Well, we've all had it happen. Partnerships aren't perfect. And even in moments when it seems like everything is going to work out, when all the details have been figured out and the first posts have been started, sometimes it breaks anyways. That doesn't mean I love the stories any less. So, I guess the thing to do is bring them back here. This is the Land of Lost Stories. It is where my old roleplays come to be reborn in new, grand splendor. Take a peek, read a bit, and if anything sparks your interest please send me a message. But first. Read this. At least the colored portions, yes? My partners are important to me, and I hate it when I start a story with someone and we learn that we are not compatible with each other. Therefore, I offer this handy little overview of myself, as well as a few expectations for you. Expectations and Me (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Expectations and Me (open) Expectations and Me (close) I expect... ...a decent posting length and skill Now, I'm not one for a forced word count. Not only does it tend to kill any enjoyment that comes along, but it also tends to stifle general creativity. At the same time, I am a wordy writer. My introductions will almost certainly be 1000+, and I'll regularly knock out 500+ in a standard reply. And I have found that a discrepancy between the posting lengths of partners makes things difficult. So, please, be a fairly detailed, well-organized, and lengthy writer. If you don't know whether or not that means you, go take a look-see at some of the roleplays I'm already in, and they'll tell you better than I ever could. ...communication. I'm a patient partner, and if something comes up in your life I'll wait until you can come back. But if you don't tell me, I'm going to get unhappy. If you haven't been able to give me a reply for a week, send me a nice little "hey, I'm alive, and you are a brilliant partner," so I can go "Why thank you! Hope you are doing well." Then I'll be good. Ignore me, and our story might wind up here again. ... character development. Almost all of these plots are going to be driven by the interactions between two or more characters. I need you to be able to work with the human mind and detail things out without relying upon action to make things happen. I am... ...not good at romance. I can do deep, meaningful partnerships. I can do love-hate, maybe. But pure, sweet, romance is not my forte. Not in the least. If it develops naturally, if I could see my character slowly approaching that mindset, then it might happen. But I will never make a story where the characters are expected to fall in love. Even if one of us plays a guy and the the other a girl. If it happens naturally, well and good. But I won't change a plot to allow for character romance. It either happens or it doesn't. ...a fairly aggressive planner. This is less significant in the stories where the details are already set up, as... the details are set up. But some of these stories are ones that began the planning process, but never finished them. I don't mean to be aggressive, I just am. I try to hold to my ideas until I believe that there is a better idea. If you fold easily, I may not be a good partner for you. Mostly because I'll bulldoze ideas. So, make sure you can make your opinion heard, be prepared for the potential of a little bit of healthy argument, and we will be great. ..fine with anything except sex. I would much prefer to suggest that sex is to happen then detail it happening. Keep the swearing, blood, and gore tasteful, and we will get along well. I'm not squeamish about violence. But sexual scenes don't gain me any pleasure. If there is a reason to do them in terms of plot I could be persuaded. Otherwise, fade to black. There! That wasn't so painful, was it? Now. Onto the story ideas. There are two types. One is a story that has an opening post. The other is one that does not. I'm going to go ahead and divide ideas up by that. I'll try and give you a basic overview of the plot, and any already created characters. If it has an opener, I'll put it in a spoiler at the end. Established Plots: If there are any questions at any time, don't hesitate to ask. Absorbed Into Insanity (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Absorbed Into Insanity (open) Absorbed Into Insanity (close) This idea is very complicated and very well established. But some of the ideas that relate to this story are a large part of the plot, and the way it is going to develop. My inclination would be to tell you about all those things so that we are embarking upon this journey with equal knowledge, but I know some people like being surprised. If such is true, don't open the "explanation" spoiler, and PM me telling me that you didn't read about the secret, and you want to let the information come out naturally through the writing. I'll gladly respect that. If not, enjoy the secrets. Either way, this story has no specific ending, and no specific direction. It just has very well established background information, that will relate to the future, but will not determine the actions of your character at all. The basic idea is that there is a young man who was the heir to the Family, a secret organization that ran the world wide, responsible for caring and maintaining the magic population. In this case, magic belongs to humans, making them something like witches and warlocks. It is not something that can be learned, but it is something that needs to be honed, like any good skill. A person is born with the ability to do something, and those traits tend to run in the family. People with like magic also tend to be more romantically compatible because they see the world in the same way, so children are more likely to have the same ability as their parents. There has been a strange, black force gathering, distorting the magic community and the rest of the world. Everyone is worried about what this dark force means for their lives and the survival of the world, but there is still a great shock with the heir of the Family is sent out to combat this darkness. It is clear from the attitudes that they never expect him to return. Two weeks later, the Family is rocked by a terrifying accident. The manor that belongs to the Head of the Family suddenly went up in flames, and the Lord and Lady only barely escaped with their lives. In secret, the Lord and Lady reveal that their son had returned, but he had been consumed by the darkness instead of defeating it. He had tried to kill them, and believed that he had succeeded. Now, to permanently destroy the darkness, they had to kill him, before he had a chance to destroy the world. This is where the plot opens up a bit, depending on what kind of character you would like to play. I am going to explain it as it was originally written, but from here on, in terms of future plot, is open to change. Among the assassins sent to seek out the young man is the youngest daughter of the Spymaster, whose family has served the Lord and Lady for hundreds of years. Determined to rise above her older brothers, who have already done assassination work for the Lord and Lady, she is determined to find the Heir and kill him before anyone else gets a chance. When she finds a strange lead, a man who had been hit by a car and committed to an insane asylum, she goes against orders, breaks communication with the Family so that no other assassin can get the information, and goes to investigate. There, she finds the Heir, but greatly changed from his interaction with the darkness. Uncertain if the man facing her is really the Heir, and unwilling to kill an innocent, she settles into the asylum as a new nurse/doctor, who would be devoted to his care, and observes. Over the course of a week, she unwillingly finds herself growing fond of the strange, silent young man with haunted eyes, and the Family, convinced that her sudden disappearance means that she ran across the heir and was destroyed by him, sends out teams of assassins, circling out from her last point of contact. Eventually the young assassin finds incontrovertible evidence that the strange young man is the Heir, but she hesitates in the blow that would kill him, giving him enough time to persuade her of the truth. The darkness was not trapping him, he was trapping the darkness. Should she kill him, it would return to the world, and once more resume its former course. Now she must protect the Heir from the assassins sent to take his life, while also making sure that the true doctors and nurses do not become suspicious of the strange things that seem to be growing ever closer to the facility. At the same time, the Lord and Lady are getting desperate. For the first time in a millennium, the line of the Head of the Family has been broken. Should the Lord and Lady die before they can get a new heir, the Throne would be open. There is a Civil War brewing under the surface, as the various Clans within the Family silently fight each other. Slowly the people are gathering behind five different contenders, who are each certain that this is the perfect time for a new Clan to take over as Head of the Family, while those who remain do everything they can to support the Clan of the Lord and Lady. The only one who can prevent the growing war from becoming a reality is the Heir, but everyone believes him lost for good, never having returned after he "defeated the darkness." Explanations (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Explanations (open) Explanations (close) Warning. Spoilers. :) The darkness is not evil. Unlike the soul of a human, which flees from the earth upon the failing of the physical body that contains it, and enters whatever afterlife to which it is bound, magic is something that was not originally a part of the universe. Because of that, when the body containing it dies, the magic is released, and it remains. Through the history of earth this has hardly ever been a problem, because there have not been enough Mages dying for the magic to begin to actually impact the world. But after the industrial revolution, when the human population began to grow exponentially, so did the population of Mages. And therefore the "darkness," which before had been barely noticeable, began to swell. The free magic, naturally drawn to itself, formed into a chaotic force, since it had no way to be controlled. Modern day, the Lady suffered a massive heart attack and briefly died, before being brought back to life a few minutes later by the Family doctor. Unknown to everyone, the Lady was only a few days into pregnancy, when her child was only a few cells large. When the Lady died, her magic fled from her body and joined up with the darkness. When she was revived, her magic returned to her, but a tiny spec of the Darkness returned with it. Her body naturally and silently rejected the foreign magic, but, instead, it settled in her womb, where it copied the growing cells of her child and began to grow itself, forming into a person. The darkness is naturally absorbative, pulling in the powers of others. It was not a true child of the Lord and Lady, and so did not have its own ability. However, growing in such close proximity to a child that was creating its own magic, it naturally began to absorb that ability. Slowly, as the ability was absorbed, so was the body of the second child. When the Lady entered labor, ready to give birth to twins, she instead gave birth to one child, whose back was welded to the deceased and deformed body of his "twin". They removed the dead twin, and the Lord and Lady, though grieving, devoted all of their attention to caring for their one remaining child. Ten years passed in peace and love. The child, the Heir, possessed the powerful mental abilities that were so common in his family. However, in his tenth year of life, strange things began to happen around the heir. The staff would find themselves drained of energy, struggling to perform their abilities. They would quickly recover, and the Lord and Lady marked it to simply exhaustion, even when they were the ones exhibiting the "symptoms." That was, of course, until they saw their son revealing small hints of these "lost" powers, who had no idea that he was taking them from the people around them, and that there was anything wrong with suddenly displaying new abilities. Suddenly seeing the death of his twin in a new light, the Lord and Lady realized that their son's true ability was not the mind-magic, but was rather the absorption of other powers. Nothing really changed after that point, except for the fact that the Lord and Lady began to distance themselves from their son. They brought some of the best teachers from all over the world to teach their son a level of control which had been hereto unknown, but no longer did they care for their son the way that they used to. The Heir, uncertain of what he had done to anger his parents so, devoted himself wholeheartedly to learning his lessons. And slowly he began to forget that everything around him felt wrong. He kept his "true" ability hidden, just as he had promised his parents. Now a grown man, the Heir, still subconsciously desperate to regain the love of his parents, agreed to go and destroy the darkness with his ability. His parents, having seen the almost exponential growth of his powers, no longer even trusted that he was truly their son, and let him go willingly, fully expecting the darkness to consume him as it had consumed so many others. But when the Heir drew close to the darkness it willingly and easily entered into the body that had been constructed of itself. And the darkness, all of the magic of the ages, settled into his physical body. And the magic that fled from those who would die during the civil war naturally joined up with the darkness that resided inside of him. But what person would willingly accept that they are not human, that they do not really exist. The darkness was him, but the Heir refused to believe it. he fought the darkness, desperate to drive it into a corner, and it naturally pressed against that compression, causing it to spill over from him at moments, and slowly driving him insane. Should he ever accept it, he would understand the world in a way that had never been experienced before. But that would also mean accepting that he is, and always has been, a part of that darkness, which may destroy him, his ability to empathize and his naturally caring nature, as surely as the insanity would. This story does have an ending in my head. The Heir eventually accepts the darkness, but the assassin keeps him grounded in his humanity. He then returns to the Family and ends the Civil War. Once everything is settled, he returns to the Earth from where all magic originally came, ensuring that all freed magic will have a place to go, and will never gather together on the surface of the earth again. Which is damn depressing! That ending isn't set in stone, not by any means. It is going to be dependent upon the story, the character you choose, pretty much everything. But that is the ending that came with it originally, and for some reason it feels true to me. At least, right now. But feel free to discuss it with me. And that is everything there is to be known. Here is the opener. Of which I am so remarkably proud. Hopefully most things in there should be clear, even if you didn't read the Explanation. Enjoy! Opener (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Opener (open) Opener (close) And the world burned around him. It crashed into the ground, burrowing deep into the muck, and from it came the darkness. It roiled like magma, seeping and invasive, coating everything it touched. It coated him, as well, rolling over his limp form, and when it had finished with that it sank into him, burrowed in through his mouth and nose and eyes and every pore in his body, deeper and deeper inside of his very being, until the abyss that surrounded was inside of him as well. It left him empty, infinite, black. He rejected it, tried to push it back out of himself, but it felt like trying to tear away his own heart. It clung to him with sticky tendrils, and every chunk that he ripped away would be picked back up by the black strands that roiled around him, and every time it left him weeping, screaming in pain, desperate, as though he was killing his best friend. As though he was killing himself. Yet still he tried. He had to try. It was wrong, this thing inside of him. It should not exist. And it had been his duty to destroy it. Now, destroying it might very well destroy himself. Would he welcome that? This was his life, and he couldn’t say that he hated it. In fact, despite all the challenges he had faced, he loved the thought of every moment dearly. Perhaps not the reality of every moment, but the thought, the most basic idea, of losing one moment to which he had a right, be that moment valuable or not, was horrendous. Yet the darkness inside of him dictated that he should not exist, simply should not be. But he rejected that nothingness, rejected the void that tried to consume him. He filled it with memories, the sweet taste of childhood, honing his skills, even the bitter memories of those strange moments when his parents no longer seemed to love him, no longer seemed to look at him as though he was their child. But the void was infinite, and as many memories as he poured into it, of warmth and the feeling of shelter that came from being curled up in the blankets of his bed, of the pure living scent of spring as the gardens that filled his yard burst into joyous life, of the pain of injury and the pleasure of being loved, they all got reduced to nothing, to the tiniest pinpricks of light in an infinite darkness. And he was left alone, empty, infinite. He could not even have told himself where he was at this point. The world seemed to warp and bend, twisting around until he was staring at the back and the front of his own head, until he was looking down at the buildings and was strolling along the grains of wood within the trees. He wanted to clamp his hands over his eyes, but when he tried that it seemed to make no difference. The only thing that changed was that he could now feel the exact shape and texture of his eyes, pressing into the palms of his hands. He knew he was still moving. The feel of his own body was one of the only things that kept him stable, kept him upright and traveling. The flames burned around him still, but he knew they were his own, personal psychosis. He wanted to smash them, to make them vanish, and vanish with that the pain of those final moments with his family. But fear kept him paralyzed, kept him from acting, because there was no guarantee that even a touch of anger wouldn’t have the same disastrous consequences, wouldn’t make the flames leap higher and bring the world crashing down around him. He saw the car, recognised its presence flying towards him. But he lost the significance, could no longer determine what exactly that meant. And the echoing sound of the horn only blended together into all the other noise. He felt it collide with his body, could feel himself flying forwards. It was with a little bit of sympathy that he caught the thoughts of the person who had hit him. The woman certainly didn’t need this. Wasn’t there supposed to be some form of cease when the body broke? Wasn’t there supposed to be a drifting away, a blanking out? But the world stayed firmly in place around him. Even though he knew his eyes were closed, knew that he couldn’t have moved his body even if he wanted to, there was no rest. He would have given anything to be able to rest. But all he could be was awake, alone, empty. They kept him in the hospital for three days, desperately trying to find a way to manage him. He could feel their frustration; it ripped into him like a scalpel and left him bare and bleeding, but he could not do anything to stop it. They could never understand how much they pressed on him, even when they left him alone. They blended together with the twisting world, warped together into a many headed monster that leered at him from every side. And the outside world tempted him. It beckoned, gleaming, tried to lure him away. Lure him in. When he finally answered the call, slipped out of his own little cell right through the cracks in the locked door, he very nearly didn’t go back. He hated that place, with its constant hum of the far-too-bright lights that flickered overhead, sending spears that ripped into every corner, into every surface, with the people who didn’t know how to leave him alone, with the fading heartbeats of the wounded that he knew he could aid, but could never truly heal. At least out there he was alone with his darkness. Here its tentacles stretched towards everyone, wanting to envelop them as well, and it was only through sheer force of will that he kept it all within himself, even as he teetered, moments from spilling over. One of the staff who was on break saw him walking away, and guessed from the state of his clothes that he was not supposed to be leaving. The nurse walked towards him, clearly intending to stop him, but he stopped her before she could even get close. One moment she was conscious, the next she was crumpling to the ground, unconscious. It took a few more steps before he too was floored by the reality of what he had just done. The darkness did not feel, it did not care, it simply was, something powerful, empty, and infinite. He had told himself that he was nothing like it, that the fact that it was inside of him did not make it a part of him. Yet here he was, flicking people aside with no more concern than he would pay to a grain of sand. His body crumpled, falling to the ground only a few feet away from the nurse. But his mind didn’t stop. The darkness would not let him rest. They decided later that he had attacked her, knocked her unconscious, even though they could find no signs of trauma. It was as though her brain had simply ceased to work for a couple of seconds, but that was not a valid option by the laws of their science. They decided he was dangerous, and clearly mentally unstable. They kept everyone as far away from him as possible while waiting for clearance to transfer him to a nearby facility, which was experienced in handling dangerous psychotics. He was fine with that. He wanted them all to stay away. If they stayed far away, perhaps he would not hurt them. They never were able to diagnose them. After all, he never spoke a word. But it would be the facility’s duty to handle him now. The facility was warm and soft, especially compared to the cold, sterile whiteness of the hospital. He settled into the back corner of his new room and set about learning how to dismiss everything around him from his attention. The doctors were the easiest. He had been familiar with the inner workings of a human mind since early childhood, and he had already gone through all of the necessary trials of learning how to control that ability. And so he ignored them, to their ever increasing frustration. They could not help him if he wouldn’t talk to him, they would say. They would try and find any sort of stimulus that might drag him out of his shell. But he had far more important matters to attend to than their desires. He wished that they would leave him alone, like the others at the hospital had. Because sometimes he lashed out without thinking, wishing they would simply leave him alone. Once, he accidentally exploded the lamp in the ceiling, and a sharp sliver of glass sliced open the cheek of the nurse who was trying to get him to eat. Another time, one of the doctors kept walking into the walls in his room, completely convinced that the spot was the door out of the room. The man was given five days leave, and told to rest. He didn’t want to hurt and confuse them. It would be better if they left him alone. Maybe then, in those moments when the repressed darkness finally surged out of his control and splattered all over the walls, no one would get hurt. One of the Damned (Move your mouse to reveal the content) One of the Damned (open) One of the Damned (close) This story takes place in a fantasy world that consists entirely of islands, and maybe some larger land masses. Because of that, all travel is based upon ships, and pirates are a major things. Our story starts with our characters, who are leaving a small village to enter the Devil's Trap, a chain of islands that has sunk many a ship that has entered it. Legend tells that there is a great treasure lying at the center of the island. Legend also tells that everyone who has gone in has never returned. Our characters don't really believe in the legend, but having recently gone out of work, and looking for new adventure, they decide it is worth it to go take a look. They work their way into the island, to the very center after facing several strange challenges, and find a grand temple, made of strange materials. Eager, they hurry in, only to be confronted with strange supernatural beings. My character sacrifices herself to allow your character to escape, and your character manages to survive on the island for half a month, unable to escape, before being caught again. It turns out that the legends were true. At the center of the temple lies the Heart of the Earth, which allows the wielder to control every aspect of the planet, all over the world at once, as though it was part of his or her own body. Long ago, determined to protect it, a clan of warriors dedicated themselves to the temple, and were granted strange abilities in order to complete their task. They were given control of the elements, as well as the ability to shift their form to any appearance. Those people who did not die on the way to the temple were grabbed by the guardians, who would change these adventurers into one of them, allowing the oldest in their ranks to "retire". The transformation takes one lunar month, and by the end of the process not only does the individual have the supernatural abilities, but they are also closely bonded to the Heart of the Earth, and do not wish to leave it. However, my character's drive to explore and experience is so great that she is able to break away after the completion of the process, take your character from the place where the process is being completed on him, and escape the island. The leader, the person who originally chose to dedicate himself to the Heart millennia ago, chose to let them go, because neither of them would be able to speak of the Heart to outsiders, and the draw they feel would eventually force them to return to the Heart, when the world no longer possessed a strong enough pull to keep our characters away. Our characters return to the small village from which they left, and there something nasty happens that teaches both of them that they should not reveal their powers to the world unless they have a way to conceal the fact that they are the ones doing it. From there... they go on to become pirates! They gather together a team of the best of the best, and become the most wanted criminals in the world. There will be countless little side adventurers, all under the story of them and their powers and how they affect the world. Or something like that. Other than their abilities and how they get it, the world is very open to negotiation. This world has the beginnings of a map. Here! The island in the center is where our story will begin. From there, we go out! And when it gets too large for me to map I whine and complain for a little while and then forget about the map. Map (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Map (open) Map (close) There is also some very basic information about the world. There are three main naval empires that control the world: Tirius Empire: A fairly traditional Empire, Tirius is run by a monarchy, and the king makes all final decisions. They follow a merchant system, which believes that gold, silver, and other precious minerals, represent wealth. Therefore, the Kingdom and individuals within the system all try and collect as much of the precious matter as they can. Tirius is a conservative empire, where those who have always had power do everything to keep their power, and everyone else is repressed. However, children are raised with a strong sense of nationality, giving Tirius a large reserve from which to pull military soldiers. Because of this, Tirius has the greatest control of the oceans. Lahara Nation: The most liberal of the three major powers, Lahara is continually working to improve the state of the world through education, philosophy, and inventions. Everyone is expected to contribute to the good of the society, but everyone is also taken care of should they fall upon hard times. Because Lahara has a more inward focus than Tirius and Nundra, it has taken over fewer islands. But those islands that it does control are places of peace and beauty where many people want to live. however, the lifestyle common in Lahara takes a lot of resources, so exploration and reclamation is very important to the Council that leads the nation. Nundra Union: A pure capitalist system, Nundra is run by the most powerful corporations, and almost any form of regulative government has fallen aside. Because everyone is working only for their own benefit there are some people who are incredibly wealthy, and many more who are dirt poor. Because Nundra can never be anything more than a Union, trust is often hard to come by. This keeps Nundra in a state of semi-constant Civil War, which keeps it from becoming the major force of the world, despite the massive resources that the Union has to pull. Independent Islands: Some islands have yet to fall under the control of one of the three major powers, and retain their original culture. More of the world than the three powers would like to admit is in this state. This can also include islands that once belonged to one of the Three, but managed to secede from the Country, and are now under their own rule. Pirate Islands: Hives of anarchy, pirate islands submit to no one and do what they please, just like the people who dwell in them. However, most pirate islands are protected by a powerful pirate, which keeps those looking to conquer the land at bay. At least, that is, until the pirate falls in power, leaving the island to be claimed by the first nation that can get it. Unclaimed Islands: Some Islands are just too dangerous or too useless for anyone to want to bother themselves about. Maybe someday, when the world gets more crowded, people will turn to these empty islands. Opener (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Opener (open) Opener (close) Note: Kiro was my partner's character. Take the name, or leave it, as you like. I'm just too lazy to edit it out right now. Zalika stood with her feet firmly planted on the rocking deck of the two person boat which was slowly making its way into the cove. The water was calm and smooth, almost glassy, and so clear that it almost looked as though she could stick her arm in up to the elbow and touch the sandy bottom. Yet the simple fact that the bay looked so calm was precisely the fact that worried her. So far, the places that looked the easiest to sail always wound up to be the most challenging. And there was no part of their voyage that could be called easy. It was no wonder the natives called the ring of islands the Devil’s Trap, because, at least as far as the legends were concerned, no one who went in ever came back out. And Zali had indeed seen plenty of evidence of the ill fated journey of the ships that had entered the Trap, most of them run aground against the shallow shoals that could not be seen from deck, or trapped in a passage that had looked wide enough to safely pass through, but was actually narrow enough to trap the ship between the edges of the cliff face. The treasure on some of those ships alone would be enough to make anyone’s fortune, but those who came in to the maze to scavenge vanished just the same as those who were hunting for the legendary treasure rumored to be waiting for the first person who could make it to the center and claim it. But the legends never stopped anyone. In fact, if the evidence about them was to be believed, the darker the legends surrounding this island became, the more people it had lured to their death. She had glimpsed the skeletons of countless fools drifting in the fast current just below the surface, the current that had smashed just as many ships against the cliff sides as the shoals had ripped the keel off of. Two more fools? She mused briefly, glancing over at her traveling companion and long-term friend, Kiro. The two were about as different in appearance as it was possible for people to get. Kiro was pale, so pale that he went straight from white to burnt if he stayed under the sun for too long. And his hair was naturally the bleached blonde of those who spent their lives under that same sun. Zali, on the other hand, was so dark that she could almost be called black, and her tar dark hair reflected orange in the sun. Her features, though, were fine-boned and straight, unlike many of the dark-skinned companions she had traveled with in her twenty some-odd years of life. The thing that made her stand out the most, though, were her pale grey eyes which, when combined with her dark skin, made her come across as a ghost or some sort of malevolent spirit. Once, in her early childhood journeys, she had been accused of witchcraft, and she had gleefully kept all the villagers cowering under her “power” right up until her parents had come back ashore to find her, and gave her a firm spanking. The sight of their “witch” being abused such had emboldened the local people, and her parents had been forced to sail away, goods untraded, before their ship was burnt to the ground. What bound Zali and Kiro together so firmly was not their appearance, but their attitudes. Both possessed a soul bound towards chaos and adventure, and neither was satisfied with doing things halfway. When the merchant ship with which they had been traveling unceremoniously dumped the two troublemakers at a small, native port and sailed away, the two had taken just enough time to take stock of their situation before using their small pocket of remaining gold to purchase a boat and sail away towards the Trap. By that point, the locals had seen enough fools that they didn’t even try to stop them. Instead, they had gathered all of the two traveler’s extra supplies, saying that they would “guard” it until their return, hurried them on their way, and promptly begun fighting over who would have the right to lay claim to what belongings. Zali cared little for their antics. She had acknowledged, even before stepping foot aboard their new, little ship, that there was a chance that neither herself nor Kiro were coming back alive. And if they were, the few belongings they had would not matter, for they would soon be the richest people in the world. Besides, everything that she needed to survive never left her person, so there was no way for the villagers to get at the things that truly mattered: A length of rope, bound around her shoulder and cunningly designed as a part of her clothing, with a large canister of water and a smaller container of alcohol strapped on. Two knives strapped to her shins, a dagger strapped to her back. A firestarter, a compass, a small handful of tinder, and a few other completely essential items secured in a waterproof leather bag around her neck. None of it able to be dropped, stolen, or easily lost, should she take an unexpected plunge into the brine. And,despite the dangers of the sailing portion of their journey, Zali and Kiro had made it to their destination remarkably intact. Later, when night had fallen and the two of them were safely sequestered around a small campfire, Zali would boast of her skills in sailing, whether Kiro wanted to hear it or not. But boasting would do her little good now if, at a moment of inattention, she ran their boat aground in sight of their destination. Despite her ritualistic anticipation of problems, the cove was almost completely free of hazardous obstacles. Only one boat was sunk in the cove, its mast raising out of the water, but it was just as likely that some violent storm had pulled it off of short and dragged it into the water, because it did not seem as though there was anything upon which it could have damaged itself. The shore, a narrow beach covered in white sand, a few trees, and large piles of seaweed, was another testament to the dangers of what they were approaching. Easily twenty boats, a few larger, but most the same size or smaller than the ship Zali now navigated, were moored at various locations along the curving beach. She let out a sigh, but continued her careful navigation of the ship, pulling up close to the shore before shouting at Kiro to drop the anchor. The bloat skidded to a halt, and spun slightly, so that it was facing lengthwise to the shore. Zali let out a sigh, but hopped into the water, letting out a small hiss as the cold water soaked her up to her waist. She pulled the boat in towards shore, until it got too heavy for her to be able to move by herself. “Are you going to help, or just sit up there?” she complained good-naturedly. Personally, Zali doubted the truth of it when people said that no one had ever come back alive after entering into the Trap. If that was the case, the location of the temple, and the river that emptied into the cove and was the most efficient way to get to aforementioned temple, would never be known. Most likely, the treasure had been claimed long ago, and the myths kept circulating simply because no one had ever bothered to tell everyone else that there was nothing there anymore. And there was no doubting that the route was dangerous. The many close scrapes even her little boat had been forced to face to get here gave clear evidence of that. But the fact that there might be no treasure waiting at the end of their journey didn’t bother Zali all that much. For her, the best part of all this was the adventure. She double checked that all of her possessions were solidly in place, shook some of the water out of her boots, and turned to her friend. “You ready to go?” she asked Kiro, a wild, almost feral grin plastered across her face. Zalika's history: To get our characters to meet up at an early age (which is an assumption, but one that seems good to me,) you should probably know the history I've created for Zali. Now, this is technically negotiable, but I love it, and, if at all possible, I'd rather your character fit to match it. Here you go. Zali grew up on the sea. Her parents were traders, so she got exposed to a lot of cultures. Like, a lot of cultures. But then she got captured by slavers while in a small local village and never saw her family again. The head slaver took a fancy to her and they had a strange relationship because he drastically abused her, but also taught her a lot of things. Eventually, at the tender age of 14, she killed him, pioneered his ship and crew, and sailed it into the middle of a military fleet, where she got recruited to a position of relative authority for her age group. That could be one place for her to meet your character? Either way, Zali traveled with the military ship for three years, when it was captured by a band of pirates. She transitioned easily from the life of a privateer to the life of a pirate, and worked under that captain for five years. At this point, the pirate captain chose to settle in one of his villages, and Zali chose to leave, not yet ready to stay still. She roamed for a few years, bouncing from port to port and crew to crew, until being unceremoniously dumped on the island with a small village by a merchant who got tired of her attitude. There she heard about the Devil's Trap and decided, "Why not? Let's have a look-see." She would look like this, but instead of having brown hair, it would be the unreal color of black-orange. Black orange hair is kind of like black-blue hair, but instead of naturally having blue highlights in the sun, it had orange. Kind of like a dark-haired person who stands next to a fire. And her eyes are grey! Because colors! There is something... indefinably terrifying about Zali. Something that stemmed from her childhood, but is naturally within her. One time, she crept off of her parent's boat when they were at an independent island, simply because they told her not to. She was found by a group of natives and brought along to their religious feast. Where she willingly participated in a little bit of cannibalism. She took control of the pirate ship at 14, and there is something within her that feels no sympathy for those she deems "in her way". I think that about sums her up! Partial IdeasUnlike the established ideas, these stories only ever began the planning process. This means that they are still open to some negotiation. Some are more developed than others. The Assassin and the Detective (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Assassin and the Detective (open) The Assassin and the Detective (close) A vigilante killer dances around a friendship with a no-nonsense, skilled police detective. He was once the best assassin the world had ever known, trained since birth to be the perfect killer. But a series of people in his life were able to teach him a little bit about mercy and love, just enough that a young woman with a bright face, kind eyes, and gentle hands could tempt him to stray. He fled with her, and for ten years and two children they lived in peace. But the man who had raised him, trained him, and bet his whole future upon this perfect assassin would never forgive him. Ten years exactly after he fled from the organization, his old boss, his father and mentor, tracked him down and slaughtered his family. The policeman had never understood love. He ran away from home when he was young, and life tormented him until he nearly broke. The rules became his salvation. They were clear-cut, and left nothing to the imagination. Even his own broken heart could follow them. He joined the police and slowly worked his way up, a dedicated and ruthless dog, unbribable and with nothing to hold him back. There was something about that case that caught his attention. Something in the face of the man who had just lost his whole family, a sadness so deep that it could only be called rage, mixed with an iron-hard focus. The police never caught the criminals responsible for the murder, but the man returned to his home two months after the murder, and he seemed to have obtained some level of peace. The policeman never forgot about that look in his eyes. The man had owned a small, home cooked restaurant right near the police station, and now that he returned he re-opened it. The policeman started consistently going there to eat for lunch, and the two men eventually struck up an apparently easy friendship. At the same time, people were starting to turn up dead across the city. They were all criminals; rapists, murderers, thieves, gangsters, the ones the police knew about but could never touch. The policeman is convinced that the man is behind it, even though he has no evidence. The vigilante needs the information from the police to select his next kills. Both hide their deep mistrust and broken past behind smiling faces. Both hate the need to associate with the other, yet, even when they don't need to, they find themselves returning to the only other person who shares the broken rage of their own hearts. This story reminds me of some of the books I read in English class. It is very much slice-of-life, and I think it would take someone who has a deep appreciation for such stories to make this work. I adore the idea, I truly do. And I think it has incredible potential. But I'm also not about to give it a "point," or a "challenge," where the characters will have to band together to survive. And I'm worried, without that clear-cut direction, it would die. So, before we start, I'm going to want to talk to you for a little bit, get a sense of who you are, and how we would be able to carry this story towards perfection together. I have high hopes, which is why this is here. Would you care to help me realize them? The Apocalypse of the Shadow World (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Apocalypse of the Shadow World (open) The Apocalypse of the Shadow World (close) This is kind of a post-apocalyptic world, but it has a rather unique scenario. It starts with a group of people who can see something they call the "shadow world". This shadow world exists on top of our own world. Technically it is not one world, but an infinite number of layers, which the human mind of those who can see the shadow world translates into colors. Infinite shades of colors. Unlike our world, there is nothing individually in each of these layers of color within the shadow world. Each layer relates to something, and that one thing alone, and that one thing can never change. There is a natural exchange of energy between the shadow world and our world. All of the shadow world weaves together into one massive tapestry of potential, and it takes energy from the shadow world for anything to happen in our world. This is what allows our world to grow and change and develop, rather than remaining as static as the shadow worlds. The people who can see the shadow world also have the potential to manipulate it. They can forcibly pull energy through to or from the shadow world, causing something in our world to change. Usually it is a drastic change, something that would otherwise be impossible in this world. However, what those who could see the shadow world did not know was that, every time they pulled the energy through, it ripped a small, infinitesimally tiny hole in the fabric that separates the shadow world from our world. For the longest time it had no real effect, but now, as the human population has exploded, so has the number of people who can see the shadow world. And so has the number of tiny holes. And the shadow world has started leaking into our own world. This leads to chaos, pure and unrestrained. The energy runs wild, driving people mad, destroying things in an instant or building them back up again as it was never meant to be. The apocalypse has come, and people are dying. No one knows what is happening, except for those who can see the shadow world. They see the energies leaking through, the places where the colors swirl into our world, ripping it apart with change. And the only way to patch these holes is to find something infinite resilient and just as abstract as the barrier itself. That is the human consciousness. One human consciousness can patch one hole, returning it to its proper state, but leaving the body vegitative or even dead. And as people die, will there ever be enough people to patch all the holes that human history has created? And can those who can see the shadow world really justify the use of a human life for such a thing to themselves? Or should they simply try and survive due to their ability to manipulate the energies of the shadow world, and wait for the whole thing to blow over, if it ever will? This "shadow world" I created is very confusing, and it did not come out quite right in this explanation. I'm going to try and clarify it, but I make no promises for this explanation better. I always do better when I'm answering someone's specific questions. The shadow world is kind of like a multiverse. All these different realities coming together in countless infinitesimally thin layers, making an infinite sandwich. Each multiverse is related to the next, but there is either a large or a small change. The difference with the Shadow World in this story is that it isn't a whole bunch of realities. There is only one reality, and that is the reality in which we exist. Our world is constantly in motion, in transition, in change. Things grow and die, things move and come to rest, things stretch and things compress. Things burn, things magnify, things are built and things are torn apart. And every single thing that can be done, every single thing that can cause anything to happen, is dependent upon the energy in the shadow world. When you lift something, energy comes from one of the shadow world, allowing that thing to be lifted. When you stop lifting something, that energy returns to the shadow world. When you drop the thing you just lifted it takes energy from the shadow world to have it fall, and then that energy once more returns to the shadow world once the thing has once more come to stillness. Such would be true for... anything. Firing a bullet, burning wood, driving a nail into a piece of wood with a hammer. Nothing can change in any way from what it was to what it will become without the energy from the shadow world. That is what the people can manipulate. And that unlimited change is now spilling out into this world willy-nilly. When the hole is patched things naturally return to stillness, because there is no more energy leaking out. If that isn't a satisfactory explanation, let me know and I'll try to do better. Dark Dreams (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Dark Dreams (open) Dark Dreams (close) This idea only really has one protagonist, so bear that in mind. It is (very loosely) based off of a video game called Catherine. Very loosely. Our main character is a fairly average man. He grew up in an average family, one that didn't have quite enough money, argued some, but got on well enough. Now he is trying to make his way in life. He works in a very toxic work environment, has a best friend who does everything he can to live on the dangerous side vicariously through his friend, and is in a relationship with a very demanding woman who may or may not be cheating on him. He is not someone who grew up knowing how to stand up for himself. One night, he starts having some very dark dreams. He "wakes up" in a dark room with a number of other people, "people" who look nothing like normal people, just as he no longer looks like a normal person, and is herded towards a door. On the other side of this door, he finds various things, none of them pleasant. Over the course of the week he is subjected to fights to the "death", hunting and being hunted, massive battles where he must obey the orders of other, attempts to survive in some of the most deadly natural situations. And, any time he fails, he spends the next night in torture. Gradually, he gets better. He starts winning, and winning consistently. He gains a group of people in his dreams who look up to him, and fight with him. And he starts to notice that all of these things he is doing can be applied in the real world as well. He starts changing, starts relishing the control he feels growing inside of him, relishing the sense of deadliness. What he does not know is that these dreams are real. Every "person" in them is a real person. And there is a thing controlling the dreams. A thing looking to build the perfect army. And it has just found its new general. Gradually, the dreams continue to change, drawing our main character further and further into the land of the dreams, and the dark fate that awaits him there. I've struggled far too much with trying to clear up any misconceptions that could be formed. I have no idea what most of you are thinking when reading this. So, seriously, ask me some questions about it. Hopefully then I'll be able to explain things. I will continue to update this, as plots come and go. You can assume, if it is still up here, I am still looking for a partner. I'll delete it when I no longer am.