Blank Slate
OOC: This roleplay will be mostly impromptu on my end. I have an idea of where I want things to go, but it may get crazy at times. There aren't really any sign-ups, per say. If you are in, simply make a post with your intro. Feel free to include any characteristics in your opening through your RP, or through an OOC tag, though they must be reasonable. Character backgrounds SHOULD NOT be shared at this time in any form. Why is that? Read on and you shall know.

.:Blank Slate:.

---Prologue: Awakening---


That is where we make our start. An unequivocal, undying silence. A flat plain of white, stretching as far as the eye could see. No grass, no trees, no sky, nothing but the most pure of colors. The blank landscape, beckoning all to surrender like a flag in battle. But who exactly did this vision of monotone beckon to?

The silence is broken.

Not much of a sound, but a sound nonetheless. The sound of heavy eyelashes lifting off the suctioned padding of one's eyelid. Then breathing was heard. The sudden kind of breathing you hear when someone starts to hyperventilate, or just finishes a one-mile sprint. What was breathing in this place, or life in this place for that matter? These were simply thoughts to be thought about afterwards, after the awakening was over.

The young man took his first breath in the blank world, which seemed to be oxygenated. His thoughts exploded. Where am I? What is this place? Questions that couldn't be answered were all that he had at this moment. He tried to move the rest of his body, but to no avail. It seemed like only the fine-tuning muscles like those that controlled his eyes were working. Before any other thoughts were had, however, something jolted him. He opened his mouth somehow to scream but nothing came out yet.

Sensation. He felt something as soon as the jolt occured. His scream staggered from silence to a slow increase in audibility. His thoughts gathered at last. Why I am screaming right now? Whatever is happening, it's not pain. The man's voice died out as he came to his senses... and moved. The sense of feeling and control has returned - if ever he had it before. Slowly, he rose, still getting used to the feeling of moving. It was at that time that another thought occured to him. Who am I? It was hard to tell, but he did have business casual attire on him, and so he quickly brushed his hands against his pockets in hopes of gaining some sort of knowledge pertaining to his own person.

Aha! A wallet! Pulling the black leather piece of worn out fabric from his back pocket, he quickly located what appeared to be some sort of ID within the containment item. Russ Andos... that's me, Russ thought, staring at the picture of himself on what appeared to be an Ohio Driver's License. He apparently lives, or lived at some point, on a Huron Street in Toledo. He was 6'0'' tall, 162 lbs, and an organ donor it seemed. He looked at the picture again, seeing as how there were no mirrors around. He had broad shoulders, red hair about five or six inches long, a slim nose, brown eyes that weren't too close together, but weren't too far apart. He had what seemed to be a slim but toned figure, based on what he could tell from the ID and from looking down. Russ definitely wasn't an athlete, but he took care of himself at least.

Something wasn't right, though. He'd been tuning out everything that wasn't of concern to his own person until this moment, but came to a startling realization. Russ was not alone. All around him, other people lying on the ground started to wake up, be revitalized, and then make their own attempts to figure out what was going on and where they were.

OOC: Again, your characters don't exactly have background to share at this moment. Asides from anything they might have on their person, they most likely don't remember a thing about their life or who they are. I'm excited to get this going and see what you guys come up with. Let's have some fun now!

Important: You guys have approximately one week to post your intros and get involved before the RP starts. I'd prefer not to let anyone else in immediately after getting started. There may be a point in the future where late entries can hop in, but for now you should get in now if you plan on participating.
Pokémon Turquoise
Administrator | Friendly Dude | Resident Ghost Humanoid
Feel free to PM me for anything you might need

Currently: HERE | Until: The Foreseeable Future

"Hello, Maximus."

Maximus awoke. There was only white; white in all directions, with no space or depth or really anything of the sort. It was just white, and there was a silence so utter and clear, that the voice in Max's head sounded as real as a person speaking into his ear might.

Max was disoriented. He didn't really know anything at all, it seemed. There was a base knowledge: he knew about people, about life, about death. He knew just enough to know that something about this wasn't quite right. Why it wasn't quite right, Max didn't know; he couldn't put a finger on it, whatever a finger was.

"I'm still here, Maximus. Have you forgotten about me so soon?"

Max had, actually, forgotten about the voice in the midst of his confusion. He was about to lie about it, but there was no lying from someone in your head.

Yes, I did. Who are you, who am I?

The voice laughed; it was a resounding laugh, that seemed to echo throughout the blank void all about. It didn't, of course; the voice was entirely in Max's mind.

"Oh, rest assured, I know all that and more."

A pause.

"But I think it will be rather fun to watch you squirm awhile instead.
OOC: Two minds, one body. It's not a psychic or anything. Is that considered schizophrenia? A quick look on the Internet says this sort of thing occasionally happens to very intelligent people, which falls right into place. Is this okay, or is it overpowered? I didn't give Max any belongings, seeing as he has this.
? // ?[url=][/url]
Several meters away from Russ and Maximus, a scrawny young man sat alone, staring at the void landscape surrounding him. His face reflected the fear and confusion that had struck him moments earlier. He tried to call out to the people surrounding him, only to find that himself unable to speak at an audible volume. After several attempts over the course of three minutes, he barely managed to mutter a short phrase.

“... The hell... is this?...”

Fighting a seemingly intense gravity, he slowly stood up. The sound of rattling keys startled him, and he turned to his right side to find a purple carabiner carrying several keys and a card that appeared to be identification of some sort. They were attached to the belt loop on his black dress pants, partially hidden under a loose, white, short-sleeved shirt. Unclipping the carabiner, he flipped to the identification card.

“Alpha N. Decatz
Kiol College of Music
Student ID: 55982”

There was also a small photo printed on the card, showing a male in his late teens or early twenties, with short, black hair and hazel eyes. He had a concerned – nearly depressed – look on his face.

Alpha clipped the keys back onto his belt loop and casually stuck his hands into his pockets, which both came into contact with new objects. Pulling out his left hand revealed a small touch screen device wrapped in a black silicone casing. The object in his right hand was much smaller – a 16 GB USB drive. Both devices had been labeled with a silver permanent marker, the tablet phone simply had the word “Al” written on the cover. The drive, however, was labeled “Optimizer”, a word that meant nothing to him in his present state.

Not recognizing these objects he had in tow, he sighed and placed them back in his pockets. He tried to speak again, this time, he could actually hear his voice. Now fully adjusted to the environment and aware of his possessions, he began to eye the other people in the area, most of whom appeared to be preoccupied with themselves, a few who were also looking. Confused, but feeling slightly apathetic, he stood silently, waiting for something interesting to happen.
~ Taav
Taavministrator // Senior Bracer
[Image: KHz5Qeq.png]
[Image: YfzdtMe.png]
Avatar/Signature theme: Estelle Bright of the Trails in the Sky series.

When he opened his eyes there was a void.

It was not a black void though, but somehow it was just as colourless. What he saw was not exactly white, but simply no colour at all. Yet it was not black. There was some sort of light, and perhaps there were colours he could not comprehend.

Where am I?

Looking around, he could see other people. Who were they? Scattered across the pale void, they looked as confused as he was.

Who am I?


Hi-de-ki. I am Hideki.

His feet were looking for solid ground; he found none, yet he did not fall. He wore soft, magenta shoes, a little pointy. When he put his hands against his chest, he felt the linen vest and coat. His coat went to his thighs and was yellow. Looking down again, he could see that his white trousers stopped just below his knees, where his white socks began.

Where do I come from?

Once more, Hideki looked toward the other people. They did not seem hostile in any way; he should not be frightened of them. Yet, being at this place made him frightened. This was an eldritch place.
Awareness came gradually. First there was the sensation of floating, or maybe of drifting on currents unknown. Yes, the sensation was of drifting, being pulled, no pushed, by a subtle yet overwhelming force. But there was no force, no contact with anything but darkness. Blackness pervaded all around, squeezing, suffocating, driving downwards, rushing towards an imminent collision with a tiny emerging speck of brightness below-

Eyes opened slowly. Blinding light faded into a plain, unending whiteness. A vast plane of smooth, unbroken white stretched forth before a motionless figure sitting crosslegged on the level surface. The figure, a tall, dark haired man in his early twenties, blinked several times before his eyes truly began to focus, to search for details in his environment and find none. He followed the landscape out and away from him, searching for any distinguishing feature, but it wasn't until his eyes began moving up that he numbly realized that he couldn't even tell the land from the sky. He was faced with an impenetrable barrier of white, seamless and all encompassing.

It wasn't until some time later that the notion of movement crossed the man's mind. His first coherent thought was, Movement? Movement where? The idea grew in his mind, however, until it became an irresistible urge. First his finger twitched, then slowly, leadenly, as if he wasn't quite sure how his own muscles worked, the man raised a hand to his head. His fingers felt a flop of unfamiliar hair, and suddenly a much more urgent question occurred to him.

Who am I?

No answer came, not from the bland environment or from within the man's own mind. Something close to panic began to rise in his chest as he searched for an answer, scanning his mind and the landscape for some clue as to his identity. His hand pressed harder on his head, as if it could reach inside and pull the answer out. Nothing came to him. His hand dropped from his head, and brushed over cloth as it descended down his chest. Slowly, he looked down on himself.

He was wearing a plain, brown jacket and jeans, with nondescript black sneakers on his feet. Maybe there's some clue on my person, he thought. There was no writing anywhere on his clothes. He checked his pockets. Nothing. Then, almost by chance, his hand happened to skim across the right side of his chest, and he felt something solid beneath his coat. With trembling fingers he unzipped his coat, and reached beneath. He felt something hard and dense, wedged into some kind of leather case with straps that wrapped around his torso. His hands closed around a handle, and he pulled out a sleek, black object. He recognized it. It's... a gun, he thought, stupefied as to the origins of this knowledge. A weapon... Why do I have a weapon on me? His hands traveled across the firearm as if of their own accord, pulling and pushing at just the right spots to verify that it was real and in working condition. The last thing they did was to eject the magazine from the gun. It was fully loaded. No, wait, it's not, he realized with a growing sense of dread. There's one bullet missing. Snapping the clip back into the gun, the man tried not to think of the implications of this new development. It couldn't be... I'm not... He didn't finish the thought. He didn't know what he was.

Then he felt something else, in a previously hidden pocket on the inside of his coat. Reaching in, he pulled out a smooth, black cylinder, a few inches long and hollow on the inside. A suppressor, he thought. It goes on the... barrel, it's called, of the gun. It suppresses noise and muzzle blast when firing. Why do I have a suppressor? And then another, even more chilling thought occurred to him. How do I know all this? Quickly, more quickly than he had moved at any time before this, he put the gun and the suppressor back where he had found them. He was about to zip his coat back up and retreat once more into a torpid stupor, when his eye caught on a bit of skin as his plain, white T-shirt was momentarily pulled up past his jeans. He pulled it up again, and craning his neck he read one word etched in unadorned print on his skin: ECHO. Echo, he thought dumbly. It seemed familiar somehow, as if something about the word stirred some dim recollection that he couldn't quite grasp onto. Is that... my name?

No answer came. The man, Echo, if that was to be his name, sat there motionless once more until he began to lose sensation in his arms and legs, and movement became necessary to regain circulation. Only then did he get up and look around, and find that the land was not entirely as empty as he had thought. Directly behind him and a little ways off was a small group of people in various stages of confused awakening. Some were still in lying in unbroken trances, while others were looking around at their surroundings as Echo had done, and still others were searching their clothes, trying to find clues as to their identities and their locations just as Echo had. They're just like me, he thought. They don't know who they are or where they are or what this place is. Should I join them? Not yet, he decided. For now it was best to simply observe.

OOC: I hope it's okay, I added a little content here. It doesn't affect anyone else and I actually haven't changed my back story at all; I just added a little hint as to my back story that I think increases tension.
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.

What woke him was the lack of movement. Once he had woken, however, he wondered at that. Why would he be moving? After that, more questions followed. What is this place? Why am I here? Who am I? The answer to the last question floated up from the depths of his mind. Vince. Was that his name? He probed his mind for further answers, but found none. Given that there wasn't much else in the void to look at, Vince looked at himself. He was rather wide, but not fat. Rather, he was wide in a large, muscular imposing way. The clothes he was wearing were ragged, and his limbs were incredibly hairy, with large wide hands. Done looking at his hands, Vince let them drop to his sides, where they instinctively found a handle of some sort. Curious, Vince pulled at it, and was rewarded with the sound of rasping metal as he withdrew a long, slightly curved sword from its sheath at his hip. Why would he have a sword? The sword was obviously well looked-after, and Vince took the opportunity to study his features in its reflective silvery surface. Much like the rest of him, his face was wide, and covered by a short black beard. His black hair was short and yet wild, and there was a large gold earring in his left ear. He was quite good-looking, really. Done admiring himself, Vince sheathed the sword. That was when his hands found another handle. This one belonged to a small pistol, which Vince hurriedly put back. Why did he have a gun and a sword? Just who was he? He looked out into the void for answers, and found none. However, he noticed for the first time, he was not alone, and around him several other people were coming to, looking just as confused as he felt.
---Chapter 1: The Guide---

It was impossible for any of the people stuck in this barren world to tell where they were, what they were here for, or who exactly they were aside from what items or vague, vague thoughts could tell them. If for some reason they could remember a name, who knew if that was even their name?

Russ counted one by one in his head. Five. There are five others here with me. The others seemed just as lost as Russ did. Some fidgeted with their hands in their pockets in an attempt to find things, others just sat or stood confused in a daze. It seemed like they were all men, as no girls could be seen. His attention was quickly drawn to one of them, a muscular man with short black hair and a short black beard. The man had a shead strapped to his waist, most likely containing a sword. Russ's immediate reaction was to take a few steps back. That man has a sword, and who knows if any of the others have any weapons. They could be dangerous.

Something else grabbed Russ's attention, though. Despite the clearly armed strangers who he found himself standing amongst, Russ couldn't help but noticed someone else walking towards them all. A person, male or female, dressed in a full black cloak with a hood covering most of their face. The figure was no taller than five and a half feet. The only parts he could make out on the incomer were a mouth and nose, everything else being hidden. It seemed almost as if the person's footsteps were nonexistent, as the person moved across the ground towards Russ and the others without a sound.

When within reasonable distance, the cloaked figured stopped. The mouth opened, but not a sound came out. It was waiting. A minute passed and at last the others, one by one, noticed the extra addition to the group. While some of their countenances remained the same, some of the others expressed surprise and unease at the arrival of the hooded person.

At last a soft, feminine voice broke the silence, "It is well that you have all safely arrived."

Thoughts welled up in Russ's mind. So it's a she. What does she mean by safely, though? His internal questioning was cut short at the second sound of her voice.

"Some do not make it all the way intact," she spoke, once more. A few of the other guys were clearly bothered by this statement. Not only was the group confused and lost, but apparently they had barely made it to wherever they were now.

One last time, the woman spoke before allowing anyone else to say anything.
"I am your guide," the words trailing off, imprinting themselves in the minds of everyone around. It appeared that she was done speaking, opening the floor for anyone else to speak. Russ stood silently, unsure of what to say. Best to let the others go first.

OOC: Make note that unless otherwise stated, NPC's will be under my control. The RP is officially past the prologue, meaning that no others may join in until we enter a recruitmen chapter.
Pokémon Turquoise
Administrator | Friendly Dude | Resident Ghost Humanoid
Feel free to PM me for anything you might need

Currently: HERE | Until: The Foreseeable Future

The hooded figure finished speaking, but no one responded. For the moment, at least, it seemed everyone else was too shocked and confused to react. Echo was still a little ways from the rest of the group, on the far side from the hooded newcomer, but with long, quick strides, he quickly closed the distance. As he did, he took a few, short seconds to scan the other members of his group. There were five others, all male, all distinctly civilian in appearance except for the last man that Echo examined. Large, muscular, imposing, with a sword of all things on his hip. Echo's eyes were also drawn instinctively to a small metallic object also on his person: a pistol. As if of their own accord, Echo's feet shifted their course to bring him to the other side of the group from this man. He didn't look at him again, but he could still feel him, like an itch on the back of his neck he couldn't quite scratch. With some difficulty, he put the man out his mind.

Focusing on the hooded figure, Echo carefully selected his next words. There were so many questions to ask, but he got the feeling he would only be able to get one in before the rest of the group began to chime in. Echo decided to go with the most important question on his mind, the one that he knew had to be answered first and foremost:

"What the hell is this place?"
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.

For a moment, it was dark. Then, there were glowing hues of red and green, fading in and out of visibility. A small group of adolescents could be heard laughing hysterically, but could not be seen in the darkness. And all the while, a low background hum slowly increased in volume. This humming noise continued to amplify, swallowing the sounds of laughter and turning into a painful screech...

Alpha snapped back into reality: an unreal, white reality. He had broken out in a cold sweat, and was breathing heavily. He could still hear hideous noises ringing through his ears, and felt exceptionally dizzy. While slowly phasing back into unconsciousness, he noticed something different.

A dark figure was looming before him and the others. It spoke with a soft, toneless voice that felt cold and distant. It seemed innocuous, and appeared to be human, yet its presence was an uncomfortable one. Unable to react, Alpha stood frozen, instilled with irrational fear. There was nothing he wanted to know – he merely wanted to escape from this world of uncertainty to some safe haven he could call his own. Not speaking a word, he tightened up like a statue and continued to wait.
~ Taav
Taavministrator // Senior Bracer
[Image: GziDAAU.png]
[Image: YfzdtMe.png]
Avatar/Signature theme: Estelle Bright of the Trails in the Sky series.

Vince was quite startled by the appearance of this hooded stranger. As he observed her, and idea started to form in his mind, and he dreaded the possibility. That black cloak and hood... All that was missing was a scythe. Vince tried to form the question in his mouth for a while before words actually emerged.
"Am I - are we... dead?"
Hideki was still confused about the place he had ended up in. He scratched his head through his black, ruffled hair. Two stripes of that hair fell in front of his face. Did he often comb his hair, or did it usually look like this, all spiky? He looked about and saw yet another person he had not seen before. His hair was also black, but much shorter. He also had a beard. Hideki touched his own chin, but found only very thin hair. Perhaps he was yet to grow a real beard. When asking himself, he could not remember his age. Many of the people around him looked to be older, however, especially the bearded man. He was carrying a sword, Hideki could see. Was he a warrior? Hideki had never been fond of fighting, but the sight was a bit impressive. Still afraid of strangers, though, he made no move toward the armed man. He could also be an outlaw, for all the boy knew.

Turning his attention elsewhere, Hideki could see a black shape appearing in the void. The void was like a mist, and had before been hiding the form that now came into sight. Everyone seemed to stare. Hideki too, and he was starting to become afraid. The stranger in black was alone though, as no one else appeared to know him. How many were they? Six? They were six against one.

When the stranger spoke, Hideki could hear a female voice. Her voice was soft, but seemed to penetrate his mind as if in a dream. No matter the distance, her voice was clear. She was glad they had arrived safely, it seemed. Then, she could be no enemy, could she? To Hideki, it seemed as if she had something in store for them. Could they all be part of a cruel experiment? he thought fearfully. What else would they need him for? About the others . . . he did not know any one of them, but they looked as if they had been picked randomly from different locations, maybe even from different cultures.

It has to be an experiment, he thought. He should think out the best way to get out of here alive and hopefully unharmed. Open resistance would be futile, so he had to look for hidden ways out. If he got away, he could return home.

But where is my home? thought Hideki. The realisation that he could not remember his home made him uncomfortable, and he felt very unsafe.
Russ's expression grew pale as the larger man asked his question, one that Russ hadn't even considered up until that point. What is he's right? What if we are dead? He shuddered at the thought, and added in his own question next: "Why are we here?" His voice wavered and his lips trembled, having struggled to just get the question out.

The woman took a few moments, almost as if she was processing the questions and waiting to see if there were any more before she answered. She turned towards the first man who began the inquiring. Her voice, as monotone and creepy as before, found its way to everyone's ears. "You are at the arrival station for Proor."

It wasn't exactly the answer they seemed to be looking for, but Russ could tell that they probably weren't going to get much more information on their location at this rate.

Next the female turned towards Vince, her movements sudden and rapid. Her tongue made shapes and sounds penetrated the silence once more, in the same dull tone, "That is for you to decide." Without a second thought, she turned to Russ, who almost stepped back as a reflex. "You are here to be judged," she finished sharply, those last few words echoing throughout the empty abyss of white that enveloped the abnormal crowd.

The Guide was about to turn around when Russ spoke up once more, interrupting the start of whatever she had planned next, "What can we call you?"

Surprisingly, a crooked smile actually formed itself upon her visible visage, and she responded, "I do not have a name. Though if you must refer to me by some sort of personal label, you may call me Iris." With that, she turned around and started walking. "It would be wise to follow me now. By no means are you required to, however, you'd be at a severe disadvantage if you didn't," she said.

What do I do? He pondered the question he placed on himself. He could either go off on his own possibly with one of the other guys, or he could follow Iris. If he were to ever figure out more about what is going on, however, his best shot would be to go with her and try to get her to talk more. Hesitantly, Russ picked up his feet and started dragging them across the ground in the direction that the Guide was heading. He turned his head once towards the other men who stood there, and introduced himself at last. "My name is Russ Andos, or so I've found out. I'm gonna go with Iris and try to figure out what exactly is happening," he stated, his voice still wavering like before. Eyeing the man with the sword and pistol, he continued, "We all might be wise to follow her in our condition. I don't think she plans to hurt us in any way." With that said, Russ sped up to keep pace with the hooded woman, unsure of who would follow as well.
Pokémon Turquoise
Administrator | Friendly Dude | Resident Ghost Humanoid
Feel free to PM me for anything you might need

Currently: HERE | Until: The Foreseeable Future

Echo was amazed at how calm he felt. He had no idea where he was, who he was, or what was going on; he should have been having a nervous breakdown right now, but instead all he felt was determination. To do what, he wasn't entirely sure, but whatever had to be done to survive this place, he somehow knew he'd be able to do it. Echo found his hand lightly tracing the holstered gun concealed under his jacket, and quickly brought it down to his side. Who was I? he thought to himself.

As for the choice given to him, Echo only needed a moment to consider. He could either wander off, possibly by himself, into a great, maybe endless void with no idea of where he was going or what he would be facing, or he could follow this strange woman and still have no idea where he was going or what he would be facing, but maybe at least be given some warning or clue before he encountered anything dangerous. That is if he ever encountered anything at all in this place.

With that decided, Echo gave a moment's consideration to his companions. How much should he trust them? How much should he consider himself to be one of them? His instincts told him to trust no one, but that allies were still always preferable to enemies. His eyes slid once more to the great, bearded man with the sword. What was he? Ally or foe?

As Russ walked away from the group after the hooded guide, Iris, Echo also followed. It occurred to him that he should introduce himself as well. Allies were always preferable. Turning back to the group even as he walked away from them, he said, "You can call me Echo, I guess. I'm also following... uh... Iris, because wandering off in a random direction seems like damn suicide to me, so..."

Not waiting for a response, Echo turned back toward Iris and Russ and lengthened his stride to catch up.
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.

The insecurity was too much for Alpha. With nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, and the inability to be independent, there wasn't a half-decent option to pick from. Sure, he might be able to escape the group, outrunning the creepy dark 'lady' and the questionable bearded swordsman, but then what? What would he do? Where would he go? Without food, water, shelter and any form of defense, he was vulnerable to virtually anything. To stay would be just as bad, as he was disarmed and completely powerless...

Power... He needed power. First, the power to ensure his own immediate safety. There was no telling where Iris would lead the group, though if he could find some sort of weapon, perhaps he could at least keep himself safe. Trust was never enough. While he couldn't recall anything from his previous way of life, just thinking about the word 'trust' invoked insensible rage.

He listened as the dark figure who identified as Iris answered the questions asked by the other men, trembling the entire time. How could they be so comfortable in this situation? He contemplated for a moment. Perhaps it was just him being too paranoid, but then why would he be the only one? The others looked confused, but maybe that was an act. But why would it be an act?

Then, Iris made the comment: "You are here to be judged”.

Alpha's eyes widened and his heart skipped a beat. Judged? Could he be in some sort of eternal damnation? He tried to think about about his past, but once again, he failed to recall any useful information about who he was, or what he could have done to deserve this. He turned back to the others to see their responses. Surely they must be feeling slightly more apprehensive after hearing that!

He turned around, to Russ and Echo, and astonishingly, they appeared completely calm. How!? How can I be the only one? It can't be me – it must be them! Maybe... they know something that I don't... The danger Alpha anticipated felt real to him; if he was the only one to feel it, maybe he was the only one in danger. There's no way I could trust in any of these people! They're dangerous... they know something... and if I make one wrong move, I'm dead.

The group started following Iris as it began to depart, and he could hear Russ and Echo introducing themselves to the entire group. He wouldn't forget their names until he – or they – were dead. That applied to everyone else in the area as well. Without thinking, his legs began to move on their own, and he realized that following was indeed better than being left behind. Alpha took a deep breath, calming himself down a little, and steered himself as far away as he could from the others, while keeping them in sight. For a short while, no one seemed to notice his distant position, but he figured that he would be questioned sooner or later. He retreated to his own bubble of silence, and waited for someone to intervene and inevitably pop it.
~ Taav
Taavministrator // Senior Bracer
[Image: GziDAAU.png]
[Image: YfzdtMe.png]
Avatar/Signature theme: Estelle Bright of the Trails in the Sky series.

Vince was not oblivious to the attention he was attracting. He'd caught several eyes sliding to the sword at his hip, then quickly darting away once they saw him looking back. He briefly considered throwing the sword away, but he was among strangers here, with no telling what might happen. Besides, the sword felt important to him somehow.

Vince's thoughts then turned to what this 'Iris' had said. Proor? He'd never heard of that, although that was hardly surprising given that he wasn't certain of his own name. Then, there was her answer to his question. How was Vince to decide whether he was alive or dead? He certainly felt alive, but he also had no idea what being dead felt like. Unless he was dead, in which case he knew exactly what it felt like. Trying to puzzle this out made his head hurt, so Vince contemplated Iris' final response, to that Russ person's question. What were they being judged for? Being judged sounded like a very afterlifey thing to do, so that was another tick in the box for the 'dead' option. That idea filled Vince with dread. He thought it very likely he had a criminal past, and didn't want to suffer for it. After all, normal people didn't carry around swords and guns.

Vince was still deep in thought when Iris started moving away, and he started to panic, not knowing whether to follow her or not. Going off on his own would lead to almost certain death, assuming he wasn't dead already. Was it possible to die twice? Vince didn't know. On the other hand, if Vince was right, following her could lead to eternal damnation and punishment. But at least with her he had a chance of survival. Besides, Vince was armed, and Iris didn't look too strong. If it came down to it, Vince could attempt to overpower her and escape. But to where? Thinking fast, Vince made a last-second decision and began to follow after Iris, behind three of the others. He just hoped he'd made the right choice.
You are here to be judged.

Those words made Hideki uncertain. Was this a trial? It made him greatly uncomfortable. To be a target of unfriendly attention, the victim of serious eyes, had always frightened him. Why would she wish to judge him though, and the others? He could not even remember where he came from, not even what he did the day before. His memory failed him. What had he undergone, to lose his memory? Perhaps the transition into this strange world had ripped him of his memory. At least he knew the world was strange to him; his home world was much more different. He could not quite remember, but he knew.

He looked at the bearded man again, but did not want to meet a stranger's eyes, so he looked back toward the woman known as Iris. Still, he wondered what the others thought about this. It was difficult to read their expressions. There was one man who looked nervous, but it was difficult to tell what anyone felt about the situation. He guessed they must be as confused as he was, at least.

Some had started to follow Iris into the white void. Hideki felt frozen until he became aware of movements nearby; the bearded warrior was walking too. Hideki should do the same; it would be stupid to linger here. Slowly, he put one foot after the other, keeping some distance between himself and the man before him. It was perhaps a good choice to stay close to the warrior, for Hideki was too small and thin to be a fighter himself. Yet, he feared all strangers here, and did not want to attract attention. The other victims of this trial or experiment could be just as dangerous as the judges themselves, whoever those were.
OOC: Here's a gentle nudge, since no one has posted in a while...

It took Alpha a brief moment to fully calm himself down. He knew getting paranoid would only result in unnecessary trouble, and he wanted – more than anything – to avoid trouble if possible. Now that he was more relaxed, the irrational thoughts that had been plaguing him began to fade out of consciousness. No one was questioning him for anything... everyone seemed to be preoccupied with their own concerns. Perhaps they were just as confused as Alpha was, and were merely more optimistic about the situation? True, judgment could turn out to be a positive thing by definition, though its connotation was that of punishment. It was impossible to know tell what the true implications were, so making assumptions was indeed worthless.

Maybe I should turn away... He thought to himself. Even if I'm alone... there must be something out there! This seemed to be the case, since the group was clearly heading somewhere. It wouldn't make much sense to be following Iris if there wasn't a destination in mind, unless she didn't intend on taking the group anywhere specific. Needless to say, the doubt was still there, though he now felt more comfortable about breaking off from the group if necessary. If he felt the need, he would slip away without anyone noticing or caring.

As Alpha was weighing his options, he noticed that the last member of the group had not budged from his initial position. His expression was blank, and he appeared to be in deep thought. He didn't seem aware that he was about to be left in the dust.

Without hesitating, Alpha waved his arms at Maximus, motioning for him to catch up.
~ Taav
Taavministrator // Senior Bracer
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Avatar/Signature theme: Estelle Bright of the Trails in the Sky series.


Max didn't like that. He didn't think he had don't anything particularly wrong, but then he seemed to be insane. Maybe that was a punishment for something. Perhaps he had cracked under pressure in his previous life. Who knew?

It seemed possible that Iris did, but none of the men around him seemed to have any more clues than Max. As Iris had put it, they were waiting: waiting for what, Max knew not. Perhaps this "Proos" was a great evil that the cloaked woman sought to plunge them into. There was no way to know.

"I believe it is in our best interest that you follow the woman."

Our best interest?

"Yes. I am bound to you. Your physical welfare is mine; I would not plunge you into peril that would result in my own demise. Follow the woman, Maximus.

Follow the woman. Okay. Doable. Probably.

Someone waved to Max: a young man, with stiff black hair and pretty green eyes. No, they were hasel. Pretty hasel eyes.

It wasn't a wave; it was a gesture. Max was to move. To follow the woman. Max pursued Iris with Russ, hoping this was the best option. The Voice's story seemed plausible; if, indeed, he was bound to Max, then he was also bound to watch out for him. The Voice seemed to be unaffected by the move to this great white bus stop, and certainly knew more than Max.

Bus stop. What did Max know about bus stops? Nothing.

Max looker back at the waving man, unspeaking. Anything he said was a liability. He would remain silent, for now.

I wonder what I did to deserve this.
? // ?[url=][/url]
OOC: I was actually going to give a "gentle nudge," but then "Bake-kujira" (god damn, Isaac, slow down with the profile changes, will ya? Tongue) beat me to it. Well, here it is anyway.

As the group moved- what? Forward? Away from their starting point? Towards their destination? There was no sense of direction in this place- Echo found himself preforming a series of almost unconscious evaluations of his traveling companions. Even when he forced himself to stop, a few seconds later his mind would come right back to analyzing the people around him. Eventually he gave up on trying to quit and just let his mind do its thing. What he discovered was quite interesting.

The most obvious member of the group to start with was of course the great bearded man with a sword. The man's physical appearance was quite imposing, like that of a warrior, but from the one line that he had spoken- "Am I - are we... dead?"- Echo didn't believe that he had the mental conditioning to be a soldier. Soldiers flirted with death every day; death for them was an old friend and a long time enemy, an inevitability that every one of them came to accept with a resigned certainty. So what did that make him? A mercenary? Or maybe he wasn't even a warrior. Echo had no idea how any of them had come to be in this place. Had they just been spontaneously transported to this place from where ever they had happened to be at a certain point in time? If so, then whatever each of them had on them might be completely coincidental, just something that had happened to be on their person when they were swooped up to this place, with no actual relevance to who that person normally was. Echo's hand twitched towards his coat before he could bring it back to his side. He hoped that was the case.

Russ Andos was the next logical group member to analyze. Echo couldn't yet identify anything particularly unique or specific about him, but something about him made Echo not like this Russ Andos. Echo couldn't fathom a reason why he would already dislike this person whom he knew nothing about, but there it was all the same, a knot in his gut that he couldn't untwist. What possible reason could there be that would make me dislike this random guy? he thought. No answer came to him.

Echo found himself interested in a scrawny young man with a purple carabiner on his belt loop. At first this man had avoided the bulk of the group, positioning himself a little ways off so that he could keep all of them in his view, and indeed by his body language he was on the verge of a panic attack. From this, Echo had gotten the impression that he was an individual full of mistrust and paranoia, both for the situation he found himself in and the people he found himself with. But then the man did something most curious which completely contradicted Echo's initial impressions: he waved to another man who had fallen behind, urging him to catch up. Doing so indicated a concern for the cohesion of the group that belied his apparent mistrust. Or maybe he saw himself as an outsider and thus was attracted to another who appeared to also be an outsider, even if that appearance was only coincidental. Echo would continue his observation.

Unfortunately, Echo couldn't figure out anything of interest about the last two members of the group. Neither of them had spoken, and both looked rather unnerved, perhaps even a little frightened, but there was nothing unusual about that. Echo decided once again to simply continue his observation of those two.

That left only Iris. The woman without a name or a face. What could he possibly learn about her? No concrete observations came to mind, but Echo did realize that there was a small inconsistency in how she presented herself. Iris presented herself not so much as a person, but as an immutable force of this world. By covering her face and claiming she had no name, she was depersonalizing herself, making herself simply a component of the strange, new world they found themselves in. Except that she clearly was a person, and for that she claimed to not have a name, she had been ready with "Iris" when Russ asked. "Iris" was a name, and if she wanted to be called as such then technically that was her name. So what did that make her? Component or person? Maybe, in this strange world with laws yet unknown, the two could really be the same. What would that say about this world?

Finally, Echo, made it through his analysis of those around him. He thought that maybe now his mind would rest, but instead it turned to the only person left in the group that he hadn't yet analyzed: himself. Who was he? What kind of a person instinctively catalogs the traits and characteristics of everyone he meets? What kind of a person carries a loaded gun around with him, save for a single missing bullet? What kind of a person needs a suppressor for that gun? Why was a bullet missing? No answers came this time, only a uneasy dread as to what they might be. Echo forced himself to stop thinking, finally achieving blankness of mind. He waited for something to happen. Something had to happen.
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.

At last, it seemed like everyone had made a decision, albeit some more sure than others. Unsure and full of caution, the six members of the confused and desolate party made steps following those of the Guide. Steps that seemed soundless in a direction that seemed directionless.

Russ trudged along, and for a while his head began to stoop forward, his eyes locked on what felt like a floor, but what appeared as an ocean of nothing, stretching every which way. He noticed something, however, subtle changes as they walked on. The white coloring of the scenery darkened in hue, or so it seemed. After all, he could just be going crazy and imagining things. He looked up for a second and noticed the looks upon each of the other lost persons. They're looking at the blank scene too. Maybe it's not just in my head then, Russ speculated. It was a thought that was soon confirmed, as lines began to appear on what became more distinguished as a floor before their eyes. They only stretched in two directions, giving the appearance of a grid of sorts. What kind of world is this? The question was ever-present in Russ's head as they walked towards seemingly nothing.

Soon enough, however, the female being halted her pace, catching Russ by surprise as he almost continued to walk forward without even realizing the sudden stop in motion. What now? he thought, unsure of whether or not to ask the question aloud. Less than a minute passed before the rest of the group caught up and came to a halt as those before them had just done. For a few minutes afterwards, only silence followed. The men each anxiously waited for something to happen, uncertain as to whether they should make the first move with talking or not. Would something ever happen at this rate?

Russ became uneasy as Iris just stood there, not saying or doing anything. What does she want? Is she expecting something from us? His thoughts eventually prodded him into speaking up, albeit with hesitation. "Umm... what are we waiting for?"

Without so much as turning her head to speak to Russ, Iris responded, almost immediately after the last few works left Russ's mouth. "Your departure," she replied, her answer as short and unhelpful as the rest of her previous statements.

Russ couldn't help but feel that something strange would be happening soon. The uneasiness he felt until now didn't seem like it would be going away anytime soon, so he just stood, waiting as everyone else was. Should I try talking to anyone? I don't really know what else I can do asides from just waiting. He tried not to think about things too hard, as he found that he only freaked himself out more when he was left alone to his thoughts. He looked off into the new and strange view, a darker gray background now with the odd grid covering the ground before and all around him, and then back to Iris, her cloak hood softly rippling in the wind.
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