V M Just Another Kur (Quest)

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
Sun set on the city of Uruk again as the endlessly flipping coin of Mesa Roja rotated away from the blasted star of the Crossroads. At the risk of waxing poetic, Elise often contemplated how the endless turning of a coin reflected the ambient sense of suspension that clung to the back of everyone's mind on this dusty wasteland. Heads or tails? There had to be an answer right? She loomed in the doorway of her lair; a small sepulcher located in the small graveyard of Gilgamesh's trophy city. It had come a long way since she first started lurking here months ago. The roads were busy with commerce, most of the Syntech scaffolding had been torn down, and she had been able to mostly go unnoticed by the local population.

As far as Elise knew, the only person aware that there was a vampire preying on the city was Cyrus. The adorable fop had gone his separate way weeks ago, once he had achieved a basic level of competence. She still saw him on occasion, lurking late in the evening at some coffee shop, or walking down the streets. Elise didn't always say hi. Slowly but surely she could feel herself turning back into the furtive, predatory cryptid lurking in some backwater scrapper town. Even Greenstripes was starting to feel distant.

The coin turned to darkness, and Elise decided to get mad. It was clear that the assassins from Jules had lost her scent long ago. It was time to stop simply surviving, and time to start thriving again. The city of Uruk had finally ripened, and the vampire was eager to see what new fruits she could pick from it.

I mean there had to be someone she could steal wizardry supplies from around here, right?

Right.

Quest: Cultist Troubles (Unmaking Quest)
Elise
Post WC:
Quest WC: /5000
 

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
Elise swept through her lair, getting ready for the evening. As usual, Greenstripes helped her apply eyeliner and lipstick with deft, practiced wiggles. Elise pulled on her heavy, black cloak and wrapped a heavy bag over her shoulders. The terratopus slithered his way into the sack and winked at her with his strange, bulbous eye before she drew the pullstring shut. Her new lair was much nicer than the dank water tower in Ledrillo; the smooth flagstones of the crypt were easier to clean than the dusty corrugated aluminum, and proximity to the irrigation channels of Uruk made body disposal much easier.

As usual, loose pages of spellwork and research were scattered and pinned up on the walls, and sarcophagi had been converted into lab tables for experimentation. They also made for very effective component and bone storage. After all, she hadn't been entirely dormant for all these months. Obviously, she would have to get a new lair some day; someone would eventually catch on that the supposedly empty crypts of Uruk were already occupied. But for now, snatching the occasional Syntech worker or raider from the surrounding hills had worked out fairly well.

After double-checking her magical wards and security was in place on the crypt, Elise skipped up the winding steps to the surface, and squinted into the brightness of the Rojan night...

Quest: Cultist Troubles (Unmaking Quest)
Elise
Post WC: 225
Quest WC: 524/5000
 

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
The air on the streets was sickeningly fresh on her skin as Elise loomed down long alleyways and streets in the outskirts of Uruk. Despite Syntech’s best efforts, it was easy to see the clean, engineered appearance of the city. This was no home-grown scrapper’s town like so many others on the dreary world.

No, it was a designer metropolis designed to suit the megalomanic tastes of a golden king. In all her time lurking in the depths of Uruk, Elise still hadn’t seen Gilgamesh either coming or going, although there was certainly enough fanfare around the occasion. In fact, it was quite easy to snatch dipshit king-gawkers while they were craning their necks to catch glimpse of the parading regent. She’d scored more than a few meals that way.

But no, tonight was quiet. Crickets chirped in the lotus-choked glens of the waterwork gulleys, and some sort of desert raptor glided over the moon in large, lazy circles. So far, the retail options for dusty arcana seemed to be slim in Uruk’s gently bustling shopping district. Drunken couples, packs of horny teenagers, and lonely peddlers strolled up and down the boulevard so gaudily lit by torchlight. She did her best to fit in among the late-night tourists, trying to move at a brisk pace, pretending to be threatened by muggers or some similar phantom of imagination.

The shops were all full of sleek, purple merchandise, of course. Elise scoffed as she stormed past a Palmistry and Fortune Reading boutique, branded as some exotic insight into the legends of Gilgamesh’s city. It was a good thing she had already eaten earlier in the evening; she was so bored that she almost considered causing a scene.

Bad idea… she pondered to herself. The King’s city was so absurdly safe and devoid of crime that any sort of late-night blood spectacle would bring the city guard directly to her crypt. That was, of course, why she was both shocked and delighted a few minutes later when she stumbled into a robbery.

Her vampiric hearing had heard the tinkering, ratcheting sound of a lock being picked from a hundred feet away. The undead woman had immediately crouched low to the ground and melded with the darkness of a back alley behind the main stretch of shops on the eastern Main Procession. Sure enough, a group of four hunched figures were mumbling furtively to one another as one of them fiddled with the tumbler on the back loading dock. The floodlight seemed to be broken, which was odd since it appeared to be intact.

The vampire watched silently, motionless, for another few minutes until the heavy aluminum door swung outwards. One of them waved some kind of stick and muttered strange words before they all swept into the warehouse space in unison. Once they were gone, the floodlight flickered back on.

Elise smiled.

“Looks like we’ve got us some magical thieves. Can’t let them out-do us, eh Stripes?” Elise murmured with a sharp-fanged grin. She stole towards the loose door and crept up the concrete loading ramp with soft footfalls.

Breaking and entering was a bit of grey area, when it came to the curse of vampirism. Though shops and stores were technically public spaces by day, a locked door sent a clear message; no visitors allowed. The involuntary shudder that seized her as she entered the storage room confirmed this; she would be at a disadvantage in here...but surely four idiots with a magic wand couldn’t take her.

Elise felt a small tug on her hood as she entered, and peeped around to see Greenstripes holding her spellbook out to her, with the page for the Ephemeris spell earmarked. Elise smiled and nodded, beginning to murmur the soft chants as she traced the invisible snare sigil on the cool floor with her pallid fingertip. Despite having no pulse, she felt a rush of excitement as she kept an eye on the deeper reaches of the shop for anyone coming. Luckily, it appeared that the thieves were after something complicated, and she finished the spell a few moments later.

Surely these morons hadn’t left their exit completely unwatched, had they? Elise sucked a deep breath through her nose...no...there was someone in the next room. She could smell their nervous sweat...a woman...young. She was probably watching the closed door onto the main showroom floor, ready to alert the rest of these punks to anyone snooping after them.

Most of her spells would be too loud, and a struggle would definitely draw attention, even if Elise could kill the sentry quickly. No, this would require a bit of subtlety.

“Oph Yuk Ohs.” she chanted softly. Drawing light from the spotlight outside the open dock door, Elise twisted a small, fat raccoon into existence. The illusory creature chittered and scratched its nose expectantly as Elise grabbed a nearby box of...something off a storage shelf and tossed it onto the floor before pressing herself against the wall next to the office door.

Sure enough, some young she-crook in black robes and a stern, grey faced mask (nice touch) crept into the room, holding the door open and shining a flashlight on the raccoon, which immediately scuttered out of the storage room and out onto the loading ramp. The teen suppressed a small yelp and let out a sigh as the light puppet vanished out of sight.

Elise wasted no time in slipping past the robe-clad girl and deeper into the store. It appeared to be a weapon store of some sort, selling an array of garishly purple assault rifles, pistols, shotguns...anything a Syntech branded desert raider might enjoy.

Okay, sure, neat. But where was the guy with the magic wand? Elise listened for a moment and heard voices overhead, and footsteps on the second floor. After checking that there was no one watching the staircase, Elise stepped slowly up the carpeted staircase and found a Sumerian themed janitor’s closet to hide in. There, she listened…

“I still don’t get why we don’t just...steal the guns, man. This seems too complicated.” Dark Knell griped as he watched Void Glow tap away at the Syntech computer.

“Smash ‘n grab don’t work in Uruk, dude. You’d have Gilly-mash himself break down your door. Making a false sale and having them give us the weapons is the safest bet.” Void Glow snapped, going through his work again and making sure the invoice, delivery ticket and inventory records all looked correct. Everything matched...they just needed some Syntech part-timer to confirm the ‘sale’ tomorrow morning and everything would be set.

“And you’re sure the whole security system is down?” Dark Knell pressed. Void Glow just sighed. The third thief, who had chosen the cult name of Shadow Princess just shook her head.

“No alarms, no cameras, no light. We’re fine.” she snapped. A moment later, Void Glow finished his cracking work on the Syntech computer and shut the system down. He rolled his neck and smiled.

“I don’t buy it. This is too slick.” Dark Knell said, adjusting his mask slightly. “The guns are right downstairs. Let’s just grab the stuff and frame someone.”

“Frame who? Everyone is too scared of Gilly to do something so stupid.” Shadow Princess said, jabbing Void Glow in the chest.

“Trust the magic wand. Let’s get out of here.” Void Glow said, brushing past the other two and towards the staircase. Everything had gone according to plan, and the Rod of Passage had worked like a charm. The Shadow Broker had really come through on their promise, and if this pinch went off right, it would be worth every Coin.

A few minutes later, the gang of four quietly regrouped in the storage room and moved towards the loading dock door to freedom. The moment Shadow Princess put her foot down on the threshold, however, she was surrounded in a swirling, silvery halo of ghostly light.

The whole gang of cultists panicked immediately.

“The FUCK is that?”

“What the hell...”

“Run! RUN!”

This, of course, was the perfect distraction for Elise to make her exit as the cultists scattered out into the dark streets of Uruk. The yelping idiots had left the door open after them, but as a professional courtesy, she closed it as she casually left Krazy Karl’s Gun Locker with a smile on her face.

Okay, so like...NOT a magic shop...but these were clearly no simple thugs looking for a quick score. They had plans...and if they had a hookup for magical tools, then they would make an excellent stepping stool for her own nefarious plots...

Quest: Cultist Troubles (Unmaking Quest)
Elise
Post WC: 1443
Quest WC: 1967/5000
 

Strazio Rockwell

Magus without Magick
Level 1
LV
0
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
7
Essence
€2,535
Coin
₡1,500
Tokens
20
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
Strazio grunted and raised his pickaxe, bringing it down upon another rock. The stone shattered apart, and another one was placed in front of him. Overhead Mesa Roja’s unrelenting sun slowly cooked his pale and scar-covered skin. He raised his tool and smashed the next rock. Every swing splattered the ground with his own sweat, which quickly evaporated. Another rock was placed in front of him. Across from him, Jadarius, the man who was replacing the rocks, looked one step away from death. The two of them were chained together at the ankle. Strazio shattered another rock. He had watched Jadarius’s decline over the past several months. They had been pressed into service at the same time, shortly after Strazio arrived at the Crossroads. In the span of several months Jadarius looked nothing like the man Strazio had befriended. His dark skin had turned ashy and cracked beneath the Rojanian sun, and his muscular body had cannibalized itself until little more than strips of muscle and bone had remained. Strazio smashed another rock.

Everyone who was forced into the workcamp underwent a similar transition, slowly becoming little more than living skeletons before croaking. Strazio was no exception. Though he normally had little body fat, he had become something more akin to a ghoul. His scarred skin hung loose on his body like a coat of leather. They made sure to feed him and his fellow “workers” just enough to keep them from starving to death right away, but it was far from enough. Extra rations were given to the most productive, weaponizing their own hunger against them. He smashed another rock. At first Jadarius and him would chat while working, their commiseration offering a weak balm to their situation. But now they worked in silence. Conversation required more energy than they could afford to spare, and after months of slavery there really wasn’t much that hadn’t been said already.

Strazio took to fantasizing, perhaps it was a product of his brain being steam-cooked in the sun, but it was the only real escape he had. Ramley, the fat old man that ran this place took a painfully malignant place in Strazio’s mind.Jagged crevices of the rocks morphed into the greasy folds of Ramley’s face, grinning back at him. No matter how many rocks he split, no matter how many heads he cracked open Strazio could not shake the baron’s smug visage. Every moment spent beneath the sun was consumed with a mounting hatred of the man. Strazio watched Jadarius wither away in front of him while Ramley grew fatter and fatter, no doubt glutting himself on the fat of slave labor. It was this, above most everything else, that kept Strazio alive.

These fantasies carried him through the twelve hour day, and as the sun fell a horn called out across the camp, signalling the end of work. Strazio and Jadarius made their way back to the holding cells, turning in their tools as they did. It was a practiced routine, drilled into them from the very first day they were captured. They did everything together, not necessarily by choice, but because they were chained to one another. Most captives were chained in pairs, with few exceptions in various specialist positions. In the holding cells they were given a slop of food that Strazio was sure contained sawdust to give the illusion of being more filling than it actually was. Still, Strazio scarfed down this mealy lukewarm paste as if it were a delicacy, scooping it up with his hands in the absence of tableware. Jadarius, however, merely stared at his bowl of mess, his sunken eyes empty of even hunger.

“I can’t do another day of this,” He muttered.

Strazio finished gulping down his meal and asked, “What?”

“I’m done living through this, Straz,” He said after a few moments of contemplation, “I’m gonna die if I go back out there.”

“Come on, don’t say that, we just got to hold out a little bit longer.”

“Hold out? For what? Just so we can die a bit more tired?”

Strazio didn’t know what to say. Silently he stared at his calloused palm. His magick was gone. It had been lost somewhere between the skein of realities and had not followed him into the Crossroads. Losing magick shouldn’t have been possible once one underwent the Rite of Magick, but it had vanished from his mind. Sigils sat in his brain like foreign letters made of fog, completely alien and uninterpretable. Without the language of magick he was nothing more than a magus without magick. Strazio clenched his teeth and winged his empty bowl across the holding cell. It smashed against one of the bars, shattering into a hundred pieces. Gasps traveled throughout the darkened enclosure. The dark shapes of other captives shuffled away from them, trying to distance themselves from Strazio as much as possible.

“You’re gonna piss me off,” Strazio growled, “We come this far and you’re just giving up?”

“Man, fuck you,” Jadarius answered, “As if we’re any closer to escaping. Where the hell are we gonna escape to anyways? We’re in the fucking mountains surrounded by desert.”

Strazio grabbed his bowl of slop and shoved it towards him, “Eat your fuckin’ food and we’re gonna find a way outta here.”

“I’m done eating that shit,” Jadarius said and smacked the bowl away, spilling its chunky contents across the dirt, “I’m done with all of this.”

Just as Strazio was about to grab him by the neck of his shirt the cage door swung open. A muscle-bound guard sauntered in, brandishing a club. He walked over to the smashed bowl and glared out into the mass of exhausted figures.

“White hair!” He shouted, pointing the club towards Strazio, “Honestly, it’s every fuckin’ week with you, you think these things are free?”

“Fuck off, how do you know it was me?”

The guard scoffed, walking towards him, “Who else would it be dumbass? You’re the only one who hasn’t got with the fuckin’ program.”

Strazio stood up, pulling at the chain that connected him to Jadarius, “Bite me!”

The beating was harsh and quick. Despite his white-hot anger his malnourished body crumpled beneath the guard’s club. No one said anything. Jadarius did his best to remain out of it, a task easier said than done considering he was chained to the hothead. It wasn’t until the wind was knocked out of him that Strazio stopped swearing. Eventually the guard left, leaving behind a bloody and beaten mess. The Rojanian night stretched ever on.
 

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
After making her own escape from the eastern shopping district, Elise settled down on a cool, sandstone rooftop and tugged the hood down from her pointed ears. Greenstrips slithered out of his knapsack, and squished his way down her body onto the cool, dry stone. He flashed a couple of patterns at her, and she chuckled.

“No, I don’t think they have any clue. Let’s see…” she hummed, pulling out the fresh grimoire. She could feel the resonance of that teenage girl’s soul in her mind...the shape of her essence…

The punky vampire began to scrawl on a clean page, making a large group of concentric circles filled with numbers and arcane symbols. She also added in a few annotations of Draconic (her preferred magical language) in the margins about when and where the ephemeris had been collected. The girl was nothing special - just a local punk that had been pulled into some kind of cult racket. Shadow Princess would definitely be a useful locator beacon for further reconnaissance missions, however.

What was with those weird, gray masks though? Definitely some kind of cult, but nothing in her wizardly studies had ever taken on such a grim, stone-faced visage. Elise hummed a tune to herself and traced the rough outlines of the stern mask into the grimoire. Heavy eyebrows...a strong jaw...and crackled skin.

It was at this point that Elise began to feel dizzy, which was an unfamiliar feeling to say the least. The vampire stepped forward heavily, and then the world turned in on itself.

Sensations and physical control were absent. Elise dimly knew that this was some kind of psychic attack; it felt very similar to the suggestive trance of the vampires she had used to traffic with. But no, no one was here. This felt distant, but intimate.

A woman was staring at her, or into her, from afar. She could see the woman’s eyes like burning stars a million miles away. Black grease painted her brow, and she was dressed in ornate leather armor. Behind her droned an army, no, an ocean of loud, roaring machines.

“Greetings, Elise. I am Imperator Furiosa…” the vision hummed.

“Bullshit, Furiosa is a myth. Who are you actually?” Elise snapped back. The woman in the vision smirked and nodded her head slightly.

“Looks like I made the right choice. Mesa Roja needs a pissed off little brat like you.”

“Excuse me bitch?”

“Can it and listen up, Fangs. I am goddamn Imperator Fucking Furiosa, and I’m asking for your help.” the vision said. The armada of cars behind her revved their engines in solidarity, causing the hallucinatory desert to rumble.

“Oh word?” Elise said in her least-impressed voice possible.

“Big word, batshit. You ran into some of Darkseid’s goons tonight. The little cult shits?” Furiosa growled. She took long strides towards Elise, and the bright, windy desert between them seemed to shrink. Despite her bravado, the vampire girl was starting to become reasonably worried.

“Yeah…” Elise said, stepping back. Or at least, she tried to. It was no use; Furiosa was in her face.

“They’re trying to destroy the fucking world. They’re idiots, but they might pull it off if Darkseid gets to run around ass-out like he has been. You’re gonna stop them.”

Elise scoffed.

“Bet?”

Furiosa grabbed her non-existant shirt scruff with a robotic claw hand and lifted Elise off the illusory ground.

“No bets. You do this or I come down on you. Hard. Does that make sense, Fangs?” Furiosa said, narrowing her eyes. The Imperator callously threw Elise to the ground and stormed back towards her awaiting car fleet. The bionic raider queen mounted up into a spikey, smoke belching outrider and revved the engine.

“Make it happen, featherweight.” Furiosa shouted before whistling to the fleet. The vision began to fade, and the last thing Elise saw before swimming back into darkness was hundreds of rusted, thundering vehicles swarming off into the blinding white horizon…



Some amount of time passed before Elise woke up again, sucking in a deep breath despite her undead lungs. She was on her back, on the cold dry rooftop of Uruk. Elise sat up and blinked softly, looking at the purple sky in a moment of haze before her eyes widened.

“Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Shhiiittt.” she fussed, pulling out her phone and looking at the time. Almost dawn...and dawn on Mesa Roja broke fast. Greenstripes was sitting on her chest, and helped her to her feet with a sharp yank of his suctioned arms. He flashed a pattern of concern for her across his rippling skin and she patted his sticky head.

“I’ll tell you later. We gotta bolt for now.” Elise said in a hushed voice as she crammed the terratopus and her grimoire back into the athletic bag. With that, the vampiress was off like a shot in the fading darkness. Moving with preternatural speed, Elise vaulted from rooftop to rooftop with savage but graceful leaps, keeping her eye on the horizon the entire time.

Some of the early morning tourists of Uruk were already having their morning respite here and there, and Elise had to go crashing through their eggs and toast a few times with a hasty apology. Sloppy. Stupid. These were the kind of mistakes that would get her noticed in this stupid, fake city. Then again, it wasn’t entirely her fault. Fucking Furiosa myth-bitch and her stupid goddamn vision quest. She would have to look into all this Darkseid nonsense when she got back to her lair.

Resentment, fury and panic were the only things flying through her mind as Elise made the last, final dash across the graveyard towards her personal crypt. The long walls of Uruk were keeping the direct sunlight at bay, but the sky was already turning a miserably bright shade of lilac. Shadows started to form on the ground as she hurtled towards the door, through the low-lying necropolis. She tried to bundle her cloak around her as she ran, but bits of sunlight started to catch her pallid skin in small bursts, causing her to shriek and smolder here and there.

Elise crashed through the door to her crypt like a cannonball, and tumbled down the steep stairs in a heap. Greenstripes launched free from her carry bag and wobbled towards the loose door, slamming it shot with his squishy but mighty muscles.

The vampire gathered herself for a moment before standing up slowly, wincing at the burns across her exposed skin. They soothing darkness was already allowing her to heal away the ashen patches of soot...but that had been way too close.

She propped herself against the cool, sandstone walls and slid down into a hunkered position, feeling the urge to cry a little bit, but unable to do so. Dumbass stupid idiots.

She’d show them.

No one beat Elise.

Quest: An Arbiter's Plea (Unmaking Quest)
Participants: Elise
Post WC: 1149
Quest WC: 1149/1000
 

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
The following evening, Elise packed her snooping kit once again and sallied out into the dark, cold streets of Uruk the second the sun sank behind the western edge of Mesa Roja. With her grimoire tucked under her arm, the eternal vampire teen stalked up the steps from her lair and into the night air.

She could feel pull of the cultist’s soul in her mind, calling her South-East, out of the city walls. Luckily for her, the cult of Darkseid also seemed to prefer to work at night. Apparently the delivery of weapons had gone off like a charm, because she hadn’t seen any local news about arrests or gun theft on Uruk’s media feed that day. To that end, Elise had also been researching news articles and reporting across the Crossroads of this whole Unmaking thing going on. Naturally, her thoughts had turned to her adoptive parents back on Erde Nona, but thankfully the forces of Darkseid seemed to be well handled there.

She had also, of course, briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a cultist to the Ninth Arbiter herself...partially out of spite to Furiosa, but eventually decided against it. Her experience with Jules had taught her that promises of power were usually complete bunk, and this Darkseid guy wasn’t even making that kind of promise. He was just raw, unthinking destruction, which Elise simultaneously respected and loathed.

On that note, Darkseid appeared so much of a genuine threat that she almost considered calling Cyrus along for this particular excursion...but no. Despite being practically indestructible, Cyrus was still mentally fragile. She loathed to think what kind of things these cultists would do to him if she failed to protect him and holy shit was she feeling sentimental about that idiot?

Elise blinked and stopped in her tracks, examining her thoughts. Ugh. No way. Moving on.

Besides, the pulsating, heartbeat signature of Shadow Princess knocking on her mind. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant; being able to feel the warm essence of another soul allowed her to fleetingly remember what living felt like. Goodness knew that Elise had tried to use the Ephemeris curse on herself many times, but it seemed that undead people such as herself were either devoid of a soul, or had a soul so fundamentally changed that the magic didn’t apply.

Thankfully, the jeep that Elise had stolen from Julian’s assassins was still working, and no one else had bothered to steal the old heap yet. She figured she was about twenty minutes behind the cultists, which was still more of a berth than she preferred. Wherever they were heading with their shiny new pile of guns, it was entirely likely that the shenanigans would be over by the time she got there. Still...there was only so fast the rusted hulk of a car could move across open, rocky desert terrain. The headlights bounced nauseatingly on the grey desert gravel as the jeep hit another half-buried boulder.

“C’mon you dump...move!” Elise cursed over the sound of a clattering gearbox…

Quest: Cultist Troubles (Unmaking Quest)
Elise
Post WC: 509
Quest WC: 2476/5000
 

Strazio Rockwell

Magus without Magick
Level 1
LV
0
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
7
Essence
€2,535
Coin
₡1,500
Tokens
20
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
Months ago Strazio’s wounds would have stitched themselves together. But, here, where nothing made sense, his wounds were stubborn things that did not fade quietly. Purple contusions forced his scarred skin to swell and throb as muscles torsioned themselves into knots. For a long time he simply laid in the dirt, allowing his body to soak in its own suffering. Truth be told, he wasn’t too far behind Jadarius. Every single fiber of his being trembled at the strain of keeping him alive. Were it not for the most stubborn sense of self-preservation he probably would have perished weeks ago. Still, there was only so much that spite could do to sustain him; a fact he was becoming painfully aware of.

“You okay?” Jadarius asked, tugging at the chain that joined them.

“Far from it,” Strazio answered, slowly sitting up.

“Why do you keep antagonizing them?”

“Fuck them, that’s why,” Strazio answered.

Outside the cage he could see the silhouette of guards moving against the backdrop of a fire. Their laughter soaked into the night air, a stark contrast to the anguished moans of his fellow prisoners. He raised his hand, covering the bonfire and silhouettes with his palm. Every bit of hate he could muster was set to boil in his braincase. Magick had always come easy to him, but the well had dried up - or more accurately vanished entirely. The faint outlines of destructive sigils danced within the darkness of his memory, refusing to be seen in their clarified splendor. Without access to them he had no domain over magickal energy. He clenched his teeth tightly, forcing his already bleeding gums to leak more. What sort of twisted world was this, where his anger amounted to little more than a headache?

However, in this void, this absence of space where his magickal repertoire once residing existed a creature. Shapeless and without presence, yet at the same time overwhelming and plain to see. A contradiction that made absolute sense had burrowed into his mental space, revealing itself in rare moments of focused clarity. Three emerald eyes stared out from this void, cutting through the fog left by his magick’s departure. He had seen this entity before, lurking in that split moment where he was neither awake nor fully asleep. There was no doubt in his mind that this parasite had gorged itself upon his magick and thrust him into mundanity. It was with a great fury that Strazio reached for this mindworm. His mental hate-furnace roared with an impossible heat, a heat that he hoped to disintegrate the monster within. But, as his rage boiled over the creature fled, slinking back into the spaceless space and vanishing from his grasp.

"Fuck," Strazio muttered, letting his hand fall.

As he deflated, a commotion stirred within the camp.Disorganized shouting roused the guards resting around the bonfire. They grabbed their weapons and faded off towards the entrance of the camp. Strazio sighed, they had captured another group of soon-to-be workers. The camp’s ramshod gate creaked open with the sound of scraping metal and unlubricated hinges, revealing a truck. It was a modified joint, large and spewing coils of diesel smoke off into the atmosphere. It’s engine filled the camp with a bassy growl as it trundled in. Thick metal plates covered its flank while a relatively sophisticated turret-mounted gun peeked out above the cab. People hung from its sides, hopping off only when the beast came to a stop near the bonfire. They began unloading pallets of weaponry while a crowd of camp guards formed around them.

Then, from the crowd, materialized a short fat bastard of a man. Ramley, the leader of the camp and current second place on Strazio’s list of people he wanted dead. The portly man’s stupid bald head shined in the light of the fire and he carried some object covered beneath a canvas sack. He approached the strangers with a smile, looking over their offering as one might salivate over a turkey dinner. The apparent leader of the truckers stepped forward, she was a tall woman with long black hair tied back into a braided tail. Even from such a distance Strazio could see the sharp red glow her eyes emanated. Ramley held out the mystery object and removed the canvas covering. It was an unremarkable figurine, save for the apparent effect it had on the truckers. Each of them became more lively in its presence, damn near ripping it from Ramley’s greasy mitts. Their leader took the figurine and placed it back into the canvas sack, quieting the crowd. A few more words were exchanged before the truckers piled back into the truck and drove off, leaving the weapons behind.

"You see that?" Strazio asked.

"Yeah," Jadarius answered, "What about it?"

"What was that thing Ramley handed over?"

"Dunno," he said quietly.

Someone besides them spoke up, a cocky voice, "What do you think we're here for, to smash rocks?"

It was hard to see the eavesdropper in the dark, but her eyes glinted brightly in the little light available. Still, she wasn't bound by a chain like them, which meant she was more than just a rock breaker. Before Strazio or Jadarius could even answer her question she continued.

"Of course not, right?" She said, infusing her voice with an air of authority, "That'd be stupid, unless of course, the rocks were covering something."

"Who the hell are you?" Strazio asked sharply.

"Apparently, the only one that knows what's going on here," She continued, "My name is Luka, and I was here before any of these gravel munchers even knew this place existed."

"Okay?"

"Okay? What do you mean okay? We're digging into a veritable font of power and you act like all we're doing is digging up rocks," She scoffed, "Disgusting, but not unexpected from a bunch of mundanes."

Strazio had never been referred to as a mundane before, but he most certainly did not like it. The absolute audacity she had to interject herself into a private conversation and then call them mundanes? How fucking dare--

"Forgive our ignorance, but what are you talking about?" Jadarius asked, intercepting whatever outburst Strazio was planning.

"That trinket Ramley handed off was but one of many relics teeming with magical power," She explained with vigor, "Can't you feel it? This whole place is seething with juice and everyday we get closer to the motherload."

Strazio couldn't feel shit, and this fact irked him almost more than Luka's demeanor.

"Lotta good that does us," He said, "What do I care what's down there? I'm still being worked to death and some fancy little statues ain't gonna get me out of here?"

Luka sighed, "Such a mundane way of thinking, why would you want to leave with the magic is right here?"

"Don't call me a fucking mundane again."

"Well what am I supposed to call you?" She asked.

"My name, call me Strazio and this is Jadarius."

"Very well, I sometimes forget how sensitive you munda… Strazios and Jadariuses are," She spoke, "But anyways, you do have a point about Ramley. Luckily I've got a few ideas of how to get rid of him and get at that sweet sweet magic."
 

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
About twenty minutes later, the captive workers jostled themselves awake as another disturbance sent ripples throughout the camp. Outside the digsite, a small ruckus was kicking up as a lone, rickety jeep squeaked and rattled its way up the flattened, gravel path. Multiple quarry guardsmen, armed with shiny new shotguns and rifles, clamored up to the old, tired car with a flurry of shouted warnings. One sweaty slaver marched up to the driver’s side with a brutal looking gun poised to kill whoever was driving…

...only to see an empty seat. The jeep sat there, idling softly as the headlights pulsed with each rotation of the engine. A few other guards whipped the greasy canvas in the open trunk off, only to reveal some spare fuel cans and tools. For all intents and purposes, the jeep seemed completely empty.

“Someone had to be driving it. Spread out.” the head guard growled, waving his hand in a circle over his head. He sniffed angrily before yanking a battered walkie talkie out of his back pocket.

“Boss, might have a problem. We’re searching the perimeter.” he mumbled, staring towards the rocky hills around the dusty pit. What he didn’t see was the sticky, gelatinous form of Greenstrips sliding down through a gap in the floor of the jeep. The terratopus, who had camouflaged himself to look like the dirty, rubber upholstery, clung to the inside of the undercarriage, waiting.

For her part, the vampire punk was thriving. The diversion with the jeep had gone off flawlessly, and had given her the time she needed to scale the sheer rock face at the back of the dig site and quietly hike down into the main camp. Having missed her chance to get the drop on the cultists themselves, she was eager to see who was dealing with them. Puzzle pieces were already starting to fall into place...guns for magic. Her studies had shown her that Mesa Roja has riddled with all sorts of crypts and secret burial grounds, and unlike the empty, artificial tombs of Uruk, these places hummed with magic power and curses. If she could cut off the cult’s source of magical power, and plunder it for herself at the same time?

Well that was just efficient, son.

As Elise stalked between the slave barracks, her preternatural senses were picking up all sorts of interesting scents: sewage, blood, sweat, metal, dust...working conditions were certainly dismal here. She heard a raspy report of radio chatter from a smaller building that was in better shape than the others. It was a cool night, but one of the slatted windows was cracked open to vent out a stream of cigar smoke. The vampire sidled below the window, looking and left and right, and listened.

“Any word yet, Jesse?” came a gelatinous, haggard voice. Elise dared to stand on her toes and peer into the window. A corpulent man was smoking a fat stogie with dirty boots propped up on an aluminum work desk. Various papers and maps were pinned to the walls, designating dig sites and new areas to prospect. There was also a list of slaves, their work output, and who was becoming a problem. One name was underlined multiple times in red: Strazio. Jesse reported back that they had found some tracks, but they didn’t make sense. Elise smiled wickedly, glad that the illusion spell was still confounding them. The boss-type swiveled in his chair, and she vanished beneath the windowsill.

“You think the cult is messin’ with us? Naw...naw...well...hm. Have Wrencher double check the guns, make sure they’re workin’. Keep me informed.” the boss rumbled. A few moments of silence passed, and Elise kept her eye on a few flashlights hovering around the ridge she had just climbed down. Dammit. Maybe they were better than she thought. She peered into the modular office building one more time to see the boss dicking around on his phone and munching chips. How was he getting data out here? Whatever. Time to move on. Elise melted away from the shadows of the office, behind some excavation equipment, and crammed herself into a rocky crevice near the outhouses. Nasty, but it paid off. None of the drowsy guards bothered to come this way except to take a leak in the ensuing two hours. By the time they called off the search, it was close to one o’clock in the morning.

They had, of course, claimed the jeep as salvage and it had been driven into the camp next to their other excavators and vehicles. Greenstripes’ soul pattern was pulsating softly and happily in the undercarriage. Perfect.

Elise emerged from the hiding place and dusted herself off, glancing at the other Worlds of the Crossroads shining in the sky overhead. Four hours until the coin flipped to dayside. She glanced around at the still, mostly silent camp and checked the omens. Some desert rats were digging in the dumpster...five slave bodies in an open grave, unburned...the shadow of a pickaxe loomed over a small crack in the wall of the barracks.

Elise grumbled an impatient breath. Inconclusive. It was possible that she could try and spend the day here, wait for a better opportunity to act...but that had never exactly been her style. She had an opportunity approaching her, and oftentimes the only way to seize those opportunities was before they were in her lap. The vampire snuck over to the slave barracks, which were guarded by two sleepy idiots with guns. A bit excessive for a bunch of malnourished skinbags, but whatever. The more worrying part were the large, silver whistles dangling from chains around their necks, probably to be used in case of a disturbance. The roughshod men were sharing a pack of cigarettes and talking about their small, mortal worries...more worried about the slaves within the aluminum quonset huts than a predator among the rocks.

As she crept towards the left barracks, along the rocky perimeter, she was suddenly overcome by a strange sensation. It was a familiar feeling, like hearing her own echo on a distant mountain...or like the sensation of knowing she would see her face when looking in a mirror. It was a bit creepy. Elise looked into the darkness of the barracks through a dirty, locked window, and her smoldering red eyes narrowed in disgust. Human forms, alive but listless, were strewn about on dirty rag piles. Chains sat heavily amongst the living debris, resembling cold snakes coiled in greasy burrows. She gently tugged at the window frame, and found that not only was it locked, it was sealed shut.The only way in or out was by the door being guarded by the two goons.

Elise weighed her options. She could easily kill one of them silently, but two would be almost impossible to pull off without raising a general alarm...and it wasn’t time for that yet. The key would be to raise enough of a fuss to distract the slave guards, without feeling they had to blow their whistles. Elise would need some help.

She quickly crafted a plan, but she would have to act quickly. The vampire began to tap on the sealed window of the slave barracks, very lightly, any time one of the guards began to talk. Sure enough, after a few minutes, a gaunt, pallid face appeared in the window. The dead eyes widened as they saw a cloaked, red-eyed figure looming outside the dingy window, but Elise immediately held a finger up to her lips and pointed in the direction of the guards, towards the front of the barracks.

The slave, a man by the looks of it, hesitated but nodded slowly. Elise incanted her illusory spell carefully...it was difficult to perform with such a small amount of light to work with, but the moon gave just enough of a glow to form small, moving marionnettes in her palm. The faceless light puppets acted out a small play, where one of them dramatically keeled over, while another went and knocked at an unseen door. Elise let the illusory skit play over a few times, glancing at the front of the barracks to make sure she had still gone unnoticed.

She looked back into the eyes of the slave man, and he seemed to understand the implications. He held up a finger for her to wait for a moment, and vanished away from the window...

Quest: Cultist Troubles (Unmaking Quest)
Elise
Post WC: 1414
Quest WC: 3890/5000
 

Strazio Rockwell

Magus without Magick
Level 1
LV
0
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
7
Essence
€2,535
Coin
₡1,500
Tokens
20
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
“Who was that?” Jadarius asked Strazio.

“I have no idea,” Strazio turned around with a wicked smile, “But, she’s our fucking way out.”

Strazio began to march towards the barrack’s door, but Jadarius grabbed his arm, “But, how do you know that?”

“Stupid question,” Strazio said and ripped his arm free, “She got inside without setting any kind of alarm and she knows magick, if anyone is gonna break us out it’s gonna be her.”

With that said, he stormed towards the barrack’s entrance, tugging at the chain that connected him to Jadarius. Strazio kicked aside the sleeping forms of slaves as he trundled along in the darkness. Various aches still plagued his body from the earlier beating, but the thought of finally getting his fingers around Ramley’s throat was the sweetest balm he had ever felt. Jadarius offered some sort of protest, but his words were distant and he was too weak to play tug-of-war with their shared chain. As Strazio neared the door he recognized only one problem with their benefactor’s plan. He had no fucking idea what her little puppet show meant.

“Hey!” Strazio shouted as he reached the entrance, “Open this fucking door, dipshits!”

“For fuck’s sake, don’t you ever sleep?” One guard responded, “Go to bed Strazio, you got a long day of bustin’ open rocks tomorrow.”

Strazio continued to bang on the door, “Why don’t you come in here and make me you fuckin’ dumbass!”

Jadarius pulled at their chain and whispered, “Dude, you’re gonna get both of us killed.”

Strazio growled and yanked the chain hard and Jadarius hit the ground hard. A sharp look was shared between them before Strazio continued to cause a racket. Anything to make noise, he kicked and punched and clawed at the metal door. Then, just as he was getting winded, the lock shuddered and unlatched. Strazio stepped back. The door slowly opened, scraping against the concrete flooring. Both guards stood silhouetted by the night, their hands gently resting on their weapons.

"Just had to ruin it, didn't you?" The closest guard said, flicking his cigarette and stomping on it, "Just couldn't let us have a peaceful shift, could ya?"

"You act like I care," Strazio answered, "Fuck you and your dumbass friend."

"You're gonna care when I stomp on your neck."

The guard moved towards Strazio, raising the butt of his rifle. Beyond him the outside world sat innocuous. The cloaked stranger's presence was painfully absent. Strazio stepped back, trying to delay the inevitable rifle strike. Where the hell was she? Had he misinterpreted her plan that badly? Just as the guard was about to strike a light flashed in the distance. A skinny lance of red energy materialized from the night and skewered the other guard, killing him immediately. A moment of surprise was shared between Strazio and the remaining guard.

“Holy shit,” The guard cried out, his voice caught by his panic.

His shaking fingers raced towards the silver whistle around his neck, but Strazio pounced before they made it. Months of bottled rage poured forth in an eruption of violence. They both tumbled to the ground, wrestling for dominance, but the suddenness of the attack left the guard woefully unprepared. In moments Strazio had wrapped a length of chain around the guard’s throat and was working to crush his windpipe. It was a slow process. Strazio’s muscles burned beneath the surface of his skin, threatening to snap like rubber bands pulled too tight. Still, he continued to wrench on the man’s neck hoping that the throat would break first. Clumsily the guard pawed at his rifle, but asphyxiation and the unwieldy nature of his weapon kept him from getting a good handle on it. Eventually, after exhausting minutes the man stopped struggling and died.

Strazio exhaled and released. It was one thing to level magick at a person and erase them, it was another thing to slowly strangle the life out of them. The latter he had far less practice with and it was far more exhausting than he remembered.

“Took you long enough,” His benefactor’s voice chided.

He shoved aside the corpse and rose to a crouch. He regarded his savior, a young woman, hidden well behind a cloak save for the faint flash of red eyes. He grunted and turned towards the fresh corpses, pawing over them in search of a key.

“Mind if I come in?” She asked nonchalantly.

“Uh, sure?... And not everyone has the luxury of magick,” He said, finding a key and working it into his shackles, “If I did I wouldn’t have needed your help.”

“I’m sure you would’ve been fine,” The stranger answered, stepping over the threshold and nudging one of the corpses with her foot, “It’s not like you’re basically a walking cadaver or anything.”

He shot her a look, but it carried little weight considering just how exhausted he was. With a satisfying clink his shackles came free and a moment later he had freed Jadarius as well.

Strazio spoke, “I appreciate the help, name’s Strazio.”

“Elise,” She answered, looking at something off in the distance, “So, uh, where do they keep all the magic loot?”

“Dunno,” Strazio said, grabbing the guard’s rifle and hoisting it over his shoulder, “Don’t really care to be honest.”

“I can be of help in that regard,” Luka said as she stepped from the shadows and over the two corpses, “There are several dig sites, mostly picked clean, but I know which one still has the heartbeat of magic thrumming beneath it.”

Now that Luka was no longer covered in shadow Strazio could fully grasp her appearance. Silver filigree covered her skin, tracing intricate patterns across her tan flesh. Her fingers ended in translucent silver bulbs, much the same shape as a tree-frog’s toes. Flakes of silver caught the moonlight and reflected in her eye, giving them a glittery appearance.

“My name is Luka, and unlike our mundane friend here my interests reside wholly within the cursed bounty hidden beneath these hills,” She explained, carefully enunciating her words to give them a certain regality.

Strazio rolled his eyes, but Elise asked, “Cursed?”

“Oh yes, dreadfully so, the crypts beneath these mountains were never meant to be uncovered and more than a few unfortunate souls have met with terrible fates,” She explained, “I, being a Vexvour, find said curses quite tasty, if a bit rough to swallow at times. Regardless, I’ve yet to meet a malison I could not handle. That said, I do not give my expertise freely, I will provide my guidance and protection but in exchange for first choice of any spoils hidden within.”

While Luka prattled on, Strazio looked towards Jadarius, who was still hiding within the barracks. He asked, “You coming?”

Jadarius shook his head, moving further away from the opened door, “I’m good, man, I’m too exhausted to be anything besides a burden. Give them hell for me Straz, and try not to die.”

Strazio spat on the ground, “Suit yourself.”
 

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
Elise had heard of Vexvours during her studies at the Arcane Academy back on Erde Nona, but she had never seen one in real life. The vampire in her wondered what the creature’s blood would taste like, but the scholar in her chastised that instinct. Luka seemed to know what she was doing, which was more than could be said about most of the chattel locked up in these barracks.

Still, there was no reason she couldn’t be shrewd about this.

“First pick? I didn’t come here to barter with slaves. Let’s see what your crypts have to offer, then we’ll talk.” Elise said, crossing her arms. The two magic-hungry women held eachother’s glare for a few moments, which turned out to be a mistake on Elise’s part.

“You smell cursed, red-eyes. Maybe I have second thoughts about cooperating with a vampire.” Luka snapped. Several of the slaves, who had been taking turns freeing themselves from their chains, all snapped their attention onto Elise at once. The punk girl grimaced, but stood her ground.

“Like I’d want to wet my lips on you, dusty bitch. You already look half-juiced.” Elise snapped in return.

“We have more immediate god-damned problems.” Strazio growled in as loud a whisper as he dared. He stood at the doorway of the barracks, keeping an eye on the movements around the quarry. He hefted the guard’s weapon clumsily, shouldering it in the way he’d seen done for the past few weeks.

Elise craned her neck around the threshold of the door to see the trouble, and heard voices approaching.

“Probably coming to change the watch. Did you have a plan after this part or…?” Strazio seethed with increasing anger.

“Shut it, husk. We cut off the head and let these dogs tear eachother apart.” Elise said, making a snap decision to kill off the leader of this operation. If nothing else, that would surely slow down the cult of Darkseid. She pointed at the modular shack where Strazio knew Ramley was snoring away quietly.

“Wait! I thought we were getting out of here!” Luka protested. Elise bloomed into a fanged grin and glanced back at the froggish woman.

“Who’s we?” Elise taunted before sprinting off around the corner. There came a sudden series of shouts and bloody screams. Strazio looked back at Luka with a strained expression before chasing after the undead hellion. By the time he rounded the side of the garage, Elise had already torn a hole open in one of the bandit’s chest, and was hastily, noisily dismantling the second.
Even the seasoned brawler had to swallow a lump at the sight. Vampires had never meant much to him; fairy stories meant to warn young mages away from flirting with undeath. Seeing what Elise could do with her bare hands brought context to Luka’s hesitation.

No time to back down now. Already whistles and distant cries started to arise around the quarry, both as the dead men’s screams alerted the other watchmen, but also as haggard, desperate slaves started to scatter across the digsite like ants from a hill.

“You go get their head guy. I’ll raise hell here. Do you know how to use that thing?” Elise said, gesturing at the gun in Strazio was stirring around.

“It’s a rifle. The loud end points at the other man.” Strazio spat defensively. The vampire raised an eyebrow.

“That’s a shotgun. Have fun. I’ll come get you in a few minutes.” she winked. Strazio growled some profane response before wheeling around and sprinting into a low dash toward’s Ramley’s office. Satisfied, Elise bent down and rummaged for keys on the dead men’s person. Their walkie talkies were already squawking with shouted reports, along with the staccato reports of distant gunfire.

Strazio seemed like a fun guy. Too bad he was probably going to die, she mused.

The vampire finally found a set of keys among the gorey limbs at her feet, and briskly let herself into the compound’s main garage. The building was dank with old diesel fumes, and the air itself had an oily potency which made the vampire grin. Bandits and raiders loved their little truck workshops and garages...poorly ventilated and filled with inflammable liquids. You really couldn’t ask for a better bomb.

She immediately set about unstopping all of the scattered fuel canisters and gleefully spilling them around the perimeter of the workshop. She kept her ears pricked for any dumb guards bursting into the building, but they apparently didn’t need any wrenches or motor oil to hunt down a pack of escaped slaves.

Good.

It was at that moment that a cold blade slipped into her back. Despite her vampiric resistances, it was surprising enough that she yelped aloud and clawed at the air behind her. There was nothing there, but a shape scuttering beneath a nearby work table and along the wall. Muted sounds of combat came through the corrugated metal walls, but otherwise, silence settled over the dark garage.

“Real cute.” Elise growled, yanking the shiv out of her bloodless flesh and letting it clatter to the floor. Whatever this creature was, it clearly could see in the dark like her, and skulked accordingly. She thought back to her erstwhile skaven friend in Ledrillo. Maybe a cousin of his lived here. Time was wasting, however. She couldn’t dawdle here indefinitely fighting some rat mechanic; she had to at least try to keep her promise to the white-haired madman. The vampire found a torch lighter next to the propane tanks and quickly scraped a burst of sparks onto her trail of fuel.

In a matter of moments, and in a rush of heat, the workshop was illuminated like the inside of a crematorium. It was so violent, in fact, that Elise was caught off guard and staggered into a pool of flickering gasoline.

“Ah! Shit!” she cursed, throwing her black cloak onto the ground as it began to smoke and burn. She turned to make a hasty exit, when a small, sharp body jumped onto her face and began stabbing at her with another rusty shiv.

“Killy you! Make her bones!” the creature shrieked. Elise, also shrieking, grabbed hold of her tiny assaulter and violently wrenched the assailant off of her lacerated, oozing face. The vampire flung the furious little...thing...off into the cluttered workshop and felt her way along the wall towards the door. Little bastard had put her eyes half out...it would be a few minutes until she could see clearly again. Too small to be a skaven. Too brave. Whatever. She fumbled for the garage door button as she slipped out the door, and a rush of cool desert air slipped under the new, yawning portal to feed the hungry flames.

She did her best to make her way in the vague, blurry direction of the jeeps, where Greenstripes was still waiting in their jeep. The fire in the garage had been noticed, of course, but at this point the compound was in such chaos that the few responders could only vainly spray at it with handheld extinguishers.

“Hey! You!” came a voice from behind her. There was a racket of gunfire from yards away, and the vampire fully expected to get gunned down...but her already raked flesh stayed intact. Instead, she felt a cold, clammy shoulder lift under her bulk as Luka helped her towards the jeeps. Most of them had already been taken away to chase down escaping chattel, but Elise pointed towards her own car and muttered.

“Red one is...mine…”

“Don’t look too deeply into this. I didn’t want to...hang on.” Luka muttered, firing a few adroit shots at something Elise couldn’t see before continuing, “...didn’t want to owe you my life.”

“I’ve seen your life...not impressed.” Elise grunted as the vexvour hefted her into the passenger seat of the jeep. It struck the vampire that this particular species looked much stronger than their wiry, silvery appearance would suggest. Her pondering was interrupted as Luka abruptly screamed, and Elise reached out with a supernatural grip to grab the barrel of the submachine gun.

“What the fuck?!” Luka yelped, trying to wrestle the gun into firing position as a gelatinous, writhing mass boiled up through the gap beneath the gearshift.

“Stop! This is my familiar! Chill!” Elise shouted over Luka’s indignant whining.

“Greenstripes! Take us to the office.” the punkish wizard shouted over the growing din of chaos. Her familiar obliged and set about starting the haggard jeep with angry, whirring cranks of the engine. Elise shook her head and pinched at her eyes as her vision started to swim and whirl back to her. Luka was crawling over the back seats of the jeep to take up a firing position, muttering “Ick! Ick, ick ick.” as she wiped terratopus mucus off of her skin.

Greasy black smoke was rising high into the crisp, Rojanian night, and everywhere was full of violence and angry shouting. The jeep finally turned over, and their mollusk driver wasted no time in swinging the junker around in a spray of sand and gravel. The tired, weathered wheels blew a rooster tail of debris into the air as the car rocketed towards the main office, just as the main fuel repository in the garage exploded.

The thunder rocked the jeep, but it the tough old car ground to a halt outside of Ramsley’s quarters. Elise was sure that Strazio was either dead or had moved on by this point, but it was worth a shot. She leaned on the Jeep’s pathetic, meeping horn and shouted at the top of her lungs.

“Strazio! Straziooo! We’re leaving!” she roared, even as smoldering debris from the detonated warehouse began to rain down on them...

Quest: Cult Troubles (Unmaking Quest)
Elise
Post WC: 1625
Quest WC: 5,515/5000
 

Strazio Rockwell

Magus without Magick
Level 1
LV
0
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
7
Essence
€2,535
Coin
₡1,500
Tokens
20
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
And just like that, shit went down. Screams and the sound of distant explosions filled the night air, but none of it was of much consequence to Strazio. He walked towards Ramley's office. His body ached from overexertion, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered in his mind besides seeing Ramley's disgusting face get splattered. After months of holding out through spite alone Strazio finally had his chance.

He carried the guard's shotgun over his shoulder. Such a weapon was foreign to him, but it was no doubt magickal in nature. Something about that thought irked him. How could these goons have such easy access to magick when his had vanished? It didn't matter, at least not in the moment. Every step towards Ramley's office built pressure in Strazio's chest, like a plugged kettle ready to explode. As he neared he could hear the fucker's frantic voice, calling out commands over the radio. Strazio smiled and kicked open the door.

Ramley whirled around in his seat, getting tangled up in the radio's handset cord. His chubby face was red as a beet and sweat had soaked into his white shirt. He stared up at Strazio, astonished fear plain on his face.

"How did you escape?" He asked, stuttering violently.

"Better question is, 'how are you going to?'," Strazio said, lowering the rifle with a smirk, "Fuck you, Ramley."

Strazio focused his hate and anger into the weapon. In the way he had commanded his magick he commanded the weapon to fire. But, it merely sat impotent in his hands. His heartbeat skipped. He had seen the guards use them before. They loaded them with special metals and willed them to fire. It made sense, his magick worked in a similar way; it just didn't need the crutch of using a physical object. But, now with Ramley under the gun, Strazio realized just how little he understood the weapon.

"Just do it already," Ramley spat viciously.

Again Strazio focused his hatred of the man and again the weapon refused to fire. What the hell was he missing? He turned the weapon on it's side and gave it a quizzing onceover. The realization the he wasn't full of holes hit Ramley and he made a move. He grabbed a revolver from a desk drawer. Strazio was one him before he could unload. They fell to the ground, wrestling qgainst one another in the tight confines. Though Ramley was out of shape, Strazio was malnourished and exhausted. Several shots exploded inside the shed, all of them missing. Strazio fought against Ramley's arm, trying in vain to disarm him.

Another gunshot, this one ripping a hole in Strazio's gut. The sudden shock and impact drained his strength. He struggled weakly as Ramley shoved him off. The foreman crawled to his feet, putting distance between the two. Strazio grabbed at his boots, but strength had left him. Ramley tugged his leg free and delivered a boot to Strazio's head.

"Piece of trash," Ramley muttered through rasping breaths, "Shoulda put you down a long time ago."

Bleary eyed Strazio glared at him, unable to do much else. Ramley pulled the trigger, but the revolver was empty. He swore and opened the cylinder. Spent brass fell to the floor, clattering around harmlessly. He delivered another stomp to Strazio's head before retrieving more ammo from his desk. A certain calmness washed over him as he watched Ramley load the revolver. His rage was still there, but without magick he was left impotent. He steadied his breathing, refusing to give Ramley the satisfaction of him panicking. Maybe he'd bleed out before he was shot to death.

In the darkness of his psyche something stirred. Those emerald eyes resurfaced and the creature's presence became unignorable. It unfurled within him, stretching endlessly within the confined space. Near death tranquility transformed into clarity. He became aware of every little thing around him. He felt the rapid expansion of Ramley's lung, the quickened rush of blood in his veins. And if he could feel these things he could act upon them. Mentally he reached out, constricting Ramley's body. The man froze, unable to even speak. Slowly Strazio began disassembling him, breaking his flesh apart into discrete units. It came naturally to him, as second nature as breathing. The revolver dropped as the man's hands disintegrated. Strazio stood.

"You're afraid," Strazio said, his voice even and emotionless.

Such an accusation was obvious, but just as Strazio could feel the blood in Ramley's veins he could feel the man's thoughts. They sloughed off his brain, exploding out into the world for anyone to grab. How disgusting. Contempt filled Strazio's throat like bile. And this contempt bloomed into hatred and this hatred made the creature recoil. Strazio's clarity melted away as the emerald-eyed best slunk back into the recesses of his mind. Ramley fell to the ground, screaming as blood gushed from his freshly acquired stumps. Within moments he had bled out.

Strazio exhaled, clutching his gunshot wound. His senses dulled and his mind fell into a haze. Elise's voice cried out for him in the distance. On instinct he limped towards it, trailing blood behind him.

"Wow," Elise said over the Jeep's engine, "You look like shit."

Strazio stared at her blankly before climbing into the Jeep and passing out.
 

Elise

Wiki Curator, Esq.
Staff member
Level 2
LV
0
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
21
Essence
€4,376
Coin
₡3,287
Tokens
70
World
Mesa Roja
Profile
Click Here
Elise watched dispassionately as Strazio pitched forward into the open trunk of the jeep, with blood pulsing out around his hands. He seemed delirious, and inches away from death. Her red eyes were unusually cool as she regarded the blood flowing out of him.

“Oh well. Poor guy. Floor it Stripes!” Elise shouted, turning around in the passenger seat. The jeep peeled out in another shower of gravel just as a hail of small arms fire began to shred into its flank. A stray bullet clipped the vampire in her arm, but it went straight through the clammy flesh with hardly any notice from the wizard. Luka, on the other hand, yelped aloud and took cover beneath the rusty red paneling.

“Strazio! Straz c’mon! Hang in there!” Luka said, putting her hands on his wound to try and staunch the bleeding. The dimensional rambler coughed weakly in response, and managed to flip Ramley’s office the middle finger as the jeep rocketed out through the front gates. A clatter of barbed wire and chain link fencing slid over the chassis of the weathered vehicle, but the fencing had been designed to keep in slaves, not all-terrain trucks. They burst through the barricade easily and took off headlong into the desert night.

After a few minutes of driving, Elise finally grabbed the roll cage and turned around to grin at her handiwork. Even in the inky darkness, it was easy to see the towering plume of smoke, underlit by a violent orange glow. Even at this distance, occasional gunfire was audible over the grumbling jeep engine. The vampire noticed that Luka had bandaged Strazio’s wounds with a few rags and scraps of her own threadbare slave clothing, and was currently doing chest compressions on the increasingly lifeless albino. Was he actually albino? Eh whatever.

“Sorry, lady. That dude is done for.” Elise sneered, looming over the two of them like the specter of death. Luka glared up at Elise with bared, flat teeth and angry, viscous tears.

“Spoken like a true vamp! Us living types don’t give up so easily!” she snapped back. Elise rolled her eyes, but continue to watched the display. Luka held Strazio’s head as the jeep traversed a bumpy gulch, and looked up at Elise again.

“You’re a mage of some kind. Don’t you know any healing magic?” Luka pleaded. The vampire just snorted a cruel laugh.

“Bitch I might. So what?”

“Fuckin...dead-cow lookin’ whore...” Luka growled. She looked helplessly down at the dying man for another moment, before staring defiantly at Elise once more. The vampire was getting tired of this shtick, but she was kinda interested in that fabled magical tomb so...Elise reconsidered breaking her neck.

“...what about turning him? Make him...like you? It would...it would be something. And you’d get a meal out of it right?” Luka said somberly. At this, Elise burst into a full-on maniacal laugh.

“Oh, what? So now being a vampire is useful? Eat a bag of cursed dicks.” Elise cackled. She moved to sit back down when a glint of light from the arcane quarry caught her eye. She paused, and stared at the distant camp. A moment passed before the bright, pinprick of white light appeared again. Headlights.

“Looks like we pissed some of them off bad enough for a chase.” she mumbled, mostly to herself. She squinted hard, and her vampiric sight honed in on the bouncing truck like a hawk. It was a big, nasty, over-built monster of a vehicle...and from the looks of it, the technical was much better suited to speeding over boulders than her own meager jeep.

Another glint of light caught her eye...from somewhere on top of the machine. An orange pinprick, like the light of a match, rocketed out of the top of the distant truck and into the sky.

Coming towards them. Elise’s eyes widened and she barely had time to incant a ‘Tao Ruhs!’ before the missle slammed into the glistening, crystalline barrier. Although it didn’t instantly obliterate them, the shockwave from the missile knocked Elise on her butt into the front of the jeep. The deafening explosion kicked up a cloud of dusty sand, which the beleaguered jeep powered through with a rattle of protest.

The vampire peeled herself off of the filthy floormat, and shook the stars out of her vision.

“That didn’t come from the gun store…” Elise muttered.

“That’s Wrencher! That little hag must be gunning for you, torching her shop and all.” Luka coughed, throwing a loose tarp away from herself and Strazio. The vampire punk glanced at her dimly, almost surprised the vexvour was still around.

“Does she like to stab people’s eyes?” Elise asked with cool rancor.

“Yeah she was probably the thing that fucked you up in the gara-”

“Sahj Itary Ohs!”

A crackling spear of red materialized above Elise’s outstretched hand, and hurtled towards the far-off truck. She clicked her tongue in anger as the arcane projectile shattered against the technical’s reinforced chassis, with no visible effect. Her already pale face blanched as Wrencher’s technical returned fire with another hissing missile.

She was able to get the Glimmering Ward spell up just in time to prevent obliteration, but once more the jeep skidded and lurched in protest. The poor old jeep skidded sideways into a patch of rocky debris, and a loud, painful sounding bang issued from the undercarriage. Greenstripes tried the pedals a few times, but it was clear the vehicle was finally disabled. Luka looked from the furious vampire, back to the approaching headlights.

“Well now what?” the silvery, froggish woman croaked. She glanced back at Elise, but the vampire and her slimy familiar were already gone.

“Fuckin’ vamps…”
 
Top