ZOMBIE FORUMS

It's a stinking, shambling corpse grotesquely parodying life.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:03 am 
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He didn't have a real name, thinking back he never remembered one, no father, no mother, just a burning world where it all started, napalm and gunfire birthing him and cleaning him.

He didn't have a future. Not in this place, there was no sense of time, just the path leading to the outer rim of the remnants of reality, the sides of the path where littered with the remains of the dead world he had left behind so long ago.

He was afraid of nothing now. There was nothing that could be taken away from him, his final tentative conection to the rest of humanity was gone forever. He had nothing left but the rage.

Actor walked onwards to the outskirts of reality, to where the gods slept, where his redemption waited.
_______________________________________

A priest, a corpse and a hawk walk into a bar.
Stop me if you've heard this one.

The bartender looks at the three and shrugs, thanking god or whoever is watching over him that this one didn't look as odd as the people in earlier, the lunatics who had painted themselves red and tried to kill each other, addicts to the rage that had already passed on.

The priest stops at the bar, the coffin he drags across the tile until its next to him, on the bloodied ground.

"Mate, I want a bowl of water, a shotglass of Vodka and a Pint of Guiness."

The bartender looks at the priest.

"How much cash you got then mate?" The accent is South African, a stark contrast to the Irish brough of the man of god.

"I have all the money in the world." He replied, pulling out an Australian dollar coin. "You could say that I am the entire economy."

"Pretty funny father." The bartender looks at his empty register. "You should be careful out there, it looks like god has abandoned us all right now here in Cape Town."

The priest thinks for a minute looking at the man. "Outside its Hanoi. Down the road its Darkness, and above us is god laughing at our helplessness."

"You still believe in god?" The bartender asked, putting the drinks down in front of the priest.

"Of course, its all part of the plan.... whats happening now is unfortunate, but in the end, all will be made right."

"I wish I had your faith father." Pouring himself a shot of Vodka the bartender raised his glass in a salute.

"It's all I have left now, everything else is gone and my hopes lie with god." Sculling the glass the priest wipes an involentary tear from his eye as the bird begins drinking the water. "And my friend here needs a drink before we leave."

Taking the guiness the priest pours the glass out onto the coffin. The black brew slashing onto the tile below, seeping into the gaps.

"Who's in there?"

"A fallen brother, I'm taking him to the black tower, he deserves to witness what is going to happen soon, even if its too late for him." Looking inwards towards the darkened monolith the priest grunted. "I must go now, time is running out. Even if it is not running foward as I would have hoped."

"Be careful out there father."

"I will be. Look after the flock who come here for salvation, and let god watch over you. In the name of the Father, Son and holy spirit. Amen."

The hawk screaches and flies to the priest shoulder, looking foward as they resume their journey to the tower..
____________________

Actor looked ahead of him and saw the end of the road.

A man was sitting there, looking at him intently.

"Who are you?" Actor said, pulling out a pistol and pointing it at the man.

"I am the conclusion. The end of the story, I tie up the lose ends, and yet, somehow I am here, before my time, something is wrong, the fragments of history have been warped and shattered and now I find myself early for the first time."

"What on earth are you talking about?"

"I have to answer all the questions, that is my purpose. I am the conclusion, I resolve all the hanging threads and leave nothing to the imagination."

"Are you from the future?"

"Yes and no. I exist in the future and I exist in the now, but my past is real as well. I originate at the end but this is not the end, and so I have failed and yet suceeded because in time the end will come to me."

"Your the personification of the end of the world?"

"Of this world, no, of the story which makes up the backbone of this reality, yes. I am created to record the end, to roll the credits if you will."

"So you have all the answers?"

"I know them, I do not have them however."

"Where is Fold?"

"He is outside.
He is Inside.
He is here.
He is watching us.
He knows so very little about the world.
He knows everything about the world.
And he is hiding behind your eyes, where darkness takes its measure."

"What type of answer is that?"

"The correct one."

"Will I ever see Fiona again?"

"No. Yes. Your daughter will return, Fiona is dead."

"I don't understand what you are saying. Will I see her again?"

"Yes, but she is dead and you will never see her again."

"Am I going to die?"

"Yes. Soon as well, the days behind me, ahead of you, beyond the path are filled with danger, you will not survive."

"Who will win, Me or Paladin?"

"No-one wins in the end, they all just finish. Palladin, you, you both win, the problem is your definition of victory is flawed. Something I can't help you with."

"Why not?"

"Because its wrong."

"How much farther until I reach Paladin?"

"He is only meters away towards the edge, and yet a thousand steps by forty towards the center."

"How can a man be in two places at once?"

"He isn't. He is in one place.. two times."

"How many more questions will I ask you before I leave."

"One." The grin was there on the little mans face, I will

"Why?"

"Why not, Actor. Why not."

Actor looked in the direction that the strange man was pointing.

The path ended here, and the jungle broke off into nothingness as well.
A world of white stretched on foward in front of him, burning somehow into his mind the image of an imperfect god, trying to make the first colour and having nothing to paint with.
He could see the slightest black dot deep within the distance, reaching out he touched it, turning the handle he opened the door into darkness.

"I'm going. I hope you find your place soon, for all our sakes."

"As do I, fear not, my time is soon."

Stepping through the doorway, Actor could see the black tower in the distance growing.
And an angel with wings of light fly out towards it. Watching as the darkened tower seemed to swallow the now tiny spec of light Actor sighed and turned away.

"Not soon enough my friend, not soon enough."

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"Why can't we go back to living like cavemen? I know it was a rough and ready existence - the men where always rough and the women were always ready! " - Santa.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 12:46 pm 
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Vandal trudged on. He had found a way across the chasm, using a fallen tree for a bridge. He tossed the wasted butt of his last cigaette to te ground, crushing it beneath his bootheel as he walked. A sidewalk rose up to meet his feet as he went, the dry crunch of loose dit becoming the hard slap of concrete. A row of generic white picket homes passed on his right, the twisted and rusted remains of an old amusement park's front gate to his left. His hea hung low, staring at the ground as he walked, yet still feeling the presence of that twisted spire before him.
It was his preoccupation, his tangled thoughts and questions concerning the failure of the Runes to respond, that caused him to miss the sounds at first. Whispers. The sound of bare feet over grass. The slight creak of a door. By the time he looked, they had moved around him on all sides. A pair of them stepped from around the corner of the nearest building, several more emerging from the tall grass in the yards, rising up like beasts preparing to pounce upon their hunted and cornered prey.
Tattered remains of clothes covered their bodies only sparsely. It seemed dried blood and gore painted them more fully. And they kept coming. Emerging from beyond the ruined amusement park gate, from garages and houses, until at least a dozen encircled him. Vandal fell back, his eyes going from one grotesque figure to another. A low, bestial snarl confirmed the presence of monsters behind as well as ahea and to his sides. Many of them carried sticks, baseball bats, pipes, anything that be used as a weapon. Yet many more were unarmed, their hands bent and curled into clawed mockeries of human anatomy.
"Well. I don't suppose we could just have a smoke and chat, huh." With a savage howl, the first of them rushed him, a twisted length of wrought iron in it's hands, raised to crush his skull like a melon. Vandal sidestepped the attack, chips of concrete flying form the force of the blow. Striking out with a left handed backswing, he caught the creature in the face, stunning it for a moment. Long enough to end the beast with a snap sidekick, the heel of his boot crushing his opponent's nose back into it's brain. The ragged body fell backwards, crumpling to the ground, it's weapon skittering across the ground.
No time was given to think, as the creatures came in a rush. time and space seemed to lose meaning, as they always did, as Vandal slipped into the trance that often accompanied a fight. Flech and bone snapped and tore under his fists and feet, a skull crushed under foot, just as another leaped for his throat. He felt the sting as the edge of a broken length of wood bit into his cheek, bringing blood well out on his face, yet ignored it.
Again and again he struck, shoving his attackers back and away from him. And still they came. They knew no fear, and felt no pain. A broken leg, a missing eye, nothing slowed the fiend's assault. A number of wounds were opened, blood freely flowing from several places, ragged gashes from claw and tool dotting his clothes. Vandal began to grow desperate.
He fell fom the trance, the pain and dawning realisation of his own mortality clouding his mind. And then something he had not noticed before. A heat, a warmth, from just below the base of his neck, centered upon the singular unique rune there. It's first sensation had been passe off as merely another wound, the warmth that of fresh blood.
An opportunity presented itself, a creature stumbled, tripping over one of it's own. A few quick steps, and Vandal's hands planted on the creatures shoulders, kicking off from the ground simultaneously. The creature made an excellent, if brief fulcrum as he flipped over it, escaping the circle of howling slavering monsters. or so he thought. The intense agony and burst of lights in his eyes as a length of metal clipped him in the back of the head proved otherwise.

Images.

A bit further down the road from where madadric cruises towards the diner, a single man walks along slowly, kicking at rocks. A cigarette hangs from his mouth, and his leather bomber style jacket is thrown over his shoulder. His sleeveless shirt reveals a number of blue white tattoos running up and down his arms. As he turns to glance up at the sky, the sunlight flashes off of his mirrored shades. Heavy black boots and blue jeans complete the outfit. trudging along the road he swears to himself out-loud.

Light streaks forth from his hands, spliiting into a multitude of small bursts of power, the silver streaks homing in on their targets, slamming into each of them, sending the hapless riders from their bikes, crushing them into the ground as they hit at ungodly speeds. The bikes careen forward, some smashing against his shield, others continuing their slide past him. As the dust clears, the riders lie motionless on the ground, the bikes spark and stall. A silver dome surrounds Vandal and his ride. A puff of smoke erupts from Vandal's lips as he takes another drag of his smoke.

Vandal's hand blurring downward. Jesus scrambling out of the way. Lifyre shoving Ezelek outside. The clatter of weapons being pulled. A burst of silver light. The shrieks of blinded men. The shriek of twisting steel. The cry for forgiveness. The blast of a shotgun round.

Vandal swore vehemently as another fireball began falling towards them. Instinctively, he erected a hasty shield over those still on the ground, his eyes flashing silver. The fireball crashed against it, silver light flaring where the impact occured. Vandal dropped to one knee, with his loudest curse yet.

There was a surge. The chaos bloomed like the impact of a missile against the ground. The shield above him flickered and faded, the power leaving it and wrapping around Vandal himself. The Rune of Law had taken control, flaring a bright blue white in a growing aura around him, fighting back against Discord's power, the light show brsting in the air around him as the forces of nature met with one another. Vandal could see nothing outside of the blaring lights.


A catalogue of the past, of events leading to this moment, though a narrowly defined scope of them, flashing by in an instant of his life. Then fire. Heat washed through him, the burning rush of a solar flare running through his wounded body, bringing him to the tips of his toes, a holw of pain and rage erupting from his throat. Blue white light coruscated like a halo around him now, leaking from his eyes and open mouth, running like liquid flame over his skin.
The air itself seemed to respon, forcing itself into solidity, blue white crescents of lethal force springing to life, whipping around his upstretched body, blurring with speed. The beasts could not run fast enough. Once men, corrupted and twisted into grotesque malformations by the power of Fold's blasphemy. Power, formed and solidified by Order, responding to it's command tore through them, slicing their limbs from their wretched bodies, leaving them in bleeding steaming chunks of flesh and gore upon the ground around Vandal.
Vandal collapsed to the ground with a gasp. His eyes blinked rapidly, trying to adjust. The scene around him was lit with a flickering bluish light, which soon died down, returning to quiescence once more. His breath came ragged and thick, the smell of death like a mist around him.
His eyes dropping, his limbs weak, Vandal sat there, his head hanging down to the ground. A sudden jerk and bile flowed upwards into his mouth, spewing al lover the cobblestones below him. When did it become cobblestones? unable to move, he sat there, the smell of blood and bile stinging his nose. It wa a long time before he was able to move again.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 1:39 am 
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A while later Wolf was reconsidering his guess that 99.99% of the earth was dead. It seemed that only 99.98% were dead, the rest had just been transformed into horribly mutated abominations whose very existence was a insult to all creation. And that was just Wolf's nose telling him that.
Whatever it was, it seemed to keep itself hidden well without even trying. This was evident by how easily it kept pace with wolf and the only other way he knew it was there was from the slight shifting of gravel and stone. Giving a angry grunt wolf suddenly stopped and turned about face in the sand as his inertia kept him moving in the loose sand. He would have to kill this thing sooner or later so why not know?
"Well?"
His question was answered by increased movement and a small breeze which intensifed the odor. His hand going to the knife on his thigh wolf eyed the rubble piles with a almost gleeful expression. But something was wrong. The sounds were almost on top of him and the odor had become intense, oddly enough it reminded him of sushi. It should be right in front of him by now unless....
Without a second thought wolf dived forward, missing what crashed into the pavement with a sick, wet thud. Catching only a glimpse of the creature all he saw was a dark blue mish-mash of what looked like tentacles and fins. Turning on the ground Wolf felt like he should have been terrifed or at least shocked. But all he felt was wonder at how such a creature could exist. It appeared to be a mix of sea creatures. One was surely a octupus, as the tentacle that wrapped itself around wolf's leg really resembled a octupus's tentacle. He quickly grabbed the nearest rock but it gave a powerful jerk that actually detached Wolf from his grip on the nearby rubble it began dragging him toward what he was sure was the head of a shark which appeared out of the chaos of tentacles and fins.
"What lovecraft novel did you crawl out of mothe-RFUCKER."
The sharkhead had started snapping before wolf's leg was completly there yet and had bitten into his heel. It hadn't bitten too deep far but pain was horrible. Roaring so much that his own ears hurt he sliced at the tentacle and severed it in one sweep. A odd gurgling noise filled the air and before he could react two giant tentacles which seemed to be from a giant squid shot up and attached themselves to the sides of two buildings on either side of the street. The tentacles visibly tensed and Wolf's enhanced hearing could actually make out the sound of the muscles pulling as the monster actually rose into the air. More tentacles began to take grips as Wolf rose to his feet.
"So thats how you did it. But you were dead the minute you failed to surprise me!"
Swinging his free hand out wolf sent a grenade into the right side building. Already weakned by the end of the world the explosion was the final straw as the building collapsesd on itself. It fell along with the building and waiting below it was Wolf with his knife and teeth bared.
"I'll show you how you bite your prey!"

Wolf emerged later from the street where he had finally killed the creature.Covered in head to toe with great splashes of crimson wolf stopped to clean his knife on his baggy pants. Bits of what seemed to be the things heart were still stuck on it. He guessed it was a important organ since the thing had three of them. Content that the knife was as clean as it was going to get Wolf returned it to it's sheath and looked around the for the castle. Finding it again wolf quickly set off jogging toward it again, grinning all the way.

Nothing can stand in my way! My country and the entire world will have it's revenge!

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 6:24 pm 
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Time Passes...


The World Moves...


And Time Passes...


Muscles Tire and vision blurs...


And Still Time Passes Away into the Abyss...



*Lifyre stops on a fallen sky scraper, stumbling in confusion. He seems to recognize the Empire State Building and wonders how the world ended...*

*Lifyre had been moving fast for what seemed to be hours... yet he had gotten no closer to the castle, no nearer to survival, no closer to the end.*

*Lifyre climbs to the top of the building and crouches at the peak, thinking... remembering*

------------------------------------------------

After all this time memories blur, visions fade together, and people become indistinct.

All that Lifyre can clearly remember is the feeling of total love for his Lord. The feeling of belonging, companionship, and being a part of perfection. A feeling that was shattered in the wars.

If only Lucy had been content in his place. Lucy was never satisfied... always wanting more... and look where it got him...

Lucy is a miserable worm now, hating his existence, and ruining it for others... If it wasn't for Lucy Lifyre would still be in paradise.

Now to get back Lifyre has to give up everything and hope on the pity of Pete... Not that Lifyre doesn't trust Pete, but well he doesn't, never liked ass kissers who took any job just to feel important.


------------------------------------------------------------

*Lifyre remains on the tower waiting for something... anything to help him make his decisions. His thoughts going back through his past seeking advice, remembering, wishing he was there...*

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 Post subject: just...Us.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:00 am 
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It's still hot. but at least there isn't any sun to give us sunburn, just heat to dehydrate us. We carry some bottles water, and raid convenience stores as we travel, sticking to the unfocused shade, to stay out of the heat...and to avoid the monstrosities.

Wev'e managed to scavange something useful out of a derelict gun shop. Just the right price, and not even any waiting period. just the way i like it. Iv'e got me a handy tactical shotgun, and Maria grabbed herself a 9mm beretta, and as many clips as she could carry. we're finally feeling a little confident, if it weren't for this damn heat, and the disturbing sillouhette of that damned castle.

I look up at the featureless blue sky as we lean back against a derelict office building, cracks running all over it's fake marble finish. "Damn, does it ever get dark here? no wonder it's so hot."

I watch as Maria pulls up her hair, frizzy from the heat, and pours water over her shoulders and the back of her neck, soaking the singlet she's wearing. god, the woman is still beautiful, even here. perhaps moreso, considering the lack of humanity arounds us.

Just these beasts that used to res what.

No, not God.That bastard Fold. That was the man at the center of all this. we may not be able to do anything at all, but still, we go on...because...there is nothing else...or..

"Maria?"

"Yes, Sherman?" She asks quietly, her face damp with sweat.

"Do we really need to go there? we have each other, that's enough for me. We could fins somewhere we could set up, live, be happy, even here."

She looks at this worn out old man with something akin to sadness in her eyes, a bittersweet smile shaping her lips. lips i still want to kiss so much.

"oh, Sherm..."

Then, her eyes widen, and she raises the beretta, pointing it at my head, or more, slightly to the left of it. Without hesitation, she squeezes off two rounds, and i hear a gurgle and thump as i stand up, and see the deformed body on the ground before me.

We put our backs to the wall, as more of them come out from everywhere, dozens of them, deformed monstrosities all coming at us, some shambling, some moving too quick to be human.

we open fire.

"Where'd they all come from?!" maria screams, reloading her berretta, and firing three shots into an advancing man-thing.

"There's too many! i shout over the din of our weapons, and the howls of our attackers. it looks Grim, it looks like the end.i have to tell her, i have to let her know before we are gone forever.

"Maria!" i shout, desperate.

"You were always the love of my life!"

Then something red and ferocious and terrible plummets out of the sky, into the midst of the monsters.

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 Post subject: Crimson Devil from the Sky.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:02 am 
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He doesn't feel the heat, the same way he didn't feel the cold. all he knows is that the Tower is somewhere in front of him, and he's going to reach it, and he's going to...

He's going to make the apocalypse seem like a beach holiday.

it's going to be bloody and terrible and everything hell is, and it's never going to end, it's going to keep EVOLVING INTO SOME NEW TERROR, and at the center will be...


ME.

and HIM.


"i'm coming!"

He hurtles over the building tops, each time he reaches an edge, lunging for the next, straining muscles, using a wisp of Dischord's power to extend his leaps, letting his body evolve to jump further, faster, harder.

And then he hears gunfire, and he slows, stopping on a rooftop looking down. at first he doesn't comprehend what he sees below him. It just registers as noise and motion, something to distract the eye.

but then the burden of thought comes back, and recognition sinks in. that's people down there...and thongs that aren't people any more. wait!

That's Sherm!


Without hesitation, the Chaos bard leaps from the top of the building silently, and plunges into the ranks of the once-men, naked and kicking and swinging and biting and grinning. The things swarm all over him, as though there is something about the man that drives their bloodlust even further into frenzy, and they club, bite, claw, and gnaw at the chaosbard, who begins laughing like a cackling devil, still attacking and killing with wild ferocious abandon.

Madadric grabs a child-beast by the head, and grinning the same grin he wore facing the demonic house. squeezes, until it cracks, and the body goes limp.

he uses the dead body as a projectile, clearing the area just around him, so he can swing Dischord, and he does, striking the deformed visage of an elderly woman in the face. A jangling nose erupts from both the guitar and Madadric's mouth, and it is hard to tell exactly which part belongs to mad, and which to the instrument.

With the three of them fighting, or Sherm and maria fighting, and madadric slaughtering, all the mutants are soon dead, and the three survivors stand in the midst of the carnage, covered in scratches, bites, and bruises. they all spend some time catching their breath, panting in the terrible desert heat.

Covered in blood and gore, mad looks over to the old man and Maria, and grins. "it's good to see you alive, Old man. Better than i could have imagined it would be."

Sherm looks at the young man, and sees something of the uncontrollable boy he was before Luci in him...more than some, a lot.

"Mad..." the old man says, "for god's sake, put some pants on!"

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:05 pm 
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-=Cue up: Simon & Garfunkle - The Sound of Silence=-

The Wall was long gone, and the lightning with it, replaced by the harsh cutting wind of a sandstorm, which in turn was replaced with a torrentual downpour of rain, accompanied by the fierce shaking of an earthquake. Ezelek's softly tooled boots were beginning to show the wear and duress of his travelling, the footwear of a pilot not really appropiate for a traveller of any kind. It was predictable, at least to him, that his next step would take him to the place that he least wanted to return to. The sprawling complex of the once powerful corporation lay out before him, a destructive mess that shouldn't even exist. He could remember clearly, the events leading upto the escape, and, as himself, Adric, and Muz had scrambled away from the prison that was their 'home', the defeaning roar as Lariat's power had swelled upon itself, imploding, the facility, and the landscape surrounding it, devouring itself. It wasn't something that was easily forgotten... A show of power that made everything you did feel like it was insignificant in comparison. An impossible end achieved, the escape, nobody had ever done it before... And just when they'd achieved the impossible goal... It was shadowed.

This is as far as you can go. It had seemed to say to him, mocking his accomplishment. No matter what you ever do, your power is nothing compared to what others have. At times, he'd felt a stab of jealousy towards his companions, and what their abilities allowed them to achieve... He shook his head, banishing the thoughts. Pepostreus or not, the facility was there, and musing about days long past wasn't going to achieve anything. It was logical to conclude that, not only were the normal dimensions fragmented, allowing travel from one place to another in the blink of an eye, but time itself had unravelled some, glimpses of the future and the past possible.

"Well," The self-proclaimed master-thief mused to himself, "There's nowhere else to go but forward." With that, he stepped forward, off the pinnacle of rock he had been pondering on, plummeting about 20 feet, or so. He bent his knees, absorbing the shock, his right hand going into his coat, pulling out a small metal rod. With a flick of his hand, it extended to a full staff, which he slung across his shoulders as he begun to walk. The perimeter defenses, although still in operational condition, didn't respond to him, as he slunk and weaved through their blind spots. It hadn't been too difficult to escape, all those years ago, and he'd grown much more after the escape, the activities of the trio forcing his abilities to go higher, and be better than where they should have peaked. Crossing the grounds, he paused at the main entrance, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, before pushing the large double doors open.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 8:58 am 
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Rand walked the streets of Brussels with his sickle at the ready. There was noone on the streets. It looked as the entire population had vanished into thin air without a moment to fight. Rand's face was grim. Here and there, small fires had broken out, but except for the flames, the entire city was dead.

"What has transpired here? Yet more tricks from Fold? Will that coward never face his final justice?"

He wandered the streets, passing the desolated NATO headquarters, until he reached the Wetstraat (Lawstreet) the center of government of Belgium. He stared at the empty building. He walked in, his eyes getting harder as he was nearing the centre of the Belgian govermment. When he opned the door of the 'Kamer' he looked at desolation. Open files were scattered everywhere. It was silent.

Rand walked out with a confused expression on his face, looking at the desolate streets. Then he raised his head.

"So, the government has fallen. Excellent, I know not whether FOld is a pawn of them or the other way around, but Fold's last desperate attempt has failed. The Revolution lives, while the forces of oppression are greaatly weakened! Now is the time to strike!"

He looked at one of the Belgian flags on a big pole nearby. One grenade later the pole had fallen. Rand took a broomstick nearby and tore the red part of the Belgian flag of it, tying it to the stick and making an improvisation of a flag.

"It is unfortunate that I have no better flag, but the message to the Proletariat is clear enough." He raised his voice and the flag.

"WORKERS, come out of your shelters. The time to hide has ended. Now we must strike, as the enemy is at it's weakest, and deliver a blow he shall never recover from and construct a worker's paradise."

The silence remained unbroken.

"hmm...I wish I had the Commiemobile, but my voice shall gather my comrades even without help."

With those words Rand set out walking through the streets again, carrying the red flag and singing the International.
...

Time passed and Rand's singing was growing hoarse as well as off-key. Finally he stopped at a street corner.

"where is everyone?" There was a hint of worry in his eyes. Then he heard a sound through the silence. It was a police siren. Worry was replaced with fury as he rushed to the sound, his hand alread grabbing a grenade and the flag tucked under his arm. When he reached the source of the sound he stopped. A policecar was standing stationary against a tree, the sirens slowing down as the battery ran out. There was no sign of policemen everywhere.

Rand was silent for a moment, then threw the grenade through the window of the car. It exploded and started burning. Rand looked angry at the flames.

"What is this? Where are the Peopl?. Fold couldn't have killed them all could he? Now is our chance to get the final victory... The uprising should come now. Where IS everyone."

The roaring of the flames answered. Rand calmed down.

"I shouldn't worry as this. Merely because I cannot find comrades here means nothing. There must be others... and I will find them, and defeat Fold."

He turned a corner and suddenly saw a great mountain in the distance.. Just before him was the commiemobile. Rand straightnened his bomber Jacket.

"A castle is it? The time for deception is at an end it seems. Your true colours shine through tyrant." He sat in his car, looking at the backseat that was stacked with explosive weaponry. "Soon, your reign shall end."

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-= Cue music: Alter Echo - Kess & Gherran =-

Chris wasn't sure how long he had sat there.

Time marches in place when left without measurement.

Occasionally, he could hear voices in one of the far off corridors. Apparently Fold was planning something big, and it had him rather excited.

"How the fuck did I ever let this happen?" he muttered to himself, still trying to break the bindings his hands were in.

"You didn't. Fold's been manipulating you, too." came a new voice. For a secong it felt like it came from his own head. But then, that's where she originated, so seeing her step out of the shadows came as minimal surprise to him.

"Wha... you? But you're not a character in this world..."

"Maybe not this world, but I AM a character in your head, Chris. I would have thought that you'd have caught on by now..."

Chris shrugged and smiled as she walked around behind him and began to undo the ropes at his wrists. "You have a point. But how do you know about things in this world? And why are you here?"

"Because I'm yet another part of you... not your glorified self image, brought out in BiShou, nor your deep seeded pain wrought into Fold. I'm your reason. Your calm thread of sanity... probably the only thread left." she laughed, pulling away the ropes as Chris stood, rubbing where they had left deep red marks. "Perhaps it might even be said that I'm your feminine side."

"Funny." Chris chuckled and gave a glance around the room toward the door. "So tell me, Phen, why are you letting me go?"

Phentilus stepped around the chair between them and looked into Chris's eyes. The faint light coming from the torches in the nearby hall danced in her eyes, giving off a faint innocense that Chris felt he should doubt...

"At current, I'm a plot device. Set here to move you forward. I've had interraction here before, but now my purpose is to get you on the move."

"But why?" he asked, moving to the window and staring out into the broken landscape. "Where would I go? This is Fold's world, now..."

"Yes, that may be true... but you are still his creator, even if you never intended his conception. So overall, this is your world."

Chris laughed and turned to her, then motioned out the window. "My world? Heh... I'm sorry, but I doubt I would have made things so fucked up if this were still my world."

"Wouldn't you? Think about it, Chris... isn't all of this familiar to you?"

A blank look crossed his eyes, and Phen sighed.

"This is in your heart. Everything is broken and jumbled. Thigs get seperated and mutated, and everything points to one goal. It's how you've always been."

"But Fold..."

"Is a part of you. You said it yourself. He's the pain you kept locked away deep inside, which eventually broke free. Broke away from here."

Chris turned back to the window, staring deep into the mangled world beyond. "So... he returned everything to the beginning. Brought us back to where he was born?"

"Precisely."

"But why? Why not finish what he started in the real world? Why bother with this game? He's gotten his freedom... why still play with these characters like they matter to him?"

"Because they do matter to him. They all do. And so do you."

Chris rounded on her. "What?! That's bullshit! Why would characters matter to him?!"

"Because they are the only ones that can do it..." she said, stepping over to his side and gazing past him into the endless sea of ruin.

Chris turned with her, looking to where her eyes stopped. In the far distance, a pinprick of light seemed to be moving forward, toward their location. Many miles off to the left, he could see another light, moving their way as well, not as fast. As he stared at these lights, knowing that the castle must be surrounded by them, each representing an Expatriate on their way to the final battle, Phen gave a sigh and continued.

"...they are the only ones that can bring Abandon."

He turned his head to ask her what she meant, but she was gone. A brief startled pause preceeded a smile. "Clever Phen, always the cunning and stealthy assassin..." he turned toward the hallway.

"Well now. Looks like I'm on my own... Let's see what Fold's so excited about..."

And with that, he calmly strode across the room and exited.

-Fold


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Rand's car advanced on the mountain. There was no fuel left for the great leap forward. As he drove towards the mountain, the city stopped rather suddenly, changing to a desolate mountaneous area that one wouldn't find in the relatively flat and densely populated Belgium. Rand didn't seem to notice though, nor did he wonder why there seemed to be a road up to the mountain. Suddenly he stopped and left the car, rummaging through the back.

"Perhaps it will not come to this, but this is too important a battle not to take the risk." He took off the bomber jacket and shirt, ducttaping a package against his too thin but muscled abdomen before clothing himself again, then took a small device with a button and put it in his pocket. "If my death may destroy tyranny, I shall not hesitate."

"You will never destroy Master Fold"

Rand was in a battle stance within a second, sickle at the ready. In front of him was a dirty and underfed looking girl of about 15 year, carrying a switchblade in her hand. Behind her were other children, coming from behind the rocks. There were several dozens. The youngest were ten, none were older then 15. Boys and girls, of all colours, with tattered clothing of different cultures, with primitive stabbing and clubbing weapons. They all looked at him with a mix of terror and dedication. And they blocked the road.

"You? You serve Fold? I assume I shouldn't be surprised that the tyrant's schools produced obedient puppets. Lower your weapons, I am not your enemy. We should unite and bring dozn the one that enslaves you. If we stand together..."

"Fold is God. He's our Father and our Mother now." the girl said, her voice shaking a little. "You can't kill him. We won't let you."

"You would stand in the way of a fighter of the Revolution. You do not have the strength to..."

She interrupted him again. "Fold...told us not to attack you. Just to destroy your car. Without it, you'll never reach him"

"I shall not not allow anyone to damage the vehicle. I am needed to vanquish the evil that is Fold. Now stand aside."

The girl took a step forward. Rand's sickle shot up as he moved forward as well, between the children and the car.

"Do not challenge me. An attack on the arms of the revolution is class treason" his voice didn't waver "punishable by death. Your teachers and Fold told you only lies. You must discard them now. The time for wavering has past. The final battle is now."

The girl looked at the sickle. "You... you wouldn't kill us would you? We... just want to stop you. You can't beat Fold. He told us.."

"He tells nothing but lies. And I will kill all those who would impede the Victory of the Working Class. Normally I would say children still have time to learn, but time has run out. All must choose now. And one choice leads to a shameful death."

"F...Fold told us... y...you would never hurt children..."

"He lied. I have never done so in the past. But the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

The girl was looking more and more afraid. "W..what would your friends say... Mad, Lifyre, Vandal, What would Icy say?"

"How do you know their names?" Rand asked angrily

"Fold told us...he knows everything. He told us...that they wouldn't forgive you. That even Icy wouldn't let you do that."

"They're not here. Nor would it have mattered. My path is clear." He looked at the castle. "And you are in my way. Icy can be unrevolutionary emotional and manipulable in those respects. I know I'm right.""

"But what would Miaoming say. Do you think...do you think she would ever respond to your feelings, even if Kit would die, if she knew you killed children?"

He stepped forward, causing the girl to take a step back. "WHAT FEELINGS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I respect Comrade Miaoming as a fellow Revolutionary and..."

"No, Fold knows.... he knows everything. He knows you wish you had her as a companion. That you considered the possibility that if Kit should die, or abbandon her, you could perhaps..."

"SILENCE!" Rand screamed. HE shook in silent rage for a moment."Those...are vicious LIES. I have feelings for comrade Miaoming. That's true. But I would NEVER betray a comrade or The Cause for mere... feelings. True happiness lies in the cause of Freedom. Comrade Miaoming's... mercy is often misplaced. She will learn, and even if she doesn't, that will not deter me from my course. Now cease your talk and step away. The Proletariat will not be stopped by the likes of you!"

There were now tears appearing in the girl's face. The children around her looked scared as well, clutching their weapons desperately. "He...he also told us...that...that there was someone inside of you...someone who might...stop you from...from...." she sobbed. "He told us that... we had to ask... the other one...to stop you...to find the strength to...." she fell silent as Rand's face didn't move.

"The Tyrant Fold says a lot. You should not trust him. Now, I have wasted too much time here. Stand aside and rejoice as the tyrant is defeated, or fall with him." His hand went to his pocket and he removed a fragmentation grenade.

There was a lot of shaking among the children, but they all readied their weapons and looked at him with terrified but resolute eyes. "We will die for Master Fold!"

Rand's eyes blazed with anger. "Then DIE!" The pin of the grenade came off. It landed in the middle of the group of children, throwing many of them away and cutting them dozen as they charged forward. They went mostly for the car, only the children with blunt weapons facing him. They were untrained, badly armed and terrified. They fell easily to Rand's sickle. The fury never left Rand's face until the last of his young assailants fell down in a puddle of blood.

Rand looked up at the castle. His bomber jacket, that had been clean after Miaoming had restored it, was full of blood again.

"You have failed Fold. Your attempts to stop me grow desperate. You should know that nothing can stop the Forces of the Revolution. Your fate draws near."

He started the car and drove again. Some of the corpses cracked under the car. Rand ignored them. His eyes were still fixed on the castle.

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"pants?" madadric asks, puzzled, before looking down at his bloody, naked body. "oh. How about that? guess i got a little carried away, huh?"

"I guess so." Sherm says, stepping gingerly between and around the bodies to stand next to the younger man. "you looked a lot like when we first met...maybe Adric the mad IS what's needed here."

"needed or not, i'm here to stay" the crimson-haired chaosbard grins, and it's all teeth and predatory death. The grin quickly fades to a more comforting lazy smile, though. "it IS damn good to see you. you seen any of the others? i'm a little ashamed to admit it, but they'd sorta slipped my mind for a while there..."

Sherm shakes his head, and shrugs. "no, i just woke up here in this Desert City ....a while ago, and found Maria shortly afterward." The two turned to maria, just in time to see her raise her gun and point it at them.

Mad, permanently twitchy and pumped on adrenaline from having dischord rampaging around his head, leaps to the left. Sherm, however, turns to see what foe is behind him. Which is why he is so surprised to see that there isn't anyone or anything there.

And also why he is surprised when three bullets hit him in the back and tear through his body. the old man falls to his knees before collapsing on the hot, bloody sand, gasping.

The woman, now wearing a distorted snarl, turns and aims at Mad, and fires without hesitation. The guitar leaps up in front of him, and he blocks and parries most of the bullets, but two find their mark, one blasting through his upper right arm, and one grazing along his temple, burning and shredding the skin there, but leaving the bone intact.

fresh blood streaming down the side of his face and his right arm, The Chaosbard loses himself to the bloodlust and the song of Dischord. Chaos distortions explode from his figure as the man leaps into the air with a howl that sounds something between a wild animal and a savage guitar distortion, and he flies at the woman, an without a second's hesitation, splits her skull open with the guitar.

As the lifeless body falls to the sand and mad's mind clears, the ripples of Chaos distortion fade, leaving behind traces in the forms of odd swirls in the sand, and small unlikely creatures crawling through small unlikely plants sprouting from the sand and dead bodies.

He looks down at the lifeless body of the love of oneof his oldest friend's life. dead by his actions. The man begins to shake, and he drops the guitar into the sand, as the shock of what he'd just done sinks in, and the only thing that brings him out are the pained gasps and gurgles of the old man dying not far off.

Mad runs through the sand and bodies to sherm's side, gently turns his old friend onto his back, and wipes at the blood the man chokes up.

Coughing, the man tries to speak, his mouth just gaping like a fish stranded on a peir. finally, the man manages to get some air in his lungs, and splutters a word. "M...Maria"

Mad shakes his head sadly, genuine tears of remorse flooding down his blood streaked face. "I'm sorry, i didn't even...when she shot at us i...She's dead Sherm."

Madadric's throat contracts at the pain and loss that fills his dying friend's eyes. there is nothing he can do for the man, even with all the power he is afforded by Dischord, he lacks the control for healing, and Fold still has the heal rune.

"W...why? All this...happen? A-Are we just...stories? is that all we..."

"NO!" mad shouts through the tears. "we are all PEPOPLE! You! Me! Maria! Every other sorry son of a bitch in this mess! we all are and were real people, i don't care what anyone, Fold, Bishou, or some self-appointed Watchers say! We're real. our lives matter."

The man smiles through the blood and agony of his wounds as his life pumps out into the sand, and he coughs and gurgles through his last words.

"G-Good...i'm glad we...meant...some..th...ng.."

And the Old Man dies in a hot desert under a sunless sky.

For a good long while, madadric just kneels in the sand and quietly cries an thinks and bleeds. Sherm DIDN'T mean nothing, and neither had maria, or any of these other people lying dead in the sand, people he hadn't known the names of, where they were from, what the dreamt of, what they wanted, who they loved.

but the had had those things, they were real people..and they all deserved to be remembered as such.

The naked man stands up, and wanders into a nearby hardware store, and comes out with a shovel.

he doesn't know how long it takes him to dig all the graves, but he does. one for each dead person lying there in the sandy street. No headstones mark the graves, not even the two that lay a little distance off from the others. An old man and a middle aged woman next to each other, for the rest of time...which may end up being relatively short.

Exhausted from his labour, the crimson haired man collapses next to the graves, dischord in his hand, and sleeps the sleep of the dead.


OOC:done! ready when you are fold./OOC

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The Room was white.

Nothing but white.

Looking around him Actor relised that the only patch of colour left in the world was him in his black trench coat.

"You can come out now Palladin. I want this to end just as much as you do."

Silence echoed inexplicabally back.

"Just come out, I have guns, you have guns, we'll settle this like men."

Still nothing, Actors Hawk flew above him, circling in the sky, nothing in any direction even as far as she could see.

Then the world shifted, somehow it was like this place had never changed and yet now he was in Hanoi. A cold empty city, bodies lay around him on the ground.
Some had painted their faces Red.

"Do you know why they did that Actor? The face paint?"

Actor spun, lifting his gun to shoot finding a pistol in his face before even begining to pivot.

"You'll never be fast enough Actor, you should have learnt that by now." Palladin kept the gun on his face, millimeters from his forehead. "Did you see the world fall apart Actor? Watch all your fellow expatriots die and you survive? Before it all went to hell Fold made the planet go insane with rage, do you remember watching it all from your little oasis of calm, as the people killed each other and themselves? Wasn't it glorious?"

"For the god of 'Death at mans hand' you seem a little pissed that Fold did what you can only dream of." Actor was suddenly no longer afraid to die. A calm feeling came over him. "That Fold and the Watchers are more powerful than you must hurt a lot."

"Quite untrue Actor, his actions made me more powerful than ever before, death on a scale you can't even begin to believe, pure death never in my life have I felt such energies." He gestured at the fallen bodies. "They too felt the rage, the hate, the power of an unlimited potential and they tried to reclaim it after Fold took it away.... You could hear their cries for kilometers around here, the only sound was their begging to become gods again. Beging to become like us."

"So should I be afraid of you? Now that you are even more powerful than ever?"

"Something I was once told a long time ago Actor was that you should never stop fearing the reaper until you take his place. I want to make this fair Actor and believe me it is. I'm attached to this world, this dimension, you on the other hand have a slightly higher attachment, to the other world, where the watchers lie. You are more solid, even here where I rule over both chaos and order you have this advantage."

"Thats why none of you gods are attacking Fold isn't it?"

"Yes. But thats also why I have to kill you Actor."

Putting the gun in front of Actors mouth Palladin walks foward, pushing him back.

"You may not relise this Actor but your watcher is insane, he's not the only one, but unlike the others his maddness is divided evenly into two parts, you represent everything he hates about his insanity, his history, his beginins, the world that was the past and his inability to change the world around him..."

"And the other part?" Actor suddenly had no fear of the answers, he knew already.

"Me, the ineffitable future, he hates me only a little less than you, but he talks to me."

"You're lying. The watcher is protecting me."

"No Actor, he's been using you. All this time I've been preparing myself to fight Fold and you've been nothing but a distraction for the watcher to keep his guard down. You've done rather well for yourself by the way."

"Thats not true, I'm the Avatar, I'm the link with the outer world."

Palladin grinned for one last moment. "If you believe that, then I pity you." He took a brief step back. "No one in this business is an angel Actor. What we do we do for now, not tommorrow, I told you that only a few days ago, you didn't listen did you."

"I'm always listening Palladin."

"I have one more surprise for you Actor." Palladins trademark White suit contrasting for a moment with Actors dark existance. "You will see in the end that I have won."

In one moment Palladin was 50 meters down the street, gun at his side.

Actor looked at him, seeing a man who had spent to long killing, an ageing man, someone who wanted to die. "I won't hold back you bastard, not for you, not for the watcher, not for anyone."

Actor went for his guns, Palladin as well.

And around them Hanoi began to burn.

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The man spit upon the torn and twisted hood of a 1950's chevy as he walked past, then brought the cigarette to his lips and lit it. His eyes alternated between staringat the ground before him, and rising to look at the castle in the distance. It seemed so much closer now. He could even see the thin mountain trail leading up to it. He should be there in a few hours probably. A glint of light catches his eye, causing him to stop and look. A mirror wa reflecting the light from a burning building behind him. The rear view mirror from a motocycle to be precise. Walking over, he lifted it from the patch of weeds, and looked it over. It seemed in good shape, the key still hanging from the ignition. An experimental twists brought satisfying rumble. Shrugging, he mounted the bike, and made his way down the road, alternating of dirt, cobblestone, and pavement beneath his tires.

Once, he was a United States Marine. Decorated and successful. He had become a fighter, using his fists in the underground fights of New York, LA, Chicago, wherever; in order to earn his money. An accident of being in the wrong place at the wrong time had made him something else. He became an experiment, and later an operative.

He was none of that any longer. The past was gone now, slipped on it's ever moving journey, carrying with it all he had ever been. Now, he was merely an Expatriate.

He had been subjected to the Runes against his will, being forced to carry the unpredictable and near sentitent force that an through them like wildfire. Now even that was gone, changed and alteed by the meeting of the LawRune and Dischord. He could feel everything around him, the light yet everpresent spiderwebs of energy and spirit which crisscrossed the world, connecting everything. He could feel the stately, inexorable passage of time, down to the minutiae. He could feel the forces that held everything in place, kept everything moving as it should.

Order. Law. Whatever one wished to call it. It pulsed all around him, and through him. Through everything. Yet only now could he truly feel it. Something had awakened, for better or worse, at the expense of the last of what he was before. He was no one now. His life had ended.

The new world began with Fold's death.

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The hot desert sun pounded upon Icy's back.

He had only several hours ago left the rainforest canopy and ventured into the desert. The contrast between the two areas was striking, not only visually but psychologically. Swinging through the treetops, Icy felt at home; after all, his body was specifically adapted for this environment. This jungle seemed vagueley familiar as well. (Perhaps Icy had lived here at some point, before he had been experimented on by Hyperspace?) The desert, on the other hand, was totally inhospitable... The pounding heat made the icy expatriate very weak and uncomfortable, as did the complete lack of water.

However, he would not have to worry about the desert heat much longer; he had finally reached the Great Pyramid, at the top of which stood the Wrath of the Proletariat. As he began to climb up the giant structure, he wondered where he would go once he was in the mech. He knew that he could not be the only survivor. Kitsune had undoubtedly survived, and so had mad, probably. The others might be alive as well. And of course Fold had survived, though Icy hoped to make sure that he would not stay alive for much longer. But how would he be able to find Fold and the other Expatriates? They could be anywhere...

Icy reached the top, and saw the answer to his question towering over the landscape beyond the pyramid, which had previously blocked it from his view. A giant, gnarled, black castle rose up in the distance, beckoning Icy towards it. There was no doubt in Icy's mind that he would find Fold there.

Icy climbed up the giant robot's leg, up its torso and into the cockpit. He looked around the interior. The WoP had apparently been totally undamaged despite the destruction wrought by Fold. Icy settled himself into the pilot's seat and gazed out upon the landscape before him - the ruins of what appeared to be Rome lay directly behind the pyramid, and beyond that rolling hills and pastureland, and beyond that giant, jagged mountains which obscured his view of anything beyond other than the far-away tower.

"Well, here goes." Icy pressed a button and the WoP came to life. Less than a minute later, Icy was flying through the air, hurtling towards the dark tower.


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Miao stood where the snowscape literally cut off, staring at the gap. Well, I wondered why the horizon never seemed to recede... On the other side was what appeared to be the remains of the Great Barrier Reef, a mile away if it was an inch. Miao looked down with not a little trepidation. The bottom seemed far, far away, and submerged in a large, mostly placid-looking river - it was kind of hard to tell from a mile up. She backed up nervously and looked to either side. No bridges in sight, and, defying the laws of perspective, the damn thing seemed to get bigger the further it went. And hovering just barely in sight, all the way on the real horizon, was that dratted castle.

Why was she going for that castle anyways? Miao mused as she sat down in the snow, curling her tail around her waist to keep it from the snow. It seemed like a good idea when she was in her apartment, freaked at the lack of Tiffany and people in general... It still seemed like a good idea, almost instinctively. She wanted to go, and she trusted her instinct. It wasn't too late to go back, hope that the Expatriates could find her, hope that Kit could come for her... she looked back at her tracks, leading in a more-or-less straight line back to her apartment, then forward at the castle. That tug was there, that rightness that made her suspicious of herself for the first time in... a long time. Since... Kit.

She was suddenly suffused with fury. Was her Watcher laughing as she wrote this, laughing at the patheticness of her own character, sitting in the snow thinking about a past she never had? Miao shook her head. Her life was real... because her Watcher made it so. Well, my Watcher could laugh all she wanted; she put me in this situation, she can get me out. Miao stood up, shrugged her pack on violently and walked to the edge of the cliff. Damn, wish I'd thought to bring rope... She looked back once again to the trail to her apartment, then shook her head. She didn't even have rope in her freaking apartment. What if my Watcher is messing with my memory so that I won't go back... screw that. If she doesn't want it, she doesn't want it. I just wish I knew what I was doing... She swung herself over the side and flipped onto her stomach, then began slowly crawling down the cliff, feet first, never noticing the girl standing where she herself had been sitting minutes before.

Denise stood watching Miao's hands disappearing down the cliff. "I wish I knew what you're doing, too," she murmured, and vanished.

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OOC: Ignore MiB's post, if this one works . . . and hopefully he'll delete it if this works, in which case this OOC is obsolete. /OOC

“Son, we’ve been wandering around for days. We’re no closer to that damned castle than when we started.” Kitsune looked around, frowning, and was forced to concede Orochi’s point. He stood in a desert of red sand. Off to his left lay the broken husk of the Eiffel Tower, and to his right lay the ruined domes of the Sydney Opera House. The world got more and more jumbled the further he walked.

“I suppose you’re right. And we’re running out of food, too.” Kitsune set the backpack down on the hood of a very destroyed VW Beetle, rummaging through it. “All we’ve got left is this pack of Cheetos.” Kit looked at the junk food and smiled sardonically. “Who would have thought you and I would end up having to put up with each other?”

“Not I, certainly not in this way. However, it allows me to feel much closer to my son than, say, if you were still resisting capture. And you must admit, I’m not so bad, am I?”

Kitsune snorted, popped a Cheeto in his mouth. He wryly noted the burning wrecks of automobiles surrounding him. It seemed Fold had decided that, since the people of the world were all dead, they wouldn’t need cars anymore, and had taken out his anger on the metal monstrosities. “You’re a fucking psychopath, and you’re completely amoral. You remind me of Adric the Mad.”

Orochi’s brow furrowed. “Did you just say ‘Adric the Mad?’”

“Yeah. Why?”

“I seem to remember that name . . . tell me, did he ever mention a boy named Lariat to you?”

Kitsune’s heart skipped a beat. “You funded the Dragosagi Institute?” He and Mad had speculated . . . but that’s all it had been. He had no proof of it.

“Dragosagi and I were two men with similar goals. I found out about his research through my DoD connections, and when we met . . . he needed help expanding the powers of one exceptional boy in his Institute, by the name of Lariat.” Orochi put the Cheetos away and stood up. He slung the backpack around his shoulders and began moving, scanning for signs of humanity. Where humans once were, there had to be food. He continued talking as he walked. “Of course, to get my help, he had to tell me what made Lariat so special. When I found out, I stole some of Lariat’s blood samples and grew you from them. After some modifications, of course. And then Dragosagi’s little program went boom, thanks to his modifications to Lariat’s abilities. I took precautions that such things didn’t happen to mine.” Kitsune’s eyes narrowed. He stopped walking.

“What kind of precautions?”

Orochi picked up the pace, sure there had to be something. “Your powers. With the boost the cables give you, even when left dormant as yours have been since that ‘incident’ out in the desert, powers that altered reality like Lariat’s did would have overloaded your body and caused the same reaction. So you possess limited powers of telekinesis and teleportation. A base to build your other powers on, if you will.” He paused, eyes passing hungrily over a seemingly abandoned apartment complex, stopping on a window with the blinds drawn. “Hold on, what’s this?” He moved closer, mouth forming a smirk. “Recent signs of civilization . . .” Orochi ran his hands across the door. “No dust . . . unlike the windows and bricks nearby. This door’s been used recently. Kitsune, my son, it appears some people DID survive that blast after all. However, they seem to be absent for the moment. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to break in and get us some food.” Orochi ripped the doorknob off. The door creaked open.

“Still no sun,” Kitsune said.

“You can see,” Orochi replied. Kit’s eyes lit up bright white. Orochi began looking around for food, tossing clothes this way and that, throwing a large pocketknife across the room. It connected with a thunk, then fell to the floor. There was a scrabbling noise behind him, and the light vanished from his eyes. He squinted at the corner, letting a faint snatch of nonexistence bleed out of his right eye. “Just a rat.” He turned back to his task, then heard the click of a cartridge sliding into a barrel. Orochi’s presence vanished, leaving Kitsune in control once more. Kitsune blinked and truned around.

“Who are you? What do you want from me?” Kitsune found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun. <I>Well, what a position, and me without my own boomstick to respond in kind . . .</I> He made calming gestures towards the gray-haired man.

“Easy, easy, whoever you are, I come in peace, and all that shit . . . I could ask you the same, now that I think about it.” Kitsune silently swore he’d find some way to get Orochi out of his skull. Having one personality was bad enough. But when you have two, and the other is steadily gaining control . . . dangerous things happen.

The man lowered the gun, eyes wide and wild with panic. “I—I’m Nader. Ralph Nader.”

“Really?”

“No. My sense of humor always kicks in when I’m nervous. And I’ve got a lot to be nervous about.” The man motioned for Kitsune to come further inside. Then he stopped, eyes narrowing again. “Wait. How do I know you’re telling the truth? You could just be like another one of those zombified freaks, hiding your true motives till my guard’s down!” Kit blinked in surprise.

“Zombified freaks? You mean there are others alive? Besides you and me?” Kit grabbed the man’s arm as if his life depended on it. “Tell me the truth, please!”

The man was frightened by Kit’s strong grasp, and took a few moments to respond. “Y—Yes. There are others alive. If you can call them alive. All they are is vessels of rage. They can act human for some time, sure, but sooner or later their disguise drops and you can tell they’re insane. I think . . . this all started with that broadcast. You had to have seen it . . . that man. Fold, was that his name? He caused all this. I’m almost positive.” The man punched his palm in finality. He looked up at Kitsune with eyes that were searching for acceptance. “What about you? What’s your theory?”

Kitsune laughed hollowly. He shook his head. “You don’t know how right you are . . . and for me, it’s no theory. <I>I was there.</I> Fold did cause all this. I saw him do it, and I couldn’t do a thing to stop him. Not me or any of the Expatriates.”

“Expatriates?” The man’s guard was back up, and he began to lift the shotgun again. “You’re an Expatriate? One of those goddamned terrorists? You’re in league with that psychopath Altoor, aren’t you? You’re a menace to society! They should have you all shot!”

Kitsune found himself looking down the smooth bore of a shotgun barrel again, and decided that he still didn’t like it. He frowned. “Awfully judgemental, aren’t you? Considering that I’m trying to save your life, what remains of it at least.”

“Don’t spout excuses at me! You’re destroying the bedrock of America, you Expatriates and your loose behavior!”

Kitsune sneered at him. “And who would you have chosen? You were sitting in your house, watching television! I’m trying to protect your freedom, you twit! Your freedom to live unwritten! Without a Watcher manipulating you!”

“What the hell are you talking about?” The gun didn’t waver.

Kitsune swore. “For God’s sake, didn’t you hear a word Bishou or Fold SAID? Your life is just a bunch of words on a page, you idiot! Your life history is created by a bunch of bored college, high school kids! Don’t you want to go back to living, instead of being controlled?”

“Only—only a nutcase believed that announcement! I have a wife and kids, a, a good life with a nice job in an insurance company! My life isn’t some story! It’s too normal!”

“You had a wife and kids and a cozy job. This isn’t normal. And I’ll bet your history didn’t exist till you spoke it a few seconds ago. Face it. You’re in a story. And the only way you’re gonna get out of it is if you put that gun down and let me go.”

The man was listening semi-tolerantly to this until the last; then, without warning, his face twisted into a snarl, and he fired the shotgun, point-blank, into Kit’s chest.

Kit flew back and demolished the wall behind him. He blinked through the pain, dazed, mind fogging over. “Was I . . . just shot . . . ?” Orochi’s presence came tearing back to the forefront.

“You fool. You goddamned naïve fool. Of course you were shot. But I made you stronger than this! You can survive. Now get up.”

“Why . . . why did he shoot me?”

The man appeared through the hole in the wall, face still set in a snarl. “You should be dead. All the others died.”

Orochi sneered at him. “I’m not like . . . the others.” He stood up, his chest still gushing blood. Cables crisscrossed the gaping cavity, pulsing darkly. Suddenly they glowed brilliant white, and unreality leaked out of Kit’s eyes. As the man watched in horror, organs regrew themselves, bones knitted themselves back together, muscles slipped into place, and skin quivered and bled back across the chest. Soon, the only proofs of a hole in Kit’s chest were scars along the edge of where the hole used to be. Orochi held his hand out, and white light splayed from his fingers, consuming the man and the room. Orochi began to clench his fist, and a shot rang out. The light faded, and the man was gone.

Kitsune fell to his knees, jaw slipping open. “You killed him. You killed him.”

“He would have killed you. I may have killed him, but I saved your life.”

“What have I done?”

“—I did it, not you—”

“I’m no better than Fold. I kill indiscriminately whenever I get angry, just like those bikers, like the MiBs, like at the Hyperspace buildings. This man deserved to live, and I killed him because he annoyed me.”

“Son, I killed him, not you.” Orochi shook his head. “I can’t believe my son turned into such an angsty teenager. Maybe I should have killed you. Saved myself the shame.”

“You’re not funny, DAD. Which you aren’t, either. So stop calling yourself my father.”

“I’m responsible for your existence. In the way that matters, I am your father.”

“You’re delusional. Go away and leave me alone.”

“‘Go away,’” Orochi said mockingly. “In some ways, you’re still a child. But what else can I expect from a boy who spent half his life with no contact with any human beings? You’re so screwed up you even gave your consciences sentience and physical existence. Yes, I’ll go away and leave you to throw your childish tantrum. Just remember this: When you face Fold, you’d better have grown up. I don’t want any son of mine acting like a whiny brat when the world is at stake.” And with that, Orochi vanished.

“Son of a bitch,” Kitsune muttered. “Who are you to tell me what to do? You’re as bad as Fold himself, trying to manipulate my every action! I am NOT your son, nor will I ever be! My name is Kitsune! I’m an Expatriate! And I will not let anyone dictate my actions!” He shouted his anger to an empty room.

“Just get yourself some food, so you can make it to the castle. I’ll have nothing to do with you till you grow up.” Orochi vanished again.

“Damn you.” Nonetheless, Kitsune complied and began looking for food. He found a refrigerator in the other room, oddly still running. He found some bread, a gallon of cold water, and some slightly moldy chicken. He stuffed it into his knapsack.

As he left the apartment, still fuming, he noticed something had changed about the sky above him. It had gotten darker and redder. He looked up, and gasped in shock. The distance to the castle had shrunk. He was still far away, but it was only at most two days away.

“Good Lord.”

“God is dead,” Orochi noted cynically. “Fold runs this corner of the universe. Unless you intend to kill him.”

Kitsune broke into a run, ignoring the weight of the knapsack on his spine.

“It’s gonna end . . . this’ll all be over soon, Fold . . .”

And as he ran, a thought occurred to him. If that man had survived the blast . . . was it possible that MiaoMing had survived it too? He shook his head no. She was too close the center. That man was just lucky. There was no luck at ground zero. He just had to accept that she was dead. He was a walking dead man, then. It didn’t matter what Fold did to him. He wouldn’t stop till he died. It was all he had to live for. Glad that was cleared up.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 1:19 am 
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-=Cue Music: VAST - Touched =-

Fold grinned as he watched the ChaosBard dig into the desert of his wasteland.

Almost endlessly he toiled, laying to rest each body left in the wake of the carnage. When at last he had finished, Mad dropped from his exhaustion.

Fold smirked and set to work, waving his hands in an elaborate ballet. Sand and dirt moved about, flung to and fro silently as Adric the Mad slept on.

When he awoke, hours later, the bodies he had spent meticulous time burying were now back above ground, propped up in awkward praying positions, semi-circled around him. The groteque church of corpes rang with a silent disticnt perversion, only topped by the two corpses that greeted Mad as he turned around.

Sherm had been crucified mere feet behind Mad, so that he had to glance upward to see his face. Wrought iron stakes were driven through his hands, arms, feet and chest, and a single blade forced through his neck. At the base of the dead man's cross lie Maria, spread out, the cross itself impaling her chest to reach its foundation in the ground below.

Mad remained silent for a while, just staring. Briefly he rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, testing to see if he was hallucinating. When he was sure they were real, he began to walk around the bodies.

"What, no words, Mad? Nothing comedic?" A voice rang from above. "Here, I'll start..."

Mad shot his glance around, and found him. Fold was perched lazily atop the cross bearing Sherm. He tilted his head down to look at Sherm.

"A bartender walks into a hotel and sets a bag of nails on the counter. 'I wonder if you could put me up for the night.' he says." Fold looked to the iron holding Sherm's hands and arms in place, then raised his eyes to Mad's, smiling as if seeking approval. Mad just stood there, gritting his teeth as a feral growl began to work itself up in his throat. "What, no laugh? Fine, how about this one: 'A bartender walks into the desert and finds his long lost love. Unfortunately, his oldest friend comes along and kills her.' That one better? Mad, you aren't smiling."

Mad continued to look up at the man, his expression a mixture of a scowl and the predatory snarl/grin that is distinctly his.

"Oh, that's right!" Fold snapped his fingers as if remembering something so simple. "You've gone all 'wild thing' now... You probably can't think up anything to retort, much less grunt and scratch."

Mad screwed up his nose in anger. "You think this makes them less?" He gave a flick of his hand, and the guitar on the ground spun out of the sand and shot to his grasping left hand "All it lessens is you. Whatever you do to their bodies, it's just meat. You want to get a rise outta me? You got one." Mad drew back the instrument of musical devestation, and the shifting runes all over it began to glow, the quiet hum of the guitar increasing to a thrashing drone. "Now, let's see if you can deal with it!"

Mad lashed out, disintegrating the cross and the bodies on it.

Fold, still perched in the air, smiled and began to clap. "Bloody good show, old chap." He laughed. "You'll make an excellent weapon."

"Not interested," the ChaosBard snarled as waves of the chaos distortion emenated from him, warping the surrounding area in motes of creation and destruction.

"Ah ah ah..." Fold said, waving a finger at Mad. "Did I ever say you had a choice in the matter?"

"And what makes you think I would <b>ever</b> join you?"

Fold snapped his fingers, and Mad froze. Color began to drain from his face momentarilly, only to wash back on deeper than before.

"Lu... luci...?!?" The ChaosBard stood there, frozen; his face shifting from shock to hatred and confusion to pain and then anger, and then randomly continued. There, hovering above him, a foot in front of Fold, was Luci. Her eyes were closed, but she was apparently still breathing, and a faint rasp could be heard from her throat.

Fold shook his head and sighed, then snapping his fingers again, Luci fell painfully to the ground. She let out a hurting grunt, and Mad sprung forward. The moment his outstretched fingers brushed her face, though, she vanished. Mad, enraged, raised the guitar and pointed it at Fold.

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HER, YOU BASTARD?!?!"

"She is safe... for the moment." Fold said, stretching out his right arm for Mad to see. A rune flashed on his inner tricep. A rune Mad knew all too well. That was Sandora's rune. The boy who lost his family to fire and famine, and then died at the hands of a wandering vagrant. It was hid rune alright.

The death rune.

"Now, I can't have you causing me any more trouble, Adric. So I have linked your precious woman's life to my own. Should anything happen to me, she will die, painfully." Fold lowered himself to the ground, face to face with Mad. "I found your strings, and now we shall see you dance."

Mad cursed and fell to his knees. The guitar slipped from his grasp and he punched the desert sand. "...what... do you want me to do...?" he muttered.

"That's better." Fold turned and stepped back to where the cross had been. "Now, look hard into these portals..." He waved his hand and various images sprung up all around Mad. Images of people he recognized.

Icy moving down the Great Pyramid in his mech. Rand in the commie-mobile, tearing off down a desolate road somewhere in what looked like Germany. MiaoMing slowly working her way down a cliff face resembling only half of the Grand Canyon.

"These are your friends, Adric. Your comrades."

Lifyre perched atop the Empire State Building, staring into Rio. Ez walking through a courtyard that felt familiar to Mad. Vandal vomitting on a cobblestone walk in front of a historical museum.

"You are to pick one. Only one. Any one."

Kit racing through the streets of Hong Kong. Actor battling heatedly in Hanoi. Barghest, spattered in blood and jogging through Disney World, a displeased look upon his face.

"Yeah? And?" Mad knew full well the answer before the question even left his lips.

Fold turned and faced Mad once more, his eyes burning in pure delight.

"And kill that one."

Mad clenched his fists and eyes, muttering and cursing under his breath.

"What was that? I didn't hear you..."

"I said you'd have to do better than that." Mad stood slowly, his head turned as to not look at Fold directly. "Just because killing you is out for the moment, doesn't mean I will hurt any of the Expatriates...."

"I thought you would say that." Fold sighed and Mad turned in time to catch another rune flashing.

"You wouldn't..." Mad spoke furiously.

Fold smiled. "Oh, but I did. You see, Franklin was just itching to be used. Pyromaniacs can't seem to grow tired of their obsession, even after death. So I put him to use."

Mad's eyes grew cold. "Tell me what you made him do..."

"I simply linked him to Luci... and another Expatriate. So long as that person lives... she suffers."

"Which one!?! TELL ME!!"

"You have NO RIGHT to demand of me!! You want her suffering to stop?!? YOU FIGURE IT OUT!!" Fold shouted, then ceased and smiled. Now, dear boy... what is your answer? Will you take one of the portals, and kill off one of your pitiful friends?"

With his clenched fists still held at his sides, Mad spat his reply.

"Yes... Master."

-Fold

Hahahahahahaha!!!!! *laughs and waits*


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:16 pm 
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<font color=darkred><b>Lorem Ipsum
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OOC: i'm going to begin this post where Fold first shows Luci to Mad, and move it to a little after that point.

I took a few liberties with actions and dialog, the biggest discrepancy being in a little action near the End. even broken, mad is still madadric. and he couln't let all this go by without a little defiance. And i couldn't stop him. /OOC

He stops breathing. he stops thinking, He stops seeing anything but Her. Apart from the whirling subconscious that prevents Mad from staying to still, and letting Dischord obliterate him and everything around him in a whirl of Creation/Destruction, Everything about Madadric stops.

And sees her.

There, right in front of him.

Luci! here? how did he know about her? of course he knows about her, he 'read' it. picked it out of my memories and actions. but does that mean she didn't die? or she DID die, nd he brought her back to use me? or she's still dead, and this is an illusion? God, she's RIGHT THERE.

"Lu...luci...?!?"

Still frozen to the spot with shock, Mad battles with trying to fit this new development into his self, and flits from one emotion to the next. confusion, Hatred at Fold for toying with him, with HER like this, anguish at seeing her just lying there, lines formed on her unconscious brow from worry or pain or terror, or all three. Then the hatred and anger comes back. what is he DOING to her? WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING TO HER?

Fold snaps his fingers, and then she is falling. when she hits the ground, Mad is finally broken from his shock, and he leaps to her, once again dropping the guitar. Falling to her side, he reaches to stroke the face he remembers, the face he loves, and it vanishes, leaving the ghost of a touch on his fingertips.

NO!

Once again, Mad is on his feet, whirling to face Fold, the guitar once again flying from the sand to his waiting palm. A snarl of pure rage distorts his features slightly beyond human range as Dischord energy thunders out into the area, warping and changing the surrounds in ever so slight, but still fundamental ways from one second to the next.

"Fold! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HER?!"

"She is safe... for the moment." Fold says, stretching out his right arm for Mad to see. A rune flashes on his inner tricep.

An image of a face swims into mad's mind, and a memory of a voice his ears had never heard. A boy. He'd grown up surrounded by misery and death, and had died young, pointlessly, at the hands of a man who had lived pointlessly. Sandora.

Death.

"Now, I can't have you causing me any more trouble, Adric. So I have linked your precious woman's life to my own. Should anything happen to me, she will die, painfully." Fold loweres himself to the ground, face to face with Mad. "I found your strings, and now we shall see you dance."

"Fuck!" Mad sobs, as he falls to his knees in the sand. he drops Dischord again, and punds his fists, because it is either do that, or launch himself at Fold. Something he can't afford to do, now.

Mad gfeels himself yanked in two directions by his wanjts and desires. Part of him wants to just leap at the man before him, tear him apart for what he has done. Another part wants to stand up, forget his love and everything else, and just BATTLE. Fight like he has never fought, for ever and ever. Howling and raging, and Sharing an eternity of battle with this man, perhaps worthy of such conflict.

but there is another part. The part that held the dark-haired girl in his arms the night just past, the world just past. The part that remembers all those fond, bittersweet memories of them together. The part that worried and hurt when her mind became damaged, and she hurt herself, and him vicariously and directly.

This part, his compassion, his humanity, the part that had come out of the swirling madness and buried all the dead, This part made the decision.

"...what... do you want me to do...?"

The words feet like bile in his throat. he wants to throw up. He wants to die, he wants to kill, he wants to BURN THE WHOLE OF EVERYTHING INTO SMOULDERING PAIN.

But, he just kneels there. The unbreakable Free spirit, caught, and broken.

well, broken edges are Jagged.

As Fold talks on, Mad listens. But there is a part, somewhere that he doesn't see, that even his boarders, the spirits of the runes don't know exists. it whirrs. It spins to it's own tune, similar to Dischord, and just as unreadable and unpredictable to any and all that may see it.

"These are your friends, Adric. Your comrades."

Mad's eyes pass over the reflective gates, looking but not really seeing the images. hopelessness and disintrest warring for dominance, now that he had been caught.

it's over. The run has ended. I'm just caught again. it all means nothing. i'm Trapped, and i can't see the way out.

"You are to pick one. Only one. Any one."

Mad looks dully at Fold, seeing the obvious delight in his face, a sadistic humor curling his lips.

i suppose he wants me to say something, so he can enjoy whatever it is he has planned. You are getting predictable, Fold.

"Yeah? And?"

Mad sees the delight written all over the man's face as he turns to face him.

you can read me because of your uniqe perspective, but i can read you because i'm learning how you think, how you feel. You are trapped in the patterns of yourself, just as i am trapped by my love for her, and your sadisim. at the thought of Luci, a rush of cold goes through Mad.

"And kill that one."

Something flares up in mad. disgust, outrage, but not surprise. He'd seen it coming. But he isn't ready to just give in yet. Nopt killing Fold is one thing, but killing the others, Fold is going too far. no way.

"What was that? I didn't hear you..."

"I said you'd have to do better than that." He stands, but turns his head away. if he looks at the sadistic bastard, he might not be able to stop himself, and he can't affort that. "Just because killing you is out for the moment, doesn't mean I will hurt any of the Expatriates...."

"I thought you would say that." Fold sighs, and his eyes glint when Mad sees the other flashing rune.

no...NO.

"you wouldn't." Madadric holds onto his temper by a thin thread, Dischord bubbling so close to the surface, so close to breaking out, and taking everthing withing sight and tearing it up and distorting and changing and destroying and creating at an unfathomable triphammer pace.

"Oh, but I did. You see, Franklin was just itching to be used. Pyromaniacs can't seem to grow tired of their obsession, even after death. So I put him to use." The smile on Fold's lips is almost the undoing of Madadric, and quite possibly Fold. He may have access to the world Outside, but there is still a great part anchored here, and if HERE was wiped out, then that part would suffer some consequences.

And then, as had happend a number of times before, everything inside madadric shifts, and he goes cold inside, A cold, fierce anger, with no outlet, but at least some control.

"I simply linked him to Luci... and another Expatriate. So long as that person lives... she suffers."

Again, Mad's emotions go through a polar shift, bouncing him back and forth like a ball, trown too hard under a school desk. "Which one!?! TELL ME!!"

And then Fold too explodes in his characteristic rage, throwing his words at the red-haired man still standing-STANDING!- before him.

"You have NO RIGHT to demand of me!! You want her suffering to stop?!? YOU FIGURE IT OUT!!"

His anger vented, Fold goes back to enjoying his pwer over this wilful man, no, this wilful collection of WORDS, and drawls into the ChaosBard's ear; "Now, dear boy... what is your answer? Will you take one of the portals, and kill off one of your pitiful friends?"

Mad clenches his fists, his eyes slit, as the familiar, hot rage comes back up. He has to do something to stop him from exploding, literally. he squeezes his eyes shut for a second, feels it all slipping away, out of his grasp, and opens his eyes.

Madadric swings, and plants his fist right on Fold's cheek, laying the man flat on his back.

"Yes... Master."

Mad turns, and walks toward one of the portals, not looking which, hounded by Fold's mad laughter as he lays in the sand, holding his bruised but healing face.

OOC: The target for Mad's treachery has been selected, and talked to about it. The scene and outcome isn't fully written, but it has some form.

I'll let that person start off the meeting with Mad. just end your next post with the character coming upon Mad who is sitting somewhere ahead as they travel. if you want more detail, PM me.

T'ings are hottin' up in 'ere, ey?/OOC

_________________
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 10:27 am 
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The pattern of the world was a shattered mirror now, the pieces scattered to the floor. Fold had broken the laws of the universe, and created his own laws. Thrown into a jumbled and mixed up mess, it was amazing that the laws still held true at all. But yet they did. Gravity still worked. Magnetic pull still connected microscopic pieces of matter together. Time still marched on. Matter still decayed and died.

Vandal let his thoughts drift to these things, these new impressions he had of the world as he made his way forward. The bike had finally given out about a mile back, the rear tire going flat after striking a sliver of metal in the road. He let the butt of his cigarette hit the ground as he walked, reaching up to rub his chin thoughtfully.

A pulse of energy in the distance caused him to look up, stopping to wait. It came again, though distorted from the first time. The familiarity of it was almost heartbreaking. He knew it. He knew that power. He began to run, booted feet slapping against the dirt road.

He's still alive. I'm not the only one. I knew he couldn't do it, I knew he couldn't have killed him. Not this one.

Vandal skidded to a halt as he topped the rise, the ground leveling out. He could feel the pulse of Dischord's anarchic song against his nerves, jarring and grating but blessedly familiar.

And there he sat, Adric the Mad. As naked as the day he was born, crouched in the dirt with an arm around the guitar. His back was braced against a large boulder as he sat there, those eyes staring off at seemingly nothing.

"You know, if you're looking to impress anyone, there's better ways to do it than taking off your pants, madadric."

A grin made it's way onto Vandal's face as he began walking towards fiery-haired young man.

_________________
"Like a game of pick up sticks,
played by fucking lunatics"


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