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Thread Review (Newest First)
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 03-02-2024, 03:01 AM
Bucket: I’ve let this go on too far.

Bucket: Really have failed you…

Bucket picks up their sword.

Bucket: If you’ve got something to show, do it.

Charon: No.

Charon: I’m not playing this on your terms.

Bucket: You disrupt my duel, assault me, and have the audacity to refuse to commit?

Charon: Nothing’s stopping you from taking a swing. 

Bucket: Consider it a mercy then that I’ve the sense to try and reason..

Charon: Reason implies compromise, you want me to go home.

Bucket: You really don’t understand-

Charon: I know enough.

Charon: And I know enough to admit I’m tired.

Charon: I’m not participating in his ruthless cycle.

Bucket: It’s not a cycle-

Charon: Yes it is, nobody in this family knows how to be normal.

Charon: Siblings and parent and child fist fighting each other over what?

Bucket: I’m trying to protect you-

Charon: You’re not! And I need you to shut up and listen to me for once!

The dog makes a hurt noise at that.

Charon:.. Grandma’s not a good liar. Doesn’t at all if she can help it. It’s you.

Bucket: Charon..

Charon: It’s always been you…

Bucket: I can’t let people find out about you… you’re way over your head in all this.

Charon: I know.

Bucket: Your grandmother needs you too.

Bucket: Fiend or not, this job;s taken its toll on her.

Bucket: And if god forbid something happen to you on this job-

Charon: You really want me to step down?

Bucket: It’s not how I’d put it-

Charon: There’s a lot of people I care about putting themselves on the line here. That includes you..

Bucket: You hardly know some of these folks..

Charon: Doesn’t matter.

Bucket: Myself included…

Charon: Then let me in.

Bucket: How can you trust your judgment when you’ve still got that creature on you?

Charon: Rook didn’t do anything-

Bucket: I’m not talking about that proxy of yours.

Charon: I’ll resolve things with Styx on my terms

Bucket: You..

The dog raises their voice in hurt frustration..

Bucket: His existence is taking a toll on you!

Bucket: I know what it did to Geezer! 

Bucket: And I don’t want him to break you any further…

Charon: I know I’m putting a lot of faith in him… but it’ll be different.

Charon: And I’m putting just as much on you.

Bucket:... You’re tempered. Only other member of the family to reach that point was my Grandmother..

Charon: I know.

Bucket: Erica noticed after you came back.

Charon: Mm..

Bucket: The amount of physical and emotional intensity a field needs to go through to reach that point....

 
Bucket: Your body is unstable, perfectly malleable for a number of potential metamorphosis.

Bucket: To have a man like that potentially influence it.. I can’t allow it.

The dog starts to approach you.

Charon: I don’t want to fight you.

Bucket: It won’t be much of one, because it’s not you that I’m after.

Bucket: Tell him to make peace with his god.

Your proxy tries to stand up in front of you, only for you to shove it away.

Charon: Listen to me!

Styx: It’s alright.…

The proxy continues to try and walk toward Bucket, you attempt to hold it back.

Styx: I know you want to fight even know.. And I always admired that about you.

Styx: In this life, in every other.

Styx: As much as you want to try and resolve this otherwise.. I know you’re ready to commit to what comes when negotiation falls through

Charon: It shouldn't have to be this way.

Styx: It won’t. God knows you’ve fought for too long.

A second proxy appears, tall and porcelain white with one with a distinctly feminine shape.

Styx: And in every life you’ll have me.

There’s a long pause, Bucket’s face slowly shifting through the emotions trying to process this.

Bucket: Another proxy…?

Styx: And if there’s anything more true in life, it’s that my rules are not your rules.

Styx: Never been fair for anyone and well..

Styx: It’s more than time to take responsibility for that.

The proxy holds out her hand, otherwise completely still.

It seems to cause Bucket to hesitate, at least for a moment.

Rook seems to calm down, enough for you to release it.

Styx: To take such a cue from the monarchy..

Styx: Disgraceful, but have to give them credit where it’s due. Follow my lead.

You finally approach, rook by your side.

Bucket: What’s the meaning of this?

Charon: Styx would like to negotiate the terms of his surrender.

Charon: A contract for the rights to his execution. 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 01-24-2024, 09:18 AM
[Image: Bern%20Duel.png] 

As soon as the match starts, what come next feels natural.

Shadows pour from underneath Bern and fill the arena. In all but voice she becomes unrecognizable as the square you picked a fight with you.

Kite around, hold your fire until you have a clear gauge of what she can do. Your plan is set.

Each shade that pours out leaves less and less room to fight, freely, each stretch of line another wall.

Her form warps, reminiscent of the horrors you’ve encountered since youth, until her body is just another shadow against the wall, revealing her true self.

A proxy stands before you, one with a streamlined frame different from those you encountered in your home world.

You take aim the moment you got the footing for it.

Opera: Paige?

Paige: Do it.

You take a shot, a burst of energy scatters across like a shotgun blast, the spread of bits making it impossible for Bern to dodge cleanly.

A distinct hiss can be heard.

Before she sinks into the nearest shadow.

There’s audible rumbling traveling across like a rat in your walls.

Opera: Cover me!

Paige envelops around in a swirl of movement to keep your movements ambiguous.

You can hear the thumping coming from two directions.

All you can do is try to anticipate correctly right now.

Paige: Now.

You’re able to successfully matador the proxy with a flourishing twirl, about to take fire only for Bern’s physical form to lunge at you.

Paige leaps off your shoulders to coil around her mid jump, immediately sniping her approach

She’s trapped, an easy target.

The proxy attempts to defend her physical form by rubberbanding back toward you with a heavy ricochet.

You’re barely able to defend by slamming the flat of your gun between her neck and shoulder, redirecting her motion away.

There’s a skid across the ground as she tries her best to maintain her footing, using this as an opportunity to scrap up close.

There’s another attempt to force its way in, the strips of walls around you becoming closer and more condensed to prevent you from being able dodging.

 
It’s too frantic to take the shot safely as she lunges at you full speed

You use the blunt of your gun once more to keep Bern off of you, guiding her movement toward one of the walls.

Bern: Stop holding back!

Opera: Paige!

Paige: Busy!

Paige was having to put everything into trapping her in place.

The proxy escapes, taking big swings at you that put you more and risk of being pinned to the wall with each attempt.

You decide to take the shot way too close for comfort, missing in the chaos but managing to startle.

You take the opportunity to shoulder tackle her into one of the large line, only for her to phase in.

You make the call and blast off a chunk to the left off where she entered, forcing her to travel the other way instead.

It’s easy to pin down the noise with only one opponent in the picture, blasting ahead of her and limiting her escape.

The proxy is forced to emerge, you grabbing her as she pops out and successfully pinning her to the ground.

Bern: Let go!

Opera: Scoop it up!

Another wall lunges at you, tearing through Paige’s bindings.

It manages to separate you from the proxy yet again.

Opera: A-are you okay?

Paige: M-Managing!

Paige is able to seal Bern back up and hobbling over toward you.

Opera: What are you-

Paige: Hostage routine, you know the deal!

You point directly the gun directly at your friend, the other proxy watching in horror

Bern: Wait, what are you doing??

Opera: Back down or I’m taking the shot!

There’s a clap in the background.

Bern’s proxy form repeated it without a moment of hesitation.

Geezer: Stand down, they’re calling a time out.

Opera:... She can’t seriously do that, right? Has it been long enough?

Geezer:.. Yeah. Just barely but… yeah.

Opera: She has to be free, yeah?

Opera: We pinned her..

Geezer looks Bern directly in the eye.

Geezer: She sees herself as the proxy, everything else is just a tool to get around.

Geezer: Ruling with a proxy is that the name entered is the one person that needs to be successfully pinned.

Opera: That’s kinda horseshit..

Geezer: Normally it’s a strategic element. Lots of proxies are brittle, but they’re powerful.

Geezer: A source isn’t going to phase out of existence after getting floored by an uppercut.

Geezer: So you can choose what wincon you wanna give the opponent, so to speak.

Geezer: But when you’re both at the same time…

Geezer: And the proxy’s this much of an oddball..

Geezer: Rules don’t account cause it hasn’t come up in a big enough duel for discussion to happen.

Geezer: New rules in a sport exist when someone causes a stir.

Opera: We were close..

Geezer: Yeah.

You call Paige back, she gives a little whimper as she climbs back onto your shoulder.

Paige: Sorry…

Opera: You did good, match isn’t lost yet.

Geezer: Yeah. Not sure if I’ll get as lucky as round 1 but-

Bern reverts back to her previous state as she approaches Bucket.

She reveals her shoulder.

Geezer: Ah… fuck.

Opera: What is it?

The dog takes a bite immediately, their eyes begin to spark.

Opera: No fucking way…

Geezer: That’s their plan.

The mist reforms around both of you with a stomach turning dread to it.

Bucket approaches, there’s a certain unkempt nature to their fur that gives them a ferocity you haven't seen before.

Bucket: Will there be a tag out for you two as well?

Their tone had a jagged hardness to it, the natural crackling echo of their fiendish voice intensified.

A sword made of twisted metal and bone formed in front of them as they slid their hand across the air as if it were a flat surface.

Opera: I mean I can-

Geezer: Don’t.

Opera: No?

Geezer: Right now any sort of touch makes them a danger to you.

Geezer: Can’t hurt me in the same ways.

Opera: Can you beat them?

Geezer: Yeah, but I’d have to really take one for the team here.. 


Bucket: Certainly you can keep up with this, no?

Bucket: If you're truly my mother's strongest pupil, she's prepped you for this plenty.

Geezer: Maybe.

Bucket: Did you not anticipate this?

Geezer: Course I did.

Geezer: Just.. thinking on this.

Bucket: Be quick about it, stall too long and it’s a forfeit.

Opera:  I think we can take it on.

Geezer: Yeah but..

Geezer: That’s not the gameplan.

Geezer: They can spring back over and over. Not forever but more than we can take.

Geezer: We put in the work, we’re not gonna be good for the rest of the gig.

Bucket: Mm, pieced it together.

Bucket: But… I know you’re holding back.

Geezer: I’m not here to see you die, course I am.


Bucket: If you’re so passionate about being in charge of this job, prove it. Show me your finest.

Geezer: Knight’s passion isn’t just about being strong, you know?

Geezer: It’s about being flexible, making opportunities out of what you have, doing anything and everything you can.

Geezer: And if you can’t, you find someone who can, and you give them the best shot possible.

Geezer: I’m by the book. Don’t pick fights that lead to nothing, know when to pack it up.

Geezer: Playing dirty, but it’s fair game. You know you don’t gotta be able to win the fight. Just gotta make sure we lose.

Bucket: Observant.

Geezer: Used to be big into this kind of theory. Really are as good as they say.

Bucket: Surely you must have something up your sleeve? If you’re to carry the next generation, you need to be able to surpass me.

Bucket: And you clearly have something about you that makes it clear why my mother picked you for the job.

 
Geezer: Don’t gotta build me up like that, I know who I am.

Bucket: So? Show me your best.

Geezer:Not seeing much use in continuing. You talk through your fists, don’t need to see the worst of you like that. 


Bucket: So you’re forfeiting?

Geezer: Can’t keep this up forever. And if I play it out? Neither of us are gonna be any good for the job ahead.

Geezer: Know my limits, got what I wanted out of this. I'm good.

Geezer: Him though? He doesn’t.
 
He tilts his head, gesturing toward the left

Bucket, turning to take a glance.

Bucket: Have you returned Charo-?

Charon swoops in from the right and decks the larger dog full force, launching them off their feet and into the sand.

Bern tries to jump in immediately only to be intercepted by a large and daunting proxy.

Opera: Rook....?

Bern: Fuckin- Let go!

???: Stand down and let it play out. This isn’t your fight.

 You don’t hesitate to take full advantage of the situation, taking aim directly at Bucket.

Opera: You plan this far ahead?

Geezer: Nah, just knew what I was working with.

Geezer: Charon?

Charon: Couldn’t wait for me to return before your coup?

Geezer: Figured you needed the rest. How you holding up?

Charon: Tired, furious.

Opera: Feel that.. Glad you could make it.

Bucket starts getting back to their feet.

Bucket: You’ve breached the rules, this is no longer a civil resolution.

Charon: Never was. Rules are fake and so are you. Every single part of you except for one thing.

Charon points to the sword in their hand.

Bucket: Back down, you don’t want this.

Charon: If this is what it takes to get to know you? So be it…

Charon: I’m going to bring you back home…

Charon reaches over and pulls you in for an awkward hug.

Opera: Are you-

Charon: Can I?

Bucket: Don’t do what I think you’re about to do-

Opera: Fuck them up, dude.

He bites down on your shoulder deep, taking in as much blood as he can get from a single gulp.

Every sensation in your head intensifies, feeling like an eternity before he releases you.

Charon: Thank you..

Opera: Hehe…

You nearly tip over, Geezer managing to catch you.

Geezer: I gotcha.

Opera: You guys never let me down..

You watch in a haze as the halo appears over Charon’s head, its glow burning violently.

Bucket: Your metamorphosis is advancing faster than I anticipated.. what have you become?

Charon: More than enough.


 


 
Love
[A New Day]
CW: Violence
Perspective:
Charon Mar Judgment
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 01-17-2024, 10:06 PM
[Image: eewwefr.jpg]
 
Bucket claps their hands twice, Bern following suit immediately.

Geezer starts to walk back toward you, with a tired look on his face.

He gestures to walk toward him, you give him a puzzled look only for him to shake his head.

Opera: They’re tagging out? This fast? I mean you fucked them up but-

Geezer: They’re stalling to get some rest and figure out a new gameplan.

Opera: How’d you even manage? Could barely make out the scramble…

Geezer: Old school knights like them aren’t trained for ground game. Nearly every fight gets taken to the floor quickly but…

Opera: Yeah but like…It was so clean..
:
Geezer: Something to worry about later.

Geezer: Don’t know a thing about Bern, she’s got something up with her though.

Geezer: Like… if they’re willing to bring someone like that with them..

Opera: And tag out after a beating like that…

Geezer: Yeah, that’s the thing. If she was just some rookie, that’d be insanely cruel.

Opera: I mean…

Geezer: Family’s got a issue with being too comfortable passing off a lot as just “tough love”, not gonna deny that.

Geezer: This isn’t it dude.

Opera: I can scout.

Geezer: Figured you’d be good at that.

Opera: Need you to be able to pull that trick twice. You deserve the rest.

Geezer: Yeah..

Geezer: Part of me wants to keep in, stay warmed up but..

Geezer: If I get down’d here and now cause of lack of prep? That’s it.

Geezer: Which means you know you can’t let a pin happen before I’ve got enough info to work with.

Opera: Surprised you didn’t manage it earlier..

Geezer: Didn’t think they’d tap out that, fast honest.

Geezer: Buck’s a fiend too, strong one.

Geezer: Not the same kind as my grandma or Charon though. Bit of a rarity…

Opera: What do you mean?

Geezer: Every fiend’s got a breath tied to their specific category, yeah?

Opera: Mm…

Geezer: Got a set of fiend silk on me, has a lot of usage.

Geezer: Fact that they managed to muscle out is impressive but… that’s it. Managed to completely muscle out.

Opera:... Isn’t Charon a bug fiend?

Geezer: Yeah.

Opera: Erica too? And uh.. Arabis?

Geezer: Yeah. Webbing type.

Opera: Webbing types can get stuck but they absorb it into themselves, that’s how it works in this world too I’m sure?

Geezer: Yep.

Geezer: There’s something hell off.

Without knowledge of what Bucket’s fiend type, there’s now a massive danger to worry about.

A fiend is incredibly variable in nature, some can become a threat just by making the slightest bit of contact to your skin.

It’s clear Geezer has the toolkit to deal with them but..

For now you do what you have to. Scout, gain info, stall for Geezer to plan round 2 and..

Opera: Mm.. Okay.  Get the gist.

Geezer: There’s a 5 minute timer before being able to tag again, just a heads up.

Opera: 5 Minutes? Sounds long for a fight..

Geezer: Only for freestyle dueling. New ruling, recent high profile match has people worried about stall tactics.Big timer in theory puts people off of trying to tag stall til the max timer on spectated events. Long matches lead to more risk of injury.

Opera:.. This region’s kinda weird dude. There’s a story right?

Geezer: I’ll tell you some other time.

He gestures over toward the other team, Bucket having their own conversation with Bern, too quiet for you or Paige to make out from the distance.

Geezer: You got this, yeah?

Opera: Mm…

Geezer gives you a pat on the shoulder.

Geezer: You’re up then.

Paige’s head perks up from your cloak.

Opera: You ready to go?

The proxy squeaks in confirmation.

Of course we’re ready, always will be.

Geezer walks off and takes a spot with Zana and Fenton spectating, the three of them seem to start bantering amongst themselves as well.

You Approach the other team, Bucket pointing you out to Bern before backing off.

The mysterious squire walks up to you. There’s a new intensity to the fight, one that exudes directly from her.

Bern: Feels like each of you got a proxy on you. Guessing the world did something to you and your friends.

Opera: Always have, just another adventure for the two of us.

Bern: Mm..

Bern: Read up on the case as much as I could.

Bern: Target’s got a history.

Bern: One I can relate to.

She looks over at Paige. There’s an immediate nervous response, one that you can feel bleeding over.

Bern: You know something.

Bern: I’m a bit of a thread in this too…

You try comforting Paige with a pat on the head.

Opera: What’s up?

I don’t want to do this…

Opera: Really? I mean I can handle it on my own if you’re not up for it-

No. I don’t want you to get hurt.

I haven’t felt scared like this since we were kids.

Opera: I mean we dealt with a lot of scary stuff..

Opera: Always pulled through though.

I know…

Opera: Tell me what’s up?

Paige: She’s a husk.

Bern: Don’t like being called that…
Bern: But… yeah.

Bern: Guess I’d fit the bill.

Bern:.. Wasn’t expecting to get that response from another proxy to be honest….

Bern: Don’t hold back.

Bern looks over toward Bucket as the countdown starts.

Bern: It’s time.

Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 01-07-2024, 07:55 PM
 
Family
[Turning Point]
CW: Violence
Perspective: Opera


[Image: The%20Opening%20of%20the%20End.png]
 
Your group shuffles out of the work room, anticipation in your body keeping you more than awake.

Now's the time.
Bucket: Good morning-

Geezer: We gotta talk.

Bucket:.. I figured as much.

Bucket: Go ahead.

Geezer: Gonna be honest, nobody’s liking how this ship is run.

Geezer: Doesn’t feel right letting you make the calls when everyone else has more personal stake at hand.

Bucket: That’s why I’ve been selected as the lead for this, having some distance. Whether I agree it’s the best route to take or not… I’m unsure.

Bucket: But under the current circumstances, I will not move.

Geezer: I’m not giving you the option.

Geezer: Opera?

Opera: Mutiny.

Bucket looks down at the cat and frowns.

Bucket: I don’t think you want this-

Opera: No, I really fucking do actually.

Bucket:... And you’re announcing this directly. I see…

Bucket: I don’t follow-

Geezer: I’m formally challenging you to a duel, keep it civil.

Bucket: Why should I accept this?

Geezer: Because if you don’t, it’s about to be ugly. Standard procedure, Opera is my second. You’re allowed to invite anyone as your own. Freestyle, the usual rules regarding duels out of dispute apply-

Bucket: I’m aware, I’ve looked into them while here considering how important they are to the culture of Plaza.

Bucket: But you’re ignoring my main point.

Bucket: What bargaining chips do you have?

Bucket: I can simply say no.

Geezer: Cause it’s going to get less than civil otherwise.

Bucket: A threat?

Geezer: A warning, for legal reasons.

Bucket: Mm..

Bucket: I’d rather not if I’m honest, but..

Bucket: I’ll stand my ground and entertain this. I pick Bern. Any location in mind?

Geezer: The beach is right outside. 

Bucket: Fair enough..

Bucket: This is acceptable.

They start toward the exit, grabbing their large sword resting close to the entrance.

The noise it makes gives everyone else in the room a certain ick immediately.

Manzana: You sure you really want to do this?

Geezer: Gotta. Don’t stand my ground now, it’s on me if things go wrong later.

Geezer: We gotta stick to out plan though. Can’t let it get out of hand.

Opera: Just checking in but.. You really got a plan to deal with them?

Geezer: Yeah.

Opera: I don’t want you hurt for nothing, if you want I can lead.

Geezer: Best this way. I got the information game on my side. You gotta play second so you can get a good read on the situation-

Bern steps out from the other room.

There’s a certain look of guilt on her face.

Bern: Right here you know.

Bern: Least you can do is let me head out before you start scheming.

Geezer: Ah..

Bern: Just wanna say ahead that like..

Bern: Whatever happens next..

Bern: I’m just doing a job.

Opera: You don’t gotta-

Bern: For your sake? Yeah I do.

Bern: I…

She lets out a strong sigh of frustration.

Bern: Just. Good luck, alright?

Bern: I’m not going to give less than my best. You shouldn’t either.

Opera: I… yeah. Okay.

Bern closes the door on her way out as she heads over to coordinate with Bucket.

Opera: That felt weird, right?

Opera: Like..

Fenton: Yeah no it really did.

Fenton: I’m down if you are but…

Geezer: Already committed to this, I’m not backing down.

Opera: Yeah, same.

Fenton: Sounded like a warning to me.

Manzana: It is.

Manzana: If we pull through with this, we’re going to have to fight my…

Manzana: Ali. There’s no getting around that.

Geezer: If you’re worried, I’m not going to let you get dragged in.

Manzana: You’re not going to-

Geezer: Not if we don’t have to. With someone like her? We get in and book it. If we gotta cut our losses and dump it all in the ocean, we’ll do it.

Manzana; I was worried you were going to fight her for a sec…

Geezer: If I gotta, I gotta. But don’t believe in trading lives like that if we can avoid it.

Geezer: Everyone lives.

Fenton: Yeah.. would like that this time.

Geezer: Got a few tips on where it’s being stored. Might not have to wait til the auction if we’re lucky.

Opera: You really found something?

Geezer: Yeah. Can’t be putting all our eggs in one basket, you know that.

Geezer: We’ll prep for every possibility.

Geezer starts toward the door. You give Paige a little pat on the head before following behind.

Opera: Ready to go?

Geezer: Yeah. Mind’s warmed up, don’t wanna waste that.

Fenton: I’m on first aid, try to keep it to a minimum.

Geezer: Plan to.

Fenton: Opera?

Opera: Won’t be the one needing it but… prep enough for all four.

Manzana: What about me?

Geezer: Save your energy, you’ll have your time.

Manzana: Mm..

Despite the foggy skies, the light feels intense in your eyes.

Your group heads straight toward the beach, the shape of your opposition in the distance growing more clear as you approach them.

Bucket: Had a bit of a huddle I imagine.

Geezer: Little bit of a pep talk’s never hurt anyone. You’ll live.

Bucket: Mm.

Bucket: You’ve taken good care of my mother in recent years I imagine..

Geezer: Least I could do for her. Know she misses you every day.

The dog’s face seems to struggle there.

You keep your hand in your cloak, watching the two intensely.

Bucket: You know I can’t return, not yet..

Geezer: You can make time. Gonna tell it to you straight though.

Geezer: You don’t drop by more, someone’s gonna drag you back.

Bucket: Who, you?

Geezer: Nah. Someone who cares even more. Someone you owe an apology.

Any cool the dog has maintained, any sense of divine dignity starts to show its cracks.

Their assistant slides into the conversation before it goes too far.

Bern: Look, love wrestling as much as anyone else but…

Bern: Let’s get this going, yeah?

Bucket: Mm… in positions?

Geezer: Aye.

Everyone clears the main battlefield, keeping enough distance to avoid getting caught up in the scrap.

You stay close enough just to make out the action.

Fenton: Bad weather for something like this, no?

Opera: You roll with the punches.

Fenton: You’re a marksman though, seems like a problem.

Manzana: It’s magic in nature, that’s the point.

Manzana: Bucket’s a illusionist, hard to get a clear read for anyone except for them.

Fenton: Hardly sounds fair…

Manzana: Yeah..

Opera: I’ll make it work.

The rabbit gives a gesture.

Geezer: Seconds, countdown!

Opera: Three!

Bern: Two!

Opera: One!

Bern: Go!

You witness Geezer walk up patiently through the thickening fog, it swallowing him more and more before-

You hear the sound of clashing metal, denting and folding as large sweeping swings of a blade tear the mist before…

The fog dissipates. The sword in a pathetic state flying off and crashing into the shifting shoreline..

The rabbit taking the dog to the ground and giving them the pummeling of a lifetime.

You look over and Manzana, eyes in genuine awe and fear.

Opera: What’s going on? That a trick or-

Manzana: No it’s…

Manzana: The illusion’s gone…

The dog continues to struggle and flail as Geezer continues to flail away, only managing to escape the cloud of sand and bruises by the skin of their teeth.

Snares and knots of silky wire only unbound though being torn apart by incredible amounts of effort and brute force,

As Bucket scrambles to their feet clumsily, Geezer continues to pace toward them. They shift their gaze over to Bern who seems to be having a hard time watching, before looking back at the rabbit.

There was a feral intensity you'd only seen back in that void. A reminder of a fiendish anger you always hope you never have to see again.


Bucket: She prepared you to kill me..?

Geezer:  Nah, I’m after bigger game.

Geezer: Get up.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 01-02-2024, 05:48 AM
[Image: A%20New%20Year.png]

You walk into the room, a glass mirror separating yourself and the world outside your little pocket of a castle.

The silhouette of your rabbit comrade stands with a certain dignity and sense of impending finality.

He managed to get the drop on you somehow.


 Gallows: Finally showed up, been waiting for you.

Styx: You’re certainly in a good mood today..

Gallows: Can’t be helped..

Gallows: We’re near the end of things.

Styx: Aye..

Styx: Your holiday plan managed to commit quite a bit of sway there.

Styx: Assaulting the royal family during the winter holiday, rallying the burning of storage houses for militia. Certainly enough of a dent that they will hardly recover anytime soon.

Gallows: If you know the opposition’s taking a break day, you take full advantage.

Gallows: Common courtesy not to start shit before the new year but..

Styx: I understand, don’t need to explain yourself.

Gallows: Mm, you get it.

Styx: You've managed so much in so little. Makes me nervous thinking about it.

Gallows: It's a good time to celebrate but... doesn't seem like you're in the mood for it.


Styx: Hard to, not like we've won just yet after all.

Gallows: What happens next will be everything. This was always the plan, we've just a little more left.

Styx: I know.

Styx: Are you really so calm?

Gallows: Maybe.

Gallows: If I succeed, I’ve got the fate of many in my hand.

Gallows: If I fail, I can never show my face again.

Gallows: One is a chance to fix many wrongs..

Gallows: And the other is obscurity and a grave in the sewers.

Styx: You've managed to prevent messengers from spreading word, everything's gone smoother than anticipated.

Gallows: They’ll find out what I did soon enough.

Gallows: The gauntlet, the application, the game has always been fixed.

Gallows: And I think when it comes down to it, my mistake has always been playing by its rules.

Gallows: You get so far, what do you do after?

Styx: To earn a “rightful” throne is asking to be complicit in the end.

Styx:
With that said, it did manage to net you the influence to make it happen just to be on the inside long enough.

Gallows: Mm.. we're about to witness a historical coup.

Gallows: We'll rise to the peak, take the crown, and when we have it all.. we'll refuse it.

Gallows: Anything less is doomed to fail.

Styx: And what of vindication?

Styx: A failed rebellion has value, for if it has the people truly in mind it’ll make noise. You have shown the holes, you’ve made it very clear that there’s options many didn’t know existed.

Styx: People will try again, this time braver than ever.


Styx: I've seen the state you're in, you're putting too much on yourself right now.

Gallows: Has to be done now, there's no time.

Styx: You're ill, and still recovering from your injuries.

Styx: If you don't succeed tomorrow, you may never do so.

Gallows: I know you only speak of such out of concern but…

Styx: I am aware of what's at stake. I just...

Styx: I don’t want to lose you again..

Gallows: ...Again?

Gallows: Why are you phrasing it like that? We've only known each other a few months, have we not?


Styx: Maybe but...

Gallows: Is there something you haven't told me?

Styx: Every once in awhile I am met with a client, one of distinguished soul and courage.

Styx: The same bold aura, a heroic charisma taken to the point of self destructiveness.


Gallows: I'm not that special really..

Gallows:... Does that mean..?

Styx: Many times you have called on me, and each time you're different from the last.

Styx: We shake hands, we grow together, and eventually you reach your end and I am destined to outlive you.


Styx: It's a blessing and a curse.

Styx: You show again in another time and place, and though you do not recognize me, it doesn't take me long to find out it's you.


Gallows: It's a bold claim...

Styx: One I cannot easily prove, but one I truly feel inside.

Styx: I want to get the most I can each time. Because when you die, It may be a eternity til I see you again.

Styx: And to be frank.. I worry each will be your last.

Gallows: And how does it usually end? Is this where road stops?

Styx: Always difficult to say.

Styx: Sometimes I've had you for decades, other times it's not so lucky.


Styx: If you truly feel you need to make this call, I will keep my end of the bargain.

Styx:: Nothing but my best work.


Styx: But.. I worry.

Gallows: I aim to survive.

Styx: That isn’t guaranteed.

Gallows: Nothing is.

Styx: And what if the people hate you?

Styx: What if the end result is a world that cares not for your labors?

Styx: Your health will not keep up forever either. Much work will be left regardless.

Gallows: When the monarch falls, the church will falter.

Gallows: When I strike it down, the people have a choice to make.

Gallows: I can’t decide it for them, but I give it to them none the less because it’s one I always wanted.

Gallows: All of us did growing up.

Gallows: And if they refuse to take it, that's at least their choice but..

Gallows: I will leave them with more than what I had.


Gallows: And truly, I believe in them. Even if I fall, they are more than capable of continuing to fix things on their own.

Styx: A True King of the Streets. The whole world is just as much yours as anyone else's.

Gallows: Fancy way to put it.

Styx: Mm...

Gallows:... Is that all you have to say?

Styx: My prose has its limits.

Gallows: And?

You go quiet.

Gallows: ... You really are scared for me if you aren't having the last word in this.

Styx: Of course I am.

Gallows: …You don’t think you’ll be able to protect me this time, do you.

Styx: Like you said, nothing is guaranteed. I will do my best

Styx: But…

Styx: In this life and any, I will have your back.

Styx: And I know one day we’ll meet again in another shape and form.

Styx: I just want a little longer before you forget me again…

Gallows:... I'm sorry.

Styx: It's not your fault, this was always the plan. It's as you said.

Styx: I… appreciate you, even if we haven’t had the most time together.

Styx: A promise is just words but..

Styx: Survive, that's all I ask. At least long enough that no matter what happens, I'll have enough times with you to hold onto til the next cycle.


Gallows: Course. You know I’m lucky like that.

Styx: You've clung through this by a thread, I'd hardly call it that.

Gallows: A thread is like a chain when it's you keeping it together.

Gallows: You've been nothing but great this entire time. And...

Gallows:... You’ll stick around after this? Our deal ends soon one way or another.

Styx: You want to renew contracts?

Gallows: It’s been good so far, why change things?

Gallows: Much work to be done even if all things go well.

Styx: Of course.

Styx: I'll have to think of the terms, something for the next few years at least.

Gallows: Don't pull anything in there, I'll have a lawyer next time we negotiate.

Styx: That's.... more than fair.

Styx: Until that point well..

Gallows: I want your best work. You're just as much key as everyone else, if not moreso..

Styx: Nothing less..

Styx: I...

Gallows: Mm...?

Styx: ....Thank you.

Gallows: You'll have time to say what you need to.

Gallows: But I think I already know.

Styx: Something to save til after, you're not one to die with regrets.

Styx: And if you don't hear it, I know you'll regret.

Gallows: Really leaning toward superstition?

Styx: It's all I have for now, and perhaps it's all I need.

Styx: But til then... just one more moment to share, you and I.

Styx: Pick a drink and a vinyl, think we both need this right now.

Styx: A final respite for now, a promise toward celebrations later.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 12-19-2023, 09:51 PM
CW: Children in peril, discussion of death and war

[Image: Fear%20and%20Hatred.png]

There’s been a long, uneasy quiet.

The child sits next to the window, looking out with unfocused eyes uninterrupted.

It’s time to break the silence.

Styx: Are you alright?

The look he gives you is one of a cornered animal about to bite.

His weary presence canceled out instantly by the intensity of his gaze.

You take a risk by stepping just a bit closer.

Styx: You’re safe for now-

Charon: Why’d you pull me out of there?

Charon: Why couldn’t you bring anyone else?

Styx: I needed to ensure your survival, and I cannot drag people in here without their consent.

Charon: You didn’t ask me-

Styx: Your contract allows me to take action should your demise be imminent.

Styx: You punched far above your weight class, that has given me enough to intervene.

Styx: As for the others..

Styx: Geezer’s contract is far too loose, I cannot do the same.

Styx: And he lacks the gift of being able to create such rifts himself, he played it pretty safe with his negotiations, smart kid. Low investments are ideal with entities such as myself-

Charon: Pull him out.

Styx: He refuses, he’s out there doing what must be done.

Charon: He’ll die.

Styx: A lot of people will die tonight, rest assured I am giving him what is within my capacity-

Charon: That’s not enough!

Charon: You were able to take me here, right?

Charon: Can we just.. Make a deal to get out of here?

Charon: At least the people who don’t want to fight?

Charon: Please…

Styx: It’s not within my power, and even if it was I doubt many would take the offer.

Charon: What do you mean..?

Styx: The library was many things. A safe house, a base of operations, knowledge, counteraction against the Church.

Styx: A home of good people who want freedom.

Styx: Anyone who was reluctant to fight before certainly won’t be after this.

Styx: I’ve seen it happen before. The moment a community’s base of operations reaches a point where it’s self-sustaining despite the ruling class, it’s burned to the ground and anyone within is part of the public execution.

Styx: Ideally you would run such revolution as tight and widespread across the community as-

The child cuts you off with growls and hisses.

It's enough to make your ears pull back in distress. His expression softens up just for a moment at that.

Styx: Sorry..

Charon: Didn't mean to-

Styx: You're fine.

Styx: Truth be told, I’ve been through this myself time and time again.

Styx: Despite centuries passing, we’re still repeating this to this day.

Charon: Did you lose anyone…?

Styx: Plenty. It’s the cruel nature of the oppressor to trade lives against those who only wish to live.

Styx: To show anything less than your all in the face of such, is allowing them to make example of you.

Styx: I do not have personal stakes admittedly but..

Styx: On the principle of the thing..

Styx: I will gladly hand you the first Molotov.

Charon: You hate the church..

Styx: I don't hate, I despise it.

Styx: Should consider themselves lucky I can't be out there with you right now.

The child seems to calm down at that.

Charon: If it doesn’t work out…?

Styx: I cannot help any of you escape this world. At this point in time anyone who was too loud during the past few scrambles is a fugitive. I would assume some of you will be on the bounty board by the end of the day if not today.

Styx: The people there have taught you well, and you’ve certainly picked a sword with the teeth to get you through.

Charon: This thing?

Styx: Aye.

Charon: Opera doesn’t like it..

Styx: Then the oppressor wields one as well.

Charon: This thing blew off half a guy’s torso…

Styx: and you’ll simply do better as time goes on.

Styx: The weakness of those who’ve lived in heaven, is they have remained unchallenged for so long.

Styx: The moment someone is able to match them pound per pound, you’ve more than clipped their wings.

Styx: That Proxy of yours needs a fresh name, Extreme Retention is a powerful prompt of its own. It does more than form a foundation.

Styx: But ultimately, it’s a mouthful.Hard to make calls in a fight if there’s so many syllables.

Charon: Right…

Styx: One, two tops. Keep it strong and short.

Styx: When you cut off the excess, life becomes easier to unravel as a whole.

Charon:  Mm..

Styx: That all you have to say?

Charon: It’s hard to keep up with you sometimes..

Styx: I’ll catch you up to speed. A good wit breaks the ego, another tool of the trade.

Charon: And you’ll really stick around the whole time?

Styx: Nothing but a benefit right now.

Charon: If… this works out.

Charon: I got one other wish I want. Once we get back.

Styx: Toss it to me.

Charon: There’s someone I want you to help me bring back home.

Charon: Grandma’s worried about them every day so-

Styx: By the end of all this, you’ll have the strength to do it yourself.

Charon: I…

Charon: We need to go back still.

Charon: You have to take me-

Styx: I’m establishing contact as we speak. There’s someone aware of my presence and they’ve been kind enough to give us a place to land safely.


Styx: When you’re ready-

Charon: Right now.

The child gets up from the ground and reaches for the weapon next to him.

Charon: Make good on that Molotov.
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 12-18-2023, 08:54 AM
Three Cards in Winter
3 Part Intermission....
Perspective: Styx
CW: None

[Image: Past%20Roundabout%20small.png]

 Roundabout: Knock, Knock! You mind company?

Styx: Not at all, but you’re a little pressed for time at the moment.

Styx: Seasonal celebrations later today and all that to consider.

Roundabout: Got time, and you know you’re invited there too.

Styx: I suppose, I’ll drop in during a lull if you need a break.

Roundabout: Not up for it?

Styx: Having a moment.

Roundabout: Moody?

Styx: A little, I’ll get over it soon…

Styx: That said…

The snake smirks.

Styx: You’ve dressed up for the occasion. Any reason in particular?

Roundabout: Tis the time, you like it?

Styx: Absolutely lovely as always…

Roundabout: Tried to look for something that might be up to your tastes too, case you want to take the wheel.

Styx: Yes well..

Styx: I mean I’ll settle for anything personally. You don’t have to go that far for me.

Roundabout: Aye, but I know you’ve got your tastes too. Doing what I can to accommodate my wardrobe for you and well… I’ve noticed a few trends.

Styx: Ah…

Roundabout: If it’s not your thing I have something else I can-

Styx: It’s nothing like that by any means. Just…

Styx: The more I spend time as part of this life, the more… certain thoughts become difficult. Intrusive. Drowning even.

Roundabout: I know.

Styx: You understand though and…

Styx: It always seems so natural for you. Envy that really, but that’s natural for a schizo-existentialist nightmare like myself I suppose.

Styx: Miracle I’ve gotten this far at all.

Roundabout: Stop.

Styx: Sorry..

Roundabout: You’d never say that about someone else.

Styx: You don’t know that.

Roundabout: Haven’t seen it so far.

Styx: Could be waiting for the right occasion.

Roundabout: You know that’s not true.

Styx: Plenty of time to find out.

Roundabout lets out a sigh, offering her arms out to you.

Styx: That’s not fair…

Roundabout: Promised me you wouldn’t be as hard on yourself, right?

Styx: Mm….

Roundabout: Come here..

You make your way over, coiling your tail around her waist.

She seems to try and return it, coiling her own around yours.

Roundabout: Whatever you want to do, I’ll make time for you. We’ve got a good thing going, and I plan to keep you with me so long as you wish the same.

Styx: Be careful what you say, I may never leave.

Roundabout: Might be what I want, really.

Styx: Course…

Styx: You take the whole demon in your head thing quite well, I’ll never understand.

Roundabout: We made a deal to work together, and well…

Roundabout: I need you, and you need me.

Roundabout: And maybe we have a very good thing going with that.

Styx: And as for taking point? I don’t mind by any means but… you just let me.

Styx: Past clients understand its weight as a currency enough to not give it so easily.

Roundabout: I appreciate the break time.

Styx: I could get injured, it’s a lot of faith.

Roundabout: You enjoy your time too much not to make efforts to preserve yourself.

Roundabout: I’ve seen your suitors.

Styx: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Roundabout: Keep waking up to sweets and invitations in my inbox. You have to introduce me sometime.

Styx: I’m a man of theatrics, nothing else.

Roundabout: Maybe you could perform for me sometime, see what’s won you so many hearts.

Styx: Are you looking to be swoon by my unholy talents?

Roundabout: Already am, I just don’t want you holding out.

Styx: Implying I don’t save my best for you?

Roundabout: Have to know for sure, need to know if I’m being threatened.

Styx: As if anyone could.

Roundabout: I mean I’d win, I understand that.

Roundabout: You’d miss me too much to move elsewhere.

Styx: Assume a lot.

Roundabout: Is it wrong?

Styx: No..

Styx: You really do want me with you at the event?

Roundabout: Want you with me everywhere, god willing to give us that.

Styx: I consider his will a suggestion, personally.

Roundabout: What if he asks firmly?

Styx: I’d pull up my sleeves in an instant.

Roundabout: And if he’s too strong?

Styx: Then you’d be more than capable of protecting us.

Roundabout: What makes you think that?

Styx: I’ve got a good gauge of things, part of the job.

Roundabout: Is that something you have? A secret talent?

Styx: It’s common, an entity like myself tends to create mental categories for potential talent scout.

Roundabout: Can I hear mine?

Styx: Maybe.

Roundabout: Please?

Styx: I’d rather not do work during a holiday…

Roundabout: That’s fine, I just don’t want you spending it alone really.

Roundabout: Can’t stop you if you really want to but..

Styx: No, you’ve called things correctly.

Roundabout: Do you want to stay here or go out with me for a bit? I can make time.

Styx:  I’d like a little bit more of this but..

Styx: I think I really will take your offer.

Styx: Can’t promise I’ll behave the whole time. Parties and I-

Roundabout: You’re allowed, I want in too.

Styx: Are you certain? Could pick fights, flirt with bounty hunters, maybe even start a few fires.

 Roundabout: Yeah, fun stuff.

Styx: Hmm..

Roundabout: That a problem?

Styx: Not at all just..

Styx: There's something special about you.

Styx: Don't know what it is but..

Roundabout: I know.

Roundabout: Wordy way to make a confession.

Styx: I haven't said anything.

Roundabout: Not directly no.

Roundabout: But your face, the quiver...

Roundabout: You don't need to.

Styx: Mm..

Roundabout: I want to hear it directly one day but..

Roundabout: I'll let you figure that out I think.

Styx: Thank you..

Styx: You really do get me.

Roundabout: Someone has to. You're really not as bad as you'd like to make yourself.

Roundabout: Must have you tired some days.

Styx: Mm...

She offers you a hand.

Roundabout: Let's take a break, both of us.

Roundabout: Another year to look forward to.

Styx: Looking to renegotiate?

Roundabout: It's coming up, got offers you'd never refuse.

Styx: Then I look forward.

Roundabout: To the future?

Styx: To us...
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 12-13-2023, 07:07 PM
[Image: Small%20Goals.png]

Manzana: You’re allowed in.

The door opens the rest of the way, the proxy revealing her full form.

Limbs segmented like armor, as pristine white as a mannequin out of a fashion display. There was a distinctly unfinished appearance to the whole thing, Her body held together by a pitch black substance.

There’s a certain eldritch beauty to it, kind of personal goals if you're honest with yourself.

Manzana: Here to pick up the sword?

???: Is it ready to go?

Manzana: Just about, came at a good time.

Opera: Hate to interrupt but… who are you?

???: A old friend.

The proxy seems to tilt its head at Opera’s cloak, the bat peeking its head out in response.

Paige utters a little chitter of a noise.

Opera: Really…

Manzana:  Mhmm..

Opera: Is that possible? To be able to just… be that far away from your source?

Fenton: Is for some types of em. Proxies that trigger on danger can sense it coming way ahead, and can wander off way more than typical.

Fenton: Could also just be one who’s grown past the definition of proxy.

Fenton: Surprised you didn’t know that actually.

Opera: I knew they could go out further but… does that mean there’s trouble?

???: Going to be. Hate to ask for you to rush on things but..

Manzana: I got someone kinda like you so, I don’t mind.

Manzana: Promised I was going to tinker with this piece, wouldn’t get much sleep anyway.

You offer the weapon to the proxy, it nods before giving it a proper look through.
???: You’re the real deal. Had to be ready one way or another.

Manzana: If it wasn’t?

???: I’d have to improvise something. This’ll be enough for now though.

???: Going to pass it along to that knight from yesterday, she’ll be willing to handle delivery there.

Manzana: We just met her, if you lose it-

???: Every knight has their routes as a courier. If she’s worth her salt, she’ll do it.

???: I’d go the rest of the way but I have a place to be first.

???: And I need to save energy for something else.

Opera: You know what’s coming?

???: Not entirely, no.

???: Did overhear your plan though. Mutiny.

Opera: You want in?

???: Horse has it coming, any other day I would but…

???: I have to make sure he’s safe right now..

???: Something bad is going to happen, there’s no way to stop that.

???: But I can keep it from being something that can’t be undone. Let’s leave it at that.

Fenton: Really about what I expected, yeah.

The proxy begins to fizzle out of existence as a rift appears behind it.

???: Stay safe for now, you’ll see us again soon enough.

Manzana: Don’t be a stranger, if anything happens-

????: I’ll be back, some form or another.

It walks through the rift and vanishes, only a light crackle as it leaves.

Fenton: Feel like I missed out on a lot.

Opera: Yeah, same.

Opera: We’re gonna fucking die dude.

Fenton: Probably. Nice.

Geezer: Nah, sounds a bit shit.

The construct steps through the doorway.

Geezer: Heard the whole thing but saw someone was waiting in line so. Let them go ahead of me for good measure.

Geezer: You wanna mutiny the dog?

Opera: Mmhmm.

Geezer: You got a plan to do it cleanly?

Opera: I was just going to jump them to be honest.

Opera: Not exactly someone you can just fight.

Geezer: I can.

Geezer: Grandma Erica’s taught me how to smoke fiend.

Fenton: Erica?

Fenton: Also she’s your grandma? Was she like, from the past or-

Geezer: She was pretty time displaced. Weird as hell coming back home after that. 

Fenton: Yeah, no kidding.

Manzana: You’re really going to go through with the mutiny plan then.

Geezer: Maybe. We’re going to do this clean.

Geezer: Gonna challenge them to a duel, want Opera as my second.

Geezer: Erica made sure I knew how to cook all of god’s creatures in a fight, fiend’s especially included.

Geezer: Figured Ali would outlive her out of spite, wanted to make sure someone can check her one day.

Manzana: I’ve seen you pick fights with her, she almost killed you on the spot.

Geezer: Today’s different, and Bucket’s a legit knight.

Geezer: If they’re worth their salt, they’ll take it.

Opera: We got numbers, why do we gotta do this by the book?

Geezer: Because there’s no reason to make it a group fight and risk everyone like that.

Geezer: Just me. I can beat them easy.

Opera: With what?

Geezer: Body’s mechanical. I know what they can do and a lot just bounces off of me.

Geezer: A mechanical body can be tuned up before the big event.

Geezer: All of you? If they bust your knee, you’re off the job immediately.

Geezer: I need Opera as my second because I want someone who can finish the fight if I gotta tag out.

Geezer: Do most of the work, if I win? We’re good.

Geezer: If I wear them down enough, Opera’s got more than enough to wrap things up. Minimize injury.

Geezer: The only one Bucket has around who’d second for them is Bern. Something about that kid is intense, but she’s small potatoes and Bucket wouldn’t risk their own squire getting shot. Unlikely to tag out.

Opera: That’s… not a bad plan. You really sure you can do this?

Geezer: Absolutely. It’s the job I’ve trained my whole life for dude.

Geezer: Erica’s a lot of things, never was big on how she was selective as all hell with who she’d train to be honest.

Geezer: Both me and Charon went through the same shit together, dude’s just as capable of running the family.

Geezer: But there’s one point she made clear, because I had to ask.

Geezer: She knew there’d be stronger folks who could easily swoop in for the house. She doesn’t want it being something that Ali carried on like that, or her own kid if they turned out anything like her in the long run. 

Geezer: Wasn’t going to have kids killing their own parents like that, worst case scenario. That’s why she picked me.

Manzana: You’re not like, going to-

Geezer: I’m not killing Bucket. Not today anyway.

Geezer: My point is I’m ready to go. I can risk getting hurt, I can bounce back easiest.

Geezer: Cause at the end of the day I just need one person who can lead to pull through.

Opera: And that’s me?

Geezer: Ideally, if nobody’s got any objections.

Fenton: Mercury?

Geezer: Love her to bits, but…

Opera: Mercury probably wouldn’t feel right about the whole mutiny situation. Yeah.

Manzana: Really? She seems like she’d be down. She seemed so cool…

Opera: She is but-

Geezer: If her and Buck got history like that..

Geezer: She’ll take our side overall, but she’s going to feel weird about the whole thing.

Fenton: I mean… I can if it comes down to it. Manzana can cover now-

Manzana: I can’t promise I can commit to being your dedicated tech crew.

Manzana: I’m just helping where I can. Still got work today after this.

Fenton: You can’t take time off?

Manzana: I gotta request that, no. Needle is probably pushing it too by being here..

Fenton: Ah.

Manzana: I’ll do what I can, stacked with vacation days. But til then you have a job to do too.

Fenton: Yeah..

Geezer: If it comes down to it, you’re a good secondary pick. Everyone here is really.

Geezer; But…

Fenton: No I get it, I agree.

Fenton: If things come down to it though-

Geezer: We’ll make it work out.

Fenton: Yeah.

Geezer: Then it’s settled?

Opera: Yeah. 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 12-09-2023, 10:24 PM
[Image: Rock%20on.png]
You hear conversation from the other side of the workroom.

With caution you step inside and are met with immediate fanfare.


Fenton: Look at you!

Manzana: Is everything alright?

Fenton: You’re insane, you know that?

Opera: It’s so clean…

Opera: THe weight is perfect..

Fenton: You really manage to get this much work in so fast?

Manzana: A lot of the heavy lifting was done, I just tuned it up in a few places.

Manzana: Lots of little innovations, plenty of notes too to work with. Don’t know why honestly…

Manzana: Always figured this was one of those secret project type deals.

Manzana: Idea of using fluid as a sink on a tuner to store charges of energy, makes the whole process a little more flexible and forgiving.

Manzana: It’s not something I’d ever expect to see put on a weapon like this but it made sense.

Manzana: Just consider it a cleanup job really.

Fenton: A sink for a sword?

Opera: I mean you know how a parry blade works.

Fenton: Yeah but… what for? What could you possibly be doing where you want to maintain a charge like that?

Manzana: Plenty, you’re a fiend. You can figure it out.

Fenton: Don’t think I’d be willing to feed on anything that’s being kept inside a mechanical monstrosity like this, no offense.

Fenton: It’s fully ready to go though?

Manzana: Just gotta load up the seals to make sure it’s all fine and dandy.

Manzana: I can do a few tune ups for everyone here.

You look at Opera.

Manzana: Maybe you should consider it? That gun of yours looks like it’s ancient.

Opera: It does what I need it to, and it’s easy to maintain. Gonna have to do a lot for me to hand it over.

Manzana: Work’s not good enough for you?

Opera: Your work is amazing, just… kind of personal. You know how it is..

Opera: Geezer might appreciate some of it though. He’s a construct and all that.

Manzana: All dopples are. Personally don’t like doing mods on bodies without a lot of prep time and talk ahead. Don’t think our limit is good for that right now.

Manzana: Gear is easy.

Fenton: New coat of paint rules too..

Manzana: Sometimes you just need people to know who’s worked on a piece like this.

Manzana: Most of the work was there, I just gave it that extra quality.

Manzana: Gotta say though, tuner are pretty dated tech. Take a lot to really become comfortable with, risky weapons with thin margins for error, don’t think it’d be much use against modern fire arms either.

Manzana: You really need these like that?

Fenton; I don’t fuck with them personally.

Opera: Truth be told, we all kind of manage our own gear.

Manzana: Ragtags, got it.

Opera: That a bad thing?

Manzana: It means I got plenty of work ahead of me. Maintaining tools of trade for a crowd trained roughly in the same crafts and equipment is easy. Personalized stuff? I dunno.

Opera: You don’t have to do any for me, said that much.

Manzana: What about Bucket?

Manzana: Anything there?

Fenton: Uh… you know? Can’t really say for sure myself.

Opera: Don’t know anything. Not from this world.

Fenton: Aye.

Manzana: You two came together then?

Fenton: I mean Opera’s my ride in and out but that’s where it ends really.

Opera: Yep.

Manzana: Huh. All of you here like that?

Opera: Mercury’s a plaza native too

Manzana: Different plaza though. Local phenomenon.

Opera: Mm.

Manzana: So, does it all look set to just release into the wild?

Fenton: Aye. I’ll have someone drop it off soon. Think Spada’s offered.

Manzana: Gotcha.

Opera: Really big thanks for staying the night and helping with that..

Fenton: Aye.

Manzana: I’m just confused why you needed it done in so fast.

Manzana: Did he ask, or…

Opera: Friend did. And we got a pretty big rumor dropped on us.

Fenton: Supposedly the husk’s being stored in town. Geezer’s out scouting.

Fenton: If we can raid wherever it’s being held without having to go through the mess of the auction, it’ll save a ton of trouble. 

Opera: Yeah.

Manzana: That’s probably your only chance.

Manzana: You know how these things work, yeah?

Opera: Maybe?

Manzana: When it’s something as big ticket as you’re saying, they don’t usually have the items at the auction itself.

Manzana: People are given their spoils separately for security reasons.

Manzana: The people sent to handle the auction usually do so in proxy, existing to work within instructions and allotted funds to scoop what seems worthwhile.

Manzana: If it’s all lost tech and black market dealings, we’d have to be able to set up two different potential heist plans. One for tracking and cracking the storage space, and the other for potentially having to go to the auction itself.

Manzana: One of these is way harder than the other.

Opera: But it’d be on this island, right?

Manzana: THis or one of the sub islands. There’s a few small ones up near the northern coastal area.

Manzana: But if Geezer’s scouting, I’m sure he already has a lead on things.

Fenton: Not really sure.

Fenton: Hasn’t really told us, he wants to keep his investigation low profile for now.

Opera: Yeah..

Manzana:  That’s the smart way. Geezer’s tough enough to put up with my shit, he’ll be able to keep out of trouble.

Manzana: Also a big point to strike while everything is still there. Some of it’s probably not getting shipped to this island til the last minute.

Opera: Makes sense, less chance of incident...

Opera: You really know a lot about this…

Manzana: Worked with these types before. You pick up things.

Fenton: You uh.. Wanna tell us a bit more? You can bring your friend along, have this done over coffee or something. Think Rosario would be able to cook up something too.

Opera: That’s not a bad idea, she’s our “saboteur” for a reason.

Fenton: How do you get into a job like that in the first place?

Opera: THinking about it?

Fenton: Not my thing. Hickory though? Absolutely.

Opera: Hundred percent. Miss them…

Fenton: You’ll get a chance soon… Honestly Zana, you two would probably get along.

Opera: Blue?

Fenton: Blue.

Manzana: I’m sorry?

Opera: You’ll see.

Fenton: Honestly, once you’re wrapped up-

Manzana: I can have it ready to go in ten minutes.

Opera: Tested?

Manzana: It should just be fine, everyone involved did their homework on the subject.

Fenton: Finish up, join us for breakfast?

Manzana: Bucket already called dibs.

Fenton: Really?

Opera: No offense but what for?

Manzana: Wants to talk to Charon, for some reason wants me to be there…

Fenton: No offense, that’s their problem to figure out.

Opera: Honestly I wanna be there too.

Fenton: Wait, really?

Opera: Yeah, I wanna mutiny.

Manzana: You can relax.

Fenton: She does have a point though, don’t really feel like having a complete stranger in charge of this operation.

Manzana: I got it covered, I know their type.

Manzana: Breakfast is going to have to happen some other time but..

Manzana: if you’dd be up for lunch..

Fenton: Consider it done, dessert and everything. Your friend can come too. She..

Opera: Needle.

Fenton: Yeah, Needle. She gonna be good for that?

Manzana: Think so, someone should probably wake her up soon though.

Fenton: I gotcha.

Manzana: So like,, what-

There was a knock on the door.

Opera: Come on in.

The door creaks open. Pokes through is the clawed gauntlet of a proxy. 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 11-29-2023, 03:20 AM
A Rabbit's Sun 1/3
[Brand New Rabbit]
CW: Discussions of Parental Abuse
Perspective: Manzana Santana

 
[Image: 236236PP.png]

After a long night of tinkering, you crawl out of your bunker of a makeshift workshop and stretch your bones.

There wasn't really as much partying as you'd liked after last night's duel. You and the others returned home to manage some errands at base and share sweets that Opera managed to pick up along the way.

Fenton, the other main tinkering witch of the group came to you with a proposition. Not something you usually do without prep or commission in advance but under the circumstances, you feel like you owe a debt after you were treated so kindly.

It was really good pumpkin pie..

It's a little disappointing, you were hoping for a little more time to breath..

But under the circumstances you and Needle worked through the night.

She dozed off in a chair near your station. She made the decision to stick with you despite the fact that she'd been working a all-nighter the day before.

You decide against waking her up, she genuinely needs the rest after that..

After this, you hope to dedicate most of the day to getting some time with her properly..

You approach the kitchen setup and serve yourself a tall glass of orange juice.

You've earned it.

Bucket: Good morning.

You're interrupted by the old dog, your mother's other apprentice.

The one who filled that role before you, and hopefully none more than that.


Manzana: Morning…

Bucket: You look tired.

Mazana: Been working all night.

Bucket: I can tell. Every time I stepped out of my room you seemed to be awake.

Bucket: Don’t think you should be operating blowtorches and wires with such drowsing eyes.

Manzana: Don’t worry about me, used to it. More worried about you.

Bucket: Me?

Manzana: Yeah. Could hear you stepping out of your room every hour or so.

Bucket: Mm, well.. it's a habit of my own.

Manzana: You’re usually on the run, should probably get some shut eye.

You give the dog a good look, there's a magical glamour active but it doesn't seem to be hiding anything.

Manzana: Not even sure why you were in disguise in the first place, everyone here knows who you are now.

Bucket: The illusion is flexible. You see what I want all of you to see. And it gives me options.

Bucket: Anyone outside of our group would just see and hear one of many possible facades, but this task requires a level of trust.

Manzana: You’re still hiding yourself right now though, even if just a little..

Manzana: Downplaying something.

Bucket: Good eye…

The dog tilts their head for a moment.

Bucket: Can I look at your face properly? Something’s caught my attention.

You turn your face directly toward them.

Bucket: Glowing little hearts in your eyes..

Manzana: Contract poisoning. Charon and Opera got it too.

Bucket: Is it severe?

Manzana: Used to be, it's... manageable.

Bucket: And the others?

Manzana: Haven’t asked.

Bucket: A witch like yourself has to have some gauge of it.

Manzana: Opera looks like she’s doing good, whatever happened seems pretty minor.

Manzana: Her proxy’s completely natural too. Must've asked for something simple

Bucket: See, I would’ve never known.

Manzana: She’s smart and maybe she got lucky, all I can say about it.

Bucket: Charon?

Manzana: Rough, not taking care of it as well as he should.

Manzana: Worked with his type before, don't think he's got the best self-preservation skills.

Bucket: Also had that sense…

Manzana: So… why are you talking to me?

Manzana: No offense but doubt you're here to just say hi.

The dog pauses for a moment, visibly planning out their next sentence in their head.

Bucket: You remind me of him, and you very much seem to known him better than I do.

Manzana: Low bar from what I can tell. I really don’t,

Manzana: Platino my uh… other self I guess. Remembers a lot of things from back then that I don’t.

Mazana: We were friends online when we were kids, almost all of it is blank. Does feel weirdly nice talking to him though so maybe something stuck for me...

Manzana: Feels weird walking up to someone you can't remember a single conversation with and feeling weird and fuzzy about the whole thing.


Manzana: Platino's been catching me up though, he's got a lot of those memories and kinda wish I had that everytime we talk about it.

Manzana: If Plat says he's a good dude, I'll trust his word.

Manzana: So..

Manzana: Are you just here to fish around? Should just be asking him yourself about some of these things, no offense.

Bucket: You’re an unplanned addition to the team, getting to understand who you are and what you can do is somewhat a part of this job..

Bucket: And outside of professional pleasantries, I do think it’s quite important to get to know family. I think we're cousins?

Manzana:.. I guess. Feels weird to call you that..

Manzana: Think uh… Uncle? Aunt? What’s the term? Something like that feels better.

Bucket: If I had to pick, Uncle is acceptable… but you are my aunt’s daughter so I don't think that'd be accurate in any scenario.

Manzana: One of them, yeah. Traveled with Ali a ton but never really got to do family things with her like the others.

Manzana: But.. she's the closest thing to a mom I have, even if it's pretty selective.

Bucket: Her favorite rabbit as she’s said a few times.

Your ears pull back in distress

Manzana: Nicer than usual I guess. I mean I’m the only rabbit she has around but probably meant to be nice.

A tiny expression of discomfort sneaks on Bucket's face just briefly enough to catch.

Manzana:... Right? This isn't a thing?

The dog avoids the question completely.

Bucket: She speaks highly of you on the occasions we get to sit down and talk. Ali and I have a difficult relationship but a relationship none the less.

Bucket: Something in common.

Manzana: Honestly don’t think she’s ever said anything nice without a tinge of “But you can do better” attached. You know how she is.

Bucket: Expected.

Manzana: Your mom ever like that? Like is this just what its like?

Bucket: Complicated. I wish we spoke more often these days but... things aren't easy for anyone right now.

Bucket: Very loving, but the moment I glanced at the blade I discovered a side of her I wish I hadn’t. At least at the time.

Bucket: The woman who raised me is kind in many ways, but at the same time very much a devil trying to make up with god.

Bucket: The knight on the other hand? A tough mentor at best and on her bad days well.. She did what she did. She wanted to prep me for the hardships of the job.

Bucket: Fighting on your own, facing people who care nothing of you, the cruelties you cannot avoid in this field of work.

Bucket: And ultimately... now that I've committed so much to this, I worry it was never enough.

Bucket: She was hurt and passed on her pain more than I think she should’ve. In hindsight it feels like a mercy compared to what I've had to do since then.

Bucket: She did more than plenty to toughen me up, but in the end I left with your mother the moment she gave me an out.

Bucket: Ali she was straight to the point. Discard my ignorance, prepare for the worst, and in the end you’d never be caught sleeping.

Bucket: I have my bones to pick with both of them. Two paths toward great suffering of a clashing nature.

Manzana: Really tell yourself that?

Bucket: Maybe..

Manzana: Should your kid really go through the same?

Bucket: I don’t really know anymore.

Bucket: Part of me wants him to drop all this, realize he has no reason to repeat this suffering. He's seen time in hell, he should celebrate never having to experience it again. There is no nobility to self destruction.

Bucket: But at the same time to see him truly rise to the occasion.... I hope he's able to do that.

Bucket: Become the best of us all in his own way.


Bucket: You, Geezer... the path you take I hope is different from what I've experienced. But I truly wish to see you do the same. You three are a generation capable of so much..

Manzana: Really did learn a lot from my mom.

Bucket: Pardon?

Manzana: You're not as blunt or rough, better intentioned for sure but... you sure talk like her.

Manzana: Don’t know if you’re much better though.

Bucket: I just don’t want a repeat of what happened, he's clearly still hurt-

Manzana: Nobody else here does. Your kid doesn’t want to be relive trauma.

Manzana: Meeting most people here for the first time so I don't have the whole story yet but…

Manzana: If they’re softies like Geezer, they got better reasons for this than you.

Manzana: It’s not about closure, not about glory, not about any bullheaded shit you and my mom think about when you swing around those stupid metal lumps.

Manzana: When you go through something like that, you don’t want other people to have to live that same shit.

Manzana: Our moms put is through a lot, why does anyone else have to again?

Manzana: And like… you’re strong. I can tell, I’ve seen enough people like you to know you’re the real deal. Your kid thins the same thing. He looks at you and he’s scared. You're the biggest hurdle in his head but the way people talk about things here? He could probably smoke you on a good day. Most of the people here could.

Manzana: Doesn't matter if you're the best knight on this planet, nobody cares. Nobody else is impressed except for him. Everyone just sees you hurting their friend. Fact that you got such a hold over him feels stupid.

Manzana: And it makes me think… why am I like that with my mom?

Manzana: Geezer and Charon know what she can do, Erica’s told them plenty of horror stories for sure.

Manzana: And they’re… not scared either. I sure am though, I know you are too.

Manzana: Really makes me feel dumb. I’m sure he'd be the same if you just weren't in his head so much.

Manzana: I want him to kick your teeth in.

Manzana: If he can do that, I’m sure I can do the same thing.

There’s an awkward pause between the two of you. You can’t make out their feelings from their face, covered in a mop of hair.

It feels like waiting for confirmation of your own execution…

Finally they speak.

Bucket: You’re right on a lot of that.

Bucket: I’m going to have a proper dialogue with him.

Manzana: ..Really?

Bucket: But… I want you to be there too if you do not mind.

Bucket: I’d like a voice of guidance on this.

Manzana: Don’t know what more you want me to say.

Bucket: Whatever comes to mind.

Bucket:  Because I think when it’s broken down for all to witness….

Bucket: You have an understanding that I’ve needed for a long time.

Manzana: Of?

Bucket: Myself…

Bucket: I’m going to set up a meeting. Would you do me such a favor?

Manzana: Give me a sec, got to talk to some folks first, get a last lookover on something.

Bucket: On what exactly?

Manzana: The Answer. 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 11-23-2023, 08:46 PM
[Image: Export.png]

???: Mr. Judgment?

You find your walk back interrupted by a stranger with an aura like a jagged knife.

You can’t help but feel an immediate rattling in your head.

Styx is stirring as pieces tend to come together immediately.

Disengage right now.

Charon: Are you looking for someone?

Charon!

???: I’ve found him! I have no doubt it’s you, you remind me of the old boss just giving you a slight glance…

???: Little shorter than I pictured but she did make a rather nasty comment. Not my thing but bless her honestly.

???: Have to say I’m feeling very strong about you in at least two different ways.

Charon: And what’s that supposed to mean?

Styx: Don’t ask for clarification-

???: Well first? You have a destructiveness to you, a real hurricane of a person. I might have to keep you in mind if I need a favor but… seems someone already had dibs. Unfortunate! But I’m committed to my current contracts anyway.. 

???: But secondly, you remind me of some people and.. I don’t think it’s by pure coincidence.

???: What do you have to say, rabbit?

Charon: Rabbit?

Styx:Rabbit…?!

???: You have that stench on you. Better dressed perhaps but I can’t help but feel a certain deja vu.

???: Who are you contracted with?

???: It’s clear as day, it’s certainly left quite the mark on your body.

The stranger attempts to approach you further

Rook swoops in and tries to create a gap between you two, this time in the skeletal state you’ve started to get most familiar with.

???: Oh! Well that’s just a confession!

???: Not as confident this time though, are you?

???: I come not to fight, fortunately for you.

???: I’m here to inspect!

Charon: If you’re asking for that much, I’d like to know something as well.

???: Asking so much, You do understand you’re in the presence of a King? Queen?

???: Depends on the energy at the time really, think it’s such an interesting concept you people have…

???: But I feel merciful, you may call me Mission.

Charon: Judgment, but you knew as much.

Mission: Mmhmm!

Charon: What do you really want out of all this?

Mission: Housekeeping for now, seems we ended up with an unexpected recruit in all this.

Mission: The other dog made such a big argument for you, vouched on your potential and claimed that this was your job in the first place which…

Mission: Had me sent here since my partner had her doubts.

Charon: Then you work for Ali.

Mission: I work with Ali.

Charon: Interesting. She’s pretty high standard.

Mission: And I more than meet that!

Mission: Think you just barely manage to pass the threshold to be a backup should both our contracts expire!

I know we’re not on the best terms but.. Please don’t consider any of this.

Mission: And besides, you look like a person who knows how to treat a blade better than the people around you!

How-!

Charon!

Mission: Your value as a client is certainly pushed by who you are, who you might’ve been once, and absolutely by who you’re housing right now.

Charon: You’re a little rancid, don’t you get tired?

Mission: Like to think it’s a way to find your true allies. Can’t tolerate you at your worst, don’t deserve you at your finest. So the saying goes anyway..

Charon: Tell yourself that.

Mission: Still have that mouth after all this time too?

Mission: Charmed!

They fixate on your eyes, as if trying to gaze at something on the other side.

Mission: I’m just glad knowing I outlived you.

Charon: Want to see how long that lasts?

Mission: Mm..

Mission: Maybe.

Mission: Despite our history, think by your hand is one of the few I’d be okay with ending me.

Mission: Not my favorite option but..

Mission: I’d more than accept it should it happen.

They casually approach you, ignoring the proxy’s attempt to intimidate them.

Mission: I know more than enough what you’re capable of.

Mission: And personally, i think I’d be a stronger in your hands than hers.

Mission: With her I’ve found much time to think, reflect, make the effort to atone.

Their voice softens.

Mission: And maybe you’re the key to that right now.

Mission: My cross is yours to inherit, if you truly desire.

Mission: All it would take is one clean hit.

They grab your hand and place it to their throat.

Your chest pounds so frantically, you can’t even recognize it as your own.

Mission: I wouldn’t hold it against you for one moment if you cut me down.

Mission: After all your friends did, wouldn’t you like to tie that last loose end? Make it truly worth it?

Mission: My mind and this flesh are all that remain of the old crown on this world.

Styx’s voice is gone, completely silent.

The seething hatred that remains is all you can hear in the moment.

And it speaks more articulately than anyone could ever put into words.

Charon: It’s his call to make.

Mission: You choose to serve? You're of right to the decision, aren't you?

Charon: Think there's been a misunderstanding.

Mission: Maybe but.. I hope he picks wisely then.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 11-21-2023, 06:50 PM
[Image: The%20Foolish%20Bird.png]
You wake up to a familiar masked face.

Spada: Morning sleepyhead, you knocked out pretty hard..

Charon: Morning..?

Spada: Yep.  Spice let you rest here for the night.

Charon: Spice is…

Spada: The rabbit?

Charon: That doesn’t really narrow it dow-

Spada: Pumpkin boy.

Charon: …Right.

Charon: Never actually asked his name…

Spada: Rude! It’s fine, doubt he’d be mad.

Spada: Your eyes changed… red in one, blue in the other.. That normal?

Charon: ...Did they?

Spada: You need a mirror or..

Charon: No that’s fine just… lot to go over.

Charon: Been a tough couple of days.

Spada: Right.

Charon:  Where’s everyone else?

Spada: Handling some business, so they asked if I could check in on you!

Spada: And grab you a few things?

She pulls out two gifts, a large sword and a tarot card.

A small bird on it.. It’s marked with the name, The Fool..
[Image: blade%20small.png]
And your tuner blade, seemingly modified by another’s hand.

The repaint is nice..

Charon: What’s all this about?

Spada: Gifts from friends!

Spada: Manzana touched up your sword, she wanted to come in person to give it to you but think she’s shy about all that.

Spada: Not a big fan of people modding my stuff without asking but I guess you know each other.

Charon: I’m not, didn’t even give this to her but…

Charon: It’s actually quite lovely. Her craftsmanship shows. Better than mine honestly..

Charon: I’ll have to thank her.

Spada: She’s really sweet! Maybe not the biggest people person though..  Don’t think she was able to keep eye contact.

You look directly at her mask with a tired look.

Spada:.. Did I do something..?

Charon: Don’t worry about it, you’re fine.

Charon: The other.. The card?

Spada: That one’s uh…

Spada: Zinnia? Said you two were related but they’re like…

Spada: A rodent?

Charon: …My cousins are rabbits.

Spada: Yeah, those aren’t rodents.

Charon… Something to think about later.

Spada: You know what this is?

Charon: No… But I feel like I should..

Spada: They said it’ll come to you. Apparently might come in handy while you’re here for the month of Darkest Night.

Spada: Someone who’ll be there when you need it.

Spada: Gotta wonder what that means but.. I got reasons for being here too.

Spada: Hopefully you’ll find what you need to though..

The two of you are interrupted by the friendly gourd.

Spice: Sounds like someone’s up. If you two wanna stay for breakfast you can.

Spada: I gotta be some place soon actually, not gonna make it if I am! This one’s got an invitation too actually.

Charon: I should probably be back too…

Spice: Shame, always happy to talk to oversea witch folk. You can drop by our both anytime over the next couple of weeks though, if I’m not there my boyfriend might be! And we always got the shop during the day, Geezer can give you the address.

Spice: Didn’t know he had siblings..

Charon: We use the term cousin but.. That feels right too.

Spada: Before you go, There’s someone who wanted to see you, someone who wanted to apologize.

Spada: Said to meet up on the beach from before? That something you know?

Charon: Mm. That everyone?

Spada: For now! Folks really got me going around doing courier work but..

Spada: That’s just kind of an occupational hazard with knighthood, you know?

Charon: Lo siento.

Spada: You’re good.. Uh..

Spada: Hopefully we get a rematch before we gotta go separate ways for real. Maybe even just meet up with you and your friends if you go into town again?

Charon: I’d like that.

You get up from the comfy little setup you’ve been resting in and pocket the blade into a square little rift.

Spada: That’s fancy.. You a follower of The Krait or something? Never see anyone do that this far out..

You can feel Styx vibrate at that.

The Krait…? How interesting…

Charon: No but I’ll look into it.

Charon: Thanks for everything, both of you.

Spice: No biggie, your cousin’s done is plenty of solids.

Spice: Don’t be a stranger though, wanna hear about what you Tavernian folks are up to.

Charon: Aye.

Spada starts walking out ahead of you, giving a little wave at Spice and a gesture to you.

Spada: Godspeed dude.

Charon: Godspeed.
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 11-17-2023, 09:08 PM
[Image: Grooveforum.png]
You take the proxy upstairs.

The sharp harsh metal tiles of its armored dress don’t seem capable of hurting you, and despite the many points pressing against your skin it feels about as soft as flowers during the evening.

And though it towers over you, you manage to carry it princess style without even a moment of strain. Whether you can attribute this to its nature or your current form is unclear, but perhaps as one who’s dedicated so much of itself to protect you, it truly could never harm you.

It’s a very somber, sobering thought..

You shake your head.

You aren’t up to letting tears happen this early, and you know the moment you think too hard about it they will fall.

Though you can feel your friend is just about ready to at any moment…

You make it up stairs, the rooms now much more familiar.

The eternal melancholy of the castle around you the same as always.

Time does not pass In this world as it would back home.

You could spend an eternity here learning all the devil’s secrets, and it’d only be a day in your time.

It’s scary in its own way.

Waiting for you is the proxy you’ve spent the past couple of days with.

Though it’s a new addition to your life, you know in some way you’ve known it for years.

But there’s something different, it’s more still and less timid.

You can see yourself in its eyes in a way you couldn’t before.

The gentle mirror is a little more full in its existence, solidifying in a form you aren’t sure what to make of at first.

Whoever’s behind that gaze isn’t that same timid nature.

Charon: Hello?

It acknowledges you, though not a single word seems to be able to leave its mouth when it opens.

You can’t seem to understand it just yet.

The skeletal dog facing you seems genuinely disappointed, perhaps a tad frustrated in a way it didn’t display previously.

The proxy in your arms nudges its face into your shoulder.

???: Seems like you still haven’t gotten far enough to hear its words…

Charon: It’s unfortunate but.. It has me rather confused.

Charon: I can talk to you fine?

???: You certainly can..

???: Perhaps it has to do with our relationship.

???: I’ve been here for quite a long time after all.

Charon: You really do need a name.

???: Death as I said doesn’t really feel quite fitting these days. Such a title deserves a little more dignity..

Charon: You’ve plenty, don’t say that…

???: Mm… I really shouldn’t.

???: That said, what stands in front of you is just as much an embodiment of your aspect death, if not more so now..

???: My form is simply the hollowed out remains of the old proxy body, like a chrysalis left over you could say.

???: What stands before you is our form that exists when you call on us, albeit one that’s malleable toward our individual selves.

???: It’s convenient…

Charon: Is that how you’re both able to be here at once then? Is this truly the castle?

???: Yes actually..

Charon: But we’re asleep, no?

???: You are for certain. Your body is illusionary the same way ours usually is in the physical world.

Charon: Which means..

???: As of now you’re effectively our proxy. Strange to think of…

Charon: Ah..

???: I think I have a name I’d like.

Charon: Oh?

???: Mar…

???: It was a name that was considered a few times I think, back in the day..

Charon: It was something my Grandmother pushed for I think… didn’t seem to go through for some reason. She’s mentioned.

Charon: It’s got a good sound.

Mar: Then can I take it? It’s yours really to claim, there’s many worlds where it seems to be the outcome.

Mar: Like the one you take the form of right now.

Charon: It’s yours.

Mar: Thank you…

You look back at the skeleton in front of you.

Charon: And what of you? Who’s truly in front of me?

There’s a flash, spirals of colors and forms in front of you.

Your past, your present, the many paths you can take.

One eye seeing everything that’s ever happened, and the other seeing everything that could.

Charon: You’re… the rest of the deck then. So to speak?

It nods.

Charon: And… right now we need to take care of each other, find all the pieces and arrange them until we’re at an understanding.

Charon: You are all just as much the original Charon as I am… and you’re everything we could become.

Mar: That’s an interesting interpretation.

Charon: So… what am I in all of this?

Mar: Defiance. The will that remained when the mind and soul couldn’t remain.

Mar: The body kept walking because a single instinct refused to die. That’s you.

Mar: We saved every other aspect. The mind of the child who became a hero, the soul that was torn in the face of alien entities nobody would ever have to witness.

Mar: Styx certainly made for a good glue to keep it all together but..

Mar: I personally don’t like his interpretation, nor that presented by Zinnia really.

Charon: Is there merit to any of that?

Mar: I think so. Whatever you truly are now, you’re no different than anyone else in the face of time.

Mar: Geezer, Opera… neither of them are entirely the same person they were back then. The person you become as an adult is the product of everything you’ve been and everything you push to be.

Mar: And though you are formed of something primal, you’re just as complete on your own as anyone else.

Mar: The facade and ambition behind it merge to become its own soul. You are Charon, no matter how anyone looks at it.

Charon: Mm…

Mar: But for now that’s enough, I don’t want to overwhelm you, overdid it on the prose.

Mar: Styx really rubbed off on both of us in a way nobody anticipated..

Charon: Truly.

Mar: You can put me down I think.. I should be fine for now.

You nod, carefully letting Marback on the ground. It approaches the other proxy.

The two embrace for a moment.

Mar: Whatever happens, we’ll make it work out.

Mar: Everytime you show up here through a dream, you may find yourself in the shape of another you I think.

Mar: Perhaps a bird? There’s a few of those from what we can tell. Good number of dogs, surprisingly high number of cats, birds seem to be a thing too. Some of them are fiendish, some of them not.

Mar: A raven perhaps is coming your way down the line, he feels close..

Charon: Feels like there’s a theme.

Mar: Perhaps, the library here has a number of speculations.

Mar: They say that people who are important tend to reflect on you even in other lives. A passing of flame between common souls.

Charon: I mean I don’t really know too many cats…

Mar: They’re common in the family, are they not?

Charon: Mm.. only met Vergil and his folks though. Been a good while since we’ve had a formal gathering…

Mar: That’s something perhaps. And birds well…

Charon: I know the answer there.

Mar: Mmhmm…

Mar: Until then I’d like to just rest here for the remaining duration we’re all here..

Mar: This form is quite sore..

Charon: Of course…

Charon: One last thing I have to ask.

Mar: Mm..

Charon: Rook over there for a lack of a better name, is the body you all use in the physical world.

Mar: Mmhmm..

Charon: And I stand here through what is effectively a proxy of a proxy, because I;m asleep out there.

Mar: Correct.

Charon: Then you are…?

Mar: You’ll see as time comes. I’ll be there for you when you wake but..

Mar: Well, I’ll be blunt.

Mar: I’m not a fan of Bucket’s methods.

Mar: I think it’ll work you to death before it achieves what it promised you.

Mar: So I’ve a plan of my own, one with due time you’ll see.

Charon: Why not tell me now?

Mar: I rather not make a promise that I’m not sure I can make good on but..

Mar: If all goes well, we’ll be our grandest selves by the end of the next two weeks.

Mar: Until then, you’ll just have to see the world for yourself…

 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 11-13-2023, 12:35 AM
 
[Image: A%20void.png]
You’re standing in a void, unable to make out anything but a faint object in the distance.

Despite all this, you feel a certain deja vu to the entire experience, one you’re struggling to pin down as your own or someone else’s.

You take a good moment to gather yourself, a certain haze clouding you until the world surrounding feels as true to life as any other moment.

You don’t remember making it to the bed, he must’ve helped you, the cute pumpkin rabbit..

What was his name?

You should probably ask…

You make your way over to the one light in this entire endless mess, a singular tarot card much like many you’ve seen in your days as a witch.

You reach out, immediately spooked as your hand is made visible by its glow..

It’s not certainly not your own, at least not in the way you usually think of..
[Image: express%20murder.png]
But despite that, it feels correct in its own way. A remnant of another life perhaps…

You grab the card, immediately feeling it heavy between your fingers in a way you weren’t particularly expecting.

A voice emanates from it, one that brings a long missed comfort and warmth.

???: You came for me..

???: It’d been awhile I think.

???: Charon?

Charon: Mm, it’s me..

???: It’s been long since that hard time I think…

???: Do you remember me?

Charon:... Extreme Retention.

???: Mmhmm..

???: Well, in some form or another. You may call me… hmm..

???: I don’t really know honestly? Rook is a name that feels incorrect lately.

???: I think I’d like to spend some time to ponder that but.. For now let’s speak.

???: What was left by your side for a long time is well.. Nothing but a husk of my  former self but…

???: It was nice to see you with my own eyes again I think.

???: You’ve changed a lot, grown stronger.

???: Wish I could say the same for myself..

Charon:.. I don’t think I entirely understand.

???: Oh?

Charon: My proxy never left, I don’t think…

Charon: I’ve been able to call on you, have I not?

???: What remains is not the same person, someone else in my body. Not an invader but…

???: Something that was there to finish the job.

???: Until today I suppose. After that fight well.. I felt a need to come out and protect you.

???: And I’m just.. Glad you’re okay really.

Charon: I’m sorry for scaring you like that…

???: It’s my job to be here for you, I should be apologizing for vanishing for so long..

???: And to leave things in the hands of someone else without any warning.

???: I should thank them…

???: I don’t remember you being a cat though….

Charon: I have complicated feelings on that myself…

???: I think it’s a good fit on you personally but.. That’s just me…

???: Who’s protecting you these days?

Charon: Don’t really know.. But from the look of things there’s at least three people now.

???: I should really get the chance to meet them sometime..

???: If I recall, there’s a good chance they might be at the castle.. We’re somewhere in there right now perhaps?

???: Allow me to just….

The lights flicker on, the room becoming visible.

???: There we go… Can you see me fine?
[Image: goodstuffinc.png]
In front of you stands a mannequin like setup, an armored layer of a person left in a fragmented state.

Charon:... Are you okay?

???: I think I’m recovering…

???: I’m not hurting but I don’t think I’m done either.

Charon: I think there’s someone in this place who can take care of you, a nurse-

???: I’ll be fine for now.. I promise you that you don’t need to worry about me like that..

???: I’m just happy that you made it..

Charon: I did…

???: Though our time together was short I..

???: I massively valued that I suppose. We went through great hardship together, I wish I could’ve protected you from all of it but..

???: I had my limits, but I wasn't good enough in the end..

Charon: You did more than anyone could’ve asked you to….

Charon: Don’t want to hear anything else.

???: Are you… tearing up?

Charon: I don’t need you putting yourself down like that, alright?

???: Ah.. I wouldn't have if I knew it’d upset you like this.. I’m sorry…

???: …What’s that card you’re holding?

Charon: This?

You flash it to the proxy.

???: The Empress, yet another possibility. A piece of yourself you have yet to explore…

???: In other words, what you could've been. To be honest I feel a strange closeness to that card but.. I have to think on why perhaps?

???: It's not my own but... while you wield it, you tap into another you and everything that comes with it.

???: Each of the cards Styx presented was a possibility, one of many interpretations at least.

???: You were given three, a handful of a deck of many as is to hone your options but...

???: I am more than glad you picked me..

Charon: You’re the manifestation of Death then?

???: Mmhmm.. That’s a way to put it.

???: Though I think that’s a grim sounding name..

???: Could you do me a favor?

Charon: Anything.

???: I’d like to go upstairs, I feel the others up there..

???: Though I may need help, it’s-

Charon: I’ll carry you, don’t worry.
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 11-09-2023, 10:45 PM
[Image: ElSpice.png]



 The two of you approach a tent in a less crowded section of the street, very clearly a temporary storefront leading out of a home.

It’s cozy. You can smell the baking of sweets within.

Your cousin is just outside waiting to greet you.

Geezer: Yo, you made it. Was just about to go grab ya’ll.

Charon: Mm..

Opera: Wanted to check in, what’s the deal?

Geezer: Got a friend of a friend to help take a good look at you. Witchy type, he’s chill.

Charon: There really is a lot of that on this island.

Geezer: Mm! Part of the experience.

Charon: …Are the others here?

Geezer: Chatting it up with some folks from the area, they’ll be back.

Geezer: Guy should be ready for you anytime though, you gonna be good for something like this?

Charon: If it helps I’ll take it.

Geezer: Yeah?

Charon: I’ll do what I have to, though I’m curious what he’ll say…

Charon: Opera made some observations.

Opera: Yeah, if this dude’s worth his salt he’ll make similar ones probably.

Charon: Didn’t you say it doesn’t really happen in this realm?

Opera: Yeah, cause folks in this area seem to know a lot less. Least compared to the world I've seen.

Charon: We’re really that behind?

Opera: Not in most parts but uh…

Opera: You’re working on it.

Charon: Ah… forbidden knowledge then.

Opera: Til someone makes that breakthrough. Could be you?

Charon: I’ll write a book if this works out, earn a few accolades and retire to a leather throne in a two story Victorian home.

Opera:.. Yeah. I guess.

Charon: We’ll see how it goes though, won’t we?

Opera: You’ll do fine dude.

Geezer: Yeah, I’d bet on it but uh..

Charon: Right! Sorry…

Geezer: Get going, you got this dude.

???: You the client? Fit the bill.

???: Can feel the worry coming out of you.

Cracked lens, likely was in some kind of accident.

The cracked lens are a common accessory seen on witches who’ve been injured as a result of the practice. It’s a symbol of solidarity and awareness. You have a few sets of your own, though you;ve always felt hesitant to wear them too often for personal reasons.

The gourd approaches you.You give him a little bow.

???: You don’t gotta do all that.

Charon: Mm, sorry..

???: Don’t gotta apologize either, you didn’t do anything wrong.

???: But I can tell a whole lot’s going on with you, right?

???: You’re one of those Tavernian folks, can see that clear as day. Long way from home but you’re not alone.

Charon: How’d you know that?

???: Context clues, plus I talked to Geezer about you a little.

Charon: Right. ...

???: Wicked eyes, fan of that. Not sure what’s up with the Halo?  I’d guess you were signed by a entity but.. There’s a lot under the hood from the look of it.

Charon: Got that correctly too.

Charon: And you?

???: Me? Well…

???: Long story. Rabbit sounds correct, least up to my neck. Or maybe I'm the gourd getting a free ride? Who knows!

???: It's probably the first one. Maybe. But uh...


???: Got in just a bit of  an accident. Happens. Everything’s functional still for the most part so it worked out.

???: Festive all year long, it's a talent....

??: But that’s plenty about me, not my appointment... Tell me about you?


Charon: Long story too really…

???: Meant uh..

???: You got a halo hovering over. That’s a thing of some kind yeah?

Charon: Mm, leftover from a contract.

???: One that made your proxy?

Charon: Yes.. how much did Geezer tell you?

???: Enough. Sounds honestly like you’ve got a lot to work out with your little ghost friend to be honest though.

Charon: Mm..

???: Got a little thing that might help you. Familiar with Marigolds?

Charon: Decent bit, I’m aware of a number of their applications.

Charon: Though I’m not sure where this is going..

???: Around here a common thought is that a proxy is a tomb for memories, a lot of formative ones.

???: Sometimes entire other lives being stored away inside

???: We’re gonna do that just a little bit if you don’t mind.

You nod.

He slips you a little bottle from his pocket.

???: Take a gulp. Got a brew in here that’ll help you tap in. Get a good opportunity to talk to it on a more open and deeper level.

Charon: Does this work?

???: Yeah, ton actually. Got a few clients who’ve been using this method, hell one of them got me to stock up on these in the first place.

???: With a local witch’s shop you gotta make sure the community’s needs are met. Sometimes just having something around lets people discover it’s an option in the first place.

You look at the bottle with caution before uncapping it.

???: Ey hold up there before-

One big swig down, you can feel a herbal burning sensation as you swallow.

???: Ah, alright. Uh… hmm.

Charon: Is everything alright?

???: We were gonna have you lay down first but uh, got a minute or two before it starts kicking in…

Charon: Sorry…

???: Got a resting spot in the back of the tent, scoot on over quickly.

???: I’ll be guiding things best I can. Hopefully… little too brave for your own good you know.

Charon: Been told such..

???: Really are Geezer’s cousin…

???: Let’s get going then.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 10-28-2023, 05:11 PM
THE SHOT, Part 2.
[Festive Session, Part 2]

CW: None
Perspective: Charon Judgment
[Image: Hugs%20Small.png]
You cling onto your proxy’s hand as it stares off into the distance with a stoic disposition. It was a jarring shift from the timid creature it spend the last two days but…

Despite what many would consider a return to form, you can’t help but feel bothered.

Styx: Charon?

Charon: Mm…

Styx: How are you managing after that scuffle?

Charon: To be honest with you?

Charon: I’m not sure, certainly not great.

Charon: I’ve never choked like that on the field before.

Styx: Mm.. I can tell it was getting too close for comfort pretty fast.

Styx: Pondered why you stuck with your choice of weapon knowing the nature of the clash first hand.

Styx: Parryblade and all.

Charon: Felt like it was my only option at that point.

Charon: Couldn’t think of an alternative in the heat of the moment. Lost my cool fast.

Charon: Point was to entertain anyway.

Styx: Don’t think you achieved that very well, crowd seemed genuinely scared by the point a conclusion happened.

Styx: They could see the panic in your eyes..

Charon: Appreciate the sentiment but..

Styx: I apologize.. Hardly an expert in addressing a situation like this.

Styx: That proxy of yours certainly has my interest.

Charon: How so?

Styx: That behavior is erratic and unusual. To be such a mouse of a creature and then returning to a slate like that..

Styx: Bothers me as a progression. It feels like a step back in some ways.

Charon: Hasn’t acted like that since back when we were all stuck in that pit.

Charon: It keeps changing.

Styx: Mm…

Charon: You have any expertise on the matter?

Styx:  I’m sadly at a loss.

Charon: Mm..

Charon: You’ve changed quite a bit yourself.

Styx: I… am processing a lot of feelings myself.

Charon: Care to share?

Styx: Perhaps when I have my thoughts more organized but…

Styx: I think if there’s any certainty, I regret that we met in such an antagonistic way.

Styx: To be an entity is to spiral and ground over and over again. I’ve built so much and I’ve burned down many more in my time and… just like your proxy, I don’t think I know who I am anymore.

Styx: I’m scared of the idea that perhaps… the worst of me is the most true to self version.

Styx: And.. though our pact is here now, once this is all over I’ll go back to forgetting everything but the hurt that clings.

Charon: You certainly weren’t quite the Styx I first met when you came back.

Styx: Because I’ve been living within you the whole time, dormant.

Styx: I think though… I choose for you to have my soul. At the very least until your time is done.

Styx: After that I don’t know what’s in it for me.

Charon: That’s a commitment.

Styx: If you can remain a whole person by me being around, it’s the start of making up for many horrendous acts. Maybe.

Styx: That’s not really for me to be the one to determine though I don’t think…

Charon: And the others?

Styx: Geezer I… don’t know if I can ever fully make things up to.

Styx: There’s part of me that’s glad that everyone around you despises me though.

Styx: If I’m to be part of your life like this… I’d prefer to have less chances to get attached to others.

Charon: It’s for them to decide if they’re willing to give you a chance.

Styx: Of course, I’m aware.

Charon: I don’t think most of them will ever fully trust you at this point.

Styx: Mm…

Charon: But… I don’t think that’s good for you either.

Styx: We’ll see…

Styx: It’s not like I’d be getting much here.

Styx: I know you’re reluctant to expand on contracts.

Charon: I am, if I don’t have to shake your hand again I wouldn’t exactly be upset…

Styx: And the idea of interacting with anyone with your form is..uncomfortable? For myself and everyone involved?

Styx: So I’m simply here to be the voice in your head.

Charon: Maybe you’ll get lucky and I’ll find another.

Charon: Company and such.

Styx: Maybe. Think I’d like to have say if you’re picking up roommates.

Charon: Picky?

Styx: To a degree, yes.

Charon: We’ll see then. Do you have a type?

Styx:... I’d rather you not play wingman for me. Besides, don’t get the sense you’ve been in many relationships.

Charon:...

Styx: Maybe I can help you with that….


You’re interrupted by the approach of a certain cat and her ghostly bat.

Opera: Charon, you okay?

Charon: Just waiting as I promised.

Charon: Any luck with…

Charon: What are you all up to actually?

Opera: Geezer and Zana went to go see if a witchy friends are in town. Something about a shop?

Charon: Right, they’re pretty familiar with the area.

Opera: Mmhmm! Something about a spicy rabbit? I dunno. That knight from earlier joined them too, think she feels bad about the whole thing..

Charon: Ah… This town is mostly rabbits, doesn’t exactly narrow much down.…

Opera: This one’s weird?

Charon: All rabbits are weird.

Opera: Geezer?

Charon: If you know him long enough.

Opera: Really… well something to look forward to!

Paige scoots off of Opera’s shoulder to check in on your proxy. You can hear it make little noises as she examines your friend.

Opera: You able to find out anything?

Charon: Not really. Asked Styx and he’s not familiar with the phenomenon.

Opera: Huh…

Opera: Paige is talking to it now. Says you two haven’t had much conversation.

Charon:... My proxy can talk?

Opera: Mmhmm.. You can’t hear it.

Charon: Not at all…

Opera: Wild. Maybe you’re just not doing it right?

Charon: Maybe. You’ll have to show me the ropes here.

Opera: I’ll do what I can?

Paige gives your proxy a little comforting pat on the shoulder, your proxy makes the first distinctive response it has in awhile.

Opera: Huh… Think I know what it is.

Opera: Was wondering as much…

Charon: If you have something, please tell.

Opera: Your proxy’s gotten fractured.

Charon:... Fractured?

Opera: Not really a thing that happens with Proxies from your world but.

Opera: It was never from this place. Rook was born in the angel pocket.

Opera: So it’s gonna be a little bit different because of that.

Opera: Seems to like being called that, but…

Opera: I get why you don’t like calling it that.

Charon: It’s… complicated.

Opera: I mean it’s not her, just like I’m not her…

Opera: It won’t hurt you…

Charon: I know. I’ll get over it.

Charon: If that’s what it wants, that’s what’ll happen.

Charon: But…

Charon: Continue on the whole fracturing dilemma.

Opera: So like…

Opera: The proxy wasn’t just tanking for you physically you know.

Opera: Took a lot of the mental load too…

Opera: Thing absorbed a lot of the shock and trauma you went through.

Opera: And… don’t take offense but. You tried to play it off too much.

Opera: Still do honestly..

Charon: I know…

Opera: Rook tanked a lot of it for you, and now well…

Opera: It’s going to change a lot regularly.

Charon: Is it… just going to exist unstable or..

Opera: No! There’s nothing wrong with it! It’s just..

Opera: How do I put it uh…

She starts patting your head.

Charon:... What are you doing?

Opera: Give it a second..

Rook zooms in to tackle hug you, appearance changed again again.
[Image: Letthemkiss.png]
You feel a little surprised by how affectionate  it is, it presses its face up to yours.

Charon: W-What did you do?

Opera: Just prompted it a little.

Opera: Really surprised how fast that was though..

Charon: It’s like it’s a different person..

Opera: It is! Kind of?

Opera: So like…

Charon: You’re kidding.

Opera: Nope.

Charon:.. Are you saying that was going to happen to me?  I would’ve split without it?

Opera: Probably!

Charon: But… it will be okay right?

Opera: Long as you take care of it. Talk to it more, get to know it well.

Opera: Should be fine?

Opera: Maybe asking if any of them wanna be called something other than Rook actually.

Opera: Though for now I think that’s fine? We’ll see. Case by case.

Opera: You two got a lot to figure out, Geezer’s got a hook up maybe though so. You know.

You try hugging the proxy back… it feels nice…too nice. Both of you are resonating.

Maybe a tad too much.

You go in just or a little nuzzle and…

It’s mask lifts just enough to reveal a mouth.. You feel it press lips against yours.

Opera: Oh! Um….

Opera: Okay well…

Opera: Do you need me to break it off…? Too affectionate? I can um…

After the initial shock you return it, giving her an assuring gesture as you and the proxy continue.

Oh god is this allowed?

You can feel Styx cackling in your head a little.

You finally pull away, face red and the proxy resting its head on your shoulder.

Charon: Well…

Opera: You okay…?

Charon: I.. don’t think I was ready for that to be the first time I’ve kissed anyone like that.

Charon: Is this allowed…? Does that count…?

Opera: I dunno, never done something like that. Probably.

Opera: Kinda cute though….

Charon: Mm… maybe.

Charon: The others would’ve cooked me a bit…

Opera: You’ll be fine.

Opera: Think I’m gonna go check on them though, been long enough. You wanna still sit here and rest or…

Charon: I think I’m ready to move again, brought my cane.

The three of you depart, rook wrapped around your arm the whole way.
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 10-26-2023, 10:14 PM
King's Intermission 2/2
[Darkest Intermission 1]
CW: None
Perspective: Ali Judgment

[Image: Kids%20media.png]
 

Mission: You’re going to fall ill without a cloak to protect you from the rain you know.

Ali: Won’t get sick.

Mission: I don’t mind being kept in a scabbard for awhile.

Ali: I’ll be fine.

Mission: That’s what you say.. For someone who plays themselves off as so pragmatic, you are certainly choosing the long and painful route today.

Mission: I’ve seen you in action, you could make it to the next town by yourself much faster.

Ali: Are you implying something?

Mission: I could hardly catch up to you in this form but sheathed away you’d be there in a fraction of the time.

Mission: I’d like to understand why you’d go through all this effort to have me by your side.

Ali: The last thing you need in a working relationship is your business partner growing to hate you.

Ali: You’ve been away from the world a long time, you need to do a lot of catching up.

Mission: That’s certainly fair.

Mission: Everything has become so alien to me…

Mission: The first time I saw myself in the mirror…

Mission: To see that nothing we’ve worked toward remains.

Mission: We’re forgotten for the most part, at best treated as a boogeyman by those in the surrounding areas of our kingdom.

Ali: Hate to be blunt but.. Your family had it coming.

Mission: And now I am all that’s left of them. But… I certainly managed quite a talented client.

Ali: Suppose so…

Mission: Who spoils me with meals and luxuries.

Ali: You compensate your crew, it’s fundamental.

Ali: Speaking of, regarding your habits…

Mission: Which ones?

Ali: Your choice of words at every hotel we enter lately.

Mission: Mm?

Ali: You keep calling yourself my husband.

Mission: It’s a strategic call.

Ali: …I’m listening.

Mission: If a man and a woman enter a hotel on their own, and don’t make such clarifications well..

Mission: There’s a connotation, one that may drive the owners of the hotel to charge more or perhaps if they’re leaning more family friendly, refuse us.

Mission: But if we’re established as a married couple, they assume a little less as strange as that sounds?

Mission: So I choose to refer to myself as your husband if asked about our relationship.

Ali: Mm… interesting.

Mission: You don’t seem satisfied with that?

Ali: Thinking. Never really traveled with someone like this before so..

Ali: I have to give credit where it’s due, it’s sound.

Mission: And yet you don’t seem happy with the answer.

Mission: I could just return to your scabbard, though that’d give off a different impression as well I’d think.

Mission: My other form is… not exactly the most subtle if you’re looking to conceal a weapon.

Ali: I don’t mind being seen with you either way,

Mission: Then it shouldn’t be such a fuss I think.

Mission: Unless…

Mission: Is it too formal? I could say you’re my fiance.

Mission: Though we’d need to lie about how long we’ve know each other when they eventually ask for details.

Mission: Such a title draws questions.

Ali: Think I’d like to keep it simple. Husband works well enough.

Mission: Mm… it looks good on you too. Someone of your stature and stoic nature can be daunting for people but…

Mission: Next to someone of my poise wrapped around your arm shows there must be a heart of gold underneath.

Mission: You’re my protector in their eyes, albeit perhaps in an unconventional way…

Ali: What’s that mean?

Mission: Usually it’s the other way around with a couple, no?

Ali:... Took me a moment.

Ali: You’re from a fairly traditional family, aren’t you?

Mission: Yes? Is… did I say something wrong?

Ali: We’ll… work on that.

Mission: Oh! Is… hmmm…

Mission seems to think intensively for a good moment.

Mission: Do you prefer a queen? It’s not my first pick but I wouldn’t mind-

Ali: Go with what feels best to you, I don’t mind.

Mission: Mm..

Mission: I’ll put some thought into that then…

Mission: You’ll have to fill me in on details too, I know so little of you..

Ali: What’s there to say? I’m a knight, I’m maintaining the family business.

Mission: And you are alone? No parents?

Ali: Father passed long ago. Mother… was something.

Mission: And… that’s it? That’s quite small for a Guild family…

Ali: There’s extended relatives, not close to them.

Ali: And… my sister.

Ali: We’re no longer close, don’t think she cares to be anymore.

Ali: We had a falling out, do everytime we try to reconnect I think.

Ali: She’s probably happy with her ratty looking partner living in the family home right now.

Mission: Oh? Is she married?

Ali: They’re just dating, been for a few years.

Ali: Don’t think mom would ever approve, always believed in marrying up.

Mission: And what of you? Certainly I fit the bill?

Ali:...I suppose. Don’t know if I’d do it to make her happy.

Mission: And what of your sister? She’s come up a couple of times?

Ali: Mm?

Mission: You seem rather competitive toward her.

Mission: Every utterance.

Ali: She was the favorite. Went through a lot of hardship together but she was the golden child.

Ali: Having someone to constantly compete against makes me work harder.

Ali: Everything you go through makes you stronger in the end. That’s what mom taught me.
Ali: Hated her at the time, still do but..

Ali: She’s right on a whole lot of it.

Mission: Interesting…

Mission: Then I offer you this?

Ali: Mm?

Mission: We’ve known each other for a few good months now.. It might be fast but..

Ali:... this some ploy to get to know me better?

Mission: Maybe… but just think of it.

Mission: Next time the two of you meet, you’ll be married to royalty.

Mission: At the very least engaged? I do not know how you’d want to handle that.

Ali: Can I be honest?

Mission: Have you not been?

Ali: I’ll sit on that for awhile. But… I’ll make a confession. I don’t connect to other people much, don’t feel like I have a reason to.

Ali: But you’ve never weighed me down I don’t think, not like others.

Ali: I’m comfortable around you.

Ali: We’ll leave it at that.
1
Mission: You shouldn’t be.

Ali: I’m aware.

Mission: Disappointing being rejected but..

Ali: I’m putting a pin in it. When rejection comes, you’ll know.

Ali: For now let’s… continue what we have currently and see where this goes.

Mission: And there’s the soft side…

Mission: Knew I could bring something out.

You refuse to acknowledge them.

Mission: We’ll see where this goes then.

Mission: Continue talking once we find a place to dry? I’m having a good time myself.

Ali: After dinner.

Mission: After dinner it is then…





Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 10-26-2023, 06:31 AM
King's Intermission 1/2
[Darkest Intermission 1]
CW: None
Perspective: Judgment



[Image: Small%20Mission.png]
You enter a room deep in the bottom of the mountain abyss, a one way cavern into the ruins of a once prosperous world.

The entrance above has sealed itself off, the only way to proceed is forward.

There is no natural light to be found anywhere. Not a torch, nor candle, nor an inch of luminescent fungi to guide your path.

The only thing you see is the fallen kingdom of gold, the fiendish light from your eyes reflecting off like a mirror in the sunset.

It’s enough to create a path, as you traverse down the many halls into the throne room.

Though the door is tall, your strength is more than enough.

As you crack through the entrance, you’re met with a noise of surprise.

You reach for your fractured blade, having served its purpose more than its fair share through the journey. What remains of it can hold out for just one last fight.

???: A visitor….?

???: Never thought one would make it this far if I’m honest. Certainly impressed…

You’re able to make out a face in this darkness, one buried under a mess of bangs.

???: Might I have a name?

You pause, thinking through your words carefully.

Judgment: You can call me Judgment by now.

???: Seems like such a stoic name.

Judgment: Just a formality of the job, and yourself?

???: Don’t think that matters much. You seem a little intent on striking me down I think.

You remove your grip from the sword, leaving it sheathed.

Judgment: First one on this adventure to say a word to me, I’ll hear you out.

Judgment: Name?

???: Mission.

Judgment: You’re really not much better in the name department but.. That’s irrelevant.

Judgment: Where’s the sword?

Mission: There’s plenty of legendary swords in this prison, you’ll need to be specific.

Judgment: The rumored blade, the one that supposedly contains the soul of the monarch?

Mission: Ah.. you mean… That’s..

Mission: Mm….

Judgment: Is something wrong?

Mission: I’ll have to think on that..

Mission: I want to say yes?

Mission approaches you just a little, you’re able to make something else out.

A large cross impaled through their stitched together form.

Judgment: What are you?

Mission: That’s a good question. Your thoughts?

Judgment: Context clues say you’re the manifestation of the weapon, and by extension the monarch.

Judgment: Which…

Mission: Which certainly says something about your situation, Knight.

Mission: What do you do? You’re trapped in here with me.

Judgment: It’d be a pity to go this far and have it all go to waste, wouldn’t it? Took plenty of prep to find this “holy” weapon.

Mission: Is that what they’re calling me up there?

Judgment: Maybe. The people nearby certainly weren’t happy that I came here but…

Judgment: I have people to save.

Mission: Can you put me down?

Judgment: If I do, means I didn’t need you in the first place.

Judgment: Also means you’re not the power I seek, right?

Mission: Could be.

Judgment: Still, think the two of us could do plenty more but… can’t see you being warmed to my kind.

Mission: There’s a part of me that doesn’t care for your title, no.

Judgment: Sometimes you have to kill your blessings. If you’re really so strong though, kill me now.

Mission: Mm… maybe I don’t want to just yet. It’s been a good while.

Judgment:: I think you’re just an opportunist really, I can relate.

Mission: Bold talk, I’m listening.

Judgment: You can’t escape on your own. Why?

Mission: If you have to know, it comes down to this form. Tried to piece myself together from what remains but.. Everything intact still doesn’t add enough to make for a physicality strong enough to escape.

Mission: To be truthful, I don’t think I am the monarch. Not anymore.

Mission: It feels right to hear such words to refer to me. Monarch, Lord, King…

Mission: But I am not him, he’s just a section along with everything else that makes me up.

Mission: Noise on noise. Knowledge and memories of lives I don’t resonate entirely with.

Judgment: Are you a fiend?

Mission: I don’t think so…

Mission: But that’s not too far off.  There’s something divine, be it the nature of the blade that holds me together.

Mission: I do know that I have power to share though, should you take it.

Mission: We both need something from each other, a deal could be made.

Judgment:... You’re one of those.

Judgment: I’ve seen enough that I’m very reluctant to take anything you offer. I’ll find an exit on my own.

Their face seems genuinely shocked at how fast you’ve dismissed them.

Mission: Surely you jest…? This prison is designed to kill anyone who’s made it this far.

Judgment: I’m aware? Hardly bothered, I’ve seen worse.

Mission: Even if you do escape, you’ll be marked for life! To invade this castle is asking for divine punishment!

Judgment: My entire bloodline carries such already, it’s manageable.

Mission: You didn’t even hear me out…

Judgment: I know your kind, you sell power piecemeal through one of those little phantoms. I’ve heard enough.

Mission: You think I’d offer you a proxy?

Judgment: Is that not the case?

Mission: No. Anyone who’s made it this far is someone special. A proxy is a tool for the weak to become valuable.

Mission: I’m offering an opportunity to shine to the fullest.

Your ear twitches, you hold back the urge to smirk.

Judgment: Continue?

Mission: Generations of knowledge, forbidden secrets, and an unbreakable blade to carve your fate.

Judgment: You offer yourself?

Mission: I offer you the path of greatness, and a partnership you couldn’t imagine a life without.

Judgment: Sounds like you’re proposing.

Mission’s face seemed outright flustered by that.

Judgment: What’s wrong?

Mission: Being seen with one of your nature? I don’t think I’d be allowed to keep my crown.

Judgment: You live in a kingdom of ash that’s abandoned you for centuries. What pressure your family placed on you is no longer something you have to carry.

Mission: And what would you know of that?

Judgment: I’m in the same position myself…

Judgment: One I carry on my own.

Judgment: I plan to burn it all down and start new. The mark on my coat, these theatrics… I’ll build a new era without any of it.

Mission: And where do I fit in? Your supporting cast?

Judgment: I’m a builder, not a ruler. Someone will have to carry that position when I’ve built my city.

Judgment: Surely you know something there?

Mission: You’re so odd…

Judgment: You’re the one who got down on one knee, I’m simply… considering the logistics of it.

Mission: Finding your flirtations frustrating. Not enough to ask you to stop so much as…

Mission: Has my name no longer meaning? What kind of a bold creature are you to talk to a king like this?

Judgment: Doesn’t matter, could be a worm and I’d feel about the same.

Mission: Your confidence angers me, it fills me with a sense of wonder and dread.

Mission: None of my components were ever so prideful…

Mission: I don’t understand…

Judgment: One of the few good things passed down to me. That’s about all I have to say..

Mission: Treating me as a commoner, I'd have you gutted under most circumstances.

Judgment: That’s fine, you’d have to catch me first.

Mission:...

Judgment: Quiet now?

Mission: Sorting out how I feel.

Judgment: You do that, I’ll find a way out.

Mission: You truly are abandoning me..?

Judgment: Plenty would say I should but…

Judgment: Think that’s for you to decide.

Judgment: I’ve got an offer for you, simple one.

Judgment: You prove your worth and I’ll prove mine. We work toward escaping this place together.

Judgment: Because as far as I’m concerned? You need me alive, I’d rather not kill the entire purpose of this venture, and you talk of strength you have yet to prove. If I like what I see, we can look into extending things toward a full contract.


Mission:... Can I add to negotiations?

Judgment: You may attempt.

Mission: Judgment is your title, yes? From what I understand, little knights like yourself adore to carry your guild’s name as your own when you’ve traveled so far from home.

Mission: It’s especially puzzling when you don’t seem very happy with it to begin with.

Mission: What is your true name? Something I can call you.

Judgment: Why should I tell you?

Mission: Because you refuse to call me by any formal title. I feel like I should be allowed the same. Besides, I’d like to know the name of my would-be rescuer should you perish in the effort.

Judgment: If I tell you, you’re taking the offer.

Mission held out a hand to you.

Mission: The moment our hands touch, I am yours. I’ll serve you as I’ve done so many others before.

You grab on without a moment of hesitation.

Judgment: Ali… Ali Judgment. 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 10-19-2023, 04:31 AM
       CW: PTSD, Gore, Graphic Violence against a Child

[Image: cHERYL%20SMLL.png]

Geezer makes the way clear on the wide street, people starting to crowd around with a sense of familiarity and routine that you’ve only seen from a Sunday mass.

He gestures toward both you and Spada to settle into your position, crystalline barriers beginning to form around you and your eager opponent.

Spada: What’s all this then?

Geezer: Nobody who’s qualified to monitor this match is here right now, and there’s a risk of a fight dragging in to the crowd so..

Geezer: Mori’s got her blessing live on this island.

Geezer: Consider it a bit of a safety net. Your fight’s kept contained.

Spada: Ah.. never heard of anyone pulling something like that.

Geezer: it’s got a history around here. Surprised you didn’t know though.

Spada: Didn’t think I’d actually be here doing this to be blunt! This going to be safe?

Geezer: Barrier’s got a few other perks. Just a few safety systems in case you two get rowdy.

Sparda: I’ll be careful.

Charon: Mm, same.

Geezer: Gonna ask you both to keep it clean. Worked part time monitoring these fights before while operating on Plaza after all.

Geezer: You got a partner in case things go screwy?

Spada: Me? Nope. Not today at least but I’ll work with what I have.

Charon: Opera.

Opera: Yo, really?

Charon: Mm. Trust you with making the call if I can’t, and Geezer’s better off filling in a ref if one shows up.

Geezer: Yeah,. Can’t be a ref myself since I’ve got a bias here but I can help there.

Geezer gives an apologetic gesture to Spada.

Spada: Don’t take offense, we just met!

Geezer: Yeah, wish more folks understood that on shift.

Geezer: Anyway, final confirmation?

Charon: Mm.

Opera: Can do.

Spada: Of course!

With a little flourish you slip your hand into the void and pull out your trusty forked weapon.

Spada’s tail makes a gleeful swish at the sight of it.

The barrier picks up the pace by locking in the geometrical growths together Opera and Paige both give you a parting smile.

 
[Image: oh%20nooo.png]

THe interior is cool and refreshing, an unnatural breeze exerting from the scattered fragments of vibrancy coming from your opponent.

She seems to pull out her massive weapon from seemingly nowhere, a giant beast of a sword with a rail style blade much like your own.

Styx rumbles in your head on sight. You can feel your pupils waver just a little.

Child?

Mm.

I know what you’re about to do but I’d widely suggest against it…

I’ll be fine.

I know just… be careful. I have an odd feeling about this one. I’ve never seen a custom build like that admittedly…


With a courtesy gesture between the two of you, both of you get into stance, shuffling back and forth.

You both wield tuner style weapons, designed as the ultimate defensive tool of its time.

A weapon that can potentially redirect the force of any opponent built on the philosophy of using one’s strength against them.. A single predictable attack becomes dangerous in this encounter.

You make the first move, attempting to feign an attack to force a swing you can punish, moving in but never committing to an attack.

Walking is a free action after all, a number of your peers made a big point of that.

Spada maintains a certain patience, refusing to take the bait but losing ground as she slowly finds her back against the wall.

Getting her close enough leads to a potential pin situation, and a decisive victory.

Her mask makes it difficult to gauge her state, though her body language is all you have to work off of here.

She has to be aware of the dangers of the clash, that’s the only reason she’s giving you this much positional advantage.

You decide you have enough ground and proceed to go for a shoulder tackle, one that she decides to go pound for pound against.

Her larger size allows her to trade pretty well, much to your dismay.

She takes the opportunity to use her free hand to fish for a grab, you immediately headbutt her.

It doesn’t result in much, she yanks you toward the wall behind her and smashes you directly into it.

You cling onto her, doing everything you can to try to take this to the ground if you need to. Anything to avoid the sword clash.

You’re only met with an even stronger grip as you’re once again pummeled into the wall. The tightness of the space prevents her from being able to swing very well, the most she can do with her large sword is whack you with the hilt.

Your chest starts to hurt.

Child?

This situation is too familiar.  Your heart races.

You’re panicking.

You manage to thrash around enough to kick her back, she doesn’t give you an inch.

 
[Image: Killer%20seven.png]

She uses her new position to lunge the rail at you, aiming to lock you down.

You’re pinned properly. There’s no dodging this.

You go for the parry, it’s the only option you have.

She responds with her own, you’ve created a volley situation.

Both of you are trapped in a tug of war where one slip could end things. Take it now and minimize the damage?

No..

At this point you can’t safely redirect the attack way without getting caught in the blast but..

It’s the safest call, you grapple her blade with your own and slam into the wall around you.


 
[Image: bLUESCREEN%20SMALL.png]

The release of energy feels like a flashbang inside your brain.

Every wire scrambling to make sense of what’s happening in front of you.

You are on the floor.

You feel the tile of the castle ground against your skin.

You can make out Opera from the distance.

You look up.

It hasn’t phased her one bit.

You can see her approaching.

She reaches down.

You feel claws shifting toward your scalp.

They remind you of her… your brain starts to fog.

Suddenly a sharp pain through your skull.

Your head pounds against the wall, each hit making the dent bigger.

You feel claws shifting toward your scalp,

Pummeled over and over, your eyes start to roll toward the past.

Rook:You’re quite the trooper.

Each thrash and flail into the concrete worse than the last.

Rook: Don’t think anyone’s ever lasted this long.

Again.

Rook: They all had a lot more going on but..

Again.

Rook: None of them were this hard to kill. Consider it unlucky.

Again:

Geezer: Op, help him!

Charon: T-take the shot.

Opera: There’s to much moving, I can’t get a clear s-shot I-

Charon: P-please..

Opera: I’ll hit you!

Charon: D-don’t care- just…

Rook: You should, I don’t think you understand the situation.

Rook: Moment you die, she’s next.

You feel each breath harder to make. You try biting down to no success.

Styx: Make a pact.

Keeping your grip on the world becomes more difficult.

Styx: I can save you, but we need to make a deal now.

Rook: That awful entity of yours is whispering.

Rook: Pathetic that you’ve kept him around.

Rook: Should’ve made your request and cut him off after.

Rook: But people don’t seem to have much regard for what comes from keeping bad company.

The amount of physical abuse you’re taking has become backnoise at this point.

Rook: You spawn your little proxy, and then you keep making deal after deal.

Rook: Putting it through the paper shredder until it forms “correctly.”

Charon: I-

Rook:Whatever reason you have, it’s pathetic.

Your heart starts to give.

Rook:There’s a glaze in your eyes, took long enough.

Rook: About ready to see god at this point but…

She grabs you by the mouth, forcing your jaw open just enough to allow plasma to drip from her a wound on her palm into your mouth.

Your body sparks back, everything painfully starts snapping back together.

You frantically gasp for air.

Rook: You don’t get to die on your terms.

Styx: Child….

Rook: Right in time to bail yourself out.

Rook: What will you give up this time?

Styx: Dying will not help you or anyone else!

Rook: Not exactly much left looking at you.

Rook: Put yourself through the blender.

Styx: Please make the call-

Rook: Could reroll your proxy, ask for something a little more useful.

Rook: Not like it can feel anything, right?

Styx: That’s.. Actually a possible option, yes. A bit extreme-

Rook: I endorse it personally. See how long it sticks with you after that.

Charon: I’m not making another contract..

Rook: And why not? Everyone else who’s gotten this far has had more than enough sense to.

Rook: Your odds are pretty good, looking at you.

Rook: Worst case scenario, I might find someone who understands the struggle.

Charon: You’re not-

Rook: Mm?

Charon:...You’re what’s left.

Rook: Don’t call me that.

Charon: then that means you’re-

Rook: Mm..

Charon: What happened to you..?

Rook: Depends. What deal did you make with him?

Styx: She doesn’t need to know.

Rook: If you don’t talk, I’m killing one of your friends right now.

Styx: Something about this entire thing sounds wrong-

Rook: You have a favorite, right?

Styx: Don’t let tyrants intimidate you, there’s something she wants to hear.

Rook: That rabbit is looking very expendable, personally.

Styx: Charon!

Rook: Final chance.

Charon: I… just want to bring them home..

Rook:... Oh?

Charon: I want to meet them..

Charon: And I know Grandma worries about them a lot so…

Rook:....

Charon: I don’t know..

Charon: Guess I thought if I could do that-

Rook: -That’s more than enough. I’m feeling merciful today lucky for you.

Rook: So I’m going to give you an offer better than that entity of yours ever could.

Charon:... Oh?

Rook: You and Geezer leave. Your whole family leaves. You cut your loses and you never have to hear of this place again.

Rook: And in exchange… I want the Entity and all that comes with it.

Charon.. You want Styx?

Rook: His kind has personally scorned me, and I promise you’re better off without him.

Charon: My proxy….?

Rook: Treated like royalty in this realm.

Charon: I… What about Opera? The others?

Rook: I’m already giving you plenty, don’t press further.

Charon: But…

Opera: Please… we’ll be okay.

Opera: I can handle myself just….

Rook: Big call for you to make, but I’m sure that helps your conscience a little?

Rook: Owe it to the others, I would take it.

Charon: You’ll kill them…

Rook: I’ll give them a chance to surrender and potentially spare them, but that’s as much as I’m willing to add.

Charon: Nah…

Charon: They’re good people, they’re not taking that offer. May as well just be a death sentence.

Charon: You’re going to have to just kill me

Rook:...Disappointing, but I respect it.

You feel hands shifting.

And then a release.

Spada: Ah good,

Spada: …Are you okay?

You’re back where you started, your opponent covered in dirt looking down at you. The crystal walls have crumbled down, absorbing the bulk of the blast.

Spada: Things got a bit heated, sorry about that…

Spada: Tried to walk over and help you up but your proxy got a bit defensive. Assuming it’s yours? Had to talk it down..

You look over her shoulder, it’s changed.

 
[Image: Proxy%20vibes%20dos.png]

Charon: My proxy…?

Spada: Aye! I’m surprised you didn’t bring it out. We all choke under pressure I suppose but… you’re never alone when you have one. You know?

Charon: I know…

Spada: It got a name?

Charon: Rook…
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 10-12-2023, 07:50 PM
[Image: Happy%20dog.png]


Charon: People really go all out here…

Opera: Darkest Night is like that, least in most big cities.

Geezer: Nah, here people go hard in their own way.

Geezer: It’s a pretty meaningful time for everyone.

Needle: Mm! For a lot of folks old enough, Darkest Night’s treated like the end of the year.

Needle: The end of Fall and Winter are seen as sort of the start?

Opera: Never seen that take on it before.

Platino: Yeah well… Plaza’s got a lot of history to it, you know?

Platino: Folks who introduced the holiday here were witchy types from overseas, in some older sections of the culture it’s the point where you heal so the next year starts strong.

Platino: The god who overseas the day here is a pretty notable witch themselves.

Geezer: Mori yeah. They’re good people. Only god around here who really gives a damn honest.

Needle: You know them?

Geezer: Met them a few times, got in on a bit of a local initiative and all to sort of preserve the place. Lots of outside businesses are interested in this place. Good for trade and opportunities to build relationships off island but uh..

Geezer: Not everyone’s looking at it like they should, you know?

Geezer: Plaza is home to a bunch of people who’ve been through a lot.

Geezer: Mori does as much as she can to make sure the locals get to celebrate peacefully in this time.

Geezer: Had a few incidents where tourists didn’t respect altars much. Don’t wanna repeat.

Geezer: Spirits are said to walk around here for awhile, the closer to the final day the more they blend in with the people.

Geezer: Is what it is.

Charon: People do that?

Geezer: Yeah, it’s kinda fucked. Guess you’ve never seen a big one though, yeah?

Charon: Just the little one by the Blancs’ house.

Opera: This your first time celebrating Darkest Night away from home?

Charon: Mmm…  first time celebrating any holiday away.

Charon: Erica had plans so… I figured I’d go with Geezer at least.

Charon: In hindsight it’s probably related to what we’re doing right now…

Charon: Any of you have someone you’re paying tribute to?

Platino: Not really. Been lucky.

Needle: Don’t know too many people.

Opera: Honestly almost forgot with everything going on…

Opera: Feels weird to do that so far from home though…

Geezer: More than welcome here.

Opera: Gotta think on it but…

Opera: Wouldn’t be stepping on anyone’s toes at all?

Geezer: Nah. Just you know..  It’s a healing process for a lot of people.

Opera: Yeah. Like that back home.

Geezer: You get it.

Opera: So uh.. Where are we heading exactly tonight?

Opera: Just winging it?

Needle: Maybe! Plat?

Platino: I mean Zana might wanna meet up with a special someone tonight.

Platino: Just check in on stuff.

Needle: Still need to introduce me.

Geezer: Yeah…

Platino: She’s really sorry about shooting you…

Geezer: Not mad, I get it.

Geezer: We uh..

Geezer: Get into a lot of scraps.

Platino: It’s a habit, she’s not used to folks sticking around.

Platino: And our mom would kill you so… she figured it was a mercy?

Platino: I spoke against it for the record.

Charon: Do have to ask…

Platino: Go for it.

Charon: What exactly is our relationship?

Platino: We settled on cousins, yeah? God feels weird to call someone else that actually, don’t usually think about how big the family actually is.Anyway, don’t get where you’re going with this.

Charon: Erica is my grandmother. Adopted Geezer as well under the same role effectively.

Platino looks over at Geezer.

Platino: You call her Grandma?

Geezer:What she preferred.

Platino: Okay. Go on.

Charon: But you and Zana call Ali your mom.

Platino: Right.

Charon: Your mother and my grandmother are sisters, yes?

Platino: I mean yeah?

Charon: So… you’d be my Uncle? And Zana would be my Aunt?

Platino: I mean she’s never really officially asked me to call her anything so..

Platino: Cousin is fine? Like I guess Grandma would be just as valid as with Geezer and Erica so.

Platino: I dunno….

Geezer: Wait, are you the one calling her your mom…?

Platino: Pretty much, never right to her face though.

Platino: She’d be pissed if I call her grandma. Doesn’t like the idea of being seen as old, you know?

Platino: But mom kinda explains our situation to other people well.

Platino: Be honest with you, her own actual kids don’t really call her mom either.

Opera: Isn’t she like… 80? That’s pretty old.

Geezer: Fiend years.

Opera: Okay how do those work?

Charon: Inconsistently.

Opera: Okay so..

Charon: 1st Generation fiends are basically born adults under most circumstances. They’re composed of the people who they formed around and they become a somewhat collective people of experiences and emotions.

Opera: Okay but what about after that?

Charon: Volatile.

Opera: In your case?

Charon: Hell. Went through early childhood normally, basically didn’t hit puberty til close to adulthood. Rapid growth spurts up to 19

Charon: Currently in my adult state at 24, hitting a second form of puberty right now.

Charon: Possibly a third depending on how this one goes.

Charon: Lifespan could be anywhere from about 150 to 300 really.

Opera:... So you’re gonna be like one of those anime dracula dads in 30 years.

Charon: I don’t know what that means.

Opera: You know like uh… actually is that game even out here? What’s the newest game you can think of?

Charon: Ocelot.

Opera: Never heard of it.What about ten years ago?

Geezer: Slipgun 3rd?

Opera:... There’s a third one?

Opera: Oh god…

Opera: I’m gonna go look up some lotto tickets before I go home..

Needle: Wait are you from the past…?

Needle: Doesn’t that fuck things up for everyone if you’re here?

Opera: Different past from yours. Nothing I do here matters.

Needle: Does that mean there’s another Opera here?

Opera: Yep. It’s him.

She points directly toward you. .

Charon: Hello.

Needle: Ah! Um…

Needle:... Does everyone in that family just become a dog or something? How old are you two?

Opera: 26.

Charon: 24.

Needle:... Ah! Okay so it’s not.. Huh.

Needle: Might have to write some notes… you mind helping me with that sometime?

Needle points directly to your glasses.

Needle: Help a fellow witch, right? I’ll buy you dinner after.

Charon: I’ll consider it. Op?

Opera: Maybe. Looks like you got someone else who wants your attention though.

Charon: Pardon?

Geezer: Turn around.

A masked figure cloaked and with a long striped tail has been lurking over you patiently.

Charon: Is something wrong?

???: Not at all, just noticed your pin and I guess I wanted to ask you something?

Charon: Oh?

???: She extends a hand with a folded note held together by a band.

Geezer: Ah, yeah okay..

Charon: Did I do something wrong…?

???: You know what night it is, right?

 
[Image: Sad%20Lizard.png]

You grab the note and give it a good look.

Styx: You had this one coming frankly..

Charon: A challenger?

???: Is that alright? If you didn’t know I can pardon it and find someone else but..

???: Suppose I have a good feeling about you. Tavernian, aye?

Charon: Mmhmm..

???: Crowd would love that, two shining champions from opposite sides of the world here to represent the best of their people. Mind I know your by your mantle?

Charon: Judgment. You familiar?

???: Nope, though that’s frankly exciting in its own right.

Charon: You?

???: Spado. Guessing about the same for yourself.

Charon: Mm… pardon me.

Spado: Don’t apologize, by the end of the night we’ll be the talk of the town.

Charon: That does sound inviting.

Spado: So?

Charon: Challenge accepted.

 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 10-02-2023, 10:03 PM
THE SHOT
[Festive Session, Part 1]
CW: None
Perspective: Charon

[Image: MasaHaloPanel1.png]
 

Platino: Ey! Ya’ll made it!

Geezer does a little salute.

Geezer: Plat yeah? We don’t talk much.

Platino: Really should. I see Charon and uh…

Opera: Opera.

Platino: Yeah! New to me! Don’t think we’ve talked proper at all actually, Zana’s been the one in the front around you two. Glad ya’ll showed up.

A dragon-like construct waves from behind the rabbit, trying to catch your group’s attention.

???: Sup?

Geezer: Yo. Seen you before I think, yeah?

???: Probably in the background yeah.

???: Needle, work with Zana sometimes. I’ve seen you a couple times, her Cousin.

Geezer: Aye.

Needle:  And you three are… friends?

Geezer: I mean yeah?

Charon: Geezer and I are family, albeit extended.

Opera: Situation’s complicated?

Needle: Feel it.

She leans into Plat’s shoulder.

Needle: You both got some cool folks, you know?

Platino: Yeah. Zana’s a little conflicted on it but hey.

Charon: Speaking of, is she coming out at all today?

Platino: Yeah no she’s just being a little shy, doesn’t get to do this much. Ya’ll will see her sooner or later. Was gonna go out as myself but uh.. Kinda ran out of energy to do that while working on a few side projects. Zana was nice and let me pick what to wear so…

Platino: Love the outfit by the way, make that cape?

Charon: My several times great grandfather did actually, bit of a gift when I first set out.

Charon: He sends me custom pieces every once in awhile…

Needle: Is he alive…?

Geezer: Yeah, he’s fiendish.

Needle: Like a vampire or… are all of you fiends actually?

Geezer: Nah just Charon.

Needle: Ah. Shame.

Geezer: What does that mean?

She gives Platino a look. He makes a goofy grin back at her.

Needle: I wouldn’t worry about it. All of you got fashionista vibes honestly though, gotta set me up with whatever your family’s doing.

Opera: You don’t want it.

Needle: You don’t know that. I know Geezer was from here originally, guessing Charon’s from Tavern?

Charon: Nailed it.

Needle: And Opera…

Opera: Also Taverne.

Needle:... Really?

Opera: Yep! It’s um..

Opera: Lot of things we’re gonna respond with “complicated” probably. We’re uh…

Needle: I mean you’re all in the field, I get it. Know I’m a good amount of that too.

Platino: Nah.

Needle: I am! But it’s fine!

Needle: Also good seeing another witch out here, bit of a family thing too?

Charon: Mmm.

Needle: Cool, you work at any lab overseas?

Charon: No, more of a guild type personally.

Needle: Ahh, a double major. Got it.

Platinto: Think that’d be a dual degree actually? How’s that work with apprenticeship-

Geezer makes a gesture directly at Platino.

Platino: Questions for another time.

Platino: This everyone?

Charon: Should be, why?

Platino: Just checking. Know there’s a whole bunch more back at the base, figured you’d all come together.

Geezer: Pretty sure they’re going to find their own plans, we’ll get more chances.

Geezer: Darkest Night is a month long deal.

Needle: Mmhmm! Good shit. So uh… what’s the plan?

Platino: Hmm.. I mean uh..

Platino: Figured we’d just play it by ear? I dunno.

Platino: Just a heads up uh..

The rabbit looks directly at you.

Platino: You’re wearing your guild pin out here?

Charon: Is that a problem?

Platino: Maybe? Like uh..

Needle: Should we tell him?

Geezer: Yeah you should.

Charon: Oh?

Platino: On Darkest Night around these parts, wearing your mark’s a bit of a hazard.

Geezer: Old school duelist tradition around here.

Platino: If two knights meet, one’s allowed to formally challenge another in the circle where they spar for the crowd in memory of the 32. Bit of a historic thing.

Platino: Doesn’t come up much cause knights aren’t really common out here these days, Mori’s pretty hands on when it come to this area but..

Platino: You never know.

Charon: Geezer?

Geezer: Neveractually happened to me but you fought a lot today so…

Charon: Not worried, honest.

Opera: You were so tired earlier…

Charon: It’s different.

Opera: Oh?

Charon: The crowd loves me, I have to commit

Opera: Charon please…

Geezer: Can’t stop him. Theater kid at heart.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 08-27-2023, 08:42 PM
TAROT REVERSAL
[Minus Arcana B Side]
CW: None
Perspective: Manzana

[Image: Bug%20Owner%20final%20mix.png]

 You step inside the store tucked deeply in the alley you’ve been wandering for a bit.

This city is a labyrinth, one that you really shouldn’t be wandering on your own the further you dig in.

But… you’re fine.

You’re confronted with a rather cozy looking place. Well loved clothes and objects in every inch, what appeared to be a dining hall with a fireplace setup… a schedule for events, a board that had signups for rooming…

You wonder why a place like this exists so out of the way.

The shopkeeper gives you a warm welcome.

???: Good morning!

Manzana: Morning…

???: Need anything?

Manzana: Not really, just looking around.

???: Take your time then, let me know if you do.

Manzana: Mm…

Manzana: Actually, got a question. If uh, that’s okay?

???: Go fo it.

Manzana: What is this place exactly?

???: Mm?

Manzana: Like.. uh..

???: Are you from out of town?

Manzana: Mmhmm.. Plaza.

???: That’d do it then. That’s a long ways out.

???: You’re with someone else, right? Seem a bit young to be on your own.

Manzana: Here with my mom, but she’s busy with work right now.

Manzana: So what is this place?

???: Historically? A safehouse. Though these days it’s really just a thrift store with a few services attached.

???: Bit of a product of the old country, these sort of places set up shop in regions like this one as a hub for immigrants and travelers. Back then they were made as a means for revolutionists to take shelter during the wartime.

???: Thankfully not the case right now.

Manzana: That why it’s so out of the way?

Manzana: Entrance isn’t on the main streets.

???: Mmhmm..

???: Feel free to look around as much as you’d like while you’re here.

You look up at the walls and see plenty of old timey photos, plaques, and the occasional broken weapon up on display.

???: Got a name?

Manzana: Manzana.

???: Like an apple?

Manzana: Guess so, yeah. What about you?

???: Trade.

Trade: You can stick around here as much as you’d like. Got a lot of regulars your age who show up, might be good to meet them.

Manzana: Local kids?

Trade: Yeah. Some picking up stuff for their folks, a few who don’t really got a home otherwise.

Trade: The safehouses in town are all in touch with each other, we try to make sure folks don’t have to sleep on the streets…

Manzana: Mm…

You linger on that for a while.

It wasn’t that far back that you were in this position yourself.

Somehow the idea seems unpleasant to you though, not that you thought yourself above it. Moreso…

Guilt?

It was really a chance encounter that your adoptive mother took you in. She saw potential in you, your tinkering with witchcraft catching her attention.

It was really nothing that special, Plaza was a region where it was part of the culture, and ultimately the layman’s means of interacting with the more fantastical parts of life in a mundane way.

But…

Trade: Something on your mind?

Manzana: Is it really okay if I stay here a bit?

Trade: Why wouldn’t it be?

Manzana: I’m not from town, my mom and I are staying at a nearby apartment while working. Don’t really need to be here…

Trade: Your mom left you at the house alone and you’ve wandered out, right?

Manzana: Yeah…

Trade: You’re always better off sitting down for a meal at a safehouse than potentially getting hurt on the busy roads.

Manzana: I mean that’s why I’m here I guess..

Manzana: How much to eat?

Trade: What you can afford, free even. These days the town puts a decent amount of money into this place but a donation helps if you can.

Trade: Though right now the kitchen’s on break so you’ll have to wait a good hour for it to open back up. Hope that’s okay.

Manzana: Yeah…

Trade: In the meantime…

The bug pulls a pamphlet out of the counter desk and slides it along.

Manzana: What’s this?

Trade: Chart of where all the old safehouses are located in the area. If you’re wandering around again, use the local landmarks to help you track one down to rest at.

Trade: Probably not too exciting for you but…

You pocket the map, folding it nice and neat before tucking it away.

Manzana: Thank you…

Manzana: So uh, what’s all this stuff on the wall?

Trade: Oh god, whole lot of history behind that.

Trade: Might be a bit of a long story. The Swords rebellion, The Post War Crash, the Rebuild, whole lot..

Manzana: I got time.

Trade: You sure?

Manzana: Mmhmm!

Trade: If you’re sure.

Trade: Should be some self serve items left over from our breakfast shift that haven’t been stored yet. Go ahead and treat yourself first before I talk your ear out.


 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 08-20-2023, 08:14 PM
TAROT
[Minus Arcana]
CW: None
Perspective: Charon

[Image: pajaraloco.png]



 A weekday morning, your Grandmother is out for work.

She used to bring you along to help out where you could but lately it’s been a lot to keep up with. Woodland villages tend to be like that, especially one as storied as you’re current location.

As the town’s local knight and sole active member at the Judgment guild, she’s got her hands dipped regularly in local affairs. Weird creatures getting into food storage, repairing structures, resolving struggling marriages.

Despite the namesake of the job being one of cavalry and heroics, a large portion of the daily grind is taking care of the people around you.

And in return, you’re kept afloat as well.

In times like these, you can only stand staying home for so long before you grow tired.

Especially since your education is massively on hold while she’s juggling so much.

You find pockets of knowledge in your own way though, your youthful curiosity drawn toward the local witching shop that’s been around since before you can remember.

Bleu and Blanc’s Cauldron, run by the Blanc-Bleu family.

Any day you’re free, you head straight toward it after breakfast. The shelves are filled with strange objects and books archiving generations of knowledge on how to deal with the supernatural.

Tending to odd beasts, making life easier for the people, occasionally you’ll find something about yourself and your fiendish attributes.

You lurk around the shop searching for a good read and settling at the small corner dedicated to allowing people to get comfortable with a hot drink.

It isn’t long before the shopkeeper makes her way over to take a peek.

Sanguine: Morning Charon.

Charon: Morning Mrs. Blanc…

Sanguine: Didn’t even say hi before getting up to your usual.

Charon: Right, sorry…

Sanguine: I don’t mind too much, appreciate the eagerness.

Charon: Mm..

Sanguine: Erica know you’re here?

Charon: She kinda figures.

Sanguine: Suppose this has become your spot as of late. Not that I mind at all, the Judgments are always welcome here.

Charon: Mm…

You’re not much for words right now, focused on your reading at the moment. She leans in to peek at the pages.

Sanguine. Enchanting materials, hmm? What got you interested there?

Charon: Just… something that sounds helpful.

Sanguine:  Oh?

Charon: You know, for the Judgment house. Maybe I could make something Grandma can use.

Charon: Not sure what but… something helpful I guess.

Sanguine: Mm..

Charon: Guess that’s pretty hard though, most of the family’s far out. Not that many knights these days either.

Charon: Uncle Virgil is pretty much retired, Xolo is off overseas…

Sanguine: Could do something for Ali.

Charon: Don’t know about that.

Charon: Her and Grandma Erica fight a lot..

Charon: Actual fighting.

Sanguine: Suppose so..

Charon: Wouldn’t be a good idea.

Sanguine: Doesn’t have to be a weapon. Could be a nice blanket.

Charon: I guess… you know her?

Sanguine: Grew up with her and your grandma, course I do.

Sanguine: Maybe not as much these days but…she drops by the shop when she visits.

Charon: Were you friends?

Sanguine: Like to think so.

Sanguine: Those two had it pretty rough growing up honestly…. So we did what we could.

Sanguine: Guess that’s a topic for you to talk about with your Grandma though, her history to share.

Charon: Right…

Charon: Maybe when I’m older…

Sanguine: She tell you that?

Charon: Mmhmm..

Sanguine: Figures… Is what it is.

Sanguine: What got you interested in this shop so much anyway?

Charon: I like making things, even if I’m not that good at it..

Charon: Guess it’s different from what I’m used to. Knight work is all about taking care of what’s there, but witches build it in the first place a lot of the time.

Charon: And they’re good at finding ways to fix problems. So maybe it’d be good to bring that sort of thing home…

Sanguine: It’s a pretty different career path, even if they cross quite a bit.

Charon: Mm.. I know.

Sanguine: If you had to pick…

Charon: Uh…

Charon: I guess witch sounds cool but…

Charon: Grandma worries a lot about the Judgment House.

Charon: So I kind of want to do what makes things better for everyone.

Charon: But I dunno. Grandma hasn’t talked to me much about knight training.

Charon: Takes me with her to work a lot but…

Sanguine: You don’t need to be a knight to be part of a guild.

Charon: Guess so.

Sanguine: Plenty who’ve implemented the craft into knight work.

Sanguine: Tipp of the Revolution, The Greensmith, Ibarra of Tiles…

Charon: Mm..

Charon: People talk about knights more though…

Sanguine: Knights also retire earlier, your grandma’s just special.

Sanguine: A bit of expertise in witchcraft means you’ll always find work somewhere.

Charon: Yeah… maybe I can be both?

Sanguine: Lot of work ahead of you but… don’t see why not?

Charon: Mm.. I wanna try.

Sanguine: Hmm..

Sanguine: Could talk to Erica about setting you up as an apprentice here during days where she leaves you home. Already teaching Rosso, it wouldn't be hard to add one more. Do good enough and I’ll gladly give you hours when you’re old enough to work too.

Sanguine: I’ll grab us some hot chocolate before we keep talking though, hang on…
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 08-14-2023, 07:25 PM
[Image: Charon%20nights%20small.png]
 
The three of you don’t need to talk too far before you reach busy streets filled with tented setups, floating decor, and costume vendors selling hot food.

The towns near the woods you grew up with had their own celebrations and festivals but never did they seem to just endlessly go down the trails of road ahead of you like this.

Opera: People here take Darkest Night pretty seriously…

Geezer: Yeah, Plaza puts their everything into holidays but especially this one, you know?

Opera: Love it, but guess that’s no big surprise..

Geezer: Anything like this where you came from?

Opera: Depends really, travel a lot so I’ve seen plenty of different kinds of Darkest Night festivals. The vibes here though are just so nice…

Geezer: We do what we can. Charon?

Charon: First time being off continent, it’s a lot.

Geezer: Good or bad kind?

Charon: More the first, might be a bit much for me but we’ll see.

Geezer: You need to go back? I can walk with you-

Charon: No, I want to give this a try.

Charon: Need a break from everything. Moment I go back I know Esperanto’s going to want to talk to me.

Geezer: Yeah…

Charon: I’ll let you know though.

Geezer: Aye.

Charon: So this is where you grew up?

Geezer: Mmhmm.

Charon: So much bigger than back home. You were really allowed to go wherever you wanted?

Geezer: Nobody could stop me so… yeah.

Geezer: Amazing how little it’s all changed though. Not a bad thing at all just..

Geezer: Guess I’m excited to show ya’ll both this place so close to how I remember it.

You manage a smile, if only because you know this means a ton to hm.

Charon: I’m glad to be part of this.

Opera: Same here! Makes me wish Paige and I came in costume…

Geezer: There’s plenty of time, Darkest Night is month long in Plaza.

Opera: Makes me wonder what Year’s End looks like.

Geezer: Come back in a couple of months and I’ll show you.

Geezer: For now we’re just looking for Platino, think he’s just as excited about this.

Charon: Imagine him and Zana are both pretty big on it.

Geezer: Yeah, it’s a huge witch holiday.

Geezer: Speaking of, you feel any different?

Charon: Me?

Geezer: Yeah.

Charon: In what way.

Geezer: In like, a magic way?

Charon:... Maybe?

Charon: Holding up well all things considered I suppose.

Geezer: That’s the Mori Effect.

Charon: You’ll have to explain that one.

Opera: Same here.

Geezer: Witch magic of all kinds gets stronger for the whole month during Darkest Night, gradually becomes bigger up until the day itself.

Opera: Huh…

Paige peaks its head out of Opera’s cloak.

Opera: You feel any stronger?

The proxy lets out a string of cartoonish chitter and squeaks.

Geezer: What’s Paige saying?

Opera: “Feeling a little more high energy I guess.”

Geezer: Might take a bit to become really noticeable.

The proxy continues another string.

Opera: “I’ll keep you updated.” He says.

Geezer: Aye.. Tell him I wanna know if anything interesting happens.

Opera: He can understand you just fine.

Geezer: Ah, sorry..

Geezer: Gotta ask like…

Geezer: And you don’t have to answer this.

Opera:... Okay?

Geezer: Is Paige actually saying anything?

Opera: Hmm? Of course he is.

Geezer: Like, with the squeaks.

Opera: Yeah I don’t hear those, most people do but he just sounds normal to me.

Geezer: Huh…

Geezer: Is it a proxy thing?

Opera: Probably.

Opera: Some people seem to understand him fine though?

Geezer: Bet he sounds adorable.

The proxy begins to chirp violently.

Charon: That….

Geezer: What did he say?

Opera: Yeah, I’m not repeating that around kids.

Geezer: Ah, sorry…

Geezer starts shifting for his phone.

Geezer: I’m gonna check where Platino is quickly..

You reach a hand toward Paige.

Charon: Mind if I…?

Paige lowers its head down, letting you pet him just a little.

Your proxy appears out of nowhere and proceeds to nuzzle your arm.

Opera: Looks like someone else needs attention right now.

Charon: Never had that happen before…

Opera: You’re just barely opening up to your proxy, right?

Charon: Suppose so…

Opera: It’s getting braver too.

Charon: Mm..

Opera: Should try letting it walk with you tonight, think it’d like that.

Charon: Think so too… to be honest, been thinking plenty about how you and Paige interact.

Charon: Feel that’s a good goal to aim for overtime…

Opera: I mean, I can help you if you want.

Charon: You’d be okay with that?

Opera: Mmhmm! We can start tonight, a festival’s a good place to connect with your proxy a bit.

Charon: That’d be welcome right now…

Opera reaches out a hand to pet your proxy, Paige seems to bristle up a little on contact.

Opera: Huh…

Charon: Something wrong?

Opera: No, just-

Geezer cuts you both off.

Geezer: Heads up, cousins are here. We should greet them.

Opera: This can wait a sec, let’s go handle that first.

Charon: Aye.
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 07-22-2023, 11:44 PM
[Image: Geeze%20Reaction%20Small.png]
Opera leads you through the hallways up to Geezer’s door. She gives it a gentle knock, enough to grab his attention.
Opera: Hey, you there?
Geezer: Give me a minute.

He creeks the door open, face wilting as he takes a good look at you.

Geezer: Shit dude, everything okay?

Charon: Want this day to end, honestly.

Geezer: Come inside yeah, both of ya’ll. You can talk to me as much as you need.

The two of you scoot inside, Geezer offering you both a seat on his bed.

You take it without hesitation, your body arching and your legs struggling.

There’s a noticeable wobble as you sit down, Opera helping you ease your landing.

Geezer: You overextended, did you bring your cane?

Charon: Left it in the other room…

Opera: I can go get it-

Charon: Later, I’m not getting up for a bit.

Charon: Sorry to wake you up…

Geezer: Wasn’t able to get much sleep anyway, got a lot on my mind right now too.

Charon: Aye, the trial from earlier?

Geezer: Yeah… Don’t know what to make of any of that honest. Like… I dunno.

Geezer: No offense intended but having Styx around again gives me bad feelings.

Charon: Didn’t think he could come back.

Geezer: Yeah, I know. Just… fuck dude.

Charon: Sorry…

Geezer: You didn’t do a thing.

Charon: My fault we ever ran into him to begin with-

Geezer: We were kids, never once had any hard feelings toward you.

Geezer: And even if I did, forgave you a long ass time ago..

Charon: Mm…

Geezer: Him though? Hate to say it but I got beef and he’s gonna have to do a lot to make things good between us.

Geezer: Not quite a grudge or anything like that though but…

Geezer: You both get what I mean?

Opera: I do. Don’t like his eyes at all.

Opera: Awful creature…

Charon: I’m avoiding any deals if I can help it.

Geezer: Good.

Charon: But…

Opera: But?

Charon: With all that said, I’m trying to improve terms with him, for however long we’re stuck together at least.

Charon: We’re linked in a way where I’m not sure I can remove him so easily.

Charon: If at all…

Charon: Guess it comes back to the reason I’m here right now.

Geezer: Yeah, sorry to like, derail-

Charon: You’re fine.

Geezer: You sure?

Charon: Yeah, we’re all having a time.

Geezer: So what happened while I was resting exactly?

Charon: Bern, Esperanto’s friend walked in and we had a talk.

Geezer: About?

Charon: A lot. How I reminded her of them, how the two of them went around handling the recruitment for this job.

Charon: Spoke a bit too much, Esperanto stepped in directly.

Charon: Erica was involved with making the list.

Geezer: Huh…. guess that makes more sense than Ali but… they’d never work together like that.

Charon: Not without a middleman. Got bombarded with a lot.

Charon: Erica actively chose against my inclusion here which…

Charon: I have a lot of feelings on.

Geezer: You know how she is… thought she’d ease up by now though.

Charon: She probably would’ve but… Esperanto is one of us.

Geezer: A Judgment? I mean I’m not surprised with everything…

Charon: Mmhmm.. family.

Geezer: What way?

Charon: Bucket.

Geezer: Really?

Charon: Esperanto is Bucket.

Geezer:...Are they you’re-

Charon: I’m pretty sure.

Geezer: Fuck…

Charon: Never gotten to meet my parents in person..

Charon: Asked Erica about it plenty of times but she’s always been tight lipped on things.

Charon: Don’t understand why either of them could just… be forward about this.

Charon: Never knowing where I came from..

Charon: And when I finally do find out it’s a whole game.

Charon: Wish Erica just… let me know.

Charon: Would tell me why I can’t meet them just once.

Charon: Or that Bucket just told me without this whole song and dance.

Opera: No offense but… you really gotta have a big talk with your family.

Opera: Is it always like this?

Geezer: You have no idea.

Opera: Like… I had a lot of respect for Erica before this…

Opera: And Bucket? Esperanto? Has to do a lot before they get any from me.

Opera: Like…

Opera: You’re not still training with them, are you?

Charon: Depends on what they say next really.

Opera: Mercury’s giving them the talk, that’s their last chance to figure their shit out.

Geezer: Yoooo, Mercury’s scolding them?

Opera: Mmhmm.

Charon: Don’t really need her to do that for me… I just need a break right now.

Opera: Yeeeeah..

She leaned her head on your shoulder before glancing over at Geezer

Opera: We’re in the city you know, lots to do.

Opera: We got a rabbit who knows all the best spots in town.

Geezer: Maybe. Actually do got something you might both be into.

Charon: Oh?

Geezer: Charon, you and Platino are pretty tight yeah?

Charon: Mm.. a little.

Geezer: He actually invited me over to meet up with him and a couple of others to hang out a bit. You both in the mood?

Opera: Is it really okay for us to be there? I mean I’m game for it.

Charon: Same.

Geezer: I can message him but he’ll probably be down. Get into some fresh clothes, enjoy the season.

Opera: Holiday treats sound good right now.

Her proxy peeked its head up from her shoulder before making unintelligible squeaking.

Opera: Paige can cover expenses.

Geezer:..Paige has money?

Opera: Don’t you?

Geezer: No.

Geezer: I’m gonna have to take… him? 

Opera: It’s whatever he’s feeling at the moment honestly.

Geezer: I’ll take him up on that.

Charon: Me too. I’ll still try to pitch in where I can.

Geezer: Sounds good. I’ll just check in with Platino and we’ll be on our way soon.
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 07-01-2023, 04:39 PM
[Image: Bern%20Legacy.png]
Bern: So, you’re a fiend too?

Charon: Aye.

Bern: ‘Wasn’t for those spooky eyes, you wouldn’t know. Esperanto’s taught me little things here and there about them, Fiend kids usually blend in pretty well with people.

Bern: You don’t got the normal fiend eyes right now though…

Charon: Aye.

Bern: Scary. You still got the glow but they’re so… dark.

Mercury interrupts.

Mercury: Where’ve you been this whole time by the way?

Mercury: You just been wandering the city?

Bern: A little?

Bern: Esp paid for a hotel nearby before we all met up for the job but they kept me there a bit longer until “I was needed”

Bern: Love them but god they still treat me like a kid sometimes, you know?

Mercury: I’ve worked with them enough to know they usually got a reason for it.

Bern: Yeah…. I know.

Mercury: So be real with me, what’s with the cruelty act?

Bern: Mm?

Mercury: Charon.

Bern: Ah. I mean…. I don’t know if I should talk on that but…

Bern: I promise they’re not usually like that.

Bern: When Geezer was being looked into for the job on recommendation, we went to visit his family home. The knight living there, I think Erica was it? Had a lot of confidence in him. Got told he was visiting Plaza which just seemed perfect timing-wise…

Bern: Charon came up too. Erica had a lot of concerns since he just got licensed as a knight. Said he worked really hard for that but I guess Esperanto took that as like…

Bern: I dunno.

Charon: A challenge?

Bern: Yeah, probably.

You pause in thought for a moment, picking your next few words wisely.

Charon: That why Geezer and I got recruited together?

Bern: Yeah, two in one.

Opera: That’s… not correct?

Bern: What do you mean?

Opera: I was just told that Geezer would be here. Was surprised to see Charon too.

Bern: Nah, Erica said they both were going to be here for Darkest Night together.

Bern: Made it easy to just scoop up things-

Charon: Why was I asked about in the first place?

Bern goes dead silent.

Charon: The list of people here, Rosario aside, are primarily those from the pocket incident.

Charon: Merc, how’d you meet Esperanto?

Mercury: Through a recommendation from Erica, never met her in person since back then but Esp came to me while over here looking for some muscle for a job.

Charon: She kept tabs on you?

Mercury: Guess so, weird really..

Charon: That sounds like her…

Bern: Maybe you were a last minute addition? We only got news of you and Geezer’s plaza trip recently.

Charon: Erica is the reason I wasn’t on the list.

Bern’s eyes widen up, shadows in the room starting to stir with many gazes.

Charon: She picked the roster.

Charon: She knows a lot of people but she picked those that’d have personal stake in this.

Charon: Except for me.

Charon: And despite that, Esperanto chose to withhold details in order to recruit me as well.

Charon: The only reason to do something like that is if there was a personal motive.

Charon: They claim to be a family friend but they’re obviously way more than that at this point.

You look Bern right in the eye.

Bern: Back the fuck off dude.

Charon: Why all the hiding-

You’re cut off as someone enters the room.

Esperanto: To spare your feelings, but it’s too late for that it seems.

Esperanto: Erica did tell me not to recruit you. I did ask her specifically for the roster because she knew people who’d put everything into this job.

Esperanto: I did keep you a secret so we could hire you without her knowing.

Esperanto: And you’re not going to say a thing of it to her until this job is done.

Charon:... Why didn’t she pick me?

Esperanto: Inexperience, volatile performance in the past, fear of you becoming too emotionally difficult to work.

Esperanto: Nothing I can’t sort out with the right training.

Charon: And why are you so personally invested in me?

Esperanto: You’re smart, you tell me.

Charon: Why couldn’t you just be honest then?

Esperanto: Say it first.

Esperanto: If you’re afraid to guess wrong, you have no business being here.

Charon:....

Esperanto: Swallow your pride, say it.

Charon: You’re Bucket Judgment.

Esperanto: That’s good. Keep it under wraps.

Charon: …

Esperanto: You knew this for awhile now, why go quiet?

Charon:... Grandma Erica really did blacklist me

Esperanto: Doesn’t matter, you’re here.

Esperanto: I’m going to train you up.

Esperanto: Do for you what she never did.

Esperanto:... Are you not excited?

Charon:....

Esperanto: Charon?

You feel Opera slip a hand into yours.

Opera: Hey, I’m here…

Charon: Can we go find Geezer?

Charon: I want to talk about something, just the three of us…

Opera: Yeah… think he’s just napping.

She holds your hand tight.

Opera: Mercury.

Mercury: Yeah, I got a few words to say right now. You two scoot out.

Opera: Thank you….
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 06-26-2023, 04:59 PM
Mercury grabbed herself some juice from the fridge and sat herself down at the nearby bar setup.

Mercury: Got no luck with getting rid of our curse, but at this point I’ll figure out whatever comes at me I think.

Mercury: Been picked up on and off to do work overseas, that’s how I met Esperanto.

Mercury: And of course been trying to do my best to make things better here in Plaza.

Mercury: I know Geezer’s been doing plenty of the same.

Charon: Mm… I know he cares a lot about the region, he grew up here.

Mercury: Can’t help but feel a bit protective of your childhood home.

Mercury: With all the issues it has, you only want to make things better.

Opera: You’re talking about the buyout stuff, yeah?

Mercury: Yep. A big chunk of the region got bought out by corpos from outside the region and ended up repurposed for tourists.

Mercury: And I don’t mind folks visiting, there’s a lot of culture here to appreciate… but they’re not here for that. They’re here for the theme parks that keep getting more and more expensive til the locals can’t even afford to go.

Mercury: They come for the “cleaned out” parts that have coffee shops in every corner.

Mercury: Don’t really respect the people born here or the hardships everyone faces so their vacations can be nice and wonderful.

Mercury: But I digress, now I’m just rambling.

Charon: You’re fine, I like hearing you talk.

Opera: Yeah.

Mercury: You sure? Guess I did warn you both…

Mercury: Biggest concern is that some cult from Taverne might spread their influence overseas too. Use this place as a hideout when things get too hot.

Charon: You’re talking about Spit’s cult.

Mercury: Mmhmm..

Charon: I’m in the business of cracking down on them as best I can.

Charon: After everything that happened back in the pocket there were rumors that folks converted over from the church.

Mercury: No kidding?

Charon: Church was up to all sorts of forbidden sciences, especially against people like me.

Charon: Can’t afford to see a repeat happen at home.

Charon: Grandma Erica’s put a lot of time into keeping cults at bay herself but… they’re just too massive to shut down so long as Spit’s around

Charon: Best we can do is curb it into irrelevance.

Opera: They don’t know about the fiend harvest, do they?

Charon: Hard to say, but knowing this auction is coming up… there’s a chance.

Charon: If they discover the husk, we will see fiends being abducted left and right…

Charon: I can’t risk that. For my family, for the many who’ve felt rejected enough by society as is.

Charon: For as powerful our reputation is… most of us are in hiding.

Charon: When you’re a fiend your body functions so differently, and I have to hide that often.

Charon: Fear of the stigmas around us.

Opera: You know.. Fiends aren’t really a common thing where I come from.

Opera: So I’ve gotta wonder what that means exactly.

Charon: By folks old fashioned, we’re very much seen as bad omens. Signs of a conflict to come, of chaos. We’re looked at as patchworks of lost souls raging against a common foe. Last part’s no entirely wrong…

Charon: A creature that’s strong, durable, capable of drinking blood and shapeshifting… it scares everyone even if most of us just want a peaceful life.

Charon: First generation fiends hunt those who wronged them but… after we’re left with nothing to really pursue. Many become wanderers or hermits because anything else seems impossible..

Charon: And for descendents like myself, we still are seen with a touch of stigma carried over. Who would be gross enough to have kids with such a creature after all?

Charon: Sucks, really.

Opera: Mm…

Opera: I feel some of it too.

Opera: My dad was a proximity, you familiar with those?

Charon: I had a few close neighbors growing up.

Opera: Then you know. Bunch of magical birds, in touch with witchcraft in ways that aren’t always as cute to people.

Opera: That’s how I got Paige, just showed up naturally.

Mercury: That happens?

Opera: Mmhmm! Very common with proximities. My family life was never great but growing up as a weird kid who talked to ghosts, who people kept making theories about. Hated it.

Opera: My dad didn’t hide anything, so people would make up stories about how he tributed off corpses or how his family are all homunculi he made under contracts.

Opera: People kept asking if I was a real cat…

Charon: Mm…

Charon: It’s tiring.

Charon: My neighbors and I were lucky that we’d been normalized in the town we grew up in somewhat…

Charon: But we all felt pinned there at times. Leaving to go to the neighboring areas was asking for trouble.

Charon: If it wasn’t for my knight’s license… I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable leaving home.

Opera: Not even for us?

Mercury: Yeah.

Charon: If you promised to stick with me, I’d make an exception.

There was a knock on the doorway. Everyone turned over to see Bern.

Mercury: I didn’t know you were in town.

Bern: Sup Merc! I’ve just been busy. Guess I’m part of the team?

Bern: Esperanto’s coming soon, they’re just busy talking to our investor for this job.

Bern looked over to you directly.

Bern: You really remind me of them, no wonder they’ve got an interest in you.

Bern: You mind if I join in on this? Got a few things to say.

Charon: Go ahead…
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 06-23-2023, 05:03 PM
[Image: Smooth%20tiny.png]

 You get up from your spot and stretch.

Charon: Got a lot of work still left to do for today then.

Opera: Don’t push yourself too hard..

Charon: I won’t. Don’t let me either.

Opera: I mean you *really* have a habit of overdoing things, even back then.

Charon: Part of my charm.

Opera: Sometimes. Scares me though.

Opera: ‘Specially the whole nonchalant thing that comes with it sometimes.

Opera: No offense, you talk like a terminator.

Charon: No idea what that is. Is that a good thing?

Opera: Depends? It’s no big deal anyway.

Mercury: So what are you two talking about?

The rabbit steps through the doorway.

Charon: Nothing big just… been a hectic day for me.

Mercury: You look it, yeah.

Mercury: You went out and do what you needed to?

Charon: Mm… and then I met up with Esperanto.

Mercury: Did you get your apology?

Charon: Didn’t feel like it but.. I’ve taken an invite to train with them.

Mercury: Really? Were they polite about it?

Opera: God no.

Mercury: Not surprised. They’re not really abusive toward folks they pick up but…

Mercury: If they think they have to press hard to get you to learn the thing, they will.

Charon: The kid with them-

Mercury: Bern? Also don’t call her that in front of her, she’d get heated.

Charon: Mm, Bern. Is she-

Mercury: Not quite. More of an assistant than anything.

Mercury: Why?

Charon: Just checking.

Mercury: Would be good to make friends with her regardless, think she could give a lot of advice on how to get on Esp’s good side.

Charon: I’ll work on it…

Charon: Why the whole secrecy thing anyway? The disguise, the illusion magic.

Mercury: It’s their specialty I guess. Saw their true form?

Charon: Maybe. Finding out they’re a fiend explains a lot.

Mercury: Didn’t realize?

Charon: What do you mean?

Mercury: Don’t fiends like… have a radar for each other a bit?

Charon: No? Not that I know of.

Mercury: Ah…

Charon: Somehow in a single fight they triggered something in my body.

Charon: Now I’m going through some sort of metamorphosis state where I feel like I’m going to have to either pass or fail…

Mercury: Mm..

Mercury: Be honest, you think they’re gonna be too hard on you?

Charon: They push a bit harder than I’d like.

Mercury: Then I’m going to ask if I can be there to couch during your training sessions.

Mercury: I’m your first mentor after all.

Charon: Not my first technically but-

Mercury: But I was here before. Taught you two and Geezer how to play your parts back then and you went above and beyond what I could’ve imagined from a group of kids.

Charon: Yes well…

Opera: I mean..

Opera: Back then you just wanted us to know how to defend ourselves if the church managed to bust down our doors…

Opera: And we did.

Mercury: And a lot more than anyone should ever have to ask from a child frankly.

Mercury: Never wanted you three to have to play soldier but… you took down what’s effectively a god.

Mercury: Can’t take too much credit for that myself but I do wanna oversee where one of my students goes from here, you know?

Mercury: And I figure I can get them to ease up on you. Esperanto won’t go full piano instructor if someone else is there to frown at them.

Charon: Don’t you have prep to do of your own? A couple of weeks isn’t much to prepare for a heist this big.

Mercury: I’m here to do the same job as I did back then, get everyone into gear and play the role of muscle if I gotta.

Mercury: Feels so weird to see all of you so grown up though. Was 24 when we met. All this time displacement stuff though like…

Mercury: How old are you two?

Charon: 24. 14 when we met.

Opera: 26. 15 when we met.

Mercury: 28 currently. That fucks with me.

Mercury: I heard Erica’s a senior now. That’s really weird too. She’s just older than me by around triple.

Charon: Mm…

Mercury: And… is Arabis still around?

Charon: He is.

Mercury: First generation fiends also got me messed up.

Mercury: Remember him claiming to be centuries old back then. Dude was still looking hell pretty for an ancient.

Charon: We stay at our physical peak for way longer than a lot of other species. Even being only partially fiend… I’ll probably live to be 150 if I play my cards right.

Mercury: Lots of time to write books.

Charon: Plenty.

Mercury: I wanna do that some day, much as I like the life of an adventurer.

Charon: That so?

Mercury: Yeah.

Opera: We haven’t heard much about how you’ve been doing, wanna sit down and share?

Mercury: Let me grab a drink and I’ll be ready to talk.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 06-12-2023, 05:15 PM
The Break
[A Cooldown Session]
CW: None
Perspective: Charon


[Image: sittingonbus.png]
You and your group made it back home without a hitch.

Esperanto doesn’t seem to have returned yet themself.

The others seem to either be off in their rooms or running errands of their own.

You can’t help but find yourself exhausted after everything.

Despite your efforts toward finding a little time for yourself, Opera manages to slide in and sit next to you.

She wants you to talk but….

You probably should, I imagine her and Geezer are worried about you after this

Charon: Mm….

Opera: Sorry to pop in but… wanted to check on you quickly. I’ll leave you alone in a sec.

Charon: Not really much to say after that, tired.

Opera: Yeah, can’t blame you.

Opera: You’re not going to really do training with them, are you?

Charon: Need to be ready for the job, if that’s what it takes..

Opera: Yeah but, it wouldn’t be something that’d make you happy.

Charon: Honestly? Don’t think anything will until I see it through.

Charon: Feels like a lot of weight on our shoulders to not commit.

Opera: What if you get hurt?

Charon: Occupational hazard.

Opera: And that occupation is?

Charon: Knighthood. I signed up for days like these when I took the job but I figure if my family can keep up with it, so can I.

Charon: Still just…

Opera: You can talk.

Charon: Hard to keep a passion for it when you weren’t even considered of all people involved.

Opera: I mean your aunt was the one who probably made the list-

Charon: She hates Geezer, there’s no reason she should’ve picked him if it came down to just personal preference.

Charon: I don’t think she sees me as legitimate.

Opera: I mean… why did she hire us to begin with though?

Opera: She wasn’t around for the incident, right?

Charon: Her sister was. And she’s not involved at all…

Opera: You don’t know that either. This whole thing reeks.

Charon: Mm..

Charon: All bothers me in a lot of ways and I feel like nothing I do can really fix that.

Charon: I’m crumbling in the first 24 hours.

Opera:  Me too honestly.

Charon: You? Can’t see it.

Opera: I am! Tired, confused, kinda pissed if I’m honest….

Opera: Only difference is you’re not much of a smiler, you make it pretty clear.

Opera: I grin through it because that’s what works for me.

Opera: I love seeing everyone again but… under these circumstances it sucks.

You offer your arms out, she gives a quick hug in return.

Opera: Honestly as much as it gives me grief though, nice having someone who gets it around.

Charon: I mean… we’re two versions of the same person in the end, right?

Opera: Yeah but like, you’re still you. We’re not THE same person even if we play the same role in our own worlds.

Charon: You have it together a lot more than I do.

Opera: I wish I could say that but.. I’m not sure myself.

Charon: You don’t have a ghost in your head.

Opera: But I got one on my shoulder.

Charon: Paige is different…

Opera: Still a ghost!  They’re happy to see you too by the way.

You reach out to pet the proxy, it lowers its head to make it easier to reach.

Charon: Must be nice having company wherever you go…

Opera: I mean, you got one too right?

Opera:  Just gotta make better friends with it.

Charon: I suppose..

Opera: Just give it a hug next time you two are alone, watch it react.

Charon: Could give it a shot…

Opera: Hehe…

Opera: You also got Styx but.. I dunno…

Charon: Oh?

Opera: Feels like his time here is nebulous and I still don’t think he should be entirely trusted.

Opera: But he does seem to genuinely be on our side this time. What do you think?

Charon: Think so too…

Charon: We’re both just fragments of our original selves so we can’t afford to be at each other’s throats…

Opera: I think you’re still you. Maybe a bit sadder than before but…

Opera: Talking to you feels right, just like back then.

A tiny smile creeps onto your face.

Charon: And if I’m not the original Charon?

Opera: Then you’re still my friend. I’m not moving on that.

Charon: And if Styx isn’t the original Styx either..

Opera: Then you got a new chance to make things right between you.

Opera: Truth be told, you tend to be a pretty different person as a kid and as a adult.

Opera: No matter what, you’d be a different person…

Opera: But I’m glad that who we are now, we still got each other.

Charon: ….You’re right.

Opera: Have to be sometimes.

Charon: Mm..

Charon: I want to take a nap in a sec but… could you stay with me until then?

Opera: Yeah, I’ll be out here when you’re done too.

Charon: Thank you. You’ve given me a lot of much needed clarity today.

Opera: It’s what friends do, you’re fine.

Charon: One day I’ll do the same for you. Sound fair?

Opera: I’ll keep you to it. 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 06-01-2023, 09:51 PM
The Other Lunch
[Lunch Reverse ]
CW: None
Perspective: Manzana


[Image: Rabbits%20Memory.png]
Needle: Hey! Knock knock?

Manzana: Oh shit, you’re here.

Needle: Said I would be. Didn’t forget, right?

Manzana: No, just… been a busy morning. I’ll explain over lunch.

Needle: You could explain now, I don’t mind.

Manzana; It’s a lot..

Needle: Did something happen with your date..?

Manzana: No? That went fine.

Needle: Just fine.

Manzana: I mean better than that just… wanna come in and sit down with me?

Needle: Sure.

You gesture toward your couch in the dimly lit apartment.

Needle: Keep this place pretty dark still…

Manzana: It’s easier on me. Not a fan of bright lights.

Needle: I know. You been okay health-wise?

Manzana: Trying my best, there’s a lot to work on but I’ve been trying..

Needle: Mm.. Platino helps you though, yeah?

Manzana: Yeah. He’ll be here soon. Just grabbing a few things for the place, no biggie.

Needle: That’s fine! I’m just happy to get some time outside of the office.

Manzana: Yeah…

Needle: So who’s this mystery person you went out with?

Manzana: Mm?

Needle: Wanna know the details.

Manzana: I mean.. Their name is Budgie. They’re a mimic. Local variant.

Needle: You really got a type, huh?

Manzana: I mean..

Needle: Are they cute?

Manzana: Y-yeah. It’s a little bit of an experimental period since all the traveling makes it hard to have a long term relationship but…

Manzana: They took it seriously, and they made sure it was fun and safe….

Manzana: Made it clear that even if it doesn’t end up being a thing they want to stay friends, you know? That’s nice…

Needle: Mm… traveling work is kind of just like that.

Manzana: Yeah… still, had a fun time.

Needle: What’d you end up doing?

Manzana: Darkest Night stuff has been going up since it’s this month so… we went to some festival for that.

Needle: Did you go in costume?

Manzana: Me? No… kind of wish I did.

Needle: Still time!

Manzana: Y-yeah.

Needle: Maybe you’d be down to go together? Platino can come too.

Manzana: Maybe. I’ve really got a lot going on today after this.

Manzana: Met up with my cousins?

Needle: Plural? As in more than just Geezer?

Manzana: Mm.. we’ve got a job that we’re working on over the next couple of weeks. Could be dangerous.

Needle: Witch stuff?

Manzana: Yeah..

Needle: Maybe I could help?

Manzana: You? Aren’t you busy?

Needle: I can make time, just tell me what you need.

You ponder for a moment.

Right now you really do want another familiar face keeping you comfort through this.

You nod and tell her everything you can, you know she won’t snitch.

She seems a little confused by certain details just like you were but… ultimately she seems to get the gist.

Needle: So you might be going up against your mom’s goals a bit?

Manzana: Yeah…

Needle: Good. Fuck her.

Manzana: It’s scary to be honest.

Needle: Course it is, she’s unhinged. But..

Needle: I think you’ve been needing this for a long time.

Needle: Granted stealing a corpse-

Manzana: It’s still alive apparently.

Needle: Yeah that’s weird. What kind of heist is this?

Manzana: I don’t knoooow.

Needle: You think your friends will be okay with me?

Manzana:I don’t think they’d reject another set of hands right now.

Needle: Then sign me up. Once Platino gets back we’ll head to grab lunch, make our way over to the safehouse after.

Manzana: You’re really good for that?

Needle: Yeah, we’re friends. You look out for each other.

Manzana:... Yeah, friends.

Needle: I know you try to avoid that word but… I really think of you as one.

Manzana: Me too..

Needle: We’ll make it work. Got a lot of heads to put together.

Manzana: …We will.

You pause as your phone vibrates.

You check, a text from Platino.

I’m outside, need some help.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 05-28-2023, 06:20 PM
[Image: aaaaassssssxxxxx2.png]
Esperanto: I’m not really in the mood for this-

Geezer: But you wanted to kick someone who’s already had enough of your shit for the day, right?

Geezer: Coward.

Esperanto: The conditioning process is admittedly extreme-

Geezer: Then how about we get back home yeah? Parking lot brawls don’t look good.

Esperanto: I suppose you’re quite correct there.

Geezer: If you’re gonna fight now, come at me. If not? Hold off a bit.

Esperanto: A return to base before anything continues then.

Esperanto: A fair request.

Esperanto: But he did agree to train under me at some point. I expect it to be honored eventually.

The fiend gets up from their seat.

Esperanto: I’m going to ponder for a bit. Are you all wrapped up with your meals? No dessert?

Geezer: Think we’re good.

Esperanto: Head back, I’ll meet you there and perhaps with can have a conversation on the conditions of this, yes?

Esperanto: Until then, cool off.

They make their way out the side exit, Bern giving your group a guilty look before leaving the building.

Styx: You didn’t have to do that-

Geezer: Did what I had to. Not for you but for Charon.

Geezer: Grandma would’ve done the same thing, so I played it like she showed me.

Opera: Surprised they backed off, would’ve expected them to take the fight.

Geezer: They’re a coward is what, really don’t think the training is worth it.

Opera: Yeah… I don’t like how obsessive they are.

Opera: Even if they’re a family friend it just doesn’t make sense…

Geezer: Never one heard of them, have to call Gran later about this.

Geezer: Anyway, mind telling me why you’re in control?

He glares directly at you. You’re too scared to move.

Geezer: Thought you weren’t gonna make a regular thing of this.

Styx: Accident, I assure.

Styx: We were talking and… something set me off I think.

Geezer: Yeah? What’s that?

Styx: A memory.. I can give him back in a moment. Just still cooling off really…

Your eye waters just a bit, still feeling tender over earlier.

Opera: Maybe you could ease up on him, I don’t think I’ve seen him like this before…

Geezer: Yeah… crying is new.

Styx: Being merged with your comrade is having effects on me more than I was prepared for.

Styx: Don’t very much like it.

Geezer: Sooner Charon comes back, sooner you’re out of this pickle, right?

You gulp hard.

Take in a deep breath.

Just hand back the reins…

I’ve got it from here…

Charon: Sorry about that, he didn’t mean any harm.

Charon: Thank you for sticking up for me.

Geezer: You sure you’re okay keeping him around like that?

Geezer: How long is this gonna last?

Charon: Until he fades out or we figure out a way to split things. Either way I promise he won’t be a problem.

Geezer: Long as you’re sure, I trust you.

Opera: Same.

Charon: I think… this is good for both of us. If only so we can both potentially be at peace with what happened back then.

Geezer: Mm…

Geezer: I’m gonna go warm up the bus. We’re gonna head home and have a few serious talks with people. Sound good?

Opera: Mmhmm..

Charon: Yeah.
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 05-24-2023, 02:08 AM
Styx: Think both of us have had more than enough of your word for today frankly.

Styx: Why should I hear you out?

Esperanto: Because you’re a liability.

Esperanto: I have no idea who you are, but you’re not a factor I want around on a job like this.

Styx: Unfortunately for both of us, I have no choice in the matter.

Styx: Charon has inherited my soul, for better or worse. I cannot be dismissed unless he’s willing to go through the process himself.

Styx: And right now, I think we both need to rely on each other.

Esperanto: You’re invasive.

Styx: Not my choice, would’ve preferred to have faded long ago to be quite honest. But…

Styx: Fate has decided I’m here for at least one more task.

Styx: I’m passing the torch to Charon, my entire legacy is his to decide what to do with.

Styx: Just as you wish to pass on yours.

Esperanto: I beg your pardon?

Styx: Your motives are more than you’re willing to say, but you’re certainly adamant about needing this boy to be your disciple.

Styx: Do you see great potential? Or are there more personal motives?

Esperanto: Both can be valid I’d like to think. Yourself?

Styx: He did me in, there’s no better successor than your superior now is there?

Esperanto: Superior…

Styx: I’m able to admit when I’ve lost.

Styx: I’m exhausted anyway, the burden of such power needs a stronger pair of shoulders than my own at this point.

Styx: He may be short tempered, stubborn, honest to a fault but..

Styx: I think that is what makes me root for him. And by extension of that…

Styx: I hope he surpasses you too.

Styx: I think you could do with some humility in your life.

Esperanto: Mouth on you.

Styx: Learned from the best.

Esperanto: He’s a long ways away.

Styx: But you’re confident you can shape him up in two weeks.

Styx: I think you see it too.

Styx: You’re right though on one thing, he needs a true mentor.

Styx: I’m expecting nothing but the best from you.

Esperanto: Hmm.

Styx: Is something wrong?

Esperanto stands up from their seat.

Esperanto: I want to spar. Call out Charon.

Styx: He’s already been overextended for the day, let him rest.

Esperanto: If he’s tired this early, he’s not going to make it far. Fight me.

Styx: This isn’t fair and you know it.

Esperanto: That’s the point, I want him at his limit.

The fiend slides a large weapon out from under the table.

Esperanto: Though I’ll settle for you as well, given the circumstances. Raise your guard.

You feel a hand on your shoulder.

You take a look over.
Geezer steps up from his chair.

Geezer: Nah.

Geezer: I’m not in the mood for playing around like this.

Geezer: You want a spar? Have it with me.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 05-20-2023, 09:17 PM
[Image: image.png]
Styx:...Before we go out, I have a question…

Roundabout: Something on your mind?

Styx:.. This happened, right?

Roundabout: What do you mean?

Styx: None of this is made up?

Roundabout: Why would it?

Styx: Because you’re answering my questions right now…

Roundabout:...

Styx: Is this a dream or a memory?

Roundabout: Both I think.

Styx: Mm..

Styx: I hope you’re okay, wherever you are now.

Styx: Missed you a lot but…

Styx:  Think in the end it was my fault.

Styx: Wasn’t strong enough..

Styx: Became a liability at such a crucial point…

Styx: You had every right to end our contract really…

Roundabout: Why would I want that?

Roundabout: I'd miss you.

Styx: You mean that?

Roundabout: Told you plenty of times before, right?

Styx:  You have..

Roundabout: We're partners in crime, where would I be without you?

Styx: Can't really say..

Styx: But...

Styx: If I'm really so important to you.

Styx: It does make me wonder why..

Styx: You said it was to protect me but..

Styx: I can't help but fear that you were sick of me.

Styx: Wasn't always the best to you.

Styx: Not great to most of my clients.

Styx: Can't be helped at this point. What's done is done.

Styx: Don't know what you see in me..

Styx: But I'm happy that you managed to find something worth giving a chance.

Styx: Might've been a bad call.

Styx:... You're quiet.

Styx:... Are you still there?

Styx: Please talk to me…

Styx: Love you…

Styx: …I’m sorry…

???: What’s wrong? Charon?

???: Talk to me dude, You crying?

Styx: It’s nothing…

???: You need some air? We can step outside. You want me or Opera with you?

???: Yeah, I’ll walk out with you.

Styx: Opera?

Opera: Mmhmm.

Opera: Let’s get you some air.

Geezer: Yeah. Esperanto? Mind if we-

Esperanto: Don’t, that’s the intruder being flushed out.

Esperanto: I want to talk to him. 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 05-15-2023, 06:48 PM
ROUNDABOUT
[Styx Memory One, Part 1]

Perspective: Styx
[Image: image.png?width=607&height=621]

 ???: You up yet?

???: Need to ask you a bit of a favor.

Styx: Mm?

Styx: …Who’s that?

???: What do you mean who’s that? It’s been a good half decade and you suddenly forgot?

Styx: ….

???: You serious? You okay?

Styx: Roundabout?

Roundabout: There we go, had me worried.

Styx: I apologize for that, had a bit of a rough sleep I think.

Styx: So what is it?

Roundabout: Could you take charge with the meetup at the checkpoint tomorrow? Got too much on the mind to be good for talking trade politics.

Styx: I suppose I’ve got a knack for making deals happen. I wonder though, what has you skipping out?

Roundabout: Former work partner of mine will be there, we didn’t break things off on the best of terms.

Styx: I see…

Styx: Do I dare ask?

Roundabout: Can’t promise I’ll say much if you do.

Styx: Then I will. What happened between you two?

Roundabout: A lot to be quite frank. But to keep it short, he’s kind of a jackass?

Roundabout: Dragged me into trouble frequently, pressured his crew constantly to take his side on things.

Roundabout: Hella controlling really. Don’t want to risk confronting him.

Styx: So you want me in control in case he walk up to us?

Roundabout: Aye, you’ve got a better with for this sort of thing I imagine.

Styx: And yet I get you in plenty of trouble myself.

Roundabout: Your trouble is fun, his isn’t.

Roundabout: He gets you put on a bounty board to make sure you don’t flake out. Otherwise you lose his “protection.”

Styx: Never told me about this.

Roundabout: Never thought I’d see him again in this line of work. Friend of mine managed to find out and let me know in advance

Styx: No promises I won’t be rough with him.

Roundabout: I’d encourage it, so long as you’re careful.

Styx: MM.. I think I’d win.

Roundabout: I can believe it.

Styx: Have him begging for a treaty by the end, net us a nice profit.

Roundabout: Would love to see that.

Styx: You probably could fight him just fine though.

Roundabout: Mm.. hard to say.

Roundabout: Think I’d just freeze up, honest.

Styx: Has you that scared?

Roundabout: Has me terrified but..

Roundabout: You’ve been my good luck charm for awhile now.

Roundabout: Maybe you could bring some of that for me.

Styx: Good luck charm… I quite like that.

Styx: You’ll owe me after but… I’d be glad to ease things for you at least a little.

Roundabout: Aye…

Styx: Take me to a nice dinner after and consider it more than done.

Roundabout: So you’ll do it?

Styx: Mmhmm. Might as well. Don’t get an excuse often to shred someone’s ex.

Roundabout: Love you a million for this, really do.

Styx: Just think about what you want for dinner later, we’ll be treating ourselves after…
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 05-02-2023, 05:20 PM
[Image: image.png]
 You and your friends sat down at the table across from Esperanto and Bern. The latter has a guilty look across her face.

You can’t muster much eagerness for the meal in front of you. Despite that, your force yourself to pretend to enjoy it if only to hide your frustration.

Mentally you’re hardly here right now, split between the old castle and reality.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Styx: You surrendered…

Styx: That’s something new to me.

Charon: Not much choice here, I’m being strong-armed hard.

 
Charon: Sometimes you just… compromise.

Styx: That’s what you call it?

Charon: What would you?

Styx: Abuse, frankly.

Styx: If you’re being put through this right now, can’t imagine what the actual training will look like.

Styx: It’s incredible that one of your friends would vouch for a person like this at all.

Charon: Mm…

Charon: Mercury’s got some explaining to do.

Styx: I’m curious why this whole process feels so… targeted.

Styx: Especially considering your recruitment was somewhat of a surprise, yes?

Charon: According to everyone, I wasn’t even on anyone’s radar.

Styx: Hmm.

Charon: Geezer and Opera are so quiet right now.

Styx: They’re upset too I’d imagine.

Charon: Mm…

Charon: I don’t think I’m going to finish my lunch right now.

Charon: Stomach still turning.

Styx: That’s normal in a situation like this I’d think.

Styx: I want a talk with them.

Charon: I’m not giving you control again.

Styx: You won’t, but your proxy might.

Charon: Pardon?

Styx: All those feelings you try and bottle up. Fear, sorrow, anger, insecurity..

Styx: They’re part of what makes you a whole person, no?

Styx: Your proxy has so much bottled up.

Styx: Every rejection, every failure, every moment you know deep down was completely unfair and yet you chose to suck it up regardless.

Styx: You know how you truly feel, but the proxy is the only one who’ll be honest about this.

Styx: Besides, I want a rematch.

Styx: Nearly died covering for you previously.

Charon: For a moment, thought you did.

Styx: I’ve survived worse than a brute like them, you really expect me to go down so easy?

Charon: Did you in back then.

Styx: Yet I stand!

Charon: Barely.

Styx: Rude…

Styx: Just…. Be kinder to yourself.

Styx: For both our sake.

Charon: Mm….

Styx: Hmm?

Charon: Why show concern now? Why at all?

Charon: We killed each other back then, can’t imagine you’re happy about that.

Styx: Because…

Styx: May I confide with you?

Charon: I suppose.

Styx: If you’re only a shell of the original Charon…

Styx: I think I might be in the same situation myself.

Styx: Staying up late waiting for grandmother to return from work.

Styx: Watching shows from other parts of the world and wishing there was more than just woodland around.

Styx: Listening to that one song on loop before bed. You know the one, yes? The one from Monte?

Charon: 3 cups in the morning.

Styx: 7 pills at night.

Charon: Two shots as a warning.

Styx: Third one wrongs a right.

Charon: Moon outside is howling.

Styx:  Migraines’ on the run.

Charon: My head feels like a loaded gun-

Styx: Don’t you make my day.

Charon: You… remember that?

Styx: Mm…

Styx: Distressing but…

Styx: It’s comforting as a memory.

Charon: Huh…

Charon: Mind if I share something with you?

Styx: Go ahead.

[Image: image.png]
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 04-19-2023, 05:47 PM
Charon: That seems a bit absurd.

Esperanto: You’re turbulent right now. Your proxy has shifted, your biology is on fire, and you’re more than likely about to revisit quite a bit of your trauma based on all this.

Esperanto: Awakening is all about getting in touch with those extreme emotions.

Esperanto: You’re perfectly ripe for this.

Charon: I suppose…

Esperanto: You brought two long time comrades with you, yes.

Charon: Mm..

Esperanto: Met under rather extreme circumstances as well.

Esperanto: I have a question for you.

Charon: Oh?

Esperanto: Who do you care about more?

Charon: Where are you getting at?

Esperanto: You have to have someone you’re closer to, no?

Esperanto: You may love both of them but if you had to pick-

Charon: We’re not having this conversation.

Esperanto reaches behind their seat.

Charon: Don’t you dare-

Two knives are flung out.

In the heat of the moment you jump in front of Geezer while your Proxy manifests directly in front of Opera.

You close your eyes, bracing for impact….

Only for it to never hit.

It’s an illusion.

Esperanto: The power to protect both is rare.

Esperanto: Thankfully for you my attack is purely fabricated. You are spared from any real danger.

You crumple onto your knees, on the verge of hyperventilating.

Your proxy can’t help but snarl at them in response.

Geezer steps in to help you back up while Opera tries to calm down your proxy.

[Image: image.png]

It practically melts into her embrace, sniffling a bit itself.

Geezer: Slow down, get some air. You okay?

Opera: What happened?!

Charon: Threatened you…

Geezer: Huh? What do you mean?

Esperanto: An illusion only he could see, needed the two of you not to duck out of the way.

Opera: Fuck off.

Geezer: Yeah no, not a fan of being used as a prop here.

Geezer: You seriously want him to train with you while you’re doing shit like this?

Opera: Don’t do it Charon, it’s not worth it-

Charon: Esperanto.

Esperanto: Mm?

Charon: Duel, outside.

Esperanto: Right now? Haven’t you had enough from this morning?

Charon: If you don’t I’m walking out right now.

Esperanto: If you don’t sit down I’m cutting all three of you out from this job, and letting our financier take the husk herself.

Esperanto: You have no idea what you’re messing with here.

Charon: We’ll figure it our ourselves-

Esperanto: Ali Judgment.

Geezer: Hey no, you can’t just drop a name like that-

Esperanto: Ali Judgment is the one funding all this.

Esperanto: As a family friend I’ve been asked to prepare the lot of you to be ready to take her down.

Esperanto: And as you Charon are the most volatile element on the team, you’re going to get special training from me.

Esperanto: Now you understand.

Geezer:Ali....

Geezer: Opera, you know about this?

Opera: No, didn’t know who was involved besides Huck and Fenton saying it was someone they trusted.

Opera: That’s Zana’s mom right?

Geezer: Lot more than that.

You pull away from Geezer and sit yourself down at the nearest table.

Geezer: Charon?

Charon: Can’t afford to underperform if that’s what we’re up against.

Charon: Train me.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 04-16-2023, 07:54 PM
 By the time you and your friends gather up, all that waits outside is Bern.

You give a tiny little bow of the head to her, she nods back.

Bern: Polite. You’ll go pretty far with that, least that’s what Esperanto says.

Bern: Think it’s true. THey went up ahead, we got the place to ourselves it looks like.

Bern: You gonna be okay for this? You look a bit nervous.

Charon: I’ll be fine.

Bern: Can we get a proper list of names actually.

Geezer: W. J. Geezer.

Opera: Just Opera’s fine.

Charon: You already know mine.

Bern: Mm. Right this way then.

You’re led down the rows of tables up to a corner where a fiend is sitting on their own.

You tilt your head in confusion. Their voice is immediately recognizable.

[Image: image.png]



Esperanto: Good, you gathered everyone.

Esperanto: Surprise.

Charon: What’s this?

Esperanto: You seem disappointed.

Charon: I assumed you were a fiend but…

Esperanto: But what?

Opera: Something wrong?

You shake your head.

Charon: Nothing. Perhaps I’m paranoid.

Charon: But… that does explain everything.

Charon: So what is this place anyway?

Esperanto: Just a little dine I’ve managed to rent out for the afternoon.

Opera: Really? What kind of money you’ve got?

Esperanto: Not a ton, just got a favor from the owner to get the hour before the lunch rush.

Esperanto: I wanted some privacy with the right setting.

Esperanto: I’m lying of course, we’re just here early enough that nobody will pester I don’t think.

Geezer: Had me thinking you were some big shot for a moment.

Esperanto: I am, in the right circles. Not to brag…

Esperanto: Regardless. I am here to train those of fiendish descent to reach their full potential.

Esperanto: In this case…

Charon: Me..

Esperanto: Caught you just in time for your metamorphosis to trigger. Hopefully you won’t cocoon up.

Charon: Is… is that a thing?

Esperanto: Mm. You were born as a worm after all. Though it seems you never quite developed full solidity..

Charon: My limbs require braces to maintain solid form. Otherwise I just ooze…

Charon: It’s not too bad but it does limit my mobility to a degree.

Charon: THey’re quite heavy…

Esperanto: Mm..

Esperanto: No issue though, you’re more the witchy type.

Esperanto: Slinging proxies around, yes?

Esperanto: How’s yours doing?

You manifest your proxy briefly. Maddogs them before immediately phasing out.

Esperanto: Bitter. I take it you have some hard feelings?

Charon: I’ll get over them.

Esperanto: Mm..

Esperanto: The true Charon lies in that ghost of yours I think.

Esperanto: I ponder why you keep your emotions sealed up in that thing.

Esperanto: The way you talk.. It’s perhaps just an act but.

Esperanto: You seem genuinely convinced it’s your true voice.

Esperanto: We’ll have to explore that too.

Charon: Not without confirmation of a rematch.

Esperanto: You’ll get plenty of those under my wing. The question is, can we get you substantial progress before the gig?

Esperanto: We can’t afford any unstable crew with something this high risk.

Charon: Honestly..

Charon: I want to say yes but..

Charon: I think I learned a lot about myself in the past day that I rather have not…

Charon: But now that I have, there’s no way out of this.

Charon: I’m committing to it, to become a more whole person.

Esperanto: And your friends will be with you during this?

Charon: If they’ll give me that.

Geezer: You know I’m gonna say yes.

Opera: We promised to look out for each other.

Charon: Mm… I just like hearing it out loud admittedly.

Geezer: Sometimes you just need a reminder, you know?

Geezer: To the end.

Opera: To the end.

Charon: I’m really fortunate…

Esperanto: You have good people in your life, of course you are.

Esperanto: Bern will be grabbing our food in a moment and join us for this. I want to get to know the lot of you since I’m not familiar with folks at the safehouse besides Mercury and Rosario.

Charon: You really know them?

Esperanto: I’ve done plenty of good work with them in the past. Small world if you managed to already know them however.

Esperanto: Mercury is one of my few equals in swordsmanship I’ve met, and Rosario’s father taught me quite a bit about the ins and outs of scrap magic while I was traveling. I couldn’t help but want their aid in all this.

Esperanto: Tell me, are you a sensitive?

Charon: No, proxies are effectively my bridge to any sort of magic right now.

Esperanto: Hmm..

Esperanto: By the time I’m done with you, I’ll have you casting real spells.

Esperanto: Scrap manifested forms, also known as awakenings by some are considered the peak of physical and spiritual state for some. It can take years for many to truly understand their own awakening.

Esperanto: I’m going to unlock yours in two weeks.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 04-08-2023, 10:52 PM
The Lunch
[Esperanto Quest 1]
CW: None
Perspective: Charon


[Image: image.png]

 You are Charon Judgment.

You and your group arrive in a timely manner after parting ways with Manzana and Platino for now.

You’re the first to walk off, Opera and Geezer staying inside and keeping an eye through the windows.

As much as you’d like them with you right now.. They weren’t exactly invited.

Only fair to ask first.

Charon: Good afternoon.

Esperanto: A tour bus…. Seems a bit excessive but I appreciate the courtesy.

Esperanto: You’ve made it. Is there anyone else in there? Can’t imagine you drove that for yourself.

Charon: Mm.. I’d like to bring Geezer and Opera with me, if that’s alright.

Charon: I know you didn’t invite them but…

Esperanto: I’ll allow it, but I want this conversation before lunch to be just us.

Esperanto: If that’s alright…

Esperanto’s gaze tilts over toward your cane.

Esperanto: What’s that now?

Charon: Had an injury long ago, makes it hard to maintain walking normally all day.

Charon: This city being so big and windy absolutely is a lot on my stamina, especially with how much has gone on over the past 24 hours.

Esperanto: I see…

Esperanto: Do you know why I invited you over? The real reason?

Charon: I can only guess.

Esperanto: You have a lot of potential, but you’re rough around the edges as most beginner knights tend to be.

Esperanto: I want to give you an opportunity that you’ve lacked in your life.

Esperanto: No formal training, from what my sources tell me.

Esperanto: All that heart only means so much without the skill to back it up.

Charon: Why should I take that offer from you?

Esperanto: Because you need to be prepared for everything that’s to come on this job.

Esperanto: Between you and me, the one hosting this mission is going to want profit out of this.

Esperanto: And while I trust this person not to end the world…

Esperanto: I don’t imagine it to be a satisfying conclusion to anyone with personal stakes here.

Charon: Not at all.

Charon: Why are we even relying on this person to begin with? What makes you so crucial?

Esperanto: They’re the one giving you invites to the event.

Esperanto: And I’m the only buffer between you and our employer. Mercury knows a little but not enough to make a good call on this.

Esperanto: Bless her for trying.

Charon: Mm..

Charon: So what’s the diagnosis? You’re clearly looking at something I’m doing wrong and concerned.

Esperanto: You sure you want that? It’s harsh.

Charon: I can take criticism.

Esperanto: You try to take hits like you’re bigger than you are, your fighting style is completely unrefined, your proxy is the best asset you have and you use it to middling results, and you’re completely reliant on surprise factor against stronger opponents.

Esperanto: If you want to get far as a knight on the field, you need to be aware that one day you will fight someone skilled enough to do you in.

Esperanto: Your fiendish nature especially…

Esperanto: It’s underexplored.  Your metamorphosis is coming in and you need to know how to get the most out of it.. Should you choose to embrace it.

Esperanto: You have the conditions to become what some call a “tempered” fiend.

Charon: And that means?

Esperanto: Your body’s endured so many extreme conditions that it’s hardly canine anymore.

Charon: And you know how?

Esperanto: It’s not that hard to get your records.

Esperanto: Managed to get a good conversation in with Arabis as well. Your grandfather back home?

Charon: You… know where I live?

Esperanto: Mm..

Esperanto: Don’t worry about it, I’ve got no plans against you or your family.

Charon: Don’t like that, I have to consider that possibility.

Esperanto: I’d never.

Esperanto: They’ve done plenty for me, I’d never return that with a knife to the back.

You fall silent as you ponder the details..

Charon: How did you meet exactly?

Esperanto: Can’t tell you that out here. When the time comes though.

Esperanto: You should go get your friends, Bern needs to know we’ve got a big table today.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 04-03-2023, 07:49 PM
[Image: image.png?width=668&height=630]
You step back into the bus to a large ruckus.

An uninvited guest argues with Opera.

Opera: How’d you manage to track us down? Who’s your employer?

???: That’s confidential!

Opera: Right now the last thing we need is a lurker.

???: I’m not a lurker!

Opera: You were watching us this whole time, weren’t you?

???: Needed to find a good moment, ya’ll seemed busy!

Opera: Yeah? Well…

You step in.

Geezer: What’s all this about?

Geezer: Got a guest?

???: I’m here to deliver a letter but she won’t let me.

Opera: She was spying on us while we were here, I’m just doing my part and figuring out what’s up.

Geezer: Huh.. you think she’s a threat?

Opera: Maybe…

Geezer: Anything on her?

Opera: Not that I can tell, no.

Manzana: Something about her feels pretty weird to me personally but… that’s just me.

Geezer: Let’s hear the kid out.

???: First off I’m only like, a couple years younger than you tops..

???: Secondly, I’m just a courier who was given a spot to look around for a… Chair-ehn Judgment?

Charon gestures from a nearby seat.

Charon: That’d be me.

???: Huh…. you’ve got a resemblance.

Charon: …To?

???: A couple of other fiends I’ve met. Eyes are way different but you got the same spirit I think.

???: Anyway, let me get this to you.

She hands Charon over a folded paper.

He unfolds it.

Charon: Huh….

Geezer: What’s up?

Charon: It’s an invitation for lunch.

Charon: A formal apology from Esperanto…

Geezer: Huh…

Geezer: I’m not  letting you go alone.

Charon: I’d rather not be.

Opera: Same.

Manzana: I’d join but I got plans…. I’ll meet up after though.

Geezer: It’s all good, there’s enough of us here to make sure things don’t go screwy.

Charon looks directly at the messenger.

Charon: Name?

???: Bern, no fancy last name like some of you.

Bern: I’ll be seeing ya’ll again sooner or later, so try not to shoot first next time, yeah?

Geezer: Opera?

Opera: I didn’t-

Bern: Wait, does she have a gun-?

Opera: Geezer!

Geezer: Heh, sorry.

Geezer: That case, I think we should plan for what comes next together.

Geezer: Zana, you sure you can’t come?

Manzana: Got an old friend coming in soon, much as I’d love to…

Geezer: Ah…important, gotcha. Just pop in at the base when you’re done. Maybe invite them over too if you trust them enough.

Manzana: Maybe… I’ll think about it.

Charon: Before I forget, how did your trial go?

Geezer: Complicated. I wanna talk about it at some point but my feelings are all over right now..

Charon: Don’t let me forget to ask later then. I want to make sure you’re okay.

Geezer: Yeah just… tonight, promise. 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 03-30-2023, 05:06 PM
[Image: image.png]

Behind masses of hung up curtains and blankets scattered across the floor, sat a dopple on a bed.

One you can only barely recognize as your previous self anymore.

His hair was overgrown, one ear was shorter than another, and his expression was curious but mostly blank of any complex emotion.

And yet you find yourself struggling in the moment to keep a straight face.

Geezer: Hey…

You’re only met with a twitching ear in response.

Geezer: How long you’ve been here…

Elote: A decade approximately, if I recall correctly.

Elote: He’s been well behaved for the most part but… not really much for words.

Geezer: Yeah…

Elote: If you’d like to take him with you, you can.

Geezer: Mm?

Elote: You want your old body back, don’t you?

Geezer: Maybe?

Elote: Oh?

Geezer: I dunno.

Geezer: I still could feel something you know?

Geezer: Some remnant, something telling me it’s still around somewhere.

Geezer: Nothing just disappears from reality like that, not completely.

Geezer: Even with all the weird creatures and angels, there’s always something that sticks around.

Geezer: All sorts of sensations just…

Geezer: Scared, alone, quiet, lost.

Geezer: Poor thing is probably confused about being in here sometimes, right?

Elote: There’s been episodes from time to time but..

Elote: These days he mostly just sits around here passing time drawing.

Elote: He keeps some sketchbooks.

Elote: Do you want to go through?

Geezer: Maybe….

Elote walks over to a box and pulls out a sketch book.


Elote: Always assumed they were dreams, but seeing you…

Elote: Maybe there’s something more.

Geezer: Yeah?

You take the sketchbook from her and take a look through.



Elote: This one’s recent…
[Image: image.png]
You open up on a picture that startles you.

It's you and Charon meeting up after his boat ride.

That was recent, literally last morning…

Geezer: Huh…

Geezer: You’ve been seeing things too huh?

Elote: Is something wrong?

Geezer: Nah just…

You look through. Various recent day to day events from the past month or so.

Work.

Having an argument with Manzana.

A package from your grandma….

Geezer: Don’t really know what to do here, honest.

Geezer: Been a long time since I’ve lost him.

Geezer: In a lot of ways I’ve moved on but…

Geezer: Same time, seems like we’re still connected.

Geezer: Feels bad to say but..

Geezer: I don’t see me anymore when I look at him.

Geezer: Just a sad, lonely rabbit.

Geezer: Don’t need to go back to him. Doesn’t feel right to leave him here either.

Geezer: Think I gotta sit on this.

Elote: Mm..

Elote: If you need a procedure done to merge back, you can always come back.

Elote: He’ll be more than safe here.

Geezer: Yeah.. that’s good.

Geezer: Think I wanna head back for now, let folks know how things went.

You give the rabbit one more look over.

Geezer: I’m gonna make sure you’re safe just…

Geezer: GIve me time to figure this out, alright?

Geezer: You hang in there..
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 03-23-2023, 09:16 PM
 
[Image: image.png]

You make your way into the world of Red. It’s striking, perhaps a little somber even.

In front of you lies a huge building, one surrounded with the decor of rubble, machines, and angelic formations that echo with the sounds of medical equipment beeping along.

You step inside through the front entrance, finding yourself immediately greeted by a proxy in a nurse’s hat and cloak.

???: I didn’t expect someone to be here so soon..

???: You appear to be more than alive and well though.

???: Are you a visitor or a guest?

Geezer: What’s the difference exactly?

???: If you’re a visitor you’re here to see someone.

???: A guest is here to get patched up and recover.

???: It’s a bit of a makeshift setup admittedly but I assure folks are taken care of.

Geezer: There other people here?

???: Two… well…

???: One has left recently. Styx who’s been dormant for years finally woke up.

???: Just vanished last evening without warning. Seems to have made a mostly successful recovery.

???: Defanged a bit admittedly. Entities without their power intact aren’t long for the world. Hopefully he comes back to recover a bit more…

???: The other is a rabbit. A dopple if I recall correctly?

???: He just showed up one day. Doesn’t seem to talk or anything.

Geezer: That’s who I’m here to see.

Geezer: He alright?

???: Mostly. He’ll starve himself if I don’t remind him to eat but otherwise he’s fairly quiet, harmless even.

???: Might I ask your relationship?

Geezer: Uh…

Geezer: Complicated.

???: I’m sure it’s nothing that odd for this place.

???: So may I ask again? I don’t like strangers disrupting folks.

Geezer: He’s… my original body.

The proxy looks closely at you, “squinting” her eyes just a little.

???: Ah! That checks out.

???: A body without its soul just lives to the most basic of instinct and necessity.

???: Poor thing practically grew up in here…

???: Contract poisoned to hell too. A little sickly.

???: You have any issues with symptoms?

Geezer: Nah, I lucked out I guess.

???: Goood… Oh! I should clarify who I am.

???: I’m the watcher of this facility. Styx’s contracts can’t really erase anything from existence.

???: Things that are lost end up here, including him.

???: I… don’t really have much of a name though.

???: I’ve forgotten it long ago.

Geezer: No memory?

???: It’s a blur. But I feel like whatever name I had back then is one I don’t want to keep.

???: I don’t think I was a good person…

Geezer: What makes you say that?

???: Sometimes your heart just knows. I wronged people in some way.

???: My station here is punishment I think….

???: So if my fate is to stay here and make amends of my own…

???: I’ll take that for now.

Geezer: Huh…

Geezer: Mind if I give you a name?

???: You?

Geezer: Something to call you while I’m here. Just for convenience.

???: That’d be so nice… are you sure?

Geezer: Yeah. Figure it’s easy.

Geezer: Got a bit of a floral thing going on…

Geezer: Something not corny… or maybe that’s what we need?

???: Corny is fine.

Geezer: Elote.

???: …. I see.

???: I actually kind of like that though…

???: Elote it is.

Geezer: Yeah?

Elote: It has a soft sound to it..

Elote: Thank you..

Geezer: I do what I do.

Elote: Elote…

She repeats the sound a few times to let it really settle in.

Geezer: You okay there?

Elote: Me? Fine just…

Elote: Let me get you to your friend. Sorry to get so distracted.

She grabs your hand and leads you down the hallway.

You can’t help but wonder why a lone nurse is lingering here… or why this facility exists to begin with..

Geezer: Was it really just Styx and my body?

Elote: There were others, mostly proxies. Many of them haven't returned in years so I can only hope they’re doing well…

You two stop in front of the entrance to a rather cozy looking room.

You could practically fall asleep looking at it.

Elote: He should be in here..

Elote: Please be kind….

You nod.

Take a deep breath.

You got no idea what your body looks like after all these years…

It scares you to think too much about what state it could be in after everything…

Just have to find out…

You step through the door. 
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 03-16-2023, 06:03 PM
[Image: image.png?width=660&height=617]


Geezer: I’m gonna cut you off right there.

Geezer walks in and grabs Styx tight by the shoulder.

Styx: Ah.. I knew I’d have to address this.

Geezer: No kidding.

Geezer: Don’t care if you say you’ve changed until I see something more.

Styx: You finished your trial quite quickly.

Geezer: Nah, still in it.

Geezer: Zinnia was straight with me, made it clear that my trial isn’t something they can resolve with a pep talk.

Geezer: Looked me in the eye and said, “Go out there and you’ll find what you need to do.”

Geezer: Couldn’t be any clearer.

Geezer: We need to talk, you and me.

Geezer: Because you’ve hurt me and Charon a hell of a lot in the past.

Styx: This is about your body.

Geezer: This is about everything.

Geezer: Why are you still here? You died back there right?

Geezer: Like, how?

Styx: I’m a master of escaping fate, an entity of defiance if you will.

Styx: It’ll take a lot more than death to kill me.

Geezer: Yeah? Might make you rethink coming back.

Styx: I’m already reconsidering.

Geezer: Hate seeing your smug grin on his face. Can’t believe he let you control him.

Styx: You want to talk to him? You can. He’s the one in control this time.

Styx: I’m simply his vassal handing him over the keys.

Geezer: Explain.

Styx: He’s taking my position, my throne, my power, everything.

Styx: A true successor, whether he wants to admit it or not.

Styx: I’ve been effectively defanged, unable to act without his permission.

Styx: Letting me talk? That’s his choice

Opera: Geezer, I think he’s serious about it.

Geezer loosens his grip slightly.

Geezer: You really lost all your power?

Styx: If I still had it, would’ve struck you down by now.

Geezer: Huh….

Styx: Tell you what, I can make you a peace offering.

Geezer: I don’t want any contracts from you.

Styx: I think this one might be one that appeals to you specifically.

Styx: No conditions, what if I told you I know where your old body is.

Geezer:... You can find it?

Styx: Been keeping it safe this whole time.

Geezer: I could feel it moving but… I thought that was some psychosomatic thing.

Styx: No, your body is very much around and safe.

Styx: Not very active granted, but it’s remained healthy despite the circumstances.

Styx: Would you like to see?

Opera: Geezer…

Geezer: I want in.

Styx: Excellent, I’ll transport you in just a moment. Make sure you have everything you need on you.

Opera: I want to go with him, don’t want any funny business.

Geezer: I’ll be fine. You stay here and make sure Styx doesn’t run off with Charon’s body yeah?

Platino: We’ll keep him safe.

Geezer offers a hand out to Styx.

Geezer: No bullshit?

Styx: I want to make amends and I mean it.

Styx: You’ll see him soon.


 
 
TRIAL OF GEEZER, STRENGTH REVERSED
[Fourth Trial]
CW: None
Perspective:Geezer.


[Image: image.png]
 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 03-14-2023, 11:08 PM
[Image: image.png]
 Opera: Who are you?

Styx: You know.

Opera: Why are you here?

Styx: Charon has given me express permission to confirm my presence.

Styx: And in the case of a couple of you, reintroduce myself.

Styx: You look so shocked.

Opera: Upset actually.

Opera: Don’t have exactly the best history with entities, no offense.

Platino: Yeah, me neither. What happened to him?

Styx: Charon is fine, his resistance to my influence is strong enough that he can boot me out at any point if I’ve crossed a line.

Styx: Be glad your friend is a tough cookie.

Opera: Just stay in line, don’t try anything.

Styx: You wouldn’t want to hurt this face, your threat is empty-

You backhand him before he can finish his sentence.

Opera: Charon can take a hit better than you, keep that in mind.

Styx gives you a genuinely upset look.

Opera: Tough it up.

Styx: I sincerely mean no harm to anyone this time. We… have a bit of a deal now. A peace treaty even.

Styx: So long as I remain here, I serve as an ally to you and the party.

Styx: My collection, my castle, they now belong to him and by extension are yours as well.

He gives a bow.

Styx: You are guests in our kingdom.

Platino: Your castle?

Styx: Ah, you need to be filled in.

Opera: It’s a bit of a thing, we’ll show you when Geezer’s back. Speaking of..

Styx: I know I owe him an apology for certain, I don’t think he’ll take well to my presence.

Opera: Yeah no kidding.

Platino: What did he do exactly?

Opera: Styx gave him a proxy that went rogue.It’s a long story.

Platino: Is that how..?

Opera: Yeah.

Styx: I’ll… talk with him at some point.

Styx: My business here is to introduce myself and.. Perhaps even provide a plan regarding a couple of future concerns.

Styx: No shady contracts, they’re all Charon’s domain now.

Platino: That means…

Opera: He can’t really scam us. Any offer we get will go by Charon’s intent, not his. No funny wording, no loopholes.

Opera: Suppose we can have a look at your wares.

Styx smiles wide. It's unsettling on Charon’s face.

Styx: You won’t regret it, I promise.

Styx: So what are you in the market for?


Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 03-07-2023, 06:39 PM
You give him a nod.

Charon: On my lead.

[Image: image.png]

Styx: Whatever you say.

 You blip together back into reality, the entity keeping hidden under your shadow for now.

Opera: Charon, you okay?

Charon: Me? Mostly. Had a lot to think about after talking to Zinnia. You?

Opera: Doing my best. As much as I can anyway.

Opera: You’ve been so quiet about what happened in there…

Charon: You too.

Opera: I mean… I had a bit of a tough one with them. They’re kind of the reason we all got dragged into that mess to begin with.

Charon: The pocket.

Opera: Yeah. Even if it wasn’t intentional… 


Charon: The pain we went through was very real, things we all live with now.

Opera: Mm…

Opera: I need more than a talk to forgive them over that and like…

Opera: As much as wanna say “It’s okay”, I know that’s a pretty big lie.

Opera: I don’t want to be mad at them but can’t help it, you know?

Charon: Mm. I have a lot of respect for them myself but… can’t say there’s not any hard feelings left.

Charon: Would’ve been nice if they held back frankly. We were all just kids trying to get home.

Charon: Whole experience left me… not myself anymore.

Charon: Couldn’t connect to a lot of the same things after. The kids in town looked at me like a ghost…

Opera: Same! I mean the gang and I still managed to make it work but… everyone else didn’t get it, you know?

Opera: Same thing happened to the other me back there… she didn’t get as lucky.

Charon: Mm..

Opera: Scary to think that either of us could’ve been another husk. Or that there were others like us who..

Charon: Yeah.

Charon: Don’t like to think about that part.

Opera: All those kids…

Charon: I’m feeling a bit raw right now, mind if we skip the subject?

Opera: Sorry..

Charon: You’re fine.

Platino steps onboard the bus, giving you and Opera a friendly little wave.

You return it, managing a tiny smile as best you can.

Platino: Yo, you two doing okay?

Platino: Look exhausted.

Charon: Managing.

Opera: Same.

Platino: That rough?

Charon: They kind of beat my ass a bit.

Opera: They wouldn’t even fight me. Bastard.

Platino: Ah… Manzana’s taking a bit of a break right now.

Platino: She’s here though if you need to talk about anything with her.

Charon: She okay?

Platino: Needs rest. Body doesn’t need sleep but mentally she’s still gotta recharge.

Charon: Same way myself.

Opera: That really a thing for you too? That means you’ve got-

Platino: Contract poisoning. Making pacts with an entity too long’s got a whole list of side effects. Never a fan of it myself.

Charon: What happened with yours again?

Platino: Dunno. We merged but what came out was just me and her. We’re both the original rabbit so to speak.

Platino: Entity kind of just vanished… but we kept that power a bit. How we’re able to cast magic without a scrap or summoning a proxy.

Opera: Huh… you can do that?

Charon: It’s a rare gift for some. Normally magic needs some kind of supernatural source.

Charon: The entity must’ve become that, an oasis of potential to pull from.

Platino: Bit of a flowery way to put it but… yeah.

Charon: So how’d your trial go?

Platino: Me? Good.

Platino: Tiring but.. We had a good talk, all of us.

Platino: Zana’s still a little worried but…

Platino: We wanna help you out. Nobody’s gonna get you prepared better for a job like this.

You can’t help but grin a little.

Charon: Plenty of time to hang out, right?

Platino: Yeah. Geezer too, both of us always wanted a good excuse.

Platino looks directly at Opera.

Platino: And you too of course, lots of new folks to get to know.

Opera: You’re fine, know that you four are all family and stuff.

Charon: Aye.

Charon: Speaking of, I figure that it’s a good time to do this early rather than later…

Charon: I want you all to meet my entity.

Opera: Are you sure you want to do that?

Charon: He’s going to be working with us so…

Charon: I want to get this out of the way.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 03-02-2023, 07:56 PM
A Group Intermission
[Trial Intermission 2]
CW: None
Perspective: Charon


[Image: image.png]

 Charon: So what is this place exactly?

Styx: My kingdom, every crack and treasure included.

Charon: Yes but… how am I here while waiting in the bus?

Styx: You’re your own entity now, you always have access to my domain no matter where your physical form lies.

Charon: Don’t think I like being two places at once but I’ll have to get over that..

Styx: You already practically were, no?

Charon: Maybe.

Styx: Your mind still long ago wandering that desolate land.

Styx: I wonder why you refused Opera’s help getting back home.

Charon: Because she would’ve stayed as long as she needed to..

Charon: Would’ve preferred she went back home after that good… what was it actually?

Styx: In your world? 6 months. Physically? A year. And emotionally an eternity.

Styx: The passage of time is relative to perception, being there aged you to a tired, sad adult no matter how much you tried to return to the joys of youth.

Charon: Mm..

Charon: Why do you still taunt me?

Styx: To build your character, I’m easy mode compared to what comes next.

Styx: I’m not a man of premonition, but I have a good sense for incoming disasters. You’re the king of that.

Charon: I’ve got a migraine, I’d prefer you didn’t.

Styx: Mm… I could ease up for one day.

Charon: Do It and I’ll spare you from fate.

Styx: Oh? What do you threaten me with now?

Charon: A lesson in appreciating the value of the flesh.

Styx: You’ve gotten quite mean.

Charon: Have to be. My line of work isn’t the most forgiving.

Charon: Do you have something to show me?  You usually do.

Styx: No, not this time. Just needed a moment to cool down mentally…

Styx: And perhaps check on you. You were hit with quite the revelation.

Charon: I was…

Styx: Mmm.. how does it make you feel?

Charon: Don’t try to be my therapist if you can help it.

Charon: But… solemn. A little lost and at the same time it feels like the path to resolution is clearer.

Charon: I still need to deal with Esperanto, and very much need to explain to the others…

Styx: Your family?

Charon: Mm..

Styx: At the very least, I’m sure that grandmother of yours would’ve noticed.

Charon: She never commented once.

Styx: Because to her, losing part of yourself doesn’t mean you lost everything.

Styx: You idolize her quite a bit from what I can tell.

Charon: She’s too good to me, but…

Charon: That’s why I worked so hard to return.

Styx: Even when offered so much power. You could’ve become immortal and seeked all the forbidden knowledge needed.

Styx: You’ve seen weapons and disasters that folks across time and space have used to end their realities.

Charon: It scares me how possible it is..

Styx: You weren’t tempted at all?

Charon: No.. I want to focus on saving my people first.

Charon: Because I believe that there’s folks like us everywhere.

Charon: And we’ll do whatever it takes.

Styx: You’ve seen and heard of many like you who failed.

Charon: And yet we won.

Styx: You got lucky.

Charon: Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Styx: Fair enough…

Styx: I think I want to reveal myself to the others formally today.

Styx: It seems only fair considering our current… partnership.

Charon: Aye…

Styx: Would you be willing?

Charon: So long as you behave.

Charon: You’re potentially an ally too. I’d like to be on good terms.

Styx: As would I. I grow quite tired of our feud.

Charon: Aye.

Charon: If you’re good, I’ll let you join us for supper.

Styx: Maybe, I think I’m more of a solitary dining type.

Charon: Come churro pues.

Styx: I don’t know what that means.

Charon: Eat a churro then.

Styx:... Why?

Charon: You’ll learn with time.

Charon: Think I see Platino coming back, would you like to catch up with him?

Styx: How can you tell the two of them apart?

Charon: I’ve known him since we were kids, plus it’s the ears.

Styx: They’re the same ears.

Charon: You’ll catch on. Are you ready?

Styx: Lead the way.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 02-26-2023, 11:14 PM
[Image: image.png]
 Zinnia: When my time with all four of you is done, I want you to take my polearm.

Zinnia: I am choosing you as my heir.

Manzana: What if I refuse?

Zinnia: You’d like to save yourself and your mother, yes?

Zinnia: Then you need the strength and guidance to do it.

Zinnia: Once Geezer finishes his trial, I’ll have him pass it along. It’ll allow me to stay close to your entire group.

Manzana: Can’t you knock some sense into her?

Zinnia: Maybe…  but I think she’s aiming to usurp me more than anything.

Zinnia: I’d rather not find out the hard way if I’m quite honest.

Zinnia: So with that all said, I have more faith in you.

Zinnia: A challenge from me is a reason to stray further from the light. Her namesake rebelling against her ambition, a reason to cut off from the family as a whole.

Platino: From us it’d be better?

Zinnia: I’d be proof she raised you to have a spine.

Platino: I hate that you’re probably right on that.

Manzana: Same.

Platino: Don’t think I could take her but… if Manzana is in I am too.

Platino: Whatcha think?

Manzana: I want a better plan.

Platino: The others could help us…

Manzana: Maybe.

Platino: I don’t want to run away…

Manzana: I know.

Manzana: I’m going to talk with everyone.

Manzana: Can’t let my mom go off any deeper. Not for their sake or ours.

Manzana: And especially not hers.

Platino: Yeah.

Platino: You think we can really save her?

Manzana:.... I’ll have to think on that but.

Platino: But it’s worth a shot?

Manzana: It’s that or we let it happen.

Zinnia: Well spoken…

Zinnia: I’ve said what I’ve needed to, are you all done?

Manzana: Got a question actually.

Manzana: One in private.

Manzana: After that, you can send Geezer in.

Zinnia: Hmm… okay.

Manzana: You… got experience with relationships yeah?

Zinnia:... Ah. I suppose we can have a little talk there. What do you need?

Manzana: Well… 
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 02-21-2023, 10:26 PM
Manzana: You’re going to ask me to fight my mother.

Zinnia: It’s unavoidable that you’ll have to confront her at some point.

Zinnia: I hate to speak in such definitives but…

Zinnia: I feel it coming one way or another.

Zinnia: Your safety and that of your friends will one day be determined by such a task.

Manzana: I just met most of them.

Platino: Geezer’s in there.

Manzana: Geezer’s smart, he’ll figure it out.

Platino: I get that you don’t want to fight her, I don’t either you know?

Manzana: I know.

Platino: But.. I wanna protect those people. They’re good folks as far as I can tell.

Platino: Geezer looks out for you, and Charon’s my friend you know?

Platino: You both got a lot in common, think you’d get along.

Manzana: Not over the nerve he had.

Platino: The contract? Yeah I.. he didn’t mean wrong at all.

Manzana: He’s been through the same shit, you’d think he’d be better about that?

Manzana: I’m so sick and tired all the time and one bad handshake’s all it took.

Platino: I mean…

Manzana: Everytime someone promises me something big it blows up in my face. I’m done.

Platino: I know. But..

Platino: We wouldn’t both be here like this without that, you know?

Platino: I don’t wanna think about a world where I’m alone like that.

Manzana: What do you mean?

Platino: Don’t know if I could’ve gotten through all of our mom’s shit without you.

Platino: Much as the contract did a number on is… it kept us safe you know?

You linger on that for a moment and realize your mistake.

Manzana: It did. You do a lot for me, can’t really thank you enough.

Manzana: And I’m sorry about going off.

Manzana: Whole thing did hurt me a lot, but…

Manzana: Also couldn’t get through all that without you. At all.

Platino: I love you man.

Manzana: ….

Manzana: Me too.

Manzana: I just…

Platino: I get it.

Manzana: Mom’s fucked up, really fucked up you know?

Platino: Yeah.

Manzana: And I know I can be like her too.

Manzana: I got my rough edges, I’m bad with people, I’m scared of my own shadow.

Platino: Not scared of me.

Manzana: Guess not but you’re a lot more than that.

Manzana:I just..

Manzana: I want her to get help.

Manzana: The idea of having to fight her.. If we lose we’re done.

Manzana: And the only way to win… I don’t want to hurt.

Manzana: Because hurting her makes me feel like she can’t be saved.

Manzana: I don’t like to think that there’s people like that.

Platino: Me neither.

Manzana: Because then.. Maybe I’m one of those too..

Manzana:...

You turn toward Zinnia.

Manzana: You’ve gone all quiet for a bit now.

Zinnia: Don’t really have much to say just yet.

Zinnia: Feel confident enough in you two. Truth be told, I think you both need to figure out most of it between both of you.

Zinnia: You have good heads on your shoulders.

Manzana: Is that it then? You wanted us to talk to each other?

Zinnia: Still plan to give you advice, and a gift to make the upcoming trials easier.

Zinnia plants a weapon on the ground, a family relic.

Manzana: What are you doing?

Zinnia: You fixed me up and woke me from my slumber.

Zinnia: I’m trusting you with my life.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 02-20-2023, 04:03 PM
TRIAL OF MANZANA, MAGICIAN REVERSED
[Third Trial]
CW: Existentialism, Discussion of Traumatic Abuse
Perspective: Manzana

[Image: image.png]

 You step in the the room, finding yourself looking at your body in isolation from yourself.

A shadowy rabbit sits across from you.

Your form takes a mechanical spin, more machine than flesh.

The rabbit talks to you in a voice you immediately recognize.

Platino: Ey, looks like we’re dragged into this one together.

Manzana: What did they do to our house…?

Platino: It’s temporary, wouldn’t worry.

Platino: Just don’t get too rowdy.

Platino: Zinnia’s gonna give us a bit of a talk just like the others.

Manzana: Together?

Zinnia: The thing I want you to address is something I think best done as a pair.

Zinnia: You are both split off the original rabbit after all.

Manzana: Mm..

Manzana: Guess that’s true, just try not to get too…

Zinnia: Too…?

Manzana: It gets existential thinking too much about it. Don’t push it too much.

Zinnia: That’s fair. Anything to avoid?

Manzana: Don’t give us the whole “Who’s the real Manzana?” talk, freaks me out.

Zinnia: I mean the answer is both of you.

Manzana: You know that how?

Zinnia: I can see into souls, and you’re both just as validly so.

Zinnia: You share the same memories, the same highs and lows.

Zinnia: Common traumas and common fortunes.

Zinnia: Think you two are lucky to have each other.

Platino: I mean I’m glad we do you know?

Manzana: Mm.. don’t say it enough but..

Platino: Don’t gotta, I always know what you mean.

Manzana: Still… appreciate you.You do a lot for me.

Manzana: Is… that not why we’re here though?

Zinnia: No, unfortunately not as much as I’d love to tell you so.

Zinnia: I’m talking about the big issue.

Zinnia: Hate to put this weight on you but…

Zinnia: Something big is coming.

Manzana: What do you mean?

Zinnia: Your mother’s about to drag everyone into quite the nasty.

THey look over at your body, the third person at the table.

Zinnia: The way you proceed about all this is going to be decisive if she shows her face.

Zinnia: Might have to take that deal from your friend.

Platino: I can take that if I gotta, I trust him.

Zinnia: You’ll also have to learn to make new allies.

Zinnia: Nothing stronger than numbers.

Zinnia: You're special though in another way.


Zinnia: The most qualified to end the strife in your family.

Zinnia: A spade among hearts.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 02-14-2023, 04:36 PM
THE EMPRESS REVERSED
[A Flashback Intermission]
CW: None
Perspective: Opera




[Image: image.png]
Opera: Hey!

Charon: Opera?

Opera: Yeah!

Charon: How’d you get up here?

Opera: Wasn’t too hard, just had to climb up. You know how it is, cat things.

Charon: Yeah… I just wanted some air.

Opera: This high up?

Charon: Yeah. Used to do the same back home with my grandma.

Opera: So uh..

Opera: You wanna meet my friends? Hang out?

Charon: Mm? Right now? It’s pretty late..

Opera: Yeah! Folks are celebrating Darkest Night stuff lately. Even though it’s a weird pocket void and all, people need it..

Charon: I mean..

Charon: I don’t mind I guess.

Charon: But..

Opera: ..Buuut?

Charon: I don’t want to leave Geezer behind. Is it okay if he comes?

Opera: Is he your brother?

Charon: Cousin. We just met but he seems pretty cool and well…

Charon: My fault he got dragged into this.

Opera: Don’t be so hard on yourself…

Charon: It’s true. So like… I don’t want to not go with him.

Charon: If folks are having fun, I want him to join in. Make him feel welcome, you know?

Opera: Makes sense. Lead the way then.

Opera: Rest of your family going to be okay with this?

Charon: Long as we’re still in this part of town, it’s fine right?

Opera: Mm… I guess so.

Opera: I’ll have to talk to my crowd to see if they’re all good for this then.

Charon: Mm…

You scooted to the top of your bunk bed to pester Geezer.

Charon: Hey, you awake.

Geezer looked at you with a tired gaze before sobering up at the sight of Opera.

Geezer: Who’s that? She from downstairs?

Charon: Friend I met recently.

Opera: Opera!

Charon: It’s darkest night right now. Folks are celebrating outside.

Geezer: That’s right.. We’re missing out on that…

Opera: Not today! Wanna go down as a group? Live a little?

Geezer: Maybe. Arabis and Erica aren’t home right now though…

Geezer: Feels bad not asking them.

Charon: That’s true.. She said we’d be staying in our part of town though.

Geezer: True… kinda in the mood for candy right now…

Opera: I’ll make sure we stay safe, just gonna meet up with a couple of friends.

Geezer: What kind of friends?

Opera: Just some kids in the area, Fenton and Hickory. You kinda remind me of one of them…

Geezer: Me? I dunno. Maybe.

Geezer: Not gonna lie, those sound like band names.

Opera: Geezer doesn’t?

Geezer: …Yeah but mine’s cool.

Opera: Okay. So you in or…

Charon: Up to you Geez, don’t wanna do this if you’re not good for it.

Geezer: You kidding? I’m down dude. Take me to the ball.

Opera: You’re a ham, follow me.
Posted by ThreadLurkingComorant - 02-09-2023, 05:01 PM
[Image: image.png]
Opera: So what do you want?

They reached over for your gun.

Opera: What are you doing?

Zinnia pressed the muzzle against their own chest.

Opera: Don’t do that.

Zinnia: I’m giving you the opportunity, if you’re still mad and well.. Rightfully so..

Zinnia: You may have that catharsis.

Opera: Ugh.

Opera: Don’t make it that easy.

Zinnia: Why not?

Zinnia: You’ve endured enough.

Opera: I’d feel bad…

Opera: Honestly as much as I want to take it out on you, talking to you like this.

Opera: Hate it.

Opera: Because now there’s a face to all of it.

Opera: A sweet old-timer who’s made a lot of mistakes.

Zinnia: No emphasis on the latter?

Opera: I’d be full of it honest.

Opera: I’ve done all sorts of wrong. This life and others.

ZInnia: Mm…

Opera: I’m not too far from an entity, worried one day I’ll become one outright.

Opera: I dunno.

Zinnia: Fears aren’t without merit, you’ve seen so much. Been through so much.

Zinnia released the gun. You maintained it against their chest.

Zinnia: If you need to take the shot, do it.

Zinnia: Just pass down what I have to say to the others-

Opera: No, you can say it yourself.

Opera: Right now we need you alive so..

Opera: Gonna have to sit on it.

Zinnia: Will you be able to commit later?

Opera: God no.

Opera: But some closure, good or bad, just something would be nice you know?

You removed your gun.

Opera: I guess you’re my weird AU grandpa or something so it’d be weird to shoot you anyway.

Opera: I mean not that that’s stopped me, sometimes family needs a wakeup call but..

Zinnia: You want a truce?

Opera: For now. Maybe working with you’ll help me get through this, I dunno.

Opera: I’m too far from home for this shit.

Zinnia: Then I’ll take that for now.

Zinnia: A truce.

You tuck away your weapon and head back toward the door.

Opera: I need a nap but…

Opera: We’re not finished, alright?

Opera: Putting a pin in this.

Zinnia: Putting a pin indeed… 
 
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