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Spartan999 Jan 7th, 2018 (edited) 38 Never
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  1. [01:18] <DrEvilKitteh> There's a lurching and churning in her gut, like a hook tugging forcefully on her naval. It's almost enough to make her retch. If that's what it feels like for Lin to transition to and from the Overcity in such a way, then she might believe it works.
  2. [01:18] <DrEvilKitteh> Regardless, when she opens her eyes, she sees very clearly that she is still surrounded by that creepy as hell fog.
  3. [01:18] <DrEvilKitteh> ...And there's something in front of her, now. A familiar outline that sends a thrill down her spine.
  4. [01:18] <DrEvilKitteh> It seems to almost...glide closer to her, or perhaps she's pulled closer to it. It doesn't really matter, either way. The outline solidifies and sharpens into a distinct, horrific being.
  5. [01:38] <DrEvilKitteh> Human, or in the general shape of one. It's body is lean, hunched, and hungry, and clothed in ragged garments blackened by what could be months or years of continual use. Its face...oh goodness, its /face/. Empty, pale eyes stare out, set above a slack-jawed mouth, if slack-jawed can describe a lower jaw that is opened far, /far/ wider than it has any right to be. Dark, chipped teeth line its maw, while saliva continually exudes from the mouth in a waterfall of sickly grey ooze. Ooze that bubbles and evaporates into more of that fog when it reaches the ground.
  6. [01:38] <DrEvilKitteh> The creature lifts a hand. Long, cracked fingernails tips each crooked finger. Lin feels the beginnings a bone-deep cold setting in--no, wait, not cold. A void. Emptiness. The creature is attempting to draw something from her, scoop and hollow her out so it can gobble whatever it's after down its slimy throat.
  7. [20:43] <LeftHandofGod> It's all she can do to so much as think about drawing a weapon.
  8. [20:43] <LeftHandofGod> The need to defend herself somehow, any way possible, it's at the forefront of her mind – but then it isn't, and all she can manage to think about is that yawning void before her, a void she feels like she might have stared into before.
  9. [20:43] <LeftHandofGod> Didn't she fall into it, then?
  10. [20:43] <LeftHandofGod> Has she even been alive, all this time?
  11. [20:43] <LeftHandofGod> Could she tell the difference between life and death in the first place?
  12. [21:03] <DrEvilKitteh> Numb fingers close around the hilt of her pistol. It takes an agonizingly long time for Lin to unholster the gun (or at least it feels that way), and all the while, the monster in front of her looms taller and taller, the world seeming to lens or warp in such a way that it eclipses all else but that dirty grey mist and the creature itself.
  13. [21:08] <LeftHandofGod> If she dies like this, would she come back?
  14. [21:08] <LeftHandofGod> Maybe that thought is what inspires the jet to stay chained around her neck – maybe that thought is keeping her from running away.
  15. [21:08] <LeftHandofGod> A finger, frostbitten and numb, but in a way that feels imposed, shakes as it approaches the trigger.
  16. [21:08] <LeftHandofGod> Just a little force, and this foe goes away, like all the others. Just a few pulls, and it is riddled with holes.
  17. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> Bang, bang! Or maybe pew-pew. Depends what sound that magical ammunition makes when it leaves the barrel. Either way, Lin does it! She fires, managing to pull the trigger multiple times. The exact number is impossible for her to tell, between her dulled and clouded senses, and the way the monster simply wavers like a mirage around each bullet hole before reforming without a scratch.
  18. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> The monster ignores the bullets, and she can /feel/ it /reaching/ for her. Its nails are nearly close enough to scrape her nose-
  19. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> An almighty blast of wind buffets the area, serving a dual purpose of ripping the mist away and launching Lin /back/ from the creature. And wouldn't you know it, the Beaconite starts to feel a little better now that she's not completely immersed in the fog.
  20. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> For now, at least.
  21. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> Speaking of the fog, it's not completely gone. Like a leafblower acting upon water or mud, the wind is keeping the fog at bay, but it's only a stopgap measure. The mist flows and writhes, slowly but surely gaining ground on the area of fresh air and the short girl within.
  22. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> Additionally, the monster isn't where Lin saw it. No, it appears to have been...beside where she'd been standing? That...that's not right. She /felt/ it there, in front of her. Or...did she...?  
  23. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> In either case, just as abruptly as the winds themselves had unexpectedly come to Lin's aid, a purple lightning bolt violently strikes the monster, electrocuting it. It stumbles two steps back from the force of impact, then a third as a girl in a dark dress lands in front of Lin, between the short girl and her attacker, and hurls two handfulls of what seem to be colorful darts at the creature.
  24. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> Another peal of thunder shatters the air, heralding the arrival of a second girl, one wearing a witch's hat and holding a polearm in both hands that's conducting a metric ton of electricity down its shaft. Hovering a few feet above the ground on arcs of static electricity, she flashsteps up to the creature's side. A scream of hate and rage tears its way from her throat as she swings her weapon at the monster.
  25. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> Thunder booms a third time, and the creature disappears through the brick wall it's sent crashing into. Breathing hard from exertion, Evangeline staggers towards Mirabelle and Lin. “Think...I tickled him,” she gasps breathlessly, face noticeably pale from the excessive magic use. “...But /shit/, that was cathartic...”
  26. [21:21] <DrEvilKitteh> Mirabelle, though perhaps a different Mirabelle than Lin may remember, turns to face her. Panic rules her expression, side by side with urgency. “Lin, we must leave /now/.” She offers a pale hand to the Beaconite.
  27. [21:25] <LeftHandofGod> A breath of fresh air - and an evac? Lin can't say no, it's not an option, even if one girl is a total stranger and the other is only barely recognized.
  28. [21:25] <LeftHandofGod> They know her name, that's enough. “Then let's go.” She beats feet out of there if need be, or flies, whichever is quicker.
  29. [21:33] <DrEvilKitteh> Flies, definitely. Mirabelle seizes both Lin and the purple-haired stranger, then grunts with exertion as the trio rockets into the sky. Below, the monster can just barely be seen emerging from the hole in the wall Eva had knocked it through before it's both enveloped by mist and blocked from line of sight by the numerous Overcity buildings.
  30. [21:33] <DrEvilKitteh> At any rate, they seem to be moving too fast for the fog to catch up like it had earlier for Lin.
  31. [21:33] <DrEvilKitteh> “Are you unharmed?” Mirabelle asks, brilliant prismatic eyes gazing upon the Beaconite. “Did it take anything from you?”
  32. [21:36] <LeftHandofGod> "I am fine." A glance is cast over her person - weapon, vest, shorts, ammo, a single piece of jet upon a string... the sundial. It's to hang from her side, of course, and when she checks...
  33. [21:36] <LeftHandofGod> "Nothing, no. What is going on?" The more pressing question, 'Who the hell are you?' goes unasked.
  34. [21:37] <LeftHandofGod> Midair tends to be a bad place to ask such things, after all.
  35. [21:48] <DrEvilKitteh> “...It...it is a long story,” Mirabelle says.
  36. [21:48] <DrEvilKitteh> “No kidding,” Eva mutters drily.
  37. [21:48] <DrEvilKitteh> Mirabelle glances to her daughter, then back at Lin. She starts to speak, pauses, then restarts. “...I realize you may not recognize me,” she says. “My name is Mirabelle. A friend and I met you and your group after the Alchemist had been defeated, and escorted you to my place of residence. I look rather different than when we met then.” Briefly, her outline shifts, hair turning cloudy and white, eyes becoming blue, dress shifting, etc. “This may help to jog your memories.”
  38. [21:48] <DrEvilKitteh> Shaking her head, Mirabelle's form melts back to its now-normal state. “Regardless, to put it simply, I...have had a vision. I recall only fragments, but I know that you were at the center of it.”
  39. [21:50] <LeftHandofGod> Held in the arms of a shapeshifting monster, high over the city - and she's just invoked an event that Lin actually remembers quite well. Faintly, the Beaconite nods, and she asks the obvious question. "A vision. If you...came straight to...how did you know where I was?" Another half-glance is spared for the ground below - a fair ways below, she supposes. It's hard to gauge it from this high, really.
  40. [22:05] <DrEvilKitteh> Not too far that a landing would prove impossible for her. Probably, the speed at which Mirabelle is currently hurtling along would be more of a problem.
  41. [22:05] <DrEvilKitteh> “Intuition, I suppose. I am not entirely sure, to be truthful,” she admits. “I knew I had to reach to you, and quickly, because you were in danger...and are...somehow...instrumental in...” Slooowly, Mirabelle's eyes slide down and affix upon the sundial. “...Ahhh,” she breathes. “That...must be it. The prize the Alchemist sought. I...had forgotten about it...” She frowns, troubled by that thought.
  42. [22:05] <DrEvilKitteh> “...Sorry to interrupt,” Eva interjects, clearly not all that sorry about it, “but we've got /the Nightmare/ on our tail. Also known as /the Hound/. That means-”
  43. [22:05] <DrEvilKitteh> “Lin has been marked, yes. I am aware.” Mirabelle nods. “He will follow. Attempt to take you. And likely that artifact on your belt.” She gives Lin a dead serious look. “We must not let him.”
  44. [22:10] <LeftHandofGod> "There's a way to resist that effect. You know it?" A glance is cast back - it can follow her, to the ends of the earth and back?
  45. [22:10] <LeftHandofGod> The thought isn't perturbing, the foe is so distant behind her that it barely registers for Lin that the danger isn't passed.
  46. [22:10] <LeftHandofGod> Withdrawing into herself is probably the cause, of course. “So...someone allied to him is coming to take it, then.”
  47. [22:20] <DrEvilKitteh> “The Hound himself will come to take it--and you. Although he was likely sent at the behest of the Apex, if that is what you mean,” Mirabelle explains. “And...possibly. The best I can do right now is to get you within my home's protective wards. That should delay him for a short time. In the meantime, I will contact Ezerbe. He can help.”
  48. [22:25] <LeftHandofGod> "I don't know who that is." The flat response is delivered without so much as a note of humour. "If you know a place safer than Prisma..." A glance left, a glance right. A longer one down. "I am along for the ride anyway."
  49. [22:34] <DrEvilKitteh> “He was the friend I mentioned, regarding the time we first met,” Mirabelle supplies. “...And 'tis true enough that Prisma Lantern is likely more heavily warded than my home, but I wager they would suspect you would attempt to return and hide there. However, I doubt they know what is coming, nor how to deal with them. Ezerbe does.” She pauses and glances behind them; nothing, yet. “...Besides, my home is closer. Just ahead there, now.” She looks forward and nods at the Lair, which wouldn't stand out among the Overcity if there wasn't a giant stuffed snake curled up atop the roof.
  50. [22:38] <LeftHandofGod> "Nobody's more experienced fighting horrors than us." Once more, the answer is flat. The snake catches her eye, of course.
  51. [22:38] <LeftHandofGod> It takes Lin a moment to remember where she is – there's much stranger than stuffed snakes that dwarf the house she grew up in. “Walking into an ambush is a quick death. I'm with you, whether I like it or not.”
  52. [22:48] <DrEvilKitteh> “Perhaps.” A distant, perhaps melancholy look crosses Mirabelle's face. It passes quickly. “Very well. We are landing; brace yourselves.”
  53. [22:48] <DrEvilKitteh> A moment after, the trio arcs down, slowing quickly before landing onto the street a few meters away from the Lair's front door. The landing isn't as gentle as Mirabelle usually makes it, probably result of her hurried state coupled with the rigors of carrying two others as quickly as possible while flying. Regardless, she quickly pulls out a key, unlocks the door with a fizzle of deactivating wards, then opens it and hurries Lin inside, Eva entering last.
  54. [22:48] <DrEvilKitteh> The door is shut and locked, allowing the wards to snap back into place.
  55. [22:52] <LeftHandofGod> Boots thump against the ground, and Lin follows quickly inside. If it's warded, it's better than being out in the city. "Your ally. Ezerbe. How far away is he? Too far to get here quickly?" Straight to business, no hesitation, no questions.
  56. [22:52] <LeftHandofGod> One of her hands falls to the sundial, fingers idly tracing the artifact to be sure it's there.
  57. [22:58] <DrEvilKitteh> Still there, still and cool to the touch as always.
  58. [22:58] <DrEvilKitteh> “...Hey, Mira. Eva.” Valentina looks up from her desk immediately opposite the front door. “What's...going on?”
  59. [22:58] <DrEvilKitteh> “This one,” Eva gestures to Lin, “has been marked by the Nine's Hound.”
  60. [22:58] <DrEvilKitteh> Val stares. Blinks twice. “Shit.”
  61. [22:58] <DrEvilKitteh> “Yeah.”
  62. [22:58] <DrEvilKitteh> As for Mirabelle, she's already pulling out her phone. “He can come swiftly when he must. More importantly, I need him to get us /out/. You especially. This Lair is only a stopgap; we must get you and that artifact to the Realm as soon as possible.” She dials a number and holds the phone up to her ear.
  63. [23:02] <LeftHandofGod> "The Realm." A flat stare is inclined Mira's way, and this one seems like it might have some sort of attitude beneath it, buried in the thick mire of dissociative indifference. "I need to report back." A flipphone finds her hand. Tap...tap tap tap. One thumb, but it moves quickly, mechanically, tapping out a quick message for the second-in-command.
  64. [23:11] <DrEvilKitteh> “A safe haven,” is all Mirabelle says before the other end of her call picks up. She begins to rapidly explain the situation, saying, “Ezerbe, I had a vision and acted upon it. Lin has been marked by the Hound, and I barely kept us ahead of him. I fear they...hunt her for the artifact her group returned with, the one the Alchemist sought so dearly. Now he is coming, as the wards will not hold him forever...”
  65. [23:11] <DrEvilKitteh> Meawhile, Evangeline rockets up the stairs, bolts through the halls, and heads up to the third floor. She's not terribly subtle doing so, which means she'll likely draw attention from other residents of the Lair in so doing...
  66. [23:11] <DrEvilKitteh> Val, for her part, goes around and focuses on double-checking, reinforcing, and redoubling the myriad wards layered over the building.
  67. [23:15] <LeftHandofGod> "...Oh. It's dead."
  68. [23:15] <LeftHandofGod> The phone disappears into a pocket, and Lin's hands fold behind her back.
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