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Masks of the Soul: Fragment of Truth

Masks of the Soul: Fragment of Truth

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Throme: the city with the mask // Itex: a shadowy organization with a goal. // What happens when secrets are finally revealed?

5,331 readers have visited Masks of the Soul: Fragment of Truth since Cienpher created it.

Alasund, and Nivosity are listed as curators, giving them final say over any conflict & the ability to clean up mistakes.

Introduction

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Throme - sparkling city, capitol of the world, it would almost seem, and perhaps considered the best one too. From the wide parks to the sprawling cityscape, this is the image of peace and prosperity, with the best art galleries, and quality showcasing of works from all over the known world.

The melting pot of cultures, society's best and brightest jewel. Throme, by all accurate representations, is a city set to lead the world into the next era. An era of prosperity for the nations, and perhaps equality, peace. Harmony.

But behind this mask of brilliant light and blindingly welcoming populace lies much, much darker secrets.

The tendrils behind the life of Throme, the darkness that lurks just out of sight. Itex. With its influence stretching wide and deep in the world, Itex, in their central point of focus in Throme, are at their strongest and hardest to shake.

Then wonder this now - why Throme? Why would such a perfect city, with nothing to offer but peace, retain the interest of an organization such as Itex?

The answer is as simple as it is strange: The Grace Stone, a mysterious creation that no one quite understands, the powers of which are barely even understood. With its shards scattered in and around the city and it's strange appearance, most would discard this oddity as another uninteresting article of the way the earth moves. But Itex know that deeper than that... the Grace Stone is the most powerful object in existence.



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So what does this have to do with you?

Well, whether you are Lower Level Itex, the pawns of the great organisation, Masked, the opposition of Itex formed by the anonymous mask holder Arthur Torrings, or just a Neutral with your eyes on the stone, you are all fighting for control of and dominion over the shards of the Grace Stone.

But no, that is but the simplest aspect of this story. Behind the simple facade of war, there is much more. With the looming spark of knowledge and events on the horizon, just out of reach, and the shadow of the past that still paints its own thoughts upon the canvas of the present, the conflict has much more at stake than either side know.

What will happen? And what is the story behind the Grace Stone, and the obsession Itex have with it? And why do the Masked and their mysterious leader want to stop them and find it themselves? All and much, much more will be answered as the story rolls forwards.

Remember one thing. The actions taken by the users will effect the outcome of this story, as well as how it swings in certain pivotal moments.

PLEASE NOTE: THE PLACES TAB WILL BE USED. FOR THE SAKE OF PLOT AND KEEPING THINGS COHERENT, WE INSIST THAT YOU POST IN THE PROPER PLACES.



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Throme. Shining star of peace. Diadem of harmony.

With previously mentioned sprawling cityscape, kept in excellent condition and checked on a constant basis, Throme is centreground of the arts and education. Though rarely do those self-same masters stay in the peaceful paradise except to train the next generation.

Most notable are such pristine locations as Cherry Grove Park, beatifully well kept and a prime attraction from around the world, which combined together with stars, such as actor Damon Ito, Emma Matia the singer, and Micah Faret, author extrodinaire, make Throme the city it is.

Unlike most large cities, it has little background noise of moneychangers grinding it out, banks fluctuating the economy and other financial control. Only Near Corporations even has a large presence here, and that is due to securing itself as the main provider of various necessities in Throme, along with a majority of the saleable items that could be found in Sagaro Mall. Though due to the single competition, there isn't major money to be gained in it, and the only reason Near Corporations persists with it is the reputation that it gets elsewhere.

Other places that make Throme a urban paradise include the always-lit Maybelle District, the riverfront, and the brilliant nightlife. Though not possessing as many heavy partying venues as other places in the world, it offers the most variety for small amounts of alcohol consumption and easy enjoyment to be had, as well as offering a wide range of modern and antique favourites in the video games, film and literature departments.


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Grace Stone
The legend of the Grace Stone has spent centuries surfacing and disappearing in the written works of this day and age, literature, poetry, mythology. Laced behind it there are references to the stone as it passes across history, reforming and breaking. Twisting the world around it as it lures the great and powerful into yet another war that, at the base, is merely about this one power.

And yet, despite the massive amount of references one can find to it, there is not a single one that gives definition to its powers, other than the fact that it is immensely powerful. And it takes a dedicated hunter who knows what they are looking for to merely link the vague references in what is the Grace Stone's very own legacy.

The Grace Stone itself is a small round pebble, about 4 centimetres large. Rather unremarkable, there isn't really much way to tell it from any other pebble of the same size, except placing it in water. Upon contact with the liquid, it glows a rather fantastic rainbow of colours.


Masks
All masks possess the power to alter the personality of its owner, but each is unique - one might even say that every mask is its own person. When wearing a mask, the bearer's personality is overriden and no longer takes part in conscious thought or decisions. Take note that this does not mean that the original and the mask personality are two separate entities. They both access the same resources, store the same memories within the mind of the wearer... they simply view these resources differently.

All masks cannot be broken through normal means.

There are two stages in wearing a mask: reformation and transformation. In the first stage, should one merely wear a mask, they will retain their normal appearance, but their personality will indeed 'reform' itself. Their existing skills may be minorly enhanced, such as heightened speed, increased strength, or perhaps they gain a new talent such as cooking. However, these are all within human limitations, and no outrageous abilities are developed. However, when one utters a certain 'code phrase' as they don their mask, they will undergo a full 'transformation' - a new appearance, a new personality, and abilities that are as unrealistic as they are wondrous... It is unscientific.

It is unexplainable.

It is the magic of a Mask of the Soul... and perhaps just a little bit of grace.


-True Masks:
The original masks, the masks no one knows truly about. They appear as mysteriously as one would suppose from something that no one understands. Found in different stages of completion by people who are looking for a 'crutch', the True Masks are like foils for the users. Identities that are what they want or wish they were like.

They are a leg to stand on, a mask that, from the first time it is picked up by the finder, seems like it is a familiar friend. Something that they knew for their entire life. Like an old friend, they help and support the owner, while exhibiting everything they wish they had.

On the same token, as the user grows with themselves, they may find a point when they no longer need the foil. At this point, the mask is deemed 'complete'. An interesting phenomenon experienced by those who own a true mask is a growing sense of control over the newer personality. As both the mask and the owner develop, and as the owner's true nature begins to shine through, the mask becomes less of a 'crutch' and merely a tool. In otherwords, when the owner's true personality becomes stronger, the mask's persona can no longer override it. When a mask is completed, it is at its strongest... and its task is also complete. Once this happens, it is sometimes gifted to another whom the owner believes has need of the crutch.

If the mask is not gifted before the original owner dies, the mask will fade.


-False Masks:
These masks are by no means 'false' per se, but they have been created through different means. As a result, they can be given to anyone - civilian, Itex, or Masked. There are distinguishable differences between these and True Masks, although they do not develop with time - yes, these masks do not grow, and thus, their bearers will never truly command the personalities that lie within them. As for the destruction and creation of False Masks, do be warned: no one is sure what will happen.



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Higher Ups: [NPCs]
-unknown

Lower Class:
Zensa Venorte - Tower - A quiet, introspective martial artist who dabbles in Jazz music. [RPed by spudjohnson]
Shannon Ba'rel - Chariot - A doleful man only attracted to Itex by the comfortable life that such ventures can bring, he wears the Chariot mask, in an attempt to learn bravery from the fiery persona within. [RPed by Alasund De'astio]
Kaden Jannsen - Moon - A man entranced by the world of his books, Itex provides inspiration and a glimpse into this world. [RPed by Witless]
Brandon Clavell - Strength - Consumed by self doubts, he looks to the masks for the ultimate in personal power. [RPed by Harlequin Smile]
Hideaki Takao Katsuro - Hermit - A young man whose interest is money and money alone; a ruthless persona carefully hidden behind kind words and a faked smile. [RPed by The Black Death]
Harumitsu Rakugaki - Hanged Man - A rather sarcastic and blunt young man who once led the infamous Plague Riders. [RPed by X64]
Star
Magician




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(Communication with GMs is extremely important for these characters.)
Aki Evedane - Meddler - A young male who tries to find out what he can about Itex, singlehandedly, while having fun along the way. [RPed by Nivosity]
Calanthia Rozenmare - Torrings-Hater - One who hates Itex and Arthur Torrings, so therefore cannot associate with the Masked, but aids them unintentionally and indirectly. [RPed by Butterfly Princess]
Cecil Vogel - Vigilante - A man with a mask that chooses neither to associate himself with Itex or the Masked, but instead work towards his own agenda. [RPed by abiotrophy]
Senna Hallows - Empress - Mask Premade - A woman who was accidentally given one of Itex's most precious masks and is now on the run. [RPed by HereMeNow]
Detective - Detective who starts investigating the first death and gets caught up in everything



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Cedric Valsche - King - Maskless in Beginning - Future Mask Premade - Leader of the Masked, and tasked by Torrings with working with Liesel to fight against Itex and prevent them from gathering all the shards of the Grace Stone. [RPed by X64]
Valentina Emerson - Queen - Aide and second in command to the King, she is there to support the King and bring order to the group. [RPed by abiotrophy]
James Lyon - Jack - Dependable one of the Masked, the Jack is just behind the queen in seniority. [RPed by Alasund De'astio]
Hannah Lister - Ace - The Ace is the most junior member of the Masked, while also the one with the potential to surpass the rest in the end. [RPed by Nivosity]
Amara Calen - Joker - The last revealed Masked, the Joker is the trump card of the battle, and hopefully the last seen coming [RPed by Witless]



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Character Requirements: - Age within reason (16-29), healthy, no overly large fears of violence/blood, stable situation where they can disappear at night without undue concern. We also are not a fan of characters with mental issues, so don't go crazy with those. If you do, have a good reason otherwise we may use it as grounds to refuse the character. Keep all skills balanced: don't make your character the supreme winner of every single battle. On that topic, skills that have already been used and healing are highly unrecommended

Masked/Itex/Neutral Application:

Code: Select all
[center][IMG]Picture here - preferably illustrated, but a very detailed written description will do as well.[/IMG]

[size=200][b]Full Name Here (any name is fine as long as it's pronounceable and not too jarring to the setting. As Throme is a melting pot of cultures, feel free to use foreign names within reason.)[/b][/size]
[size=150]'Quote' - use this to sum up the character's personality[/size][/center]

[hr][/hr]
[hr][/hr]

[b]Nicknames[/b]
[size=90]Can be removed if your character has none.[/size]

[b]Role[/b]
[size=90]The Masked King? Queen? Strength?[/size]

[b]If Itex, blurb?[/b]
[size=90]A short sentence or so that sums up your character. This'll go on the front page.[/size]

[b]Which Masks do they possess?[/b]
[size=90]Name of the mask here[/size]

[b]Age[/b]
[size=90]Mostly between 16-29 although other ages can be accepted within reason.[/size]

[b]Gender[/b]
[size=90]Male or Female[/size]

[b]Physical Description[/b]
[size=90]Description here about appearance.[/size]

[hr][/hr]

[b]Personality[/b]
[size=90]Be Creative! As many details as you can... don't be lazy. Try and make it at least a decent size - make your character seem real.[/size]

[b]Skill(s)/Abilities[/b]
[size=90]Abilities that your character possesses. Do use common sense.[/size]

[left][b]Likes[/b][/left] [right][b]{Dislikes}[/b][/right]
[size=90][left][color=#0D9D00][b]o[/b][/color]_____[/left] [right]_____[color=#FF0000][b]x[/b][/color][/right]
[left][color=#0D9D00][b]o[/b][/color]_____[/left] [right]_____[color=#FF0000][b]x[/b][/color][/right]
[left][color=#0D9D00][b]o[/b][/color]_____[/left] [right]_____[color=#FF0000][b]x[/b][/color][/right]
[left][color=#0D9D00][b]o[/b][/color]_____[/left] [right]_____[color=#FF0000][b]x[/b][/color][/right][/size]
(Change the amount depending on the character.)

[hr][/hr]

[b]History[/b]
[size=90]Be creative! What events in their past influenced them, how they got their masks, etc. Or if they didn't get a mask, why are they involved and what is their reasons for it?[/size]

[b]Attitudes[/b]
[size=90]What does your character think about the others?[/size]

[b]Other[/b]
[size=90]Anything else?[/size]



Mask Application:
Please include this as a separate character. Don't worry - if your character is accepted, so will your mask. Please include this for all masks that your character possesses. At this point, each only possesses one or none. However, once your character is accepted, there is no limit on how many times we will tell you to correct mistakes with the mask. Do note that for premade masks, much of this will be out of your hands. Same rules as before apply to modified profile layouts.

Code: Select all
[center][IMG]Picture here of the mask itself - preferably Venetian.[/IMG]

[size=200][b]Name of the Mask (While True Masks get the fun of naming it, for False Masks just use the name of the role.[/b][/size]
[size=150]'Quote' - try to sum up the character here.[/size][/center]

[hr][/hr]
[hr][/hr]

[right][IMG]Image of transformed person.[/right]

[b]What Kind of Mask is it?:[/b]
[size=90]False or true? Unless noted above, decide yourself - do read the explanation though.[/size]
   
[b]If False, how many Grace Stone fragments does it contain?:[/b]
[size=90]This will be one for false masks, unless otherwise changed/stated.[/size]

[b]If True, in what state of completion is it in?:[/b]
[size=90]Completed, In-progress?[/size]

[b]How do you create/transform with the mask?[/b]
[size=90][b]To summon:[/b] Brief phrase/sentence here.
[b]To transform:[/b] Brief phrase/sentence here.[/size]

[b]Brief Description of Transformed State:[/b]
[size=90]Detailed description about appearance after the character transforms.[/size]

[hr][/hr]

[b]Personality:[/b]
[size=90]Be Creative! Make your character unique. ^^[/size]

[b]Skills/Abilities when wearing mask:[/b]
[size=90]What abilities does your character gain after he or she has put on the mask, but not transformed?[/size]

[b]Skills/Abilities of Transformed State:[/b]
[size=90]Abilities that your character possesses after transforming using the mask. Three minor ones, and one major. Think of these as spells.[/size]

[b]Weapons[/b]
[size=90]A battle's no fun without weapons, although we highly discourage the katana and the gun for various reasons. These can be summoned and put away at will, but only when the bearer has fully transformed.[/size]

Toggle Rules

1. Follow all the standard rules of RolePlayGateway - this should be obvious...

2. Our posting requirements are as follows: it must be sufficiently detailed, original, and interactive. Each post should move the plot of the roleplay forward by some small extent. If your posts seem weak compared to the rest of the writers, your GMs (Nivosity, Alasund De'astio, Cienpher) will be sure to alert you ^^

3. We understand that not everyone is the best when it comes to grammar. All that we ask is that we see a visible effort. No blazing malapropisms, no obvious spelling or punctuation errors, and no internet/text jargon is sufficient. It is not at all that difficult to run your post through a word processing program for spell and grammar checks. Please do so, or your GMs will be forced to ask you to leave.

4. Please, we beg of you - no godmodding. This includes, but is not limited to, controlling the actions of a character that is not yours, using knowledge obtained as a roleplayer as your character, overpowering your character, and refusing to let anything negative happen to your character. Please have your character react accordingly to their circumstances.

5. That being said, please make your character original! No one enjoys a cookie-cutter personality... take the time to give your creation life. Make it so that you would be able to pluck them out, set them down, and see them make it off into the world. If an insufficient character profile is submitted, your GMs will give you two chances to bring it up to our standards. Two is our final word.

6. All complaints of any sort, be it of the plot or another roleplayer, are to be directed to one of the GMs. They will deal with the situation accordingly. There will be a strict GM-Player privacy arrangement, and all relaying of suggestions will be done anonymously.

7. Please, no swearing or graphic language unless there are very, very severe circumstances in the roleplay to allow it. Remember, these words are better emphasized when used sparingly.

8. Please, please, please read and participate in the OOC. A quiet OOC thread is boring... but also, there is often vital information that could be discussed there. By joining, you are expected to read the OOC thread, please ^^"

9. Anything else that is common sense but we might have forgotten in the process of making this. Use your head and judge your own actions, please.

10. This is an addition from previous infractions of rule number 9 - Please do not take our plot ideas or rules to use without asking first XD


Notes:

A large thank you to Shinku122 for the roleplay that inspired this idea, and giving us permission to use names from it! More thank you's to the artists of the pictures we have used, but we apologize for not being able to quote your names! One last thank you to those who read all of this and feel interested enough to join!

Also, please do realize that your character has a high probability of dying in this roleplay - please do keep this in mind when you join. You have been warned.

Browse All » 13 Settings to roleplay in

Liron River Pier

Liron River Pier by RolePlayGateway

Liron River Pier - The largest pier on Liron River

Dullahan Library

Dullahan Library by RolePlayGateway

The Library - Officially the Branch Library of the Dullahan Foundation

Cherry Grove Park

Cherry Grove Park by RolePlayGateway

Cherry Grove Park - a peaceful site with a fountain square

Little Maybelle

Little Maybelle by RolePlayGateway

Little Maybelle - more than just a line of shops... the shopping district in all its glory

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories by RolePlayGateway

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Financial District

Financial District by RolePlayGateway

Financial District of Throme

Brio

Brio by RolePlayGateway

Brio - the best café of the era

Academy Square

Academy Square by RolePlayGateway

Academy Square - fostering the best and the brightest

Backstreets of Throme

Backstreets of Throme by RolePlayGateway

Backstreets of Throme

Throme

Throme by Nivosity

Throme - a city of urban wonders

City Hall

City Hall by RolePlayGateway

City Hall - the heart that keeps the city moving

The Museum of Throme Art and History

The Museum of Throme Art and History by RolePlayGateway

MTAH - art galleries and historical exhibits

Sagaro Mall

Sagaro Mall by RolePlayGateway

Sagaro Mall - a multilstoried dream building of wonders and everything else you can think of

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 10 authors

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Cedric Valsche Character Portrait: Liesel Moringmer
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Liesel Moringmer; Dullahan Library Underground Car Park

A set of footsteps.

And then another.

Her usual smile was on her face before she knew it – oh, it was anything but pleasant. Those familiar with a Moringmer knew that, like any beast, teeth were never a friendly sign. The grin grew wider at Cedric’s… explanation, which went unacknowledged as slowly approached the newly arrived pair.

“Well, well, look who’s finally here!” she exclaimed, stepping up to the deck the Joker had left scattered on the ground. Crouching down, she flicked her finger and flipped the cards over one by one. “The King,” flip, “and the Ace,” flip. The King of Hearts and Ace of Spades were clear against the concrete. She blew the dust away, sighing through gritted teeth, before straightening.

Damn it, she really needed that smoke right about then or she was going to throttle someone.

“And it’s only half-past late.” It was her own words that sent Liesel past the ‘pleasant’ stage of her rage. Grin dying into a grimace, the woman closed her eyes and heaved a sigh. “Damn it, when there is a set time, there is a fucking reason! No message, no warning… you might have been caught in traffic or you might have been caught by Itex. How the hell am I supposed to know?” Her glare was turned to the king, who had been her fellow ‘strategist’ for quite some time now. “And I think you of all people know just how impossible any mission is with even one damn missing link… so where is that goddamn royal pain…”

Of course, Liesel meant the Queen… but she’d deal with that one later.

Now, the woman could have easily gone on her tirade for the next week and a half, but fortunately for the present pair, there was no time for that. She’d have to make it brief. “We’re out of time, so change of plans.” ‘Again…’. “There’s been a tip off that a certain warehouse by the river, a short ways off the pier, has something valuable to Itex. I don’t think I have to say that what’s valuable to Itex is valuable to us, hm?” Right, and she had the delivery to make… how to go about doing this... Liesel pondered a solution as her hand drifted to the package in her pocket. “Crow. You’ll head over first. I’ll send over her majesty when she arrives.” To the King, she signaled for him to be quiet and wait. “But be on your guard. I can’t assure the… reliability of this source. At least, not yet.”

She waited until the Ace was gone before addressing Cedric. “Now, don’t say a word, this is Torrings’ decision, not mine. You’re not going to be sticking around with me anymore,” she sighed, closing her eyes, looking almost weary… almost. Not quite. Liesel was a woman who needed no rest. “So, apparently you’re not needed here,” she stated slowly, circling around, trying to find the best way to approach the topic. In the end, she chose the only way she knew how: the direct approach. “You’re needed out on the field.”

She only gave the younger man a glance, a cursory gauge of reaction, before pulling the box from her pocket. “And we both know that’s pretty damn well impossible without a mask,” she continued. “And frankly, I don’t know what Torrings is thinking, as per damn usual, and in all honesty I think he’s acting like a goddamn fool…” Rambling. She needed to get to the point. With another sigh, she thrust the slender box towards the King and recited the proper phrase: “But I don’t have a choice. As Liesel Moringmer, proxy for Arthur Torrings, I gift this mask to you.”

With that said, there was no turning back. What the hell was Torrings thinking. She never knew. Never. “In case you haven’t put two and two together, that’s the moron’s mask. His. It’s complete, but it’s not originally yours, so the personality will be overwhelming. Before you head on to help out Crow at the warehouse, give it a test run. I’ve gifted the mask, so you should be able to sense it – can you hear the words ringing in your head?”

Well, Liesel was going off second-hand information, but she hoped that her understanding of the masks was accurate enough to let the King transform.

The setting changes from Dullahan Library to Throme

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Strength
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Another voice cut through the background murmur, a voice he recognised. Without even needing to look around, Strength knew. Cursing inwardly for not noticing the Chariot's approach, he spoke without looking back, face calm, voice steady.

"Yeah."

The single word held no inflection, no indication of what was running through his mind. It was almost bait, a lead in, for the Chariot to respond to, to open up first. Despite himself, Strength was intrigued as to what the other man would bring up, what he found important.

Chosing not to sit down, Chariot stayed standing, glancing around the coffee shop. "Not much of a crowd today." The murmer of casual conversation probably irritating, Chariot almost seemed disinterested. Instead he chose to furrough his brow before striding around into his compatriot's field of vision.

"Wonder who the deliveryman with the package is." A flicker of a smile, then, for the crowd, or lack thereof, in the cafe. "Wouldn't be out on the street where delicate things could be ruined..."

Casting an appraising eye over his companion, Strength grunted an assent, raised an eyebrow in question. "Honestly, I expected you to know who we were here to meet." Between the apparent apathy of the Chariot and the fact that neither of them knew concrete detail, still, alarm bells were ringing in his head.

Giving the room another quick glance, Strength leant forward, fixing the Chariot with a steady stare. "Do we have nothing to go on? At all?" A slight pause, one almost followed with criticism, but held back. Either way, it seemed their organisation didnt believe in handing out detailed briefs.

"Judgement is one of the more caprious superiors." The reply was fired back, casually daring the obvious criticism that even Chariot, not a skilled conversant, knew hung behind the comment. "He leaves information willy nilly, but nothing coherant. It's supposed to make the operatives think on their feet."

Frowning as he stared closely at the renewed giggling in the corner, Chariot's eyes thinned to slits. "I hate peaceful missions."

Whatever Strength was going to say was interrupted by the waitress bringing over their drinks. Giving her a nod of thanks, he reached out, taking his own coffee, staring down into the murky liquid as if in deep thought. Purposefully stretching out seconds, he took a sip, set the mug back on the table, every movement slow and controlled, designed to put the Chariot even less at ease.

"I have no strong feelings either way. Whether it's peaceful or not. I just dont like not knowing exactly what I'm doing." He stressed the last few words, waited for the other man to reply, watching the steam from the two cups twining patterns into the air.

Accepting the cup, but immediately discarding it in favour of the constant stare around the room. It was almost as if the Chariot couldn't help but keep a constant surveillance on the entire shop, just in case an enemy burst from somewhere.

"Then you'd prefer several of the other superiors. It's a pity that Judgement is the most common one to give out orders." There was... not very well hidden irritation in this comment, though much less of Strength's distaste for the lack of details. "Package means it's large enough to be noticable."

From his seat, back to the wall, Strength could see the entire room, even with his attention focused on his coffee. The seat had been chosen for this purpose, and he'd also known, in the back of his head, that the Chariot would have to sit with his back to a blind spot. Glad to see that the other man was at least keeping his eyes open, Strength took another long slug of the coffee, set the cup back down with a decisive snap.

"Well, Judgement said something about the backstreets. I came in here as we didnt seem to have a timeframe, and, honestly, to get out of the rain." He stood, pushed his chair back under the table, fished a note out of his pocket and tossed it onto the table, set a spoon on top of it. "Sitting here is accomplishing nothing. The sooner we start searching, the sooner we can find this package."

Again, Strength noticed that he was taking charge, despite the assertations that Chariot was to be the leader of the two. Calm and steady as a mountain, he simply stood and waited for the younger man's response.

Flicking his eyes back to Strength, Chariot turned his lips up in a smile. It certainly wasn't the casual cruel smile, more of a.. somewhat startled, but completely amused smile. He had always found those with initiative despite put in a lower position an amusing type. And certainly one that Itex could use. That she could...

"Indeed." Still not having touched the coffee, he stood with Strength. "The package wouldn't be out in the rain. More likely it'll be in a public meeting place out of the rain. This shop is actually one of the few places that could be described like that around here. But obviously is barren of the contact. So, all that remains is the small local mall down the road, and the covered food court that competes with here." The eyes had flashed cold, as the minutae detail of the map of the area was recalled. He paused long enough to almost imply he was deciding where to go...

Then. "So, which do you suggest?" The smile returned as he stared. Eyes unblinking in a gaze which seemed to expect something.

'The package wouldnt be out in the rain.' So Chariot did know something about this mission he wasnt sharing. Interesting. Strength met his gaze, returning the smile with one of his own as he spread both arms in a half shrug.

"What do I suggest? I seem to remember you being put in charge." The smile widened, fractionary, for a moment, then was gone, replaced by a pure and focused, businesslike calmness. "What do you suggest?" A slight pause, then a semi-sardonic, "Sir"

The smile from Chariot vanished just as fast as the eyes narrowed again. He never was good at expecting changes in conversational flow, and the persistant feeling that Strength was trying to get something from this that he couldn't fathom irked him.

"I suppose I was." The admission ruined the attempt to draw a suggestion, but then, the other had chosen that route quite intentionally it seemed. "On a rainy day, the Mall is likely the least likely place to be spotted in a clandestine meeting, so I suppose that is my suggestion of where to start."

"Well then." Gesturing to the door, Strength kept his face carefully straight. On a rainy day, a mall, the only covered place in the area, would be the least likely place to be seen? Still, it didnt matter, every word, every passing moment brought fresh information forward. Like how the Chariot was still deferring to him, or at least acting at it.

For some reason, Strength couldnt grasp the other man. Couldnt read him. The erratic changes in personality, the twitchiness. None of it was congruent with what he'd been expecting. Filing it away, to be dealt with another time, he nodded once. "Lead the way."

Well, game over. The new recruit was more than what had been expected, certainly. And Chariot hated how the conversation was turned around on him. Oh well, the game was over, the report would be filed back after this was over. Closing his face into the cold reflection of a perpetual icy stare, he nodded and headed towards the door himself. It was time to get this done with. No more reason to loiter, after all.

Striding out into the rain with nary a glance to see if the other was following, the Chariot seemed to ignore the wetness, despite the coat not being much protection against the heavy driving rain. And he never stopped his roving eyes, taking in anyone on the street. Anyone passing by. The very fact that Itex suddenly called a meeting not originally scheduled, and upping activity around the place, meant that something big was happening. And whenever something big happened, there was always danger.

(Written by Alasund De'astion and Harlequin Smile)

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The setting changes from Throme to Little Maybelle

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Character Portrait: Axilious Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Strength Character Portrait: Elegant Harlequin Character Portrait: Amara Calen
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#, as written by Witless
Karim, Masquerade; Lil' Maybelle


The umbrella wasn't helping at all. Arthur put aside his umbrella once again to dry his glasses; he had no idea where he was. Wandering the streets of Maybelle would only get you something if you were lucky, and that hadn't happened yet. Well, he was finding where suspicious people weren't, narrowing down the search. Maybe Liesel was wrong? Ahaha! A quick response, No, we were sent here for a reason. Quitting halfway would only bring punishment. But they were turned around; where was a sign? The glasses went back on, see-through-able again for now (sure, they weren't needed, but a disguise was a disguise; it needed to be perfect). A nearby street sign proclaimed this Orion Street, and a quick glance showed a coffee shop nearby, with eaves which would at least stop the rain for a little while.

Arthur walked past, as a man in a coat walked up to the door before him. He paused, waiting for something, as Arthur walked by. A voice in the head, Why'd he pause? Take note, pay attention. I will not have you slacking off here! So Arthur slowed down and paid attention. And felt a slight wave of heat... that shouldn't have been there. A quick turn of the head, a whispered "Decoy" followed just as quickly by "End." An onlooker might have seen another "Arthur" for a split second, less, actually. It started to appear in the back of the head before disappearing as quickly as it came, facing the other man, and its information was conveyed to Karim, the other image of Arthur.

The man was dry; his hair at the very least, his coat stiffer than it should have been after walking through however much rain. Coupled with the sudden heat, there was something strange going on here. A coffee shop was a meeting place, and this was no normal customer. Call it investigator's intuition or whatever. Keep track of that man. And don't be seen... ...Yes, yes, 'mother.' No need to remind me twice! Ahahaha! This looks to be an interesting day! Haha! At the end of the eaves, the end of the building, Arthur sat with his briefcase to the side, his umbrella down, his glasses wiped. The watch that wasn't there was fidgeted with, as a message was input to the communicator. "@J2: Orion St Cafe, suspiciously-dry man, keeping lookout, following if needed. Come here and help. P.S. you won't recognize me. Ahahaha! ;)"

Sitting there, an organizer was brought out from his coat and looked at, scribbled-in additions entered from time to time. Suddenly, the cafe door opened once again, and a pair came out, one the dry guy, the other a man with... some presence. Something just felt... strong about him, confident. As they walked off, Arthur finished his dry spell and packed up, opening the umbrella and picking up the briefcase. With safe distance, he headed off in a... similar direction, where he could keep tabs on the duo. Back at the end of the eaves, a piece of note paper was left, left for Jack when he arrived looking for her, the Joker.

The setting changes from Little Maybelle to Backstreets of Throme

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Character Portrait: Axilious Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune
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#, as written by Alasund
Axilious + Wheel of Fortune; Backstreets of Throme


Chilly rain, small refrain, why didn't he bring an umbrella. Ax laughed as he half-mocked his human host internally. Well, it wasn't exactly correct, because James had taken an umbrella the entire way. He'd just left it in the greenery when he transformed into Axilious.

But what fun was it to be the star and forget a part of the play? Always others to blame it on. Always a person who deserved the guilt and who ought to be taught a lesson. Always someone else. After all, that was something the common human was good for. Taking blame, that is.

'Hum, hum, hummity hum.' The tune was bland at best, but it was the preoccupation that mattered the most to him. There would be a while before anything came of watching backstreets, and besides that, it'd just look like an obvious trap if there was a man unpreoccupied on a rainy streetcorner. Which is why he was now standing underneath an overhang, glancing casually over the shop's display.

"DAMN IT!" out of nowhere, the Wheel of Fortune stumbled back into view. "I forgot the time!" Then, almost as though he just realized that Axilious was there, he bounded up onto his toes with a smirk. "Just pretend that I was never here and go and do whatever. I wanna see a show!"

Shocked at the sudden appearance out of what seemed like thin air, he stepped back for one single moment before grinning fiercely. 'I am the star of the show.' The pronouncement shortly followed by an almost feral leap from the elegant prancer towards the new figure.

WoF stood there for a nanosecond, mouth agape, before he leapt backwards. "What are you doing, Lacey?!" he complained with a petulant frown on his face - more suitable for a child than anyone else. "You're not supposed to do that!"

'What, supposed to do my duty and catch an Itex agent? Hah!' Rolling forwards over the soaked road, and coming up smoothly, he stared down the other, soft blond locks plastered to his face by the driving rain. As the bladed staff materialised in hand, he flourished it, stepping closer. 'So, whelp, duel me and die honourably?'

That obviously wasn't WoF's idea of fun. Ignoring the completely incorrect statement, he continued stepping backwards, seemingly unworried of the extremely sharp object in Fluffy's hand. "But dueling is so ... boooooring. Why don't we do something else? You can duel with the," he glanced around then pointed at the shop display. "funny fake person in there. It even has clothes that are as pff as yours!"

Now, that did raise a grin, but it wasn't exactly 'haha I won't attack you anymore'. This was the 'What did you just imply? I think you need to be stabbed' grin. And sure enough, twirling the staff expertly, he stepped forwards measuredly, keeping pace with the retreating figure before lunging, staff directly out in front of him, attempting to skewer the other like a shishkebab.

He leapt backwards as quickly as he could, the staff not plunging into his chest - yet. After spending a few valuable seconds blowing a raspberry at the highly dangerous Lacey, he spun around and started running down the street as though his life depended on it. Which it probably did.

Growling as the blade missed, Axilious dismissed it and began haring after the vanishing figure. Trust Itex to turn tail and RUN. And this rain wasn't letting up either...

Trying to pump his legs as quickly as they could go, WoF alloted the vast majority of his brainpower to trying to remember one of his skills. Mainly because he wasn't really paying attention to where he was doing, his feet slid on a piece of slick sidewalk. A few seconds later, he was on the ground - bruised but not yet broken, completely wet, and a few meters farther away from his pursuer. And did he mention the pain?

To be honest, he'd expected a longer and better chase. However, he wouldn't pass up this opportunity. Slowing to a walk, he sauntered over towards the now injured prey. His movements designed to bring hype to the audience that... that... Holy hells. There was a one man who was staring at him strangely. Well, that sure put a dampener on things. Pretending to be going to check on the prone figure, he desperately prayed to whatever god was out there that the man keep on walking.

It seemed as though seeing threatening people walk closer made WoF's mind move faster. Without even noticing the other man, WoF quickly shouted, "Haha! I bet you're surprised!" and with hardly a transition, there was suddenly a rapidly spinning roulette wheel looming over his head.

Right. Itex was cowardly AND had no sense of presence. Well, the wheel certainly wasn't something that could be explained away, and the man now peering closer to try and work out what he was seeing was starting to become an annoyance. Even moreso when his wristwatch suddenly vibrated against his wrist. 'Goddamn all you pretentious self-absorbed critters.' Hopefully the man hadn't seen either of them well in the driving rain, and Axilious preferred to retreat while the Itex lackey made a fool of himself and became easily recognisable for the future. So, he jumped to the side, rolled, and vanished around the streetcorner...

The wheel gradually slowed, but WoF paid that no mind. There was no opponent, who had suddenly vanished around the corner. So, of course, he decided that the best course of events would be to -- there was a man? Who dared look at him as though he was the show? With a pout, he slowly picked himself off of the cold, hard ground and decided to follow Fluffy. At least he didn't stare as much. So, taking a cue from the other strange man, he bounded in the same direction.

Safe and sound around the next corner, Ax allowed himself a few moments of closed eye imagined adoration at his excellent exit. Well, whatever. He may have lost that due to a bystander, but he still had that message. Ah, Karim. Frowning and trying to recall the location of the Orion Coffee Shop, or of Orion Street itself, he paused, stretching the consideration out for just long enough...

And then his thoughts were interrupted by the Itex Lackey. Seems he'd realised the scene he was making too. 'Well, well, see what the gutters brought up...'

Ignoring the comment, the Wheel of Fortune merely blew the weirdly-dressed man a loud raspberry. "Your clothes, right? I knew they were gutter style." He reached forward to try and grab the elaborate material and surprisingly held it fairly easily.

Ax, completely shocked by the sudden aggresive reaction, stared for a moment before he tried to swat the hands away. 'Hands off my personage, if you please.'

WoF seemed to be just as amazed by his ability to place one hand on his opponent. However, he didn't dwell on it for very long. Despite the swatting hands of his opponent, he continued to hold on to the fabric before rubbing it between his palms. "Heavy." Looking up into Lacey's blue eyes, he seemed to find the entire thing quite amusing. "Yep. Gutter style. You should pick something that doesn't make you look like a jellyfish with legs."

And he dared to comment on his choice of clothes? Axilious literally seethed with rage, pivoting forwards to try and heave his fist right into the other's face. 'Gutter?!?!'

Leaping backwards, he was forced to relinquish his hold on the ornate material. Instead of trying to punch him (it was somewhat of a lost cause), he allowed a huge black book with peeling golden letters to materialize in hand and awkwardly thrust it towards Fluffy.

'Oof' Caught by surprise, failing to realise this was a masked opponent and therefore armed with a weapon not visible, Ax founds himself biffed on the chest by a book, staggering back despite the awkwardness of the blow. 'You use a BOOK to fight?'

There was a brief pause as WoF bounded up (with a loud giggle) to look at the stumbling Fluffy's face. "It's the Art of Escaping Boredom," he chimed. "You should read it. You wouldn't be as bored as you are."

'And you can tell I'm bored?' Laughing once, Axilious recalled the twirling bladed staff, grinning still, message forgotten... With one shout of 'Hah!' he struck out, joining battle in both word and weapon. While there weren't any observers due to the nature of the streets, and the rain driving even the lurkers of the backstreets away, Axilious performed as if to an audience.

And then there was the Wheel of Fortune, book cut into as he blocked the deadly blade, quite disinterested in the battle, took his part in the play as well. Pouting for every mark on his 'weapon', and always looking for a reason to escape his pursuer.

The setting changes from Backstreets of Throme to Throme

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Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Strength Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos 'Dek'
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#, as written by ZenMon
Orion Street - Rooftops


The rain fell onto the rooftops with a soft hiss and the occasional plunk as the raindrops struck a metal surface. It pooled in slight depressions in the surface of the roof, or in the corners where the level of the building wasn't quite perfect. A few sullen looking pigeons huddled together on the nearby lip of the building, doing their best to cram underneath the overhanging gantry of a billboard, but not wanting to disturb the black hooded figure already beneath it. He radiated wrongness to them. The deep hood of the figure turned ever so slightly towards the pigeons, barely acknowledging their presence. They scattered, flying off through the rain in hopes of finding a safer sanctuary from the rain.

Dek watched the pigeons fly off with a small smirk of satisfaction on his face. Rats with wings. But they know better than to stay around someone like me. The tall pale man leaned forward slightly to glance at the street below, several scant drops of rain falling on the back of his hood with faint snapping sounds. Watching. His least favorite task. Too much waiting, observing. Not enough destruction, or fighting. Nothing worth doing any work for. His smirk quickly turned into a grimace. What's taking them so long? Surely they have it by now. Or are they doing something fun without me? Surely they wouldn't. His hand reached into his pocket, taking out his mobile.

For what must've been the tenth time in the past five minutes, Dek read the same message on his phone:
From: Anon.
Orion Cafe. Overwatch, 2 Itex w/ package. Approach after retrieval. Do not be late again, Tower. Punishment will be severe.



Dek snorted derisively before putting the phone back into his pocket. Christ he hated waiting. Again, he peered over the lip of the rooftop to stare at the people below. Almost like insects. So weak, so fragile. Not knowing who or what watches them. Not knowing of the dangers they could be in. A minute more of watching before he withdrew his head back underneath the gantry on the billboard. It wasn't that Dek hated the rain. In fact, he quite enjoyed it when he wasn't being forced to stand by idly. Then it wore on his patience as obstinately as an itch that was just out of reach. One final glance, then he'd go find something more interesting to do. Punishments be damned.

Within moments of looking over the edge of the building, he saw who he was looking for. Heh. Those two. They couldn't blend in if they tried, not with that kind of presence. Dek smiled as he turned into the rain as he placed his hands into his pockets. With those two exuding the presence they did, try as they might to blend in, any Masked would be drawn to them like flies to an open garbage bin. Dek followed the two on the street, keeping close to the edges of the buildings, barely staying visible. He hoped the Masked would follow, that'd make his day much much more interesting. And his day had been mind-crushingly dull so far. Oh what a day what a day this will turn out to be. What a day, what a day...

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Cedric Valsche Character Portrait: Liesel Moringmer
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Crow | Dullahan Library -> Liron Pier


Sharp teeth bared into a smile meant anger - which was bad for the heart. Brought with it promises of future heart attacks. What a shame. She needed her bodies to be healthy in life.

And it’s only half-past late. Damn it, when there is a set time, there is a fucking reason! No message, no warning… you might have been caught in traffic or you might have been caught by Itex. How the hell am I supposed to know?

Yes, this was probably anger. Although whether or not Itex even had the means to capture a jinxflinger was doubtful. Very. There was a reason why magicians were always in demand. Because they were helpful.

And I think you -

Crow ignored whatever she said. There was no point. She was talking to the royal bastard who had no powers whatsoever. Really useless. Could be taken down with an arrow to the head. Probably aimed between the eyes. Would be simple enough.

Listening to the instructions to the warehouse with a quarter of one ear, Crow simply stood there, unmoving, not reacting, even as she inched her back closer to a wall. Always nice to have some backup. Her senses were at the top of her game - making her almost hypersensitive - and for a second, she was aware of the constant smell that always surrounded her.

So she was supposed to leave?

Exiting the room with the same blank expression that she used when entered, she paused after a few steps, just in turn to hear voices from inside start as soon as she left.

The two of them leaned together closely, whispering in each other’s ears with the appearance of common criminals. A tiny wavering smoke curled around their faces. ‘How soon are we going to do the deed. Well, of course, it will have to be done soon. Very soon. A poisoned blade will do the trick very well. Yes we have to be careful. The girl is only valuable to us dead.’ Faces marred with deadly smirks. A weapon fingered lovingly.

Yes, they had to be plotting against her. To destroy her life and steal her magic. They coveted her mask. They wanted her dead.

Arriving there did not take that much time. Walking in the center of the sidewalk, ignoring all of the little in number, hapless, brainless mortals that dared to be in her way. Fists clenched tightly, making her knuckles whiter than the rest of her skin, as she tried to drive back the urge to see them all to the loving embrace of death with a well-placed arrow.

The warehouse came into view faster than she expected. A quiet burbling from the river continued to annoy Crow even as she looked at the slightly open door that beckoned her closer.

A

Trap.

Refusing to get any closer, Crow stood there and looked at the opening, half expecting to see skeletal fingers curl over the wood. Then, a few minutes later, she continued walking forwards. The Queen could have fun setting off the trap because Crow was not going to waste her life on any dangers. Not if she could help it.

Just ahead, a wooden surface jutted over the silver-blue surface of the water. Skin tingling with the feeling that someone was going to kill her, Crow strode closer, magical sparks dancing from her fingertips.

There was someone there.

A boy.

With black clothing and white hair. Almost like her. Drawing one of her Lirael arrows from the air around her, she flicked it into the air, aiming a few centimeters away from his face. A warning shot across the bow. And if he moved into its trajectory, it wouldn’t be too much of a loss anyways.

A few minutes later, the arrow was arching elegantly towards the pier, leaving a faint trail of light as it traveled. Keening the siren call of death as it went.

With deft movements, Crow continued to pull a second arrow out of the air, letting it sit dormant in her hand. Always good to be prepared. Tongue tripping through the complicated incantation to control her still-flying arrow, the magician looked at her target through disinterested eyes. ‘How would the body react?’

The setting changes from Throme to Liron River Pier

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow
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#, as written by Witless
Caine Strauss, Itex Moon; Liron River Pier


It was taking a while. Was everyone of this world as inept as his contact? How long had it been? They all should have made it here by now, the contact, the others... anybody at all. This was taking far too long, but Itex's orders were Itex's orders. They wouldn't be disobeyed, and Caine was not as inept as the others. He would wait as long as needed or until he could wait no longer. The drawing complete, Caine flipped to the next page and noted with slight confusion the dampness of the book. Oh, right. It was raining. Not that it mattered, the rain never seemed to bother him. It calmed him, actually, or tried to. Speaking of, how was Kaden dealing with the rain and his friends? Oh well, he couldn't make a huge mess of things, right? Not as badly as the last time...

No, it was no use worrying about things he couldn't fix at the moment. And at the moment the main problem was meeting anyone at the meeting place. Itex had done its job and cleared the area, so there was no one around. And who would want to be around during such a wet day at a pier? People surely had better things to do. But seriously, where was the contact? There was a package, correct? It needed to be received and delivered to Itex. The contact would meet them; he had no need to move from this spot. But the others should have been here... it took nowhere near this long to get here. Maybe it should be reported? That the... leader of this mission did so well that he never showed? Hanged Man, indeed... and where was the Hermit, being reclusive as its name implied? Idiots. If he'd have to complete this mission by himself... If there were... complications. Did they concern themselves with their own well-being? Idiots, the lot of them...

Caine closed his sketchpad, his pen pressed inside, and sat on the pier, his legs swinging back and forth as he listened to his surroundings. Rain, hitting the water. Ripples from what may be fish underneath the dock; their smell was pervasive as well. The wind blowing around him. No people. Not yet. He waited, and waited, and he waited some more. Eventually, after what seemed like forever, there was the sound of footsteps. Was it finally one of the others? Or was it the contact? The footsteps paused and continued toward him before stopping again.

Suddenly, a sound. A keening, a projectile? A projectile. And... muttering, an incantation? The Magician wasn't sent on this mission; was there another? An invoker of sorts? Curiouser and curiouser... Turning, his head cocked to listen, sightless eyes staring in the direction of the projectile inquisitively, he stood up, his sketchpad catching the projectile mid-flight, his body reacting in "surprise." His fingers felt the projectile, a feather? Confusion likely clear on his face, he spoke in an almost-quivering voice, "Who's there? W- What do you want from me?"

It was strange; if it were Itex, there would be no need for attack. If it were the contact, would there truly be need for attack? And would the contact have a mask, for what else allowed magic in this otherwise magic-less world? Was there a third party interested in Itex, and how had they heard of the meeting? Had their location been compromised? Well, Caine would get what information he could from this person, and then it could be taken care of. Killing was no problem... no problem at all...

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Calanthia Rozenmare
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Calanthia Rozenmare
"Why is that doing nothing seems to be such a luxury for me?"

~~~~~~++~~~~~~


Liron River Pier - 8:23 PM - November 21 - Raining

Image

It would be wonderful if what Thia was seeing was just a mere illusion of the falling rain. The other reason was that her eyes were no longer the perfect 20/20 vision. Although, the two reasons she had provided herself were far from the truth of the happenings. At the same time, she was certain that her mental capability was not compromised at the moment considering what she had been through. There within her line of sight, she saw two rather unnoticeable individuals upon the pier. One seemed to be simply passing time despite the dreary weather. She would never understand people such like them who are not bothered by the seemingly unending rain. It was annoying and downright spiteful for her tastes. In any case, she also noticed another individual yet this one alarmed her greatly. Out of thin air, an arrow was crafted that should not have existed in all the known logic of the world.

"Magic...? It couldn't be..."

Her words came out of her lips much like a hushed whisper. Calla's grip on the handle of her umbrella tightened while her other hand held on sternly onto the provided stainless steel railing on the pedestrian bridge. Eyes of ash mauve widened in disbelief and surprise. The memories from the old times which she had desired to be effectively removed from her head played before her like a phantasm reserved only for her viewing pleasure. For the first time in her life, she wanted the sound of the rain to drown the voices from her past and the loud beating of her heart into nothing. Yet, there are certain wishes in life that no matter what one does, it will never come true. For in the end, life had always been the biggest disappointment of all.

"Get away. It is not your business. Don't get involve."

Thia kept repeating these words much like a protection mantra as she slowly faced the road before her. There was still a long way to go before she reaches the safety of her house. She had decided a long time ago that she would never get herself involved in all these fantasy matters reserved for the darkness. As she finally continued with her walk, a flashing glint caught the attention of her eyes. Instinctively, she looked towards it and saw the crafted arrow pierced through the air with the intention of hitting its predetermined target, a person. Her sense of morality could not allow her to simply stand by on the sidelines and do nothing. Especially when the one who crafted the magical arrows had another one in hand once more.

"You're a fool, Calla."

Upon saying that to herself, Calla threw away the umbrella as it was going to be a hindrance to her next actions. She propelled herself over the protective railings of the bridge and to jump down. Fortunately, the terrain was angular and littered with green foliage for a soft landing. She slid down allowing the combination of mud, grass, and rain to cling to her dress. There was a certain feeling that she would regret her actions later on. However, it was better than to allow her sense of right and wrong be the one to keep her awake all the way through the night. After all, she truly desired a good night sleep more than anything else.

"Stop right there! If you do not, I'm calling the police!"

To prove the authenticity of her threat, Thia showed her phone while placing it on her ears. She had already yet to press the number however, her finger just needed to press the button to make the call. In her mind, she knew that if her conclusion about the identity of this magic-wielding person was right. The police would not be able to handle this so easily. It would certain get messy. However, the only advantage was that these people who wield such unreasonable powers in science. They intend to keep it a secret from the general public. That was the ace that she was betting on and if it turns out to be a ripped off. Well, she could do of another plan.

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???; Liron Pier

“Don’t kill the messenger, eh?” the young woman scoffed as she nudged the limp body with her foot – red shoes, no heels, practical. After all, she was a very practical person. Don’t kill the messenger because, after all, he’s only delivering a message. That’s what he’d told her after their brief little exchange. Well, it seemed that for once, she’d actually listened – she hadn’t killed him, at least. However, the drying brown hue at her heel was a testimony to what she had done.

A note of trivia: she might not kill, but she didn’t have anything against a bit of blood.

Really though, in the end, she was sure no one would have minded if she’d chosen to off this particular messenger… especially when he didn’t seem to have a damn clue who he was supposed to be delivering to. After all, the young woman now possessed the ‘delivery’, a plain little package, right in her hands, and she certainly wasn’t the recipient. Well, she wasn’t unless her name had changed to ‘Itex Pawns’ overnight. “All I had t’do was flash a smile and give a nod,” the woman chuckled under her breath, tossing her prize into the air.

Finally, it something interesting was brewing in Throme at last.

This seemed worth observing.



The pier was dreadfully calm as the second half hour ticked past. So far, all the young woman had seen from her high off little perch was the occasional sailor trudging by with rods, reels, and who knows what else – hardly ‘suspicious recipient’ material.

Boooooring.

Hell, was that messenger so incompetent that he’d been on a rendezvous at the wrong place? Pff. She wouldn’t have put it past the gap-toothed creep. Or… perhaps he was… a decoy? A red herring sent out in the world to confuse any – hell no, if he was a member, this shady Itex organization couldn’t possibly be so cunning. Besides, the package was waaaaaay too much of a disappointment to even be a decoy – a decoy would’ve been… what, like a bomb or something.

Hm? How did she know it wasn’t a bomb?

Well, she had long since carefully opened and its contents thoroughly examined for her curiosity, but… well… there hadn’t been much to examine.

Packing peanuts.

Packing peanuts.

More packing peanuts.

Siamese twin packing peanuts.

And then just a small drawstring bag with an even smaller little sliver of… some kind of rock?... inside it. It wasn’t even anything significant – dull grey, not stronger than the concrete, not pretty to look at, nothing. Really. Way too boring to even be a decoy. The young woman creased her brow at that, her mouth twisting into a pout. What, that was it?! This was what that shifty incompetent was so suspiciously trying to deliver?

Booooring…

… or maybe, just maybe… it was important?

She couldn’t exactly rule out that possibility either. Hell, what did she know about geology? She hadn’t even finished high school. Maybe it was something important. Yeah.

And in that case, she was going to hang onto it… oh, but she’d be delivering the package alright… just with a little switcheroo.

***

The true package is hidden in the yet unopened exhibit of the MTAH. Good luck finding it.

With this, she could see how big a deal these Itex people were. If they called her out, then no big deal. If they took the message seriously and actually paid a ‘visit’ to the museum… well…

“Stop right there! If you do not, I’m calling the police!” a woman’s voice rang out. Startled, the observer flipped her position, again staring down by the riverside. Oh? How had she missed such an interesting development?... But all the same…

Throme just got a lot more fun.

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Calanthia Rozenmare
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Crow, Caine Strauss, and Calanthia Rozenmare | Liron River Pier
(Post co-written by Butterfly Princess and Witless)


The second arrow was launched through the air soon after - this time aimed at the silver object that floated there. Like a moon, but really, probably more like a familiar. Still murmuring foreign-sounding words under her breath, Crow snapped her eyes towards the new arriving body. It was of the female gender with -

What was that she was shouting about? Or holding?

No matter. Magic wasn't going to fear the interferings of some outside force. There was no way.

Allowing her sparkling fingers to weave through the air and pluck out yet another feather, she tossed it, singing, into the air at the object the new arrival was holding at the side of her head.

There was another keening, a feather aimed toward Caine? He listened to it in confusion, its trajectory not at all toward him. What was this person's goal? And there was another, some newcomer who had no idea what was happening... by the sounds of it, at least. The police, she said? Well, just another problem to get rid of. This was beginning to be a pain. When would anyone of use arrive? Caine sighed and turned his attention back to his attacker...

*BANG*

Caine clutched his ears in suprise, and, well, pain. That pocket of air, the feather... it was aimed at that? Why would someone make a device to explode air? And why would Kaden keep it hovering close to him?!? That idiot! The least he could have done was explained how it worked! Ouch! ...and there was another to complicate things... What would she do?

Searing pain radiated to the side of her face, Calla's eyes widened in surprise. Her cellphone just blew up into pieces. More importantly, she could feel the heat of it still remaining on her face. There was also the terrible ringing in her ears. Such an explosion could have shattered her earbuds, thankfully it didn't although, there is a bit of bleeding as expected from such a close proximation of explosion. Even some fragments stuck close to her skin, fortunately, it was not deep enough to be a scar issue in the future.

"Ah!"

Looking at her hand, it was very burned and had cuts all over. She looked at the woman who was definitely behind such an act. This is why she hated being involved in such fantasy mumbo-jumbo. But, it just didn't sit well with her to just walk away from all of these. She swore that this was entirely Arthur's fault to begin with.

"This is why I hate Masks..."

Now that both were... well, taken care of, and that familiar certainly had an odd way of dying, Crow narrowed her pale eyes. "Hail there," she called out to the fellow on the bridge, disdain dripping from her uneven tone of voice. "Which name would your body like to carry in death and in life?" With her greeting done and over with, she stepped closer, merely a few meters away from the wooden platform now. "What brings thee to the home and haven of magic?"

Coldly looking forward, Crow saw that water lapped at the sides of the bank, even as more cold water poured down from the sky. It showed no signs of abating. None.

Who were these unwelcome intrusions anyways? Perhaps - this was the promised blade twixt the ribs that she had known was coming. Yes.

The ringing in Caine's ears was abating... "...Masks..." Wait. What had she just said? This newcomer, the one threatening to call, she knew of masks? Great, just great. More enemies and more to take care of. This was getting to be too much. Way too much. Oh, the first one was talking, was she?

Something about names, something about magic. What to answer, what to say? "I'm sorry, do I know you? Magic, you say? That's in... books, stories... paintings, right? Would you like to see?" The sketchpad was opened, his pen drawn. What would appear next?

A sound of cloth being ripped rang ever so briskly. Thia had a piece of her attire torn to wrap around her injured hand. It was still stinging yet it was something that could be ignored. On the other hand, she was also thankful for the falling rain as it managed to cleanse the trickling blood from her ear and face. Although, she hoped this will be the last time she would feel such a thing towards this dreary weather.

In any case, her main concern now was the white-haired girl who clearly had explosion and arrow issues. Scratch that, magic issues from the look of it. Calla glanced at the boy and took noticed of him showing his sketchpad. "I wonder..."

Blah blah blah.

Now that she asked the question, she didn't really know what was going to happen next.

What occurs when a traitor-assassin-betrayal is unveiled? Shouting, name calling, or even the debasement of magic?

Watching the distant horizon, she saw the round white building of some sorts perched on high stilts. Some inner voice in her head named whatever in this moronic magic-less world. Water tower. More importantly, -she vaugely caught sight a shadowy figure that sat there with bright red shoes dangling off the side.

Curious. This plot just got deeper. But whatever happened, against these mere mortals, magic would blow them all way without trouble. Arrows arching through the air, the sparkle of an extraworldly power - yes.

What, neither was doing anything? Hmm... was it even worth it anymore? The feather-arrow girl had this sickly-sweet smell about her that was really getting bothersome. It reminded Caine of that time- Nevermind. At what seemed to be some sort of standstill now, his hands went to sketching, the most recent thing of importance: the feather. It was probably a good representation, not that he could see it, with as much detail as could be managed with his pen and the degrading paper.

But really, did Itex expect him to handle two people on his own? Especially when their own contact was late? Screw them for screwing up everything! Really, they should have been more competent than Kaden at least... Or was everyone in this world so idiotic? Caine pulled the second feather out of his painting and twirled it around in his hand. Not that either had even seen the painting... What to do next?

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Calanthia Rozenmare
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Calanthia, Crow, Caine Strauss, and ??? | Liron River Pier
(Post co-written by Nivosity, Cienpher and Witless)


"You are truly an idiot, Calanthia."

This was the ringing statement within Thia's head. It seemed she was way out of her league and judged the situation wrongly. The boy suddenly took out a feather out of nowhere. Scratch that. He took it out from his sketchpad from her observations. This was just great. She was caught in between two mask-wielders. Describing this situation as mere getting out of hand is quite the insult. She should have just walked on, minding her own business. But NO, she had to play hero and let her morality took precedence than her safety. Now, look what got her? Injuries all over her face and a broken phone which contained important contacts for her business.

Upon recalling that, Calla's self-preservation slightly lowered itself closely to a nil. The girl just broke her phone. Her connections to important clients which she has yet to save on her laptop. Furthermore, she now also remembered that the falling rain continued to drench her. Everything about this situation was annoying. She could already fill her temper beginning to grow out of proportions. More importantly, this twist of events reminded her one of the person, she hated above all.

"I have enough of this hocus pocus. This is all that guy's fault to begin with!"

At the end of her statement, Thia took out a small handgun she always carry with her. It was safely secured in one of her boot and without much hesitation shot two bullets. One flew towards the feather-throwing woman and the other one towards the boy who she had ought to save before. Her mind was now corrupt by her rage and she blames the irony of this situation to one man in the end. Unknown to her, there was another onlooker who was witnessing this events from a distant perch with such stunning red shoes.

The said onlooker, meanwhile, looked down at the scene with eyebrows raised. Her chin was propped in her hand as she leaned (rather dangerously) forward, near pitching over the platform of the water tower, in interest - for once reality had far exceeded her expectations. This wasn't some trick. This wasn't some stage show. This was an outright candid happening, and either cosplayers took things a step too far... or her eyes weren't deceiving her and this was unnatural - magical? Hell, no, that word held too many light and happy connotations for what she was seeing.

This was fascinating... and she had no doubt that her little stray package was meant for those bizarre, outlandish figures.

But what of that girl with the gun? Reckless. That one didn't seem to have a plan at all - looked out of place too. Probably wasn't meant to be there.

However, when two shots rang out through the pier, the mysterious onlooker tensed. 'That princess has a death wish,' she thought, before tucking the package into the large inner pockets of her long coat and springing into action. Some might have called her cazy, the way she simply leapt off the ledge... but then again, most people didn't realize that she wasn't one of those thoughtless people who called themselves 'spontaneous' like it was a title of honor. No, she planned her 'spontaneity' meticulously.

As she fell, she grabbed the length of the ladder, merely wincing when the old peeling paint cut into her palms as she continued her rapid descent. "Oi, costumed freaks!" she shouted, catching footing on a rung and spinning to face them once close enough to the ground. They would be able to see her clearly now, pale brown eyes, eager grin, free dark hair and all. Her striking red shoes were a clear contrast to the dull paint of the water tower ladder. Bracing herself, with her free hand she pulled out the package from the inside of her coat, flamboyantly as if she were pulling a rabbit from a hat. "Gotta delivery for'ya!"

"That guy?" It wasn't Caine. He hadn't known this interrupting woman before this. As she fired another projectile with a bang, Caine dove aside immediately. Suddenly, the sound of someone coming closer, hitting the ground from a fall; he turned to face the newcomer. "Oi, costumed freaks! Gotta delivery for'ya!" Finally. That person had taken far too long to arrive. And of course she would arrive when there was not one but two distractions that had to be taken care of first. Itex had better compensate for this... This was more than they had prepared him for, and they were the ones at fault.

"It's about time..." Caine raised his hands to the two disturbances and spoke, "Ningens." From his hands came a spray of ice shards, darting at their respective targets. Meanwhile, he began walking toward the delivery woman, his cane forgotten on the pier (no need to keep up the blind act), it returned to ink. This had better be worth it, or he'd be getting much better assurances from Itex that things would go as planned the next time. As he neared the newly-appeared (late) woman, "That's for me, if you would."

Crow was feeling quite irritated the entire time.

Flying gunpowder and lead was a despicable trick. No honor in civilians at all. And the complete lack of magic? Shocking. Hateful. Horrible. Drawing another arrow in hand, she threw it at the strange flying cylinder - and as magic was so much more precise, the two impacted perfectly. The strange object shattered into hundreds and hundreds of pieces, litering the ground. The arrow fell on the ground, before disappearing in a few sparkles of light.

Then, things became more complicated. Yet another... mundane mortal moron entered the scene, mocking magicians with her obvious tricks. Disgusting, indeed. But as soon as the reverberations of her voice faded away, she had to defend from yet another attack. This time...

Magic?!

Throwing up Avalon haphazardly, she was grateful to see the majority - no, all - of the ice shards hit the reflective waterfall and get enveloped by the force of the water, before melting harmlessly and joining the torrent. Of course, that also meant that whatever the guy was doing.

And why in the world did she protect the first complication in the first place?

Pale white eyes narrowed. "I don't like dying," she stated with a frown. "But no matter, bodies. You'll be there soon enough." She hated defending. Absolutely. Yes.

The self-proclaimed messenger quickly stopped her grin and merely quirked a brow at the young man who approached. "Hm, so you're the one they're givin' this mission to?" she mused, letting out a long whistle for emphasis. "Got your luck cut out for ya." With that final remark, she flung the (carefully resealed) package to the said costumed freak. Of course there wasn't really a mission, but she knew her stuff - set the scene and run with it. Mention it now and her false little message inside the box would be that much more credible.

What, at least it was more credible than some little stone shard.

"Anyway, mind fillin' me in on the scene here?" Flat expression, flickering glance to the young woman off scene. "The higher ups'll wanna know." Okay, and that last line was a risk - who knew where this crazy's position in the It... (Itek? Damn, she forgot) hierarchy was and for all she knew, he could be the higher up... but she was curious. What was this group? Hell, she was already going in blind, so she might as well go all out.

In a world where fudamentals of logic and illusions cross the dimensions of reality, Thia really wondered if what she had assumed as existing does not belong in the realm of truth. Perhaps, it was also the other way around. Well in any case, such lingering thoughts did not matter at the moment. What was importnat was the fact that her apparitions of destruction were flatten with the wave of magic.

"This is why I never agreed to such a thing in the first place."

The meaning of those words lost in translation in the folds of her consciousness. Moreover, ice shards as the only viable identification of those crystalline projectiles she could think of. Actually, there are those glass toothpicks, marble spears, and the likes. However, she hardly consider the fact that people who think of themselves so highly with just the mere magnification of their egoistic fantasies.would lower themselves with such things. Well perhaps, they would. She would never know and really did not care to expand on that topic anymore. For now, those projectiles from the boy headed towards her as well. It would be in her best interest to dodge. Yet, her reaction time would not allow it.

"Am I going to die like this?"

Without flinching, Thia's ash mauve eyes became vacant resembling that of a lifeless doll. An acceptance of fate? Or the denial of consequence? Whatever it may be, the said shards were enveloped in a liquid glass object. Regaining her earlier fragmented attention, she noticed it to be of water. Soon, it was washed away with the falling rain into the nearby river.

"Did she just save me?"

Looking towards the direction of the arrow-maniac girl, Calla was not certain what to think now. Furthermore, she now noticed an arrival of someone. From the look of things, this was something she never wanted to be part of. As of now, the cozy office at her store was beginning to be a place of heaven for her. In any case, she knows when she had to pay her dues and such.

"Thanks."

It was spoken with a slight tone of appreciation but more of a begruding inclination. Well, this was the one who destroyed her phone and even caused her injuries from the get-go. Seeing as of now, this place was out of her league. It was not a place for humans like her and that is just that.

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Calanthia Rozenmare
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#, as written by Witless
Caine Strauss, Calanthia, Crow, and ??? | Liron River Pier
(post co-written by Nivosity, Cienpher, and Butterfly Princess)


"Hm, so you're the one they're givin' this mission to?" Something was tossed to Caine, and he grabbed it. The box. The package. It was slipped in his bag, and his attention was turned once again to his opponents. The projectiles had been stopped with the sound of water, and of course the lack of cries of pain helped confirm that. Well, if that didn't work... "Fulmen." The hands turned once more to his opponents, and from them shot bursts of electricity.

With a startled gasp, Caine's hands jerked back at the shock. That was going to be more dangerous than normal... Why, was there water around beside the river? Had one of the others done something he hadn't noticed? Well, they'd react to this attack at least... Meanwhile, the messenger was speaking again.

"The higher ups'll wanna know." Hmm? This messenger wanted an explanation? Of what was happening? If the higher ups wanted to know, they could be told by him. And believe me, they'd find out what happened here... When I question the disappearance of the leader and the third on such an important mission. This was not supposed to have as many complications, and of course the higher ups would be told. But now was not the time to hold idle conversation.

Taking the box away from the meeting place, Caine broke into a run, the memories of Kaden telling him when to turn, as he tried to lose the others. Once it was secured, the delivery could be completed...

Angry out of her mind, Crow was not in the best of moods to deal at the incoming wave of energy. The muffled thanks was just to be expected, as she was the magician in this scenario - but really, she paid it no mind.

What was the best way to get rid of this mage?

The lightning bolt spread, jumping from drop of water to drop of water before - whelp, getting a little charred isn't going to do anything, right? Angling her body so that the least amount of surface area was facing the wave of energy, she made sure that her left hand was stuck at her side and was rewarded by a - albeit irritating - shock. The energy transferred directly down the right side of her body, making it feel temporarily numb.

But mind over body, so she shook off the effects pretty quickly.

Then dancing fingers plucked two arrows this time and slung them through the air towards the running mage. What a shame. Magic was rare enough, but killing the apprentice would be necessary. Allowing the two to weave together, this time making sure that the singing of the arrows was deliberately confusing and slightly disorienting, she saw the two feathers speed through the air - faster than last time - one right after the other.

The fake messenger could only watch as the eccentric young man hurried off with the package. "Tch, knew that was pushing it," she sighed... but no, she was far from done. Her attention was drawn to the other figure, who seemed to be readying some magical attack. It was too dangerous to step in, but too interesting to miss - she'd adopt a spectator's seat once more.

Something sparkling caught by her vision, Thia's attention as she angled herself sideaways. There she saw bolts of lightning heading towards them. She instinctively opted to dodge which she did at the nick of time. Although, she could feel the close call as it passed ever so closely to her face. The fizzle of the air among with the watery environment they were in rather added a logical effect to the lightning sent from the boy's hands. Thinking about it, she smelled something singed and noticed that some portion of her hair were not so lucky to dodge the tender licks of lightning.

However, before she could do anything about it. Another set of feathers were released by the woman who had protected her from the earlier attack. This time all she could do was watch in silence and worry if it would connect with its intended target. It seemed that her morality was once more battling within her once more.

More feathers. They'd never hit with that sound. That one wouldn't hit him... Caine dodged to the side, muttered the command to his next spell: "Obturberis morerisque," and a shimmering emanated from him. There. If they weren't distracted by- Ouch! There was? Another one? It had hit Caine in the shoulder, cutting and drawing blood... that would need to be covered up soon, or he'd be as easy to follow as, well, kids who left breadcrumbs in a forest.

As he was saying, if they weren't distracted by whatever distractions resulted from that... it wasn't called a shield for nothing. It would help him get away, though they wouldn't forget about him. All that mattered was that it lasted long enough for him to complete his delivery. The box was safe. It was with him. Now, he only needed a return to the chat room... Then Kaden could be back to clean up his mess, and all would be good. There was no need to look back to see if they were still chasing; they wouldn't be for long, but he'd find out soon enough.

Coldly, approaching the runaway apprentice boy, Crow -

What was that?

Turning her head to the side, her cold, empty white eyes glanced down at the creaking wood floor of the pier. It was an annoyance, something to be destroyed, yes. But, there was somehing that she could just not remember.

The dark haired human was some sort of clue, right?

Oh, the apprenti -

...

The red shoes were really obnoxious. Really. Maybe it would be better if Crow helped the girl out of them. And destroyed them for good measure. Crow, stepping forward to do just that, suddenly remembered the package that was whipped out so flamboyantly.

Where had it gone in the first place?

She just couldn't remember. Even thinking about it was hard -

What was going on?!

The false messenger, who had been enjoying the spectacle, noticed the peculiar shift in the air as well. Her smile faded as she narrowed her pale brown eyes - strange. There seemed to be something like... a glitch in her memory? She knew that something was amiss because there was a hole in the mental print of her plan. She never had holes in her plans.

Her attention was diverted by the sound of weight on pavement, someone stepping towards her. Potential danger. Move.

In almost a reflexive response, the outsider spun on her heel to face the other 'costumed freak' - the girl - keeping wary watch for sudden movements. See, this false messenger knew the street life well. She didn't even forget to smile and pretend like she was calm, even though she was far, far from it. Inside, she was frantically searching for the missing piece of the puzzle - it almost felt as if she wasn't supposed to, with everything else, every movement, every sight and smell assaulting her senses, but she wasn't about to just gloss over the glaring inconsistency in her thoughts.

What was she missing... maybe this other girl had some answers. Oh, it was dangerous for sure - what could she do when the enemy could use magic? But hell, she was willing to take the risk.

"Hey," she started with a tilt of her head. "You there, freak number two - mind filling me in on what just happened?"

The setting changes from Liron River Pier to Throme

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Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Strength
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#, as written by Alasund
The mall loomed ahead as the two wanderers in the rain approached. Still silent, still unreacting to the rain, Chariot strode ahead. As if sensing that something was going to happen very soon, the rain beat down harder, the small drops of rain hitting hard enough to sting on exposed skin. And yet, that hardly stopped either man from Itex.

Chariot, pausing to look around once as they arrived at the mall entrance, grimaced in distaste while glancing around, his face shielded from his current partner's. Of course he'd been caught on the spot and said the most logical sounding thing that came to mind, and now he would look like a fool to Strength, most likely. Especially with the clusters of people inside the mall. So much for being as deserted as he wanted it to be. Not that it effected the mission in any way..

Shaking his head, he stepped into the covered entrance, before stepping to the side to 'allow' his partner to also get out of the rain, although the entrance was easily wide enough for them to have gone abreast and still have room for more. No, the action was to obscure him while affording him a clear view of both in and outside the shop for people paying undue attention. After a moment finding nothing, a simple 'Let's go.' and the cloaked man was off at a brisk walk again. There was no hesitancy for where to go, or a pause for Chariot to get his bearings.

With one glance back out into the rain sodden street, Strength shrugged his shoulders and followed his partner into the mall, unable to shake the feeling that something was up. Maybe it was losing the jump in the coffee shop, or Chariot's twitchiness, or even the underlying distaste he felt for the way the missions were being handled around here, but then, maybe it wasnt. When it came to his own intuition, Strength trusted himself implicitly, despite knowing full well he'd despise someone else for using 'just a feeling' as a justification.

The mall was far from busy, but far from the ghost town Chariot had suggested it'd be. Aware that Chariot was doing the same, Strength settled into the same, familiar pattern of easy stride, head on a swivel, eyes flicking across each knot of people, each storefront, looking both for their contact, not that he knew what he was looking for, and for the out of place. Anything odd, strange, anything that could become, as he'd once heard it euphemistically described, a situation.

"So." It wasnt really a question, his tone flat and low, demanding response. "We're here. Now what."

Pausing at the base of the stairs to the second floor, Chariot carefully watched a pair go past. 'As soldiers, we're here to await contact.' There was no give in the words of Chariot. Turning to regard the man with him, Chariot's smile, pasted on for the passers by, was wiped away. 'I thought it was understood that trust with information should be earnt.'

Through blind obedience, or if not that, at least measured and patient obedience. 'Anyone with information regarding us should find us fairly easily. Where as the contacts we work with specialise in fading into the background.' As if this explained the entire situation, Chariot turned away again.

For a long second Strength gave no indication or response to the Chariot, just kept the same steady flat gaze on the other man, then nodded with a curt, 'Understood."

Trust for information should be earned? They were, as low level 'soldiers', not privy to information he'd assume was obvious for completion of their objective? Despite his misgivings increasing with every new word, every piece of information given, Strength kept quiet. From the other man's reaction either he wasnt used to being questioned so incessantly, or Strength had pushed simply too far. Showing no emotion beyond stolid readiness, he placed his back at the wall and waited for their contact to show.

Chariot nodded once to himself, satisfied by the other's response, and went back to casually surveying the surrounding people. The escalator above, hardly teeming with people at all, suddenly had a bit of a commotion as someone went barrelling down it, drawing the eyes of the surrounding people. The older man in the business suit merely muttered at everyone in a hostile manner as he barrelled past them.

For those not just watching the stairs, the man that paused right next to Chariot might have been an interesting person to watch. Wide brimmed hat and rather casual clothes masked his figure quite well, though his face was fairly visible. After watching the spectacle for a moment, he nodded at the two Itex people and continued on his way.

Chariot, meanwhile, now had his hands in his pockets while watching proceedings. 'We wait until another potential contact could give us information in some way before we move.' Resisting the urge to look at the written instructions that he'd received in the commotion, he left it in his pocket as he waited.

Before long, as the preacher with the pamphlets moved past, forcing one each on the pair, Chariot put the useless article inside his coat as he motioned for the duo to move to a more isolated place.

The setting changes from Throme to Liron River Pier

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Calanthia Rozenmare
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Calanthia, Crow, Caine Strauss, and ??? | Liron River Pier


It seemed that the boy was now escaping the scene. However, he did not leave unscathed. One of the feathers connected with his skin and the sight of blood made Thia feel an amount of guilt. Still remembering the earlier events, she justified it as something deserving for his likes. Which goes to say, the woman who seemed to suffer a certain amount of anonymity both in the mind and presence appeared to be bothered. Thinking about it, this woman might have saved her yet, it does not change the fact that she destroyed her phone from the very beginning.

Fortunately, Cala was not able to linger on the emotions of irritation as the mysterious woman who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere was now before them. Along with that, the woman had a question. She would have taken the initiative to answer the query. Unfortunately, she was not also certain what was going on or why did she ever think to intervene on the matters where magic and mumbo jumbo ruled the possibility of all things.

Caine looked behind him, pausing in his run and listening. There didn't seem to be anyone following him. Now was the time to stop this infernal bleeding, give an end to the trail that would lead them to him. He could spare some more time using this wasteful power, but he was getting tired, from lack of energy and lack of stamina. Blood loss wasn't really a factor; it was a minor wound. Caine brought out his sketchpad and drew once more: a roll of bandages, used to cover his wound, stop it from bleeding, and above all stop that blood from falling. With a gasp, he drew it out and applied it, getting rid of the excess as ink, mixing with water and new-fallen blood on the ground. His time here was running out, and this disastrous mission would have to be completed soon. There'd be no more interruptions. Not if he could help it.

The bleeding stopped, Caine continued a ways, stumbling here and there in his fatigue. But that magician... who was she? Not that it mattered... Far enough from the trail, he muttered "finis" and took out the writing tablet and headphones Kaden had instructed him with, that he'd used so often before. For the second time that day, Kaden signed into the Itex voice chat and spoke. "Moon, signing in. There were t- two complications. Neither of them Itex. And I can't say much about your messenger. Or the rest of our crew... Hanged Man and Hermit never showed. I have the package, though. Where to?" Someone had to be on, right? Someone who knew what was happening, what to do? Because Caine sure didn't, and his time here was running ever shorter.

Freak number two? What was that supposed to mean?

Her eyes flickered towards the calm smile that the second mortal wore. Somehow she had the feeling that she was being mocked. Yes, somewhere behind that smile was a joke at Crow's expense. She balled her hands into fists, colorless sparks flying from her fingertips. Then, taking a step forward, she licked her pale lips. Her voice came out absolutely neutral. "What do you intend, mortal?"

Her fingers twitched again, violently. It just didn't feel right not to be slinging arrows and pulverizing the bodies. But, with the hole in her mental facilties, she needed some cannon fodder. Who knew what was going on right now? And there was something important going on.

"Mortal?" the stranger echoed, before giving into a bout of snickering. Spinning on her heel, she turned away from the masked woman, throwing out her arms. "Ahh, Throme really has become more interesting!" the mere human exclaimed, laughing all the while. Glancing back, she added, “I don’t ‘intend’ to do anything. I’m more of the spontaneous sort, myself.”

Lies. She never acted thoughtlessly.

“Do tell me though. What do you intend to do, hm?”

Reckless and sometimes, stubborn, those were Thia's ever present traits. However, she was not an idiot not to to understand the there is trouble brewing between the lady with red shoes and the woman with magic syndrome. She was certain things could get ugly in an instant with one wrong move. Still, she had no more energy to interefere with anything at all. The recent events had drained most of her spirit and more importantly, she was too cold and too battered to care anymore. Why was she here anyway? This was not her jurisdiction.

"I will leave you two now but I suggest you two do the same."

In the distance, one could heard the closing sound of sirens. It would proper to conclude that those were police cars and all. Cala did not find that odd as they did cause some ruckus with all the explosion and all. Even with the falling rain that could be used to mask such noises. There ws still a distinctive sound to differentiate it. Adding to that ongoing increase of crime rates in the city, the citizen and its security forces are quite vigilant nowadays. Turning her back at them, she walked away but not before stopping midway.

"I hope to never see all of you again."

After stating that, Calla continued on her way without looking back. She definitely would need to take a bath and to remember never to interfere with anything again. This was going to be the last time she would have an encounter with Masks and such things called magic. She returned to the pathway above and continued on her way wanting to take a cab, After all, she had no more energy left to walk towards her home.

Yes. The mortals were really laughing at Crow. Her white eyes narrowed as she took in the two females that dared tell the resident magician what to do. What courage. Stupid courage. She refused to answer, merely -

The damn apprentice.

It was all his fault.

So there had to be some magic going on, if he was able to escape without anyone remembering anything. With balled fists and pursed white lips, Crow twirled on the ball of her foot away from the red-shoed stranger. How would she be able to find him now? He had left with something - something important. There had to be some clue that would lead straight to him.

All the same, before she made her escape, she took careful note of her two new 'acquaintances', committing to memory their faces, their figures, their movements... because in a small world and an even smaller city like Throme, one never knew who they'd run into again. She'd learned to be careful.

With that done, the stranger merely gave a mock salute before darting off away from the pier.

The setting changes from Liron River Pier to Throme

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss
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Image??? ; Itex Voice Chat

A few seconds after the Moon finished speaking, a username flickered into existence on the side of the chatbox. Although the name itself was merely three black question marks, there was an icon floating on its left - two haloed golden wings, whatever that meant.

What emerged was not the flippant chiming of Judgement. The voice was silk-hiding-steel and oddly feminine at that. Cold, self-centered, and slightly airy, the voice came almost immediately as though its owner had been there the entire time. “Moon,” she enunciated carefully. “Were the complications taken care of? Have the bodies been removed from the scene and evidence destroyed? Or shall we put a count of two hours of paperwork on your head, Moon?” Without waiting for an answer to this barrage of questions, the woman continued firmly. “No matter. Do not answer. This is nothing to be discussed on the Internet even with the Hanged Man monitoring our security.”

The voice paused, and then a few seconds later, continued as if there had been no interruption. “Bring the package to Cherry Grove Park, on the corner of Tyr and Cinda, Northwest Throme. You shall recognize it by the cherry trees. The greatest care and secrecy is to be taken. Not even your own Itex teammates may know of this tryst. Arrive in the next thirty minutes, thirteen seconds. We shall give you an exact nine minute leeway on time, but do make haste. Upon arrival, look for a cloak and red ribbons.”

These instructions taken care of, there was another second of silence. “We should not have to remind you, but do not open or cause any damage to this package of ours.” Then voice became cold like the rain still pouring from the skies, before finishing her speech. “Even with the greatest of witnesses protesting your promising signs of innocence, Moon, our trust in you is not to be broken unless you are willing to face our judgement.”

“Hurry and go.”

A moment later, if there was anyone who was there to see, the name faded off of the lists, almost as though it had never been there.

The setting changes from Throme to Little Maybelle

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Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Strength Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos 'Dek' Character Portrait: Elegant Harlequin
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#, as written by Witless
Karim and Dek | Maybelle Mall
(post co-written by Witless and spudjohnson)

Darn this blasted rain. Wiping off glasses every so often was beginning to be a large pain. Where was this pair headed on such a rainy night? Hopefully somewhere interesting, or this would be all for nothing. Arthur continued to follow after the two, hoping they wouldn't notice him, clutching his briefcase under his umbrella to keep it safe. The good news was, they were headed under cover: the mall in Lil' Maybelle, it was. Shaking off rain as he ducked through the entrance, Arthur collapsed his para- no, umbrella and wiped off his glasses once more.

Arthur Yes, that's who I am turned around, looking through the crowd and his watchless hand now and again. Now and again, his eyes alighted on the pair. And passed over them again before returning in another pass. Unless they suddenly sped up quickly, she... he wouldn't lose them in the crowd. What were they doing? Waiting at the stairs? Boring. Waiting again... would this night ever get interesting? Jack would respond. Eventually. They'd do something. Hopefully.

It was too far to hear them or see their expressions. Hopefully something would happen that she could see, but until then, seeing was all that would happen. Karim drummed her fingers on her- Snap out of it! Amy was getting cross again because... right. Arthur looked at his watch in impatience and shifted from foot to foot. Ugh... waiting. He had things to do and places to be, but it would have to do. His gaze scanned the crowd again, and he waited...


Dek looked upward at the face of the mall, pausing for a moment before following Strength and Chariot into it. He waited for just a moment, reflecting on nothing before heading into the mall. The automatic doors slit open noiselessly, allowing the noise, smells, and sights from the inside of the mall to crash over him in a gentle wave. The faint smell of various foods combined with the dull hum of a massive crowd. He gave a slight smile, imagining all the different ways he could make these people trample over themselves in terror.

However, lost in his imagination, Dek almost lost sight of Chariot and Strength. For the first time in his memory, a small knot of terror wormed its way into his stomach. Fear of the repercussions from the Itex higher ups if he failed the assignment. That thread of fear vanished in an instant when he saw the two again standing at the foot of a large staircase, seemingly idle. He pouted. More waiting? This is bull. There's nothing to do but wait and wait and WAIT nowadays. I want the masked to come and play! He hummed as he considered how to best attract their attention.

Nothing came to mind for the moment, so Dek decided to lean back against a decorative column and just scan the crowd for anyone acting odd. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as he just stood there and waited. I HATE waiting. He scowled at the crowds, occasionally sticking his foot out to trip someone with a large amount of parcels and laughing as they tried to recover before inevitably falling on their face. Commotion from near where the two last were caught his attention. Some guy barrelled down the staircase, knocking people to their feet in some kind of rush. Dek laughed at the man's attitude, then something caught his eye.

A man seemed to be acting strangely, constantly fidgeting with his glasses, wrist, and clothing. The man was shitfting from foot to foot. Dek almost dismissed the man as a nervous wreck waiting to run to the bathrom when he realized that the man's nonchalance was just a sham. To the passerby, he seemed as normal man, just busting for a piss. When Dek stared at him again, he noticed the man's head movements were calculated, even occasionally lingering on Chariot and Strength. Now there's something you don't normally see. Finally, something to do! To hell if he's Itex or Masked! I'm so BORED. He pulled his hood back slightly, allowing the single glowing red eye to just catch the light enough to shine menacingly. A few people in the crowd noticed the sinister glint and gave him a wide berth. Others who bumped into him had their retorts die in their throats when they saw him before scurrying away. He strode directly towards the strange man, hoping he'd see him so he could glimpse the face he made when he saw Dek.


Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Watch, glasses, shifting feet. Boring, boring, boring waiting. They were still doing nothing, and no one else seemed to be approaching. Arthur shifted his feet again and turned his gaze... right into the glowing red eye of someone approaching. What? Arthur dropped his briefcase in surprise, his mouth dropping open in surprise, shock, and... well, just a little bit of fear, no words coming out. The briefcase fell to the floor with a thud... Yes, it thudded. And hit the floor. Briefcases are supposed to do that, right? Karim? Yes, it must have hit the floor with a thud, even if it was muffled by the crowd. Shaking away the shock, Arthur glanced back at his watchless arm and then everywhere but that man.

So they did come. Liesel was right this time... Where's that Jack when we need him? That man, he wasn't- he's not coming at me, is he? What madness was behind that red- Karim! Right. Behind the illusion, Karim gripped a knife in her suitcase-hand. Itex wouldn't cause trouble, not much anyway with such a large crowd around. Right? All that was needed was to hold out until Jack arrived, escape was possible, or the pair did- He knows. He knew he was on to them. This third knew he- she was watching the pair. How didn't matter, but he knew. Somehow.

Escape rose in importance. She knew two, no, three, of them, and they didn't know her. Yet. And time was running out. It would be best to escape for now and let Jack handle the rest. Karim- no, she was Arthur - Arthur looked up to see what the man was doing, to find some escape if it was at all possible. He wasn't fit to fight this man, at least without backup, even if the other two weren't nearby. The red-eyed man hadn't reached him. Yet.

The setting changes from Little Maybelle to Cherry Grove Park

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Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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#, as written by Witless
Caine Strauss, Itex Moon; Throme


A new voice appeared and with it came new questions, asked in a torrent. Caine tried to speak an answer as they came, but the woman no longer cared for an answer. After all this work they put him to, alone no less, these higher ups couldn't even be bothered to hold a conversation, ordering him around yet again. And it would seem they couldn't even pay attention to who they were talking to, giving visual directions to the blind. No matter. Things would get done one way or another. If it had to be done, it would be. But... the complications? Who was she?

Caine winced in pain from his shoulder wound as he stood up carefully. He was exhausted, and the battle with the magician (strange to think there were others here) had near depleted his strength. There would be revenge, of course. No one who messed with Itex would be allowed to get away. Soon enough, he and others would find out the whereabouts of these interfering mask-users and take care of them. It was difficult to escape from Itex, especially if they were looking for you. They'd get what was rightfully coming to them. Itex wasn't in the wrong, of course. Right. Caine rubbed his shoulder, wincing again. He was tired, and it was time to get going. He reached his hands to his mask and sighed. "It's all on you now, Kaden. Don't you dare fail us."

Kaden Jannsen; Throme -> Cherry Grove Park


Kaden pulled off his mask, starting from the sudden shock of the cold, the wet, the pain. Cursing, he shoved the mask in his bag and gasped from a throbbing shoulder. "Blasted Caine! I had an umbrella in here! Use it! And gods, what did you do to yourself? Here it... gah!" Pulling out the umbrella from his bag and opening it, Kaden winced again from the pain. Sitting back down, he leant against the wall, the umbrella slightly blocking the steady downpour, slightly protecting everything in his bag, though most were probably on their way to ruin anyhow. He examined the package, wet as everything else from the rain, and sighed.

I suppose I'd better get going. Cherry Park, was it? Thirty minutes, thirteen seconds. Nine minutes leeway. Less, now. Running would be cutting it close, and most of Kaden's argen had been spent earlier, on the balloon, on the movie. There wasn't enough for a taxi. The subway would have to do, and Maybelle station was close enough. Packing up everything and adjusting his umbrella, Kaden stood up with a wince. He felt the bandaged wound on his shoulder and brought his hand away, damper still than it had been. Blood. Great. The projectile, whatever it had been, hadn't hit clean, leaving what was probably a larger cut than normal. It was painful, at least...

Kaden began walking at a rushed pace, figuring out where exactly he was and heading toward the subway station. Once there, he paid the required amount to get to Academy Square and waited for the train. It was scheduled to arrive in two minutes, approximately 8:55, but at least he wasn't standing out in the rain. Though, he wouldn't be dry any time soon. It wasn't a busy time of night: the worktime rush was over with, many were still out partying or whatever they did on a Friday night, and the rain kept many others at home, except for the sad few still with things to do and places to be. There was a couple, late to party. There was a man pacing back and forth, something definitely on his mind. A woman here on the phone with a friend, a pair over there arguing. A kid running by, dragging his mother. A group of friends laughing at some joke another had made or maybe at nothing at all. Others here and there, but none paid much attention to Kaden as he stood leaning on the wall. Well, except a man nearby, who offered him a smoke, only to be ignored. The subway arrived, and Kaden got on.

It would be some time still until the train arrived at Academy Square station, so Kaden sat back and relaxed. It was strange, though, that the two others assigned to this mission, even the leader of the mission himself, hadn't arrived. Instead, there were two others, one maybe a random passerby, the other more likely an intentional interferer. Both had known of Masks, neither was Itex, and they hadn't seemed to know one another. Was there an information leak? Had the others encountered trouble, for whatever reason divulging this information about the meeting? But the Hanged Man... he was supposed to be "monitoring the security" of the chat. If something had happened, might there be more that would? It would be worth it to be a little cautious, even if there was someone with cloak and ribbons waiting for the meeting. But still, to have to doubt even those in Itex? If so... well, that was a topic for another time. Who was that other mask user, and how had Itex not known of her? Too many questions had been raised for Kaden's liking, and it was likely too few would be answered by the end of the night. Either way, next stop: Academy Station, and Kaden got off as the doors opened, a few others exiting, a few entering. Kaden headed toward the park.

The trees gave some protection from the rain, but not much. It was unlikely there would be many people here, and there weren't. The contact would be around. She would be, somewhere. Kaden wandered, looking for a cloak. Eventually... ah, there. There was someone, it seemed a woman, in the middle of Fountain Square, the black cloak and red ribbons distinctive. She was idly running a hand through the water, and she turned at his approach. It had been about thirty-three minutes since the call, but better late than never. "Good evening, ma'am. A beautiful night, isn't it?"

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Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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Image??? and Kaden Jannsen ; Cherry Grove Park


Almost as though it was meant as a response to his question, the woman stared at the new arrival, whom she seemed to recognize on sight. "Thirty-three minutes, fourty-seven seconds. Well within acceptable deviance," she stated idly, before turning back towards the fountain. One of her dark-blue-gloved hands escaped the folds of her cloak to gesture to her left side. "Moon, I presume that we shall not be interrupted?"

The voice was the same, as was the tone. The meeting didn't appear to be compromised, though considering how quickly it was formed and executed, that probably should have been expected. Kaden moved as she gestured, standing to this woman's left. A gust of wind blew his umbrella and rain to the side, and he shivered. "To the best of my knowledge, no. I've not informed anyone." The package was to his side, to be presented when asked but not before. Questions were running through Kaden's mind, but how to ask them (and when) was important, and now didn't seem quite the time. Hopefully this wouldn't take too long. His shoulder was growing numb from the rain.

Although her cloak moved slightly from the gust of wind, the woman's features remained in shadow. "That may do for the moment," she informed the boy, before plunging her other hand back into the fountain. Then, scanning the horizon for other arrivals, almost as though she was expecting someone to pop out of the shadows, she continued. "The package. I do hope that it is still in perfect condition." She stretched out her gloved hand palm up towards the Itex Moon.

Perfect condition? Did she really think it would be just fine in this horrible rain? Well, she'd have to take it in the condition it was in, and if it was ruined, too bad. Still, she seemed rather... nervous? Like someone might arrive, even if neither party had told of the meeting. And she had been untrusting of Hanged Man in the chat room as well... Could it be that- No, people should know what betraying Itex would get them. But still, what was Hanged Man doing, and why was he not doing as told? What might make him so brazen? He had always seemed like a careful guy, not one to make enemies of his allies so easily. What had gotten into him? Right. This woman wanted the package. "It's a little wet, but other than that, it's in the state I received it in." The package was placed in her hand, Kaden's hand returned to his side, and he waited for his next set of instructions. And to be done with this blasted rain for now.

Taking it calmly, the woman nodded and slipped it inside her cloak. "Very well," she murmured, before a flash of silver from the fountain caught her attention. She turned towards the water, before her ungloved hand flashed outside with a fish in her sure grasp. It didn't take long before she had stabbed its head with her thumb and flicked it backwards on the ground. That done with, she addressed the Moon - allowing the hood on her cloak to slip slightly, and revealing a glimpse of red cloth. "Run through the complications. Details will make or break the case right now."

What? Fish? In the fountain? When had those arrived? Ah, well. It seemed this woman - what was that cloth? - she wanted to know about that battle. The other two who had arrived to mess everything up. "I had arrived at the pier and was waiting for Hanged Man and Hermit. And the contact, but those two first. They never arrived. Instead, a different pair did, each separately. The first attacked me immediately with some projectile, I - No, wait, I have it here." Kaden dug through his bag for his sketchpad, flipping through until it came to the page that Caine had drawn the projectile from.

"Something that looked like this. A feather. It made some keening, and it was obviously magic, a Mask user? Anyway, not long after, the second complication arrived. She had a gun, shot the two of us, and spoke of Masks as if she knew them. Another Mask user, perhaps? Maybe a third party, since the three of us fought one another, but no matter. I kept up the charade of ignorance, withholding my powers until either backup or the package-deliverer arrived. She arrived first, that messenger, with the package. She seemed to think she was the one who needed to know and pass on what was happening to the higher ups. But a messenger doesn't need that information, and I would tell you all that was required. Either way, she passed me the package, and I made my escape, though not before getting this injury... Darn complications and blasted backup. I never did find out... why didn't the two who were sent with me show up?" Maybe that last question was overstepping his bounds, but Kaden deserved to know. If they had been there, things would never have gone so poorly, and there wouldn't have been witnesses leaving the scene. Three could have beaten two Mask users, but not him alone. Would she answer? And, more importantly, did she even know the answer?

"A third-party," the woman sighed, ignoring the second section about the Hanged Man and the Hermit. "And a messenger that might have been compromised. What a shame." She seemed to find extreme interest in the sketchpad, leaning over to stare at the image intently. "Stil, Moon, you are to be commended for your work and attention to detail. This information will do Itex handy should they show up again." Once again, she deliberated for a mere moment, before slipping a hand in her cloak and pulling out the just-obtained package. Opening it up with quick, deft movements, she plunged one hand through the countless packing peanuts before pulling out a slip of paper. She read it, obviously displeased by its contents.

The true package is hidden in the yet unopened exhibit of the MTAH. Good luck finding it.

After this quick perusal, she brought her attention back to the Moon. "What were your motivations in joining Itex?"

Compromised? What was this about? The messenger? Was she maybe working with those defectors (that is, if that's what they were...)? Nothing was making any sense, except that things were not going as planned. This normally didn't happen... Whatever that slip of paper said, it wasn't what she wanted to read, and it probably had to do with that messenger being compromised. Why was Itex suddenly making these mistakes in planning, in caution, mistakes they hadn't before? But she was still Kaden's superior, and she had asked a question. "My motivations? I was... dissatisfied, with life in general. There wasn't much point, and I was bored. I didn't do what was expected, and people began to expect nothing of me. Then came my mask and, soon after, Itex. It was something to grab ahold of, something to do with my life, to make some difference, one way or another. It- I'm rambling, aren't I? Suffice to say, it was something that made me feel important. I felt I was actually doing something, you know? And things were actually beginning to change, little by little. Well, uh, that's it, I suppose. Nothing much, really." Gods, he was really sounding stupid, wasn't he?

"Interesting, Moon. Interesting," was all the woman had to say to this grand revelation. Even then, she mused over his statements calmly, before coming to a decision to go ahead with the true reason behind this clandestine meeting. Then, dropping her voice to a low whisper, she continued onwards. "I hope that I do not have to remind you that the details of this conversation are to remain secret from even your Itex comrades."

...and Kaden was making himself an idiot again, or so it felt. Whatever. What was said was said, moving on. Then, suddenly, after this longer pause, she was whispering. Things were to be secret? That reminder, again? Interesting things appeared to be happening here! Well, there wasn't much to do except find out what was to come, so in whispered reply: "Reminder noted." This conversation could go anywhere, but Kaden was likely to benefit from this. With Hanged Man out of the picture, was this a chance to move up in the rankings? Hanged Man had been getting more privileges, but with this recent failure... maybe things were looking up?

Hm... and here was the chance to go ahead. While she kept her voice lowered for secrecy, she made sure to carefully enunciate every word. It wouldn't do for him to miss what she had to tell him. "I am sure that it's come to your attention that there are certain failings within the Itex organization itself." Sure that she had caught his attention, she then stepped backwards, still facing him, but stopped talking. There was another gust of wind and the hem of her cloak blew up slightly, revealing signs of blue fabric.

Failings? So this was about the Hanged Man incidents? Or was there more? Still... how was one supposed to respond to something like this? What would be the expected response? Because giving anything besides the expected could be... troublesome. She seemed to be waiting for some response, the reason for this pause. Well, the apparent answer was Yes, so it was given. "Yes." But no more need be said, so no more was. Let her continue if she felt comfortable doing so. Kaden would listen.

The setting changes from Cherry Grove Park to Little Maybelle

Setting

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Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Strength Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos 'Dek' Character Portrait: Elegant Harlequin
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#, as written by ZenMon
Post co-written by Alasund, Witless, Harlequin, and myself


Dek slithered through the crowd towards the twitchy man, occasionally shoving hard to create a bit of a distraction. First impressions are most important. In no time at all, he had wound his way to the man. As he drew up to the twitcher, Dek drew a knife from his coat and gently pressed it into the man's side. He cleared his throat just enough to get his attention over the obvious point of the knife. He spoke just loud enough for the man to hear clearly, but not loud enough for the surrounding shoppers to hear.

"Good evening, friend-o! I see you're getting a good look around here, it's a lovely day for people watching, isn't it? But I'm sure you aren't REALLY people watching, right? If not, what ARE you doing?"

A knife. A KNIFE! Who in their right mind would just walk up to someone and put a knife to their- Oh, wait. This is the person holding a knife in her- his hand just in case. Still, that's just so terribly rude of him, wouldn't you say? Karim, he's talking to you. Who? What? Oh... right... him. A KNIFE!!! Really! The nerve!

Arthur turned to the red-eyed man, shaking visibly. "Ah! What are you-? Umm... I don't know, you know? Ah! Calm down, there are people watching! Ummm... wouldn't want to cause a commotion, I'm sure? Anywho, my- my boss, you know, he- he set up some... meeting of sorts here? I was to meet hereabouts, you know? But, you see, I'm still here after waiting this long. I was to meet someone, but they've not shown, you know? Hence the watching! This meeting's, well, it's- it's rather important, you see? Umm... you do see, right? Can you- you know, can you be on your way? It's just, umm... well, I've answered your questions, you know? Aha." This was said softly, of course. Others weren't to hear. Important business, you know? ;)

Dek chuckled menacingly while shaking his head. "You just don't get it. Not at all. Not. At. ALL." Dek pressed the knife further into Arthur's side to punctuate his remark, but not enough to pierce the skin. "You see, I've never been the trusting sort. As for causing commotions, well, you mistake me entirely. I quite like causing commotions. You could call it... a hobby. Or my specialty. I've gotten quite good." Dek turned to look at Arthur, fully revealing the massive red eye, and the utterly blank other side of the mask. "Now, you don't mind if I enlist you for some company do you? I'm feeling rather bored while I wait for my friends to finish their meetings. Unless you're wanting to cause some commotion, in which I'd be more than happy to oblige you." Dek just stared, waiting for the inevitable response.

"A-ah!" The knife was poking. Commotions? Company? All Karim was looking for was a way out of this mess... This man was definitely Itex, and he was with that other pair. They were here for some meeting, or so it appeared, and somehow this monster had caught her gaze. Ugh. Why must stealth be so... stealthy? Can't I just... stab him? Just once? No, not yet. Yes, I know. Meanwhile, Arthur cringed back from the knife, gripping his suitcase harder, and began looking around frantically, licking his lips and obviously nervous. "Uh, sir... Uh, sure... Uh... as long as it's... just company, right? You know, no commotions. Terribly, terribly difficult to sort out, you know? Umm... ahah? Could you maybe? Umm..." Arthur trailed off, looking down at the knife to his side, and continued to look around frantically. For an escape. Maybe for information. Was the other pair still just waiting? How boring...


Chariot, beginning to lead the way out of the main thoroughfair, paused as an almost invisible haze spread across the mall. 'Keep an eye out. There's someone in here with us.' He didn't need to say the word 'Masked' to emphasise what he meant. The subtle mental pressure that was little more than a buzzing fly to the mental bastion of the Chariot hovered with the accompanying haze.

Turning back to the direction he was heading, towards a small corner shop that seemed to be rather unfrequented, which sold sports equipment, Chariot tried to blend into the surrounding crowd, even though his partner's aura made that rather difficult..


Axilious almost slouched into the mall. He'd almost lost his way after the annoying braggart of an Itex agent escaped his clutches, and he was far from dry. His flambuoyant clothing almost dribbled all over the floor beneath him as he looked around rather curiously, trying to find either the Joker or another annoyingly riddled code to tell him where she'd gone haring off to this time.

Despite the unusual appearance and sopping clothes, most people passing him seemed to not even take a passing glance at the soaking figure or even at the world around them. Most seemed to be losing a grip on reality, though a few minds broke the haze to realise on some level how inappropriate the man was and that they were doing nothing at all anymore. At least it wouldn't seem like a big deal to them in a while. Shaking himself as if to dislodge the cold placidness, he strode boldly into the mall, an obvious figure to anyone whose minds broke the numbing haze.

Grunting assent at the Chariot's instruction, as if watching the crowds wasnt what they'd both been doing for the last few minutes, Strength followed, a apace behind, still reflexively quartering and scanning the mall as they moved. He glanced towards the easternmost entrance as they passed by, took another few steps then hesitated. Something was wrong. A slow blink, brow furrowing minutely as he realised that, despite looking towards the doors, he hadnt actually seen anything.

"Wait."

The instruction was barked, he was already turning back the way they had come. Confused, Strength paused, tilted his head a fraction to one side at the sight of the sopping wet man, dressed almost as if he'd stepped out of a romance novel, walking into the mall. Out of nowhere the guy seemed to swim out of focus, the air shimmering like a desert mirage and Strength squinted, eyes twitching. It last barely a second and only took a moment longer to realise that no one else was paying the guy any attention either, and from the looks of the him, swaggering forward without a care, barely even looking at anyone he passed, it was obvious he didnt expect them too. Which was odd. Dressed the way he was, he'd have drawn attention in a carnivale parade.

"Something's up." Strength turned to face the Chariot, indicated the anomaly with a nod, watching him move in the mirrored glass of the doors. "That guy, Mr Ren Fair. You know him?"


Dek almost rammed the knife home in the man's side, but a strange sensation prevented him from doing so. Something was "off". A feeling of absurdity hung in the air, making the hairs on the back of his neck begin to tingle and stand on end. He swept his gaze over the crowds, trying to find something to clarify the sense of wrongness. He couldn't see anything wrong at first. The masses were too busy going about their lives to care at all, as if they didn't feel anything at all. They didn't even notice someone just sitting in the crowd with a fog machine on full blast. Hold on. Fog machine? What jerkoff brings a fog machine into a mall? Dek looked back and forth to see if anyone else noticed the fog, but nobody seemed to notice the fog.

Dek's suspicious were roused immediately. He stared at the fog, trying to see what it was hiding. After a short moment, the fog dissappeared and the most bizzare dressed man was just standing in the middle of the crowd. Nobody noticed him at all, bizzarely. "Hey. Bud.", he said to his hostage, poking him with the tip of the blade to get his attention. "Do you see the fog?"

The knife was poking into his side. Arthur's glasses were slipping. He pushed them up, and then noticed a strange quiet around the room, as conversations were momentarily cut off. His gaze slipped around the room, and passed a patch of... haze. Ahaha! Finally made it, did he? Quickly, the haze solidified into Axilious, and Karim almost laughed! ...until she remembered just where she was, and the knife poking into her side...

The start of a smile disappeared as Arthur's eyes glazed over. For a short while, there was nothing, then a pain in his side as the knife pushed farther, and the end of a voice "-see the fog?" Arthur started. "Ah! Uhh... hmm?" As he looked for the fog this other man spoke of, his eyes glazed over once more, and he became motionless. Hahaha! Go after Jacky, and leave me alone! I'm as useless as these other normals, you know? Hahaha!

The setting changes from Little Maybelle to Cherry Grove Park

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
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#, as written by Witless
Image??? and Kaden Jannsen ; Cherry Grove Park


"Yes, indeed," she stated, extremely calmly, all the while slipping the package back into the folds of her cloak, not mentioning it or its displeasing contents. Now, with her hands free, she took the advantage to draw the hood more firmly down over her face. "Now, Moon," she said, addressing the boy carefully, "which of these problems have come to your attention?" She'd go further if she could, but at the moment, this was more than enough.

Problems? There had been a few. "A leader who neglects his duties and mission. Complications and third parties disrupting what should be secret meetings. A... compromised messenger, was it? To name a few. Yes, problems, those." Similarly to today, not all had gone perfectly in the past, but these were the most immediate of faults. At the very least, with his response, she might say more? Kaden paused again, to let this cloaked woman say what she would.

She seemed to find this interesting, tilting her head a fraction to the side. "Yes, those are issues. Interesting that they are the first that come to your mind." As she prepared to continue, a mechanical beeping started, and she retrieved a small, silver phone from her cloak. Looking at its screen for a single moment, she then turned her attention back to the Moon. "There are yet others which serve as the root of these complications. Other members of Itex itself."

That was a strange ringtone. Ah, wait, what had she just said? Members of Itex were the root of the complications? "I- I see..." That was... surprising, to hear someone admit that. Just what was going on? Deserters, disrupted missions, secret meetings, disorder and disorganization... but people seemed to be taking charge, and things could get very interesting. As long as Kaden didn't take the wrong side in whatever conflict arrived (for where else could this be headed?), he might have a chance to move up in Itex. It said something that this woman chose to talk to him. Either he had showed promise... or he was disposable. Either way, good work was normally rewarded, so it was best to take opportunity as it arrived.

Other than a slight movement of her head, the woman remained perfectly still before she started spinning her tale, but still made sure to keep her voice absolutely calm. "Itex has been led through thick and thin by a leader of uncommon grace and intelligence. But, there are some for whom the pursuit of power is more important than any of Itex's dreams. They have entwined themselves in the hierarchy, and have created problems in our organization. Moon, some of the problems that you have noticed have doubtlessly been as a result of their meddling. But now, they are no longer happy with merely messing up our operations, and have placed their eye on the ultimate prize." She paused to give her next words some emphasis, a little bit of emotion trickling through. "Itex itself."

"They mean to replace our most noble leader with one of themselves, twist the ideals of Itex, and destroy the organization for their own nefarious purposes. They mean to turn everything we hold dear into a laughingstock."

Kaden stood there, completely dumbstruck. It wasn't that it was completely unexpected; there was bound to be some explanation for Itex's recent mistakes. What was so surprising was that it was actually said, even to someone so low as him. How deep was this threat? A full-on rebellion? Replacing the leader with... someone else? Changing everything, destroying the organization, even? Or just adjust it, using- abusing the trust of lower-class Itex who would have no idea what was going on. Who were these people manipulating everything? And... had he helped them? Had they manipulated him through information unsaid, playing him on both sides of this internal war? What in the world was happening here? Kaden's mind was reeling, as he was trying to make any sense out of this. What were they doing? What had they done? What had he done? ...how important was that package?

Still obviously surprised but recovered somewhat, Kaden finally got a few words out. "This- this can't be allowed. Destroying the- the very fabric of Itex? How? Who? I... yes, they must be stopped. But how?" His mind still couldn't make sense of the situation, but he could at least understand that he needed to help this woman. This organization had become his life, and letting it fall without putting up a fight... he couldn't do that.

"How, indeed," she murmured. "There are numerous solutions to this one issue, true. However, despite the horrible implications of such a... group, Moon, there is much to gain for remaining loyal to the Itex cause, if you would be able to keep yourself informed on the actions of those in your tier. There is always a chance that they have been corrupted by power, and it would do much good to exorcise these thoughts." Throughout this entire speech, the woman kept her voice soft - even though there were no other people in the park to hear her words.

"Yes..." Kaden had calmed down some, and his eyes had hardened as he considered what must be done, if it were to come to that. "Staying informed is often good, and corruption not. Now that I know, I can keep an eye out, see what I will. Do what I can. I suppose the chat is not so safe anymore... Keh." His mouth turned down in distaste; betrayers were the worst, and that his comrades had done so... they probably expected him dead, did they, so they could rise up even higher. Well, he was used to enemies, in some part. Just... these were more dangerous than those of the past...

She listened to what he had to say cautiously, before finally speaking herself. It seemed as though she was pleased by his answer, and her tone softened somewhat. "Moon, you may be correct about the chat's lack of security. Assuming that the events are as dire as they seem, the upmost amount of care is be utilized in all communication through the medium, as the rebels may use this to strike at Itex through yet more dangerous methods if otherwise."

Great. So nothing at all was safe. How in the world did the higher ups let this happen in the first place? Inadequate leaders, them... well, eventually things would change, and Kaden would help bring that change. He turned to ask a question, "Ah. Well then. How do you suppose - "

She turned around suddenly; the folds of her cloak flapped in the breeze as she raised one hand for her subordinant to be quiet. "No, Moon. Now is not the proper time for these questions. There shall be further communication in the future, but do make sure that your interests remain with Itex and should that not happen... there are a few complications that may occur." Then, without waiting for a reply, she walked off into the growing gloom, but not before a final word. "You are dismissed. Stay out of any tangles."

Kaden watched the woman leave with growing frustration. What was that last bit about? What had he done that made her think he'd, what... betray Itex or something? Whyever would he do something so crackbrained as that? He looked up into the dark sky, the rain still pouring down in the dark of night, now not making any difference. He was already soaked to the bone, and he'd likely catch a cold after all this was done. Nothing was going right for him, was it. First, that stupid Moon persona ignores the rain and leaves his umbrella in the theater, and who knows what happened to that expensive balloon... Then, only unexpected complications show up, for the blind Moon to deal with, himself. Now this woman brushes him off after a last-minute talk in the freezing rain. He couldn't get home fast enough...

Kaden trudged back to the subway station in the rain, not bothering about anything but hoping the warm and dry of inside would start getting him into a better mood. What a long night, and he hadn't even faced his parents yet!

He didn't realize it, but just as he had left the area, a certain pasty-skinned sorceror showed up. Twisting her fingers through the air, she pulled out a sparkling white feather and aimed it, whistling, through the air. It hit no one, and her displeasure was nearly obvious. Just where had that apprentice boy disappeared to after pulling his trick?

Still, it was growing late, so at long last, Crow ceased her wanderings around the now darkening Throme. Tomorrow would bring another clue... and she'd turn him into a human pincushion sooner or later.

The setting changes from Cherry Grove Park to Sagaro Mall

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Axilious Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Strength Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos 'Dek' Character Portrait: Elegant Harlequin
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Chariot, Axilious, Dek, Karim, Strength ; Sagaro Mall

Post written by spudjohnson, Alasund De'astio, Harlequin Smile, and Witless.


"He's not ours." Chariot tensed, his right foot stepping out as he settled back into a battle-ready stance as he turned to check who Strength was referring to. "If he keeps this stasis on the civilians he could cause a situation." But there were also other concerns that could be dealt with quickly using this to their advantage. "Hold him or force him to leave for a moment, I'll retrieve the target." As much as his instincts yearned to fight, and self-control wavered under the chance to bring blade against a proper enemy of some bent, he had a mission to complete. And his last failure Judgement had been sure to burn rather solidly into his memory. Stepping back, Chariot turned to swiftly make his way through the currently unobservative crowd.

"Boring boring boring." Oh yes, how boring this had been so far. As he waved magnaminously to the various subjects around him who were so awestruck by his presence that they had seemed to lose grip on reality, Axilious continued to scan the floor for the almost customary piece of paper left by his erstwhile partner. "How a lord must bow before the demands of his people." The dramatic muttering continued as he finally found something in the crowd that was not quite like the other things. The figure which seemed to be talking almost scandelously closely to a normal civilian against a pole, it didn't matter that both were male, as Axilious had no prejudice to speak of for the peasants sexual relations, squinted in his direction and seemed mostly uneffected by the fog around. "Greetings." Axilious held his left hand carefully, ready to summon his weapon at a moments notice. "Have you perchance seen a rather eccentric lady pass through here?"

Power. Yes. Sweet power. Oh smell its intoxicating aroma. Oh GOD I want to fight them! Fight fight fight! Dek shook his head vigorously in an attempt to dissipate the bloodlust that boiled at his core. It was then that he realized that Renaissance Man was addressing him and his hostage. Dek cocked his head quizzically, then cracked his neck. "Well! Mr. Mist! Where have you come from then, ey? Time portal? Time traveler? Or do you just enjoy looking like a peacock? Nonono, you enjoy the grandeur. Nobility then! Maybe. I don't really care." Dek shifted Arthur slightly to the side so he could address Axilious properly, all the while keeping the knife tip in Arthur's back. For now.

"Now! Strange woman.." The volume of his voice dropped slightly as he feigned trying to remember something. "Strange woman strange woman strange woman strange woman... NOPE! No strange women about here, Just these cattle! My newfound friend and I were just people watching. Nothing too serious, mind. Just observing these ignorant, pathetic, idiotic masses that are so intent on buying new shoes or clothes or whatever else they waste their money on. They never want to do anything more with their lives. Just consume, and consume, and consume. It's like they get some sick high off of it. It's really quite strange. Isn't it, friend-o?" Dek looked at Arthur, hoping for a response. When he saw his eyes glassed over, a petulant tone crept into his voice. "Aww. Look at that. Your little parlor trick seems to have taken out my only friend here. And we were going to have SUCH fun in this crowd. A little slicing, a little dicing, and a LOT of panicking! But, alas, he's gone for now." Dek pushed Arthur roughly towards a concrete support pillar in hopes of knocking the man out. He spread his hands widely, flourishing the knife before hiding it in his coat with a bit of slight-of-hand. "Well, looks like youuuuuuuuuuu're my new play-mate! How do you wanna play, mister? Nice and easy?" Dek held his right hand out to the side, preparing to bring his axe-hammer into existence. "Or will we do this the rough and tumble way?"

"Understood." Already moving before he'd even finished the single word, Strength strode across the plaza towards the oddly dressed man. Whatever it was the guy was doing, it was getting worse. Most of the people in the mall were stumbling around with glazed expressions on their faces, looking at nothing in particular. Damn right it would cause a situation if it carried on. Not often a few dozen people fall into a hypnotic trance in the middle of a public place. The tiniest of smiles crossed his face as he moved towards his target, who seemed more than preoccupied with a pair of guys standing close to at the edge of the plaza.

Obstruct or remove target. That was an objective he appreciated. Obvious. Straightforward.

Easy.

Another step and the smile was gone, replaced only with calm readiness as he ran through an automatic checklist, scanning over the entire situation. Target currently unarmed, seemingly unaware of incoming. Focused on pair of men, standing too close together. Threatening body language from the taller of the pair, pinning the other to the wall, one arm flourishing a blade before concealing it in the jacket he was wearing. Strength narrowed his eyes. The guy who had his back to the wall was the same one that had rushed past as he and the Chariot had been waiting earlier. It could be coincidence, but that was unlikely. Especially as the newcomer, the one who was playing with everyone's minds, had gone straight for them.

He flexed hands, confirmed they were free from possible restraint and prevention of weapon retrieval, both arms relaxed and ready. Approaching at an oblique angle, coming in from slightly behind Axilious so that he had to turn to face him, and wouldnt be able to keep the other two men, and presumably the Chariot, in view whilst looking at Strength, he stopped maybe fifteen feet away from the group and took a breath, projecting his voice so that all of them would hear him.

"Excuse me." A seconds pause to let them register him. "Mall security. Someone mind telling me what's going on here?"

Obvious gambit, and whilst he looked vaguely like a security guard in dark jacket and heavy boots, it was more than obvious to any intelligent onlooker that he really wasnt. But then, that wasnt the point. The point was to break flow. To get the attention on him, so that Chariot could do whatever it was he was going to do. And for that it would do just fine.

A shock of pain shook Arthur out of his daze, and he looked up to see what was happening around him. A pillar was to his side, obviously what he had been pushed into. His assailant was in front, turned to address another person... Karim's eyes widened in recognition as she noticed the Jack standing there confused. And they widened further as she saw one of the pair she had been watching walking toward them. Mind racing, she tried to think of a way to get her identity away to Jack without attracting too much attention. What to do, what to do... there wasn't much time...

Aha! Karim left a flower, a rose, against the pillar as she scrambled back out behind it. That should be enough of a hint, if that Axilious would take the chance to spot it. Message given, Arthur scrambled back to his feet and sputtered out, "Who- who are you... you... who? Get- get away!" And the backward steps turned to a full run, through the still still crowd, toward the area where the second had walked from, where the third was hopefully still waiting. These people were important, and Liesel would be furious if they let them out of their sight! Let Jack take the other two... Arthur didn't turn to see what was going on, but he could hear someone saying something about security. This would have to be done quickly, it would seem.

Axilious smiled almost cruelly as he regarded the one who had just threatened him. "Why would you like to know? I think that if you--" Suddenly cut off by multiple sources of sound, Axilious swirled irritated at the more self-important sounding one, leaving the peasant to scramble away in fear at the awe of the lords. "You attempt to beguile us peasant." Formal, blunt, and putting the villian down with his very demeanour, the audience must even now be booing at the man who dared interrupt the protagonist's witty remark. A very fast glance easily told him that he wasn't regular security, and mall security isn't ever likely to go undercover. Which meant that this was a plot twist, putting a third variable into the already explosive cauldron of antagonist and protagonist. "Explain yourself."

Haughty, the gesture demanding obeisance was calculated just right, the dramaticism adding flair to his movements as the shimmering energy, very distinctively showy calling of his weapon, formed into the double bladed staff that was his hallmark. "I am to be unseen. Let me make it so." The grave pronouncement of the good guy being forced to do evil. The performance was about to start.

"Hmm. So we're going to go there, already? Really? Fine by me!" Dek shrugged his hood back and revealed his masked face. At the same time, he held his right arm out above his head, mentally invoking his weapon into existence. The shadows around Dek all shot towards his hand with such force that they moved the clothing of the people around them. The shadows formed a midnight black sphere above his hand before stretching into the sillouhette of his weapon, then materializing into existence. Dek slowly brought the hammer towards the floor before firmly planting the base of the handle on the floor. The tile beneath the handle cracked slightly under the weight of the hammer-axe and the force of his strength.

"So." Any trace of levity in Dek's voice had evaporated, leaving a cold emptiness that verged on murderous. "Where do you want to begin, whelp?" Rather than waiting for a response from his now-opponent, Dek spun his hammer and unleashed an Arc of Chaos directly at Axilious. Without waiting for the Arc to hit or miss Axilious, Dek gripped the chain surrounding the handle of his weapon and threw it towards the floor. The chain unwound from the haft with a mind of its own. Instead of piling on the floor, it sank into the ground as if it were water. Nothing happened for a short time before chains burst out from the shadows of various objects surrounding Axilious. The chains, hovering in midair, seemed to absorb the light before streaking off towards Axilious. Deep down, Dek hoped that his new friend would dodge the otherworldly chains. It would at least indicate that he'd found some real fun for a time.

The situation escalating fast, Strength took a half step back, raised both his arms, fingers curling in until his fists were clenched tight, ready and willing to summon his own weapons at a moments notice.

"Explain myself?" He raised an eyebrow at Axilious, utterly calm and rational despite the chaos erupting around them all."I think it's you that should be.."

Whatever it was he was going to say was cut off as the other man, the one who'd summoned a giant, and to Strength's eyes, completely impractical axelike thing, swung it outwards, a wave of something that twisted in the air like shimmering heat erupting from its blade, aimed at the other man. The dodge was reactionary, two quick steps back and to the right, even though it wasnt aimed his way. The summoning of the gauntlets was just as instinctual. A moment after he willed, metal wrote itself into existence, curling first across his knuckles then shot backwards, twisting so close to flesh it was like a steel tattoo that covered his entire arms in dull grey up to both elbows.

He kicked forwards, aiming for the taller man, Dek, the one who seemed by far the most threatening. With no strategy in mind save simply ploughing into and through, he was content just to pit himself against the situation and see what came of it. Lips peeled back in a grin that came just from the joy of joining battle, he amended the ever present objective list that was running through his head.

Obstruct or remove targets.

Chariot, not looking back to watch Strength's progress, weaved quickly through the scattered people to disappear into a smaller shop at the back; one of the more specialised shops, this particular one in handbags and other personal accessories. Giving the note in his hand one more glance, Chariot tightened his fingures around the missive and let the words burn as he activated his own powers for a moment. A moment later he had retrieved the target package and had moved to secure it before moving back to mop up the situation if Strength hadn't cleaned it all up by himself. As he exited the shop, he glanced once around, not that carefully but enough to pick up the more casual of persuers, and moved towards the emergency exit at the rear of the mall.

Eenie, meenie, miney, moe, where'd that stupid third guy go? Karim looked through the crowd, searching for the last suspicious guy, the only one not confronting Ax. Where'd he go, where'd he go... Ugh, this endless searching and searching was getting boring. "Ah, let's end this charade..." as Karim reached up and pried off the Arthur mask. "Where oh where has the strange guy gone, oh where oh where could he be?" she singsonged and walked toward the back of the mall, keeping an eye out every which way for him. Suddenly, Karim spotted her target exiting a random shop, something about bags or somesuch. With that, she rang her bell, "Let the race... begin!" Karim took out two knives and began pursuit, hoping a good chase would arise.

Metal besought metal, and air parted for the true showing of power as Axilious brought his double bladed staff into existance, lips firm in a straight line of disapproval. "Axilious, brave knight, who stands against the tide of darkness." The words hummed with power as he stepped right into the wave of energy humming towards him, gritting his teeth against the flicker of energy attempting to twist his very organs against him. "He who guards the nine seals, and holds the highest of praises amongst the lords of the realm." As the chains darted towards Axilious, the stoic knight began to twirl his weapon, using it as a shield against the darkened objects. "Fear the guardian of truth, for the world is his battleground, to enact victory after victory."

As the Litany of Praise continued, Axilious felt the amazing powers buried within him envelope his body in a now visible almost-halo that emerged from the dust blond hair, and slowly seemed to envelope the rest of his body in an unearthly glow. The blade rotations stopped as the last chain was slashed and knocked away, but Axilious did not attack. After all, it would not befit a leading role to be drawn into battle first. "Fight for the judge of the Air and Earth." He proclaimed, taking no note of what the other man had said, but simply letting him move in to attack his assaulter.

Behind his mask, Dek's eyes narrowed to irritated slits. This wasn't who he wanted to play with. Didn't he realize one of his comrades? This must be someone newer, someone who hadn't met Dek already. Emitting a faint sigh, he shifted his stance so that he'd be able to dodge at the last moment. The hammer hung loosely in his arms, ready to move at a moments notice. Despite it's size and probable weight, it felt no lighter than a normal hammer to him, but to his enemies it felt much MUCH heavier. Just before Strength's fists impacted with his face, Dek rolled and evaded the strike. Dek landed on his feet, hammer held with one arm at his side. "Well well, sir. It appears you've made a bit of a mistake. The person you want to maim is up there", he pointed at Axilious, ",not me. I'm on your side, I believe. Unless you've defected. Then you're meat. But it doesn't really matter to me, a fight is a fight." He shifted his weight back slightly, with his weight over his rear foot and ready to spring.

View All »Arcs

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Soon™.

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Welcome home, Promethean. Here, you can manage your universe.

Arcs

Arcs are bundles of posts from any location, allowing you to easily capture sub-plots which might be spread out across multiple locations.

Add Quest » Quests

You can create Quests with various rewards, encouraging your players to engage with specific plot lines.

Add Setting » 13 Settings for your players to play in

Settings are the backdrop for the characters in your universe, giving meaning and context to their existence. By creating a number of well-written locations, you can organize your universe into areas and regions.

Navigation

While not required, locations can be organized onto a map. More information soon!

Liron River Pier

Liron River Pier by RolePlayGateway

Liron River Pier - The largest pier on Liron River

Dullahan Library

Dullahan Library by RolePlayGateway

The Library - Officially the Branch Library of the Dullahan Foundation

Cherry Grove Park

Cherry Grove Park by RolePlayGateway

Cherry Grove Park - a peaceful site with a fountain square

Little Maybelle

Little Maybelle by RolePlayGateway

Little Maybelle - more than just a line of shops... the shopping district in all its glory

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories by RolePlayGateway

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Financial District

Financial District by RolePlayGateway

Financial District of Throme

Brio

Brio by RolePlayGateway

Brio - the best café of the era

Academy Square

Academy Square by RolePlayGateway

Academy Square - fostering the best and the brightest

Backstreets of Throme

Backstreets of Throme by RolePlayGateway

Backstreets of Throme

Throme

Throme by Nivosity

Throme - a city of urban wonders

City Hall

City Hall by RolePlayGateway

City Hall - the heart that keeps the city moving

The Museum of Throme Art and History

The Museum of Throme Art and History by RolePlayGateway

MTAH - art galleries and historical exhibits

Sagaro Mall

Sagaro Mall by RolePlayGateway

Sagaro Mall - a multilstoried dream building of wonders and everything else you can think of

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Use your INK to craft new artifacts in Masks of the Soul: Fragment of Truth. Once created, Items cannot be changed, but they can be bought and sold in the marketplace.

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View All » Add Character » 34 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos 'Dek'
Character Portrait: Aki Evedane
Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune
Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
Character Portrait: Caine Strauss
Character Portrait: Amara Calen
Character Portrait: Elegant Harlequin
Character Portrait: Zensa Venorte
Character Portrait: Shannon Ba'rel
Character Portrait: Liesel Moringmer
Character Portrait: Brandon Clavell
Character Portrait: Strength
Character Portrait: The Chariot
Character Portrait: James Lyon
Character Portrait: Axilious
Character Portrait: Crow

Newest

Character Portrait: Crow
Crow

"With that drink, you've just destroyed your liver some more. I need you healthy. Stay that way."

Character Portrait: Axilious
Axilious

The Jack Mask, master of the show

Character Portrait: James Lyon
James Lyon

The Jack, jack of all trades, master of none

Character Portrait: The Chariot
The Chariot

Fast as the Wind, Flaming like fire. Death to he who dareth to touch me.

Character Portrait: Strength
Strength

Fate follows he who has the strongest will.

Character Portrait: Brandon Clavell
Brandon Clavell

I'm Brandon. So, what is it you do?

Character Portrait: Liesel Moringmer
Liesel Moringmer

"My team. My orders. You don't have a choice in that matter."

Character Portrait: Shannon Ba'rel
Shannon Ba'rel

'Gee viz, time already? I was just getting my nap into full swing too... Well, whatever. Let's get this done.'

Character Portrait: Elegant Harlequin
Elegant Harlequin

The Masked Joker

Trending

Character Portrait: Strength
Strength

Fate follows he who has the strongest will.

Character Portrait: Axilious
Axilious

The Jack Mask, master of the show

Character Portrait: Amara Calen
Amara Calen

"Simmer down. We have a job to do."

Character Portrait: The Chariot
The Chariot

Fast as the Wind, Flaming like fire. Death to he who dareth to touch me.

Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos 'Dek'
Deus ex Kaos 'Dek'

The Calamitous Tower

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss
Caine Strauss

The Moon

Character Portrait: Shannon Ba'rel
Shannon Ba'rel

'Gee viz, time already? I was just getting my nap into full swing too... Well, whatever. Let's get this done.'

Character Portrait: Crow
Crow

"With that drink, you've just destroyed your liver some more. I need you healthy. Stay that way."

Character Portrait: Aki Evedane
Aki Evedane

"Why risk something when there is no guarantee that you'll succeed? You'll just end up worse than you already are."

Character Portrait: Brandon Clavell
Brandon Clavell

I'm Brandon. So, what is it you do?

Most Followed

Character Portrait: James Lyon
James Lyon

The Jack, jack of all trades, master of none

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss
Caine Strauss

The Moon

Character Portrait: The Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune

"Eh, you're boring... go meet up with your little group and put on a show for my amusement..."

Character Portrait: Amara Calen
Amara Calen

"Simmer down. We have a job to do."

Character Portrait: Deus ex Kaos 'Dek'
Deus ex Kaos 'Dek'

The Calamitous Tower

Character Portrait: Strength
Strength

Fate follows he who has the strongest will.

Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen
Kaden Jannsen

"Oh, sorry, you were there? Hmm. Hadn't realized. What do you want? I'm writing, so be quick."

Character Portrait: Brandon Clavell
Brandon Clavell

I'm Brandon. So, what is it you do?

Character Portrait: Elegant Harlequin
Elegant Harlequin

The Masked Joker


View All » Places

Liron River Pier

Liron River Pier by RolePlayGateway

Liron River Pier - The largest pier on Liron River

Dullahan Library

Dullahan Library by RolePlayGateway

The Library - Officially the Branch Library of the Dullahan Foundation

Cherry Grove Park

Cherry Grove Park by RolePlayGateway

Cherry Grove Park - a peaceful site with a fountain square

Little Maybelle

Little Maybelle by RolePlayGateway

Little Maybelle - more than just a line of shops... the shopping district in all its glory

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories by RolePlayGateway

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Financial District

Financial District by RolePlayGateway

Financial District of Throme

Brio

Brio by RolePlayGateway

Brio - the best café of the era

Academy Square

Academy Square by RolePlayGateway

Academy Square - fostering the best and the brightest

Backstreets of Throme

Backstreets of Throme by RolePlayGateway

Backstreets of Throme

Throme

Throme by Nivosity

Throme - a city of urban wonders

City Hall

City Hall by RolePlayGateway

City Hall - the heart that keeps the city moving

The Museum of Throme Art and History

The Museum of Throme Art and History by RolePlayGateway

MTAH - art galleries and historical exhibits

Sagaro Mall

Sagaro Mall by RolePlayGateway

Sagaro Mall - a multilstoried dream building of wonders and everything else you can think of

Sagaro Mall

Throme Sagaro Mall Owner: RolePlayGateway

Sagaro Mall - a multilstoried dream building of wonders and everything else you can think of

Cherry Grove Park

Throme Cherry Grove Park Owner: RolePlayGateway

Cherry Grove Park - a peaceful site with a fountain square

Little Maybelle

Throme Little Maybelle Owner: RolePlayGateway

Little Maybelle - more than just a line of shops... the shopping district in all its glory

Liron River Pier

Throme Liron River Pier Owner: RolePlayGateway

Liron River Pier - The largest pier on Liron River

Dullahan Library

Throme Dullahan Library Owner: RolePlayGateway

The Library - Officially the Branch Library of the Dullahan Foundation

Academy Square

Throme Academy Square Owner: RolePlayGateway

Academy Square - fostering the best and the brightest

Brio

Little Maybelle Brio Owner: RolePlayGateway

Brio - the best café of the era

The Museum of Throme Art and History

MTAH - art galleries and historical exhibits

City Hall

Throme City Hall Owner: RolePlayGateway

City Hall - the heart that keeps the city moving

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Alcivosity Science and Research Laboratories

Financial District

Throme Financial District Owner: RolePlayGateway

Financial District of Throme

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