Avatar of Lugubrious

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Recent Statuses

7 days ago
Current Even if our words seem meaningless
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21 days ago
Time turning on us always
1 mo ago
Fusing into the unknown
3 mos ago
Coming back at you twice as great as you had thought
1 like
7 mos ago
Turns out it's pretty melancholic going back and writing up the IC timeline of your four-and-a-half-year RP
2 likes

Bio

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 anyone who'd like to string me along. Straightforwardness is all I ask for.

Looking for more personal details? I'm just some dude from the American south; software development is my job but games, writing, and trying to help others enjoy life are my passions. Been RPing for over a decade, starting waaaay back with humble beginnings on the Spore forum, so I know a thing or two, though I won't pretend to be an expert. If you're down for some fun, let's make something spectacular together.

Most Recent Posts

Lewa


To Lewa's great relief -not to mention delight- his wild idea actually seemed to be working. It was one thing to put stock in nature's natural rhythms, and to try to live in harmony with the world around him. It was another to try turning those underlying principles to his advantage, and truth be told, he hadn't been sure that this would achieve anything. Perhaps his intent played into the outcome; he wasn't acting out of selfishness, but out of a genuine desire to help this ailing beast relax and recover. And despite the odds, his meditative breathing managed to work a miracle. As the poor creature unwittingly synchronized with surroundings, its agitation melted away, replaced by a soothing calm in which healing could begin.

While the toa's efforts helped even more than he could have hoped for, the mere act of breathing could not mend the enormous boar's grisly wounds or clean away the contamination festering within. Once he felt sure that his new friend wouldn't lash out in unprovoked hostility, Lewa slowly moved aside to give Remilia a chance to work her own magic. He stayed close of course, continuing to run his hand through the beast's coarse bristles in an effort to keep it placated, but for now the Scarlet Devil was the star of the show. Having no inherent aversions to injury in organic beings, Lewa watched her hemomancy at work intently, fascinated by an ability that defied elemental classification. Her sorcery bore a few similarities to his sister Gali's power over water, both in appearance and effect, but he could not lump these abilities together in good faith. "What an incredible power," Lewa marveled, his tone low and soft so as to keep the convalescing boar unperturbed. "To be able to do such kindness for others, you must be a beloved doctor in your homeland."
Playing Kuma would be super hilarious since he's just a bear. A bear that knows martial arts, but still.
Deep Ground - the Source

Level 6 Goldlewis (162/60) Level 5 Sandalphon (91/50)
Blazermate, Susie, and Roland’s @Archmage MC, Midna’s @DracoLunaris, Geralt and Zenkichi’s @Multi_Media_Man, Sakura and Karin’s @Zoey Boey, Pit’s @Yankee, Roxas’ @Double, Giovanna
Word Count: 1323


At the periphery of the desperate struggle, on the bridge that connected Tycoon’s platform to the rest of the structure, Giovanna hesitated. She knew that her allies needed help, and she wanted to help them. But when she stared at the battle that embroiled them, she couldn’t force herself to move. It was overwhelming. Various unknown powers went off constantly all over the arena, courtesy of both Karen and Tycoon, and the chaos created a profound visual overload for someone poised to join mid-fight. As bad as all that was, the sound rattled her much more. Over the racket of weapons and abilities Giovanna heard the Seekers’ howls of pain and roars of anger. Worst of all were the last words, barely audible over the raucous din, but far more deleterious for morale.

It was all happening so fast. Karin disappeared, taken somewhere by Karen, and after he returned alone Sakura mounted a final desperate assault, doomed to fail. Zenkichi got eliminated, empowering Pit with his last breath, and even Geralt went down for a moment. That left the spotlight on Pit against Nox, while Roland challenged Karen. Susie seemed to be persevering against Tycoon, but before Gio could so much as issue a warning, Sam had assassinated her. “Dammit,” she breathed. Where was everyone else?!

Of course, Giovanna wasn’t naive enough to ask that. They were gone. Those who hadn’t already disappeared, like Blazermate, Sakura, and Sandalphon, would join them thanks to Tycoon’s spells sooner or later.

More than anything, the secret agent wondered what all these extra enemies were doing here to begin with. Having waited outside, she’d spotted the Consul’s car as it sped through the Cornice, but she’d seen nobody in it but C himself. Giovanna only knew Mephisto from last night and Nox from Xatow’s briefing this morning, but she’d definitely heard about Jetstream Sam. If she and Pit struggled against his much less infamous associate Mistral yesterday, the swaggering swordsman would be a problem. That issue paled in comparison to Karen Travers, though. Everyone in Midgar knew about the OSF’s top player, best in class. This had been a trap, Gio realized, and after getting caught, the Seekers had been gutted.

That was why Gio hesitated. They’d outnumbered their foes more than two to one, but now, only three Seekers remained. They couldn’t win. Not anymore. There was no point in trying. Spurred on by Rei’s whining, Giovanna began to step backward. This was a foregone conclusion. Nox was going to succeed. Just what that meant for them, Midgar, or the world, Giovanna had no idea. There might be nowhere she could run. But at least she wouldn’t die here. Charging in now would be suicide. “I’m sorry,” she muttered, her anguish writ strikingly plain on a face that seldom betrayed anything.

As she turned to run, however, Gio hesitated once more. Against all odds, a certain angel seemed to be holding his own. Amped up by Heat Riser, Pit moved and struck like lightning. Again and again he descended on Nox, and though the Xelor strove to regain control of the fight, he couldn’t teleport fast enough to keep up with his opponent. Even his time shield failed to halt Pit’s offense, though ultimately its threat swung the momentum back in Nox’s favor as Mephisto interfered. Even so, just as it seemed like his foes’ jaws were about to close, the angel turned the tables. Knocking Nox away gave Pit the opening he needed to dispatch the enemy medic, finally allowing the Seekers to make definitive progress. But Giovanna knew it was too little, too late.

Meanwhile, Roland made a mess. To fight these monsters, he became a monster himself, horrifically half-melted into a mass of twisted meat. In that form he launched a vicious attack that dealt Karen Travers grievous injury, overpowering his defensive abilities to leave the Septentrion hemorrhaging blood. “Urgh…” he gasped, immediately grasping the severity of his wound. “I’ll…be back.” With that he activated Teleportation and immediately vanished, but the threat he left behind hung ominously in the air.

After recovering, Nox left Mephisto to die and warped over to challenge Tycoon itself, alleviating the aggro on Jetstream Sam. For a few seconds the two fought together, their peerless blades carving into the giant machine like a Thanksgiving turkey. When Karen made his announcement, however, Nox turned to look at the Fixer, mildly impressed. Roland, Geralt, and Pit were all coming, fatigued and wounded but not yet broken, and even Giovanna finally found it in herself to join their charge. “Not bad,” Nox admitted, banishing his sword as Sam took aggro. Around him, noxins full of wakfu had begun to accumulate. His eyes slid closed. “Looks like I’m forced to call you.”

I’ll always be here for you, Noximilien…

A handful of noxins zoomed out, divebombing the approaching Seekers in explosions powered by stolen life energy. The others injected their wakfu into Nox, and when the Watchmaker spread his arms wide, two enormous mallets of pure energy formed. “I pray that this drainage of wakfu is worth it!”

He lifted the hammers and descended, smashing the arena with such strength that it instantly snapped off the bridge and hurtled down into the depths of the mako reactor. In an instant, none of his foes had ground to stand on. Whirling around, Nox brought the hammers around in the mother of all baseball swings. They struck Tycoon, and the machine god hurtled into the wall behind it, where it stuck fast in a crater of its own making.

Meanwhile, Nox’s last teammate was falling. “Nooooooox!” he yelled, his voice trailing off as he plummeted down.

Sandalphon was falling too, though she barely felt it. Somehow, though her body begged her to give in, she’d managed to stay conscious. Tycoon’s spells hadn’t hit her as she lay on the floor, perilously low on blood. Was that a blessing, or a curse? It didn’t feel right to ask Illia for more, after everything she’d done already, but Sandalphon couldn’t help but pray as she slid toward oblivion. Goddess, she thought, unable to so much as speak. Deliver us…

“Do not worry!” the Watchmaker called. He flew over toward the Guardian, mallets extended to either side. “It’ll be undone. It’ll all be undone! All the harm I’ve ever caused. All the suffering we’ve endured!” With one final motion he brought his hammers together, crushing Tycoon’s torso and head between them. The energy wave of their impact split the rest of its body -and the wall behind it- vertically, and as the crumbling scrap turned to ash, Nox seized the Guardian’s spirit. His mallets vanished, and from inside his chest he withdrew a glowing cube. “With this final offering, I’ll finally be able to do what no Xelor has done before!” Eyes wide, he fed the spirit to the Eliacube, and the sides of the artifact began to open. Light poured out from within, engulfing Nox, the Cornice, Deep Ground, Midgar, the Dystopiascape, and everything. “I win!”




Goldlewis held his tongue for a moment, absorbing what he’d been told. This was an insane revelation to receive seconds before a climactic boss battle, but the arrival of Nox’s team threw a huge wrench in the Seekers’ plan. Of course, this wasn’t really up for debate, and he felt pretty sure that the others felt the same way. Whether or not Nox spoke the truth, his team couldn’t afford to lose one of the thirteen spirits they needed to defeat Galeem. That much was an immutable fact.

“Hate to break it to you,” the veteran began. “Bad shit happens to everyone. Happens to loads o’ good folks who don’t rightly deserve, every goddamn day. It ain’t fair.” His expression hardened. “So how many good folks did you happen to? How many got their lives unfairly cut short, just so that you could someday go back and right your wrongs? What makes you so worthy?””

Sandalphon stared at Nox, trying to parse the man beneath the mask. “It’s clear that any amount of sacrifice is justified if you cannot achieve your goal. At the same time, it seems like there’s a tiny part of you that isn’t completely gone. I understand your conviction; you must undo the evil you’ve wrought, so you must succeed. But even if you did manage to go back and save whoever it was you mentioned needing to save, could that person live with what you’ve done to make that happen?” She narrowed her eyes, her gaze questioning. “Could you?”

For a moment, Nox’s eyes were closed. When he opened them, however, they were as wide as saucers. In an instant, every ounce of resolve seemed to have drained from his body. He staggered drunkenly, almost falling to the ground. Karen stepped forward and grabbed the Watchmaker’s shoulder, trying to steady him, but Nox still dropped to his knees. Sandalphon watched, eyebrows slightly raised. Not believing for a moment that anyone could convince him, she only intended to use this conversation to buy time, but had she and the others actually gotten through to this madman, somehow? Or could this be some sort of ploy? Regardless, she kept her guard up, and after a moment, Nox lifted his gaze.

“Ten minutes!?” he cried, his tone utterly distraught. The intensity of it took Goldlewis aback. “All that wakfu spent for a jump of ten minutes in time?” Nox doubled over, holding his head in his hands as his voice grew more and more manic. “Two hundred years of researching and collecting wakfu for just ten measly minutes!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

His shriek was harrowing–the cry of a broken man. Karen wrenched away from him, perturbed, and even Sam looked baffled, while Mephisto cowed like he’d been physically struck. Consul C, looking on, just tilted his head. All around, the noxins lying in wait lost power, going dark and falling apart. Shaking, Nox removed a dim cube from his chest, staring at it in helpless anger. “You accursed thing! Why lie to me!?” he choked out, delirious with despair. “You were supposed to help me go back in time! To rejoin my family! Answer me!” He lifted the cube and smashed it against the ground. “ANSWER ME!”

In reply, the cube just electrocuted him, and the Watchmaker sagged to the ground, gasping in pain.

Sandalphon stared at the cube, her pupils turning back from exclamation marks to power symbols. Then she looked at Nox. Not an ounce of fight remained in him. Some sort of revelation had defeated him. Was this artifact the source of his power? “As far as I can tell, this is no more than a magical battery. You say it spoke to you?”

Slowly, Nox dragged himself up onto his hands and knees. “The cube…” he practically sobbed. “It really was talking to me. I was supposed to succeed…”

Frowning, Goldlewis stepped forward. “Sounds like you’re off your goddamn rocker to me. Surely you ain't tellin’ me all those poor folks bit the dust just ‘cause you were hearin’ things?” Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, the veteran might have stepped forward to end things then and there, if not for noticing one thing. As Nox stared at him, at a loss for words, Goldlewis could see dark stains spreading among the bandages on his face. Were those…tears?

After a moment Nox stood, staring off into the distance. He took a gasping breath, and said, “I’m sorry.” Then he blinked away, never to be seen again.

In the silence that followed, wherein the Seekers wondered about the import of Nox’s words, Mephisto was the first to speak. “W-what is this!?” the boy gasped, white-knuckling his staff. “He just…we were supposed to…” He looked over at all the Seekers, then fell on his rear, trembling. “Why!? Can’t I have anything? Is my life just a…just a goddamn joke?”

Even Jetstream Sam grit his teeth, clearly dispirited by the team leader’s abrupt and inexplicable disappearance. “What a letdown.”

“...There’s still a way,” Karen muttered after a moment, his voice low and deadly serious. “The Red Strings. Even without Nox, we can still go back in time.” He scowled at Sam and Mephisto. “Lost your nerve, have you? No matter.” He stepped forward toward the Seekers, cracking his knuckles. “I’ll see this mission through.”

Goldlewis snorted in derision. “Hmph. You got some guts to take us on alone, partner. I’ll give ya that.” Emboldened by the dramatic reduction in enemies, he hefted his coffin, ready to fight. “Alrighty then. Come and give us all you’ve got.”

Just before the fight could begin, however, a shot rang out. Goldlewis flinched, assuming a defensive stance, but the bullet struck Tycoon instead. The machine god stirred, and when Goldlewis looked over at the source, he saw C with a smoking gun. Holstering his huge black pistol, the Consul sauntered forward toward the arena. “Quite a turn this has taken. Just the kind of drama I was hoping to see.” He stopped next to Mephisto, crossing his arms. “Still, we don’t want this to be too easy for ya, right? With Nox outta the picture, someone’s gotta sub in to take his place. Won’t be a full party otherwise.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “Plus, I’ll get yelled at if I sit back and let you guys squash the guardian. The others take this stuff so seriously…” He glanced down at Mephisto. “Doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun. Right, kid?”

The medic had clearly given up. “I…”

C reached down and touched his face. His magic worked in an instant, rewriting reality. Mephisto transformed, becoming an avian monstrosity with a black halo, a little like the Consul’s own. The sudden escalation took Sandalphon by surprise, her pupils turning into crosshairs as she jumped back and crouched into a firing stance, her Eye of Sol at the ready. The monster let out a warped cry that shook the arena, a hideous song that seemed to buff Karen and Sam a little. “What did you do?” the archangel demanded.

The Consul shrugged again. “Just keeping things interesting, like I said. Don’t worry though, I’ll play by the rules from here. My script has no room for accidents, got it?” On the other side of the Seekers, Tycoon unfolded its wings and slammed the ground like a war drum with its arms. Thanks to his helmet, C was already grinning. “Let’s rock.”

“That’s my line,” Goldlewis scoffed, but he was more than happy to oblige.

Breathing in, Sandalphon relaxed and stood to her full height. Though she didn’t understand what was happening, and her trigger finger itched, there was too much riding on the Seekers to get impatient now. It fell to her allies to make sure these leftover villains got their just resorts, and to her to keep the Seekers alive.



The Under - Dreams of Light

Level 13 Ms Fortune (90/130)
The Koopa Troop’s @DracoLunaris, Primrose and Therion’s @Yankee, Sectonia’s @Archmage MC, Ganondorf’s @Double, Jesse’s @Zoey Boey
Word Count: 1479


Though every one of the Seekers went into this final fight familiar with the overall game plan, the face-paced scramble against the Hollow Knight demanded that everyone live in the moment if they wanted to stay alive, pushing the team’s endgame to the back of Nadia’s mind. When the time finally came, courtesy of Organization XIII’s emissary, to dive to the heart of the matter, the memory of what lay in store for her forced the feral to steel herself. Then, with astonishing swiftness, she was plunged into the vessel’s dreams. The surreal final stage of the Seekers’ slugfest against Robin Goodfellow meant that this immersion didn’t come as a total shock, but Nadia didn’t know if she could ever get used to this sort of thing. Actually dreaming was one thing, but this was another. The clouds billowed with no breeze to stir them, and a strange sense of weightlessness meant that every motion took a concerted effort; just existing here was a fight to assert herself in a place where she fundamentally didn’t belong.

Then of course, there was the Radiance. She didn’t fly so much as float, staring down with unblinking, almost astonished eyes at the intruders who’d penetrated her real. The invader had become the invaded, and she was not happy, insofar as the almost celestial entity could express emotion. Her very presence scorched the minds of her challengers, threatening to slowly boil them from the inside out. Nadia knew she’d better get used to this dreamscape fast, and focus on the task at hand. The moment she turned her attention to more practical concerns, a sense of aggravation helped center her. If the Radiance planned to stay airborne, after all, hitting it would be a major hassle. Not even her bait launcher would help, since it materialized tigers wherever its steaks came to rest. That rather begged the question as to why she would get this close at all, but maybe the Seekers felt as wrong to her as she did to them. Well, if annihilation was a foregone conclusion, then Nadia meant to win. “Hey there! If you’re not happy to see us, don’t worry! You’ll be de-lighted real soon!”

Right away, blazing beams of light scoured the arena, several at once, flowing forth from the eyes of the Radiance. Like many of the others, Nadia moved to evade them. Her own eyes couldn’t shoot out lasers, but they were keen enough to perceive the barely-visible threads that preceded the actual rays, betraying her enemy’s aim. She saw Ganondorf try to return fire, but his summons’ projectiles’ slow arcs made them ineffective. In reply, the Radiance called down a thick pillar of light that traveled across the arena. It looked deadly, and if the battlefield were smaller it would have been a major issue, but Nadia was quick and the wall didn’t last long. A much more prominent threat appeared right after: an abundance of ivory blades that rained down from above, as lethal and linear as icicles. As the Radiance herself warped around, Nadia turned her attention skyward with gritted teeth. “This is sworda annoying.” Her frame was more than slender enough to thread the needle between these falling blades, but they provided a potent distraction. As she strove to stay dry in the pouring rain, an idea struck her instead of a blade.

While Ganondorf broke away from the group to jump at the Radiance, Primrose’s Makami and Rika in tow, Nadia tucked her hands beneath her arms and pulled off her hands. When she tensed her muscles, blood sprayed out across the polished stone around her like water from two hoses. Stepping onto the blood allowed her rigging to activate, and as the mechanical arms folded out from her backpack, their cannons took aim at the Radiance. “Ready to rocket!” She opened fire, and homing missiles of Hydro energy corkscrewed through the air. They hunted their target down, but their fire rate -only two every three seconds- left a lot to be desired. If nothing else, her intermittent barrage gave Primrose some covering fire as the dancer got close enough to follow up Ganondorf’s trident flurry with Ravaging Confession. More sun rays blasted the warlord back, however, and Primrose descended again soon after.

Rika and Kamek could get more airtime, allowing them to batter the Radiance with muck and magic. Nadia supported them while still skating, and the others quickly joined in their efforts, Primrose with her golden beads and Ganondorf with Blast Hornet’s drones. For a moment the projectiles pounded the Radiance, though the boss quickly returned fire with a flurry of swordblades like giant flechettes followed by homing light orbs. “Wow, this thing really has it out for you,” she teased Ganondorf, curious if his affinity for darkness was to blame. Therion took the chance to springboard off him, then left the big brute to deal with the orbs as he leaped up to administer a tremendous gout of flame. Eyes narrowed, Nadia let off two more watery drills, and on contact they reacted with Therion’s fire to proc Vaporize, adding insult to injury. “Hah! We make a good s-team!”

Her dedication to puns cost her, however, as silvery spikes suddenly burst up from the ground. “Agh!” she yelped, using the blood from her new stab wounds to help her spring away. When she landed, it was on dry ground, and her shipgirl equipment promptly folded up again. “Bull-ship! You’re s’posed to be rigged in my favor!” Her strategy hadn’t profited her, though, so while Bowser took up the mantle with his own cannons, the feral charged forward. Kamek’s kaleidoscopic elements joined the bombardment against the Radiance as she approached, blazing a colorful trail. The boss continued to teleport around, forcing her opponents to retarget her as she summoned arrays of gleaming nails that traveled horizontally.

Even so, Nadia pushed forward. This would be tight, but her agility and instincts would see her through. She sidestepped, hopped, airdashed, and fell through the razor waves, repeating each motion with equal parts speed and precision. Others got pushed back or pinned down, but she pushed through the patterns, until finally she got close enough to launch a Fiber Upper and snap up into the air to get her first taste of the Radiance. “Nyaow we’re talking!” In quick succession she landed Claws for Concern, Footloose, and El Gato, before finishing with Feral Edge, both boxcutters drawn and extended. New Moon gave the ensuing impact a silvery splash, complimenting Sectonia’s dark lightning. The next moment the boss teleported again, but drawing blood had fired Nadia up. She landed ready for round two.

By now, the Seekers had really spread out. Nadia noticed that the Radiance couldn’t really teleport anywhere without ending up near someone. That meant that the feral could wear herself out in pursuit, risking an approach through the dream invader’s relentless projectiles, or wait like a cat at a mouse hole for the Radiance to come to her. She waited for a moment in Sven’s Healing Waters, watching as the celestial thing replied to Sectonia’s void globules with light orbs. Her plan wasn’t intermittent cannon fire from her rigging, though. Sure enough, the Radiance ended up near her after a couple warps, and Nadia unleashed her plan.

As the Guardian unleashed a bursting blossom of twelve swordblades, the catgirl transformed into a bolt of lightning, blasting into and through the Radiance to materialize behind her back. When Nadia materialized, however, she reappeared with one of the flechettes jammed beneath her collarbone and out through her back. She yelped in pain, seeing stars. While her numbness lowered her pain sensitivity by a lot, this wasn’t something she could shrug off. Nevertheless, the feral shook her head to clear it, and pushed through the pain to complete her attack. Boxcutters outstretched, she began to spin vertically, slicing into the boss’s back again and again as she descended. It was too soon for New Moon, but Battery activated to add some extra electric punch to the first two slashes, so while the Radiance teleported again before Nadia finished she felt confident that she left it hurting.

Of course, the feral was really hurting herself, so after landing she dropped her boxcutters and pulled out the Ripened Heart. After a night’s rest the magical organ seemed fully charged, and once a jolt from it jumpstarted Nadia’s healing, she could get back to dodging projectiles–and coming up with better plans. She got moving just in time not to get stabbed as the Radiance summoned more floor spikes, covering fifty percent of the arena, before more beams of light blazed forth.
Lewa


Considering that the beast could have very easily panicked and attacked the instant Lewa made himself known, the toa saw his potential friend's somewhat ambivalent response as extremely positive. No progress had been made, of course, but at least further progress could be made. Newfound hope brightened his eyes as he prepared to take the next few crucial steps. He did not get ahead of himself, however, or let his enthusiasm blind him. As positive as things seemed to be going so far, something was definitely wrong. Maybe the boar should have responded more vehemently. Just as Lewa was beginning to notice the irregularities in its appearance, the fur matted and blackened with dried blood, Remilia hovered over to bring him up to speed.

Lewa listened in a state of intense focus, though her explanation was brief. As he suspected, the boar was in bad shape, enough so that Remilia judged its days to be numbered. Although he'd be sad to see such a majestic beast go, its kind were evidently not rare around here at the moment, and death was an inescapable part of nature. If the boar's life was his only concern, Lewa wouldn't be inclined to disappear. The problem lay in what the animal could do to the struggling villagers nearby, whether in a rage driven by pain or disease, or just as a result of its everyday activities. He paused, his eyes narrowing as the Scarlet Devil made her suggestion. Given the boar's enormity, a nonlethal takedown would be very difficult. Lewa doubted he harbored the strength to stun it, should that opportunity even arise. Maybe Onua could, but not the Toa of Air. It seemed just as unlikely that his weapon of choice could be used to inflict nonlethal damage. Axes were made for felling things, be they they trees or foes. And could his elemental power even budge a beast of this size? His only option would be some sort of trap. The trees around here featured, a distinctive lack of vines, though. A pitfall, maybe...?

Even with a mask on, Lewa couldn't hide his uneasiness. "That would be...difficult," he told Remilia, succinctly summarizing his thoughts. Not for the first time, he found himself wishing that his sister Gali was here. Water could cleanse and soothe, and it sounded like this poor creature needed both. Living things might need air to breathe, but wind couldn't enliven or rejuvenate.

Or could it?

Rather than continuing to speak, Lewa diverted his attention and looked around the forest-ringed clearing. Everything here, from the smallest insect to the biggest tree, needed air. The flow of carbon dioxide from animals and oxygen from plants created a sustained cycle, uniting all forms of life. Everything moved to a certain natural rhythm, a beat like the drums of Le-koro...no, like the rhythmic rise and fall of lungs. Lewa could hear it--the boar's breath that came in strained, irregular heaves. Its rhythms had been damaged, destabilized. By what, he could not guess, but anything that was broken could be fixed again. Life would find a way, but sometimes it needed a little help.

Lewa stepped away from Remilia, and began to breathe. He took deep breaths, in and out, and he repeated this action, the air around him began to move. In, and out. In, and out. Bit by bit, it got louder. Stronger. It was a pulse, like the heartbeat of life itself. Not a threat, like a gathering storm, but a symphony with an open invitation, inviting all to join. Like music, it could be irrepressible, but calming and comfortable. Lewa believed that a natural harmony united all living things. The boar was hurt, agitated, distracted, out of sync with nature, but it could still recover. It could rest, still its addled mind, and kickstart its regeneration, all systems go...if it just got back on beat.

"Breathe, my friend," Lewa said softly, getting closer. If he could approach, he would lay his hands on the beast's body and stroke it, slow and gentle. "Breathe..." Around him, the forest itself seemed to breathe with him, begging all to join in the choir, consciously or unconsciously. Hopefully, this would allow the boar to relax.
<Snipped quote by Lugubrious>

True, that's fair.

Aaaah, alright, gotcha. Then a slight change of plans, I'll participate in the IC after the current boss fight event is over, but before the relaunch.


Great, sounds like a plan. I'll look forward to your applications, and I hope you enjoy reading through our stuff. Unfortunately not all the resources are up to date.
I don't particularly think that grinding levels is necessary or is even really viable. The amount of extra work you have to put in per post to get above 3 exp is pretty prohibitive.

You could wait until the relaunch, but it's not like everything's going to be wiped out or undone, it's essentially just going to be a new thread that picks up close to where we left off with this one. It would be fine to wait through the next two and a half weeks or so until the boss fights conclude, but I'd say to join the fun after that. Plus, there will be some extra changes with the relaunch that makes application a little less lucrative than the current offer.
@Lugubrious Pssst, is this still accepting new applicants?

If yes, I also have a followup question, do you have any systems that can help a fresh new Lvl 1 PC to contribute to the party without being uselessly insignificant?


Hey there! We're always accepting, and would be very glad to have you. Level isn't the end-all be-all, since it's very possible to choose a character with some sort of ability or utility that's always useful at every stage of the game. We're lacking in abilities that don't relate to combat, for instance.

Right now we're at an interesting point in the story, though. We're smack dab in the middle of two of the big boss fights that wrap up our current arcs. After that, we're essentially going to do some fun minigames. We're also probably going to do a relaunch in order to shake things up a bit. So in the spirit of said relaunch, I'd be willing to grant you entry at Level 5 rather than Level 1. Would that help?
Gruyere Emmentaler Caerphilly Yarg


Once the laborious process of hauling the work-in-progress cheeses to their shelves to dry and age finally concluded, Gru and his crews of rats could finally take a well-earned break. Despite the masterful engineering of the Chuck Wagon, designed to maintain a consistent internal climate however extreme the conditions outside might be, there was only so much that insulation and heat shielding could do to mitigate the cruel alliance of scorching hot day without and arresting humidity within. Though his darlings could be reasonably comfortable up in the dry darkness of their attic, Gru found himself utterly unable to relax even in the Chuck Wagon’s dry compartment, even after a change of clothes to try and freshen up. A number of rats tried to help by fanning him, which was lovely and earned them some extra pellets, but the biggest source of discomfort was his own mind.

After needing to spend his bottom dollar to kickstart his business, he could now do nothing but wait and trust in his craft, which all things considered made the man rather anxious. As much as the secure confines of his vehicle comforted the cheesemonger in the face of an unknown and potentially hazardous culture, he knew that he desperately needed a change of scene. Somewhere shady and cool, with a strong drink to perk him up, would work wonders. Appetite was beginning to gnaw at his stomach as well. Having worked through the whole morning, Gru realized that lunchtime must be nigh. With Gadri long gone, however, he lacked any sort of guide who could make a foray into Buraq’s Clanhold less intimidating. To make matters worse, a profuse singing now echoed through the vast citadel. What was a man to do?

So Gru sat there in his chair for a while, listening to the unknown song. Before long it concluded, replaced by more typical goings-on outside his wagon, but still he continued to sweat and psych himself up for an adventure. In the course of his hesitation, however, he received a surprise in the form of three loud squeaks from the sentry rat on lookout duty by the door. He’d seen somebody coming through his peephole and sounded the alarm; two squeaks meant ‘friend’, but three meant ‘stranger’. The cheesemonger jumped to his feet, surrounded by scurrying rats. Gru scurried alongside them. “Just a moment!” His darlings vanished into their holes to hide in the walls, closing the little hatches behind him. Some piled into drawers or climbed into chests, while others just hid behind books and things. With nowhere else to go, thirty-two of them threw on little capes of white or black and went for the empty chess set on Gru’s desk, where they hurriedly adopted poses appropriate for bishops, rooks, and pawns. Gru dabbed at his face with a handkerchief, adjusted his hat, and stepped toward the door. By the time he opened it, there were no traces of any rats at all.

“Good morning, noble visitors,” he greeted his visitors, bowing deferentially, perhaps excessively. Better to be safe than sorry. Three Dinnin-dwarves stood before him. They were squat, broad, clad in loose clothing of evident quality and rich coloration, and their voluminous beards featured styles that looked similarly audacious but braided and bejeweled by different conventions. Not soldiers, as one might expect given the proximity of the nearby military encampment, but decently well-to-do citizens, perhaps of a merchant caste. Though their manner seemed stiffly formal, much like Gru’s own, their guarded expressions still betrayed the curiosity in their eyes, and a little amusement. The cheesemonger’s unusual appearance and clear eccentricities tended to provoke such a reaction, making him difficult to forget or dismiss offhand. First impressions, after all, were everything. “What can I do for you?”

For the briefest moment the dwarf in the center looked past him, taking in the Chuck Wagon’s interior at a glance, but he found nothing more than the furnishings of a wealthy tradesman. Not wanting to be impolite, he did not allow his gaze to linger, and quickly fixed it on Gru himself. Of the three strangers, this one appeared to be the broadest, endowed with the more impressive turban and a double-decker mustache that inspired a sense of unflappable authority. Maybe he saw some kinship in Gru’s triple-decker mustache, despite its comparative thinness.

“Please forgive our intrusion,” he began. “Welcome to Clanhold Buraq, newcomer. I am Argun, and these are Dilar and Ufuk. We represent the Dawnlight Opportunities Firm. Our business is the discovery and promotion of worthy ventures that otherwise wouldn’t be able to penetrate the tight-knit Clanhold market. This morning, we happened to receive reports of a great many rats running rampant around this area, and you yourself featured in these reports invariably. Naturally such sightings invite worries of pestilence and whatnot. We merely wanted to meet you and make sure that all is well.”

Gru barely heard the dwarves’ concerns about rats. Naturally, his rather unique entourage tended to spark such trepidations everywhere he went, and by now he possessed a wealth of experience when it came to defusing such situations. While most everyone harbored prejudices against his darlings, he never tired of extolling their virtues, and the cheesemonger could convince the average rodent-fearing skeptic in his sleep. What interested him more was these dwarves’ trade. Marketers, he realized immediately. That could be just what he needed to get his business off the ground in this market. Of course, there was no such thing as a free lunch, and his pessimism told him to expect a steep cut. That might just be the price of doing business, though. Realistically speaking, Gru knew he ought to be grateful that he got a visit from marketers instead of soldiers, here to arrest him for operating without some sort of license. He needed to act fast, get the preamble over with, and start forging this connection.

The cheesemonger clasped his hands and put on his most disarming smile. That wasn’t to say he wielded the good looks to inspire a sense of trustworthiness through the halo effect, but with a smile like this he could inspire a sense of pity through the implication that this inquiry was just the latest chapter of a long-suffering epic. “I see, of course. Please, allow me to reassure you. You’re hardly the first to bring such understandable concerns to my doorstep. In a sense, the reports you received were true. But the magnificent creatures your eyewitnesses beheld were no mere rats. They are not just my pets, but my employees and associates, bred of the finest stock imaginable and surpassingly intelligent. They can pour your tea, butter your bread, and perform tricks of such stupendous caliber that you’ll scarcely believe they’re not magic. And they’re not just brainy, but also unfailingly hygienic, and wonderfully affectionate.” Gru stepped aside from the doorway, sweeping a hand toward his wagon’s interior. “Perhaps you’d like a demonstration?”

The dwarves seemed impressed with the craft and speed of his speech. “You’re clearly no stranger to such inquiries,” Argun said, laughing through his nose. He clearly knew a sales pitch when he heard it, but if these rats were workers rather than commodities, he couldn’t help but wonder about their trade. He climbed the stairs somewhat ponderously and stepped inside. It might be warm in here, but at least it was out of the sun. His associates followed him, and by the time Ufuk closed the door behind them, Gru had already poured them tea. He kept his tea set in a padded chest just for occasions like this, never using it himself. Bought at a high price from maritime traders over a year ago, its soapstone featured an intriguing texture and gray-rust coloration.

“I must apologize for my meager accommodations,” Gru told his visitors. “My humble mobile home is woefully unsuited for entertaining guests.”

For the moment, Argun seemed more interested in the aromatic new cheeses on the shelves. He had no idea how many tiny, beady eyes were watching him at any given moment. “Not at all. In fact, this is quite exquisite for a mere wagon. Is this your product, here?”

Gru nodded enthusiastically, sweeping over to shower his cheeses with gesticulation and showmanship. “Correct, sir. Made fresh this morning, these high-quality cheeses must age before they can be eaten, but very soon they will be ready for consumption. Though the wealth of the Clanhold is vast indeed, I daresay that its venerable people have never tasted the like.”

Dilar nodded sagaciously, clearly interested. “I’ve never smelled anything like it myself.”

“And that is but a shadow of what is to come, once time had worked its magic,” Gru smiled. “And I do believe we may be able to make some magic happen together. As you might expect, I’m rather new here, and though I’m confident that my cheeses’ quality speaks for itself, that means little if nobody’s around to hear it. But before we talk business, I believe a demonstration is in order. Not just of my product, but of its producers.” He brought his guests over to his table, where he pulled out a chair before seating himself in the other. On the table lay his chess board, each piece already set up for a game. “I’m sure you know how to play?”

Argun plopped down, bushy brow raised at the suggestion that he might not. “Of course.” His eyes lay on the curious pieces, clearly not yet sure what he was looking at.

“Ah, but my house rules are slightly different. Observe.” Gru tapped the head of the white-cloaked pawn in front of his king, then tapped the square two spaces ahead. To his guests’ surprise, the pawn seemed to come to life, marching to the designated spot to stand with unflinching stillness, her tail coiled around her little feet. “See what I mean?”

Though taken aback for a moment by the realization that he’d been invited to play chess with live rats, Argun’s surprise turned to amusement. “Surpassingly intelligent, hmm? You weren’t joking, hohoho!” With an almost childlike eagerness he reached out, gently tapping one of the black-cloaked rats between his ears. Once directed, he marched forward to face Gru’s pawn, where they stared one another down with mock fierceness. “Clever. Well then, mister…?”

“Yarg,” Gru supplied.

“Mr. Yarg. You should know that even though this is not a Dinnin game, I have yet to be defeated. Rats or no rats, I have no intention of losing.”

The cheesemonger tipped his head in respect. “I expect nothing less. I’ll try not to make this too easy for you.”

Argun chuckled, adjusting his glasses. “Then let us begin.”
Deep Ground - the Source

Level 6 Goldlewis (159/60) Level 5 Sandalphon (88/50)
Blazermate, Susie, and Roland’s @Archmage MC, Midna’s @DracoLunaris, Geralt and Zenkichi’s @Multi_Media_Man, Sakura and Karin’s @Zoey Boey, Pit’s @Yankee, Roxas’ @Double, Giovanna
Word Count: 1329


When Sandalphon shapeshifted into Heavenly Wings, Sam assumed some kind of explosion and cleared out in a hurry. When her brief moment of blindness concluded, Sandalphon realized that her opponent had erred on the side of caution and ceased his assault. To his credit, he’d made the right decision; her draconic form boasted impressive damage and flinch resistance. But the archangel couldn’t afford to just stand tall and survey the battlefield. She was on the clock, and needed to make this transformation count.

So Sandalphon took in everything at a glance. She glanced toward Roxas, who had called out her name. He lay on the floor at the base of Tycoon’s body as Susie fought to regain the gigantic machine’s attention and Pit assisted her. Since Sandalphon knew that her skills could heal him, she spared him no more than a split second. Much to her relief, Geralt was still standing, her raging flames ablaze as Midna and her minions backed her up against Nox. Sandalphon saw that the street fighters had moved in for round two against Karen, even managing to pin him down. That left Mephisto unattended to, but the duplicates would complicate any attempts to dispose of him. If Karin and Sakura had Karen in a bind, that was where Heavenly Wings’ strength was needed. Though prioritizing the enemy medic made sense in general, the chance to eliminate the enemy powerhouse could not be ignored.

Golden light radiated from Sandalphon’s outstretched wings as she cast Celestial Skewer. An eruption of holy water went off around her, splashing up six divine droplets that hovered in the air for a brief moment, then launched toward Karen in the form of javelin-like rays of light. While their damage got spread over a large area, it helped break the Septentrion’s Blastokinesis and rack up some damage. It also healed her allies by forty-two percent. When Sandalphon glanced back toward Roxas to see if he needed more attention, however, a heart-wrenching revelation awaited her: that she was too late once more. In the moment she’d taken her eyes off him, Sam had executed him, disabling him with a slash to the spine that soon extinguished his light through a lethal combination of blood loss and shock. Without a word, Sandalphon turned on his killer and attacked, creating divine screens that she launched at the nobody’s killer like weaponized walls of light in an effort to stamp him out.

While she fought, Pit turned his attention on Mephisto with a relentless barrage of prismatic palm strikes. He pragmatically targeted and eliminated all of the duplicates, battering the real medic repeatedly in the process. Mephisto switched between healing and returning fire, pushing through the pain to knit his injured flesh back together. Pit boasted much greater output and mobility, however, and after a moment the medic’s pistol clicked empty. But before Pit could finish the job, two things happened. First, Tycoon -with only one of its three original challengers still holding it down- threatened the entire battlefield with Artificial Gravity. A number of small, swirling dark spots appeared scattered across the battlefield. After exactly three seconds, they would swell to a much larger size, overlapping to such an extent that only a few small slivers of the arena remained uncovered. A scant second later, Tycoon dropped magical mortar strikes on all the targets, consuming almost the whole arena in spacetime-displacing vortexes capable of ripping almost anyone apart.

Second, Nox took note of what Pit was doing. He felt confident that he could take on these enemies, but having Mephisto around provided a comfortable margin for error. In his moment of distraction, Geralt landed a direct hit with a fireball, setting Nox alight. “Agh. So warm-hearted….” The next moment, he disappeared in a shower of purple dragon fire from above. Midna’s flygon swooped down as its master charged in behind him, while Geralt hurled two flares turned infernal by her outpour of wrath. Exhaling sharply, Nox released both sword and shield, then joined his hands in an interlocked sign. “...Stop.”

All around him, the battle froze in time, every combatant and projectile slowing to a complete standstill. He closed his eyes for a moment, breathing in deeply. “Who will it be, then?” He extended his hand toward Geralt, resummoning his pendulum sword. “You’ve certainly been bugging me, my hot-blooded friend…” He adjusted his arm in increments like the hand of a clock, ticking around from three o’ clock to Midna, and when it ticked into place at eight o’ clock his sword’s tip lay inches from her nose. “Beastmaster. Cut off the head, and the body dies. Looks like we have our answer.” He pulled his arm back and flung the sword, which slowed down the instant it left his grip and stopped an inch from her stomach. “So sorry. Looks like you’re number’s come up.”

He looked over at Sandalphon, then at all of the Artificial Gravity indicators on the floor. He then teleported, warped directly in front of Pit, and time resumed. Suddenly, the angel found himself face to face with the man who’d slain Goldlewis, his hand extended. Nox released a blast of blue energy, and as Pit flew back, he used his perspective to pantomime crushing Pit in his fist. At that moment, Tycoon’s attack completed, and one of the bolts dropped down on the angel. By that time Nox had warped Mephisto to safety, and after the blasts went off the Watchmaker resummoned sword and shield. “Je vous en prie.”

The boy slid a new magazine into his place and expressed his gratitude with a tap of his cane rather than a smile. “Don’t expect any thanks.”

Karen, Karin, and Sakura had all competed for a tiny safe space before Artificial Gravity went off, and as a result, all of them got hit. Sam would have made it if Sandalphon didn’t push him back into the blast zone with a divine wave, though Tycoon’s attack also struck her as a result. Zenkichi and Roland, who’d stepped back from their fights and been healed by Celestial Skewer, both escaped Artificial Gravity, while even if she made it to a safe zone Susie’s business suit was too big to not get clipped. Zenkichi and Roland converged on Karen, but bolstered by Mephisto’s healing, the Septentrion took them both on. After hurling explosive sparks at the detective with Pyrokinesis, Karen faked Roland out, knowing that the Fixer wanted to clash. He swerved out of the way of his attack, then made him see stars with a burning hammerfist to the jaw. The next second his other palm connected for an explosive blast that sent Roland head-first into the floor. Zenkichi struck him from behind, but to his surprise a Guardian Vision of a strangely-dressed woman appeared in a defensive stance to negate the blow. Even now, SAS seemed to be protecting him. He turned and faced off against Zenkichi, ultimately using Sclerokinesis to grab his foe’s greatsword in his hand, then melt through it with a pyrokinetic squeeze.

At the same time, Sam continued to fight Heavenly Wings, but the archangel seemed to shrug off his attacks. Gathering her divine power, Sandalphon lifted her hand and created a holy star above her. Her Celestial Castling rained down rays of light across the arena, inflicting Frostbite and Scorchrend on Sam, Karen, and Typhoon. Nox took aim and let fly a volley of energy blades. Though the projectiles didn’t damage Heavenly Wings, they did deplete the rest of her draconic energy, abruptly returning Sandalphon to human form. The next second the last couple blades sliced through her, severing two of the archangel’s limbs. She fell, her final Frost Lock going wide and bursting into icy mist near the Watchmaker. Then she lay on the ground as the battle continued, alive but catatonic, helpless, and losing too much blood.

Just then, Giovanna arrived to find herself in a hellscape, but there was no time to stand there gaping. The secret agent dashed in to assist as best she could.

The Under - the Black Egg

Level 13 Ms Fortune (87/130)
The Koopa Troop’s @DracoLunaris, Primrose and Therion’s @Yankee, Sectonia’s @Archmage MC, Ganondorf’s @Double, Jesse’s @Zoey Boey
Word Count: 1426 (+3)


If she’d been expecting some sort of enormous monstrosity, Nadia might have been disappointed, but after her encounter with the nightmarish Orphan of Kos on that impossible underground beach the feral knew just how little size mattered. The Guardian of the underground kingdom appeared to be a bug, very similar to the little knight she fought alongside in the Basement looks-wise, but much larger and utterly enthralled by the Infection. The way her instincts screamed when that pulsing orange light confronted her convinced her that this wasn’t just some diseased dreg, either. “Patient zero,” she muttered. Maybe even the source of the Infection, sealed away, but not nearly well enough. She couldn’t hazard a guess about much else, but the environmental storytelling painted a vivid picture. Up close the Hollow Knight’s unnatural howl made her flinch yet again, but with her claws at the ready after the warm-up against F’s infected minions, Nadia wasn’t about to back down.

Of course, mustering up determination was easy. There were few things that Nadia couldn’t psych herself up into mindlessly running toward. Fighting this wretched warrior was another matter. While it still towered over two feet above her, and probably couldn’t be combo’d, the Hollow Knight posed an altogether different problem thanks to its relative size. Though the Seekers could easily surround it, there was a very real possibility of them hitting -or just obstructing- one another. Meanwhile, the Hollow Knight could barely swing its nail without striking a would-be hero. Everyone would need to be careful in this frenetic dance of death. Still, at the end of the day, this was nothing new to Nadia. Within seconds, the cat burglar charged in to take the stage.

Employing much the same strategy that she did against the likes of Ten Piedad, Robin Goodfellow, and all the other oversized threats that she couldn’t scrap with properly, Nadia darted in and out, waiting for -and in some cases baiting- attacks so that she could whiff punish the Hollow Knight as it recovered from its massive attacks. Of course, her target didn’t just stand there and let the others whale on it; it launched around the room with surprising agility, punctuating every burst of speed with a skewering nail thrust or enormous slice. Its warp slash, grimly similar to Barnabee’s, was a nasty surprise. Nadia kept on her toes, evading when possible and blocking otherwise. The chip damage and blockstun the Hollow Knight could dish out was no joke, but being excessively safe with her dodge rolls and blood-propelled dashes meant that she’d end up too far away to deliver punishment.

Of course, fighting as a Seeker meant sharing the stage with the likes of Bowser and his gung-ho entourage. The Koopa Troop bombarded the Hollow Knight with the elements, which Nadia tried to turn into elemental reactions like Electrocharged and Overloaded, and Bowser himself used his prodigious side and strength to actually push the boss around. Sectonia kept her spells to herself for once but contributed through the use of enormous minions that could control space with their bulk and implicit threat. After boosting her allies through the magic of dance, Primrose bathed the Hollow Knight in darkness and flame, while Therion’s steel cut through sorcery and sickened flesh alike. He also tasted the warrior’s sword skills, which Nadia naturally proceeded to trigger herself. The Hollow Knight’s riposte hurt like hell, stinging more in one blow than anything Rumor Honeybottoms spat out, but Nadia had seen worse. Her agility and regeneration allowed her to weather the worst of the vessel’s fury, and she boosted her damage output with her Bait Launcher from a safe distance.

Before long it revealed more up its proverbial sleeves than swordfighting. “Yugh!” Nadia groaned when the Hollow Knight unveiled its weeping lesions, running for the hills as infected globules began to fill the air. Whether sprayed out or rained down, they fell in abundance, and even the feral couldn’t avoid them all before reaching Jesse’s shelter. Luckily for the Seekers, the diseased deluge mostly acted like a scaled-up variety of acid rain. Though a caustic shower would be horrible enough, the infection couldn’t worm its way into those possessed of higher minds that easily. Sectonia’s golden antlers, however, were not so fortunate. They proved highly susceptible to the Infection. When the infected rain stopped, both Jesse and Primrose bashed the vessel with the rocks they used as shields, and the fight continued.

Once Kamek did some research, he came to the conclusion that the Seekers had been misled. Dangerous as it was, the Hollow Knight that they now faced seemed to be no more than a front. Nadia threw the magikoopa look of disbelief after he announced that everyone would need to keep their opponent alive. “You’ve gotta be kitten me.” By now, the fight had already escalated. The Hollow Knight fought in a berserk rage, weaponizing the plague that eked ceaselessly from the core of its very being, and before long the Infection worked its dark magic on the golden antlers. “The hell!?” Nadia yowled, leaping away from a stone-cracking mace slam. “Toni, get your buggies under control! This is getting g-old fast!”

At least Sectonia’s Slow, combined with Primrose’s buffs, tipped the scales in the Seekers’ favor. Ganondorf attacked alongside his Phantom, and the two gave a lot better than they got. At the end of their exchange, the vessel pushed the warlord back, and Nadia moved in. “Nyaow it’s my turn!” She slid beneath its follow-up slash with Cat Slide, then transformed her legs with Fluffy Soft to extend them for a double tiger kick into the Hollow Knight’s torso. Her legs snapped back into place, and after getting into a handstand, the feral sprang with her arms to fly into the air. Drawing a boxcutter, she grabbed onto one of the monster’s horns as she fell, her amplified weight bending its head sideways as she dangled. “Steel your heart!” Nadia swiped at the pustule on the Hollow Knight’s mask for a moment, but it quickly grabbed her and tossed her into the air. “Whoa-oa-oa!” She narrowly split herself in half to avoid an overhead nail slam, but picking up the pieces would take a minute.

Moments later, the battle reached a fever pitch. After the Hollow Knight stabbed itself with its own nail repeatedly, it threw itself at the Seekers with everything it had, but their counteroffensive bore fruit. The vessel slumped down onto its knees, bent forward. “Now!” a familiar, young-sounding, high-pitched voice called out. From the direction of the Black Egg’s entrance, a bright blue lash flew out and struck the Hollow Knight, wrapping around its body. A dark shape shot toward it, which turned out to be the short Organization member from before. She whipped around the vessel’s horns and landed on its head, tugging on the evil-looking keyblade in her hands to wrench the vessel’s head upwards. A brilliant light shone from its forehead, radiant as the light of day. “What’re ya flippin’ waitin’ for?! Get in there, you mugs!”

Kamek had the Dreamcatcher ready. After he extended it toward the Hollow Knight’s head and waved it around, a crystalline substance quickly collected into a globe inside its crescent. Within a moment it was large enough, and once Kamek plucked the globe from the staff, he hurled it against the ground. It shattered, releasing a flash of unreal light, and the world around the Seekers disappeared.

When the light died down, they found themselves back in the dream world on a circular pillar, much like they had during the fight with Robin Goodfellow. Except this time, the peach-colored sea of clouds lay beneath them, interspersed with hornlike spires, and around them stretched a vast, twilight-orange sky. On the horizon shone the sun–except that wasn’t the sun, brilliant and baleful as it was. The incandescent beacon approached with astonishing speed, then resolved into an incredible shape. It was dazzling, but unmistakably alien. Just staring at it burned Nadia’s brain, much worse than the sensation she got from the eyes of the Hollow Knight. There could be no mistaking it: this almost angelic thing must be behind it all. The Seekers had found it, the light of madness that seeped out through dreams, consuming the reason, the consciousness, and finally the very self of bug and beast alike. It was beautiful, but deadly. Not just to the Seekers, but to civilization, to sentience itself.

Warning! Boss discovered!

Thought-terminating Beatitude

The Radiance


It had to be stopped. And as the first rays of light blazed toward the Seekers, Nadia Fortune was ready.
Lewa


Once the team of otherworlders split into smaller groups, they began to make more progress on their investigation through the forest. In an environment where all sorts of creatures kept a constant ear out for predators just to survive day to day, a large, noisy group tended to make more of a disturbance, and the wildlife shied away in response. Peace and quiet gave Lewa's powers of perception a chance to shine, allowing him better attune himself to the wilderness around him. It certainly helped that he'd gotten lucky with his assignment of teammate; Remilia, after all, moved by floating through the air. Her unique method of travel made no noise and left no trail, turning the Scarlet Devil into a whisper on the wind who could provide the experienced woodsman with an extra set of eyes but no accompanying drawbacks. Together the companions breezed through the trees, following the traces left by their quarry until their path reached its conclusion.

When he spotted the culprit, Lewa let out a low whistle of appreciation. Though he could draw a few parallels with rahi he knew, this beast deserves to be appreciated on its own merits. It features a shaggy, bristly coat of coarse, deep brown hair, a nondescript tuft of a tail, short but sturdy legs that terminated in stony-looking trotters, and an almost conical head tipped with a flat snout, itself flanked by natural weapons in the form of hefty tusks. Most impressive of all was its sheer size, giving the beast an imperial air of combined strength and majesty. Assuming that this beast must be relatively soft to the touch, Lewa couldn't help but imagine how comfortable lounging against the boar's belly would be.

Of course, the toa of air didn't want to disturb the creature, let alone provoke it. When not dealing with rahi made aggressive by the Makuta's infected kanohi, the simplest strategy was the most effective: leave it alone. As a rule, rahi weren't curious, and as long as one didn't impose on their territory one should have nothing to fear. In this case, though the animal's impressive scale and natural weapons suggested that it would be far from helpless in a fight, nothing about it said 'predator' to Lewa. Remilia confirmed as much, calling the 'boar' a herbivore. She then handed the metaphorical reigns over to Lewa, giving him a chance to do things his way, as promised. Lewa nodded in appreciation. His companion's biological knowledge was a welcome surprise, and he was glad to be given the benefit of the doubt. "I will do my best."

For a little while longer, though, Lewa just observed. He listened to the boar's snorts and grunts, watched it rummage around through the underbrush, and considered what he was trying to achieve. Given its size and likely impunity, this creature's proximity to the struggling humans presented an understandable threat. Between the two of them, he and Remilia needed to convince it to leave the area. That would be difficult even if the toa could truly communicate with it. Intimidation would be preferable to disposal if the beast could be intimidated. He would need to learn what it wanted to eat (and convince it that he wasn't a threat) to lure it elsewhere with food. Well, regardless, he couldn't just crouch here forever. It was time to make a move. Standing, Lewa began to approach, obviously but slowly. He made no sudden movements or attempts to hide. "Good morning, amazing rahi," he murmured, his tone low and non-threatening as he tried to get the beast used to his voice. "I am Lewa. I want to get to know you. See eye to eye." Though the boar probably couldn't recognize expressions, he still smiled as he inched closer, his posture natural and calm. "What are you up to? Digging up roots?"
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