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The Reaper's Records: The Chronicles of Tipa

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6/22/2009 21:34:02   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest



“I’m sorry EVA, could you run that by me again?” a deep, dark, almost but not quite demonic voice asked.

“My lord, a Class II-A Trans-Temporal Portal has been detected in coordinates (342,545,623) at 0921,” a typical feminine computer voice responded.

“I absolutely despise our realm being stuck out here in the backwater region of the omniverse. These random portals plaguing Tipa are going to be the death of us all,” the voice sighed. The voice in question emanated from a typical mysterious figure in a black cloak that hid the figure’s face but for two red eyes that seemed to float from within the hood. This figure differed from the typical sterotype,as the figure was currently sitting in front of an advanced computer terminal with arms that were just bones.

“Actually, I believe your exaggeration may actually be accurate in this account, Master,” EVA responded, the voice not giving any hint of emotion one way or another.

“Wait, a Class II-A Trans-Temporal Portal is a just a random portal that links our realm to another dimension that sucks up one humanoid and then drops them off, never to return? How will that spell death for Tipa?” the figure asked, stroking what was presumably a chin inside his hood.

“I am detecting the Mark of the Sphere on this being, which initial analysis indicate a human male in his early 20s.”

“The Mark? Now? On a… wait, where was the origin of this portal?”

“I believe it originated from the planet Terra, circa… 2009 CE, from the Sol System, variant 3455636..”

“Earth, for the love of the Giant Pie in the Sky, the planet is called Earth. EARTH! Only in certain rare variations of the planet is it ever called “Terra”, and I know that you can distinguish between variations. I happen to know that variants 1 million to 65 million of the Sol System are counted under the “Realistic” umbrella by the FCPA, and they address their planet as Earth in the language most commonly accepted, if there was a “universal language” for the species,” the figure ranted, throwing his arms wildly and randomly in the air before giving a slight cough and regaining his composure.

“Sorry Master, he is from ‘Earth’, from the United States of America, though anyplace more specific is impossible at this point, as the portal only lasted for 5.6 seconds…” EVA began, somewhat hinting at annoyance in its voice at the moment.

“Never mind that, I'm going to assume that your cryptic response to my earlier comment meant that the Mark of the Death Element was on this mortal... I am presuming that you have transported said mortal back here for indoctrination/introductions. Let’s get this over with, my powers aren’t going to restore themselves” the figure sighed, swirling the high-tech comfy chair around to face away from the monitor.

The room the figure was in was a rather large circular room, with a 100 foot radius. The voluptuous room was not of any artificial construction, rather, it was a giant chamber inside a vast cave system. At the same time, the room was decorated with a very “sci-fi” feel to it: high tech comfy chairs next to computer monitors everywhere, odd gadgets adorning random tabletops and counters, cool plasma-lamps on every desk, giant monitors around the wall displaying random videos of places or charts of stuff that seemed incomprehensible to the average observer. The room had a “war-room” feel to it, emphasized by the giant conference table in the middle of the room, with 7 chairs around the large rectangular table: 3 on each side with one seat at the head. It was the latter seat that the figure went to, almost seeming to glide upon the floor rather then walk. After sitting at the head, he pushed a button on the mini-computer in front of him.

“Yes sir, the human has been brought in. He has gone through full sanitation, and been given the appropriate vaccines to help him in this new environment. I have run a full bio-scan and treated any ailments that he seems to have suffered in his time on Earth”

“Wait, what type of ailments?”

“Minor alterations that would have caused some inconveniance to everyone including himself, sir. I corrected a slight discrepancy in his eyes, corrected his over reactive immune system, and cured a condition I believe is called “Asthma”. Nothing else was wrong. The Mark can be found on the underside of his right wrist, though it is currently dormant.”

“That will change quite shortly. Bring him into his… spot” the figure said, touching the tips of his fingers in a way that most villains would when pondering something.

A loud swoosh noise heralded the arrival of the newcomer, as he was neatly plopped into the chair by a large transportation tube. The human, 21, with brown hair and eyes, was scrawny, wearing a T-shirt saying “I like pie” on it, with camouflage cargo shorts. He was currently waking up from a light slumber, and was ogling the chamber, as well as noticing the lack of glasses on his face and the ability to see everything without them.

Instead of speaking, the figure merely stared at the human, with his red eyes, which seemed to glow eviler and redder the longer he stared. The human quickly stopped his ogling, and sank back into the chair, a sheepish half-grin on his face and a very small wave, along with a greeting of “Hi”.

“I trust you find the accommodations here to your liking?” the figure asked, his deep almost demonic voice resonating in the near empty chamber.

“Uhhhhh… yeah, it’s cool. It has that sci-fi feel with an all natural touch. It’s like some bizarre fusion of magic and technology” the human responded, his voice a typical baritone, not sounding in any way like a “nerd”, as his appearance would suggest otherwise.

“That’s because it IS a bizarre fusion of magic and technology. We call it magitech for short around here. And by here, I mean the world of Tipa. That’s spelled with a I, not a double e, for the record,” the figure explained, his entire body in the same position as it had been for the past several minutes.

“Wait… I’m not on Earth? And what’s up with your arms…” the human asked, a zillion questions popping up into his brain at the startling revelation.

“Yes, you were sucked up by a random portal and flung into this world. However, your arrival here is apparently not as random as originally thought. But first, tell me, do you like playing… what’s the term…” the figure started to ask, moving his fingers to the table to drum as he thought of the word while ignoring the second question.

“Role-playing games, sir” EVA responded promptly.

“Ah, yes, thank you EVA. Yes, Role-playing Games?” the figure asked, ignoring the startled look on the human.

“Uhhhhh… yes, yes actually I do. In fact, there’s this one…” he began, but was immediately cut off by the figure.

“Fine fine fine, that will make things much easier. I will explain more in-depth as time progresses, but for the sake of time, let’s say that you have been sucked in from your world into this one because you have been “chosen by the forces of fate” to help bring balance to this planet. Yes, I realize it’s cliché, but it’s the simplest way of explaining things” he explained, waving his arm dismissingly of the human’s speech.

“Wait… me? Save a planet… dude… uh… I hate to tell you this… but…” the human said awkwardly, scratching the back of his head to further emphasis the awkwardness of what he was about to say, when once again, he was cut off.

“Yes, you have no powers. I am fully aware that the realm you come from has forgone the use of magic and has taken the technology route. Sadly, your world is not advanced enough in order to develop any sort of special scientific powers, so you are an “ordinary human”. Fortunately, in this realm, you have been given a remarkable ability to wield magic,” the figure explained, his voice hinting boredom to the conversation.

“I’m a wizard? That’s awesome! I’ve always wanted to be…”

“Look, I don’t really care about your backstory at the moment, that can be explained further down the road. The important part right now is that I give you a briefing of this world, your mission, your powers, etc.”

“Will there be pie served?” the human asked, sheepishly.

“Of course! Everyone knows that you can’t have a long plot exposition without pie! Or root beer!”

“Great! One question before this ‘briefing’, who are you?”

The figure paused for a moment, and then started to reach for his hood. When the hood was fully pulled down, the human let out a startled gasp.

“I am the Grim Reaper of this realm”

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 12/27/2010 18:02:43 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 1
6/28/2009 23:00:04   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 1

“The… Grim Reaper? Does this mean I’m…”

“Oh heavens no! You’re not dead. I haven’t done the death job in… oh, roughly 40 years now. I got… promoted, if you will. You’re actually filling in my job.” Grim said, a smile on his face that was as pleasant as a skull’s smile could be.

“Wait… I’m the new Grim Reaper?”

“Well, let me explain. EVA!” At that, a holographic projector from above lowered itself, and projected a blank blue screen. In addition, the pie and root beer appeared as if by magic in front of the two.

“Alright, you come from a world where science has been the mainstay of “progress” of your species. The humans of this world have discovered magic, and as such have not found a need to advance technologically. Therefore, the setting here is comparative to that of your world’s “Middle Ages”. This has it’s own ups and downs, but I’ll leave that for you to discover” Grim explained, the projector displaying various pictures to match what he was talking about.

“Uhh, right…”

“You know, I just remembered, what exactly is your name?”

“My name is Cid. Cid…”

“Very good. Your new name here is Necro. Your old name can be used when you’re incognito. Before you ask, it’s a tradition with your… position to be named after your profession. You are the Necro Reaper- The Reaper of Death, if you will. Just accept this, I will go into detail shortly” Grim said, taking a sip of root beer.

“Uh, doesn’t that liquid…”

“I said I’d explain. You’re probably what the definition of ‘magic’ is. In this world, magic is the manipulation of the 6 to 7 elements that make up everything of this world. Yes, I did say 6 to 7. There are 6 primary elements, with a 7th “element” that is debated amongst your kind whether it really is an element since it’s the state of all 6 primary elements combined, but I’ll get into that later,” he continued, sipping more root beer.

“The elemental energy of this planet comes from the Elemental Spheres. Consider them giant power houses that provide a single element for this world, meaning that there are 7 of these spheres. These aren’t little orbs that you can hold in your hand, they’re gigantic things, roughly the size of a medium asteroid. Obviously, storing such important items on the planet they provide for would be idiotic, and they are stored in another dimensions. That was one of the few things that the Goddesses of this world did right before they abandoned us…”

“Goddesses? What Godesses?” Necro asked, completely fascinated with Grim’s story.

“Oh, did I forget the Creation Story? Dang it, was supposed to start with that… Ok, short story is these Three Goddesses got bored and decided to create Tipa, thinking it would be fun to rule over mortals. However, they got bored with our world after a few years, and so they designed the Elemental Spheres to generate energy to Tipa and help maintain it.”

“Maintain it? I thought you said they were generators?”

“Err, more accurately they’re super-computer/generator hybrids. The Spheres aren’t just inanimate objects- they’re fully sentient beings with unimaginable power. However, their ability to interact with Tipa is very limited, and they way they were designed, they’re quite content with letting things run their course with only… “minor” altercations needed. See, Tipa was designed on the idea of “universal balance”, somewhat like your Newton’s Third Law. There’s a reason why there are 6 primary elements- they counteract each other. For the Fire Sphere, there is the Water Sphere, for Air, Earth, and for Life, Death. The 7th sphere, Ultima, is the state of all 6 elements blended into perfect union. The system is really quite extraordinary, but I need to get to the main thrust of what’s going on here, and why you are here.”

“Quick question, does this world have creatures besides humans?” Necro asked, having finished his pumpkin pie.

“There are plenty of monsters, orcs and goblins to cause havoc. Humans are the main sentients here, if that’s what you mean. There’s some elf and dwarf colonies, but they don’t tend to associate with humans. You also got your nymphs, sylphs, fairies, centaurs… oh yeah, the entire “magical creature” list lives here, but you’ll mostly see humans.”

“Moving on” Grim continued, putting his root beer down, as it was now finished. “The Goddesses also decided the orbs needed some way of directly interacting with Tipa, as well as guardians of the Spheres. That is what a Reaper is. Our duty is to help make sure there’s some sort of balance on this rock, as well as make sure that the “will of the Spheres” is carried out when need be. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your going to become some mindless slave that will be bossed around to do whatever the Spheres please. Reapers have complete autonomy within the bonds of the Bylaws, and the Spheres rarely ever give us orders anyways.”

“What Bylaws?”

“Well, a Reaper is essentially a being of pure elemental energy. As the Reaper of Death, your final form will be pure Death energy. Reapers are classified as “demi-gods”, and we wield the power to back up that classification. In order to make sure that we don’t go crazy and try to destroy the world or something, the Goddesses created the Bylaws with the original Reapers. They granted them extraordinary power in exchange for the responsibilities of being a Reaper and putting a limit on the power we can use freely under normal conditions.”

“Wait, I’m a being of pure energy? Does that mean I can shape shift and stuff? That’s so cool!”

“Well, no, not yet. I am a being of pure energy, so I can shape shift, which is why I appear to you as a skull. When I was the Reaper of Death, I loved going around as a skeleton, and when I got bumped up to Reaper of Ultima, I kept the look. Since you originally were a human, you’re going have to… ‘level up’, like in your video games, before you can start using your advanced powers. Right now, you’d be lucky to fire off a magical blast of energy.”

“How come you’re not the Reaper of Death anymore, and how do you know that I’m the new one?” Necro asked, his questions only increasing as the explanations came forth.

“Well, Reapers are… “technically” immortal. The position of Reaper can’t be destroyed without destroying the Elemental Spheres. However, the original Reapers were humans who were given the power. If we run into creatures of “Demi-god” or above class, we do have a chance of being completely destroyed beyond regeneration. Our world is often visited by random portals which seem to bring beings that have nothing better to do then conquer the universe or something. 45 years ago, one of those portals brought around a “Class I God” class to Tipa. After 5 years of fighting said god, the Reapers of my generation were forced to activate a final defensive measure to protect Tipa. Essentially, the other Reapers sacrificed themselves to trap the god in a dimensional prison. The aftereffects of this measure is that the havoc wrecked by him never really happened, and no one remembers it, except for me. The Reaper of Ultima is usually a Reaper from a former position, as that Reaper is regarded as the “leader” of our little order. I was chosen to be the next “Reaper of Ultima” to help lead in the new generation of Reapers.”

“Wow… that’s terrible… I’m sorry…”

“Forget your sympathy for me, my worries are the last problem this problem has. One part of the Fail-Safe my brethren activated isolated the Elemental Spheres from Tipa, to protect them. Unfortunately, the planet has been falling into chaos without them. We have some sections of Tipa that are teaming with life, while other areas are barren deserts. Worst, the orcs, goblins, and other monsters have banded together under one ruler and are fully intent on eliminating all other sentients on the planet. That is where you come in. For whatever reason, the Elemental Sphere of Death choose you to be the new Reaper of Death. Go ahead, look at your right wrist’s underside.”

Necro did so, and suddenly noticed a black skull, that seemed very lifelike. It emanated a black aura around it.

“That is the symbol of the Death element. That is how you tell that you are one of 6 chosen. See, as the Reaper of Ultima, I rely on the other elements to gain my power. Since there are no active Reapers, I don’t really have any power aside from a few basic spells. Your job is to go into the world of Tipa and gather the other 5 Reapers. You are also to begin honing your skills as a Reaper, get acquainted with the world and such.”

“But… how is Death supposed to help anything with balance? How can I do all this? I mean, come on, I’m just a computer nerd here…”

“Relax, I’m not pushing you out of the nest without some guidance. There will be time for more explanations later. Tomorrow we’ll start your training. Now, go get some sleep. EVA will show you where your quarters are” Grim said, getting up from the table and started walking over to the console he was at originally before the meeting.

Necro also got up, and a floating green arrow appeared in front of him. Taking that as a sign, he followed the arrow out of the main chamber.

Grim sighed as he sat back down at the small console. “Sheesh, I’m sometimes wondering if I got stuck with this job as a punishment for something I did. I could have sworn I didn’t act up that badly…”

“Actually Sir, you have 6,493,294 acts of misconduct on your record. It is indeed possible that this was a punishment for you” EVA responded.

“Thanks EVA, I needed that”.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 9/10/2010 20:11:46 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 2
6/29/2009 13:23:46   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 2

The next morning, Necro returned to the main chamber only to find Grim still at the same console he was at last night. Quite curious, Necro walked over towards Grim, only to find Grim quickly getting up from his chair and turning to greet Necro.

“Greetings Necro, I trust you found the accommodations to your liking?” he asked, his skull still visible, trying to look as friendly as a skull could.

“It was a tad… dark. Everything was black and all. I felt sort of… emo.”

“Oh, don’t worry, it comes with the position. You will notice over time that your position as Reaper of Death will change certain things about you. The first obvious change is that you new favorite color is black, and that you prefer the dark over light. That’s not to say that you’ll burn to death if you walk outside in the sun or something, but you will find things like that becoming common as you get used to the job. If you want I can have EVA change the room to something more appealing if you like.”

“That’s another thing… if this world is in a medieval setting technologically, how the heck is this place so advanced? And just who is this EVA?” Necro asked, going to the spot he was at last night, as there was a breakfast of pancakes and orange juice already prepared for him. “Sweet, pancakes!”


Necro stopped eating and stared at Grim, looking at him incredulously.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. Well, you should know that sometimes being a demi-god can be quite boring at times, so the original Reapers decided to go gallivanting off to other planets to see what they looked like. They came back with knowledge of advanced magitech, and thus built the Calico Caverns. EVA, the Electronic Voice Assistant, is the AI for the computer that runs this base.”

“So, why don’t you share this technology with the rest of the planet?” Necro asked, returning to his pancakes.

“Are you mad? Give medieval mortals such advanced technology? They’d blow themselves up faster then if we taught them how to blow up the core of this planet with magic! This magitech stays here at our base for emergencies and such. And because it looks so freaking awesome”

“Can I play with some of the advanced weapons you have?”

“Certainly not! I don’t care if you were from the military on your world, you’re not ready to handle the type of power these weapons can wield! When you go into Tipa, you will be wielding weapons appropriate to the time period. The same goes for your clothes… EVA!”

At that command, another object that looked like the projector came down above Necro, and bathed him in a yellow light. Instantly, his old Earth clothes were replaced by long black robes much similar to Grim’s, with the hood down. Necro’s cloak was not one solid piece of fabric like Grim’s appeared to be, and could be taken off if necessary. Underneath said cloak were traditional traveling clothes including pants, boots, undershirt and vest, all made of a material similar to leather.

“Don’t worry about the weather too much, your cloak is embedded with a spell that allows the wearer to remain at a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It also keeps off rain and such. I am aware that you’re not used to “roughing it”, so I figured this was the best way to keep you from whining about the weather and focus on your mission.”

“Errrrr, thanks… So, about this training you mentioned…” Necro asked, finishing his pancakes.

“Ah yes, we might as well use this room, not like we have anything better to do with it, EVA! I need a training mat!”

EVA responded accordingly by lowering the table into the floor and replacing it with a large rectangular training ring. It had ropes around the edges, and the floor was padded enough to help cushion falls but still hard enough to act as firm ground.

“Reapers are largely what you would consider a “mage” class. After all, being an entity of pure elemental energy means you have lots of mana to strike down your opponents. That doesn’t mean that we don’t use melee weapons. Your first task is to summon your personal weapon that you should keep on you at all times. It’s an emblem that represents your position, and is truly one of the most underappreciated weapons: the scythe.”

“A scythe? Isn’t that a peasant’s weapon? And how come you can’t just give me a weapon?”

“Yes, peasant’s DO use scythes, which tarnishes this weapon’s nobility. Don’t let that fool you though, our scythes are quite… unique. So unique that it would be stupid to actually make a material version of the scythe. Our scythes are made from our element. This makes them a very good channeling weapon as well as a nearly indestructible melee weapon. You can also turn your scythe into whatever weapon you want since it’s made from your own energy reserves. That reminds me.” Grim snapped his fingers after finishing the last line.

Immediately, a watch appeared on Necro’s left arm. It was a very advanced sort of watch, with many buttons on it and a rather sci-fi looking display screen.

“Consider this your status menu for your life. It displays your stats, health, mana, etc. Yes, it DOES also tell time, but you have to push the buttons in the right sequence. I’ll explain the watch later. That watch can do many things, such as scan and analyze stuff, translate, contact others with watches on if your telepathy doesn’t work…”

This time it was Necro’s turn to interrupt Grim. “Whoa, whoa whoa! Telepathy? And speaking of translation, how are we speaking the same language so easily?”

“Oh, simple. When you were brought here, I cast a spell that made the common tongue of our land sound like your primary language. In return, when you speak in your primary language, it sounds like common tongue to us. Sadly, as I have limited power, my spell doesn’t include other dialects like Dwarvish and such, but the watches should take care of that. Yes, you do have the capability for telepathy, but that’s at least a level 20 spell. You’re only level 1 buddy. Got to crawl before you can run boy.”

“Do the watches have cool names?”

“Oh no, they’re just super sci-fi watches. Though I suppose if I come up with a better name we can use it, but for now they’re watches. Now, let’s talk summoning. You have to visualize your scythe first. Make it however you want: weight, height, composition, shinyness, etc. Then, once you have your scythe, you must draw out the Death energy inside yourself into a blob in front of you. Finally, you have to then shape the energy into your scythe. When you perfected it, the move should look like this.”

Grim quickly spread his arms forward, and put the right hand on top of the left, and made a sweeping motion with the left arm. As he did it, a scythe formed in along the sweep until he finished it. It was a rather simple scythe, with wooden handle and typical blade.

“Whoa, that’s cool… by the way, why are you the Grim Reaper if my position goes by the name Necro?”

“Oh, that? That was a joke started by my brethren. They always said I had a rather sour disposition, so they called me the Grim Reaper. Somehow the nickname got out into Tipa, and it stuck. So I decided to keep it after a while.”

“Nice… how do you know so much about my world anyways?”

“Enough questions! Start performing the move!” Grim said, putting his scythe diagonally across his back, as if there was a strap there for it.

Necro quickly pictured the scythe in his head, and attempted to draw his own death energy from inside him. His first attempt at this resulted in a small black cloud forming and slowly dissolving in his own face, causing him to choke on some of it.

“Hang on lad!” Grim called, whipping out his scythe and whacking the middle of Necro’s back with the flat of the blade, causing Necro to face plant into the mat and cough up the remaining energy in his lungs. “Are you ok”

“Did you have to whack me so hard? That hurt like heck” Necro moaned, rubbing the impact area.

“Sorry, forget my own strength stat at times. You have to be careful about breathing in pure elemental energy when you’re starting out, it’s not good for you. Eventually you can just absorb it, but for now, best to avoid getting blasted with any of it, even your own element. Let’s try that again”

And so they did, 567 times until it was well past 9 PM, as Tipa had a orbit and rotation conveniently like Earth’s. Necro was dead tired after so many failed attempts, and was currently lying down on the mat, breathing heavily. “I never imagined magic to be so difficult”

“I must admit kid, I’m impressed. You’re the first Reaper ever to be able to form a double helix before a straight line in their summon scythe technique.” Grim said, sitting down next to Necro.

“You know, I didn’t see you draw out your energy when you did your move.”

“That’s cause I was doing that and shaping it at the same time. You’re supposed to draw out your energy in the general shape of the object, and then you go back and refine it.”

“That would have been helpful to have known that BEFORE all this. I was just trying to draw the energy into one blob like you said and then make it,” Necro said, looking annoyed at Grim.

“Oh, did I say to make it a blob? My bad, why don’t you try it this time using that method?”

Necro got back up and attempted it again. As he drew his arms across, the black energy was formed in the general shape of a scythe. Unfortunately, Necro got overexcited by this achievement, and lost control of the energy, which shot directly at Grim’s head, knocking it off and rolling it on the floor.

“Ooops… sorry… wait, if you’re a shape shifter, how did I manage to knock your head off?”

“Look, when you take the shape of something, you pick up part of it’s attributes. I’m a skeleton, so it’s possible to dismember me. I guess I did deserve that though, but it still wasn’t very nice.” Grim’s head said, as the body walked over and put it back on straight. “Try it again, and try not to get too excited.”

Necro tried it once more, and this time managed to get the spell right. The scythe itself was wicked looking compared to Grim’s Scythe. The entire shaft was black, and the blade shone with a will-o-wisp aura around the black silver metal. The blade itself was slightly longer then Grim’s, and jagged. Engraved on the blade in blood red were runes of a particularly cool nature.

“Woah, nice scythe. What do the runes mean?” Grim asked, eyeing the scythe with his eye sockets.

“I have absolutely no idea, but I just thought of some that looked awesome.” Necro said, grinning at his achievement.

“Well, that is a scythe that says ‘don’t mess with me’. It also makes you stand out a bit, so I would suggest keeping it hidden in towns. Typically, when you want your scythe out, we keep it slung around our backs. Don’t worry, a rope will magically appear to give it the appearance that it’s holding in place instead of just magically sticking to your back. How does it feel?”

Necro took a few steps back from Grim and started swinging and twirling the scythe like a baton. “Interesting, it’s much lighter then I expected. It feels more balanced then I would have thought as well”

Grim laughed a bit as he watched Necro playing with his toy. “It’s your scythe, you control it’s properties. If you think it’s too light, just make it heavier. It’s literally an extension of you.” He commented as he was Interrupted by a DING noise.

Necro looked at his watch, the source of the ding. “What was that?”

“The level up ding. Normally, when you level up, you don’t really feel more powerful. So, to let you keep track, the watch will ding every time you level up. Congrats, you’re level 2.”

“How many levels are there?”

“I dunno, it varies upon each person actually. You, I’d estimate around 100, but I could be wrong. You’ll know when it’s time. Try not to worry to much about leveling up and focus on your main mission. For now, it’s time for you to rest. Your mana will recharge after resting, in addition to mana potions and other stuff. But that’s later. Night Necro.”

As Necro followed the big green arrow a second time back to his room, Grim returned to his console.

“Well, that probably could have gone worse. At least he mastered his first spell today.” Grim commented, typing in some information that to the casual observer was gibberish.

“It would have gone better if you had instructed him better” EVA commented.
“Give me a break, I’m new to this whole mentor thing. I’ll get it right by the 6th Reaper, and hopefully they’ll already know stuff about magic.” Grim sighed.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 9/10/2010 20:13:45 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 3
6/30/2009 8:33:41   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 3

It was roughly an hour after dawn, and Grim was still at his console, when he suddenly stood up, inspired by an idea. “EVA, what I’m about to tell you is top secret, and not to be told to anyone else until I say it is ok, understood?”

“Yes sir,” the computer responded.

“The Reaper of Death is the hardest position in Tipa, possibly the universe, for any human to undertake. Especially considering that Necro is born in a time period where they don’t even have to kill to get their food anymore, that nasty business is usually kept behind the scenes, while they just purchase the meat that’s already been taken care of. Today I’m going to force him to kill an animal, and teach him how to prepare it. I’ve also taken the liberty of casting a spell on it to make it oh so adorable,” Grim stated coldly.

“Sir, you’ll never be able to get him to actually kill something unless he did it as a reflex out of self defense. You know, one of those “kill or be killed” scenarios…” EVA began, but was cut off from Grim.

“No, he must learn how to kill at a moment’s notice without a second’s hesitation, Both in hot blood AND cold blood. The fastest way of getting him over the initial reaction that humans go through after their first kill is to make it in cold blood and on an adorable creature. That way, once they get past the initial shock of it, killing anything else won’t seem nearly as painful,”

“Sir, that’s very cruel logic. It would be better to ease him into the art of killing, have him start with an ugly monster that’s going to kill…”

“NO!” Grim shouted, momentarily afraid that he awakened Necro. After an awkward silence of no movment from Necro’s quarters, Grim continued his tirade. “If we ease him into this it will take much longer then expected! I need him out of here and on the road as soon as possible! My strategy IS effective,” Grim stated.

“Sure, and you’ll give him the biggest emotional scar of his life, considering he comes from a middle class family. You’ll probably drive him into being emo, suicidal, a pacifist, or something else. Brilliant logic,” the computer retorted.

“Not if I use an Ultima Orb to help suppress those emotions that would get in the way of him doing his duty,” Grim ginned coldly.

“Please elaborate your plan, sir,” EVA requested.

“Since it’s his first kill, I can’t completely isolate the shock of his first kill, but I can significantly suppress his initial reaction. I can also further keep a hold on suppressing emotions that would cause delays with him going into emotional turmoil,” Grim explained.

“You’ll turn him into a freak, a cold killing machine that is even more efficient at the job then you were,” EVA responded coldly, for a computer.

“Now now now, it may SEEM like he’s heartless, but it won’t be all bad. He’ll have full range of those positive emotions and will be able to move along. I’m just isolating a few emotions or trigger events, such as death, lonliness, etc.” Grim nodded.

“So he’ll have most of his humanity, but you’ll deny him part of his morals?” EVA asked.

“Bah, morals are just something that get in the way of the job. He’s going to find killing the deer revolting, and he’ll find reanimating the deer he killed even less pleasant. If I did this the normal way, there’d be a big emotional drama about it as he slowly comes to terms that he’ll have to. This way, the job will get done. After his first reaction of killing something has been suppressed, getting him to kill for necessity and reanimate will be easy,” Grim shrugged.

“And how do you get him to raise the dead adorable deer without any sort of objection?”

“Heh, by then the spell will be at full strength. If I cast it now, it will be strong enough to curb his initial reaction, but by tomorrow he’ll have no reservations of killing. He won’t be ENJOYING killing, rest assured of that. It’s not like he’ll be a heartless monster that lives for the deaths of others. But if he sees something that needs to get killed, he won’t have a second thought about it,” Grim explained.

“The audience isn’t going to take to kindly to Necro if they see him as a person who doesn’t care about life…”

“It’s not like that. He DOES value human life, I can’t completely get rid of that. However, if someone is attacking him, he will have no second thoughts of slaying the attacker. If he is hungry, he’ll have no second thoughts about killing whatever creature is available for food. I don’t care if what I’m doing is morally wrong or not, it will get the job done faster,” Grim growled, annoyed at having to justify himself to EVA.

“You’re only delaying the inevitable. You know that when emotions are bottled up like that, they just get worse and worse. Humans have to cope with these things, they can’t be like Vulcans and suppress their unwanted emotions. The longer you try suppressing things, the harder it will be,” EVA warned.

“I will deal with that when the situation comes. Hopefully we’ll have more Reapers and he can use them to tell his troubles to and not me. I’ve never been a people person, and I’m still new to this whole mentoring thing. Why the hell I got chosen out of all the Reapers I still don’t know. Now, bring me out of the Ultima Orbs we got using to power Calico,” Grim ordered.

EVA teleported the dark green orb into Grim’s hand as the skeleton began chanting in Ancient Reaper. Slowly the ball glowed, and let out a flash of light that flooded the main room. After Grim finished the spell, EVA teleported the Orb back to the power core as Necro was waking up. Grim quickly returned to his station and acted as if nothing happened as Necro exited his room and walked down the corridor.

Necro returned to the main room the next morning, and found a repeat of yesterday as he got near Grim again.

"I trust that EVA helped you with your room?" Grim asked, walking over to the training ring, which was still there.

"Oh yes, it's much less emo looking now. So, when's breakfast? I'm starved" Necro asked, his scythe strapped to his back like Grim showed him.

"Oh, you'll be preparing it today, lad. EVA"

At that, a cage was lowered from the giant ceiling, and out came a very cute deer with abnormally large cute eyes that made you want to go "awwwwwwwwwwwww, isn't that cute?"
which is exactly what Necro did.

"There's breakfast" Grim said, a cold smile on his skeletal face.

"Wait... you want me... to kill that adorable creature right there?" Necro asked, still staring at the oh so cuddly deer.

"You sir, are the Reaper of Death. As such, you need to learn how to kill in cold blood when necessary. The quickest way to get you to override your sense of ethics to get the job done is by having you kill a defenseless, extremely cute creature. Before you ask, yes, it was enchanted earlier to make it extra cute and cuddly. Our deer look very similar to the deer back on Earth. The charm was just an extra bonus. The rationale in this scenario is that it's either you, or the deer."

"But... it's SO cuddly!" Necro said, noticing the extra fluffiness of the deer's tail.

"At least we don't have to worry about you becoming a psychopathic killer when you become a full Reaper. Now quit lollygagging and kill the darn thing. This training is also supposed to help you with surviving in the wild. Since you're still mostly human, you'll have to eat like them when you're on the trail. Time to toughen up son, go for the head."

"I'm not going to kill that deer no matter how much you want me to! Killing things in cold blood is wrong! You can't make me do it no matter how much you order me!" Necro shouted, getting angry at Grim.

"Want to bet?" Grim muttered under his breath, also cursing about the spell not being fast enough and quickly shot out his left hand, flatened, towards Necro. "I said you will kill it, now do it!" he ordered, his eyes burning red.

Necro gulped as he unslung his scythe and raised it above the deer's head, who was still standing there looking oh so adorable at him. After closing his eyes, Necro brought down the scythe in one fell swoop.

"Excellent! Now, open your eyes, and stare at the carcass, and tell me what you feel" Grim said, observing the entire scene.

Necro did as he was told, and saw the head that still looked cute even dismembered. Blood was gushing out of the neck of the fallen body. For a moment, Necro was completely disgusted with the sight and wanted to retch. But, slowly the sight became less and less appalling, the longer he stared. In fact, he even found it a tad amusing as a smile crept across his face. He would have kept staring and enjoying the gruesome sight if some part of his conciseness didn't snap into gear and make him realize what was happening.

"Well?" asked Grim, knowing the answer all too well.

"At first, I found it disgusting, but then... I think I started to enjoy it. Some part of me actually wanted to repeat the entire incident again... what the hell did you do to me?" he asked accusingly, looking straight a Grim with an angry expression.

"Time for your lesson on the elements. As you may know, everyone has what is called a "light" side and a "dark" side. One side is quite acceptable by human standards and is considered to be "good", while the other side is condemned as "evil". In reality, these are merely pre-conceived notions as it is mostly arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but since the Reapers were human at one point, we still stick to the same ethics code that humans today still follow here." Grim explained, watching Necro intently.

"The Death Element is the embodiment of all the things that "civilized" society does not like. Death is but one part of it. There's jealousy, rage, thievery, cruelty, decay, darkness, etc. Basically, if you think something is evil, the Death element has it. Things that are viewed as "negative" and aren't really in the other elements, the Death element has."

"So I'm the personification of evil in this world then, is that it?" asked Necro, a look of contempt on his face.

"To some, yes you are. However, let me make this perfectly clear: no element is evil or good. No element is right while the opposite is wrong. ALL the elements are necessary in Tipa to keep balance. What is life without dying? Let me tell you, eternal life is not all it's cracked up to be. I've lived for a 1000 years as a Reaper, and there are times when I just want to leave this realm and move on to the Afterlife, but it's not my time."

"You are what you choose to be. True, the Death element will evoke certain feelings and ideas that you would never even dream of normally, such as burning down an entire village cause someone made you mad. But, you are the one who controls what you do. The mantle of the Reaper of Death is the heaviest of all of them, in my opinion."

"So does this mean I have control of who lives and who dies? And do I have to go around and kill everyone whose time it is?"

"Certainly not! You will only be dispatched to kill someone because it is their "time" on very rare occasions by the Death Element. No, the whole dying process is a very refined one that is really automatic and is handled by the Death Elemental Sphere. It decides who goes to the afterlife and who goes to the netherworld and such. For now, let's focus on your abilities in this world. We'll refine your other worldly abilities like communicating with spirits and whatnot later."

“Wait… so does this mean I’m going to be depressed and angry and stuff?” Necro asked, still wary of the situation.

“Look, just because I let it get to me doesn’t mean it can get to you. I had a bad childhood, and had a negative disposition on humanity, so the Death Element just encouraged some of those emotions. It doesn’t mean that the entire job is a bum job. It’s actually quite fun at times… ok, yes, in an evil indulging sort of thing, but look at it this way, you get an excuse to break rules. I know I said the elements are independent of alignment, but the way it turns out, the Life element is more good and lawful while the Death element is more chaotic and evil. However, that doesn’t mean that that’s going to be the case. In fact, judging by how you’re taking this, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Reaper of Life turned out to be a really violent chick.” Grim said, his voice level.

“Wait… chick? You mean there are female Reapers?” Necro asked, suddenly interested in his position again.

“The elements are designed with checks and balances and alignments. Fire, Death and Wind are considered the “chaotic elements” by some philosophers, while Water, Life and Earth are considered the “lawful elements”. Whatever you believe, it is true that the elements grouped together have a strong semblance with each other. The former elements listed are males, while the latter are females. No, that’s not anything of a stereotype of the genders of this world, it’s just how things worked out. Technically speaking, it’s not really your job to regulate yourself too much; it’s your counterpart’s job.”

“I’m still not liking this whole ‘evil’ thing going on here.”

“You’ll get used to it. It’s not like you’ll start robbing from old people immediately when you go out into Tipa. You are more then capable of doing good deeds for people. You’ll probably expect some sort of compensation for your trouble though. The point is, don’t get too obsessed with it. You won’t become a mindless killing machine. The Death Element is not just one of blind power that seeks the total destruction of all. You might think that it is, but that’s not it at all. The Death Element can be very subtle at times… much more subtle then Fire anyways. Besides, Death magic can do good deeds as well. You got a hoard of enemies invading a helpless village, what better way to off them then deliver a horrible disease? You can help people get in touch with the dead to make reconciliations. You also help make sure the planet doesn’t get overpopulated and prevent wars over resources. You’re a part of Tipa as much as the other Reapers.”

Necro paused for a moment, thinking hard about Grim’s words. Finally he raised his head and looked directly at Grim. “Alright, I may be able to get used to this eventually… so you going to show me how to feed myself?” he asked, trying to change the subject.

At that moment, EVA lowered another holo-projector that listed instructions on how to gut and clean an animal, as well as how to make a fire and cook the meat. The appropriate materials were lowered in front of Necro, including a hunting knife. Promptly Necro followed the instructions while Grim continued lecturing.

“As you may expect, being the Reaper of Death isn’t going to make you too popular with many of the locals. The position is the most despised of all 7 of ours, with the exception of fire sometimes, or my own at rare times. This means that you will want to keep your identity hidden for the most part. As such, you will be posing as a wandering mercenary necromancer. There are enough of them wandering around that you won’t be too out of place. You may carry your scythe on your back if you wish, but I do somewhat advise against it if you are doing stealth missions, which is something the Reaper of Death excels at.”

“We will be training for the rest of the month to get you up to… level 5, in numerical terms. You will then journey from Calico to the closest village, Anges. EVA picked upa Reaper beacon there. Before you ask, no, we can’t do a teleport of the person. Bylaws dictate that only the first of the new Reapers can be teleported in such a fashion. The rest must be met by existing Reapers and initiated in the field. I have no idea why such a stupid law was put in there, but it IS in there, and it’s a binding contract. When a Reaper is chosen on Tipa, they are particularly skilled with their element, so it should be somewhat obvious which Reaper you are dealing with. Sensors indicate we’re tracking the Reaper of Fire if we’re not mistaken.”

“The initiation ceremony is simple, surprisingly. You just point your right arm at the Reaper to be, and put your left thumb over your mark. This should activate the recipient’s mark, and they will be instantly blessed with the knowledge they are Reapers. This also helps cut down on training time, as they are given some information at the initiation. No, I couldn’t do it with you as you’re not from this world. Don’t worry about it too much, I’ll be with you most of the time when you’re out in the field”

“I thought you said you couldn’t leave Calico?” Necro asked, already cooking the meat at this point.

“Ok, it’ll be more of an astral projection of my skull. The point is, I’ll be monitoring you and giving you advice because I have nothing else really to do. No one else but a Reaper will be able to see or hear me, so be careful when you talk to me. Don’t want people to think you’re crazier then you really are.”

“Thanks” Necro replied, rolling his eyes and taking the meat off the spit and putting it on a makeshift plate.

“I love venin! Now, hurry up, we’ll be working on basic magic projectiles next.” Grim said, sitting down next to the fire and taking his share of the food.

The rest of the day progressed with better ease then the first day of training. Before Necro tucked in, Grim had him shooting down projectiles with small balls of death energy from his hand.

“Not bad, see you tomorrow Necro” Grim said, returning to his console.

“Ok… can you get rid of this stupid green arrow? I know where my room is now” Necro asked, as he started walking back to his room.

“EVA, the newbie can find his way now, you can turn off the room tutorial” Grim said, and the arrow disappeared.

Several minutes later, Grim returned to whatever he was doing originally. “Well, he took the news better then I expected. I thought he would start trashing the joint”

“His darker side hasn’t developed yet. Give it time, and he’ll be a very well rounded person” Eva commented.

“I guess, we all need to get over our own unpleasant side if we’re going to achieve balance in this world. If the Reapers can’t do that, then there’s no way the rest of this planet can.” He sighed.

“By the way, did you let him know that Shambles is a good 5 miles away from here through a monster infested forest?” EVA asked.

“Worst part is that he’ll have to travel by foot since he doesn’t know teleportation, and there’s no vehicles or mounted animals around here” Grim grinned evilly, slightly cackling.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 9/10/2010 20:16:34 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 4
7/1/2009 21:08:41   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 4

A week passed since Necro’s landing on Tipa, and the routine of the morning was the same, starting with a different breakfast for each day, followed by training. Grim seemed to have gone through the majority of the explanations the first two days, but Necro still had more questions.

“Ok, so, I know a little more about all the elements, but what about a thunderstorm? That has water, wind and fire, if you count lighting under fire. Which Reaper has the ability to summon storms?”

“Ahh, you’re beginning to realize that things are far more complex then 6 basic elements. The answer is that they all can, to some degree. Certain spells and phenomenon fall under multiple elements. For example, the Reaper of Wind can produce hot and cold wind, but only by borrowing a tiny bit of power from the Fire or Water elements. Look at the Earth element. It has domain over creating and stimulating plants to a certain extent, but the creation of new life falls under the domain of the Reaper of Life. Weather is more complex element, but the Reaper of Water has the most “control” over said storms, followed by Wind and then Fire, if the order was needed. Most of the time, the Reapers would work together for big projects like weather. Any other questions?” Grim asked eating pancakes with Necro.

“Let’s see… oh, yeah, when are we going to start covering undead? I know we’ve covered basic attack spells, but if I’m going to be a necromancer, shouldn’t I be able to summon a legion of undead?” he asked, finishing his pancakes.

“Actually, I was going to start you on that today. First, I need to differentiate between undead. Forget your preconceived notions of undead. First off, vampires are not undead. We do have some, but we don’t classify them as undead. Vampires are they’re own race here, and aren’t like your stereotyped versions on your planet. Second, zombies also aren’t undead. Zombies on this world are classified as those who have their souls drained. Yes, you heard me, souls drained. There are creatures and magic that can drain the souls of others. Yes, this does fall under the Death Element’s domain, but it’s one of the darkest of magic, and you won’t encounter it too much when you’re starting out… hopefully.”

“So, what is undead in this world? Essentially they’re walking skeletons. There are two types of undead. The first are known as the Stalfan, or bone golems to some. They’re reanimated corpses, shed of all flesh, and magically enchanted to move on their own, like normal golems. I know what you’re thinking, that’s not technically the definition of undead, but they’re the most common type of creature necromancer’s use, so the Stalfan got generalized with the true undead. Just accept that bad stereotype, and move on.”

“The second type are true undead, the Sentinels. These are skeletons that have been infused with a soul. These creatures are fully sentient, but must follow the will of their necromancer. They are much more deadly then 100 Stalfan, and posses very powerful abilities. Sentinels are typically used as commanders in necromancer hoards. For the Reaper of Death, this is a relatively simple process, but it’s going to be a good while before you can get this ability.”

“I know what you’re thinking” Grim said before Necro could open his mouth. By now, the table was replaced with the typical training ring. “You’re wondering if death is permanent in this realm. Technically, it’s not. There are ways to fully revive someone. The Reaper of Life does have the ability to fully revive someone if she wanted to. However, there are certain laws governing reviving the fallen. It’s an extremely advanced, expensive process that takes a long time to complete. Only the most skilled healers can actually accomplish this. It’s easier to just make a Sentinel then do a complete revival.”

“I don’t get it, if death isn’t permanent, then doesn’t that sort of limit my… capabilities?” Necro asked, entering the ring.

“Not at all! As I said, it’s a selective process. Even the Reaper of Life is only allowed to perform the act of revival once a day. The humans of Tipa have come to accept that death is a permanent thing. The only ones who even bother with revival are the aristocrats or royalty of this realm… oh, that’s another thing we need to work on, you’re “rich people” manners”

“Rich people manners?” Necro asked, eying Grim inquisitively.

“As the Reaper of Death, you are the craftiest of all of us. You are the most capable to carry out Machiavellian tactics to get what you want, through any means of ‘diplomacy’. Trust me, you’ll want to be the one who negotiates contracts on missions. Your charisma and intelligence stats are typically higher then the other Reapers. That is at the cost of low wisdom and strength… meh, never mind. The point is you’re probably going to be viewed as the leader of this little party, so get used to that now.”

“Ok… I certainly don’t feel craftier then before”

“Of course not, you’re not in a situation where you need to be. You’re completely new to this realm, and you’ll be stumbling around till you get used to it. Just relax, your passive abilities will kick in when necessary. Now, observe the pile of bones in front of you. Necromancy is all about bones here. Without bones, there are no undead. Therefore, if you don’t want your loved ones reanimated, burn the bodies.”

“Now, you won’t be able to find complete set of bones in Tipa except in graveyards. Fortunately, you really only need one bone to make a Stalfan, but it’s easier if you have more bones. Before you are the bones of that incredibly cute deer you killed earlier. Animals are easier to reanimate then humans, so we’ll start with this deer. First, you must envision the animal while it was alive. I’m sure that you remember it quite well. Then, you must put the bones where you think they go. Yes, knowledge of the animal’s bone system would help you greatly, but its ok, you’ll figure it out after a few tries. Then, you just draw out some energy from you and put it in the bones.”

Necro’s first attempt at reanimating the deer resulted in a mountain of bones piled on top of each other. His second attempt was little better. It wasn’t until the 56th time that he actually managed to get the bones into some semblance of the deer’s skeletal system, with a few oddities.

“Dude, what major were you studying before you got sent here?” Grim asked, still a little amazed at the number of attempts needed to get this far.

“Leave me alone, my 9th grade biology class never got to the skeletal system of humans, and that means I sure as heck don’t know animal skeletons. Dang it Grim, I’m a mechanical engineer, not a doctor!” Necro said, quite frustrated with all his previous fruitless attempts.

“Calm down, this time you actually have some sort of semblance of the animal’s skeleton system. Just try to use what you have and rearrange the bones into the correct form. You’ll know when you got it by a small tugging feeling from your death energy that you’re using to manipulate the bones. It sounds odd, but you’ll feel it, trust me. It’s like a fish tugging on a fishing rod, if you’ve ever been fishing.” Grim explained, trying to keep Necro calm so he didn’t loose his focus.

Necro tried a few more times, and finally managed to get the all the bones in the right places. Unfortunately, he got excited and lost concentration, and overloaded the poor deer’s skeletal system and made it explode, flinging bones all over the place. One of said bones managed to hit Grim’s head, and knocked it off.

“Dude, do you take some sadistic pleasure in knocking a poor Reaper’s head off his body by being excited when performing magic?” he asked, as his body went over to reattach the skull.

“Actually… yes, I think I am starting to take joy in doing that…” Necro said a half grin on his face.

“Yes, well, don’t get used to it. I may be drained of the majority of my power, but I can still kick your level 3 butt at any given moment.” Grim replied, smiling back. “Now, let’s try actually reanimating the skeleton, and not blowing it up.”

And so Necro finally reanimated the deer without managing to blow anything up. The next trick was actually getting to get the deer to do something, as right now it was just staring at him with adorably cute red glowing orbs to act as eyes.

“Hmm, seems that cuteness spell didn’t wear off yet… ok, so, now, you need to think what you want the undead to do. Since you’re managing one right now, it’s quite easy. Later, when you do large groups of them, it’s much harder to give advanced commands, requiring something more general. Essentially, this is your first introduction to telepathy, except that you’re using the death energy link you have with your undead minion as the medium, making it much easier then actual telepathy” Grim commented.

Necro followed Grim’s advice, and it resulted in the skele-deer tackling Grim at full speed, dismembering several bones from his main body, including the skull.

“Ok, that does it, this means WAR!” Grim said angrily, a dark green aura surrounding his dismembered parts and his main body as he magically reassembled himself.

“Wait! I ordered it to walk over to me and nuzzle me! I didn’t order it to tackle you!” Necro said, waving his arms helplessly in front of him, starting to panic.

“We’ll see about that!” Grim replied, his “eyes” glowing very brightly as he peered into Necro’s mind.

“Heh, that sort of tickles… wait, shouldn’t mind reading not have any effects that betray its use? Otherwise normal people can tell that you’re using it” Necro commented, still terrified for his life.

Grim’s eyes went back to their normal glow. “Ok, so apparently you WERE telling the truth… and yes, it probably should, but that’s how it goes in this world. It applies to anybody using telepathy, not just Reapers. That’s a good feeling to remember, as you’ll know your opponent is a telepath. Your mind is very susceptible to telepathy, partially because you’re low level and partially because you come from a world where telepathy is just a myth” he explained, his voice calmer then before.

“Ok, but why did the deer attack you? I mean, if it’s a magical golem, shouldn’t it obey me unquestioningly?”

“Technically it should, if you were in full control. You’re still very new to magic, so you have feelings and subconscious thoughts that are affecting you. Apparently some part of you wanted me to get bowled over by a cute reanimated deer. This is both pleasing to see that you are embracing your dark side, and annoying that I am the target of your dark side.”

“It’s not going to consume me… is it?”

“Oh, certainly not! You’re dark side is just much more active then a normal human’s due to your elemental affinity as Reaper of Death, as explained earlier. You’re going to do random acts like that from time to time unintentionally from time to time, just get used to that… until you finally learn to master your magic. That’s not going to happen for a while, and let me tell you, leveling up gets tougher the higher you are. Now, let’s try it again, but try emptying your mind before giving it another order” Grim explained.

After several more attempts involving the skele-deer randomly charging into Grim, Necro and other objects in the room, the skele-deer was finally brought under Necro’s full control. It was quite acrobatic for an undead deer, as the deer showed when it ran Grim’s trapeze-tightrope-flaming hoop-guillotine obstacle course showed.

“Very good Necro, I believe you just passed your intro to animal undead course. We’ll work on human skeletons tomorrow, and then we’ll work on magically equipping and enchanting a single Stalfan.” Grim said, nodding his approval.

“How long do Stalfan last, anyways?” Necro asked, petting the deer.

“Ah, that is a good question. Stalfan can stay alive as long as the necromancer keeps up a constant flow of mana, or elemental energy, whatever you want to call it, into the Stalfan. So, you can pretty much keep that deer for forever, as one little Stalfan isn’t that big of a drain. When you start summoning a legion or so of Stalfan, you’ll find it quite a bit more taxing. However, the first thing you need to learn is how to maintain the link with your Stalfan subconsciously. Right now, you’re actively thinking about keeping up the link with your Stalfan, correct?”

“Yeah, I guess I am still actively thinking about that link” Necro admitted, still petting the deer.

“Well, that will come with time. Sentinels are a different matter though. Since they have a real soul in them, they don’t need magical energy from the necromancer, and can function independently. That means you can send them far away, compared to Stalfan, which you have to keep relatively close to. All this is more advanced though. By the end of your training regime, you’ll be able to summon a fully armed Stalfan, possibly two. That will be sufficient for now, as conveniently the monsters around here are low level and will conveniently get stronger as you advance in your quest. Now, let the deer go, and let’s get some sleep”

Reluctantly, Necro let the deer fall back into a pile of bones as he walked back to his room. A giant pair of hands complete with giant broom and dustpan swept up the bones and hoisted them away as Grim resumed his usual spot at his console.

“Boy has potential, though he seems to have developed a desire to do me in” Grim commented, typing away in more apparent gibberish.

“Several reasons why that is. It could be because you’re his mentor and he’s jealous of you. His dark side may see you as a symbol of power, being the old Reaper of Death, and would seek to do you in to prove his worth. Or it could be that he’s still mad at you for some of the various stunts you pulled on him.” EVA commented

“So I put a live owlbear in his room, big deal! The kid needs to learn how to deal with random animal attacks in the night! Random encounters do not stop just because the party is camping! Someone always has to be on watch!”

“That would be good advice, if he was in a party”

“He also needs to learn how to handle surprise attacks” Grim concluded.

“Right, what are you doing to him tonight?”

“His room will magically transform into a monsoon storm and he will have to learn how to sleep in torrential rain.” Grim grinned.

“I thought you said that the robe would deflect water?”

“Yes, yes I did. However, there’s nothing preventing the water from getting through any of the holes inside the robes, including the hood. Those robes also don’t protect him from getting blown about by strong winds. And the water proof spell has a limit in terms of water pressure. If someone blasts him with a powerful jet of water, he WILL be wet… and I want to see if the spell deflects heavy storms”

“You are a cruel, cruel master”

“Yes I am EVA, yes I am”

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 9/10/2010 20:19:38 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 5
7/2/2009 21:38:54   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 5

It was exactly a month since Necro first reanimated the magically enchanted cute deer, and he had not gotten a good night’s sleep during the entire month, which would explain why he was groggy, grumpy, and yawning as he emerged into the main room, rubbing the sand out of his eyes.

“Grim, enough already, you’ve put me through every single natural disaster and monster attack known to this bloody planet. Can’t you let me get some… Grim? Where are you… oh crud…” Necro muttered, summoning his scythe and suddenly snapping to alertness, aware that another “drill” was coming.

And so it did, as 2 owl bears and 2 standard Stalfan armed with long swords and round shields appeared in the middle of the room and charged Necro. Necro quickly outstretched the scythe to his left, horizontally with the blade facing the enemy and made a sudden horizontal slash. As soon as he finished the move, a magical black V, bottom facing the monsters appeared the length of the slash and went flying towards the enemies. Conveniently, the monsters were lined abreast as they charged him, so they all took the brunt of the blast. The two owlbears were sent flying backwards, but the Stalfan simply absorbed the energy and kept pressing the attack.

“Dang it, I keep forgetting that Stalfan absorb Death element attacks like that. Good thing my scythe’s elemental affinity doesn’t trigger elemental resistances or absorption in melee combat” he grinned, and suddenly flung his scythe directly at the advancing Stalfan. The scythe spun magically like a boomerang and quickly decapitated the undead, which caused the Stalfan to collapse into a pile of bones. Quickly catching the scythe with both hands, he pointed it at the Stalfan and began concentrating on the fallen bones. After a few seconds, the Stalfan reassembled themselves, but under Necro’s control.

By this time, the owlbears were recovering from Necro’s initial assault, and were charging at him again. Necro moved his two minions in-between him and the owlbears, and let them duke it out with each other, making sure to keep an eye on the fight to revive his minions as needed.

While the owlbears were tougher then the Stalfan in terms of essentially everything, the fact that the Stalfan could keep reviving every time they were defeated quickly wore the owlbears until both of them died. Necro then cut off his energy feed to his minions, and they collapsed into bones again. The giant broom and dustpan came down from the ceiling and removed the remains of the battle away as Grim teleported into the room, clapping his bony hands.

“It looks like someone finally got the hang of using the scythe as a channeling tool. The Scythe Slash you performed at the start of the battle was pretty good, but you should have concentrated it more on the owlbears and completely ignored the Stalfan. You know that you can control the size, direction, and density of a Scythe Slash once it’s released. Heck, you can even add more magic to it to make it more powerful while it’s still airborne. However, your Boomerang Scythe maneuver was truly remarkable, considering that’s one you just learned last week. And you finally got the hang of controlling two Stalfan without getting confused and loosing control! Soon you’ll be out in Tipa kicking monster butt. To think that one month, one week and two days ago you were first randomly teleported to this world and you couldn’t even defeat a simple Slimey.” Grim grinned.

“Does this mean that you’ll stop with these infernal ‘drills’ of yours and let me get a good night’s sleep?” he asked, only slightly grinning due to lack of sleep and food.

“Yes, yes, I won’t put you through any more drills; you’ve proven yourself competent enough to handle yourself in the wild. Today we delve into another aspect of the Death Element and the rest of the elements as well, status ailments. EVA, give the boy some reapidine!”

“Oh hell no, I am not eating one of those stupid pills of yours that supposedly are the equivalent of a full meal both in filling and nutrients. Those things taste NASTY! Why is it that no one can make a good tasting combat/travel ration that fulfills nutritional value for 24 hours?” Necro asked, looking at the pill that materialized in his hand with disgust.

“Because if we did, you’d eat them all up and eat more then you should and you’d do your body more harm then if you didn’t eat anything. Trust me, we tried a good tasting one, and the results weren’t pretty. And an average tasting one had the same effect with people actually wanting to eat more then the recommended dosage. This way, we know that you won’t overdose yourself” he said, using a smile only a salesman could have.

Necro chewed the pill reluctantly and swallowed painfully. After a few seconds, Necro’s stomach stopped growling, and he didn’t feel tired anymore. “They taste worst then dirt, but I guess they DO get the job done” he sighed, still wanting real food or water to get rid of the taste.

“Only thing they don’t do is keep you hydrated for long periods of time. Don’t ask why, but the Elemental Sphere of Water did not want a magic pill that kept humans completely hydrated for 24 hours. It said something about limiting the importance of it. At least the nutrients will last you that long without needing real food. And you can pack plenty of those pills in a travel sack, that’s for sure. But enough whining about provisions, let’s get acquainted with status ailments. EVA, the holographic dummy please!”

EVA materialized a holographic mannequin in front of Grim and Necro, who were in the center of the room. Unlike the other holograms, this one was completely solid, not just a transparent image. The ability to create solid holograms was an extremely useful tool, especially in making all the random drills that Necro had to endure. The monsters he had fought earlier were also holograms with all the attributes of the real things. Unfortunately, this technology was currently limited to the confines of Calico. As it turned out, one of the things Grim was working on while Necro slept was a way to use the technology outside of Calico. “Don’t worry about me, I require very little sleep because I’m made of elemental energy. It’s not that I can’t sleep, but I have a lot of stuff to do that sleeping is pointless right now” Grim had added at the end of that conversation.

“Ok, this dummy will be our demonstration model and target. The first status ailment that is a true classic is paralysis!” Grim said, and suddenly he shot a bolt of lighting at the dummy. The dummy at that point had been walking in place, but now it stopped moving.

“Electricity causes paralysis, obviously. This means only the Reaper of Fire will be getting this status ailment off regularly, and lightning is considered a higher tier spell then most traditional fire spells. You are technically capable of causing paralysis, but not directly. Paralysis is temporary though, so don’t expect it to last too long. Next is frozen,” Grim explained as he shot an ice beam at the dummy, which was now incased in ice.

“This one is actually in both the domain of the Reapers of Water and Wind, since both can use cold based attacks. Typically, the Water Reaper will be inflicting it more often then the Wind, but it depends on their personality. Be careful of the enemy being thawed by heat. Next up is poison.”

Grim quickly sent a fire ball at the dummy, and then proceeded to touch it with his right pointer finger. “This is right up your ally. Poison is a permanent condition that will decrease the enemy’s health over time unless they get cured of it. The Poison Finger spell is quite handy if you are going to eliminate a target without attracting attention. Simply poke the person, and watch them die slowly. You do need to touch flesh though; it won’t work if you just poke their clothing. In case you’re wondering, yes, there is also a poisonous gas spell to use in combat with the same effects. Later, you will be able to control the effects of the poison, such as lethality, how fast it acts, when it acts, etc. Also, the Reaper of Earth is capable of using poison as well, but usually via plants”

“This reminds me of another ability of yours that I failed to mention. It’s not exactly a status ailment, but I guess you can consider it. Diseases fall under the Death element, and as the Reaper of Death, you possess the ability to infect others. Yes, this means you can inflict massive plagues upon villages if you want to. However, this is high level magic, so don’t worry too much about it. However, you will be able to infect someone with a minor disease by touch relatively soon if memory serves me correctly. As I said, you are dealing with an element that is much more about subtlety then the other elements. In a contest of pure magic against other equal level Reapers, you would find yourself loosing head to head. However, as the Reaper of Death, you rarely face your enemies head to head unless you have a massive hoard at your disposal.”

“You may also be wondering at this point if you can “instant kill” people. The technical answer is no, you may not snap your fingers and kill anyone you please. You can however, in your final stages, do various spells that are nearly equivalent of instant death though, such as diseases or even draining souls. But, that won’t happen for a LONG time, so let’s move on.”

“Alright, I’ll admit it, using the term “status ailment” is a tad cliché and these really aren’t “status ailments”, but I use the term to illustrate that there’s more to battle then just raw damage, especially with you. There are some others out there, such as body/mind control, petrifaction and such, but you shouldn’t run into those too often. And if you do, I’ll let you know. I know I’m starting to rant again and go off topic, so let’s move on to some more of your subtle abilities: emotion manipulation.”

Grim paused for a moment to make sure that Necro had absorbed all the information up to that point. When he gave a curt nod, Grim went on.

“As the Reaper of Death, you have dominion over mankind’s… less favorable emotions like greed, laziness, sadness, envy, lust, anger, etc. Your endurance and dexterity stats are low compared to the other Reapers, so it’s usually best to avoid a fight, or if you do get in one, to weaken your opponent. Unfortunately, you don’t have telepathic abilities, which thoroughly limit your ability to manipulate emotions. With telepathy, you can easily read someone’s mind to learn their weaknesses and then start wrecking havoc with their mind by bringing up bad memories or mentally whispering to them as their conscious or something. For now, you’ll have to use knowledge you have and verbal communication to get the job done.”

“The easiest emotion to manipulate in a combat situation is anger. You won’t really be able to intimidate too many opponents once you’re in a combat situation, though I’m sure if you pulled your hood up and used a purely demonic voice you can use your abilities to intimidate. However, when you find yourself in a fight with another human, it’s always good to play on their anger. This is usually done through the use of taunting the opponent. However, when you do the taunting, you need to concentrate Death Energy into your words and try pricking at the enemy’s emotions. It’s complicated, and we can’t really simulate it here because I’m mostly immune to such petty banter and because EVA hasn’t fully mastered human emotions yet. So, you’re just going to have to play with that in combat.”

And so Grim went on to list other emotions Necro could abuse from his fellow humans, and warned him about the differences between the sentient races and their emotions. After attempting a few tries with Grim just to get the hang of concentrating Death Energy into verbal banter, Necro decided to call it a night, which it technically was. Grim returned to his console.

“I think that boy’s going to be leaving us tomorrow EVA”

“Very good sir. At last we can finally get you back to full power and finally bring balance back to this planet,” EVA responded.

“Yes…but I will miss him and his constant attempts to try to subtly do me in. It did keep me on my toes… so to speak” he chuckled.

“You will be giving him a final mission briefing before he goes out, right sir?”

“Of course! I’m not going to set him free upon Tipa, he’d probably leave a wake of destruction and death wherever he went. Especially once he teams up with the Reaper of Fire… I bet their going to blow up that village… it’s going to be on interesting quest to watch.”

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 9/10/2010 20:20:39 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 6
7/13/2009 22:17:08   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 6

Another week passed since Necro got his first good night’s rest for a good while, a week filled with more intense training, random drills (but not while Necro was asleep, as promised), giant feasts, explanation of some of the customs of Tipa, and other useful things that he would need in order to survive.

“Ok, so to get the translator, I need to press the blue button, up 3 times, right 4 times, left 5, down, down, A, B, A, B, A, B, red, green yellow, purple, x, y, black, white, then hold down the L and R buttons while typing out “translator” into the screen?” asked Necro, attempting to do what he had just said on his overly complicated high-tech watch that had been dubbed the “Complicator” because after a review of the watch’s functions, it was deemed that only a sadist had designed it. And surprisingly, it wasn’t Grim who had designed it, but the previous Reaper of Ultima.

“No, that’s just for watch function… minus that last part. To get translator, you do all that, plus bang the watch against a solid surface, then give voice recognition codes Alpha through Delta, then do QWERTY 5 times in a row while holding down start and select. THEN you do the last step” Grim explained, reading a gigantic book that was the size of him that was the instruction manual for the Complicator.

Necro attempted to input the commands which took him about 5 minutes and several attempts. However, when he finally did everything right, the watch vibrated and a the screen split open. Slowly, a rod extended from the watch, and then a long cylinder started to expand from the center of the rod. When the cylinder had fully extended and grew, it had turned into a very high tech gun that ran the length of Necro’s arm and then a little bit past his hand. It then proceeded to start charging up a light green ball in the forward portion of the barrel, and finally blasted a 5 second beam directly at Grim, who so happened to be directly in front of Necro. Fortunately, only Grim’s head was hit by the blast as it was sent flying into a nearby monitor and then proceeded to bounce around the room.

“You just LOVE blasting my head off, don’t you? You’ve done it 34 times since we’ve been together. There MUST be some subconscious part of you that secretly enjoys doing this. Your lucky that I don’t have any organs so I can’t throw up from flying across the room like a bouncy ball” Grim’s skull complained, his body managing to catch him after his 7th bounce.

“It was an accident! How does typing in translator make a laser appear?!” Necro asked, shrugging in an innocent gesture, which seemed to trigger the gun again as it blasted a hole in the ceiling of the cave into the floor above the main room.

“Technically that is a plasma cannon, not a laser cannon… ooh, a Durillian mark 3 if I’m not mistaken. Very powerful cannon, I suggest not making any more sudden movements… quickly, press shift + f1 on your watch!!”

Necro did so, slightly perplexed why the controls for the watch were a QWERTY keyboard on the left with an assortment of game-controller like buttons and other random buttons on the right. Upon doing so, the plasma gun retracted itself into the watch, the screen closed back up into it’s plasma-LCD display and made a small BONG sound.

“Great, the shortcut command worked! Now, if you press F1, you should be able to bring up the plasma gun whenever you want! You can do this up to F13.”

“Don’t most QWERTY keyboards go to F12?” Necro asked, looking at the small keyboard more closely.

“Yes, but then again, everyone likes a new save slot, right? I think what happened is that you didn’t do a up down up down left left right right combo before all that, so the command didn’t get accepted correctly. Try again.”

And so, Necro finally managed to save the translator, watch, inventory, map and status functions of the Complicator. The inventory function was probably the most important of all the Complicator’s functions, as it allowed the user to store any items of their choosing into a section of Hammer Space; a magical dimension which heroes have been using for millennia to store their items. And in the case that the Complicator decided to malfunction for any reason whatsoever, Necro carried a small pouch around his rope belt inside his robes that also had access to the Hammer Space pocket.

“Alright, so, let’s review. What are you going to do tomorrow?” Grim asked, deciding to put the instruction manual in Necro’s inventory.

“I will wake up, eat my last meal here for a while, and then take the front entrance from Calico. I will then follow the path into the local forest, which has been overrun by conveniently lower level monsters. Through these woods I will encounter the town of “Shambles”, a poor frontier town that has a supposedly friendly people and a local cave of mysterious purposes. Upon said arrival, I will locate the Reaper of Fire, and investigate the local cave as there might be an “elemental orb”, a small fragment from the Elemental Spheres.”

“Very good! And remember; try not to destroy the first town. Even though it really doesn’t matter, I mean, they ARE just a bunch of random people that for some odd reason decided to set up a town in the middle of a forest overrun by mountains. They certainly don’t know about Calico. Hell, NO one knows where Calico is. They think we live in the Elemental Sanctuary when we’re not roaming around Tipa.”

“Wait, you’re not going to discourage me from slaughtering innocents?”

“Dude, it’s in your element to do stuff like that. Plus, I was also a Reaper of Death before this job, so I know how you feel. I won’t encourage it, but at the same time, if the town merits it by disrespecting y’all seriously or something like that, feel free to teach them a lesson. Besides, when Death and Fire mix together, things get explosive.”
“Fine, and from what you told me, it looks like there’s no local annoying rich landlord in the town that I need to practice my Machiavellian tactics on.”

“Right, and also remember that I’ll be watching you the entire time as a spectral floating skull that’s really just an astral-ish projection. I’ll be able to talk with you the entire time, and you with me, though you usually won’t see me unless I need to talk to you or vice versa. Before you go, I think that you need a fuzzy adorable traveling companion to act as party mascot and comic relief. Mog!!”

All of a sudden, a small white blur came whooshing through the corridor that Necro normally took to get to his room and slammed full speed into his stomach, knocking him down onto the ground. When he recovered from the initial shock, he tilted his head towards his chest to observe the creature bouncing up and down on his chest. It looked like a pure white fluff ball with a chubby head, bat wings, very small feet and a red pom-pom. In fact, this creature seemed very familiar to Necro…

“Wait, isn’t this a moogle from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, owned by Square Enix? What on earth is it doing here?”

“Yes, it is from that universe, isn’t it? It popped up in a portal right next to here, and I decided to adopt him. He’s been keeping me company because EVA just isn’t nearly as cuddly as Mog here. I think you’ll find him to be a very cheerful companion that will easily serve as live bait whenever you need to. Don’t be fooled by his fuzziness, he’s extremely resilient and knows a slew of spells. But he much prefers eating and napping and being petted/cuddled then actually fighting.” Grim explained as Necro got back up and started holding the moogle, who was about the size of his head.

Mog suddenly chirped “KUPO!” and quickly flew on top of Necro’s head and decided to make itself comfortable on his hair. Mog then waved his pom-pom around and made Necro’s hood magically come over his head and on top of Mog, magically concealing his head and leaving two yellow eye balls peering out from within the hood.

“Awwwwwwwww, how adorable! He thinks your head is a home for him! He even pulled up the hood to simulate a moogle hole! You two will get along great!” Grim said, grinning from ear hole to ear hole.

“Ok… It IS warm and soft and snuggly” said Necro, growing quickly attached to the moogle for some reason as he walked off to bed.

“You didn’t tell him that moogles have a way of magically bonding with someone they think will serve as a good master? Or that moogles have a way of absorbing negative energy from others?”

“He’ll figure it out. Besides, what possible harm could come from him having a pet moogle?”

“What happens when he starts taking affinity to his element and starts exhibiting negative reaction to anything dubbed life magic? Last time I checked, love and any sort of affection caused burning to the Reaper of Death?” EVA asked.

“Yes, yes, I am completely aware of the… side effects of later Reaperdom. However, Mog isn’t from this world, so he should be immune to any burning from Mog’s affections. And if not, he might actually be able to build up a resistance to it later. Either way, it’ll be a good experience for him; he needs someone to talk to besides me in his early part of the travels” Grim said, resuming his usual late night work.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 7
7/14/2009 22:20:34   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 7

Necro departed Calico the next day by way of the extremely long spiral staircase because Grim said the elevator was out of order and was too lazy to teleport Necro to the surface. From the surface, Calico wasn’t much to look at, just a giant hole in a valley with a little hole next to the giant hole that marked where the staircase was. However, the little hole was usually magically covered up to blend in with the surroundings when not in use. The only odd thing unusual about the valley, besides the fact that a giant gaping hole that seemed bottomless was there, were the obelisks that surrounded the hole, 6 of them equidistant.

“Well, here we are Mog… will you PLEASE stop munching kupo nuts when you’re inside my hood? You’re getting crumbs over my hair!” Necro asked, his hood still up because of Mog.

“Sorry, kupo. But I just LOVE kupo nuts” Mog squeaked back in an adorably cute high-pitched voice that was just below the “irritatingly high pitched” level, still munching on a moogle’s favorite nut. Fortunately for Necro, there was a near infinite stock of kupo-nuts in his inventory, so he didn’t have to worry too much about feeding Mog, though Mog would eat other food.

Necro sighed as he pulled down his head, revealing Mog sitting upon his head with a small pyramid of kupo nuts that magically stayed together no matter what direction Necro’s head was tilted. Mog happily munched the kupo nut on top as Necro started walking down the path that was between two mountains that formed the only gap in the valley that was surrounded by huge mountains.

After a few hours of nothing of particular interest passed, Necro found himself in the forest near Calico, which was called “Outaway Forest” because of the location. Tipa had one major “super continent”, with a smaller sub continent on the opposite hemisphere, Eastern and Western, respectively. The Calico Mountain range was located on a peninsula in the North East corner of the main continent, which was known as Tida, while the subcontinent was known as Nida, both with a long “I” pronunciation. Currently it was the latter portion of summer in Tipa, so the climate in Outaway was a mild 21.1 degrees Celsius, and the trees were still in full lustrous foliage.

“Wow, it’s so peaceful here… shouldn’t we have encountered a random encounter?” asked Necro, looking around cautiously.

“Wait for it, kupo. You can’t rush these things. I’ve seen plenty of newbie adventurers try to rush through a dungeon only to get themselves killed because they were too eager attacking… 2 Owlbears at 5 o’clock” Mog warned Necro, dismounting from his head, the kupo nuts magically floating near Necro’s Complicator that stored them.

As if on cue, the two owlbears emerged from the forest, roar-whooing at Necro in a direct charge. Panicking, Necro quickly reached for the Complicator and pressed F1, which brought out the Plasma Cannon. Quickly aiming the cannon and clenching his left hand into a fist, he obliterated the two owlbears, as well as a giant hole in the forest as the cannon’s muzzle emitted steam for cooling down. “Whoops… well at least I took care of them” Necro said, putting the Plasma Cannon away.

“Nice job Necro, but I forgot to mention that using the Plasma Cannon effectively halves the amount of exp and gold earned. No, don’t ask why random monsters are carrying gold, it’s a very long story that I really don’t feel like explaining. Try not to use it that often… we also don’t want the locals being too aware of advanced magi-tech” Grim’s skull commented, floating next to Necro.

“Speaking of locals, you got company” Mog added, apparently munching on a berry bush that he had found near the scene of the fight.

Right on cue, again, a heavily armored knight on horseback came trotting galloping down the path. The knight and his horse were decked in a golden colored armor, with the shield bearing the emblem of a sun. The knight apparently only carried a sword whose scabbard was at his side as he slowed his horse to a trot and then finally a halt in front of Necro.

“Crap, you got trouble kid. See that emblem? That’s the emblem of the Life Element, which means this guy has to be a paladin. That and his golden colored armor sort of gives him away as well. They’re primary goal in life is to “promote the Life element in all of its holiness”. To boil it down, they’re self-righteous xenophobes who despise anything to do with the Death Element, even if it is being used towards a “good” cause. They have this annoying ability to sense anyone who has aligned themselves with the Death Element. That means that you’re going to be a giant paladin magnet during this entire adventure until you meet up with the Reaper of Life, who should be able to help mask your aura from them. Though it’s really odd for one of them to be this far out, the Paladin Coalition is a lot further south west of here... you might actually be able to get out of a fight. The Paladin Guild has “outposts” to help maintain “order” around Tida for the vast majority of the continent, but there are several zones that are “outside” they’re self-established “territory”. The Outaway forest was deemed outside the territory of the paladins because no one thinks there’s anything out this way.

“That doesn’t explain what the heck a paladin is doing here” Necro muttered, watching the paladin dismount his horse.

“Probably an initiate, the Paladin Guild always tests new members by making them do a bunch of random and meaningless quests to see if they have the determination to become one. This one is probably at a low enough level…”

“He’s level 5, Paladin Class, Rank Initiate. You should be able to handle him” Mog commented, giving an extremely cute burp having devoured the berry bush.

“Halt there knave! I am Sir Vent, initiate of the noble Paladin Coalition. I was sent here by the Coalition to patrol this forest for any suspicious activities and try to cleanse it of vile monsters. I was doing a standard patrol of this forest when I detected an extremely powerful source of energy. Tell me, of what sorcery was this?” Vent asked his right hand on his sword hilt.

“Errr, it was technomancy…” Necro said quietly, speaking the truth about the situation but not quite sure if anyone on Tipa would know what it meant.

“Technomancy? That sounds very close to necromancy! You’re a necromancer! I can sense the darkness inside you! Prepare to be purged!!”

“Wait! I’m not a Necromancer! What on earth would give you that idea?!” Necro said, backing away quickly, trying to put as much distance between him and the crazy paladin.

“First, you are dressed in a black traveling cloak similar in design to many necromancers. However, more of a give away is that extremely wicked looking scythe on the back with the runes in blood red that read in ancient Common “Death is Power!” and “Necromancers rule!”, as well as the “Down with the Life Element” rune on the very end there near the shaft” the Paladin explained, his sword still drawn and pointing at Necro.

Grim’s floating astral head floated around to examine the runes on Necro’s scythe. “Well what do you know; they DO translate into that from the ancient Common! Guess I didn’t really bother to run a full translation on those runes… I DID however warn you not to let that scythe be in plain view, but oh well. I guess the Coalition is training initiates in ancient common… To put it basically, the entire continent of Tida used to be under one kingdom, but with the death of the “Grand Ruler” some 400 years ago, the continent split apart into many mini-kingdoms. During those days, the continent was unified under one language. When the Grand Kingdom died, so did the language of Grand, or the Ancient Tongue. Over time Grand died out as each kingdom developed their own language, but that made it difficult for traders to do business, so a new common tongue was made, which every human now speaks today, for convenience at the least.”

“Now, prepare to die, vile necromancer!” Sir Vent shouted, and started lunging towards Necro.

This time Necro did not panic as with the owl bears, and sent a few magic blasts at Sir Vent, who quickly blocked with his shield. “What the hell?” Necro muttered, jumping backwards to avoid the incoming slash.

“Looks like his gear is enchanted to be effective against Death energy, better try a different tactic” Grim suggested, watching the fight with some bemusement, as the initiate was not very good with his sword swings and Necro was not very good with his dodging, but his dodges seemed better then the swings.

At that moment, Mog decided to spring into action and whizzed straight into the stomach of the paladin. For a small ball of fluff, the moogle must have been very dense, as he made a dent in the paladin’s armor and knocked him backwards onto the ground. Necro used this upset to his advantage and quickly tried finding any nearby skeletons he could use to create some minions. Very conveniently, Outaway was littered with skeletons of dozens of foolish adventurers from the nearby town of Shambles who thought there was some big treasure hidden in the Calico Mountains. Arms ripped through the soil near Sir Vent, grabbed him, and then started to drag him down into the ground.

Sir Vent quickly sliced the arms with his sword that seemed to slice through the hands like a hot knife through butter, and got back up. He quickly stared down at the small fuzz ball that was attempting to bite through his metal boots. This split-second distraction further helped Necro, as he managed to summon a full Stalfan with sword and shield that lunged at the paladin. Sir Vent quickly parried, and then a daring sword fight occurred that was simply too marvelous to explain with words. During said sword fight, Necro and Mog shared a bucket of popcorn as they watched the performance.

“You know, kupo, I thought that Stalfan were weak” Mog asked, munching popcorn and using his pom-pom to magically levitate the popcorn into his mouth.

“Normally, yes, however Necro is only capable of wielding a few Stalfan at a time. As such, he can divert much more energy into a single Stalfan, making it significantly stronger then your average Stalfan. Plus, this guy is a total newbie anyways. His sword is only barely enchanted to slice through undead. Also, you are the same level as him. A Reaper has much higher stats then any class in existence at the same level. Heck, you could technically match with someone 5 levels higher then you, but I suggest not trying that right now. As I said, this guy’s going to… oh, looks like Stalfan just landed a critical hit there”

“Nonsense! It’s only a flesh wound!” Sir Vent said, his right arm now lying on the ground. His foe quickly chopped off the left arm, right leg and left leg.

“Do you give up now?” asked Necro, sort of feeling sorry for the poor paladin who was bleeding there.

“Nonsense! I’ll gnaw your ankles off!”

“Oh, just finish him already, put him and us out of the misery here” Grim sighed.

With a curt nod from Necro, the Stalfan quickly sliced off his opponents head. “Good work, Jenkins” Necro complimented.

“Whoa whoa whoa, let’s not get attached to him. That guy IS just a Stalfan, they don’t have any sentient whatsoever” Grim said.

“I beg your pardon sir! I happen to be quite “sentient” of myself and my surroundings. I was just sitting there trapped inside the earth for who knows how long, and this kind fellow decides to use my carcass for his doing. So, using his power, I managed to get myself out from the ground and agreed to help him out as I was just sitting there doing nothing,” the skeleton replied, his eyes also red just like Grim’s.

Grim’s astral jaw dropped onto the ground, which indicated that his real life jaw had dropped as well. His head bent down and quickly attached itself to the jawbone. “You… you made a Sentinel? At level 5? That’s unheard of? I didn’t get to create my first Sentinel till level 20??!!” yelled Grim’s head, clearly in a flabbergasted outrage of jealousy.

“Wait, how do you normally summon a Sentinel? I know you explained to me what the difference is, but you never told me how to make one.” Necro asked, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.

“Well, NORMALLY one has to go through an elaborate ritual that involves the entire skeleton of the victim, and then forming a pact with the soul of the victim in order to make a partnership with the Sentinel. The pact formed, the Sentinel is then elaborately created and born. As you already know, a Sentinel is significantly stronger then a normal Stalfan, much more intelligent… you get the point. However, you just created a new problem. A Sentinel has a rather large… Death Element affiliation… and also looks like a skeleton… which we can’t exactly have walking around. This is going to delay us, but get your butts back to Calico so I can do some work done on your Complicator. Grim out” said the astral head disappeared.

“Come on boys, we got a long trek back to base camp” Necro shrugged, scooping up Mog and putting him on his head as he and Jenkins walked back along the trail to Calico.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 1/9/2010 17:16:05 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 8
7/15/2009 22:52:50   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 8

“You know, back in my day, we had a level system. A system that we followed to the numbers and didn’t violate whatsoever and everything ran like clockwork. But no, you just had to be an exception to the level system and get yourself a Sentinel 30 levels before hand. I certainly hope you’re happy with yourself,” Grim complained, making adjustments to Necro’s Complicator.

“I say old chap, aren’t you being a bit rough on the old boy? He DID bail me out of that sticky wicket back there.” Jenkins responded. Jenkins was wearing a Complicator similar to Necro’s, but this one was a circle rather then the rectangle shape. Jenkins’s Complicator had a built in hologram projector that Grim had finally perfected and installed it in one of the existing Complicators. Jenkins was using his Complicator to restore his original flesh and clothing. He was currently dressed up as a posh English gentleman, complete with top hat and fancy pants white cane, and a monocle.

“Won’t people look at Jenkins funny for the way he’s dressed? That’s not exactly medieval fantasy clothing… more Victorian… and furthermore, why does he have a British accent?” asked Necro, looking over Jenkins and deciding to ignore Grim’s rant.

“What? British? Jenkins here is from the Grand Empire… I guess since modern Common is derived somewhat from Grand, the translation spell is interpreting it with a dialect that is similar to yours that you derived your language.” Grim explained.

“Well, I guess British English DID form the basis of American English since we were a colony of them… but still, isn’t the Grand Kingdom dead?”

“There is still a small colony of Grandians on the north western end of Tida that actually dress up exactly like that. His suit is common with that of a Baron, actually, who were renowned for their random wandering away from their manors in search of adventure. This will actually give you a good cover story, as New Grand has a small enclave of necromancers living nearby that assist the kingdom.”

“Wait… are the necromancers as organized as the Paladin Coalition? And how exactly did the Grand Kingdom die?” Necro asked, curious for a history lesson.

“I say! I can assist you in this matter! The Grand Kingdom was the unifying factor on the continent of Tida, as you chaps call it now a day, for over a thousand years… possibly longer. I was known as Baron Jenkins Norwood back in my former days as a member of the living, roughly 400 years ago. During that time, the Paladin Coalition served as the right arm of the Grand Kingdom. They served as the kingdom’s knights, ensuring order and justice throughout the land. Those were the days of growth and prosperity throughout Tida. Crops grew in plentiful; the rain was always there when needed… Those were good times for everyone…” The baron sighed, reminiscing the good old days.

“What the baron is trying to say is that the Grand Kingdom had managed to align themselves with the “Hallowed” Trinity: Earth, Water and Life. These three elements are the female Reapers, and are considered “good” by most mortals. This is because these elements are usually necessary for the livelihood of mortals. The other three, Wind, Fire and Death, are referred to as the “Serpentine” Trinity. Yes, while wind is technically also necessary for mortals to live, it got grouped with the other two because those elements are represented by male Reapers, and most people blame storms on the Wind element then the Water element, unless there is severe flooding.” Grim interjected, determined to get the facts straight in this tale.

“And is there something wrong with that, my dear sir? Our kingdom was indeed prosperous, with many happy with it. Even the peasants were well treated. They were times that should have stayed the rest of Tida’s history! But nooooooooooooo, you and your Reaper cadre had to come in and ruin everything!” the Baron accused, pointing his fanciful cane at Grim menacingly.

Grim hugged his sides as he let out an evil bellow that resonated throughout the main chamber. “Muhahahahahaha! Those were grand times all right… please forgive the pun,” Grim added, an evil Grin on his skull. “You see Necro, Tipa is about balance. For every bad deed that is committed, a good deed somewhere else is committed. Now, these deeds don’t necessarily happen in close proximity to each other, but you get the picture. Don’t get the feeling that if you do a good deed, a bad deed is sure to follow. It WILL happen, but that’s an eventually. It’s the reason why humans have good days and bad days. It’s all very complicated and whatnot, but the point is, we can’t have all this peace and tranquility crap going on for too long, ESPECIALLY since their “paradise” decided to exclude 3 elements,” Grim explained, glaring coldly at Jenkins.

“So what? The Serpentine Trinity is of no good to anyone in their vile form! Our stockpile of Elemental Orbs helped make it all possible for everyone to enjoy life as it should! The Paladin Coalition, the Druid Agglomeration, and the Aqua Guardians all helped to make the Grand Kingdom the magnificent kingdom it was! And you Reapers took it away from us! You doomed this entire continent to anarchy and chaos! I’m just sorry that the big disaster that happened 40 years ago didn’t wipe you out, Grim” Jenkins spat at Grim’s feet, a look of contempt on his face.

Grim’s eyes seemed to shine with an evil glow, enjoying the anger on Jenkins’ face. “You know, looking at you, I think I may have actually led the army of Necromancers that raided your pathetic fiefdom… yes, that would explain everything…”

“Whoa, whoa! Hold it you two! I don’t need my mentor and my Sentinel fighting with each other. What the heck is this about Druids and Aqua Guardians? Then we can go back to reliving the destruction of the Grand Kingdom” Necro suggested, getting in-between the two with his scythe drawn. Mog was also there at Necro’s feet, ready to help out if necessary, though he was still munching a kupo nut.

Grim shrugged, a look of smugness on his face. “ I guess you should probably know about this, considering your travels… not sure why I didn’t give you this lesson earlier. The Paladins aren’t the only group/class aligned to an element. There are 4 basic Guilds in this world: Warrior, Ranger, Thief and Mage. These represent the four basic classes that exist in this world. Naturally, there’s plenty of specialization classes out there, but out of all of them, there exists 6 classes that rose above the others by aligning themselves to one of the 6 elements. No, I’m not including Ultima as an element right now due to it’s funky state of being the fusion of all the elements and the fact that it’s a point of controversy among you mortals. The Paladins aligned themselves with Life, obviously. The Druids are mages who claim to be “at one with nature”, so they aligned themselves with Earth. Druids believe that “civilization” is the bane of all the natural world, and think that humans should learn to live in harmony with nature.”

“Then why would they help one kingdom? Wouldn’t they want everyone in their own little kingdoms so they wouldn’t be worried with expansion?” asked Necro, slightly confused.

“Ah, but with mini-kingdoms people are harder to control, and there are far more territory wars. Under one banner, the people can be controlled, and there is only one authority figure the Druids have to appeal to if things get out of hand. The Grand Kingdom promised we would leave the forests that the Druids claimed were “sacred” alone in exchange for their support. And we kept our word” Jenkins explained, still glaring at Grim.

“You would think that the Paladins and Druids would get along great with each other, and they would, if they didn’t have one big difference. The Paladins believe that all moving life is sacred, and therefore are primarily vegetarians, with only eating meat when necessary or on rare occasions. The Druids believe that plants are the most sacred of all life, and therefore only eat meat. Believe it or not, it is this schism on what food to eat that prevents the two groups from aligning with each other, which is a good thing.” Grim added, smirking at his own comment.

“Technically speaking none of the groups listed are exclusive to a certain class. The Paladins employ clerics, archers and such, while the Druids use warriors augmented with stone weaponry and armor to help protect them from anyone charging in and slashing them with a sword. However, the Druids and Paladins are primarily mage and warrior based, respectively. The Aqua Guardians are a ranger based group that deems water as the most precious element on the planet and resource. They believe that everyone should have access to all water, and despise any attempts by anyone to try to keep water for any reason, be it a lake inside a castle or a pond inside a fenced in manor. While they normally don’t try to attack communities that already have done so, they do actively destroy artificial dams. They also make sure that water sources are not polluted with the dead or over-fished. You can usually find an Aqua Guardian outpost all along the major rivers of Tida and near the coasts. Their given nature to be protectors allows them to work well with the Druids and Paladins. The Grand Kingdom made promises to regulate fishing, not make dams, and allow access to all sources of water.” Grim continued.

“Those are all promises we kept! The Guardians, Paladins and Druids all helped make the Grand Kingdom the success it was today! You Reapers had no right to take away our kingdom!” Jenkins accused, getting a step closer but being pushed back by Necro.

“Actually, we did. For you see, while everyone inside your kingdom was happy, the rest of the world was damn miserable. You see Necro; the Grand Kingdom extended a good portion of the continent, nearly 75% of it. However, there’s that 25% that weren’t doing quite as hot. You know, like the Confederation of Necromancers, which were reduced to living in their fortress of the Necropolis out west in the Tainted Woods and other wastelands sprinkled throughout the continent. Or the Air Raiders, the wandering group of nomads that were banished from all the Grand Kingdom because they were dubbed a bunch of thugs and “gypsies” and forced to live out in the Talni Desert and other deserts of Tipa? Or what about the Infernal Forgers, a group dedicated to the fire element and the technology it can bring about that were labeled as a menace to society and sent to the volcanic regions of this continent?” Grim asked; his voice ice cold and getting darker with each word.

“That’s because they are menaces to all of civilized society! The Necromancers violate the sanctity of the dead by making undead, which I will admit now that I AM one isn’t quite as bad as I originally thought and my opinion on them is improving… And the Air Raiders ARE a bunch of thugs! They were notorious for the constant scamming and “carnivals” where they suckered good, hard working people into wasting away their money! The Air Raiders also launched countless raids against villages, ransacking the entire towns! As for the Infernal Forgers, they can take their fancy gadgets and pyro ways away from us! It’s bad show, all of them, and the barbarians deserved outing from the kingdom” Jenkins huffed haughtily.

“They’re people too damn it! Just because they don’t conform your ideas of justice and order doesn’t meant that they don’t deserve a piece of the pie as well! The Reapers allowed your kingdom to exist for over 1000 years! That’s the limit for extremely large kingdoms to exist according to the Reaper By-Laws!” Grim retorted, his eyes glowing with rage.

“Actually, the Grand Kingdom existed for 1500 years to the date of its official founding. It was after this time that the Reapers were ordered by the Elemental Spheres to destroy Grand in order to bring Tipa back into a state of… “anarchy” for want of a better term.” EVA intervened.

“Wow, that’s a long time… what was there before the Grand Kingdom?” asked Necro, very curious.

“That information is currently classified and can only be released when the seal on the Ancient Archives is removed” EVA responded.

“Before you ask, the Ancient Archives is the location of all history prior to that of the Grand Kingdom. Apparently some… incident occurred before the Grand Kingdom came into being that the Reapers at that time thought it was best to hide from the knowledge of others. It is said that only the chosen one can unlock the secrets in that vast library… Anyways, because of this, our timeline is measured in terms of the Grand Kingdom, with BGD standing for “Before Grand Destruction” and AGD standing for After Grand Destruction. It’s actually the year 402 AGD, where New Year’s is celebrated on the Summer Solstice, the day that brought an end to the Grand Kingdom and the start of a new era for Tida.” Grim Grinned, seeing the scathing look Jenkins was giving him.

“Well then Grim, why don’t you inform your apprentice of the day you decided to ruin everyone’s lives forever, since you obviously revel in such debauchery,” growled Jenkins.

“Gladly. When the Reapers got the call, we quickly organized the remaining Elemental Orders, as they are called collectively called, and started raiding outer outposts. The previous Reaper of Ultima was so kind to freeze time for the duration of the raid so that way we could celebrate everything on one day in the future. Yes, Ultima is in charge of time control, but let’s not get side tracked. The ladies were loathe to assist us gentlemen in our orders, but an order is an order, and they did help to weaken their respective Order’s power, as well as manage to temporarily disable the power in the collected elemental orbs by cutting off all power from their Elemental Spheres to the entire Kingdom.”

“Reapers can cut off the energy the Elemental Sphere puts out? So that means that if the Reaper of Life cut off the Life Sphere from a region…”

“Everything would start dying. Conversely, if you cut off the Death Sphere, things would spring to life, get younger, etc. Oh, random bit of info. In humans, the Life Sphere is in charge of aging up to the age of 23, and after that, the Death element slowly decays the person by aging them. The lack of Death Element would revert people to a younger form… if it was suspended long enough. A Reaper can only do such an effort if the Sphere allows it. Since we were following a direct order, they were more then willing to comply. We can also only cut off energy for a short duration… though with time frozen, that duration lasted for as long as needed” Grim grinned, his smile sending shivers down the other’s spines.

“Yes, I remember that day well. I was sleeping in my bedroom with my wife when the maid ran into our rooms and suddenly told us that the sun had turned blood red outside. To my utter horror, it DID turn blood red, and seemed dimmer then normal. You could actually look directly at the sun without getting burned… and the markings… that sun had two black cross scythes on it, like it was carved directly into it… then, a skull appeared above where the scythes met, a symbol for a flame in the lower right portion beneath the scythes, and the symbol of wind blowing in the bottom right… It was a most chilling sight” Jenkins said, his face drained of any color in it as he remembered that day

“Ah, yes, you saw our calling card. The scythes represent the Reapers, and the other symbols represent the elements that were going to be in charge of the “balancing”. Normally we just do the Red Sun and Cross Scythes if we’re doing a major intervention, but we felt at the time that we should let the world know who exactly was getting the revenge for the large imbalance over the 1.5 millennia” Grim explained, clearly relishing this moment. “I got the honor of carving the Scythes in the sun… The destruction of Grand was my best work ever as the Reaper of Death…”

“Don’t just stop there, tell him about the slaughter of the innocents, how no one was spared from your retribution” Jenkins challenged, regaining a little bit of his previous venom.

“Ah, yes, I was at the head of a large group of Necromancers…well really behind the skeleton army, but you get the picture. We stormed through the lands of the Kingdom and mowed every single humanoid living in the kingdom. You see, the Grand Kingdom also attempted to unify the dwarves, elves and some other creatures, but excluded the orcs, goblins, trolls and such. So, we made all of them pay by essentially slaughtering everyone who was there, whether they fought or not. Anyone killed was instantly reanimated as a Stalfan if there were any bones left of them” he chuckled, his voice as demonic as Necro had ever heard it.

“Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t TOTALLY heartless. We did try to contain the Reaper of Fire and his brethren from scorching the land, and only burning down communities. We also tried to avoid killing any plants or animals in the region. We wanted to wipe out the Grand Kingdom, not completely make it’s lands inhabitable. We also made sure that there were some settlements completely untouched to allow the creation of new kingdoms. Hell, when we hit the Imperial City, we were very selective about what we destroyed… the first pass. We made sure to preserve any sort of item that might be of historical merit for future generations, and even allowed the young Prince of the Grand Kingdom escape to establish what would eventually be New Grand. However, on our second pass of the city, we completely burned it to the ground.” He concluded, his fires alight with an evil blood red hue.

“And perhaps you would care to enlighten us on my particular scenario?” Jenkins asked, his voice as cold as ice and his eyes shooting daggers.

“Yours was somewhat unusual. We burned your local villages to the ground, and then I personally led a small team of necromancers into your manner. We dispatched your family easy enough, but you were certainly very skilled with that ruddy lance of yours. Cost us 3 good Sentinels, and to that I tip my skull off to you. However, when we finally did bring you down, one of the necromancers with us called dibs on you as a sentinel, and attempted to perform the ritual. Unfortunately, the nitwit screwed it up and apparently must have bonded your soul to your skeleton without being able to get you moving on your own. To cover his mistake, he probably teleported your corpse out in the Outaway forest to try to hide his mistake. And it seems you had the good fortune to complete the Sentinel ritual with my protégé, lucky you.”

“Yes, lucky me. Now I can finally enact my revenge against you for ruining all those lives 402 years ago!” Jenkins yelled, and slammed his cane on the ground.

Instantly, the cane started to glow black, and grew longer until it was a long, black, wooden shaft. From the top of the shaft sprouted a wickedly awesome jagged spear that was split down the middle, with one part longer then the other. The blade was razor sharp, and appeared to be made of the same black semi-shiny metal that Necro’s scythe was made of.

Jenkins’ top hat was slowly lowering itself over his head, and transformed into an evil looking gladiator helmet that covered his entire face. His clothes slowly transformed into black spiked armor, it’s hue matching that of the helmet. When the transformation was complete, Jenkins was head to toe in wickedly evil looking black armor, a super wicked spear, and a not so wicked black round shield on his back. Jenkins was also about 2 feet taller and looked extremely buff compared to his skinny fleshy self.

“What in the name of the Giant Pie of Doom? You can fully augment your Sentinel? That’s a level 25 skill!” Grim exclaimed, flabbergasted at the sudden transformation.

“Isn’t he awesome? Since we’ve been here for a few days, I decided to do some research on Sentinels, and found this one wicked class in the Sentinel list, and learned how to turn Jenkins into it!” Necro said excitedly, proud of his accomplishment of defying the level system once again.

“And what class did you choose?” Grim asked, his red glowing eyes showing a trace of fear as much as possible for a set of glowing red orbs. Jenkins’ spear was currently glowing in the middle of the gap in the edge, and was being aimed directly at Grim.

“A Shadow Gladiator!” Necro announced triumphantly.

“A SHADOW GLADIATOR??! That class can only be unlocked at level 50! How the bloody hell did you… EVA, this incoming blast is going to hurt, isn’t it?” Grim asked the computer, still gazing at the glowing energy of doom charging in the spear.

“Yes sir, I do believe that it will hurt” EVA confirmed as the blast from the spear came zooming towards Grim.

As the blast hit, the cloak was instantly dissolved, and Grim’s bones instantly fell apart and scattered on the floor, leaving his skull completely whole and floating in mid-air. “Oh, I see. It’s not enough to knock my skull off, now you want to separate the BODY from the skull to add insult to injury? You sir have a problem, Necro” Grim stated, looking at Necro.

“Hey, I’m not controlling him. I thought it would be a good idea for you two to get your differences settled now before I go out on adventure and you two are arguing with each other in the field” Necro smiled, enjoying a root beer float, pumpkin pie and popcorn with Mog.

“Thanks… and as for YOU!” Grim bellowed, his eyes filling the eye socket with blood red color. A dark green aura surrounded Grim’s head and his bones as he reassembled himself and rematerialized his cloak and scythe. “You are indeed far more powerful then you should be… hell, you shouldn’t even exist as a Sentinel if it weren’t for a fluke. Under normal circumstances, I would see you banished from this plane forever, but my protégé needs a Sentinel to help keep him from getting killed in combat, so you’ll have to do. Instead, I will just defeat you to the point where your desire to seek revenge against me will be extinguished, or at least minimized. It is true that I am extremely weak compared to my full form because of the state of the Reapers, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t kick your skeletal butt”

“Bring it on, you bag o’bones!”

“I intend to, but first, I will give you a little lesson about this base. You see, Calico is powered by a power core, as most bases are. This power core is comprised of extremely rare Ultima Orbs. While I may have lost my power, the Ultima Orbs have retained all their power. And they have more then enough juice to give me a super charge” he grinned, as he reached for a button on a nearby wall panel. Instantly energy shot from the local console and Grim absorbed the dark green beam.

Jenkins quickly launched another blast at Grim, but he quickly cast a green shield that blocked the beam. “You caught me off guard with that first attack, but as a Sentinel, you are still level 1… even if you are an advanced class. I have over 100 levels in my previous Reaper form, and more Reaper levels as I was promoted. And this quick burst of power is more then enough to offset my power handicap” he grinned evilly, launching a blast of energy from the top of his scythe’s shaft. The beam hit Jenkins directly in the chest, and he exploded into all of his separated bone parts across the room. “Not so much fun when it happens to you, is it, whelp?”

“Dude, you wasted my Sentinel!” Necro cried, extremely upset that his creation got wasted in one move.

“Oh, pipe down, he’s just scattered, it’s not like I removed his soul from the body or anything. He’ll reassemble himself just like I can, but more slowly. I must admit, I am both flabbergasted and a tad jealous that you were able to pull off such a feat with him. BUT, know this, he is still low level, and will not be able to save you every time you do something stupid. You need to learn how to defend yourself as well. Yes, I know that most of the time you’ll use others, but a Reaper has to defeat foes with his own magic as well. Try mixing things up when you encounter monsters, you all gain equal exp since you’re in the same party.” Grim said, turning back to his console.

“Oh yeah, I had one more question, how do I collect gold? I didn’t see any on that paladin I killed?”

“Oh, yes… your Complicator automatically collects the gold and any dropped items of value and stores it in Hammer Space for you. It does it so you can’t really tell anything happened, so don’t try to look for it. Good night to you”

And so Necro, Mog, and the remains of Jenkins magically levitated by the two went to Necro’s quarters. Grim shook his head and sighed. “I was right, that boy WAS the near death of me today. Sheesh, he completely circumvented the level system… now I don’t know what to expect form him when he hits Shambles tomorrow”

“Hopefully there won’t be any more incidents that will cause him to come back here sir” EVA suggested, trying to brighten up Grim.

“We can only hope EVA, we can only hope.”

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 1/28/2010 19:39:09 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 9
7/24/2009 20:25:14   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 9

“You know, Grim, there’s still a lot of stuff I don’t know about this world” Necro commented as the 4 had a “final breakfast” before the long journey.

“Oh, of course not, there’s so much more to this world that you don’t know that it boggles your mind” Grim teased, eating some more waffles.

“Ha, ha, nice. So, mind telling me about what’s up with Mog? And what is a Giant Pie of Doom?” Necro asked.

“The latter is simple enough to answer. This world has an Afterlife and a Netherworld, our version of heaven and hell. The Giant Pie in the Sky, or GPITS, and Giant Pie of Doom, or GPOD, are the deities that govern those respective realms. Those realms aren’t exclusive to Tipa, as many other rouge backwater planets and systems use them. So, they aren’t technically gods of this realm, but they do have a certain affinity here, and they have visited us before on rare occasions.”

“What flavor are they?”

“Try to eat one, you’ll cease to exist. Trust me,” Grim advised.

“And what about Mog, does he have some sort of radar?”

“Call it “Mogdar”, if you will. It is true that your Complicator has the ability to scan enemies and also let you know of incoming enemies, but Mog seems to be able to do it much faster… plus I can’t find where the hell the function is in the instruction manual. Mog apparently has both those abilities, so just use him until we find out how. He’s probably more accurate then the watch anyways”

“Ok, so, tell me more about who I’m looking for. How do I know when I’m near him?”

“Simple, when choosing a Reaper, the Elemental Spheres look for a human between 19-23, has unique talent in their respective element, or in your case potential, and are not in any sort of love relationship” Grim stated, finishing up his plate.

“Wait… no love relationship? That’s a tad… awkward… isn’t it?”

“Love is a very… complicated thing, even here on Tipa. It can be at times a great motivation tool to bring up extraordinary amounts of power inside someone, but at the same time it can also be a distraction and used against someone. It also makes people’s priorities… different from our own agenda. We generally discourage love affairs while you are a Reaper, though it’s not like there hasn’t been marriages before in our little corps.”

“So… love falls under the life element?” Necro asked, somewhat interested in pursuing the subject.

“Technically, yes. The Reaper of Life has the potential to act as cupid and invoke true love between two mortals. At the same time, you, the Reaper of Death, have the potential to completely destroy true love. There are however, limits and variables that cause complications. The biggest one is the Reaper By-Laws, which limit the amount of “interfering” we can do in daily mortal lives. We can’t just have you cause a deep-seeded rivalry between two kingdoms just to start a massive war, and we can’t have the Reaper of Life trying to instantly make peace by making the princess and prince of the warring kingdoms fall in love with each other. It’s all extremely complicated and you’ll know when you’re allowed to interfere and when you’re not. Right now, at your low level, you’re still considered a mortal, so you’re free to interfere to your heart’s delight… but then again, you don’t have the power to do too much. As you gain more power, your ability to “interfere” diminishes, thus equalizing itself out.”

“Ok… can I get a copy of the Reaper By-Laws?”

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh… you know how long and big the Complicator’s manual was? The By-laws are about… 1 million times longer and bigger, and much more complicated. Plus, only the Reaper of Ultima is allowed direct access to the By-Laws, and no copies are allowed to be made of them. Don’t ask why, it’s somewhere in that infernal thing, but I’m too lazy to find it right now. And the built in magic search engine doesn’t work half the time, so it’s mostly manual flipping. Now, we’re all fed, the hatchet has been buried between me and your minion, and the world is still in great danger of unbalance. Time to get moving.”

“Grim, you never actually explained how the Reapers are going to “balance the world” when you first gave me my briefing.”

“That’s because it’s a two step program. 1st step is to find the Reapers, the 2nd involves bringing balance to the world. Look, to put it in layman’s terms, we’re going to try to unite the human kingdoms into one big kingdom similar to the Grand Kingdom”

“WHAT?” yelled Jenkins, completely caught offgaurd. “If you were going to revive the Grand Kingdom later on, why destroy it in the first place?”

“In the By-Laws, 1500 years of order, 400-ish years of “anarchy” as it is… Ok, really it’s supposed to be 500 years of “chaos”, but thanks to that infernal Incident 40 years ago, things are completely out of whack, so we have to speed up the cycle of balance.”

“So, the Reapers don’t take any side forever? Sometimes we bring order, sometimes chaos, sometimes we’re good, sometimes we’re evil?”

“You got it! Our job is to make sure that this world remains in balance, with no one thing completely over-dominating another thing, similar to the concept of Yin and Yang, except we’re an “external” entity to keep the two poles in line. This is one of the best supernatural jobs in the business if you can’t decide whether to be a good guy or a bad guy. You get to be both!” Grim beamed.

“Right… Grim, why don’t you wear dark green robes, which are the color of Ultima? You told me that all Reapers wear the color that reflects their element…”

“In my glory days as Reaper of Death, I was feared throughout all the land… and so I kept my old garments to remind people. Plus, Dark Green just clashes with bone white,” he grinned.

“Alright… I guess we better get going, no use hanging around here all day.”

“Seriously, the readers are probably quite eager for y’all go get to the first town, considering the goofing off that’s been going on,” Grim sighed.

“Wait… what?” asked a very confused Necro.

“Errrrrrrrrr… nothing! I’ll tell you later! Hit the road, Necro!”

And with that, the small party exited Calico Caverns and made their way to the Outaway forest. The Random Number Generator God, who controls all worlds whether one likes it or not, was quite favorable upon are protagonists as no unusual encounters worth mentioning occurred on their way to Shambles.

Upon reaching the outskirts of the town, Necro was quite amazed to see that the town was not actually in shambles whatsoever, but represented the garden variety sort of medieval fantasy village in the middle of nowhere: An inn/tavern, an armory, an item shop, the elder’s house, and a few random NPC houses that are suitable for random adventurers to loot. As tempted as Necro was to fulfill the most noble endeavor of ransacking NPC houses, he was at the moment extremely hungry and tired, as they had managed to make the entire trip that day, and the sun was already setting.

“You know, I’m not quite sure I trust sleeping at a random inn/tarvern in the middle of a town… who knows what type of people could be lurking about here?” Necro asked, a little nervous about the entire idea.

“Nonsense my dear boy, all of our belongings are stored in hammer space so thieves can’t pickpocket us. And as for any murders or other hooligans, I believe between the three of us we’re more than a match for anyone,” Jenkins encouraged, quite used to sleeping in random places like this from his days as a wandering adventurer.

Before Necro could respond, a large stream of fire shot forth from the doorway, accompanied by a lot of shouting and a burnt figure stumbling out of it. Quite interested by the fracas, the small group ventured closer within earshot.

“I told you once, I told you a hundred times Pete, stay the hell out of my tavern! You cause too much trouble around here!” a baritone voice yelled from inside the doorway, slowly walking out; arms out as if ready for another fire attack. The figure had on an unusually advanced glove on his right arm, and a chef’s hat and apron on him. His red hair matched the burning passion in the young man’s brown eyes as he approached the stranger. Necro judged him to be of about the build as him, in both fitness and height.

The other man was a few inches taller then the presumed fire mage, and much muscular; with the look of a rugged mountaineer. “I’ll do whatever I please, you scrawny brat, I don’t care how hot you make things get. I’ve survived volcanoes from all around this continent, you think a little heat is going to stop me?” He sneered, bringing out his claymore that was strapped from his back.

“That does it, you’re going down!” the fire mage roared, sending another stream right at the mountaineer, who quickly rolled out of the way.

“Master, do you think we should intervene?”

“Mog, I need a report please” Necro asked, considering the options of the situation.

“The fire mage is level 6, like you. The majority of his experience seems to have come from cooking, so his fighting skills are somewhat lackluster… there is one thing of peculiarity to note… the fire mage is only operating at 50% of his full capabilities, as if an inhibiting curse was on him…” Mog started, munching on a berry that was found from the forest.

“We’ll deal with oddities later, what about the mountaineer?”

“Mountaineer is not actually a class, that guy is a warrior who lives in the mountains. He is wearing some fire resistant clothes, which would explain why the fire mage is having a difficult time… he is level 20… If the mountaineer decides to go full out, the fire mage will loose the battle…” Mog continued.

At that point, the fire mage had been knocked to the ground, with Pete standing over him, his claymore ready to slash directly on top of the poor mage.

“You may have good cooking skills, boy, and your contraptions are certainly worthy of mention, but your combat skills are pathetic. Time to meet your maker” Pete growled, a wicked look of pleasure in his eyes seeing the fire mage’s terror.

“ASSULT PATTERN TANGO, NOW!” Necro yelled, unslinging his scythe and slamming the butt of the shaft into the ground.

Jenkins had already anticipated the command and was moving before Necro had called it. Moving swiftly he put himself between the fire mage and Pete, blocking the blow with his fancy cane, as his holo-projection was still on. Trying to buy some time, Jenkins turned the holo-projector off by telepathic link (a brand new feature that Grim had installed that only worked on the projector as of right now), turning into his Shadow Gladiator form.

While Jenkins was occupying Pete’s claymore and attention, Mog had already made a beeline right for Pete’s stomach. The impact of the small fluff ball winded Pete, and caused him to stagger backwards. This allowed Jenkins to start going on the offensive and attempt to bring Pete down.

Assault Patter Tango was one of the standard maneuvers that the three had practiced during their few days together at Calico. It essentially split the trio up into three vital roles: Mog the distraction, Jenkins the meat shield, and Necro as support. Necro was fulfilling his role by channeling his magic into the scythe, which directed it into the ground to call up fresh Stalfan. This time, there were no skeletons near Pete for Necro to instantly help, but the power of Necromancy allowed skeletons to be moved beneath the earth with little trouble, so positioning a few upper torsos complete with arms only took a little bit.

Pete’s initial reaction to seeing a gentlemen transform into a dark giant knight with a spear was utter shock and terror, and Mog’s blow only served to force Pete to the ground. However, as a trained warrior, he quickly parried the thrust from Jenkins and lunged forward himself, only to be sidestepped by Jenkins and hit in the back with the butt of the shaft. Quickly recovering from the blow, he wheeled around on Jenkins, and that was his final mistake of the battle, as two things happened at once.

The first was Necro’s skeletons finding Pete and grabbing hold of him, as well as one arm deciding to punch Pete straight on the shin, causing Pete to be distracted by the arrival of reinforcements.

The second thing was the downed fire mage, who seemed to have recovered, launching a concentrated stream of fire at Pete’s back. Because of the fire resistant armor, the fire could not penetrate, but it did damage Pete and forced him to fall forward. Jenkins used this opportunity to slam the flat of his spear against Pete’s head, knocking him out cold.

“Nice move Jenkins, we’re sure to get a nice batch of XP for that round,” Necro complimented, returning the skeletons into the earth and picking up his scythe as he walked over to the group.

“No problem master, he was outnumbered and outclassed. I’m afraid that despite our low levels, our classes more then make up for the difference… at least when we’re fighting together. Now, my dear fire mage, are you feeling alright?” Jenkins asked, reverting back to his gentlemen form.

“Uhhh… I’m a little shaken up… for a brief second terrified I was going to die cause I had run out of mana… and greatly confused. Thank you for your help, but who are you guys?” he asked, clearly bewildered by the transforming Jenkins and the fluff ball Mog who was currently looting the unconscious Pete’s food pouch for goodies.

“Name’s Cid, a traveling necromancer from far away,” Necro responded, deciding it would be wise if he would use his real name instead of his nick name for now. “The fluff ball is named Mog, and the gentlemen you see before you is Jenkins, a traveling Baron from New Grand who was bestowed great power from the Confederation.”

“I never knew necromancers could allow humans to transform into such power… then again, what do I know? I’ve lived in this village all my life, and the farthest I’ve ever gone is Aldrith, the nearest town to Shambles, to get inducted into the Infernal Forgers…” the fire mage scratched his head, still looking at Jenkins and Mog.

“You’re a member of the Forgers? I guess that explains the high tech glove you got on…”

The fire mage seemed eager to find someone who knew about the Forgers and his technology, and his faced did nothing to hide this excitement. “Yup, I’m a Freemason! The rank system in the Forgers is more basic then the other Elemental Orders, but essentially we have Initiate, Rookie Apprentice, Advanced Apprentice, Freemason, Smith, and then Master Smith. The Infernal Forgers have always been small due to people’s general fear of advanced technology, so there’s only one Master Smith at a time. Since I’m a Freemason, I’m officially the head of the Shambles branch of the Forgers!”

“Wow that IS impressive… I don’t really have any fancy titles within the Confederation… I’m just a wandering necromancer to be honest…” Necro half-smiled, slightly annoyed with Grim to not tell him the infrastructure of the Confederation of Necromancers to help with his cover story.

“Are you a Necrofinder? I hear they’re the ones who scour Tida for potential members into the Confederation, since there’s not a lot of people who willing seek to join them,” the fire mage conveniently asked, giving Necro a perfect improve cue.

“Exactly! I’m a Necrofinder! I came here to Shambles to try to find some aspiring necromancers! I also came here because of the rumors of a Death Orb in a nearby cave to this town,” Necro lied, so glad that he was born with a natural acting ability that never got noticed during his high school musicals for whatever reasons of cruel fate sticking him in the chorus due to his good singing skills.

“Oh… the Death Orb…” the fire mage muttered, looking down as his excited look turned to one of disappointment and resentment at the term. “Yeah, the Death Orb is real, but good luck getting to it, it’s guarded by a demon, a bad one at that…”

“May I take it that by your expression that you have some business with said demon? Fire mages always did have trouble masking their emotions compared to the other elemental mages, probably because of the brazen nature of fire,” Jenkins asked.

The fire mage looked surprised for a few seconds, but he relaxed his face and scratched behind his head. “Yeah… it’s a long story… listen, it’s not fun standing out here, and I’m sure that the folks at the inn are wondering how that fight fared, as well as where their food is. Why don’t I treat y’all to a big meal as thanks? I’ll even convince Shirley to let y’all stay for free. We can talk about it there.”

“That sounds quite good, as we’re famished. By the way, what is your name?” Necro asked, quite curious as to the back story behind this character who was clearly not your average random villager.

“Huh? Oh, sorry bout that. Everyone just calls me Reaver because of this harvesting machine I invented when I was only 10 years old. I’m the head chef at the Bob and Mary Tavern,” he explained, leading them over to the tavern.

While Reaver led the way, Necro stayed at the rear of the small line, with Jenkins in the middle and Mog riding in his favorite spot atop Necro’s head. He noticed that there was a peculiar sensation on the wrist of his right arm, and decided to pull down his sleeve to investigate the source of the sensation.

The skull on his wrist was glowing black.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 8/25/2009 16:19:40 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 10
7/25/2009 17:28:32   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 10

“Reaver, how many times do I have to tell you not to get into fights with Pete?! You’re lucky you weren’t killed!” A woman in her early 40’s yelled at Reaver, wearing a typical dress besetting an innkeeper. “Thank you gents for helping out Reaver here, he’s been trouble ever since we found him abandoned on the outskirts of town, with all his contraptions and whatnot. But the boy can cook something fierce,” the lady smiled at Necro and company as the walked in after Reaver, her voice much softer and lighter.

“Come on Shirley, knock it off. You know that Pete has been asking for it for a while. That punk needed to be knocked down a notch; just cause he’s the highest level person round here doesn’t give him a right to bully others,” Reaver snorted, going behind the bar counter and started preparing the promised meal.

“So… Shirley… we were wondering if we could have rooms for the night…” Necro began, but was cut off by Shirley.

“Why sure thing hun, it’s on the house for saving us from a mess of trouble. Y’all just sit next to the bar and wait for Reaver to get done cooking. He can whip up a feast in record time fit for the richest king with the poorest ingredients” she sighed, returning back to her counter.

“So, I take it Shirley is your foster mother? Interesting that you call her by her first name…” Necro asked, not used to such relationships as he came from a “normal” family.

“Meh, it’s complicated, I knew that she was never my real mom, and everyone round here goes on a first name basis, so I just picked up the habit. Never really bothered to call her mom, but don’t get me wrong. She has been good to me all these years, all the townspeople have been real nice to me… So, you boys like chicken?” asked Reaver, using his fire magic rather then a stove to cook the food.

“Oh, I LOVE chicken!” Necro exclaimed, remembering the time he had been bitten by a rooster when he was 5 on his left thumb and since then had a strong craving for the bird as a revenge for said bite.

“Chicken is a fine delicacy, even for us who are used to richer birds,” Jenkins commented, adjusting his monocle.

“Kupo!” Mog exclaimed, looking hungrily at the food being prepared.

“That’s good to hear; I need to head out back to grab a few potatoes,” Reaver explained as he conveniently left the scene, for at the same time Shirley went upstairs to make sure that the party’s room was ready.

“Well, well, well, it looks like y’all had some trouble earlier today” Grim’s astral skull commented, floating in-between Jenkins and Necro.

“THERE you are; nice going not telling me about the structure of the Necromancers to help with my cover story! And you’re little “Reaper induction” method didn’t work either!” complained Necro.

“Ok, the first thing is my bad, I’ll tell you more about them later, but what do you mean it didn’t work? Did you put your pointer finger on top of the glowing mark and utter the spell in Reaper?” asked Grim, his faced confused, for a skull.

“Yes! I tried it 5 times on the way to the inn, and he still doesn’t know anything about the Reapers, no fancy pants magic, nothing! Yes, I’m dead certain that he’s the one, and not just by the mark. He’s a fire mage with talent, in the age range, and he has no girlfriends as apparently this town doesn’t have any females near his age for some bizarre reason,” explained Necro.

“Well, the induction method isn’t perfect as it was made with the very first Reapers… the spell is considered lower class compared to other magics these days, so if there was some sort of spell inhibitor…”

“Mog said he detected Reaver only using his magic to half it’s full potential, and he did mention something about an encounter with a demon in a nearby cave…”

“See what you can find out. I’ll be floating here, but remember that no one but who I choose to reveal myself to can see or hear me, so don’t try talking to me in front of him,” Grim advised as Reaver walked back into the tavern, also conveniently time wise.

“So, Reaver, tell us about that demon you mentioned earlier,” Necro invited, watching Reaver prepare the potatoes at lightning speed.

“Oh, that… it happened when I was 10 years old. See, there’s this cave called the Forbidden Cave that’s only half a kilometer from the town. I wandered into the cave due to boredom and curiosity one day, and happened to run into the demon that’s living in their. I would have died that day if Steeve, Shirley’s husband, hadn’t come in after me and sacrificed himself for my sake…” Reaver hesitated, setting out the food in front of the party now, reflecting on his dead foster father.

The small party looked with sympathy at Reaver, realizing that discussing this was hard on him, and took their portions quietly to let him have enough time to be ready to continue talking.

Eventually, Reaver got his act together and got together his own portion of the meal, which was a roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, but before he could begin, the others had to have their say.

“My pie man, this is the best food I have EVER tasted!” Necro exclaimed, seeing the need for silence pass.

“Yes my good fellow, I think that you could easily be the head chef of the King’s Kitchen back in New Grand,” Jenkins exclaimed. Unlike Stalfan, Sentinels actually had the capability to eat and drink like normal beings, and even had the ability to taste. No one was quite sure where the food went or how this worked, but it was the way it always was, and no one wanted to question it.

“Oh, this is SO good! I want you to cook for me forever, kupo!!” Mog squealed, jumping up and down and flinging himself into the bowl of potatoes, not caring if anyone else wanted seconds.

Reaver’s cheeks went red as he twiddled his thumbs. “Awww, thanks guys, that means a lot to me… Anyways, after Steeve sacrificed himself, the demon decided to let me off the hook with a curse, and sent me away from the cave. After that, the villagers here sealed up the entrance to the cave with a huge boulder to make sure nothing like this would ever happen…”

“Wait just a moment… do you know the specifics of this curse?” asked Necro, noticing Grim whispering the question to him.

“Err, not really. No one in this village is really experienced with curses. All I know is that it left this mark on my right wrist…” Reaver explained, pulling off his high tech glove and showing the symbol to them. The symbol itself was black, but not quite as black as Necro’s skull when it glowed. It showed a pentagram, with cross horns and a snake slithering all over the horns in the center, as well as an odd symbol with a spade at the bottom of the cross, connected to a club on the top of the cross.

Grim whistled, which amazed Necro due to the lack of lips and tongue. “That’s a Faustian Curse right there, one of the most powerful magic sealing curses out there. I’m amazed that he’s able to use magic at all with this thing on. One thing for sure, he’s not going to become a Reaper till that curse is removed.”

“Can’t we just cure it or something with a spell?” asked Necro, muttering to Grim who was right next to him.

“We’re dealing with a demon, not a daemon (day-mon). Yes, you are now confused, so let me explain. There are three doctrines of magic you’ll have to deal with here on Tipa. You’re already familiar with the Elemental Doctrine. However, Tipa shares the Afterlife and Netherworld with other planets and such, so that means that the two zones have their own respective magic doctrines. The Afterlife has the Divine Doctrine, and the Netherworld has the Demonic Doctrine. Demons come from the Netherworld, and sometimes pop in on Tipa to annoy us. Daemons are beings that are similar to demons in nature and whatnot, but they actually live in this realm and are part of the Death Element. You can form pacts with daemons, but not demons. The Demonic Doctrine is separate from the Death Element, and as such, we can’t cure it without Divine magic.”

“Well that sucks, how do we get the Reaper of Fire then?” muttered the perplexed Necro. Fortunately for him, Mog was making a huge mess of the bowl of potatoes and was keeping Reaver occupied.

“Oh, it’s quite simple; the Faustian Curse is bound by the energy from the demon. We just need to slay the demon, and the curse should be lifted. However, slaying demons is indeed, serious business. We’ll have to reveal your true identity to get him to actually go through with it, as I’m sure he doesn’t want to meet that demon anytime soon.”

“And just how do I do that? Since you said the Reapers have been inactive for 40 years, I’m pretty sure that there have been people going about claiming that they are the new Reapers, causing people to doubt as to who really is a Reaper,” Necro replied, still muttering.

“Sharp mind, Necro, I like that. That would be a problem, but we Reapers developed a special sort of magic identification that only we can perform. Anyone who attempts to do it or anything near it gets instantly killed. We just need to get him away from the other townsfolk in order to perform it…”

“Hey, Reaver, you want to show me some of your inventions?” asked Necro, who was finished with his meal.

“Are you kidding? I’d LOVE to show them to someone who can actually appreciate them! I converted the nearby barn into my workshop! It’s out back, so follow me through this door!” Reaver explained, removing his chef hat and donning his glove, pushing open a door in the back of the tavern.

“Wow, you ARE good at this, I think you’ll do quite fine manipulating others for your own benefit,” Grim grinned, floating dead last of the small precession.

The first thing Necro saw when the barn doors were opened was a giant drill gleaming in the moonlight. “Holy crud that is a HUGE drill dude!” he exclaimed, rushing around to inspect the entire drilling machine.

“I call it the Mole. This baby has the capability of drilling through solid bedrock… in theory. I just never got around to getting an engine…” Reaver responded, rubbing the back of his head.

“Say, what DOES that glove of yours do anyways Reaver?”

“It was a gift form the Infernal Forgers for reaching Freemason. It allows me to form any tool I need, be it a hammer, wrench, mini-drill, welding torch, etc. It uses some sort of advanced matter-energy converter to make the weapons from a laser thingy. No one knows how it works exactly, as they found it in some old Prothean (Pro-thee-an) ruins. It also acts as a fire magic enhancer, and has a bunch of other stuff that I’ve yet to discover.’

“Before you ask, the Protheans were an extremely advanced race that existed roughly… 2000 years before the Grand Kingdom, I think. No one knows too much about them because of what I explained earlier with the sealing of knowledge, but there existence is known about, and some of their magitech is left behind. I’m amazed that they found a power gauntlet like that in working order,” Grim whispered.

Necro was too busy examining Reaver’s current “engine” in the machine to really ask the question, but he nodded his head in appreciation. “Reaver, it looks like you’re attempting to use an external combustion engine, but you got some of shafts and rods mixed up. What are you using as a power source?”

“My own fire magic, up in the cockpit I got a place I can blow fire directly into the engine to power it”

“Alright, come over here and let me show you how to get this right. External Combustion Engines are primitive compared to internal ones, but due to the lack of material in a medieval setting, an external will do fine…” Necro began, pointing to Reaver the finer points of what he learned about engines from his time studying mechanical engineering.

When they had finally finished, the Mole was roaring to life, spewing out puffs of steam from it’s twin vent system on the rear of the machine, filling the barn up rather quickly and forcing immediate evacuation from the area to let the smoke clear out.

“Ah, jeez, and that’s one reason why the internal beats the external any day. Far less smoke coming out of it,” Necro coughed, trying to get fresh air from outside.

“In hindsight, we should have moved it outside before trying to start it up… but it works! Who knows what type of things we can drill through now!” Reaver exclaimed, coughing up smoke as he spoke.

“Actually Reaver, I may have an idea on what we can use that machine of yours for… If you’ll direct your attention to this circle right here…” Necro coughed, standing up straight and drawing a circle into the dirt with the blade of his scythe. He then stuck the butt of the shaft in the middle of the circle so the blade pointed directly towards him. Necro slowly muttered in a language far too strange for Reaver to comprehend or for the translation spell to translate.

Reaver watched with curiosity at the circle, and slowly took a step back as the circle started glowing black and drawing itself in the ground. A second circle appeared, leaving just enough room in-between the two circles for a border to appear. Inside this border, the 6 elemental signs were engraved one at a time, starting at the top with the Life Element, and then working around the circle clockwise with Water, Earth, Death, Fire and Air in that order; all of them opposing their opposite element on the circle. The inside circle bore the two cross scythes of the Reapers, with the Death Element Skull on top of the cross scythes.

The look on Reaver’s face as the realization of who he was talking too was absolutely priceless. So priceless that Grim apparently took an astral picture of it and made a copy of it for the new Reaper Scrapbook of Classic Moments that every generation of Reapers had.

Reaver suddenly dropped face first into the ground and started pleading for his life, apparently thinking that Necro had come to kill him. “Am I going to get this reaction every time I reveal my identity?” Necro asked, eyeing Grim.

“I DID leave a legacy when I got promoted, so it’ll take a while for word to get through the grapevine that the new Reaper of Death isn’t as… destructive as me… well, that and everyone usually fears the Reaper of Death no matter who it is, so the answer is yes. Get over it,” Grim grinned, enjoying the moment.

“Come on Reaver, if I wanted to kill you, I would have let Pete killed you and be done with it. You’re perfectly fine, in fact, as soon as I tell you this information, you’ll be better then that… stop bowing damn it! I thought Reapers weren’t supposed to be worshiped!”

Reaver got up nervously, but the reassuring look on Necro’s face did help to ease the tension of the moment. “Ok… what do you have to tell me?”

And so Necro explained to Reaver that the Reapers were reviving themselves and that he was the Reaper of Fire. Necro also explained that he was not actually from Tipa but from another planet, which explained how he knew so much about engines and his interest in technology. At the end of the long dissertation, Reaver was as giddy as a guinea pig in a salad factory where all the food had conveniently been left out of the bag and on the ground.

“Oh my god! That is… just…” Reaver stuttered, absolutely mind boggled by the entire thing and jumping up and down with anticipation. “Just think of all the things I can burn down!”

“Whoa, hold it! You’re a chef and a mechanic! Don’t you want to use your powers for creation?” asked Necro, slightly afraid of what he just did.

“Are you kidding? Building stuff isn’t NEAR as much fun as blowing it up!” he exclaimed, his eyes blazing with fire.

“Ok… whatever, we’ll worry about keeping you under control later, Grim said that the Reaper of Fire was going to be a pyro no matter who it was…”

“Grim? Who’s Grim?”

“That would be me, my lucky initiate” Grim said, revealing himself to Reaver, but with a full body and cloak in addition to the skull.

“The Grim Reaper? Here? I thought you were killed off with the rest of the Reapers?” Reaver asked, taking a step back from Grim.

“Oh dear, looks like nasty rumors are springing up… tell me boy, who do the masses think run the Reapers these days then?” Grim asked Reaver, eyeing him coldly.

“Everyone thinks that all the Reapers died 40 years ago, and that the Elemental Orbs decided that the Reapers weren’t necessary… or that the Orbs forsook us. Apparently after the incident there was mass panic, but now a days people go on about there lives like it never really happened… Wait, does this mean you’re the new Reaper of Ultima?”

“You catch on fast boy, that’s good. Yes, I am; don’t ask for the specifics. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be a Reaper as long as that Faustian Curse is on you. We’re going to have to send all of you to send that demon to the depths of the Netherworld to remove the curse,” Grim explained.

“What? That thing is extremely powerful! It dispatched Steeve without a second thought…” Reaver began, but was caught off by Grim.

“Listen boy, your foster dad was a normal innkeeper. He had no combat skills, while you’re in the company of the Reaper of Death. True, he is extremely low level as is his posse; but nonetheless, you should have a far better time faring against it then him. Now, buck up, and look inside yourself to find your inner rage and desire for revenge!” Grim challenged.

“Aren’t mentors supposed to discourage that?” asked Necro.

“Nonsense! The fire element works off of emotions, much like the water element does as well. However, the two are opposite of each other. The fire element encourages emotions such as rage, anger, passion and whatnot in order to increase its intensity. Water encourages a more calm state of mind to be able to handle situations with ease rather then focusing on power. So, the angrier Reaver gets, the more powerful his magic gets,” Grim explained.

“That… is… AWESOME!!” Reaver yelled, totally digging his new gig.

“No, no happy thoughts! Think of the humiliation he caused you with that mark! Think of the loss of Steeve! Think of what an evil abomination that beast is, and how it must be purged with crimson flames!” Grim preached, inspiring Reaver with the necessary anger.

“Hold it you two. We can’t get worked up over nothing. We’ve had a long hike, and we’re in no shape to be going into caves slaying demons. It’s best we get some rest tonight, eat a good breakfast, and THEN go in Rambo style,” Necro interjected.

“Rambo style?” asked a confused Reaver.

“Err, it means that we go in guns a-blazing… full power without thought or consideration for strategy and just destroy everything in sight,” Necro explained.

“This Rambo person sounds like my source of inspiration!”

“Thank the GPITS that there’s no such thing as a movie theatre then” Necro sighed, dragging Reaver back to the inn.

“You know, with that attitude, I’m surprised you’re not the Reaper of Water… except you’re not a girl of course, but come on! The Reaper of Death is all about destroying stuff!” Grim complained.

“Maybe YOU were, but I’M the Reaper of Death, and the only active Reaper, so I’m calling the shots. Get over it you bag o’ bones” Necro growled, annoyed by the immaturity of the two.

“Very well, if you insist” Reaver sighed, forcing himself from Necro’s grip and leading the way. “I bid you all good night and hope to see you in the morning”

The room itself was more spacious then Necro had thought, but then again, his expectations were low. It had a dresser, two beds, two nightstands and a closet. Necro slept on one bed, and Jenkins the other, though he technically didn’t need sleep. Still, it didn’t mean that Jenkins couldn’t fake it either. Mog snuggled up next to Necro and fell asleep immediately.

“You think we can pull this off tomorrow, Jenkins?” asked Necro, lying awake in his night clothes.

“Certainly sir, with Grim’s knowledge and our fighting abilities… if I may speak freely sir,” Jenkins added, treating Necro with such respect as he had once treated the King of the Grand Kingdom back in it’s days.

“Of course Jenkins; you may be a Sentinel, but your input is as valid as anyone’s”

“Try not to be too hard on them, sir. Grim was an absolute terror in the past, and his new responsibility has only slightly lessened his yearning to cause destruction. However, it does appear that he is trying to curb it and act as the Reaper of Ultima is expected to… by a miniscule amount of course. And as for Reaver, I predict that you two will be good friends, despite how immature he acted earlier sir. I see you in the future trying to keep this motley crew of Reapers under some sort of sanity, and I see you at your wit’s end attempting to do so. While it is necessary to put up limits on some of the wilder members, remember that you must also embrace your… “dark side” at times and have some fun as well. Leave it up to the Reaper of Water to be the mother of the group”

“Thanks for the advice Jenkins, I’ll try to keep it in mind,” Necro grinned, rolling over in bed to get into a comfortable sleeping position. “Night Jenkins”

“Good night sir. May tomorrow bring us victory” he responded, feigning sleep, always on the alert for the sign of trouble.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 7/29/2009 20:55:06 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 11
7/29/2009 20:57:39   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 11

Most villages would wake to the sound of a rooster crowing at dawn, and slowly get up and do their morning routine of getting the bed made, fixing breakfast, and going about their daily lives.

Today, however, the village of Shambles got a very rude awakening as the Mole roared to life to take out the giant boulder blocking the Forbidden Cave. The one thing that Necro knew the Mole wasn’t built for was stealth, as someone could probably see the thing for a couple of kilometers and hear it even further away.

“I think we should have slept in a little longer!” yelled Necro over the roar of the engine.

“Nonsense! Where’s your spirit of adventure? Oh look, there’s the cave now! Engaging the drill!” yelled Reaver, pulling a lever on the dashboard.

The cockpit itself was a large dome area that was meant for 2 people. Since there was technically 3 and 1/3, it was a tight squeeze. Unfortunately, the dome providing an oxygen supply for the people inside was not sound proof, as was evident by the increase in noise as the drill began whirring.

“Reaver! Design a soundproof cockpit dome next time!” Necro yelled, covering his ears with his hands.

“I can’t hear you! We’re going to start drilling!” Reaver yelled, and with that the noise increased even MORE, rivaling that of a jet engine taking off as the metal clashed with the stone.

A few agonizing minutes later, the small party was outside the Mole and inside the cave; trying to regain their hearing. Necro was busy chasing Reaver around the entrance attempting to whack him with the flat of his scythe while Jenkins and Mog were watching with bemusement.

A few MORE minutes later, the group was walking into the cave; Mog riding atop of Jenkins this time, with Necro leading the way and Reaver walking behind him, rubbing the back of his head where the bump had formed from the whack. “You didn’t have to hit so hard…”

“And YOU didn’t need to kill my eardrums. It’s a bloody miracle we didn’t go deaf from all that ruckus. It’s also a miracle none of the villagers tried to stop us, as I’m sure we woke them up as well as any dead relatives in the Netherworld AND Afterlife” retorted Necro, still angry at Reaver.

“You won’t have to worry about that. Yes, they’ll be steamed we woke them up and we broke the boulder, but they won’t even step foot inside the cave. We’ll have to deal with them when we leave the cave though,” Reaver explained, still rubbing the bump.

“If we slay the demon, the village won’t have a thing to worry about, right? Even if they DO go angry mob on us, I don’t think they’ll be too brave if we bring back the remains of the demon as proof of our victory. Probably scare the dickens out of them… but hopefully things won’t go like that. I’d really hate to make enemies of the first town I’ve ever visited in this world,” Necro reflected.

“I say, I don’t suppose you happen to remember your way through this cave, do you Reaver?” asked Jenkins, looking around the cave and noticing it was nothing remarkable. Necro and Jenkins were using the light function on their Complicators that functioned better then a typical torch would to help light up the place.

“Uh, no, sorry, that’s sort of a blank considering I was only 10 and I was wandering around in the dark. All I know for sure is that the demon is in this massive chamber inside the cave that’s all creepy looking with dead creatures in there… it was quite traumatizing for a 10 year old.”

“No doubt… this is odd… Mog, what does your Mogdar tell you?” asked Necro.

“I’m detecting a big source of demonic energy straight ahead. No other random monsters in the cave, kupo,” the moogle responded, surprisingly not eating anything at the current time.

“No monsters? That’s uncharacteristic of any sort of cave that has a demon inside…”

“Not all demons are the same, Necro. Some demons prefer to use minions to wear down their opponents, while others prefer the thrill of the fight against an opponent at their best. I would suspect that this one is the latter over the former. Probably a demon knight or something… Mog probably can’t “scan” him right now because demons operate on a different sect of magic which Mog isn’t used to right now,” Grim explained, floating by in astral skull form.

“Ok then, Mr. Smarty Skull, what’s with the horribly named place? Forbidden Cave is a totally generic boring name…”

“Because Cave of Doom, Evil Cave and Cave of No Return are already taken…” Grim responded.

“Again, LAME names! Who’s in charge of naming dungeons around here?”

“Oh, so now we’re going with the “video game analogies” as a come back. I’m terribly sorry that not everything around here is “original” enough for you. I guess you can just go back home and be a normal computer nerd… oh wait, since you got chosen as a Reaper of Death, you’re kind of stuck to this realm for the rest of your life!” Grim replied coldly.

Necro stopped for a moment, completely caught off guard by Grim’s comment. “Wait… I can’t visit my world… ever? You know, contrary to most people’s conceptions of us “computer nerds”, I DID have a life back there…” Necro responded.

“Well… it’s a tad… complicated… you can always visit your home world once you finally learn inter-dimensional portals… that’ll be level… 60? No, that’s for standard portals… 70 for inter-dimensional portals… though I suppose if you gather all the Reapers together I’ll have enough power for a trip back there… but essentially, you are needed here much more then there. Therefore, according to extremely complex inter-dimensional laws, you’re new “home world” is here, not Earth,” Grim explained, hesitating in his explanation.

“So what do people think happen to me back on Earth, hm? Have I magically died or something, disappeared? My parents are probably having a heart attack…”

“Your immediate family was contacted about what happened to you and explained the basics of our world and that you will be able to visit them on occasion. Fortunately your family still has your younger sister to help carry on the family back on Earth, so you don’t have to worry so much about that… you’re “friends” and records report that you got a full paid scholarship to a university in New Zealand. Essentially, you are a memory to all the people you were in contact with, but you’ll probably only see them on your periodic visits back to Earth… look, can we focus on this demon first? I was going to tell you, but it kept slipping my mind… Mog! We’re approaching a fork in the road, which way do we go?”

“Kupo… The right path has a strong concentration of Demonic energy, but the left path has a concentration of Death energy… most likely the rumored Death Orb,” the moogle sighed, having run out of snacks and wanting oh so much to get into Necro’s hammer space pouch to get more food.

“Necro, I know that you’re the default leader due to various circumstances of this little “party” here… hey, y’all need a name to go by besides the “Reapers” so that way you can be easily identified by everyone!” Grim suddenly commented, floating in front of Necro.

“Uhhhhhhhhh.. this is sudden… will the Roughnecks work?” Necro asked, shifting his eyes left and right.

“BRILLIANT! All right, as I was saying earlier, demons are out of y’all’s level range, so the only way you’re going to be able to defeat it is with that Death Orb. Essentially, this means that Necro is going to have to hightail it over to the orb while the rest of y’all play distraction with the demon. You ask why can’t we just grab the orb and then fight the demon, no? The answer is simple: the demon is most likely aware of the orb, and will be interested in knowing why the orb which has probably been undisturbed throughout his entire stay in this cave… Trust me, it’s better if he thinks we’re a bunch of punk adventurers who don’t know what they’re doing then a bunch of adventurers who actually have a chance of killing him,” Grim explained.

“Ok, I guess that works… will y’all be fine handling a demon we have no information about?” asked Necro, scratching the back of his head.

“Sure! What could possibly go…” Reaver began, but Necro cut him off.

“Don’t EVER say that catch phrase! It always spells certain doom to anyone who says it!” Necro interjected, trying to prevent certain doom upon the newly named party.

“Ok, ok, calm down! We’ll be fine as long as Grim is there giving us some advice. Just don’t dilly-dally with that Death Orb!”

“Right, I’m off!” Necro announced, power walking down the path with the Death Orb.

The rest of the part marched at a steady pace through the dark cave; until they reached a massive chamber that looked like an underground lake had once rested here, though now it was dried up and full of stalagmites and other cave decorations.

Aside from the room’s massiveness, there was nothing quite out of the ordinary, until the very back of the cave lit up with two massive torches that flanked a throne with a suit of off-black standard knight armor sitting upon the throne, with the visor down. The suit seemed to be sitting upright in the chair, though no eyes could be seen inside the slit of the visor.

“We got demon mail, a lower level demon but a demon nonetheless. We’ll still need Necro and the Death Orb to make sure we destroy this thing, but there’s a good chance we can incapacitate it…” Grim started, but was interrupted by the demon mail.

“Foolish mortals!” the demon mail stated in a typical demonic voice. “I am the demon mail Klthak, who dares to disturb my rest?”

“We’re just a band of wandering adventurers here to get ludicrous amounts of EXP and Gold from defeating an optional boss,” Reaver stated.

“Actually, I think he’d be more of “first boss” material then optional, since we need you to be a Reaper…” Grim whispered.

“Come and face me whelps!” the armor grunted, unsheathing a claymore from his back and awaiting someone to engage him.

Mog shot forward to attempt to throw the demon mail off balance, ended up bouncing off the armor and crashing into the wall, slightly dazed and moaning “Kupo…”

Jenkins fired a blast of Death energy from the small gap within the spear and then followed up with a thrust, which was parried by Klthak and followed with a vertical slash, which Jenkins dodged by jumping backwards. This was the start of yet another epic sword vs. spear fight that is too awesome to describe with mere words, and better yet to leave to the imagination of the reader (and break the 4th wall).

While the epic clash was going on, Reaver was blasting Klthak with bursts of fire and the occasional lighting blast from the gauntlet, while Mog was busy casting enhancing spells on Jenkins so he could keep up with Klthak.

After a minute or two of superb melee combat, Kthlak finally managed to gain the upper hand in the fight by tripping the shadow gladiator and stabbing him through the armor while he was on the ground. Jenkins let out a cry of anguish as he started writhing on the ground with pain.

As if in response to Jenkin’s cry, Necro teleported in as a whoosh of smoke as he materialized with the Death Orb glowing in his hand. “What the hell just happened? One moment I’m running back through the hallway, then I feel this sharp pain in my chest, and now I’m here… Jenkins!” Necro cried, noticing the giant claymore through the writhing shadow gladiator, who was slowly reverting back to a normal skeleton.

Kthlak was dealing with Reaver at the time that Grim quickly floated over to Necro. “Never mind that, I’ll explain later! Look, every Reaper has a familiar, a creature also born of the Elemental Sphere that assists them in combat. Normally, you could never summon it at your level, but with that Death Orb, you got the power of a level 50 Reaper… or something, I’m not quite sure of the level, but the point is, you can summon your familiar, which is the only thing that can tear this creature to shreds! Now, concentrate deeply, find your link to the Elemental Sphere of Death, and call out your familiar!”

Necro held the Orb up to his head, and began to concentrate deep within himself, while Reaver was currently running for his life in a humorous manner around the cave as the demon mail attempted to slice him with the sword. While this normally would have caused Necro to be distracted, he managed to remain calm and focused as he tried going into a trance like state.

At this point in the battle, Mog had gotten over his daze and was currently casting his own brand of fire magic on the demon mail with little effect. He was also hopping up and down on top of Kthlak’s head in an attempt to distract him, which was also not doing much.

Suddenly, a dark swirling vortex type portal opened up, and out of it came a baby undead dragon, that proceeded to leap onto Necro and start licking it with what was apparently a tongue bone, quite rare for any species. “Awwww, it’s so cute! Wait… this is my familiar, A baby undead dragon?” Necro asked, being tickled by the bone tongue that was not nearly as hard as he thought it would be.

“Technically it’s a baby dracolich, but that’s beside the point. All familiars are summoned in their “baby” forms… initially. Once you reach a certain level in your Reaper class they’ll be their full adult form upon summoning, but for now, you have to use the power of the Death Orb to change him to adult form. Coincidentally, you can summon your familiar whenever you want, but as a “baby”, you’re better off with Mog, as baby familiars can only exist for so long away from the Sphere. Just channel energy form the orb into your familiar, which you may name whatever you want,” Grim explained, as Reaver kept running around the room.

“Can I name it Fluffy?” asked Necro, starting to shoot energy from the Orb into the familiar via a black beam.

“I think that’s been done…”


“Think of something more… intimidating,” suggested Grim.


“Errr, Can you think of something a little more original?”


“Ok… something not quite as complicated… and you complain about US naming our caves, when your own pet naming skills are this bad?”

“I’m just joking…Fine, how about Hades? He’s the Greek god of the underworld…”

“Meh, I guess that’s better then the previous names you got… fine… oh, looks like it’s ready!”

With Grim’s words, the dragon started to glow black, and slowly grew bigger and bigger until it had morphed into its adult form. The adult Hades was truly a frightening site, as it filled up the entire cavern with barely any room for anyone to move around in. Truly, it was the most terrifying undead dragon that the entire party had seen; even Grim commented that Hades was scarier then his previous familiar. This extremely scary wickedly awesome dracolich then proceeded to engulf the demon mail in a special type of black fire that completely disintegrated that armor.

“Well, that was easy… though for future reference, remind me not to make Hades big inside… how do I get him back to his more adorably cuddly form?” Necro asked, currently squished against the wall by the long tail of the dracolich.

“Oh, just say “return to the Sphere from which you came Hades, your work here is done!” and don’t worry about someone else recalling your dragon, only you can. As for getting him back to cuddly form, we’ll work on that later, just get him out of here for now,” Grim explained, floating above what little room was left in the cave.

Necro did so, and the familiar disappeared in a loud black smoke cloud that seemed to trail out of the cave. When there was finally room to breathe, the party gathered around Jenkins, who was currently laying there like a pile of bones with no glowing red eyes.

“Is he…” Necro asked.

“Dead? Well, he never was technically alive. His soul got separated from the body by that demon’s blade. If a normal blade had penetrated the armor, Jenkins would have been fine, but since it was a demonic blade, it dispelled your magic. Don’t worry, with the power of the Death Orb here, we can recreate Jenkins easily, and make him the proper method…” Grim began, but was cut off by Necro.

“Oi, Jenkins! If you think you can get out of service to me this easily, think again! You’re MY Sentinel, and I will be the one to say when you’re service to me is done! Get your soul back down here!” Necro ordered.

“Necro, it doesn’t work like…” Grim began, but was cut off by the black glow of the Death orb, which looked like an orb of gaseous black energy in a compact form. The orb glowed even brighter, and shot a beam of Death energy at the skeleton. As the skeleton started to glow black, a small, pure white ball of light came floating down and landed inside the skeleton’s skull. Jenkin’s eye sockets glowed red as he slowly rose from the ground, rubbing his rib cage. “Ouch… that blow was incredibly painful…”

“Oh, I can fix that!” Necro said, using the Death Orb to mend the bones and return Jenkins back to his Shadow Gladiator form.

“HOLD IT!” Grim roared, looking extremely annoyed. “I will NOT have you running around Tipa with that Death Orb and breaking every single bloody precedent set forth by the Founding Reapers!”

“But Grim! I can do so much stuff with this orb!”

“Exactly! It’s like using a hacking device to get your character leveled up to 99 without any farming for it! You can’t rely on the Death Orbs around here, you have to learn your power as you level up! Otherwise you can be consumed by your own power… and bad things happen when those who aren’t ready to wield power obtain it. Trust me… when we get out of this cave, you are teleporting the orb back to Calico so I can keep it for emergency use only… I still don’t know how the hell you managed to bypass the ritual for summoning Jenkins…” he mumbled.

“Oh… fine… so that explains what happened to Jenkins… what was that pain I felt?”

“You’re connected to Jenkins, even if he’s autonomous. When he suffers a deep wound like that, you’re going to feel it as well. Consider the teleporting here a reflex of your subconscious using the Death Orb. Your “inner Reaper” allowed you to use the Orb without going insane. Had a normal mortal tried using the Death Orb… let’s just say that he’d probably become a lich trying to raise an undead army to conquer the world…”

“Dude… being a Reaper ROCKS! I want to be one right now!!” Reaver exclaimed, wanting in on the action.

“Oh, right, the Faustian Seal should be gone… Necro! Use the ritual!” Grim ordered.

While Jenkins got himself up and started stabbing the ashes of the demon mail with his spear for revenge, Necro pressed his left forefinger to the glowing skull and began muttering the spell. After completing the spell, Reaver started to glow red. Reaver took off his glove and saw that the seal was gone and a red flame was glowing there. Reaver then spontaneously combusted in front of everyone, causing a small gasp from everyone.

“Relax, it’s the transformation process. The spell may be deemed low level, but it has all the coolness of an epic level spell,” Grim explained as the flames swirled around Reaver’s body in a fire tornado and slowly started to die down around him. When the flames completely subsided, Reaver was wearing a cloak similar to Necro’s, but red.

“That was an awesome display of fire,” commented Necro.

“That was an awesome feeling of power surging though me! I feel like I can burn the entire world!”

“Actually, you can’t… as you may have noticed, when you become a Reaper, you just get a class change, and your stats are boosted to the point if you had started out as a Reaper, like Necro here. We don’t believe in having a certain class, and then you restart your level as a new class in Tipa. As for destroying the world… we’ll talk about it later. Let’s just get out of this cave.”

The small group walked slowly out of the cave; Grim explaining the basics of Reaperdom, though the spell Necro cast had already given Reaver that knowledge, but Grim wanted to make sure that it was covered. Necro was in the back with Mog on his head and Jenkins at his side, reminded of the time he first came to Tipa, which was only a few weeks ago.

As they emerged from the mouth of the cave, the angry mob that had been talked about earlier was there, with pitchforks and torches ready. The entire venture had taken the majority of the day, as the sun was setting when they saw the mob. Wearily, the party walked forward; Necro unslinging his scythe and Reaver pressing a few buttons on his gauntlet.

“You boys have violated one of this village’s most sacred laws. Under no circumstances is the Forbidden Cave to be entered… that’s why it’s called the Forbidden Cave. As a stranger to this town, you may not have been aware of the rule… Cid, was it? However, Reaver knew about this rule, especially after that incident when he was 10! You are all in very big trouble,” the village elder accused.

“Whoa dude, relax. We killed the demon that was holed up in there, so you don’t have to worry about anyone getting killed in there again!” Necro responded, holding his head high as they had done a might deed… which they did for a group of their level and skill.

The angry mob suddenly gasped in unison, and started mumbling to each other, looks of terror on their faces. The village elder fell to his knees at the news, and had to be helped back up. “You’ve just doomed us all…” he said, his face white with fear.

“Hold it! How the hell does slaying a demon doom us all? Now, we can freely explore the cave whenever we want as no monsters live there, and I got back my full magic! I’m not seeing a down side here…”

“That’s because neither of you know the story of why there was a demon living in that cave. Many years ago, this village was attacked by a dragon. We had no way of defeating it ourselves, so the village elder at the time made a deal with a demon for protection. In exchange for defending the village, the demon kept his younger brother in the Forbidden Cave. The brother had fought in a battle with an Angel, and was seriously wounded. He needed time to heal, so the demon thought it would be safe to hide him here. He warned us that if harm ever fell upon his brother, he would destroy us all…”

“What? I’ve never heard this story before! Why the hell didn’t anyone tell me?” asked Reaver, extremely angry at the crowd.

“I’m sorry Reaver, I never got around to telling you… it always slipped my mind and seemed like it wasn’t that important, especially after the day you got cursed… you were so afraid that you never even got near the cave… and with the boulder…” Shirley explained, also at the front of the angry mob.

“We are not without compassion though. We realize that you boys thought you did the right thing, so we are not sentencing you to death. Instead, you are all banished from this village and never allowed to return here,” the elder ordered, recovering a bit of his vigor.

“Wait a second, we just killed a demon that has kept this village scared for who knows how many years. What the hell makes y’all think that you could actually kill us, let alone actually enforce your decree? And why the hell are you even trying to get rid of us? If this village is doomed, let us stay here for this other demon to show up and we’ll kill it for y’all,” Necro offered, extremely annoyed with the ingratitude and stupidity of the village.

“We will do no such thing, this demon is extremely powerful. There is no way you boys could even stand a chance against him. His brother was pathetically weak compared to this one. Hopefully by banishing you all we will be able to seek the mercy of the demon…” the elder explained, but was cut off by Reaver, who’s head was hung low right now and his fists shaking with rage.

“I’ve lived in this village for my entire life. Shirley and Steeve treated me as their own son, and loved me very much. I’ve had a lot of good memories of this place, and I helped out the village by preparing delicious meals for reasonable prices that anyone else would gouge if they had my talent. I’ve even shared my crazy inventions with the village to help life easier, and the thanks I get for my final act here that I thought would help the village… is banishment?” Reaver asked, slowly razing his head as his eyes burned with anger. “Necro, don’t try to stop me from what I’m about to do…” he requested, setting his fists on fire.

“Reaver, my dear friend, I may be the one who has the sanity of our group, but I am also one who deals in the dark arts, and part of my element deals with revenge. You have been wronged, and this village is being absolutely ridiculous with its demands, even after we offered to help them. I will not only not attempt to stop you in your endeavor, I will assist you, as one who has been wrong, and as a friend…” Necro began, but was cut off by a familiar voice from the rear of the audience.

“Oi, the elder said for you guys to get out of here, so get out of here! You asked what gave him the authority to banish you brats? That would be me,” Pete proclaimed, lumbering through the mob with his claymore drawn and pointed at them. “Now, I’m giving y’all to the count of three to start walking away from this village, or things are going to get nasty. You caught me off guard yesterday, but today I’m stronger, as I’m wearing a magic ring given to me by the elder of this village that grants me resistance to all magic. So, one… two… thr…”

Before Pete could finish three, Reaver shot out a huge stream of flames directly at him that engulfed Pete, and quickly disintegrated him, his claymore, and the ring, which really only offered 5% resistance to all elements, which really wasn’t that rare or powerful. “You must be really desperate elder, if you’re relying on the town bully to try to get rid of us. I am going to enjoy burning everything here…” he began, but was interrupted by Necro.

“Come now Reaver, let’s stop and think a bit. Burning everyone in this village will not punish them but for a few seconds, and you will be left with the guilt of massacring an entire village that you once called home. No, revenge is a dish best served cold, in a sense, and I have an idea that is much more acceptable as it is both merciful and far more heartless then your flames will offer, if you will allow me…” Necro offered.

“Fine, but make it quick, my anger can only be staved for so long…”

“Dear citizens of Shambles, let me first say that you are the stupidest hillbillies I have ever had the displeasure of meeting, with the exception of you Shirley, but other then that, I regard you all as nothing more then gnats. My friend Reaver has regained his full magic capabilities, and is quite capable of burning down your entire village, along with y’all in it. However, I am more level headed, and I am offering every one of you a chance to spare your wretched lives. Go forth and gather everyone in this village that is not here, the elderly and the children I presume, and then meet us back here in front of this cave. You see, Reaver will indeed be burning your town to the ground, but instead of killing y’all, you will have the agony of seeing your entire town perish, along with all the livestock, plants and items you cherish. You will have 5 minutes to collect the people left in the town before Reaver starts burning it. Anyone still in the town will be burned to a cinder, rest assured. Anyone trying to get any item or creature not a human will also be burned on sight. Your time starts now,” Necro said, calmly, with a cold voice that would have made anyone shake upon hearing it.

Quickly the villagers scrambled to get the remaining people out of the village as fast as possible, while a wicked grin shown on Reaver’s face. “I like how you think, it’s just a shame that we can’t do more to increase their pain…”

“Oh, my dear friend, I am only getting started… Grim, I know that I promised to transport the Death Orb to you when we got out, but given the circumstances…”

“Oh, by all means, please, use it to raze this village to the ground. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an entire village razed, and I look forward to how you two get along with each other in a fight. By the way, did you know that by combining Reaver’s flames and your Death energy, you can produce the Black Flame? The Black Flame is a special fire, that cannot be quelled by water, lack of oxygen or stamped out by the earth. The only way to kill the Black Flame is with Life magic and plenty of it too. It’s the same fire that Hades was spewing earlier. Naturally, it won’t be near as powerful as Hades’ because he had the Death Orb, but it should be more then useful for burning a village. Try doing that without the Orb though, to get the feel of the combo attack. It’s important to be able to combine power with other Reapers to fully gain the advantage.”

Reaver and Necro did so after the 5 minutes were up, and a raging inferno of black fire engulfed the entire town of Shambles. The villagers huddled together behind the pair as they wrecked havoc upon the village, completely annihilating every part of the village, from farmland to the tavern. As the flames started to die down after consuming everything, Necro raised the Death Orb and began fulfilling his earlier promise of increasing the pain of the villagers of Shambles.

“Here me, Death Orb, and lend me your power! These wetched fools have spurned us, and in the same way I ask that you make the land spurn them! Make every single plant within 5 kilometers rot away until it is no more! Infest every single non-humanoid within the same diameter with a plague so vile that all the creatures will cry in pain, haunting the very memories of the villagers of this accursed town! Curse the ground within the same distance so that it may never grow another thing again!” Necro yelled, and the Death Orb flashed black as it expanded a black sphere from the center of the orb to the designated distance, then slowly dissipated.

At first, nothing seemed to happen, but slowly, ever so slowly, the leaves on all the trees started to fall off. The trees then started to slowly wilt, while the ground seemed to go hard and dry. Animal cries could be heard within the area, cries so painful that the villagers went down to their hands and knees from the cries. Necro and his group however seemed unaffected from the cries, and watched as the flames started disappearing.

“We leave this village not because we were banished, but by our own free will. Do whatever you want with your lives, I don’t care. If the demon you speak of does come, let him know that the Roughnecks have already done his work for him, and he can settle the score with us. We leave now to head to the town of Aldrith, where we will hopefully have a much more pleasant experience then this rat hole. Good day, and good luck surviving,” Necro concluded, turning his back on the cringing villagers as he and the party walked off into the setting sun, the Black Flame now gone for it had consumed everything. The only thing left from the town was the smoke from the flames, and the smell of scorched earth, as well as the decaying smell of the plants and animals.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 7/29/2009 20:58:23 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 12
8/6/2009 11:30:53   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 12

Back at Calico, Grim was blowing where his nose would have been had he had flesh with a hankie, and proceeded to wipe his nonexistent tear ducts from magically induced tears after re-watching the burning of Shambles on his console.

“Master, will you be ok?” EVA asked, concerned by Grim’s ability to cry when he lacked the appropriate organs.

“EVA; that was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in over 40 years. Did you see the way the combined their power into the Black Flame? The way that Necro brought retribution after the village spurned our little party was truly magnificent. Plus, they proved my expectations of burning down the first village they came across. I couldn’t be more proud of them right now!” Grim sniffed; a grin on his face as he cried tears of joy.

“Yes, I will admit that the destruction of the town was most impressive for level 8…”

“Actually, they’re both level 10. Apparently leveling an entire village the size of Tipa, and the destruction of the demon combined let them jump a few levels. Level 10 is when they first start getting their telepathic abilities… but right now they can barely say hello to each other, much less try to communicate with non-telepaths.

“Alert! New Reaper detected!” EVA suddenly called out, and began displaying data on the console that Grim usually sat at.

“What? I thought the next Reaper was in the Aldrith area… or that desert near the town?”

“Apparently the proximity of the Roughnecks has allowed our passive sensors on the Complicators that we gave them; including Reaver thanks to the spares Necro has in his inventory, brought it up.

“Reaper of Water… on the positive side, this will help keep the group in check… my pie, if they had hooked up with the Reaper of Wind first… the Black Inferno Trinity move alone could burn down Aldrith without the appropriate counter measures… and the havoc… wait, hold it, that’s the negative side…”

“Sir, we’re trying to restore order here. We’re in the chaos cycle right now, not the order cycle, remember?”

“Fine, I guess that’s a positive… the first female Reaper… something tells me that this is just going to open up a whole new set of conundrums to keep the audience amused…”

“Sir, are you going to reveal to the Roughnecks the truth about all this soon?”

“Oh, heavens no. If they found out that we’re just one world from an infinite amount of planets/systems/galaxies/universes that are all the fictional creations of what is dubbed “The Real World” and that we don’t really exist to them but we do to us, it would completely change things. I’ll give them “The Truth Talk” when they’re all assembled,” Grim explained, and proceeded to contact the group via astral projection.

Currently the Roughnecks were playing a rousing game of Poke the Pom-Pom. The game involved the poking of the floating red ball on an antenna that connected itself to Mog. Moogle’s did not like their pom-poms poked, and the game’s objective was to see what Mog would do when poked enough times, as they had never seen Mog angry before.

“Last time, kupo. If you guys don’t stop poking my pom-pom, things will get nasty for y’all…” Mog warned, sighing.

“Bah, what can a little fur ball do?” Reaver taunted, continuing in the poking of the pom-pom.

“This,” Mog responded, as he started to hold his breath and caused his little cheeks to bulge.

“Awwwwwwwww, he’s going to hold his breath until we stop!” Reaver commented, still poking the moogle with Necro and Jenkins.

“Actually Reaver, I think he’s… inflating himself…” Necro commented, stopping the poking of Mog and observing the moogle slowly getting bigger.

Jenkins and Reaver stopped the poking, and watched Mog get bigger and bigger and bigger. Mog go so huge that his feet were the entire height of Necro, making Mog a giant moogle of doom. “Kupo!” he bellowed in a gigantic bass voice that shook the ground.

“Ok, so the moogle can get huge and can easily squish us… please don’t sit on me!!!” Reaver begged, getting to the ground and kneeling before Mog.

“Promise you won’t poke my pom-pom again!” Mog ordered.

“I do! We all do!” Reaver promised, his eyes filled with horror at the giant fur ball.

“Ok then!” Mog bellowed, and slowly shrunk back to his lovable small size and proceeded to snuggle Reaver.

“I thought I TOLD y’all not to poke the pom-pom on the moogle! They’re very sensitive to that!” Grim commented, having observed the entire scenario.

“What’s up Grim?” Necro asked, picking up the moogle and putting him on his head.

“EVA detected the Reaper of Water near your position, at the crossing of the Azure River near here. Originally we thought the Reaper of Wind was the closest one, but conveniently the Reaper of Water is nearby, so that should make things easier… well… getting her might be problematic…”

“Why?” asked Reaver, now off his knees and brushing off the dust, his brown eyes full of curiosity and interest at meeting a female his own age.

“Well, we just detected her… this means she’s either been keeping a low profile, or she just got chosen. I think it is the latter, as I’m sure the Hallowed Trinity wants some balance to the Reapers and does NOT want the Serpentine Trinity completed first. See, the elemental spheres aren’t exactly at war with each other, but they always like making sure that there’s equal power. They want to make sure that you don’t hook up with the Reaper of Wind before having at least one of the female Reapers in the group. This means that the Water Sphere choose someone who’s quite skilled and capable of keeping all three of y’all under control until we hook up with the rest of the Reapers,” Grim explained.

“In other words, you fear we’re going to have to confront this Reaper to be or something?” Necro inferred, frowning at where this was going.

“Yes… and I’m afraid the Reaper Initiation spell won’t help us. The spell can only be cast under two conditions: the befriending of the Reaper, or defeating the Reaper in combat if under hostile intentions. The Azure River is also one of the main rivers of Tipa as it runs through most of the continent North to South. As you can probably guess…”

“The Aqua Guardians are most likely going to be there at the crossing, and the Reaper of Water is going to be one of them. This means she won’t want to come with us too willingly as she already belongs to one of the cells protecting the waters of Tipa, and we’ll probably have to fight her to join our little party?” Necro continued.

“Very good, you DO have high Intelligence, and your wisdom isn’t too shabby either. The scenario will probably run like this: the AG will be at the crossing, and ask who y’all are. You will claim to be the Roughnecks, and this will cause them to be on their guard. They probably saw the burning of Shambles, and scouted it out, and reported it. This will lead to a confrontation that will force our Reaper-to-be out of hiding, and after you beat her, initiate the spell, and everything will be fine,” Grim finished, nodding his head.

“Great, it’s only been a day since that incident, and we’re already infamous. Fine, let’s get this over with. Unsheathe your weapons boys; we’re going in weapons hot!" Necro ordered, unsheathing his own scythe.

Reaver’s scythe was of a fire-red shaft with a blood red blade when it was sheathed, but unsheathed the entire scythe was engulfed in flames, a touch that Reaver added for dramatic effect and because he was a pyro at heart. Jenkins was already in his Shadow Gladiator form and was twirling his spear around to make sure that he was ready for a fight. Mog did not have any weapons, but he did start flying near Necro’s head instead of resting on it to be ready for a fight.

An hour later, they approached the Azure River and the crossing. The crossing was a wooden bridge with metal supports; a fact that surprised Necro considering the backwater region they were in. The Azure River itself was an impressive sight as it winded it’s way through the land. The stretch near the crossing was straight, but he could see in the distance the winding river as it calmly flowed south. The water was a dark blue, which showed that the river was way too deep to attempt fording. The sheer width of the river made swimming across pointless, as it was at least a kilometer wide and had fish similar to barracuda floating near the surface of the water.

On the bridge was a platoon’s worth of adventurers; consisting mainly of rangers with a smattering of warriors. As far as Necro could tell, there were no mages in the group, and his arm was not tingling; meaning the Reaper of Water was not here… yet.

“Halt travelers!” one of the warriors in the group challenged the party; sword and shield at the ready.

“Hail and well met fellow adventurers!” Necro responded, hoping that the phrase would try to defuse the situation.

“State your business here near the Sacred Azure River!” the warrior challenged, his face glowering at the party.

“We are the Roughnecks, a group of adventurers seeking our way in the world” Necro replied, deciding to give up trying to negotiate his way through this as the enemy looked in no mood to talk. He realized that Grim’s summary was probably the fastest way to get through this and to Aldrith.

“We thought as much… our scouts have recently returned from the village of Shambles and reported it completely burned to the ground, as well as the surrounding area completely devoid of life. We managed to find some survivors, and questioned them. They gave us your descriptions and explained how you cruelly raided the village for your sick pleasure,” the warrior snarled, standing his ground as the Roughnecks slowly advanced.

Necro paused, observing that the bridge was just wide enough for the platoon to be at 3 people abreast, and the platoon had 12 people per a squad. While they were very much out numbered, the Complicator read that this party was only level 7, so they could probably take them with a little bit of luck.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me assure you that we did not…” Necro began, but Reaver decided to start the fight by letting out a huge fire stream directly into the platoon of soldiers.

The Aqua Guardians in the lead attempted to shield themselves, but the intensity of Reaver’s inferno was too much, and they were burned to a crisp. Unfortunately, the front 3 warriors seemed to have some sort of spell on them that made them the target for any group attack spell, so they took all of the brunt. The rangers in the rear reacted quickly by leaping into the water and started firing missiles at the party. As Aqua Guardians, they possessed the ability of water walking, so fighting on the water was no problem for them.

This did provide problems for the Roughnecks, as Reaver certainly couldn’t be going into a body of water if he wanted to be fight, and Jenkins would just sink to the river bottom. While Reaver was quite fine returning fire with fire balls, Jenkins could only use the “Death beam” from his spear to attack the enemy. While the Death beam that fired from the gap between the spearhead was powerful, it was slow to recharge, and the Aqua Guardians were quite proficient at dodging. Mog was also having trouble hitting the AG platoon with various magic, as if something was obstructing his aiming.

Necro couldn’t put his finger on it, but he felt that something was dreadfully wrong with this entire scenario. Still, he had to focus on what was in front of him and would worry about impending doom later. Retreating from the action scene, he began chanting and channeling his magic into the riverbed to find the bones of adventurers and creatures who were devoured by the river’s creatures. To his delight, he found plenty of skeletons to construct Stalfan, and proceeded in doing so.

A few minutes into the fight took its toll on the other members of the Roughnecks. Reaver had a low wisdom stat, which meant that he had little common sense and was not very good at conserving mana. He was running low and had already consumed 2 mana positions, while Jenkins had taken multiple hits. Mog seemed ok, but his aim was so horrible that he really wasn’t helping. Only about 1 squad had been taken out, and the rest seemed to have plenty of arrows left.

Then, Necro came to the rescue once again as he had done in the past. This time it came in the form of an undead giant water eel that he had found lying deep in the river bed. The undead eel then proceeded to thrash about near the bridge, knocking out Aqua Guardians so they fell into the lake to be devoured by the fish living in it. Oddly enough, the fish only ate things that fell into the water, and not things walking on top of it.

The Aqua Guardians were completely caught off guard, and lost a squad and a half in less then a minute. The bridge took some damage, but it was still structurally sound. The battle would have finished quite quickly if a giant get of water came from the river and blasted the eel in the back. The force of the blast seemed to cause the eel to fall apart and become magically disenchanted. “That is enough, I cannot endure any more pointless slaughter of my guardians” a female’s voice spoke. It was strangely alluring, a melodic voice of a soprano that wasn’t annoyingly high.
Necro uprooted his scythe from it’s standing position in the earth and walked closer to the river; vastly confused by a talking river, where the voice originated. The rest of the Roughnecks and Grim were also looking into the river with Necro to see if there was someone beneath the waves.

Suddenly, a burst of water shot straight up from the water in a fantastic display of force. The water then descended upon the group in a light mist that seemed to sparkle as the river seemed to form a whirlpool where the voice came from. Slowly, a geyser of water seemed to come from the center of the whirlpool, and riding on it was the most beautiful woman the Roughnecks had ever seen.

The woman was drop dead gorgeous in the eyes of the party: from her brown hair that reached down onto her shoulders, to her eyes that were as blue as the Azure river, to her skin that seemed to be the perfect creamy white that marked one of royal heritage, to her exquisitely slender figure that seemed perfectly proportioned in every way imaginable. She was wearing a strapless dark blue dress that fit snuggly to her body but did not seem to be squeezing anything on her, as if it had simply formed itself onto her. While there was nothing revealing about the dress, the sides of it did seem to be slit from the feet up to her thighs which allowed her to walk without being hampered.

“I would love to see her in a bikini” Reaver muttered, completely infatuated with the mysterious beauty from the river.

“Kupo…” Mog muttered, staring unblinkingly at her.

“In all my life I have never laid eyes on such an extraordinary sight…” Jenkins exclaimed, his entire attention devoted to the strikingly exquisite female.

Grim’s astral projection head had dropped his jaws AND his red glowing orbs that acted as eyes were out of its sockets, simulating a bug eyes effect.

Necro seemed to be the only one who was completely charmed by the appearance of the female. On one hand, as the Reaper of Death, Necro had to deal with the emotion of lust, and it was certainly working up his hormones in this situation. On the other hand, Necro had this nagging feeling inside him that told him something was horribly wrong. Necro assumed that this gut feeling was the Death Element trying to warn him of something, so he tried to look away from the female. He found himself having an extremely hard time as the female from the river stretched her arms upward. Struggling with the situation, Necro invoked other negative emotions the Death Element wielded, including those of depression and hatred. These two emotions helped to counteract the lust effecting Necro, and slowly brought him back to his senses that he could observe the actions of his party.

When he saw that everyone was going gaga over the woman, he realized that something was indeed wrong. He slowly looked back at the woman of the river, and found that while she was strikingly beautiful, he wasn’t as infatuated with her as he had been a few seconds earlier. “Who are you?” he asked slowly, gripping his scythe handle tighter.
The woman turned her attention to Necro with a mild look of surprise on her face. “I am Charis, the goddess of the Azure River. You have slain the Aqua Guardians who were placed here to protect me. For that, you have two options: join me as my new protectors, or die” she replied, her voice sounding like the chorus of 1000 angels on the surface, but Necro picked up the death threat hidden in the sound. He also noticed his arm was tingling like crazy, indicating that he had found the Reaper of Water.

“What did you do to my friends?” he asked, keeping his tone neutral while secretly thumbing a few buttons on the Complicator to get a scan of Charis.

“They have seen the error of their ways, and will be joining me as my new protectors. You, however, seem to have resisted seeing the truth. You seem to be of rationale though, so I ask you this: will you join in protecting me, or will you die?” she asked, her voice sounding heavenly, but Necro picked up the undertone of the ultimatum in there.

Necro’s mind raced as he tried to figure out what was going on, when he thought of the word resist. Of course! She must have an extremely strong attract spell cast on herself to make enemies join her! The fact that she’s already beautiful only increases the potency of the spell. Reaver has a low wisdom stat, so he would easily have fallen to it. Mog isn’t from this world and has a naivety to him, so he probably also would have been suckered in by an attract spell. I just don’t understand how she got Grim and Jenkins, as they’re undead. Undead are immune to status ailments… unless she has something amplifying her magic…

Necro remembered a powerful spell that Grim had taught him when they had returned to Calico with Jenkins that neutralized all magic in effect in a fairly wide radius. The problem was that in order for Necro to cast the spell, he would have to draw out a magic circle with his scythe and complete the ritual since he wasn’t high enough level to cast it the fast way. He decided to try to buy some time.

“You claim you are the Goddess of this river, but I was told there are no gods or goddesses here on Tipa, only the Reapers,” Necro commented, slowly flipping his blade on the ground and began slowly drawing a circle.

“That was true, until the Reapers abandoned us 40 years ago. Since then mortals have been chosen by the Elemental Spheres to take up the position of Gods and Goddesses by giving us their gifts to make us above mortals. I was chosen by the Water Sphere to be the Goddess of this river,” she replied, carefully eyeing Necro.

Necro’s eyes grew wide at the mention of the “gifts” of the Elemental Sphere. He quickly concluded that she must be referring to an elemental orb, which would certainly explain how she was able to wipe out his undead eel in one hit and infatuate the undead. Necro could not see the orb, but he assumed it must be somewhere in the water and that she was using it to amplify her magic considerably. This increased the importance of the Magic Neutralizer spell he was preparing, as it was the only thing that could possibly get the rest of the Roughnecks in fighting condition.
“I have always been interested in protecting a Goddess, but I would require more information before I formally commit” Necro worded carefully, still buying time. “How does a fair maiden like you go from mortal go Goddess?”

“I was once the daughter of the King of Aldrith, and was taught everything about the society of royalty. I also had a knack for magic, particularly water magic, and was taught by the finest mages around. One day while practicing my aquamancy, a Water Orb fell from the sky and landed right in front of me. As soon as I touched the orb, I immediately felt called to the Azure River as I gained enormous power. There I met the Aqua Guardians of the Azure River North Branch, and they revealed to me that I must be Charis, the Goddess of the River” she explained, her voice as heavenly as Necro first heard it, this time sounding sincere in it’s angelic quality as she was not ordering or threatening him.

Necro had managed to finish the magic circle, though he was slightly perplexed by her explanation. From Reaver, he inferred that Aldrith was just a large town, not a kingdom. Yet this girl here was claiming to be a princess, and a powerful one at that. Necro decided he would sort things out AFTER he got her away from that orb, as he remembered Grim’s warning on the effects of Elemental Orbs on humans not ready for them.

“So, you’re a princess… that certainly explains the dress and your entire manner… I guess going from princess to Goddess is an upgrade in a way… you must love the river if you are it’s Goddess” Necro commented, running out of ideas quickly.

“I am the river, and it is me. You have defiled me and this river with your foul necromancy, and you must atone for it. I ask you one last time; will you join me, or will you die?” she asked, her eyes changing color to an icy blue as her face hardened, revealing an aggressive side that hid beneath her beauty and former position.

“I choose option three: none of the above” Necro retorted, and pressed the Plasma Gun button on his Complicator. While the ball of plasma flew towards Charis, Necro quickly started chanting in Reaper to get the spell activated.

Charis saw the green fireball and attempted to cool it down with a water spout from the river, but discovered the spout had no effect and had to duck out of the way of the fire ball. By the time she retaliated with several ice shards, Necro had finished the spell and slammed his scythe in the center of the magic circle.

A dark green shockwave emanated form the magic circle as it vanished and spread out to a radius of 3 kilometers. The ice shards were stopped dead in their tracks, and the Roughnecks quickly snapped out of their infatuated state. Surprisingly, Jenkins was not affected by the spell, as Necro later learned that Sentinels were one of the few exceptions to the effect of the Magic Neutralization spell.

“What the… who’s the hottie?” asked Reaver, slowly coming to his senses.

“You have broken my spell upon them! You have chosen death over servitude to me! Prepare to be cleansed by the pure water of the Azure River!” Charis yelled angrily, the river rising up in a giant wave of fury behind her.

“Reaver, Black Flame, now! Grim, I need the Death Orb, she has a Water Orb!” Necro called out, already gathering Death Energy and channeling it into his scythe.

Reaver, eyes huge at the coming tidal wave, quickly sent a stream of fire the size of himself directly at the incoming wave. Necro launched his own Death Energy into the stream, and the result was a Black Flame Surge that evaporated the wave near the Roughnecks and hit Charis full on. At the same time, Grim teleported the Death Orb into Necro’s hands, allowing Necro to charge himself with Death Energy.

Charis seemed weakened by the blast, but she didn’t seem to be scorched at all. In fact, she just seemed angrier then before as she stretched her arms out and started muttering to herself. Slowly, the Water Orb that she was using floated up and came into her arms. “I see you have also been chosen by the Spheres. That would explain why you were able to resist me. However, you have been chosen by a vile element, and it is my duty to purge you from this realm” she stated coolly, her voice going from angelic to icy as she spoke.

Necro then decided to do something extremely bold and stupid that would profoundly alter the course of this story that will lead to endless future shenanigans. Instead of trying to out power Charis with a magic confrontation, Necro decided to tackle her to the ground in the hope of getting the Water Orb away from her. His leaping tackle did connect with Charis, and did succeed in knocking her down. However, this action had two repercussions that would change the lives of the Roughnecks forever.

The first was that Necro’s momentum caused him to land on top of Charis and perform a full blown kiss on the lips with her. This kiss, while short, seemed to cause Necro’s arm to tingle with the same reaction as when Reaver was transformed into a Reaper. Charis started to glow blue and water began to surround her, indicating to Necro that he had inadvertently triggered the Reaper Initiation spell.

The second thing was that Necro’s orb had also been knocked loose and rolled its way to the Water Orb. When the Death Orb touched the Water Orb ever so slightly, the explosion that occurred made a mushroom cloud of blue and black of doom across the entire area.

“Oh no… he did not… HE DID NOT JUST DO WHAT I THINK HE DID!!!” Grim roared back at Calico, slamming a button on his console. “Get them airlifted back here, STAT!”

“Sending the Otana for immediate transportation” EVA stated.

Necro was lying on the river shoal with Charis next to him. Reaver, Jenkins and Mog were standing over them, looking extremely confused and worried at the two on the beach. Necro could see a strange looking spaceship landing down next to him, a Corellian YT-2000 Modified Transport if he remembered his Star Wars light transports correctly. The last thing he remembered before blacking out was feeling a tad itchy everywhere on his body as the darkness set in.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 8/7/2009 15:32:47 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 13
8/7/2009 18:26:31   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 13

“Damn him to the furthest reaches of the bloody netherworld” Grim cursed as he was reading the monitors on Necro’s condition in the medical bay at Calico. “What the hell was he thinking? That little stunt of his just complicated relations in the party… and now we got to find some sort of cure here, cause there’s no way in hell they can travel into any town looking like that…”

“GRIM!!!!” Necro roared from his room in the medical bay.

“Looks like he’s awake and discovered his… “condition”” the Reaper of Ultima sighed, slowly walking into the room. “Just so you know, this entirely your fault. I don’t know what the heck you were thinking tackling that girl down to try to disarm her, but this mess is all your fault,” Grim blamed.

“Oh, so it’s my fault that now I’m half cat now?” he growled angrily.

“Technically, you’re half… tiger half human… if those stripes on you mean anything…” Grim corrected, trying oh so hard not to laugh at the sight before him.

Necro’s skin was covered in fur of a typical male tiger, and his human ears had been replaced by cat ears on his head, while the rest of his face was left untouched except for fur all over the place. His brown hair seemed to have grown just a little bit, but not that much noticeable, though it did seem thicker then before. Necro also had a tiger tail poking out from the rear of his clothes, which was currently the object of his fascination as he was busy batting it around like it’s a piece of string.

“So I’m a freak of nature now… why is it that I find my tail so darn amusing to bat??!” Necro cried, giving into his new found animal instincts.

“Technically no, you’re not a “freak of nature” as you put it. If you were a normal human, you’d be considered a beast warrior. Beast Warriors are a special class within the Druid Amalgamation, reserved for the highest of all warriors. The Druids have a fancy pants ritual that fuses the warrior with an animal to increase the warriors overall abilities. Unfortunately, if memory serves me correctly, Beast Warriors are generally not very welcome in towns… of course, for all I know, that’s changed.”

“You’re mostly right Grim; the outlook on Beast Warriors hasn’t changed too much up here in the north, where the Druids are far away. Down in the south they’re more generally accepted though, so I don’t think that Necro got himself in too big of a mess…” Reaver commented, walking into the same room with the rest.

“That’s not the bloody point! When Necro did that damn tackle, he let the Death and Water Orbs touch each other! Under NO circumstances should Orbs of different Elements be allowed to touch! All sorts of bizarre things happen! Thanks to that reaction, Necro managed to partially awaken his and that girl’s abilities to shape shift! They’re not supposed to be able to do that till level 50! Unlocking it at this early of a stage is going to cause all kinds of problems!” Grim explained, attempting to whack Necro upside the head with the flat of his blade, but Necro’s cat reflexes allowed him to dodge.

“That’s the other thing I was going to complain about, I keep hearing that girl’s voice inside my head… and I’m getting all these bizarre memories that I know aren’t mine…”

“Yes, that would be the OTHER thing you did with that tackle stunt. Apparently, and I have no idea why in the 9 circles of the Netherworld the Founding Reapers did this, there’s a second way of initiating the Reaper Initiation spell. Apparently when you kissed her, you activated the Initiation spell. This secondary method is a tad… odd compared to the main method. It first off does NOT bestow upon the Reaper the basic knowledge to be a Reaper, which is bad because within that knowledge is a subtle mind trick that makes the person want to give up their former way of life and become a Reaper, which is the first problem we have here,” Grim started, rubbing his temples and sighing.

“The second side effect is that the spell forms a Class VII Magic Bond between you and her. Now, to put things in perspective, we usually rank stuff like that on a scale of 1-5, with 6 being exceptionally strong, and 7 being “For the love of GPITS that’s insanely strong”. There’s nothing after VII my dear friend, unless it’s off Tipa, then we use 8 through 10. I’ve actually never even HEARD of a Class VII Magic Bond, but that’s what EVA says it is, and I trust her analysis,” Grim concluded.

“Her? EVA is a girl?”

“Well, technically she has a female AI if you had to get technical… I know EVA is an it, but she’s quite fine with being referred to as female… Anyways, the reason why you’re hearing her voice and seeing odd memories is because a Magic VII bond includes a very open telepathic link between you two. It’s quite easy for you two to access each others thoughts,”

“WHAT? She’s inside my mind right now??!!” Necro asked, diverting his attention from batting his tale staring at Grim. Unfortunately, Necro suddenly sitting up like that caused him to hack up a hair ball that hit Grim in the face and knocked off his skull.

“Do you get some sort of sick, sadistic pleasure in knocking off my skull or something? I already explained this is YOUR entire fault, not mine! Who the hell runs and tackles someone else when you both have orbs of immense power?” he complained, putting his head back on straight.

“That doesn’t answer my question… and did I see a ship from the Star Wars franchise picking us up?” he asked, starting to lick himself subconsciously when he realized he WAS licking himself, thought about it for a moment, and then shrugged and continued to do so.

“She’s not really inside your head, so to speak, it’s more like memories and thoughts are flowing into the other’s heads because you have just started developing your telepathic abilities. Eventually y’all should be able to construct walls between each other, but for now it’s going to be a soup of random memories and thoughts. You’ll have to get used to it. As for the latter, yes, we have a ship from the Star Wars Universe. It magically popped up in the zillions of portals that appear here in Tipa, and we decided to keep it,” Grim explained.

“And the reason we’re not flying around in it is…”

“You get no exp for killing bad guys with the ship, and it’s just no fun if you guys can fly there immediately? That and we can’t let the locals know that there are space ships here, or they’ll think we’ll be invaded by aliens or something. Get over it, you’ll be hoofing it this trip. The Otana is for emergency use only, such as getting y’all back here,”

“What happened after the Otana picked us up?”

“You and Jenna were both…”

“Hold it, Jenna? You mean Charis, right?” Necro asked, confused now.

“Err, Charis is the name of the very first Reaper of Water. When the girl touched the Water Orb, she must have thought she was Charis or something… which is a typical reaction since she WAS chosen as the next Reaper of Water. Those Aqua Guardians must have thought she was Charis incarnate, as Charis originally founded the AG. Her real name is Jennifer De Orléans, though apparently she does go by Jenna on an informal basis. I figured since we’re all going to be friends here, it’s best if we go informal.”

“Uhhh, from what I’ve been picking up on her thoughts, she doesn’t seem happy with any of us… especially me…”

“Yeah… see, when you were brought here, you were both actually in your energy states and extremely unstable. I tried my best to get y’all to normal form… but apparently there must have been some tiger DNA or something onboard the Otana, as when I helped give y’all shape… that happened… A tiger may have actually been in the area when the explosion occurred… still looking into that…”

“Wait, so we’re BOTH half-tiger/half-humans now? I guess that explains the cat sounds she keeps thinking… and why she wants fish so badly…”

“Yeah… ok, look, you both are bound to each other by one of the most powerful bonds in existence… so you’re both linked to each other…” Grim began.

“But that means we’ll magically fall in love with each other over time and get married?” Necro asked hopefully, his ears standing straight up.

“Hold it there cowboy! I’ve seen magical bonds between people before, and they do NOT guarantee a positive relationship. I’ve seen bonds actually cause people to turn on each other, ignore each other… all kinds of stuff. I should also mention that Class VII bonds are outside of your jurisdiction when it comes to slicing bonds, so you’ll have to get used to it. What this means is that you two are going to have to learn to get along, and right now, she essentially wants to claw your eyes out,” Grim grinned.

“Great… you have a plan that involves both of us using the Elemental Orbs to try to get back to our original forms, don’t you?” Necro asked, looking slyly at Grim.

“My pie you ARE good at this! Yes, actually I just gave Jenna the orb right now and…”

Necro didn’t catch the rest of Grim’s sentence, as a sudden shivering shockwave went coursing through his body, starting from his head and moving down to his feet. “I think Jenna tried using the Orb,” Necro stated, not quite sure how he knew.

“Oh bloody hell no, she’s not… damn it,” Grim sighed, and slowly helped Necro out of the bed and the small party walked to the room Jenna was stationed in. To their surprise, the Water Orb was laying on the bed, but no sign of Jenna.

“Where is she? You don’t think she teleported herself out of here…” Reaver asked, not sure of what to think.

“She could have made herself invisible, that’s another possibility…” Grim theorized.

“No, I think she had a transformation accident…” Necro calmly stated, walking over to the bed and scooped something from behind the orb.

Kneeling in Necro’s hand was a very furry fair version of the maiden who had attacked the party at the river. The wings on Jenna’s back looked like typical fairy wings, except that they had the ability to collapse on themselves so that way if Jenna decided to lie down on her back, she wouldn’t have to worry about taunt wings getting in the way. Her wings also seemed a little longer and less rounded then the average fairy’s wings, and seemed much more flexible then what Necro had played in video games. Jenna’s dress had also managed to shrink itself along with her, but the bottom portion had shrunk to mini-skirt length.

Jenna was also half-tiger like Necro, and had a female stripe pattern to prove it. Her hair seemed to be longer, now running to the swell in her back then just to her shoulders as it had before. Her figure seemed to be slightly taller then before, though it was hard to make out with her only being 3 inches tall. Like Necro, her human ears had been replace with cat ears coming out of the top of her head. By the way her wings had collapsed and the ears on her head were flat, Necro could tell that she was sad and perhaps a little bit frightened.

Necro wasn’t quite sure why, but he somehow found Jenna to be even more attractive now then when he had first met her at the river. It could have been the Class VII bound Grim had mentioned, it could have been they were both cats, or it could have been that he found her even more exotic now that she was a tiny fairy in the palm of his head. He liked how warm she felt in his hand, and all how nice and soft her fur was.

“Hmm, it’s odd, I wonder why it hasn’t happened… never mind, there we go” Grim grinned, watching Necro with amusement.

“Huh?” Necro asked his thoughts of Jenna suddenly broken. He felt that odd tingling shockwave again, and quickly looked back at Jenna as she seemed to be growing. Feeling slightly relived she was going back to normal size, he turned his attention to Grim and Reaver, only to discover to his horror that they were getting bigger as well. Silently cursing the fact that he was shrinking, he quickly put Jenna back on the bed before he shrunk down to her size and had her sitting on his hand.

As he was shrinking, he suddenly felt two pangs in his back, and put his hands back there to discover little bumps had grown in his skin. As he continued to shrink, the bumps grew until a tiny set of wings emerged from the bumps. Upon reaching Jenna’s size of three inches, the wings had grown fully to be roughly the same as Jenna’s, and there were now holes in his clothes where the wings had came out.

“Yeah, remember that magic bond I mentioned? This is it’s doing as well. Essentially, when Jenna transformed herself into a fairy, the magic worked its way through the bond and transformed you to. Essentially, what happens to one of you happens to the both of you,” Grim explained, his voice much louder to the pair of them then normal due to their size.

“You could have warned me this was coming!” Necro yelled, his voice much higher then normal to Grim and Reaver due to his diminutive size.

“I didn’t know if it WOULD happen, to be honest. I knew it was possible, but we’re dealing with new territory here. I mean, there is literally NOTHING of this ever occurring in the Reaper Records at all. Congratulations on forging new paths for us!” Grim chuckled, finding the situation most humorous.

As Necro was getting steamed about Grim’s comments, he barely had enough warning to dodge an ice blast from an extremely peeved Jenna. “You did this to me! This is your entire fault! I could be back at Aldrith with my family and friends and everyone in the village! Now, thanks to you, I’m stuck as a half-cat freak that’s only 3 inches tall!”

Necro dodged more ice blasts coming from Jenna’s fists, afraid that getting hit at this size would turn him into an ice cube. “Hold it, my fault? I may take responsibility for the cat thing, but you’re the reason we’re this small! And this entire situation is YOUR fault! If you hadn’t had your goons attack us, none of this would have happened!”

“You dare to blame a princess for something your rag-tag party did? Prepare to become a popsicle!” she hissed.

Necro was near the edge of the bed as he was using his new cat reflexes to save his life. Deciding that he would have to learn how to do it sooner or later, he jumped off the bed and prayed to the GPITS, or GPOD, whichever one he was supposed to pray to, would let him be able to fly.

It seemed the Giant Pie deities took pity on poor Necro’s plight, and by whatever factors of intervention, via luck, destiny or a good roll on the random number generator, Necro was quickly flapping his fairy wings and fleeing for his life. Unfortunately, the same force that allowed Necro to learn to fly quickly allowed Jenna to do so as well, and so the fight took on 3 dimensions.

The rest of the Roughnecks had all gotten lounge chairs and buckets of popcorn to watch the mini-fight going on, and had even started putting on bets how long Necro would survive. “Shouldn’t we be stopping them from killing each other?” asked Reaver, slightly concerned for his friend.

“Nahhh, Jenna needs to get that rage out of her system. She’s a princess and isn’t used to doing too much stuff by herself. True, she’s not a helpless damsel and if she was stranded in the wilderness she could take care of herself, but not without a lot of complaining about it. As a Reaper, she’s going to get her hands dirty, and she’s not pleased that she has to give up the life of luxury for an even greater responsibility. She’ll come to terms with it in time, but until then, Necro is going to be the target of all her frustration. He needs to learn how to deal with her, and she needs to learn how to vent her rage in a more constructive manner,” Grim explained.

“I wonder how she would react if we started calling her “your highness”” Jenkins wondered, enjoying a popcorn with Mog.

“No, there will be no royalty nicknames about her from here on out. The moment she became a Reaper she lost all previous titles, so she’s no longer royalty. Personally I think monarchies are a stupid system of government as leadership is not genetic, but if it’s what popular, who am I to stop it. Still, in order for her to perform her duties as Reaper of Water, y’all have to make her feel like she’s welcome and one of y’all. I know she’s going to say that it’s beneath her and crap like that, but she’s probably just scared of all this and is going to feel lonely. We don’t have time to put her through a training session like I did with Necro… hell, that lad already put us way behind schedule,” Grim sighed, stealing some popcorn from Reaver only to have his hand sliced off by Reaver’s scythe.

“What exactly IS this plan of yours anyways? Hey, Necro figured out how to shoot Death beams back at Jenna! Go Necro Go!” Reaver cheered, using the food dispenser nearby to get more popcorn.

“Yes, in fairy form the majority of their magics are… hampered, so to speak. Necro can’t perform any necromancy, and Jenna won’t be able to manipulate water or ice much larger then her,” Grim explained.

“Then what exactly is the benefit of being fairy? They’re small, physically weak, and now you’re telling me they’re magically weak. Only I see is a plus is the ability to fly, but being that small it’s not much of a perk…”

“Never underestimate fairies, lad. Being small has some advantages, particularly when it comes to stealth. The Wind and Death elements share a common theme of stealth, deception and the like. Necro won’t usually go for full frontal attacks unless he has an army, so he prefers getting the drop on his opponents. Being a fairy allows one to maneuver quickly and quietly to sneak up behind your enemies. That weak magic effect also dulls one’s “magic signature”, the magical version of a thumbprint for anyone who casts magic.”

“Grim, I know this seems random, but what element does telepathy fall under? Or is it even magic?”

“Telepathy is indeed magic, along with all the mental mojo with it. It’s technically part of the Ultima element, with the Life and Death Elements being home to emotions and stuff. Things like memories and thoughts are more Ultima based though. It’s quite complicated, and there are situations when you can use telepathy when magic fails, but it varies… ooh, that’s got to hurt both of them with that last blow!” Grim commentated, still watching the fairy fight.

“Can fairies do other things?”

“Sure! Telepathy magic is increased compared to the normal mage, and they have great healing magic. Of course, Necro may not have access to that since he’s the Reaper of Death, but that depends… uh-oh, Jenna is going back to the Water Orb! It looks like she’s going to try to use the orb… She’s using it… uh oh! She’s going to try another transformation?” Grim continued, looking puzzled at Jenna’s attempt.

The water orb glowed blue, and let out a pulse of the same color so it flooded the room. After the light faded, the spectators looked eagerly around to see what happened to the two combatants. It turned out that they were having a cat fight, literally, on the bed. Necro had turned into a pure black tabby with brown eyes, while Jenna was a blue tabby with blue eyes, currently ice colored to reflect her anger. Both were attempting to scratch the other into submission as the pounced around the room. Miraculously, the Water Orb rolled off the bed and hit the floor without causing some sort of adverse reaction.

“Great going Jenna, you just made things worse!” Necro growled, dodging a pounce.

“How dare you! You will address me as Princess Orléans, or Miss Orléans. In time I may even allow you to call me by my first name, but NONE of you are allowed to call me Jenna. You peasants have no idea what you’ve done! When my dad finds out, he’ll…”

“Your dad won’t be doing anything about it, young one. As much as I enjoy seeing two Reapers duke it out between each other, it’s hardly a fun fight when they’re both level 10,” Grim sighed using his magic to levitate the two cats away from each other.

“Face it Jenna, you’re a Reaper and you’re stuck as one till you die. Don’t think that’s the way either, as we have special measures in place in case someone tries to commit suicide of the entire party gets killed. Your soul won’t actually go to the Afterlife, or Netherworld, whichever you’re sent to. If your body is still in tact, your soul will be put back into it after a complex ceremony. Yes, that DOES mean that you guys are Reapers, aren’t going to be “completely” dying before reaching full Reaperdom. This does NOT mean that you get to go in Rambo style and get yourselves killed on purpose however. The ritual is VERY long, VERY complicated, and is VERY painful, so don’t get any ideas,” Grim growled, setting the two down on opposite ends of the room.

“I’m going to put you two down in opposite corners of the room, and hand each of you your respective Orb. You are both to concentrate on your human forms and attempt to transform into them. You must do it together or at least with SOME sort of cooperation going on. Remember that whatever happens to one of you, the same happens to the other. Now, both of you take a deep breath, put your paws on the Orbs, and concentrate,” Grim said slowly.

Carefully, they both did as Grim suggested and concentrated on their human forms. After another big flash of black and blue light like before, Necro and Jenna were indeed humanoid.

“Don’t tell me you’re the reason we’re still half-cat!” Jenna accused Necro, pointing at him and growling.

“That would actually be the accident’s fault, Jenna. Apparently your DNA or whatever thinks that the half-tiger form is your normal form, so it transformed y’all back into it. No, we’re not trying any more transformation experiments. The more forms your able to transform into, the more unstable y’all will become. It’s already late, let’s grab some shut eye and try to work things out in the morning, alright?” Grim suggested, trying to defuse the situation.

Necro marched hastily back to his room, eager to get away from Jenna and her ice shards of doom, while Jenna walked with the elegant grace only a cat princess could with her head held high as she walked in the other direction, following the arrows to her room. Grim had already made reservations for Jenna to stay in the room on the opposite corridor away from Necro, while Reaver would have the room next to Necro.

The next morning, Grim, Reaver, Mog and Jenkins were all enjoying a nice continental buffet when Necro and Jenna both walked into the chamber at the same time. Wearing the same clothes as yesterday (EVA had washed them while they were sleeping), they looked like they hadn’t gotten any sleep at all. In fact, it looked like they had both come out of an exhausting battle. This was further emphasized by the ice shards Jenna started at Necro with, and the blood tipped dagger Necro shot back at her.

“Let me guess, you two were dreaming about each other because of the bond, and y’all initiated an astral war inside the dream and wound up not getting any sleep, right?”

“Right” they both said sleepily, stretching their feline bodies and sitting down on opposite ends of the table, still leering at each other.

“Grim, if they can’t even sleep because of this bond, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to continue on with your ambiguous mission” Reaver muttered to Grim.

“Don’t fear, I was afraid something like this would happen, so I had EVA search for a side-quest for the party to do. See, mental barriers don’t become an ability till level 20, so I figured the next best thing is to get them to go on a little mission together. They’re going to do most of the work, with the rest of the Roughnecks supervising and making sure that things don’t get out of hand,” Grim explained, a twinkle in his red orbs.

“Good, cause I don’t think I can take this for too much… INCOMING!” yelled Reaver, ducking under the table as a bowl of oatmeal came flying towards him.

And so concluded the morning breakfast with Necro and Jenna having an extremely violent food fight that forced the rest of the Roughnecks to flee to the safety of the medical bay. Since the food dispensers were still on, it looked like the fight would last for a long time.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 8/10/2009 21:51:20 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 14
8/11/2009 22:47:37   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 14

“You know, when I first saw her, she was extremely attractive with her perfect body, and I wanted to marry her. When I first heard about Necro and his bond with her, I was extremely jealous. Now, I’m scared to death of her AND I pity Necro,” Reaver sighed, observing the fight through a console inside the medical room Necro was in.

“Glad you came to your senses and didn’t let your hormones take over. Lust is a very powerful emotion and can make you do even stupider stuff then love can. I did a little more research, and apparently this bond was originally created with the idea of Life magic behind it, but somehow it shifted over into the Ultima realm. This explains why both negative AND positive things are flowing through said bond, and why it’s so powerful… EVA! Have you shut down the blasted food dispensers in there?” Grim asked impatiently.

“A glass of pumpkin juice hit my main interface console in there, as well as various other beverages at other places of importance. It’s going to take me a little while,” EVA explained.

“What the… where did they get wings from? Necro has black ones, and Jenna has blue… they look like the type angels have…” Reaver noticed.

“I’m probably going to blame Necro on that one. Jenna has the highest wisdom stat out of all the Reapers, but the situation and her emotions are acting as a giant negative to her wisdom, so she can’t think straight. Necro on the other hand, who has the second highest, doesn’t have near as much hatred for her as she does for him, so his wisdom stat isn’t as hampered. Thus, when they were transforming back into their humanoid forms, Necro must have thought that flying around was pretty cool, and thought about adding angel wings instead of those frilly fairy wings. Looks like he also made the wings so they can magically appear and disappear and go through clothing without ripping them. That boy is breaking all kinds of records. I am so annoyed and proud of him at the same time!” Grim sniffed, blowing his nose hole.

“Now I’m jealous of him again! He gets the benefits of being half-tiger AND can fly? I want to be able to do that!” Reaver complained.

“Don’t be so eager to join the herd, because first off you can’t. Like I said, this was caused by an accident that I am NOT letting happen again. The orbs are staying here with me, especially their orbs. Elemental Orbs only have so much juice at one time. The more they’re used, the faster they’re drained. They need time to re-absorb energy from the Elemental Spheres,” Grim explained, watching the fight as it soared to new heights.

“Now, as for what they’re actually going through in their half-animal states, that’s a different problem. True, as half-cats, their dexterity, strength and agility stats are increased. There’s also some other minor increases in intelligence, wisdom, luck and endurance, but that’s not quite as potent as the previous mentioned stats. And yes, they now have the ability to fly, which adds a whole new level to combat,” Grim began, but was cut off by Reaver.

“You’re not helping things for me…” Reaver whined.

“They also get the disadvantages of being felines, though those weaknesses may vary depending on the Reaper. For example, most cats don’t like water… or at least getting wet. Now, Tigers are exempt from this rule, as they actually like water, so neither of them have that problem. If they DID have that problem, you would probably find Necro being terrified by water, while Jenna would be fine with it because of her status as a Reaper,” Grim explained.

“So, are they more house cat or tiger in these disadvantages?” asked Reaver, quite curious.

“I’d say… maybe half and half? Necro commented that Jenna was craving fish and milk, the fish a natural part of all felines, but milk is more of a house cat thing once they move beyond the kitten stage… uh-oh…”

Jenna managed to soak Necro with a water jet as Grim concluded his dialogue. Necro seemed to be very uncomfortable with being wet, and began shaking himself off while vainly attempting to lick himself dry, starting with his arms.

“Ok, so Necro DOES have the water weakness… that means Jenna has the advantage in any magic fight…” Reaver sighed, sad to see his friend failing like that.

“Yes it does look like… OH HE DID NOT JUST DO THAT!!” Grim yelled, slamming his hands on the keyboard.

While Necro was still licking himself, he was also slowly muttering in Reaper as he did so and making unusual gestures. He suddenly stopped licking himself, unslung his scythe, and slammed it onto the ground. A very wicked looking magic circle emanated from the scythe’s butt and stretched it’s way around Necro. When the circle was complete, it started glowing black and let out a flash that blinded everyone momentarily.

“That’s a damn level 35 summoning spell! Hell, he wasn’t even supposed to KNOW about Hell’s Hounds!” Grim cursed, both impressed and extremely annoyed once again, a feeling that Grim was starting to name “imnoyed”.

When the black light faded, a three headed dog had appeared next to Necro. Roughly, it was the size of a small bear, standing at Necro’s armpit level when the heads were parallel with the rest of the body.

“You know how Jenna is immune to the water weakness? Well, the Reaper of Death doesn’t usually fight his own fights, so he uses minions to fight for him. One method is necromancy, but another is by summoning. The Reaper of Death has various creatures he can summon in order to attack others, but the most infamous are the Hell Hounds, the personal pets of the Reaper of Death. The only creatures closer to him are his familiar. That one is Cerberus, and it looks mighty hungry for a cat burger,” Grim grinned.

“Wait, so since Necro has his own set of dogs, he’s not scared of them? Do all Reapers have their own summon pool?” asked an astonished Reaver.

“Yes, we all do, but it depends on the Reaper on how often they are used. You wouldn’t normally summon a companion to help you fight as you prefer to powerhouse your way. Jenna would have a higher chance of summoning a companion, but would also probably not opt to if she could. Just because you are of opposing elements does not mean your fighting styles are completely different. The Reaper of Life also uses animals a lot, and actually would summon more creatures then Necro could. However, summoning is a technique that’s SUPPOSED to be learned later, but somehow he unlocked it… lucky punk,” said an imnoyed Grim.

Necro was now moving on to his legs to lick himself dry, but Jenna was too busy running away from Cerberus, who could jump really high for a three headed dog; nearly grabbing her feet with one of the three heads several times.

“I must say Grim; this is the most exciting thing I’ve watched in a long time!” Jenkins complimented, sharing more popcorn with Mog.

“I agree it is amusing to watch, but we must be on our way. The side quest should help put things at ease, and we won’t be able to pursue the main quest unless the party can learn to work together. EVA! Bring me the Ultima Orb stored here!”

“Sir, you’re not at your full capacity! With only half the Reapers, you can’t handle wielding all 6 elements! You could seriously incapacitate yourself by using the orb…” EVA cautioned, but Grim waved her caution away.

“How else am I supposed to get those two under control then by stopping time?” he asked, as EVA teleported the dark green sphere into his hands. He then left the medical room and returned to the main chamber, where utter chaos was continuing to reign, until Grim used the Ultima Orb to let out a pulse of dark green light that stopped time.

While Grim was very tempted to pull some practical jokes and make the infighting even worse, he did realize that things needed to calm down. So, he banished Cerberus and dried off Necro, and put the two fighting Reapers at opposite ends of the table, using magical restraints on both of them to prevent any more magic squabbling. After unfreezing time, he led the rest of the party into the main room, and finally conducted the mission briefing.

“As you are aware, Jenkins is normally just a skeleton unless he’s in Shadow Gladiator mode. His Complicator allows him to cloak himself as a normal human. Unfortunately, the only way I was able to get his Complicator to do that was with some very unique parts that aren’t available here at Calico. Since you two are currently walking pariahs to most society, we’re going to need to upgrade your Complicators with holo-cloak technology. We also need a Fire Orb for Reaver here for emergency situations. Finally, we needed all this in a location for level 10 Reapers to train without getting themselves killed. Conveniently there is such a place, a cave on one of the many islands located in-between the giant ocean between Tida and Nida,” Grim explained, using a hologram of Tipa to show where the island cave was.

“Before I go into details, I need to explain something known as synchronization. As Reapers, it is very important to be able to work together as a team in combat, especially with your opposing element. As such, I have added a new function to all of your Complicators that lets you read the synch level between each of you. For example, Necro and Reaver have a synch level of 75%. This is extremely good considering the short time that they have known each other, and indicates a strong friendship between the two. Necro and Jenna, on the other hand, have a -75%, which indicates a very strong dislike of each other,” Grim continued, ignoring the scathing looks Jenna and Necro were giving each other.

“Normally, synch levels usually only effect each other when in combat situations. While it is also an indicator of how well you get along with each other, it doesn’t mean that everyone has to become best friends with each other… initially. In the long run, the Reapers are a family… sometimes a dysfunctional one, but we’re still one big family, and ultimately we strive for 100% synch rate with each other. Remember that synch rate does not always mean you’re best friends with someone, but it does help if you are. It’s complicated and there’s various underlying factors, such as Necro and Reaver being in the Serpentine Trinity and such, but the point is that your synch rate determines have effective combo moves are.”

“However, the bond between Jenna and Necro means that synch rate is extremely important. It’s so important, that you two have the ability to go all the way to 300% in synch with each other. Just to put that in perspective, if all the Reapers were fully fledged and knew all abilities and such, at 300% Synch, you two could kick all of our butts, including mine if we all ganged up on you. Yes, it’s THAT powerful; do NOT underestimate the power of synchronization. It’s always better to try things as a team then by yourselves,” Grim added, seeing the look in Necro’s and Jenna’s eyes, grinning.

“However, since your synch rate is that far in the negatives, you two are severely hampered in essentially all your stats. There are several reasons for this low synch rate: One is that you two just don’t get along with each other, but another one is because your brains are overflowing with each others thoughts and are reacting negatively to this new sensation. You both feel overly exposed and can’t trust the other, so rationally, the only thing that can solve the solution is constant fighting,” Grim expanded.

“Now, mental shielding is not learned till level 30… fortunately, in this cave, known as the Scrapyard, has a special plant in it known as the Abiliticus. This special plant allows whoever eats it, in a special way that only I know, to learn one ability of your choosing. With this plant, we can teach all three of you mental shielding, allowing y’all to have some sanity. These three things are your objectives, however…” Grim paused, grabbing a handful of the leftover popcorn from a kupoing Mog.

“However, you’re not going to complete this mission like a normal one. Necro and Jenna will be doing the majority of the fighting, while the rest of the party will be there to make sure you two don’t kill each other, and in case something nasty lives in that cave that we haven’t picked up with long range sensors,” Grim concluded, grinning evilly.

“WHAT??!” Jenna and Necro both yelled, flabbergasted with the situation. “WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER BY OURSELVES??!”

“There’s only so many ways to get two people to get along with each other. I can’t well just lock you two in a closet or something as you’d kill each other or something else… I don’t have enough time to let y’all work out your issues the “normal” method, so that leaves the classic “life/death” scenarios to bring that bond to a positive. Fighting together will let y’all build up a sense of trust, as the rest of the Roughnecks are ONLY going to back you two up if you’re about to die or something… or a high level boss comes out of the blue. Trust me, this is going to be great… ok, it’ll be hell for the both of you, but this is going to be high quality entertainment for the rest of us, and you will thank me one day in the distant future,” Grim grinned broadly.

For the first time that they had met each other, Necro and Jenna seemed to have agreed on something, as both of them hacked up hairballs directly at Grim after he finished his speech, knocking his skull off and sending it flying around the room.

“I already have ONE Reaper who gets a sadistic pleasure for doing this to me, I DON’T need a second one!” Grim complained as his body attempted to catch his head.

“Bah, you asked for it,” Necro growled, half grinning at Grim’s plight.

“I agree, you did ask for it,” Jenna purred, taking great pleasure in seeing Grim’s bouncing skull, as it was a new sight to her.

“Glad to see that you two can actually get along for a few seconds,” Grim sighed, setting his skull back on. “Since time is of the essence, you’re taking the Otana. The autopilot has been set, so y’all just need to sit back and relax. Have fun!”

After an hour of flying in the Otana, the party found itself outside the entrance to the Scrapyard, which quickly showed why it got that name. Outside the cave were piles of old husks of various ships, cars, boats and other machines that seemed to have crashed on to Tipa via portals.

“Consider this the dumping grounds for the majority of crud that pops up here in Tipa. Been used since the Founding Reapers, and the environment sort of built around the junk we put here. Unfortunately, it seems that some of the junk we dumped here wasn’t completely… deactivated. Expect the majority of monsters to be automations of some sort or another, as they probably fried what was living on this island,” Grim’s astral projection explained.

“This is like a dream come true! While Necro and Jenna fight off all the monsters, I can dig through all the scrap here and create awesome inventions!” Reaver yelled as he jumped up and down with glee.

“I’m hungry” Jenna whined, and quickly used her water magic to get a bubble with a trout in it up from the ocean and into her hands, and took a bite out of it without a second thought.

“Jenna, you just ate that fish alive!” Reaver noticed in shock.

Jenna stared at the now dead fish, looked at it with disgust, then with interest, then with appetite, and continued nomming it.

“I want a fish too!” Necro complained, eying the delicious fish that Jenna was chewing.

“Get your own fish,” she growled. In response, Necro quickly reached into his pouch and pulled out a small tablet, and carefully threw it at Jenna’s open mouth, which landed right on her tongue.

Jenna quickly swallowed the pill, dropped the fish, and began thrashing about and scrambling for water, trying to get the horrid taste out of her mouth. “What the hell IS this stuff?”

“Reapidine, my dear Jenna. An entire day’s worth of food both in nutrients and stomach fulfillment. You shouldn’t be hungry for that fish any more, sooooooo…” Necro explained, grabbing the fish and proceeded in finishing it off.

“I absolutely loathe you…” she growled, on her hands and knees drinking water from a nearby stream.

“How can such a pretty thing have so much hate?” Necro teased, not quite sure where he was getting his witty comebacks from, as he never was good at them back on Earth.

“Alright, knock it off you two. Sheesh, we only just got here and you’re already trying to kill each other again, let’s go inside the cave,” Reaver ordered, his scythe out to act at a moment’s notice.

And so the Roughnecks entered the Scrapyard, only to discover that the inside of the cave wasn’t really a cave whatsoever. Rather, it looked like a giant junkyard that was magically inside a space that was much larger on the inside then the outside. All around were huge piles of old scrap: some still attached to the machines that were still recognizable, other just small strips of metal. All in all, the room was a veritable wasteland with only one little clear trail winding it’s way through the heaps into the very rear of the room.

“The Fire Orb is in the back of the room” Reaver nodded, sensing its presence. “Alright you two lovebirds… actually, a more appropriate analogy would be using cats… cuddling cats? Cute cats? Caring Cats? C…”

Reaver was unable to continue his alliterations as an annoyed Jenna froze him solid with a concentrated ice beam. “I hate each and every one of you… except for the fuzz ball…”

Mog kupoed at this statement and jumped onto Jenna’s head, and proceeded to snuggle her. “That’s Mog for you; he seems to have this ability to get everyone to love him no matter how mad the person is,” Necro commented, attempting to break the ice.

“Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to do much about getting rid of hatred for others…” Jenna responded, freezing up the ice very quickly.

Reaver had managed to thaw himself out with Jenkins’ help, and the two of them were rummaging through the various piles of junk while keeping up with Necro and Jenna. Fortunately for them, their constant bickering kept the march of the party to a snail’s pace.

An hour of rummaging and bickering, the Roughnecks were barely a sixth of their way into the bowels of the cave. “How long can two people keep fighting?” Reaver asked, imnoyed about the pair.

“It’s like Grim said; they’re fighting to prevent their minds from overflowing with each other’s thoughts, feelings, etc. From what I read, a Class VII bond can even allow the souls of the two people to merge… an extremely scary thought for two people who barely know each other. And all the information that they are getting about each other right now, they can barely retain it all. Once they learn to block out each other’s thoughts, they’ll be back to how they initially met, concerning knowledge about each other… well, possibly a tad more, but not much,” Jenkins added, still in his gentlemen form.

Suddenly, a laser blast aimed in between Necro and Jenna brought an end to the bickering as both of them brought out their scythes. Jenna had decided to make her scythe long and jagged, ironically looking like Necro’s blade. Her scythe was comprised of a magical translucent ice that wouldn’t’ melt in intense heat.

“Grim why does that look like a standard battle droid from the Star Wars universe?” asked Necro, eyeing the advancing droid with blaster.

“Err, for some reason, Tipa is located… “approximately” near the Star Wars universe, so…”

“Are you telling me that Star Wars is real?” asked a wide eyed Necro, dodging a few more laser blasts while Jenna sliced the droid in half with her scythe.

“Err, kinda… it’s complicated… look, more rouge droids!” Grim called out, and with that a small squad of droids came around the bend in the path and started blasting at the two Reapers. The rest of the Roughnecks were safely a few yards away, playing with all the junk.

“Damn it, there’s no bones around here! The stupid droids must have liquefied all of them… can’t perform necromancy… and there’s some sort of magic seal throughout this cave that prevents summons…” Necro muttered, not liking having minions to fall back on.

“What’s the matter, can’t handle the heat? I’ll cool things down and leave you a droid or two,” Jenna purred evilly.

“You’re at a disadvantage as well, your highness. The largest sources of water are outside the cave, making it too far for you to rely on them. You’ll have to conjure up your own water, or use the moisture in the air, severely limiting the effectiveness of your water magic. You won’t be causing any tidal waves in here,” Necro retorted, sending out a Death Slash that tore through three droids.

“I got all I need with my ice needles spell” Jenna replied, sending some shards at the remaining droids and trying to rush ahead of Necro. Unfortunately, Necro was in the middle of swinging through the other droids when Jenna got near him, and he accidentally tripped her with his tail, causing her to smash into the ground.

“Pervert! You did that on purpose!” she yelled, quickly reaching down and covering her mini-skirt.

“I did not, it was an accident! And stuff like that is going to happen if you run around combat in a mini-skirt! Why aren’t you wearing that dress you had on back at the river?” Necro retorted, his fur seeming to get redder around his cheeks as he started walking forwards.

“It’s not my fault! When I turned into a fairy, my dress shrank into a min-skirt, and it didn’t change back when we became humanoid,” she growled, getting up off the ground, dusting herself off, then walking past Necro with a haughty air about her.

“Why aren’t you wearing your Reaper’s cloak?” he asked, trying to make amends.

“Wear the garbs of a lowly commoner? I’d rather be wearing this, at least it’s made of pure silk,” Jenna responded, still giving Necro a cold shoulder.

"It DOES look good on her… get a grip Necro, we’re still fighting with each other and we’ve got an army of rouge droids. No matter how curvy her body is, don’t get distracted," Necro thought to himself, hoping that she wouldn’t pick up on that line of thought.

Fortunately for Necro, another group of droids came through, this time platoon strength. There were also some floating droids above them, the kind of which Necro had never seen exactly. They were little spheres, but had a giant X on one side of them. From this X came lasers larger then those from the droids, which halted Necro and Jenna’s advance.

“Damn, floaters… we can’t fly in here because the ceiling is too low and the pathways are too cramped…” Necro muttered.

“I thought you would be more about wholesome slaughter of things then calculating strategies,” Jenna teased vengefully, launching some ice shards at the floaters, as they were now dubbed. The spheres deflected the attack with a force field.

“You want wholesome slaughter through brute force, that’s Reaver’s department. While the Death element is about destruction, it prefers to do so in more… subtle methods. That includes planning out strategies to best opponents. Obviously, your little parlor tricks aren’t going to work on those droids,” Necro stated calmly, dodging more lasers alongside Jenna.

“Parlor tricks? I happen to be one of the best mages in Aldrith! I’ve trounced mages twice my level! These bots are nothing to me!” Jenna growled, summoning a huge ice spire and flinging it at one of the floaters. The floater dodged the ice shard and responded by hitting Jenna in the arm with a laser.

Jenna reached over for her right arm where she had been hit as she cried out in pain. Necro did the same thing, feeling a burning sensation in his right arm, but he hadn’t been hit by any lasers. “Grim, what the hell just happened?” growled Necro, trying to overcome the pain as best he could.

“Remember how I said a Class VII shares everything? That includes pain,” Grim nodded solemnly. This information was received with a punch from Necro, who somehow managed to knock Grim’s head to the ground.

“What… how did you knock my head off my body? I’m a bloody astral projection here!” he complained, slowly floating back up to where he had been.

“Let’s just say that the astral fight I had with Jenna gave me a few insights into the plane,” Necro grinned, the pain fading away.

“That’s level 25 magic, dang it!” said an imnoyed Grim. “If you keep breaking the principles, I might as well just throw away the book soon!”

“Aren’t you supposed to be calm and calculating as well, Jenna? That’s what Grim said the Reaper of Water was…”

“I TOLD you not to call me by that name! Obviously you haven’t seen the full fury of a hurricane if you think that water is supposed to be calm,” she spat at the ground next to him, trying to hurl more giant ice spires at the floaters, who kept dodging them.

“It looks like all you’re doing is working yourself up into a rage. That works fine for someone like Reaver, but you should know how to keep a cool head, especially since you used to be a princess. Right now you’re acting like a batty old hag…” Necro taunted, knowing that an age and beauty remark would completely trigger the rage.

“YOU ARE DEAD!!!” She yelled, and conjured up the largest ice spire yet, this one twice as big as her, and hurled it a Necro. Necro anticipated the move, and used a small blast of Death Energy to redirect the missile, and then used a Death Slash to push the spire forward, aiming it directly at the floaters, who couldn’t float away in time. The sheer mass and velocity of the spire slammed the floaters against the wall, crushing them upon impact.

“See, we can work together!” Necro grinned, quickly dodging a scythe slap from a still furious Jenna.

“Don’t you EVER call me OLD! I’m only 21!” She hissed, continuing in her assault.

Necro carefully jumped back after each scythe swing, baiting her closer to the droids, who were still firing at them but miraculously missing. When she got within range, he did a huge back flip behind the platoon, with Jenna scything her way through them.

Necro repeated this maneuver as a Jenna kept trying to destroy Necro. Soon, the entire platoon was eliminated.

“We actually work pretty well, though this hopping around IS a little unusual for me. I’ve never had athletic skills this good ever…” he purred, dusting himself off a bit.

“You’re using me… I hate being used,” Jenna seethed, her rage building up, not slowing down.

“Uhhh, guys… little help please?”

Mog quickly responded by casting a mini rain-cloud to pour down on Jenna. While at first it annoyed her even more, it seemed to slowly calm her as it wore on. After breathing deeply, she seemed to be at peace.

Unfortunately, an entire company of droids appeared. 4 platoons with 3 squads of 12 droids each, and 2 floaters per squad meant a whole lot of trouble for the pair of Reapers.

Necro sighed, coming up with a contingency plan that would work at great personal cost to him. He slowly walked over to Jenna, and gently poked her left breast. “Wow, not only are those real, they’re soft too!” He yelled, and quickly dashed off towards the company of droids.

Jenna was momentarily stunned, but quickly recovered herself and raised her scythe high as she came charging at Necro. “You pervert! I’m going to kill you, have Grim revive you, then kill you 5 more times!” she roared, scything through the incoming droids.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Roughnecks were momentarily stunned by Necro’s bold move. “Grim, when you said they share EVERYTHING, do you mean that?” asked a nervous Reaver.

“Why yes I do, though not immediately obviously. Right now things are in chaos, so random stuff gets shared at random times. Once they get the mental shields up, that will help block the vast majority of the stuff shared through the Class VII Bond, but not everything… why?”

“Well, I was a tad worried… you see, female cats go through “the heat” and all, and Jenna is a female and is part cat, so…”

“A valid concern my friend, but I can assure you there is nothing to worry about in that regard. Animals exist mainly to eat, sleep and mate, while sentient creatures fortunately have much higher thinking capacities. Because of the higher faculties in sentients, they are able to keep their more base nature in check… most of the time anyways. There are always those who indulge in the oldest profession, engage in sloth or gluttony, but that’s another matter. When a sentient is fused with an animal, the sentient is normally able to keep those extra emotions in check. You’ll notice that Necro and Jenna have not been sleeping for 18 hours a day like a cat would, and their appetites have only moderately increased. I can guarantee you that the desire to mate has not been effected by either of them, and that Jenna won’t be going into “the heat” at all."

“Gentlemen, while this is all quite fascinating, may I remind you, Grim, that this entire adventure is supposed to be PG-13 rated for our audience?” Jenkins reminded.

“Bah, you should see some of the movies those in the “Real World” watch that’s rated PG-13. There’s far more explicit and obscene stuff in them then we’ve even dabbled in. But yes, you are right, we are getting off topic here, and our audience probably wants to know how Necro and Jenna are fairing, so let’s move on,”

“Grim, what the hell are you talking about?” Reaver asked, completely confused.

“Oh, you’ll find out eventually” Grim shrugged, waving Reaver aside and focusing on Jenna and Necro.

The two of them were bent forward, panting heavily, thoroughly exhausted. Every single droid had been slashed in half at some odd angle, and the floaters were on the ground, shooting out random sparks as they were badly smashed. “Necro… when I catch my breath… you are so dead…” Jenna panted.

“Right… like that’ll ever happen… I am impressed that we slashed them all…” Necro replied, wearily.

“We? I did all the work… you just did a bunch of jumping and acrobatics…”

“Which was work in itself… I’ve only seen those stunts in action movie… then I had to calculate how to do them so you’d slice through everything… and then I had to use my wings in this cramped space so you’d throw those ice spires… by the way, those are some nice spires…”

“Don’t think… a compliment like that… is going to get you off the hook…”

Mog did a quirky wobbly dance around the two Reapers while chanting “Kupo” over and over. After a few circles around the two, Mog stopped and turned towards the two, in-between the two of them as they started to glow white. After a few seconds, the aura died around them, and they felt rejuvenated.

“Wow Mog, that was an awesome spell... but I don’t remember any Final Fantasy spells that restored someone’s stamina…”

“That’s because video games aren’t exactly full windows into other realms, and certain aspects are obviously hidden from those who play them. That was refresh, if you’re interested in it’s name,” Grim explained.

“Wait… video games are real?”

“Didn’t you figure that out with the Star Wars stuff? Yes, to a certain extent, all that stuff you saw back on earth is actually real. I will explain it later, as we should be near the boss soon. I don’t think we had a battalion of droids on our hands…”

Just to prove Grim wrong, the forces that controlled Tipa, whoever those were, had an entire battalion of droids around the next bend. “4 companies of droids… well…”

“Don’t you DARE get near me Necro!” Jenna threatened; her scythe at the ready.

“Meh, for that large I’d need to do something that I’m way outside my comfort zone doing to upset you… not that the last incident wasn’t outside it…”

“Ahem,” Grim coughed, trying to keep the conversation form going astray.

“We’re going to need some good motivation…”

“The Reaper who kills the most droids gets to have the Abiliticus first, AND the looser will have to be the servant of the other for… a week?” Grim suggested.

“As long as the orders the other gives isn’t something extreme or anything…” Necro stated.

“Agreed, no perversion or impossible tasks or stuff like that” Jenna nodded.


And so both Reapers charged forward like two reaping machines, mowing down columns of droids. Time seemed to slow down for the two Reapers as they dodged lasers and tore through the droids like there was no tomorrow.

Five minutes later, the entire battalion was destroyed, and Necro and Jenna were on their backs, chests heaving quite vividly up and down as they were on the verge of blacking out from the extreme exertion.

“Who… won?” they asked in unison.

“It was a tie, so no one is a servant and you both get to have it at the same time,” Grim nodded. “And while you were fighting like that, it seemed your competitiveness actually managed to jump your synch rate up to 50% temporarily… it’s back down to 75% now, obviously, but it shows that you two CAN get along… by trying to outdo each other… meh, I’ve seen worse friendly rivalries. Competition is a healthy thing after all, always advances humans at least,” Grim shrugged.

“Grim… we’re… going… to… kill… you…” they huffed in unison.

“See, you’re getting along quite nicely!” he grinned as Mog cast refresh on the two again.

Feeling better, the entire party advanced to a wide open space surrounded by cave wall and high piles of junk that reached the ceiling; all signs that a boss fight was coming. And lo and behold, the boss appeared by a giant trap door in the floor, slowly rising to the cave’s level.

The boss was a giant stone golem in the shape of the sphinx, much like the one in Egypt, but somewhat smaller, and it still had its nose. Unlike the sphinx in Egypt, this one had a force field active and could shoot lasers from its eyes, as well as squish any of the Reapers with one hit. Another curious thing occurred was that a sun roof appeared at the ceiling that was also blocked off with one of those annoying “invincible” force fields that prevent you from going through the hole until you’ve defeated the boss.

Mog suddenly got really scared as he hid behind Reaver and Jenkins. “Guys… I don’t think we’re going to be able to beat this boss, kupo…”

“HOLY COWPIE!” Grim yelled in utter shock. “That boss is level 50!!!”

“Level 50???!!” the entire party cried, looking at their own level 10 selves, as the exp they had earned from the slaughtering of droids wouldn’t be applied until after they left the cave as this was a side quest.

“Requesting permission to let the rest of the Roughnecks fight and for us to use our orbs,” Necro gulped, looking at the alter right behind the sphinx that held the fire orb, the plant AND the parts they needed, to the inconvenience of the party.

“The first one is granted, the second one is no dice my friend. This cave is protected by a Class V magic seal; nothing’s getting out of there magically. I do have one trick up my sleeve that might help, but it’ll take a few minutes to get it into position overhead…”

“I think we can stall a boss for that long,” Necro nodded grimly, his scythe at the ready.

“If you got any ideas, I’d love to hear them…” Reaver said nervously.

“Grim, is it possible for us to combine all three of our attacks into one?” asked Necro, trying to come up with something.

“Ain’t you got any common sense? You can’t mix opposite elements, they nullify each other! Even with your death element, fusing fire and water would just cancel each other out. The only time when opposites can mix is when all 6 of y’all are doing it at the same time. It’s best if Necro sticks with Reaver for the Black Flame ability, while Jenna just sends more ice spires and such,” Grim explained.

“Right, while Jenkins and Mog run distraction. Me and Reaver will aim for the head, while Jenna can try aiming for one of the feet to help give the distraction party some cover. Alright Roughnecks, let’s move!”

Jenkins and Mog dashed towards the right foot and began slashing and ramming it, respectively, with Jenna sending ice spires at it. Necro and Reaver executed the plan as instructed, blasting the face with a searing Black Flame attack.

After the first round was done, Necro took a quick peak at the Complicator’s scan ability, and his heart sank; it showed that five damage had been done, out of 999999 HP on the boss. “Grim, where the hell is that ace in the hole?” Necro asked, extremely worried.

“Give me another minute, it needs charging…” Grim said frantically, his skull seeming to bounce all over the place, matching his hectic moving about in Calico.

The sphinx slowly opened its mouth, and a golden light began charging from it. Only Necro seemed to notice this, as the rest of the party was too busy dodging lasers and feet, as he was in the back, as usual. He also saw that the mouth was aimed directly at Jenna.

Without even thinking, Necro did a running leap right in front of Jenna as the beam of golden light launched itself at her. “Jenna, run!” he yelled, spreading his arms wide to try to absorb all the blast.

“Necro, don’t you idiot! That’s a solar beam, completely life element!” Grim yelled too late as the beam hit Necro squarely in the chest; sending a flash of bright light temporarily blinding everyone. When the light faded, Necro lay quite still in front of Jenna, who had let out a giant burst of agony when the light hit, and was crying over Necro.

“Oh damn it… Jenna, get Necro’s body out of there! Everyone along the southern wall of the cave, that area is going to be vaped in a few seconds!” Grim warned, watching the party comply with his orders.

A giant blue laser beam from an orbiting satellite cannon shot down directly at the spot where the Sphinx was. After a few glorious seconds of pure power that made everyone tremble in awe at the magnificent spectacle, the cannon slowly faded away, and nothing but a giant hole in the ground and the roof was left. The Otana descended into the cave and opened up the entry hatchway and a ramp for the party to enter.

“Move it, move it! We are in big trouble here… that idiot…” Grim muttered, following the party.

As the Otana rocketed back to Calico, Jenna was near Necro, looking extremely pale, ears and tails drooped like a heavy weight was pressing against her. She was still sniffling and crying. “Uhh, Grim, what happened?”

“I’ll tell you what happened; because Necro decided to play hero, he got himself killed from that Sphinx’s solar beam. Since he’s a Reaper of Death, life magic does double damage against him, especially coming form a level 50 boss… I don’t know how the hell that got IN there, but…”

“So, he’s dead?” asked Reaver, his entire body showing grief as it dawned on him.

“Wait, kupo! Didn’t you say that you had a revival spell for the Reapers? It was back when you said that Jenna couldn’t commit suicide to get out of this…” Mog said hopefully.

“Well, that wasn’t a lie, there IS a spell, but there are some complications…” Grim said, looking uneasy.

“You don’t have all the ingredients for the spell, do you?” Jenkins interjected, looking grim.

“Yes, and that normally wouldn’t be a problem, as Necro’s soul is already in… “storage” if you will, so it’s quite fine. Hell, it could probably last there a couple of years before we had to worry about it crossing over. The problem is Jenna; she’s not crying like that because Necro’s dead… at least ,not the fact that he’s dead,” Grim tried to explain.

“Huh? That doesn’t make sense…” Reaver began, but Grim cut him off.

“Look, remember the Class VII bond shares everything? I literally meant everything, including the ability to live. You know how when one lovebird dies, its partner looses its will to live to join its lover? This is sort of the same situation, except that this isn’t out of love right now as it is out of a magical necessity to live. Jenna literally can’t live without Necro… she’s going to slowly die, and she is in real pain right now,” Grim said, giving her a look of the deepest pity a skull could manage.

“Oh… that is bad…”

“It gets worse, I’m afraid. If we revive Necro AFTER Jenna dies, then Necro will just go through the same process. We have to get the ingredients to finish the revival spell and get Necro revived ASAP, otherwise we’ll need twice as much, and we’ll be behind by a long shot. If we’re delayed by that long, then the invasion of Tida will start…”

“Whoa, hold up… what invasion?”

“Ok, to make a long story short, the problem with Tipa right now is that there’s an evil alliance of various bad guys in the continent of Nida bent for world conquering and/or destruction. They’ve already got the vast majority of Nida, and if we wait to get the materials, they’ll have started an invasion. Once that happens… well, we’re going to be in a whole lot of trouble trying to prevent an outbreak, trust me. There’s a very nasty artifact on Nida that we never bothered to retrieve that if it fell into the wrong hands, we could very easily have an apocalypse scenario…”


“Enough, I’ve said too much as it is. You’re not supposed to know about the plan, but now you know the bare details. I’ll explain more later, but for now, we need to concentrate on getting the material…”

“Why is it so hard to revive Necro? Can’t a cleric just…”

“Reviving a human and reviving a Reaper are two different things, trust me. I’m the only one who can do it, and it’s more complicated because the Reaper of Life isn’t with us… and no, we can’t go get her yet, it’s not time and he’ll be dead if we do try. I’m working up a plan with EVA by the time y’all get back. Hope you guys don’t feel like sleeping…”

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 8/13/2009 15:41:57 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 15
8/13/2009 16:20:33   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 15

Two days passed since the tragedy at the Scrapyard, and the available Roughnecks had just landed in the Otana to bring Grim the latest supplies.

“You guys get it?” asked Grim, looking grim.

“Yeah, five bales of that Suralian fefa hay… what the heck does hay have to do with a revival spell?” asked a beleaguered Reaver, leaning heavily on his staff.

“Shhhh, do not question the Reaper Archives! We are following this by the book, and it calls for the hay, so put it over there next to the other pile awaiting transport.”

The main room was filled with random items from broken combat droids to unicorns to giant pumpkins to other things that no one could really identify. Grim had understated the lack of materials that he had for the ritual, which was quite evident by the small corridors the items left.

“Grim, I got to ask…” Reaver began, but was cut off.

“No, no questions! I will have to repeat myself in front of Jenna and Necro, and you know I hate that. Wait until the ritual is done, that hay is the last thing we need. Now I just need EVA to start transporting it to the ritual underground room for the ceremony,” Grim explained, typing furiously on his console.

“Speaking of Jenna… how is she?”

“Not good, she’s at her life’s end here. It’s a good thing that we got all these supplies this quickly, she wouldn’t have lasted another day. If you want to see her, she’s in the summoning room with Necro, but please be quiet,” Grim pointed in the direction of one of the corridors that Reaver had never used before.

The party followed Grim’s instructions, and after what seemed like an endless hallway of the most bizarre array of doors ever constructed, the found the door at the very end that was marked in silver letters on a rustic black door “Ritual Room”.

The Ritual Room itself was painted completely black, with the exception of all the various runes, symbols, stars and other important ritualistic stuff painted in silver around the room. The floor contained the Reaper emblem in dark green, with the elements their respective colors. In the very center of the torch lit room was a table, where Necro lay. Necro’s hood was currently shrouding his face in shadow, as the rest of the cloak hid his cold body. On top of his chest lay a cat who looked incredibly ancient; faded fur that had once been blue, bald spots were common throughout the entire body and the cat looked like it had wrinkles all over.

“As you know, when they transformed with the help of the spheres, they were able to transform into a cat or a fairy at will. Jenna transformed into a cat yesterday to try to conserve energy and ease the pain. It seemed to have helped, but she hasn’t eaten anything all this time, nor drunk any water. Even forcing the nourishment into her doesn’t help, as she keeps vomiting it up, or her body rejects it,” Grim’s astral skull explained softly, pitying the poor creature.

“Can’t we just get Necro’s soul here temporarily…”

“No! I will explain the situation when the ritual is done. Would you and Jenkins kindly pick up Jenna and remove her? The ritual requires that only the dead body and I be present in there. Apparently other people can attract the soul to the wrong body on accident, and we really don’t want that happening, trust me,” Grim sighed, his astral skull disappearing.

As they picked up the aged cat, Reaver noticed that Jenna was shaking, and her body was feeling colder then a living creature’s body should be. After slowly reaching the main chamber, they placed her gently on top of the giant conference table in front of her spot, while Reaper sat in her chair, carefully stroking her. Mog attempted to cast various healing spells that he knew, but none of them seemed to have any effect. Unfortunately, the life spell from Final Fantasy only had the power to revive people from comas or unconsciousness, not actual death.

The room’s contents quickly seemed to vaporize as EVA teleported objects into the underground chamber. When the loading was completed, Grim got up from his console, stroked Jenna once, and walked quickly to the Ritual Room. “You should know ahead of time when the ritual is completed, however I may have to postpone anyone from seeing him till I make sure he’s completely healthy and I give him a lecture about sacrificing himself. The Reaper of Death dead for sacrificing himself for another… isn’t that rich… probably another one for the record books…” Grim muttered towards the end of his statement.

After what seemed like an eternity, which was in fact only an hour, Jenna’s ears suddenly perked straight up as Reaver was stroking her in his lap. Reaver did not seem to notice that Jenna’s tail was starting to move as well, and kept on stroking her until he noticed that slowly she seemed to be reverting back to her “normal” blue tabby form. Jenna quickly leaped onto Reaver’s face, clawed her way onto his head, and lept from it onto the floor; taking off at full speed down the corridor to the Ritual Room.

“Ahh, bloody pie! I think she got my left eye… Mog, heal me, now!” Reaver cried in pain, trying to staunch the blood from Jenna’s scramble.

Inside the Ritual Room, Necro was sitting up on the table, looking around at the cryptic room when the door suddenly bust open, traces of ice on it showing that it was opened by a ice spire. A blue cat quickly sprinted into the room and lept into the air, poised to pounce on Necro. However, in midair, Jenna reverted back to her humanoid form, causing the pounce to increase in momentum and tackle Necro off the table and on the floor with Jenna directly on top of him.

Jenna quickly kneed him in the groin, which resulted in a painful yell from Necro. Jenna let out a smaller groan, but seemed mostly unfazed by the punch compared with the pain she had just recently endured. “THAT was for putting me through hell for the past two days,” she growled at Necro, baring her fangs. “And this is for sacrificing yourself to protect me,” she added, her face relaxing as she bent down and kissed Necro straight on the lips. Necro’s ears shot directly up and his cheeks seem to get redder while Jenna’s ears seemed to flatten out.

Grim’s eyes shifted left to right as he realized that he was clearly not supposed to be there. He quickly snapped his fingers as he left the room and closed the door; prompting “appropriate” background music.

After another minute of intense first-time “thanks for saving my life but don’t ever do that again” kissing, Jenna slowly backed off from it as a completely bewildered but joyful Necro tried getting up. “Wow… that was some kiss…” Necro mentioned, still blushing.

“Don’t expect that too often,” Jenna said softly, slowly getting up.

“I take it this means we like each other now?” Necro asked hopefully, trying to get up but found his knees were still a tad weak from the tackle.

“I think we can safely say we’ve moved beyond the hating each other phase. Don’t get any ideas of starting to date me though, we’re not THAT close yet considering I barely know you,” she responded, assisting him in getting up.

“Can we at least be friends for now then?” he asked, managing to stand up on his own and offering out his hand.

“For now, that would be appropriate,” she smiled, accepting the handshake.

“Do I still have to call you Jennifer?” he smiled back, starting for the door.

“I believe now you have earned the right to call me Jenna. Congratulations, it’s a privilege only a few enjoy,” she teased, going through the door which Necro held open. “Thank you, I see that you at least have some manners for a peasant.”

“Hey, I was middle class back in my world, an equivalent to a somewhat wealthy merchant in this world…” Necro sighed, feeling slightly homesick at the mention of it.

“You’re from a different world?” she asked, quite surprised by this revelation.

“Thought you would pick that up from the memory soup that’s going back and forth” he shrugged.

“I’m surprised if you can remember anything about me, cause I certainly can’t about you. My mind’s on overload from this stupid Bond thing…” she sighed, quite exhausted.

“I hear you there… you know, when I was first revived, I felt refreshed and ready to start a new adventure, but now… I’m famished and tired…”

“Oh, that would be my fault…” Jenna admitted, blushing. “I haven’t eaten or slept ever since you died…”

“Wow, I didn’t know you cared for me that much…” he grinned, and anticipated the punch she aimed at him by sidestepping it.

“It wasn’t THAT, stupid! It was the constant pain! You have no idea how much I suffered throughout that entire ordeal…” she winced remembering the dark times.

“Actually… I may have some idea… I wasn’t completely isolated from you when I died…” Necro said slowly.

Before Jenna could respond to Necro, a gleeful Mog came whooshing down the hallway and tackled Necro in the chest, knocking him down for the second time in 5 minutes. “Kupo, you’re alive, kupo! Welcome back, kupo!” chirped Mog, bouncing up and down on Necro’s chest and nuzzling his head with his warm fuzziness.

“Glad to see you too Mog,” Necro laughed weakly, not used to being knocked down so hard so often. He tried getting up again, but Mog’s bouncing and a winded body did no good for Necro, so Jenna had to help him up again and help him limp slowly to the main room, one arm around her shoulder for support.

“Hey Necro, have you noticed that the music Grim turned on seems to be following us?” asked Jenna, enjoying it.

“Yes, and I’ll be sure to kill him for it as well, or at the very least knock his skull off,” Necro growled.

“Why? It’s such a nice song…”

“Oh, it’s a nice song, but I think Grim was subtly trying to imply something by choosing it. This is the instrumental version of the song called “Can you feel the love tonight?” from a movie known as The Lion King from my world…” Necro explained, slowly beginning to walk without Jenna’s help.

“What’s a movie… wait, what? Does he think we were…”

“I don’t know what the hell goes on in that skull’s head…” Necro sighed.

“Tell you what, when we see him, I’ll help you knock his skull off, will that make you feel better?” she asked cheerfully.

“Sure! I even thought up of a game we could play with Grim’s head that’s based on a game called Hockey from my world! We can call it Grimball, and it should be a lot of fun,” he grinned, imagining Grim’s head screaming around the arena as the Reapers whacked it with their scythes to try to score a goal.

“Hockey? Looks like I got to learn about you…” she sighed, feeling clueless.

“If it makes you feel better, I’m still pretty clueless about Tipa. Heck, I thought that Aldrith was an average sized town, not a full blown out kingdom…” Necro sighed.

“Really? Well, compared to some of the other kingdoms around Tipa, I guess it’s not that big, but it is a fairly big city. In fact, it’s the capital of Aldrania…”

“Oh, great, now there are countries here? Grim REALLY needs to give better briefings,” Necro moaned, rubbing his forehead.

“Oh, cheer up, we can help each other out. As a princess, I did a lot of studying about all sorts of places in Tipa. I sometimes wished that I could go to some of those places, but I also liked being a princess at the castle…” Jenna began, but was immediately cut off by Mog.

“Hi guys, look who’s alive!” he kupoed cheerfully, still bouncing on Necro’s head.

Reaver and Jenkins were waiting for the trio at the end of the hallway, grinning at them. Reaver was sporting an eye patch and several bandages where he had been scratched. “Sheesh Jenna, I think we need to have you de-clawed or something…” He complained, giving Necro a high five.

“Good to see you alive again master, things have been rather frantic without you and Lady Jennifer’s assistance…”

“If he’s going to call me Jenna, you can too Jenkins. No sense in being snobby sense I’m stuck with you all for the rest of my life” she half grinned.

“Oh, thanks, that means so much coming from you, your majesty,” Reaver stated formally, doing a mock bow at her. This was received by a slap from Jenna. “I’m being serious here! I did some hard thinking those past two days while Necro was dying and came to terms with the situation I’m in. I’m no longer a princess of Aldrania, I’m a Reaper of Water, which is technically a promotion in terms of title and responsibility,” she said sharply, a very serious look on his face.

“Calm down Jenna, I was just joking… sheesh you hit hard… glad to see you’re one of us,” he grinned, extending a hand to her, which she accepted enthusiastically, squeezing it really hard.

“Owww, let go, let go!” Reaver cried, retracting his hand. “Sheesh, I think someone doesn’t know their own strength stat there… don’t tell me you get some sadistic pleasure in causing me pain like Necro has with knocking off Grim’s head?”

“I can’t abuse Necro any more because whatever I do to him ends up causing me pain and Grim’s not here right now, so you’ll have to do. Just because I accepted my fate doesn’t mean I’m completely satisfied with it yet,” she teased, sticking her tongue out at him.

“Glad to see that y’all are getting along with each other,” Grim grinned, walking towards the party, only to be greeted by two well aimed hairballs from Jenna and Necro that sent his skull bouncing around the room.

“That’s for the music!” they yelled in unison, blushing when they realized that they said that together.

“I suppose I DID deserve that, but I couldn’t help myself. Scans report that the Synch level between you two is 50%, which is very good considering that it got reversed in such a short time. No, I’m not going to answer questions right now, because it’s already late in the day. EVA prepared a giant buffet for y’all, so eat up and then get some sleep… but first, if the Reapers in the party would come over here, it’s time for your Abiliticus, prepared in these easy to chew pills!” Grim presented the green pills in his right hand as each of the Reapers picked one and started chewing.

“All you have to think of is mental shielding, and I AM monitoring your thoughts to make sure you don’t try getting something else… just think the name if you want to play it safe and not think how the ability works as it’s a standard spell… good… good… and done!”

Necro and Jenna let out a huge sigh of relief as the found their way to their spots at the table. Reaver didn’t really feel anything, but he sat down and prepared to dig in, but Grim stopped him.

“Not quite, next is the exp y’all earned over the course of the last 2 days! I had all that exp pooled in a temporary storage area so that way it could be evenly distributed! Let’s see how many levels y’all earned!” he stated in an announcers voice, snapping his fingers.

Everyone’s Complicators “Dinged” 10 times, indicating that everyone was now level 20. “Wow, how did we level up that quickly?” asked Necro, still not feeling that much stronger from the mass level up.

“Apparently the Ion Cannon I used to blast the sphinx only quartered the exp from the boss, so that helped a lot. So did the mass slaughtering of droids and the random mini side quests to save your butt, so yes, y’all earned it. At level 20, you can now start communicating telepathically with each other, though Necro and Jenna should be able to do it easier then either of them with Reaver. You cannot yet do telepathy with non-telepaths, so no mental suggestions yet. You will also notice in your spell list some new spells and upgrades to existing ones. Congratulations, y’all are a fifth of the way to full Reaperdom. Let’s celebrate!”

And with that the Roughnecks enjoyed a hard earned buffet that would be remembered for quite a while. The party was so grand that it couldn’t possibly be justified with words, so it is up to the reader to imagine how it went. There were no more shenanigans of large magnitude, so you did not miss too much except that the food was as good as Reaver’s cooking… almost.

While the majority of the party went off to bed, Grim gave Jenna and Necro a few pointers on how to use their mental barriers effectively and how to communicate through the Bond. After a few practice runs and lots of yawns, they called it a night and went their separate ways.

The next morning brought a significantly smaller buffet for the Roughnecks to enjoy, but it was still good nonetheless. When everyone had finished eating, Grim began the debriefing of the past two days. “For recap, the Sphinx has been blasted with an orbiting ion cannon that is NOT going to be used that often due to the charge cycle and the maintenance costs. It is a pain to try to repair that thing, and I’m not using it unless y’all get yourselves into a situation like with that Sphinx. The Otana managed to grab all the goodies from the pedestal; so the Fire Orb is in storage and everyone’s Complicators have been equipped with the holo-cloak program. The only problem is that its functionality is quite limited, so don’t be trying to fiddle with it to look like someone else for espionage missions. By the way Jenna, it is good to see you wearing your cloak,” Grim added, nodding his head in approval.

Unlike Reaver and Necro, Jenna kept her cloak open in the middle and her hood down, so it acted more like a jacket then a cloak that completely concealed one’s figure. “At first I thought I would hate it, but it’s quite comfortable. And EVA did an amazing job fixing up my dress back to its original length. I can’t even tell that it magically shrunk before,” she nodded, feeling much better now that she had a peaceful sleep without memory soup floating in her brain.

“You look good in that outfit, Jenna” Necro said, slightly blushing as he realized that he said that out loud.

“Necro, stop trying to hit on Jenna during the debriefing, you can do it later,” Reaver whispered to him, nudging him in the shoulders. This was responded by a thwack from Jenkins’ cane. “Ow, why did you hit me?”

“I was only doing as Necro asked,” Jenkins shrugged.

“He didn’t say anything… heck, he didn’t even nod…”

“I also have a link to Jenkins, similar to Jenna’s but not nearly as powerful. I told him to do that telepathically cause you deserved it,” he said, playfully sticking his tongue out at him.

“Ahem… The holo-cloaks will cover up your fur and make y’all look you were before the little incident. While it will make it appear that you don’t have a tail, it will still be there and can still be felt by others, so try to keep it down. Also, you two need to learn to somewhat curb your catlike tendencies now…” Grim continued, but was interrupted.

“What cat tendencies?” both of them asked; Necro playing with a ball of string while Jenna was lapping milk from a bowl.

“I’ll come up with a list before everyone sets off. Could y’all please try out the holo-cloaks?”

“I dunno Grim; I sort of like being half-tiger now. I absolutely love my new flexibility and reflexes…” Necro admitted, still playing with the yarn.

“I feel closer to nature anyways, and that’s helping to ease this transition…” Jenna also admitted, now playing around with her tail.

“You will both BE half-tigers, you just won’t look it… ok, I guess you also won’t feel it as much, because your fur will be replaced by the holo-skin which will make you think it’s the real deal… I guess y’all can continue like that on the road, but please use them when you’re in town or something…”

“I want to be something other then a human as well, Grim! Can I be a werewolf?” Reaver suddenly asked.

“What, a werewolf? Why on earth would you want to be one of those creatures? They have absolutely no control over themselves and walk around on all fours…”

“Fine, I want to be a lycanthrope, the creatures that have the ability to transform at will and retain their sanity as well as move around on two legs.”

“Don’t tell me you’re jealous of their new abilities…”

“Yes I am! I saw all the amazing acrobatics Necro performed back in the cave, and the strength that Jenna has is unnerving! I want in on this too! Please Grim??” Reaver asked, giving Grim those big pleading eyes that no one can say no to.

“Oh, fine, I guess we can go on a side quest to get you bitten… but I warn you that there are consequences of invoking lycanthropy. You will gain strength, agility and dexterity to Jenna and Necro, but you will have some different side effect. You might even possibly try chasing them because they’re cats, but we’ll see how that goes… Are you two comfortable with that?”

“Just remember that these kitties have claws and outnumber you 2 to 1,” Jenna shrugged, still playing with her tail.

“Hey, if my best friend is feeling left out, I say we let him. Being completely human is overrated anyways,” Necro added, now bouncing the string ball off of Grim’s head.

“This is the first group where they’ve WANTED to be something other then human…” Grim sighed, and continued. “Anyways, when Necro died, his soul was taken to a special section of the Afterlife that is reserved for Reapers-to-be incase they die. I should be a tad specific what a “soul” is, as that will be coming up in the future. To put it blankly, there’s three “parts” to the humanoid: the body, the mind and the heart. The heart controls emotions, the mind reasoning and thinking, and the body is obvious. When you are doing telepathy and invoking emotional response, you’re actually messing around with the heart via the brain. Because the brain and the heart are interwoven with each other, we usually refer to them together as the “soul” of someone, as the soul is what goes on and the body gets left behind.”

“Necro was isolated in a special section of the Afterlife, so don’t ask him what it’s like, as he really doesn’t know. He was all by himself for two of our days, floating around a little pure white flame with only his own thoughts…”

“Actually, Grim, it wasn’t like that… I was able to see what was going on down here through Jenna…” Necro started, scratching the back of his head hesitantly.

“Oh, so the bond continued on through the afterlife? Most fascinating, I will make sure to add that to the topic in the Archives… what did you see?”

“Not too much, mostly my dead body… I felt a lot of pain though. It felt somewhat distant, most likely because I didn’t have a body, but I still felt some of Jenna’s pain, and I apologize for causing you that much agony,” Necro stated calmly, slightly bowing his head to her.

“You atoned for it earlier, and all is forgiven,” she shrugged, now licking her arms.

“I also heard what you said about what would happen if you didn’t revive me in time… but it looked like y’all got the stuff fine…”

A groan came from Mog, Jenkins and Reaver to that line. “Heh, that’s cause you didn’t see the crap we had to go through to get that stuff,” Reaver explained. “We may not have been in constant agony like Jenna, but we certainly did suffer from no sleep.”

“I say, shouldn’t Grim be stockpiling the supplies again so we don’t have a mad scramble in case one of you chaps kicks the bucket?” Jenkins inquired.

“Already making arrangements on that, and I will take care of that with the Otana’s help, but that will take time. Regardless, let’s not go through that any time soon…”

“Grim, I thought that you said the revival process was painful… it wasn’t at all…”

“I was trying to dissuade young Jenna here from doing something foolish, and over exaggerated. That’s enough debriefing, let’s move on to briefing on getting the…”

“Grim, I want to be a lycan now!” Reaver demanded, slamming his hands on the table. “I can’t stand being normal anymore!”

“Normal? Dude, you’re the Reaper of Fire who has the best cooking skills in the world AND a thing for technomancy. You’re definitely not normal…” Necro started, but was interrupted.

“I meant being a human! We’re not really Reapers as a race until we’re entirely elemental energy! I’m still a human physically, and I want that to change! Where’s the nearest lycanthrope base, Grim?”

Grim sighed, seeing that nothing was going to get done until they embarked on another side quest. “There’s a lycanthrope den on the western end of Tida… can make it there in an hour on the Otana…”

“Grim, what exactly IS the difference between lycans and werewolves?” Necro asked.

“They’re of the same breed; it’s just two different terms to describe two different states. Everyone starts out as a lycanthrope once they’re first bitten. They are able to transform at will, keep their sanity while a lycan, and will act mostly humanoid with some dog-like traits. However, the longer one stays a lycan, the more susceptible they are to becoming a werewolf. Werewolves are lycans that have abandoned their humanoid ways, and are more animal the anything else. When you see one, you’ll think they’re large wolves, but they’re much tougher then any wolf you’ll come across. In a head to head fight, the werewolf can easily overpower a lycanthrope, but the lycanthrope can outsmart a werewolf. If you get bitten by a werewolf, you’ll still transform into a lycanthrope, but you’re more susceptible to being a werewolf. Generally, those who are power hungry or have weak souls turn into werewolves,” Grim explained, leading the party to the hanger.

“What about the full moon, does that effect anything?”

“Actually, it does, but it doesn’t cause anyone to transform. Vampires and lycanthropes have always hated each other since the dawn of time, the GPITS knows why. One reason they fight is because of the moon: the more moon showing, the more powerful the lycanthropes are, while the less moon showing the more powerful the vampires are. It’s a delicate balance that sparks all kinds of wars between the two races in the past,”

“Fortunately, with the establishment of the Grand Kingdom, both lycans and vampires were hunted to near extinction and forced to establish themselves in remote locations. They have of course replenishing their forces, but they’re no where near as plentiful as they were in the past,” Jenkins added.

“The werewolves stick mostly to the northern half of Tida, while the vampires prefer the south, both parties preferring the western areas of the continent to the east. Eventually they’ll start fighting with each other, but I doubt it’ll be during our lifetimes,” Jenna concluded.

“Don’t be too sure, Jenna. Reapers can live for long periods of time, some even up to 1000 years… though those were the Founding Reapers, and so it’s rare. I’m actually 600 years old, if you’re curious,” Grim shrugged as the party got onboard the Otana.

After an hour of flight, featuring cat naps and messing around with the turbolasers, the Otana landed in front of a gigantic cave with stalactite and stalagmites surrounding the entrance to make it look like a giant mouth. Jenna opted to stay behind to watch the ship, as her fear of dogs would only hinder the party in their excursion.

The Roughnecks were greeted by a small group of lycans. The lycans were roughly the same height as Necro and Jenna, with rough brown fur all over their bodies, wearing nothing but pants. Their heads had wolf ears on top, similar to Necro and Jenna’s ears, but their faces looked radically different the Jenna and Necro. The lycan faces looked completely like a wolf’s face, with no hint of a human in it whatsoever, unlike Jenna and Necro whose faces were just covered with fur. The one in the middle of the five man group snarled as he spoke, “Well well well, it looks like lunch has come to us on a silver platter; a fur ball for an appetizer, a cat for an entrée, and some humans for desert. How delightful!”

“Before you call the pack in for a feast, you might want to see what you’re up against. Cats have claws, and this one also has back up,” Necro hissed, slamming his scythe into the ground. Instantly two Stalfan emerged from the ground next to Necro, both equipped with pure black long swords and shields made from Death Energy. “Your necromancy seems to have improved,” Reaver whispered.

“Yeah, that’s one of big things that improved in my level up. Much easier to summon them, and I can equip them with a weapons and shield. I can also control more, but I’m not comfortable with that,” he whispered back.

The wolf spat at the ground ahead of the party. “So the kitty knows some magic, big deal.”

Necro sent a telepath to Jenna asking her to fire the top turbolaser turret, which she enthusiastically agreed to do, leaving a medium sized whole in the cliff next to the cave’s opening. “Kitty also has firepower that can easily mow down anyone who gets near us.”

“What do you want with us?” the lycan growled.

“My friend here wishes to join your prestigious brotherhood,” Necro explained, looking impassive at the group, pointing at Reaver.

At first, the lycans looked at each other in surprise, then let out a group howl. “You should have said that earlier! We don’t get too many humans wanting to join us, so this should be a real treat. Come in, future brotherhood, and bring your party with you. The cat may want to stay outside, as I can’t guarantee his safety in the middle of a hungry pack. We were just getting ready for lunch…” he grinned evilly, leading the way.

Necro shrugged as followed Reaver, flanked by his Stalfan and followed by Jenkins and Mog. The inside of the cave was a long, large winding path that led to a giant inner cavern that had it’s own lake. Over a hundred lycans were currently gathered around a large pile of corpses of various animals and humanoids, digging into the mountain of grub. Other Lycans were spread throughout the huge chamber, sleeping, fighting or planning future raids on humanoid settlements.

The escort led them to a small group of lycans crowded around one much bigger then the others. At least a head taller, this lycan was much more muscular then his companions, with longer fur. Like the lycans near him, he had no human hair on his head. Upon seeing the approaching party, he disbanded his own group and approached the escort. “What are these humanoids doing within my domain?” he asked in a deep voice, growling each word.

“My lord, the one in red has sought us out to willingly join the brotherhood of lycans, and I thought it best if you personally saw to the biting sir, as this is a rare occasion,” the escort bowed.

“What of the other one? And does the cat have a death wish?” the larger lycan asked.

“The cat is quite fine in the company of lycans and has no fear of your kind. The cat’s other friend does not seek to join your brotherhood, but merely wished to observe the transformation ceremony for the sake of research,” Necro stated, talking in the third person out of irony and annoyance at being referred to in the third person.

“Fine… I am the Alpha Lycan for this pack. I serve as the leader for our pack of roughly 200 lycans, as well as help to coordinate between the other packs that still exist. As Alpha Lycan, it is with great pleasure that I induct you into our brotherhood of lycans! Your arm, if you please,” he growled.

Reaver slowly raised his right arm, and the Alpha Lycan bit Reaver. After a loud ouch, Reaver started twitching uncontrollably, then went into spasms on the floor.

“Relax; it’s all part of the initial transformation. Once he’s one of us, he can choose to morph freely without any of this. Ahhh, he’s changing now, good!” the Alpha Lycan howled.

Slowly, Reaver started growing the same shaggy brown fur that the other lycans had as he spazzed on the floor. His face also started to morph itself into the other lycan’s faces. After another minute of morphing, Reaver was a fully fledged lycan. He stopped twitching on the floor, looked around, and then ran over to the lake to see himself in the reflection.

“Hm, guess the transformation doesn’t add much muscle to you… but I do feel stronger nonetheless… so, Alpha Lycan, what does one have to do to get to be like you?” Reaver asked, walking back to the party, wagging his tail happily.

The Alpha Lycan guffawed in amusement at Reaver’s ambition. “We got ourselves a power seeker here; I can see why you joined us. Just make sure you don’t get too power hungry or you’ll turn into a werewolf. While the lycans protect their own, we despise our feral cousins who forsook their sanity just for some more power. As for becoming an Alpha Lycan, you first need to live for over 100 years, and have slain 100 vampires and eaten their fetid corpses. You must then challenge the current Alpha Lycan to a one on one death match. If you somehow win, you get to eat the Alpha Lycan, and gain his powers,” he grinned.

“Do you HAVE to be a 100 year old Lycan and slain 100 vampires, or is that just a formality?” asked Reaver.

“I guess it’s merely a formality…but you really do need the experience, the guidelines are there to prevent arrogant pups from getting slaughtered,” he grunted, eyeing Reaver suspiciously.

“No Reaver, don’t even think about it. Grim would kill you if he found out you were the Alpha Lycan for a pack of lycans. I mean, you’d have to keep a constant eye on them, else they’ll probably kill each other. You got other responsibilities… maybe when you’re a full fledged Reaper you can get your own pack,” Necro said telepathically, not quite sure how he got all that in his first attempt with Reaver.

“Fine…” Reaver returned, and decided to feign innocence. “So, tell us about the lycans…”

“The lycans are a noble species that have been misunderstood by everyone here on Tipa. Human society treats us as scum, thinking we’re no better then Stalfan or something, and the vampires view us as brutes not fit to share the same planet with them. We have existed since the dawn of time, mating and biting other humans to swell are ranks to defeat the vile vampires. Every full moon we would strike raids on the vampire territories, while every new moon they would strike our territories. This has gone on for countless centuries… until the Grand Kingdom came. At first we continued our wars, but it seemed that annoyed the Grand and they staged massive reprisals on both vampires and lycans. Our numbers dwindled, forcing us to go underground and quit are quarreling. We rejoiced when the Grand Kingdom was destroyed, but sadly our numbers were hardly what they used to be, as many people learned how to fight us… though with the destruction of Grand, the ways of fighting us slowly faded from memory, thus allowing us to slowly swell our ranks again,” he explained.

“I’m hungry…” Reaver grumbled, rubbing his growling stomach.

“Dig in, initiate! The food stack is for all members of the pack!” he laughed, watching Reaver attack the pile with a vengeance.

“I really hope that this new craving for raw meat doesn’t disrupt his cooking,” Necro muttered to Jenkins, who nodded that he was of the same concern.

“Err, Alpha Lycan, Reaver here has a proposal that could help out the pack. See, Reaver really can’t stay here with the pack because he has… other priorities. We’re on a quest to help save the world, you know, official adventurer business. However, to make it worth your while, Reaver can act as a mobile recruiter, biting unknown humans and directing them back to this pack. Your ranks should grow quicker with new lycans over time… if that’s pleasing to you,” Necro proposed, trying to get out of there because of the hungry looks on some of the lycans’ faces.

“An interesting proposal… we don’t normally use freelancing lycans, but it isn’t unheard of. I give him permission to do so, so long as he returns here once a year for the Harvest Festival. It’s on the third Thursday of the 11th month,” he explained.

Necro was extremely thankful that the days of the week were the same as Earth’s, and nodded that he would make sure they visited in a couple of months. When Reaver had eaten his fill, they all bowed to the Alpha Lycan and took their leave of the cave.

Jenna gave a quiet squeak of terror at seeing Reaver, but quickly relaxed when she saw Necro and the others, assuming that Reaver had successfully turned into a lycan. “So, how is it?” she asked, her fur slowly lowering itself from standing up on end.

“I’m a lot more hungry then usual, and my craving for meat has increased greatly… I don’t think I’m as acrobatic or fast as you two, but I know I’m stronger then both of you… and I seem to have this overwhelming urge to eat something feline…” he teased, which was met with a kick from Jenna in his stomach, knocking the wind out of him.

“I see your endurance hasn’t gone up too much to still get the stuffing beat out of you,” she grinned, purring contentedly. Necro sat next to her, and started playing with her tail, which she let him do.

“Why don’t you tell me about your planet, Necro, to help past the time back to Calico,” Jenna suggested as the Otana took off back to Calico.

And so Necro gave an introduction to Earth and what it was like living there before he came to Tipa. He could only get so much out in an hour, but it was enough to get him and Jenna on roughly the same page about each other’s planets.

“They’re back,” EVA reported as the Otana landed in the hanger bay.

“Maybe NOW we can get to the main quest without too many interruptions… there should be a rule that they have to stay human AFTER they become Reapers, not that they have to be human before it…” Grim sighed, going over the briefing one last time.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 11/17/2009 8:03:28 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 16
8/20/2009 21:58:12   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 16

“Grim, I’m tired of flying around in the Otana. I’m sorry, but all and all, it IS a freighter. I think we need a cooler ride if we’re going to travel around Tipa,” Necro suggested at the next morning’s breakfast.

“For the last time, you are NOT flying around Tipa in some sort of ship. You are going to be walking from place to place to gain experience and know the lay of the land. The ships are only there for emergency purposes…”

“But Grim, I was looking through the Archives… or Records, whichever term we’re using, and I found that there’s a world just like Final Fantasy X-2! There’s this awesome ride in that game, and I think it would be awesome if we could actually fly in it…” Necro persisted, punching a few buttons on the nearby console at his eating spot to lower the holo projector.

Instantly, a projection of the ship Necro wanted came down at the table, and was met with oooohs and ahhhhhhhhhhs. “Gentlemen, and Jenna, I present to you the Celsius, one of the most awesome airships I’ve ever seen from the Final Fantasy Universe, or any video game. I think it would be quite possible for us to build here. Please notice that it does indeed look like a hot-rod from my world, for those who know what that is. It even has a hood ornament. The only thing that needs changing is the logo on the shield on the front of the main chassis, from that odd bird symbol to our own Reaper Emblem. So, what do you think?”

“Oh my gosh, that thing is like 5 times the size of the Otana… hell, it’s at least 10 times, if that scale is right! I could just imagine loading it up with weapons…” Reaver exclaimed, rubbing his hands together evilly.

“What is it with you males and these… machines? The color scheme on that ship is simply atrocious,” Jenna complained, trying to ignore the ship but Necro’s intense interest in it was preventing her from completely doing so.

“Jenna, it’s SUPPOSED to be a flame paint job, not an ice job. No one is changing the color scheme, it’s staying the way it is,” Necro nodded, with the rest of the Roughnecks nodding in agreement as the ogled the ship.

“I’ll never understand males,” Jenna sighed, continuing her breakfast.

“We’ll never understand females,” the rest of the Roughnecks sighed, ogling and eating.

After breakfast, Grim ordered some of the drones to start scrounging up parts from the Scrapyard and other stockpiles of magitech around Tipa. Jenna turned off the holo-projector, much to the disappointment of the rest of the Roughnecks, though Necro seemed to recover faster from his disappointment then the rest of the males.
“Alright, on to more serious matters… Grim, I need the political gist of Tida at the very least, if you’re reluctant to reveal stuff about Nida. I need to know what countries there are, and the about the Elemental Orders. I know that Jenna here probably knows this stuff, but I’m pretty sure the rest of us are behind the times or just plain clueless,” Necro shrugged, licking his arm while Reaver was scratching behind his neck with his left foot.

“I’m so glad that your fusion with animals and lycanthropy hasn’t changed anything about your normal habits,” Grim said sarcastically, rolling his red orbs for eyes as he brought up a geopolitical map of Tida.

“What? You have no idea how tasty my own fur is! Do you think cats lick themselves just to keep dry?” Necro responded, continuing his licking.

“I thought cats did that as the equivalent of brushing…” Grim said, unsure of his previous knowledge of felines.

“Well, yes, we do, but our fur also has a sort of yummy taste I just can’t say it is…”

“It’s like a mix between chicken and cow. I personally call the flavor chickencow” Reaver nodded, knowing full well about the taste of felines due to his werewolf side.

“Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhtttttttttttttttttttt…” Grim said, slowly scooting away from the half-humans in the group towards Jenkins and Mog, who were once again sharing an extra large bucket of popcorn.

“Hey, Grim, I want you to meet the newest member of my summon family!” Necro said, stopping his licking and bringing out a surprise from underneath the table. The surprise was an extremely adorable grey wolf puppy and placed it on the table. It let out an adorably cute howl and began chasing it’s tail around and around.

Grim’s eyes grew so huge that the red orbs actually expanded farther then the eye sockets. “MY PIE MAN! YOU’VE DOOMED US ALL! FLEE, FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!” he yelled, running wild with arms in the air into one of the adjoining corridors.

After an extremely awkward silence accompanied with strange looks at each other and at the adorable puppy, Reaver slowly picked it up and started sniffing it. “Smell’s alright too me… don’t know why Grim would be terrified of…”

What happened next reminded Necro of a cartoon. Before Reaver finished his sentence, the puppy’s adorable face suddenly turned evil and grew to massive proportions as it quickly consumed Reaver and swallowed him while returning to the adorable little face in a matter of seconds. It happened so fast that the group had to do a double take to see if that really happened.

“Okkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk… puppy has a big appetite… and apparently dogs are cannibals… didn’t know that…” Necro said awkwardly, not quite sure what to do with the puppy. “EVA, analyze summon!”

“Summon is one of the Hell Hounds, name Fenrir. Fenrir comes in the form of a puppy, but it is considered one of the fiercest of all the hell hounds, most notably because of its ability to consume anything it wants and its huge appetite. Fenrir will never eat his master, but friends of the master are still at risk until the Reaper of Death trains Fenrir. If one should find that a friend has been devoured by Fenrir, you must use what every good dog owner uses to punish bad dogs: a newspaper,” EVA reported.

“A newspaper… uhhh, I didn’t think there WERE any newspapers here in Tipa…” Necro questioned, scratching behind his head.

“There is only one newspaper in Tipa… THE newspaper of Tipa… The only newspaper ever printed specifically for the training of Fenrir… the Newspaper of Obedience,” EVA responded.

“Grim, where’s the newspaper?”

“I’M NOT COMING OUT UNTIL THAT THING IS BANISHED BACK TO THE SUMMON REALM! DOGS LOVE BONES, AND I’M A SACK OF BONES!” Grim yelled from a broom closet somewhere in one of the corridors.

“Wait, if this thing behaves like a dog and loves bones, doesn’t that mean it’ll try to eat cats… Jenna, you may want to stay away from him…” Necro began, but suddenly found that Jenna was missing, and that Jenkins and Mog were cowering in the far corner of the room.

“It got Jenna, didn’t it?” Necro sighed, surprised he wasn’t feeling intense pain right now, though he WAS feeling Jenna’s anger coming from the stomach of Fenrir.

“Yes,” they both said in unison, huddled together.

“EVA, where’s the newspaper, and how long do I have before my friends are digested?” Necro sighed, giving himself a facepalm.

“The Newspaper of Obedience was sealed inside the Cave of Training, a special place designed to bring Fenrir and Reaper of Death together so that they may work together and not eat an entire continent,” EVA explained.

“Wait, he ate a continent?” Necro asked in awe.

“There were once three continents here on Tipa: Tida, Nida, and Fida. Fida was the largest of the three and existed on the eastern hemisphere… that area is now filled in with ocean. There are still teeth marks down on the ocean trench if you were to ever go down there,” EVA added, marking the island on the map that Grim had pulled up earlier.

“Ok, you still haven’t answered my second question, but at least get the Otana ready on auto pilot. I need to make sure Fenrir doesn’t eat the ship… do you have a muzzle for him?”

“He would break any restraint put on his mouth. The Otana is ready, and you have 12 hours before they are completely devoured. On the positive side, since Fenrir uses up everything when he eats them, there is no need for a pooper scooper,” EVA tried to comfort him.

“Grim, will you be providing me with astral assistance?” Necro asked as he prepared to leave, holding the adorable Fenrir in his arms.


“Wow, he must really be terrified of Fenrir…”

“Fenrir managed to devourer every single Reaper in front of Grim’s eyes when he first summoned him and had to endure the Cave of Training alone. It was not a pretty sight…” EVA reported. “I will assist you via your Complicator as an interface due to Grim’s… state of being,” the computer stated, doing the closest thing to a sigh a computer could.

After two hours on board the Otana, the remaining Roughnecks found themselves in front of a standard cave. Nothing really menacing, nothing really special, just the typical cave entrance with stair leading down to the lower part of it. “Is EVERY dungeon here in Tipa a bloody cave? Where are the ancient ruins? The temples? An abandoned castle?”

“It’s mostly caves, sorry, but we DO have a few non-dungeon caves. Our creator is a tad on the lazy side when it comes up to dungeon scenarios,” EVA explained as they entered, Necro up front holding Fenrir while the rest of the party kept a good distance behind.

The first room in the cave had a giant metal door and wall blocking the way deeper into the cave. Inside the room was a red circle on the stone floor. As soon as Necro stood on said circle, light appeared from the torches suddenly flaring up all around the square room.

“Holder of the infernal creature known as Fenrir, you have come to this cave seeking the ability to tame one of the mightiest creatures that can be… wait a second, you’re only level 20! Fenrir is a level 70 summon! How the pie did you summon him?” asked a mysterious deep voice coming from the ceiling.

“Magic?” Necro shrugged.

“That is NOT good enough!” the deep voice demanded.

“Look, I was sort of bored and I tried summoning Cerberus to try to play with him, and Fenrir popped up instead…”

“Cerberus??! That’s a level 35 spell? How can you accomplish that, and then manage to summon something twice the level requirement??!!” the deep voice asked, flabbergasted.

“Grim’s trying to figure that out, and I’ll have him get back to you on that. Now, can you just give the Newspaper of Obedience so I can get my friends back before they disappear forever?” Necro asked, knowing the answer was no.

“This has never happened in all my years as a talking cave…. I SUPPOSE given the circumstance I SHOULD give it to you so that way Fenrir doesn’t eat the planet… hell, that thing could eat the bloody fictional omniverse if given enough time…”

“Fictional omniverse?” asked Necro, confused.

“Oh, Grim hasn’t given you the talk then, has he? Ignore that last comment… let’s just get this over with. I haven’t let anyone skip the training, and I’m not starting with you…”

“Fenrir, eat that wall!” Necro ordered, which Fenrir more then happily obliged, finishing it off by licking Necro affectionately. He then proceeded to lick him more, more out of tasting him then out of affection.

“Don’t worry Necro, he won’t eat you no matter how much he wants to. Fenrir did the same thing with Grim, which is one reason why Grim fears Fenrir so much… the licking is a way of bonding, so at least you know he’ll listen to you…” EVA stated, monitoring the situation.

“Wait a second! You’re not allowed to eat the wall! That’s cheating! You’re supposed to undergo a rigorous training regime in order to bond with Fenrir! It doesn’t obey ANY Reaper of Death…”

“Fenrir, do the Riverdance!”

And so Fenrir did the most amazing performance of the Riverdance ever seen. He even managed to get the actual music to it to play in the background when there were no instruments around. When he finished, he bowed, and then proceeded to chase around his tail.

“Now sit, beg, and jump to the top of the ceiling.”

Fenrir did so, licking its lips at the end of the jump. “See, he’s perfectly trained!”
“Ok, I WILL admit that he obeys your commands, but he’s not totally trained yet. Look behind you,” the cave responded.

Necro turned around, and his smirk turned into a frown as Mog and Jenkins were gone. “Bad Fenrir! No eating my friends!”

Fenrir then started curling up and looked up at Necro with the infamous big sad soulful eyes. “I don’t care how much you look at me with the big puppy dog eyes…” Necro began, but was starting to feel sorry for scolding Fenrir.

“Oh no! Fenrir posses the most powerful puppy dog eyes of any creature! Just glancing at them will make you completely sorry for punishing him! That’s how he got away with eating Fida! I can’t watch… but wait, as a cave I see all that happens within me! I can’t look away! Oh the inhumanity!”

Necro looked hard at Fenrir, almost willing to forgive him for eating his friends and let him get away with it, when thoughts of Jenna suddenly flashed in his mind. The sudden slap back to reality broke Fenrir’s spell, and allowed Necro to counter the big sad soulful eyes with a demonic gaze that would put the evil eye to shame. Fenrir immediately started whimpering and curled up around Necro’s feet, severely frightened.

The cave just stood there in utter awe as only a magical cave could. “You broke his spell and countered with a demonic gaze! Just what the hell are you?”

“The Reaper of Death who’s half-tiger/half-human with a Class VII bond with an incredibly hot chick who happens to be a former princess and the Reaper of Water who comes from another world,” Necro replied, quite proud at his accomplishments.

“Well that certainly explains it… I would blame the being from another world, or the Class VII bond… possibly both… Ahem. At the risk of loosing more doors/walls, allow me to present you with the Newspaper of Obedience!”

The metal doors opened, and shining at the end of the very long cave, was the golden newspaper on a shining pedestal of gold. Magically, the newspaper floated over and landed in Necro’s hand, already rolled up. Necro quickly unrolled it to try to read it, but saw it was all in a bunch of weird runes he had no idea what it meant. “Hey, cave, what’s this writing say?”

“Various tricks for training the hell hounds, it’s in ancient Reaper. If you can’t read it, you’re not high enough level, which is a vast understatement in your case… sheesh, a level 20 here in me… just whack him with it and tell him what you want him to do. Newspapers are his one weakness, and you return the newspaper once he’s fully trained. In the mean time, keep it in hammer space just incase he goes rouge on you,”

“Ok… Fenrir, spit out all of my friends and never eat them again!” Necro ordered, and was about to lower the newspaper on the puppy, when Fenrir barfed all of them up.

“EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” The Roughnecks all screamed, covered in gross stomach juice and other stuff.

“You actually got it to spit them out without using the newspaper??!” the cave boomed in disbelief. “You are not of this world! You break all the known rules of our planet! Why did the Elemental Spheres choose such a rouge Reaper?”

“Leave him alone! He’s trying to get adjusted to our planet and then he’s thrust into a position of power and responsibility! It’s bad enough trying to deal with something like that without people constantly insulting you and thinking you can’t do the job like your predecessor!” Jenna yelled, completely shocked at her outburst that caused her to put her hands over her mouth.

It was at that moment that the mental barriers between the two collapsed completely. Necro saw brief images of Jenna as she was training to be a ruler over a country flash before his eyes, and felt the pressure that she was under. In turn, Jenna saw Necro’s memories and emotions as he first got to Tipa and how alone he felt, despite developing friends with the rest of the Reapers.

This incredibly touching and serious moment lasted only for a few seconds, but it seem like forever for the two of them as they finally touched base with each other for the first time after the death incident. They both stared at each other and blushed the reddest red their fur would allow them.

Fortunately, this story is not about seriousness, but humor. So all serious moments must be inappropriately ruined, which is why Reaver was put into this group. “THAT THING IS THE DEVIL INCARNATE! IT WILL KILL US ALL! I’M GOING TO THE CLOSET WITH GRIM!” He cried, running around like a crazy person.

The touching moment ruined by Reaver’s crazy panics, the Roughnecks returned to their quasi-normal status. Necro helped Jenna up as she licked herself dry, Mog used his magic to calm Reaver down to a somewhat reasonable state, and Jenkins thanked the cave while shepherding everyone back into the Otana.

Two hours later, everyone was clean thanks to the Otana’s onboard facilities and were playing with Fenrir, who was after all quite adorable now that he wasn’t trying to eat any of them.

“Reaver, we need you to get Grim out of his hiding place. Better bring Jenkins and Mog to help you out,” Necro suggested as he banished Fenrir.

“Grim, we banished Fenrir! Necro has the newspaper so we don’t have to worry about him going psycho… though he seems to respond to Necro extra well…” Reaver sighed as he opened the closet as Jenkins and Mog pushed Grim out.

“If this is some sort of joke, and that thing is still out, I will use all the Ultima Orbs in this base to smite y’all…” he warned, his bones shaking all over the place.

When they returned to the room, they were quite startled to find two tigers staring back at them. While the tigers were of the standard size for the creature, the color schematics were quite different. The one on the left was black with blue stripes and a grey underside, while the other one was blue with black stripes and the same grey underside.

“You two tried using the Orbs to unlock tiger form, didn’t you?” asked Grim, noticing the two Orbs on the ground near the tigers.

Reaver burst out laughing at the color scheme. “You two look like you got beat up with that black and dark blue pattern. Did you get into a cat fight?”

This was responded by the blue tiger with black stripes pouncing on Reaver and proceeding to maul him in cartoonish fashion, complete with the classic smoke cloud. The other tiger just approached the group and grinned as a tiger could. “Yeah, we asked EVA to let us use them. We got the idea that we may need to blend in with nature, or actually appease our actual tiger instincts… though this color pattern is pretty bad for camouflage… don’t know what happened…”

“It’s a symbol that the bond between you has increased somewhat, if your colors are showing up in your transformations. Your primary forms shouldn’t be bothered with this odd color change, but your tiger forms are stuck looking like that. Maybe people will think your daemon tigers or something…” Grim sighed.

“I heard from the cave in your unusual abilities… just now, via telepathy. Don’t let what him say hit you two hard, or me. I can understand that you’re going through rough times, and you’ve put on a remarkably good show for the past couple of months. You ARE breaking a lot of standards, and it’s baffling me and the rest of the traditions started by the Reapers. Then again, you’re the first human from another world to BE a Reaper, so we have to assume that you have some qualities that don’t conform to us. You’ll get used to it, and we’re always here for you,” Grim said softly, trying to put some tone of comfort in his voice.

“Thanks Grim… I think my emotional response to the cave flooded over to Jenna or something… I dunno, this Class VII bond is really odd…”

“Of course! Before, the bond was only theoretical, but you’re the first one here on Tipa to have it, so we’re learning with you. It’s been a rough day, why don’t we get some sleep and talk geopolitics tomorrow?”

“Sounds good,” Necro purred, still assuming his tiger form as he walked off to bed. Jenna, who had finished mauling Reaver, also walked off to her bed at roughly the same time. Mog and Jenkins were busy lugging the completely mummified Reaver, as the bandages covered his entire body, to his room.

Grim once again assumed his station at his console. “Oi Vei, EVA. The kid’s tougher then he first looks. Hasn’t really complained much despite the hardships we put him through. There’s many a mortal that would have cracked with all the strain this job puts on them, and the burden as the Reaper of Death. Still, he needs to let off some steam, like he did with Jenna in that bonding moment the cave reported… I think their synch rate’s up to 75% now, which is really good. By the way, how’s the new ship coming?”

“Excellent sir, should be ready by tomorrow. We do need a name though…”

“I’ll go and ask some sources for some suggestions…”

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 8/21/2009 8:43:30 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 17
8/25/2009 16:57:05   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 17

Imagine if you will, the sound of a V8 engine revving. Now imagine this sound about 1000 times louder and then with 4 of them near each other happening in the wee hours of the morning, before sunrise. Fortunately for you, you are underground some, so the noise is dulled.

This is the noise that Grim experienced as he was woken form one of his rare naps at his console. “What in the name of all that is made of cheese is going on up there?” he muttered, awakening from his own bed in his own room in a secret corridor that the rest of the Roughnecks had yet to discover and booby trap.

As he teleported into the main chamber, he found an extremely tired and grumpy Jenna slurping away at some cereal. “If you’re wondering, Necro and Reaver are trying out the Scythe,” she muttered, ears, tail and eyes all droopy.

“The what?” asked Grim, not quite sure what was going on.

“That’s the name of that infernal ship you built they gave it. Thanks to this damned Bond, I woke up at the same time as Necro, so I’ve been up since midnight while those two were exploring that cursed thing,” she muttered, barely getting the food into her mouth.

“I take it you’re going to kill him when he gets done?” he asked, going to his seat at the head of the conference table.

“I can’t for two reasons. The primary one is that whatever happens to Necro happens to me, and there’s no way in the Netherworld I’m going through that pain again. The second one is that this is technically Reaver’s fault as he’s the one who woke up Necro. So, I’ll just kill him and you can revive him later,” she shrugged sleepily.

“Sorry, but we can’t afford any more fatalities. Those revival supplies are really expensive and hard to find, and I can’t get some more for at least a month. You’ll have to settle for nearly killing him,” he grinned, eating a pancake from the buffet that EVA had set up.

“I’m just glad that this bond doesn’t synchronize ALL of our bodily functions, otherwise I may just go insane,” she sighed.

“Ah, yes, the last stop in the digestive process. The reason for that is because you two possess different metabolisms and because you were both taught at a very young age that privacy while in bathrooms is extremely important. That privacy need that was trained while you were both young carries on into the subconscious building up a natural barrier. Any area that is deemed as “private” by you or the subconscious is much harder to penetrate then the other areas of the brain. That’s why everyone has secrets that take advanced telepathy to probe. You don’t have to worry about Necro trying to probe your mind and access unwanted memories or images,”

“Actually, he hasn’t tried anything perverted like that, if that’s where I think you’re going. We’ve both respected each other’s privacy, and we haven’t done too much with the bond on a telepathic level. The Bond is doing more stuff to us then we are trying to manipulate it,” she shrugged, her appetite slowly coming back.

“Yes, he does seem like a good boy… though after that outburst yesterday he may need a better outlet for his feelings. I did want to talk to you about that… you know how people sometimes bottle up their emotions and wait for things to burst? Necro seems like one of those people, and like it or not, you’re going to have to get him to release the steam valve once in a while. If you don’t, the emotional energy WILL poor into you, and can have some negative consequences. Likewise, you need to pay Necro the same courtesy with your own emotions.”

“What type of consequences?” asked Jenna, as the engines of the Scythe roared to life again.

“Bursts of emotional energy is extremely dangerous… hell, emotions themselves are volatile things. Take love for example; it’s the most confusing thing in the bloody omniverse. Reapers of Death have called it the most manipulating of all human emotions because of the lengths it can drive someone too. Necro killing himself to save you? Only love and that bond would cause him to do something that… stupid. Yes, you may call it brave, but bravery and stupidity are of the same breed, and there’s a fine line that separates the two. Love truly does conquer all; lust, reason, sanity, evil, good, the world… you name it, true love will defy it. It has it’s own little principles that when there really IS true love, all sorts of crazy stuff will happen between the two people just to keep them safe,” Grim ranted, devouring 5 more pancakes.

“All that told me was that you despise love, which shouldn’t surprise me given your history…” Jenna stated, looking up at Grim.

“Necro’s the first Reaper of Death ever to be in love… and to actually USE it… it defies our nature… he can get away with it now, but once he starts going pure Death energy, I don’t know how it’s going to effect him… That’s a ways away though. The point is, a sudden burst of someone else’s emotions can cause unpleasant side effects, the least of which is a shift in your personality. You could be permanently angry the rest of your life, or be suicidal. Trust me; I’ve manipulated emotions enough to know that you can be emotionally scarred by such incidents,” Grim concluded.

“Fine, but it seems like the universe is conspiring to bring Necro and me together…” Jenna sighed.

“Given the knowledge of how the author thinks and the fact that you two actually would make an interesting couple, I’m not surprised,” Grim said, then put his hands over his mouth as he realized his blunder.

“Wait.. what? Grim, you’ve been uttering strange things ever since I first came here… it sounds like you know of some sort of conspiracy or something… I want to know the truth,” demanded the curious Jenna, her ears perking up.

“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!” he yelled dramatically. “Seriously, you can’t. If I were to tell you the truth right now, it would blow your mind,” Grim nodded.

“Try me,” she purred.

“Ok, you are actually a fictional character of a story created by someone who lives in a dimension known as the “Real World” and are currently being read like a character in a novel, which you are,” he stated bluntly.

Jenna’s eyes, ears and tail twitched as a tiny explosion occurred inside her head, and she then fell face forward into her cereal.

Grim sighed, knowing this would happen. “EVA…”

“Yes sir, repair her blown brain and erase the memory of what you just told her, then release her on the deck of the Scythe as you go and yell at the other Reapers for screwing around so early in the morning,” the computer stated, using a large tube to suck up Jenna.

“Wow, you really ARE good, you know?” he grinned, teleporting to the Scythe.

“I know sir, I know,” she muttered, a hint of pride in her voice.

On board the Scythe’s bridge, Necro and Reaver were having a ball with the controls. Necro was sitting in the pilot seat, which was a most curious one as the main control stick was like the bars on a motorcycle, only further enhancing the coolness factor of the Scythe. Reaver sat in the pod next to the pilot pod, where navigation was. Grim teleported right behind the two and summoned two copies of his scythe, one in each hand. Twirling the scythes around like a total badass, he then slapped both of them upside the head with the flat of his blades like a red headed stepchild. The slapping was so powerful, that the two bonked heads against each other before they hit the ground.

“THAT was me keeping a promise to the readers… I mean my contacts who I decided to ask for name advice, and then naming the bloody ship without even so much as a vote!” Grim shouted.

The two recovered from the concussion quickly enough, and resumed their fooling around with the controls, revving up the engines again. “Too late, we replaced that ghastly hood ornament with a scythe with wings to make it all cool. Also redid the logo of the old ship on the shield. The Scythe is ready to go! We were nice enough to wait for y’all to get up here! We already decided that you’re the Captain, Necro’s pilot, I’m Engineer, Jenna is navigation, and Jenkins and Mog are passengers who can do various stuff… maybe Jenkins can be the barkeeper…” Reaver replied

“Wait, we have a bar on this ship?” asked an interested Grim.

“Fully functional kitchen in the cabin, which we refurnished so that way it’s our main dining/planning area. We converted some old storage spots into comfortable sleeping quarters for all of us and the future Reapers on board. This baby is ready to cruise the world… with it’s Quadruple Centrifuge Ion Drive, Q-CID for short, she can probably do deep space missions… and we haven’t even BEGUN to test the warp drive that your robots installed on here,” Reaver boasted, obviously in his element.

“I never ordered a warp drive… did they install the portal device?” Grim asked.

“Instantaneous travel is more complex; we got two modes of transportation. The first is a jump drive they found on one of the ships in the Scrapyard. While it SEEMS like that would be awesome as it isn’t limited by any sort of jump gates or rubbish like that, it’s really unstable, so if we use it, we don’t know where the heck we’ll end up. More unreliable then the improbability drive, that’s for bloody sure. The second mode of transportation are these “wormhole torpedoes” we found, which opens a rift in the space time continuum and lets us go to any two points we please. While technically more reliable then the first drive, it probably is going to leave a mark or two on the environment,” Reaver explained.

“Bah, the aftereffects of trans-dimensional traveling rifts are under our FCPA insurance plan, we need not worry about those, they can clean up any sort of nasty distortions…”

“FCPA?” asked Necro, turning from the controls to stare at Grim.


Necro and Reaver looked at each other, nodded, and said together “Try us.”

And so Grim repeated the same scenario with those two as with Jenna, with the same results. Conveniently, EVA had installed a mobile version of herself into the ship, so she was able to rush them off to the sick bay with Jenna in order to heal their blown minds.

An hour later, after everyone had been healed and their memories slightly altered, they gathered in the bridge, surrounding the main holo-projector basin. “Alright, you all passed out because I told you something that did indeed literally blow your minds. I will not repeat it, as you are not high level enough to fathom this life changing info. And DON’T say “try me”, as I just did. EVA has the footage of your brains exploding inside your heads if you don’t believe me. More importantly, we need to…”

“ROAD TRIP!” Necro and Reaver yelled, causing a facepalm from Grim.

“Look, we have to go over the geopolitical…” Grim began, but the others were far too excited. Even Jenna seemed somewhat eager, but this may have been from Necro’s overflowing enthusiasm. Still shunning Grim, Necro started up the engines while Reaver rushed off to the elevator in the rear of the bridge to head down to the engine room, leaving Jenna to man the navigation pod. The pod on the right was in charge of the weapons, but Necro and Reaver had jury rigged it so that way Necro could easily fire weapons when needed. Necro was the pilot because out of everyone, he was the most qualified with his Texas certified driver’s license. The fact that it was a commercial license and not for a motorcycle did not seem to bother anyone at all, least of all Necro, who was revving the engines loudly.

“Alright Necro, since you’re second in command and in charge since Grim is still gawking at y’all, I’m reporting to you. We’re ready to go when you are, me and the small floater army down here… not those nasty floaters we ran into, these got arms and a giant robot eye in the middle and whatnot. They’re quite useful, and seem to know they’re way around the ship. The four giant “wheels” outside the ship are actually centrifuges that help charge the ions that are used as the propellant for the ship. Once the ship is off the ground via a surge from the real centrifuges, the ship can easily hover in the air thanks to a combination of repulsor-lift tech and tiny maneuvering jets all across the ship, allowing for great maneuverability. The Centrifuges also act like giant in-take fans, so they suck up all the ions we need from the air, shoot it through the engine core down here for processing and pressurizing, then shot back up to the center of the centrifuge for charging, then expelled out to make us go zoom,” Reaver explained.

“Reaver, I got no idea what the hell you just said,” Jenna sighed, shaking her head.

“He’s saying that this ship works on magic and technology. It’s not like it’s using some sort of anti-gravity magic to work, it has a process… Hey, Reaver, how does the Scythe get ions from space?”

“There’s all sorts of particles floating in space, you just got to know where to look for it. Remember that the ion drive is strictly for sub-light travel, we’re not using it to journey to other worlds. At the least, we use the warp drive for Faster Then Light, or FTL travel. The instantaneous transport is going to be used for emergencies…. Centrifuges charged Necro! Ready for blast off!”

Necro slammed his right foot down on a pedal and turned the right handlebar, causing the rear wheels to blast off vertically, carrying the ship into the air. Surprisingly, Necro did not cause a sudden massive increase in Gs with his move, but slowly lifted the ship into the skies.

“Wow… it looks different up here…” Jenna said in awe through the giant transparent aluminum alloy glass screen in front of the bridge that provided a clear view of the surrounding environment both above and below the airship, directly in front of it.

“That’s nothing, wait till we take this puppy up past the clouds,” Necro winked, used to seeing the view as he flew on airplanes back in the real world. He was NOT used to actually flying them, but the Scythe seemed to respond to whatever he wanted, so he turned off the VTOL thrusters and switched to normal mode, craning the nose of the ship up and blasting off with all four wheels spewing the blue fire towards the rear of the ship.

As they broke through a thick layer of clouds leading to the stratosphere of Tipa, a gasp of awe came from everyone on the bridge at the simple majesty of the fields of clouds rolling on forever before them. This magnificent moment was ruined by Reaver, naturally.

“Oi, Necro! We haven’t even broken the sound barrier yet! Let’s crank it up a bit!”

“Don’t push me sir! The maximum speed of this sucker is Mach 225,000!” Necro grinned.

“And you won’t be going that fast in Tipa’s atmosphere, that’s for bloody sure. No faster then Mach 10!”

“Oh come on Grim! It’ll take over 3 hours just to circle the equator of Tipa!” Necro replied sulkily.

“Need I remind you that all the continents of Tipa are on the western hemisphere? You can reach Nida in about 2 hours at that speed, it’s quite fine…”

“You let us go faster in the Otana…”

“That’s cause the Otana wasn’t the size of this thing! We could easily hide the Otana from the public, this thing we have to go high in the sky to hide it, and then they can hear us all the way in Nida when you started it up!”

“Ease off Grim, this ship has two modes. The first mode is the normal one, which purposely makes extra noise just for show and to inspire fear in our enemies. The second mode is stealth mode, which nullifies the engine noise and activates a cloaking device, a good one. It’s a phase cloak, which means that solid objects can pass right through it, making us completely invisible and intangible! This ship has literally got all the bells and whistles any ship could even want!” Reaver intervened.

“I don’t recall ordering the droids to install all that…” Grim muttered.

“I had the droids add them when they finished. They are amazing, you know?”

“Can someone PLEASE tell me what all this number nonsense is about!?” Jenna shouted, extremely annoyed at being out of the loop.

“Mach is a measure of how fast the speed of sound is. So, Mach 1 is the speed of sound. Conveniently, the speed of sound on Tipa is the same on Earth, so I don’t have to worry about any conversions there. Mach 10 is roughly 10620 km/h, which is fast considering the technology available in my time. The speed of light is very roughly Mach 900,000, if we were using the proper conversions. So, Mach 225 thousand is ¼ of that number, meaning that the Q-CID can take us up to ¼ the speed of light. Grim here is being a fussy pot and not letting us go over 10 times the speed of sound though in planet. I take it that means no warping in planet, no?”

“Hell no! Don’t you read sci-fi novels? Going to light speed near a strong gravitational field is dangerous!” Grim reprimanded.

“Fine fine fine… anyways, we’re going at super fast speeds here, so if you decide to go on the deck of the Scythe, you WILL be blown away. That’s on top where the “hood” is, or the chassis as we like to call the main part of the ship. Can we test out the weapons systems Grim?” Necro asked.

“No! We need to get a move on here! Necro, land this ship down outside of Calico, I’ll enlarge the entry hole so that way we can store her underground later,” Grim ordered.

After thirty minutes of putting off landing, Necro finally did as Grim asked which followed some more screwing around as Necro and Reaver gave the rest of the Roughnecks a grand tour of the ship’s interior.

It was lunchtime when they finally situated themselves back in Calico’s main chamber, with a lunch buffet already prepared by EVA. A map of Tida had already been prepared, with the various kingdoms marked with major landmarks.

“Tida is divided into the North and South side by the Great Gap River, or GGR for short. It’s the widest river on Tipa, spanning from Eastern to Western tips of the continent and spanning about 50 kilometers wide. You would think that Tida would be two separate continents, and it would, if it wasn’t for the odd land formation directly in the middle of the river,” Grim nodded, and EVA highlighted a small land strip that connected the north and south parts of Tida.

“It’s known as The Overpass, a 3 klick wide land pass that is actually a natural bridge with large gaps in the support rock beneath the actual road on it that allows the river to flow through. It’s recorded in the Archives that the Overpass was made by the Founding Reaper of Earth to connect the two sub-continents together. In the center of the overpass is a 20 klick diameter circle that holds The Citadel…” Grim started, but got cut off by Necro.

“Which is the stronghold of the Paladins which they use to exert their authority all over Tida. Is it also the former capital of the Grand Kingdom?”

“The first part is correct, the second is no Obviously you’re good guesser, or you just know you’re clichés rather well. The Grand Capital Ruins are in the southern portion of Tida, but that’s later. Like Necro said, it is here that the Paladins ruled. The Reapers never actually touched The Citadel, though I wanted to bring that monstrosity down, I assure you. The Elemental Orbs wanted there to be some sort of lingering order yet for the people of Tida to cling to, and they figured the Paladins were the best shot. Fortunately for y’all, the Paladins are going to be a nuisance for our campaign, and we’ll have to dethrone them if we want to unify Tipa,” Grim explained.

“Grim, I know that you and Necro have your beefings with the Paladins, and Reaver may not like them because he’s a Forger, as he told me, but I happen to like them, and Aldrith IS allied with them. In fact, ALL the kingdoms of Tida are aligned with them…”

“Nope, your knowledge is incorrect. New Grand is aligned with the Necromancers and have shunned the Paladins, most likely cause the Necromancers helped rebuild New Grand while the Paladins didn’t even look in New Grand’s direction. This brings us to the heart of the discussion: the political state of Tipa, and the Elemental Orders. First off, there are no countries here in Tida; that would be too formal. They are all kingdoms, with a central capital and the extent of their conquest or of the people who pledged allegiance to the capital. We’ll start with Aldrania, where we technically are now,” Grim snapped his fingers, and EVA highlighted the north eastern portion of the continent in blue. Necro judged it to be roughly 1/3 of the northern half of the continent.

“As of right now, there are 5 kingdoms in Tipa. When the Grand Kingdom was destroyed, there were many small kingdoms that popped up, but over time they got conquered or joined together to form the 5 kingdoms we have today. They’ve been around for about 200 years, depending on which kingdom we’re talking about. We are in the Kingdom of Aldrania, with Aldrith as its capital. While formally the Outaway woods and Calico fall in Aldrania’s borders, Aldrania never actually asserted it’s authority past the Azure River, which as you can see is a short river that starts up here in the Calico Mountains, worms it’s way west, south, then east again to effectively cut off this peninsula from the rest of the mainland. We’re still technically attached to the mainland because the river doesn’t cut us off land wise in this region north of the river. Nonetheless, because of our situation, we will have to deal with Aldrania first if we plan on accomplishing our goals…” Grim continued, interrupted by Reaver.

“And those goals would be…”

“We are going to be facing a powerful invasion force from Nida. This invasion force comes from those creatures which are usually deemed “evil” by the humans banning together under one leader. This leader is the problem… You have all been briefed on the incident that occurred 40 years ago that forced the rest of the Reapers into killing themselves to seal that god, correct? Well, the fail-safe they activated didn’t… completely isolate the confounded Class 1 God. He’s trapped, but there’s a relic in Tipa that acts as the containment device for the dimensional prison. Said relic is located on Nida, and the leader of the Hoard, as they decided to call themselves,”

“Yet another original name,” Necro interjected.

“The Hoard leader is fully aware of this relic, and is intent on trying to use it to help him take over Tipa. The idiot is not aware that the Class 1 God can easily obliterate him with a single blink and then proceed to lay waste to Tida again, but evil villains never DO think too far ahead in circumstances like that,” Grim sighed.

“Grim, you mentioned the classification system here uses a scale of 1-7… so we’re dealing with a weak god, right?” asked Necro.

“But a god nonetheless. We are only demi-gods at full power, and in a head to head fight with all of us… I’d say we’re evenly matched, at least the old Reaper crew. I’ve yet to evaluate how this generation does. Unfortunately, this god doesn’t like head to head confrontations, and we never could get him to do a grand standoff fight. We wouldn’t WANT to do that anyways, as it would probably destroy Tipa in the process. The main plan with that fail-safe was for the last generation of Reapers to trap him, and then for this generation to finish him off,” Grim explained.

“How the heck do we kill a god? Aren’t they immortal and whatnot? Can’t he just… uncreate us or something?”

“Beldron, the name of the god we’re dealing with, is a general demon god with no real area of specialization. Yes, he does follow the Demonic Doctrine that Tipa is used to dealing with, so we do know some extents of his power. We don’t have to worry about him attempting to go back in time and blow up the planet at it’s creation or anything like that thanks to our FCPA coverage. We’re immune to reality distortion waves from other acts of uncreation or temporal disruption. Tipa is solid along those lines, but our position in the backwaters of the omniverse makes us susceptible to random portals, which sadly the FCPA does not cover, cheap buggers…”

“Grim, now you’re just confusing us. Who is the FCPA?”

“That falls under “The Talk” to know who they truly are, but think of them as an agency that helps out worlds when dealing with the supernatural stuff. Since Tipa doesn’t HAVE any gods anymore since the Goddesses abandoned us, the FCPA helps make sure that random Class V and up Creator Gods don’t come in and make us worship them. Also deal with all the annoying paperwork with the Immortal Council…. It’s complicated, but they’re technically our superiors if there was a pantheon here for Tipa. The FCPA doesn’t usually do “divine interventions” though, so we can’t really ask them to help us out with our problem since he’s only Class I. If he was, say Class IV or higher, we may be able to get help, but we do have measures on Tipa to deal with these rouge gods,” Grim explained.

“So these guys are like gods that let us do whatever we want, giving us full free will and whatnot, and help protect us from nasty external threats except for the portal thing?” Reaver asked, trying to piece it out.

“Sort of… They don’t just sit back and do nothing though. The FCPA is a huge organization. You know how monsters have random amounts of gold and items on them, or how in some worlds defeating enemies gives you health? The FCPA are the ones who put health in pots and give monsters rewards. They’re a huge organization that has billions of worlds to cover, so they’re usually stretched pretty thin. The point is, we don’t have to worry about Beldron trying to attack Tipa when we’re not there. He has to cause his destruction in the present and can’t time travel or bring in followers from his dimension. There are lots of inter-dimensional laws I don’t have time to go with, so trust me on this,”

“That still doesn’t explain how the hell we kill this Beldron,” Jenna complained, currently licking her arms while Necro was once again batting his tail playfully.

“Immortality is never quite what it seems to be, let me tell you that. There’s always SOME way to defeat a god, whether there is one or not. Even if the god is considered Class VII, the highest level god, there is still some way or another to defeat them, even if that other way is to get another Class VII to duke it out with him. That’s because the large majority of “gods” out there are far from perfect. Gods tend to have some sort of human or animal tendency to them. In the entire omniverse, there are only a handful of deities out there that have been judged “perfect”, which I use lightly as the term is subjective, and earned the right to be called an “omnicreator”. These gods are ones that can be truly immortal, as they generally have no weakness whatsoever. Fortunately, “omnicreators” are usually the “sit back and watch” gods, so they don’t usually try taking over other god’s realms,” Grim explained.

“Don’t take them lightly by what I just said, gods are dangerous creatures indeed. To a mortal there is no chance unless the fates dictate that he does so, and that’s usually with some sort of divine help, usually provided secretly by your friendly neighborhood FCPA, but that’s for “The Talk”. Beldron is Class I, which means that while he’s powerful, he has a weakness that is known and can be exploited. At full power, we are considered demi-gods. Our actual class level varies on the Reaper, but we ARE powerful, and we CAN take on a demon god. Beldron was actually nearing Class II when the last generation of Reapers fought him, but thankfully the fail-safe kept him from going up in power. It will be a difficult fight, but there IS a method to off him permanently. I can’t tell you this though because the plan still has some bugs and I really don’t want to overburden y’all. I mean, come on, you’re already responsible for one of the 6 elements of the planet, and you also have to restore the credibility of the Reapers as well as save the world. I want to add the burden slowly so that way it doesn’t squish you,” he continued.

“That’s great, but back to the original question: what are our goals? If you’re not going to tell us how we’re going to kill a demon god, then tell us what we’re supposed to do besides gather the rest of the Reapers?” Necro asked, now poking Mog’s pompom, since he was sitting on top of Necro’s head.

“The Reapers have lost credit with the eyes of the public. They believe us to be dead, or have forsaken them. Your primary duty, besides your quest for the Reapers, is to get the 5 Kingdoms to re-swear their loyalty to the Reapers. Yes, it’s more of a formality as we could very well just force them to do whatever the hell we want when we’re all at max power, but it’s much easier if they think they have some choice in the matter. We need to unite Tipa under one banner, mainly ours, and get them prepared for the invading Hoard. The South of Tida is currently warring between the two kingdoms down there, and will get easily swept up in a united front by the Hoard. The three Northern kingdoms have truces with each other, but they’re uneasy ones. The Paladins are part of this problem of unifying the continent, because they’re actually stirring up trouble between the kingdoms,” Grim said grimly.

“Why? If the Paladins are for justice and good and whatnot, wouldn’t they want a united Tida?” asked Reaver.

“This reminds me too much of the Catholic Church back in the middle ages of my world. There were plenty of separate kingdoms back then, with no real sense of unity. The Catholic Church was the one organization that survived the fall of Rome, and thanks to it kept people going through the Middle Ages… somewhat. The old Catholic Church was corrupt, more a political entity then an actual religious organization. The Paladins probably want the continent divided so that way they’re the major power. I don’t think they’d like it if all of Tida was following us then them,” Necro theorized.

“Exactly! The Paladins like their position of power, and would be loathe to give it up, especially to us. The Paladins are still pretty mad that we ended the Grand Kingdom, as that was their golden age when they were the King’s right hand army. They’re still powerful, but no where near as such during the Grand Kingdom. Even if the Reaper of Life told them to, they’d probably call her a traitor for abandoning them in their hour of need,” Grim replied.

“I say, Grim. If the Paladins don’t have the Reaper of Life as their head, which they did back in my day, who’s the jolly old leader now?”

“The “Holy Emperor” is the position, said to have been handpicked by the Reaper of Life before she betrayed the Paladins. After that one was picked, the position of Holy Emperor has been a position for, yes, another monarchy. This would be a good time to explain the Paladins and they’re infrastructure. As you know, the Paladins were founded to uphold “the greater good” that is the life element. They’re motto is “Burn the Heathen, Kill the Mutant, Purge the Undead,” Grim began, but was cut off.

“Why am I getting a Warhammer 40,000 moment here? Anyways, who exactly is the Mutant and Heathen? I can guess who the undead are,” Necro interjected.

“The Heathen are those who follow the Serpentine Trinity; that is the members of the Air Raiders, the Infernal Forgers, and the Necromancers. It also refers to criminals and other people dubbed “uncivilized”. The mutant refers to lycanthropes and vampires, and other “freaks of nature” as they call them. Fortunately Beast Warriors are considered “ok” by the Paladins, so you don’t have to worry about getting killed for being in your current form. You will be killed for associating with a necromancer though,” Grim explained.

“Bunch of dastards… who the hell do they think they are judging others by their “standards” of living? The Life Element is NOT the “only” path out there…” Necro muttered.

“Now you see why I loathe them. Incidentally, the reason why people support them is because of the balance thing I mentioned earlier. It seems that it’s usually the “dark side” who tries to upset the current balance with world domination or destroying everything. Since everyone loves an underdog, the light side is usually favored, and as such, “civilized” people usually tend to go with its beliefs. That and people are afraid of the unknown and change and blah blah blah, a bunch of philosophical BS that I’m not going into. The Paladins ORIGINALLY were a decent organization created back before the Grand Kingdom existed, dedicated to protecting humans from monsters and such. But unfortunately, the Grand Kingdom gave them a power boost like no other, and the Paladins decided they liked being the elite army with their ideals, and they got corrupted from then on,” Grim added.

“How do they feel about the other sentient creatures, like elves and orcs?” Necro asked.

“That’s a source of debate. Some Paladins are “kill all non-humans”, while others are “let’s be friends with other sentients”. The compromise is that the Paladins treat the other races with respect, but generally ignore them unless they’re attacking a human settlement,”

“Alright, go on about their domain and infrastructure,” Necro nodded.

EVA highlighted the rest of Tida, adding 4 more colors to the map. “Here are the remaining kingdoms. I will not go into depth about them until we actually run into them, as this briefing is long enough as it is. The red area in the middle of the North is the Highgetish Kingdom, with the capital of Highget. The green area on the west side of the North is New Grand, with New Grandia as its capital. These three kingdoms respect the other’s territories, but there’s some border skirmishes with minor nobility that keeps the truces uneasy. As you can see, the North is divided in about a third for each kingdom, keeping everyone happy. The South only has two kingdoms but apparently half the sub-continent is not enough. The yellow area in the west is the Kingdom of Lochester, with Hichester as its capital, while the brown area in the east is Renegadian Kingdom, with Renias as its capital,”

“All monarchies… Grim, is it against the rules to point out that monarchy is the stupidest ruling system and if they want a totalitarian government they should settle for a military dictatorship,” Necro asked, his modern ideas taking over now.

“Yes, I don’t want you upsetting the political community of Tida with your modern philosophies on government. I will admit, monarchies are stupid, but they haven’t learned that leadership isn’t genetic. I mean, I guess you could TRY, but no one will believe you, considering that family birth is like, half of what makes a person…”

“That’s another issue. I remember reading “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, bout this guy from the Industrial Revolution in my world being sent back to the middle ages. Towards the end of the book, he becomes this powerful guy in the kingdom, second only to the king, but he also realizes that he’s not accepted by the other nobility, or the peasantry for that matter, because he doesn’t have a family. They’re a time period that think that family is more important then ability, which is plain stupid.”

“You are in some luck there, as Tida isn’t nearly as bad as King Arthur’s Court is in that regard. Some of the most powerful mages serving in the court come from peasant families, so people ARE aware that family isn’t everything. Nobility and Royalty will of course judge you mostly by your family, but when you start talking with the common folk, you’ll realize they care a lot more about abilities then they do about what family you are. Obviously they’d bow down to Jenna if they found out she was a princess, but they wouldn’t think less of you Necro if you were born from the poorest family ever if your magic talents are good. In Tipa, the socioeconomic structure isn’t quite as rigid as the old feudal system, where you’re stuck in you’re class where ever you’re born. People can move up to be mages or knights, or get kicked down to being peasants. It’s the nobility and royalty though that is judged on family though. You can say that we’re working on it, but we’re going to need something like the French Revolution and a Napoleon that you should be judged on ability, not heredity,” Grim sighed.

“That just means I got to lie about my background, I’m good with that. I’ll assume they’re used to the Reapers being from common upbringing?”

“Jenna is the third reaper to be inducted from nobility or royalty. The Elemental Spheres try to avoid picking humans from that class to try to prevent them from going “Oh, only us fancy people get to be Reapers, making us that much better then you”. Trust me, we have an odd system here, but it IS changing… ever so slowly… This reminds me, there is to be absolutely no havoc inside the capital cities whatsoever. Our goal here is to convince these kingdoms that following us will save their butts, which it will. I don’t want any Shambles incidents in the capitals, otherwise we’ll REALLY be despised and have to use mind control or something, and it’s really hard to do that on an entire planet’s population. You may launch reprisals at smaller villages, if you can justify it properly, like in Shambles. You are to be on your best behaviors, and Jenna will be in charge of making sure you behave yourselves,” Grim stated.

“If Jenna’s the mother, does that make Necro the father of us?” Reaver said slyly. This comment was met with the flat of Necro’s blade against Reaver’s skull, and then the flat of Jenna’s blade against the front of Reaver’s Face, knocking him out.

“Well, yes, sort of… Necro may not know what to do, but I’m sure he knows enough on what NOT to do to attract attention. That and he is the most capable of smooth talking his way through anything with deception and what not, though the Reaper of Wind may also be capable… if we had him. Regardless, no mucking about,” Grim warned.

“Aye sir!’ everyone else changed, except for Reaver, who was being revived by Mog.

“Now, let’s move back to the Paladins,” Grim sighed, snapping his fingers and a large gold area highlighted about 75% of Tida. The circle did not encompass any part of New Grand’s territory, and did not touch go past the Azure River. It also seemed to leave other parts of the continent unhighlighted, but mostly at the edges.

“That is the domain that the Paladins control. Big, isn’t it? Once you cross the Azure river, you will be in their territory. The Paladins central HQ is of course, the Citadel. Here the Holy Emperor sits, as well as the administrative staff for the Paladins. It is also where the Head Priest and General of the Imperial Guard reside, the second highest positions. Obviously, the Head Priest is in charge of all magic users, while the GotIG is in charge of the Citadel’s security. Below these two are the 5 Generals of the Holy Order, or the Generals for short. These guys are each in charge of a region of Tipa, mainly one for each kingdom. The New Grand one is in charge of expanding their territory, as New Grand is against the Paladins… not openly, but they do ignore any messages sent their way and ally with the Necromancers. There are 5 Paladin Frontier Bases, where each General lives to oversee his region. Right now, we will focus on the Aldranian Branch as that is where we are, but most branches are the same, with the exception of New Grand,” Grim explained, zooming the holo-projector on Aldrania.

“Here is the capital, this red dot. The blue dot is where we are, and the black dot is the former village of Shambles. The blue line is the Azure River. The brown line is the main path from our location to Aldrania. This green dot is the Paladin Frontier Base, or PFB is situated. What’s the yellow area it’s situated upon? That my friend is the Maralny Desert, home of one of the Air Raider tribes. They outpost is about a day’s march from Aldrith, allowing the Paladins to respond rather quickly to any Air Raider attacks and keep tabs on the kingdom’s capital. Inside this massive fort lies the General, who has under him two divisions of men,” Grim stated, causing Necro to spurt out his apple juice.

“WHAT? Two divisions?” he cried incredulously.

“What’s so bad about two divisions?” asked Reaver, who didn’t know a lot about military organization.

“Ok, in a general military structure, there’s usually 12 men per a squad, right? There’s usually 3 squads plus a fourth “special ops” squad that handles heavy weapons and such in each company. There are usually 3 to 4 companies per a battalion. There are usually 3 battalions for every regiment, and there’s usually 2 regiments for every division…” Necro began, but was interrupted by Jenna.

“Actually, the Paladins have four 12 man squads per company, four companies per battalion, four battalion per regiment, and four regiments per division…” she said shyly, knowing that Necro wouldn’t be happy.

“Dear pie, that’s 6144…”

“Actually, Grim, each PFB has 4 divisions, not 2,” EVA corrected.

“Lovely, that’s 12,228 soldiers vs. the 6 of us, plus a moogle and a sentinel cause you can’t leave the base. And that’s ONE base! Who knows how many are in the Citadel…” Necro sighed.

“Calm down! You’re forgetting that one of those four companies is an HQ company, which means only 3 of 4 will be doing fighting. Yes, it’s high numbers, but y’all ARE going to be demi-gods after all. Besides, since Aldrania has the lowest level monsters, the Paladins there are also lower level compared to the others. Now, as I was saying, their military is generally well run. You have Brigadier Generals running each Division, Full Colonels running each Regiment, Lieutenant Colonels for each Battalion, Captains for each company, and Lieutenants for each Squad. Each squad consists of one Squad Sergeant and Squad Corporal, with the rest being “enlisted” ranks. Generally, the main body of the Paladin is a knight with a sword and shield, though they use practically every weapon out there, excluding the scythe. It just depends which group you’re fighting. They never break down past the Squad level, so if you run into a random patrol, it’ll be a squad with the company not too far. One division is always out on patrol, stretching themselves across Aldrania looking out for trouble. Another division is kept inside the capital city, while the other two stay at the base,” Grim explained.

After sipping some pumpkin juice, he went on. “While most Paladins are knights, there are clerics. Usually there’s 4 clerics per company, in that 4th “support” squad, along with 4 mages and 4 normal Paladins. Clerics are generally for healing purposes and dealing with undead as they associate themselves with the Life Element, while mages are more for fighting and haven’t formally chosen an element, but still fight for “the greater good” or something like that. Also, one regiment in each division is entirely made up of cavalry, and they are usually the elite units compared to the foot soldiers. The Paladins do not usually believe in using archers and such in combat, but some companies may employ a few just in case. The Clerics and Mages are usually ranked according to a “tier” of ability, from 1 through 10. All paladins, whatever class they join, join as initiates and must pass their “trial” by themselves or in a small group to be deemed worthy to enlist, though the Paladins are usually welcoming to anyone, even Necromancers or those who are “mutants”. They grant them clemency and that they have repented for their sinful actions, and are thus redeemed,” Grim concluded.

“Next I’ll deal with the Air Raiders, as they live in the desert. As you already know, they’re nomads that were viewed as a bunch of criminals by the Grand Kingdom and forced into exile in the various deserts around Tida. They get their name because the majority of members are aligned with wind somehow, and they typically launch raids on settlements,”

“Yes, they’re horribly cruel and merciless. They don’t give a second thought to killing women and children, and are absolutely despicable. They deserve their exile,” Jenna hissed.

“You may want to investigate the reports the military of Aldrania hands you more closely. My intel suggests that the Air Raiders operating round here are quite respectful in their raids, only taking enough food for what they need, and only attack men who get in their way. Women and children are at worse, knocked out cold. Your loathing of them stems from their frequent attacks on your subjects, and you would like nothing more then to wipe them out, no? Consider that they have to survive in the desert, where food is scarce, especially as the Air Nomads have been using up more then the desert can produce, and monsters aren’t the most edible things, as most are poisonous to humans. They’re trying to survive, and they are NOT criminals or gypsies or whatever ludicrous charges the Grand Kingdom trumped on them,”

“Hello, member of the Grand Kingdom right here,” said an annoyed Jenkins.

“Don’t care Jenkins, your Kingdom is dead, and so is it’s feelings, get over it. It just so happens that the next Reaper, the one of Wind, has been detected in the desert AND in the capital, indicating he’s probably a member of the Air Raiders. We’ll talk more about that later, but as you can see, killing them all is unwise,” Grim smiled coldly.

“The Air Raiders are not organized by any means; each faction operates as separate entities. The actions of one “cell” do not mean the other cells are the same, each one has it’s own flavor, if you will. Since Wind mages are the experts on tracking and recon, they are the hardest to track, which gives the Air Raiders a distinct advantage over the Paladins. They can easily move their camp in a matter of hours after getting word that they were discovered. There is usually one Chieftain, with other duties assigned to people based on ability. Usually the men go off to raid while the women mind the children, a typical role in Tipa society, though there are exceptions, and women are more then welcome to join a raid. Women also are in charge or protecting the camp so they’re not just weak creatures that need protecting. The main goal of the Air Raiders is to survive, though some act through revenge. The largest concentration of them live out in the Talni Desert, which is in Lochester territory,” Grim added, stopping to eat a grilled cheese.

“That’s about it for them, nothing too fancy. They live in all the major deserts, and their numbers are unknown, though I’m sure the Paladins could wipe them out if they really tried by sheer numbers. Keep an eye out for them, as they have spies in all the settlements to scope out targets. Next I’ll cover the Aqua Guardians, whom you’ve already met and may have slightly ticked off… it would be nice if we could get the Elemental Orders to swear loyalty to us, but that may be a teensy bit harder…”

“Anyways, the Aqua Guardians are similar to the Air Raiders in that they operate mostly on their own. They have small outposts all along the major rivers and lakes making sure people don’t try to taint it or abuse it or something like that. They sort of serve as the authority in areas where there is none, and have a general sense of good. They’re certainly not as obnoxious as the Paladins, but as you saw with Jenna’s group, they can be a tad… extreme and confused. I’m not sure how they’re going to take the news that an entire group of them got defeated, but we’ll see. There IS a central location for them though, near the Citadel actually, about 10 klicks east and on the north bank of the river. They don’t have too much authority over their various cells, but they do form the head. Each group as a “Captain” as their various leader, and their armaments are mixed, but mostly ranged weapons. They don’t belong to anyone except the waters of Tipa, keeping them free for all to use, but not abuse. There are currently no AG along the oceans, something about the water there being tainted with salt…”

“The Infernal Forgers are a tad more connected then the previous two groups, but far smaller in number. The Raiders and Guardians have thousands of people if we summed up all their cells, but the Forgers would barely be above a thousand. This is because of the technophobia Tida has. They believe it is unnatural, and shouldn’t be messed with. Reaver already explained the ranks. The Master Smith rules in Mt. Inferno, a dormant volcano located in New Grand near the Great Gap River. Below him are the 5 Smiths, one for each Capital, where they train up the younger members of the organization. While technology is still reviled by the kingdoms, the Forgers DO make the best weapons and armor, so the capitals tolerate them provided they make weapons and armor and keep the tech stuff underground. Freemasons are usually in charge of the smaller settlements scattered throughout Tida, though they are allowed to roam and forge as they please for the Forgers. The lesser ranks usually stick with their leader until they are promoted to Freemason. They’re goal is to unlock the secrets of advanced technology, while making cool stuff and setting it on fire,” Grim nodded as Reaver grinned.

“The Druids are an interesting group, living in the forests of Tida. They operate independently of each other, but they all follow a common credo so essentially what one group does another would likely do it as well. They’re job is to protect the forest from poachers, loggers and the like. Druids are primarily mages attuned to the earth element, but there are a few warriors that become Stone Warriors or Beast Warriors. Ironically, plants fall under Earth and animals fall under Life, yet the Druids can still create Beast Warriors, a phenomenon that fascinates me, but that’s going off topic. Essentially, adventurers trying to go into forests will run into the Druids, and usually will be run out if they are seen harming the plants. It’s fine to hunt monsters, but not plants. As I said before, Druids are all carnivores while Paladins are generally herbivores; which prevent the two groups from getting along as Druids love to protect plants and Paladins protect humans and animals, but not monsters. There’s usually a head Druid, and some various ranks based upon the level of the druid, but nothing too rigid. Just a “be at one with nature” attitude. They’re mostly laid back except when someone steps on a flower, and then they’ll go psycho on you and try to avenge the poor flower. Watch your step around them, please,” Grim cautioned.

“Naturally, I’ve saved the best for last, the Necromancers. This once might organization now lives in the Tainted Woods of New Grand, an undead forest that no druid would dare set foot in. Within this forest lies a massive fortress known as the Necropolis. While only half the size of the Citadel, it’s still quite an imposing site, and far more fearsome,” Grim nodded proudly.

“I know I haven’t been real detailed about ranks in the other organizations other then the Paladins, but that’s cause really the Paladins and the Necromancers are the most organized of them all. Sure, they all have scouts, mages, healers, etc. but I don’t want to point that out. If a position needs to be explained further down the road, I’ll fill you in. Anyways, the leader of the Necromancers is the Grand Master Scythelord…-“

“Scythelord? I thought you said that only we carried scythes?” Necro asked.

“You must remember, each Elemental Order was founded by the Reapers, and therefore are somewhat Cults of ours. The Holy Emperor was originally the Holy General, but that changed once the Reapers ended Grand. Out of all the organizations, the Necromancers revere their Reaper the most, and honor him by making their leader carry a scythe. Truly, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the Founding Reaper of Death allowed it,” Grim explained.

“I thought they weren’t supposed to worship us?”

“You saw the AG worshiping Jenna, no? No matter how much we do, because we’re essentially the highest power around here, some form of worship is there. The Elemental Orders will at the least respect y’all for being the Reaper of their element… well, except for the Reaper of Life…”

“So, could I technically become this Grand Master Scythelord?”

Grim grinned at that suggestion. “One of my original unification plans was to have the Reapers become the respective leaders of their Elemental Order. Obviously it’s harder for some then others, but if the Reapers were literally the heads, we could easily mobilize Tida for war. While the kingdom unification is more urgent, there is nothing preventing you from claiming domination of your respective Order,”

“What, you want more titles for yourself, glory hound?” asked Jenna jokingly.

“I’m not the one who was claiming to be a goddess earlier,” he teased back.

“Hey, I was under the influence of that Water Orb!” she growled playfully.

“Alright, enough! Anyways, the Necromancers aren’t quite as militant as the others. There’s… 5 “Elder Necromancers”, which serve as the council for the entire group. Each Necromancer is idealistically in charge of one kingdom, but because they’re holed up in the Necropolis, they don’t have too much reach past New Grand. That’s where the Necrofinders come in. They’re the talent scouts for the Necromancers that enlist others to join them by roving around the world, which is your current cover story. The Necromancers have their initiate rank, then once inducted, they’re given a field of study. Most become Stalfan Tamers, which are your average necromancers that wield large armies of the undead to crush others. Others choose to undergo Sentinel Tamers, which are the Necromancers that use Sentinels. Generally, Necromancers go off in pairs when they’re on the attack: one for Stalfan, one for Sentinels, as they are completely different magic, but both are necessary for a viable attack. Still others go for the “dark mage” aspect, which focuses less on necromancy and more on the other elements of the Death Element, like emotion manipulation, diseases, pain, etc. Each of these three branches have their tiers as well, once again, 1-10.” Grim concluded.

“That was less epic then I thought it would be…” Necro sighed.

“It’s cooler once you’re actually AT the Necropolis and see all the stuff around there. Trust me, the Necromancers are the second most organized of all the Orders. Tomorrow I will be briefing y’all on your specific jobs in Aldrith, and then I’m kicking your butts out of here so I can get some rest and we can continue on with our grand mission…”

“Sir, it’s twenty hundred…” EVA reported.

“I lectured for 8 hours? You’re joking me….”

“So THAT’S why we were so bored!” Necro and Jenna chimed together, then blushed as they realized they said it together.

“Get out of here and go to your rooms, no supper for being bored for any of you! You can use your food replicators if you want a quick snack!” Grim ordered, more as a joke then anything else, but the other Reapers were glad to go their separate ways and get away from the main room.

“EVA, next time warn me when I go into a large rant like that!” Grim said, going back to his console.

“You were doing such a lovely job sir, I decided it best to just let you drone on and on. Hopefully we’ll get them back into Tipa soon enough,” EVA replied.

“Yes, no more bloody side quests for a while, that’s for sure,” he muttered.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 18
8/28/2009 21:42:15   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 18

Grim sighed as he called Jenna and Mog into the war room at the crack of dawn. She looked slightly better from last night because she turned in early, but it was quite evident by her droopy ears and tail that she was quite tired still. “Grim, what’s so important that you woke us up?” Jenna yawned as she sat down and grabbed a waffle from the buffet.

Mog seemed to have all of Jenna’s energy as he floated around the room kupoing happily. It was unknown to the party whether all moogles were this chipper, or if Mog had found the supply of super kupo nuts, rumored to be supercharged by a freak experiment involving kupo nuts and an Ultima Orb. He happily landed on top of Grim and made himself comfortable while Grim explained the early morning meeting.

“Look, remember yesterday when I said that Necro and you are going to have to talk about your feelings? Well, I didn’t tell you everything about that… You may have noticed that Necro has absolutely no problems with using undead, or slaughtering things when needed, correct?” Grim hesitated.

“Yes, I did, but I assumed that was because of his experience…”

“It’s not. He comes from a world where they don’t even have to kill the animals to get their food. Similar to how the chefs did everything for you and whatnot, they have people already gut and clean the animals, so they buy the meat at a store and then cook it themselves. He never killed anything in his life besides a bug when he came here a couple months ago. If I had to use… normal training methods to get him used to killing without hesitation and raising creatures he already killed, it’d take much longer then we already had. We’re already behind schedule because of our little “side trips” and whatnot,” Grim started, waiting for Jenna to nod her head before continuing.

“I’ve been suppressing certain emotions and trigger events within him to make him do his job, as well as a teeny bit of mind control. Yes, I’ve been using an Ultima Orb, because Calico has all of them as our power source; a good thing because if a mortal ever got their hands on one of those, we’d be in big power if the orb didn’t consume them. Ultima Orbs are very volatile things, and have to be handled with extreme care. Now, things were going fine; even when he found out he’s going to be living here the rest of his life, I was able to contain the reaction. However, things started deteriorating when you showed up,” Grim accused, pointing a bony finger at her.

“Me?” Jenna asked in surprise, ears and tails now raised.

“Yes, because of this infernal Class VII bond you and him share, his emotions and thoughts got flooded with yours before the mental shields were created, making it very difficult to contain emotions. I purposely sent you guys out to get the Abiliticus plant in order to more stabilize Necro so I could continue the suppression. Unfortunately, the bond already did it’s work, and now there’s a new element in the field that’s weakening my hold on the suppression: love,” he stated contemptuously.
“What?” Jenna asked, now beset with a mixture of emotions including pity, outrage and confusion.

“Oh don’t’ pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about; Necro is in love with you, plain and simple. And I know that you also are returning the sentiment to him as well,” Grim explained. Jenna was about to say something in response, but Grim cut her off. “Don’t try to deny it, ever since this bond formed you too have been developing a relationship, especially after he sacrificed himself for you. As the former Reaper of Death I’ve observed relationships enough to know when two people are hitting it off or not. Sacrificing yourself for someone else ALWAYS changes opinions someone has for the victim unless you’re completely heartless. His selfless act jumped your jumped the synch rate from -75 to 50%, something that’s supposed to take months, possibly years to occur if allowed to take things at a “natural rate”. Look at you right now, you’re orange fur has turned into a brilliant red, indicating intense embarrassment and anger,” Grim pointed out.

Jenna was visibly shaking with rage as her fur did indeed turn a brilliant shade of red. Grim’s accusation about the relationship between the two was indeed causing the embarrassment, but the outrage was stemming from more then that. The fact that Grim was actually using mind control, if not a complete one, on someone else “just to get the job done” absolutely infuriated her. Add that with Grim’s attitude that this situation was her fault and her guess where this conversation was going; Jenna was ready to explode at Grim. Mog, sensing Jenna’s anger, immediately left his perch to go hide in a corner of the room.

“Anyways, as I’ve said before, love is an unstable emotion that seems to take precedence over everything else. As such, it’s slowly eroding my hold over his emotions, so he’s going to have to vent out his emotions in order to get back to normal. Reaver and Jenkins are off in the Otana collecting some supplies I need, so you don’t have to worry about them interfering. Mog is here to help calm Necro down with his snugliness. Obviously, I won’t’ be here to get in the way of you two lovebirds…”

Before Grim could finish the sentence, Jenna let out a roar that seemed to shake the entire room and pounced from her seat onto Grim; knocking him to the ground. She then extended her claws in her hands and began tearing at his cloak to get to his bones to start breaking them. “HOW DARE YOU!” she roared at the top of her voice. “You dare to use us all like pawns! You think just because I’m a woman I should have to deal with emotional issues within the party? You think just because we have a bond with each other I have to take the brunt of his venting when this is YOUR entire fault?”

Grim’s cloak was already shredded when he finally reacted to her attack, spewing dark green energy from his eyes like a laser beam; blasting her off him and sending her across the table as he got up. “And what are you going to do about it? It’s true that the Reaper of Ultima relies on the other Reapers and Elements for his strength, but don’t forget I’m still a full fledged Reaper while you are nothing but a human with some talent. I could take on the entire Roughnecks without breaking a sweat, even if I did have sweat glands,” Grim taunted, not regenerating his cloak.

Before Jenna could respond, a large explosion from Necro’s corridor ,distracting both combatants. When the smoke cleared, Necro could be seen in the entrance seething with rage. His eyes had turned into a demonic red as he launched a Death ball straight at Grim, who took it in the chest as he was slammed into the wall. “You can thank Jenna for passing the conversation directly too me, if you’re wondering why I’m here. You should really ask EVA to upgrade the force fields, one blast completely destroyed it,” he growled. “All this time, I’ve been questioning why it seemed so easy to kill things without a second thought. I did rebel when I killed that deer, but some part of my mind was telling me that it wasn’t nearly enough emotion. And then when I resurrected that same deer, that same part of my mind was telling me it was completely wrong. The same thing happened with the news that I was stuck in this realm and that my life back on Earth is essentially gone,” Necro stated coldly, his voice taking on a tinge of demonicness.

Grim bellowed with laughter as he recovered from his meeting with the wall. “And just what are you going to do? I already told Jenna that with the entire party you have no chance of defeating me, and even if you did, what would you do? Kill me? Without me you’ll never know how to deal with the situation on Tipa. Worse, one of you would have to assume the mantle of Reaper of Ultima, which is far more then any position that you currently hold, even Reaper of Death. Now, go sit together and talk your emotions out like a good little couple,” he grinned evilly, his red eyes glowing.

“I’m fully aware that the odds are against me, and that even with Jenna’s help we have really no chance of killing you. I even realize that it’s not your fault that I’m here on Tipa in the first place; it’s the Elemental Spheres fault. However, it IS your fault that my heart wants to explode with all these suppressed emotions, and the best way to let them out is to take them out on you!”

While Necro had been talking, Jenna had summoned her scythe and was waiting for the right moment to strike, which happened on Necro’s last word. The ice shards she launched at Grim were deflected by a barrier he had erected around himself. The grin still on his face, he did the “bring it on” motion with his hand. “If it’s a fight you want, it’s a fight you’ll get. I haven’t had a good fight in a long time, and that little squabble with Jenkins was nothing. However, I feel that this room is too confined, and repairing anything broken in here will take time. If you’ll join me on the surface, we will resume this dispute,” he challenged; teleporting to the surface.

Grim was waiting impatiently in Calico Valley, tapping his skeleton foot. He was standing a kilometer north of the giant hole that served as the entrance/exit point for the vehicles. “Where the hell are they…? I thought I had made them so angry that they’d be charging up the stairs and running to obliterate me…” he started, but was intururpted by a violent tremor from beneath him as a giant skeletal fist punched it’s way straight up through the earth where Grim was standing; sending him flying.

As Grim recovered from the fall, he looked up to see an undead giant; a truly terrifying site as a giant was usually twenty feet tall. This one was armed with a ten foot club made of Death Energy, which was currently being swung down to squish Grim.

Cursing under his breath, if he had any, Grim teleported out of the say behind the giant and launched an Ultima Slash at the giant’s left foot, completely disconnecting the foot from the rest of the skeleton. As the giant turned around to try to clobber Grim again, it was struck with another Ultima Slash on its right foot, causing the undead giant to topple over.

As the undead giant crashed to the ground, Grim was busy scanning for Necro and Jenna’s magic signature, but couldn’t detect them. Puzzled, Grim was tempted to teleport back into Calico when the two in question teleported in front of him. At first he was startled by their sudden appearance, as teleportation was a level 75 skill, but when he saw their respective Elemental Orbs in each of their hands. “That explains the giant and the delay. Looks like I’m going to have to restrict Elemental Orb access to me only after this,” Grim grinned.

“What type of damn leader are you? You’ve been toying with my emotions all this damn time, and then you try to dump the responsibility of fixing it with Jenna? You’re no leader, you’re a bloody dastard, and I’m going to make sure that you pay for this!” Necro roared, holding up the Orb in his left hand. Jenna similarly held up her Orb in her right hand, and they slowly brought the two together.

“What the hell are you doing? Elemental Orbs of different elements should never touch, the reaction is too unstable! You got away the first time, but a second time could literally kill you if it goes the wrong way!” Grim yelled.

“What the hell do you care about us? All you care about is getting the job done to save Tipa, you don’t give a damn about any of our feelings. The only reason you didn’t want us dying is because it’s a pain for you to revive us,” Necro growled as the two orbs gently touched each other.

A giant blue and black mushroom cloud explosion occurred, sending Grim flying backwards by the sheer force of the explosion. Quickly teleporting in mid-air, Grim landed a safe distance outside the explosions radius, cursing under his breath that he hadn’t intended things to go this far.

Grim’s eyes widened as the black and blue smoke cleared and he unslung his scythe from his back, still cursing under his breath. Standing in the smoke was Necro and Jenna, but they were no longer just half-tiger/half-human. The orange fur had turned black, and the black stripes had turned blood red. Small horns now appeared in between both their ears, and their eyes were now pure blood red: no pupils, iris or retina could be seen. Their wings were now also visible, but were now demonic bat type wings, both black in color.

Necro seemed to have grown two feet taller and was now completely ripped, rivaling Superman’s muscular build. Jenna was only a foot taller, and was far less muscular then Necro, but compared to her normal form, she was still buff. Their faces had also changed to resembling more of a cat’s face then a human’s face, giving them both a fearsome demonic look.

“That explosion must have sent Necro deep into his dark side and he dragged Jenna along with him. They’re both in a completely daemonic state; stats tripling, resistance to most elements except for Life… damn, it looks like they temporarily absorbed the Elemental Orbs too… I can’t separate them from the Orbs… This could be trouble,” he muttered, trying to think of an effective strategy to handle this new development.

A simple nod from Necro sent the pair flying off in separate directions: Necro breaking right and Jenna breaking left. As they pulled even with Grim, Jenna unleashed an ice beam at Grim while Necro launched a Death beam at the same time, then resumed their flying course and met up with each other on the other side of Grim.

Grim attempted to teleport away from the attacks, but found himself unable to do so. This caught him off guard, and he bought the full brunt of their attacks. Staggering to the ground, he quickly pulled himself together and wheeled on the two. “You managed to erect an anti-teleportation field, didn’t you?” he hissed, launching a few Ultima Slashes at the pair.

Necro and Jenna dodged the attacks and shot back with their own element’s respective slash attack. “You fools! I draw power from all the elements of the active Reapers! Watch as I turn your own elements against you!” he yelled, his entire body glowing dark green as he attempted to control the incoming Slashes. To his shock and horror, he discovered that he couldn’t control them, and instead took the brunt of them. This time when Grim fell, he was slower in getting up, but he didn’t seem tired at all. “Why the hell can’t I control your attacks?” he roared in frustration.

“You don’t think that I would challenge you to a fight without knowing more about the Reaper of Ultima, did you? The second week I was here in Tipa, I had EVA show me more about the Reaper of Ultima and how that position differed from the rest of ours. Ultima draws on the other elements and then combines them into a new state of being. However, as the Reapers of our respective elements, we have the ability to deny the Reaper of Ultima access to our element temporarily, in case he’s doing something he shouldn’t,” Necro stated, his voice now completely demonic.

“You shouldn’t know how to do that! That’s a high level ability that requires extensive practice to get it right!” Grim retorted, shooting several Ultima beams at the two.

Jenna and Necro split up and shot back their own beams at Grim. “You can thank that explosion for teaching us how to do it. Apparently Necro’s dark side has a whole wealth of abilities that were waiting for him to embrace it,” Jenna replied, her voice as demonic as Necro’s.

Grim cursed under his breath again as he also dodged, continuing a duel between the pair and himself as they both dodged and try to hit each other with elemental beams. While this was going on, Grim muttered under his breath as he thought his next move. “I’ve been cut off from two elements, I can’t tap into three, leaving Fire the only one left. I can’t rely on the Ultima element right now as it’s only got one element feeding it, and I don’t have access to the Orbs… guess I’ll have to use Fire,” Grim muttered, dodging an incoming blast and slamming the butt of his scythe into the ground.

He than began muttering in Reaper and performing complex hand signs. Jenna and Necro both tried blasting him with beams, but they were only absorbed by Grim’s shield. As they attempted to close in to try to do melee attacks, Grim suddenly lifted up his hands and shouted “COME TO ME, ELEMENT OF FIRE!”

A red streak of light seemed to fly from the east and land directly on Grim, who began glowing red, dimly at first, but then so bright that it looked like he was on fire. A few minutes later, he actually WAS on fire, though it didn’t seem to be hurting him. Jenna and Necro stopped a few yards short of Grim as they watched the spectacle. “Foolish Reapers, I have fused with the Reaper of Fire and now have complete access to its power. Behold the power of a full fledged Reaper!” Grim roared, casting a fireball three times the size of himself and launching it at the pair.

Jenna and Necro quickly took to the skies, splitting away from each other, but the fireball only split into two and followed the pair. No matter what maneuvers were performed, the fire balls kept right on their tails. Thinking quickly, Necro turned around in midair and slashed the fireball; causing it to explode in midair. The explosion sent Necro falling, but he recovered after a few seconds and slowed himself down to a soft landing. Jenna imitated Necro’s move with similar success.

“You can absorb us to increase your own power?” Jenna questioned, her voice still demonic.

“Yes you fools! That is why the Reaper of Ultima is the leader of the Reapers! I have access to all the elements, and I can fuse with all the Reapers in order to elevate myself to near God level! Fortunately for you, I only can fuse with Reaver, but that should be plenty in order to crush you two!” he bellowed, spewing forth a wide spread of blue flames.

Jenna attempted to counter the fire with her own water, but was tackled out of the way by Necro. “Don’t try to fight that! Blue fire is the hotter then normal fire! If he’s really using the full power of the Fire Element, we don’t stand a chance trying to go head to head,” Necro explained.

“Why don’t we try combining our powers then? Grim is limited to one element, and since I’m water, I’m his opposite. Enhanced with Death energy, we might be able to overpower him,” Jenna suggested, getting up retaliating back at Grim with a giant icicle, which Grim quickly destroyed with another blue flame surge.

Necro nodded his head and grabbed Jenna’s left hand with his right as they both stood together facing Grim. As Grim launched another blue fire stream, Necro and Jenna both extended their free hands towards Grim and began chanting in Reaper. Just as the fire was about to hit them, they both shouted together “BLACK ACID!”

A black and blue aura surged forth from the two, showing the excess magic that was being released by the spell as a stream of black acid came spewing from both of their free hands. The acid quickly ate into the flame and started pushing it back towards Grim.

“SEARING INFERNO!” Grim yelled, and his own aura exploded much like Jenna and Necro’s, but red as a stream of white fire came back to stop the acid from advancing, and slowly pushed it back until the two beams were halfway between their targets, pushing and shoving at each other.

As Jenna and Necro struggled to break through Grim’s inferno, a small voice in the back of both of their heads suddenly spoke in a clear whisper. “You are holding back. Unleash your emotion into your attack. You both have plenty of rage, hatred and other powerful emotions just waiting to be unleashed.”

Both of them found the voice somewhat disturbing, but at the same time it also felt vaguely familiar. Nodding in unison, they closed their eyes and began concentrating their emotions into the attack. Slowly, the volume of the black acid increased and started to surge forward, pushing back Grim’s fire little by little.

Grim was quite perplexed how the hell the both of them were keeping up with his power level and holding out for so long. He was even more amazed when their auras suddenly grew bigger and his stream was slowly loosing the battle. He couldn’t imagine how things could possibly get worse for him, when suddenly he heard Reaver’s voice inside his mind. “I’m not going to be used like this, Grim! I’m a human, not some damn tool of yours! You won’t be turning me against my friends!”

The red light that had entered Grim earlier suddenly departed and went back on the path it took. This left Grim completely without the power of Fire, and with nothing it its way, the black acid hit Grim full on, causing him to scream in agony as he witnessed his own bones slowly dissolving away.

The light around Jenna and Necro began to fade away as they slowly reverted back to their half-tiger/half-human forms. Magically, their clothes seemed to have grown and shrunk with them during their transformations, so no damage to the clothes was done, other then the wholes in the robes where their wings had been. Both collapsed face forward, still holding hands with each other. The Elemental Orbs were in front of their respective owners.

When the dust from the battle had finally settled, little Mog cam flying out of the normal Calico exit, looking extremely worried at the sight of the battlefield. “Oh no, kupo! I’m too late! I only hope that he can fix it…” he sighed.

Suddenly, the sun seemed to stop shining inside the Calico Valley, covering the area in darkness. As thunder rumbled in the skies, a giant heavenly spotlight suddenly burst through the clouds that had magically appeared over the Valley. An angelic chorus could be heard singing something in an odd tongue as the magical light beam from heaven shone into the center of the battlefield. The thunder sound seemed to grow louder as a giant shadow started blocking out the light from above. Slowly, what looked like a giant pie tin began to show itself as it slowly descended from the heavens, angelic chorus still singing away.

Moving at a dramatically slow pace, the giant pie tin continued descending, until it could be seen that it was actually a giant pie. This giant pie had a small halo over its center, and had tiny wings, one on the opposite side of the pie tin. When the giant pie got low enough, it was revealed that it looked exactly like a pumpkin pie.

“Who dares to summon the Giant Pie in the Sky from its sacred duty of protecting… oh, it’s you Mog! How are you?” asked a deep voice that sounded like it was God.

“I’m fine, Mr. GPITS, but I need your help! You see…” Mog began, explaining the events that led up to the dispute between Jenna, Necro and Grim. He then described how the fight went, as he had watched it inside the main chamber from one of the secret cameras hidden all around Tipa.

When Mog finished his story, the GPITS gave forth a mighty chuckle that seemed to shake the entire whole of Tipa. “So Grim finally got his butt handed to him, and by the people he was trying to use in the first place! Oh, the irony is so thick you could cut it with a giant pie cutter! Fear not little Mog, Grim has not gone completely evil on the Reapers, as there is more to this situation then meets the eye. You must remember that Grim was never a people person, and has a hard time with emotions and such. He’s good at manipulating others emotions with magic, but this time he bit off more then he could chew trying to suppress Necro’s emotions. I think it will be best if he explains it, as I don’t want to ruin his surprise,” the deep voice explained.

“How though? Grim completely dissolved in that attack that Jenna and Necro did! Oh, they were oh so scary when they transformed…”

“Did you really think the Reaper of Ultima could be killed so easily? They merely destroyed his corporeal body, his soul is quite fine and alive and is regenerating a new body. You must remember that he is undead, and the undead can be revived with magic from their Necromancers. Since Grim is his own master, he can revive himself no problem. Still, the fact that they managed to destroy Grim’s body IS impressive, though it looks like they gave everything they had in that last attack, they’re completely drained of energy. I do believe I can fix that…”

A holy beam of light came down from the heavens, with the familiar heavenly “ahhhh” as Jenna and Necro were bathed in the healing light. Slowly, they came to, though they moved slowly as every single muscle in their bodies were aching in their bodies. When they realized they were still holding hands, they quickly released them and both turned a brilliant shade of red where their orange fur used to be.

At the same time, a huge explosion of dark green light came from the spot where Grim had dissolved. When the light faded, Grim was standing with a huge grin on his face that quickly disappeared when he saw the GPITS. “Oh, did Mog summon you? I am so sorry about that, he didn’t know about my plan; though my plan went awry anyways. I do thank you for taking time to visit us, and I hope that your trip back to the Afterlife is a pleasant one,” Grim bowed.

“Nonsense Grim, you don’t need the formalities, I’ve always been friends with the Reapers since the Founders. I’ve actually been observing how Tipa was getting along after that incident with some interest, and I’m amused at the progress of your current group of Reapers. It would do me no greater joy then to see you explain yourself,” the pie chuckled, again sending Tipa into another minor earthquake.

Grim sighed as he walked over to Necro and Jenna, extending a hand for each of them to help them on their feet. “I guess I should first start with an apology for being the cause of this entire mess, and I hope you will first listen to my explanation before you pass your judgment on me,” he asked.

“You know, at first I thought I wanted to tear each and every bone out of you, but right now I’m feeling quite calm and willing to listen to reason,” Necro commented, with Jenna nodding that she felt the same way as they accepted Grim’s help.

“Ok, I know it was a really risky and immoral thing to do to suppress your emotions like that Necro. EVA warned me against it, but unfortunately patience is not one of my virtues, and we WERE on a strict time table. Since I didn’t know how tough it would be to train someone form another world, I took the fastest route possible. Suppressing your emotions DID speed things up quite nicely compared to getting you used to killing things the “normal” way. I always did intend to deal with the suppressed emotions eventually, but I was hoping to wait till after we gathered all the Reapers,” Grim began.

“Unfortunately, you proved more tenacious with your willpower then I thought, and it was tough to do it from the beginning. Then when you created the bond with Jenna, I knew I couldn’t keep the hold on you for too long. I sent y’all into the Scrapyard to try to increase your synch rate quickly to avoid the negative effects of having a negative synch rate that big. Trust me, if Necro had exploded while you both had -75% synch, it could have driven both of you insane, literally. I didn’t know about the Sphinx, but Necro’s death did prove to be the incident I was hoping for, though it was still a rush job to try to revive him before Jenna died. Once you two were in the positives, I knew that all I had to do was just get you two talking too each other and hope that would ease the intensity of the emotional explosion,”

“Unfortunately, I realized the emotions weren’t going to wait for the right moment when you two had that little overflow back at the Cave of Training. It was then that I resolved the only way to take care of the emotions was for you two to take them out at me. I purposely taunted Jenna into attacking me, knowing that she would pass the information on to you. I had EVA enact a weak force field around the main chamber to keep the sound in, but to look like I didn’t want you there. EVA is quite capable of generating a force field that could have stopped you, if you didn’t know. I then taunted you both more, and led you outside to prevent too much damage inside Calico,”

“Unfortunately, I didn’t think you two would be stupid enough to let the Orbs touch each other again. From what I can tell, the resulting reaction sent Necro over to his “dark side”, causing him to take a daemonic form. Since you’re linked to him Jenna, you went dark side too. I was a bit surprised that you were more a calm, calculating demon instead of a berserk one, but I’ll attribute that to the Water element’s calmness. The water element is a moody thing, sometimes being as calm as a still lake, and other times attacking with the ferocity of a hurricane. Ordinarily the Reaper of Water is supposed to be a calm sort, but obviously your bond with Necro and your personality shows you to be a bit moody. That’s not a bad thing! That means that you can adapt to situations better then others, as some will dictate you remain calm, and others will require you to go with gut instinct and instant action,” Grim explained, hoping not to gain Jenna’s ire.

“Anyways, you both absorbed the orbs, and with the unstable reaction, you were both fighting at least at level 80, if not higher… I think, I couldn’t get an accurate reading. That was one hell of a good fight; forcing me to absorb Reaver like that. I got to ask though: how did you two get your synch attack to overpower me?” he asked.

“We just heard a voice telling us to dump our emotion into our attack, which we did,” they both stated.

“I believe I can shed some light on that manner, Grim. When the spheres touched each other, it would appear that the Death Elemental Sphere began taking an active interest in what was going on, and apparently started giving Necro little hints. That’s how he and Jenna were able to cut you off from their respective spheres. It was also the one who told them to dump their emotions into their attacks. Since they completely dumped their pent up rage into that attack, any suppressed emotions have thus been vented, and thus you accomplish your objective,” the GPITS explained.

“Not the way I had it pictured, but at least now you two are calmer. I take it this means you now accept killing things, raising the undead, and being stuck here?” Grim asked.

“I still don’t want to kill things, but I will do it if I have to. I’m actually sort of comfortable raising Stalfan as they’re not really alive, but just bone golems. As for staying here, I think now I may have more motivation to stay here then before,” Necro said, blushing head to toe as he said it. Jenna blushed along with him, causing Grim to smile.

“I can’t tell, but I think that when you two started pushing me back, I think your Synch rate was past 200%. It may have hit the full 300% by the time Reaver managed to gain control of himself and left me, which would explain how you were able to destroy my body. Congratulations, that’s actually a first for me. Not even the old Reaper of Life managed to do that,” he grinned. “Now, all that’s left to do is to plan for the wedding.”

At this comment the black stripes on the pair turned red to match the rest of their bodies as their mouths hung open and they eyes bulged. Mog was too busy bouncing around happily, celebrating the advent of a wedding. “I love weddings, kupo! There’s lots of food and happiness!”

It took a few minutes for the pair to pull themselves together and get their fur back to normal. “We can’t get married! We haven’t even been on a date yet!” Necro protested.

“Grim, I come from a society that has an elaborate set of courtship rituals before even getting married. I can’t just drop everything I’ve been raised with, no matter how much I like Necro…” she stopped, and the pair both blushed again. Clearly, when it came to matters of love, they were both very shy about it and did not want to rush things.

“What’s the big deal? You both admit that you love each other, and what about this epic battle we had? Doesn’t reaching 300% synch count as a date?” Grim asked.

“NO!” they shouted in unison.

“Alright, alright! I guess I’m not very knowledgeable in this “romance” stuff, so I guess I’ll take your word for it. Rest assured, as my revenge for causing me extreme pain by dissolving my body, I will now make it my new life-time goal to get you two married. I know, this goes against everything I believe in, but today taught me that I may need to change a few policies of mine if we’re going to be a family,” Grim grinned.

“So… how’s Reaver and Jenkins?” asked a blushing Necro, scratching the back of his head.

“Oh, they should be done with their assignment, though Jenkins will be wondering where Reaver went, and Reaver will want to know why we were fighting. We’ll fill them in on the way back. Come on, that fight worked up an appetite, let’s celebrate your mutual liking of each other!” Grim joked, which caused the GPITS to chuckle more, shaking the planet.

“Truly this is an amusing turn of circumstances! I will keep watching with interest, do not disappoint!” the GPITS stated, slowly ascending back into the heavens. When it had finally ascended past the clouds, the holy spotlight disappeared as sunlight flooded the valley again.

“Finally those accursed angels stopped singing! The one thing I hate about his visits is that he always has that damn chorus with him,” Grim complained.

“I dunno, I found it quite beautiful. I was singing softly with it,” Necro commented.

“So was I! They sounded quite delightful,” Jenna sighed, wanting to hear them again. Suddenly, the pair turned to stare at each other. “You can sing?” they asked in unison.

“Baritone,” Necro replied.

“Soprano,” Jenna added.

“SEE? You both have singing talent as well! It’s as if you two were made for each other! And given the author of this story, I’m not the least bit surprised! Enough talking, let’s get something to eat,” Grim nodded, turning in the direction of Calico.

“Hold it Grim, I think we should get something for putting up with all your stunts and for beating you in combat,” Necro said, a sneaky grin on his face.

“Such as?”

“Such as the right to play Grimball whenever we want,” Jenna stated, knowing where Necro was going.

“Ok, fair enough. What’s Grimball?” he asked, completely unaware at what he had just agreed to.

“Oh, I think it’s better if we show you…” Necro said as they all walked together to Calico, Mog floating behind them.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 19
8/30/2009 15:03:44   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 19

“Reaver, you’ve been walking in between Jenna and me for the entire trip. Heck, every time we try shifting formations for the sake of living things up, you’re always in between us no matter how we line up. Why is that?” asked Necro as the Roughnecks walked down the path towards Aldrith. Grim had been kind enough to drop them off in the Otana at the other side of the Azure River so the party could finally resume their quest to gather the Reapers.

“Quite simple; now that you two are lovers, it’s my job to prevent you two from holding hands, which could lead to making out and then who knows what. As both of y’all’s best friend, I have to make sure you two focus on the mission and not each other,” Reaver nodded sagely.

This was met with a resounding thwack from Jenna’s scythe. “We’re not lovers! We haven’t even been out on a date yet, much less done anything like that. Call us that again, and I’ll shred all the fur on your body,” Jenna hissed.

“You know, we WILL be getting near human civilization here, shouldn’t y’all don the holo-cloaks to try to get used to being normal humans again? It’s a lot harder then you might think, trust me,” Grim suggested.

This was met with groans, but they grudgingly accepted Grim’s advice and transformed into their human forms. What was truly amazing to Necro was that he couldn’t feel that he actually had fur, and that the skin felt warm and alive. The only thing the holo-cloak couldn’t take care of was the tails or ears on their heads, so it simply made them invisible, but not intangible. Grim was still trying to work out the bugs with the phase holo-cloak; the last prototype nearly causing a black hole to swallow up Tipa.

“It feels odd having skin after having fur for so long,” Jenna commented, having mixed feelings as she missed having her soft fur but loved having her silky skin back.

“Remember, we can’t do any of our quirky animal behaviors in public, otherwise people will notice. This is the biggest disadvantage of being half-human/half-animal: blending in with society. I mean, sure, our senses and stats get decent boosts and whatnot, but if we start hacking up hairballs or trying to eat livestock while they’re still alive…” Necro said, eying Reaver.

“You don’t understand! I’m torn by my love for cooking things, and this new insatiable urge to eat things raw! I try to resist, I really do, but those sheep didn’t have any shepherd nearby, or a guard dog! They were just sitting there, munching grass like there was no tomorrow! I couldn’t resist such a delicious opportunity!” Reaver explained, slightly drooling at the memory. A light whack from Jenna’s scythe snapped him out of it.

“Are you going to keep whacking this entire time?” Reaver asked, rubbing his sore spot.

“You heard Grim, I’m supposed to be the calm one in the group, after Necro when he’s not going dark side or something. Its my job to make sure nobody here blows our cover,” Jenna explained.

“Yes mother,” Reaver said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. Jenna responded with an evil eye so incredible it would have put any real mother to shame; causing Reaver to bow his head and apologise as he scooted behind her to avoid the evil eye.

“Wow, how do you do that?” asked an impressed Necro. “I mean, I can sort do an evil eye, but Grim calls it “Demonic Gaze” or something, and says it’s different from the evil eye… he didn’t exactly explain what that difference was though…”

“Probably that yours is done by magic and mine is done by talent,” she teased playfully. “It runs in my family. My mom had a look that could curdle milk and make the wood rot if she stared long enough. Besides, the evil eye is one way royalty keeps servants in line… oh don’t’ give me that look! I know that you come from a country where they abolished monarchies and have a completely different socioeconomic structure and you don’t believe in servitude; but we do treat them very well, at least in our castle. We certainly take care of them better then some of the nobility in Aldrania, that’s for sure.”

“A person’s a person and should at least have the right to prove themselves in life. A person’s heredity shouldn’t decide what job you get,” Necro sighed.

“I know you think that, but Grim already explained how Tipa is; you’ll just have to get over that. And you can’t start some sort of peasant uprising in the capitals because Grim said we needed to behave ourselves in them,” Jenna sighed.

“I know, I’m just trying to keep my ideas stuck in my head. One thing I’m not going to give up from my origins is my political beliefs, that’s for bloody sure. I’m going to be opposed to any sort of feudal system till the day I die. It only works in rare cases, like with you,” Necro commented, slightly blushing at his comment he made.

“Hey you two, I can hear what you’re saying! Knock it off or I’ll have Mog tackle both of you down!” Reaver called from behind the two, walking near Jenkins and Mog.

Jenna facepalmed herself as she resisted the urge to make a Reaversicle; deciding to change the topic. “So you remember what Grim’s briefing consisted of, right?”

“Duh, as the unofficial party leader, I have to know what the plan is. First we enter Aldrith and try to get an audience with the king. We’re supposed to hide your identity until we get to the castle, where we can then use you to see your father. We will then hopefully convince your father to pledge loyalty once again to the Reapers. After that, we leave Aldrith and try to seek out the Air Raiders to find the Reaper of the Wind. With four Reapers, we should be able to storm the Paladin Base in this area. Secondary objectives include convincing the Air Raiders to join under the Reaper of Wind and to try to find the Wind Orb located somewhere in the desert,” Necro summed up.

“Getting an audience may be harder then you think… my father and I aren’t exactly on good speaking terms...” Jenna said slowly, twiddling her thumbs.

“Oh, and what’s the point of the dispute?” asked a curious Necro.

“Well… I’m supposed to be engaged to someone with an arranged marriage…”

“YOU’RE ENGAGED?” the entire party asked incredulously.

“It’s not like I WANT to!” Jenna yelled back. “My father is trying to from an alliance with House Volrath; an extremely rich nobility that lives south of Aldrith that rules the town of Hamshire. I was supposed to be married to the son of the Duke of Hamshire in order to seal an alliance between us. The Water Orb is actually a family heirloom, and was supposed to be my dowry. So, one day I took it and planned on running away to avoid marrying him, but then the whole incident happened…”

“Ah, runaway princess, another classic cliché, but it works oh so well, and at least this reason was for a worthy cause. I absolutely despise the idea of arranged marriage; one of my biggest beefings with feudal society. If you want Jenna, I would be more then happy to… dispose of this son…” Necro said, an evil grin in his eye.

“Plus, this Hamshire falls outside of Aldrith, which means we can waste it! Let’s do some target practice with the Scythe’s weapons!” Reaver agreed, eager to see intense firepower at work.

“Hold it you two! Just because it’s not the capital does NOT mean we can lay waste to it! Laying waste to an entire village just so Jenna can avoid an arranged marriage is not a good enough reason! You are to proceed to Aldrith and carry on with your mission of requesting an audience with the king. I am sure that he misses his daughter and that he’ll at least want to talk sense to her, and we will use that as a bargaining chip… hopefully. Though I do find it odd that you were arranged to be wed… the Reapers aren’t supposed to have any ties like that when they’re chosen…”

“I think you mean emotional ties, Grim. Trust me, he only likes me for my body and my money, nothing else. The guy is a complete perverted sicko that would be better off dead to the world,” Jenna said icily, her blue eyes turning to an ice color to reflect her attitude.

“Still, killing a son of a powerful house will cause some political strife that we don’t really want to induce…”

“Hey, look, I can see the town… or rather city…” Necro said as they stopped short of a drop in the path. Over in the valley beyond, a large medieval city could be seen with accompanying walls and castle inside it.

It took them another hour to reach the gates of the city, which made Necro reconsider his underestimate that this would be an easy task. The walls were at least twenty feet high, and probably ten feet thick. Guards were posted everywhere, with at least two mages on each side of the wall at all times. The doors were made out of solid oak and had various magic runes engraved on them to help keep out intruders. “Security here seems pretty tight, is this normal?”

“No, this is actually more then usual, must mean that someone important is visiting, or they’re expecting an attack,” Jenna stated.

As the Reapers in the party had their hoods up and cloaks drawn around them, the guards couldn’t recognize Jenna as the leader of the 12 guards in front of the gate stepped forward to challenge them. “Halt! What business do you have in the proud city of Aldrith?”

“We are travelers from the city of Shambles seeking entry into your proud city. We are also curious why there appears so many guards around,” Necro requested, waving his hand around like he had seen Obi-Wan Kanobi when he used a jedi mind trick.

“Uhhh, the increase in security? It’s for his Lord, the future heir to the Duke of Hamshire, High Priest Robert Volrath of the Aldranian Paladin Division,” the guard replied, not quite sure why he was answering the question.

“Really? The future Duke of Hamshire is not only here, but the high priest of the local Paladins?” asked Necro, smiling evilly as he was plotting something.

“Yes, that’s what I just said…”

“Then, Corporal of the Guard, or whatever your rank is, it is my greatest pleasure to inform you that my group of adventurers that we have found her highness, the Princess of Aldrania!” Necro said ceremoniously, removing Jenna’s hood.

The guards immediately bowed when they saw Jenna’s face, which was filled with shock and anger at Necro. The rest of the Roughnecks were completely caught off guard by Necro’s move, except for Grim who sighed and muttered something about things going from bad to worse.

“Your majesty, it is good to see that you are alive! Your father and the High Priest will be pleased to see that you have returned! We will escort you to the castle ourselves! As for this party,” the corporal said, turning to Necro. “The king will want to personally thank you for finding his daughter! Please come with us to see the king!”

And so the party was led through town by the 12 guards at the gate with their hoods down, with other members of the Royal Guard filling the vacant positions in front of the gates. Jenna looked deeply embarrassed at the entire spectacle as she hung her head low and gave Necro scathing looks, who was too busy hamming it up by waving to everyone who had come out to see their princess return. Reaver and Mog were also enjoying the spectacle, while Jenkins remained indifferent. Grim floated up next to Necro and whispered in his ear. “I know where you’re going with this, and it is going to end badly.”

“Grim, ease off, I got it all planned out,” Necro muttered, waving to the crowd.

It took them another hour to get inside the castle and into the throne room, which as far as throne rooms went, it was pretty standard. There was the elaborate throne, the ridiculously spacious room, the various expensive pictures and statues throughout the room, the royal red carpet, and various gold busts of all the former kings of Aldrith lined up against the back wall.

The king of Aldrith had brown hair like his daughter, but had green eyes. His overall build was that of a short man who had recently let himself go in recent years, though at one time he could have been considered decent looking. Necro guessed that Jenna must have inherited her extraordinary looks form her mother, who wasn’t anywhere to be seen. “Jenna, where’s your mom?”

“She passed away giving birth to me… I’ve only seen paintings of her…” Jenna whispered.

“Sorry,” Necro embarrassed, blushing slightly as the King rose from his throne with a look of joy on his face.

“Jennifer! I am glad to see you have returned home to me! We will hold a grand feast in your honor! And I must also thank the brave adventurers who returned you to me! May I inquire your names?”

“I am Cid, your honor,” Necro said, bowing low. “My friends are Reaver, Jenkins and Mog. We saw your daughter wandering around aimlessly in the Outaway woods, and we immediately recognized her because of her exquisite beauty. Upon seeing her, we vowed to return her to where she belongs,” Necro stated eloquently, still bowed low.

“Come friends, no need for such formality for the rescuers of my daughter! I must ask though, was she carrying a mysterious blue orb with her?” he asked as Jenna slowly walked over to giver her father a hug.

“No your majesty, I am afraid I saw no such trinkets with her when we found her…” Necro continued, but was interrupted as a said door into the throne room slammed open.

“Do not believe a word that man says, your highness! He reeks of the Death Element!” a tenor voice accused from the doorway. The voice belonged to a young man, about 21 years old, who had a certain heir about him that made you want to slap him with a trout. While he was indeed handsome with his blonde hair and blue eyes, there was a certain smugness that radiated from him that only the rich could stand, and even then it would be for so long.

“What does it matter what my profession is so long as I brought her Highness back safe and sound? Furthermore, who exactly are you?” Necro growled, slipping somewhat back into his cat like manner.

“How dare you address the High Priest of Aldrania in such a manner, peasant! I am not only High Priest, but I am the heir to the Dukedom of Hamshire, Robert Volrath, as well as betrothed to the fair maiden that you obviously kidnapped!” he accused, walking into the room with a haughty manner that made everyone in the Roughnecks want to sucker punch him.

“Even if your claim was true, which its not, wouldn’t you think we would try to ransom her instead of just returning her? Surely we could get a much larger profit from ransom then just the reward the king has out for her,” Necro countered, staring coldly at his rival.

“Who am I to understand the ways of peasants and criminals?” he huffed, brushing Necro aside as he walked over to Jenna. “Hello, Lady Jennifer, if I may call you that. It is so lovely to see you again,” he said sweetly, slowly stroking her cheek. Necro could sense Jenna restraining the urge to slap away the hand, and quickly thought of the next phase in his plan.

“Gentlemen, please, let us not fight! Even if he is a necromancer, he has still done the right thing by returning my daughter to us! Perhaps you could offer him a position as one of the Paladin Mages in order for him to atone for his sins!” the king said hastily, hoping to avoid a conflict between the two.

“I would never join the Paladins if they offered me the entire omniverse as a reward. They are a tainted organization that should be cleansed from this planet!” Necro hissed.

“Heathen! I will make sure that you are burned in holy fire to atone for your heretical words!” Robert snarled, charging up a ball of Life energy to shoot at Necro.

“Guards!” the king called, and suddenly 30 of the finest members of the Royal Guard came in and quickly restrained both men, Necro barely moving while Robert was flailing with them. “Unhand me, you lowlifes! You are not worthy to touch me!”

“High Priest, your manner is most unbecoming, and I must ask you not behave that way in my court. Like it or not, these people saved my daughter, and I will offer them sanctuary from the Paladins if necessary,” the king said flatly.

Robert quickly composed himself and stood quietly until the king nodded his head and the guards released the two. “I will deal with you another time… Cid,” he threatened, turning his attention back to Jenna. “Now my dear, I think it is time that we discussed plans for our wedding. We’ve been delaying it for too long already, and I am oh so longing to share the same bed with you,” he whispered in her ear, though Necro could hear it quite fine with his enhanced senses.

“I challenge you to a duel to the death for the hand in marriage of the Princess of Aldrith!” Necro challenged dramatically.

By now the Royal Advisor had entered the room and was talking with the king about the upcoming feast when the gawked at Necro’s bold claim. The rest of the Roughnecks also gawked at him, with the exceptions of Grim and Jenna, the former shaking his head and muttering that he knew this would happen, while Jenna’s cheeks turned bright red.

“You… you challenge me? A lowly peasant, and a necromancer at that, challenging a high priest? I happen to be level 50 you know, and I am feeling particularly amused by your challenge, so I will let you take back your challenge…” Robert began, but was cut off by a Death ball that whizzed by his right ear as Necro summoned up his scythe.

“Filthy heathen! You will pay for your cheap shot!” Robert shouted. “Stand back, King! There is only one way to handle this type of low life, and I don’t want to see any of your men getting hurt!”

“Y’all stay back as well! This is between me and him,” Necro growled, dropping his holo-cloak as he had no reason to hide his half-cat part any longer.

“What’s the matter necromancer? Couldn’t find enough power from your human body that you had to fuse with an animal to gain more power? Your kind sickens me!” Robert insulted, shooting a few Life balls at Necro.

Necro dodged them with relative ease, but he could feel the power emanating from them and knew that if he got hit with one it wouldn’t be pretty. “That first shot was a warning, I could have easily hit you if I wanted to,” Necro taunted, launching a few Death Slashes back at Robert, who countered them with more Life balls, which he continued to launch at Necro.

Necro was quite confused why Robert was standing in the same spot using the same attack that was clearly to slow to hit him. He soon found out as he landed from one of his jumps as a magic circle of golden light spawned from the center of where he stood. The circle glowed for a few seconds, then erected a cage made of Life Energy, causing Necro pain if he even got near the bars.

“How do you like that, heathen? While you were busy dodging my attacks, I was slowly casting my Life Cage spell to trap you, which worked like a charm. You choose a poor place to duel me; a confined area to limit your dodging, and up here on the second floor of the castle so you can’t erect your infernal abominations. Now you will pay the price for your heresy,” Robert said smugly, charging up the largest Life ball yet and shooting it at Necro. The cage disappeared at the last second as the ball came into contact with Necro.

The last thing Necro heard before he blacked out was Jenna’s wail of agony.
“Well well well, so this is the might Reaper of Death, on the verge of death for the second time in his short time here on Tipa, and at the hand of a Paladin no less…” a voice whispered from the darkness.

Necro could hear the voice coming from all around him in the darkness, but he couldn’t move his body from some reason as he lay face forward.

“Oh, I’m sorry, you must still be new to Astral near death experiences, aren’t you? Allow me,” whispered the voice, growing a bit louder.

Suddenly, Necro’s limbs didn’t feel like lead any more as he slowly got up and started looking around. As far as he could tell, he was standing on a stone like surface in an open area that was completely dark, as he couldn’t even see his own body in the intense darkness.

“Nightvision doesn’t come till level 30, and sadly that fight with Grim didn’t get you any exp. A shame to, as I’m sure it would have catapulted you past level 30. Fortunately, I have some control in here, so let me help you,” the voice whispered.

A light seemed to come down from the sky of darkness, though Necro could not see its source as it projected a 3 meter radius circle with Necro at the center. As he looked around, he saw a figure emerge from the darkness. The figure looked exactly like Necro did when he had his hood up and cloak closed, except that no eyes could be seen within the hood. “That better?” the voice asked, still a whisper, but now with a hint of demonicness to it.

“Are you supposed to be my dark side?” Necro asked, feeling an odd sense of Déjà vu at the creature before him.

The creature laughed in the same whispered tone, almost hissing as it laughed. “I am not just your dark side, I am THE Dark Side,” it responded.

“The Elemental Sphere of Death?” Necro asked, not quite sure what to do besides try to look at where eyes should be.

“Very perceptive, I did well in choosing you as my avatar, despite your flaws. You certainly are a very interesting person, Cid, if that is ok with you. Though I suppose now you’re so used to the name Necro that you would be more comfortable with that, yes?”

“Necro is fine…”

“Good, good. You’ve been the most interesting of all the Reapers I’ve ever had the pleasure represent me. In less then three months you have managed to get yourself killed, from a Class VII bond with the Reaper of Water, actually have a romantic relationship with said Reaper, defeated the Reaper of Ultima’s corporeal body, destroyed an entire village and accomplished countless feats of magic far ahead of your level. Truly, there has been no Reaper ever coming this close to being as interesting as you.”

“Thanks… but what are you doing here… and where is here?”

“We’re in your mind, obviously. That last blow sent your HP deep into the red. One more hit and you will indeed be dead… and so will Jenna, inadvertently, because you both share HP…” the voice whispered, sounding amused.

“What, we share HP?”

“I thought you had figured that out, especially when she’s caused harm to you, she causes harm to herself. Then again, you haven’t really been in a fight like this, where one of you are fighting while the other is merely watching. You see, your bond causes you to share almost everything, and that includes your HP. But truly, I find this entire situation you’ve put yourself in amusing.”

“In what way?”

“The Reaper of Death dying is one thing, but falling in love? The Reaper of Death is supposed to be the epitome of hatred, loathing, envy… all those dark emotions that society claims are of no use whatsoever. Yet you challenged the priest because you wanted to end Jenna’s problem with the arranged marriage. You thought that if you could finish him off, the engagement would be called off and she would be free to marry you, at your own pace of course. You are using the powers of the Death Element for something the Life Element stands for, hence the irony of the situation and why it amuses me.”

“So? I’ve played plenty of video games where protagonists have used their dark sides for good. I’m the protagonist here in Tipa, which is in some way a video game as apparently their real… the point is, why shouldn’t I? Do you not approve of me using my actions?” Necro challenged.

“Please do not misunderstand. The Reapers are only somewhat our avatars, not completely. While it is true that you do our bidding when we request it, we rarely do so; giving the Reapers almost complete autonomy with their actions… provided they obey the Bylaws, but that’s another matter.”

“So you’re ok with me using my powers to protect Jenna?’

“For multiple reasons, my avatar. Even if you are the Reaper of Death, it does not mean you can abandon your brethren when there is danger. The Reapers are to stand united no matter what to help keep Tipa in a state of balance, as was their original role, and to protect it from outside dangers. My second reason is that I’m quite fascinated as to what will happen. You see, the Reaper of Death was not meant to handle Life Magic. A simple hug of affection would cause Grim squealing in pain when he was a Reaper. However, you acquired this bond at such a young level that you might actually build up some resistance to the element compared to the other Reapers and their opposites. I actually encourage you to continue on your course of action, to see if Love can be used by the Death Element.”

“So I’m a guinea pig? Is that why you chose me?”

“Ah, yes, the question of why you, out of all the people on your planet, were chosen. To be honest, it was quite random. The other elements stick to the established Bylaws like our lives depended on it, but I’ve always been a curious one. I always wondered why we never choose a human from another world to be in such a position, so I decided to create a portal to your planet to find one worthy of becoming my Reaper. Naturally the search criteria was a tad generic; I had to search for a human who would actually be able to adjust to Tipa and believe that this was all real, someone who has seen many other worlds without knowing it but sometimes wish he could live in one of them. It seems like you were the lucky winner, and I must say, you are doing an interesting job.”

“So… I’m here because I lost?”

“Well, almost lost. Since it was a match to the death, you still have a chance. I must point out that one of the reasons you weren’t able to beat him is that you were using Love as one of your motivational emotions. I was the one who told you to pour your emotions into your attacks to make them stronger back when you were fighting Grim, and you saw what happened. However, you were fighting out of Love, which is a Life element emotion. While Love is powerful, I have yet to see it fuel Death Element attacks, though you may one day make that work. Next time you try putting emotion into your attacks, try focusing on hatred and anger. You had them for that idiot priest, but you just weren’t using them right.”

“I thought my attacks seemed a little weaker…”

“That and he’s a level 50 paladin didn’t exactly help you out… but I am.” The figure nodded.

“So that explains why you’re here in my mind… I thought the Elemental Spheres couldn’t directly interfere with affairs here on Tipa…”

“There’s a whole manual for our interaction procedures, it’s extremely complicated. We are actually to talk to our Reapers whenever we wish, its just that the other elements choose to only do so when an edict must be given. I guess I’ve always been a tad more talkative then the rest… ironic isn’t it?”

“Yes it is… so are you going to super charge me with energy like you did with the Grim fight?”

“Calm down young one, you do not realize your own unique abilities you bring with you form Earth. I wish to first tell you that using the Orbs in the manner you did was extremely stupid and only by the good grace of the GPITS did it actually benefit you. Gong daemonic like that is a level 80 ability. What fascinates me is that you were able to hold that form for so long and use it so effectively. If it had been any of the former Reapers of Death in that situation, their bodies would have easily been destroyed.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you want to know why you have to learn all these spells and abilities instead of us instantly transforming you into demi-gods? The first is so that way the power doesn’t go to your head, but the second is because your bodies just couldn’t handle the power. Every body can only handle so much power before it will explode; that’s why you don’t see too many people attempting to abuse the Orbs because they’re afraid they’ll overload. You must have a high tolerance for magic… or you just have some incredible ability to accomplish feats deemed impossible here on Tipa. I’m not quite sure what exactly it is, but you seem to be the exception to many of the rules in the book, a fitting choice for my Reaper.”

Necro was not sure how proud he should be, but he did smile at the odd compliment.

“The Elemental Spheres can interact with Tipa directly through the Elemental Orbs. That is how I was able to teach you how to cut of Grim’s access to me. The others may sit back when their Reaper is being pushed around, but I can’t stand it when my Reaper doesn’t win, and I try to do whatever I can within the Bylaws to assist. This brings me to the current situation. We are sadly without an Elemental Orb, so I cannot just give you power from me because you do not know how to directly access the Sphere; that is one of your final abilities you learn. However, your bond with Jenna has allowed for some… loopholes in the interaction system that I fully intend to exploit… at a cost, of course.”

“A deal with the devil?”

“An interesting way of expressing the situation, considering that many on Tipa would call YOU the devil, but I assure you my deal won’t involve anything as precious as your soul. I will grant you access to the daemonic form that you were in earlier. However…”

“I can only access said form when my HP is critical, and then I can only last in it for a limited time before my body auto-reverts and collapses to prevent me from tearing myself apart?” Necro finished.

“It looks likes playing video games does do you good after all, no? I will even double both your and Jenna’s HP so that way you both won’t have to worry about being so fragile. While it is true the bond is a great boon in combat, increasing your Synch level up to 300%, that sharing of HP is a great hinderance. This should help even the odds. I’ll even double your MP, as you both share that as well, though you derive your energy from different sources.”

“Sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?”

“I cannot formally order you to do this, as it would be against the Bylaws. But, I can strike a deal with you in order to get it accomplished. In exchange for all this, I ask for the complete destruction of the Paladins.” The voice said, a hint of anger in its voice.

“Doesn’t Grim’s plan call for that?”

“Grim’s plan calls for the destruction of the Citadel. He hopes to destroy the three Frontier Bases in the North, then march on the Citadel and kill the false emperor. Without their Holy Emperor to lead them, he suspects the Paladin order will fall into chaos. I seek the complete obliteration of the wretched order and any who sympathize.”

“That’s a pretty tall order… what happens if we can convince the sympathizers to unsympathize? Convince the Southern Kingdoms to dissolve their allegiances to the Paladins?”

“I will accept anyone who will turn their backs on the Paladins, but anyone who would sacrifice themselves to save that cursed order must be destroyed. Every last member must be hunted down and killed before I will consider the terms of the deal complete.”

“What if the Reaper of Life is a Paladin? And what about balance? If there are no Paladins, the Necromancers will run rampant…”

“The Life Sphere can put together a new order… call them the Nightslayers or something… Look, not my problem. Are you going to accept my offer or not?”

“Can I ask the other Reapers for help, or do I have to do this alone?”
“This deal is between you and me, how you accomplish it is up to you. I am sure that Grim would be more then happy to assist you in your endeavor, though some of the other Reapers may be opposed to it, especially the Reaper of Life, when she joins. Some will enjoy it, others not so much.”

“There’s not any other negative side effects of going daemonic… is there? I’m not going to get like more evil each time I use it, will I?’

“Well, while you are daemonic you’ll be doing stuff that you probably wouldn’t even dream of doing normally, that’s for sure. I’ll throw in an extra ability that only gives you a vague memory of what you actually did to help prevent you from having annoying second thoughts of using the form. You may find yourself going a little bit darker each time you use it, but nothing you shouldn’t be able to stop. As you level up, your time in the form will increase, so there’s always something to look forward to. Right now… I think you can last two, maybe three minutes. I’ll have your Complicator give you a countdown to how long you stay once you transform.”

“So, what, we shake on it or something?”

“That won’t be necessary, just say that you’ll do it. A Reaper’s word is his bond with its sphere.”

“Alright, I accept the terms of your deal,” Necro nodded.


After waiting for a few minutes, Necro started to look a tad curious. “So… where’s the special effects?”

“We’re inside your mind; any “special effects” you want you create. The deal has already been done and you have now gained the daemonic form. Now you just need to use it.”

“Say, why haven’t I been attacked while we were having this conversation?”

“Jenna is in a near death state like you, which of course has caused all attention to be fixated on her. Besides, thanks to complicated temporal dream laws, only a minute has passed outside, so you’re good. Actually, you may want to strike while his back is turned, as it’s a most fitting way for a Paladin to die.”

“Is this form going to be powerful though? I mean, I barely beat Grim with it, and I had Jenna’s help…”

“Let me tell you something; Grim was going easy on you. He didn’t once use an Ultima Orb, or any Orb for that matter, and he didn’t use plasma or lightning against you. He could have easily out powered the both of you if he wanted to, but he didn’t. He wanted you both to poor all your anger into your attacks so you would vent it. He was trying to just wear you down, but you managed to catch him off guard with your attack. That and the fact that Reaver managed to pull away from Grim’s hold also left him completely unprotected the moment you dissolved him. You have a very high luck stat, almost ridiculously high, let me assure you of that.”

“So, will Jenna die if I die, or will it be more like what happened the first time I died?”

“It will be like the first time you died. If you were killed, Jenna would slowly deteriorate until she died a painful death, something you would want to avoid if you care for her.”

“Ok then… are we going to meet each other like this again?”

“Depends on circumstances, but we will meet again; hopefully not under these circumstances though. Perhaps maybe during one of your dreams or something… the future is always an uncertainty as even the best laid plans of the Spheres go astray.”

“How do I get back to reality?”

“I believe I can help with that…” the figure hissed, slowly lifting its right “arm” and sending a death bolt at Necro.

The sudden zap of the bolt snapped Necro back to reality as his eyes opened. He could hear Jenna groaning and voices of concern about her state from where she was. As he slowly sat up and turned to look at his foe, a deep hatred started surging inside him.

Jenna’s groaning suddenly stopped as Necro sat up, causing those around her to bend over more closely to see if she had actually died. The holo-cloak around Jenna suddenly shorted out, revealing her half-tiger form to the crowd around her; causing them to take a few steps back in utter shock and horror. When Jenna’s fur started turning black with blood red stripes, some of the guards fainted while the King, Royal Advisor and Robert looked positively mortified.

“You know, you really shouldn’t turn your back on your opponent until you know he’s finished,” a demonic voice said from behind the group. Robert quickly spun around in time to see him get tackled by a fully daemonic Necro. “Your arrogance will be your undoing, how fitting.”

“What the hell did you to Jenna… get back foul demon!” Robert said as he attempted to blast Necro with a Life blast. Necro grabbed Robert’s arm and shoved it to the ground, causing the blast to make a whole in the castle walls. “What the hell are you? There’s only one creature on Tipa that could transform into a daemon without triggering the daemon detectors located throughout the castle perimeter… Could it be that…”

“Yes, pathetic mortal, I am indeed who you think I am. The female that you intended to take for your wife to use for your own selfish purposes happens to be the Reaper of Water, and there is no way in the 9 circles of the Netherworld that I would ever let you abuse he like you intend to. Don’t try to deny it, I can read your pathetic mind like it was a picture book. Your existence is an affront to Tipa, and I’m here to correct this indignity,” Necro continued, his voice dripping with hatred.

“You’re… you’re…” Robert stammered, utterly horrified at the foul creature before him.
“I am the Reaper of Death, and I am here to claim your soul,” Necro roared, and plunged his clawed hand into Robert’s chest. He ripped Robert’s beating heart out from it, and then gulped it down in one swallow, not caring for the mess of guts and blood that was near him. The last look on Robert’s face was one of complete horror and pain.

As Necro stood up, blood dripping from his arm and mouth, the rest of the Roughnecks were utterly terrified at his site, with the exception of Jenna, who was just now slowly getting up. Necro turned his attention to the king, who had retreated to his throne, cowering in fear. “Everyone vacate the premises immediately, we have some business with your king,”

When the guards did not move as Necro requested, he let out a terrible roar that seemed to shake the foundations of the castle. “GET OUT!”

This was all the remaining guards needed to hightail it out of the throne room, leaving the Roughnecks alone with the king. “You must forgive this from, your majesty, but I am not quite ready to revert back to my normal form. Apparently I have 5 minutes in this form, and it would seem there is some recharge time necessary for me to change into my daemonic form, so I would like enjoy it just a little longer, if that is all right,” Necro bowed, his voice still demonic.

“Wha… what did you do to my daughter?” he stammered, his arms in front of him in a desperate effort to shield himself from Necro.

“Your daughter and I are connected by a magical bond of great intensity, one so powerful that it cannot be broken by any known means on Tipa. This bond causes us to share almost anything, including our forms. She will be fine, but we have other business to deal with. The Reapers are indeed back, and we have a proposition for the kingdom of Aldrania. On the continent of Nida there is a large coalition of forces that are hell-bent on wiping out all life on Tipa besides their own races known as the Hoard. The only way that Tida has a chance of fending off this invasion is by uniting under one banner to fight them. Specifically, our banner; The Order of the Reaper asks that you re-pledge your loyalty to us, as you probably thought we were all dead after the incident forty years ago,” Necro requested.

The king’s fright suddenly turned to one of outrage as he managed to summon what little courage was left inside him. “So, that’s how you operate, is it? You kidnap my daughter and turn her into one of your minions in order to try to user her as a bargaining chip so I’d surrender to you? Aldrania is under the protection of the Paladins, and I will not bow down to the whims of the Devil, no matter what…” the king began, but the roar from Necro quickly scared the rest of his color and courage away.

“You DARE accuse me of mistreating your daughter when you were going to marry her to that pervert just to secure your position on the throne? You know NOTHING about the workings of the Reapers and make baseless accusations to try to justify this entire situation. You saw what I did to the Head Priest of this branch of the Paladins; you think your status as king will prevent me from doing the same thing? Allow me to show you the error of your ways,” Necro stated, extending his already bloodied right arm as he advanced towards the king. Jenna, who was now standing, suddenly blocked Necro’s path, extending her arms and wings to block him. “No! Don’t do it Necro! He may have been a selfish dastard who tried marrying me off just to secure his own position, and he may also be twisting your words… but he’s still my father, and I can’t just sit here and watch you kill him,” she stated, her voice also demonic, but having a significantly softer tone to it.

Necro grunted as he lowered his arm. “I am sparing your life today because your daughter wishes it, nothing else. We will take our leave of here, as you have clearly rejected our offer. Rest assured, we WILL return, and in force. Since we can’t ask for your loyalty, we’ll just have to ask the new government for their loyalty,” Necro shrugged, walking towards one of the walls.

“Wha… what new government?”

“The new one we set up when we conquer Aldrith,” Necro stated, blasting a huge hole in the wall, opening it up to the outside. “Come on, I only have two minutes left in this form, and we need to get far away from here before the Paladins come in force,” Necro motioned for the Roughnecks, who were still somewhat mortified of Necro but were slowly getting used to it.

“Goodbye father… I wish it didn’t have to be like this, but I know where my loyalties lie,” she stated quietly, walking over to the rest of the Roughnecks. Necro was already holding Jenkins and Reaver by their right arms in each of his arms and was hovering outside the hole. And so they took off into the night, with Mog and Grim following behind them.

“Well, that didn’t go like we planned,” Jenna sighed, having mixed feelings about the entire event that she couldn’t express into words.

“Actually, I somewhat imagined that would happen when Necro brazenly revealed your identity to the guards, I just decided to let things play out. We are having a long chat once we find a place to make camp Necro. You have some explaining to do, and need to be lectured in the definitions of a few terms,” Grim sighed.

“Yeah yeah, I knew this was coming the moment I formulated my half-baked plan. Look on the bright side though; Jenna doesn’t have to marry the pervert and the Paladins in this area are now without their head priest. All we have to do now is raise up an army to destroy the Paladins and lay seize to Aldrith! How hard could it be?” he asked as they flew off into the night.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 20
9/4/2009 22:51:56   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 20

It was past sunset when the Roughnecks had finally chosen on a camping site. Once Necro and Jenna's daemon forms auto-reverted, the group hiked to a small nameless forest southwest of Aldrith. Necro and Jenna were dead tired from their daemon form, and had to be carried by Jenkins in his Shadow Gladiator form. The first thing the pair wanted to do was sleep, but Grim insisted on a debriefing.

"Before you start lecturing me about my brash stupidity and whatnot, can I ask what is up with the technology gap between the Scythe and the Complicators? Last time I checked, a phase cloak was more complicated then a holo-cloak... I think..." Necro asked, laying his head on a tree trunk to look up at the rest of the Roughnecks near the campfire. Jenna was doing the same as Necro on a nearby tree, though she was in much worse shape: her fur as literally drooping along with the rest of her body. If it wasn't for Mog casting a Refresh spell on her every 10 minutes, she would have blacked out a while back.

"Simple, we borrow technology from everyone else. With all the random portals here in Tipa, there's various piles of junk all over the place. I know, we haven't run into any of these portals, but trust me, they happen all the time. The portals usually drop random junk from other realms, and that's what we used to build what we have today. The Complicators were a project started by the Founding Reapers, but was never officially "completed". Since I don't even know an eighth of what those things can do, even WITH the gigantic instruction manual that happens to have every page written in a different language, I'm doing the best I can. The Scythe was made from spaceship parts, which for some reason are in abundance around Tipa, so it wasn't too hard to give it a bunch of advanced technology. Trust me, those Complicators potentially can do anything... just haven’t figured out how to make them do that," Grim sighed.

"And the reason we can't just use the Scythe to obliterate everything is because..."

"First, as I've explained to Necro, we're trying to keep the advanced magitech a secret from Tipa. I'm not quite sure what the reaction would be if they discovered that the Reapers utilize magitech, which is viewed with disdain by most. Second, we don't want the Hoard aware that the Reapers are still alive. They, like the rest of Tipa, must assume that we are dead, which is why they are mobilizing like this. If I started attacking them with the Ion Cannon or the Scythe, they would be fully aware that something was up. Third, Nida is somewhat special in regards to technology..."

"Let me guess, they have ancient spells around the continent that disable advanced technology?" Necro asked, coughing as he tried staying awake.

"Something like that. I don't know why, we'd have to go to the times before the Grand Kingdom, which as you know history before then is extremely rare. I'll explain more when we actually accomplish our first two goals. Which leads me back to the original purpose of keeping you and Jenna from a much needed rest," Grim began, with Necro groaning both from exhaustion and from the dread of Grim's lecture.

"Before I can fully reprimand you, I need to know what exactly happened when you blacked out. You don't randomly get a huge burst of energy AND the ability to go daemon out of the blue, even if you are a Reaper or have an incredibly high luck stat. You were on the verge of death, and WOULD have died if you had not received that mind boggling power surge. So, what happened?" Grim asked.

Necro explained slowly to the rest of the Roughnecks about his conversation with the Death Element. When he had finished, he could see the reactions amongst the group was mixed. Jenna was still conscious, but had no reaction to the explanation, too tired to do anything but breathe.

"Mog, get a refresh on Necro, I need him conscious for a few more minutes. So let me get this straight: you made a deal with the Death Element, who directly contacted you, that enables you to access your daemonic form for a limited time and with a rather large recharge time in exchange for agreeing to kill every single last Paladin?" Grim asked, processing the information.

"Yup," Necro said, the refresh seeming to do little good.

Grim sighed, knowing that there was only so much Mog's magic could do in their current condition. Grim was not quite sure how the Death Element how managed to pull off the feat of allowing Necro access to his daemonic form as it was a level 90 form, for good reason as it was extremely powerful and required an incredible amount of energy, endurance and willpower to control.

The only thing Grim was sure of at this point was the aftermath of using this jury-rigged system, and all of it was bad. Both of their mana and stamina stats were at 0, and every time restoring magic or items were used on the pair, the replenished energy would slowly drain itself, as if some sort of invisible sponge was absorbing the stats. Running out of MP wasn't really a big issue besides the fact that one couldn't use magic.

Health Points, or HP, was a general measurement to describe how healthy someone was.
While it is mostly used to measure how much damage someone can take before dying, HP also reflects the general health of someone. If someone is sick, their hp drops to reflect how sick they are. The problem with the hp stat was that it couldn't measure everything about a person's health, otherwise it would be too general to be used as a reading.

Mana Points, or MP was the measure of someone's ability to use magic. Everyone's body had a limited amount of "magical energy" it could use at one time before it could regenerate it. MP also helped determine the level of spells you could use, as the more powerful spells obviously cost more mp to use. This prevented low level mages from attempting to use high tier spells that could obliterate the mage if not handled properly.

However, these two systems were not enough to give an effective readout of someone's "vitals" at a quick glance. So, a third system of measurement was invented called Stamina. Stamina was somewhat of an oddball measuring system, as it was the most unstable of the three systems. Stamina was supposed to measure the body's "physical" energy, the energy that was needed to do essentially anything from breathing to running. The first problem is that the body's "physical" energy was somewhat linked to the magical energy, so when someone drained their MP, their stamina would suffer as well. Stamina also was linked to health: the less HP there was, the less stamina one had.

Normally, stamina usually never drops below 1/4 the maximum rate. When someone's stamina hit that point, the body would be aching all over with limbs feeling like lead. Stamina was usually this low after a fight, when the adrenaline would wear off and the body's "flight or fight" response was calming down. You want to go to sleep right away, but you could still function normally, albiet exhuasted.

The extra bit of stamina was usually the "reserve" stamina, used in extreme situations when the person was at their wits end but still needed to move. This last bit of stamina is usually attributed to those miraculous feats of superhuman strength that humans sometimes achieve when in a fight. However, when the stamina bar hit 0, the body automatically blacks out to recover what it had lost.

This was the situation Jenna and Necro were facing. Grim's major concern was that this energy absorption would continue while they were out, effectively sending them into a catatonic state, which would be hard to undo as he was unaware of the specifics of the magic going on. He knew the two would black out eventually, but he was hoping that the absorbing effect would wear off before that happened. After waiting a few more minutes with no signs of the drain slowing, Grim told Mog to stop casting refresh and let the two black out.

"Grim, there's this new green bar on my Complicator called Stamina that just popped up..." Reaver said, noticing it for the first time.

"I had previously kept it hidden as I thought it would be too confusing. Consider it a measure of your personal energy. When you're tired, your stamina goes down. When you're well rested, it goes up. Stamina can be controlled by many variables, one of the most powerful being willpower. I'll explain it in detail later when everyone in conscious. Get some rest, that lecture is still coming," Grim cautioned as his astral skull slowly disappeared.

Reaver shrugged as he crawled into the tent that had been prepared for him and Mog to get some rest. Jenkins put blankets on top of Necro and Jenna and carefully slid some pillows underneath their heads while he stood watch for signs of trackers.

Morning came with Grim's fears coming to fruition. Not only were the two out cold, but their heart rates were slowly dropping together, indicating both were in a coma.

"Damn it, I don't know what the hell the Death Element was thinking when it made that damn deal... no, this isn't its fault..." Grim muttered as he looked at the two with pity
and fear.

"What do you mean?" asked Reaver, who was preparing breakfast for himself and Mog.

"Reapers act as avatars for the Elements, or at the very least extensions of them. An Elemental Sphere would never cause harm to its own Reaper unless it directly disobeyed
it, in which case it would completely seize control of said Reaper in order to fulfill said order," Grim explained.

"They can do that?" gulped Reaver nervously.

"Keep in mind that orders from them are rare, and once the deed is done you resume control of yourself. They can only do that if there is an order... but Necro made a deal
with the death element, which changes the rules... which I'm not aware of as this hasn't happened since... not in recorded records at the least,"

"So if the Death Element didn't do this... who did?"

"Necro said the Death Element mentioned something about loopholes because of the bond, but there's more then that. The fact that Necro is not technically a Tipian by birth also opens up a few "loopholes" in the Reaper By-laws. My guess is that the Life Element caught wind of the Death Element's deal with Necro, and must have made a few changes to the Death Element's system,"

"I'm confused now... can't the Death Element counter those changes? And why are they fighting each other?"

"Normally, the Elemental Spheres get along with each other, even the opposites. However, the Death Element is talking about a major upset in the balance of power: the destruction of one of the Elemental Orders. This obviously pissed off the Life Element, causing the upset. My guess is that the Life Element demanded this accursed draining effect as side effect of using the form to first act as a prevention from Necro becoming more powerful then the Reaper of Life at the earlier levels, and to also hinder the deal. It probably threatened to report the deal to the Ultima Sphere... or worse, to the FCPA..." Grim groaned.

"Huh? Don't the spheres know what the other does? And why is reporting it to the FCPA worse?" asked a very confused Reaver, who was now finished with breakfast.

"You must understand, the Elemental Spheres are technically Class IV Gods in the Elemental Sanctuary. If someone ever found out where it was, and decided to launch an
invasion of it, the Spheres would completely obliterate whatever it was, unless it was a God War sort of thing, but that won't happen due to our FCPA protection. The Spheres are connected, but they also have their own agendas. While they do adhere to the law of balance, that doesn't stop them from advancing their own elemental agendas. As for
reporting stuff to the FCPA... let's just say that bad things happen when you have to get them involved... the red tape alone is enough to make most people not even bother contact them... It's complicated, but usually you only contact the FCPA as a last resort," Grim explained.

"How is the Life element hurting them though? Isn't it supposed to be all peace and love and giving and all?" Reaver said naively.

"Were you not paying attention to Necro's brawl with that priest? That was Life magic he was using. Life attack magic is usually called "holy" magic to differentiate it from the normally benign magic of the Life element, but let me tell you, that stuff WILL hurt you even if you aren't weak against it. Don't mistake the Life Element to be weak whatsoever.
There's a reason the Grand Kingdom existed for so long, and it was in part of the Life Element," Grim cautioned.

"Alright, so what do we do? Can Mog summon the GPITS like he did the first time they went daemon?"

"NO! The only reason why Mog got away with that was because I got dissolved. Mog thought I was actually dead, and that meant there was a huge power void and would cause massive confusion if one of the current Reapers got bumped up to Ultima. He did the right thing by contacting the GPITS, though it was unnecessary in the long run. Besides, if we DID contact it, we'd kind of attract attention as the appearance of the GPITS is a very rare sight. We got away with it in the Calico Mountains cause no one lives near there any more, but out here... yeah," Grim sighed, pondering what to do.

"I don't mean to sound callous, but this whole near death thing is quite... amusing to me. While I mean no disrespect to my master, I find it amusing that the caretakers of Tipa can fall so easily, especially after what they did to Grand..." Jenkins began, but was cut off by Grim appearing in full Astral form, eyes glowing red with anger.

"You ARE being callous, and you ARE disrespecting your master, so clamp your jaws before I send you to your final rest," Grim growled. "They are Reaper in Class, not race. They are as human as anyone else, the difference is that their stats are higher then others of their level, obviously. Their bodies can only take so much punishment, and the fact that in BOTH incidents they were facing level 50 opponents should speak for itself. At most, one can take on a creature 10 levels ahead of them with a slim chance of beating them. The first time there was a 40 level gap, second time a 30 level gap. THAT in itself
should speak for their endurance as Reapers," Grim added, showing for a brief moment a tender side of himself.

"Grim... you can't heal them, can you, kupo?" asked Mog, extremely sad at the pair's condition.

"I don't have access to the Life element and I don't know the specifics of what's causing this. Since the Death Element itself set this up, the magic is way beyond my capacity in my current state, even if I tried using an Orb. We can't get the Reaper of Life due to... political problems that I'll explain later when we go for her..."

"So we can't ask for outside help, and we can't heal them ourselves, and there's probably no one in Tipa besides the Reaper of Life who can heal them, but we can't get to her because of certain reasons you're not divulging?" Reaver summarized, quite frustrated with the situation.

"I know this is going to sound a bit bold, but why don't we go to the one who caused this ruddy mess in the first place?" Jenkins suggested.

Grim looked at Jenkins with a jaw almost unhinged. "A BIT bold? How about so radical that you're suggesting suicide? You actually want to go to the Elemental Sanctuary?"

"Well... maybe not that... but if the Death Element could contact Necro here on Tipa, surely there's some way we can reverse the..."

"No, the Elements share a direct link to their Reaper only. Necro's out, and I'm not going to attempt telepathy as I don't know if this side effect will try to drain me next. I would contact the Ultima Sphere about this, but if we're going with my previous assumption, dragging it in would cause... problems..."

"What can they do to each other?" Reaver asked.

"As I said, I don't know the specific by-laws concerning the "deal", so I don't exactly know... but it could result in them fighting with each other... and if the Elemental Spheres fight with each other... Tipa could get destroyed in the cross fire," Grim explained.

"And I thought that they were just sentient balls of energy..." Reaver muttered.

"Don't get me wrong, they USUALLY are quite sensible, but this deal is completely unheard of and it just might stir things up enough... look, the Deity Politics are quite complicated. I was toning things down with the introduction info you received in the initiation spell so that way you wouldn't be overwhelmed."

"Looks like we'll have to go and visit the Death Element itself then..." Jenkins shrugged. "Provided you know how to get there..."

"Of COURSE I do. As Reaper of Ultima, one of my duties is to protect the only way to go directly there, which also serves as the main conduit the Elemental Spheres supply their magic to us... damnit. I'm not supposed to use the thing in case of emergencies... blast it all, this isn't what I wanted to deal with..." Grim muttered as he could be seen doing gestures of pushing buttons. "The Otana is on the way for pick up since the loss of 2 Reapers qualifies as an emergency for its use while risking the exposure. I'll see you back here at Calico in an hour, where we'll move out. I'll go and make preparations..."
Grim muttered as his projection vanished.

An hour and a half later, the Roughnecks were assembled in Calico's Energy Core Room, Jenkins holding Necro and Jenna over his shoulders. The room itself was essentially an observation deck looking out into a bottomless pit of darkness. The ceiling of the room looked like a typical cave ceiling, but what was standing in the middle of the room was certainly not typical. It was a giant column of dark green Ultima energy pulsing in every direction at once and then none at all, seeming to exist as a liquid, gas and solid at the same time. It was such a mind boggling sight that everyone but Grim had to turn away from the awesome spectacle.

"Sorry, should have warned you that the Energy Core can cause people's brains to explode trying to comprehend it's awesomeness that is simply too much to put into words. The Core of Calico also serves as the main conduit to the Elemental Sanctuary, which is one reason why we've always helped encourage the rumors that there's nothing out here. Close your eyes and brace yourselves, this is going to be unpleasant..." Grim warned, snapping his fingers.

From the giant Ultima stream came a small beam that shot at the group and enveloped them, then returned to the stream. The unpleasantness of the actual transport was so bad that no one could actually describe how it felt, but they all agreed that it should be nominated as a form of torture for all future enemies. Only Grim seemed unphased by the rapid transit, most likely due to his position.

"Grim... this isn't what I expected it to be..." Reaver stated, clearly disappointed that all that pain was for nothing. The room they were in was completely made of white rock, with no blemishes on the smooth surface. It was about the size of a living room, but the stark blankness of the room put everyone at unease.

"Oh, this is just to throw people off when they find the stream and make them think it was all a trick. There IS security here, trust me," Grim said, walking over to one of the walls and planting his right hand on it.

"Have you been here before?" asked Reaver.

"Twice, both for ceremony. The first was when I officially became Reaper of Death by reaching level 100, the second was when I became Reaper of Ultima. Just stand where you are, only the Reaper of Ultima can unlock this room without triggering the security.... done!" Grim declared.

The room immediately faded away, and was replaced with a catwalk that you would find above a stage at a professional theatre. The catwalk seemed suspended in space as millions of stars appeared everywhere. Grim led them forward on the catwalk while everyone was gawking at the sheer majesty of the place.

A few minutes of walking brought an end to the catwalk and the appearance of a stark white door with no doorknob or keyhole. You couldn't tell it was a door except that it stood out so much from the rest of the scenery that you assumed it was a door. Even he couldn't see around the door, Reaver guessed there was no more pathway beyond the door.

Grim put his right hand on the door and muttered something in Reaper. After a few seconds, a lock clicked and the door swung inward, revealing pitch blackness. "We are about to enter the Realm of the Death Sphere. Keep your tongues silent at all times, and try to contain your thoughts as well," Grim warned as he stepped into the blackness.

After they all had stepped through, the door swung close, leaving them in the darkness. After a few minutes, the floor beneath them began to glow blood red as it mimicked the catwalk's structure. Leading on the illuminated path, Grim continued to mutter in Reaper, apparently giving passwords to prevent invoking any alarms.

After what seemed like an eternity of walking, they reached the end of the path. Reaver was about to ask now what, when the darkness in front of them seemed to ripple. Though it seemed impossible, the darkness was actually getting darker, so dark that this new darkness was separating itself from the other darkness. And so the new darkness slowly grew, ever expanding. "The Elemental Spheres are actually the size of a Red Giant Sun, and that's WAY larger then Tipa... like, millions of time bigger. Because of this, the Elemental Spheres show themselves a few light-minutes away from us so that way their whole enormity doesn't engulf us... that and their energy doesn't effect us that badly,"

Reaver sat in awe as the ball of darkness stopped growing. It looked big from where Reaver was standing, about the size of a planet. The fact that it was significantly larger staggered his mind. He also began to feel like he was getting tired, loosing his will to live.

"If you are getting depressed, don't worry, it's a side effect of being here. The elemental spheres usually communicate to others via an image of us in our cloaks, but with no eyes glowing in the shroud... ah, here it comes now."

Before them swirled more darkness, in that odd shifting matter state that the Ultima Energy stream was, as it slowly took on the from that Grim mentioned. It looked exactly
like Necro, but without the glowing yellow eyes from within the hood.

"Grim... so good to see you" the figure whispered, almost snake-like. "What brings you to my domain? And who are your friends?"

The figure's voice sent shivers down Reaver's spine. He wanted more then anything to get out of there, but something was preventing his feet from working.

"The Reaper of Fire, Mog the Moogle, and Necro's first Sentinel, Jenkins. As for the reason for the visit, I think you know more then we do," Grim nodded as Jenkins laid
Jenna and Necro on the floor before the figure.

The figure seemed to stare at the two, then hissed angrily. "This is not what I agreed to..."

"Explain yourself. Necro told us about the deal you made with him, and I have already figured the Life Element caught wind of your deal and made some alterations to it to
bring them in this current state," Grim said coldly.

"This would explain why I lost contact with him after he reverted..."

"What happened?"

"The Life Element demanded that I add a huge drain effect to the aftermath of the daemon form in addition to the time constraints to discourage its use. I used that to my advantage, as I made the drain effect feed into the daemon form, effectively giving him a power boost during daemon form at the cost of blacking out after its use. I knew there would be complications, but it seemed like a fair trade. This coma is not what I designed..." it hissed.

"Where's the drain coming from? Whatever the heck is leeching their energy is starting to eat up their HP as well," Grim asked.

"That part I can't quite understand, as draining is not the Life Element's department, it's mine... If you don't mind, I will keep the two here with me for examination. I will need to go into the details of the contract we agreed to and see if something got changed without my notice. In the meantime..."

Grim groaned as he knew what was coming. "We have to visit the infernal Life Element..."

"I am truly sorry, old friend," the figure apologized, actually showing some regret in his voice. "No Element would ever intentionally hurt their Reaper... and I certainly did not want to drag the Reaper of Water into this as I have nothing against it... I thank you for not contacting the Ultima Element about this..."

"You WILL notify him of your deal eventually, yes?"

"Of course, it would be stupid to not eventually report it. First we need to fix this mess... I am truly sorry..." it hissed softly as it faded into nothingness, taking Necro and Jenna with it.

"Err... Grim, can't the Death Element just pump them with Death Energy?"

"It won't stop the drain effect, and it also would harm Jenna," Grim explained, slowly trudging back down the path.

The rest of the Roughnecks gladly left the Death Sphere’s realm as they slowly trudged down the blood red path. When they reached the spot where they entered, Grim put his hand against the darkness which was actually solid, muttering in ancient Reaper. When he finished chanting, the door opened, this time leading to a pure golden light.

As the darkness closed itself off once Jenkins walked through, the dramatic difference between the two realms became immediate. Where the previous room had sapped every single bit of life out of you, this room seemed to replenish everything that was sapped, and continued giving until you thought you were actually high on life.

“It feels wonderful in here!” Reaver exclaimed, wanting to skip around in this wonderful place and never leave.

“It’s absolutely dreadful here, don’t get used to it. This “positive energy” will lull you into a false sense of security, be on your guard here…” Grim mentioned, when suddenly the flooding golden light disappeared and was replaced by dark green light. The positive energy feeling suddenly disappeared, and one of pure power could be felt by everyone.

“Great, this means my assumption was wrong…” Grim muttered.

Before the group a swirl of the dark green energy similar to the one they saw in the Core formed into a humanoid shape, similar to what happened with the Death Element. In a few more seconds, a Grim Sized figure appeared, donned in a dark green cloak with no glowing eyes.

“There is no need to bother the Life Element, as it is not responsible for the state of the other Reapers. I am the one who discovered the Death Element’s little deal, and I am the one who instructed the Life Element to intervene. I am also the one who “tampered” with the drain effect,” the figure stated. Its voice sounded similar to the GPITS in that “god-esque” effect, but sounded softer.

Grim cursed as he finally saw what was going on, though the rest of the Roughnecks were completely in the dark. “Why? Why would you target Necro and Jenna? Its not their fault this happened…” Reaver asked.

“It was to avoid an elemental war,” Grim explained, his voice filled with contempt. “If the Ultima Element acted directly, it could have easily sparked one, and possibly turned the rest of the Elements against the Death Element for doing something like this. Since the creator of the problem couldn’t be dealt with, the Ultima Element decided to target the problem itself by preventing Necro from being able to carry out his part of the deal or use powers he’s not supposed to have.”

“An excellent explanation, no less then I expected from my Reaper. All of that is true, though I regretted doing it. I did not actually target Jenna, the effect was meant for Necro alone. But since they share that bond, she got dragged into it,” the voice stated, showing no emotion.

“I didn’t realize the Spheres had this much control over us…” Reaver said slowly, suddenly realizing how insignificant the Reapers were compared to these beings.

“They ARE Class IV Gods, Reaver. They just can’t exert direct control most of the time because they are limited to their interaction on Tipa. The By-Laws also give Reapers a fair amount of protection from being abused by any “schemes” the Spheres come up with,” Grim stated.

“You must understand, Reaper of Fire, that this is an extremely rare circumstance. The Death Element has done something that is quite extraordinary, and the measures to prevent a god war are also extraordinary. He made a deal that technically was legal because of certain loopholes, but it is still against the spirit of the By-Laws. The complete obliteration of an Elemental Order goes against balance, even if that Order has been in control for a long time. The Paladins do need to be uprooted from their position, but not obliterated. Furthermore, he is giving him access to powers he should not be wielding. Cid has already violated many level restrictions performing abilities beyond his level, but all by accident, which is why we let them slide. I believe this unique “quirk” of his comes from being from another realm, but I can’t prove it because I haven’t really devoted much study to it. However, this daemonic ability completely defies the system, and needed to be stopped,” the figure explained.

“Out of curiosity, the drain effect is being caused by the energy being sent directly into the Void instead of to the daemon form, isn’t it?” asked Grim, a scowl on his face.

“Indeed, which means that you would need to be at full power to even try to remove it. The Death Element probably now realizes that I am involved in this little dispute, and is trying to think up a way to get out of it. I would like to point out that I am not mad that you tried to withhold this information from me Grim, in fact I applaud you for thinking on a larger scale and trying to prevent an internal God war,” the figure stated, nodding his head ever so slightly.

“You’re beating around the bush,” Grim stated. It was quite visible that he was shaking all over from fear of confronting his own Elemental Sphere, but he kept on his bravado. “You’ve only delayed the effects of the deal. Necro will still have to carry it out, unless you plan on having the Reapers operate without two of our own…”

“I am afraid the only way to rectify the situation is to dispose of the old Reapers and initiate new ones…”

“You’re going to kill them??!!” Reaver interjected, quite outraged at what was going on.

“No no no, I would never do that. It is not their fault that they were involved in the Death Element’s scheme. Cid was in a desperate situation and was practically forced into the situation as he knew that dying again would put a serious damper on plans for balance. Cid will be returned to his dimension with everyone’s memory altered that he was there the entire time. He will have no recollection of our realm and will live a “normal” life. Jennifer will return to Aldrith as a princess with no memory of being a Reaper. In fact, I have made preperations to practically undo everything that has occurred up to this point, with the exception of Reaver joining the Reapers. Aldrith will not despise the Reapers, Shambles will be restored, etc. We will just have to pick new Reapers in order to fill the position. As for Jenkins, he may still live if he chooses, or he can move on to the Afterlife.”

Grim’s eyes burned with a fiery passion of anger that seemed beyond any other rage Reaver had seen from him before. He looked hard into the “face” of the figure, and uttered a single word, carefully and slowly. “No”.

“What was that Grim?” the figure asked.

“You’re not going to do this,” Grim stated, his voice as cold as ice.

The figure seemed to stare at Grim for a few minutes, then spoke slower. “Are you saying you don’t approve of what I have done?”

“Not only that… I’m going to stop you from doing it,” Grim stated, his voice keeping the same icy calmness the entire time.

“You would actually defy your Elemental Sphere? I’m not going to kill them, just alter…”

“I don’t give a bloody damn what you’re going to do. I don’t know the exact specifics of the situation, but from what I understand from the By-Laws, once a Reaper is chosen, they are a Reaper until death. Necro and Jenna were both chosen, and earned the right to be Reapers. I’m not going to let some petty Diety Politics interfere with our job as caretakers of Tipa.”

“Petty politics? You admitted that the Death Element’s actions would have sparked a God war that could destroy Tipa…”

“I know that, but the way of handling it is wrong. We shouldn’t be held responsible for your actions unless it is a direct order. I’m not going to let you drag us into your internal conflict, that’s not part of our jobs,” Grim growled.

“And what exactly are you going to do? You draw power from me and can’t possibly defeat me. Even if you did, it would be the end of Tipa…”

“Oh, I’m not going to defeat you in power… I’m going to have someone else defeat you at your own political BS,” Grim grinned wickedly, pulling from within his robes what looked like a folding cell phone. When he opened it though, the dial pad only had one button, and the screen was completely black.

The figure took a step backwards, and his voiced seemed to quiver a bit. “You… you wouldn’t dare get them involved…”

“Oh yes I would. Part of the complete coverage plan under the FCPA allows “lesser beings” to challenge the orders of “higher beings” when they think they’re being unjust and violating already set laws. Also, this isn’t just any agent’s contact phone… it’s HIS contact phone…”

“Look, Grim, let’s be reasonable… there’s no reason to try to “go over my head” here…”

“Then call off this entire… thing. Remove the permanent drain effect and let me have my two Reapers back. Make the deal back to the original circumstances, it’s balanced enough. We got enough to worry about without having to recruit two more Reapers and get them adjusted to the group.”

“Why Grim, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you actually care about them… yes. I am sensing that you do care about them… well this is a change of heart for the Grim Reaper… if you had one. Quite fascinating… very well, I will do as you request. I will even allow you to carry out the deal that was formed. However, I am also charging you and the rest of the Reaper to establish a new Elemental Order to form its place when you have finished your original duties… you can work it out with the Reaper of Life when you recruit her,” the figure stated, almost sighing at the end.

“Done” Grim said, hiding the cell phone in his robes. “If you would do the honors…”

It happened so quickly that Reaver didn’t even notice they were back around their old campgrounds until after a few seconds of the transport. “Wait… how’d we get back here? I thought we had to go through the conduit…”

“We did, the Ultima Element just carried us all the way back here. I told you they were powerful within the Sanctuary. Since we were in their domain, the teleportation was rather effortless. The other way though is quite impossible,” Grim explained.

Reaver looked over at the spots where Jenna and Necro had been that morning, and found them back by their trees, still blacked out. “So… we’re back to normal? That was like… a side quest?”

“I suppose you could consider it that, though it was a pretty important one considering we could have lost those two…” Grim sighed, exhausted from the entire adventure.

“This FCPA must be powerful if they can cause that much fear from the Ultima Element…”

“Oh, they are, trust me. They tangle with Omnicreator class deities on rare occasions, so they know how to deal with Gods. I can’t explain exactly what they are because I haven’t given you The Talk, but rest assured that there is a mysterious force in the omniverse that tries to look out for the “general good” of worlds… Don’t think about it, I’ll explain later,” Grim sighed, watching the pair still out.

“When are they going to wake up?”

“I asked that he remove the drain effect, I never asked for them to be revived. Our journey conveniently took most of the day, so we’ll just camp here again and wait for them to replenish their energy in the morning. Necro is still getting that lecture for his brashness though, I don’t care what the hell he’s been through,”

“About what the Ultima Element said… about you caring for us…”

“It’s late, get to sleep Reaver,” Grim ordered, taking a tent from the party’s inventory and setting it up for himself.

Reaver smirked as he and Mog set up their tent. “He really does have a heart despite his form… Necro and Jenna are going to enjoy this…”

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 9/8/2009 13:12:33 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 21
9/7/2009 17:20:02   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 21

We now find the Roughnecks still sleeping in their tents, tired from their exploits yesterday. It is currently dawn as we zoom in on Jenna and Necro who have finally regenerated their energy… What’s that you say? You say this is the wrong narration style? Why on earth would you say that? This is my normal narration style…

*a random bolt of lightning flashes across the page/screen*

“I am terribly sorry for that, it appears that a random narrator managed to wind his way into my world by some random portal. He has been dealt with and will no longer bother anyone again. Please carry on with the story and enjoy it,” a mysterious godly voice explained.

Jenna was actually awake, but she had been feigning sleep for about an hour. “Psst, Necro… are you awake?” she whispered.

“Do you need to ask that? That question can’t be responded to any other way besides yes or silence/snoring. Besides, you know that when one of us is up, the other wakes up… most of the time. I’ve been up since you woke up an hour ago,” he whispered back, eyes still closed. “What took you so long to talk anyways?”

“I’ve just been thinking about what happened at the castle… Necro…”

“I know, you don’t like this deal with the Death Element, in fact, you hate it with a passion. The thought of wiping out the Paladins sickens you and goes against everything you believe in. You’re also extremely scared of this daemonic form thing because you’re not used to the Death Element. The only thing I don’t know is if you hate me for agreeing to it…” Necro sighed.

Jenna turned her head to look directly at Necro, who in turn returned the favor. After staring at each other for a few minutes, Jenna spoke slowly. “You are right about the first two things. As for your question, I don’t hate you for it. You were near death and you knew that we couldn’t revive you again. I could also sense that you accepted the deal so I didn’t have to go through that agony again… which was sweet of you,” she admitted, slightly blushing.

“Uhh… thanks…” Necro responded, returning the same blush level.

“But seriously… I don’t like that daemonic form,” Jenna sighed, shaking her head as she tried straightening out her hair with her hand. “I felt like something else was controlling my body… something was telling me what to do… I saw you ripping that man’s heart out… and something inside me… enjoyed it…”

“Please don’t bring that up… I know exactly how you feel. One part of me was completely living in that moment, but another part of me wanted to barf and commit suicide at the same time…” Necro shivered, recalling the incident. “Apparently that “vauge memory” portion of the deal must only have a limited amount of time, since I couldn’t remember anything before blacking out, and now I remember it…”

Jenna’s stomach began to rumble, and not from hunger. “Oh great… now that we’re talking about it…”

Necro’s stomach also let out a similar growl as he leaned forward on his knees. “It’s too much…”

Both Reapers started puking everything that hadn’t been digested, which wasn’t much given the time they had been knocked out, but they still puked away as the image of the disgusting scene flooded their minds.

Oddly enough, not one of the Roughnecks were awakened by the sound of their vomiting. Even more odd was the fact that Jenkins wasn’t anywhere near the camp. After washing out the disgusting aftertaste from their mouths with Jenna’s magic, the two leaned back against their respective trees. “I don’t want to experience that again…” Jenna said wearily.

“I know you don’t, I could feel your emotions while in daemon form… but not using this ability is a complete waste. I was able to beat that perverted idiot with one strike… he was 30 levels higher then me, and I beat him like he was a Slimey… which I still haven’t encountered now that I think about it… it’s just a waste to not use something you have…” Necro said, trying to approach the situation pragmatically.

“I know, I know, it is useful… but it just feels so wrong… I just don’t like this dark side feeling…”

“You do realize that if we’re going to have a relationship; you’re going to need to somewhat get over that… especially if we’re going to try to increase our synch rate up to…”

“It is WAY too early to be even thinking about that Necro!” Jenna yelled, blushing more.

“Sorry, was just trying to lighten the mood…” Necro sighed, his ears flattening from shame.

“I’m sorry… I know you’re trying to make things easier… but…” Jenna said softly.

“It’s not like I can just go into it willy nilly. From what I can tell, I have to wait at least 48 hours before I can even attempt to use it again, and I have to wait a full week if I want the maximum time at full power. After 48 hours, I only get a quarter of the full power at 2 minutes. There’s some complicated formula involved that I’m too tired to try to discover,” Necro stated.

“Well that’s a relief… but I’m still not comfortable with this…”

“Look, even after the time limit, I can only trigger it when our HP is critical. And the situation has to literally be life or death: It’s not like Grim can almost kill me to trigger it, we have to literally be on the verge of death. And if it makes you feel better, I’m the one triggering it, not you. So you can blame me for it all…”

“I told you that I don’t hate you for this, and I’m not going to start blaming you for using the form. I know that you’re not some evil maniac trying to take over the world, you’ve just been burdened with an element who’s actions go against the vast majority of moral code in Tipa,” Jenna commented.

“You know, you’re not exactly helping me…”

“I know, I’m sorry… I just don’t like loosing control of my body…”

“I don’t think ANYONE does… besides, you seemed to be in control of yourself when I was threatening to off your old man,” Necro shrugged.

“I knew I had to intervene when I saw that… I guess I got up the will power to finally take control of things…” Jenna began, but was interrupted by a familiar voice.

“Well Well Well! Aren’t you two getting chummy!” an obnoxiously loud Grim commented. “Trying to raise our synch levels, are we?”

This was greeted by a dual hairball from the pair that knocked Grim’s floating skull to the ground. “Oh come on! I thought we were done with that gag!” he complained as his skull got back up to its usual floating height.

“Don’t make us play astral Grimball” Jenna growled, slowly getting up.

“Bah, you couldn’t catch me if you tried…” Grim taunted, but was quickly proved wrong as Necro pounced on the floating skull and pinned it to the ground.

“How the heck are you doing this to me? I’m supposed to be intangible, dang it!” Grim protested.

“You can thank the Death Element for that one. Apparently part of this deal was some extra knowledge on various things, and one of them was better astral interactions,” Necro grinned.

“Bah, and this is the thanks I get for saving you two from being de-Reapered?”

“What are you talking about?”

Necro released Grim as the floating ghostly skull explained what had happened yesterday. When he had finished, Necro and Jenna had several expression on their faces, including awe, disgust and deep appreciation.

“What’s more, the Ultima Element mentioned that part of Grim’s motivation for standing up for you two was because he actually cared for us!” Reaver grinned as he emerged from the tent.

“No way. Grim, caring about someone besides himself and the job at hand?” Necro said in disbelief.

“It’s completely true, I saw it myself!” Reaver proclaimed.

“It is, it is!” Mog said happily, searching for edible berries in a nearby bush.

“While it is certainly surprising master, it is completely true,” Jenkins confirmed, appearing out of nowhere.

Both Jenna and Necro stood with mouths hung open at a very annoyed Grim. “Wow Grim… maybe you HAVE changed…” said a flabbergasted Necro.

“Ok, well since you all are feeling better now, it’s time for that lecture…”

“Hey, here that sound? It must be our stomachs rumbling! Let’s eat first!” Necro said quickly, grabbing Jenna’s hand quickly and dashing off with her into the woods to avoid the lecture of doom.

“Hmmmm… Necro and Jenna alone in the woods… I wonder if…” Reaver began, but was cut off by a long range ice beam from the direction that the pair had run off to that completely froze him.

“No, I don’t think you are right,” Grim grinned, enjoying the moment.

An hour had passed when Necro and Jenna returned to camp, both carrying a dead deer over their shoulder to show that they had gone hunting for food. “Sooooo, how did you to make out?” Grim asked.

By the time Grim realized that the wording of his question was extremely bad, he had already been frozen by an irate Jenna. It was now Reaver’s turn to grin at Grim’s situation.

Grim managed to break out of the ice encasing him by sheer power as he floated over to the two who were currently preparing the animals for Reaver to cook. “How did you freeze me? And don’t tell me the Death Element told you, he doesn’t have power over water!”

“I figured it out on my own based on what we learned from the Death Element. Not that hard really. Perhaps you need to work on your astral projection skills?” Jenna shrugged, continuing her work.

“Where did you learn to prepare an animal?” Grim asked.

“I told you that I’m not just some pretty dress up doll princess. In addition to my magic training, my dad made sure I knew how to survive in the wild. He took me hunting with him and we sometimes camped for days away from the castle. He is a good man… he just has some of his priorities a little mixed up at times…” Jenna explained.

“You better hope your father is smart enough to surrender to the new government of Aldrith when we take it over,” Grim commented.

“Speaking of that, can we have it be a democracy? Pretty please Grim?” asked Necro.

“I suppose since we ARE setting up a new government… but you’re in charge of teaching them how the heck that works, as I’m not getting involved in politics... that was one thing I never could stand about being the Reaper of Death…” Grim mumbled.

“Great! Things are working out better then I expected…”

“Better? Because of you we have to delay the main quest in order to make sure that we have Aldrith under our banner so we don’t have to worry about the home front! Things are FAR worse because of your brashness, and you ARE getting that lecture!” Grim yelled.

Necro winced at Grim’s anger as he finished cleaning the deer and handed it to Reaver. Jenna also finished at the same rate and handed hers as well. “Make sure you don’t burn this batch” Necro teased.

“How DARE you sir!” Reaver responded in mock anger. “Insulting a chef’s cooking is the same as insulting one’s mother! I will have your head for this!”

“You had my stomach all up in a knot the last time you cooked,” he replied.

“That does it! Next time you want a warm meal, you can cook it yourself, I quit!” Reaver continued, blowing flames from his nostrils.

“Knock it off you two, you’re not delaying this lecture. You WILL have it and you WILL feel the weight of the situation you caused,” Grim growled.

“So, Grim, I take it that women are treated better here in Tipa then in the middle ages, correct?” asked Necro, attempting to change the conversation’s topic while Reaver was cooking.

“Considering that women were viewed as creatures to make and raise children and do lowly housework, I would indeed agree with that assessment. Mind you, we’re not near your “equal rights” thing you have back in your world in your home country, but it is better. The ratio of Male to Female adventurers is usually 4:1, and sometimes larger depending on the area. You’ll fine some males who treat females as equals, and then you’ll find sleazes that have your middle ages view on them,” Grim shrugged.

As Reaver divided up the portions of the meat to everyone, Grim decided to begin his lecture while the rest were munching. “Ahem… As you all know, the original plan was to go to Aldrith and enlist their support under our war banner. However, this entire plan was shot to the Netherworld when Necro learned of Jenna’s betrothed was conveniently visiting the King at the same time we were. Taking matters into his own hands, he revealed Jenna’s identity to the local guard, and did indeed get a meeting with the king. I would like it known that during that parade to the castle I specifically warned him that his plan would not go well, as I already surmised what it would be. He just waved be aside and decided to take matters into his own hands, which means that the vast majority of what happened is HIS fault,” Grim began, emphasizing the “his” so strongly that Necro could have sworn he saw astral spit from Grim, even though skulls couldn’t produce spit.

“And so we arrive at the King’s Throne Room, where things seemed to ok as the King was very pleased with the safe arrival of his daughter. Even when the High Priest entered the room and called Necro out on his necromancy, the king still seemed willing to look past this heresy and honor our little group. He even rebuked the High Priest for squabbling with Necro in his presence. I thought that things might actually worked out, until the incident occurred,” Grim growled, glaring at a crestfallen Necro.

“For some odd reason, Necro was inspired to do the “noble thing” and defend Jenna’s “honor” while at the same time attempting to off the High Priest to get rid of his rival for her love… well, more in a technical sense then in the actual sense, but you get the picture. I will admit that this was not completely Necro’s fault, as there were also several other factors influencing him. Jenna’s obvious hatred of the man must have flown through the bond and into Necro, only strengthening his dislike for him. There was also the fact that the man was a completely snarky dastard with an ego the size of the GPITS and was just begging to be killed, but the decision was still Necro’s, so I’m putting blame on him,” Grim stated. Necro by this point had his head buried in his hands, but was also beginning to quiver with rage at placing all the blame on him.

“Just when it looked likes the entire escapade would be a complete fiasco resulting in Necro’s death and a complete war with Aldrith, the Death Element kindly intervenes and proposes to Necro an unusual deal. Under the circumstances, Necro had no choice but to accept the offer, which resulted in him completely owning the High Priest. While we were still forced to retreat, the death of the High Priest is a blow to the local Paladin army. I am sure that tales of the Reapers being demons are going all through Aldrania as we speak, which will give us the advantage of fear when the time comes to lay seize to Aldrith. Don’t worry about word of our appearance leaking out of Aldrania; I have taken certain… measures to prevent that from happening. So now Aldrith is in complete terror of Necro and Jenna’s power while the Paladins are probably scrambling their forces to protect the city of Aldrith since Necro so kindly announced that we would be back with an army. After that we went on another “side quest” to rescue the pair from that infernal coma which revealed a plot amongst the Elemental Spheres to actually remove the pair from office. After some intense negotiations, I saved their butts, which brings us to now,” Grim concluded.

“Very nice recap Grim. You completely made Necro look like a bungling idiot while boring everyone because we already know what happened,” Jenna growled, patting Necro’s shoulder.

“He’s not a complete idiot, but it was his entire plan that brought us here. Since he was so kind as to put us into this situation, I will leave it to him to redeem himself. Should he manage to pull it off and get us back on track, I will reward him with a cookie,” Grim stated.

“You think a cookie is going to motivate me to do anything?” Necro growled, now somewhat calmer then before.

“I am not talking about just any cookie. This is a cookie that was donated to us by the GPITS some time ago for a reason that is too long to get into. This cookie is so massive we had to store it in another dimension, and is so good that it trumps Reaver’s cooking,” Grim nodded sagely.

“I also want to be able to play a full game of Grimball when I show you up. And then I also want you to sing the bones song, putting yourself together bit by bit,” Necro grinned wickedly. “And I want EVA recording the entire thing so we can embarrass you later.”

“I suppose you also want a small break to test the weapon capabilities of the Scythe and to play with my bones by building various structures out of them?” Grim said sarcastically.

“Sure, and throw in an Ion Cannon strike on the remains of the Paladin Frontier Base when we’re done.”

“That one I’ll have to think about, but we’ll see. You can even push the button if I approve of it. Now, what’s this bold and daring plan you have for us?”

“We’ll first need to split up in order to take care of things. I recommend that Reaver goes back into Aldrith under disquise since he’s not as infamous as we are. That way he can try to see if there’s any disgruntles in the kingdom, or get in touch with the criminal element of the town…”

“I don’t like this idea so far Necro…” Jenna replied.

“I’m sorry Jenna, but you’re going to disagree with anything we do to take up arms against your father and hometown. I know this sounds harsh, but its necessary, especially since I’m sending you off with Mog to negotiate with the Air Raiders to attack the town. I think they will be more then willing to listen to the former princess…”

“NO!” Jenna yelled, getting up from her spot. “I am not going to go “negotiate” with those… those…”

“Barbarians? Heathens? Gypsies? Like me, the Air Raiders have been ostracized by “civil” society, but you still accept me as a human being. Why can’t you pay them the same respects?” Necro asked.

Jenna paused in her tirade as she considered Necro’s words. “I just… can’t… they’ve attacked our towns and killed innocents…”

“I told you not to fully believe those reports your guards make. My intelligence says otherwise, but you really shouldn’t judge them until you’ve met them,” Grim suggested.

“Please Jenna, you’re the only one who can convince them to ally with us. If they see the princess going up against her father, surely they can use that as a rallying cry to get the people on their side,” Necro continued.

“So now I’m a mascot for the new cause?” Jenna asked coldly.

“Unfortunately, that’s your lot in his quest. You can convince them to fully mobilize against Aldrith and the Paladins and finally end this in-fighting.”

“And just what are you doing while all this is going on?”

Necro grinned wickedly as he said his response. “I’ll be stirring up trouble on the home front by resurrecting an army with the help of the Death Orb…”

“No orbs. They’re still low on energy, and you are handling this situation without their help,” Grim interjected.

“Ok, that will put a dapper on how much damage I can do…”

“You’re a level 25 Reaper of Death. You can surely raise a platoon of undead, if not an entire company. Controlling them is far more complicated, but you can handle it,” Grim grinned.

“I thought I was level 20…”

“You guys need to check your stats more carefully. Slaying that High Priest boosted everyone up to level 25. Where would y’all be without me?” Grim sighed.

“Very lost, but if that’s the case, I think I can raise havoc by distracting the Paladins. I think I’ll start with Hamshire…”

“Lovely plan, but there’s a slight flaw in it: you and Jenna can’t be separated from each other,” Grim sighed louder.

“Huh?” they said together, clearly confused.

“I should say that you can not be separated by any fairly large distances. You can certainly be separated form each other within close distances… but I wouldn’t get you two further apart then… a couple of klicks, possibly 5 at most,” Grim nodded.

“And the reason is…”

“You two have been in this bond for about… a month, give or take. Your bodies have finally gotten used to it, and are currently using the bond to your advantage. Specifically, you two get stat bonuses you wouldn’t normally have. However, when you’re apart, you receive negative bonuses to those stats. Furthermore, when you two are past that separation point, you will become distracted with thoughts of each other and wanting to be within the effective radius. It will eventually drive you to do anything possible to be back near each other. Isn’t that romantic?” Grim added evilly.

“We haven’t even gone out on a date yet, and you’re telling us that we have a physical and psychological need to be near each other??!” they said in unison, blushing bright red.

Grim had a giant grin on his face. “It would seem the higher powers are indeed conspiring to bring you two together… This is such an amusing situation. Anyways, it looks like you two will have to go visit the Air Raiders together…”

“Oh no! This is the most disturbing news I’ve heard yet between these two! I can’t let them go by themselves, who know what type of hanky-panky could occur…” Reaver interjected, countering the ice beam from Jenna with his own fire stream. “Ha, too slow that time…” he taunted as Jenkins whacked him upside the head with his cane, causing Reaver to be distracted long enough for the ice beam to freeze him again.

“One day, I’ll shatter that ice while he’s still in it,” Jenna growled.

“Actually, that won’t kill him, contrary to what you may think. It will do significant damage, but it won’t actually kill him unless his health is low. It looks like your little strategy is going to need retooling Necro,” Grim grinned.

“Fine, then we’ll go as a group to the Air Raiders camp and convince them to join us. While we’re doing that, Jenkins and Mog here can wreck havoc on one of the other villages around here; Hamshire is mine,” Necro added.

“You want one Shadow Gladiator and one Moogle to go around and distract the Paladins while y’all do politics?” Jenkins asked incredulously.

“Is that too much for you to handle?”

“Nonsense master! I will be more then happy to do a few commando type raids to ruffle their feathers! Since the Paladins wish to purge the undead, and I am undead, my own personal survival is more important then my old ties to Grand Kingdom at the moment. I can easily scare a few unprotected villages and force them to spread their forces thin,” Jenkins said cheerfully.

“We won’t kill anyone… will we?” asked Mog, who didn’t like hurting civilians.

“We’ll have to wipe out some of the local militia to get their attention. As for civilians, we can avoid hurting them… but we will need to blow up houses in order to force a response,” Jenkins pondered.

“You two should be fine, the local garrisons are at most level 20 because of the low level monsters in Aldrania. Heck, I think the highest level non-officer is level 30 in the Paladins. The only level 50 in the region should be the General of Aldrania…” added Grim.

“Sounds a little low level for a General…” Necro mentioned.

“Aldrania is low level territory; therefore it has a low level general. It comes with area, which means we’ll be fine provided we get a decent enough army behind us,” Grim shrugged with his skull.

“No use sitting on our duffs all day then! Let’s clear this area before noon comes round!” Necro ordered, leaping to his feet to help with stowing the tents.

Fifteen minutes were all that was necessary to get the camp cleaned up and to make it look like no one had ever been there. After doing a last minute inspection, Grim nodded his approval at their work.

“Well Jenkins, I’m going to miss you and Mog, but I know you two will be fine without me. Good luck, and give them hell,” Necro said, patting Jenkins on the back.

“Make sure to case a fire spell or two for me, Mog!” Reaver said cheerfully.

“And make sure you two don’t get caught! It’s going to be a pain if we have to stage a rescue operation!” Jenna warned.

Jenkins and Mog waved goodbye as they headed west to the town of Nornorn while the rest of the Reapers walked north towards the desert. However, Necro sorely underestimated just how far it was to said desert by foot. Going by air would have given their position away, and he wasn’t quite sure how long he and Jenna could support Reaver’s weight because of how infrequently they used their wings. They didn’t reach the edge of the desert until the sun had already gone down, and were tired from the extended hike.

“Necro… can we please call it a day, which it already has been?” asked Reaver, who was panting heavily. One advantage to being half-animal was the loss of sweat glands on all three Reapers. While it is true that cats sweat behind their paws, the genetic structure of the fusion of DNA had caused the complete removal of said system, and instead required the “panting” system in order to keep cool. While this was handy to eliminate the need to bathe daily due to bad odors, it was also a dead give away when they were cloaked as full humans.

“No… we need to travel while it’s cool to get to wherever these people are. If they’re like anything living in the desert, they’re nocturnal. Traveling by day is going to be murder, especially since we all have fur. I don’t care what Grim said about the cloaks providing “air conditioning”, I’m pretty sure that they won’t work in the desert,” Necro panted.

“You know, I AM right next to y’all. And I’m almost positive that the spell would hold up in the desert… but still, it is a good call to keep pushing ahead. Take a Reapidine and you should be fine,” Grim suggested.

The group blecched at the thought of having to take the foul tasting medicine, but did so grudgingly as it was the only way they could get enough energy to make it through the night. After resisting the urge to upchuck the pill, the party’s stamina was revitalized to max as they trudged into the desert.

Before they walked too far in, Reaver was struck with inspiration. “Necro, you said that these guys are nomads who are nocturnal, right?”

“That’s what I am assuming…”

“Then do you think they routinely patrol the desert to try to see if the Paladins are going to attack them?”

“I have no doubt about that…”

“So you think they’ll see a bonfire?” he grinned.

“You’re not going to…” Jenna began, but Necro already knew Reaver’s plan and returned the grin.

“It’ll either attract them like moths to a flame, or drive them away like forest creatures to a forest fire. Either way, we should be able to get some action going. You need something for fuel?”

“Nahhh, we got plenty of mana potions, right? I’m feeling over energized and need to let off some steam… flames in this case. Stand back!” Reaver warned, extending his right palm in the air while he put his left hand over his right wrist. He then sent out a huge pillar of fire into the air that could be seen for many kilometers.

“Won’t this attract the Paladins as well as the Air Raiders?” Jenna asked, slightly worried.

“Yeah, but tell me, who’s going to get to us first? A bunch of paladins in slow clunky armor that we are assuming are all at the Fort or at Aldrith, or some Air Raider patrol that use quick mobility and tracking for their survival?” Necro asked back.

“Good point, but how long can Reaver control this?

“Actually, it looks like that he’s gotten a wisdom boost over those past few levels, so he should be able to conserve his MP enough to make it last until we get… here they come.”

“I don’t see them…”

“Of course you don’t,” Grim interjected. “While wind users may lack the Life Element’s ability to create illusions, they can still make themselves invisible. Sound also falls under the wind’s jurisdiction, so they can also mask sounds they make. I know I said that Death was the element of subtlety, but the wind element technically beats you out. However, there are still weaknesses that all but the Reaper of Wind can overcome.”

“The only way to be fully undetectable is to not be there at all. There’s always something that can give you away. Sniff the wind and tell me you don’t smell something odd. Listen to the wind currents and hear that there’s something artificial in the air. Or, if that doesn’t work, sense their magic signatures, which they are doing a TERRIBLE job hiding,” Necro suggested.

“I can’t… wait… I do hear the wind acting oddly now that you mention it… but how did you know…”

“You forget I spent a good portion of my life watching anime and playing video games. I’ve seen other wind mages in said media and saw others attempt to track them. The only reason I CAN do the first two is because of my enhanced senses, and the magic signature thing I just sort of pick up naturally…”

“Can I stop the fire works? I need to replenish my mp…” Reaver asked

“Hold on Reaver! Wait till they reveal their presence; it would be quite rude to expose them before then. I trust you were born with a silver tongue, your majesty,” Necro teased as he stepped backwards.

A minute later, a desert whirlwind appeared before the trio as the cloaked Raiders decided to reveal themselves in dramatic fashion. Reaver was forced to turn off his fire beacon to cover his face, as apparently the hood did not prevent dust particles from getting near his eyes. When the storm had calmed down, three fairly muscular and tan men came forward with scimitars drawn.

“You are either very brave or very stupid. It’s quite obvious that you want our attention, as there’s no other explanation for having a fire beacon that damn huge. State your business with the Air Raiders,” the man in the middle said gruffly.

Jenna lowered her hood as she spoke directly to them, the holo-cloaks active on all three Reapers since they entered the desert. “I am Jennifer De Orléans, Princess of Aldrith, and these are my two guards. I have journeyed from my home to seek the Air Raiders help in overthrowing my father,” she said courteously, trying to hold back any resentment or contempt in her voice.

The three guards took a good look at Jenna’s face to confirm that it was actually her, then looked at each other. They then burst into laughter, which caused Jenna’s face to go red with anger. “This is rich! The princess asking us to help her overthrow her father? What’s the matter, tired of staying a princess? You want your turn to shine on the throne? “ the leader of the group chortled, which was quickly cut off as a high pressure water stream sent him flying into a nearby dune.

“HOW DARE YOU!!!” Jenna roared, beginning to form a giant ice shard directly above the fallen man. “I come here asking for your assistance for an objective that I KNOW you ultimately want to achieve and you laugh at me? I knew trying to convince your kind to do anything was useless! Prepare to pay for your stupidity!”

While Jenna was ranting, Necro had slowly walked over to Jenna and put his hand on his shoulder. After closing his eyes and slowly chanting, he started glowing black. Jenna then began to glow black again, and after she had finished her tirade, she suddenly seemed to calm down. At this point, the icicle was so huge that the man could have been impaled by the point and his entire body would have been skewered so that there was nothing left.

“The princess here has a tendency to get a tad upset when people do not treat her with the same respect she affords them. She asked you nicely to take us to your camp. You can either do that, or she can slay all of you, and then I revive you as my Sentinels and I then force the information out of you. What do you say?”

The man on the ground was absolutely terrified of the giant icicle of doom, while his two henchmen were stunned by the speed at which the attack came. The leader of the group gulped as he found the words to speak. “We’ll take you to the camp… but if you try to betray us to anyone…”

“Idiot!” Necro yelled, feeling some of Jenna’s anger surging into him. “If we wanted to kill the Air Raiders we would have led a massive combing of the desert until we found your camp. It’s quite obvious that we’re alone and that we need your help. We will explain the full details to your leader, not with anyone else as this is sensitive material.”

When Jenna dissolved the giant icicle, the sentry stood up and beckoned the trio to follow them. “It will take us the rest of the night to reach there by foot. I hope you’re in the mood to travel,” he warned.

Reaver got next to Necro to whisper in his ear. “What did you do to calm her down?”

“I simply filled her with a new emotion I found out I had control over: apathy. It does wonders for calming down emotional rage, I’ve used it several times actually,” he whispered back.

“Good save, and close call,” Reaver concluded as the group set out.

The sentry’s words rang true, as the sun was starting to rise when the group reached the Nomad camp without any further incidents besides some evil glances Jenna cast at their escorts for their rudeness.

The Air Raider camp was a bunch of sand colored tents set in no real pattern. They ranged from teepee style to traditional tents to one rather more permanent looking dome-ish tent that was presumed to be the “Chieftain’s tent”. This was confirmed by the posting of two guards similar to the sentries outside the tent that allowed the party to enter through the front flap.

The first thing that Necro noticed was his arm tingling as he entered the tent, and he immediately tried tracking who was triggering it. This was relatively easy to do, as there were two men in the tent, one obviously the Chieftain who was late in his years, and then a young man who fit the age range for new Reapers. The young man was quite handsome, with light wispy hair to match his green eyes. He wore a simple traveler’s cloak like the elderly man. He was about the same muscle build as Necro, but slightly taller then him. There was a mischievous look in his eyes as he eyed Jenna, causing Necro to quickly assume that things were going to turn into a duel over Jenna if his assumptions about this man’s role in the party were correct.

“Do my eyes deceive me? Is this lovely angel before me the Princess of Aldrith, come to grace us with her radiant beauty?” the young man asked, getting on one knee before Jenna and kissing her right hand. This evoked blushing from both Jenna and Necro, but for entirely different reasons.

“Back off buddy, she’s with me,” Necro growled, resisting the urge to provoke a fight.

The young man looked closely at Necro’s face and his dress. “Last I heard, the Princess was betrothed to the High Priest of the local Paladins. By your scythe’s runes and way of dress I can assume that you are not said official,” he said in a neutral tone.

“Your information is out of date then. The High Priest is dead by my hands, and as was the terms of the duel, the right to the fair lady’s hand goes to me,” Necro returned neutrally, slightly blushing at the last part but keeping his composure.

“A bold claim to make,” the young man smirked. “We do have reports that the High Priest was killed, but they say that a daemon was the source of it. An extremely fearsome beast so terrifying that one look would paralyze you as it reached for your heart and rips it from your chest and devourers it in front of you. You, my dear sir, do not look that intimidating.”

“As a wind mage, you should know that looks can be deceiving,” Necro replied, returning the smirk.

“There were also reports that said daemon proclaimed to be the Reaper of Death, and stated that the Reapers were alive and seeking for Aldrith to swear allegiance to them. That would effectively mean you are claiming to be the Reaper of Death.”

“I think my attire fits that description much more then being a High Priest, don’t you?” Necro shrugged.

“I want to see proof of your claim then,” the young man requested.

“Not before proper introductions are met. Her highness came to meet with your Chieftain, and I must say that manners around here seem to be a bit lacking,” Necro smirked.

“Forgive me, I was so enraptured by her Highness’ beauty that I must have forgotten my manners. I am Loki Windrunner, nephew to Chieftain Stormbreaker,” Loki bowed, presenting the elderly gentlemen behind him. “I guess you could call me the next Chief of the tribe.”

“What happened to the other members of your family?” Jenna asked.

“Killed during a raid on the town of Rosethorn. The Paladins were waiting for that raid, and slaughtered every single one of us… my cousins and father were in that raid. Mom died of heartache…” he said sourly.

“It serves you right for preying on helpless villages…” Jenna began, but was interrupted by the Chief.

“Do not speak of things you are not aware of, your highness. You come from a sheltered life in the castle and hear reports from your guards, you do not know our side of the story,” he said solemnly in a deep voice.

Necro put a hand on Jenna’s shoulder in case he need to contain her rage. Fortunately, Jenna seemed to be keeping her emotions in check as she made a polite curtsy. “I would be honored if you would enlighten me to your ordeals then.”

The chieftain returned the curtsy with a bow and beckoned her to sit down on the mat in front of him. “Forgive the accommodations, as I’m sure you are used to far grander attire back at your castle…”

“The lady has abandoned her life of luxury in order to do what is best for Tipa. It would be wise for you to at least not remind her of what she has left behind, unless you wish for us to take our business elsewhere. That is something that would be unwise for you, as she knows the security of Aldrith and about the Paladins. Essentially, with her help, the Air Raiders could become the new government of the kingdom and finally be accepted back into society. Without our help, your organization will continue living in the desert living a meager existence,” Necro stated coldly.

The chieftain gave Necro a hard look. “Your words are harsh, but they do have some merit to them. Though I must ask where you would go to raise an army to fight your battles?”

“I am quite sure the Necromancer Confederation would be more then willing to support us,” Necro stated.

“Because you are the Reaper of Death? I will make a deal with you then; I will mind my tongue if you show me proof of who you claim to be,” the chieftain suggested.

Necro nodded his head as he drew a circle in the sand with the blade of his scythe and began chanting in ancient Reaper. Slowly, the circle began forming itself just like it had when Necro had performed the spell in front of Reaver. When the black skull appeared at the top of the middle section of the cross scythes, the two Air Raiders looked positively mortified as Necro grinned coldly. “I have kept my end of the bargain, keep yours if you know what’s best for you.”

The chieftan gulped as he bowed while sitting. “I am terribly sorry, to both you and your Reaper escort… though I am now curious why a Reaper and a princess…”

“I will explain later; Please explain your side of the story,” Jenna nodded.

“The Air Raiders were not the wandering nomads you see before you today. It is told that before the Grand Kingdom was formed, our ancestors used to travel the world in various bands as merchants and performers to the various villages scattered throughout this continent. We were welcomed by all villages during those times, hailed for our business expertise and our acrobatics. We were also occasionally hired as mercenaries due to our tracking abilities,” the chief began.

“When the Grand Kingdom was first established, things weren’t that bad. In fact, things somewhat prospered because there was finally a standardized unit of currency instead of having 20 different kinds at once forcing us to mostly barter for everything we needed. It was about 100 years since the founding of the Grand Kingdom. Apparently one of the Paladin Generals had an affair with one of the Chieftain’s daughters… I’m not quite sure what the source of the dispute is actually. The main copy of the Air Raider records are with the Talni Raiders,” he sighed.

“Does this desert even have a name, or is it unimportant?” asked Reaver.

“We just called it the Aldranian desert… yeah, it’s really not that important… except for the Air Raiders living here,” Jenna added, trying not to offend them.

“Anyways, because of this incident, we were dubbed gypsies and thieves by the Paladins. Since they were the right arm of the military for the Grand, it wasn’t long for the entire kingdom to brand us as criminals, and thus were forced to wander the various deserts throughout Tida. Naturally the desert is not a place for humans to thrive in, and we require resources in order to survive. That was when we dubbed ourselves the Air Raiders as we struck back at the Kingdom that ostracized us. Since then we’ve been doing what we can to survive over the centuries. It is our dream to be one day accepted into normal society so that we may trade and perform like our ancestors did…”

“I don’t think you’re going to be accepted when you attack innocents in your raids…” Jenna said quietly.

“We do not attack innocents in our raids, your Highness. We are very specific with who we target in our attacks, most of the time the nobility’s places and their guards, with the occasional raid on the Paladin Fortress when we’re feeling extra bold. We never try to target any of the common folk unless it is a last resort. Fortunately the nobility have plenty of supplies for us to liberate so we do not need to target the lower classes,” the Chief concluded.

“How do I know you’re not lying to me…”

“He’s not Jenna. First you have Grim’s “information sources” that agree with his story, and second I’ve been watching him the entire time. I may not be well versed in telepathy, but as Reaper of Death I can tell when someone is lying,” Necro confirmed.

“And if he can’t, I sure as hell can since I’ve been at the job for centuries,” Grim added, still invisible to the Air Raiders.

“Very well, I will accept your words as true, and I apologize for my prejudice against your kind. I can only imagine the hardships you must face living in the desert,” she said politely.

“We humbly accept your apology, and we welcome you to spend the day with us in one of our spare tents. It is late by our terms, so further business will have to be carried in the morning,”

“Very well, but before we turn in, we carry another offer with us. Mr. Windrunner…” Necro began.

“Please, call me Loki,” he bowed.

“Very well then, Loki. It pleases me to report that you have been chosen to be the Reaper of Wind by the Wind Element. This is not something that can be forced upon you, and apparently you need some sort of consent in order to become one… or initiate the secondary initiation system that we’re not going to try to repeat. Regardless, when next we meet, it would be wise for you to decide whether you will accept your destiny or if you will try to avoid it,” Necro said mysteriously.

Loki and the Chieftain were left in utter shock and awe as the trio followed their guide to the “guest tents”, two small teepees near the center of the tent. Jenna called dibs on the one towards the east, leaving Reaver and Necro to share the tent towards the west.

“I love how you dropped that Reaper of Wind bit on them right as we were leaving. You do know your drama,” Reaver grinned.

“Comes with playing too many video games,” he grinned back. “I just had to drop that bombshell on them to shake things up.”

“How come you get to tell people you’re the Reaper of Death, but we don’t get to proclaim our Reaperdom?”

“Sort of an undercover thing? I dunno, it’s best not to reveal all your aces until the time is right. We WILL tell the Air Raiders, of course, but if we do get called out for being Reapers, we can just claim that I’m the only one… for going incognito…”

“Right, cause the Reaper of Death is SO subtle.”

“Look, if you want to go around yelling “I’m the Reaper of Fire” to everyone we meet, I’m not stopping you. But Grim and/or Jenna might, and I don’t think you want to put up with them. Now, let’s get some sleep, it’s going to be a busy night tomorrow.

< Message edited by Ultrapowerpie -- 9/8/2009 13:14:28 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 22
9/9/2009 22:10:00   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 22

“This feels so weird; waking up at night and going to sleep during the day…” Reaver complained as they exited their tents.

“Get used to it, Reaver. If we’re going to be running from the paladins, travel by night is the way to go. After all, their element IS the sun after all, they’re used to daylight. Night Vision is the Death Element ability. Besides, I thought that lycans liked the night…”

“We do… I just haven’t really been using too much of my lycan abilities… heck, I haven’t been in a fight in a while… not a decent one anyways. We’ve somewhat outgrown the monsters in this area, you know?”

“Bah, Grim said we’ll have plenty more to fight when we hit the next Kingdom, but for now we need to concentrate on current matters… I have a feeling I’m going to be getting in a duel with Loki,” Necro sighed.


“You saw the way he was looking at Jenna. Given the way his eyes look and his name, I’m pretty sure that before he accepts to be a Reaper, he’s going to want to make sure that I’m legit, test his real powers, and try to win Jenna’s affection,” Necro sighed.

“How do you know this…”

“I don’t actually know, but given the amount of clichés this world is notorious for, I’m expecting yet another duel, this time with a wind mage…”

“Hey guys, what are you talking about?” Jenna asked as she emerged from her tent.

“Nothing!” they said innocently.

An Air Raider sentry escorted the trio back to the main tent, where the Chieftain and Loki were waiting for them. Loki was grinning mischievously, only confirming to Necro what was about to unfold.

“You’re a sneak devil, aren’t you? Leaving the tent right as you drop a magic bomb on me and my uncle… I can tell you weren’t joking though… something about what you said made sense… I’ll accept your offer on one condition…”

“You wish to challenge me to a duel to truly ascertain the power of a Reaper while also attempting to win over Jenna’s hand in marriage,” Necro concluded.

The look on Loki’s face was so priceless that Grim took an astral snapshot for the Reaper Scrapbook of Classic Moments, which was coming along quite nicely.

“Did you read my mind?” Loki asked, regaining his composure.

“No, we’re not high enough level wise to read minds, however I did use some deductions from your general manner and a few assumptions about what type of character you are to figure out you would challenge me,” he grinned.

“Mind if I hear what said assumptions are?”

“Primarily that you are what is known as a “ladies man”, someone who will drop whatever it is they are doing in order to pursue a hot female in an attempt to go on a date with them. You are also extremely mischievous in nature and love to test your own skills against others you deem worthy as opponents. I also predict that you are quite the con-artist and that you probably are in charge of the Aldrith Underground,” Necro concluded.

The look on Loki’s face was a mixture of awe, shock and a congratulatory grin. “I still don’t believe you knew all that without reading my mind…”

“Trust me, I’m pretty good at stuff like this,” Necro nodded.

“Then I take it you’re going to accept my challenge to a duel?”

“Why wouldn’t I? I just have one condition: if you’re going to use invisibility, I get to use minions/summons. Agreed?”

“Seems fair to me. I’ll lead the way to our “training area” where we can battle without having to worry about hitting any of our tents,” Loki grinned, leading Necro out of the tent.

“Jenna, I blame you for this duel that is going on and delaying us! I demand that you stop being so hot at once so guys won’t fight over you!” Grim ordered.

“The only thing keeping you from being a skull-cicle is that you actually complimented me in that order,” she grinned, following Reaver out of the tent.

The “training area” was a flat piece of the desert that had been roped off, roughly the size of two football fields side by side. The few Raiders training inside the area quickly left once Loki explained to the Trainer about the terms of the duel. “I look forward to your victory, Loki” the Trainer said, patting him on the back.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” Necro cautioned as he followed Loki into the training area. Necro took the near side of the field while Loki walked over to the far side of the field. When they were both in the middle of the field at opposite ends, the trainer used his wind magic to amplify his voice like a loud speaker.

“Attention Air Raiders and honored guest, her Highness the Princess of Aldrith! It is with greatest pleasure that I announce a duel of honor is about to commence! The prize is none other then her Highness’ hand in marriage!” he shouted, pausing to allow the various Air Raiders who were in camp cheer at the prospect of such an exciting match. “Representing us is none other then the nephew to our very own Chieftain, Loki Windrunner!” he paused for more cheering. “I’m sure you all have heard the rumors floating around camp, and I’m here to tell you that they are true! Facing Loki will be none other then the Reaper of Death!” he announced, pausing for the crowd’s gasps of surprise. No one dared to boo against Necro, but no one cheered for him except for Jenna and Reaver, who did so quietly.

“First person to reach critical HP will loose, this is not a fight to the death. Alternatively, you may choose to surrender if you feel you can not continue. Ready… FIGHT!” the trainer announced, stepping outside the arena.

Necro had been making his move before the fight had officially started, moving skeletons into the confines of the arena underground. When the fight started, he opened with his typical maneuver of having the Stalfan grab his opponent’s ankles and try to drag him under. This was particularly easy because of the sandy environment, and Loki wasn’t able to free himself until he was waist deep in the sand. By the time he had freed himself; Necro had already launched several Death Slashes at Loki and had 5 Stalfan archers on the field.

Loki dodged Necro’s attacks by leaping high into the air and floated their due to his aeromancy. “Not bad, catching me off guard like that. Now it’s my turn to go on the offensive,” he grinned as the wind swirled by him causing him to vanish.

Necro cursed mentally; as he had hoped to end things before Loki had a chance, but knew deep down it was a false hope. Casting aside sight, he closed his eyes and relied on his other senses, and immediately knew he was in big trouble. Unlike the sentries, Loki was quite good at masking his presence in all methods knew to track him while he was invisible. He attempted to blast areas where he thought he heard the wind acting funny, but all his Death Balls shot empty air. What was more annoying was Loki’s constant baiting. “Oh, so close, but so far,” was only one of his annoying taunts.

Necro quickly realized that the only way Loki was accomplishing his taunts and masking his presence on the winds was by sound magic, which he suddenly remembered was under the Wind Element. Mentally cursing again, he abandoned sound as a method of tracking, as he figured that Loki was just throwing his voice, and attempting to strike the place of origin would just wear him down.

Smell proved equally ineffective, causing Necro to assume that Loki’s invisibility also created some sort of containment field that masked any sounds or smells he had. Making a mental note to ask for the specifics of the smell, Necro turned to his last measure: detecting Loki’s magic signature.

This proved harder then expected, and not because Loki had decided to attack Necro with various wind bursts that pushed him around. Not only had Loki minimized his own signature, but it seemed like the Air Raiders watching the fight were actually amplifying their own which interfered with Necro’s ability to track down Loki.

Necro tried various other methods to track Loki down, including stirring up massive amounts of dust, allowing his archers to shoot willy nilly and more, but nothing seemed to flush out the invisible foe. Worse, Necro’s hp was now at ¼ health, which was only a little bit away from critical HP, which was rounded off at 1/8 health. Necro had managed to keep his stamina and MP in reserve by playing defensive most of the time, but he realized he was looking like an idiot in front of the Air Raiders and that he was going to loose if he didn’t do something.

“You know, I was expecting more fight out of the Reaper of Death. I guess being a Reaper isn’t all its cracked up to be. Looks like I’ll be teaching the Princess the ways of the Air Raiders while you are forced to find yourself a new Reaper of Wind…” Loki taunted, making it sound like he was right next to Necro.

It was this taunt that struck Necro with an idea to end the fight once and for all. He quickly contacted Jenna via telepathy about his plan, to which he received an excited purr. After telling Reaver the plan and confirming over telepathy that they were ready, Necro quickly cast a barrier around himself. The barrier spell was learned at level 25, but it was only an extremely small fraction compared to Grim’s. Necro knew the barrier would only absorb a few full hits of wing slashes, but that was all the time he needed. He rolled up his right arm sleeve and laid his finger on the black skull mark on his wrist. Jenna and Reaver did the same with their arms, and all three began chanting in Reaper.

Loki was quite curious as to what Necro was up to, and sent wind blasts towards him, only to find them being blocked by an energy shield. Loki continued to hammer them from wind blasts from different angles until the shield dropped. It was when the shield dropped that Necro looked up into the air and had a triumphant grin on his face.

Loki suddenly felt a shift of the winds, and tried to discover the source of the shift. He was puzzled when he couldn’t detect any other aeromancy, and was more startled when he started feeling the air starting to converge on him as wind from every single direction. The wind around him became so strong that it looked like he was trapped inside a tornado the shape of a sphere. The wind surrounding Loki suddenly started to flow into his hands, and he felt a huge surge of power throughout his body as he began to glow grey.

After a few more seconds of the incredible moment, the grey light faded and so did the swirling winds. When he looked on himself, he was quite startled to see that he was wearing a cloak similar to Necro’s, but grey. He didn’t have any time to notice or ponder everything else because Necro was right next to Loki by this point.

Necro had purposely triggered the Reaper Initiation spell cause he knew there would be a big dramatic spectacle for the transformation. He could easily hear which way the winds were converging, and it was then that he decided to strike. Extending his wings, which caused the crowd to gasp and “ooohs” at the spectacle, he soared into the air at maximum speed towards the swirling ball of wind. By the time the swirling winds had disappeared, Necro was right next to Loki.

Necro’s momentum slammed into Loki, which caught the aeromancer off guard. Necro then quickly punched Loki’s stomach, knocking the wind from him. He followed through by using the flat of his scythe’s blade like a baseball bat; slamming Loki to the ground. Before Loki could even begin to break his fall, Necro charged up a Death Beam that required him to use both hands to stabilize, and then blasted Loki straight into the ground. He then finished the move by diving down upon Loki with his scythe raised.

The sand that was raised by the impact of the two Reapers took some time to settle, but when it did, it was quite clear who the victor was. Necro’s scythe was buried in the sand, the flat of the blade touching Loki’s right cheek. Necro had Loki completely pinned to the ground, his left hand around Loki’s throat while using his left wing to pin Loki’s right arm, which actually proved to be much stronger then Necro expected for a wing.

“I would suggest surrendering, unless you want me to choke your HP to critical,” Necro said coldly, trying to suppress his dark side that wanted to completely finish off his foe.

“I surrender…” Loki mumbled, finding it hard to breathe.

Everyone watching the fight was absolutely stunned at how quickly the fight had changed in just 30 seconds. Even Jenna and Reaver were quite stunned with how Necro was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The Trainer amplified his voice again as he spoke, “In a shocking turn of events, the winner of this duel is the Reaper of Death!”

There was an awkward silence at first, which was interrupted by the clapping of Jenna and Reaver. Slowly and dramatically, the applause began to grow until everyone watching was doing it and started celebrating at the tremendous spectacle they had just seen. Necro stowed his wings away and helped Loki off the ground while the new Reaper of Wind dusted himself off.

“I don’t think I said that I wanted to join your order during the match…”

“Technically speaking, you didn’t say anything as I summarized what you were going to tell me. You never specifically said that you would be a Reaper only if I won. The stakes of the duel was Jenna’s hand in marriage. I will admit I had some help from Jenna and Reaver in perfoming the Initiation spell,” he grinned.

“Wait… they’re Reapers… and they helped you? But that’s…”

“Cheating? And your entire clan here just happened to have intensified magic signatures so I couldn’t track yours? I would call that cheating by interfering with tracking…” Necro teased.

“Touché,” Loki shrugged, following Necro. “Though now I am quite interested in hearing your full story about why 3 Reapers are traveling around together stirring up trouble…”

“I think you’ll find it quite amusing. If you like stirring up trouble, you’ve come to the right adventuring group” Necro grinned as he followed Loki out of the training area.

Grim started the tale by making a dramatic entrance and scaring the daylights out of the Chieftain and Loki. After telling them about the general state of the Reapers, Necro took over the story. He dramatically shortened his training experiences at Calico, though he did mention Grim’s manipulation of his emotions in order to clarify later parts in the story. Reaver and Jenna told parts of the story when they could, but it was mostly Necro who did the talking, and he was a pretty good story teller for a mechanical engineer.

By the time they had finally finished with what had happened at Aldrith and the Sanctuary Adventure, the sun was rising. Loki let out a yawn of sleepiness as he stretched. “You guys really have been through a lot, haven’t you?”

“And we’re just getting started,” Necro grinned.

“By the way, Chieftain, it would be wise if you didn’t repeat this story to anyone else… not that many would believe you. We just want to keep our history under wraps until we get fully established as Reapers…” Reaver began.

“And then I’m going to publish it in print and picture book form and make a killing on the profits,” Grim nodded.

“You have honored me with the presence of 5 Reapers today, and honored us further by offering us your aid against the Paladins and Aldrith. You have even blessed my nephew with the honor of Reaper of Wind. It is the least I can do,” the Chief bowed.

“Wait, you don’t hate us?” Necro asked, slightly puzzled.

“Excluding the Paladins, the Elemental Orders still believe that the Reapers are important and do not hate them, at least to my knowledge. You may be rejected by the majority of Tipa, but you can take solace that the Orders have not abandoned you yet. They may think that you are dead, but they do not despise you like others would,” the Chief explained.

“It’s getting quite late, why don’t we make plans for assaulting Aldrith tomorrow? I also need to start saying goodbye to everyone if I’m going to journey with you guys…” Loki began.

“Take your time, I can understand how hard it can be to leave your home,” Jenna commented.

Back at their tent, Reaver was still curious about the fight that had occurred. “How exactly did that Initiation spell work? And how did you manage to beat him so quickly?”

“The Reaper of Wind has a notoriously low endurance stat. Sure, he’s extremely hard to hit, but once you do, you can knock him out fairly quickly. As for the Initiation spell, some part of him must have wanted to join us all along. The three of you using the spell at once amplified its effects, so he transformed into a Reaper. I never thought that the spell could be amplified, but apparently it can. I added that to the Archives for future reference. Fine job out there Necro, but you really need to stop having duels over Jenna, otherwise this journey will never continue,” Grim sighed.

Necro shrugged as he turned into bed. “It’ll work out somehow…”

Grim rolled his red orbs as he faded out.

Necro was returning from answering the call of nature when he suddenly heard Jenna’s voice from behind her tent from where he was standing. “Necro… come over here…” she called softly, purring happily.

He could see her waving from behind the tent then quickly dashing out of sight. He was extremely puzzled, as this behavior was completely unlike Jenna. He was even more confused why she wasn’t using the bond to communicate with him, which he decided to do so. When he discovered that Jenna was still sleeping, he realized that this was one of Loki’s pranks, so he decided to prank the prankster.

As he slowly walked towards the tent, he found Loki’s magic signature, which was no longer hidden by a sea of intensified magic signatures. Using that as a reference point, he created a Stalfan archer who poked his arrow right underneath Loki. Right before Necro turned to the spot where he had seen Jenna, he ordered the archer to fire. The arrow struck Loki in the butt, causing him to howl in pain and drop the invisibility as he floated to the ground.

“Oh quit crying you big baby, I dulled the point so it wouldn’t do any permanent damage,” he grinned, snapping his fingers which dissipated the Death Energy arrow and the Stalfan. “Rule 1 while traveling with the party: no pranking members of the party.”

“I can’t say that I will always obey that rule,” Loki grinned, rubbing his sore bum.

“Then I can’t guarantee you won’t get blasted, roasted or frozen. I am acting party leader, so it would be wise to follow orders… unless you want me to beat you again.”

“You won because of a trick…”

“A trick that makes it easier for us to track you. Now that you’re a Reaper, you have a distinct magic signature that makes it easier for other Reapers to find you. Grim says you can’t fully mask it until you’re a full Reaper, so get over it,” he grinned.

“That sounds like a challenge…” Loki grinned back.

“Look, we already got enough conflicts within the party already. We don’t need a prankster stirring up trouble…”

“Oh, but I will, I will. But just to be fair, I promise I won’t do any pranks before Noon or Midnight, whichever phase of time we’re traveling in.”

“Fair enough, if you don’t mind me getting revenge on you every time you prank me or Jenna. Reaver is fair game, but he has a quick temper, so you better watch yourself.”

“I can handle myself, don’t worry”

“How did you create that illusion of Jenna? I thought illusions fell under the Life Element…”

“This desert has some unique properties that allows us to create mirages with our wind magic, almost as if something amplifies our Wind magic…”

“Fascinating, I’ll be sure to ask Grim about that later.”

The two walked into the main tent, where the rest of the party and the Chief were waiting for them. “My nephew get you with a prank?”

“Actually Uncle, he got me trying to do it. I’ll have to actually try next time. So, what’s the order of business?”

“We were waiting for you two to come in. Unfortunately I have not been very good at military tactics, and neither is Reaver. Necro seems to have the most experience with that…”

“Only because of the endless RTS I played back in my world. Anyways, I’ll need a map of Aldrania…” Necro began, but Grim had an astral topographical map already on display before Necro could finish the sentence.

“Right… Ok, here we are in the Aldranian Desert. I just checked in with Jenkins, and he said that he’s raided two villages already and is on his way to a third one… here, south east of the last one he attacked. He said the damage he did was minimal, but he did manage to wipe out the local militia quick enough. Pathetic level 10 guards… Anyways, Mog has been back to the last village they raided, and he reports that there is roughly a company of Paladins stationed there. Obviously this isn’t going to thin the forces too much, but we can change that soon enough…”

“You want us to attack one of the towns that your Sentinel raided to prove to the Paladins that they’re going to have to beef up security? Interesting tactic, but would it be wise to reveal that the Air Raiders are part of this attack?” Loki asked.

“Mog and Jenkins are relatively unknown because Jenkins never actually went Shadow Gladiator in front of His Majesty, and Mog just stayed hidden most of the time. I think they are blaming me for it because of the Death Magic involved, and I intend to back up that claim by launching a raid on them with a Stalfan army… and some help from my fellow Reapers,” Necro added.

“Alright, so we attack a few villages and force them to devote… a battalion of men to the larger towns and possibly a company of men to the smaller ones…” Loki calculated.

“I figure they’ll deploy one division to guard the outlying towns once we prove they need to be ready for more action, and the other division will be split roughly half and half between Aldrith and the Fort…”

“If they take the bait. Our attacks may cause them to redouble the security in those two places if they figure out that we’re trying to lure them away from the prize.”

“If they do that… then that plays into my plan…” Necro grinned evilly, causing a slight shiver amongst everyone in the room. “If they do abandon the outlying villages in favor of securing Aldrith and the fort, then we just walk up to the villages with a large undead army. With a little… persuasion, I’m sure we can add some of the locals to our ranks to fight against the King.”

“So either they spread their forces thin, or we get more members to our army…Can you really pull off the latter?”

“Fear is an excellent manipulator… and if that fails, the presence of Jenna marching against her father must inspire something in them,” Necro shrugged, pointing his thumb at her.

“I’m so glad that my presence is essential to your plan,” Jenna humphed.

“I’m sorry if you think I’m using you as a figure head, but you technically are, remember? You know I don’t think of you like that,” Necro stated, blushing slightly.

“Let’s not get mushy during a war meeting please,” Loki coughed. “So how do we go about actually attacking Aldrith?”

“First we wipe out the Paladin base and crush the morale of the Paladins, as they are the main military force around here. I would say we should lay siege to it, but that would take too long…. Grim, pull up the blueprints please… there we go. The fortress is made of stone and has more enchantments around it’s walls then Aldrith does. Our best bet is to send you in under stealth to lower the gate, as I’m sure commando operations are something you specialize in. Once you open the gates, it’s a simple matter of storming the castle. We can communicate via telepathy in order to coordinate things. We should only use half of our forces at most, as this is not the finishing blow, but a mere step in our conquest of Aldrania,” Necro explained.

“And they don’t have runes to prevent flying? By the way, can I see what you guys really look like, without those holo-cloaks active?” Loki asked.

They shrugged and dropped their holo-cloaks, causing the other two to gasp slightly. “Isn’t it hot under that fur?”

“The Cloaks provide a temperature control spell to keep it nice and cool. Plus, we’ve learned to get used to it. We can explain more about the benefits/drawbacks of our current state later. As for anti-flying spells… I’m sure that’s nothing the Reaper of Wind can’t handle,” he grinned.

“Should I expect a similar strategy with Aldrith?”

“You should… except that we’re going to fly in and start causing havoc inside the city while you lower the gate for the rest of the forces. This is all general strategy for now, obviously. We can come up with more detailed plans the further along we go,” Necro advised.

“No plan survives contact with the enemy?” Loki smirked.

“Exactly, it’s better to be able to improvise at the last minute then create an elaborate plan that we stick to no matter what. As long as we have a general sense of what we’re doing, things should be fine. So, let’s concentrate on our first objective: raiding a town… can we attack Hamshire? I know that goes against what I initially planned, but…”

“You got a thing against Hamshire?” Reaver asked.

“Just want to eliminate the family that spawned that idiot High Priest and completely burn down their estate…”

“Hamshire is one of the larger towns and has it’s own garrison of men. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but there’s always the possibility that the Paladins decided to reinforce that area in advance…” Loki commented.

“That just makes things better for us… dang, it’s more 2 day’s to walk there…”

“Why don’t you just fly there? It’s much faster then walking all over the place,” Loki suggested.

“Well… Jenna and I haven’t used our wings a lot, so we’re still somewhat inexperienced at flying, especially long distances… plus, wouldn’t flying make us more visible to spotters and trackers? I don’t think you can make us all invisible with your magic, can you?”

“Unfortunately no, I don’t have the power to cloak more then myself. However, if we travel during night, I’m sure we won’t have to worry about getting spotted, especially if we take… this route” Loki traced the route with his right index finger, and received nods from the others.

“Well, there’s no sense in setting out tonight, we might as well wait till tomorrow… Hey, you guys got a store we can buy stuff at?” Necro asked.

“Eh, we got Akbar’s stand… he usually keeps items in his shop…”

“Wait… why the heck is there a shop inside a community like this? That makes absolutely no sense… Don’t y’all support each other and share equally and whatnot?” asked Jenna.

“You would be right, but Akbar somehow manages to stay in business… I guess its cause we usually spend the gold we pick up from raids there… and he has some underground connections… you know, I never really thought to ask just exactly how that works…” Loki admitted.

“This does not fill me with confidence…” Necro sighed, as Loki led the way to Akbar’s tent.

Akbar’s tent looked like it was salvaged by a trash dump; a puke green color to the small teepee filled with holes over the place, and a battered wooden sign that said “Honest Akbar’s Desert Outpost”.

Akbar himself was a stout bald man who wore the traditional garbs of the Desert Raiders, which consisted of a long white tunic, a sleeveless cloak and a turban. He bowed to the party as the entered. “Ahh, honored guests of the Air Raiders, welcome to my humble abode! You will fine that my items are the finest around,” he said.

Necro took a quick look at the items on display, and let out a cry of outrage. “1000 gold for 1 potion! That’s 10 times the going rate! How the hell can you charge this much for something that barely recovers a third of our HP?”

“Lack of competition and scarcity of goods, my dear friend. If you do not like the prices, you can always try to find another store…” Akbar began, but was cut off as Necro grabbed him with his left hand and charged a Death ball in his right hand.

“Listen to me, you swindling con-artist. I have gone through video game after video game, and one thing I cannot stand our merchants. Why? Because they always charge money to the heroes when they’re the ones saving their butts. Even when the heroes are about to face the final boss, the merchants continue to gouge the poor heroes just to make a quick buck. I don’t care if by the time you hit the final boss in a game that you have more money then necessary, it’s not right to charge the people who are saving your butt for your bloody goods. There should be other NPCs to stock their wallets up. The sadist game makers never allow the heroes to just walk up to the merchant and just take his goods, cause by that time, there’s nothing the merchant can do to stop the heroes. So, I’m going to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. You will charge us one tenth the going rate on EVERY item you own, or I will make sure that your death is a slow and painful one!” Necro ordered, his voice fully demonic.

Akbar nodded as Necro released him, and quickly changed the price tags on all the items in the store to what was ordered. Akbar was crying by the time Necro had fully stocked up on potions, ether and various status ailment healing items. Sadly, this merchant stand did not carry higher quality goods, but Necro more then made up for this by taking essentially everything in Akbar’s stock. Necro respectfully bowed to Akbar and left the tent, with the other Reapers showing bemusement and disappointment at Necro.

“You’ve been wanting to do that for a while, haven’t you?” Reaver asked.

“Hell yes I have, and it felt great. I can’t wait for the next merchant I come across,” he laughed evilly.

“While that is one way to haggle, it wouldn’t be advisable to keep doing that… the merchants DO have a guild and they may try to blacklist us if you keep threatening them…” Loki shrugged.

“Bah, if blacklisting is the worse they can do, then bring it on,” Necro grinned evilly.

“Necro, we ARE trying to establish a GOOD reputation with others, not make us out to be a bunch of thugs,” Jenna scolded.

Necro sighed and relented to Jenna’s side. “Fine, fine, I guess we can haggle by the “usual” methods just to appease everyone… BTW Grim, I think there’s a Wind Orb round here…” Necro mentioned.

“Yes, I picked that up from your conversation with Loki earlier… yes, I was stalking you,” Grim added, taking an astral picture at Necro’s expression. “I’m joking, I just read your mind about that. Yes, I can do that now that we have 4 Reapers active. I already have some probes combing the desert to try to find the Orb…”

One of these probes conveniently floated by the group. It was a medium sized sphere with arms all over the place and a large red camera eye. Every single eye had a comb on it, and the droid was methodically “combing” the desert. “Grim… did you check the command line for that…” Necro asked.

“Why?” Grim asked, turning to look in Necro’s direction. Grim’s reaction to the probe was so priceless that Necro took a picture of it with the camera that was in the inventory, and then sent the picture off to EVA for the scrapbook. “That would explain why there’s no bloody progress… damn probes…” Grim mumbled as his skull vanished.

The rest of the group burst out laughing as the probe continued combing the desert, which seemed to go unnoticed by any of the Air Raiders in camp. “Sooooooo, what now? It’s still kinda early…”

“You guys musically inclined? I usually play the air flute,” Loki shrugged.

“The what?” Necro and Jenna asked.

“I manipulate the air so it mimics the property of an actual flute. I can virtually create any instrument I want and use sound magic to ensure that everything sounds how I want it. Beats having to lug around instruments,” Loki shrugged.

“Jenna and me sing… but I dunno about Reaver…”

“Hey, I can play a mean fiddle when I want to. We even got one in the inventory,” Reaver nodded.

“Then what are we waiting for? You two got a particular duet in mind?”

“I don’t know any songs from this world…” Necro admitted, blushing slightly.

“Oh, don’t worry about that, just follow my lead… Let’s do “The Lover’s Lament”, I’m sure you two know that one,” Jenna said excitedly.

“You bet I do, that’s one of the saddest songs I’ve ever learned…” Reaver sighed.

“Sounds depressing, what’s it about?”

“It’s about this girl who’s in love with a soldier who’s sent off to war for his kingdom, and they’re saying they’re good byes to each other. I think that will work fine, let’s gather round the campfire to perform it,” Loki grinned.

The “campfire” was more of a bonfire, but apparently the Air Raiders were able to keep it masked from prying eyes outside the camp by wind magic. When Loki announced that they were going to perform, the chatter around the campfire died with all eyes on the four.

One of the Air Raiders let out a slow, steady beat on a rather large drum constructed from animal bone and hide. Reaver and Loki picked up the beat and played what Necro thought was a sad Celtic tune. Jenna waited a few more beats before she began singing, which to Necro sounded like the most beautiful sound he ever heard.

I awoke one morning to find,
That the drums of war were beating in time,
I raced to the windows and threw them wide,
To see the streets filled with soldier’s head held high.

I rushed to the streets to find my love,
Only to be pushed and shoved,
Until I found him walking in line,
I asked “is now the time?”

Necro was too busy enjoying the song to try to figure out what the next words were, or even what the melody was. When Jenna finished her last line, Necro was suddenly filled with an idea of what to sing, and let it go in a full baritone.

“Yes my dear, I am off to war,
I have would have stopped by your door,
To tell you that I was leaving home,
In order to protect the royal dome.”

Necro thought that the lines were oddly rhymed, but then he remembered that the translation spell was doing it’s best to try to make things sound right to him in a poetic since. Still, he was quite amused at how the words that flowed into him were English and not whatever the local common tongue was. He decided that he would have to ask Grim about the specifics of the spell another time.

The song continued with Jenna pleading to Necro not to go, and Necro reluctantly telling her that he had a duty to perform. It ended with the soldier passing through the town’s main gates, leaving the lover to cry at the cruelty of war.

When they finished the song, there wasn’t a dry eye in the camp. Even Grim could be seen snuffling, even though he had no nose or tear ducts. “That was the most beautiful rendition of the I’ve ever heard…” he sniffed.

Necro was not that moved by the song, but that may have been because his focus was more on Jenna’s singing then anything else. The Reapers bowed to the Air Raiders as they walked away from the campfire.

“That killed a few minutes of time… suddenly I’m tired…” Necro yawned.

“I think we should turn in early just to make sure we get a solid sleep. We may not get any sleep for a good while if we have to go on the run after our first raid,” Loki advised.

After saying good night, everyone returned to their respective tents with no incident. “That was still an awesome duet you two did… it moved me so much that I was having trouble playing the fiddle. How did you know the words to the song if you never heard it before?”

Nero shrugged. “I’m guessing Jenna must have patched it through to me via telepathy or something. I just felt the words coming into me as I sang… I dunno, didn’t really think about it, which is odd considering the way I normally sang… I don’t do improv very well…”

“Well, if our gig as Reapers goes kaplut, we can always sell ourselves as traveling entertainers,” Reaver grinned as he prepared to turn in.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. We don’t want to get branded gypsies like the Air Raiders did,” Necro teased back.

AQ DF MQ  Post #: 23
9/19/2009 21:25:32   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 23

We now return to find the Roughnecks…

“YOU! I thought I obliterated you a couple of chapters ago!!” a mysteriously godly voice roared in anger.

“That was my twin…”

*another flash of lightning crosses the screen/page*

“I know times are tough, but that’s no excuse to steal other people’s narrator’s role… freeloaders… please enjoy the story” the voice stated, fading away.

Hamshire was located on a flat green plain south of Aldrith, with no noticeable landmarks near the town. This meant that any invading army could be clearly spotted by one of the town’s lookout towers. However, the lookouts didn’t need to look for the invading army, as they decided to announce their presence with a rather loud werewolf howl and two wildcat roars.

“Do y’all HAVE to give away our position before we even move?” asked Loki, performing a facepalm as the fuzzier members of the party felt obligated to let out a roar.

“Sorry, can’t help it. There’s just something in my blood that wants me to strike fear into our enemies… it also makes me feel good…” Necro admitted.

Reaver and Jenna nodded in agreement, slightly blushing with Necro.

“You just killed the element of surprise…”

“Bah, who needs the element of surprise when we got 4 elements backing us up? They’d have spotted the Stalfan army anyways since tonight’s a full moon. This way the villagers can get to safety in their huts while we move in, destroy the armed forces, and then raze the mansion to the ground,” Necro explained.

“But is this “Operation: Storm Trooper” going to work?” Loki asked, still not convinced.

“Look, Grim said that weather control for storms was divided up between Wind and Water, with Fire providing lightning. I know weather control is an advanced spell, but if you three pool your resources, I’m sure we can whip up SOMETHING… A cloudless night sky just doesn’t seem appropriate for an invading army… we need a storm to make things more dramatic,” Necro nodded, beginning to chant in Reaper.

Loki shrugged as he stepped near Reaver and Jenna, who already had their scythes extended and overlapping each other. Loki summoned his own scythe and placed it over the two, nodding to them that it was time. Loki’s scythe was ordinary, looking much like Grim’s, with one major exception: it was nearly invisible as it was comprised of wind. The three Reapers began chanting as well, though speaking different runes then Necro.

Necro finished his chanting first and slammed the butt of his scythe into the ground after a quick twirl. The earth before him erupted as Stalfan emerged from the soil, each one bearing a sword and shield made of Death Energy, and sporting a Spartan-type helmet, another feature Necro added to his Stalfan now that he was level 25. Altogether, he had a platoon of Stalfan in front of him, lined up in their 4 rows at attention. Necro could have summoned more if he wanted, but this was the first time he controlled a large group of Stalfan, and decided that it would be better to just focus on a smaller group to be more effective then relying on “Soviet Tactics”, as he called the mass swarming of enemies with ludicrous numbers of disposable troops.

The other Reapers finished their chanting, causing their scythes to glow their respective colors. The glowing auras from the scythes shot straight to the heavens, mixing with each other until they hit a nearby cloud that happened to be floating by. The cloud slowly grew bigger and blacker, and shifted direction towards Hamshire. Pleased with their efforts, the others approached Necro as he was reviewing his troops.

“What do you think you are, a general at an inspection?” Jenna teased.

“General Necro… I like the sound of that,” he grinned. “I’m testing if I can control one of them without actually affecting the others, then by squad… you get the point. I want complete control, as Stalfan can’t really do much thinking on their own. I mean, they have minimal intelligence that prevents them from running into walls when passing through a narrow gate or something, but a Necromancer has to be in complete control of his hoard.

“Looks like that cloud is approaching Hamshire… hey, it’s starting to rain! I also see lightning flashes… we did it!” Reaver yelled triumphantly.

“Just remember to be careful when you’re shooting lightning out of that glove of yours, Reaver. We don’t want to get zapped on accident,” Loki warned.

“He’ll do fine, we have other concerns. I’m staying back here, for obvious reasons of rain and to keep my head focused. I can’t guarantee how long I can distract the enemy before they run through these Stalfan… if they are just part of the normal army, I can manage, but if they’re Paladins, they’ll cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Jenna will be backing me up, which leaves Loki to infiltrate the mansion to find the Duke of Hamshire and his family, while Reaver will attempt to find the local barracks and set it alight, to prevent reinforcements,” Necro explained as the Stalfan about faced and marched off towards the village.

“Good thing they don’t have any walls or enchantments,” Jenna commented.

“Except around the mansion itself, but that shouldn’t be a problem… good luck,” Loki added, turning invisible and taking off towards the mansion. Reaver slipped on his power glove, did a mock salute to Necro, and rushed towards the town, curving his path away from Necro’s Stalfan, where he assumed the enemy would be.

“Good luck Necro,” Jenna nodded, spreading out her wings and taking to the sky. An airborne Jenna accomplished two tasks at once: providing the Stalfan with fire support, and giving Necro a better view of his surroundings.

“Interesting strategy… what do you intend to do with the Duke and his family?” Grim asked, who had been observing everything thus far.

“Depends on what my dark side wants…” Necro grinned evilly.

“I love revenge,” Grim grinned. “Now, when commanding a larger group, Necromancer’s usually assume the “meditation position” to help clear their thoughts and focus on their army. While this is not necessary, it does offer more control over your hoard then if you were directing them normally. You’ll be able to observe everything your army does and can even channel more energy into individual Stalfan to give them a stat boost. The downside is that your entire attention is diverted to the army, leaving you quite vulnerable to attack. Fortunately, your opponents are going to be too busy to try anything, and if they did, I’ll be here to snap you out of your trance,” Grim explained.

Necro nodded and seated himself on the earth and sat in the traditional meditation style that monks are famous for. After closing his eyes, extending his arms in traditional meditation style, he slowly chanted “ohm” over and over to clear his head. After several seconds of “ohming”, Necro slowly began to float in midair, indicating that he had successfully assumed meditation position and was now directing his army with complete attention.

“Necro,” Jenna said softly, through telepathy. “I see the army approaching… two companies. One company is from the Guard, the other is a company of Paladins…”

Necro replied thanks to her while thinking of the situation. He had expected some members of the Paladins to reinforce the Royal Guard, which was also the name of the Aldranian Army for some odd reason, but he never really thought about how to directly deal with them with his own army. He had tried summoning a company of Stalfan earlier, but that had proved quite disastrous as they Stalfan began attacking each other despite Necro’s orders. This forced him to concentrate his own army to a platoon to keep things manageable.

While Necro was facing 8:1 odds, he did have one advantage that a company of Stalfan wouldn’t have: the ability to revive whenever he wanted. When a Stalfan was slain in battle by most methods, it was simple for a necromancer to revive one and allow it to continue its advance. Necromancers who used large hoards viewed reviving Stalfan as a waste of energy, and rather would use that energy to boost surviving Stalfan. Small unit necromancers valued each member of their army more, and would most likely revive them. While both strategies were valid, it was still contested as to which method was more successful on the battlefield.

The problem of the reviving strategy would be the Paladin Clerics, who knew the infamous “turn undead” spell, which not only obliterated Stalfan, it prevented them from being reviven. The necromancer would have to create another Stalfan to replace the fallen one and this used up more energy then reviving a fallen one.

Necro couldn’t split his army up, as he didn’t have enough men to actually split his army and actually make a difference. He decided it would be wise to engage the Guard first, as they were closer and would be the least dangerous to the Stalfan…

“The storm is helping you more then you think,” Jenna added. “The men are getting dispirited by the heavy downpour, and turning the ground to mud as we speak. Some of them have lost combat boots and are trying to get them out of the mud…”

“Damn it, this is a trap!” Grim interjected, somehow making the two-way telepathy a three-way conversation. “The infantry are there to try to distract you while their reinforcements are coming from behind you…”

“What are you…” Necro began, but he was instantly jerked out of his trance when he began talking to Grim. “Thanks a lot! I can barely hold that trance, and you…” he stopped and put his left ear on the ground an listened. He could hear the thumping of hoof beats, softly at first, but they were steadily growing louder. “Are you…”

“They must have one of the Calvary companies near by in order to respond in case Hamshire got attacked. I was wondering why such a large village would only have two companies protecting it…”

“How the hell did they contact them?”

“I think your roars earlier may have tipped the reinforcements off… that and they might have used a telepathy stone. It’s a special device that allows you to talk to someone else with a telepathy stone, similar to a phone from your world. Telepathy stone signals are nearly untraceable… looks like you may want to rethink your strategy, General” Grim commented, his last comment with some mockery.

“I’m quite willing to listen to advice from others…”

“Remember, I said that you’re in charge of this campaign. I was merely offering you some advice as your mentor in necromancy, but general strategy I’m not lifting a finger bone to help with. Better act fast, I think I can see a cloud of dust...”

Necro’s mind was racing as he tried to think of a miraculous plan to bail the party out of this mess. Necro’s telepathy skills were still rather raw, and that prevented him from contacting Loki. He could contact Reaver, but he had never tried telepathy from long range and in a combat situation with him, so he wasn’t sure if he could contact him. He just now realized that he had never made some sort of signal to abort the mission if they ran into trouble, and he cursed mentally for his own stupidity.

“Please Grim… I need your help… I’m new at this tactics stuff… I’ve never actually done them before… watching others in an Anime or playing a computer game doesn’t really prepare you that much…”

“It gives you a general sense of what’s going on,” Grim admitted. “However, it certainly doesn’t prepare you for the real deal, which is why officers have to undergo intense training when they are in the army. You can only contact Jenna, as I assure you your telepathy with Reaver only works at close range in non-combat scenarios. You could attempt to fight the reinforcements and hope to get into Daemon form, but it hasn’t been a week yet, and you probably want to save that for the raid on the Paladin Base. Most necromancers in your position would simply blow up from the pressure,” Grim said casually.

The last words of Grim’s statement puzzled Necro, as that wasn’t how the expression normally went. After thinking about them, he was struck with an idea. “Jenna, start attacking the Guard and delay them so the Paladins reach my group at roughly the same time,” Necro asked.

Jenna sent back an ok as she started raining down hail from the enemy. The move would slow them down and keep Jenna from exposing herself as she was flying near the large storm cloud that had stretched itself over Hamshire. Jenna didn’t mind the rain whatsoever, and actually was benefiting from the constant water to use as a tool to rain down hail on the enemy.

Necro resumed his meditation position, and observed through the eyes of one of his Stalfan that the Paladins had caught up with the Guard. The Guard was approaching from a 45 degree angle to the right of his group, while the Paladins were doing the same from the left. Necro guessed that they had originally attempted to do a flanking maneuver on the Stalfan, but the rain and hail had caused to the two companies to change tactics at the last minute. Both companies had 3 platoons forward with one in reserve, hoping to overwhelm the Stalfan army rather quickly.

The Guard company broke into a charge when they realized how small their enemy’s numbers were, while the Paladins continued their steady marching. Necro mentally cursed as he realized he would have to imitate his strategy sooner then he wanted, and with fewer casualties.

Jenna had realized what Necro’s plan was by now, and saw that things weren’t going to work out favorably by the charge of the Guard. Deciding now was the time to expose herself; she summoned a rather large icicle and hurled it down towards the ground. The icicle fell short of the enemy as it shattered on impact, but it did have the effect of grinding the charge to a halt as the Guard looked skyward to see where the large piece of ice had came from.

Necro was slightly puzzled as to why the hail was not actually killing more troops off, until he realized that the mages in the parties had cast a protective barrier to act as an umbrella for the hail. Mentally cursing, he positioned his unit closer to the Paladins while the Guard were to distracted by Jenna. When he judged the two groups to be within range of his plan, he twirled his scythe around dramatically and slammed the shaft on the ground, all while muttering in ancient Reaper.

The spell Necro was performing was known as “Bone Bomb” by many necromancers, and was aptly named. It was a last-ditch spell that channeled all the user’s mana into the Stalfan under his control, overloading them with the energy so they exploded. The resulting blast would kill almost anything in the vicinity of the explosion, provided they didn’t have time to erect a barrier of sorts. The hail barrier only extended part way to the ground, and only had enough energy put into the shield to protect it from the hail, not from a gigantic explosion from many Stalfan.

The explosions reminded Necro of a demolitions testing ground as puffs of black smoke filled the area as the bones flew everywhere. The smoke quickly covered the battle field and blinded him from viewing what was happening.

A harsh cry rang out from the heavens, distracting Necro from the smoky battlefield as he gazed where Jenna was. She had gone limp after issuing the cry, and was falling rapidly to the ground. Ignoring everything else, he rushed along the battlefield, resorting to running on all fours to increase his speed, and eventually shifting into a tiger as he rushed towards the spot where Jenna would hit the ground.

He arrived just in time to act as a cushion for her to land on. While being a tiger helped him to sustain the impact better then as a human, he was still knocked flat and coughed up some blood from it. After letting out a groan of pain, he tried getting up on his legs, but found that the impact had momentarily stunned his entire body.

After a few minutes, Necro found feeling back in his limbs, and slowly got to his feet, Jenna still out cold. He carefully rolled her off his back and onto the ground, watching as the rain seemed to bounce off her cloak. Not quite knowing what to do, he walked towards her and gently licked her face, running more on instinct then on actual brainpower.

After several more licks to the face, Jenna started twitching her left hand. Happy that he was helping to revive her, he continued to lick her with much more enthusiasm, acting more like a dog then an actual tiger. After a few more licks, Jenna was conscious again, trying to get Necro away from her face. “Stop licking me! Don’t you know that cat’s tongues are rough?” she coughed as she struggled to get up, but quickly fell back on her back.

Necro shifted back to his human form as he helped her stand up. “What happened? I didn’t feel anything through the bond…”

“It was when those explosions occurred…”

“The Bone Bomb spell? That’s supposed to drain mana…”

“I just felt a great pain throughout my body, and it caused me to black out…” Jenna said softly, leaning her left arm around Necro as he helped her to get away from the battlefield’s smoke, which was still quite thick.

“I don’t understand…”

“I can offer some insight… by the way, nice job catching my hint, I believe the spell did it’s job, though I’m not quite sure to the casualty rate because of the intense Death Magic coming from the clouds, it’s blocking me from looking for life. The spell you used is Death Magic, and it drained you of mana. You, being the Reaper of Death, are quite used to Death Magic, so you didn’t feel anything. Jenna is not, and when the drain occurred, it was too much for her body to handle, and caused that blackout,” Grim nodded.

Necro looked aghast at that information, and quickly turned towards Jenna. “I am SO sorry, I didn’t…”

“Don’t apologize, you did what you had to do. Neither of us knew the consequences of such an act…”

“I know, but I’m the one who got us into this situation. I didn’t think about the necessity for constant communication, didn’t come up with a retreat signal, and led us into an ambush. While we defeated the initial foe, those reinforcements are going to be a lot harder for me to beat…”

“Why is that?” Jenna asked slowly.

“Did you think the Bone Bomb spell would come without consequences? Mana drain is indeed an inconvenience, but that’s what mana potions are for. The spell has a much larger consequence that makes it a last-ditch spell: the necromancer who uses it can’t summon any Stalfan for 24 hours,” Grim explained.

“Then how are we going to defeat those Paladins? If it’s an entire company, we won’t be able to defeat them all by ourselves…”

“Especially if they’re level 30 or higher…”

“You didn’t think this far ahead, did you Necro?” Grim asked.

“One step at a time Grim, one step at a time…”

“Better hurry, that dust cloud is quite large now…”

It was true, as Necro discovered. The dust cloud was much larger, as he could now actually see the cavalry approaching. His mind raced back and forth, but he was distracted by several things, one of them being the rain which was now getting into his hood and getting him wet, the other was for Jenna’s safety. He tried getting such thoughts out of his mind, but every attempt ended in failure.

The constant rain struck Necro with a brilliant idea that he quickly telepathed to Jenna, who agreed that it would probably be their best shot. She slowly unwrapped her arm from Necro and tried standing up by herself, almost falling over a few times, but managing to stay up after a few wobbles. They both grabbed a mana potion from the party’s inventory and drank it, which Necro discovered had a foul taste that made him want to puke, but he held the medicine down.

Necro nodded as he grabbed Jenna’s left hand with his right, facing the advancing army. Both of them bowed their heads, closed their eyes and began chanting in Reaper. After a few seconds, they both stopped at the same time and called out “Acid Rain!’

The rain didn’t have any noticeable changes… at first. Slowly, the advancing cavalry noticed that some of the rain drops were black instead of their normal color, but they were moving too fast on horseback to really care. The black drops began to increase as the clear raindrops faded, until it was pouring down black rain. The Captain commanding the unit called them to slow their advance, not quite sure what black rain meant. The Paladins quickly found out what it meant when they heard hissing sounds as the rain poured on their armors. The horses of the Paladins tossed their riders off their backs as they began to flail about in agony from the acidic rain.

The scene was quickly becoming something from a nightmare as flesh started dissolving, then muscle, and even bone on the humans. Some appeared to be melting, others had holes in them; all were crying from the intense pain of the rain. The sound was so horrible that it shook Jenna and Necro to their knees as they covered their ears and turned away from the disgusting scene.

It took a few minutes for the rain to completely dissolve the Paladin company, the grass now brown and starting to wilt under the acid rain. Grim had been watching the scene with a grimace, and sighed when he realized what he had to do next. “Hey… you two…” he began, but saw that they had both frozen up completely. “Damn it, their bodies completely paralyzed themselves to avoid the trauma… interesting method, but that’s not going to be useful here…” he sighed, and quickly made an ear splitting whistle that snapped the two back to reality. When their initial confusion began to fade, Grim continued his speech.

“You two used the Black Acid combo and put it into the rain to deal with them, didn’t you?” he asked.

They both nodded in agreement.

“You shouldn’t have been able to do that… must be another one of Necro’s “skill jumps”, or whatever we’re dubbing that quirk… First, I’m congratulating you two on completely obliterating the enemy. Anyone left over from that Bone Bomb spell is now no more. You managed to turn this entire battle into one of complete domination, causing some to hail you as a genius, others extremely luck,” Grim began.

“However…” he paused, emphasizing the word to cause Jenna and Necro to fear what was coming. “You two obviously don’t realize the sheer power of the spell you just wrought. Tell me, you saw how the acid completely dissolved those paladins. What’s stopping the acid from dissolving other things?”

They both looked confused for a moment, then sheer terror came across both of their faces. “No…” they both said, their eyes wide with fright.

“Oh yes, this acid will essentially dissolve anything… well, except for the actual soil itself, for some odd reason, when this acid hits the ground, it dissipates or something and just causes the ground to wither and become unfertile…” Grim began, but was cut off by Jenna.

“We have to stop this! We never intended for them to…”

“It’s too late now,” Grim said coldly, causing Jenna to gasp in terror. “This spell occurred when you two had a synch spike, greatly increasing it’s power, which was large to begin with. The storm spell you three created earlier made a storm cloud that would hover over the Hamshire region and rain for a period of 1 day, while magically enchanting it against dissipation and relocation. Thanks to that Acid Rain spell, you amplified those enchantments to the point that you don’t have the power to undo this spell. You’re going to have to let the cloud rain out.”

“But… why aren’t we affected by this rain?” asked Jenna quietly.

“You two are Death and Water, and so is this spell. It’s natural that you’re immune to it. Don’t worry about Reaver and Loki, they can create shielding around themselves to protect them from the rain. The rest of the village is history,”

Jenna and Necro both looked at each other, then turned away and towards the ground in shame. Their entire bodies clearly conveyed that they were both lost in despair and were giving up on living.

“Hold up there, you two aren’t getting off the hook that easily… don’t you dare start going into despair on me…” Grim began, but when he saw that they were ignoring him, he let out another shrill whistle that snapped them back to reality.

“What did we do…” Necro mumbled.

“This is exactly why your ability to bypass the level requirement on spells is bad. Reapers aren’t given their full powers right away because if they did, they could quite easily destroy Tipa. Do you see what happens when you cast a spell without knowing its full magnitude? This just shows the…”

“SHUT UP!” Necro roared, jumping too his feet, glaring at Grim. “We don’t want to hear your idiotic lectures; we just want to be left alone!”

“Too bad, cause that’s the exact opposite of what I intend to do. Now is not the time to be moping about the destruction of an entire village, we have more important…”

Grim was cut off as Necro blasted the astral skull with a Death Bolt. Necro could feel Jenna’s emotions pouring into him as his anger increased. “You heartless dastard…” Necro growled, his eyes turning red. “You know NOTHING about what the hell we’re going through right now. Don’t you understand, you bag of bones? We just wiped out an entire village! We killed 2,000 some people, most of them civilians! We were trying to minimize the civilian casualties, not wipe them all out! We’re as bad as the Paladins banishing the Air Raiders after one scandal! We just went from being the heroes to complete monsters!” he bellowed.

“I know more then you think you do,” Grim retorted, floating right back up. “Don’t presume to tell me what I do and don’t know. We have more urgent matters to attend to…”

Grim was blasted again by Necro, who was slowly advancing on the skull. “SHUT UP!” he roared again. “You don’t know anything about emotions! You gave up your humanity when you became the Reaper of Death! You just think of those people as mere statistics, stepping stones in the course of a campaign! You don’t give a damn about any lives other then your own! You know nothing about killing innocents and having the guilt overwhelm you…”

Grim rose again, but this time the rest of his body appeared as he got back up. His entire frame was glowing dark green, and his eyes glowing evilly. He did something mimicking a force push, which had a similar effect as Necro was thrown backwards and landed right next to Jenna, who seemed to be frightened and depressed at the same time.

“How DARE you accuse me of such things when you know nothing about my past!” Grim yelled. Necro started to get back up, but Grim made a slamming motion with his hand, knocking Necro back to the ground. “Stay there and listen to this tale, and perhaps you’ll learn something important.”

“I was level 50 when I was dispatched to a village whose name is not important as it no longer exists. The Grand Kingdom was still in full power at the time, but it had some issues with corrupt nobles abusing the working class. I was sent to infect the Baron and his family to prevent their evil from spreading any further. I was quite delighted in the task, and had created a virus that would spread throughout the family and give them a slow and painful death. I visited the Baron’s house and dispatched the disease to him by shaking his hand, on the pretense that I was doing an inspection tour around the kingdom for the Reapers to check up on the status quo.”

“Two days passed, and we received a request from the Grand Kingdom to investigate the village I had visited. Apparently they had lost contact with this village, and the scouts dispatched to the region never returned. I was selected to do the investigating since I was just there, and was air lifted over to the area to investigate, do you know what I found when I arrived at the village?”

Necro shook his head, while Jenna just stared off into space.

“Death” he said dramatically, the lightning following the word perfectly. “The entire village was a ghost town, with corpses everywhere. Villagers, nobility, livestock, wildlife… everything was dead. Even the flora surrounding the village was dead, though the grass somehow survived. I was absolutely shocked at the pure desolation of the town, and was quite puzzled how it had died out in just two days of my visit. I quickly did an autopsy of one of the villagers using Death Magic, and quickly discovered the cause of the incident. It was my disease.”

Necro’s eyes grew wide in fright at the tale, and Jenna seemed to be coming back to reality somewhat as she turned her head to look at Grim.

“In my over enthusiasm with creating the virus, I had made it too contagious, a simple sneeze could infect anyone within range. The airborne virus must have traveled to the servants of the nobility, and then spread to the rest of the village. I was completely devastated by the fact that I had wiped out the entire village by accident.” Grim said slowly, obviously showing that this memory was a painful one.

“When I returned to Calico with my report, the rest of the Reapers were in shock over the incident, but none of them were mad at me. They even attempted to comfort me, saying that accidents happen. I didn’t want their sympathy though, I wanted their ire, as I had rightfully deserved it. The guilt I was feeling was enormous, and their sympathy just made me feel worse then better. I shoved their care away and sought refuge within my room, where I sulked for days. It was during those days of sulking that I realized that the real problem here wasn’t what I had done, but this wretched feeling of guilt after the fact. My friends were right that it was an accident, but the guilt just wouldn’t leave me alone and let me do other missions. I decided that day that emotions such as pity, love, guilt, joy… all of it were mere distractions from my job, and weren’t worth keeping around. I entered my room in the form of a human, and I left it as the skeleton you see before you.”

It took Necro and Jenna some time to process Grim’s confession. Finally, Necro spoke, but slowly. “That’s not the story…”

“Of course it isn’t! You were already dealing with enough emotions, I didn’t want my personal history to cause you concern or scare you. I actually got my nickname from the people of the Grand Kingdom after I had done a few missions with ruthless efficiency. I actually liked the new name, and insisted the other Reapers call me it, which they did reluctantly. That is why I am the creature you see before you today.”

Necro and Jenna looked at each other, their faces mixed with sympathy, pain, despair, sorrow and a few other emotions. They then looked at Grim, waiting for him to continue.

“Do you see why I’m trying to get you two to move on? I know I’m not very good at being sympathetic, and that my methods aren’t always right, but my motives ARE right. A solider has to learn when it’s time to grieve and when it’s time to get the job done. Right now, you still have to get Reaver and Loki out of that village and let them know what’s going on. You need to get out of here before the Paladins send an investigation party to this area. Only then can you start to grieve for what you did, but when you do, make sure you don’t make the same mistake I made,” Grim warned.

The resolve in Necro and Jenna’s eyes seemed to spark back to life as they nodded in agreement. They slowly transformed into their tiger forms and rushed towards the village to gather up their comrades. Grim sighed as he floated after them, not quite sure how the pair would handle the situation once things calmed down.

Grim’s answer came 2 days later; the Reapers now camped inside a medium sized forest with no name that was far south of Aldrith. Loki and Reaver were gathered around a campfire enclosed in a stone circle. They were eating deer stew from the black pot hanging over the fire, concentrating on their meal rather then each other. Finally, Reaver broke the silence. “How do you think they’re doing?” he whispered.

Loki shrugged as he used his wind magic to cool the soup. “Who knows? Grim said to leave them be, so that’s all we can do.”

Reaver sighed as he gazed in between the two tents that had been set up. In between them was a miniature log cabin made from twigs and small branches. When the Reapers had arrived in the forest a day and a half earlier, Jenna and Necro had transformed into their fairy form and had started constructing the small house. Loki and Reaver had stood by silently, adhering to Grim’s orders as they watched the pair build the small cabin. The pair had finished building the house by sunrise, and had quickly entered the dwelling, slamming the small door. Somehow, they had made tiny window blinds that prevented the other Reapers from peering in, completely isolating themselves from the rest of the world.

“How do you feel about the incident?” Reaver asked.

Loki shrugged again, eating more stew. “Initially I was mortified, but I guess I’m over it somewhat. Aldranian never really liked us Air Raiders, and we pay them the same favor. While I hate the shedding of innocent blood, I’m not completely in guilt about it. Then again, I’m not the one responsible for their deaths, so I guess it’s not nearly as bad…”

“I feel the same way… well, not the hating of Aldranian part, but I guess I’m somewhat over it… sleeping on it certainly did help… I never thought I would like sleeping during the day, but I got to say, I think I prefer being nocturnal,” he half-grinned.

“It certainly has it’s advantages,” Loki nodded.

Reaver put his bowl of stew down, and walked up towards the small log cabin. He got down on his belly and looked stared at the door, as the entire log cabin couldn’t have been taller then 6 inches, which was expected since fairies were only 3 inches tall. “You know, they’ve been living in the same house for over a day… I wonder if they…”

Reaver’s pondering was quickly disproven as a miniature stream of ice shot out of one of the windows and froze Reaver’s nose. Reaver quickly backed off and unfroze his nose as he walked back over to Loki. “Grim said not to disturb them…”

“I know, but surely the thought crossed your mind, right? A man and a woman who have a deep magical bond with each other in the same building with all the windows closed…”

“It may have crossed my mind, but it’s something that you don’t publicly voice. They’re going through deep emotional trauma, and being curious about stuff like that disrespects them. They only have each other to carry them through this experience…”

“Yeah… I really hope they’re ok…”

“Me too…”

The rest of the night passed without incident, and the larger Reapers went to sleep before sunrise. Sunset came around again, this time with the arrival of Grim, who had left them alone once they had set up camp. “Don’t tell me that they’ve been in there that entire time?”

“Yup,” Loki nodded, as he walked away from the camp to go and hunt for meat.

“Did they try…”

“No, they haven’t, Jenna made that very clear,” Reaver responded.

“That’s what I thought… Still, it isn’t good for them to be isolating themselves from the world… I brought some company that might help…”

At Grim’s last words, a loud kupo of joy came whooshing down the path through the forest as the furball that was Mog tackled Reaver to the ground and started bouncing on his chest. “It’s so good to see you again, kupo!”

“Nice to see you too Mog… can you not bounce on me?” he asked, grunting after each bounce.

Mog got off of Reaver, while another pair of hands helped Reaver to his feet. It took him a moment to realize who it was, but then he grinned as he gave Jenkins a friendly pat on the back. “Good to see you too.”

“And you as well, though I am concerned about my master…”

“You won’t need to worry any longer Jenkins,” a small familiar voice said form the direction of the log cabin. Standing in the doorway was Necro and Jenna, arms around each other’s shoulders like a pair of good friends coming back from an exhausting journey. Oddly enough, they weren’t wearing their Reaper cloaks; Necro wearing his cotton undershirt and vest with pants, while Jenna was wearing the mini-skirt she had on the first time she transformed into a fairy. “I think we’re ready to return to the Air Raider camp to plan our next move.”

Mog waddled over to the small Jenna and Necro, who both embraced the foot-tall creature with a warm hug. “Wow Mog, you’re even fuzzier to hug when we’re this small,” Necro commented.

“Good to see you two are fine mentally after that ordeal. I won’t ask the details of how you recovered, as that’s between you two, but I am going to ask if you’re ready to return to normal and continue with the campaign,” Grim asked.

“Continue the campaign, yes. Return to our “normal” forms will have to wait though,” Jenna smiled.

“Eh??!” Reaver and Grim said in utter shock.

“Living the last few days as fairies has given us some new perspectives on life, and I think we could benefit from staying in this form for a few more days. Besides, It’s my turn to ride on Mog’s head,” he grinned, flying on top of Mog and resting in the moogle’s fur. Jenna sat next to Necro as they both enjoyed the warm fluffiness of the moogle’s fur.

Mog carefully started to fly, not wanting to upset his two passengers, then happily flew around the camp while Jenna and Necro enjoyed the ride.

“For some odd reason, I’m completely jealous of them right now… though there’s no way in heck I would ever want to be that small… still…” Reaver muttered.

“Don’t think about it too much and start packing up the camp,” Grim ordered.

“What? That means I got to cook AND clean up the camp? Oh no, I’m not doing that; Loki can clean up camp while I make supper… though this is going to be somewhat difficult to make tiny portions to Jenna and Necro…” he sighed, wondering if they had any miniature silverware and bowls.

“Don’t worry about it, I think they already had plenty of food in that small log cabin of theirs that they ate before coming out. Let’s just hope they decide to return to normal when we return to the Air Raiders… it’s going to look odd that the main strategist is a fairy, considering that they are a generally peaceful race…” Grim smirked, glad to see that things were looking up again.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 24
10/18/2009 13:50:59   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

Chapter 24

“So, Grim… how come we didn’t level up from that entire incident at the formally known town of Hamshire?” asked a bored Reaver as the party was traversing the desert towards the air raider camp. Loki was in the lead, trying to search the winds for clues of where the Air Raiders had moved their camp.

“Well, the Bone Blast spell is also a last ditch spell because it essentially nullifies all the rewards from defeated opponents. As for those not felled by Bone Blast, the weather killed them, not y’all per say. Using the weather to defeat enemies results in no rewards gained. That should let y’all think next time before trying to be lazy and let the weather do the work for you,” Grim commented, floating alongside Reaver, who was in the middle of the party with Jenkins. The rest of the party was in the rear, out of earshot of the quiet mutterings of Reaver and Grim.

“I don’t get what’s so great about being a fairy… they’re just so darn small… I’d feel helpless at that height…”

“Everyone goes through that the first time they change size, it’s a natural reaction. Heck, even when you transform into another creature you’re going to think you’re weaker because of the height change. Once you get past the initial shock of size change though, there’s some interesting perspectives you get only when you’re small, or when you’re really tall like a giant. Besides, fairies have a few advantages over other races that make it quite natural that Necro and Jenna would assume that form,” Grim shrugged, as well as he could without shoulders showing.

“How so?”

“If you had to pick one race that was the most “in-tune” with the planet of Tipa and life in general, it’s the fairies. Compared to human society, they’ve developed a utopian society. It’s a direct democracy with essentially daily “town hall” meetings in the mornings, and then go about their business. There’s the Fairy Queen, but she’s actually an elected official… and sometimes it’s a king, but that’s a tribute to how they used to be. They’re an extremely peaceful race, almost pacifist, able to communicate with anything on Tipa, even the rocks this planet has. Their economy is somewhat… odd. While technically the fairies farm their own goods and are actually quite self sufficient in their families… they decided to do a free market system with them specializing in one particular job in addition to their traditional farming jobs… it’s as close to Necro’s society you’ll ever come to on Tipa… it’s quite fascinating really…”

“Grim, how the heck do you know so much about Fairies?”

“Oh, quite simple. My predecessor made all the Reapers transform into the sentient races of Tipa and actually live in a community of them for one month incognito. We learned a LOT about the sentients of Tipa, and I may just run y’all through the same routine… after we get y’all to be full fledged Reapers and take care of our current crisis, of course,” Grim nodded.

“Did you run around as an undead fairy?” Reaver grinned.

“I was so tempted, but I decided to behave myself with the fairies… the elves are a completely different matter though, I’ll tell you about it later,” Grim said, grinning.

“It’s odd… I can’t pick up their wind patterns… they always leave something for Raiders to pick up… this isn’t a good sign…” Loki sighed

“If things get too bad, I’ll try sending out a probe…”

“The same probes trying to find the Wind Orb?” Loki asked.

“Yeah, why… oh crud, I forgot to re-program those things… that would explain why they haven’t reported in…” Grim muttered, his skull suddenly looking away from the group as he was apparently now staring at his monitor and working on it.

“Anyways… say, why aren’t Jenna and Necro more… catlike?” asked Reaver suddenly eyeing the pair who were now apparently taking a cat nap on top of Mog.

“What, them hacking up hairballs isn’t enough? Their covered in fur, purr/roar half the time, Necro’s afraid of water while Jenna is afraid of dogs, they now prefer meat then vegetables… though I think Necro was like that before the transformation…”

“Well, it’s just that I was expecting them to be… lazier. My next door neighbor had a cat that just laid around the house all day. It seemed to have a fondness for sunbeams too… and was strangely distracted by small balls of fire at night whenever it was prowling…”

“Oh, THAT part of cat behavior. Well, you have to remember that they’re not full cat, they’re only half feline and half human, so they won’t completely behave like their furrier half. They still have the mental faculties of humans, and as such will remain more active then a cat would during the day. They also have a higher attention span then that of a cat… most of the time,” Grim commented.

“Meh, I don’t think I’m too dog like…” Reaver shrugged, stopping to scratch behind his neck with his foot.

“Right… Ok, probes reprogrammed!”

“Grim, tell us more about the Elemental Orbs. Like, how many are there, and just how powerful are they?”

“One Orb can jump you up about 50 levels if you use it right, though most of the time it’s 25 levels. There are 3 Elemental Orbs per Element, and they’re scattered throughout the world because of the Ragnarok protocol…”

“The what?” asked Loki, who was still trying to find his tribe.

“The Ragnarok protocol, it’s the thing the previous Reapers used to contain Beldron. Anyways, part of the protocol was to scatter the orbs to the far reaches of the planet, with 2 per Element in Tida and the last one per element in Nida. As you’ve seen, non-Reapers can barely handle one of these Orbs, if they were to try to wield more then one, they’d probably explode from all the magical energy. Reapers can handle up to 2 once they’re fully fledged… 3 Orbs is… well… let’s just say that not even I have tried using 3 Orbs before…” Grim said, hesitating as he concluded his speech.

“Can I be the first?” asked Reaver eagerly.

“Oh hell no, I’m not going to even let you get near one Orb if I can, let alone 3. The only ones here that could possibly handle 3 would be…”

“Necro and Jenna,” Reaver sighed as he finished. “You know, I’m beginning to think that Tipa seems to revolve around those two…”

“That’s absolute nonsense! What on Tipa would make you think such a thought?” asked Grim nervously.

“Well, I just feel like I’m a supporting member in a play or something, and Necro’s the main actor and Jenna the main actress. Don’t you get that feeling Loki?”

“Now that you mention it, I do…”

“LOOK, A TAP DANCING CHOCOBO!!” yelled Grim randomly.

“What the heck is a…” Reaver asked, quite startled by Grim’s outburst as he gazed in the direction that Grim was looking at.

There in front of the party, decked out in a top hat, monocle and cane being held by it’s right wing, was indeed, a tap dancing chocobo. The large yellow chicken mount was tap dancing to the right of the party, apparently for no audience.

“It’s Choco!” Mog kupoed in delight, flying quickly but carefully over to the tap dancing chocobo, who had stopped and was taking a bow. Jenna and Necro were already awake thanks to Grim’s outburst, and were now flying around the Chocobo, giving it a good look-see.

“Grim, what the heck is with all the Final Fantasy and Star Wars stuff in this world?” asked Necro, using magic to amplify and modify his voice so that way it sounded like he was his normal size.

“Apparently our sector of space is near the Star Wars Universe and the Final Fantasy Universe, so those portals that keep popping up usually drop off stuff from those universes. I didn’t know we had a chocobo here though…” Grim said thoughtfully.

“And just where are these portals of yours? We’ve been traveling around for a while now, and we haven’t run into one portal. I personally think that these items comes from the previous Reapers visiting other worlds when they’re bored and stealing stuff just for giggles,” Reaver nodded, quite sure of himself.

And then, as if the universe was made to make sure that Reaver was proven wrong, a portal opened up right above Reaver, and a heavy object fell on top of him, squishing the Reaper of Fire.

“I’m okkkk…” he said meekly, holding up his left arm that wasn’t squished and trying to give a thumbs up.

“What the heck is that?” asked Loki, momentarily distracted from his search.

“Looks like a TV satellite from my world… Grim, this brings up another question. How come sometimes when we get hurt, it’s all serious and close to death scenarios, and other times, like now, it’s much more comical and there are barely any scratches?”

“You know, I AM feeling pain right now” replied Reaver from under the satellite.

“If I told you the answer, your brain would explode. Just know that there is a time and place for comedy and a time and place for action,” Grim nodded sagely.

“You know, that sentence makes me think that we’re in some type of story or something…” Necro said suspiciously.

“LOOK, A TAP DANCING CHOCOBO!” Grim yelled again.

“Yes, we’ve already been acquainted with Choco. Are you trying to use him as a distraction from this conversation? As I recall, you seem to be dodging this question every time it’s brought up…”


“Don’t you mean kumquats?”

“No, plumcots! They’re a delicious hybrid of plumbs and apricots!” Grim added.

Everyone in the party turned to look at Choco, who was indeed doing as Grim said. After watching him for a few minutes, quite fascinated with his performance skills, Necro was the first to snap back to reality. “Wait a minute, what the heck are we going to do with a tap dancing chocobo? It’s not exactly the most inconspicuous of creatures…”

“I’ll have the Otana pick him up once we leave this area,” Grim nodded.

“Sometimes, I want to just wish that we could fix the world here…” Reaver sighed.

“Well, get over that want, as it’s impossible. Wish magic is completely banned in Tipa,” Grim replied.

“Wait… what?” the rest of the party asked in surprise.

“But, there’s legends of people being granted wishes…” Jenna started.

“There’s no genies or djinn at all?” Necro concluded.

“No to the latter, and those legends are just that. When Tipa was first created, the Goddesses and the Founding Reapers agreed to certain constraints on Tipa that would help prevent confusion and abuse of magic. One of those limitations was the complete banning of wish magic. That way we don’t have idiots wishing themselves rulers of Tipa and whatnot forcing us to remove them from power. If you want something, you got to earn it,” Grim nodded.

“What other limitations are there?” asked Reaver.

“Ehhh, most of them aren’t important right now, but since we’re on the subject, I will mention the transformation limitations we set up,” he sighed. “First and foremost, absolutely no transgender transformations OR body swaps OR possessions…”

“That’s an extremely specific rule… did something bad happen Grim?” Necro asked.

“No, not here in Tipa, but we did some research by viewing other realms that had situations of that, and we deemed that the situations were way too awkward or dirty for us to deal with, so we just outlawed any attempts to change one’s gender. If you’re male, you’re male, and same applies to females. There’s no unisex creatures here in Tipa, so that’s never an issue.”

“Why would anyone want to…”

“Again, it’s best not to think on such matters. Another limitation is that you can’t transform into something above your power level,” he added.

“So that means we can’t transform into that Sphinx that owned us back in the Scrapyard if we could transform freely right now, right?” Jenna asked.

“It goes beyond that, as you can’t transform into a higher level “class”. I know that’s slightly confusing, but it means that people can’t transform into Reapers, y’all can’t transform into gods like Beldron, etc.”

“Makes sense… anything else?”

“Ehh, if you transform into something aligned to your opposite element, you’ll get penalties to stats, so it’s usually not good to do that. Conversely, transforming into something aligned to your element will give you a boost,” he concluded.

“Oh no!” Loki suddenly exclaimed, jumping high into the air and soaring far ahead of the group at a speed that surprised everyone in the party.

“That doesn’t look good…” Reaver muttered.

Jenna and Necro had transformed back into their normal forms after Loki’s exclamation, walking abreast with Reaver. “You sense anything Necro?” Jenna asked.

“Why are you asking me? He’s the tracker in the party…”

“Yes, but you’re the one affiliated with Death. If there’s some sort of destruction, can’t you sense it?” she countered.

Necro thought about this for a moment and then shrugged as he tried concentrating. It took him a full minute, but he did manage to feel what had caused Loki’s reaction. “Ok, this whole 6th/7th sense thing is new to me, but if I’m reading my element right, there’s a large concentration of destruction where Loki is…”

“I was wondering when you were going to pick up that sense,” Grim grinned. “All Reapers have that ability, which is why Loki is the best tracker considering you guys do most of your work where there is air. Judging by the satellite and probe readings… the Paladins found the camp…” Grim said grimly, his smile turning to a frown as he spoke.

The entire party gasped in unison, and quickly picked up the pace, which brought them to the ruins of the camp site in 15 minutes, a site that they quickly wished they could erase from their memory. Corpses were littered across the camp like they had fallen out of the sky, with various types of wounds inflicted on its victims. Tents were ripped apart and thrown about by the winds, and in the center of the carnage was Loki, standing there very quietly; his back to the party as they approached him cautiously, not quite sure how he would respond to this.

“You seek revenge…” Necro said, his voice suddenly becoming demonic and his movements not quite normal. “The corpses here are both Paladin and Air Raider, but you can tell that your people were caught off guard. The bodies indicate that they slew most of the young and elderly, while the fighting men and women who did not die in the attack were captured and most likely taken back to the Frontier Base. You are torn between a desire to save your kin and the motive to slaughter your enemies. It is this balance that is preventing you from breaking loose the fury of the winds to rip the base apart, correct?”

“What the heck got into Necro?” Reaver whispered to Jenna, completely confused.

“I think his dark side just took over him… he has some sort of idea that I’m picking up on… somewhat… his dark side is much harder to read then his normal self, that’s for sure,” she grimaced.

“Yes…” Loki said, his voice sounding distant.

“I can help you with both of these aspects, but you must give in to your feelings of anger and rage. I know you have a malevolent side in you, one that is just waiting to come out… embrace it and power will be yours…” he continued in his demonic voice.

“Grim…” Jenna muttered.

“He’s trying to lure him over to the “dark side”, if you will. While we technically don’t have an alignment system, we still have “light” and “dark” classifications of certain emotions and whatnot. Necro actually enhances these “dark” emotions, and if harnessed correctly, can give one substantial power bonuses. This is typically why those who are dubbed evil give in to hatred, rage, envy, etc. as these emotions are the source of power. So, Necro is essentially trying to give him a power boost by turning him evil, if you will,” Grim commented dryly.

“Does that mean when the Reaper of Life is around, we’ll get a power boost for doing… light side stuff? What does that even qualify under in combat?” asked a confused Reaver.

“Oh, remaining calm, not wanting to slay your enemy if you don’t have too, mercy… stuff like that.”

“Wait, but why does Necro sound all demonic now?”

“Probably because his dark side is kicking in, as Jenna said. Or, rather, the Death Element is giving Necro a little nudge in the right direction. You’ll probably see this behavior from him occasionally. Usually it’s best just to let him go through with it, but if you need to restrain him, I advise using the Reaper of Life or Jenna. Probably both will be necessary depending on the situation…”

“Is Necro in control of his actions?”

“Not really… he’s aware that something else is in control and is watching what’s going on, but his “willpower” is suppressed so he doesn’t feel like doing anything. This can be overridden by various methods, both external and internal. Right now, let’s go with the flow and see what’s happening, as we obviously need to pay the Paladins their due for this atrocity. I mean, seriously, the Raiders didn’t even get a chance to do damage and the Paladins just march in and ambush them? They could at least have the decency to wait until AFTER they attacked and officially joined in this war before making an example. Some people have no respect,” Grim said.

Reaver couldn’t quite tell if that last statement was serious or ironic, so he decided to leave it alone. “Are they done planning?”

“Plotting is more accurate… and yes, it would appear so…”

“Come my brethren and loyal servants! We stage a raid on the Paladin Fortress to crush the oppressors’ hold on this region and let the entire continent of Tida know that their reign is at an end! We shall free the captured prisoners, and then we will take Aldrith and put an end to this pathetic war once and for all!” he bellowed demonically, and without further ado he started walking briskly towards the Fortress.

The rest of the party was a tad stunned by Necro’s outburst as the slowly walked over to Loki, who was just starting in the direction Necro was headed. “You ok?” Jenna asked quietly, trying to put a hand on him.

“I’m fine,” he said coolly, and ran until he caught up with Necro; his face heavy with a grim determination.

“That doesn’t sound good…” Reaver muttered.

“Oh he’ll be fine, he’s just bottling up his emotions for the right moment. This is going to be fun to watch,” Grim mused.

“Grim, I don’t like this mucking about with the “dark side”, it’s not healthy for us to constantly try using these darker arts, especially for Necro. I’m afraid he’s going to loose his sanity or something…”

“Well, that’s more your department to deal with since you’re his girlfriend…”

“I am NOT his girlfriend!” she yelled, stomping her foot down.

“Whatever, you’re the one bonded to him, it’s your job to keep him from going all dark side like I did,” Grim shrugged.

“I thought you said the Elemental Spheres can’t force us to do stuff without a direct order? How is it controlling Necro?”

“It’s not directly controlling him, per say… it’s hard to describe. It’s still technically a part of Necro, just his “darker” half that everyone has inside them. It’s just being amplified and supplied hints by the Death Element, so it’s not technically direct control… Look, let’s just follow them and make sure they don’t get themselves killed, we really can’t afford to revive 2-3 Reapers here,” Grim added quickly, floating away towards the pair.

The rest of the party shrugged and followed suit. The journey to the Fortress took 2 days, during which there was little talk. Necro and Loki kept to themselves while the rest of the party started worrying about what exactly they were planning. Jenna was most of all worried, as she had brief glimpses of Necro’s plan when she could without actually prying into his thoughts, and they involved them using their daemonic form, something she didn’t want to have to go through this soon.

Dawn came with the party standing at the base of the hill the Fortress was situated on. It was more a castle then a fortress; a standard square castle with four keeps at each corner, no more then 3 stories tall in Necro’s estimate. The walls were about 5 stories high on the top of the hill, which seemed to have been flattened by mages to make it easier to build the fortress. Not exactly caring why the unusual height difference was there, he and Loki marched right up the road that led directly to the gates.

“What the hell are they doing? You don’t just march up to the castle and…” Reaver began, but was cut off by Jenna.

“Reaver… I need you to do me a favor…” she said quietly.

“What’s that?”

“I need you to send Mog and Jenkins up to support Necro and Loki, and protect me…”

“What are you going to do?”

“Necro’s dark side is taking an unnecessary amount of risk… I think he plans on having Loki destroy the gate somehow, then he’s going to charge in their and try taking on the entire garrison himself…”

“WHAT? There’s no way in the Netherworld he can accomplish that by himself, especially without an Orb! He’ll just get himself killed!” Reaver yelled, not seeing what Necro’s scheme was

“He will if he tries to go Daemonic…” she said even quieter.

Reaver paused for a moment as things clicked into place. “If he goes Daemonic… I see, you don’t want to go Daemonic again, huh? That must not be a pleasant experience…”

“There’s more to it then that!” she snapped. “Yes it’s a vile experience, but we can’t just keep relying on it like that! There’s just something about that feels unnatural… I don’t know… it feels wrong to use so much power that we haven’t earned yet and try to purposely activate it… I feel like we’re abusing it…”

“Which you should” Grim interjected. “That power was meant for emergencies, and shouldn’t be abused. Clearly Necro’s Dark Side has other plans for it though, and the Death Element isn’t trying to dissuade it from doing so. If you guys start relying on it too much, you may accidentally try to default to it when it’s in charging, which would be a disastrous mistake. The draining effects of the form could also knock you guys out for a bit, which is not good if we want to keep the momentum of this assault going. Ideally, after we strike here and destroy the Fortress, we push on ASAP to prevent the enemy from trying to regroup their forces, which are currently divided up protecting various towns.

“Is that all?” asked Reaver, somewhat sarcastically.

“Eh, it could also stress your bodies too much… it’s never good to have too much power in a body not ready for it. Essentially, over using the ability is bad… but I’m afraid that you’re going to be too late to stop the need to use it, but you might be able to get him to snap out of his dark side… I’m not telling you, just saying what is possible. Either way this is all rather interesting.”

“Whatever, just guard me,” Jenna muttered, assuming a mediation position on the ground. Jenkins and Mog were already tailing Necro and Loki as Reaver sighed and summoned his scythe. “I really hate guard duty…” he sighed, trying to keep a constant look out for enemies that he assumed wouldn’t be coming for a while.

Meanwhile, Loki and Necro were finally on the top of the flattened hill, a few meters from the gate. Both Reapers had their hoods up as they started at the gate, analyzing the magical runes that were inscribed around it. A guard patrolling that section of the wall finally spotted the pair after a few seconds, and issued a challenge. “Halt! Identify yourselves and state your business here!”

The two Reapers looked at each other, nodded slowly, and then lowered their hoods. Necro’s eyes were still demonic red, and Loki also had an evil look on his face. Slowly, Loki put his arms up like he was going to play an air guitar, which he had already formed from the wind. Both Reapers started chanting for a few seconds, and when they finished they both yelled “Dark Harmonics!”

Loki began strumming on his Air Guitar, but the noise that came out was anything but musical. A harsh wailing sound came from the guitar in black pulses of sound waves that were actually visible each time he strummed. The sound was directed at the fortress, so only those within the walls actually heard the sound. The gate of the fortress seemed to vibrate with every sound wave that hit it.

After several strums, the gate finally buckled under the intensity of the attack and collapsed under the intense strain. Loki continued strumming, but the sound waves seemed less intense then before, while Necro unslung his scythe and began a charge into the fortress to meet the guards that were scrambling to the Fortress grounds to meet the invaders head on.

Jenna found herself in a completely black environment, at least, that’s how she perceived it. She couldn’t make heads or tails of where anything was except herself, which seemed to stand out and give it’s own light that let her see herself. She also felt that there was some sort of solid surface she assumed was ground, but she couldn’t see anything that was supporting her. Cautiously, she moved forward, not sure what she would actually do now that she was in the depths of Necro’s mind via astral projection.

She couldn’t help wonder why it was so dark, or so disturbingly quiet. She constantly tried clearing her throat to try to break up the silence, but the sound seemed to die just as quickly as it was started, causing her to give up after a while. It seemed like ages had passed since she entered Necro’s mind, but she still carried forward, driven by some unseen force leading her to her goal, whatever it was.

After 3 eternities of constant walking, Jenna finally found whatever the mysterious force was leading her too. Standing some distance in front of her was something that looked like Necro, but as it turned to stare at her, she saw that it had no eyes from within the hood, and no hands appeared from the sleeves that stood motionless by the figures’ side.

“Who are you… wait…” the voice whispered. “I know you… you’re the female… yesssssssss” it hissed.

“You look exactly like the figure Necro described when the Death Element..” Jenna said nervously.

“Ahhh, that is because he took on my form since it was already convenient… and I’m amplified with the Death Element anyways so we might as well look similar to each other…” the voice whispered, sounding bone-chillingly evil.

Jenna gulped and regained her courage, not quite sure how to resolve this situation. “So you’re his dark side then?”

“You would be correct with your assertion. I believe I know why you are here… but I am curious to hear you state your intentions yourself…” it hissed, sounding bemused.

“I’m here to stop you from forcing Necro to go daemon…” she growled, getting riled up by the dark side’s teasing.

“Oooh, anger… Yes… I sense your dark side… it is young, but it can be cultivated…”

“Just shut up,” she growled, somehow managing to summon an astral scythe based on her real one. “I’m not going to let you take over Necro’s actions while he’s sedated. If he’s going to make decisions, it should be with both sides of him conscious, not just one dominating personality,”

“Ah, but that’s how it is most of the time, isn’t it? Usually the light or the dark side dominates one’s personality. I’m just running things…”

“Shut up!” she roared. “I’m not here to talk philosophy, I’m here to stop you from taking over Necro!” she added, lunging towards the dark side.

The figure merely teleported in a rather awesome special effects teleportation using smoke that whisked him away from the spot and reappeared behind her. As Jenna slashed the residue of the smoke, chains appeared out of nowhere and bound her, causing her to drop her scythe.

“Foolish girl… this is MY mind, not yours! Your lucky you can even be here, let alone actually fight here! It is true that this bond you share with me gives you some abilities here, but it is still my turf, and you will play by my rules… now… you know, I always did want to get a closer look at you… now that you’re here…” he whispered, his voice sounding somewhat excited as he approached the bonded Jenna on the ground. Jenna’s eyes went wide as she realized what was about to happen, and let out a blood curdling yell of someone in great distress. This was quickly silenced by a gag that magically appeared around her mouth.

“Shhh child, this will be much more pleasant if you just stay still and keep quiet…”

“ENOUGH!” roared a deep baritone voice from the recesses of the shadows. The figure seemed quite startled by this roar as it actually jumped a few inches off the ground as it turned around to face the intruder. Jenna tried to turn her body, but she couldn’t squirm her way to face that direction, and settled for looking at her scythe, which was starting to vibrate on it’s own. After a few more seconds of vibrations, the scythe started floating up in the air, and then whirred through the air like a boomerang into the depths of the darkness.

Out of the darkness stepped another figure who looked exactly like the first figure, except that he had yellow eyes glowing from within the hood, and his hands were clearly holding a Jenna’s and a black scythe. “If you so much as touch her, I will personally see to it that you are eradicated,” the second figure growled.

“Well well, looks like someone woke up from their nap and is spewing idle threats. You know full well you can’t kill someone’s dark side like that, and even if you did, you’d never be a complete human. Especially you, since your alignment IS the Death Element,” the first figure hissed, slowly backing up.

“I don’t give a damn about what happens to me, and I meant what I said,” the second figure growled. Jenna had finally managed to squirm her head over to look at the two figures. She sensed a familiarity in the second figure, and guessed at who it was. She attempted to contact him via telepathy, but found herself unable to do so. Sighing, she tried relaxing herself to watch the internal struggle of Necro.

“Oh, aren’t we the chivalrous knight come to rescue the maiden in distress! I find it so amusing that you are using Death Energy for such good deeds. The power to lay waste to the entire world, and you use it to protect someone… you just have no appreciation of the power you wield…” figure 1 hissed

“I have plenty of appreciation, that’s why I’m stopping you before you harm her,” Necro growled, sending a death bolt across to his counter part.

Figure 1 teleported out of the way in the same dramatic fashion right behind Necro and tried shooting him, who repeated the maneuver that figure 1 did. Both of them repeated this stunt several times, neither one having success. They then tried various other Death magic attacks, all of them ending up with the opponent teleporting away.

“Face it Necro, we’re evenly matched here, I have just as much control over this mind as you do as I am just a part of you that you unleashed to assist you. You seemed quite fine with letting me take control of things, why should you care what this wench thinks?”

“You dastard…” Necro growled. “She has every damn right to decide what course of action we take, whatever happens to us happens to her as well. You just want to see how she’ll react if she’s forced into daemonic form this quickly…”

“Oh, you’re so scary, what are you going to do, banish me? You just saw how futile it is to try to subdue me, we’re evenly matched… you really do care for her, don’t you? This truly is touching, but it’s getting in the way with the mission of eliminating the Paladins. I already had to pull this body back to avoid getting it killed while I deal with this, but we really do have a time table to keep…”

“No, you’re not going anywhere, this ends now,” he growled.

“Are you oblivious? We are at equal power, you can’t fully contain me!” the figure hissed.

“You seem to be forgetting one crucial element that I have access to that you don’t… her,” he said solemnly, and he called forth both the scythes that he had dropped to the ground earlier during his teleportation dual. He held his own scythe in his right hand, blade away from the ground, while he held Jenna’s scythe in the left hand with the blade facing down. Both scythe’s butts were facing towards each other as Necro slowly brought the two ends together. At first, they merely touched each other, but to Jenna’s astonishment, she saw the two scythes start to fuse together. Jenna felt a surge of energy rush from her and flow into Necro involuntarily, but it didn’t feel like he was forcibly taking it from her, but that some part of her was willingly giving it to him. It was an unusual sensation for her, but she didn’t seem to mind and continued to observe the situation, somehow feeling more relaxed then before.

When the scythes had finished fusing, Necro twirled the new scythe around himself in expert fashion a few times. One half of the scythe looked like Necro’s old scythe, but the bottom half now looked like Jenna’s scythe, ice and all. It was a little longer then the old scythe, but the extra weight at the end didn’t seem to effect Necro’s ability to wield the scythe whatsoever. After a few more twirls he quickly threw the scythe like a boomerang, watching it whirl beautifully through the air as a disk of black and blue.

The figure quickly teleported to another location, but the scythe quickly followed the figure through the air and was already zooming towards the figure as he reappeared. The figure attempted to teleport again, but the scythe was too fast for him, slicing the figure in half. It let out a hideous wail that somehow echoed in the darkness of Necro’s mind as it slowly started turning into smoke. Necro stretched out both his hands, using his right one to catch the returning scythe while his left hand absorbed the smoke from the figure.

After absorbing all the smoke form the figure, Necro let out a sigh and snapped his fingers, releasing the gag and bonds from Jenna. She let out a big sigh of relief as she breathed deeply without the chains restricting her breathing. After letting her recover from the experience and regain the energy that he had somehow managed to borrow without consciously asking for it, he extended his left hand to help her up. She got up slowly, staggering at first, but eventually straightening herself up.

“Jenna, I am SO sorry about that, my dark side was completely out of line, I never should have even allowed him free reign, but…” Necro started nervously, his cool and collected demeanor completely abandoned.

Jenna put a hand on his shoulder to try to ease his nervousness. “Relax, this wasn’t your fault, you just were trying to help out. That wasn’t the first time something like that has happened to me…” she sighed.

“Wait, so you’ve been bound as pervs tried to…”

“More like kidnapped by them in futile attempts. That’s one of the reasons my father spent so much time trying to teach me how to survive by myself, because he knew I would be kidnapped over the course of my life for my looks, and it’s happened a few times. Though I made sure the kidnappers never tried anything like that with anyone again,” she grinned wickedly.

“You don’t mean you chastised them… did you?” he asked, half grinning with her but at the same time absolutely mortified about the thought.

“I thought killing them was too good for them…” she replied.

An awkward silence followed, both looking in random directions not quite sure how to continue the conversation. “So… are you schizophrenic Necro?” asked Jenna nervously.

“What? Oh heavens no! I mean, I may have been diagnosed with ADHD back in my world which may explain my somewhat short attention span and whatnot… but yeah, I don’t have split personality… at least normally. The Death Element told me that since I was from another realm, my dark side is going to have an individual personality compared to other people’s dark sides… that and I’m the Reaper of Death. You shouldn’t worry about it though, I’m not going to let him out again for a long while,” Necro nodded.

“That’s good to hear… Nice scythe…” she admired.

“You like it? I just sort of fused mine with yours on a hunch of inspiration… by the way, thanks for the extra energy…”

“No problem, but I didn’t really give it to you consciously…”

“Really? I thought you did…”

“Oh for the love of all that is made of pie, will you two just kiss each other and move on here? You’re acting like a bunch of 7 year olds in love or something!” a new but familiar voice complained from the darkness.

They both turned to stare at the source of the darkness, their eyes first wide eyed in shock but quickly turning into eyes of anger. “Grim, what the hell are you doing inside my mind?” Necro growled.

“The fight outside was getting boring, so I decided to come in here to see how things were going. By the way, you may want to redecorate, the astral plane region of your mind is rather dull with all this black space here…” Grim said innocently.

“It’s not my fault! Apparently being from another dimension causes my astral plane region to be dark and whatnot. I’m still trying to figure out how to change the scenery, but I sort of have more pressing matters to attend to, don’t you agree?”

“I guess, but you two seem to be taking your time in here like there’s nothing pressing going on outside. Did you two want to be alone so you can…”

“GET OUT OF MY MIND!” Necro roared.

“Make me,” Grim replied.

Necro snapped his fingers, and a rather large boot appeared next to Grim’s astral skull. “I see you’re giving me… THE BOOT! Oh, that was a terrible pun!”

Necro snapped his fingers again, and giant flaming metal spikes appeared around the boot. “Oh, that’s going to hurt, isn’t it?”

With one more snap, Grim was kicked from Necro’s mind, sent through Jenna’s mind and appeared outside next to Jenna and Reaver, who was still guarding her. “Wow, that really DID hurt,” Grim commented as he floated over to Reaver.

“You record it all?” Reaver asked, grinning.

“Oh yeah, it’s going in the Scrapbook, which conveniently can store still and video magically.”

“What happened, did she come to Necro’s rescue like she sort of planned?”

“Psh, as if. She managed to get captured by his dark side because she severely underestimated astral plane warfare deep inside one’s mind. She must have managed to wake up Necro’s consciousness with that high pitched wail she gave. Quite amusing when the rescuer turns into the one in distress. It was even more amusing with the after battle conversations, you’ll get a kick out of a few… why are you looking behind me with wide eyed terror like someone is going to enact… let me guess, she returned to her body and heard this conversation and has her scythe raised to reek vengeance upon me, right?” Grim sighed.

Reaver nodded his head as he backed away slowly. Grim didn’t even get a chance to turn around as Jenna pounced on him and kicked up a cloud of cartoon violence dust that censored out the violence going on inside of it.

The cloud was still there with appropriate noises as the rest of the party trudged back to join up. Apparently Loki’s sonic attacks had managed to drive the Paladins back enough for a hasty but organized retreat with no followers. Since the daemonic plan was out the window, they couldn’t keep up the Rambo style attack and needed some time to think things over. The cloud finally settled with a content Jenna licking her appendages and a battered Grim floating limply behind her.

“Grim, I need you to call the Otana in for emergency pick up. We need to go back to the Scrapyard,” Necro requested.

“I fail to see why I should help you, I told you that this campaign was yours to wage.”

“Possibly because you’re the one who got us IN to this little fiasco by telling us to leave Necro alone before the fight?” Jenna growled.

“That was a lesson for y’all. You shouldn’t always follow the advice I give because I am not perfect. True, I’m usually right, but if you just blindly follow my advice, you could end up in trouble. This will teach you to consider my advice as a suggestion and encourage you to think of your own solutions,” Grim nodded sagely.

“Fine, but you are still partially responsible for this fiasco, and the least you can do is let us fix this,” Necro growled.

“And just what do you plan on building? It can’t be too extravagant, otherwise I’ll have to confiscate it as you’re supposed to be using magic to conquer your enemies, not magitech.”

“We’ll show you when we’re finished,” Necro nodded.

The sun was setting as Grim was escorted by Jenna and Loki to the spot deep in the cave where the party had been constructing their new equipment. Grim had tried getting peeks at the device, but they had chosen the former spot of the boss and had been on guard to prevent him from looking at it. He also couldn’t scan their minds as only Necro and Reaver knew the full schematics, and they stayed in the rear of the cave while the rest of the party assisted and took turns guarding the secret.

Grim was actually somewhat impressed by what they had thrown together in a few hours, but was still a bit skeptical. Essentially, Necro had based the design off of a Hot Wheels car called the Roll Cage and had expanded the car so it could hold 7 people in it, 2 up front, 3 in the middle and 2 in the back. The car looked like it would only hold five people in it, but apparently they had found some sort of magi-metal that allowed the interior of the car to stretch to accommodate the last two seats while the exterior remained the same shape. Spatial warping metal wasn’t one of Grim’s fortes and was usually skeptical of such concepts, but he thought that it should work since it was only one extra row.

On the very top of the car was something that looked like a machine gun, but Necro explained it was actually called a SPARKS, or Supreme Plasma Assault Rifle King Stationary, which was fancy pants for a machine gun that shot out plasma burst instead of bullets. The middle seat apparently rose up to meet the machine gun and acted as a turret. The SPARKS could slide around the top of the Roll Cage, giving the gunner almost 360 coverage.

“I must admit, it actually looks cool, but I must ask why you made a wheeled vehicle when you could have easily built a floater or something…”

“We thought the floater would be too advanced for you and you’d take it away from us because we’re not allowed advanced tech. I mean, heck, if we could use the Scythe, or even the Otana, we wouldn’t have any trouble with this campaign,” Necro shrugged as Reaver used his Power Glove to spray paint the car black with flames on the side, much to the annoyance of Jenna.

“Ok fine, I guess you can use the car… though I’m probably going to regret that as you loaded it up with all sorts of secret features that no one would even suspect existed, right?”

“Nonsense Grim, don’t know what you’re talking about! Alright, let’s give it a try!” Necro encouraged, jumping into the driver’s seat. He was extremely excited, until he looked at the transmission. “Reaver, what the heck is this? I can’t drive a stick!” Necro growled.

“What are you talking about?” Reaver asked innocently, taking the middle seat to assume the position of gunner. Jenna climbed up front with Necro while Jenkins and Loki joined Reaver in the middle. Mog settled down into a little compartment built in the front of the car next to Necro just for him.

“This is a manual transmission! I’ve only driven an automatic transmission! Surely there had to be something that we could have used as an automatic transmission!”

“Well sorry, but this IS my first time working with an internal combustion engine and a vehicle built like this. You have to be the driver though as you’re the only one of us qualified to actually drive vehicles… and I like blasting things. Besides, how big a difference could it possibly be?”

This question was answered as it took them 2 hours just to drive through the Scrapyard as Necro kept learning how to use the clutch and shift system on the car. The rest of the party was not impressed as they rolled out of the cave into the night.

“Look, I’m sorry! If this was an automatic transmission, I wouldn’t have to worry about shifting gears all the time! My parents just told me how a stick shift works, not how to actually drive one of these things!” he sighed.

“Looks like I have absolutely no worries about this car being over powered then,” Grim grinned. “What’s it’s name?”

“It WAS Soul Weaver, but I think it should be Soul Creeper,” Reaver said, annoyed.

“THAT does it, I’ll show you what this baby can do!” Necro roared, pushing a button on the overly complicated dashboard. Immediately all the seats of the car ejected the party via giant springs, sending them flying all over the front of the island. It took them 15 minutes just to regroup and take care of their injuries.

“Why the hell is there an eject all button?” Loki asked.

“Because EVERY high-tech secret agent style car needs ejection seats, it’s a standard! Besides, I specifically asked Reaver to label all the buttons, which he clearly didn’t,” Necro protested.

“Well, we know that that button does, so let’s label it… anyone got a pen?”

“Oh give me that glove,” Necro growled, taking away Reaver’s glove from his rope belt and equipping it. He quickly flipped through several functions until he finally found an engraver. He was about to engrave the name of the button on their, but Jenna stopped him. “Please, don’t. I know how terrible your hand writing is with a pen, and I can only imagine how you’re going to do it by pointing your finger and sending a very fine laser to carve it in their…” she muttered, but not quietly enough as the rest of the party snickered. Necro responded by having Jenkins whack the pair with his spear upside the head like red headed step-children.

Jenna took the glove from Necro and did the engraving instead with print writing that looked like it came from the factory. Satisfied, she returned the glove to Reaver, who was still rubbing his sore spot.

“Ok, THIS should be the right button,” Necro declared, pushing the button to the right of the newly marked button. The entire group braced itself for some sort of explosion, but was quite surprised when they only heard a small whirring sound. They quickly turned around to discover that the spare tire at the end was now starting to spin counter clockwise and lower itself so it was pointing straight behind the car.

“You guys might want to buckle up, we only put in a few inertial compensators in this car to prevent us from blacking out, not to disable intense Gs and air pressure,” Necro reminded.

“Wait, if we’re going super fast, then why did you make this an open car?” asked Loki.

“That way we can shoot where we need to without having to expose ourselves too much. Don’t worry, I came prepared for such a circumstance…” Necro said confidently, pushing another button. Immediately something that looked like glass materialized in all the gaps in the roll cage, completely covering the car. “Air Conditioning is go… transparisteel is up… Shifting car into overdrive now…” he muttered, taking the car into a previously unknown 6th gear. “For those wondering, I’m pretty sure that this won’t ruin the transmission with the large speed jump, but we’ll find out. It shouldn’t take a few minutes to repair it anyways, since we installed auto jacks on the car to get underneath it easily if we had too… LAUNCH!” he yelled, slamming his foot down on the accelerator.

The spare tire let out a poof of black smoke as the engine suddenly stopped, ruining the drama of the moment. Cursing, Necro slammed his right hand on the dashboard in anger. The car’s engine roared to life, and since the accelerator was still fully pressed, the car shot forward like a bat out of hell.

The speed at which they were going pressed them all into their comfortable chairs as Necro strained to flip a switch underneath the dashboard. After managing to flip it, everyone breathed deeply as they felt no extra fore on their bodies. “Why didn’t you activate that before shifting us into overdrive?” Jenna asked, massaging her neck.

“I was afraid I might blow up the other compensators by activating the emergency ones before overdrive,” Necro shrugged.

“Guys… I don’t feel too good…” Loki mumbled, his face turning rather green.

“Oh no you don’t! You are NOT getting carsick in this car, I JUST got it that new car smell, and we’re not having it ruined because you can’t stomach it. Besides, I thought you were used to high speeds because of your flying…”

“I am… but there’s just something about being in here that…”

“Oh, for the love of… where is it… there it is…” Necro sighed, pushing another button. A hand reached up from the floor and provided Loki a carsick bag that he happily took and barfed into.

“Are we… driving on the water?” Reaver asked, quite startled at the stunt they were doing.

“Sure! Everyone know that due to water’s surface tension, if you move fast enough across it, you won’t sink in it!”

“Does this drive come with any snacks, I’m hungry…” Jenna asked.

“Yes, this flight comes with a complimentary packet of cookies,” Necro replied, pushing another button as several hands appeared in front of everyone with a bag of cookies. The hands went back into the floor once cookies were accepted. Loki managed to take his, but he immediately threw up again into his barf bag.

“We are going to have to get you car sickness pills or something…” Necro sighed.

The car continued it’s drive across the water for several more hours, allowing everyone to catch up on some sleep that they needed. Even Necro got an hour or two of sleep when he found the cruise control. They managed to drive back to the Fortress an hour before dawn, allowing them to get a quick bite to eat and calm down Loki.

At dawn, they tried another attack on the Fortress, knowing that the enemy wouldn’t expect an attack at the same time. And even if they did, they would be in for a very nasty surprise as the Soul Weaver raced up the hill with the Transparisteel down and Reaver ready at the gunner’s position.

The guards posted marched extra vigorously over the half-repaired gate, worried that the enemy might try a second attack on the weakened sector. While the sentries patrolled, several archers were hidden behind the parapets on the wall, while the majority of those left to guard the Fortress assembled in the area between the castle and the walls, ready to charge anyone who would dare try to invade this holy place.
At dawn the Soul Weaver revved up it’s engines and zoomed up the hill, Necro finally figuring out how to drive a stick shift and somehow defy the laws of gravity and the need to drive at low speeds when going up a steep incline. As the car hit the sharp point of the incline where it flattened, the car went sailing on and actually managed to fly over the walls of the palace. Some archers attempted to shoot the moving target, but they failed miserably as they never tried hitting a target going that fast. The car crashed straight into the castle and screeched to a halt as Necro slammed on the breaks.

“How the hell did we survive that?” asked a bewildered Jenna, who’s hair and fur was now everywhere.

“Ram Shields! We put a shield generator on the Weaver, but it’s somewhat haywire and we can’t keep them up for too long right now. Fortunately, the ram shield system we installed automatically kicks them on when it senses a collision…. I think we landed in the armory… why is it on the top floor of a castle?”

“Who cares, let’s just start causing havoc and get to the dungeons!” Reaver whooped, holding down the trigger on his gun as he shot everything that was outside the Weaver.

Somehow, the Weaver was able to drive down the stairs of the castle and make it’s way into the dungeon, though the exterior of the castle now looked like Swiss cheese. Necro pushed another button, powering down the SPARKS to prevent the trigger happy Reaver from shooting the prisoners. Surprisingly, they hadn’t encountered too many guards on the way down, and there was no sign of the General.

“Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, I wanted to shoot more!” Reaver complained, lowering his seat.

“These people are friends, not cannon fodder,” Necro reminded him.

“How the heck did that thing fire so constantly without overheating?” Loki asked, quite amazed at the firepower of the SPARKS.

“No idea, but it’s going to come in quite handy in future missions… if Reaver keeps himself under control. Go on out and free your clansmen, we’ll keep the car running.

As Loki got out and began slashing the bars on the cells, Jenna still had a few questions for Necro. “I thought you told me that these machines of yours pollute the environment… why would you build one of them here on Tipa?”

“Oh, don’t worry, you need a LOT of them over a long period of time before you’ll see any noticeable damage, but this car doesn’t run on the burning of fossil fuels. See, instead of a spark plug, we found this exploding stone we call an explode plug that causes explosions. So, the explosion drives the cylinder and thus keeps the car moving. There’s no fuel whatsoever, and we found a few spare plugs we can use to keep this baby powered for a long time,” he nodded.
“And how do you propose we get out of here? I thought the Weaver can only hold 7 of us… 6 Reapers and Jenkins…”

“That’s where this comes in handy!” Necro replied cheerfully, pressing another unlabeled button. Giant speakers emerged from all around the car and began blasting rather loud rock music. Quickly Necro pushed the button again to recall the speakers. “Ohhh, so THAT’S’ where the surround sound is…”

“You really need to label these things…” she sighed.

Necro pushed another button, and the bumper in the front of the car quickly transformed into a rather large drill. “Might as well start now!” Necro replied, and turned on the drill, which made a rather large whirring sound that drowned out most of the shouts of joy from the freed prisoners. Necro shifted the car forward and started drilling into the walls, not caring that the drilling was causing pieces of the floor above to fall into the dungeons.

30 minutes later, Necro had drilled through the hill and the prisoners were all outside, enjoying the fresh air and sun. Reaver was busy mowing down any Paladins two stupid enough to emerge from the top of the hill, while Loki emerged last carrying his wounded uncle. “Thank you for helping me rescue my people,” He thanked, helping his uncle to lie down.

“Hey, least we can do for a Reaper. Besides, we still need your people for the final phase of the plan,” Necro shrugged.

“Speaking of which, how do you plan on destroying this Fortress?”

“That’s easy,” he grinned, turning the car to face the tunnel. “There’s a button for that!” he replied, pushing said button. Immediately the two headlights on the top of the Roll Cage shot out twin beams of light that zoomed into the tunnel. A second later, two rather large explosions came from the depths of the tunnels, followed by a rather large puff of rubble and dust. “We should get out of here before the foundation collapses on us,” he suggested.

As the entire group began a retreat from the fortress, cries could be heard from the top of the hill of the earth sinking. By the time they had reached the foot of the hill the castle had already caved in with the rest of the ground, leveling the hill to half of it’s height.

“Where to now, General?” Jenna asked teasingly.

“Oh, let’s regroup at that one random forest we stayed to recuperate in, seems good enough for a group of rebels to hide in,” he winked.

AQ DF MQ  Post #: 25
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