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Aeolian Proud Fujoshi

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ISOLDE "BELLADONNA" FEATHERSWALLOW UDF: Cetra East Command Early Morning FLASHBACK @Aeolian


After subduing Mr. Crawley with a tranquilizer, he was carried off into a cryptic wing of the CEC that very few could access. Naturally, for such an important wing, fingerprints and face recognition technology were used. There were some who joked that not even light could escape that particular corridor, a fact Isolde knew all too well considering her talents. But Mr. Crawley would not be the only "visitor" Dr. Featherswallow would see that day. Several other offenders of varying degrees of offensery sat across from her in that cold white room, though none put up as much of a fight as Mr. Crawley had. Naturally, none had been pleased with the arrangement, but they gave up their right to make choices when they committed their crimes. Even a doll-faced 14-year-old lad had been among the throws of subjects to make Isolde's acquaintance.

Isolde could do nothing but shake her head, not in remorse that her experiments could potentially kill the boy, but rather, that she did not have enough young subjects to test on. You see, the fungus affects people differently. The invalid, the young, the old, the ill--the comet fungi infects demographics at varying rates, with the feeble and the ancient being most vulnerable to rapid bodily degradation. She had had enough homeless 50-year old street rats to spare for the deadly outer regions, but young specimens alluded her gravely. They were keener on how to evade the cruelty of the UDF system in ways that old chaps were too stubborn or dull to understand.

There was a time, when lost in her deep scientific revelry, Isolde had even pondered the idea of using neonates. But their immobility made them unsuitable for the data she needed to collect. And so, she left the idea within the netherregions of her mind where her darkest ideas laid to fester--never quite fully snuffed out.

After the last subject of the day was deemed unsuitable for the experiment, and therefore, had been escorted out of the facility for UDF law enforcement to deal with, Isolde returned to her office and riffled through some test subject documents. In nearly every UDF facility that housed an underground research lab, Isolde had an office just for herself. She decked out each one in her belongings, personalized to fit her inclination for vintage aesthetics and retro glamour. Each office was like an old-time movie set because Isolde liked to feel at home when she traveled, and what Isolde wanted, Isolde got. In most cases, the UDF obliged her demands with little pushback, though she would continue her efforts to persuade them that she needed younger subjects if she were to make faster progress in her research.

Resting one leg on top of the other, she pulled out the file about S.W.A.R.G, and went back over its contents. Despite the extravagant nature of her life, it was in fact, more insular and private than outsiders would believe. As such, the bubble that Isolde liked to stay in left her quite unfamiliar with many of the faces she saw in the folder. It was hard not to know about Emilia the Garuda or Lady Fleurane (whom she had seen once before during a gathering of the aristocracy) or even the hotshot Flyboy himself. But the others, she would be lying if she said she knew them. To enter into Isolde's world required invitation, otherwise, she knew nothing of you and made no effort to do so unless she deemed it productive. The only reason she even knew of her research counterpart, Amanita, was because her personal assistant had alerted her to the young Goryeo woman's research months before this rendezvous of Aeons had been announced. Fancy her interest peaked, Amanita may find herself given a special invitation when the time comes.

But for now, there was someone else among their ranks she sought after...

~



ISOLDE "BELLADONNA" FEATHERSWALLOW UDF: Cetra East Command [Briefing Room] Early Morning @Aeolian


Fear. Anxiety. Consternation. These were emotions that often alluded Dr. Featherswallow. While the facts of her psyche were never truly made clear, many publications liked to simplify the complexities of her brilliant mind as classic sociopathy. But Isolde was much more than some hell-driven inhumane deviant that the media liked to paint her as. She was cruel, yes, but always intentional. And that animus means something. Everything about Isolde was an intentional display of her splendor and mystery. From the sophisticated swish of her hips as she glided into the briefing room. From the way she held herself upright, dignified and refined like a haughty socialite. Her bodyguard and personal assistant stationed at her sides were a personification of her ranking and importance. To the British-like posh timber of her voice--every waking moment, Isolde was "working".

As the meeting unfolded, Isolde took mental note of those present as her eyes coasted over their frames like a body scanner. Garuda, Amanita, Scylla...hmmmm. She was searching for someone, the intent in her gaze evident if you looked hard enough. Eventually, her eyes fell on her person of interest and the slight glimmer of a foxy smile appeared before falling back into neutrality. Isolde arched her neck back and whispered something to her personal assistant, who quickly began typing on some handheld device. Her bodyguard and son, Marcus, gave them a curious glare, but remained stoic in his platoon-like posture.

Isolde perked up at the mention of her name, a look of amusement on her face at the mention of controversies. She could sense the eyes that moved to her when Jeff said what he said. No doubt, others would have heard of her and the supposed rumors in the press. Unperturbed she would be, so long as their own conclusions didn't interfere with her duties. She was less surprised by the reveal of Bahumat being the target. She had only seen him in passing, but Isolde was a perceptive woman. And she saw a certain something within him--a feeling if you will. But beyond that, she wondered why the details of the mission had been left so vague till now. Dr. Featherswallow, for all her secrecy, hated being informed about things at the last minute.

Once the meeting was adjourned, everyone separated into their own pockets to either converse or prepare for the mission. Isolde murmured something to her personal assistant, Oerba, who scurried off towards Isolde's chambers. Tailed by Marcus, Dr. Featherswallow approached Jeff with a smarmy, familial expression.

"Isolde..."
"Jeff....darling..."

Jeff looked her up and down, his face questioning. He continued walking and she followed beside him.

"You never seem to wanna follow protocol, do you Isolde?"

Isolde looked down at her outfit and then waved a hand flippantly, "Oh you mean this?"

"Where is your uniform Isolde?" he asked, voice stiffening.

"At the wash. How's your wife?"

Jeff paused, glaring at her intensely, but unable to penetrate Isolde's coyness. "Fuck." Jeff murmured, "Bates warned me you'd take issue..."

They continued on, heading towards a room where personnel were moving equipment here and about. "I'm a reasonable woman..."

Jeff grunted, unconvinced.

"...but you know me well. I hate surprises."

"It wasn't my call." Jeff said, stating a simple matter of fact.

Isolde raised an eyebrow, "Then who was it that kept me in the dark? Couldn't have been Bates, surely not."

"I don't know, but your right. It wasn't Bates. Someone far far above him. Someone in the UDF even a woman of your...."

He paused, thinking over his words carefully. Isolde was not Emilia, someone he could berate harshly without recourse. "renown does not have an ear to."

Isolde hummed to herself, contemplating what he said. It was unusual that she didn't have a say in matters regarding her work. At the very least, she always knew who the decision-makers were in any given situation that pertained to her duties. But for some higher-up in the UDF to purposefully withhold details from her was a foreign feeling, one that left her vexed, though she did well to hide the sentiment within her lullaby. Eventually, she stopped humming.

"Very well then..." she began, as though discarding a used napkin, "off you go. I'm sure you have other important matters to attend to. Please be sure to consult with my assistant, Oerba, once you uncover the puppeteer."

Jeff just shook his head and strolled off, likely thinking that Dr. Featherswallow was going to be a troublesome figure amongst their ranks. He only hoped that the others could handle her...ways.

Hands clasped together, Isolde walked up to her son, Marcus, who had been following closely behind them. He was fully clad, with his prosthetic appendages and a gun cradled in his arms, and a saber-like weapon crossing his back. She rested a hand on his arm, patting it softly "Be a dear and go fetch mommy her Dracaenae bone." He nodded solemnly and took off. Isolde watched him, tightening her face to hide her annoyance.

Isolde hadn't smoked a bone in over two years. Sometimes, old habits never die when you're hit with a sudden bout of immense indignation. Not even for Lady Featherswallow.

But the feeling wouldn't last long. Her true target of interest, in that very moment, strolled by. She watched the Aeon with the severity of a heated blade and smiled. And fluttering, just above her head, was a shadowy black moth. Isolde looked at it as though transmitting some secret telepathic message, and then it flew up high and out of sight.

Her machination was now in motion.



L O R E

Dracaenae bone: Or just "Dracaenae", a luxury brand of cigs only rich folks can afford.

Bates: A UDF general who ranks just above Jeff McMahon.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Prisk
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▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇DAY 1 《》 UDF: CETRA EAST COMMAND [Briefing Room - Surface] 《》 06:00AM 《》@Archangel89@Salsa Verde
Emilia caught a glimpse of someone she had not seen before. While conversing with Amanita, a well kept yet exotic man likely a few years senior to herself flowed them by. Her first guess was that he were of Anatolian descent of some sort. Emilia did have a personal interest in other Aeons, collecting their names and doings like trading cards, but she had only ever learned about the Cetra based Guardians and to some extent Renegades. All the Aeons from Anatolia were still a bit of a mystery to her, even if she had heard some names here and there over the years. He must be from Anatolia... I gotta speak with him later, her mind wandered.

The serene moment that Emilia was blessed enough to have in her mind and conversing with Amanita saw its end rather swiftly. Aaron had the most uncanny ability to disrupt any act of contemplation and scare the shit out of her, all at the same time—just as he had done with that awfully loud and obnoxious laughter when the General mentioned Ben by name. Emilia was not stupid. She knew what he was laughing at, but in his defense, she thought it was kind of funny as well, if not deeply ironic. The smooth skin in her face frowned and wrinkled for a brief moment at Aaron's comments. Prick..., her mind chuckled to itself. "Look, dude, it's just a job. I don't care who it is, but yes, I have nothing in common with Ben anymore." She sighed, but found new optimism somewhere deep inside. "Just make sure to bring your A-game on this one, yeah? He is a tough guy, so we gotta be ready if this turns sour." Emilia smirked and gave Aaron a good fist bump on his shoulder.

Emilia continued down the various corridors with Amanita. Eventually, all them found their own spaces to gear up and bring whatever they needed. As they walked past the General, Emilia was rather surprised that Isolde Featherswallow had come along this far. It was extremely difficult to not know some of the royalty and high-profile Aeons that were active in the UDF. Isolde was far more famous than Emilia herself, at least in the social and professional circles that mattered. Perhaps the word 'famous' was a distasteful pick—'celebrated' or 'distinguished' was more in Isolde's league. If they had to bring someone of her caliber in on this, then there was more to it than just a missing Aeon. This was nearly always the case in UDF matters, and only IntDiv ever knew what was really going on. Maybe Aaron knows what this is all really about... I have to ask him later, she thought to herself.

When she had a moment to herself, Emilia sorted her chest rig and backpack before heading to the the Armory. The sound of boots walking and running throughout the corridors of the underground complex gave a sense of urgency. Various messages were constantly broadcasted throughout rustic sounding speakers. This kind of state of alert usually happened when Navigation Division arrived, especially Air Mobile—everything had to happen fast before they were gone again. After a few shoulder bumps and near collisions, and signing autographs here and there to various soldiers, Emilia arrived at the Armory where she checked out her weapons. Along with her trusty assault rifle and combat sword, she also grabbed a breaching shotgun and a crowbar.

Emilia also made sure to grab a set of communication devices especially designated for either Advanced Risk missions or S.W.A.R.G. business. The technology in the devices made sure that the lines were isolated and encrypted, so no external parties could listen in. A small contraption attached to a chest rig or clothing connected to a thin 'choker' strapped around the neck, which had an ear piece wired to it. When communication is desired, the user can gently press against the choker around the neck, which will register throat vibration and sound. This helps to isolate the voice in the ear piece from other noise that a regular microphone would pick up. Stuff the set of com-devices down her backpack made Emilia think about the fact that she had thrown her phone away. "You don't happen to have a Redberry, do you? You know, a touch-phone?" She asked the man checking out all her things. "This is the UDF, Captain—not some Embergate shopping mall." He scuffed. "Right, sorry."

Everything was chaotic and loud as Emilia reached the surface. She caught a glimpse of the Anatolian man again, boarding one of the gunships. She figured that it probably was Errikos 'Conductor' Rigas, but Emilia was not entirely there in her conviction. There were a few other Anatolian names on that S.W.A.R.G. list, so it was anyone's guess, really. Emilia hurried to the dual-rotor personnel carrier. A couple of soldiers hitching a ride were already ready and strapped in. She secured her gear in a seat close to the pilots. "Is the Guardian team ready, Captain?" One of the pilots spoke with an elevated tone to overpower the noise of the technology around them. "Just about. I'll be back, shortly." Emilia responded and headed outside again to see that everyone were able to board the transportation in time.

Lore
Redberry 《》 A brand of touch-screen cellphones that are widely used along a few other brands.

Quest Steps
If you want to extend further in your post, you can describe NavDiv Air Mobile taking off and following the route I've marked in the local map. The transport should take about 3 hours, so mark that in the timestamps. As Steelwater approaches, you can describe the 'World Eaters' battalion readying up to attack the city, being far from passive on the outskirts. NavDiv will land near the battalion instead of inside the city. The bombing run from NavDiv jets still happens and can be described as well, if you want to.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by metanoia
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TITUS “BLITZ” PHOENIX Embergate - Some Pub Late Night (1-2AM) FLASHBACK @metanoia


”And then I said: listen here, you fucking twit, next time you talk shit about my crew, prepare to back it up.”

Titus, as loud, not to mention hammered, as ever, he was past the point of losing count of the amount of shots of Sourberry Spirit he had downed since being at whatever shitty pub or bar or whatever-the-fuck-it-was he was at. It was one of those run-down, barely-kept-up-with-the-maintenance establishments. It was shitty and on the side of Embergate that not many without a real set of stones on them vnetured to. The side that someone who was part of the UDF probably shouldn’t go to. Organized crime, murderers, people who would stab you with a good ole taste of home if you look at htem funny -- a good ole Lincentia Ore Shiv. Maybe that’s why he liked it here. It was grimier than he remembered, but the criminal underbelly of Embergate had that flavor of demolished civility that Lincentia had.

Laughing it up with a few guys at the bar, he downed another shot. “So that’s the story about how some fuckwad almost twice my size got his ass handed to him by The Blitz!” He cackled himself not only into a cough from the sourness of the shot, but he bumped into someone. Now, on any given day, this wouldn’t be so bad, but this particular someone, a local legend among those in this particular neighborhood, didn’t take too kindly to being disrespected.

But of course, as it always was with Titus, he shrugged it off, not bothering to apologize to Marcus Hellhound (his real name) -- or so Titus remembering hearing a few times over the years. He was a tall and muscular man. Titus was tall and had a solid mass of muscle, but he was a beast of a man. A real behemoth of a man with a nasty temper but a unique honor code. Two times of disrespecting him were the limit.

And as he went to stand up, stumbling once again into Marcus, that’s what set him off. It wasn’t an assault, but the man stood up and the height difference -- at least six inches in favor of the Hellhound -- made it more than an easy feat for him to stop a walking, stumbling Titus. Reaching for his shoulder, Blitz didn’t have time to properly react and now he was face to chin with the behemoth.

“And where are you going, little man?” Hellhound’s voice was distorted just like the scars on his face. It held tones of what felt like nobility or some fancy-ass aristocrat, now it was husky and a tone that Titus, even in a sober state, couldn’t understand.

“Huh? The fuck you say?” Titus raised a disinterested brow at the man that towered over him by nearly a whole head. “Do I even know you, friend?”

The giant shook his head. “You disrespected me. Twice.”

“Did I now?” He still looked at him. Unphased. “I think I’d remmeber that, bucko. See, a face like yours is way too easy to make fun of. I bet we could have a lot of fun.”

Hellhound’s eye twitched. And not the eye unscarred but the one with the fucked up appearance.

Had he been sober, maybe what happened next could have been avoided, but Titus started to bust out laughing. “Oh man, that’s gotta be tough. You trying to be all serious. Mr. Hellhound of Embergate, right? But then you’re over here tweaking out like you need a fix or something. Seriously, how can I disrespect you when your own face does that for ya--”

Before he could finish that thought, Hellhound pounced, throwing a straight right hook from the depths he was named for. Titus didn’t bother dodging and took the hit right in the jaw. Of course, he was sent staggering against the wall and Hellhound lept forward, grabbing Titus by the shirt with one hand and repeatedly wailing away on his face.

One punch, two punch, four punch, six punch, ten…

And yet, Titus remained unphased. Unaffected. Unbothered. Scars and scrapes were all over his handsome mug, but in his eyes, there was something almost sinister in them. A will that was unbroken to the point that he started to spook the Hellhound. The man backed away, letting him go. In response, Titus spat out the blood in his mouth, wiping it with his hand. Smirking, he merely said. “Not bad, Scarface. Really, you almost punch harder than my instructor. Gotta hand it to ya. I thought you weren’t gonna go for it, but you did. And I’m proud of you.”

Hellhound stared at Titus, stepping back slowly.

“But now it’s my turn.”

There was a glow at his feet and the man flew from the wall and gave Hellhound all but one knee to the face that sent him flying to the other side of the room, cracking through the wall as half of his body was hanging out of the pub while the other half (in this case the bottom half) was still inside.

Grimacing at the sight of the state of Hellhound, he partially frowned, looking at the bartender who had been forced to witness everything unfold in silence. The locals were afraid of Hellhound but now they would be afraid of Titus. “Sorry bout that bud!” Titus called out to Hellhound, who only groaned in response. “Didn’t mean to knock you out that fast. Was really hoping to get some energy out before tomorrow.” He whined as he paid for the damages and left the pub.

Yeah, tomorrow. Tomorrow he no longer was part of the WarDiv. As much as he loved and cherished his time spent there, tomorrow he would officially be part of a special task force. On one hand, he was excited but he was going to miss the simple directives typically given in the Warfare Division.

Oh well, a matter to think about when it actually arrived. For now, Titus had to remember just where the fuck his motel was!



TITUS "BLITZ" PHOENIX UDF: Cetra East Command (Briefing Room) → Armory → Surface 8:00AM @metanoia


As soon as he woke up, Titus knew drinking last night may have been a mistake. And maybe picking a fight with Hellhound wasn’t the best idea he had in recent memory, but thinking back on it, he had no regrets. First off, that pub -- whatever its name was -- had the best Sourberry Spirit he’s tried in a long ass time. It may have even been better than the crap he had in Bend a few months back. God that shit was more than sour - it was nearly spoiled (keyword nearly because Titus still got hammered off of it).

He spent most of the train ride catching up on sleep. Since he didn’t get back to his motel until a little after 2 and wasn’t unconscious until thirty minutes after the fact, he was exhausted. Plus the hangover sourberry spirit always gave someone who drank a little too much was the worst feeling to experience. But he endured. And got some breakfast before the train arrived at East Command. It wasn’t anything fancy. He didn’t have many credits to his name after spending most of it in Embergate, but he had enough for a simple spread of eggs, toast, and a couple of pork sausage links.

Then came the mission briefing and what a shit show that was.

It began with the genuine heartbreak that Titus felt when General McMahan explained that the one and only Bahamut was MIA. “Say it isn’t so…” He muttered lowly.

Titus didn’t have what you might call a personal relationship with the great Bahamut -- or at least not as well-known one that he had with a certain Garuda among the group, but he had his own attachment to him. Or maybe the accurate way to describe their relationship was a warrior respecting a fellow warrior’s strength. It’s true that Titus never had any direct missions with Bahamut personally or with him leading the charge. There have been cases where they’ve crossed paths in the general sense, but what they did have was off-the-clock sparring sessions. Their sparring matches were pretty much full-on fights with no added powers but their ability to physically kick ass. Titus took a lot of pride in his ability to fight, but Bahamut was on a different level. Compared to him, Blitz was a novice.

That’s right. Despite all of his loud and proud proclamations of how much ass he has kicked, in every battle of Blitz vs Bahamut, Titus has never won a single fight. Usually that would send him into a red state of mind, but with Benjamin, it was never the case. Titus respected the hell out of him, so when General McMahan said was MIA or rather they lost communication with him, Titus took it personally.

“We’ll find him. Bastard owes me our weekly sparring match.”

After the briefing and a little entertainment show was done (at the expense of known history between Emalia and Benjamin), Titus did something that many who knew the name of Titus Phoenix (AKA Blitz) seldom did: he went about his business quietly. In normal cases, he would say something about poor Garuda, but he wasn't in that kind of mood. He was solely fixated on the mission at hand. He made his way to the armory, put on his S.W.A.R.G-issued gear with the addition of his greaves and gauntlets that were tailor-made for his fighting style specifically, got his bag, and made his way topside, hitching a ride on one of the personnel gunships.

Titus remained focused. Any and all thoughts he had right now, if nothing else, were solely focused on the mission. When they got the great Bahamut back, then he would relax. Until then, he was all business.




Plot Summary

After getting hammered in Embergate, which included getting into a fight with a local thug, Titus woke up with a hangover and a killer headache. He caught the train that departed from Embergate to East Command and kept mostly to himself, catching up on whatever sleep he could. When the train arrived and the mission briefing started, he remained uncharacteristically quiet due to Benjamin Regardie, someone he has immense respect for as a fellow warrior and someone he regularly spars with, going missing/lost communication with TPTB 72 hours ago. Titus became a man of pure focus from then on, no wanting to dick around and give his entire being and any and all energy he could spare to the mission.


L O R E

Sourberry Spirit - An aged mead native to Lincentia and is considered to be the national alcoholic beverage of the nation. Known for its sour, tart, and sweet notes, it is often preferred to be consumed either as a shot or combined with a sweet pop. It is made from sourberries, a round berry gold in color that grows only in Lincentia but has since been mass-produced. It has an irl comparison (taste wise) to raspberries and strawberries with the acidic punch of lemon. The alcohol potency is high and can get a person quite wasted if they're not careful.


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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by DeadDrop
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𝚆𝚘𝚛𝚍𝚜 𝚑𝚞𝚛𝚝, 𝚜𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚎𝚜.

𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚒𝚗 𝚛𝚒𝚍𝚎, 𝚍𝚎𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚝𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚌𝚕𝚘𝚠𝚗 𝚌𝚊𝚛 𝚒𝚝 𝚋𝚎𝚌𝚊𝚖𝚎 𝚒𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚎𝚗𝚍 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊𝚜 𝚒𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚋𝚎𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚎. 𝚂𝚘 𝚖𝚊𝚗𝚢 𝙰𝚎𝚘𝚗𝚜, 𝚒𝚗 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚙𝚕𝚊𝚌𝚎 𝚒𝚝 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚋𝚎𝚎𝚗 𝚊 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚢 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚠𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚋𝚎 𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚎 𝚜𝚖𝚘𝚔𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚒𝚗𝚑𝚊𝚕𝚎 𝚘𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚊𝚕 𝚍𝚎𝚜𝚌𝚎𝚗𝚝. 𝙴𝚗𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚋𝚊𝚜𝚎 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚞𝚗𝚒𝚖𝚙𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝙷𝚎𝚛𝚗𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚣, 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊 𝚓𝚘𝚋 𝚝𝚘 𝚍𝚘 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚑𝚊𝚍 𝚌𝚊𝚖𝚎 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚙𝚛𝚎𝚟𝚒𝚘𝚞𝚜 𝚛𝚒𝚍𝚎 - 𝚠𝚎𝚕𝚕, 𝚜𝚘𝚖𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚕𝚎𝚏𝚝 𝚞𝚗𝚜𝚊𝚒𝚍. 𝚃𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑 𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚐𝚛𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚏𝚞𝚕 𝚑𝚎 𝚑𝚊𝚍 𝚊 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚖𝚎𝚎𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚝𝚎𝚊𝚖, 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚋𝚎𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚠𝚊𝚢 𝚝𝚘 𝚋𝚘𝚗𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚗 𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚊 𝚛𝚒𝚍𝚎 𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚘 𝚝𝚘𝚠𝚗. 𝙷𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚖𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚍 𝚚𝚞𝚒𝚎𝚝 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚛𝚒𝚍𝚎 𝚋𝚞𝚝 𝚑𝚎'𝚍 𝚑𝚊𝚟𝚎 𝚊 𝚖𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚝𝚘 𝚘𝚙𝚎𝚗 𝚞𝚙 𝚊𝚏𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚋𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚐.

𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚋𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚎𝚡𝚙𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐, 𝚊 𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚝𝚕𝚎 𝚍𝚞𝚎𝚕 𝚘𝚏 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚍𝚜 𝚋𝚎𝚝𝚠𝚎𝚎𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝙶𝚎𝚗𝚎𝚛𝚊𝚕 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝙶𝚊𝚛𝚞𝚍𝚊. 𝙽𝚘𝚝 𝚜𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚗𝚐 𝚙𝚒𝚕𝚘𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚎𝚡𝚙𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚋𝚞𝚝 𝚒𝚝 𝚠𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚍𝚘𝚠𝚗, 𝚑𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚖𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚍 𝚜𝚒𝚕𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚊𝚋𝚜𝚘𝚛𝚋𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚒𝚝 𝚊𝚕𝚕 𝚕𝚒𝚔𝚎 𝚊 𝚜𝚙𝚘𝚗𝚐𝚎. 𝙸𝚗 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚙𝚊𝚕𝚖 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊 𝚜𝚖𝚊𝚕𝚕 𝚌𝚘𝚒𝚗, 𝚑𝚎 𝚏𝚕𝚒𝚌𝚔𝚎𝚍 𝚒𝚝 𝚞𝚙 𝚊𝚜 𝚒𝚝 𝚛𝚘𝚝𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚊𝚜 𝚖𝚊𝚗𝚢 𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚎𝚜 𝚊𝚜 𝚒𝚝 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚋𝚎𝚏𝚘𝚛𝚎 𝚏𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚜𝚘𝚏𝚝𝚕𝚢 𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚘 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚗𝚌𝚎 𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚎. 𝙷𝚎 𝚎𝚡𝚑𝚊𝚕𝚎𝚍, 𝚕𝚘𝚘𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚘 𝙶𝚊𝚛𝚞𝚍𝚊 𝚑𝚎 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚜𝚎𝚎 𝚜𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚒𝚗 𝚙𝚊𝚒𝚗 - 𝚘𝚛 𝚜𝚘𝚖𝚎 𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚍𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚜. 𝚁𝚒𝚐𝚑𝚝, 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝚋𝚘𝚢𝚏𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚗𝚍 - 𝚘𝚛 𝚎𝚡, 𝚛𝚊𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝚒𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚌𝚊𝚜𝚎. 𝚂𝚑𝚎 𝚘𝚋𝚟𝚒𝚘𝚞𝚜𝚕𝚢 𝚜𝚝𝚒𝚕𝚕 𝚑𝚊𝚍 𝚏𝚎𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚑𝚒𝚖 - 𝚜𝚑𝚎 𝚌𝚊𝚛𝚎𝚍 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚑𝚒𝚖, 𝚘𝚋𝚟𝚒𝚘𝚞𝚜𝚕𝚢 𝚒𝚝 𝚖𝚊𝚍𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚒𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚎 𝚙𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚘𝚗𝚊𝚕 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚗 𝚙𝚛𝚘𝚏𝚎𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗𝚊𝚕. 𝚈𝚎𝚝, 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝙰𝚎𝚘𝚗𝚜 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚑𝚊𝚍 𝚊 𝚓𝚘𝚋 𝚝𝚘 𝚍𝚘. 𝙴𝚟𝚎𝚗 𝚒𝚏 𝚒𝚝 𝚏𝚎𝚕𝚝 𝚋𝚊𝚍, 𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚗 𝚒𝚏 𝚒𝚝 𝚜𝚖𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚍 𝚏𝚒𝚜𝚑𝚢.

𝚃𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍𝚗'𝚝 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚜𝚊𝚢 𝚗𝚘.

𝙰𝚋𝚘𝚊𝚛𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚎𝚝𝚊𝚕 𝚋𝚒𝚛𝚍, 𝚁𝚘𝚋𝚎𝚛𝚝 𝚒𝚗𝚑𝚊𝚕𝚎𝚍 𝚏𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚍𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎𝚛-𝚌𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎𝚛 𝚜𝚝𝚒𝚌𝚔𝚜 𝚊𝚐𝚊𝚒𝚗. 𝙷𝚒𝚜 𝚎𝚢𝚎𝚜 𝚐𝚕𝚘𝚠𝚎𝚍 𝚞𝚙 𝚊𝚜 𝚑𝚎 𝚏𝚎𝚍 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚜, 𝚙𝚛𝚎𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚑𝚎𝚕𝚕 𝚘𝚛 𝚑𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚏𝚒𝚛𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚏𝚘𝚕𝚕𝚘𝚠. 𝙸𝚝 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚍𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗, 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚔𝚏𝚞𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚗𝚘 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚠𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚐𝚎𝚝 𝚜𝚎𝚌𝚘𝚗𝚍𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚜𝚖𝚘𝚔𝚎 𝚏𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚑𝚒𝚖. 𝙷𝚎 𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚖𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚍 𝚑𝚒𝚖𝚜𝚎𝚕𝚏 𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚘 𝙴𝚖𝚒𝚕𝚒𝚊 𝚘𝚗𝚌𝚎 𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚎, 𝚊𝚏𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚊 𝚑𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚝𝚕𝚎 𝚎𝚡𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚝𝚠𝚎𝚎𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝙰𝚊𝚛𝚘𝚗 𝚔𝚒𝚍. 𝙷𝚎 𝚙𝚞𝚝 𝚊 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚞𝚛𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚗 𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝚜𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍𝚎𝚛, 𝚜𝚚𝚞𝚎𝚎𝚣𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚒𝚝 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚊 𝚖𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚊𝚜 𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚍 𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚘 𝚜𝚙𝚎𝚊𝚔 𝚝𝚘 𝚑𝚎𝚛.

"𝚆𝚎'𝚕𝚕 𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚑𝚒𝚖, 𝚍𝚘𝚗'𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚢. 𝚈𝚘𝚞'𝚛𝚎 𝚊 𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍 𝚕𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚎𝚛, 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚒𝚏 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚗𝚎𝚎𝚍 𝚊𝚗𝚢 𝚑𝚎𝚕𝚙 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚔𝚗𝚘𝚠 𝚠𝚑𝚘 𝚝𝚘 𝚊𝚜𝚔. 𝚃𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚋𝚎 𝚊 𝚌𝚊𝚔𝚎 𝚠𝚊𝚕𝚔, 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚒𝚏 𝚒𝚝 𝚒𝚜𝚗'𝚝 𝚠𝚎𝚕𝚕. 𝙻𝚎𝚝'𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚢 𝚊𝚋𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝."

𝚁𝚘𝚋𝚎𝚛𝚝 𝚜𝚊𝚒𝚍, 𝚐𝚒𝚟𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚒𝚐𝚗𝚊𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚎 𝚜𝚖𝚒𝚕𝚎.

𝚆𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚊 𝚋𝚎𝚊𝚞𝚝𝚒𝚏𝚞𝚕 𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚗𝚒𝚗𝚐.
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V I C “BLOODHOUND” G R I N Z UDF: Cetra East Command 6:00am @Prisk





“Your leash is off.” A voice in the void spoke.

“But your tail is ours.” Another voice bounced off the walls of Vic’s mind.

Visual flashes of horrific monsters torn asunder by his own hands streamed through Vic's cortex. Vic had not known rest since he turned into an Aeon. He had not known peace, and he began to lose sight of who he was and what he had become. Another visual flash ripped across his mind as he ripped apart a Stigma by manipulating his Aeon’s powers in memory. Then there was the scent of blood. The smell of blood was constant in Vic’s sensory experience, his Aeon never stopped, like a dog using its nose to understand everything around itself. His Aeon identified if someone was scared, frustrated, happy, horny, and everything in between…simply by smelling their blood that carried hormones.

A curse…

Vic never did see what happened to him to be anything much more than that…a god-forsaken curse…

A reminder that he did not need to die to be cast into Hell, similar to Dante, but without Virgil to guide…


Fwop Fwop Fwop Fwop

The rotary blades of the chopper tranced Vic to sleep. Until now, his eyelids rolling up like ancient scrolls, each bloodshot with pupils black as the tip of a quill pen dipped in ink. His head rested against the thin pad of a seat at the edge closest to a chopper door. He was geared up, shipped out, and on his way to meet the new team he was assigned to. A new direction for his handler - to be a part of a team - and the U.D.F. The radio chattered on, “ETA 5 minutes.” The pilot reported over communications as a small sway occurred and the helicopter’s pitch dropped.

One last safety check. Vic checked his weapon’s safety, and gear straps, and then pulled out a small syringe of blood. Darting himself in the thigh, his eyes began to look as if they had more rest, and the color returned from black to green. The fresh blood coursed through him like adrenaline to a human being, but without the jittery side effects. The helicopter touched down shaking Vic slightly. Vic slid the door open and hopped out. Standing directly in front of him was General Benjamin Regardie. Vic sized him up and with no salute he looked at the General,“Benji.” Vic’s eyes twisting the historical knots of time in the space between him and the General, “Grinz.” The two are in a deadlock of memories, not egos. Fate would have it that on Vic’s first assignment with the UDF, he was tasked with protecting a valuable asset, a young officer traveling to one of the Stigma zones, that young officer was Benjamin Regardie. He would have been killed too if Vic had not saved his life by manipulating the blood of a few dying soldiers and stopping the arterial bleeding of the officer’s leg and hip. Vic got him back on the bird and not shortly after was that young officer climbing ranks with battle stories to prove his gumption.

“You look like shit Grinz.” Benji said. Vic nodded and responded,“I feel like it too.” Benji stretched out his hand and the two respectfully shook.“I take it you were briefed on the way here by your handler?” Vic nodded again. “Good because you are late to the briefing, get in the jeep, and when you get to the bird, follow the orders of Emilia “Garuda” Lange and do your job.” Vic nodded, “Glad to see you are letting the misfits run loose together.” Benjamin retorted, “This fucking carnival was not my decision, don’t give me a reason to shut it down or I will!” Vic nodded for a third time, “Benji.” Vic saluted and walked passed Benjamin Regardie. Right behind him was a jeep with a soldier inside waiting for Vic to hop in. The jeep drove off toward the gunship that had been boarded by the team, outside was a young attractive Aeon standing at the ready, it appeared she was checking to see if anyone else was intending to add to their numbers. The jeep’s brakes were pressed about 10 yards out and rolled into about 7 yards short of the gunship. Vic departed and shuffled to the gunship door, “Are you Emilia Lange?”
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S C Y L L A " L E V I A T H A N " F L E U R A N E UDF: CETRA EAST COMMAND [Armory - Surface] 06:45AM @Rockette@Prisk@RezonanceV

"It's not over till it's over, Ben."
"Oh, I know. This is only the beginning."

Down a hall - down another - down the rabbit hole and back, a cavern of steel, a void of dull treads and lackadaisical nails that edge over blacks and silvers and muted greys. It's a curious conclusion that the armory is displaced so far from the surface, is it the danger, or is it the risk; they were Aeons endowed with spirits of night and day, of water and sky, their weapons were just finer enhancements to their repertoire after all. These were curious musings -- for if she willed it, the water in the very air she breathed could be seduced to maim the walls that surrounded her -- and Scylla was content to appeal to her wondering mind in preset to the mission lain before them. It seemed an impossible quest, for how long had it been since she last spoke to Benjamin outside of mission logs and patrol summaries? Since his addled self came from the dark, whisper-soft...

Louder thumps, those of heavier and accelerated urgency, jostled her from beyond, rounding around the corridors as the reality settled itself among descended chaos. The armory was crowded and hushed whispers rapidly accompanied those emptier corners as Scylla entered, and such was not nearly a surprise. For even if those like Garuda and -- oh, what's his name, the pilot -- were more famous than she, that shroud of infamy fluttered onto lithesome shoulders all the more. However, she was not here for those mutterings and inquiries, the brave that crowded to her shadow and listened aptly for any rejoinder the Leviathan would bless them with from her latest accomplishments -- or would they be labeled something far more malicious? Scylla busily attached her harness at checkout, tightening straps mindlessly, snug beneath her breasts and taut upon her back and shoulders that flexed under the queer weight of her detached spear ends before the suspension components activated and shifted that weight else where. Satisfied, Scylla accepted her firearms, holstered them as well and paused, just so, at the intermingled messages and reports and time stamps that came through the intercoms.

"Hey... I'd like some cables or rope added into my gear." She doesn't explain for why and they care not to ask, but it's still approached with a raised brow and a shrug whilst attending to her request. Scylla's smile is brittle, but gracious none the less as she hoists the singular strap over head and fits it aptly like a cross body accessory with its main compartment secured at ribcage and hip. When she goes to ask for coms equipment, the armory attendants explain that the Garuda had already secured what they needed. It's the title before the moniker that causes pursed lips and a head tilt, she knows they refer to Emilia, but why don her in the dressings of a celebrity even further? She delicately fingers the trio of patches attached to her uniform - oh, as if there weren't enough. It's curious she thinks, but again it's that lamplight of adoration that adorns many of those in WarDiv with the higher chain of command.

"All set, Leviathan?"

"Oh, yes..."

Her path topside is less of a memorable journey, even if suspicions tack their way up her spine in spindly attachments, ceaseless in their doubt. With Benjamin's possibility of becoming an Archon - she doesn't use the term Evolved as the UDF would - and the mysterious and sudden deployment of Dragoons to Junon Port, it's as if every possible occurrence hinges on one probability: the control of a God. Or would they even coin such a term to the unknown? Is this why they executed random interrogations during her rotations back to base? Why they often asked what lived beneath the waves and towers of home.

She doesn't much like the drifting current of her thoughts, the direction far too aimless into the waves of conspiracies and paranoia. Is it suspect then that someone from Intelligence just so happens to be among them, and only one at that.

Scylla's brow is drawn down upon her lashes, worked into concentration as it were whilst the hustling of soldiers and recruits brought her back to solid ground once more. There's a wider berth surrounding the gunships and carriers and the setting is perhaps a little jostling compared to the quieter and more secluded transportations she's accustomed to. But, as her mother said, she knew how to play well with others.

"Emilia - or do I say Captain now." A playful flutter of her fingers here, coming close to ruffle that auburn mane that served responsible for her epitaph. The shuffling man she gives a once or twice pass over, from booted feet and up along his profile; all six feet, and to that dour face and harsh brow. Huh, didn't see him earlier now, interesting. "Didn't have a chance to say so early, by the way, Jeff - what a dick - but it's nice to be working with you again." A rapid interchange from brooding and thoughtful to endearingly genuine as was Scylla's renown; perhaps she belonged with IntDiv. She peered around Emilia's profile and into the personal carrier, spotted a seat quickly and slinked betwixt the Aeons liken to a feline.

"A few more were behind me, I think. But, I'm ready -- Let's go."


S C Y L L A " L E V I A T H A N " F L E U R A N E STEELWATER [Personal Carrier] 09:45AM @Rockette@Prisk

Steelwater.

She's never been there before, banked at the south end of the Alacana River, but it's not hard to miss such destruction. No, she thinks, it's more than that. It's pure carnage: the decimation of a city sacrificed to fire and ash and towers of smoke that mock the buildings they climb besides and snake over; reaching higher for the heavens in vain. The horizon was blotted in shades of red and black, eclipsing the earth in ruin, and for just that sliver of a moment, Scylla sees Tenebre set aflame. It's a premonition of things to come, of things that may be, or perhaps this was fate lain before her in prophecy. She thinks to the mutterings of mad man - of a man that maybe she trusted once as friend and laughs.

And they have to find him through all this shit.

They are a looming cloud prepared to descend into the thickets of hell. The battle field calls as a siren to the wayward spirits thrumming alive in blood and bone, the wind is a song to her ears even here and she feels the tug of water like a puppet would from its master to the beckoning flames. The presentation of war is nothing new to these blue-black eyes that glimmer with a depth of cerulean. Stars fall in the eyes of the Leviathan that rises from the deep that is her soul awash in the spiritual manifest of an awakening storm, and Scylla is nearly flush against bullet-proof glass to gaze mercilessly upon the fight far below. Over the thrum of the blades and engines there is the far off tell-tale ring of explosives and hushed echoes of rapid fire, the sort of wide spray over large areas against what she assumes is the new strain of esoteric enemy awaiting them. Somewhere, far away it seems, are the pilots warning of their descent and the preparation and execution of the bomb run to clear out a majority of the hostiles.

They need volunteers to clear out and secure their landing space, make sure it's devoid of any lingering enemies, marked by flares that the 'World Eaters' had bothered to spread out in a broad circle. They're almost snuffed out by the smog that billows in from the surrounding buildings lit aflame but spot lights from the chopper beam down and one of the pilots glances back and shouts:

"Garuda, do what you do best: jump down, make it secure."

Oh, Scylla's all over it now.

"Nah-uh, not without me." Her simper is obtuse and all bright teeth softened on her pout as she weaves her arm around Emilia, the gunship door snapping aside as an accompanying soldier pries it open, the sounds from a continuous battle drowning against the blades inches above them. Wind raked hair snaps at her rouged cheeks and she shouts: "Always wanted to ask you to jump me!"
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▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇DAY 1 《》 STEELWATER [landing] 《》 10:00AM 《》@Prisk@Rockette
Her frame suddenly flicked alive. Emilia had been dozing off again, but in the middle of a noisy helicopter ride of all things. Muffled sounds of strife and violence in the distance overpowered the rotors of the vehicle. The all too familiar ‘battle mode’ kicked into gear—it was a different mindset, an ebb and flow that normally did not express itself, a state of trance sprawling of exquisite dopamine and other chemicals of the brain that no artificial drug could match. Emilia secretly relished in that first hour of combat, the very first of the day. It was far from an addiction, but close enough to warrant withdrawal symptoms a few hours after all things had settled down.

Emilia snapped out of the haziness. She got out of her seat and saw the carnage ahead, standing behind the pilot seats. Things had clearly not gone according to plan, but did it ever in the UDF? It was the essential creed among soldiers—nothing ever went according to plan and everything was always fucked up. The sight ahead was the quintessential example of that good old saying. The ‘psychopaths’, as the General had so eloquently put it in describing the World Eaters battalion, had either shit their pants or grown impatient, or both. It was a battalion known for their utterly repulsive methods of applying artillery shelling with a wide range of different types of munitions. They had no regard for civilian or other life whenever they got going with their endeavors bordering insanity. Some of them were so twisted in their heads that they use artillery units at close range, nearly blowing themselves up in the process. All of this was under the radar, of course, and reports of misdeeds rarely made it to the top of the UDF.

The morning was as dark as night. A day that had already started out as cloudy and moody with drizzle, just as the day prior, did not do well with Scorched Earth kind of tactics. Buildings, industrial facilities, and residential areas were all up in flames, creating a black layer of impenetrable darkness that did not do any favors. Emilia sighed—it was going to be a long day. She hastily gathered her things and geared up. The communication devices that the Cetra Command armory had provided were distributed in a hurry to everyone on the team present in the personnel carrier. Emilia had the rest tucked in her backpack, so that the remaining team mebers in other transports could get one when an opportunity presented itself. “Check, check—I hope this is good.” Emilia spoke while gently pressing two fingers against the contraption around her neck that was connected to the communication device itself.

"Garuda, do what you do best: jump down, make it secure." The pilot clearly knew how to utilize people onboard his areal vessel. That is how people in NavDiv were—they knew their surroundings and all the conditions in it. Emilia nodded at the pilot and made way for the rear exit. She always focused on her breathing before a high drop. It was a short meditation, clearing of the mind, visualizing a safe landing, and trusting the spirits within to do their thing. There was always a slight, lingering fear that she would not know what it feels like when the spirits leave. One day, they would simply be gone without her having noticed, and she would try to drop from a height and meet a hard, gruesome death. That thought sometimes made itself known more than Emilia would like or care to admit, which is why the breathing and focus before showtime was utmost necessary.

Scylla’s touch was calming. Emilia slid her arm around the royalty’s waist and held tight. A wide smile snuck itself onto Emilia’s lips, even if she tried to resist it at this particular moment due to the focused breathing. “Just lift your legs up before we hit the ground, okay? Otherwise we’ll have a bad start.” The violent motion and swirling of air was surely elating. The spirits within Emilia had found the perfect home, as she without a shred of doubt adored the feeling of wind against her skin—A rainless storm was her most revered kind of weather. When the transport was about a hundred meters above the landing spot, Emilia slipped off of the edge of the unfolded exit ramp of the helicopter. It was a straight fall, gravity doing its purpose. Emilia had a second or two to take in the surroundings and make on the fly decision about what their next steps would be. But, first, they had to clear out the landing area, so that they could rendezvous properly.

The creatures swarming on the ground were as grotesque as ever, standing about a meter above the ground in full. These were supposedly of a different strain of the Stigma, but Emilia could not tell any difference. The landing spot, dotted by brightly burning flares, cast light and shadows upon the crawling things they were about to destroy. The entities looked like heaps of moss and sprawling roots, awkwardly creeping around seemingly in an aimless manner. They were clearly functioning as meat shields for something greater, which did not appear to be close by at this time. Emilia let the spirits within charge their energy and release upon impact with the ground—a sharp crackling sound rushed forward in all directions, as if a shot from an artillery unit was fired right next to them. A wave of air pushed dust swelled across a sea of Tree Husks, briefly knocking them over. Emilia and Scylla were akin to a powerful missile that had struck its mark. She let her grip of the royalty ease up—“Alright, let her rip.” Emilia shouldered her rile to let round after round whiz through the air into the bizarre creatures.




FLASHBACK - DAY 1 《》 UDF: CETRA EAST COMMAND [Surface] 《》 06:45AM 《》@RezonanceV@Rockette@DeadDrop
Oh, shit… She thought to herself upon seeing him. This was the guy who had everything but his codename redacted from the S.W.A.R.G. list. Emilia had heard about Bloodhound before, though, mostly from Ben during those days. Apparently, the two were war buddies or something. Ben had not disclosed any specifics, but brief and fleeting mentions were not uncommon. Although, Emilia had suspected that there was much more to it. Ben did not talk much about other people he had worked with, but this Vic individual received unusual remarks and praise—sort of. It was difficult to put into words how Ben would speak about it. He said a lot but nothing at the same time. “Um, yeah, I am..." Emilia had a slight tremble in her tones, perhaps not noticeable to some but more so to others. "I know who you are. Secure your stuff and find a seat, we’re off in half a minute.” This guy was a bit of a wild card. He was just as likely to rip the rest of the team apart just as he was the enemy—surely he had more control over himself now than back when Ben spoke about him.

“Still just a UDF rat like everyone else.” Emilia chuckled at Scylla’s captain remark. Regardless of what the General did or did not do, she appreciated that people around her were more hostile towards unsavory scolding. Emilia brushed it off by raising her shoulders slightly—meh, a mundane thing by now. A fleeting look around at the other gunships caught a glimpse of Blitz, and others boarding the transports. Everything appeared to be on schedule. Emilia returned into the personnel carrier again along with Bloodhound, as the rear exit ramp of the helicopter slowly closed. She settled into her seat and exhaled deeply. A reassuring touch from Robert did wonders to ease the nerves. She smiled at his words and momentarily returned a warm hand upon his. It did not take long after the transport had taken flight for Emilia to nod off into rest.


Quest Steps
We can close all previous interactions and fast forward to the combat scene. You do not have to describe all steps up until this point, unless you want to. The transports arrive, the landing area is swarming with smallish creatures seen in the image of enemies—the top left creature, Tree Husks. These are 'cannon fodder'. You can go wild and kill as many as you want. I will introduce the 'big bad' in my next post, the one with the vertical depiction in the image. There is another creature in the image, bottom left, that is also cannon fodder, which you can describe fighting, as well.

Secondly, go to the Codex-thread through the OOC first post—click the 'Codex' image. Go to the bottom and look at the 'icons' there. You can use two icons in your combat posts, as I have done here. They only matter when we fight the 'big bad', but you can make a habit of including them in all combat posts, regardless. You can change icons between every combat post, if you want, but only 2 of them can be used. You can choose to use any of the available icons, freely. The best way to copy the image of the icon you want is to right click and choose "copy image link". Looking at the raw code will be a bit daunting.



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Aeolian Proud Fujoshi

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ISOLDE "BELLADONNA" FEATHERSWALLOW UDF: Cetra East Command Early Morning FLASHBACK DAY 1 @Aeolian

It fluttered about madly—a black inky looking thing no bigger than a human hand. It was a moth for all intents and purposes. Except, it lacked the vivid menagerie of colors and designs that adorned the bodies of a true moth. This one was like a shadow, an insect only in silhouette. It behaved as one would though, lulled by a luminous moonlight—the moon in this case being an Aeon. Ethereal and silent as ever, staying out of sight from this individual, flapping its tiny delicate self to keep up with the person of its attraction. Sometimes the moth would perch somewhere when the Aeon came to a pause, and then it continued on in perfect step. Following, following, following, waiting, following, settling itself on an inconspicuous metal frame inside the aerial vehicle the Aeon would eventually board...unaware a stalker was amiss.

The moth's antennas twitched. It studied the Aeon with the passion and purpose of a brilliant sun.

A sentinel tasked with no other mission, it watched.

And from far away, as clear in her mind's eye as the assistant that stood before her, so did Belladonna.

~



ISOLDE "BELLADONNA" FEATHERSWALLOW UDF: Cetra East Command Early Morning FLASHBACK DAY 1 @Aeolian@Salsa Verde


Dr. Featherswallow was a lone owl in many ways. In her personal life, she had few true friends, if any at all. In her work, she had professional acquaintances only as a means to reach a desirable end. But the relations usually remained as such, cordial and impersonal. With her ranking, she had been pounced upon by many UDF underlings seeking to make nice with her in hopes of advancing their careers in ResDiv. Isolde applauded their efforts...truly...she would do the same. Sweet talk, sleep with (though she had too much self-respect and intelligence to need such a pass), and grease your way through any high-ranking official that could be manipulated into moving you up the hierarchy. Isolde's mantra: "Whatever it takes."

With her reputation, she was an anathema for many, of course. But stacked to the heavens were more than enough invitations to luxurious soirees and cocktail parties to fill the night sky like stars. Dr. Featherswallow engaged when she deemed it necessary, but otherwise, her party of 100 socialites, businessmen, colleagues, and courters were nothing more than fragrant perfumes, one she'd put on to get her through the evening and then wash off again before the day's end.

Naturally, Isolde had no intentions of befriending Amanita as she watched the girl from a little distance away. Isolde liked to people watch, a twinkle in her foxy eyes as she saw how Amanita engaged with some of the others—sprightly and unassuming. "How cute..." she muttered breathlessly, flicking the remaining bud of her bone onto the ground and squishing it with her custom-tailored combat heels. If Isolde was going out in the field for the first time in god knows how long, she'd do it in style.

With Marcus and Oerba flanking her on both sides, though always a few steps behind, Isolde approached Amanita, giving everyone else a warm and amiable smile until she and the only other ResDiv Aeon on the team were left alone.

In the sweetest voice she could muster, Isolde said, "Aren't you adorable, my dear. It's so nice to make your acquaintance at last. I am Dr. Featherswallow, but Isolde is fine too. There's no need for formalities between you and me." After her introduction, Isolde bowed as graceful as a geisha, a sign she was familiar with some of the Goryeo region customs—cultured and well-traveled no doubt.

Returning to her regal posture, Isolde gestured to the other two. "This is Marcus, my bodyguard, and Oerba, my assistant. Please, do not hesitate to reach out to them if you are ever in need of aid while on this mission. I cannot speak to your field experience, but this is a rather unnerving undertaking, even for me." She chuckled softly, appearing more benign. Most fell for her ways, but Isolde knew that some people were more perceptive than others. She'd continue to test the girl's temperament and acquiescent nature. Of course, Isolde held rank over her, but she didn't want to play that card if she didn't have to. People were usually more willing to listen when they saw you as a friend on the same playing field.

As if.

Marcus gave Oerba a nod and then the two headed off toward Isolde's private personal carrier. Isolde watched them with a side-eye and then turned her attention back to Amanita, looping her arm between the young girl's like they were schoolmates or sisters. With Isolde's gentle leading, they walked slowly in tandem, to seemingly nowhere in particular (though her carrier seemed to inch closer, little by little).

"Actually, I'm glad I caught you. I was hoping you would ride with me in my carrier. The trip is several hours long and I have some research files I'd like to go over with you. I've heard many great things about your work with the toxic fungi and I think we could make brilliant progress on this expedition."

She paused for a moment to catch her breath and let the air around them simmer in anticipation. Then, she continued with a little more zest in her tone, as if giving an inspirational speech.

"I'm sure you're well aware of my research to find a cure. My objective remains clear, even now. But you...your expertise...it is truly unmatched. Imagine how much good you can do...to help me, to help save all those poor infected souls...perhaps, even save the world. Why else would we be the only ResDiv Aeons here? Surely, my darling, you and I are special."

When they came to a stop, they were standing in front of Isolde's personal carrier. Marcus and Oerba, buckled in, were watching from inside, trying to glean what few words they could hear. Isolde unlinked her arm from Amanita's and cupped the young girl's hand in her own with the warmth and touch of a mother. Isolde assumed the girl knew of her scandals and rumors and such. She wanted to wash away those thoughts and preconceptions from her mind if they still lingered, quickly.

"In any case, there will be a portable research station on the ground near the combat zone in besieged Steelwater. We are entering dangerous waters my dear, but the research station is secure, at least for now. At least...that's what I've heard from intel. But who knows how long though until we must relocate to safer grounds if the abominations break though."

Or we're unceremoniously obliterated by the World Eater Battalion in friendly fire, she thought to herself, annoyed that the possibility of such an unfortunate and useless happening was very real.

Isolde gave the girl's hand one last comforting pat and then she let go. "Until then, we must do what we can and stay safe. Everyone else has their guns, but we have our brains. And there is nothing more valuable than that. If something happens, you will comms me won't you deary?"

Dr. Featherswallow took out her mobile device and did a swiping gesture with her hand toward Amanita. The young girl's device would notify her that she has received Isolde's contact information and with confirmation, Isolde would get hers in return. But Dr. Featherswallow would not wait around for Amanita to accept her comms invitation. Backing away slowly, she gave Amanita an affable expression, bowed slightly, and then boarded the carrier for Steelwater.

Whether the Goryeo girl had been swayed by Isolde's motherly expressions of care and concern remained unclear.

~



ISOLDE "BELLADONNA" FEATHERSWALLOW Steelwater [Ground] Late Morning @Aeolian


It was one thing to see the carnage from high above, but another to be in the thick of it down below. There was constant shelling all around and the bombing echoed through the ground and shook Isolde to her core. At one point, she nearly stumbled by the reverberations, only steadied by the quick reactions of her bodyguard and son, Marcus. Oerba looked like a frightened little squirrel, poor thing. They had never been in a warzone before.

The portable research station was surrounded by a large dome with a glass-like translucency, framed with two openings on either side. As a construction of supreme modern technology, the bubble dome was incredibly durable, evident when stray shelling hit the outer layer and caused a ripple as the dome absorbed and dispersed the impact over the field. With the press of a button, the dome could expand and disappear in mere seconds. However, as with most things, enough kinetic trauma could shatter the dome.

Oerba ran inside it quickly, scared out of her wits and heaving madly once she came to a stop. Even in battle, Isolde walked with graceful urgency as she entered. Marcus remained outside as backup protection. The research station was not far from the actual combat, so if their defenses faltered even slightly, the research station would be in trouble. Inside, it was a commotion. Researchers and medical staff running around everywhere. There was various medical and lab equipment already set up. Several pallets were laid out with medics tending to wounded UDF soldiers. In a separate, more isolated area with its own kind of glassy caging were tables with infected persons strapped to them. There was only one way in and out in this room and only special personnel within the station could go in.

From inside, a disheveled older-looking man spotted Isolde and his eyes were alight with relief. He ran out of the 'Infected Room' and grabbed Isolde's hand, shaking it madly and speaking as if he were exasperated and high on adrenaline at the same time.

Isolde gave the main a feigned smile, easing her hand away as though she had been soiled by his touch.

"My Apologies! You must be Dr. Featherswallow! I'm Dr. Poole. Thank the spirits you are here! We have multiple infected patients and two of them are near the brink!"

Isolde stopped all pretenses and went straight into work mode. She looked around Dr. Poole and into the secure area. She saw only one person working with the infected and frowned, scratching an eyebrow as though irritated by his blundering ineptitude. "Where are the other infection specialists? Have you any more fever agents? They can only survive the infection if they survive the fever. Most don't. And we'll have a nasty case on our hands if they turn before we have a chance to put them out of their misery."

Dr. Poole was fervent, nearly jumping out of his shoes. "The other specialists died during relocation. Those hellish monsters pushed us back and our duplicator....it was destroyed in the process." Isolde sighed as deeply as the caverns of a mountain.

She shook her head, resigned, "We'll have to make them manually then. Grab a free medic and come with me, quickly."

"Oerba." Isolde's personal assistant followed in an instant.

Dr. Poole followed beside Dr. Featherswallow, tangibly worried. "We don't have any free medics." he said, gesturing toward the cococaphany within the station.

Isolde didn't look at him, she just kept walking, her current mission as clear as a full moon.

"Grab one anyways!"

He nodded, solemnly.


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AARON “ZEPHYR” NYLES STEELWATER [Landing/Battlefield] 10:00 AM @Prisk@Archangel89
War was never something that he would get used to. The absolute chaos and destruction of it was something that he absolutely abhorred which is why he did not stay in WarDiv. As the transport delivered his crew and him through this wasteland he couldn’t help but somewhat marvel at the well-blanketed precision of the World Eaters. A veritable cornucopia of fire and devastation that covered all that the eye could see, if one was a psychopath one might even see a beauty in it. As conversations were had around him Aaron focused himself for the mission ahead a light breeze laced with visible static flowed around him as his focus carried him into a state of zen-like nothingness. As the LZ came up the pilot mentioned something to Gar and she stood up and prepared herself for drop. As he gathered himself up to follow in suit he realized that they were still significantly high up in the air and she was going to do one of her famous drops into the Hot Zone, an exasperated sigh escaped him as rubbed the bridge of his nose in amused derision. As she was about to take her first step off he couldn’t help but get in her ear and yell out,

”DON’T FORGET THE SUPERHERO LANDING!!!”

As he watched her soar down and land with a sickening thud and proceed to lay waste to all unnatural creation he couldn’t help but think to himself,

’Heh, show off. Can’t let her be the only one to do something cool!

He turned with his back to the open door and peered over his comrades as he gave them a sarcastic salute then fell backwards out of the transport. The sounds of rushing wind past his ears was the most at peace he had been in quite some time. There was nothing in him, around him and for those few seconds he was truly at peace with all of existence, even the muties underneath him didn’t matter. Peace has a way of ending just as you get to enjoy it. On instinct he twisted his body into a normal crouching position as just before he hit the ground a the air under his feet created a solid landing point. As time slowed to a crawl he was able to line six or seven creatures in a zig zagged pattern that he would capitalize on. Lightning surged around him as he kicked off the solid air as he sailed through the air, dodging bullets, biological attacks and other people and quickly drew his lightning infused blade and effortlessly sliced through his first target. As he replaced the blade to its sheath he dashed in a flash and dispatched yet another. This cycle of slice, replace and repeat continued as he tore through his prey with ease until he stood behind the last of his initial targets. As they fell lifeless to the bloodstained ground Aaron finally stood up and survived his surroundings. The mutated creatures were harmless enough, easy to dispatch which made Aeon’s like him were going to have an easy time with these things although swarming was a distinct issue here. As more started to surround him Aaron quickly dropped into his stance and gathered both the wind and lightning into his blade as he quickly drew his sword unleashing a flashy arc of electrical energy knocking out another three to five in a stroke. This was far too easy. These things were too simple of an enemy to be here on their own, something else had to be there out in the inky black of the battlefield. Deciding to keep Gauda as a center, Zephyr dashed around several meters in all directions and got a surveillance of their drop. In the distance the World Eaters continued their bombardment as the immediate field was heavily inhabited by foot soldiers from either side. As Leviathan and Garuda continued their onslaught Aaron continued his effortless killing of these muties a small handful at a time. As he made his way back to the makeshift killing floor center Aaron put his back to Gar and called through the haze of death,

”Boss, this is too easy. Surely there’s something more than this? We need to move and EVAC as soon as possible otherwise were going to get overwhelmed pretty quickly.”



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FLASHBACK 《》 FARHAVEN-CEC [Train] 《》 Prelude - 08:00 AM 《》 @Prisk@DeadDrop@Archangel89

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Disappointed, was one word that described how Eun-Ji felt in that moment. She let out a small sigh, but overall she wasn’t completely devastated that Emilia didn’t know much about Belladonna. After all, Eun-Ji literally knew zero of the people she had encountered on the train just now and they all hailed from different divisions. Her eyes perked up to the new found salutation, ”The third division ey? This the first time I’ve encountered any division since long division in elementary school.” with a cocking of one eyebrow the thought made her smile. She raised her glass to meet the others and the classic ‘clink’ of glass echoed through the empty halls of the train. “To the third division!” She cheered before rocketing the liquid to the back of her throat and immediately pouring another glass to sip on. Impressed at Emilia’s proclivity to the liquid spirits warmed her heart, of course maybe that was just the alcohol making her body hot. Either way she poured Emilia another at her behest, “It’s also a drink you can sip if you’re into that.”

Her advice was cut short when the appearance of sprites and a shimmer of blue and white light appeared around Emilia, something out of a fairy tale if one wasn’t familiar with spirits. The liquid in Eun-Ji’s mouth had fermented for a bit before she sucked it down to clear her mouth for the amazement unfolding before her. The shimmer manifested into a bird, a songbird given the size, playful in nature having flown around Eun-Ji a few times. An audible drawn out wow was heard escaping Eun-Ji’s mouth with her English breaking into her thick native Goryeon accent. “She’s beautiful! No need to apologize. I’m not just friends with flora, I do like the company of fauna too. So what’s her name?” Eun-Ji asked taking another swig. That of course was interrupted by some self proclaimed speed god. Their title stolen by Emilia’s ability to not mince words. Eun-ji had planned to show her own spirits, but with the arrival of the new member she decided against it. “Park. Eun-Ji, pleasure you meet you. Drink?”

With that the crew began their final descent into UDF HQ.

FLASHBACK - DAY 1 《》 UDF: CETRA EAST COMMAND [Surface] 《》 06:45 AM 《》 @Prisk@Aeolian


Amanita saw the royalty in question pass over them with poise and grace, she was as grandiose as she was made out to be in that briefing. The world of royalty and hierarchy was lost on her, granted having been raised on a farm out of touch with reality until adulthood would do that to you. The closest thing she would get to that level of elegance was her research and of course her own stylized fashion. The gentle squeeze of Emilia’s persons showed they had history, it seemed as though Emilia had history with just about everyone, the troubles of being the face of UDF she guessed. Anyways, her fashion, yes that was her mark and it just so happened to be pointed out by Emilia. “Oh this old thing?” The pitch in her voice elevating and her wrist snapping with a hand swatting down, “Please, this was a charity case compared to what they stuck us with. Did they really think we would like wearing these ugly old things without letting us redesign it? As if" letting out a soft scoff, "I could touch yours up if you’d like, I just need your measurements” she hinted, framing Emilia in between a box created with both index fingers and thumbs.

It wouldn’t be Eun-Ji if she had not been interrupted by several figures, this one in particular, the man only referred to as Zephyr. Amanita didn’t hate anyone, but he was certainly rising through the ranks of her disdain. He presented too loud and abrasive to her for some one stationed in the intelligence division or lack there of. That was a bit harsh and judgmental but he did seem to have an inability to read the room as present in the briefing where he burst out in a fit of laughter that sent daggers in his direction. The audacity did leave her a bit perplexed even if Emilia was a better sport than she, knowing his commentary was nothing more than a jest. And she did in fact play it off well, even if there was an air of annoyance at first.

They traveled down the halls and split off one by one to their rooms to prep their gear for the mission, the armory wasn’t needed for her since she kept all her gear with her. Personal preference or paranoia? Who knew. But before she could make her way inside she was cut off by none other than her esteemed peer, Mrs. Belladonna. She was quick and direct, her voice, mannerisms, and pitch all hinted at a motherly tone inviting her to the world of science as if it were her first time with a warmness only someone with a child could know. It was almost too believable to be true, what with the two lackeys that served more as henchmen behind her and the certain ‘rumors’ she heard about Isolde in the news. The bow was a little much, but she appreciated the nudge to the culture regardless. Bowing in return she brushed her hair out of her face, “It is so good to finally meet your acquaintance. It felt like I was going crazy asking everyone here if they knew you. Apparently you’re harder to reach or experience than the tabloids let on. I don’t mean to sound like a stalker or a fan-girl or anything” she droned on a bit.

So the two henchmen had names and positions, neat. “Who’s guarding who?” She asked playfully sounding like an owl with all The Who’s who. Still, to think she needed a bodyguard did throw her for a loop. Her offer of guidance and advice was kind, but also played into Amanita’s hand of wanting to be underestimated so the shock was greater in the end. “Oh yes I would appreciate that. I’ve been meaning to just cut down to brass tax and talk of research and findings in regard to a cure to this ailment. From there I’m sure you can get a better feel of what my field experience has taught me” she acquiesced.

Just as fast as the two shadows appeared they disappeared in the same breath. It seemed Isolde wanted to become more intimate with Eun-Ji and needed to discuss matters of higher order in privacy away from prying eyes. To say she was forceful was an understatement, even the looping of arms surprised her. “Oh yes I would definitely ride with you in the carrier, I even brought my files with me” there was no immediate response, instead a lull in speech before she continued. “Thank you for the high praise, I’m not sure what to say really. I do think it might have been inevitable for us to meet, being the only two ResDiv Aeons only hastened our meeting. I do think a cure is in our future if we could work together.”

They arrived at her carrier to once again be met by her guard and assistant. The bondage of her arm was switched with a cupped hand instead. “Once we clear out the abominations we should have ample room to set up the portable station. I’m sure we will get a lot done, but I also want to use my brains and brawn. Can’t let these spirits go to waste.” As much as she wanted to find a cure the excitement building inside her wanted more than anything to experience the taste of real combat. No training dummy’s, no sparing with others, none of the training wheel exercises she was met with. “Of course, I’ll reply without delay. Until then I have to get ready” she left with a gentle bow, a conversation she would have to process at a later time. The terms of their meeting were less than ideal.

Once inside her personal chambers, she strapped a band housing several sharp knives around both thighs descending down to her calf. Those paired with some on her biceps, those being smaller so not to get in the way of her mobility. Almost like a belt she wrapped the sheathe of her waist blade ensuring it tight and fixed. The blade rested on her cot showing her reflection in the pristine blade. Her black hair would not do, her nickname was Amanita for a reason right? Lifting up her sleeves to expose her arms, she shook her arms a bit. Almost as if she were waking a hive of bees or ants, little fungal spirits climbed out of her honeycomb pores. They gathered in her cupped hands confirming they were ready. Her hands met her head turning the roots and color of her hair a deep red. Like a waterfall she tilted her head back and let her hands run through the rest of her hair, allowing the red to spread all the way to the ends of her hair.

Cocking her head back into place she looked at the blade with a seductive smirk, “Much better” she said grabbing the blade, spinning it around her wrist by the handle before bouncing it into her sheathe. Her last accessory was her compact SMG she slung over her shoulder. “Now, where were we? Right the helicopter”. She found herself into the corridors once more where soldiers were bustling past her in a rush. She couldn’t be assed to rush herself and took a leisurely stroll to the helicopter, picking up extras on the way like the surprisingly compact choker-like -communication device that paired well with her redesigned outfit. On her way out there was no sign of Isolde, she must have had already made her stage left exit. No matter, they would reconvene once boots were on the ground. This worked out better for her, knowing she would be able to drop with the rest of the wardogs in her unit, or should she say warwolves.

Amanita boarded the helicopter and took her seat amidst the rest of the Aeons.

DAY 1 《》 STEELWATER [Landing] 《》 10:00 AM 《》 @Prisk@Rockette@Archangel89


Announcement of the ETA had awoken her from her peaceful sleep. It would have been a mystery to anyone there how one could sleep so soundly on the heels of a mission so contingent on success with a high chance of failure. Despite that, Amanita stretched out and glared out the chopper door to see one thing.

Steelwater.

The sight was a spectacle to behold, the antithesis of the lush and vibrant greenery she was used to. The mountains and their peaks were replaced by skyscrapers and buildings devoid of color, replaced by soot and ash from the fires engulfing them in hopes to swallow them whole. It was more like the city center in the capital of Goryeo, Wansanju, but broken and disheveled. The streets were littered with the detritus of war. Lights were barely seen from the outskirts, plausibly because the power was redistributed to what was left of the city only keeping the necessities working. Perhaps Amanita was too ambitious in her pursuit to leave the safe haven that was provided to her in her eagerness to face the world, but would her ignorance truly been bliss if people still had to suffer like this?

The World Eaters Battalion had certainly deserved their name from what she saw of the carnage below, the Aeons would have their work cut out for them. Slipping off the straps and the buckle of her seat she stood up with closed eyes. Muscles in her neck loosened at the rolling of her head, her spine popped in multiple locations, next were knuckles all the way down to her fingers. A few more stretches and she was more than limber enough to go. She probably looked a fool to her other peers but she did not care. She had her own rituals for herself and had she not been the caliber of Aeon they were looking for she wouldn’t have been on that helicarrier anyways. Garuda and Leviathan both made their entrance followed by the ever personable Zephyr. Surely Isolde would have touched down and made her way into the dome. That just left her and a few others on board, she would not be last or outdone by her predecessors. She took a running start to the edge of the jump off point and launched herself out of the aircraft. Her arms were outstretched and then forced down to her sides allowing Eun-Ji to increase her terminal velocity.

She curled into a ball until the floor was to her back, she would have liked the view of the sky had it not been covered by a sea of noxious fumes and smoke. A cloud of spores would shoot out from her body underneath her serving as a counter current force to slow her down and entered orbit like a rouge space ship landing on an unknown planet. She wanted to reach out to the sky, reminiscent of when she laid in the valley of grass outside her home, the moment vanished when she was turned upright when her boots touched the ground. The scene was just as ugly as it was from the top, infected everywhere. Those that evolved beyond the initial scope of the infection, large monstrous husks in never ending droves indulging in their mindless self. Amanita glanced over at the portable station and heard the lingering voice of Isolde in her head. She was stuck between deciding to stay on the war front or help those in need in the pod. Hesitation was defeat and so she turned to the stigmas before her and drew her knives between each nook of her fingers. Dispatch and collect samples was her plan, two birds with one stone.

The first of the stigma were a bunch of tree like creatures, nothing too large or sinister, a good entry into combat for the green girl, no pun intended. She had her fair share of dendrology courses in uni so she knew that once the nutrients from the xylem and phloem were destroyed the tree would die. Either that or succumbed to disease from fungus or the like. The latter would take too long so she went with the former. Like a tenured physician she aimed each of the blades into what she interpreted would be their weak points. The blades themselves were covered in a shallow layer of spores that would ignite once they hit their target. The husks were punctured and then set ablaze, quickly dispatching them in small droves. The feeling was freeing to say the least, there was this weird cathartic release she hadn’t expected, perhaps because they weren’t human. Or maybe having been the perfect scholar trapped inside all day drained her. All she knew is she wanted more.

If they could set up a perimeter around the research station she could make her way back and help Isolde and the rest of them could rest and set up point before they delved deeper in search of Bahamut. Zephyr shouted to Garuda and the others that something felt too easy about their assault, while that may have been true, she welcomed a sudden twist of fate.

“I kind of like those odds” she said pressing her choker.



__

Post Summary
Amanita finished her conversation with Emilia, granted she was swarmed by the slew of Aeons ham-fisted together into this Third Division. She instead was greeted by Belladonna and persuaded to rely on her and aid in the search for a cure to end the infection and wipe away the stigma. With some slight reservations, Amanita agrees, but not before getting ready. This including the changing of her hair color to a red to mimic that of the mushroom cap she gets her moniker from. Once they were above LZ, she proceeded to drop into the fray alongside her other Aeon peers to set up a defensive measure against the infected on the scene. she hopes to set up a perimeter so the team can set up camp and Amanita can help Isolde in the portable research station.


L O R E
  • Wansan-gu (완산구) is the country capital of Goryeo, famous for their technologically advanced infrastructure and society.
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∇∇∇∇ 《》 DAY 1 《》 STEELWATER [Landing Zone] 《》 Late Morning 《》 @Archangel89

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Emilia was running out of bullets relatively fast. Magazine after magazine was ejected from her rifle, dry and empty. If the creatures would come too close while she was reloading, even if her technique in that endeavor was rapid, Emilia would launch herself from the ground and land a few stone throws away. However, it seemed like a never-ending dance. The tiny moss things and insect-like creatures swarmed endlessly from somewhere across the landing zone. The area in which they fought the hostiles was located on the immediate outskirts of Steelwater. A central highway close by led straight to the inferno ahead. A scantily dotted forest and modest creek separated the World Eaters battalion from the city itself.

“No, we need to move further into the city. There's always something bigger causing these tiny shits to come at you forever.” Emilia said while emptying her last magazine, standing back to back with Aaron. She swung her rifle aside and shouldered the shotgun she had secured from the armory at the CEC. “We should move through the forest cover and across the creek over there.” She said while pressing a couple of fingers against the communication device around her neck. Emilia frantically cast her eyes around the field to see what was happening and where everyone was. Luckily, the team was surely independent. This was the luxury of being in the Special Warfare and Reconnaissance Group. Each member was battle-hardened, an expert in their field, and a leader capable of making their own decisions that would most benefit the mission.

Emilia caught sight of the research station glass dome. It was way too close to the city and in an actual Danger Close situation. Not only were the creatures swarming it, although being kept at bay, but it was also at risk of being hit by the artillery shelling. Emilia adjusted the channel on her communication device to synch with the World Eaters battalion. The chatter quickly changed from more or less silence to full-on chaos. She managed to find and isolate the officer channel and interrupted their chatter without remorse. The area was rather safe with Aaron, Scylla, Amanita, and the others completely tearing the enemy a new one, so Emilia took the moment to address the issue right away.

“Break-break-break. This is Emilia Lange of the UDF Guardian Corps. and Special Warfare and Reconnaissance Group. Who is the commanding officer here?”
"Well, well, well. If it isn't WarDiv's favorite toy."
Emilia sighed.
"Who is this?"
"This is Brigadier General Francis C. Hummel of the World Eaters battalion. And you and your band of freaks will not interrupt any proceedings that are currently underway. This city is contaminated beyond saving."
"Do you see the huge dome of glass on the other side of the creek there? The one with the huge UDF text on it? Could you not shoot at it, maybe? That would be fucking terrific."
"There is no victory without sacrifice, Lange. Surely McMahon taught you that—BwAhAhaHaHahHaA" The general said and burst into violently uncontrollable laughter before the communication channel was cut.

"Fucking maniac." Emilia muttered while switching channels again. "Okay, let's move up. Across the trees and creek here, to the research station up ahead, just by the highway exit to the city." She said while pressing against the communications choker device around her neck. "Aaron! We're moving up, get to the dome as fast as you can—over there." Emilia shouted across a sea of bizarre things to wherever Aaron was, keeping the area clear. It was then that whatever incited the little creatures emerged from the creek itself. It was huge, slimy, with arms and tentacles sprawling from seemingly every possible body part. There was no telling what this thing was or had been before. "Fuck-There it is! Aaron! Over there—go, go, go!" Emilia tried to direct the man before everyone else—the dude was fast, strong, and a total wild card for the enemy.



Quest Steps
The first Big Bad of the game is this thing on the right—the vertical depiction in the image showing the 'deep legion'. It will be up and active until I describe it as dead by whoever attacked it last. This is where the combat 'system' plays its part, but it will not be visible all that much. Remember to put those icons in your post, 2 of them, if you want to. This is still completely optional.


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DAY 1 《》 STEELWATER [Landing Zone - Creek] 《》 Late Morning 《》 @Rockette@Prisk@Archangel89

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She did as told: knees bent, feet poised, flush against Garuda whilst they descended unto the thickest remnants of this foreseen Hell. Scylla had fallen from such heights before, of what seems so long ago, upon peaks of mountains and valleys bedded with snow and black rock. There was still the adrenaline that dialed her eyes wide and the exuberant peal of laughter that sliced across their spiritual manifest as they plummeted. When they landed, she was immediate and efficient, already rapt with the malicious intent to clear the carnage and stake her claim. Scylla fell to one knee, rifle butted against her shoulder, drawn up to her glare as her companions did much the same. It was repetitive and mindless, where bullets shredded and splintered hardened flesh of esoteric wood and roots. She fell those that chittered and screeched, flaying mandibles wide, their fanged shells met with the swift stab of her edged bayonet. Scylla went in ruthlessly with rapid fire precision and thrusts where needed; constantly on Garuda's six and aiming her rifle betwixt the zigs and zags Zephyr carved through flame and blood.

And where bullets failed to penetrate, she used the howling wind to slaughter her foes. Black blood of the thickest kind sluiced through fingers and congealed through threads of white, a feral flash of bone in a wicked smile decorated on an adoring pout. Scylla fired one last round as the collective swarm skittered back and forth, sluggish and then frantic, bidden as a wave being swayed by the moon. She swiped one gloved hand across her lip, smearing sweat and grime upon her cheek liken to warpaint and pressed two fingers swiftly to her throat:

"I'll take point across the creek, use the water to set up a perimeter with the research dome defensives."

She supposed it garnered current priority, as by Emilia's command, even so it was just there, close enough that she could see the wounded carted in and the many that never returned. As she holstered her rifle upon her spine, a fixed point settled between her lance's poles, her spirits suddenly boiled and sweltered, their frantic summon awash in her blood that rippled into a vicious gasp. A warning, if anything, or rather a dramatic affair that closely allied itself to the water in the creek bed that they yielded and beckoned to. From their depths came the apex creature: eyes a glow and grotesque -- ugly as all hell -- and a mouth jagged and foul that released a guttural wail.

"Oh, fucking - gross." Swift fingers at her now damp throat: "Yeah, that's all you buddy." Scylla huffed a laugh and raked pieces of hair into a wind-tossed plait, mindful of the wrath of tentacles that writhed before her, the creature's many eyes fixated on her movements and all before it. Her gaze fell upon the water's edge, judging her distance from where she stood her ground and willed all of her weight into the balls of her feet. She feels the cold press of the shiv she's got tucked there, snug at her flesh and boot, and the creek just there -- it feels close, yet far, but Scylla knows she can bid her spirits to sway those slight waters otherwise. But now, it's the fire and smog choked air that is also her enemy.

"Fuck me."

Scylla reaches back over lithesome shoulders and wields her lance's poles, more skittering creatures launch across the charred and bloodied grounds, original intent resumed and screeches gone feverish and mad. She balances their weight in her palms and spins them once, twice, before connecting them with a vicious twist and hearing that lock fall into place. With her arm curled along her lance like a snake on a tree limb, Scylla launches herself forward and rids of three deformed insect like monsters easily in one blow, slicing her double blades through the air that whistles with her powerful swings.

"Lead on Zephyr," she purrs through the coms. "I'll get on your flank and come around back, I say we blind the bitch, try to scramble it and the lesser nasties."



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DAY 1 《》 LOCATION Group B LZ, apartment building outside Steelwater 《》 Late Morning 《》 [@]

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That's why people hate the UDF.

The thought rattled around in Errikos' mind as his gunship cleared a ridgeline allowing him to see what was the remainder of the city. Towers crumpled and falling in the distance as monstrous explosions sent shockwaves through the air rattling the crew inside. There was little in the way of restraint either as the explosions seemed to hit everywhere. For a moment, his heartrate spiked and he found himself breathing faster as the image before him became intertwined with the memory of the last moments of Belleconna as the massive rock crashed down and the screams of those in the distance at their impending death became overwhelmed by the raw force of the impact. Rigas had to move away from the window to focus his breath. We're doing as much damage as them… no wonder there's a resistance movement. The helo continued to rhythmically shake as the shells fell, and with each impact, the disgust rose in Errikos, if he was strong enough he'd reach out to disable their guns but they were well beyond what he'd been able to accomplish thus far. Still, he had to ignore them as best as he could because he had objectives here.

Comms chatter lit up as the other helo began it's descent with Garuda spearpointing the strike. Using the comms systems, Errikos tapped into his helo and used it as an amplifier for his power to jump to the other helo and tapped into their onboard camera to watch the insertion. Between her and a male with a sword he didn't know well, they were easily cutting through the crowd. That'd draw even more aggro and make his life easier.

"2 minutes!"

The line rattled from the cockpit and Errikos pulled himself back, blinked wide to center himself and went towards the back ramp. He was getting dropped on the roof of an three story apartment building.

"Alright out! Out! Kick some ass!"

The ramp was lowered and he was out the back onto the rooftop. The dust swirled immensely from dirt and debris making Errikos shield his mouth from the storm as the helo pulled off to go support the other group in the hot zone. Once the bird was gone Errikos took a long drawn out look at Steelwater burning in the distance. "Blessed Mother...Was that them or us?" Jets tore through the sky above with much more focused fire rumbling in the valley beyond like thunder and Errikos could feel a small tinge of relief… at least the NavDiv pilots weren't so reckless.


The graying man did one last check of his gear, stowed his PDW, and deployed his drone from the roof. He'd be relatively secure here and could survey his next move in the absence of good intel and provide some support to the others. It was quite a large model that folded in on itself. Made it bulkier but it was much quieter when operating and allowed for a larger battery and uptime. He interfaced with the drone and at once it was soaring up through the air. The entire operation would have dedicated surveillance droned tethered to an AWACS or command post in the area so Errikos didn't bother sending it towards them. His task was further in the city.

With a thought he engaged the microphone, "Group B secure at LZ, commencing operation."



Post Summary

The secondary gunship landed on an apartment building some distance away from Group A and at the outskirts of Steelwater before taking off to provide gun support to Group A. I don't know if anyone else is on the Group B gunship so I didn't write that in. Errikos posted on the roof and deployed a drone to scout the city itself.



L O R E

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    ϟ ϟ ϟ ϟ 《》 5 DAYS AGO 《》 UNKNOWN [???] 《》 Night

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    Heavy boots fell onto rainy pavements. All things were obscured by the dark of night and shadows cast by bright searchlights. Alarms were ringing out into the open sky at a UDF base in the middle of nowhere. Men and women of the divisions were frantically shouting call-outs about an enemy force being within their midsts. Bright flashes of lightning and gunfire could be observed all around them. This adversary was fast, cunning, and above all else more than just human. They seemed to be everywhere at once, breaching any kind of lock, and completely overpowering any kind of defense that the UDF could put up with in a place like this. There could only be one explanation for this kind of attack—Renegades.

    The invading team urged any and all UDF soldiers to surrender unless they were fired upon first. Some were smarter than others. As soon as Aeon powers were on display, most human soldiers simply gave up even if they were ordered to continue fighting. One after another, automated turrets and other defense systems were taken down by gunfire or an assortment of elemental magic provided by spirits. Renegades were not necessarily hostile towards the UDF. They had been disavowed for many different reasons in the past and present, which made their motives differ quite radically from each other. However, in this case, there was plenty of bitterness towards the UDF involved. The team penetrated deeper into the base, moving as a solid unit at what could only be described as pressurized water through steel pipes. They surgically cut through any resistance in their way, alive or otherwise.

    "This is it. Over there, Joel." Benjamin said while pointing at an enormous, reinforced vault door in the inner sanctum of the base. Joel rapidly advanced ahead and began to plant explosive devices around the central area of the locking mechanisms. The breaching would weaken the internal structure of the door to such an extent that they could physically break through by hand. A short countdown was initiated before the controlled blast went off. The team was unmoved by the ear-shattering sound and pressurized air being slung outward into the room. Joel and another member of the team, Lucas, removed the vault door together and moved inside. Benjamin followed suit and began rumbling through documents in various compartments of old filing containers.

    "Forty-five seconds, guys." Olivia spoke from outside the vault—the fourth member of the team. Any emergency alarm triggered at a UDF base automatically sent a distress signal, which any and all nearby forces had to respond to. The average response time was about a minute, depending on location. As this particular base was ranked as 'high value', nearby forces would certainly converge in less than a minute. "How are we looking? The last member of the team, Diana, asked as she arrived at the scene after having dealt with a security protocol. "There are three sweaty dudes in there—what do you think?" Olivia smirked. "I heard that!" Lucas shouted from inside the vault. Diana and Olivia looked at each other and chuckled.

    "Here it is." Benjamin stopped in his tracks. Joel and Lucas halted their search and looked to their commander. "Where we going, boss?" Joel asked. Benjamin had a slight confusion plastered on his expression, though quickly consumed by a hint of doubt. He tried to calm his senses for a brief moment, to meditate on what he had just learned, and attempt to hear the Voice speak guidance—alas, it remained silent. "Steelwater. It's in Steelwater." Benjamin said and returned eye contact with his fellow 1st Edition S.W.A.R.G. members. "Alright, better pack that bathing suit. Draymere has some sick beaches." Lucas joked around.

    "You sure about this, mate? There's no going back once we get going." Benjamin spoke to Lucas with a heavy gaze and a deeply implied sense of danger under the threat of being branded a traitor to the UDF and all mankind. Lucas did not respond, he merely returned a modest but reassured nod at the former Guardian legend. "We are with you, boss, all the way. The pack never splits, they hunt as one." Joel said and gave both of the other men a firm pat on their shoulders. Diana and Olivia had approached the entrance to the vault, observing the bro-moment. "We realize that you boys love each other, but we really need to go." Olivia said, as they began to gather themselves and dispose of any evidence of their existence. Lucas tossed two grenades into the vault as they left. The explosion was enough to vaporize any and all traces of them ever being there, and what they might have taken with them.


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    DAY - 1 《》 STEELWATER [LZ Alpha - Creek] 《》 Late Morning 《》 @Prisk@Rockette[


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    The dance never seemed to end, Gar would bounce from one place to another Levi wailed in her glee of battle and Aaron dashed through hordes of these living roots and branches. The bright flashing streaks of his spirits could be seen from the transports above as lightning crackled and flashed with each draw of his blade as the faint sound of thunder always trailed behind him. As he heard Gar’s instructions all he could do was shake his head and give a sarcastic roll of his eyes,

    ”Whatever you say boss, I’ll cut us a path but you guys are gonna have to keep up. These things are gonna close the distance fast.”

    As he reoriented himself in the direction of the creek he couldn/t help but admire Levi as she carved through these muties with both bulled and blade, such a love and joy for war and combat. It would almost be sexy if it didn’t terrify him. The onslaught had barely begun again when, just as Aaron and Gar deduced, the BIG one reared its ugly head. The thick mass of tendrils and pseudopods rose from the creek, it appeared to be at least somewhat humanoid in some fashion as the tentacles morphed into some sort of appendages that resembled arms and hands. Its maw was lined with what could only be described as jagged razors that resided under three glowing orbs that were supposed to be it’s eyes. The creature's stench stretched far as the foul odor reached Aaron’s nose and caused him to slightly recoil in offense. This is what caused the tiny ones to react the way they did. As he was preparing his mind to deal with such a nauseating creature, an almost sadistically soothing purr tickled Zephyr’s ears,

    "Lead on Zephyr,I'll get on your flank and come around back, I say we blind the bitch, try to scramble it and the lesser nasties."

    Aaron turned to Leviathan and watched as she assembled her lance in the heat of combat. The thick blackened blood of these lesser creatures covered her lithe frame as she brushed her hands through her plaited hair clearing her field of view for the melee that was to come. There was something about the way spoke that was infectious, her joy and bloodlust seemed to seep over and spill onto the already bloodstained ground, he could almost feel her delight fill the space between them and lap at his ankles like a gentle flowing stream. As a grin slowly eased its way across his face, he could feel the desire to go all out and truly let loose as he replied in an almost guttural growl,

    ”Ikuza”, lets go Leviathan, bet I’ll kill before you do!

    In a flash Zephyr had taken off and commenced his assault on the massive creature. In his initial dance around the creature he could not get a good sense of if there was anything akin to feet that he could slice and bring the creature down to his level but in his jovial state he decided to take a different approach. As he moved out from under the creature Aaron employed the same technique he used in his landing as he launched himself in the air to meet this thing's torso and landed on a dais of solid air and dashed towards the creature slicing the thing on passing. When he came on the other side he repeated the process and launched himself in a different direction and continued this as he continued to gather speed. The more he danced around slicing the creature the faster he went until the creature was covered in strands of flashing light that streaked into the ever brightening sky. Aaron’s exuberant laughter could be heard over the comms as for the first time in a very long time he was having fun, the spirits of the wind could be heard across the battlefield howling as lightning crackled and reached into the sky as if trying to pull more lightning from the clouds themselves. In that moment the rest of the world fell away and there was only the joy of the fight, of that single moment. As he totally gave into his spirits influence he almost didn’t want that fight to end, to continue flashing across the sky killing these muties for as long as his body would let him fight.





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    Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Rockette
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    Rockette && 𝚊 𝚕 𝚙 𝚑 𝚊

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    DAY 1 《》 STEELWATER [Creek] 《》 Late Morning 《》 @Rockette@Archangel89

    ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇
    Entice or incite. To seduce or encourage. Both correlated within the realm of war and Scylla was the harbinger of their manifest; the general that sanctioned purring slurs and rabid bites of feral smiles. It took a little, it took a lot, but simple monikers and baited words allowed Scylla to dispatch the creatures that crowded her figure with flayed mandibles and writhing roots. She impaled, twisted, lanced and butchered; braced to her knees as Aaron performed a feat unlike anything she has ever seen. Yes, she's heard of the Zephyr, carefree and affable despite the garnish of IntDiv that cloaks him in shadows. Is he really the man he portrays, boisterous and obtuse and animated. No, Scylla could never trust him, the Leviathan refuses at that, but he served purpose here on the battlefield with that eased grin and growling timbre.

    "Yeah, bet..."

    Laughter flew across the wind, flinging themselves upon the chasms of her cavernous well of spirits that bayed in response: deep hollows in the depths of the ocean that sired power from the unknown. The creature wailed and screeched, tentacles bunched and then unfurling, grasping feebly at the swaths of light that struck from on high. A path was lain clear enough through his assault that Scylla rushed forward, arm woven around her spear once more, she charged forward and leaned into the right to direct most of her strength into her weapon's upper cut. She thrust her spear up toward that jagged mouth yawned wide in a vicious roar, aiming for the eyes that seemed to brighten in their glow the closer she came. Through masses of slick flesh, as was taught to her for years, Scylla managed to sever through planes of the creature's face and sliced across one hateful, glaring eye. Tentacles slid through her peripheral and snagged around her middle and slid across her torso, she spun her spear once to bring one bladed end down, slicing through the appendage with a grimace worn across her blood splotched cheeks.

    Lightning struck and the creature swarmed her, crowding her down close to the creek as she backed away step by step, her lance held across her body to block lashing tentacles. Water lapped eagerly upon her booted heels and Scylla's spirits raged in defiance to the fangs perched to tear across her face as the enemy loomed high above her crown. One knee fell, bracing for impact as she thrust her spear up once again to meet the cavernous void that rained blood and spittle down upon her.

    "Fuck."

    It was a warranted curse, the impact alone shook her down to her bones that wailed in response from the weight of the creature impaled upon her spear. The lesser creatures swarmed around the creek, close enough to become fodder to the boiling ripples that rose around Scylla: small waves that swelled upon the bank and ushered the skittering creatures back away from the research dome that now seemed for more fragile than mere minutes before.

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