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2 yrs ago
Current Back at the guild after a long absence. Much changed since I was gone?
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Medical student living in Scotland, a lover of beer and steak mostly - but also writing, and politics. Because why not make myself even more divisive.

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Goodnight - the Briefing Room






Simon clapped his hands together, and a big stupid grin grew on his face as everyone answered in the affirmative.

“Fantastic! Oh man, you guys- you guys have no idea how happy I am to hear that.” He sighed in relief, standing up straighter and blinking the fatigue from his eyes a bit.

After a moment, he leaned back down and shuffled some of the papers on the table about, eventually producing what looked like a printout of a google earth image centered on a earthy red patch of desert, punctuated only by the shifting colours of the sand and rock, and by what looked like a small set of ramshackle structures off to one side of a seriously disused dirt road.

“In about six hours, we’re due to meet some of our bootleggers at this location in order to collect a shipment of supplies from them. Most of the goods are just stuff like canned and dried food and toilet paper, but there’s also a package of medical supplies being kept in a cool box that we need quite badly. There’s insulin in the cool box, which we’re running dangerously low on at the moment. That’s really the focus here.”

He poked his finger down on the map, against the outline of one of the larger structures.

“This is where you’re going to be coming out, using Billy’s van. “

Then, he gestured to what looked like an outhouse next to the dirt road.

“This is where the bootleggers will be waiting. They’ll probably have one or two men elsewhere in the area to keep an eye on things, but that’s where the meet should take place. I’d recommend some of you go make the handoff and load things into the van, and that the rest of you keep an eye on the surroundings and keep watch for anyone else approaching, but I’ll leave that to your discretion.”

He moved his hand back over to the entry point.

“Once everything is loaded up, return here and send an affirmative text to the only number stored on this phone.” Simon added, as Syl produced an ancient Nokia and plonked it down on the table next to him. “Once we receive it, we’ll have someone open the way home. If you need to get in touch with us for any other reason, that’ll be how you do it too - but ideally, don’t. It’s disposable, and we think they’re reasonably safe to use, but we’re keeping things as quiet as we can for the moment.”

Simon leaned back again, folding his arms and looking over the map.

“Oh, uh…” Billy started, turning the attention of the room to him, “... we prob’ly oughta mention, this is in Australia.” He nodded sagely, as if his contribution had been ancient wisdom and not completely bizarre.

“Right. It’s gonna be about 4AM local time when this all goes down.” Simon added.

“Any questions?”







Goodnight


20th of January - 2020






The weeks since you had arrived at Goodnight under the protection of the Violet Underground had been chaotic, exhausting, and stressful. The atmosphere was initially lifted by the sudden availability of hot showers and reasonable food - especially after the days gone without either by the arriving refugees - but before long it had become obvious that keeping a good few hundred, maybe even a thousand, of the most stressed, outcast, magically supercharged people on the planet all together in one mall would be trying.

The incident with Abigail was the first, and to the veterans of the underground it was probably the most outstanding on account of the revelations that came with it, but it was by no means the only one.

The Violet Underground had promised everyone basic instruction on how to control their magic, and use it safely, and these classes were delivered by more or less whoever was on hand to give them; they were useful, surprisingly thorough, and if nothing else an engaging diversion - but even still, accidents happened. The medics were kept busy by a constant stream of self-injury and magical exhaustion, and the sentries had to get used to keeping as much of an eye on the refugees as they were on their surroundings - but even worse were the fights.

It could have been because tensions were high, or because of something one person had done, or simply because people liked violence, but life in Goodnight had become punctuated by arguments which had an alarming tendency to devolve into violence. They weren’t so commonplace that you couldn’t avoid them, but they were frequent enough that everyone knew it was happening - and it was leading to tribalism in the mall. Worse still were the times people tried to bring their magic into the matter - more often than not, they were shut down almost instantly by the more experienced mages of the Underground, and the few times things did get out of hand still weren’t all that serious… but the change in atmosphere was obvious.

At 7AM that monday morning, two weeks after your arrival, things changed for you again.





Headquarters was not a place most of you had been before - only Abi, so far, had been inside the bare, freezing room at the back of the mall - but it was the sort of environment you were all familiar with in one way or another. It was a cross between a staff room, an office, a war room, and - bizarrely enough - an AA meeting, what with the row of coffee urns that had been repaired and refilled since Abigail in particular was last here.

Simon had sent some people out to find you, wake you if necessary, and bring you to him first thing in the morning.

When you got there, he was standing at one of the tables, his eyes deeply shadowed from lack of sleep and a cup of what might genuinely have been military grade instant coffee in his hand.

“Morning, guys.” He said, with a voice that screamed all-nighter. Simon looked up from the map, and drew his gaze across the assembly that had gathered in front of him. He paused then, for a moment, as if he were deciding where to begin. In the background, Brooks was filling his own cup with coffee, and Billy was idly thumbing through a small book, looking up at you as you entered. Brooks inclined his head - almost begrudgingly - towards Abigail.

“I’ve had to listen to well over a hundred reports from the bootleggers - the smugglers responsible for getting you here - in just the past two weeks. My colleagues have had to receive many more still.” He placed the cup down on the table, next to the stack of papers he had been looking voer. “But in the middle of all that, you guys and a few others managed to stand out.”

He nodded, pacing around the table, folding his arms, looking the party over again.

“I’m looking at a group of people right now who can do some pretty amazing stuff. Turning your skin to volcanic rock and lifting steel beams, fighting street art come alive and helping your own rescuer pick up where others had fallen, healing the dead flesh of the seriously injured, even taking up arms against an agent of the FOE. I’m very impressed.”

Simon laid his hands on the table, leaning on them, taking some of the weight off his feet and sighing loudly.

“Look, I don’t really want to beat around the bush with this, so I’m gonna just… come right out and say it. We are not doing great at the moment. We were never exactly a well coordinated group to begin with, but there have been entire cells and groups of our people that have just disappeared in the last couple of weeks, and we’re recording a lot of…” he stumbled, struggling for the right word to make it seem less than it really was, and failing to find it, “... losses. Casualties.”

A young woman with dark skin and a serious expression wordlessly took his cup and refilled it as he continued.

“To get to the point, I’m asking you if you might be interested in volunteering. Working with us. I need to be completely clear right now, you have no obligation to, and it will not be held against you if you refuse.” He held his hands up, cutting an X into the air for emphasis. “We do dangerous work, as you all know, and while we’re certainly not in a position to refuse anyone who might be willing to help, we are not holding it over anyone. The Underground will continue to protect you regardless.”

“But we need the help.” Brooks added, curtly.

Billy nodded, tucking the book away into the chest pocket of his body warmer.

Simon’s lips curled downwards, a bitter expression on his face - bitter and, possibly, disappointed.

“We do need the help. In fact, if you were interested, I’d even be able to set you up on a job with Brooks and Billy here, get you started right away.” Simon looked up at you, hopefully.





This is pretty gross. I don't think you can get away with saying "... I doubt much rape would be going on..." because in this setting it's going to be a part of the backstory of pretty much *all the characters.* I feel uncomfortable just knowing that you want to do this. It really is quite obvious that you have a personal stake of some kind in the sexual slavery of at least some of the player characters, whom you also want to be catgirls and bunnygirls apparently - and I don't know whether that's because you want to feel like you're saving them, or because you like the idea of the suffering behind it, but it's really creepy.

RPG is not the place for this RP. If you want something like this, do it privately.




Matthew Mearls






Míra sniffed.

"Thanks man. I mean, you know, it'll be ok - we all knew what we were getting into, you know what I mean?" She chimed with false optimism.

It didn't last - but she didn't start crying. She just shook her head again.

"There's talk of getting the people in the community who help us and bringing them here - or to places like Goodnight - because the risk of them getting outed as collaborators is gonna be way too fucking high after this shit. We weren't just getting killed out there, some of us got taken - and someone's gonna break eventually."

Her jaw clenched.

"Sax." She forced out, like she'd been punched - or shot - and was trying to hide it. "That son of a bitch. I know he'd never give us up. I know it. He's a hard motherfucker. I think he was in the army or some shit. Fought in Vietnam probably, knowing him. Fuck."

Eventually her head fell, and she pressed her thumb and forefinger against the bridge of her nose - hiding tears, and not very well.

"I've gotta go back. I've gotta go back. I can't stay here. I've gotta go back."





@Gentlemanvaultboy




Matthew Mearls






Míra sighed, and reached for the key.

It was about fifteen minutes of awkward, scratch-filled, anti-graffiti oriented silence before she spoke again.

She paused mid keyscratch, before shaking her head and slumping back against the back of the shop counter, handing the keys limply back to Matthew - for what little they were worth now.

"I can't stop thinking about how many people we lost." Her voice cracked, just a tiny bit.

Míra shook her head - not quite in disbelief, not quite in sadness, but not quite not both.

"I'm going back home today, I took New Year's and a couple days off - drinking, and the hangover, I told them." She started rubbing the bridge of her nose with fingernail-bitten hands.

"But I stayed here last night, and the talk from the people coordinating this is just..." Míra trailed off, like her heart was an engine stalling, before blinking herself out of the reverie, "... it's heartbreaking, man. We took a lot of fucking losses. A lot of fucking losses."

She rested her head in her hand, leaning on her knee for support. Her other hand idly grabbed a piece of broken tile from the floor and chucked it halfheartedly at the far end of the checkout area of whatever godforsaken store they were occupying.

"This is so fucked."





@gentlemanvaultboy
Hello hello, I am the GM! I uh, just figured I should probably make my presence known early on this thread.




Matthew Mearls






Míra was tired. She was exhausted, in fact - shattered, even.

Shattered, actually, was probably the best word. The English language - perhaps on account of the English tendency towards sour humour, poor moods, and crappy weather - was blessed with a glorious variety of words to describe fatigue, and how one can become it, but Míra wasn't just tired in the mundane sense, she was shattered.

She was tired. But she was broken too.

Lieutenant Míra Mendez was good at compartmentalising because she had to be. The other night had not been the first time she'd witnessed men die - nor had it been the first time she'd had cause to pull her gun and get involved, or even the first time she'd seen cops die - but, like it always did, it stuck with her. It made her feel irrationally angry, spiteful at the way the world worked, dread for when it would finally be her turn - but more than anything else, it made her feel tired, and it made her feel broken.

Míra had never been good at hiding her emotions.

When she found him, she wasn't even completely sure that she'd been meaning to - but if nothing else he was a distraction, and he was... definitely acting weird.

"Hey, Matt? Everything ok with you man?" Míra looked over the counter at the younger man, having just finished his work on the unassuming form of Kilroy.

"You uh, wanna talk, or anything?"





@Gentlemanvaultboy




Abigail






It wasn’t exactly the worst of places to fall asleep. Abigail wasn’t picky; she could sleep on a vaguely flat rock if the situation demanded it. It was the vibe that kept her awake, a heavy miasma of anxiety, uncertainty, loss, fear that emanated from every shuffling and rustling body in the women’s lingerie department. Rows upon rows of terrified souls not too much unlike herself who had recently had their lives upended and were deposited neatly amongst the empty shelves and disembodied torsos of the store. Abigail regarded one of these mannequins and tried to figure out which sick fuck thought to keep the creepiest of props in the same place where a bunch of freshly traumatised mages slept.

She wriggled her arm out of her sleeping bag, pointed her index finger and levelled her finger gun at the peeling model. “Pew, pew”, she breathed, pretending to shoot it - and flinched and rolled over and curled in on herself as a brief, candle-sized puff of purple flame quietly fizzled out of her fingertip and dissipated into the darkness. Multiple disapproving glares were thrown her way. “Sorry,” she apologised a little louder, pulling the hood of the sleeping bag further down so she could cover her blush.

Sleep came for Abigail, in that creeping, insidious way that it sometimes does in times of strife - little by little, falling into slumber then waking, falling deeper each time, head and mind growing clouded and foggy.

Until she was asleep, and her eyes opened.

Abigail was struck by the sun, like a radiant gunshot, as she looked up into the sky through the skylight in the centre of Goodnight almost by reflex. It was luminous and blinding, and warm and welcoming, and alive.

And so was Goodnight.

For but the briefest of moments, Abilgail was surrounded by the hubbub of a busy, thriving mall. She could smell food - not just uncleaned greasetraps, but real, freshly cooked food - and she could taste excitement. She had never tasted it before, but there it was, like wine but much better - or like soda, but much heavier.

Then it was gone.

The sun was still up, the skylights still there and clean, the floor tiles still sparkling and bleached - but the place was empty.

Where there once was the wine of life, there was now something bitter and sour and salty - like tears, or the wide wide sea, or loss.

In the distance, breathing; ragged and sad.

The air felt a little like water.

Abigail rubbed her nose on the back of her hand and looked around. She wasn’t quite taking in the details of her surroundings just yet but recognised the mall and its vast emptiness. Her feet already took her towards the source of the breathing with no motive other than to sate her impulsive curiosity.

She went up the escalators - still and quiet now - and around the pillars of the food court - silent and frozen - and she wound around and around the building until the sound finally localised itself.

Behind a service door. Then up more stairs. Then round one of those invisible corridors that staff use to get around and appear where they’re needed, seen only when appropriate, heard almost never.

Eventually, she found the manager’s office. The proprietor’s office? It was too fancy, somehow, to simply be the office of a general manager, as she pushed the door open and took in the plush beige carpet, not yet stained by sun, the long dangling white blinds, hanging like half raised hands on the current of the breeze flowing from one open window to the other - the bottle, rich brown glass and black lacquered label, glistening in the light of the sun, which somehow was setting now, resting on the rich oak of the desk.

Behind the desk there sat a man. He was tall and lanky, young looking but tired, wearing a brown tweed business suit that - to anyone else - would have clearly been finely tailored.

He raised a glass to his lips and swallowed the delicate amber therein, before his ragged breathing resumed. It took only a moment for his eyes, red and puffy, to clench shut again, and his body to be wracked with silent sobbing.

The only other thing on the desk was a photo frame, facing him.

Abigail was about to make a move to hastily leave this man and his emotions to himself but a twinge of pathos stilled her feet. She knocked on the door instead, though her presence was already made known. “Hey, uh,” she wracked her brains for a good, empathetic opening to an awkward conversation. “Y’all good?” was all she could come up with.

The man behind the desk stirred - but not in her direction.

“Fuck, fuck. I’m sorry dad.” His hand took ahold of the photo frame, like he was trying to lean on it, like he would fall if he didn’t, and never get up again. “I’m so fucking sorry, dad.”

After a moment, he became lost in sobbing again, tearing his gaze away from the photo like he couldn’t stand looking at it any more - and pouring himself another drink, by reflex.

Far off in the distance, Abigail might have heard footsteps. Or mumbling.

Or nothing.

“I’ll uh...I’ll leave you to it,” Abigail rubbed the back of her neck. She gave it her best shot and it either fell short or the man was intentionally ignoring her. Either way, she knew she wasn’t welcome here. She felt it in her gut and didn’t need anyone having a mental breakdown to prove it. There was something nagging the back of her head and it gradually pushed her onwards until her errant wanderings became a sort of slow jog and, as she covered more distance, traversed the winding corridors and glass facades of the endless mall with an increasing sense of urgency, her mind became preoccupied then dominated by the fact everything was too clean, too empty. “Fuck’s going on?” she said out loud, if only to hear a voice in this pristine replica of Goodnight.

“What?” Came another voice - unrecognisable, but nearby, even if it sounded distant. “Who are you?”

“Ain’t nobody important,” Abigail responded warily, slowing down to a halt and spinning this way and that to find the source. “Where you at? Come on out, I don’t bite.”

Footsteps.

Footsteps.

Footsteps.

Two pairs of footsteps, neither of them hers, both of them approaching.

That wrongness in Abigail’s gut increased sharply. She shifted her weight from foot to foot. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to just make her presence known in this strange alternate Goodnight. If she was her old self - her good, Christian self who didn’t dabble in witchcraft - then now would have been a good time to hit the bricks. But Abigail had fire now, and all her previous experiences with fire had always ended up poorly for everyone involved. She was feeling brave and, with all the arrogance of youth, she was feeling invincible. She stood her ground.

After a moment, around the corner came -

Nobody.

The footsteps stopped, they’d been coming from that direction, there should be someone in front of her right now.

“Who are you?” Came a voice - not too close, but present - from behind her.

Abigail wheeled around and fell clean on her ass.

In front and above of her, there was a thin man with a patchy black beard and a gaunt, unpleasant face. He wore a navy hoodie with a bizarrely indistinguishable logo or design of some sort on it, and black skinny jeans.

“Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

“I live here, dumbass!” Abigail shouted back, scrambling to her feet. “This here’s my home!” It was imperative, said some animal hindbrain hardwired to keep Abigail from dying, that she didn’t give away too much information to this scruffy looking stranger in an abandoned mall. “Question is who are you?”

He frowned.

“I… you… you live here?”

Abigail latched onto the confusion like a terrier latching onto an ankle. “Don’t seem too surprised, you hobo-looking sumbitch. Everybody’s gotta have a roof under their heads. Just what the hell are you doing wandering ‘round late at night?” What time was it? Abigail was too engrossed to check. Her legs tingled and her heart raced. First sign of danger, she’d blast this man in the beard and take to the hills.

He took a moment, the confusion on his face faded to a deeper expression - one of complex thought, calculating mind.

“You can’t live here. Not if you can see me. Not unless…” He inhaled tentatively, as if deciding what to say. “Unless you’re dreaming. Like me.”

“Oh yeah?” Abigail said, a mixture of hotheadedness and fear bubbling away in her chest as she realised she was losing the upper hand - quickly. “Would someone who’s dreaming be able to do this?!” She raised her arm, tried to use her fire spell-

And woke up to burning plastic and a lot of heat everywhere. Abigail shot out of her sleeping bag like a bat out of hell with a shriek of surprise, scrambling backwards, patting out the smouldering spots on her clothes with a sheen of sweat. All she could do was stare at the burning heap as her heart rattled in her ribcage and she took quick, fluttering breaths. She could feel the eyes on her from every direction as her head swivelled this way and that, looking for the bearded stranger.

“Anyone got a spare sleeping bag?” she called out, trying to lighten the mood. “Think mine’s bust!”

It took a minute for anyone to respond, as the tension in the air built and built; who was this fucking girl, setting shit on fire and making our lives even worse? Who the fuck was that, burning valuable supplies and wasting our resources? Which stupid child was too dangerous to be kept around?

After a moment, a gentleman at the entrance to the storefront sighed. It was one of the guys from earlier, when they’d been giving speeches - the one with hair.

“I’m sorry, kid. We don’t have any more sleeping bags. You wanna come with me for a bit, please?”

“I ain’t done nothing,” Abigail responded levelly. “Ain’t done nothing on purpose,” she added on after some thought. In her contempt, she left the sleeping bag to burn and smoulder and release rancid chemical fumes into the room - partially because she felt it was vindicating for her unjust treatment, and partially because she didn’t know how to make things stop burning when they started.

“Right. Jack, make sure that fire is out, get some air freshener or something. Sorry about this folks, I’ll…” he paused for a moment, realising that there wasn’t actually a lot he could do to make it better in the moment,”... see you at breakfast, I guess. Come on kid, follow me.”

He turned and walked down the walkway, overlooking the ground floor, as his compatriot sighed too, and moved to stamp on the sticky remains of a polymer sleeping bag.

“Alright. What happened?” He said, looking back at her with exhausted eyes, still walking.

Abigail mulled it over. ‘I tried to torch a homeless man’ didn’t seem like a suitable excuse. She worked her jaw and rubbed the back of her neck. “Been havin’ real lifelike dreams lately, and I tried to use my magic in one,” she admitted reluctantly. Something felt off when it came to her weird night-time hallucinations but she wasn’t too keen on letting other people know in case she came off as crazy.

For a moment, the man stopped in his tracks - not quite enough to break his stride, just enough of a hesitation to interrupt it.

“Right.”

He picked up the pace a little, then abruptly turned left and headed down the frozen escalators to the ground floor - and then further back, towards the rear of the mall.

“I see. Tell me more about these dreams of yours, kid. In fact, what’s your name? I’m Simon.” He said as they reached what was clearly some sort of makeshift HQ - lit by electric lanterns and heated by no more than the warmth of the few bodies still there, it occupied the ground floor of a generic, empty department store. There were a couple of tables that didn’t fit the remnants of the original shop’s aesthetic at all, and they were either covered in supplies, or in maps and paperwork.

Apart from one, which had a row of coffee urns on it.

Simon sat down on a rickety chair near the map table, and someone pushed another such chair towards him as Abi approached.

Abigail regarded everything with suspicion. She did not vibe well with this office space, these strange and official-looking figures and the row of coffee urns. As she leant back in her rickety chair to better regard the map in a blatant attempt to snoop around, she only gave Simon a modicum of respect hidden under several bundled up layers of caginess and distrust. This place was the principal’s office and a police station all at once. She regretted mentioning her dreams the moment she picked up on the surreptitious change in atmosphere and it gave her lockjaw ever since. Her gaze slipped around the room in the hopes of catching a gaudy parka, or a dishevelled old man with a bullet wound.

Simon’s eyes were large, but narrowed. He raised an eyebrow as she looked around.

“Hey, I’d really like to hear more about these dreams of yours.” His voice was quiet, but firm. Not teacherly, exactly, but certainly businesslike - definitely serious. “If they’re the sort of thing that are going to have you keep setting yourself on fire, or setting things on fire, or setting other people on fire, then I need to know as much as you can tell me.”

“No, it’s-...it’s fine, I won’t do it again.” But it had nothing to do with the fire. Abigail wouldn’t meet his gaze and became interested in her fidgeting fingers instead. She knew that it had nothing to do with the fire the moment he hesitated, and this wasn’t middle school - none of the people in this room, or this building, owed her anything. They weren’t bound by trivial matters such as ‘law’. Abigail picked up on that pretty quickly through Simon’s tone, some subconscious survival instinct kicking in and telling her to quit acting out and do what she’s told.

After a long hesitation, she decided to own up a bit more. “I’ve only had two,” she started. “They’re-...super lifelike. Nothing weird happens in them. Well, like, there’s -weird- stuff in it, but not like, flying pigs n’ shit,” Abigail caught herself rambling, her gaze flickering uncertainly up to Simon’s then sharply back to her hands. “I always remember ‘em. Clear as day. More like they’re memories than dreams, y’know?”

Simon nodded, then looked up at one of the other people in the room. Attention had subtly shifted onto the conversation they were having.

Out of Abigail’s view, the person Simon had looked to nodded briefly.

Simon took a moment.

“Thank you for that. What’s your name, kid?” His expression softened. In the background, there was movement as two of the people who had been at work over the maps before Simon had come in left.

“Am I in trouble?” Abigail met Simon’s gaze now. Things may be uncertain, and her dreams may make her burst into flames on a whim, but she knew where she stood when it came to being in trouble. It was a point of pride for her to at least show no fear in the face of a solid scolding.

Again, Simon took a moment, mulling over her sentence in his head.

Eventually, he leaned back on the chair too, and closed his eyes for a moment.

“No. I don’t think you’re in trouble - or at least, trouble isn’t the right word. You were having one of these dreams when you… well, set yourself on fire, right? What were you doing in the dream when it happened?”

“I was trying to scare off some guy.” That seemed like a valid enough explanation. “He said that the only way I’d have been able to see him was if I was dreaming too, if that helps any. So I tried to scare him off, and set myself on fire.”

And just like that, the seriousness was back.

“You saw someone in your dream? Did he give you his name?”

Abigail shrank. “I ain’t even given -you- my name, what’d you think?” She snapped, going on the defensive. “Even there I was certain to make sure I didn’t say nothing stupid!”

Except…

Abigail looked away again. Oh god. Oh fuck. She was quick to cover up her nervousness. “H-he had a scruffy beard, he was wearing a uh, blue hoodie, dark hair...He looked pretty mean, I didn’t trust him. Not one bit.”

“Right. What did he say? And what did you say?”

Abigail shrank back even further. Her legs got tingly. She was used to denying everything, saying nothing and occasionally insulting authority figures. But this was way, way out of her element. “He kept asking who I was, and what I was doing there. I told him in no uncertain terms to get fucked and get lost, and he sorta clocked on that, if I could see him, then I was dreaming...Then I said something like ‘oh yeah? Could a dreaming person do this?’ And then I set myself on fire.” Abigail added in the voices and the theatrics. She gesticulated. She rambled. She tried her damndest to avoid that one key detail that gnawed away at her insides like maggots.

Somewhere tucked away in the back of the office space, things started to shift imperceptibly in the gloom. It was just a few papers here and there, gently starting to lift as if some slight but very steady breeze caught them. The coffee urns made gentle shifting noises that went largely ignored as Abigail played out her theatrics and Simon kept a close eye on her expression.

“Are you sure you’re not leaving anything out?” Simon leaned in a little, his eyes grim.

“W-what’s the punishment gonna be like if I did?” she asked. “It’s still a dream, after all, and I was more scared of him than I was anything else.”

“Punishment?” Simon seemed surprised. “No, look, kid, that’s not how this works. Nobody- nobody is gonna, fucking, punish you, or leave you behind, or hand you over to the FOE. We’re not that kind of people. You’re a whole damn person, we’re not gonna fucking, like, hurt you. We just need to know everything you can tell us. If something happened that might put some of us, or you, in danger, well I just need to be able to plan for it, ok?”

It took Abigail a considerable amount of time to confess. She spent a lot of that time fidgeting, wriggling, looking for an easy out and hanging her head in shame. “And if,” she croaked, feeling the bile rise in her throat out of sheer undiluted terror, “and if...the dream just so happened to be in, in some kinda different version of the mall, and I said that I lived there…?” Her voice petered out into a hoarse squeak.

Simon’s eyes closed as she said it.

Slowly, he nodded.

“Aw, fuck me.” He breathed slowly, sinking into the chair a little.

Several coffee urns dropped back onto the desk in unison, making a resounding crash. Most of them clattered onto the floor - a couple of them broke. Abigail doubled over at the sound and covered the back of her neck and her head with her hands. “I didn’t mean to!” she cried out, shifting her chair back with a kick of her legs to put distance between herself and her interrogator. The room responded in kind - a lot of the little things on the desks put distance between themselves and the surfaces, maybe an inch or two, as staplers and maps and empty coffee mugs lazily drifted upwards. “I-I-I was just trying to scare him, I was trying hard not to tell’im nothin’!”

“Ho-lee sheeyit!” someone yelped as a flood of still-warm coffee soaked the floor.

“Woah, hey, hey, kid, it’s ok. It’s gonna be ok, we’re not- we’re not fucking angry, ok?” Simon gave a start as the noise started, reaching forward instinctively to try and calm Abi down. “Seriously, kid, I mean it, I- I know you tried your best, ok? We’re not- we’re not gonna-”

And like that, he twigged.

“We’re not gonna hurt you, kid, really. We’re- we’re here to protect you, alright?” He got onto his knees to reach forwards, gently, towards Abi, staying below her rather than above her, his stutter resurfacing for a moment.

“How many people,” Abigail groaned, “did I just put into danger with my big fuckin’ mouth? What are these stupid dreams anyhow?! Why’s it matter! It’s just a dumb hobo!”

“I don’t know how many, if any, might be in danger now - and I don’t know very much about the dreams, either, but I know someone who might.” Simon laid his hand on her shoulder. She flinched at the touch and kept still. “All I know is that some magic users, they sometimes get weird dreams like yours, and that sometimes two people who are having those dreams, they can stumble into eachother and meet. Is that right, Syl?” Simon looked up at a tall, black woman, who was busy standing up the coffee urns.

“Close.” She replied curtly. “It’s not always people who you find in those dreams. But close.”

“Can you make’em stop?” Abigail croaked, wishing she hadn’t immolated her sleeping bag and much preferring the cold hard floor to this fresh nightmare.

Sylvia turned to face Abi, face expressionless.

“Not exactly.”

“Y’aint got some sorta sedative or sommin’ that can stop me from dreaming up anything?” Abigail ventured.

“Not one a child should be taking - or that you could use for very long.” She turned back to the coffee, sighing at the mess. There was a gentle tap as one of the free-floating paperweights bonked into the side of a filing cabinet.

Abigail hid her head in between her knees, trying to fold herself up into nonexistence. She kept quiet for a while longer before asking “what happens now?”

Simon exhaled.

“I’m gonna let you use my sleeping bag to try and get some rest, kid. Then I’m gonna go see about reorganising our watch. Tomorrow we’ll see about these dreams of yours - we were planning on giving everyone some basic safety training and stuff anyway, right Syl?”

She didn’t reply.

“Ok. Come on, kid. Let’s get you a glass of water or something.”

















- Timeline -

The history of our History


2016


  • January 1st
    • With the first sunrise of the new year, a wave of violet light sweeps the globe, touching each country as the light of the sun meets the land. It is invisible to cameras and doesn't disturb wildlife - only mankind notices, and they see the purplish light even in their dreams when they're not awake. This event becomes known as the Violet Dawn.
    • Immediately, governments enforce a coerced silence on media corporations and try to stifle the news while their intelligence agencies figure out what exactly happened.
  • January 3rd

    • A significant portion of the world’s population suddenly manifest magical abilities. The vast majority of these tragic individuals are either killed by the uncontrollable manifestation of their vast power, or driven irrevocably and unintelligibly insane - and are subsequently lethally subdued by riot police and government response.
    • Very few of what were eventually called The First Wave were taken alive; those that were, disappeared completely. It is likely that their citizenships were revoked, and that they remained in state custody until their deaths in captivity.
    • It is unknown if any 1st Generation Mages survive in the wild, but estimates are that less than a handful possibly could - and that less than a half could still possibly be serviceably sane. The events of this period will come to be known, one day, as the first World Wide Witchhunt.

2017


  • January 1st

    • It happens again. Like a flashback to a nightmare, the public find themselves once again the subject of a wave of Violet light, washing over them like an occult tide with the rising of the sun. The world watches in horror… and waits in dread.
  • January 3rd
    • The Second Wave awaken, and much like the first one they are either so wildly out of control of their powers that they are killed by them, publicly, or they are mentally destroyed by the weight of their new abilities. The government respond as they did before - with gunfire and Witchhunts. The position of the agencies created to deal with The First Wave is now secure; these are the forefather agencies of the modern institutions dedicated to hunting magicians - and accordingly, the second World Wide Witchhunt commences. A few more magicians from this era survive the bloodshed, but not many. Never many.
  • April 20th
    • The Stafford Act - informally known as the Inquisition act - is passed by the UK parliament and subsequently taken up by the European Parliament as well. It formalises the cancellation of Brexit and the beginning of global intelligence cooperation to counter the Magical Threat. Mages are not quite universally seen as an enemy of civilisation as a whole, yet, but the public are terrified.


2018

  • January 1st-3rd
    • The Third Wave are expected to follow this year’s Violet Dawn by the FOE, and by the wider antimagic intelligence community - but they expected it to be different, more chaotic, more violent. The magicians of the Third Generation are instead like something more subtly deranged, like a failed experiment. For this reason, many of them survive, at least initially. Their hallucinations and delusions will eventually lead most of them to be captured nonetheless, but in the meantime they remain the most survivable Generation yet.
  • February 4th
    • The disparate branches and divisions of existing national intelligence agencies - the FBI Unusual Affairs branch, the CIA’s Extraordinary Intelligence Committee, the NSA’s Paranormal Task Force, MI5’s Crowley Office… - are formally dissolved and recondensed into their own institutions of investigation, by almost unanimous votes in nearly every sovereign nation in the world. This is the birthday of the European Magical Defence Agency, with the birthday of the Federal Occult Enforcement group coming the next day on the 5th of February.
  • September 24th
    • The Magician known as Cam, a talented and reasonably stable individual of the third generation, develops their abilities and is eventually able to identify individuals with latent magical potential. They immediately begin using this ability to try and find themselves some friends.
  • December 25th
    • Cam succeeds in finding seven others who are due to awaken after the next Violet Dawn. Knowing that they will not be able to reveal themselves until they too have self-identified as Magicians, Cam puts measures in place to protect them, and waits for the Sunrise on New Year’s Morning.


2019

  • January 1st-3rd
    • As is now the broadly accepted pattern, on New Year’s morning the world is once again bathed by the Violet Dawn, and once again another fraction of the population is awoken. This year’s magicians are the most stable yet, 90% or so of them remaining both bodily and mentally intact. Intelligence agencies scramble to capture them, using new - if primitive - magic-sensing devices developed covertly using captured mages to test on; they are moderately successful, but for the first time most of the awakened Fourth Generation remain free past the first month mark.
    • Cam is successful in liberating four of the seven - the FOE were already too close to the other three - and bringing them together in Brightwell, Illinois. This is where they will, in the coming weeks, become the founders of the Violet Underground.


2020

  • January 1st
    • The Violet Dawn arrives once more.
  • January 3rd
    • You Awaken as a part of the Fifth Generation.
    • Three minutes after the Dawn, you get a text from an unknown number, telling you that FOE will be knocking on your door in fifteen minutes, and that you need to leave your apartment by the back entrance and meet them in a nearby alleyway if you want to live. The text is brief, but apologetic - and you probably don’t have any better options anyway.






Important Information


Hello, dear friends, and welcome to the world of Paradigm Shift. This is a roleplay where your character is a newly awakened magician, with no particular training or extensive background in magic, who is rescued shortly after their awakening by an agent of the Violet Underground and whisked away to safety just barely in the nick of time.

This isn’t an RP about saving the world, and it’s not a game where every plot line will have a happy ending. There will be loss and pain in equal or greater amounts as there will be joy and hope. You will be dealing with forces that were, and are, almost entirely beyond human comprehension - and you will also be dealing with forces created by mankind, too. This will be a story about survival as much as about being the good guy, and I personally have very high hopes for it.

Before we truly begin, however, some ground rules…









- Expanded Lore -

Stories and Detail
















- OOC and CS Skeleton -


This RP aims to actively work with its player-base to produce a tailored experience to the characters. As such, it works on a mutual trust between the players and GMs to act reasonably and within the limits of the world set before them. In order to encourage communication and mutual content building for the game, the character creation process becomes an application into the RP with the slight chance of rejection.

Please do not be alarmed by this! The way that character creation works is as follows:

  • The player creates their character sheet as per usual. In this example, they have some areas they could improve upon.
  • A GM will formally check their sheet and provide official feedback on the improvements that need to be made before they are accepted.
  • The player submits their improved sheet, whereupon it will either be accepted or declined.

Throughout the entirety of the process, the player is allowed to ask any queries they may have about lore, their application’s shortcomings, or potential ideas and work-arounds. Even though you get two ‘chances’ to formally submit your sheet, you are actively encouraged to ask any questions you have and work with the GMs to produce the best version of your character.

The CS Skeleton is below:











Note:


Due to some players leaving, we have two additional spaces for new characters. The RP has been going on for a little while but we're still very near the start, in a convenient spot for new characters to enter the story, and we are not doing a 'first come, first served' thing with regards to apps.


Please feel free to have a look through the OOC post, which I've copied below this text, and to follow the attached link through to the existing OOC/IC threads so you can get an idea of the existing characters and setting in more depth. If you submit an application, which I'm hoping you'll do, either me or my Co-GM @Stitches will get back to you with feedback for you to use for the final submission as outlined in the post below. We're looking forward to seeing what you get up to.


https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/180294-paradigm-shift-agents-of-fate-high-casual/ooc
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