Threads back so time to knock out some reaction posts to help get our XP up to a decent level.
First the update before last since I never got around to it.
Spoiler: Reaction 1 Mazrick said: ↑ You move through the corridors of the Lamria a few steps behind Queen Bitch. The fact that she effortlessly outpaces you, even when you have a good half foot on her, still gets under your skin. That’s probably why she does it. You know this. Still, doesn’t mean you have to like it.
The Space Oompa Loompas are particularly energetic as they go about their tasks. Which is saying something for the fanatical hardworking pygmies. The orange bastards always work with furor and dedication for Queen Bitch. Whatever. Click to expand… Click to shrink… Ethan may not be the smartest person ever, but he he is surprising insightful at times and often knows himself better then we give him credit for. Of course just because he can recognize the fact someone is goading him or trying to get under skin as QB is, doesn’t mean he’s not affected by it. He’s clearly still irritated at the orange guys considering his confrontation in the kitchen. Still think we should have decked the little shit and come what may. At least then if he lost he’d have some respect for them.
Mazrick said: ↑ You end up in a hangar bay. Through a translucent shield, you see the vast, cold expanse of space. A blue and green sphere, Atriya, floats into view. Your amplified vision focuses on the orb of life surrounded by nothingness. There’s a hurricane on steroids roaring over the entire northern hemisphere. Mountainous creatures soar through the skies on ethereal wings. Oceans roil as monsters roam beneath the waves. Jungles that dwarf Crucible’s ridiculous murder forests hug the planet’s equator.
A grin splits your features. This should be fun. Click to expand… Click to shrink… Say what you will, Ethan’s always up for a challenge. Seems real overrun compared to a place like Earth. I wonder how much of this is how it actually is and how much is simply the fact Ethan’s viewing this from above. I’m also curious if it was tamer back when it was a full colony instead of the patchwork remnants of humanities past. Had humans conquered and subjugated it to their will, or did it remain this wild even then. Can’t wait to meet the inhabitants and fight them. We really haven’t had a lot of contact with non-humans. We’ve dealt with a few half breeds and the vampires, but not much outside of that. Man Fuck Coach Jordon, so much interaction was lost, but it is what it is at this point.
Mazrick said: ↑ You pull your gaze from the planet. That’s for later. Instead, you focus on the occupants of the hangar. Khel and Llencalad are standing there. Both are armed and armored. One gleams like a hero out of the stories; the other looks like a villain from the same tales. For all of their differences, they both radiate pure power and potential danger.
The Ship’s doctor is here as well. She doesn’t meet your gaze, though you do note she’s wearing matching armor. So, she’s going down too? Makes sense to bring the healer. You’ve seen her half a dozen times over the last week. And she hasn’t said a fucking word to you… she might be your favorite person on this ship!
The last officer present is Monkey Suit… though the dwarven builder is not actually wearing a suit. He’s wearing a dirty mechanic’s jumpsuit. He has a strange brass of helmet with several sets of lenses constantly cycling over his eyes. Antenna’s and other odd looking gizmos bristle from every angle of the helmet. He doesn’t so much as glance at you or Queen Bitch. He’s busily working on a piece of strange green-black armor. Click to expand… Click to shrink… The contrast between Kheland and Llencalad is interseting. Khel stands out in his portrayal as heroic in Ethan’s eyes, but how much do we really know about either one. This all comes back to perspective. Khel is a God in chains and has his own agenda despite QB’s control of him. Llencalad is a villain because of his appearance, but all we have to go on about his actions in life is QB’s words. While I think she’s been generally honest, I think there is a lot more to the story then we know and I doubt it’s as black and white as this makes it out to be. Ethan isn’t as cognizant of how much QB’s words are affecting his views of his teachers.
Also good to see the Ship’s doctor again and of course the person he’s not talked to is probably Ethan’s favorite. Despite how it handicaps him, I love all the little ways anti social affects his opinions and behaviors. Yes we’ll want to get rid of it eventually, but working gradually towards it feels so much more realistic then voting strategically to get rid of it.
Mazrick said: ↑ The armor draws your eye, like a moth to a flame, but Queen Bitch is speaking. You pay attention. Otherwise, she’ll make another one of her shitty powerplay lessons. You ain’t got no time for that!
“Ethan, we’ll be dropping planetside soon. I aim to make a strong impression.” She motions to the armor Monkey Suit is working on. “You will be required to bear the Herklaeyn Armor, if you wish to accompany us.”
Now that you look at it, the armor is sharp . The lines are smooth, and it radiates power. It’s just your size. It fills you with disquiet.
“And what the fuck does that do,” You pause for a half second. Queen Bitch looks at you with an arched brow. Belatedly, you add, “…Lady Wynvera.” Click to expand… Click to shrink… It makes sense Ethan would need help if he wants to contribute. He’s nowhere near the level of the others yet. If it takes that much for him to contribute, I bet QB knows where some of those ancient ruins are even if I believe she was vague on the subject earlier.
Mazrick said: ↑ “It makes you the wearer–you–more powerful. As you are now, you can’t hope to survive on Atriya unless I shadowed your every movement, unless I held your hand.” She states this flatly, and instead of bristling at her words, you accept them. You’re not strong enough. “But, with this, you will stand in a place far higher than you are now.”
…A magical item that exponentially increases magical power?
“What’s the catch?” Because something this big must have one helluva gotcha. Shit just doesn’t work like this.
“The catch is that it hurts . Every moment in the armor will be filled with agony. You’re a tough sonuvabitch. You’ll deal with that, right?” She smiles momentarily before she becomes sober. “More seriously, the source of the suit’s power is a Demon bound to the armor.” She pulls out a familiar prism. She’d been toying with this during one of your first chats but now something dark and terrible flits through its crystalline edifices. You shudder just looking at it. “Usually, this poisons and corrupts the wearer until both he and the Demon are destroyed in short order. The Demon can last about a day while fused to the armor. The wearer usually lasts far less than that. Usually they devolve into a murderous berserker rage before they expire.” She pauses, and grins knowingly at you. “Again, you and your friend are uniquely suited to withstanding that . The Demon will expire, but I’m sure you’ll remain. You’re too stubborn to do otherwise.” Click to expand… Click to shrink… There’s always a catch. I doubt every magic item has a catch like this, but it’s definitely something to be aware of this with any magic item we find. Clearly QB is aware of our guardian, the question is how much she actually knows. It’s probably foolish to believe she’s not strong enough to bypass Amery’s protections, but whether she’s actually done so or is just able to recognize what it represents are two different things. I think it’s probably the latter. Considering the nature of the protection I think we’d know if it had been breached. It would also make sense considering how much she’s seen that she’d be able to recognize what it is, even if she’s not aware of the oath we swore to free Amery. Also depending on how the mirror in her room works, if it also shows others what we see, then she would have seen the wings on Ethan’s back. Either way we’ll need to remain conscious of this and see how it all plays out.
Mazrick said: ↑ This time Monkey Suit answers. “You ignorant, boorish child , Herklaeyn Armor is one of the Grand Relics from ancient times. There are only three full suits that have survived to this day.” He lectures even as tinkers with the armor. You want to strangle him. You remain where you are. “The unquestioned boost it grants its wearer does not scale well with those whom are already strong . In fact, it becomes something of a hindrance as the Demonic presences hinders their natural magical energy. For the lesser magi, who would play at being more ,” Even if you can’t see his face, you can hear the condescension in his voice, “they either can’t deal with a Demon or they can’t be trusted to not sully or negligently destroy a true masterwork. Stop wasting time with your thoughtless blathering. You should be thankful that our Lady would deign to have a mere apprentice bear such a priceless artifact.”
“Oy, just ‘cause I get to wear the Fancy Fucking Armor of Doom on a quest to discover a lost library of unfathomable knowledge, and your stunted little ass gets left at home to play with your toys, doesn’t mean you have to be so shitty.” You smirk as he goes still. “Thanks for the answers, though. I’ll be sure to bring back something shiny for you.” Click to expand… Click to shrink… Oh Monkey Suit, the pettiness is unbecoming even if your lectures serve the purpose of giving us tasty bits of information. Ethan is of course always ready with a witty rejoinder. I wonder how different our relationship with the builder would be if we had chosen something other then time during the meal decision. It clearly affected Ethan’s state of mind and while he’s not the most pleasant even in the best of times, I think our relationship could have been much different if Ethan hadn’t been in such a bad state mentally. From their discussion before Ethan drank the vial, the dwarf was willing to share his knowledge. They probably wouldn’t be best friends, but I think there could have been a lot more mutual respect. Of course Ethan could have just fucked it up a different way. Oh well it is what it is at this point.
Considering how powerful this Grand Relic is, I’m excited at the possibility of finding more like it. Items of this sort are rare of course, but even something lesser from that time could be a great boon to Ethan’s efforts considering how much the rest of Mage society has fallen.
Mazrick said: ↑ Before the two of you can really get into it, Queen Bitch, now sporting her own set of armor and her spear, interjects. “This is no time for petty squabbling. If you’re willing of wearing the armor,” You nod vigorously. No way in hell is a shitty Demon or some pain going to keep you from going down there. With your affirmation, she continues, “then we should be going.”
You have no problems with that. Time to stop dicking around, and get the show on the road. You take the proffered Demonic Binder, and move towards the armor. You shrug off your clothes. Queen Bitch has already seen you in your birthday suit, and the rest of these fucks can shove it. And as soon as you touch the armor, a spark of power flows through you. The armor liquefies and moulds around you.
Soon everything is darkness. Pain, unlike anything you’ve ever felt, begins to well from your your core.
Then you blink. Click to expand… Click to shrink… No way Ethan’s missing out on this. Once he’s made a decision he goes forward for good or ill. Not going to get into the options, vote’s done and I said my piece in thread.
Next to hit up the most recent section.
Spoiler: Reaction 2 Mazrick said: ↑ Shadowy, grasping tendrils, try to poison you. The chaos at the edge of your Inner Realm writhes with reckless malice and boundless hate. Something glares balefully at you from within your own fucking head. From your mountain’s summit, you watch as sapient corruption and madness rushes towards you. It is a tide you can’t hope to hold back with your meager skills and power.
Within moments, you’ll be subsumed and consumed by the roiling tempest. You won’t be you anymore. Then, like the purest note ever sounded, salvation finds you. Recognizing a threat from an ancient foe, what was once a mere seed germinates into something much more. Your scarred mountain quakes. A dragon with six gleaming ethereal wings roars in defiance and righteous rage. Brighter than the Sun, brighter and more intense than than any Light you control, it sweeps from the heart of your mountain. Click to expand… Click to shrink… Glad we picked gleaming wings. I like the symmetry of the descriptions. The references between this and Ethan’s first trial are clear. It does make me wonder how the other options would have worked. The knight option probably would have been overcoming the corruptions with overwhelming force, but I wonder what the best option would have entailed. Any other situation I would have been willing to take the chance, but this option made too much sense.
Mazrick said: ↑ And in an instant that might as well have been an epoch, a vestige of an Angel wars against its antithesis rages through your mind, body, and soul. You feel the very underpinnings of your being begin to be unwound as Truth battles Lies, as Light scythes against impenetrable Darkness, as Order struggles against Chaos.
This battle has been fought countless times before, and it will be fought over and over again. You know this. You also know a truth gleamed from the titanic clash because if there’s one thing you do know, it’s fighting. More often than not, such a cataclysmic combat leaves the battlefield a despoiled corpse.
That will not happen here. Click to expand… Click to shrink… Maz really likes his contrasting images. It works really well in Ethan’s case though because of his casting specialties. Light is obvious, but it makes me curious how deep Void goes. Is it simply to void in space, a lack of light, or does it have deeper connotations. The void seems connected to beast, but does it also tie into what makes demons, demons. Either way it’s interesting. It also puts the double edged sword nature of the armor in perspective and it’s easy to see how despite the power it provides, the real risk that can come from using it. The fact it sounds like something that was used regularly at the time really puts in perspective how dire the situation was. This isn’t the kind of item used lightly and the fact they were much more common implies arrogance, desperation, or a disregard for the lives of less powerful mages. Possibly all three.
Mazrick said: ↑ … Freely given, it will truly become yours..
The words come back to you in this moment. They stir something in you, and you move . You become the Winged Entity. You are the heart of a million million suns. You are the furnace of Creation. You are a guardian, a messenger, and a warrior.
You are all of these things, but for good or ill, you remain Ethan Jameson. Click to expand… Click to shrink… This feels like the beginning of Ethan embracing this power. Amery mentioned it would take time to truly become part of Ethan. I would think the Schoolmen who take power from Amery wouldn’t be able to utilize it in this way. It also hints more at the nature of magic. Things have more power when given versus taken. Power, like with blood, is much more effective when given instead of stolen. It also ties in to transfers which are power taken. I wonder if there are spells that allow dying mages to pass on power to their heirs. It would make sense considering the connotations, but considering the fallen state of Mage society, it’s probably a lost art.
I also love the images of Ethan. We see Ethan at his finest. He’s a guardian of those he cares about, a messenger of things to come and the past, and a warrior born to struggle. At the same time he’s still himself, a flawed and partially broken boy just coming into adulthood. One thing I like about all this is the sign of Ethan accepting himself and who he is. Yes he can grow and be better, but he still stays true to who he is which is something he can draw strength from.
Mazrick said: ↑ The dragon disperses. Glowing with the energy of the cosmos, you sweep forward.
Talons and fangs become a blade of burning light. Your will becomes the edge of a sword that has laid low Gods. Impervious scales and jagged horns become armor crafted by the finest Builders, and imbued with life by your thought. The Demon is relentless, it ruthlessly picks at the foundations of your beings. Far from cowed by your transformation, it attacks. You press forward. A shield of Void born from that nameless Beast absorbs and deflects attacks meant to shatter you.
Beyond thought, beyond your comprehension, the battle roars. You wage war. Mortal enchantments meant to constrain the mightiest of beings fold as if they’re nothing under the weight of the struggle. You move without thought and without hesitation. Click to expand… Click to shrink… The first time this power came forward the dragon images were much more prevalent. In many ways Ethan was just along for the ride. This time he’s taking a more active role and actually utilizing the power and fighting himself. This is an important first step in truly making it his power instead of just a piece of Amery’s.
Mazrick said: ↑ hrough enchanted artifice and lifeless void and manipulated laws, you battle back and forth with…
Your eye’s burn, and you know . Information is lost to you. Memories are denied to you.
The name, a Curse of the oldest order, a blight of the most vicious sort, remains.
And that’s all you need.
“I don’t give two fucks if you’re a Demon or a fallen wizard or the fucking Adversary himself. You’re standing in my way, and I’m going to skull fuck you, GAUG! ” you roar. The name echoes through the Demon. For the first time it recoils. You lash out with one perfect stroke. And if this thing had a heart, your blade would’ve skewered it. Instead, you slice through the core of its being. You tear it limb from limb. Click to expand… Click to shrink… Yeah, we definitely don’t want to give out our true name lightly. Considering how Ethan was able to use Gaug’s to pierce its defense and cut it apart. Also despite the etheral light of creation, Ethan is still Ethan.
Mazrick said: ↑ It is dead. Well, as dead as such a being can actually become. Eventually, it will reconstitute itself on whatever hellhole it calls home, and it won’t be at all pleased with you. So fucking what. Let it come. For the next day, you’ll use its power, and then you’ll deal with the next Eldritch Abomination.
As the rage and hatred and pure malice ebbs away, so does your angelic form. The heady power, the clean purpose , falls away from you like a dream. Now, reformed and wholly separate from you, your dragon takes up its residence once more in its lair, and you blink back to the outer world.
And the first thing that you notice is the breathtaking pain. You feel constantly vibrating rods penetrating through your skin and into the marrow of your bones. A webway of filaments snakes its way through every atom of your being. You are aware in a way you’ve never been, and with your new awareness comes an appreciation for just how much pain you can perceive. This makes having your eyes turned to lava feel like a nice day at the spa. You scream in pain. Tears flow unrestrained under the magical aegis of the Herklaeyn armor. You shake as the full weight of pain settles upon you. Click to expand… Click to shrink… I wonder if it’s possible to actually kill a demon. Considering during the first battle of creation the Angels were able to destroy some of their opponents, I would think it is, even if Ethan isn’t capable of it. Though if one is killed does its essence fully die or just create a vacuum for another being to fill. Also will the demon reform in the armor, or does the armor summon it again each time from where it resides. Does it pull a new demon each time, or is the demon’s true name etched into the make up of the armor calling it for each use. I can’t imagine its happy either way.
Also interesting how when we looked in the mirror, some of the options showed Ethan with ethereal wings, yet the dragon sinks back down and the power fades. Clearly it will take time for the power to become fully his. At the same time I wonder how long that will take. I wouldn’t be surprised if we won’t be able to fully integrate it until we’re strong enough to hide Amery’s connection from the Schoolmen.
If the pain is the same for all mages who wear the armor, it makes sense that most would go insane. Eh, Ethan’s tough, he can take it.
Mazrick said: ↑ No.
The agony keeps spiking up and up. Over and over again it soars to new excruciating heights. You grit your teeth. Your teeth crack. You ball your fists. Muscles snap. Bones are ground into powder. Synapses exploded.
All that is left to you is your Will.
That’s all you need.
Humans are adaptable creatures, and you can adapt with the best of them. This is a storm unlike anything you’ve yet experiences. You’d rather be dead than quell before the thunderous clouds of torment or the hale of torturous blows that constantly overload your mind.
The Storm passes. Click to expand… Click to shrink… Thank you Will. It has saved our asses quite a bit during this quest. Who cares about a storm, Ethan is a storm.
Mazrick said: ↑ Finally, conscious thought returns. The pain is ever-present, it’s still enough to make you see white spots if you move too much, but it isn’t enough to stop you. What can be understood, what can be withstood, can be overcome.
Now that your instincts are back up and running, your focus turns outwards. The bay of the Lamria is nowhere in sight. Instead, you realize that sheets of rain are slamming into the outer shell of your new armor. Its dark, a dark that even defies your own sight. Flashes of lightning high above momentarily illuminate your surroundings.
That moment of illumination is far more than your highly amplified mind needs. You’re standing in a crater at least fifty feet deep. Trees that dwarf even those of Crucible loom all about you. The least of their number must soar at least a mile into the sky.
The air here feels heavy. You can feel the heightened gravity of this place. The still smoking ground under your feet is much sturdier, much more solid , than anything you’ve experienced before. Click to expand… Click to shrink… I wonder where the others ended up. They can’t be far away considering everyone jumped at the same time. Hell unless the Lamria was moving quickly when they jumped they shouldn’t be too far off. If they were though it would explain why they’re not together. The storm sounds heavy, but that by itself shouldn’t be enough to separate them a huge amount or Ethan would be struggling more against it.
Mazrick said: ↑ Wherever here is –are you on Atriya? Somewhere else?–magic permeates everything .
You clench your fist. So strong. You could crush continents with a mere blow.
No time for navel gazing. You are not alone. The sound of movement reaches your ears. A thousand yards out and closing. Dozens of clawed feed scrape against moist ground as they bee-line towards you. Click to expand… Click to shrink… The fact magic permeates everything is interesting. Makes me wonder if that’s the reason humans chose the planet for their colony or it’s a by product of the fact they did. Not feeling much with the voting options. There’s nothing wrong with them, just a little out of the rhythm of the story. Both are in character just kind of depends on Ethan’s mood. He’s stood to fight plenty of times, but the last time he got tossed into an unfamiliar set of woods, he coasted under the radar for the most part. He’s more powerful now, but old habits are easy to fall back on. Also feels like the smarter choice, though standing to fight will probably be more therapeutic.
Not my strongest set of reactions, but it’s been a little bit and I’m out of the story flow. Once again, glad this is back and that all your personal stuff is starting to settle down Maz. Hope for the best.
Threads back so time to knock out some reaction posts to help get our XP up to a decent level.