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A Gifted World

Erubesco Territoy


a part of A Gifted World, by Miss Echo.

A global Kingdom ruling over large swaths of the US East Coast, Western Europe, and Latin America. Territories in Africa and Asia are also encompassed, working under the benevolent rule of the Erubescan Monarch.

scoundrelboots holds sovereignty over Erubesco Territoy, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

903 readers have been here.


Welcome to the illustrious Kingdom of Erubesco, dear subject! This vast and beautiful kingdom is overjoyed to have you, and we kindly remind you to please abide by all royal decrees while within our borders. Feel free to peruse and enjoy the shopping districts, or enlist to join the Knights!

((This is the board to post all non-base specific Erubesco interactions. If they occur in a specific base, such as the Citadel, please post them there.))
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Erubesco Territoy

A global Kingdom ruling over large swaths of the US East Coast, Western Europe, and Latin America. Territories in Africa and Asia are also encompassed, working under the benevolent rule of the Erubescan Monarch.


Erubesco Territoy is a part of A Gifted World.

1 Places in Erubesco Territoy:

14 Characters Here

Rick Ronin [18] "If your belief is worth dying for, it's worth killing for."
Kora Norrevinter [17] I know one thing that does not die, the judgement of a dead man's life.
Makorai Saika [5] Let's watch the sunrise over that city one last time.
Id Gormly [4] "It's the thought that counts."
Dawn Memoli [4] "Tomorrow will be a better day."
Clockwork [1] "De duobus malis, minus est semper eligendum."
Kayla Chandler [1] Beware the bite of this quiet wolf

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Previously in Erubesco…

  • Chancellor Derrick Avalon was promoted to his current status, and a ball was announced in his honor.
  • Commander Lulu Botrelle was reinstated to her post, and promptly began pursuing a discreet relationship with Viceroy Varren to gain influence. Her plans to stage a coup have continued.
  • Kora Norrevinter was demoted due to an extraordinary failure in her mission to retrieve her daughter from the terrorist “Wanderers.” Several knights were killed, her daughter chose to stay behind, and Kora was left damaged and disgraced.
  • Rick Ronin was sighted entering an Erubescan library in the West District. He chatted with locals and did his best to try and research using the local tech.
  • Commander Botrelle was contacted to confront the threat, and pulled in Kora for assistance (and in the hope that public heroics could save her friend from being deployed to the front lines).

We rejoin the action in the midst of this conflict…

In a silent flash of bent, swirling space-time (much like a pocked acne scar in the face of reality,) the teleporter appeared in the alley caddy-corner to the West District Library. Not even a second later, he was gone with the same whizz of motion.

Far less subtle, however, were the passengers he deposited in his wake: One large, hoodie-clad Norsewoman, and a considerably more petite blonde in a pencil skirt and pink blouse.

The latter’s emerald eyes tracked a fixed point on the ground, trying to will away the nausea that had always plagued her with teleporting (which was, by far, the least civilized form of transport she could pull to mind). After a moment, she took in a heavy breath and proceeded forward into the bustle of the West District.

It was, as one would expect, a very Tuesdayish Tuesday: Crowds of business-professional and casual dressers alike pounded down the sidewalks, and the elevated train whooshed on its way overhead like a great friendly serpent. There was a small café to their right, complete with red-clothed tables, and what looked to be a bank on their left.

The upper-middleclass metropolitan center looked nothing short of itself, and that unnerved Lulu all the more.

“Alright, Norrevinter,” she said, eyeing up the building where the target had been reported, “Just like we planned. We’re going to do this as quietly as possible. I’ll get eyes on him. You pull the fire alarm. I’ll detain him while the building evacs, and you can rendezvous with me to confront him.”

And then, after a brief check of her watch, “Or, rather, toss the plan halfway through when nothing goes accordingly, and do make and effort to not die.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Kora had never been especially fond of teleporting, but she gave it little mind as she found herself pushed suddenly out of the void into an Erubescan CBD. Sunlight stung her eyes a little (a consequence from having barely left her room in about a week most likely.)

She cast a brief eye over the people going about their business, and was at once aware of how she was looking a bit less than presentable.

The hoodie the knight was wearing did a decent job of obscuring most of the bits of bandage and medical tape she was sporting at the time, though it didn't hide everything. Her hair was still damp from the shower, and her face was still notably marked with semi-healed cuts and bruises.

She kind of looked like hell.

She kind of felt like hell.

But there was revenge on the cards.

Well. In a loose sense of the word.

She would prefer not to be there out of some form of charity on her friend's part.

On the other hand, her attempts to succeed on her own merits had hardly done her any favours, and it was not like anybody she hadn't been friends with since basic was going to pick her for any deployments with her current reputation.
The more 'reckless maverick' thing that always played ever so well in action movies really did not win you any approval in real life.

"Yeah. I got it." she responded, giving her hands an experimental flex and pulsing a small amount of heat through. Fortunately her ability still appeared fully functional if necessary.
Some impatient part of Kora certainly hoped it would go awry. But then, she reminded herself, this was a civilian area. Much as she wanted to bust some heads, most of the people here hadn't done anything to deserve the chaos that might take place.

No. This was what had gotten her into trouble in the first place. No god damn spontaneity. Stick to the plan. Get through this. Apprehend a dangerous felon and hopefully earn a few points to her name in the process. All she had to do was not try anything dangerous and stupid.

The only problem was things that were dangerous and stupid was pretty much her whole area of expertise.

"Pull fire alarm, meet up, take the bastard in. Or, you know, something to that effect. And likewise, avoid the dying thing."

With that she began to make her way towards the building, doing her very best to look like she was not a soldier.
The most inconspicuous six and a half foot ginger Norwegian woman in the city.

Well, the only six and a half foot ginger Norwegian woman in the city.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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A universe of ash Rick trekked randomly. An encounter with wandering thugs ended with Rick nearly getting beaten to death. Normally they wouldn’t have stood a chance, clearly losing his powers was worse than he originally thought. Starvation fueled Rick’s exhaustion as he continued on his way. Death’s doorstep was upon him when Rick saw what looked like a city. Food and water had to be there but lying in rumble to await his passing was so much easier.

Nothing about Rick’s life was ever easy.

He managed to make it to the city which Rick immediately knew was an Erubesco territory of some sort. There was plenty of Erubesco propaganda around to prove it. If a group of random thugs could take him on then surely Rick would be screwed if the highly trained Knights of Erubesco found him.

The ash behind him transformed in Rick’s vision to become his own personal cemetery. The territory in front of him then looked like a land made up entirely out of food. Clearly his mind was playing tricks on him again but it was a close enough adaptation for the choices he had before him.

In the Erubesco city, Rick “hunted” just enough food and water to keep him alive for the rest of the day. The lady working the register at the establishment was very pleasant to Rick until he devoured the food without paying for it. He got away and came across a gentleman who helped direct Rick to a library in the West District. Once there two young adult citizens taught him how to use the internet and gave Rick the snacks they had in their bags.

Rick hastily ate much of the food and stashed some of the smaller items in the pockets of his worn out black athletic shorts. As he chewed the gravity of the generosity of the people in this Erubesco territory sank in.

‘I’m a complete stranger,’ he thought to himself. ‘And without question they helped me survive. They’ve helped me in my search for regaining my powers. I’ve never been treated this nicely before by strangers,’ he continued to think. Trickery dawned on Rick a moment later. Rick looked around and saw no sign of Erubesco Knights ready to spring into action. There was no bad feeling in his gut. The chances that he was being lured into a false sense security by those civilians were looking slim. Still, there was mistrust. ‘If I can’t trust the Wanderers…if I can’t trust Dawn…who can I trust? Should I allow myself to trust anyone? The food they gave me hasn’t killed me, must not be poisonous.’ Rick allowed himself to relax, a bit.

He tried to use the computer to look up information about lightning but found himself staring at anything but what he asked for. Rick clicked all over the place expecting the computer to do what he wanted. Rick started growling loudly when he found himself watching a video of kittens doing adorable things. He was just about to strike the computer when the young lady who helped him, when he first arrived, approached him.

“Down boy. What’s the problem? Awww that’s precious,” she asked him then took note of what was on the screen.

“It’s not what I was trying to find.”

“Well yeah, you can’t just click on things. You have to click on the right things…also it would help if you used proper spelling. You’re not real bright are you?” Rick actually found her boldness to be brave of her.

“Uneducated, there’s a difference,” Rick responded quickly.

“Fair enough…you’re not from around here then are you?”


She was expecting Rick to elaborate and when he didn’t she asked, “Where are you from?”

“Nowhere,” Rick said simply.

The lady frowned, “Ooookaaay…well there’s a spell check feature over here. Read before you click and you should be good.” She went back to her seat and started going back to what she was doing.

Rick had an easier time finding information now that he was following her instructions. He learned the basics of how lightning works but only retained a simplified version of the information.

‘Basically, there is a buildup of positive and negative charges that breaks the air sending electricity through the sky,’ he mentally summarized. ‘That doesn’t sound like what I’ve been doing with my lightning powers.’ He thought back to all the times he used his lightning powers.

The memories were corrupted. Sometimes he remembered forming lightning into different shapes like swords and hammers. Other times he remembered his lightning powers refusing to work in that manner. Another time he remembered firing geese out of his body instead of lightning. ‘Well that can’t be true…can it?’ The more Rick thought about it the more confused he became. He closed his eyes and cleared his mind. When all the thoughts ceased, Rick’s reality stabilized.

He opened his eyes and looked up information about super strength. He found plenty of information about it but nothing about how to regain lost super strength. His mind was spinning from all the information. Rick clicked on a video of pro kick-boxers fighting. Rick wore a small smile. This was fun. Violence was much more fun when he wasn’t getting hurt or when he wasn’t hurting someone else. Rick couldn’t help but box along with the video causing a spectacle of himself once again.

‘Huh, they do it differently than I do,’ he realized. He tried it their way a few times. ‘Feels weird,’ Rick thought. A feeling in his gut rose up out of nowhere. It wasn’t much but it was enough to make Rick do a visual scan of the area. Nothing out of the ordinary. No clear sign of danger. Rick frowned. His gut instinct wasn’t wrong often. Still…there was nothing out of place and nothing hiding something that was out of place. At least, as far as he could see. Rick noticed the theme occurring before him, uncertainty.

‘This sucks,’ he couldn’t help but think. Suddenly a group of men charged into the library shooting at everyone in the library. Rick threw himself to the ground as bullets flew over his head.

“Oh my, are you okay?” the young lady from before asked. Rick got up and looked around. The men were gone. No bullets flying or bullet casings anywhere to be found.

“I’m fine,” Rick said picking his chair back up before sitting down in it. Rick watched the lady watching him as the men returned. They ran through the furniture like ghosts, they put a dozen bullets into the lady before running through her. Rick closed his eyes. When they opened Rick was no longer in a library. He was in a battlefield. Men in dirty military uniforms were getting gunned down right and left. One soldier slapped Rick in the face as he yelled at him. The slap stung Rick’s face. A rifle was stuffed against his chest, Rick instinctually clasped the weapon. The wooden handle was smooth against his fingers. The soldier was gutted with a bayonet right before Rick’s eyes. The blood and guts looked and smelled real. The soldier looked at Rick with massive disappointment as the life left his body. The killer turned to Rick, ready to end him as well. Rick pointed the rifle at the attacker and pulled the trigger.


Rick was back at the library. People were looking at him strangely. No one was hurt, no one was dead, and there were no signs that anyone was being attacked. Rick was standing away from the computer with his hands up as if he was holding a rifle. Without saying a word Rick lowered his hands and found a space on a couch that was away from everyone else.

‘It felt real. Even more than when I was wandering the ash,’ he thought to himself. He looked off into the distance, ‘What’s wrong with me.’

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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The soft click of leather-soled heels trailed up the stairs of the West District Library as Commander Botrelle climbed to meet her target. Even now, her eyes were scanning over her surroundings: She took in the cityscape through the paneled glass walls, watching the rooftops within view for any sign of a sniper team. Her fingernails tapped along the hollow metal handrail, feeling for places where it could have been stuffed with an explosive. She scanned the ceiling, for anyone hiding in the rafters.

Indeed, Erubesco had trained and prepared her for a wide range of possibilities.

Emerging from the stairwell to find her target in the midst of a textbook post-traumatic stress episode may not have been one of them

She stood in the doorway for little more than a second, features blank as she took in the scene playing out before her. Ronin hit the floor, ducking. His nerves were tight, the sensory regions of his mind picking up on data that was not there. Stress hormones released, and his pulse spiked.

It continued even as he picked himself back up and sat down. He gripped an item that was not there— looking through something that nobody else could see.

The Commander had handled enough shell-shocked soldiers to know the symptoms in a heartbeat.

She took a step forward as the commotion and staring dissolved into the more standard quiet of the library. Her gift reached out toward the target, intangible and silent as it coiled around his nerves, tapping in more intimately to his system so that she could anticipate any sudden movements.

She took a few more steps forward, keeping her tread light. A slight crease formed between her brows, and she allowed a subtle frown to tug at the corners of her rouge lips. “Ah, pardon?” she asked, her voice filled with the same softness and concern as her features, “Ah, I’m sorry, but—“ A small, sympathetic laugh, a glance down to the ground. “I- I don’t mean to assume. Or impose. Or anything of the sort. But… Are you quite alright? I’m an empath, of sorts, and…”

She took a shuffled step back, making sure her back was toward the door and her body was between Ronin and his escape. She folded her hands in front of her in what looked like a nervous gesture, actually activating a honing signal to Norrevinter via her watch.

“…I thought that you might… Um, do you need help? I just thought you may be in distress, and… Ah. I- I’m sorry to intrude. I can… I can go.”

She gave a soft tug against his system, loosening the muscles in his shoulders, calming the stress receptors that had been so violently jarred by the episode. There was no physical motion on her part to give away the action, but it stood to try and make him feel at ease and buy time.

“I’m Viv, by the way. Well. Vivianne. But Viv. I guess. Or whatever. I just… Um.” She shifted her weight onto one hip so that her skirt rose less than an inch, accentuating the soft curve of her body, from thigh up to waist. “… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude or anything. I just… I can’t stand seeing people who are having a rough go of it.”

Definitely trying to buy time.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Derrick Avalon Character Portrait: Piper Kolert
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“I’ve got it, thanks,” said Piper, pushing her own wheels in strong strokes, chuckling at his affected airs of gallantry, his abrupt turn from awkward to putting on a show—and Piper could tell it was a show, but she didn’t mind terribly; at least he was being friendly.

When he brought up the weather, she pleasantly agreed with him, commenting on the previous night’s pinkish glow while smiling at him sideways. What a classic way to delay the real topic of conversation.

But the real topic of conversation turned out to be very unexpected. He certainly got to the point quickly once he came around to it.

“Oh,” said Piper, completely floored by this turn. And before she could stop herself, she blurted, “I just thought you’d probably be taking a guy.”

Realizing that might be a little uncouth, she hastily backpedaled. “But—thank you. I’m flattered by the invitation,” she said. A little spark of excitement flared. An invitation to a promotional ball at such high rank was huge. She didn’t even care that it was a pity date; that being in a wheelchair had apparently put her on a list for good publicity dates. Oh, look at the new chancellor, such a humanitarian, taking the crippled girl to the dance. She’d probably have to swallow her independence and let him push her around the dance floor like some cheesy rom com. At least he told her she was basically picked for him and didn’t try to bullshit her into thinking he picked her because he really liked her. “I’ll go—I’d love to go.” Since it was the only way she’d ever get an invite—and she wanted one, badly. For all she imagined she could see through the surface layer of the sparkle of these publicity events, she loved the sparkle, and what she pictured underneath was still pretty shiny.

She laughed a little at the way he phrased that last bit: ‘I’m willing to offer.’ “Do you really want to get together again between now and then, or are you just being polite?” she asked. “You can be real with me—“ She almost called him Chancellor but caught herself. “—Derrick.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Rick is in a library but mentally he’s miles away. Figuring out what was wrong with him had become much more important.

‘I might just be crazy. Life time of stress could break anyone…it would be a miracle if I stayed sane my entire life,’ he thought to himself. ‘What if someone implanted false memories in me? Maybe those memories could be bashing into my reality for some reason.’

Rick’s thoughts were interrupted something he couldn’t place.

‘Now what the fuck is going on?’ Rick’s thoughts turned angry in frustration. ‘I’m sick of my life piling on the shit like this.’

Whatever he thought it was, it covered Rick from head to toe, inside and out, that is…if it was really there. It was as if a phantom blanket consumed him. Again, Rick couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong him.

‘Maybe reality is going to shift on me again,’ he reasoned.

A voice awoke him from his mind. The voice belonged to a shy timid looking woman who stood before him. Rick only glanced at her before staring back into space. The woman kept speaking to him.

‘That voice…’

She wanted to know if he was alright, as if he’d tell a stranger what was happening to him. Though, she did say something that caught his attention. That she was an empath-

“Of sorts?” he asked taking his first good look at her. Her beauty stood out to Rick much like her short size. Those green eyes made it hard for him to look away. Instead of fighting it, he embraced it, looking deep into the emerald windows to her soul. After a moment he zoomed out and took in her entire look.

There was no trace of lust or longing in Rick’s heart for this woman, it was a simple appreciation for her beauty. It was nice to see after what seemed like an eternity staring at ugly barren ash land. What he wouldn’t give to see a lush forest. Instead he had Lulu to remind him that beauty does exist in whatever reality he’s in right now.

The woman, who was still unnamed to Rick at the moment, kept speaking nervously ultimately to say that she wanted to help him. A nice thought, Rick would not be taking her up on it. But she was an empath, of sorts (whatever that means), so getting rid of her wouldn’t be as easy as just saying I’m fine. No. He needed to be fine inside and out.

Rick flipped the switch. The nervous uncertainty that plagued him turned into confidence, not from a belief that things would get better for him. In fact he was sure things would only get worse. The confidence came from what he truly believes in his heart, that there isn’t anything life can throw at him that he can’t handle. Even if at best he’d be miserably dealing with it for whatever time he had left alive. Flipping that switch is easy; all he does is just remind himself of that fact. Though not having his powers to back him up makes dealing with life harder. Now he just needed to sum it up to her while saying as little as possible.

“I’m always okay, even when I’m not okay,” he told her. He had nothing else to say and since she just said that she can go, Rick figured that she would go. Instead tension released from his shoulders. It felt so good despite how much it made Rick aware of how much tension was in the rest of his body. Unfortunately, Lulu’s manipulation was met with an unconscious opposing force. Rick’s body naturally tensed back up as if he was trying to fight the good feeling. It is so hard for Rick to enjoy anything.

The woman introduced herself as Vivianne or Viv, which didn’t matter to him much, it’s not like he would ever see her again. It was actually better for everyone if he didn’t know her name. It was definitely better that she didn’t know his name. He needed to get out of Erubesco territory and figure out how to survive the trip that he takes. Viv, said something that Rick really appreciated, how much she disliked seeing people in trouble.

Pieces came together in Rick’s mind. Viv caring about his well being, her nervousness, and the passive attempt to get to know him all seemed like she was interested in him.

‘That cannot happen,’ was Rick’s only thought.

He noticed Viv’s tiny hip movement that somehow made her look more attractive. An accident or not it supported Rick’s opinion.

‘If there is any truth to it then I need to put it down. For her sake.’

“I’m not interested in your help,” he said standing up. His 6’2” muscular frame towered over her. He could see the exit past her. He started to move toward it but stopped himself. Viv was directly between him and the exit. Now Rick got suspicious, ‘Did she do that on purpose?’ he wondered.

With a stern look in his already piercing stare he spoke with a calm intensity, “Move.” If she didn’t, Rick was prepared to walk right through her. Even without his super strength he was confident that his size alone would be enough to force her out of the way.

A flash in Rick’s mind defused the situation.

/Festive decorations filled the inside of a building that also sported fake snow. There was a large pine tree lined with colorful lights. He saw himself handing Lulu a present. Her face lit up at the site of the Desert Eagle with the one thousand rounds./

Rick’s mind returned to reality, the glimmer of recognition in Rick’s eyes faded away. He was very confused now at what he should do. “What did you say your name was again? Have we met before?” He asked hoping for the truth.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Lulu's frown deepened as he demanded she move, and she took a step back. Her head hung in submission, but her body was still in between the man and the exit. She technically had moved.


She would not engage him before the building had at least been partially evacuated, but her options were few.

If she blocked him, he would plow through her. If she used her gift, he would know he was under attack. If she stepped aside, he would end up likely engaging Norrevinter in a still-populated building.


There was no time left to be bought; she would have to gamble for it.

"I- I would really, really like to help you. You at least need to sit- I sense nerve signals, is all. So, when someone panics, or has distress hormones active... It doesn't have to be here, if you don't want. Or now. You're just so..." She trailed off at his question, but seized upon the opportunity it posed.

"It's Viv. Well, Vivianne Marigold. You look kind of similar to me too. It's possible we've met. I used to intern with the biomedical team at the Citadel, but it was years ago. I did a field survey, too. A study on soldiers suffering flashbacks from PTSD... I've met a lot of people struggling with it."

Kora couldn't come fast enough for Lulu's liking.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Id Gormly Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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#, as written by Zalgo
Another long day. More work and then pay. Whatever would people think if he just suddenly went away?


Exactly He thought to himself as he walked down the street, face glum with his hands in his pockets. Now off work he was changed out into his regular clothes, some dark grey cargo pants and a nondescript black shirt. He tended to walk with a forward slouch, not particularly good posture but he couldn't give a fig for who thought what about him. It wasn't going to matter soon anyways.

He approached the library, a place where he figured he could read up on that city the slightly green glowing guy talked about. Helton, a town where Loyal Erubescans go to die. To his mind any place that Erubescans don't go is a good place for him. After that he'd just need to find a place only he could go. A sanctuary of his very own. He couldn't let such fantasies get to him now though. Hope was such a fleeting things, something he spared only for the least realistic dreams that'd only briefly cross his mind.

As he was about to enter the library however he noticed there was a woman standing right in the doorway inside. In front of her was a man just a bit taller than himself and well built as well. Edgar wasn't particularly muscular as most of his strength was built largely from manual labor. Moving things, lifting things, the kind of fare you'd expect out of a serf.

He walked up, slipping in through the door and coming up behind the girl. He was fairly sure he'd be interrupting their conversation but he wasn't all too concerned with that. It wasn't going to matter soon anyways.

"Excuse me miss, I don't mean to intrude upon your conversation but could you please step aside so that I might achieve entry?" As usual his tone was flat and semi-annoyed sounding, not a particularly pleasant tone for sure. He tended to almost never sound happy talking to anyone and this was no exception. He had little gleaming into the nature of the situation, only that it was in his way.

Once it was out of his way it wasn't going to matter soon anyways.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Id Gormly Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Rick’s intimating presence often causes two different responses. Both responses generally correspond with opposing personalities. Tough, take-no-shit kind of people respond with anger and defiance. Meek, I’ll-do-whatever-you-say types of people flee. This woman, Viv, responded differently than that.

On the one hand she moved, which was exactly what Rick told her to do. But she also didn’t panic and leave. She definitely was still blocking the exit. Her posture, tone, and fluttered speech all pointed to Viv being the meek type of person. Meaning she should’ve run off to a safe place by now, or so thought Rick.

The question is why is she still here? Is she planning some sort of scheme? Does she want something from him? Could she be an Erubesco Knight setting him up for an ambush? What if she was just so frightened that she could barely move? Fear does make people lose all common sense. The far least likely possibility was perhaps the most disturbing to Rick. What if she was genuinely concerned for his wellbeing?

‘That can’t be possible. No one cares about me, definitely not anymore,’ Rick thought to himself. ‘Then again…’ he pondered on the situation some more. ‘This whole city…town…whatever, has been full of people who’ve been helpful and concerned about me. The people I’ve come in contact with have legitimately been good people. Maybe Viv is too.’

It was bizarre. Rick was touched by it all the same. Some of his distrust brushed off him, his heart felt lighter, and his world view shifted. ‘Maybe Erubesco isn’t as evil as I thought. I mean what do I actually know about them? Just that they were intent on capturing Dawn by any means necessary. Also, that their soldiers can be ruthless. Abducting a young girl is pretty bad, but the soldiers were just following orders. Maybe the person or people pulling the strings is/are evil but not the rest of them? I know I’ve done plenty of things that come off as evil. Things that I justify as necessary for the betterment of the world.’ It was hard to believe that he was giving the benefit of the doubt to an organization that has caused him and his “friends” so much trouble.

Nothing made complete sense to Rick. Her voice, for instance. The more he heard it the more it sounded familiar. Like he’s heard it before. Still, it was different enough that he could be confusing it with someone else’s voice. His memory showed her face, it was identical to the one that was staring at him right now. And yet the person in his memory wasn’t named Viv, what her name was he couldn’t be sure but he vaguely remembered the name on the card attached to the gift he gave her. The memory was too long gone to remember it. Something that began with ‘L’ or ‘J’ but not ‘V’.

Then again was that even a memory at all? Was it all some fever dream his warped brain cooked up? Rick couldn’t help but emotionally deflate. This was getting him nowhere. All this speculation is a move for chumps. Once again it seemed that Rick needed to rely on his most comfortable approach…the straight forward approach.

Before he did anything, Rick decided to listen and then consider what she had to say next. The first thing she told him was scattered. Mostly choppy half-finished thoughts about wanting to help him. Clearly she wasn’t sure of what to say to him. Rick got the feeling that she felt like she needed to keep talking and what was said didn’t really matter. The next thing she said was more coherent and detailed. She rattled off details about herself without hesitation and with the most amount of confidence so far.

‘I guess she is who she says she is,’ Rick thought to himself. But then Viv just started throwing letters at him ‘BTSP? What was that?’ the small amount of schooling Rick had never covered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He did understand that she worked with soldiers who had flashbacks. It sounded like this Viv person would be the perfect person to help him deal with his nightmares but again Rick couldn’t allow that to happen. Especially since it was clear now that there was no way he could know her. She was an Erubesco civilian through and through, no reason for him to ever know her.

Rick softened his demeanor on purpose. He wanted her to realize his concern for her.

“Look. You can’t help me. Trying will only ruin your life…probably get you killed. I don’t want that to happen to you, okay? Do yourself a favor and pretend you never even saw me. If anyone asks, you don’t know me, you didn’t try to help me, and you don’t like me. Just trust me on this.”

Just then a young man approached them. He tried to get into the library but couldn’t because of Vivianne.

‘At least I now know that I wasn’t imagining her being in the way of the exit,’ he thought to himself. It then struck Rick that this was the perfect opportunity to gauge Viv, her reaction to this stranger could give some insight into what her motives are.

“You seem to be in the way, you should let us pass.” Rick studied her response but he kept speaking, “This guy seems like he’s had a long day, you should probably help him.” Pawning him off on Viv was an unexpected borderline genius idea. It was another opportunity to gain insight what her motives were.

Something about that flashback kept bugging him. Now he was in a weird spot. He was uncomfortable about how much he’s spoken to this stranger despite how helpful she seems. So any chance to get away from her, so he didn’t have to talk to her anymore, was preferable. However, he couldn’t deny that he desperately needed to know if there was any truth behind that festive scene his brain showed him.

In a few moments the battle waged and a winner was declared. Rick’s need for the truth outweighed his discomfort about talking to strangers. Still he wasn’t sure how to approach the subject. Being blind to proper social etiquette is really putting him at a disadvantage.

‘Better just try something, I should probably leave this place soon.’

“Quick question… for the both of you…” Rick thought that maybe asking both strangers would make it more appropriate. “If you were to get a present from someone and the present was a Desert Eagle with a thousand rounds of ammunition…how would you react?” If there was any truth to his “memory” then maybe his awkward question would bring some light to it.

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Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Kora had jogged up to the higher floor of the library, doing her best to remain out of the way whilst Lulu was doing whatever she was doing and not arousing suspicion in the process.

It didn't take the woman long to find the fire alarm.
Though rather than a button all she could find were small plastic boxes with blinking LEDs.

Automated system.

Well, fortunately that was only a pretty minor problem.

It took only a few seconds for the Knight to position herself beneath one, lift one hand above her head, and combust the bandages on her hand in a burst of heat and grey smoke that flooded the sensor.

Pulses of shrill noise filled the building, ripping the clientele from their individual distractions. There was a moment of surprise and confusion before the understanding downed on the civilians and they started moving briskly, though not running towards the exits.

Kora waited where she was until most of the people had already departed, taking a moment to jostle along anyone who didn't seem to know what was happening.

With that out of the way she hurried for the stairs, half skidded down the steps, and careered over in the direction of the
main doors. From the light streaming in she could catch the small female figure next to a large, bulky male, and had absolutely no question in regards to who she was dealing with.

"Stop right there! One more move and your head is going to be on fire!"

Hands and their smouldering bandages set at her side, Kora advanced forwards slowly, her eyes fixed completely on the man.

"Rick Ronin, you are wanted by the Kingdom of Erubesco for crimes of terrorism, murder and kidnapping. I have full authorisation to use lethal force if you refuse to surrender to arrest, and I can assure you I would not lose any sleep over having to kill you right here. So I suggest you lie down on the ground and put your hands behind your head."

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Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Id Gormly Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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#, as written by Zalgo
“Quick question… for the both of you… If you were to get a present from someone and the present was a Desert Eagle with a thousand rounds of ammunition… how would you react?”

Edgar raised a quizzical eyebrow, not really expecting to be asked such an unprompted question. He sighed and shrugged, not really in the mood to ask why it even mattered to him.

"I don't really know. I suppose it'd be wasted on me. I'd just get hurt trying to use it or worse."

He answered semi-truthfully. Not only would it be strange but there was no chance he'd be able openly talk about the evil phantom sister that lives inside his mind. She couldn't have him tattling on her now, could she?

Just then the air filled with the sound of alarms. A fire alarm had gone off it seemed. Edgar swore under his breath, turning and exiting from the door he came in through. He was kicking himself, metaphorically speaking, for not having the wisdom to foresee the misfortunes that would stand in his way as it did almost every time. As he left a brusque red haired knight pushed past him, well on her way to where he just came from. "Hey, watch it!" He growled, the woman clearly only interested in what laid in the library.

Without sparing more time lingering he turned his back on the scene. Perhaps there was more to be gained in seeking information from the man he heard it from in the first place. On that note he left for the citadel to find Skip.

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Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Id Gormly Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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As someone else came up behind her, Lulu’s body shifted sideways on instinct so that she could see both individuals at once. Her torso tilted enough for the smaller man to slip by; a small sliver of space between an even smaller woman and the exit. ”Of course, sorry,” she said, biting back any number of ”Do you know who I am”s and similar quips.

He was a civilian, or potentially a threat if he did not move along: Either way, she would make no quarrel with him at the cost of the priority target.

The next question to come from Ronin found her at a loss. ”Those are really, um… a Desert Eagle? I don’t think I—“

And like holy manna, the cries of the fire alarm rained down from the sound system to deliver her from the suffering of her current conversation. She pushed herself out from against the wall, a look of feigned surprise glinting in her wide, green eyes as the bodies making for the exit rushed past.

If Ronin broke for the exit, he would find his legs unresponsive and without feeling.

When Kora rushed up the stairs not a second too soon, her innocence was cast off like shed skin and her shoulders rolled free from their meek slump. Ditzy confusion crumbled to make way for predatory sharpness, and she eyed her target with all of the kindness that lab snakes granted to mice. This man- No, this creature and his ilk were responsible for ruining her life in the first place; he and his kind had brought the attack on her home base and left her life broken and-


She had priorities.

She unclenched a fist that she did not notice had coiled as Kora spoke.

"Commanders Botrelle and Norrevinter," she said cooly, and took a step forward. With a quick tug against Ronin's system, she triggered a fall to his knees by collapsing any nervous signal to his hamstrings and cruciate ligaments. "Nervous manipulator and berserker. You may fight us, and die." The corners of her mouth pulled down in a momentary frown of disinterest, and she let an impulse of pain skirt through her connection him. "Or win. Who knows. You'll have freed yourself to die at the hands of a full unit waiting to intervene if this gets messy."

"Or you can lie face down as commanded, now, and take your arrest and be granted a subsequent trial like a person worthy of the respect you have lost yourself. It's really in your hands."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Edgar Gormly Character Portrait: Rick Ronin Character Portrait: Kayla Chandler
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Again she moved but didn’t. Edgar was allowed to pass but Viv awkwardly shifted herself instead of stepping to the side. Rick couldn’t make a definitive answer from it. She could be setting Rick up or she could be unaware of her surroundings.

The man answered Rick’s question first. Edgar’s reaction to the question was a good indicator of what a normal person under normal circumstances would do. It was more or less what Rick expected the reaction to be. He was no expert on reading people but in his eyes he saw a man weirded out by the question. There was no enthusiasm or even remote interest. Edgar did answer though saying that the gift would be wasted on him and that he’d hurt himself or worse with it.

Now Rick wondered why the man would even bother to answer when all indicators pointed to the idea that he didn’t want to. Trying to gather more insight beyond the initial impression he gathered proved uninformative. Rick had enough to go on anyway. He would compare it to Viv’s reaction no matter how urgent his gut felt.

Rick’s discomfort was growing, his gut feeling warned him of danger again. But like last time there was no sign of danger. He wanted to clear this feeling from him and his compulsion was to leave the building. Assuming that it was any safer outside than inside. He suppressed the urge so he could find out more about Viv.

‘I made that choice already and I shouldn’t back out now,’ Rick thought to himself.

Rick watched Viv carefully as he waited for her answer. She never truly gave one, she was completely befuddled by the question. Again that didn’t tell Rick anything conclusive. It wasn’t the response he’d gotten from that identical looking woman in his…memory? Dream? Imagination? She was probably someone completely unrelated to that other woman.

When the fire alarm went off Rick was taken by surprise, not understanding it’s meaning at first. It was familiar in a long ago memory. The chattering civilians mentioned something about a fire as they filed out of the building’s exits. It came to him, the fire drills he participated in during the rare occasions he was sent to schools.

Fire isn’t considered a threat to Rick, his brother Demon was a powerful fire manipulator of sorts and the two of them sparred plenty of times. Rick could handle a little fire. A new thought formed a question in Rick’s mind.

‘Can I survive a building fire without my powers?’ he mentally questioned himself. ‘I should play it safe and leave…’

Rick was going to move but Viv was still blocking his way. Very odd. Everyone else was leaving, including Edgar, but Viv was about as worried about the fire as Rick. It could be that she was immune to fire damage thanks to her gift but being in a collapsing building would probably kill her.

‘Maybe not. People’s looks don’t always match their powers,’ Rick reminded himself. ‘Some people do. Rose for example; she was beautiful like a vibrant flower garden and she had the gift of plant manipulation. And her name was Rose; it didn’t match up much better than her.’

Still, Rick felt odd. Something was wrong with this situation. Things were lining up suspiciously. Rick raised his head pointing his nose to the air. He sniffed quickly and deeply. He cursed his human nose longing for wolf senses. The distinct smell of burnt materials and smoke couldn’t be detected at all. It was an immediate red flag that quickly lowered.

‘This is a big building, the fire could be out my range of smell,’ Rick deduced. ‘Am I becoming paranoid?’ he asked himself. ‘Am I becoming insecure without powers? I’d never care about any of this if I had my powers. I was never in true danger since I’ve killed so many very powerful gifted and even wiped out tons of enemies by myself. Without much effort I’ve killed most people who tried to kill me. Now…now I’m on high alert because I might be in danger…’ It was a sobering thought.

‘Well…’ he continued to think. ‘If I don’t have my powers…I’ll have to be strong on my own.’

Rick focused on Viv again, “I’m leaving,” he said. No sooner did he say that a voice was ordering him not to move.

The voice was feminine but strong. It was recognizable at once but Rick had no clue whom it belonged to. Most importantly about the voice was what it said. At first it was a simple threat to light Rick’s head on fire. It progressed into a tiny monologue about the crimes Rick committed against Erubesco. The crimes included terrorism, murder, and kidnapping. The charges were subjective at best.

Rick didn’t like the idea of him being considered a terrorist but he definitely was though mostly on accident. Only occasionally on purpose, ask Liberty about it. Rick suspected that there were a handful of people who considered his actions to be heroic military attacks. At least he hoped there were people who saw him in that light. Murder was a grey area, he’d killed quite a few Erubesco Knights on purpose but they were always in self defense or in defense of those he cared about. Kidnapping was simply not true; the closest thing to kidnapping that Rick could remember was helping to rescue Dawn. Like a slap in the face Rick remembered how unreliable his memories were. Could Rick really be responsible for all of those crimes? It didn’t matter, he was a legitimate enemy and threat to Erubesco. Any charges that Erubesco placed on Rick would stick no matter what he had to say about it.

The final thing the voice said was to lie on the ground and put his hands behind his head. This was the only option he had that didn’t result in his death. Everything that the voice said pissed off Rick in a major way.

Rick was still looking at Viv when the fires of pure rage lit in his eyes. It was like a forest fire ready to consume everything in its path reducing all to ash. Rick couldn’t believe he’d fallen for this trap despite all the warnings he picked up on. Worst of all was the compassion he genuinely felt for the people of Erubesco. That he started to feel for Viv. She had him believing that she was there to help him, that she could help him. But she was still here when the ambush was sprung making her a part of it.

‘How many times do I have to learn this lesson before I finally get it?! Everyone will betray me eventually. EVERYONE!’ Rick yelled to himself mentally. A low growl emitted from Rick’s throat as his anger spun out of control.

‘Kill them!’ It was the only thought in Rick’s head. At least until his hand touched his pocket. Rick could feel the small package of food that resided within that pocket. Food that was graciously given to him by the kind people of this town. There were good people living under the Erubesco rule and the Knights of that very same rule had every right to want him dead or in jail.

The fire in Rick’s eyes burned out, the growling died down as well. Rick let out a heavy breath clearing the left over rage from his body. He felt looser. His breaths were still heavy, his eyes were understanding while they gazed at Viv. He let out a sharp snort with heavy brows to convey to Viv that he was still upset with her.

The smart play was would be to lunge at Viv and take her hostage and use her to help him escape. It didn’t matter, Rick was going to die that day or a few days later after being imprisoned. Rick knew it to be true. This deep in an Erubesco city without his powers and confronted by highly trained Erubesco Knights, there was no way he’d survive. He’d committed too many crimes for Erubesco not to sentence him to death and a fight gave him even less time to live.

Faced with certain doom Rick found himself unfazed. This day was long overdue. He was ready.

‘I’m not going down without a fight. If they want to kill they’ll have to earn it with blood,’ he told himself. He was ready to face the voice whom initiated the challenge but he stopped himself.

‘I wish…that I could’ve…done something… right…that I…was able to…to…do something…good…for this world. That my life…had some meaning…besides destruction and killing and pain and suffering. I wish…that wishes meant anything…wishing never did anything for me. I want to, no I need to do some good before I die. Something. This is my last chance I have to do something try something.’ Rick’s mind went blank for a few heart beats before an idea came to him.

‘It won’t work,’ Rick thought but he also thought, ‘Like that’s ever stopped me before.’

He turned around finally facing the voice. The lights went out, fire illuminated the darkness, and a tall powerful redhead stood before Rick ready to kill him.

The library was well lit, no fire detected, and a tall powerful redhead stood before Rick ready to kill him.

Kora was her name and both images were true at different times in his life. Now the voice was completely recognized now. Kora fought Rick during the rescue mission for Dawn and the other captured Wanderers. He won. She nearly died, apparently, just like her daughter, also apparently. Somehow they both were alive and super angry at Rick. To this day Rick didn’t understand what truly happened to Kora and Hel and to this day Rick didn’t care.

Though it should matter now because Kora was back and she more than likely was holding a grudge. To make matters worse, she seemed more powerful than the last time they faced. It would be just Rick’s luck if she did upgrade her power level.

It struck Rick that he could only see two Erubesco Knights ready to take him on. Only two. After all that Rick was capable of and the amount of destruction he’d already caused, Erubesco sent only two Knights to bring him in. Rick felt extremely insulted. Sure it was better for him because it was more likely for him to survive now but still it stung that his last stand would play out this way.

Rick’s legs gave out suddenly. His knees it the floor, Rick put his hands out to catch himself. His arms held strong keeping his face from striking the ground too. The bumps to his knees would be annoying if he could feel anything from the knee down.

Viv was speaking now but she introduced herself as either Botrelle or Norrevinter. Definitely not Marigold. Whatever her real name was her fake demeanor was expelled revealing much to Rick. Her voice suddenly easy to place because of the confident strong quality it now possessed. Rick heard that voice during Dawn’s rescue.

‘I think she was the one who nearly killed Kayla, the only remaining Wanderer who isn’t on my bad side,’ he thought to himself. The urge to kill rose up in him again, he sighed instead. Rick’s heart felt like it was being twisted, a knot formed in his stomach, and an emptiness materialized somewhere in between those two organs.

“I don’t want to kill any more…” his voice trailed off. The discomfort in his body released as his willingness to kill subsided.

Rick remembered something about a plan to make his agony filled life meaningful. A plan that wouldn’t work. He tried anyway.

“If you want me to surrender I’ll do it. I have a condition, you’d be smart to listen to it.” Rick eyes were intense, his stare stayed with Kora. “I want Erubesco to leave the Wanderers alone. No more attacks, no more missions to capture them, no more forcing them to do your bidding. Guess what, with me gone and Erubesco leaving them alone, they’ll stop fighting Erubesco completely. Win-win. It was me that wanted to destroy Erubesco…and Liberty, not the rest of them.” Rick switched his gaze to Lulu a.k.a. Viv.

“I thought they’d be safer if Liberty and Erubesco were out of the picture, that maybe the world would be better off without them. They never believed in that. They never will…take my condition up the chain and get me a deal otherwise you two will have to take me in the hard way. That is, if you don’t die trying.” Rick’s confidence was unflinching.

Being stuck on your knees isn’t intimidating at all but it didn’t change the fact that most people get killed when they try to kill him. Maybe that would be enough to get them to take his offer seriously.

“And before you say no deal let me remind you that you both are surrounded by electronic devices and electrical power sources.” A devilish smile crept on his face as he let Kora and Lulu imagine the destructive possibilities his power over lightning and electricity could do. Rick’s mind was full of ideas of what he could do if his lightning/electricity powers were working.

There was no way they could know that he didn’t have his powers. Suspicions maybe…maybe.

Lulu cleared up a lot for Rick with the little bit of information she gave including the idea that there was a squad waiting for him outside.

“I don’t believe you,” Rick said. He just watched her lie to his face for at least five minutes, there was no way he’d trust her now.

Pain shot up his body no doubt from the nervous system manipulator. Rick visibly flinched but made no noise. He recovered immediately after the impulse of pain faded. Again it would be easier to handle the pain with his powers. Super strength let his body handle way more than the average human could endure.

“I’ll do whatever you want if…my condition is met. I don’t care what happens to me.” The look in his eyes were pure, not an ounce of deception in them. “I’ll lay down and let you jail me until your unjust trail gets me executed. I’ll fight you both if you’d rather have the satisfaction of getting revenge on me. I know you both want it. You two were at the base I hit trying to rescue Dawn. It was Erubesco’s fault for taking her…and other Wanderers in the first place. So, I’ll die a bloody mess right here right now if the Wanderers get to live free from your terror.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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"You don't want to kill?" Kora asked, a few incandescent red pulses running across her fingers as she flexed them.
"That'd be a first."

She took another step forward toward the man.

The Knight spoke up before Lu did. She didn't expect her to disagree, but even so it gave her some sense of satisfaction to shoot down his attempt to stroke some kind of deal.

Like he was so very special.

"No, Rick Ronin. We're not here to negotiate with terrorists.
And even if we were on that level, you're giving yourself much too much credit. "

Kora pulled a finger down the partially-healed gashes on her face, someway obscured with medical tape.
"Seems like your buddies didn't get the memo. I got that off of one of them a while after you fucked off. And that's not even starting on the reports of the dead teleporter and captured scientist that came out of there in the last couple of days.

Your little friends don't get any special privileges to fuck with anyone they like. Just like you don't get any special privileges to ask for favours when you're surrounded you egotistical scumfuck.

She stepped up so she was stood pretty close to the man, looking down on him from her impressive height.
" If you want to throw down little man, then by all means come at me. Right here, right now, and show all the people in this city what a barbarous piece of trash you are. Worst case scenario I die a hero and you die the same murdering bastard we all know."

Far as Kora concerned, she didn't really mind which way that went. If she did end up getting wasted for the sake of clearing her name, she could live with it....or not as it were. Living as a hero was good, but if she had to choose between going out gloriously and carrying on with her honour in tatters then she was going to opt for the former.

And there was no way in hell she was dancing around the demands of some murderous criminal.

"Otherwise, get your arrogant ass on the goddamn floor in the next ten seconds and or I'll be hauling it out of the doors and branding your face like I did the last one of your gang that pissed me off."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Makorai Saika Character Portrait: Rick Ronin Character Portrait: Spire Schippers
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'Great. She thinks she knows me now,' Rick thought in response to Kora’s quip about his feeling about killing. She was approaching him at a causal pace. It was official, Rick wasn’t as feared as he thought. Which made no sense unless the things he remembered doing were also untrue.

‘What if I never blew up those cities with my lightning power?’ he asked himself. There was hope, it was small but significant. Maybe his nightmares would subside. Maybe he’ll be able to have some peace.

Kora kept talking shooting down his request with zero fear in her heart. She mentioned that he was a terrorist again and that he wasn’t special. It was a series of words that didn’t belong in the conversation to Rick’s opinion. So naturally someone was speaking those words. There is a certain level of predictability to the unpredictable nature of life. Or so it seemed.

Being on his knees with his arms holding him up was bothering Rick. ‘If I had my super strength I’d be standing,’ he thought to himself. The earlier thought he had rang true in his mind once again, ‘If I don’t have my powers then I’ll have to be strong on my own.’

Rick rocked himself back onto his heals. It was a start, his lower legs still didn’t want to respond. He leaned to one side and used his hand to pull out his opposite leg straight out. With one hand pressing hard on his kneecap and the other pushing hard off the ground Rick was able to push himself into a standing position perched on one leg. As Rick started to tip over he was able to straighten out the other leg with his hand. He held it in place with constant pressure against the kneecap.

Rick had to keep himself leaning forward and push his hands against his kneecaps with all the strength he had but he was able to stand. It was only a few seconds in that Rick’s arms started to burn, the strain on his muscles was already too much. Rick toppled over backwards landing square on his back a smile on his face.

‘I did it,’ he thought to himself. It only lasted a few seconds but he counted it a win. One not fueled by his super powers.

From his vantage point Rick could clearly see the leftover gashes on Kora’s face. He couldn’t help but think that if he’d been there she’d have a hole clearing all the way through her face.

“What did you expect? You all attacked them so they fought back. Stop attacking them and they’ll stop. Besides, the deal hasn’t gone through yet,” Rick explained. Though he was confident in what he was saying there were doubts in the back of his mind. Have the Wanderers changed since he last saw them? With Spire’s influence who knows what was possible. His lust for murder was inexcusable and yet he was accepted and Rick wasn’t.

Rick rolled onto his stomach so he could reposition himself back onto his knees so he could “sit” straight up. At Kora’s next statement Rick scoffed.

“So Erubesco called dibs on fucking with anyone they want? You call me a terrorist and yet all us Wanderers want is to live free of Erubesco and Liberty and both terrorize us because of it. What makes that sooooo much better? Answer it doesn’t,” Rick spat.

Rick took a breath and calmed himself a touch before speaking again, “The favor was for me and your city. Do you really think that a fight between us wouldn’t result in this whole city being destroyed? Do you want that on your head if you survive? Do you really think you’d become a hero just because I killed you?” Rick was sick of talking. Talking never got him anywhere. He was always wrong and everything he said and did was wrong. He might as well skip to the part where they fought.

Rick looked up with unflinching eyes at Kora with a chuckle. “You know what I just realized? Your comment about dying a hero, your strength, your power, your expendability, it all points to the fact that you are the Erubesco version of me. Let me help you figure out your fate because like me it’ll take you a long time to figure it out on your own. Erubesco doesn’t care about you, you’ll never be a hero to them, and no one will ever care about you. You will share the same fate as me because you are the Rick Ronin for Erubesco. A terrorist monster with a Erubesco paycheck.”

‘There, that should get things started.’

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Makorai Saika Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Kora drew one hand deftly inwards and up to her chest, where here mjolnir had once hung, then extended it out sideways. The blood vessels in her forearm began to light up a dull red shade.

"We are nothing alike Rick Ronin. I am a Knight. A soldier. I fight people who will fight me back. I don't put citizens in danger, and I know how to reign my abilities in when fighting in built-up areas. Because I'm a soldier. Not a thug.
You use innocent civilians' lives as bargaining chips and still kid yourself into thinking that whatever heinous shit you do is justified.
You haven't the smallest fucking inkling of morals so you just think picking a side is the same thing. Everyone else is just fodder to you. It's sickening. "

She splayed her fingers, hand glowing and rippling with heat.

"Fortunately. You're going to have plenty of time to reflect on your actions when you're locked up in the citadel. And you can tell all of this to a tribunal."

Taking her time she planted her feet and wound up.
"You can also see for yourself how different we are. When they drag you out and execute you for your crimes. If rabid animals like you have gods then you better take some time to make peace with them."

It was time to end this.
Her fist flared and she swung her full strength into a punch to the side of Rick's head.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Makorai Saika Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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Clenched jaw to hold back the anger. Kora is as small minded as anyone else. She spewed the same rhetoric that helped cause Rick decades of nightmares, low self esteem, and self hatred. It was that same talk that caused everyone to hate Rick without bothering to hear his side of the story. That speech was the very thing that Rick hoped to have hardened himself to.

He didn’t. Still Rick is a monster to everyone. Still people believed that he was without a soul. Still no one understood the pain he felt every day and night for the things he’s done. Still no one cared. Why should anyone care? It’s just best to destroy the things you hate and easily justify it as “for the good of the people”.

No one imagined that Rick had been able to be peaceful thanks to a person with a tremendous heart, a strong understanding to his true feelings, and an unbreakable desire to help him.

Rick’s earlier comments came out of his butt to goad Kora into attacking him expecting, and hoping, that she’d just strike him out of rage. Instead she lashed out verbally before doing anything else, seemingly unfazed by his words. Again, Rick’s words failed him.

The only thing Rick can count on is his ability with violence. How could he hope to be more than a weapon of destruction if he had no other tools that work?

Rick’s hands tightened into fists. Kora pissed him off but it was a controlled anger. The part of him that considered just giving up without a fight shrank out of existence while the part of him that thirsted for battle grew.

Kora splayed her fingers causing them to glow. Rick’s narrow eyes noted it. His peripherals took in his surroundings. She continued to speak but she stopped to plant her feet. There was no rush in her movements. She wound up preparing to strike.

Kora kept talking, Rick only half heard what she was saying. His mind recalled the video he just watched of the pro kickboxers sparring. They didn’t move during the fight, they flowed like water away from the opponent’s attacks whipping back with their own attacks. It was like watching a delicate dance disrupted by occasional strikes to the body and face. It was beautiful and graceful in its own way.

Rick positioned his knees slightly different. She stopped talking, her eyes flared, and her fist started to uncoil. Instantly Rick was ready for it, without thinking Rick twisted his whole body, excluding the disabled legs, to the opposite side of her fist’s trajectory. Rick could feel the heat from Kora’s fist as it passed by his face without touching it. Instinctively Rick mirrored the video throwing a power jab at Kora’s now exposed stomach while he dodged Kora’s punch.

Rick then uncoiled throwing a cross, hook, cross to Kora’s upper body. Had Rick been standing, or if Kora was much shorter, those punches would’ve been able to strike her face. But Rick was stuck on his knees and Kora was exceedingly tall leaving her upper body as the only viable option to attack.

Rick’s ease with the movements proved that somewhere in his past he had actual kickboxing training and that he excelled at it. It was so natural and fluid with a high level of speed. The power of all four strikes maxed out at three hundred pounds of force which is about a hundred pounds more powerful than master kickboxers, without super strength, could strike.

Rick didn’t waste time waiting to see if his attacks hit. The amount of damage he could do to her was minimal, the only way he could beat her is if Rick could hit her enough times without getting hit himself. Being able to fully use his legs would help too.

So he flung himself away from Kora then used his hands and arms as legs to “run” away. Open palms pressed hard against the ground. Rick’s elbows locked into place keeping his body upright, his upper body was up at a forty five degree angle as he quickly traveled across the library. His feet dragged behind him as he moved. Rick traveled behind book cases, support columns, and rows of computers.

His haphazard moves where helpful on two fronts. The movements were less predictable for Kora to read making it harder for her to catch him and a clear line of sight to him from the window was blocked. It offered little more than the occasional blurred movement for the sniper outside to target Rick. The sniper that Rick wasn’t aware of was targeting him.

Finally Rick found a suitable desk against a wall. Rick climbed an adjacent chair then pulled himself up onto the desk, his back against the wall. His hands came up to his face in a proper kick boxing stance. For a second Rick noticed the small sliver of sunshine from the front window. The sunray traced the right side of his body from his head to his waist.

“I was never taught how to use my powers!” Rick yelled at Kora who was probably on his tail. “I had to figure it out on my own! Because of it there were times when I lost control of my powers and people got killed. That doesn’t make me a monster!” Rick wished he'd figured that out years ago.

Though Rick was shouting he was prepared to attack then dodge the moment Kora stepped into his fist’s range.

“I’m not using the civilians as a bargaining chip, I’m using them as a wakeup call! As in don’t rush into a fight with me without thinking about what could happen to them!” Rick continued to yell. There was actual fear in his heart for the civilians of this city.

His powers were gone as far as he could tell but his powers had a way of showing up when Rick needed them the most, to protect himself from getting killed. Usually at the expense of anyone in the way of his powers. Sure, it would be great to knock Kora clear through the solid walls with a single punch or surge thousands of volts of electricity through her but if an innocent person was killed because of it he’d go insane. Or more insane.

“And I didn’t justify my actions, I justified the Wanderer’s actions. I know the things I’ve done are horrible! The only thing I can say about it is that I hoped something good would come out of it.” Rick thought about Dawn and Drake.

His voice softened as he spoke again, “That maybe if I did those things, they wouldn’t have to…” His voice picked up to a louder angrier tone again.

“But you think you’re justified to do terrible things because you’re a soldier. That mindlessly following the evil orders of your master makes you immune from judgment! Guess what? Attacking and trying to kidnap an innocent sixteen year old girl is wrong! It’s evil! And you support one of the organizations who ordered it!”

One last thing he yelled to Kora with hatred in his eyes, “Hate me, kill me, but don’t EVER think that you know me! You don’t!”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Makorai Saika Character Portrait: Rick Ronin Character Portrait: Clockwork
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  1. I can edit the last part about the round being defective if you want Muffin. I put it in there because I thought you'd enjoy playing with that.

    by darkshadowolf99

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An explosion rocked the library but more specifically, Rick. A sniper round arched at him from an unseen location. The explosion went off allowing the bullet’s innards to come spraying out. Foam covered small portions of Rick’s right arm and chest. Rick threw himself down on instinct. A second bullet grazed Rick’s forehead as he was falling. Rick’s head whipped back in the direction the bullet was going. Rick hit the table and rolled onto the floor. A line of blood ran down his face onto the floor.

Rick was down.

The world around him spun, darkness became light and vice versa. A dream convinced Rick that he was awake. Everyone around him was dressed up in fancy clothes wearing the finest large puffy hats money could buy. Everyone’s pinkies were out as they delicately sipped their tea. Rick noticed that all of their pinkies were pointed at him. He looked down, a cup of tea in front of him on the tiny plastic table. Rick looked up, Clockwork stood right in front of him replacing the table. The two of them were all alone with darkness surrounding them. A lone spotlight illuminated the pair. She starred at him with an emotionless face. She pointed at him. The teacup was in his hand. A moment of hesitation before Rick lifted the delicate cup to his lips. He drank the liquid.

The library came into view, he was alive. The bullet hit Rick a fraction of a second too late for a perfect headshot, one that would’ve surely killed him. Rick wasn’t aware that it was a depleted uranium round or even what that would mean for him if it penetrated his skull. As at stood now, the shot he took to the head was plenty painful and debilitating. The foam it sprayed was on him.

No desire to move nor did he feel like he could. He knew he was in trouble. Sure he knew it all along but it was actually happening now. It was different. The reality of going through a situation where you were most likely to die is very surreal.

His legs were shut down, his head was pounding, and his enemies were coming for him. All of his hopes were dashed. Rick didn’t even realize that the foam was growing, feeding off his skin cells to produce more of itself.

Getting killed as easily as this it was unimaginable to Rick. It’s so easy for them. That can’t be right.

“SOLDIER! Get your ass in the game soldier!” Rick’s Sergeant shouted in Rick’s ear. He looked around the battlefield, monsters the size of wolves ripped into the USA uniformed soldiers. Conventional gun fire was bouncing off them like pebbles off of concrete.

“Soldier! We need your lightning power! Electrocute those fucks! It’s the only way to kill those fucks!” the Sergeant yelled again.

Rick adjusted his green helmet, his uniform was covered in grass stains. The wife would surely make him clean his uniform this time. The field of green had stains of red spreading at a quick pace.

“SOLDIER! Your head is up your ass AGAIN! Fucking kill these fucks!”

Back in the real world Rick lay on the ground his eyes staring blankly. “I can’t. I…lo…juss…t…can’t,” he muttered.

“Rick…” the Sergeant’s eyes just looked into Rick’s with overwhelming disappointment. A monster cleaved through his body in a single swipe. The monster took a moment to devour the remains of the Sergeant before turning its sights on Rick. The whole squad was dead, the monsters greedily looked at Rick, slime dripping off them. They slowly encroached Rick. Rick pointed his hand at them. The monsters leaped at him turning his vision totally black.

Light. It emerged painting a picture of a mostly empty library. Rick’s hand was out as a call rang in his ears, “We need your lightning power!” Images of his squad getting killed flashed in his eyes. His hand was out, pointing palm out. The foam continued to grow picking up its pace. Some of the foam had already hardened to a rock like state.

‘Lightning is when a surplus of charges, positive or negative, gets equalized by a spark of electricity,’ he mentally paraphrased. ‘I can’t do that? Unless…’ Rick focused on the air around his outstretched hand. Rick focused on changing the properties of the air, trying to give it positive charges.

Rick searched his senses trying to feel for any change in the air around his palm. Nothing. He focused harder to change the charges in that air. To create electrical charges by filling it with an overload of positive charges. Nothing. Still he held his hand out focusing on positive charges.

He had nothing left to lose. If it worked then maybe, just maybe he could put up a decent fight. If he was even luckier, he might be able to kill one or more of the Erubesco Knights. That would be…bitter sweet. So was his next thought, ‘Maybe I could live through this fight.’ The foam covered Rick’s head, face, his chest, and his outstretched hand hardening essentially freezing him in place. The foam was supposed to cover Rick’s entire body but his entire lower body was completely untouched by the foam plus one of Rick’s arms was free. It seemed like it was a faulty round, perhaps given out as a prank or as payback of sorts.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kora Norrevinter Character Portrait: Lulu Botrelle Character Portrait: Makorai Saika Character Portrait: Rick Ronin
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  1. Feel free to use the lightning bolts as you like.

    by darkshadowolf99

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Who would’ve thought a normal day like today would become suddenly so exciting? The young woman who assisted Rick a couple times in the last hour or so, found herself caught up in the moment. An enemy of Erubesco had made it into the city was doing battle with Erubesco Knights! She was sure none of her friends would believe that she was here when it happened. They’ll probably be jealous too, maybe next time they’ll come with her next time she wants to go out. Reporters will definitely do a story about this after words; they’ll need to get statements from witnesses. The young lady went over in her head what happened so far, rehearsing what she’d say in her statement.

Reality hit her; there wasn’t much that she could say about the situation. She’d only realized that a battle was taking place when the tall redheaded female Knight came crashing out of the library window. There was an explosion beforehand but that was just confusing and scary. Who was that redheaded Knight? She was a recognizable Knight but the young lady didn’t keep up with the Knight gossip like many people in the city do. Regrettable now. Of course that didn’t stop the young lady from cheering for the redheaded Knight along with the rest of the crowd. Maybe someone around the young lady knew the name of the brave Erubesco Knight. She looked around. A lot of people were talking, some cheered, others were trying to take a closer look. She spotted the young man she talked to earlier and the library. She started to ask about the Knight when she realized that the crowd was much bigger than it originally was. People stopped what they were originally doing to find out what was going on with the library. And yet… that strange man that she gave food to and helped teach how to use the internet was nowhere to be found.

‘Did he leave the scene? Oh my! He’s not still in there is he?’ she wondered to herself, hoping that wasn’t the case. ‘That guy clearly has enough problems to deal with without getting caught in the cross fire of a battle.'
The young man didn’t see him either. It’s possible he was still in the building. Someone needs to tell the Knights to watch out for a potential civilian.

Her earlier excitement turned to fear as it dawned on her that no one else would be up for the task. It was very tempting to forget about it, assume that he was fine, or even pretend that she didn’t care. Deep in her heart the young lady knew that she was going to get that information to the Knights.

Kora sent out a heat wave toward Rick. As the wave crossed the ground it caused the floor to break apart lighting it on fire. The fire grew stretching out beyond the direction it intended to go. The licking flames grasped Rick engulfing the hardened foam as well.

Rick heard Kora’s statement about the foam being flammable. He didn’t care, fire had long since ceased to be a source of fear for him. Thanks largely because of Demon. His body felt warmed by the intense heat. The foam broke down quickly from the heat a moment later became a fuel source for fire. The fire raged on his head, upper body, and outstretched arm.

Rick was completely calm as he lay there on fire. It just now occurred to him how cold he’s been feeling since his lightning powers left him. The internal electrical flow through his system had kept him at an abnormally high body temperature while it also gave him a resistance to heat. He lay there pointing his hand directly at Kora, still focusing on building up positive charges.

It wasn’t working, without actively thinking about what he was doing, he mindlessly changed his tactic on building up potential charges. A shift in his heart, a tingle in his handle, a surge of potential power. Rick applied more focus, energy, and power to that particular tactic causing the tingling in his hand to grow.

The foam was designed to for the purpose of capturing enemy targets not for providing unlimited fuel for a fire. With its low combustion and burn temperatures the foam burned off of Rick rapidly leaving a pinkish red coloration to his skin that was exposed to flame. The fire expanded out like a lower case letter ‘t’ with Rick square in the middle of it. The wooden floor and fiber carpet under Rick was a much better fuel source for Kora’s fire. It became a metaphorical grill and Rick was the meat being cooked.

The intensity of the fire grew along with the heat, the smell of burning flesh filled the air. Thick black smoke rose up into the air from the ever growing carpet fiber fire. The smoke alarm in this portion of the library was silent until now. It’s loud alarm went off just like the one Kora set off in the upper portion of the library.

The young lady who helped Rick earlier meekly stepped out from behind the door into the library. There wasn’t anyone to keep her nor anyone else from entering so getting in wasn’t difficult. The hard part was conquering her fear of entering an active battle area.

“Excuse me,” she called out meekly entering farther into the room.

The fight scene lay out before her now that she was deep enough in the library.

“Umm, I don’t mean to interrupt. But I think a civilian-uh.” the young woman saw Rick on the ground surrounded by fire. Without seeing what happened earlier she couldn’t be sure why Rick was in such a predicament. Her first instinct was to go help him but before she could move it occurred to her that Rick was the person the Knights were fighting. And if the Knights were fighting him then that could only mean that he was the bad guy. The events of the entire morning started racing through her mind, paying extra attention to the things he said.

Rick kept pointing his hand at Kora, the tingling vibrating sensation was growing to an uncontrollable level. He grunted and flinched in pain as fire burned through his shirt leaving bare skin to feel the painful cooking of the flames.

The fire kept growing and so did the pain but relief came in the form of over head sprinklers. Water sprayed everywhere covered everyone and everything with moisture. The fires shrank as if in fear. The licking flames weakened to flickering.

Rick’s back still burned but the water really helped him manage his pain. The heat was dying down. The feeling in his out stretched hand built up to much, electricity sparked from his hand. Rick’s dull pained eyes widened.

‘It worked,’ he thought to himself. The electrical charge had enough juice to become a full lightning bolt. Bolts of lightning don’t stand still. Its automatic direction to travel was straight ahead toward Kora. But with water still streaming everywhere the bolt of lightning branched out in multiple directions. The lightning was completely out of Rick’s control. It was just going.

Some of the lightning bolt raced towards the computers, some of it went up toward the source of the water, the main stream of lightning was still heading towards Kora, others went toward the open window, and the concrete walls. But two other parts of the lightning went directly for human targets; Lulu and the young lady who helped Rick earlier.

The young lady cried out as the first moment the water hit her and now, moments later, lightning was racing towards her.

Rick spotted the young lady from his position on the ground, he could see the lightning bolt going for her and there was no way for him to stop it.

“NO!” Rick managed to yell. This kind of thing always happened to him. Why does this always happen?