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3 yrs ago
Current I want to see things - that no one else can see


Current GM of World of Light. When it comes to writing, there's nothing I love more than imagination, engagement, and commitment. I'm always open to talk, suggestion, criticism, and collaboration. While I try to be as obliging, helpful, and courteous as possible, I have very little sympathy for ghosts and liars. Just be straightforward with me, alright? I know better than to take things personally or too seriously.

Looking for more personal details? I'm just some dude from the American south; software development is my job but games, writing, and helping others enjoy life are great joys. Been RPing for over a decade, so I know a thing or two, though I won't pretend to be an expert. Ready for some fun? Let's make something spectacular together.

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Well folks, it's time for another round of...

Master Dreams

In the heroes most vulnerable moments, in the depths of sleep and senselessness, he reaches for them--Master Hand. Into the distant realm of fancy seep images delightful or disturbing, for one purpose only: to break down their resolve and make them stop trying, whichever form that takes. Yet perhaps there is meaning to be found in the madness; Master Hand will find no sleeping slaves.
The Deal: A limited time opt-in event involving writing short stories that take place in dreams, canonically to occur when next your selected character sleeps or is otherwise out of it.
The Details: Before the end of the day on the provided deadline, submit a short story of your character's dream that follows the related event prompt. The dream can be of anything, and does not need to be isolated to your own character and/or his or her past experiences. Using elements from multiple games is encouraged, given the nature of this RP. Other players' characters can appear in yours's dream, but while you can consult other players, you'll need to play those characters; they can be distorted by your character's perspectives or by the dream. If you like, you can bookend your dream in brief falling asleep / waking sequences, but since we don't know where, when, or how your character will sleep next, keeping it vague would be best, and such bookends won't supplement the word count.
The Rewards: For the dream, EXP is rewarded via the following scale, where n is the level of the character that's dreaming:
<1000 words = 2 * n ; 1000-2000 words = 4 * n ; 3000+ words = 7 * n
In addition, certain elements of the dream may bleed over to the real world somehow. These might take the form of items, additional kindred spirits, or other forms yet more mysterious.

Current Event: Thanksgiving
Deadline: November 28th, end of day
Prompt: Master Hand is trying a different angle to make you give in. Comfort, satisfaction, fantasy...a dream that is preferable to reality.
Tora & Poppi

Level 5 Tora - (24/50) EXP and Level 4 Poppi - (22/40) EXP
Location: Adventurers' Guild, the Land of Adventure
Word Count: 1482

Tora gave the Ace Cadet a sagacious nod. “Mm-hm!” he said officiously. “So far, it seem like red-eyes cannot get heart unless weak first.” Despite the monster hunter's engagement with the idea, with him going so far as to size up Geralt, he did not give any affirmation. Instead, Franklin offered his two cents, suggesting that they wait until a better opportunity. They could find a more suitable place to do it, perhaps in a situation where the Witcher got hurt on his own, so that his allies wouldn't have to lend a hand. Discerning when it came to effort as ever, Tora replied with a nod. “That good plan.” He glanced at Geralt again. Tora thought highly of his chances against a human adversary utilizing physical damage, however skilled he might be with those swords. “But if needed, Tora could take him. Right, Poppi?”

The artificial blade spent more time examining Tora to make sure he was serious than examining Geralt's combat ability. “With Poppi, definitely. Alone...probably.”

Kamek started talking about his adventure up north, and since neither Tora nor Poppi knew anything about what had been going on up there, they listened at rapt attention. He described a horror show of monsters and mayhem, featuring some sort of threat he described as 'undead'. While the Nopon didn't know what he meant by that exactly, it sounded creepy, so he guessed things got hairy up there. His mention of manipulating corpses, by Blazermate of all people in particular, set off alarm bells in Tora's head. Had the cute robot changed herself into a monster to do that? Kamek's mention of four-armed brutes as big as Bowser did not bring him comfort. The magikoopa went on to describe a battle against a devastating tree giant with a lot of minions and abilities, which to Tora at least sounded like fun. As long as he had a good party with him, the size of the threat didn't matter. Apparently, someone new had worked with Blazermate's minions to deal the final blow to the thing, using some kind of summons. Kamek's description of V intrigued Tora. Was there really some kind of power he could get so that he could get others to do all the fighting for him? That sounded great!

After that, Junior took his turn to run through the events of the afternoon. Since Tora and Poppi experienced them firsthand, they stopped paying attention and looked elsewhere for anything of interest. Linkle had just returned from her bout with Ryu, whose eyes looked to be free of Galeem's touch. She put together a heap of various foods, which did not seem wrong to Tora in the slightest, before digging in. It occupied her focus for a while, but her eyes soon fell on the loot pile and -of all things- the very expired milk. Luckily she passed it up, instead producing a number of spirits that she added to the pile. Tora took another look at the haul, noting in particular those floating arms. Their shimmer reminded him of how people looked when fusing with a spirit, which to him screamed 'stay away'. The spirits Linkle left caught his interes, and at Linkle's invitation he approached. “Fish, meh?” He peered inside a spirit and saw the ugly, vicious-looking grouper inside. No way did he want those things anywhere near him. “Bleh. Not want friend with that. Maybe give good stuff, though.” He reached down, took a few pelagic spirits in each wing, and crushed them.

From the dancing lights, a few items manifested. There was a cutlass, a fishing spear, a shiny stone, a side of tough fish scales, and a spiral charm. Tora very much liked the shiny stone, but decided not to take anything. He wanted to of course, but if he scooped up someone else's loot again, it could look bad, and Poppi would certainly scold him. He resolved to take it if nobody else did. The weapons, meanwhile he disdained, since he doubted any could channel Blade power. “Very nice, meh. Will take shiny if okay with friends.” As he went off again, a dubious look flew the long arms' way. “Meeh...Tora not know what that does, but be careful not to touch if not sure,” he warned.

Once back with Poppi, Tora looked around again. Everyone, from Hat Kid to Bowser to Michael to the Centurion, was having a good time...everyone except two. Still too full to shovel in another mouthful of dinner, Tora thought that he'd pay them a visit. On second thought, he went and asked Poppi for help. “Hey, you see lady dancer?” He pointed a wing toward Din, all alone in a corner. “Seems sad. Maybe ask if okay? Tora going to do same for guy over there.” Poppi nodded and left the table, while Tora waddled over to the spiky-haired guy by himself.

“Hello, friend!” Pulling himself up onto a bench, Tora treated Phoenix Wright to a big smile. “You must be hungry. Well, even if didn't do anything to gather, food belong to heroes team and heroes say it for everyone!” His brows furrowed. “Although...friend Mina already say so, meh. So that can't be problem. are worried about money?” The Nopon spoke as if one problem or the other must be the root of all unhappiness.

Meanwhile, Poppi approached and seated herself by Din. For a moment she remained quiet, looking at the mask laying on the table in front of her ally. Then, mustering her warmest smile, she greeted her. “Hi there. Poppi see Din by self even though everyone enjoying selves. What wrong?”

The dancer sighed. She held up a hand in front of her face. Smooth, rubbery, completely artificial, and now an indelible part of her. Experimentally, she fired the new nerves integrated to her system, and her metal wings shuffled. Closing her eyes, she faced her guest and started to speak. “This's just too strange. I wanted to help people out, so I took in the spirit of that machine. It's made my arms...fake, foreign. With them I could help that boy Euden, saving him from falling in the lake, but...we all got lucky. If not for one thing or another, the boys and Phoenix, or all of us, could have died.” Standing behind her, her Gogoat nuzzled up against her. Din reached down and ran her synthetic mesh hand along its back. It twitched uncomfortably at her touch, and even though it nuzzled her again afterward, Din took it as confirmation. “Ever since Megadragonbowser, I've had this sort of 'raw' feeling,” she told Poppi. “It's all so unreal. Any of us could die at any moment, turn to ash, then have our souls destroyed. I'm not even a fighter, after all. And will our deaths have meant anything?”

Poppi couldn't give her an answer. She didn't know much herself, only that so long as she was with Tora, they could carry on, and everything would be alright. Yesterday, she struggled with the notion of being unreal herself, a soulless object that anyone could contort or change, erasing countless memories of joy and pain. The artificial blade looked at own metal hand, and narrowed her eyes. “Poppi understand Din pain. Going forward in danger and uncertainty hard, but we have to do it, because that what heroes do. Even if Din not fighter, Din can be hero. Because anyone can be hero, even loser Nopon and his artificial blade.”

Din laid an arm on Poppi's shoulder. She smiled, but her eyes were sad. “Thank you, Poppi...but I can't. I'm deciding to stay here in Lumbridge, and help out however I can. It'll be up to the rest of you to be the heroes.”

The words struck Poppi like a tackle. She sat in silence for a few moments, racing to think of something to get Din to reconsider, but nothing fell into her grasp. Instead, she thought to herself that isn't fair. Try as she might, the choice had been made for her, and if it could be helped Poppi wasn't the one to do it. She said the only thing that came to mind. “...Oh.”

“Of course, you can stop by anytime and say hello. I'll be here whenever you need me.” The statement made Poppi smile weakly. The dancer put on a happy face, maybe trying to reassure the artificial blade, but Poppi was anything but reassured. Once their business in the Land of Adventure concluded, she and her Masterpon would not be coming back here. Their duty as heroes would carry them forward, on and on until the world was saved. But Din had given up on making things right.

Poppi stood up from the table. “Thank you. Poppi wish Din good luck.” She left, and a pair of sad eyes, glowing the color of the sunset outside, watched her go.

The first to break the silence was Blazermate, and Nero figured that he had a pretty good idea of what she would be doing. Sure enough, once her howls rang over the necrotic hordes, the zombies ceased their ominous waiting and flocked in their direction. At her bidding, the masses of the dead began to dance, rickety joints and rotting sinews propelling them in a herky-jerky tango as freaky as it was ludicrous. Some of the undead, set alight by her burning zombies, Blazermate sent as scouts into the dark. While most of them revealed only further shambling putrification, her keen sensors could make out a few unusual shapes in the center of the thickest groups: unusual tombstones that gleamed in the makeshift torchlight. That wasn't all, either. Just as she predicted, some of the figures ignored her howls. They looked like zombies, but not exactly, with the differences subtle. Those who refused to answer the medabot's call sported grandiose disfigurements rather than rot, including tentacles and gigantic tumors that looked more like cocoons, and from the bulbous things inside extended antennae with crimson fronds. They moved differently, too. Instead of lurching around, relying on dead flesh, they moved like ravenous animals, as though still alive—or filled with something alive. In fact they moved now, spurred on by the stimulation of the helicopter crash, making a beeline for the police station.

Nero noticed the unusual zombies. Even with the bulk of the invading force currently engaging in an impromptu dance party, the survivors holed up in the police station didn't need anything else to deal with. He jumped from the top of the upheaval in the road where his party stood, landing on the head of a zombie. Instead of crushing it, he pushed off at just the right moment, executing an Enemy Step to keep him in the air. With the wretches indifferent to his presence, he proceeded across the top of the whole crowd, and when he got close enough the devil hunter started ventilating the other creatures one by one with the Blue Rose. Though tougher than the average zombie, they fell just the same, but on death exhibited something both new and disgusting. From their carcasses a number of small, skittering things invariably escaped, too little and numerous to be targeted. From his time in Fortuna, Nero could guess what was going on: some kind of parasite. He cleared Blazermate's undead crowd and hit the ground, looking up just in time to see one of the larva leap onto a normal zombie, rapidly infest it, and turn it away from the rave to target him instead. When the monster got close it lashed out with its tentacles, but Nero deftly swung his blade upward, carving its arm free, before smashing it flat into the ground with a return stroke.

Shaking his head, he turned back to the police station. The others would be with him in a moment, so there was no point in waiting. It was then that Nero noticed the flying golden things from before flocking toward the top of the police station, aided by the alarmed yells of the two women up there. With Banjo and Kazooie already taken to the sky and on the way there, the devil hunter opted to give them a hand and make sure the fliers were dealt with. “Hold on!” Nero broke into a sprint through the station's main gate, planning to use Gerbera to shoot himself up after the bear and bird, but the minute he set foot inside the yard a low, dark shape lunged at him. Its huge, vile maw closed around his right shin, but found itself biting into more than it could handle. Nero wasted no time grabbing the Red Queen and sinking it into the beast, but it doggedly continued to chew on him. Pulling the blade out, Nero revved it and jammed the fire-wreathed greatsword into the Spawn's body again, and this time he yanked it out sideways to cleanly cut the things in two. Still, to Nero's astonishment, it wasn't enough. “Get LOST!” The devil hunter executed a full-bodied football kick that sent the horrible half-monster flying, but the ordeal had cost him precious seconds. He looked up to see a fight in progress.

Up top, the women appeared to be attempting to withstand the angels on their own. One wielded nothing more than an axe and was trying to survive more than anything, but the other moved like lightning. She dodged and flipped around like a cat, detaching parts of her body to evade the angels' tailblades and even firing of blasts of her own blood like rocket jets to slip away when taking a hit seemed inavoidable. After evading, she struck back with claw swipes and kicks, with her own detached tail as a sword, and by rotating her forearm at the break point with an index finger extended to attack with a makeshift drill. Still, whatever damage she inflicted seemed meaningless, and she could only keep the angel's attention for so long. Banjo and Kazooie arrived just in the nick of time, ready to lend their strength to the catgirl in driving the angels off.

That worked out well, since happenings on the ground demanded Nero's attention. As if in response to the nearby conflict, the nearest tombstone stirred to life. The eyes of its carved skull reliefs glowed a haunting purple, and monsters started to appear. From the ground came a mob of new zombie-likes that ignored Blazermate's commands: the Lost. They advanced toward the police station en masse, snarling and swinging, with only Nero standing in their way. He readied the Red Queen, but before the Lost and Spawn closed in, a familiar voice reached him from above. “Hehey, Nero! Save some for us, huh?” A moment later V floated down, carried by Griffon. He landed by Nero's side, and Griffon alighted on his outstretched arm Together, the three faced the incoming monsters. “Alright, superstar, I got your back,” the demon taunted, “It's barbecue time!” The first Lost ran at V, who threw Griffon right into it. The bird bulled through it, purple lightning crackling across him, and into the center of the group. “Fryyyy, little piggies!” He screeched, and unleashed a spherical burst of electricity to cook the monsters alive.

Reinforcements came for the enemies too, however. More Lost arrived to replace the lost. Additional Spawn appeared to crawl across the ground with frightening speed. Pools of blood formed on the sides of the tomestone, and from them emerged a handful of reptilian demons. From the moment they hit the ground, the Riots were on the move, scampering toward the police station and its defenders along with the other monsters.

A shout suddenly echoed from a window on the police station's second floor. “They're coming again!” A young man showed his face, having called to someone else inside. He could only spare one flabbergasted glance at the dancing zombies before turning his attention to the monsters that were still a threat, and to the newcomers fighting them. “And...friendlies! I think?” Falling quiet, he let his handgun do the talking, raining down shots on the Lost from above. After a few moments, more survivors started to appear. On the first floor, a humanoid fox started up a volley of blaster fire, and a woman in tactical gear leaned out a window to take a few shots as well. The front door burst open, and from it stormed a burly man with a giant shotgun, a masked woman with a greatsword and shield, and a slender swordsman. The first blasted a Spawn in its rear head, the second hacked its legs off, and the last teleported to a pair of Lost to strike with a series of arcing slashes. Those Riots, however, forced the defenders back with their vicious attacks, all the while shrugging off the shooters' gunfire. Nero and V engaged the demons together, but the whole thing was a massive, chaotic mess.
As she waited for the bartender to return with a bandage or something, Benni sat with a sigh. Her entrance and obvious distress attracted no small amount of attention, but for good or for ill nobody bothered her until some glasses-wearing, dye-haired weirdo leaned over. His opening statement, remarkable in its uselessness and a little too friendly, earned him only the briefest glance. Benni had no plans to stick around this place, and if someone didn't plan on helping her, they could mind their own business. This dude, however, didn't get the picture. His eyes were all over her, none too subtly, until he asked a question. Immediately Benni froze, her mind racing to try and figure the situation out. Was this guy someone important? A friend of Diavolo's? An enemy? A third party, just investigating? Of course, Benni knew almost nothing herself. She harbored almost no idea of what went on in the shadows, nor did she care to. Her life was exciting enough as it was.

So lost in thought was Benni that she didn't notice as Malcolm suddenly reached up and started trying to force her to drink something. The shock, both of touch and taste, made her sputter, spraying milk over the countertop. For a half second she didn't comprehend what was going on, but it hit her soon enough, and with the realization came a surge of indignant rage. Refusing to swallow a drop, she tried to yell at him, only for her mouth to fill with what tasted like blood. All the while, he prattled on, all smug and vile. Just like that, Benni's restraint broke. That's ENOUGH.

Shoot to Thrill might have been lurking in the corner of the room, but Rubberband Man manifested straight out of Benni's body. It's torso leaned out of her, incredibly fast, and let fly a brutal hook toward Malcom's kidney. At the same time, Benni herself swung with her entire upper body weight in her right arm, aiming a hook at his head. The force carried her off the barstool and onto her feet. She stumbled a short distance away, and as Rubberband Man flickered off, she wiped fluid from her jaw. "You just crossed a line, freak. Jam crap in my mouth, will you? How about a little trivia yourself? Kidney punches are the real deal. They're so dangerous they're illegal in boxing, but, uh, assault's illegal everywhere, right?" She slammed one fist into her palm. "So you'll be pissing blood for a week. Touch me again if you want to make it two!" Just in time, the bartender returned, and Benni turned to take some of his paper towels with a forced smile. She planned to leave the bar in her dust immediately.
Made my level two update for Black Mage. Added his ability "Stop" and gave a minor boost to his Thunder spell.

It would be prudent to post your ideas for level-upgrades into the OOC here or in a PM for approval in the future.
Tora & Poppi

Level 5 Tora - (21/50) EXP and Level 4 Poppi - (19/40) EXP
Location: Adventurers' Guild, the Land of Adventure
Word Count: 1344

To say Tora was impatient would be an understatement. One just had to look at him fidgeting about to question the wisdom of telling a Nopon that a big dinner was imminent, especially a free one. He only looked away from the guild's doors once, to say “Hello!” when the Centurion greeted him. The moment Mina's assistant Chef Kowalski arrived in the Guild with the first trolley of food, Tora applied himself to it liberally. Balancing his ovular rotundity atop a stool meant for humans, the Nopon wolfed down a bowl of baurun steak noodle soup, relishing each messy bite. Poppi looked appalled. “Masterpon!” she admonished, “Don't you have any table manners?”

“Muh?” After slurping down the leftover broth, Tora pushed the bowl away and wiped his mouth with a wing. That essentially answered the artificial blade's question for her, but Tora saw fit to start with the excuses. “W-well...Tora live alone whole life, and use dinner table only once in while because of work. So...not really?”

A crestfallen expression had taken over Poppi's face. “That so sad.”

Chuckling, Tora shrugged. “Meh, maybe seem so, but so long as Tora pursuing dream, always happy deep inside.”

Confusion welled up as Poppi shook her head. “No, Poppi mean 'sad' like 'pathetic.' It good thing adventure mean Tora get out more.”

“Meeeeeh!” her masterpon moaned. With a push he got down from his stool, and walked off mumbling, “Tora go get more food. So tasy-tasy and nice. Never diss Tora...” his journey back to the trolley met with distraction, however. First, he passed by Hat Kid, whose visage made him smile. Ever since people started using spirits on themselves, he couldn't help but dread that on beholding allies returned from some trip that he would find them marred beyond all recognition, their essences polluted and twisted. Hat Kid, however, looked just the same as ever. While on the young side himself, Tora felt a certain responsibility for the child, since he was the one who freed her from Galeem. “Hello!” Tora greeted. “Good to see little kid well, meh.” Using his wing, he patted the top of her hat, then was on his way.

Next, his eyes alighted upon three interesting-looking boxes currently under scrutiny by Michael. Even more fascinating to Tora was the stuff in Michael's hands, so green and alluring. Memories of the morning struck the Nopon, and he waddled over with a bright look in his eyes. “Ah, friend Mike-Mike going to open boxes! So that what money look like in own world. Can Tora feel?” Evidently he saw nothing wrong with the question at all, but his request went unfulfilled. Instead, he settled for watching the man open the boxes, wondering with great anticipation what would be inside.

The first box devoured Michael's bill greedily, clicked repeatedly, then burst open to launch four objects skyward. Three glowed white, and the last one shone blue. When the blobs of light hit the ground, they manifested into loot. Both of the first two appeared to be spray paint cans, but each bore a different image. One depicted a goofy-looking face made by Jak, who most everyone here encountered back in the Paved Wilderness. The other featured a funny-looking Mario. Next came the blue item, an entire set of iron horse armor, neatly piled up. Last was a skull cap.

Tora blinked twice. Aside from the horse armor, everything seemed like trash. “That it?”

In the second box were two whites and two blues. The whites included a burn heal and a sticker of some cloud guy. However, the box also produced a couple of pretty good-looking arm guards and something strange: a glowing piece of what for all intents and purposes appeared to be a strip of skin with a picture of hat kid on it, but with different-colored hair and clothes.

Lastly, the third box divulged three blues, and a third color: purple. One blue was a little charm with mushrooms on it. Another appeared to be a pair of long arms that floated off the ground, possessing a subtle glow like someone who'd just absorbed a spirit. The last proved to be another scrap of skin, this one bearing the likeness of Tora in swimwear. In seeing it, the Nopon's eyes bugged out, and he hurried to snatch it up and stuff it in a pocket. “Meheh, nothing to see there, meh. Ooh, what that?” he blurted out, trying to draw attention to the last item. It was the upper part of what appeared to be a nondescript stealth outfit with highly technological goggles, all sparkling gold. Fascinated by the goggles, Tora picked it up. “So cool!” He put it on its head, probably just to joke around, but the moment he did its fabric started to unwind. “MEH?!” It spread over him like a horde of snakes, knitting itself into a new shape, and in a matter of seconds the piece of gear became a full outfit perfectly adapted for his body shape.

Tora stood there for a moment, dumbfounded. Its goggles and mask completely covered his face, muffling his voice. “Hello? For moment everything dark and weird, but now can see very good.” He flapped his wings experimentally, testing the fabric. “Uh, but Tora sorry for touching Mike-Mike's prize. Will try to...meh...take off...” After a moment of prying, the costume seemed to give in, and unraveled itself back off him to assume its former shape. Panting, Tora put it down. “ like, adjusting costume anyone can put on.” He withdrew the skin from his pocket, peering at it closely. “This one, and Hatty's, probably only for person pictured. But, uh...Tora not try this, meh.” He put it away again and awkwardly shuffled off.

At last, he arrived at the long-awaited food trolley. He took some fried king bean tofu and a platter of glazed lanternfruit skewers. He left the braised lapizard tail and stir-fried lapizard legs for the others, along with the candlegourd soup, slime tang yuan, cheepchi century egg, baurun spare ribs, taka berry jelly, and tropius fruit salad. Dessert could come later.

On the way back to his spot, he overheard the Courier talking to Peach. Her highness didn't appear anywhere near as captivated by the potted wiggler and 6 seemed to think she'd be, and she instead made sure it found its way to the guildmarm's desk. She wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon, after all, and the company of a silly-looking pet might make her day a little easier. Tora ended up passing by Geralt as well, and little too closely thanks to the crowded array of tables. “Meh, 'scuse...” he started, only to choke up when he saw Geralt's scary red eyes. “Whoa! Meeh...Tora mean...whoat a day to make a new friend! Hello and welcome!” He hurried the rest of the way back to his seat and plonked himself down. He pushed the tofu over to Poppi for her to run her olfactory sensors over, then started chomping on the lanternfruit. After a bit, however, paused to speak. “Isn't weird that team still have red-eye in midst? Could turn against us any time,” he told the people to either side of him, being Poppi and the Ace Cadet. “Maybe before head out everyone should beat up, free, and heal? Tora can give heart.”

Putting down the tofu, Poppi breathed a sigh of happiness before she passed it back to Tora. “Not bad idea. Even if red-eye person seem normal, if that awful hand appear again, it might take control.” She narrowed her eyes at Geralt. The Witcher sat far enough away that he shouldn't be able to hear her Masterpon's conspiring, but he might notice the extra attention anyway.

Meanwhile, with the guildmaster gone again, the guildmarm had to answer Kamek's request. She seemed to be at a loss. “Um, I'm sorry sir. The scouts understandably didn't want to get very close. All I know is that it was big, dark, had a long tail, and stood on two legs. They also said some parts of it glowed.”

Nero and V

Location: Cathedral Plaza, Dead Zone
@Archmage MC @DracoLunaris @ProPro @Dawnrider @Simple Unicycle @Genon

Spellbound, Nero and V watched for a few moments as Blazermate attempted to get her zombie thralls to dance. Their twisted musculature and rotting joints made articulate movement difficult, but the medabot worked adamantly, translating her instructions through the Suffering Arm into howls and cries to whip the sorry suckers' cruddy choreography into shape. Eventually her earnest efforts came up against the wall presented by her subjects' collective inability, and Blazermate resigned herself to sitting by the group. Nero couldn't help but give a short, wry laugh along with her at the absurdity of the situation. “Heh. Well, that's something I won't be forgetting anytime soon. But don't get too comfortable. We need to keep moving, and having you around to keep the zombies under control will come in handy.”

V designated their path with his cane. At the far side of the plaza from the partially-ruined cathedral was a road leading eastward. The other Qliphoth roots loomed above the city in more or less that direction, visible despite the haze of night fallen over the afflicted city, and that street would take the heroes to their goal. He started to walk, with Griffon taking off to soar ahead, but after only a couple steps was seized by a wracking cough. Almost doubling over, he leaned on his cane, his body clenched in pain. “Ahh...” he intoned after a moment. “Indeed...we have little time to lose.”

With V momentarily unwell, Nero took charge of the situation again, looking around at the others. “Alright, let's get ready to go. Heal up, load up, whatever. Nico will find her own way around, so don't worry about her. If you need to have a look around, suit yourself, but we're not waiting.”

He watched for a moment as Kamek gave up his minigun to Ratchet before heading off, then turned his attention to Jak and Daxter, who'd taken the Ent's spirit. After a bit of discussion, the former abruptly introduced the spirit to his little friend's chest, who with a yell fell to the ground and began to glow. A moment later the ottsel erupted into a shifting mass of brilliant light and color, but Jak seemed totally nonplussed. Instead he approached V, who had just about recovered his composure. Since what Jak said warranted nothing more than a nod of acknowledgment, V watched what was happening to Daxter with mild curiosity. Before the group's collective eyes, the radiant mass tripled in size, sprouting branchlike protrusions. When the light died down, Daxter was much larger, with wood rather than fur in a number of places, like armor.

When the surprise wore off a few moments later, V tapped his cane by his feet, and a carpet of dark particles appeared beneath him. Without a word he surfed off, using his cane to steer as Shadow carried him across the ground. Nero had already departed, leading the way for the heroes.

The streets that lay in the heroes' path proved to be cluttered with all manner of debris, from wrecked cars to torn-off hunks of buildings, and most of all, zombies. With Blazermate on hand, however, no standard undead could oppose them. With only base instincts to drive their husks forward, they fell under the command of her caterwauls en masse. Their new master's power led to a rather uneventful trip, though on the whole not much more pleasant. Even the air itself in Redgraccoon City stung the lungs, and every step brought one tangibly deeper into this realm of death.

Not long after they rounded a corner and the purloined corner store contained therein, a whirring noise from the sky made itself evident. The steady beat drew the eye long before its maker became visible, flying out from behind a tall office building. Sleek and black, the helicopter coasted over the dismal metropolis without any acknowledgment at all of those traveling below. Tracing its path revealed something nobody had yet noticed: a yellow circle of light imprinted on the underside of the clouds, the product of a powerful spotlight aimed straight upward. The helicopter meant to help the beacon's lighters, however, was needing help itself. At a distance, a flock of golden winged things followed the helicopter, getting closer and closer. When they drew near enough, the small ones sprouted blades from their undersides and lunged, but their efforts bore little fruit. It looked like the chopper might escape until the big one got too close, sprouted a giant drill, at tore into the vehicle from behind. Sparks flew, flames came to life, and the helicopter fell from the sky.

Neither V nor Nero said anything, but the hastening of their movement said enough.

After another few minutes, the group came upon a section of road that had been torn up and raised, as if by an earthquake. A short climb brought them to the top, and afforded them a good look at what lay ahead. The next city block was home to a large police station, from whose roof the distress beacon shone. Horrifically, the helicopter from before had crashed into the station itself, buried in one of the corridors on the second floor. To make matters even worse, the station itself was completely surrounded by a massive horde of zombies. At the moment they kept their distance in a giant, imposing ring, standing in the streets or among other buildings, but the piles of corpses and wreckage around the police station spoke volumes about what must have been a desperate defense lasting multiple days on the part of whoever was holed up inside. The darkness made it hard to tell how many there were, and how many more ravenous swarms awaited unseen.

Something moved on the police station roof. A very keen eye could spot two women, one with brown hair and the other with white, peering out over the city. The latter had somehow spotted the newcomers and was trying to get her friend to see them, but nobody could hear either of them.
Ace Cadet's Nightmare has a word count of 5056. It's grand in its ambitions and combines a lot of good moments from a number of games, even if the end result is a bit unfocused and meandering. Your reward is 18 EXP!

Hat Kid's Nightmare has a word count of 4142. While it doesn't go pure horror aside from that creepy interlude, reliving the moments her world was destroyed and plunged into the abyss of a Time Warp are real nightmare material for her. I'll look forward to its conclusion later. Your reward is 36 EXP!

Donnie's Nightmare has a word count of 1555. It recounts a chilling moment of despair from his own past, with a nightmarish twist. The conflict with the old god, involving Donnie's understanding of Galeem and the dynamic between it and such a being as N'zoth, is interesting. Your reward is 20 EXP!

Black Mage's Nightmare has a word count of 3018. Just barely getting over the threshold, eh? I dig it. The story has an odd blend of tenses, at times speculative, past, and even present, but overall it's pretty cool. Paints a terrifying picture. Your reward is 9 EXP!

Blazermate's Nightmare has a word count of 3303. It's a fun and well-written action story, and definitely good practice for future fight writing. Not really horror or a nightmare, though. There wasn't anything scary, either in raw fear value, suspense, or dissonance. Blazermate had complete control over herself and the situation, and it wasn't really that threatening. Because of this, I'm afraid I'm going to have to trim your reward. Your reward is 20 EXP!

Thank you all for participating. Stay tuned for the start of the Thanksgiving event, beginning in 5 days! That will give all players 3 weeks to work on their entry.
All of those count. Thank you for your submissions! After I get a chance to read all of them, I'll give you your EXP.
@XoXKieroBombXoX Good to see your first IC post! It was everything I could have hoped for, and I liked your content a lot. I do have a few pointers. The first is that the color you picked for Black Mage's internal monologue is pretty much illegible. If you must color it, I'd recommend the light blue you used in the sheet, or maybe the yellow of his eyes. In addition, your use of present and preemptive tense is somewhat dissonant from the rest of the RP. I'm not one to force writing styles, but I don't suppose there's any chance you could switch to past tense?
<Snipped quote by Lugubrious>

Sorry this is so sudden, but there are other factors as well with respect to my personal life (nothing harrowing though). Thank you for appreciating me.

I see. In that case, I wish you well. Thank you for playing.

Hey, sorry for missing this post. But I think I'm gonna drop. I've been too distracted to give this RP the attention it deserves.

Maybe Din decides to retire in Lumbridge. Maybe she sees someone she actually knows and stays with them, or just wants to hang out with Menat and live a civilian life, taking care of Linkle's cuccos until she returns. She could relinquish her Storm Eagle spirit to Peach to give to anyone who wants it, and might teleport back to the castle to give the keyblade back to the Master of masters, if that's even possible. Or if anyone really likes Din, feel free to adopt her. Obviously she's not an original character so I don't mind if anyone 'steals' her.

Anyways, sorry for dropping. It's been a fun ride, and you're one of the most dedicated and consistent GM's I've met, and the rest of y'all are great, drama-free fellow players. I won't unsubscribe from this thread just yet in case anyone needs me to help wrap up any loose ends.

Aw, man. That's a heavy bomb to drop so suddenly. I would have liked the chance to talk this decision over with you, but if you have decided, then I doubt there's much I can do. Just know that what you've been doing is just fine. The idea of not being able to give what this rp 'deserves' shouldn't be a factor; you've given more than I have any right to ask for. Whatever you might think of your work, you will be sorely missed.
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