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Veins of the End

Veins of the End

Nearly two centuries after humanity almost came to its end, it has come back into a golden age with large cities and cyborg mages. Most dangers and treasures are to be discovered in the veins of the End, a system of canyons linking to a large crater.

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#adventure, #arcanepunk, #cyborgs, #mages, #original, and #post-apocalyptic (Add Tags »)

Introduction

Possibly more story to be added.

Two hundred years ago, humanity came close to its end at the hands of rogue AI, but a last minute miracle saved humanity and caused the veins of the End. A series of canyons linking to a giant crater named "The End". After the war, autonomous machinery and advanced AI were banned. Any machinery that would have required an AI would need a human soul instead. The cyborg mages are a result of these laws. They came to replace the assistant bots that helped roaming adventurers and warriors. Currently, the central city of the "republic" is found in the crater. The city is referred officially as Central City or Capital City, whereas some call it End City. It is usually the starting point for expeditions into the canyons, but is also the one access point to reach the forested overworld outside the crater and canyons.

The Veins: The veins are the canyons leading from the crater. They range from tiny gorges only a few feet wide with tiny streams to large valley like canyons. Most canyons don't have settlements or have sparse settlements. This is mostly due to the dangerous wildlife that can be found in the canyons. The wildlife range from rabbits and deer to ogres, trolls and leftover autonomous machinery from the war. Sometimes caves can be found in the canyons. However most of the caves are artificial and were dug by something or someone.

The Overworld: The Overworld is the area outside the crater and canyons. The overworld is forested and usually less dangerous than the canyons. Settlements and farms are more likely to be found in the Overworld. There are large elevators connecting Central City with the Overworld.

Central City/"End City": A metropolis that takes up most of the crater. Highrises tower in parts of the city and often the light found at ground level is artificial. Rarely does sunlight hit groundlevel, but even when it must be noon with no clouds and little pollution. The city features all sorts of folk. Punks and freaks usually make up the lower classes, while wizard plutocrats make up the upper classes. It is a rather unjust society, but it could be a lot worse given that past assassinations prove the wizards to be vulnerable and force them to enact laws to keep the lesser classes satisfied.

Cyborg mages: They form a class of their own. While they may sometimes be viewed as lower than punks as they are often mercenaries, they are commonly feared for their abilities. They range from having a few modifications to being a human-like golem with a soul crystal core and dangerously unrestricted mana. Many don't trust them as they are viewed as machines and the stories of the old war still frighten many. Additionally the past string of assassinations against the wizard class were mostly carried out by cyborg mages.


Other occupational classes:

Gunblade: A warrior capable of marksmanship and close combat, wielding a blade with integrated gun.

Lancer: A warrior who wields lances and buffs themselves with offensive magic.

Slayer: A greatsword wielding armored warrior.

Berserker: A warrior with light armor but emphasis on damage and speed.

Healer: A mage who uses white magic. Usually only uses defensive and support magics. A handful of healer cyborg mages/cyborg white mages exist (usually also more offensive than non cyborg counterparts).

Battlemage: A mage specialized in combat. Most cyborg mages are battlemages.

Sniper: A marksman usually wielding an arcane gun or a bow from a long distance.


Social classes:

Wizard plutocrats: The highest tier. The ruling class.

Government warriors and bureaucrats: Anyone directly in service of the wizards.

Merchants/clergy: Merchants and priests are usually the middle tier.

Peasantry: Farmers and simple laborers are seen as a lower class yet still worthy of respect.

Punks, freaks and thieves: Basically the scum of society. People either excluded from society or voluntarily live in a parallel society.

Cyborg mages: Usually seen as lowest tier, but most people don't try to get off on the wrong foot with them. So the class morelike flexibly moves between rock bottom and merchant class.


Character sheet:

Name
Age
Sex
Occupation
Modifications
Appearance
Clothing (can be a mix of fantasy and modern clothing)
Weapon(s)
Armor (if necessary)
Abilities (dont go too overpowered)
Personality
Background
(Optional additionals)

Toggle Rules

The GM of this roleplay hasn't created any rules! You can do whatever you like!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 4 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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#, as written by Aniihya
Elys sat on a chair in front of her home. It was dark despite being morning. Again news broke out of an assassination. There were hundreds of wizards and probably a dozen have been killed in the past year. The wizards were now in constant alarm mode, ramping up security and making unenforceable laws that cyborg mages couldn't enter the higher levels and that the creation of further cyborg mages was forbidden. Elys may have been "killed" before by a cyborg mage but she considered them nowadays somewhat of allies since she now is one herself while she now sees how wrong the wizards are.

She needed to look for a new source of income after her former employer was killed. Some goons hired by an upper caste did a hit on him. Elys was considering to be a mercenary like other cyborg mages or just go treasure hunting in the veins. She actually preferred the latter as it was less dirty and more flexible. She just needed people to go with her as some creatures were strong enough to overpower cyborg mages, even though they werent as common.

Elys then put on her adventuring gear and went to the next largest bar to maybe find companions.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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Adam sat up from an old couch, holding his head with one arm, his other draped over the back of it. Another night of fragmented nightmares, barely legible, intertwined with the sounds of equipment and voices. He felt something, barely just barely on his left hand. He glanced over to find the only fully natural thing nearest to him, his cat, Monkey, a black-and-white female tabby, licking at the back of his hand with its sandpaper tongue. Reaching over he gentle stroked its head. It helped having a pet, it reminded him of his humanity, otherwise he may have lost it by now.

The cat looked up at him with brilliant green eyes and, hopping down from the couch went to an empty bowl, pawed at it and meowed. With silent understanding, Adam got up from his couch with a boards of it creaking, and took in the atmosphere of the very shoddy state of his apartment and sighed. He had long accepted this poor living as a form of atonement. He reached over to the side of the couch and picked up a can of cat food.

"Considering the price, I may even be tempted," he says, looking the can over, before cutting it open with the nail on his cybernetic index finger and popping open the can. With a brief look at what was inside he shakes his head in disapproval. "Nah, not quite at that level of desperation yet," he muttered, dumping its contents into the cat's bowl. "All yours, madam."

He had to make some kind of living down here, even with his augmentations, and though he hated to admit it, his body was mostly good at the dirtier side of business. Body guard, bouncer... mercenary. He supposed it was some form of dark humor on their part, a kind of jab at his moment of empathy. He still had some choice on who or what to kill, however, and on the plus side of looking as he does, it tends to work well enough as a conflict deterrent, and negotiated the price for him.

He placed on his helmet, strapped on his blade, and covered his body as best he could with a gray ragged robe coat and set out the apartment, glancing briefly at the state of his neighbors as they gawked at him. He felt no right to exchange pleasantries, for all he knew he was perhaps the one that put them down here, to feed on the scraps of the upper class. He shook his head and put his focus forward as he went out onto the streets and to the bar, where perhaps he could, at least, be of use to someone.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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The electronic bell at the door chimed, and Julius called out a greeting from the backroom. "Hey, give me a moment and I'll be right with you."

Julius set down the rubber gripped pliers and eyed the components on the anti-static mat. They were salvaged from the junk yard, from an early Personal Electromagnetic Transporter, or PET, that had been totaled. Little money came from salvaging things like this. It wouldn't sell in the shop, for sure, but a dedicated antique vehicle mechanic might prefer refurbished originals to reproduction. It was a bit of a gamble.

Julius stood from the stool, stripping off blue latex gloves before turning fully to the curtain dividing the front room from the work room. The curtain was kept closed. If someone wanted to shoplift from the front room, fine, they'd have to pick a lock and open a glass case. The stuff in the back was laid out on tables, easy access. Better not to tempt greedy eyes with quick fingers.

A crackling voice answered from the other side of the curtain, "It's me, Cantus. Did you loose track of time? I brought your sandwich. And this old thing. Be a good boy and fix it up before tomorrow's morning rush, hmm?"

That would be Besba. Besba Defthand. She was an old woman when Julius had first met her, already shrunken with years and more wrinkled than a raisin. Dark too, moreso than any skin except a cyborg's black silicone. Julius knew without optic modifications to see through the curtain that Besba would be in her mustard yellow waitress dress, as she always was during the day. She ran the diner next door, and considered delivering Julius's sandwich every day part of daily management, like scraping the grease off the grill and paying the ratcatcher. Julius might be flattered that Besba thought REPAIR such an asset to the community to be worth paying tribute, except it wasn't tribute. Besba had the strange notion that she was making daily payment on a service plan. A service plan she'd invented for her own convenience, to be sure. REPAIR couldn't afford to offer installment payment plans to customers, let alone service plans. Every transaction was a sale or commission. This deep in the crater, no one could trust their mother to pay on credit, let alone a shrewd customer. Make no mistake, Besba was a shrewd customer. Age hadn't dulled her in that respect.

Straightening a spine stiff from hunching over the workbench, and pasting on a professional smile, Julius breached the thin barrier between safety and Besba. And then saw what she held in her arthritic gnarled hand. Her sauce pot.

The smile didn't falter. This had happened before.

"I'm not a tinsmith. I don't have the skills to mend your cookery. Anything I can help you with today, Mrs Besba?"

She dumped the stale contents of yesterday's lunch plate from its customary spot on the mountain of diagnostic manuals atop the cashier counter into the garbage, and replaced it with the fresh sandwich she'd brought. By her estimation, Julius didn't eat enough, and was too fussy by far for a bachelor who didn't cook. "Don't lie to me, Cantus. You are a tinker by trade, and pots and pans are not too good for the likes of you. You'll do this, and have it back to me by five tomorrow, you hear me?" She'd begun punctuating her sentences with the small pot, idly threatening, as all cooks do, to thump him with her pot if he didn't mind her.

Julius placed unwilling hands on hips, clearly not taking the pot out of her hands, and stepped a little closer to the old woman. At five and a half foot, Julius was taller than Besba by a head. The height advantage was a rarity, which made it more the pity that Besba wouldn't be intimidated by it. "Tinkers aren't tinsmiths. All I can do is try to patch it, and your stove will melt through anything I have. Be sensible, Besba, you'll ruin your stovetop this way."

"Ttk. Don't tell me you can patch silicone but not tin."

"I use silicone tape for silicone. You want me to tape up your pot?"

It was a silly rhetorical question, but Besba looked to be actually considering it. "Would it hold water?" Julius honestly had no idea. It kept rain out of tents, but generally the tent wasn't also on fire. Besba sensed the momentary weakness and thrust the pot into Julius's chest. "Here, find out." She turned away, leaving Julius holding the pot and not knowing exactly how it had happened. As she walked through the gauntlet of cluttered display cabinets filling the narrow gunshot shop, she called back: "If one of your cyborg friends invites you into the Veins today, be sure to say no. The cyborg and the Veins only hold a canyon full of trouble for one such as you."

Besba liked to part friends with a daily prediction. She fancied herself touched with psychic powers, as if wrinkles really could confer supernatural wisdom. Like this one, they were mostly unasked for busybody advice, and were true everyday, for everyone. Julius supposed that was why they were easy to hear and forget.

"Besba, before you go?" Julius stopped her with her hand hovering on the door pull.

"Yes, dear?"

"Cash or trade for the pot?"

She glanced over her shoulder at Julius, who was using the pot to point at the sign that clearly read 'NO CREDIT - CASH OR TRADE ONLY'. She could have pretended to not see it, play the old age card. But Julius and her had an understanding, as Julius did with many natives of this wretched bottom-dwelling neighborhood. Nothing was free, but kindness and respect could be bought with a mended pot or a bit of hot food. The cash option was for cyborg mages. Honest work and honest people didn't have cash to spare: it all disappeared in rent, food and wizard taxes. If you had nothing to spare, you had to be sure what your favor was buying. You had to know your kindness wasn't being exploited. She'd known Julius since he came off the streets, dirty and wide-eyed with fear. Everyone she knew had these fears, these deep-seated insecurities about their place in the world. If they didn't, they were cyborg, too inhuman to understand, or a wizard, too powerful to ever feel threatened. "Trade, of course. Eat your sandwich, Julius."

The door chimed again, signaling her departure.

Julius chucked the pot onto the leaning manual tower beside the plate, and cautiously peeled back the bread to check the sandwich contents. The professional smile became genuine. Besba had included slaw and brown sugar glaze on the pulled slow roasted rat. A vast improvement over yesterday's liver and onion. It needed a beer to wash it down, but the diner didn't have a liquor license and there was a bar around the block anyway. Julius took a big bite, and announced in the empty store between chews, "Stanley, fancy a pint?" Stanley didn't answer. He was the strong, silent sidekick type, and as such, it was in his job description to let Julius do all the talking. He was also an inanimate object, but they didn't let it get in the way of their long lasting friendship. Strictly speaking, Stanley was an aether gunglove, the left hand glove of a set. He was also all sorts of broken, so he wasn't guaranteed to perform as intended, but really, who's perfect? It was often necessary to bring friends like Stanley when leaving the shop. Not that Julius had anything to fear from the neighbors. It was just... a precaution. Against those uninclined to act neighborly in the sun-starved streets of End City.

Julius shrugged a coat -a handsome verdant green long coat that a cyborg had given in lieu of payment, which surely came off a dead wizard- on top of the usual tank and cargoes, and carefully donned Stanley, who was very handsome himself, in the eyes of biomimetic anthropormorphic scaffolding. Privately, Julius found Stanley a bit creepy to look at, like a spider with blue feet had swallowed a human hand. He was insanely comfortable though. Fit like a glove. Julius grabbed a clean rag to wrap the rest of the sandwich in. All that was left was flipping the sign on the door from 'OPEN' to 'CLOSED - BACK IN 10 MINUTES' and dropping the security gate.

The walk to the bar was short. Julius ducked in the door in the shadow of a hulking warrior, squeezing passed to get to the bartender first. The stools at the counter were better for fast service. Julius notched a boot heel on the foot rest bar and ordered on tap.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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#, as written by Aniihya
Elys got to the bar. While she personally didn't need food or drink, with the exception of water, she could have a beer. At least should would be able to taste it, but she wouldn't feel it as only her soul and mana "veins" or mana supply was human and the rest machine. She went to the counter and ordered a beer. There was another person there. The person seemed masculine in expression yet had a rather feminine face. It was a face that looked family. They sort of looked like Julia Singer. Maybe they were a cousin of hers.

She snapped out of the thoughts and started thinking about how to go about finding team members for treasure and monster hunting. As she waited for her beer, a drunk cyborg groped her butt and said: "Hey, lass. You got a boyfriend." She grabbed his hand and started to squeeze it and said: "As a matter of fact, no. My last boyfriend is six feet under. It'd be a shame if you'd join him." Her grip got tighter and was like a vice on a workbench. The cyborg started to panic as he tried to pull his hand away, but it was like Elys was bolted to the ground or weighed a ton as no matter how hard he pulled, she wouldn't budge. His hand started snapping and shooting sparks.

"Please! Let me go! I am sorry. Just don't damage my hand anymore." The cyborg said. Elys let go and the man fell backwards to the ground, his hand clearly impaired in functioning after the ordeal.

Elys got her beer and thought about just being straightforward. She started to talk to people and usually got shaking heads in response. It wasn't working. So she got up on a table and said: "Is there anyone who is interested in teaming up with me for treasure and monster hunting in the veins? I know it is dangerous but I am an experienced white mage with some combat capabilities and quite robust." Some people stopped talking for a moment but most ignored her and started talking again. One man came forward and said: "I doubt someone of your physique would survive an hour in the veins. Even many cyborgs go missing in the veins." "But I am a cyborg and I know how to fend for myself." Elys said to the man. The man then said: "Suit yourself."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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When Adam arrived, he found quite a scene stirring amongst the various patrons. He walked in past a cyborg man nursing his damaged arm, and various onlookers seeming perplexed and mumbling amongst themselves. Seems he must have missed the start of something, or the end. Violence wasn't uncommon here, especially in a bar down here in this city. Usually it was better to move on, not to become involved, but then something garnered his attention.

Standing up on a table was what seemed a young woman, but by now he knew better than to judge a book by its cover. From a short analysis could detail a form of rather extensive and elaborate full-body cybernetics, and surmised that the previously injured customer may have something to do with this woman. What she was talking about got his attention more than the how and why. Quietly he listened, on how she intended to go treasure hunting, to venture into the depths of the veins. The others in the bar were not privy to the idea, not that it was a big surprise, as one said, it was rather inhospitable to practically everything. Seeing as no one else was willing to step forward, after the woman had boldly stepped up in front of everyone, he was left with only one course of action.

"I'll accompany you," he said, stepping forward from amongst the crowd. It was hard for them not to gawk at this tall figure, he wasn't exactly a normal sight, even among cyborgs. "If I'm deemed suitable."

"Of course, only a freak would be crazy enough," he heard someone say amongst the murmurs. "What's with this guy? He talks funny."

This didn't bother him as much as it used to, he was a stranger to much of them, barely anybody down here even knew his name, and considering his past, it was probably best to let it remain that way. There was enough hate for the wizards around to spread to the rest of the branches of the upper class, even if he was only formerly a member of it.

"Fade," he said, bowing his head down. He realized saying this out of the blue sounded rather awkward, more a statement than a name, he rubbed the back of his neck. "Is... what I go by, I mean."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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Julius kept eyes forward during the little barroom confrontation, making a study of the bottles lined up behind the bar. It was quickly over. Reaching for a coat pocket, Julius pulled a business card out and dropped it pointedly on the floor where the cyborg cradled his damaged hand. He needed to overhaul his framework. His hand had crumpled like cheap aluminum. Of course, using cheap aluminum suggested he couldn't afford quality. If he visited REPAIR, he'd be buying salvage. And it was a big if. A lot of cyborgs refused to see a professional unless they were going critical. Then again, if he didn't want his hand broken so easily again, he'd make the investment.

Julius cast a surreptitious glance at the cyborg making her proposition to the general assembly. It was a surprise to see the familiar petite shape of the cyborg in a bar on the bottom of End City. Julius had last seen her four years ago, laid out on the work table, face split open and eerily empty. A lot of work had gone into building her, a lot of money into high end mods. If memory served, it had been a memorial build. People didn't buy into memorial builds casually: it took an individual incapable of letting go. Maybe the ghost in the machine hadn't wanted to be kept by the man who'd commissioned her immortal resurrection. Was it her dead boyfriend, Mr. Six Feet Under? It made sense, given her overreaction to a drunken pickup. Given their strength discrepancy, he'd never been a threat to her.

Still. It galled to see masterwork in a dive like this. If she went down in The Veins and bit it, it'd be downright tragic. Julius pulled out the crumpled half eaten sandwich and took a heavy gulp of tepid beer.

Besba's rats were the closest thing to pork Julius had tasted in over a decade. They were also the closest to real chicken, or fish. Importing from Above was too expensive, and hunting in the Veins put the mystery in mystery meat. Life at the bottom wasn't kind. But beer was cheap. The murmur of the room returned, and Julius washed down another bite of tender spiced meat.

When the large warrior petitioned to join the party, Julius's eyes snapped back to the safety of the bottles on display. Wizards above, that thing is a monster! Professionally speaking, of course. It wasn't the first time Julius had seen that character in the neighborhood, but never at such a close proximity or within the suddenly-cramped confines of four walls. Permanent armoring was old hat, but the proportions of limbs and posture were reminiscent of a predator from the Veins, and didn't belong to a human host. It was at odds with the innocent little girl facade worn by the other cyborg. Is he a cyborg? His choice of words didn't line up with his appearance. A monster aping human, and overcompensating. It sounded too formal, especially inside a bar.

Julius risked the reflection in the mirror behind the neat row of liquor bottles. The view wasn't perfect, just a glancing profile. But Julius caught the way he reflexively rubbed his neck, like he remembered how it felt to have skin flush with embarrassment. Whatever he was now, he had been flesh once.

He might have been badly damaged before becoming a cyborg, Julius speculated privately. Or maybe he chose a custom build, hoping for improved speed, or had changed his center of gravity to compensate for an overly large weapon. Julius was betting there was buyers remorse. There had to be, right?

Break time was almost up. Julius ordered a half pint refill anyway. Long enough to catch the girl's name. She hadn't technically been the customer last time she was in the shop, and the order had been paid in cash. No paperwork, no names. It was nice seeing her again though.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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#, as written by Aniihya
Elys was approached by a tall silverhaired cyborg who then said: "I'll accompany you. If I'm deemed suitable." He introduced himself as Fade. "Nice to meet you, Fade. Any help is appreciated. My name is Elys Varkand, but people call me Rose. I am also known as the Blooming Mage to former colleagues." Elys said.

"I am good and experienced healer. It should work on other cyborgs too. I also can use white magic offensively such as crush enemies with barriers and in other instances I can use my strength just in case. What are your skills?" Elys continued.

With Fade by her side the adventures should be a lot easier. A third person would be even better but at the time being no one seemed to be willing to join them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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"Offensive healer..? Interesting, and it is nice to meet you, Rose," he said, taken aback by the concept for a moment. It made sense though, and undeniable on how well she handled the cyborg.

When asked about his own skills, he took a moment, trying to find words that would make his rather brutish capabilities sound more palatable. It wasn't exactly just for her, but more for his own sensibility. "My magic and skills are mostly physical, contact based or channeled, with effectiveness at close to mid range. My blade is an extension of this, a weapon as well a conduit, and using it has become like second nature," he continued, his words and tone were contrary to one another, what would appear as prideful statements delivered in dry lack of pride or pleasure, but rather simply a statement of fact. "I... can also generate bindings to ensnare a target."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo

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#, as written by Aniihya
Elys listened to Fade explain his skills and abilities with interest. "We can truly make a decent duo on adventures, but it feels like we are still missing a marksman or a tank. Somebody might come around sometime for the position, but if no one else shows up, then I guess we will have to do with just us two. Have you been to the veins before? I have been there with others for side jobs, but we usually lose half the team there since either some wandered off or were killed or injured beyond repair." Elys said.

(OOC: Sorry short post. I also might make a second character.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya

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With the all too familiar creaking of the front door Drax was alerted of the new customer entering his store. He lazily looked up from the papers on his worktable, some smuck had gotten into some money and decided a decorated dagger was the thing to display his newfound wealth. The general design of the blade and grip were done, but he just couldn't get the decorations quite right without compensating on either the durability or the edge.

The man looked in the direction of Drax and without wasting more time asked "I'm here to pick up my leg." With a nod Drax got up from his chair. "Give me a second, got it in the storage." Drax said as he walked into the back. Under the light of a dingy fluorescent light he looked through the shelves until his eyes landed on a somewhat large case with a label saying 'Esteban Conto, bullet extraction/refurbish'. He lifted the case from the from the shelf and walked back to the counter with it. "Here it is, when I saw you limping into the store I thought you were in the wrong place, but just like you said there was a bullet right between the armor plates on the knee joint." Drax unlocked the latches and opened the case for the client. "It was quite something to fix, the servo's had pushed so hard against the plates that the plates were bent and a couple of the fixtures had been bent or straight up snapped. All that's been fixed now."

Esteban looked at the piece, it looked almost like it had come straight from a store shelf with the paint job being fixed up and the metal parts cleaned and polished. He then noticed a small object in the corner of the case, he picked up the object that looked like a piece of crumpled up metal. "That's what caused this?" He then asked Drax. "Yup, my best guess is that we are looking at the remains of a nasty version of the hollow point, would at least explain why they didn't continue shooting after they saw you limp away. Probably expected you to bleed out in a couple hours anyways." Drax replied as he grabbed a chair from behind the counter and placed it next to Esteban. "Anyways I've fixed the plates and it's mountings, but without trying it on we won't know if it's actually functioning normally and I'm sure you're pretty tired of limping around with that basic prosthetic anyways." He then followed up.

Esteban sat down in the chair and undid the straps that held the rudimentary prosthetic in place, it was little more than two pieces of metal with a hinge in the middle, but at least he had a spare to walk around with. Drax pulled the leg out of it's case and handed it to Esteban.

A bit of fenangling with the neural linking wires, the connectors and a few bolts later, and Esteban was ready to test it out. He started with moving it around from his sitting position, all seemed well. He then stood up and walked around the shop a bit. "Feels a bit odd, to have a responsive left leg that is." Drax reacted with a sigh of relief. "That's good to hear. To be honest once I saw the damage I was kinda worried the servo's might be dead too, but I couldn't confirm that without digging through stuff I'm hella not qualified to touch." They both laughed at that last comment for a bit as Drax put the chair back behind the counter and Esteban put the old leg into the case. "Hey... Could you make me this into a necklace or something? I had to have been stupidly lucky to catch a bullet like that, might continue to bring me luck if I carry it around." Esteban then asked as he held up the squished bullet.

"Sure, just give me a minute. You know what, I'll even do it for free. You're going to pay me through the nose for this repair anyways."

"Aww man."

"don't aw man me, I had to drill out steel screws and re-thread them with the thread of the old screw still in the aluminium bracket, ten times. Couldn't even just drill out the entire screw, there wouldn't have been enough material around the new screw left to even withstand you hitting a rock with it. Sometimes I just want to go find those designers and strangle the ever living crap out of them for designing such stupid crap." Drax replied before grabbing the bullet and heading into the backroom.

He grabbed the band salvaged from broken wrist watch, grabbed some solder and carefully soldered the bullet into the place where the hour-piece was supposed to go. After giving it a good look and a small tug to check if the connection was strong enough to not pop with the first bit of force he walked back to the counter, finding an overly existed Esteban eyeing his new bracelet. "Well, here you go. And it'll be 500 bucks for the repairs." When Drax dropped the price on Esteban it was obvious that a load fell of his shoulders as he'd been expecting an even heavier bill. He grabbed his wallet and scoured together the 500 bucks in a nearly random assortment of bills and handed them to Drax. "Been a pleasure doing business with you." Drax said as Esteban walked out of the store.


With his last appointment out of the store he could now close up shop for a bit, he'd been looking at the design for 4 straight hours now and it was driving him mad. What he needed now was to clear his head, some fresh air and perhaps some liquid inspiration from the local bar. Not to mention he needed some more alcohol for cleaner fluid. He grabbed his coat from a chair out back, making a mental note on how many new holes had been inadvertently burned into it, and strapped his axe to his belt. As we walked out of the front door he made another mental note to buy an actual door chime and oil the door itself, then rolled the metal gate over the door and locking it into place. The storefront was now literally a large sheet of metal and a brick wall, wouldn't stop someone determined enough, but what did, and it also made any sort of a closed sign pretty pointless.

As he walked into the bar he noticed a giant of a cyborg having a conversation with a rather young looking lady. Seeing as they'd become pretty much the center of attention in the bar he felt curiosity tugging on his ears, listening in on the conversation all the while ordering himself a bottle of their strongest stuff and a beer. The first gulp of the stuff was always the worst, but at least it was cheap and it was one of the few places locally that sold 70+% alcohol without too much taint for a reasonable price.

When he heard the conversation shift from talking about their abilities to what perhaps was the main meat of the story, an expedition into the veins Drax drank his beer down in one go and walked over. "I might be able to help with your marksman problem. Depending on what your plan is of course, I've done my share of suicide missions. Drax Zolya, at your service."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya

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Adam shook his head silently. "My augments are still relatively fresh, but I am aware of the threats and common mistakes," he said, more confidently this time. He was trying not to put on an air of arrogant bravado, or to put down others for failing, it wasn't his place to judge them. He looked down for a moment. "Not to put down the lost, of course," he muttered. "Is that sufficient? I'm willing to listen."

Soon another had approached them, an older man, who, impressively still seemed to possess much of his original body. More impressively, he was intent, perhaps even eager, to join them on their venture into the veins, where it was his belief that only near-to-full augments dared to go. He was sure this man had been down there and back, and that only impressed him more. "Fade," he said, holding out a hand. "You are... familiar with the Veins?" he asked, trying not to sound skeptical in his curiosity.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya

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Julius hadn't noticed Drax come in, or order from the bar, because, well, still eavesdropping on Elys, tiny slayer of drunken sad sacks, and Fade, the enigma wrapped in the strangest packaging ever, planning a holiday in the Veins. Sorry, not holiday, "work" trip. But then Drax walked straight into the tableau, and a little sunlight found its way into the bar. Drax Zolya, the smith. How perfect. Julius probably wouldn't be so inordinately pleased about seeing a fellow merchant, if he wasn't precisely the solution to the problem. Just had to catch his attention before they went off on their merry adventure.

Julius stood, dusting off invisible crumbs from face and coat, and sucked a bit of meat out of the teeth, hoping for presentable. No hope for minty fresh. You didn't come out of an 8 hour stint in a draftless workroom smelling the same as when you started unless your body was 100% synthetic. There was an orange scented soap Julius used in the workroom, gritty with sand, that helped to get grease, lube, and a plethora of other sins out of the creases in hands, but it didn't replace a good shower and a toothbrush. They were in a bar. Having a bit of stale sweat and beer breath shouldn't have mattered. It was a ghost of expectation from another life.

The mechanic sidled up next to the blacksmith. He didn't know it yet, but there was a tin pot sitting forlornly in REPAIR, needing his help in a bad way. Julius crossed arms, effectively hiding Stanley from the view of present company before drawing attention by speaking. Feigning ignorance, and acting the part of the curious bystander, Julius asked Elys, "What's so valuable out there that you'd go back after losing half your team?" It was an honest question. There was enough weird shit out in those unnatural fissures that any number of things could have killed the team before there was time to react.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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#, as written by Aniihya
A man named Drax came forward and introduced himself. He said he was a marksman and seemed to be interested in joining.
Fade then responded to the man. Then this other person Elys had originally spotted at the bar approached them and asked her "What's so valuable out there that you'd go back after losing half your team?"

"Ancient technology, old literature, rare materials. Things that are worth risking your life for. On an old trip I even spotted a possible base of operations in case I would find a group to go adventuring with. I would say the stuff we can find is worth your while." Elys said.

Elys noticed a black leather armchair that seemed awfully out of place in the corner. It was suspicious. Especially because it wasn't there before. All of a suddenly the armchair began to morph into the shape of a female body. It was more of a mechanical transformation than a slick nanobot like one. The color of the body changed and the a face came out from beneath long hair that just had turned blonde.

"I am also interested in joining you. My name is Ava Ringgir, I am an assassin. My skills lie in stealth and being quiet to take out enemies. And as you have seem, I can transform. I am only transform into things of same or similar volume and mass though." The woman said. She was quite tall and slender. "I'd rather go on an adventure than do contract killing. It is less dirty if you know what I mean." Ava said.

Elys said: "Nice to meet you, Ava." Something about Ava creeped Elys out. Was it the tall and slender appearance or the fact that Ava could hide in plain sight disguised as furniture? She just felt a bit nervous about her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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The cyborg was the first to introduce himself and Drax shook the hand that was extended to him. Fade then asked the question that'd be burning on anyone's mind when someone who's mostly flesh and blood came around and told them he had experience in the veins, though it shouldn't have been too surprising there were more mercenary groups out there that went into the veins and go back out, though maybe they looked more the part than this old man in nothing more than some cheap fire damaged clothing with a small axe.

A smile grew on Drax's face and he was about to explain when a peculiar mechanic wormed her way into the conversation. She asked a question he'd never expected from someone in the business she was in, even his stock of high grade materials was at least 20% sourced from the veins and he didn't even deal in cybernetics and such. The girl, Elys he recalled hearing her call herself, gave an explanation of what's out there that showed a greater degree of knowledge about the veins than your typical looters and scavengers. Most of the expeditions into the veins he'd been part of were lead by a historian, seemed like that a great degree of the history that fell through the cracks of time can be found in the veins, and with the current state of the civilization the old saying 'History is written by the victor' seems to be a major component as to why.

"Not to mention that if you are still capable of tasting food there there are some quite exceptional ingredients out there and I don't mean mystery meats. Stuff that would normally cost you an arm and a leg to get a few morsels just growing there in large quantities. Of course that's what attracts our mystery meats in the first place, but that's a minor issue." Drax then added to the explanation Elys gave as he attempted to recall the taste of some of the stews they had during expeditions, while trying to ignore the more dubious ones they ate.

A third woman joined the conversation, this one with a much more grave of a profession, an assassin. Not exactly the type of person you'd expect or want to make a casual conversation with, even with her desire to leave that world behind there would be no way that that world hadn't left a mark or two on her, beyond the obvious physical marks. With her specs he supposed she her clientele was in the upper part of the society, which when you consider that everyone you kill has dirt on their hands strangely makes the job a whole lot less dirty. "It all depends on who you are killing and the reason why, if I'm being honest. Plenty of pieces of work out there that deserve a violent and brutal death. Though that being said I prefer it when the job doesn't involve political strife, it's far easier to walk away from hunting down a human trafficking ring without having to think about the consequences." Drax then mused both to himself and Ava.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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After introducing himself politely to the blacksmith, it was then that another person had approached them. He could do little more than to quietly listen to the conversation that broke out between them, not interrupting them. It didn't help that his conversation skills were never quite a part of his previous routine, in that front little has changed. Part of him wanted to speak, but found himself more interested, for the time being, to politely listen.

The new person posed a good question, on why the risk was deemed worthwhile. Elys responded with decent reasons, at least the most reasonable of them. It was risk and reward as usual, untapped potential hid away deep down. It made him wonder what his own reasons were, but he surmised it was better than the few alternatives his body allowed. What he had to look forward to elsewhere was to be a slayer of men, a mercenary, or an assassin, or as a hired guard dog, or used as leverage by intimidation. It didn't help that he was also terrified if the Wizards finally decided to make use of him. At least in the Veins he would be in a place far from their influence, or so he hoped.

Before he could finally say something without intrusion, another presence made herself known. He found it peculiar, to assume the form of a chair, of class ill fitting the environment they were in. It was curious when she had entered, if she had always been there, or if she had done this just to show off how she could hide in plain sight, sort of like the sleight of hand tricks of a magician.

"I am an assassin," he heard her say. She said it without any hesitation. "Contract killing," another bold statement that stuck out to him. There were no mincing of words here, everything was made public without the bat of an eye. Why would a person who's business thrives in this restless society find the Veins more interesting? This made him a bit uneasy, but outside he was as a statue, unmoved and silent.

"Greetings," he said politely as he bowed his head, finally breaking from his silence.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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Elys’s answer smacked of profiteering. She hadn’t hesitated to name the treasures she valued over the lives of her former comrades. She hadn’t thought their lives worth more, and it was unlikely she would value this crew beyond their efficiency and success. It would be dangerous to follow her. Suicidal. Not that acknowledging that out loud would deter some of those present, or be different than their usual work. But it was disheartening. It didn’t fit with the girl Julius had imagined when Elys had been an empty shell on the workbench.

Ava sought a clear conscious. Beasties she could eliminate without remorse, without families or vendettas. Was she deceiving herself on that front, or was there someone standing here she was playacting for, in order to perform her usual job with a modicum of deniability? Forthright didn’t mean honest. Even if she wasn’t working a hustle, her humanity had been worn down to a nub with contracts that put competitive prices on human life. It would be hard or impossible to trust her at your back.

Fade revealed the least, and there wasn’t anything to glean about his motivations or character. It would be too easy to assume he didn’t value human life, based solely on his design. Except he’d said his tech was relatively new. Would he be willing to tell all about it on a nice long walk? Or was the only way to explore his tech (and whatever else might be inside there with it) was with him dead on the workbench? Eyes strafing his body, Julius wondered if it would be more appropriate to use a screwdriver or a saw. Would dismantling him require a mechanic or a coroner? A shiver traced Julius’s spine. Look away. Stop thinking about it. Looking at him made Julius feel like a monster. There was a fine bit of irony.

Drax’s mention of edible treasure pulled a small smile. People weren’t usually literal when they said the food was to die for. He’d mentioned and dismissed the source of their mystery meat as a threat (which indicated he knew what it actually was, which made him better informed), but the nod to a risk was there. The only one anyone had named. Julius didn’t want to think that maybe his flesh’s ability to perceive pain made him more cautious about risking his life, but the thought was there. No, not thought, it was a hope. If Julius was the only one not suicidal in a group this sizable, it’d be incredibly depressing.

It was like they all were ignoring the very real possibility that they’d all go into the Veins and never come out. The immortal mindset of adolescents opposed to the terminal expectations of soldiers. Asking each other if they’d been there before, as if surviving it once vaccinated against dying in the Veins.

Such a hypocrite. Like going there to feel alive was any better?

No, not better. But different.

Drax’s exchange with Ava jarred the internal scales; Julius hadn’t known or suspected he’d ever taken work outside of smithing, let alone routinely enough to warrant a preference for one sort of murder over another. Julius would have no sooner suspected Besba of it. It was nice to trust your neighbors, to believe they were ultimately decent people. It was harder to reconcile that with casual debate over monetized death.

Julius made a decision.

Julius pulled out more business cards, offering them to everyone in the group. “Good luck in your treasure hunting. If you need servicing after, or if you want to sell off recovered tech, REPAIR has fair pricing. We’re located around the corner, between the diner and the laundromat.” Stanley, wrapped around Julius’s non-dominant hand, stayed mostly out of sight during this exchange. It wouldn’t take much for these cyborgs to overpower Julius and rip Stanley off before Julius could defend. Any one of them could probably manage it.

Julius paused on Drax. He was a grown ass man, perfectly capable of making his own decisions, and it was probably not even concern so much as disappointment that he might get himself killed before Besba’s pot was fixed… but he was a fellow craftsman, with a shop of his own. Julius really hoped this group didn’t get him killed. “If you have time for a rush order before you go, I have a client that mistakenly came to me for metalwork. It is a small tin pot with a perforated bottom.”

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#, as written by Aniihya
(OOC: You can skip me for a round. I have fallen ill and cannot post for another couple days.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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Drax looked over to Fade as he offered nothing more than a short, concise greeting to the self-proclaimed assassin. Though that in itself spoke volumes about the man behind the machine, unlike the other two cyborgs present it seemed there was still quite a lot of human in there, though what turmoil that human part found itself in he couldn't even fathom. Perhaps you'd need to be more machine than man to understand.

A glance at Julius told him she was more interested in the physical properties of the cyborg, a tinkerer through and through. For people like her a new piece of cybernetics was likely just a present waiting to be unwrapped, reverse engineered and tinkered with like the busy gremlins they are. Her thoughts however seemed to be suddenly shifted to some other matter like she had suddenly remembered an important task that needed her attention right now.

She wished the group what amounted to a 'good hunting' and a classic level of business sense as she handed each of them a business card. Not that he needed a business card he knew of the shops existence, though he had never been inside there as his cybernetic was in service elsewhere and there wasn't much beyond that which he couldn't just service himself. She also seemed to be trying to hide her off-hand, as if trying to hide something of value from the current company. She didn't look like the type to wear jewelry much less anything fancy enough to warrant such behavior, but who was he to judge.

When he was addressed directly by the mechanic regarding a tin pot in need of some refurbishing, the look she gave Drax showed a degree of worry, perhaps worthy of some explanations later. But first there was the matter of the pot, no doubt it was besba's, nobody else would go into a repair shop for metalworks. "Assuming you are going back to REPAIR I'll just come with you, from what I've seen she always needs every pot she has in that diner for the dinner rush. Also with her likely dropping more of those jobs on you after this, I think it might be best if I just show you how to fix those things. You do have a soldering iron and tin solder, right?" Drax then replied to Julius before she had the chance to get even a step away from him.

He then turned to the group "I think it might be a good idea to have a little training session later today, seeing what each of us can do will be more useful than trying to explain it with words. Not to mention I still need to get my gear ready, can't exactly go into the veins looking like this. If you would meet me at the northern outpost at sundown, I know of a good place in the veins close to there where we can let loose and hunt some of the critters there, nothing too dangerous." He said before grabbing his bottle of alcohol from the bar and following Julius to the exit.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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Fade again took to listening and observing, continually sensing eyes watching his every move, uncertain if it were real, or him becoming paranoid. It was clear to him, at least, the awkwardness towards him, or perhaps the entire group in general, that the tinkerer felt. At least internally he felt the same about an assassin being among them, but he wasn't ready to exactly judge. It was a hard life down here, and until dredging trudging through it himself, he had not known before how unforgiving it really was.

Drax's suggestion of a training session, a display of skill by actions instead of words sounded perfectly reasonable. It was beginning to make sense as to how he's survived for this long, given how most were more... headstrong to rush in on confidence alone on their strength. It was no surprise that being unprepared was among the common causes of disaster by groups entering the veins.

"That... is a good idea," he said, nodding his head in agreement.

As the veteran mercenary and the tinkerer began to depart, he looked over the tinkerer's business card and realized he had yet to answer the latter's question from earlier, even if it wasn't to him. It was rude, he thought, to not chime in at least. It was awkward to speak about himself, or rather, perhaps, inappropriate? He was never good with social skills, but perhaps he should make an effort to expand them some. The question wasn't posed to him, but, for some reason he felt compelled to answer in some form or another.

"Not all treasure is what glimmers and lines the pockets," he said finally with a serious tone. "I mean... what life is this? Is anyone truly happy? Can this honestly continue indefinitely? If those above will not give in generosity, and those below will never earn it in their eyes, then perhaps from the unknown it can be created, that which does not fade so quickly as prosperity alone."

There was a pause after his spiel, a muffled voice could be heard among the patrons telling Shakespeare to shut up but too afraid to say it too loudly. "Sorry," Fade muttered, before sinking back, surrendering again to his silence.

Setting

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender

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"Of course I have a soldering iron and tin solder," Julius said, beaming at Drax and laughter on the brink, elated at the prospect of learning something new. There had been no expectation beyond him maybe taking the work. "Are you sure? Never mind, pretend I didn't ask. You can't take it back now, we've got a verbal agreement with witnesses."

Drax suggested a dry run on the fringe of the Veins. If Julius wasn't an adult with responsibilities, it would have been a great opportunity to lurk and watch them in action. All the appeal of a spectator sport, with no ticket charge. Unfortunately, REPAIR was a 24/7 operation, just like the laundromat and diner it crouched between. Had been since the beginning, and Julius hadn't changed that when the old man died. Sure, the doors were locked at night, but Julius slept in a closet off the workroom, and there was a buzzer. The intention was to offer a discreet clinic for cyborg clients. It turned out plenty of humans saw that sign as a challenge to bring in their crap too broken for a pawn shop at 3 AM. It was harder, with the old man gone, to catch up on sleep after a busy night. Harder too to close the shop on short notice.

Before Julius had quite made the escape from the rest of the party, Fade delivered his philosophical expose. It was stunning. Literally. Julius felt paralyzed by the notion he'd said all that in a bar sober, and that he'd said what sounded frighteningly like insurrectionist rhetoric in an obscenely educated voice. There was really no making sense of it. Or him.

Unless he was a plant. Julius wouldn't put it past the wizards to make a golem to discover the identities of their enemies without risking their own skins. Shoddy job making their spy blend in. Which was good enough reason to dismiss the budding suspicion. With their own lives at stake, their magic construct would be flawless, not sheepishly getting heckled for sounding like a knob.

Even so, his words were confusing on another front. What was he getting at? His answer had been so far removed from the question in the conversation, Julius wasn't connecting the two.

Drax grabbed his drink, and Julius used his momentum to escape.

On the street, Julius turned to Drax, touching his arm to get his attention before they headed to REPAIR. Julius heard a light clink, and found Stanley was touching Drax's prosthetic arm. Yeah, chances were good he couldn't feel that. Embarrassed to have forgotten, Julius buried traitor hands back into the depths of the coat pockets, and said, "On second thought, my soldering iron is lower wattage, so I don't crisp an electronic panel, and I use a lead-based solder with rosin core. Between lead poisoning and the low melting point? My client would be worse off than where we started. Even if my toolkit looks like yours, it was never designed for this."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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#, as written by Aniihya
Elys listened to the others. Drax then shared his idea of a trial run just to prove themselves and show their skills. This notion sounded like a good idea to her as if would give everybody a chance to get to know each other better and maybe even derive fighting tactics for future adventures.

"I generally believe going to the fringes of the veins for a trial run is a good idea. Maybe we can go hunt king frogs. Their meat is valued by the higher classes, but king frogs are deadly to normal humans as they can crush them with their weight alone." Elys said.

Ava listened and nodded.

(OOC: Sorry, for the rather short post and the long wait. I was first sick and then I was on a trip without a PC for two weeks.)

Setting

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Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya Character Portrait: Ava Ringgir

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Fade simply nodded in agreement, even though he had not imagined the idea of starting his first outing involving giant amphibians, he figured some form of test dummy or something instead. He thought to question this at first, but it wasn't quite the weirdest thing he has experienced in his life, and simply, instead, went along with it. He at least now knew why the price of frog legs was as it is.

With a quiet wave of his arm, he signaled politely for Elys to lead the way, intent to follow her lead.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Elys Varkand Character Portrait: Adam -FADE- Deo Character Portrait: Drax Zolya

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#, as written by chaotix14
As the two craftsmen left the bar Fade dropped a last philosophical quandary on the fellowship. Drax' face shifted into a confident and relieved grin as it seemed his estimations of Fade's character seemed to be more or less spot on, despite having the appearance of one there was no killing machine at the helm of that impressive mountain of metal.

As they moved a bit further from the bar and from the group inside he heard Elys mention something about king frogs, seems their practice dummies had been picked. A smart choice, not quite what you'd call dangerous to anyone with any combat experience, close to the city and still worth a pretty penny. However field butchery and moving all that meat would be a pain, might be worth to suggest using one of the hauler teams.

A small clink on his prosthetic arm caught Drax' attention and as he looked over at it's most likely source, he noticed the tinkerer slightly flustered about forgetting the state of that arm as she began to speak up. She mentioned a few technical difficulties they'd face with the compatibility between his skills and equipment and the equipment available at her shop. True lead based solder with rosin would be almost entirely useless to fix the cookware, however there are many ways to cook a chicken. Drax chuckled slightly and then offered Julius a gentle smile. "No need to worry, while not having any solder available will make things slightly more... interesting, it is by no means required. You mentioned the pot was merely perforated, which to me sounds like all the material is still there, just displaced. If needed be I could fix that pot with only a candle flame, in that sense even a lead contaminated low amp soldering iron is a luxury. Not to mention quite easy once you've done it once or twice, you don't have to worry about accidentally melting your project after all."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Julius Cantus Character Portrait: Drax Zolya

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#, as written by MilkHoney
Drax explained alternatives to mend the pot, keeping Julius's attention fixed on him while walking the route back to the shop on autopilot. Walking with someone of his build and visible tech was a vacation away from constantly scanning for potential daytime muggers. Not that it was impossible to see Drax as a viable mark, but anyone who would, would have seen Julius alone as easy pickings, up until they were introduced to good ole Stanley.

All too soon, the scent of detergent and griddle grease announced they were at the door to REPAIR. Julius lifted the security gate one handed and flipped the sign with the other. Whatever time Drax was willing to donate before his team practice, Julius wasn't wasting a second. As soon as Julius's hand touched the door, the Locksmith program repeated the frequency to disengage the lock. After the telltale pop, Julius swung open the door, "Welcome to my humble hole in the wall."

It looked the same as ever. Chest height display cases lined the bare concrete walls, filled to overflowing with anything containing circuits, gears, pistons or a motor. A thin coat of dust had settled on the cases, with clean fingertrails around the locks and handles. There was no distinct between refurbished and salvage, no prices. The cash register and sales counter were still buried under a haphazard library of technical manuals. The perpetual sandwich plate was completely empty (the only anomaly), and currently had a friend, the much-mentioned pot.

The workroom was brighter than the front, artificial sunlight necessary for working, and Julius followed it like a moth. In the workroom, a workbench ran along the left wall, a few works in progress already there, with tool drawers and buckets of bulk materials lining underneath. An oversized scanning table sat in the center of the room, the only horizontal surface kept clear in readiness. The closet and toilet crowded the right side, Julius's "private living quarters". The lease had included an apartment in the tenements above, but Julius had sublet to someone who could stop working long enough to use the rooms.

The green coat was traded in for a grey apron, and Stanley surreptitiously tucked into a drawer between wrenches and screw drivers. Even without the coat, Julius had broad shoulders and a narrow waist, and barely enough breast or hips to make an impression. Under the harsh overhead lights, a tank made mountains out of molehills, and the apron flattened, so she kept her back to him while she made the switch, unconscious of the reason even as she did it.

"Grab the pot and tell me if you think the metal displaced or dropped out," Julius said. Meanwhile, a spot on the workbench was claimed and supplies drawn out for his perusal. Esba hadn't mentioned how it had happened, and Julius made a mental note to check the diner's stove for a hot spot.

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Re: Veins of the End

MilkHoney wrote:In the ongoing saga of errors, I'm missing half the tabs on the roleplay main page. No Settings, Characters or History. Universes>Veins of the End>Settings is a working link. Scrolling down the main page passed the introductions also has the posts, or using the Read from the Beginning button gets you there. I'm hoping RPG is just trying to streamline the format.

That's actually because those tabs were removed and were consolidated into the Home and Forum tabs. I'm also pretty sure that Introductions are automatically hidden behind a button to active authors.

Re: Veins of the End

In the ongoing saga of errors, I'm missing half the tabs on the roleplay main page. No Settings, Characters or History. Universes>Veins of the End>Settings is a working link. Scrolling down the main page passed the introductions also has the posts, or using the Read from the Beginning button gets you there. I'm hoping RPG is just trying to streamline the format.

Re: Veins of the End

It is all the website. I will be back from vacation Saturday. I will post then.

Re: Veins of the End

Found a good link for post history. I posted a reply.

I got one Error 502 today, and then found I couldn't tag characters on my post.

If these errors are all in the roleplay, maybe we need to move it here, to the forum?

Re: Veins of the End

So long time no post because of constant error 502, so I couldnt access the site.

Re: Veins of the End

Julius is unfairly judging everyone, no doubt. For as short of time as she's been observing them, her first impressions aren't going to be fair to anyone. Who can possibly know anything important about a person's character after five minutes of people watching in a bar? Their casual talk of violence and killing people makes her feel unsafe, and she's justifying to herself why hanging with this crowd isn't a smart play, even if she is genuinely curious about these people and their plans for adventuring. Coming from someone who blows off steam in the Veins, it is a bit hypocritical that she's drawing the line between the risk she takes alone versus the risk of being in the group. But she hasn't lost body parts or died yet. Whether that is by luck or strategy, she's not going to jinx it.

She's also not saying any of this shit out loud.

Hey, I know there have been posts on the roleplay, but I can't see them. I've tried to come at them from a couple angles, but I keep getting the setting page with 12 directions (north, south, up, down, etc.) instead of the post history. Anyone else getting this error?

Re: Veins of the End

I think Julius is jumping to conclusions because Elys didn't lose comrades out of lack of respect or lack of valuing them but because the Veins can be so dangerous. It is practically a given that only the most hardened of adventurers can survive in the Veins.

Re: Veins of the End

Sorry. I will post tomorrow. I havent had the time to post today.

Re: Veins of the End

Yay, we have a soundtrack!

Go ahead and jump. Julius is eavesdropping. If Elys and Adam leave the bar before Julius has found an excuse to take the day off and play in the Veins, there will be a surprise on the shop door encouraging Julius to leave for a bit.

Re: Veins of the End

Let's just say that Julius wasn't there when Elys awakened which is why Elys has a hard time recognizing her. And maybe Julius remembers Elys from back then. But Elys never stops by the shop as nothing has taken damage substantial enough for her to go to the shop.

Re: Veins of the End

I'll continue to be careful with using pronouns in game, but out of character, I'm sticking with female pronouns for Julius.

MartinVole: Wow, the height I guessed at was close. I thought your 2'x" might have been in meters.

Julius definitely wouldn't recognize him from behind with a cloak and helm, but from the front, that's a body she'd remember seeing in town. He's an experimental prototype, and while she wouldn't know how he got that way, she'd be very curious about his construction. Occupational interest. Intensely, unnervingly curious; but equally unwilling to ask him about it outside of her shop, because she is squishy and cyborgs aren't. Also, people generally don't like personal questions coming from strangers that they don't mind coming from doctors. If he still has that human sense, that pressure on the back of the neck and raised hairs that alert us someone is watching, she'd be setting it off anytime they passed on the street. But as he is a weird, intimidating freak of a cyborg, he probably gets that all the time, right? What is one more set of eyes.

Aniihya: Julius's master (who needs a name) would have been able to cast molds off her body for an expensive custom skin job. She could have her original fingerprints, for example. He could also cut and transfer her hair, so she could style it as she normally would. If he was allowed to keep the molds to reuse, the price would be cheaper, but she might encounter another cyborg with her face, maybe with different coloring. He would have been able to edit out small details before reusing, so her copy wouldn't have her fingerprints.

Julius would be 26 years old when Elys died. As an apprentice, Julius probably did the actual pouring for Elys's artificial skin, may have watched or participated in any paint retouching necessary for realistic skin tone, and was likely a second set of hands for assembling modern upgrades and afixing them to the golem core. The price would jump up to have a master exclusively work on a project without leaning on help from an apprentice, and it would take 3-4 days longer. As the apprentice work would happen at the shop, if Elys's foster father wanted to see her soul stone inserted in the privacy of his own home, away from extra eyes, Julius wouldn't have seen Elys awaken.

It depends how secretive Elys's foster father would want to be, and how much he was willing to invest in her when he knew he had to send her away. Let me know what Elys's foster father would have chosen.

If Julius was allowed to work on the commission, she'd definitely recognize work from 4 years ago.

Re: Veins of the End

Socially speaking, I would say the three either only vaguely know each other or are new to each other. My character remembers Julia but probably wouldn't recognize her at first glance or be like the kind who will keep looking at someone wondering if they know them or not.

Also the person who modded the ancient golem with modern technology to form Elys body was basically Julius' former teacher/master. So I'd guess Elys may know Julius by name but hasn't really seen her much. Regarding pronouns, I guess Elys would refer to Julius as "them" as Julius gender is unknown to her or she generally refers to people she doesn't know well as "they/them".

Regarding Adam I would say Elys knows his face or figure but not his personality as she has only seen him around town.

Re: Veins of the End

Adam himself is rather reclusive, I mean, his one friend down here currently is a cat. Even when he wasn't cyborg, he was still pretty reclusive given his job. Not sure how many would know him, unless matters like this are publicized here. If anyone, maybe Elys would have heard something. Otherwise he just stands out by being some weird tall silver-haired cyborg.

Edit: Also fixed a goof on Adam's height. Must have been late.

Re: Veins of the End

How small of a world is this, socially speaking? When these three walk into a bar, are they going to recognize each other?

If either of them knew Julia Singer personally, or could recognize her face after 10+ years, we need to talk about that ASAP please.

As a trades person, Julius works on cyborgs regularly, but I'm not going to presume Elys or Adam have been to the REPAIR shop unless you tell me otherwise. If they have been customers, I need to know if they paid cash or trade, what pronoun they use for Julius, and if they gave her a coat. It wouldn't have to be the coat she's wearing now, but the distinction would be important to her.

Also, I apologize for the mega post. It took much longer than desired to get my agoraphobic character from Point A to Point B. She didn't want to go out her door when there was work and food inside it.

Re: Veins of the End

When should we start? Also if you have ideas for lore, feel free to share them.

Veins of the End

This is the auto-generated OOC topic for the roleplay "Veins of the End"

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