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Kelne
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Re: Yikes.

Unread postby Kelne » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:02 am

"Oh, I'm sure I could deal with whatever you were to throw at me. What you ought to be doing is convincing me that not attacking you won't have drastic consequences."

Kelne had a few tricks up his sleeve yet, with one in particular that he hadn't had the opportunity to test. Of course, that little trick would only only be effective if the double was mechanical, something which he was by no means convinced of. At any rate, it was probably only a matter of time before violence ensued.

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

32 took a matching step forward, before bending down closer to eye level with the lead duck. Cheerful obliviousness to malevolence enabled him to meet the Ducks' stares with not a qualm.

"I think we could probably find some bread for you. Would you like that?"

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:21 am

"As you say," the wraith groaned, and began to lead the way onto the alternate pathway presented by the candelabra. It, too, appeared to be a fairly direct path, though Greg had learned, as before, that appearances could be deceiving. Even now, the very appearance of the path appeared to alter with each step he took.

The wraith seemed to take no notice of this curious effect, merely shambling along. If Greg wished to converse, he would have to be the one to bring up the topic; this exhumed being didn't seem the most talkative.

***

42 merely growled and grumbled as End chuckled ahead of them.

"It takes quite a bit to impress you, doesn't it, Kelne? Safe to say, I won't work terribly hard at that, as I don't believe in... making use of my trump card as of yet. I have no desire to kill either of you as of yet, however... there are things that both of you must see and know before the fact," 'End' replied, keeping his pace. "You may not enjoy having to deal with cryptic messages and riddles... but what awaits you at the heart of this tower, you may wish to see for yourself. You were headed there eventually anyhow, were you not?"

"You're still failing to impress upon me any of your importance, you little runt," 42 growled again. "Idle threats fail to have any kind of impact upon me, and I truly doubt you're any more difficult than the Ikei that this damned tower have to provide."

"Hmmm. You would say that, wouldn't you? Failed creations typically fail at being receptive to any sort of claim... unless they involve the woman who was killed because of your actions," the 'moogle' replied evenly, likely noticing 42's sudden shift in stance and mood.

"... what did you say, you little shit?!," 42 growled, readying his weapon. "Are you saying my own memories are a lie?! I still don't remember who she was, entirely... but I know she was killed by the lot responsible for the disaster that's taken this world..."

"As you say," the 'moogle' replied in turn, somewhat mockingly.

42 began taking a few more forceful steps towards 'End'. Regardless of whether or not Kelne was ready to stage an assault, 42 seemed willing and ready to have a go at it.

***

The Duck stared at him evenly, making not a move. It appeared as if his offer of bread was not being taken up... in fact, it appeared as if there was some sort of impasse on communication altogether.

Stephen, who had taken some time to adjust to his new situation, groused slightly before interjecting, "Are you idiots entirely certain that you didn't bring these ducks with you from Gaera? How in the hell would they simply appear on the ship in a place like... this? Honestly?"

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:30 am

At first, Greg seems content with following in silence, once more readying his weapon in case the next encounter here is a bit less fortuitous. It doesn't take long for an itch to pick up at the back of his mind, though, and not too long after they began on this sideroad, he speaks up.

"So what is this...'Limbo' place anyway? Y' said it's between life an' death...what sorta place that make it? With these paths an' all, I'm guessin' it's s'posed t' connect worlds, even if folks like us aren't s'posed t' be usin' it ourselves for that. Or are these here f'r some other reason?"

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:38 am

The wraith would remain silent for a while, having likely been content to remain so for some time. It would, however, eventually respond, speaking in a wheezing sigh of sorts.

"I myself cannot say for certain what sort of realm Limbo is. It would seem to be some sort of point for which some are placed for one reason or another; as stated, I have seen many of the dead come through here. Surely there is a reason for this. After all, I was left to rot here for some reason or another...

And yes, I have seen paths leading to many worlds, though I cared not to venture upon them. I would gather that, were one so driven, one could find their way to most any world from this point... provided one were not distracted, or potentially devoured by the darkness and the dead that dwell here..."

It paused, shining its candelabra down a different side path this time, diverging from the direction down which they had been heading. "Any more than that, I could not say..."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:41 am

With that comment, Greg moves a bit closer to the wraith, considerations of safety outweighing the discomfort he'd otherwise feel. "...Devoured? I take it there's others like you here, if a bi' less friendly? An'...by th' darkness too? How's that? I'm really hopin' y' jus' mean th' risk o' fallin' off th' path."

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:47 am

"There are... those who have remained here for much, much longer... perhaps deemed to not need or deserve proper judgment, and instead left to fester here. They dwell within the darkness, seeking to escape their own misery and anguish by hiding from themselves within the eternal shadow of this land... but who is to say that they would not wish to potentially relieve some of their own anguish by inflicting it on another? I suppose I cannot guarantee, then, that there have been no other living souls in this realm... they were most likely taken, then... devoured by the darkness, utilized as a means of relieving anguish, and forced to join the masses here, regardless of life or not," the wraith wheezed at length, the vast unpleasantness of its words being somewhat undercut by the flatness of its tone.

"Did I not still feel the desire to return, I too would have likely joined their masses. Consider yourself lucky in that sense..."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:03 am

Unnerved, Greg simply nods, falling in line behind the wraith once more but paying more attention to the void surrounding them, and any threats that might lurk within it. Trusting his guide to know the path, he decides his abilities can be better used keeping watch for these other beings.

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:13 am

As Greg focused more on the shadow that surrounded them, he would soon begin to hear the groans, hisses, wheezing, and growling of... whatever was out there. Based upon the sheer amount of sound that penetrated his ear drums, there were quite a few of them out there, lurking and rolling about in their own misery. Not exactly the most ideal of situations for anyone, natch.

"Try not to focus too much on the noise they generate; if you allow yourself to be enraptured by their misery, you will be an easy target for them," the wraith interjected, keeping its focus on the path they were now following. "The anguish I myself feel compels me, even now, to jump into the shadows below and fester with the rest of them for all of eternity, but I have other objectives to accomplish, clearly."

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:42 am

"'Because I'm not ready to kill you yet' lacks a certain something," Kelne said calmly, raising a hand to indicate 42 should hold off at least a few moments more, "If anything, it's motivation to launch a preemptive strike. And I'm sure we're quite capable of viewing the tower's centre without you. If that were all you wanted, why bother revealing yourself at all? All you've accomplished thus far is to annoy us."

***

"...Huh," 32 said, "You're saying there shouldn't be ducks here?" Such a thought seemed never to have occurred to him.

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:56 pm

"... you're not actually terribly far off, Kelne... though it seems I've done more than annoy your testtube of a companion there... perhaps you should have been aborted early on in the process, so as to spare your female companion the suffering she had to face. Heheh...," 'End replied', chuckling as he went. At this rate, they seemed to be drawing closer and closer to what would seemingly be the 'center' of the tower; as it was, they had been going downward for quite some time now.

42 relented, but Kelne could still see he was nearly quaking with visible frustration and rage. As long as Kelne had known him (for roughly a day or so), he had most certainly never shown this much emotion about, well, anything... it seemed that 'End' somehow knew which buttons to push.

"Besides, my presence here isn't just for my benefit... I would argue it's also for the presence of others elsewhere in this Tower. Now, as I've stated before, I'd warn against futile attempts at attacking me. I know the two of you are simply itching to lash out at me... but you'll ultimately fail. Even I am holding back, as I am, right now," 'End' continued, remaining as he had been. Any attempts at an astral scan would reveal nothing entirely out of the ordinary concerning him... yet...

***

"Look at where we are. We're in the midst of some... mysterious realm, populated only by these gigantic mirror lenses and apparent portals to other worlds. It doesn't seem like the sort of place that would be teeming with life, would it? Especially ducks... especially this kind of duck," Stephen replied, nearly groaning with frustration as he went on. Perhaps a duck or two could be expected on Gaera, or any other world that may have supported them. But here, honestly? They really didn't see the problem?

"If you ask me... this is the foundation for some sort of horrible trap. And these Ducks were in on it," Stephen continued, looking around warily. "Surely you see that, yes?"

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:51 pm

Turning from the darkness now, Greg nods. "I can tell tha' now, yeah. And I ge' th' feelin' I couldn't do much 'bout them with this sword anyway, eh?" Once more trying to push the darkness out of his mind, he moves his focus to his guide's source of light, glad to have some nearby bright spot to focus his attention on, at least.

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:24 pm

"You could be right. Certainly your lot invariably seem to have some sort of gimmick that allows you to cheat death," Kelne said in musing tones, "And believe me, I intend to have words with the authorities about that when my time eventually comes. What will it be today? Ha-ha-you-killed-my-clone? My-pact-with-dark-powers-sustains-me? I'm-secretly-an illusion?"

Kelne's sword was in motion before he'd finished speaking, slicing towards the double's neck. Disruptive energies wrapped about it, designed to tear apart any enchantments it might encounter. The strike was exploratory if anything, since Kelne really didn't expect mere decapitation (assuming it succeeded) to put an end to the enemy.

It was depressing how seldom a simple killing blow could do away with such annoyances these days. Gods only knew how some poor sod without experience with Infinity goons dealt with it.

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

"Oh," 32 nodded sagely, "But what if the ducks are merely a distraction, intended to keep us preoccupied while the real threat sneaks in and goes after the Not-Boss?"

This question was delivered in tones of complete equanimity. 32 was, after all, quite accustomed to paranoid rantings about how everyone and everything was out to get them, and was simply making conversation.

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:20 pm

"Oh, their bones can be crushed and destroyed, most likely. I see no reason why they could not; I have seen them moving by, their bones wearing and breaking as time goes by. A sword would conceivably have a similar effect," the wraith croaked, continuing down this path. "However, whatever binds them here seems to bring them back, time and time again, reforming their rotten bones and binding them to the anguish of this pocket realm. You could destroy several, but simply have to face them again within a matter of moments. Truly wasted effort."

With Greg focusing, instead, on the candelabra, he would find that the noises of the 'dead' here would fade, leaving him with the same eerie silence he had beheld when he had first entered this realm. And it was in this sense that time would pass... how much time, Greg could not be certain. However, some considerable amount of silence later, the wraith shifted the candelabra to yet another divergence in the path... one heading right, apparently.

"We're not quite there as of yet... but we have covered some of the distance necessary," the wraith croaked once again, breaking the relative silence that had established itself.

***

There were no further words at this point; as the sword slashed through the neck of 'End', the body seemed to at once collapse... and erupt. What had previously been a Moogle's body quickly disappeared, enveloped instead what seemed to be some sort of black... orb, at once melting and yet expanding outward. With it came a series of tentacles, all at once lashing outwards, not quite touching upon Kelne or 42, but coming quite close.

With this form came a strong odor of decaying garbage, rotting eggs, and corpses left exposed to the winds for years on end. With it, too, came an energy that had seemingly not been there before, but came to life all too much like a similar foe Kelne had fought a number of years ago... the one who had been in league with Modica...

***

Stephen sighed. "So, either we're in a trap, or he's in a trap... have you considered that spending time arguing about it may, in fact, place all of us within a trap of some sort?"

At this, the ducks took another step forward.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:50 pm

With little else to say, Greg nods. Mostly continuing to watch the candelabra, he makes the occasional glance to the path ahead, watching for any obvious signs that they grow nearer to Gaera.

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:08 pm

The specter continued to shamble along, his candelabra keeping the darkness at bay. Once again, he spoke, breaking the silence that had established itself. "So, then," it wheezed, once more, "what cursed destiny brought you to this pocket? You say this was the only way you were able to return... what, then, brought you to such circumstances? It has been so long since I've heard an actual voice other than my own... so I intend to take advantage of such."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:32 pm

The wraith's question is at first answered with silence, as Greg thinks over the answer. However, with a sigh, he soon begins, still watching the candelabra as he speaks.

"Eh...I died ba' home, tryin' t' stop this group o' people wantin' t' summon up some big nasty creature there. Can't hardly describe i', even...don't even really wan' t' think about i', honestly. I'm no' really wantin' somethin' like that t' start wreakin' havoc back home, so I decided t' stick 'round as a ghost; couldn't help all tha' much, since folks couldn't even see me, but I figured it'd be better than nothin'.

"So I was followin' one o' tha' group, an' found this big lens buried outside th' city. Figured it had t' have somethin' t' do with all this goin' on, so I checked it out more closely. Turned out i' wasn't a lens a' all, bu' a portal t' another world, linked t' a mirror over there. I had some kinda double on th' far side. I got sucked through, an' stuck in his body. Th' mirror go' broke jus' after, so I was a bi' up th' creek.

"Not much in th' way of magic there, so I played along a' first. 'til I found a group o' folks that happened t' know a way I could get back. Nic e folks, really, th' lot o' them. Stuck in a bad situation, bu' doin' th' best they can. Anyway, they took me t' a mystic, an' he used th' pieces of th' mirror t' make a rip t' this place. I started walkin' through, an' ran int' you not long after."

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:39 pm

The specter paused, as if considering the tale, though it still moved, holding the candelabra aloft and dispelling the void that surrounded them.

It finally responded, though, croaking as it did so, "An interesting tale, if nothing else. Certainly, you are troubled. Might I ask, though... do you know from what or where this... group... hailed from? What matter of creature are they attempting to bring about...? And those shards you mention... do you still have them?"

Its tone remained flat, but there seemed to be just a hint of interest there, now.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:01 pm

Shaking his head, Greg says, "Where they're from? Can't say that I do, no. 'cept that it's off-world from Gaera. Part o' some sorta corporation, accordin' t' a...friend o' mine. Group o' assassins, mostly, bu' this's some special project they're doin'. Can't say why.

"An' th' creature...dunno what sorta thing it is, bu' I've never seen anythin' like it. It...gets int' your head, even your dreams, an'...an' it almos' feels like it's tryin' t' suck y' in. It's this...giant...thing, all covered wi' black tentacles. When it's lookin' like it actually does, a' least. Sometimes it'll hide that form...it'll shape itself like moogle. Why tha', can't say; i' looks harmless 'nough that way, bu' it's still almost as nasty.

"An' yeah, I still have them. Figured maybe they'd come in handy f'r somethin' else. I'm somethin' of a pack rat like that, rather not get ridda somethin' I might be able t' use someday."

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:18 pm

"... an off-world corporation, you say?," the wraith wheezed, pausing briefly, turning its focus towards Greg. "With a group of assassins at their beck and call... one would presume such a company to be powerful, indeed. And with such a being as well..."

The wraith trailed off, seemingly mumbling a few words to itself. It had stopped, now, and seemed to be considering something further before turning back to Greg.

"Those shards, then... would you mind if I took one or two of them?"

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:35 pm

Slowing his step a little, Greg appraises the wraith a little more closely now, his hand dropping to the bag at his side. "...I s'pose i' wouldn't hurt. Mind tellin' me what y' want wit' it first, though? No offense t' you, I 'preciate th' help an' all, bu' with everythin' tha's been happenin' t' me, I'd like t' know a bi' more first."

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:40 pm

The wraith, keeping the candelabra up, (apparently) looked towards Greg as it spoke. "From what I can piece together... I was a being of magical talents. I was able to look into items and identify what magical portents they held. If you would allow me, I may be able to look into a few of those... mirror shards... and identify what enchantments they hold. You must be slightly curious about such..."

It paused. "Unless... you'd rather remain ignorant, and forever remain unaware of the true nature of the fragments you hold... perhaps to make use of that enchantment. In which case, I cannot stop you." With that, it began to turn away, beginning its shambling walk once again.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:54 pm

Removing one of the shards, Greg holds it in his hand, looking between it and the wraith. Mulling over the pros and cons of his situation, he spins the shard in his hand, careful not to grip it too tightly and relapse into yet another precognitive vision; somehow, he suspects the wraith wouldn't be quite as considerate as Carroll over the situation.

"...Y' make a good argument. All right, y' can take a look at a couple o' them." He passes the shard in his hand over to the guide, continuing as he does, "Careful wit' it, though, don't hold i' too tight. Wha'ever kinda magic they've got in 'em, it can mess wit' th' mind some. Might not effect you, bu' better safe than sorry, eh?"

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:05 pm

The wraith took the shard, grasping it and seemingly taking no mind of Greg's words. However, he made no obvious reaction of any sort concerning contact beyond a few mumbled words. He did eventually return his focus to Greg, however, nodding slightly. "Yes... an interesting item indeed," the specter croaked. "I will be considering it for now, and will be able to tell you more later..."

It began to walk forward once again, candelabra aloft, as it continued to speak. "From what I can tell, however," he wheezed, "this item is not simply magically enchanted; it, instead, appears to be connected to an unknown source. You may not see it, but I can see it, clear as any day: a strand of energy, leading from here to... elsewhere. Perhaps if you were able to find the source, you would be able to know more about the enchantment..."

At this point, the path appeared to diverge to the left, now; the wraith adjusted itself accordingly and led on. "We draw ever closer to the gateway. What are your plans once you exit this realm, might I ask? I would imagine that they are in line with the events you have told me of..."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:18 pm

"Findin' tha' friend o' mine first, yep." Nodding absently, he examines a second shard more closely, trying to tell what exactly it is the wraith saw flowing off of it. "Once I do that, we'll have t' figure out somethin' t' do about all this. As for th' mirror pieces...what d'you mean, exactly? Th' source o' this magic...it's somewhere on Gaera too? Wha' is this, then? From th' sound of i', it's no' jus' a portal, I'm guessin'."

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:37 pm

The wraith nodded in response, continuing its shamble. Try as he might, Greg would not be able to discern the 'strand' that the being had seen streaming from it, or anything similar - perhaps he had some sort of extrasensory perception regarding this sort of item?

"To answer your question, I am uncertain. Something, perhaps this shard, begins to refill me with a greater amount of understanding... of being... of some sort... yet I cannot tell where this connects to. Perhaps it is on our home world... perhaps it is elsewhere. There is no way to tell as of yet, though if you wish to pursue this issue once you return, I will not stop you," the wraith went on at length. The shard Greg had given the wraith had apparently been pocketed, somehow; it was no longer being carried.

Time passed once more, and the path diverged roughly five or six times at this point - truly, a labyrinth of paths, all on the same level yet many leading in conflicting directions. Were Greg to have attempted such by himself, he likely would not have been able to return.

It was at this point that the speck he had (presumably) seen before now appeared some distance ahead on their path, much larger than before. It had become a gateway of some sort, through which lay what appeared to be a craggy wasteland. "It would seem that he have finally arrived at our goal," the wraith confirmed, looking at the gateway. "It has been several years since I have seen this gate last... it fills me with a special sort of misery."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:44 pm

Rebagging his own shard, Greg looks over the rift, glad to finally have something new to look at besides an infinity of darkness. Keeping his eyes ahead, he speaks up a bit quietly, "How were you thinkin' I could help y' out of here, again? Somethin' t' do with my not bein' dead, I believe y' said, right? Is there somethin' special I've got t' do m'self t' help y', or no?"

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Unread postby Endesu » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:48 pm

The wraith, finally lowering its candelabra, considered the gateway before turning to Greg. "Perhaps it is a presumption on my part, or perhaps it is some piece of knowledge that I have long since forgotten the context of... but... given that you are of living nature, that which is connected to you may be able to leave with you... presuming that you can leave, of course.

That is to say, if you can stomach the concept, you must hold onto some part of my form and maintain that grip until we have made our way through the gateway. I presume that, given your troubles, you should be able to do this much."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:54 pm

Looking over the wraith, he suppresses a small shudder, though he makes no effort to do the same with his frown. "Y' mean...take y'r hand, or somethin'? Er...ri'. I...s'pose I've been through worse. An' I'm no' gonna say no jus' 'cause of a little...er...discomfort. Jus'...how long d'you imagine it'll take t' go through?"

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Unread postby Endesu » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:01 am

"If it helps any, you may simply grasp my shoulder," the wraith wheezed slightly, a small bit of cackling in its throat as it did so. Perhaps this was its way of chuckling at Greg's discomfort?

"As far as how long it will take... I do not know. As I have stated, it has been ages since I have come through here. And my entry was not voluntary by any means, so, safe to say, I did not take record. One would presume the trip to not take terribly long, but then, as I have said, I do not know."

There it was, then. The wraith stood ready, looking to Greg.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:07 am

With a slight chuckle of his own, Greg nods. "Thanks, then. Well...no reason t' put i' off, eh? I'll wish us both luck on this."

Putting a hand on his guide's shoulder, Greg leads the two of them to the portal's surface. Cautiously reaching through it, he tests the waters of the rift first. Seemingly satisfied, he brings the two of them through the hole, wincing at the transit and holding his breath in anticipation as he takes the step over the threshold, hoping to reach Gaera once more.

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Unread postby Endesu » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:20 am

The trip through the portal was... remarkably quick. Perhaps this was a step in Greg's favor?

The portal briefly remained open behind the two as they stepped out onto the wasteland before swiftly closing behind them. With it went the darkness and any discomfort Greg may have felt in such a dismal location... instead came the smell of fresh air, flooding one's nostrils and bringing with it a strong impression that a return had finally been made to Gaera.

"Ah... it has been far, far too long...," the wraith groaned as it shambled forward onto the wasteland, looking about in all directions. "I do not breathe, and yet I can tell by the very air that fills the empty cavern of my skull... I have returned to my home. At last... at long, long last."

Were Greg to take a look around, he would notice that they appeared to be somewhat close to a structure of some sort... at some point, apparently, a foundation of some kind. From what he could tell, it had long since been abandoned, left to rot much as his acquaintance had. However, no plant life grew in this location... something about this land, or perhaps the very structure itself, seemed to prevent such.

"... hmmm. I see," the wraith remarked quietly, likely more to himself than Greg, as he looked upon the foundation. This was not for long, however, as he now turned back to Greg. "I'm guessing you aren't aware of our current location?"

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:24 am

"Can't say tha' I am, no." Looking cheerful himself to be back finally, both in location and in body, Greg takes a look around his surroundings, a slight smile on his face. "Doesn't look like it'd be my firs' choice t' return to, bu' it's good t' be back, wherever i' is.

"Wha' 'bout you? You happen t' know where we are? Somewhere in th' Forbidden Plains'd be my guess. Bi' of a trip t' Doma if i' is, bu' better than i' could be."

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Unread postby Endesu » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:38 am

"...," The spectre seemed to pause, considering its reply, before speaking in consideration to Greg's own response.

"From... what I can recall, not quite. We are in the ruins of a Dragoon facility... the inhabitants all killed quite some time ago, in fact. As to our relative location... we're not terribly far away from Doma, though it will take us some time to return there," he finally croaked in response, looking at the ruins once more. An inspection of the size would confirm such... it seemed large enough to hold an army of Dragoons.

Interestingly, on further inspection, something lingered in the air here... perhaps a taste of magic, or something similar, which remained. Something terrible had transpired here, that much was certain.

"I do believe there is a location nearby that will bring us somewhat closer to Doma. If you wish it, I will take you there. Otherwise, I shall... take my leave," the specter continued, looking to Greg for his decision.

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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:50 am

Kelne whirled away, moving himself into a flanking position opposite 42 before boring in, dodging or fending off tentacles as he went. It was a tenuous position, and at any moment, the tentacles would regroup and dart in from all directions, pinning him in place.

Except that a storm of fire erupted about him, expanding outwards from his form and engulfing the amorphous mass. The sphere of flame stopped short of 42, but within its radius the flames ate at the considerable exposed surface of the creature.

Depending on its reaction, Kelne would either disengage or, if it seemed sufficiently distracted, launch a strike at the core, going for the quick kill.

***

"Nope," 32 said cheerfully, not giving any ground to the ducks' advance. He wasn't the easily intimidated type, and it would take more than a slow, steady advance to worry him.

"There's plenty of others downstairs to help the Not-Boss, and he can look after himself. Unless it's those demon bugs that take over your brain," he said thoughtfully, "No, wait, the Not-Boss is made of metal, so that won't work. Unless they're metal demon brain bugs..."

Alas, Stephen seemed to have triggered some rambling.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:50 am

"Riva, then? Huh." Nodding, he looks around the area in a bit more detail, squatting near what little remains of the building. Poking around the edge of the foundation, he looks back up to the wraith. "Sounds like a good idea t' me. Easier than walkin' back, a' least."

Standing, he heads back over with a frown, scanning about the area to get a better idea of that odd feeling he's got around here. "Wha' happened here, anyway? Musta been a pretty big deal, whatever i' was. I'm guessin' i' had somethin' t' do with how you go' stuck in there?"

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Unread postby Endesu » Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:23 am

Something was wrong; normally, the flaming attack which he had used would have struck at the tentacles, perhaps burning or eating away at the mass. Instead, there seemed to be no visible effect; fire simply skimmed over the surface of the creature, leaving it unscathed and, ultimately, untouched.

In response, its tentacles seized the walls and began to shake at them violently, triggering a bit of rumbling as cracks formed here and there. It also began to move towards the two of them...

42, however, responded by ducking in towards the creature, unsheathing his blade, and rapidly slashing away at the being's form - however, these attacks seemingly had no effect, just as with Kelne's attempt at magic. 42 quickly backed away from the being, blade readied still. "I don't know what... that is, or how it came out of that little runt, but I don't think I can deal with this," the man stated, both dumbfound and somewhat shaken.

***

"Given that he is around some fairly sensitive technology, however, one would be led to presume that such a trap, regardless of his own defensive capabilities, would be dangerous to the continued safeguard of all of us, both above and within the ship," Stephen replied, somewhat annoyed. "And I'm not sure what you're referring to by demon brain bugs, but I truly doubt we have that on our hands."

As they went back and forth like this, the Ducks continued their march, slowly but surely. The other assembled Minions and Anti-Minions seemed to be dividing their glances between the arguing Stephen and 32 and the Ducks. Unsurprisingly, this would make them somewhat unaware of any other elements that may currently be riding on the ship with them...

***

The specter said nothing at first, simply staring at the foundation with a longer glance. "... very well, then. Let us be off."

It led the way in a seemingly random direction, moving in what appeared to be more of a walk and less of a shamble, though the detail was somewhat imperceptible.

It led on in silence for sometime before finally responding to Greg's barrage of questions. "... many, many things. Battles of some sort... terrible, terrible battles... were held here. My role, though..." At this, it began to wheeze in that bizarre pseudo-chuckling form. "... my role..."

It seemed to mumble this bizarre statement a few more times before lapsing into a sort of silence.

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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:44 am

Kelne made no argument, moving swiftly for the exit to the corridor and motioning for 42 to precede him, "You know, it's times like this I really wish I carried one of those artifact-type weapons," he remarked, "Then I remember they tend to be seriously obnoxious and change my mind."

Coming level with a support, he halted, laying a hand upon it and weaving energy into place. If anybody was going to bring down the ceiling around here, it would be him. Let the fake End deal with a wider collapse than it had in mind.

Not that he imagined that it would seriously slow it, but it was the principle of the thing.

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

"Well, let's ask," 32 said, "Hey, ducks, are we dealing with demon brain bugs, metal or otherwise? One quack for yes, two quacks for no."

It was becoming increasingly obvious that if decisive action were to be taken, it wouldn't be initiated by 32. He just didn't seem to see the ducks as a threat.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:51 am

Appraising the wraith, Greg tries to get a better read on his reaction as he speaks. "...Something you'd rather keep quiet, sounds like? Eh, I can understand tha'. I've go' a few skeletons I'd rather keep in th' closet m'self.

With a slight chuckle, he continues, "I...won't say I'm no' a li'l wary tha' it's 'bout this, bu' bein' trapped in tha' place for 15 years, endin' up li' this? If y' were involved in this, tha' might no' make things even, 'zactly, bu' it's a start, a' least. Mi' no' be th' smartest thing I've done before, givin' someone th' benefit o' th' doubt when I'm in a situation li' this, bu' y' haven't done anythin' t' make me 'specially suspicious 'bout you yet." Looking to the wraith, he gives him a small smirk. "You're no' gonna make me regret tha', are y'?"

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Unread postby Endesu » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:05 am

42 moved swiftly ahead of Kelne, taking a stance on the stairs. "Remember, though, our objective was to descend this tower. Perhaps, as that... thing said, to enter the very center," 42 stated, ready to run at any time. "As dangerous as it may be, it seems we'll need to take the more direct approach again... and still risk having that thing at our sides, as it stands."

The support was charged with energy, ready to be unleashed whenever Kelne wished it. The form, seemingly taking no notice, continued its slow, steady slither, tentacles still pounding at the walls. It was more or less in position for a collapse of the ceiling, whatever effect that tactic would have on such a being.

***

Stephen was beginning to see the futility of arguing with 32... really, he should've already seen the futility of such, but that train of thought hadn't occurred to him as of yet.

The Ducks were silent, making a slow, steady march, and maintained their hostile, fixed glare on the lot in front of them.

It was at that time, then, that the inevitable seemingly happened; from within the belly of the ship came a draconic roaring and the noise of metal being slashed and sliced. The ship shook slightly as this transpired, and there then followed a seeming silence.

Stephen paused, initially shocked, before facepalming. The Ducks, at this point, had stopped entirely.

***

The wraith was silent for quite some time, now. As they traveled onward, Greg would note that they appeared to be approaching more grassy lands; in the distance, a series of structures could be made out... homes of some sort, perhaps? There also appeared to be several markers of some sort, amidst said structures...

"... you have nothing to fear from me," the specter finally responded, croaking slightly as they began to approach the settlement. "We made a deal, and we both delivered on our parts of such. In a sense, we are bound by honor to that deal, and as such, I will not betray your trust." It mumbled a bit more after this, before pausing and speaking again. "Those who are left alive today... those who knew of me, whoever they may be... they may have reason to worry, but you are certainly not of them."

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:12 am

As they grow closer to the buildings in the distance, Greg nods, appraising them and looking for anything recognizable in the least. He lets the silence sit for a while longer as they move on ahead, before breaking it himself with another question. "So, what 'bout you? What're your plans now tha' y'r free again? Got anythin' special in mind? I imagine catchin' up on things you've missed'd be pretty high up there. I know if it'd been me, there'd be quite a bit 'bout this world I'd be eager t' experience again. I imagine things're the same for you, eh?"

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