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  1. “Hi!” Brian said. He aimed for a friendly tone, with maybe that hint of condescension a city slicker might have for someone who lived out in the boonies. The more he talked, though, the less that became a calculated gesture and more just revealing the sort of person Brian was. “I guess you could say we’re your local exterminators. You know, the normal type of servicemen people call when you’re in a bind, except instead of fumigating cockroaches, we’re exorcising a ghost dog.” He didn’t need to be told to come in, but the old man was quick enough to invite them both inside before Brian just barged in and sized up the place. The old man was lucky he got the invitation out, Brian thought. Such hospitality meant he wouldn’t judge the living conditions out loud despite really really wanting to. He’d just have to keep those thoughts to himself. For starters, anyone who was anyone knew that you had to keep the chaos of your exterior life settled before you could progress with your mental growth. Like, clean your room, dude! At least get a fan on so the air could circulate. This was not something Brian himself had completed, but he at least had the thoughts in his head that he should if he wasn’t so busy. Of course, now he was busy all the time, so the Taco Bell bags were starting to pile up, but if anyone else brought such behavior up, he supposed he would say it takes one to know one. The thoughts almost got in the way of the man’s description of what the phenomena they’d be looking for even was. “I’m sure Carmen here will get that all written down for us,” he said. “The tricky part, I suppose, would be us probably making even more noise if we were working tonight, so you made the right call scheduling us when you did. If it ends up only showing up when you sleep, you’re hopefully more forgiving of us interrupting an afternoon nap.” Brian briefly got distracted by the appearance of Abby from NCIS on the television screen. Some of the cringier members of his fraternity would probably have said something like “She can fix me,” but Brian just had normal attraction to Pauley Perrette. Oh, the things he would do if he ever met her in real life. But he was on the clock right now. He could control himself. “Anyway,” he said. “I suppose there are a few questions due before we get started.” Was Carmen actually writing these things down like he said? He hoped so, even if he didn’t trust her to do much of anything. “Where would you say this thing is in relation to your house? Where was it the time that you saw it? And, most importantly, do you know of anyone who might try to fake a hellhound as some sort of scheme to get inheritance money?”
  2. Chris rounded the coffin to join Ziun in facing off against the two wrapped creatures and hesitated. He remembered how things had gone the first time he had struck one of these creatures. Technically, it had gone well. He hadn’t gotten injured or anything, but that creature hadn’t seemed much worse for wear either until Ziun had dissolved it. They were evenly matched enough that way. He unwound his string again. He wouldn’t do anything so bold as to take a running leap off the coffins again, but if the basic principle worked, then he would just go with that. And if he couldn’t actually damage these things, at least he could leave a big ol’ hole for Ziun to put some acid in. It was a little awkward. Chris needed two hands on the sword for this particular maneuver, but he also needed to be holding onto his spool of string. His right hand ended up holding both, and his grip suffered for it, but he could manage. Not needing to aim very hard was a benefit, at least. Really, this was just rehashing his strategy from the first floors of the dungeon -- aim for the center of mass just to make sure you hit something -- except now the reasoning wasn’t “so you hit organs,” it was just, “so you make a hole.” This was the second time he’d hit these things, and he still wasn’t used to how dense they were. He very nearly either dropped his sword or broke his wrist trying to hold on as he pushed further in, but as the creature swung its bandaged hand in response, Chris pulled back and found himself behind Ziun again. “Coming around on your left this time,” Chris said, indicating he was about to do the same maneuver. He adjusted his grip on his spool. Maybe this was more comfortable? He certainly hoped so as he wheeled around Ziun to deliver the promised second stab.
  3. seems like baldur's gate 3 was popular, has anybody tried making a tabletop rpg version of it? using those same mechanics in a paper and dice situation could be pretty cool

  4. they call me a sparrow because i was blamed for ruining chinese agriculture in the 1950s

  5. […]and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. -Proverbs 23:2-3 (NIV)Melissa’s eyes went wide (or really, widened even further) as the hologram of the lasagna eclipsed everything else that either of them had pointed at on the menu. “Wait, no, um.” She frantically scanned the menu looking for something, anything better than having to fend off not one but two whole trays of lasagna, but, finding nothing, she resolved to at least pick something different to increase the variety at the table. “Um. Um.” She set her finger down at random and the image of a large stew pot -- it was practically a cauldron -- flickered into existence. “No, just the one lasagna,” Melissa said. “I’ll have this…” She hadn’t even read what she’d picked yet! “I’ll have this gumbo?” It looked like it came with a whole loaf of bread. “Oh my…” Melissa swallowed down any more objections. This was what Natasha wanted, right? At the very least, she could let Natasha be happy. The silence that followed such a flurry of activity only served as a contrast to how hectic the whole sequence had felt. Melissa didn’t know whether to laugh or burst into tears, so she just fidgeted with her silverware. “A friend showed me this thing you can do with a fork and a spoon,” Melissa said, but she didn’t actually know how to start the trick or even describe what was supposed to happen, so that moment, too, just deflated like a balloon. “Sorry, I have to use the restroom.” It wasn’t like she enjoyed doing this. Like she appreciated restrooms for giving her an outlet for this sort of thing, but if Melissa had the option, she would have preferred avoiding doing this. But sometimes you just had to, right? “If you’ve gotta go, you gotta go,” was the saying? Somebody was going to walk away from this lunch disappointed. That was just a fact of the matter. Maybe it would be the waiter upon finding out how unserious of an eater Melissa was (if he hadn’t already). Maybe it was Melissa once she surrendered and let all that food go to waste. Technically she had access to extra mouths, but before the question “Do you eat?” could escape her lips, there were already stirrings in her head indicating the negative. Worst of all was the opportunity for Natasha to be disappointed. Melissa briefly toyed with the idea that Natasha was doing all of this mental calculus as well, but she dismissed that quickly. For one, just because Natasha was quiet didn’t mean she was like this. For two, it was demonstrable that Melissa was alone here. Natasha didn’t also go to the restroom. Melissa splashed some water on her face and used her cupped hands under the air dryer to redirect the wind and dry part of it off. She ended up using her sleeve for the rest of it. She could do this. She could make herself enjoy herself. Surely she was getting better at small talk, right? “Sorry again,” Melissa said when she sat back down at the table. Their food wasn’t out yet, which made sense given how much the kitchen had to make. “So what has Mauvache had you and Salvo and the rest of your group do while you’ve been here? I’ve only been here a short time, and it seems like I’ve seen all manner of things already.”
  6. Unstoppable Force There was a reception desk just inside Battle Labs’ entrance. It had been abandoned, for reasons that were surely obvious, but even still the area’s still air was punctuated by the sound of the phone ringing. It had that classic office tone, a sharp trill that lasted for several seconds. Perhaps oddly, it took another several seconds to ring again. It oscillated between ringing and not ringing in equal measure. Past the reception desk was an open area, replete with all the things one might expect of an office space like this. There was faux plantlife, newspaper pages detailing many of Battle Labs’ achievements, some comfy chairs to wait in, and, perhaps most importantly, easy access to wherever else in Battle Labs one would like to go. There were hallways to the left and right that led to various laboratories or administrative offices, perhaps a meeting room or two, but it didn’t take access to the floor plans or some supernatural pathfinding ability to see the two elevators just ahead and/or the accompanying stairwell in the corner were the best way to find Caesar. Before Aeon (or anyone who decided that being behind the human-shaped wrecking ball was the best place to be in the conflict) could proceed any further than the entrance, however, all the lights in the area switched off. There was still light streaming in through the glass doors, but the further into Battle Labs one looked, the harder it was to see anything. Three knives flew out to Aeon’s left. They tumbled end-over-end and their aim was true unless someone did something about it. Strangely, though, the only indication that there might even be anyone over there was the new addition of three knife-shaped holes in the wall, but that would have to be investigated after the more obvious and pressing issue. Immovable Object Sibyl’s second blow to Project Rubicon’s forehead managed to break through the thing’s skin, tearing open a shadowy fist-sized gash right above the nose. As she probably expected, beneath Project Rubicon’s artificial skin was entirely unlike the flesh and blood of a human being. It appeared more like a white mesh or a hexagonal grid of tubes. That same hot steam Sibyl had encountered already blasted out of one of the tubes and into the open air. It also seemed to be knitting itself back together. For each steam blast, a few of the tubes would stretch out into the wound and reconnect, dragging the wound a bit more closed as it did so. Project Rubicon’s eyes swiveled in their sockets, searching for the puny, insolent creature that had dared to strike it twice. That was another inhuman thing about it -- its eyes moved independently of each other. It could only catch a glimpse of Sibyl where she was situated, so it had to do what it could without locking on to her position. It began to flail about. The sheer scale of Project Rubicon meant that it did not appear to be moving quickly at all, but anyone close to or attached to the thing could not help but understand the sheer distance covered with every movement. Even the action “Swaying this way and that” meant covering distances in the hundreds of meters, and Project Rubicon was doing more than just swaying. The fliers all had to scatter once again as Project Rubicon moved its head in any way it could. Twisting, turning, swinging… All of it was violent, and all of it was accompanied by a deafening roar. Whether Sibyl had managed to cling on through all this or if Project Rubicon had flung her off, it did not matter. What happened next would be the same either way. Project Rubicon ended up in a hunched-over position, looking down at the land-locked capes arranged in front of it. Its eyes glowed, and it took a deep breath. The beam just missed the main encampment, but Project Rubicon did not move to narrow down its aim. Instead, it whipped its whole body back, sending the energy outwards and away, again cutting through Scarlet City proper. The beam kept going after that. Project Rubicon continued leaning back, arching its back now as the beam collided with the far border of The Shimmer. The Shimmer rippled on impact. It dispersed the energy, yes, and remained unaffected overall even as the rest of the beam’s path erupted into flames. OOC
  7. every so often i get the urge to learn teamfight tactics

  8. Well, the world didn’t end, which was a fucking shame. Not that Brian wanted the world to go anywhere -- he was pretty pro-world when it came down to a final analysis -- but he would have liked not to get a text message even as the apocalypse happened just to rub it into Shiki’s stupid sellotaped face. When Brian finally did get a text message, it was nothing about any sort of armageddon. It barely contained anything about a job, just that he had to “be ready” to head out. At least he’d gotten a good night’s sleep in the in-between. Not that he would have been at risk of falling asleep on the job at a time like this, the sun still high in the sky and all that. He didn’t do much of anything, then, while sitting in the back of the van as Shiki drove at the expected speed limit out to what Brian understood to be some sort of boonie farmhouse. It was probably a shack. A murder shack having ghosts in it made perfect sense. Or like a cult hideout with some residual demon energies? Brian knew Shiki had said he and Carmen wouldn’t be able to handle a demon, but what did Shiki know, really? He could take a demon. The actual description of the job was a bit more amusing. Brian couldn’t help but smile as Shiki wrapped up the exposition. “Oh, I’ve heard this story before,” Brian said. “The dog’s just painted with phosphate or something? And the butler who is secretly heir to the estate is trying to get everyone off the property? Message heard loud and clear, Shiki. I’ll be on the lookout for any sort of bog that’ll suck you right in and drown you if you step in the wrong spot.” He would hear no arguments to the contrary. It was one of his favorite books, after all. He reread it all the time. Brian had to do so much reading for work, it was nice to go through an already-solved mystery and marvel at the storytelling craft of it. Maybe, Brian thought, he could do something like that here. Brian practically bounded out of the van when they arrived and surveyed the surroundings. Manor the place was not; it more evoked the “murder shack” vibes that Brian had thought up before his current theory. But Brian was not in the state of mind to be deterred. “Definitely’ll need some flashlights this time. Could be here awhile,” Brian called back to Carmen. “And don’t forget the seals, even though I don’t think we’ll need them.” Even if he was wrong -- and he never was -- Brian still figured the best place to start was the homeowner. Even if he had no useful info to provide, it would be courteous to let him know they were there. It would at least mean he wouldn’t get shot at. Paper seals probably didn’t work against bullets. He knocked on the front door. “Hallo!” he shouted, probably louder than he needed to, but whatever. “Had a call for an exorcist? Not really a priest but we can say some rites or do some blessings before we do the stuff that actually works!”
  9. The two skeletons were coordinated enough in their advance that they weren’t running into each other, but that missing leg he’d inflicted was still a hindrance (it was more like one-and-three-quarters skeletons, wasn’t it?). Chris danced back and forth looking for an opening, parrying away the occasional strike when he accidentally let them get too close. It took a bit of finagling, but he caught the three-quarters skeleton on a mishop and pounced on that, slicing right into the other leg. He didn’t get it all the way through this time, but that was okay. He had bigger things to worry about, like the other skeleton in the room. Chris wrenched his sword out from the first skeleton’s knee joint before it could fall back and take his sword with it, and he blocked the incoming swing, hopping back out to a safe distance to reassess. Even with just a stub and a nearly broken joint, the skeleton was still struggling to get up, bracing itself with its sword and trying to right itself. That was the perk of being undead, Chris supposed. Undead just didn’t know when to quit. It took a moment to maneuver around the other skeleton, but it wasn’t like the first was going anywhere. Chris led the mobile skeleton around, separating the two until he was finally able to slide in close to the struggling skeleton and smash at its skull with the pommel of his sword. After one hit, cracks started to form. Two hits, pieces chipped away. The third hit finished it. Chris scrambled to his feet, finding the other skeleton again and readying up to take on another one, but before anything else could happen, he heard a rumble coming from one of the coffins to his left. Slowly, but surely, the lid pushed open, and another one of those wrapped figures was inside. “What, is there one for each one of these things?” Chris said, and he swore under his breath. “Okay, well, you’ll forgive me if I don’t, uh, stick around for this, huh?” He turned and ran back around to rejoin his fellow adventurers.
  10. There had been so much to take in. The voice in the back of their head was a constant presence, of course, but there were so many other qualities of the statue that deserved exploration. The touch of the statue, for example, was a special kind of unevenness that Quinn had just gotten used to while on her circumnavigatory journey, and the young ghost could not help but wonder what the stone tasted like. All of that was lost, gone completely from Quinn’s memory, when the Malamar appeared. He had gotten about three-quarters of the way around the statue by that point, and Quinn rushed around the last portion to reunite with Nathaniel. This was on instinct. Fae knew it needed help with this one. That only required one of the six senses to tell. “Cassiopeia, forgive me,” Quinn whispered to her Pokéball. “You are going to have to bear this for just a moment. Please, come to me in this time of need.” It was a request Cassiopeia was all too willing to oblige. Even with the ominous aura and incomprehensible static, with her trainer in danger, Cassiopeia came out of her Pokéball charging forward, an Astonish at the ready for the approaching Malamar. “Drif!” the balloon shouted as soon as she was close enough, and a Gust to blow the Malamar back the second the wild Pokémon flinched. Even as Quinn instructed her Pokémon on the specifics of the strategy, she recognized it as Cassiopeia’s tried and true. Next would probably be a Minimize, to take advantage of the ensuing chase, and then- Whatever further battle strategy either Quinn or Cassiopeia had developed was cut short when the Malamar recovered from its shock quicker than they had anticipated. Instead of giving a direct chase, the Malamar simply stared at the retreating Drifloon, and its eyes glowed. The space around the Malamar distorted and shifted colors, which grew brighter in intensity until the colors shot out as a psychic beam that struck Cassiopeia dead-on. Quinn could not help but call out, “Cassiopeia!” as her Pokémon shuddered against the attack. Quinn could even see her eyes unfocus for a moment there, though thankfully it was just for a moment. “Well, if that is how you would like to play,” Quinn said. “Cassiopeia, get back here. Go, Normandie!” The swap had the misfortune of placing Normandie right in the middle of another of the Malamar’s Psybeams, but she took the attack much better than Cassiopeia had. In fact, she charged right through it with barely a misstep, that tell-tale ferocity in her eye. Perhaps the purple glow of her Pursuit protected her, an idea that flickered into Quinn’s head even as it dismissed the idea as making no sense -- the planes of interaction simply did not line up. Normandie’s attack landed, and, taking advantage of her close proximity to the Malamar, the Ratffian started lashing the squid with its tail. Quinn hadn’t told her to do this, but it made sense. Both ey and Normandie wanted her to hit as hard as possible, and Normandie had been brushing off the attacks so far. That changed, though, when the Malamar battered itself into Normandie, an attack that sent her back aways, and it started to glow purple, matching Normandie’s Pursuit from before. No, that was not quite right. Quinn realized with dawning horror that only parts of the Malamar were glowing purple: the parts Normandie had struck with her tail. And even from her vantage point, Quinn could tell those parts had not only recovered from their thrashing, they had tightened up, and gotten even harder, more resistant. Normandie did not seem to care, launching herself into another attack, and sure enough, a Tackle did not do nearly as much damage as expected. She went for another one, but Quinn put a stop to that. “Normandie, get back here!” she said, “Cassiopeia, let us try not to get hit this time.”
  11. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. -Titus 2:3 (NIV)Melissa was sure she was being paranoid, and yet the look she got from the waiter as she and Natasha entered Eating For Two felt like one of the meanest looks she had ever gotten. It was like a “You don’t belong here,” type of look, which she supposed was technically true, but seemed weird in the context of two people entering an establishment called “Eating For Two.” They were seated without an issue, though, so the moment passed without too much discomfort, even if it remained on Melissa’s mind as the conversation turned elsewhere. “Have you been trying to get into this place for a while then?” Melissa asked. “They knew your name, and it didn’t seem like a Guardian thing. Did nobody else from your group want to come with?” Natasha shook her head and got to typing. “Hasn’t been open long. Tried to get in before just myself. It was the first place I thought of.” By the time she’d finished typing all that, the waiter was back and waiting expectantly for their drink orders. Melissa nodded a measure of understanding of Natasha’s situation up to this point and then nodded at the waiter. “Um,” she said, still thinking about the look she’d gotten and wanting to fit in. “Do you know what a Bloody Mary is?” The waiter just stared at her. Melissa wilted in her seat a little. “Like, tomato juice and I think vodka, but with a bunch of garnishes. I don’t know what all goes in -” “Yes. I am familiar with what you are describing, but we do not call it that here. And I would need to see some form of identification indicating-” Melissa quickly waved away the question with a frantic gesture. “No no, um, I wanted to order a Virgin Mary, actually. Like, without the vodka. And not bloody either, um, so I was wondering if that could be replaced with something else like a spicy ginger beer or something.” The fact that the waiter had to repeat her order back to her was a bad sign. Melissa was entirely inexperienced in the world of cocktails. Communion wine was her only real experience with alcohol, of course, so she wasn’t sure how “ginger beer with lemon juice, lime juice, pickle juice, horseradish, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and a celery stick” was going to taste, but the waiter said that they would have it right up and Melissa didn’t want to take it back at that point. Natasha, meanwhile, simply pointed at the drink menu, and a holographic image appeared on the table indicating her selection. “That’s nifty,” Melissa said as the waiter walked away. She tried it with a few other drinks, all of which looked much more appetizing than what she had just concocted. “I should probably order some water too, when the waiter comes back,” she said. “I just wanted- this seemed like the place to be fancy, and I know who the Virgin Mary is, obviously, so I kind of just defaulted to that. This keeps happening to me. I- One time, I somehow made a friend put honey in her coffee, and I don’t think I’ll ever get over myself for that.” Natasha seemed confused. Melissa worried that she might have gotten lost somewhere in that whole ramble, but Natasha simply typed out a single word: “Mary?” Did Natasha know that that single name could cause so much strife? Melissa nearly launched into another whole ramble simply on instinct, but she just managed to catch herself with the reminder that evangelizing a woman she had met only twice was not a thing that would get her to meet for a third time. Unless Natasha was genuinely curious, of course -- and why shouldn’t she help a wayward soul find her way to the light of Jesus? -- but that would require at least a bit more clarification, which seemed rude when Natasha had asked for clarification first. Melissa made some sort of involuntary gurgling sound, but she decided to split the difference. “So, um, ‘Bloody Mary’ was a person -- a queen, I think -- but the name is mostly used now as a children’s horror prank. The Virgin Mary, meanwhile, is a prominent figure in my religion as the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” She intentionally left out the parts there that Natasha probably would have found distasteful, unless Natasha was okay with fourteen-year-old pregnancies, which was not something Melissa wanted to get into. Natasha just smiled, a bit sheepishly. “I know of Jesus,” she typed. “Sofia says that when she’s surprised.” “Sofia” was not a name Melissa had heard before. She had met Salvo and she knew that she and Salvo shared a religion, and she knew Salvo and Natasha were in the same group, so it could have been Salvo’s real name or something, but the possibility of a third person excited Melissa. She just hoped Sofia was not one of the denominations that had irreconcilable differences with Catholicism. Not all of them had survived the dome, but there were still pockets. Instead of prying into all that, Melissa just said, “You should try and get more out of her, like a ‘Jesus, Joseph and Mary!’ and maybe an ‘And all the saints!’ for good measure if it’s a real surprise.” Natasha’s smile changed to one of bemusement. “Perhaps I will,” she typed, and just in time, as the waiter returned and asked for their order. Melissa looked down at the menu and realized just how much of it she hadn’t read yet. She put her finger on a random item and a massive bowl of noodles materialized in front of her. “Oh, that’s… I wouldn’t be able to eat all of that,” Melissa said. Maybe that was why she got such a look from the waiter as she’d entered the restaurant. She wasn’t such a serious eater after all. But until such a time happened that she was thrown out for such an injustice (or at least the injustice of the drink that was now sitting in front of her, with its thick sauce bubbles on top of the soda), Melissa did try to persevere. “Um, there’s no leftovers, so did you want to share something, Natasha? I get the feeling I’ll get stabbed if we try and get an extra serving bowl, but I can just eat out of yours or you eat out of mine or, um… I don’t have any dietary restrictions, so whatever looks good to you…”
  12. you couldn't release a game like stellar blade today, because of woke

    1. LordCowCow

      LordCowCow

      they made Pokemon Sleep but not Pokemon Woke really makes you think

    2. radio414

      radio414

      alan wake was a game made by remedy entertainment back in the year 2010. if they made it now they'd have to call it alan woke.

    3. Hina's Simp

      Hina's Simp

      thats because it was already released

  13. it's only a train if it comes from the train region of germany otherwise it's just a sparkling bus anyway what's your favorite playing card in your standard 52-card deck (no jokers)
  14. vegetables aren't real they were made up by big chef to force-feed kids brussels sprouts before brussels sprouts were cool look it up if someone says "hey that's a carrot you're not allowed to eat that" i'd just be like "um actually this is a root"
  15. “Next rank.” God, why was Carmen going along with this? Maybe it had to do with the stuff Shiki was talking about, but that sounded like some sort of video game and not whatever the hell his life had become since accepting this job. “Confession Event?” More like “Confusion Event.” It was a dumb enough joke to get Brian to smirk as he finished up the rest of his second burger. Brian licked his fingers and wiped them off with a burger napkin. “I already told you my goal, Shiki,” he said. “I’m not here to make friends or whatever, I’m here because…” Was this too vulnerable to say out loud? Well, it was just Carmen, right? “I’m here because you saved me and I’m repaying that. And because you can’t really go back from experiences like that anyway. I’m not going to think about what the alternatives are.” He let that simmer there in the van for as long as it was comfortable to do so, which wasn’t long. Brian almost considered grabbing another burger, but he knew that if he did that he’d guarantee some sort of burger dream when he did eventually collapse into bed that night. Now that he thought about it, though, it was taking a long while for Shiki to get back to either of their houses. He’d had to drive to Carmen’s to pick her up first, so maybe Shiki was taking some weird “shortcut” to his house and driving as slow as Shiki normally drove, but Marinton wasn’t that big. “Hey, Shiki,” Brian eventually said, “Where are you taking us?” “We were not asked to go anywhere in specific.” Brian nearly threw a burger at the driver but settled for spiking it on the ground. “Fucking hell. I would like to sleep in my own bed tonight if that’s alright with you.” He was sure Carmen wanted to too, but they weren’t there yet -- “Relationship Levels” or whatever -- for him to say that out loud. He became aware of just what time it was. Like, he’d checked before because of the time fuckery, but now the exhaustion was really hitting Brian. When Shiki finally started driving everyone home, it still felt like forever before he was allowed to sleep. He awoke the next day later than he normally did, which wasn’t great for his gym schedule, but he forced himself at least to be moving, which was almost the same thing. After some stretches, Brian decided to walk to the nearest coffee shop, whereupon he bought a medium latte, a scone, and however much table space a medium latte and a scone would get him for his laptop. Shiki told them they wouldn’t be contacted. Probably. And as long as that “probably” hung in the air, he intended to get some goddamn work done.
  16. itch.io has a massive bundle supporting the palestine children's relief fund so if you've wanted to look at games like a short hike, wandersong, or extreme meatpunks forever: bound by ash, along with 370 other games, writing, art, and tools, you can find that here

    https://itch.io/b/2321/palestinian-relief-bundle

  17. Quinn flinched the moment when Route One Oh Two became the smallest bit wet. It was not enough to keep from carrying on, but she kept thinking about it as it took further and further steps. Quinn was intimately familiar with mud, for reasons they rather kept to hirself. As Route One Oh Two became a full-on bog, Quinn spent more time looking for the safest places to step than zir stated goal of hunting for Pokémon. Cassiopeia had to help with a few of those jumps, putting all her effort into pulling upwards, giving Quinn just a few extra moments of airtime to navigate safely. It did not always work, and every piece of clothing below Quinn’s knee suffered the consequences, but there was still entertainment in the process, so Quinn did not mind. There were wild Pokémon to encounter, of course, and for those, Quinn did faer best to stay in place. Normandie did not seem to mind the environment fighting with her trademark ferocity, and Cassiopeia was unaffected by most terrain in general. The Pokémon that truly caught Quinn’s eye, however, was a Bearble standing stock still and facing away from her as it approached. Quinn recognized it immediately. “Peat? Where is your friend Nathaniel?” Quinn asked. But the Bearble did not respond, still looking ahead and growling under his breath. “Ahead, then? What is he doing without you?” Quinn made a move to continue, but Cassiopeia suddenly jerked its hand back, pulling the rest of the young ghost back with her. “Oh!” Quinn said, in more of shock than actual pain. “What is with you, you silly balloon?” That was when xe heard the whispers. In all likelihood, they had always been there since first stepping into the marsh, but it had taken breaking focus to notice them, and now they were impossible to ignore. The whispers in the back of Quinn’s mind were incomprehensible, but in the sort of way that promised comprehension if one only listened harder. Quinn tried again to approach the statue -- the whispers had to be coming from there, right? -- but Cassiopeia once again refused. “Do you want to go back into your Pokéball?” Quinn asked. That seemed to be an acceptable compromise for Cassiopeia, who practically opened her ball for Quinn as ze took it out. Approaching the statue alone made staying clean a practically impossible task, but Quinn no longer cared. The statue’s aura was awesome in the literal sense, with all the terrifying implications that that implied. It was no wonder that both Cassiopeia and Peat were not interested in such a place. Nathaniel was also there, hesitating just before placing his hand on the edifice. Quinn did likewise but overcame that final mental barrier to find out what the statue felt like. The statue was warm, but not in a way where the rock had absorbed sunlight all morning and was now radiating excess heat, nor was it warm because Quinn’s skin, as a ghost, was naturally cooler. No, it felt warm because it felt like it was alive, an impossibility in itself, but that was what it felt like. Even more, it felt like it was breathing, too. There was a pulse of energy in the statue. Its rhythm was slow, but it was there and it was consistent. Quinn could tap along with it if they didn’t feel compelled to keep his hand on the rock. “Material or Astral, I have never encountered anything like this,” Quinn said, Quinn’s voice soft. The voices in her head got louder, and faster too. And yet, Quinn still could not understand it. “What secrets do you hold?” Quinn mused. Still keeping faer hand touching the rock, Quinn began walking clockwise around the base, searching for more phenomena to experience -- an irregularity in the rock, perhaps, or a change in the statue’s beat.
  18. Before the skeleton’s sword could strike Chris’ flesh, he pulled back on his string and returned to the entryway to the room. Things were moving a bit quicker now, so Chris took a moment to reevaluate where things were. “Where things were,” it turned out, was on the left wall. Ziun and Lana had dealt with the skeleton over there and one of the coffin lids opened up, revealing some new type of undead monster inside. It was not something Chris recognized, though, if he thought about it, he really shouldn’t expect to recognize any sort of undead creature. That wasn’t his, or anyone he associated with’s, line of work. He saw Lana cut a gash into the creature and how ineffective that was. Maybe if a blow went all the way through it would work? He didn’t exactly want to tell Lana to just do it again but better this time, though. Chris unwound the magic string again. It felt like he needed to be in two places at once, and this was the best way to do it. The skeletons were only going to get closer while everyone wasn’t looking. He took one or two steps back before breaking into a run towards that corner. When he reached the coffin, he leaped up onto the edge and used that to propel himself higher He still had his sword in his dominant hand, and as he jumped he held it high above his head before bringing the blade, his body, and his entire weight down on the wrapped thing’s raised arm, right in the shoulder. He teleported away before he had to experience the consequences of such a reckless leap, though he still had to brace as he hit the ground back where they started again, eventually falling to his knees. Still, he was quick to pick himself back up. “Try hitting that with magic!” he called back to them. “That or, uh, I dunno, aim for a joint? Or where a joint should be, anyway?” He turned his attention back to the skeletons coming his way and readied his sword.
  19. the royal y'all

  20. Abyss Angel “Where’s DEUS?” someone asked. “Short North,” was the answer. “But he was headed north from there, so if he takes the right turns from there, maybe?” Clotho was in charge of the front lines facing off against Project Rubicon. She had an earpiece on, and if one was really paying attention, they’d notice a few more capes going around with similar paraphernalia. She broke off from mumbling into it when she saw Sibyl arrive, though. “Did you win?” she said, in the sort of tone that made it clear there hadn’t really been any doubt. “You’ll have to tell me all about it. Later, obviously. Right now, well…” Her tone made the conclusion of that sentence obvious too. “We’ve got two things to worry about: Figuring out what’ll actually shut that thing down… or kill it? I guess figuring out which of those verbs is the right one is step one of that. The second is keeping it from being able to focus on the main bulk of Scarlet City. That’s what all the fliers are for.” She gestured upwards. Flying around Project Rubicon’s face were all sorts of airborne capes, some winged, some with tinker tech, some with some other power. They were like tiny mosquitos to Project Rubicon, though. Every so often, the behemoth raised its arm to cut a swath through the swarm, and they all scattered, but they came back just as determined. One of them streaked right across its eyeline, and it turned its whole body to try and follow. Project Rubicon took a step. It was away from the main hub of Scarlet City, though that flier still had to get completely out of the thing’s sight. A voice blasted over her earpiece so loud that it was audible to everyone in the vicinity. “Maybe we could lead it to where DEUS is?” Clotho winced. “Levels, watch it,” she said as she tapped her headset. “We’ll call that Plan B.” She returned her attention to Sibyl and produced some Tinker tech that Sibyl would hopefully recognize. It was two of the items she had pilfered from Dee Moxley’s warehouse a week ago, the toy-looking ray gun one of them had wielded, and what looked like a puzzle box with a bright red button on top of it encased in a safety glass dome. “Catch,” Clotho said, though she only held the items out for Sibyl to take. “Maybe we’ll try these too, whatever they are. Can’t hurt.” Project Rubicon took another step. Clotho turned to watch this one, and one could practically see the gears turning in her head. “Oh that’s a thought,” she said. She turned back. “Hey, gotta run and find a Tinker or a Thinker or… something, but yeah, we’re in ‘throwing stuff at the wall’ mode right now. If something does work, make sure to let someone know, yeah?” And she went off. But Sibyl was not alone for long. In Clotho’s place, drifting down from above, was Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia looked like she had just fallen across the sky about as fast as her power could manage, though her clothes still somehow looked no worse for it. She gave Sibyl a light smile and tapped her cheek like she meant to say, “You sounded like you really want to punch that thing in the face. Need a lift?” The Killer Battle Labs was a pretty unassuming building just looking at it from the outside. It was of the brutalist school of architecture -- an all-concrete exterior that had been painted white to give the faintest impression of an aesthetic beyond that. It was mathematically interesting in that the part of the building that was above ground was a perfect cube, but only the sort of nerd who eventually wanted to work there cared about any of that. Many of the windows on the ground floor were broken, but it was safe to assume that, on a normal day, they were perfectly intact. Roy was in the middle of his second lap around the makeshift perimeter surrounding Battle Labs when the capes arrived. “Lavender… Ochre…” He kept mumbling even more colors to himself as Sarah and Lachesis trailed behind. Lachesis had altered her gait into an exaggerated lockstep, arms swinging wildly back and forth. She was just careful enough to not whack Roy in the back of the head but was more careful not to distract Sarah, who was taking notes on Roy’s musings on a legal pad. They passed by the original strike team, who had pulled themselves back out to the perimeter and were in the process of licking their wounds -- metaphorically in most cases and literally in one. It was Lachesis who noticed the two heroes first, somehow, despite her blindfold. “Heyyyyy,” she called out, making sure to pronounce each and every one of those ys as one of her arm swings turned into a lazy wave. “World’s ending and Captain Rainbow over here thinks we have time to go cross-checking every entry point. Atropos is by the main entrance back that way, if you care, which, you know, apparently we don’t.” Roy stopped and sighed. “We’re not going in the main entrance. I don’t care if you mistrust my power or not, that’s also how they -- the original strike team -- went in, and look where that got us. Azure.” He made sure Sarah made a note of the new color and kept walking. Lachesis put her hands up, and her tone and posture immediately changed. “Hey, I’m not doubting anything. We’re both Thinkers. I get it. Rubicon’s first beam hit near the old fairgrounds and went north-north-east, right? I know you don’t think I- my sisters and I can be altruistic, but at least believe my selfish desire to protect our territory, huh? And we’re not just that strike team anymore. We’ve got an actual force now, and we know where we’re going.” “A larger set of capes is all the more reason to have a plan in place,” Roy said. “Especially with you two here. That’s two extra sets of orders when we need continuity of motion.” He took a few more steps and grimaced. “Gamboge. No, Amaranth.” Roy still wasn’t looking at Lachesis, so she stuck her tongue out at him before turning her attention back to the new arrivals. “No hard feelings about me being right about where Caesar was, right Override? That Tinker guy built a cool trinket, we were just looking at two different things. But I know you were hanging out with that guy, I’d understand if you were upset on his behalf or whatever.” Lachesis turned around and started heading the opposite way to Roy and Sarah. “There’s a side door back around this way,” she said. “There is kind of a plan. We’ve arranged a couple of waves, one after the other. That way if someone needs to fall back again, they can do so with confidence that someone is right behind them to take their spot. And if someone –” she looked over her shoulder at the heroes again, a clear knowing look on her face even through the blindfold “-- cuts a swath through whatever Gibbons are down there for us, well, we’ll all be that much closer to apprehending Caesar down there. Not that you need me telling you what to do, right?” She smirked. “Wait!” Minos’ voice rang out running after the three as she tried to catch up with everyone. “I’m coming too!” she said. “Sorry I’m late, had to make sure A.V.D. was okay and talk to Ophiuchus a bit, but I’m here now. I know Override’s got those floor plans like he had for the casino, but I can help too. Hey, were you just standing around? Let’s go!”
  21. some of them! some of them are girls too! andy
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