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    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Rodadnuf
    Rodadnuf

    Player 
    Lineage : Anathema to Divinity
    Position : None
    Faction : The Ironheart Pact
    Posts : 248
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 100
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,561,089

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Rollins & Schwartz-Brand
    Second Skill: Heaven God Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 Empty Re: Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Post by Rodadnuf 15th December 2022, 2:23 pm


    “Everyone, please stay calm and remain inside the guild house,” Asena heard the staff member accompanying her earlier stand in the entrance of the guild, keeping the more curious guests from peeking out and taking a look at the results of the battle. “Silver Wolf has a barrier in full effect. As long as you stay inside you are all protected. The fighting already stopped, but if you feel unsafe do not hesitate to call on one of our staff or an ethereal guardian wolf to guide you back to your rooms.”

    But it seemed the panicked guests were already staying safe inside the café. The ones by the entrance were the more adventurous people who looked at the whole event as a spectacle.

    “No way we just saw that!” One teen high fived his friends. “I’ve never seen wizards so close in-action before.”

    “Oh my, forget the barrier. Those monsters the wizard saint summoned were spectacular.” An older woman peered her head before she was pulled back by her husband who was yelling ‘are you insane? get back inside!’ as softly as he could to her.

    “Please stay inside…” The staff member softly muttered to himself as Asena went back inside the guildhall, still pulling the exoskeleton armor that was holding the oversized long-barreled weapon. She ignored the staff as the armor grazed the guild house’s floor, only stopping when another of the front desk guides stopped her in her tracks.

    “Asena, please let the rest of us inspect this before we let you do what you wish with it.” The other staff member caressed her fur. The she-wolf only huffed at her and booped the armor’s wrist display to let them see it was already empty inside, save for the sword. “Oh. Where is the body then—you know what? Carry on.”

    “Who were they?”
    “Dunno, BDF? Hey, look, that doesn’t look like any armor I’ve ever seen before.”
    “There aren’t any markings too.”
    “Are they, like, dark guild assassins?”
    “Again, dunno. They could be from Bosco for all we know. The technology checks out…”
    “Have you taken a picture?”
    “Shhhh!”
    “I’ve read on the LacNet Silver Wolf doesn’t share with the magic council the tech they find.”
    “If I’ve got dibs on some tech, why would I? It’s not like the council tells us anything too.”
    “Good point.”

    Then, one other guest yelled. “They’re coming back!”

    The focus suddenly went from the fight and into the guild members who came back from the fray. They would soon find themselves seeing guests who cheered them once they’re back inside the halls.

    Asena was largely ignored; they were more focused over the armor she was pulling inside instead. She didn’t mind. These guests, especially if they have visited before, already know about the presence of the ethereal wolves. Even as Asena minded her own business there were already wolves inside the halls that were keeping the guests safe and calm.

    The she-wolf stopped her little labor, tilting her head slightly when she saw the librarian with mugs. But she understood his gesture enough and enlarged herself sightly so she could easily pick up the mug with her maw. Asena downed its contents in one swig and left the empty wooden mug back with the librarian. Her ethereal body felt warm from the drink and, in gratitude, bowed her head slightly at him.

    The she-wolf sat beside the wizard, keeping the armor close by, while waiting for the others.

    Words:
    Post 578
    Player 3,190
    Total 16,850
    Tags
    @Aspen Azarov@Theo@Yuvon@Leona Jarnefeldt@Mercury Arseneault


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    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 M7VWYFe
    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Gunblade Master
    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 Empty Re: Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 2nd January 2023, 9:39 am

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    It didn’t take long for Aspen to find some semblance of composure. Mercury watched as she stood, remarking upon the explanation she had to give for her absence and taking her up on the offer for something to drink. And apparently, she absolutely needed it. Even as she addressed Leona and asked Mercury to bring them all inside, Mercury couldn’t help but notice the near lack of emotion in the Pergrandian woman’s expression. Had she always been that way? It had been so long since Mercury had seen either of them that she couldn’t really remember. Then again, Mercury herself had changed a lot over the last couple years. Most notably, she’d become a lot more… compassionate? The Mercury that Theo and Aspen first met was cold and calculating with little regard toward the feelings or safety of others, though she’d always hid it well by being a social butterfly and having an immaculate poker face.

    These days, however, she’d become a lot more empathic, and seeing Aspen now… well, it was a little rattling. But then again, there was something else there that wasn’t as alarming. There was a strength about her, an emotional one. Whatever she’d been through, she wasn’t ready to keep pushing forward, a sentiment that Mercury was all too familiar with. There was only one way to get the answer, so rather than delay, Mercury nodded to Aspen and Theo both, the latter of which had been silent so far. Odd behavior for Theo, but considering the battle that had just taken place and the fact that both of them had been gone for so long…

    She gave the two a small, soft smile. “Come on, then.”

    Together, the group made their way back inside, with Mercury giving the spirit wolf a few scratches behind the ears as they walked. Once inside, Yuvon ran off to put together his promised mugs of hot cocoa while Mercury led everyone into a small vacant lounge that was typically rented out to guests for private affairs, but currently was not booked for anything. It had only taken one glance inside to see the stir that had been caused by the attack, a number of guests and members alike staring curiously at the group as they returned. Mercury knew the last thing Aspen and Theo needed was an even bigger audience of strangers, so she figured it was best to get everyone gathered in an area where there weren’t any prying eyes or ears.

    She excused herself for a moment, letting everyone get settled as she retreated to the cafeteria, collecting a couple bottles of alcohol that she knew would mix well with the hot cocoa Yuvon was preparing. With two or three bottles in hand, she returned to the room just as Yuvon was passing out the large wooden mugs of steaming chocolate. Mercury set the bottles down on a coffee table in the center of the room where everyone could reach it,  chuckling slightly at the sight of the ethereal wolf downing a cup of the stuff in one go like a keg stand champion.

    “Thank you, Yuvon.” Mercury accepted the cup gratefully, picking up a bottle of peppermint liqueur and pouring a generous amount of it into her hot chocolate. Then, she took a seat near Leona and waited in quiet patience for Aspen to kick things off.

    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Aspen Azarov
    Aspen Azarov

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Character Application Approved!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Player 
    Lineage : Samurai Spirit
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 162
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 200,107

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Requip - Deus ex Machina
    Second Skill: Take-Over - Draconis
    Third Skill: Sanguine Avenger

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 Empty Re: Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Post by Aspen Azarov 6th May 2023, 2:31 pm

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 F2ncfoz


    Aspen turned and wordlessly followed when the small group of Silver Wolf mages, her former guild mates, made its way to the guild hall, passively and without initiative. It was the first time in a good long while that the ex-Paladin had gotten to take a good and thorough look at the building that she had unconsciously considered home for a comparatively extended period of time. Indeed, those emotions attached to a vivid association with the word "home" resurfaced when Aspen laid eyes on the guild hall. For all intents and purposes, even though she was more or less unaware of this fact, this was home. Not Pergrande, nor, surprisingly, Fiore, but these sheltered walls overlooking the Phoenix Mountains. It was here that the girl experienced her first real life outside of the machine of oppression and despair that was the Empire of Pergrande. To be back here after all this time, to walk the hall again after so long... the thought alone evoked an emotion that she couldn't quite place, and for the particularly stoic girl, was hard to process or even properly recognize.

    Still, she was lost in thought. The impressions and emotions that flooded her mind and diffused any and all attempts at rationality clouded her vision. She couldn't, and indeed, wouldn't think about it much more. Every time she thought about it, the barriers she had put up to keep herself together threatened to break. She had to keep her head in the here and now. She was safe. She was surrounded by people who would help her. The Pergranti mercenaries were dead. She had to repeat these facts to herself, an internal pep-talk that continued, again and again, to keep herself sane.

    Occupied with her own concerns, she walked through the familiar barrier that surrounded the guild, the shield shimmering as each individual passed the nigh-invisible separation between the outside world and the guild. This was officially Silver Wolf's territory. The reaction only intensified when they found their way into the guild hall proper. She breathed the familiar air in deeply, a sigh of relief leaving her cold lips. A small portion of a weight that had accumulated over years worth of struggle fell off her shoulders, and she could stand just a little bit taller here. Just a little bit, but every little bit counted. Still, despite that, the stares of those curious onlookers didn't exactly make their return to the guild easier. She felt like a guest, a foreigner who did not belong there. Shadows seemed to stretch out just a little longer, and a subtle paranoia set in. It was here that Pergrande had first found her. What if they were still here, could still reach her here, were among those looking at her? She put those intrusions aside. If she wasn't safe here, she wasn't safe anywhere. That prospect had accompanied her for months, years at this point. No more.

    She readily took her place when the group found its way into the lounge, accepting the drink that Yuvon prepared for her, though when Mercury brought the bottles over, she immediately went for one of them. She didn't care what it was. As long as it had alcohol in it, she would be quite content with whatever. The girl didn’t bother as much as glancing at the label, simply popping open the lid and taking a few good gulps from the glass container. It burned, almost unbearably so, but the girl had been used to the sensation at this point. Perhaps that was just what she needed to feel just the faintest bit alive again, the booze washed down with the sweet cup of hot chocolate. The drink seemed excessive, but it was just the thing Aspen needed to warm her after the cold of the Phoenix Mountains… and prepare her for what was inevitably to follow, the others undoubtedly waiting expectantly. A subtle fog set in, dulling her mind. It was the effect of the alcohol, no doubt about it. No time like the present, huh? She had decided. Aspen would hesitate no longer. She’d get right to it. The ex-Paladin took a deep breath.

    "Suppose we go to the explaining now". She sighed. The Pergrandean had to sort everything that had dragged her down over the past year, organizing it into a cohesive line of thought before being forced to spill it all. It wasn’t like she necessarily wanted to reveal all these things about herself, Aspen was a secretive and reserved person by nature, but she figured that she owed them her honesty. In this matter, at least. Honesty and the full truth.

    "As some of you may know, I am originally a citizen of the Pergrandean Empire". That much might’ve been clear, but she emphasized the face so they would all have a common starting point. "As you saw earlier, Pergrande doesn’t exactly play nice with refugees who manage to get out of the country, and that goes for me especially. The nation is entirely closed off and has been for the past 500 years. To “keep the peace”, or so they say, at least. I was lucky for even managing to escape. I’d gotten into a position of trust in… well, an organization that they call the “Paladins”. Little more than glorified henchmen of the regime". That, in turn, also meant that Aspen had been one of those henchmen, of course, a fact she hadn't revealed before.

    "My brothers occupied fairly high positions within that organization, and I abused the family’s status to get stationed near the border. “Espionage Mission”, I called it. When the nearest chance presented itself, I ran. I… killed a fair few of them on the way out. Got this scar in return". The girl made a small, almost dismissive gesture toward her left eye and the large visible cut that descended down her face in an almost exact vertical line. Though she tried her best to sound as matter-of-fact as she could in her presentation, to keep up the usual monotonously stoic front, it was evident that the girl was struggling with the memories she recounted.

    "Took me a little while and a lot of resources, but I ended up here. Couldn’t have gotten much further away from Pergrande, to be honest. I figured that they would come looking for me, but I’d assumed that they wouldn’t, couldn’t find me here. Especially at Silver Wolf. As you know, Leona-", the girl turned towards the guild mistress and spoke to her directly as the one who’d inducted her into the guild all those years ago, back when the woman was still an Ace of Silver Wolf, "-the guild captured my interest. It was… everything I imagined and so much more. I learned a lot here. This is-... was my home". Even through a neutral expression, the girl wavered once the words were spoken, somehow seeming profoundly sad. She took another swig from the bottle she’d claimed as her sole possession before continuing anew. It, of course, implied that she thought the guild had long banished her.

    "But I underestimated my brother and the intelligentsia of the Empire. I underestimated their influence and the extent of their activities. They found me. Right here in the guild hall. I… I really don’t know how, but my brother… I must’ve been too careless". She paused, her gaze now firmly locked on the empty table before her and the bottle between her hands. "It must’ve been about… 2 years since then. They got me in my room when I was sleeping. They sent Paladins. I don't understand how they got into the guild hall, don't ask me. I killed the first two and incapacitated another two, but one of them snuck up on me and stabbed me with... a needle? I don’t really know. Before I knew it, I was breaking down, vomiting blood, and the assassin they sent was escaping. I tried to pursue, but… my magic… it… it was gone. Erased. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t come back… and it hasn’t to this day". At these last words, the girl was trembling in her seat, eyes glimmering again with the faint shine of beginning tears, though Aspen managed to choke them down... for now.

    "They injected me with… with some kind of poison". Her voice, while bearing that characteristic and quite distinctive Pergranti accent, spit that last sentence out like it was laced with acid, one of her hands on the table balling into a fist. "What I have since been able to discern is that it contained a heavy metallic element. I assume that it is based on Oblivium, Pergrande’s premier resource. The Paladins love to use it against mages, but I had no idea that they’d developed a substance that can permanently erase an individual’s, and still… it’s true. I’ve lost mine and it will most likely never return". She could no longer stop the tears at this point, two streaks silently running down her face. All she had worked for, all she had ever aspired to be, the freedom she had yearned for. All of it had been taken, stripped away from her for a second time.

    "I did what I thought would be best for the guild. I wanted to lure them away from everyone here. So I ran. I went into hiding for a while, and tried to experiment a little with the technology I’d gotten from those assassins… and with my contaminated blood. Not many hopeful discoveries, I’m afraid, apart from the fact that my body's fucked". She paused again, albeit only briefly, still trying her best to keep her composure. She’d never told anyone any of this, and, despite her nonchalant wording, it was hard just to utter every single one of those syllables.

    "But… ever since the war began, Pergrande’s gotten a lot more active. I had to abandon 3 hideouts this month alone because agents of the Paladin Order found me. I can’t go on like this anymore…".

    She would now once again look directly at Leona. "...which is why I have come back here. To be entirely honest, I just… don’t have the energy to keep running anymore". When she had spoken these words, the emotion seemed to burst out from her. Tears began to flow and the face that the girl had so carefully tried to keep stoic scrunched up into a grimace of tragic despair. "All I ever wanted is a home. A real home. Friends. Peace!". Perhaps this was the first time that the girl had gotten this emotional in her life, but it kept spilling out of her now that the floodgates had been opened. The pent-up emotion of a lifetime was unloaded upon those that had saved her. One of her fists slammed into the table as her trembling shoulders sunk, her head and eyes once again lowered as tears fell onto the wooden surface before her in plentiful droplets. Her voice quivered as she spoke again. "I just want to live. Is that so wrong?". It was a rhetorical question, of course, but she couldn’t help but ask it. This exact question had been on her mind ever since she had escaped Pergrande, perhaps even before that.

    "I know that it’s a deeply selfish request-", her voice rang out again, though much quieter, weaker this time, "-but I have to admit that… I’m afraid. I’ve been so afraid of them that I have been running for so long. I ask you, Leona, and all members of Silver Wolf. Please, I don’t want to die. Please-", she had been reduced to a state of begging now, still in tears, the sheer despair that had kept her occupied all this time now bare for all to see.

    "-please just help me".



    Post Word Count: 1,973
    Personal Word Count Total: 6,106
    Thread Word Count Total: 19,385



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    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Gain An Artifact- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Z-Rank- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Working Together- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Obligatory Beach Episode- Sticking Around- Loyal to the Bone- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Character Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Grand Master [2000]- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 3549
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 215
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : 11,529,025

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Skill: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Skill:

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 Empty Re: Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt 11th May 2023, 1:56 am

    Leona made eye contact with Aspen and kept her mouth shut as the brunette began to tell the group a lengthy and detailed story about herself and how she came to Silver Wolf. Leona faintly recalled Aspen's country of origin, but she had no idea that Aspen was once a member of the "Paladin Order." Then again, the blonde did not know a lot about most of her guild members. Maybe it was benign neglect or maybe it was because Leona was scared of saying something stupid and driving people away. That did not matter right now... what mattered right now was Aspen and her story.

    Leona listened and learned that one of the people pursuing Aspen was her own brother. The blonde refrained from making any trite comments about family bonds and listened to the part that made her feel almost as much shame as the outcome of the Ishgar Symposium. The attack on the brunette that had claimed her magic had occurred inside the guild hall, inside the very place Leona was supposed to keep safe. If Aspen was paying attention she might notice the twinge of guilt cross the Wizard Saint's face after the former mentioned the place the attack occurred.

    Leona suppressed any further emotion and recalled that an injection of "Oblivium" was what had taken Aspen's magic from her. She had no idea that eliminating someone's magic was something that could be made permanent . Aspen had already taken the initiative and tried to learn what she could about her new state and possibly find a way to undo the results of the Oblivium injection, but she reported that she had been unable to make any headway towards that goal. That made Leona feel a renewed sense of guilt for letting down one of Silver Wolf's guild members, let alone a former Guild Ace.

    Aspen told a bit about the circumstances that led her back to Silver Wolf's doorstep and then launched into a plea for aid that left Leona feeling still another wave of guilt. She was not sure if an offer of protection would do any good because she had failed to keep Aspen from losing her magic, so that might come across as tone-deaf. What Leona could offer instead was help and a place for Aspen to try and piece her life back together. She owed the brunette that much for everything that had happened to her.

    "I'd be glad to offer you help, Aspen." Leona started off calmly. She was not sure how the offer would sound to the brunette in light of the blonde's failure to protect her from Pergrande's agents, but she was going to make it anyway. At the very least she could give Aspen a place to get back on her feet, find some familiar faces to talk to, and get a meal that was not scrounged up in the middle of nowhere out of whatever could be found... if Aspen even ate anything resembling a meal with any regularity.

    "If you want it, you have a place here." Leona continued. The blonde had a hard time emotionally connecting to anyone besides Samira and Masha and even then the word "connection" might be too generous. She understood everything Aspen had told her about her trials and tribulations, but she was failing to make an emotional connection to the brunette despite the latter obviously showing how she felt. Leona probably sounded like she did not care a whole lot about Aspen's woes and was just listening so that she could get on with things. The Wizard Saint probably sounded way too calm for what she had just been told, but she would have to work on showing appropriate emotion later... right now there was other business to attend to.

    "I'd like to know how to be able to better protect the guild hall from the people who are after you. Anything you can suggest will be helpful." Leona requested of Aspen. Aspen might need some time to calm down before she was able to give any suggestions on a plan of defense. That was fine with Leona... she owed Aspen a great debt for sacrificing what she had for Silver Wolf and the Guild Mistress wanted to try her best to make sure that Aspen would not have to sacrifice anything else.

    [Post Word Count: 725]
    [Leona's Word Count: 4,243]
    [Total Word Count: 20,110]


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    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 KjmbioC


    Golden Lacrima is valid until 10/10/2024. The General Store: Page 10, Post Number 244 (Request), Page 10, Post Number 245 (Approval)
    Theo
    Theo

    Player 
    Lineage : Light of Luna
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 75
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,075

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 Empty Re: Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Post by Theo 4th June 2023, 4:33 am

    Theo's odd behavior only intensified, it seemed. Impossibly so, once they were herded inside. The ex-Ace lagged behind, eyes trailing over the familiar architecture and decor of the foyer. The scent wafting from the café reminded him of his various unlucky bets with the chef for blueberry muffins. The guests reminded him of shawarma night, when he belly danced for them. Did they still do that? His glacier gaze spotted a rogue googly eye still stuck here and there from when he had gone on a particularly neurotic spree. Though a quiet laugh snorted from his nostrils, the nostalgia hit like a dagger. This had been the place and the people who took him in when he was irreparably shattered and had lost everything. Though far from repaired, pieces of him had been glued back together here. For a time, he saw relief from the overwhelming sadness in his friends and work. He'd met Aspen here, and though he'd not always made it out of his blanket-cocoon bed, going to festivals with her had been very bright lights along the path from the muck.

    Aspen's mysterious disappearance had crushed him and ultimately set him into his final spiral. Eyes prickling, he hurried on before any more scars could come to light.

    Close enough to be in Aspen's orbit, Theo somewhat disconnected from everyone else... by choice. There was a lot of the man that no one living had gotten to know. He'd always hidden it behind funny little masks. His situation had only grown more and more dire since he last called Silver Wolf home. His masks were cracked. There was a lot of conflict inside Theo Silversong, bottled up so tightly that he choked himself more often than not. Besides, this was about Aspen. If he could've shrunk enough to go completely unnoticed, he would've. His presence didn't matter at all.

    Into the lounge they all went. Quickly snatching a super sweet hot cocoa, recklessly enough that some sloshed over the rim and burnt his hand, the jello mage wasted no time pouring more booze into it than he probably should've. Both the taste and his health would likely suffer, but man, did he ever need a few strong ones right now. While never much of a drinker, when he did, there was always a reason and the blatant intention to numb something. Theo wanted to be here, but also couldn't deny that being back was causing him a lot of anxiety. He claimed a nice armchair with a good view of his friend a few feet from the others.

    The jello mage couldn't take his eyes off of Aspen. As he listened to her plight, Theo was overcome with guilt. It was hard to enjoy finally finding out all of those secrets his friend kept when they'd left her so broken. As much as he wanted to rush from his cushiony seat and wrap his arms around her shoulders and dry her tears, he felt so certain that he didn't deserve to. While he'd been selfishly mourning the loss of her in his life and fretting that his bad luck had once again been at the root, she'd been dealing with very real and worse things, some right under his useless nose... none of which he'd been able to help her with or shield her from. Theo had had the nerve to think, should she still be alive, that she was better off wherever she was. That it was safer. He'd been so wrong that the boozy chocolate drink nearly curdled in his stomach.

    Surprisingly, a different emotion ultimately edged out the others as he listened, one he'd never shown before. Theo was left there leaning forward, hands white knuckled in front of him, positively boiling with rage. The dopey softness in his boyish face had hardened with the clenching of his jaw. How dare them. All of them. Her family. Pergrande. How dare they touch her. Had he not been in his current sorry state, Theo would've barreled out of the lounge straight to Pergrande. To do what? Something! Anything! He didn't know what, but before his collapse and hospital stay, he could've dropped a ginormous jello dragon on them and reverse summoned them into hell where they belonged! Drown them in molten jello pits, suffocate them in huge jello mold prisons, freeze them into fruity macabre shapes! He could've cursed them all with diabetes until all their feet fell off!

    Ɽł₱ ØɄ₮ ₮ⱧɆłⱤ Ɇ₦₮Ɽ₳łⱠ₴ ₮Ø Ʉ₴Ɇ ₳₴ ₦ØØ₴Ɇ₴ ₣ⱤØ₥ Ⱡ₳₥₱ ₱Ø₴₮₴. ₮Ɇ₳Ɽ ₮ⱧɆ₥ ł₦₮Ø ₴Ø ₥₳₦Ɏ ₵ⱧɄ₦₭₴, ₮₩Ø Ø₣ ₩Ⱨł₵Ⱨ ₩ⱧłⱠɆ ₮ⱧɆɎ ₩ɆⱤɆ ₳ⱠłVɆ, ₮Ⱨ₳₮ ₮ⱧɆɎ'Đ ฿Ɇ ₣ØɄ₦Đ ØVɆⱤ ₳₦Đ ØVɆⱤ ₳₲₳ł₦ ₣ØⱤ ɎɆ₳Ɽ₴. ɆVł₴₵ɆⱤ₳₮Ɇ Ʉ₦₮łⱠ ⱤłVɆⱤ₴ Ø₣ ₱ɆⱤ₲Ɽ₳₦ĐɆ ฿ⱠØØĐ ɆⱤØĐɆĐ Ø฿ⱠłVłɄ₥ ₳₦Đ ₳ⱠⱠ Ø₣ ₱ɆⱤ₲Ɽ₳₦ĐɆ ł₦₮Ø ₵₳₦ɎØ₦ ₳₦Đ ₲Ɽ₳VɆɎ₳ⱤĐ.

    Big D, the demon barely keeping him alive, stirred. Something sinister wafted off of him. For a second, the sclera of his eyes darkened along with his fingertips, but he caught it just in time. Theo silently struggled all the while Leona responded to Aspen's revelations. By the time their guild master had finished, Theo had himself under control. It wouldn't do to have another heart attack right in the middle of Aspen asking to live a nice, happy life.

    "Can I stay too, Leona?" he blurted. The mask he'd put on wasn't perfect, but at least he didn't look like a demon on the cusp of a murder spree. Maybe a bit upset, but not any more than the situation called for. "Maybe I can help with that last part. Maybe seal all the windows with jello... rig some traps or something. Oh, wait, I'm a treasure hunter! I'm sure I can find an artifact to keep them out of this guildhall..."

    Hopefully.

    [wc: 958 || total: 21068]


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    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 60709_s
    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Gunblade Master
    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 Empty Re: Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 22nd September 2023, 10:30 am

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Everyone gathered around inside with the warmth of the guildhall – and in some cases, of the alcohol – to fight back the chill from the snow outside. Aspen in particular elected to claim an entire bottle of liquid courage to herself. After a few swigs and a moment to prepare herself, she got down to business in regaling them with the tale of why she had disappeared and where she had been all this time.

    Mercury had been aware of Aspen’s origins, at least insofar as being from Pergrande. They’d never really talked in depth about the woman’s history, even back when the two of them and Theo worked more closely together as the guild’s aces. Aspen and Mercury had both been exceptionally private people at the time that simply didn’t talk about themselves, though Mercury had always been the more outwardly personable of the two. The Xocili had known enough about Pergrande to assume that Aspen was a deserter of some kind, considering the country’s strong stance against magic and the fact that Aspen was a mage, though Mercury had never really gone out of her way to confirm it before.

    She listened closely now as the other woman admitted to having once been a Paladin within Pergrande’s order, though it seemed she had only been so long enough to take advantage of the first opportunity to escape the country. After a lot of time and effort, she’d managed to eventually establish herself at Silver Wolf, the guild that she’d eventually learned to call home. Unfortunately it seemed her family had no plans on letting her off so easily, and had even managed to infiltrate the guildhall to find her. Mercury sat up sharply at the comment, her mind already racing to figure out how in the hell the Pergrandians had managed to pull such a feat, and with none of them the wiser.

    Questions for later. The ex-Paladin explained how she’d fought as best she could, but ultimately had been injected with an unknown substance that had stripped her of her magic. Mercury’s blood ran cold with anger, even as her heart sank at the knowledge. Memories raced back to her from the time that Vandrad had also had his magic violently ripped from him. He had since regained his abilities, but it had taken an unexpected miracle that none of them could have ever planned for; sheer luck. She recalled how upset he was when it had happened, how useless and weak he felt, seeing much of that frustration in Aspen now as the typically stoic woman fought back tears.

    It seems she’d been able to confirm the substance she’d been poisoned with contained traces of a metallic element that she could only assume was related to Oblivium. Ultimately, she had chosen to run from the guild in the hopes that distancing herself would protect everyone else from harm. Things had been fine at first, more or less, but with the war at hand it seemed Pergrande was getting more persistent, forcing her to stay on the move. With no other options, she’d elected to return to Silver Wolf, tired and in desperate need of the only place she’d ever been able to call home.

    Mercury was quiet after Aspen’s final statements, the words ringing all too familiar. She glanced briefly at Theo, who was equally as silent. The look on his face was mostly unreadable, though he was clearly struggling to cope with everything in some form. There was no way of knowing what was going on inside the treasure hunter’s head, and so Mercury merely dropped her gaze from him for the time being, instead looking over as Leona spoke. The guildmaster, unsurprisingly, did not hesitate to welcome Aspen back, assuring her that she would always have a home with them, and voicing her plans to work on the betterment of the guild’s defenses.

    It was then that Theo finally found his voice, asking if he could also stay and offering to use his abilities to fortify the hall in some fashion, or search for an artifact that could help. “Traps aren’t a bad idea,” Mercury chimed in, looking over to Leona. “I could install additional security cameras throughout the building and maybe set up some early warning sensors in a wide perimeter around the estate. We certainly don’t want anything that will pop off for genuine tourists coming to enjoy the spas, but perhaps something that allows us to get more eyes on people approaching could help. I can also give Mythal and Serilda a call to see if they are willing to share anything that could help specifically against Pergranti forces.”

    Either way, she was sure they’d come up with a plan, probably several. Her emerald gaze flicked back over to Aspen and Theo. When Mercury spoke again, her voice was gentle. “I know we weren’t exactly close to each other before you left. A lot has happened since then on my part, as well.” She shifted a bit uncomfortably. While she was getting more used to being open about herself, it still wasn’t second nature to her, visibly discomforted but forging ahead nonetheless. “Leona and Yuvon are already aware of this, but I never got the chance to tell either of you: I am not human, nor am I even from Earthland. My biology is that of a fully organic android; basically a computer made flesh, and I come from a distant planet that was once called Xocil, which was destroyed during an invasion some years before I was even born.”

    “Up until only about a year or so ago, I was a slave to those who wiped out my people, used as a spy and assassin… I won’t get into the details right now.” She wasn’t unwilling to discuss her history, of course, but Mercury’s intent wasn’t to turn the conversation around to herself. She had a point she was trying to make. With a soft sigh, she leaned forward and held Aspen’s gaze, her expression full of understanding. “I only bring this up because I want you to know that I’ve been in your shoes, or at least something very similar. I know what it feels like to have to fight not just to survive, but to… to have a life worth living. You deserve to live, Aspen… and I will happily fight to make sure you do, and will personally kill anyone that tries to rob you of your freedom with extreme prejudice.”

    There was a fire in her eyes, despite how calm and collected her declaration was. Mercury knew what it felt like to live in constant fear and paranoia, to have loved ones put at risk because of her past, to struggle to feel like she was worthy of having peace and a place to call home. If someone wanted to take that from Aspen, they were free to try – over Mercury’s dead body.

    After a moment, she relaxed. “I’m glad you came back. Both of you. This is and always will be your home… and on a personal note, I did miss you both greatly.” Shifting her gaze, she turned to regard Theo. “What about you? You disappeared around the same time Aspen did. Are you alright? Is there anything we can do to help protect you, as well?”

    Serilda Sinclair

    [/color]


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    Yuvon
    Yuvon

    Player 
    Lineage : Victor's Descent
    Position : None
    Posts : 349
    Guild : Silver Woof
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,640

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Memory-Make
    Second Skill: Deep Dragon Slayer (2nd Gen)
    Third Skill: Antique Dragon Slayer (2nd Gen)

    Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro] - Page 2 Empty Re: Another New Beginning [Aspen Reintro]

    Post by Yuvon 22nd September 2023, 10:53 am

    … The she-wolf just expanded in size. No biggie, many entities – whether magical or not – were capable of increasing in size… or shrinking. All depending on the situation, pretty on the nose. What baffled Yuvon, however, was that despite his slip-up in preparing chocolate-filled hot cocoa for a canine, she… still took it. And downed it happily! Under his golden mask, his eyes widened with glee and wonder at the scenario – had she developed the correct enzymes to be capable of breaking down theobromine in chocolate?!

    He swiftly noted that down on his notebook, making sure to do so in a hurry, due to the fact that everyone had finally gathered away from prying eyes… and Aspen looked prepared to update them all on her whereabouts. However, gestures told just as much – her eagerness to down that glass from Mercury’s generosity was an attempt at dampening her nerves, no? As if it wasn’t obvious that her story would be a tragic one… but Aspen was trying her best. That was what all of her being was screaming to the librarian, and with upmost respect, he remained silent next to Asena and simply listened.

    Aspen… had really been running away from predators for most of her life. Never truly feeling like she could stop in her tracks and rest her legs, in fear that the wolves… nay, the monsters would catch up to her. Monsters that she desperately wanted to escape from and never see again, but who kept interfering in her escape time after time after time again. And here she was, out of options… drained of the strength that kept her moving.

    Anyone would reach their limit at one point. But it was heart-wrenching! To think that a member of their pack, their family, had nowhere else to go, with so little strength left behind… and to think that they were unable to prevent any of that up until now… it just felt so damn humiliating. Humiliating to Yuvon. Humiliating to the guild… and humiliating to Leona. He couldn’t put himself in Aspen’s shoes, so her collected sadness didn’t reflect in him, but while he was shaken and torn by her story, all he could feel was a deep, deep humiliation.

    And Pergrande would not get away with humiliating them like this. Yuvon thought to himself that, perhaps, Aspen too felt humiliated… in times like these, how badly you’d wish to be able to fight back, to show them what a bad idea it was to cross you and those you held dear to yourself. Thus came the question – what could they do for Aspen right now?

    Theo had a desire to, sort of, booby trap the entire guild hall with his jello spells, so that next time the damned souls of Pergrande dared near their grounds, they’d drown in glucose and fructose and die horribly. Mercury was in on the idea, and much to Yuvon’s joy, her relation to Aspen’s situation and her comforting vow warmed his heart, especially when knowing her past as well as her change. They wanted to protect Aspen…

    “… Perhaps this concoction that they inflicted you with is still within reach,” Yuvon inputted, cupping the underside of his mask in deep thought… and thus, a bit of confidence glew up in his eyes, “No poison should just waltz around without a cure to combat it – regardless of who it was made by. If you’re willing to comply… I could help run tests on your blood samples too. At least, an attempt.” Yuvon did have field experience as a field medic in Minstrel, but to be completely honest – it was the field he spent the least time in before leaving to just read books and expand his brain capacity via Memory-Make much later. But after years of gathering knowledge… he should have all the competences required to help Aspen.

    She must’ve been missing her Magic.

    WC: 651
    Thread TWC: 22944


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