Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by JohnSolaris
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New Atlantis. Once the bustling capital of the world, now reduced to a twisted, nightmarish hellscape, somehow without the slightest notice from the rest of society. Lilith floats several kilometers in the air, her glassy, vacant eyes focusing on nothing but taking in the entirety of the ruinous majesty before her. Not much emotion shows on her lovely face, but the corners of her glossy crimson lips curl slightly in distaste. The poor souls that she's dragging into this forsaken place can't possibly take it well, but their preferences aren't exactly something she can afford to take into consideration, given what is really at stake.

Her empty gaze turns toward the four people floating in front of her, each trapped in a prison of elaborate magic, swirling runes of darkness suppressing their consciousness. Even with their newfound powers, these former humans are like ants underneath an elephant's feet when compared with Lilith herself, but their magical potentials are truly remarkable. There is no training ground better than this apocalyptic city before them, and given the right trials and tribulations, hopefully they'll eventually become strong enough. And if not, well… She can always find others, no matter how many it takes.

Closing her eyes, Lilith sends out a pulse of invisible psychic energy, sweeping across everything in a fifty-kilometer radius around herself. Subtle enough to avoid detection by most beings, yet powerful enough to pass through most obstacles and precise enough to note down most relevant details, it quickly finds a suitable location for Lilith to deposit the former humans at. Initially separated from each other, and attacked by weak monsters shortly after regaining consciousness, this will provide a good opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with their new powers; but they are all close enough to each other that it should not take long for them to run into each other. If things do not go as planned, a little nudge can always be given to move things along. With a flick of her delicate fingers, she sends out four black darts that streak through the air and arrive at their destinations within seconds, before expanding into portals whose other ends open up next to her. Each unconscious person around her is then pulled by strings of invisible force through the portals, and placed gently upon the ground.

As the magic keeping them in a stupor dissipates, the four visitors quickly regain awareness, the process smooth enough that it seems as though only a few brief disorienting moments have passed. But their surroundings have totally changed, and so have their bodies. Their newly-awakened sixth senses soon become aware of the atmospheric aura of what New Atlantis had become, the immediate acrid sting of pain, terror, and despair mixed with the rotten stain of greed, lust, envy, and hatred, all riding on an undercurrent of something darker, more sinister that they cannot quite describe. An ordinary human would have been brought to his knees within seconds, but fortunately for the newcomers, this environment is little more than a highly unpleasant odor to their magically strengthened bodies and minds.

The metahumans begin to take in their surroundings. And just as Lilith intended, they hear the hissing and other inhuman noises of monsters nearby. This whole situation is almost certainly going to be too much to take in, but that has to be left for later. They have more urgent matters to take care of now.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Cohors
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Cohors None (Is) So Vile

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A nauseous scent...


Since Eeltje's very first breath she felt her tongue go slightly numb. The stench in the air was hard to describe. Not disgusting as that of organic rot, instead, more akin to a chemically unpleasant compound, inherently yet inexplicably repulsive. Kinda like the awful combination of synthetic leather and cheap, aged car fresheners, or the strange cleaning products interstate bus companies use to drench their closed-circulation vehicles in an unshakable odour that no amount of foodstuff or bathroom flushes could overcome (perhaps for the best). Differently from those mundane situations though, Eeltje just couldn't acclimatize. It had an underlying... influence. Smells are associated with memories. And Eeltje's memories were mostly corrupted, disfigured, unstable, sombre and unsettling. Feelings she didn't even know she could feel were slowly blossoming. Despite her conscious effort, her uvula wouldn't be overpowered. It was prevailing. Her esophagus loosened. The peristaltic movements became more frequent. Her jaw tightened.

Oh god...

Her empty stomach didn't save her.

The cryptic sky...


Only then did she begin to inspect more minutely her surroundings with the dim lightning that the night sky provided. No, not night, because while the runic sky above her was mesmerizing and overwhelming like sidereal space, it was unnaturally oppressive, just like the scent in the "air". As she glanced around, she realized the surface was just as infernally whimsical as the skies. The "buildings" around her were littered with debris and encroached with pulsing (and fluorescent at times) vines. And rather bland too. Square, tar-drenched remnants. Two stores at best. They were honestly unrecognizable - much like one can't tell whether a deteriorated Paleolithic construction is a house or a shop, Eeltje couldn't make sense of the ruins.

She was quick to stand on her feet. Wherever she was, it was probably not the wisest idea to find shelter in the constructions, but it was better than lying in the open in the middle of the street like she was. Well, at least that was the procedure if a terrorist attack or an armed conflict took place (or so she heard; she was never caught in a crossfire). Carefully enough she creeped towards the street corner. Eeltje looked around. The brick wall behind her stretched for quite a while both east and west. (She just assumed her right meant east and her left, west). No street southwards, just northwards. Tar everywhere. Oozing from the floor. From the wall cracks. Defying physics, flowing freely, with colour eddies dancing on the pools much more swiftly than the substance's viscosity could allow. It was mesmerizing, too. The tar had its own strange, incomprehensible odour, so intense the sickening air paled in comparison. She felt strangely comfortable watching it. Hypnotized, even.

A deafening hiss...


You probably are familiar with this, a sensation that almost resembles a sixth sense. When the television is turned on, it emits a very high frequency pitch (well, at the very least, cathodic ray TVs used to). It is so subtle you can't quite distinguish it as television screen noise; instead, it's more of a pervasive emanation that your eardrums notice. You just feel it. Once it's turned off, the high frequency pitch - or, as we perceive it, this intuitive sensation - ceases as well.

Eeltje must've thought there is a huge television above her, then, because the sensation was overwhelmingly present. More like a tinnitus than a subtle pitch. But after that wet hiss she just heard - almost like someone was drooling and bubbling in their saliva - the sensation went from a television hum to a high frequency radar, perfectly snitching the hissing creature's position right behind the brick wall. It was certainly large - only an elephant could feasibly make a noise like that - and certainly a surreal aberration given her new abstract landscape and the... uncanny emanation its presence exhaled. Unless some unknown pheromone could transpire arcane malice, that creature was definitely a freaky thing.

Overwhelming might...


It's the adrenaline kicking in.

Yeah, it's most definitely the adrenaline. That's gotta be it.

The first time you feel a novel sensation, you can't quite put your finger on what's happening. Eeltje certainly couldn't. How would she? Her Monkey Mind ceased to wander in the sea of sensations and thoughts this new world triggered. She suddenly turned into a snake ready to pounce. Her reactivity increased tenfold.

It didn't make sense, though. How come her reaction to "some unknown creature is roaring its battlecry at me" is to activate fight mode? No, not even fight or flight mode. She was a hundred percent combative. Feral, in a certain way, although still in plain control of her mental facilities. How could Eeltje be so sure of herself?

I had no idea adrenaline felt like this.

It wasn't adrenaline. It was no human, or mortal even, feeling. No sort of biological or chemical reaction. It was something far more complex and incomprehensible, but which felt to Eeltje as familiar as the feeling of an adrenaline release. Well, perhaps it was a bit like adrenaline, except an unholy version of it. Nevermind that, though. Eeltje was not in a time to explore her newfound sensations. It was time to fight.

(But we, detached from her mind, and detached from her experience, can take a hunch. Lilith. The succubus' blessing. She must have infused or awakened something in Eeltje. She was self-confident and dangerous before her arrival in New Atlantis, no doubt, but she would never seek physical combat.)

And instinctively...


Just like a swordsman unsheathe his blade as his combat commences, or a soldier cocks his gun, Eeltje's hands started to fume. Thick, dancing, evil purplish black fog emanated voluminously from her hands. From the looks of it, it could as well be the gaseous version of this wicked world's tar looking fluid. Eeltje was aghast, as anyone would be if their body started to behave against their assumption of physiological normality. But the emanation felt so natural she realized there was no need for fear. Just like after a bath one finds peace watching their skin smoking water vapour, Eeltje accepted her smokey hands. And boy did they fume.

All of this - from the hissing to her hands' spontaneous reaction - took little less than ten seconds, but her exhalation already extended a few feet around her. She was quickly drowning herself in her own opaque gas.

Oh shit, oh shit, I'm blinding myself.

And right after her thought vanished the fog she created gently drifted to her sides. She was Moses with his staff and the gas Red Sea. By her sides it remained, behaved, as more and more of it was produced.

Huh? What the hell? That is... so neat.

Eeltje would probably toy around with her mist if the situation wasn't grave.

She took a few steps to the east, away from the northwestern intersecting street, with her gas accompanying her accordingly. It has probably been twenty seconds by now and the hisser remained quiet behind the wall. What was he, dumb? Does he think he's concealed, away from Eeltje's perception? Why would he even hiss, rather than simply pounce covertly?

Wait a minute...


What must have felt like a sharp whiz rocketed behind Eeltje. Her augmented state of perception was able to notice that sudden advance, and while she managed to turn backwards, she couldn't protect herself from the huge cannonball...ish object that struck her. Well, in retrospect the impact was nowhere near being hit by a cannonball, but at the time it felt like it. Eeltje was blasted some few meters away from where she stood.

Whatever hit her, it was hurting her elbows, badly.

Actually, it wasn't quite hurting her elbows... it was, in fact, pressing them.

Two hands, mummified in pulsing tar veins, pushing Eeltje against the floor. That thing was right over her, with its scrawny 150 centimeters of pure tar seeping glory, hissing at stunning decibels right at Eeltje's face.

What the fuck

what the fuck

what the fuck

what the fuck


If Eeltje hadn't puked a few minutes earlier, she would definitely have right then. The acid warmth of the creature's sludge dripping over arms, chest and legs, its nauseating breath - tenfold the horrible scent of the air - and the concept of something that vile mounted over you was beyond terrifying.

And if that thing wasn't the crux of her situation she would probably have spotted a second entity in the background, climbing right over the brick wall, this a much bulkier figure, the creature her sixth sense had originally located.

Will you shut the fuck UP????


One can only assume the purpose of the whistling, um, attack must have been to stagger and immobilize the prey. But it didn't work against Eeltje. The hissing ceased and the thing collapsed by her side, with a protuberant black spike puncturing through his occipital to its forehead. To be fair, it was more of a jousting lance than a spike: insanely long and as thick as a wrist. Eeltje crawled back on her fours, part flabbergasted, part disgusted (brain bits all around - ewww).

Funny. She had just imagined some sort of pike blowing through the hissing thing's skull, and just like that it happened. She noticed half of her "summoned" smoke was missing, too. The other half remained obediently still next to where she was standing.

Did I.... did I do... this?

There was no time for an after-action investigation, though. The bulky freak seemed a bit horrified by the situation but its craving for Eeltje was much too strong. It advanced graciously over the wall - seriously! Its movements were fluid and silent, almost like a cat despite its body type more akin to a bodybuilder - ready to spring over Eeltje.

It must've assumed to be an intelligent idea to charge at her before she could properly process the situation. Maybe, right after such an odd chain of events, she would be paralyzed in confusion, unable to adequately respond to yet another oncoming threat.

WRONG!

Eeltje, as a good empiricist, wanted to ascertain she - and not some ethereal event of common occurrence in this strange realm - had caused the first thing's timely demise. And, instinctively, the second freak was the perfect Petri dish to test her hypothesis. She thought of a few javelins darting at the monster, and the magic happened.

The remaining mist, up until that point devoid of motion, swiftly spiraled into sharp cylinders and bolted towards the sprinting creature. She watched in amazement as, in mid-air, the objects' spectral semblance converted into something firmer.

Deposition.

In total, some seven projectiles were launched. Six of them missed their target - it was a moving object, after all - but the seventh fulminantly impaled its chest and shoved it to the floor to the other side of the brick wall. The being started to grunt uncontrollably. Eeltje couldn't make sense whether those were howls of pain or a summoning call for its pack.

It doesn't matter. If more come, I'll kill them too.


Eeltje remained by the whereabouts for a few minutes, listening to the sweet symphony of death. Part sadism, part self-realization. After all, she had singlehandedly skewered two surreal entities that could quite possibly lacerate a human being with less qualms and difficulty than a lion, all thanks to her newfound gas-bending, depositional powers. The monster's pain meant, foremost, safety. No matter what plane of existence she was - whether purgatory, hell, or some scifiey earthly dominion - she was not a prey. To think she was a predator was a bit premature and arrogant, but Eeltje did nonetheless.

I'm the killer. Like it should be.

Eventually, the air went silent. Eeltje smiled shyly. Suddenly, the smell was no longer a problem.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Auz
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Auz

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Sam 'Ollie' Oliver
Down the Rabbit Hole


A flash of violet coloured lightning streaked across the crusted cheap carpet, leaving a single wisp of pinkish purple smoke to rise up from the ground, winding its way towards the ceiling. Moments passed before another round of lightning struck again, tearing off in a different direction. Then another and another, each round coming in quicker and brighter than the last. Paper began to dance in the air, desks and chairs were upended as anything not nailed down flew across the room. The force from the event grew stronger, until a final blinding flash of light lit up the former office space.

Left in its stead was a man lay face down on the charcoal covered floor. It sizzled as Ollie groaned and shifted about. The detective could feel an immense pressure squeezing his mind, like a headache but on crack. His chest was heavy, seemingly glued to the ground, as if someone was trying to drag out his soul. Where was he? Had he died and gone to hell?

Pushing himself onto his hands and knees, Ollie made an attempt to open his eyes. His world spun, not just his vision but his emotions too, as if his entire body was circling in a drain of depression and anger. Shifting his weight, he tried to wipe the discomfort from his face, before trying again to open his eyes. Perhaps it didn’t matter, wherever he was, it was too dark to make out anything significant anyway. Instead the detective opted to flip over onto his backside and wait out the spin.

The air was thick, laced with a potent odor, stuffing it’s way up the detective’s nostrils. Ollie’s nose wrinkled as the rest of his face contorted. Everything was off, like someone had taken his world and shifted it, leaving everything crooked and out of place. How long it took for his eyes to adjust was anyone's best guess but eventually his vision came together with the rest of his senses following along.

Finally. He thought to himself. Now where am…

Ollie froze, inhaling sharply, unable to even finish the thought.

What. The. Fuck.

Disbelief hit the man hard as his eyes darted around the room. The building was in shambles, it looked like a bomb had gone off but hundreds of years ago. Just metres from him the ground opened up, as vines snaked their way up from the floor below, growing through whatever was in their way. But they weren’t the type of creeping plants you’d find in a rainforest, it was like someone had taken tar, stretched it like licorice laces and banded them together. They dripped wet with thick black ooze and whatever didn’t fall through the crack, pooled, emanating a kind of faint, dark pulse, that slowly danced in line with the beat of his heart.

The vines were everywhere, a perverted form of nature had reclaimed the building with barely a cubicle left standing. A soft breeze rolled in through a huge chunk of missing wall, exposing the outside world. Thunder rumbled off in the distance, as flashes of lightning silhouetted everything around the room.

Ollie’s jaw had dropped so far that it was attempting to unhinge itself. His brain was rejecting the images reflected by his eyes and his skin began to turn ghostly white. The detective's body screamed retreat, urging him to crawl into a fetal position. Moments away from obeying, his right arm began to tingle. It was kind of like someone was lightly pressing the feeling of pins and needles but localised to this one spot in the middle of his appendage. Slowly the feeling grew, managing to pull Ollie back from the brink.

The detective stood, moving towards the gaping hole in order to get a better look. A small black spot appeared, looking like someone had tattooed his skin. But something was off, it looked as though this dot was growing, appearing to get larger, one millimetre at a time. Ollie’s head cocked to the side as his brow furrowed, slowly he combed his mustache. Surely his eyes were still messing with him.

“Nope.” he denied, rubbing the spot against his dress shirt. “Nope, nope, nope.”

Ollie brought his arm back to the light, not only had it not rubbed off, it had gotten noticeably bigger.

“What the…”

Suddenly the feeling of mild discomfort took a sharp dive into searing pain, tripling in strength, as the darkness surged forward, climbing towards his hand in a sudden movement. Ollie gripped the base of his arm and screamed, collapsing to his knees. His skin began to crack apart, like fire opening fresh charcoal. Swirling patterns of orange heat carved themselves into his flesh like an open wound.

“Please… argh.”

The detective dropped to his knees praying for the pain to stop, frantically hoping to pass out so he could just be done with it. The darkness was relentless, continuing to surge forth until it covered the last of his fingertips. Only then did the pain begin to subside, leaving Ollie to collapse to the ground, gasping for air, drenched in sweat. It was all too much for the man as he curled into a ball, the texture of the floor pulling at his 5 o’clock shadow, plucking one hair out at a time. He didn’t care, he just wanted to go home or better yet, die.

Around him, the world had gone quiet, save for the slow creak of a door, coming from somewhere deeper in the building. As the door latched back into place, slow, uneven thuds rolled forth.

“Margaret, why did you call them?! WHY?!!”

The voice cut through the air like a knife, it was filled with so much sorrow, so much anger and pain. It sent a shiver down Ollie’s spine, raising the hair on the back of his neck, snapping the detective out of his child like trance.

“H-Hello?” he wheezed, his voice still broken from the pain.

“You know I didn’t mean to hit you! It’s just… you make me so angry sometimes!” The voice let out a loud scream as if it was in pain.

The detective struggled to his feet, his arm limply hanging by his side. There was something else, it sounded as if the stranger's voice was somehow garbled, like he was trying to talk with a mouthful of something. Wiping the sweat and snot from his face, Ollie trudged forward, maneuvering around the closest vine, careful to avoid the sludge.

“Margaret?!” The voice repeated.

“My… my name is Ollie, please... sir, I need you to tell me what is going on.” His inner cop was returning.

There was no reply this time, only more shuffling could be heard far off towards the back of the room. Ollie continued to make his way forward, squeezing his way between the collapsed cubicles and destroyed office equipment.

“Sir are you sti-” Ollie stopped, choking on the dryness of his voice.

His legs started to feel like noodles as the memory of the pain lingered in his mind. It was as if the world was trying to sap what little energy he had left.

“Are you still there?” He managed to get out.

A black silhouette stumbled into view, plodding down one of the aisles towards the detective.

“I didn’t mean to do it, I didn’t mean to! She. Just. Wouldn’t. Shut Up!”

Ollie’s stomach turned, his gut rumbling with warning. Something was definitely off, apart from the sludge covered vines. The detective looked down, he still had his pistol tucked snugly in his shoulder holster, his right arm was useless but he still was a decent shot with his left. Careful not to make any sudden movements, Ollie slowly removed the pin holding the leather strap in place and, somewhat awkwardly, removed his 9mm.

“Sir, I am a police offer, I can help you but you need to tell me what is going on, and please, keep your distance.”

The figure continued forward at the same slow pace without a reply. As it came closer, light coming in from the torn out wall began to reveal the man. Ollie almost screamed, exiting the shadows was what could only be described as a creature of some sort, covered in a series of deep blue crystal formations and clusters. Tatters of a pinstriped suit loosely hung to his body as the crystal clusters jutting out from his skin had torn through the material. Each formation was spaced anywhere from 5 to 10 centimetres apart but they were all over his body, with the largest formations coming out from his stomach and left eye.

The look on his face was one of emptiness as the rest of his features were being crushed by the sheer size of the crystals, distorting them in an unnatural way. His skin glistened with a sickening pale green, as the Things veins pulsed visibly.

“Margaret?!” he screamed, his one good eye rolling around and stopping on the detective.

Ollie’s mouth was stunned, slowly he began to peddle backwards. The creature lurched forwards, still stumbling but at a quicker rate.

“I-I didn’t mean to hit her!” He screamed continuously.

“Sir! Please stop! Or I will shoot!” the detective shouted, his mouth obeying him once again.

The creature said nothing, making no effort to change course. Ollie turned and darted back, maneuvering his way to the spot where he woke up. The thing followed, its pace and stature straightening slightly in an effort to catch the man.

Ollie reached the wall, there weren’t any doors or single offices on this side of the room, there was nowhere to hide.

“Sir, I’m giving you one final warning! One step closer and I will fire!”

“WHY DID YOU CALL THEM!” It wailed.

That was it, he couldn’t do any more than that, Ollie opened fire hitting the creature several times in the chest. It stumbled backwards, its torso rocking back and forth, while it’s arm remained at its side. The detective stayed his ground, the gun still aimed at the thing, panting heavily as adrenaline began to surge through his system.

““MARGARET!!!!”

The creature charged forwards, arms extended and teeth gnashing. Ollie unloaded blindly but the thing closed the gap, grabbing the detective and pinning him to the wall. Dropping the gun, Ollie used his remaining good arm to hold the creature back as it latched onto the detective, its crystals brightening as it hugged the man. Ollie struggled, trying to use the wall as leverage to push forward but it was useless, the thing was much stronger than it looked and the brighter its crystals began to glow, the weaker the man felt.

Ollie palmed the creature's face desperately but it fought its way loose and bit down on Ollie’s middle finger, hard enough to draw blood. The detective roared in pain and his right arm began to tingle, radiating with a faint heat. Slowly his blackened hand began to curl into a fist.

The creature pulled Ollie in tighter, its crystals now lighting up part of the room. The detective's vision began to shudder as blood rushed to his head, he’d lost most of the feeling in his legs. But the sensation in his right arm grew stronger.

Punch.

The word came from nowhere, as if it was artificially inserted to his brain from the outside. Summoning his remaining strength, Ollie pushed the creature's head as far away as he could with his left hand. His blackened arm sprang to life, bringing around his fist and punching the thing square in the jaw.

The creature flew across the room, like it had been hit with the force of a car, crashing through cubicles. Ollie fell to the ground, propping himself up on his elbows and knees, coughing and spluttering. A milder burning sensation, similar in nature to the one from earlier, returned as he watched the blackness move a few millimetres up his arm.

“Maagraa!”

Somehow that thing was still alive.

Ollie looked up to see it climbing to the top of the heap, it’s jaw barely hanging on by it’s left tendon, swinging in the breeze. It’s tongue swung back and forth, the saliva dripping uninhibited down onto the floor. Despite all this it still tried to speak in a garbled cry.

Ollie looked back to the floor seeing his gun. The creature lurched forward again, stumbling its way at a decent pace towards him. Without much thought, the detective reached out grabbing the gun with his blackened arm. Immediately the darkness began to spread across the gun, with the 9mm shifting in shape, the barrel getting longer and wider. It turned a deep black with the same swirling orange patterns cracking open, emitting a mild warmth.

“What the fuck?” Ollie muttered to himself before the creature moaned again.

The detective pushed himself to his knees, extending his arm with gun in hand. He fired twice at the thing, hitting it in the chest. The bullets exploded like paintballs on impact with a magma like substance oozing out, melting flesh and bone as it dripped down the creatures torso. It wailed in pain and dropped to its knees. It reached out with both arms towards the detective, gasping for air. Ollie stood, forcefully controlling his breathing, and took final aim at the creature's head. With a slow breath out, he squeezed the trigger.

The Thing's remaining good eye exploded in a burst of scolding orange before dropping to the floor, dead. Ollie could feel what was becoming a familiar shot of pain coming from his arm, the blackness moving up again, ever so slightly towards his elbow. He dropped the gun onto the floor, stepping back and watching the pistol return to its usual 9mm look. The detective raised his arm twisting it over and over as he looked upon it. It had become as responsive as ever, emitting a warm glow.

Slowly, he shuffled over to the gaping hole in the wall, leaning out as far as he could. The rest of the city was in just as bad shape, vines of every shape and size grew from the ground, twisting their way through buildings, strangling the life from them. Huge cracks were carved into the roads, filled with pools of black sludge as dark colours hung above them, pulsing in unison. High above, strange neon symbols danced across the pitch black sky as lightning cut jagged lines over them. Surely this must be hell, there was nothing here except the feeling of dread.

Ollie fell back into the office, stumbling towards where he left his gun. He picked up the 9mm, losing himself in a stare. An image of himself jamming the barrel up under his chin flashed across his mind. Whatever this game was, he didn’t want to play. He took one last look over to the body of the creature, he just wanted to go home, he just wanted…

Wait, what was that?

There was something bulging from the creature's pocket, something square and definitely not a crystal formation. Ollie dropped his arm, which had begun to creep up, instead moving his head down as if changing its position would help him make out whatever it was. The detective stepped forward cautiously, awkwardly returning the gun to its holster. Squatting down he reached into the things pocket.

A wallet?

He pulled it out and flipped it open. There in the see-through sleeve was a drivers license with the words ‘New Atlantis Driving Permit’ printed along the top.

“No, it couldn’t be, I couldn’t be…”

Flashing images interrupted the flow of his thoughts, a woman, young, impossibly beautiful, hovering above him. She was talking, what was she saying?

"You desire the truth, don't you?" even the memory of her voice melted his heart.

“I can give you power...”

No, wait.

“Your soul is too valuable..”

Impossible.

“New Atlantis.”

It can’t be.

“I'll be watching you carefully."

Ollie whipped around as if she was there in the room. He ran over to a desk, tearing through a draw and picking up a stapler. ‘PROPERTY OF NEW ATLANTIS GAZETTE’ was labelled onto its side. Tossing it away he grabbed a stack of paper, the header of the letter read the same. Finally he had solved the mystery, this was New Atlantis, at least what was left of it.

John!

His brother was here somewhere, maybe this is why he had been brought here, a chance at redemption, a chance to save him.

The door creaked from across the far side of the room, more shuffling could be heard echoing from the stairwell. A lot more of those things were on their way. Ollie looked down at his arm, the warmth coming from the cracks began to rise and the glow grew brighter. Shifting his gaze towards his gun, he gritted his teeth.

“Whatever it takes John, I’m coming.”
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Garet
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Garet The Shadoki Master

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Jonathan Veirmos

Even after the portal spit him out and his prison dissipated, Jonathan lay still a little longer. He felt like the school bully had pummeled him a hundred times over. After taking steroids. The pain began to fade, though, leaving in its wake a heavy smell of... Ugh, what is that?...

The strange odor intensified a moment before something made its presence known, sniffing his hair. Jonathan groaned and lifted a hand before dropping it by his head; the something immediately scampered away a few steps. As the pain continued to fade, he pushed himself up onto his hands and knees. "What happened?" he muttered, shaking his head before blinking his eyes open. His glasses fell off his face and onto the pavement below him. "Oops." He reached to pick up his glasses, then froze as he saw his arm.

His silver-freakin'-scaly arm, though the scales stopped before his fingertips. Jonathan shook his head. Nope, it must be armor, um, designed to look like...scales. He sat back on his legs and reached for his arm with his other hand, only to jump to his feet as some part of him that wasn't his legs touched the ground. "What the freak?!" After swaying for a moment from the sudden movement, Jonathan whirled around to look behind him and caught a glimpse of something before it moved out of his sight. He turned again, a little slower, afraid to confirm what it was. A tail. It twitched, catching him by surprise as he felt it twitch, as naturally as if his eyebrow or thumb had twitched.

"I must be dreaming, it must be a dream," Jonathan mumbled, mentally exploring the extent of his new muscles. His tail jerked a little, unused as he was to having a fifth limb. He looked back at his arm and poked it. He felt the poke, a little too much for it to be just armor. His arm suddenly started itching where he'd poked it, and without thinking, he started scratching it a little. A couple scales dislodged and fell to the ground, next to his glasses. "Intense dream," he said, shaking his head as he bent down to pick up his glasses. Hesitating, he also picked up the scales.

"Shiny birdy wish it was dream?"

Jonathan jumped back up as he tried to pinpoint where the voice came from. Then he blinked again as he looked again at the area itself. Devastated city buildings everywhere, splattered and pierced with tar and weird... black, sludgy vines. Jonathan jumped as a nearby tar pool exploded into sinister flames. Uhh, this definitely has to be a dream... too much gaming?...

"Birdy is shiny~"

Jonathan whirled around, finally spotting the speaker: a young girl, hiding behind an upended slab of concrete. Only her dirty blonde hair and pale eyes were visible, along with one hand on the slab's edge. Standing in front of her like a guard was what seemed to be a wolf; it began growling defensively as Jonathan looked at them. Its fur was clearly on end, almost looking like...needles...

"Huh?" Jonathan blinked. I can see clearly now. Weird. "Uh, kid?"

The child frowned. "I'm not a kid!" she snapped. "I'll have you know I'm 28!" As she spoke, she visibly grew a few inches, her face turning dark. The wolf growled louder; its fur...needles also grew a bit.

Jonathan stepped backwards and shivered with goosebumps. "Uh, right, my bad, I'm just confused... wait, what birdy?"

The girl stared at him. "You."

Jonathan frowned. "Riiight... Anyway, where am I?"

The girl smiled wide, too wide, enough that with his newfound sight, Jonathan could tell that her sharp teeth weren't exactly human. "Shiny birdy in trappy~"

Jonathan turned to run, only to fall backwards as a second wolf - heavy and earthen - pounced at him and grabbed his arm in its jaws. Scales broke underneath stony teeth as the wolf shook his arm back and forth. On some new instinct that jabbed into his mind out of nowhere, Jonathan focused on his arm-scales and imagined shooting the inside of the wolf's mouth. He yelled in pain as some of his scales coalesced into a small blade that flew down the wolf's throat. The earth-wolf let go of his arm and heaved in pain, collapsing to the ground.

"No!!" the girl screamed. As Jonathan watched, the earth-wolf broke down into dirt and dust that flew towards the girl, who somehow grew bigger and scarier and distinctly less human.

Jonathan turned back toward her and got struck in the chest with a flurry of sharp needles, fired from the first wolf. Growling in pain again and now fully acting on instinct, he flung his arm toward the needle-wolf; somehow, his body translated that into flinging several scales at the needle-wolf, which dodged to one side. Jonathan groaned and fell on one knee, his vision growing blurry.

"Meany birdy is sleepy now," the girl said, stepping towards him. As she passed the needle-wolf, she ran a hand across its back, somehow completely absorbing it into herself. As the girl grew again and more wolf-like, she growled, "Even in New Atlantis, there are meanies. But I will kill them all. Just like you~"

Jonathan felt a pulse of energy shoot through his veins, followed by a surge of strength and renewal. Just as the girl-- no, werewolf, slashed at his throat, he reached up and grabbed her wrist. His fingertips grew scales and claws, and his head morphed into the shape of an angry silver dragon. He stood back up as his whole body grew bulkier, feeling stronger than before. "What makes you any different?" he hissed at the werewolf, who looked frozen with panic. As his arm grew a blade that slid into his free hand, he stabbed the werewolf's chest and let go of her wrist.

As the werewolf stumbled and fell backwards, Jonathan took a step back, finally recognizing what had happened. He looked at his hands, then at the girl, and started to breathe rapidly. He looked at the sky, only just realizing how dim the lighting was, and saw strange sigils streaming across the inky blackness. Jonathan looked to his left and right, and he finally saw why the girl had called him 'birdy': two wings spread out from his back, double the length of his arm-span.

And yes, they stretched more as he tried even more new muscles.

Jonathan finally screamed, only it came out like a loud roar that echoed up and down the street and between buildings. After doing so, he forced himself to take deep breaths. "Okay, okay, calm down, calm down... this is freaky, but calm down..." He pulled out the needles that, apparently, stuck in his scales more than his chest earlier. He felt his body shrink a little, back to what he felt was his normal body. His fingertips and head did the same, turning normal again. Well, as normal as he could be right now, he figured. "Just...just...life or death situation," he said to himself, glancing at the werewolf's body before looking away. "It's fine to fight for survival...right? Right." He felt his arm and chest, only just realizing that his wounds were starting to heal over, faster than any human should've been able to. "Of course. Why should I be surprised at this point?"

Jonathan looked at the ground again, searching for the glasses he'd dropped. Finding them near where the earthen-wolf had attacked, he picked them up and, hesitantly, stuffed them in his pocket. Checking his other pocket, he realized his smartphone was still there. Frowning, he looked at his right middle finger, making sure his ring was also still present. "Shouldn't it have snapped or somethin' when I changed?... Weird. Ugh, this whole situation is weird." He looked around once more, spotting a black backpack that he recognized as his, back where he figured he had woken up. Picking it up, he noticed that it was still empty, just as it was when...

Jonathan felt goosebumps again as he finally remembered what had happened. The strange, otherworldly woman who had somehow paralyzed him and talked about a Seed and finding the truth behind New Atlantis--

Wait, the girl-- thing, mentioned New Atlantis, too. If that was the case, then it should be on the horizon somewhere. Jonathan looked across the cityscape, stopping as he found it: the Atlantean Spire, though it took him a moment to recognize it behind the massive, sludgy, black vines that wrapped around it.

"Oookaaay," Jonathan said, forcing himself to take deep breaths again. "I really hope this is a dream or something after all, but I need to treat it like it's real." He moved to put the backpack on, then frowned as his wing got in the way. After some maneuvering and adjustments to the backpack, he managed to get his wing to fold in enough to let him slip the backpack strap over it. Then he repeated the same with the other side.

"Edgar, if you're not here in this city, I really hope you stay out and stay alive." As if his brother was gonna hear that. Jonathan looked down the street in both directions, wondering which way to go. As his wings and tail twitched, he looked up at the buildings around him. Maybe I can get a better view from up there somewhere. He stretched his wings and crouched, trying to figure out in his mind how to fly now. Instinct hit him again as his body surged, this time morphing until he was down on his hands and feet...well, no hands and four feet. Groaning at the temporary pain, Jonathan flexed his limbs. His arms now felt like his legs; looking down at himself, he noticed they were more digitigrade. His shoes had split open, no longer able to contain his back feet. Great, now I'm a... I'm a...

A dragon.


A wild feeling rose up in his chest, and Jonathan jumped upward, flapping his wings. And he fell flat on the ground.

A flightless dragon. Great. Or maybe he just wasn't used to it enough yet. Jonathan shook himself and started walking down the street, searching for a building that had more floors than the surrounding buildings. More or less. Edgar would probably enjoy this, after getting over how unreal it is.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Cohors
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Cohors None (Is) So Vile

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A wind of change...

Whether of serene woods or the smothering man-made jungle, men are always embedded in a symphony of melodies they're perfectly acquainted with. The chirping birds, the blowing grass shrubs, the turbulent streams, the gentle murmur of TV characters at low volume, the humming of current transformers, the voice of casual passers-by, the distant white noise, mishmash of all sorts of anthropic sounds, there's always a sweet (and sometimes sour) sound. Sometimes there is too auditory blank - many enjoy stillness especially if they are creatures born or bred to appreciate deep introspection.

Yet there is no acquaintance or parallel that can prepare one for this damp new world. The silence is unforgiving, and the sounds, even more so. There are very very few of them. That of a faraway pulse. That of viscous flow. An almost pitch-black atmosphere. Every now and then, a deep growl of non-carbon based lifeforms. Shrieking freaks gargling whenever they see fit. Unintelligible wails of semi-sentient beings. Tormenting. Ambiance built to torment. A world built to torment.

But Eulalie felt it was cathartic.

At first she thought she had finally died and was thrown in limbo. But, after sighting the iconic New Atlantean Spire, it was clear this was no afterlife trial for the kingdom come. She was perhaps delirant, but definitely alive. Eventually, she recalled the truth-promising nymph and it all clicked - that entity had something to do with all this.

Provided this was no coma or maddened fever dream - and since she had a clear train of thought and sensorial capabilities, it was safe to assume she was experiencing neither of those - she was hand-picked by a semi-deity to unveil what now is clearly a supernatural mystery. And she was imbued with wicked eldritch magic. Her superiority, her potential, her true nature, finally someone, or something, acknowledged it all. No more judgement. No more vapid societal norms. No more medications, emotions, treatments, shackles from her true self. Alone, away from the scrutiny of men's ethics. Freedom? Did it take a voyage to hell for her to feel free?

The howls of sorrow… of those wretched things. Certainly they could disembowel her with ease, but she could do the same to them, and no one would bat an eye. Whether she died or whether she murdered she would have no one to answer but herself. Terrifying, yes, and also cathartic. Freedom to blaze a path as she seemed f-

... swept away.

Gunshots. Pow. Pow.

Pow.

Were the tar-sodden freaks capable of wielding firearms - better yet, from the timbre of the bang Eulalie could tell, handguns? That didn't matter. Even if they could - which they obviously couldn't, right? - why would them? Their bodies stray far beyond the biological constraints that make bullets effective. Handguns wouldn’t be useful. Shotguns or exploding projectiles, may’haps, but not pistols. That... that must mean one thing, then... only one thing... one goddamn thing.

I'm not... I'm not fucking alone.

Standing there, in the middle of the road, Eulalie sighed. Of course that bitch would call other people, what were you thinking, Eulalie? Not even in a surreal post-apocalypse could she be by herself. And if there's another individual, then most certainly there many others as well. Who knows - maybe dozens, maybe hundreds. A new society, perhaps? Mankind to, once again, populate a twisted realm a sadistic deity threw them into?

God, she wished she was in limbo instead.
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