Sep 15, 2019 1:46 AM
Veron in Corth
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Vinas is having a bit of a bad day. He's really not the only one. It's pretty safe to say that no one expected their week to go this way.

"Okay," he says, to no one in particular, "so monsters have shown up to kill everyone, and it's probably the end of the world. Don't panic. Just. Think through the problem logically and maybe you can not die."

Who's he kidding, he has no idea what he's doing. Well, okay. Admittedly he has some idea of what he's doing. A fraction of an idea, maybe. Barely counts as an idea, really. It is obvious from observation that the monsters are resistant to non-magical weaponry. The minor magic on his dagger is turning out to be way more useful than he'd ever expected it to be. It was meant for keeping from getting dull or rusty, not for killing monsters. Not that he's complaining or anything, he's glad to have a source of monster killing. Just - it's very telling, isn't it, that magic weapons are the only thing that can damage these things, and that they are attacking this city, with its big impressive ancient source of magic thing. It strikes him as a first move an opponent would open with in a game. Remove the enemy's ability to kill you, then kill them all.

Well, maybe he isn't a good enough fighter to handle the monster problem, but he is a good enough smuggler to spot that some very specific things are now going to be in very high demand. It's probably his responsibility to make sure people get those things, what with the world ending, and all. He can do that. He enchanted his dagger himself because he was bored, he won't claim his enchantments will be the best, but now is not the time to be picky. Clearly he's got to find every unenchanted weapon, drag them to the big impressive ancient source of magic thing, and enchant the ever-living shit out of them. He feels a little bit insane, running around in this chaos with an armful of swords, flitting from alleyway to alleyway and adding to his collection of sharp objects. It's absolutely the smartest thing he could possibly be doing right now, but he feels more than a little ridiculous doing it. If he's going to die, he should probably not die while feeling ridiculous. Oh well.

After gathering a respectable amount of weapons, he drags them and himself to the big impressive ancient source of magic thing. There are a few people on the way there, but most of them do not really care about him. They're a bit busy.

(There has to be a better name for it. It's not a simple reshyme, but calling it a mega-reshyme seems more than a little ridiculous. Maybe a local would know, he's new here. Whatever. Not important right now.)

 "Who the fuck are you?" says someone that looks like he's protecting the place, and is not willing to let some random guy in.

"Just some guy that wants to enchant some swords and then hand them out to people that are better at the whole monster killing business."

 "Oh," says the guard. He considers. "Yeah, go ahead."

"Thank you kindly."

He ascends the stairs to the impressive ancient source of magic, quietly cursing the swords for their weight. It doesn't slow him down, but it does hurt. If he's alive tomorrow, he'll probably be hurting for this. For now, there's adrenaline. He drags himself onto the large hexagonal dais, and very nearly drops his sharp objects in surprise.

Is it. Supposed to be glowing like that? No one mentioned the giant mega-reshyme glowing. The giant floating crystal things that casually dwarf him, sure, everybody brings those up, but not the shifting blue-green light that spills from them. That's - okay, whatever, so things glow randomly now. Fine. Things can glow if they want to. He has better things to do than gawk at pretty colors, because the world is ending and there are monsters trying to kill everyone. He's going to do his best to prevent that. Enchanting is done at the center of a reshyme, it follows that for a giant mega-reshyme that it'd be the same. So what, if there's weird magic light there. He's got a job to do.

He hesitantly waves a hand through the light before he tries dragging the swords into it. He isn't sure what to expect it to feel like, maybe like standing in direct sunlight or something, but he definitely didn't expect it to feel like this. It feels - weird. Like water, but lighter, smoother. Sort of cold, but a slow seeping almost-cold, not a sudden flash of ice water. The light (?) dissipates into mist upon contact with his hand, leaving a stark and noticeable shadow beneath it. He removes the hand and peers at it. It tingles a bit, but didn't seem any worse for the wear. Maybe if he had time he would let himself worry about the light eating him or something, but he's on a bit of a time crunch. Now is not the time to be squeamish. If it kills him then they're probably dead anyway, because then they won't have any way to replenish lost magical weapons, and if it doesn't, every moment he hesitates is a moment someone else dies. He takes a steadying deep breath, then enters the light with his bundle of swords. Gah, that feels weird. But he's not dying, it's just kind of unpleasant, so he forges on. These swords are going to get enchanted even if it kills him.

Thankfully, it does not kill him. He's not going to say that the enchantments on the swords are the best ever made - frankly, they're kind of shit - but hopefully the extra bit of sharpness he adds will be enough. Someone notices what he's doing partway through, and comes by to pick up the swords he's finished enchanting. This is quite all right by him; get them to people as soon as possible, as far as he's concerned. Since they come back later without interrupting him and deposit more, he guesses they're working. He finishes enchanting the last swords, and breathes a sigh of relief.

There's something else, though. He didn't notice it at first, but along with the ability to add something to the sword, there's a subtle ability to add something to himself. That one's kind of scary. He doesn't know what to do with that. He supposes that he should maybe try it out, on the basis that it's the end of the world and he therefore has license to do crazy things in an attempt to keep people alive. Enchanting doesn't make things explode, he probably won't explode. What else is he going to be good for in a time line this? He isn't a particularly talented fighter, doesn't know anyone to help with organization or rallying people together. He probably counts as clever, what with the idea about swords. Perhaps that could be enough to keep people alive. Does he want to leave it to that? Hope that being clever through conventional ways would be enough? Or does he want to take a risk with something completely unknown to try and get something better?

After a few moments of indecision, he retrieves his journal, rips out a page, and scribbles an explanatory note. If he explodes, someone will at least know not to do it later. Then he turns to sit in the light, and figure out how to enchant himself.




Turns out, enchanting yourself is kind of intense. Who knew, experimental magic shit can get intense. What a surprise. He's probably the only one that's surprised. He'd noticed the heightened power when he enchanted the swords, but he'd chalked it up to being at a mega-reshyme. This is - something more. Like something woke up, some giant unknowable behemoth was sleeping beneath the dais and is now awake, and now he's staring it in the face and forced to confront how very, very small he is. He's one tiny speck in an ocean, and the ocean is alive. For a few seconds, he's terrified that this is where the monsters came from, that they were people swallowed whole by this force of nature, swept away to become something else.

But after some adjustment, that doesn't feel right. He's dwarfed by this - this whatever it is, but he's staring into its soul. Maybe his mind is being melted into thinking it's not going to change him into something, but he doesn't think so. Nothing feels forced. He's floating in an ancient and frigid ocean, but it's his choice if he wants to dive. It's unfathomably powerful, but it doesn't want to hurt him. If he wants, he can reach out and grab hold of - one of several somethings, and it'll be his. Not the other way around. Granted, he's not sure how he knows that, so maybe that's untrustworthy information.

He gets the impression that this is supposed to be some giant important choice of some kind, but the gravity of it is kind of sabotaged by how the only real thing he can discern about each of them is the color. Maybe there's a way to tell literally any other thing about them, but uh. He has no idea how to do that. So it's a choice between blue, teal, and green.

... They're all pretty colors? Solid choices to go in any painting? Blue brings out his eyes?

Okay, no, let's not pick a life changing probably permanent magical doodad based off of which one brings out the color of his eyes. That seems like a bad way to make a choice. Instead, he'll think about it logically. What things are associated with each color? This shade of blue sort of reminds him of the sky, which sounds pretty nice, but isn't blue also associated with sorrow? He'd like to not be sad. Teal's associated with... uh. What is teal associated with, actually? The ocean, maybe? It's probably happier than blue, which seems like a good thing, he guesses. Green's association makes a bit more sense to him. The first thing he thinks of is of plants and greenery, and really, who doesn't love plants and greenery? Green also doesn't have any really bad associations he can think of, and it's certainly not the unknown of teal. Nature and life, those are pretty good things to be attached to.

Green. He'll go with green. He probably won't regret this, right?

...

He was definitely expecting to immediately regret that. Huh. Good, he hasn't been driven crazy, and he successfully attached the color green to himself. Cool? That seems to have gone well. Can he attach himself to another color...? Yes, yes he can. He is now also attached to the color teal. Not as strongly as he's attached to green, though, he is so very attached to green. What about blue, can be be attached to blue? Also yes, but he can't be attached to blue and teal. Just to see if he can, he switches back to teal. Yep, he can. Oh, does that mean he can switch whether or not he's attached to green, too? ... It does not. He is really attached to green. Okay. Maybe should have been a bit more careful with that, but green's still a fine color to be attached to. Probably. There is definitely a magical thing that he has now. In his head. It's sort of alarming, except it's also exactly what he wanted, and it's not killing him, so. Yay? Time to go test out how his colors do against monsters?

It is transparently obvious that he has no idea what he's doing. Well, he'll do it with tenacity, whatever it is he's doing. He'll probably figure it out on the way.

A dagger's not a very good main weapon, if his color based magic powers turn out to fail him. Luckily, he has all of these enchanted swords to choose from. He picks one of the ones he has a sheath for. Hey, he counts as a person to distribute the things to. Magic powers or no, he absolutely needs to make sure these are distributed. The only reason he'd even been willing to delay handing those out at all was that it was clear someone else would pick them up even if he blew himself up, and that he's not actually personally clear on who to give them to. He'd rather leave that to people that actually know who the hell to hand the magic swords to, and this is not the kind of place that any idiot could wander into. They need a handful of swords and a good excuse for it. On second thought, maybe he shouldn't have trusted the random person he didn't know with the magic swords. Whoops.

Speaking of giant holes in security, he spots the guard that let him past before.

"Hey!" he calls, jogging forward, "I ran out of swords, do you happen to know -" The guard turns his head to look at him, and flinches. Vinas stops. Maybe green was a bad color after all?

 "The fuck?"

"Uh. I. Enchanted the swords, and also did something crazy and experimental? Why are you looking at me like that." The man seems to be at a loss for words, staring at Vinas like he's grown a second head. Or, perhaps, another set of very sharp teeth. "Do you know where these should go?" he attempts again, holding out his bundle of magic swords. If nothing else, those should be handled.

 The guard hesitates, then takes one quick step forward and snatches the bundle. "I'll handle it," the guard says, in a tone that says 'If it'll make you go away.'

Vinas backs away, hands carefully away from the sword at his hip and any of the many places he could be hiding a knife. He tries to look as nonthreatening as possible, but by the way the man's still looking at him, it's not working. "Okay. I'll just. Go, then?"

No reply. But no attempt to stab him, either, so. Good? Better than dying, anyway.

Speaking of people dying, he's going to go find out what the colors green and teal can do. Besides freak people out, anyway. So he has this new thing in his head, but it's not immediately obvious what to do with any of it. His first attempts to activate something by waving a hand at a rock and saying, "Magic thing!" at it do approximately nothing, except make him feel like an idiot. Ugh. Is it something that only shows up in some subtle way, like enchantments? That doesn't seem right, attaching himself to the colors did not feel minor, and this feels like a thing he should be able to activate in some way, he just. Doesn't know how.

There's a crash, and he jumps and tries to scramble out of the way of the latest monster - the weirdest yet, a snake creature with some kind of mirror for a face -

He does not manage to scramble fast enough, and he does not figure out how to do anything with the colors green and teal. He is eaten.

Total: 104
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There is a moment of disorientation, then he lands, hard, on paved stone. 

This doesn't look like the inside of a snake. It looks more like an old, ruined city. The stonework is crumbling and covered in vines, plants grow through the cracks between the paving, and the only signs of people are a pile of crumbling bones to his left, and a more complete skeleton leaning against the wall to his right. It's still holding a sword, although its clothes seem to have rotted away.

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Okay, first of all: ow. Second: what kind of shitty discount magic powers are so bloody difficult to use? Third: he should maybe get up. He does that, looking cautiously at the variously shaped remains of things.

He feels - something. A hint of something, buzzing about in the crumbling bones, draped over and sewn through the skeleton. The fuck..?

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The sun is either rising or setting; if he waits a minute or two it will become obvious that it is setting.

Darkness begins to fall over the city, which Vinas might notice is completely unfamiliar, even down to the architectural style. He won't have too much time to appreciate the stonework, though, with the growing night hiding the finer details.

As the remains of the walls shield the skeleton from the setting sun, it begins to stir. At first, it is no more than could be attributed to the effects of the wind, or of some small animal. Before long, however, the skeleton is turning its head towards Vinas, and beginning to creakily rise to its feet. 

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He stares suspiciously at the skeleton, eyes flicking to the crumbling bones and then back to the skeleton. There's - something going on there, and he doesn't know what, but it makes him nervous. He takes stock of his surroundings cautiously, giving the skeleton a wide berth. There is freaky magic going on there, and he wants nothing to do with it.

It's not that surprising when it turns out to move.

"The dead should not be walking around!" protests Vinas, more indignant than scared. "Stop that! That is - is - it's disrespectful, the dead should stay dead!"

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The skeleton doesn't respond, at least not out loud. It doesn't seem to have any vocal cords, but its lack of other muscles doesn't seem to prevent it from moving as though they are still present. 

It finishes standing up, and turns towards Vinas, still moving slower and more stiffly than a living human but picking up speed as the sky darkens. Raising its sword, it begins to advance. 

Someone looking closely might be able to see a faint green spark floating in the darkness of each empty eye socket. They burn with a light which seems strangely cold. 

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He's looking closely. He notices the faint green spark. Faint green spark. Well. Taking in that, and the way he can sense the skeleton and the weird magic buzzing in the bones that are not currently walking around, he probably gave himself freaky death powers. Damn it, color green, he trusted you. Why have you betrayed him. He knew he should have gone with the color that went with his eyes.

"I don't suppose you're getting up to creepily offer eternal servitude in undeath to me. Because my answer is no, good night, go back to sleep. Or death. Whichever."

Because he doesn't think he's that lucky, he draws his sword. Damn it.

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How astute of him. 

With the sun sinking ever lower on the horizon, and the moon beginning to rise on the other side of the sky, the skeleton charges. It's not especially smart, but it does know how to use a sword, and it's aiming to kill.

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Yeah, that was predictable. While he wouldn't say he's a proper swordsman, he has ever used a sword in his life, and is good enough with it to know how to make a fighting retreat. That is, how to run away while not getting stabbed. He does that.

Okay. So he probably has some freaky death powers. Maybe he can use his freaky death powers to get himself out of this mess. There's a lot going on with that skeleton, maybe he can just make it stop. He attempts to tug at one of the string-like things holding the skeleton together. With magic. After a few fumbles, he feels a rush of chilly energy, tugging at the skeleton from his mind -

"Go back to sleep," he hisses, and something in his palm flares green and rushes towards the skeleton.

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The green sparks flicker, once, and go out. The skeleton crumples to the ground, in a manner reminiscent of a puppet whose strings have been cut. 

Its sword winds up a foot or two away, hitting the stone with a resounding clang. 

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"... Good skeleton."

He sheathes his sword, then rubs his face. Okay. Freaky death powers. Sure.

Right, well. He's somewhere he doesn't recognize. He should figure out what his surroundings are like, see if there's a place to hole up in for the night.

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There are houses! Some of them are even free of skeletons! 

He seems to have landed in what used to be a residential district, although pretty much everything organic has been lost to time, which makes it a little difficult to tell. Fortunately, the night is fairly warm, so he won't freeze to death for want of blankets or a door to close against the night air. 

Here's a house with steps leading up to the door. The interior seems to be completely undisturbed, unlike many of its neighbours. 

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Well, this house can officially be his base of operations, then. Until he finds something better. Though he checks to make sure it's free of skeletons. It's free of skeletons, right?

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Not even a single bone. Maybe skeletons can't climb stairs? 

It doesn't look like any wild animals have been in here either, although the passage of time has done enough on its own, reducing practically all of the furniture to dust. A thick layer of it covers the floor in every room. 

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Ick. Well, if he decides to sleep here, he'll have to take a little while to try and clear it of dust. As it is, he's going to have a look around. Since he can use his green powers to take out the skeletons that might want to bother him.

Are there any more nearby?

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Actually, they seem to be starting to congregate in this general area.

If he heads outside, any skeletons in sight will start shambling towards him. Just one or two at a time to begin with, but gradually increasing in number. Some of them are armed with swords, but most are wielding more improvised weapons, including bones. One seems to have detached its own left arm to use as a weapon. 

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How charming. He is charmed.

Well. One by one, he can make them go right back to being dead. Good night, skeletons.

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This works fine for the first few. It continues working for the first ten, fifteen, twenty. 

They keep coming, shambling forward over the remains of their vanguard. Bones clack against each other in a constant rattle. 

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Okay, now he's starting to feel like he's magically running on empty. It's harder to reach for the magic. Or harder to fuel it. He can feel it replenishing, but it's not as fast as he's using it.

He considers, then turns and briskly walks into the house with the stairs. Are skeletons beaten by the almighty power of stairs?

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It appears they are. The ones at the front keep walking forward, tripping over the bottom step, and getting up to try again. 

Skeletons continue to congregate at the base of the steps, until there are easily twenty mindlessly shoving at each other to get closer, or walking into each other's backs over and over. 

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That's kind of darkly hilarious.

Well, he'll just sit up here and return them to rest, at a leisurely pace he can actually maintain. Good night, skeletons.

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More keep arriving, but the rate begins to slow down after a few hours.

By this stage, there's a pile of bones at the bottom of the stairs, which makes for treacherous footing but also means skeletons occasionally make it onto the first step by walking over the heap. 

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Oh no, a single step, whatever will he do. Oh wait, there are other stairs after the first stair. So he's completely safe. What a surprise. He has long since lost all sense of fear of these things. They are too stupid to be afraid of. He feels like he's some kind of skeletal pest control.

After the first hour, he starts experimenting, more from boredom than anything else. He can cut the 'strings' holding them together just fine, but can he do other things with them...?

Another two hours of idle magical flailing, and the faint green sparks in one of the skeletons' eyes flares much brighter. The skeleton turns to stab its fellows.

"Uh," says Vinas, alarmed. "Nnnno, nope, nope." The skeleton summarily falls apart. "Sorry. I'm new to this."

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This appears to bother the remaining skeletons no more than his earlier efforts, although a couple of the closer ones tilt their heads as if listening to his words. 

It doesn't look like they're going to stop showing up any time soon, although the rate seems to have stabilised. 

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"... Wait. Hold on. Can you understand me?"

He stops putting the skeletons back to sleep. He's going to feel really bad if these are people. People that are really bad at cause and effect. And also stairs.

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The closest one nods jerkily, then trips over the stairs again. 

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