Status

Recent Statuses

2 mos ago
@Riley Tucker please never speak again.
2 likes
2 mos ago
@Flamingevilwolfgirl that principle is the same in Mandarin, too. Si - 四 - for four is similarly pronounced as si - 死 - for death, and thusly the number four is considered unlucky.
2 likes
3 mos ago
Somebody, please, kill me before I have to see the RPG Status Bar turn into an argument over Feminism. I don't think the Guild can handle anymore issues at present, let alone Feminism.
9 likes
3 mos ago
When people get angry and defensive over a comment seemingly fired at the sky, you gotta stop to wonder if they're pissed cause they think it's false or if they're pissed cause it's true ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
5 likes
3 mos ago
@Scrub Mage Top Ten Questions Science Still Can't Answer.
3 likes

Bio

Hiya's, I'm Vocab and this here is my tiny little bio of crap. I don't really have that much to say, so its gonna be pretty short.

I'm a Casual Roleplayer, so you'll see me over there all the time. I try and make it a goal to write every post above 3000 characters, though that doesn't always come to fruition - especially currently. I've been told I'm good at writing, but I honestly dont have that much faith in myself, which is probably why I never moved up into Advanced (not that I could keep up anyways XD)

I would love to be in more Roleplays than I am, but my limit is about 2 at a stretch due to my... Maxed Out Procrastinating Skill and short attention span. I used to have a nasty habit of just getting bored of a RP and not saying anything unless asked, but I like to think I've grown out of that.

Most Recent Posts



~ Soaring ~


Lilly couldn't be quite sure what had transpired in those few minutes, but for what it was worth, she wasn't exactly best comfortable with it. So many people appeared, it was hard to keep track of who was who. There was... the Beardie one, the Small One, the Weird One, and the Other One. Did they have names? Probably. But she'd need a bit more than single introductions to memorise them.

What she could surmise, though, was that people had come and gone, and in what seemed like an instant Lilly had, once again, been left to sit on the grass alone. She looked around again to check where people were, and caught her fellows making their way off in another direction - Beardie in the lead, with Shortie and Weirdo in tow. She clutched her rabbit tight. This was no time to be sitting around! There were places to explore, after all!

As quickly as she could, Lilly lifted herself from the ground, brushing down her skirt from dirt as soon as she was at full height. Since they left her, maybe she wasn't welcome in their convoy... Naaaah, there was no way! She'd only known them for a couple of minutes, no way did they dislike her already. Or maybe they did? No, that was the wrong attitude! The Walls would always say, people deserve second chances. Unless they did really bad stuff.

Her legs carried her forward quickly, skipping up along besides Neola and Kara, before surpassing them. She wasn't the athletic type, but skipping was fun. She kept skipping and skipping, eventually meeting pace with Davis, and then even skipping ahead of him too! Truly, skipping was the pinnacle of human based transportation. No silly cars or trains or buses or planes!

Planes? Planes were fun, a lot more so than any of the other kinds of transportation. Lilly round herself breaking into a small run, arms outstretched like a small child pretending to be an aeroplane. Despite the announcement, the situation, the strangers, she appeared to be having plenty of fun - lips turned upwards in a smile as she ran back the way she came, coming to a stop in front of Davis.

From behind her back she pulled out her phone like device, holding it in front of her chest as to get maximum volume.
"How do you know me?" A small pout formed on Lilly's face as the volume came out quiet, muffled by the open space. Her fingers found the small buttons on the side, and she tapped the screen once again.
"How do you know me?" it repeated, as looked up to the man, still smiling.



~ Project Happiness ~


After his little talk with Daimyon, Felix was on his way to the next victim, Faith. At first glance it may seem like an odd choice, what with her being new and all; but her infinite title was more than enough to convince Felix that she was just the gal they were missing. And so the free-runner cheerily surveyed the corridors, searching for the newest addition to the crew.

Whether through tiredness, sadness, pain, or any combination of effects, Faith found herself back there. A room of components and a hospital bed. A room of light with no walls. The battle had been hard fought. They had put everything on the line to emerge as victors. In a sense the Nights of Carnage were much like trials themselves - but with less formality. Just doing whatever you can to make sure you and your friends don't make it out dead.

I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry. I failed I'm sorry.


Whether through tiredness, sadness, pain, or any combination of effects, Faith found herself back there. A hallway of despair and death. A tiled room of searing light bearing no hope. She had fought hard to stay asleep, eventually allowing fatigue to take over as unconsciousness, but despite that she woke early - earlier than she would have liked, even before the morning announcement. Some days she was one to stay in bed a laze about. Today wasn't one of those days.

I failed I'm sorry.


Was she right? She scanned the hallway of the Hospital Facility, past the northern wall of the POD room and towards the door of the Morgue. Just doing the same thing over and over. The same shit over and over. The same person over and over. Dying and dying and dying and dying and dying and... "I failed I'm sorry..."

“Hey Faith?” The voice of Felix appeared from behind Faith. As soon as he spotted her, his happy demeanor abruptly switched to nervousness. Why was she just standing there, looking like she’s seeing ghosts. He had to admit that hadn’t really properly talked to Faith before, but this was the first time seeing her like this.

“Are you…-” Felix wanted to reach a hand out to her, but the eeriness stopped him dead in his track. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to recruit Faith, with her looking like that...but then again; she looked like she could really use it. “I need your help with something; something secret.”

A sound behind her drew her attention, away from the hallways, and the light. She tilted her head, and her body along with it, to look at the person addressing her. In her hands, clutched tightly against her chest, was a book - the words "Solomon's Forbidden Tome of Lust" seemingly engraved into the front, in bright, cursive, golden letters. From the words sprouted a tree, spiralling up and out of the leather front, spattered with similarly designed birds and fruits.

The moment she locked eyes with the person, she quickly turned away, raising a hand to her face to wipe away the tears that had been forming but had yet to fall. Despite her seemingly shell shocked state, she quickly spun back around, smiling through a somewhat reddened face.
"O-oh, hi, I-I, uh... didn't hear you coming."

She looked around the hallway, towards the Resort and Patients Quarters of the floor. How long had she been stood there? What was everyone else doing? How many had walked past and seen her like this, but not spoken up out of who knew how many reasons. Despite the question rattling within the tumultuous sea that was her brain, she opened the book, and scanned the page she found herself on.
"Now let's see here, you are... you are... ah, Felix! Infinite Free-runner, huh~?" she flipped the book closed, and approached him, "What's this secret you need my help with, now~?

“Let’s get back to that in a second, alright?” The sudden change in Faith’s mood was jarring. Whatever reason she had to force that smile, it wasn’t healthy for her nor anyone around her. But now there was a burning question in Felix’s mind; what caused her to be like this? perhaps it was simply empathy, or maybe there was a lingering doubt pestering his mind about what truly happened yesterday.

“Why are you smiling? you were in pain just now. Acting brave around me is kinda pointless-” Felix chuckled, before taking a step towards Faith. “I mean, I already saw you.”

Faith merely tilted her head to the side and giggled at the comment. Quickly, she skipped up to face him, placing both her hands and her back behind her back.
"Are you feeling okay? I don't know how long you've been here, but in those with residual Mana capacities the Anti-Magic Field Davis established can have some quite dizzying effects - like hallucinations and delusions, for example~!" she giggled once more, moving her hands in front of her to open and look at the book, "I haven't the capabilities to alleviate the symptoms, so perhaps you'd like to see one of the... Nurses..." her voice trailed off as she spoke, "O-or perhaps we can talk about this spectacular plan you had in mind~! Diverting your brain processes may be the best way to combat the negative side effects, no~?"

“Right, the plan.” Felix acknowledgingly smiled. “So……..” Felix started explaining his plan to Faith, somewhere along the way, forgetting Faith’s initial state. “....And since you’re the infinite Matchmaker...well you get the point.”

Faith listened intently, watching closely as he described the supposed event that would take place. It was true, she could think of many a scenario for the idea in which her talent would come in handy.
”Is that so~? Oooooooh, I can already picture it! This is gonna be so much fun~!” she giggled, then started her way down the corridor, half skipping as she did so, ”All the pretty things we can make, all the people we can ship… Come along, Felix, we have work to do~!” she called out behind her.

The boy stood there for a few seconds after Faith’s call, seemingly in thought, before finally getting in motion. “Hold on a sec! I wanted to drop it but...I can’t shake this feeling that...why were you standing there next to the morgue?”

Faith stopped dead. Instead of skipping away merrily, Felix in tow, to bring about a new age of happiness for the Infinite Killing Game, her legs stopped moving, frozen to the spot. Her head tilted slightly, enough to place Felix in her periphery.
"I... Sh-she..." her voice seemed shaky, but quickly she steeled herself, "I-it doesn't matter..! We vanquished the terrible foe that was Nariko, and gained safe passage to the Third Floor, is all! Oh, oh, I saw on the map that it has an Arts and Crafts store~! Wanna come with me later and pick out some stuff~?" she smiled back, ”In any case, let us go! Plenty of things to busy ourselves with until the time comes, no~?” and with that, she continued along her way.

Felix sighed; Faith wasn’t going to tell him what he wanted to know, but perhaps living in ignorance just a little longer wasn’t a bad thing.

“Alright, alright, I’m coming!”


~ Y̸̥͖̖̞̱̝̣͙͐̉̐ͮ̓̅̃̐͌͊̾ͬ́O̸̡̜̦̪̠͎̗̖̲̩̩͍̪͖̜̦̥ͫ͂̄͌̿̑̽̾͗͋ͤ̽ͩ̍ͅƯ̛͇̥̻̤̺̱̈́͌́́̑́̀́ͅ ̴̶̵̛͇̞̭͕̪̪̼̟̪͈̻̼͓̥̼̣͔͇͋͛́ͤ͡A͑ͬ̊ͪ͊̂̎͏̶̨̩͓̼͚̖̣̺͕͚̻͔͡Ṙ̷̶͚̹̣̲̑͒̉̋̓̎ͅE̵̴̸͎̮̠͍̗̥̼̤̫̎́̄̅͋̄͒͟ ̵̸̶̧̥̹̰̳̠̣̟̟̪̠̥̩̩̣̌̇͊͐̏̊ͤ̍̿̉ͨͩͩ̆̈́̋̚N̝̦͔̝̩̣̊̅̋ͧ͗̅͋̒̚͡͡O̢̻̠̜̼̙̼̲̜ͦ͋̉̂̿̃̌ͩͦ̐͡Tͪ̍̽̎͗͒ͬ͋̔̄͛̏҉͢͏͈͖̻͔̞̩̭̤̘̞͚̜̰ ̼͍̟̭͎̟̔ͦͫ̚͡W̡̆̽̔ͪ̊͛̚͞͡҉͕̣͈͕̱̭̗̗͈͖̗̘͝E̷̡͋̓̂ͧ҉͇̦̖̩̕L̵̀̑̐ͩ̾҉̸̢̱̼̱̰̜̙̫̖͉͍̺̬͍̩̩C̶̬̝̰̰͙͊͆́͑͛̋̓͌̈́ͯͫͧͨ̒͋̿͛ͩ̚̕̕Ố̧̝͈͉͇̟̜̮̹̙͔͍̩͔̬̈ͣͩ́́͘͘͡M̄̆̐̔̎ͭ̍͋ͨ͒͛͋ͯ͒͊̒ͩ͋̈́͠͏̰͉͎̱̟̩͢E̶̛̝̖̞̼̗͎̗̘̪͈͎̳͋͗̿̀̈́͋̐̿ ̴͔̺͖̬̹̰̻̯̮̦̖̘̲̯̜̖͇́̋͑̋ͣ̿̿ͤͩ́ͩ̐͘͡͠ͅͅHͭ͊̆ͨ̚͠҉̢̜̝͙̫̳͙͉̣̠̱̟͕̭̼̱͎̩̻͢ͅEͮ̿̔̄͌̀͏͎̬͉̝͈̻͜͝͝R̓͌́̍ͤ̑͂͏̨̭̻̝̝̦̞̜̰̞̳̳̦̘̠̣̕Ė̡́͛̑͑͆ͯ̽̽̿̀̔́͏̹̭̻̝͚̭͙̺̭̲͙͙̳͓ ~


The home stretch felt like an eternity. It was a mere corridor, as white as its fellows that comprised the doppelganger Axis Mundi, but even still the eternity it took to traverse it, with Ice and Jez in tow, almost racked Faith to the core. Around the up and coming corner, down the ramp, and past a couple of rooms, would be the A-Team, dutifully battling against their primary adversary - Nariko. She had wanted to partake in their exploits, originally; it was obvious that it was there that all the action would take place. But, she had thought better of it, in favour of helping Ice not get himself killed. They were always going to group up with the A-Team eventually, anyway - there was no way that they could take Nariko down on their own.

Alexandria had already sprinted off ahead, with Calvin and Aleecia accompanying her, and Mary had gone fled to wherever. The three rounded the corner, with Faith behind Jez, coming out into a hallways much reminiscent of the First Floor. The similarities between every area of the hospital was unfathomable, but Faith had spent enough time in Axis Mundi to get used to it. The smell of damp clothes, sweat, and metal wafted from the crossroads, beckoning them forward into the ongoing skirmish.

And a sight it was to behold. The sheer size of Nariko, the expanse of her arms and the plethora of swords she held. Faith had never seen a Carnage Sister, let alone up close. The idea that a person, human no less, could willingly stand in front of such a beast and fight it without breaking from fear confounded her. There was truly no way for any of them to defeat Nariko, not in such a small group as with four people. From behind the creature she could spy Cyrus and Krista, as well as the burned body of a patient she had yet to meet, making their way along the corridor. The A-Team were there, too, fending off Nariko to the best of their abilities.

But as they made their way down the corridor, it was clear things were wrong. Alexandria had let loose her spear at Willow, who had somehow snuck up on the group and was preparing to slaughter them on horseback. Jez had already started running towards the fight, spurring Faith to run along side her, droning out the sound of combat and speech to figure out what had gotten her friend so worked up.

The screams broke the sound, alongside the resounding, heavy thud. Jez had fallen to her knees, attempting to assist the injured, and Willow merely rode off. Blood ran freely from his eye, punctured completely by the overwhelming strength of his robot foe. But even then, there was something more pressing in Faith's mind. Something wrong. Something about the boy. Zachary... Zachary... Where had she heard that name before?

"If you find him, go have a chat with the infinite archer. Blond, kinda weird, looks like an elf. Jezebel totally has hots for him. They're together all the time."

This was Zachary Ackerson? The guy Jez had a crush on? Faith knelt beside him, beside Jezebel, taking him in. He was cuter than she had imagined, besides the blood that ran from his exposed eye socket and into a meagre puddle around his head. The blood... watching it trickle down a person's flesh, and coalesce into a crimson pool of their life essence...

"D-don't tease me, okay! I-it's just, you're the Infinite Matchmaker... S-so... Huh?! Wh-what does that mean?! Ughhhhhhh, you're so mean..."

A silent voice. Hollow, resounding. Light itself, drifting, merging, and dividing again. White tiled floors tainted scarlet with blood. Echoing in a void-lit prison. Watching as white and black fabric quickly altered colours, pressed against an open wound. Repeating the same words. It'll be okay. Just hang in there. The cold of evening air, and the steadily decreasing light, mere pinpricks in the clouds. Blare of horns. The flashing of lights.

Faith took the person in her arms, lifting them onto her knees, gently as to not disturb their injury. Something had to be done, and fast. They would die soon. A knife pierced the left sleeve of her outfit, tearing into the black and white fabric and fraying the fibres that comprised it easily. She cut across, then withdrew the blade and tore along the edge, ripping off a long strand of cloth.

Awfully adeptly, she wrapped it around the person's wound. Tightly, as tight as she could make it, tying it at one end around their appendage. It was the best she could manage, especially with her lack of medical training. They needed to get to someone, someone who knew what they were doing and could save their life. Such mediocre bandage work wouldn't do much for very long. It would be a miracle if it even stopped the bleeding for any amount of time.

"I want you to run." reality shifted back into focus. The walls blurred back into a single form, the lights stopped pulsating, the echo vanished, "Take this. And Zachary. And run." Faith stood from the floor, pulling one of Zach's gloves from his hand as she went. She pressed the handle of her dagger into one of Jez's hands, and placed a hand on her shoulder, "Get away from here. Monika will arrive any minute. Find Mercy, and help Zachary." she looked down at her friend. Her expression betrayed something fiercely wrong - her smile had dissipated, and her crimson eyes echoed murder, "I'll deal with things here."



From tucked within her outfit, Faith drew something that resembled a weapon. She stepped to the side of Zach's body, making sure to avoid it as she walked forward, and brandished her weapon. In her hand was Julia's Gladius, looted from her body after Monika's gun had torn her apart. She barely even noticed Calvin tearing off to confront Willow.
"Initiating Emergency Protocol - ZeigarEpsinTheltarYelikSalisVinkarHraegaUolienTralkeshIreima..." the words she spoke were barely a whisper, but every syllable barely sounded as though a human should be unable to produce them. As she took the next step forward, everything seemed to break down, "Initiating Protocols for Unranked Enemies. Blut-Sonnenuntergang." and despite the sounds of carnage, a single sound bellowed out across the battlefield. The lights seemed to dim. Blades of wind swept across Faith's back, scattering her hair wildly around her face.

"Willow!" she shouted, her voice carrying over the others. It was barely louder than any normal shout, but even still it sounded as though it had been magnified several times, "Your actions here today are unforgivable. By my place as the Heir to the Throne of Love, I invoke the laws of the Council and act as their judge. I find you guilty, False Queen, of Egregious Misconduct and Violence against a Sanctified Member of the Collectorate of Faith, and hereby sentence you to death." her free hand raised, and she threw the glove across the field in her general direction, intently focused on the robot.

Irregardless of Willow's answer, Faith began to advance.


~ Contained in Open Fields ~


The corner stone of reality. A plethora of multiplying divergences, accumulating in the peripherals of existence, dividing and spreading like a cancer across the galaxy. Expanding outwards. Reaching, and clawing, across the open skies and dawns of void, seeping light into cracks of the subconscious in psychedelic chromatograms, burning like a supernova. A cataclysm of emotion, thoughts, beliefs, teachings, and all manner of concepts.

Sat alone in a chair, beset in darkness pierced by radiant, blue light, casting shadows upon drawn curtains and morally challenged walls. They held many secrets, listened with ears of thin veiled protection and watched with silent precision. Observing, but never speaking, muted against their own grey, monochromatic purpose. Divide. Seal. Uphold. Binding secrets never to be divulged.

The grass had a certain quality to it. Real and incorporeal to the senses. Soft against the flesh, nonexistent to perception, instead a frayed and worn carpet, eroded with years until the wooden floor underneath expressed itself in feeling, creeping in through the fibres. Soaking through. It was cold. It had the expression of age, of wisdom. It was like the walls.

Perhaps that's what made them special. And the desk, and the wooden bed frame, and the purple wardrobe, and the pen pot, beside a crowded notepad, illuminated by the monitor mere inches away, and the cable of a keyboard and mouse. Perhaps their history had left them with an impression - they had heard, and they had witnessed, but never spoken. Nothing spoke.

The fresh air was not too dissimilar. They had awoken much the same, unheated in the mornings of winter months. Or had they woken too early? Insomnia plagued the walls, it was true - they had their fair share of issues, much the same as every component in the room. The sum total of their parts made a comforting prison, but their flaws alone were pitiful sights. They could hear everything but speak of nothing. They could accrue knowledge and insight, but never share their wisdom - never leak their... darkest secrets.

This was her reality. Walls of secrets, marking corners of darkness, over a carpeted sea of paced steps in anxiety, adorned with the desk of malicious tendency, and the tools of destruction. The curtains bled through little light, the void of dawn a solemn toned reminder of the hour. They all awoke too early. Such a shame, too - they were just developing a nice little sleeping habit.

But that was in the past now. They were awake. Awake and alive and knocking. A rap against a nondescript door. Knocking, knocking, knock, knock. The walls bustled with life - awake from morning, awake from sleep. Awake from being awake. Knocking, knocking, growing in volume and intensity. Growing from the carpet like vines, like a cancer, the twisting colour of psychedelic illusions. Knock, knock, snap.

Snap? And her eyes opened.

"..." a morally challenged, grey speech. Her eyes flickered open, to windows of purple glass, marked with the black circle of vision. Sprawled out on the carpet. Sunlight streaming through the curtains. Or... she couldn't quite tell. Where was she? The scene was unfamiliar. Such dreams weren't uncommon, but the walls were seldom so imaginative. Seldom so realistic.

Such dreams were incoherent. The light streaming through the curtains... Morning already? The clouds did naught to spare her vision. Having been closed for so long, they barely remembered what light looked like. She preferred the curtains closed. The carpet had grown, too. No longer did the wooden floor underneath dig its way through their tightly knit fibres. It was soft, but it wasn't her colour. It was too natural.

Letting her fist clench, feeling returning to her fingers, and the rest of her body, her nails dug into the dirt upon which she laid. She was outdoors... how had that happened? It wasn't so much that she hated the outside, but rather, it wasn't as fun. Sure, there were lots of things you could do, like sport and picnics... but she didn't have much fun with those kinds of things. She wasn't very fit, and the insects always got on the food. The walls were much better.

The expanse of greenery left her dehydrated throat at a loss for words. In the drowsy awakening from dreams, things often blurred together. Nothing was as it should be. Her muscles moved to make sound but none came out. Was it some kind of curse, or had drugs robbed her of speech? Her other hand clenched similarly, but gripped something different altogether; no dirt, but cold metal. The feeling returned, and with it did memories.

And someone was sat in front of her. Was that the knocking, the rapping at her door? How polite, but she was sleeping - it wasn't nice to wake sleeping people. That said it did look like morning... how long had she been sleeping for? The lights must have sung a sweet lullaby for her to sleep so soundly. The metal felt cold to the touch, her head tilting to take it in as she sat up, slowly at first but increasing in speed with each passing microsecond, until her body was upright, knees drawn to her chest,, defensively.

How strange a place. Such bright colours, a new person... new feelings. But no walls. A brief wave of anxiety hit her, drawing away what little moisture remained in her mouth, but was quickly diluted in further sleep deprivation. Why did they have to wake her up? Why wasn't she at home? Who was this person? Where was...

In a turn of her head, her vision spied the object of her desire, and she quickly reached to pick it up. Rosetta. The walls had gifted it to her, and the lights had bestowed it a name. Rosetta... Worn in places, patched with off coloured white clothe to bring back a whole to the dis-repaired. It was only slightly dirty, luckily, but still in a sorry state. She went to speak an apology to the stuffed rabbit, but no words escaped.

Oh, of course. How silly of her. She placed the rabbit on her lap, and brought the metal device to her face, tapping the screen a few times, before drawing her hand away.
"Hello." the speakers emitted, just one of the many preset sounds that she had added for convenience, "I am Lilly." they were robotic, producing a synthesised female voice, only barely discernible as in their late twenties.

The walls hadn't gifted this to her. The lady had called it a Vocalised Audio Synthesiser. The lady... the Ultimate Inventor. She had commissioned a device like this in order to talk. She needed to talk. She was mute, after all. The doctors had tried everything, but she couldn't talk. Lilly would never talk. She giggled a little, on the inside, her body mimicking the sound in movement, without producing sound. She didn't hear her name often. It was funny hearing it.

But there was something terribly wrong with the situation. Lilly tilted her head, looking her fellow in the eyes, piercing them with her violet gaze. This wasn't Hope's Peak! She was meant to be going to Hope's Peak Academy, the big school place for people who do cool stuff. She did cool stuff too. She was the Ultimate Hacker.

But it didn't look like there were any computers about. The walls would get mad if she didn't practice. Everyday, gotta practice, stop yourself from losing your edge. You're an Ultimate student now. They might accept you, but lose your edge and they'll throw you out. You wouldn't want that, would you? Think about all the benefits having the name of Hope's Peak behind you. Didn't it close though? It's still a great school.

"Where are we?" she typed out on the keypad, the woman's voice mirroring, distorted through the software, but smooth in her speech. Whoever designed the program was a genius. She was so lucky to have the fortune of getting in contact with them! And they were very nice in building it. It must have cost a fortune... but she had the money. Wait, where was her wallet..? The walls wouldn't be happy about that...


And thus came the time. The Night of Carnage, upon the Infinite patients of Axis Mundi and Davis's Killing Game. Faith wondered around her room, checking off the varying parts of her load out that she would need for the up and coming battle. Her dagger, the Ignis Pouch, its fuse and a set of matches, and other different odds and ends that might have come in handy one way or another. She had already prepared some things at the location, within the ER room of the Hospital Facilities; having spent all day working with Mary and Daimyon to develop traps, she had had plenty of time to prepare. Such was the life of a Mage - one had to stay one step ahead of the enemies in order to come out the victor. And she had no intentions of losing.

She flung her door open with all her might, taking a strong and confident stride out from her room and into the corridor. A nervous anticipation left itself buried deep in her chest, less anxiety and more excitement. Very rarely was Faith able to participate in such battles due to her lifestyle and schedule. Planning dates and parties and all manner of different events, meeting clients and producers - it was a busy life, but not one she would ever trade away. It put her magic to waste but that was the compromise of doing the work of the Goddess of Love. To learn one had to experience, and if she ever wanted to be a successful heir to the throne she needed all the experience she could get, that was merely a given. In a way she had to thank Davis, although she would never admit it. His cruelty knew no bounds, and yet he had presented her with many new and otherwise inaccessible opportunities for which Faith was, if just slightly, grateful.

However, that was simply idle thought. The only thing she should have been thinking of was the battle they would undertake, but even with her steeled resolve she couldn't help but find her mind wondering. Was it out of fear or something else? There wasn't a chance she was scared, so what could it have been? She pondered the question on her way down the stairs, breaking out from their incline and into a seemingly the same place. If she didn't know better she might have mistaken the first for the second floor with how similar they were, but she had spent the day memorising the layout of the hospital. Ice's room was designated as E, located just at the end of the first corridor leading into the Patients Quarters; they hadn't set up an exact rendezvous point, but there, she figured, was where he was most likely to have been. The Night of Carnage wasn't even scheduled to begin for another twenty minutes.

And so at the end of the corridor, she lifted her hand and rapped her knuckles against its construction.
"The Night of Carnage commeth Isaiah. I hope you're ready~"

Ice had wanted to go see Aleecia, but he knew they would end up fighting. All that had happened today played in his mind and he didn't want to see the disappointment on his friend's face. So... Ice had left Allie to Calvin and had spent much of the afternoon beating himself up over it. What a doltish coward he was, not even able to face someone he cared about. Ice had cut himself off from the rest of them, not wanting to become anymore drained by the infinites around him, even spending time with Alice could make his headache right now. Ice had checked around his room for sweets and had found a stash that had been hiding away in his suitcase. After plopping a butterscotch and bloody fairy in his mouth, he had gotten to work on unraveling the work Alexandria had done on his hand.

She wasn't going to be happy and Ice would enjoy that. If nothing else, he could get her riled up easily, it was a skill that he had long since possessed.

Most of the bandages had been discarded. The braces on the fingers that were actually broken stayed, but there was only really one or two while the rest were swollen. He'd be able to wrap to hold the chain with pain, but still be effective in his attacks. His way of fighting would be reversed, so Ice went to practicing it without his weapon and with. Once he thought it would go okay enough, he tried to take a nap and massage some of the tension out of his limbs... to no avail. Finally, he had given up and thoughts had drifted by to last night and the bloodthirsty fantasies that came with it.

Hearing the knock at the door, Ice stood up and opened it a few inches. He nodded and moved out into the hall. Besides his chain weapon, he had packed up a few shivs that weren't quite as sharp at the one on his chain, but could still cut savagely. If there was a use for his failed attempts, he would find one in them now. As he stared in the direction of the hospital ring, memories rushed through his head of the last time they had fought and if he hadn't been in control of his emotions, he might have shivered, "sod..."

"Y'know..." Faith took a step around Ice, between him and the direction of the Hospital he so longingly stared into. Her expression seemed mixed, on the edge, teetering between a neutral and serious expression and a full on grin; she was clearly enjoying the herself, but trying her best to keep it hidden as to avoid ridicule, "I'm still totally against you fighting here tonight~! Felix is gonna be fine, cause he can outrun Geina's little cannons, and Daimyon and Mary have enough traps to spark a Tumblr war - Willow wont be much of an issue, iiiiiiiiif they stick to the strategy. And I mean, I can totally fight little Miss Alexandria on my own~" she scanned him, flicking her dagger between her fingers with uncharacteristic dexterity, the ornately engraved blade, peppered with runic symbols, glinting in the sheet white light of the corridor, alongside the reflection of the wooden handle, similarly adorned in carvings and alien tongue, "So why'dya wanna fight, again? Did Alexandria threaten Alice? Or do you wanna get revenge for Calvin? - I heard from my little birdy the past events of this game. I can see in your heart that you like him, but your emotions for him are a bit unstable~!"

With her last comment and slight flourish of her blade, Faith turned to her side and looked down across the corridor towards the Hospital. Her last game they had all voted to stay in their rooms every Night of Carnage. The death of one of their friends after the first trial at the hands of one of the Sisters had left them all rattled. Even Faith had been, if for only a short time. They were one of their favourite candidates for matching, and besides Jez they were one of her only friends within the game. But she couldn't exactly let herself shut down in the midst of their crisis. She was a leader, after all, and the leaders job was to their people - she couldn't abandon them. She formed them all together, and held the vote to keep out of the Nights of Carnage. It didn't stop people from going out if they really wanted to, but... it was better than nothing. Coming out of their rooms to a murder, that was a surprise, but that was the killers mistake - practising their crime first gave them all a chance to solve it and realise the similarities when the actual crime came about. At the very least, she was glad Jez wasn't around to deal with it all. All she could do was hope nothing like that happened again.

These people had a trust between them, though. Something Faith's previous game was devoid of. After the first murder and the subsequent loss of Jezebel to Davis's whims any semblance of cooperation went down in a blaze. Faith only barely managed to pull them together after the third murder. Now that they had lost their leader, what would become of them? Would they just kill each other off? Continue her work? Enter into a game wide suicide pa-
"Anyways!" such thoughts weren't welcome here, "We, Isaiah, have a battle to win! None shall stand in our way! We shall be victorious, that is the only path laid out for us!" she tilted her head back, fully emblazoned with a wide grin, "I'll match you with any Infinite of your choosing after this, so you better not die on me~! Oh. oh, and make sure to have fun! - that's, like, the cardinal rule of all this, 'kay~? Onwards to the battlefield!" she announced, flicking her dagger so the blade pointed to the floor, and commencing her march forwards.

The man stopped as Faith created a block between him and his mission, that did not bode well for her. "I'm fighting Alexandria, you can back me up." He knew of the carnage sister's abilities and he also knew there was absolutely no way someone could off her by themself, "There needs to be a decoy and attacker, without that she'll murder us both. We've already lost the element of surprise so we have to be as swift and precise as possible." His voice was becoming more and more devoid of emotion, which if Faith had known him longer, she would have known that was a bad sign. "I don't want her alive to hurt anyone else, capiche?" All this talk of emotions was annoying the Blood Donor, he didn't want to have to start worrying about Faith or the others right now, just focus on the battle ahead. By all means, Ice didn't like the Matchmaker, but he didn't want anyone to run to their death either. If she died, it would hurt him, just as much as anyone of them.

Fairy Dust kept chattering after that about victory, but what was the point? They were going to destroy a machine that had to be dealt with until the time was up, nothing more. "Don't die." Then again, his words had only fueled his worry about another infinite's death. He didn't care about his own.

Faith’s light giggle was an easy indication that whatever Ice had said, Faith wasn’t exactly on board with.
”You’re funny, Isaiah - uuuuuugh, Isaiah is too long a name. D’ya have, like, a nickname or something? Allie is letting me call her Allie, sooooo, I oughta call you something too, right~?” she chirped, walking off in front, before spinning around to face him, walking backwards down the corridor, ”I know you’ve built up your little tough guy persona, with your cool weapon and emotionless facade, buuuut there’s no way you’re killing Alexandria on her own either, y’know that, right~? I mean, be reasonable - if you’re gonna put my abilities down, what can you do? Damaged hand, supposedly combat inept partner - why, you’ve got a cocktail for death~!”

Faith spun around once again, running on a little bit down the corridor with her arms outstretched, dagger clutches tightly to her palms, like a child pretending to be an aeroplane. Once she was at the end of the corridor, she danced a short ways into the plaza and turned back to face him.
”And I mean I totally agree with your whole hit and run tactic, but dont'cha thinks that’s a little... boring~? I’ve got my knife,” she pulled the pouch from her waste, ”My secret weapons, and my Tome~!” she patted her breast pocket with her free hand, and grinned towards him, ”We aren’t here to kill the psychorobot, Isaiah. From what my birdy said about Shona’s death, the Sisters come back suuuuuper quickly~! We gotta just distract her, and keep her around so she can’t respawn or get to her buddies and help em. What’s the fun in employing boring strategies when we can mess with her~! It might even do some good, right~?” and with that she danced around the corner, ”Just give it some thought, ‘Kay~?” and down the corridor towards the Crematorium.

~


The Night Of Carnage had started. They had taken a while getting ready, it seemed, or lost track of time, or something, as the screens crackled to life with what would have been pressumed as the announcement commencing the daily festivities. Soon, they would be engaged in combat with a machine designed specifically for killing. Faith had previously fought them before, of course, during one of her games first Nights. The Sisters there didn’t mess around, but they came out unscaved. Not for long, of course, but she held they victory with pride and high regard.

Except as Faith skipped past the Waiting Room, just past the stairs where Noel had said the past case’s killer, Shaun, was found by, she abruptly stopped. Beside her, the large monitor over the series of consecutive, uncomfortable looking hospital chairs crackled to life. Ordinarily she would have ignored it, since it was merely to be the announcement for the Night of Carnage. But as she watched, it was something entirely different: an elevator. From somewhere else than the screen she heard the sounds of machines moving, presumably of something in the Patients Quarters, or thereabouts, and her memory clicked.

Where ever the other Sisters had just come in, it was on the first floors Patient Quarter.
”Hey Isaiaaaaaaaaaah~ You may wanna hurry up just tad - there are kinda more murderous robots on their way to make us into meat kebabs, and they don’t look interested in helping out little Miss Nariko protect her prized Violinist~!” Before quickly skipping off towards the Crematodiumm ready and waiting to begin their battle.

They walked in silence and honestly Ice was fine with that. His brooding might have gotten even worse with Faith's chatter. As they passed by the Waiting Room, Ice's eyes met the stairs and suddenly 'shaun' was at the bottom, unresponsive and helpless. Krista was running forward and Mercy was checking for a pulse. Shaking his head, Ice looked again and found no trace of them, not even the blood from 'Shaun's' head. The fact that Ice had ever believed the boy had been gentle and kind unnerved the Blood Donor to the core. He had seen deceit, he knew what it was like, yet how hadn't he seen through Erin's simple facade?

While Ice had zoned out, he missed the beginning of whatever was on the monitor and mentally cursed himself. As he watched, his gut clenched in on itself. While the idea of the new carnage sisters coming in on one side and Alexandria coming at them from the other horrified him, Monika was what really put him on edge. Her giggle made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end and his brain kept telling him to follow his flight response. While the instinct wasn't used very often, misuse had sent it into overdrive. "You watch the crematorium, I'll watch the exits." He turned to face the patient's quarters, his hand clenched around his weapon as he moved backwards.

In response to Ice's request, Faith turned to watch the Crematorium door as they began their slow and careful approach. There was no use in rushing the fight, as much as she didn't want to waste time, but there were too many risks to take into account to dive straight in. Ice has fought this Sister before, or so Noel had said, but Faith herself had no experience against Alexandria. How she moved, her attack patterns, even her choice of weapon was out of her scope of knowledge. It wasn't going to be easy, distracting her, but that didn't matter!

She shouted in her head, hearing the resounding vote of self confidence echo against her brain, but quickly silenced by the creaking of metal ahead of her. Watching the doors inch open, wasting precious seconds, only to see their foe barrel from its depths full force.

”Ohz nohz, so uncool!” Alexandria's voice was far more nervous than normal. She stopped several feet away from the duo. ”If I don't get to calvie poo, his cutie patootie will be toast!” She lifted her spear over her head. ”Back you! I've got a boyfriend to save!”

"Ah... that's a horse." Faith whispered to herself, flipping the dagger so it pointed towards her adversary, "I didn't account for that. Oh well~! Come one Isaiah, we've got a horsey to put down~!" she shouted, elbowing him in the back on the off chance he hadn't heard her approach.

Ice moved so that his sides were facing both directions while his head was looking towards the crematorium per the noise of Alexandria's horse. "What I'd give to have a motor right now..." He cursed and threw out his chain to grab hold of one of the waiting room chairs. There were two objectives with this, one, to trip the horse, or two, to put the chair into it's bloodthirsty path. Faith's elbow had stung a bit, but he kept his mouth shut, all his attention on the carnage sister.

”Calvie poo doesn't want me to boop anyone, are you really going to fight me anyway?” Alexandria only waited so long before speaking up again. ”Suit yourself, but I warned you.” Instead of charging directly towards them, her horse broke into a full gallop straight through the ER room. It appeared that she was going to try and circle around them.



"Calvie Poo?" Faith turned back to Ice as Alexandria ran off through the ER, "She doesn't happen to mean Calvin, does she? So it's true, she really does has an attachment to him - how interesting~!" instead of looking around for where the Sister had gone, she turned and opened the door to the Neurology Room as she spoke, "Hey Isaiah~? Can you protect the stairwell~? - that's gonna be the way she gets to Nariko, soooo, you should keep that cornered off just in case she makes a break for it~" and with that, she disappeared inside.

The purgatory was she going?! Ice ran toward the chair he had hooked and hurried to unwrap it before moving towards the stairs. As he reached the far side of the Waiting Room, he hooked his chain to the last chair and moved to make a line to block the robot, his body in an anxious cold sweat. "Why would blasted mongrels would Calvin be in any danger Alexandria?" He called, trying to act like he was going to reason with her, though he didn't think that would do much.

When Alexandria emerged from the other side of the ER room, she had an arm full of IV polls plus her spear. ”I know you saw the TV.” As she ran along the south wall, she pulled one of the IV polls out of the bundle and held it over her head. Of course, Ice couldn't see this until she came into his line of sight, between the physiology ward and the office cubicles. But by this point, she had launched one of the IV polls at him. It wasn't the most aerodynamic projectile, but those sisters had fairly strong arms.”He wasn't in his room, so he could get booped! ” Alexandria continued to ride around the east wall. If faith was right that Alexandria wanted to join forces with Nariko, the stair well was the most obvious place to guard. But if Alexandria was really intent on seeing Calvin, there was a chance she would use the ramp leading into the resort, as it was the same distance from the dining room on the second floor.

Something was fast approaching Ice and his brain couldn't even process what it was. His flight instinct moved him as quickly as possible, lowering the chain and falling onto his back. The ground vibrated beneath him as the IV pole made impact and Ice swore, "Holy- Pieces of the wall broke into a small cloud and Ice quickly shut his eyes, sputtering as a piece got into his mouth. Ice got up after his initial shock and wiped at his face before peering towards where the projectile had come from. She had moved clear in the opposite direction. Buttocks! Ice should have made sure Calvin had just taken Allie back to his room! "Faith!"

Faith dove out of the Neurology room, clutching some object or another, banking a right towards the Waiting Room at the sound of the IV Pole tearing into the wall. If her idea had gone correctly, Alexandria would have made her way to the Hospital Facility stairs and attempted to make her way to Nariko. Of course she just had to have other ideas. It wasn't the first time she had seen a Carnage Sister infatuated with a patient, but it was all she could do not to lament that her chosen foe was one such irregularity.

"I'm on it - just cover the Resort entrance~!" but that didn't matter, not in the long run. She ducked back around the corner, past the door of the Neurology Room and into the main corridor of the area, with full view of the entrance to the Patients Quarters. Faith didn't know where Calvin would be, but there was really only one option left to them; keep the target in the room. Her right hand tightened around the glass vial she held, seemingly ready to throw it.
"The Nine Suns rotate like the hands on a clock, ticking away in perfect symphony at the whim of the Gods. Shadows illuminate the hearts of men, and in the name of Lux we burn them away~!" her left hand flicked at a lighter, before bringing it to the top of the bottle - the neck stuffed full with a torn piece of bed-sheet. The fibres lit up immediately, igniting in her hand before being lobbed down the corridor, slightly inaccurately, but in the direction of the Patients Quarter entrance. The smash of the glass echoed around the Hospital Facility, spilling the flammable liquid inside across the hallway and setting it ablaze.

The Molotov cocktail went off quickly, leaving flames that were nearly as tall as a child. ”Not the suit! I'm going on a date!” The flames seemed to deter the carnage sister from going into the patients quarters, as she rode right on by. But this didn't cut off Alexandria from the resort ramp, which she was fast approaching. This would likely be Faith and Ice's last chance to stop the carnage sister. Alexandria was ready for the waiting mobster. She raked her spear against the walls of the reception desk (Post). As soon as she came of the wall, she would strike Ice.

But instead, she struck a flying metal chair.

Ice's arms were sore from trying to throw such a heavy object, but there wasn't any time for whining. Ice hurried to move out of the way of the chair as it bounced back towards him. He had whiplashed the chain so that it dislodged itself and now he was slipping under the horse's legs, his chain wrapping around it's front-left leg and Ice started to pull after coming out behind it, hoping to trip the mechanical atrocity. But then Ice had to deal with almost barreling into the fire. Quickly he dove behind the reception desk (Post)'s south wall. The trip would be slightly less effective, but it kept him from melting blazing up into ash.

It was a troublesome scene to be sure. A tug of war match between a full metal horse and a malnourished mobster. Fortunately for ice, the horse's legs weren't especially heavy, and it was relatively easy to overcome the hydraulic cylinders in the horse's legs. It's front-left leg was pulled back, and its head started to dive. The room was filled with the ear splitting sound of metal grading away on concrete. The horse's jaw “bones” were sparking and kicking up dust. But now Ice was playing tug of war with the entire horse, and his hand was tightly entwined with the chain. He could not let go, and he was pulled out from behind his cover. Ice's feet left the floor as his entire body was thrown into the east most wall. Fortunately the horse had enough folward momentum that Ice wasn't hurled down the still burning corridor. But Ice wasn't alone in his flight. Alexandria was also thrown in front of her mount. She was able to make a graceful roll by holding the IV polls lengthwise with the floor. Alexandria sprung to her feet without letting any of her weapons touch the floor. ”You meanies, that's animal cruelty!” She blurted before running up the resort ramp. By this point, the horse was able to lumber to its feet. It turned sideways as to block the path towards Alexandria, and looked at where Ice laid on the ground. It made a mechanical gurgling noise as it's eyes lit up crimson red.

Ice didn't even have time to brace himself for the impact and the wind was knocked out of him. His eyesight was momentarily blurry as his brain cried for oxygen. Finally he looked up and saw the horse staring him down, making sounds that weren't the most inviting. Alexandria had gone after Calvin and escaped to the Blood Donor's dismay. He gave an angry curse as he started to get up, his ribs aching and probably bruised.

Faith ducked past the back corner of the Post room and into the hallway by the second floor stairs and bathrooms. The horse toppled before her, with the background sound of Ice colliding with something solid, almost overpowered with the violent sounds from the Carnage Horse. The things body went down like a ton of bricks, flinging their target from its back. It wasn't a perfect situation, but it was workable. She pocketed the lighter, and drew the dagger from her back pocket.

But before she could do anything further the Sister bolted. Faith's smile dimmed slightly, realizing their position; they would either have to split up, or risk the Sister fleeing to Nariko's side after finding Calvin. Neither were optimal, but...
"Isaiah~!" she shouted from around the room, "Lure it forward and bring it to its knees so I can cut its head off, 'kay~?"

His eyes rang for a few more moments, distorting Faith's irritating sing song voice. She wanted him to get closer to the thing?! Ice finally got all the way up, his injured left hand against his stomach while he tried to wriggle his hand out of the chain. It didn't seem to work well, so instead, Ice ran back towards the west hallway, the chain gripped tightly in his hand to trip the horse yet again.

Because the horse wasn't charging, it was much more difficult to try and trip up the horse while it was standing still. Ice was able to pick up it's leg, but it simply shifted it's wight to it's rear legs to remain standing. The horse wasn't able to move very quickly like this however, and simply limped after the infinite blood donor.

"What a pitiful creature..." Faith spoke aloud to herself, slowly approaching the beast from behind as it limped down the hallway towards Ice, "To think Davis would be so cruel as to bind a soul to something like you... To desecrate the dead is one thing - that Necromancer knows that - but to demean them is another." she gripped the hilt of her dagger tight, the blade pointed down the hallway towards Ice, matched its pace to walk beside it, as quietly as she could, "I bid you find rest, poor soul, free from the torment of a mechanical body such as this." and with her last words, she gently placed her hand against the back of the robots body and forced the blade to the side with as much force as she could muster, intent on finding the softer parts of its neck to penetrate, and slice around across its throat.
In cutting the horse across the neck, she severed every wire running to the horse's primary computer. The robotic horse's eyes faded into black orbs. Faith felt the heat of the creatures internal circuits spark against her bare flesh as she dragged the blade through its neck, watching its body go limp under her attack until it slumped to the ground in defeat.
"May you find rest peacefully, 'O Nameless Spirit." she said, trying her best to lay the robots dying body down gently against the ground as though it were a real, living creature she had just executed, "Well then~! That was fun, huh Isaiah~? All that adrenaline, maaaaaaaaaan I cant tell you how long its been since I had a fight that good~!" she ripped the blade from the creatures neck, wiped it down against her sleeve, and flipped it with the blade facing down to slide it into her back pocket, "But oh man did you get roughed up, huh? I'd heal you if my magic wasn't weakened, but you know how it goes~" before she spun around and started walking towards the Resort, "But come now! We have to find Alexandria and put a stop to her evil schemes~!" she giggled, barely even giving Ice a chance to respond.

Ice leaned against the wall for a second before moving towards the dead machine. He spit angrily at it before bending down and attempting to dislodge the chain from around its leg. The weight of the horse's right leg was pressed over it and Ice strained himself trying to get the chain out from between them. Once he finally did, he felt around his tried and beaten body. It wasn't going to kill him, so he got up and headed for the resort, knowing Calvin would be in deep trouble otherwise, "...I hope you burn in purgatory."

Meanwhile, Denis's head popped up from behind the reception desk. Just enough to watch the two follow after Alexandria. He was glad Bliss and he took the extra time to run the strings along the ceiling like a real spy would instead of just laying them across the ground. He didn't look around long though. Denis could hear the sound of a chainsaw revving, and quickly ducked behind the counter again.


~ Desperate Measures ~


The emptiness of the battlefield hit Joshua like a train. In all directions smoke billowed into the sky, pillars of destruction in a foreign land. He had barely been given time to breath, though the acrid air intoxicated with blood, decomposing bodies and burning wood made him wish he couldn't. Feeling another person's blood gushing from an open wound and across his flesh made him recoil, if only for a second, but he kept steady, doing his best to stabilise the man.

"Don't talk, save your stre...ngth..? he trailed off, watching the soldiers head lull against his armoured chest in a coughing fit before the last of his breathe leaked from his lips. Joshua grabbed his head, lifting up the limp body as best as possible, "C'mon, hey, wake up, don't go falling asleep!" he shouted, only to find himself confronted by the dim, open eyes of the recently deceased.

In the spur of the moment, he felt himself fall backwards against the mud, splashing foul and tainted water against his already stained clothed in a brief fit of panic. Not once, up close, had he watched a person die. Watched the light and life filter slowly from their struggling body, and feel them go still and quiet under his grasp. A thousand thoughts danced a serenade cacophony in his head, spurring him to his feet, spinning around in a circle, taking in the desolate landscape in its unholy glory; what manner of worlds did had he found himself in? What happened to his-

The scared neigh of a nearby horse broke his attention, drawing his head away from the landscape and out of his tumultuous thoughts. The fact that something was still alive, on the fields of war, granted him some semblance of calm. But in his calm he didn't recognise the fear of the creature. He watched it scamper off, over piles of bodies, clearly disturbed by something.

And the drumming. Joshua's body turned in the direction, glancing across the field. There was drumming coming from somewhere, off in the distance. A steady, repeating drumming, growing ever closer with every second that passed, thundering across the crimson soil, faster, and faster. A second past, beating, faster, faster, echoing the rhythms of his heart, faster, exploding, ripping up mud and soil and building faster and faster over the field.

A horse, decorated ornately in fine robes flowing in every direction from the wind. Beating its hooves against the earth directly towards him, the antithesis of its relative that had mere moments ago fled the scene. But in the next second, seeing the creature leap over a severed tree trunk and a mound of fresh corpses, Joshua saw the true face of the enemy; a soldier, a man, pulling tightly the taut string of a bow.

And instinct took over, forcing him to his feet. Things wouldn't be like with his father, never again; he wouldn't stand and take a beating when he could get away. Whatever world he had landed in, wherever he was, whatever foul event had taken place, his only priority was to survive. For Emily. He grabbed from beside him a blood and mud speckled sword, feeling its weight in his hand, before leaping over the dead horse in front of him.

"I'm so sorry." Joshua whispered, grabbed the robes of the recently deceased man by the neck and hoisting him in front of his as a make shift shield to protect against the arrow that would soon be loosed in his direction, "What the hell are you doing?! I'm not here to fight you!" he heard himself shout over the thundering hoof falls before him, barely able to see over the corpse in his hand.


~ Animation ~


Plastic carrier bag clutched in one hand, he made his way up each slate step in the evening chill, and along a path or decorated stone towards a large, relatively worn but seen discernibly modern building, just off the outskirts of the city. They liked to keep the place out of the way, either to keep the patients from hearing the sound of traffic constantly, or to keep the crazy away from society. In either way, it was a pleasant walk up from the car park, just far enough of a distance to let him into a calm mood, on the off chance the visitation didn't go as planned.

She had already been locked up within the Harrison Private Psychiatric Hospital for four years now without signs of recovery. Some days she seemed to be a tad better, but any disparity in her condition reverted within the next couple days. For a few years Joshua had blamed himself; maybe if he was a better older brother, maybe if he had stood up to their father, or just been there more through their foster years, she wouldn't be in the state she was.

He couldn't let himself think like that, though. Couldn't harbour those kinds of beliefs and emotions. All they would do was hurt Emily. What if one day he could't visit her, or something else happened, while he was in his own self hatred? She could have another episode. If she was taken to a state hospital, who knew what they would do to her? It was a scenario Joshua simply wasn't willing to entertain.

But every step he took seemed to sound more hollow. As though the earth beneath each slated section of path had fallen away, deleted from under his feet. The world seemed to spin, the trees in all directions molding and warping in a psychedelic kaleidoscope of greens, and blues, and the oranges of the setting sun against a backdrop of grey clouds and white light from the city. It rained and snowed and thundered and the sun shone and detonated in a million sparkling stars shifting like a wave of diamonds that rained down on the planet and obliterated everything in their path to make way for a new reality.

His stomach lurched as he sat up, from those slated pieces of path surrounded on all sides by grass and trees, and the giant, wavering, illusory old but modern building. His clothes were soaked through from the rain, and the smell of pine and oak trees tickled at the back of his nostrils in protest to his location. The sky sat overcast, glaring at its newly procured victim with sneering beads of sunlight.

Yet the closer he looked, the more he let his eyes focus on the dim-lit sky and the rich, deep green trees, something clogged his view, blocking the passage of reality to his brain. No trees existed here. No overarching building of wood and glass, old yet new. No ornate path to the psychiatric hospital he had visited for the past four years. No grass. No glinting sunlight through dark thunderclouds.

Smoke and ash and blood and decay lingered in the air round his every molecule, filtering past his eyes and nostrils, the facade of a real world blemished with torment. This place wasn't real. He had just fallen unconscious, maybe slipped in a puddle on his way up the stairs. The life essence of human beings clung tightly in fabric to his skin, tarnishing his skin incarnadine. Turquoise eyes pierced the fog of war like a lighthouse beacon, radiating through the deaths of hundreds, and the burning of the churned and demolished land to see what he wanted.

For Joshua wanted nothing more than to see anything else. Bodies littering a wasteland of darkness, eclipsed in smoke from fires long since extinguished by time. The dull ring in his ears, taking in his surroundings from an upright position, letting feeling return to his legs and arms and brain to make sense of everything. Where, on Earth, had he ended up? Feeling the panic crawl its way into his throat with ragged breathing, caught on his windpipe, forcing out a cough from asphyxiation.

And a scream. A scream that drew his head instantly, despite the migraine that implanted itself deep into his brain. Even in an addled and vacant state of mind, Joshua had a duty; he couldn't let a person in pain or trouble to their own devices, especially not on the field of battle. The though had barely crossed his mind before he reached his feet and sprinted in the direction of the man.

Wounded, barley conscious, with his arm severed at the shoulder, collapsed against the bloodied corpse of a horse; the stench of decay clawing at his nostrils, forcing him to swallow down gag reflex time and time again. Just like that time.
"H-hey, hey, its okay." his voice shook as he spoke, still recovering from the dehydration in his mouth intermixed with the metallic tinge of blood, "Help! he felt himself shout, against his misgivings, "Th-there's a wounded here!" he took the cloth from the man and pressed it tight to the wound, attempting to stop the bleeding; he had basic medical training, but not for this. Not a severed limb or a... a sword wound.

Taking another glance around the field, everything seemed to slow. Corpse after corpse piled high against mud and dirt, peppered with smouldering fires trickling smoke high into the miasma of the sky. Horses lay strewed periodically, punctured with arrows and swords, much the same as the ones every soldier seemed to carry. Their weapons, their outfits... Where? Where the hell was he?
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