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Deep within a lab in Iceland, a new virtual reality project has been launched. The participants, however, were kidnapped. Welcome to the world of Project Aubade.
 
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PostSubject: Further [open]   Wed May 10, 2017 3:55 pm

Wolfgang looked beyond the courtyard.

He had begun to go there most afternoon, using the jog up the stairs as an excuse to nap for the remainder of the daylight. The blonde boy, sure enough, reached the top of the stairs with his lungs anchored to the ground. Perhaps he would get in better shape, or boost his stamina, as Mackenzie had commented. Mackenzie. She was sour in his mind still, sticking to it like bubblegum under a desk. The boy moved forward through the trees, further than usual, trying to escape the thought of that girl pervading his mind. He pushed through the leaves, through the ornate bushes and the dandelions that dappled the grass beyond the path. And then he stopped. He saw beyond the courtyard.

Rocks seemed to form over the wooden barrier that separated the castle land from the rest of the world, and Wolfgang stood there, looking down at the smooth stone and back up. From afar, water coursed, quick but not furious in its sound. It itched at his brain, a new thought. He wanted to find the water, but his feet were stone as the hinterlands, and he just ended up staring for a while.

That was, until he felt the tickle of something crawling up his leg.

Alarmed, the boy jumped, brushing at the back of his leg with his foot. He saw a small body scurry into the overbrush, and he stepped back on the stone, letting it disappear, shivering at the thought of it crawling up his pant--

He froze.

He crossed the barrier.

Wolfgang looked down at the rock beneath his boots, raising his soles to see the shaded limestone. The barrier was in front of him, a wall that he crossed. He was the valiant knight that climbed into the city of Jericho! The rushing water still crashed, close enough that the boy could feel the foam, and he left the barrier behind, traveling on, further.

He made it to a dip in the rocks. The stone was more silver there, shiny with spray as a calm stream crashed underground, an unending loop of water starting from an uphill source, one that vanished into the shadows of the trees. The boy silently looked on, walking forward to the stream, and along with it, going along the way of the water. His heart leapt as his right foot slid down the side of the rock, his mind repeating his regret in bullet synapses. But he caught himself, his hands cupping the boulder. He breathed deeply. That two-foot slide looked really dangerous there.

Nevertheless, he didn't get up from his crouch, but rather took to sitting beside the stream, watching the water. This wasn't so bad. Maybe the outside world was cool after all...

He didn't notice, of course, the beady glint of an eye watching him from behind a tree, the bony hand that wrapped around the trunk.

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Thu May 11, 2017 1:10 pm

The pools were a new discovery to Olive. She had been aware of their existence for only a little period of time, and as her struggles to find the second level gate prooved to be in vain, the mage retreated to explore this new land of small, icy pools. The place was peaceful and pleasant to be at, so she began coming there often to get some relaxation.

She walked carefully, some of the stones tending to be sliperry and not wishing to endanger herself. She moved quietly and folllowed the course of the water as it slithered farther and farther. She stones bordering it were flat enough to step on, so it was a relatively easy journey. The girl walked down their range until they got thinner and thinner and there she was, squirming between trees and throwing quick glances towards the stream to assure herself she was on the right track. After a while she could sight light, so she sped up, but a shape lurking farther away unsettled her. Olive stopped, slipping behind a tree and holding her breath, knowing already what sulked a few feet away. The mage conjured her staff and took a quick glance from behind her cover. The Wicken seemed to be stalking something or.. someone. Cautious, the girl inched closer, but still out of sight, observing the scene.

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Fri May 12, 2017 11:57 pm

The soft rustling of branches and leaves broke the silence around Ansley as she walked, constantly taking steps upward or downward as she made her way across the uneven ground. She kept her advanced spellbook gently pressed against the side of her waist in one hand as she continued, pausing when she took notice of the sound of flowing water. Quickening her pace somewhat, she followed the sound for a few moments before she came upon a stream, which she began to follow for only a short period of time before she noticed the boy crouched beside it.

"Yoooo!"
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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Sat May 13, 2017 12:16 am

No, there were no spiders here, no wickens, no spiders riding wickens, no wickens riding giant spiders. Wolfgang bunched up his body, looking around and around. Oh god, there were leaves rustling! He knew he shouldn't have left the borders! The blonde boy hopped up, the whites of his eyes stretched forth, but he saw the girl, and his shoulders slackened. His regrets once again boomeranged away.

It only took a moment for them to come back.

From behind Ansley, a large figure appeared, its tattered clothing catching and tearing on the sticks. It was humanoid, a heavy, pointed face smooth in the shade of the trees. Wolfgang jumped back, his alarm coming back to him. "R-run!" The boy jumped back, only to slip on the boulder, the spray slicking the surface.

The figure was silent as it approached Ansley. It put a boney hand on her shoulder, the pinkie completely skeletal.

It opened its mouth but it was hidden under a mask, a bone mask, the creatures skin cracking as it breathed, a wad of phlegm trickling from below the massive obstruction of his face. It made a sound...

"Howdie!"

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Sun May 14, 2017 9:22 am

Olive watched the scene from the darkness, eying the Wicken and with fright as it stalked the careless player. The girl was surprised and outraged that he had not become aware of the presence of the creature by now, and was continuing to stare away towards the river. Another person joined him, a girl. From afar she looked like a mage, judging by the spellbook she kept pressed to her side as she skipped through the trees towards the boy. She called out to him, and Olive pressed her hands to her ears in pure surprise. The half-humanoid then advanced on the two and put its hand on the girl's shoulder.

Deciding she had been spying enough, the mage made her way quietly on the trail of the Wicken, up towards the opening and the side of the stream where the boy had stood. She could see frozen shock on his face, and Olive shook her head in pity. Now that she was close, she could see the two were both first-levelers, so that could possibly judge their lack of vigilance? She wasn't sure, an she didn't even know whether she wanted to help them out. Sure, there was going to be some free XP to grab from the kill, but as she prepared to swiftly blow her staff across the Wicken's head, she heard it talk. The voice was rusty but overall joyful, and she stared in mild confusion, sheathing her staff. Olive hadn't met any sort of creature to talk before, besides Ritcher, and that seemed to have had an effect on her general attitude towards those things. The girl exchanged looks with the other boy, which from close up looked like a lancer, and so confirmed his nametag.

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Mon May 15, 2017 11:06 am

Ansley froze where she stood for just a moment as she felt the bony hand on her shoulder, relaxing when the cheerful sound came from behind her. Ansley turned her head to look at the wicken, any expression of fright that may have been on her face replaced with a joyful smile. "Hiya!" She looked the wicken up and down. It definitely looked monstrous to at least some small degree, but it was greeting her as opposed to attacking her, so it couldn't be as hostile as it initially appeared. Even if it did scare that boy... Ansley looked back towards where the boy was sitting, seeing that he no longer was sitting, but rather tried to follow his own advice and failed at doing such. Grinning, Ansley called out towards him, hoping he hadn't hit his head and knocked himself out. "Hey, you okay dude?"
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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Mon May 15, 2017 1:51 pm

Hey, you okay dude?

The wicken's cheery disposition did not keep the boy from sustaining his terrified expression. He watched the thing remove its hand from Ansley's shoulder, taking her hand and putting it into his own, manually, starting the hand shake from both sides. It pulled her arm up and down slowly, the joints completely cracking, splinters breaking off in shards from his elbow.

"It's nice to meet such wonderful people, such unevoolved... specimen, you are welcome in my abode, my house, I have waited for this moment for all my thirty-two liiives." It spoke on the backs of deep wheezes, breathing methodically, its yellow, hollow eyes peeking through the holes of the mask like a skeletal mare, a demon's steed. Its voice was only marred with curiosity, however, though its slow tone was eerie for a reason the lancer could not put a finger on.

Wolfgang opened his UI, his finger tapping the screen, but he froze. He feared it was another wicken, but he saw it was instead a girl behind the creature, and he locked eyes with her, giving her a panicked glare, a what-the-fuck-is-this kind of expression.

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Sat May 20, 2017 9:48 am

Olive met the other boys gaze steadily, their glances alike, both questioning the weird behavior of the creature she otherwise knew as violent and lonesome. This one seemed glad to see them, as it had voice itself. The Wicken was examining the other mage girl and Olive watched with disgust as bony hands wound around the girl's arms. She looked back at Wolfgang, signaling him through the air with a simple gesture. She put her hands up to chest level and lowered them slowly. 'Calm down.' she tried to tell him through her movements. It they were hostile, there was no telling how the Wicken would react, and it could easily snap the naive Ansley in half if it felt like it.

She took in a deep breath. There was no smooth way to slide into that conversation, so she didn't move, hoping neither the Wicken nor Ansley would see her and react. Wolfgang was certainly aware of her position and wise enough to stay quiet about it.

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Sat May 20, 2017 6:06 pm

Ansley returned the handshake carefully, quickly taking notice of all the cracking and splintering from the Wicken's arm. She didn't want to accidentally snap it off or something. She couldn't help but find the creature's speech as eerie as the rest of it, but at least she didn't let her feelings show. For now, at least. "Thirty-two lives, huh? You must uh... be pretty old then." She couldn't find anything better to comment on, and she wasn't sure if just being silent would be good or bad. At least she'd probably be fine even if this thing got offended or something and turned aggressive. There was another person here, and she could probably just burn it if she really needed to. Of course, that wouldn't really be preferable...
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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Sat May 20, 2017 6:14 pm

"I am!" The wicken shouted, pushing his hand off her shoulder, a rapid shove. He continued to boom towards the prismatic sky, as if it could hear his bellows. "There are thirty two trees here, they are me! I am all of them! I am older than the first man, and will die after the last!" When he angled his face down, his eyes locked to Olive. Black, bloody eyes. His tree bark skin contorted, the skin along the outside of his mask.

"Howdie, little lady," He said, pointing a bony finger to her. The staff in his hand skated across the ground as he stepped forward. His back was arched, like a lion about to pounce on a gazelle. "You almost frightened me there. Come over, say hiiii."

Wolfgang swallowed. He didn't make much of Olive's hand gesture, and tapped the 'Weapons' portion of his UI. His heart fluttered, a drum placed under a fan's blades. 'Iron spear' was under his fingertip, but he didn't tap it. Maybe it would be better to run. The edge of the city was so close... but what about these girls?

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Sun May 21, 2017 3:33 pm

Olive yelped as the Wicken turned towards her but she was so frozen in surprise she did not attack. Shielding her face with her arm, she could only see as much of the Wicken's horrid figure, but it was enough to leave her legs limp and useless. She had never seen one from so close up, and being able to tell apart each splinter of it's wooden face and to fully stare into the deep, bloodshot orbs was something she had never wanted to do. For a few moments, her eyes locked with Wolfgang, and she could see his finger hovering over the UI. Cautiously, she nodded, hoping the creature arching over her hadn't sighted her signal towards the lancer.

"Uh, yeah, hi?" she muttered, trying to distract the thing from the other two while she hoped the boy was going to take out his weapon soon. This was no longer a delicate job which they could handle with running away. Fighting Ritcher had taught her one thing: Wickens and nature, much like the deep forest embracing her from behind, were best friends, and she was sure enough those thirty-two trees this one talked about were not some metaphor. This one, he wanted to look harmless, but driven by fear and instinct, the mage girl could only see as much as she allowed herself to: a horrile, deadly creature that wouldn't hesitate to wipe them out.

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Mon May 22, 2017 12:01 am

Ansley simply nodded in response to the Wicken's words, stopping when it turned to look at Olive. Nice to know that a third person was present as well. Hoping the Wicken would remain occupied, Ansley turned her head to look at Wolfgang, taking notice of his UI. Given the fear he showed towards the creature, she could only assume he was going for a weapon. While she wasn't certain she wanted to attack the Wicken, it definitely wouldn't hurt to be on guard. Luckily for her, her spellbook was still pressed to her side, ready to be used if she needed to start casting spells. Although, she was still very close to the Wicken, and given her class, that probably wouldn't end well if it decided to try to attack her. Realizing this, Ansley took a few steps back away from the Wicken, moving slowly to avoid making much noise. With her free hand, she pointed at her spellbook whilst looking back at Wolfgang again.
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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Tue May 23, 2017 1:37 pm

Wolfgang tapped the button. It seemed imperative. The wicken had begun to step closer to Olive, further and further, his feet dragging lines across the dirt. Something was the matter. The beast was not human, despite his attempts, the cheery disposition that seemed to melt off his hollow mask. The spear appeared in his hand, but in a moment, was so quick to clatter onto the floor. The wicken moved faster than it alluded to. It twisted its head towards the boy, too far for any human's capabilities, and backtracked with a flit. Before he could react, the monster's staff cracked against his jaw, and the boy fell with a thud.

"Rotten child!" the creature roared, bringing the staff down on the boy again, over and over on his face with hard whacks. Wolfgang put up his hands and shouted, yelled for it to stop. His mind was a whirl. Why did he leave? Why did he leave?

"This is me!" The wicken continued, his voice a shriek. "I see all! The trees told me of your deceit! You will die! You will die!"

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Tue May 23, 2017 2:35 pm

Olive's face contorted with even more fear and horror as the Wicken advanced on her more and more, and all she could do was pray the other two players would do anything, for she was almost frozen in fear. She saw the lancer summoning his weapon but that didn't seem to work as he intended and the spear clattered to the ground. She blinked many times in alarm as the creature spun away from her and blasted a terrible blow across the boy's face, bloodying his face. The girl covered her mouth, making eye contact with Ansley and exchanging horror vibes as the Wicken loomed over Wolfgang.

The mage knew that was irrational, but she ran at the wounded teen, avoiding the figure of his attacker in mild disgust and fear. She was scared, they were all scared, and as she covered his face with her back the blows began to whip her back rather than the boy's, making her shriek in pain. Cold tears spilled from her cheeks and rolled down on Wolfgang's face while their heads were bent close together under the cover of her cloak. 'Ansley... do something Ansley...' she begged in her mind. Her skin was bruised from the hits, and with a gasp of effort, Olive spun towards the Wicken and blocked its hits with her staff, struggling to hold against the power of the creature with her frail arms.

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PostSubject: Re: Further [open]   Wed May 24, 2017 6:50 pm

Suddenly Ansley found herself extremely grateful that her spellbook, an advanced one at that, was already in hand. As soon as she saw the Wicken begin to strike Wolfgang, slowly but surely bludgeoning the life out of him, she was quick to start moving away from the Wicken as quick as possible as she brought her spellbook up in front of her. Swinging the cover of the book open, the pages began to turn on their own, a bright orange light shining from the book as an orange sigil materialized just above its still turning pages. Holding the book on one palm, Ansley extended her free palm towards the Wicken for a moment before unleashing a fireball almost impossibly soon towards the monster. Good thing memorizing spells works... The fireball was not just a threat due to its sudden appearance; its was significantly larger than usual, amplified by the fact Ansley was using an advanced spellbook as opposed to the one she had on her initially.
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