[OPEN] Zen
#61
Ozihcs heard Shadow mumble a few words, but did not know whom she spoke to. Was that Shade still around?

He did not have to ask; the shadow monster was just about to break out of the shadows. A black bear leapt forth to stop the rampaging piglet. They were about equal size, but Ozihcs had no idea which power the two possessed or who was stronger than the other. He expected this would be no easy battle, for any of them.

Shado had decided to fight too. Perhaps she and her Shade could take down the six-legged monster together. An arrow did not seem to stop the attacker, however; the creature continued toward them at great speed . . .

. . . until it stopped.

Between the two sides of the battle stood a horned, humanoid creature holding out his arms. The large monster had stopped in front of him, as if recognising him. They were . . . they were friends.

When the horned stranger turned around to look at them, Ozichcs did not know what to say. Apparently, the monster must belong to the stranger, in a similar way that Ozi belonged to Ozihcs. The difference here was, these two were good friends, while Ozihcs and his monster were not.

"Is he . . . is he your companion?" Ozihcs asked carefully. "Is he a dream-monster . . . or a daemon?" Perhaps it would have been more polite to introduce himself and Shado, but he was still in a bit of shock. It wasn't the physical size of the six-legged monster that troubled him, as much as it was the stories he had heard about such creatures' dark powers.

OOC: I will be off until Monday or Tuesday, so I'm not sure I can post until then.
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#62
The smaller of the two anthropomorphic aliens was the first to speak. "Is he...is he your companion? Is he a dream-monster...or a daemon?" it asked warily, seeming afraid of Ozomin's lusus, which wasn't surprising. After all, a few seconds ago the large beast had been barreling straight towards it. So it spoke the same language as Ozomin, meaning this planet had been conquered by trolls at some point in its past. So it would seem Ozomin was still in the same galaxy. But Ozomin had never heard of dream-monsters, or daemons, for that matter.
"Um, I don't know what those things are, but I don't think so," he replied. "He's my lusus. He looks after me, and I look after him." Now came the slightly awkward part. "Anyway, this may be a strange question, but what planet are we on?"
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#63
The giant water piglet had stopped, and a gray skinned, orange horned individual was stroking its snout... or face... or you know, whatever. This place just didn't put the breaks on the weird.

Dylan was still a bear, and still had his head lowered, issuing an unceasing growl from bared teeth.

"Dylan!" Shado said sharply, approaching him and letting her bow dissipate. "That's enough!"

Dylan looked at her in reproach, but stopped his growling and began slowly to shrink in size, his body evaporating into tendrils of shadow that themselves dissolved into the air. When the last tendril vanished, Dylan floated formlessly once more, silent and passive. As Shado turned to the horned creature, Dylan drifted calmly to the side of the street and disappeared into an area of shadow. Shado knew what he was doing. He was preparing himself, again, to protect Shado if she needed him.

Putting Dylan out of her mind, Shado addressed the newcomer.

"I have no idea what planet this is" - Planet, he had said planet. Did that mean he was from this Physical Plane and simply an alien on this particular world? - "I, and my companion, are more interested in what plane of existence this is." Maybe it wasn't the wisest idea to ask someone to describe their own Physical Plane, but Shado was definitely lacking in the wise-ness department tonight.
कालो ऽस्मि लोकक्षयकृत् प्रवृद्धो लोकान्समाहर्तुमिह प्रवृत्त
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
-Bhagavad Gita (XI, 32), as quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co...of_fog.jpg

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#64
Ozihcs had never heard of a lusus, but perhaps it was not so bad after all. He could not answer the troll's question about which planet they were on. The surroundings looked like some place in his own world, but still it was not.

"I think, we are in some kind of dream," he replied. That would make the most sense, considering the way he had disappeared in the sky before arriving here. Well, of course, there was the possibility that an alien had sucked him away to another planet, but that had never happened to Ozihcs before. If so, then he must still be in his universe, but on another planet, which resembled his own, considering the architecture he saw around him. He did not think it likely that there was a planet in the same universe so alike his own, so that he was in another reality or a dream was most likely.

Other people had arrived here too, it seemed. Both Shado and the troll appeared to be as much strangers as he was himself to this world. How had they gotten here? And why?

"How did you get here?" Ozihcs asked the troll.
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#65
Ozomin gasped involuntarily as the large black beast suddenly evaporated, seemingly at the tall alien's command. If it was indeed a type of lusus, it was a very powerful one. Ozomin was glad he had managed to stop a fight. However, he was surprised to find out that these aliens didn't know which planet this was, either. In fact, from the way the tall one talked, it seemed they were from a different plane of existence altogether, which wasn't something Ozomin had ever thought possible. This raised another interesting possibility for Ozomin. Perhaps instead of being transported between planets, he had been transported between universes. It was a troubling thought, as it meant that he had no way to get back home.

"I'm not sure which plane of existence this is," he told the tall alien. "At first I thought it was the same one my planet was on, but now I'm not so sure. The laws of physics seem the same here, but I'll have to do some proper experimentation to find out. As for how I got here, both me and my lusus were teleported here by an odd machine from space, which crash-landed near my hive. There was no similar machine nearby when I got here, so I guess that means I' stuck here for now."
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#66
"Dream?" Shado said in response to Ozihcs. "Nah, if this were a dream then I'd be able to fly." Wait... could she fly? Hmmm... She'd have to test that. Later.

The newcomer had informed them that he too was not of this plane. Two was already pushing it, but three plane jumpers, all trapped in this Physical Plane, at the same time, converging on the same location? That simply could not be coincidence. There was something larger at play here. Could they have been brought here deliberately? By whom? How? Shado had messed up her Walk all on her own. Could it be possible... that the plane itself had brought them here, like some kind of cosmic Venus flytrap? Now that was a disturbing thought.

But wait, Shado wasn't trapped in this Physical Plane. She could still travel to the Shadow Plane anytime she desired. She thought so, at least. Another thing she'd have to test later. Not now, not in front of strangers.

She shared her concerns with the others: "Well, it would seem that all three of us are intruders in this particular Physical Plane. I wonder what the odds are of that? Let me think... Oh, yeah. Zip, zilch, nil, nada. Something's going on here. Do not like it." Ironically enough, Shado hated unknowns. She liked to know everything about everyone.

"So, what's your story?"
कालो ऽस्मि लोकक्षयकृत् प्रवृद्धो लोकान्समाहर्तुमिह प्रवृत्त
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
-Bhagavad Gita (XI, 32), as quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co...of_fog.jpg

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#67
Ozihcs had no idea what Shado did in her dreams, what abilities she had there. Perhaps she was right though, and this was no nightmare. Ozihcs had been sure though, that it was no ordinary nightmare, but how could Shado be so sure to tell dream and reality apart. Could she even tell what level of existence this was? Ozihcs had no idea what dimension they had crossed. The fourth or the fifth dimension? Through time or alternate histories? The area was familiar enough to him that it was possible for him to be in a physical replica of his own world, but in another story line or another layer of existence. Perhaps he could use his knowledge about the area to help in finding clues. He could not get to conclusions too fast though; they could come upon places totally alien to him. What lay outside this city, he had no idea. It could be a vast wasteland for all he knew.

Shado then asked them to tell their story. Ozihcs assumed she wanted to know about the troll first, since they had not been introduced properly yet. He waited for the troll to speak, whilst he watched the buildings round him again. They hadn't changed. Each brick house was quiet, the windows dark, and no signs of people. Atop a very tall stone building there was a gargoyle watching him with red, glowing eyes.
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#68
OOC: FFFFFF- I keep leaving this, I'm a terrible person!

Also, meaningless exposition!
Booker vanished in, surprisingly to Kathira, only a small wave of heat. Not 'hot' heat, more like a warm breeze. Whatever method Booker used for teleportation was obviously not mana based, since mana useage almost always expended waste energy via light. Either way, it was a jump, and all jumps left a trace of the path. Kathira closed her eyes, brought her hands up in a prayer pose out of habit, and focused. The darkness behind eyelids suddenly exploded into a massive scene of all colours and shapes and beings and places before settling into a greyscale scene pockmarked by colour, a large expanse of a very subtle dirt-brown from the stone the wall was made of, the occasional tuft of green from the occasional plant poking it's way in, the ribbons of bright silver and forks of electricity occasionally flickering into her view that were, in fact, coming from her. She was brightest, though, understandable considering her status as not just a living thing, not just a mana artist, but a robotic angel. Angels and demons tended to leak all over as was, which had bled over into her electrical mana post-roboticisation.

Everything was imprinted upon a texture that was reminiscent of woven sack-cloth. This was the fabric of reality, the 'barrier' between universe that everyone needed to rip slightly to teleport. Teleport-caused minor tears healed over quickly; reality could be a stubborn little thing and minor jumps weren't at all dangerous. That said, with enough power and knowledge, some demons had tried to tear down entire universes and rumour had it that a couple had been successful. And even more hushed rumours had claimed an angel had been forced to collapse an entire universe himself. Something about an immense number of highly dangerous artifacts and creatures entirely capable of crushing the entire celestial army if released being amassed by that particular demon...

Not that any of this mattered right now. All Kathira had to do right now was check the spot Booker had vanished from for the warping of the fabric into the hole used...if there even was one. Thankfully, there was, though it was very faint and had less mana around it than normal surroundings, especially odd since mana-based teleportation tended to leave greater quantities of mana around the warping. But the warping was there, as was a tiny hole, which Kathira immediately began scanning to pick up on universal-vectors before extrapolating the most likely co-ordinates of the exit Booker had taken. All it took was the addition of about three metres to the left to hopefully avoid telefragging the both of them, and the exit was known.

Kathira opened her eyes and shook herself to reorient with natural eyesight and camera data. She hated using mana-vision like that, gave her a headache and confused her systems no end. Not to mention the always extremely confusing starting flash of every universe, time frame, and plane all at the same time. There was a reason no angel sustained the starting flash for any longer than a second, despite myths of the 'first angels'. A few moments later, she flung her arm out to her right, a personal physical mnemonic for engaging a jump, and vanished in a short-lived flash of electricity, one that would engage on her reappearance at her destination.

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

The first thing the angel noticed was the sunlight. It must've been day in this part of the new universe, and had nice weather, apparently. Far cry from the dismal, dark and dreary city she'd just left.
The second thing she noticed was an icon in her HUD proclaiming that she was running low on power. It always kicked in when she didn't have enough to jump, and a further diagnostic told her she had about three quarters what was needed. She'd really need a power cell change after this.
The next things she noticed were that she was on grass, not telefragged (always good), and there were trees right in front of her. Pretty little forest, then.
The last things she noticed were a decidedly worried looking Booker to her left, and a smell that she was all too used to. Smoke. A pleasant smell, to her, when controlled, but this was clearly a forest and obviously not a safe place to be at the moment.

Where there was smoke, there was usually fire.
This often catches me out, too, but Xander the Crocoal is female.
Avi by DevArt user DragonA7X, taken from here. Free to use.
'...No matter what you do or what you become: You are nothing less than beautiful.'--SCP-1342
'One voice is small, but the difference between zero and one is as great as one and infinity.'--SCP-1281
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#69
He could feel his pain. He always could. Sometimes, it was a light depression, weighing down on his emotions like a thin blanket. Presently it pierced every fibre of his being like so many knives, addling his thoughts and preventing him from getting an accurate picture of what was going on.

Booker took a deep breath and stoked his daylight and darkness, bringing the world to life again and causing the incessant pounding in his head to come to a halt promptly. He stood a little straighter, thin arms alive with artificial strength. It was as though the overcast in his mind and body had suddenly dissipated.

Eyes clamped shut, Booker activated his Vision Sunder. Carnage's vision became his. The people had come, again, dressed in their ragged clothes with black smeared on their faces. The colour of power, and of war. Their steel swords, rusty and practically useless at this point, were brandished menacingly at the ûru-wahlf. His red fur was being licked by the flames of torches, and he had been cornered through-and-through. He could probably kill each and every scoundrel that approached him now with little resistance, but that was not the beast's way. Despite their great size and power, ûru-spawn was almost exclusively pacifistic, to a fault. You worked things out the hard way, wahlf's honour.

"Damn that fool," Booker said under his breath, turning around. "Kathira, could you, uh, come with me? I'm going to need some help. You, uh... you don't seem like the kind of person that's afraid to soil your hands a little bit." Without waiting for a response, Booker broke out into a brisk run, in the direction that his Compass Sunder had long since pointed him.
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#70
OOC: Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry this took so long, but I've been really busy. Anyone remember how I talked about going to Japan a few times? Yeah, well, I'm there now. It's awesome. Because of that I don't really know how often I'll be able to be here, but I'll do my best.

"My... story?" Ozomin repeated. "I don't really have one. There's nothing too special about me; I've lived a fairly typical life for a troll of my age, at least until I accidentally wound up here." Ozomin frowned in thought. "I honestly don't know if anything links us," he said. "We're not even the same species."

OOC: Long break, short post, I'm sorry. Anyway, I'd also like to point out that none of the rain is hitting Ozomin, there is a sphere of dry air surrounding him.
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#71
OOC: Glad to have you back, Eonrider! Hopefully we can revive this RP.

"Hmmm... You're right, that's not much of a story." Was he holding back, or truly innocent of any harmful secrets? Shado noticed then that even though rain poured down all around them, none of it hit the horned stranger. A few inches of dry space deflected the rain from his skin. So best to assume he was holding back his entire villainous backstory.

Also, he was a troll. Because of course he was a troll.

"So, stranger, what's your name?"
कालो ऽस्मि लोकक्षयकृत् प्रवृद्धो लोकान्समाहर्तुमिह प्रवृत्त
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
-Bhagavad Gita (XI, 32), as quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co...of_fog.jpg

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#72
The others did not speak much. That left the rest up to Ozihcs, but he was not sure what he had to say either. He did not like people meddling in his history, but he had to say something for social purposes.

"My name is Ozihcs and I come from Nostalgia," he said. "About myself, well . . . I've been a prisoner in a large house. My parents sent me there for some purpose, but I have tried to escape . . . and succeeded." He looked about himself again, and wondered if this was a good place to have escaped to. Shielding himself from the rain with his umbrella, he did not notice that the troll had an invisible one round his body.

Ozihcs had not paid attention to that the new stranger was a troll until he mentioned it himself. Were trolls not playing tricks on people, like trolling and stuff? Or maybe he wasn't that kind of troll.
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#73
OOC: I still exist here. Kinda. I'll write up the full proof later.

Where was Remna? Where could he have gone? Oh, there he is!

He was in some kind of tall building. It had many stories, in both the literal and metaphoric sense. The room he was in was far above the city, whatever city this was. He could see the people below - they looked like ants scurrying around.

He was most surprised. For being fellow human beings, they were far different than was. It was truly a shame, he was dying to discuss his Groryan Kinesis Postulate with someone... but whenever he tried writing to the people passing by, they simply shook their heads and walked on. How peculiar.

For now he would have to set aside his postulate to answer a set of more interesting questions: What was this space, and who were these people, and why where they here? Perhaps this entire world was a function to some degree, where these humans were the inputs, and if there were inputs, assuming one or infinitely many outputs was fairly trivial. Whatever the case, he needed to communicate with the other beings in the area to begin his speculation.

OOC: I am going to make an actual effort to interact with people, but I'd rather not map myself directly onto your conversation. I will be looking for an opening, though.
~ Taav
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#74
OOC: @Taav I believe last time I'm the rp we were communicating.
Moderator Hawkman32
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#75
"My name is Ozomin. Ozomin Seimic."
Ozomin detected that the shadowy stranger was displeased with his 'story', or rather, his lack of one. The small one didn't seem to mind, and even shared some sparse background information about himself. Ozomin decided to refer to it as he, because it did bear some resemblance to young troll males. The gender of the shadowed one was harder to determine, due to the strange suit they wore. It kind of... shifted as Ozomin tried to look at it. He wondered what it was made out of. He turned his shades' zoom function on to get a closer look. What he saw was astonishing. The suit wasn't made out of anything at all. Rather, it seemed to be a shadow cast by nothing.
"I can see you still don't trust me," he said to the dark stranger. "Remember, if I had wanted you to come to harm, I would have simply let my lusus overrun you. On the other hand, right now I don't have much reason to trust you, save that I'm not dead yet. You haven't mentioned your name yet, but I'm more interested in that suit of yours. If my glasses aren't broken, it's not made out of any kind of matter I've seen before."
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#76
It was hard to be a nice guy when you had the fate of humanity to care about.

Humanity, after all, was made of stubborn little pricks. A whole, great big lot of them. And unfortunately for God, humanity wasn't restricted to human beings. That's what he'd thought when he signed up for the job, but his mentor had been intentionally vague. No, it was much more than that. So much more than that. The plane of the physical was one thing; gone were the days when a god needed to intervene personally. People worked things out on their own these days. They rarely required anything more than haphazard supervision.

No, the planes of the hypothetical were where things got messy. An infinite amount of overlapping planes of reality where nothing is outside of the realm of possibility... Well, sometimes things needed a little bit of divine intervention.

God hit the ground, hard. The earth splintered beneath him, huge chunks of dirt flying into the air, away from him. Filthy, unclean things. The very earth itself had been polluted by the ill will of man, and could not be in his presence. It shattered into ash as his feet touched it.

"Gods," he whispered. "Today, there shall be born gods." The burden of godhood was great. Even with all-encompassing power, sometimes, in a reality with so many dimensions, you could feel quite small.

"Haru-sama." God snapped back into reality. There was no splintered earth, no broken worlds. He was standing with his bare feet in the grass, shivering as the brisk wind rustled his black hair. Some day, great power would be his— as a god of creation, he had the potential to be something great. But greatness came with time.

"What do you want, Hanako-chan?"

The girl that had called God's name ran up to his side and sat down at the grass by his feet, her skirt flapping in the breeze. She wore an ornate dress usually used only for purification ceremonies; probably she'd had a busy morning.

"I know what you're about to do," she whispered, looking up at him with her big, brown eyes. "I've been watching you. I've seen you working on it."

"Hush, child," Haru said through grit teeth, looking around the open field to see if any others were listening in. "You don't know about the things you're speaking of. You're just a girl. You can't possibly understand the will of a god like me."

Hanako frowned. "But I'm a goddess too, Haru-sama." Haru frowned. Why did she insist on calling him Haru-sama? He was a god, true, and respect was due, but he was her brother, after all...

She was right, however. She was a goddess, but she wasn't a creation goddess like Haru was. She was far less powerful: when she completed her training, Hanako would be the goddess of flowers. Then Hana would die, and Hanako would take her name, and her place.

The succession of gods. It was a choice, of course: gods were immortal and could only die by choice. Why would they choose to do so? And yet, so many did. Haru was considered an outlier for making it clear that he didn't intend to do so.

"Do you want to hear the truth, Hanako-chan?" The little girl nodded, staring at Haru with those pleading eyes of hers. Haru sighed. "Very well. Hana-sama has taught you that the power of a god is defined by his glory, right?"

"Right!" Hanako replied, but then she furrowed her brow and cocked her head to the side. "His glory?" she asked. "Don't you mean his or her?"

Haru frowned. "Yes, his or her. Whatever. At any rate, it's... very difficult for a god like me to be glorious. Gods like you and Hana-sama; well, people see flowers. They can look at them and respect them. It's easy. It's difficult to look at a concept and thank a god for it, especially when, in many cases, the concept is thought not to exist."

Hanako gave a puzzled look. "...Doesn't exist? But it has to, right? Otherwise you wouldn't be here!" Haru smiled and ran his fingers through Hanako's hair.

"Right. But I'm the god of of spontaneous generation, like the Haru before me. And spontaneous generation exists, but people don't ever see it. Even though all people do is think, they don't realise how spontaneous thought really is. So I'm going to give some people the power to spontaneously generate anything they wish, just like I can do, and maybe then they'll bring me glory."

Hanako grimaced. "But Haru-sama... that's against the rules..."

"I know. And you won't tell anyone, will you?"

"No..."

"Good. Off with you, then. I've got places I need to be." Hanako nodded and disappeared into thin air, leaving behind a single lily where she had previously stood.

Haru took a deep breath. Alone, again. Now it was time for him to do the thing he'd been waiting to do for so long. As the god of spontaneous generation, he could create anything from nothing. It was a very powerful ability. And yet, its strength was limited by his lack of glory. Once he got a good head-start, it would be easy for him to gain the glory he needed exponentially. This was the tough part, the true test of his strength. And he was going to blow it out of the water.

In an instant, he was gone. He appeared again on a street; the rain poured down in a solid sheet, forming rivers either side of the sloped road and pouring into the drains violently. Cities always had irked Haru. There was no life here. It was all stone. Everything stayed the same.

There they were. The first group he'd selected. A troll— a bloody troll, the most destructive of humanity— and handful of people, and a living venn diagram. A peculiar bunch, but that's why he'd chosen them. They would make better use of the power than anyone else.

Dramatic entrances had always been Haru's game. With a grin, he vanished again, then reappeared in the centre of the congregation with a blast of powerful wind; lightning struck overhead as he made his reappearance.

"I do hate to break up the conversation," he said, his voice naturally loud enough to overcome the sound of he pouring rain, "but I believe you'll be more interested in whatever it is I have to say."
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#77
Ozihcs listened to the troll introducing himself. Ozichs realised, that he felt a bit more comfortable with the troll than he did with Shado. Shadows still frightened him, and even if Ozomin was accompanied by a big monster, the young troll looked nice . . . despite being a troll. Shado's face was covered by a mask, so it was hard to tell what she really looked like and what her expression was. There was something the two people had in common though, and it took a while for Ozihcs to realise what it really was. They both had some sort of monster with them; Ozomin had his lusus and Shado her Shade. Ozihcs thought about Ozi, his own monster, and looked up at the tall buildings again and realised that something he had seen there moments ago was now missing.

He turned back to the shadow warrior and the troll again, about to give comments to the mistrust between the two, when suddenly there was a flash of lightning next to them. Ozichs was thrown back, his umbrella caught in a storm-wind. He landed in a pile of rain water, drenched and shocked. He had just arrived into this world, and strange encounters happened one after the other.
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#78
After the encounter with the shark, I had been following the kid around... what was his name... Ah, Remna! I had attempted to teach his some English, but I'm not sure how it's going. He doesn't seem to talk much and it always going to these crazy places. He's currently at some tower floating above the city. I have no idea how he or it got there but I just had the mites for a bridge up.

"You still here Remna?" I asked.
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#79
Remna could hear someone calling from below.

"Rem.. na."

Was that what his name sounded like? Strange... He made his way down the stairs, towards the voice.

There was Jango, climbing in through a window. He always seemed to be around. Perhaps he was tailing Remna for some reason? Remna wasn't really sure, which bothered him.

But now that they were both here, what would they do? It seemed all they could do was climb higher. Remna wanted to go to the roof floor.
~ Taav
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#80
The troll was alarmingly perceptive. He was studying Shado closely, peering at her through his darkly tinted glasses, and in doing only that he had already deduced that her suit wasn't normal matter. Almost no one ever realized that fact this quickly. He seemed sincere in his declaration of good will, but that meant nothing. Lies were everywhere, and every one wore a smile of innocence. Shado was officially on her guard in regards to this troll.

Even as her mind sharply considered the stranger before her, however, her body automatically loosened its stance, and even though no one could see her face, a sloppy smile still grew across it. It was an instinctive response by this time. Someone suspected she might be more than she was letting on, so she deflected their suspicion by acting the goofy fool. Only sometimes she wondered if she was really acting.

The troll... Ozomin... was too astute to be fooled by a simple act. Shado had to give him something, some display of power that would satisfy his curiosity while not revealing anything important. Shado didn't even have to think about what display that would be; she'd done this before, more than once. She would give some casual response, then flit around the street making overly dramatic kung fu moves like something out of a comedy spy film. Her audience would be - hopefully - bemused enough that they would have no further inquiries, and the question pertaining to the nature of her suit would be conveniently forgotten.

Before Shado could begin her act, though, she was knocked back by what felt like an invisible wall of force. She flew backwards, hitting the pavement once, twice, before she finally got her feet under her, stopping in a crouch, drawing as deeply as she could from the Shadow Plane. Shadow energy surged through her, a torrent of it, more than she could possibly hold at once. Her suit pulsed, then shadow tendrils thicker than her arms erupted from her body. In her crouching position, she looked up ready to defend against any further attack. A man stood before her, black hair with bare feet, calmly addressing her and her equally startled companions. Which didn't mean he wouldn't attack again. If before had been an attack at all.

Dylan was not so restrained. Once again he roared out from the shadows, this time in the shape of a massive gorilla. Immediately, however, before Shado could even tell him to stay back, he stopped. Stopped short and stared at the man, filled with fury and fear and... awe? Then, slowly, ever so slowly, Dylan cast his gaze downward and bowed his great head.

Shock froze Shado. She had never seen this reaction from Dylan before. She had thought that there was no one in all the worlds, no matter how powerful, that Dylan wasn't willing to take on to protect Shado. Who was this man? No, that wasn't the right question.

"What are you?" she asked. Power still flowed through her, but now it felt small and insignificant.
कालो ऽस्मि लोकक्षयकृत् प्रवृद्धो लोकान्समाहर्तुमिह प्रवृत्त
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
-Bhagavad Gita (XI, 32), as quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co...of_fog.jpg

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