Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony Lady Profanity

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It had been weeks since the letters were sent out and answered, travel plans exchanged and approved, bags packed and lives organized around a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a number of Fragmented to sate the longing in their chests. Some came hoping for the best, some fearing the worst, but still they came, united by the fact that, whatever their reasons, they were all prepared to take a chance.

The sky above the mountaintop estate swarmed with activity as helicopters danced around each other, two chartered by the Abramson twins themselves and others owned by some of the wealthy guests. Those arriving by helicopter got a breathtaking view of the estate from above on approach; the whole thing was housed within a roughly circular plateau in the mountain, walled in on all sides by rough stone peaks blanketed in evergreen trees. The plateau itself was home to a small river, cascading down from a picturesque waterfall on the east side of the mountain, which fed into a lake to the north. Nestled near the river were five large, identical houses, and jutting out onto the lake was another building, accompanied by a wharf.

Those coming up the mountain by shuttle got to experience an oft-intense ride up the mountainside, occasionally threading through narrow passes and around sheer drops as the drivers navigated the winding road expertly. Upon reaching the plateau, these guests were driven through an ornate iron gate at the only entrance accessible by ground and up a hedge-trimmed driveway, where they got to see what the helicopter arrivals couldn’t until landing: the manor itself.

The manor was grand, to say the least; nestled against the western wall of the plateau, it would easily be larger than any home most of the guests would ever have seen. It was three storeys in most places, two in the wings, framed at the front with a circular driveway leading to a rounded outcropping for the entrance, and set into the landscape by an array of bushes and flowering plants. The most striking features, however, were two parts of the mansion which jutted out above the rest; at the far north end of the manor, a thin tower reached an easy storey above the rest of the structure, topped with a small round room domed in glass. In the centre, a much more striking structure rose just as tall, a massive glass dome that drew to a pointed tip, tall enough to touch the last few rays of sunlight falling into the plateau as the gloom of evening set in. The structure looked almost too fragile to stand, like an ornate birdcage replicated in glass, and if one looked closely they could see the silhouettes of all manner of tropical foliage within.

Guests stepped out of their respective vehicles and were scanned by security personnel; weapons and drugs were confiscated with a promise of safekeeping and return, quicker and more thoroughly than most gatherings half this size could manage. Luggage was taken care of by attendants while guests were led past the manor’s gardens to the entrance, where the opening festivities were taking place.

The main foyer looked more like a ballroom than an entryway, with a pair of ornate double doors opening into a large circular room with a two-storey ceiling, backed on the far wall with a twin set of curved staircases leading up to the open loft corridors of the second storey. The walls were paneled in dark wood and drew the eye up to the ceiling, where a massive crystal chandelier cast a warm glow of diffused light onto the gathering below. The first few guests to arrive, however, would find that the focal point of the foyer was not the chandelier, but the floor; a veritable expanse of shining white limestone inlaid with a smoky marble mandala, exquisitely designed with a complex motif in a style no one could quite recognize. In the air above everyone’s heads, colourful paper birds drifted about in all shapes and sizes, with no tethers to be seen. A few guests whispered about the quality - and naturally, the cost - of such lifelike looking holograms, a hint to how large of an undertaking that this gathering must have been.

There were open bars staffed by sharply-dressed bartenders on either side of the room, and similarly dressed servers wandered the room with trays of food and drink while a few hulking security personnel stood watch by the entrance, periodically muttering something unintelligible into something on their wrists. One thing every server had in common, and every guest for that matter, was an earpiece clipped over each ear, connected with a thin wire and looking vaguely similar to antique Bluetooth devices.

It was one of these devices that each guest received upon entering the manor. With just a few words to the server woman distributing them and a quick adjustment of settings, each one popped to life in the ears of its wearer, and instantly the low hum of a room full of dozens of different spoken languages became comprehensible, everything from direct conversation to overheard snippets translated flawlessly into the wearer’s preferred language. Some of the wealthier guests gathered in excited clusters after first activating theirs, gushing over the device’s ability to translate conversations without delay and in the speaker’s own voice, a feature not yet on the market in any model of translator.

Guests milled about the foyer as more trickled in, dressed in a range of styles from all over the world. The disparity of wealth in the room was distinct, and it was clear that people of all backgrounds had been invited; some more simply dressed guests stood out against the lavish background of the manor, while wealthy guests dressed to impress, looking like any one of them could have owned the massive estate. For a while though, the actual hosts were nowhere to be seen.

About an hour into the gathering, when every guest had finally been accounted for, some could notice the security personnel and servers nodding to each other, apparently listening to something in their ears. A hush fell over the crowd when every server looked up to the landing at the top of the staircases, guests following their gaze in anticipation. The light from the chandelier dimmed, and the paper birds above cast a soft glow as the hush in the crowd deepened, interrupted only by a few excited whispers.

Suddenly, the low music that had been playing came to a crescendo and some of the floating paper birds rushed to a corner of the upper loft, and emerged again swirling around a man walking out from the right side, smiling wide and waving to the crowd below. The man was tall and thin, with straw-blond hair and dressed in an outfit that might have been outlandish under different circumstances. It was reminiscent of a slim-fit white suit, with a pair of long coattails trailing behind and accompanied by black riding-style boots. Dusty pink accents around his cuffs and lapel livened up the look, but the most notable part was the cut-out window on the right side of his abdomen, which stretched from his upper ribs to his hip and drew to a point on the left side of his ribcage, exposing a thin and wiry frame beneath.

As he approached the centre, another flock of paper birds rushed to the opposite end of the landing, where emerged another man, equally tall and lanky and identical to the first, save for his head of shock-white hair and slightly more muscular build. His clothing was a mirror image of the other’s, trimmed in light blue with the cut-out on his left side. He approached much less extravagantly, shaking his head and chuckling at the other man's antics.

The paper birds dispersed when the two men reached the centre landing, and the light came back up, revealing the purpose of the cut-outs in their suits. In the light, the crowd could see large, tattoo-like markings stretching from each man’s side and across their abdomens; when they stood together they formed the motif of a blooming lotus, the righthand man’s in pink, and the lefthand man’s in blue. A few in the crowd gasped when they realized what they were looking at: unmistakable marks of the Reunited.

“Good evening!” the blond man called to the crowd, smiling wide, “and welcome to The Winds!”

The crowd broke into quiet applause, which continued only a moment before the white-haired man put up a hand. “Welcome indeed,” he repeated, tossing the other man a sidelong glance. “I am Isaac Abramson, and my showboating brother here is Raphael. Together we are the owners of this estate, and more importantly, the hosts of this gathering.”

“We are thrilled to be hosting an event such as this, and humbled by your attendance,” Raphael continued. “It is our hope that you all find your visit with us worthwhile, be it in finding your other half, or simply taking comfort in the company of people who understand you.”

“Indeed,” Isaac added. “My brother and I are among the lucky few to have Reunited at birth, but we recognize that not all are so fortunate.” His tone grew somber. “For years we have enjoyed the benefits of Reuniting, all too aware that we reaped rewards that many like us might never experience in their lifetimes. We’ve done what we could over the years to help other Fragmented find the peace that we were blessed with, but our efforts so far have been… less effective than we’d hoped.”

“So we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands,” Raphael announced proudly. “With the costs of finding one’s soulmate so dear and the consequences of becoming Lost so great, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to gather as many of you - of the world’s Fragmented - in one place as possible, and your response has been beyond our most hopeful expectations. With luck, we are hopeful that many of you will find your other halves here.”

Isaac smiled, and the mood of the room grew instantly brighter. “But we know you didn’t come here to listen to us. Therefore we invite you to relax and enjoy yourselves, and take advantage of every amenity The Winds has to offer. When you’ve had your fill of the evening, one of the attendants can show you to your lodging. Thank you all for taking this chance, and may luck be on your side.”

With that, the lighting went back to normal and the music resumed, a thrum of conversation rising once more as the guests resumed the party. Before they descended to mingle with the crowd, Raphael leaned towards Isaac.

“I thought we agreed I’d do the talking,” he murmured, low enough that only his brother could hear.

Isaac rolled his eyes. “Please,” he groaned, though his grin betrayed his amusement. “You always do the talking.”
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by SmokeDragon
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SmokeDragon Oddly Familiar Stranger

Member Seen 3 days ago

The Helicopter ride up to the estate was both exciting and terrifying. The actual flying was the exciting bit, Alex had always wanted to fly in a helicopter, and the view and overall experience were just as exciting as he'd hoped. The terrifying part was sitting in a helicopter, in his finest outfit, next to people in even finer outfits that probably weren't even their finest, on route to one of the fanciest cocktail parties in the world. Some of the other passengers seemed comfortable with the situation, while others not so much. He knew he very much fell into the latter category. He'd tried starting a conversation with the girl next to him, but he deeply regretted it. They'd exchanged names, her name was Felicia, apparently, but she was clearly very nervous. It might be just the situation, she seemed shy and insecure and their conversation had just petered out into awkward silence. After that, Alex had focused on the view from the helicopter and was deeply looking forward to getting a drink or five.

Once they arrived at the mountaintop, Alex was awestruck, and it seemed even the wealthier guests in the helicopter were stunned, as all conversation in the helicopter stopped. By the time the initial shock was fading, they'd landed, and Alex had to get up, and out of the helicopter, half in a daze. After being searched with surprising efficiency and politeness, better in both ways by miles, compared to the treatment he'd gotten at the airport, he handed his stylish black and green coat, fully revealing his matching green and black robes, trimmed with actual silver (which, while expensive, had been much cheaper than he'd expected, increasing the price of his outfit only by 10% or so), over to one of the servants, and entered the main venue.

Alex seemed to be among the first to get there, as there were only around 15 guests about, most from the helicopter he'd come in. Still stunned by the grandeur of it all, he grabbed a drink of an offered tray absentmindedly, and just took in the scene. The floor was a piece of art, and he almost felt bad walking on it. No doubt it'd not take much of this floor to eclipse his house back home in value. Though there were a few people that, like him, looked uncomfortable, he still felt massively out of place. He'd emptied the first drink before he'd even really noticed. For his second, he tried to sip the champagne, not drink it, but that too went quite quickly. For the third one, I actually managed to do what he knew you were actually supposed to do, pretend to sip at it occasionally, but only really holding the drink in your hand to look fancy.

With a slight buss on, the situation was much more manageable, and people kept flooding into the foyer. Alex struck up conversations with few of them but hadn't had much luck so far, and the entire thing felt very awkward, which was part of the reason he'd struggled to not just get drunk. But he knew it was a bad idea to get actually drunk, at very least this early. He'd not come here to get thrown out for vomiting on a marble floor worth more than his house, after all. Though, the idea seemed tempting.

Around half an hour into the party, Alex finally got a bit lucky, as a fairly pretty woman roughly his age approached him. "Hello, fancy party, almost too fancy, no?" (That's an unused colour, right?) She said, with a clear French accent which probably meant she was speaking English herself, instead of using the translator.
"Yea, bit fancier than what I'm used to, that's for sure. I'm Alex, by the way."
"Pleased to meet you Alex. My name's Emile Bisset. What iss your last name, Alex?"
"Oh, right sorry, umm, my name's Alexander King, but I umm, I usually just go by Alex. Oh, and nice to meet you too Emile. God, I'm making such a fool of myself, aren't I?"
"Nono, not at all, it's refreshing, don't worry about it." The last part came in perfect English, which surprised Alex a bit before he realised she must have said that part in french, and the translator had kicked in.
"So, umm, what do you do, Emile?"
"I am a Doctor, what about you, Alex?"
"Oh, I, um, I'm just an electrician. It's not much, but it's honest work."
"Oh, a proper working man, always prefer that to paper pushers. Must say I did not expect it though. Your outfit does not exactly scream manual labour."
"Haha, well, I'd certainly never wear it to work, that's for sure. Almost wish I'd just come in a suit though, leas then I'd blend in more with the, what do I say, umm, other wage workers? "
"Oh, nonsense! You look great. Besides, a 'King' should not wish to fade into the masses, no?"
"Hahaha, pretty sure there's plenty folk here that's much closer to being royalty than me, despite the name."
So what? You should still-" Whatever Emile was about to say, was interrupted, as an Asian looking woman bumped into her. "Watch where you're going you-" Emile started, but as the two of them locked eyes, she turned silent, and after a few seconds of staring at each other, the two of them embraced each other and started aggressively making out. Since it looked like they'd be at it for a while, Alex said a quiet "See you later, Emile." though he doubted he heard or cared if she did, and walked away, finding a spot to stand that wasn't quite as awkward to stand at. Alex took to sipping his drink again, lost in thought about how it'd be when, if, he reminded himself, he found his soul mate, Like Emile just had.

Alex had just taken the first sip of his fourth drink when the twins made their entrance. And what an entrance it was. Alex was pretty sure he'd not even seen people in movies make one like that. Alex was almost too stunned by it to pay attention to their speech, but managed to pay at least some attention. Once they were done, and the people started talking again, Alex took a deep sip of his drink, and half-whispered "I am so out of place..."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Achronum
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Achronum The Pyro

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The anticipation for the event was brutal. Jacob fell asleep at the piano more often than his own room as he tried to assuage his nerves through practice, His dad probably would have lectured Jacob if he hadn’t been travelling, another long night of making sleeping plans and discussing healthier habits coupled with a few more appointments with Theresa. He quite liked Theresa, his therapist of a few years at this point. The sessions felt more like two friends shooting the breeze rather than a doctor listening to the word vomit as they trick your insecurities into rearing their ugly mugs. When he had time, Jacob liked to bring her favorite coffee from the little coffee shop that opened in the office building on Twelfth she recommended last year and she’d bring in the thumbprint cookies. He’d been begging for that recipe since he started seeing her but it was a damn family recipe. He secretly believed she used it to bribe him into talking on bad days―not so secret anymore since he accused her as she took the first sip of coffee and it came out her nose she laughed so hard―and the waiting was bad. She had them nearly every day. He couldn’t bring himself to take off the bracelet that covered his mark, even when he slept.

But now as he leaned against the cool glass of the bus, the waiting seemed like nothing. His nerves now made every second feel both too quick and too slow as he got closer to the chance to find his soulmate. Even his normal methods, reviewing sheet music or competing with the squad to find the most outrageous memes, didn’t seem to wind him down. He felt like he read the same bars fifty times before the notes ran together and his phone didn’t get signal this far up. So he was forced to gaze out over the scenery.

It was breathtaking. Even as they hugged a turn a tad too close or an unexpected decline made his stomach drop, he couldn’t quite shake the desire to feel the cold mountain wind against his skin or wander aimlessly among the thick blanket of evergreens. The city had nothing as serene as this; nothing but thick air and steel and concrete as far as the eye can see, either frigid and biting or unrelentingly hot. Out here, even the chill of the cold mountain air soothed rather than bit and the pleasant aroma of nature―real evergreens, not some sickly sweet imitation―beckoned its visitors into its open arms and whispered tales of planting roots.

Jacob startled back to attention as they pulled into the house, his breath catching at the sight. Even his home city struggled to command such majesty and wealth in the manner this mansion did. He stumbled out of the car, legs pricking from sitting in one position too long, and he gently pressed the wrinkles out of his suit. It wasn’t anything special, just the standard tuxedo he’d wear for recitals and competitions. He slipped on his gloves, a habit he learned from a professor of his, and fiddled absently with his necklace as he followed the captivated crowd into the building. He couldn’t possibly believe it was someone’s home. It must be rental space, made specifically for outlandish occasions such as hopefully bringing together soulmates.

The thought brought back the worry as he got a weak mojito from the bar and he ducked out of the group after their hosts’ introduction, getting directions to a restroom from a server. It felt like his pre show nerves but worse. Everything he’d gone through flashed past his mind’s eye as he locked the door to the extravagant restroom, splashing a bit of water on his face after he put down his drink. He stared at himself in the mirror for several long seconds, worrying the clasp on his bracelet. What if he couldn’t find them, what if he was List? What if his mom was right and it turned out exactly as she predicted.

“You will find your soulmate. You will find your soulmate. You will find your soulmate.” Jacob repeated to himself. Third times the charm, Christopher always said. He took that advice and ran with it when he started looking for ways to escape his performance nerves. Hopefully, he could apply it here too. “You will not be Lost. You will not be Lost. You will not be Lost.” He felt a little better, enough that he took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and…


The bracelet dropped into the sink. He stared at it for a bit before pocketing the item. He was in a room full of people just like him, with the same hopes and dreams and fears. If they all had the courage to face this, then he could too. He took a long sip of his drink, the extra mint giving him a bit of extra pep, and he swung open the door, an excited shine in his eye and a bounce in his step.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Angel Vicky
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Angel Vicky The Angel of Valhalla

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~Varia Crest~

“Varia if you cancel this wedding, you are NOT to return to this house, do you understand?!” An older woman’s voice shouted as Varia hurled a suitcase toward the grand door of a mansion interior. “If I find my soulmate, I won’t bother coming home at all, Mother!” She slammed the front door as she left.

Varia Crest woke with a gasp, she found herself in the helicopter having dosed off from her rather arduous journey from Britain. The view was certainly breath-taking, that she admitted. She leaned up against the window and placed a rather delicate hand against the pane to peer down at the waterfall below. She sighed as she thought of this risk she was taking of losing her home, her family and her future successes. All for the sake of someone she hadn’t even met, yet knew was out there for her. But if she did Reunite with someone romantically, how could she go back and marry someone she didn’t even like very much? All for the purpose of keeping up appearances in high society. She hated this arranged marriage, it was only a matter of time though before she became a Lost. Then she needn’t worry about living long enough to put up with it.

Adorned in her finest dress for the occasion, of pearlescent white that hugged her pear shaped frame up to the halter type neckline and a plunging back line that stopped just short of the small of her back to reveal soft skin, not too pale and not too tanned. She fiddled with the engagement ring on her finger, a diamond that was easily worth £100K. She contemplated removing it for the duration of her stay. But that would be lying, and she was an honest girl. Her soulmate had to accept her life situation and all its dramas it presented. If anything, it was nice to just get away from her life and forget her troubles of a far right wing family of elitists that suffocated her and controlled every aspect of her social life. However, they had no control over who her soulmate was.

The helicopter landed and there she could see the mansion in all its glory. It put her family’s ten bedroomed estate to shame. As she was helped down from the chopper and then scanned for malicious artefacts, she stood silent for a moment to admire the architecture of the building. After she was permitted to go inside, the first thing that drew her eyes were the displays of holographic birds. Being an animal lover, she certainly felt captivated by them. Certainly no expense spared at this party. While, she did not feel out of place at one of these types of events, she still felt nervous amongst people she didn’t know. She had a sheltered life, she was always fawned over and fussed over. Here, nobody had to suck up to her in front of her rich parents and pretend to be nice.

She caught herself staring at some of the ornate decoration, although she was stood still, she did not see the oncoming hazard that was a guest nearly knocking her over. She gasped as she stumbled, she turned to the red headed female who walked into her. “Watch where you’re going blondie!” She scorned and walked off. Varia rubbed her arm where she’d been elbowed. “Sorry…my fault…” She apologised even though it was not she who wasn’t watching where she was going. The lass seemed a little inebriated already. Couldn’t hold her liquor. Varia now felt like a fish out of water. People were rude when they didn’t need to be. She was used to dealing with pleasant, albeit fake, people. Perhaps it was a mistake to come here? After all, what were the chances that she would find her soulmate here? They could be in fact, dead already. With her luck, they were. She felt a little envious of the couples who had already reunited and some couples were making out hard. Although it made her slightly uncomfortable, they had a passion she only ever dreamed of. She hadn’t even so much as kissed a boy, except her fiancé and even then it was just a peck. She had no time for dating during her academic studies, conservation work and philanthropist activities.

Before she could wander off and explore the gardens and terraces before retiring to her room for the eve, the music suddenly reached a crescendo, causing her to gaze up as the birds projected their luminescence toward the top of the grand staircase. Her eyes lit up as they darted toward the corner and swirled around whom she assumed was one of the Abramson twins. Looking dapper and majestic. Suddenly there were two of them, it slightly outrageous outfits with large cut outs. The reason being their reunited mark to proudly display. It was truly a sight to behold.

Varia smiled as Isaac criticised his twin for showboating. She listened to their speech intently, learning their story of how fortunate they both were to have been Reunited at birth. She felt more heart warmed by their presence now and she hoped to be able to speak with them both later but as they left the stage, she knew they would be swarmed. She took this chance to go get a drink at the bar. “Peach Bellini please.” She asked the bar tender and waited for him to make her drink as she leaned against the counter. She liked her drinks sweet and her tastes were expensive. And though she came from money, all the money in the world could not buy her happiness. A happiness she was missing from her life.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Trainerblue192
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Milo Thatch

The day had finally arrived, one that Milo was dreading ever since Ana had told him about her brilliant idea. His eyes glanced over his room once more, looking to see if he had forgotten to pack anything, then taking to check his vintage leather suitcase to ensure he had enough clothes for the duration of the stay. A small sigh slipped out as he ran his hand through his hair wondering what he was supposed to do for a whole week. He glanced at his leather and gold watch, a gift from his father, noting he still had plenty of time before he had to drive out to the airport and had come to the conclusion he could do a bit of filming before he left. Milo took his camera, tripod, and controller over towards his usual filming spot, his grey fabric couch that was nestled between two large windows, large indoor plants, and right before his brick wall interior. He sat down before the camera and stared at it blankly, this would be his second coming out video. One for being gay, and now another for being fragmented. He reached his hand out and clicked the controller telling his camera to begin recording, another sigh releasing as he attempted to find the words.

”Hey guys, it’s me Milo. So todays video is going to be somewhat different than my usual postings. As will a series of other videos that will be coming out later. You may have already guessed it by the title but...I am fragmented. Now don’t worry, I’m not Lost and I’m sure some of you may be concerned but I’m fine, really. Turns out some extremely wealthy Reunited have decided to throw the party of parties in an attempt to get as many Fragmented to Reunite as they can. I doubt it’ll be anything like the movies and I’m sure enough not holding out any hope for a Romantic bond, but I’m sure Goose would love another friend to visit him at the house. Isn’t that wight whittle buddy? So I welcome you all to my series that i will be starting, ‘Fragmented, But Not Broken’, where i will document myself, the party (as much as I’m allowed to), as well as my own personal experiences and feelings to help shed some insight on what it means to be Fragmented, Reunited, and hopefully not Lost. After the series has finished airing I will take to Twitter, Instagram, and Ofcourse the comment section below for some Q&A questions submitted by you guys in an attempt to answer as much as i can about this world spread phenomenon. As always, this is your friendly neighborhood Milo signing off.”

Milo sat in silence for a moment after the camera had turned off, staring at his reflection in the dark lense. He gave Goose a few more pats and chin scratched before grabbing his luggage and heading out. Ana was more than glad to be taking care of his cat while he was gone, she was over all the time anyways so it was the least she could do while she stole his Netflix and Hulu. His trip to the airport was uneventful and he spent the entire flight on his laptop, editing the footage he had just made so that it could hopefully go up later that night or the next morning. A bit of a time crunch all things considered, but it would be week long project just to get a film in every night and hopefully get the videos up once a week or if possible every other day.

Once he had arrived at a station where he could choose to be lifted off or driven to the estate, there was a small room in which guests were allowed to change for the evenings cocktail party. He quickly swapped out of his typical garb and put on some dark tweed pants, a cotton grey button up with his sleeves rolled 3/4 of the way up his arm and the top button undone, some black suspenders, and a pair of dark leather oxfords. He came out ready for adventure and chose to take the helicopter up to the estate, deciding that some aerial shots would make for great content. Milo took the seat closest to the opening of the chopper and had a steady cam ready, filming the trees, mountains, and beautiful scenery as the flew up and across the owners land, opting to exclude any building or private residences so that no one could attempt to find the owners after the series was released.

”What an amazing view! Do you suppose the whole stay will be this breathtaking?”

”One could only assume. I tried googling them before accepting and not much had come up. Anyone able to be this much of a social media ghost must have wealth beyond comprehension. Names Jerrod by the way, what’s yours?”

If Milo were to turn, he would see a tall thin framed man with pale skin addressing him. He had raven dark hair that contrasted the fair complexion and rose red lips. Some could say he was a real life Snow White. Milo ofcourse did not turn to look as he was busy grabbing some b-roll for his upcoming videos.

”Names Milo, also known as ThatcherLo across all social media platforms. Don’t worry about the speech by the way I’m gonna dump the audio and add some non-copyrighted music to the background for some b-roll fillers between shoots. Figured if I’m gonna be here I may as well make a documentary on Fragmented to see if all are like me and try to get some guest stars that may want to appear in a video.”

”Sounds cool. I may hit you up later on that offer depending on how this party goes.”

The helicopter ride finally came to an end, landing them near a security checkpoint that was more efficient than a Chink-fil-a drive thru line. As Milo stepped up, he placed his hands out to his side so that they may scan, pat, or do whatever was needed before giving him the go ahead to press forward. At this point his luggage had been taken but he held on to his DSLR camera and a collapsible tripod which was currently in his pocket. He filmed the grande exterior as well as the ornate mosiac flooring, taking in every detail that he could before he spotted security and quickly put the lense cap back on. Milo was handed a universal translator, one far more advanced than the one he currently had equipped, replacing his own with it and hearing the cacophony of sound burst to life as it was all intricately translated to his language. He pulled his camera out once more and turned it towards himself, filming his reactions as he waded through the crowd. His eyes stopped for a moment and his jaw dropped as he stared off into space the camera couldn’t quite reach.

”Oh my gosh, what’s this feeling? It’s...it’s...boredom. Geeze, I’m gonna go grab a drink and mingle. Can’t film at the moment but I’ll be back on as soon as I’m able to.”

Milo made his way over towards the bar and ordered a Long Island iced tea. Taking his metal straw out of its case and clinking it into his glass. He sipped on his drink as he watched a few people become reunited. Some people felt the need to suck face, something that Milo really didn’t understand, while others embraced in longing hugs as if they were best friends who hadn’t seen each other in years, a few created great tension in the air as they stared aggressively towards one another before storming off in opposite directions. There certainly was no shortage of emotions here, and no shortage of wealth either. The twins were clearly something akin to Mr. Hammond from the Criton series, sparing no expense for their little project. As time passed by a garish display was pressed before him as the twins made their arrival. Milo couldn’t help but roll his eyes and wonder how long he would last at such an affair.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by LadyAnnaLee
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LadyAnnaLee Nine Sided Awesomeness. Nine Sided Glory

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This wasn’t the first time Ashe Cross was on a plane. Grandma and Grandpa Davidson lived in Florida and Grandma and Grandpa Cross lived in Louisiana. Flying was something they had done every year for as long as they could remember. Still, this was the longest that they had been on a plane and this was their first international flight. Ashe was looking forward to it and enjoyed watching out the window as all the land changed underneath them. At one point they fell asleep and only woke up to the announcement that they were beginning their descent. Ashe rubbed at their eyes before stretching out and making sure their seat belt was buckled. Luckily the landing went smoothly as she filled out the form to declare anything they might want to declare.

The first thing Ashe did after getting of the plane was to find a bathroom. They were heading to a cocktail party and hadn’t wanted to wear their party outfit for 5 plus hours on the plane. It wasn’t that difficult to change into the pressed white pants, neat blue button up shirt, suspenders, and fancy-dress shoes that Ashe had purchased specifically for this party. It was the biggest party of the young 23-year old’s life so far. They wanted to make a at least a decent impression; even if they didn’t think they anything would come of it. Their shoulder length curly hair was tied back into a simple ponytail before being toped with a white headband. For a moment the young adult wished they hadn’t packed their binder in the checked bags. Still their gender wasn’t perfectly clear, and that was just the way Ashe wanted it.

The next step was customs, and that was a new experience for Ashe as well. The customs agent asked, “Name and purpose of visit.”

Ashe responded in what they hoped was a polite manner, “Ashe Cross.” They handed over their passport, “I was invited to spend a week in The Winds; an estate owned by Isaac and Raphael Abramson.”

The customs agent’s eyes were drawn to the black band on Ashe’s right wrist. They quickly shoved their hand in they pocket as the customs agent asked, “Anything to declare?”

Ashe smiled as she handed over the document that they had filled out on the flight, “Nope!”

The customs agent handed back the passport, “Have a nice stay Ms. Cross.”

Ashe took the passport with their left hand, “Thank you.”

Then they were off to the luggage carousel to pick up their twin suitcases. Their passport was tucked inside their carry on, so they would have both hands free. It wasn’t long before the black rolling bags with yellow ribbons tied to the handle were collected. Ashe had brought two bags, hopefully, with enough clothes to last a week. They took a handle in each hand and then wandered aimlessly for a moment before they saw a man in a black suit holding a sign that read, “Shuttle to The Winds.” Ashe made their way over and loaded up their bags before taking a seat. They weren’t the first one on the shuttle, but the back-corner seat was still free so that was the spot Ashe took. They looked at the window and ignored the other passengers. Soon enough the shuttle was full, and they were off.

Ashe watched out the window as the sun set over the mountains. It was stunning. They had never seen such a sight before. It was alluring. There was some chatter from other passengers, but Ashe ignored them for the most part. They had never seen real mountains before. Even if they didn’t accomplish their main goal at least they would get to do a little bit of exploring. That would sure to be exciting. To be honest Ashe didn’t think their main objective would be reached. The odds were just stacked against them. Though this was the largest number of Fragmented they had ever seen in one spot, and this was just a fraction of the party attendees. Maybe the universe would give them a miracle.

Ashe was the last one off the shuttle and as such the last to join the security line. They were still impressed with how fast the security check went. Their bags were taken away by staff members and they followed the crowd into the main foyer. Okay, there were too many people in this room. Ashe had just gotten here and already wanted to leave. Instead they focused on making sure their translator was in their ear properly. It was stunning! Gamer’s Nightmare had a translation program, but it was nowhere near as smooth as this. Ashe found themselves being distracted by conversation after conversation as they let the ebb and flow of bodies push them to a bar a little ways away from the main gathering.

They spoke to the bartender, “A glass of rosé please.”

The bartender nodded, ”Right away sir.

Ashe nodded in thanks as they waited for their drink. When they received it, they nodded their thanks again before scooting to stand near a window. It was the closest thing they could see towards a corner in the circular room. They didn’t want to stand out too much from the crowd. They took a carefully control sips of their drink. Ashe did not want to get drunk. They wanted just enough of a buzz to take the edges of their nerves off. They grabbed a cracker and a slice of cheese from a tray. They were starving. It would be good to get some food in their stomach. They hadn’t eaten in a while.

Ashe found themselves looking at the people. It was clear that the guests had come here from all over the world and from all walks of life. Some were clearly the elite of the elite. Some looked like it was a good thing they didn’t have to pay for this trip. Ashe was willing to bet that they were somewhere in the middle. They then turned their attention away from people and towards the magnificent room. They pulled their phone out and started taking pictures of the columns and other decorations. The hologram birds were stunning. They were taking pictures of the birds when they moved towards the entrances on the second story.

Ashe watched the hosts enter the room with no limit to the drama. They supposed that it made sense. Anyone, or rather any persons, with enough funds to build this house and put on a party of this magnitude could also afford to be dramatic. Though the pretty speech did remind Ashe why they were here. Ashe looked down at the black band on their wrist. This was their chance to become Reunited. Ashe wasn’t sure they wanted that. In their experience being Reunited was more trouble than it was worth. Besides, they were ace. They didn’t think they wanted a Romantic bond and an Antagonistic bond sounded like it would take too much energy. Besides they couldn’t imagine hating someone without even knowing them. Still, they had promised their dad that they would try. As such they pushed off the wall, grabbed another cracker from a passing waiter and slowly began to mingle. Honestly, what was the worst that could happen? Ashe probably shouldn’t have asked that; even if it was just in their head. They probably just jinxed themselves. They rather suspected that they would wind up back up against the wall at some point soon.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Hero
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Hero The Leading Man

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"God, I hope it's an open bar."

The mutter was lost in the commotion after the twins finished speaking, the man unimpressed with the showmanship. There was little about the speech that really grabbed his attention, and if he was being honest, the only thing that really occupied him was trying to resist the urge to run back to his room to grab a cigarette. Now was as good a time as ever to kick the habit, especially since quitting it cold turkey was his usual way of approaching things. But the longer he lingered, the stronger the urge grew. Figures as much; being surrounded by a surplus of hoity-toity people and a slight worry about Buddy being looked after by strangers did wonders to his nerves.

He should have brought him along, but the long trip seemed to have taken a lot of Buddy's energy. Truthfully, Ray was feeling the travel fatigue as well, but seeing as the gathering was for Fragmented, it was hard to excuse himself to avoid mingling. The estate itself was lovely and he was dying for a chance to take Buddy for a walk to explore the place. The fresh air would probably rid him of some of the jet leg, but for now, getting buzzed was the easiest way to just forget everything and enjoy himself.

Ignoring a majority of the party goers and taking care not to run into anyone, Ray's fingers rapidly tapped the counter as he got to the bar, waving the bartender down as he approached a woman with her drink. "Whiskey, neat," He sighed, running a hand through his hair as he tried to control his hand. He should have gotten more nicotine packs.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Trainerblue192
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Milo Thatch

Interacting with @Hero

Another man walked up towards the bar that Milo had resided himself to, tall guy, built quite well with a nice brunette head of hair. Without turning to look at him, Milo side eyed the man, scanning him up and down judging his appearance as well as how he was carrying himself. He wasn’t much of a drinker which stood in contrast to this strangers order for straight whiskey. He was cute enough, and seemed to be in his own little world as Milo was just moments before. Milo continued to look towards the crowd before him as he spoke just loud enough for Ray to hear.

”Whiskey, now that is neat huh? You don’t quite seem like you want to be here, and quite frankly I don’t blame you. I’d much rather be at home cuddling my little fur baby but...well I’m here. The names Milo, or ThatcherLo on all social media platforms if you follow that sort of thing. I’ve been a YouTuber since before they decided to call themselves content creators and have decided to film my experience here at this...soirée. Which is being made difficult as i cannot film others without express permission so it’ll be a lot of after party vlogging most likely. You’re more than welcome to join me in making a video however.”

Milo didn’t bother extending his hand out for the man to shake, nor would he accept one in return, keeping a good two body widths between them so that he wouldn’t have to worry about personal space. After all, in a party full of fragmented, personal space could save you from being one touch away from a fight. Even now that he witnessed a few romantic bonds form, he was certain that it just wasn’t true. You couldn’t just love somebody like that, that took time, time that corporate companies loved to strip away from base workers and then attempt to feed hope during capitalistic oppurtunites such as Valentine’s Day. No, he was quite certain that what the reunited felt was infatuation, not true love. He turned slightly to face Ray now, a small display to show the man that he was indeed speaking to him.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by blubirb


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Although Sung-il had risen before even the sun that morning, he showed practically no sign of fatigue, even without consuming a preposterous amount of caffeine as he normally did. Excitement was enough to keep him awake. In fact, Sung-il was as cheerful as ever as he flitted from person to person, working his way around the crowded room. As soon as he'd arrived at the twins' estate, he'd wasted no time in introducing himself to other guests, taking it upon himself to try and meet as many other Fragmented people as possible. Even if none of them turned out to be his soulmate, the party was a rare opportunity to befriend those who'd been born with the same mark on their right wrist and he was most definitely not going to walk away having made no new contacts.

Within a short amount of time, Sung-il had engaged in conversations with various people who'd flown in from all over the globe and walked away with several new contacts in his phone. Now, however, he'd decided to sit at the bar, ordering and promptly receiving a gin and tonic, which he barely took a sip out of. He was not normally one to shy away from alcohol, especially at social events, but today was not like any other day and this party was not like any other party. He thought it would be best if he remained as clear headed as possible. Besides, lack of sleep coupled with alcohol would likely end in disaster. Thus, his drink remained mainly ignored as he checked his phone, reading through various messages and emails. There had been a few texts from friends, one from his manager updating him on future bookings, and none from his parents, who were most likely on vacation as well. Making a note to reply to the numerous work emails he'd received later, Sung-il instead responded to the texts from his friends, reassuring them that he'd made it to the estate perfectly intact despite their jokes that the party was simply a ruse and he'd be murdered somewhere secluded in the mountains.

The idea of traveling somewhere or going on a vacation with essentially all expenses paid and the promise of no strings attached was certainly something Sung-il couldn't help but be wary of. The Google search that Sung-il had done on the twins shortly after reading the letter resulting in almost no information did nothing to ease his worries. And yet he had seen the invitation as an once-in-a-lifetime chance and had ultimately decided that he would go regardless of the chances of being murdered. Upon actually arriving at the estate, any remaining worries that Sung-il might've had disappeared. He'd known that the twins were wealthy enough to sponsor an entire event with dozens of guests, but he'd clearly underestimated the full extent of their affluence, especially if they were able to attract a crowd filled with well-known names.

Glancing around, Sung-il recognized guests wearing necklaces or watches that seemed simple but had to have cost a fortune, perhaps even more so than his own attire. After much deliberation, he'd bought an entire set of new clothes despite already having several suits, choosing to wear a thin black turtleneck shirt underneath a gray blazer with skinny light blue vertical stripes and matching trousers along with black shoes. It'd cost even more than he normally spent on clothes, but judging from what the other guests wore, they'd also spared no expense in dressing for the vacation.

Returning his attention back to his phone, Sung-il sent out one last text to his manager before slipping it back into his pocket. Drink in hand, Sung-il stood from his seat and, intending to head back into the crowd, turned around only to be startled into nearly dropping his drink. Standing almost directly in front of him was a man with dark hair who appeared no older than Sung-il and looked just as shocked.

"Oh! Pardon me, I am so incredibly sorry!" Hastily stepping back, the man added, “I didn’t mean to surprise you."

Recovering quickly, Sung-il readjusted his hold on his drink. As the man spoke, Sung-il listened to the electronic voice of the AI system in his earpiece translate his sentences to French, before shaking his head and replying in English, ”Don't be sorry. There was no harm done.” He gave the man a reassuring smile and moved aside for the man to pass.

However, rather than taking a seat and ordering a drink as Sung-il had expected, the man remained standing. A bit sheepishly, the man chuckled and said, “Ah, woe is me. I’d only meant to strike up a conversation, but I’m afraid I’ve made a bad first impression.”

Surprised once more, but pleasantly so this time, Sung-il let out a quiet laugh. Shaking his head, he replied, “No, you haven't! My name is Sung-il. And yours?”

“Really? Then I’m relieved,” responded the man, grinning. “It’s Theo.”

Admittedly, Sung-il hadn't expected to make someone's acquaintance by having a near fright, but turning down a chance for conversation was something Sung-il rarely did. They'd moved a bit further away from the bar once Theo had ordered a drink of his own. Sung-il mainly stuck to small talk, such as asking whether the man had been to a party of this grandeur before.

Theo shook his head. He'd never seen something like this before. The twins' mansion was enormous. Even the mansions of the richest of his friends paled in comparison to their mansion. It was a wonder how he hadn't heard even the slightest mention of the twins.

"I hadn't either. They're a mysterious pair," agreed Sung-il, remembering how he'd asked around in search of information to no avail.

Just as they spoke of the twins, the lights dimmed, and their conversation came to an end as they both turned towards the staircase. The twins' entrance was dramatic and magnificent, as befitting of this whole event. Sung-il watched the paper birds move about with great interest as the twins walked towards the center of the staircase from either sides. Listening intently to the twins, Sung-il realized he'd been holding his breath only when they'd finished their speech.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Sir Hawke
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Sir Hawke

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"Like fuck can you have my gun!"

The security guard glanced over at his mate for a few moments, his eyes pleading for some proper intervention. Eventually the other smartly dressed guard stepped up to the seeming insurmountable task of parting the young woman in front of them from her gun. " Look miss, it's for the security of all the guests here. You don't need to worry, we'll be doing the protection for you." 

Unfortunately this display of tact didn't seem to go down as well as the two members of security had hoped. In fact Lera seemed more determined now than ever to keep a tight hold on her firearm. 

"And you're saying I should just let some random strangers protect me?” 

“Well … yes … that’s our job.” 

For a moment, a single precious moment it seemed like the beleaguered guards were finally getting through to her. A pipe dream that was shattered all too soon. Whoever she was, the aggressive weirdo seemed rather fond of her gun. Too fond really, something made more disturbing by the fact that despite wearing somewhat military looking dress, she totally lacked any sort of discipline which should have come with it. 

Something that was currently on complete display as she practically cradled the firearm within her fingers. Seeming to be under the idea that if she could hide it from their view and pretend they'd never seen it, somehow reality would bend around that fact.

It didn't.

That was the moment one of the guards got a closer look at her uniform and swore slightly under his breath. "Look, I recognise that uniform and I know you be probably not been through the easiest time out there but look… while you're here … you're safe. You don't need to keep watching your back. But hey … if some thing comes up, we'll be sure to call you to help … alright?" 

Lera's face remained unchanged, glaring up at the security personnel, hardened eyes fitting between the two. And then something changed … a little softening of the eyes, it wasn't much, but it was enough. 

"Alright, fine. But if there's trouble, you'll be regretting it when I can't instantly stop it." 

And then it was over, they could relax. Whoever that bundle of flesh, metal and trouble was, she was going to be someone else's problems now. If she found her pair here, they already felt sorry for them. 

Only when he was sure Lera was out of earshot, did the second guard turn to his comrade and ask the question which had practically been burning it's way through his throat in trying to get out. "What the hell happened back there?" 

"Didya see her uniform?" 

The guard looked stunned for a second. "Yeah, military looking thing, you'd think whoever taught her would do better on the disciple, unless that's slipped too." 

"Nah, she probably ain't ever been taught. Leastways, not properly. That thing wasn't official, insurgent more like. Probably a kid soldier if you want my guess…. Ah well, best not to think about really. 

Despite having not even really believed the invitation, never having considered herself fragmented and still believing it to this day, despite the fact she'd definitely chosen to come of her own curiosity and lust for something new. Lera was regretting her choice so much as she got closer to the gathering. 

There were too many people, too many faces to keep track of, everything was just too open. - It felt suffocating. Like a weight pressing down on her chest, holding her in place. Anyone could at any moment blow themselves apart, ripping through the crowd like butter. 

Just before her fears could rise up and swamp her, almost moving on instinct, she pushed forwards, skirting around the edge and avoiding whoever else was living on the fringe. That was of course until she could place a solid wall behind her back. 

What the hell was she doing here? She didn't know, but now she was here, she was gonna try and get something out of it. 

Maybe they had coffee?
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Hero
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Hero The Leading Man

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Away from the rest of the inept, anti-social rabble and happily (and properly) socializing, Shiori Fujioka felt like she was in her element. Exchanging stories, giving a polite smile at uninteresting facts spewed, and gently chuckling at thinly veiled insults, for all intents and purposes she was simply at another grand party. Granted this one was just a touch more intimate than others she had been to and had much more variety than she would have liked, but at the very least occasionally watching the awkwardness play out was highly entertaining.

She adjusted the shoulder of the stunning white dress slightly, tossing her hair over her shoulders as she tuned back into the conversation. Obviously she was the best looking one here, but rubbing elbows was always fun. For her, anyway. But showing off was just as fun as talking; she was hot and she knew everyone else knew it. The dress hugged her every curve and the material made it clear that it cost quite a pretty yen.

It was so hard being popular!

There was a slight lull in the conversation which caught her attention, and she let out a slight giggle as she decided to continue it. "Of course," Shiori agreed with...whatever the fuck the blonde was talking about, her words eliciting a positive reaction.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Hero
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Hero The Leading Man

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The comment on his drink was unexpected, but he raised his glass anyway. That was the right call, it looked like, the decision sparking a long response. Ray couldn't help but raise his eyebrow at the (accurate) description this Milo rattled out. Knowing that he wasn't alone in his reluctant presence, he did feel a little bad. If anyone could just tell he didn't want to be here, he wasn't being very courteous to the gracious hosts that went out of their way to give him this free vacation.

He nearly finished his drink, the last of it swirling as he would return the gesture and turn to Milo. He wasn't into social media if he was being honest, with the most he ever saw on YouTube being funny animal videos. Still, he took the guy's word for it, nodding slowly in understanding. At the mention of making a video, however, both his eyebrows shot up. Was he hitting on him? No, no, the whole reuniting-reunion frag-crap was obviously influencing that thought. And the whiskey added to it. He shook off the thought, almost laughing at himself. Not even an hour in and he was already falling for that crap, go figure.

"Soirée," He repeated the word, a little impressed. "Well, then..." He raised his glass, his wrist turning slightly to tilt it back and forth. "Here's hoping the party gives you plenty of material for your next blog or video or...whatever they're calling it these days. Sorry." He apologized for messing it up already.

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Achronum
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Achronum The Pyro

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Stepping out from the restroom without his bracelet was one of the hardest things he’d done in his life. His hand still paused on the door handle, the muffled murmuring of the party filtering through the heavy door still unnerving. The thick black band seemed glaringly apparent, a strip of lighter skin surrounding it. Maybe to anyone else it wouldn’t be too noticeable―he inherited his mom’s paleness after all―but it shone like a beacon in his eyes. He rubbed at the mark like he used to when he was younger and hoped he could make it all go away but his hand fell away from his wrist and he took a steadying breath.

Just imagine they’re all naked right?

No, that never worked but he chuckled to himself anyways as he made his way back to the crowd. He picked up a new drink with a grateful murmur to the waiter. His nerves made him leave his drink back in the restroom and he felt too awkward going back in there for it. He sipped at the champagne glass and for once his nose didn’t wrinkle. The liquid was much sweeter than the stuff that normally circulate at the large post performance gatherings university hosted for their patrons and alumni to meet the current class. Jacob took a few more sips in rapid succession as he moved through the crowd, familiar with ducking and weaving through them. A polite smile here and a head nod as eyes met, signaling neither party was actually interested in conversing, as he kept an ear out for a topic he’d be interested in.

There were plenty of people gushing over the holograms, over the lavish wealth, over the twins themselves. Jacob’s nose wrinkled in annoyance. While that was all fine and well, how long could you talk about how impressive everything was? Everyone agreed this place was amazing and fantastic. Just tell your hosts and move on from it. Some group was discussing the technology behind everything and while it sounded interesting enough, Jacob didn’t know anything about it. Something about investment potential and various lens grades. Jacob listened in for a few moments while he finished his drink and made his way around the room again.

His nose wrinkled again as he passed a pair aggressively indulging in each other. Reunited or drunk, he decided against wandering that way again. If they had recently reunited, he was a little horrified. He didn’t care how swept up in the moment he was, Jacob would definitely not be sucking face in a public place. While he wasn’t against public displays of affection, there was definitely a limit. Holding hands, hugging, and quick kisses were all fine and dandy but anything more was just gross. The little prickle of worry reared its head in the back of his mind. No worries there. You won’t find your soulmate his own head whispered but he shrugged off the concern with practiced ease. This was quite literally his best chance to find them, maybe the only chance, and Jacob was going to seize the opportunity with both hands. He would find them this week. He wouldn’t give the damn universe any other option.

“Sure, signing on a dynamic winger will help their offense but did they really need it? The defense is absolute crap. They should have dropped that money on a better sweeper. Their first pick has some of the most red cards in the damn league!”

The frustrated comment immediately caught his attention, his head quickly turning to figure out the direction of the conversation. A small group loitered near the edge of the room, a mix of people and drinks talking about Arsenal’s horrific plans to focus on an already strong offense and practically abandon their shoddy defense. He veered off his original meandering path and beelined for them. Maybe it was a little rude to just pop into a conversation but someone finally agreed with him. Everyone thought a 72 million player would fix it but it still ignored the key weaknesses the team carried!

“It’s just a publicity trap. I’m sure they’re just luring City into doing something similar and are working on their defense far more privately.” A man waved off the comment. Unlike Jacob, he seemed quite comfortable in his attire, a simple but clearly well made suit and tasteful accents.

“Nope. Definitely not.” Jacob interjected as he made his way into the loose circle. “Arsenal has alway been offense focused. They only care when penalty shots are guaranteed to cost them the game. But that’s only fair since their sweeper cost the England team a shot at the World Cup last year.” Jacob would admit he had a hard time keeping his thoughts to himself sometimes but at this point in his life, he just rolled with it. He probably wouldn’t be seeing any of these people after the week ended anyways so he could interject as much as he wanted. Plus, he had opinions on this subject. “Anyways, Manchester tried this a few years ago. Thankfully, their coach was ready for when it failed but Arsenal isn’t exactly known for their forward thinking.”

“See, exactly my point! This is just a royal fuck up no matter how they try and painting on the news!” The familiar voice belonged to a woman Jacob inadvertently took his place next to. Her hair cascaded down her shoulders over a navy dress. Her attire was far more similar to Jacob’s, nice but obviously not something she wore all the time. “See at least my friend…”

“Jacob.” He supplied helpfully.

“Jacob understands that. If it failed for Manchester, it’ll fail for Arsenal, that’s all I’m saying.” The woman rolled her eyes at the man’s scoff before turning to Jacob and holding out her hand. “Nickola. It’s a pleasure to meet someone with more than half a brain. Publicity stunt my ass. Who drops a 72 million pound contract on a publicity stunt?”

“Seriously though! I get that he is good at what he does but that guy has barely been in the league for half the amount of time as some of the veterans and his contract value is way above his stats. There has to be something going on behind the scenes on that one.” Jacob shook her hand with a grin. He did spare his wrist a glance but the black band still sat there. It was clearly unimpressed with Nickola. He felt a twinge of disappointment but moved on from it. “Arsenal should have followed Munich’s example and picked up an all round player if they wanted to try to push their offensive strategies. Definitely would have given them more flexibility.” Nikola nodded in agreement but a glint in her eye said she had more to say.

“So I work for ESPN actually. I’m one of the fact checkers and something hit my email a few months ago that suggested Arsenal’s newest recruit has some intimate relations with some of the organizers for the league.” She added conspiratorially. “The story died in editing like all the fun pieces do. ESPN doesn’t want their contracts slashed over things like that which fair but it would have been fun to follow the breadcrumbs at least.”

“Nepotism makes the world go round. In music, it’s either a friend, a mentor, or your bed partner that gets you paid. Although, I think that applies to most of the performing arts.” Jacob sighed with a shake of his head. “Luckily, it’s the mentor way for me. The things people do when they can exploit someone.”

“So you’re a musician who doesn’t have to sell themselves to a patron like a thirteenth century starving artist. Good to know.” She laughed, sipping at the glass in her hand. It smelled like vodka and his nose wrinkled again. He didn’t particularly care for the stuff. “What do you play then?”

“Piano for 16 years. I just graduated from the Manhattan Schoolof Music with more debt than I can imagine but I got a job already lined up. My host family while I was in Europe studying put in a word for me so I’m the secondary concert pianist for a traveling orchestra.” Jacob explained. “One less thing to worry about, thank god.” The group around them started to disperse as the conversation moved away from sports and into more personal discussions.

“Well, if neither of us find our soulmates by the end of the week, we should have our hosts have a separate event for us poor souls. You’ll have to play something for me when we get there.” A cheeky smile plastered itself on her face but a twinge of bitterness could be heard beneath it. Jacob felt sympathy for her, It was too easy to shut yourself away from the possibility that you’d find your soulmate here; for most, it might even seem the safest option. Shattered hope could be far more debilitating than resignation but Jacob’s life taught him he couldn’t afford to give up that hope.

“You don’t think you’ll find your soulmate?” Jacob asked quietly to which Nickola shook her head.

“What is the likelihood? The odds are stacked against us from the moment we discover this.” She shook the arm with the fragmented mark. “It’s not that I don’t want to find them. That’s why I’m here after all but I have to accept the fact that becoming Lost is far more likely than being Reunited. And then what if… what if you can’t stand them? You’re stuck with this person you hate for the rest of your life. There is just so much potential for everything to go wrong. I wish I could just scrub off the mark, wipe it away and be whole on my own.” She lamented. There was a pause in her speech, wiping away a stray tear, and then a watery laugh came out. “Sorry. A little too much to drink I think. I don’t normally vomit my concerns on strangers.”

Jacob shared a lot of the same sentiments when he was younger. After seeing his family torn apart by the horrors of the Lost, Jacob certainly shared the sentiment for a long time. He couldn't count the times he spent a few minutes longer in the shower, scrubbing at the mark after a few stray photos of his mom popping up on his feed or seeing another story about a Lost person’s death. He’d managed to move past the need now after years and years of work but it didn’t change the fact that everything would be easier if that black band wasn’t permanently stained around his wrist.

“If there was ever a place to do it, it’s here. Probably the largest group of people who can come anywhere close to understanding.” Jacob smiled sympathetically at Nickola, patting her arm. “I’d rather hate my soulmate than not find them at all. At least we’ll still be whole.”

“It sucks we have to feel that way. We have to play with the lesser of two evils.” Nickola sighed but smiled nonetheless. “I’m going to step away to the restroom for a moment. Hopefully, this week will end without us throwing a party for each other.” Jacob agreed, laughing as she made her way out of the group. Well, there went his first try at finding his soulmate. He sighed, knowing it wouldn't be that easy but wishing it would be all the same.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Ejected
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Ejected Pretty Killer

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To be quite honest, Tommy Patrick had initially been in a pretty shitty mood, stemming from when she'd first arrived at the manor by shuttle and had been thoroughly searched by the security personnel. She'd watched with wide eyes as her beloved baggie of Sativa hash had been taken away with the promise of being returned at a later date. "Jeez," the young woman had said to no one in particular as she was ushered past the gardens and towards the entrance, "What is this, a Supermax? I haven't been through anything like that since I last visited my Uncle Charles up in that one prison in Brooklyn." The person who stood nearest her simply shot Tommy a confused expression before continuing on. She'd lost her attitude almost immediately, however, when she'd finally been escorted through a pair of ornate double doors and into a large circular room.

The very first thing to catch Tommy's eye as she entered the room was the expensive-looking, crystal chandelier that cast a warm glow of diffused light onto the guests that stood below it. But the second thing that Tommy noticed was just how under-dressed she seemed to be compared to some of the other guests. As she carefully adjusted the settings of her earpiece, the young woman couldn't help but stare in awe at the beautiful gowns and nicely tailored suits that wore their owners. The only thing that eased her mind a bit was realizing that the majority of them appeared to be just as nervous and uncomfortable as she was; so much so that they probably wouldn't even care about the fact that she'd worn one of her old pantsuits and a pair of flats rather than some fancy cocktail dress.

Soon, Tommy had finally spotted where they were keeping the alcohol. The sharply-dressed bartender offered her a warm smile as she approached. Quite a few people had already gathered at the bar; Tommy had arrived in just enough time to hear someone nearby order a Whiskey neat. "I think I'll take the same as the guy over there," Tommy said with a shrug, "Whiskey. Neat."

While Tommy had been smoking pot since her high school years, the young woman had never really been much of a drinker unlike the majority of the kids her age. She hated the taste of a lot of the stuff, and only ever drank it when she knew that she needed to relax. And for this reason, Tommy simply copied the other man's order instead of ordering something she'd had in the past; she was still trying to figure out what her "signature drink" was. Maybe it would be Whiskey? "Thanks a bunch," Tommy said with a wide grin when the bartender returned with her drink. The young woman then mentally braced herself before taking a cautious sip from the glass.

The taste of the drink wasn't nearly as bad as Tommy thought the smell to be. In fact, it wasn't bad at all. As Tommy took another few sips, all she could think about was how she couldn't wait to tell her girl back home about her newest adventure.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by SmokeDragon
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SmokeDragon Oddly Familiar Stranger

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Alex needed a short while to recollect himself, after the twins' grand entrance. Eventually, he took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He might feel out of place, but he was probably not the only one. In fact, he was dressed than several other of the guests, not that that mattered much, but still, there was no reason for him to be this nervous. Not letting his moment of determination go to waste, he stepped into the crowd and locked eyes with one of the first people he saw, a somewhat androgynous-looking woman with freckles. He walked up to her and introduced himself "Hi. I'm Alex. Having fun at this super fancy party?"

Ashe was caught off guard by the person, Alex apparently, coming to say hello. They were immediately glad that their right hand was holding their glass. Their left hand was promptly stuck in their pocket. They had no desire whatsoever to accidentally touch a stranger; especially a stranger that had the potential to be stuck with them.

They did smile as warmly as they could, "Ashe Cross." They turned their head to glance at the other party-goers, "Fun is one way to say it." Their gaze fell on a couple making out, "Uncomfortable might be a better word." Their gaze returned to the speaker, "How about you Mister ... Alex?"

The man was very nicely dressed in a green and black outfit trimmed in silver. He was certainly dressed better than they were. Of course, Ashe was severely underdressed. It was one of the reasons they were uncomfortable. Ashe hated being underdressed for anything. Why it hadn’t occurred to them that people with thousands of dollars to spend just on clothes wouldn’t be here was beyond them. Ashe supposed it was a good thing it hadn’t. They couldn’t really afford to spend thousands on a wardrobe they would wear only once. They took another sip of their wine. The alcohol was doing nothing to settle their nerves. Ashe silently contemplated just draining their glass. They would wait for now. It depended on how this conversation went.

Alex chuckled lightly. "Yea, I'm not exactly feeling at ease either. Rarely go to parties, and never been to anything near this fancy before." he put his left hand up in a shrugging pose, his right hand holding his drink, and spoke in what was at least an attempt at a cheerful voice "Still, what can you do? I figure, best thing to do is just try to own it, and just enjoy the splendour, talk to people, have fun, you know?" Alex paused, taking a solid sip of his champagne, mixed emotions and a half-smile on his face, as he glanced over to Emile and her new friend "Not that I've been managing to follow my own advice all that well, so far."

Ashe nodded in agreement, "Saying one thing and then doing the other is common." They gestured out with their glass, "I told myself I was going to interact and yet I find myself lacking the courage." They laughed softly, “I’m afraid that’s a common failing of mine.”

A strand of hair fell in front of their face. Without thinking Ashe pulled their left hand out of their pocket to brush it back. Their sleeve pulled up to reveal the band that matched the one on their right wrist. The rest of the tattoo was still hidden by the long sleeve. Ashe returned their hand to their pocket without thinking about it. They had the tattoo for a few years. They barely noticed it at this point though at the time it had seemed like a grand statement about being chained yet freed from being Fragmented. They had been a child. Fates, they constantly felt like they were still a child; especially moments like this when they weren’t entirely sure what to say.

They continued speaking, "So, since you are already here, I suppose that it's time for awkward questions." Ashe didn't like small talk, but it seemed like the right time for it, "Where are you from Alex? Anywhere interesting?"

Alex raised an eyebrow upon seeing the tattoo, seemed Ashe was better at 'owning it' than he was, which wasn't much of a surprise really, he'd never been that good at it. Still, that's life. He shrugged slightly as he answered. "Not really no. Fairly standard midlands upbringing. Grew up on the outskirts of Leicester. Most interesting thing from my childhood must the few times I visited my uncle's farm, but could probably count them on one hand. What about you?"

Where was that? Ashe wasn't sure. They thought it might be in England; possibly Scotland. It could have been Ireland. They would admit that their geography skills needed work, but as the internet was fond of saying; the American education system was one of the worst. Wales was a thing too, right? Leicester as definitely somewhere in Great Britain, for sure. Ashe supposed that didn't really matter right now.

They answered the matching question, "Corpus Christi. Though I have family all along the southern coast. I have spent most of my life on one beach or another. At least when I'm not online." Ashe shot the next question like a tennis player returning a serve, "What about work? What do you do? Do you enjoy it? If not, what would you rather do?"

They took another sip of their rosé. The conversation was going well so far. Ashe hadn't felt the need to scream yet even if the small talk was making their skin crawl. They supposed small talk served at least some point. They wouldn't be getting to know Alex without it. Getting to know someone new was exciting. At least now they could tell their dad they talked to people rather than just hugged wall or stayed in their room the entire time.

Alex had to admit, he had no idea Corpus Christi was even a place. It sounded like it was Latin for 'Body of Christ', which probably meant somewhere on the American continent, probably USA. Could have been Afrika too though, he knew South Afrika had some religious place names, but she did look American. He also realised he should have just said England. Oh well, not like small talk mattered. Easy to forget you weren't at an English party when you heard everything in English though.

Alex felt a bit relieved she asked about work next. More interesting, and generally easier to figure out. An accountant was the same in every country, after all. "I'm an electrician, simple work really, but I do like it quite a lot. Lots of room for perfection and occupational pride. There are tons of little things to pay attention to as you work, and there's a lot of satisfaction in leaving behind some good looking wiring. One of my old teachers, who also owned one of the largest electrician firms in the area, said that he expected nothing less than perfection from his employees and that if he found out any one of them had done work he'd have graded less than A, he'd fire them. That philosophy stuck with me. Especially as an electrician, it's important I think, though not every electrician feels the same. But the way I see it, you do a bad job as an electrician, you risk burning a house down, you do a decent job, like, B+, it's probably fine. But do a good, proper job of it, and not only are you absolutely sure it'll be fine, but 20 years later, when the wiring's being pulled out the wall, maybe, just maybe, you'll make the guy working at it pause and admire your work for a few seconds, before getting on with it." Alex finished with a satisfied smile, and took a sip of his drink.

"So, what about you? What do you do, and are you happy with your current job?"

Ashe was impressed. It wasn't often that a person with apparently as much passion for their work as Alex appeared. They would admit that they knew little to nothing about electrical work, but Alex seemed to be not only knowledgeable about it but seemed to enjoy it as well. Ashe was almost jealous. Almost was the keyword. They enjoyed what they did for a living. It just wasn't as permanent as being an electrician.

They told Alex that, "I'm a streamer. I play a video game and people watch the videos of my gameplay. I make money via ad stream and donations from viewers." They were smiling, "I enjoy it, but I know I can't do it forever. One wrong move or another player becomes more popular and I'll have to find new work." Ashe shrugged, "And I have no idea what I want to do. Maybe I'll do something related to dance. I'm not entirely sure."

Ashe was not going to be more specific or start giving out usernames. They tried their best to make sure Noble_Dancer remained anonymous. The mystery was one of the reasons they were so popular; that and the fact that they didn't play like most of the other players. Ashe's dancing background made a huge impact on how they moved and by extension how they played. The combination made them a living and they saved most if it; waiting for the day their popularity failed them.

Ashe smiled, genuinely interested, "Maybe I should study to be an electrician. Can you tell me more?"

Alex was surprised to hear she was a streamer, he'd heard not many people managed to actually live off it, despite its popularity. He'd never been into streams himself, beyond watching a few tournaments live. Still, fun to meet a professional.

"So, you're a streamer? I hear it can be quite hard to make enough money to live off of that, though I also hear the top dogs earn a lot, like 1 million pounds a year or something. What's your experience with that? Had a lot of trouble getting, umm, watchuma call em... patreons?"

Atlas Alex shrugged "As far as being an electrician, I'm afraid I've told the exciting bit. Honestly, it's just a lot of bending at awkward angles to get the cables where you want them, and tons of routine work, regulations to follow etc. I do get a few interesting projects every now and then, but for the most part it's just 'install four sockets in this room, hooked up to two different switches, two unswitched sockets in the next room, floor heating in the bathroom' jobs, and fixing up old wiring, either because it's faulty, or because they're renovating. I'm sure being a streamer is much more interesting, really. All I do is do the same thing every day, and a fair bit of it is paperwork. But I find a lot of enjoyment in the details, simple as they might be. I enjoy the feeling of leaving a job well done."

"But yea, not much to say about being an electrician, even if I ramble a bit about it. Simple but honest work. You mentioned maybe doing dancing once you're done with streaming. Don't mean to be rude or anything, but don't dancers typically start their careers at, what, 18, retire by 30?"

Ashe laughed lightly, "That's why I need to figure out if I'm going to keep up my stream or focus on my dance. I do both right now, and it ... frustrates my instructors." They shrugged, "I fell into streaming because if a dare. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as do." Ashe sighed, "Dance is something I enjoy, but it has, for lack of better words, gotten to feel ... stale. Maybe streaming will grow stale sooner rather than later. Who knows? I'm not the most popular, but right now it pays the bills with some for savings." Ashe took another sip of their wine as they looked around the party, "Of course, this week might just affect all of that."

There was nothing more that could be said than that. Ashe knew that. So did Alex. People had come here to find their soul mate; to Reunite. If Ashe was one of the ones that dis find their soul mate they might have to move. There was no such thing as long-distance for Reunited. They weren't sure how they felt about that. They have lived their whole life in the same 2-bedroom apartment with their dad. The thought of moving just down the street made them nervous. What if they found their soul mate and they lived in another country? Ashe took another drink. They were almost out. Their nerves still felt shot.

Against their better judgement, Ashe asked a question that probably didn't count as small talk, "Are you a hopeful optimist or a realistic pessimist?" They were watching a couple who still hadn't come up for air, "I suppose you might be at least a little optimistic. Me too, I suppose, why else would we come?"

Alex was about to encourage Ashe to just do what she enjoyed the most, after all, neither career path offered a lot of job-security, when she brought up the entire reason they were here. It came a bit as a surprise, though it really shouldn't have. He'd been trying to not think too much about it, but he supposed it was better to just deal with it than trying to avoid the topic the entire party, or indeed, the entire stay. But still, Ashe really liked hard-hitting questions huh?

Alex emptied his glass, and swallowed hard. "I uhh, I think I'm fairly optimistic, in the sense that I'll just try to take the good with the bad in either case. If I find them, sure I get a longer, apparently happier life, but it's not without cost. Likewise, if I don't, well... I've... Lived a good life. Sure I'd rather find them, but at the same time, living my current life for a few more years, then calling it a day doesn't seem that terrible either. " Alex sighed, and showed a somewhat sheepish expression. "Sorry, that's probably a bit too fatalistic for, umm, party talk. Umm, So, what games do you play?"

Ashe had heard that particular brand of logic before; mostly from Fragmented. They understood it. It would be amazing to find their soul mate and if they didn't, well, at least their few short years were the best they could make them. The problem with that logic was it neglected to account for the madness, insanity, depression, whatever you wanted to call it taking over the Lost's mind. Being Lost was not fun, and Ashe suspected that a great number of the people here who didn’t Reunite by the week's end would join the Lost. They just hoped they weren't one of them.

Ashe drained their glass before speaking, "That is one way to look at it." They turned their attention back to Alex, "I just hope I don't ruin too many lives if I do Reunite." They raised their empty glass, "It looks like I need some more." They nodded in farewell, "I wish you the best of luck in whatever your endeavors are." Ashe began to walk off before pausing as they remembered, "Oh! Gamer's Nightmare." Their smile returned in full force, "It's the only game worth playing."

With that Ashe really did walk away; heading towards the bar to get a refill. That would be their second glass, but that conversation had taken more out of them then they thought. Ashe wondered how much longer they had to wait before it became socially appropriate to leave. Ashe wondered if they cared. They might just take their glass and leave to find their room. At least now they could tell their dad they tried; even if they hadn't actually touched Alex. Dad didn't need to know that.

"See you around, Ashe." Alex said, as Ashe walked away. He sighed heavily. He knew he was mostly to blame for it, but her question, mostly his own answer, had dampened the mood quite a bit. But hey, at least he wasn't feeling very nervous anymore. He sighed again and looked at his empty glass. He really shouldn't be, but he figured he needed another. He found one of the waiters and exchanged his empty glass with a full one. At a normal party, this'd be the point where he took his drink out onto the porch, but he hadn't spotted anything like that here. Nor any place to sit down, really. He sighed again. This was why he normally avoided this kind of talk. Oh well.

Alex took a deep breath, put on his best smile, and walked over to a group of three people he'd overheard, talking about video games. "Sorry to interrupt, but overheard you say Hero's the best smash character, and I can't let that slide, sure he's fun to play, but the inherent RNG of his..."
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by LadyAnnaLee
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LadyAnnaLee Nine Sided Awesomeness. Nine Sided Glory

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Ashe had successfully gotten another drink. For a moment they just studied the light pink liquid. This was their second glass, and they could already feel the headache they would have tomorrow. Ashe almost wanted to escape to their room now. Instead they took a carefully controlled sip of their rosé. Maybe if they found real food instead of a couple of crackers, they would fare better. This was why they didn’t like this type of party. There were too many people, too much noise, and not enough food. Ashe started looking for an exit. At least they could get away from the noise for a moment. Even a restroom would be good for now.

As they were looking Ashe bumped into someone. Their wine went all over the person’s shirt and they started babbling an apology, “I am so so …”

Their voice trailed off as they saw who it was. It was Isaac Abramson, one of the hosts. Ashe felt their eyes grow impossibly wide. They had done some research on their hosts, but what they could find was very little. Since they were Noble_Dancer Ashe could respect the desire for privacy. However, that meant they had no idea how the white-haired twin was going to act given that they had just ruined his clothes. Ashe could feel what little courage the alcohol had given them crumble away like it was nothing. This was a worse disaster than their about to spring up migraine. IN fact, this was only making Ashe’s migraine come that much faster.

Ashe swallowed to try again, “I am so sorry. I wasn’t paying attention. It’s my fault. Do want me to see if I can find a towel?” Suddenly their hand shot out to offer a handshake, “I’m Ashe Cross by the way. Thank you for the invitation. This certainly is quite the party and a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Ashe forced themselves to be quiet. They were babbling. The gamer was confident they were making a terrible first impression. They weren’t sure why they cared about making a good impression. It wasn’t like they would see anybody from this party again after this week. Still, it was possible that they would be thrown off the mountain for this incident. That wouldn’t be all bad, but it certainly wasn’t ideal. That would be a great thing to report to their father. “Hi dad. I know I’m home early. I spilled a glass of rosé on Isaac Abramson the first night so he had be shipped off.”

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Sir Hawke
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Sir Hawke

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Jacob sighed after Nickola left him alone on the wall again, rubbing the back of his neck uneasily. Old feelings rose unbidden and they made him nervous. As optimistic as he tried to stay, experiencing the tragedy of the Lost first hand made it hard to completely banish the nervousness and little conversations like that brought rushing back to the front of his mind. He went to sip at his drink and his nose wrinkled when he found it empty. He grumbled softly to himself and turned more sharply than he intended, the two drinks apparently inhibiting him far more than he thought, and he bumped into someone behind him hard. Things seemed to freeze for a second as a server stumbled and they tray slipped, seven full glasses already sliding at him. “Well, fuck me.” was all Jacob could think, frozen like a deer in headlights.

For her part Lera had been trying to stay as out of the party as she could. Everything about it, the people, the atmosphere, the crowded nature of it all and worst of all, no security. At least, not of the type of reassuring solid bulges in a pocket where you'd concealed a pistol. She'd never been to a party before, but the way those few people she held civil conversations with back in her training had always spoken highly of them, calling something like this a "once in a lifetime thing" and if her reactions were anything to go by, she'd be doing her best to keep it that way.

At least she was keeping herself under control by hiding on the edge, always moving if any group of people came just that little bit too close. A wall behind her provided security, somewhere a sniper couldn't see through, something to reduce the angles of attack. Here at the edge she could at least keep things manageable, all she needed to do was to not get involved. It was at that moment someone nearby stumbled into a waiter, sending drinks tumbling towards him.

Without even giving her brain time to argue against it, her body leapt forwards to push the tray out of the way.

Jacob’s eyes snapped shut as soon as he realized what was coming. His hands were firmly clasped behind his back in a flash, a preventative measure to ensure his hands wouldn’t get damaged. If any of the glasses broke and cut deeper than an inch or two and he needed medical attention, his career could be ruined. He’d rather take the glasses to his face than suffer his hands. He took a breath and waited.

Glasses shattered and he stood frozen still, no pain blossoming where he expected it. He peaked open an eye, blinking both of them open as he realized he wasn’t in any danger, and took a moment to survey the scene. Glasses and liquid spilled on the floor. Servers ushering guests out of the way. A woman, just a touch taller than himself, stood just in front of him. His eyes trailed over the prosthetic peeking through a few spots that glass ripped her glove and clothes before snapping back to reality.

“Oh shit, I’m so sorry! Can I help? Its my fault.”” Jacob babbled as the servers went around efficiently. This clearly wasn’t their first rodeo. The waiter he’d inadvertently ran into stopped him and asked him to stand away as he approached before he nodded at the woman and recommended Jacob thank her. Jacob turned to her with an embarrassed look. “Uh, thank you very much. I promise I’m not normally a complete idiot.”

For a few seconds the woman didn’t even properly look at him. Instead she half pulled back, wildly glancing around before attempting to pathetically pull the glove up to cover the gaps. Yet try as she might, there was no hiding the fact that one of her arms was prosthetic.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit!” She didn’t even try to frustration in her voice at seeing herself like this. Whatever else was going on with this woman, it seemed she hated people knowing about her prosthetics. Even when she finally seemed to focus properly on Jacob, a hand still could be seen fiddling with the glove… almost like she was trying to tie a bandage around. “Look, it’s okay! Don’t worry about it, I just … I …”

Lera hesitated, she didn’t properly know why she’d stepped forward to help … it was almost certainly reflexes, that ingrained response to jump forward into “dangerous” situations. .However that just didn’t feel right to say, if felt too cold, too distant from any sort of actual desire to help. Even if this person was grateful, she knew all too well sounding like that could put people off and this was the first person she’d even exchanged words with so far.

“I’m sure you’re not a complete idiot, anyone could have made that mistake!”

Even though she’d hated everything about parties so far, she could at least make an effort couldn’t she?

“Probably but I should watch how much I drink. It all could have been avoided. ” Jacob sighed but his smile popped back up as he held out his hand, making sure to avoid forcing her to shake with the prosthetic. He wasn’t quite sure how well the action would go over. She seemed upset about her prosthetic arm so he was going to avoid it but he was definitely curious. Why did she have it? Did it work as well as an arm? But he wouldn’t ask those. Instead…

“My name is Jacob.” He stuck with an introduction. Much safer, definitely wouldn’t make the person who just saved him uncomfortable. Thank you again. Looking at your glove, my face probably would have been bleeding if you hadn’t stepped in. Can’t put my career at risk, you know?”

Lera glanced down at the hand and then back up at the man standing infront of her. For a moment she felt her own hand raising up to shake his, but this time her brain was quicker than her actions and she withdrew it hastily. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to shake his hand, to be polite, however there was always a chance of … that.

Now she’d never felt fragmented, she didn’t even have the mark they were supposed to have. Yet that letter had said she was one … and that would mean someone she was connected to … someone who could share emotions … there was no way she was ready to go through something like that, not after Ukraine, not after the war … “Valeryia … though most call me Lera …”

Yeah that felt safer, just sticking to introductions, not doing anything which could create tension. Or at least no more than she’d caused by not shaking his hand. “So … uh … what’s your job?”

Jacob took his hand back, giving her a reassuring smile. He shouldn’t be disappointed. He wanted to insist that they at least try but he shouldn’t be so selfish. He would just hope that either she wasn’t his soul mate or if she was, they would have the chance to interact again over the week. Jacob’s eyebrows rose at the unusual name. It wasn’t one he’d heard before.

“I’m a concert pianist. Anything that affects my hands could kill the elasticity in them and I wouldn’t be up to standard.” Jacob explain, wiggling his fingers in demonstration. “Which do you prefer to go by? Valeryia isn’t a name you hear everyday walking down the streets of New York. Where are you from?”

“A concert pianist?” There seemed to be a strange edge of something that almost resembled awe in her voice. She’d never even heard a piano in action, though she had heard of them. Back at home they’d never really had time for luxuries like being able to sit down for a concert, though she had remembered her dad sitting there playing a guitar to her, back when …

“Oh! My name? I’m more used to Lera …” Her voice trailed off before she could answer the last part of his question. For a moment she wondered if she should tell him somewhere else, avoid any memories of that place, but … “I’m from Ukraine, the eastern half…”

”Okay, Lera it is then! But yeah, I play the piano for a living. Well, I will after this summer. I got my first sheets to review right before the invitation here.” Jacob elaborated, gesticulating excitedly. ”I’ll get to travel around the country to perform. I’m hoping I’ll get good enough to join a global one but start small, right?” He laughed with a shrug. Lera seemed quite guarded, her little pauses at the end of her statements making her discomfort glaringly obvious. ”I can always play for you one of these days. I have to practice my pieces starting tomorrow as it is anyways. Not a full session but an hour or two at least.”

”So the Ukraine huh? I haven’t been that far into Europe. I’ve only been as far as Germany for a study abroad program. Do you still live there? I’m assuming our hosts wouldn’t mind inviting people from outside the states since we’re all spread so thin.” Jacob asked.

“You’d let me listen?” For the first time she seemed genuinely excited, if just for a second and well, she was. She’d never heard a piano before and the chance to listen to something new sounded pleasant. Especially if she knew it was an instrument she was never going to be able to play herself, not with her fingers. “It won’t be a big practice though will it? I mean I … I’m just more comfortable with less … you know?”

So he didn’t know about her home situation, or at least he was choosing to leave it out of the conversation. Either way, Lera didn’t really care, not having to talk about it was how she liked it. “Oh well … partly, I’m spending some time in Germany learning … but I occasionally check in sometimes… How is the states? You said you came from there?”

“Of course I’d let you listen?” Jacob chuckled, a little confused, but definitely happy to see her more engaged in something. Maybe she was from a poor family but then she wouldn’t be able to afford a prosthetic like that. Probably. Jacob realized he frankly had no idea how much that stuff cost. It hadn’t ever come across his life so he never thought about it. “I don’t normally practice with anyone around so it would probably just be us two unless others wandered in.”

“The states are….” How did he summarize the century of infighting over idiotic political differences while they watched the world burn. He should just skip it. No need to bring up something like that here with someone he just met, right? “Convenient as long as you have a semi-decent job. It lacks a lot of the history European countries have because its so young but it’s easy to live comfortably. But what are you studying in Germany?”

"Thank you! I … I've never really listened to a piano … so I'd like that." For just a small moment Lera's heart lifted. A small room where she got to listen to something new, something totally unrelated to her life sounded amazing. Best of all this party thing was only like a week long, definitely short enough that she didn't have to get attached to anyone, not after the last time. "I'll do my best to be quiet throughout!"

Convenience sounded nice. So did most of his description of the state's, but then again, wasn't this always the way? A lot of places tended to sound amazing when you didn't know much about them, especially if you weren't enjoying wherever you were. "I'm training to be an engineer, to hopefully work with prosthetics …

She didn't mention that it was mostly because she wanted to help other kids affected by war like herself.

“A prosthetic engineer? That’s really cool.” Way cooler than being a pianist. He loved playing and he wouldn’t ever give it up but she was pursuing something that would really change people’s lives for the better. Music could definitely improve a person’s outlook on life but it couldn’t ever replace a lost limb. “I have a friend going into biochemistry to study the Fragmented actually. I know it’s probably apples to oranges but once anything beyond like middle school math and science got involved, it all starts running together for me.” He shrugged sheepishly but snapped as an idea popped into his head.

“Oh hey, do you have a phone? We can trade numbers so I can let you know when I play over the next few days. That way we don’t have to be attached at the hips for you to find out.” He whipped out his phone, pulling up the contact. Not that he would mind the company. Meeting people was awkward when you didn’t know anyone around and if Lera was there, at least they could be awkward together. Wait. Hold on. Did she say―

”You’ve never heard a piano played? Jaco gasped, clutching at imaginary pearls. “Definitely going to get you in front of one! I’ll have to play something proper. Thankfully, I have a few pieces memorized.” He beamed at Lera, already excited to open her up to the world of piano. Maybe he could teach her to play something easy and she could pick up lessons back home.

"It's a living and helps others to." her parents had been there to give her a chance when she lost her limbs at a young age. In a large way she felt obliged to do the same favour for others. Especially if she could help them out of a warzone afterwards. As he mentioned schooling, she bit down on her lips slightly to prevent herself from bursting out with questions about what that was like. She didn't want to admit a lack of that too. "I'm not that good with proper science, just enough to know how to put things together

"Oh I erm … umm!" She reached into her pocket, fumbling around with her left and human arm to grab the little and very much out of date machine she called her phone. It would be nice to have someone on here that wasn't just work related … maybe they could even stay in contact after…

And suddenly Lera didn't know fully what to do. The sudden outburst had her take an involuntary step backwards before she could control herself. For the first time in so long someone was enthusiastic to do something with her, to show her something … and it had nothing to do with her war. Surely it wasn't too wrong for her to enjoy something like that? "Sure! I'd love to!"
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Trainerblue192
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Milo Thatch

Milo sipped at his drink as he tried to find the best way to correct Whiskey Neat about the terminology. It seemed harmless enough, but he was used to people attempting to downplay his career and stating that it was no more than a hobby, which wasn’t entirely false. Although he hadn’t committed to being a full-time YouTuber, he did spend enough of his time filming, editing, and working on his channel enough to consider it a career rather than a simple hobby. ”It’s fine. Not many people take it seriously but honestly its a good job. Entertainment that you have full control of, no one trying to filter your mind or thoughts to fit their agenda. It’s not all serious drama pieces or anything though, I started small like most people, with little skits or silly ideas that would entertain the masses and myself. Here.” Milo scooted closer to Ray as he pulled out his phone and opened up his channel to an older video from his early days. He kept enough distance to ensure that they couldn’t touch, but was close enough to share the video and feel the heat coming off one another.

On the screen would be a dark wood dining room table with a brick wall background and some small drooping plants on a shelf. Suddenly an Orange Tabby’s head would slowly rear up until its body was mid length above the table and his arms stretched before him. His face was uncaring as he wore a blue bow tie. You could faintly see Milo’s hands holding up Goose as he hid beneath the table and voice him in a deeper tone.
“Hello, My name is Senator Goose and we have a crisis on our hands. Too long has this house run dry of my...no, OUR kibbles, and it is time that we take it back! Join me in my cause for kibbles and give this video 100,000 likes so that I may obtain the treats once more.”
The screen then blacked out with a white line followed by a dot as if turning off an old t.v.

”A lot of people love Goose, he’s a fan favorite. We dont make as many skits as we did before since the views dont really call for that form of entertainment anymore, but he does make appearances on almost all my videos, especially when I do Mukbangs. He likes to sniff all of the different foods, and sometimes will eat with my and help me answer questions the fans ask. But thats enough about me, what do you do?” Milo watched as another woman approached the bar and ordered the same as Ray, his straw now sinking deeper into the ice as he sucked out the remaining drink and placed the cup on the counter. Not long after did his ears pick up the sound of glass clanking, the same sound that he’s heard time and time again at conventions meaning someone knocked over a party tray. His muscle memory kicked in and reflexively turned on his camera, pointing it towards the sound and zoomed in to catch the commotion of another guest knocking over several wine glasses as a secondary guest threw the tray further away. It was a spectacle to be seen, even if it didn’t make it into his video. He waited a moment longer to see if anything else unfolded and then turned off his camera once more. ”Sorry, old habits die hard you know? So anyways tell me about you.”
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Angel Vicky
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Angel Vicky The Angel of Valhalla

Member Seen 34 min ago

~Varia Crest~

As Varia sipped her champagne cocktail, she turned around to lean against the bar. Violet eyes scouted the room. So many beautiful people here tonight. There was a girl in a very short white flattered dress which she admired “Very classy.” She did admire white, as she adorned a long white gown herself. There was a man in a nice tuxedo with strikingly red hair, he was very debonair. “So striking.” She mused and her eyes caught a glimpse a person spilling wine over one of the twins. “Oh my God!” She gasped, her hand covered her eyes and she cringed before peeking out over her hand. She couldn’t believe that someone was clumsier than her at this party. “She’ll be going home early at this rate…” She said to the next person stood to her right, they nodded in agreement. She felt really awful for them.

She then laid eyes on a brunette male with green and black robes, trimmed with actual silver. “Wow…now that is a very nice outfit. Nice hair too.” Not many people could pull off such an outfit but he had the build for it, probably the best dressed male here too next to the twins. She edged nearer to the long-haired male and overheard him talking about a video game she didn’t really play but knew of (who didn't?!) Of course, nothing could beat the Marvel vs Capcom classics in her mind for a beat ‘em up game. Each to their own she surmised as she remembered playing arcades when she as younger, how she wished she could go back to the simpler way of being a kid again, just having fun and beating people up without going to jail for it.

Then something totally startled her out of her thoughts of fond memories kicking boy’s asses at video games. "Like fuck can you have my gun!" Varia heard a lady’s voice from outside refusing to give her gun to the security. She turned to view the entrance to see the lady in question walk in, with a military uniform? She gulped. ‘She seems scary…’ She wouldn’t like to anger her that was for sure.

Varia sighed in her lack of company then decided to approach Raphael, the one who hadn’t had his outfit ruined yet, still there was time for that. She felt more drawn to his charisma as he conversed with some guests underneath the chandelier. “Now that was quite the entrance Sir Abramson.” Varia smiled coyly behind her wine glass, remaining polite in addressing her gracious host. “How do you get the holograms to move like that? And I must say…your Reunited mark is quite lovely.” She complimented the blonder of the twins. “You’re so lucky to have found your soulmate at birth, no less. How incredibly rare!” She felt a little nervous in his presence despite being around rich people all the time. These were actually rich people she valued the opinion of. They must have spent millions on this event. The lengths they had gone to. “Do you really think many will Reunite this evening?” She continued to pepper him with curiosity as there was a hunger for knowledge behind her violet orbs.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony Lady Profanity

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Beyond an understandable jump when the wine hit him, Isaac Abramson’s reaction to the incident was much more subdued than Ashe’s. He let them get their panicked apology out of their system before holding up a hand with a gentle smile and shaking his head.

“No need for all that,” he assured them, gesturing down at his clothes. Where they should have been stained, the wine instead beaded up like raindrops on glass, dripping to the floor without a trace. He paused to call a server over with a wave before guiding Ashe away from the puddle of wine and continued without skipping a beat.

“See? No harm done,” he smiled down at Ashe, plucking a flute of rosé champagne from a passing tray without so much as a glance and offering it to them. “And thank you for accepting our invitation. This event would be nothing without brave souls like you willing to take a chance.” He smiled warmly, and genuine interest bloomed across his features. “How did you find the trip up the mountain? I know it can be nerve-wracking for some. I’m not a huge fan of it myself, to tell you the truth.”


The musical sound of glass breaking from across the room hushed the party for a second, but conversations quickly picked up once everyone realized it was nothing but a dropped tray. Isaac frowned at the sight for a moment, but shrugged, turning back to Ashe with a smirk. “And look,” he chuckled, “you’re not the only one to spill something tonight.”

Beneath the chandelier, Raphael Abramson was chatting airily with a few guests. As luck would have it, a few of the ones he spoke to broke away as Varia approached, and he was able to give her his full attention.

“You really are too kind,” he replied confidently, offering Varia a dip of the head. “My brother is shy about flaunting, but as you can see, Reuniting is very much a vital part of our lives.” He gestured around the foyer. Beyond the lotus motif in the mandala on the floor, if one looked closely they’d find renditions of lotuses in the woodwork, adorning the crown moulding and the rails of the stairs.

“Truthfully though, you’re right,” he added, sounding a little more sincere than his earlier entrance. “We were incredibly fortunate, in more ways than one as you might be able to guess.” He took a drink of the champagne in his hand, gesturing at the staircases. “Oh, and the holograms are on a motion sensor. I’ll admit, I had a lot of fun experimenting with them when they were first installed.”

Before Varia could get out her next question, the crashing of broken glass sounded through the foyer, fairly near where the two were standing. Raphael glared at the scene of broken glass and servers for a moment, looking utterly shocked and a little perturbed, before he schooled his features into something more polite.

“Oh dear, these things do happen,” he half-apologized, still looking a little unsettled until his smile finally returned. “But we take these risks for things we deem important, don’t we?”

He listened intently to Varia’s last question, nodding sagely. “Well, not just tonight,” he corrected her gently, “but hopefully before the week is done we’ll have more Reunited here than Fragmented. Although, if even one pair can find each other here, my brother and I will consider this event a success.” He eyed the edge of the room, where one couple were passionately kissing without a care in the world, and chuckled. “And it looks like we’ve done it!”

He shook his head amiably, turning the conversation to Varia. “But beyond any of that, I’m afraid I’m not sure of your name! Which of my esteemed guests would you be, Miss..?”

In the wider area, a minor commotion started weaving through the party, in the form of an average height blonde woman wading through the crowd. She wore a glittering midnight blue cocktail dress and a pair of large glasses, and trotting alongside her at the end of a short leash was a dalmatian in a blue polka-dot bowtie collar and a vest that read “SERVICE DOG - DO NOT PET”.

The most notable thing about her, though, was that she was touching everybody. She drifted through the crowd excitedly, never staying in one place for long, with her arms out like tendrils, brushing against every exposed hand or arm she could reach. Many simply gave her an odd look before returning to their conversations, but a few protested. Rather than speaking, the woman replied with sign language, which translated in the ears of onlookers as a woman’s voice cheerfully saying, “Sorry, just trying to expedite the process!”

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