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 The Long Climb

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The Paladin



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Join date : 2012-04-08

PostSubject: The Long Climb   2013-10-20, 7:18 am

It's been two years since she's been "forcibly retired" from being Paladin. Almost two years of being ordinary, trying to live life as a normal human being. A year and a half since she's been in Amria, after realizing she'd go crazy doing nothing in the palace and decided to move to a Neutral Earth, as ordinary a version of the universe as they could find, with not so much as a ripple in spacetime, or a villain tracking her down to finish her off, or any Paladin-related business. Catch was, now that she didn't have the ability to dimension-hop, it would be harder to travel back. It had been an awkward goodbye to everybody she had come to know and love, even though it really wasn't goodbye forever. One of the most frustrating things about this whole affair was not being able to say goodbye to friends whom she had met in other worlds and now couldn't even visit one last time.

Three months since 'Kire's last visit, asking how she was, still angry at what the Council had decided, wondering when the Council will let her go back. Surprisingly, only a month and a half since Garret's. He couldn't convince her to go back, either, and she hoped that Kire leaving her alone meant she understood. She missed them, but she needed to find herself first, as corny as that sounded even when she said it to herself. She spent her childhood on an Earth that was always on the brink of description, then spent most of her teenage life battling enemies, protecting worlds, living recklessly. In the quiet of her new home and new life, she realized that what she had was certainly not a normal childhood. She will always be grateful to Kire, but she wondered whether all these years really was good for her or not.

With enough resources from Kire, she built a normal life. With the help of Daryll, she even managed to built a new identity on this Earth, living alone, going to school without worrying when a supervillain or a spacetime anomaly was going to rip the university apart. A quiet life, finally, after almost a decade of restlessness. There were moments of doubt, of course, and at the back of her mind she always told herself that she would go back, that it was her duty, that she only needed a break. A break that turned into two years of a self-imposed exile. 

Two years, down the drain tonight, she thought when she came home late one night to find the gate of her house unlocked. The past two years had dulled her sense of danger, and she looked at the open gate wondering if she had forgotten to lock up before going to school. When she reached her front door and found it also ajar, all the fears she had learned to let go of came rushing back in the split second she entered. 

Everything in her told her to run, that these were bad signs, that she had call someone for help. Who can she call? Her neighbors? The police? The kind of help she thought she'd really need she could only contact via a phone Kire had given her when they first met, the only phone in Neutral Earth with the ability to connect to another just like it in Amria. First six months of her stay, that phone lay right next to her head, under her pillow. Eventually, she buried it under her bottom-most sock drawer. 

The house gave off a terrible vibe, one she remembered well: when, as a teenager, she hid in her house while unknown forces scoured the place for the next Paladin, to kill her. Nobody had announced their presence just yet. She started to back away when she felt the ominous aura behind her. Not through the door then. She ran upstairs, racking her brain for a weapon she could use. There was one gambit, but she hadn't even considered honing it: her "new" power over metal. 

She rushed into her bedroom and locked the door behind her, digging through her drawers, finally finding her phone. The seconds it took for it to power on felt like eternity. When, at last, she was able to dial the Home number, all she got was a No Signal notice. "Are you freaking kidding me?" she seethed. Come hell or high water, that phone would work. Except, of course, when there was something powerful enough to block it signal. Meaning, something powerful enough to block any access to this world. Anyone or anything that can do that is automatically bad news. 

The dark aura was starting to press in on all sides. Whatever it was would probably be condensing into a corporeal form as it approached her door--but she had entered her property to find it unlocked, which meant that they had already been inside. They were taunting her, or perhaps making sure of her identity, luring her inside. 

One last option was left. She went down on her knees and pushed her bed aside, exposing three loose floorboards underneath. Tearing them off with her bare hands, she then pulled out a dusty box from the hidden compartment that now lay exposed. It had been a gift from Daryll before she moved. Knowing him, it was probably a gadget of some kind. "Okay, whoever you are, you better back off," she muttered, opening it. Her face fell, seeing one long silver whip coiled inside. Great. She was going to do battle with the forces of evil as Indiana Jones. 

Just as she was about to rush out of her room, the darkness had finally started to manifest itself as an entity. The room wobbled and shifted, knocking her off-balance--and was it her imagination, or were the walls closing in on her? Get out, get out now! 

Grabbing the whip, she was surprised to find it heavier than she had previously thought. At her touch it straightened out, shortened, hardened, and turned into what appeared to be an axe. "I could kiss you right now if I could, Daryll," she thought, swinging her new weapon wildly around her. 

The darkness shrieked and darted back. She took this opportunity to hack a hole into her wall and leaping out into the open air, crash-landing onto the bushes below. Adrenaline forced her not to think about the pain as she leaped up and ran outside. In two years, she had never felt this alone.
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PostSubject: Re: The Long Climb   2013-10-21, 2:17 pm

Charlotte groaned mentally to herself as she trudged along to find her target. Normally she didn't mind but she had been going on what seemed to be a wild goose chance from what place to the next to find her target. As a hunter it was her job to deal with rogue supernaturals or meta humans roaming around. Her job basically was like the police, except a bit more dangerous since it involved people or things with powers. Of course these days even normal police work was more dangerous due to earth having a very high non-human population so that had to be adjusted to.

By her side was a very large dog, its fur had red tinges to it and it looked more like a wolf. Roughly standing about 6'0 without standing up but walking on all fours, it was a pretty imposing sight to see. A Risch Sheppard was they were called, originating from Rischtaroch in the Demon Realm, they were demonic dogs used to protect people from supernatural predators. Though they were so good at their job they had been imported to other places that had similar issues, earth being one of them. This one in particular was named Jade, and she had been Charlotte's partner for the last year or so along with others in her unit.

As the two continued to trek, giant dog stopped a bit growling and sniffing the air.

"What's wrong, you pick something up?" Charlotte went closer, before feeling a evil presence herself before too long. There wasn't another word of exchange between the two, Jade running in one direction while Charlotte followed--though her canine partner slowed down a bit so Charlotte didn't lose complete sight of them. Before long, both saw a young woman being chased. Both reacted around the same time without thinking.

Jade stopped slowing down, literally becoming a blur as she barreled past and then in front of the woman and the supernatural threat. She was crouched, hair raised, snarling as their eyes glowed a deep blood red. Charlotte attempted to use the force of surprise while Jade distracted whatever it was, she couldn't make it out yet. Usually supernatural predators either feared or hated Rish Sheppards or a bit of both due to their well earned reputation from making people easy prey. That was enough for her.

"Piercing Beam."
A silver beam of light-based magic energy shot forth from Charlotte.

______________

Just what Jade looks like


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The Paladin



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PostSubject: Re: The Long Climb   2013-10-22, 1:30 am

"I'm getting too old for this shit," Akira grumbled between pants as she ran full speed, not even slowing down to look back and check if someone was still chasing her. She heard a snarl coming from behind, and an otherwordly growl. "Yep, still definitely chasing me." Boy the neighbors would find this ridiculous, she thought, imagining herself with her silver axe turning tail as if the devil himself was chasing her. The axe was too unwieldly to lug around while running, and no sooner had she thought this that it began losing its shape, turning into an amorphous metallic blob wrapped around her arm. "Smarty-pants, why don't you turn yourself into something useful?" she yelled. Well, safe to say her two years of normalcy are over.

It seemed like the universe loved to throw curveballs at her that night, for not too far ahead of her she spotted two--things running towards her. "Here we go," she said, raising her fists, then trying to shake her arm to compell the silvery thing to take the form of any weapon. When that failed she held the arm up to shield herself in case the creature wanted to bite. In the blink of an eye the monstrous dog-like creature was upon her, but to her surprise it didn't lunch at her but went past her and started attacking her assailant. She finally had enough courage to turn around and look at what exactly was chasing her, but it was hard not to get distraced at the six-feet-tall hellhound that was snipping at the darkness.

What probably took the cake, though, was seeing this rather gentle-looking blond young woman in a weird school-girl getup emit a powerful ray of light, blasting the nebulous darkness away. Or at least she thought it did. What it actually accomplished was to dispell the shadowy shroud for a few seconds to reveal what was actually behind it: a many-eyed network of shadow-tentacles surrounding a young boy. The shadow-shroud reconstituted itself around the figure then lunged with the tentacles at Akira, who only had time to swear and thrust her arms forward to protect herself.

The darkness shrieked, pierced by a blade that had formed from the silver-wrapped arm. The blade looked rough-hewn, but sharp enough to repel the shadow. "Hey, lolita princess, you got any more of those beam-things up your sleeve?" she said, preparing for another attack. The shadow-creature looked confused, as if unprepared to take on two targets, both of which were armed, and another with just as dangerous a pet as the owner itself.
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PostSubject: Re: The Long Climb   2013-10-25, 11:44 pm

(Sorry for the short post)

 Charlotte ignored the woman's comment, focusing on whatever the creature was. She launched the same spell as before. In the mean time Jade circled around their prey carefully with predatory grace looking for a weak point or moment of weakness. Neither Charlotte nor Jade wanted to drag this out and wanted to get this over with.

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The Paladin



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PostSubject: Re: The Long Climb   2013-10-26, 7:10 am

(it's fine, no big Smile )

The shadow creature prepared for another strike, gathered up its tentacles, then lashed out all at once in an attempt to get them all. Reflex drove Akira to back away a couple of steps, parrying the tentacles with her new blade. It seemed to her, though, that while it had the ability to launch a more decisive strike, it was as if the objective was not to kill, but to injure, if there was any objective at all. The strikes came at her without forethought or conviction. Instead, its more decisive strikes were aimed at the two new opponents. Why? she thought, dodging the darkness's many 'arms', Is it because I'm less of a threat? Or do they want something else from me?

While the creature expanded itself as much as it can in an effort to keep an offensive stance towards all three of them, Akira moved as fast as she could, confusing it. Girl, you need to work out, she thought, huffing as she zigzagged lunged, parried, retreated, not staying at one place for too long. If that other girl could draw the creature out of its shadow-shroud, Akira theorized, someone has to simultaneously strike it. Momentarily she hesitated, recalling how, for a split-second, she saw that the thing controlling this darkness looked like a mere child, but she shook thoughts of pity out of her head. If shadow is its protection, the shadow was displaced by the light beam from the girl. She can use that again, while her pet hellhound--or whatever it is-- could help Akira strike at the monster underneath and end the threat. For now, anyway.

The newcomer hit the creature again with the flash of light. Akira stopped dodging and ran towards the gap in the creature's defenses, seeing the monster-child in the gap created by the spell. With a yell she thrust her arm in as deep as she could, but closed her eyes while doing it. She knew she had to kill it or maim it, but it didn't mean that she relished the sight of sticking a blade through the head of something that looked eerily like a toddler. The creature shrieked, the voice too monstrous for her to feel any more pity for it, and retreated, leaking black blood as its shadow-tentacles faltered. Then, right above it, a tennis-ball-sized black hole appeared, sucking in the mortally-wounded monster.

Akira gulped in air, her whole body shaking as she crouched down on the ground, then sat on it. She looked at her armored hand and at the improvised blade that formed itself out of the silvery metal. Droplets of black blood were still left on it. Struck by an idea, she dug into her pants pocket with her free hand, wiped the blood off with it, then stuffed it back in. Once she could figure out a way to talk to the folks back at Amria she'd ask Daryll to analyze the monster-goop. But before that, she would have serious words with him and Akire. "I thought they said this world was as close to normal as possible," she wondered out loud, pissed. The tentacled abberation she could forgive; it could have been sent to find her, and therefore encounter with it may not have been avoidable. But what about the girl and the giant fox-thing? If this world was naturally a hotbed of supernatural and magical activity, then that could mean Akire had lied to her.

Dusting herself off after having recovered her breath, she walked over to the newcomer, hands on her waist. The blade had retracted itself and was back to being a formless chrome slag attached to her forearm. "Look, I appreciate the assist, really I do. But who the heck are you?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Long Climb   2013-10-30, 12:09 am


Jade came trotting back to the young woman, who scratched the giant canine behind the ears a bit before turning her attention to the newcomer. "Me? My name is Charlotte Aulin, I'm a hunter and a mage. I was tracking down reports of strange activity and it lead me here where I found you and that creature. Not sure what kind of entity it was." A spirit? No. She doubted it. But there was a lot of monsters she hadn't encountered before since coming here.

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