THE MACHINE FALTERS

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Grumpy, Feb 17, 2016.

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  1. [​IMG]
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    “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
    REVELATIONS 1:8

    we are a death scream

    a city in the cracks




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    The sky is a screech of rusting gears and loosening bolts. The streets below them cower in the gloom of Metropolis. Even the air is tainted, tinged with the cloying fragrance of rusting iron.

    Or blood.

    That could easily be blood.

    Cael walks us through the oppressive confines of Metropolis via back-alleys and side-paths, all of us ready to leap on the slightest hint of movement. Doesn't pay to be lax in this place, not with the creatures that lurk here. Not with the soldiers of the Heavenly Choirs passing overhead intermittently. We duck into crouches and remain motionless during these moments, watching the faceless armoured figures scan the streets and alleys. By the markings of their armour we have strayed into Penemue's territory: good to know that they'll at least proclaim what our sins are before they kill us, should we be spotted. They fly in groups of three, but where there's one patrol there will always be more.

    Their patrols linger more than usual: the soldiers of the Choirs' gazes more intent. Something has got the hornet's nest riled, and I think I know what. It's why myself and a few other sworn Frumentarii are crawling through the grime of Metropolis, marked by the crimson insignias of our order. It's why at this very moment a group of Rudiarii and a group of Exhumii are no doubt doing the same.

    Finally, the Choir patrol moves on and I nod to Cael to resume our advance. Onwards across dilapidated roads and crumbling pathways, past ancient temples of marble that sit alongside gargantuan towers of glass and metal. Architecture laid out by a schizophrenic. Reason and sense have no place on these streets. Logic has no hold on the layout. When I was newly awoken to the Machine, this place used to terrify me. Now it just leaves me with questions. That, I think, spells the fate of the Awakened out more perfectly than anything else I could think of.

    To discover the grandest and most terrifying truth of them all... and yet still be left without answers.

    Chittering from a gloomy alleyway, shadows moving within shadows. I hit it with the flashlight beam of my revolver, but whatever was there has already passed. Some manner of scavenger sizing us up, in all likelihood, assessing our strength. Trying to gauge whether or not we're predators or prey. We've stepped into the mother of all food chains by entering Metropolis, after all.
    “Weapons ready,” I mutter to the others, “let's not take chances tonight.” No point calling it any other time of day, given that the gloom of this place is ever-present. Time loses its meaning when you're no longer bound to the reality of Sleepers.

    Several more blocks later, and our destination comes into sight. Had I not come all this way in search of it, it'd be more than easy to glance right by it; a battered, beaten old red-brick building, the sort of sight once common on the streets of British cities in the wake of the First World War. A warehouse, perhaps, or some other place of storage, the brickwork stained and faded where it isn't outright crumbling. Compared to some of the sights of Metropolis, its about as bland as they come.

    Precisely why it was chosen as the location for the parlay.

    Neutral ground for the factions to come together. Our end-goals may not match, but there's much to be said for 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. Especially with mutual enemies like ours. Cael and I scan its surroundings from the mouth of the alley we lurk in, before setting off at a run across the street. Open areas of Metropolis are where you're most vulnerable: you never know what might be watching. My feet pound the shattered asphalt before slamming into the red brickwork, and soon the others are crouched against it too. “Inside, before we're spotted,” I order, shoving open a nearby warehouse door and peering inside.

    The shift in style and design is jarring. What should be more ugly red brick is instead the decayed remains of a grand foyer. Black and white tiled floors, broken and stained by neglect, once-impressive marble walls to add to the image of faded glory. A dual staircase is laid on opposite sides of the walls, joining together as the second floor begins. The stairs are lined with a ragged, torn carpet that might once have been mauve. We scurry inside, rodents compared to the breadth and scale of Metropolis outside, and close the doors.

    “Looks like we're the first here. I want two people watching the doors; anything comes through them that isn't a Rudiarii or Exhumii team, you put them down. Rest of you, upstairs with me.” I don't wait to see my orders obeyed: our faction understands the value of the chain of command. Keeping my revolvers drawn I take the left staircase up onto the second floor, moving along its narrow corridor to the door at the end. We stack up against it before entering, weapons ready all the while.

    Constant vigilance. That is what it means to be Frumentarii.

    The room's design defies the impressive foyer outside it and the battered warehouse it is contained within. Creaking wooden floorboards and peeling cerulean wallpaper, with numerous rickety old tables scattered about it. Relaxing my shoulders for the first time, I stride over to one of the tables and kick a chair out from under it to plant myself on. “Get comfy, folks. We made the mistake of not being fashionably late, it seems.”

    The Rudiarii are next to arrive, Crixus at their head. Another veteran of the Awakened; he's been around longer than I have, busting shackles and breaking the Machine further where he can. He dresses like some sort of ageing college professor on a hiking trip, but carries himself like a career soldier. Full of contradictions, that one. Like most of his motley group.

    Metis arrives within the next minute, with her Exhumii delegation. She's wrapped in a vast greatcoat, black save for the purple armband bearing her faction's symbol, her form decidedly androgynous. Younger than both Crixus and I, an expression of casual, almost dismissive confidence seemingly etched on her face permanently.
    “Can always count on and your weekend warriors to be here early, Basalt,” she says with a smirk in my direction. My eyes narrow as Crixus gives her a disapproving look.
    “Enough. Save the snide comments and rhetoric for the Assemblies. We're here to trade information, not barbs.” Metis just shrugs.
    “I can do both.”

    Chuckling darkly, I turn my gaze to the room at large. An eclectic mix of our three factions... or a melting pot depending on your perspective. Common enemies and shared experiences don't always make for easy friendships; in my experience, this opposite is often true.
    “Alright, everyone make nice and try not to start any fights. Crixus, Metis and myself gotta go over a few things, then we can get this started properly.”

    The three of us retire to one of the tables.

    The parlay has begun.
     
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  2. Cael Haze
    Frumentarii
    Sass, sass, and sass
    Cael watched the trio go - Basalt included - with his hands submerged in his pockets and a dusty glow to his eyes. The back of his commander’s silver-streaked, dark hair faced Cael as they decided on a table of four. Then, in a short stretch of idle conversation, fully immersed themselves in discussion, hushed voices paving way to the almost despondent silence. And here we go... Commence the festivities. He turned his head just slightly to regard the sorry and disparate lot left to mingle and engage in tense discourse. An expression of mild amusement was plastered to his face. Or was it annoyance? He couldn’t even tell himself. This was all very stupid.

    After a few, fleeting moments of quiet and indecisiveness, he set foot in the open, the floorboards creaking underneath, and took a seat by one of the tables near the middle of the room, crossing his legs and settling into the rickety, old chair. He could outright feel the gazes of some, lingering on him with a malignant - no, make that indifferent - begrimed quality. Not that he cared. Stare all you want, you irresolute pigs. This disposition ceased after only a minute or two, however, as the tables were gradually filled, people milling about left and right to decide their seats. Cael’s table remained empty. Suited him just fine. He’d never been a people’s person either way.

    He fished in his pocket for a smoke, then lit it with great patience - the ‘wind’ was strong tonight. Was he actually quivering? From what? Excitement? Apprehension? Dread? He dismissed the feeling, somewhat forcibly, and went for a long-winded puff. Soon, wreaths of smoke trickled from between his chapped lips and curled skywards toward the ceiling. It amazed him how even now, in his Awakened and arguably most powerful state, he was still so vulnerable and dependant on the creation of Sleepers. But then again, even Basalt, a man of iron and steel, was prisoner to such inclinations. Or was it the other way around? He blew air out of his nose at the thought. Even if he tried his hardest, he doubted anything could surprise him anymore.

    As he waited, his left hand disappeared into the pocket of his camouflaged jacket - dark hues of grey and blue - and he fiddled absently with the cold metal that was his handgun. His fingers closed and let go of the handle repeatedly. This would all be over soon. They would be back at the stronghold, concocting plans of victory and success, regimented orders issued around. Then the Demiurge would face his reckoning. Of course, this was all nonsense and hyperbole. His feigned indifference could only last so long. The feeling was slowly beginning to resurface, as he sat there smoking his cigarette and prodding at his weaponry, and he finally realized his restlessness.

    The Machine was crumbling - a shadow of its former self - gargantuan screws and cogwheels plummeting loose and crashing down onto the cobblestones of Metropolis. So why were they stuck in this derelict, old hotel room, drawing in the stench of what felt like a thousand years of rat infestation and dusty, hurried labour? His bones were aching to move, to act. To actually accomplish something - a fell blow or the pricking of a knife, he didn’t care. He just wanted to see results, be they small or large. Time was running out on them, and this felt like a waste of time.
     
    #2 Icy, Feb 18, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
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  3. Behind Crixus walked in a decrepit old hag, bearing a shawl with the Rudiarii crest. Seeing the motley crew assembled in neutral territory, she cackled rather loudly. "Oh, the demigods assemble. What can get our britches in such a bunch to need this, hmmmm?" She hobbled in using a gnarled piece of wood as a cane. Her hazy eyes, plagued with coming blindness, scanned the room. Her wrinkled face settled on each unknown person in turn, seeming to gauge their initial disposition. Incredibly long nails tapped at the cane she held, her other arm hanging rather limply at her side.

    Beneath the facade, Alexander's mind worked. He imbued the cane with cutting abilities, just in case. This form was disarming enough to hopefully not draw ire, but he wasn't taking chances in case the negotiations went sour. Old habits die hard, after all. With a spy's attention to detail, he scrutinized everyone else as he hobbled over to find an open place to sit on the fringes of the group. He stayed just within earshot to not miss anything. Once settled in, he drew an old, battered steel flask from his long sleeves, beginning to sip from it. He made it taste like a top shelf wine, despite it only being water. This power has its uses. Many, many, tasty uses.

    Each time he finished a drink, he passed another glance about the group. He assessed Cael to be the quiet loner type. Very interesting. Basalt was a soldier, through and through. Metis seemed to be an egghead with a sense of humor. It was one he quite enjoyed. She may prove to be fun to speak with. Crixus, his own faction leader, was a walking contradiction. Alex enjoyed walking contradictions. They were quite up his alleyway post-Awakening. No one struck him as particularly dangerous to the peace in this place, so he settled in further to let the leaders do as desired.
     
  4. [​IMG]
    Name: Doctor Kim Suyong Park
    Faction: Rudiarii
    Current Location: Metropolis

    Kim sighed. She carried with her a medical kit in case anything attacked them while they were in the area. She would act as a medic, treating the wounded. Kim slowly followed the group of Rudiarii, and leaned against a table. Her white lab coat had been dirtied by the dirt and crud that was all over Metropolis.

    She looked around the room at the group of people around the room. It was a mixed group, consisting of people from all walks of life, and all backgrounds. Kim shoved her hands into her pockets, and leaned further back on the table. She wasn't all that interested in the Politics of the Awakened World. She was just here because she had to be. If it were up to her, she would be back at her hospital in Seoul, treating patients. It wasn't up to her. Kim was here for a meeting of the three largest Awakened factions, acting as the medic for the Rudiarii.

    One interesting thing about these meetings was that it brought people together. People with stories and backgrounds of how they came to their factions. One might have been a Police Detective whose partner was slaughtered by a Cherubim during a botched raid. One might have been an office worker, whose boss tried to drag them into hell. She had a hell of a story to share. Everyone here was different, but also so similar in a way. They all shared the same attributes, in that they were all Awakened. All being hunted by the Demiurge's soldiers. All of them had their lives ruined by the Demiurge.

    Kim opened her medical bag. Inside of it was all the Medical Equipment she could reasonably smuggle out of the hospital. Some syringes with various medicines, some Oxycodone and Ibuprofen, some bandages, several blood packs, and some disinfectants. She dug through the bag until she grabbed a package of gum she had brought.

    She began chewing, and stood up. She observed everyone else in the room. Alexander, another Rudiarii member was drinking something. Cael, who seemed to be a Frumentarii, was sitting alone at a table, and the leaders were all talking. Kim just stared at the group and continued chewing her gum.

    She finally decided to sit down. She sat at another end of the table, opposite Cael so as not to disturb whatever he was doing. She took out her notebook, and began taking notes of what was going on. She may need this for later.
     
  5. Hayden Raverat - Standing Away

    There were too many people here, was Hayden's opinion. They shouldn't meet like this. Yes, it is neutral ground. Yes, everyone can get here. However, it wouldn't take more than a single attack from above to deal a huge blow to the Awakened as a collective entity. In his opinion, if the Awakened wanted to survive, they clearly don't act as such. And yet, when one's life is constantly at risk, all comparable risks seem just about the same. There's no difference, probably, to meeting at a nightclub or a bar, or mingling at an afterparty of some celebrity or other. Not that most people here would fit into those kinds of locations. Hayden leaned against a wall in a corner, focusing on watching the people. He wasn't looking for anything in particular, just watching the movement of bodies as they shuffled around and chatted amongst each other in their many voices.

    "Oh, the demigods assemble. What can get our britches in such a bunch to need this, hmmmm?"

    The voice was very old. How did someone become Awakened so late... or, alternatively, they had lived so long... but... He scanned the people once more. The old woman.

    Beside Alexander, a voice with no name whispered in his ear- the sound of a young man, curious and cautious. "Hello. You're rather interesting. Please don't turn towards this voice; there's no one there. I'm by the far off the entrance, by the middle table with the woman in the white coat and the grumpy man. Scruffy brown hair, leaning against a wall, wool shirt. Nice to meet you- would you like to talk?"
     
  6. Alexander visibly nodded and motioned for the man to come over, not answering physically. He didn't mind if the person wanted to begin a conversation with him, but he was not keen on walking over to the other person. If they wanted to initiate a conversation, they could approach him and talk face-to-face. He was honestly curious what Hayden would want to discuss with him. Perhaps it had to do with his disguise. Perhaps it was simply a chance to rib him. He didn't know and was none too concerned with it.
     
  7. Jonathan Cardenas
    Rudiarii

    As the leaders of the three factions of Awakened convened privately, Jonathan’s eyes slowly scanned the layout of the room they all were in from beneath the hood of his long, charcoal-colored coat. There were no windows, which was always a distinct advantage when conducting business in Metropolis. You could never be sure when one of the Heavenly Choir might swoop low to pass over the streets and alleyways at ground level. It appeared there was only one exit, however; the same door they all had entered through. This could prove to be a problem if their little gathering was discovered by the servants of the Demiurge. Although the reason he had been invited to accompany his fellow Rudiarii to this meeting was so that he could provide them with a reliable way out if they needed to escape, Jonathan was not sure all of their delegation would make it out alive if this location was attacked, which was to say nothing for the Frumentarii and Exhumii teams.


    Surveying the various Frumentarii, Rudiarii and Exhumii representatives assembled there, there were many faces to take in amongst all the Awakened. Some were known to him, a few even belonged to old acquaintances he had partnered with in the past and remembered fondly, but a good many were unfamiliar and entirely new. This went just as much for those who were members of his order as it did for the other two factions. Such was the nature of the Rudiarii that their full membership was probably only known to a select few such as Crixus. Like several of his compatriots, Jonathan operated on a mostly independent basis, only rarely having direct interactions with large groups of other Rudiarii. He kept in touch through a loose series of contacts and messengers, but seldom had much to do with the inner workings of the organization. Sometimes he wondered if they all enjoyed the freedom they had won for themselves more than fighting for their shared mission of liberating others from the Machine.

    Regardless of what their collective reasons were for being there, there was no denying the palpable tension undercutting the murmur of hushed conversation as the Awakened huddled together in small groups at different tables around the room. While the exact purpose of the summit still remained a mystery, or at least there had been no details divulged to Jonathan up until now, the sense that they were gearing up for something big was inescapable. Would this be their endgame? Would they soon make a final gambit to bring about the downfall of the Machine and undo the Demiurge’s designs that had kept so many imprisoned for so long? Jonathan could not say for certain, but the simple fact that all three factions of the Awakened had agreed to come together like this was a definite indication that change was coming. If this was going to be their last ploy at toppling the Citadel, there would be no turning back. There would be no safe place to retreat to once they had crossed that proverbial Rubicon, only victory over their foes or the acceptance of oblivion. Jonathan had already lost one life that he could never return to. He was not certain, no matter how bleak the terms of his current existence were, that he was ready to take that chance and abandon everything he had fought to make his own since.

    For the time being, he would wait to hear what their leaders had to say before he let his doubts consume him completely. Approaching a table already occupied by a man wreathed in the smoke from the cigarette he was slowly puffing and a young woman in a sullied lab coat, Jonathan grabbed a chair between the two and pulled back his hood as he took a seat. He briefly made eye contact with both of them, giving a subtle nod in greeting. “Good evening,” he said quietly and indifferently, not wishing to invite more conversation than was strictly necessary.
     
  8. Name: Dr Kim Park
    Faction: Rudiarii
    Current Location: Metropolis
    Interactions: Jonathan Cardenas (@Auntie Phaz) Cael Haze (@Icy)

    Kim looked up from her notebook when the man sat at the table. She slid her notebook into her bag, and pulled the gum out. She then zipped the bag closed, and put it at her side.

    Kim's lab coat was once a pristine white, but it had been dirtied by Metropolis. It now held brown, yellow, and red stains from who knows what and where. Kim brushed it off, trying to keep an image of cleanliness. She also ran a hand through her hair, just in case anything had crawled in there.

    She nodded a small bit when the man greeted them, and held the package of Cinnamon gum out.

    "Good evening to you as well, sir. Would either of you like some gum?" She asked softly to the two men.
     
  9. Cael Haze
    Frumentarii
    Metropolis


    Gum Squad

    Cael gave two half-hearted, consecutive nods to his fellow table-sitters in the form of greeting. He had no intentions of speaking to either of them. What good would ever come out of that? When this ‘armistice’ of sorts was over, and whatever they’d come to discuss was settled and cleared, the competition would once more be ablaze with proxy wars and political tension. They were rivals, not butt-buddies.

    But then the woman offered him gum. Was she purposely making this difficult for him? Jolly. He arched an eyebrow at the package, considering. While he did not mind some gum to alleviate his restlessness, could he trust her? She was already peculiar in her own right, attired in a once-immaculate lab coat in these shabby parts of Eysium - which was not to mention the increased probability of being discovered due to the brightness of the colour.

    But was anyone stupid enough to proclaim an all-out war in a meeting like this? He doubted it. Stubbing out his cigarette on the edge of the wooden table, leaving a sooty stain of ash and the flickering remains of smoulder, he threw the butt on the floor and reached out to slip a piece of gum between his index and middle finger. "Thanks," he mumbled, somewhat inaudibly, raising his eyebrows for a split-second in acknowledgement.

    While his name did not strike a chord with ‘friendliness’ or ‘amiability’ to others, he was at least capable of exhibiting some minor etiquette - from time to time. He popped the gum in his mouth and began chewing. Cinnamon. It tasted good. He got even more irritated. This reminded him of being new to a school and having to undergo all the conventional and norm-established routines and criteria to get acquainted with everyone. God, sometimes he just hated life. 'God'? That was another tendency he had to rid himself of.
     
    #9 Icy, Feb 22, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  10. Hayden Raverat - Conversations

    Hayden approached, sliding around people as he did, apologizing where appropriate, until he wandered up to the old woman. He looked her up and down, his expression frozen in polite smile. He adjusted his scruffy college clothing and looked around. The group he was low-key watching had begun to talk- someone was pulling out a package for others. No matter. He'll try to examine them later. There was an interesting puzzle here.

    He didn't say a word, and instead took the buzz of noise to speak on his behalf. The whole time, he kept his right hand against his mouth and his left hand supporting his right arm. His index finger pressed against his lips, less in a shushing motion and more to suggest he was in deep thought or observance of something. The low buzz speaking on his behalf whispered again to the old woman's ear, this time taking that of a young woman brushing by.

    "I'm Hayden. I just noticed you seemed like the wise sort." He was being polite, as bringing up a woman's age was never a fun time. "It seems out of place in this land where people are running for their lives and their lives have become nothing but running. It's very impressive. Tell me about yourself? I've heard some whispers some of us have become close to being as we were before- gods, I mean, true ones, anyway. If you've been around long, perhaps its you?" This last note was somewhat in jest, and he hoped to carry it in his tone.
     
  11. Hayden's rather sincere curiosity at his disguise was not surprising, all things considered. An old woman would need a lot to survive in the Awakened world. With surprising agility, he was on his feet, looking at his conversation partner. was he wise? Perhaps. His following statements seemed more akin to wondering how an old hag could be one of them for long. With a light cackle and a severe look, Alex began to speak. "Oh yes, an old woman is by no means a good runner. However, you know illusions of some sort due to that ventriloquism. Perhaps not everything is what it seems, my friend."

    With that, the hag reached into a long pocket, withdrawing a silver harlequin mask, affixing it to her face. The mask seemed ill fitting until the form of the hag began to change. The physical alterations to clothing and frame added height and a good bit of creepiness to it. Alexander reverted to his usual form, his costume changing to that of a silver and black patterned jester's outfit. His gnarled wooden cane instead shifted into a dress cane with a carved raven topping it as the handle. Standing tall, at six and a half feet tall, he scrutinized his conversation partner from a confident but relaxed posture. The final change was the shawl. It moved to one shoulder, forming a purple cape obscuring his left shoulder, bearing the mark of his faction.

    Once fully changed, he issued forth a much deeper voice this time. "To answer your comment on true gods. We are they. All of us. Whether you want to be a military, scientist, or assassin, we are all gods and goddesses of this world. Despite our differences, we shall bring about the ruination of our foes while we bear the mantle of true power." He let the words sink in some, a finger tracing along the beak of his cane's raven. "But, that seriousness is far too appropriate for this venue. I am Alexander Belmont, purveyor of chaos and master of subterfuge." The jester bowed in a flamboyant manner, straightening up shortly after. "And this meeting, while necessary, is far too serious for my personal tastes."
     
  12. Hayden Raverat - WAT

    To say that Hayden was moderately surprised would be a bit of misnomer. He did little else but stare at Alexander for a solid fifteen seconds, unsure what to say. He opened and closed his mouth several times, then broke out into a broad smile. He returned the bow, unsure what else he could do. When he spoke, he used his own voice, his own mouth, and it sounded as mundane as anyone else's. "It's nice to meet you, Alexander. Master of subterfuge? It seems we've got some in common. What I mean with true gods is, well, you understand. The rumors that one of the Awakened is ready to regain their old powers... But, I guess, it's not you." He stood up again and lowered his voice so that they wouldn't be so overheard.

    "I think that it's too serious, too... and too vulnerable... Some of the most important of the Awakened are here. It'd be the perfect place to hit us where it hurts..." He pursed his lips some. "So Alexander, why an old woman? You could've kept the act up."
     
  13. Alex leaned back against the wall, listening to Hayden speak of the rumors and the vulnerability of the meeting. "My two cents on the rumors is that there are more than one of us approaching the old powers. It makes no sense that only one could achieve it when each path leads to the same end." He tapped the end of his cane lightly against the wall, cocking his head somewhat. "As for this meeting, it is nowhere near as vulnerable as it may seem on the surface. As long as we keep our voices from penetrating these walls, we should be fine. The place was already scouted and cleared of any surveillance, so we mostly have to worry about a patrol entering. Even then, should a patrol enter, we can avoid detection by killing them silently. We are far out in a forsaken place. They do not care for anyone here, so why would they inspect a group of them making no ruckus?"

    When asked why he chose an old hag as his disguise, he laughed lightly. "How often would you assume an old hag would be dangerous or even relevant? It allows me to watch others and maneuver with no real looks of suspicion. No one tends to expect the blind old lady from actually being able to kill, poison, and influence the patrols and foes of my organization."
     
  14. Jonathan Cardenas - Rudiarii


    Jonathan stared blankly back at the young woman who had just offered him a stick of gum. It wasn’t that he was surprised by the gesture; after all, it would be a perfectly innocuous thing for a person to do anywhere else. But here, under these present circumstances, an act so simple and mundane only served to highlight just how surreal it all was. This was a gathering of demigods, most of whom had little or no desire to have anything to do with one another, in a mostly bare room located inside a building whose structure seemed to defy what would be considered normal logic as well as the laws of physics. Well, to say the least it required a fair amount of detachment from the normal expectations of reality just to wrap one’s mind around the situation.

    Aware that he was practically gawking now, Jonathan quickly plucked a piece of the gum from the pack she was holding out. “Sure. Don’t mind if I do,” he said, clearing his throat nervously. He had already said far more than he had intended to when he sat down. Idle conversation was a skill in which he had long since lapsed out of practice, having little use for it in the life he lived these days. What did it say about him, and most of them really, that by coming closer to being Gods they had lost touch with a large part of the humanity they used to share with other people? Bitterer still that as Awakened they cared so little for each other’s company.

    He freed the gum from its wrapper, which he let fall to the floor without any reservation. It would just be another piece of refuse in this eternally decaying husk of a city. Bringing the gum to his lips, the taste of cinnamon made his tongue tingle as he began to chew. The heat of the sensation was certainly pleasant, but Jonathan couldn’t help but think that the feeling was only a flicker of what it would have been before his awakening. Once he had learned the truth about the cruel trick at the heart of all creation, it was hard to ever completely trust his senses again. The Lie had been so pervasive and complete that judging what was truly real and what had been contrived as part of the Demiurge’s schemes at times wreaked havoc with his sanity. With time and experience he had come to accept that the only things he could believe were those that kept him alive, even though that meant he could never experience peace or contentment ever again.

    Jonathan huffed tiredly, his chest heaving and then falling once more. He looked over his shoulder to the leaders’ table and then swept the rest of the room with his gaze. “Some night, huh? All of us here for… whatever this is about.” His comment wasn’t particularly directed toward the people seated at the table with him. He was talking to himself as much as anyone else, but he felt he needed to express the thought verbally nevertheless, if only just to hear it outside his own head.
     
  15. Name: Dr Kim Park
    Faction: Rudiarii
    Current Location: Metropolis
    Interactions: Jonathan Cardenas (@Auntie Phaz) Cael Haze (@Icy)

    Kim nodded. "You're welcome." She said after they thanked her for the gum. She looked at the image on her lapel. The logo of her hospital. It was a cleverly disguised Rudiarii Logo. A blue cross, but on its side, it would be two crossed swords. The pristine light blue of the logo shown through the mess on the rest of the mud and dirt on her jacket. She turned to Jonathan when he said something.

    "It's some sort of meeting. I believe a Peace Summit?" She said softly. "I don't really know. I'm just here to heal anyone who's injured." She adjusted her hair. "My name is Dr Park, by the way. I'm from the Rudiarii."
     
  16. ORIS WOOD — EXHUMII


    It was difficult to make any sort of real meaningful friendships in this realm, the Metropolis, but Oris managed. There weren't any particularly cruel individuals among his acquaintances. It certainly helped a lot when it seemed that the location for the parlay had no concern for the disabled.

    Oris wheeled himself up to the base of one of the staircases, at an impasse. He grunted and draped the blanket covering his legs over his neck and shoulders like a scarf. The sight of his atrophied legs made him want to throw up. It was bad enough that he was in a wheelchair. Did his legs really have to look so withered?

    Oris pushed himself up from the damnable wheelchair, pitched forward, and only just caught himself on the banister. Fate might have taken the use of his legs away from him, but his arms were just as strong—if not stronger—than they had been before his Awakening.

    There was only thing that Oris needed to watch out for: accidentally accelerating the entropy of the staircase. The last thing he needed was to unwittingly start an inter-factional war because he wasn't able to keep his purview in check.

    With a loud grunt, which by now the other Exhumii were used to, Oris pulled himself up the stairs one arduous step after another. It was going to be so much easier getting back down, but all things be damned if he was going to climb them again after that.

    A pair of Oris' associates grabbed his wheelchair, one to each side, and took it up the stairs with them. He could feel the glowering looks on his back, but it wasn't like he'd asked the Exhumii to take him in. Not that he wasn't grateful—he was—but he had never put them up to helping him.

    The wheelchair reached the landing long before Oris caught up to it. On the way up, he'd banged his feet against the slightly uneven steps—not that it mattered since he had no sensation there. The rest of his body, however, was not so lucky. He was sore. The journey to the meeting place had not been easy on him, and climbing the stairs definitely didn't help matters.

    Breathing heavily, Oris heaved himself onto the landing, grabbed on to the armrests of his wheelchair, and pulled himself onto it in one incredibly inelegant motion. He swept the blanket from his shoulders and used it to hide the abominable sight of his atrophied legs before he gathered his wits about him and made his way through the door.

    Casting his eyes about the room, Oris looked around and spotted a woman who looked like a medic nearby. She seemed to be engaged in light conversation with a Rudiarus. He wheeled himself over. "Oris Wood," he said, tersely. "Pleased to meet you," he said, extending his hand in greeting.

    Oris turned his eyes onto the woman. "You wouldn't happen to have anything for pain, would you?"
     
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  17. Cael Haze
    Frumentarii


    Cael listened with half an ear to the conversation at his table. A peace summit? The possibility was there, albeit unlikely in his mind. Maybe they were forming a coalition of sorts? To compromise the Machine further? For convenience sake, he hoped not. He could only handle so many clashing personalities and introductions at once. He twisted his head slightly at the appearance of a newcomer; a wheelchair-bound- Gee, could he be more handsome? Eyes so captivating Cael was sure this man consumed people for a living, whether unconsciously or not.

    How utterly annoying - not that Cael was so obsessed with his own appearance to grow jealous at the sight of others. He smiled a bit when the man went straight for the topic of painkillers. Maybe it did explain his own inability to persuade doctors for prescribed doses during his younger, more decadent years; he was simply not appealing enough to look at - and with none the silken smoothness in his speech. But something for pain, hmm? Cael wouldn't mind lending his gun and a pellet or two, if the man was feeling particularly urgent.
     
  18. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    “Alright, kiddies, gather round.”

    It's a relaxed voice, tinged with hints of a devil-may-care outlook, one the Exhumii present know all too well. Metis, standing now, motioning to the assembled congregation of the Awakened alongside Crixus and Basalt, whose face is etched with a look of undisguised disapproval. His eyes catch several of the Frumentarii present, and he gives a brief nod for them to play along.

    Crixus steps forward, clothes making him look like he's about to give some lecture on history. His voice and choice of words, however, are all business. Curt and focused. To the point.
    “We're all here tonight for a reason. Normally, we don't do parleys like this; too much bad blood between old friends, too much ideology in the way of making progress. But the time for letting differing opinions get in the way has long since passed.” He takes another step towards the assembled crowd and sweeps his eyes across them all, first upon his own Rudiarii fellows but then on to the rest. “You've all been hearing the rumours, no doubt. Inferno in upheaval, the Legions on the march. I can tell you that they're all true. The forces of Inferno make for Metropolis. Satan herself rides at their head. She's gunning for the Citadel, friends, and she'll send hell itself seeping across Elysium if it means taking the throne.”

    A pause. Mutterings in the crowd. Hushed whispers between allies. Metis chuckles and begins to speak.
    “First wave's already broken through. Heavenly Hosts have been having a wail of a time dealing with them, but the fun thing about demons is that there's always more. Might be just a trickle of them coming through now, but you bet your asses it'll be a river soon enough. Then a flood, spearheaded by the Lords of Inferno. Which is when the real fun begins, cos when those guys start fucking with Elysium just by being here all manner of craziness is gonna kick off.” Behind her, Basalt grunts, cigarette dangling from the side of his lip.
    “War's coming. Full-scale invasion, and the Choirs are too busy killing each other to stop it.”

    Nodding as the other two captains speak, Crixus continues to regard the assembled Awakened.
    “That's what brings us here tonight. Our three orders or organisations or whatever you want to call them? They recognise what we're facing here, even if our former jailers don't. What we need is a united, co-ordinated response. All the petty squabbles put aside so we can focus on the real threat. That's us, ladies and gentlemen. We're here to deal with this threat before it can fester and expand beyond our ability to deal with. Any questions?”




    Two guards from each of the factions meeting in the warehouse guard the doorways, meaning a total of six Awakened are ready for whatever might attack.

    Two of them are dead before they even know what's hit them.

    The explosion that rips the doors from their hinges is as sudden as it is destructive. A Rudiarii guerilla is caught in the blast before she can so much as turn, and the Frumentarii soldier nearby is impaled by the fragmented debris. As the remaining four scramble to respond the gunfire starts. Sustained. Accurate. Precision shots, aimed to suppress and contain. Through the haze of dust and debris where the doorway once stood, they can see shapes rushing forwards. Faces hidden by masks, heavy ordnance in their arms. These are not natives of Metropolis.

    These are Awakened.

    They storm into the warehouse with the speed and coordination of a SWAT team. With the strength and fury of Vikings.

    [​IMG]
     
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  19. Cael Haze
    Frumentarii


    As soon as the gunfire began downstairs, rocking the floor they were on, Cael threw an accustomed look over at Basalt - if not slightly alarmed; henchmen of the Machine never used human munition, but maybe he was imagining things? Then, without waiting for affirmation, evicted his physical presence for all intents and purposes, blending in with his surroundings and essentially becoming a human chameleon. He navigated his way through the stirring Awakened confined to the rendezvous - some were shouting in frantic voices, nearly stumbling to their feet in shock - and slipped out the door to see what the fuss was about.

    The blood drained from his face. What the hell was going on? Mutiny? Had the Frumentarii been played? No, no, no - he was rushing to premature conclusions. The guards - lying exanimate in the debris of the walls, bleeding were Cael assumed they’d been shot or impaled or crushed - had been selected from all three factions for equilibrium and safety’s sake. These masked men were outsiders. And regimented to prove a point. Fucking hell... Cael drew his gun, cursing the fact that he was shaking, and took aim - but did not fire just yet. Basalt had final say in that; such was the way of the Frumentarii.
     
    • Thank Thank x 1
  20. Alexander heard the gunfire and explosions. "Well shit, time to work." He drew a cloth from his costume, using his power to give it stabbing ability. He choked up on his cane a little to get a batter setup for beating someone in with the head. He got himself into a hidden position in the path he predicted they would travel through, readying to assassinate one, or at least disable it with poison. Looking around, he noticed that most of the others had firearms. This was not something he really had a choice to use given his current powers. In addition, he was uncomfortable with open combat. He was very much an assassin and subversive person, not some battlefield bruiser. His eyes fell upon the dead guards for all the factions. It made him disgusted to realize that the group was not a part of any of them, yet it might still start a fracture between all of them. He was a fan of uniting to fight together against a common foe. Their ideologies were not incompatible, simply different.
     
    • Thank Thank x 1
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