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Granite

"Isn't it kinda creepy how pretty everyone looks here?"

0 · 627 views · located in LAIOS

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

Description

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Real Age:
17
Occupation:
Student
Gender:
Male
Orientation:
Heterosexual
Appearance:
Like his fraternal twin, Sam is fairly thin, with scruffy black hair and brown eyes. He wears glasses with thick black frames because his eyesight isn't the best. He stands at 5'6, gangly, and has a perpetually tired look on his face. His skin is pale, and his features are delicate and soft, from his small mouth to his slim hands. It is obvious that he has no affinity for the outdoors or for exercise, because his skin and frame border on sickly for a boy his age. His hair is forever sticking up or falling into his eyes, and is in dire need of a trim.
Reason for playing LAIOS:
Being an avid gamer, MMORPGs were always a way for himself and his sister to hang out together and get away from the world. LAIOS was no different, something that piqued his interest with its nice designs and all the customization options. Though he is a bit on the shy side, he never felt oppressed by his quiet nature, and doesn't feel compelled to act differently due to the game, and it doesn't free him. He just likes games. And for that matter, he doesn't like it as much as sister does, but he has a good time playing at her side, which is why he hadn't stopped before the incident.
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Avatar Sex:
Male
Level at Start of Roleplay:
54
Race:
Demon
Element:
Wind
Class:
Scythe
Role:
Neutral Player
Occupation:
✧
Guild:
None
Hex code: #6E6E6E

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In Game Appearance
Granite's eyes are an iridescent orange, light red in some lights and pale amber in others. His eyelids are heavily hooded, which gives him a perpetually tired, bored expression. His cheeks are gently rounded, ending in a pointed chin, which gives his face an air of adolescence greatly at odds with the rest of his features. His hair is a snowy white, a choice he made deliberately to escape the dark looks of the preset, though his skin is still just as pale as it started out. His hairstyle mimics his real life hair, messy and scruffy, hanging down into his face. Instead of the traditional horns that the preset game with, he customized with dark reddish brown ram horns that curl near his ears. He stands at a respectable 5'9, which his twin teases him about endlessly, but he is apathetic about his looks at best. Coupled with his stature, Granite is broad shouldered, which admittedly looked rather funny when his wings were still small, but now he is happy with his wingspan; those thick leather bat wings that fold snugly against his back when he isn't using them. He has no desire to split his wings, but he has invested in a demon tail at his twin's behest, a black, shadowy-looking appendage that he usually tucks into his belt.

Granite's light armor, which was quite rare, is military-esque, with a high collar that just barely misses brushing the bottom of his horns, and a red gem at the throat. He's had the armor customized to accommodate his wings better, so it doesn't hinder his ability to fly. His attire is navy and red, with silver accents, and he often wears a dark red hooded cloak, customized for his class: slitted for his wings to expertly push through just in case he needs to make a quick getaway, over his gear, again at his twin's insistence, though he hates the hood because it gets caught in his horns. His clothing is a labyrinth of pockets to ferret things away in. The only thing he doesn't or really can't, hide from view is his scythe. He often uses his weapon as a sort of walking stick, tapping the ground with the ornate, polished black staff of the weapon. Grudgingly, Granite too can often be found with flowers on him--his horns are a great storage space.



Skills:
⚜Comet - Allows a player to fly into the sky and come back down to create a massive explosion. Demon class specific and requires a lot of mp.

⚜Rapid Combo - Skill allows the player to hit an enemy in rapid succession and finish with a flourish. A high speed is required for this skill and is available for dual-swords, scythe, and archers.

⚜Seeker - Is the ability to find items of rare value. The higher the level, the more the player can find some of the rarest items in LAIOS. This also allows the user to gain more items per fight. Level 66. His drop rate is higher than average, and his ability to find rare items is moderate.

⚜Acrobat - This is the ability to do a variety of moves like getting to hard to reach places and jumping higher than most people. Level 65. Coupled with his ability to fly, Granite has a high mobility and physical dexterity while in the air and climbing.

⚜ Gust- Because Granite's element is Wind, he has chosen the move gust, which is a move that he can use to summon a strong wind either in battle or while flying. In battle, it knocks back nearby enemies, but it requires a charge-up, and during flight it gives him an extra boost of speed good for making quick escapes. The ability has a long recharge timer, so he only uses it in case of emergencies.


Enhancements:
⚜Gloves: Regenerate MP at 10 points every 10 seconds.
⚜Body armor:Physical damage reduced by 40%/ Carrying capacity increased by 70
⚜Leg Armor: Stamina increased by 35%
⚜Scythe: Paralysis- add paralyses counter to immobilize target
⚜Boots: Speech- NPCS will lower their price by 20% and you have greater success at persuasion.


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Likes:
♦ Prince
♦ Puzzles
♦ Finding Treasure



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Dislikes:
♦ Being Swindled
♦ Most people
♦ Being trapped in LAIOS



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Strengths:
♦ Flying
♦ Speed
♦ Wind
♦ Magic Resistance



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Weakness:
♦ Earth
♦ being paralyzed
♦ large amounts of enemies



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Fears:
♦ Being killed/Prince being killed
♦ being mobbed
♦ Being trapped in LAIOS forever



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Personality:
Serious ღ Brooding ღ Intelligent ღ Calm

Sam is a fairly quiet, to himself kind of person, but he isn't shy, just introverted. He's very smart and diligent, but he tends to be blunt and to the point when it comes to socializing, which rubs many people the wrong way. He usually only speaks when he has something to say, and doesn't have time to spend on vapid small talk. He cares very deeply about the friends he has, however, including Riley, and would do anything for them, though he isn't the type to pronounce things dramatically. He's all about the small things. He often views people as puzzles to be solved, and truly enjoys analyzing people and understanding why they act the way they do. Sometimes he purposefully sets people off to see how they act in different situations, though sometimes he ends up worse for the wear from these little experiments.

In the game, his persona, Granite, is very similar to how he acts in real life. Sam isn't an actor, he doesn't care to hide how he feels or pretend to be someone else ever. He doesn't apologize for who he is. Neither does Granite. But while Sam doesn't really have the strength to back himself up, Granite does, and that is the great divide between the two. Granite can do things about his situation. He can protect Prince when he gets himself into a bad situation. He has power. Secretly he truly enjoys it, though it is hard to tell by watching him. He likes being strong, and wants to become stronger. His serious nature adds to this, pushing him to work hard and do what he has to do, though he'd never purposefully put himself into a situation where he could be killed, or where Prince would be in danger.

While Sam was fairly quiet, after they became trapped in LAIOS, his personality shifted slightly. He became more brooding, almost sullen at times. He thinks often about his lost future out in the outside world and wonders what will happen if they never escape. These episodes last for hours at a time, leaving Granite more quiet than usual, staring darkly into the distance, letting Prince pull him around. His personality has also been coloured with a certain apathy, and while he enjoys the power, he also feels a helpless transience that can only be quelled by working harder. The only thing that truly pulls him out of his dismal thoughts of a nonexistent future is treasure hunting, the perfect challenge for his mind. He loves exploring and figuring out the best way to solve the puzzles presented to him.

Despite his dark personality, Prince is infectious, and he has his cheery moments too, especially when with friends, which he has considerably more of in this world, thanks Prince's sociability and his treasure hunting skills. He is usually the cool strategist of the group because he is a calm, stoic soul, ready to counterbalance and weigh the pros and cons before making decisions. Usually his happiest moments are during the high he feels after winning something, and these are usually the best times to talk to him because he'll be more friendly and willing to divulge his thoughts.

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History:
Sam enjoyed gaming quite a bit. It was a good pass time when he wasn't working on school work, and it was engaging. Interacting with other people from the safe distance of the other side of a computer screen had a certain safety to it, while letting him taste the world. And his twin liked it too, and she really needed something to escape from her troubles, and he was more than happy to facilitate that. LAIOS was nothing more than another pass time, another game, while he enjoyed the feeling of flying and treasure hunting with Riley, it wasn't anything so special, maybe just a game to play for a year or two and then shelve with the others when he went off to college. But that wasn't how thing went. He was angry, beyond angry when he couldn't log out that first day. But Riley, Prince, was so happy, so excited, he kept it to himself.

And kept on keeping it to himself. His love for the game has dwindled since the lock-in, and life has become sort of a half-existence, but he keeps his chin up for Prince. He's more than happy to spend most of their time in the towns, where he doesn't have to do any work and can just sit and pout, but he lets Prince persuade him to do things and blames it on his skill. He still goes treasure hunting and levels occasionally, usually at Prince's behest, but is very careful not to let his hp drop, because falling out of the game into nothingness is not a risk he is willing to take, and he doesn't want to leave Prince by himself either. Prince would get into heaps of trouble without him there. If it wasn't for Prince's continued enthusiasm, he would have joined a guild to try and aid the effort of escape, but as things stand, he doesn't want to hurt his twin's feelings or cause a rift between them, and he is too apathetic to want to join any of the other guilds, since he prefers to double with just Prince, where he pulls enemies into groups for Prince to pick off and keep away from him long enough for him to charge up and cut them down.

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Face Claims:
Kaneki Ken - Tokyo Ghoul

CS Design:
© By: FaddedFox ©
Played By:
By: Pieluver

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So begins...

Granite's Story

Setting

Characters Present

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

Guild:
None

Level:
54+48

Hex Code:
#6E6E6E+#1DA4E3

Location:
Vael tavern- Gold Gallion




Prince was in a grand mood, playing in the tavern, as was his wont these days, for the clusters of rosy-cheeked patrons, his voice swelling and crooning over the hum of voices. For some, certainly, this would be a melancholy time of year, they'd be missing their families on the outside, wondering how they were doing, how the holiday season was without them there. Prince had no such thoughts. This was his family, this tavern, these friends, Shade, especially, and he couldn't care less about the outside, where his family members frequently asked uncomfortable questions, spoke too loud, and got too close. Here, life was good. Here, he was happy. And that was what counted.

As per usual, the bard was playing a mix of requests and personal favorites, with a few Christmas-type songs sprinkled in for good measure. His slim fingers danced along the neck of the lute, this musicality of his a mixture of natural talent and technological augmentation that made everything, from strumming to drawing his bow feel like second nature. And certainly, he'd had plenty of practice over the last month, since he and Granite didn't care too much for being out on the field, tips from playing were their main source of income. Most of the time he played with his eyes blissfully half-closed, but occasionally he'd open them to glance at Shade_Strider, the knight to his prince, unashamed at the flush that crossed his cheeks when he caught the other staring back at him.

Granite, on the other hand, was one of the more melancholy sort. Time was quickly slipping by, already he'd missed nearly a month of school, already it was Christmas, almost the end of the year, he missed his family, he missed his friends, he didn't like it in this dangerous place where it'd only take a silly mistake to disappear. He didn't know for certain what happened to players when they died, but he'd heard rumors, and it was obvious that they didn't come back into the game. It was a risk he didn't want to take. But still, life had built up a strange sort of...normalcy, a normalcy that was both comforting and truly unsettling. They were living in this place, in this prison, like it was nothing, like it was still just a game. He hated it, he wanted out, but he also wanted to look out for Prince, he couldn't alienate his twin, so he had to stay quiet about the whole lot.

At the moment, he was working hard to be on his best behavior, lounging around in the tavern, playing cards with Shade and Psyche. He'd just played two cards, tawny eyes flicking between the purple-haired elf and the dark haired demon, daring them to call him on a bluff. Shade did, physically perking up as he made his accusation. He let out a long sigh, casting a glance at Psyche as he did so, and reached over to flip over his cards slowly. The queen of clubs. His hand hesitated over the other one, and he turned his eyes to his opponent. " Are you sure you don't want to renege?" he asked teasingly. Then he flipped over his other card. Seven of diamonds. He'd been caught. And he'd been so close, too!

"I call luck, Moon-eyes," he said, using the nickname he'd coined for Shade after complaining for a long time how they always just made eyes at each other whenever they were within seeing distance of one another, " or no, I bet Prince is looking over my shoulder and giving you signals." He smiled grudgingly as he took the pile and slowly started to reorganize the new additions to his hand. He was a very meticulous player, good at counting cards, but he often overlooked Shade, who, honestly, usually seemed to be distracted. Psyche was the one he felt like he was truly playing against. She was clever, and he respected that, and enjoyed trying to mislead her, though he also had to be on the watch for her games as well.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Occupation:
Information Broker

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
73

Hex Code:
#461B7E

Location:
Vael tavern- Gold Gallion





Psyche had always had a fondness for wintertime. For building snowmen, sitting inside and drinking hot chocolate, putting in that one looped fireplace video because the house couldn’t support a fireplace. It had always been a time of family for her, where, in spite of the various differences between them, and the various arguments that undoubtedly sprouted during the years, they could sit together and generally enjoy having each other around. Togetherness.

Of course, given not-so-recent events, she wasn’t exactly coming home for Christmas anytime soon. The thought was...sombering, really. In spite of the various friends she had found through the game, the adventures, there was still a lingering bitter taste in her mouth at how real the holidays made their situation. The mage did well to mask her own longings, however, instead choosing to embrace the little things that the game granted them. It wouldn’t do anyone any good to sit around angsting about their circumstances, especially when so many remained cheerful. It was still a holiday, after all; it was still time to celebrate what they had.

Shuffling absentmindedly through her cards, Psyche eyed the other players seated at the table with a nearly tangible laxness. For the majority of the game she had been keeping up quite the poker face, occasionally giving coy little smiles here and there as if she had gotten away with something beneath the noses of her companions. It was all in good fun, and Psyche would be lying if she didn’t say she was enjoying herself at that moment. Her head wasn’t on the chopping block, and neither was anyone else’s, really; unless losing a few bets or two was considered a terrible threat somehow.

At Shade’s sudden declaration, as well as his query, Psyche gave a brief nod before continuing to glance through her deck, apparently aloof towards the exchange. It was only until Granite made a quip of his brother offering help that she fully looked up, that same constant quirk of the lip still as prominent as ever.

“I’m sure it’s not that,” she began smoothly. “If anything, Shade’s just using his eyes as a mirror. I don’t think he’s looked away all game.” Another shuffle, another smile, another flourish of the hand as she placed a card upon the table. “Ace.” While she wasn’t the biggest fan of the mercenary, Psyche could at least admit that he had a bit of a ace- pun intended- up his own sleeve. Although he was certainly being obvious in his admirations of a certain bard, it gave him the edge of appearing more distracted than he truly was. A smart move, even if it was unintentional.

Sitting back in her chair, Psyche released a comfortable sigh, taking a moment to adjust the hood she had insisted on wearing inside the tavern. Either way, this was shaping up to be quite the entertaining game; while Shade had the aforementioned perk of discreetly switching between distraction and focus, Granite was a naturally suspicious person by nature. He had managed to call out a few of her bluffs, to which Psyche had cheerfully responded that he shouldn’t take those perception skills for “granite”.

All joking aside, this was playing out as a very enjoyable match, and a very enjoyable time.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait:
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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: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait:
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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: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait:
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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: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Angus Character Portrait:
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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: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait:
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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: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Seraph Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Occupation:
Chef

Guild:
None

Level:
117

Hex Code:
#05B8CC

Location:
Vael - Streets ---> Gold Gallion




Arctic continued to walk, feeling the cold snowflakes hitting her ears. Kuro walked beside her dutifully, his large black paws leaving tracks behind them. She was considering going to one of the NPC merchants to sell the loot she had gotten from grinding around Auren. Here it would be worth more since it was of higher rarity. It was never a bad idea to have money on you, nor was it ever a bad idea to carry potions. In fact, Arctic had quite a few even before Seraph added 10 to every account as part of the Christmas event. She now had candy canes as well. She looked forward to snacking on them later, but right now she wasn't hungry or in need of energy.

Kuro growled loudly, catching her off guard. She jumped a little, but composed herself quickly. She glared at her companion as a crowd of players shuffled by. "Kuro," she warned him. Arctic thought that her friend was growling at the sheer number of players milling about the streets. After all, the two were used to having only each other as company. Unbeknownst to her, Kuro had spotted Seraph in the crowd. However, the tiger had no way of verbally communicating this to her. His tail and ears lowered, causing him to look sad. He looked up at his master, big yellow eyes staring into her blue ones. She sighed and pet his head. "I'm sorry, Kuro. You just caught me off guard." The tiger's ears perked back up as he began rubbing up against her. She continued petting him for a few moments before the two continued on.

They reached the center of town in a couple of minutes, where they were greeted with NPCs and players alike. The large Christmas tree stood decorated and perfect (after all it was made by a computer) for the holiday season. Christmas music was playing, filling her ears. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, hoping she wouldn't get a headache from the music. She had no problem with Christmas music, but this music was loud. At least to her it was, due to having two sets of ears.

NPC children approached Kuro with curiosity. He let them pet him before they ran off, distracted by something else. ArcticFire made a gesture for the pair to move on and they did. She glanced around, looking at all the happy players. She didn't understand what could possess them to be so happy. It was Christmas, yes, but they were spending it in a game. They weren't with their families, their friends, or anyone they actually knew. Maybe some people in game knew each other from the outside, but more often than not the friendships formed in game were with people you would never meet in real life for whatever reason. How these players could just forget their lives, their families, and their hopes in dreams baffled her. Sure, life wasn't perfect, but it was real. It was tangible, livable. Real life didn't have health and mana potions. In real life, all these players were human-- nothing more, nothing less. They were all imperfect mortals once, even if they didn't see themselves as being so now.

She sighed, casting her eyes down. Arctic missed her family. She'd been trapped in game longer than these players. She'd seen her coworkers die. She knew without a doubt that the game was causing players to go into comas if they died in game. To know such things was a burden. The fox wished she knew what lie ahead, wished she knew that no one else would die due to the game she helped make. But nothing was certain in life, not even in a "perfect" virtual one.

Her thoughts were now dark and gloomy. She continued to think as she walked in the direction of the Gold Gallion. Beyond it were some merchants that she preferred to sell to. Arctic walked quietly, Kuro by her side. She paid no mind to the passing players and NPCs, to the snow that fell from the artificial sky.

As she walked, she decided to change her eye and marking colours to match the Christmas season. Her eyes still downcast and her markings covered, she knew nobody would see the colour change. She opened the coding for her avatar and edited it so that her eyes were now green and her markings red. Merry Christmas to me, she thought bitterly.

Arctic and Kuro had just reached the Gold Gallion. Figuring that she should get a room while she could, she turned to enter the establishment. However, she misjudged where the door was. This caused her to walk right into another player. Kuro, being more intelligent than his master at this point, had actually looked to see where the door was. He stood a few feet away from his master, as he had not followed Arctic right into Granite.

Startled, Arctic jumped back and took a look at her attacker-- or rather her victim. He was a player about her height, with white hair. He had the telltale horns of the Demon race. His eyes were pale amber int he current lighting, a colour she had not seen before in players. Perhaps she would have to try that colour out for her own eyes. He looked sad to her. She could also sense that something was wrong with him in an emotional sense. Being sensitive to others' emotions came with being of the Beast race. Realizing that she had just been awkwardly looking at him, she apologized for bumping into him. "Sorry," she told the stranger. She opened her mouth to add that she thought the door had been here, but quickly decided against it. It would only make her seem more foolish than she already was. Instead, she decided to see if there was anything she could do to help this sad player. "You don't look very happy," she told him bluntly. Arctic wasn't one to sugarcoat things. "Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?" If there was, she would likely do it to make him happier. It would also work as another apology for running into him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Lilac Sin
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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: Accido Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Lilac Sin
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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: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Minuet Character Portrait: NocturnalKISS Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Augur Character Portrait:
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0.00 INK

#, as written by Skwidge
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Occupation:
Chef

Guild:
None

Level:
51

Hex Code:
#84c9a0

Location:
Vael Town Entrance ---> The Gold Galleon




The archways of the town’s entrance stood prominent in Minuet’s field of view, the snow still falling lightly and adding a light chill to the air. It was decorated for the holidays, with red and green wreathing twirled about the stone. She could already see the massive tree that stood in the middle of the town- it was impossible to miss, after all. She stood at one of the entrances to Vael, simply looking around in wonder to take in the massive change that the city had undergone. While Ventri would have probably been the first choice for the winter event, since it was actually in a snow biome, Minuet was glad that it was at the otherwise warm, seafaring village of Vael. It made enough sense anyway, since everyone’s levels fell right into the range of this town. It was nice that everyone would get the chance to participate in the event. Actually, was anyone even in the level range for Ventri? Minuet only knew of it from the information that had been on the game, listing the towns. The upper towns must be very lonely…. She thought to herself, a frown having managed to pull at the corners of her lips despite the cheer of the season.

A little chatter at her feet pulled her from those thoughts, and a smile immediately replaced the frown that had been there mere seconds before. Luke peered up at her with calm, affectionate, and warm eyes from his perch on her shoe. His long ears flickered to attract more of her attention, and he pawed at the toe of her boots while letting out another chitter, his tail wrapped around her ankle to keep him from falling forward as he was a bit too big to be sitting where he was. He had woken up about halfway through Minuet’s journey to the town and had emerged sleepily from her pack to cling to her shoulder with his front paws while the hind legs rested on her back to support him. How long had she been standing here, that he had crawled down to rest on the top of her foot, and how had she not noticed until now?


Luka shifted his weight slightly to his hind legs, arching his neck to look straight up at her, the back of his head now resting gently on her shin and one of his front paws bent slightly at the wrist. His jaws parted slightly and his upper lip curled back over his canine tooth as he gave her a sort of lopsided grin. This produced a chiming laugh from Minuet’s lips, her hand raising to hide her mouth as she did so. Luka seemed exceedingly pleased by having drawn her from her darker thoughts, like he had done so many times in the past.

Minuet spent a few moments to hold his searching gaze, her smile now content and loving; she really would do anything for him. She owed him at least that much, and yet Luka didn’t have the slightest notion of expecting anything from her but her companionship. …Well, maybe her cooking too.

”Alright you nut, let’s get going.” Another laugh accompanied her affectionate words, and she lifted her shoe to shake him off. Luka hopped forward with a complaining but playful chirp. Minuet honestly wondered how he would do in the snow, him having never experienced it before- or at least to her knowledge he hadn’t. There was a very light film of snow on the ground, though obviously the roads within the town would be free from it considering there were so many feet moving it around and tracking it places. He reacted much like she thought he would.

Luka took a few hesitant steps in the wet material, shaking each paw individually with every step he took- a futile effort, to be sure. He looked back at her with a begrudging look before shooting back towards her form. Minuet let out a little squeal and quickly twirled away from his racing form. ”Not with those wet paws you’re not!!” She laughed, refusing to let him clamber back up her form with cold, wet feet. Luka suddenly plopped his rear onto the ground and folded his ears back, his tail thrashing wildly on the pavement like a pouting child having a tantrum. Minuet laughed, and Luka let out a loud whine before his ears were then perking up once more and his face lit up cheerfully, practically prancing back to Minuet’s side. So it seemed that the snow hadn’t actually really bothered him much and he was just making a show of it. Classic Glitch, she thought wryly, though it was much the same for her- she had been playing when she had refused to let him climb her; it didn’t matter if he was sopping wet and full of mud, she would still grab him and hold him close to her form to protect him from the elements if the need arose. Motioning with her hand for the two of them to head into the town, Luka and Minuet happily made their way along.

It was slow going, but that was at Minuet’s discretion, as she couldn’t help but take the time to stop and watch what was going on around her. From children running around throwing snowballs or just playing tag in the snow piles that had accumulated at the edges of the sidewalks and roads as well as anywhere else it had amassed, to the laughter and singing of others while they ran or walked together under the holiday decorations and cheer, to the handful of people ice skating on the now frozen-over bay. It really was Christmas Eve, even if it was in a fake world. Luka happily trailed beside her, keeping step with her speed paw for foot. He was looking around constantly as well- he always enjoyed it whenever they were in a town, as it was rather rare for him since the duo spent most of their time out in the fields. It had only been quite recently that Minuet had begun to really frequent civilization again.

Minuet wasn’t just here for the event, whether that be the Holiday décor or the actual monster battles on the morrow, but to reconnect with the few friends she had as well. No doubt they would be here for the event and the crowds, whether that mean business or compassion. It would be really good to see Mono and hopefully Nocturnal as well. She was actually kind of hoping to crash at Moe’s place for the few days that she and Luka would be in town for. If Nocturnal had a house in Vael, she’d probably ask her as well, but she wasn’t actually sure whether she did or not. She’d have to find one of them first, of course, but for now she sought Kiss, since she was more sociable and most likely easier to find. If she ran into Moe, she’d of course be eager to reconnect with her, but figuring for the holidays, she guessed that Noc would be at the local inn, which was where Min was headed to look first.

As they progressed toward their intended destination, Luka raced ahead, eager to get someplace warm and hopefully see Kiss with cookies or some other goodie for him. Minuet’s eyes widened and she reached a useless hand out towards his rapidly disappearing form. She tried to settle the worry the suddenly spurred up within her- she couldn’t expect to keep him on a tight leash forever, he was just as curious about the world as she was. Besides, nothing bad would happen to him- probably, at least. That thought only spurred her forwards, though at a careful pace so she wouldn’t get ahead of herself and end up tripping or slipping on the slush all over the ground. She wanted to run after him, but honestly it wouldn’t do any good. If anything, he would be waiting for her at the door of the inn to open it for him, or, if he managed to slip in as a player opened the door to leave, she would find him with Kiss if she were there, or… somewhere in the inn. He would come if she called… probably. Minuet used this seemingly sound logic to calm herself, and she proceeded along to the Gold Gallion. However, as she came up a slight incline in the road and the inn came into view, she was not expecting to find what she did.

Luka had run forward with abandon, the cheer and excitement of the holidays fueling his legs and pushing him closer and closer to their intended destination. However, once he reached the inn, he was faced with something rather menacing that blocked his path. A large black tiger, an actual pet that the game intended to exist, stood in Luka’s way- a threat in many different ways. The normal coding seemed to clash with his own programming, sending warnings jolting all throughout his form and causing major discomfort and a subtle crackling sound. His need for self-preservation was kicking in and warning him not to come into contact with the original strand of code. The animal was on its last legs as well- he could tell- and that meant that it had to have feral tendencies already showing. Overall, Luka was wickedly concerned and put off by the tamed creature’s presence. He suddenly came to a halt a few feet from the feline guard at the inn, spreading his feet and his hackles rising, quill-like feathers suddenly brushing against each other to make a rattling sound, much like a rattlesnake would to warn those around it not to get too close or else it would lash out. Something between a bark and a screech escaped his maw, and he suddenly bounded up the rather unfortunate soul that stood awkwardly a few feet from a beast player who undoubtedly was the owner of the tiger. Something about her also hyped his wariness.

Minuet had arrived on the scene in a rush, having broken out of her walk once she spotted what was happening. Luka felt threatened, and that definitely wasn’t a good thing. A girl with fox ears stood blocking Minuet’s view of whatever Luka had climbed up to achieve the vantage point on the offenses that stood in his vicinity.

”Luka!!” She called out with worry in her voice, feet pattering loudly on the stone as she tried to put herself between her companion and whatever was bothering him. Minuet made her way around the fox girl swiftly, giving her plenty of space, and reaching out to where she knew her pet would be. However, what she was met with had her faltering, her previously outstretched fingers curling back slightly as she came to a dead halt.

Luka was perched- rather comfortably- on the shoulder of a demon player, hackles still raised and warning sounds still rattling his quills as his back was arched. Luka… was sitting on a complete stranger? That was the initial fact that had her stopping dead in her tracks. The second, it seemed, was her getting distracted by said complete stranger and the complications of Luka having had no qualms about making contact with him.

Her arm, which had been outstretched with her hand a few inches from his form, was pulled to her chest with a lightly held fist at her collar bone. She looked at this taller individual, gentle blue softly locked onto rich orange, and all other sounds seemed to drown out for a second or two as Minuet blinked, confuse. Luka only touched people he trusted and knew, so why he had so readily climbed up this guy... it was an absolute quandary. Said troublemaker broke her stupor when he suddenly leapt from the other’s shoulder, using powerful hind legs to kick off of him and return to Minuet, front paws making contact with her own shoulder, holding him there for a second before he lowered the rest of his form while climbing into the depths of her raised hood and settling his body onto the top of her pack. Her head tilted to the side as she seemed startled by the contact and watched as her follower pressed against the skin of her neck as he slunk into hiding, leaving her alone to fend off two complete strangers who undoubtedly were rather disturbed by her and Luka’s sudden presence. Oh nono, conflict was definitely not what she was looking for- she had hoped simply to keep a low profile and find the few people she did actually know to enjoy this season with.

Minuet turned back to look at Granite, a slightly sheepish though mostly apologetic and nervous look to her face as she clasped her hands together in front of her and made a slight bow. ”S-sorry,” She turned now, looking back at the fox girl whom she had previously looked past, ”I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it,” turning back to Granite, she stiffened ever so slightly as her hand raised to rest at the back of her hood, making sure that it was still there, ”Ah, h-happy holidays.” She finished quickly, aiming it really at all three of them- Arctic, Granite, and Kuro- hoping to have appeased them, and even if not, quickly sidestepping them, dipping her head to hide her face and embarrassment from sight beneath her hood, and entering the Gold Gallion without another word.

As the door closed behind her and a small bell jingled above her to announce her arrival, she let out a breath that she hadn’t realized she had been holding while she made her escape from that awkward situation. She didn’t want any fights- that was for sure, so the quick disappearance was rather called for. But that guy….

However, before she got anywhere with that thought, a familiar voice called out to her from somewhere deeper in the inn. NocturnalKiss.




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Occupation:
Alchemist

Guild:
None

Level:
112

Hex Code:
#365c2e

Location:
Vael ---> Market Stalls by the Shore




Augur had made his way into the town without any hiccups or disturbances, which he was definitely grateful for. He really didn’t want anything happening today to make his mood or outlook even worse. The town was even more hideously decorated up close than it had appeared from afar. Well, that was mostly his sour mood talking, he actually did like what was done with the place, but you’d have to put the figurative gun to his head to get him to admit anything that mess of code had come up with was acceptable, and even then….

He heaved a sigh, rolling his shoulders before shaking his head. Whatever, it didn’t really matter. He was here to hopefully sight the aforementioned ‘Game Master’, though honestly what he would do with it if he found it he couldn’t really say. He needed to find Cain first, and others who could act as support for the inevitable facing of the monster that had created this hell. The best chance for finding any of those was at this town- the event was just an added bonus. It brought together players from all over the virtual world of LAIOS, and he definitely couldn’t complain about the new event monsters/boss that would spawn in town. In fact, he was quite excited about it. The first boss monster of LAIOS- would it be like creatures he had already experienced and catalogued, or would it be a new breed entirely? The monster-tester could hardly keep still at the thought of it. Besides, getting to vent his anger on a few nasties wouldn’t have him complaining either.

But first he had to get to tomorrow, and since he had arrived a day early so that he wouldn’t miss anything, he still had to admit that it was an annoying prospect. There was no way in hell that he would be going anywhere near the damned inn of Vael, or any other inn for that matter. God, just thinking about all the noise and godawful bards… he was already getting a headache and he was in an area that was rather quiet at the moment. He would have to find elsewhere to crash for the night, and he might just do so at one of the shops or buildings the NPCs watched over.

A dark cloud seemed to have gathered over his head as he began walking through the town, directly away from the Gold Gallion, and towards the lower shores of Vael that were currently frozen over. He was kind of intimidating and broody to be honest, and Lotty sort of just sat scrunched up on his shoulder, trying to ignore the darker aura surrounding her master.

In the next instance, however, a soft thump sounded, and a sphere of snow suddenly exploded in Augur’s face. Lotty looked somewhat startled, but suddenly a bubbly croak that sounded suspiciously like laughter escaped her mouth, and had they made it a feature, the snow probably would have melted off of his face from the embarrassed blush that now covered his cheeks. Quickly lifting a hand to wipe off whatever snow clung there, sending sharp cold needles to his face, Augur quickly glanced around to see who had thrown that.

A little NPC girl, with yellow mittens, a white cap, and a yellow coat much like his own stood a little ways off, her hands together in front of her lips with a wide eyed and guilty expression- shocked that she had hit someone other than the young player whom she had been aiming for, who was actually part of the game she and a few of the other NPC children were playing with. She looked absolutely mortified and was just waiting to be yelled at by the seemingly scary man she had accidentally just hit.

Augur looked her way for a few seconds before suddenly straightening and smiling brightly at the little girl and NPC boy who was behind her, looking just as shocked as she, waving at them with his index, thumb, and middle finger outstretched. They looked utterly relieved, and the girl even gave a soft sigh of relief, before giggling brightly and running off in a random direction, the NPC boy following after her laughing and the child player whom she had been aiming at who was behind Augur came into view, chasing after them with a snowball of his own.

The overly bright smile was wiped off of his face immediately after they had disappeared from view, but a slight imprint of it pressed gently at the corners of his lips. He couldn’t be mad at the little ones, especially since they had not intentionally aimed for him out of malice or mischief. Meanwhile, Lotty was still laughing at his expense, and Augur aimed a pointed frown of complaint and offense at her, flicking her on the head to get her to silence. She wobbled precariously as he offset her balance, but she did not fall, and simply tipped back over to the safety of his shoulder, eyes wide and a little ‘ribbit’ escaping from her mouth. She nestled back down, albeit with a bit of playful grumbling, as Augur continued along his way, returning his hands to his warm pockets.

He was intending to do a bit of shopping or business down at the stalls by the shoreline on the eastern side of the town. He was hoping to take advantage of the Christmas cheer and thus undoubtedly lowered prices of the shopkeepers, both NPC and player-wise. You couldn’t really blame him, he was just playing the game, after all. Perhaps he could find some interesting trinkets for he or Lotty.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Minuet
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0.00 INK

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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: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Minuet
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

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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.



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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: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Minuet Character Portrait: Lucive Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait: Man-O-War Character Portrait:
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Occupation:
Chef

Guild:
None

Level:
117

Hex Code:
#05B8CC

Location:
Vael - Outside the Gold Gallion




Arctic resisted the urge to smile back at the other player as a fake smile fixed itself to his face. Perhaps it would fool others, but not her. Despite being one to avoid people, she knew the look he had on his face. It was the same look she'd seen and practiced in the mirror some days. It was a smile that was meant not only to fool the world, but in some cases the one who wore it. There had been plenty of days where she'd feigned happiness despite feeling like she was losing her sanity. Staring at different shades of colours for hours on end can do that to someone, even if they love what they do.

"I'm fine, miss, I just have a melancholy looking face," he said with a shrug. Arctic was about to respond when she was caught off guard by a rattling noise coming from nearby. She looked near them and quickly saw Luka.

As Luka had approached, Kuro turned to stare down the smaller animal. The tiger didn't know for certain what it was about this little creature, after all he himself was just coding as well, but he didn't like it. He let out a low growl as it approached. In turn, it made a rattling sound back at him as it took a defensive stance. Kuro growled at it again, ready to attack it. He did not like this little animal and was set on killing it, even if that wasn't what his master wanted. It let out a screech before darting towards the player that his master had run into. Kuro paced unsteadily behind Arctic, waiting for Luka to come down off of Granite's shoulder. The instant he did, the black tiger would be ready to devour the little fox like animal.

While this seemed like awhile for Kuro, it was only a few moments for Arctic. Before she realized what was happening, Luka had approached her pet, rattled at it, let out a bark, and then proceeded to climb the player she had just run into. The fox girl examined the creature as it sat, perched on the male's shoulder. It was rather adorable, but she could tell from Kuro's growls and unsteadiness that he didn't like it. As it sat, still in a defensive position, it continued to rattle its quills. Arctic wonder exactly what monster species this was. She knew she had seen a few before, but couldn't identify it by name. Augur would know, but she hadn't seen Augur in over a month. He'd basically dropped off the face of LAIOS-- not that she hadn't done pretty much the same.

The little creature's master approached, swiftly stepping around Arctic in a bid to get to her pet. Kuro let out another growl, agitated that this animal's master had come to its rescue. Knowing that he shouldn't attack a player, he laid down in the snow in defeat. He made it a point to set his gaze towards the opposite side of the street, like a moody child that hadn't gotten the toy they anted for Christmas. The small animal swiftly jumped onto the girl's shoulders. She looked at Arctic and Granite, clearly anxious. She offered an apology and wished them happy holidays before scurrying into the tavern. Granite let her know that she was alright and wished her a happy holidays as well. The fox girl couldn't help but think to herself that this was definitely not a happy holiday. A happy holiday would be sitting at the dinner table with her family.

Arctic looked back at the player she'd been talking to. He seemed to have a knack for attracting girls, though he seemed like he didn't want any attention. He seemed to have similar thoughts on his mind, commenting that something like that has never happened to him before. "Maybe I should find another place to stand," he suggested. ArcticFire couldn't help but smile at this comment. It would seem that standing outside of taverns was dangerous for one's health. "Anyway, name's Granite, sorry for obstructing your path." He offered a hand to her.

She shook his hand, hoping she wasn't squeezing too hard. Sometimes she forgot that she was stronger due to her class. "I'm ArcticFire. Or just Arctic," she told Granite. She looked behind her at Kuro, still laying on the ground in defeat. She gestured to him. "And this is Kuro." She looked back at Granite, again noticing his amber eyes. She smiled kindly at him as she briefly pondered his name. Granite-- like the rock. It was definitely a name she hadn't heard before. "You don't need to apologize, Granite. I should have been looking where I was going." Kuro made a noise that was a mix between a whine and a purr, as if to agree.






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Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Phoenix Blight

Level:
82

Hex Code:
#5190ED

Location:
Vael - Streets/Market by the Shore




The Mission Impossible theme song was playing in Man-O-War's head as he did a series of elaborate turns and kicks. To anyone who didn't know him, they probably thought he was insane. That wasn't too far from the truth, but there was a method to the madness... Ok, maybe there wasn't right now. War disliked the cold, preferring sunny or even rainy weather. He was someone who needed the outdoor temperature to be between about 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit for him to feel comfortable. Being in a town full of snow did not satisfy that requirement. Despite his dislike of snow, he was able to put a positive spin on it by pretending he was a ninja sneaking through the streets. Of course, there really wasn't a way for a man with iridescent hair, a colourful wardrobe, and a bright pink hammer strapped to his back to sneak through a town filled with white snow.

War continued down the street, enjoying the puzzled looks he got from others. It was as if they'd never seen a dwarf modeled after a jellyfish doing fancy spins and kicks down the street and through the snow before. Some people just hadn't lived their life enough he supposed. He briefly wondered what Lucive was doing, but figured his trusted Second in Command was making clothes. Technically, there had been no training scheduled for today due to the holidays. But a number of Phoenix Blight members had requested a training or field grinding session for preparation for the up coming event.

War himself was excited, looking forward to taking out the holiday monsters with his hammer. The second part of the event sounded fun as well, though he was also assuming that the boss wouldn't actually kill anyone. If it did, he would do his best to get other players out of harms way. He planned on participating in both events and was hopeful that he could come out on top. He didn't know what he would do with a dragon egg should he win it, but he could figure that out later. There were Beast Tamers in the guild that might be interested and if not, he could always sell it.

Continuing on his mission of checking in with the guild members in Vael, he approached a younger girl with long, black hair. Dots of white snow dotted her hair and he could tell that she was cold. He stopped showing off his moves and began walking like a regular player. Well this is no fun, he thought to himself as he caught up to the girl. He tapped her on the shoulder before matching his pace to hers. "Hello Anna," he greeted her happily. She was the same height as him, which was rare for most of the people he talked to. He had gotten used to other players towering over him, but he didn't mind it. They might be taller than him, but were they as awesome as him? He certainly doubted it.

"Hello War," she said, a small smile forming on her lips. "Did you need something from me?"

He nodded. "I was wondering if you planned on participating in either of the events coming up. I also wanted to know if you think we should hold a last minute training or field session to prepare." An NPC child threw a snowball at him, prompting him to scowl at the child. He was not in the mood for a snowball fight.

Anna let out a "hmmm" as they continued to walk. After the two had walked for about a minute, she finally responded. "I don't think I'll participate in the event. I don't think I'm high enough level," she told him, referring to the fact that she was level 50. She was fairly new to the guild and thus hadn't leveled as high as some of the longer members. "I think I'll just stay inside and watch from my window. But if others are going to participate, let them know my house is always open. A training session sounds like a good idea though. Of course, my opinion doesn't matter since I won't be doing the event."

She turned to walk away from him, but the dwarf stopped her with a firm grasp on her shoulder. "Hey, don't say that. Your opinion matters. If it didn't matter, then why would I take time out of my day to ask you what you thought?" He smiled at her and removed his hand from her shoulder. "Have a good day, Anna. Be safe." "You too," she said quickly before leaving to talk to a merchant.

Man-O-War looked around, realizing he had ninja kicked and walked his way to the stores by the beach in Vael. He sighed, wishing the town was its sandy, tropical self. He could use a nice relaxing swim. However, he was pretty sure jumping into the ocean right now would not be fun unless someone set him on fire first. And he really didn't want to be set on fire. He looked around at the merchants, thinking if he needed to buy anything. He already had a good amount of potions, a few regular food items, and the candy canes he'd been given by the blasted but very generous Game Master. Curse the Game Master, trying to buy him over with sweets. It would take a lot more than that to win War over! Of course, if the Game Master gave him a bunch of jellyfish to be his minions, he wouldn't mind. He couldn't help but wonder if jellyfish minions actually existed in LAIOS.

Focus! he told himself in his head. The little dwarf made his way over to the side of one of the merchants stalls before opening up the messaging system. He was guessing that Lucive wasn't busy and if he was, oh well. How would you feel about leading a training or field grinding session today? A lot of the members in Vael want to warm up for the events coming up tonight. After sending the message he closed out of the feature and for the hell of it, started ninja kicking and spinning down the street again. There were only a few other members he needed to contact, so he wasn't in too much of a rush.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Lilac Sin
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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: Goliath Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider
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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.




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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: Goliath Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Granite Character Portrait:
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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: Goliath Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain 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.

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