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Thread: The 3:10 to Tirel

  1. #11
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    - - - - - - - -

    The velvet of the chair softly creaked in protest as I sank into it, a rude suggestion that maybe I should've ordered the short stack and laid off the bacon. Breakfast was delicious though, so whatever. The warm weight of contentment sat in my gut, and I felt like I was going to nod off at any given moment. No matter how much I wanted to get more sleep, I fought against the heavy weight of my eyelids and willed myself to stay awake.

    Mirko Soloviev had his morning meal delivered to him, wrinkled old fart that he is. A plate of half-eaten toast and an empty cup of coffee sat beside him on the table, along with a small bowl of strawberry jam and a dull knife. Hyperion opted to wait until lunch was being served before she'd eat anything and resumed her spot by the window, absorbing the warmth of the morning sun through the plate of glass separating us from the endless hills of the Salvic countryside. We were getting closer and closer to Tirel, and with that the warmer climes of the eastern regions. I could make out blades of grass poking up from the thinning layers of snow as we sped past, and the occasional raptor circling overhead in search of prey in the fields below.

    "Would you like to take another look at it?"

    I arched an eyebrow at the elderly bookseller. "Sorry?"

    He motioned towards his cabin. "The book."

    Ah, of course. As much as I quietly enjoyed the calm of the train ride halfway across the country to Knife's Edge, it had been a business trip first and foremost. I was on assignment to secure the acquisition of a very particular book for the inter-dimensional stacks of my employer, Maladim Karunungan. Mirko had the book in question, but refused to let go of it unless I met a very specific list of demands.

    First, he wanted to browse my personal collection and select something that he considered of equal value. A simple book swap, which was fine with me. I already transferred any important information I may need from them into my Archivist's Notebook, anyway.

    Second, he wanted a little information that was more private and personal. He learned some time ago about Maladim and his ever-growing archives that picked and stored knowledge from every dimension and every possible timeline through Archivists such as myself. He learned about how people like myself also facilitate the transfer of knowledge from the demon's library to those who, quoting the instructional handbook I was given, "require it to facilitate events as written by the Fates". As Mirko was a bibliophile from birth, obsessed with the various ways knowledge was collected and recorded for future generations, he wanted to know more about Maladim and what he did. The only problem was that he--how do I put this--was a little too precious and pure to contact my employer by standard means.

    Apparently some of us are more okay than others with slaughtering a scholar and sacrificing their quivering thinkmeats to summon and make pacts with demonic librarians.

    Anyway, I explained the situation to Maladim, told him that Mirko simply wanted to meet him and confirm that everything he'd read was real, and then he'd give up the book in question.

    Maladim said something along the lines of "whatever makes that nerd happy", and that was that.

    Mirko rose from his seat and shuffled off to his cabin in the car, reemerging a minute later with a pristine leather-bound volume. For how old it was purported to be, it was in exceptional condition. The pages were as white as the day they were bound, the brass latch that kept it shut still lacked even the smallest amount of corrosion.

    Catching me staring at the book, he said, "To think that these pages are hundreds, if not thousands of years old."

    I took in a sharp breath as he set it down on the table in front of me. Deep in the darkest recesses of my soul, something stirred. The faintest echo of laughter rang in my ears.

    No. Go away.

    "There are many in Salvar who would kill you on sight if they caught you with this," Mirko muttered between pursed lips, his own gaze locked on the tome. "Based on what it's alleged to be and who the Church claims penned the words inside."

    I fought to suppress the swirling darkness inside me. "How did you come to possess it?"

    "That is a secret," Mirko replied with a wink. And with that, that particular line of conversation was closed off.

    The bookseller shifted talk back towards me and my business with it. "I trust that your, erm, employer is certain of the authenticity of the volume and its contents?"

    I nodded. "He would have not sent me if he had any doubts."

    I took a deep breath, still desperately fighting against this bout of dizziness that had come over me. "Besides, I can confirm it right now, just looking at it."

    With a thin finger, I traced the golden Ethereal Sway iconography that was pressed into the soft leather of the cover. The laughter was quickly extinguished, replaced by a second voice I did not recognize. She whispered to me of events that had been, and times yet to come. Softly, she sung of fire and destruction such as the world had never known. She painted a promise of my future with the blood of my--no, our enemies.

    I ripped my hand away. I bit down on my tongue to keep from screaming.

    I am not your puppet. I am not your chosen. Not Pode's, not Xem'Zund's, not yours.
    Last edited by BlackAndBlueEyes; 05-09-17 at 05:06 PM.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  2. #12
    Break knees, collect fees
    EXP: 94,624, Level: 13
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    Madison Freebird
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    "Get it away from me," I hissed.

    Hyperion was immediately at my side, a briar-knit hand on my shoulder in a vain effort to calm me down. I was shaking, hard. My nerves were on fire, the visions of the world's damnation fresh in my mind and refusing to go away.

    This was a test. Maladim could have sent anyone to acquire that accursed book from Mirko--he has three or four other Archivists in this world that I'm aware of--but the bastard sent me. He wanted to see if I would fall back into my old ways, before he saved me from the horrible fate that the Forgotten Ones had planned for me. Would I succumb to temptation and reassume my mantle as their Heir? Why the fuck else would he set me up like this? I mean, I made it perfectly clear that I would never again walk down their path when he gifted me with a new body and a fresh start. He probably wanted to make sure that I would stay true to my word.

    Only one more day before we'd be back in Tirel. Then, we make the trade, Maladim picks up the book, and I wash my hands of the whole matter. Maybe I'll call him a dick or something, just to get some measure of revenge for this whole thing.

    "Madison, are you okay?" Hype's voice was a soft, calming presence in my ear.

    The tempest in my head had died down somewhat. "Yes," I gasped. "I'll be alright."

    A look of concern twisted Mirko's wrinkled face, causing new crease marks to sprout up. He opened his mouth to ask what had happened, but thought better of it and muttered an apology instead.

    "No, no, it's alright," I stuttered. "It's not your fault. You didn't know that would happen.

    "I don't tell many people this, but I was among those the High Bard Council conscripted into helping them cleanse the Red Forest in Raiaera. A fair few didn't survive the ordeal, which is why the Raiaerans sent in outsiders to begin with. However, several of us were..." I had to be careful here. Really careful. "I guess you could say we were touched by the Red Witch. She left a mark on our souls. To this day, when an object that was written by one of the Forgotten Ones crosses my path, the mark she left on me flares up, and I get these... I get these horrible visions and migraines."

    Mirko nodded, seemingly understanding what I was getting at. "So then this book really is..." His voice trailed off. The old man casually fingered the latch that kept the book sealed. I could see that glint of curiosity in his eye--he was eager to read its text in a brand new light and glean the secrets contained therein.

    "Don't," I commanded. "Let's just put it away for now. We know it's there, we know that it's real. We just need to make sure that it stays with us, and nobody else knows that we have it."

    The moment the words left my mouth, I remembered that we weren't alone. My eyes shot up from the table towards the cabin at the far end of the car.

    Mirko cut me off before I could even decide which expletive to use. "They left about ten minutes before you came back from breakfast. We're the only ones in the car right now.

    "Thank my lucky stars," I said bitterly.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  3. #13
    Break knees, collect fees
    EXP: 94,624, Level: 13
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    Madison Freebird
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    Mirko returned the book to its safe hiding spot inside his cabin, and Hyperion produced a deck and shuffled it up. We both knew that there was nothing like a good game of cards to take my mind off what happened.

    "Pick your poison. Rummy? Poker? Blackjack?"

    "How about Go Fish," the old bookpeddler mused.

    We ended up passing the time with a bit of Rummy. Two hands in, everything was back to normal.

    Mirko and I chatted about everything under the sun except for that damned book. He inquired about my previous occupations before I became an Archivist. I skirted the truth and told him that I researched various diseases, which brought on discussion of the recent outbreaks in Raiaera. I feigned ignorance on them, and asked for every little detail he could recall before ushering the conversation onto less incriminating topics, like what he read for fun. The old man admitted that he doesn't get much leisure time anymore, which was why he was grateful for the chance to get away from his personal studies for a week or two despite the fact that this was a business trip. I told him that I'd hook him up with a couple science fiction series I'd been following over the past couple years.

    "Vessels that can escape the pull of gravity and fly across the heavens? Preposterous!"

    "That's why it's fiction, Mirko."

    "Even fiction has its boundaries. One can suspend their disbelief for only so long," he scoffed.

    I raised a finger in objection. "Alerar has boats that swim in the sky. Who's to say that one day fiction won't become reality?"

    Mirko considered this for a moment, chewing on the end of his pipe. "A fair point."

    Another hour or two passed before Hyperion suddenly perked up. A low grumbling noise filled the common area.

    "Was that the train?"

    The briarbane cocked her head slightly. "Sorry, that was my stomach. I'm hungry." She immediately shot out of her chair. "I'll be back in a bit!"

    - - - - - - - -

    Hyperion made sure her shoes were properly laced, black leather gloves covering anything that couldn't be mistaken for human skin, her mythril face mask and black tie were straight, and the black shawl properly arranged and pulled over her head before she left the car. Madison had made it perfectly clear that she was to avoid raising as much suspicion as she possibly could--Salvar was an incredibly dangerous place for anyone that could be perceived as different. Having a body made of genetically-modified vines that sprouted from a group of parasites that consumed the desiccated remains of a human woman made you about as different as you could possibly be.

    It took her a while to get to the dining car. Her path took her through four other sleeper cars, each of which had three windows along their lengths.

    Twelve stops to gaze out in innocent wonder at the splendor that was unfolding before her.

    Oh, how she loved to see the rolling hills speed by as The Ebonheart moved towards its destination. The snows had melted away, signaling that the train had made it to the fertile farmlands of the eastern region. She could hardly contain her excitement as she counted all the livestock in her head--cows, horses, goats, and little specks of white and brown that she could only assume were chickens. Hype's eyes flickered with joy as she traced clumps of wildflowers with a briar-knit finger along the glass, her brain working out what species they might be based on the shades of purples and yellows and whites in their leaves. They filled her with such awe that she would lose track of time at each of her stops, the soft pains of her empty stomach prodding her along towards lunch.

    Had she ordered ahead of time, they would have had her meal ready by the time she took her seat.

    Hyperion found the dining car pleasant enough. The scent of various meals being cooked wafted in through the cracks of the door that separated this car and the next. Her mouth watered with the possibilities. Something that was a little less than appetizing were the stares she was getting from the scant few patrons who also waited until two in the afternoon to eat.

    One of them, a small child with rust-colored hair, tugged on the sleeve of her parent's tunic. The briarbane could hear the curious creature whisper over the constant rumble of the train's wheels.

    "Daddy, why does that lady wear a mask?"

    Oh! It's always the mask, Hype mused to herself.

    She tried a friendly cock of her head and a cheerful wave, but the child squealed and turned around in her seat.

    "Leave her alone and finish your peas," the parent scolded.

    Hype's heart sank. She loathed to admit it, but she was used to these sort of reactions from everyone. At least she had friends like Madison and even maybe that Mirko fellow who didn't judge her, accepting her for who she was. She could be thankful for that much, right?

    A slightly annoyed voice snapped Hype from her thoughts. "Can I start you off with something to drink?"

    The briarbane looked over to see a squat woman, heavily freckled with dark hair tossed up in the most careless bun she'd ever seen. At least this person didn't seem to judge her for her mask, or the glowing amber orbs of her four eyes. Then again, this woman had probably seen her fair share of weird things aboard the train during her lifetime already, and had long since stopped caring.

    "Oh, yes, I'd like a glass of water, please!"

    The waitress nodded and handed her a worn piece of thick paper folded over on itself. "I'll be right back with that. Take your time looking at the menu."

    Hype raised a gloved finger in the air before she could waddle away. "Actually, I'm ready to order now, if that's okay?"

    The other woman produced a pad of paper and a pen from a pocket within her apron. "Sure. Whatchu' like?"

    "Just a steak, please and thank you!"

    "No sides?"

    Hype shook her head. "No, that's quite alright!"

    The waitress scribbled a few lines on her pad under the guise of paying attention. "And how would you like that? Medium?"

    Hype clasped her hands in front of her on the table. "Cooking it won't be necessary!"

    The waitress's lips clamped shut as she tried to work out how to process this request. Knowledge of health and food regulations and her duty to upload them overrode her need to give a smart-assed answer. "We have to cook it. It's against policy to serve under-prepared food to guests aboard The Ebonheart."

    She thought about it for a second or two, wanting a good meal but also wanting to make sure that this nice server lady wouldn't get in trouble. "Okay, then I will take it as rare as you can legally make it."
    Last edited by BlackAndBlueEyes; 05-10-17 at 06:31 PM.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  4. #14
    Break knees, collect fees
    EXP: 94,624, Level: 13
    Level completed: 34%, EXP required for next level: 9,376
    Level completed: 34%,
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    BlackAndBlueEyes's Avatar

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    Madison Freebird
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    - - - - - - -

    "Three, you said?" Anikin looked at his fellow hunter, unable to hide the uncertainty on his wrinkled face.

    Tanya didn't budge an inch. "Yes. There are two black souls and one purple aboard this train. That means we have three potential targets."

    Petrov smoothed his mustache before he interjected. "How can you be so certain about this purple soul? You yourself have admitted to never bearing witness to one before in your life. We cannot be sure that it belongs to our target."

    From his perch on the arm of a nearby chair, it was Ratomir's turn to wedge himself into the conversation. "We cannot also be sure that it belongs to an innocent, either." He stood up, the fabric of his woolen farmer's tunic falling about him as he drew closer to his comrades. "The reason she might not have seen one before could be because she's never taken on a necromancer. It's not often that we take in people with her abilities, especially. Usually we put them to the sword first and ask questions later."

    Tanya was almost shocked that Ratomir sided with her, up until the moment she could practically taste the venom of his words. It was no secret within the Church of Ethereal Sway's sect of witch hunters that he was one of their most ardent and steadfast adversaries of magic and those who practice it. He was born and raised in the wilds north of Archen, forced to live a life of banditry with nothing but his wits and a weapon before he repented and the Church put his skills and natural bloodlust to good use. To Tanya, Ratomir embodied everything she hated about the life she lived. She would show him, someday. There would come a time that his life was in mortal danger, and she would be his savior.

    ...Not terribly likely. The hard-line bastard would probably gut himself first and flip her a greasy, fat middle finger for her troubles.

    Anikin seemed to be in deep thought, mulling over the possible outcomes of their mission. "It is entirely possible that this person is the necromancer. I have seen it once or twice before, and read of dozens of other occasions where one who is skilled in the art of undeath transferred their life's essence into a new vessel. Could it be that the process leaves a magical mark on their spirit, and the outcome is a shift in color?"

    The quartet mulled over this possibility in silence. None of them were prepared to face a heretic who could jump from body to body, hindering their search and weakening their ability to capture and secure them.

    "What about the two black souls, as she claims to have seen?" Petrov crossed his arms in front of him and leaned against the wall. "There's the chance that one of them is the necromancer. This purple one could be a decoy, or a thrall, or something."

    "Yes, that's something I considered as well," Anikin remarked flatly. "There's just no way to be sure unless we investigate all three. But as we are four, and we are walking into uncertainty with this odd presence Tanya has sensed, I'm loathe to split us up. Necromancers are especially dangerous, and I do not wsh to see any of us fall under their wicked magics without another there to prevent his escape and immediately pass judgment upon him."

    There was another pause, this one thicker. They silently considered the options available to them, each forming their own arguments that would hopefully convince the others.

    Tanya was the first to speak. "I feel that we should split up and investigate all three potential targets."

    The elder witch hunter narrowed his gaze in curiosity. "Your reasoning, Sister?"

    "We do not need to directly confront the necromancer, only confirm which one is him. We know that we are looking for a tall, thin, pale man with shaggy blond hair and freckles on his face. The Ebonheart will reach Tirel in sixteen or seventeen hours. Once we determine which of the three souls belong to him, all we have to do is keep him under surveillance until we reach our destination."

    She looked at her three fellow hunters, searching for understanding and agreement in their eyes. "I believe we all agree that making our presence known aboard the train will only lead to unrest and panic, which will only hinder our mission and cause unnecessary violence and anarchy. If we can remain in disguise and keep an eye on our target, then we only have to follow him as he disembarks. Once we are out in the open, we are free to confront and judge him guilty of his crimes with minimal risk of harm befalling others."

    Anikin thought for a moment, licking the front of his teeth and nodded. Tanya breathed an inward sigh of relief. She wasn't sure how well her plan would have gone over with the veteran.

    "How would you split up our group to investigate the three?"

    She had an answer ready for that, too. "As we are all uncertain about the person whose soul is purple, I feel that you and I should search them out. We do not know what we might face, but between the two of us, I believe we can handle it. Ratomir and Petrov can each look into one of the others. They are skilled enough to keep themselves and their identities hidden. Once we discern which of the three is the necromancer, we will reconvene and assess our options then."

    Petrov politely raised his hand. "How will we notify the others that we've discovered the heretic?"

    "Guess whoever doesn't will meet up back here," Ratomir snorted.

    "That's actually probably not a bad idea," Tanya interrupted before her brothers could get into another argument. "Let us agree on a time to meet back up and discuss our findings."

    The four of them pulled out their pocket watches. "Will until the top of the hour give you all adequate time?"

    A chorus of agreements rang up.

    Petrov shot a sly grin Ratomir's way. "Make sure yours is correct, brother."
    Last edited by BlackAndBlueEyes; 05-10-17 at 09:07 PM.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  5. #15
    Break knees, collect fees
    EXP: 94,624, Level: 13
    Level completed: 34%, EXP required for next level: 9,376
    Level completed: 34%,
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    BlackAndBlueEyes's Avatar

    Name
    Madison Freebird
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    Before the four hunters left their car, Tanya took a quick peek into the aether once more to see if any of the three figures had moved from their last locations.

    "The two with black souls have not moved, but the other one has relocated to a car further back on the train."

    "There's nothing back there but baggage and dining cars," Anikin remarked, checking his thinning hair in the reflection of the window. "That will make it easier for us to corner them should the situation require it."

    "It might also raise the suspicions of others who catch us loitering," Tanya remarked.

    Ratomir shrugged. "Do we really have any other choice?"

    "We do not," the elder hunter said. "You two have the locations of your targets memorized, correct? Ratomir, you keep an eye on the one who is three cars ahead of us; Petrov, you search for our necromancer seven cars ahead, in coach."

    The two nodded, checked their watches one last time to make sure they were all in sync, and left for their marks. Tanya and Anikin left soon after, hanging a right at the bottom of the staircase and kept a leisurely pace on their way to where this strange presence sat--possibly brewing up vile schemes as they enjoyed their early dinner.

    Anikin walked with an air of purpose, dressed in his finest plum-colored and gold-trimmed tunic, certainly looking the part of a wealthy merchant traveling to the coast. Tanya, on the other hand, felt completely out of place in her fancy sapphire dress, posing as the merchant's daughter. The corset was just a little too tight around her waist, and she hated how it hampered her breathing. She should be in her Sway robes right now, her weapon hidden within its folds, ready to protect her and smite her enemies in a moment's notice.

    The most she could do right now is kick her shoe off and maybe ram the heel into someone's eye. Not the best method of defense, by any means.

    As they drew closer, she could feel the weight of her All-Seeing Eye pendant press down on her chest. The intricately-carved hunk of gold was a constant reminder for her of what she was, and the path she chose in life. She lost track of how many hunts she had been on, how many of her kind--wizards, sorcerers, heretics, monsters--she had gone up against as she ascended the ranks within the Church.

    No matter how badly the hatred and misery consumed her, she could never voice it to her brothers and sisters. What would they do? Would they turn on her? Would they cut her head off, drown her in the frozen waters of a lake, tie her to a stake and purge her sins from her with fire?

    Mind on the mission, as Anikin would tell her. Tanya shoved all her horrible thoughts back into the darkest corners of her mind. She would have all the time in the world to ruminate on her fate after they captured and executed this necromancer.

    Before she could reach for the handle, the door leading to the dining car slid open. A young girl burst into the thin connecting hallway, dragging her father by the hand as she skipped along.

    "Pardon us," the father offered with an embarrassed look on his face.

    The little one noticed that she wasn't alone, and looked up with the biggest green eyes. She brushed her reddish bangs aside, looking back and forth at the strange adults in colorful clothes like she had never seen before.

    Anikin offered her a warm smile. "Hello, little one!"

    That's when the child immediately lost interest, and continued towing her father back to their seats.

    Tanya did her best to stifle a laugh while Anikin's lips thinned into the softest sneer. Together, they pushed into the dining cart and took the seats closest to the corner. She took the spot that gave her a full view down the car and at the seven or so people who populated it, while he was able to keep an eye on the door for anyone else who might interrupt them.

    She took a deep breath. It's time.

    Her brother leaned in close, his voice barely above a whisper but his words crystal clear. "Which one?"

    The priestess closed her eyes, her vision fading into familiar darkness as the souls of all present flickered into view. She immediately spotted their target.

    "Four tables back, opposite side of the isle."

    Anikin fought every urge to look for himself. "Describe them to me."

    Tanya's eyes fluttered open, the lights and shapes of the real world bleeding into her view of the spiritual one. She focused on the curious figure for a moment. Something about it seemed terribly familiar.

    "Black vest, slacks, white long-sleeved shirt," she whispered.

    The elder's face scrunched. "We saw a woman at breakfast dressed the same."

    Tanya shook her head. "This person is wearing a hood."

    As if on cue, their mark turned their head to the side, revealing--

    "They are also wearing a mythril face mask and..." The words caught in her throat.

    "And what, sister?"

    They were like nothing she had ever seen before. "Glowing amber eyes."

    For the first time in a long time, her resolve had been shaken. Was this the necromancer? Something deep inside her said that, no, it wasn't; this was something far more powerful than anyone who could raise the dead. That would explain why she didn't recognize the color of their soul--this figure, this masked person, could not have possibly been natural. This was an otherworldly force, either created or summoned to cause havoc on this plane.

    She snapped to attention as the figure abruptly set their silverware onto the table and stood up. Muttering a curse, the hunter's eyes locked onto Anikin's. He opened his mouth to say something, and she offered just the slightest shakes of her head, signalling him to shut up and not blow our cover.

    The hooded and masked woman, as she quickly noted, slowly made her way to the door leading back to the sleeper cars. The witch hunters held their collective breaths for a moment, hoping that she would pass them by--

    --But she didn't.

    She stopped right next to their table, completely ignorant of the pregnant and awkward pause that had grown between them all.

    "Excuse me."

    Tanya was thrown off by the sweetness that laced her words. It was as if she was being talked to by a childhood friend. The scent of wildflowers filled her nostrils, overloading her senses. It's a ruse, she quickly scolded herself. Do not allow yourself to be charmed!

    The figure cocked her head to the side, the light of her four! eyes flickering in intensity as she spoke. "I'm sorry to interrupt you, but don't you think that it's a bit rude to gossip about strangers behind their backs? You may hurt their feelings, and that's not nice."

    The hunters blinked. They exchanged quick, confused glances. Anikin was about to open his mouth to say something, but the woman had already made her way out of the dining car.

    Tanya was the first to pick her jaw up off the table. She shot out of her chair, bumping the table and rattling the silverware that was arranged neatly on the surface. "Where are you going," Anikin hissed at her, his eyes creasing.

    "I'm not sure if you noticed, but that... that thing was not human. The four glowing eyes, the mask, the clicking noise when she spoke!"

    Anikin clenched his fists. "We must not follow it. We cannot raise the suspicions of the other travelers. They will notice, and our cover will be blown."

    "It is not of this world, and may pose a threat to everyone aboard. It may be a creature raised by our necromancer, or may be something worse." She spun on her heels and reached for the door. "I intend to find out, with or without your help."

    The elder grit his teeth, rising from the table and quickly following his sister out of the car. By the time he made it through the connecting hallway, Tanya had regained all of the regal poise that her disguise required. She had a gloved hand in the air, and was calling out at the woman-thing with the mask on. "Excuse me! Miss? Excuse me!"

    Hyperion stopped in her tracks and peeked over her shoulder. "Yes?" she asked, her eyes flashing inquisitively.

    Tanya rushed up to her as quick as her restrictive outfit would allow. She wrung her hands and put on a mask of her own, one of apology and humility. "Hi, yes," she began with the best disarming smile she could muster. "You were right just now, and I wanted to apologize. It was incredibly rude for me and my father to discuss your appearance. We are sorry, we've just never seen someone with a mask like yours. I do hope you can forgive us!"

    Underneath the veil of mythril, the briarbane's razor-sharp teeth curved into a grin. "That's okay! I didn't mean to make you upset about it, I just wanted to point out--"

    Before she could finish, loud crack echoed throughout the length of the car, and Hyperion crumpled to the floor in an unconscious heap.
    Last edited by BlackAndBlueEyes; 05-11-17 at 01:22 PM.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  6. #16
    Break knees, collect fees
    EXP: 94,624, Level: 13
    Level completed: 34%, EXP required for next level: 9,376
    Level completed: 34%,
    EXP required for next level: 9,376

    AP
    14
    GP
    2,455
    BlackAndBlueEyes's Avatar

    Name
    Madison Freebird
    Age
    Too old for your s***
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Job
    The Absolute Worst

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    - - - - - - - -

    Ratomir considered himself a man of action. Scouting was for those who couldn't cut it on the field of battle.

    Let his inferiors handle the spywork; he would be the one to slash his sword across the throats of the impure.

    He was absolutely insulted to be standing on the bottom level of the sleeper car that witch claimed that the one marked by darkness sat in. He discovered that the door leading to the cabins at the top of the stairs had been locked from the inside, implying that somebody required their privacy--and privacy was tantamount to guilt in his eyes.

    So, with certainty that his quarry was currently above him, all he could do was wait to see if they would emerge.

    He checked his watch. It was nearly time to check back in with the others in their own cabin.

    In the meantime, at least the view from the train window was okay.

    - - - - - - - -

    Everything was pitch black.

    Wait, no--pitch black, except for the bright lights of the stars that swarmed her vision.

    Wuh... where am I?

    The thought was interrupted by a dull, aching pain in the side of her head that commanded her attention. She remembered leaving the dining car after eating that wonderful steak, then standing in the hallway with those two elegantly-dressed people, and then... nothing.

    Where am I?!

    The question repeated itself, this time with a greater sense of urgency.

    What's going on? What happened? Where am I?

    Hyperion slowly opened her eyes, each of her four lids moving at different speeds. At first, she couldn't make out anything. The entire world was a blur. As her brain frantically worked to make sense of her situation, things started to fade into view. Blobs and swirls of earthly hues slowly became familiar patterns of wallpaper and pieces of furniture. Hype's head rolled around on her shoulders as she tried to glean more information about the room she was in.

    A table. She was sitting at a table.

    There's a hunk of shiny metal in the middle. It looks familiar.

    --My mask...?

    Every inch of Hyperion's body was immediately on fire. "My mask! Give me my mask!" Her screams bounced off the walls of the tiny cabin. She desperately scrambled for her most prized possession, but discovered all too late that her arms had been bound to the chair at the wrists by rough strands of rope that scraped and burned her skin. "Give it to me, right now!"

    A deep, booming voice cut through the air. "What for? So you can hide your true nature from the world? Or is it to convince yourself that you belong in this plane? A veil of metal may convince those who are of lesser intellect, but before us you cannot escape your judgment."

    Hype's amber eyes focused on the source of the voice. It was the man from the dining car--the one with the plum-colored tunic, with his wrinkled skin and baffling lack of a chin. Off to his side, the red-headed woman with the blue dress sat very unladylike on a plush leather chair and held a thin rod the size of her forearm across her lap. She was the one who made the apology that the briarbane could only remember snippets of!

    "Who are you," Hyperion snarled at the pair. "What have you done to me? Let me go! Give me back my mask!" The legs of the chair rattled against the carpeted floor as she tried to break loose of her restraints, to no avail.

    In a flash, Anikin was at her side. "Silence, creature!"

    A sickening crack tore through the room as he brought the back of his hand hard up against the briarbane's temple. Hype's vision exploded in another trip through the stars, and for a moment she was still.

    "You will speak when you are spoken to. Understood?"

    She didn't respond.

    Anikin clicked his tongue, then checked his knuckles. Flecks of blueish-black blood dotted his hand. The hunter wiped himself clean on the dark fabric of Hype's vest, then reached into the neck of his shirt and produced his pendant.

    "Do you know what this symbol is, creature?" It made a very distinct, ringing clank as he set it down on the table before his prisoner.

    Again, Hype remained silent, save for the slight rasping sob that escaped between her sharpened teeth. She glanced at it, but could not place it in her mind.

    "It is the All-Seeing Eye," the hunter continued. "It has many meanings to many people. It is a contract, a promise, a warning, and a blessing all in one. It represents freedom, purity, and forgiveness. It also represents judgment, terror, and damnation. We are the chosen ones, handpicked by the Ethereal Sway Themselves. We are the witch hunters who wield this weapon in order to purge Salvar of the many blights that fester within its borders."

    Hyperion's blood went cold as she processed this information. Madison told her about the Sway and their--what did she call them--band of ignorant pig-fucker zealots. She could only assume that she was talking about the witch hunters. The brairbane was given a strict warning to avoid them at all costs, for they hated anything they considered unnatural.

    "What do you want with me," she finally whispered.

    Anikin leveled a harrowing glare at her. "There is a necromancer on board. You are clearly his servant. We wish to know everything about him. The extent of his power, his motives, his crimes, everything."

    "Necromancer? Servant?" Hype's eyes flashed worry as she looked at her captors. Madison was not a necromancer, she was a scientist who studied the process of life and death! Well, not anymore, anyway, ever since she got a human body again thanks to that delightful Maladim man and left Lichensith and the Crimson Hand behind to open a bookstore in Tirel and go on the occasional mission where she would find all these wonderful and magical new books for her to--

    Another strike came out of nowhere, this one nearly taking Hype's head clean off her shoulders. "Answer me, creature!"

    "I have no idea what you're talking about," she cried out through clenched teeth.

    It was Tanya's turn to speak. "I have seen your soul. You were once human, but through the dark magic your master employs he raised you to serve him."

    Madison's words echoed in her head. You must never tell anyone the truth of your creation.

    "I am a briarheart," she hissed. The words rang hollow in her ears. She knew the truth of her birth, and accepted it. However, the hunters would never understand. How could they?

    A bemused look spread across Anikin's face. "A fairy tale crafted by mothers who wanted to scare their children into falling asleep earlier. Briarhearts do not exist. No, we can see you for what you truly are. I must admit, however, that the plant-based magics your master used to drag you back to this plane are rather unique. This is why you still find yourself among the living."

    The elder hunter leaned in closer, his face twisting into a horrible grimace. He snatched up the All-Seeing Eye off the table and held it inches from Hype's face, furiously shaking the pendant. "Now, creature, tell us about your master. The Sway compel you!"

    Her briar-knit fingers digging into the arm of her chair, Hyperion's voice was like acid. "Do not call me a creature!"

    "Would you rather be called fiend? Monster? Abomination?" Anikin asked tauntingly.

    Hype snarled. She gnashed her razor-sharp teeth, her tormentor's words scraping along the inside of her skull and jabbing her like red-hot needles. For the first time in her short life, she wanted to kill someone--to rend their flesh from their bones and drink their tangy blood. To watch them as the light of their life faded from their eyes. To hear their last breaths rattle out from their throat. To feel them grow cold in her hands.

    "Speak now, before I send you back to the circle of Hell from whence you came!"

    When the wood snapped, it was like a crack of thunder.
    Last edited by BlackAndBlueEyes; 05-16-17 at 08:50 PM.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  7. #17
    Break knees, collect fees
    EXP: 94,624, Level: 13
    Level completed: 34%, EXP required for next level: 9,376
    Level completed: 34%,
    EXP required for next level: 9,376

    AP
    14
    GP
    2,455
    BlackAndBlueEyes's Avatar

    Name
    Madison Freebird
    Age
    Too old for your s***
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Job
    The Absolute Worst

    View Profile
    It all happened so fast.

    The ropes still tied around her wrists, with pieces of the chair arms that she was bound to dangling in the air, Hyperion shot like a bolt of lightning aimed at Anikin's throat. Before the aged hunter's face could contort itself into a look of surprise and alarm that you'd suppose someone would have if an undead plant monster lunged at you, the briarbane's teeth sunk into the meaty flesh of his jugular--aided by the fact that the man had very little chin to speak of to get in her way.

    A horrible grinding noise echoed in her ears as her incisors scraped against the inside of his spine. Hype's momentum carried her until she tackled her prey to the floor with a heavy thud.

    She immediately pinned the hunter down so he couldn't try and strike her, and clamped down tighter on his throat. If his spine hadn't been in the way, Hype could have very well taken his head clean off his shoulders.

    Anikin's blood spurted into her mouth and across the floor of the cabin as the briarbane wrenched her head back and forth, content with settling for an evisceration instead of a decapitation. The old man's lips quivered as he desperately tried to scream for help, his face quickly going pale as the dark, sticky crimson liquid pooled around his shoulders. Hyperion relinquished her grip on his neck long enough to rear back and unleash a horrible, monstrous cry at the man who called her an abomination. She was in control. She was going to kill him. She oh so terribly wanted to see the fear in his eyes in his final moments.

    Suddenly, Hype felt a tightness in her chest and the sensation of being picked up off the ground. She looked down to see a long metal pole sticking out of her chest, piercing one of Madison's best vest and shirt combinations. The briarbane whipped her head up to see the determined fury etched on the redhead's face.

    Hyperion could do nothing to resist as she was driven back against the wall. The hunter ripped the spear free from her chest, pulling out bits of plant matter and spilling a trickle of dark viscous liquid onto the black fabric of the vest.

    All the briarbane could feel was pain and hate--a swirling inferno of blackened malice that drove her forth and gave her the motivation to push through the haze and lash out at her new attacker.

    Before Hype could pivot her feet to lunge through the air, she felt another punch to the chest. And another. And two more. Her ribs splintered from the impact of the sharpened tip of the spear piercing her green flesh and dragging across bone, cutting through her organs like butter. The last strike was perfectly aimed--through her heart and out her back. A loud thunk! shook the cabin as Tanya drove the tip of her spear into the wall of the car, trapping her in place.

    Blinding pain overtook Hype. Giving into her baser animal instincts, she thrashed, snarled, and screamed as she tried to wrench herself free from where she had been planted against the wall. Her energy was quickly fading, and she only became more and more desperate.

    Her hands still tightly gripping the shaft of her weapon, sparks of electricity danced across Tanya's bone-white knuckles. They were small at first, crackling in the air as they grew and grew in intensity. Energy began coursing through the rest of her body as she readied her spell.

    With an arcane utterance, she unleashed all of her fury in a single blast.

    Hyperion's cries drastically changed tone as her body convulsed, the hunter's magic tearing up and down her veins, causing her to dance like a broken puppet.

    Tanya only grit her teeth and poured even more of her anger into her. She tightened her grip, focusing more of her anger and fury into the spell. Beads of sweat formed on her head and quickly evaporated as she silently continued the incantation.

    The amber light in the briarbane's eyes started to fade. Her jaw was working, clenching and opening, clenching and opening as she tried to fight the energy that was ripping her apart from the inside.

    “M... Muh muh--”

    Hyperion raised a twitching hand into the air. Tanya braced herself for a trick that would never come.

    “Muhmuhmuhmaaa-a-a-a-a-adisssss-s-s-on...”

    The life leaving her body, Hyperion went limp against the wall.
    Last edited by BlackAndBlueEyes; 05-17-17 at 08:57 PM.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  8. #18
    Maul-Slayer
    EXP: 172,649, Level: 18
    Level completed: 14%, EXP required for next level: 16,351
    Level completed: 14%,
    EXP required for next level: 16,351

    AP
    104
    GP
    16,175
    Breaker's Avatar

    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
    Age
    Ageless (looks 28)
    Race
    Demigod (human)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Light Brown
    Eye Color
    Hazel
    Build
    6 feet / 202 lbs.

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    Thread Title: The 3:10 to Tirel
    Judgment Type: No Judgment
    Author: BlackandBlueEyes

    Rewards: BlackandBlueEyes receives 3000 EXP and 180 GP.

    Congratulations!
    ... They fell to him as prey to bluefin
    for the Jya's warriors knew not how to swim...
    13-3-2

    I wrote a book! ~ Most Suave Character 2010

  9. #19
    Deliver Us
    EXP: 63,334, Level: 10
    Level completed: 85%, EXP required for next level: 1,666
    Level completed: 85%,
    EXP required for next level: 1,666

    AP
    5
    GP
    6,395
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
    Build
    6'0", 155lbs
    Job
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

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    Althanas Operations Administrator



    "When we were young, was this the dream we had? We're celebrating nothing. We need to find our way back."

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