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(By Ekommogold)

As the expedition entered its seventh day since the last island was spotted, a dense fog had overtaken the ocean waves. The sea was aggressive for hours, rocking the boat, turning new blooded face's green, and doing a number on the Admiral Griobhaéch. But when the turbulent waves left, the fog stayed, and the wind slowed. The fleet found itself slowly cruising through the thick fog, lanters lit on every bow, mirrors in place to illuminate the immediate area.

Quick blinks of the lanterns were used to communicate to the other ships, and soon the fleet was nearly side by side as they made way through the fog. Hour eight in the fog, and a helmsman on the front most vessel, The Bowhead, sent out the signal to the rest of the fleet: ship spotted.

There looming slowly in the fog was a dark vessel, the deck at a strange angle, the bow pointing high in the sky, and the stern and mast missing. It didn't take too long once the crews got close enough to realize it was a floating shipwreck, the front half of an immense boat somehow staying afloat due to a lucky interior design, while the bottom half sagged below the waves, saturated or potentially even missing.

The Freishannese Royal Marines went to the ready as soon as the ship was spotted, although the tension decreased after state of the ship was revealed. Aboard the Admiral Griobhaéch the Honorable Magus Laoithr Ghúmard prepared for his duties. The announcement of the sighting of the mysterious vessel had not changed the necessity to keep the wind up for the voyage.

Meanwhile aboard the Bowhead the Magus Sáedir and the group of Marines stationed on the Seobagh ship came up from below deck.

"Oi! Cote they mine sal!" shouted Captain Siorc, who had come to the bow of the Bowhead to look upon the wreckage. He turned to Saedir with a half-toothed grin. "Lokes lake soam one's bate ose tow et!" Murce had come up with the Freishannese with her Grogarian eyes widened at the ship, and her father sighed. "A dite! Less prepar toe bard!"

Aboard the Liba, Has came down from the mast, approaching the eagerly-awaiting Bahar. "A shipwreck, captain." The captain nodded at the information, before Has continued. "Siorc's cut the main sail, headed for the wreckage."

"Catch up to them, and then do the same," Bahar ordered, squinting through the fog while his sailors behind him awaited further orders.

As the ships approached the vessel, they noticed the wood's darkness was due to intense saturation, mostly likely from being in the water for far too long, any laquer long stripped, but not long enough to sink the strange ship. Any aesthetic value left was completely alien, and no markings assigned it to any known nation.

The deck was completely clear, a massive jagged hole blown into the top. Water smoothed scratches zigzagged across the wood, and many signs of aggression marked the entire ship. The boat was otherwise quiet, leaving the mind to wonder among the soft lapping of the ocean and hazy fog.

“Captain we should stay back!” came the hurried shout of the Honorable Magus as he managed to get up to the sterncastle. Fixing his collar he continued perhaps a bit more tactly, “It would be prudent to wait, as I must be permitted to see what I can of any magical danger before we put all our Marines aboard such a damaged vessel.”

“This ship wasn’t built to easily maneuver everywhere, especially with three vessels already, you’ll have your time.” Captain Solbhan replied before shouting, “Raise the sails and keep the watch!”

Sáedir stepped back as the Marines prepared to board with the Seobagh sailors, planks and steadying ropes at the ready to maintain contact.

"Eh...go a aid ten," Siorc shouted back to the Magus. He looked ot the marines and sailors. "Stan' back, let 'em doe 'es wark." The Liba, being the small size it was, hung back behind the Bowhead.

"We'll support them if anything goes awry," Bahar announced to his men. With the ropes secured and the planks placed the few Freishannese aboard the Liba boarded the apparently abandoned vessel. They proceeded to move out in small groups securing the various locations that could be reached. Cabins and areas not under water in addition to searching the deck and the reachable castle of anything of import.

The found the ship eerily empty. The cabins only holding discarded metal armor and a few heavily used weapons scattered about, but as they passed by the hole in the deck, they couldn't help but notice a light. A soft red glow faded out from the hole in gentle intervals, similar to a resting heartbeat. The last place to look was down.

The marines surrounded the hole, many of their hands rested on their blades. "The hell is down there?" One of them asked. "Oi," he shouted, "Is someone there?"

No sound returned from the hole, just the beating of the softly glowing light. The marines looked to each other skeptically, murmering anxiously as they gazed down at the abyss. One of them picked up stone and tossed it down the hole, testing the depth of it. It didn't take long for it to make a soft clunk as it bounced off wood and into some water. One of the marines, holding a lit lantern, then announced, "Get me a rope." After tying the lantern to a rope, it was lowered deep into the hole, hoping to illuminate the darkness.

The light revealed the bottom of the second deck. It was at a slant like the rest of the ship, with one end disappearing under the water, and the other end slanting out of the water. Craning his neck, the marine could make out a hollow doorway at the end of the slant, the pulsing light illuminating from there. He thought for a moment, then took a deep breath. "Hoist me down."

After the marine was hoisted down to the second deck, he grab the lantern, which had been placed on the floor. "Be careful!" One of his comrades called after him, and he crept slowly towards the pulsing light.

"H-hello? Anybody there?" He called, squinting towards the doorway the light was emenating from.

The light's pulse quickened ever so slighty, and as the man got closer, the warmer he felt. He hadn't noticed it before, but the outside fog had been chilly, and his bones only just now began to thaw, safe from the ocean winds. Despite this respite, the ship remained quiet, the light his only companion. There was only one direction he could go. He swallowed hard, and pressed on, closer to the source of the light, a bead a sweat dripping down his neck. "I'm not here to hurt you...what happened?"

The man now stood at the doorway, his foot pushing soaked dust, and the gentle light ever pulsing, beckoning him in. He breathed in deeply, and stepped in. As he did, a hand jumped out from his side, grabbing his belt and thrusting him to the wet floor.

He lay prone on top of a body whose back was propped against the wall of the cabin, its hand now grabbing his collar. The marine stared with wide eyes as two pale blue eyes stared back from a rotting face, framed by dark wavy hair worn in a Lynnfairish style. Around the being's neck was a simple steel amulent, a pulsing ruby on the pendant. Everything else on the undead man was covered in endless white steel armor, complete with silver bands, and a gruesome wound shredding the armor away from its right hip, rotten flesh and chipped bone strewn everywhere. The two sat on a pile of dust, and the corpses jaw began to move, a ragged stone grinding cough for a voice.

"Freishannese?" The corpse asked.

"A-aye, sir," The marine responded, breathing heavily and nervously as he stared into the corpse's eyes.

A great sigh erupted from the corpse, be it relief or something else, "bring me to Askor." The hand let go of the collar and the undead knight let its head fall back onto the wall. The Freishannese man began to formulate a response.

"Who...what are you?"

"I am... Robert... of the Silver Legion..." Thin lids stretched over Robert's eyes as he closed them, "and... I am a knight of Lynnfaire."

“Prophetess protect me, you’d be d- I mean you’d have to talk to the Captains.” The man somewhat regained his wits as he edged away from the Knight to a more comfortable distance.

"Just bring me to Askor," Robert groaned, "our very existances depend on it." He held up the amulet from his neck, the room pulsing with its red glow, a large crack going down its center, "I must make it."

“Let me go get the Captains then.” The Marine moved to go back the away he came, back to the whole group. After returning he explained through panting, “ legion…”

And then more coherently to the now assembled Marines, two went back down to confirm the story as the others waved get the assorted leadership informed.

When Bahar first was told the story of what they found, he was concerned for the marines' sanity; he knew they weren't quite used to being out at sea for so long. When he saw the undead corpse with his own eyes, he was a bit less skeptical. "Alright, the hell are you?" He said. Siorc smacked the privateer lightly on the shoulder.

"Thes es a noit off thar Silvar Laysion, showe soam raspact boy!"

"Respect to what? A rotting corpse? Bah." He snorted. "You can fall for whatever you'd like, but we should not forget that whatever this...thing has wrecked this ship, or something else wrecked it because of it." Siorc grimaced at Bahar's remarks, but still looked to...'Robert' expectantly.

"By the grace of light," Robert scoffed, "I'm right here." The knight leaned off the wall, one of his arms propping him up slightly, "I am Sir Robert of Kamwell, Former Knight of Lynnfaire under King Richard III and current knight of the Silver Legion, under command of Lord Grand Marshal Veran."

Robert seemed out of breath as he finished his small speech, letting his body fall back on the wall, his hand probing his gaping wound, "now if you don't mind, please bring me back to Askor."

Bahar's eyebrows were knit, and he bit his lip as he looked at the 'knight'. "What happened to the ship, Robert of Kamwell?" He looked around him. "'Cause by the look of it, you sunk it." Siorc interjected.

"Ya done know thote, Bahar."

"What I do know is that the Silver Legion was slaughtered three hundred years ago, and even if someone survived, last I checked, men don't live that long." The privateer looked to the other captain. "I say we leave him."

Robert's rotted face twisted, "Do I look like an ordinary man? You want to know what happened, you get me out of here, or the world itself be damned."

With what strength the wounded corpse had it ripped the amulet from its neck, the clasp snapping as he held the brightly pulsating ruby up to the onlookers, "take a good look, its your only salvation."

Quickly, as Bahar tried to snatch the amulet from the corpse, the jewel immediately burned his hand with an intense heat, forcing him to drop it. "Damn!" He snapped. The corpse scooped it up and shook his head.

"I said look, not take," Robert scolded, "I can see listening isn't the strong suit of this crew." Bahar rubbed his hand, continuing to inspect the knight.

"What manner of witchcraft have you endowed in that gem?" the captain snarled. Siorc rolled his eyes, looking back to the corpse.

"Fargef me frand, 'ey sames tow farget 'istry."

"No witchcraft," Robert corrected, "it's broken, and when you took it from me, it started to break. Only the magic endowed in me is keeping it together."

He paused, "a shame too, for I would much rather use such magic to render my hip together. Now you see why I must deliver it for my own personal reasons, on top of, of course, the damnation of all existence I keep blabbering about that you seem to keep ignoring."

The broken knight brought the necklace up to his neck, the clasp turning a white hot as it melded itself back together. He slipped it back on, letting the cracked gem rest on his chest, pulsing its soft glow.

Bahar's eyes widened at the sight of the self-repairing necklace, but he said nothing. "Yeah? Keep blabbering, corpse. I'm not going to be-"

"Nar, Bahar," the whaler said, speaking up. He defiantly stepped in front of the younger man. "Ye cahn bay skepical if ya loik, bat oif gote a dyuti." He turned to Robert. "Coam, wafe-"

"Siorc, this is rediculous," the privateer said loudly. "You can't possibly believe this...thing." The whaler puffed up his chest and locked eyes with the taller man in response.

"I belafe en thar [i]Selfar Lasion[i]." The two kept eyes locked for a while, before Bahar finally broke. He sighed loudly, placing his face in his palm, and waited a bit longer before speaking up again.

"I-I'll take him." Siorc raised his eyebrows at this. "If you won't budge,'re more needed on this expedition than I am. I'll put the corpse on the Liba." The whaler start chuckling.

"Thas me mahn, Bahar!" The younger man grunted, then looked to Robert.

"But if I find out you're lying,'ll be deader than you already are."

"If you're to truly take me to Askor, I owe you one warning," Robert's groan turned grave, "if you're planning on going any further than this shipwreck, you'll find nothing. It would be wise if all returned to Askor with me, and the gem."

Bahar crossed his arms. "Really?" He laughed mockingly. "How do you know this, 'Sir Robert'?"

"Where do you think I came from?" Robert looked at Bahar, "I left the continent of Yzaille, heading East to reach Askor, but I'm afraid you won't find much of Yzaille is left, and certainly nothing to sustain life."

"Wote 'apent?" Siorc asked, a fearful look in his eyes.

Robert looked at Siorc, "The Lord Emperor happened."

"What do you mean?" Bahar asked as he stepped forward towards the corpse.

"Now that's a story for the ride home, eh?" Robert looked up at the pair.
@baraquiel Sounds good
@baraquiel We are still accepting! I've got a few questions power-wise, if you'd like to either pm me or click on the discord link. Otherwise, sheet's pretty good.
The following excerpt is from an editorial following the passing of Michael Smith, better known as 'The Atomic Eagle', by Mitch Frank in The Pacific Gazette, published May 3rd, 1982

The Question of Powers

The Vietnam Era was a time of political upheavel, that's indesputible. For the first time, the average American saw the brutality of war in full color right on their TV screen; gone were these star-spangled notions of Uncle Same waving the red white and blue. The last war truly fought on American soil was between the blue and gray, so when a young college student sees a blood-splattered Vietnamese corpse on Walter Cronkite, it comes as a shock. I remember being a part of that zeitgeist myself; when Tom Marin was drafted, put on the front lines, and then put in some Vietnamese prison camp, it was no less than tyranny to a Mission Hills kid like me. But when he came back with lightning shooting out of his hands, boy, that was a different story.

Was the American public wrong to shun the soldiers who came home in 1973? Of course. But we were a skeptical bunch; we saw what people were capable of, and we didn't like it. What we didn't realize was that Vietnam was a relatively tame war; it just got caught on tape. And the symbol, the greatest achievement, the spectacle of the American military machine was, of course, the Atomic Eagle. A true American story; a young airforce pilot on the Pacific Front one day, someone with the ability to fly through the air at the speed of sound and destroy a Japanese Cruiser by looking at it. The real difference between the Eagle and Lady Liberty or any of J. Edgar's 'Homefront Heroes' was that unlike these other superheroes, the Eagle wasn't just a propaganda stunt; he was a real weapon. And a dangerous one at that; his recorded number of kills, or at least the best estimate of it, stands at around 100,000. If you, like me, were outraged, appalled, or otherwise shocked by this, you should be; this is one man. One man who was given the power of a god. At the United Nations Convention on Superpowers in 1975, Markus Jansen of the Netherlands said that The Atomic Eagle represents "A weapon and mindset the world superpowers [The US, Soviet Union, and China] have embraced with the grace of Icarus and thoughtfulness of Narcissus." Classical mythology aside, upon seeing the destruction left in the Eagle's wake (Vietnam was his third war, mind you), many Americans who once saw the classic Superhero as a beacon of liberty and justice now gazed upon what superpowers truly were; a weapon made to be held in the hands of those who controlled us.

Maybe that was why when Tom Marin came home from the war like a human Tesla coil, we didn't greet him with open arms. Maybe that was wrong of us. Maybe it wasn't. Yes, Marin put it to...'productive' use, making sounds with his amp that someone who wasn't a weaponized lab rat couldn't have ever dreamed of, but what if he didn't? What if he did what the Salamander notoriously did in the forties and fifties and decided to instead run amok, fighting for some perverted sense of 'justice'? And while I sit here writing that such powers shouldn't be put in one man's hand, I still have to acknowledge the irony of the fact that the power of any president, general or senator dwarfs your Tom Marin or Salamander.

The problem is that the power of these individuals no longer lies in the hands of the generals and presidents. Seven years ago, we were all left speechless when a young girl from here in Esperanza, who claimed never to have undergone any radiative therapy, was shown to be able to lift a car by sheer force. Increasingly, we've seen more and more reports from around the world of children and teenagers with powers; like the kings of old, people aren't granted powers anymore, they're born with them. And that brings us to today, when the Atomic Eagle got shot down by a guided missle in Afghanistan. A man we once thought to be immortal now has ceased existing, and any physical remnants of his existence are in the burnt corpses of his enemies. We've heard statements from people ranging from President Reagan to ol' lab coat himself, Seymour Starling. But what none of these people addressed was why it was that this happened. The Eagle was in his fifties; surely the country wouldn't have sent a man into war who wasn't physically capable? Surely, they would've found some replacement or allowed him to retire peacefully. Not just thrown their greatest weapon, a man who has spent his life fighting for what he saw as true American values, into a conflict he would likely die in. But I wonder if people like The Atomic Eagle, or Michael Smith, whatever you want to call him, ever had any power at all. If when he went through CRT all those years ago, he traded in his dog tag for a collar and leash. So as I pose this question to you, dear reader, I quote The Bard:

“Th’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.”
West of Askor

A putrid and foul smell rose up and encased the ships of the Expedition as they approached the last rocky island they would see for a long while. It was a smell that the wild-eyed men of the Seobaghs were well accustomed to, but it was not for the faint of heart, and when the fleet moved past the craggy, sea dusted rocks, they saw the source of the scent; dozens of shark corpses, all finless, with lipid bodies laying bloodied on the pebbled beach. Ruddy gulls have flocked to the island, leaving it speckled with entrails and shit and a cacophony of squabbles.

Nearing three decades ago, the boy walked in the corpse of a mother who never loved him and didn't know what to feel, but Bahar knew what to feel looking at the sharks, and it was nothing. One of the Serenist deacons accompanying the Liba vomited over the side of the ship, a sailor bringing him some water. Bahar thought this a waste of resources, but knew better than to say anything, and he went back to his quarters.

Nearing one decade ago, he and a black-haired woman who would betray him made love on the bed he was laying on now, and he could feel her living ghost wrap her arms around his chest and her mouth bite at his heart. The sea was boring now when there was nothing to fear, and when you relied on the people you could pass the time by hating. Before the hurricane happened, he thought he'd be fighting dangerous pirates of foreign seas, but now he sailed into the unknown with crazed friends and former enemies with the pretension of sanity, who didn't know yet that the sea had a toll; one you payed with your mind, and you pray gives you something better in return.

The captain felt a cold draft enter his quarters, so he wrapped his Bunyip-skin blanket around his torso, when he heard a quick knock at his door.

"Who is it?" He asked, to which responded a voice that was timid and fearful.

"Kh-Kheag, Capn', may I come in?" Bahar sniffed in and sighed, sitting up as the bed produced a low creak.

"Yeah, come in." Kheag was the newest addition to the crew of the Liba, somewhat inexperienced in sailing but with a reputable father who Bahar owed a favor to. He had a slender if not waifish body, a short, kept beard, but a rugged and handsome face. Confident and swarthy usually, this fearful disposition was an oddity.

"Capn'...we have to turn around," he said, Bahar not bothering to make eye contact and moving his hand through his black curls.

"Well it's a bit late for that," the captain responded, gesturing to the ocean outside his window. He stood up, to get a better view for it, and the crewman stepped behind him.

"I'm sorry, capn', I know my da put his trust in me, but...I can't do this, this life, it isn't cut out for me." Bahar turned to face him, eyes inquisitive. "Yeah, sailing around the island, all the adventurin', that was great fun, but...just lookin' at them sharks there, I realized that...maybe this isn't cut out for me."

Bahar said nothing for a while, just looking at the man. "And...what do you want me to do about it?"

"Ah...I don't know, I was hoping-"

"I'm not turning around, man." He chewed his tongue for a moment. "What, you gonna jump ship?" Kheag was taken aback for a second.

"What? No, I-"

"You what? Look, I'm not turning around, friend. So you have two options. Bear through it or jump ship, and you don't seem like the suicidal type, so I suggest you bear with us for a while. I'm sorry that the ocean offers you no whores, or any more wine than can be afforded, but this is our job, one I am paying you for." Kheag looked away from him, without words with which to speak. "I suggest you keep your doubts to yourself; cruel fates await those who stir trouble among my men." The sailor's eyes widened at threat, stepping back and bumping his head on the door behind him, to which he exclaimed in pain and rubbed the back of his head.

"Yes sir, I'll...thank you." With that, he ran out, and Bahar turned around to look out his window.

Nearing two decades ago, the boy became Bahar and looked upon the sea for the first time as a home rather than a prison, for a man he once would have feared gave him the key to his cell, and the knife in his belt. And now, as a man and a captain looking upon the ocean, he saw it for what it was.

Water. Endless water.

Somewhere in Rokai

The farmer's sons stood outside their family house as their mother wept over the near-dead body of their father. They were silent, a strong air of mourning hanging between them, when the youngest, Shik, let out a scream and punched the wall of the house. The other two brothers were taken aback by the outburst, when Shik fell to the ground, weeping, and the oldest of them, Breyn, crouched by him. "Look, he was getting older, it was bound to-"

"You know that's a lie, Breyn!" Shik yelled out pushed his brother's arm off of him. He stood up, biting his lip. "This took something from him. And now he'll be."

"And what do you want me to do, eh? He was my father too!" Breyn retorted, clearly distraught. The two brothers bickered for a while, when the middle child, Norten, spoke up.

"We could honor him." To other two grew quiet, looking at their brother.

"What, do you think we weren't going to?" Breyn asked.

"No, brother, but..." He sighed, looking away from them.

"What is it, Norten?" The middle son looked to the ground, softly kicking the dirt and waiting for a while to keep speaking.

"There is a place, I heard, in Trabahr, where the dead can be properly honored."

@Commodore Approved my dood, you can move your sheet to the character tab and start posting IC
"Though we escaped the illusory grasp of Cheyenne territory, Slim's powermongery only grew in fortitude. Days were counted by his watchful eye, nights by his abrasive bacchanalia, and I became trapped under fear, doubt, and ignorance. But still we pressed westward to California, to our promised land, like the Israelites and the forebears of America, who cast off the shackles of unjust society to make for the desert wild. This hope became embodied in my son, Josiah, the cynosure of my happiness and my only devotion. As despots are want to do, Slim became jealous of devotion to any but himself.

He became increasingly aggressive to me, knowing full-well of my doubts in his leadership, turning my widowhood to mockery and my motherhood to sin. I suited the role of the outcast, and where I was once the chaste pastor's wife, I was now a nigger-loving harlot.

One night, Slim stumbled into my tent, and I was woken by the cries of my son, as well as the reek of whiskey and bourbon. I sought to shout, but found my screams stifled by his greased hand covering my mouth. The hypocrite, who so warned me of Julius's imminent savagery, now sought to defile my honor he professed to protect, and revealed himself the true rapist. He held a knife to my neck, and warned that were I to make any further noise, he would splatter my child's blood upon the tent's canvas, and so I resigned myself to my fate. But the Lord has a strange sense of justice.

I had closed my eyes when I felt Slim lifted from my body before his pants could fall to his ankles, and opening them, saw the scrawny Carolinian tossed to the ground outside my tent. Atop him was a black ghost illuminated by candlelight; Julius, who had taken the bowie from his hand, and was stabbing it into his chest whilst the drunkard screamed in agony, then fell silent into the arms of the devil. I sat by watching, shaking with perspiration, tugging tight to my sheets. After all life had been drained from Slim, Julius stood up and looked back at me, silently. He was covered in blood, and his once Adonis-like face was now gaunt and wild. His clothes, the same as the last I had seen him in, were torn to rags, and one of his eyes had been shredded from its socket. I said nothing, he retreated to the shadows, and my silence remained as the whole of the camp came and questioned me as to what had transpired.

The next day, we pressed onward, Julius having vanished. To California, our hope. To Esperanza."
- Eliza Montgomery, Autobiography

They decided that this faux-grunge edginess really wasn't their thing after a long talk with Tom. The band of tight jeans realized that they should go back to their roots in blues, which Tom assured them would have a revival any day now. And they were no longer 'Firebrand'-a better name would come to them. After not-Firebrand had left, Tom sat on a stool in the recording studio plucking an E blues progression; this new band had brought back some memories. The guitar he played was sleek and new; a studio guitar, some two thousand dollar Martin bought with the company's money. It felt awkward in his hands, with Tom being much more used to the guitars he's been playing since the sixties, the polished wood sliding clumsily along the old rocker's calloused hands. But he still tasted the Delta as he plucked along.

Greg, the producer who had taken on the brunt of the firm's labor, approached him and sat on the stool next to him, just watching for a while. After one final turn around, Tom landed on an E7 before muting the Martin and looking up with a sly grin.

"Still got it," He said with a mocked braggadocio. His employee smiled back at him, and Tom stood and leaned the guitar against his stool. When it became evident that he was planning on leaving, Greg spoke up.

"You can't stay a bit longer?"

" can do, gotta meet up with Ali," he explained while he put on his coat. Greg frowned, but followed him to the storefront, where a few people were browsing through the records and memorabilia. A couple of them turned their heads with eyes widened when Tom walked in the room, but he only politely nodded to them. Greg stopped him as he went for the doorway.

"You gonna let me know when you'll be back in?" Tom turned around slowly, looking to his fans and customers, before turning his gaze back to the producer.

"Shit...I'm sorry man. I-I haven't been myself lately. I'll try to check in more, there's just...there's been something in me. Something I knew was coming, but..." He trailed off, and looked down at the pale yellow floor. It had recently been waxed, and he could see his reflection. "Let me know if you sign that band."

The balding producer frowned, resigning from pressing him any further. "Will do boss."

Nodding, Tom sniffed in, took a look at his kingdom, and walked out the door.


He stared blankly at the letter, his face was white, and his fingers were numb. 'How could this happen?' he thought to himself, but he knew the answer. He was a hippie, he was a pinko, and unlike most hippies and pinkos, his family was poor. Daisy was pacing back and forth in front of him.

"There has to be something you can do Tom...I mean..."

"No." She stopped in her tracks at his words, and felt a rage build up in her. Turning to face him, her eyebrows were knit in frustration.

"What do you mean no?" She stepped forward and leaned down to look at him, but the young man didn't dare to make eye contact. "You've protested this war for years, and now what? You're gonna...fucking fight in it?"

"Yeah." She just stared at him blankly, her mouth wide open, before turning away in shock, sitting on a chair and starting to weep. Her husband sighed and ambled over to her, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Hey-"

"Don't touch me!" She shouted, wiping her eyes. Standing up, she crossed her arms, and now was the one who refused to make eye contact. She was silent for a second.

"You pretend like you give a shit. Like you care. You take on all these causes, and you protest, but I know the truth!" She moved closer to him. "You don't give a shit. It's all about you. The only person you care about, Tom, is yourself!"

The next thing Daisy knew, she was staring at the ground, and felt a sharp pain on her cheek. Tom was standing over her, heaving with rage. It took a second before he started apologizing, but it was too late. She left, and he was alone in their living room.

Alison clung tight to her husband's arm, and they walked silently through a park in Mission Hills. She had gained weight in her old age, but neither of them cared; it was just a part of getting old. They finally sat down on a bench and watched as children played and young couples embarked on the same journey they had all those years ago. Resting her head on Tom's shoulder, it didn't take long until she started to cry.

"Hey there," Tom said as he tried to soothe her, wrapping his jacketed arm around her and rubbing her up and down her own. She wiped at her eye, and sighed as she looked up her husband, feigning a smile, and he smiled back, but he didn't have to put on his for her sake. He kissed the top of her head, and they went back to watching the park.

"How was the store?" Alison finally asked after a while of silence.

"It was alright," Tom said. "Saw a new band from Santa Maria. They were okay." The silence resumed, and a cold wind blew through the park, while the children began to gather towards an encroaching ice cream man.

"You...look, I know it seems hard, Tom, but you have to fight! For me, for-"

"I know, Ali." He replied. A word hung in the air, one that neither one wanted to say, and had refused to say since the doctor's office yesterday. "Look, we've been getting ready for this for a while now, we knew it was coming, now I just have to push."

"You don't have to go through this alone, Tom! You've got me, and the kids." He looked away, a tear welling in his eye, but she pressed on. "We can beat this, together!" Tom didn't respond, and started choosing his next words carefully.

"Ali...all of us get cancer." He said the word. "We usually don't make it through." She started to speak up, but he cut her off. "But I'll try...for you. And the kids. And the grandkids. I'll try." She sighed, and settled back on his arm.

"I guess that's all I can ask for."
@Sailorsadie Heck yeah brother
Hey guys! We've been up for a bit, but the Golden City is looking for as many new members as possible! The last interest check was a little scarce on information, but with IC posts and a proper OP, I'm hoping this might help get a little more traction.…

Feel free to PM me with any questions, or join the discord!
@bigscreech I'd say the best term to describe Gartner politically would be 'Utopian'. You can click on the discord link if you'd like so we can discuss things further.

@Ink Blood Approved! Move your CS into the character tab, and feel free to start posting IC!
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