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Caine Strauss

The Moon

0 · 524 views · located in Cherry Grove Park

a character in “Masks of the Soul: Fragment of Truth”, as played by Witless

Groups

Description

Image

Caine Strauss
'A strange world this is. Let's see what they can do...'







Image

What Kind of Mask is it?:
True

If True, in what state of completion is it in?:
In-progress

How do you create/transform with the mask?
To summon: 'Ingredere rem ignotam.'
To transform: 'Mens amens coepit.'


Brief Description of Transformed State:
Caine is blind with white, clouded eyes and dark black irises that seem to gaze through you. He has long, straight, white hair and is almost always garbed in black, with a black robe ornamented in strange lettering. He has a different conception of his image, so if you were to ask him, he would draw you a similar figure, though one with black hair and pure white eyes, as if those colors had been reversed for whatever reason.




Personality:
Caine is a rather fierce, impassive character. He grew up in a world of bloodshed, death all around him, with hatred being no less present. He was born into war, his parents dying in it, though they were away often enough that it made little difference; he never knew them. So it was just Caine and his sister Evi, doing what they had to to survive. Going to school using the money they had left, whether it was for their parents, for hope, or simply for a sense of normality. But it did little to help, for that was where the bullying happened, and with Evi's death, he grew impassive and uncaring.

A few years went by like this, and eventually he was picked up by a talented Magician who, for whatever reason, saw something in Caine and took him in as an apprentice, teaching him what he could of the world. This spurred Caine's fascination with magic and gave him a reason to continue on, so he learned whatever he could. And for a short while he was happy, until his teacher was taken away and executed. And so happiness changed to anger, curiosity to a want for revenge, and he worked on some new magic that could be used to change the state of things, maybe by taking over the government itself. Somewhere in this time, the mask was made, and a link was formed.

Caine developed a lust for power, trying to learn whatever he could in both worlds, picking up allies to help him in his own world and battling enemy after enemy in the government simply to test himself. He may have gone slightly insane, or maybe it was just great grief or anger, but he lost his empathy once again, this time a cruel nature filling the void, and so he is how we see him today, with a slight sadistic streak, searching for new techniques, fighting new enemies, maybe searching for power, maybe for death. Whatever the case, he'll find one or both soon enough...

He fights with intensity, sometimes reaching a sort of berserk state, not caring about wounds or even who is friend and who foe. His emotions are rather unstable, so there are times when he'll react slightly unexpectedly, to those who can't see the reasons behind those emotions. He may simply lose interest in a fight, freeze up in fear of a memory, grow more intense, fighting on past the opponent's defeat or until his own, all depending on what emotions stir in him, what memories resurface.


Skills/Abilities when wearing mask:
Increased physical abilities.
He seems to belong where he is. When people see him, they think whatever he's doing is normal and forget about it later.
His awareness increases, and he is able to remember much more than he would otherwise be able to.
He can draw much faster than normal.


Skills/Abilities of Transformed State:
Sight of the Blind (minor): In exchange for losing his sight, Caine's other senses are honed sharply to compensate. He is well aware of his surroundings and has great reflexes. He cannot turn off this ability, but it takes up little energy to use.
Lingering Magic (minor): As a leftover from the magical world he was drawn from, Caine can cast a small fireball, strike quickly with a small lightning bolt, or send ice shards toward an enemy. This takes up a moderate amount of energy with comparatively little damage. He can use it around ten times or so from full energy, so he uses it sparingly. However, this is the main long-range attack at Caine's disposal.
Distractive Shield (minor): Caine can create a shield around himself that causes people to take little notice of him as little things constantly keep people from taking notice of him. This takes a medium amount of energy and can last for a little longer than an hour from full energy if used constantly.
Acclimation (major): By drawing on his sketchpad, Caine can create an object, bringing it from his world into this one. The smaller the object, the less energy it takes up, and the most he could do would be to bring over one person to or from his world, but that would take up most of his energy, leaving him helpless. In theory, he could also change the scenery around him, but the cost would be too great, resulting in his death.


Weapons
Pen and Paper: This is used to summon objects for weapons and help through Acclimation. He normally summons a chainsword or kusari-gama for their variable reach when he fights.

Sketchpad:
Image

Chainsword:
Image

Kusari-gama:
Image

So begins...

Caine Strauss's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Kaden Jannsen Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Witless
*Easter speech by Nivosity*

Kaden Jannsen; Sagaro Mall, 1st Floor -> 2nd Floor Theater


Kaden walked into Sagaro, as always awestruck by the elegant beauty within. He had drawn a few pictures spurred from various parts of the mall: a cold, icy civilization from the Ice Rink, a map of stars from the observatory, the bustling crowd, grand clock, and floor-by-floor architecture viewed from above, and there was still so much more that he could draw from. Whenever he needed to relax or find inspiration, he walked somewhere, anywhere, and most of the time that place was here. Today, like every Friday, that Easter clown was here, selling his balloons. They had always seemed enticing for some strange reason (it wasn't like he was a kid, but for some reason they held an appeal that he couldn't explain), but he had never gotten around to asking about them. Why not? Now would be the day. He had some time before the scheduled meeting. It was worth a shot, and if it started to take too long, he'd just leave. Here goes nothing! "Excuse me, how much for a balloon? That black and silver one over there, to be exact?"

The clown turned at the question, glancing at the balloon and then glaring back at Kaden. "Balloons? How much are they worth? The price of happiness? The purchase of a balloon." He looked back at the black and silver balloon, the only one of that color in the shop. "Twenty argen for the silver-black pretty." With a hopeful expression at a sudden thought, Easter's eyes lit up, and he glanced through his stock before settling on a partially-deflated green balloon. "This one's 69 cents. You should buy that one instead. It's green. It would be good for you. It likes you more than the black-silver pretty." Glaring at Kaden once again, he gestured away from the black and silver balloon to the green one.

It was almost funny how worked up this clown was getting, enough for Kaden to actually want to buy that exorbitant price just to spite him. He brought out the money, "Here, may I have that delightful black and silver balloon?" He smirked at the clown's cross muttering as he took the money and went to take the balloon. He only could make out a few words, but they seemed to be repeated. "Pretty," "dead," "silver," "boss," "bad," "forever," and maybe a few more that Kaden just couldn't catch.

Kaden took the balloon and tied it securely to his wrist (It was pretty, wasn't it?) before going up the escalator to the second floor. The main attraction here: a movie theater. Well, eight to be exact. The good news was, people didn't care as much about other people in public movie theaters. It was dark, people always talked, and "kids these days" were always on their phones. He'd just be another one of "them." Now all that was left was to pick a theater, and it didn't matter which show was playing, just that he was safe within the theater from prying eyes. For which movie might they think he's just a cosplaying young man and pay him little regard? Well, they'd think him strange at the very least, but strange may be normal. It would be best to avoid using powers until they were essential. It would be simpler just to wear the mask, not transform into the meddlesome, ignorant Caine, but rules were rules, and you never messed with Itex. Whatever. If Caine caused any trouble, that was his problem, not Kaden's.

Skinwalkers. That sounded interesting and maybe cosplay-acceptable. Kaden had heard something about it, and it was from a post-apocalyptic world. He'd be able to get by, make something up as needed. Kaden walked up to the box office, bought a ticket at the student discount, digging through his pockets for 7 argen (he barely had that much with him after the balloon), and proceeded to theater 7. There were quite a few people here, more than expected, so it was apparently a new movie or maybe just a good one, who cares. Kaden walked up to the top of the theater, sitting in the back rows and whispered a few words. What they meant wasn't important, but what they did was.

"Ingredere rem ignotam." His mask appeared, and he slipped it on, another's voice whispering chaotically through his head, offering ideas or just random thoughts here and there. A jumbled painting and accompanying story had resulted from this, but enough of that. The final words. "Mens amens coepit."




Caine Strauss, Itex Moon; Itex Voice Chat


It was dark. Who was he kidding? It was always dark, but that mattered little. Magic, sound, smell, whatever it was that gave Caine a highly-tuned perception of his surroundings eliminated that problem. It was some sort of "theater," as the counterpart called it, and the screen in front would display images (which he couldn't see), and the speakers around would project the sound (which would be distracting, to say the least). It wasn't the best place for a "chat," but who was he to tell the counterpart how to live his life. Just so long as that counterpart (Caden, he called himself? Something like that...) didn't mess up as monumentally as last time. He's just an idiot who has no idea what he's messing with, and yet he thinks it's in his best interests to pull an unwilling subject away from his daily life. Learn your place and stay there.

And there was something on his wrist, a string, held up in the air by... a thing, something he couldn't name or even describe. Was it simply air? Did this world have powers which his counterpart had neglected to inform him of? They would have to have a talk later. This device was intriguing, even if the purpose was concealed. Turning his minds to more important things, Caine brought out the "writing tablet" to take care of business, putting in the "headphones."

Fiddling with the device, a click may have been heard, passcodes scrawled, and the private chat began. "Caine here. Or... I suppose it's 'The Moon' you want. I'm he, me, go on whoever's here. What's new?"

The setting changes from Sagaro Mall to Throme

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Chariot Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Strength Character Portrait: Hanged Man's Trump Character Portrait: Hermit Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Alasund
Judgement ; Itex Voice Chat


To all in the chat, a sixth voice finally spoke, though it almost seemed as if it had been there the whole time. "I see that the Tower has deigned to grace us with his presence," the voice chimed, as though congratulating the absentee on his arrival. "But it seems we've no more time to waste."

The flippant tone of the voice suddenly vanished, replaced instead by a colder tone – one which demanded obedience. "Chariot." the voice rang, before being replaced by more chipper tones. "You are in charge of the first group of three – though you'll only have two." It was almost as if he found the Tower's absence, and the subsequent hole it made in the first team, humorous.

"Strength. You're going with him." The order was delivered in the almost carefree manner it had started talking. "Both of you will be headed to Orion Street, in the backstreets, where you'll pick up a package. Chariot shall keep the package tonight, and tomorrow he will receive directions to where it will be delivered."

Not even waiting for acknowledgement from the two ordered, the voice changed targets. "Hanged Man." the chiming voice fleetingly paused on the name, "you will be leading the second group." The voice sounded like a verbal pat on the back – as if this were a gargantuan task finally completed. "Hermit. Moon. You're going with him." No accolades for them, though, just a fleeting pass over as if they weren't worth the effort.

"You three are heading to Liron Pier, where you'll meet a contact. They will recognise you, so you needn't worry about finding them." A little tiredly, the voice paused and thought for a moment, "And be careful..." the trailing sounded drawn, as if to hold the implication he cared for the Lower Itex for a moment, "of the packages. There will be quite a few angered if contents are either lost or broken." the chimed words were almost cruelly said, but before a reply could be given, the voice spoke one last time.

"That is all. Be about your tasks. And do not attract the attention of anyone while doing your tasks." There was no false warmth or happiness in this statement, blank and hard as it was. The second he finished speaking, the signal on the screen showed all present that he'd signed out.

The setting changes from Throme to Liron River Pier

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Witless
Caine Strauss, Itex Moon; Itex Voice Chat


"Hermit. Moon. You're going with him. You three are heading to Liron Pier, where you'll meet a contact. They will recognise you, so you needn't worry about finding them." There was more as well, but this was the main portion. His destination. The orders ended, and a click informed him of Judgement signing off. This was a strange form of communication; meeting in person was so much easier, especially if they'd meet eventually anyway. This was too much of a hassle, going from place to place. But Caine always seemed to be cleaning up after Kaden, and his own world was no different. "This is Moon, headed to the destination. I'll see you there," and he was signed off, just like that.

Just in time, the "movie," it was called, was just starting, and overview music was playing. It was probably showing flashes between different scenes which illustrated the points. Over it all was a male voice, theatric, with some echo effects thrown in as well. "In a world that's ended, the remnants of human life struggle to survive... Genetic mutations cause human-animal hybrids, some dangerous and feral. The others... are outcast and have one refuge of their own. There, a battle ensues regarding those humans who cast them out, ...who exiled them. Here... is the story of the Skinwalkers, Changers, and the humans they hate and love... The story... of a cat. ...ehehehehehe..." The voice changed, becoming more childlike and energetic. "See General Man over there? He's freaking out with his posse over there over a little speech. The town needs order, he gives it, but they still need these 'speeches' for 'morale' or some such boring little thing... and boring things they are! He can't even make a speech! Even I could do better! And I'm a cat! Look, over there, that's me, no a little over... there! Yeah, lookout, smookout, there were supposedly 'Rebels' around, but they weren't making a move. It was boring, can you blame me? Here, listen, it's a speech! Anyone could do better! See for yourself..."

Sagaro Mall -> Goatstone Bridge -> Liron River Pier


Ah, he had gotten drawn in, wasting time. And there wasn't any to waste, was there. Without waiting for more, Caine rushed from the aisle where he had paused in irritation and confusion at the voice and headed out the door. He headed through the rest of the mall mostly unnoticed. He had some sort of knack where people would just let him be. However, near the entrance someone said something strange... "The black-silver pretty! Who?" But it was of little consequence, and Caine was out the door and headed through the city, digging through his contact's head for a map of where he'd be going. It needed to be close to exact, or he might make a mistake. Luckily, Kaden never seemed to fail him there, as he visualized everything when he drew it out on paper. Everything was laid out in his mind, and there was a bridge to cross along the way. Why would he start off on the wrong side of the bridge? The idiot...

Grumbling, he walked along, drawing murmurs from his strange eyes. Sure, they'd forget about him soon after, but the less people took notice of him, the better. He remembered something Kaden had told him, about blind people using canes and to use one where possible. Sitting down against a building on the sidewalk, Caine pulled out his sketchpad, sketched what he needed, and muttered a few words before drawing the cane from the sketch. He staggered for a short instant, drawing a deep breath before continuing onward. Magic had a cost, it always did, but the cost was more here. He'd have to take more care than usual, or his life could be at risk. It was just his luck to be pulled into a world of stagnant magic. If only they knew what it could do, there'd be no need for this... "technology" thing. Sure, it was handy, but was it worth it? No technology could have saved her, no medicine. Only magic could, and he hadn't known... No, this wasn't the time. He was on the bridge, and the cane caught on a statue. He pushed his way around it and walked past with little hindrance. Someone may have offered a hand that was simply shrugged away. It was of little importance.

Finally there, he heard the water, felt the change of texture under his feet at the wooden pier, smelt the fish that must populate the water. But no one was there yet, so he sat down, his feet hanging over the edge of the pier. The suspended pocket of air hovered above him, still held in place by its string, a curiosity Kaden had left him but of which he knew nothing. Well, others would know, no doubt. The sketchpad came out again, and he drew a face, a girl's, one of the few that mattered, one of the few he remembered. One which had fled from his hand many times but never his mind. He drew her face and waited, a mask of indifference on his own face, and a wary ear out for anything approaching.

The setting changes from Liron River Pier to Throme

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Liesel Moringmer Character Portrait: Cedric Valsche Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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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...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Calanthia Rozenmare Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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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.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caine Strauss Character Portrait: Crow Character Portrait: Calanthia Rozenmare Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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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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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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#, 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?"

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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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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 Cherry Grove Park

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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?"