White Machine

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Capntastic
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White Machine

Unread postby Capntastic » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:24 am

Image

For uncounted eons the world has spun in a cycle known as day and night. The sky of the daytime was one of gleaming white light, dotted by specks of black. The night was a scintillating haze of color, moving in patterns both unpredictable and aesthetically harmonious. Ages of war, glory, enlightenment, strife, peace, and any possible blend echoed across the continents. Heroic figures, the common man, pantheons of deities, thinkers both small minded and enlightened all held sway in turn. Beings both simple and complex, organic and artificial, wholesome and composed of strange matters and forces comprised these dazzling cultures.

Everything had its time. The world spun effortlessly as ever, when from out of the skies, something intruded upon the cycle. A vast meadowland of mundane beauty, untouched by any mind above an animal's since it had formed centuries prior, was destroyed in a way unseen outside of the more dire wars. Every being in the world, even without sensing it, was suddenly aware that something new had happened. Many expeditions from civilizations sought this new thing out, and eventually the site was found. At the center of what-was-once-the-meadow, circled by miles of ruined trees and evaporated ponds, skeletal remains, and ash, the Black Artifact was sifted out. Crafted of mundane materials, bearing no strange forces, and inscribed with only a few crude runes. It was significant in an entirely unique way, it represented the idea of things existing outside of the world. In fact, it embodied this concept far beyond simply being evidence of the fact- mere contact with the object instilled this truth into the mind. The Black Artifact was easily brought in to the cycle of the world as it was studied, worshipped, loved and feared, the goal of war and the cornerstone of diplomacy for further eons, vanishing and re-appearing through histories.

A constant mystery surrounding the Black Artifact came about as the result of translating the circle of runes it bore. A single cryptic phrase was revealed, hinting at something historians and prophets failed to confirm did or would exist in the world. The answer was thought to exist outside of the world, in the very skies the Black Artifact came from. To this end, cosmologies were formed by cultures through the eons to attempt to chart the skies and ascertain the world's place in it. They were numerous.

The peasant lords of Oteln see the workings of the skies as a great turning wheel, with an arrangement of spokes connecting the rim of the night sky to the day's hub. The fisherfolk of the East Seas see worlds as bubbles in the brine, being continually popped and formed by crashing waves. Similarly, the undersea technological culture of The Deep Fixers has developed a line of thought that indeed each mind is in itself a bubble in the sea, and by taking action (bursting) the ripples effect others. [It is a point of constant contention between the fisherfolk and the Deep Fixers, as the secondary interchange of culture through waste products such as books lost overboard during storms, or expeditionary submarine vehicles washing ashore, has led each to believe the other has stolen and corrupted their beliefs. It is fact, though, that these cosmologies arose independently.] The Triangle Sages, the ones who translated the Artifact's runes, see worlds as leaves on a great tree, absorbing light shed from the higher branches, eventually to die and fall and, in decaying, feed the roots in perpetual cycle. The Sect of the Lawgiver asserts that consciousness is an illusion, and all that exists in the skies are part of an unthinking, blind engine of creation. The Keepers of the Analect see each mind as a letter, and the sky as a vast library; the central tenet of their belief is that by remaining harmonious with other minds, words are formed, and one day, when all minds are in alignment, the ultimate word will come into being. The Corbt Wanderers tell of a series of paths, crisscrossing through the skies, to be traversed in dreams. Dancers see the play of colors at night as proof of the greater motions in play, musicians see these as echoes of the first notes, and painters see it all as an infinite mural infinitely reflecting itself. And on and on like that, with variations and alterations great and minute.

Some time later, a second new thing was discovered. A disc of blackness had appeared at the center of the night sky. It was no object, nor was it a shadow. The hole in the night sky was expanding, or growing nearer, at a calculable rate. The vastest minds of the world existing, the Triangle Sages, agreed that it was the death of the world- the leaf would fall. Indeed, along with calculating the exact moment of this end, they had reversed the formula, and had discovered that the black hole's earliest possible moment coincides with the Black Artifact gracing the world with its presence.

With the days running out, the Triangle Sages arranged their thoughts around the issue at hand, and devised an alternative to resigning to obliteration. Despite being content with their tree cosmology, they realize others might want to try to survive. A worldship would need to be created, an immense undertaking that would require the efforts of many civilizations working in unison. They sent heralds to all civilizations, crossing the world in each direction, plumbing the seas, and zipping across the skies, enlisting the help they could. It was entirely opt-in, as it was not the Sages' place to try to convince anyone of anything. Many felt that the black hole growing in the night was a fitting end, impossible, or non-existent. But many were determined to press on, if such a thing could be done. Some were content sacrifice everything to improve the chances of some fragment of this world's vast history to be preserved amongst the sky.

A committee was organized, designs were created, rivalries were put aside and new ones formed. Some in the committee felt exhilarated by this one final glory to be attained, while others grew cold as the impending doom drew nearer. With the last thousands of days cycling down, construction began.

Particular stones were quarried from cherished sites across the world. Pristine airs were captured blended into a breathable atmosphere. Workers scurried up and down thinking scaffolds of fine crystal, that entwined itself along the growing structure; as each section was phased out of use, it willed itself into death, allowing its skeleton to sink into the Worldship's surface, strengthening it. Whole circles of farmland were transplanted and set into the surface, along with domed gardens, samples of various trees, and the occasional patch of purified and blessed sand. Cavernous structures were implanted across the surface, as well as numerous passages leading to the interior chambers. Leylines were filigreed all through it, vital harmonies instilled, and various charms engaged. The culmination of every living civilization, on the shoulders of many dead and forgotten ones; the Worldship came into existence far grander than was planned.

Years of work led to this as the days spun down, The Last Great Santfication Ritual. Representatives of every tribe and nation, eager to urge onwards their world's hope of survival in some small way, had organized the Ritual. Pavilions and stages and feasthalls and other displays of emotion had been erected around the site of the worldship. In a circular lake of nutrient rich water, and reachable only by a crystalline bridge of the same lineage as the scaffolds, the Worldship basked, preparing for its journey, seeming very much like an island. Surrounding it were all manner of festivity and solemn meditation. Seething columns of liturgical dancers in their seventh day of ecstatic motion. Wizards attempting their final chances to scrye out meanings in the patterns of the night sky once so vivid, but now almost wholly obscured by the black hole. Several mystics all meditating alone atop their pillars or inside their small camps strewn about the Ritual grounds, or walking through the crowds doomsaying. Music and food of every sort. Secret loves revealed, group suicide, and mad attempts for that one final inspiration to strike and an art to be perfected, all displayed publicly. Of the millions there, only a fraction of each nation would be given passage onto the Worldship. Those attempting to sneak on were destroyed by the Ritual Guard, once the elite troops of some godking or another, now tasked with preventing any attempt to sabotage or vandalize or hamper the Worldship. There were also sharks in the nutrient lake, which even in this desperate time, were effective obstacles. With everything so dire, and every hope gambled on this one event, the world had united into one enormous city without border or ruler. It brought many to tears that the world would only attain this glory with only a few hours remaining.

Speeches and final farewells and tough talk about the task at hand were being given constantly, from the center pavilion near the lake. Here various powerful figures had gathered, most of them people of note or power, who had earned their place on the ship. Their voices and images were being broadcast via enormous telepagraphic screens repurposed from a dead culture's ruins. The Triangle Sages had excused themselves days prior to prepare themselves for the world's end in privacy- finally allowing their three minds to be separated for the first time since their birth. In their place was a proxy, a sort of master of ceremony figure, who was orchestrating the central events regarding speeches, directing precious cargo on to the ship across the bridge and via hovercraft, and keeping the travel itinerary. He stayed behind the scenes, mostly, save for introducing those giving speeches. Occasionally he could be spied in the corner of one of the giant hovering psychic screens, glancing at his watch or peering at the blackening sky, an eyebrow raised.

Othlo the Merry had finished delivering his final sonnet, themed around the quieter joys of life, and had ended his time on screen with a simple thank you, and a mention that he and the nation he spoke on behalf of had changed their mind, and will not be attempting to escape the devastation. The Attendant nodded, as such last minute changes of heart were not uncommon. Peering at a thick sheet of paper with names on it, the Attendant stepped to the center of the stage, and appraised the remaining hundred or so heroes and figures of legend gathered there, with their followers and associates and underlings. The horizon was beginning to be tinged by fingers of white light as the last day of the world was starting. The Attendant addressed the gathering of pantheons and heroes.

"I apologize for those of you on the tail end of the list, but we have time for just a few more offerings. Would those of you that would be fine with relinquishing your slot at the podium take a step back, and those who still want to go up and address the world take a step forward?"

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PriamNevhausten
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:57 am

A man dressed in formal attire--three piece suit, bow tie, top hat, white gloves, the whole deal--stepped forward, ready to return the favor the world had granted him by permitting him to come into existence. Behind him were eleven men and women of varying ages and races, not looking as though they possessed even a hint of the confidence their evident leader showed, and dressed as though they were slaves, which is to say hardly dressed at all. They were well, but not in the best of shapes, straddling the line between 'fit' and 'malnourished.'

The Bargainer smiled with anticipation from underneath his hat, a smile that put a line of white teeth bridging a border between coal-black and alabaster-white skin, and straightened his tie, which hadn't needed straightening.

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ChristianC
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:13 am

Standing somewhat by themselves were representatives of the Cult of The Pontifex, a small faction of a much larger faith that remained, to most of the inhabitants of the world, fairly unknown. When the group had presented themselves to the Three Minds during the construction of the world ship, they had offered remarkable insight into architecture, their talent surpassed only by their desire to leave the planet.

There were six of them. Five were dressed in long, flowing robes, a dark and crimson purple, the the petals of a rare orchid, woven with radiating patterns in dark gold. The patterns themselves almost hurt to look at, as if they formed something unspeakable that the mind reeled from, but they were mere circles and lines.

Their faces were hid behind veils, each veil having the symbol of the faith woven into it around the mouth. The symbol was nothing anyone would recognize as something else. It was composed of carefully drawn lines, but their interpretation were as alien as they were complex.

Tiny bells were attached at certain points of the robes, but even when moving these bells made no sound, as if the wearers had learned to move so carefully that the bells wouldn't ring. Five people, men or women was indistinguishable from the heavy robes, only their eyes visible, stood in a circle-like position around the sixth. Two in front of the person, two at the sides just slightly more behind, and one straight behind.

The figure in the middle was dressed likewise, if somewhat more subtle, its clothes not quite as remarkable as the five others. The figure bobs its head, waiting for its turn to speak, looking currently at the Bargainer.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Idran1701 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:13 am

Alongside the Bargainer, the Septumvirate floats ahead as well. A vaguely-humanoid shape, he hardly even seems to live, instead looking more as some sort of animate art project, its form made up of nothing more but flowing fractal compositions of color, duplicating themselves endlessly to the slightest detail even as they kaleidoscope about its surface.. The low chuckle that emanates from its form, though, suggests otherwise, as it appraises the representatives of the Cult nearby. Its gaze, to those that can discern such matters, remains focused on them for a long few instants, before directing itself ahead. "This was not the situation in which I'd hoped to meet such an interesting religion, but I suppose I cannot complain overly. It would be quite improper compared to the situation ahead, hmm?"

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Jak Snide
 
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:51 pm

An armoured figure took a laboured step forwards, moving as if that single motion required a titanic effort. Its overlapping plates were battered and bloodied, as if it had just emerged from some distant conflict, far removed from the festivities that surrounded it. Its visored helm turned upwards, glaring at The Attendant and silently challenging it not to select it. It hated this place. This entire endeavour was a sham, a pointless attempt to save the fundamentally worthless.

But it was a chance of at survival and yielding had never been in its nature. So it had come, bestowing one of the treasures the scavengers had failed to steal upon this gathering of fools to purchase its continued existence. It did not dwell on the knowledge that for once there was something it couldn't take by force. Had they not accepted its offering and granted it what it desired or it would have greeted oblivion as it had always intended to. But they had, and it had taken its step forwards to speak.

"A world beyond a world awaits yet we delay our departure, wallowing in the past. I tire of this meaningless ceremony!"

It glared at the other champions, willing that they shut up and got on with it. He ignored the hypocrisy of calling for silence after stepping forward. It was a necessary indignity, just as everything else over the past few days had been.
Last edited by Jak Snide on Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Besyanteo
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Besyanteo » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:41 pm

An athletic looking, dark skinned man sneered and stepped away from the line. He wore a kilt of leathers and furs with boots to match, a necklace of thick twine, animal bones and crystals and gems of every color. He was bald and his whole head was heavily tatooed with thick, black curving lines that tapered down his neck. His arms were the main attention getting, though. His left was covered in teal fur, ending not in a hand but the head of a ravenous, snarling wolf. The right was covered in scales and had no discernible joints, not so much an arm as a thick purple snake. They each moved quite independently of him, occasionally reaching for people he passed by, snapping in a sort of meanly playful way. The third time he hissed at them irritably the third time it happened, upon which they turned to him. The snake spoke in a sibiliant, deferential voice, not quite whining in it's disappointment.

"What has you in a foul mood, Surtr?"

Surtr didn't answer, but he did mull over the question. He'd been raiding, killing, and stealing from these people for as long as he could remember. He and his men had ended, ruined and enslaved countless masses of them in the past, maybe as many as would enter the Worldship today. Giving them a grand speech would be insipid, and beneath him. The suggestion alone irritated him. They would either accept his tribe's offer or not, and he and his people would go. They'd go or they'd die fighting to go. Waiting for them to render a decision, while enduring this mask of a light hearted celebration was a greater test of his mettle than fighting their guards would be, win or lose.

He grunted moodily, and his beastial arms looked away, understanding they weren't likely to get an answer just now. The only upsides to all this ridiculousness was that with so many warm bodies and cultures present, there were likely to be nice things to steal, potential slaves to secret into their stock, and the occasional amazing bit of food. For example there was a flowery, light spoken group of people from past the eastern sea who spoke only in verse. Their existence offended him, and he would have killed them all if they had no, on a whim, offered him some of their incredible pastries. He couldn't decide if he was angry with himself for that or not. They continued to live, for now.

He stalked back to his people, to see what progress they had made while he'd been busy.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:21 am

The Bargainer turned to one of his own. "Are you certain of this, Tosh?" he asked, a hint of concern in his voice given a disingenuous flavor by the utter failure of the smile to leave his face. The man, Tosh, considered for just a second, and nodded, solemnly and without uncertainty.

"So be it, then." And the snap of his fingers echoed a little more loudly than it ought, the gloves doing nothing to dampen the sharp, resonant noise. A sonorous prelude to...nothing?

No big fireworks, no flashy light show...but now Tosh was holding an instrument, a little stringed thing long as perhaps half of his own arm, a violin of some sort. Tosh sighed, relieved somehow, and cradled his new possession carefully. The Bargainer, for his part, turned back to face the Attendant, resuming his demeanor of professional amusement. "Your wish is granted," he noted, remarking inwardly that one of the perks of his job is that line never truly got old.

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Capntastic
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Capntastic » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:30 pm

The Attendant had addressed the crowd of high-holies and big names, and was met with a few gestures of displeasure. Horast the Silver had ceased his meditation to glare his disapproval silently, while his mediator, a ghost that seemed to attach itself to his gleaming armor like a mantle suggested he simply remove himself from the pavilion. The Exemplar voiced his discontent loudly enough to mask the clean armored fellow's furious metallic stomps away from the pavilion. Surtr had begun making his way from the pavilion and towards the fairground proper moments before, but had to step around the Pontifex and their retinue, and found himself descending the chalcedony and onyx steps alongside the warrior-king and ghost pair. The Blue Dancer had stepped forwards, as had the representative of the Deep Fixers, and others as well. The Attendant seemed neither amused nor overly displeased as half of the remaining docket excused itself, while those that truly felt the need to express themselves (via proper ritual procedure or not) remained. He glanced down at the thick diamond shaped paper between his thumb and forefinger, and idly smoothed down the wide, braided ribbon he wore about his neck like a scarf. He seemed t concentrate for a second, glancing at those that had shifted their positions, and then back at the paper. Then he spoke once more, the telepegraphic screens projecting his face and voice to the ritual grounds and the population gathered there.

"The updated list would call for The Exemplar to take the podium, next." An ironic smile formed. "But it appears that The Bargainer has prepared something for us."

He cleared his throat in a very definite gesture of punctuation, and continued, using the cadences historically associated with showy introductions.

"The Bargainer has been most generous towards the project, providing the utter cooperation of one hundred able bodied men and women, to tend to the worldship's and its occupants' needs."

The psychic screens above the ersatz city (though it grew in a month's time around the grand pavilion, which was originally a temple of some sort), now showed a large cube slab of stone with a ten by ten arrangement of humans kneeling atop it, hovering over the bridge and down onto the worldship.


(Alright, I guess we'll try out a simple skill check here, where there's no pressure and nothing's on the line. Everyone at the pavilion rolls their mind+lore pool. Results below:)


Septumvirate:
Spoiler:
9d+MD. 3x9 with the MD set to 9, so 4x9. You figured The Attendant was an adherent to the Triangle Sage's long disbanded order even before seeing his wide braided ribbon scarf in person. You might derive some pleasure from seeing your knowledge backed up by real life events.

Bargainer:
Spoiler:
5d. 2x8 The Attendant's scarf is not just a fashion statement, it clearly indicates some sort of position within some circle or another.

Pontifex:
Spoiler:
7d. 2x7. There is a glimmer of recognition that things like the Attendant's wide ribbon scarf, simple as they may be, tend to be associated with minor positions of power.

Exemplar:
Spoiler:
No sets. What manner of fool is this to simply shrug off your complaint, hinging on the brink of ultimate death and a chance at glory, with a barely concealed smile?

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PriamNevhausten
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:31 am

And he strode fluidly toward the podium, Tosh following two steps behind. Once there, he addressed the gathered members of all known civilizations.

"Thank you, Attendant. All of you, I know, have been waiting long, and so I shall keep my speech to the point.

"My servant, Tosh, will be performing for you, a musical piece never heard before, and never to be heard again. With this he earns his freedom from bondage, and it is my hope that his sentiment in this moment, in this event, reaches you all in these, our final moments here.

"Without further ado, please, Tosh, fulfill your destiny."

Relishing the moment, savoring every gaze that met him, Tosh slowly, almost agonizingly put the instrument to his chin, and produced a bow from its underside. He paused before touching it to the strings, the silence having its own profundity in this environment of finality. When the bow finally played a note, it was so soft that there was no jarring, no suddenness, easing the musical mood from anticipatory to soothing without a hitch.

As the piece progressed, it seemed to tell a story, though the nature of the story and its interpretation was different for each being in attendance. One could almost hear the accompanying voices that weren't there, the beats that weren't played, the implied cadences only hinted at through audible sound. It was, by all rights, a masterpiece, and Tosh swayed and bounced and allowed himself to be carried by the music that perhaps he wasn't truly in control of, merely assenting to be its vessel.

All things must come to an end, and Tosh's solo symphony rounded to a close, the tonic returning, slowing, losing its robust harmonies, becoming more alone. And then it was over.

Tosh, a free agent now, stepped away from the podium, quick in his stride but not panicked. Though panic would have been excused by any, when Tosh's arm caught fire as he began to make his way into the crowd. The blaze spread to his hand and shoulder, and on to his torso and head, and progressively engulfing his entire body with startling alacrity. His screams of pain, his final words, seemed a disturbing coda to his musical offering, and in moments he was burned throughout, meeting his end as a pile of ash on the floor of the hall.

The Bargainer joined his fellow beings in their places before the Worldship's final boarding.

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ChristianC
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:55 am

The Pontifex remained silently in position during the entire song, arms folded into its robes, veiled face unseen by any present. Then, as the song ended, it shuffled slightly, only slightly.

The five standing around the Pontifex did not move at all, and they all remained as such until the man without warning burst into flame. As his dying screams faded with his life, there was a soft, almost cautious round of applause, first from the Pontifex, then from the five others, like spectators at a refined events, careful not to disturb, but showing their appreciation of the fine performance.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:23 am

"Hmm. Quite the interesting show. You have my credit, sir." The Septumvirate turns to the Bargainer as he returns to the line, its form shifting towards the yellow spectrum. Its voice - utterly androgynous, without emotion, and with a slightly tinny reverberation - seems to come from nowhere in particular, a sound that simply exists. "It's rare one sees the musical potential of a good spontaneous combustion. Though I do remember one show ages ago amongst the Evergreen Peaks...ah, but I distract myself. I don't believe I've yet had the pleasure, Bargainer. Not directly, that is, though I have heard on occasion. I seem to recall an old folktale regarding you and the Sulfuric Expanse? But who can say how much truth legends hold."

Shimmering into a hue of blue, it rotates towards the Worldship, a spiral across its side splitting and collapsing. "An exciting time to be, isn't it? One must ponder what will be found out there. New experiences. New opportunities, to be sure, hmm?" A brief splash of yellow, quickly subsumed. "Ah, and I should thank you for your contribution as well, I feel. Quite...generous. I'm afraid my own people aren't quite tangible enough to serve in such a role, or I'd have offered similar myself. Have they much experience on vessels?"

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Jak Snide » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:19 am

The Examplar had begun to walk away when the music begun. Its steps slowed and it paused, drawn to sound for a reason it could not discern. Not until the man stepped down from the podium and burst into flames.

This was something it could appreciate. The man's screams rekindled old memories, old emotions that were mere shadows of what they had once been. It was enough for now. When the armoured warrior walked away it moved with newfound speed and energy.
Last edited by Jak Snide on Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:12 pm

"One thing I've learned is that it's best to never give anyone more credit than they are due. Though," the Bargainer considered, "I appreciate the gesture. A good immolation is really so much better when it's a surprise."

"The future is exciting, indeed. I wonder what sort of beings we'll find, out there? Or, perhaps, 'in' there? What sort of dreams they have, what nature of abilities at their command...It's fortunate our world has the sort that it does for us to send such a capable and varied group as its envoys."

He turned, and finally made eye contact, so to speak, with the Septumvirate, breaking his gaze from the wild black yonder. "I think you'll find my staff, if not terribly seasoned, to be capable, and very dedicated. I trust the crew will have educated them as is fit, for truly nothing like this has ever been. It would hardly be proper to ask them to perform tasks they don't know, tasks they quite possibly have been incapable of learning before now."

He left it at that. He felt a little strange leaving the conversation without a real open end for proper continuation, but then again, Bargainer was, for once, content to wait, and enjoy the show he'd already paid for.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Capntastic » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:31 am

Seeming to follow Pontifex and their retinue's lead, carefully measured applause filled the air of the pavilion, along with your typical grunts of approval and displeasure, and the sparse gasp and guffaw. Attendant whispered to an usher, who relayed to a servant. The servant removed the remains with a brush and clay pot, while another sprayed an odor neutralizing chemical into the air with a small atomizer. The last dawn of this world was not to be upstaged, and the colors of the skies bent and blended into the white, creating the typical pastels of daybreak.

Down in the ritual grounds, some were splitting their attention between these last colorful patterns of the cycle and the images and sounds being relayed by the screens blotting out portions of the sky. After months of unchained emotion of every sort, things had died down quite a bit with regard to outbursts of violence and love and spiritual fervor; but in the last week, the last of all weeks, efforts had been redoubled. The mass cult suicides, sweeping columns of liturgical dancers, minor brawls and epic scuffles, orgies both synchronized and freeform, open displays of art and feats of skill, and many other sorts of thing filled every open space, road, shack, hut, and alley. Many that could find a moment to themselves might break down with the weight of impending doom pressing down upon them, but this did not stop the few groups, pairs, or lone wanderers who made their exodus away from the ersatz city, or had never journeyed there in the first place. Such people were few, and shunned and revered in their own ways.

Amidst the chaos were a few bastions of order that had been erected as main attractions. A temple dedicated to silent reverence of past deeds, with a vast line wrapping around its domed structure. A fountain where people could cry their tears into, and have them transformed into drinkable water. A stone tower from which grain flowed out of large brass mouths inlaid into the sides, an anonymous gift to those gathered there. A small forest, grown overnight by unseen hands, which provided shade and fruit- the darkest parts of which were rumored to house the last ribcleaner, thought to be extinct. A racetrack and sports field to settle once and for all who were the champions of their respective games. These amenities were not only sustaining the life and sanity of the gathered ritual-goers, but were pillars upon which the writhing and disorganized humanity gathered there could rely on.

Surtr's path towards the camp his tribe had erected seemed to coincide with Horast's, though the ghost and king pair had turned off the path (indeed, this part of the fairground wasn't so crowded as to require constant shoving) into a cramped looking shack made of roughly hewn blue stone, the door of which was sturdy timber, freshly cut. His camp was a few minutes walk further, though it seemed unfitting to see a heroic figure decked in such pristine armor to duck into such a crude abode.

Relatively nearby, though in a spot dense with folk, The Exemplar could not immediately discern the location of anything that might be pleasing to it. Certainly there were an abundance of sensory charges to revel in, but for every whisper amongst the crowd of "The Ultimate Death Show", there were cries of "Last onions of the world!". Commerce was not to be thwarted by the black hole, and in fact seemed more depressingly honest in that it was everyone's last chance to get something to be happy with. Exemplar spied, while eyeballing through its visor a large banner with a ring of blue bones on it (thigh bones, the strongest structure within a human aside from the skull, it must've known on instinct), a man weeping openly that he'd never before had fish from the East Seas before today, and now he could die happy.

Above the ritual grounds, the screens displayed Attendant once more.

"Quite beautiful and symbolic, Bargainer. Thank you."

He paused for precisely one moment.

"Septumvirate, you have graciously provided your Basilisk array to aid in matters of a computational nature. Have you anything to say to the assembled crowds of your world?"

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Besyanteo » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:49 am

Surtr paid Horast little more attention than anyone else. They didn't matter. The song, and subsequent waste of a perfectly good slave, were briefly diverting but not more than that. He seemed to have what he wanted, so now he meant to spend time with the people who did matter: His lieutenants. He'd meant to have more by now, but 15 well armed and dedicated men and women were nothing to sneeze at. Certainly he had quality, now he only needed to find more talent and loyalty to match them, and peasants and slaves to keep them all in good comfort. Just thinking of them all brightened his mood. Celebration of the end of the world was out of question, but maybe he'd been too harsh earlier to declare that having fun was off the table. He reached his encampment, looked over his men and women from a short distance. They waited for him, not yet aware he had already returned. They were at a false ease, putting on something of a show to hide their eagerness to be about something, anything. That settled things, then. He entered their circle, his strange arms spread wide as he addressed them.

"This lot makes me sick, boys. No, not sick. Angry, and hungry."

They were instantly transformed, the act dropped and a savage excitement ran through the group. He grinned and continued, knowing his next words would be a disappointment, but he would say them anyway.

"It would hardly be fun to kill them when so many are already slitting their own throats, so we'll have to settle for taking their stuff."

As predicted, some of their fire died away, but not a one voiced discontent or rancour. Surtr was the boss, and no one would die by their hands tonight. Still he wanted to give them something.

"You've got an hour, and whoever brings me the tastiest treat or finest trinket gets a reward. Go!"

They were off in an instant, sowing discord and confusion. Excellent. He sat back and waited. They had maybe three hours before it was time to board the great ship. The decision to give them only one of those hours was calculated. He'd give the winner their choice of three things when the time came, as their tastes varied greatly, and it was important to have constant incentive over each of them to maintain their fervor and adoration. He offered these rewards on many occasions. The first was simple finery, gold and platinum jewelry, fine weapons and the like that was part of Surtr's personal horde. The second was time to sit down, select a juicy looking slave, and share a ritualistic repast with Surtr, a last meal together on their home world. The last was more intimate, a ritual sharing of bodies in private. Whatever was chosen tonight, Surter looked forward to it immensely.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Idran1701 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:28 am

With a slight gesture, the Septumvirate seems to acknowledge Attendant, drifting away from the Bargainer and towards the podium. Its body is awash with cooler colors, innumerous aquamarine geometric figures arising upon its form. It speaks, its voice resounding across the gathered masses.

"I've spent many ages upon this world, and experienced many things. The beginnings and ends of so many civilizations. Vast wars that have wiped a people entirely. The discovery of those people eons later by the curious. The end of one always followed by the beginning of another. In the past, I've been content to merely watch. To learn what I can from each new situation, and watch familiar patterns play out again and again, always curious each time how the details would vary. Many of you I recognize; some that would probably rather I didn't. A small few I even recall from my Occluded Academy; I'm proud to say seven of this Worldship's designers and builders hail from its vaunted halls, though of course, I am bound not to reveal which seven. Hypothesize as you will." Sparks of yellow twinkle on its surface. "Now, though, these patterns risk coming to and end. And that...well, that simply will not do. A small few, those aware of me from past incidents, have found my behavior...out of character, as it were. On that, I will only say in a situation such as this, the time of quiet, unseen observation, of vague quips and mysterious revelations must be brought to an end. If temporarily.

"Of course, I cannot leave my own patterns entirely behind. I have no great performances to entertain you with, but I have never been much for that manner of ostentation. Instead...I merely leave you with my own preferred method of entertainment. A mystery with which you may occupy yourselves while we seek to end this horror above. For I know that, prior to the coming of this disc of ebony overhead, many of you were utterly consumed with the question of the fate of the Hovering Isle of Madan-Ki, and its 8500 Knights of Mourning. And you came so very close; oh, but you cannot believe my disappointment when the Summit of Minds was adjourned due to this wretched thing. Those of you that sought answers among the Tri-Spoked Peaks...you were on the correct path, but not in the way you had thought. Think again of the last missive of the Grim Sovereign, and all shall be revealed to you. If you are clever enough, that is.

"I shall be eager to see which of you has won out when we return. I have my suspicions who it will be, but perhaps I will be surprised."

With that said, the Septumvirate withdraws from the podium, listening to the murmurs that start from the sages that had all but abandoned the issue. Yes, this will give them something to well distract themselves in the days to come.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:40 pm

The Pontifex watched from behind its veil as the Septumverate made its speech, the shape-less form beneath the layers of robes making a strange, quiet suckling sound before turning silent once more.

The revellers all over the place contained nearly no new recruits to the Cult of the Most Dark And Ancient One. While the Pontifex had little time to spare for the fresh meat, those who joined the Apocalyptic cult because of... well, the coming apocalypse had much to prove before they earned the respect of the cult... in fact, only two of the recent recruits had even earned their sashes, which more or less put them on the same level as commoners, dabbling in things they had no right to even try to imagine.

But the five around the Pontifex, the highest below the Pontifex itself, knew the sermons, the ways... the obedience.

Once the colorful blob of... well... color finished speaking there was a spread of murmur and confusion in the gathered crowds. From the six of the cult, however, came not a sound, but for the single chime of one of the bells attached to its hood.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:13 pm

The Examplar staggered through the crowd, searching for purity. The world was ending and only now they thought to indulge themselves but none had grasped how to do so properly. The people here pursued pointless diversions. It wondered if this is what its people were like before they grasped the truth. It searched for something, anything, that would let it escape its bland, muted surroundings. Surely, out of all the beings of this world, some must have grasped the truth and survived up until this point.

A thought occurred to it.

It turned, veering back towards the worldship. It knew how it would find opponents. Desperate creatures most likely, but as oblivion drew ever closer it would find those of skill willing to risk everything in one final moment.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:41 pm

An interesting play, speaking as though the world were not ending to its doomed inhabitants. Give them hope. How charitable. And yet, to fill the heads of the rational many with the misery of knowable ignorance! A classic stratagem of give-and-take, a cruel gift on a cosmic scale. He had to applaud, smiling a genuine, if somewhat malicious, smile. There was something to this Septumvirate, that slow-paced intellectual mischievousness. Inevitably their goals would clash later, and the Bargainer would relish the social skirmishes he found himself already imagining, not so much predicting as fantasizing.

"Bravo," he simply acknowledged the chromatic being as it returned to the lineup, clapping softly, respectfully.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Capntastic » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:49 pm

Gliding away from the podium, the response to Septumvirate's display is mixed, as was foreseeable to him. Some gasps, some groans, some pondering. Out amongst the ritualgrounds, with a far more sizable portion of folk to be teased, it was possible, and even slightly probable, that maybe one thinker out there sussed out the riddle of the Isle thanks to these additional clues. But, that lone signal would almost certainly be drowned out by the noise.

Amidst that noise, and cause of part of it, Surtr's tribe was on the move. Formed into three groups, perhaps as subconscious tribute to the trinity of twin-beasthands and head, they slipped off to targets they'd spied previously as especially flavorful on the risk-to-reward scale. To the east, the underground pavilion was penetrated into from above, stone axes making quick work of the thin adobe roof with reeds woven into it. The occupants, in the middle of a particularly heated 'salon', aided by the quickening steams of rho-vapor emanating from a small dome in the center, were perturbed for one brief moment before horror struck them as the barbarians leapt through the ceiling and began the shakedown. Lord Kuan, present only to keep up appearances of sophistication to the end, shrieked as his glittering mask was pried from his face, leaving nothing remaining. This was the first group to return.

Near the nutrient lake, Exemplar had set himself as lone sentinel to a sandy patch of the lakefront far enough from the pavilion and the nearest telepegraphic screen that there was relative freedom from the endless chattering. And, of course, this sort of relative silence was the prime location someone trying to sneak aboard might try, just out of sight of the nearest group of ritual guard. It was a risky tactic, waiting here in such a serene little nook, but that risk alone might help sustain him. It was not long before a group of figures loomed out of the crowds and cramped alleys and began a cautious approach towards the calm spot.

Back on the Pavilion, the Blue Dancer had declined to step up to the podium, choosing instead to continue dancing in place to music only he could hear. The Attendant had suggested a moment of focus upon this act, which was brief enough to avoid any dangerous volleys of sarcasm or genuine rage. With moments becoming more and more valuable, why waste them on something on the Blue Dancer had been doing for centuries, and would most likely continue to do aboard the Worldship?

"And that brings us to The Pontifex, whose organization was kind enough to provide skilled architects for aspects of the Worldship that required special attentions."

The psychic screens displayed a hallway formed of lovely smooth stone, a heavily distorted perspective of a large cubical room with rows of circular pews, what seemed to be a stairwell that descended down onto a platform which led to the stairwell's top, and then a few quick bursts of static. The podium was now the Pontifex's to take.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:40 am

It enjoyed the relative silence of this place. It was a place of peace, at least for now. It weakened the Examplar, yes, but there was a purity to it. Here, free from distraction, it would wait for its opponent.

It watched the figures approach, anticipation mounting, struggled to remain impassive as it observed them. It searched for one who might be a worthy foe, its essence invigorated by the prospect of combat.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:56 pm

The Pontifex remained motionless for a little while, then slowly it began to move towards the podium, sliding up towards it without the sound of shuffling cloth, or clinging bells. The five followed in perfect unison, but somewhere along the way the one in the front suddenly was in the middle, and the Pontifex was standing before the crowd. Then, slowly, it raised its arms, the thick cloth sliding down its arms to reveal pale-white limbs, slender and finely sculpted like a statue of marble. In a second, a hushed silence had fallen upon the crowd as a voice emitted from beneath the hood.

"Abun'nokch Klam Fschka!"

The words came out like as if spoken by something distinctively inhuman, a wet... slick, almost oily feel to them. And they seemed to hover in the air for a few moments too long before finally seeping away.

"The Dark One watches!" This time, the voice was human, but the same qualities remained. "The Dark One Knows. And The Dark One Hungers!"

"For longer than your pathetic race have existed, The Dark One, lord Abun'nokch, heir to the flames of Stars, consort to She Who Destroys, has watched and waited. For this day. For the day that would end this pathetic world and all who dared to think that their existence would go unnoticed by time. Time chose you as his sacrificial lamb, and now you bray, cavote and copulate as the final days draw nearer. So human, so pathetic."

It paused for a while, then slowly moved to remove the hood and veil covering its face.

For a while, there was silence in the crowd.

The person underneath was nothing short of breath-taking, in the kind of way you would imagine angels. Genderless, pale, large eyes, luscious lips, but with features just a little too sharp to be a woman's. And eyes of the deepest green, looking as if they radiated light. Her, if we should give it a gender, hair was braided beautifully down her back, disappearing into the cloak, and a faint, excited smile rested upon her lips.

"Lord Abun'nokch accepts you into his flock, my children. Let yourself over to the darkest passion, let your blood flow and your minds release their fragile grip of the world. Come with us, and we will show you things you have never thought possible. And rest assured that your soul will always be at his side." She smiled and gave a pearly laugh, "We accept you for who you are. We accept your darkness. We accept your doubts. We accept your secrets. For there is nothing The Dark One does not know! He has seen your sins, and he has chosen to see past them!"

And with that, she raised her arms to the sky, smiling, laughing happily, as several men and women in the crowd suddenly tore into another in an orgy of murder, sex and screams. She continued to laugh... no... no she was singing. A hymn in a language that had only up until now been spoken in hidden cathedrals, in places of faith so dark that even the pests kept away. A hymn that could drive men mad just knowing it was sung.

And then it was over, the Pontifex's hood and veil on her once more, her servant replaced her at the front and the six moving back towards where they had been.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Idran1701 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:04 pm

As the six of the Pontifex withdraw from the podium, there interposed in their path is the Septumvirate, having appeared without the slightest hint of motion. Red and yellow crash against green in a wave down its center, and a slight lilt can be heard upon its voice as it appraises both the cultists and the scene left in their wake. It directs its attention straight to the central figure, ignoring those circling about as if they weren't even there. "Interesting speech. I do hope you realize, however, that the purpose of our journey is to stop this event, yes? You certainly would not be plotting against such a goal, I would hope."

It pauses for just an instant, offering a bit more space to the cultists. "It is interesting though...I can't recall ever hearing of Abun'nokch. You can't imagine how rare an occasion this is for me." It gives a low chuckle, turning away just slightly. "I do quite look forward to meeting him, should the time comes. I'm sure that would be most intriguing."

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:10 pm

The Bargainer frowned. He knew a man, a long time ago, who would have laughed and applauded at the display, at the encouragement of suffering of an indiscriminate flavor and with such aberrant timing. The Bargainer did not particularly like this man. And, vicariously, the Bargainer did not now particularly like the Pontifex.

Not that he had any sway over anyone's ability to board the Worldship, or what they chose to do thereafter. Or here, for that matter. He caught his arms moving to cross themselves across his chest, and diverted into the more neutral hand-to-chin posture, for appearance's sakes.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:37 am

"The Dark One takes great pleasure in suffering, Septumvirate." The cold, slick voice spoke once more... this time coming not from the one in the center, but rather from one of the outer cultists. "But He knows the folly of quickening the destruction of all this in such a crude matter. When the time comes for these men and women to fall, it will be by His hands, and to His service they will turn."

The same pearly laughter came from all of the cultists, but was interrupted suddenly and brutally as something spoke. This time, however, it seemed... unchoreographed, unprepared, and the surrounding cultists almost reeled away from the Pontifex.

"But I have heard of you, little color."

And then the Pontifex kept moving, but the jingling of the bells in her robes clearly told of someone who had... trouble moving as graciously as before.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Besyanteo » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:07 am

Upon the return of the first group, Surtr smiled and examined their offering. It was pretty, to be sure. Valuable without question. It would be stiff competition. He waited hungrily for the next offering, toying with his new mask contently.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Capntastic » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:06 am

The Attendant spoke, flipping his sheet of paper around.


"Quite illuminating, Pontifex. Thank you. Our next up is Explorer Ans Lasret. Her gift to the Worldship was a collection of extraordinarily hard to raise flower seeds and bulbs collected from our world. Hopefully they will find purchase amongst whatever fertile lands lay outside of our own dying realm."

An old woman took the podium, and began speaking at length about secret gardening techniques. The grand pavilion seemed to be emptying out as the day began, pure light speckled with black starting to fill the skies. Things were happening at an enhanced rate, with all the excitement in the air, and yet the final boarding call seemed eons away. Off in the ritual grounds, there seemed to be a fire spreading across one of the sectors. Smoke and noise were emanating towards the pavilion in small wisps. Many of the elite cautiously let their attentions wander, shuffling over to the edge of the audience area. Comments were made about the duty of the Ritual Guard, and if this fell under their jurisdiction. Others simply took this as the best opportunity to stretch their legs and see for themselves. Only a few seemed really concerned with etiquette at this point.

The beasts Surtr shared body with sensed the approach of his second group of tribesmen before he did. Only two of them stumbled back to the camp, reeking of smoke and sweat and near the point of total exhaustion. They were holding between them a thick stone slab, carved with delicate runes on one side and entirely black and smooth on the other. They set it down as gently as they could, and despite the burden being removed, they both collapsed.

Exemplar watched the shadows draw near. It was four figures, each carrying the corner of a large flat object. They began to exert themselves and pick up speed, as the hushed voices approached the range of audibility. The object they held was the core mechanism of one of the telepegraphic screen, no doubt brought down from the sky through a fine-tuned application of violence. They were not holding it aloft, merely giving it a running start as all four men leapt onto the screen's surface. One of them wore a crude steel helmet with wires running down to a section of the screen's exposed interior. Another seemed to be manipulating a bundle of metallic wiring bunched around his hands like gloves. They veered out of Exemplar's path, shouting hurriedly to each other. Their trajectory was unsteady, but their speed was something Exemplar had no trouble adjusting for as they came into range. They were just hovering across his path. And then a large cube of psychic noise and visuals filled the area between him and his foe. It was The Attendant, speaking for a brief moment in a rapid sing-songy cadence, and then an old woman talking about seeds far faster than excitement alone would allow for.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Jak Snide » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:21 am

It snarled in confusion. What was this? It had wanted a fight! It desired combat, not some elaborate target shooting exercise.

It raised its arm, shock lance manifesting from within its armour. Its people had produced far deadlier weapons than this, weapons capable of destroying civilizations, but there was no joy in such things. This was a weapon of champions; a trophy stripped from the dead each time the title changed hands. It had a name, bestowed upon it by the Annorakhan, the first of many Grand Champions. The Exemplar didn't care for it, nor its history. All that mattered was its function.

It aimed ahead of the speeding techno-sleigh, the lance crackling as it launching a ball of contained energy into their path. A slow if deadly attack, one they would no doubt easily avoid. It would be disappointed if they did not. They would deny it one of the pleasures the weapon offered it. It took aim again.

(Combo attack.)

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:02 pm

Its body continuing to flush with red and yellow, the Septumvirate appraises the cultists as they withdraw, making no attempt to follow. A lesser being might have found the event rattling, but Septumvirate has no illusions of what threat they might hold. Still...there is little more annoying than being on the dim side of an imbalance of information. As they withdraw, the Septumvirate directs its numerous senses towards the cultists, seeking to pierce whatever veil this Pontifex is cloaking. Curious if these worshipers are exactly what they present themselves to be.

Using Sense to analyze everything it can about the nature of the cultists.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:04 am

The Pontifex gave the growing fire a look, or at least the general direction of it, before it gingerly stepped over a body in its path, continuing away from the main ceremonies. Of those who had abandoned themselves to the dark lusts at her command, some followed, other remained where they were, but ultimately the throngs of people swallowed the six as they headed, not back to their quarters, but towards the ship, all preparations already finished.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:52 pm

The black and white man in the black and white suit nodded thoughtfully at the botanical presentation. Was that really how these things grew? How utterly fascinating.

Of course it was a ruse for politeness's sake, and thinly veiled at that. But throwing away one's decency and dignity was a luxury for the doomed. He'd endure any amount of banal tripe expressed as final offerings, and with a smile on his face to boot. He had been offered respect for his offering, and he would not dare to do any less for those now in a similar position. Besides, he might as well get a reading for those who he'd be boarding with on the last vessel to survive existence.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Capntastic » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:15 pm

Image

Exemplar let fly with the glimmering pulsar. He did not know what energies it was composed of; his understanding of its function was intuitive on a whole other level. He gave it a fraction of a second to close on its target, obscured within the field of illusion. As he took aim with the shocklance, trying to gauge just where the pulsar was within the field in relation to his foe, an iron dart shot out of the projection and embedded into his arm. This hurt, not for pain's sake alone, but because the field-rider's trajectory had changed. Exemplar snapped off a shot at the newly illuminated position. Despite the illusion of Ans Lasret being screamed into his mind, the noise of his projectile hitting metal range true to him. Then his mind is filled with static for a brief moment as the scenery between him and his foe replaces itself with a steel helmeted ruffian, one of the men he noted prior, shouting at him to 'slag off', and then back to a still and silent image of the old woman again.

(Exemplar takes a dart in the left arm for 3 killing damage. This messes up his pulsar's set, but his shock lance gets through for 2 damage to the field-rider's [???].)



Image

As Pontifex slinks off into the crowd, dispersing, Septumvirate is left to correlate the collected datums.

Septy Spoiler:
Spoiler:
The crowds of different sorts of deities and heroic folk are clouding some of the finer senses, but some things are detected. First and foremost, there is very obviously some manner of 'magic' ensorcelling the true visage of the group. This is not subtle, but gives way to the realization that there are definite undertones of something else, more subtle being hidden.


Eyes fixed stageward, but unimpressed enough to wander, Bargainer notes that Attendant is much in the same mode himself. Glancing out across the ritual grounds, along the shores of the lake, and occasionally at the hovering screens. The look of a person not impatiently waiting, but merely trying to ascertain if things are in their proper state. Apparently they are, as he draws towards the podium and whispers something to Lasret. And then towards the crowds, and repeated through all but one of the telepegraphics. "I'm afraid that is all the time we have for offerings. The final component of the Worldship is en route. Please, remain off of the main roads as it makes its approach. Do not make eye contact with the ritual guard. Kneeling and prayer would not be out of place."



Image

Above the ritual grounds, the screens carry Attendant's message. Conversations hush and lull, and Surtr's second set of ears might perk up in unison with his second tongue flicking, trying to get a sense of what direction the 'final component' might be approaching from. Certainly, final boarding must be soon, and his third group had not yet returned at all. Frustrating.

From their position along the road leading up to the crystal bridge to the worldship, Pontifex noted tidal ebb of people sinking back off of the road. They were buffered by the white-silk dressed dancers, who even still moved quietly in synch. It was almost symbolic, in a way, as if the foamy seas of people had parted, granting pure viewing of the road all the way onto the horizon, now filled with the light of day. No sign of any ritual guard, though.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Besyanteo » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:03 pm

Surtr was somewhat irritated. He'd given his flock one hour to work with. The bearers of the mask would win by default, and that wasn't so frustrating. Those rules had been stated going in. But now eight of his people were missing, three of them from a group that had in part returned just now. He kept his tone even, but it held a subtle edge as he questioned them.

"Boys... where are the others? You all left in groups of five, but only two now. I should see three more panting, late scrubs."

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:19 am

Its observations stymied, the Septumvirate decides to ignore the issue of the Pontifex for now. It will have innumerous opportunities to unearth their secrets upon the Worldship; sooner or later, he will succeed. It's simply a matter of patience, which is one quality it has never lacked for.

Leaving the matter aside for now, it moves, deciding to instead take in the combat Exemplar is currently engaged in - from a safe distance, of course. While there is little it has to worry about in the way of harm, it is certain among the Exemplar's various weapons, there is sure to be something that could concern it. Still, it can't help but be curious as to the nature of this fellow passenger that, until now, the Septumvirate has managed to miss. Perhaps such a scene will prove enlightening as to the Exemplar's nature. And if not, the battle will at least prove a suitable distraction from the nagging question still eating at its mind.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:44 am

Having no intent to throw himself onto the landing strip for their departure vessel's landing strip, Bargainer maintained an eye out for the guardsmen. Seeing nothing but not trusting his eyes to cover for such a force, he bowed his head slightly and raised his black hand towards his face, chanting under his breath. Nothing particularly significant; he merely let syllables flow as they would. The gesture, he felt, was more important than the meaning, and in this event he dared not be caught with his social pant-analogues down.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:02 pm

The Pontifex did not stop in their steps, but rather continued on, as if they hadn't even noticed the crowd parting. The small jingling had disappeared a few moments after they had done their presentation, but now it came back... but this time, it was from the five surrounding the Pontifex. Each person was chiming in a slightly different tune and rhythm, creating almost a song... but the music was repetitive, simple, almost like a chant, and then the Pontifex itself jingled their bells slowly, the sharp, light sound like a vocalist springing into action.

Then, song. The Pontifex was singing, this time clearly in a woman's voice. The words indicipherable, ancient, belonging to the same language that they had spoken in before. The rest of the five joined into the chant, their voices variantly lower and higher, but none overshadowing the center figure as they made their way to the ship.

The song called for revel, for chaos, the abandoning of sense and care, for the gathered masses to surrender themselves to their base selves, to become beasts and lose their thoughts in the darkness of instinct.

It was beautiful.

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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Capntastic » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:37 pm

At the bridge, Pontifex sang, and those around them did not seem to notice much. Most attention was on the road. A group of four humanoid figures, armored in a white mist and each armed with a single curved shaft of light were marching in unison down the path. The Elite Ritual Guard, mysterious rumor and sharp reality all in one. Hovering between them was a small wooden platform upon which a bundle of oiled leather rags lay. The sheer devotion to this moment of the ritual was overwhelming, and Pontifex would note this clearly. Bargainer, too, would find some sort of symbolism in the simple and natural elements of wood and leather being elevated to great heights, the centerpiece of this display. The ethereal marchers were now making their way past the pavilion, halfway towards the bridge. This was all being broadcast via the screens. And yet most eyes were indeed towards the road, hoping to glimpse the real thing.


Exemplar's eyes were on the screen (and those riding it) in front of him, with which he was doing battle. Watching them with senses beyond crude optics, from the pavilion railing, was Septumvirate. The armored man was quite skilful at predicting his foe's trajectory, despite the psychic illusions being foisted upon him. Indeed, from this distance, firing a projectile through the vitals of two of the four pilots of the amusingly repurposed contraption could not just be pure luck. And that display of energetic skill was counterpointed by a large adobe brick being hurled from within the shuddering illusion, now displaying a close up of one of the Elite Ritual Guard's weapon, and connecting right with Exemplar's belly. But even this led to further displays of applied violence- Exemplar used the momentum forced into him by the brick to carry his weapon's arc to an angle, leading the next pulsating sphere of energy it let loose to explode on contact somewhere within the illusion's radius. The sounds that were not masked by the screen's failing abilities indicated quite a bit of damage.


At Surtr's camp, the two scuffed up raiders took turns explaining themselves.

"We found a box that had a fire spirit sealed in it. Thought it'd make a good prize."
"But we had some trouble liftin' it, and got spotted. Thought we'd just take the lid, you know, and mask our escape."
"Yeah, consider the result, a, uh, performance."

They grinned, trying to play up their failure as clever thinking.

"As for the third group, they went to snatch a group of them dancers."
"Dunno if they're taking their time with 'em before bringin' 'em back or what. Might've gotten worn out, seein' as how the dancers themselves've got what seems to be blessed amounts of energy."

The grins widened, as curiosity set in.

"What'd the first group acquire?"

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Besyanteo
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:28 pm

Surtr suppressed an urge to facepalm. Well, he wanted them to have fun with it. One way or another, they were. It didn't sound like anyone had died, so he wasn't ready to tell them off. The second and third groups had lost, which was punishment enough so long as they returned before it was time to board. Even then, the worldship would take time to board. A good bit of time. They should still be fine.

He picked up and displayed the mask for his followers now present, a pretty thing that had apparently once been someone's face. Unique, and soon to be quite rare throughout the multiverse. He explained to those now returned about their fellows' success with a touch of pride.

"And now, winners by default, the only group to return within the alloted time with a suitable prize... What's your fancy? The usual rewards, boys and girls. Don't take too long to pick, now, we've got only an hour or two's time before need to be away."

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ChristianC
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby ChristianC » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:55 pm

The Pontifex slowly stopped singing, curiosity peaked at the strange bundle of rags being paraded, absorbing themselves into the crowd as the armed guards approached, watching with indistinguishable emotions as the roar of the crowds raised at the approaching object.

What was this thing? How could it elicit such response? Was it magical? Perhaps, but it was not something they had ever heard of before. It intrigued them, and made them angry. How could such a menial object acquire such attention? There would be investigations conducted, yes, and if the thing was more than what the eye revealed, plans would be made.

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Jak Snide
 
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Re: White Machine

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:01 pm

It was over all too quickly. The briefest of moments, a mere instant, but it was enough. The reward of existence. The greatest pleasure to be claimed. The Exemplar soaked it all in; the roar of the shock lance, the patterns left in the air as its weapon pierced two foes, the shock on the faces of those that remained alive. A memory to be treasured. It would never be the same as this moment, its potency fading with time. But it was enough for now.

It moved with speed now, the projectile that slammed into its gut only adding to its momentum. It tracked the its foe, weakening it with another attack. Victory would come soon. It could taste it. But not too soon, no. It wanted to savour this.

(Two shots, main lance.)

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