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    Results 16 to 30 of 31

    1. #16

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Fear walked the streets of San Julio. Fear dressed rather casually in dun chaps, a black tank shirt, loose denim vest and a leather cowboy hat, but Fear nonetheless. The Scarlet Devil had released herself from the pen those who so quaintly considered themselves her superiors had assigned to her, letting her power run wild now that she had reminded it which of them was on top.

      The bloody-skinned apparition sauntered down the roadways through San Julio, strolling towards the center of town, where she could feel a number of Powers gathering. One of them was that deliciously infuriating Pureness that itched like a bleeding sore against her aura, the one that had incited her Nightmare so. Others were new; San Julio had, it would seem, become the site of an impromptu little meta-human convention. All throughout, as dim and inconsequential as ever, were the faint sparks buried within the lives of the ordinary citizens of San Julio.

      The citizens knew what was happening. Their town had become a battlefield – already, Death had swung his black scythe and claimed the first bloodstained souls of the harvest he would reap this day. Powers moved among them, hungry sharks circling each other amongst the fat, frightened fish cowering in their holes, praying that nothing would befall them. Let the Devil take the hindmost; all were fair game, so long as it wasn't them. The primal fear of annihilation lurked in the minds of all the denizens of this accursed place.

      Their terror sang to Saxony, crooning a sweet symphony to the Scarlet Devil. A wide Cheshire grin stretched over serrated teeth and needle-pointed fangs as the town set out a special feast all for her. Her Scarlet Nightmare gorged itself on the town's fear, the terrible power of her Beacon inviting them ever further down the roads of madness their minds wandered. Scenes of horror and carnage were shockingly vivid in the minds of those within Saxony's spectral reach, etched sharp-edged and indelible into their thoughts.

      What if it was them?, that insidious power whispered into the formless subconscious of all those within its grasp. Already, there had been gunfire. What if the bullets found them next? What if the doors to their ramshackle little shelters were blown down, the raging battles outside storming in? What if it was their bodies the uncaring bullets found next, and the warring gunmen left them, cold and bleeding, in their wake? What if the bullets found their friends? Their wives and husbands, or even their children? Flesh was so fragile, so easily distorted and broken...the blood in their veins was nothing more than a stain on the floor which had yet to happen. Images painted themselves with unforgiving clarity across the minds of the frightened townsfolk – tissue ripped apart by the passing of fire-hardened steel, bones cracked and broken, great wounds torn in weak flesh, pulsing feebly in time with a weakening heartbeat as the warmth and light of life drained away, leaving naught behind but the cold, yawning darkness of final Oblivion. Do you really think yourself so favored by your God that you could escape this Nightmare unscathed?, the wordless voice murmured with endless cruelty.

      Nor was that the only danger, the only brutal image seared into the frightened, receptive minds of Saxony's unwitting feast. There were meta-humans out there. Things beyond petty mortal understanding, beings with power far surpassing the few shreds which the poor citizens clung to. This was California, after all – even such simple and mundane things as guns were to be feared and loathed, locked away and forbidden to all. How much worse, then, was the power of a man who could reach into places Science had never before seen and pull from it eldritch power fit to flay the flesh from fragile human bones with but a careless gesture and a malicious thought?

      Such a man could not be disarmed, could not be subdued and rendered harmless – his weapon was as intrinsic to himself as was the will to use it. Such a man could only be stopped by a force more powerful than himself...and who, amongst the citizens of San Julio, held such power?, the voiceless whispers sneered into the minds of terror-struck men and women. Who among them could stop a man that threw fire from his fingertips, or aged his victims into desiccated mummies with a single baleful glance? Who among them could stop a man from reaching into their chests with frigid spectral claws and tearing their hearts free without even needing to break their skin?

      The hungry whispers whipped their food into a frenzy, stoking every little fear into a ravening psychosis, painting once-formless horrors in bright, glorious detail inside the screwed-shut eyelids of those who existed to feed the Nightmare. Their terror flowed to Saxony, sweet as spring wine and warm as a lover's embrace, buoying her and sparking shivers of delight up her spine. Such a feast this was! An entire town quaking in fear as armed madmen and blazing Powers clashed within it...yes! The tainted power rushing through her veins was almost orgasmic in its intensity; she was positively dripping with excitement and twisted arousal. Never before had she been able to taste such a richness of blended terrors, sample so many delectable nightmares at once. She could feel the Nightmare pulsing with glee within her breast, drinking deeply of the tormented town's fears and transforming them into Power.

      Power for Saxony – she could feel the electrifying energies pulsing within her, stirring muscle and blood and bone, coiling like eager serpents, ready to drive her in the coming battle. She would be faster, stronger, more resilient and more dangerous for every single private torment her grasping Beacon ripped from the subconscious of those around her. The Scarlet Nightmare's grip on her physical form tightened with each nightmare she drank, continuing the slow, inevitable transformation of her body. Wisps of sickly vapor trailed from her claws and misted faintly from her breath; the malformed, screaming faces of the Damned shrieked in silent agony within the miasma, floating briefly to the surface to scream silent warnings to those who would set themselves against the Nightmare, only to sink into darkness once more.

      ENFORCE SHIT!”, Sheriff Bigsby had screamed in her ear, during the last of his calls she'd taken prior to crushing the cartel's little toy and casting it aside. After all, that's what she was, wasn't she? The cartel's special enforcer, their secret trump card, their weapon of last resort. Sic that freaky, shifty-eyed devil-bitch on the problem and the problem would get scared and run away...right?

      Right. Save that no one controlled Saxony. Not the cartel who'd sheltered her after her initial flight from Colorado, and certainly not Big Man Sheriff Bigsby. She was a force beyond their comprehension, let alone their power, and would act as she saw fit, not as he commanded. Let this town collapse into Hell at her heels, and take Bigsby and all his big plans with it. There was too much fun to be had here for her to end it so swiftly.

      “Terror, Terror, 'neath my feet,” she sang softly to herself, strolling down what passed for San Julio's Main Street, her shark-toothed grin never wavering as her Beacon licked out and caressed that Pureness she'd come here to find, “who's the first that I will meet? Nightmare, Nightmare, in my chest...who's the one that I shall test?”


    2. #17
      I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.
       
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      Axiom's Avatar
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Dozing off...

      Throughout the course of the drive south from Newberry Springs, Saori dozed lightly, her cheek smooshed up against the interior of the car. The eerily quiet Traveler wasn’t very chatty, and she certainly appreciated that when weighed against Steve the Spergnard as a travelling companion. She wasn’t entirely sure he could make a sound, even so much as a grunt, but she figured asking would be rude. The girl was never entirely sure what was an acceptable question to ask in Western societies, and didn’t want to risk offending…whatever he was. The last time she had assumed a topic was alright, she had accidentally earned herself a vicious verbal lashing. Over something as simple as asking how old someone was, too. So, she just let the poor selection of Lady Gaga, hip-hop, and dreary alt-rock lull her to sleep. Surely her silent partner would have no objections to that…

      I got a bad feeling about this...

      A few hours later, the drowsy goddess awoke, blearily rubbing her eyes before stretching dramatically. Looking around, the teenager noticed that they were in some sort of small town. Something, however, was extremely wrong with this place. The area was entirely devoid of people, the windows were boarded up, and there was a deadly stillness hanging over the entire town. The crows circling high overhead and the late afternoon sunlight staining the landscape only added to the sickening calm that always heralded something worse. Saori shivered in her seat, everything about San Julio just gave her the heebie-jeebies. The Traveler’s pace through town bothered her, and just as she was about to open her mouth to voice a concern, the bodies of the dead police came into view. Saori Kimura’s eyes widened for a moment, and then she screamed.

      The hideous, twisted forms of the mangled men were more than she could stand, the carrion birds pecking at their remains causing her stomach to churn. Leaning out of the windowless car, she heaved, coming close to vomiting. Sure, she may have been a fighter, and a god besides, but deep down Saori was still just an 18 year old girl. The gruesome corpses were just not something she was used to dealing with. With a sidelong glance at the Traveler, her mouth flapping uselessly, she tried to fixate on something, anything except the nightmarish decor. The problem was, her new friend was…less than talkative and certainly not enough to completely overwhelm her senses in the same way a pair of mutilated corpses was.

      She barely noticed the police the Traveler was now accelerating towards, completely tuning out their cries and shouts until they made the mistake of firing their guns. The storm-goddess’s attention snapped from the Traveler and was now solely focused on the immediate threat of firearms. This was exactly what Saori had been seeking: a catalyst that would require her complete focus. Her eyes closed, her mind’s eye swirling with a veritable puree of images. The strangeness of the town, the corpses, the law-men opening fire, and…a strange sense of terror that fell over the entire town like a dense fog all spiraled together, transforming into a singular black disk within the teenager’s head. The Void called out to her, the great nothingness offering itself, yearning to be filled, and Saori readily accepted. She casually touched the Traveler’s arm with her left hand, sharing this image, as well as a request to be careful.

      Flying Heaven

      The steampunk car’s passenger door opened, and the corrupt policemen were stunned to see a teenage girl leap out. With a supernatural grace she landed perfectly, despite the vehicle’s breakneck speed, her feet tucked under her as she crouched. Immediately springing into action, she bounded into the air like a pouncing tiger. The policeman with the shotgun barely had time to raise the weapon before she covered the distance between them. “Sto-” he began, shakily pointing at her, but too late. The other cops gasped in shock as she spun to the right, lashing out with her palm at Officer Lampouski’s face. The street was filled with the cacophonic roar of a shotgun blast, the shells biting into the side of a building when Lampouski’s trigger finger jerked backwards. The instinctive shot was his last act before Saori’s right hand found its mark. There was an audible crunch of bone, his nose and several teeth completely shattered under the strength of the blow. The large policeman crumpled to the earth, screaming as he clutched the ruins of his face. Blood, tears, and snot streamed through his hands, his mouth quivering in agony. The goddess turned, her brown loafer stamping down hard on the barrel of his fallen gun, bending it beyond recognition before she turned to face the street.

      The youth’s chest rose and fell rhythmically, the “Fight!” logo on her t-shirt swelling and contracting with each deep, meditative breath. Her almond-shaped eyes glared around like a hawk seeking a new target, the stunned police all hiding indoors or on rooftops. All eyes were on the girl now, and in a flurry of radio activity they attempted to figure a way they could take down a metahuman schoolgirl. None of them felt brave enough to engage her, not after seeing what she’d done to Clive. While they contemplated, secure in the knowledge that they’d be able to safely snipe at her on rooftops and indoors the girl began to move again. She charged out of the alley, moving with a blistering speed they could only barely track, crossing the street it as bullets whizzed past and straight into the opposite alley. When she reached her goal, the officers on the building she was beside peered over the edge, and nearly pissed themselves when they saw what the little Asian troublemaker was up to.

      Saori leapt straight at the side of the building, kicking off of it across the alleyway, repeating the maneuver over and over like a super-bounce ball in a narrow hallway. Gradually she was making her way up to the roof in a way Sherriff Bigsby’s lackwit minions never expected: wall jumping like some sort of Hong Kong actor, only without the wires.

      “W…wh…what do we do?! She’s a’ gittin’ closer!” the junior cop screamed at his partner, the overall feeling of fear in the town driving him to panic. His partner, the elderly Jebediah Clumpit just leaned over and leveled his rifle as if to say “Shoot her?”

      As the veteran cop’s rifle-barrel drew a bead on Saori’s unprotected back, something even more astounding happened. The high-pitched whine of electrical discharge filled the air and a streamer of blue-white energy arced out from the Japanese metahuman, striking the rifle and hurling Jeb backwards like a ragdoll. Less than a second later, Saori cleared the last jump, using her hands to vault over the lip of the building. She tumbled through the air and caught Jeb’s partner around the neck with her legs, mounting him. The last thing he saw before she squeezed her knees together was an extremely brief glimpse of snow-white panties. The corrupt, unconscious officer dropped to the rooftop, his eyes wide with surprise.

      It was from the rooftop vantage point that Saori finally spotted the…thing…that was clearly the reason behind the townsfolk’s disappearance. Far down the main street, heading towards the Traveler’s car was…something. The teenager couldn’t make out exactly what it was she was looking at, but as she moved closer to the edge of the building for a better look she did note that all of the police were also staring straight at it, with dinner-plates for eyes. Narrowing her eyes, Saori peered into the sworl of mist surrounding whatever horror lay within. As she did so, the goddess noticed something just unusual, and just as disquieting. The sigil on her right hand, the mark left on her by the Void, was actually glowing. It shone with a dark, eldritch light edged by a muted orange, blazing like a miniature eclipse. That had never happened before, but somewhere in the back of her mind she had a feeling that the sigil was protecting her from something. Up until now, she’d never so much as seen the mark, let alone had it burn. All she knew was that it allowed her to find a perfect center of concentration, but…perhaps it had other abilities as well? Could that horror possess a similar mark? She absolutely had to know.

      Without another thought, Saori leapt over the side of the building, safely sliding down the side by pushing gentle air-currents underneath her, slowing her descent. It wouldn’t do for to many obvious displays of godlike power, not just yet. When she landed, the schoolgirl began to walk towards the distant figure, determined to learn just what it was, and if it possessed a mark like her Void sigil.
      Last edited by Axiom; 11-02-2011 at 10:53 AM.
      "Those who think duels are a method to ‘honorably resolve disputes’ are fools. Duels are the means to eliminate otherwise inconvenient opposition.”

    3. #18

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Emptiness and... power. These abstract perceptions, for a moment, were more real to him than the very air and the thrum of the car, Saori's touch and silent wish fort him to be careful distracting the phantom-man so much that he almost let go of the wheel in surprise. There was no emotion behind those reflective goggles, yet surely she'd sensed his reaction.

      And then she jumped out of the car, still moving, and the Traveler knew he'd been right when he first saw her. This strange, foreign world did have heroes after all... and he'd found one. A kindred spirit. Someone who could guide him...

      ... and he wasn't about to let that go.


      MUSICAL SHIFT
      The Friendly Faith Plate
      Portal 2 OST



      The car pulled to a screeching halt, backing halfway into an alley between two large buildings before its driver stepped out, pistol in hand. No sooner had he exited the vehicle than one of the dirty cops who'd been tracking them from rooftop opened fire with a rifle, punching half a dozen bullet holes in the hood. Steam flowed from the ruptured engine, filling the air with a thick haze. A figure vaulted out of the white cloud, rolled as he hit the ground, and came back up accompanied by the sharp crack of pistol fire. The rifleman, in his haste to get a good shoot, had left himself totally exposed; his body spun and fell as the first shot caught him in the shoulder and the second punched into his back with a spray of crimson gore. With the quick flip of a lever the six-shooter opened up, vents hissing out jets of steam as it let off excess pressure. Three shots left...

      It was too risky to stay out in the open -- there was no telling how many more rooftop gunmen the town might have -- and should the meat-heads wise up that could be all sorts of trouble. The wraith-man's free hand reached up reflexively to the wound from earlier; it was healed now, but its lingering memory was a firm reminder of what these mens' weapons could do. This was no time to take chances. The Traveler glanced over to where "Chiyase" had run off to, seeing only a battered gunman with a broken weapon laying in her wake. The sound of gunfire from the side-street rang out for a moment and then faded; fearing the worst he ducked back into the alley, squeezed past the bullet-riddled car, and looked hastily left and right. No corpse, no blood...

      “W…wh…what do we do?! She’s a’ gittin’ closer!”

      The shout, followed by a flash of light, drew the phantasm's attention to the right rooftop just in time to watch the Asian martial artist KO another rooftop gunner in dramatic fashion. His shoulders slumped slightly, relieved that his companion hadn't come to harm. Then relief quickly turned to anger. Who were these men, these violent bloodthirsty brutes? He wouldn't let them hurt her, hurt anyone ever again! Something deep inside told him this was a battle he needed to fight, not simply escape from. It was something he'd done in the past -- felt like it anyway, a vague impression rising from the muddled void of the dream-man's lost memories. If these people were so shameless as to attack people just for wandering into their town then maybe those two crow-pecked ruffians had gotten what they deserved!

      But aren't you afraid? You could get shot, stabbed, killed in a thousand horrible ways. Yours could be the next corpse the ravens feast upon, a bloody splay upon the dirt... with no one to remember you. For death has your scent now.

      The psychic tendril of fear slithered in amongst his thoughts like a snake, weaving and hissing softly as it kept low, just out of sight. Yet when you are the embodiment of an idea, a thought given mimicry of flesh, such subtleties are no longer quite so subtle. For a moment his gaze traveled to and fro as if trying to "hear" where the strange whisper into his thoughts was coming from... then, abandoning the search, reached into his coat and withdrew a handful of bullets, gazing down at them in his palm.



      V̋͟͏̰̫̣͇̲o̰̯̦̬͓ͭ͂͌̿͘͝i̜̪̳͙̇͗̐̑̇͢c͔̹̼̦͌̾̃ͣ̌̇͛eͬ̓̀ͬͣ ̶̦̘̘̩̬̥͖̮ͧ͆́͢͝.̸̨̯͐ͩ͂ͨ͂̈̓̂ͨ ̷̶̟̣̬̗̜̃͝ͅM̶̸̞̜̱͊͐̿ͧ̀͊i̝̰̟̗̐ͭ̈͂͌͒ͤ̑͘ͅṇ̴̢͙͐̍ͧ͑d͛̈ͨ ̍ͩ͊̌̂͌͏̞̞̠͈̻͍̬.̡̞͓̫͛͑̎̚͡ ̃̓̈ͮͬ̏̓͏͓̰͖F̽̑ͤ̀̍҉̵͕̪̰̯̩̲̯é̵̟̲̩̬̤̔ͫ͋ͥ͋ä̤̩͙́͊r̷͊͂ͨ ̙͕̯̬̜̺̕?̡̘̪̎̀̚ ̴̋ͩ̕͏̪̞͉͓̗A̙̤̺͎̲̲ͥ̃n̸͖ͦͥ̍ͅg̶̵̼̰̲̤̋͒̋̎̆ē͒ͭ̋̌̅ͦͩ̃͟͟ ̫͚͓̹͓r̴̫̠̲͐ͣ͗̐̽̔͢.̨̣͔̜̬̠͕̂̿ͫ́̈ͬ̀ ̗̥̻͛P̢̛̬̬̜͎̜͎ͨä̺̦̺̮̺́̾̍̃̕͡i̦̻̺̤̮̻̅́̍́͂̚n̝̟̐̃̒̈́̿͒́̀ ͕͇̣̰̣.̴ͨ̄ͣ̒͂͏̝̙̟̖̮͟ ̸̰̳̩̗̻͖͕ͩ͂ͥ̃ͤ̆́̄͂͘͢Ḟ̸̝̳͎͈̦̹̿́̅̎̿͠i̳̝̣̥̦͖̳͖̹͒ͪ̍̂̃n ̤̖̪͑ͩͣ̂͂͠͞d̪ͣͧ̽́̊͡ ̯̘͈͙̙̰̝̰ͬ̀̕y̤̣̰̖̹̻̖̜͍̍ͬ͡ŏ̘͚͈̙͓̇͜u̺̠̯̺̿̄̆̒͜.̾̑̅̊ͤ̓ ̢͍̬͙̩̤̮̈̕͜ ̸̶̡̯̤͙̩̥̗͆̒ͧ̑ͩ̓͊S̷̨͕̮̣͔͖̾͗̇ͦt̸̟̺̉̌̓̀̓ͧ̾ͤo̧̾ͥ͐̿ͪ̑͏̬ ̫̯p̮͉̪̊ͣ̄ͤ̓̚͠ͅ ̼̠̣͚͚͂̐̅͒͋̐́̕͢y̵͖̼̩̥̫̣̤ͭͪ̓̑ͧ͂͜ͅo̵̼̯̯̎̆ͤ͗̽̎̏͜͡u̷͐̈̈ ͇̲͍͉͓͙̙̼.̢͚ͭ͑̓ͬ̄̚




      Slowly, deliberately, the Traveler began to reload.

      CHARACTER PROFILE
      The Traveler


    4. #19

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Shriek slithered throughout the alleyways and side-streets of San Julio completely undetected, revolving about its center liken to a planet around its star. He was quick, damn quick, and didn’t make a sound until he wanted to.

      When more of the corrupted cops showed up, hootin’ an’ a hollerin’, Shriek’s sense of the mission at hand heightened. Every so often, he gave a solid pair of knocks against the buildings he passed. They were weak at first, and grew with volume and strength across only a few seconds. He was picking up his pace, drastically, all the while leaving hardly a footprint to follow…

      The crack of gunfire not his own reverberated in Shriek’s ear, forfeiting a great amount of information about the Town’s, and his own situation. A strange vehicle had entered the stage, barreling down the streets of San Julio in frantic frenzy. Capturing Shriek’s interest, the hired hand decided it was again time to strike and made his way forward from the alleyways.

      Amongst the chaos of battle between cops and the new party, Shriek ever so nimbly re-entered the scene, managing to remain partially concealed in shadow. Quietly observing, he watched as a little girl made quick work of the policeman, accompanied by a strange looking fellow wearing a “unique” get up, to say the least. Goggles, really? Shaking his head, Shriek made his way over to his briefcase nearest the two bloodied bodies he’d left behind, and picked up. Turning around, he surveyed the bodies of the cops these two were leaving behind…

      “Ah…these two are just accidents, I see…”

      At that moment, Shriek just stood idly by as he watched these two mismatched companions sort with the law enforcers—corruptors, and cocked open the chamber to his revolver. He had several shots left, but he wasn’t too fond of their nature. Two more magnums and four incendiary rounds; deftly removing the magnums Shriek replaced them with a full load of Incendiaries made of a .45-cal round. A flick of his wrist returned the chamber to rightful position, just in time for Shriek to hear the sound of the familiar clicking of a trigger housing cycling forward. Spinning clockwise, the briefcase in his hand loosed itself, smashing soundly into the chest of a cop whom attempted to get the drop on Shriek, obviously failing. The cop, launched right out of his boots, landed some fifty yards away into the side of another building. He'd still managed to get his shot off; only it was skyward and met with an unfortunate raven that was headed in to join in on the nearby feast. So strange, these birds...

      Shriek laughed just over his breath as he walked over and retrieved his briefcase from the bleeding and broken body, the heart of which was pumping slower and slower until finally it ceased for all time. The shot had alerted all of the others in the area of his presence, clearly nothing of the assassin's concern. Several more cops swarmed toward the third unwelcomed guest, who greeted them with a smile.

      "Death will be yours...all of you."

      Training his arm to a cluster of the cops approaching from the opposite end of the street, opposite his side of the way, Shriek let loose a single round to their middle man. The round cracked and roared through the town, landing home in the dirt at his feet. It erupted in a blaze of glory and destruction, igniting all three of their bodies in inextinguishable flame. In just five seconds their bodies had been reduced to not more than sizzling chunks and bits.

      Much to the horror of the coppers, Shriek didn't stop there. Oh no, it was time to get down to business. Now that the state of the town had been elevated to a high alert from the meanderings of these other buffoons, there was no need for him to remain in hiding; for the time being, anyway. Two more shots burst out from the unforgiving mouth of Vivienne, taking out two cops in one of the shots and igniting one of the shops near those two carcasses he'd left behind while the other was aimed elsewhere entirely: the building nearest the goggled stranger, between him or itself and the girl he appeared to be trying to protect. It came alive with flames, the dry wood of its structure soaking up the flames like a sponge to water.

      Again and again, Shriek emptied his firearm's rounds into the buildings of the town. He strategically placed his rounds to completely overtake now four blocks of the city's main street and the last round at the rooftop's edge where the girl had been galloping across. Breaking the barrel forward again with a jolt of his wrist, Shriek dumped out the empty shells and began to slowly walk off in another direction, heading toward the sound of terrified screams, infuriated shouts and again, hootin' an' hollerin'.

      "These damn inbreds...it's like they think they're living in the Wild West. I'll take this whole place down to the depths of hell..."

      ...Omnicidal Death Machine

      Reno is coming. Then again, maybe he's been here all along.

    5. #20
      Reno
      Guest

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Young Pepi stood wide-eyed, mouth agape as he witnessed the spectacle of Crim dispatching the monstrous Evelyn. It all happened so fast that the boy wasn’t even sure he actually saw anything at all. One moment, the excessively large man was up and at ‘em, boiling over with rage and intent on flattening his much smaller opponent. And then BAM!, in a literal flash, the brute was sprawled out on his back with stark white eyes rolled up in his skull and a crooked nose gushing twin streams of bright scarlet. And Crim didn’t even look like he’d done a damn thing.

      Finally, Pepi managed to speak up. “How’d you...”

      “Huh?” Crim replied as he took a moment to dust himself off. “How’d I what?”

      “How’d you...do that?”

      “Well I took my fist here and smashed it into his face.” He held out his clenched fist for emphasis. “Pretty simple. Aren’t you supposed to be some kinda Mexican wrestler wannabe? How do you not know what a punch is?”

      At this, the boy just couldn’t help but wonder if Crim was even real. Was he an idiot or a genius? A peerless combatant or a total lunatic? Or somehow all of the above? These and many more questions tumbled around inside Pepi’s head as he watched the red-haired drifter wander deeper into the Sheriff’s compound.

      Steeling himself for the assured chaos of the road ahead, Pepi took off after Crim.

      <><><><><><><><><><>

      Crim had to admit, he was pretty awesome. That last fight (if it could even be called a fight) couldn’t have gone any better, and it made him look like the most badass hero outlaw ever. Too bad there hadn’t been any girls around to see it. No, his audience consisted solely of the brat in the sombrero. Building a respectable legend had to start somewhere though, and Crim figured that the wide-eyed admiration of a hyperactive kid was as good a place as any to start. Inspiring the next generation and all that.

      Yeah, it would just have to do for now.

      He walked along the dusty road leading into what he assumed to be the main yard of the compound. There were a lot of large shipping crates stacked up all around. Some of them were covered with mesh, others with tarps, and the few uncovered ones displayed prominent corporate logos on them. He figured that they probably all contained stolen goods. What else could it be? Drugs, maybe. Or weapons.

      Or treasure, heh heh.

      Finding out would have to wait though. First, he needed to get down to business and pay the Sheriff a little courtesy visit. Although it seemed that the Sheriff might actually be a small-fry compared to the others. And Crim knew there were others gathering nearby. He could feel their extraordinary presence, their power. Couldn’t tell if they were friends or foes or what, but knowing all of that in advance would spoil the surprise anyway, which in his opinion made for boring climaxes. Something did seem kind of strange though. Familiar, somehow. He just couldn’t quite put his finger on the how or the why of it all, but it didn’t really bother him either, because it made things all the more exciting. He’d figure it all out eventually, anyway. He (almost) always did.

      A big stack of crates loomed before him, apparently blocking his path. The faded orange-red paint was cracked and peeling off, but he could still clearly see the word “HYUNDAI” written in huge white block letters. From here, the path split off in two opposing directions.

      “Hmm. Left or right.”

      Or up.

      Yeah, he chose up, obviously. A 30 foot vertical leap wasn’t much for someone with his particular gifts. Plus, the higher vantage point would give him a much better view of his surroundings than before.

      Unfortunately it also exposed him to being blindsided by a freaking gigantic spiked cannonball. He heard the explosion and was able to partially avoid taking a direct hit, instead only being dealt a glancing blow. The force of the impact sent him spinning through the air and down into the open area below, landing face-first in the dirt and skidding to a halt in front of a long row of storage sheds.

      Crim lay motionless as his previously unseen assailant lumbered into view. A truly enormous specimen, this one. Made Evelyn look like a midget. Not only was he towering in height – at least 12 feet tall – but he was also just...huge. Muscular didn’t really describe it. The guy was like a solid wall of roid-fueled physical fury. The broadest broadside of a stone fortress on legs. Great redwood trunk legs. And perhaps most fearsome was the left arm of the colossus, which wasn’t so much an arm as it was a ridiculously big cannon with an oversized spiked ball attached to it by a long length of thick chain. The kind of chain that might have moored the Titanic.

      “Urgh,” mumbled Crim as he got up to a knee and shook the demons out of his head. “Why was a bus driving up there?”

      The gigantic cannon man just grunted in reply. Crim glanced over his shoulder and met the vacant dark-eyed gaze of his attacker with the vibrant azure green of his own. Crim smirked sardonically. Wasn’t every day that he got to have a good old fashioned stare-down with a living caricature of empty-eyed fugly.

      Crim stood up to his full height and turned to face his attacker. “Not much goin’ on upstairs, eh big guy?”

      As expected, a blank black stare and unintelligible grunt was all Crim got in reply. That is, until he heard the voice of Sheriff Bigsby coming from the shadows of the large main building that stood tall just beyond the giant.

      “I must say I am both impressed and slightly annoyed by your tenacity, boy.” The fat man slowly emerged into the light to stand astride the much larger cannon-man. “It’s not often that someone manages to survive a shot from Junior’s cannon, let alone remain conscious.”

      At this, Crim simply shrugged. “Dunno what to tell ya.”

      Crim didn’t look the least bit concerned, because he really wasn’t concerned. And aside from his clothes being covered in dirt, he really didn’t appear to be any worse for the wear.

      Bigsby seemed momentarily on the verge of blowing his stack, but managed to calm himself before losing it. “Ah-ha, yes...very good, very good indeed. But unfortunately, this is where your little journey ends.” Bigsby backed off, once again disappearing into the shadows of the tall structure behind Junior. “Take care of him, Junior.”

      “UNNNNNNGH!” howled the massive Junior as he raised his cannon-arm and unleashed its destructive fury upon the lanky blue-suited drifter.

      Crim, who didn’t even seem to be paying attention, ended up taking the full brunt of the attack. A massive shockwave erupted on impact, sending crates tumbling and rocketing various fragments of scattered debris into the sky. The thunderous noise could be heard for miles. It was pretty much like a bomb going off and Crim was at the center of it.

      Well, if he had survived intact, anyway...this wasn’t really the sort of thing any normal person could just walk away from.
      Last edited by Reno; 12-03-2011 at 09:50 PM.
       

    6. #21

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      The Scarlet Devil chuckled darkly as her Beacon licked out and about, drinking fear from those it touched and bringing back far more than just fuel for her continued transformation. Everything her Beacon encountered, every caress across a fearful mind, brought with it new information, new knowledge as well as new power. She was the spider sitting within a web of her own energies; her Beacon drew in the sensations of the fear she evoked as well as the power. She knew where those affected by her Nightmare were, knew in a broad sense what sort of fears they were suffering...and more importantly, she knew when others slipped the bait.

      It was cruelly apparent by now that every single Power that had come to San Julio had it in for Bigsby's operation. Corrupt cops were crumpling in boneless, bloodstained heaps every which way, more of them dead than not. There was a savage warrior, as wicked as her Nightmare, cruising the streets and dealing brutal deathblows at a whim; he seemed to be able to ignore her power entirely, shrugging off any traces of her supernatural terror. There was a...creature. Close to human but distinctly not to someone with the sense to tell, something that felt other than this world. It wasn't the same as the otherworldly Thing that lurked behind the chains of her own spirit; it was simply alien, and while it did feel the barbed claws of her Beacon, it was also onto her. It was aware of her power and its intrusive nature. Such a bother, when people figured it out...

      And then there was...her.

      Saxony stopped in midstride, holding her place in the road and casting her eyes towards the source of the twisting wrongness within the town. Well...the other source of twisting wrongness within the town. A hole, a moving pit from which her Beacon could not escape, could not draw anything. The tendrils of her power that touched this...void vanished, drawn in and severed from the Scarlet Devil. Her Beacon recoiled with a silent hiss, mantling around her and roiling with anger. The Nightmare knew this touch, even if its host did not. Saxony could feel the Nightmare's resentment and hostility seething in her breast, feel it yearning towards the unknowable mind of the one who approached her so openly. Feel its outrage as the younger woman stalked towards its host without the faintest trace of fear.

      “Interesting...” Saxony purred, her wide Cheshire smile never faltering even as the Nightmare within her surged with angry indecision. It wanted to flee from the vile presence of this void-woman, run from that which devoured the devourer, and at the same time it wanted its Scarlet Devil to lay violently into the source of its resentment, tear the girl asunder with her bare claws and bloody fangs and end the girl's effortless rebellion once and for all.

      Not happening, she sang to her Nightmare. She had seen the final nightmares of the men this girl had flattened, seen images of flashing limbs and supernatural prowess even her Devil's body couldn't match. No...this Pit with feet was too much for Saxony as she was now, but that only made the encounter all the more interesting. Her life dangled at the end of a trembling thread, and this girl had all she needed to sever it. Would she? Finding out would be fun!

      Saxony crossed her arms and directed her mismatched gaze at the approaching metahuman girl. She was young; less than twenty, if Saxony was any judge, and for all her power she was no prize of femininity. Oh, she was pretty enough if one looked past the imperfections of adolescence, and there were signs that she might well grow into the sort of woman the Scarlet Devil could really appreciate in a few years, but on the whole, she was as unimposing as Saxony was frightening, if one could only see skin deep.

      Save for one thing. A symbol glowed on the girl's right hand, with a light familiar to the Scarlet Devil even though she'd never seen it before. She felt her own Nightmare flaring up in response, glowing visibly even through the cheap shirt she was wearing; a sullen, ominous violet glow on her left breast, over her heart. She could feel the Thing within the Nightmare growling angrily in her soul, glaring out of her left eye at the girl who remained utterly oblivious to its dread gaze. Protected by something, armed with a power that consumed Saxony's own. The Scarlet Devil had a feeling she had a clue or two as to the nature of that guardian force.

      “Do you have one too, then?” she called merrily when the girl was comfortably within earshot. She reached her right hand up, gently tracing the claw tipping her index finger through the fabric of her shirt and cutting away a swath of the cheap, scratchy cloth. As the bit of shirt fell away, Saxony's Scarlet Nightmare was revealed in full glory – as well as a nearly indecent amount of the bloodred skin beneath it. The Sigil glowed fiercely, pulsing to a rhythm only Saxony could feel. It appeared, on the surface, to be a stylized depiction of a demonic eye inside a set of wickedly fanged skeletal jaws, but those with the eyes to see could perceive that the eye and the jaws were one and the same – fangs that could see, an eye that devoured. It was a singular structure, a construction of eldritch biology impossible within the laws of the universe in which Saxony and her new acquaintance found themselves.

      Not that they would want to perceive such a thing. The very sight of the Scarlet Nightmare's true shape was jarring to a sane mind; staring too long at the alien thing stressed even the stablest minds.

      “I've never met another one before this, and now there are two in the same town!” the Scarlet Devil continued, a musical lilt to her voice, her shark's grin never wavering. One hand idly caressed the Scarlet Nightmare as if it were a favored pet, drawing attention to both the Sigil and the damage to her clothing. She shifted in place, settling into a hipshot posture that subtly emphasized the contours of her legs. It had been such a while...the girl was younger than she typically liked, but there was something fascinating about her invulnerability to the Nightmare. It would be so very interesting to study her, discern her secrets, discover her hidden fears and find out what to make of them.

      Ahh...she was glad the cartel had sent her here. Bigsby had been such a bore, Deputy Tucker had been mildly amusing at best...but now all the time she'd spent stifled in this town had paid off. First the incredible feast of terror she'd been able to glut herself on, and now there was both the Pureness and this deliciously fascinating young girl to study. Whatever else had happened to her since the Nightmare had awakened, life was certainly much more fun now!


    7. #22
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      If Random could be bothered by any sense of urgency, he might have considered himself to now be running late. Not that he could be sure that he was running late for anything, not at this distance. The only thing of he could be sure of was that the energy signature he'd been tracking -- that person, or thing -- had spiked again, indicating a considerable increase in activity. Either way, it was doing something, acting again after an extended period of dormancy -- something was happening in San Julio, and he would never find out what while drinking of this house of sin. Roughly eighty miles away, by his nearest estimate, a distance he could cover in a matter of minutes on the Hard Drive. No, there was still no reason to rush, to gate himself to the location or transmit himself through the power lines, but this latest development at least warranted his somewhat immediately attention at last. All the same, Random would have done it all again if given the chance: the experience he'd gained here was enlightening, and absolutely delightful to boot. Holes like the Pussy Cat Corral were hardly uncommon, either, and with such vigorous and innumerable staff, Random would have been at a loss as to why the succubi and incubi of the demon world could ever find themselves wanting for meals in this world of man if he hadn't already known they were such insatiable gluttons. Either way, he still had his location, he had the motivation and the transportation... though his companion's gyrations were an open invitation to further participation, adding to the complication surrounding his extrication from this situation... that situation being the lap dance he was receiving from the young woman whose 'time' he'd purchased from the madam downstairs after making his way inside.

      A vibrant brunette with blue eyes and a matching string bikini, a broad, inviting smile and Hello-Kitty pasties, she'd introduced herself as Dakota Fanny (likely to be a stage name, he'd deduced). It was her cherubic face that had drawn him in, a stark contrast to the world-weary ladies and striking beauty that surrounded her here, a mask of innocence in this den of iniquity, one that had been carefully cultivated and, calculated to maximize her appeal. It had been no surprise to Random to hear that she was one of the most popular girls here, and it was a shame he'd have to disappoint her. Maybe next time...

      "Excuse me, Dakota..." Random raised his voice above the thumping, sultry beats playing in the private room, trying to regain her attention. She truly had devoted herself to her craft, he could see it in her practiced movements, could feel the passion in every passing bit of contact.

      "Sssh... the good part's just coming up." In a rather generous gymnastics display, she flashed that smile back at him again from between her legs as she bent down to touch her palms to the floor.

      "I know I paid you for the full three hours but I'm afraid I'll have to cut our time short--" He raised a hand, cutting off any and all protests before she could even part her ruby lips to lodge them "I'm also well aware that there are no refunds. Matter of fact..." He produced another wad of bills, laying it in her grasp with a smile, clasping her hand in his. "For your trouble." He gave her a wink as he stood, zipping his jacket back up.

      "Uh... my top?" The girl set her hands on her hips, shifting her weight to one foot while making sure to jiggle in all the right places.

      "Oh, right..." He unzipped his jacket once more, fishing around inside it for a moment before tossing her bikini top back to her with another grin.

      "Stop by soon?" She smiled, biting her bottom lip as she swayed back and forth, picking at the corner of one of the bills as she gave him a longing, playful glance.

      "On my way back, if I can. Scout's honor." He offered her a slight salute as he ducked out through the door, making a b-line for the parking lot and throwing one leg over his bike. Turning the key in the ignition, he fired up the throttle, spinning the bike around before tearing off across the gravel parking lot and out onto the street. As the tires hit the pavement, the fairings on the Kawasaki began to shift, the machine darkening, widening as sleek, reflective metal spread across its frame, encasing the wheels, elongating and widening the frame, contouring to the shape of Random's body as the machine beneath him all but swallowed his form, leaving him laying on his belly atop the fuselage as electric wheels tore up the asphalt in his wake. The Hard Drive's engines roared, unleashing their true potential as the infernal machine accelerated to several hundred miles per hour, blazing away from the Pussy Cat Corral with but a scorched trail across the road to mark its passing.

      It would take less than ten minutes for him to reach his location, but every moment of the journey seemed to pass as an eternity. The human affectation of impatience once again reared its ugly head. He had first experienced it some time ago, waiting for a human meal in a diner. It rarely aided the direct situation to which it was related, but at times it could be useful to push one forward, either to feats of ingenuity or grand stupidity. All the same, he was still blitzing across the roadway at speeds in excess of several hundred miles an hour, driven as much by his impatience as his thirst for knowledge, no matter how much he might try to deny it. The town of San Julio appeared on the horizon, rapidly approaching as he readied to set the Hard Drive to sleep again, returning it to its more recognizable, less alien form, but as Random rolled past a sign denoting extremities of the city limits he realized that would no longer be necessary. Now that he was this close, there was no doubt as to the nature of that signature he had been tracking, and what... who it belonged to. Something very powerful, very dark... incredibly cruel, incredibly wicked... No, he would need to have the Hard Drive at the ready, so there was no point in hiding. Besides, the only witness to his high-speed jaunt across the desert had been that pretty little hitchhiker he'd spotted a few miles back. He'd cut her a wide berth -- the width of the street in fact -- to save her from the voltage as well as getting blown over as he passed. Random would have loved to have given her a ride if he could, but she likely wouldn't have been able to handle the speed, not to mention the nightmares that waited ahead in San Julio.

      Even at this distance Random could sense the aura surrounding it -- unfiltered terror radiating off of the beast -- and he could only imagine what a fragile, mortal mind under its sway might be driven to do. This far away from her, Random he could still feel his body rebelling at the mere anticipation of that fear, he could feel the emotions welling up even from outside its range, and he could only imagine how fast he would flee from this place had those emotions held any sway over him. What was that old adage again? Knowledge is a terrible burden. No, that was a quest in World of Warcraft... wasn't it. It was always slightly frustrating and a bit confusing when the infernal knowledge clashed with the internet-sourced information dump inside his digital brain.

      Random crossed into the city limits proper, and right into what looked to be a war zone, punctuated by the staccato of gunfire and a pair of nearby explosions. Bodies littered the place -- unconscious, dead, mutilated, mangled, burned beyond recognition, most all of them law enforcement officers, it would appear, assaulted by persons or persons unknown. No... the one who he had come for had not done this - not hers, but some other superhuman hand had wrought this carnage. He accelerated into the town, quickly pulling onto the main street, where a massive fire had erupted, engulfing most of the structures lining. This was far from Hell, though certainly there were sections of Hell had taken on familiar appearances to torture their inhabitants. A bloodstained street littered with corpses, rank with the stench of blood and burning flesh, lined on both sides with burning buildings like an infernal thoroughfare. What better place to awaken the Rider than an inferno that felt so much like home?

      As the gateway opened inside of him the lightning welled up from within his jacket, the light shining through the gaps in the zipper before erupting from his collar, stripping away flesh, hair and muscle as Random burned, consumed by that same damned voltage that had birthed him. At once engulfed, electrified, Random was stripped away, leaving only the Rider in his stead. Gripping the handlebars with far more force than necessary, Resolution opened the throttle, lifting the Hard Drive's front wheel high into the air as he surged off into the town in search of that wicked power... No. There was another now. A light strong enough to stand against that horror, one strong enough to approach this monster, to have closed to such a distance without being consumed by madness. Perhaps he'd very nearly been late after all.

      Dropping the front wheel, he pulled on the brake as he dropped his left foot, throwing the bike into a power slide as he rounded the corner onto Guajardo -- to find himself staring at the back of some form of corrupted being some several blocks away. There were others, quite a few of them in town, some even further down the same street he was walking on, further ahead of him, but he had come for her alone. He had seen beings similar to this one in appearance, but there was no supposing what she was... she was no devil, nor could he accurately state that she was possessed. Resolution wasn't sure quite how he should be approaching -- whether or not this cursed devil, or the powerful woman approaching her would try to destroy him, but curiosity, as always, trumped self-preservation. Planting his other foot on the pavement, he twisted both handlebars, opening the throttle of both wheels as wide as he could. The roar of the Hard Drive's engines grew to a scream as the wheels began churning up pavement, rooster tails of lightning rising further and further from the tires, casting the world around him in an eerie glow as he dugs his heels into the street, his two feet the only anchor holding the monstrous motorcycle back. If by some chance she hadn't noticed his approach, he certainly wouldn't be one to be ignored now, between the stench of ozone, the taint of damnation, and the inhuman howling of his bike. She was incredibly powerful. Incredibly evil. Incredibly exciting. "Excuse me, ladies... if I might have a moment of your time to cut in, here..."

      And then I kicked him so hard he saw the curvature of the earth.

    8. #23
      BOO!
       
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Jeremy walked briskly through the bustling city with more of a pep in his step today. He was looking particularly sharp with a new tailored suit and shiny briefcase in hand. It had been about six months of unemployment for Jeremy but things were finally looking up as he made his way through the crowd to partake in his 37th interview....but this one would be different, he could tell. The sun was shining and nothing but blue skies hung over head. Reaching a hand into his right pants’ pocket, Jeremy pulled out a tangled mess of wired headphones that he attempted to untangle over a span of minutes. Unfortunately he was only able to use one hand and his mouth as the other hand held his briefcase tightly. Finally sorted out, he placed the headphones into his ears and plugged them into the shiny new mp3 player his girlfriend had bought him only a few days prior. She could tell after six months of job hunting he needed a morale booster and figured this gift would do the trick...of course she never disclosed this information to him. Jeremy passed his thumb over the scrolling wheel on the player, searching for the perfect song until he finally found it, pressing play with a smile...

      {BGM: Stand up}

      Placing the player back into his pants’ pocket, he walked further looking into the sky with a smirk on his face, watching a bird fly by...suddenly he could feel the same freedom or even invincibility as that fine feathered friend. Chest puffed out more he couldn’t help feel as if all eyes were on him..like a beautiful peacock amongst the drab brown birds of the world.

      His eyes darted from face to face amongst the people he walked with, until they finally rested on a slender figure in front of him, walking in his same direction so he could only see her backside. He let his eyes trace a line up from her legs, to her hips, shoulders, and long black hair. The girl seemed to be slowing her pace as she patted her pockets down, looking to the floor around her as if she had suddenly realized she lost or dropped something. The space between Jeremy and the girl closed as he continued his quick pace and she slowed hers until suddenly she turned around, determined to back trace her steps and collided with him in her rush. Taken completely by surprise, the collision made him drop the new briefcase and the earphones drop from his ears.

      “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry” she bent down to help pick up his briefcase that he dropped in the excitement.

      “Are you okay? Be careful where you’re walking.”

      “Will do...sorry I’m just in a rush I must have lost my wallet...Sorry again!”

      Walking the opposite way now, Jeremy watched until she was out of sight, lost in the crowed. He checked his expensive looking watch...very different, mind you, of an actually expensive watch.

      “Right on time..” he thought to himself and continued, only needing to cover two more blocks until he reached his destination, just enough time to finish listening to his song. He placed the earphones that were dangling from his pocket back into his ears...

      “Hmm...no music? Must have shut off from that crash..” so he pulled at the end of the wires to fish out the mp3 player, only to find it no longer connected to anything...

      ~~~~~~~~~~~

      {BGM: The Egg and I}

      Isabella scrolled through the songs on her mp3 player. Most of if was garbage but it would help the long trek she was about to take from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Hitchhiking would be a bummer but she had a good feeling about Los Angeles. A big city to live in, more people to steal from...maybe she’d even settle down and get a real place for her and Oliver to live. It would take her about five days to walk the entire trip...about four hours if she could hitch a ride...not too shabby.

      Reaching the city outskirts she decided to stock up at the local gas station before she started her horrible journey. A bell chimed over head as she pushed open the door and was instantly refreshed by the blast of AC inside. There really wasn’t much to her: boots, shorts, tshirt and a backpack, but it was enough to catch the clerk’s eye. She flashed a weak smile as she walked to the back slushie machine, mixing all the colors together to make a dark purple concoction in her Big Gulp...her favorite flavor. A spinning rack of sunglasses caught her eye as she tried on a few, glancing in the display mirror with each one until she found the best, keeping them on until she reached the register.

      “Hey Earl, how much do I owe ya?”

      “How’d you know my name..”

      Her eyes rolled behind the dark sunglasses but she smiled anyway..Perfect.

      “I’m a mind reader”

      The blank confused stare was too pathetic to keep the joke going.

      “Says it on your uniform..how much?”

      Earl tugged at his shirt, looking down at the stitched patch and smiled meekly.

      “three seventy-nine”

      Isabella lowered the backpack off her back and placed it on the floor in front of the register, out of Earl’s sight to “search for her wallet”. It was really too easy, and the oldest trick in the book, as she shoveled candy and granola bars sitting on the front shelves into her backpack until she had enough..

      “Found it!”
      She stood back up and handed $4 to the cashier..

      “Oh wait...” she retracted the $4 as her eyes trailed to a nearby bunch of bananas hanging to the right of Earl, “What would you do if I told you I had a baby monkey in my backpack that was dying for some food to eat, but his owner just couldn’t afford it because she was about to hitchhike from here to LA in search for a better life?” She smiled, big and cheesy, clasping her hands together in front of her to plead. Earl smiled, looked over his shoulders, and handed her a banana, sliding it across the counter and placing a finger over his lips.

      “Don’t tell my boss kay? I know what it’s like to not have money..you don’t need to make up a story like that...it’s not really believable anyway.”

      Taking the banana, Big Gulp, sunglasses, backpack filled with goodies, and pocketing her $4, she mockingly saluted Earl on her way out.

      “Thank you kindly Earl!”

      Earl smiled. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t realize until fifteen minutes later that she had never paid for her items in the first place.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~

      {BGM: Blue Funk}

      “Oliver come out and eat some breakfast.”

      Her backpack rustled slowly until a baby rhesus macaque crawled out, perching on her shoulder, scratching at himself a bit groggily as she walked slowly down the road...the unbearable heat enveloping them as noon approached. Peeling away at the banana, she gave a quarter of it to Oliver, letting him munch slowly as she placed the rest of it away for later, pulling out a hat and a map next. The hat fit comfortably over her head as she read the map slowly, making sure of her route. However, the distant sound of a vehicle distracted her..

      “You know the drill..”

      Oliver climbed back into her backpack. No one needed to know she had an exotic pet, being a female hitchhiker was dangerous enough. Dust leaped up around the car as it blazed down the highway. Only speeding past. It wasn’t a time to complain, she would never pick up a hitch hiker either but she couldn’t help feeling sour towards the vehicles not stopping for her.

      “I don’t want a ride from you anyway..your car’s ugly.”

      She lied to herself and smiled at the realization. Hours slowly passed and the heat really didn’t help but playing a game might..

      “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an aardvark. I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an aardvark and a banana for Oli. I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an aardvark, a banana, and a cooling system!”

      The day dragged on and finally the sun began to set, letting her cool down and walk a bit faster. She had played the “going on a picnic” game about five times that day and she was driving herself a little crazy. Cars raced by, and some lights twinkled up ahead of a trucker’s rest stop. Gas stations, fast food and thank god: a motel. It would be her palace for the evening and she happily paid for it out-of-pocket, without a scam, for once.

      ~~~~~~~~~~

      Day two: just like day one. In about 4 hours of walking she had seen seven cars and one motorcycle. The driver even turned a head to look at her as he sped past...thanks for the ride.

      But things began to look up when noon was coming about. A white pick-up truck approached and luckily for her, it began to slow down until it finally pulled over on to the shoulder, about ten feet in front of her. Once she approached the passenger window she was met with a gruff but soothing voice, coupled with the face of an older gentlemen. Deep wrinkles stretched across his leathery sun-dried skin, but his smile took off about five years of age.

      “Where ya headin?”

      “L.A.?”

      “I’ll take you for a bit. I live by Barstow...it’s about an hour from here.”

      “Sounds perfect! Thank you so much.”

      She climbed into the hot car and placed her backpack gently at her feet.

      “No AC..sorry.”

      “No way, this is a thousand times better than walking, thanks so much again.”

      They made small talk along the way. She learned he had a wife, a daughter and even a granddaughter. They lived in California all their lives but things were getting nasty in a nearby town, that’s why he would only take her so far...that and convenience. He learned she was trying to make a life for herself in L.A. which he scoffed at...figuring she was looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, trying to become an actress no doubt. Regardless, it was nice to have company, they both thought, and the drive was pleasant.

      About an hour later, Isabella found herself being nudged in the side. Apparently she had fallen asleep.

      “This is where I leave ya..you’re about two miles away from San Julio..I just suggest walking straight through that town. Good luck in all that you do.”

      His voice was rough and to the point.

      “Thank you again.” She slung the backpack over her shoulders and shut the passenger door with a smile.

      She didn’t start walking until the pick-up truck was out of sight.

      “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an automobile..”

    9. #24

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      There are few sounds that carry as much weight as a gun being fired. In that regard, San Julio had always been a fateful place... but never more-so than today.
      MUSICAL SHIFT
      Umbral Ultimatum
      Homestuck OST



      Fear, death, and bloodlust saturated the air; bodies seemed to be dropping left and right as fresh battles were sparked all across the town's abandoned streets and rooftops. Stepping out of the alley, the strange man in goggles and the long dark coat panned his weapon about rapidly for a few moments in search of targets. One was forthcoming; another corrupt cop, this one coming to check out the steam-leaking and seemingly abandoned car, poked his head and pistol out of an alley across the way. He fired twice, one clipping the Traveler's coat and another punching through the front-left headlight of the already shot-up car. His hastily aimed third shot went straight up into the air after a well-aimed round from the steampunk gun lodged itself somewhere between the tip of the occipital lobe and the back of his skull; hole in his forehead, the gunman went down and landed hard in the dust.

      There were enemies aplenty it seemed... and plenty of people to fight them, too. Goggles flickering with rapid, almost blinking strobes of dull light the Traveler took in the sounds of San Julio all around him. Chaos, bedlam, and... fire?

      The building next to him was suddenly ablaze in heat and smoke, the raw primal hunger of mankind's oldest magic devouring the structure in practically no time at all. There was barely enough time to throw himself out into the middle of the street before the building became one gigantic pyre, oily black smoke rising high into the air. He heard the other gunshots -- and the screams of terrified San Julio gunmen who'd been hunkered down on nearby roofs -- but the crackle and gasp of the rapidly spreading inferno easily concealed the shooter's location. In mere moments it seemed every structure in the vicinity was ablaze; dying men screamed and threw themselves off rooftops, support beams creaked and gave with terrifying speed and, the most harrowing sound of all, the mass-released hiss of steam, accompanied by a tiny whisper that only he could hear, as first one then both buildings he'd parked the car between collapsed in a torrent of flaming debris. The light, the pseudo "life" deep within the vehicle had been crushed... and he felt its death as nothing less than a wound in his own spirit.

      Worse, now a wall of fire stood between him and "Chiyase". He'd have to find a way around... or make one.

      The weapon seemed almost to materialize in his free hand by magic, actually dropping into his grip from a trick pocket on the inside of the phantasm's sleeve. Dozens of tiny gears and pistons whirled and sang in mechanical concert as the device telescoped and unfolded from a mere foot long rod-shaped gizmo that could be mistaken for a bizarre flashlight into a five foot long staff with assorted wires, micro gauges, and steam release vents all along its length. At the top a circular saw unfolded fan-style and began revving up while a faintly shimmering spear tip of crystal and steel caging popped into place with a dull electrical hum. With the "lance" assembled and the flames continuing to rise all around, the Traveler once more surveyed his options. The fire was spreading up and down the street faster than he could run; given enough time, this conflagration could consume the whole town. Since there was no going around that left two choices: going through -- almost certain death -- or going over. It was risky... but what in San Julio wasn't?

      There was a house with an overhung front porch not far down the street, clearly his best bet. The flames were still mostly on the first floor, having caught light when a burning timber from its neighbor fell through the window. Attempting to run through or cut across the alley on either side was almost a certain way to get barbecued, but the roof... that held promise! He raced over, circular saw spinning at full speed, and drove the rotary blade into one of the two wooden pillars supporting the awning. Twice the blade cut a path, once high and once low, before the Traveler's booted foot kicked the carved section free. A tremendous groan rose over the cackling inferno as one side of the shoddy construction first wobbled, leaned, and then dragged the entire awning into a downward slope; not wasting time, he leapt up and tucked away the pistol as the goggled enigma made a dash for the closest window. Yet instead of going through he began to go up, running up the outer wall as far as gravity would permit before driving the circular saw two-handed into the building as high up as he could reach. The blade bit into faux brick siding and suddenly stopped -- not jamming or choking, simply 'off'. With this lifeline anchored firmly he began to climb, one hand over the other, first up the staff and then pulling himself up over the edge of the roof. Hauling himself up with one hand he pulled the lance upwards like flipping a lever, easily disgorging it with a single rev of the esoteric weapon's motor. Veiled in smoke, with the first flames beginning to lick rapidly up through the roof, the Traveler raced to the edge and leapt off.

      From that elevation two stories up, he caught the briefest of glimpses of what else was going on. "Chiyase" was facing down a strange feminine creature with a demonic look about her, with some electrified stranger on a similarly storm-lit motorbike making quite a scene not too far off. He was fairly close to where that showdown was brewing... but, in the corner of his vision, he briefly caught a flash of motion: a streak of red hair that he at first mistook for a flame, with the attached body being pummeled by a hulking mass vaguely resembling a person. Just as the pilot-looking man hit the ground and rolled the earth-shattering impact of Crim crashing through everything in his (unwanted) flight path filled the air.

      Another fight was going on, not too far away.

      Rising to his feet, the once-hero whirled the steampunk staff into a ready position and pulled out his pistol once more. If either one of these two made an aggressive move towards the Asian girl they'd have him to contend with, too. The stage was quickly being set for an old-fashioned showdown in San Julio... one that could, quite easily, tear the town apart just as fast as the flames.

      CHARACTER PROFILE
      The Traveler


    10. #25
      I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.
       
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Theme: Squaring off

      Saori watched the other woman’s bizarre display with more than a hint of curiosity. Her eyes were practically glued to the Scarlet Devil’s sigil, burning it into her memory. She continued forward until she was roughly fifteen meters away, well within springing distance should the monster-woman decide to become aggressive. The schoolgirl’s head was cocked to one side, almost like a bird as she waited, all the while thinking to herself should this be familiar?

      “You…are definitely something different. That’s for sure…” she finally managed, her voice filled with confusion and teenage snark.

      "I should hope so," Saxony purred in reply. "Being the same as everything else would be dreadfully boring." The Scarlet Devil left off her own Sigil for a moment, cocking her own head sideways and leaning a bit to her left, trying to get a better view of the half-hidden mark on the young girl's right hand. "The Nightmare really doesn't like whatever is in you, girl...is it that mark, or is it something else? I wonder," she murmured, more to herself than the girl in front of her.

      "Tell me...did a crazed street dweller ever give you a pamphlet concerning that mark on your hand?" she suddenly asked, her eyes flicking up to capture the other's own for a moment. Her mismatched gaze - almost-human blue eye on the right, black pit on the left - was unsettling in its own right, though its usual psychotic power was as lost on this girl was everything else Saxony could do was. Still...at least she could tell that this energetic little female didn't have any intention of attacking her. Yet, anyway.

      Saori only blinked and held up her hand, the eclipse-mark burning unwaveringly. Its depths practically swallowed the light around it, the glow around the edges the only evidence of its existence.

      "Is this a mark like yours? It looks somewhat the same, and mine definitely feels like it knows your mark thingy. But...whats the Nightmare? Is that what you call yours?" Saori paused for a moment before asking "Also, are you always that freaky looking? Can you...be normal?"

      Saxony laughed. "This is the form I wear when my Nightmare's power is upon me," she explained, mirth still bubbling in her voice through her shark's smile. "I can appear as an ordinary woman, but I would prefer to keep my power close at hand in this little frackas. I'm sure you understand," she said.

      "As for this," she continued, "yes, I do call it my Nightmare, but only because that is its name. The Scarlet Nightmare," she breathed, barely loud enough for the girl to hear, and gave the Sigil on her chest one last fond stroke. "According to that wonderfully informative street man, a weapon from a war so ancient that none now remember it. Of course, he could have simply been a raving lunatic...but everything his little pamphlet told me has held true so far."

      The Scarlet Devil bowed then, sketching a flourish in the air with her claws that left trails of sickly fog drifting through the air in artful patterns. "I am Saxony Devon," she called, introducing herself, "and the Scarlet Nightmare you have already met. Mmm...would you grace me with your own name, perhaps? it would make conversation ever so much easier."

      "Saori. Saori Kimura. and no, there was no pamphlet or rambling crazy person."

      Saori's eyes flickered slightly at the mention of keeping power at the ready, a dangerous sparkle that perhaps was meant as a warning, perhaps...merely surprise. This...thing, whatever it was, made the girl feel uneasy, and the Void was not fond of it either. The word nightmare never meant anything good in stories, and this woman didn't appear too different from some of the Makai denizens that Tesshin had told her about. Worse still, she could almost feel the corruption pouring out of Saxony, and...some other power as well.

      "Mmm...too bad. My rambling crazy person was quite helpful," Saxony purred. Her eyes flicked up and down the girl, the ill-defined sense within her that had kept her alive through all the months of her run from the law tightening. Something she'd said had gotten this girl's goat up, at least a little bit, and where previously she had only been curious, now she was wary. Hmm...interesting.

      "What brings you to this lovely little war zone, Saori?" the Scarlet Devil asked, crossing her arms beneath her breasts and in the doing tucking her claws neatly out of sight for the moment. Nonthreatening was a good way to go for the moment, at the very least until she had a clue what she was really dealing with. This girl still hadn't so much as revealed her mark's name...all Saxony knew was that something in the girl blocked her own Nightmare more completely than she'd previously believed possible.

      "My mark doesn't say much, just about past owners." The younger woman mimicked the older, crossing her arms beneath her almost non-existant bustline, covering up the "FIGHT!" logo. She looked back down the street towards the Traveler, just making sure he was alright.

      "I'm just passing through, honestly. I was heading to Baja California for the North American Street Fighting Championships and the police just started shooting at us when we found some dead bodies. It was really kind of creepy, all the birds just eating them..." She trailed off, a mixture of confusion, revulsion, and a disquieted sense on her face. The other woman wasn't really threatening, but the Void-bearer could feel that something was off with her, still.

      "Ahh...just a bit of bad luck, then," Saxony concluded, nodding in what might have been construed as sympathy. For her own part, Saxony wasn't sure she could feel that emotion anymore...but that was an issue for another time.

      "I'm afraid the police in this town aren't much for serve and protect, unless it's to serve and protect their own interests," the Scarlet Devil explained wryly. "They are unfortunately in the back pocket of one of the Mexican drug cartels, and are currently fighting several other metahumans in what I can only assume is an attempt to preserve their operation. You can imagine it's not going well for them," she trilled with a faintly predatory smile. "You might want to lay low for a while, if you desire not to have to kill anyone."

      "Ugh," Saori sighed, "Really? Is that why they tried to shoot me? Drugs?"

      "Mmm...no, by this time they're all frightened out of their minds," Saxony countered with obvious relish. "They likely attacked you out of sheer, unthinking panic."

      "Oh? and why is that?"

      "You really can't feel it at all?" Saxony asked, an odd note of dismay in her voice.

      "Feel what?"

      The Scarlet Devil sighed, aggrieved. "The power of my Nightmare. It truly doesn't touch you at all...that is very frustrating...mmm, and interesting," she finished with another of the odd, throaty purrs she seemed to tossout there for no real reason. As well as a look of naked interest directed at Saori, fascination combined with glimmers of appreciation.

      "What sort of power is it? Does it make people have bad dreams? Are you really even that monster-lady thing, or is that just an illusion?"

      Saxony's face tightened for a moment, a wave of irritation sweeping through her. She suppressed it quickly, though - it wouldn't do her any good. The girl was clearly far less informed than Saxony would have preferred. Oh well...things like that happened.

      "I am very much not an illusion," she answered just a touch crossly, "nor am I a monster lady. Mmm...if Saxony isn't to your liking, you may call me Scarlet Devil. My Nightmare likes that little nickname."

      "As for my power," she said, reaching up to idly stroke her Sigil again, "you may think of me as something of a fearful presence. Mmm...putting it shortly, I can create fear around me."

      Among a good half a dozen other things, but Saxony hadn't managed to stay alive thus far without learning caution. She wasn't about to spill every bean in the bag to this girl before she learned what was blocking her Nightmare.

      "Oh, THATS what it does! Yea...the Void doesn't like that very much. I know that much. I just figured...maybe if you were an illusion it'd make more sense. I mean you kinda look like something the miko back home would say is bad, or maybe out of a comic book. I think its the red skin, maybe the big mouth. You really are just creepy, and kinda scary too. Definitely not something I'd want to meet in a dark alley" Saori's voice was genuine, matter of fact, though tinged with discomfort.

      Yep, no point talking about Narukami now. This person probably just wouldn't get it. Plus, she may be a bad guy.

      "The Void, hmm...I see," Saxony murmured to herself, several pieces falling into place. That was likely the mark on Saori's hand then, and clearly whatever it was, it was also the reason Saxony's Nightmare couldn't touch this girl. Good, good...

      "Mmm...what about a well-lit alley?" The Scarlet Devil teased. "Like the one out of that movie, with a plate of pasta between us?" she suggested with a cheerful smile. Ahh...so much fun to play with them.

      The teenage fighter raised an eyebrow and quirked her head again, her short, messy hair bouncing as she did so. "No...I don't think so. That seems like it'd be kinda weird."

      Creepy too.

      "Mmm...too bad. Might have been fun to have a good dinner with someone. Probably for the best, though...pasta sticks in my teeth for days when I eat it in this form," she sighed. "Really a shame...I always did enjoy a good pasta."

      “Say, you say you are supposed to be really scary right? Like...getting in my head scary?"

      Mmm...more or less," Saxony answered, nodding once. "It's rather complex, but that's a usable working assumption for the sake of debate."

      "Then why do I get the impression that I've gotten into YOUR head, Ms. Devon?" Saori's voice drops a few decibels, and suddenly acquired a more authoritative edge now.

      "Mmm?" Saxony mumbled shortly, taken aback. That was surprising...and now her danger-sense was uncomfortably tight-wound, radiating threat-signals from the girl in front of her. Hmm...perhaps the teasing had been a misstep after all. Oh well...bluff and recover.

      "How do you mean?" Saxony asked; not quite innocently, she couldn't really do that anymore, but nonetheless...honestly. Mostly because she wasn't sure what the girl meant.

      "Oh, I know you are stalling for something. Trying to figure out just what I can do, and why your powers don't work. I'm a martial artist, I can read the signals," Saori responded smartly. Teenager or no, when someone's greatest asset was taken away when they wanted to jockey for power in a match, be it blocked, dodged, or otherwise, they always reacted the same way.
      “What I want to know, is why are YOU here? And do you have anything to do with the cops being all angry?"

      Saxony was still for a moment, regarding the girl levelly...then laughed. A quiet, impressed chuckle, heralding the return of her apparently unsettling wide grin.

      "Mmm...very well. I freely admit that I desired to find out why my Nightmare could not touch you. Wouldn't you, if you were in my position? I hadn't thought I'd been making such a great secret of it as all that."

      "As for why I'm here," she continued on to Saori's second point, "...mmm, easiest to think of it as a series of unfortunate misadventures. And while my power is not helping the situation defuse, I will swear honestly that I did not begin, nor influence the beginning of, this current unfortunate misadventure. That seems to be entirely the doing of the Pureness, from what little I can tell."

      Saori narrowed her gaze now, straightening up and sharing a smirk. She knew, really, that Saxony was somewhat afraid of her. She did intend to keep it that way, too. As if to emphasize this, she did set her legs into a more balanced stance.

      "Pureness? is that the other metahuman I feel out there?"

      "There's two others, one more as well as the Pureness, and a third coming this way at considerable speed. Beyond the one you arrived with," Saxony replied with a nod back towards what had to be the driver of that unusual car. She could tell that Saori considered her cowed, likely nervous and afraid. It was true, Saxony was on the back foot now...but the Scarlet Devil was no longer truly capable of feeling fear. Caution, logic and self-preservation, but true fear of her own was simply consumed before it reached her, lost in the tumult of all the other fears she devoured. A slim advantage...but one Saori wouldn't know of, and thus one to hoard.

      "Can't you feel them? One of them is quite murderous...he seems to be accounting for virtually all of the police fatalities in this town."

      "I can feel some. I'm guessing you register them through your sigil. Mine shuts them out, so I have to rely on other senses.”

      "I would avoid any men in suits if I were you, then," Saxony cautioned, her smile turning cryptic for a moment. "That one doesn't seem to care how deep the blood in this town gets; I'm not entirely sure he'd stop at simply destroying corrupt policemen."

      Saori shruged nonchalantly. "Not too worried about it. The gunman, I assume you mean."

      Saxony nodded back. "Indeed. Found that one on your own, hmm?"

      "Guns make noise"

      "And Mr. Bloody Suit isn't the only one who's been firing them," Saxony answered, grinning. "If you see the Pureness...leave him for me," she continued, her gaze growing intense. "I need to have a talk with that one...mmm, but any of the others are yours to play with. Such as the one about to show up."

      Saxony's grin widened and on impulse she reached up one hand and blew Saori a kiss. "I believe chat time is about over. it has been very interesting meeting you, little Saori."

      Saori's face actually recoiled a bit at first, the grotesque mockery stirring something within. She responded as snarkily as she could, taking a wide stance, making a V with her right hand and pulling down the skin of her eye while sticking out her tongue. The quintessential Japanese schoolgirl maneuver to express irritation. As she did so however, she decided to offer the monster something worth thinking about. Saori lunged forward with the speed of a snake, her fist exploding through the air millimeters from Saxony's face. The strike whizzed over her shoulder with dizzying speed, pulverizing a mosquito that was buzzing by. The girl skipped backwards, resuming her stance.

      "It has been interesting, hasn't it," Saori added flippantly, brushing off the insect vapor on her knuckles.

      Saxony's grin didn’t waver a milimeter as the girl exploded into motion, blasting a fist over her shoulder that could just as easily have blasted through her face. Ahh...the girl was every bit as physically able as those final nightmares had shown, then.

      And that was when a lightning-wreathed skeleton on an oddly impressive-looking motorcycle appeared...
      "Those who think duels are a method to ‘honorably resolve disputes’ are fools. Duels are the means to eliminate otherwise inconvenient opposition.”

    11. #26
      Reno
      Guest

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      The young spectator, Pepi, had managed to catch up to the action just in time to witness Crim getting pulverized by the enormous spiked cannonball. Pepi opened his mouth to scream, but the ensuing shockwave knocked the wind right out of him and sent him tumbling back down his previous path. He came to a painful stop against one of the large shipping containers, hitting the back of his head hard enough to make him see stars. And then it all faded to black.

      As far as Pepi knew, Crim was dead, and hope had died along with him.

      Boy what a crock of shit that turned out to be.

      <><><><><><><><><><>

      Crim had only paid maybe a quarter of a mind to the huge ball of spikey death that threatened his personal space like one of those overzealous magazine salesmen. Other things had grabbed the lion’s share of his attention. Important things. Like what he was going to eat later. And also the rumors he’d heard about the sheriff hoarding a secret weapon. And also the crazy awesome people who had showed up for his party. And also, that diner he went to last week. He was pretty sure that their root beer was just cola and ginger ale mixed together. But how could he prove it?

      “Bah, can’t,” he said to himself under his breath. “Looks like you win this round, Mable. But you haven’t seen the last of me.”

      Well, in spite of that little setback, he still needed to greet his guests, post haste. Except this big ugly jerk was getting in the way and cramping his style for no reason. It was right around this time that Crim returned the majority of his attention back to his giant adversary, but it was apparently too little too late, as the spiked ball slammed into him full force about one second later.

      Junior didn’t even flinch at the explosive impact, even when a great big piece of jagged metal smacked him square in the middle of his forehead. The lumbering brute just stood there, blank black eyes staring forward, no real hint of any emotion or even any intelligence upon his large, ill-proportioned face.

      The dust finally began to settle after about half a minute, and the scene looked grim.

      Not grim for Crim, mind you. He was still alive and kicking. Literally. Junior, being dumb as rocks and all, didn’t even register what was happening until it was well beyond too late. The spiked cannonball soared out of the debris cloud at an astonishing rate of speed, having been propelled by Crim’s Mighty Bullet Kick. The slab of dense metal collided dead on in the center of Junior’s forehead, and prompted a gurgling moan of pain to rumble up from somewhere deep within the mammoth man’s throat.

      The spiked ball’s momentum halted and it fell to the ground with a loud clang. Junior stood with his neck arched backward, empty gaze skyward. Twin lines of dark blood trickled down the sides of his face like black tears from the fresh dent in his forehead.

      By this point, the dust surrounding Crim had fully settled, and the lanky redhead stood on one leg with the other leg fully extended, while holding both hands in his pockets. And the look on his face, a cocksure smirk, made it seem as if what he’d just managed to pull off was somehow nothing special. He balanced this way for a short time longer before returning to his usual more relaxed stance, hunched over, hands still pocketed, smirk ever-present.

      “Hey man,” Crim said in a friendly yet sarcastic tone. “You wanna watch where you point that thing. There’s kids around.”

      This seemed to rouse Junior back from the void his sluggish mind had retreated into. A low groan echoed loud and long as the giant fixed his blank glare upon Crim.

      “Well, whining about it won’t solve anything,” Crim replied, as if he somehow could understand his opponent’s sentiments. “You should take responsibility for your actions.”

      Junior answered by simply reeling in his weapon. The grinding of the long, heavy chain sent wild sparks flying before the spiked ball o’ death clamped back into place with a loud clank.

      At this, Crim could only shake his head. “If that’s how you want it, fine.”

      {BGM: “Esperance (Type 2)”}

      A split-second later, the giant raised his thick eyebrows and grunted in surprise. But that was all Junior had time for, as Crim’s sudden and forceful acceleration placed the redheaded fighter directly in front of the big lug in less than the blink of an eye. Crim’s speed was unreal to the point of being physics-defying, as evidenced by the highly improbable phenomenon of his footprints somehow appearing upon the ground behind him, after he had already moved. It was as if he had literally outpaced his own footsteps, and completely bypassed the sound barrier while he was at it. And there was no way the speedster was going to let such amazing momentum go to waste. His flawless vertical fist connected solidly, dead-center in the mountainous Junior’s chest. The physical impact alone was staggeringly powerful, enough to knock the wind completely out of the towering man’s well-fortified lungs. But that alone wouldn’t quite suffice, and Crim knew it, which was precisely why he unleashed his assault in two stages. Immediately after the initial contact was made, Crim twisted his fist counter-clockwise, which somehow generated a potent secondary impact in nearly the same instant as the original strike.

      “TWO-FOR-ONE ATTACK!” Shouted Crim as a tremendous shockwave exploded outward from the epicenter of his epic technique. Numerous micro dust-devils erupted from the ground, boxes were sent flying every which way in a chaotic storm of splintered wood and rusted nails, and a small tree may have possibly been uprooted somewhere nearby. And of course, poor little Pepi, who had just managed to regain consciousness, was knocked flat on his ass yet again.

      Junior careened through the air farther than any brute his size had any business careening through the air. This was possibly the intended outcome, or perhaps just a happy accident. Either way, after several seconds of being airborne, Junior came crashing down practically right in the middle of the party in the streets. The huge, cannon-armed monstrosity landed flat on his back, and remained motionless in the center of a fresh crater barely a dozen meters away from the two Sigil-bearing ladies. Blood trails seeped from the corners of Junior’s gaping mouth, and his pitch dark eyes were now rolled back in his head, stark white.

      And then along came Crim, sauntering on down the road like it was no big deal.
       

    12. #27

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      In all but a matter of minutes, the normally desolate town of San Julio had become nothing short of a blood bath. This was thanks in no small part to Shriek, but the ensuing chaos was in fact the fault of several “Meta-Humans” whom had gathered, as they had been dubbed by the general populace. Shriek, while he wasn’t aware of it, was perhaps one of the more sinister and heartless out of them all. To him, he was simply executing a job, exercising his thorough methods flawlessly.

      After clearing out a large group of the corrupted cops, he emptied the chamber of his sole companion Vivienne, making no attempt to reload as he walked down another seemingly random street. He lacked the awareness of the other types who exhibited some form of ethereal ability, but he knew the others were present nonetheless simply through his normal, everyday senses. He could smell the intruding aroma of that little girl he saw smacking around the roof-born coppers, the unique stench of steam guy, and the thick ozone of the lightning man even without seeing him. That only left the wanderer and the very much matured Demon Lady, the wanderer’s loud and boisterous clash with what sounded like a piece of construction equipment giving him away…but the Demon Lady, she was more difficult to pick up. He knew she was there, from the slightly different smell she gave off, but it was a rough estimate at best. The overbearing stink of the grimy cops literally clouded his nostrils, not to mention the fire he’d set ablaze was quickly churning smoke up and across the town…

      Being out of the loop of what was going on never set well with Shriek, and he was done with just not knowing. After walking roughly the distance of two blocks in the burning town, he came to a halt and took a knee, slamming his briefcase into the ground with unnecessary roughness. Swiping his hand across the locks, it sprung open and laid flat, its contents visible only to him. Lifting one of the many latches, he removed four rounds possessed of an unsettling aura. Azure light poured from the casing which housed the menacing black projectile. A vicious grin, drenched with unrelenting delight invaded every feature of Shriek’s visage as he stood back up. Staring vehemently into the chamber of Vivienne, the bloodthirsty bastard began chambering the Core Pulser ammo, one by one. Each one released a wretched howl of metal slamming against metal. By the time his fourth and final round was loaded into the odd numbered slots of the chamber, the Wanderer had made his final move against the enormous man-thing, sending him into a shock induced coma.

      Capitalizing on this, Shriek drew his wrist up to his open maw, biting down on the cuff of his sleeve where his cuff-links normally resided. Previously, he had strategically placed them all over the various side streets of the town, conveniently on the other side of the main street where all the action had taken place from his current position. He had never been limited to possessing only the required amount for his sleeves; rather he carried a plethora of the disastrous little devices. Placing six of them, Shriek detonated all of them at once, casting San Julio’s buildings, bodies and bystanders into the sky in a gloriously grotesque display of destruction. The blasts came uncomfortably close to the location the other Meta Humans were all gathering, raining limbs and limber all over. Meanwhile, Shriek himself was up to a much more dangerous deed…

      Utilizing the enormous explosion (enormous in sum of the six devices) to mask his true intentions, Shriek cocked Vivienne’s chamber into place and squeezed the trigger as forcefully as he could. An intense, piercing whine flooded the airwaves for hundreds of meters as the revolver erupted with unreal luminosity. Not more than three, dreadfully long seconds later the rounds fired off, wave after wave blasting through everything in their paths. Not one to stave off from an attack as illustrious as this, Shriek mustered a tremendous level of strength and speed as he chased after his own attack. The “Core Pulser” ammunition was a super-compressed dose of plasma, which literally ate through all lesser material purely through the process of overwhelming heat. There was no real strategy in Shriek’s bullet pattern in his attack; however, intimate knowledge of the characteristics of his ammunition accounted for its spread. Four rounds was the maximum that Vivienne could withstand firing in one volley, but it was more than enough to utterly decimate the dozen or so buildings separating him from the party.

      Cautious as ever, Shriek chose to stay his approach from running blinding into the open, instead stopping just thirty meters from where he figured everyone (or at least the direction of the enormous crash being the aftermath that was the Wanderer’s own entrance). He, after all, had nothing to say and no reason to introduce himself. And so he stopped (having ran at near or above the speed of sound), standing amidst the rain of blood, buildings and other various debris thoroughly unfazed, scanning about to see if there was anything left after his little gift, still wearing that unsettling little smirk. Little did he know he was attacking people on his same side, and obviously he was a “shoot first, ask questions later” kind of guy.

      ...Omnicidal Death Machine

      Reno is coming. Then again, maybe he's been here all along.

    13. #28

      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      “Excuse me, ladies...if I might have a moment of your time to cut in, here...”

      A monstrous impact punctuated the lightning-wraith's words, as an enormous, mutated flesh-mountain of a man created his own grave in the street barely a dozen meters from the impromptu gathering near the center of San Julio. Dirt and debris geysered skyward from the impact, carried aloft by a water main the great thug's body had burst upon impact. Bits of stone and mud showered down, somehow avoiding the unusual young girl with whom Saxony had just enjoyed a most illuminating conversation but managing to liberally douse the Scarlet Devil.

      She stepped adroitly aside, avoiding a particularly weighty chunk of asphalt, and waited for the noise of the impact to die away before addressing the new arrival's words. “I believe you've arrived at a time I can spare, yes,” she answered the creature, taking a moment to pick a bit of muck off the brim of her hat, staring at the vaguely offensive piece of sodden detritus for a moment before idly flicking it back into the pit the man-meteor had made on impact. She didn't seem overly bothered by the equally sodden mess she'd been covered in, ignoring it as thoroughly as she was ignoring the comatose man who'd made it, as she turned far enough to glance at the rather impressive-looking electrical apparition out of the corner of one eye. “Mmm...you'll have to be brief, though. The Pureness is on its way, and I really must speak with him.”

      “Still,” she murmured, turning a bit more fully towards the specter, her gaze frank and appraising, “I imagine you've an interesting story of your own. Mmm, I'd certainly be glad to hear it when we've a bit more leisure time on our hands. After all, you seem to've - ”

      And that was when the second massive explosion hit, a good third of what passed for San Julio's downtown district vanishing into ionized wreckage as Mr. Bloody Suit expressed his desire for attention. Of more concern, however, were the equal number of fearful lives which vanished into Oblivion within the man's all-consuming inferno, destroyed before they were even aware their lives had come to a close.

      The act put a fierce scowl on Saxony's face, her eyes growing cold as they swung in the direction of the destruction Bloody Suit had unleashed. “Such a senseless child,” she muttered crossly, the lightning-wraith forgotten for the moment. Even the Pureness' approach wasn't enough to completely eclipse the sharp irritation and honest sense of loss she felt at the man's actions just then. “What a waste...a dozen dead and no one any better for it, nothing learned. Foolish hooligan...”

      That was all the cursing she had time for before there were other things to be done, though. Finally...the Pureness stood before her, in plain view of the world, and the Nightmare in her chest wouldn't be denied its meeting. The Scarlet Devil turned once more, giving a slight nod to the lightning-wraith in passing, and allowed a fierce, predatory grin to stretch across her face as she turned her eyes to the red-haired menace who'd been itching at her awareness for most of the day. The white of her sharklike teeth made a stark contrast to her bloody red skin and the dark, damp muck she'd been doused with, as did the empty pit that was her left eye. The utter blackness of that eye fastened on the Pureness like the jaws of a vice, pressing against the man with the full weight of its hunger.

      “So...here you are at last,” the Scarlet Devil purred, all others put aside for the moment. This was what she had come here for, what had brought her into the lethal environs of San Julio. This encounter, this fateful meeting. Nothing would be resolved now, not with the plethora of distractions about and the rather pressing urgency of the burning town...but she would know the face of her opposite, obtain an insight into his character.

      It would certainly prove...enlightening.


    14. #29
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      -Two Days before Heist-

      Sunlight fading off into the horizon shined into Gren’s eye’s through a small slit in his window curtains. It slowly brought him to consciousness from his dream that had kept him in a deep sleep. A dream about a man; a man with crimson red hair and blue suit. The young man had been having these dreams for a while, and they’d been creeping him out. As he sat up and stretched, getting his wherewithal about him, his mind went back to the dream. The guy had some supernatural aura about him that Gren just couldn’t shake, and he felt drawn to the guy. Which was interesting, because from the dream he just had, the teen realized that he would probably be at the museum. He scratched his disheveled black hair as he looked around for his pipe, ready for his morning ritual of a Wake ‘n’ Bake.

      ~Forty Minutes Later~

      The young man exited the smoked-up room via the main door and headed downstairs to take care of the new case of munchies that his morning smoke gave him. His eyes were drooped to about half-mast and were slightly red...the slightly being that no stoner is ever complete without eye drops of some sort. And Gren always had some Clear Eyes in his pocket. As he hit the last step down, the drugged up kid made a sharp left and arrived directly in the kitchen…where about twelve other kids were preparing their dinners. Warren had made sure to teach all the kids how to cook, and a few took to that as their skill in the house. Every child needed to have some way of pitching in, and Warren made sure of it.

      -----------------------------

      When they were old enough, Warren would teach every child the main chores in the house and gave them all the option on which they wanted to do. Cooking, cleaning, repairing…just to name a few of the options. Gren felt as though this gave Warren his own personal slaves to where he never had to lift his own finger to do anything, but always kept it to himself. Gren, however, was exempt from this. Warren treated him as a special case from day one, and it made some of the other kids jealous. However, it wasn’t all peaches and cream for the young thief either. Warren spent every day and night teaching Gren the tricks of the trade, from stealth to lock picking. Every day he got better and better, until finally the day the day came when his final test came.

      Warren had special locks on all the doors and windows in the house which were unpickable, and he did that so the kids would be unable to run away or leave the house before they were ready. When he felt it was time, Warren would remove the lock on their window and replaced it with another special one that could be picked only after his training was finished. And it was the way he did it with all of them. It was also the point in their life when he would place the collar on their necks so he could track them at all times. When the collar was placed on Gren’s neck, Warren looked into the thirteen year olds eyes and told him that he trusted the child…but he needed to make the others feel as though he was being treated the same as the others.

      ----------------------------

      The eighteen year old fixed himself a quick sandwich in the kitchen and returned to his room, where he began to research everything he could on new exhibits opening up in museums nearby. Nothing came up that even remotely sounded like what the damn Indian had told him…until an article popped up that caught his eye. Many swords were the main attraction in the Weapons of the Orient exhibit in the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, and Gren just knew this is what he was talking about. There were many swords, spears, and ranged weapons that would be on display at the museum, and the thief knew that many of them had to be extremely valuable. He puffed on his pipe again, which maintained his high, as he leaned back and smirked. Tomorrow was gonna be a good day for him, oh, yes it was.
       

    15. #30
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      Re: Yggdrasil Pirates Ch.1: "The Steel Box in the Basement"

      Saori stood, watching the other woman and the bizarre specter with a mixture of curiosity and caution. She was not sure what was going on anymore, the explosions and fire that wracked the small town, the reeling sensation of violence surrounding her, and the strange spectacle that was Saxony Devon. For a few moments, the martial artist was simply at a loss for words, her eyes drifting around the chaos, taking it all in, planning her next move. Even for a Void-empowered god, it was a lot to process. Of course, just when she had made up her mind to leave, he showed up. Crim El Furaga, the only man who’d ever managed to stand up to her in a fight, and likely the one the other Sigil bearer had referred to as the Pureness.

      It had been some time since Saori had seen Crim, almost a year by her count, and she was still not entirely sure how she felt about him. The red-haired vagabond had earned her respect by matching her blow for blow, forcing the judges of the Mundo-Grande tournament to declare a draw before their studio was destroyed in a super-powered brawl. They had been randomly paired up in a tag-team tournament at the time, and had blasted through to the finals with no possible opposition, but in a twist, the Mundo-Grande officials had opted to have the final match as a duel between the two. It had broken TV rating records all over Central America, but nobody north of the Rio Grande even took notice. Following that fateful match, Saori had returned to Japan to commune with other kami. It was not a fight she was soon to forget, an earth splitting brawl that had left the ring in tatters, and it her with a great deal of questions.

      All the signs pointed to this man, Crim, being a central figure in her life. In her communion with the other spirits of her homeland, she had seen visions of the two fighting side by side against impossible odds, having insane adventures, facing indescribable horrors, and sharing an unfathomably deep bond. Saori had no idea HOW this would come about, but she wasn’t willing to question the will of the universe. His casual and almost dismissive attitude towards nearly everyone, including her, grated on her. It was an unusual feeling, being ignored. Not something a warrior goddess experienced often, and it was not something she enjoyed. But all the same, destiny was such a strange thing.

      The young woman’s thoughts were interrupted by the eldritch horror known as Saxony Devon. The creature’s purr, the menacing tone of her voice, and the obvious hunger with which she looked at Crim did not sit well with the Voidbearer. As if in answer, Saori took a step back from Devon and closer to the vagabond. She glanced into the man’s eyes, which did seem to flash with recognition. The look she extended was that of an ally instead of a foe, her glance indicating that she would willingly help dispatch these two freaks should the need arise. For a long moment, there was only silence as the two held a conversation of nothing save glances and body language, until the martial artist skipped backwards a few yards, positioning herself between Crim and Saxony. This may not have been what either desired, but Saori was not about to forgive the older woman’s snark. Should it come to blows, she was not about to allow herself to be written off. The lightning-wraith and the damage to the town aside, the youth had found something far more interesting than a tournament she was sure to win: the only man who’d managed to fend off her fists.

      “Good to see you again, Crim”
      "Those who think duels are a method to ‘honorably resolve disputes’ are fools. Duels are the means to eliminate otherwise inconvenient opposition.”

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