The Seven Plagues

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Endadelta
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Unread postby Endadelta » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:56 pm

From his stance, he couldn't truly identify the girl... but, indeed, from what little he could discern, he would find that this person wasn't anyone he knew. No matter.

The counter was heavily covered with some sort of curtain, perhaps for the healer's privacy. The ringing of the bell, however, brought about a shift; the curtain was partially pushed away as a figure of some sort, dressed in white mage togs, appeared at the counter, looking Greg over. From Greg's perspective, the figure had set the hood in an apparent attempt to foil identification...

... but the figure was still able to see him clearly, as it began to speak. "Yes, yes, can I help you?" the healer inquired, apparently still visually inspecting him. "You look healthy enough. Do you have something else? Blight, bugs in your gut, maggots in your brain? All can be cleansed, provided you have the cash. I'm not running a charity here."

***

Justin sighed, having regained his senses, and watched the Minions do their thing. Minions... Anti-Minions... it was difficult to tell them apart at this moment. Infinity... or rather, their scientist Ninten, had made the Minion doubles eerily faithful to the original product. As to why Ninten had bothered to make Minion androids... well... there were truly some questions which could never be answered.

The apparent plan at the moment was to sit and take a brief respite from the chaos which had been transpiring as of late, and it wasn't a bad idea. However, he had to do something more... and so he attempted to open up telepathy with his 'brother' of sorts, once again.

Kelne... can you hear me? We should be a bit closer to your location by now...

Stephen remained by the wreckage for the moment, wiping his blade on his torn cape, and apparently lost in thought. Something was troubling him, that much was certain.

The Minions would find that, for some good distance away from the crash site, there was... not much. More wasteland, stretching on for miles on end. Not much that was of immediate interest or amusement, sadly enough.

***

The two would slowly pull themselves up and out of the chamber, as there was no apparent way down from there. Their ascent would uncover where the monstrous being posing as End had been, and in its wake it had opened up a rough entrance of sorts to the apparent primary path... with no Ikei in sight, either. It would seem that going down said path would be safe... for the moment.

42 sighed. "I've got the worst feeling that religious order has something to do with alla this, too. I know 93 means well and all, but... there's just something about her cult that I just can't quite trust in. That and that... image of her appearing earlier."

"... thing is, while I'd love to meet whoever's apparently responsible for any of this, I get the feeling things will only get worse from there. You'd think dealing with hordes of cannibalistic mutants on a daily basis would be enough, but apparently not."

As the two continued downward on the path which seemed to lead towards said 'holy water', a chill began to fill the air... perhaps not even a chill, more so a gust of icy cold wind.

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Kelne
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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:29 pm

"Well, if nothing else, there's the fact that the religious types have set up shop in the middle of a tower full of said ravenous cannibal mutants with no apparent fear of being attacked whatsoever. Doesn't speak well for their common sense." Kelne shook his head, "It's all going to end badly sooner or later."

He was continuing forward, idly wondering what might be causing the sudden chill and whether he'd have to kill it, when the message came through.

Ah, Justin. Good to hear from you. Whereabouts are you?

-----------------

For now, the cleanup operation continued, the assembled minions showing no particular inclination to venture off the ship. At least, not without something interesting presenting itself.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:47 pm

"... I often wonder..." 42 began, but he stopped his thought midway, instead shaking his head. Perhaps at the idea of the thought, or something else altogether?

The chill persisted as the two continued to descend on the seemingly eternal staircase. It began to build as they went further, and actual icicles seemed to have formed here and there on the walls. The very building material of the tower, at this point, appeared to have shifted color to a deep, cool blue.

Hmmm. Well, as they say, there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is, we're here on this godforsaken planet.

The bad news? ... an idiotically persistent Infinity assassin decided to tag along, and ended up causing us to crash in the midst of a seemingly endless wasteland. Needless to say, this has set us off course by... oh, just a tad.

You wouldn't happen to have some sort of overly convenient macguffin, would you? Perhaps a magical portal that can gather us all up in one burst?


***

Needless to say, said cleanup operation would take quite a while, as the ship was in a very terrible state of disrepair. At the very least, there was nothing attacking them at the moment...

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:22 pm

Glancing over her, he steps aside, gesturing to Jikuro. "Not me, it's my friend here. We were jumped, and she was hurt pretty bad. Potions weren't enough for her...can you help?"

And though the concern in his voice is truly genuine, the action is only partially, as Greg takes the chance to scan this woman's thoughts as well, hoping that she too is just what she appears to be. Wary about her hood, he prepares to snap his hand down to his hilt, but for now, he shows nothing but worry for Jikuro's state, doing his best to betray no sign of his suspicions on the off chance they prove valid.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:31 pm

Jikuro stepped up to the plate, nodding. "Yes, I'm a bit worse for the wear."

"Well, what's your story, then? Mauled by a bear? Had a building fall on you? Wait, was it one of those Valthi trucks? I've heard about those... send you flying, leave an imprint on the way. Unfortunate business."

"... er, not quite. Just a bit of a... fight, really."

From what Greg could tell, the mage's thoughts appeared to run along the lines of...

A bit of a fight, huh. What do we have here... domestic abuse? Or maybe it's the other way around... or maybe it's mutual. I don't know anymore... people have issues. I'm not a mind doctor. Though I could be... though healing's good enough for now. I'd like more money, though.

The rambling state of mind aside, the thoughts appeared to betray nothing suspicious about the healer. For the moment, it seemed that Greg could put his suspicions to rest.

"Well, then, both 'a you can come on back. Just open the door. It's not locked... although if you opened it without my permission, I'd be liable to use my warhammer and make your skull collapse in upon itself... then heal you for that and charge you for it, too. See, I take my business seriously."

The mage peered at the sleeping woman for a moment. "Ah, she's still out. Well, good. That friend of hers was also in pretty rough shape. Worst shape I've ever seen for one of those little Muglits. Like someone playing with a teddy bear, and decided to rough up the works before tossing it away for a new toy. Which reminds me, I need to go visit that damned Ninja, his last plush toy was a piece of crap..."

Still going on, the mage turned back, allowing the curtains to close. It seemed that Greg and Jikuro could now enter the back area...

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:45 pm

Relieved that they've found someone not wanting to kill them, Greg stays by Jikuro's side protectively as they head back, glancing around the room; curious, yet still a bit suspicious as well. As he looks about, he opens his mind to Jikuro's, speaking forth while he waits for the healer to do her work.

They both look safe. But that woman in the hall...I saw images of the moogle and the mage from that image you showed me in her mind. And Shamash too...it looked like the three of them went up against her some time recently, so she's probably on our side. And I'd bet good money that that "muglit" was the one we're looking for.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:07 pm

The two would thusly head back into what was apparently the 'healing' area; therein was an almost exacerbatingly white area... white observation tables, white counters, white walls, white cupboards... all in all, a very sterile image, which may or may not have been the right image to use for the place.

The 'muglit' described by the healer had been set out on one of the observation table/bed structures, and was currently resting. It looked somewhat young, and a dead ringer for the one Greg had seen in the resting woman's mind.

The healer prompted Jikuro to take a seat, and promptly began to weave a few magical spells, mumbling a syllable here and splicing a syllable there. A gradual sparkle began to surround Jikuro, but apparently no actual healing had begun as of yet...

Jikuro kept on a false smile of sorts towards the healer, but gave a mental 'nod' of sorts to Greg.

Then this may be a stroke of good luck for us. Once I'm patched up, we should see to having these two come with us by some means...

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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:51 am

Quite possibly, yes, Kelne sent, relaying an image of the mechanism, along with a summary of the note, I don't suppose you know the password? He didn't sound particularly hopeful; his luck didn't run that way.

You should probably watch out for the Ikei. Bunch of degenerate lunatics, supposedly in charge of most of the planet. Apparently, they attack every day at noon, like clockwork. While we're at it, do you know anything about this place? They call it a Nerve Tower.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:40 pm

Justin received the image, and was quick to expound upon it. Hmmm... interesting. From what I can recall via my stored information files, that mechanism is actually one of Infinity's models... easily exploitable via a particular key code combination. Originally programmed in by a programmer but never fully removed... this fault was realized some time later, and mostly ever single placement of that device was replaced with a more secure version. The fact that it's still here means that the Infinity presence must have been absent from this world for a fair degree of time...

... I digress. That exact key code... the exploit that you can use to get past it... I'm trying to recall it, but the data has either become partially corrupted as a result of recent events, or has simply been misplaced. I can get back to you on it, but it will take some time. Perhaps you can wait it out there a bit? You're not on a time limit, are you?


Justin paused while considering the second part of Kelne's message, before continuing with, Ikei? Nerve Tower? ... immediate files say nothing about the two items, but I'll do my best to search for some sort of definition. What can you tell me about them, beyond their attack patterns?

***

(Summarization of events in chat; Greg and Jikuro entered the healing area! Jikuro was healed, in the midst of further rambling from said healer! A price was discussed, and the total came up to more than either had at the moment. Assassin soon after came by, looking for the two, and ended up having to pay their fee. With Jikuro healed, the effort then turned to waking up the woman who had been resting. tbc lol)

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:27 pm

Well, I don't particularly want to stand around doing nothing under the circumstances. We've got Astrynax circa 1308 running around obsessed with 'revenge on the moogle', some cast-off of that Heart of Evil thing badly disguised as said moogle, gods only know what else getting up to mischief in the depths, and on the outside, I daresay we're looking at the closing stages of an end-of-the-world scenario.

Kelne paused to relay a history of recent events according to his hosts, not stopping his forward progress. Justin's off-hand comment had set off that sense of impending doom - an impression that yes, they were on the clock, and they really wouldn't like it if their time expired.

Bottom line is, Infinity's perpetrated their usual sequence of disasters, and the machinery they used to do it is essentially up for grabs. Now I don't know about you, but I don't trust anybody with that kind of stuff.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:57 pm

Hmm... I see. Whether any of that is better or worse than having to deal with your Minions and mine combined... well, it's certainly up for debate. Duly noted, though... doubtless, you've already begun moving on. Just try to keep the spot in mind. Who knows... we may stumble across an unlikely nugget of luck.

Justin paused for a good bit of time after Kelne's transmission of recent events. This pause allowed Kelne to truly notice how much colder the temperature had become in this part of the Tower - so cold, in fact, that the entire structure had apparently become as ice. That blue color earlier had been hinting at what was to come, apparently. The stairs descended on, ever endlessly...

Dire events as of late, it would seem. Particularly information concerning that Heart of Evil... I was fairly certain your lot had killed it, but then I suppose that nothing related to Infinity knows when to die anymore. Why it's posing as that moogle, I couldn't say.

There was another pause in the transmission before Justin's voice continued. Listen... something just came to me. You said 'Nerve' Tower, correct? If so... then your time may most definitely be limited. Given the presence of the Ikei and the religious order you mentioned, your circumstances have worsened by at least tenfold. Somewhat impressive, actually.

42 finally spoke as he and Kelne continued their descent downward. "The ice... you see this ice, frozen around us? ... I, I can't say for certain how, but I know that this was, at one point, Pure Water. It flowed liberally here, but... conditions transpired.

... the Water, for better or for worse, is leading us downward."

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:22 pm

Kelne frowned somewhat. It sounded almost like 42 was saying that there was something deliberate at work here. He brushed a hand up against the ice, taking care not to let it become stuck, and tried to get a sense of what energies might be at work here.

If it was, as 42 said, a single frozen block of water, then the presence of stairs descending through otherwise solid ice was indeed suspicious.

Oh, it gets worse. There's an Enlil duplicate leading the cult. Calls herself 93. I'm also taking the tour with one 42, which rather suggests there's a production line working away somewhere.

Kelne frowned slightly. Every so often, some thought would remind him just how thoroughly his world had been overturned. In his younger days, he wouldn't have had the faintest idea what a 'production line' was, let alone been able to reference one in conversation. Not that his improved knowledge base gave him a huge edge in dealing with the latest techno-magical monstrosities Infinity produced.

"I'm not sure I like the idea of being funneled," he remarked out loud, "But I admit to curiosity as to what purpose freezing all this water serves."

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Unread postby Endadelta » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:03 pm

Said ice, unsurprisingly, had a bit more to it than just being your standard example of frozen water. Rather, some sort of unique magical energy flowed hither and thither through it. What sort of energy, and why this water possessed it...? Kelne couldn't be sure. The sense that he would receive from this "Pure Water" would be much unlike anything he had ever gotten a hold of.

"Who can say...?," 42 responded, shrugging his shoulders. "The Nerve Tower... the meaning of so much of it is impossible to narrow down as of yet. The fact that it stands tall amidst so much wasteland... that much of the Earth's surface outside of this tower is barren, yet within the Tower, the water flows freely..." Meandering on, he eventually mumbled himself into complete silence. He certainly didn't have an answer for any of Kelne's questions at the moment.

Is that so... Justin thoughts paused once more. Well, I'm certainly filing away that bit of information. Nothing entirely helpful to report back to you as of yet, so I'll have to check back with you later.

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu May 01, 2008 11:22 pm

Kelne didn't bother to respond to either. The topics of conversation, for the moment, seemed to have been exhausted. He simply continued downwards, on the lookout for any of the expected horrors that supposedly infested the place. He wasn't entirely sure whether their absence from this area was a good thing or not.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:37 am

For some time, then, the two progressed downwards. The temperature continued to drop, yet the appearance of the tower around them remained much the same...

... eventually, however, the stairs descended into a room. The room was, more or less, empty, and there seemed to be of little interest beyond an opening into yet another flight of stairs leading downward...

... save for what appeared to be a somewhat tall man dressed in religious robes, staring off into a seemingly random corner of the room. He appeared to bear a miniature set of fluffy angelic wings, but the rest of him was most certainly not fluffy; his bald head was stark and impossible to ignore. His eyes, though they appeared to see the two of them, were entirely milky white.

Further, a similar-looking face appeared to have been transplanted onto his mid-section and also glanced at them briefly before looking away. For whatever reason, said second face was vertically flipped.

42 stared at the new man. "... this man..."

He caught himself for a moment, shook his head, and then pointed onward. "Never mind, he seems to be one of the religious type. Let's move on before he preaches at us."

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Unread postby Kelne » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:16 am

"I'm going to regret this," Kelne muttered before stepping forward slightly, "Greetings, sir. Might I ask what brings you to this little corner of the tower?"

The face affixed to his stomach suggested he might be some variety or other of ikei, but he hadn't attacked them yet, it was possible they might get some information out of him.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:32 pm

42 hesitated, staying back as Kelne approached the man in question.

Said man took a longer look at Kelne as he approached, sniffing slightly as the former tyrant spoke. He did not speak for a moment, and simply took the time to stare. A semi-uncomfortable silence later, he finally spoke, with a rather condescending tone, to boot. "I am a Lesser Angel of the Order of Malkuth, and I am currently searching for something. What purpose does one like you, who is defrocked of any attachment to God, have in exploring this tower? If the creatures above did not slaughter you, they will surely do so below."

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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:44 am

"I'm sure they'll try," Kelne said, "Now, I suppose I could respond to your derision in kind, but holding the moral high ground over a celestial amuses me. So I'll give you the opportunity to rethink your stance." He waited for a few moments for the self-proclaimed lesser angel's response.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:11 am

The apparent celestial snorted. "Perhaps the Ikei can better grant you an audience? I have more important tasks to attend to beyond standing here with you. There is a traitor loose within the tower, and traitors must be dealt with the utmost of severity."

That said, he began to simply walk away from Kelne, apparently annoyed enough to move on.

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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:02 pm

"Good luck with that," Kelne said, deciding that had been a collossal waste of his time and making for the stairs down.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:10 pm

The apparent lesser angel ascended the stairs behind them, leaving Kelne and 42 alone. Naturally, the duo wasted no time in returning to the stairs.

42 waited for a bit - perhaps attempting to insure that the man was a fair distance away - before talking to Kelne, tone unsteady. "That man... he was one of them. Their religion... that priest above, 93, and all of those other fools. All a part of the Order of Malkuth.

... I am not entirely certain why, but seeing that man made me feel all the worse about this entire situation, especially given the Order's possible connection. I..."

42's partial rant apparently went on long enough to temporarily distract the two. As his speech halted, the two found that not only had the stairs opened up into another small 'room' of sorts, but that the ice had apparently thawed at this point, and was not flowing into a large fountain of sorts near the center of the room. A large variety of luscious flora grew here and there about the fountain... an unusual sight in a barren world like this.

Above the fountain floated what appeared to be a woman in a tattered red and white robe; the sleeves were quite long, and extended over her hands. Her hair, long and blonde, spilled over her shoulders, revealing a long and twisted 'hair pattern' of sorts. Her eyes, while blue in color, also seemed 'empty'.

What had apparently halted 42 was her rather empty glance; it was apparently enough to bring him down to his knees. "... here... as well..." So saying, he cowered slightly behind Kelne.

She seemed to stare through Kelne, looking at 42 still. "Your water... why did you never give me your water? We... we were unable to become as one..."

She waved a seeming hand over the fountain. "This pure water from above... it continues below... uninterrupted..."

With that, she seemingly disappeared in mid-air, leaving the scene with simply the fountain, Kelne, and 42. The fountain was indeed flowing with water, most likely the thawed form of the ice that had covered a number of the floors above. It seemed unusually clean and picturesque, which may have explained the presence of plant life in the area.

"..." 42 remained in a dumb silence for a moment, but he slowly picked himself up and brushed past Kelne without a word. He remained standing for a moment longer, next to the fountain... before charging down the stairs leading further downward, apparently trying to leave Kelne behind.

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Unread postby Kelne » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:04 am

"Hold it right there, mister!" Kelne snapped, pursuing at speed, "You do not get to dash off and get yourself killed on my watch. I don't care how creepy the denizens of this place are."

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Unread postby Endadelta » Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:36 pm

42 seemed to, at the very least, hear Kelne, and slowly came to a halt. "... it's... it's not that... given the nature of the Ikei, a floating woman would certainly be the least of my worries... but..."

He had kept his back turned to Kelne during this time, but he slowly came to face the former tyrant now, eyes downcast. "... she seems... very familiar, somehow. I... I thought she had simply gone further down, and... I feel like I need to follow her, is all. No... not that I will, of course. I have a job, so if you would excuse my choice of action here...."

He mumbled something else just under his breath, but ultimately came back up the stairs into the fountain/plant chamber of sorts, eyes still downcast as he did so.

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:07 pm

"Right then. Just so we're clear," Kelne said, "Not much point in staying up here, but let's try less of a breakneck rush this time, shall we?" He started down the next set of stairs. It the pattern thus far was anything to go by, there would be some other weirdo in the next room.

"You need to remember that however familiar many of these people may seem, the vast majority of them are probably quite capable of getting you killed if you let your guard down."

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