Dawn broke the night, shattering the darkness and forcing it to flee beyond the mountains in the distance. Aya grumbled as a ray disturbed her, reaching up to rub at her eyes. As she grew more aware, she became more uncomfortable, shifting around on her bed. Finally, as she gave up and stretched out her body, she heard a clang resonate through the air.
"Morning," The child mumbled after she wandered outside, reaching her small arms up and around to hug her father, still busy at work with his hammer and anvil.
Chuckling, the weathered man knelt down to return the hug, "You're definitely not a morning girl." He noted, patting the girl on the head and ruffling her leaf-green hair.
Aya was slow to nod, sleep still clinging to her movements as she nearly fell over. The man chuckled once more, "Go inside, I'll get breakfast ready in a moment."
Breakfast was just a small meal for them, consisting of a salad along with eggs on the side. The blacksmith noted however that they had nearly run out of eggs.
"Aya, can you go over to the farm next door and see if they have some eggs for us?" The man asked.
Aya nodded, "Sure." She replied, her voice clearer and stronger.
The blacksmith smiled, before stretching his arms and wandering back outside. His work was never done.
It wouldn't be until later in the afternoon that something felt off to him. The farm wasn't that far away, but Aya should've been back by then. He sighed, looking towards the house, before spotting the smoke rising in the direction of the farm.
The blacksmith's face hardened, and he set his hammer down, before walking out to follow the trail.
At the outskirts of the farm, he saw his neighbour's house on fire, a band of people on horseback in front of it.
"What a waste." He spat, shaking his head. Increasing his pace, he calmly approached the riders.
"Who's that?" One of them asked.
"I'm just a humble blacksmith." The man replied.
The riders looked at each other a moment, confused at his forthright response. "You're unarmed so why are you here?" Another asked.
"Just looking for my daughter." The man replied, his tone unwavering.
The rider at the front of the column chuckled, as a few others shared whispers, "What is she worth to you?"
The blacksmith felt a chill. He had guessed they were bandits, but the confirmation made his blood boil. His eyes left the leader to glance behind him. Sure enough, he saw a glimpse of green on one of the horses.
"Anything I've made or can make, I can give to you. Nothing can replace her." He replied, "But, we'll need to go to my house in order to get any of that."
Satisfied, the leader nodded, grinning and rubbing his tattooed hands together, before beckoning the others to follow. The blacksmith moved quickly, knowing he didn't have that much time and he still wanted to check on his neighbours at first opportunity. First however, he had to ensure Aya's safety.
"I'll grab everything I have." The blacksmith said when they reached his house, "First though, let me see her."
Shrugging, the bandits dismounted, one holding on to Aya. She was very quiet, and appeared to be blindfolded. The blacksmith nodded, "I'll be quick."
True to his word, the blacksmith returned in moments, an assortment of blades in his arms. He put most of them down on the ground except for one. "These are commissioned work that people in the city have asked of me. I'm sure you could take them there, get the pay for them, and leave before any of the guards notice."
The leader blinked, his hand going to his chin as he rubbed it thoughtfully, "Not a bad idea." He had to admit, "What is that blade though?"
"This thing?" The blacksmith held the last blade up, a curved crescent blade upon a star shaped guard, "Not worth mentioning really, just a project of mine."
"What kind of project?" The leader asked, taking one step forward.
"I'd tell you, but it's probably easier to do this." The blacksmith suddenly lunged, stabbing the leader through the chest with the blade.
Stunned, the other four bandits quickly fumbled with their cloaks, starting to draw their weapons as the blacksmith withdrew his blade, "What did you do?" One of them asked.
Advancing swiftly, the blacksmith slashed one across the chest, the blue blade piercing through his armour, causing him to fall to the ground, coughing up blood, "I did as I said, I gave my work to him." He quickly brought the blade down, slashing across the leg of another.
"Stop!" The bandit holding Aya shouted, holding a dagger threateningly, "Or she gets it!"
"I do have to thank you for blindfolding her; I'm glad she didn't have to see this." The blacksmith murmured, lunging again and swinging his blade up, slicing right through the offending arm, causing the bandit to recoil and fall to the ground in pain.
The last bandit didn't have a chance as the blacksmith whirled his blade around, catching him in the chest before he could stab him. Inhaling slowly, the blacksmith felt his body relax a bit, wrapping an arm around Aya protectively, "Are you alright?"
Aya tilted her head up, smiling, "I'm fine, I knew you'd win."
The blacksmith picked her up, walking back into the house. It'd take a while to clean up, but at least there was a few less bandits running around.
First fragment, I'm definitely rusty. Still, hope it wasn't *that* bad.
Aya - Killoren [no class/level]
Blacksmith - Human [fighter with power attack and cleave]
The dark miasma pouring off of the dead and dying contaminated the otherwise serene landscape. Any other creature would've fled, lest they fell to the minor shadowland that was forming from the remains of the battle. Moon, however, was not another creature. She wasn't even alive.
Moon glanced down as she walked along the road, viewing the bodies of the fallen lunars with disinterest, but feeling the corners of her lips draw back in a restrained snarl as she looked upon the dragon born. She knew not who they were, but what they worked for. It was no different from when she was alive.
She nodded to herself solemnly, quickening her pace to trace the path of the survivors. The dragon born of the wyld hunt would not pick a fight they could not win, even if it was a small lunar clan. She had been tracking this particular squad for a while now, and it was about time to pay her dues to the reaper. It was rumoured that the leader of this squad had commissioned a weapon from a legendary blacksmith far away, but a petty blade would be nothing compared to her.
Moon used no power in her tracking; such things would be more easily detected by her prey. Still, she did not rule out the possibility that they knew of her presence. She just wondered whether they understood what that meant or if they underestimated her.
By nightfall, she could make out a thin smoke in the sky. Clearly they were trying to conceal themselves as best they could, but Moon was a bit too close for that to aid them. She had no fear as she boldly entered their campsite. Fear was something only a living thing had, and she was not alive.
"Halt!" one of the dragon born standing watch called as she walked forward, "Who are you? What is your business here?"
Unsurprising, her pale skin and dark hair weren't fair indicators of her condition. Either that or this one didn't know about her kind.
The other guard, and older one, paled as he saw her, "That's an Abyssal!"
Moon smirked, "I am Dark Side of the Blood Thirsty Moon. The Underworld beckons. To me, Sister!" She called, closing her hand around a large black scythe, appearing out of the air.
By this time, the others were stirring from slumber and rushed out to repell their assailant. However, being already weary and wounded, the soldiers of the wyld hunt did not offer enough resistence to fend off Moon's attack. She cut them down one by one, their blood soaking the blade of her scythe and flying off the tip as she swung, leaving a trail of petal shapes in the air. Finally, all that was left was the captain.
The captain was garbed with jade armour, the blade in his hands also jade, but with an golden star inlaid in the guard. He stood ready, his blade poised and ready to fight.
"You strike when we are down. That is coward's play." He noted.
"Would've ended sooner if you let me catch up to you. You knew I was here." Moon replied, her voice monotone as blood dripped from her black caste mark, visible on her forehead.
"You are disgusting. Your kind is a plague that-"
"You going to fight or not? Long winded monologues are pointless. I am what I am. I kill because I have to." Moon smirked, "Your kind is worse."
Moon brought her scythe forward, pouring power into the blade, giving it a dark violet sheen. Sensing the danger, the man tried to bring his own blade up to parry, but Moon's strength was greater than his own, and she bashed the blade away, bringing the scythe to slice between sheets of his armour, but leaving no trace of its passage. The man nearly doubled over in pain, running a hand over where a wound otherwise would be.
"What sorcery is this?" He gasped.
"Hardly sorcery. It's really simple actually. I'm surprised none of the other exalted figured it out." Moon replied.
In rage, the man brought his blade to bear, lunging forward and piercing Moon through the torso with it. She grimaced as she still felt pain, but she quickly grabbed onto the offending blade's hilt.
"Bad move." She said, quickly whirling around to jump with a spin, flinging him to the ground. Her momentum unfinished, Moon whirled with the deadly scythe, bringing the blade down fiercely, to decapitate the man.
Moon grunted as she stood straight, pulling his sword out of her body, "If I was alive, that would have killed me..." She chuckled, before breathing deeply, dropping the sword and holding the scythe close to her, cradling it in her arms.
"It'll never be possible for me to avenge you, Sister, but I'll keep striking down that wyld hunt until they are forced to stop." Moon promised.
I know you will, just as you know I'll always be here by your side.
Moon took a breath, a tear trailing down her cheek as she looked up at the scythe. They would be together forever, as long as she was the one who held her Sister's Heart.
Whoo... so that is Moon. She's definitely scary, not someone you want to meet at night
Moon - Dawn Caste Abyssal
The "Sister's Heart" scythe - a soulsteel grand grimscythe, made with the soul of Moon's sister.
The wyld hunt - a faction in Exalted that hunts down all Exalted (Lunars, Solars and Abyssals), if I remember right, purely made up of Dragon Born.
Posted on 2012-04-02 at 19:26:03.
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 349/54 6201 Posts
The moon rose red, one of the few remaining lights in the still city. All was quiet, except for the slow, aimless steps that echoed from the shadows. Occasionally, there was a muffled crash of something or someone tripping over a fallen streetlight or similar debris.
Too much noise for the dead.
"It's nearly impossible for me to get a sense on how many are out there." Luminia murmured, "I don't like it."
The goth girl was no stranger to zombies. She had been claimed by people to be a vampire, both seriously and in jest, and with research into her claimed being also came some knowledge about the different types of undead in general. Luminia grimaced, one of her fangs glinting in the faint candlelight inside the outpost - really nothing more than a boarded up corner store they had connected up to the base.
"I do wish you'd take those off, in this light it might scare me." Jinx joked.
Luminia giggled, "I'm so used to them now, not wearing them just feels weird." She admitted, "But really, I think we might want to consider abandoning this building."
Jinx blinked, "Why is that? We all thought it was a good idea to get more space."
"The connection back to the house isn't easy, and the older members of the coven won't be able to make it here if needed. We need to try to stay together as a group as much as possible. That's how it works." Luminia whispered.
Jinx looked back at her friend sadly, "Well, to be honest, that might be a bit too optimistic "
Luminia sighed, "I know." She turned her gaze towards the boarded up window, listening again. "Something just feels wrong."
Silence. If she weren't already pale skinned, Luminia's face would have permanently changed to be so then.
"Get back!" she shouted suddenly, eyes darting to her surroundings as she jumped back, drawing her bokken in the same movement.
No time. She grabbed Jinx with her free hand, and ran back towards the stairs. Not a moment too soon. Inhuman cries rang out as the boards bracing the exits were tested. The banging, strangely enough, aided both sides. It jumpstarted the adrenal system of both girls, and weakened the barriers between them and the dead horde. With Jinx in tow, Luminia darted up the staircase, not bothering to slam the door behind her. These things didn't stop for doors. At least not un-reinforced ones.
"Where are we going? The way back-"
"We're not going that way. It'd lead them back with us." Luminia said, her azure eyes steely as she quickly considered her options. There was only one.
Make a stand wasn't it.
"The roof." Luminia said as she continued to pull Jinx up the stairs.
"What about it?" Jinx asked, panting to keep up.
"Breathe, match your steps. Remember the marathon?"
"But what- oh never mind." Jinx shook her head, clearing her mind a bit to focus on her pacing and her breathing.
When they reached the roof, Luminia did not stop. Jinx saw what she was doing immediately.
"Are you crazy!?"
Maybe she really is a vampire, Jinx thought, I sure hope she can fly.
* * *
Silly Jinx, of course vampires can fly. That was never the question.
Question is, did Luminia judge the distance to the building beside them correctly?
Dashing on top of/through buildings is fun. Mirror's Edge, zombie edition?
"Miss? We appreciate your patronage, but it's nearly closing time." The attendant suddenly spoke, derailing the teenager's train of thought as she was putting more quarters into the machine.
"Already? Damn, I didn't realize it's already been that long. One more round?" She asked, flicking her violet hair back as she looked up at the attendant.
The attendant nodded. Satisfied, Nirelle stood back up and adjusted the arcade shotgun once more, getting ready for the virtual zombie horde.
Just as she was ready to pull the trigger, the power went out.
Nirelle swore, "Gorram power failures, what's this city coming to? Oy!" She waved at the attendant that she couldn't completely see, "Can I get my quarters back?" She asked, "Guess it decided to close early, huh?"
The attendant looked around vacantly, before pulling a flashlight out to count some coins, "I... guess so? I'm certain I just reset the fuse not too long ago."
"Hold up, fuse box problems?" Nirelle asked.
"Yeah. We've been needing to replace them roughly every week lately, though it's starting to get more common. We're trying to figure out which console it is that's drawing so much power."
Is it really just a greedy console, or could it be them?
"Mind if I borrow your flashlight? I'm not exactly a stranger when it comes to electronics. Maybe I can offer a second opinion." Nirelle offered.
The attendant shrugged, before pointing in a direction, "I guess there's no harm in it. Fuse room is that way."
Nirelle nodded, subtly checking underneath her hoodie to make sure she was indeed carrying her gun. With any luck she didn't need it, but with her luck, well, better to have it. She casually walked in the direction pointed out to her, before finding the fuse room, coordined off from the rest of the arcade. Despite appearing to walk casually, she was actually making sure she didn't make much noise. She put her ear to the door.
That's a lot of buzzing for a broken fuse She considered, looking around to make sure the attendant wasn't nearby, before drawing her gun and kicking the door open.
Immediately, a loud screech met her ears. Unfortunately for the bug, by this point her ears were tempered by the music of various bands as well as its cousins.
"Gotcha!" Nirelle quickly fired, but her reflexes weren't fast enough this time. The 'bug', as she called them, a sphere of blue energy protected by hexagonal red plates, flew through the open door, hitting her in the head with one of its peculiar mandables as it flew past.
"Augh! Damn it! You get back here!"
Or at least, that's what she would've shouted, but her body wasn't particularly responsive. Nirelle staggered, her vision blurring and her movements slow.
Well, that's a first. She slowly thought, None of them actually have touched me before...
The teenager slumped to the floor, feeling her consciousness fade.
* * *
Never underestimate system bugs. They might be dangerous
Posted on 2014-01-21 at 17:28:24.
Edited on 2014-01-21 at 17:41:02 by Reralae
The shadow trailed beyond the roof, flickering on the street below. The red hexagons circled the moon far above, their blood-stained lights searching the city beneath. Ducking under the scaffolding, the shadowâs owner hid from the spotlights.
âFull moon is always a pain, eh?â
âIt has been said that anything can happen during the full moon.â
âGot nothing to say?â The cat sitting on the sill idly licked her paw before staring up at her visitor, âI know you. You came to make a deal.â
âI only have one life. Itâs not a deal I can make lightly; Iâm still having second thoughts.â The visitor finally spoke, taking off her veil and revealing a mane of silver hair, a sharp face, and emerald eyes matching the catâs stare.
The striped cat seemed to grin, âA life for a life, I believe goes the saying. Not even I know what will happen if you do it, here and now, during the full moon.â
âYou seem quite content to watch.â The woman spoke.
âIâve been watching for a very long time. Itâs always interesting. I donât meddle.â The cat replied, looking bored despite her words.
âExcept you do.â
âI beg your pardon?â The cat looked up, a bemused glimmer in her yellow eyes.
âEverything youâve told me, the things youâveâŚ suggested. Ideas. I wouldnât have had them if not for you.â The woman replied. It wasnât an accusation, but rather pointing out the fact.
âVery perceptive.â The cat purred, âIâm not inclined to tell you why, but you know that already.â
The woman nodded once more.
âYouâre almost out of time. If youâre going to do it, you might want to start.â The cat mused.
âBy your permissionâŚâ There was hesitation in her voice.
The cat smiled, âHow can I deny such a polite customer?â
With a deep breath, the woman began the incantation.
By the key to the soul,
Turn and undo the whole,
Break down the barrier between dark and light,
Blur the boundary between wrong and right.
By the light of the moon,
I ask for this boon,
Alter the future, and by my life I pay,
For the power to change night into day.
The red beams of light quickly converged on their meeting spot, but it was too late for that to make a difference. The cat smiled, looking up at the fading form of the woman, and the cat began the answer,
Life begets life,
Regardless of strife.
For your life, given of your will,
I exchange mine, so you may live still.
Nine I have, and nine I still do,
May this new life be true to you.
The power to change, you are possessing,
Beware the curse that is this blessing.
Another velvet stripe upon her body now, the cat disappeared into the building. Her part was done.
Far above, the red hexagons shattered - broken by spears of shadow reaching to their light.
Yeena took her second breath, regaining her body, her hair now split between gold and silver. The first blow was hers, but this would be a long battle. Her new cat eyes examined the moon, her gaze piercing to what was hiding within.
Perhaps, one day, she would be able to defeat the one that could not be defeated.
* * *
I wrote it, but I donât even know everything thatâs going on in it. Some fragments are weird like that. Come out of nowhere and leave even the writer with questions.
They were slow, deliberate movements. Measurement taken by the pattern and eye, and again, and only then cut. The silver needle flickered in the candlelight as the girl continued to work.
She was careful, and she was precise. She shifted, a subtle movement, as she adjusted the mirror on her lap. Her feline eyes glimmered as she saw more people leave the tavern.
He still hadnât moved from the bar, engaged in his rowdy conversation with the bartender and a few other patrons.
Needlework was the main reason why she gave up her claws. Needlework was more suited to human hands. However, that left her without natural weapons, and that was something she had trouble adjusting to.
Finally, a movement. The man had shifted. To the casual observer, that was a prelude to him getting ready to stand up. She knew otherwise. It was him looking for an âopportunityâ.
She set aside her sewing and packed her bag, taking care to draw a different needle from within and slip it up her sleeve. As though to call it a night herself, she idly walked past the bar.
The man took this moment to âaccidentallyâ spill his tankard on her dress.
âDamn these clumsy hands. I swear, I can usually hold my drink.â
Well rehearsed. She was as well.
âWhat do you think youâre doing?! This dress was expensive. If it stains Iâm going to have you pay for a new one.â She feigned her anger; the dress looked it, but it only cost her the cost of the materials.
âI really am sorry. However, Iâm a merchant, and how about I make it up to you with a new one?â
She feigned giving it a thought, a slender finger tapping her cheek, âVery well, letâs see what you have.â
She followed the man upstairs, towards his room. Her feline ears strained as she listened.
She heard another couple going down the stairs. She heard another inn door closing.
When he reached his door, the man fumbled with his keys. Her eyes told her the truth of his movements.
âYou okay there?â She asked, playfully clapping her hand just above his shoulder.
In that motion, she let the needle slide up to her hand, before angling it down. There was far more force behind it than she let show. It pierced his neck at a point well-practised against, and all he could do was sigh as it drove into his spine, paralyzing him in an instant.
âOh dear. I think you mustâve lost count of your drinks.â She said, keeping character as she feigned a struggle to keep him upright, âLet me get that door for you.â
As she let him down to the ground, taking a step forward to do so gently, she let her hand stray to her boot, sliding a dagger up her sleeve with one hand as she retrieved his keys with the other.
Opening the door, she barely paused, paying attention to what she saw, the typical inn room. She picked the man up again. Taking a step, her foot made no sound on the wooden floor beyond the doorway. She smiled.
That makes things simpler.
In an instant, she had kicked the door shut, causing no sound, and threw her dagger at the form hiding behind it. With no need to target the neck, it sank into his torso. He staggered back, but she saw he was not out. She rectified that with a sharp kick, catching the man in the head and he crashed into the wall.
The entire exchange was soundless.
It took only a moment for her to retrieve her weapons and leave the body of the âmerchantâ in the bed. He was still alive.
Taking two vials out of her bag, she administered the drug to both of them. It would remove the last hour from their memory. In her line of work, it was precautions like that which kept the dead from pointing fingers.
She walked out, leaving no trace that she had been there, apart from the two fresh corpses.
Her client had wanted the âmerchantâ to know who had put the price on his head, but the silence effect prevented that, even if she was willing to oblige the silly request.
Yeva returned to her room, and left the inn. Time to retrieve the other half of her payment.
* * *
Underhanded would be really powerful for an assassinâŚ
Havenât been in many games where PCs are in a position to actually assassinate a target thoughâŚ or for that matter how many players would be patient enough to try and get all the circumstance bonuses before going to pull it off.
Posted on 2014-12-13 at 17:42:00.
Edited on 2014-12-13 at 17:42:59 by Reralae
All it took was a glimpse. One look broke down everything that Emily could see. The underlying structure, both mesh and material, and hints at the code behind it all.
Emily's lips curled into a wide grin. The rush of seeing it all was why she used this interface. The conventional methods used the command line, and while it was practical and to the point, it didn't offer as wide a field of view as her personalized interface did.
In her opinion, it made the experience feel more real, and it was good to have the option of seeing everything at once.
Wings flickering behind her, she lept forward, entering the sea of data proper. Packets buffeted her like prevailing winds, but she was no lightweight flier. With a few flicks of her fingers, she dived straight forward, with pinpoint accuracy.
Firewalls surrounded every node, but she was not searching for entry into any. The job was to get a package, and that meant tracing the original message.
Emily spread her hands, looking for all the world like a little girl taking a picture in pretend. The command line interface appeared in front of her, and she started typing. She was given a potential address to analyze, and that was her only point of entry.
It took a moment to identify the server. On her interface it looked akin to a beehive, with so many packets entering and exiting, busy little bees. It'd be difficult to crack if she was trying to access the entire database. Thankfully, it was only a piece she needed to access, so only one key that she needed.
The inside was dusty, unkept, with stacks of unread mail littering her perspective. Waving her hand, Emily brought up her command line input again in order to initiate a search.
As it turned out, the package she was after was fairly large compared to the others. The only thing that she was requested to retrieve was the attachment, and with a transfer, it was almost in her hands. Emily took precautions, however, and investigated the attachment with a remote computer.
The files were clean, not even encrypted. They appeared to be sewing patterns for some type of a doll.
Emily shrugged. As long as the files were clean for her to fulfill the transfer, that was all she cared about. The only thing left was to notify the recipient.
To the one who plays the flute,
The gene of connection bypasses dimensions.
My wish to turn the velvet room into a club was vetoed.
Get the cherry for bonus points.
As always, avoid de-resolution.
That will be all.
With the message sent, all she had to do now was wait. And perhaps spend some time doing her own work...
* * *
Cyberscape, the digital frontier. It barely comes up in most games, generally taking place in the physical realms, but it's a place I have a fascination with.