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Masa con Papas: - A Punch Clock Animal Story
#1
Masa Con Papas - A Partially True Story

   

You are Charon Judgment. 
You're mostly a dog but probably not and you're about to play god. Book of Law, Book of Shadows, Book of Life, they're all about to get slapped. Now granted, what's about to go down shouldn't be much more than high definition smoke and mirrors but you like to think it's a lot more exciting and consequential. 


Your older "cousin" Geezer is over, one of many to visit town for the summer. Unlike most of the others he's staying with you and your Grandma. He's a bit nosy but you're confident he won't snitch and you've wanted to flex one of your little "chemistry" experiments. Play up the whole thing a bit, make a good impression and look cool to your peers. Besides, he's been quiet really for the most part. Maybe a bit too much. 

   

Charon: You're not going to ask anything?
Geezer: See I wanna, but then I'd be complicit.
Charon: If something goes down, you tried your best to save my soul.
Geezer: That... isn't real assuring.
Charon: It's all small scale and legal. 
Geezer: What are you even trying to summon here with that... potato homunculi? You gonna make a hair ghost come out of the screen?
Charon: That'd be nice, but nope.

   

He snickers at you. 
Geezer: Going to remember that when the sheriff gets called in.
Charon: You mean grandma? 
Geezer: Yep. Twenty-Five years without allowance. Fifth-teen with enough good behavior.
Charon: She's won't mind as long as I don't leave a mess. She won't know either.
Geezer: That's REALLY not assuring. For real, what's going on?
Charon: I'm trying to invoke the true form. 
Geezer: ....What?

   

Charon: Plenty of people talk about little bits of spirits left behind by remains right? Scraps, and shreds, and leftovers. In the right conditions, they're a way to convey the ideal of the inner self. The you that's stronger, the one that isn't in the body but in the mind, heart, and soul. Everyone has one in theory even if most will never get to see that happen right? That's where life goals are.
Geezer: Sounds like some kind of self help thing.
Charon: It's more than that! The you that you believe in... the you that you want to be... the you that you really are... the you that you're afraid until it's finally here... everyone's is a little different I guess and I wanna see what mine is. Maybe the truth, maybe the ideal, and maybe the envoy of the end itself... imagine it..

   

Geezer: So you're going to commit a crime against god?
Charon: Gods, plural. 
Geezer: Nice. Hook me up sometime with this setup and I'll keep quiet.
Charon: Mm. It's gonna take a bit of waiting so get comfy. You know where everything is?
Geezer: Yeah, going to grab a snack so hold up for me.
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#2
Update 2:

   
Geezer returns with snacks and a baseball bat.

Charon: Do you really need all that?
Geezer: I'm hungry.
Charon: I meant the bat, what're you expecting to happen?
Geezer: If something goes wrong you need a backup plan, right? I'm covering any holes in the plan. 
Charon: You... actually have the right idea here. Mostly, I don't think it'd do that much but the thought counts really.
Geezer: If I'm going to bug you like this, might as well help where I can. Mind if I scoot in?
Charon: Go ahead!

   
He sits down next to you, snacks and the bat by his side.

Geezer: So where were you last visit? Never saw you around even during dinner.
Charon: I keep to myself I guess, most of you seem a bit sporty and I don't do well with that.
Geezer: Like to be the quiet kid?
Charon: Little bit I suppose...
Geezer: You don't play outside much, huh?
Charon: It's a bit hard when most of you doesn't work like it should.. most's not there really.
Geezer: Ah... yeah, sorry about that, lemme shift the subject quick. Tell me about that weird Radio there? I want to know all the witchy stuff here.

   

He points toward the add-on you've slapped on top of the TV.

Charon: Ah, I set that up while you were getting something to eat! That's to help pick up signals, otherwordly stuff.
Geezer: .....What?
Charon: People sometimes get weird transmissions... usually it's someone messing around but with the right tweaks and tuning you can pick up something...
Geezer: Cursed?
Charon: Something from another side! Sometimes people from long and far away...
Geezer: Like a recording?
Charon: A little bit more than that. Haven't had too much success with it. Sometimes I get weird numbers on loop, or ballgames from years that haven't happened...
Geezer: That's creepy.
Charon: It's funny too! Once I got this song about dogs escaping prison.. they all got out at once and nobody knows who did it. Recorded it too! It's kinda bad quality but if you wanna hear them, I got them.
Geezer: Really? You have them here?
Charon: I can pull them out after this. There's one I like that's kinda long... kinda sounds like.....
Geezer: Like?

   
You clear your throat and give it a crack.

Charon: ♪ Was it polemically sent? I want to know what you meant! I want to know, I want to know what you meaaaaant! ♪
Geezer: Sounds goofy.
Charon: Then you got one that goes; ♪ Nothing really matters! Anyone can seeeee! Nothing really matters.... Nothing really matters, to meeeee! ♪
Geezer: Kinda surprised you're not embarrassed singing to someone you barely know.
Charon: I mean I know I'm not great but I need to pitch it somehow, right? They're really so good when you hear them proper! They really are! 
Geezer: If they get you to just belt one out raw, they must be pretty special.
Charon: Yeah...
Geezer: So, How's your setup?
Charon: Mostly done! Just waiting for midnight to light it up.
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#3
A good amount of time passes, the clock going a few past minutes midnight.

   
Charon: So... it might take a little bit more. It's not exact with the clock? More of a ballpark.
Geezer: I mean yeah. I don't think phantoms and ghosts care about being punctual.
Charon: Sorry if it's boring.
Geezer: I'm catching up on reading, it's no prob.
Charon: Reading what?

   
Geezer holds out a fancy print. 
Geezer: Reading comics.
Charon: Never seen one like that.. characters look drawn different from the ones around here. 
Geezer: Yeah, they're lost print. Nobody knows where it comes from but they just... show up in bookstores. No author or anything.
Charon: What are these people supposed to be? Got funny faces.
Geezer: I dunno? Some fantasy thing?
Charon: Weird... 
Geezer: Take a closer look!

   
You take it into your hand.
Charon: I like the art. Not entirely sure what's going on though.
Geezer: Yeah. Some people think it's a bit weird but it makes sense if you read up to date.
Charon: Episodic? These drawings are wild...
Geezer: Yep. I have the rest in the guest room, you should probably read from the first book. Love the reveal of the bad guy honestly, right to it. Big evil turd who kicks dogs.
Charon: That the main character?
Geezer: Yep, he's badass. Has the power to temporarily turn anything into pills. Personal favorite is Fred though. Was sad when he died. Manly tears.
Charon: Spoilers! I like the one with blue hair though, one on the chapter cover.
Geezer: Ah. Yeah no she dies too. 
Charon: Shut up!
Geezer: It was brutal.
The radio interrupts both of you. You quickly turn your attention to it.

   
Geezer: The fuck is that? Is that the "true form" you were summoning?
Charon: Language! Shut up and watch, if you piss it up things get complicated.

   

It flies into the mouth of the potato homunculi.
Geezer: Yoooo! Charon that's gross, what the fuck?
Charon: Watch your fucking language. It's trying to borrow some sort of form to manifest in.
Geezer: So... the potato.
Charon: It's a potato with a bit more stuffed in, don't worry about it.
Geezer: You've done this before right?
Charon: ....No.
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#4
   
The potato amalgamation now smelts boils inside it's mash shell, a transformation that hopefully with reward you with a sneak peek at what your max potential years from now will be. You won't lie though, your cousin calling it "gross" doesn't begin to sum up how you feel seeing it happen. 

   

The Manifestation slithers out of its potato cage, held together by wraps like a uncooked tamale in a shell. 
Geezer: Send it back.
Charon: It's almost done.
Geezer: It's starting to get bigger than both of us, send it back.
Charon: It'll be fine.
Geezer: Tell yourself that, I'm gonna kill it.
Charon: You can't kill it, it's a ghost!

The potato Homunculi makes a vague vocalization. It now has something almost resembling a face.

   

Geezer: Look at that! If it speaks words it's done. I'm done.
Charon: It'll be faster if we do this right, don't pick a fight.
Geezer: I don't trust anything that covers its eyes.

   
It finishes warping, now mostly coherent. 



The Homunculi: He's actually right! You got a few more steps before you can ask for a proper dismissal you know? I gotta say though, you really should love yourself more than you do. That potato had a tribute for mice. A stick of cheese? I'm missing so hard I got a hole in my chest. You gotta throw in some meat. I get grandma doesn't want you wasting the good food on experiments and, well, I'm partially you so I know you're a good kid and all but still throw me something better? Please? You got a snack bowl right there, feed me garbage or something. Do it and I'll throw you a reading for free.
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#5
   

Geezer: You know, there's those fish tanks that always say don't feed the fish right? And I don't think I should.
The Homunculi: It's courtesy. One of you two dragged me out here into your humble home and that makes me your guest. 
Geezer: Look more like you were in a deep sea prison. Is that a sword?
The Homunculi: It's peace bound!
Geezer: Yeah uh, no. I don't play that. You're locked for a reason right?

   

The Homunculi: Well...
Geezer: You did something bad. Or you could do something bad. 
The Homunculi: I'm a simple manifestation of inner potential glued together with a random specter. You wanted to see what the peek is for you and I gave you what I wanted. Mostly.
Charon: Is that really it? 
The Homunculi: If you kept eating nothing but potato and cheese sticks for the rest of your youth, probably. I'm a little incomplete yeah? But printed photo that runs out of ink 90% through still is a pretty good gauge right?

This... leaves you mildly upset.

   
Geezer presses his baseball bat against the Homunculi's throat.

Geezer: You're trying to con us here. You look like a supervillain who got burned by a hot tub.
The Homunculi: I'm just the messenger, nothing about the spell said you'd like what you'd see.
Geezer: I don't buy it. Pick your next words wisely.
The Homunculi: You can change your fate, you know? You're the one who summoned me right?
Charon: I'm the one who summoned you. 
The Homunculi: You both got the same red glow around you, hard to tell.
Charon: Red glow?

   
The Homunculi: Ah! Neither of you are proper sensitive to all this spiritual mumbo jumbo. As far as I can see, it's practically swallowing the room. Think a bit is getting on me too, soul's got the presence of a hero. Folks like that are destined for full pockets and crowded funerals. Can't say how much you'll gain or lose on the way there... 
Geezer: Sounds like he's trying to fuck you over Charon.
Charon: Sounds like he is.
The Homunculi: I still owe you a reading you know, let me handle that first yeah? When you manifest a ghost and it accepts, it's only proper to return the favor before being dismissed you know. 3 years badluck if you don't.
Geezer:....That's fake right?
Charon:.... No that's actually true. A reading's never hurt anyone. 
The Homunculi: You two sit down while I get it going then.
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#6
[Image: 6EuyFNz.png]


The Homunculi seemingly manifests a set of 3 cards in its mouth and leans toward you.

Homunculi: Do me a favor and grab these yeah? 
Charon: Don't you need to lay them out?
Homunculi: I'm a little tied up so you're gonna have to for me. Now whatcha need to know is that these are drawn from your personal deck right? That means each one of these is a piece of you so be gentle with them.

You follow instructions, placing them face down.

Homunculi: Now, flip them one at a time. From left to right, you got your Blood, your Body, and your Endgame. 
Geezer: That's a step above the usual past, present, and future. Think that's too much info there?
Homunculi: If you're gonna manifest your potential into a potato ghost you might as well get your money's worth before you dismiss me. 
Geezer: In that case you mind doing me next?
Homunculi: You really want that?
Geezer: I had to sit for hours waiting for this cursed shit to happen, I want in all the way.
Charon: I told you to watch your fucking language!
Geezer: You're swearing too!

The Homunculi smirks

Homunculi: Why don't you go and flip the first card.

You do so.

[Image: ojeYcQz.png]

Homunculi: Number 13, pretty foreboding. The Nameless card, the Reaper itself.
Charon: Pretty sure that one isn't inherently bad right?
Homunculi: Nah, from my guess you just started from the end of something. Bunch of glowing eyed monster dogs becoming a hero to anyone sure seems like a from the ashes situation to me. Gotta say though, real fancy take going on there, for being the nameless card it's awful lively. Almost festive even. Don't like what I'm seeing in the back though.. guess change is a real big thing that got you here.
Charon: I think I know enough about where I came from. Can we move on to the next one?
Homunculi: You don't gotta wait on me, but I'd appreciate if you did. Flip it.

[Image: OgTBEC0.png]

Charon: That's Number 0 yeah?
Homunculi: Sure is, and based on you being... small years old I'd say it's about right. The Fool, A fresh start with maybe a few fumbles here and there with you edging near that cliff a bit. Hard to say if you're going places but you'll see everything you gotta and the end sure doesn't look too far from the beginning. Typically that can be a sign that you won't move past your hometown but In this context I'd bet more on it being a thing of heart. You're gonna start with your heart in the same place you will at the end I think. 
Charon: I don't mind being a paradigm. 
Geezer: Pretty sure he was politely calling you a grandma's boy.
Homunculi: I mean I wouldn't use that word but... I think it's time for your next card before I can call it that.

You flip over the last card.

[Image: h2eoccd.png]

Charon: XX. 
Homunculi: That's the numeral for 20 you know. Judgement... 
Charon: Sounds like hoopla.
Homunculi: Pretty sure it's roman.
Charon:.... what's a roman?
Homuncili: You'll understand when you're older. Now on its own it's the start of new things at the end of everything.
Geezer: Are all these cards like this?
Homunculi: I mean 6 and 12 are kinda adjacent but it's all about different tones and shades you know? Just be lucky none of those are next to a number 16. That said... when most people pull a twenty it's a pretty optimistic but mildly intimidating thing right? But here you're just asking for trouble. 
Charon: Yeah I... don't think that looks quite right. 
Homunculi: Resurrection is kinda tricky if you're struggling to make it out of that grave to begin with.. and based on that toothy little sword there I don't think your journey went too great. A mighty one, probably from the mouth and bones of the elder destroyer itself. You know that segmented hand looks a lot like yours too... A unmarked grave so far from home only makes you a sad reminder that the world is cruel... but you're not quite done there right? 
Charon: I feel like I'm going to die.
Geezer: That's a mood.
Homunculi: Maybe. For your sake I need you to pick one.
Charon: For?
Homunculi: Depends how real you want to be about this. Some people jump for the thing closest to them, which I'd do the same frankly. Others go for what they could be, the perfect version inside their head. Now I don't like to call this casting judgment but..... I am a bit curious. Do it fast too, your friend wants a turn at this. 


Who are you? 

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#7
[Image: NwM1FVv.png]

The Homunculi: You got one in mind yet? Taking your time. If you can't make a big choice on the flay it's all downhill from here kid.
Charon: Yeah... That one, I like it's style.

You feel like you signed something and didn't even notice it. Not picking anything might've been a way better answer. Nothing feels quite right suddenly.


[Image: aInxVNc.png]

Someone in front of your face goes off at you.

"It's awfully invasive to spawn in that close. Could've telefragged me!"

"I didn't mean to... what?"

"Telefragging! I'd explode!"

"I don't know what that is..."

There's almost a blur and nausea at first but after a bit you ground yourself from the haze.

[Image: cDN6XxN.png]

"Another newcomer, looks like you're too lively to be here."

You can't see much around you.

"Can you help me?"

"Sure could but I don't deal strangers in a void... you kinda look like someone I know though. You mind if I do a quick read?"

"A read?"

"Hold out your hand kid."

She's probably not more than a little older than but you're not going to complain right now.

"What's your name?"

"Erica. You?"

"Charon, Charon Judgment."

"Ah... that explains it. Now hold it out."

[Image: zjaHRGS.png]

You hold out your hand for her to take a look at.

Erica: "Take off those fancy gloves, you some kind of star man?"

Charon: "They're prostheses actually... They're part of me."

Erica: "So... like a part-construct?"

Charon: "I mean not really that but...."

Erica: "Aw shoot, you're sensitive about those aren't you?"

Charon: "Maybe a little."

Erica: "Sorry about that, where I come from those aren't commonplace you know. By the look of your face and the mark on them I'd assume you were something Aunt Faris cooked up but... this place is a bit chronologically difficult I reckon so you're probably waaaay down the line."

Charon: "I'm sorry?"

Erica: "Yeah uh... we're not in the best place right now. Other planes don't follow the same time flow and all. You're probably some descendant from a world where we've gone to the moon."

Charon: "Haven't gone that far yet."

Erica: "Really? You're telling me they put limb replacement and medical advancement above world domination for once? Dang. Must be some kind of utopia... hope I get to see it. Don't give me details, I don't wanna break rules."

Charon: "So are you talking about Faris Judgment?"

Erica: "Yeah that one. You know her?"

Charon: "Yeah.. Well I never met her myself but I've heard of her. Read her docs on lost tech."

[Image: EyWs35R.png]

Erica: "Ah.. archived. Probably never gonna meet me then yeah? Don't say that either. Looks like we're fam' though. Figured as much, we got a bit of a common soul thing going on."

Charon: "Common soul?"

Erica: "You got a few little leanings but... yours is much more lively you know?"

Charon: "Please explain."

Erica: "Ah! You aren't sensitive!"

Charon: "Nope."

Erica: "Then this is new to you. We're in some kind of weird mixture of time, space, and a vague scrap composite. It's like a subspace of sorts. Normally only sensitives and people who mess with magic too hard end up here but it's not one way and you don't seem like you messed up too hard."

Charon: "I mean I might've... I should get back soon though before things get worse. Grandma's gonna tear up the town if I'm spirited away too long."

Erica: "Fucked with magic type, gotcha. No problem, even though I can't read your palms I can see you got a hell of a lot of potential with that arcana if yours. Kinda pretty honest, wish you could see it."

[Image: EPVVh0J.png]

Charon: "Really?!" 

Erica: "Yes, why'd I lie about that? You know it's awful rare I meet a guy who actually takes that a a compliment.  Most get insecure when I don't mean one lick of malicious. Honestly for something that fragmented I'm surprised it's so healthy. You're pretty strong."

Charon: "Guess so huh?"

Erica: "Not as strong as mine though, mine could probably bench press yours right now."

[Image: hs3U5jc.png]

Charon: "What's that?!"

Erica: "Inner potential. Now granted it's a little variable as time goes on but it's been stable for awhile. Looks like your eyes are adjusting to the place, only way a non-sensitive can see this sort of thing is when all the phantasmagoria is at a high activity level. "

[Image: 6OxvTaK.png]

Charon: "You're saying I could punch a ghost."

Erica: "I mean if you wanted to? Yeah." 

Charon: "As in right now?"

Erica: "Maybe? Should probably bask in the realm a bit more before trying first. Or get your friend there to help you."

Charon: "Who?"

Erica: "Over your right shoulder.
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#8
oh no we got sent to the shadow realm
Oh right we have signatures
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#9
[Image: K5JLFAu.png]

Charon: That's really been there the whole time?
Erica: Been inside you all along. I like it but... it's incomplete?
Charon: What'd you mean?
Erica: I mean if you don't got any sort of scrap keeping it together, the most it can do is keep you from being swallowed by this place.
Charon: Is there a solution?
Erica: Give it more substance... but you're not scrap sensitive so you can'd really just do that yeah?

You remember the tools you were offered earlier. They're still on you.


Charon: I got a solution, hold on.
Erica: Are those... fortune telling cards?
Charon: A little bit more than that I hope.

[Image: GXCbP49.png]

You put your will into the cards in hand. The red dominates the air.

Erica: Aw jeez, is this some kind of witchcraft?
Charon: Little less cute than that.
Erica: You're a arcane then.
Charon: Uh...
Erica: This is some sort of magic weapon right?
Charon: Nope! I got no idea!
Erica: Oh no you're one of those.

[Image: 5BlERhx.png]

The World deems you worth living at least a little longer. "Type XIII: DEATH", takes new form as "Type XIII Squared". You now are solid within the confines of this realm.

There's sensation of pressure in the air, a birthright you never wanted but is keeping you going right now.

Erica: It's stronger... 
Charon: Feels like it, I think? I feel a little more confident honestly.
Erica: I'd be too. What was that? That you did?
Charon: I guess I just... pulled from a little more of me.
Erica: Yours could probably spar with mine now... 
Charon: I don't want to..?
Erica: Really? I'd be down in a better situation.
Charon: You're a brute.. but I'm up for it later. 
Erica: You don't got a arm on you though so it'd be kinda rough huh?

[Image: RGKawru.png]

Light forms around your hand. You will a tool out of necessity. A way to blaze to the end.
"Type XX: JUDGEMENT-Alpha" has spawned.

Erica: That thing don't got a single sharp edge. 
Charon: I'm not sure what it is.
Erica: You never told me your weapon class. You're planning to go into the Knight buisness after all.
Charon: Unorthadox Arms. 
Erica: That sure is the path of most suffering. Gonna bludgeon hell with a cactus.
Charon: I think it's fun.. and honestly a happy ending's gotta be work right?
Erica: You're too sweet for your own good... I'll watch your back then.
Charon: Yeah, I'd appreciate that. Are we going to start moving soon?
Erica:... Mm, I don't trust this place like that.

A chirping as something crawls out of a ripple in the ground. A creature catches your attention.

[Image: O9IsUIG.png]

Erica: Aw shoot, what's that?
Charon: A friend to send us off I think. Maybe it'll come with us.
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#10
Photo 
[Image: e5kqVwz.png]

Erica: You implying we team up and travel?
Charon: I need help finding my way back and my friend might be here so.. please?
Erica: I don't mind much.. got someone to find too. Honestly think you lit the way a bit. Feel proud, kid.
Charon: Did I?
Erica: Yeah, you done did good.

[Image: R7gLm3J.png]

Charon: Yeah? I got what it takes?

You feel confident.

Erica: Yep. Like I said though, we're fam so I know you're going to do good. 
Charon: I'll take it. So who's this person you're looking for anyway?
Erica: I dunno, they're pretty nearby though I figure, they'll find us soon.
Charon: Hope so.. a friend of yours?
Erica: Great Grandpa so.. guess your family too.
Charon: And he's alone?!
Erica: He'll be fine. He's practically here.

[Image: 2zGjIpw.png]
You feel a intense force near you. 

Charon: How close?
Erica: Hmm... almost in ear shot really. You'll know when he's here, he's pretty tall on a good day. 
Charon: Like horror movie tall or...
Erica: Tall.

She can't keep a straight face. You turn around. 

[Image: dsnc6YX.png]

She starts snickering as you turn around.

Your fight and flight is about to kick into overdrive.. you muster all the courage inside.

You put your everything into a decisive blow.

[Image: 6s5jcd8.png]

Erica: CHARON WAIT NO!

The Spider hisses as you pop it directly in the face and shatter its mask. 

Something is familiar. 

[Image: heYvfJV.png]

Erica: Are you okay?!
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#11
[Image: wyuoGex.png]
"So the path of most suffering. Hmm."
"It's a lot less grim than destroyer of worlds, isn't it?"
"I suppose it is Charon..."
"Is something wrong?"
"It's odd... Even though your face hasn't changed all that much you're barely recognizable.... as your Grandma it's a little worrying."
"I'm close enough."
"Maybe... but after so long I'm just glad you're here at all. Are you holding up okay?"
"Best I've been in forever. I think I feel you though, hard to say if I'm the same me... I think I'd hate myself from a year ago."
"Hate's a pretty strong word but honestly, think everyone would be embarrassed to meet their younger self."
"You too?"
"Course."
"...."
"Charon?"
"Do you... remember?"
"I'll be honest, it kinda blanked until the day of it all Charon. Your face kinda just vanished between everything that went down. Angels, the abyss, all of it."
"You didn't think about stopping it?"
"Feel like if I did something would break I guess... glad you weren't alone out there though. Glad you got to meet the fogey."
"What happened to him?"
"I'm not sure. Still bothers me almost every night."
"And the other?"
"They aren't around no more."
"They remind me of the dog from solitude.. just a little."
"I mean we're all blood Charon, it's bound to happen."
"Wish I could've been as strong..."
"Those two are made from fantasy and had a hell of a lot of divine intervention Charon, it's not worth regrets."
"I know... I got Geezer out though so I can't say I have any."
"You did good. You really did."
"But... I guess I'm the reason I'm like this right now right?"
"You're gonna be okay Charon, just plenty of bed rest should fix most of it."
"Doctor said not all things though right?"
"...Yeah... you still got the other one though at least but it's pretty gone. You got a hell of a lot more done though as a Knight than most do at your age though so.. take what you can there."
"Hard to call it a win Grandma."
"Never said it was. Gotta say though, hope your witching days are done after that."
"I'm taking a hiatus."
"I'd rather you just drop it kiddo, not a fan of brewery in the house."
"Have something against it?"
"I just don't trust like that. Folks come here with their fancy goggles with the pointy striped noses like a marx brother went over the rainbow and then wanna pitch me some weird stuff they say can help you romance a phantom."
"....Is that a thing?"
".....I'd rather it not be. Love potions are a cursed concept and some punk in a coat covered in adhesive medical strips is gonna get popped if they try to sell me one."
"Heh.. you might need to date a ghost though these days right?"
"......"
"I'm sorry."
"Charon I swear to god if you weren't my grankid I'd yell til the swear jar is full. I appreciate you still got some sense of humor after everything though."
"It's what kept me going honestly. Smiling and laughing through it even when it hurt.... even when it was hard... even when someone had to die it just..."
"Relax Charon."
"I kinda want to cry after it though but I can't make it happen."
"It's hard stuff for all folks."
"Gotta stay tough though right?"
"Nah, now's the perfect time. Like, I know I tell you to walk things off and bare the little scrapes and bruises when you fall but... there's no shame in a little healing when it's all done and over."
"Grandma..."
"You can do it. It's all good."
"....."
"Just keep letting it out, you're okay now."
"I know..."
"You're safe kid, and you did damn good."
"....."
"And I'm never gonna let that sort of thing happen again."
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#12
[Image: l2uTJG9.png]

From his crumpled mess on the floor the spider speaks speaks.
"You know this sort of thing happens quite often to me.... but you're the most middling case of it yet."
"...Excuse me? I just dropped you."
"Mm. You did. Although upon further inspection however you seem to be a child and not a very short man. Tell, how old are you?"
"...14."
"Ah. Hehe, that's about right then. Quite something you have on your person, that spook of a personification."

[Image: gaFDZ29.png]
A face rises from the mist.
"I...."
"You downed me once, but you did not finish me off."
Oh god he's huge.

[Image: C66mFUI.png]

"If you were a few years older I'd drop you for something like this. You appear to be in the family buisness though which... I have mixed feelings on."
Charon: You know about our line?
Arabis: Are you kidding child? I was there when it started.
Charon: Yeah, no. You look like a glam artist on their first day of retirement.
Arabis: Debatable and mostly. We're rather long lived folks. Hmmmmmm.
He places his hand on your head, dropping any facade of playing the mighty and dreaded quickly.
[Image: shhCgYZ.png]


Arabis: You got the eye thing even to your distant generation... must say it's nice that there's still some resemblence.
Charon: Heh, Must be a dominant gene.
Arabis: Good, it looks glamorous on everyone and you'll appreciate it when you're older.
Erica: Gramps, where were you?
Arabis: I was assisting a rabbity looking youth but he insisted he'd be fine on his own. I do hope he'll avoid fighting but considering how much he liked punching through everything we can at least appreciate that he'll be easy to trail.
Charon: Geezer?!
Arabis: Mm, a rather unfortunate name but he wears it with enough stride. Is he yours?
Charon: Yes! Where'd he go?
Arabis: He's moving toward the old village. I insisted we go by transport but he insisted he could make it on his own.
Charon: He's 15 and short for his age, he'll get vaporwaved.
Arabis: No... folks like him are too stubborn for that. With such said we certainly should try to hop onto a train and intercept him. There seems to be a few around...
Charon: Yeah that's... why are they here? Where are we actually?
Arabis: What some would call purgatory and what I'd call what's left of home.
Erica: It's like... a hodgepodge of things lost to time and space. And some things soon to come. We're all connected by it just a little

Arabis: Where I came from is barely anything anymore so this is the closest... under better circumstances this would be a trip through memory lane but we have other issues."
Charon: Urgent?
Arabis: If it finds us.
Erica: Yeah uh... ya'll don't freak out but we're on some existential dread level.
Arabis: Futility of existence tier threat. Nothing new on my end but I assure you it only has gotten harder with time. You... you know your ancient ones yes?
Charon: Uh...
Erica: Angels.
You feel your blood turn cold.
Arabis: Are you alright there?
Erica: We kinda spooked him hard gramps, give him a moment.
Charon: I wanna just take Geezer and go home.
Arabis: Mm.
Erica: Probably for the best. You get killed by a Angel, you get retconned.
Charon: How.... how do you know that?
Arabis: Because... if you go with us on a transport I'll tell you everything, how about that.
Charon: Yeah god please.
Erica: Real talk is we weren't going to give you the option because we can't kinda leave you here anyway... if you're here like this you're probably marked for death.
Charon: WHAT?! Okay no what does that mean?
Erica: It'll be safer if we're doing this while moving.
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#13
[Image: FCtDO3o.png]

As a group you've settled into the back car of the train, stuck with the luggage but within the budget of those who need to get to town fast. Despite the hazards on the table and overall situation on hand, you manage to make a comfortable fit of everything and lounge together in a circle of makeshift seating.

Arabis: I'm sorry I couldn't do you children much more than this but old world coin isn't something I have much of on hand right now.
Erica: I didn't think you'd have any on you at all.
Arabis: Every fiend has gotta carry a stash in case circumstances become fickle.
Charon: Like?
Arabis: Sometimes you're in need of a quick snack and other days you need a knight to look away while you make you're escape.
Charon: And sometimes you just end up paying for that knight's dinner. That's your story, correct?
Arabis: Mm?
Charon: You married the knight known as Judgment, the origin of our line? Our Birthright?
Arabis: Well yes... rather nice dinners really.
Erica: You feeling sentimental?
Arabis: Perhaps. You and the rest of the family need to visit more often and not just when otherworldy matters come into play.
Erica: I do!
Arabis: And I pray you continue to! But... well....

He looks over at you with a frown.

 Arabis: I take it you never met me which is mildly concerning if everying leans toward you being from the future.
Charon: I can't really answer you too much on that but... I'm glad I get to meet you now if it's worth anything.
Arabis: It is. I suppose we do owe you some explaining on what may be happening.
Charon: Please do.
Arabis: A angel with a grudge against our line may have rolled to enter our timeline and as a result overlapped our existence.
Charon: Ah... well... past and future and all?
Arabis: On paper it should just be Erica and I.
Erica: Yeah I'm not too sure how you ended up here kid, you're absoultely not a cousin of mine though.
Charon: I mean... I guess I'm just me and I'll exist at some point.
Erica: You won't exist at all if we're not careful.
Charon: Course.
Arabis: I take yu have many questions still yes?
Charon: Just a few but..... hmmm.
Arabis: Take your time, promised we'd explain anything we could and I plan to keep on that.

 The road gets bumpy, you almost want to peak outside.

 You ponder if your own cousin is okay wherever he is. Hopefully he's keeping smart and isn't picking any fights? Grandma Judgment sure must be somewhere too... 

Charon: Is there a way to go and message someone? Like, we're in a ghost radio world right?
Arabis: If you got a mic and a radio you can fish around. Someone might pick up. Erica, did you not have something of similar nature with you?
Erica: I got a walkie talkie. I help the Sheriff with his work. You wanna poke at someone?
Charon: Yeah please... I know my channels just hand me something to work with if you can.

[Image: rKyJiVn.png]
 She holds it out. You reach and she pulls back for a moment.

 Erica: You gotta be careful, if it goes and breaks before I get back I'm gonna have to work it off to pay for that.
Charon: I'll be fast.
Arabis: You know I hooked up your friend with one of these too. 
Charon: Did you?
Arabis: You really think I'm going to leave some reckless rascal unattended with no way to keep in contact?
Charon: Fair enough. You have the frequency? 

 She lets you have it. You fuss with the signal until the speaker stops screeching at you. Everyone tries to pretend it's not hard on their ears. 
 Charon: Geezer, you there? Geezer?

 There's a long period of fumbling from the other side. Someone is there.

Charon: Geezer?
Erica: Who's Geezer?
Geezer: Charon?! Who's that second person?
Arabis: Child?
Geezer: Wait are you all together?
Charon: Yeah, where are you?
Geezer: In town. At the library, only place that didn't kick me out for loitering. What's up?

[Image: gavO45D.png]
 Oh god, you made contact. You don't know if this will maintain connection well so you gotta think about what you want to ask. You let the thoughts voiced in your head figure it out amongst themselves. What do you want to say? He might be able to get you some help? Town implies resources after all. Maybe you can get him to do something while you're on your way there.
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#14
you just met them, but they're relatives, and they're going to help you- you need to know about an angel though, one that has a grudge over your family line.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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#15
Ask him to look up information about angels in the library.
Also, ask Erica what she meant by "marked for death", that seems pretty important.
Oh right we have signatures
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#16
[Image: omUFEay.png]

Charon: Geezer, would you mind looking up angels?

Geezer: Why? I mean I can if you give me a sec but...

Charon: One of them might've dragged us in here?

You look over at Erica, she hesitantly nods.

Charon: There's a significantly larger than zero chance this whole incident involves a angel. 

Geezer: Like, the eldritch shit?

Charon: Yeah, world melting stuff. There's a few others in the same pickle with me.

Geezer: Shit dude. 

Charon: Can you get right on that?

Geezer: Yeah give me a sec. Hey uh... did you get one of those card ghosts? Like, you got your reading so you got one right?

Charon: ...Yeah?

Geezer: You got a name for it? Like, a unique name. While I was in here I learned that giving them a unique name gives them a little more oomph to their punch you know?

Charon: I'll have to get back to you on that.

Geezer: Alright, give me a sec then.

You should probably come up with a name. You remember something important that was never quite fully explained earlier. You pull away from the walkie. 

Charon: So uh... this marked for death business.

Erica: Bit of a old family curse. Long as you carry the name Judgment like that, you're doomed to have to fight something big and monstrous that you'll barely understand. Generational thing, some people get over it and some don't.

Charon: When?

Erica: Eh.... it's hard to say. This might just be it for you honestly. Gramps here pissed off a angel and now it's a bit of a running issue.

Charon: Ah... same angel?

Erica: Yep. Grampa, you remember the phrasing?

Arabis: "Once per generation, I will return. In guise of flesh I will walk among thee, with cloak of the abyss I will strike thy down. There will be no respite lest I am felled, but thy cannot turn the blade with your own hands. The serpent's coil will tighten until resolution is sought. I curse thy name until it falls into obscurity, until eye for an eye makes all blind." There were a few elder swears mixed in I dare not repeat.

Charon: That's mildly menacing. Explain.

Erica: It means every generation has to kick down a angel or you go die and go poof from existence. Until there aren't any more judges it'll keep coming back.

Charon: Ah. I dislike that. 

Arabis: If it's worth anything, I managed to fell mine quite well. A few of us have had success.

Erica: We're technically still on the positive track record-wise. 

Charon: So not everyone makes it I'm guessing.  

Erica: Eh... my dad sure didn't. 

Charon: Ah... 

Erica: I think I used to have a cousin but I'm not sure. Weren't close so I'll manage. We'll be fine, we got experience on our side. 

Arabis: Mm. That's how we as a family ended up living in our little cabin town actually... it's still around yes?

Charon: Of course. So... it worked out?

Arabis: Yes, mostly. The map seemingly was torn apart but... yes.

Charon: What do you mean?

Arabis: Well... You don't see Solitaire, Wanderlust, or Drought on any map anymore for a reason...  or mentioned at all frankly. We used to be known as the Judgements of Solitaire but we cut part of it out due to confusion. 

You lean toward the walkie. You're getting a bit nervous at this conversation.

Charon: Geezer, you there?

Geezer: Yeah, stockpiling a few books on angels. Had to go pretty deep into archives. Can answer any questions you got. Need something? I got it covered. Gonna warn you, a lot of it seems to be folklore so hard to say how true any of it is.

Time to make this poor rabbit answer 50 questions for you. Maybe more, I'm sure there's a few more now.
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#17
knowing how angels Can be killed is a good first step, any weaknesses they may have, any warning signs of them approaching/their presence, etc
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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#18
Can they be distracted with conversation, or be reasoned with? How far do their senses extend, can they be hidden from? How fast do they move? Where do they come from?
Actually, ask Arabis how in the world he managed to piss off an angel in the first place. From the sound of it, angels are pretty powerful bunch that aren't terribly concerned with regular mortal and physical limitations. What did this one care about so much that it put a generational curse on your family?
Also, would appearing in this place even count as "in the guise of flesh"?
Oh right we have signatures
Reply
#19
[Image: tQEzvSR.png]

Charon: Well first thing's first, can you reason with them?

Geezer: Uh...

Arabis: Not in a way that'd end in your favor. I assure you, they prefer to get the better bargain from anything and leave no loose ends once they're done with their side of the deal. 

Geezer: Yeah uh... what he said probably. They really like to screw you over one way or another. They sometimes got uh... vessels. Like, they kill someone and leave a replacement version that kind of just pretends it was there the whole time. And you remember things like that version was always there.

Charon: Spooky, hate that.

Geezer: Yeah. They need to make a pretty big rift to warp anywhere directly and that can take a bit of time and energy. Not super accurate either maybe?

Arabis: They can ballpark guess where they need to warp but can't jump to the exact spot and moment without he vessel in place.

Geezer: Yep. The puppet is also a checkpoint they can jump to but there's no way to detect that.

Charon: Huh... so is the original person just.. outright gone?

Geezer: Yeah? Maybe? Vessel takes a bit to fully replace them in your head though.

Arabis: Mm, there's a grace period initially. 

Geezer: Angel kills someone directly, creates vessel. Vessel fills in the role of the original. Vessel messes with memories to convince you it's the real thing and is unaware of what its doing most of the time. Those memories fall apart though if you distance yourself.

Arabis nods.

Geezer:  If the Vessel is directly inhabited long enough without detection though, the angel overwrites the original person's existence in the universe. Anything that original person did is replaced with the vessel and your entire world remembers it that way forever.

Charon: Any way to kill the Angels or....

Geezer: Nope, not outright as far as I know. You wanna get rid of the vessels though so it can't just chill out in the area until the Angel is able to warp into you. 

Arabis: Mm. You're better off preventing the full angel attack. Destroying all vessels will make it retreat. Once it appears things get quite difficult however.

Charon: You fought one right?

Arabis: Several times yes.

Charon: What did you do to piss it off?

Arabis: Your predecessor.... my first partner...

He lingered on the thought for a moment.

[Image: UTxeBKA.png]

Arabis: ...Was a wonderful knight and part of a rather well liked guild, The Judges of Solitaire. At the time I had owed them a debt and agreed to join them on a quest, one I admittedly did not anticipate to be more than a simple beast hunt.

Charon: What did it? Like, what made them go after it?

Arabis: The loss of a family member, really. My old partner and the guild had discovered a vessel among their ranks and did not take things well at all. Many signed on to purge this creature by hunting down every vessel in the area to assure it would never bring such suffering to another. Of course I wasn't exactly welcomed due to my status as a fiend but... that dog would vouch for me time and time again. Assured them I deserved to share the same campfires and tents... 

He sighed.

[Image: QqUR0Z3.jpg]

Arabis: It was hard, really genuinely agonizingly hard. We were starved, we bore caskets, we struggled, we fought, and we squabbled at every opportunity. I did not understand what I had signed up for at the time. I started praying again. Praying that we'd be safe.... then praying that I'd go out in my sleep.. and then by the end something clicked.

He leaned back.



Arabis: Through common suffering we found comfort in each other's company... comfort in the knowledge that we were still here. Finding food together, massive haggles to get bargains at the inn, tricking merchants, discovering the occasional pretty thing that made for a interesting conversation piece. That dog especially anchored me through all of it. I adored them... that odd bastard. Could you believe that they invited me to be part of their family? We were far from home in the literal sense, far from the woods I started but... with that it became something I accepted with ease. 

[Image: dalt0Z9.png]

He smiled, nice and small but absolutely sincere.

Arabis: And of course, I was knighted. I was surprised really.. I kept you too long however. 


Charon: Shoot, I'm sorry. 

Arabis: Don't be, you deserve to know why you're here. Besides, I talked your ear off. I should be the one apologizing.

Charon: I liked hearing you talk, don't you be sorry either. 

Arabis: Is that so?

Charon: Yeah, you're my great something something grandpa so you have rambling rights. I honestly don't mind.

Arabis: You're just too polite to tell me to stop but... I appreciate a listener. The whole ensemble of you kids.

Erica: What was that? Zoned out.

She smirked.

Arabis: Most of you, ah well. You're familiar with that story so I forgive you. Geezer, apologies for derailing the conversation.

Geezer: Nah, what Charon said.... speaking of, you should name whatever came out of that card you got. The big one specifically. You did say you had one?

Charon: Yeah. 

[Image: 7rqVqiW.png]

Geezer: Cool. Name it something good, something nice and strong. Nothing rude just... something you wouldn't mind being called. These things get stronger if you treat them well, if you treat yourself well. Do it soon. Like now.

Charon: Yeah. Right. You got names for yours?

Geezer: Sixth Ranger. Easy

Erica: Single Action. Strong phrases tend to work pretty good, think of something that sticks like that.

Arabis: Don't have one as far as I know. I can't provide much advice besides perhaps showing some confidence.

You should probably name your weird flowery ghost friends.
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#20
>Extreme Retention
Oh right we have signatures
Reply
#21
Guns N' Roses
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#22
Wolf's-bane Nyx
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#23
You find yourself in a dark room deep in your inner most mind palace. You can't make of anything but a single voice dwelling withing ember's length. It's really familiar.

"You got yourself a real fancy friend there. Got a name for 'em?"

"Extreme Retention."

"Got yourself quite a word casserole there. You make it up off the top of your head?"

"It's something I've heard before from someone possibly. Had a few others in mind too but-"

"Nah, sometimes you gotta stick with what comes first. Name like that builds a strong form, the kind that carries your potential a bit. I mean... I'd know that, I feel awful good about that. You and the other one? Massive potential... so tell me kid, which one of you do you think's got more?"

"Mm? What do you mean?"

"You or the rabbit? You just met him but you maybe see it? Your grandma adopted him into the family after all right? Must be special. Which one of you do you think would win a fight?"

"I mean it's hard to say...."


"You both have such a strong aura, you know? That red glow, you see it? Do you?" 

"A little? It's like a hue?" 


"Yeah. Awful rare really, destroyer of worlds stuff. You're both blessed with some awful nice luck should all go well. Vent to me though, what are your thoughts on this kid. He cool? He lame? Could you beat him up? Be honest. I wanna know which of you two has the guts for this."

You haven't known Geezer long so it's hard to say much about what you can  make of him but... you certainly can try. Pick your next words wisely.
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#24
you don't want to beat him up really, but you think you could if it ever came down to it. it'd be a close fight, though.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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#25
No, there's other ways to deal with people if it comes to that.
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#26
Well, he was the one who brought out a baseball bat when you told him what you were doing. He'd be probably more ready to throw down than you at the very least.
And yeah, he seems cool.
Oh right we have signatures
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#27
"I mean I really don't wanna fight him. He seemed pretty cool about things."

"Oh?" 

"Like, he listened to me ramble and sat with me the entire time right? Can't get my Grandma to do that."

"To be fair your Grandma doesn't like seeing you mess with this sort of thing."

"Yeah... I sure know why now."

"Oh?"

"Angel dragged me into this through it right? Through the radio? That's why I'm here talking to you?"

"No, not exactly. I predict there's more to it than that."

"That's what you'd want me to think right? But for all I know you're a drone that intercepted my experiment."

"Mm... your suspicions are valid but my mind is absolutely a separate entity for the most part. Like a cocktail of things. The spook that heard your call, the hell beast that decided to listen in, and the two kids in the room wanting to play fortune teller. You never finished answering though."

"I mean I think it'd be pretty close but... he came with a bat so he'd be ready to fight before me.  Heck, he was ready to throw hands with you when you showed up. Probably should have let him."

"That's true but you're being modest."

"Don't have much to brag about."

"Nonsense. Tell me a few good things about yourself. Confidence is what'll keep you alive here. Just a few nice things." 

 
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#28
Well, I know I look good. That and I was smart enough to find out to get involved in all this even if I shouldn't have. I also have superpowers now, I guess. That's looks, brains, and brawn. I'm doing pretty well all things considered.
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#29
I didn't expect to be talking to the past selves of my old relatives in another plane of existence about killing an incredibly powerful entity who hates our family, but I've been pretty much taking it all in my stride, so I guess I'm pretty unflappable.
Oh right we have signatures
Reply
#30
This one time, me and my friend Gene, we don't hang out anymore, but we were playing by the river and Gene dared me to touch the bottom which was really stupid because I can't swim very good but I told them I'd do it so I jumped in and then right away hit my head on a big rock that I didn't see because the water was brown and I got a concussion and got swept a long ways downriver. Gene thought I was dead but I wasn't, I never even passed out, I just can't swim. Anyway I had to go to the doctor afterward and the doctor said that I should have been dead cause my skull got cracked but because my head was so hard it didn't bust open. At least that's what I got told the doctor said, anyways, I don't really remember it myself. My point is I can probably get beat up real good and not die I think.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
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#31
You go over the first nice things you got in your head to say about yourself. "I mean I'm smart enough to get here to begin with even if I didn't plan it. Don't know too many people who can say that right? Try to take care of my look so I don't think I look all too bad."

"You mean the hair?"

"I like my hair!"

"And the PJs?"

"They're good pajamas! Anyway I guess besides that... I guess I'm pretty tough if I'm taking all this well. It's pretty big and people could die but I haven't freaked out too hard. Always been though, did I ever tell you about the time my friend Gene and I went to the creek and-"

"You smacked your head into a rock."

"Yeah. Sunk in and he thought I drowned but I was just fine. Didn't even pass out. Concussions on concussions but I was okay. Doctor said all things considered I shouldn't be alive so... I'm pretty tough."

"Yeah, sure are. You feel confident with everything you just told me? Think you can back that up?"

"I can, maybe just enough to get by and maybe enough to surprise myself. I got powers now right?"

"Yeah, sure you do. Let me tell you something then, I'm gonna update your card before I toss you back to your little stories. Your form will change just a tiny bit, nobody will notice though."

"What do you mean?"

"Don't worry about it. I'm gonna toss you a few little gifts you were supposed to get later early. You're gonna need this to stay alive, and I need you to make it if I wanna stick around. Well... stick around for now."

"You're tied to that angel right?"

"Little, more like the worst of it and you. But the worst of you needs the rest to not just phase out."

"I gotta give you a proper name you know."

"Nah, I'm barely a person honestly. Just kind of a medium between a bunch of folks so don't sweat it too hard. Gonna be you one day though if you make it out."

"What does that mean?"

"Don't worry about it, like I said."

"Alrighty then..."

"Give me one sec.... I'm determining our potential so far."
 


[Image: Extreme_Retention.gif?width=318&height=492]

You feel a warmth inside you. You know yourself just a little better. 

The card that represents your soul has gained new potential. It flickers with a side you never knew until now.

You now have the ability to prompt checking your status.

Your Proxy synergy is 50%. "Extreme Retention" will mirror your actions closely when prompted.

"Extreme Retention" has the strength of a fully grown adult of proportionate size and the durability of mortal flesh. Taking lethal damage will cause it to retreat until tension in yur body has stopped.

You are blessed with a unusual resistance toward blunt damage, clawing, and biting. Nature is on your side. You are also gifted with a immunity to horror high that rivals full blooded fiends.

You have the ability to summon a large needle at will while exposing your proxy. The needle is categorized as a bladed/unusual weapon and as such will have a small inclining toward you.

This needle can drain fluids and save them for future usage. Keeping fluid in the needle may allow you to convert it in some way.....

Your proxy can be called back to you at will from anywhere. 

Most proxies allow you to share sight with them. However as your proxy has no face, it is BLIND and as such is lacking in potential to scout ahead. Keep it close to you if possible. 

Your own strength is below average, your prosthetics are only good enough to get through the day to day tasks scaled to a child and as such may struggle with heavy duty task work. 

Your ability to strike is above average due to your basic training as a knight. Your damage when delivering melee based attacks is comparable to a typical adult with modest practice.

Your fiend's eye has tapped into your curios nature given you the ability to "Gauge Soul." Making direct eye contact with one will allow you to see one's proxy and scout for skills. This does not require your proxy to be exposed. You can use this without being detected by anyone who lacks knowledge of fiend abilities. Under most circumstances it is "Undetectable." When you have defined your sense of justice, something amazing may happen.....

You know a good amount about the supernatural items and odd artifacts from another world due to your enthusiasm for the unusual. Feel free to examine items to possibly prompt a few tidbits from your memory.

You have a unusual resistance to those with mind altering abilities. You are your own person and that's all that matters.

You are marked and as such may see disdain from those well versed in angels who are capable of detection. 

Your pain tolerance is quite high, trading even blow for blow with anyone softer than you may end up in your favor at times. Do not be reckless however.

Your prosthetics are somewhat clumsy in nature and do poorly in bad weather or difficult terrain. Your mobility is below average. Your proxy on the other hand has slightly above average relative to a adult of approximate scale.

"Extreme Retention" can hover above the ground and fly up walls. It cannot however superman fly. 

"Extreme Retention" can summon a lance. The lance cannot co-exist with your needle. Due to the nature of using a full sized cavalry lance on ground, the weapon can be categorized as "Unorthodox" and this you have a natural affinity toward it.
 


You feel a step up in the world. "That it? Am I strong now?"

"Well no, you have a way to go however.... I will send you back. Prompt me if you need to ask questions down the line."

"Gotcha."

"And no metagaming."

"What?"

"You'll understand when you're free of your strings. One day."

You start to feel reality phase back in.

[Image: KcqdUeA.png]

You are back to being on the makeshift seats in the train's storage room with newly found friends.

Erica looks at you with anticipation. "You got this, what's your name?"

You try to play off what happened. "Extreme Retention."

"Like a cactus?"

"Don't know, has a pretty good ring to it in my head.."

Arabis chimes in. "It's not too shabby, don't feel like you have to commit too hard however. Are you alright child? You look a little tired."

You shrug. "It's past when my grandma wants me to sleep so... just a bit."

He shakes his head. "We can't have you doze off until we find a Inn. Hopefully there is one suited to our accommodations. I do know someone who can provide us with assistance once we get to town and we do also have your little friend.... um... is he still on the walkie?"

Geezer yells through. "Yeah actually, you still need me right now?"

"No, you have done quite well for now. If you could, can you meet up with us at the station?"

"Yeah, I'll do my best."

Erica turns off the walkie and tucks it away. "We got a heck of a rag tag crew don't we? The old spider, the new kid from the future, the rabbit also from the future."

Arabis nods. "We take whoever we can get that shares a common goal, we all wish to return home and this pocket space we're in is linking us. I imagine it could potentially drag in others in proximity too... I have to ask one of you to do me a small favor actually. Could someone grab me a drink from the vending box? There should be one along the walls. Charon? Water or some tea would be good if they offer"

You nod. "Easy."

[Image: rzmg2BS.png]

"Hold out your hand then child. Giving you a tad extra so you may treat yourself."

You cup your hand out. He drops five silver coins into it. You get a loose sense of the weight, the currency must be different around here. Erica pops in on the conversation. "Get me a cola too could you? I'd awfully appreciate some right now, train is stuffy. Do it and I'll teach you a little something. I spot you got a few hidden talents you've not figured out yeah?"

You nod. "I'll get you your cola as quick as I can. Make good on your end."

"Can do. If they don't got cola water or iced tea is good too. Don't take long."


[Image: nF9WK7W.png]

You get up from your seat and pocket the coins. You make your way through the pines of luggage from the passenger's sections who could afford a better ticket here.  It's a bit of a hazard and you admittedly find yourself having to nudge and shove quite a bit of mess to get through. If there were a accident you would more than likely be vaporized off the planet, no confusion on why it's the cheap option. You wonder what cool trick Erica's gonna teach you. You think about the comfy Inn a little at the end of this train trip. You're feeling pretty confident about this whole mess though knowing you got family new, old, and rarely spoken of now with you.

[Image: x1UMWT2.png]

You reach the vending box mounted along the wall as promised. The drinks listed appear to be:

Coelacanth-ca-Cola
Diet Coelacanth-ca-Cola
Joe Tackle's Raspberry Iced Tea
Soda Orange de Catrina
Dreaming of Le-mon.
Untitled Water Project
Chamoy Than You Can Bargain For!
Chamoy Than You Can Bargain For! DX
Root Beer, seemingly no brand name attached.

You know what to pick up for the others, you think what to grab yourself. You also seemingly got two folks watching you carefully as you pull out your money. They seem to be whispering to each other, maybe even arguing a little. It's hard to make out clearly. One voice is lighter  and the other is a little more on edge. They might be focused on you as you get the words "Ask him for the goods" and "It'll be fine" between them.
Reply
#32
Just as a note, the comic will remain suggestion based for the rest of its run sooo, suggest if ya'll want.
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#33
"I've got the goods right here!" Toss them a Chamoy Than You Can Bargain For! DX.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
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#34
Here's an arbitrary organization of all that stuff we got.

Proxy:
- Your Proxy synergy is 50%. "Extreme Retention" will mirror your actions closely when prompted.
- "Extreme Retention" has the strength of a fully grown adult of proportionate size and the durability of mortal flesh. Taking lethal damage will cause it to retreat until tension in yur body has stopped.
- Your proxy can be called back to you at will from anywhere. 
- Most proxies allow you to share sight with them. However as your proxy has no face, it is BLIND and as such is lacking in potential to scout ahead. Keep it close to you if possible. 
- "Extreme Retention" can hover above the ground and fly up walls. It cannot however superman fly.
- "Extreme Retention" can summon a lance. The lance cannot co-exist with your needle. Due to the nature of using a full sized cavalry lance on ground, the weapon can be categorized as "Unorthodox" and this you have a natural affinity toward it.

Active:
- You have the ability to summon a large needle at will while exposing your proxy. The needle is categorized as a bladed/unusual weapon and as such will have a small inclining toward you.
- This needle can drain fluids and save them for future usage. Keeping fluid in the needle may allow you to convert it in some way.....
- Your fiend's eye has tapped into your curios nature given you the ability to "Gauge Soul." Making direct eye contact with one will allow you to see one's proxy and scout for skills. This does not require your proxy to be exposed. You can use this without being detected by anyone who lacks knowledge of fiend abilities. Under most circumstances it is "Undetectable." When you have defined your sense of justice, something amazing may happen.....

Passive:
- You are blessed with a unusual resistance toward blunt damage, clawing, and biting. Nature is on your side. You are also gifted with a immunity to horror high that rivals full blooded fiends.
- Your own strength is below average, your prosthetics are only good enough to get through the day to day tasks scaled to a child and as such may struggle with heavy duty task work.
- Your ability to strike is above average due to your basic training as a knight. Your damage when delivering melee based attacks is comparable to a typical adult with modest practice.
- You know a good amount about the supernatural items and odd artifacts from another world due to your enthusiasm for the unusual. Feel free to examine items to possibly prompt a few tidbits from your memory.
- You have a unusual resistance to those with mind altering abilities. You are your own person and that's all that matters.
- You are marked and as such may see disdain from those well versed in angels who are capable of detection.
- Your pain tolerance is quite high, trading even blow for blow with anyone softer than you may end up in your favor at times. Do not be reckless however.
- Your prosthetics are somewhat clumsy in nature and do poorly in bad weather or difficult terrain. Your mobility is below average. Your proxy on the other hand has slightly above average relative to a adult of approximate scale.

As for the drink, I want to get the "Dreaming of Le-mon", although I must admit "Untitled Water Project" interests me as well. Ask the fellows behind you what their names are.
Oh right we have signatures
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#35
I like root beer personally, but as a second choice untitled water project sounds interesting. don't forget to buy Coelacanth-ca-Cola for Erica. those punks behind you might be up to shenanigans, so stay sharp!
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#36
[Image: qmkUpr8.png]

You slot in a coin and dial the number with a few taps of the back of your hand to dispense the can of caffeinated chamoy flavoring, you wanna play this slick. "You want goods? I've got your goods right here-"

"You think you're a little fonz or something? If you throw that shit I'm gonna kick your ass." You're cut off by a birdlike fellow, one of the two folks who crept up behind you. "That's chamoy right?"

You nod. "Of course, you feeling for that bold flavor?"

They shake their head at you. "Nah, that's spicy, I can't do spicy in a soda. Hook me up with something good, pick with your life."

Their vaguely reptilian buddy pipes up from behind. "I mean I'll take it if you won't-" 

"You can go for better."

"I like chamoy..." 

"Exactly, you gotta refine your tastes, bleed this kid for what he's worth."

"Hickory no."

You start slotting in quarters to grab your friends you came to this train with something to quench themselves. You snag yourself a untitled water project. You are left with one coin. You have spent five, you could probably buy this "Hickory" bird kid something. They focus their eye on you.

"You're grabbing a bunch there." 

"I got some folks with me. Hope you don't mind, that's why I'm here"

"Yeah well hook me up too, for real. Everyone's your folks when you're in a extraterrestrial hell train like the one we're in."

[Image: utgXnVw.png]

The lizard sighs. "Hickory..."

"Nah, he's got money. I can see it."

"He can't have that much if he's seated in the back like us right? Tickets for the storage room are cheap..."

"I gotta know. Gotta know everything this kid's got. Gotta know if he's a asset or a quick penny."

"Please don't fight him...."

"If the kid can afford to gel out his curls and dye, we can see if he can drop us some good drink."

How did he know it was curls....

That doesn't matter right now.

Should you pick a drink? Should you fight? You could take them on right? Maybe that'd be dumb? Maybe some diplomacy. Maybe some noise to get help here. They can't do you real damage right? You got powers, you sure got them.  What does the voice in your head say right now?
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#37
offer to sell them a soda for half a coin each. then take your spare coin and the two half coins and buy two sodas. then drink all the sodas at once.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
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#38
"Look I've had a bad day, I'm stuck in this netherworld limbo in my PJs and I just want to meet back up with a friend. you can have the one singular coin I have left, if you really want to make that big a deal of it, either way I'm going to go back to my seat with my time displaced relatives."

The lizard seems key to this, they don't like what Hickory is doing. Appeal to his sense of common decency with honesty about your situation and he might be able to run interference for you at the very least.
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#39
Just toss them the coin with a casual underhand throw and tell them to get what they want.
Then use Gauge Soul on them without them knowing.
Oh right we have signatures
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#40
You play with the last coin in your hand.
 
"Look this is all I got left. Main goal was to get drinks for my folks you know? But I got enough to cover you so... mind if I at least get a formal introduction?" You casually throw the coin underhand. Hickory catches it. 

 "Hickory, Hickory Bleu. You all stationed in this car?"

 "Yeah, having a bit of a bad day. Got dragged to this world in my pajamas-"

 Hickory already was on their way to buy himself a drink. The lizard chimes in. 

 "Don't mind them too much, just needs their drink fix. I'm Fenton, both of us are trying to get out of here too. I got warped in through a TV and Hickory well... I'm not too sure!"

 You nod. "Radio for me and my cousin. Got a couple of time displaced relatives with em too but not sure exactly how. They know more than I do."

 "Oh? Can we talk to them? I know we just met but.... I think we'd be best at making it out if we work together right? Hickory?"

 "Give me one sec Fent." The bird returns with a Cola in hand. "I mean... I dunno. I don't wanna take help from strangers like that. Especially if there's more than one."

 Fenton shakes their head. "We can't be cutting off options. Besides, you're pretty strong right?"

 You take a moment to gauge the bird's soul. 

Hickory Bleu

 Physically they appear to be comparable in strength to most younger teens. Has a particular finesse that makes you feel a need to watch your pockets. 

.....

 Oh god their proxy is synchronized 100%, they can fully access their scrap form with no penalty. Its powers are defined by "unholy reach" of limbs and the ability to regenerate.

 Their defining card is The Tower (Modifier 14 cards). It's incredibly strong and fighting it one on one without caution is asking for a full body cast.

 The bird feels very confrontational and will take a long time to warm up to you.



 You stare a little too long. They look at you with suspicion. You play off your shock by feigning tiredness. "Sorry, I'm a little out, today hasn't been my best day so far and It's way later
than I usually sleep I guess."

 Hickory snickers. "You're a bit of a softie if going to bed late does that to you. If you're dead weight we'll ditch you fast you know."

 You shake your head. "I'm a little new to this but I won't be a problem like that. Promise."

 They scoff at you. Fenton interjects. "I'll make sure to keep you from slowing things down, don't worry too much. You going to be okay taking us to your friends? They won't mind?"
 "I doubt they will."

 You do a quick reading on him.

 Fenton B-Seven

 Stats suggest once again that his stats are pretty typical of someone your age. He seemingly has a wide knowledge of metal craft and robotics, something that surprises you just a little. 

 His Proxy came from a different kind of deck from yours. "Jack of Spades" is synchronized 25% with him and can follow basic commands. It's rather weak, its power defined by the ability to work and process things faster.

 He's a fan of the occult just like you and is very knowledgeable in the supernatural. You feel like you both could become close friends easily.


 Fenton holds out a hand. "Well then I guess for now we're potential allies right? Feel free to ask us anything since we kinda got a ton out of you just now. Only fair."
 Hickory looks away. "I never agreed to that much, you two can share whatever you both want but I'm not gonna answer what I don't wanna."
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#41
ask Hickory why theyre so strong
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
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#42
ask both of them what their skills are directly, don't give up the fact that you can read them so easily yet
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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#43
Charon: Hickory, you give me a awfully strong vibe coming from you.

Hickory: What?

Charon: Something about you gives me strong vibes. Fenton too, any truth to it? A trick up the sleeve I don't know?

Hickory: Well, I got some fancy powers but... this place is a bit small to use them, maybe if we meet up after the train stops I ccould show them off a bit.

Fenton: I got a few things going on too, I got my arm modded to shoot lightning... and I can see and think pretty fast I guess. I'm not big on fighting monsters or creatures from the sky or whatever put is in this place but... I like to think I'm smart where I gotta be.

Hickory: Hey if you got a group, take us back to them kid. I wanna know you're not some kind of weird narc or something. Don't like strangers asking much unless they're from a honest place.

Charon: I got you both soda! And I'm not sure, I gotta cover my folks too. They're not narcs though.

Hickory: Sure, sure. No tap on you then right?

Charon: A what?

Fenton: He doesn't know what a tap is?

Hickory: Sheltered. Figures. You're not cool.

Fenton: We're probably safe. 

Hickory: Bet he can't spell icup.

Oh god you need a comeback, something cool.
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#44
"I see you pee? What does this mean."
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
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#45
[Image: IaYb2y9.png]

Charon: I See you pee, whatever. I don't know what that is and I don't care.

Hickory snickers.

Charon: I was raised in the horror well infested woods. I don't know what your talk of taps and narcs is all about but I know how to break and fry any creature put on this earth.

Hickory: So now you're a tough guy, country boy? What woods we talking?

Charon: Wonder.

Fenton: I don't know any wonder woods....

Hickory: Same. You're clearly not from where we came so we'll give you the benefit of the doubt on one condition.

Charon: Yeah?

Hickory: Take us back to your folks, we gotta know you're legit.

Charon: How do I know I can trust you?

[Image: 0JB2QYS.png]

Hickory: You can't really.

Fenton: Besides, I already gauged you. There's three of you on the train and another waiting for you after this ride. Um... sorry for that but it's a precaution. I don't wanna get caught in some trouble from a stranger offering free drinks like that... thank you for that by the way. 

You examine his face, he's a fiend too. He must have the same gauging sight like yours.

Hickory: Alternatively you can prove you're good in a scrap. I'll take you on nice and easy and if you can show you're worth we'll back off and let you do your thing. 

Fenton: Hick, you're gonna hurt him...

Hickory: If he knows better he'll make this easy and take us back. Promise we won't hurt your folks if they're just passing by though.
 

New Poll system, vote to progress the story.
https://www.quiz-maker.com/poll2800015x1F714E85-82

Reply
#46
Honestly I think that your family could kick anyone's ass. just take these two knuckleheads to see them, it's better than standing here talking about it for the next ten updates.
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#47
A Secret Conversation: A Intermission of Sorts
 




Some time ago in the little shop of a local magic shop. 

Charon: I dunno, I feel like life is going nowhere. Like, none of it is coming together in a way that makes sense I guess. I dunno, you're older and wiser so maybe you got something to say?

Blanc: You could be more upfront with your grandmother about your pursuits.

Charon: I mean I guess? She's on me about so much I feel suffocated though. She doesn't really like the idea of me taking the family buisness, she doesn't like to talk much about her actual kids, and all my aunts and uncles seem weird around her. 

Blanc: Sounds rough.... so why are you coming to me for?

Charon: I dunno, maybe a potion of some kind that'll make life good for me somehow?

Blanc: Figures. Look, you're not strong enough for my kind of potions so I can't do you that much, you're a kid and I don't wanna see you get jacked up by some bad medicine.

Charon: You don't got anything? Even a motivator? 

LeJules: Charon, you're talking to me like I'm a dealer. 

Charon: You're an occultist, same difference.

Blanc: No, not same difference kid. What I sell won't leave you jumping on the back of random trains or buying weird junk at the general store to scare the employees. I sell big solutions to personal problems.

Charon: You got nothing? 

Blanc: I got stuff but you can't handle potions or spells or needles like that kid. What I can hook you up with though is a good reading and a bit of some do it yourself fortune telling to help keep you on the right track.

Charon: I mean... that's something I guess. So what's my problem?

Blanc: Nothing yet, you're a good kid with a good head on your shoulders. You haven't made any big life threatening mistakes but you'll be making a lot of big choices soon. Your lucky card today is.... Death, the Nameless card. Interesting. 

Charon: That sounds bad.

Blanc: Only if you want it to be, it's usually pretty good. The card to worry about today is.... The Hanged Man.

Charon: Why the Hanged Man?

Blanc: Means you're gonna make a big life changing choice maybe. Pain and self inflicted punishment. Don't trust a guy who's tied up like the one in the picture. 

Charon: Okay. 

Blanc: You got the blood of a hero in you, if you wanna be a knight I think you could do it... but if I'm honest Charon, there's a look in your eyes. Destroyer of Worlds-esque even. The kind of the True Heir, a combination of the Kindest Champion and the Devil's Biggest Trick. Everyone's got a little bit of that though I think....

Charon: That sounds bad.

Blanc: It's fine as long as you keep to your guns and be a good boy. Now I got a book for you in the back I can set you up with. Little spells and tricks that someone at your age can do with little issue. 

Charon: Why can't you just tell me what kind of spell I need?

Blanc: Because I trust you to know what you want... and the spell you need right now can't be found just through a elixer or a lotion. 

Charon: And my Grandma?

Blanc: You might wanna get to know her damage more before dropping yours on her. I think she's got a lot going on. 

Charon: Yeah.... You ever talked to her?

Blanc: Erica Judgment? Yeah of course! She's come to me for some weird cases in town, she has worries of her own too. I can't get her to open up entirely but I know she can with the right prompting. 

Charon: Huh.....

Blanc: You have anything coming up that might make her open up?

Charon: I got a bunch of cousins coming next week to stay for the summer, Grandma gets nervous taking care of kids because she's worried about being too rough for them.

Blanc: Yeah? Well help her through that and that'd show her some merit. 

Charon: You think so?

Blanc: Yeah, I know so kid. Now, I'll grab you your stuff in a sec.

Charon: How much?

Blanc: On the house this time, you come here so often I feel like you've earned that much.

Charon: Thank you! You don't have to-

Blanc: I insist kid, just make sure you start with the smaller spells before you jump too hard and if your gut feels bad on something stop alright?

Charon: Right.

Blanc: You'll have to gather some materials on your own but most of these should be easy.

Charon: Okay.

Blanc: And anything involving mention of horrors, don't touch. Your grandma would fry me alive if you mutated a third arm.

Charon: I promise I won't mess with horrors like that. 

Blanc: Good. You're good kid, good luck and be careful yeah?

Charon: Yeah, I will. Thank you.

She waves at you as you leave with your new witching materials. 
Reply
#48
Charon: Alright, come with me.

You watch them very cautiously as the trail behind you toward the makeshift seating you and your folks had put together. Erica is on the verge of dozing off and Arabis has fixated onto a light on the ceiling like a moth. 

Charon: Hey, I'm back.

Arabis: You took a good while child. I see you may have made friends?

He gives the duo a small but welcoming smile. 

Hickory: Acquaintances as of now, we just met after all. 

Fenton holds out his hand. Arabis shakes it.

Fenton: It's nice to meet you two, traveling to the city like us?

Arabis: But of course. Did you bring the drinks Charon?

You pull the cans of drinks from your pockets.

Charon: Of course! 

Arabis: And would you both like change for a drink as well?

Hickory: I mean if you insist I-

Fenton: Thank you for the offer but uh... Charon already gave us some earlier. You mind if we sit with you?

Hickory looks over at Fenton with a glare you can feel from under their mask. Fenton shrugs back at them. 

Arabis: Of course. Charon, would you rather sit on our side or with them?

Charon: I'm fine sitting with them I think, good to know more people while we're here.

Arabis: Excellent then. 

You're stuck in the middle with both of them. You'll arrive to the spot soon. 

Arabis: We'll meet Geezer when we get back. It's rather late so we'll probably get to sleep soon. 

Fenton: What are ya'll here for, if I could ask?

Arabis: Angel abductees, we're looking for an out but we're not pressured to rush yet. You?

Hickory: Same thing, was minding my own business and I just got sucked into a weird storm. Like a tornado made of hot ice you know? Nasty feeling.

Fenton: Likewise. None of this feels real but here we are I guess.

Arabis takes a look at Fenton's arm. It's artificial, a replacement prosthetic. Fenton takes notice and hides it away.

Arabis: What happened to you there? 

Fenton: Factory accident. Happens a lot to kids my age, its no worries. 

Arabis: Not where we're from. At least I'm pretty sure.

He nudges Erica awake.

Erica: Eh? What's up?

Arabis: We got two new folks aboard with us, say hello.

Erica: Right uh... nice to meet ya'll. Charon, you get my cola?

You hand it over to her.

Charon: Right here as promised. 

Erica: Good job kid. We almost there Grandpa?

Arabis: Mm. You had plans for when you arrived to the city yes?

Erica: Mmhmm. Gonna pick up Geezer, go to resupply, and then hit the inn to rest for the night?

Arabis: Mm. Would you like to go Charon? Unless you have plans with your new friends already.

Hickory: We were just planning to go get a fortune done to figure out what we gotta do next. Then I guess find a spot to sleep.

Arabis: If you'd care to join us we have the needed coin to get you a bunk. 

Hickory: I dunno...

Fenton: We might take that offer, we're tired of sneaking into farms and sheds at night honestly...

Hickoyy: Yeah, guess so. Might not stick around super long after that though.

Arabis: We do not mind, I'd rather just not see kids out on the streets at night. Charon, are you planning to go with them or with Erica and I when we arrive?

https://www.quiz-maker.com/poll2829411x9e6746dA-83 Answer Poll to Continue Progression
Reply
#49
Yet Another Intermission

It's a quiet day in the Judgment household, Erica leaning back in her porch chair- Charon's already dying to talk to her about her travels, not giving her even a minute to rest. 

Charon: Hey Grandma?

Erica: Yeah? 

Charon: I heard you met up with the dog from Solitude. The one in the family?

Erica: You mean Bucket. 

Charon: Did you?

Erica: Mmhmm. Just shortly, didn't get much time. They were on the way and wanted to catch up quick... things are something between us.

Charon: Something good?

Erica: Something, kid. 

Charon: I wish you let me meet them.

Erica: Why? It's nothing special.

Charon: They're a famous hero right? People love them... 

Erica: Mmhmm. And?

Charon: I guess I wanna know what makes them special. Like, why out of all of us they're kind of the one everyone knows.

Erica: They took a big job with a god and that's all there is to it. That sort of thing nets you fame fast but that doesn't mean it's the best work for you.

Charon: What if I want that though?

Erica: You don't, work is on a level that I wouldn't touch. It's not the cleanest stuff.

Charon: ...What do you mean?

Erica: That dog is a trophy, you don't wanna be that right? Be on display but never make the difference you want to see because your snake of a boss doesn't wanna do something that matters?

Charon: Guess not..... 

Erica: Trust me Kiddo, it's money and attention that you don't actually want once you know what goes in.

Charon: I guess I just want to meet more family too in general, you never let me talk to your aunt, or Bucket, or talk about my parents.... who are they anyway?

Erica: Nobody important enough to seek them out. 

Charon: I mean... I have a right to know, I think I do.

Erica: You'd get yourself in trouble seeking them out kid, I wouldn't bother.

Charon: Grandma.... Please?

Erica: One of them is a bastard I'd shoot on sight and the other can't seem to get away from them. The moment they find you, you'd be paraded around as this wonderful clean cut son they spent the last over dozen years taking care of like they were there the whole time to cover up how much of a mess they are.

Charon: I mean... do they want to meet me?

Erica: One of them does but can't without the other knowing.

Charon: The bastard?

Erica: Language but... the bastard is the whole reason you can't meet them. You don't want to know it.

Charon: It?

Erica: You just don't Charon.

Charon: What about the other one? 

Erica: If you did you'd want to go and help them out, and that'd put you in a world of trouble I couldn't save you from. 

Charon: Can I get a name? Even a fake one? Something? 

Erica: ......Bale. Bale and the bastard.  

Charon: You can do better than that. 

Erica: Bast Terd. 

Charon: Grandma, no. 

Erica: They really are honestly, not worth your time and if uh... Bale weren't ball and chained I'd let them see you at least but... not right now. 

Charon: You're pretty bad at faking names but... at least that's something to attach to right?

Erica: I just don't want you seeking them out til you're old enough to understand everything. When you got a title of your own, you got the right to decide if you wanna seek things out and how you wanna handle it all. 

Charon: You need me to be a knight?

Erica: It'd be the only way you'd be strong enough to meet Mr. Bast. Until then I'm keeping quiet, even if I really do want you to know.

Charon: Alright..... but you will right?

Erica: You prove to me you're strong enough? Yeah.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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#50
Charon: I'll probably keep an eye on them, make sure they come back to get their sleep. 

Hickory: We can hear you.

Charon: Gotta make sure you're not sleeping in random barns you know? 

Hickory: Hehe, no promises. 

Fenton: Honestly I'm pretty bushed... I think I might be up for that. 

Hickory: I guess..... ya'll better not pull anything. 

Charon: I swear on my grandma's life, no shenanigans.

You look at Erica with a bit of guilt and mouth "sorry" to her. 

She glares and mouths "I can't read lips!" back at you. 

Fenton lets out a yawn. 

Fenton: Hick, lets do our errand fast yeah? I don't wanna like.... I'm kinda tired and I think we really should take up their offer.

Hickory: If ya'll really need it I guess we'll have to. 

Arabis and Erica whisper among themselves. The train station at the nearby town shouldn't be much further from here. 

There's silence for awhile. You look over at the two. They both seem to be asleep. You take another read at them, see their scrap forms. 

Hickory's seems much more defined than yours. Big personality, confident, you get a sense that they're stronger than you're ready for if they were to turn on you but... you doubt it.

[Image: te9tFH8.png]

Your eyes turn toward Fenton. His form is softer, less combative looking. His connection is not as strong, he has a normal proxy. You get no hostile energies from him at all.

[Image: O6ETr0k.png]

Hickory: Why you staring?

Charon: Huh?

Hickory: You got something to say to us?

Charon: No, just.... uh..... 

Hickory: Eyes off me and my friend yeah? He's sleeping, let him rest. 

Try to play it smooth. You can't let them know you were snooping through their minds like that.

Charon: Actually I do uh... got something to say. 

Hickory: Yeah? 

Charon: Uh.... how long have you both known each other?

Hickory: Not long, met a couple weeks ago I think. Hard to tell time in here.

Charon: Ah. 

Hickory: But.. I guess we got close awful fast, you know? This sort of situation does that to people. Something about him makes me wanna keep him safe. Reminds me of some good folks I used to know that aren't around anymore so... I dunno kid. That weird?

Charon: I don't think so.

Hickory: I don't want you misleading us, for his sake. Sorry we hit it up so rough but I don't wanna take risks. Not while I got someone I wanna keep safe for the first time in god knows how long.

Charon: Tell me about it.

Hickory: He's kinda just the first face in a long time that doesn't piss me off. Plus he's got a bad leg and a fussy robot arm so I couldn't leave him hanging you know?

Charon: He okay?

Hickory: Yeah.... I mean as much as he can be with all things considered. Came from a awful place, they make you work factories as early as you can do a basic task so they get injured all the time. He got hurt more than once, had to replace a few parts.

Charon: You from the same world?

Hickory: Nah, my world is uh.... a whole lot of nothing these days. I'd like to take him back with me somewhere safer but I can't give him that. 

Charon: You could come to my world! It's a lot better.

Hickory: Maybe, if we can find a way there I'll consider. 

Charon: Family would be down to find you somewhere safe. 

Hickory: Yeah well... lets see how this goes first. 

Charon: Yeah, that's fair.

[Image: Yqekoe6.png]

Hickory: Also don't stare at him again, I don't want some bastard with a pomp breaking his heart.

Charon: Wait what.

Hickory: Joking. My grandma used to say stuff like that though to make friends nervous. 

You sigh in relief. 

Charon: Okay I thought we were on bad terms there

Hickory: Nah. Not yet, gotta piss me off. Don't do it though for real, I'll kick your ass into a box if you hurt him.

Charon: Noted-

You're cutoff by the speaker in the room. 

"This is your conductor speaking. We're about to arrive into town. Destination, Possumtown. Please make sure to take all luggage with you. In case of crowded booths, line up when exiting the door."

Arabis: Charon, make sure you got everything you need yeah? If you lose something on this train you're not gonna find it again. Double for you Erica, you got more on you to forget.

Erica: Noted....

Charon: I forgot you both were right there.

Erica: We didn't want to interrupt your heart to heart.

Hickory looks the other way.

Hickory: So guess we'll meet back up with ya'll yeah? Which place?

Arabis: Sad Rabbit Inn. Ask for the Judgment party. You wanna bunk just the two of you or with everyone else?

Hickory: Whatever they got. Yo, Fenton.

They started nudging at Fenton until he woke up.

Fenton: I was having a good dream....

Hickory: We're there, we gotta get our fortune done yeah? We're gonna try and make it quick. 

Erica: I'm gonna stop by a shop or two after grabbing Geezer. Charon, anything you need?

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