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The Way of the Blue [Lantern OC]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by AverusBlack, May 2, 2021.

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  1. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    That's the idea.

    I can write porn. I have before. I'd just rather focus on the story than bother doing that. Porn is everywhere, a good story is hard to find.
     
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  2. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    True. Though I find a mix of the two can make something magical.
     
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  3. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    I considered it earlier on but decided ultimately that the story wouldn't really benefit from something like that so there was little point. Besides, I began this in the SFW section, I can hardly start porning it up in that case.
     
  4. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    Side story in NSFW?
     
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  5. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Anything like that would probably involve Mina and all the things she could do with an orange ring. Lots of control fantasies and stuff there. She tends to weaponize her sexuality and has basically no qualms about using her body to manipulate, control or toy with people. To her, everybody really is a possession or asset and she's just in it for fun. As cute as she might seem, Mina is really not an ethical person in any sort of way. A story like that probably wouldn't involve Ainsley at all but I wouldn't be able to write it without visiting Eastern Tovalon first, which the story hasn't done yet. Too many cultural things in that setting to explain to make it make sense in a porn story, you're not there to read about the culture in a story like that. It's the kind of thing you go look at after reading the main story and actually getting what the hell is going on.

    Also I plan to update today, I'm just roasting animal flesh so I can feed on it and absorb its power. Humans call them 'hamburgers'.
     
  6. Threadmarks: In Darkest Day - 06
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    High up on hill overlooking the plains, we're sitting at the edge of the trees, watching the crowd of cheetahs below. The ring estimates there's about 2000 of them -

    2143 'cheetah' variants detected.

    - and while that might not sound like much, it's a lot of bitey mouths down there. They're spread out across the plain in little clusters to share campfires, but spaced apart to sort of be away from each other. The perils of solitary species having to band together is that they don't like having neighbors. Whatever is keeping them here is powerful enough to overcome that natural reluctance.

    To my left Emil is humming a little tune as he assembles what might be generously played down as a sniper rifle. In actuality, it fires a laser pulse at something like 10 Petawatts for 1/3 of a second. Enough to vaporize pretty much anything it touches and burn through it. I assume the fist-sized canister Emil is loading into it is some kind of ammunition, or maybe it's a one-time-use generator or something if it uses that much power. Ring?

    Cartridge is a microscopic antimatter storage unit designed to generate enough power for a single pulse. Unit immediately burns out during this process, requiring multiple cartridges to use the weapon more than a single time.

    Ah. "I hope you're not going to just try shooting them, Emil?"

    "Nope. Just being ready." He finishes loading the cartidge, then sets the weapon on a bipod and lays prone against the top of the hill. "I know you're going to want to go have a chat with them, you always do. Every single time." He sighs a little. "When it inevitably turns into a fight, I'll cover you from here. I'm no good up close."

    Elise nods. "Kuri?"

    "Mhm?"

    "Can you stay with my father and be his spotter? That just means keeping an eye on your surroundings while he's focused on his job, for this."

    Kuri nods to her. "I'll try to conceal us as best I can. This is Skal, I have more options here than I do in other places."

    Elise turns to me. "How do you want this to go?"

    I sigh, looking at the crowd. "If they're looking to just overtake someone elses home... obviously that isn't acceptable. Resettlement, maybe?"

    "And if they say no and try to fight us anyways? Where do we stop kicking their asses?"

    "We don't." I shake my head. "Knock them around, stun them, defeat them, but we don't break them and I don't think killing them would get us the result we want."

    "What about that trick you told me you used to find us the first time?"

    I blink. "What?"

    "When we first met, the guards you talked to, you told them you were looking for people and found us. When I asked about it later, you told me you were searching for hopes. Can you do that again?"

    For a second I just stand there feeling stupid. I'd forgotten about that.

    Then I turn and look at the group.

    The shaman is lost. We may yet find another. Our home is lost. We may yet find another. May the gods accept us back for whatever we've done to deserve this.

    Hm. Closing my eyes, I look again.

    Care for our mates and children. Preserve the species. All else is lost, but we still have each other.

    I sigh, my eyes dimming. "They're desperate. They don't feel like they have anywhere to go. This is a... last ditch attempt to preserve themselves because they don't know what else to do." I reach up with my hand, rubbing the bridge of my nose.

    "Okay. If we can resettle them, keep them fed, what then?"

    "Guess we go find out. Kuri, we're -" I turn around, but Kuri and Emil are gone.

    Go. We're safe.

    I rise up into the air as Elise starts looking concerned. "They're still there, just hidden. C'mon."

    The two of us rise up into the sky, moving high above and then coming down on the other side of the group opposite the ridge. Rather than doing it stealthily we both put on a show, glowing brightly and stopping just above the ground in the middle of their camp, hovering.

    "We're here to -"

    "AAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!"

    One of the younger warrior-looking types charges Elise. She simply manifests a construct hand and slaps him away, sending him flying a dozen feet backwards while the crowd just kind of watch, then slowly turn to look at us again.

    "- talk to you about what to do next. Unless anybody else has an objection?"

    There's a collective shaking of heads from all around us.

    "Good show. So, who wants to be the lucky winner who gets to represent you in talking to us?"

    None of them seem to know who to decide on. The noise level goes up as they begin arguing among themselves on who is more worthy to speak for the group and Elise sighs.

    "That won't work, I don't think. All of you, listen up!"

    Her voice echoes as the ring amplifies the sound to spread it further, so they can all hear.

    "We know you feel lost. That you don't know where to go or even how to you're going to continue your way of life. Your place in Skal has been broken and now you are adrift. But this isn't the end!"

    "Across the mountains is a vast region that can be settled. The distortions plague it too but they're everywhere and our time spent here is just a small part of our efforts to stop it! You don't have to fight for a place in Skal when we can resettle you in a new land, a new home!"


    "YOU DARE?!"
     
  7. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    Time for best girl to construct gag a bitch?
     
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  8. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    Mina is fun like that.

    Though in curious, does she enjoy people being a challenge? If everyone exists to please her or serve her, does she find people who fight against that or want to be individuals to be fun too?

    Also food good.
    Big Boomstick!
    And for just your signature on something we call a Mortgage.
    ... kinky.
     
  9. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    It's more like... imagine somebody who's an incel and living in poverty suddenly getting an orange power ring with basically no morals or really any concern at all about how it effects others when she uses a brand or assimilation. People aren't really people to her. She's only attractive now because of the ring. Mind control is just another way of getting what she wants.

    So using her sexuality as a tool isn't really just fun for her, it also gives a sense of power, because it wasn't something available to her before. Open emotional displays aren't encouraged in E. Tovalon. She only gets away with it because she's basically so powerful nobody can tell her no. Including the people she wants to fuck or play with, so that's... kind of uncomfortable, lol.

    She doesn't bother with the ethical issues that, for instance, Zoat's Illustres was mindful of from the very beginning. She's closer to being like Evil!Paul, the one who decided owning a Diana was nice.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: In Darkest Day - 07
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    The voice seems to come from all around us and I have no time to process it before something strikes me, sending me flying sideways past the crowd and directly into the treeline, annihilating several trees before my momentum is lowered enough for the next one to just smash me instead. For a moment I can't breath, the wind knocked out of me.

    Restore.

    Firing myself off the ground I come tearing out of the trees, the cheetahs scattering in all directions as Elise is circling upwards, dodging what appears to be several Skal charging her. Dodging, weaving, smashing them away with giant green fists until one of them lands a solid punch on her and she's sent flying into the ground the way I was.

    Great. Super strength shortstacks, that's just what we needed.

    The ones in question attacking her are slightly different from the ones in the crowd. They look faded, drained of color, eyes almost glowing yellow. I'm not sure what the hell is going on but I don't really have time to think about it. Elise needs the support.

    Blue ring, synchronize.

    In progress. Symmetry established.


    I come in from their left as another one of the super-cheetahs attacks her in a frothing rage, smashing it - no, her - flying into another one of the attackers.

    "HERETICS! INFIDELS! YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY PEOPLE FROM ME!"

    Oh, great. A soft fizzing sound and a slump behind me as a would-be sneak attacker is cut down by Emil at a distance. The super cheetahs suddenly collectively slump, falling to the ground as the blood spilled from the few we couldn't avoid hurting begins to... waggle? No, it's moving of its own accord, pooling together.

    The form that it shapes itself into is roughly humanoid but with no defining features. That would be impressive, considering I can still see it flowing and moving around. It lashes out at me, extending an arm into a tentacle to strike at me. Raising a shield the tentacle slaps off of it, smearing the shield for a moment before the excess blood is dropped as I lower the guard again.

    "We're not trying to take anything from you, we're trying to stop them from killing and destroying everything without massacring them!"

    "LIES! DEATH TO THE OUTSIDERS!"

    Some of the cheetah crowd are beginning to charge us again, but they don't seem to be enhanced. Just the ones who seem to be taking their 'god' or whatever the hell this is seriously. The rest hang back, clearly terrified.

    I look over at Elise. "You know what? We have bigger problems to deal with today." A MASER forms next to me and I take a moment to aim carefully at the blood elemental thing.

    "Knock knock, Avon calling." Fire.

    There's no real noise. A sort of buzzing hum from the construct, that's about it. It's the kind of weapon you expect for there to be a big, bright flash or something. A loud noise. Some kick back. Something. But nope, it's none of that. Firing it feels like a whisper and a gentle breeze, right up to the point where the blood elemental basically explodes. Flash-boiled, there's a kind of gargling scream before boiling blood is splattered in every direction and the charge of the cheetahs stumbles.

    The ones rushing us slow down and look confused. The ones on the edges, farther out near the trees, they scream.

    "TEKELE! TEKELE, NOOOO!"

    When I drop the construct I move over to where the elemental was, poking it with a foot. Nothing. Hm. The fighters scattered around us who seemed so confused before look shattered now. Shit, did we just kill their god?

    Is that even a thing?

    I draw one of the closer ones over. He's clearly alive but doesn't resist, almost limp in how he's given up. When I put him down he just kind of slumps back to his knees.

    "Get up. Tell me your name."

    A few seconds pass before he can muster himself enough to stand, staring at my stomach almost blankly. "Khur."

    "Khur, you mind explaining to me what the fuck just happened?"

    "You killed Tekele. Our homes, our families, our culture and now our god." He hangs his head. "Just kill us and be done with it."

    "We only fought because it attacked us. In case you haven't been paying attention, we've been trying to help you."

    "You only bring a slow death. If you're merciful, you'll finish it now."

    "No." I can see his face twisting up. "I'm not going to kill you all because this isn't the end. Haven't you been listening? You don't have to carve out another place in Skal. We'll help you rebuild elsewhere."

    "If we leave Skal, what would we be then? Who would we be? Roaming, hunting, fighting is all we do, all we know."

    "You'd be something new." Elise floats over to me, one hand on her side. Landing next to me she doesn't look like she's leaning her weight on her legs, she's sort of hovering.

    "Elise?"

    "I'll be fine. Just a cracked rib."

    "That isn't fine."

    "Not now."

    I turn my attention back to Khur. "So, what will it be? A slow death, or a new life?"

    "Remove them from Skal and they will be lost."

    I tilt my head up. "Oh good, you're still here! Are you ready to actually talk now that you're done your little tantrum?"

    "They will be lost. They are children still in the creche. You have already tempted enough of our people to travel other lands. You will kill them if they leave!"

    "How do you figure that?"

    "The magic which strengthens their minds to make them intelligent lives with deep roots here. Without it, successive generations will lose the process of integration already at play. The process will not be complete for another century at least with this clan."

    "You're not a god, are you?"

    "What is a god to a believer?"

    I heh softly. "Why didn't you start with this instead of attacking us?"

    "Swift death is the price for such trespass in Skal. You're simply annoyingly difficult to kill."

    "Thank you. Look, we have bigger fish to fry, here. These distortions -"

    "They are a threat to everyone, not just Skal. Go. Tekele will keep the Yellow Sun clan in check. My people will endure this."

    "Please don't make us come back here. All we're trying to do is keep the peace."

    "Peace is a lie. In Skal, only nature rules."

    I sigh. "Fine. Fine. Whatever." I reach over and put a hand on Elise's shoulder, restoring her. "We'll talk more when we come back, Tekele."

    "Perhaps."
     
  11. meloa789

    meloa789 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    You forgot the threadmark.
     
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  12. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    No, it just didn't include it for some reason? I fixed it but I always include the threadmark, it just doesn't take sometimes. Thanks for letting me know though. I check regularly to make sure that doesn't happen but sometimes I miss things (like "Not All That Chitters Is Gold - 09", which I discovered was missing a threadmark while porting the story over to SV).
     
  13. Threadmarks: In Darkest Day - 08
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    "This isn't working."

    I turn to look at Emil when he speaks. We're back at Saxali's camp while Tiala packs up the last of her things. Kuri is taking the time to do a little hustling, trading for some herbs while we're on downtime and behind us, Elise is half asleep. She's sprawled out on a pile of cloth, mostly wall-hangings and cushions. Taking the time to rest while she has the time to rest.

    "What do you mean?"

    "When I sent you off to go find those things, I didn't mean for like, five minutes, man." He sighs. "It ain't your fault. Soon as you get back, things start falling apart. But from what you told me, it might be because you're not prioritizing. We're not prioritizing. We're running around trying to put out fires when we should be looking for the thing throwing sparks around."

    I take a moment to consider that, then nod slowly. "You think I should leave you guys for now and go looking for the last lightsmith?"

    "Not before picking up the indigo battery, which you still haven't done, you damn slacker." Elise throws a small rag at the back of my head. "Dad's probably right. Nothing we've done today really required both of us."

    "But -"

    "Nah." She waves me off. "Look, if I get into trouble I can still call in that ship you found. The AI on it - Lucca? Weird name - won't shut up about having a crew again. Pretty sure asking for help wouldn't be a problem. I'll call her in if we need air support. Since we're dropping Tiala and Kuri back home anyways, taking a moment to go talk to her about it should be fine."

    I sigh a little. "Feels weird going alone."

    Elise grins. "Miss me already? You haven't even left yet."

    I throw the rag that hit me back at her and she gigglefits, making me smile a little. "Alright. Do me a favor and check in on Holly and Jay too?"

    "Sure. They're sweet cats, I like them."

    Standing up, I pull the indigo staff out of subspace and lean on it a little as a walking stick. "Alright. Get in touch with me if you find out anything."

    Slipping out of the yurt they're lounging in I rise up into the air. Ring, can you tell me where your central battery is?

    It's currently hidden in a subspace pocket half a kilometer below the surface of a minor satellite orbiting a dwarf planet in the oort cloud of this solar system.

    Okay. Guess I'm going for a flight, then. Usually I use the blue ring for FTL, but since I'm dealing with indigo exclusively today, lets give this a try.

    Ring, plot course to that location and transition.

    I have a better idea.

    There's a sound like paper sliding against paper and next to me, a circle opens in the air, tinged with indigo at the edges. On the other side of it is a dirty ice plain stretching out forever - or so it seems - the patterns broken up by dirt and mineral contamination, making the ice range in color from dirty brown to mud brown to ice-white to gray. The sky on the other side is black, no stars visible.

    Frowning a little I move through the aperture, which closes behind me with another paper-sliding noise, nearly silent. Where am I?

    In my head my location lights up relative to the rest of the solar system, bright in my minds eye. I just know where I am compared to where I was, like I'd walked four feet and still had a mental sense of how far I'd gone. Kneeling down I push a little at the ice with one hand, swiping at it. Dust clouds around my fingertips like silt in water but without atmosphere there's nothing to suspend it and it slowly drops back to the ice. Low gravity.

    When I look behind me I find the sun looking back, though at this distance it's little more than a particularly enthusiastic star. Why can't I see more stars? The light backwash from the surface? It doesn't seem that bright.

    Whatever.

    Give me a HUD and find the battery. Track it in realtime.

    Unable to comply.

    What? Why?

    I bring my right hand up to look at the blue ring, which sputters weakly. The hell? Ring, state charge.

    86% charge remaining.

    Okay, so it's not that. Too close to the indigo battery, or something? Frowning, I look at my left hand.

    How about you?

    I'm good to go.

    Hm. I need to find this thing so I can get back to helping people. Locate it for me.

    Overlaid on my vision, an indigo HUD with atmospheric pressure (almost nothing), gravity and relative distance to target appears along with a crosshair to show me which direction it's in. Almost right below me, as it turns out. How to get to...? Ring, I know you can fabricate and annihilate matter, but can you change energy to matter and transmute materials?

    Yes. It's a little energy intensive, depending on how dense the material you need is and how big it is.

    So burrowing through the rock by transmuting it to something else is doable?

    Yes. Alternatively, we can simply burn through it.

    Oh. That sounds like a better option. An indigo bubble shield forms around me and the staff begins to glow brightly as I drop down towards the surface, plunging into it. The sound is a bit like grinding gravel across broken glass, the shield below me shimmering brighter than the part above me. Then we break through what has to be the largest lava bubble I've ever seen.

    The light from the shield isn't even bright enough to reach the far edges of the cavern. Dropping it, I raise the staff above my head and intensify the glow to reach the light further but... no. Below me, I can feel a resonance as I increase my focus on the staff.

    For them.

    Yes, this feels like the right place. As I lower down to where the bottom of the cavern should be, a structure comes into view, rising out of the darkness almost ominously. Black stone with indigo embellishments. I think it's some kind of temple, like the one I found the blue battery in.

    Time to go see if anybody is home.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021 at 8:42 PM
  14. Excelsior

    Excelsior Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    This is a good fic. I am surprised it has so few viewers and commend you ability to update quickly.

    also, did you know lantern rings allow you to phase/become intangible ;)
     
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  15. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Yep, but these guys are noobs and haven't learned how to do that sort of thing yet. It's a process, I'd rather they develop their upskills rather than just it sort of happening.
     
  16. Excelsior

    Excelsior Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Yeah that makes sense, it will probably take them a while to figure out that its posible to do anything with the ring, they dont seem to have internalized it yet. they sure could use that huge manual that lanterns tend to have in their databases, right.

    how long do you think it will take for them to begin experimenting and figuring out other abilities, i guess you re planning on a sort of natural, progressive development, like a long term kind of thing

    Also how powerful are the rings? are they post crisis comic book level, something more like the animated series, or you're making your own blend.
     
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  17. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Yeah. It's been a bit of a snowball for them. There was some of that early on before things got really hectic.

    There's been some of this already, with Elise and the genkits experimenting with different ways to use the green ring and Kuri getting a crack at trying the blue one once. Most of the lack of exploration on this front is due to them constantly feeling like they're trying to hold back a river. Everytime one thing is solved, something else pops up, leaving little time for relaxation and letting ones mind wander.


    Yes.

    I'm not actually somebody who's super deep into DC. I know a bit about it at this point but I tend to look at the rings as a philosophical tool, not just an empathic one. Zoat made a good point about how emotional introspection can make for more powerful lanterns and I have little patience for canon limitations that prevent me from telling a good story. This story is really, in the long term, about learning to find balance in yourself in order to be whole. Until the characters have developed enough to achieve that, they'll never be as powerful as they can be.
     
  18. Threadmarks: In Darkest Day - 09
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    The 'temple', for lack of a better description, is black volcanic glass. I thought it was polished stone at first but the texture is all wrong. The indigo highlights and tron lines running through it glow in much the same way my staff does. It looks like it would be right at home in here.

    Instead of open pathways of blank even stone every surface is made of centimeter deep engraving of linear, hard edges and lines, square or rectangular surfaces, like a map of some idealized city broken down to the most minimalistic way possible. Parts of the lines have smaller writing in them but neither ring is translating it. 'Decorative' would be my thought but the writing is glowing indigo as well. The carvings cover every surface, every wall, everything. In some places they stretch out, clearly forming part of the buildings aesthetic. Probably.

    The entrance is circular, a barrier of indigo light covering which seems to be permeable to me. There's a little resistance from the blue ring until part of the indigo field around the blue part of my environmental shield at my hand begins to turn blue as well and suddenly lets my hand through. It didn't stop me, but having one limb suddenly feel like it's encased in wet cement feels weird.

    The inside of the entrance leads to an antechamber much like the blue version of this place. As before, I reach up and touch the lines in the wall -

    O to see this suffering! They cry out in pain, how can I not answer?

    - and only wince slightly at it this time. It's not as intense to experience in a burst like that when I've felt a low strength version of that ever since I put the ring on. With the blue ring, its light is there but it's only at the forefront of my mind when I used it. With the indigo staff, it's something I feel like a low-level buzz. Part of why I prefer to keep the staff hidden away.

    But it's too useful as a means to augment my power output so I don't get that option in situations like this, where I might need to defend myself at any moment. Instead I turn away from the markings in the wall, heading into the heart of the temple.

    The indigo central 'battery' reminds me of newly cooled lava, the way the surface twists and folds around on itself. It's in the rough shape of an hourglass, if the hourglass were a sphere in the middle suspended by two V-shaped prongs holding it. Indigo light flickers around it in smokey wisps which move like slow-burning fire. The sphere itself is solid, made of the same strange, organic looking stone but with the same tron-lines that are present in my staff and the temple surfaces.

    Now I just need to get it out of here.

    Thankfully, the teleport circle that the indigo ring seems to be able to do should make that relatively easy. Walking up to the central battery, I lay my hand against it, then tap the head of the staff to it and close my eyes.

    The sheer level of the emotion is overwhelming. Flashes of suffering without any discernible context, an overwhelming sense of powerlessness and the need to do something to stop it. Anything.

    Opening the portal is easy. Finding the focus to move the battery through despite the intense sensory overload isn't.

    When we get to the other side, the slip-paper sound of the portal closing makes me breath a sigh of relief while I move the staff away from the battery. The relief doesn't last.

    Touching the staff to it again, I pick the battery up and move it to its place among the other five. The seal has changed since the last time I was here. It feels... wilder, now. Rings, tell me everything about this anomaly.

    Analyzing. / Analyzing.

    Unable to determine. Scans inconclusive.

    It appears to be a fracture in space-time to a pinprick of an unknown anomaly. Physics breaks down within. It appears to supersede three dimensions and the visible fracture here is very unlikely to be the true extend of the fracture.

    I look down at the blue ring. Hey, how come you can't scan that and indigo can?

    Error.

    What the hell? Define error?

    It would not be an error if that were possible.

    I frown. Ring, self-diagnostic. Are you feeling well?

    Diagnostic complete. Ring functions unimpeded.

    Then why the error?

    Unknown.

    You are being very unhelpful.

    We all have our off days.

    I sigh a little, then my eyes drift to the blue central battery I placed here awhile ago. Rising up from the floor I move over to it, then begin circling it.

    Blue ring, run a diagnostic on this instead.

    Diagnostic complete. External device detected.

    Son of a bitch. Rising up to the top of it, I run my hand along the rim of the flat surface between the two 'handles'. Then tear the device away, staring at it.

    It's small, black and had yellow tron lines. Even as I look at it, it flickers and dies out, then falls apart in my fingers like broken pastry flakes made of ash.

    Turning I quickly run a scan on the other central batteries. It doesn't take long to find them.

    As I move from each to each, I pull the devices off. Always the same. Like the one on mine. The moment I tore the one off the blue battery I could feel the chamber open up to me, my scans pulling proper returns and the blue rings sheer alarm at the thing in the middle of the room.

    Four devices in total on every central battery but one.

    Fucking Nemesis.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2021
  19. Threadmarks: In Darkest Day - 10
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    "Ring, contact Mina."

    I'm pacing the massive chamber housing the anomaly and the central batteries, headed towards the exit.

    "Hmm? Well hellooooo Ai-"

    "No time." The fact her head is showing up above the indigo ring in orange instead of indigo is throwing me off a little, but I can't be fucking around right now. "Nemesis did something to the central batteries. Attached something to them. I just removed it. I don't know what it was he did but the moment I pulled it off the blue one I was able to get a proper scan of the anomaly and it's far larger than we thought, Mina."

    "Oh? How large?"

    "How does 'beyond three dimensions' sound to you?"

    "I've scanned it myself. The anomaly just confused the ring. Are you telling me he somehow did this?"

    "Yes? Yes, I am."

    "..." Her portrait has frozen up for a second.

    "Mina?"

    "Go back to Durjak. I will meet you there. Tell them not to panic when we arrive."

    "Wait, we?"

    "Yes." And then her signal cuts out, the Mina-head above my ring vanishing.

    Uhhhhhh that doesn't bode ominously at all. Ring, Elise me. Actually, wait one second.

    As I rise into the air out the front of the temple the burrow-guards have surfaced, facing me. Instead of ignoring them I approach them.

    "Do you understand me? This is very important."

    We.͠ H̕ęa͟r.͡

    I point behind me, at the temple. "This place is dangerous. Threaten the continent dangerous. If you live nearby, it may destroy you if or when it runs wild."

    We.͠ H̕ęa͟r.͡

    And then they burrow back into the sand and vanish. Well. Okay.

    Hopefully they got the message. Okay, now, Ring.

    As I rise up into the sky and begin plotting course to Durjak, Elise's face pops up above the blue ring.

    "What's going on? I just got a sudden... I don't even know how to describe it. Like I was half asleep before I just woke up."

    "Nemesis interfered with the central batteries somehow. Mina is incoming, possibly with other orange lightsmiths. She said 'we' but didn't say how many 'we' was."

    "She coming to fight? Oh, I'll give her a fight."

    "I don't think so. Hers was rigged too. I think she's coming to join us in going to kick the shit out of Nemesis."

    "Oh. I have really mixed feelings about that."

    "I imagine so. Don't kill each other before I get there."

    Wait, I'm being stupid. Halting mid-air I pull the staff out of subspace and draw a circle in the air with it, then step through behind Elise as she stands in the middle of the tavern-slash-command-center we tend to hang out in. Bradley's been making a fair bit of money off us and even more when we're not around simply for the fact he has our business. Emil is sitting next to her and Ren is sitting next to them, but on the floor because no seat in the house is strong enough for her. Bradley took one look at her and forbade her from even trying.

    "Haha, the man of the hour! C'mon Ainsley, what kinda fight you got for us this time?" Ren's in good spirits, a stein of beer in one hand. She's leaning back against the side of the booth Emil is in.

    "Offworld. We're going to go have a little talk with Nemesis about what he's been up to lately. Has there been any word at all about the violet lightsmith?"

    Elise shakes her head. "No. Nothing. Ring, scan for the violet light of love."

    "Not found."

    I nod. "We might still have time then. I can't be sure of what will happen when they show up. I'd remove the batteries we've placed around the anomaly but I have no way to tell if that would make the problem worse or not. I think our best bet is to stop him doing whatever he's trying to do before that happens."

    Ren rumbles. "You know what his place is like?"

    "Nope."

    "His forces?"

    "No idea."

    "Do you know where he even is?"

    "Only in approximate terms."

    Ren stares at me for a full five seconds, then looks at Elise, then looks at me. "... ...So, when do we go?"

    I can't help but chuckle. "It's not that easy. I'm not sure if Vera's gonna side with him or not."

    "If she does?"

    I sigh and hang my head. "Then we'll have to fight her too. But whatever's going on can't be allowed to continue unmonitored. How's the situation with the distortions?"

    "Kinda insane." Emil sighs. "We're losing control. In Skal, the local gods seem to be empowering the locals themselves somehow to beat back anything hostile that shows up but things like the cheetah's home are still happening, just in smaller pockets. The distortions themselves seem to be shrinking in size - smaller patches of places being replaced - but there's way more of them now."

    "This is the worst possible time for us to have to go focus on this. Gods damn him."

    "You know, I oh shit." I feel it too.

    Alert! Orange light detected! / Alert! Orange light detected! / Warning! Orange light detected!

    Yeah, no shit. I walk out of Bradley's as they come in to land in the town square.

    Mina is lowering down from the sky surrounded by dozens of glowing figures, people made of orange light. As she lands on the pavement they take up formation along the tops of the buildings, hovering just above the surfaces rather than land. When her feet touch the pavement they all collectively scream together.

    "HAIL MINA, MISTRESS OF THE ORANGE LIGHT!"

    Yeah, this doesn't feel like her patting herself on the back at all. Yikes.

    "Hi handsome. Miss me?"
     
  20. AngelicKnight.

    AngelicKnight. Lewd demon of negotiable affection

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    Yes I did.



    Ainsley? Probably mixed feelings.
     
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  21. Threadmarks: In Darkest Day - 11
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    When we pass through the indigo portal, I let the rest of them through first. Mina, Elise, Emil and Ren in full armor and gear, along with a few toys we cooked up based on stuff Elise and I have scanned or nicked the designs for. Mina drew her construct-slaves into her ring, because apparently just having an army up her sleeve is just an orange light thing. My threat assessment of her has gone way up and Elise is refusing to let her out of her sight.

    Stepping through, I let the portal collapse behind us and pass through the group, the others having stopped to just stare a moment.

    Psyche, by all rights, looks like it ought to be dead. It isn't. We've come out at the top of a massive canyon halfway up the cliff face of jagged spires reaching into the sky like daggers. The sky itself is a disturbing orange-red, causing everything to look bloody. Everything is cast in shades of red. Like just being here covers you in gore.

    The canyon drops down away from us, not formed out of erosion but looking like the land split apart. As though some massive set of hands had broken the face of Psyche like a loaf of bread being split, almost. The canyon's bottom is difficult to estimate. Ring?

    The bottom of the canyon extends nearly 20 kilometers below the lithosphere.

    Phew. That's really deep. Damn.

    On the other side of the canyon the land is flatter but still broken in massive shelves of rock tilted against each other, forming tilted daggers pointing at the sky. Along the flat ends, scraggly looking grass clings in patches to the rock face and at the tips of the spires grows some kind of fungal colony, darkening the tips against the rest of the rock and making them look bloody. I gesture to Emil and Ren and they kick off the ledge, the skids in their boots kicking in. Form a HUD laid over my vision and give me data on the others position when they're out of line of sight. If you can, keep track of their ammunition and alert me when they're running low.

    We won't let them down.

    Good. As we pass down towards the broken plains, Elise and Mina fan out behind me on either side.

    "So, what do you plan to do when we get there, mmm? Confront him aggressively and pick a fight immediately? Have a little chat?"

    Mina's tail is lashing side to side behind her. She's flying sideways almost lazily, arms folded under her breasts, her entire body at a 45° angle as she faces me only slightly while flying in formation. It's interesting - I favor armor that's made of high-grade materials I can fabricate, integrated with systems I've scanned from the genkits and a bunch of other sources. Even without the ring I'm still really mobile, able to skid along the air the way Emil and Ren are doing right now. All three of us have the short-duration energy bulwarks we can pull up in front of us. Only lasts a few seconds but they're surprisingly resilient, even if they do nothing against energy-based weapons.

    Mina seems to favor something closer to leather armor augmented with magic somehow. I can see runes and spellbindings made directly into it. They're not glowing orange either, so the ring isn't powering them. The only parts the ring is altering are the gold embellishments she's wearing, mostly jewelry. The scelera of her eyes is still black but the iris has changed to match the color of her ring, which is glowing brightly. An orange sigil is hovering next to the armlet she's wearing on her right bicep.

    "I think that depends greatly on what Vera is doing, whether or not she's there. We also have to find him first."

    "Usually I'd be more inclined to take our time, recon a little, find out what this place is all about. I'd like to know why the hell there's so much smoke particulate in the air here. I don't think we have that option this time."

    I glance over at Elise. "You think we should just scan openly? He might detect it."

    "So? It's better than running around in circles trying to find some trace of him just to lay an ambush. Besides, we don't even know what he's up to. If he's just sitting around in some fancy castle drinking all day, kicking his door in might be easy."

    Mina snorts derisively. "You really think it'll be that easy? Hilarious. Trust me, it won't be."

    "Mina, I wouldn't trust you with a wooden spoon."

    Mina nods. "Probably sound advice, since I'd shove it up your -"

    "Ladies, please. Can we focus? We're here for a reason. You can sort your... differences out later."

    Mina and Elise glance at each other, then look away. No, that's probably not over. Something I'm going to have to look out for.

    "Emil, Ren. Double back, we're going to try doing a direct scan."

    The two of them loop around, landing on the construct platform Elise generates as we stop. Ring, scan for the yellow light of fear. Ignore traces, I want to find the most active source on the planet.

    Oh dear. The most concentrated source is a structure about 550 kilometers north-east of this position. A great many people are there and all of them are very, very afraid.

    I tilt my head and wince slightly. Mina narrows her eyes a little when I do that, so I wave her off. Ring, explain what that was, please?

    Enough ambient fear is being generated that a sympathetic resonance is building through the indigo light.

    Shit. This is like when you turned orange to talk to Mina, isn't it?

    Correct. The indigo light, as you demonstrated with Elise earlier, is capable of 'borrowing' other emotional resonances. You simply struggle with it because you have damage to your ability to feel.

    I felt that feedback though.

    It's probably going to get stronger as we get closer.

    Oh. Great. "Indigo ring thinks that he's that way." I point in the direction the ring specified. "He's terrorizing a huge number of people over there for some reason. Probably something yellow light related."

    "Ah, fuck." Mina sighs, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "I was hoping he wouldn't do something like that. He gets stronger the more people are afraid of him."

    "Oh cool!" Ren laughs. "We're not just going to kick his ass, but he's superpowered too? Man, I gotta find a souvenir to hang up in my bunk when this is over."
     
  22. Threadmarks: With Dauntless Might - 01
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    Approaching the centerpoint of fear the indigo ring described, we're sticking to conventional flight rather than trying to transition there. Mina was very graphic about the level of destruction that can be done to a lightsmith being too careless about it. Apparently magic provides a way to counteract the re-insertion into the physical universe as a defense against summoning, typically resulting in a splatter of gore as whatever is trying to manifest is ripped apart by reality refusing to allow the planar fracture to effect the space around the ward.

    No thank you.

    As we approach the spot, I'm getting returns on scans. It's some kind of massive fortress-city, putting me in mind of something that flickers in and out of my memories sometimes. Three circles of walls with the outer walls at ground level, the next set slightly raised, the third above them. The third set of ringed walls acts as the base of a citadel hanging over the city like a skyscraper from hell, all jagged edges and hard lines.

    Yellow circuit board lines run through the exterior of the building, flickering around a massive yellow light sigil embedded into its face on each side, so that nobody in the city can ever forget who's above them.

    Very subtle. I can make it out with the unaided eye from several kilometers away.

    The inside of the city seems to house a lot of buildings but they're built in the same jagged, linear designs as the citadel, writ micro. The walls themselves must be at least ten feet thick, clearly built to withstand a ground invasion, which makes me wonder how they plan to stop us considering we're fl-

    As we approach the cities walls, our flight auras cut out and the genkits skids suddenly deactivate.

    -ying. Oh. That would explain it.

    I reach out and construct armor envelops Emil and Ren as the five of us meteor dive towards the cities outer walls. We're only about 60 meters off the ground and in freefall, the armor fully enveloping them at the same time I'm manifesting my own armor around myself and Elise is making a massive... sheet?

    When we hit the surface of the construct it bends inwards like an elastic, then vanishes just before we hit the point of arresting our momentum. Instead of splattering against the ground, we drop about six feet with a collective number of 'oof's to go around.

    Mina is the first to her feet, coiling her knees against her chest and springing up to a crouch, then standing and brushing herself off. "Hm. Nine out of ten, ferret."

    "Thank you so much for your approval, cat."

    "You're welcome." Mina even manages to sound chipper about it as she trots past the rest of us, who are just getting to our feet.

    "Thank you, Elise." I bring my right hand up. "Rings, synchronize."

    Established. / Established.

    "Hmmm?" Mina glances back at us over her shoulder. "You're coming, aren't you?"

    Ren snorts at her. "You wish." Mina actually recoils slightly as Ren takes a moment to wink obviously at her, overacting. "You wouldn't be able to bear it." Then she pulls her weapon off her back and checks it over, leaving Mina staring at her with a mixture of annoyance and very obvious lack of attraction.

    "Huh, so that's what that's like."

    I pat Mina on the shoulder as the rest of us pass by her. "Yep. We're all learning new things, today." Elise can't help but snicker while Mina takes a moment to shrug, then visibly brush it off and follow along with us, wearing an air of nonchalance.

    "Not being able to fly is going to be a problem for mobility."

    "Don't worry dad, we still have constructs. Should we go knock on the door?"

    To be fair, it's a pretty fucking impressive door. The gate to the city is a massive portcullis. Naturally, it's closed. The entire structure must extend at least thirty meters into the air, the slab clearly meant to rise and allow people in under it.

    Ren strolls right up to it and taps 'shave and a haircut' against the stone with the tip of her weapon. "Huh, kinda reminds me of concre-"

    She recoils back from the gate as a vibration begins running through the ground, moving back to the rest of the group. Her and Emil train their weapons on the gate as the slab begins to rise, the vibrations from it making the ground itself tremble as it moves. It stops about three meters up, leaving the gate open.

    What floods through from the other side can only be described as a ghost canine. It's far gone enough I can't tell what kind. The skin is black but stretched like a ragged cloth across something too large for it but instead of muscle or bone underneath it's some kind of pale green... something. The skin is held together by a frame made of what might be bone, or maybe metal made to look like it. The whole thing only has a dog-shape because it was made to look like a dog. The shit shifting around under their skin puts me in mind for half a second of parasites swimming around inside an insects body and -

    Don't fight it. Use it.

    - the indigo staff changes color right about the same moment the dozens of abominations reach us.

    Emil and Ren open fire, the light pulses shredding the things apart. Where they do damage, where the frames or skin are broken, the green shit inside spills out like caustic acid. Elise forms a wall in front of us right as the pulses rip the first ones apart, her barrier visibly abrading where its getting hit with the things guts. Then suddenly we're surrounded by orange fighters streaming around Elise's wall, kamikaze'ing against the acid dogs and simply respawning from Mina's ring while she stands behind us.

    I raise my left hand and -

    Destruction.

    - a wave arcs outward in front of us, hitting Elise's barrier from behind and shattering it, then continuing forward and shredding the remaining acid dogs and orange slaves apart. Beside me, Elise shakes her hand out from the feedback, then turns to look at me and realizes I've changed color, taking a step back from me.

    I don't move for a moment, sort of... not basking exactly, but trying to hold onto the feeling, the emotion of fear. To remember it before it slips away again.

    Then it's gone. The staff flickers back to indigo, the sigil within correcting itself.

    For half a second I feel a sense of loss before it slips away too. The entire group is now looking at me save for Mina, who's walking around them in a wide circle to approach the gate.

    "Are... you okay, dude?" Ren pokes the side of my head lightly, looking a bit concerned.

    I nod slowly, then sigh. "Yeah. C'mon, let's get going."

    As I walk past them, the others exchange looks for a second, then turn to follow.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
  23. Threadmarks: With Dauntless Might - 02
    AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    "Why did the gate open?" We're carefully making our way towards the center of the city, having passed the first wall. Once the initial wave of demon-dogs was fought off, we haven't seen anything. "I can't think of a good reason for it."

    "Trap, you think?" Ren's gotten quieter, moving from bar-brawler mentality to professional soldier. "All these nice, narrow streets. Good for ambushes."

    "Just keep your eyes open."

    I'm following behind Elise and Mina, keeping both of them in my sights for now. Elise seems relatively calm but Mina's tail won't stop twitching and her ring is glowing furiously. Not sure what's going on there.

    "Have you not been here before, Mina?"

    "No. Just because you saw us together doesn't make me, Nemesis and Vera friends or anything. I'm here together with you two, after all."

    "Us four. We count too, cupcake." Ren rumbles it at her without taking her eyes off the road in front of us.

    "I suppose." Mina shrugs it off, sounding uninterested. "I don't like Nemesis much. Aside from the fact his chosen name is really fucking lame, he's a jackass and likes to mess with people. I have better things to do with my day than entertain a clown."

    "So why'd you show up with them before?"

    "Where do you think I got all my construct slaves from? Didn't you look at them? They're not Tovari."

    I frown, thinking back. "I wasn't paying them much attention, I just assumed you were creating them with the ring."

    "No. He paid me in people. The concubines are fun, but I didn't have much use for a bunch of slave-laborers who only needed to be fed so I turned them into orange light instead. Now I don't have to feed them and they don't even mind their role."

    Elise is looking at her completely blank-faced but everything I know about her says she is probably seething right now.

    "Mina?"

    "Mmmm?"

    "We don't like slaves. We don't like slavers. The more you talk like that, the more you make us hate you. Since we need to work together here, stop talking about slaves." Elise narrows her eyes at her. "But when we're done here..."

    Mina makes a dismissive gesture at her. "Yes, yes. I'm so very threatened." She sounds bored. "Anyways, no, I'm not Nemesis's drinking buddy. My stake in this isn't anything more than the fact he's apparently been messing with my central battery. Nobody gets to fuck with what's mine." She growls the last sentence out.

    As we come out from the narrow street we pass into what might be generously called a town square, though it's neither at the center of anything, nor particularly square. An open courtyard of paved stone. Arrayed out in the courtyard are what might be called troops. At the vanguard are some more of the demon-dogs and it looks like their handlers are some kind of onyx-colored elves. Their skin reminds me volcanic glass. Shiny, dark enough to make them look like moving shadows. Only the ring enhancing my vision is allowing me to pick up on details.

    They don't have hair. Only ritual scarring, the design different for each of them. They're dressed in what might actually be considered half decent armor, leather with plating over it.

    Alert! Runic etchings match known examples of sygaldry.

    A few flashes of some of Mina's armor comes to mind. Interesting, it looks like they're using the same style of bound spells. Was she lying about not having much to do with Nemesis? Not a happy thought.

    The armor plating itself is black with yellow highlights and even bears the sigil of fear on them, but no glowing. No use of the yellow light at all, it seems they just adopted it as his standard. Behind them tower three... things. Built like a silverback, they don't stand up so much as they partially lean on their knuckles. But they're no ape. They don't have skin, only chitin plating. The 'arms' and 'legs' look sort of humanoid but they're plated like armor, only the armor is uneven and clearly organic. The faces are a horror. A distended jaw that splits sideways with several tentacles dangling from a mouth with far too many teeth, the insides bearing preying mantis style mandibles that shift and move along with the tentacles. I don't see any eyes on the face but there's plenty of eyes all over the body. They have hair but it's shaggy, dirty looking and matted.

    What the fuck has this guy been doing here?

    The moment they spot us the demon-dogs charge, bearing down on us hard in an attempt to swamp us with whatever pus-acid they're supposed to be filled with. No, I don't feel hopeful about a peaceful resolution, here.

    But destroying these things means nobody else will ever have to deal with them ever again and I won't lose sleep over that.

    Ren and Emil are opening fire already, spreading out left and right of us to give us clear line of sight. Which us good because when I manifest the construct sniper rifle I can see Emil take one look at it, recognize it and then start gesturing frantically at Ren to get behind me.

    Then I manifest five more around me and even Elise begins to look a little concerned.

    When I open fire the air begins to hiss and pop violently, like tar that's been heated up too hot. Ren and Emil both cover their eyes and look away but Elise and Mina merely blink as their rings compensate for the glare. The air around me burns blue as the ring provides a real-time charge count meter overlaid on my vision that I can visibly see going down as I fire these guns. Each shot is knocking out nearly 8% of the rings charge, but the bombardment shreds the demon dogs, everything behind the demon dogs - about 1/3 of their handlers - and two of the giant abominations. The dog-things explode, hitting the ones next to them which makes them explode, a few of the handlers getting hit with it and screaming in a wet, gurgling kind of way for a few seconds as they're melted. The shots tear out the legs and lower body of one of the giant abominations, the other one getting its entire face disappeared (along with everything behind it) as it crouched down to begin charging us.

    Alert! Ten percent charge threshold reached.

    The construct guns disappear while Emil and Ren whip around to open fire with their much less powerful infantry weapons. Mina begins manifesting her construct soldiers again and Elise forms a bubble shield around us while the others take point.

    "Recharge quickly. And Ainsley?"

    I pull the blue battery out of my rings pocket. "Yes?"

    "At the end of this, one way or another, I am going to kill Mina."
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
  24. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    You mean "blue lantern" right? The blue battery is still at the Anomaly Temple.

    And I feel like Elise is misunderstanding Mina a tad. Mina is not a slaver, nor is orange ring assimilation slavery, rather East Tovalon is a slavery society that produced Mina (who is apathetic towards keeping or losing her living slaves), and orange light assimilation is just orange colored necromancy.

    Now, if this is about Mina being on Elise's last nerve by managing to push every cultural button at once by accident, then by all means Elise, feel free to teach Mina to fear you, and if Mina ends up dying before you reach your catharsis, oh well, I'm sure sticking and orange ring on Ainsley's finger will update his emotions to make him properly want you, I'm sure that dearly departed Mina would have wanted it used that way... ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
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  25. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    No, he thinks of his personal lantern as a battery. It recharges things, after all. The central battery is just a bigger battery.

    Elise really hates slavery and Mina keeps referring to them as slaves. It's a cultural thing for genkits, I'm not sure how to draw a simile. You know how Germans feel about neo-nazi's? The sheer vehemence they go after fascists these days? Imagine something like that combined with the utter hate that rangers have for poachers and you get an idea of how genkits feel about the idea of forced servitude. Mina is not only hitting every cultural button wrong but Elise just doesn't like her personality to begin with.

    Now, whether Elise and Mina are a fair fight, that's a more interesting question.
     
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  26. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    LOL NO :V

    Anybody Elise chooses to starts a fight with, Ainsley will end that fight in Elise's favor.

    Not even something dumb like "honey this a fight between women back off and let me have this" or "you need all your focus to hold the black hole back to save the planet while I cover your back via smacking a bitch" would stop Ainsley from making his opinion of "combatants targeting Elise" very, very final.
     
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  27. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

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    A lotta things can happen between here and the end of this arc, who knows?
     
  28. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

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    Yeah right, as if Ainsley would let himself being trapped in an extra-omniversal oubliette or being on his deathbed stop him from letting Elise get in over her head, casting-from-last-hit-point be damned. :oops:

    Why, it would take complete and total dessication of Ainsley's emotional capacities to prevent Ainsley from helping Elise in a fight, and what are the odds of that happening? ;)

    Eh?

    Ehhhh?

    :V
     
    ChestBurster and NightmareWarden like this.
  29. AverusBlack

    AverusBlack AKA Sky

    Joined:
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    Oh yes, it would take the end of the world to stop him.
     
  30. mastermenthe

    mastermenthe Mint Thistle

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2018
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    .......

    On a scale of Sargeras to Nicol Bolas to Trigon to Varga, just how dangerous is this demon lord Nemesis is summoning?

    (Please don't say Excrucian Warmain, please don't say Excruscian Warmain...)
     
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