The Seven Plagues

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Endadelta
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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:23 am

The specter was silent once again, as he led Greg onward. From what Greg could tell, this establishment had been a set of homes and other assorted structures... yet he could not identify any of them, and there was seemingly no activity going on amidst them. The markers that he had seen seemed to be, upon closer inspection, grave stones of some sort.

"... the more time I spend in this air, yes, the more thoughts that fill my mind... I do, indeed, intend to... catch up with many things. There is something... in the air which floods my mind with awareness, and I intend to take advantage of which I am now aware," he finally replied, carefully.

The settlement was now only so many feet ahead. The grave stones appeared to surround the structures entirely... said structures, upon closer inspection, were infested and overgrown with the plant life of the land... one would be left to draw several suggestions about such a place, clearly.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:35 am

"Sounds like your memories're comin' back, then? Well, that's a bi' o' good news, I s'pose. Y' have your name back yet?"

Turning from the wraith, he looks around at their surroundings, taking in the sight of a village long-since left for nature to reclaim. "...Like a ghost town here. Neve' seen a whole village abandoned li' this. I'm guessin' this has somethin' t' do with tha' base back there too?"

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:57 am

"... Titus," the wraith finally replied, stopping at the settlement and looking upon it. Nothing was said, once again, for some time, as the being simply seemed to be taking in the sight of the village.

He finally spoke again as it knelt before one of the graves, fingering the individual blades of grass as he did so. "It would seem so," Titus replied, digging his fingers into the dirt by an inch or so. He mumbled a few words, one of which sounded like 'survivor' to Greg, but he couldn't discern much beyond that.

He finally stood, skull shifting back to Greg. There seemed to be something... renewed in his resolve, though what that was was terribly uncertain. "Very well, then. Shall we continue on?"

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:14 am

Greg nods, with a slight sympathetic frown. Giving the gravestone a quick glance, looking for a name or epitaph or other inscription, he soon looks back ahead and continues on behind the newly-named wraith. "Well, glad t' hear you're startin' t' recover some. And good t' officially meet you, Titus. So...what're we using t' get to Doma, anyway? Another portal or somethin'?"

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:27 am

The gravestone's text had, for the most part, faded with time, but he could seemingly make out a few letters of the name on the stone... Mir.

"No, no... in this case, we shall have to walk onward to the city. There will be some distance to cover, but I can still remember the best way to reach the destination at hand. It is my hope that you will be able to follow, as these bones do not tire," Titus spoke, beginning the seemingly long trek to the city. "Unless, perhaps, you wish to attempt to make use of the shards you have there..."

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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:31 am

"Indeed we will," Kelne said, "Move!" So saying, he removed his hand from the pillar and bolted, aiming to put as much distance between him and the pillar as possible. A few seconds later, the energy detonated. Unlike before, the vast majority of the blast was directed inwards, destroying any semblance of structure or stability within. Destroying, also, its load-bearing capability. By this time, Kelne was halfway down the stairs.

He had no particular interest in looking back. A mere collapsing ceiling was hardly going to do his foe in, and there was no sense taking any more time than necessary to descend to their ultimate destination.

-----------

"To the hold!" 32 declared, striking a pose with finger extended briefly, before suiting action to words and making his way swiftly belowdecks.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:31 am

Greg speaks with a dry chuckle, "No, no, tha's fine. I've done 'nough with these shards already, I'd rathe' give them a rest for now. Nah, I'll walk on with you.

"So...no' wantin' t' pry too much, so go 'head an' tell me if you'd rathe' not answer, bu'...I take i' y' knew tha' guy? Was tha' your village, or...?"

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:56 am

42 was already up and running, not looking behind him as he went. Something still ate at him, clearly; his expression was somewhere between stunned and angered, and the horrible monster that had just recently been facing them seemed to have no effect on this state of mood.

The ceiling itself crumbled over the creature and fell. Unsurprisingly, the stone had no effect, either; it simply slid off the creature as it continued to follow, tentacles pounding at the walls. However, as Kelne fled, following 42, the creature reformed back into the Moogle shape it had held before; armor and half-cloak with it. Two tentacles remained, however, rearing out of its back and continuing the pounding. It proceeded to pursue its two targets, moving steadily but somewhat slowly. As such, the beating of its tentacles on the walls proceeded in such a fashion.

Not that Kelne saw any of this; he was already further down the stairs.

"Do you regularly run into creatures like this?," 42 queried as they continue to flee downward. "As I've said, I've never run into a creature which could resist a flat-out assault quite like that."

***

Stephen, frankly, concurred, as did the entirety of the squadron, swiftly heading below deck, leaving the Ducks behind. Their seeming objective completed, the Ducks simply... flew away. To where and from whence, no one would ever truly know.

The sight below deck was truly an imposing one; the figure that had transformed into a bandage-wrapped dragon some time ago had returned, blade drawn, and had set several of the mechanical items to waste. Not enough, apparently, to send the ship down, but enough to cause it to quake as it continued on its path.

Justin had clearly crossed blades with it, and the two were, at least temporarily, in a deadlock. The figure, for the moment, turned slightly to the newcomers and sniggered, jumping back from Justin's stance and taking them all in at once. "It seems as if my... friends... did their task well enough... sneaking onto your ship, dismantling it partially, and attacking your captain with little to no trouble at all," Aruru continued to snicker. "Even now, your ship will slowly fail and plunge into the abyss you have here..."

"You seem terribly overconfident," Justin responded, flatly, blade lowered but ready. "As it stands, you are somewhat outnumbered, and the quarters here are, arguably, far too cramped for you to make a stand as you did last time."

He then turned to the Minions and Anti-Minions, raising his blade. "Do what you do best, Minions - make her life miserable!"

***

"Very well," Titus replied, seemingly uncaring. "As far as the village goes... I knew the settlement, to be sure, and those who dwelled within in... the grave stone I knelt at... her grave stone... was of a soul whom I once held intimately. We had even conceived a child of sorts...," he trailed off, mumbling further. Once again, the word 'survivor' was uttered, amongst others that Greg failed to catch.

"You could say... that I know what that place was, far too intimately... perhaps not the grave stones, but the location itself, the buildings... the former people..." Something further follow that, but it was, once more, under his breath.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:19 pm

"Ah. Well...y' have my sorrow for wha' you've lost. Tha's somethin' no one should have t' go through." Frowning, Greg turns his attention forward. He has no further questions for Titus on this, instead thinking over how things would be for him were he in such a situation. Losing everything, like in his vision...it's a possibility he wishes he didn't have to consider, but until this threat is stopped, he has no choice but to keep it in mind, while doing all he can to keep it from coming to fruition.

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Unread postby Kelne » Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:56 am

"Often enough that I'm getting very tired of it." By contrast, Kelne's voice wasn't the least bit worried. Merely annoyed and a tad resigned. "Historically, they tend to get stepped on by something nastier which they've ticked off. I give it a week, tops, assuming we don't deal with it before then. Be on your guard," he continued, staying on the move, "No doubt there's a reason it wants us down there."

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

Surprisingly, it was #85 who reacted to Justin's order first. He'd spent the last hour or so amazingly overlooked (or at least ignored), lurking on the ceiling, ready and waiting to make a dramatic entrance. Now was his time.

85 dropped, landing between Justin and Aruru, rebounding instantly upwards and delivering a kick backed by considerable force to her face, thereby demonstrating to all observers that there was truly a first time for everything. The effect was somewhat spoiled when his flip carried him perhaps a quarter turn too far and he landed on his head.

Following this attack came a veritable flurry of strikes by whoever happened to be in reach with whatever implements they were carrying. The attacks weren't particularly coordinated, but they were certainly enthusiastic.

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Brief delay!

Unread postby Endadelta » Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:05 am

Some time would pass, once more, as Titus led Greg onto Doma. He remained as silent as ever, shambling along as he was wont to do, and it was only once they began to arrive upon the outer boundaries of Doma (in what may struck Greg as a suspiciously brief amount of time) that Titus would begin to speak again.

"So, then, it appears we will be parting ways soon... I must thank you for the assistance you have granted me. I have... quite a bit in mind to accomplish, and though I have my doubts, I am certain you will be seeing me in... one form or another," He stated, briefly looking back into the horizon as he chattered.

***

42 scoffed. "Well, you certainly sound like the world weary one. But I'll agree with you on that note - there's likely something or someone else down there..."

As they continued down, on this note, Kelne would once again feel an all-too-familiar pain; the undead blight which had taken root in a part of his body now took on the form of a pain branching out over much of his arm as opposed to the hand alone. While the pain certainly wouldn't be enough to bring him to a halt, it would be quite distracting...

***

Stephen gawked. No one would ever be certain whether he was gawking at the return of Aruru, or at 85's successful attempt at a sneak attack. Either way, he decided to return to his shock later; first, the intruder had to be dealt with, yet again.

Aruru, as noted, was honestly taken off guard by 85, and was briefly sent flying back, propelled by the Ninja Minion's kick to the face. One part of her mind briefly agonized over the pain, while another felt severe annoyance over the fact that she had allowed someone dressed in neon green of all colors to get the drop on her.... well, she would...

... be taken by storm, as the entirety of the horde of Minions and Anti-Minions were now descending upon her with a barrage of shovels and nets... among other things. They didn't exactly hurt, and many of the attacks came awkwardly, but they were certainly annoying, and Aruru was finding it difficult to focus with so much going on around her at once.

It was only when she was able to focus on Stephen again, however briefly, that she managed to regain some mental clarity and quickly lashed out with her blade, managing to swathe through and smack aside a good number of the Minions/Anti-Minions that had been presently swiping and smacking at her. It was here that she made a charge, blade forward and aiming for a quick and cheap impalement on her presumably hated enemy.

Stephen had already gotten a defense up, however, and met her with a parry, leaving the two in a deadlock. It was quite interesting how single-minded she had gotten, somewhat inconveniently (for her) forgetting the large mass of Minions and such that still remained behind her back.

"Continue the assault!," Justin commanded, turning to the controls and hoping to make an assessment of the total damage done.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:02 am

Waving him off, Greg replies. "Eh, i' was nothin'. Thanks m'self f'r your help, Titus. If we do see 'ch other later, I hope you'll've done wha'ever i' is y' want t' do by then. I'll be headin' off m'self, here. Rather not wait too long b'fore gettin' this done. Good luck t' you, an' may wha'ever deities y' believe in watch ove' you."

Nodding to Titus, he forces himself to give him a friendly clasp on the shoulder before splitting off from the wraith, making his own way into the city. Thinking about where he might find Jikuro and the others, he first decides to check the last place he remembered seeing them; the building where she and Assassin had their rooftop conversation with the fencer.

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Re: Brief delay!

Unread postby Kelne » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:52 am

Kelne continued to ignore the progress of the blight. As long as he had a bit more time before it reached a life-threatening level, he'd be alright. For now, he continued onwards at speed.

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

Something on the order of five shovels cracked at the back of Aruru's head. Three of them wound up tangled with each other, but the remaining two seemed to be on target.

Meanwhile, 85 clambered to his feet and, determining that his ninja skills had saved the day (or at least set it up to be saved), headed over to help Justin. "Need a hand, Not-Boss?"

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Ahem!

Unread postby Endadelta » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:03 pm

(Let it be known that, despite suspicions to the contrary, I have typed a reply and thought it was posted here. Twice. I'm not sure why my browser/connection hates me so much, but then who am I, really? Apologies.)

Titus simply nodded in response to Greg, saying nothing more as the man went off. He would wait for some time; he wanted to be sure Greg was no longer watching him. Enough time passed for him to be certain about such, and so he turned and began to head back. There was a certain benefit to this state of never ending decay, oddly enough; he did not tire. While it would take time, he could cross any distance and would not suffer because of such.

This would be good, because he had several goals in mind, and they would take time to accomplish. He would first need to head back to the ghost village...

As far as Greg went, he would find that a new day had dawned on the city of Doma and that, for the most part, there was no sign of the chaos that had erupted the day before. There seemed to be a higher level of guard presence within the city, unsurprisingly...

... and one or two appeared to be stationed around the building where he had seen Jikuro, Assassin, and the fencer the night before. It was now hard to define the structure as a 'building', however; it had apparently completely collapsed in upon itself, and several craters pockmarked whatever remained. It seemed as if something had transpired there...

As Greg remained, the guards would begin to maintain a suspicious glance upon him.

***

The blight ached, but it certainly did not strive to seize his attention at the moment; the risk of death, instead, seemed a much more prominent area to focus upon.

As he and 42 rushed downward, he would find that multiple sensations were coming in upon him at once; astral flares of magic coming from some short distance downward... perhaps the destination they were aiming for was coming up? He would also hear the sound of rumbling and growling just beyond the wall that separated the duo from the 'main' path; surely, the Ikei had been awakened, and they somehow now seemed all too aware of the two.

... and, of course, 'End' was still pursuing them, slowly but surely, and as invincible as ever.

***

Aruru's head shook, and she growled, angrily lashing out at both Stephen and the Minions in a series of aggravted swirling slashes. They were dodged, easily enough, but they effectively placed everyone at a distance, even as Aruru began to growl louder.

"You think it's going to be that easy, huh? Hack away at my back while I try to focus on what I'm here for?," she growled further, obviously quite angry. "Well, guess again."

It was then that Justin seemed to compound that thought with his own confirmation of how bad things had gotten, both to himself, 85, and the group at large. "... and unfortunately, it seems she's correct. She's severed the central piloting system of this airship. We're only going to stay airborne for... five to ten minutes at the most."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:52 pm

Walking through the streets of Doma, Greg notes the presence of a few more guards here and there about the city, but passes it off as the expected result from everything that's been happening here as of late. Barely paying them any heed, he continues along, eyes open for the sign of anyone familiar as he approaches his goal.

And then he reaches it. Seeing the utter destruction left behind by whatever happened here that night, Greg stands agape, unable to help but worry about Jikuro and the others involved in this utter carnage. Gathering himself as best he can, he begins appraising the wreckage, looking for any clues of what might have happened here both in the physical and the astral realms. Before long, he feels the familiar sensation of an authority figure evaluating him, looking himself to the source of the gaze. Approaching the guard, too shaken to even keep his accent, he speaks.

"...Excuse me, but...what happened here? I was looking for a friend...she was here just the other night, but..."

With a swallow, he continues, "Was...did you find anyone in the...wreckage here? An elven woman, just about my height, with red eyes, and purple and black hair. Jikuro."

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:54 am

The guard simply shrugged. "We wouldn't know; we've been stationed here as a result of the ongoing investigation concerning the area, and we haven't been informed of anyone being found around here."

He looked back at the wreckage, shaking his head slightly. "I've heard rumors circulating, already, about supposed eyewitness accounts of battles taking place around here... but I wouldn't know anything about them."

He turned back to Greg, then, giving him a steady look. "Why, might I ask, would a friend of yours be involved in this accident site?"

***

Only moments after Justin's pronouncement of the ship's doomed state, it did indeed begin to groan and slowly curve downward... by some stroke of apparent chance and/or bad luck, Aruru's attacks had damaged what had kept the ship going.

"Your attack... it was either extraordinarily on the mark, or speaks of some sort of knowledge of the inner workings. Am I to believe that your little group of killers is doing far more than simply 'taking a job' from Infinity?," Justin queried, speaking flatly despite working at the controls in an effort to maintain some sort of stability.

"... it doesn't matter in the end, now, does it? If you really wished to know, you would have to ask our leader, Anu, and even now he'd be beyond your reach," Aruru replied, blade out and ready. "I know everything I need to know about this ship in order to make it go down, and while I will go on to survive, the lot of you will perish. Perhaps if this ship crashed on a more material realm, you would be able to live on, by some freak chance... but this plane, obviously, is not..."

Justin still worked at the controls, waving off any attempts by 85 to 'help' in any manner. "Given that your employers folded years ago, one would think that it would be impossible to take 'jobs' from such..."

Before Aruru could reply to this, Stephen dashed at her, bringing up his blade and forcing her into a defensive pose. Swords clashed, and the two once more found themselves in a deadlock. "As you said, it really doesn't matter," Stephen interjected, attempting to force her back. "I wouldn't underwhelm our host, though, and I certainly wouldn't presume as much as you're doing. Take my advice... you've already been defeated by us once, and to carry on with a task from an evil Corporation says nothing for you or your cronies..."

"You're one to talk about such!," Aruru replied angrily, breaking out of the deadlock and slashing Stephen vertically, leaving a nice slash mark on him as she did so. Stephen paused briefly before making a series of wild slashes, attempting to breach her defense with one of them but ultimately failing...

As this went on, the ship continued to turn downwards ever so slightly... while their descent was by no means immediate, the estimate Aruru had given had rounded out at about 15 minutes...

It was at this point, as Stephen attacked Aruru fruitlessly, that Justin turned to the assorted Minion/Anti-Minion crowd somewhat reluctantly. "It seems I'll be relying on you lot a bit more than I'd like to... perhaps some of this is due to my programming issues at the moment. I can only hope as such." After a brief pause and an apparent bit of thought, he continued. "She was correct... I can no longer effectively turn this ship upward. If any of you have any last-minute suggestions... now is the time."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:32 am

Quickly sizing up the guard, he evaluates the man and puts an angle together almost on instinct. An experienced sort, but exhausted, overworked after recent events and simply wanting to go home. What he needs is someone he can sympathize with, someone who's not too far off from his own situation. Someone he'd be willing to help just by virtue of Greg's situation.

Greg puts on a glare, before "fighting it down" and giving a sigh, rubbing at his face. The stress only half an act, he plays it up a little, pushing that pause just enough before finally speaking. "I'm sorry, it's just...after all the chaos...we had errands to run and we split up, and I was going to meet her near here. But then with everything that happened I couldn't find her...I've just been running ragged. And then I saw the wreckage, and...you're...you're sure no one's seen her? I need to find her...this was our first time in Doma together, and it's just...I need to know she's all right. You know?"

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:48 am

The guard sighed in response to Greg, giving him something of an annoyed look as he did so. "Listen... I understand, and I'm sorry if something may have happened to your... friend, companion, partner, whatever she may have been. But it doesn't change the fact that I've heard next to nothing about anyone matching her description."

He paused, perhaps for thought, before speaking again. "All right, then, if it will get you going, I will give you a few details about the rumors I've heard. Supposedly, a moogle and a man with a... blade of some sort... a rapier, wasn't it?... engaged a figure with a mask of some sort. The battle apparently decimated this building, and moved on to parts unknown. Make of that what you will."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:22 am

Though not receiving the reaction he was expecting, it's still a good sight better than he might have ended up with. With an expression befitting someone emotionally lost, Greg nods, glancing between the guard and the wreckage. "All right. That's...thanks. I hope...good luck to you, catching the people that did this."

With another nod, he wanders off "in a daze". She's not likely to have returned to the Jade Dragon after the attack, or her rented home...but his own, there's yet been no sign that anyone tracked them to it, and unless these forces against him would think to check up on the properties of a "Baronian cabinet merchant," they're not likely to have any luck through official routes either. It's a possible lead, at least.

But the battle...the man with the rapier would be that fencer, of course. The moogle...that being? No, he was with the fencer last night, according to the guard. But the man with the mask, he remembers that one. One of Shamash's allies, he's all but positive. Suddenly glad that Jikuro wasn't said to have been involved in the battle, he quickens his pace some, if not making a beeline for his home, then at least circumlocuting about less than he might otherwise do.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:30 am

The guard nodded, returning to his post without a further word. More likely than not, he was looking forward to some time off.

Greg's return trip to his home would be relatively uneventful; he could see that rebuilding efforts were going on here and there, with guards at position and ready to assist as needed. The city was damaged, indeed, but it seemed little more than a dent of sorts; the mark that had been made would soon be washed away... for the most part.

Upon returning to his home, he would find it unchanged... the drink he had shared with Jikuro the night before remained in the position it had been placed some time ago, and was already beginning to gather a small amount of dust.

However, upon drawing close to this spot, he would find what appeared to be a folded scrap of paper of some sort, partially weighted down by one of the glasses. Said scrap of paper was also blemished with what appeared to be a blood stain...

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:41 am

Greg's first thought upon seeing his home in good condition is relief, quickly turning to disappointment when he sees his first theory was wrong. With a sigh, he takes a seat at the table, thinking about other places to check, running over everything about Jikuro he can recall in his mind.

Then, he spots the note. Though initially heartened, he soon realizes it can't be from Jikuro; she still thinks him dead. Everyone thinks him dead, in fact...so who would have left it here. Growing worried as he spots the blood stain on it, he pulls it from under the glass, unfolding it and reading it over slowly.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:15 am

The letter was written in something of a rough, scrawled text, but it was readable enough. The content was somewhat worrisome, however;

I knew you'd be coming back, one way or another.

The group that we've been assigned to kill seems to have an affinity towards cheating death; it would be no surprise, then, that someone like you, who is more or less on their side, would follow in their footsteps.

Normally, I would be annoyed - I enjoy watching the eyes of those whom I slaughter slowly dim and fade, and to have the light of life return to such is always somewhat annoying - but you were such a satisfying mark that I'd love to try again.

So, here's the deal. I either track you down again and rinse, wash, repeat... or... I do the same to your good friend/ex-Infinity accomplice and her bandaged companion,
then you.

We were able to see you come back near that old Dragoon fortress... and that will be the spot where we will meet. Anywhere else, and our battle would more than likely be interrupted by your kingdom's little squadron of battle drones.

Come as soon as you read this, and come alone.

I await, in anticipation of the blood that will spill,

Shamash

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:54 pm

As Greg reads, his expression grows darker and darker. Reaching the end, he tosses the note to the table, rubbing his forehead. It doesn't take him long before he stands, heading to a cupboard and grabbing a handful of salt, dropping it loose into a pocket. Glancing about quickly, but not seeing anything else he might think to bring along, he heads to the door. With a quickened pace, he heads back the way he came, making the trip back to the abandoned fortress with as clear a mind as he can manage.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:03 pm

The trip took significantly longer this time around - much more so than with Titus, clearly - by the time Greg had drawn close to the abandoned fortress, the sun was already beginning to set once more. He would encounter no troubles or obstacles along the way...

... though he most definitely ran into one once he arrived at his destination. Shamash was there, sitting idly on part of the rubble and staring at the sky. A short distance away, Jikuro and Assassin had both been bound to a devastated wall of the fortress... and neither were moving. Apparently they were both unconscious, and that was no real surprise - Jikuro looked as if she had been beaten within an inch of her life. With Assassin, it was somewhat more difficult to tell, though given the now ragged nature of his bandages, he likely felt her pain.

She looked up as Greg approached, smiling deviously. "Well, well. Hello, again. Your friend and her would-be shit heel accomplice have been awaiting your presence... or they would be, if they hadn't been beaten senseless."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:12 pm

Keeping his shock internal, Greg slowly walks up to the fortress, hands empty. Though he keeps a good distance from Shamash, his glare to her is still visible, even from afar.

"...You alone 'gain? Don't got tha' gunman lurkin' 'bout somewhere, or tha' flyin' fellow wit' th' mask? Wouldn' put somethin' li' tha' past you, Shamash."

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:19 pm

Shamash maintained her smile as she deftly leapt from her perch to the ground, coming somewhat close to Greg... enough to put him on edge, if nothing else.

"... circumstances... have transpired concerning Erra, our 'flying fellow with the mask'. As far as Ninurta goes... well, he attempted to intercept the hit that was placed on you. He was punished for his transgression, to say the least," she calmly replied, eying Greg as she paced back and forth in front of him.

"I was able to kill you last time without their assistance... I certainly wouldn't need it again, would I?," she smirked, pausing in her pace to lock a cold glance on him. "Rest assured, it may be an order handed down from our group's leader, but I'm still killing you for my own purposes... not anyone else's."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:30 pm

Circling about her, he slowly spirals back, putting a bit more distance between them as he returns her cold glance with his own. "Event'ly. How many tries was i'? Three, four? Can't 'magine you go' outta tha' sort o' embarassment wit'out a bi' of punishment y'self. Wha'd they do, cu' yer milk ration? Dunk you in water?"

With a short glance towards Jikuro, he looks back to Shamash. "'course, this time I don't even go' a weapon t' fight back with. Jus' think 'bout wha' you've got in store f'r y' if y' go back a failure this time. Can't imagine i' 'd be fairly pretty for y'. You sure y' want t' risk i'?"

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:35 pm

Shamash snorted, seemingly refusing to let herself be ruffled up by his comments. "It takes time and the proper angle... neither of which I had until the very moment at which I slaughtered you. The only reason you refuse to acknowledge is that is... well, you were the victim.

Let me ask you, then... even if I supposedly fail to put you down once again here... who's to say I wouldn't succeed on a further attempt? Am I to believe that you'll snap right back to life... that you have another body waiting around somewhere for you to possess in a futile effort to continue living?"

Her tail curled slightly as she took a slight advancing step towards him, grin widening and showing a few sharp teeth as it did so. "And even if you somehow manage to win... who's to say what will happen to your acquaintances, there? Do you think that this will be as easy as simply defeating me?"

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:45 pm

He steps back again, forcing a chuckle. "Y' were chewed out, weren't you? Did y'r boss "acknowledge" how y' didn't have th' "time and proper angle" t' take me out? Wha'd they do t' punish their failures, anyway?"

"Y'r dodgin' th' question, Shamash. If y' do come away from this wit' me still breathin', how happy're they gonna be wit' you? They going t' go easy on you again, or there somethin'...harsher y've got t' look forward to if y' can't live up t' their standards? I've seen wha' they've go' planned, an' anyone lookin' t' do tha' sort o' thing can't be th' type t' look th' other way time an' time again."

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Unread postby Endadelta » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:51 pm

Shamash shook her head, drawing out her staff and swiping it towards Greg swiftly - not to attack him, but to put him on guard. She was maintaining a stance, and seemed ready to unleash an assault on him.

"Fppt, I'm not the one you should be worrying about, idiot. Regardless of what may or may not happen to me - provided I somehow don't finish you off - doesn't change the fact that those who remain within my squad will come for you, and finish the job. I won't like it, no, but as long as your life ends, I'll manage to be content in some way."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:59 pm

Not blinking against the swipe, Greg puts on a smirk, though it takes all his effort to keep his fear from emerging on his face. "Maybe so, bu' I'd think y'd be more content if y' got t' keep y'r tail when it's all over an' done with. Maybe tha's jus' me, though."

Continuing to keep if not a safe distance, at least a reasonable one, he goes for a dive into Shamash's mind, hunting about and tracking for that which he considers his best chance in this scenario; her shadowcloning.

Using Browse Mental Spellbook, looking for Shamash's aforementioned magical ability.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:10 am

Shamash seemed to already be setting that same spell into motion; however, Greg would rather quickly notice that there was not just one shadow... but, rather, three. One resembled him, one appeared to be a double of Assassin, and one Jikuro.

For a moment, Greg's attempt to trigger the spell to his own benefit faltered; it seemed that, somehow, he didn't quite have the magical reservoir required to set off what he had in mind. However, something seemed to give at the last moment... almost as if something, some external force, had given it a slight nudge...

And one last shadow joined the pending battle, this one bearing a striking resemblance to Shamash. As Greg had intended, it faced her, and seemed ready to attack...

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:20 am

Backing up from the shadows and doing his best to keep them from surrounding him, Greg draws his sword, focusing on nothing more than defending himself at the moment. With little else here to strategize with, and the odds so harshly tilted against him, for now he focuses on finding some sort of weakness. Stretching his mind to its limits, he prods at the shadows as physically he keeps his attention on not being killed by their strikes.

No attacks just yet, just trying to get a sense of if these three shadows are nothing but mindless shells or no.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:25 am

Shamash chuckled, seemingly intrigued by the presence of her own shadow double. The double, unsurprisingly, did not chuckle; instead, brandishing its own staff, it charged at her, forcing her into a defensive stance. Within a few moments, the two were exchanging swift and sudden blows...

The Jikuro shadow appeared to be holding a... shadowy rifle of some sort, as ridiculous as it seemed. It was already in the process of loading and readying the weapon for use. The Greg shadow seemed to be standing still, perhaps considering an approach... or waiting? Both were side by side at the moment, and maintained a stance close to their 'creator'. To attempt to approach this would, unsurprisingly, be rather dangerous.

The Assassin shadow, however, did not hesitate; it swiftly jumped upward and came crashing down towards Greg, dealing an initial slash that left something of a painful mark on one of Greg's arms.

Despite what they appeared to be doing, Greg's search for some sort of mental response came up with... nothing. For all of their posturing, these doubles appeared to be little more than empty shadows...

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:43 am

Wincing at the slash, he continues watching the three. Slightly disheartened by his lack of success mentally, he begins considering his options. The duplicate of Jikuro's his largest threat at the moment...but there's not anything he can do against it directly. Not yet, at least.

His own copy, the way it's hanging back...it's never shown much intelligence before, but then again, it's gone against him a number of times before, and lost each time. The beginnings of a plan begin brewing in Greg's mind. One impossible, maybe, but if it works, his best chance. He can't implement it yet, though...not until he comes closer. For now, blocking Jikuro's his first priority...he's in a ruined fortress, plenty of cover. Looking for the closest bit of wall, he makes a dash, ducking under it and waiting for one of the two other shadows to approach, sword ready to stab out at the bandaged fellow's duplicate if him...but if it ends up his own, he has a different route in mind.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:47 am

The Jikuro shadow seemed to be finishing up her attempt to reload and ready the weapon she had at hand. She would, very soon, be something of a long-distance threat...

He would rather quickly find some cover. Predictably, one of the shadows followed... but it was not his own double. Rather, it was the Assassin shadow as before. And while he was able to land a stab on its form, it swiftly countered with an attack of its own, stabbing at Greg's blade arm in a rather painful motion.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:52 am

Reaching for his arm, he glares towards the shadow-form of Jikuro's ally, before snapping out with his hand. Reaching for the duplicate's face, he makes his best attempt at grabbing hold of the tenebrous bandages surrounding its own face and ripping them away, letting them dissolve to nothing if his memory is correct and this tactic works. And on the off chance it doesn't, he slashes out with his other hand's blade, hoping to score another strike if nothing else.

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Unread postby Endadelta » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:59 am

Sadly, while the appearance of the bandaged remained there, they were in no way a material form of clothing - they were simply a part of the shadow's form, and were somewhat difficult to grasp.

Another blow was dealt, but Assassin seemed prepared for this; it countered once more, dealing a bizarre circular slash that ended up striking Greg on both of his arms. The blade-wielding arm now bore a decent bit of injury...

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:09 am

Frowning at the lack of effectiveness his direct strikes are having, Greg reaches out and grabs the duplicate by the wrist, tugging him down while kicking at an ankle. Rolling over the shadow, he attempts to trap it in a pin, knocking its blade out of its hand if he can manage to do so.

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Unread postby Kelne » Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:08 am

Kelne continued to push onwards. What else was there to do, after all? Still, might as well inject as much confusion into the surely upcoming melee as possible.

"Now may be the time to try the disguises again," he said, once again setting up the illusion of himself as an Ikei.

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

Suggestions, naturally, came thick and fast, such pearls of wisdom including, "We could use the giant parachute," "Can we blow up the ground?" "Big deal, we survived the last three crashes okay," "If flying forwards means going down, why don't we fly backwards?" "Use the Ninja Stealth Attack!" "Ramming speed," and "Weren't we supposed to be fighting the crazy dragon lady?"

This last prompted a few minions to break off from the discussion and attempt to net said crazy dragon lady. It was all rather confusing, really.

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