal, there has got to be another way to take him out.  It would be best to assume that the Diophage possesses similar properties. I would have suggested exile into another dimension, but the Black Tooth might negate that as a feasible option.”

    ”Fine, then. I guess my next objective is to divest Uncle Ivan of his toothpick. Suzhen, have you got any shield breaking abilities? They might work against the Diophage. I’m hoping she finds it easier to die than her husband. And another thing: can you sense these guys without having to see them?”

    WC: 1312
    TPWC: 10099
    TWC: 16428


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    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : The World Serpent
    Position : None
    Posts : 619
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,742,725

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Yoza Kengen
    Second Magic:
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    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Fraag 14th September 2021, 5:55 am

    Arnoba approved of Suzhen’s suggestion for Goethe’s two companions to stand by and watch the battle proceedings, while herself and Goethe did their fighting, and then interfere as their judgment best demanded. No matter how good a person’s reflexes were, there was only so much they could focus on at a single time. So even if Suzhen or Goethe were distracted by their battles, Arnoba could serve as a lookout, thus eliminating, or at least to a large extent, mitigating the effect of the possibility of an enemy’s sneak attack. Seeing as these opponents had come ready for blood, such sneak attacks would be very crucial to the outcome of this battle. And, to be honest, Team Goethe was at a slight disadvantage. As far as Suzhen knew, both she and Goethe, despite being incredibly tough, were still fundamentally human; a forceful rupture of a fundamental organ like the brain, or severe trauma to many biological systems at once, could mean the end of this fight for the two mages. For the Diophage and Devil Butcher, Suzhen could not be incredibly sure. She knew that Goethe had been fighting them earlier today, and she knew he had used a spell called the Oblivion Bomb; it sounded strong, but here these two were, and apparently none the worse for wear. But in most things that professed to have life, the removal of the head was a surefire way to conclude hostilities, which was why Suzhen had made her teleport attack. It hadn’t worked.

    Despite the apparent vanity of her attack, Suzhen had learned something. One advantage she had was her ability to take note of things in the heat of battle, understand them, and come to reasonable assumptions that could turn the tide of battle. And this was her first, and definitely noteworthy observation: the Diophage’s cloak of shadows was apparently autonomous, in the sense that while Luna could manipulate it as she willed, it could defend her even without her exertion of will. As such, it had an agency of its own. Dealing with such a thing as this promised to be difficult, but Suzhen was sure she would think of something to turn this apparent disadvantage around and capitalize on the unexpected opportunity provided. She tried pulling her shafted weapon away from the shadows which began wrapping around it, but it was like her monk’s spade was stuck in a stone wall. The shadows seemed quite strong and durable. ”You say it like it’s a bad thing,” the Dongxian scholar shot back, trying to hide her alarm at the shadows snaking up the shaft towards her hands. She was quite unwilling to leave the monk’s spade stuck in the grasp of her foe, but she would eventually have to do it, if she could not find a way to dislodge the shadows gripping the weapon. Her mind presented her with a number of opportunities, and Suzhen quickly decided on the one she would use. But before she made her attack, Goethe wisely took the opportunity provided by her attempt at a surprise attack to make one of his own. As matters stood, his seemed much more effective than Suzhen’s…

    …or not. Even though, unlike the Diophage, Goethe’s blows scored their hits, separating the Devil Butcher’s head from his shoulders, the man was anything but dead, his severed head even still speaking even after his body had tried an unsuccessful surprise attack on Goethe, which was quite an unsettling sight to behold. While it did not seem the Devil Butcher was really harmed by Goethe’s attacks, his wife seemed to be rather offended by Goethe having dealt his damage, and she even took her attention off Suzhen to attack Goethe, only to have her shadows shred her husband’s body again, with Goethe having vanished from his original position with Ivan’s body replacing him. Annoyingly, the shredding of the sharp shadows did not seem to have any particular effect on the Devil Butcher, but the advantage was that Luna had shifted focus from Suzhen, and Suzhen had learned another thing: the shadows were very powerful against a single target, but if used to perform several activities at once, they were obviously weaker than when used together. With one hand, Suzhen pulled her staff weapon free, turning on one foot so that as her right hand pulled backwards, gripping the weapon Fahai, the left side of her body was moving towards the Diophage. Suzhen thrust her left hand outwards, her open palm impacting the shadows which swirled around Luna’s body. The shadows felt cold, almost like water, but they were not wet, which was a weird sensation. For now, though, the sensation did not matter.

    ”Ryudo: Manjushage!”

    There was a bright red explosion, which flung the Diophage away from Suzhen like a rag doll, although her shadows mobilized and formed huge wings which stopped her fall, before allowing her to land gently on the ground, beside the Devil Butcher. Her expression was one of crazed rage, which was all the more unsettling, giving that for the Diophage, her smiles were already freaky enough. Without turning to look at Goethe, so that she wouldn’t give away the fact that she was interacting with her allies, Suzhen responded telepathically. ”I think the Diophage would be less immortal than the Devil Butcher, as far as responses to physical injuries are concerned,” she answered Arnoba mentally. ”It’s just conjecture, but it’s reasonable to think so, because unlike her husband, Luna seems averse to taking damage, which means that if I can breach her defenses, I might be able to deal some considerable damage. And to both your questions, Goethe, yes, I have something to get past shields, and I can sense these two without seeing them. I’m thinking, from time to time, that we could do zigzag attacks at each other’s opponents when we can afford to. At least I can, and I’m just letting you know that that’s a new plan I intend to carry out. I also have something nasty I want to try on the Diophage. I’m sure she’ll like it.”

    The Diophage was standing there, but Suzhen felt the woman’s shadows punch into the earth behind her, and begin traveling through the earth almost as easily as they would have done through water. The Diophage was planning to surprise her. But just as the shadows burst up from beneath the earth, Suzhen moved, narrowly avoiding the attack. She charged at the Diophage, avoiding shadows as they came, and threw a palm attack aimed at the Diophage’s chest, but the shadows constricted at the last moment, deflecting the blow. ”Huh. That blow was a lot weaker than I expected,” Luna said with her predatory smile returning to her face. Almost at the same time, the shadows behind Suzhen disappeared, and materialized once again all around her, all stabbing towards her. Suzhen managed to dodge as well as she could, but a shadow impaled her right shoulder, holding her fast. The Dongxian bit back a cry, but wasted no further time, throwing Fahai into her left hand, which twirled the spade, releasing a crescent wave, the Mountain Splitter, at the Diophage, tearing through the shadows and exiting behind her. Suzhen had positioned herself such that the attack, having passed the Diophage, would be on a collision course for the Devil Butcher, and even though its attack power had been halved, it could still deal some reasonable damage.

    As for the Diophage, Suzhen could not tell where Luna had been injured. She could see some blood on the ground (not hers because it was black), and Luna’s face looked even paler in the moonlight, although the grin on the Diophage’s face was totally manic now. ”Naughty girl,” she said, almost laughing, either uncaring or unaware of the trajectory of Suzhen’s Mountain Splitter. ”You almost screamed, I know you did. Why did you stop? Oh, I’m going to have to be more severe with you, now.”

    Suzhen said nothing. There had been a reason her palm attack against the Diophage had not seemed as strong as expected, but Luna did not know. And that would probably be what would secure Suzhen’s victory.


    WC: 1366
    PWC: 7695
    TWC: 17794


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    Bai Suzhen of Fenghai | Bank
    Golden Lacrima in effect till 11th July 2022
    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Buccaneer’s Bounty
    Position : None
    Posts : 296
    Guild : None
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 1,012,320

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Augur Concordia
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    The Graveyard of the Gods [Part  I: Demons in the Dark] Empty Re: The Graveyard of the Gods [Part I: Demons in the Dark]

    Post by Digit v2 14th September 2021, 1:27 pm

    Like the headless horseman in Savantí mythology, the headless body of Ivan Ackermann stood, head in one hand, the Black Tooth in the other. Goethe felt kind of miffed how the body seemed oblivious to pain, because the injuries that the Diophage had hoped to inflict on him would have been fatal, normally, or life threatening, at best. But there he stood, his head looking from Goethe to Suzhen, then back to Goethe, with a hint of confusion on his face. Obviously, he was more concerned about how Goethe had managed to swap places with him at the last moment, than he was with his injuries. Why, a portion of his chest had been torn out, and a visible palpitating organ pulsated in the pale light of the moon.

    Goethe frowned very slightly.

    After all that, he still had a beating heart?

    Well, perhaps if he stopped the heart, that would end the Devil Butcher. He would work towards that, and try disarming him of that strange weapon, as well.

    He saw Suzhen use a brilliant technique to drive the Diophage away from her; it looked like fire, but Goethe couldn't tell whether it emitted a heat signature. Still, it was powerful to send Luna flying, although the eerie woman mitigated any extra damage by creating a pair of wings, which she used to right herself in the air. As the Diophage landed beside her husband, Goethe listened to Suzhen's answers to his questions, and her suggestions on battle strategy. He liked the idea of "zigzag" attacks, as they would be less predictable. Besides, Suzhen could sense the both of them; he would keep uncle Ivan in his sights until he had to launch a strike against Luna... but then, Ivan's hands would be filled with whatever Suzhen would be chucking at him at that very moment.

    "It sits well with me, Suzhen. Alright, let's 'zig' these guys into next week!"

    Like Suzhen, Goethe could feel the Diophage's shadows crawling through the earth. He still was yet to figure out why he could sense her, but couldn't even get a bead on the Devil Butcher with his psychic senses. Now that he thought of it, the feeling of being aware of the Devil Butcher was psychic, yes, but it seemed a little more... visceral than his Eyes of the Claviger. The concept began to disturb him, because he realized that it was very similar to the way he could sense Arnoba. Like a part of himself.

    Although the Diophage was targeting Suzhen, a few of the shadow tendrils came his way, but he was already moving, away from them and towards the Butcher. "Horrid brat is after me again," the dismembered head muttered, as the body twirled the Black Tooth and stepped forward. The runes of the Astral Arsenal swirled round his arms, and crafted themselves into a sleek Midijin sword, the blade slightly curved to enhance cutting power. As he approached the Devil Butcher, the headless figure plunged the dagger into the black earth beneath, then lashed upwards, drawing a line of rippling energy through the air that crackled towards Goethe. Without missing a beat, Goethe skipped aside, avoiding the attack, and pressing his attack, though he was sure that something was likely to attack his rear from the strangely distorted space that he had avoided. Still, he had promised himself that he would rely on his friends more, and so he put his faith in Arnie and Bayne. If something was going to jump out at his blind spot, he trusted that they would deal with it.

    Coming into melee range, Goethe raised his blade to perform an overhead strike, and noticed that the Black Tooth was lengthening as it rose up to intercept the attack. "That thing can change its shape, too?" he wondered, as he proceeded with the two handed slash. If he was surprised that the Black Tooth was now about as long as an arming sword, he was even more taken aback when he heard the report of metal clashing against metal, and the black weapon blocked his own.

    "What? You think I can't manipulate the form and tangibility of the Black Tooth?" Ivan sneered, as his body began slashing at Goethe to beat him back. "Not really," Goethe grunted, as he focused on dodging, instead of blocking the attacks. "I'm just surprised that your body doesn't need a brain to function. That says a lot..."

    The Black Tooth thrust forward, and Goethe shifted his head to one side to evade it. In the light of the moon, he vaguely saw the wrist of the Butcher twist slightly, and Goethe knew that the cutting edge of the Black Tooth was pointing at his neck. Then the Butcher pivoted on his foot, drawing the blade of his otherworldly weapon in a wide arc, as the blade extended even further than it had before. Fortunately for Goethe, he had not planned on jumping backwards, and as he threw his head and torso backwards, the air sang above his face as the Black Tooth missed his nose by inches. From speculation, the blade would have extended up to fifty meters or so, cutting open space itself to leave a smooth cut in reality.

    "Careful, guys. He's started cutting up the air again..."

    "We noticed... and he was actually aiming an attack at us, too. Don't worry, we're safe, nothing some good teleportation couldn't manage."

    "That's a relief. Time for my counterattack."

    The time it would take the Devil Butcher to return the Black Tooth to melee length was enough for Goethe to point a hand at his chest.

    "Primeval Schism!"

    The energy blast struck the Devil Butcher full on, driving him into the crescent shaped attack that Suzhen had used to slice through the Diophage only moments ago. Grinding to a halt just behind the Diophage, the headless body fell to its knees. Goethe could see a look of shock, anger and panic on the pale face of the head which the body had refused to let go. He allowed himself a slight smirk. So, Ivan could be frightened of something. It was definitely his heart, or maybe even his head. With any luck, he would try to get another Primeval Schism in. Being one of his most powerful techniques, it was no surprise that it had knocked the smugness clean off Ivan Ackermann's face.

    "I'm pushing my attack. This has to end as soon as possible."

    Meanwhile, as the Devil Butcher faltered to a stop, Luna looked over her shoulder. "Are you struggling, dear...?" She didn't get to finish what she was saying.

    "Mystic Judgment: Secret Flames!"

    The runes orbiting Goethe's arms spread outwards, and as the passed the Diophage and Devil Butcher, the two of them suddenly erupted into unnatural, ethereal flames that burned with a green light. "Don't bother trying to put out these flames," Goethe said, as the two of them vainly struggled to put out the fire. "They'll burn till you're ash."

    "Ugh! You think these measly..." Luna gritted her teeth, "... candle lights of yours can take me down? I-- Oh!"

    The body of the Devil Butcher suddenly stabbed the Diophage in the back, just at the base of her neck, then drew the blade down to her lower back before pulling it out. Luna coughed out blood, a look of pure shock on her face, then she pitched forward and collapsed face first in the dust, her body still alight with the flames. That move was surprising to him, but Goethe always thought that people as evil as his relatives would go to any lengths to achieve victory. He didn't understand why Ivan would kill his wife, but it was surely to gain an advantage in this fight. Still, he was limiting himself by cutting his fighting force down to only himself. He looked at her unmoving form. Their bodies were quite hardy, he had noticed; the flames were not turning them to toast as soon as he wanted. Still it was just a matter of time.

    "The Black Tooth is recharged with Luna's soul. That should do." Still burning, the body of the Devil Butcher now stabbed his own chest with the Black Tooth, cutting himself open to just below the navel. Suddenly, jagged teeth sprouted out of the sides of the large gash, and a lolling tongue burst forth from within the cavity.

    "What the...?!!"

    "Let's finalize this," the mouth on his head said in tandem with the new large mouth on his chest. "I like these odds."

    "Okay, we really need to turn this guy into dust, because why is he not dying?"

    WC: 1447
    TPWC: 11546
    TWC: 19241


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      Current date/time is 17th September 2021, 3:40 am