Author Topic: The World Ender (RETURN)  (Read 718 times)

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Offline Absinthe

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The World Ender (RETURN)
« on: August 14, 2017, 10:48:56 PM »
Absinthe, Gaius, and their cloaked friend are returning from their expedition! Please allow Arkyls to post with Gaius before posting. Thank you!



"We're.. we're almost.. there.." a rasp escapes, unfamiliar enough it startled herself. Shredded black ears lay back against a cream hooded head, one that had fresh new scars to tell stories where words fell short.

The bundle before her, wrapped with care and stained in blood, seemed to make noise- it whispered, it hummed, it called to the envy-eyed masochist who uttered a harsh 'shh' before turning to her companions. They heard it, too, didn't they? Absinthe didn't look at them for validation, there was no shimmer of hope, just a look of complete exhaustion.

"I hope they're happy to see you," she licks over her jaws, tasting blood- mine? theirs?- her head shakes away the bats and clears her belfry. "I hope they forgive you," she smiles. Absinthe found herself smiling more these last few days, if only to offer some hopeless form of comfort to Gaius and their shrouded guest.

It was a relief to know the Warrior could see her Ghost as well, that perhaps she wasn't just crazy, that some things in this world were still real. That the nights before- a red sky and the missing moon- guided not just her way home, but her thoughts to a darker, neglected region of her lost mind.

Absinthe took one last look at her savior and the weary traveler, picked up the bundle before her, and carried on. The stop was unnecessary. It was nerves sinking in like thorns and vines like guilt holding her back. It was the caves of Saboro and her mother's ragged, rotten breath that kept her going forward. Reminders.

Dreams come true.

There was no going back, no waking up. This is real. This is all real.

---

They arrive at an impasse. A literal impasse.

The wall, a monument meant to keep out, gives way to rampant anxiety and fear. The package drops, it rolls forward, stopped by a filthy paw and dragged back like a precious treasure. "They've.. they're.. what.." the panic is apparent in the face of a girl with slashed scars across her face. There is real fear in those eyes again, but there are no jaws around her throat this time.

"Gaius, how do we.. do we keep.." but she can't keep depending on him, hoping he can lead her now that she's found her way. No, Absinthe takes things into her own shaking hands, snatches the package and begins to run along the once-crumbled wall of her unfamiliar kingdom.

They should follow, shouldn't they? Are they? She doesn't look behind her, she just keeps going, and going, and going.. until finally there is a break, there is an opening, but something stops her from going through.

She is a stranger to these lands- Absinthe had barely made herself known, and what little interaction she had was unpleasant. Who on earth would let her through? Whoever manned the this wall- her last obstacle- was in for a wild ride, because she drops her prize and throws back her head.

A howl comes, haunting as expected from the withered, crestfallen girl. Whoever comes to answer her knocking would be received gruffly with a snort. She remembered vaguely who she was on the other side of this wall.

"I need to speak with the King and.. if possible.. the Queen, if she's.." Absinthe swallows her fear and bares fangs, "If she's with us still.” When Gaius appeared, if the cloaked traveler followed, she would clear her throat once more and hold her head high in confidence she'd lost many moons ago. "Tell them Gaius and.. Absinthe.. have returned, and that we have a guest," her eyes fall to the bundle between her legs and she bristles.

"and I have..-" A GIFT, ABSINTHE? IT'S ONLY A GIFT TO YOU, YOU FOOL- "I have.." A TROPHY? NO ONE BUT YOU WOULD POLISH IT- "Just send someone to get them," her tone stern. She no longer felt like a scared, pitiful little girl. Even the borders of Gemini ignited something she thought was reduced to ash.

Offline Gaius.

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Re: The World Ender (RETURN)
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 07:32:31 PM »
GAIUS Ω  ,,
The faded red sky was their beacon home, and boy, was he happy to be.

Home? Perhaps he'd finally have a definition for the word.

Limbs were aching and his face stung, but none of it compared to the emotional turmoil in his chest. Of course, despite the two companions (at least one was— he hadn't figured out a word for the other) he didn't let on that anything was ever wrong to begin with. Had this whole expedition been wrong? Gaius felt his word spun on it's head; a moment in time that felt like justice and perfection eventually sizzled into a thick, ooze of confusion and betrayal. His? No, he didn't start it this time. He never started it. Foolish, foolish, foolish—

The same fool who danced around death like it was the beginning of a spectacular party— But that depended on your definition of party.

Glazed over eyes of exhaustion barely managed to exceed anything beyond a shift in pupil size and the twitching of crusted eyebrows, even at the raspy voice of the Golden girl herself. In a twisted, defying karmic fortune, he could still see out of both eyes. The fear of that blessing fading didn't leave his mind, but at least the sweet smell of familiarity gave him hope that things would only be for the better now.

It wasn't a dream— Gaius was still fighting with his lucid eating demons on whether or not this was a good thing or not.

---

The hollowed form of a mechanic, shifting movement came to a slow halt beside the smaller woman as the lingering shadow beast trailed not far off. His head turned and he swore he heard the synonymous breaking in his own neck as the deep-set pops sang a sickening song in his ear. How long had they been walking? With a raspy exhale the brute planted his rear upon the earth, hazy eyes scanned across the anxious face of Absinthe.

"They've.. they're.. what.. Gaius, how do we.. do we keep.."

"Don't panic." He clipped, although his voice was caked in it's own on-set concerns. What was normally thickly laced in aggression or even snark, it was rather dry and monotonous in it's weight. "You wanted this." He nearly sighed. Was it sadness? No, likely not that. But he was tired. Tired and bloody and feeling a part of him that had been left behind in a place he'd never return. A slow blink followed as her anxiety moulded into courage as she made her way toward the wall, alone, at first.

Gaius stared into the darkness of himself for the briefest of moments before he was brought to his feet again, moving, moving, ever so much more. His ears flicked, keeping a shred of his conscious on the other who continued to linger. He didn't care right now, so far the figure was no threat, but they were Absinthe's responsibility.

All of this was Absinthe's responsibility.

No— you fool. You wanted this too.

His mere five inches over her sizeable frame felt like a mountain all of a sudden; a rusted, fallen solider who was seen clad in the finest and brightest armour. A protector, a saviour, a knight even— but he was none of those things. Not even to whatever fantasized and changed outlook Absinthe had for him now, he was nothing but a used body and a broken purpose. It was so simple and yet so complicated all wrapped in a single package.

He wasn't far off from the present at Absinthe's feet— but when was he ever? Perhaps that's why his eyes dropped to view it and bile rose in his throat instead of laughter.

He let Absinthe speak for he had no voice to use. This was her mission, her destiny, he was simply a bystander with collateral damage. A living witness who would bore the scars of this day just like her. Except—

Maybe he did have a voice, however small it was. "The Queen—" He rasped. Out of everyone he needed to see, it was her. "You must bring her." Not a request, but a demand, to whoever came to see them first. He would look haggard and unattractive when the King and Queen arrived. They could pity him, they could honour him, they could banish him. But whatever they decided, one thing was definite—

These scars and this trophy; it tied them together in a tight, red string that had weaved between the chaos of it all.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 07:37:15 PM by Gaius. »

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Offline Serrate

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Re: The World Ender (RETURN)
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 11:13:29 PM »
Curved, uneven stone meets them. Border guards atop the wall scramble and bark and in all of it the din sounds like nothing at all, not a damn thing. Fresh flowers stuffed in barren sockets look on and the smiling grins of killers say nothing to greet these weary travelers. Oh, they’ve come a long way. They’ve a long way yet to go. Oh, no. You say the path is not that much longer. Look harder, and you’ll see—where the stones end an unbroken trail carries on. They came together, but this final leg of the journey they must travel alone. All faced it in their life. The path towards redemption. Peace. Acceptance.

(There are darker routes. Sometimes it’s more comfortable to lie with our sins.)

”If you find her,” she whispered against stony, unyielding cliffs above the sea. Wolves along the wall bristle as they look down into depths unknown. The eyes that do not see know. Hackles bristle and the whisper carries. The Queen. The Queen. The Queen. Their song joins the wavering, tired thread this lost daughter of Gemini began when she arrived on this far, unfamiliar shore. They strengthen it. It carries.

”You come to me first.”

She lifts her head. Things have changed in their absence. Things have stayed the same. Their great wall so freshly christened stands stark. Her daughter plans a party. She rises. “Echo,” she calls him to her. He knew, too. This song was intimate to them both. She says nothing more and starts, slowly, for the ring that kept them safe. They’d been imaginary, once. Imaginary things bite just as hard as things that are real. She’s learned. She’s changed. Demons in the shadows bit just as hard as wolves, but there was security in thick stone walls.

It’s so soon. It’s been so long. She paves a funeral march with heart unbearably HEAVY for being so EMPTY. She speaks not at all, the North Star that swims in her eye leading her to the crack, the breach, the light flooding from the sundering. She follows motes dancing, flickering lights that lead her through. She emerges from stone with cold weight in her chest and a hot sticky mess for a mouth. What will she find. What will she find. What does she want to find?

They wait for her. The daughter. The paramour. The thing that no longer has a name.

Their faces were neither rosy nor grim, but cleaved and torn to be the other’s match. Funny, that even here, even now, everything in Gemini came in at least two—she had, once. But her other half stole away in the dead of night and now when it was stolen back (thieves, every single ONE OF THEM) she finds it doesn’t fit. It couldn’t.

IT NEVER HAD.

Its jaws are parted where it lay. Teeth that once shone grew dull around a swollen tongue. A bulging eye met hers and she held it, transfixed in the moment not by heroes, rogues, or thieves, but by this ghoul come to haunt her time and time again. The monster at her heels that would catch her should she stop to breathe for a single aching beat of her tortured heart. Her. HER. No. This thing was not the counterpoint, not any more, not ever again.

Unburdened by her opposing force—its clouding eyes that have feasted flies stare at her—she threatens to spin wildly off course. Saliva pools on her tongue, sick and vile like the only meal she’s had all winter come up again in the snow. This is it. This is what justice looked like.

It looked terrible. She doesn’t want Akira to see.

She swallows the weight of her history. She shoulders the burden and lifts her eyes from volumes of a time gone by and prepares to welcome judge, jury and executioner home. Her mouth parts and the flaw in her eye draws her once more to true north—a lonely figure cloaked in the skin of the empty sockets. The snaketail, teeth still barred, a wolf worn by a sheep—but no. The wind changes. It carries to her things. Things she doesn’t want. The weight of her history cannot be swallowed. It slams into her and it pins her against the wall. We can't escape home no matter how many places we lay our heads. It follows. It always follows. It clings like the skins of the dead.

You,” she whispers. Here they were, happy family together again. No. They'd never been that, had they?

She throws her head back, the sound bursting from her unbidden, the things she tried to hide and hold in her cavernous chest. They came out now, a force carrying on the wind. Not the name monsters in the night crave to be given but a call to arms against fiends that lurked in the dark, NAMELESS. To me! To me! For the Queen! For Gemini! Vanguards! Queensguard! Avery! Akki!

The world tries to end. Where the stories are old and the earth is older. The world tries to end, here in the hollow spaces left behind, but Gemini must rise up and say, No. There are too many dead, too many buried between ancient roots. Strangers from beyond would not come for their throats again. Not today.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 11:59:36 PM by Rhiow »
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Domino motion,
Jump starts when we touch.
A blackout approaching,
Here it comes now, wish me luck.
It's all over, it's all over, it's all over in a flash.
I can't remember what have I done now?

Offline figᴝre cloɐked in ᴃlɐcҟ

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Re: The World Ender (RETURN)
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 08:23:11 PM »
There was an oddity in the space. Him, he suspected, him as not-Gaius, but it was maybe more than just that. It was the uncertain weight of the atmosphere, the idle hint of pain swaddled mystery and a sense of discomfort. This was not home, this was not any place he’d ever been before, and yet…. What was it that felt so familiar? Was it his company or the weight of the furs that kept him hidden and stinky, covered in the musk of the dead that mingled so well with the overall muck and mud that coated his pelt and made him a barely coherent blur of colors and misdirected features? He had not expected—well indeed, it should not have been possible—to be recognized anywhere but maybe…

Well, he was not perfect, and his focus had mostly been upon Mr. Z and Ms. H and all those little friends he’d brought bound around his neck. Yes, even now, as no-longer-Absinthe and the true-Gaius walked at his side, discussing things that seemed fuzzy in his ears, he was looking for… other things.

Flowers, mostly.

But also the morphing shape of wolves, should they come across them. Or bears. Or any other beast that could bring them danger. Because… because… he had promised to assist and he intended to do that while he searched and searched and searched for what he’d lost.

It was more than just a name.

Still, even as they moved and no-longer-Absinthe tried to soothe him he only shook his head. His throat was tight, so many words wanting to escape at the same time—

I’m sorry.

I do love you, I think. Surely, I can try to love you.

If they, those friends, bring death, please… please… please tell the others I love them too. That I think I know what it is now, a portion of it

But none of those things come from him. Instead, he’d give a off-smile, something half apprehension, half slick teeth, and press forward. His belly still churned with the whirlwind of his madness, but he hoped for knowledge, for enlighten… to awaken and toss off the shackles that bound him, cursed him to redness and somehow, somehow, become more than legends and shadows.

But it isn’t until they arrive, and he stands, somewhat beside no-longer-Absinthe, that he realizes he may have walked into some sort of unusual happenstance. A trap. A strange oddity. Maybe it was caused by the thing between no-longer-Absinthe legs. Maybe it was caused by… him?

That should have been impossible, but perhaps not improbable. Still, despite the call, despite the extremely painfully familiar figure standing there, he feels…

He can’t describe it.

Numb?

His fear has fled him, but his loathing, his rage, his paranoia… those are sleeping too. It leaves behind startling clarity instead. That, once upon a time he’d been given an offer. He wondered if Serrate would allow him to take it. Or, if the world was truly mad and those who had slain more blood than himself would be allowed the benefits he had never managed, even in his youth.

Once a suffering slave with a dash of hatred-filled cunning to a prosperous king who had done so little, in terms of mayhem, and yet was blamed for so much.

He’d always be that slave, just to different concepts.



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in - - -
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Offline Rhiow

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Re: The World Ender (RETURN)
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 08:33:10 PM »
((This is now open!

Just to reiterate, I know I posted it in our discord a while ago, but a couple of things:

Serrate is directly calling - AKKI, AVERY, ECHO, IRON and any Vanguards that might hear. Others may respond as well if they so choose.

She is not calling them to FIGHT, but is instead sending up a warning. CAUTION! DEFEND! That sort of thing!!!))
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 08:42:18 PM by Rhiow »

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Offline Iron

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Re: The World Ender (RETURN)
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 09:29:55 PM »
He'd been withdrawing again - it was a habit of his, when he got overwhelmed by the demands of society. It was so hard, so draining to keep up with everyone's personal lives. Wolves kept coming and going from places he'd never heard of, stories were beginning and ending all around him, but he could scarcely appreciate any of it. It was all too loud and too fast, and he wished everyone would just sit down for a while and think about their actions. He knew by now that that was a lot to ask. But still, he had a job (even though he'd failed at it before) and so when he was called, he hurried off to the source. He thought he could detect a sense of desperation in the summons, though he'd never been great at discerning delicate emotions, and so he bounded at full speed toward his Queen, the one he had let down so many times before.

Iron ran alongside the newly constructed wall until he reached the opening where the impromptu gathering was taking place (what was the point of a wall if there was a gap in it? Who planned this?) He slowed to an amble as he arrived upon the scene and came to a stop by Serrate's left shoulder. He didn't say anything, seeing no need for greetings when his presence clearly spoke for itself. Iron thought he had already witnessed some of the strangest things that Gemini had to offer, but as he surveyed the company he currently found himself in, he realized he'd been wrong.

He stood amongst his Queen, Gaius (who he recognized from his eventful acceptance), and some other wolves he didn't know. One of them smelled like death and was wearing the skin of another beast on their back. And one of them was a severed head. He vaguely recognized it, but was more confused than surprised - was this a threat or a peace offering? Well, he thought, at least there are no children here. Yet. He didn't think this would be a very wholesome experience for the several thousand youngsters of Gemini.

Iron blew out a long breath, half sigh and half snort, unable to hide his exasperation for the first time. Maybe he was becoming more like them after all - soon he'd be shouting out pointless declarations of emotion. Or something. He had a lot of questions about what was going on here (Who are you? What do you want? What's with the head?) but he knew better than to ask any of them, both because it was not his place and because he wasn't sure he really wanted any of the answers. "Just tell me what you need," he grumbled to Serrate, the Merciful one, the one he truly owed his livelihood to. He would have killed any of these strangers for her without hesitation, he would hide the head away where she didn't have to look at it anymore - all she had to do was ask.


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Offline Echo.

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Re: The World Ender (RETURN)
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 11:52:04 PM »
He had met many others in her absence, but none of them were her.  He didn't know why she stayed in his thoughts, or why even on small conversations he'd bring her up, but he found himself doing it over an over again.  Yet, he could not find her.  He had mistakenly thought she was another at some point, and at about that time he thought it was time to give up, and so he had tried to move on, but- something told kept holding him back.  He couldn't place his gosh darn finger on it. It frustrated him that he was so invested in someone he barely knew, they didn't even get along.  Form the first time they met, it was harsh words and awkward interaction.

And yet- there was something.  What? He had no effing idea- but something. 

So in his time, the time he had spent thinking of her- he trailed the Queen instead, doing his "duty" as he was so inclined to do.  Things have indeed changed since she'd left. A wall. Fleeing children.  Other mildly entertaining things.  He'd kept close to Serrate, and in doing so was close when she'd called him.  Silently he joined at her side, and silently they walked, more of a death march to wherever it was Serrate lead- He follwed.  Silent, but questioning in his eyes longing to know why he was summoned now. 

But it was all made clear when they came into sight.

His heart skipped a beat, maybe two at the sight of those that stood on the border.  But shortly after the skipping of beats, it faltered, stumbled and fell.  Heart suddenly scathed by road rash, as it was dragged along the ground at the sight of a scarred face, and an agape head staring back at him.  He recognized her, Absinthe, his Huckleberry- but only just.  Something had changed, he could not pinpoint what but- perhaps his berry had fermented into something bitter- something not sought after by many.  But god- he loved the buzz it gave.  Eyes drifted slowly to the thing laid on the ground, familiar, but not enough so to usurp the feeling of HER return.  However, the thing standing near her- the thing draped in others skins-  that thing was a problem. 

When the Queen called for others- more vanguard- more protection, it was time to usurp those feelings of her return, and protect the kingdom from whatever- THAT thing was.

Whatever had to wear the skin of others could not be a positive thing for Gemini.

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Offline Blondie

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Re: The World Ender (RETURN)
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2017, 09:58:13 AM »
I will be posting Absinthes reply on the new forum as a continuation to this thread. That doesn't mean it's closed, even after I reply with her, it just means you can still post here until the move, but her response won't be for another week!

Bullet points are welcome as well.