Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.
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The Tale of Three Brothers and a Cat.


Palais Celeste: salle á manger (3rd Floor)

Luro pulled at his outfit, his mouth twitching to the side as he stared down at it. He wanted to undo the first few buttons but Jack said they had to blend in. That was also why he had to leave his necklace behind but the guns strapped to his person would hopefully be enough to get the point across, he had a few extra in the satchel on his person. Just moments before as they passed through the rioting people he could have sworn he heard a voice amongst the chaos, a familiar and comforting one. For just a moment his back didn’t feel so empty, but there was little time to pursue the voice as they had to make their way inside.

When Jack spoke Luro smiled and looking over at him gave him a small slap on the shoulder.

“We’ll get him back. You managed to stop people from killing you who hate your very existence, getting your sibling back is pretty equal to that.”

Luro looked forward again and grinned adjusting one of the belts.“I mean worst case we die, no big deal.”

A barrage of bullets filled the area, gunshots ringing throughout the hall as Luro fired pistol after pistol as laughter echoed from him over the endless bombardment. His hands were already on another gun the moment the bullet pierced through its target, his body constantly moving weaving between blows and past Jack. He left no breathing room, no chance for rebuttal. If they closed the distance that’d be it so he made sure that didn’t happen. He fired behind him taking out the knee of the man coming at him and a second shot to the skull for good measure. He grabbed a gun off one of the dead bodies as Jack took out another guard. A pistol in each hand his eyes moved to the guards then to where Charlotte had escaped towards.

There was barely time to register what had happened, he felt something shift in the air and his eyes widened for a moment as the darkness raced towards them. He grinned lowering his body almost ready to confront the force head on when Jack slammed into him. In the next moment he felt something wrap around him, a familiar feeling that caused his eyes to narrow as he noticed the chains wrapped around him. No matter how hard he struggled however the bindings wouldn’t come undone, and his eyes twitched not seeing a lock.
“Hmm...this gives me an idea,” Luro said tugging at the chains again. “Also this magic stuff is really useful isn’t it? I mean-”

He was cut off by the second spell quickly lowering to the ground and shutting his eyes almost on instinct at the spark of a flash. He laughed as the ceiling came crashing down covering his head as he waited for the dust to finally settle.

Once he was free thanks to Jack Luro rubbed his wrists with a small chuckle flexing his fingers a bit before grabbing his dropped pistols.

“Younger siblings right? They really like lashing out and not listening,” Luro said smiling at Jack. “Well in my case I acted like the child so I can’t really say much.”

His eyes went down to Chester then back to Jack, for a moment the smile on Luro’s face left as he eyed the man brandishing his weapon a few feet away. He took in a deep breath and with a chuckle tapped Jack’s shoulder with his gun.

“Jack…go after Cedric,” Luro said this shooting another approaching guard. “I got this…well probably.”

Luro grinned at this before turning to the guards behind them raising his guns to them.

“I believe you two are smart enough not to lose each other pursuing the wrong thing…I don’t want to watch that happen. So go after him.”

Keeping his back to Jack Luro made a motion with his head. “Hurry up before he gets away. I’ll catch up soon as I’m done here. Well if I’m not dead anyway.”

Jack shook his head. “No! We’re in this together, I promised...” his voice died in his throat when the tramp of metal feet announced the arrival of more soldiers.

Jack stared at Luro for a long heartbeat. A million things to say rested in his heart but the soldiers were here, and he had a mountain of rubble to climb over. There was no time. His eyes brightened. Reluctantly, Jack nodded at the giant’s back. “Do me a favor and don’t die. The captain will never forgive me,” Jack replied hoarsely. He swallowed, then started for the debris.

Luro didn’t respond to Jack merely keeping his pistols trained on the soldiers ahead of them, more were coming and it’d be harder for him to escape when that happened. A small smile found its way onto his face when Jack spoke, he knew how worried he was about Cedric and he would do more good going after him then staying here.

“No promises but I’ll do my best. These guys look really strong...I’m going to enjoy this.”

A toothy grin formed on Luro’s face before he watched Jack head towards the debris firing a shot at a guard that tried to approach him, stopping the man from moving. He waited until Jack was gone before his shoulder relaxed slightly.

“Oi you’re attention should be on me,” Luro said motioning with his head. “The name’s Luro Makachi, Carpenter of Stardusk. One of my favorite ways to die is in an all out brawl for a friend. Make these last moments fun for me!”

“Three bullets not counting what pistols they have, no rifle so all my backups are gone and I won’t last five seconds up close with these pistols. This is a really hopeless situation...I guess that’s why I can’t stop laughing!”

“Idiot! Qu'est-ce que tu fais?” the commander shouted. He glared at his men. He expected more from them not this frenzied rush to their demise. “Toi! Les protéger!” he barked. (“Idiots! What are you doing? You there! Protect them!”)

The summoner almost dropped his gun. He lowered it quickly and fished out his summoning card. Gathering his thoughts, he casted. The ground shuddered bringing down sheets of dust, as rock walls rose around Luro. The giant’s bullets ricocheted off the surfaces.

Luro grinned as he watched another guard fall and throw the gun aside; just as he pulled the trigger his eyes widened slightly seeing the summoner with the card. Cedric and the others flashed in his mind and he quickly trained his gun on the man, but it was too late, the rocks rose around him stopping his shot.
He blinked a few times before sighing and twirling the last gun moved it into his sleeve.

His gaze rising to look at the height of makeshift prison, he folded his hands behind his head.
“Can’t climb out... the L.A.S.S. would be really helpful right now…oh that gives me an idea-”

“The firing stopped,” the earth summoner informed his commanding officer. The guard waited nervously for further instruction. He knew they were dealing with a very dangerous man. After all, news about Luro’s massacre had spread among their ranks like wildfire.

“Don’t trust him,” the officer grunted. He pointed to several closest to the barrier. “Rush him later. Your sacrifices will not be in vain.”

They saluted him. Determination showed in their faces, as they prepared for the inevitable. They were aware they needed to buy the others time. The commander signalled for them to wait. He pointed to another summoner in his ranks. “Both of you,” he gestured to the two of them. “Get behind the corner and keep out of sight. When the walls are down, incapacitate him.”

“Sir,” they both saluted and made their way towards their designated area.

“Now!” the commander shouted.

Luro didn’t have time to finish his thoughts as the walls exploded sending him flying backwards, shards of rock flying past him cutting parts of his arms and legs, tearing his clothes in the process. He slid along the ground on his back smearing red on the floor, and blinked a few times after coming to a stop before climbing to his feet picking up footsteps.

He was barely standing when the ground rumbled beneath him; he quickly sprinted forward as shards of rock burst out of the floor almost impaling him as he rolled out of the way.

Raising his body he moved sideways out of the way of a sword coming at his body. Slamming his knee into the guard’s stomach he grabbed him by this shoulder. Ignoring the man’s yelling he spun him around to take the shards of earth meant for him. Taking the gun off the man’s belt he pushed him into another guard putting a bullet through the following man’s skull as he shoved the body aside.

A hilt slammed into the side of Luro’s skull sending him stumbling backwards and he grinned as more men ran at him between shards of earth. His foot sliding under a fallen sword he kicked it at one of the men causing him to dodge out of the way, the sword piercing the man behind him. The distraction was enough time for Luro to approach the guard and grabbing the gun off his belt kicked him away.

Raising the pistol he grinned only for the pistol to get knocked away by a chunk of rock as the bullet left it’s chamber.

“Rude!” Luro said looking at the summoner. “I don’t steal your weapons.”

A chunk of boulder was sent at Luro as a response and he went to move but with a snap of the summoner’s fingers the rock exploded in Luro’s face, chunks of the boulder flew at him and a piece of it into his shoulder as the man was thrown backwards, a large piece hitting him in the forehead as he fell.

Luro let out a small grunt before a grin adorned his face as he placed his feet down, sliding back a few feet only stopping because of a deceased guard, trying to get his bearings as the room spun for a moment.
Red pour down the front of his face as a cut formed on his forehead, and he peered between bits of red at the approaching guard, a quick movement from his attacked and the sword cut diagonally across Luro’s body. Though he had managed to step back he still felt the blade cut his skin through the cloth, he ripped the chunk of earth out of his shoulder and stabbed it into the guards skull shoving his body aside afterwards.
That familiar sharp agony echoed across his torso and he could feel something, a particular something he didn’t have time to think about currently rolling down his torso as his body slowly going numb, he clenched his fist to stop his fingers from trembling..

Luro breathed heavily flexing his fingers as his eyes moved over to where Jack went, it was hard to see from the blood now in his eyes but he could tell he had gotten away. Reaching up he went to wipe his face with his sleeve only more blood to adorn it. He blinked looking at his soaking scarlet sleeves remembering the cuts from earlier. His clothes now matched his hair in color and hue at this point. His entire body felt like it was on fire, he knew the pain was there but it was overshadowed by the joy pouring through him, it had been a bit since he had been in a proper brawl on his own. Grinning between droplets he started walking forward, reaching down to grab a gun off the ground.

“Z’s going to be pretty mad at me for losing all this blood,” Luro said checking the gun in his hand.
He walked with a slow gait towards the commander and the summoner, as the summoned hurled more rocks at him he leaned his head out of the way letting the stray shards cut his cheek as they passed him but didn’t stop his pursuit.

“My vision’s starting to go dark. Probably because most of my blood is on the floor.”

Sure enough a trail of red was following the gunner but the toothy grin didn’t leave his face as he walked slowly forward pulling out more chunks of earth stuck in him. He was a dead man at this point so he had all the time in the world right now. His body was burning, screaming at him as the pain started properly coursing through his body, his vision was blurring and he could feel darkness closing in on the edges of his vision.

“Haha…Alicia would have ripped through these guys so easily, Masu too. The Captain and Jack with their armament would have shoved off all those strikes like nothing and Z would have easily dodged those attacks. Kadi would have cut through everything with finesse and charm as he does…and Cedric could have used his fancy magic.”

Luro raised his head his pupils growing slightly as a feeling of pure ecstasy filled his entire body, that feeling walking the edge of death always filled him with such wonderment. There was no thinking about his safety, just kill the thing in front of you and keep moving forward, rinse and repeat until nothing is left standing on either side.

“Killing this many with two bullets isn’t too bad, sad no one was here to see it though.”

Luro raised his pistol to the men, though his arm was shaking barely staying up. His body felt so heavy and he could feel his legs getting weaker; it took all of his willpower not to fall to his knees. He couldn’t do that though, if he fell it’d be by another not himself.
Everyone’s faces flashed through his mind and for a moment he could smell Jack’s cooking again, laughter echoing along the ship his own mixed in within. With a small smile he tried to train the gun on the commander.

“Sadly I won’t be able to make this shot count, but I won’t die without at least using everything on me.”
Luro grinned and pulled the trigger.

The commander shoved the earth summoner behind him. He twisted to the side shielding his heart from immediate danger. Gun smoke reached him before his body could process the shock. Then it hit him hard! Agony flared from his chest and his breathing turned sluggish. He was drowning in his own blood. The man gritted his teeth and unsheathed his sword.

He sprung forward sword trailing by his stronger side. Silently. Swiftly. He overshot Luro, spun around his left leg and gouged the titan’s right calf. Drawing a raspy croak, he grasped the hilt in both hands and thrusted. His right eye peered fearlessly into the barrel of the gun.

A macabre Pollock of grey and red plastered the white walls but Luro was too late. The deceased man’s blade pierced through flesh and shattered bone. A bloody sheen wicked off the blade after it burst through the other side of Luro’s knee. Gravity kicked in and the corpse tumbled backwards in an undignified heap.

“Attrape-le!” the summoner croaked. He couldn’t allow the commander’s sacrifice to be in vain. He pulled several cards out at once. He wanted to strike the vile criminal down so badly but no spells came to mind.

When the shot connected hitting the Commander a small smile formed on his face, it wasn’t lethal but he’d take a hit over a miss any day. He noticed the man was no longer standing where he was but he didn’t process where his attacker was until he felt his blade move through him, at this point there was no real pain anymore. He dropped the gun in his hand and allowing the hidden one in his sleeve to fall out he fired, the movement almost instinct at this point.

A chuckle escaped from him as he watched the dead man fall to the floor, but he joined him immediately after as his body lost the ability to support his weight. The new wound didn’t help his already weak body; he lied on a back in a pool of his own lifeblood staring up at the ceiling with his arms and legs out.

For a moment he felt himself back in a field of green, the grass tickling his neck and a shadow suddenly covering him, through the warm spring he could feel a cold chill suddenly enveloped him as a pair of eyes met his, then the smallest curve of rose colored lips.
“...well now for a fact I know I’m almost dead. That’s the only time I see that face vividly anymore.”
Within the next moment he felt the cold rush back through him and reality returned quickly.

His vision becoming hazy he grunted a bit and dug in his sleeve pulling out a bottle of rum.Luro paid no mind to the magic man’s yelling, he couldn’t do anything about it anyway.

“One last one to you guys.”

Luro grinned and held the bottle up before quickly drowning the contents. With a hearty sigh he set the bottle down next to him before speaking again.

“Oi! When you tell this story you mind telling them I killed hundreds not about a dozen of your friends! It’d be appreciated! Hahahaha!”

“Arrêtez! Ne lui fais pas de mal!” a feminine voice demanded. Her words were soft but their presence was undeniable. (“Stop attacking him at once!” (not a literal translation))

Victoire’s heels clicked on the floor as she stepped into view from behind the wind summoner’s hiding place. Her dress was torn and blood splattered in many places. In her hand, she gripped a dripping sword. Her blue eyes narrowed dangerously.


“All of you are traitors to the crown. Stand down and I’ll consider pardoning you,” she warned in Trovalian. “I have little patience left.”

A number threw down their weapons and ran into the ruins of the salle á manger. Stories of Victoire’s infamous temper already preceded her. Their remaining comrades jeered loudly as they disappeared. The king’s niece composed herself. Her eyes picking out the remaining summoner in the group, the brave soul standing defiantly over the Stardusk gunner.

She toyed with the idea of tossing the cumbersome sword aside until inspiration hit her. She licked her lips in anticipation. She loved nothing more than to see that loathsome summoner reduced to a quivering mess. She purposely dangled a card in front of the group. Her wind rune on prominent display.

The summoner reacted as she calculated. A wall of rock shielded Luro and him from her cutting tempest. She danced among the remaining men. A combination wind and blade fell them one by one. Those she missed had their throats ripped out by her wolves. Thirteen down and one gunner was left pressed into a corner. Her pink glossy lips quirked into a triumphant smirk, but not for long.

The smile slid off her face as the man dared to fire at her. Blood poured down her sleeve and her ire blazed even more intensely than before. She stepped forward brazenly daring the man to keep firing at her. A noble. The King’s very own niece. The soldier dropped his gun and raised his hands to shield his face. Victoire exhaled loudly. She threw a single summoner card at him. A jet of red sprayed the entire area. His head rolled away and his hands, wrist attached, slapped the ground at his feet. The body deflated. Flesh unraveling from bone.

One person left.

More red than blue decorated the belle’s from head to toe. Her mind screaming for the last man to die even more horribly. How dare they retaliate? She intended to ram the message home. Do not cross the royal family. Ever. She stopped before the wall.

“Surrender,” she intoned. “I’ve no intention of spilling anymore Trovalian blood,” she lied. “You and I are brother and sister in arms. Our leader’s sins are not ours yet.”

She was drawing a third card when the wall crumbled. She blinked dumbly, as the bloodied earth summoner collapsed. She backed away just in time to avoid being pinned to the ground.

She exhaled loudly. “Th … that was uncalled for,” she protested in Common. “I mean I was going to kill him but … how are you still moving?” she demanded abruptly.

Luro’s eyes twitched slightly at the new voice that filled the room, it sounded like a woman’s, he couldn’t make out the words but opening his eyes he noticed the summoner had raised a wall. He blinked a few times seeing the panic in his face, whatever that voice was wasn’t an ally probably.

With a small ‘hup’ Luro climbed to his feet using the wall to support himself as the Summoner dug for a card, by time he noticed the man was up Luro already had a grip on his wrist.

He quickly covered his mouth and slammed him against the wall practically leaning against the man unable to support his own weight properly.

He stared into the summoner’s eyes for a moment with an unfocused gaze, his hand glancing over at the cards still gripped in his hands before returning to him.

“…so you do that magic stuff with your cards huh…you don’t mind if I borrow them then right?”

Muffled screams followed as a dark smile slowly found its way onto Luro’s face, he leaned a bit closer and in a quiet whisper spoke.

“Good.”

When the wall fell the man crumpled to the ground, his head gently rolled forward stopping at the woman’s feet. Luro held the man’s hand at the wrist still clutching the cards tightly as Luro returned a small dagger to his sleeve.

“He wouldn’t let go of them…” he mumbled. “He could have just said no…also who screams at being cut…I mean I know the blades rusty cause I don’t use it often but I eventually cut it off.”

Luro looked up at the woman and brows arching looked around the room; noticing the new chaos before focusing back on who he assumed was a noble. Tilting his head slightly he looked down.

“…I’m standing…oh.”

Almost like a puppet with its strings cut Luro immediately fell to the floor face first. He felt his vision go black for a moment and mumbled something incoherent before his eyes shut.

Victoire rounded the body. Her skirt flowed gracefully as she walked. After finding the least bloody spot around Luro, the apprentice healer kneeled on the ground. She lifted the pirate’s head into her lap and began sweeping away the matted hair. Her touch was gentler than expected. She watched the eyelashes flutter. Consciousness seemed to be returning.

“You’ll be fine,” she reassured him.

She unbuttoned the stained vest and pressed a summoning card of a different rune against the exposed skin. Paper dissolved and a pleasant warmth radiated throughout Luro’s body. Shallow cuts and gashes mended quickly. The blood flow ebbed around the shattered knee and slashed up calf. Victoire gave a small start when she felt the warmth creeping up her arm as well. Instead of redirecting it back to Luro, she allowed it to flow towards the spot where the bullet grazed her earlier.

She surveyed her patient’s progress with a critical eye. She decided against mending bones. Closing up the skin should keep him alive long enough to be useful. She needed him to make a case to Captain Lev on her behalf.

“I don’t recommend you fight anymore, dear hero. Even after I bind your wounds, your knee won’t be able to support your weight for a few days. I will need to work around to clock for that miracle to happen.” She batted her eyelids innocently. “Don’t you think I deserve something in return for aiding your ship’s doctor?”

The wind rushed past his ears and Luro opened his eyes to an expansive blue sky, he blinked a few times feeling the dirt between his fingers again. Flowers decorated in red surrounded his body and a click resonated as he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun. The person holding the gun smiled before it fired and Luro blinking opened his eyes properly to meet the eyes of the woman from earlier.

His eyes twitched a bit and he peered down seeing his wounds were healing themselves, his eyes twitched a bit at the strange new feeling but that was the extent of new emotion that showed before looking back up at the woman.

“…those would have been cool scars…ah but thanks though,” Luro said with a small smile. “This magic stuff is really useful.”

“Only those with the right blood decent can use them,” she replied. “Stealing our tools will do you no good. You can’t use them.”

“Hehe...I don’t need the magic just the tool, that’s enough for me to work with.”

Luro closed his eyes for a moment as he felt the wounds and subsequently some of the pain slowly leave his body, he wasn’t sure why but being like this felt oddly familiar. He could see the darkened face of a woman in his mind, and a lullaby that made his chest hurt echoed inside his skull, but his mind pushed the memory away as the woman spoke again.

Opening his eyes again he looked back up at the woman, he grinned catching her words. “Haha…I thought you were dressed nice for a reason, and you smell good on top of that. Asking a favor right after saving my life, that’s just like a noble.”

“Just like a noble? You seem to think we are cut from the same cloth.” her amusement was obvious. “I guess I thought all pirates are the same. Clearly not.”

“Nah nothin’ like that. You’re a good noble...most would have just left me for dead.”

Luro chuckled a little.

“I’m a pirate though not a hero so I can appreciate that kind of thing. I was just helping my friend though.”
Luro flexed his fingers a bit before he made himself sit up, being like that was a bit too familiar and was reminding him of strange things, memories he buried for a reason.

“For your request you did help me so I don’t see a reason not to help you. You also remind me of someone I knew, it makes me want to be nice to you. So you need someone or their family slaughtered, you need a village destroyed, a ship built, a town set on fire. How can Luro Makachi help you miss noble lady.”

Luro said all this pulling the detached hand closer and pulling the cards from the man’s grip, grabbing the man’s body by his arm he pulled him closer and started going through his pockets.

“A gentleman pirate? That title suits you, sweet hero. I shall see if you have more fitting titles first before I call you that from now on.” It was harder now to pick out sarcasm from her flattery. Her mask was back on. “I want Charlotte Vontiago. Preferably not dead. She needs to confess to her crimes and be punished.”

There was venom underlying the honeyed tone. The darkness melted away as she added an afterthought. “Punishing Charlotte should work in Jack’s favour. Only one person needs to be sent to the guillotine for Oubila and this revolution. I think Cedric prefers Jack exonerated. I will try to push for the Jackal to be made a hero if my uncle is willing to listen.”

She faltered as her feelings began taking a toll on her again. There was some sadness creeping into her face. She might prefer Alexandre over Cedric, but they had been friends for the longest time. “He saved my uncle, you see. Cedric could have assassinated him but he let the king escape. He’s … I think he’s dying if not dead. Charlotte never lets a traitor live not even if they were her favourite. I guess you should focus on saving Jack. He’s the only brother left.”

“I’ll try to save both of them.” Luro’s response was a simple one as he continued digging in the pockets of the corpse.

She tilted her head to the side. “You can try. I’m not as optimistic as you, unfortunately. I’ve seen too many of Charlotte’s victims.”

“You can just call me Luro. I don’t need any titles or nothing. I just wanna make sure my friends are okay, if that means stopping that lady that works for me.”

“Thank you, Luro. No, I think the title suits you fine. You shall always be the Gentleman Pirate in my eyes.” She teased. Her lighthearted words were starting to fall out of sync with the grim expression on her face.

“Hmmm well if ya want. I’ve been called worse things.”

Luro glanced over at Victoire offering a smile.

“Up until I see his body I won’t stop trying to help him and worst case I’ll make sure he has a proper grave. I’m sure even he’d at least kick me into a hole...probably.”

“As you will,” Victoire replied serenely. Their conversation overlapped in an odd rhythm yet they managed to make it work. She considered this trait to be one of the man’s many peculiarities. No amount of prompting could ever make Luro a skilled conversationalist.

The healer watched Luro scavenging from the corpse for awhile then turned her attention to his legs. Few things made her queasy anymore. Charlotte’s training had been more than thorough. She was back in healer mode. She gave the giant a quick once over. His head wound was probably the least of her worries at the moment. She ripped off a good length of her skirt and used the strips as a makeshift bandage. She didn’t want to abandon her patient in this madhouse. They might get separately from each other permanently. She was still worrying over her aunt’s safety.

After they had reached one entrance of a hidden passage earlier, the king noticed that his wife was missing. The woman wished to remain behind her husband and daughter to keep them protected. None of the guards remembered when she disappeared.

Victoire felt guilty about lying that she would go back to find the Queen. She had no intention of doing so at all. That’s why memories of Celes’ hopefully smile still twisted her heart. At least she wasn’t the only one, the summoner consoled herself. The guard captain sent several loyal guards to aid her. Her aunt would survive. The Queen had always been a fighter.

Her heart continued to ache. That woman was dearer to her than her mother ever was, so she’d regret the woman’s death greatly. She killed the distracting thoughts as she finished wrapping Luro’s knee. She couldn’t give in to worry or sadness now. She had her duty to fulfil. Merci l’toiles! She prayed silently.

“Shall we get going? I worry about your Jackal. He may be a devious connard (bastard) but he strikes me as an incredibly emotional person. Charlotte will likely … ”

Shadows stole away right before their eyes. Leaving the hallway eye-wateringly bright. Not a speck of darkness remained; it was like they were under the glare of a hundred overhead lights. Victoire scrambled to her feet. “Stand up! I'll support you,” she urged. “We must aid your Jack! This spell must be the Spymaster’s doing. She’s the most powerful shadow caster I know.”

Luro eyes twitched slightly as they adjusted to the light, he stared down at his newly wrapped wound for a moment then at Victoire. His eyes didn’t leave the woman for a long moment, his stare searching for something but whatever he was looking for he gave up quickly and just grinned.

“Thanks noble lady. Just help me get in firing range that’ll be enough.”

“My name is Victoire. People usually call me Lady Noailles but this isn’t the time for that.” She remarked while pulling Luro’s left arm over her shoulders. “Given our predicament, I guess we’re a team then. I hope your Captain won’t object.”

Luro after ensuring he had his satchel dropped a few of the cards into it, next to a pile of guns he had gathered from the bodies.

He happily took the help up putting in an effort not to put his full weight on the woman.

“Victoire? So Vit then. Got it,” Luro said with a small nod. “Being a team is fun, I’m looking forward to it.”

When Victoire looked at him Luro returned her gaze with his normal carefree expression, his brows arching slightly he tilted his head a bit at her and returned a smile. “Is there something in your eyes? Ah it’s the light isn’t it, it’s really bright right, much more than before.”

“There’s nothing in my eyes, Luro.” The young noble lowered her eyes demurely and gave him her saddest smile. She hoped it was enough to gain his sympathy. “You see, she knows me as one of Charlotte’s soldiers. I’m worried she’d kill me the moment she sees me. I’m so terribly afraid.”

At her words Luro laughed a bit bringing a hand to his stomach. “Haha’s the Captain’s not like that,” Luro said. “She probably won’t kill you. Now let’s hurry and catch up to Jack. I can’t go leaving his side just yet.”

“You do, do you?” she mused out loud just as an interesting conclusion crossed her mind. She wondered if there was something more to his relationship with Jack. Luro was, after all, seemingly oblivious to her flirting while being so enamoured with the other man.

She couldn’t help smiling. Jack’s preferences might explain Cedric’s own preferences when it came to lovers. They were brothers after all. “Ah well, I can understand your desperation,” she hinted. “Let’s not keep him waiting.”

"Yeah...I'm not about to leave this all to him if I can help it. Not after all he's done for me."
Luro closed his right hand into a fist.
"I made a promise..."
 

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SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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Location: Throne Room

His hands shook. Running down the rich halls, dodging servants and soldiers and Charlotte’s spies, it was the one thing that kept intruding his thoughts. He couldn’t stop it. A headache creeped the back of his skull, but pain was effortless. You let it in or you didn’t. He couldn’t stop the weakness of his hands. The long-barreled rifle was wasted, so he ditched it and pulled a pistol from a corpse. It rested at the small of his back and gripped a sword in a white-knuckled, trembling grip. He flexed his fingers, feeling them cramped. Stop it. Stop it. How can I hold a sword against Charlotte if I’m like this?

Jack clenched his teeth and focused on the familiar in front of him. Cedric. Lily. His crew. They were his focus-- nothing else mattered.

An undertone meow caught his attention. Jack glanced down at Chester and saw every hair stand on-end, the little familiar bristling. Training one ear, he heard the fighting they were looking. He took one breath-- two-- and sprinted for the throne room.

Shadow and light swirled furiously. Metal crashed against metal and sparks rained on polished marble. Splotches of blood hit the floor. Charlotte’s boots smeared them across the surface, as she darted away from the grasping shadowy tendrils. Her right hand kept a firm grip on Sid’s tanto. The blood staining the short blade was turning a blighted red.

The air surrounding her rippled wildly creating distortions. Her eyes followed them. She struck out with the tanto, connecting with something solid, but at the sacrifice of getting injured herself. Thin rays darted parallel against the sleeve of her blade arm and they ended an inch from her shoulder. The fabric split down the middle and the lower half dangled uselessly from her forearm. Searing pain lanced up her arm forcing her to drop the stolen blade.

Smoke bloomed, the Spymaster dodging away quick as her mantises. A thin red line running from her elbow to her thumb. Her wrist flexed, sending droplets cascading to the floor. They mixed with Cedric’s blood on the floor.

Her student reappeared briefly. He tossed away his knife and snatched up his tanto. Charlotte barely had the chance to react before he disappeared again. Unfortunately, his escape had one fatal flaw. A trail of crimson snaked behind him.

Cedric didn’t get too far before he flickered back into view. He swayed drunkenly before falling to his knees. He hissed sharply. His mind started noticing several alarming signs about his current condition. He shouldn’t be deteriorating so quickly. Charlotte missed the fatal blow. As the fingers of his left hand dug into bloody flesh, Sid’s eyes widened in shock as something clicked.

A dark shadow fell over his quivering form. Sid’s throat tightened. He couldn’t believe he was losing the fight against his own body. His legs remained kissing the cold, hard floor. He peeled away his left hand from the gaping wound in his stomach. He raised the trembling hand to his face then stared at the wetness eating away at his clothed knee. His fears were confirmed. Poison, his mind whispered. She bespelled the blade before stabbing you.

He …

His right hand clenched tightly around Alicia’s gift. No, he will fight with every second he had left! he vowed. He noticed the shadow lengthened and darkened. Charlotte was coming closer. A semblance of plan broke through the fog as she yanked him up with surprising strength. Cedric believed he had just enough energy for one last attack.

Sid!” Jack gasped, standing in the doorway. Charlotte whipped around and frowned. It was followed by a moment of clarity.

“You started the riots.”

Jack raised the rifle. “Let. Him. Go.”

Now, now. Now! Sid’s reaction time was down by a third but he managed to catch his former mentor by surprise. He smashed his forehead against hers. Finding enough of a footing, a very dazed Sid swung his tanto at Charlotte. The stained blade nicked her neck on the way into her shoulder. He thrusted his weight against the base, burying it deeper. Tainting the blood flowing to her heart, or so he hoped. He could barely remember his anatomy lessons with his head so light from blood loss.

“Nous mourons en, Madame.” He gave a sputtering laugh that devolved into a wet cough. The sourish taste of copper fouled his mouth as the world dimmed even more. He swallowed enough to talk. “Vous avez cré vo’ propre morde.” (“We die together, Madam. You created your own death.”)

Charlotte flared with genuine anger as the pain burned into her shoulder. “Foolish boy, don’t you think I carry my own antidotes?” Suddenly, the arm holding Cedric painted black with Armament. Swinging him around, she released and kicked his stomach. He flew into the royal throne, tipping it over as he landed in a heap of velvet draperies. Another pivot of the foot, and Charlotte raised her to block the rifle sailing towards her. The wood shattered against her haki, breaking it in half and sending the pieces scattering. Jack ran towards her with throwing knives. She dodged them with ease.

You. You’ve killed my country.” She hissed as they met, exchanging Armament blows in the throne’s center. Jack prevented her from reaching for the spell to counteract with her own poison, now flowing through her blood. She couldn’t raise the arm higher than her waist but it barely slowed her. Fast, strong jabs struck from her waist up and kept Jack on the defensive. “You led to hundreds dead. Fighting to keep a weak king on the throne. Rallying masses for your own gain! It’ll take us decades for the damage to be undone.”

Unbridled anger channeled a strike straight for his chest. Jack blocked it and slid back from the force. Charlotte swayed, her breath heavy. The poison was acting fast. Her hand lowered towards her spell pouch. A knife knocked it aside. Jack closed the distance again, his last knife in hand, and a pistol at his back as his only weapons left.

Cedric’s body was at its end. He was numb beyond belief even though his mind knew he should be writhing in agony. His eyes stared at the canopy hanging over the toppled throne. The starry tapestry depicted the many constellations, their Gods and Goddesses. At the center of it all was the royal crest.

His eyes fought to stay open. Blood trickled steadily from his nose and the sides of his mouth. He needed to help Jack. Jack, Jack … the man was … Words blurred away. Soon only emotions remained. Jack, warmth. The only person he’d be glad to see survive this day. Sid struggled to lift himself off the ground. Each attempt caused more blood to rush to his throat reminding him to stop.

“Meow!”

Angry emeralds burned into his fading mind. Chester, his tired mind supplied. There was so much anger radiating from his first familiar. Anger, concern and disappointment. He exhaled the softest breath possible and reached up to pet the cat. He wondered if he would see him again in such majesty. Chester truly was a much more dignified familiar compared to Chaos. Almost like a father to him.

“Zilia, am’ la. Garde Jack, oui?” he instructed. (“Get Zilia and make sure Jack survives, please.” (not a literal translation))

He stared as Chester blurred away in an orange haze. The energy from the familiar was fading. He wondered how long would his little leo remain once he was gone. Not long, probably. He blinked slowly clearing away the thin film clouding his vision. A slow acceptance was sinking in. He had no escape. His time was done.

He always hoped his last moments would be spent watching the sun rise and knowing his nightmares were behind him. Dying here felt cheap, but few were lucky enough to decide their ultimate fate. Soft blue eyes met his. Chaos was peering down. Where there was anger in Chester’s eyes, Sid could see nothing but concern in hers. He accepted her licks without protest.

“Viens, chéri. Vous serez ici jusqu'à la fin,” he murmured. (“Come, dear one. You shall keep me company until the end.” (not a literal translation))

She nudged his cheek. It was a reassuring gesture that told him she understood. He smiled. Lifting his hand, he tore off his right glove and dipped the fingers into the wound in his stomach. He brought his left arm up allowing what’s left of his sleeve to gather just below his wrist. He began sketching a strange symbol on it. He hoped to kill Charlotte with this final spell. Jack and the poison were weakening her gradually. This was the best time to strike.

Chaos dug into his coat pocket and pulled out a lighter. Sid grimaced, knowing that he was about to add another scar to his body. It was something he never liked. He clenched his jaw and seared the mark on his flesh. It stung softly at first, but a new pain replaced it. One that burned flesh and bone. The lighter clattered to the side and he screamed.

He thrashed about wildly; his body reacted to pain like he had never experienced before. His mind was completely blank. His had a brief glimmer of clarity before he stopped moving. His eyes stared blankly, as he began bleeding even more. The blood spilling out disappeared long before they hit the floor. Some unseen deity was consuming Cedric’s offering. Chaos purred piteously as she curled on top of her master’s chest. She could feel his heart slowing down and there was nothing she could do about it.

Cedric’s actions caught Charlotte’s attention first. She managed a shadow spell that surrounded Jack’s head in a black cloud, swallowing his sight. Another spell wet with oil was tucked beneath her gauntlet when she noticed the shimmering of a blade from the corner of her eye. She pivoted with one arm raised. For the first time in her life, she was completely taken off guard. “Cedric? What are you doing? Don’t even--”

Suddenly, a roar of fire had her whiplashing around, and her eyes widened further. Jack’s right arm burned with flames. It somehow lifted her shadow spell. Gold eyes raged behind the orange flames as he raised one hand with fingers splayed.

The wild energy inside Cedric burst forth just as a fireball roared at Charlotte. Curtains whipped around and tore away while the lighted torches snuffed out. A strange stillness fell over them once the room was thrown into darkness. Breathing became harder for the two combatants. The shadows surrounding them weighed their bodies down.

The darkness spread like an inky contagion into the hall, flowing both left and right. Shadows were sucked into its fold. The hunger grew the more it ate. Soon shadows began spilling in from the outside and from corridors further away. Stripped of their shadows, these areas became blindingly bright.

Jack whirled around and stepped back slowly as Charlotte vanished in the shadows. A huge pupiless eye burned with a hellish glow. The other eye was a good distance away. This demon, whatever it was, filled up a good portion of the room.

Brother...what have you done?
 

SilentxChaos

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Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female, No Preferences
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I'm willing to do either, but may lean more towards the passive side.
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Fantasy, magical, modern, medieval, horror, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, adventure, action, anime
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Collab bet’w Captain and Silent






Location: Palace

One by one, candles snuffed out, lamps whittled to nothing, and Stardusk found themselves plunged into darkness. The air grew heavier. Adelaide slowed behind the pirates and looked around. That was no foul wind that blew out the light. Not even the natural ambience gave a glimmer of brightness. The shadows were total. Her wide eyes found Runali’s in the dark. “A blood spell.” Her tone was flat. “Forbidden summoning. This isn’t Charlotte’s doing… might I recommend we hurry?”

The dark, for Runali, almost felt familiar but familiar in a way that left an ominous feeling. The memory of the captain she faced back when she was helping save Yula Fei came to mind, but she didn’t let that stop her from moving forward. When it took a little more effort to breathe, she slowed her pace, grabbing one of her chakram from her belt. This wasn’t the first time she’d lost her sight and she was sure it wouldn’t the last, so she placed a hand on the wall she was near to get a sense of her surroundings and listened around for the others. “Keep it together.” Runali responded in kind. “Nothing’s forbidden if you don’t follow rules.” It wasn’t reassuring. It wasn’t supposed to be. What it was meant to do was press the reality of it into urgency. “We’re useless here. We don’t stop until we get where we need to be.” Her tone made it clear it was an order to crew and ally alike. “Keep at the ready and keep going forward. Let’s go.”

Shouldering past Stardusk, Adelaide wordlessly led the way. They heard the screeches before they reached the throne room; loud tremors shook the floor, dust shaking from the ceiling. Wheeling into it, they faced a monstrous sight:

Solid shadows reigned the throne room, forming a wolfish shape. Black mists rolled from its body, sometimes half dissolving into them, other times reforming to look more man than beast. Ooze dripped from snarling jaws. There were no eyes but it seemed to see all the same. A thing of nightmares, it towered toward the roof, and was continuing to grow more and more. Roaring with rage, the shadow beast lifted a deformed paw and swiped at the ground. A single combatant blazed among the darkness: Jack, fighting with his blazing glove. He jumped to avoid the swipe and threw two fireballs at it, too preoccupied to notice Stardusk’s arrival. On the other side of the throne room, Sid was barely seen slumped near the ruined throne.

“This… This’ll be a first.” Runali broke the tension of silence from them. Her hand went up before her crew could rush in. She watched the fire connect along with the sudden clean cut and then scanned the area. “Zil, opposite end of the room. By the throne. Go. Alicia, Kadi, cover her.” Glancing back at the rest of them, she gave a firm nod. “Keep it back. I don’t know what that thing is, but we need to keep it at bay until we can get Sid and Jack out of here.” With her orders given, she did the only thing she knew she could do at that moment. With careful precision, she tossed her chakram into the shadowy beast, watching it slice through its shoulder before it circled back to her.

“Jack! Good to see you’re alive. Now if you don’t mind, we need to leave! Now would be ideal!”

Jack pivoted, hand half-raised, and stopped when he finally saw his crew. His mouth fell open. When Adelaide appeared next to the captain, he reached instinctively for her arm, as if testing she was real. A glance was shared; Jack breathed relief. He saw Sara behind her, the others heading to his brother. Even Luro appeared moments later, with a young summoner who’s face tickled the edge of memory but there was no time to dwell on it. The creature howled-- and grew another foot. Its back hit the ceiling and fissures appeared on the painted stone.

His attention turned back to Runali. “We can’t. That thing, Sid, he summoned it. I think it’s killing him. We need to kill it or…” he looked back at the others making their way to his brother. Fear was alive in Jack’s eyes, but it didn’t show in his voice. It was calm, flat, much like Adelaide’s. “I don’t know how to stop it. And I don’t know where Charlotte went.”

His response, wasn’t what she wanted to hear. There was always ‘something worse’, no matter where they went. And she was really hoping the giant creature would have been that. Runali grimaced for a moment and looked on as the monster attempted to swipe at them. It was easy to maneuver away from the attack, but the roaring was causing her ears to ring. “Not what I said Jack. I said we go. All of us.” Her eyes darted to where Sid was. Seeing the three make it over to him, she took a step forward to keep its attention, making a grating noise as her chakram scraped against each other. “I’ve met a lot of shoddy pirates in my lifetime and one thing they’ve taught me is that if you’ve got some problem on you, you cut it off at the source.” She paused to duck under another strike. “Take Cedric and get him far away from whatever this thing is. We don’t have time for you not to follow orders Jack. You don’t want your brother to die, right?” At her question, she looked at Jack with a serious expression, waiting for him to either answer or waste more time.

Jack’s eyes snapped to Runali. He was about to argue— how did they know if mere distance could break the summoning?— but without another plan, another option, there was nothing better Jack could offer. He nodded to his captain. “Alright. We still have to keep this thing’s attention so the others can pull Sid out first. He’s the most hurt—look out!”

Jack lunged for Runali just as a shadowy tail slammed to the ground where she once stood. They hit the ground as the others scattered. Adelaide unfurled her whip and it’s cracks split the air as she snapped at the beast, calling for its attention. Jack rolled off Runali and scrambled to his feet. He leaned to offer a hand, then caught a glint of steel out of the corner of his eye. He reeled back as Charlotte sprouted from the shadows, her gauntlet hands swinging. Jack’s arms and Armament flew up as he defended against her.

“I know what we have to do Jack. I still have one good eye-!” When she was tackled to the ground, away from the monster’s tail, she let out a huff. “One good eye…” She emphasized, only to jump up when Jack was suddenly put into another fight. “Oh good, that answers your other question…” Her words were laced with obvious annoyance. “We don’t have time this.” She started to rush at Charlotte, but stopped in her tracks when the shadowy monster slammed a giant clawed hand in front of her. Her attention had turned to it despite wanting to get to Charlotte herself. “Our priority is getting Cedric out of here!” She called out to her crew. In the middle of her yelling, she ended up slicing through the monster’s leg, making it stagger backwards. Seeing Jack and Charlotte still going head to head, she tossed her chakram in between them, forcing them to separate. “I don’t suppose your vendetta can wait till after all this?”

They broke apart, long enough for Jack to swing around the pistol he’d required, the weapon alive with flames. The only indication they heard Runali was the hesitation as they stared each other down. Jack lowered his gun, slowly. “We’re all dead if we don’t leave,” he said, his words cutting through the chaos. He was filled with hatred, and fear, but his captain came first. And he needed Charlotte alive.

JACK!

He whirled around, not even fully spotting his frantic mother, only hearing her yells, just as she and the king came around the corner. Lily reached for the royal as if to stop him. They froze when they saw the monster. Quick as a flash Charlotte made for Jack’s gun. She ignored the fire that burned, instead grabbing his hand in her and wrenching it up to point at the king.

“No!” Jack yelled. His other hand flew up just as Charlotte pulled the trigger.

The gun exploded.

A blinding flash, a bang, and Charlotte and Jack went flying, both afire, as everyone was knocked down. The shadow monster as the resulting fire singed it. It thrashed around, causing parts of the ceiling to crack and fall. The room was falling apart. There could be no second guessing-- it was time to leave.
 
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Fox of Hearts

Call me MsNoMer
Location: The (Fallen) Throne Room

“Take him, please!” Victoire cried, shoving Luro towards Kadi and Alicia.

Worry shone in her eyes as she dropped down beside Cedric. Doctor Vilimar had already cut open his shirt to have better access to the stab wound. Victoire’s breath hitched when she saw the extent of his injuries.

The blackening skin surrounding the wound and thick clotting blood indicated some sort of poison was fouling Sid’s blood while the darkening trauma running spanning across his entire abdomen was likely to be caused by an armament-laced attack. The young noble was doing her best not to fret. This was her friend. Her former lover. Someone she was still very fond of. Someone she would never mentioned to her finacé.

Despite her wishing otherwise, Victoire’s mind kept focusing on his injuries. The severe internal bleeding in the same area as the stab wound was definitely going to complicate things. A cool voice whispered inside her head. Reluctantly, her eyes drifted upwards towards the bruised chest. Impact landing on his right side, it concluded.

Definitely some fractured ribs and possible perforation of the lung at the upper lobe. Merci l’toiles, at least he won’t choke to death before ... She finally faltered. She couldn’t bear thinking of him dying like this. It felt way too soon. Why did you have to do something so stupid? she chastised silently as she clutched his clammy hand.

“Doctor Vilimar, let me know how I can assist you,” she offered shakily. “I’m a healer’s apprentice so I know some basics besides healing spells.”

She paused before adding. “I don’t recommend any spells to hasten the healing. Accelerating the process would speed up the blood flow in the area and cause the poison to spread.”

Saying that was almost second nature by now. Too many non-summoners assumed that the healing arts could cure everything and refused to believe otherwise. Her rosy lips hung open as if she considered saying more. The only thing that escaped them was “Uncle, non!” She didn’t know she had mixed Common and Trovalian. Her mind was a mess.

The moment the king arrived with Lily at his side, Charlotte attacked. She might have succeeded if the Jackal hadn’t intervened. The two wrestled with a gun only to disappear in a violent explosion that knocked out the senses. Everyone ended up on the ground.

As her vision cleared, Victoire’s blue eyes widened in horror. They needed to leave. The ceiling won’t hold much longer. She was first back on her feet as she sacrificed three cards. “l’Guérir. Mur d’vent. Guard du ciel!”

The wild energy in the room went into overdrive as the two wind spells manifested. Silvery air gathered like translucent fog around the king and Lily to shield them from future attacks. As the barrier sealed off, howling winds shot upwards and unfurled into a fluid canopy. Victoire intended for it to slow down the collapse.

Her third spell was born from a different rune. A faint glow surrounded the Stardust. Warm energy washed over them flushing away their exhaustion and healing minor cuts and bruises. The only person she didn’t focus on was Cedric.

“M. Arcadius, carry Cedric. Ms. Masu help your First Mate with Luro,” she shouted over the confusion. “You with my Uncle, run! Now!”

She tipped her head apologetically to Captain Lev and First Mate Tashigi. She hoped the women didn’t mind her taking charge. She pulled Zilia to her feet soon after. “Follow me! I know where we need to go.”

She raced towards the towering doors where her uncle stood. She turned back occasionally to ensure two things. The crew was keeping up and the creature noticed their escape. If her prediction was correct, it would be chasing after them. It didn’t want to risk Cedric waking up and taking control. It wanted him dead.

The creature ignored the combatants and bounded towards the retreating group on all fours, confirming Victoire’s hypothesis. It leaped at Kadi and almost tackled the man. At the very last second, a geyser knocked it back into the shadows.

“Uncle!” she exclaimed as relief and horror filled her in equal measure. Eventually, exasperation won. He shattered the protection she cast on him. “Why? Madame, sh-she’s going to kill you!” she yelled.

“Just run!” someone shouted.

The king managed to buy them enough time to escape. They were barely halfway down the corridor when a piercing howl shook the hall. Enormous red eyes glowed like smouldering brimstone. A guttural snarl was the only warning they received before the wolf re-materialised behind them. The creature was even bigger than before.

“The courtyard,” Rohan ordered suddenly. “A larger area will slow down the accumulation. We can’t afford to let the beast get any stronger or we won’t be able to subdue it.”

Victoire pushed Kadi ahead of her knowing he was the one they must protect. He was the one carrying Sid after all. As the man passed her, she bit her lower lip. Cedric was so pale now that he seemed to glow in this gloom. She guessed someone needed to tell the crew. They were probably very confused at the moment.

She gulped in a lungful of air. She was going to need every bit of it. “This summons isn’t at its strongest yet. The moment Cedric dies the creature will reach its full potential. It will become a separate being with its own will and powers. A demon, if you will.”

“Cedric is going to die either way. There’s nothing we can do about it. If we kill the beast, he will die from the backlash. His body is too weak. If we allow the beast to continue feeding off him, he’d succumb to blood loss or worse.” Victoire’s hand tightened even more over Zilia’s wrist.

“Pray it won’t ever be the latter,” she continued between ragged gasps. “Given that it’s Cedric and he always had a lot of energy. When the beast is reborn, the energy released will level half of Tulveste.”
 
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SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
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Fantasy, magical, modern, medieval, horror, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, adventure, action, anime
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Collab bet'w Winter Winter and SilentxChaos SilentxChaos

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Alicia inclined her head in thanks towards Ade after she were pulled away from the dagger, her brows furrowing as she turned her attention towards the three approaching sirens. Each boasted of a potential threat that Alicia only hoped would be offset by those she’d chosen to face off against them. “As always captain.” She replied softly with a small smile in response to Ru’s comment. “Make sure you don’t lose, I didn’t plan for that.” she added, her small smile changing to an amused smirk before turning towards her own picked target.

Her hand resting gently upon the hilt of Shusui, she withdrew the blade to her side as her left eye sparked into the familiar fiery blue aura that’d become the signature to her power. “Felix, is it? You will be dealing with me.” she announced, sliding a foot back as her body moved into stance. She wouldn’t await a response as the air around her suddenly warped into a sound barrier breaking explosion, the floor cracking beneath her feet as she disappeared momentarily only to reappear in the air in front of Felix.

With her foot outstretched she planted her heel against his chest, wrapped in a torrent of air which detonated to throw him far back from the others. Of course such a move lacked the capacity to deal damage, but would work to achieve creating space where she could fight him without having to pay mind to the others. She would land gracefully after him, taking a few steps forward before allowing him time to recover, honor demanding a fair fight. “Shall we dance?” she asked as she once again moved into an offensive stance.

“Oh? Oh I shall?” Felix placed a hand on his chest and bowed forward, his face full of leering contempt. “And what right do yo--”

Wind, literally, knocked out of him, Felix’s jabbing was broken off as he felt himself lifted into the air. He spun gracefully at the peak of his flying, and he laughed.He twisted like a cat, hiding a summoning spell slipped from his waist. Light daggers appeared from thin air and targeted Alicia. Felix landed on his feet behind them.

“A waltz with you? Another wind-lover?” He laughed again. It was a cold, high-pitched sound full of ugliness. It grated on Alicia’s ears.

Pulling out a rapier with his right hand, he lifted the left with a new weapon of pale gold blazing in his hands. It shaped into a pistol. He tapped the sword on his shoulder. “I think not. I despised the traitorous little Eurus and I can tell you won’t be much fun either. Not to worry. I’ll do my best to not make your death painful...by much.”

Smirking, he pulled the trigger of his light gun. It’s output was too fast for Alicia’s eye. She saw a thin line distort the air of their battleground, and then an explosion knocked her forward. Blinding light filled her vision as a deafening force flattened everything around them.

A swift arc gracefully swung to intercept the daggers, the dark blade extending over to her side before being drawn closer. “Overconfidence begets complacence, though I care not to provide a lecture.” she replied, his demeanor somewhat reminiscent of the way Luro used to act in some instances, though she shook the thought away quickly.
Her brows furrowed as she eyed the movements of his hand, bracing herself just a little too late as the explosion pushed her forward causing her to bring her sword over into the ground while her other hand pressed flat against the floor to steady herself as she crouched, her white hair fluttering violently in the aftershock as she closed her eyes for a moment, clenching her jaw as she fought past the nausea attempting to take hold in the aftermath.

~”What is light, but the absence of the dark. One simply can not be, without the other.”~

Pushing from her left foot she stood herself up before bringing both hands to the hilt of Shusui, the tip of which lay embedded into the ground between her feet. She took in a deep breath before exhaling as her eyes opened, the blue aura having extinguished to be replaced by a flickering black which concealed part of her face save for the red iris peering out from within the folds of dark.

Twisting Shusui’s hilt, air began to inhale towards the punctured earth of the swords tip but the more observant would notice that it was not air but the dark from the shadows around them that pulled in towards her, enveloping over her before suddenly exploding outwards as she pulled the sword from the earth, wielding it above her head to reveal the black blade bathed a dark aura matching that which poured from her left eye.

Once again she two handed the blade, bringing it behind her as if it were a large heavy broadsword before stepping a foot forwards. “Die.” her voice came softly but with a whispered echo carried forwards as she brought Shusui into an upward swing, causing the ground to split open as a fissure parted the ground towards him, dark erupting upwards from within the parted earth bringing forth additional destruction to all it touched.

A white dove sang over their heads. Felix bared it half a glance, and was nearly caught off guard. His teeth bared as he raised his arms, dropping two summoning papers to the ground, and a wall of light slammed from the heavens in front of him. His life as Siren granted him a way to defy all his enemy’s expectations, all his allies’ jealousies. Yet no amount of papers profiling the daughter of Sakura could cut through his vanity and revealed the truth depth of her strength. For a heartbeat, he wondered if maybe Scorpiox should have taken the girl as his target instead. Better the old blind man than himself.

The thought ended when Shusui sundered the earth.

Darkness crashed against the light wall and seeped into its brilliance. Annihilated in seconds, Felix barely processed the force of Alicia’s attack before it hit him. A look of wide shock froze on his face as he stood, between heartbeats, frozen like a painting as the earth opened at his feet. Then he fell. The darkness swallowed him. The dove above nested in a nearby tree and sang in the moment’s silence.

Without warning, the area exploded into light and blinded Alicia. Felix appeared behind in the haze of an after image, rapier raised for her heart.

To think the fight would be over so quickly would have made her a foolish girl, her eyes narrowing as the ruined earth swallowed up her opponent like a gaping maw of dark. Once again she brought her sword to her side just as a blinding light dissolved the world around her into a white nothingness.

It faded just as he began his onslaught of fast attacks, his speed far beyond her ability to track his movement causing tears to open up on her clothes which turned red as the rapier cut into her skin. Shusui moves to intercept the blows, but always fell short by a single moment to deflect the attack entirely resulting in her sustained injuries.

She was on the back foot, unable to push back while constantly fending off his seemingly endless barrage of thrusts and cuts. She had to think of something before he chipped away at her enough that she’d hit a critical state, gritting her teeth as she released a small growl of frustration before she’d bend her knees and drop into a crouch after clashing her blade blade against his rapier once more.

In one motion she’d spring up into the air, twisting her torso upon the apex of her ascension before falling back towards the ground to plunge the blade into the earth once more, a deafening hollow boom exploding outwards and upwards as an expanding bubble of dark pushed outwards from the epicentre of her landing, vaporizing debris and shredding their arena into an even more unrecognisable shape.

Felix watched her arc in the air, slow as a feather floating to the ground. His grin turned his pretty face manic. This was his chance! Her back exposed. Vulnerable in midair. Did she think that parry would stop him at these speeds? Elegantly raising his rapier, Felix tracked her and readied to strike her down at her apex. He tapped into his power, shifted his stance, and…

His body jerked in the opposite direction. Alicia came down just as Felix reappeared farther out, and was pushed into a tumble by her blast. He slammed into a crumbled wall. He collapsed with the wind knocked out of him.

When he managed back to his feet, it was clear his spell had ended. Wetness leaked under his nose and Felix wiped at. His wrist came away bloody. He’d bordered the edge of his limits with that spell, and still the pirate wench kept to her feet. The amount of damage he’d dealt would’ve been enough for the stablest soldier to fall to his knees, yet Tashigi here made another blow, and he knew she could go more. He grinned. “Well, well. You hit hard for a pirate scum. Guess neither of us is what we expected, are we? Looking by your state, you don’t get hurt a lot, do you? Does it sting?”

Felix continued mocking her while pacing the edge of the blast. Buying time. Puzzling his next play and catching his breath. His body told him he only had a few spells left before the energy of the stone on his finger tapped into his life force. Light speed spells were highly complex, with a mass input of energy that provided no more than a single step. He prided in his accomplishment in that area-- he was the only one in Trovale capable of sustaining it that long. But it took its toll. He smiled as his body started to tremble.
“On the contrary.” Alicia began as she stood straight, her eyes closed as she flicked her blade back to her side before turning to face Felix once more. “You’re exactly what I expected, a child fumbling with an element they barely understand.” she replied, her tone retaining the softness those who knew her came to expect, yet still with the slight after echo carrying from her voice into the air. “Fear not little light, I’ll demonstrate to you exactly what it means to wield a primal element.”

Opening the palm of her free hand, she rose it up to her side before the red within her iris turned to gold within the drowning aura of dark seeping from eye. A bolt of light tore the air apart, a bright flash blinding for but a moment before fading to reveal a second sword manifested of light held within her hand. It reflected the appearance of Shusui, albeit unlike the black blade which continued to leak dark in response to her manifestation of the negative element, the newly arrived partner exhaled a warm light in its aura, a polar contrast.

Bringing both blades up, one might assume she’d bring them down to offload another projectile, none such attack would come to pass as she arched them out to her sides. Immediately their battlefield changed a second time as a perfect circle of light expanded out around them, lighting the floor beneath their feet marked with cracked lines of dark that trailed like lines through weakened glass. From the edges of the circle, the light created a wall to seal their arena, to Alicia this was more to prevent collateral damage than to keep Felix from escaping her.

Her wounds were uncomfortable and sore but she had little time to focus on them while her opponent yet stand before her. She pointed to the darker Shusui at Felix as her eyes narrowed slightly, “Surrender now and you may yet live. I will offer this but once.” she spoke firmly, the offer made that’d been given and often rejected by so many others over their adventures across the world.

Felix blustered. “You-- how dare you question my abilities--” He straightened, indignant at Alicia’s arrogant prattle. He was a Siren. The best of the summoners. Hand chosen by the Spymaster herself. This whelp. This...unholy thing. He felt the rage building up in his chest even as flickers of fear flashed in his brown eyes, watching as she displayed yet another level of power. When the wall light fell, he forced his attention to stay on her, pretending to not care. Indeed-- if he landed the killing blow, it wouldn’t matter.

He took out a knife, small and slim like a needle, and in the back of his mind, his familiar trilled with warnings. He ignored her. He’d done this before-- he knew what to expect. It was a shame, truly, that such measures must be taken against his lesser but...well, it had to be done.

A slice on the finger and blood welled on Felix’s last sheet of summoning paper. Smirk breaking into a maniacal leer, he dropped the paper to the ground. A ball of light shimmered above his bleeding palm; a new voice whispered. Blood summoning. Such a powerful and exacting practice, only capable by those with the will to defy the devil. Abhorrent whispers offered Felix the chance to win his duel with Alicia Tashigi. They just needed his life force. It’d be so easy; a sure fire win. A momentary look of struggle tightened Felix’s face as his finger clenched around the ball of light. Its intensity grew, to the point Alicia’s wall of light darkened, as if his spell was siphoning her own.

Face paling, teeth gritting, Felix clenched down on the temptations to use more of his blood. He managed a painful smile at Alicia. “Let’s see you survive this.”

In a blink, the spell morphed from a ball to concentrated ray of light. It blasted from Felix’s finger, extending past his shoulder to hit the wall behind him, and punctured through her cage. And it went forward-- straight for Alicia’s heart. It sliced their battlefield to its far side, cutting down an unfortunate tree, and breaking the other side of the light cage.

“How disappointing.” Alicia responded, mostly to herself as she found her offer rejected once again, bringing Shusui horizontally in front of her with it’s summoned twin held out to her side. She was not fast enough to move beyond the speed of light, that much she knew already and doing so would likely result in taking a hit she couldn’t afford to take, leaving her with little choice in combating his attack.

She could feel it’s power, the summoned strength resonating with the element into a single fatal blow visually confirmed by it’s ability to puncture through her cage of light. She grit her teeth, tipping her head forward slightly as she swept one foot back to ready herself before readying herself for the explosive column of light which would soon slam outward towards her with staggering speed and power.

~”Ara’an naru heima, shirugiri.”~
(Darklight cut, spiritrend)​

As the words spoken in Feian came forth from her lips she combined both blades together, their aura’s colliding and intertwining with one another, causing Shusui to transform from a katana into a longer larger Zanbato requiring her to wield it with both hands. She rose it above her head vertically as Felix bore his strength upon his finger to release it towards her before bringing the large elongated blade down in one single cut.

Sound fled from the battlefield in the wake of their attacks for a single moment as they collided, the black aftercut meeting his column of light halfway with the intention to split the beam directly down the middle with the combined strength of the two primal elements of light and dark.

The broken earth caught in the path of the cut exploded upwards and outwards from the direct cutting path, launching large chunks of stone and debris as if the earth itself parted to escape the destruction as she sundered the earth a second time, although they seemed to flitter out of existence as the chunks disintgrated moments after in the wake of the power exhaled from the epicenter of her static position. Such a cut was not meant for a person, in fact this specific cut was one she’d developed for cutting through ships and perhaps large buildings.

She didn’t move out of the way, and it made Felix cackle. She was dead. Dead for sure. No one withstood his blood summoning-- not from the last time. Then, he felt their attacks meet. It reverberated through his fingers and his arm and into his chest. His breath sucked in as light and dark intertwined then erupted to the heavens. All at once he felt his energy sapped. Blood drained from his open wound. The voices screeched, the temptation, and he couldn’t stop it. Gasping fast Felix fell to his knees, fighting his own spell in combination with Alicia’s attack. It all happened too fast...

When the two exploded, it knocked Felix to the ground. His spell ended and the force of Alicia’s darkness ripped into him. Only the remnants of his light prevented complete dismemberment. He laid on the ground bleeding from lethal cuts, pale, his life draining away. A dove appeared on his breast, carefully sitting among torn threads and chest bindings underneath. Felix tried to raise his head to look at it but he was too heavy. Way too heavy. And it was dark. Where was his light? He watched his word dim and whimpered. How could he fail?

How? How, how how… His lip trembled. Milday...say you’re proud of me...
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.
1572014280503.png
Strange whispers fill the air, words with weight but no meaning press down on the chest, threatening to break through what little resistance is left. That feeling soon replaced with wonder as humming fills the air as quickly as the crack of thunder.

Luro’s eyes shot open as words enter his head and a strange melody replaced the familiar voice forcing it back into the recesses of his mind. His eyes twitched a bit as only Imposter liked throwing random horrible rhymes at him. The song with no words danced on the wind, tracing over the white petals that suddenly surround him and slowly grew louder inside his own head.
Luro slowly sit up twitching a bit at the pain before his gaze fell on a field of flowers stretching far into the distance, he looked around noticing he’s surrounded on all sides by the strange but oddly welcomed sight.
“…wasn’t I just with Vit?” he mumbled climbing to his feet. “Where am I?”
After a moment something in his head screams at him that he knows this place, he tries to dig for answers on what but it’s quickly replaced by recognition of the song. A face flashes in his mind and he brings a bandaged hand to his head as a searing pain runs through it.
“Ow…”
Everything he walked that line between life and death unfamiliar faces always forced themselves forward.
A tall woman had appeared in front of him, a black rifle glinting in the sunlight on her back, but she was gone in a single blink, but the feeling in his chest only grew at her disappearance.
Luro gripped his hair at the familiar sensation, this time instead of pushing them aside, as Imposter did, he tried to recognize the features, anything he could for an answer. One of these faces hummed this song, he knew it, but no name came, just a smirk he knew all too well.

The song filled him with a sense of calm but it was quickly replaced with dread as fast as it came.
It was a beautiful melody yet it was so haunting, echoing all around him. The words to the song danced on the tip of his tongue but he couldn’t form them, and the pain was only getting worse.
“She has such a gentle voice doesn’t she?”
Luro glanced over to see Imposter standing next to him, staring out at the flowers. With a grin he snapped his fingers and the world changed immediately, every white petal turned crimson and the blue sky above him immediate went dark. Fireflies filled the area bits of yellow light floating around them illuminating what the moon couldn’t. He was in this realm again, which meant he was moving without purpose outside.
“…who is it?” Luro said slowly lowering his hands from his head.
Imposter shrugged at him keeping his attention forward.
That was a lie…or maybe it wasn’t.
There was a chance none of this was real, that it was just another fabrication created by this man, but there was a chance it was also a piece of something he forgot. The line was so blurred he could barely tell the difference and asking Imposter was meaningless, he knew that but habit caused him to speak.
Imposter knew the answer he just chose not to say anything; it was more fun that way.
“Does it really matter anyway? There’s no past for people like us.”
Imposter turned to him and the song immediately stopped, Luro’s rifle appeared in his hand and Imposter chuckled at him.
“Nothing is real, it’s just a piece of the never ending dream we find ourselves in.”
“I don’t believe that,” Luro said clutching the rifle tighter. “What I have is real.”
“What proof do you have of that?”
Imposter smiled at him and pointed at the gun, Luro looked down to see his rifle slowly dissolve and slip through his fingers no matter how much he tried to hold onto it. His eyes widened as he felt a piece of himself break as he stared at the black sand slowly falling out of his hands.
It was real.
Every piece meticulously picked out…every day…every day he built it up, and took it apart. Piece by piece, each one held in his hand just long enough to recognize its familiar weight.
It was real.
The feel of the wood on his fingers, the scratches from his countless battles, the feel of the Stardusk symbol as he brought it to his shoulder.
It was real!
Always there, always behind him, something that grounded him.
“What evidence is it that you’re not in the old world? That fragmented world of disregarded dreams.”
Luro reached up and gripped his skull, the screams were slowly getting louder, the flowers were wilting around the two and the light was slowly dying one by one.
“It’s not real so you should lash out, shatter that broken world with your own hands. We’ll make everything real together. If nothing is real…then no one will miss it.”
Luro opened his mouth, he wanted to refute, he wanted to prove him wrong but what was real? What wasn’t just another illusion created by his man, everything felt wrong, everything felt off, he hated it, he wanted to destroy it, he wanted to kill everything that was false and recreate it properly.
He could feel his thoughts slowly edging away, and raising his head he noticed Imposter’s hand had seeped into his chest, ripples echoing where he had plunged his hand a grin adorning the man’s face as their forms slowly started rejoining, red cracks formed along Luro’s skin. A small smile slowly finding its way onto his face as the cold started to seep back in, his eyes slowly closing.

A painful warmth hit him hard in the gut and his eyes widened as it worked its way up, Imposter quickly pulled his hand out of Luro gripping the wrist, his eyes moving to his now scorched hand, completely black and he grit his teeth as he slowly started reforming it.
Imposter raised his eyes to Luro and his eyes widened, he grit his teeth rage flowing through him as a woman hugged Luro from behind, red hair dancing in the wind, a glare on her face as she stared straight back at Imposter. The flowers slowly retook their shape and Imposter took a step forward as more lights started to reform around them.
“There’s nothing to tie you there! Everything you had you destroyed with your hands! Prove to me it’s real Luro! Prove that everything isn’t something we made together! The world of dreams you so meticulously crafted!”

Luro’s eyes glanced to his right and Imposter looked in the same direction, he flinched as he noticed the Stardusk crew standing there. The smiles on their face caused his stomach to churn as every memory both happy and sad flowed into his own mind, he looked back at Luro as his rifle reshaped in his hands, the woman stepping away from and fading back into the tiny lights. Imposter lowered his hands as Luro he loaded a shot into his rifle with a small nod.
“…They’re proof that everything is real…and I won’t let them go that easily Imposter. I mean good attempt though, you almost had me there. Might be the blood loss but I was actually listening to you for a second there.”
“…hah…sheesh. You’re no fun at all you know. I didn’t realize they anchored you that much….but they’ll die eventually you know.”
“Long as it’s not today.”
“I took her away…I’ll eventually get to them.”
“Nah I’m keeping you in your cage.”
Imposter chuckled and gave a small shrug of his shoulders.
“Good luck saving Cedric…he won’t say thank you ya know.”
“Probably not,” Luro said raising his rifle.
Luro pulled the trigger the bullet piercing Imposter’s skull, his body broke apart forming into petals and flowing back into the field. A sneer across his features he faded into nothing his laughter echoing into the edges of the world.
“Don’t want it anyway,” Luro said looking at the Stardusk symbol tracing his finger over it. “Siblings help siblings that’s just natural.”

Luro blinked a few times as he was moved, his gaze moving over to Sara before looking back at the monster then back at Sara. He took a moment to make sure this was real, after roughly a minute he made his peace that all of this was real….probably.
“Oh hey Masu. You’re not going to drop me right, I’m injured and stuff,” Luro said grinning at Sara. “Anyway are we fighting a wolf thing?”
He looked back up at the shadowy creature his brows arching a bit as he dug in his bag and pulled a gun out raising it to the creature, a grin on his face as he stared at the monster.
“This is won’t be as fun we’ve fought bigger than this…I mean I’ve lost against them but that’s probably not important. Masu hold still please or I’ll miss, I got extra guns in my bag if you wanna shoot too.”
Luro pulled the trigger against the creature throwing the gun away to grab another, injured or not he wasn’t missing out on this.




1572014327484.png
“Why is nothing ever normal…”
These were the thoughts running through Zilia’s head as she stared at the giant creature in the throne room. She was surprised that much was absolutely certain, she was definitely afraid that feeling was of course rushing through her; the trembling in her hands was also proof of this. However while those two feelings and many others were indeed present in her, they faded almost a little too quickly. The Captains words reached her and looking at Runali she gave a nod and moved forward with Alicia and Kadi.
She was getting far too used to strange things, she closed her hands to stop her shaking and focused on the singular thing in front of her; if she didn’t look at the creature then it was easier to pretend it wasn’t real. She gave Jack a glance as she passed him but that was the most the doctor offered, for the time being she had to focus on the bigger issue and that was the body of the other missing person on the ground. Since Luro was accounted for that meant everyone was here and that was one less thing on her mind, but she wasn’t pleased that Cedric was in worse shape than Luro currently; he was the benchmark if you met or surpassed that standard it meant you were doing something wrong!

She gave Cedric a look over and her mouth twitched to the side slightly. He was in terrible shape, putting aside that most of his blood was on the floor that cut on his stomach just barely missed his organs, judging by the skin something was coursing through his body, more than likely poison from the looks of it, a distant memory tried to surface but she pushed it back. The more she looked the worst it seemed and she grit her teeth pulling her bag forward, she’d be using the supplies she had reserved for the others here.
Zilia looked over at the woman next to her, her eyes narrowed a bit at her knowing her name but it wasn’t the time for that, instead she just offered a nod. At her words on spells Zilia shoved a note towards her before wiping her hands with something and getting a closer look at Cedric.
“I have no intention of relying on something I don’t understand on an unstable patient. Bring up spells when he’s not at death’s door. Just be ready to cover or wrap any wounds I point out.”
Zilia’s eyes narrowed as she eyed Cedric, and the world slowly started to slowly melt away. The towering beast behind her, the ceiling falling to the ground, the screams of the others none of that reached Zilia anymore. Only the sound of her own heartbeat…and the faintness of Cedric’s as her hands moved over him.

“…the blood’s not stopping…it just keeps pouring out when I try anything and the wound…is it the-”
Zilia was pulled from her thoughts by Victoire and her eyes shot over to the woman but seeing the large creature and the others fighting it she quickly understood why she was stopped. With a nod she followed after the others, when the creature turned its attention towards him, Zilia’s eyes widened and her right hand twitched. The rope dart fell into her grip and she doubted it would do any good but it was better than doing nothing as that ‘thing’ attacked them.
Thankfully someone else stepped in giving them the opportunity to get away.

Zilia’s attention remained focused on Cedric her eyes narrowing seeing how much color had left him. She didn’t want to waste any more time, the longer this took the lower his already slim chances of survival were going to get. When her new assistant spoke she opened her notebook, moving it to her taken hand and started scribbling into it, she nodded to show she was listening but at a certain comment her pen stopped moving. Her eyelids lowered slightly and turning the page she quickly wrote something else down before shoving the note towards Victoire, pulling her hand free in the process.

“You’re talk of being an apprentice makes sense as no doctor should ever say those words. Until the very end, until there is no sign of life in a patient you don’t give up. It’s the job of a healer to be the light in the darkness, the hope in others. We of all people can’t afford to show weakness! The moment you let those thoughts consume you the patient is good as gone. Steel yourself and don’t think of the worst case scenario. Let’s just focus on what we can do now…but thank you for sharing that particular bit of information with me.”
Zilia looked back in the direction of the creature.
“I know the source of his strange wounds…I’ll shift my focus and help buy everyone time to figure something out….then I’m going to kill Cedric myself for causing us all this worry and for purposefully hurting himself!”
 

Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Adventure, Scifi, Anime, Steampunk, Heroes and Villains
Collab bet’w Captain and Silent






Location: Palace

The flames ate Jack’s face. They burned into his arm, his chest, his hair, but no part hurt so much as the heat licking at his cheeks and the blinding light that seared his eyes. The explosion knocked him and Charlotte off their feet, the two intertwined as they went through a wall and landed hard in the other room. He blacked out without hearing his own screams.

When he came to, it was in the relief of cool hands. Cedric’s name was on his lips as he stirred and tried to sit up.

“Easy, halu. You are burned.”

The voice was calm and familiar. It took Jack a second to translate the Arbirean. He reached out one hand and felt Adelaide’s cold grasp wrap around it, pulling him up. His body protested-- he didn’t dare open his eyes as the pain inflamed once more, putting a hand on Adelaide’s shoulder to keep himself steady.

“Cedric?” he asked.

“Critical. They pulled him away but the shadow monster is following. We need to be quick.” Cold, calculating, forward. The voice of a Siren. It told Jack more than anything about their situation. His grip tightened, and he worked to control his fear.

“Charlotte--”

“Gone. We lost her.”

Runali’s footsteps approached them. Jack used Adelaide to stand up and only then noticed his other hand cramped around something small and metal, digging into his palm. His face still hurt but reluctantly, he pried his eyes open. He frowned. His hand flexed around the foriegn object he held. He brought it closer. He then looked to where he thought Runali approached. “Did the shadows swallow everything?”

“What?” Adelaide asked in her language.

The explosion had sent Runali, like the rest of them, flying. Though when she managed to dig herself out of the debris the only thing she saw was the monster chasing the rest of her crew out of the destroyed room. She couldn’t move fast enough even if she wanted to. Her leg was trapped and she had to use Luro’s rifle to help pry herself out.

As quick as she could, Runali hobbled to the two that remained in the room. The two spoke in a language she couldn’t understand, but the closer she got to Jack the more her one eye narrowed in inspection. His question made her still. Her one eye widened in noticeable surprise and for a moment, so did panic. But she quelled the latter, knowing that if she panicked, Jack wouldn’t last any longer in the mess of a situation they were in. Runali gave a steadying breath, biting back the pain of fresh injuries. “We need to get you to Zil, fast. But before we can do that we have to get rid of the monster.” Runali looked at Adelaide, gesturing towards where the monster ran off. “Stay close, stay focused and keep a hold of either me or windy.” Her voice was matter of fact but held reassurance, something that came easy.

They chased after the monster, eventually coming to the courtyard where the rest of the crew, Victoire and the king had stopped. Alicia, the young summoner, and Zilia hovered next to Cedric. The rest were battling it. When they arrived, the monster started glowing. It’s writhing shadows began pulling into its body as the glow grew more intense, and the king’s voice boomed across the area.

“Attack it! Attack it now, with everything you have!”

“What’s going on?” Jack asked, lost in the darkness. Adelaide didn’t answer too focused on the monster but her deep brown skin grew shades paler.

“Nothing good I can assure you.” Runali scanned around, trying to find something that would work against the beast.

Then she had an idea.

It was a reckless idea, but many of her ideas were. The explosion and the glove Jack was wearing- the one Luro made- sparked a memory. “Jack, get ready to blast the nightmare creature!” She didn’t give any other explanation, hoping all that time training together with Luro would spark an idea of what she meant.

Adelaide pulled Jack out of the creature’s path. He clung to her, numbed, hearing Runali’s voice somewhere in the distance but he couldn’t see her. He couldn’t see anything. Adelaide pushed Jack down, a shadow tail sweeping over them, and when Runali shouted again it snapped him back enough to his surroundings.

“What is she--” Jack asked Adelaide.

“--charge your glove,” she answered before he could finish his question. Her lips crushed his, and she whispered against them, “Stay here. I’ll keep it distracted.” He didn’t get time to protest, though he reached out blindly as she left him among the rubble

When Runali reached him, both arms were covered by her armament. Without warning, she grabbed his wrist and aimed it right at the monster. “Out of the way!” Her voice carried across the courtyard. The shadow creature’s attention turned to Runali, prepared to strike at its new focus.
“Perfect.” She repeated the familiar action of dispelling her haki into the glove, only this time she used both her arms plus Jack, resulting in a large enough blast that had enough force to push the both of them backwards.

A roaring fire erupted from Jack’s gloved hand. The fire seared stone as it made its way into the hall, heating the entire area, until it hit the monster’s back. Adelaide appeared from her distraction routine in front of the duo, ready to deviate any attack if the monster should turn on them. It screamed and writhed, cracks forming in its glowing transformation, and then suddenly it exploded. Chaotic energy flattened the crew, the stone fountain, and the statues of the courtyard. And then-- it vanished.

It was quiet.

It was finally over.

Jack held onto Runali tight, tensing for the next thing to happen. He shook and whispered softly in her ear, over and over, not even conscious that he was doing it. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Runali shook her hands, trying to cool them down from the blast. They weren’t burned too bad, she assessed, but she was starting to miss the icy glove. “Not quite how I pictured it, but hopefully we didn’t ruin Luro’s glove.” Her voice trailed off when Jack’s whispers reached her ear. It made her straighten up and turn to face him. Her hand gently nudged his face in her direction and for a moment she frowned.

It had been years ago, but she remembered the day she lost her sight as if it was a fresh injury. The pain of not being able to see anything and hearing the culprits of her attack running off… The frantic search for a mentor that wasn’t there- she was alone that day, but Jack wasn’t. She remembered that fear and the last thing she’d ever want was for her crew to have to go through it as well.

Runali gave Jack’s hand a firm squeeze, attempting to pull him back to reality. “Hey, hey,” Her voice was soft, breaking his repetitive apologies. “Windy and your brother are around. Don’t worry. They’re all safe. ’We’re all safe.” She began to lead him to the others. “Save your apologies for when we’re on the ship.” Approaching Zilia, in a lighter tone she added, “Save your apologies for the doctor.” The captain looked around once more, counting her crew, making sure they were all there- standing or not. All of them were breathing and that’s what mattered. “Oi king, hell’s a little too hot and I suggest we get outta here. If you’re still functioning lead us somewhere that’s anywhere other than this part of the castle. And if anyone else likes you in this place, tell them to get the doctor some more supplies.” She took a step forward, staggering as the fatigue started to set in. It only caused her to grimace a bit and lean against nearby debris. “Oh yeah, and Luro,” She took the rifle off her back and handed it to him. “Ah, sorry about the scratches. But, kept it in one piece?”

“You saved my life, for reasons I’ve only started to comprehend. I will ensure you get to wherever you need to be. It’s the least I can do. But...I must remain here, and find my family. Clean up this mess.” His serious eyes roamed over his ruined castle, his age profound in the exhausted lines of his face. “One night...it’s going to take decades to unravel what Charlotte set in motion. And my nobles.” Betrayal. Confusion. Anger. These flashed on the king’s face quicker than a blink. He pushed them down, and soon the royal face returned. Bowing to Runali, he left to gather what forces he could to escort the crew back to their ship.

When they reached the others, Adelaide and Lily took Jack from Runali and sat him down next to Zilia, Victoire, Alicia and the unconscious Cedric. Silent tears streaked Lily’s haggard face as she looked at him, the burns and the sightless gaze. Adelaide was mute but her fingers found his and they held on like a ship’s anchor. Jack shook. He reached out until the softness of Sid’s hair. “Z-Zilia? Is he alright?” His voice trembled. “Tell me my brother’s alive.”
 

Fox of Hearts

Call me MsNoMer

Collab between Winter Winter and Fox of Hearts Fox of Hearts

Location: Anneau de Fleurs, 2nd Floor
(Garden Leading to Queen’s Private Wing)

A vortex of shadow surrounded the glowing summons. Its roars morphed into shrieks of pain as it prepared to be transformed. A demon was about to be born. Pulsating light blinked in a steady rhythm mimicking the forming heart. Slow, steady, contemplative.

Those sensitive to the energies whipping around understood otherwise. This was the calm before the storm. Rohan and his niece tensed up visibly as did every other summoner in the area. Who? That was the question on everyone’s mind. Who was going to take the burden upon themselves once the demon was defeated?

It wasn’t a question of if anymore. It was a when, an inevitability. Victoire staggered up. She was greatly weakened from taken on Luro’s pain into her body but she believed she was the best person for the upcoming task. There was no way she’d let her uncle sacrifice himself. He was still her king. Melancholy filled her trembling form. She hated herself for fearing the inescapable. Death shouldn’t be this intimidating. she scolded herself.

Lady Noailles sighed. “Madame Doctor, I need to take my leave. Sorry I couldn’t be of greater assistance. Cedric is in your capable hands.” She smiled sadly. “I can’t help him nor Luro anymore.”

She swallowed nervously. She felt like she was rationalising her own actions, a mental rehearsal for what she had to do. “Your crew is going to defeat the demon. When they do, I need to take in as much of the energy as possible. If you succeed in reviving him … if … that huge influx would kill him again.”

Her sweaty palms curled into tight fists. Fear and determination coloured her gaze turning the baby blue eyes a troubled grey. “Please save him. He’s a very dear friend.”

Victoire’s eyes were pulling away when they met another pair of eyes. The intense yellow hurt in the prevailing gloom. The younger woman felt her breath hitched. “First Mate Tashigi?” she breathed. “Y-you why are you here? Shouldn’t you be with the crew?”

Alicia offered a small serene smile of reassurance in response before she stood from her position beside Cedric. “I’m exactly where I need to be, for what must come to pass.” she replied before turning her attention towards the continuing fight as her friends battled against the summoned beast, it’s building power something she could feel resonating within the depths of her chest. She turned away towards the fallen Cedric and the others around him, her expression hardening for a moment before she closed her eyes and stepped away. It wouldn’t be long now and it was important that no time be wasted when this event came to reach its final apex.


The shell around the creature began to crack like ice, energy spilling out from the fissures caused by the attacks of those combating the creature. Before long the fissures widened more, chunks of the shell falling to shatter against the ground around it as the creature within growled and snarled angrily promising to wring destruction from every living creature within its immediate vicinity. Then it happened, the shell shattered in its entirety, exposing the chaos trapped within to flood outwards violently to manifest and take a new form as the summoned creature released a pained shriek that reverberated across the city.

Death came swiftly. The demon screamed in fury as it perished before it could emerge from its chrysalis. Energy dark and wild circled the group infecting the very air around them. Winds roared with rage as they turned into a skyward funnel. Victoire’s heart skipped several beats. No, no! The city was going to be destroyed if the tornado escaped.

“Don’t do anything foolish!” Rohan shouted to the summoners in the vicinity. He used Common so that the Jackal and his crew understood him as well. “Keep calm while I tame this poisoned energy.”

“Uncle, don’t. Let me do it!” Victoire cried in Trovalian as she broke out of her shock. “You can’t. You’re king. We need you!”

Uncle and niece tried staring each other down. Time was ticking down but neither wished to see the other die. The two royals were about to say more when a lone figure stepped out towards the tempest. Rohan stared in horror. A non-summoner was attempting a feat that he wasn’t even sure he’d succeed at.

“Stop!” He commanded Alicia. “You’ll be killed.”

The heavy torrent of wind that encircled the creature caused the white silvery hair of the swordswoman to be pulled to the side in the wake of the wind current, her torn and bloodied clothing following after it as she looked up towards the maelstrom threatening to destroy everything that might dare to stand in its path. She glanced over her shoulder towards the king, the vibrant sunset yellow orange of her eyes settling on him before she smiled. “I know.” she replied softly.

The ground beneath the tornado cracked as the energy began to destabilise, threatening to unleash itself upon the world around it before it’d flow back towards the source, towards Cedric whom would suffer as it’s last act of malevolence. Alicia rose a hand in front of her for a moment to guard against the debris flung in and around its twisting epicenter, inhaling a deep breath before reaching to her waist to untie Shusui.

She held the sheathed blade in both hands, running her thumb along it’s saya before setting the sword on the ground beside her. Leaving her sword behind she began taking steps towards the twisting dark, leaning forwards against the wind as it picked up in defiance to push her away, perhaps as if it knew on some level what she intended to do.

“Alicia, there will be no coming back from this.” the voice of Anduin spoke inside her mind, her often absent companion that bonded with her soul upon her revival from death's doorway. She didn’t respond, he already knew her feelings and thoughts on the matter so there was little need to place them openly.

Stopping a few feet from the collected mass of corrupted spiritual energy, she cast her gaze up towards the summit where the mouth opened up into the sky before raising her palm towards it, her other hand raising to point two fingers towards Cedric. “Will you do this last thing for me?” she asked, closing her eyes as she began to concentrate.

“Of course, what would you have me do?” Anduin responded. “Contain the flood, prevent it from spilling out while I purify the syphon.” Anduin responded with a smile she couldn’t see but rather feel inside the depths of her soul before her eye ignited to be consumed in blue light.

The light became brighter before a shape spilled out from the blue aura, manifesting in the shape of a small hummingbird which took flight and flew upwards towards the sky above them, wings outstretched before a blue dome cast over them, trapping the twisting dark and the others inside to prevent the energy and all whom might be tainted by it from spreading it’s infection further.

“Thank you, Anduin.”
“The pleasure was always mine.”


Alicia opened her eyes one final time as she began to syphon the corrupted energy, the twisting tornado of dark starting to pull in towards Alicia’s palm as she absorbed it, filtering the dark through her own soul before exhaling out the purified energy from her fingertips towards Sid. A swirl of dark and light consumed Alicia, wisps circulating her body as the process continued onward, the radiant pure energy funneling from her fingertips towards Sid casting a bright almost white bridge of light between them while on the other side a sea of dark swirled and thrashed violently towards her palm.

A bright flash of light sparked from Alicia’s chest with a cracking sound like shattering glass causing her to fall to one knee as blood spattered from the corner of her mouth across the floor, the swordswoman keeping her arms raised despite the obvious toll the process was taking on her body. Moments passed, more explosive detonations of light came to pass causing Alicia to writhe slightly in response to the pain as the dark threatened to tear apart her soul as the chaos within it fought for domination over her own spiritual energies.

Sensing it’s impending demise, the corrupted energy struck out angrily as bolts of dark struck the ground, cracking the floor and tearing apart the environment. Unable to hold back the agony moving through her body any longer, Alicia began to let out a pained cry as tears fell out down the curves of her cheeks, colour began to drain out of her eyes, dulling them to a grey silver. The last of the dark had Syphoned through her soul before one final explosion tore outward, obliterating the dome made by Anduin and him along with it. The last of the purified energy passed along the bridge into Sid before Alicia collapsed onto the ground, her soul fractured as it contained the chaotic spiritual energies inside, now threatening to tear her soul apart should her own spirit fail to win the internal battle rampaging inside. She lost consciousness a few moments after, her wounds both inside and out having exhausted the last of her strength.

 

Eastwood

Too weird to live, too rare to die.
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High School

When Sara had reunited with the rest of the crew, she noticed that, for once, she was the only member that did not have a scratch on her. Her fight with Scorpio was intense but brief as he was no match for the wealth of combat experience that Sara had accrued over a lifetime of duels. She had left his unconscious form leaning against a ruined brick wall before turning and heading towards the castle at the sight of the sinister shadows growing, which was a new and an unpleasant sight for the gladiator.

She was half-way to the castle, on an abandoned market square, when the shadows had coalesced together. Her eyes narrowed and she quickened her pace to a sprint. When she arrived, she noticed that things were bad, very bad. Everyone was hurt. Jack’s face was badly burnt, Cedric was downed, and Alicia…

At the sight of Alicia down on the ground, blood splattering her usually-immaculate kimono, Sara’s eyes widened and she stopped in her tracks. Her mouth moved but no words came out. Blinking away hot tears, she ran towards her, calling her name. She knelt in the crater and held Alicia. “Alicia! Alicia!” She was breathing, but barely. Her soul was her soul but not, Sara had never seen or felt anything like this before. She didn’t know how to help for she did not know what was wrong. “Shh, shh, it’s okay Alicia, Sara is here.” Sara said softly, holding Alicia’s head to her chest and gently rocking her. “Come back to me Alicia… Please…”

A spark had ignited inside Sara. A small iota of warmth blossomed deep in her core and slowly, but surely, it spread to the rest of her body. A constant warm gentle flame, never wavering, continued to grow and grow inside of her, a sensation that everyone around her felt in some way or another. Sara still held Alicia in her arms, oblivious to all else. She didn’t even notice the thin ring of fire that was growing around the pair, sheltering them both from the outside world.
 

Mizos

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Before the Blast




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Location: Anneau de Fleurs, 2nd Floor
(Garden Leading to Queen’s Private Wing)

Annoyance flashed across Victoire’s face when the note was read. She pursed her plump lips together, swallowing back the insult sizzling on her tongue. How dare this lowly doctor criticise her? She hated the assumed superiority laced in those words. She hadn’t given up. She was giving the group a fuller picture as was expected of healer. Pessimism … fatalism … it was all very Trovalian. Their culture disparaged by an ignorant foreigner.

How rude! She screamed internally before praying to the Great Capricorn for forgiveness. She’d have prayed to Étoile, Goddess of Mercy, as well but she needed to focus. Keep this rude doctor alive. Keep Cedric alive. The noble woman exhaled loudly and pulled Zilia off towards the trellis covered eaves, the one place they could defend easily.

“M. Kadi, over here. Uncle, avoir l’foi. J'aiderai!” She yelled. Her commanding voice slightly louder than berserk summons. (trans. (not literal) “Uncle, stay strong. I’ll aid you.”)

If Zilia noticed Victoire’s annoyance she paid no heed to it, she needed to make sure Cedric survived, everything else came after. Luro waved a hand to Victoire but that was the most he offered in greetings as he pouted a bit at being pulled away from the fighting.

Zilia wasn’t the only one to disrespect her station. Victoire found herself staring after Luro was shoved into her care. She considered foisting him back but it was too late. Kadi and Sara had joined the fray. The healer’s apprentice’s fingers twitch. She felt the urge to kill someone. Anyone.

She cursed under her breath. “Maudit d’folie. I’d be more useful by their side.” (trans. (not literal) “What insanity”) Duty above all, she reminded herself begrudgingly. It was her family’s vow and she needed to remember it more than ever. Her duty as a healer was more important apparently than her battle prowess. Bitter as that was.

“Come hero, we should return to Madame Doctor’s side.” Victoire said voicing her defeat out loud. “You look like you’re about to collapse again.”

“Haha I actually feel pretty good. I’m sad they took me away from the fighting though. Still I’m worried about Cedric though so I’ll come with ya...and I’m Luro not hero. My name isn’t that hard to remember...right?”

Luro brought a hand to his chin wondering if it really was, he knew a few people who also didn’t call him by his name.

Undisturbed Zilia’s focus appeared to be her dying patient. Each new breath he struggled to take was slower than the last. Tainted blood spilled lazily from the sides of his mouth showing how far the poison had spread.

Her eyes moved over to Luro when he was brought to them and holding a hand up to Victoire he managed to stand somewhat on his own, leaning against something nearby. His attention was also focused on Cedric, his eyes peering at the young man. Zilia’s eyes moved to him for a second and she knew that look all too well.

Defiance.

They were on the same page and that’s all she needed, she turned her attention back to Cedric after giving him a small nod.

From the moment she was able Zilia’s hands hadn’t stopped moving, she knew what she couldn’t fix so she’d focus on what she could. The wounds refused to stay close, the blood continued to flow, her clothing was covered in red, her eyes flicking to what needed to be closed, what needed to be treated, what needed to be stopped, what could kill Cedric, what could wait. Her eyelids would widen and narrow in spurts, each failed attempt, each successful one, a constant back and forth. It was akin to fighting an equal opponent, she was put on her back foot then forced them on theirs.

She paused only for a brief moment in her movements to quickly check Cedric, signs of life confirmed but dwindling she returned to her treatment.

“I can only do so much if I can’t treat these wounds! They need to hurry or-”

Cedric rasped. His eyes shot open but his mind didn’t register anything. His body tensed up for a moment before he fell limp on the ground. All signs of life were wiped out in that very instant. Victoire gasped.

Cedric was dead.

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

Victoire wanted to cry as memories of darker days haunted her. Days in which she lived Jack’s lie. She never thought she’d see it come true. Not like this. The finality of this moment could have waited. Goodbyes should have been said. It was unfair.

She acknowledged her grief over several slow breaths. Her mind and senses sharpened greatly as she fought to stay grounded. She saw the pulsing light and knew they needed to act. She had to trust the good doctor hadn’t surrendered. If Zilia stopped, the woman would forever be a hypocrite in her eyes …

She slammed Luro against a nearby pillar. Her body pressed tightly against his. Between them, was her outstretched arm. She pressed a card against his skin. A strange blue glow engulfed the both of them.

“I’m making you my knight,” she declared. “Your pain is mine. Every new injury will be shared. You can fight without worry. Just don’t die.”

The blonde gritted her teeth. Her legs were starting to buckle under the pain shooting down her back and limbs. She pushed Luro harder against stone. “The rebirth is happening. I need you to shatter the glowing shell before the demon is fully formed. Any attack coming after would be enough to kill it.”

A pistol with the Noailles crest was shoved into his hands. Victoire dropped to her knees soon after. Her body not fully adjusting to fatigue and pain she was absorbing. She spilled her spare cards all over the floor as she attempted to pull one out.

“Bruiser l’vent!” the summoner cried after Luro’s retreating form. Her card turned to warm ash in her shaking hand and she tossed it away. She used her hand to stabilize her quivering form.

Luro stared at Cedric for a long moment, his eyes moving to Z. She didn’t move at first seeing Cedric's limp body. His eyes moved to Zilia’s and he flinched at the anger behind her glare, and the fire behind her eyes. She reached forward and grabbed hold of Cid’s head tilting it back, and reached for her medicine. This woman was staring defiantly back into death’s eyes.

“You will not take this one...not today...not like this.”

For a brief moment Cedric's form was replaced with another but Zilia shook the vision and memory away, she knew how to handle this she wouldn’t hesitate, not again.

Luro started to offer to help when he found himself thrown against a pillar, he barely had time to register what was happening when the glow surrounded him. He felt his pain slowly started to slip away and put a bit more weight on his leg. He blinked at Victoire tilting his head for a bit confused at what she was doing. Her words reached him even if he didn’t understand everything she was saying, the moment she handed him the gun he looked at her, then at Cedric’s form.

“...all right. I can make an exception in this case I suppose...I kinda wanna hurt the thing anyway,” Luro said tightening his grip on the gun.

Luro walked forward raising a hand to Vit as she yelled something before his eyes moved to the gun. He could feel strange energy flowing off the gun, he imagined that was the white glow surrounding the gun. He ran his fingers over it and nodded, there was a warmth coming off it that wasn’t natural. Whatever Vit did to the gun it was probably similar to what happened earlier in the throne room.

Just as he was preparing to raise the pistol a voice resonated through his skull.

“Killing something with someone else’s power…I just can’t get fully into it like this. Doesn’t have that same spark it usually does.”

“…well this is rare we’re actually in agreement.”

“We agree on a bunch of things…you just won’t admit it.”

Luro didn’t respond to the man but his eyes moved over to see Imposter walking next to him, dressed in the same garb as him though he had brought his crown with him. Imposter flexed his fingers as if taking a moment to check his manifestation and grinning looked over at Luro.

“Still there’s a reason you didn’t just hand the gun back to her, a twisted part of you is responding to this. That’s why this is so hard to resist even for you.”

Imposter motioned to the gun before shrugging and moving his hands behind his head.

“Still all these names this girl is giving you. People really like putting titles on things don’t they…so afraid of the unexplainable that it brings them some kind of comfort to put something in a category. If you know it’s a monster than somehow it’s not so bad right? That kind of thinking is my favorite, they’re some of the easiest to manipulate. It's so simple it's almost adorable.”

Imposter raised his hand over his eyes and whistled at the gathering darkness in the distance before continuing.

“Yet...that’s the fun thing about Imposters isn’t it…we’re never just one thing and it’s so much fun to play a different role then your ‘original’ one. That’s why you haven’t put that gun down. The idea of a ‘monster’ playing the role of a 'knigh't-”

“Is just way too fun to pass up,” Luro responded grinning at the man next to him.

Imposter returned the smile as Luro raised the pistol, the man putting his hand on Luro’s shoulder as a strange crackle surrounded the gun for a moment, Luro's hand resting on the trigger.

“Little more to the left and the Captain will get caught in the blast.”

Luro moved the gun slightly to the right getting a ‘tch’ from Imposter before pulling the trigger.

A white glow came out of the gun and a thin line of white shot out from the barrel, energy crackling around the shot as it traveled towards its destination. The bullet singed the earth as it passed over it causing Imposter’s smile to widen ever so slightly. The bullet ripped through the air leaving a faint trail before it found its target. All the energy drew into that point the pale glow drawing into itself before exploding outwards as the energy pierced the shell bursting out of it, red sparks dancing around the shell that matched the glow around Imposter’s fingers before he snapped them. A sphere of wind burst out of the condensed energy growing larger and larger in shape until it threatened to match the castle in height. The wind cut along the creases made by the unstable energy surrounding the creature in gusts that tore at it from every angle, multiple slashes forming along it until the magic eventually faded.

“Wooo can we take her with us, that was fun. I’ll get the rope you make up some excuse.”

“No Imposter.”

“Luro I already got the rope we may as well use it.”

Luro quickly turned to check on Zilia only to see her lips touching Cedric’s.

He froze in place alongside Imposter, the two glancing at each other as she slowly pulled her face away from his.

“...did you know?”

“I had no idea...go figure I lost that bet.”

Zilia’s eyes twitched as she had the odd feeling she was being judged but pushed it aside as she checked on Cedric once again..



After the Blast



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Luro stared at the scene of the monster's destruction in silence, a hand slowly coming to rest on his chin. Zilia had chosen to stay with Cedric for the time being and he understood why. From the look in her eyes, he knew what she wanted to say but it was something the crew needed to hear, and it was something she herself wanted to say. His eyes went to Jack as the Captain approached and he started to raise a hand to him but lowered it mid raise when his eyes met his face. It took him a moment to register the familiar shape on the Captain's back, his eyes widened the glow returning to him as she handed the rifle back to him. He carefully took her with two hands like she was a newborn and hugged her to his body, a small laugh escaping from him. At the Captain's comment of marks, Luro eyed the gun and ran his fingers along the new wounds.
"It's okay Captain. Scars are just another story right," Luro said grinning. "We just got more to tell them. Anyway good work you guys! I felt that explosion from over there, haha I was having you guys use them separately but I may have to test what you can do together more often."
Luro offered a bright smile to the Captain before focusing back on Jack, he gave him a small pat on the shoulder as he passed him.
"I'm still alive too as promised. Now go get yelled at by Z, Cedric's over there too. I'm going to check on Alicia."

Luro didn't approach the crater seeing Sara within it holding Alicia, he kept his distance not wanting to disturb the two and avoid the fire that now surrounded them. A gust of red smoke appeared next to him and Imposter manifested taking his place next to him, grinning at the grieving Sara though he hid it behind his hand. Not out of any sense of shame, he liked to pretend that he actually cared.
"You felt that stir didn't you...that awakening of the 'other' earlier?"
Luro's eyes narrowed but he didn't say anything in response, he knew what he meant but he didn't want to discuss it...that of course meant Imposter wasn't going to let up.
"How strange that I can't feel it anymore....what a shame! I always felt a kinship with Miss Tashigi. Occasionally I'd feel the warmth of that presence as I passed her. I was so envious that he was at least not locked in some cage. I wanted so to speak with him and ask him what he saw within the depths of Alicia but alas it is too late now. Now she lay, battered and broken for her friends. A true act of self-sacrifice! I'm in tears! What a worthwhile demise!"
Luro glanced at Imposter as he held his stomach, tears streaming down the side of his face as he laughed pointing at the two in front of them, his loud laughter echoing around them, he was glad Imposter's voice no longer reached the others and days like this he wished it didn't reach him.. Luro waved his hand causing the man to vanish from his sigh seeping back into his being. He could feel genuine joy coming from him as she stared at the broken couple, trying to force that feeling into his own heart.
"Tell her. Tell her it's gone. Tell Sara holding her won't change anything! Tell her! I want you tell her the woman she loves so dearly broke herself."
Luro remained silent staring at the two and closed his eyes for a moment, he wasn't sure if it was because of Imposter's presence but he always felt something when he looked at Alicia, it was subtle but he always felt too 'Alicia's' for some reason. Sara's was similar but different in a sense and now he could see it far more clearly. That 'other' Imposter mentioned wasn't as obvious now though. His eyes twitched slightly at the sight, there were things he wanted to say to Sara but he felt his words would fall on deaf ears. They weren't close enough for his words to carry any weight, at least not anymore. He doubted she would even hear him so he wanted to keep his mouth shut and just turn away.
"Masu," Luro said.
Unfortunately, he didn't think ahead as much as he should, it wasn't in his nature.
"When you feel comfortable bring her to Z. She's hurt too, we gotta treat her too."
Luro turned and walked away from the two to rejoin Zilia as Imposter stared back at the two.
"Look familiar."

Blood dripped onto the ground as Luro dug his nails into his hands slowly shutting Imposter back into his hole.
"Haha...I'm going I'm going. Stories like this always having boring endings anyway."
"That's why I like them."

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Zilia glanced in the Captain's direction wiping something off her mouth picking up the pair of footsteps. She sighed internally hearing Runali's words and turned almost prepared to shove a note in Jack's face until her eyes met his face. A small twitch of the eyes was the only response Zilia offered, her gaze moving to Runali for a moment before returning to Cedric. She flinched a bit at Jack's question and offered no response for a long time, partially because she knew her words wouldn't reach him. She stared at him for a long moment before reaching over and taking hold of his hand. Moving it and placed it upon Cedric chest, she held it there for a moment until a small thump met the palm of his hand and she pulled her hand away.
Cedric had multiple bandages wrapped around his body and Zilia had only stopped at the two's approach, thanks to the demon being dealt with she was finally able to do something about the wounds. She slipped a vial back into her pocket and a shaky breath escaped from her before she removed her bloody gloves.

She brought a hand to her face a small sniffle escaping from her before a wetness fell down her cheeks. She shut her eyes her body shivering for a moment before she sniffled and cleared her throat, handing a note to the Captain.
"I hate all of you...making me worry like this. We are going to have a very long discussion later after I'm done treating all of you. I will tie you to beds myself to ensure you get bedrest if I have too."
Zilia wiped her eyes before slipping new pairs of gloves back on, handling Runali another note.
"I need all the injured brought to me especially after I get more supplies. Cedric's stable but a long way to being 'safe'. If Victoire can move she can treat so get her over here. Until then I'm using my nurse."
"Who's your nurse Z?" Luro said tilting his head at Zilia.
Seeing the look on her face he flinched a bit.
"W-well that explains a few things... Uh I'll help out as much as I can!"
Luro said this smacking his arm only to flinch at the pain, offering a pained smile at the group.
"I haven't taught him how to be gentle yet...blame yourselves."
 

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SilentxChaos

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Collab bet’w Captain and Silent







Location: Lady Luck - 2 days later

“Are you sure about this, Mom?” The cane twirled anxiously between Jack’s fingers.

Lily’s touch warmed his shoulder and he sensed her sad smile. “I helped these people organize and attack the capital. I won’t leave them to the wind. It’s right for me to stay and help where I can. Leave the clean up to the royals and their noble houses.”

Jack nodded. They sat in Zilia’s space, next to a sleeping Sid, and Adelaide leaning against Jack’s arm. Two days after the king escorted them out of the city and there’d been no change in his brother’s condition. Jack hardly left his side-- but then, there wasn’t much Jack could go with the bandages around his eyes. Zilia said his sight should return soon, but the burns on his face would take longer to heal. This, of course, was relayed through Luro. Jack got the sense Luro’s interpretation didn’t hold true to the original material.

Adelaide’s floral scent moved closer and he pressed his cheek into her soft curls. She too, was staying behind, for a different reason. “With Charlotte gone, the three of us are vulnerable to enemies seen and unseen,” she explained as Zilia wrapped Jack’s eyes in bandages, “I want to make sure I grab our dossiers from her office. Before someone else gets the same idea.”

He didn’t like the idea of both of them staying behind, not with the King’s gratitude stretching thin. He ushered them to the city gates where Adelaide’s remaining force waited, safe as promised. But the discord of news leaking from Tulveste suggested the rage between common folk and nobles did not simmer in the wake of the assassination attempt. The blow of Charlotte’s betrayal, and Jack’s involvement both with the Oublia disaster and starting the Palace Riot, left a cloud of uncertainty. Rohan formally requested Stardusk stay put in the ruins of Oublia so their testimony would be collected later. Jack suggested they’d belay that.
“Charlotte’s in the wind and everyone is crying for vengeful blood. I’ll give the King a week before he starts thinking Stardusk might make the ideal stand-in. We may have saved his life, but the destruction in our wake was enormous. Only a handful of people knew what we did and they are in jail for their own crimes. Best we leave and not look back...that is, if I’m still welcomed.”

He, Adelaide, Lily and his crew stood on the deck of Lady Luck. He fiddled with the cane, his head turning this way and that as if to gauge the crew’s expressions. Merely a black void stared back. He grimaced. Here it was, the moment he dreaded most. He couldn’t help recalling Luro’s own trial and remembering his feelings of betrayal and anger. He’d pressed them down, then, unable to say no. He wondered if he’d be so lucky. Perhaps this was the final straw when it came to betrayals.

“I’ve been ready to leave this place since I got here.” Two days of sitting on her hands, not doing anything on an island made her antsy- well, as antsy as she could get when she couldn’t make it very far. She was sure sometime after the odd monster fight, she was going in and out of consciousness, refusing to actually rest. It wasn’t until she was sure, by Zilia alone that the crew weren’t straddling the line of meeting the dead did she finally collapse on the deck of her ship and lay there. Currently, she was right back in the position she started, laying on the deck of the ship with her left foot propped on a barrel. She’d been complaining to no one in particular and not loud enough for the entire ship to hear, but she stopped when Coral landed on her stomach. “Ah, careful bird I’m still sore.” The bird ignored Runali’s waving and tilted her head towards the footsteps approaching.

Seeing Jack, Adelaide, and Lily made her raise a brow. She watched their expressions for a moment, specifically Jack’s, before heaving a soft sigh. “Oi, help me up.” Her hand went up to Kadi, as he was the closest to her at the time, and with a pull she stood and sat on the barrel her foot was resting on. Coral rested in Runali’s lap accepting the gentle pats. “Alright,” She started. “This was fun. Playing hero and all.” She carefully watched Jack’s expressions as she spoke. “Would’ve been a lot more fun without all these new injuries, I’m sure. Do tell though, you are done playing spy right? Cedric’s out cold for now. Charlotte’s gone. City’s saved though so there’s that. And now we’re here.” ‘Here’ was a familiar position, one that she was hoping she didn’t have to be in ever again. Unfortunately, things were never easy. But easy was never interesting either.

Runali’s face was neutral and her eyes closed for a minute. Another sigh escaped her before she opened them again and looked to the rest of the crew before looking back at Jack. She found herself repeating words she didn’t want to have to repeat. “As the captain of the Stardusk, I’ve made it clear that it’s my goal and mission to make sure everyone here is as safe as they can be under this pirate flag. You had your intentions Jack, good or not. Poorly executed or not.” Her smile was faint, but disappeared as she continued. “Trust is.. a finicky thing to have. Hard to gain and easy to lose… as you of all people should know. I am the captain but the crew has a say in what happens on this ship.” She put a hand up before her crew could speak.

“But you’ve gotta tell me right here, and right now,” The serious in her voice matched the expression he couldn’t see. “Do you want to stay a Stardusk Pirate?”

Jack didn’t need his sight to feel all pairs of eyes on him. His face flushed. He swallowed and a subconscious part raised his fingers to touch the Stardusk emblem on his neck. “Captain….” He stood up straight. “I told you once that Stardusk is the last crew I’ll ever serve. I meant it. My life is pledged to everyone on this ship. There’s no place I’d rather be than here… though I understand if I do not deserve it.”
 

Arcadius

Bunch of neurons riding a meat mech
Location: lost somewhere between here and not caring at all

The last few... gah, how long has it been already? Months, surely, since his soul was fused back together with his body? It was hard to gnostically track time now. His memories were sometimes so blurry, he was not sure what happened when. He supposed it came with having lived for the last few years twice. If two events happened at the same time in his past, his mind would struggle to conceive the though of having two memories for the same moment, and would tell him both things were true and yet neither at the same time. This... doublethink made his head hurt. There was only a single personality in his head, he was sure of that, but that doubled set of experiences would often lead him to two different paths for the same event. Sometimes, he acted as the Navigator would have acted, meek, cold and distant, and sometimes as the aggresive and fatalistic Pathfinder, and he would be able to spot which did which only in retrospect.

And sometimes, he wondered if people around him noticed, if all of this wasn't simply made up in his head and he was, simply, just going insane from the strain on his nerves.

Maybe it was time to wake up, and make a final decision which of these he truly was, or if perhaps they were both past their due for retirement, and it was time to sculpt oneself into something new, more stable, stronger willed and less wrangled by his messed up past. Maybe it was time to move on, and consider making preparations for his return home, where he would put all of these experiences to good use.

Location: A reality long due

His hand wrapped around Capn's firmly and he helped her to get up. "Well, boss, there's wisdom in leaving before the trouble arrive," said the Navigator. "If nothing else, it will get you off your antsy horse, and lying down for period of time that could be considered a rest. We are sailors, at the end of the day. Our life is about not letting ourselves get too caught up in local business, as we are not a traiding station, but a ship. We're meant to sail, and we can't do that anchored to local politics."
 

Fox of Hearts

Call me MsNoMer
Collab between Capt. Blu Capt. Blu and Fox of Hearts Fox of Hearts



Location: Out at Sea

Cedric drifted in and out of consciousness. He was exhausted after an emotional reunion with Jack in the waking world. He wanted to say so much but his body failed him. He kept coughing up blood periodically until Zilia returned.

He sighed, recounting the note he read. The words weren’t verbatim but he guessed it was close enough. You would have been in better shape if it wasn’t for the poison lingering in your body. He realised he shouldn’t be complaining. Not after putting madame doctor through so much.

He squirmed against the pillows keeping him propped up. This position prevents you from drowning in your own blood had been the only explanation Zilia offered. He made a face. One would think lying against a stack of pillows would be more comfortable than this. he complained inwardly. Sleep was really eluding him.

His eyes shot open as he started coughing. He reached out for stack of pristine handkerchiefs left on his bedside table. Sid made a face and threw the bloodied sheet into the bucket on the floor. He grabbed a second piece to wipe his mouth. Blood tasted so foul.

“Ms. Vili - ah Capitaine, good evening,” the tailor greeted when he finally noticed the other living person in the room. “I apologise for my … um, disgraceful appearance.” As he said that, his bare hands disappeared under the blanket. He looked a little awkward after doing that.

Sid wasn’t sure he should be jesting about his current situation. Laughing was going to be a bother with his sides hurting this much. He decided to remain as calm as possible just like Zilia ordered. “Have you eaten? Ms. Vilimar mentioned it was dinner time before leaving with Jack.”

Runali rested against the doorframe, watching the damaged man for a bit till he noticed her. Her neutral expression faltered into a curious brow raise when he apologized and then proceeded to worry about her. She remained silent for a moment, as if she was trying to find the right words to say, only to sigh and step more into the room and pulling up a chair. “The last thing you need t’do is worry about anything other than yourself right now.” She eyed him over, adding, “You’ve done enough of that as it is. Speaking of,” She decided to cut to the chase. “I do hope you’ve gotten the self sacrificing out of your system… I s’pose Jack has or definitely will scold you enough about you playing ‘hero’, so that makes my efforts easy.”

“Whether you have trust in them or not, you’re apart of a crew Cedric. You don’t need to make decisions like that on your own.”

Cedric mulled over what Runali said. Try as he might, he couldn’t come up with even the simplest reassurance. Trusting others would always be a struggle for him. That’s why he centered his focus on his brother and the man’s well-being. He exhaled loudly and raspily.

“The Stardusk has a reputation of attracting all sorts of trouble,” he began. “I understand the importance of working together but …”

He’s brows creased. He rearranged his words several times and gave up. It still sounded confrontational no matter what he said. He hoped the captain wouldn’t take it that way. “Well, yes. There will be times we have to make a judgement call. I think the word is desperation. Yes, desperation. To feel like we’ve been pushed into a corner.”

He grabbed another handkerchief and coughed into it. Thankfully, the current spell proved to be gentler on his lungs. He tossed the soiled cloth into the bucket once his breathing stabilised. “Sorry,” he apologised again, feeling bad for needing to reach pass his superior.

“I felt that stopping Madame was the only way. There was no escape for Jack. For anyone, if I’m honest. She’s too well-connected for us to be truly safe.”

He pressed an arm against his clammy brow. He focused on breathing and remaining calm. He felt he tasted enough blood for the day. “I admit I’m still confused about how I’m still alive despite all that. The spell I used was supposed - yeah, I think you figured that out.”

He hoped she would help him fill in the blanks. Jack skirted the topic earlier, refusing to give him the harsh truth. He wanted to know what happened after he passed out. If Charlotte still lived, who was hurt, how badly they were hurt and whether they managed to exonerate the Jackal. These were more important than his current injuries. He didn’t really care if he died from them eventually if he was honest. His life was always insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

“I want to know as much detail as possible and I’ll answer your questions if you have any,” he invited. He wasn’t sure how much Runali would tell otherwise. She confused him. No, this entire crew confused him. He kept trying to find a hidden agenda behind their actions but he couldn’t. It frustrated him.

“We’re not your enemy, Cedric… trust me you wouldn’t be on this ship if you were.” She gave a look that seemed a little too knowing. It didn’t last long with her glancing over her shoulder when he asked her a question. “You’re also no use to anyone, dead. Not to your lady spy, not to us, and definitely not to your brother. As a pirate, there’s safety in numbers. Seems that’s the case with your spying too… considering without Adelaide, her friends… us… and a peaceful departure by the king, you and Jack would have been dead men.” Even though she was being rather straightforward, there was no harshness to her tone. She was simply telling the truth of the situation.

“I don’t think you do understand that. The working together thing.” She shook her head for emphasis, before leaning it against her hand. “Y’know, Alicia also says the same thing… about the Stardusk attracting trouble. And coincidentally, Alicia’s the one that saved you from dying, so you owe her a thank you.” With her free hand, she tapped the edge of the chair. “You created the large shadowy monster, we fought it off. Charlotte caused an explosion and blinded Jack. Jack and I burned the monster down. Alicia did… something that even now I still couldn’t begin to explain. One of her many talents. But whatever she did, it got the lot of what was killing you out.”

Her brow raised, looking at him still. “And that’s what a crew does. Help each other. May have been able to do that before the monster attack too. Save us all from a few injuries.” She let it fall silent for a moment before giving him a curious look. “Why don’t you trust us? Last I recall, we haven’t given you reason not to?”

Laboured breathing filled the minute pauses. Cedric’s eyes even closed at one point. His breathing slowed even more as if he was giving in to sleep. Then his eyes snapped open. Emotions swirled in their tired depths but they were gone before they could be deciphered. He craned his chin upwards, bringing his eyes to the ceiling. Eventually, they found their way back to his bedside companion. There was a curious glow that made him look positively feline.

“I’ll talk to Alicia if you are willing to sneak me out of here. We could talk as we walk,” he suggested a little too hopefully. He didn’t mind trying his luck. After all, there must be someone whom the tiny doctor ceded to. The captain seemed the most logical choice.

He attempted to sit up fully only for the colour to drain from his face. He sputtered and coughed as he fought to keep sitting. “Mer - can you … um?” His words turned to wet splatters on his stained blanket.

He lost whatever little strength he gained and he slumped back against the fluffy ramp. An exasperated sigh escaped his lips along with the remaining bloody trickle. He laughed slowly and painfully. “Ah well, it’ll work. Give me twenty minutes or so. Where is Alicia anyway?”

The captain let out a soft snort. “I believe that,” She gestured to him as he sputtered up blood. “Is the reason you’ve been put on bedrest and advised not to move around so much.” She glanced back at the door, hearing nothing outside the quiet of the evening, which meant the others were more than likely still eating dinner. “I can assure you if Alicia isn’t eating right now then she’s resting, as the doctor commands.” Sure, she didn’t listen to the doctors demand for her to rest at times, but she was a hypocrite when it came to her crew. That she knew. “Not to worry though, I’ll send Alicia your way, your brother too now that you’re energetic enough to move about.”

Cedric gave his boss a calculating look. His mind evaluated his chances of successfully evading madame doctor without any assistance. He guessed he’d have to eliminate whatever splotchy trail his lungs felt like leaving. Maybe then he’d be able to find Alicia and Jack. The order didn’t really matter.

He guessed he could entertain Runali awhile longer. He was confident he would have a plan very soon. “I can’t trust people easily, even if I wanted to. I spent most of my childhood in a dying mining town, Eastpas.”

“The town might have been great once but I only remember a filthy slum. Food was horribly overpriced so you can guess what kind of life it was.” His eyes flicked towards the other’s face. He doubted she’d be shaken by yet another sad tale but he’d like to see some emotion in her for once.

“Children were despised, an unneeded burden. I’m not joking when I say they value their scrawny chickens over any child. So where does trust come in?” he mused. His tone turned slightly sarcastic.

“Well, imagine this. You have a friend. You are playing with them one day and the next day you find their family bringing their lifeless body to the nearest temple. They are gone. Suffocated or strangled during the night because their parents can no longer keep them. It was perfectly alright. Logical even or we are told. Be grateful we still want you.”

He raised an eyebrow as if to see if she wanted him to continue. He didn’t get the impression she wanted him to stop. “You don’t even know if you can believe the shopkeepers. What’s that meat you’re eating? Was it that mangy cat or was it that scrawny puppy? I hoped it was just that. I mean we had more bodies than land to bury them.”

“Such doubts tend to fester, you know. I never really enjoy food as much as Jack because of them.” He chuckled. “An irony, really. Anyone would say my brother is a great cook but I can’t stomach half of what he puts in front of me.”

He gestured with his scarred hands, forgetting he wished to keep them hidden. There were patches where flesh had been completely stripped away. The healing process left a webbing of puckered skin over bone. “I’m only alive because Jack took me in. He found me when I was less cynical.” He shrugged. “It’s a story happening every single day in the poorest slums. You can only keep trying as long as you are alive, yes?”

And … have I told Jack about this? Not in so many words. I never felt the need to. He’s smart, so he would have figured it out long ago.”

The tailor ended his tale there. Whether Runali sensed that he was withholding the other half of the story or not, he didn’t care. She hinted that she respected her crew’s privacy so he intended to abuse it. He doubted the details were worth knowing anyway.

While Cedric explained his life, details she figured he didn’t share quite often, or at all, Runali stayed quiet. They were facts she’d certainly store away later, since by the sounds of it, it’d be rare and few that he volunteered the information. When he finished, the captain couldn’t help but smile a little. “You’ve misheard what I asked Cedric.” Her laugh was light and short. “Though I do appreciate your honesty. Less pestering I have to do on my end.” Runali fixed the seat so she was sitting proper and crossed her arms. “I asked you why you don’t trust us.Us being the Stardusk crew.”

Sid frowned lightly. He couldn’t believe she missed the point. His anecdote was the answer to her question. He reached for a fresh handkerchief as his nose began twitching. The sneezing caused a second bloodbath. He groaned upon seeing the stains eating into his shirt. *The misery just keeps multiplying, doesn’t it?*

He made a face and disposed the soaked handkerchief. “I answered earlier. I can’t trust anyone even if I tried. Jack is the only exception.” It’s not like he trusted his brother than much either, he added silently. Jack broke his trust once and they were still trying to make amends.

He refused to dwell on the past. It was a pointless endeavour since nothing could be changed. He mulled over his last three escape plots. None of them would work. He needed someone to escort him out of here. Hopefully, they do so before the doctor returned with his promised dinner. He could already tell it would be a torture to finish. That and, well, he really wanted to speak to Jack and Alicia in private. This place was way too open for his liking.

“Are you really sure you can’t help me out of bed? I haven’t seen my cats since I passed out. I’m worried about them,” he needled. “I’m sure you’d worry about Coral Pearl if you’ve been unconscious for days.”

“You didn’t.” Runali cocked her head a little, her expression practically teasing. “You gave me a broad answer to a specific question. I’ve done you no harm and yet you can’t tell me why you don’t trust me.” She stood to her feet and smiled. “I most certainly can help you out of bed Cedric. It’d be an absolute breeze too. But,” She casually spun the chair back into its original place. “However could you trust me to get from here to your destination?” her smile turned into a cheshire grin. “Surely, things could go wrong y’know? Wrong step and I could have you stuck in the kitchen. Or even in Luro’s room.” She continued teasing as she walked closer to the bed. “How can you even trust me saying your cats are fine? Well fed and coddled up with someone on board I’m sure.”

Cedric’s face became unreadable. Part of him was annoyed at the woman was not letting go. Another part of him was genuinely considering her examples. Were those instances a matter of trust? He filed them away as questions for Jack. He hated dealing with such trivial things.

“There is respect and … courtesy, a willingness to give you enough chances. Maybe.” He deadpanned. “I’m willing because Jack is happy here. So, shall we work on that “trust” you so desire?”

He stretched out his hands indicating he wanted to be hauled up. He knew he could have worded his thoughts a bit better. He might have if his head wasn’t killing him. Translating was such kicker in his current state that he hoped the conversation ends soon. “Seeing will be proof, yes? I mean you can claim my cats are fine but the reality might be a different story.”

An impish gleam flickered in his eyes although he remained poker faced. The smile he donned was just another mask. His walls had come up again now that he was fully reoriented with the world. “I shall let you lead me where you wish.”

“Hmph.” Was Runali’s response. Cedric was definitely… the odd one out. Never wanting to express anything, never wanting to show more than he wanted people to see, always seeming unamused… The man was a complicated case, that was for sure but she pushed it aside for now. “Because Jack is happy…” Runali echoed, reaching her hand out to Cedric. Though before he was able to grab it, she pulled away in thought. “...And you think he would have been happy with you dead?”

“He gets too attached to people. It can be his greatest strength or his greatest flaw. Depends on the situation.” Sid replies between wet coughs. Blood started spilling from between the cracks of his fingers. He never stopped leaning against his captain from the moment he stood up.

Runali didn’t let the thought linger too long. Instead, she reached over and grabbed several of those handkerchiefs Cedric had been retrieving and handed them to him. “You’re going to need those.” Her warning followed by her pulling him up and to his feet, using herself as a leverage for him.

“Alright, let’s go take you sightseeing.”

“Merci, Capitaine. Let’s see where you lead me and if our goals really align.”
 
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Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Adventure, Scifi, Anime, Steampunk, Heroes and Villains


Location: Main Deck
Time: Flashback! - Sometime Before Trovale

Runali was sitting on the edge of the ship, her feet dangling off the ledge. She’d taken a few days and kept to herself, sometimes in her cabin and other times just strolling aimlessly back and forth. She allowed herself to take a moment to go over everything that happened in the past few days and how it could have been prevented. But she was quickly starting to realize that it wasn’t enough to evaluate that, but she had to acknowledge how she felt about it too. Her crew had been once more too close to death’s door. There were people that slipped away from their grasp that had a vendetta against at least one of them. And Runali couldn’t clear out the issue until it was too late.
Eventually she came to the conclusion of her own feelings toward it as ‘iffy at best’. It wasn’t much. It was definitely obvious. But it was a start. And Runali didn’t want to go any deeper than that. Her mind wandered while she carelessly spun a blade in her hand. It was later in the afternoon, and it was less windy than before according to the sails. ’Probably should get the crew to put the sails up for now.’ She thought, but made no real move to make the order. Everyone was doing their own thing and for a brief moment, Runali was on the main deck alone… Up until she heard feet shuffling. Looking over her shoulder, she raised a brow when she spotted her first mate making her way around. “Hm.” Was the only sound she made before turning and hopping off to walk towards her. Seeing the swordswoman gave her an idea.

“Question, Tashigi.” A small smile replaced her previous contemplative look, and she rocked on her toes in front of the woman. “When’s the last time we sparred?” Runali twirled a blade on her finger. “Certainly way before I got these…” With a shrug, she added. “And not at all since you’ve gone into… what do you call it? Mentoring Sara?” Her smile turned into a playful grin. “I figure I should try to catch you before you’re whisked away when we get to the next island. And, I’m kinda in the mood toooo stretch my legs, I suppose. Whaddya say?” Runali started to lean against the main mast. “We can keep it civil. Minimal ship damage for Luro’s sake- so nothing fancy from you.” A soft chuckle filled the quiet when she teased. “Or y’know, I can waste away in boredom.”

Alicia had been doing her usual rounds of the ship, checking that things were stored away properly, that there weren’t any damages that needed Luro’s attention or that they were lacking in a particular resource they might need in the future. She found a layer of dust on the pile of cannonballs in their munitions space, something which amused her considering she couldn’t remember the last time they fired the cannons at another ship. Although it did mean their cannons would need some attention to make sure they were in firing condition and wouldn’t just explode in the face of whoever was unfortunate enough to light the fuse.

She was in the middle of counting the amount of cannons they had on the Lady before Runali approached her, causing her to cock her head with a small smile and a raised eyebrow. “Captain I think after all this time you’re perfectly capable of addressing me with my name” was her first response before eyeing the ring blade with a modicum of curiosity. The last time she’d done any kind of contact training with her was with Ray back when he was still on the crew. “Sure, I don’t see why not. Besides I don’t think I’ve had the chance to see what you’re capable of with those yet” she smiled before adding, “And I’ll try to keep the ship in one piece, at least for now” she teased with a small smirk.

When the swordswoman agreed, Runali grinned. “Bah, of course I can address you by name. I always do.” She walked light on her toes, practically dancing around her as she spoke. “Tashigi is just such a great name, y’know? A touch of princess flair and still holds the threat of you being a powerful swordswoman and all. I mean, anyone can be an Alicia,” At this point, Runali had taken a few steps back to give them both a decent starting distance. “But only you can be the Alicia Tashigi. Maiden of Misery. Bow Black herself.” The ring blades in her hand twirled as an emphasis before they were set at her hip. Runali playfully bowed before taking a ready stance. “When you’re ready.”

Alicia closed her eyes and shook her head as she released a small sigh, “Not a princess but at this point I’m almost sure you’re just messing with me” she replied softly, watching as the captain got herself into stance before taking hold of Shusui’s hilt, withdrawing the black blade to her side before preparing herself into a stance. There was no need to exert a great amount of force right off the bat, so she started with a simple engagement as she swung her blade to point it towards Runali, twisting it an an angle before darting towards her, aiming a flurry of quick striking blows. She made a mental note of reminder that she had armament haki, something she might need to look out for if Runali managed to incorporate that into her blade skills.

The moment Alicia prepared to attack, Runali squinted ever so slightly. It was quick and much too fast of a movement to notice unless it was focused on, but Runali’s foot shifted and she maneuvered through each strike. One particular strike she couldn’t dodge out of the way of, Runali’s arm went up with haki following. Her arm deflected the blade and sent it one way while she slid the opposite way before flicking Alicia’s side. “Hit.”

Runali doubled back after and grinned. “Zil would kick me into the ocean if I add to injuries.” She snickered and bounced from one foot to the other. “Don’t make it too easy for me though.” This time, she was the one that lunged forward. Going head first into a swordsman’s blade was never a good idea, Runali learned. However she never had a weapon in those moments. This instance as she got close, she grabbed one of the ring blades on her hip and tossed it low, aiming at Alicia’s legs and followed it by attempting to side step and flick Alicia’s shoulder.

The swordswoman raised her eyebrows when Ru successfully landed a hit, bringing the tip of her sword against the deck between her feet while resting her hands upon the hilt as she smiled. “You’ve gotten faster captain, very well” she replied before blinking as Ru suddenly headed straight at her. Sliding a foot backwards she pushed forwards to kick her foot against her own blade, increasing the velocity in it’s upward swing as she parried the ring blade, following the momentum to dexterously move the blade towards her shoulder, just in time for Ru’s fingers to tap against the flat surface of the sword. Alicia shifted her stance as she stepped opposite to the captain, pressing the flat of her blade against Ru’s body before following the momentum of their movement to push her slightly off kilter before tapping her side with her other hand, “Gotcha”.

“Ah, well yeah.” Captain commented after she was tapped. “Have to be able to keep up with my crew you know?” Using her foot, Runali nudged her blade upwards and picked it up. “Before I know it, you’ll be moving at the speed of,” While she thought of something fast, she set one of the ring blades on her hip and held the other one. “I dunno, as fast as the wind or… a really fast bird.” Runali laughed. “You get the idea. Either way,” Her stance shifted once again, except when she ran forward again, Runali purposely let the ring blade strike Alicia’s sword. “Can’t go upstaging your captain.” She stuck her tongue out playfully before pulling back and allowing Alicia’s blade to go through the ring in an attempt to move the sword downwards and use her free hand to reach out and tap her arm.

Alicia perked her brow, “You want to be as fast as me?” she replied before stepping back as her blade struck with the ring blade. “Ambitious but not impossible, as for upstaging, I was getting rather lonely all the way up here” she grinned, retorting playfully herself before the inside of the ring blade suddenly snared her sword, however when she reached out to tap her arm she would bend her own and adjust her angle to bring the hilt of Shusui to bap against Runali’s knuckles, not hard but just enough to block the tap. Although she’d managed to evade the first, she’d not be able to prevent a second without letting go of her sword which was honestly worse, so accepting the hit she withdrew from the lock and readied for the next attack, though this time she would attack first, although this time with heavier blows against Ru’s guard in an attempt to blow it open while also giving Ru the opportunity to practice endurance.

“Such a formidable opponent,” Runali started to poke fun when she could find the right rhythm to blocking Alicia’s heavier strikes. It threw her off balance at first and the captain had to reposition her footing for sturdier hits to prevent falling backwards. She stumbled a number of times, but she’d never let herself fall, even if that meant receiving a few strikes from Alicia. “And yet had no clue she was the first mate, the captain’s right hand. The second most important job on the ship!” One particular strike, Runali raised both blades up and used a bit more force to push Alicia back in order to put space in between them. During the fight, she had refrained from using her haki- save for a few blocks. Sure it was good to practice using it, but sometimes practicing the basics was necessary too. “Gotta say, it’s not a good look.” She teased and added. “Grant it, not as though you haven’t been putting in the first mate work since before you found out.”

The swordswoman stepped back when Ru responded with an attempt to create space, taking the opportunity to plan her next move as she waited to see what the captain would do next. “And I suppose having not told your crew that you’d selected a first mate to begin with looks much better?” she replied, maintaining an amused smile as she brought her black blade to the side as she stepped to the side slightly before giving a small shrug, “I like to make sure things are in good order just in case, though with the knowledge of having a title I can at least take full responsibility now.” she said with a small chuckle. She’d suddenly strike forwards, moving at speed as she made several quick arcs towards Ru from different angles, attempting to open open her up to tap her side with the flat of her blade.

“Hey, I could ask,” Runali paused and raised the blades again to dodge Alicia’s quick strikes. “Luro and Kadi if they knew you were first mate and they’d say yes!” A few of the strikes landed, mainly because Runali was laughing a bit. “Jack and Z would be on my side as well, I’m sure. I’m sure Cedric would agree too.” Her movements shifted so she was purely defensive, it being obvious that she was more into the conversation than the actual spar. Though, that didn’t mean she wasn’t aware of the attacks coming her way. “Tell me something,” One of her rings caught the end of Alicia’s blade and she pushed it down, signalling a pause. The two were standing not too far apart thanks to the blades between them, and Runali’s look became a little more serious as she continued talking.

“Why do you do it anyway?” Runali let Alicia’s blade go and took a step back. “Why take up so much of that pirate-y responsibility when you didn’t even have the title?” The serious look faded into curiosity. “I mean, I’m not questioning your loyalty. You’ve made that clear. But to go so far as to accept first mate status, hm? I mean, I didn’t think you wanted that ‘pirate title’ y’know?” She smirked a bit. “It is such a high honor so I see why you’d accept... But really, if you don’t want all that responsibility I can take over- seeing as you took a lot of my busy work anyway. Could split that stuff up between Kadi and Jack too. Kadi would be good with money and Jack can take on your triple checking of the ship even after Luro says it’s fine.”

Alicia held an amused smirk on her features at the notion that the rest of the crew had already known about her position, pausing as the tip of her black blade locked into the ring before relaxing her stance as she gave the question more thought. “I accepted long ago that people will place labels on me whether I choose to acknowledge them or not.” she replied at first, “So while I don’t consider myself to be a pirate, others do and will continue to do so. That much became all the more clear when we went up against the Prophets.” she added. “So accepting the role doesn’t really change anything in that regard, as for why, I suppose there’s a few different reasons.”

She withdrew her blade, sliding it against the mouth of her saya before sheathing it at her side given it appeared they were taking a break. “To some extent I enjoy keeping busy and I take a small amount of pride in ensuring that the ship maintains a level of efficiency. I suppose I also like having a greater degree of control over how the ship is run, not because I like holding onto authority, but more so because it allows me to impose a greater degree of protection by ensuring the crew is well managed and taken care of. It’s... difficult to explain, but by overseeing the important details I feel like I have a better chance at ensuring that when we inevitably run into trouble, we’ll be in the best position to handle it when the time comes.” she replied.

“Besides undertaking those responsibilities allows you to be free to consider the future of this crew and our ambitions wherever that may take us. I think that is important and it wouldn’t do to have you stress over the trivial everyday matters on board the ship, such as ensuring our finances are balanced against our stock levels and what we might require the next time we dock. You may not realise it, but your mental well-being is crucial to our survival, which is why when we visited Jaipur I decided to oversee the purchasing of additional supplies to compensate for Sara as our newest addition to the crew, allowing you to enjoy your visit home without having to worry about the smaller details. I hope that makes sense… it is… difficult to really explain my motives entirely… I suppose the short answer is, I do it because I want to and with good reason.” she eventually finished.

“Ah yes, of course miss Maiden of Misery.” Runali snickered. “Or should I say, Bow Black? Y’know, since you’re okay with titles and all.” When Alicia moved, she hooked one of the chakram to her hip and twirled the other in her hand. “But hey, if you’re okay with it you’re okay with it. No need to be concerned then.” Her brow raised towards Alicia’s answer to her next question. “So you miss being a big sister to Satia and you’re projecting on the crew?” It followed a playful smile, obviously a tease. “You’re good at it though. The job.” The chakram was tossed in the air, and Runali pointed directly at her “With very little faith,” she caught the chakram. “In our ability to not get in trouble. Wow Alicia, maybe you aren’t doing your job right.” Her laugh was light and faded a bit just as the sunlight did. Evening would be approaching soon and so would Jack’s call for dinner. Runali noticed, but she didn’t make too much effort to prepare to head there.

Instead, she stood in thought about Alicia’s comment on her mental health. Runali wasn’t sure when she ‘focused’ on her own mental well-being, but she was sure she never thought of it being crucial for the crew’s functioning. She always thought they’d get along fine should something happen. They were all pretty tough and smart. They did just fine without her before- more or less. Runali sighed and ran fingers through her hair. “Well, it’s most certainly appreciated. I s’pose you’re right. I probably would have forgotten all about the little things back in Jaipur, especially with the Reds.. and the Bounty Hunters... Eugh, and then with the Ravens.” She shuddered. “A nightmare of a time it’d be.”

Alicia returned a half lidded unamused expression when she brought up the two nicknames neither of which she felt applied to her in the slightest. “Like ’wielder of the reapers eye’ is any less edgy.” she replied wiggling her fingers in Ru’s direction as if emphasising a spookiness to the moniker, her expression raising into a small smirk at her rebuttal. “As for getting into trouble, you’re more than welcome to prove me wrong… In fact I wholeheartedly encourage it.” she grinned before giving a small shrug, “Although I think I’d be asking for the world with this crew.” she added with a small snicker. Once again her expression would change as Ru mentioned their previous endeavors, “Well we’re still here despite the odds and through it all, it's only made us stronger together. Just make sure you take some time for yourself every now and again.”

She looked to the side as she noticed the sunlight fade slightly, her mind also becoming aware that before long Jack would summon them to eat. “Before we head inside, I too have something to ask.” she turned to look back at Runali before tilting her head slightly, “Why do you seek to become the Pirate Empress?” she asked curiously. “And before you give me one of your light hearted ’because it’d be fun’ responses, I’d really like to know for what reasons you work to aspire to it and what you intend to do once you get there.”

“I for one, embrace the nickname given to me.” She impersonated her best ‘dramatic’ pose, placing a hand over her heart before chuckling. “It makes people question. Definitely throws them off when they see this face too- not that my wanted poster doesn’t give it away.” She offered a smile towards Alicia’s comment. Sounded like a challenge and the captain was always up for a challenge.

Runali started walking, seeing they both came to a similar conclusion, but paused when Alicia spoke again. Her usual calm and friendly gaze turned into a furrowed brow for a brief moment, but it disappeared almost as quickly as it showed up. She turned her head towards the sound of the ocean, staring out as if she was looking for something. “Well… it would be fun.” She placed her hands behind her back and took a few steps forward. “But… y’know? I’m not actually sure what I’d do after getting the title. Consider it,” Runali tried to find the right words to say.

Typically, it was just ‘because it’d be fun’. Sure, she heard others talk about how they’d take over islands or be the richest crew out at sea, or even attempt to make some sort of difference whether good or bad- though these were pirates and morality was questionable at best. But for Runali… “It’s not really about getting the title. It’s more about… how I get there.” She idly tapped at her side. “It’d be considered the greatest adventure out there. I scour the world, befriend the best of the best and they stand by my side as we climb to the top. Sure I could just consider being a uh, traveler but,” Runali’s brow furrowed again but this time she shrugged. “I want to have a legacy behind me, y’know? You’ve got a family history of cool sword fighting and I dunno royal status. Jack’s probably going to be rivaling Nolan in chef food business. Probably gonna have people flocked from all over to get food from him. Not to mention the dozens of rumors tailing him. Plus him and his brother are spies. And the hundreds of stories and rumors that Luro has made for himself! There’s places where the mention of his name causes people to run. Sara’s going to forever be known as the number one gladiator on Tilea and is dead set on getting a statue of herself dropped somewhere. Zil’s got so many cool things besides being a doctor that I can’t wait for her to share. Kadi’s walked around as a soulless husk and survived and then got his soul back. Not many can say they’ve done that. Plus he’s a damn good navigator.” Her tone fluctuated from calm to incredulous back to calm again, ending with a small laugh.

“You all are gonna be etched in history whether you wanted to or not and not even because you were just a pirate… Being just a pirate is one thing, but being the Lord- or Empress of them all gets you remembered.” There was a moment’s pause as she sighed and took a few more steps forward. “Besides,” She gave a small shrug. “I’ve got a point to prove… to someone I used to know.”

Alicia remained silent and listened for the answers she’d asked from the captain, giving a single nod here and there before her expression softened to a small smile. “I see.” she replied at first before taking a few steps to move beside Ru as they would be soon making their way inside for dinner. “Well that’s a good enough reason for me.” she could have elaborated more on that but she felt she didn’t really need to. She hadn’t asked due to hesitation in whom she’d chosen to follow, it was more a curiosity to know what it was Runali sought after everything they’d all worked so hard for in pushing along the adventure that’d consumed all of their lives up till now. A short pause after would linger as they approached towards the kitchen before Alicia spoke again, “And again… I’m not royalty.” she added with a small amused smirk, opening the door and gesturing for the captain to enter first before following in after her. Their sparring had risen an appetite and it’d be nice to rest a little and enjoy the company of the other would be legends of the future.
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.
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1 Day after the battle

A soldier of Charolette’s made his way down the streets, pulling his hat down slightly as he passed a few of the guards and turned down an alley seeing more coming down the path. He doubted they’d know who he was, a nameless face among many but this wasn’t the time to take risks. The plan had failed, Charlotte was miles away somewhere else and the Sirens…the Sirens had been defeated by a rag tag band of pirates. Saying the situation was bad was putting it mildly, everything had gone wrong and now their necks were on line. Somehow had to pay for these crimes and with the head gone the king could just work down the line. Their fates would have been sealed anyway but without their leader it just came faster.
The main thing to do was get him and his family out of town as fast possible; at this point anyone left in this city who worked with Charlotte would be scapegoats in a week’s time.

Making it to his home a sigh of relief escaped from him and he opened his door, getting out of town would be difficult but not impossible; the main thing was making sure his family was okay.
Stepping into his home his heart fell into his stomach as he noticed his wife was tied up in a chair a cloth covering her mouth, his daughter in a similar state right next to her.
Both of them screamed muffled cries at him wide eyed.
“You’re late.”
The soldier turned only for the butt of a gun to fill his vision before he blacked out.

“I had to step over a lot of bodies to find you Marie.”
“Marie…that’s not my name...no one in this house has that name.”
His mind responded to the strange name before forcing him back to reality, quickly refilling the last few moments in his head. Eyes shooing up the soldier apparently named ‘Marie’ tried to move but found something restricting his movements. He looked down noticing he was in the same position as his family, he tried to speak but the cloth forced into his mouth muffled him, tied around so he couldn’t spit it out. He wanted to scream, yell, move, anything but nothing worked.
“No point rocking around Marie…this ain’t the first time I’ve taken a family hostage. I know the steps pretty good by now if I do say so myself.”
‘Marie’ raised his head to meet the hazel eyes of his captor, a giant of a man with flaming red hair and the grin of a child poking a defenseless insect. He was covered in bandages with even his face covered, only his eyes and grin poked out from the bandages on his face.
“I mean I’m pretty sure your name’s not Marie…but I don’t remember the name they told me. I know it’s you though. She told me.”
Marie’s eyes narrowed a bit at the idea that someone had sold him out, they were all trying to escape this place but when the man took the rifle off his back and showed it to him Marie’s eyes arched a bit.
“You took this right?”
The man stared long and hard at the gun, it did seem familiar but he couldn’t recall taking it.
“You were on the ship when our stuff got taken, I’ve ‘spoken’ with everyone else and after some time found out where you were, I remember your face.”
It took Marie a moment but realization quickly hit him, his eyes raised to the man in front of him and when their eyes met there seemed to be an understanding causing the man’s grin to widen just a bit more.
Your death is going to be a painful one. I’d write a will before I get my rifle back.”
His words echoed in his head, the man from the ship who had drawn his attention. He had worked through their ranks just to find someone like him, over a gun!
“Ah you remember me good,” Luro said leaving the room. “That makes things easier, don’t move okay. Haha just joking I know you can’t move, a little Makachi humor.”
The moment this ‘Makachi’ left the room Marie looked over at his wife, her eyes seemed to be searching for answers from him but he only shook his head. What this man did made no sense, he could understand he was mad at getting his rifle taken but this was a bit much. He tried to put on as calm a face as he could for his family but his wife saw through it immediately and worry ended up returning to her face. Their ends were coming soon and there was nothing they could do about it.
Luro reentered the room with a lantern on his arm and a small cake, he walked up to the three and taking a piece off held it out towards them.
“You guys want to eat cake? I already ate so I’m full. Marie you want some cake?”
Marie screamed something at Luro causing him to arch a brow at them.
“Marie that’s rude you should let them eat cake.”
With a shrug Luro took a bite himself before tossing it over his shoulder causing it to splatter against the wall before setting the lantern on the table.
“Well let’s get started, you took from me so I take from you. It’s only fair right? Let’s start with her.”
Luro grabbed the back of the woman’s chair and dragged her into the other room, the chair scraping against the floor as he removed the rifle off his back. Marie shook in his chair and tried to push off something, anything to stop the man. His daughter screamed behind her own gag, tears streaming down her cheeks as her mother kicked and screamed as Luro hummed to himself pulling her out of sight.
A moment later a gunshot rang out and the two flinched at the sound, all the color drained out of Marie’s face as Luro returned wiping a bit of red on his shirt.
“One.”
Luro grabbed the back of the girl’s chair and Marie screamed trying fruitlessly again to stop him, falling sideways in his chair in the process. He raised his head meeting the eyes of his only child as she was dragged around a corner.
”Please stop! I’m sorry! Stop!
He screamed his thoughts but they fell on deaf ears, someone outside had to have heard the gunshots, their muffled cries, he’d take anything at this point not to hear that sound again.
Another gunshot.

Luro reentered the room and grabbing the lantern opened it before pouring the oil around the room, and over Marie. The man made no attempts to move or struggle anymore, he just stared at the cake slowly sliding down the wall, trying to tell himself that none of this was real. His family wasn’t dead, there wasn’t someone pouring oil over him, singing a song about mushrooms with the brightest smile on their faces. He had done a few bad things he admitted that, but nothing that deserved this.
“Now do me a favor and think of something happy…oh right…you don’t have that anymore do you…”
Luro chuckled as he lit a spark, the fire hitting the oil and spreading around the room. The fire was slowly making its way up the man but he didn’t feel it…he didn’t feel anything anymore.
Luro knelt down and peered into the man’s eyes.
“Ah there it is…true hopelessness…my work is done here,” Luro said turning and making his way out the door. “Don’t worry though I forgive you now.”
With a laugh Luro slammed the door behind him as the fire engulfed the rest of the building as the redhead made his way out.

He stopped in front of two figures, a woman and a child clinging to her. He stared at the two for a long moment before motioning back towards the burning house with his head.
“The only reason you’re still alive…is because my Captain told me not to kill unless I had too. That and I’m trying to be a better person you know…but it’s really hard. I don’t wanna do what Imposter would do but then you wronged me so it’s hard to find a balance. You get me right?”
The woman didn’t respond but slowly nodded her head knowing that they were still at death’s door while standing near this man.
“Oh good I’m glad you get it that’s a relief I didn’t want you judging me over this…now I have to let you know that if you utter a word about what happened here, that gives me a reason to come back...do we have an understanding?”
The woman gave a quick nod of her head and Luro knelt down to the little girl who shrunk away from him.
“Don’t end up like your father…or you’ll end up like him, also study harder in school your manners when I came in were really bad, you offer tea before screaming….I think.”
Luro stood up at this and brushed off the front of his clothes.
“Anyway it was nice meeting you guys. Don’t go stealing things from people okay, unless you’re ready to face the consequences. You guys have a good day. Oh I threw most of your jewelry in the garbage that’ll probably help you survive for a bit. See I’m a nice guy…well minus killing that guy whatever his name was. If you want revenge come at me anytime though that’ll make sparing you now pretty meaningless but you do your thing. Anyway bye!”
Luro said this raising a hand and walked into the darkness of a nearby alley just as the guards appeared at the scene.


In a spot in the city, before Stardusk’s departure

Darcey kept her blades raised up her eyes glancing down the entrances to alley. While making her way through town making an effort to exit the city she felt a strange pair of eyes on her. She didn’t think too much on it at first, maybe a guard who was confused, a passing glance from a townsperson but when the feeling didn’t leave, she found her hands moving to her swords. She turned around then but her stalker made no attempt to show his face, at least until she stepped into this alley. It was for a brief moment, maybe intentionally maybe not but she saw a man, skin covered head to toe in bandages a toothy grin adorning his face before stepped back into the darkness.
She had heard of this man, there were rumors of a bandaged killer taking random lives in the city, strange enough they were related to Charlotte. She wondered if it was someone with a vendetta but at the moment that didn’t matter, he wanted something from her and she entered the ally to coax him out. There were very few places for him to hide here and though the walls were in the way she wouldn’t have too much trouble dealing with any normal person.
“There a reason you’re following me?”
“I just want to finish what we started earlier.”
The voice responded and it sounded familiar, annoyingly familiar.
“I almost killed you before…I don’t like leaving things unfinished.”
“…how responsible of you.”
“Thank you I do my best, not many notice though so that's really appreciated.”
“You’ll have to jog my memory though, lot of people ‘almost’ kill me.”
The air in the alley suddenly got colder, Darcey breathed out her eyebrow arching a bit seeing her breath. She started to question how cold it had gotten when she noticed Ice starting to creep along the walls, her eye narrowed before a memory sparked in her mind. She grit her teeth her grip tightening on her blades.
“The one with the summoner.”
“There ya go,” Luro said.
“Last I checked you barely survived our last fight. If that friend of yours hadn’t stepped in-”
Darcy cut herself off moving her foot away as the ice crept towards it, she cut towards it only to see it quickly replaced. She clicked her tongue her eyes moving to the ice now covering the alley wall. She could see the shadow of the one trying to trap her, a grin on his shadow and her eyes glancing in the direction it was coming from. She was fine being on her back foot for a moment, she just needed one moment and it’d be over.
“Now unfortunately I’m wounded and I did barely survive a fight against you so I gotta make this really quick.”
“…isn’t that a conicende I’m in a hurry myself!”
Darcey turned and rushing forward slashed at the source of the shadow, when her blade met an icy figure cutting it in half her eyes widened before the ice quickly closed around her trying to crush her. She leapt backwards dodging the ice as it lashed out at her, she slid back until her back hit a wall….a wall?
She glanced back seeing a wall of ice had stopped her movement, gritting her teeth she spun and cut through the ice. When she did a hand reached out from the other side and pushed her backwards.
Pain ran through her body, it was quick almost unnoticeable at first but she felt something pierce through her body, numerous points stuck out of her as she looked down at her torso. Spikes made of ice met her vision and she could feel the cold spreading through her body; her mouth opened in silent horror but before she could scream much less cry out from the pain a bandaged hand covered her mouth.
“Shhhh…kids are sleeping keep it down.”
Luro started pushing her further down on the spot keeping a finger over her mouth, her blades had fallen from her grip at this point and she clawed and pulled at his clothes as he slowly pushed her further down onto the death trap. Luro's gaze moved past her for a moment and she followed it seeing a large spike rise out of the earth where the back of her head was. Her eyes shot back to him and with a small smile Luro gave her a firm shove silencing her cries. He stepped away once her arms dangled to her sides and clicking a switch on his rifle heat suddenly filled the alley, fire exploding out of it.
Guards noticing the flame came running to investigate it only to find puddles everywhere, but the one that stood out the most was the red puddle from the body lying in the center of the alley.

On Lady Luck…in a surprisingly familiar situation

Luro sat on the edge of the ship a bottle of rum in his hand; he gave it a small shake seeing it was half empty. Zilia informed him that alcohol wasn’t going to help matters but she also knew what he was like completely sober so she just cut down the amount he was allowed to drink. Thanks to Vic’s magic his life-threatening wounds were much easier to treat but thanks to excessive damage he still wasn’t allowed to do too much.
Zilia yelled at him telling him that if magic was barely enough to save him, then to take into consideration what that meant for modern medicine. He had no idea what she meant which only seemed to upset her further, but he was surprised by other things at the moment. The main thing was that Alicia of all people was seated next to him when he got grilled out, Zilia apparently saw her ‘display’ and wasted no time reprimanding the two of them.
At the end of the day she was glad they were still alive and that shone through.

“Kadi’s got the right idea, I don’t get all that fancy stuff anyway so let’s just focus on the sea,” Luro said with a grin.
Kadi seemed a little out of sorts as of late but he was glad to see the man was at least doing okay right now, and with words of wisdom ready as always. Luro gave a small nod at the man’s comforting presence, involving the ship or not his sense of navigation was as pristine as always.
He stood up as Jack spoke flinching a bit in the process, glad to see the man had a bit of his energy back, what he said however caused the smile on his face to slowly fade and his mouth twitched to the side slightly.
Crossing his arms he covered his mouth with his hand his eyes narrowing slightly as he realized what Jack was building up too. He only offered a nod to the Captain as she turned to look at him; he had been prepared for this since the prison.
At Jack’s comment Luro’s face stiffened slightly, something even Zilia took notice of.

“You…have the Audacity to still consider yourself a Stardusk after what you’ve done.”
There was a bitterness and almost a venom to Luro’s words as she spoke.
“The scars both inner and outer that will never heal because of your selfish antics! Do you truly believe forgiveness is that-”
Luro cut himself off turning his head for a moment before looking at Jack again.
“Forgiveness is that-pfft-”
Luro broke out in laughter leaning forward to hold his stomach but ended up straightening up again at the pain only to lean against the mast unable to hold it in any longer. He wiped a tear from his eye waving a hand in front of his face.
“I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it Jack I tried. You didn’t fall for it twice right? Like at the prison remember? I really wanted to pull an Alicia and be all ‘if you cross that line then your life will be forfeit by my hand’ or something like that. Ah I couldn’t do it though, I really tried though. Ah man laughing hurts so much. Jack if you know how many bodies I went through to find that A word…I really had to ask a lot of people….well before shooting them. Been planning that one since the prison.”

After he recovered Luro straightened up and with a grin started walking towards Jack.
“I almost got everyone killed protecting my sibling and my own behind so I of all people got no right to judge you here…and even if I did I wouldn’t.”
Luro said this with a small smile before patting his chest.
“Not for a moment Jack, when you pointed a gun at the Captain, to when I was locked up in the prison and all that followed did my trust waver in you. You put your faith in me, in my lowest moment to return not even an ounce of that would be an insult.”
Luro hand closed into a fist as he closed the distance between them.
“I’ve been stabbed in the back a lot Jack. I even got the scars to prove it. Guess it’s cause I’m not that cautious and honestly that’s fine by me. I’m happy to be an honest fool then a careful genius. Letting invisible hands of another guide me when they’re not here, losing to myself, constantly shrouded in uncertainty at the idea of everything around me. Being trapped in a twisted world of my own choosing because I can’t take two seconds to believe in the person in front of me.”
Luro stopped right in front of Jack at this before putting on the brightest grin he could even though he knew the man couldn’t see it.
“Yeah forget that nonsense.”
Luro slammed his hand on Jack’s shoulder laughing a little.
“You could betray me again tomorrow and I’ll say the same thing. I swore you as my brother and on occasion family messes up, they make mistakes, they act like fools…and that’s okay. We all deserve to be a little stupid now and then, that’s why you need people around you to help pick you up when that happens, or give you a good smack on the head when you’re not thinking.”
Luro gave Jack a small light chop on his head with his other hand in response to this.
“You haven’t lost an ounce of my trust, you’re still my brother and I still want you on this ship. I can’t speak for the others of course but I like having you here. I don’t like making things more difficult than they have to be.”
He gave Jack a small pat though.
“However… I did say I saw a future with you two with big lumps on your head so I’m still gonna have to get my hit in. You know just to settle things properly, did it with Kadi, and it was done with me, it’s only fair.”
Luro cracked his knuckles at this with a grin.
“I’ll wait till you can see though, ain’t no fun doin’ it now. I also gotta make sure Cedric get’s his, he did say I could do my worst if we pulled off a miracle, both of you are alive so that’s close enough.”
Luro held his arms out and pulled Jack into a tight embrace grinning a bit even through the pain.
“I’m just glad to have you back…I really didn’t want to eat Z’s cooking again.”
With that Luro took a few steps back releasing the man.
“Also you’re a valuable crewmate and all that other stuff.”




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Saying Goodbye to Trovale

Golden curls gleamed in the sunlight. Victoire looked immeasurably perfect despite the heavy workload foisted upon her and Zilia. She continued winding up clean bandages into neat rolls as per madame doctor’s instructions. Her faded blue eyes would look up occasionally at the said woman pacing around the room.

“Madame Doctor,” the apprentice called politely. The two of them apparently reached an understanding shortly after arriving on Lady Luck. Some may even call them friends. “I am willing to stay if you need me,” she trailed off. “I will need to inform my uncle of my leave or he may worry enough to chase after us.”

The nineteen-year-old noblewoman flashed her current instructor an amused smile. It was all restraint and very lady-like. “He doesn’t act very fond of me most of the time but he cares deeply. Yes, I can leave a note or take my leave here. I trust either Madames Lily or Adelaide would take me back to Tulveste.”

Zilia stared at her notebook her eyes narrowing a bit as she went over all her notes, everyone was safe for now but still in dire straits. Alicia and Cedric were among the worst but the others weren’t much better especially Jack. The only reason Luro was still alive was because of Victoire’s magic and even still his remaining wounds needed to be looked at.
She ended up looking over at Victoire as she spoke to her offering the woman a small smile.

In her panicked state she had acted rudely towards Victoire, having gotten to know the woman a bit more she found she was a good person and her company was definitely welcomed in this situation. She was still getting used to the ‘Madame Doctor’ part though as not many referred to her as a doctor, at least respectfully. She did her utmost not to let the rarity overtake her, though admittedly it was difficult at times.

“...well I won’t deny the extra hands would help...but…” Zilia seemed trail off in her writing, something stopping her from taking advantage of the woman’s kindness.

She put the last roll into the re-stocked medical kit and joined the petite doctor’s side. Cedric remained fast asleep. There hadn’t been any changes in his condition since their departure from the palace. Victoire worried for the first half-day only for Zilia to reassure her that he wasn’t in a coma. She touched the scarred hand that lay on top of the sheet. It was still almost as white as the linen.

“Do you think he’d wake up soon?” she asked tenderly. Her lingering feelings made themselves known in that moment. Feelings she couldn’t afford to have with her impending engagement. “I mean ... I want to stay here and care for him. Cedric, M. Jackal and Miss Tashigi ... yes, three of them.”

She looked at Zilia again for a confirmation. The female summoner knew that the final decision was madame doctor’s. She couldn’t possibly put people in danger because of her selfishness. Not these people, at least.

Zilia watched Victoire for a long moment as she spoke, her eyes moving to Cedric before she moved her hands to her hips. There were other reasons Victoire wanted to help and as a doctor she wasn’t too sure about personal feelings interfering with the job...but at the same time they were both people and she also wanted Cedric to pull through for her own reasons. Sometimes such emotions weren’t a bad thing, at the very least Victoire would work hard, not that she hadn’t been in the first place. Zilia reached up and messed with one of her bangs, her help would be indispensable so there was no question to her answer.

“Perhaps it’ll bring Cedric some comfort to wake up to an old familiar face as he should awake relatively soon. I’ll speak to the Captain about it as I’d rather have you on as soon as possible but it won’t do to leave family guessing...especially given all that’s happening. Go ahead and leave a note, I won’t deny the extra help Victoire, thank you for offering.”

Present

Stardust did a lot of things with flair…almost dying was unfortunately on that list.
Surrounded on all sides by critical or close to critical patients, the last few days had been nothing but stressful. Zilia lowered her head as all that would be fine dealing with patients was just part of being a doctor. The problem was that they’d just go out and do it again. This whole self-sacrificing thing was a weird pattern she was tired of seeing, did they not take into consideration what it meant for the person treating them at the end of it all? Probably not they expected to die, any complaints wouldn’t reach them. Here they were however still very much alive because of their tenacity, and their bodies dropped in front of her.
They weren’t even normal wounds; she had to deal with magic based wounds…again. Not from guns or bullets no nothing like that, this came from a giant shadow wolf and…whatever Alicia did. She compared it to trying to force water into a full bottle or something of the sort. She wasn’t sure the process and didn’t care, what she did care about was the amount of damage done to her and Luro pointing at Alicia and going.
“Hey she’s not dead Z so help her.”
She wanted to stab him.
‘I did it for my friends’, ‘I did it cause it’s fun’ those aren’t the things running through her head while blood is spurting on her face over the numerous wounds in front of her. Add onto the Captain not resting herself worried for her crew which just makes Zilia stop and question.
“If you’re that worried…then why let them get into these situations in the first place!”
Zilia lowered her head grabbing the sides of it with her hands; it was a good thing she was used to such matters. Weird as this situation was she had treated worse during her travels, and they were alive which was all she could ask for…well not all but it was the bare minimum. She had made sure that every person involved had gotten a stern talking to as well over this matter. They were alive so she wanted them to live like it.
Sara’s was admittedly shorter as she had avoided harm, but no exceptions, prevention was the best medicine.

She held a bit of respect for Alicia, she dealt with this insanity on a daily basis and found a way to balance it and her own duties, that was beyond impressive. After that little display though she was starting to believe Luro’s words that ‘Alicia was one of the craziest among them’ the fact she had to chew her and Luro out at the same time led too much certainty to that.
The worst part was that she was positive that they were considerate enough to know the struggle that came from this; they were good people, a little strange and maybe danger prone but good people. Just once though, just once she would like them to go ‘hey instead of throwing myself at this clearly dangerous situation, or throwing away my life, maybe just maybe I should walk out of this situation with as minimal injuries as possible’ but Zilia knew that was hopeful, far too hopeful.
Ultimately that would mean she was out of a job, but on days like this she wouldn’t be against having a slower workload.
“It’s a good thing I like them…and my job.” Zilia thought this standing up to rejoin the others on the top deck. “Well at the very least while I’m still around they can go all out…though I wouldn’t be against them holding back…just a little.”
Zilia adjusted her clothing and slapping her cheeks went to rejoin everyone.
“Don’t hand Luro a bottle and expect him not to drink right?”

Zilia’s eyes gave everyone a once over when everyone was gathered, she hadn’t said anything when she was fixing Jack’s wounds earlier believing their conversation didn’t need a forth. Zilia gave a firm nod at the Captain’s mention of needless new injuries, which was a mess of extra worry. She also knew Cedric was going to try and move when he woke up and that was a whole other thing.
She made a mental note to make sure a proper punishment was administered to him and in case someone was foolish enough any who helped him.
Putting that thought aside she continued listening to the Captain and Jack’s exchange, her brows arching a bit at the Captain’s question. Her eyes moved to Jack at his response, her eyes moving to the mark of Stardusk on his neck, her thoughts before the battle replaying in her head causing Zilia to grip her cloak.
A thousands things she wanted to say to this man, after all that happened there was so much to speak to him about and her fingers were burning to write down all the words that came into her head.
She had dug around trying to find his reasoning for everything that happened, what happened in Oublia, about the royal family, everything was all so she could get inside the head of her fellow crewmate and understand the ‘why’. All of that was for this moment.

Zilia took out her notebook and handed the note to Luro who took it his brows arching before he spoke.
“This is from Z Jack. Let’s see here… ‘Unfortunately I’m not as open to forgiveness as Luro. At the end of the day you and Cedric both put everyone in harm’s way, I can’t just let that go’ really Z that’s just mean. Didn’t you kiss Cedric anyway?”
Zilia handed Luro another note.
“Resucsitate…I’m not sure what that means Z but you had a friend kiss with Cedric that’s not bad, unless you add tongue then it’s passion at that point,” Luro said pointing at Zilia. “Can’t say you’re mad if you do that.”
There were a lot of things she wanted to say in response to that but now wasn’t the time, she just handed Luro the other note.
“Let’s see here ‘ignoring Luro I spent some time with Adelaide to learn a bit of your history and what may have caused this whole mess. Partially for the Chronicle but also to try and put together why you would do what you did. Ultimately I came to a very simple conclusion, one I intended on sharing with you if we met again’. Oh that doesn’t sound good.”
Zilia handed Luro another note adjusting the gloves on her hand.
“Is this the message…guess so let me read it here. ‘Everything starts with understanding’. Wait what?”
Another note which Luro took arching a brow at Z before reading.
“Not sure where she’s going with this ‘A part of me was able to understand…at least a little bit of your pain. Not enough to say I can fully emphasize I won’t pretend to be that all knowing…but enough to know that I would have helped you no matter the situation if you had just spoken up about it. Jack you said yourself you made a pledge, I’m happy to give you my trust back…bit by bit, you clearly feel regretful over your actions…but I need you to show me how serious that pledge is. Not just through action but faith. You don’t have to tell me everything…us everything but if you’re hurting…at the very least say something. That’s all I care about’. Aww that’s sweet Z…wait why didn’t I get the same treatment you still don’t trust me fully like before.”
Another note.
“…’Jack didn’t try to strangle me to death’. Okay that’s fair I’ll take that. So you and Jack are good.”
Luro took the note from Z as she slipped something on her boot.
“…oh Jack it seems Z is still getting her hits in on you and Cedric and the latter still owes a formally apology…I mean it’s only fair the free optional hit is the rule….wait Z why are you putting on metal- why’re you waving your hands at me? Don’t say anything. Oh that’s just mean.”
Luro pat Jack on the shoulder.
“Jack cover down below when it’s Z’s turn…trust me she doesn’t pull punches when it comes to this stuff.”
Luro took a few steps back and looked at Zilia before a loud clanging sound met the wooden boards on the ship, even if Luro didn’t say anything that was enough warning the doctor was making sure her hit in was a good one.
“I kinda feel bad for Cedric…Z hits harder if she thinks you’re not being sincere…guess you’re good then Jack…. Suppose that’s why you’re not getting the spiked ones…”
Luro shivered a bit at the memory trying to put it aside, he took the note from Zilia before turning it over to read it.
“Hmmm oh one more thing ‘For the love of all that is decent try to avoid hurting yourself in such a manner in the future. I know it’s partially Luro’s fault and he’ll pay for that later’ hey how’s that fair?!”
A quick kick in his shin caused Luro to rub it before mumbling as he continued.
“Least it wasn’t with the bad foot ‘however as always try to practice some degree of self-preservation…someone on the ship has too’. Hey Z I practice that self stuff too.”
The look from the doctor seemed akin to a mother watching her child lie about stealing candy…with their hand in the bowl.
“…hey what’s that look for I really do try you know. I made sure to dodge the attack that came at my neck.”
“Yet took one in the stomach, back and side in response.”
Luro flinched a bit before averting his eyes.
“This is why it’s hard to be mad at Jack! He at least thinks about his actions which though bad at least put’s some form of logic there. You instinctively get into trouble!”
 

Capt. Blu

Fake it til You Make it
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A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
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Fantasy, Adventure, Scifi, Anime, Steampunk, Heroes and Villains


Location: At sea - a few days away from Oublia, roughly 3

It hadn’t been very long since they had gotten through Oublia’s troubles and tribulations, but they were finally away from Oublia much to Runali’s relief. The moment they were given the okay to leave, the captain eagerly set sail. And in those 3 or so days, things started to finally settle. Most of the crew was still worse for wear, but Runali hadn’t planned on doing anything besides sailing- and eventually stopping for supplies. Various checklists of tasks went through her mind. This had been the first time in a long time, at least half of her crew had been out of commission, so she began to mentally prepare for responsibilities to be shifted.

Save for the new tired look in the captain’s eye, no doubt from the little rest she had gotten since the events before, nothing else seemed out of place. There was only so much one could do on a ship while recovering from injuries, so she wandered around or occasionally mingled with the crew… Or at least most of the crew. Runali wasn’t purposely keeping out of Jack’s way, but with everything that happened, she figured he needed a little space to gather his thoughts and assess the situation. To the captain, it was just a mission to get Jack- and then both Jack and Cedric back on the ship safely, but to Jack it was to save the lives of a place that probably deserved it. It was a heavy burden to bear with all the history attached to it. But of course, on a ship surrounded by nothing but water, distance was always short lived.

It was early in the morning, a few short hours before the rest of the crew began to stir, that Runali found herself walking into the kitchen- a habit at this point. She could hear the quiet rustling in the kitchen, finding comfort in the familiarity of it. Quietly, she took to a chair at the table and slumped into it so her head could rest on the back of it. Besides her soft sigh, Runali remained quiet.

Jack sat in his sleeping space with his face lifted to the sunlight. He marveled at the warmth and the way it tickled his face but remained absent on his eyes. Fingers traced the wooden floorboards, distinguishing every crack and break in the grain. His head tilted to the waves: they were soft in the morning, sluggish, and he could hear every swell before it met the hull, every split in the ways at the helm. He could even hear where the water found its way into the ship’s bowel. He made a mental note to warn Luro of a potential leak, somewhere below Alicia’s space.

The world’s so open now that I don’t have my sight…

Ever since his face got burned, Jack rocked between marvel and despair. The loss of his sight made each day a challenge; just when he thought he adjusted, he found himself looking for the familiar tick in Zilia’s face when she became annoyed, or waiting for Cedric’s hair to fall back in that silky way, or wake up to the sun rising on the horizon, only to realize he’d never see it. The deck was a nightmare to navigate and he hated using the cane provided to him. It felt like a crutch, and he left it behind when he could.

And yet each day brought something beautiful. A new sensation amplified that it was a whole new experience. Chaos’s purrs rumbling an earthquake on his chest. Speckles of seafoam individually giving his cheek a sprite’s kiss. Luro’s random night mutterings now sounded as full conversations, Alicia’s music thrummed his soul, and Sara’s meticulous exercises were so easy to picture with every punch in the air and breath. He didn’t know whether to feel lucky or cursed.

That morning, he dragged a bag of flour into his kitchen when Runali came in. He knew she was on her way and he couldn’t get his heart to stop hammering. They hadn’t spoken since they Oublia. What should he say? He’d been accepted back to the crew, thank all the gods, but the level of comfort yet returned to normal. It unnerved him that she avoided him until now. So he hesitated a moment, pinching the doorway, before taking a steeling breath and wrestling the flour inside. “Morning, capt— ow!”

Immediately, he ran into his worktable. Jack cursed and rubbed the sore thigh. And I thought I was safe in my kitchen.

Grumbling, he dropped the bag of flour in its proper place and felt around until he got to the cups and a steaming iron kettle. He listened to the liquid slosh into the cup, stopping it just below the rim, and set it in front of Runali. “Chai from Jaipur. I found it at the last port we stopped at before…” he trailed off. To cover himself, he set about making bread for the morning’s meal.

It was almost familiar. Runali opened her one eye when she heard Jack’s sudden yelp. Her surprise didn’t lie in the fact that he injured himself, but more so that he was still willing to be a chef despite not being able to see. The captain stared at him for a moment, watching his calculated movements as he set the cup down, curious about how he was managing but deciding against asking. “Y’know…” Runali took the cup and swirled it around gently. “A wild thing to miss, but Sara’s a lot more doting than given credit for.” She paused to take a sip of tea. “And Alicia’s a lot more reckless than she’d care to admit.” A soft chuckle escaped her. “And even though I saw it, it’s still something I couldn’t begin to explain.”

His head tilted when the captain began to speak. “Oh?” A small smile tugged his lips as he scratched under the bandages covering his eyes. “Alicia being reckless is certainly new. You should give relationships more credit though, captain. They are capable of bringing out the best of people-- given the right circumstances.”

Bending down, Jack ripped open the bag of flour and scooped three cups into a bowl already containing dissolved yeast and sugar. He groped around the table until he landed on the whisk, and carefully begin mixing the bowl’s content. “Captain, if you would tell me when this seems evenly whisked?”

“You probably shouldn’t bother that. It’ll heal slower.” It was a short suggestion about his bandages that Runali didn’t linger on. “If nearly dying is what you consider bringing out the best,” She couldn’t help the soft snort as she mumbled. “Then again, your taste in women does make sense then.” Leaning a little closer to see inside the bowl, she added, “Yeah sure. Amazing how you haven’t poisoned anyone- or came dangerously close to fingers with those kitchen knives of yours… Don’t suppose it’s easy to sit still lately, hm?” Her own curiosity had gotten the best of her. It was always a push and pull to get Jack to open up about things, and not having spoken to him about his recent blindness she could only assume the worst- at least, the worst from her own experience.

Jack grinned in spite of himself at her jab, but chose to ignore it. “You haven’t noticed the food tasting blander as of late? I’m sure it’ll make my brother happy. And I can’t say I haven’t cut myself. “ He made a wry smile and showed her his hands. Two fingers had fresh bandages, the others showing scabs. “But I’ve gotten pretty good about it now.”

He quieted a little when she asked her last question. He knew what she was getting it at, and perhaps she was the best one to understand. Still...“I’ve never had a problem sitting still, captain. Although if you must know... yes, I have been feeling restless as of late.” If I sit for too long, I’ll scream.

“Speaking of relationships,” Jack decided to change the subject, “where do we stand, captain? Are we still...friends?” What am I doing? This isn’t any better. Guilt and apprehension spurred him at once, causing him to whisk the dough at a faster pace. It’d been a question nagging him since he first realized she was avoiding him. He wondered if the danger the crew fell to, because of him, broke their friendship.

Her face fell into a small pout that lasted moments. It should of been expected, and yet here she was still being hopeful. With a wave of her hand, she commented. “Good food’s, good food. I can’t complain. Not to say I won’t appreciate anything less bland when you’re capable- and y’know not prone to injury.” She gave his hand a light tap as he started whisking faster, mostly to let him know he could stop.

His question didn’t go on deaf ears. She glanced back at her nearly empty cup, finished it, and set it down making a soft thump with it. “Can’t answer that.” She leaned back in her chair and continued. “That all depends on you, chef. We don’t stand as enemies. You wouldn’t be on my ship if that were the case. But where we go from here depends on where you want to be. A chef and captain, distant but cordial? Friends and back to the way things were before? All up to you. You don’t need my forgiveness nor my permission. You’re a free man who can do as you please. And from what you said 3 days ago, one of those things was staying on the ship.”

Jack nodded. “I didn’t lie. I’d...appreciate it if we could remain friends. I don’t know what I’d do without it,” he confessed. His head swiveled until he stared in Runali’s general direction as if he meant to read her expression. Instead he heard her chest rise and the scratch of her sleeves against wood as she repositioned. Only the void stared back. Biting his lip, Jack focused on the bread. He sprinkled flour on his space and dumped the dough it. Next came the kneading. He worked the dough, adding more flour, until he could force his thoughts once more away from the coma of one of his senses. He distracted himself by talking.

“I know what I did was...wrong. My actions led to shit. I tried. I wanted to win, and protect everything at the same time. I failed. I know that. But do you want to know what keeps playing through my mind? ‘I hope you’re living up to what she thought you.’”

He parroted back the words Runali said to him, over a week ago, after he placed a gun to her head and played the turncoat. He stopped kneading the dough. “I… handled this poorly. I didn’t...couldn’t...fathom what Sid would…” his voice choked suddenly, and he took a moment to steady himself again. “But you were wrong. In your implication. That was exactly what she trained me for. To be whoever I needed to be to get the job done. She would have been proud. For the first time, I actually used what she taught me to my fullest extent. Except I hated every minute of it.” Jack punched the dough. A well of conflicted emotions burned in him, swirled around him. He could drown in them as easily as his hearing or his touch or his taste. Everything amplified until he could barely stand it. Even his ragged breathing grated his ears.

“What about your mentor?” he asked suddenly. “Did you ever feel what they taught was...against your nature? Did you ever hate the lessons down the road?”

Runali remained quiet until Jack was finished. She didn’t want to interrupt his thoughts, in fear that he’d just bottle them all up again. “Then yeah, we’re friends.” It was simply put and had Jack been able to see, he’d see Runali’s typical casual gaze as if the topic hadn’t been weighing on Jack’s shoulders. “Yeah,” She continued after a beat of silence. “You screwed up. Big time. And things went downhill and downhill fast.” Her hands mimicked her words, going in a downward arch until she tapped the table. “Quite literally blew up in your face too.” She paused, realizing that was a bit harsher than she intended. “But, you, Cedric, and the rest of this crew are still breathing. Worse for wear, but alive.” She tapped against the table and huffed. “Beats getting a strike one for being at Davy’s door.” Her voice trailed for a moment but when she realized it, she spoke again. “Basically Jackie, we’ve all had our fair share of screw ups. You learn and you live long enough not to do it again.”

The mention of mentors made her slump her head into her hand. The rare and few times she had spoken of her mentor, it was… highly enough. The detail was usually kept to a minimum… with good reason. “I never hated anything my mentor taught me. They were lessons on survival. Lessons on how to get back up every time I’d get knocked down.” She idly tapped the table again. “My mentor taught me and then they vanished without warning. There wasn’t time for me to have reason to... hate what they taught. If anything I’d hate that I never really knew them. Maybe hate that they abandoned me when I was blinded. But I can’t say I’m not glad I learned something from them.”
As always, he listened with rapt attention. He worked to finish the bread and slide it into the oven, then leaned against the wall. “They abandoned you when you were blinded?” he asked softly. He tried to rack his brain, remembering the last time she mentioned her mentor was when they visited Jaipur, but didn’t recall if she mentioned that. His memories were hard to focus on.

She started to ask a question, wondering why he was so curious about her own mentor all of a sudden. But since it kept him talking, she continued. “I was up there, at the temple with them, Momo- one of the many names they gave to strangers. Bandits came looking for the ‘Masked Assassin’, a ‘ghost of the north sea’... and some other nicknames that my mentor managed to pick up. We fought them. They had their tricks but we won. We won, with a few lasting injuries…” She recalled telling them the small bits and pieces back when they visited her home. And she recalled the day cleary, reaching up to touch her eyepatch feeling a ghost of a pain behind it. “But what I remember most from that day were their words… ‘It seems my sins are catching up with me, which means it’s time for me to disappear. You, dear Lev, were fun. This? Playing domestic? I should do it again someday.” Her hand clenched into a fist before she let out a short huff. “They didn’t just abandon me there, they’re the reason I’ve got one eye now.”

She stood, taking the used dishes off the table and off the counter, and walked to the sink to clean them. “Never got a reason why they did it. Well, never got a proper reason for it I s’pose. But finding them and asking is definitely on my to do list.”


Jack thought he heard underline tension deepening her voice, and imagined a fist curling at her side. He fidgeted. Hoshi had been brash and loud and hard, a teacher over a supporter, but she never abandoned him. If anything, it was the other way around… Jack flinched. He couldn’t imagine what his life would’ve been like if she had. His or his brothers.

“I’m sorry. I can only imagine what that felt like.”

Unfolding his arms, Jack started toward Runali to help her with the dishes. His body swayed, a sudden dizziness making him freeze.

“Runali… do you mind…?” He held out one hand while hanging onto the wall with the other. A sudden rush of vertigo made him sway, though he couldn’t say where it came from or what caused it. He only knew his body became unbalanced and if he fell, he wouldn’t know which way he’d land until his body hit the floor. These dizzy spells occurred a couple times a day but he conveniently forgot to tell Zilia.

“How did you deal with this?” he asked once her hand closed his.

“No need to apologize. Wasn’t your fault.” She started to say something else, but looked over her shoulder to see Jack wobbling. “Hm.” Without needing an explanation, she dried her hands and made her way to his side, letting him lean against her as she lead him over to a chair.

“Huh? Oh, I didn’t.” Runali walked back over to the sink to finish what she started. “Or, well, not the first few weeks. The one thing I relied on the most was taken from me by someone I trusted. I was left in a forest for a few hours to navigate my way back home. That added… salt to the wound I believe the saying is. Made it home, told my parents about the bandits… left out some significant details there. Pain of treatment… pain of being crippled,” As she spoke, she started reliving those moments, letting them play in her head again and again. She couldn’t count how many times she cried or how many injuries she got from trying to do things herself. It made her give an empty laugh.

“But, it was a process. I had my family’s support. I realized that I couldn’t waste away… sad about it, so I picked myself up and learned how to cope.” Jack could hear the soft clink of dishes as she started putting them away, continuing her story. “Believe it or not, getting one eye back and not the other was a lot harder. Hated- and am still not a fan- of when people stand on my blind side. Definitely hated everything being a little farther off than I thought it was, that… still can be a nightmare to deal with. But,” Runali inspected one of the kitchen knives. “You kind of just have to wake up one day and tell yourself it’ll be okay and that you didn’t die from it so you adapt from it.” There was a moment’s pause before she added, in a lighter tone. “Hm, unless you meant the dizziness specifically. Couldn’t say really. That’s more of a doctor question.”

Jack nodded. Support of a family, that he understood. His went down as he pressed a thumb into the palm of his head. Zilia told him his sight would return but he should prepare for the worst. There was no true guarantee. The idea of being blind, forever… he shivered away from it. He licked his lips. “Runali would… could you…” he took a shuddering breath. “Could you help me? Help me cope with it? I don’t think I can do this alone.” He confessed, gripping his hands tightly together.

She gave him a soft, sympathetic look after placing the last of the dishes away. It was a feeling she knew all too well. Seeing Jack going through it only made her remember how much she hated what happened to her. Runali walked over, placing a gentle hand over Jack’s. “Well Jack, you’re in luck because you’re not alone. I’ll be right there when you need me.” She gave him a pat, her demeanor shifting just a bit. “First order of business is to get out of your own head about it. A little secret, ever since my… accident my eyesight’s been pretty bad. Can definitely see out of one eye but it’s not always up to par. But, I stopped trying so hard to see everything and got better at listening. It’s been helpful this far.” Even though he couldn’t see her, she shrugged.

“That’s the problem,” he confessed. He welcomed the touch and squeezed her hand. His white opaque gaze swiveled up when she shrugged. “I have been listening but everything is...it’s too loud. My senses are amplified since I lost my sight. Sometimes, it’s beautiful. Food is a whole new experience. I can taste each ingredient individually but collectively, they work on a level that’s just… and then…” he sighed, a smile coming on for the first time. It disappeared as quick as it came.

“Other times, I get lost. I feel like I’m drowning in the ocean every time a swell bumps the bottom. My skin pricks at every cool breeze. I feel uncomfortable… all the time. Linen is so itchy it hurts. I think I can feel flies crawling on my scalp.” He groaned and slumped in his chair. Despite his rant, a weight seemed to be coming undone at his core. There was a lightness to his words and gestures that replaced solemnity. “Everything’s amplified, except the one thing I need most.”

“Yeah pros and cons of it. First time it’s gonna be overwhelming. But little by little you learn how to focus on certain things at a time. Only the things you really need to. I’d go crazy too if I listened to every little thing going on. It’s a tough process that hey, according to Zil, you may not have to go through. Also, surely the next island we stop at you can get dunked in a bath. Flies in your hair sounds gross and I’m sure Sara of all the crew will have a… twenty minute rant about why that is.”

Jack blanched. “I didn’t… that’s not… Don’t— don’t tell them I said that. The last thing I need is Sara dunking me into the ocean. Or, Alicia rather.” He blew air in his cheeks. He sat up a little straighter. “Alright then. How do I start?”

“Alicia doesn’t have the physical strength, she’d probably just tell Sara to do it anyway.” Runali sounded thoroughly unimpressed for a moment, only to follow it with a laugh. “Well, might be easy for you with you being on a ship for who knows how long instead of an entire island. “But, you find the pattern and you start eliminating what you don’t need.” She sat next to him and tapped her cheek. “Waking up on the ship for me... in order, I usually hear the ocean bumping against the ship. Hear Coral’s feathers ruffle around when she’s waking up. Hear you sneaking out to the kitchen. Lately cats have been around so getting used to that. Then it’s the kitchen sounds…” She counted on her fingers. “But that’s all because I’ve found consistency in sailing. That’s why it’s always so peaceful… except when it storms.” She shuddered a bit before falling into thought. “I’m no teacher… but uh,” Her hands fell to her lap. “Embrace the chaos until you learn how to tame it? Or… in other words, you fail until you get it right? Trial and Error? You’ll have the crew to help you, so error can never really be that harsh.”

Consistency? His mind grabbed onto that word. He almost laughed; it sounded foreign. He never had consistency in his life, not until Stardusk came into the picture. He smiled. “Aye, Captain Runali. You’re not wrong there.”

He listened to her for a longer time while making the rest of breakfast. Graciously, he accepted her help to carry the food out for the rest of the crew.

“Captain. I just want you to know, if you ever want help finding your mentor… tell me.” His hand reached out for her shoulder, but brushed against her arm instead. “My services are yours and this crews, from here till the day I die. All of my services. I want to show my commitment. And I want to move on.”
 
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SilentxChaos

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Collab bet'w Mizos Mizos , Capt. Blu Capt. Blu and SilentxChaos SilentxChaos

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Location: Some Island
Pre-Meeting of the Court


Luro had left a note for Jack and Runali having made progress with his gloves, which he was still having trouble finding a good name for. He had polished the L.A.D.S. and added more of the L.A.S.S.’ functions to them to polish some of the issues he had noticed in their sessions. He was glad to make at least a little progress but he was still stuck on a few problems, large ones that couldn’t be ignored. He had seen them watching Jack and Runali use the gloves, doubly thankful he had asked for their assistance. Bit by bit he was managing to put all of this together, it was also thanks to this realization that he had even made progress in improving his rifle, it surprised him how easy it was to find new solutions to perfecting her and his shots with this experiment.
He couldn’t help but smile a little as it was an added bonus he hadn’t expected, but at the moment his priority was finding a way to fully utilize the gloves, if he could figure out how to do so then anyone on the ship would be able to use them and there would be a far less chance of anyone dying from them, which he was pretty sure they would want.
Luro took a moment to think about the note he had left for the two.

“Dear Jack and Captain, I need you guys to come down to the training room. I’ve made more progress on the gloves but there are some issues I need to address now that I’ve fixed some of the small issues, there are additional functions to try out as well! I’ve managed to lower the possibility of death considerably, well for the Captain, I’m still working on yours Jack but don’t worry I’ll get there. There is a decent chance nothing lethal will be waiting on the other end of this, unless we succeed but then it’ll be good lethality…that I should be able to contain. Anyway that’s for later come down during the day, I’ll need ya until evening.

-Luro


The captain read the note aloud to Jack while he cleaned up after breakfast. She ducked and dodged around him while he grabbed dishes or moved things around. The only real form of ‘help’ she gave while she was reading was pushing chairs to the table.

“Hm. Sounds like he’ll need us for most of the day.” She leaned against the counter and looked up at Jack. “Sounds like a skipping lunch type of training. Maybe dinner too with how much Luro gets carried away.” Runali’s head tilted ever so slightly to the side. “Oh no whatever will this crew do if the chef can’t make meals?” She chuckled and straightened up a bit. “What do you think he’s got up those sleeves of his this time?” A laugh followed her question and she folded the note, tucking it in her breast pocket on her vest. She doubted he’d need the note back, but figured it was better not to leave them lying around. Besides, he could keep them for the… memory or something.

It was pretty late in the morning and the note did say to ‘come down during the day’ so Runali made her way towards the kitchen exit. “Welp. Better this than doing nothing all day. Would’ve gotten boring fast. Thankfully, Luro always manages to make these things fun so no harm in some all day training.” As she left out, she called over her shoulder. “Planning on joining or are you gonna try and hide away from another spar?”

“I’m coming, I’m coming…” Jack grumbled. He paused to give his kitchen a sweeping glance. While the captain read Luro’s note, Jack picked up his pace with breakfast-cleaning to lay out a simple lunch venue for the crew in anticipation for this lengthy training session. Herb bread, salted cheese, jerky, dried fruit and the last of their apples occupied the counter normally used for his cooking space. A barrel of water stood beside it, ready for use. A quick blink reassured the cook there was enough for his mates. He hastily shoved some of it into his picnic basket-- mostly used for Alicia and Sara’s outings-- then half- jogged, half-walked, after the captain.

He arrived only a few steps behind her to the training room.

“Murrrrrrrrr.”
The moment the door opened a familiar sound filled the room as Luro sat upon an animal tailor style with a hand under his chin. Luro eyed a large cow that was currently eating out of a nearby bucket as he sat atop it a tricorn hat dangling in his other free hand. After a moment Luro leaned forward and set the hat on the cow, which caused the creature to raise from it’s feeding turn his head to look at him and then return to her well deserved chow. Luro eventually turned back towards the door finally noticing the two and with a grin hopped off the cow giving her a pat.
“Ah sorry guys I was figuring out how to start a conversation with Cedric,” Luro said before patting the cow.
Tapping his foot on the ground twice a wall opened up on the far side of the room and with a whistle the cow promptly made her way into the opening, once there Luro tapped his foot twice again and closed it.

“All right thank you guys for coming to see me, sorry to summon you early but we’ll be doing today’s experiment off the ship to avoid damaging her...I also may have to return that cow to her proper home too.”
Luro motioned towards the outside with a grin, he was looking forward to this particular session, and there was something he wanted to try this time, with any luck the idea would bear at least a little fruit and if it didn’t it at the very least meant that going that route wasn’t an option. Looking at the two in front of him and the potential he already got to witness at their current strength he had been looking forward to this outing.
“So you’ll be using fire and ice again today,” Luro said. “However there’s something...new I want to try. Also Jack please make sandwiches, you guys will be using your Armament a lot today as always so it’s gonna wear you out.”
Luro dug in his sleeve and pulled out a small blue orb, he held it out to the two letting them see inside the transparent object, wisps of blue danced around inside of it, with bits of frost scattered here and there.
“I’m getting a better handle on ice so I made changes, don’t be afraid to use it as well.”

“Ah don’t be so pouty Jackie it could-” Runali pushed the door open and stopped halfway into the room. She heard Luro talking, sure, but her one eye remained on the cow until it disappeared into the other room.

“You definitely have to return the cow.” Is how she responded, only to turn her attention to Luro fully. “Outdoor training, playing with fire again, and a lot of Armament.” The mention of sandwiches made Runali laugh a little and head towards the door. “And a picnic? The perks of day training, I suppose.” She put a thumbs up and walked closer to look at the orb in his hand. “Hm, can’t quite say what tricks do you have up your sleeve because you’ve shown it… Really the question is, what will it do?” She was tempted to touch it, but decided to leave it alone for now until they were able to avoid damaging Lady.

As she headed back out the door, she called out. “Please remember to remove the cow off the ship Luro. They aren’t fit for sea travel.”

A mimicking shadow to the captain, Jack froze when he spotted the cow. He stopped abruptly behind the captain, eyes flicking from the cow down to its food, up to Luro, then back at the cow as it walked away. He wasn’t about to fathom how it connected to Sid. He opened his mouth, suggesting it may be worth keeping the cow. Once his mind accepted the cow’s presence on the ship, it jumped to the plenty of opportunities it could pose for the crews’ meals. Fresh milk was a luxury on a ship since there was no way to store it without spoiling. The quality of his oatmeal and grits would rise with the creamier base. He could make cheese and butter, fluffier eggs, custard as a dessert. And when the cow’s feed ran out….

Jack’s mouth closed when Runali jumped in, releasing a silent sigh of disappointment as his cooking hopes were dashed.

His eyes flicked from the basket to the gloves.

“I’m not using ice,” he repeated saltily, trudging back to the kitchen for sandwich meat, as he did at every training session they had in the last month. The cook refused to go near the glove after incident that ended up with his arm frozen to the side of the ship. They had to get Alicia to break the ice, which was too thick and powered by Armament for Runali to punch through, and Jack refused Luro to shoot at his arm. It was one of the most bitter moments of his life; it only furthered to deepen his hatred of the cold and all it stood for.

Two minutes later he was set with proper food stuffs, three large water flasks, and an old linen sail to use for a picnic blanket.

“Oh come on Jack that was one time and we won’t be on the ship. I made changes that probably won’t happen again,” Luro said pointing at one of his gloves. “It was a funny story like when Masu almost shot you.”
Luro looked at the Captain and gave a small nod tapping his foot on the ground twice with a whistle the compartment opened again and two cows walked out of the darkness, Luro walked over giving the bovines a small pat before motioning to the door, walking with the cows as they headed off the ship.
“I’ll return the cows and then show you what this thing will do,” Luro said. “Right after I milk them, we need fresh milk too.”

Once everything was acquired Luro got one of the dingys and rowed the two to a nearby island away from the ship, he left a note on the Captain’s door in case anyone went looking for them, informing that he had taken Jack and Runali and they’d get him back when he was done not trying to kill them. It wasn’t until he was halfway away from the ship that he realized that letter might send the wrong message, he didn’t add a comma in the right place. He decided to deal with it when he got back and continued to row keeping their destination and what he needed from them a secret.
Once they made it to the island Luro helped get the supplies off the ship before pushing the boat out the sea, he asked Runali and Jack to wait with the boat as he returned the cows, returning just a few minutes later. With a smile he tossed something into it and a moment later the boat exploded spraying wood everywhere, which Luro took a few pieces of, moving them to his sleeve before motioning further in.
“Don’t worry we won’t have to swim back to the ship...if we’re successful,” Luro said walking further down the beach. “Let’s find a nice clearing.”

Seeing one cow was already a surprise as it is, but seeing two just made Runali sigh. Almost everything Luro did came with its own slew of questions, but just as she normally did, she shoved those questions to the side and followed. There wasn’t really much else to say as they boated to shore, so Runali leaned back and hummed a tune from her home up until they landed.

“So… cows? You didn’t notice them on the ship either or was I just far too busy- or blind?” She glanced over at Jack as Luro walked off with the cows. “Also, no way can you claim the fire gloves I wanted those.” It was an empty complaint followed by a short laugh. It was true, she wasn’t a fan of the cold and she tried to avoid it as much as possible, but maybe ‘wielding’ it would help her get over it.

Luro’s return led to destruction- which unfortunately wasn’t really out of character for him. However, Runali still looked a little surprised. “Swim or not, Luro the boat was for everyone!” There was really no point in complaining, she could only sigh and assume that either Luro was going to make another one, or that he did have an actual explanation for it.

During the walk Luro tossed the blue orb in his hand eventually turning to walk into an opening in the tree’s. Glancing back every now and then to make sure he didn’t lose the two he grinned at them and turned walked backwards as he motioned to them.
“So you guys have helped me out considerably these last few weeks. I really owe ya one. Thanks to you I was able to make this.”
Luro pointed to the orb before tossing it into his other hand.
“This is a dormant frost extracted from the glove. Something I couldn’t do before but thanks to you guys I’ve taken another step.”
Luro turned back around coming to a stop when they came into a small open area nodding a few times seeing the tree line on the other side was a fair distance away.
“I’ve been studying ice for some time thanks to Ray but I fell behind in it thanks to all kinds of stuff. This is what I’ve been able to do in a month.”

Luro rolled the orb into the clearing and taking out his rifle loaded a bullet into it, when it came to a stop in the middle he grinned and pulled the trigger, the bullet pierced the orb and an explosion of light blue followed. A rush of cold filled the area as a blizzard suddenly filled the area obstructing the three’s view for a moment as harsh winds rushed past them. Luro stared ahead with a grin on his face as the wind subsided and the blizzard slowed to a light snowfall.
In a manner of moments the area in front of them, the small piece of clearing had become a part of Yakone, snow blanketed the ground, frost hung off the nearby tree branches and arcs of ice hung over a path of frost that stretched from their feet to the other side of the forest.
Winter had taken over a small part of the forest and Luro resting his rifle on his shoulder turned to Jack and Runali.
“With your continued help...imagine what I can do with two. Which element would you guys like to start with first.”

“Aye Luro, like I said before. It’s no problem. We help each other. You’ve got your projects going and I’ve gotten better at using haki.” She demonstrated by kicking her foot in the dirt, watching as the haki went up to her knee before disappearing. Hearing about his ice project and Ray made her brow raise. It reminded her of something, but she kept it to herself for the time being. Luro began his demonstration and just for safety’s sake, Runali took a small step behind Luro, peeking around him to watch.

She was glad she did too because she was able to hide behind him as the air blew past them. Her hair whipped around for a bit and she shut her eyes until she felt something cold enough to make her shiver land on her arms. “Whoa…” Her breath clouded in front of her and she stared in awe. “It’s… A real shame you’re so fixated on the cold.” Runali laughed and shivered. Behind her, Jack snorted. “The cold is a nightmare. But I gotta admit, i-it’s pretty cool.” She looked around, moving a step away from Luro to get a clearer view of their surroundings. It definitely looked real and the cold she was feeling was very much real to her misfortune. “People would think you were some sort of… god or something. Like mother nature.” She turned her head to the other two and gave a shrug. “Might as well get the icy stuff out the way? So I’m not freezing my fingers off when we get back to the ship.

Jack glared fireballs at Luro as the area exploded into a tundra. Without his coat, nothing stopped the sharp winds from piercing straight through his clothes. He immediately hunched inward, unconsciously inching closer to Runali for shared warmth.

“S-s-sometimes Luro, I e-envy people who don’t know you,” Jack spoke through chattering teeth.

He couldn’t help a shiver of relief when Runali volunteered to take the ice glove first. A smirk fluttered briefly across his face as he remembered they had Ray to thank for this development. He decided not to comment though. Jack took the fire glove and slipped it over his hand. The last few months made it feel comfortable and familiar. He was surprised at it how it easy it was to summon the flames now. Even the ice glove, despite his constant whiny use of the thing, appeared with a flick of the wrist. Jack flexed his fingers to work out the stiffness then nodded to Luro, showing he was ready.

“So...what, exactly, do you want us to do here?”

Luro watched the Captain’s display of Haki a toothy grin forming on his face seeing her improvements. That was the other thing that made it worth it, admittedly he liked getting further in his experiments, but he didn’t want to be any more selfish than he already was. Taking advantage of Jack and Runali still ate at him; he didn’t want to add more moments to that already large list. If they got something out of this it made it easier to proceed, but that had been part of the reason for his requests, still thinking and applying were two different things.

At Jack’s comment Luro laughed a bit and brought a hand to his chin, seemingly unperturbed by the cold.
“Well if it’s only sometimes Jack then I’m doing something right…probably,” Luro said before laughing a bit. “With most people I know it’s constantly, part of the reason why I’m not allowed in a bunch of places…though we’ve visited at least three of them…that was a fun explanation.”
Nodding at the fond memory Luro looked over at the Captain arching his brows as he caught one particular comment from her, the cold part he didn’t really understand fully but the other thing she said stood out to him.
“You two are able to stop bullets and swords with your bodies, leave imprints of your fists in metal and take blows that would shatter bones as if a fly landed on you. If anyone here is close to gods it’s you guys.”
Luro said this holding up one of his spheres, grinning a bit at the two.
“I’m just borrowing that power.”
At Jack’s inquiry Luro put the sphere back into his sleeve and motioned toward the snow.
“We’re having a bit of a contest. Captain…you’re to help keep the snow around and Jack though I know you like the cold you’ll be getting rid of it.”
Luro pointed to the gloves on their hands before continuing.
“Since you guys are working on controlling your Haki I thought this would be a good exercise. It’s a game of endurance and adjustment. These gloves…require more Armament than usual to use. You’ll have to refill them more often. You have to find a balance as the first person to run out of Armament will lose in this battle...kind of like in a real fight…if you were winded…and bleeding…and having fought for the last five hours.”
Luro turned and motioned towards the winter wonderland he had created.
“I made this to make it fair as the Captain would need to use a bunch of Haki to reach this point. Now Captain if you put enough Haki into creating the ice it’ll make it harder to melt as we’ve noticed. Which will mean Jack will have to use more potent fire to melt it which as we know means more Haki. If either of you two do it too often though…you’ll be unable to use Haki anymore…which means free reign for the other to act. It’s a push and pull match. Oh and I’m not stopping you from physically attacking each other either, use whatever strategy you want, but this will allow me to understand the ebb and flow of your Haki easier and observe the adjustments for different power output on the gloves. There’ll be a timer as well, when the time runs out…we’ll judge from there.”

“Of course, forever flattering when it comes to the crew.” She secured the ice glove on her hand. “It’s charming, really.” Runali cleared her throat and stepped forward into the makeshift winter wonderland as Luro began explaining the rules of the… game he wanted them to play.

“So you just want us to fight each other? For your own tests? Wow Luro, kinda messed up pitting the captain against her crew. The ‘Wielder of the Reaper’s Eye’ should be fighting other pirates that pose threats not her crew.” Runali teased and moved further into the clearing. “So all I have to do is… keep it frosty and not let Jack melt the place down. Sounds easy enough.” She made a mental note to be careful with how much haki she put out seeing as this was a game of stamina and stamina within a timeframe. She gestured for Jack to come onto the ‘playing field’ and gave a grin. “Faster you try to melt the place, the warmer it gets.” As if to entice him more she added, “And the faster things go the quicker you can get back to the ship.”

Jack nodded along with Luro’s explanation, curious despite himself on where this new turn would take them. The last few months of practice showed progress in his haki control: he could summon across half his body, when before it was just his arms, or torso, at best. It was a fleeting achievement-- he could barely hold it for more than a few seconds-- but it brought back memories of learning haki with Hoshi North, his deceased mentor. Jack hadn’t realized how stunted he allowed his control and strength to become until he started training with Runali. Deep down, a part of him was secretly grateful.

At Runali’s comment, Jack raised an eyebrow while stepping forward. He shook his arms and bounced on his toes get the blood flowing. “Isn’t that what we’ve been doing, captain? Fighting each other and all that? Or you’ve been going easy on me this whole time?” He half-joked, but the pinch over his brow showed he seriously considered if that was a truth or not.

Settling into a fighting stance, Jack made the grabbing motion to start the glove. It burst into an orange plume, and the blackness of haki trickled away from his neck. His foot dug into the snow and his eyes swept across the cold clearing, determining the best way to melt the cold away. Runali was better in her prowess and creativity; Jack had no doubts she could effortlessly replace what he banished. If this was a game of endurance, he’d have to play for the long haul.

The fire on his hand crackled reassuringly. Already, the heat was easing his body, relaxing him into an assured stance.

Jack flicked his wrist. His hand splayed outward, like he was skipping an imaginary stone, and the fire whooshed forth. It spread into a cone-shaped jet at knee-height, hot enough to warm the air briefly, and melt the top layer of snow. It reached directly for Runali.

“Think of it as bonding Captain. Bonding with violence,” Luro said grinning at the Runali. “The best relationships are ones where you can punch the other in the face and laugh it off. Careful though the Reaper Eye cares not for ally or enemy it just takes.”
Luro said this with a firm nod before taking a small step back to avoid getting caught in the fight, with a smile he watched as Jack stepped forward watching him naturally pull the fire from the glove, the two of them had gotten a good handle on the gloves, this was part of the reason why he had created this experiment. They had found a natural flow that worked, they had a basic understanding how much would come at this snap, or that throw…that’s why he wanted to disrupt it.
“If you can surpass a challenge, it’ll make what’s normal easy. I’m no expert on how to improve Haki but I did ask around and felt this was a good way to do so. I got better at shooting with the same method so I’m sure you guys will get better at things this way. I’m looking forward to it.”

His peace said Luro put on one of the gloves and with a motion of his hand a chair appeared in front of him, spinning it around he sat on it resting his arms on the top of it and grinned at the two. He always enjoyed watching their training and as he always did he held a notebook in one hand to record their progress.
“Haha…Jack always has those smooth movements. I always enjoy those,” Luro said quickly scribbling in the book.

Jack’s question caused a small smile to cross her face. “I wouldn’t call it going easy.” She fixed her stance, keeping light on her toes and watching Jack’s movements. It didn’t necessarily answer his question and it’d stay that way too because she was more curious about Luro’s response now. “I beg to differ, but I won’t argue. I’ve got fires to put out.” Just as she said that, she saw Jack making a move and no later did a stream of fire head straight in her direction. Without much thought, she leapt to the side, shuddering a bit when her hands sunk into snow. Looking at them, it did give her an idea. She hopped to her feet, letting the haki go from her arm to one of her gloves. The moment she was standing, she darted towards the chef but stopped short and pressed her hand into the snow. Between them and surrounding Jack, large chunks of ice separated them. “Hm, didn’t mean to make it spiky. Oh well.” Runali spoke more to herself as she shook her hands out to keep her blood flowing and stay somewhat warm.

She decided to use a fair amount of haki just to make the ice thick enough to be harder to melt. At least to keep him occupied for a short while and give her enough time in between not using her haki. Just to keep things fun, Runali decided to scoop up a handful of snow and wait until Jack figured out how to escape, only to try and pelt him in the face with a snowball.

Jack yelped, feeling one of the spikes swipe against his arm. He backpedaled and looked at it. There was no wound but the fresh and very cold tear made his brow twitch. Disgruntled, he made a face at Runali but of course she couldn’t see it. I just repaired this too… Heaving a sigh, Jack pushed it aside and focused on the immediate problem.

Jack detested the idea of wasting his haki on the barrier. A foot tapped against the ground and he looked down. Well, this I can take care of. Lifting his hand, he made the same gesture before but put extra haki into the output. A geyser of flame whooshed from his palm and melted the snow on his side of the ice. He took his time, letting his captain stew while contemplating the best way to get through her ice wall. Once it was finally melted down, there was one alternative that came to Jack’s mind that didn’t involve using more haki.

It was the boring one, to say the least.

Sighing again, Jack summoned the fire back onto his hand and felt his arm begin to sweat from the heat. He dug into the ice, creating a hand hold, and lifted himself up. He shivered as his bared hand grasped the wall. “Cold...I hate…the cold...so much,” Jack spat through gritted teeth as he climbed up and over spikes, taking care to move quickly as to avoid melting through his hand holds. Once he peaked it, he grinned through labored breathing, feeling triumphant despite himself. He’d never been a good climber.

And then a snowball hit him in the face.

Glowering through snow that caked his eyebrows, Jack conjured a fireball and threw it at Runali.

“Aha!” Runali laughed as Jack glowered at her. A taunt was on the tip of her tongue as she moved around their new playing field, but it was quickly silenced by the ball of fire coming towards her. “Oof.” Was her immediate response as she slid out of the way. Looking back, she had nearly forgotten Luro was still close by, so when the fireball went in his direction, Runali backpedaled. “Hold on to your stuff!” She warned. With a sturdy kick, boosted by haki, she sent the icy chair he made, sliding to the side. With a laugh, she ducked under the flame to avoid it herself. In triumph, she stuck her tongue out at Jack before taking a quick glance at her surroundings. There were now two small patches of melted snow. Nothing she couldn’t handle. Her haki wasn’t too far depleted and she had enough energy to spare- mostly because she was freezing and wouldn’t stop moving.

“I know you’re a little steamed but try not to injure my shipwright. I need him.” She chuckled and began circling Jack with her hands behind her back. A thought came to mind while she figured out her next move. It wasn’t quite the purpose of the game they were playing, but maybe that was exactly what would work. Her footing changed. She dug her feet in the snow and sprinted towards Jack at full speed. Runali made the motion of prepping her glove to throw ice around, but the moment she got close, she reached out with her non gloved hand to grab Jack by the arm and pull him down into the snow. Her aim was to grab the glove off his hand, but she held back deciding it was better to throw him off his feet first.

It was always delightful watching Runali and Jack use the elements and with Jack’s love of the cold when he was surrounded by ice he could feel the man’s joy from where he was. He brought a hand to his head as the ice turned to spikes; Luro had managed to summon the ice itself and grow it but giving it shape was a difficult step. It wasn’t impossible as the Captain had shown but it was hard to do naturally, yet the Captain had done so by accident, he committed her movements to memory as he watched Jack.
“He’s…climbing?” Luro mumbled arching a brow. “Ah he must be conserving his Haki, still he used the fire to help make hand holds…an interesting choice.”
Luro wrote something down in his notebook with a small nod, only to look up seeing a fireball coming his way; blinking a few times he wondered how effective the chair would be at stopping it.
The Captain however solved his problem and he slid out of the way fireball continuing to write as he slid before placing his foot down making himself stop as he finished his notes.

Runali and Jack found innovative ways to use ice and fire; he was reminded again and again about the wonderfulness of different viewpoints. So many ideas were already spring forth just from watching their exchange so far, and he could see the two of them contemplating their movements, each throw had purpose and focus, each action a meaning behind it.
Personally he enjoyed chaos but things like this were good occasionally as well, it was a push and pull which is exactly what he wanted to see. When the Captain ran forward formally attacking Jack Luro’s eyes widened and he leaned forward a bit in his chair.

It clicked a half second before Runali reached him what she had planned. He saw her gunning for him just as the air blew out his cheeks, relieved to see he hadn’t, in fact, incinerated the carpenter, and his eyes went to her frosted glove first. He raised his own in answer full of fire, and then his eyes snapped to her other hand just as it snaked out to his wrist. She gripped his bare hand and he felt her pull him down, and in that instant he knew what her plan was.

There was no time to think or counterattack so Jack did the next best thing. Instead of resisting her, he threw all his weight into the momentum of falling in hopes of dragging them both down. The same instant he threw out his gloved hand and directed a huge burst of haki into the glove. A whoosh of flame ignited his fingers and spread in rush across the snow-covered ground.

The moment she felt Jack going down, Runali began reaching for the glove- only to lose her footing and go down with him. Surprise flashed across her one eye, almost as if she forgot what the feeling of falling was. But it was brief, especially with Jack melting all of her snow. Since they were both on the ground and Runali’s icy glove was already ‘prepped’ she sat up and mumbled a quick, “Probably not gonna like this.” Placing a gloved hand over his arm while he defrosted the area near them, she iced one and then the other so he was pinned to the ground. With a triumphant grin -that turned sheepish quickly upon seeing Jack’s reaction- she pulled Jack’s glove off his hand and stood, leaning down to look at him. “...S’pose this means I won, yeah?”

A round of applause came from a few feet away as Luro stood from his chair at the end of their violent friendly engagement. Taking a few steps forward he took a good look around at what frost remained as he dug into his sleeve with a small chuckle. Pulling out another of the small sphere’s, this one with a dancing red flame Luro took his rifle off his back and same as before tossed it into the air. With a well placed shot the sphere broke open and a mini-sun formed in the air above them pulsating with fire, filling the area with a scorching heat. The snow around them slowly melted and Luro returned his rifle to his back as the forest slowly returned to normal.

“You guys did a great job,” Luro said with a small nod. “That was so cool. I also see you’ve improved in the usage of your Haki as well. I’ll have to make further adjustments.”
Luro looked at the gloves in the Captain’s hands, his brows arching for a second before he nodded to himself.
“Interesting though...giving the ice shape is difficult...but the Captain did so with such a simple movement...Jack was even able to conjure a ball of fire with ease.”
Luro brought a hand to his chin before raising his head.
“Ah sorry sorry lost myself for a moment there. I’ll take the gloves back. After that exercise mess with your Haki a bit, see if it feels...a bit easier to summon more with less energy.”
Luro looked up at his makeshift sun scratching the side of his head.
“....that’s not supposed to manifest for that long...I should probably fix that.”
 
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SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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Fantasy, magical, modern, medieval, horror, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, adventure, action, anime
Genre You DON'T Like
Realistic fiction, romance
Collab bet'w Fox of Hearts Fox of Hearts and SilentxChaos SilentxChaos


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Goodbye Trovale

Grey light filled the corridors of Lady Luck. Cedric’s coughing marked his passage down the corridor. He stopped ever so often to catch a raspy breath. He sighed wondering if his help would be turned away again.

His silent complaints ended once he pushed open the kitchen door. He stood watching the man standing over the cutting board. He narrowed his eyes. “Fére, where are the bandages? You shouldn’t be taking them off this soon.”

He knew he was being every bit a hypocrite like their dear Captain. He fussed over Jack insistently but he never bothered applying the same concern about his own health. He simply pressed on the day after waking. He couldn’t bear sitting still when the crew was down by three, Jack, Alicia and Luro.

He gave a small start when he found those familiar eyes staring in his direction. “Jack, you can see.”

He could see some swelling still persisting around the eyes. There might not be any scarring if the healing continued at this rate. Sid was relieved. Jack had too many people after him as it is; the crew didn’t need him to stand out like a sore thumb.

“Adelaide is going to be so disappointed. You don’t have any manly scars for her to fawn over while you’re joined hip to hip,” he teased. His fingers gathered up the lose dreads and tied them up in a ponytail.

Jack grinned wickedly. "What do you think, brother? It's not half bad. Zilia says I'll need glasses for reading but," he shrugged and gestured for Sid to take a nearby stool. "For now, I have gotten lucky twice, and I count my thanks for that."

A pot of porridge simmered over the fire, filling the room with a warm and subtle aroma. This morning Jack must've been feeling splendid: he'd broken out half of their fresh fruit storage, recently acquired from their last stop, and was chopping them to add to the bland base. He pushed apples and strawberries in front of Cedric. "Get to slicing, if you're planning to stick around."

Jack winked, but it came off as a flinch instead. The scarring hadn't completely healed and they let themselves known with every blink. Throughout the night, he'd notice a twitch that lasted minutes at a time, with no apparent cause. He hoped it wouldn't last. As he walked around to put cream down for the cats, Sid would notice his right eye squeezing shut on its own accord. It became apparent that Jack hadn't completely readjusted to his return sight, although it was subtle. Sometimes his hands would rise before reaching the wall or door, as if to test no objects obstructed his way. His steps remained hesitant and his fingers lingered on everything they touched, longing to capture the tactile surrealness he experienced when blind.

Even so, the relief of still being able to see lifted a weight off the man's shoulder.

"How much longer before Zilia allows you to return to normal duties?" Jack called over his shoulder from his stores. He knew Cedric had been up and about long before Zilia permitted, but never bothered to admonish Cedric. After all, he'd done the same thing.

Odd. Sid shrugged in response to Jack’s question. He studied his brother’s face a little longer. He hesitated then pulled the glasses a little lower. “Better.”

He would have preferred a different frame but style could be updated. He was just glad Jack didn’t mind the occasional fashion tip. He followed along, allowing the chef to put him to work.

He glared at the red apples as they neared the table. He sighed softly. Definitely not eating those. He shrugged mentally. It wasn’t like he was craving apples at the moment. He took the knife Jack passed to him and started slicing up the fruit. His knife work was more elegant and precise than his older brother’s. The apple slices, which he assumed were for a cake or pie, were so thin that they were translucent.

“I’ve been helping. Ms Vilimar said something about me prolonging my recovery.” He waved the knife about unable to stop gesturing as he talked. He only stopped when Jack’s hand rested on his wrist. He placed the knife onto the cutting board. “Right. Pardon, fére.”

He quietened down and reached for the bowl of boiled eggs. Brown turned to white. The smooth surfaces became patterned as the tailor carved them. He nodded occasionally while Jack talked. He couldn’t help smiling. All nagging and fussing felt homely. To think I almost lost this forever, he reflected grimly. He tried to dwell on that thought. He hated seeing Jack look so upset.

Cedric’s familiars were engaged in their own little family drama. Chester nudged Chaos away. He didn’t feel like sharing this morning. She mewed sadly and he rolled his eyes. His tongue lapped up the foamy white delight. Chaos’ ears fell. She ran to Jack and started pawing his leg. She stared sorrowfully into his eyes, begging for some cream. She loved it as much as her brother did.

Jack never missed when his brother drifted. He watched from the corner of his eyes while Sid meticulously carved the apples and eggs, purple eyes shifting for the next thing to grab and work on. Jack perched near the pot and stirred it slow circles. He kept adjusting the glasses on his face; they felt uncomfortable and alien. His nose felt pinched and the thin wire frame rubbed against the healing skin. Pushing them back up on his face, Jack frowned down at the pleading Chaos.

“Sid,” Jack called for his brother’s attention. His toe nudged Chaos to the second bowl of cream near the fireplace. “Tell me what you’re thinking about.”

Papery tongue offered thanks. Chaos nuzzled Jack and winked out of existence. She landed gracefully on her feet. Her tricks never failed to make Jack blink. She rumbled throatily and attacked her cream with a happy frenzy.

Chester wrinkled his nose after receiving splashes all over his fur. He teleported away with his saucer. He fussed dramatically from the cabinet top before returning to his breakfast.

Sid didn’t envy Jack. Getting his majesty to retrieve the saucer from up there would involve an even bigger bribe. He hoped Jack had mouse meat jerky or dried anchovies ready. His hellion was a true housewife at heart, fussy old women who could beat down prices with a few choice words. Ma Song wasn’t even in the same league.

He allowed his mind to entertain such fantasies a little longer. He wasn’t quite ready to face that awkwardness between them. Jack started reaching out but he found it hard to reciprocate.

It wasn’t even a big fight. He scolded himself. He pretended to be overly fascinated in the sea bream he was carving into the eggy surface. He hunched slightly. Jack’s still waiting. He told himself.

“I wonder what sea bream taste like,” he answered glibly. Now the awkwardness was even more noticeable. He saw Jack stare.

Cedric picked up a fresh canvas. “I don’t even know half the fish you cooked for me,” he admitted. “I only know if I like it or not.”

“Tuna, mostly. They’re the easiest to catch,” Jack answered, peering over his rims to look at his brother. “You’re dodging me.”

Once upon a time, Jack would dance around his brother, worried about dredging up bad memories. He knew Sid had a hard childhood— harder than most. He loved him, and sometimes allowing things to go unsaid felt the best action, instead of pushing for an answer and then pushing him away. Jack never wanted to hurt Cedric... but too many things went unsaid, over too many years. It grew worse when Sid joined Stardusk; Jack fraught with fear and his brother fraught with the time spent wondering where Jack had disappeared to. Each mouth wired shut by overpowering emotion.

Jack was done with that. He wanted his brother back. Perhaps not the way they used to be, but stronger moving forward. His mind flitted to Runali briefly. Captain, I hope your words serve me well. Getting up, Jack walked around so Sid could see him well before he bent down to move away the shaggy bangs from his brother’s eyes. Jack smiled half-heartedly. “If we’re going to do this, we should speak the truth. Even if it’s painful. No more lies right?”

The younger man rested back. He kicked his chair off to the side and sat down. He kept shifting until Jack backed away. There was a soft reproach in his purple eyes.

Cedric busied himself with the remaining eggs, turning them into ivory coral teaming with tiny fish. He laid these at the bottom and re-arranged the older art pieces. When he was done, the pile of eggs transformed into a dazzling monochrome seascape. Sid tilted his head to the side wandering if he should feel proud.

Those soft musings were swept away by darker undercurrents. He righted his head and got up. He didn’t need to be told what to do next. He could see that the basket of leafy greens had to be washed and chopped. Jack’s glances seared the back of his neck, reminding him of his conversation with the captain. He felt exhausted. Far too many people demanded so much out of him. He didn’t want to be so vulnerable. Never again.

“Must you make things so difficult? You know I have trust issues. Opening up requires a level of trust I’m not ready to give.” He volunteered after much deliberation.

Jack’s face was oddly transparent for the first time in days. Sid narrowed his eyes into feline slits. He questioned his brother’s intentions but decided against asking. He didn’t want to add to his emotional yoke.

“Your eyes and lips give you away, fére. I didn’t say no. I’m asking for time to get used to the idea. An exercise of trust - how’s that for a compromise?”

He made a similar offer to Runali the other day. He expected it to be a one off with that woman but that had been wishful thinking. He hoped he’d have more control with Jack. Some sanity.

“Alright,” Jack said after quiet contemplation. “What would you have me do?”

It hurt on some level to hear the broken trust between them, but after their talk before leaving Trovale, it became a sore scab being picked at over an open and flowing wound. Jack didn’t suspect it to be easy. He wouldn’t want it to be.

Pulling up his own stool, he half sat, half stood, while pulling a small bushel of oranges to peel. Jack moved with expertise; he admired his brother’s artistic displays, though at time he wished Cedric would apply that on to a literal canvas instead of the food they were about to consume. Speed and efficiency were tools to the culinary art, as much as the ingredients, but visual aesthetic rested with the final ingredients.

Jack was halfway through his pile before peering back up at Cedric.

“I’d like you to cut my hair later.”

There were other things he could have suggested but this particular task required a lot more trust than others. A number vouched for Ms Vilimar’s skills; Sid still wasn’t comfortable. Jack has a steady hand at least. He observed. He never mangled any ingredient before. Well, almost. His mind imagined those fragile quails eggs Jack manhandled while blind.

“Don’t ask me to go to Ms Vilimar. I think you’d can do it as well as she can. I’ll give you pointers every now and then.”

Both eyebrows went up. “Are you sure?” He knew how finicky Cedric was when it came to his looks-- the hair, most of all. His brother read his thoughts when it came to Zilia, but… despite our trust broken, he still knows me better than anyone else on the crew. Jack wished that would change. Given time.

The older brother contemplated it for another moment, then nodded. “Alright, sure. If that’s what you want. But after breakfast. Can’t have your hair ending up in the porridge… or my sticky fingers getting stuck in your hair.”

Jack smirked and made faux grabbing motions, as if he intended to comb his orange-covered fingers through Cedric’s fringe.

“Fére!” Sid protested dodging Jack. “Fine! Please you wash your hands thoroughly. I will not smell like your curry pot. Ever.
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.



What’s in a name

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Zilia stood on the deck of the ship flipping through one of her books; she would normally make an effort to do so in her room knowing how distracting the main deck could be, however she was currently waiting on the news coo for Luro. Currently he was messing with some particular thing again and though she’d generally decline he was at least staying in one place which was better for his wounds in the long run. The familiar flapping reached her ears and shutting her book she turned to stand up and meet the bird, since she was meeting the coo anyway she offered to get things for everyone else, mainly so they’d sit still.
Grabbing everything she needed she gave a small wave to the bird before flipping through the items in her hands, her brows arched as she got to the bounties, her eyes twitching as she landed on her own. She kept an update on the bounties for the chronicle, updating them over time. She felt that gave the chronicle a sense of realism with the world itself, something to call back too. Another reason was because she had just added giant shadow wolf monster to it and though the proof it existed looked her in the face every day via her patients, it was still hard to believe.
Just as she reached Luro’s she froze her eyes glued to his bounty page, a moment later she was halfway to the door to the lower deck.

Throwing the door open she walked into one of Luro’s many ‘tinkering’ rooms noticing the man sitting on the ground messing with something in his lap. His hands came to a stop for a moment the only sign he registered her appearance before he returned to what he was doing. With a brisk walk she approached him before shoving his bounty towards him.
“Oh thanks Z. Did you get the rest I like to keep things fresh,” Luro said turning to look at Zilia.
He flinched at the glare that met him before looking at the rest of the bounties in her hands, when a note was shoved into his face he leaned back a bit before reading.
“I cannot believe what you just did. After all that’s happened that’s what you gave yourself.”
Luro wasn’t sure what Zilia was talking about watching as she pointed at his poster, arching a brow he looked over at it.

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“Oh wow look at that I have a title.”
“Don’t act so surprised! You did that didn’t you?”
“No I didn’t do this,” Luro said holding up the poster. “I don’t even like titles that much. If someone should fear me it should be by my name not one some person made up.”
Hundreds of things came to mind for Zilia in that moment but instead she took a deep breath, composed herself and wrote another note.
“…you don’t like titles yet you gave all of us one?”
“Well yeah I don’t like titles I don’t know about you guys…thinking about it I probably should have asked first. Except for Alicia she clearly loved her Bow Black title oh and Masu too as Thorn, it was clear they were fine with it. Kadi’s up in the air with the whole Pathfinder thing but I’ve heard no complaints. Oh and Jackal for Jack…actually thinking about it a lot of us had titles.”
“…you really didn’t do this?
“Nah I never gave myself a name because I felt I didn’t fit any of the stories. Well except one…”
“The Impersonating Imposter…”
“Exactly but that name is…intimate. It was one of Lina’s favorite stories; I’d rather it not be plastered on a wanted poster if I can help it.”
Zilia stared at Luro for a long moment looking back at the poster; she closed her eyes for a moment and gave a very small nod. Unnerving as it was she believed him, looking back at the paper she eyed the name for a moment before raising her head to him.
“Okay I believe that you didn’t do this…but I still can’t allow this to stand!”
Luro leaned away from the note a bit before looking at his own poster, his brows arched and he tilted his head at Zilia. He wasn’t sure why she was making such a big deal out of this whole thing; he had a title now it came with being a pirate.
“I’m really confused Z, what’s the problem?”
“The Gentleman pirate…the gentleman…pirate. It’s so….normal.”
Luro rubbed the side of his head and stared at Zilia who motioned to the poster repeatedly.
“…normal?”
“Yes! It’s a normal name. I mean admittedly the contrast is worth noting as you are far from a Gentleman.”
“Hey.”
“Still I can’t let that go Luro. Not with all the names you’ve given us.”
“What’s so bad about the names I gave you guys? I think Gentleman Pirate is fine.”
Zilia’s eye twitched as Luro shrugged at her and with a small smile she folded her hands together, Luro leaned away from her sensing something dangerous behind her smile.
“Oh but Luro it just doesn’t have the same ‘sting’ as look out it’s the Ashen Philosopher quick cut out your tongues!”
“Oh yeah the tongues thing.”
“Let’s not forget what Alicia’s 'Maiden of Misery' cult does in her name. If she knew she’d probably kill you.”
“Haha…well what she doesn’t know probably won’t get me killed.”
“Do we even need to discuss Sara’s followers?”
“Oh yeah it’s a good thing we didn’t stop at that island. Masu definitely would have noticed that since the message was written in blood…and other fluids.”
“No one here has a normal title thanks to you!”
“Kadi does though.”
“…and we’re going to ignore the statues of the Degenerate of Nirvana we passed during our outings.”
“Well it was pretty hard too they were quite tall.”
Zilia put her face in her hands, she wasn’t sure how often the others saw it but she had a record at this point, she wasn’t able to stop every person that recognized her from cutting out their tongues, the image was still fresh in her head in some cases.
“Well let me make this very clear Luro. I’m not going to let this go. You are not the only one getting a normal name. Thankfully Cedric hasn’t-”
“Cedric’s is already circulating.”
Zilia lowered her note as Luro spoke up and crumpling it quickly wrote another one and shoved it out towards him.
“I don’t know how long it’ll take but I will ensure your name is just as maniacal as the rest of ours.”
“…I really don’t see what the problem is Z but if that’s what you want.”
“There are people currently walking around bathed in the blood of pigs and goats, chanting unintelligibly while dancing around a fire fueled by the bodies of their third kin thanks to you.”
“…oh yeah that was a fun day. We should do it again.”
“…Enjoy being the gentleman Pirate for now Luro, that’ll change soon enough.”
Zilia turned and left Luro slamming the door behind her as she left, Luro looked down at the posters.
“Wait that’s how you spell gentle, oh wow that answers a lot of questions,” Luro said before folding the posters ups.




A little bit after Trovale


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Something soft ticked Luro’s cheek as the warmth of the sun fell over his body, his hand twitched brushing against something rough before his fingers gripped what felt like a stem. Opening his eyes he found his gaze resting on an orange sky, tall sunflowers blocking the rest of the sky from view. Blinking a few times he sat up with a small groan, and rubbing his eyes opened them to find himself instead in a field of cosmos, stretching as far as the eye could see.
“…ah…one of these,” he said climbing to his feet.
Ever since Trovale he had been having strange dreams…or rather stranger dreams. Imposter has been stepping out a lot recently so he had a feeling it was him planting false images in his head again. At least that was one thought, the other were his memories were trying to make themselves known, it was hard to tell anymore as both creations felt familiar to him so the most he could do was figure out what this scene was.
It didn’t take long as he saw the back of a tall woman a few feet away.
She had been popping up a lot recently as well, she tended to show up whenever he almost died so she was somewhat familiar. She was like a memory his head was trying to force him to remember, a specific part of his life flashing before his eyes.
He had no idea who she was though.
Her appearance and demeanor would change, but one thing was always the same, it was always a woman and she had an ornate obsidian rifle across her back. He couldn’t make out the full design of it, but each time he saw her more pieces seemed to fill in, he noticed golden spirals running along the underside of the barrel this time.
He eyed her for a moment, black pants with brown boots, a black vest over a long white sleeved shirt and long brown hair tied in a high ponytail. That was the appearance this time and he was sure it would change next time.

Luro took a step forward only for his hand to brush against something ,the field shifting into a field of tall yellow wheat it came up to his stomach but stopped a little below the woman’s waist. He was also shorter in these dreams, a weird side effect he wasn’t sure of.
“Boy.”
There was no voice calling him, the words just manifested in his head with no sound.
“You gonna return $%@%@ or just stand there.”
Luro’s gaze went to the rifle in his right hand that had appeared suddenly, or maybe it was there and he hadn’t noticed it was hard to tell here. The woman said a name but it never registered in his mind, it was always jumbled and incoherent. When he raised his gaze back to the woman he found himself staring down the barrel of her rifle.
“Guess I’ll just take her back then.”
The one thing he did hear was the gunshot, for some reason that was clear as could be.

“Luro!”
Luro blinked a few times noticing a note pressed against his face, he couldn’t make it out at first until he leaned back noticing Zilia standing in front of him. He took a quick look around noticing he was in the lower decks of Lady Luck again. Zilia seemed upset, the familiar creasing of her brow and the twitch of her eyes. He looked down at his hand noticing he had the L.A.D. in it, his rifle sitting next to him.
“Oh right I’m supposed to be resting.”
Zilia hung her head bringing a hand to her face, she was accustomed to it at this point. No one on this ship chose to stay in one place while healing. They’d heal twice as fast staying still but no they just have to keep moving. Knowing he wasn’t going to move Zilia just held up a note inquiring what Luro was up too.
“Creating more countermeasures.”
Zilia tilted her head and Luro held a card up to her, Zilia tilted her head before she recognized it as the one the summoner’s used.
“Isn’t that from…”
“Yeah the cards those magic people used. Vit told me I couldn’t use it but I don’t really need too, just got some ideas after seeing them used and wanted to see if I could apply that.”
“I’ll feel like I’ll regret asking why but…”
Luro smiled seeing the note and reaching over pat his rifle.
“So long as I got my rifle I’m pretty good Z. Most of my plans have revolved around that, if something goes wrong long as I got my rifle it’s not a problem…it wasn’t even a question if I lost it. I’d rather die than lose her.”
Luro eyebrows lowered a bit and he moved his hand away from his rifle back to the L.A.D.
“However my rifle has been taken from me twice as of late….that’s two times too many,” Luro said. “It’s not like I’ve never lost her before mind you, they took her from me when I was imprisoned but I always got her back you know.”
Luro gave a small shrug at this, the separation was always short.
“I’m pretty good with my rifle…but take that away and well…”
Luro trailed off leaving the rest to Zilia, he didn’t need to say anymore to it as their training sessions were part of the answer. She knew all too well how bad he was without it.

“I’m fixing that right now,” Luro said glancing over at her. “In Trovale if not for Vit I’d be dead right now. Without my Mistress here I was barely able to fight. The few guns I found helped but against magic I was pretty much done for.”
Zilia gave a small nod as that was one of the reasons she appreciated Vit, even with her healing Luro was in pretty bad shape showing how much it really helped…which was part of the reason she was agitated he was still moving about.
“My rifle is my partner…but she’s been more like a guardian honestly. I can’t rely on her for everything, that’s too much pressure on her. I need to be able to hold my own without her if need be. If the worst happens and my rifle is taken from me…I’ll be able to fight back this time. I won’t let myself be so defenseless a third time… well hopefully I’m still pretty bad at fighting up close without her.”
Zilia watched Luro as he stared at the object in his hand, his grip tightening around it slightly. There was a fire behind his gaze as he stared at his reflection, at the person too weak to fight without his crutch. He stared silently at himself for a moment his mouth a thin line before it slowly turned into a smile.
“That’s a ways off though,” Luro said smiling at Zilia. “I mean I have gotten better. You’re training helped me out a lot. I was able to actually fight without my rifle thanks to our sessions.”

Zilia wasn’t sure what to think in situations like this, for brief moments there was a strange sadness behind Luro’s eyes, then determination then he was back to normal as if nothing had happened moments later. Ultimately she knew no answer was going to come in that moment so she chose to just respond.
“…well that’s good to know. I’m teaching you so you can not die after all.”
“Haha yeah…I’m not going to reach your or Masu’s level when it comes to that kind of thing though. I don’t got that magic stuff like Cedric and Alicia and without Armament I’m taking anything that comes at me head on. I don’t know what Kadi has but it’s working for him, he’s also good with a sword. Imma do what I do best Z, shoot and destroy stuff. I just gotta get better at doing it.”
Luro closed his hand into a fist and eyed the generator in his hand.
“No matter how long it takes Z. I’ll be dangerous without my rifle and even more dangerous with it! This recent trip just made me realize I gotta put more work into the former. It’s an insult to the Makachi name not to be a versatile killer you know. I should kill and main equally, it’s only fair.”

Zilia stared at Luro and the bright grin on his face and with a shake of her head returned a small smile to him, personally she preferred less danger and murder but this was just the nature of the man in front of her. In the long run if he got stronger that meant less wounds, at least that was the logic she relied on. So long as Runali was around and reminded him he avoided genocide as well so that was a solvable solution.
Well don’t hesitate to ask for help.”
“Of course Z. I’m gonna approach Jack and Kadi for help too along with the Captain. Maybe Alicia as well, I’d like to ask Cedric and Masu too but…”
Zilia averted her eyes at this, she knew what he wanted to say and that was enough.
“For the time being I need to figure out how these cards worked, maybe that’d help me cause I’m stumped right now.”
“Oh I can help with that. Adelaide explained some of it and the records and notes I read covered summoners. I can probably fill in some blanks.”
“Really?! That’d be great Z! I’d hug you if my wounds hadn’t reopened!”
Zilia’s eyes twitched and she looked down to see Luro’s bandages were red, grabbing him by the front of his shirt she slammed him to the ground and pulled out her syringe, her eyes narrowed as she loomed over him raising it up.
“Eh wait Z hold on a sec it doesn’t really hurt, there’s no need for the sleepy medicine.”
“Shut up Makachi or you’ll bite your tongue…don’t worry it’ll be slow and painful.”
She didn’t write a note but Luro had been on the end of this enough time to read the message from her eyes.
“Uh j-just hold on a sec there Z let’s talk about this. You- ow y ounge’!”





Warning these stories have nothing to do with the main story, reading this will take precious time out of your day you can’t get back. If you’re cool with that then feel free to precede…well even if you’re not that’s cool too.
Thanks for reading.

Previously on Prophets del Corazon.

Kaim wanting to show off his new skills talked Nikos into having everyone display their abilities in a friendly contest, with the loser having to cleanup after the animals they would be transporting soon. With that in mind Kaim stepped up first to show off his new technique.
“Hehe…all right everyone! Let me show you how it’s done!”

“Murrrrrrrrr.”
Grumbling filled the small makeshift pen area as Kaim stabbed in shovel in the pile in front of him. He looked at the cow which lazily chewed on its food, not even offering him a glance as he cleaned up after her. His eyes moved to the horses a few feet away and their empty feed bags, his eyes twitching a bit at the scent permeating through the area. His eyes watered a bit and he grit his teeth digging back into his work.
The lower decks became a quick stable thanks to some carpenters work, it wasn’t pretty but the animals were separated and comfortable for the ride, which is all Nikos cared about. Kaim the loser of the contest was currently in the cow animal pen alone.

“Can’t believe this, what even was that move Kara did and freaking Tari blew up half the field barely raising her hand. Sheesh I knew everyone was training and stuff but that’s on a whole other level.”
Kaim sighed and shook his head slapping his cheeks.
“Gah don’t let it get to you. My moves were pretty cool too. Just something to aim towards. Next time I’ll be the one on top and Nikos will be in here cleaning this stuff up.”
Kaim gave a firm nod at this pretending the tears rolling down the side of his cheeks were from the stench.
Just as he was about to move to another pile the door opened and he noticed a familiar figure in it, Kara was standing in the door holding a shovel in her hand. Kaim slowly straightened his body and he sniffled a bit as Kara walked holding the shovel close to her body, she pulled a handkerchief up over her nose once she was further in. His heart swelled with happiness at the sight and he wiped his tears with his sleeve. Kara one of his closest companions and friends had come to him, to think she’d go this far almost brought him to his knees. He couldn’t help but smile when she made it to him.
“Kara….I can’t believe it. You came to-”
“Hand you the spare shovel.”
“….the what.”
Kara held the shovel out to Kaim who took it, his shoulders slumping slightly.
“With all of…’this’ I’m sure that one will be done with by time the day’s over. So here’s the spare shovel,” Kara said.
Kara raised a hand and turning walked away from him before slamming the door behind him, Kim stood there with the shovel in his hand, looking at the door, then the shovel before falling against the cow.
“Murrrrrrrr.”
“…that’s cold blooded….I guess you’re my only friend now cow.”
Kaim rubbed the side of the cow and sighed closing his eyes as he buried his face into her side.
“This is messed up.”
“Indeed it is.”
Kaim jumped a bit hearing a voice and looked at the cow, he pat her a few times and turned her head towards him, his eyes narrowing a bit.
“…are the fumes getting to me? No the power of my friendship gave you the ability to speak didn’t it cow. Tell me you’re secrets, how do you produce milk?”
“You’ve barely made progress…and you’re going insane”
Kaim turned to see Nikos along with the others standing in the room, Kara smiling at him as she held up another shovel.
“This’ll never get done with just you. You three take that end, we’ll work this way,” Nikos said pointing in both directions.
“…Nikos…” Kaim said as the redhead rested a shovel against his shoulder.
“…we suffer together and grow together that’s how the Prophet’s do things. We wouldn’t leave this all to you….did you forget that lesson already Kaim?”
“Ahahah…maybe a little,” Kaim said holding up two fingers. “Wait if you were going to help why did you leave me in here for the last three hours.”
“Well cause you lost. There’s still punishments for not measuring up,” Nikos said arching a brow at him. “It was also very funny.”
“That’s cold blooded…”
“Anyway finish in there,” Nikos said motioning to the cow’s pen. “I’ll get the horses.”
“Yes Boss!”


 

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