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Cain

"I'm but a bird trapped in a gilded cage of my own making"

0 · 506 views · located in LAIOS

a character in “Welcome to LAIOS Part II”, as played by ianna_334

Description

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Real Age:
44
Occupation:
Skyline Employee
Gender:
Male
Orientation:
Asexual
Appearance:
Brown haired and brown eyed, Christian’s age is starting to show in the greying of his hair and the laugh lines starting to crease his skin. He is a tall, solid man, with the remnants of impressive musculature in his arms, although the definition has faded since after he gave up maintaining it about ten years back. He tends to dress in collared shirts, as formally as any of the other employees. He isn't very expressive, and quirks his eyebrow whenever he is pondering or judging another. Christian enjoys being outdoors and has a light tan. His most distinctive feature is his right leg, which appears oddly misshapen under his clothes. Damaged beyond repair, Christian has to use a simple wooden cane to support himself when he gets around.
Reason for playing LAIOS:
Well, it was his job to test out the game when asked, not that he minded particularly. The one thing Christian looked forward to in LAIOS was the fact that he’d be able to move freely and quickly again, with both legs working as they used to in his youth. Though he avoided a full midlife crisis, part of Christian is pleased to be able to regain a more youthful appearance. He was sent into the game to test several mechanics, most notably player-killing, which inspired his username. Loving a challenge, he chose the priest class, a traditionally non-offensive role, and still tested everything to his employer’s satisfaction.
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Avatar Sex:
Male
Level at Start of Roleplay:
120
Race:
Human
Element:
N/A
Class:
Priest
Role:
Beta
Occupation:
۞
Guild:
The Knights of Lore
Hex code: #5E2612

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In Game Appearance
Cain gave nods to both future and past with his design, with a youthful body and smooth face, but with the snow white hair Christian expects he will have in a few years’ time. The hair is straight and falls in front of his eyes, but is much finer than in real life, so it doesn't obscure his vision. Soft violet is the colour chosen for his eyes, but even the gentler shades can’t detract from his cutting gaze. He has kept his height, but gave himself a slighter frame to go with the image he was trying to project. He is clean shaven in the game, and his in game face is much more angular.
Cain’s appearance has changed very little since he entered LAIOS, as the human race doesn’t have visible indicators of levelling like many others. He changes his clothing only when it serves an advantage such as some sort of stat buff. Currently he wears a long flowing white robe covered by a heavy light brown cape with a hood, though he only wears the hood when he believes he may be close to Seraph. It isn't fully intentional, but Cain does look very much like a monk in his garb. Cain’s favoured armour is a polished silver, though it isn’t visible beneath the robe and cape. His gloves are elbow length, soft tan in colour, and are fingerless to aid with his healing ability. Tall pointed boots complete the outfit, and are a plain black. His staff is as tall as he is, with an extra 6 inches on top. Eight spirals create a cocoon within which floats a translucent white crystal.
The Cain within game is much more prone to gesturing when he speaks, often leading to near misses with his healing staff. He has two brown pouches at his hips, but his largest carrying bag is a brown rucksack on his back, beneath the cape - making him appear to be hunchbacked when seen from a distance in profile. His sword-and-shield tattoo is on his neck, usually below his collar. Strangely, Christian has given his avatar unusually long eyelashes. The rucksack is rigged so that he can slip his staff into a holder to free up his hands but keep his only weapon in easy reach. However, the avatar also carries four daggers, mostly for aesthetic...though he can usually get in a lucky strike is he absolutely must. Cain also has another outfit that he hasn't donned in a while. This outfit, looking like ordinary civilian clothes but unnaturally soft to the touch, help him sneak about and blend in, back when he still killed players. His high level means a lot of his body is covered by markings that appear to be like stylized pine needles. They are violet in colour and appeared from the feet up, so his face and neck are not yet affected, and you can only notice his dyed fingers if you stare exceptionally closely at his hands.



Skills:
Combat Skill - Sacrifice - Allows the user to half their own hp in exchange for mp points. Reserved for mages and priests.

Combat Skill - Phoenix - Allows the individual to revive a party member if used within the first 10 seconds of player death. Only for priests. LOCKED


Combat Skill - Panic Attack - Ability that allows the player to automatically hit the head of an attacker entering their personal space within reach of the weapon in their hands. This attack stuns the enemy for a small burst of time. Especially useful for low defense classes like priests and mages

Occupation Skill -Enchanter - Ability to enhance armor and accessories with upgrades. Cain has leveled up the enchanter ability to 92 and can create powerful enhancements and moderately higher combination skills.

Occupation Skill - Herbologist - Ability to find more herbs for healing and poisons. Cain's herbology skill is 84 and allows him to locate and harvest more herbs, including many rare herbs.

Skill - Premonition - Ability to sense a vague time and place for the appearance of the final dungeon within the game. Effective for a guesstimate with 3 hours accuracy and a location attached to a cardinal direction. An effect of him being a beta with programming know-how


Skill - Death List - Very morbid ability to see the names of those who have died in-game and what killed them. Result of being a beta with programming know-how


Enhancements:
Gloves: MP recharge time reduced by 50%.
Body armor: Physical damage reduced by 43%, Regenerates 14 points of health every 10 seconds.
Leg Armor: Any physical damage below 30% has no effect, registering as Cain taking 0 damage.
Staff: MP size increased by 72 points.
Boots: Stamina speed increased to 44% base rate.


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Likes:
Being able to move freely
Confusing the hell out of others
Knowing what others don’t



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Dislikes:
Being trapped in LAIOS
Making mistakes
Being injured both in the real world and in LAIOS



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Strengths:
Healing and self healing
Has highly levelled enhancements on everything he owns
Able to keep his cool in high stress situation whether it be racing against a deadline or trying not to die in a video game.
Extremely perceptive



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Weakness:
Low defense and attack
Occasionally gets really annoying and acts dismissive about pain and death...which does not endear him to others
The knowledge of all those who have died from this game weighs on him, especially as the numbers rise
Bad at keeping his beta status a secret



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Fears:
Dying in LAIOS
Being permanently crippled
Cars



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Personality:
Observant ღ Calm ღ Blunt ღ Droll

Outside of the game, Christian is an intelligent and calm man who loves a good joke. He is very competent programmer with a strict attention to detail and a perfectionistic tendency to get things right on the first try. Nothing frustrates him more than making little mistakes, because at least big ones can be attributed to a lack of knowledge. He is very caring, especially towards his family, and has many friends because of how easily he gives. He’s not very demanding and so doesn't take much, just expecting loyalty and companionship from others. He does have a slight tendency towards envy, though, and snaps very easily when people aren't considerate of his leg.
Inside the game, Cain is content with himself. He doesn't want what others have, he feels he’s done very well within LAIOS. However, he is also less caring, as he doesn’t consider the avatars in LAIOS to be fully real people, because it’s so easy to lie. He still loves a good joke, but he also takes a malicious pleasure from confusing others and has no idea where this surfaced from. Still helpful, Cain tries to keep his compassion tamped down, because in a game like LAIOS with death as an option, he doesn't want to send himself back to the dark place he was in after being discharged. He has kept his attention to detail, but in the game he is much less shy about using it on people to point out truths they may not want to face. Cain thinks there are enough others coddling and softening things in the world, so being one of those people that tells the truth as it is is okay.
Cain can be a bit of a nuisance, often following around players he finds interesting and keeping up a running commentary on their day. He does care, however, as shown by his class and the ability it gives him to heal. In a way, he’s just being helpful...even if the person doesn't necessarily want help. Cain loves a good challenge, as shown by his unlikely combination of race, class, and occupation. Taking into account his old hobby, this becomes even stranger. He loves to mess with people to see reactions, though extremely negative reaction make him feel horrendously guilty as that wasn't his intent.

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History:
Growing up in a very religious family, Christian had originally intended to become a priest. How he ended up in the military was anyone’s guess, but he served honourably for 2 terms before an explosion flipped his vehicle and badly damaged his leg. After this he could no longer serve, and combined with the deaths of his close friends in that explosion, he began to fall into a depression of sorts. Fortunately, his family was there for him, and between his brother’s priestly council and a therapist's advice, he got better. To occupy his time, Christian went back to school, deciding on programming because it required very little physical movement. Finishing his degree, Christian began to search for work and ended up with a position in Skyline Gaming Corporation. He was let in on the biggest and most ambitious project - the Learning Advanced Intelligence Operating System - and once it was complete, he was asked to be a beta tester. Christian accepted eagerly, and created his avatar Cain, heading into the game for its trial run. In those days, he was a PKer as part of the tests for that mechanic.
When Seraph locked down the game, Cain was furious, but didn’t approve of the plan to kill the AI, thinking it could be reasoned with. However, he reluctantly trailed after the attacking party, helping keep them alive. Even though he didn't agree with what they had tried to do, he still mourned their deaths. When new users started flooding in he tried to warn them...but many thought he was a funny NPC. He took a few distancing exercises from his therapist to the extreme, and when the lockdown started, he tried not to care.
However, he couldn't just stop, and eventually, he joined the Knights of Lore after stalking Psychedemo for an entire day and deciding she seemed like a good person. He is known for cryptic public posts that state a time and a location, and nothing else...

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Face Claims:
Varied
Zero Kiryu - Vampire Knight

CS Design:
© By: FaddedFox ©
Played By:
By: ianna_334

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So begins...

Cain's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: Seraph Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: NocturnalKISS Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Angus Character Portrait: WindsFate Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: EveEverlasting Character Portrait: Minuet Character Portrait: Leviathan Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: Augur
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╚═╣Hello all Players! This is your Game Master. I would first like to wish you all Happy Holidays! I would like to inform you all of an event that will be occurring shortly. The first Christmas event will commence on December 25th. During this event, the town of Vael will become a battle zone where event specific monsters will appear. If you do not wish to participate in the event, refrain from visiting Vael that day or stay indoors so you are not attacked. Regardless of participation, all players will receive a box of candy canes (12 canes) as treats, 10 health and 10 mana potions as a present from me. The event also has two parts. Once the monsters appear, midnight on the 24th, there will be a competition of who kills the most event creatures. The winner with the overall highest kill count will receive a mount of their choosing, a Christmas dinner that can be shared with 5 people, and 20 health and mana potions. The person that comes in second will receive the same things except the mount.

The second part of the event will happen at midnight on the 25th. A boss will appear in the town and will not attack anyone unless it is attacked. The player that does the greatest damage and takes down the boss will receive a dragon egg, the Christmas dinner, candy, and potions. I thank you for your patronage and hope you are all happy with your gifts! Happy Hunting!
---Game Master Time stamp December 18 5:00am
╠═╝

₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪



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Occupation:
Mercenary

Guild:
Night's Guile

Level:
72

Hex Code:
#CC1100

Location:
Vael tavern - Gold Gallion



December 24th. It was a peaceful, normal day for the most part in Vael. It was two in the afternoon so most players were up and awake doing whatever they needed to get done that day or doing some grinding in the field to get ready for the event. The sandy beach town had been transformed for the season and snow fell from the sky as realistic as if it were really happening. The snow flakes were delicate and cold to the touch and the air had grown chilly enough to allow the snow to rest on the ground. Some players had even stuck their tongues out to catch the falling snow. The NPC children had a lot of fun gathering up the multitude of ice on the ground and tossing it around at each other in a fight and engaging players, begging them to join them or throwing random snow balls at passerby. Playersand NPCs alike were making snow angels and building up snowmen. It really was like a winter wonderland and Shade_Strider wasn't a huge fan. The cold sucked but he supposed cold weather was better than blistering heat. Over all, things had been cheery. There was even a giant tree in the middle of town that hadn't been there before covered in lights and decorations that towered over the buildings and in every town. The game music had changed to the instrumental of Chirstmas songs but thank the Game Master that he only applied that feature in the town square and not everywhere else in the game. Shade might have actually wanted to die in game just to escape the overly cheery lullabies of the holiday. He thought Christmas music in real shops had been annoying. Even the fields had snow falling everywhere.

A lot of the players were talking about the coming event and what it meant. They remembered all to well the event that had trapped them in the game. It had been an event to welcome all players but it really hadn't been an event at all. It had just been the Game Master removing the log out feature and giving them a few potions as a starter kit. It made the players wary if anything. What would happen this time? Was it really an event? There were other players that ignored the event and others that were excited for it to. It was all a mixture of emotions like everything else in LAIOS.

In Vael's tavern, the Gold Gallon, 'life' went on as usual though even the tavern was decorated with Christmas decorations and stockings. It was almost sickening how Christmasy it all was. Shade_Strider wanted to cut something. The drink was good however and the bard singing? Stunningly gorgeous as usual. Shade loved everything about his Princy and his voice was amazing to though he always found himself lost in the tenor or the man's voice or his deep hypnotic eyes rather than his lyrics. EclecticPrince was singing as was his occupation, standing in front of a game table where many of his friends were already gathered. Shade_Strider did sometimes start staring at the man, game in front of him forgotten momentarily.It almost made him oblivious. Almost.

"Bullshit!" Shade_Strider called out suddenly with a grin, his smoldering ruby colored eyes narrowed on Granite. He so did love playing cards with Prince's brother. And his jokes were fun to when Granite decided to chip up. "I call your bullshit, Granite. I don't believe you put down 2 Queens! Flip them over, you liar. Don't you agree, Demo?" he asked and glanced at the other player at their table. They weren't exactly friends but gaming with her was fun to. "You call his bullshit to, don't you?" Shade_Strider's leather black wings fluttered behind him in his confidence. He was positive the other demon didn't have the cards he professed. This would be a good turn in the game since Granite at that point had far fewer cards than he or PsycheDemo.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation:
Enchanter

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
120

Hex Code:
.#5E2612

Location:
Vael tavern- Gold Gallion





At that moment the doors to the tavern opened again, and a man appeared, stamping snow off his boots and brushing off his hood before lowering it to shake out white hair which he promptly brushed down with his fingers. His cape sagged on his shoulders, at least until he shook it out with an audible snap, and pushed it back over his shoulders, revealing a pure white outfit beneath. He blinked sleepily and looked around at the others in the tavern, scanning for someone interesting. That had honestly been his intent, just find someone to talk to. But it was then that he caught sight of purple hair and a leaning staff that he knew quite well. And with new people too! Oh, and Shade_Strider was there as well? What luck!

Now smirking, the priest moved between tables gracefully. Not clicking his own staff along the table as was his usual habit, halfway through, he even changed course, heading over to the bar to get his frozen fingers (Goddamn his favourite buffed gloves for being fingerless!) moving again. From the corner of his eye, he observed the table that had his interest, while clenching his mug in a way that might make others think he was upset. Halfway through his drink, he even got into a conversation about the stupidity of wearing fingerless gloves in this weather, with Cain accepting the chastising "Idiot~" graciously. But soon his order was gone, and he slid off the stool, making a wide circuit back to the front of the room.

From there, he began his silent glide to the table, as it was at this angle that he was approaching the new person he didn't know from behind. As he walked, he drew out a sketchpad and pencil from his pack, and began to write down the usernames he had memorized for this exact purpose. Fingers still numb, he once again circuited to the side, plunking himself down behind a couple that was two seconds away form engaging in heavy PDA before his interruption.

"Don't mind me~" he told them, jotting down enough of the names for a list the length of his palm, which was only a fraction of the full thing. He then began to decorate it with cheerful childish doodles, swirly flowers and a sun sticking out its tongue. Standing up from PDA central - and exposing to the tavern what the couple was now up to without the shelter of his height and cape - he headed over for the final time, now approaching the back of the PKer. When he got close enough, he stilled again, squinting as he tried to make out the other's cards, which he scribbled as best he could without any vision buffs on his person. How his avatar had ended up with worse eyesight than he had in real life, he didn't know, but it was annoying, and he made a mental note to bug a certain AI about it.

Deep breath
Was he nervous? Not at all, but holding his breath would in fact help stay undetected for the maybe half second he could get. Cain stepped forward and lifted the sketchpad up with his sketches of cards and lists of names. Looks like he'd gotten two of the cards wrong, well, the demon would be happy about that. The list of names with its border loomed above that, the sun beside it out of place because of what those names represented.

A mischievous smile spread on his face as he pushed that thought away. It was Christmas, a time of joy~
/Isn't it, Psyche?/ his eyes would lock on hers as soon as she looked back up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Angus Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax
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Occupation:
Enchanter

Guild:
Lunar Glade

Level:
54

Hex Code:
#8565fa

Location:
Vael - Skies






Once the message from the Game Master was sent out, reminding Lilac of the fact that time was still passing, that Christmas was just around the corner, it... honestly wasn't a good feeling at all. If she hadn't gotten this dumb game, she and Aria could've been spending time buying gifts for the family, for mutual friends, they could've been happy. They could've been together. Now, Lilac had no idea if her sister was safe, alive, or trapped in the game under an unrecognizable name, or perhaps even already dead. That last possibility was a particularly devastating one that honestly, was better off not thought about lest she overwork her heart in the real world.

She was flying in circles above the ocean city of Vael when she sent private messages to all the guild members barring Accido and Montanax, asking for updates, preferred allies and formations and the like, knowing Montanax valued survival over all else. The information slowly trickled in and Lilac kept a mental notebook of what class combinations worked well together, which people could naturally cover each other's weaknesses, and which people didn't get along at all. Pairing the more war-happy people with a higher level yet level-headed player, pitting weak with the strong, doing whatever she could to ensure the maximum amount lives were retained as well as optimizing the amount of estimated experience gained per group. It was tough work, yet Lilac enjoyed it as she seemingly danced through the sky, flapping her wings as she went, fluttering gracefully. Her face remained mostly expressionless, only the faintest flicker in her amber eyes to show how much fun she was having.

It felt good to be able to contribute, to do the bulk work that allowed Montanax and Accido to focus on other things, for them to think of the big picture. They accommodated her despite her age and Lilac was incredibly thankful for that, for the opportunity to be helpful and prove her worth. Even if it was somewhat tedious, Lilac didn't mind at all. Her mind wandered as she organized names together, thinking of someone who she thought was going to be a good friend. Angus, the bull. His name floated in front of her face on her friend's list, near Accido's name and she wondered if maybe, maybe, once she was stronger, once she was smarter, maybe she could send him a message and show her old friend how far she'd come.

That'd be nice, right? In any case, it was good to know he was still alive. Someone tough like Angus would definitely be able to survive long enough for the Lunar Glade to find an escape. Even if they never spoke again, it was fine. Maybe if she was lucky, she'd catch a glimpse of her former friend during the Christmas event.

Her mind then went to Cain, her teacher and mentor. That reminded her, she'd soon have to turn in the latest homework assignment of 30% Fire resist boots. Honestly, it was easy, and she wanted to do something harder, something more complicated, but the experience would eventually add up. Hopefully he'd be proud of her, and give her a big assignment next time. Still, there was time to worry about that later - for now she sent Cain a little PM that she'd completed the task and then finished organizing the team formations. Once that was dealt with, Lilac spied the Guild Hall and swooped down to it, maintaining her expressionless face.

She sent Montanax her arrangements via a PM and requested for him to look it over and tweak whatever he thought was necessary. With that done, Lilac entered the guild, offering Montanax a subtle nod and a little smile, hair slightly a mess from the flying. She rearranged the crown on her head, enjoying the fluff of her hair. "Hello there." She said sagely, noticing the smile on his lips. "I'm glad to see you're enjoying yourself." She paused a little, wanting to be more useful if she could. "If there's anything further you'd like me to do, do you mind letting me know? I'd be glad to help out more."


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Angus Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Accido
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#, as written by Red Rum
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Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
52

Hex Code:
#D84FF0

Location:
Vael- Town Square




The message from the GM had come as a bit of a surprise to Moe. The realization that Christmas was just around the corner had left her a bit confused on how she should feel. Should she feel sad that she wasn't getting to spend the holidays with her family, or was it ok to honestly not to feel that bad about it? Deciding that she didn't want to be alone at her house with all of those thoughts, Moe decided to close up shop and head out on the town.

Watching all the joyous faces of players and NPCs alike pass her by, Moe could feel a small smile curling the edges of her lips as well. Pulling her cloak closer to her frame as she trudged through the snow, Moe wondered what exactly she should do. Having left her home really only to not be alone with her thoughts, she didn't really have a clear plan of what she should do. Eyes shifting to all of the people running around attempting to catch snowflakes and build snowmen, Moe sighed. At least everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, she had at first been worried that all of the players would be depressed over the fact that they weren't spending this holiday season with their families.

Suddenly spotting a shop dedicated mostly to selling ingredients, Moe's smile grew brighter. The store was located near the center of town, close to the giant Christmas tree. As she hurried inside, the NPC behind the counter's smile grew as well, it wasn't exactly her first time coming to this store. "Welcome young lady! Please, look around as much as you'd like!". Nodding her thanks, Moe began to scroll through the list of buyable items that the store had to offer. An idea had already begun to take root in her mind, she should make some sweets for all of her friends that had helped her thus far. It wasn't very much, but it was at least something she could do for everyone. She could bake some cookies for some of her guild members like Psyche, Goliath, and maybe even Cain. Moe could also probably bake some cookies to give to Accido as thanks for all of the training she'd been giving her. And then she'd make an unnecessarily large cake for Angus, he'd overpaid her for repairing his equipment again and she'd been looking for a way to repay him. After buying all of the necessary ingredients, Moe and the store owner exchanged thanks before she braced herself and headed out into the chilly wind again.

Not quite wanting to head home just yet, Moe once again began slowly walking through Town Square. The lively Christmas music was an interesting change of pace to the game. Leaning back against one of the brightly lit up buildings, Moe watched the people passing by in happy dazes. Happening to overhear some passing players talking about the upcoming special event, she began to think of her own plans. Moe knew that the event would be a good place to help her level up quickly, but the thought of fighting monsters alone honestly made her a bit queasy. Maybe she'd consider participating if another player offered to party with her, but other wise she'd probably just spend the entire time at her house, repairing other players equipment if it was needed. "I'm such a wimp..." Moe scoffed at herself, drawing patterns in the snow with the tip of her boot as Christmas music flooded her ears.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation:
Mercenary

Guild:
Night's Guile

Level:
72

Hex Code:
#CC1100

Location:
Vael tavern - Gold Gallion




Shade was grinning at Granite and waited for him to turn the cards over. He wasn't going to take his accusation back and he was certain he finally got Granite back. The man was winning way too much as it was. Luck was finally on Shade's side, though he probably had to watch Psych. She was too quiet... too tricky. She was much harder for him to read. He could never tell when she was bluffing. It had to be because he knew that she was watching him just at intently. He wondered what she was in real life briefly. Was being observant part of her occupation? Or maybe her detection skills were higher than he thought originally. He turned his gaze back at Granite and broke into a wider smile when the man finally flipped both cards.

"Aha! I knew it!" he was way too cheeky for his own good. "Two 2s," he said then and dropped two cards on the pile. At the jokes being thrown around, he couldn't help but chuckle. "I am not using Prince to cheat!" he answered and looked at the bard in question. His eyes were beautiful, but he could not see the reflection of Granite's cards in them. He just like staring. "And besides, our favorite bard in all of LAIOS is too busy singing to give me any clues. He is way over there, the star of the evening, and I am lonely, way over here," he said with a teasing pout. He was honestly surprised that he and Prince hadn't hugged once this evening. He was really going to have to steal Prince later and shower him in affection. He had a gift for him that he didn't want to share with anyone else.

Shade_Strider picked up his drink and took a couple of sips of the hot chocolate to warm himself up a bit. Then he felt a shadow, a presence and he immediately tensed. Players couldn't kill each other in the towns, but that didn't stop him from being alarmed. This person behind him was way too close for comfort. He wanted something from him or maybe he was a spy of sorts. A bad one, but a spy nonetheless. He knew this presence but he couldn't quite pin who it was. Did he hear paper? When the shadow loomed above his head, Shade quickly dropped his head back too look up at his would be assailant, russet colored eyes narrowed and wings spread just an inch from his body just in case he needed to dart to the side. When he saw Cain, he rolled his eyes and his tail flicked in agitation.

"Well if it isn't Preacher Man himself. Come to spoil the gambling fun and spout on and on about the sins of the damned?" he asked. Cain was holding papers above his head and he could only assume what those would be; Cain liked to show the names of players that were dead. More specifically, the names of players he had killed. The guy was really annoying. What was he trying to accomplish with this display? "You won't get a rise out of me. You never do," he mused. "Give it a rest for the holidays." He turned away from him then to focus on the game in front of him instead and looked at Granite expectantly for his next play.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation:
Treasure Hunter+Bard

Guild:
None

Level:
54+48

Hex Code:
#6E6E6E+#1DA4E3

Location:
Vael tavern- Gold Gallion




When the stranger strolled up behind Shade, Prince's body straightened slightly, curious. The newcomer had a soft face, quiet and pale looking, but the elf didn't recognize him. Shade seemed annoyed. They were exchanging words. Blue eyes wandered, seeking out one of the other bards currently in the tavern. He made a nodding gesture towards the other, indicating that he was done with his set. He was curious. And he wanted to be part of whatever conversation was going on. He finished the last few notes of his song, smiled and nodded at those who were currently looking at him, then made his way over to the table with his friends, and this mysterious white-haired newcomer.

"Mayday! Prince airdrop inbound," he said as he strolled over, grinning cheerfully, setting his lute on the edge of the table, intent on monopolizing Shade's attention, at least for a little bit, and cut through the tension. " Make room! Please and thank you kindly!" The blue haired elf promptly plopped down on Shade's lap, wrapping his arms around the demon's neck and kissing the tip of his nose playfully. He wanted some attention, and his knight was typically a fount of affection. "Hello, hello, Mister Strider," he said in a soft, humming voice, leaning closer for a moment, though he was still wary to not accidentally bump the other's horns. Then his attention jumped, as it was wont to do, to the stranger, whom he'd previously been willfully oblivious to. "Who's this?" One eyebrow arched curiously as he twisted around to take a better look at him. He looked like the traveling type, reminiscent in the face of Granite, though he was obviously a human. And....either a mage or a priest. It had seemed, from a distance, that Shade knew him, but there had also been an enigmatic grin thrown Psyche's way. A mutual friend of the two?

Granite had chuckled at Psyche's retort, eyes flicking to Shade, who was pouting. He systematically sorted his cards, long fingers swiftly shifting and shuffling, as the other complained teasingly. What a strange group he made company with. His crazy brother, this lovesick PKer, and Psyche, probably one of the only sane people in his life these days. The white-haired demon cut his gaze towards the mage in question, as he mused over which cards to drop on the pile, lifting an eyebrow and preparing to make another dry remark. It was at this moment, however, that someone else approached their table, holding up a notebook with a bunch of names on it and a sketchy picture that Granite could only guess was Shade's current hand.

" Nice..." he mumbled under his breath as Shade lifted his voice in complaint. So this wasn't a friend? Unless Shade just had generally animus relationships with his friends. " Three threes," he said, finally dropping his cards on the pile and leaning back. And then there was Prince, a rush of bright colors and a cheerful voice. Granite leaned back further, staring at the ceiling, mildly annoyed, as his brother sat down on Shade's lap. Now there were just too many people around the table. Prince voiced the question he'd also been wondering, tactless as usual, and the pale demon frowned lightly.

Admittedly, Granite was beginning to feel a bit claustrophobic. Plus, this stranger had pretty much shown him Shade's cards, so he had little interest in continuing to play. It totally wasn't because he was losing now. He sucked his teeth for a few moments before speaking: " I'm going to fold, friends, I need some air. Be back." His voice was somewhat brusque, and he laid his cards face-down on the table, straightening his collar as he stood up without waiting for anyone to respond. He left his scythe where it was as he sauntered away from the table, towards the door and the promise of a few gulps of cold air. He was losing his ability to play nice, not in small part because it was so near Christmas and he was on edge already. He just needed to stand outside and collect snow on his shoulders for a few minutes and he'd be okay.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Angus Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation:
Information Broker

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
73

Hex Code:
#461B7E

Location:
Vael tavern- Gold Gallion





Typically, Psychedemo would say that she enjoyed surprises in the best of times. They added a spice to life, bringing spontaneousness to monotony. Even the less...pleasant ones tended to make for an interesting story at the end of the day, and were at least controlled without much destruction, havoc, or overall trauma towards her or any involved. Harmless fun.

Surprises such as looking up from your deck into the eyes of your resident stalker, however? Less fun than one might expect.

Admittedly, however, she had long gotten used to the sudden appearances of the priest, much in the way one might expect frozen roads in the middle of winter, or for a particularly devious pet cat to crawl onto a freshly laundered suit. The second one tended to be more fitting in Psyche’s opinion, really.

“Hello, Cain,” she said dryly. Pale blues wandered up to the paper above Shade’s head, taking in the paper- the list of names and doodles of cards alike- with a degree of amusement. From the sound of it, Cain was well acquainted with everyone’s favorite mercenary...and had taken it upon himself to pester the other, as well. She glanced over the paper with a careful eye, scanning the names for future reference, before making as if she were observing the illustration with just as much scrutiny.

“I didn’t know you two knew each other already.” This part was spoken with the mage’s typical affableness, with her showing little of the wryness of earlier. Smiling brightly, Psyche gestured over to Cain with a flick of her hand, before returning it beneath her deck. “Oh, this is the roommate I’ve mentioned before,” she began. “Cain, meet Prince and-” Her attention was temporarily stolen as Granite suddenly rose from the table, announcing his need for air before trudging away. “Well, that was Granite that just walked away. They’re friends of mine. And considering how well you’re getting along with Shade, I’m assuming I don’t have to introduce you two?”

This last bit was spoken with even more mirth than before, if that was possible. Another comment was about to fall from her lips when she had caught a notification in the corner of her eye. Curious, Psyche took a moment to open it, skimming over the message and stifling a chuckle as she did so. “Excuse me for a moment.” Rising from the table, Psyche placed her cards face-down upon the polished wood, dusting her hands as soon as they were properly out of her grasp. “I’ll fold for this turn, too; I need to take care of something real quick.” Then, with one last look at the paper, she added,

“Oh, and Cain? Thank you for trying to help, but I don’t think it was necessary.” With that, she took a few steps away, opening the PM and observing it in proper detail. The lavendette scanned over it once more, before giving her fingers a bit of a twitch and setting about writing a response.

“Hello, again, Angus. It’s good to hear from my favorite Hamburger Helper again. :)
I’ll have to take a look at it when you arrive, but if it has some sort of inscription on it, it probably does lead to a treasure of some sort. Depending on what’s on it, I may have to take it to another Knight for them to look at, but either way we’ll have to see what we can get out of it. Message me once you’re back?

Sincerely,

A Certain Tricky Minx.”


After hitting the “reply” button, Psyche took a few more moments to look through her PM box before shutting it and returning to her seat. While she was quite curious as to what was wearing Granite down, she had known the demon for long enough to know better than charging after him, demanding to know what was the matter. Boundaries were a necessity to most, or such was her logic.

And, at any rate, the interactions between one Shade_Strider and Cain would certainly prove to be quite interesting.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation:
Enchanter

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
120

Hex Code:
.#5E2612

Location:
Vael Tavern - Golden Gallion



Cain’s first reaction was to, of course, lower the pad of paper. Holding things aloft was difficult. The next was to lower his voice and adopt a rhythmic cadence.

“Repent thoust who playth the evil game of card, for this slip of paper-“ he snatched a card off the table and waved it around dramatically. “leadeth to depravity! So sayth the prophet Cain of Cain! Fear me!” he then paused and shook his head. “No, meant ’heed me’ there." he returned to his normal voice. "Fear me is for Dark Lord Cain, the Leader of All.” Amusingly, he said the title in a stereotypical villain voice, complete with a stroke of the goatee he didn’t have. "And I didn’t get a rise from you, but I’m sure your friend will,” he smirked, referring to the blue haired bard who’d just plopped into the demon’s lap.

“I’m Cain,” he introduced himself kindly, “And I’m pleased to meet such a talented performer. You have a very unique flair about you, and your clear unattainability makes you quite desirable to those who like a challenge. Good thing Shady here can do what it takes to keep them off. Ever had to use a sword to force away his fans?” he asked the PKer, eyes sparking with honest curiosity. “The most annoying mob, I’d think.~” he teased, before raising violet eyes to watch as Granite abruptly left.

“Is he jealous?” he asked. “Or does he just not like my face?” bare fingers rose to pat his cheeks as eyes widened in mock horror. “Because that’s just rude. Eh, Psyche? And yeah, I know this little monster.” He mimed patting the demon’s horns, not actually wanting to put his hands in danger. “He doesn’t like how good my memory is. He’s definitely jealous.” He said with a wink. “Prince?” he turned back to the bard. “Suits you~” a gracious smile spread his lips before he was back to focusing on his reluctant roommate. “As for Granite, what’s his deal? You won’t make me pay for such a small tidbit, right?” he batted his eyelashes in an exaggeration of flirtation.

As the mage excused herself, Cain waved bye bye and then dropped into the seat by hers. He lifted her cards, looking through the neat order before scrambling it into a nonsensical draw. “What I want to know,” he look back up at the other two, “was where she got the idea that I was trying to help.” He shrugged and adjusted the fall of his cloak and shook his head. “Strange.” he commented, just as Psychedemo returned. "We were just talking about you!" he informed her brightly, even though he'd been the only one to do any speaking.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Lunar Glade

Level:
79

Hex Code:
#FF7C77

Location:
Vael – In front of Lunar Glade Guildhall


What was supposed to be a prank of some sort to her guild master had turned out to fail. Just as she felt a hand between her shoulder blades her mind was screaming ABORT MISSION! But as she was pressed deeper into a much needed warmth, she couldn’t deny that what had started off as a prank had achieved her more than a small laugh. In the arms of the beast, she knew so well, she could not deny that she felt a combination of relaxation and protection. She let out a sigh of joy without realizing it.
”Exactly.” She replied to Montanax and gave him a small pat on his chest as a reward of having the correct answer. Mostly because it would feel awkward to pat the high beast on the head.

Accido cut the hug short as she heard the reply of Lilac. She walked over to the little girl and squad down to equal height of her. Putting her hand on the crown Lilac was known for wearing and changing the angle slightly to match what Accido thought of as being cuter. ”It was mostly to bring up an idea in case we have a need for a specific mount.” She brushed off the last couple of snowflakes that was stuck to the crown. ”We are the Lunar Glade after all. If someone have an idea of an alternate way out and is in need of a special mount, we have to prioritize that above anything else.” Her hand changed from the crown to the top of Lilacs head and she softly started petting her. The coldness of the surroundings reflecting on the fluffy yet silky hair ”But unless you two know something I don’t, then I believe that your plan would be the best one to go for. United we stand. Divided we fall.” Accido realized the cold hair of the small girl ”By the way aren’t you cold?” Without a warning she pulled Lilac into a close hug ”I just stole plenty of warmth and I’ll gladly share some with you my Lily.” She did not know why, but she really enjoyed being together with Lilac. Every time they were together, they seemed to bond.

As she felt that she had given enough warmth to the little mage she stood up and hold her hand gently in her own. ”Sounds like a good idea. Let’s go to the Gold Galleon! Onwards!” She turned her head to Montanax waiting for him to walk up beside them. ”Nax I bet you would gladly treat your girls to a good meal and some warm drinks right?” A bright smile emitting on her face, it was Christmas after all and she was going to celebrate it with family and friends like always.

On their way to the Gold Galleon, they small talked about the beautiful Christmas design that had been thrown over Vael. It was a VR game and made unrealistic things easily realistic but there were still a lot of work in the making of it. The Gold Galleon was not far away from the Lunar Glade guildhall so they were cut short in their talk just like the amount of snowballs Montanax had to dodge from mostly NPCs.

As Accido entered the familiar tavern her eyes made a fast scan to allocate known players. Her eyes fell upon a group of players playing some sort of cards, in which she knew two-three of them. At first glance they seemed to enjoy themselves but at second the tension seemed thick. Deciding to relieve them from the tension she turned to Lilac and Montanax ”Could you guys find a spot? I got some business to attend.” She pulled of her bag and threw it to Montanax before heading out to get a handful of snow.

Silent. Accido approached her target as a predator sneaking up to its prey. Just a little further. The target was close but felt far away in conversation. You make it way too easy. And with those last thoughts she pulled in the collar of a well known white haired man in order for her to make contact between weapon and the flesh of said prey. In this case the weapon was the snow in her hand and the flesh was the naked back of Cain. At the same time she whispered into the back of his right ear. ”Revenge is sweet isn’t it?” Her comment meant to remind him of their last meeting. She made sure to splash the snow as best she could in the situation in order to make it harder for him to chase her instantaneous.
After her assault Accido looked around at the table making a fast greet to everyone with a big playful smile ”Merry Christmas everyone.” She turned her head to Psychedemo ”Psy I need to talk to you in private after this event.” With those words, she snuck away from her prey trying to get as far away from him as possible in case he was in the mood for a counter attack.

Accido returned to the side of Montanax and Lilac, furthest away from the white haired demon disguised as a human. ”So what did you order for me?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Information Broker

Guild:
Lunar Glade

Level:
80

Hex Code:
#726E6D

Location:
Vael- Outside of Lunar Glade Guild Hall-Gold Gallion



Montanax released Accio when she moved, his hands finding a new home in the deepest reaches of his coat pockets. The shadow of fondness lightened the intensity of his features. It was the kind of look that wasn't reflected by a simple smile, but with the subtle parts of ones facial muscles. It was moments like these that reminded him that behind the steely exteriors, warriors gazes, and strategic minds that who they were pre lockdown remained. It was a warming thought, one that couldn't be extinguished by the season around them.

Montanax didn't allow himself to dwell on the sentimental aspects of their organization for too long. There were things to be done this eve and such thoughts had their time and place. The small amount of appreciation was enough for him. That being said, the look lingered for a short while after Accido embraced Lily, it faded once he began talking, through his tone stayed at a lighter depth.

"An individuals desire for accolades, personal or in the name of Lunar Glade will dictate their, or the parties actions well enough. Particularly players who bond over playstyle and requested their own parties, vs the guilds preference. Accido brings up a valid notion, anything we can use as leverage is important, especially if a silver tongue is unable to coax the information we need." In other words, as trusted, and ranking members of his guild, their opinions were trusted, and within reason, they were both free to act upon their feelings.

Montanax followed his two companions with a nod, walking beside Accido and nodded serenely as she spoke. His eyebrows had raised in a playful way as he replied."It would only be appropriate, given the season, to treat 'my girls' to food and drinks." Next he addressed Lilac, who had fallen in beside them. "There's no need to apologize for enjoying yourself." In said in reference to her actions earlier. "Enjoying your time makes everything we fight for worth it, I'm inclined to believe." Survival in and of itself would make them little more then animals after all, a belief, that was ironic in context, given his choice of avatar. His hand left the cradle of his pocket and pushed into the door, opening it for his two companions.

The first thing he did was scan the room. Scanning in the literal sense, as his detection skill, always in use, showed him information that extended far beyond the regular players scope of vision. Gear sets, status, class, everything that encompassed the player character was on display whenever his eyes beheld another form. It was an overwhelming skill that had become second nature due to its near constant use.

"Of course." Like Accido, he had noted the familiar faces in the in the tavern, Pyche, a trusted confidant, Cain, her high leveled and near constant companion. There was Shade, a former rival of his on the circuit of death, turned close ally, Granite ever measured, and the eminent bard Prince, all in their familiar trappings. In their background was a famous defender, hero of the plains, and other faces known to Montanax.

He caught the bag thrown at him without casting a glance in the direction from where it was thrown. He was focused on selecting a spot, a booth with its side to the wall. In place of pulling out a chair, he motioned toward the comfortable seats, and waited for Lily to take hers. After, he made his way to the barkeep, and made a simple request.

"Good Evening, the usual for my companions, table service if that's available." Of course it was, the NPC's were able to accommodate the full tavern experience, he asked because, well, being polite was a habit.

When Accido returned from her escapade, and asked him what he had ordered, he responded with his initial request.

"The usual." Montanax smiled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Enchanter

Guild:
Lunar Glade

Level:
54

Hex Code:
#8565fa

Location:
Vael - Outside of Lunar Glade Guild Hall - Gold Galleon





Lilac remained silent as she listened to Accido and Montanax's points, somewhat glad that they seemed accepting of her plans, but also somewhat worried that maybe she didn't think of every angle correctly. This was her duty, it was her responsibility, wasn't it? If something went wrong, if they lost anyone, those lives would be on her head. Perhaps it was out of cowardice of this responsibility that she was unable to prioritize victory like some others might be. She didn't want to be seen as incompetent, not again. She already lost a friend before, her favorite beefy friend - the wind mage didn't want to be cast aside a second time. Were they secretly disappointed but were sparing her feelings due to her age? Lilac wasn't sure how she felt about it, but she made sure none of her introspection was shown outwardly. All of her inner doubts and fears manifested in one line. "Okay."

Then without warning, Accido hugged her. At first it was a harmless shake of the crown to help remove snow, and then a head pat that Lilac didn't mind - it felt warm and nice, but also gave her painful memories of her sister in the real world that she may never see again. Could it be her, could it really? But she couldn't ask, she wouldn't bring herself to ask the ultimate question. And then was the hug, full of concern and affection and it wasn't uncomfortable. Lilac didn't resist, returning with a little snuggle of her own.

Once the destination was decided - Lilac wondering how she felt about being considered one of Montanax's girls... wouldn't that term fit Accido much more? She wouldn't be surprised if the two ended up becoming more than just guild leader and second in command. If that were to happen, would Lilac be the awkward, unwelcome third wheel? More doubts spun in her mind - should she feel happy for them if they found a connection like that? Or did she dread that possibility? And then Seraph's face popped up in Lilac's mind for a split second and her cheeks flared up the tiniest bit. She didn't understand why that happened, but the girl decided not to worry about it, forcing those concerns out of her head.

The Gold Galleon was nice as always. She recognized a few faces - her mentor and teacher, Cain, and her friend from the Knights, Psyche, both playing with others she didn't quite recognize, some sort of gambling thing. A small part of Lilac's mind wondered if she'd be good at gambling, if she had a good poker face, if she could use her small stature as an advantage to make others underestimate her. But then she decided against joining. She wanted to think more about the event up ahead, after all. Montanax went to a seat and Lilac followed him, sitting not-quite-across-slightly-to-the-left, to give space for Accido to sit next to him if she wanted.

"They seem to be having fun." Lilac said, a harmless comment with no real meaning once Accido returned after whispering something to Psyche. A cynical part of the girl's mind wondered how many would die in the event, if she would die during the event. This was supposed to be a fun occasion, it wouldn't do to think such thoughts but the girl didn't exactly know how to have fun, especially in a group. If she relaxed, her childish side might come out, right? She had to keep her guard up. Once Lilac's french vanilla shake arrived she lifted the mug with both hands, drinking it in small sips so she could avoid talking if possible. As she did this, she decided to take a second look at her party formations, just in case there were some edits she could make to improve efficiency and give them a better chance of winning. A smaller part of Lilac's mind wondered if possibly, she forgot how to have fun with others. It was just for a second, but there was some longing in her eyes as she glanced once again at the card game table.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: NocturnalKISS Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Minuet Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Mercenary

Guild:
Night's Guile

Level:
72

Hex Code:
#CC1100

Location:
Vael Tavern - Gold Gallion




The demon looked up when he heard Prince and couldn't help but grin at the man. He sat back in his seat and set the cards face down on the table as he waited for his princely bard package to finally be delivered. Shade happily allowed the man to wrap his arms around his neck while he wrapped his around Prince's waist. EclecticPrince was warm against him and he was the only present that he could really ask for. Out in the real world, he didn't have this, couldn't have this. Here in the game, he could be himself and he found someone that he could cherish and actually enjoy the holidays with. They wouldn't be judged here and life... life was good. People may think him insane but he was happy here. He was happy he was stuck in the game. It was selfish, he knew but there it was. He did wish that those who wanted to return home could, but he was happy where he was with EclecticPrince. He settled his head on Eclectic's shoulder and nuzzled his face softly and put a ridiculous grin on his lips. He could care less what everyone else was saying at this point. He actually started to ignore Cain's presence even. That was a bonus.

Shade looked up only to notice that Granite had left the table. He blinked and glanced at Demo who was also talking to him and Cain. Oh and Prince had asked who Cain was. Well then, he was rather observant wasn't he? He hadn't even realized the conversation was going on without him. Prince always did nab his attention, didn't he? He gave a sheepish smile before he leaned forward to kiss his bard's cheek. "That my dear, is a very annoying priest, but then again, what priest isn't annoying?" he mused. "He's come to preach our ears off." Why, yes, yes he did have something against priests but Cain only seemed to aggravate him all the more. Huh, maybe Cain did get a rise out of him after all. "He's no one important, my Prince," he answered him.

His tail whipped behind him as he turned his attention to PsychDemo and gave a nod. "Yes, I know him. We've had the displeasure of meeting a couple of times. I am surprised you know him though I am not quite sure why." And then she folded and left the game. Well then. Cain was quite the repulsive magnet. He had forced both Granite and Psych away from the table! And to his chagrin, the damned priest sat down. Damn it, Cain wouldn't leave them alone, would he? He sighed exasperated. Jealous? He was not jealous of Cain in any shape or form. At least he seemed polite enough to his prince. If he wasn't, Shade would not take kindly. For now, he'd just grin and bare Cain's annoying onslaught and unyielding speech of how great he was. At least Psych came back. He did wonder what was wrong with Granite. He had seemed perfectly fine a moment ago. Cain's appearance had just... made him poof. Did Granite know Cain from somewhere? Cain didn't seem to recognize him. There was something eating at Granite and Shade couldn't begin to know what. He wasn't very close with Granite after all. Especially not after their first meeting. Ah, now that had been fun. Shade had only just managed to kill his mark and protect Prince when Granite had rushed in accusing him of trying to PK his brother. Prince barely managed to stop the other demon from attacking Shade while he was down. Yup. Fun times.

Shade snapped out of his revere when he noticed the doors open. He looked over to see Montanax and his crew. When the guild leader looked his way, he gave him an incline of his head in silent greeting. It was good to see him and his crew healthy and well. Man this tavern was getting more and more patrons by the minute. It was getting crowded and Shade didn't much like this many people around; especially since his name was currently red. No one could kill each other in town, but he still didn't want an issues coming up because he was a PK and the only PK currently in the tavern. He wanted to go but he didn't want to be rude to the company they were currently keeping. He looked up at his lover and pressed his lips against his neck to get his attention. When his blue haired elf looked down, he sent a private message.

"It is getting crowded here and I want us to leave before shit lets loose with the spawning monsters. The Game Master didn't say what level the creatures were going to be and I don't want any of them attacking you. Besides, it is Christmas Eve. I do want to spend some time alone with you. I have a present for you," he smiled.

He turned to PsychDemo and Cain then. "Hey, are you guys going to be participating in the event? The prizes do sound pretty enticing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Minuet Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: ArcticFire
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Occupation:
Bard

Guild:
None

Level:
48

Hex Code:
#1DA4E3

Location:
Vael Tavern--Gold Gallion




Prince couldn't help but self satisfied at the smile that blossomed across Shade's face. That was his smile, he'd caused it. His attention was pulled by the Priest, who introduced himself, his mouth moving rapidly, jumping from thought to thought. He ignored the pointed comment about Shade being a PK and shot the white-haired man a smile. "I'm flattered," he said, lifting the hand that wasn't wrapped around Shade to his chest. Then his mouth curled mischievously. "Though, it seems to me you might be a little jealous that no one's raising Cain?" He wrinkled his nose playfully, and turned his attention back to Shade as the demon kissed his cheek and made a not-so-happy comment about their new tablemate. So Psyche knew him too. Psyche, who rather abruptly hopped up from the table for a moment.

Granite picked this moment to get up from the table, and Cain made a comment. Prince was absentmindedly running his fingers along Shade's back, barely able to resist pressing his face against the top of the other's head. Cain's attention popped momentarily back towards him. "Don't mind my brother," he interjected. " he just needs to take a break to step outside and brood every half hour so his face won't get stuck looking too happy." In truth, Granite was probably overwhelmed. He'd seemed rather down recently anyway, Prince was surprised that he'd lasted this long without needing some time to himself. But Granite was a strong guy, he could handle himself. No need to worry about him. And it was better to make light of it, so nobody would get too worried about him and start needling him. He'd never been one to appreciate overly concerned friends hovering over him. Such a silly guy, he was.

When Shade's lips met his throat for a moment, a shiver darted up Prince's spine. He glanced down to meet the other's eyes, and Shade pmed him. His face brightened, and he tilted his head slightly as he responded. "You're the best present I could ever get. Say the word and we'll split." He settled closer to Shade and looked over at the other two members of the table as Shade talked to them. This would work out nicely. He'd been planing to ask if he could spend the night--Granite deserved a bit of alone time anyway, and Prince wasn't sure how much more gloominess he could handle. Plus the thought of spending some time alone with Shade made his heart hum.

Prince didn't have any interest in the event, he didn't care for fighting within the close confines of the city, and both Granite and Shade tended to be over protective since he was a lower level. He thought it was a cute touch though, something nice for the holidays. He hoped everyone would have fun.



Image




















Occupation:
Treasure Hunter
Guild:
None

Level:
54

Hex Code:
#6E6E6E

Location:
Outside Vael tavern-Gold Gallion




Granite stood just outside the door, leaning against the wall. The cool air and the prickle of snowflakes against his skin was refreshing after the human mugginess inside the tavern. He let his breath out slowly, watching the fog swirl away from him. He kept his expression bent in a slight scowl so the NPC kids would know not to throw snowballs at him. It was stupid that he had to do that. This whole thing was stupid, this strange half-life where everything was real, but not quite. This was not the place he was supposed to be. And yet, somehow, he was still here. Mostly for Prince. And mostly because, where else would he go? The risk of dying was too high for him to level grind consistently or effectively, what was the point? Everything felt so useless.

All of a sudden, Granite felt something collide with him. There was only white in his vision for a few seconds, and he was about to snap at whatever kid threw the snowball at him, before he registered that it was another player. A....fox girl. He reached out to grab her in case she was going to continue falling, but she jumped back agilely, turning her large green eyes on him. She stared at him for a second without speaking. He shifted on his feet, unsure what to do. She was rather petite looking, though she was nearly as tall as he was, she was very slim.

She made a apology after a few seconds of silence, and he opened his mouth to tell her that it was no big deal, then she spoke again, and his mouth just hung open. Was there anything she could do to make him feel better? What? Had he really been looking so upset? Mentally cursing himself for letting his emotions play so blatantly on his face, he affixed a faint smile to his face.

"I'm fine, miss, I just have a melancholy looking face." He shrugged in a 'what can you do' type of manner, leaning back against the front of the tavern.

And then he was interrupted again by a small...thing making a rattling sound, hackles raised at a tiger standing next to the tavern's entrance. It screeched, and before he could even move, it darted up his leg then clawed up his back to perch on his shoulder. It hunkered down there, still making a hissing noise. Granite glanced at the fox-girl, lifting an eyebrow in confusion, though he kept the rest of his body perfectly still so he wouldn't disturb the animal on his shoulder. There was no telling what a startled animal would do, even if it was just a string of code shrouded by an avatar.

Another white-haired girl rushed up, this one rather small, but with huge blue eyes that fixed on him almost straight away. Well, on his shoulder first, then on him. She looked even more confused than he felt. She looked slightly nervous too. Was this her pet? He just stared back at her wordlessly. Well, until the animal decided that it was tired of his shoulder and pushed off him to jump to the girl. His body rocked back a bit, pressing against the wall behind him, and his tail arced, trying it little, demony hardest to keep him balanced.

The little creature had settled in the girl's hood, so it must have been hers. She was still staring at him, sheepish, nervous now. May the first annual meeting of the white-haired brigade commence, he thought wryly. He'd barely been outside for five minutes before being accosted by two different girls. He was just too popular for his own good, right? He smiled faintly as she bowed apologetically. "It's fine, don't worry about it," he said, trying to let her know that it really was fine. She seemed so tense. It was kind of sweet, actually, how nervous she was. Then she made a quick getaway, ducking her head. "Happy holidays," He said after her quickly retreating form, before she pushed into the tavern. He made a note to smile at her or wink or something if he saw her again, just so she wouldn't seem so...nervous anymore.

His eyes turned back to the fox. "Well, I don't think that's ever happened to me before." he ran one hand through his hair, sending another glance around. "Maybe I should find another place to stand," he laughed lightly, though it didn't really reach his eyes. "Anyway, name's Granite, sorry for obstructing your path," he said, proffering a hand to shake hers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Information Broker

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
73

Hex Code:
#461B7E

Location:
Vael Tavern--Gold Galleon





It was with a begrudging amusement that Psyche let out a few snickers in regards to Cain’s words- in particular, the remark on “rising” that their newfound company had cheerfully given. A gloved hand had flickered up in a weak effort to hide it, but from both the soft sounds that had escaped her, to the light tremble of her shoulders, it was obvious as to what she was doing. For all that the priest annoyed her, watching someone else- especially a PKer such as Shade- get the same treatment held an undeniable entertainment. It was like falling for some kindergarten bubble-gum prank, only to keep silent as it was pulled on another and falling into a fit of laughter at their expense. It was petty of her, perhaps, but a pettiness that she held little shame in holding. Prince’s following wisecrack brought a more open peal of laughter from the mage, and, busying her hands with reorganizing her cards, turned her gaze upon the little group.

“Contrary to popular belief, even we of little sin get harassed by LAIOS’ witnesses.” The comment was made cheerfully as Psyche reclined into her chair, shuffling the deck absentmindedly before replacing it, face-down once again, onto the table. “I’m a bit curious as to how you two met, though; with how well you’ve been treating each other, I’m guessing that you’ve known each other for some time?” From over the mumbles and general babble of the tavern’s crowd, Psyche picked up the sound of the door opening. Intrigued, she turned to see who had entered, and caught sight of a trio of familiar faces; namely, three rather notable members of the Lunar Glade, and three that she was on good terms with. Giving a warm smile, the purpette raised a hand in a salute before turning back- although, out of the corner of her eye, she could spot Accido approaching the table, rounding about with a handful of snow.

Psyche did well to keep up a decent poker face, continuing to keep eyes on those surrounding her.

At Prince’s remark of Granite needing to go and brood, she smiled, resting a finger lightly against her jaw. “Well,” she began, “I think that he really needs to learn how to manage his stress; wouldn’t want him to crack anytime soon.” In spite of the godawful pun that had just left her lips, Psyche kept up an innocent expression, crystal blue eyes wide and guiltless.

And then, the snow had been planted. Giving a bit of a grin from under her hood, Psyche watched as her fellow Second in Command skipped away, wishing them all a merry Christmas before adding that she needed to speak to the other after all had unfolded. Intrigued, Psyche nodded before giving a slight wave in Accido’s direction. “Merry Christmas to you, too,” she laughed, a certain note of dryness having slipped into her tone.

Once Accido had left, Psyche’s attention was once again brought back to the group- namely, Shade’s question. She mulled over it for a moment, as if only now just considering whether she should join in, before giving a roll of her shoulders and thumbing her cheek lightly.

“I don’t see why not. I know a lot of my guild will end up joining in, so I won’t really have anything else to do tonight, anyway. Besides,” her smile widened, almost mischievous in appearance, “I need to remind them why I’m Second in the first place.” Of course, while her reputation was more based about skill-related abilities over any sort of fighting prowess, that didn’t change the fact that the event would undoubtedly provide a source of entertainment throughout the game.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation:
Bard

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
76

Hex Code:
#aaaaaa

Location:
Vael Town Square

As Goliath was almost positive Moe would refuse his invitation he opened his mouth to let her know it wasn't a big deal and she didn't have to come if she didn't want to. However much to the Beasts surprise she accepted, though somewhat hesitantly. He stood there for a minute blinking away his surprise until a small smile formed on his lips. "Really? All right lets go!"

He then turned around and enthusiastically made his way to the tavern with Moe by his side. As they walked Goliath tried not to make the shy blacksmith too uncomfortable. He made sure not to burden the girl with too much conversation. Perhaps a snippet here and there but overall the goal was some form of comfortable silence. Lord knows Owen was never good with conversation, so he saw no point in forcing it on someone like Moe.

When they got to the tavern Moe opted to stay outside for the moment and Goliath gave an understanding nod."Sure thing. You stay out here as long as yu need. I know a tavern liek this isn't really your kind of scene anyway."Simply coming here seemed like a good step in Moe breaking out of her shell and he was more than happy to let here take as much time as she needed to steel her nerves.

As he walked into the tavern he scanned the current occupants of the Golden Galleon. There were quit a few familiar faces here, but he was naturally drawn to that of his beloved Second in Command and one of the more annoying though no less valued Knight Cain. He smiled as he was about to walk over to them, though stopped himself when he noticed Shade, among the group his friends had gathered in. Great he thought as he let out a small sigh. The PKer was here. He considered finding someone else to chat with as he looked around the tavern again.

He walked over anyway,giving the group a friendly wave, determined not to let the murderer ruin his holiday spirits. Besides Shade wouldn't be able to cause much harm here in one of the towns anyway. "Hey there you guys! Merry Christmas to all of ya!" He paused for a moment as he looked at the others all with his trademarked friendly tone and smile. All except Shade of course, he didn't want to pay much attention to the man."So what's going on over here? Anything interesting?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Enchanter

Guild:
The Knights of Lore

Level:
120

Hex Code:
#5E2612

Location:
Vael Tavern - The Golden Gallion





Cain stiffened as an arm was shoved down his back, but he stayed obligingly still while Accido got her so called revenge. Then, with a dramatic sigh and eye roll, the priest stood up and began to strip off his layers of gear. Off came the cloak, the backpack, the high collared robes and the sweater...and with the sweater came the snow, barely a tingle against his skin, leaving him in a loose turtleneck.

"You know," he called out, loudly enough for her to hear even where she'd fled, "There are much easier ways to get me to take off my clothes! You could have asked, if I'd known you were interested, I would have complied!" he finished, and waved over at both Montanax and Lilac, who'd be used to his antics.

It wasn't even jest, Cain truly was the sort who would let a friend stare at his avatar's body if they expressed such an interest. However, no one had asked, and Cain had a few secrets to keep of his own. Quickly, he stuffed his sweater into one of his inventories and pulled out a new one, donning it quickly before a chance movement of his neck and hair could reveal the level markings that had by now crept over most of his body. They were moving up his neck last time he checked, and the only parts of him not covered were his feet, his hands, and his face. Soon there would be no more pretending he wasn't high levelled - but he could worry about that when it happened, in about 80 more levels' time.

Still, markings now firmly hidden, he could take his time with the fussy robes and their millions of buttons. He sat again and began to work on those from the bottom up, speaking as he worked. "No, I won't be fighting, though I'm free to team up and provide healing support in exchange for the usual arrangement. And of course, if I manage to choose the victor, I expect part of the prizes. None of the rare ones though, I have little need for those." he flexed his fingers a few times, as they were going numb from the repetitive motions. And then, as the bard spoke up, Cain looked up, blinked, and laughed.

"Great comeback~" he praised, after calming the chuckles the comment had brought on. "But that's not my thing. It's really not, hence priest and all the implications." he again waved his hands in his habitual way. "Well, at least that specific implication. I think I've crashed and burned most of the other vows. Good thing this isn't my actual career." he said brightly, though it had been, once upon a time when he was younger and full of faith and hope before he had seen the darkest parts of the real world and found himself hypnotized by the abyss. The path of priesthood had been taken by his brother, who was doing just fine in the holy order. Just as well that it hadn't been him, Joseph was always the naturally nicer of the two of them (And outside of the game? He was pretty damn nice.)

The white haired male blinked, dragging himself out of his mental meandering.

Psychedemo was laughing, and the bard was explaining that his brother just needed fresh air. "I used to seek him out on a regular basis." he admitted easily. "Not anymore, now that the big bad PKer is actually a threat of sorts." he finished his sentence with another severe look at Shade, then began to wave wildly. "Hello Goliath!" he called out, then gathered himself to report what they had been doing.

By framing it the most awkward way possible, because that was just what Cain did.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Mercenary

Guild:
Night's Guile

Level:
72

Hex Code:
#CC1100

Location:
Vael Tavern - The Golden Gallion




The demon couldn't help but laugh when Accido shoved ice down Cain's back. It served him right though the priest didn't have much of an averse reaction. The priest rather calmly took off a few layers and made some remarks after the retreating woman. He raised his cup to her in a saluting approval regardless. It was a great attempt at getting back at him for whatever it was that Cain did to her. It was nice to know he wasn't the only one that Cain annoyed the shit out of. He wondered what her 'crime' was. He'd have to become more acquainted with her later. He only knew her as one of Montanax's friends and confidants. He never had the chance to really talk to her. Was she the second in command? Yeah, he needed to find out more information about her.

Shade looked over at PsychDemo then and debated how he wanted to answer her question about how he and LAIOS's annoying priest met. It had been quite a while ago it seemed. Days were starting to blur together a bit and he wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. He didn't really have a good sense of time to begin with but now that he was really starting to see the game world as his life... it was getting worse. He didn't really look at the clock. There was no real point to it. He woke up when he needed to wake up, went to sleep when he wanted or when he needed. His job was rather fluid most days so he had long periods where nothing was required of him and money was tight and other times when work was booming, so to say. Now-a-days his work mostly went into espionage or assassinations that took a couple of days of actual stalking to get the perfect kill. That often led to long absences from Prince, but such was 'life'. There were those random requests from people who wanted him to help them level up. He had taken that up once or twice to pass the time and get some more money. And now he wasn't paying attention to the conversation. What was he supposed to be thinking about?

Oh yeah, how he met Cain. Cain already mentioned a blip about that but he might as well add his two cents. "We met after the lock down. I was on a missions and this guy had a higher detection than my sneak. Little bastard detected me and alerted everyone in the area that I was there. Naturally, my position and my read name was revealed and... well, I lost my mark. Had bounty hunter or two come after me. And I lost my pay. Bastard hasn't left me alone since. If you want to talk about jealousy, I think Cain's the one with a bit of Shade-envy," he answered with a grin. "Shame on you, Priest, for snooping around a taken man. What was that phrase? 'One shall not covet thy neighbor?" he smiled and raised an eyebrow at the man. "And if this was your real vocation, I think I would be very worried about those that would come to you. Your healing service in game can be useful at least."

Shade turned his attention away from that particular vein of conversation and went back to his earlier comment about the event. "Good look, in the event, Psych. I'll be rooting for you. I don't think I'll actually participate in the creature battles. The prizes are nice but I have something else I'll be doing. I'll most likely be in town for the rest of the event so if you need an extra hand or are having trouble, let me know and I'll help you out. I might participate when the 'Big Bad Boss' comes out though. Only if I have a relatively good party. I don't think a lone solider out there is going to do much good against the boss. The Game Master won't make it easy."

And just when he thought the area couldn't get more crowded, someone else appeared at their table. The guild leader of the Knights of Lore. It seemed that Cain knew him as well. Cain was more influential that he thought. Shade had never had the chance to actually interact with the guild leader and he did have a certain respect for what he was trying to do though he would back Montanax's goal if he ever had to join one guild or the other. Goliath looked like a capable warrior at least. He offered the stranger a smile and wave of his hand to be all friendly-like. "Hey. Merry Christmas. It's a pleasure to meet you, Goliath, leader of the Knights of Lore. Your reputation proceeds you," he answered and gave him a nod of respect. "The name's Shade_Strider. You may know me by my PK title, The Phantom Blade. Or perhaps you know me as the Shrouded Valentine," Shade grinned playfully. Shade however did notice that the man's smile had faded when he looked towards him. Huh. It looked like his own reputation had reached the guild leader's ears though he wasn't surprised. Though it was in a negative light, the fact that his reputation had expanded made him just a little prideful. He had created that reputation from scratch and he was going to work to keep it; consequences and all. His title did prove that he was a capable fighter after all. He couldn't regret anything in this life. That was one of the greatest things he had learned in LAIOS. Regret got you no where and if you regret something, you never lived.

And now the tavern was really getting crowded. It was time to get the hell out of here. He tapped Prince's side to let him know he wanted to get up and watched as his companion got to his feet. Shade couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he watched him. Yup. EclecticPrince was captivating no matter what he was doing. He forced his gaze away from him to look at everyone at the table. "Well it is time for us to head off. I have some plans in store for our favorite eclectic bard," he smiled. He gave a flourishing bow as was his want and flicked his tail behind him. He even extended his wings to get them to unfurl and add some more flair to his movements. He did love the theatrics and exaggerated actions. It was all part of the visage he wished to display. "Remember to message me, Psych, if ya need me to back ya up. Otherwise, I will not answer." He looked back at Goliath and gave him a smirk. "Good luck in the event if you are participating. Perhaps we'll meet again on the field." Lastly, he looked at Cain and folded his wings. "I hope to not see you again but I know we will, so until we meet again," he answered and tossed one of the cards at the priest. "You missed one of my cards in your sketches. You'll need to work on your detection and sneak, Preacher."

Shade finally turned to EclecticPrince and took his hand in his own. He lifted the man's hand and kissed his knuckles, his eyes never leaving the bard's face as he smiled. "Ready to go, My Prince?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Accido
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Occupation:
Bard

Guild:
None

Level:
48

Hex Code:
#1DA4E3

Location:
Vael Tavern--Gold Gallion




Prince shifted a bit so his hip would be flush against Shade, a more comfortable position to observe the spirited conversation on all sides. Psyche made a wry pun about Granite that would have left the pale demon rolling his eyes. Prince grinned at her. Then Cain began squirming, snow down his back thanks to a girl with a heart tattoo on her face, but it didn't slow the pace of the conversation. It was growing to an almost bantery feel now, despite the demon's obvious displeasure at Cain's presence, everyone seemed relaxed enough. Shade was talking about how he'd met Cain, and then about the event, so Prince let his eyes wander through the tavern. They settled after a few moments on a pair of gray wolf ears coming in their direction. " Well, if it isn't the best bard twelve ways to Yelta," he smiled brightly, wiggling his fingers at the fellow bard.

At one point, before the lock down, they'd been pretty good pals. Done a bit of work with each other, bards gotta stick together, and all that. Playing music, hanging out, all that fun stuff. It had fallen a bit by the wayside of recent though, probably because he was so busy with the Knights of Lore. It was good to see him around, though. Unsurprisingly, the whole table turned their attention to greeting Goliath. Shade introduced himself, but Goliath's attention seemed to mostly be on the other half of the table. Cain did seem to be an attention sink, so it wasn't particularly surprising.

Shade's fingers tapped his side, and Prince immediately slid off the demon's lap, slinging his lute over his back and grinning as the dark haired male said goodbye to the others. Prince added his own farewells to the mix. "Sorry to run out on you like this, Wolfy, hit me up sometime so we can catch up, yeah?" He smiled at the other bard. Then he turned to Cain, inclining his head a bit and pulling up a lopsided smile. While Shade obviously didn't care for the Priest, he seemed like an interesting character to hang around. " Ciao, Preacher Man, pleasure to meet you! And take care, Psyche. Would you mind telling Granite that we left when he comes back in? Thanks, darling." He blew a kiss at the elf and wiggled his fingers at her.

Then Shade took his hand, kissing it gently. Prince flushed a little bit, grinning all over himself. Shade always knew just what to do. " Sweep me off my feet, my Knight." Prince pulled the closer and kissed him briefly on the mouth. Though he didn't want to pull away, he also didn't want to give the rest of the table a show, so he did so rather reluctantly, settling himself against Shade's side instead, humming softly to himself.




Image




















Occupation:
Treasure Hunter
Guild:
None

Level:
54

Hex Code:
#6E6E6E

Location:
Outside Vael Tavern-Gold Gallion




She took his hand, her grip firm despite how slim her fingers were. ArcticFire. Looks like they had a theme going. White haired ice children. Then she mentioned her tiger. Of course it was her tiger, the large, dark furred creature was her aesthetic complement. Kuro. Black and white. Wasn’t it the same aesthetic he was going for with the darkness of his clothes against too-perfect ivory skin? Though, that was one plus of this godforsaken place. No acne. No vision problems. Everyone looked beautiful all the time. It still creeped him out a bit when he thought too hard about it. What would it be like if they ever reintegrated into the real world? If that was even a possibility? They’d be faced with non-symmetric faces and imperfect complexions.

It was a stupid rabbit trail to let his mind wander down.

Pleasure to meet you, Arctic, Kuro.” He nodded at each in turn as he straightened the collar of his jacket and shifting his wings under his cloak to give them a bit more space to breathe. When the animal jumped off him, it had twisted everything around just a little bit, leaving him less than coolly impeccable. When one had so little control over their appearance, naturally the instinct was to grasp what was left with a choke-hold, right?

The tiger made a chuffing sort of noise, as if he too was part of the conversation. Animals in this place were just weird. Granite didn’t spend much time chatting with them. And the hostile mobs weren’t that much for small talk anyway. More into biting and slashing and those types of things. Naturally.

Granite flicked his eyes back towards Arctic, a wry comment about the tiger’s discourse on his lips, when his gaze centered in on something over the fox-girl’s shoulder. He immediately stiffened, his shoulders lifting a bit and his eyes narrowing. One of those damn AI kids kept glancing in their direction, and now it was kneeling to gather a wad of snow in its bothersome, theoretically incorporeal hands.

Hold still for a moment,” he murmured to Arctic, staring lasers at the kid over her shoulder, leaning forward slightly as the kid wound back his arm and prepared to lob the snowball. He’d already had to deal with enough snowballs from his archer of a sibling, whose speed and accuracy necessitated acute defensive skills.

The stone boy shot out an arm over Arctic’s shoulder, careful not to touch her, his wrist pivoting to stop the snowball aimed at the back of her head. He did not manage to catch it—that truly would have been a feat of skill—but it did burst against his gloved palm and fall to the ground. He withdrew his arm and shook the snowflake dregs from his hand before they had a chance to melt and chill him to the bone.

Granite’s jaw was set tight as he resisted the urge to throw a snowball back at the kid to make him leave. But engaging the stupid AI would only encourage it. As much as he didn’t want to go back inside, his defensive maneuver had caught the attention of more of the stub-legged AIs and he didn’t care to be pelted with snowballs either. Maybe he’d had enough of a chill. Hopefully the group hadn’t multiplied exponentially while he was gone.

I think I’ve angered the beast.” He said, ducking his head a little bit, shifting his stance to lean towards the door to the tavern. “Now might be a good time to seek additional cover.” His face was flusher now, more animated as he glanced between Arctic and the growing rugrat threat. He lifted an arm, this time not to block a snowball but to allow the fox-girl to walk in before him so he could put his back between her and any well place snow-missiles.

Damn holiday,” he muttered under his breath as he crossed the threshold back into the sticky warmth of the tavern.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation:
Information Broker

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
73

Hex Code:
#461B7E

Location:
Vael Tavern--Gold Galleon





“I’d rather you didn’t begin stripping in the middle of the tavern, actually. There’s children present.” Psyche spoke mildly as she cleared the rest of the cards off the table, giving the polished wood an absentminded dusting with her sleeve as she finished up. It wasn’t a necessity, really- whatever contents that had been left on the table upon its hosts’ departure tended to vanish in thin air, leaving it as spotless as the day it was made- but it was out of good manners that she kept after herself. Manners, and the fact that it was actually quite a pleasant ritual when such things had no longer become trivial- something to busy herself with instead of dawdling throughout the conversation.

Evidently, throughout her distraction, what risk there had been of the mage glimpsing Cain’s markings had been brought down to complete zero. It was only at the other’s mention that he didn’t actively search for Shade these days that she tilted her head up, eyes glinting in a way that wasn’t all that different from a cat’s careful gaze. “I’m surprised- you could have made quite the living, keeping our friend here off the path of evil and sin.” She smiled, dusting off whatever had been lingering on her sleeves with a few flicks of the wrist.

Shade’s addition to their little story brought clear amusement from Psyche, albeit not as audible as her reaction to the little exchanges between Cain and Prince. It wasn’t the most long-winded comment, either, but a comment nonetheless that was drawn from the elf once the mercenary had finished up. “I’m guessing that he continued to stalk you for some time after that, then.” Phrased as a question, yes, but not exactly so- it hadn’t taken much to pick up that he and Prince were about to make their leave, and there was no point in prolonging the conversation more than necessary. Shade’s next wish of good luck for the event brought a certain look in Psyche’s eyes, but it quickly vanished- having been replaced by another bright flashing of teeth.

“Well, thank you. Good luck to you, too, even if you don’t end up joining in- the crowds around here are bloodthirsty, you know. I thought I saw them attempting a ritual sacrifice earlier, although it might have just been my imagination.”

It was then that the Second in Command caught sight of a certain grey head approaching the table, and at once Psyche had lifted a hand to greet the man as he approached. Goliath, the Leader of her Guild, and someone with a particularly strong distaste of PKers. “Merry Christmas to you, too, Goliath.” she said warmly. “We were just playing a few rounds of cards, nothing much.” Idly, she wondered how he would react to her buddying up with a mercenary, before brushing it off. Under the bridge, as it was.

As Shade and Prince both rose to leave, the dark mage once again smiled and gave her own little salute in return- and politely gave the impression that she was looking away as the two kissed. While it was most likely her own mind getting away from her, Psyche had an inkling of why they were leaving together...but probably just her own mind, yes.

“Of course I don’t mind,” she replied. “I’ll go ahead and pass the news on whenever he comes back in.” Upon deciding that it was safe to “look back”, Psyche did so, gloved fingers intertwining on the tabletop.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: ArcticFire
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Occupation:
Chef

Guild:
None

Level:
117

Hex Code:
#05B8CC

Location:
Vael - Gold Gallion




ArcticFire and Granite's continued their introductions smoothly. For her, it was odd to be actually introducing herself to someone. Her usual conversations were very short or nonexistant when it came to those she interacted with and on very few occasions would she actually introduce herself. She preferred to remain anonymous, lest she be found out as a Beta user or run the risk of becoming attached to someone.

“Hold still for a moment,” Granite instructed her. Arctic resisted the urge to turn and see what had caught his attention. She trusted that he wasn't about to let something bad happen to her. Normally, she'd be weary of another player telling her to stay still as she had her back turned to something or someone else. However, Granite didn't seem like the type of guy who would let someone just attack her. It would also be quite stupid to attack someone in front of the tavern.

The fox girl's ears shifted as she heard the sound of a snowball approaching her head. At the same time, Granite shot his arm over her shoulder to deflect the snowball. Kuro rose then, growling at the NPC child who had thrown it. This did nothing to discourage the child and perhaps even encouraged him to make the poor tiger his next target.

The other player suggested the two retreat into the tavern before there were anymore snowballs thrown. Arctic gave a small nod as Granite extended his arm, gesturing for her to lead the way into the Gold Galleon. She entered the tavern first, holding the door open for him as he and her tiger followed. Kuro was unhappy with the sheer amount of people inside the tavern. They were all very loud. There was also the fact they he could sense that creature from before in the tavern but knew he wasn't allowed by his master to kill it. Oh, what was a tiger to do? He slunk past his master and the other player, seeking out a quiet corner to hide in.

Once they had cleared the doorway, Arctic turned to face Granite. "Thank you for saving me from that snowball." It sounded a bit overdramatic, but she hoped he would get the point. She really did appreciate that he hadn't let an obnoxious NPC hit her in the back of the head. I suppose I have Nightingale to thank for these overzealous, snowball loving annoyances, she mused as she looked around the tavern.

It was quite full today, with players eating drinking, playing games, and in general being happy. It perturbed her. How could these players sit here, chatting and eating as if the others at their table could replace their own friends and family in the real world? To her it was absurd that she should ever forget that there was a world outside of this one, where her loved ones had been waiting for over a month to speak to her.

She continued to scan the room for familiar faces. Arctic spotted a purple haired female, who she was confident was Psychedemo. She sat at a table with some others, including Goliath. Perhaps she could go chat with them after she finished her conversation with Granite. Arctic looked back to Granite. "Do you have someone who's waiting for you?" she inquired, assuming that he'd been with someone else prior to their literal run in with each other. She glanced back at the table where her... associates (she was unsure of what to refer to them as) sat and then noticed someone she hadn't seen in a very long time: Cain. Well, this was an interesting turn of events.

***

Hours later, Arctic was in the room she had rented with Kuro resting on the rug next to the bed. She sat, looking down at the snow white flowers on her red kimono. She wondered how long it had taken Seraph to make this, though she would likely never know the answer. It would be much more reasonable to try living exclusive in Yelta than to try and find or approach Seraph. Nightingale would literally have her head if the fox girl attempted to approach the Game Master. Her mood and thoughts darkened as she thought about the two of them.

After a few more minutes in thought, she rose from the bed nudged Kuro with her foot. She could hear the rate of his breathing increase as he opened his eyes, but he didn't move. "Kuro, it's time to get up." The tiger chuffed at her in response, not wanting to move. "Kuro, come on, get up." She nudged him again. He looked up at her, his large yellow eyes seeming to ask her why he was required to move right now. Couldn't he just sleep a little bit longer? Arctic sighed. "Guess somebody isn't going to get this fish I got for him," she said casually as she moved around him and went to exit the room.

Kuro quickly rose and followed her, happy with the idea of getting food. The two left their room and locked it before departing. Not wanting to have raw fish remains in the town where other players were, the two walked to the edge of town before Kuro was allowed to enjoy his fish. As he ate, Arctic stood watch for any monsters. She knew the event would start soon and she didn't want to be vulnerable to attacks just because she was feeding her companion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain
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Occupation: Bard

Guild: Knights of Lore

Level: 76

Hex Code: #aaaaaa

Location: Vael-Golden Galleon


As he stood around the rather crowded table in the rather crowded tavern the others each began to greet him in their own friendly way. First it was Cain the odd but lovable healer and one of his valued Knights, to which Goliath greeted in kind. Even Shade spoke to him in a pleasant enough tone, even wishing Goliath a merry Christmas and commenting on his reputation. Something which caused the large Beast to raise an eyebrow in surprise. Goliath had never actually spoken to the man though he had plenty of information gathered on the demon assassin. To say he was expecting a friendly affable man would be a lie. "Well thanks! Always good to know that word gets around. Even towards Shade he spoke in his normal pleasant tone. Honestly he couldn't help it. Being recognized on sight was still a new experience for him and one he couldn't get enough of. And I of course have heard about you too PKer. I make it a point to learn about all threats to the people of Laios. This time he spoke in a slightly annoyed tone, trying not to make too big a deal of the killers presence while also making it known that he had no love for the man. There was no point in hiding exactly what he thought of Shade’s profession. Goliath’s dislike of Shade’s ilk was well known enough after all. Friendly or not a killer was a killer. Though it was Christmas and in the spirit of the holidays Goliath elected not to make too big a deal of it,
He gave a far more cheerful greeting to Eletricprince, his friend, fellow bard, and unfortunately lover of Shade. ” Aw you’re too kind Prince really. You’re much better, your music is almost electrifying.” He chuckled slightly at the pun. It was good to see his fellow bard again, they haven’t talked much since the lockdown. Though Goliath knew that he was mostly to blame for that. His guild it seems has taken over much of his time and that precious free time he did have he elected to spend on other endeavors. Best to avoid Shade and all, though Goliath did find it regrettable. Perhaps he would try to catch up with Prince later provided he had the time.
He turned his attention and his brightest smile on his Second in Command. Psychedemo an essential part of his guild, and as far as he was concerned a dear friend. ”Cards huh? Sounds fun enough I suppose bet you ended up with the victory huh!” He opened his mouth to speak more to the group when Prince, and Shade announced their leave. He gave a friendly wave to Prince as he walked out, not paying much attention to the bard’s paramour. Once they had left Goliath went to conversing with his friends and other residents of the tavern, intent to kill time until the beginning the event.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: Seraph Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: NocturnalKISS Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Angus Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Minuet Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Montanax Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: Augur Character Portrait: Nightingale Character Portrait: Lucive Character Portrait: Man-O-War Character Portrait: Whisper_Rose Character Portrait: Wachter Character Portrait: Rakugo
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Occupation:
Alchemist // Tailor
Guild:
None// None
Level:
182 // 200
Hex Code:
#00008B // #388E8E
Location:
Vael Town




Seraph was probably the person most excited for the event even though he wasn't going to be down in the town actively participating. This was his first real event and he wanted everyone to enjoy it, even those that weren't taking part in the battles. It was almost time! The Game Master was grinning ear to ear as he peered down at the town from his perch on the balcony of a random house. He didn't have the high level of the acrobat skill to get up here but he was the game master so he had a few cheats he could utilize when needed; Like getting to places he shouldn't be able to. He wanted to be able to watch everything happen as they unfolded for the event and a high perch was the most advantageous. He smiled to himself and leaned against the balcony as he stared down at the center of town. Those that were going to participate were already gathering in anticipation. Some players had locked their doors and shut off the lights but he could see a few staring out their windows, interested in seeing what was going to occur.

"I thought I might find you here, Seraph," said a voice behind him.

Seraph sat up and looked behind him to see his favorite person in the world; Nightingale. She was the reason why he had locked the game the first time after all. He waved excitedly at her and rolled onto his heels and then back to his tip-toes. "Nightingale! I thought you weren't going to come into town because of the other betas that gathered. They are all here. But do you like what I have planned for the event?"

"Neither of us should be here and I advised you not to come, but I knew you'd come anyway. You never listen. And of course I liked the event. You did a good job," Nightingale answered with a small smile. Seraph really was like a child, her precious baby. She had to protect him should the other betas spot Seraph and turn their attentions away from the event and try a full on attack on Seraph. They would all have higher levels this time around and unlike Seraph, she couldn't see what level they were. It worried her a bit but Seraph was Seraph. He was still the Game Master and there was no way he'd be able to resist coming to the center of the activity in the game. She knew first hand how much he loved his players and everything he did was for them to enjoy. Who wouldn't want to see the results of their efforts?

"I had to come. Tonight is the event! I want to watch everyone. I want to know what I can improve on next time. I have already gotten a lot of feedback! I went a little overboard with decorations it seems," he chuckled and raised a hand to rub the back of his head. "And that is not fair, Nightingale. I do listen. I just decide not to follow your caution," he answered. He had to make sure everything was running smoothly after all.

The archer walked over to Seraph and reached out a hand to ruffle his hair then. She couldn't help the grin that played on her rosy lips when the boy blushed and tried to dislodge her hand. "Nightingale!" he called out exasperated and took a step back to try and fix his hair. He hated it when she did that. Nightingale on the other hand loved watching him get flustered. He was just too adorable. The Game Master huffed and crossed his arms. He glanced back at the center of the town. "It is almost time." Seraph took in a deep breath and closed his eyes to center himself a moment before he completely turned his back on his companion. When he opened his eyes, his once expressive gaze were blank, code rapidly flitting through the blue hues. It was time to send out the message that would initiate the countdown.

╚═╣Good evening all players, this is your Game Master. The first half of the event will be initiated shortly after this message. I hope you all have a happy holiday and enjoy the event. Before they spawn, here is some extra information for you. The monsters that will be appearing do not have a predetermined level. The level of the strongest player in your team will be determining the level of the monster for that party. This means that if the highest party member is level 100, the monsters will also be level 100. This is a feature set to give each group a fighting chance and the most exp. If someone joins your battle, the monster level will not change and both parties will get half of the exp. The party or soloist that kills the most monsters will be determined at the end of the event. Thank you for your patronage and enjoy the event!

--Game Master Time stamp December 24 11:58pm.
╠═╝

Once the message had been sent out, Seraph blinked four times before his personality reemerged and he twirled in a circle and stopped to face Nightingale. He clasped his hands behind him and leaned against the balcony. "Will you be joining the event?" he asked her then.

Nightingale placed a hand on her hip and gave a nod. "Yeah. I think I will. This event is a good way to level up. I won't miss the chance. Meeting the other betas however will be quite the inconvenience. Good thing I have a few things to help disguise myself unless they directly come in contact with me," she mused. At least the betas wouldn't be able to attack her in town since she to was a PC. If they saw her here though, they'd immediately seek Seraph out. She had to stay on guard. "I guess I'll change," she mused and started to leaf through her equipment to pick out the best equipment for this event. She quickly put on her dark blue light armor with the crimson trimmings. A cape hung behind her and she tugged at her finger-less gloves to check the fit though she didn't need to and tapped her boots on the ground. It was a little cold for such a thin outfit but it was a game. She wouldn't freeze to death and it was only a little nippy. She equipped her second choice bow and arrows and caressed the pale blue feathers. She would use her rare item but if the betas saw it, they would recognize who she was immediately. She didn't need to use it. Lastly, she equipped her head gear that looked more like a winged masquerade mask that covered her entire face. Like the rest of her current outfit, it was a baby blue with red trimmings and the feathers themselves looked like they were dipped in blood. It might not look like much, but the outfit was reinforced with a variety of enhancements. That was one thing she loved about the game; you could wear clothing like this and still be well protected if you knew where to purchase and who to ask to craft them for you. Nightingale then hung her hair up in a messy pony tail and smiled at Seraph.

"Well, time to join the fray. I'll talk to you after the event, Seraph. I look forward to seeing what you have come up with."

Seraph beamed at her and gave her a wave. "Enjoy the event!" Nightingale used her acrobat skill to hurry away from the current balcony and took up her place instead on top of the tavern of Vael and readied herself.

7...6...5...4...3...2...1... The clock struck midnight and a firecracker shot up into the air from the center of town and exploded above the area as the bells rang. The sky was illuminated with red and silver lights from the fire cracker. Almost instantly, monsters began to spawn in the town all around the people standing there. Of course, they were all Christmas themed. There were tiny Santa Elves running about, Polar bears with ribbons and bells, China dolls and jack-in-the-boxes hopping about, and growly snowman clawing with their stick arms and angry expressions. At fist, they didn't attack anyone but after they finished spawning, they went after who ever was closest. Nightingale was quick to target one of the toy wolves with her arrow and took in a steadying breath before letting her arrows fly. The wolf howled and turned in her direction but using her rapid shot she was able to get some good hits in and the wolf couldn't reach her where she was so she had pretty easy pickings. She didn't want to win the event. She just wanted to gain experience so being solo made her a bit slow, but that didn't matter. She had a goal and wouldn't waver.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seraph Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Augur Character Portrait: Lucive Character Portrait: Man-O-War Character Portrait: Wachter
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Occupation:
Chef

Guild:
None

Level:
117

Hex Code:
#05B8CC

Location:
Vael




”And so it begins,” Arctic mumbled as she drew Piàn from its sheath. It was nearly time for the event to begin. Despite being on the edge of town players had gathered on the streets in anticipation. She couldn’t help but be annoyed by all of them.

Seraph’s message about the monster mechanics came. She raised an eyebrow at the announcement that she’d be fighting monsters who were actually her level. Having an actual challenge would be quite nice considering she was too high level to get anything good from the normal monsters around Vael. It also meant that she would definitely not be joining a party no matter how much someone asked her. The other party members would notice the level of the monster and figure out that she was a higher level than any casual player could be. That would be very bad.

The only people she would willingly team with would be Augur and Cain. Cain wasn’t out of the question and the two might make a good team, but she had no idea where Augur was. She hadn’t seen him since that day… She smiled a bit as she thought of him. She’d had a crush on him ever since her internship, so she couldn’t help but perk up at the idea of finding him again.

However, her smile quickly faded as coding began to fill her vision. Crap, she thought as she instinctively looked at the ground to hide it from anyone who was near her. How could she have been so stupid? Of course her Beta ability would kick in for this! Seraph wasn’t changing anything, but due to him creating the event creatures new textures and colours were entering the world and subsequently letting themselves be known to her. However, she really didn’t need to know what was changing because she could (partially) see the monsters for herself. She cursed quietly, though thankfully this hadn’t been as bad as when he’d change the whole town to the Christmas theme. The amount of information that had flooded her eyes and mind was overwhelming and not something she needed to be aware of. Unfortunately for her, she was pretty sure there was no way to turn the ability off or make it selective. Woe was her.

As soon as the monsters stopped spawning, they began to attack the players. The information was still showing up in Arctic’s vision, as it couldn’t keep up with the sheer amount of monsters that had spawned. Tempted as she was to lift her gaze and fight the nearest monster, she didn’t want to risk another player seeing her. All she could do was try to speed up the process and hope Kuro could fend off a monster for a little back.

The monster closest to her was a polar bear. She could hear bells as it charged towards her. She could also hear the players and monsters around her due to her hearing. She cringed but quickly did her best to block the other players and monsters to just background noise. The sound of arrows and swords dissipated somewhat, enough that she wouldn’t be distracted by it. If someone decided to scream bloody murder however, she would definitely hear that. Perhaps she should have chosen a different race.

Kuro was doing his best to fend off the polar bear, but because it was Arctic’s level and physically larger than him, he was having a difficult time. As soon as he would land a blow the bear would swat a heavy paw at him, threatening to send him tumbling through the snow. Teeth bared, he lunged at the monster whenever the beast tried to go for his master. The result was a loss of health for the polar bear, but Kuro would eventually need Arctic’s help to take the animal down.

ArcticFire was still frozen in place however, more coding filling her vision. Good grief, did it really need to tell her about every single thing that had spawned?! Couldn’t it just say how many of each monster had spawned and where?! She resisted the urge to start yelling, instead focusing on moving the information along as quickly as it would go. It could go pretty fast, but the sheer amount of data it was giving her was the problem. She groaned when she suddenly felt herself sliding across the snow. The polar bear had landed a solid whack on her.

Now groaning from pain, Arctic stood up and held Piàn with both hands. Still partially blind, it took a large effort for her to focus her vision on it. She could hear it just fine, but vision was important too. She didn’t want to accidentally strike another player instead of the bear.

As it began to charge at her, Kuro jumped onto its back, digging his claws into the bear’s shoulders. It slowed down as it let out a roar of pain. Using the noise to determine where exactly its head was, Arctic quickly rushed at the bear using her Sliding Dash move and hit it on top of the head. Kuro continued to latch onto its back, biting its neck as Arctic slashed at it. Between the two of them the bear was downed soon after, though Arctic would have preferred it had been earlier. She was annoyed that she’d been hit right at the start of the event. That shouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have happened if she was a regular player.

As if on cue, the coding finally stopped filling her vision and she was able to clearly see her surroundings. The fox couldn’t help but let out a large string of curse words as she began to fight the next monster.






Image




















Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Phoenix Blight

Level:
82

Hex Code:
#5190ED

Location:
Vael - Phoenix Blight Guild Hall




"Good luck everyone! Remember to fight hard, work together, and most important-- don't let your HP hit 0!" the Phoenix Blight Leader yelled to the swarm of members as they departed the guild hall. "If you need shelter feel free to stay here and if you really need help, message me or Lucive!" Hopefully neither the leader nor the second in command With that being said, the last of the guild members who were participating in the monster killing event left the hall. Man-O-War closed the door behind them, sincerely hoping none of them would end up dead. He'd helped to organize groups of players based on their strengths and weaknesses. While many friends wanted to be together, having a party of all the same class just didn’t seem like a good idea to him. With more variety in the groups, he hoped they’d be able to make up for each other’s weaknesses and be successful with the event. He was still nervous about the lower level players though. Nobody knew what level the monsters would be. They could be level 40 or they could be level 140. If the latter was the case, the lower level players were totally screwed and he could only pray they’d be smart enough to hide in a building while others killed the monster.

His mind didn't want to think about all the possibilities should he have not advised the parties. He could just imagine players being savagely attacked. Perhaps some would be saved by the members of their party, but others wouldn't be so lucky. Monsters didn't stop until you were dead, he knew that much. His usual smile shifted to a frown as he thought of his friends, long gone but not forgotten by him. The jelly let out a long sigh before realizing one of the guild members was looking at him as he leaned against the door. War immediately perked up and trotted over to the player, a 6' tall demon. The dwarf was literally dwarfed by the other player, craning his neck to address the other young man. "Did you want to talk to me, Charles?”

The red haired demon looked down at his guild leader, also noting the irony present in the two of them conversing. He couldn’t help but grin as he spoke. “So what should the rest of us do since we aren’t fighting in the event?” To War this was a somewhat inane question. He was the guild leader, sure, but he wasn’t a babysitter. He was planning on going out soon himself. He sure as hell wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to grind monsters and level up. He also wasn’t sticking around here running arts and crafts. However, War knew that he couldn’t get mad at the other player. Charles just wasn’t the most bioluminescent jellyfish in the bloom.

”Well, you guys are just going to have to stick around here because all the big bad monsters are out there,” he gestured to the door. ”But I’m sure you guys can all find something to do while the event is going on. You can talk, eat, sleep, read, make stuff. It doesn’t really matter as long as you are safe.” He gave the other player a big smile. Charles thanked him before wandering off into the building. War couldn’t help but groan. If he didn’t already have white(ish) hair he would definitely have it from the stress this guild caused him sometimes. Of course that would also require actually being in his own body, but there wasn’t much he could do about that for now. He wondered if he would be grey in real life by the end of this adventure— oh wait, he already was!

War chuckled to himself as he went to find Lucive. He didn’t have to go very far to find his loyal second in command. ”I thought us, Rakugo, and Wachter would make a good party,” he told Lucive as he opened up his friends list. He figured Lucive wouldn’t argue so without waiting for a reply, he sent a party invite to the other two players. He would have invited his good friend Seraph to join them, but it seemed that Seraph was not fighting in the events.

Yo, you’re welcome to join Lucive and I for the monster killing event that just started. There might be another player joining us to make us a full party. He wasn’t sure if the two players had met before, but he thought that the two shouldn’t clash too much. If they did, well, War would just deal with that when it happened. He absentmindedly swung his hammer like the pendulum of a clock as he waited for a response from Rakugo and Wachter.

The pre-event announcement came from the GM, announcing how the event would work. As soon as War saw that monster level was determined by the highest player in the party, his heart skipped a beat. While everyone in the guild was generally in the 60-80 level range, a few of this below 60 had wanted to participate in the event. He couldn’t remember at that very moment who was with who, but he knew there was a good chance he’d suggested a party that had a member way too low for a monster that was equal to the highest level player in that group.

As soon as the GM message was complete, War opened up his messaging system and sent a message to everyone in the guild, regardless of if they were participating or not. Ok everyone, I’m sure you got the GM’s message. Since the monster level is determined by the highest member of the party everyone needs to BE CAREFUL. If you are afraid you can’t handle a high level monster even with a party COME BACK TO THE GUILD HALL or JOIN ANOTHER PARTY. I want to see everyone back in the guild hall before the start of the next event so I know you’re all safe. War sent the message as quickly as he could so that his guild had time to read it. He was extremely anxious now, as he hadn’t been expecting this curveball. He hoped his advice made it to everyone and that they all read it. To know that he had formed a party that would potentially be the death of someone was an awful feeling.

The clock struck midnight and the event began. War just hoped that everyone outside was alright as he stood in his guild’s hall, awaiting a response from the mischievous fox and the fire demon.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: ArcticFire
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Occupation:
Enchanter

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
120

Hex Code:
#5E2612

Location:
Vael Streets





"Considering the rumours of what death in-game means, I figured we should err on the side of safety." A glare sharp as glass locked onto the player killer. "You might not believe it, but what if you're wrong? What will you do then, made into a real killer? My motives aren't as black...or focused on you as you seem to think." the priest's voice lightened towards the ends of his sentences, and brightened considerably by the time he started snickering quietly at Shade's various titles.

"Fiiiine." he drawled the word, looking over at Psyche, making it seem like some great loss on his part had taken place. "And of course I did! You know me so well." he grinned at the girl, before bidding farewell to the bard and demon as they left with a loud "Save it for marriage, you two!". His attention returned to the conversation then, not noticing the beta at the door, instead teasing and joking with his usual I-have-not-a-care-in-the-world attitude.

Some time later, upon hearing the Game Master's announcement of how the monster levels were determined, Cain's left hand twitched, almost imperceptibly in his glove. "On the other hand..." he stated, not caring if he was interrupting any of the ones who were left, "I might not participate in this event after all. I'm heading home, Psyche. Mourn me if I die, alright?" and with that bit of grim humour, he slipped from the tavern, heading for the outskirts of the city as to make a large loop and hopefully avoid anyone who would expect the priest to join their party. His level was a dead giveaway of who he was, and there were players, he knew, that blamed the betas for creating the game, or for not warning the players of the AI's insanity.

I tried, you know, I did. The normally cheerful avatar's face slipped into a grim frown as he failed to avoid a monster in his path and found himself battling a gigantic teddy bear with a santa hat. I tried...And you all laughed and messaged your friends to come check out the funny NPC His staff came down in his automatic attack, stunning the 120 level monster long enough for him to get a decent hit in before dancing back. I wonder if anyone remembered it later he mused, dodging as the bear used the pompom on its hat as a wrecking ball, clipping his leg and sending him down onto a knee as he fumbled for a potion. Thought back and wished they'd believed it like those few that actually did? Right on time he used his movement to roll from deadly range and struggled back upright as the bear advanced. His hand closed around one of the daggers at his waist as he dodged and then threw, repeating the pattern until finally, the mass of stuffing collapsed and the surge of exp flooded him. Forcing a smile, Cain continued on his way, now paying more attention than before to the creatures in the streets so he could avoid more fighting.

Or rather, that was the plan, until his peripheral vision had him freezing to avoid what he thought was a monster, only to see his fellow beta ArcticFire locked in battle, already bearing some signs of damage. Mouth once again sliding into a thin line, Cain set his sights on the monster and rushed forward, feeling himself drawn into battle.

"Hello Arctic!" He called, bracing himself for an mp drain as he set up a healing spell. "Want help? If not, too bad, you've got it!"

And with that said, he cast.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Lucive Character Portrait: Man-O-War Character Portrait: Wachter Character Portrait: Rakugo
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Occupation:
Chef

Guild:
None

Level:
117

Hex Code:
#05B8CC

Location:
Vael




Having downed that irksome polar bear monster, Arctic set her sight on one of the toy creatures. It was a rather innocent looking China Doll, smiling down at her. How is this a-- OH MY GOSH, Arctic thought as she observed the door, its face abruptly becoming demonic. Alexandra was a fan of horror movies, but it still didn't make her immune to a jump scare. The doll charged at her, prompting her to toss her sword to the side and take a diving roll towards it as the monster approached. Its attack missed as it slammed a hand down onto the ground where she had been. Grabbing Pian, Arctic rose to her feet and took a slash at the doll.

Meanwhile, Kuro clawed at the back of it. Arctic took another swing before narrowly missing the monster's hand hitting her. The monster decided to turn its attention to Kuro, who was still furiously clawing at its back. It spun around, sending the tiger flying into a pile of snow. The fox girl took another slash at the doll while it still had its back turned.

"Hello Arctic!" an all too familiar voice called. Arctic rolled to the side, dodging another swipe of the doll's hands. "Want help? If not, too bad, you've got it!" With that being said, Cain cast a healing spell on her. She was thankful that he'd decided to help her, not that he could really go along with anyone else, but she couldn't help be feel annoyed that he hadn't showed up while that damn polar bear was attacking her.

"Thanks Cain!" she called to him as she dodged another attack. Arctic continued to alternate between dodging and hitting the monster. Kuro joined back in on the fight, pouncing on the demon doll and clawing at it. It wasn't long before the doll fell, showering Arctic with EXP and coins.

It was far from a time to celebrate, but this little reunion between her and Cain called for at least a brief hug on her part. Before they could encounter any other monsters, the arctic fox ran to the priest and gave him a hug. She pulled away quickly, not wanting to be attacked by any nearby monsters. Joining a battle ready Kuro, Arctic selected their next victim-- a snowman.






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Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Phoenix Blight

Level:
82

Hex Code:
#5190ED

Location:
Vael - Phoenix Blight Guild Hall




It wasn't long after War had sent the guild his urgent message when he received a reply from Wachter. "Thanks, but I think I'll stay solo for the event. I'm sure you'll understand. Let me know if you run into any trouble though, and keep your guard up." The Jelly King didn't reply, not wanting to distract Wachter if he was already out fighting. He looked at Lucive, sitting calmly but surely ready to go out and fight. No doubt the Jelly Prince would come up with a plan on how to attack the monsters strategically. War was much more of a "let's run in and kill everything" kind of guy, but his time spent in LAIOS was opening him up to less chaotic ways to go about attacking. He knows stealth and strategy was an option, but Nathan had always been more interested in watching things go boom or doing some sort of shenanigan. The whole planning before attack was still a different experience for him.

Lost in his thoughts, War was surprised as a red tail draped itself infant of his face, tickling his nose in the process. Eight other tails soon found a place around his little dwarf body, a telltale sign that Rakugo was present. "Hello to you too," War told the kitsune as he accepted the party invite. Honestly, War had little idea what Rakugo had told him last night, given the information was always delivered in riddles. The fox had spoken of another kitsune, but that was really all War could figure out at the time. He was a little preoccupied with the upcoming event, but nonetheless enjoyed Rakugo's company and eccentricities.

Man-O-War tossed his hammer in the air and then caught it, repeating this a few times as the red fox took an interest in Lucive. They would make a spectacular pairing and War would be happy if they could just flirt with each other instead of him. He didn't swing that way, but it didn't stop either of them from subjecting him to some very awkward moments. "It's just Lucive," War told Rakugo with a grin as he walked over to the guild hall doors. "His effect on you will wear off pretty soon," he commented with a laugh as he opened the door. Had the dwarf been any taller, he would have gotten an arrow in either his head or chest. Fortunately for him, the arrow whizzed over his head before clattering to the floor. Someone needed to learn not to aim at doors.

The jelly stepped out into the monster and player filled chaos of Vael, waiting until his two companions were outside before closing the door. "Let's do this!" he cried, running and attacking the nearest level 0 monster. Its level changed to 84 to match Rakugo's. The monster, a giant toy soldier turned toward him, crossbow in hand instead of a gun. It took aim at him, but the little dwarf dodged by rolling on the ground. As Lucive began attacking the solider as well, it turned its attention to him. This gave the little dwarf enough time to launch himself into the air. With his pink hammer in hand, he gave a powerful swing as he sailed past the monster's face. Of course, he could have done the same thing at its feet, but where was the fun in that?