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About This Game

One man has attained the power of God, taking on the moniker, GameMaster. He has given a group of teenagers a portion of Nexus Energy, empowering them to travel to other worlds, setting to right things that are wrong.

Game System

Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM)

Status

Active

Full Description

BESM: Nexus Prime
Earth is always a focal point in all things, Finally, one man figured out why this is, and as such, attained the power of God, taking on the moniker, GameMaster.  What he has done since is simple.   Gathering together a group of teenagers from various walks of life, each with a unique quality of their own, he has Given each of them a portion of Nexus Energy, empowering them to travel to other worlds, Setting to right things that are wrong.
That's where all of you, the Players come in.  Each of you was a normal teenager, between 17 and 19, and now you have each been given extraordinary traits.   For example, you might now have a personal mecha (something no larger than 50 feet) and the knowledge to service and pilot it as an Ace, you might possess a magical weapon, or even cybernetic enhancement.  You could maste the elements, or know true magic.   The possibilities of the Nexus, and since its power flows through each of you, you the players, are endless.

Yeah it's a short premise write up.  This game is meant to be fun, and set like an anime, expect it to run like one.  We could end up in most any type of setting  Though I will say now, the first story Arc will be a mecha-centric setting.  Each Arc is going to be called a Level, and once you clear the challenges of the Level, some you may know beforehand, and some you may discover in the Level, you'll be returned to Earth to meet with GameMaster, and receive a boon.   Death is permanent in the Levels, so if you die you die, excepting a level where a means to revive someone actually exists.  Players should still look human, regardless of what form their extraordinary qualities take on.

Character Generation
300 cp build, and since I'm nice, I will give you Base Attributes of 4 to start  (120cp value)
no dynamic powers
powerflux is allowed, but you cannot modify the duration
Max total attack and Defense value to begin is 10 (factoring in all non-circumstantial bonuses)
If I feel a power is broken, I reserve the right to ask you to change it, or remove it as needed.  I will refund points if we discover it later in game.

--Decree of Fate--  I may have a character Fail a particular roll, or for some reason a power misfires at an inopportune moment, If I do this, please don't argue, I'll have story related reasons.  Each time I have it happen, whoever it happens to will receive a bonus cp award from 1-3 points depending on the severity of this Decree of Fate.  
*House Rules*

6,6 always hits and does double damage for PC's
6,6 is auto hit for anything attacking
6,6 auto defense for anything defending
1,1 always misses for attacks
1,1 always fails for power activation
1,1 always hit when rolled for defense
Defender always wins

reduced to negative HP-  characters with regeneration regenerate all negative HP in one turn, regardless of how deep they go, so long as they do not die.

The use of a healing power on someone in negative heal will always bring them up to at least 0 hp, regardless of how deep into the negatives they are.
Tough and energy bonus give you 10 hp and10 ep respectively, and each rank costs 2 cp, you may only have up to 10 ranks of each at game start.

Regeneration can be used for EP or HP, but must be decided at Character creation, You may have both kinds.

This last rule is an important one, The game is supposed to be fun for everyone, don't be a dick.  if you've got a problem come to me, I'm a pretty accomodating GM.  We're all adults, and I'm being as upfront about what the game's gonna be like as I can.  If you need help, ask, I'll do what I can.  

  1. What's new in this game
  2. Once out of the tent, Vesper made use of her disguise, and the general tumult, to get a little bit of a look around the camp. There were others in the distinctive garb of mages running around, but none of them had the same aura of respect and power as the ones she and the Therion had killed. More importantly, there were just too many soldiers scurrying around now. She and her spirit companion could carve a swath, but they'd be overwhelmed in the end. She'd done what she could. She made her way towards the edge of the encampment and found an escarpment that she used to break line of sight quickly. Once out of crossbow range, she had Therion pick her up and fly her for a little ways to avoid patrols. Finally Vesper made it to the spot Izona was maintaining her spell at. Ryan was there, a few fresh bandages on his arm and shoulder, but otherwise all right. The bodies of several assassins had been dragged away and piled up off to the side. "They sent them before I got there," Vesper said, and Ryan just nodded. She added, "I got the mages who were in charge. I don't think the rest can do anything about this." "Good news," said Ryan. "Are you okay?" Vesper took a breath and thought, then shrugged and looked away. "I'm...fine. I'll check on Yuuki before I head in." Ryan stepped forward and took hold of her arm. "She's okay, Vesper. Go back to the tents. Get some rest. You did your...you did what you had to do. You did good." She stood still, her face a mask, then pulled her arm away and walked off...towards the tents. There was a report to make. The archmages were dead.
  3. Harder. Hit them harder. If she could break them here, convince them they couldn't win no matter their numbers. Magic didn't win battles here, too slow, too limited in duration for the cost in power, but she wasn't using magic not as they knew it, so she must seem a devil or an angel to them. Yuuki bit her lip, trying to bury the sick conflicted feeling, unseeing of the projectiles deflected away from her by the invisible wall of magic. Well, until one bent away literally from in front of her face, and her golden eyes tracked it's new trajectory down and into the neck of an unsuspecting allied spearman. Down went the man, his corpse trampled almost immediately by those pushing up from behind. Oh no. She pressed her lips lips together so hard they paled. This was going to stop. If she pressed their front lines hard enough, this princess had to show herself to keep the formation from breaking entirely. Or something "Bounded. Field. Blooming." came the incantation like a metronome of doom matching beat of her heart as she gleamed like a green sun, unnaturally boosted foliage losing and gaining branches and vines at random like the world's biggest iron maiden. And again. A second incantation, a second wave of her arms, a second wave of biochaotic death ahead of her own advancing troops. Golden eyes darted around the battlefield she could see, looking for nodes of order, leadership to hit. Anything. Where was the Princess? Break the royal; break the army. It had to work that way. It had to.
  4. More soldiers died as yuuki manipulated the battlefield, either being swallowed by the ground, speared by roots, or entangled then Killed by Theo's soldiers. The imperial foot soldiers were starting to panic, and the Cavalry unit was already long gone. Archers rained down arrows, and at least a dozen cam sailing at Yuuki, only for her to be protected by a Wall of wind. Siluca was there back in in the rear ranks keeping her safe, but with the lines of battle nearing her, Yuuki was in some danger. Therion's appearance created even more chaos, though they were quick to dismiss him as illusion, especially once he vanished. Meanwhile taking a mage's robe from one of the ones she'd simply knocked out, Vesper hastily disquised herself and was able to leave the tent unmolested, simply blending into the chaos.
  5. Therion barely paused as new opposition marched forward. The dark metal of his scythe didn't even glint as he twirled it effortlessly around and brought it back for yet more reaping. He slashed to the left, crashing it through two of the guards, then reversed his grip and mowed down the other two on the right. Therion Scythe Attack or Defense: 2d6+8 15 2d6+8 11 Meanwhile Vesper focused her will on the only soldier left untouched by Therion's attacks...his flaying was almost as comprehensive, but left no mark on him as he collapsed to the ground amidst the bleeding fragments of his fellows, eyes wide with a terror only he could see. Mind Blast (drain Mind 2, ennervate 5, stun): 2d6+6 13 She put her hands to her temples and closed her eyes for a second, fighting a wave of nausea and fatigue. It was one thing to see Therion working on giant bugs...but these were people. Christ, what was she doing? That wasn't all the mages, she thought, trying to force herself back on task, We can't stop now or it'll all be for nothing. "I need to...I need to get clear," Vesper said, clenching and unclenching her fists. "Therion, go out that way." She points to the tentflap. "Let them see you, but not hurt you. First, cut me a hole in the back of the tent though, so I can get out while you're distracting them." After a second she added, "Disappear once they start trying to attack you." The shadowy presence that nearly filled the tent was silent as always, then with shocking suddenness brought the half-moon of the scythe blade down very close to Vesper...slicing a neat vertical line through the back of the tent. His substance seemed to diffuse then, becoming even less solid than it had been previously...and he glided out through the front of the tent without so much as disturbing the tent flap. As cries of fear and alarm went up from outside the tent in front, Vesper slipped out the back to find a place to keep her head down. She'd need to find the other mages...but she suspected they'd probably be called to look at this exact spot quite soon. Stealth (divine intervention): 2d6+5 17
  6. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. She forced herself not think about the bloodshed done by and enabled by her hand so that she could focus on doing and enabling more bloodshed. With a flap of her ephemeral wings, she rose out of the bamboo thicket, already glowing green again, lips flitting through her magic words, reaching out with her thoughts to the foliage she had already claimed as hers. "Bounded! Field! Blooming!" she declared, a wave of green racing ahead of her soldiers and, ironically, caused the titanic forest to shrink back to seeds, taking the ground with it to cries of panic and discord with the partial restoration of the sinkhole under the feet of the Imperial army. The shrine maiden immediately started gathering green light again, arms pointed straight down, staring directly at the nearest clumps of hostile men as they struggled against the press of Theo's formation and the slope behind. "Surrender. Bounded. Field. Blooming," she intoned, discharging a second wave of light that caused everything green beyond her front ranks to return to their titanic proportions, a sea of towering grass and weeds interspersed with monstrous trees, the earth in explosive, entangling revolt against the Imperials.
  7. Things happened very quickly, as The soldiers backed away in fear after seeing Therion gruesomely slay the Mages, including the heads of two orders. One of them dropped to the ground without a sound, unconscious from Vesper's psychic assault. The two Infantry captains weren't so weak-willed and drew swords and attacked, though Therion let nothing through to harm his mistress. Still the two of them were armored, and both seemed to be capable combatants. Outside, there was a commotion drawn from the yells of the soldiers within, and Then Giant trees, a veritable forest sprout in the midst of the battlefield. Dozens were slain by the explosive vegetation spearing through them, or flung into the air only to land roughly. Some were spared as the trees took attacks that would have slain them, and then the bamboo field rose up, shielding Theo's soldiers, and yet they could still see the carnage of the battlefield. The soldiers cheered and redoubled their efforts, moving to take advantage of the confusion. "Forward, while they cannot form ranks, hit them with everything you have!" Soldiers charged forward and arrows were loosed again.
  8. For a second, Yuuki stopped breathing as she took in the sheer breadth and volume of violence on display. This was awful, needed to stop. But armies that outnumbered their foes three to one didn't surrender, not immediately, not with hundreds of thousands of men with fires in their bellies... So she'd have to temper that fire. She dove over the massed ranks of her flank of the battle, gathering green light in her hands and eyes, letting the pressure build until she picked the point where she'd drive them. "Bounded Field Blooming!" she called over the cheers of the soldiers, a dark-clad fairy suddenly exploding into a pillar of green light that arced into the ground in all directions. The upturned soil of the trench suddenly rebirthed her titanic trees on either side of her as far she could reach, an effort of will angling them towards the Imperial force. The chaos of the eruption prevented them from forming a perfect wall like before, but hopefully all but the most overarching shots would be slowed, formations disrupted, the promise of more sinkholes when these trees too vanished. "Sacred Bamboo Ramparts!" The green-haired shrine maiden added, winding her arm back to toss the seed of the protective barrier to encompass the formation of spearmen around her. Creaks and groans of phantom foliage rose in a circle around her. She hovered in the dome of bamboo, bracing for first wave of struggling infantry reached melee range, the violence to become up close and personal.
  9. "You're wrong," Vesper said, just to buy time. When they paused suspiciously she went on. "It was Therion. Therion. Therion." A cold breeze picked up out of nowhere, carrying the smell of charnel. Similarly from nowhere, a shadow fell over the mages. A shadow in the shape of an immense figure in a tattered, flowing cloak, bearing a scythe of black iron. Even as she summoned the spirit of devastation, Vesper concentrated on defending herself. Dust and grit whirled up around her feet, pulled into a sympathetic orbit as she cloaked herself with telekinetic force. Meanwhile, the Therion's scythe descended in a vicious sweep, as if reaping grain. Therion Scythe Attack or Defense: 2d6+8 14 2d6+8 17 The first stroke cleaved through robes and flesh, sending blood flying in a broad arc that sprayed out garishly across the tent and earth. With speed that belied his size, and the size of the weapon, Therion whirled then and brought the scythe down again from the other direction. The three mages were bashed against one another from the force of the strikes, and then...came apart. Their bodies, faces frozen in horror and anguish, collapsed into one another...forming a grotesque slurry of innards, with heads and arms and legs seemingly poking out at random points. Without touching the ground, without making a sound, the shadowy spirit advanced on the half-dozen soldiers nearest Vesper then, interposing itself between her and them. Its smoky shadow fell over them then, unnaturally chill. Meanwhile, as Vesper dropped back away from the soldiers, she focused her eyes on the toughest-looking one and assaulted his mind with nightmarish images...a hellish montage of her own imagining, culled from horror movies and boy band footage. Mind Blast (drain Mind 2, ennervate 5, stun): 2d6+6 18 Maybe it was the sudden danger she found herself in, but her power seemed to explode out of her, crashing into the soldier's mind with almost physical force! (40 damage, drain Mind 2, drain 25 energy; damage is nonlethal)
  10. Death reigned on the battlefield. Soldiers from both sides were struck down, though far more from the Empire fell than the new nation's forces. Above them yuuki was in the air, inspiring the troops. If Tori had been available it would have been even more crushing to the enemy, but the Banshee was heavily damaged still. Vesper was brought brought before the head Mages, and found herself there with two of the Infantry division leaders as well. "So this is the spy? why not just kill her and be done?" "She knows why your magic has failed..." "So do we, it's why we sent the Black Shadows to handle it. Soon, they'll end that troublesome witch, and her guardian, and we'll blast this nation to rubble." The two Infantry leaders looked back to Vesper. "Well, it sounds like your usefulness, and your luck have run out then." Both of them drew near to her, even as half a dozen soldiers were blocking her escape. Clearly, they weren't just planning on her death, she'd be made an example of.
  11. Vesper left. It was easy to do...one small girl, quiet and unassuming, edging around the hustle and bustle of soldiers making ready for war. Yuuki with her wings and spells kept all eyes on her, those who weren't busy with duties. And of course there was just her. Groups were everything in war...an individual, unarmed, meant nothing, and Vesper was alone. Well. Not really. Not ever really. She moved out away from the castle before the first ranks of soldiers closed in, though she was still close enough to hear the buzz-whines of arrows from the walls when they fired. There was a plan at work, kind of, though calling it a 'plan' might be overgenerous. It was far more likely a set of assumptions that would get her killed. But wasn't that really all most plans were? Vesper knew the layout of the enemy army from the nights she'd bedeviled them. Back then they'd teleported to get past the sentries. This time...well, getting past the sentries would kind of defeat the purpose. "You there! Stop!" Right on schedule. Vesper stopped and turned to face the voice who'd called out. A man wearing Imperial colors with a crossbow in hand. "You're a sentry," she said. "Making sure no one can slip into the, uh...support people and officers and stuff." He frowned and raised the crossbow to aim down the bolt. "Who are you and what are you doing here?" "I'm a spy," was her reply. "I'm turning myself in. I surrender for questioning." The sentry's frown turned from suspicion to confusion. "What?" Vesper's eyes bored into his...deep and dark. He almost felt he was falling into them; like they were expanding to cover the world, blot out the sun. When she spoke again, all other sounds were silenced in his ears. "I surrender. Take me to the mages for questioning. I can tell them what's wrong with the magic. You'll be a hero." Yes. Yes of course. "Come with me," the sentry said dreamily, lowering the crossbow a bit. He didn't need it; she'd surrendered. "You have to answer the mage's questions." She put her hands behind her back, crossing her wrists so it would look like she was restrained unless someone paid close attention, and let the sentry lead her towards the enemy camp. Over her head, a tornado of wrath churned invisibly. Vesper wasn't sure how much the Therion really understood of what was happening, but she knew that in the end it didn't matter. He would do what she told him to, and then fight on in the chaos that would inevitably erupt. She wasn't sure if anyone would have the presence of mind to attack her...it was a huge gamble. Her non-magic powers didn't require incantations or hand waving like this world's spells though, so...Vesper figured there'd be a good chance they wouldn't get that she was behind it. Not at first. Not before it was too late. Best plan ever.
  12. Focus on the small things that are right before turning them into ways to fix what's wrong. Yuuki's mother had taught her that, and it had worked on everything from trying to budget for a new refrigerator to planning a spring festival. This was... bad. So so so soooo bad, but there was one bit of good as the dust began to settle from the explosive birth of new trench and the roar of hundred of men charging forward: Yuuki loved flying, and this past year she had taken any excuse she could while training to 'practice' with the spell. "Spirits of Earth and Sky; Hear this speaker's yearning cry! Spirits of Water and Fire; Lend me the steam to indulge the most ancient desire! Break the chains of the World's Hold; Let me dance among the cloud's Fold! Order Sign! Flight!" called the shrine maiden from her place just behind the front lines, mana flowing into the gleaming circle of light beneath her feet, green hair blowing up from her own private windstorm. The light pulsed one, two, three times before bursting into a rainbow of bubbles that coalesced into a pair of translucent butterfly wings on Yuuki's back. She paused for a heartbeat, smiling faintly over her shoulder at the magatama-like spots gracing her topmost wings. The wings weren't real, more of a visual declaration of her magic, but she liked how... light it made her feel, and as a bomb threw Kami knows how many men through the air to injury or death... She was going to need every bit of light she could muster. The first men of the Imperial Army began hurling themselves down into the trench opposite her position, the soldier's in front of her readying their weapons. "Ready... Looose!" shouted a Captain whose name she didn't know, and the archers around her did so with the sound of thousand beehives at war. She took that as her signal, too, shooting straight up from the ground trailing light with every flutter of her wings, gaining altitude enough to take in her flank of the battle and be out of ready bow range. Apparently, some of Theo's troops took *her* rise as a good omen, yelling defiance at the approaching enemy. She could only hope that she was worthy of that emotion.
  13. Several hours later, the Nation's army is positioned for the attack, Yuuki and Vesper are at the front. Theo had met privately with Vesper, providing identification for the various troop leaders. If she could take them out it would further serve to demoralize the Imperial army, and she'd be given free reign on how she did this, save for injuring the Princess, or using her chaos magic. As the army marched forward, the battle began when They had Yuuki trigger her last line of seeds. At that same moment, Izona, sitting nearly a kilometer from the border wall, virtually alone save Ryan, smiled. Hear my words, you who governs the world of Magic. By the sacred contract of Legios, I, Izona of Archalia command thee. Seal the magic of this place, that those who are my foes can cast no spell, nor know the blessings of mana." A massive magic circle came into being beneath her feet, easily twenty meters across. 'Now, Ryan, see to it that no one disturbs me, and no one but our allies shall use mana." it began when the first magical shields began to wink out of existence. The Imperial forces began to panic, as mana failed them, and the Metal knight appeared in the sky, raining death down upon them with veritable impunity. Arrows filled the sky, along with boulders from catapults, and flaming bombs blasted the landscape, even as the ground revolted beneath them. The Imperial army was in chaos, but through it all the Princess grit her teeth, and demanded her forces charge. They'd never call down this sort once they got to the wall, and the gate would never hold against them. She still had several aces to play, after all, and the information she'd gotten, well it was interesting, and obviously true. One person was shutting down there magic, one person, left alone in the care of an otherworlder. if she could remove them, then she'd break this upstart nation, and not stop until all bowed before her.
  14. Vesper, looking a bit pale even for her since conducting her night-time raids, looked at Theo dully. Their preparations. What a nice, clean way to put it. She shook her head and looked away. "So what's the plan for me? Am I going to try to get to the generals or whatever? I'll have trouble with a lot of soldiers at once, but there's a lot I can do with important people." There were spells, of course, but her best magic just wore her out too fast. She'd need to keep practicing to build up her tolerance before she could toss spells off as easily as Izona.
  15. The last week had been... oddly nice for Yuuki. She hadn't been camping in, well, a long time, and sleeping rough after a long day of exercising her powers in cataclysmic eruptions of earth and wood between hours of watching for danger while 'her' squad worked under Daizo's supervision. They were good men, and in the quiet moments after sunset while they ate their rations, talked about their lives. The shrine maiden listened and asked questions and talked a little bit about her own, adjusting for the filter of the science dominated world she came from compared the magic dominated world they lived in. The darkness wasn't an inhibitor to her eyes, and any light could draw fatal attention, so she pulled watch during the darkest hours. Apparently, telling stories to pass the time was a thing here, and after the soldiers got over their initial deference after a few days, it was her turn to tell stories, too. Yuuki drew from her treasure trove of Shinto folklore, and, yes, the manga she had once collected to cover her turns. They seemed to like her stories, and perhaps not entirely because of the Gamemaster's... improvements. That made what was going to happen next so much harder. If her little squad of eleven had so much to live and strive for, what about all the others? So many of them were going to die. "Daizo and my volunteers planted a few last lines of seeds where you said you wanted the battle to be. Say the word and even less of them will be making it to the fight quickly," she offered from her corner of the room, not sounding happy about this being all she could do to limit that butcher's bill, "Give you more of a chance to end it with less blood. Hopefully. Master Izona taught me a spell for flight, so I can get wherever you need me to be, maybe take down a few leaders?" Gold eyes looking conflicting, she hugged herself, trying not to think about it all.
  16. The Imperial army was the best equipped, best trained and singularly most powerful army the world had ever seen. Imperial Princess Marina frowned. All of those were true, but This expedition to war was frought with peril. Conquering the newly established nation on her border would have been a great boon, but a week ago, just one unit, a Magical Sky Knight had attacked her own air forces, and slain them all. It would be a month to get replacements from the rookeries on the northern coasts, time she didn't have, so they pressed on. After that, she found why the new nation hadn't expanded into her own. Unknown to her forces, there were heavy concentrations of shadow and chaos beasts. Packs of wolves, Tigers, and even land dragons sapped the strength of her army as they marched, and for a solid week there wasn't a day where there was an attack. Worse than that were the large sinkholes making the area virtually impassible. Only a relatively narrow pass existed to the Nation's border, forcing her to keep her armies in that pass or risk losing even more troops. There were some who thought it all to be a trap, but the church had destroyed all the Chaos magic users, so there was no chance of that. They pushed on, Getting to the border with just over 210 thousand troops, still three times what Nation could muster, and from there she sent forth a messenger, even as her troops formed up in battle lines. Her forces' morale was the lowest it had been, but with Battle coming against an opponent they could see coming it would reform quickly. Her mages would bombard the enemy and break their spine at range. The antimagic corps would hunt down the enemy mages and make short work of them. Everything was ready. Everyone was assembled within the border Fortress to receive the messenger, as in a formal Court. "Her Majesty, the Imperial Princess Marina commands you to surrender your lands, crest, and people to the Empire, Theo Cornaro, if you wish to live." Theo shook his head. "If that is all she has to say, then return to her with this. "Come and Take them, if you can, but we will never surrender to Tyrants." The Messenger bristled but bowed curtly and left. Once he was riding off, he looked to the gathered allies. "So it begins, my friends, now we see how much our preparations have truly affected them."
  17. This...was awkward. Vesper found herself nervous, holding a silver knife in one hand and Ryan's wrist in her other. For all the thick crust she'd built up, stabbing someone who was...at least nominally...a friend to work black magic was harder than she'd expected. Like, it was cool...but it also kind of not cool. She did understand the need. Ryan healed faster than her. It was just awkward. Ryan didn't help much either as he grinned teasingly and said, "Be gentle with me. It's my first time." Or maybe that DID help as it filled in the awkward with annoyance and anger that were MUCH easier for Vesper to deal with. She gave him a flat look and jabbed into his arm with the knife. He winced, and blood welled up from the cut. Vesper flicked the knife at the circle she'd drawn into the earth with a stick. A complicated design, with candles at the points within the circle, and runes outlined in colored powders. Magic to summon, to bind. The light from the fire they had burning nearby suddenly went out, as the flames were extinguished...only to roar back to life, but cold and green. Within the circle was an utter blackness. A pool, or well, of dark too thick and deep to be considered 'shadow.' It was a void, an abyss that could be stared into without ever seeing the end of. It opened its eyes, many sizes, many shapes, and howled. Thick tendrils or strands of that cosmic darkness rose up then, alternately twining together or flapping loosely about...but all unable to exit the boundary of the circle. Random gnashing maws filled with teeth of random descriptions formed and chomped and dissolved. Vesper held the hand with the dagger in it towards the circle, closed her eyes and incanted the words she'd been taught. On her forehead a sigil appeared, identical to the circle on the ground, but in miniature, emblazoned with orange-red light like fire. The...whatever it was...in the circle screamed again in a cacophony of competing voices. Warbling and trilling, but slowly deepening towards a throaty growl, the mass of it began to compact. From the formlessness emerged a shape. Orange-red light flashed over the thing as it went, forming the shape of the circle again. The greater mass of the thing split, then split again, and each smaller glob continued to compress and shape. Finally it was done. There were five of them. Monsters that looked like enormous wolves with burning violet eyes. The sigil of the circle faded from them, and from Vesper. They were mere outlines, silhouettes, limed in that same strange St Elmo's Fire that flickered in their eyes. Vesper opened her eyes and glanced at Ryan, who was staring at them in fascinated horror. She could feel the hate of the chaos-wolves. Hate for the world of form and boundaries, of matter and energy, where infinite possibility and uncertainty collapsed into time, location, shape and speed. Hate for her, who through blood had forced them to take form, had bound those forms to her will, and now presumed to control them. They would hurt anything, everything they could...but her most of all. The fire flared up and turned orange again. Vesper broke the circle with a foot, and immediately the hounds crowded towards her, snarling. She held a hand out, and for a moment the circle shimmered on her palm. The creatures quieted and sat, watching her. Waiting. Over the hill that she and Ryan sheltered behind were the campfires of the enemy armies. She pointed in that direction and said, "Go. Go and do what you will." The five dread wolves whirled as one and loped away. Only seconds later, the screams started. With hands that shook a little, Vesper cleaned what was left of Ryan's blood off of her knife. "That's all for tonight." Ryan glanced at his arm, which had already healed over. "You sure? I can go again." Whatever he thought about the ritual he'd seen, he didn't reveal. This was important for the war effort, and he could see it had affected her. She shook her head. "Not tonight. Tomorrow night we'll do more." From over the hill, shouts...trumpets...battle cries. More screams. With a nod, Ryan turned and cleaned up after the fire so it wouldn't be found later. He had just enough time to do so before Izona's spell took hold, and the two vanished. === The next night, Vesper performed the summoning twice, creating nine of the wolves. They attacked from a different angle, slamming into the enemy guard posts hard. The savagery of the wolves couldn't be overstated. While the first several were happy to tussle with the guards as they hastily tried to converge, several more got through into the camp itself. There they rampaged through sleeping, unarmed and unarmored troops. Their wolf-forms were not completely 'solid,' and they lashed out with barbed tentacles tipped with mouths, spines...each wolf that got through could kill dozens of soldiers before it was stopped. The deaths were ugly, as the wolves delighted in taking out their frustrations. They ripped off arms, legs...eviscerated bowels...inflicted wounds that were ultimately deadly, but in the most gruesome and painful ways possible. Before the attack, they howled. Long, with guttural and clotted voices. Vesper barely spoke at all during the rituals, taking Ryan's blood and incanting, but otherwise keeping a face of stone. === The third night was much the same, but even more wolves. Ryan was looking wan by the end of the summonings, and Vesper could feel them pushing at her...testing the barriers of magic that held them fast. They weren't close to breaking it, but that she could even feel it was...a warning. They hit from the same flank, but in even greater numbers. Even so, the army was far better prepared this time. They managed to hold most of them at the camp perimeter. Only a couple were able to break through, but this time archers were standing by within the camp itself, and the damage was much more limited. Ryan gave Vesper a look as they watched the carnage from a distance. "I think we need to change our tactics," he suggested gently. She shook her head. "This is exactly what we want," "What do you mean?" Vesper looked at him, as stone-faced as ever. "It's a lot worse to have hope, then have it taken away, than to never hope at all." == On the fourth night, she pushed Ryan to his limit. More wolves than ever before lined up around them. Their hate pounded at the Will that bound them. Still unable to break it, but Vesper could sense that there was a limit to what could be safely bound. It was not far away now. And she was not yet done. She crushed the token Izona had given her, after she'd discussed tonight's strategy. Magic flared around them, and they vanished. In Izona's study the angel studied them both critically. "You're looking pale, boy," she said to Ryan, and handed him a small flask. "Drink this. You'll need it." Then to Vesper, "Ready?" The pale girl nodded. Izona returned the gesture, and Ryan barely had time to swallow the potion before they were whisked back away. This time to a spot on the opposite flank as before. The circle had already been drawn on the site well beforehand. In the distance they could see torches converging, hear the echoing shouts as guards and archers converged on the formidable force coming against them. "Okay," Vesper said. "Now the hard part." She lifted the dagger and beckoned to Ryan. That was when Ryan noticed that this circle was much, MUCH bigger than the others had been. "Oh shit," he breathed. ... Meanwhile, the struggle against the damned beasts of Chaos was going decently. The wolves fought like the demons they were, but the massed shield wall was able to keep them from running amok, and the archers were getting into position. Another few minutes of Hell, and this attack would be repulsed like the others had been. A victory would be good for morale. That unnatural howling was stoking fear...few could sleep, for all had seen what happened to those who were caught off guard when wolves got through. Gods it was noisy though. All the screaming and roaring and howling...and there were so many more now. How many would come tomorrow? Then they realized...the noise. It was coming from the wrong direction. Behind them. The stars were blotted out. The moon vanished. Something was moving against the sky. Something huge. A sound fell over the camp, rhythmic like a monstrous heartbeat. Wind gusted in time with that beat, flattening tents and sending small items scattering everywhere. Someone, one of the scouts probably, shouted a word that wilted hope like an early frost wilted flowers. "DRAGON!!" Violet flame speared down from the heavens, drawing a line across the shield wall, consuming man and Hound alike in an all-consuming inferno! Then, horrifyingly, ANOTHER plume of flame joined in, criss-crossing it. Because what was worse than a dragon? The lines buckled and broke as surviving men panicked. The wolves, what remained of them, sensed the weakness and surged forward. Almost without resistance they plunged into the camp and the carnage began, worse than ever. Meanwhile the dragons circled overhead, roaring and immolating everything they could see...man or beast. Abruptly a shining torpedo of light shot out from the center of the army, where the officers were camped. Lightning and thunder cracked. The dragons were struck squarely, and in the blooms of light their outlines could finally be seen. Enormous, bat-winged shapes, clawed and toothed, with suggestions of the same seething formless chaos barely held in check that the wolves had. They dove towards the attackers, as the field officers rallied squads of men to hunt down the wolves. Purple dragonflame rained down, but was intercepted by a blossoming umbrella of blue magic. More lightning speared out, another arcane blast of pure energy. One of the dragons howled in anguish and rage as the magic loosed blew holes through it, and it dissolved into the night like smoke. The second landed in a titanic rush of wind, and was met by the elite guard. Several perished to venomous tooth and claw, but their swords were enchanted, and their armor mithril steel...they cut into the monster again, and again...and finally it too dissipated like the nightmare it was. From below the last of the wolves was finally hunted down as it ravaged a tent of troops trying to get into their armor. Vesper and Ryan...who was pale and shaking, hardly able to stand after the blood sacrifice to bind those dragons...watched from their vantage. "What's next?" he asked warily. "How do we top that?" She shook her head. "We don't have to. Tomorrow we'll just do a small raid. A slightly bigger one after that. Howling every night. No peace. No comfort. No security. They'll never know when another attack like that will come." Her eyes met his. "And that's how they'll be when we fight them." Ryan opened his mouth, wanting to say something but not knowing what. Then Izona's teleport went off, and the moment was gone.
  18. Yuuki was long gone by the time Ryan and Tori returned from their sortie, having greeted her companion for the week with a determined nod and the ghost of a smile, "Let's get going. We have a lot of work to do if we're going to save your home, Captain, and not a lot of time to do it. We have a wagon, supplies, and horses, too, right? Meet me outside with the other soldiers when you're all ready to go. I need to prepare a demonstration outside the gates." The knight was very good at his job, so it wasn't too many minutes before the green-haired shrine maiden had her audience of attentive soldiers, offering the dazzling smile of someone very practiced at greeting strangers to a celebration. "Thanks to each and every one of you for your help this week. If all goes to plan, we'll all be back at the castle in five days time having made it very, very difficult for the enemy to do anything but walk into Lord Theo's trap. I, by the blessings of the world, have the power to help," she opened, the scent of sakura petals wafting from her towards them, "But I need your help to dig a lot of very deep trenches very quickly." The men kept their professional demeaner, but confusion danced in their eyes. "This is an apple seed. It grows into an apple tree, and with my mag... power, I can make it grow very large very fast," she further explained with one seed held up for them to see, correcting herself after a year of immersive study in the difference, "Out there, in that field, I have planted 3 more like it in a line, ten feet apart. And so... Bounded Field Blooming!" There was a flare of green light as she gestured with a little twirl, a bonfire of life giving energy that pumped out of her and into the ground, focusing on three patches. Eyes flaring with that verdant light and hair whipping up around her, she grunted in focus and shaped the resulting explosion of woody growth. Three trunks exploded from the ground, soaring upward and thickening into ten foot thick, 200 foot tall spears that ground and twisted together despite her best efforts, merging into a leafy crown that shrouded the field around them. Despite the warning she had given in passing to the sentries on the walls, there were cries of alarm as the light faded. "And a tree goes as deep down as it goes up. So when I withdraw my grip..," she continued, not giving her audience a chance to recover, stunned soldiers and a still impressed Knight Captain Daizo silent when she exhaled again. The tension bled out of her expression as the trees shrank as quickly as they grew, much of the field collapsing into a steep pit of freshly disturbed earth that promised hell to any soldier who tried to fight their way down and up it. 'Oh shit.' seemed to be the consensus, eyes locking on the gorgeous young outlander who had done so much harm with three apple seeds. "I need your help. To plant. To cut seeds out of the apples we'll bring. To find more if we need them. To show me where more holes like this would help. To keep watch while we're camping out there. If trouble comes, I have a spell to bring us all home to your castle, but if trouble doesn't," she finished, allowing herself a laugh, gold eyes gleaming, "You eleven will help me drive them into your Lord's ambush sure as water flows downhill." And so they left to do their work, the shrine maiden attentive from her spot on the wagon as a mounted Daizo pointed out key points on the map, the best places to leave 'undisturbed earth' for later destruction, and the best places to rest for the night, ten sets of eyes on guard.
  19. As the meeting broke up, Theo summoned his generals and Knight Captain. About an hour later, Yuuki found herself face to face with Knight Captain Daizo, "Miss Yuuki, I'm here to help you. I've got ten of my men and three loads of apples per your request to Lord Carnaro, We are at your service." Elsewhere, Tori and Ryan were sortieing against the Imperial Air force. It was several hours before they returned, The Banshee looked like it would fall apart, nearly all the armor was melted away, indeed, an entire arm was gone, and the Beam Rifle destroyed. Tori was hurt, and suffering from Mana depletion, and it was Ryan who ended up carrying her piggyback to her room, for her to be tended to. "Their airforce is gone completely. This will be a ground war from now on." Was his summation of what happened. The next day He would meet with Vesper to go out and start the guerilla attacks, needing a night to recover himself after the ordeal of the Banshee.
  20. Vesper glanced at Ryan dourly. Stuck out in the middle of nowhere with Ryan. Meh. But...then again, fuelling like, black magic with him? That...might not be the absolute worst. "Works for me. Long as you guys are sure it's what you want. I just work here."
  21. "Chaos is the energy that allows order to be more than frozen death, just as order allows chaos to achieve anything of lasting value. Fire and water, sun and moon, life and death. Every kami, great or small, has it's twin," commented Yuuki softly, lessons as old as she could remember soothing her immediate worries as she pushed her chair away from the table. She stood up and offered a quick bow to Lord Theo, "Unless you have any objections to me departing, my Lord, I'll be in my room preparing to leave as soon as possible. A lot of work to do..." Her gaze turned hard, golden eyes molten under her self-control as she speared her three teammates with a look, voice still as mild, "Oh. If you get yourselves killed out there this week, I'll find and kill you again for being so reckless, okay? We're going home. Together."
  22. Theo looked to Yuuki. "Whatever you need to get ready. I'll have Knight Captain Daizo get you the supplies and an escort for you. Preparing traps like that will help alot, especially if we can get them to come that way alone. Still I'd like to establish some fields to the North and South, if only because they'll move right into them once they discover the original set." Ryan considered that. "Damn. I'd not thought about that. My own energy replenishes over time faster than most, so I'd have been perfect as a Mage, except that I can't use any form of magic." The truth was far more disturbing and something he didn't want revealed. He'd gone along with the illusion spell, but he'd known what she was doing. Magic had zero effect on him, good or bad. It was one of the reasons he was unsure just what the abilities the Gamemaster was using were. "Okay, so we cannot go with that idea. Damn." Izona chuckled. "There is a way to go with that plan, if you want. I'll have to talk to you and Vesper privately though, it's not something that Everyone should know." Ryan shook his head, "No here's fine, those of us at the table I trust and since it's just us, and our lives, we can do it here." the Celestial sighed. "Very well. Using the blood of a powerful individual, Vesper can summon various chaos and shadow beasts. She can use those to harass the enemy flanks, just as you wish. Because your power regenerates, you can go with her, and enable her to keep summoning. The kick is if you're caught, it will be the end of any chance for peace. I can Teleport the two of you there, so you can harass them for the remainder of their journey here, and recall you on the last day, so you can both recover and prepare for the battle." Ryan looked to Vesper. "Could work, what do you think? I'd still need to go with Tori first and take out their airforce, otherwise they'll know what we're doing." Theo and Siluca looked on in confusion and fear. "You're talking about Chaos beasts...setting them loose..." Ryan looked to him. "Any mage with the darkness or chaos aptitude can do it, that's what I'd read in one of the books in the former duke's private library. You cannot have light alone, you must also have darkness to distinguish it. We're simply using all the options we have. Because she summoned them she controls them, same as any elemental that gets summoned."
  23. Vesper gave Izona a quizzical look, then shrugged. "You're going to have to be more specific. I've got more tricks now than I used to. But no, invisibility isn't my trick, it's Therion's. I can make people see things though." Another Vesper suddenly leaned in from behind Ryan and said in an ominous little whisper, "She's right, you know." When Ryan looked around to get a good look though, the 'other' Vesper was gone. The real one smirked. "The issue is that if I'm casting spells, and using my powers, I'm going to tire myself out really really fast."
  24. She had somehow missed the bit where the person it would be easiest, relatively speaking, to take out and defeat an army that outnumbered them at more than three to one odds was one of the person they absolutely couldn't kill. "Shit," Yuuki cursed uncharacteristically, resting both hands on the table, biting her lip, "Lord Theo, I'm going to need... Okay... Let's say 100 men to help plant seeds, a wagon or two, full of apples and however many supplies those men will need... Oh, horses. Maybe enough of those to get around faster..? And someone who knows who knows the land enough to show me where to dig to actually help. That's important. Kami, okay... What am I missing?" As she looked back up, forcing herself to shut up, her golden eyes flickered with a hundred unspoken thoughts. She didn't want stay behind again while her team ran off into the fray, however smart the plan was. How wonderful the time away learning magic under Master Izona was made the guilt harder. Vesper's role in particular sounded stupidly dangerous, and the concern the shrine maiden felt for her abrasive teammate showed in the way her frown deepened when looking at her.
  25. Theo shook his head. "We don't want to kill Princess Marina. Siluca learned that she's waging war to complete the crest, subjugating everyone under the Empire, so that Elias doesn't have to. She still loves him, though she'd deny it if pressed. We have to crush their morale, hopefully without killing too many, or losing our own soldiers." Ryan, abit exasperated, sighed. "Theo, man, you don't ask for anything easy..." Ryan looked at the map. "Tori and I will handle the Dragons. Swordancer mode will be more than enough I think, if I put some real power to it, and Tori's okay with letting me try that again. If we can make them focus on a land battle, that will limit their options. So we'll head out soon, and do that. While we do, Yuuki, you set your traps, and prepare. Vesper, if you can turn invisible right? We can drop you near the edge of their formation, and you can send Therion to pick off their sentries. Doing that will keep them off balance, it's a nasty unconventional war tactic, but nothing saps morale like an enemy they can't fight back against. How does that sound?" Izona smiled, and looked to Vesper, "oh she can do far more than that, something that will really get their attention, still there's a risk. If she gets caught, it could well backfire on us."
  26. "If we get close enough, I can send Therion after him," Vesper muses. "If they can't use magic to see him coming it doesn't really matter if we lure him out. Might even be better if he feels safe. Sends his guards out to help fight. Then? Bam. The reaper comes knocking, and he has a big fucking...curvy sword on a stick."
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