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  • Smoke Flowers IC

  • aria

    November 1, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Continued from [url=]Forbidding Aegis[/url]

    [Day One, Autumn; Marshes, West of the [i]Great City[/i]]

    They stumbled, disorientated by their experiences with the Dweller and the sudden transportation from solid unyielding concrete to boggy marshland. Everything here stank of green rotting things and a pervading pall of smoke that made Seattle air taste positively fresh. They were knee deep in bog water, the saturated ground bordering on a vast waterway just visible through the reeds and trees to the north. Flocks of seabirds took to the skies with raucous cries, disturbed by the sudden appearance of the group.

    Taking brief stock of their surroundings it was clear that Al had been right and that they would be transformed by the transition to this metaplane, wherever the hells that was. Their dress and equipment was vaguely English Victorian but perhaps what was more startling was the effect on Zag and Isaint. Becky and Batshit where as beautiful as ever but now the two orcs almost matched them in the symmetry of their proportions, grace and bearing. Al was just Al, apparently there wasn’t anything the multiverse could do to perfect on that…

    Looking further afield, beyond the flooded wetlands they were standing in, they could see that the river curved and looped until it disappeared in to the walls of a mighty smoke wreathed city. The distance and the pervasive air pollution made it extremely difficult to pick out details of the city but it was vast when compared to the bleak open marshland they stood in. With nobody else in sight it was as good a destination as any…hopefully they would stumble across a road before they got too much further or manage to flag down some passing water traffic…



  • adamu

    November 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    The Dweller Al had heard so much about was a self-consciously spooky guy with some clunky old caveman-style jewelry on – sort of a cro-magnon metrosexual, if you will, only you couldn’t see his face under the gargantuan hood he had on.

    He didn’t speak, per se, but it was clear that his telepathy worked a hell of a lot better than the lizards’, since he could hear Al’s thoughts, and it seemed pretty clear that everyone else could, too.

    So no words, really, but that just let him get right to the point.

    He wanted to know why Al was here.

    For Silky, natch.

    But such a costly journey, at such a high personal price….

    Well, I let some other folks down once, an’ ain’t gon’ do it again.

    At that point Al knew he’d walked into the freak’s trap. It wanted to know more. How, exactly, had he let them down. Al didn’t really feel like going into it…ever. Soon, however, it was apparent that this was the price required for passage to wherever Silky was. This pissed Al off mightily, since he’d been to these stupid make-believe places before and had never had to deal with this shit.

    He could sense the awarenesses of his co-workers around him. But he didn’t care about that – his shame was between himself, God, and the damned – whom he figured he be joining soon enough.

    The longer he stalled, the more he felt himself being pulled back…he could sense Spike, tongue lolling, drool hanging from his lips, urging him back.

    Nope. He was lost. But Silky could be saved. More than ever, now that he knew she was a key player in the fight faction of the anti-Horror squad, as opposed her asshole father’s lie down and die faction.

    I killed my friends ta git all the meds fer myself.

    An’ they warn’t baptized. Not a one of ’em.

  • electric_muppet

    November 1, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Batshit impetuously stared the watcher down, she blew a long bubble in its face popping it half way through it mental instructions. It had little effect as the watch continued to question, probe and interrogate the irreverent Dryad. Slow and imperceptibly her eyes softened and a single tear ran down her cheek
    “I can’t go back there, what will if find? It terrifies me. Please do make me go back to the compound. I’m not ready to face it”

  • beta

    November 1, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    The cloaked figure didn’t speak. Zag couldn’t even say that it spoke into his mind exactly. He’d been caught in a rip-tide once and it was a bit like that, where it wasn’t so much that the water was pushing you as that the entire world felt like it was moving in one direction, and you couldn’t help but go along with it. The mental demand felt more like that, an irresistible natural force

    To rescue the person who hired us.

    Because I already missed a lot of the hard part, letting the team down, so I can’t skip out on this.

    Because I have to be reliable, strong — someone that people can lean on.

    I can’t let myself be frivolous, flighty, and weak.

    Because … because I know I’m faking it. So I have to work hard at faking it well.

    Because nobody wants a dancer. The world is serious, and I have to prove that I can be serious, that I’m not some wastrel artiste, that I can contribute.

    Because … I want the family to approve of me, to notice me.

  • gilga

    November 2, 2019 at 5:21 am

    It felt strange, a gross understatement but it is difficult to describe what happens when the original laws of physics just stop working and your mind/body appears somewhere completely alien. Strangely familiar to the matrix, void black – all it lacks is a grid of bright green lines to look like the old versions of the matrix.

    Then, a figure that is not a figure. A person? A God? An entity? Not a spirit, not a person, not anything she assensed before…. Rebbeca Knew about the dweller of the void – she heard the emotional mambo jumbo that mages recorded… Initiate mages. She followed another path, a path of physical self-control. She never imagined herself in that position.

    WHY ARE YOU HERE? Was the question – but it was not a question because Rebbeca did not respond. Not consciously, yet she responded – and that response shook her entire world.

    “I wish to be free from the wyrm”

    Nothing about SIlk, the mission, curiosity… Nothing about nurturing useful contacts. No, somehow she could feel the truth of that assement, but there was no wyrm in her life. Just insanity, death, money, and a quick path to power which Rebbeca could never explain. How could she possibly move from being a housewife to a legendary mercenary in just five years? She was always ambitious – but was there something more to it?

    There was not much time to think about it, she fell into a big swamp with a big splash, along with beautiful people which she knew are her mates, and with Al that was unchanged. “What is her” she says quietly when she sees that Al remains exactly the same.

    She herself was different, difficult for others to notice, but some of her scars from intense fighting were gone, and her hands were soft again as if she remained a housewife and did not spend most of her waking time seeking physical improvement.

    • This reply was modified 12 months ago by  gilga.
  • beta

    November 2, 2019 at 9:02 am

    For a panicked moment Zag thought they had been dumped in Amazonia, but as he groped for his missing assault rifle he realized that it wasn’t hot or lush enough to be his family’s homeland.

    “Phew, just a swamp.”

    The others looked at him oddly, even more oddly than his words would justify. As he took in their clothes he groaned, and asked “how ridiculous do I look?”

  • electric_muppet

    November 2, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Bronwean struggled to keep her balance in clinging morass. She heard Zags lamentation.
    “you fine, you look like an advert for the Berwick collection. Very much the country gentleman” even she noticed her voice sounded different, almost like a chorus of voices with a forest breeze in the back ground. It sounded more in the mind than the ears.
    “oh my” she thought “if Zag look so new and improved what the do I look like”
    She looked down at her clothing, a heavily black branded doublet in dark green, a matching frock coat over the top. As the water round her feet settled, she could see her face.
    It was still her, but longer and the ridges running up the brow were more defined, along with her cheek bones. They all framed larger darker eyes.
    She reached out in fascination to touch her face when she noticed her finger were longer and her nails were wood.
    “oh boy I’m going to stand out in the crowd now”
    She could feel a pack on her back but a swamp was not the best place to start messing around with a backpack.
    The rifle in her hand had to be back powder as it had an old fashioned hammer on it. Everything she wore looked old, used and battered. Almost like this land, she looked out across the rotten fen.
    “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”

  • adamu

    November 2, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Al spat into the surrounding bog in disgust. “Now yer gittin’ a bad feelin’, ace?” His plastique was now sticks of dynamite and the cigarette in his mouth had become a pipe, which he immediately dropped into the water.

    “Heh heh, well don’t you all look pretty!” he remarked to his ork co-workers. “See, what this cockamamie place does, it reflects yer own secret desires back on ta yer self-imagification. Seems you two had a bad case o’ race shame, or keeb-envy, or whatever the head shrinkers call it. Ol’ Al, on the other hand, reckon I’ll do jist fine with round ears an’ properly masculine features.”

    He started moving towards the city, then stopped. “Say, considerin’ the whole point o’ there here shindig is ta bring Silky & Co. back ta the real world, anyone think ta ask Ex-G afore we left how exactly we’s supposed ta go about doin’ that?”

  • gilga

    November 2, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Rebbeca examines herself and her equipment and then sobs quietly in pain “My beautiful high-tech advanced alloys bow… I’ll look like freaking Legolas wielding this thing”[/color] Her Katana seemed as usual but perhaps with a few added mystical engravings. “I’ll have to chop them with swords… I wonder if my magic is working in here.”

    Rebbeca replies “What… surprising that I am not an orc. I worked hard to overcome the limitations of my inferior physique.” She looks at Al and comments, “Let’s wig it… I mean… plans are difficult enough in our world, so no hope in this one. “[/color]

  • adamu

    November 4, 2019 at 7:58 am

    “Well, I’m with ya on the abject futility o’ plannin’ these hootenannies, an’ glad ta have someone else on board in that regard, Precious. So yup, guess we wing it.”

    Al was not as upbeat as he sounded. Making things up as they went along was fine, but that and having no idea how to return to their own plane of existence – the dingus having been left behind – did seem like a noodle-twister.

    He played the meeting with Silk out in his mind.

    Al: Heya Silky, we come ta rescue ya.
    Silk: Al! Great. We got here with an ancient artifact, but we have no idea how to reverse the effect.
    Al: Yeah, about that…..

    Well, he supposed they had to find her first. He headed out towards the city.

  • aria

    November 5, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    [Early Morning, Day One, Autumn; Marshes, West of the [i]Great City[/i]]

    As they made their plodding way through the marsh they got the first indication that this was indeed a fae realm… will’o wisps dogged their steps and annoyingly tinkling laughter whispered on the air and movement was always just visible out of the corner of the eye. There wasn’t any feeling of threat but it was grating on the nerves. Even looking in the version of the astral present in this place didn’t help as there was such an abundance of life (including the mosquitos which seemed to be gearing up for a feast) that whatever it was had no problem hiding.

    It was with some relief that they came upon a raised causeway cutting arrow straight through the marsh land heading towards the city. From that vantage point they could also see that there was indeed river traffic heading to and fro which might offer an opportunity of avoiding a long trudge. The designs were as antiquated as the costumes they found themselves in…steam barges for the most part with the odd vessel under sail…

    As they debated they heard drums and pipes in the distance shortly followed by the unmistakable thumping tread of a force on the move…



  • adamu

    November 5, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Al didn’t believe in walking when he could be standing, or standing when he could be sitting. Especially with a gaggle of soldier-types headed his way. He waved at a passing barge with one scarred hand while feeling in his pocket to see what his credsticks might have turned into….

  • electric_muppet

    November 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Bronweans feeling of foreboding grew when she heard the sound. Even she wasn’t crazy enough to take on a regiment with a musket, no matter how fancy it was.
    “I really think we should hide, and d let these fellas march past. Let see if we can find some clues as to how thing work round here”
    Wasn’t THAT different from rolling into a new town, just weird country side and heavier clothing.
    This place worried her. Being this close to a city they should be in farmland and managed land not a swamp. This place felt ill, sick, exhausted. Really odd, unusual and that put her into fight mode. Not something that happened to her very often.

  • gilga

    November 5, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Rebbeca keeps a stoic face and continues walking. She does not fight the mosquitos, will-o-wisp or anything. Instead, she raises her melodic voice and sings one of her favorite pop songs loudly. She does not feel a need to be stealthy, and sort of wish that someone will find them.
    Rebbeca is a skillful singer, with a voice that is filled with emotion and purpose, but her musical taste can be seen as a bit naive, poppy and sweet.

    When she notices the traffic, she lifts her hands and waves them above her head trying to hitch a ride for the team.

  • beta

    November 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Zag walked along, enjoying Becky’s singing and trying to get used to how his body felt in this place. Then as things began to happen his companions seemed to run off on all different directions. Hide. Catch a boat. Wait for the troop to arrive.

    Zag didn’t claim to be any sort of tactical genius, but he certainly knew that working together was the key to small unit success. Perhaps if he supported one of these plans he could get the others to fall in line? But which one?

    Hiding had appeal, since they didn’t know what was going on. But then again, how could they find out what was going in a walled city without talking to someone? If they were to talk to someone, should it be on the road or in a barge? Well, he’d had some experience with mercenary troops, and he hadn’t much liked it, so he didn’t much want to get swept up by a military troop, who would no doubt feel they were in a position of strength.

    If a boat stopped to pick them up, that was already an act of friendliness. And a barge crew would surely be a bit easier to contend with than a troop that they could hear approaching from a distance?

    So he grabbed at Becky, saying “I like Al’s idea here, let’s see if we can catch a boat ride and get information from the crew on the way. Seems lowest risk to me.

    Then he looked around for Batshit — where had she gotten herself off to?

  • gilga

    November 6, 2019 at 12:33 am

    She laughs wholeheartedly at the mention of low risk. “Well… I guess risk assessment is relative. Unless you have a way to get home. I can handle tactical situation, and still, who knows if there is a way home. I mean if you were in our world, tasked into going here physically not in astral form. How would you even approach such task?”

  • aria

    November 6, 2019 at 7:45 am

    [Early Morning, Day One, Autumn; Marshes, West of the [i]Great City[/i]]

    Al crossed the causeway, vaguely aware that the simpering laughter turned nasty as they attempted to leave the swamp and that the last few meters were dogged by unexplained trips and clinging weed that made going difficult. Fingering the metal coinage in his pocket he saw that the majority were stamped with the face of a hook nosed gentleman and an incomprehensible date. There were other designs too of various sorts but the second most common seemed to feature some sort of cartwheel design that looked vaguely familiar…

    Once on the river bank and hailing a passing barge he was pleased to see a genial wave in return and the bow turn towards the bank. The riverman’s expression changed rapidly to sour and hostile as Zag and Becky approached and he heeled the rudder over and returned to the main stream… so it would seem prejudice was as much a part of this world as the one they’d departed.

    The troop with their jaunty marching drums and pipes were now visible in the far distance and it was a toss-up whether they could hitch a more congenial boat trip before the soldiers got within hailing distance. So it was once more about measuring risk…return to the marshes and the biting insects and mischevious fae… hope a river boat stopped for them or that the soldiers were friendly…

    As ever it looked as though Isaint and Al’s improbable warping of fate was working in their favour as a small sail barge responded to Al’s hail and pulled towards the shore, the sea dog on board tossing them a painter as the vessel neared the shore.

    “’Old ‘er steady there while I run the plank out” the gravelly voice wasn’t speaking English but thankfully the laws of this place obviously imparted knowledge of its tongues… “You ‘eaded in to Londinium then ‘eh?”



  • adamu

    November 6, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    “Yup, Londinium it is, me hearty,” answered Al, refusing to be surprised by anything, and unable to resist tossing a dash of pirate-talk into his gear-grinding rasp of a voice.

    He swaggered along the plank as though it were six feet wide and jumped down onto the deck. “Alouicious Harlan Guthrie, esquire, at yer service,” he proclaimed, burn-ravaged hand extended with a grin.

  • beta

    November 6, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    While it was likely that the sailor planned to dump them all overboard after robbing them, or something, Zag was still more than happy to get onto the boat. Less people to worry about, and they were certainly not a group to be easily taken by surprise. Anyway, perhaps they could find a way to get along with the presumed brigand and murderer.

    Thank you for picking us up.” He gave a bow. “What might I be able to do to help you?” From what he knew of older cultures, they all seemed to have pretty firm customs around favours and commitments, so while he was happy to try and return a favour, he was careful not to imply a commitment with his words.

  • gilga

    November 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Rebbeca follows Al, but remains silent. “Thank you” she says. Technically the boat is unlikely needed, for her but she is reluctant to try magic in this alien place. Uncertain how aligned she is to the strange manasphere.

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