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    Luciano leaned against the wall in the very back. He had nothing to say, really and was primarily focused on processing what just happened. "Experience points, what in the hell..." He muttered to himself before making his way to the front door. When he was about to pass by Blackrose, he stopped and addressed her.

    "You must be the infamous Blackrose, correct? I've seen your face a few months back when i offed a couple of your guys." He asked casually. "I've heard that you were a bit deranged in the head from a few of my guys. I guess they weren't that far off from the truth. My name is Luciano. It's a pleasure." He introduced himself to her, and the group before walking off.

    "I'll be taking care of some business in the meantime. I'll be back within an hour or so." He said before departing.


      Song of the Moment
      On That Day, Five Years Ago...
      By Nobuo Uematsu

      [Plot Progression]

      Xu-Shen and Ju-Long had quietly left during the drunken rambling from Blackrose. Quietly enough that nobody had noticed them sneaking out of the room. They had initially taken to the front desk and made a payment for lodging for the entire group for a night. It was the least they could do for their help in the city against the adult cerberus. Afterwards they made their way to the second floor of the inn and out onto a balcony that overlooked the vast plains it was sitting on. A bat sat perched on the railing, a note tied to his leg. Ju-Long took the note off the bat and read it as Xu-Shen looked out over the railing. From there they could see several of the resources the grandiose establishment offered. There were shops of all varieties and even a rather large bar. Also on the property, albeit a few thousand feet from the other buildings, was a fully equipped chocobo ranch, which Xu-Shen took note of immediately as was immensely delighted.

      "Chocobos will make our Journey much more exciting and quick, eh Ju?" The swordsman didn't give any indication of acknowledgment of the question. He was often not very jovial, but the events in Peurto de Oro had especially weighed on his mind. Instead he skipped to the point directly. "The message gives conflicting reports. Seems our friend has been spotted in both the north and the east." Xu-Shen merely shrugged at the thought. "That's no problem, I'll go east and you go north. Yeah? A chocobo would be suited to the desert, I think." He gave a wry smile as he spoke, never the one to take anything too seriously. "What about our new companions? We should tell them what we know. They could be of help." Xu-Shen gave another shrug. "I'm just following your orders, Ju. If that's what you want then it's what we'll do." He turned from the balcony and started towards the door, stopping in front of it. "I'll ask the inn manager to put in an early wake-up call to everyone. Ask them to meet us in the dining hall in the morning. We'll tell them everything then and see what they want to do."

      With that he disappeared back into the inn, leaving Ju-Long on the balcony.


        Gregory was never one to sleep, but after his meditation it was best to rest so to recieve the full benefits of training. He stood up on the ground and snapped his fingers. In that moment his staff glowed purple and formed itself around his wrist as a small gold bracelet.

        It's been a long day for just an ordimary mage. He had hoped to become wizard in a couple months after the festival, surely he would've made it based off his skill. However this entire situation has Gregory wondering if he's even strong enough to become one. He walked into his sleeping quarters and closed the door behind him. Shortly afterwards he read a fantastic book on the development of magic before falling asleep.

        [Gregory Marsh]


          As the roguish young woman rambled on in a drunken stupor about "experience farming", the black mage, Gregory, left the room in a small fit and the masked man attempted to have a conversation with her. As the masked man mentioned something about "offing her guys", Jack drew the conclusion that the man was likely an assassin and wondered if they had shared his temporary employer and was the "other man" the contractor had mentioned.

          Not counting Ju Long and Xu Shen, Jack noted that he now only knew three of the others' names, four if you counted the pirate saying he was "Hellfish". Jack didn't know whether to believe that or not; the infamous Captain Hellfish was known all over the world as the pirate who took down no less than twelve royal shipments. Then again, after watching him crawl out of that huge beast's belly, maybe he was the famous pirate captain. "Hellfish" and the dragoon, Cirrus, departed for the nearby weapon shop and the two Eastern warriors left the room as well. Jack turned his attention to the archer, Alistair.

          "So, you are one of the forest's Rangers, I take it? I've never actually worked with your faction before since you all seem to work alone."
          Jack winced as his arm began to seize up again from the still lingering Necromancy spell.
          "Is there any chance you could brew me another inhibiting potion? I need to make it to a temple or sacred ground to get some Holy Water to purge the dark magic from my system and I'm not sure when the next time we'll pass anything like that will be. I can't pay you properly, my Gil and supplies were left back in Puer..." Jack cleared his throat "...back there. However,-"
          Pausing, Jack removed a small section from his boot heel and took out an uncut gemstone.
          "-I can give you this for your trouble."
          Last edited by Tyler_D; August 5th, 2015, 06:28 AM. Reason: BTW, your picture was very nice, Catnip. We will all put it up on our internet refrigerators, I'm sure.


            "Hmmh.." Blackrose mumbled as she watched Luciano walk off. She took another belt. Anyone could see she was perfectly fine, she thought, and wasn't sure why people were suddenly giving her grievance. Oh well. It wasn't anything new in the life of an underground badass crime baroness. She practically had all of the irons in the fire already. All of them. She kept it in mind to talk to the masked man later and see if they could get something resembling more of an actual conversation. She remembered again the battle with that colossal dog beast. Why were there singing zombies, anyway? That was so weird. Zombies don't sing. Especially in Latin, what the fuck? "Hey, I never even asked, why is there a wizard anyway? Where did he even come from?" This was the most serious and thought provoking question she could think of. "And why do zombies know Latin?"


              Alistair declined Jack's payment politely, shaking his head at the marksman. "I've never been one for material gain, friend. But somehow, when you've witnessed hell itself, making a bit of gil on the side seems hardly relevant." He removed his pouch and sat it on the table, unsure if he had anything of use. "My apologies... Jack, was it? I'm usually more prepared for this, but given that I wasn't expecting to need my normal surplus of herbs and that I intended to buy a fair amount of exotic ingredients, I actually packed rather lightly." He pulled out a handful of the orange berries he used before, some mint leaves, and a strange blue powder and sat them beside Jack's glass of water. "These extra herbs will supplement the basic remedy components of the berries. But it still won't be a full cure." He crushed the mint leaves up into the glass and poured some of the powder in with it, the used a fork to smash the berries into a paste and dropped it into the cup as well, mixing it the best he could without his tools. "I also neglected to bring my mortar and pestle, so you'll have to excuse how poorly mixed it is. But this should help some, at least."

              He handed the glass to Jack just as Blackrose began rambling more. First about the mage and then something about zombies knowing latin. "Ma'am, I do believe you're a bit too inebriated, you're speaking nonsense. The undead do not speak, much less speak latin. Please do drink plenty of water and rest fully tonight. I fear we all will have a tough day tomorrow." He gave her a curt smile before turning his attention back to Jack. "It seems quite a few have left the room. Might I suggest we head to a shop as well? I believe I saw several when we were coming in, there might be some potions in one. And a establishment this extravagant may have holy water for your affliction."


                "Plenty and more!" Hellfish answers, as cirrus asks how much gil hes carrying. The Dragoon sours somewhat when he mentions the reason why is because he looted Puerto de Oro as they fled the City (didn't everybody?). Apparently this is frowned upon...knight's honor, or some such nonsense. Speaking of knight's honor, Hellfish hates the armor cirrus just picked and he lets him know it. Oh its fine armor to be sure...for a paladin. The design reeks of chivalry and piousness and fealty and everything else that is against the swashbuckling way of life. But Cirrus is as sharp as his lance. He may not know the pirate's style, but he knows how to explain what makes good armor good and what to look for in a quality set. By his word Hellfish finds something worth buying. It isn't the showiest thing in the store...but for reddish tint and the horns on the helm its actually quite plain. But its well-made, reasonably priced, and comfortable for a man of his size. Hellfish returns to the inn wearing... (To be Revealed)


                  Hellfish finally decided on an acceptable suit of armor just as the owner of the store came out from the back.

                  "Sorry, my friends, I was working on my next masterpiece. What can I do for you?"

                  "The suit of armor for my friend, and I'd like for you to do repairs on mine." Cirrus said.

                  "Cirrus! As I live and breathe!" Mr. Vaiken commented.

                  Hellfish paid for his armor and left the two old friends to catch up. Vaiken found out about Puerto De Oro's sad fate, and that the survivor count was in the low double digits. A customer walked in, holding a dented helmet, and was pushed out of the store immediately. After forty-five minutes, Cirrus left his armor in the care of the good blacksmith and headed back to the hotel room with bloodshot eyes.
                  Originally posted by Wade
                  Everything is hidden in plain sight, like in Men in Black. We've all just been neuralized to think it is "normal".



                    [Rest and Reflection]

                    Grigor sat at the table, a weary look in his eyes. It wasn't often one got to live through what could be called the end of the world. Yet here he and a small group of survivors sat eating and conversing amongst themselves, after it was explained what happened at the Port City not too long ago. Usually one to talk to no end, just ask Fenrir, the Beastmaster was unusually quite tonight and didn't even have all that much of an appetite. All he did was stare blankly into the plate of food that lay before him as his wolf companion lay at his feet, panting from the long journey here. The events that he remembered played through his head as while he thought in silent reflection, how could this have happened was the question that hung in his mind, though no one here could likeily explain the machinations of a mad mage. From the corner of his eyes he sees the Hellfish get up to leave, presumably to acquire armor and his mind lightly travels back to when the brute of a man tore himself from the belly of the beast.

                    Sheer testament to the Captain's power and tenacity and also one of the biggest reasons that the group was still alive. While at the same time the biggest contributor to Alistair and his depleted reserves of herbs and plants. From his side his pouch hung almost empty of the things he carried, hell what little he and the Ranger had would have been useless if the pair wasn't able to loot one of the few herb shops that weren't completely destroyed. Even at that rate, with borrowed goods the salve the Ranger and he concocted barely covered all the burns the large man had incurred whilst swimming in stomach acid and bile.

                    Grigor wasn't sure how long he sat there, just staring into the void of his now cold plate, he just realized it was long enough for several people to be missing as well as the two robed men. Cutting his gaze from the table to who was left there he licks his dry lips before standing. "My name is Grigor Starag, Beastmaster by tradition. Hunter, trainer and trader by profession. Thank you for your aid back in hell." Grigor offers before turning from the small group. He never was one for staying in doors as he made his way for the nearest exits with Fenrir in toe.

                    -Bit Later-

                    Under one of the trees in the Inn's Courtyard Grigor lay, a pipe clenched between his teeth. A small white rolling smoke billowed from the opening. The pipe wasn't much to look at, as Grigor carved it himself. It, however, got the job done. "Only blanket we need is the stars, right Fenrir?" Grigor asks petting the wolf's head as it lay across his stomach.


                      {Dining Hall
                      Posada de Oro (Southeast of Puerto de Oro), Acerrae Vatriae

                      [Just after entering.]}

                      As Xu related the events for Kanero’s benefit, Ravaayth subtly examined the inn, finding that it did indeed live up to its reputation as a safe and comfortable haven. She had always stopped at Pirn when returning to Puerto de Oro on land, and had foregone staying at the fabled inn in the past due to a desire for speed. Having appraised the lodge, she glanced around the table, silently thanking the unlikely diverse group for their efforts. Lost in these thoughts, she quickly turned to Ju as he spoke up and mentioned that he possessed skill in sensing lifeforce. She wondered if he would be willing to have a conversation about the phenomenon, but decided against approaching him during a time best suited for recuperation and relaxation.

                      After Kanero left, the Marksman -- Jack -- addressed the party. Ravaayth waved to him, smiled to herself as Gregory particularized the fact he didn’t study forbidden magic, and nodded to Cirrus after his introduction, recognizing him as the Dragoon she had come across before the catastrophic fate that had befallen the great city. After the Ranger and Berserker had introduced themselves, Ravaayth decided to do the same. “I’m sure our wonderful host can direct you to the armory, Hellfish.” She paused briefly, once again looking at everyone as they directed their attention towards her. “It’s a pleasure to meet all of you. I am Ravaayth, a novice White Mage from Puerto de Oro, though I have traveled widely across Acerrae Vatriae and beyond as part of my work.” She took a sip of water; her food and wine remained untouched. “Thank you all for what you’ve done; we would have surely perished had it not been for your courage and power. And you especially, as Alistair said.” This last part was directed towards the Captain, emphasized with a grin.

                      {Dining Hall
                      Posada de Oro (Southeast of Puerto de Oro), Acerrae Vatriae

                      [Just after Blackrose’s controversial and nonsensical suggestion.]}

                      Ravaayth had been rather confused by the proposal the infamous Rogue and criminal, Blackrose, who was currently indubitably drunk, had offered. She had shaken her head as Gregory left in displeasure and Blackrose gestured impolitely in response, hoping that neither of them were prone to feeling sensitivity to grievances. As Cirrus and Hellfish took their leave, she stood up, noting that Xu-Shen and Ju-Long were nowhere to be seen. At this time, the hooded figure in the back, evidently an Assassin, stepped in front of the Rogue and divulged his name to the group. Ravaayth politely nodded a greeting before quietly exiting the Inn of Gold through a back door.
                      Last edited by P408370R; August 7th, 2015, 01:43 PM. Reason: Fixed annoying spacing error, and changed some awkward wording. Sorry about that. ;}


                        "Might I suggest we head to a shop as well? I believe I saw several when we were coming in, there might be some potions in one. And a establishment this extravagant may have holy water for your affliction." Alistair said in his almost overly formal way. Jack found it mildly surprising that a forest-dwelling archer would have such a regal manner of speech. Putting these thoughts aside, Jack responded.
                        "I wouldn't mind trading this stone for some Gil at a shop and seeing what we can find. Let's go."

                        And so, Jack and Alistair headed for the nearby potions store and were met at the counter by a tall, lanky old woman with pale skin and a grey hair bun. She wore a stern expression on her face as she studied the men from behind her small, square spectacles.

                        "May I help you?" She asked disinterestedly.
                        "Do you sell any Holy Water here?" Jack asked.
                        "Holy Water?!" She responded as if Jack had asked for poison. "I don't sell that sort of fairytale hogwash here. This is an apothecary, a place of intelligence and reason, not religious nonsense" She turned her nose up as she gave a small scoff.
                        "Nonsense? This is a shop that sell magic potions! How is that nonsense?" Jack was legitimately caught off-guard.
                        "Magic, young man, is science. It is a rational study of pre-existing elemental forces and energies and their ability to be manipulated to created a calculated outcome. It has nothing to do with deities or philosophical rhetoric." Another upturned scoff.
                        "There is literally a potion right there which cures people of being a frog. A frog! And I just witnessed several corpses be brought back to life as shambling ghouls! You're telling me that you don't think there are any higher forces at work?" Jack asked sharply.
                        "Transfiguration is a perfectly legitimate form of magic and resurrection of that nature is simply impossible! Now, are you going to argue with me all evening or is there something else you need?" She was beginning to lose her composure as Jack pulled out the raw gemstone from his pocket.
                        "How much will you give me for this?" He asked with a sigh.
                        "This is not a jewelry store. If you want that appraised, you will have to go elsewhere."

                        Feeling somewhat defeated and irritated, Jack barely managed a curt "good evening" as he walked out of the shop, Alistair following closely behind.
                        "Well,-" Jack asked the Ranger. "-any other suggestions?"


                          "Well, any other suggestions?"

                          Alistair merely stood with his hand on his chin, stroking his goatee methodically for a few seconds. "When we entered this area, I spotted stained glass windows which I believe is likely to be a sanctuary. We could take a look there." Jack nodded and followed as Alistair made his way down the road and around a corner. A few hundred yards down the way was a large building with a golden dome that glimmered faintly under the starlight. The ranger was correct in his assumption, the symbols on the building surely denoted that the structure was a fairly large sanctuary. But something was odd about it. The street lamps close to the building were unlit and the closer the two approached, the colder the air seemed to get. Alistair eventually gave way to a slight shiver as they walked the steps to the door, as if his body was reacting to the uneasy atmosphere that the two men hadn't noticed. As they reached the door, Jack reached for the handle to open it, but it wouldn't budge. "Locked?" Alistair questioned the marksman. "Yeah, they could be closed for the night?" Jack replied, knowing full well that it probably wasn't true. It's well known that sanctuaries are always open, even if there's no one in attendance. The clerks usually allow the homeless to sleep inside the building at night so they have a roof over their heads and are safe from monsters.

                          "Somehow I doubt it. However, your situation isn't too good. I'll find a way in and unlock the door. We'll be sure to lock it back on our way out." Before Jack could protest to breaking into a church, Alistair had disappeared around the side of the building, much too quick for the marksman to even consider keeping up with in his condition. The side view of the structure showed that the massive size was simply an illusion. It was much wider in the front than it was long. Probably not more than two or three rooms in addition to the sanctuary itself, which was a good thing for Alistair, since the smaller building meant they didn't need to completely clear the area of trees. On the second floor was an open balcony, the perfect way inside. With little effort he scaled a tree roughly adjacent to the balcony, he stepped out onto a sturdy looking branch and swiftly leaped to the balcony, catching the railing then pulling himself up. Inside, he expected to be on a second floor, but the balcony merely lead to a walkway that went around the sanctuary. Likely to make changing the oil in the rustic style chandeliers easier. Though that didn't seem to be an issue currently, as it was pitch black inside. If it were not for Alistair's experience in maneuvering in the dark, he wouldn't even be able to see where he was going.

                          He dropped down to the ground level and made his way to the large doors at the entrance and pushed up the broad board that locked them shut, he gently pushed one door open, which moved with a loud creak. "It's dark inside, I hope you've got something to light the area some." He greeted Jack again with a smile as a cold blast of air rushed out from behind him and with it the rattling of bones and the stench of death.


                            "It's dark inside, I hope you've got something to light the area some." Alistair mused before a blast of cold air forced the two men to brace themselves to avoid falling over. The sound of rattling bones filled the air as a dark purple haze filled the room. In the center of the room, a pile of human bones and armor pieces assembled themselves together. Before them stood a living skeleton armed with a large scimitar and huge round shield and wearing an old iron helmet. Torches in the chandelier and lamps on the wall lit up with a blue flame that matched the glow emanating from the skeleton's eye sockets. It growled low and spoke in the old Latinium Imperial language, common known as Latin.
                            "Stultos mortales! Neque ambulavi maledictam terram."

                            Without another word, the skeleton charged forward towards Jack, receiving a bullet in its cheekbone for it's efforts. The force of the shot made the skeleton recoil some, but did nothing more than superficial damage and its swung the large shield into Jack's direction. Trying to dodge the attack, Jack felt his leg seize from the lingering undead spell, which was now being amplified by the evil magic in the building. He took the full force of the attack, knocking him off his feet. In the same motion, the skeleton raised the shield to block a trio of arrows fired by Alistair and moved in to attack the Ranger. Jack managed to raise his rifle and fire a shot into the ankle bone of the creature and stagger it a bit. He wouldn't be able to do much more as the spell forced him into a small seizure. He needed to get some Holy Water, fast.
                            Last edited by Tyler_D; August 10th, 2015, 02:22 AM.


                              Under normal circumstances, Alistair would have reeled in shock at the sight of animated bones attacking him. But after the events he witnessed in Puerto de Oro, this was comparatively tame. "It's unlike me not to have noticed something like you, skullking about." Alistair commented with a deadpan expression as he ducked under a swing of the monster's scimitar. "However after your rude attack, I've got a few bones to pick with you!" The skeleton warrior almost seemed to groan at his awful puns as it quickly turned again trying to bash the ranger with it's shield. But Alistair was far too nimble, he turned to the side and rotated around it's attack, ending up behind it with his bow already drawn. He managed to launch two arrows into it's vertebrae before it spun around again, swinging it's scimitar at the ranger's head. Again, Alistair ducked, narrowly avoiding the blade and again he had drew his bow, letting him launch two more arrows up into it's eye sockets.The arrows pierced through the top of the skull, getting stuck inside. But it seemed to slow it down very little. The warrior responded with a quick bash with it's shield. This time connecting and knocking Alistair several feet back towards the altar, with the ranger knocked a safe distance away, the skeleton turned back towards the immobile marksman.

                              Alistar hit the wooden altar with a thud, shaking it violently and nearly knocking it over. On top, water sloshed about in a bowl, some of it pouring over the sides and flowing down the front of it and onto Alistair's head. "Wet?" he thought for a moment before realizing what it was. "Holy water!" He stood up quickly and pulled out a small bottle, scooping as much of it up as quickly as he could. With the bottle in hand he charged towards the skeleton, making it to it just as it was about to finish Jack off. He smashed right into it from behind at a slight angle with a shoulder tackle, making it stumble sideways. "Perhaps this will cure what ails you?" He threw the bottle into Jack's hand and drew his bow. "Let's finish this, Marksman."


                                Jack struggled to get the cork out of the small vial as Alistair resumed his game of tag with the skeleton. Bringing the bottle to his lips with trembling hands, Jack said a small prayer of thanks for the bottle and it began to glow, indicating that it had been blessed. He downed the bottle and convulsed violently as the dark magic in his system was purged. Regaining control of his motor function, he attached his bayonet knife to the end of his rifle barrel and charged towards the skeleton trying to kill Alistair.
                                "Manducabitis hoc! Vos sacculum ossa!" He screamed at the skeleton and shot it in the teeth when it turned in response. It recoiled as the front four teeth shattered from the gunshot and Jack took the opportunity to shove the bayonet in the gap and force the creature's head backwards, keeping it pinned back as he screamed over to Alistair.
                                "Now! Shoot an arrow in the neck bone!"
                                In response, Alistair let loose three shots right after the other in-between the vertebrae being separated by the Jack's pushing.
                                "That'll teach you to stop being such a pain in the neck." Alistair joked as the arrows widened the gap to a near breaking point. Vaulting over the skeleton and still holding his rifle, Jack pulled the rifle down over his shoulder as he landed and listened to the snapping sound as the skeleton's head popped off of it's body and flew into the bowl of Holy Water. Falling to his knees in a prayer of gratitude and hoping Alistair was doing the same, Jack watched as the skull screamed and hissed in the glowing water before finally going silent as its glowing eyes became extinguished.
                                Last edited by Tyler_D; August 10th, 2015, 03:46 AM.


                                  The ghostly blue flames that once lit the room died out and were suddenly replaced by the warm flicker of a normal fire, bathing the room with a orange glow. Alistair slung his bow over his shoulder and lowered his head in reverence as Jack fell to his knees. They were lucky they made it through the endeavor without any harm coming to them. And even more lucky there was Holy Water in the sanctuary to cure Jack's affliction. After the two took a moment of silence, Alistair spoke up. "We should check through the building to ensure there aren't any other nasty surprises. It would be bad if someone else got in and met an untimely end." Jack nodded in agreement and the two split up to look around in the other rooms.

                                  Alistair approached an office door and when he did he thought he heard whimpering inside. He gently tapped on the door and called out to whoever was inside. "Is anyone in there? My friend and I came looking for Holy Water-" "RUN WHILE YOU CAN!" A man's voice screamed from within, alarming Alistair slightly. "If you're referring to the skeleton monster in the sanctuary, then we've dispatched it." The ranger replied back, hoping there wasn't something else in the building. Inside, he heard some shuffling before the door cracked open. Inside, a short pudgy man peeked out towards him. "It's gone?" he asked again while opening the door fully, greeted by Alistair's smile.

                                  He lead the clerk back into the sanctuary where Jack was waiting. The clerk thanked them both and told them what had happened. A few days before a body had been found outside of a village to the east near the desert, killed by some kind of black magic. The sanctuary in the village had been damaged in a fire, so they body was brought here instead. Just hours after it arrived, the body was taken by the black magic, it turned to bone, then attacked him. He was lucky to be able to barricade himself in his office. Jack and Alistair thanked the clerk for his explanation and left him to pray.


                                    As they began to leave, Jack took the time to take the skull out of the bowl of water but was surprised when it turned to ash in his hands, leaving only the beaten helmet behind. The body did the same, leaving behind the sword, shield and arrows that it had been shot with. Alistair retrieved the arrows and Jack put the weapons on the table next to the collection bowl, he knew that they could be sold for a few Gil. He set his uncut gemstone in the collection plate, as well. As he looked at the helmet again, he could see faint purple glowing in the cracks in different places on the worn headpiece. He wondered if it was residual dark magic and put it in his satchel. On the way out, he noticed that it was almost midnight. Mulling the events over in his head, he turned to Alistair.

                                    "Listen, I think we should tell those two Eastern warriors about what happened here tonight. They seem to have some ideas about what's really going on here and that was too much dark magic for this to just be a coincidence after what happened in Puerto." Jack stated.
                                    "I wholeheartedly agree." Alistair replied. "However, that is not an issue for tonight. We both need some rest and I have no doubt that this is just the beginning of what's likely to be a long and arduous journey, should we undertake it. We should sleep while we can."

                                    Jack nodded as they walked back towards the now dim lights of the Posada de Oro. Making it back to the banquet hall, they saw two keys lying on the table, indicating respective rooms that had been rented for them. Giving a quick "see you tomorrow", Jack broke off from Alistair and went into his room. It was plushy and opulent with a large four-post bed and several pieces of furniture. Tired and sore from the night's events, Jack stripped down to his undergarments and set the helmet on a table, resolving to show it to the Xu Shen and Ju Long in the morning. He had barely even got under the covers before he was asleep.
                                    Last edited by Tyler_D; August 10th, 2015, 04:47 AM.


                                      Song of the Moment
                                      Lux Aeterna
                                      By Clint Mansell
                                      [Plot Progression]

                                      The night passed by quickly for the group of warriors who survived the chaos from Puerto de Oro. The sleep of most of them was restless and filled with the screams of the dead and of horrors they hadn't even witnessed yet. For some, the morning light and the knock on their room's door was a reprieve from their nightmares. "A mister Xu-Shen requests your presence in the main dining hall this morning." the voice of a young woman accompanied the knocking on each of their doors and didn't cease until the room's guest responded. Through the window, the sun shined brightly. It was a beautiful morning in Accerae Vatriae and just outside the window one could hear the bustling sound of nature, as if nothing were wrong in the world. But they all knew something was very wrong, and with a rested mind and a clear head, it was more apparent than ever before. Each person had time to bathe and clean themselves up before the inn mistress came again. "Mister Xu-Shen and Mister Ju-Long are waiting for you in the dining hall." she said again as she knocked on the room's door of anyone who hadn't already left...

                                      [Shortly After]

                                      The entire group had made it to the dining hall and took a seat at a large, rectangular table. At the head Xu-Shen stood with Ju-Long at his back. "I hope everyone rested well?" he asked with a smile, but giving no time for any sort of response. "Ju and I asked you all here this morning, because we felt that we owed each of you an explanation." He finished his sentence with a sigh, as if he didn't want to say anything at all. "We have not been completely upfront about what we know in regards to the mage who attacked Puerto de Oro. In fact, we know him very well. His name is Astaroth and he comes from Ignotas, like we do." Grigor guffawed at the mention of that name, giving Xu-Shen some surprise. He studied the Beastermaster closely for a few moments, realizing he was from the western forests of Ignotas and likely knew the mage's name. "I take it that the name bears meaning to you?" Xu-Shen questioned him.

                                      Grigor snorted loudly as he began to speak. "My people know that Arkalian swine well!" his voice was loud and defiant. "An envoy to the King of Arkala approached my people years ago, begging us to take up arms in his war against the Nishkins in the north. Petty wars of man mean nothing to us. Overuleg konungar." Grigor turned his nose up at the notion that such a man could be behind such a terrible act of destruction but Xu-Shen merely nodded in agreement with his comments. "That is correct. Astaroth is the King of Arkala and for the last decade he has been locked in a war with Nishka for control over the continent of Ignotas. The entire region has been unstable for many years, but for the last two years the two kingdoms had been in a ceasefire. But roughly six months ago, Astaroth was suddenly overthrown by his council and banished from his own kingdom. We're not sure what happened the few months directly after that, but two months ago he showed up in mine and Ju's home town, Aramoor, with an army."

                                      Xu-Shen paused for a moment, a look of disgust on his face. His brows furrowed in anger as he slammed his fist down on the table. "And he razed it after our king refused to offer him asylum, killing everyone there. Women, children, our elders, it didn't matter. That bast-" Ju interrupted by placing a hand on Xu-Shen's shoulder. "I'm sorry, that doesn't matter. What does matter is that, before he killed the king there, he boasted of his plan. If couldn't rule Ignotas, he would destroy it with the power of the crystals. And he would make the world bow to him instead. He's somehow obtained knowledge of forbidden magics and the power to cast them. And as you've all witnessed, he has the power to completely destroy a city with a single spell. First he took the Fire Crystal and now he's taken the Wind Crystal. From what we can tell, the King and Queen of Tierra Prometida and Adamas Mundi managed to escape Puerto de Oro with their crystals. But they will be next.

                                      Xu-Shen gave a quick glance back towards Ju, who nodded back to him. "Ju and I can't do this entirely by ourselves. You all have witnessed the horrors this man brings with him. And you all know what kind of threat he poses, not only to Ignotas. But the entire world. We would ask that you all join us on our journey to stop the madness." He paused to allow anyone to have their say in the matters.


                                        "We should round up a bunch of the undead and drop them on his doorstep." Blackrose was feeling hung over. "And then when he's distacted we take his money and then bribe a god into smiting him."


                                          Cirrus' sleep was unfettered by dreams, at least at first. His mind was too exhausted to process them for a while. He couldn't escape them entirely, though. He saw himself as a child, surrounded by cerberi and holding a long stick. The biggest one of the pack had blood dripping out of the corners of its mouth, and a paw on top of the helmet of his father's armor. It grew bigger and bigger, until there was nothing but the dog, the entire universe was nothing to this beast. It opened it's gaping mouth like the doors of hell and-

                                          By the time the maid knocked on his door and informed him that Xu-Shen was waiting for him, Cirrus had already been dressed and ready for the day for a half an hour. He thanked her and headed off to the dining hall- slowly. His legs felt like concrete from all the Jumping, but at least he didn't have to carry his heavy armor around while it was at Vaiken's. For the day coming up, he was dressed in casual cotton clothes.

                                          Cirrus had a nice bowl of oatmeal for breakfast as he waited for everybody to congregate, and politely put it aside as Xu-Shen explained the situation. "Ju and I can't do this entirely by ourselves. You all have witnessed the horrors this man brings with him. And you all know what kind of threat he poses, not only to Ignotas. But the entire world. We would ask that you all join us on our journey to stop the madness." He wanted to be the first one to stand up and say 'I'm with you all of the way!', he wanted to get revenge for the tragedy at his home town, but he didn't.

                                          "What can we even do against him?" Each word felt like a betrayal to his family, but he had to have it asked.
                                          Originally posted by Wade
                                          Everything is hidden in plain sight, like in Men in Black. We've all just been neuralized to think it is "normal".