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Messages - Katt Batten

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The Phalanx / Re:
« on: December 05, 2017, 03:19:26 PM »

Her pace was slow to the inn. She had already checked three places for the cat in manflesh. She figured him hunting which was really part of the reason she said she needed time. Huddled down in the oversized hoodie she made her way up the porch steps, pausing briefly to look through the window. The pause turned into her slumping down onto the porch swing with a sigh and her attention tore to the streets.

Pulling her pcui out from her pocket she checked the time before slowly pushing up off the swing. She probably could check a few more places before she headed home. Why did she feel like she was on nerves edge? Sighing he shoved the pcui back into her pocket and made her way down the stairs.

Back to the streets.

But really where to go that she hadn't already checked?

The open land that was the glen? It was a walk but she seemed to have plenty of time on her hands so why not?

In the shade of a tree near where the path entered the Glen, there was a pile of clothing. Just a pair of jeans and a hoodie, really. But they had the scent of a certain felinesque man on them. Of the owner of that clothing there was no sign, for the moment.

By the time she made it near the glen she felt tired. Way more tired than she had felt in the last few days. Whatever it was, for now, was pushed to the side. The night air was tinged with a scent that was fondly familiar and it was enough to set her steps in a hurry. It was when she found the pile of clothes that she slowed. A small tick of a smile curled her lips. He was hunting. Collecting the clothes she bound them up and if she knew she could get away with it? She would of hid and waited for his return, just to see his reaction of his clothes missing! But she knew better.

She probably could have gotten away with it, if she thre the clothes into the lake with a stone tied to them. Of course, that wouldn't stop him, he could always walk home without them. ONe of the advantages to having alternate forms. No one balked at a cat not wearing clothes. However, she didn't have very long, it looked like, for who should come prowling out of the shadows of the wood than one very large, tawny mountain lion, head up and alert as he caught a whiff of a familiar scent.

Oh more like her hiding for a sneak attack while hording his clothes. Huddling the clothes close she settled a cheek to the hoodie before slumping down under a tree. Even when she saw the feline prowling close. "Well there you are. The cold hasn't hindered your hunting too much has it?" Her expression softened for a moment though had a hint of an expression he had seen when they first met. Purdy kittah.

That was an expression of supreme smugness on his features, no doubt, that settled on his features at her question. Only a feline could look that pleased with himself. Without hesitation the big tawny cat walked right up to her and lowered his head to bump it against hers gently, a loud, rumbling purr emanating from deep in his throat.

She chuckled, the sound low and throaty. "Yeah. Come snow or shine, nothing is safe from that nose of yours, huh?" His clothes was lowered to her lap and when he came in for the head bump her arms went around his neck to hug him, her face buried against his fur. "I'm sorry, Clayton. Sorry if I made you feel as if I was sending you away."

The thick tail lashed from side to side behind him as he leaned into that hug, the rumbling purr unceasing, his head moving to rub against hers, taking a deep inhalation of her scent from her hair as he did so. He might've even licked her, if he didn't have rabbit breath, just to show he understood.

"I' honest. I needed the time for more than just that though." She remained leaning against him and she may of dipped her head a little. Him sniffing at her hair tickled. Not..that she would admit that. Give him the upper hand? Never! "I am worried for my brother, Clayton. Worried I won't get him back or that he won't be..him anymore. Or...just..stuff. It all is making me frustrated and I realized it when I snapped at you. I didn't want to do that to you." She exhaled and leaned back, her hands moving to rub along his cheeks and forehead. "But on a good note I have some news for you about that woman you saved."

He leaned into her caresses a moment, then dipped his head to snag his clothes in his teeth, and in a tawny flash he was out of sight behind a nearby tree. Not for long, though, and when he emerged he was pulling the hoodie over his head witha purring chuckle. "One of these days, you'll get used to the idea of not having to explain to me, love." He walked over on bare feet and moved to settle beside her. "The one with the butter knife?"

She waited patiently but the return of the cat in manflesh was looked upon fondly. It didn't last long and was replaced by a somewhat confused expression. "It seems only fair as I am ...wait..can you read my mind?" She waited until he was settled before leaning slowly until they were resting shoulder to shoulder. "Yeah, her. She didn't seem really interested in speaking with me but after we parted ways the other day I decided to go to the inn." For reasons she wouldn't admit to. "The woman was there, looking fine, drinking and carrying on conversation with people. She doesn't even really remember anything that had happened. Like barely anything at all."

He let out a throaty chuckle as he leaned back against her, one arm moving to wrap around her shoulders. "No, not as such...I can share your memories, but that is not quite the same thing." He blinked as she told him about the woman, looking at her with a rather incredulous expression. "Is that so? Hm. Personally, I think I would count that as among the experiences I would never forget."

"What disturbs me more is the fact she was back at the inn after such a short period. She should of been at least kept for a few hours after what she did but we can't hold a person against their will. Well I mean we could but..." She shrugged and tilted her eyes up to him. " asked me to marry you? Why...? And what did I say?" Sure she coud wait for her memories to return to her but it was more for just listening to his voice. She had missed him over the past few days more than she was willing to admit. It felt almost like it had been far longer but oddly as if she were use to him being gone long periods.

He smiled and nodded. "I did. At your brother's birthday party, no less. In front of all his guests. You turned an especially bright shade of red, as I recall, but you also said yes." He let out a purring chuckle. "I'd had it in mind to do it more privately, but your brother convinced me otherwise." He looked over at her with a smile, that one he wore only for her. "And I asked you because there is no other I want to spend the rest of my life with, of course. Granted, we don't have to be married to achieve that, but I happen to be something of a romantic that way. And I'll admit to a certain curiosity as to how lovely you would look in a wedding dress."

Her brother had been in on it huh. It was enough to cause a chuckle but it never bubbled forth, mostly due to his tease about her blushing. Or maybe it was that smile he was directing her way. She felt her cheeks go warm but she didn't look away. Instead she watched the way his lips curved. "Huh." Really she never thought someone like her to be engaged let alone married. She was seconds from making a teasing comment about him being a romantic but his quip about her in a wedding dress caused her face to go redder. "Did we ever set a date?"

It was his turn to flush in embarassment, no small amount of sheepishness creeping into his tone. "We hadn't gotten around to that yet...things have been rather busy since then." He looked at her, rather closely this time. "How is your head, by the way? I know the experience can be...disorienting. I've been through it myself."

"The pain has subsided for the most part. I can actually sleep at night now without it feeling like my head is swimming. Bits and pieces of those four years have surfaced as well but they seem to be a little slower." Her head tipped and she smiled up to him. "Thank you for being patient with me." There was a small pause and she lowered her eyes, "You were worried I was going to return to Leo, weren't you?"

He was actually taken aback, shock in his features for a moment at the question before he let out a sudden low chuckle and shook his head. "Kathryn, you surprise me." He reached up under her chin to nudge it upwards just a touch, bringing her eyes back to his. "You seem to forget, my love, that I've had a part of you living in my head since the day I helped them remove that parasitic worm that was inhabiting you." He reached up to her neck, fingers finding the chain there and sliding under it to gently guide it to his palm, the crimson jewel and the ring with resting there beneath both of their gazes. "I know you gave your heart to me, Kathryn. That's why I gave mine to you." As he says the last sentence, the heartstone glimmers, a throbbing red light like a heartbeat for a moment, and then gone again.

Her chin rose and her eyes found him. Surprised him? Still his words caused her expression to soften again and she tilted her gaze to the stone he rose to her attention. Was the ring with it also something he gave to her? She didn't ask for now. Instead she raised her hand to gently touch his, that was holding the heartstone. "I was worried. The look on your face when I told you I needed time, specially after just seeing Leo." She gently squeezed at the side of his hand. "I met him the other day at the inn. I told him that I still care about him. And I do. But I love you, Clayton. You do have my heart and tonight, when you are ready, we will head home. Together."

He remembered. And thought he had kept it hidden better than that, though it had far less to do with Leo than with other matters. His being away so much, for one. There was a lot of ground to cover with a four year gap in her memory that hadn't quite caught up to the rest of her brain that he'd more or less jump-started. The last word to pass her lips drew a catlike grin from him, his tone taking on a playful note. "Together? You mean you won't go slip through the shadows to beat me home?"

That grin! A single noted chuckle sprung from her lips almost instantly. "I was thinking more like riding you." Wait..that didn't ...sound right. "On your back." she added. Still not right. "You know? Like a piggy back ride?" The hand against his moved to swat him even before he started to laugh cause she knew it was coming. "But if you rather me disappear in the shadows and end up who knows where and leaving you with your lonesome at home."

The grin had widened on the first suggestion. On the second, even more so. He was enjoying her discomfiture, all right, evidenced by the purring chuckle in his throat that became a full on burst of laughter as she swatted at him. He didn't give her a chance to make good on that threat, however, simply moved with sudden, fluid feline grace to scoop her up in his arms and stand, all in a single, easy, lithe motion. "Not on your life, Katt-nip."

She made a small sound when he scooped her up and both arms went shooting around his neck, mostly to steady herself. "Easy now." She didn't want to admit to him that she was Drained even. "I think the lack of food and sleep is getting to me." She chuckled and she leaned to softly kiss his jawline. Katt-nip. Anyone else and she'd give a dirty look. That was his and his alone. "Clayton? I do love you."

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: December 05, 2017, 03:03:10 PM »

He'd left his guard outside in the cold, a single tall figure wrapped in a steel-grey furred cloak trimmed in scarlet and gold, the hood pulled up to leave the features obscured from view, standing sentinel just outside the door, still and silent as a statue. He sat at the bar, perched on a stool, a bottle of Jack Daniel's close at hand, a glass half-full of the smoky amber liquid even closer. In his hands he held a clear tablet with glowing streams of data flowing across it, and it was on this that his attention was focused.

The sounds of the dragon shifting caught his ear, even as focused as he was, and he tilted his head a touch to regard the dragon from his seat with a warm smile and a nod. "Icer. It's been a while."

Hoodies and jeans. She didn't really venture out of her normal range of wear. Something that was missing was those old tattered shoes, however. It seemed they had finally met their doom and since she had yet to return home...well..she was roaming barefoot. Even still those steps were silent as she was carried across the porch and she shouldered her way into the inn.

That was something of an understatement, he knew. The last time he'd seen her, he'd been pulling her out of a hole in the earth. He was just about to say something about this when the door opened and he glanced that way. His eyes lingered on her for a moment, then went towards the door behind her, as though waiting to see something else. His eyebrows ticked upwards a moment when nothing happened. A finger tapped the edge of the tablet in his hand and it blanked. Setting it aside, he reached for his drink to take a swallow, glancing up as something makes an impact on the roof.

She wasn't expecting to see Leo there and she, unnaturally, staggered a step but at least managed to heel the door closed in a fluid motion. The sound on the roof caused her eyes to drift up as she made her way to the bar, her hands sliding in her hood. A distraction, yes, but she also lowered her head with a sigh. Once at the bar she forced herself to look up and over to Leo.

He kept his eyes up there a moment longer. Some stray memory, maybe, or some other instinct has him alert. Finally, though, he lowers his gaze and looks over at Katt, turning to face her. "Well, you certainly have changed."

A polite nod was offered to Icer and the woman who came in through the alley door. She was on the fence between sitting and standing so she took middle ground by leaning a hip against one of the seats. Granted, most of her attention was on the dark-eyed man as she tried to figure out what it was she wanted to say. Years - that is how long it had been that she had last seen him. Years, that left her heart in disarray. Hell the last time she saw her still haunted her. So what does one say after so long? Nevermind the eerie deja vu that was looming in the back of her head. "As have you." The words finally found voice.

He nodded. It was true, after all. Some things were inevitable, over the span of years. "Yeah, that can happen, I'm geven to understand." He glanced up again, just for an instant, then back down at Katt. "And how have you been? I heard you've had some...interesting times since I've been away."

The way he slipped into conversation felt like years had been shorter than they were but she had to remind herself... Before he disappeared his memories of her were limited to being his boss' sister. A small sound echoed in her throat as she glanced to the bottles in the Batten stash. "I honestly don't know. I am still recovering from something apparently and quite honestly I," her voice lowered, obviously meant only for Leo's ears, "I do not have any memories of the past four years. A side-effect of some sort."
 Raising a hand she tapped her left temple before sighing. "I will admit though...Seeing a great relief. Welcome back...Leo."

Her eyes tilted to the pair entering and for a brief moment her eyes softened. "Hey..Leo? Mind if we go for a walk? Or go sit on the porch?" There wasn't many people but gods she felt like she was suffocating. "Or another time. That is fine too." She clenched her hands in the hoodie's pocket and after a brief, polite bow of her head to the couple, she started her way to the door. Fresh air was needed.

He looked after Katt as she started for the door, considering. He'd known about what she just said already - he was surprised to find he still had all of his access into Batten's network - and he was uncertain what was on her mind. She certainly didn't seem like the same Katt he'd known when he left. After a moment, he lifted his glass to drain it before setting it aside, tucking his tablet into a pocket, and starting after her.

Hell, she wasn't sure what she had on her mind and it was her mind! Sidestepping, she nodded a greeting to Miyu before catching the door and slipping out onto the porch. She didn't even look back to see if she was being followed. All she wanted was that cool night air and once outside, she made her way to the railing and slipped her hands from her hoodie's pockets to scratch at her scalp. How utterly frustrating it was being so jumbled.

He stepped out on the porch behind her, letting the door close behind him. The statue in the grey fur cloak stirred as he stepped into view, stilling again as he lifted a hand and spoke a single word - "Aspertre" - without so much as a glance given.

The movement was noted from between her hands but it was the voice that caused her fingers to stop their clawing and instead groom down the dark hair before both hands lowered to her sides. "You last memory of you was when you left with Janie. You were so angry and I swore for the longest I thought it was at me." She chuckled quietly, her hands resting at her sides. "For years I worried about you, hoping against all odds you were okay and you would come home. Even if..even though you didn't really remember me." Did he remember? Did he ever get his own memories back? She never did ask. "I will admit...I have never lived down the guilt but I am truly glad you are well.." As she spoke she kept herself posed in away that she wasn't looking directly at the man. She may or may not of been studying the cloaked being at the steps.

He let out a rueful little chuckle, taking up his own lean against the porch railing. "You know, I barely remember that at all." Of course, he had another four years worth of memories to separate him from then. And what memories they were, too. He'd been consumed with a lot of other things in the meantime. He followed her gaze, glancing over at the cloaked figure, and looked back at Katt again. "My personal guard. It comes with the job."

"I have a better memory than most," she mumbled and normally that was true. If you did not count the four years missing currently. Slowly she nodded, showing her understanding to his statement and while she had a ton of questions, she did what she did best. She stuffed them, along with the rainbow of emotions, down deep to dealt with later - when she was alone. Forcing her posture into norm, she tipped her head a bit though still didn't look to Leo. "You could of taken the time to tell us you were okay, you know." Her eyes dipped before she turned a little more and finally looked at the dark-eyed man full on. It was still hard but she was working on it. "Are you going to stay in Rhydin or you just visiting? Or here to speak to my brother?"

Another person and another bob of her head in greeting even as the man breezed his way inside to the warmth of the inn. Her hands found her pockets and she turned her eyes to Leo again, awaiting his answer. The air was barely helping and at the same time not helping at all. His scent was much easier to pick out now without the smells within clouding it.

He sighed, shaking his head. "Yeah, well...things weren't quite that easy." He paused, wondering just where he could begin. It was a lot of ground to cover. "It's a long story, Katt. I'm sure you heard some of it, at some just don't remember it now." He didn't turn away from her gaze, seeming much more at ease than she was. "Honestly, I came to talk to Ed about something. I can't stay here...I have...responsibilities." He waved over his shoulder at the guard. "Like I said...comes with the job."

She made a face, even if briefly, over Ben's..flamboyant entrance but once Leo's voice found her ears, her eyes returned fully to him. Right. Responsibilities. She was going to have to see if she started some diary or if Diana had things to fill in the blanks for her. This four year memory lack was annoying. She didn't dare ask what he wanted to talk to her brother about, pretty sure it was none of her business anyways. "Well until we get him back, you may have to stick around or help assist us on getting him back." She didn't need to say much on that end, did she? Reaching up she began to tug on her hood, drawing it over her hair and shadowing it over her face.

He smirked and nodded again. "Yeah, kinda figured that. Not gonna be easy, seeing who has him." He shook his head, looking out into the night again, dark eyes searching this way and that. "So where's Clayton? I rather thought he would be accompanying you, with you recovering and all. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would let you go unescorted."

A brow arched up a little. Would let her go unescorted. "That is an odd statement," Her expression evened out and she looked forward into the night. "I told him I needed to alone for a little while. I am trying to sort out my head and I found myself snapping at him for things I do not remember. I felt ...bad...and conflicted. I don't want to...hurt him."

A polite bow of her head followed Penny though if any expression was with it, that was concealed in the shadows of her hood. It was his turn to arch his eyebrows. "Conflicted? About what?"

"Everything. I mean..I did have pretty much all my memories shoved by in my head, you know?" Her shoulders turned inward as she lowered her eyes. "And you. I mean after all these years you just popped up out of the blue. As Clayton was quite a shock and I am dealing with ...that."

He frowned at that, and this time he did turn away, shaking his head. "So you sent away the guy that loves you, that is probably the one that knows you best, away?" He smirked as he pushed off from his lean. "From what I understand, he gave up everything of his past and turned away from his very nature for you. That's not the kind of person I'd be pushing off to the side."

"I didn't send him away, Leo. I need time to sort my head out. I am not dumping him nor am I throwing myself at you for old times sake. I won't deny that I still care for you," her head tilted and her eyes tipped up to look at Leo, "But I love him." She turned fully to the dark-eyed man. "It is the guilt I have held onto for so many years. I am the reason you lost your memory. You did it to protect me and I lost you for it. So the last memory of you, before you up and disappeared, was of you glaring at me as you left with Janie." Granted that part had been cleared up by her brother. At least to a degree. "All these memories come attached with strong feelings and they come crashing down. I just needed a little me time to deal with it. A lot of walking and trying to deal." she grunted quietly. She didn't like how he made it sound like she dismissed Clayton.

He held up his hands in a peacemaking gesture, smiling. "I wasn't saying any of that...just that if I were you, I wouldn't want to be left alone. I know how rough that can be, in your position. But just so you know, my losing my memory wasn't your fault in any way. I was younger, dumber, and made the mistake of underestimating my opponent. Maybe I was protecting you, but it was my own fault that happened. It wouldn't have, if I knew then what I do now."

"I don't plan on it for a long time. Just enough to where my head doesn't feel like it is exploding and it gives him time to take care of himself. I know he has been watching over me for a few weeks now. He needs to hunt and replenish his energy. He knows I know where to find him." She tilted her head a bit. "I am unsure I agree with that statement. I don't find it a question of being dumb or young. If that were the case...well...think of my brother. He is neither of those." Eerrrrrr! Did she just all her brother old?! Maybe. A small gesture was made to the steps. "How...about you join me for something to eat and we can catch up. You can tell me why the great Spartan needs a ..guard.." Like he really needed one. Pff...

He laughed at that, shaking his head. "Please. Your brother is the dumbest smart person I've ever met." He stepped back from the railing, gesturing to the steps himself. "Lead on, Miss Batten."

Her mouth opened then slowly closed. Considering what she thought her brother was currently doing? She really couldn't argue with Leo's statement. Slowly she started down the steps though gave the guard..person..cloak..a glance over. "I'm curious why you think he is the dumbest." This back to Leo as she started to walk.

He arched an eyebrow as he followed her down the steps. It wasn't until they were several paces beyond them that the cloaked figure moved from its place to follow, keeping a respectable - and respectful, it seemed - distance. "We can start with Renna, of course. Not to mention all the crazy experiments he tried out on himself..."

Anddddd Leo managed to hit the points that were right up there. "Yeah. I really hope that what I am thinking ...he is not doing over there. I really, really hope." She seemed to wait, the figure stared at for some reason before she turned and started to walk across the yard.

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: December 05, 2017, 02:51:29 PM »
.: Chapter Thirty-One: Broken :.

She didn't know how long she had ran but ran it was long enough that breathing felt like fire in her lungs.

When she entered the inn she wasn't expecting to see Renna there let alone ...him...


It had been years now since she had laid eyes on him and the moment his voice reached her ears memories, thoughts, and emotions flooded her already struggling mind.

She couldn't even look at him let alone speak to him.

Was it the guilt?

Was it the pain in her heart?

She was happy to see him, of course, but there was just so much going on that she couldn't handle it.

So she ran.

It was the first time she could remember running from a situation where a person was in danger. And while she did speed away from the scene of Renna mind-controlling some woman to hurt herself, it didn't mean she left without doing something! She made sure the Batten medical team was on their way to assist.

She had left the inn at a slow pace but once out of sight? She took into a full sprint down the street, running until her lungs were on fire and her legs refused to go any further. She found herself on the arch of a small bridge that crossed over the streets and river, her body sinking until she was sitting at the very edge but not enough to actually look in the water.

That was where he found her, though he approached at a walk, his bare feet silent upon the street as he approached. He'd followed her scent once he'd made certain the girl was all right and the EMTs had spirited her away. ow, though, he came on silently, coming to a halt and finally settling into a lean against the railing of the bridge, silently appraising her.

She didn't need to look up to know he was there. She smelled him. Much like he knew her scent, she could taste his on the night air. It was near impossible to steel herself at that point so she didn't even bother to try. Instead she just looked at the water with a pained expression her face - a mixture of grief and relief. While there was no tears, the pain in her chest was crippling. She didn't say anything to him but rather kept her silence for a long span of time. Eventually she mumbled, "The girl will be alright?" When had she ever stepped down or ran from the likes of Renna? When someone's life was in danger?

He nodded, his green-gold eyes fixed on her, concern on his features. For her, not the girl he'd saved. "I am not at all certain she will be all right...such a thing will likely leave her traumatized. But she will survive." He reached out, one hand touching her arm, her shoulder, gentle, but not insistent. "What about you?"

"Renna obviously had her under control but I knew between you and -" her words stopped when she felt his touch and she started to shy away but managed, instead, to brace herself. "I knew she was in capable hands," she mumbled. "I am shamed I left in such a way but I couldn't stay. I..." Her shoulders visibly slumped. "Sorry.

He saw the brief hesitation, but didn't withdraw his touch, though he could feel the tension in her muscles. He was tempted to pull her into his embrace, but with her mind still recovering, he didn't want to push her. As for those capable hands, he kept his counsel to himself. Part of him was still outraged by the callousness of the man, to brush aside such a thing so lightly. He could guess the cause of her distress, however. "Seeing him was a shock."

Calling someones bluff could be dangerous - she knew this best. After all Race did it and shot her because of it just to get to the baddie. Her actions and words had been more risky, in her view. Still... Raising a hand she gently pressed her fingertips to her forehead, a small nod given. "Y-Yeah. I .." She didn't know what to feel and that is what scared her most. For all she knew Leo had still been lost out in the great unknown. Yet there he was... And she couldn't get the image of him out of head or his voice out of her ears.

This was a new situation for him, and he was admittedly unsure of what to say or do about it. He knew only that it distressed him to see her in such turmoil. It was all he could do to resist drawing her into the circle of his arms, as he would be wont to do if circumstances were otherwise. If she still had her memory, whole and intact. He leaned sloser, though, brushing her shoulder with his own. "If you need time, love..." He would give it to her, if she asked.

If he left her alone she knew she'd probably drink herself under a table, which was hard enough to do without hurting the bank. Still, she couldn't help but feel guilty even with him. She wasn't suppose to feel this way, right? Her hand flattened against her face even as he brushed his shoudler to her own. Instincitively she started to lean but stopped, her hand lowering suddenly. "He..knew you."

He nodded, not moving away, nor closer, sighing softly. "Yes. We've spoken a few times, at your brother's request. Edward is incapable of going to the part of the planet in which Leo's...kingdom is." He wasn't sure if that was the right word, kingdom, but it was the only one he could think of. "It has been some time, however."

Her face twisted and she looked to him sourly. "You knew where he was. You both knew! Why..Why didn't you tell me?" It didn't occur to her that these could be memories she forgot. In the moment, she felt a bit of anger through the ache and pain. Kingdom? She shook her head and looked away, scowling at the water. She wanted her brother back. Stupid Renna. Then again he was probably over there having himself a grand old time and she was just worrying for no reason.

As though he were reading her mind, he spoke, his voice soft, gentle. "You knew, before the amnesia wiped it from your memory. Your brother told you about it, in fact. It was after I asked you to marry me." His voice softened a touch more, though it was hard to determine what the emotional tone of it was, though there was no recrimination in it. "You seemed to be content with the knowledge that he was alive and well, at the time."

Oh how quickly her eyes returned to him but he was given a look as if he had grown a second head that was shooting cat calls her way. "You...asked me to marry you?" The way it was asked was as if she were expecting him to saying he had been joking, in which case it was a joke she didn't quite grasp. Slowly she shook her head. part of her knew.. But even still..knowing and seeing him was different. "Sorry. I..I shouldn't of..jumped down your throat like that. Maybe I should be left be for a while." If only for his safety.

He smiled, a brief, purring chuckle emanating from his throat for a moment. "Indeed I did, Kathryn. In front of many witnesses, in fact. I'll have to tell you the story, sometime." He turned to regard her a moment, the shift in position taking him out of contact with her, his expression understanding but otherwise unreadable. When he spoke, his voice was soft, that same gentle purr. No one would ever know how hard it was to keep the sadness out of his voice. "If...that is what you wish."

In front of many witnesses. Why? Why would he ask her, of all people, to marry him? A swirl of questions joined in the mess that was already her head and she closed her eyes. "I'm sorry." She knew it was an unfair request. She was being unfair and cruel. "I just need a little time. I..probably should eventually meet and talk with him. But I just..need time to get my head on straight. I find my brother..." Her eyes slowly opened. "Even though...he probably doesn't need me to find him."

Even with nearly three centuries of experience, he was hard-pressed to keep his own turmoil from showing on his face or in his voice. He managed it, though, just. The last thing he wanted, ever was to cause her any unnecessary hurt. She had enough to deal with. "I understand, Kathryn." He paused, then reached out, his fingers tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear before he turned away, towards hme, speaking over his shoulder. "If you need me, I will be at home." Bare feet made no sound as he started along the path towards home.

The touch to her hair startled her enough that she felt as if he had touched her very nerves and as he walked away she looked after him. He didn't need to tell her or do anything to make her feel hurt. She already felt it though it was more out of guilt than anything. Clasping her hands between her knees she mumbled, "Sorry." She had said that word a lot lately.

His voice floated back to her from the shadows he was even now fading into, just a hint of teasing warmth in it. "You have never needed that word with me, my dearest. Nor shall you ever."

The Phalanx / Re: In Extremis v2
« on: November 26, 2017, 05:27:47 AM »
[size=9]11/13/2017, Mid-Day

She woke with a low groan. Her throat, her body, her head - it all ached. As she pushed to sit up the first thing she noticed that she was in her bed. It was familiar, as was her surroundings. Whatever Clayton had done apparently worked but not without having its toll. The way the bed sheets and blankets were tossed suggested that she had fitted in her sleep. Clayton didn?t seem to be in sight but she had a feeling that it was because she either kicked him out of bed or he was in the midst of doing something at the moment.

?Diana?? she managed to get the word out but her throat felt on fire with just one word.

?Yes, Miss Batten?? the rich, sensual voice of the A.I. replied.

Reaching for the bottle of water on the bedstand, Katt took her time in opening the bottle and draining all the bottle had in it. Despite drinking it all, she still felt like she had swallowed sand. It was going to take time for the feeling to go away, ?I am going to need any and all information about what happened to my brother sent to my PCUI. Reports, findings, etc.?

?Yes, Miss Batten.?

Her feet swiped at the side of the bed until her toes caught the edge of the slippers - cute fuzzy lion slippers no less. She wiggled her feet into them and slowly stood. Leaving the room and wandering through the house. If Clayton had stayed by her side for as long as he had said then he was no doubt hunting for some much needed food.

She did put that man through so much stuff (that she could remember) and he was still there, much to her surprise. There was very few people in her life that she could say that about. She was lucky to have those people in her life but what disturbed her was the ones she may not of remembered. Things that were lost. Would she be able to regain those memories one day or was she stuck with this massive gap?

?You are awake.?

Clayton?s purring voice caught her ears, nearly startling her out of her flesh. Just when she figured she was alone he popped up out of nowhere. Or it seemed? Rather he was just coming from the kitchen. Between his hands she saw a tray, it looked like he had been busy preparing her a meal rather than going out and feeding himself. Turning fully to him she stepped forward, taking the tray from him. ?Go hunt, Clayton.?

She could tell he was surprised by her sudden request but she had a feeling it was more that she was telling him to leave her side. ?Don?t worry. I?ll eat...But you need to, too.?

He started to argue but knew better. Instead he purred out a chuckle and leaned forward to kiss her brow.

?I may not be here when you return,? she announced while he was in the middle of the act of affection. ?I am going to go to the tower and see what I can do about finding my brother. If...he even wants to be found.? Quite frankly she wasn?t sure he wanted to be. She knew he and Renna had some sort of past and since she had no idea what was ever in his head..he could very well still be drawn to Renna?.as much as that thought made her skin crawl. She?d like to hope that the mad woman turned him off, not on.

?I understand. I will find you later, then.?

Her eyes turned up to the cat in manflesh as her thoughts were tugged back to the present. She watched as he pulled away and started for the door. ?Clayton?? As he paused and looked her way, a small smile tugging her lips, ?Thank you. For everything you?ve done for me.?

He returned the smile before stepping out, his voice echoing back to her ears, ?You don?t need to thank me, Kathryn.?

When the door closed she stood there for a few moments before moving to the kitchen to partake of the food that Clayton had so graciously fixed for her. The entire time, however, she was trying to make sense of the mess that was her memories. Clayton had managed to return to her a majority of them but her brain was still having trouble shuffling them into place and storing them as it should or maybe it was just that it took time to settle.

She didn?t have time?

As she washed the dishes and cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, she decided on returning to her original course of action. ?Diana. Warn Kyle I am on my way to the tower. He best be ready.?

?I will let Mister Pontius know you are on your way.?

?Thanks, Diana,? she was already on her way out the door, determination carrying her swiftly to the tower.

The Phalanx / Re: In Extremis v2
« on: November 12, 2017, 11:54:12 PM »
[size=9]11/12/2017, late evening
Batten Tower, Sublevel 7, Vault D

He entered the vault, as he had every day for the last week or so. He'd honestly lost track, but that in itself wasn't unusual. When you've been alive for over three centuries, time starts to lose it meaning somewhat. Clad as always in nothing more than jeans and a t-shirt, he walked over to the table that his beloved was laid out on in her cocoon. As before, he saw no change, but that didn't keep him from holding out hope. He took a moment to caress the smoothly faceted surface of the chrysalis before moving to take a seat nearby, to wait. And watch.

The awareness was something that was developing more strongly as days and weeks went by. Today was the day that she felt the warmth more vivid than normal. Enough that she actually stirred from whatever deep sleep that had kept her. As she awoke the chrysalis began to simply break away. There was no sound or even hint it was going to happen. It just began to break down and shatter into fine dust as she moved to sit up. One hand went up to her forehead as she blinked her eyes open. Oh how painful the light was to her aching eyes. Nevermind the humming in her brain or the ache in her body just attempting to sit up.

He was halfway into the act of sitting when the cocoon she was encased in simply...disintegrated. He froze in place as he watched, uncertain of what he was seeing. His people were not prone to hallucinations or the like, of course, but as hunters they had been taught not to rely on their eyes in any case. For a long time he simply remained in that position, caught between sitting and standing, staring. Finally he found his voice, enough to say her name. "K...Kathryn...?"

Her dark hair spilled forward over her shoulder as she hunched forward, the fine threads looking more like black spun glass or crystal. A luster that was all of its own and created a shine of silver wave until it settled. She was rubbing at her eyes when a voice caught her attention and her eyes slid over to the direction it came from. Sharp greens looked between her fingers, which much like her arms, legs, and sides of her face had very raised, black veins. She just stared at the figure that  was just out the edge of her vision's range - at least for now. "Who...are you?"

He blinked at the question. He'd been expecting something more along the lines of where she was, or what had happened while she was asleep. Asking who he was, though... "I'm Clayton...your fiancee..." It was the first thing that came to his mind. Maybe she was just disoriented. Surely it couldn't be memory loss.

She stared at him until he came into focus before looking away. Inching her way to the edge of the bed she swung her legs over and once her feet touched ground she pushed off. Her legs felt unsteady but she would cling onto the table until she was steady. " called me...Kathryn?" These names didn't register to her mind at all. " I?" Even as she asked she was looking around, eventually spotting what looked like the exit.

Damnit. He had hoped that she was just a little loopy from her "nap." He stood from his pose, slowly, watching her carefully. "Yes. Kathryn. That's your name." He could see her looking around, assessing her surroundings, locating the sole exit. Even if he wanted to, there was no way for him to interpose himself between her and the partially open vault door fast enough. "You are in the lowest sub-basement of your brother's corporate facility. You have just awoken from a coma that you have been in for nearly a month."

There was no body movement that suggested she was going to run but her eyes spoke a different story. These names he was pulling up didn't sound familiar but then again she had no clue what her name was. She did seem to pause and look his way when he mentioned a family member. A brother. "And why should I believe you? You do not register as familiar in the least." The look she gave him was heavy and indifferent.

The indifference in her gaze was to be expected. That didn't make the ache that knifed through his chest at the sight of it any easier to bear, however. He swallowed, looking away a moment, trying to recover himself. His voice was softer as he spoke this time. "It's because you are suffering from amnesia, Kathryn. If you would like, I can show you I am telling the truth, but I cannot make you believe it regardless. That, I fear, is up to you."

His reaction gave her pause. He seemed...rattled and she didn't understand why that bothered her. He was nothing to her and yet, by his words, he was much more. "Amnesia..." She seemed to be giving it some thought, "You spoke of a sibling. Why isn't he here? And just exactly how do you plan on showing me 'the truth'?"

He managed to look at her again, though there was much more emotion in his gaze than in hers. "Amnesia victims tend to benefit from familiar surroundings, I am told. Familiar places and sights and smells." He gestured to the room around them, sterile and angular and metallic. "This place has no familiarity for you. I would need to take you...home." He sighed as he paused. "As for your brother...he has been kidnapped. By the same person that you. I do not know where he is yet."

She glanced around their surroundings before slowly turning her eyes back to him. Wouldn't he be a familiar sight and smell? She considered and after a moment slowly nodded. "Alright then." She agreed to him taking her elsewhere. Maybe he was right and something would trigger her memories. That was all taking in and just as quickly as she started to move, she stopped. "Kidnapped." Slowly her lips curled a frown. "Why would this person do this? Why do..whatever it is they did to me and take him? Where was he taken from if he was not here with you?" She wasn't calling him a liar or nothing but there were holes in the story she was looking to fill.

He had already started towards the door to the vault as she did, but her questions brought him up short. It was, after all, a very good question. "To be completely honest, I am not sure I understand the 'why' of any of this. Her name is Renna, and she is known to you...or she was, before she afflicted you with the virus for which your brother was treating you. She and your brother have a...history. But I do not know why she took him. He wasn't here, though, because I was the one watching over  you at the time he was kidnapped. He has many responsibilities to see to that require his personal attention...much as he wanted to be, he could not be here every moment."

She listened just as intensely as she was watching him - seeking any sort of tell that would give him away as a liar. Her head drew back a bit. A virus is what did this to her? "A history? What sort of history would have a woman infecting one sibling and stealing the other?" A slow shake of her head was given in clear view that she had no idea what was going on. Nothing rang a bell. Renna was just another name at this point. The information was stowed for now and she gestured for him to lead the way. Home, apparently.

He started for the door at her gesture, speaking as he went. "It is a rather...complicated story, to be sure. And even knowing it, I am still unsure of the motivation. Renna is not what one might call...predictable." He reached to door and pushed it open, gesturing for her to follow, but as he did so he paused, looking back at her. "You know...there may be another way to restore your memories. At least...part of them."

Movement was not an easy thing for her but she did her best not to show this. However, where normally fluid movement was before now was rigid and sluggish. Muscles that had not been worked and moved were getting back into the swing of things and her mind was still fighting away a heavy feeling. When he stopped she didn't realize until she nearly bumped into him, stopping inches from doing so. Close enough now to take in his scent she found she didn't even have to try. It was like his scent  reached out to try and wrap her. Of course that was her imagination and heightened senses. "Hm? And how do you propose that?"

He paused a moment, considering. It was something that could work with others of his kind, but he wasn't certain it would work with her. And there were other considerations, as well. Still, he'd mentioned it, he could at least tell her what he was thinking. "At one point, perhaps four years ago now, you had another sort of crisis. When it happened, I joined with you to assist in your healing. At that point, a copy of your memories was imprinted into my cells. There may be a way to give you Those memories back, in the same manner." He looked her over, considering. "But that would leave you without four years worth of memories. The chances of regaining all of them are greater if it were to occur naturally."

Imprinted on his cells? Just what was he? "And how do I know these memories wouldn't be fabrications?" The distrust still remained but it was clear she did trust him to a degree. How far that went was still in question. "This woman, Renna you called her? Do I know her prior to those four years? If so I think it may be worth the risk if my brother figure is in danger with her." She sounded, at least, like she was considering the idea and the reason behind it was less of her own reason and rather  that of someone's safety.

For just a moment, she sounded so much like his Kathryn that his hand was in motion before he could stop it, a smile he only wore for her on his lips as his hand came up to touch her cheek. Almost. He stopped himself before he made contact, his hand hanging in the air for a moment before he lowered it with a touch of sadness. She was not his Kathryn. Not at the moment. "They are your memories, Kathryn. I would hope you would know them once you have them back." Her second question took a little  "I believe you do know her, yes. But you know her better through the years that you would be missing if I were to simply give you your memories back as they are stored within me."

Her head tilted faintly when she saw his hand raise and direct to her. She wasn't sure what she expected but the way he looked at her...That smile and the way it drew sad as he lowered his hand. Either he was a great actor or his words were true. They shared something. "So I am stuck with the decision on waiting to see if they come back naturally or do what you are suggesting. Both have their merits and issues. What if my memories never do return naturally, for example. I suppose in that case I could leave to finding my brother's location up to you..." Her eyes lowered down to his hand while she hummed thoughtfully. "I think...we will test your theory and work from there. At least if it works I will be somewhat prepared to face whatever is past that door, no?"

He hesitated for a moment, considering. The last time they'd joined this way, it had been different. He'd been able to let her see his memories, and hers had been copied onto his, thanks to his unique physiology. But she had changed, and there was every possibility that things had changed in ways he couldn't foresee. Still, it couldn't hurt to try. Finally he nodded, holding up a hand, palm up, for her to place hers in. "You will have to trust me, Kathryn...completely. I know that is asking a lot, given the circumstances."

Completely. He was right. It was asking for a lot but what choice did she have? Her lips pursed thin as she eyed his hand before slowly raising her own. Fingertips found the palm of his hand first before her palm met his own. "So be it. I you not to do any funny business." He had been forthcoming with her thus far and again either he was a splendid actor or he was telling her the truth. His eyes and voice held sadness and it was because of her. He wanted to help or at least that is what she was reading into it. "You have my trust, Clayton."

He couldn't help but smile at her words, the feel of her hand in his, so much smaller, seemingly delicate in his own. He knew better, of course. Delicate was the last word that applied to her. He could recall a similar gesture between, them, similar words spoken. The memory made him smile as his fingers closed over hers. "This may feel...a little strange." His eyes slipped closed as he began, his physiology altering to mingle with hers via their physical connection.

Her brows furrowed as she watched his face. Was it that smile that drew her to him? Well not her, per say, but the her he knew? As his hand wrapped hers she struggled on the urge to draw back. When he said feeling strange, he wasn't joking. It felt different, for sure, and alarmingly so. As the memories came rushing in her other hand moved quickly to his wrist. It didn't take long for the rush to overwhelm her and by the end of it she was half slumping, half leaning to him so she didn't end up  hitting ground. He made her head spin and not in that warm fuzzy feeling way.

The sensation was different from what he was used to this time, as well. As they joined at the cellular level, he felt a sensation that was alarmingly like being drained for a moment, a dizzying rush that lasted but a moment, but was something he'd never felt before. It was as if the memories had been almost sucked out of him, rather than being transferred in a slower, more regulated way. As she slumped against him, his arm went around her to hold her up without any thought whatsoever, taking her weight easily. "Kathryn? Are you all right?"

She didn't even realize the tears that had strolled down her cheeks during the process. The strain left her with a headache. "I..." Lying would be pointless..ev en a small fib. "That wasn't what I was expecting. A bit...much. I'm...drained but alright." Her eyes closed as she struggle to regain herself. "Are you..alright?" It was a start but she needed to get to work, find the guys to start a search for her brother.

He frowned, his arm around her waist as he held her up. He could feel it in her muscles, the way she trembled, the tears on her cheeks. "I am all right, love." It was true. Despite that momentary draining sensation, he felt no ill effects, other than a momentary disorientation. "You, on the other hand, will require rest...some time for the memories to find their niches inside your mind." He bent down, his arms moving, and scooped her up into them. "I will take you home."

Those memories were fighting for place, no doubt, and she was fending off the pain best she could but it would rather easy for him to collect her in his arms the way he did. She had no outward fight. Right now it was all in her head, attempting to work things out. "Do you always make my world spin?" ...she made  a joke. Be afraid.

He let out a purring chuckle as he carried her out of the vault and towards the elevator. "As often as I am able to. Though perhaps not precisely in this way."

The Phalanx / Re: In Extremis v2
« on: September 20, 2017, 05:26:01 PM »
[size=18]Trapped Within[/size]

It was one of those ?out of body? experiences, or that is how it felt, when the Shadow Armor collected her to take flight. Her head rolled forward and for a moment, just a moment, she saw her brother, bathed in a halo of white light before things quickly became dark.

The massive jolt of electricity made her heart feel like it was ready to explode from her chest - a kick that was far stronger than how her heart skipped when Clayton kissed her for the first time. Her brain and skin were frying,  boiling from the inside. She was not human, by any measure of the word, and her body could take a beating - nothing like this. Then again he knew this. This was the course he decided to take and she would not fight it.  

The internal battle waged was one that left her nearly mentally shattered but not so much that she for one of the most important things.

She trusted him...

When she told him to kill her, she laid her life in his hands without a second thought. Her loyalty..her trust...her faith was in the man she called brother.

So why didn?t she go to him for help in the first place?

It wasn?t the lack of trust in him but she didn?t want to put him in the position that he would have to kill her before the virus took over. She was all but scared that by the time he even found her that the virus would have already taken hold and she would no longer be herself. It would not be her he would be facing. It would not be her attacking him.

She knew it was selfish of her to ask him to kill her. He couldn?t. Just the same as she couldn?t kill him. It was why she fought so damn hard to keep the virus from taking over?. She couldn?t and wouldn?t kill him. Renna couldn?t make her! But then again after the Manticore Virus consumed her, she would no longer be her. She would be Manticore. She would be...Renna.

She couldn?t die. It would not allow her to. Renna would not allow her to. Oh no, Renna wanted her body, most likely to taunt her brother much like she used the Scath Sister with Issy.

Round and round it went, her body laid limp during travel. She could feel the virus working diligently to repair the damage done. Her mind trapped in on itself as if it too would keep her who she was.  A sense of guilt was at the front of everything - for putting him in such a situation. If only she had went to him in the first place instead of giving into that fear?

If only...

The Phalanx / Re: In Extremis v2
« on: September 17, 2017, 02:55:02 PM »
[size=9].:8.10.2017:. [/size]

Time was lost on her as she became one track minded - to either rid herself of this parasite or end her life before she became completely taken over. Before Renna took over and she ceased to exist. In a way, it was like Silma all over again but this time was different. She knew who it was. Knew it was happening. Knew that she was going to end up attempting to seduce her own brother and/or attempt to kill him. Who knows what that would do to Edward let alone Clayton or other people in her life. ?What damage Renna could do...

Her ?self? would be absorbed and her body nothing more than a puppet on strings.. and she was terrified. She could not deny that it rocked her down to her core enough that she couldn?t hide it no matter how hard she tried. Her normally emotionless mask was clouded with the fear of what was happening to her and the sheer knowledge that she could do absolutely nothing to change it and she tried. She fought and struggled against it. Even attempted to kill herself.

The attempts started out small, testing out this ?unique healing? that Renna told her of. Using the blade of her suit she severed her right hand clean off. The result - her hand had regrown hours later as if nothing had happened.

Next was a full body Reevi attempt. Since her Reevi still didn?t work as it was suppose to, it tore her flesh away in a way that should have left her bleeding out. All it did was cause a bloody mess atop the clock tower where she watched over the city in her dismayed state. A bloody mess and a whole lot of pain. It didn?t take long for the flesh to regen..leaving her a shaking, shredded mess. Her favorite jeans and hoodie was barely pieces of cloth clinging to her, keeping her modest at least. Nevermind they were drenched in her blood. She looked as if she had stepped out of the lazarus pool that Race had made for her, very little of her person was not tainting red.

She could feel it creeping in her, demanding...pulling..threatening...and it was driving her insane. ?Please...stop?? The plead went to the deaf night air as she looked over the city then down below, her eyes trailing along the side of the building. Surely there was no way she could survive ...that. She knew how selfish it was not turning to Clayton. She knew he wouldn?t be able to help her. He wouldn?t be able to kill her. Edward...might. He was fully intending on to when she got infected before, right? And look what happened..Poor Leo...If anything that guilt she still held spurred her to the edge of the clocktower.

?I?m sorry,? she mumbled to the air as she leaned forward, her body pitching off the side of the clocktower and gravity doing the rest to pull her groundward.

There was just enough time for gravity to wrap its deadly grip around her body, for the air to start pressing into her and streaming her hair out behind her as she began to accelerate towards the ground, when there came a new sound, just audible over the sound of the wind rushing in her ears. A high-pitched, whistling whine, faint and rapidly growing louder.

The sound of small, powerful thrusters, several of them. Approaching from above.

There?d be just enough time for the sound to register on her senses before weight slapped into her back, a metallic mass that wrapped itself around her chest with fluid rapidity. It was followed in swift succession by more of them, all at once, covering her legs, arms, and finally her head, as the Shadow Stealth Armor developed for Katt by her brother intercepted, her on the fly and activated once in place, not giving her even enough time to try to squirm out of the way. The AR display snapped on as the helmet closed over her head, the enhanced visual flaring to life, dominated by bold red block lettering across the field of view which said simply ?EMERGENCY COMMAND MODE?.

A sharp electronic whine sounded as the armor polarized and activated, and despite any protestations or struggles began to move automatically as she closed on the ground below, repositioning her body with it as it turned her upright, thrusters firing off to slow her descent, then settling her down on the ground gently as a feather, on her feet. Once there, the armor simply stopped its movements, the thrusters cutting off into sudden silence.

There was a long moment where nothing happened, the armor silent but still active, the EMERGENCY COMMAND MODE notification still flashing over her field of view, before a familiar voice spoke in her ear, the Cajun-accented tones furious. In a way, it was almost an exact repeat of another incident that had happened between brother and sister some time ago.

?Jus? what?n de hell d?ya t?ink yer doin?, sis?? His face popped up in a corner of the AR display inside the helmet, and yep, sure enough, he looked pissed. He knew damn well what this would sound like, too - berating her for exactly the same thing he?d done countless times - but he couldn?t help it. ?Did it even occur t?ya dat Ah might be able t?help ya? Ya mighta missed it, but de only damn person ?round dese parts dat?s managed t?find a cure for one o?Renna?s viruses is me.?

The armor split open along the back, sections unfolding until Katt was able to step out of it if she so desired, although the voice persisted. ?Did ya even t?ink ?bout what dis would be like fer me? An? what about Clayton, sis? Ah don? t?ink ya know what losin? you would do to him. An? let?s not even get into de rest o?de people ye?d be leavin? behind.?

Words fell from her lips that were harsh and angry. No! NOO! She did not activate her armor so why was it there! Even as it encased her and stopped her from meeting the ground, she tried her damndest to command it to release her. This should not be happening! The panic and anger ceased when she heard her brother's voice. How? No..she shouldn't be surprised right? Still, in her state, she was. She was not surprised as much as to keep her face turned from him he scolded at her. Talk about Deja vu. Only difference was she wore her fear where he never had and she didn't want him to see her looking like that.

"Shut up! Of course I thought about that. But...But how long would it take you to come up with even an idea of how to help me?! Will you be able to do it in the days? Hours! Time I have left? I can feel her in me, Edward! Will you be able to save me before I am no long me?!" Her face shot to the display of his angered face, tears staining her lashes. "I thought about all of that! But what would you rather me do? I don't know how much time I have and neither do you but it isn't a whole lot of time. And if you fail? You would feel guilty. And I am not even going to go into how you would feel if she used me and plopped my body in your bed." Yeah, see, Renna placed that mental imagine in her head and now she was sharing it with her brother. "What would that do to you? Or Clayton? Or anyone! Her using me as a puppet while I no longer exist."

Feeling the summer air against her back she didn't step out just yet. "It doesn't feel very nice, does it?" She didn't think he would understand what she meant in that phrase and oddly she was okay with that. How many times has he hidden what was wrong with him from her? Suffered without letting her in. Because he didn't want to 'add' to her plate or didn't want to be seen as weak. She surely didn't want anyone seeing her in her terrified state but if it had to be anyone...she didn't mind it being him.

Her lips trembled and her tongue poked out just enough to press against her upper lip. As her tongue relaxed back into her mouth she mumbled in a shaken voice, "I'm scared..." In that moment she could feel the tears as they slid down her cheeks but she used her escape from the suit to hide them.

The suit remained exactly in the position she left it in, standing sentinel, the back open to the interior of the armor, which was dark save for the head, the display still brightly lit for a moment. Finally it too went dark, followed an instant later by a sharp click and a brief down-cycling whine as the armor powered off.

His voice kept on, though, this time from a new direction, as he strolled across from the western end of the square, his long trenchcoat billowing out around him as he strode towards her. His features were furious. Yeah, he?d heard what she said, all of it. But he wasn?t about to be deterred.

?Ya t?ink Ah ain?t?? He gestured at himself, angrily. ?Ah got an issue dat?s gonna kill me fer sure. Not only is gonna do dat, but when Ah go, Ah hafta be sure dat dere ain?t not?in? ?round me for a good long ways. When Ah go, it?s gotta be alone. An? Ah ain?t gonna know, prob?ly, not ?till it?s too late t?have time fer a proper goodbye. S?not a pleasant t?ought.?

He sighed as he came to a halt, perhaps too close to his sister. He knew how the Manticore virus worked, and knew it was keyed to react to him specifically, it seemed. Like all of Renna?s unique technology, it even had a personality all its own, and this particular strain had latched onto him when it was first being developed. That Renna had chosen to inflict this strain on his was perverse in the extreme, even for Renna, and he wondered what could have made her do such a thing.

?Ah know yer scared, sis. It?s de funny t?ing all de people don? seem t?know ?bout people like us. We may be de badasses o?de world, but we prob?ly know more ?bout fear dan anyone. Dat don?t mean ya call it quits an? do somet?in? stupid. Didja even look for anot?er way? Or didja jump straight to de conclusion dat offin? yerself was de best course o?action? How would you?ve felt if dat?d been what Ah tried t?do soon as Ah knew what was comin???

She said nothing at first, nor did she even move. It took all her strength to fight the virus and it was maddening, taking all her focus to resist. "The big difference is you did it to yourself, Edward. I still remember how you looked during the first few months after you started the project..." Her eyes slid over to him, her chin remained lowered just enough to keep her face from view but allow her eyes to spot him, "I remember how you looked practically on death's door and it ate at me that you would not tell me what was going on. You would tell me everything was fine when it was clearly not. It still isn't and you are still pushing me away. You don't have to be alone. You choose that..." She paused before grunting quietly, "Or maybe you simply would just rather her at your side when it happens and nobody else."

Her hand lashed out towards him suddenly but stopped at the halfway mark between them, her fingers twitching in an unnatural way and the muscles in her arms tightening with effort. Inhaling sharply, she forced herself to concentrate more, before she exhaled through barely parted lips and lowering the hand to her side. Keeping a grip on herself felt near impossible when when he was so close and allowing her emotions to get the better of her nearly costed her. "You realize she had almost instant control of me, correct? That I can feel her in my veins and head? I am barely here...and you..are seriously going to ask me that."

Her fingers curled at her sides. "I already told you, Edward. Of course I had considered. My first thought was to turn to you but I don't have time. There is no time. I am already fight with everything I am just to resist her fully taking over...I have been fighting it since the moment she infected me." she mumbled something else but it was more of a bunch of jumbled words as she blankly stared at the ground. She paused, stilling completely.

Finally the words left her, quiet and barely above the mumble she had been before, "I'm sorry." Her head rose up enough that her face could be seen and though her cheeks were wet with tears her face she did manage a smile. "If you me before it is too late...Before I lose myself..." Or she mentally snapped because that was quickly becoming an issue.

For several moments, he was utterly speechless. He wanted to be angry, because she was pushing all the right buttons. And she undoubtedly knew it, trying to goad him into a less rational frame of mind. And this might be a talk they needed to have, because she didn't seem to understand his reasons, and he certainly didn't understand hers. He instead seized on the last thing she said, because that was right, as well. There wasn't time for these arguments anyway. "Ya want me t'help you? Dat's what Ah'm doin', right now. Ah'm savin' yer life. All ya have t'do is come wit' me, right now. Please." The last word was near a plea.

"Yes," she quietly replied as she took a step towards him, her fingers twitching violently at her side, "" Her head lowered as she stopped before him, likely hiding it in shame. Trickles of tears fell from her cheeks and splashed the ground. There was no warning as she reached out and grabbed his shirt with force, head snapping up with canines exposed.

He was wary as she approached. Yes, it was his sister, infected or not. But he saw that twitch. That mindless babbling had clued him in, as well. The virus was close to the surface, trying to take over, but he could see Katt was fighting it. A small, detached part of him was intellectually curious about it. She'd been infected with another version of the virus once before, and it had managed to take her over much more easily than this. Tht part of him pondered the possibilities, was shunted to the side to come to its conclusions alone, to allow him to focus on his sister. When she leaped at him, he was already reaching for her shoulders, so she just about charged into his grip. Even so, he was almost caught by surprise, and managed to shove her backwards out of reflex more than any forethought. It was exquisitely timed - behind her, the Shadow armor had quietly powered up, controlled by DIANA, reached to wrap its arms around her.

Her intentions were questionable but she would never see them filled it seemed. When shoved back her body twisted unnaturally, so when caught by the suit she was in a half estate of returning to full attack stance. Being denied and caught caused a beastly snarl to erupt from her lips, a glare that was mixed was sent his way. "DIANA! Release me!" It was her suit after all. Her eyes remained transfixed on Edward. "I thought you wanted to help me!?" Slowly her head tilted, rocking almost as if a doll on string. "Let me go..."

The suit behind her was unyielding in its grip, even at the demand of its owner. If anything, the embrace tightened. Ed shook his head, sighing softly, keeping his distance now as he eyed his sister. "Ah do want t'help ya, sis. Dat's what Ah'm doin'. But ya gotta come wit' me fer me t'do dat." ?

He sighed again, his eyes shifting to the empty armor suit holding her, then back to his sister again. "And ya are comin' wit' me, Katt. But Ah'd rat'er not have to hurt ya t'do it."

"Rather..not..harm me..." Her head tilted faintly as she regarded Edward with a look of amusement, her eyelids drooping down in a half-mast. "I don't want to hurt you either, Edward. I just wanted a taste. Just..a little taste. You know you are curious. How it feels to have my body leaning against yours, lips to your neck," was she purring at him? Yes, yes she was. She squirmed a bit in her bonds though it didn't seem to be the struggle of trying to get out - it was something altogether different. "We could have such fun if you would only ju-"

The words stopped sharply and she jerked out of the sinuous squirm, her frame becoming rigid and stiff as if the suit was a board to her back. Teeth clenched she stared at the sky as she remained stiff for a moment or two then slowly began to deflate, heavy breaths huffed from between her lips. When her eyes found her brother she looked more focused and no longer giving him the rather bedroom-eyed stare. "I can't..." She managed the words from behind clenched teeth and sounded an awful lot like a sob. ?"I can't...If you let me go...I you." She wanted him to understand the weight of the situation. She was losing the battle from within despite all of her will put into it. This was not what she wanted and she had a feeling that this time there would be no coming back.

It was all he could do not to blast her. He knew it was his sister, this body, her voice, but it was the virus speaking. Even using Katt's voice, he knew it. The tone, the wording, the inflection...all of it was Manticore. If he could, he would have blasted it out of her, but it wasn't that simple. With Renna, it never was. Even when she snapped out of it and regained control, he knew there was little choice. The virus had spread too far, and the only way to stop it was to make it focus on something else.

With a sigh, he closed his eyes, forcing himself not to consider what he was about to do. It was unthinkable, and her own way, Katt was right. There was only one way to stop this. When he opened his eyes again, he looked past his sister, at the featureless faceplate of the armor suit holding her tight. "Do it." The armor's only response was to emit a familiar, high-pitched upcycling whine a split second before channeling 6,000 volts of electricity through its metallic skin, directly into his sister's body...three times what it would normally take to kill a human being.

She watched as he closed his he sighed. She knew the feeling of watching a sibling in pain...suffering. She watched him dwindle away not just once. It wasn't easy and she hated she had him in that situation. "Edward..." was muttered at him when his eyes opened only to look past her. The look of confusion when he uttered the two words lasted seconds before her sharp greens went wide and her body jerked. There was no sound, no scream, no cry, just her lips parted in silence as her body spasmed under the electric currents influence. Her head bobbed a few times before lulling back to thunk against the suit of armor. A lifeless stare was offered offered to the sky and the first sound she made was given. A low chuckle that drew out her last breath before she stilled.

It wasn?t easy, but he forced himself to watch. He was doing it to her, he should bear witness to killing the only family he had, right? He held himself stiffly immobile, refusing to turn away while Katt?s body stiffened and twitched of its own accord as electricity fired through her nervous system and triggered her muscles, completely scrambling them and crisping her brain in the process.

It lasted only seconds, but it felt as though it were a lifetime. When Katt?s body went limp, his eyes flicked from her form to the armor holding her upright in its arms. ?Di??

There was a moment?s pause, long enough for a stab of pure nervous agony to slice through his heart, before the coolly detached voice of the AI spoke. ?It?s done, sir. Miss Batten is currently exhibiting no life signs. The Manticore virus is now actively repairing the damage. We have approximately fifteen minutes before cellular regeneration is completed and she regains consciousness.?

He nodded rigidly to the suit. ?Okay. Get ?er into containment.?

The suit didn?t deign to reply, simply tightened its grip on his sister?s still form and lifted off with a screeching roar of powerful thrusters, arcing up over his head and towards the Tower looming in the near distance. It wasn?t until both were out of sight that he turned away, free of prying eyes at last, letting out a long, moaning sob of anger and grief.

The Phalanx / In Extremis v2
« on: September 17, 2017, 02:23:13 PM »

Metallic claws scrape along the brickwork of a house as the darkly dressed Renna regarded the sky with a smile.

Katt was sluggishly making her way through the marketplace. You would think with her position she'd be dressed in something nice and not..a pair of tattered jeans and a hoodie. Yet there she was, sporting old things.

Her nose wrinkles. Her body pauses as she looks in a certain direction. She trembles. She moves that way.

She had yet to sense Renna or spot her which was likely not the best of things. She would not be hard to find, honestly, as she practically flopped herself onto the ledge of the fountain once close enough. While she wasn't a cat by any means she sure could play the lounging feline rather well!

And she the snake. She was behind her quicker than you could blink, dark crimsons narrowed. "Katt."

"Geh!" She jerked just enough that she spilled off of the ledge and right onto the ground with a thud. Groaning she sat up and rubbed her back. That smarted. No..what should be bothering her was that someone managed to sneak up on her. "Nhh...Hello Renna..."

Her smile was oddly forced. "And you too."

She made a low sound as she settled her back to the side of the fountain. Man that had smarted. "What are you doing sneaking up on me?"

The odd silence that came was met with a soft chuckle. Crimsons softened. "I am always quite creepy that way, aren't I?"

She...really couldn't deny that. "I guess...I am just not use to people sneaking up on me." Even if she was sure it partly had to do with her being in her thoughts so deeply. "You know..I really should punch your face in ...or drown you..or something." Her head tilted faintly and she glanced up to Renna with quite the sour look. "I heard what you did. First off where do you get off telling Ebon it is my fault that you are attacking and attempting to kill him?"

She looked up, then, laughed. "That was a lie." She admitted. "The real question is, did he tell you other things?" She tilted her head, her face turning blank. "Did he say?"

"No **** Doesn't mean I like you attempting to make me your fallout guy. And what the hell? Why the **** did you try to kill Ebon for?" She pushed herself up to her feet and swiped a hand at her rear to get rid of any dirt. "You mean like you having naked holograms of me around the inn? Yeah...didn't appreciate that a lick either."

"That was a distraction." She paused. "A sexy one at that." Renna flexed her metallic blades. "He didn't say?" She raised her brows. "How odd..."

"I am aware of you working with the Bhaal woman too." she pointed out. "Again I am asking, what the hell."

Her face fell flat. Her eyes burned. "I met someone who showed me the way."

She simply stared at Renna. "What way? Down the path to work my last nerve because you are doing a bang up job." It didn't go past her that Renna had practically called her sexy. Yes, that was filed away for later.

"Kiss and control." Renna whispered. "Don't you see, Katt?" She smiled wildly. "We're the same. Weapons of murder... I, myself... A Goddess... but no... I'm not, am I? We a mortal in our little world but Bhaal? He's fragmented and searching. A constant in all life." She whispered madly. "Murder, Katt. I was built for murder. I was born out of love and forged for murder. Born to kill. Born to eat, to devour and he showed me the reason... Bhaal." She extended a hand to Katt. "We both served in his name. To kill. To murder. We are both murderers, my dearest Shadow."

She didn't move but simply stared at Renna. "Damn.." She slowly slipped her hands into the pockets of her hoodie. "I didn't realize you were so weak willed, Renna. That you would bend to another so called god's will. That you would follow someone like a sheep... Tch. I may be a murderer but I damn well don't do it in anyone's name. Bhaal? Is nothing to me. Absolutely nothing."

"I can make you think otherwise." Mechanical tendrils snaked from under her dress as she approached Katt, her claws opening as her lips curled into a smirk. "I'm sorry. But you are essential to the coming awakening."

If she had any thought of it that would of been on the top list of creepy r us. Instead she slid a step back. "Awakening? Explain..."

"Bhaal's return." Her vacant crimsons glowed. "You don't think I can't use you again, Katt? A perfected vessel of murder. Together we can summon the one true Lord and Master. The Lord of Murder. Between us, our combined sacrifice can bring him back. We might not be of his spawn but us? Together? I think I can do it. I can make us perfect. I can make us... whole... under guidance of the Lord of Murder."

Ugh she felt dirty hearing Renna say that. "Think about what you are saying. You are willing to sacrifice yourself? To some god who calls himself 'lord of murder'. One true lord and master my ass. If you can't be your own lord and master than you are just a sad, sad little puppet and I am not going to call anyone master ever again!"

Her crimsons glared, her lips scowling. "I have nothing but this to save Edward!" She snapped. "He can save him... A true, real... God..." Tears formed. "Nothing will stop me. And even if I have to sacrifice us both, I will save him." She growled. "Whether you like it or not." Renna launched forward, claws outstretched to grip her shoulders. "Ebon... Icer... Jewell... Everyone! Me! YOU!" She screamed. "THEY WILL ALL DIE FOR THE LORD OF MURDER IF I CAN SAVE JUST HIM!"

That was crossing the line and it showed as her eyes narrowed thin and just as Renna came charging at her an arm reeled back and she threw a fist at Renna's face for all she was worth. Every muscle, every fiber, every amount of energy she could throw into that punch. "YOU BITCH!" The two words howled from her lips. "Do you **** honestly think Edward would want that?! Do you think he would want you sacrificing people to save his own hide?! How SELFISH are you?! Do you think I want to lose my brother? **** no! But I sure the **** wouldn't stoop to something so low to insult him!"

Struck, she flew back and hit a building hard enough to rupture into the brick itself, dust and the shards of concrete falling around her as she fell forward, purple blood falling from her grinning her lips. "Funny... he did the same for me..." She stood, wiping her lips. "Perhaps not as much as giving over his own sister, but the means? They meet the end."

The shadows at her feet shuddered, spasming as if trying to get away from her. Her own shadow seemed to want to escape her presence at the moment yet was firmly latched in place. There was a cold glaring stare fixated on Renna, not bothered a bit that she sent the woman flying. If anything she felt like she hadn't hit her hard enough. "I don't want to hear your crap. If you are going to go down that hole you go down by yourself and stop trying to drag people down with you. You do realize I am going to tell him this **** right? How the hell do you think he is going to feel? selfish are you?"

She snarled. "As if he cares, Katt!" She spat. "If he cared he'd be here with me!" She moved to approach Katt, claws outstretched. "Why do you say that word? Selfish? Of course I am selfish. I was born to kill and I will continue to kill and I will continue to be who I am because I am not afraid to show my true self! I am a bitch! I am a Betrayer! I am Renna and so help me you, and everyone will know my name even if it is in curses, and hated, or fear, or jokes! The thing is, Katt... You ought to fear it. I will save him. I have given you the option. Clearly you are against it. So, I need to replace souls close to worth of your own." She raised her brow. "I wonder how many I need to sacrifice for that."

"He'd probably be with your dumb ass if you weren't always flipping your noodle and betraying him. Ever thought about that? You can't force him to be with you, Renna and doing this is not going to woo him to your side. If anything you are just pushing him further away. And yes, I am clearly against you being a dumb**** and trying to kill people to appease some lowball god in hopes you can save my brother. Seriously, of all people, you should know better. That 'god' cannot help Edward. They are using you like a puppet and you are happily letting them pull your strings." Her fingers clenched tight at her sides. "You know what. Go ahead. Kill me. See where that gets you. I am not going to fight it. Knock yourself out." And to show she meant it, her arms dropped at her sides.

Her eyes dropps to Katt's hands as she approached her. "That's the fun part, Katt."

Her hands remained laxed at her side and she just gave Renna the blandest look that ever existed. "Whatever."

As Renna's claw thrusted out to Katt's chest, her bladed fingers turned into wiggling tendrils that sought to penetrate her body.

There was no attempt to stop her from doing so and when they did Katt made a small choking sound but seemed to do her absolute best to remain rooted in place. Teeth clenched, she refused to make a sound. Oh but her eyes could scream as she glared holes into Renna's skull.

Crimsons smiled. "Remember, Katt." She whispered. "I lie. A lot." The tendrils inside her body broke off and began forcing its way throughout her body. "I don't want you, Katt. Calculations dictated you would sacrifice yourself for Edward. It just made it all the more easier for me." The tendrils glowed as she forced her DNA to invade Katt's body. "I'm not going to sacrifice Edward." She whispered. "You are."

Her stomach tensed as the rest of her twitched. That was a god awful feeling. " you mean..sacrifice...Edward..."

"We are Manticore, Katt." She grinned. "I won't be the one killing him." The tendrils tore out as she took a step back.

"I save him.." She jerked as Renna ..ahem..withdrew from her body and she staggered. There was a new fuel of cold in her eyes. "**** you. I won't...I won't...kill him..You know damn well I ..won't.." And people wonder why Katt never trusted Renna. Snarling she raised a hand to her chest. "Whatever ...whatever you did to me..stop it..I won't!"

"Welcome to the family, Katt."

Her blood drenched hand left her chest as she reached to grab at Renna. "Take it out of me!!"

Her hand would not reach her. Like some force stopped her. But it was after all, her own body. "The Manticore turns you into Renna." She smirked. "Enjoy that. It'll take days. I wonder how it will feel as a sister to slowly fall in love with your own brother..." She paused, then smirked, before laughing. "How awkward. Come back to me when you are willing to help me, Katt. Hell, we might even share the same values?"

Oh gross gross gross! Oh she was so lucky she couldn't be decked again. Already she was working on the plan of killing herself. A few small details to deal with first. "I don't help weaklings like yourself, Renna."

"Ah killing yourself?" She mused. She flicked a point to her own head. "I can hear those thoughts. Won't work. Your regeneration is quite... unique, now." Pause. "But then again a weakling can't have access to such sensitive information. Regardless. Enjoy." Renna disappeared in a soft chuckle. "Sister."

Her fingers curled and uncurled at her side, tears swelling in her eyes. "It will work. I'll make it work. I won't kill him. You know I won't. You know I will fight with everything I am."

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 09, 2017, 10:54:23 PM »
Message via DIANA to Edward: When you see me next
Message via DIANA to Edward: kill me
Message via DIANA to Edward: Do not hold back

Message via DIANA to Clayton: I'm sorry
Message via DIANA to Clayton: I love you

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 07, 2017, 03:45:52 PM »

Less than a month later?

Katt sat on the fence of the small patch of earth that she had given to Sylva to plant the flowers she had brought back from the Valley. The youth seemed less energetic than usual but had found some peace in this little garden she had made. She had, surprisingly, asked Katt if she knew a place she could grow the flowers and Katt suspected it was because she knew how to take care of said flowers. So a little plot of land was set aside for Sylva on the estate grounds where she could grow them at her leisure. It seemed that it was her little hideaway from everything, including those close to her. Else why wouldn?t she just ask Doran if she could grow them near his treehouse or ask Ebon if she could somewhere on his lands? Or the Gardens?

There were plenty of questions she wanted to ask but none she spoke on. Most of them had to deal with what Chaos may or may not of told the youth. Also that he summoned for Sylva much sooner than the initial timeframe he had given them. Instead she watched Sylva when she came about, sometimes leaving muddy, sometimes leaving looking more soothed in spirit. Today the young woman looked defeated in a way. Probably nervous. ?We should leave soon?? she said to Sylva who was softly patting the ground near some of the growing moonflowers and twilight roses.

Sylva said nothing and kept tending the flowers.

Katt sighed quietly as she slid off of the fence. ?Sylva. The sooner it is done and over the sooner you can return to your family and friends. I am sure you don?t like being away from them and being stuck with me instead.?

Sylva?s hands stilled.

?You miss Doran don?t you? Maggie? Des? What about Azure and Oliva? Ebon and Phen, Cratos...Jonigan...?

Sylva?s shoulders slumped. ?Des hates me.?

A brow shot up as Katt regarded Sylva as she slumped. ?I doubt that??

?He does! Every time he sees me he seems mad at me. I don?t know why. And..and last time I left to go take a bath he shouted something very mean at me as I left.? Sylva stared at her dirty hands.

?Hmm. Well regardless if you don?t get this done then you can never find out why. Or talk to anyone you care about anymore? This is important.?

?I know.? Sylva mumbled as she stood and wiped her hands on her shorts.

?I?ll speak with him and see what is up for you. It may just be a misunderstanding.? Katt watched Sylva for a moment before gesturing a hand out for Sylva to take and once she did they were off.

Shadowstepping was the quickest way and instead of taking the pathway they would be able to step straight into the palace. Now that Sylva was protected from the onslaught that was the planar?s defenses. Sliding out of the shadows just within the main hall, Katt turned her eyes to Sylva to see if she was alright this time around.

Sylva remained quiet, focused forward. She had too much on her mind to really paying Katt?s concerns much mind.

With a quiet sigh Katt lead Sylva through the palace until they came across Chaos who was drifting from his studies.

?You are early but that is fine. I have made my preparations and we can begin immediately.? Chaos addressed Sylva rather than Katt, his hand offered out to the youth for her to join him. ?She will find her way back home after I am done, Dark Lily.?

Why did Katt feel like she was being dismissed. ?That is all? No small talk for me tonight?? Katt inquired as Sylva moved forward to join Chaos.

?None for you. My words are for this young lady this evening.?

?How long will it take?? Sylva asked quietly to Chaos.

His attention turned down to Sylva and he granted her a charming smile. ?I cannot say. A couple of minutes? Day? A year. We will have to see as it progresses.?

Katt frowned as she listened. ?If things start to get complicated I want to be contacted.?

?Of course.? Chaos agreed. ?I will send Xavier if I must.? He spoke as he started to guide Sylva down the hallway.

Katt didn?t like this. Chaos had never before dismissed her so readily unless he had something up his sleeve. ?Chaos. Remember your promise.?

?I will keep her safe, dear, do not worry. But we have much to do and things are already prepared. If we wait too long then I will have to start all over in my preparations.?

When he said don?t worry that is when she worried. She watched as the two of them disappeared down the hall. Instead of leaving right away she stuck around the palace for half a day or so, just to get sense of what was going on but when she couldn?t she ended up taking her leave. Sylva would return when she was ready. Or that is what Chaos had said.

Seems only time would tell that tale but something just

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 07, 2017, 03:45:33 PM »

Time was becoming a thing in her life she did not like. It was threatening to stealing away some of the most precious things in her life. Time was also not on her side, even in the alternate time. Her alternate self. This could've been avoided if she had reached out earlier to Sylva but there was just a want to stay out of the girl?s life that kept her away. That and the fact that the young version of herself creeped her out! As she stood there with Sylva, who was doubled over a few feet away, she could not help but take note of the changes that now truly separated them. Sylva was no longer destined to follow in her path, that much was certain. Still, she could not help but feel something was wrong with the child existing in the same place and time as she. Like time would implode if they touched, which was ridiculous.

Taking her through the veil had been difficult even with the shadow stepping as Sylva apparently did not have the protection that was required to be within the shadow plane. She knew that feeling. Like something was trying to tear you from the inside out but then the youth was in constant pain as it was, so likely the pain just lost in the sea of it all. ?We aren?t that far away. Once we are at the palace you should be protected by the walls. I will see about getting you some protection.? Katt murmured to Sylva as she waited for the youth to collect herself.

Pushing up slowly Sylva nodded to signal she was ready. The pain in her core was treated like most pain in her life -  placed to the back of her mind so she could function, if only for a few minutes longer.

This was something Katt understood. Pushing forward despite being in pain. It was something she...they..were trained to do. To ignore the pain even if it brought about their death. Somewhere in the back of her mind she was reminded of her sparring with her brother. How she was practically bleeding herself to death in her suit without him knowing - just because she wanted to spar with him. Just to spend a little more time with him? How selfish she felt at that moment.

Sylva slowly stood and looked to Katt before looking over her shoulder. She could see the world beyond the veil where time itself seemed to crawl to a near stop.

?Here time moves different. It makes using shadow stepping quite useful when it comes to moving long distances,? Katt explained as she watched Sylva.

?Shadow stepping? Can I do that?? Sylva looked to Katt and the strange trees past her. The trees looked as if they were alive, leaves swaying with no wind to breath through them.

?That is a good question. I could at your age but it was..difficult.? Katt turned and started to walk her way to their destination. ?If you decide, I am sure it would be one of the skills you could follow on.?

Sylva caught on that. ?Decide to be Reevi, you mean??

?You would entertain the idea of being Altian?? Katt inquired without looking back. Instead she focused on the palace that they were coming up on. The grandiose of the place was not lost on her but it was what it was made of her that always seemed to make it seem...imposing. A black crystal substance that wasn?t crystal. She still, to this day, had no idea what it was made of.

Sylva was silent as she took in the monstrous building before them, easily seen even over its own outer walls. ?I...don?t know.?

As they passed through the main gate, Katt made no attempt to greet any of the guards, not even bothering to announce herself. She entered with a guest as if she owned the place and this was done on purpose. ?You want to forget all the people you have met? What about the people you have made friends and family with? The lives you have touched..?

Sylva was silent at the question.

?You think they would be better off without you?? Katt didn?t ask but rather implied that was what the youth was thinking. Pushing one of the grand doors open she glanced to Sylva.

Sylva?s doll-like eyes rose up to Katt as she slowed as she got close. Her eyes lowered as she suddenly took to quickening her step and passing Katt in order to step into the main hall of the lavishly decorated palace.

Grunting at Sylva, Katt followed her in, releasing the door once she was inside. ?Just because Des is mad at you doesn?t mean he wants you to go away. And I am sure Ebon?s family would be sad to lose you, too. And Maggie. And Jonigan.? Katt was making sure that each name was spoken so that they hit home. What it was that Sylva would lose.

?Stop,? Sylva whined, ?I -?

?KAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT? Joshua's voice vibrated and bounced through the walls as the young man came sprinting down the winding stairs centered at the opposite way.

At first she nearly didn?t recognize him but he was the only one who addressed her so familiar here. The boy had grown, marking somewhere in his late teens to early twenties, his flax hair had grown well past his shoulders and seemed to be groomed just enough to keep out of his amber eyes. He was a fetching lad and a sidelong glance was made to Sylva. ?He is very friendly, so be prepared.? she mumbled to the young woman.


Before Katt could even answer, Joshua tackled into her person, scooping her up in a hug. ?It has been forever!? He had barely squeezed on her for two seconds when he had noticed there was someone else. Still hugging on Katt he looked to the young woman at her side.

?Joshua. Release me.? Katt mumbled as she gave him a quick embrace but then tried to peel herself out of his arms. ?I am here to speak with Chaos.?

Sylva watched the two with a bit of surprise. Katt never seemed the touching type and here this man was hugging on her like Katt was his personal doll. When he seemed to notice her she blinked at him then turned her eyes down sheepishly when she realized he was staring at her.

?Katt? She-?

?Isn?t a clone.? Katt caught his question, or what she thought it was, before he finished.

?But..? Joshua was obviously confused as he released Katt and turned full attention on Sylva. ?She?s so cute!?

?Bwahhh?? The sound came from Sylva as she looked back up to Joshua.

That was disturbing, Joshua. While she didn?t say it aloud it was surely written on Katt?s face. ?She is from a different timeline as I, Joshua. Her name is Sylva. Now go get Chaos for me.?

?Sylva. Nice to meet you Sylva!? Joshua was quick to scoop her up in a squeezing hug as well.

?H-Hi!? Sylva squeaked out, remaining perfectly still during the whole ordeal..

?Heehee!? Joshua released Sylva and saluted Katt, ?I?ll go find his lordship! Please wait in the waiting room!? Before she could answer Joshua took off, speeding his way back up the stairs that lead to the second floor and beyond.

?Well I see time has not slowed him down any.? Katt mumbled as she looked over to Sylva who looked a little stunned at what just happened. Lowering a hand to the young woman?s back she started to guide her to the waiting room where they would...well...wait.

?What did you mean, I am not a clone?? Sylva asked Katt after roughly fifteen minutes of waiting.

?Mrmm?? It was not a memory Katt wanted to relive let alone talk about. ?A few years ago someone was trying to recreate

?Oh?? Well that was uncomfortable to hear.

?Yeah?? As if she thought Sylva would understand. ?You aren?t a clone but the situation is eerily uncomfortable for me.?

?Is that why you hate me??

Katt was silent for a long moment. ?I don?t hate you, Sylva. You make me uncomfortable, yes, but I don?t hate you. If I did, we wouldn?t be here right now. It is kind of like how you don?t like being referred to as being me.? She glanced to the youth. ?You reminded me of what I was...But you don?t anymore. You are too different??

Sylva blinked at Katt. ?I am??

?Severely,? Katt agreed, ?There is no way you can end up like me, either. You have take a path so different from the one I had when I was your age that you are your own person. You are, in terms, a me that could've been??

?So you don?t hate me??

?Do you hate me?? Katt countered.

Sylva blinked at Katt, ?N-no! I just..I just don?t like it when people think I am you. I don?t want to be you. I want to be me!?

Katt chuckled quietly. ?Seems we agree then. We don?t hate each other, we just want to be ourselves.?

Sylva quickly nodded in agreement.

?Well this is curious. Who is your friend, my precious Dark Lily.? Chaos? voice rose to join the conversation as he entered the room. Once again he had changed his looks - dusty skin with black as night hair and bright gold colored eyes that could shamed a freshly pressed coin. An imposing figure standing slightly under seven feet, the man was draped in rich, deep robes that gave the impression that he floated when he walked. His eyes burned a stare on Sylva as he moved close to the pair.

Katt never could tell why Chaos was forever changing his appearance but she had a suspicious idea that he was attempting to find a figure pleasing to her. This one, to a degree, kind of made her think of Clayton. ?Chaos.?

Sylva turned eyes to the towering man. This was Chaos? His presence alone was a heavy feeling, as if he was crushing her with simply being there. How frightening and yet Katt was speaking to him as if she were on level with him.

?Who is this child and why does the air around her taste like you?? His eyes tore from Sylva to find Katt.

Thanks for not being creepy, Chaos. ?There was a time lapse, or something, that brought a past me to my present.? Katt informed Chaos. ?She?s long since started on her own path and now lives a separate life than mine.?

Chaos took in the information as he looked at the silent Sylva. ?I see.? He drew closer to the young woman, a long finger reaching out to touch her chin and raise her head just slightly so he could get a better look at her. He could, of course, see the differences. ?And why have you brought her here? Unprotected at that.?

Sylva quaked under the touch, the sensation of his fingertip touching her skin was unnerving but she didn?t say a word nor did she draw away as he examined her.

?She is at that crossroad, Chaos. That one I had to come to you about.? Katt explained as she watched Chaos with the girl.

Understanding shined in his eyes as Chaos moved his hand from Sylva. ?I see.? His attention turned to the door of the waiting room. ?Joshua. Stop lurking in the hallway.?

Joshua showed himself from the shadows of the hall, grinning sheepishly, ?Sorry, my lord.?

?Since you are so fascinated with our young guest, why not take her to the vault and give her the Iltherian. From there you can escort her to the Valley.? Chaos? turned his eyes to Sylva. ?I am sure you will enjoy the sights it has to offer and you may take of the valley as you wish.?

Katt stared at Chaos before looked over to Joshua who wore a surprised expression. Her attention slowly turned on Sylva, ?This will give me and Chaos time to talk about things. Please go with Joshua and enjoy yourself.?

?But?? Sylva started to decline.

?The Iltherian will stop the pain. It will give you protection to come and go from the shadow planar.? Joshua explained to Sylva. ?If you are unprotected like Lord Chaos has stated then you should come with me! And you will like the Valley! I promise!? Joshua held a hand out to Sylva while offering her a wide, welcoming smile.

?Joshua?? Katt spoke over to him and he looked over to her, ?Something happens to her and I will take it out of your hide.?

?Yes, Ma?am.?

?And Joshua??


?Stop hitting on her.? Katt stated flatly.

?I! What?? Joshua stammered. ? I am not!?

?Enough you two,? Chaos interrupted and softly pressed his large hand to the center of Sylva?s back, usher her to Joshua, ?Go now before I lose my patience.?

Joshua quickly scooped up Sylva?s hand. ?Yes, sir! This way, Miss Sylva!?

Sylva looked over at Katt, unsure of what was going on as Joshua practically dragged her out of the room.

Katt nodded to the young woman and watched the pair until they were out of sight. Even after they left the room she remained silent, listening to their steps.

It seemed Chaos was doing the same because as soon as they were out of range he turned his gaze on Katt. ?What makes you think I will assist this girl? She is not my Dark Lily and I have no reason to stop the process of her death.?
Katt gave a grunt and her gaze slid side-long to Chaos. ?You owe me.?

A brow arched high as Chaos moved, pondering over what exactly she was saying. Finally he shook his head, ?I do not see how I owe you anything, my dark one.?

?When you had that clone of me causing you problems,? Katt reminded him in her not-so-subtle way.

?Ah, yes, that. But you did not kill the thing. Aren did.? Chaos counted easily.

?Do you honestly think Aren would have showed up if it had not been for me?? Katt questioned as she settled down into one of the tall chairs that were positioned within the room for optimal conversation. She knew it wasn?t a trump card but she played the game with the cards she held and one hell of a poker face. Not that it was any different from the emotionless mask she tended to wear.

Chaos watched her as he mulled that over. She did have a point, to an extent. ?He was here for revenge.?

She tilted her head and gave Chaos a stare. Did he seriously believe that? Even though Aren had said it, she didn?t even believe it herself. He had been there because of her. He knew what the situation would do to her. If anything his actions after the death of the abomination proved this to her.

Chaos? arms folded as he looked back at her. ?What do I gain from helping her??

?My thanks??

?I?m serious. I have nothing to gain from assisting this youth. Why not take her to the council and let them -?

?You know why, Chaos,? she snapped at him, ?If she becomes Altian she would lose what self she has gained. She would lose the memories of those she cares about.?

?She has people she cares about?? Chaos? brows began to lower.

?Yes. Those she would look to as family and those who are dear friends.? She noticed the look Chaos wore but for the moment didn?t ask.

?Tell me about these friends.?

A brow crawled up at that but she shrugged and began to speak of the friends she knew. ?There is a older man who I am starting to believe is more family than friend. There is a young lad who I?ve known for quite some time. He and his family are very eccentric but in a pleasant way.? Most of the time. Des? mother could be motherly to even Katt at times. Quite frankly Katt didn?t know how to make of it when someone was motherly toward her. ?There are a pair of best friends who are very welcoming to her. I believe he?s gained a bit of a crush on Sylva but I am not sure how that is ...going.? And it concerned her a bit. Not that she was going to go into that. ?The lad-?

?These two best friends. What are their names?? Chaos questioned suddenly disrupted Katt. While there was a touch of concern to his tone he kept his eyes on her face with a bout of curiosity.

?Mrm?? The curious sound left Katt as she regarded Chaos, mirroring his curiosity but for different reasons. ?Doran and Maggie? They come from good stock and I know their parents.? She paused there while regarding Chaos further.

Her answer seemed to rest whatever it was that had rose the concern, ?I see. You may continue.?

?Mrph. You aren?t going to tell me what that was about??


?Of course not.? She grunted quietly. ?Doran has siblings but I am unsure how they and Sylva get along but from what Ebon has said, she is very welcomed in their household. Maggie is Doran?s best friend and for someone so young she is very enriched in knowledge. Sylva is very fond of her and I think in a bit in awe of Maggie.? Her arms folded as she leaned back.

?That is enough.? Chaos urged her to stop. He found out what he needed to know. ?Why do you want to help her??

The question caused her to pause. Why indeed. She had no real ties with the youth other than the obvious. They pretty much avoided each other best they could. ?She has people who I know who care about her. It would make them sad if she died.? She started but her eyes slowly lowered as she considered that. It wasn?t her only reason. ?She deserves a chance to live, Chaos.?

Chaos eyed her silently before nodding. ?So be it. I will do it but it will take me roughly a month to prepare for the ritual.?

A brow slowly started moving up. ?It didn?t take you that long for me. In fact you were pretty spot on the moment with it.?

?That is because I knew you would come to me in time so I was always prepared. This is quite unexpected and she is not you, as you said. I will have to prepare some measures to make sure there is no recoil from what I will do.?

Katt considered it for a long moment before looking to the door. It wasn?t like they had a choice in the matter. ?Alright. But Chaos??


?You will not do anything else to that young woman. No tricks. Just get it done and over. She will owe you nothing and you will not dabble in her life.? Her eyes shifted slowly over to him. ?I will not let you hover over her life.?

A hand rose up to his chest and he looked offended by her words. ?I would do no such thing. After all, she is not the one I want.? His hand lowered, elongated fingers stroking at Katt?s hair. ?She is not my Dark Lily.? His touch left her hair,a few dark strains trickling from his fingertips. ?I will do this favor for you with no strings attached but I ask you do not forget my kindness in doing so.?

Katt grunted quietly. ?Sometimes I wonder if you are trying to woo me to your side or into your bed.?

Chaos bellowed out an amused laugh. ?I would never bed you. Unless you begged me to. Then I might consider it.?

?Keep dreaming. There is only one man I wish to lay in bed with and you are not him.?

Chaos waved a hand dismissively as he moved to settle in a chair across from her. ?You will talk to the youth and start to prepare her. I will do this in stages so it isn?t as..rushed as you were. Since I will need to dig in a bit before I can start anything and make sure there aren?t any engravings or protections to keep me from moving forward.? He addressed her with an even look as he spoke. ?Make sure, also, she is fully aware that she can very well die during the ritual. This moreso if she tries to fight me.?

Katt listened, nodding slowly, as she took in the information. ?Chaos. I want your word that you won?t try anything funny. You will do this for me??

?Why does it sound like it matters to you more than you are letting on?? Chaos asked as she was starting to pique his interest with how she was acting.

Sighing she raised a hand, rubbing it across her face. ?I?m losing my brother, Chaos. I am not handling it too well..? She felt like she was coming apart at the seams and she was afraid to even Clayton had noticed. It..frightened her.

?I see.? Chaos didn?t need more information, he knew where she was going. He also knew how much her brother meant to her. Enough that she struggled and fought against death, against him, and even herself. ?I vow, Kathryn, I will do nothing more than what contracted to..? He spoke low as he pushed up from his seat. ?I will leave you to rest while you wait for those two to return. When they do I will take some time with her to evaluate her then you two may leave.?

Katt nodded as she watched him. She had questions she wanted to ask as it seemed that this was far too easy. She watched as he bowed his head to her and slipped from the room, leaving her to her thoughts. There was no want to roam or anything of the place she wanted so she sat and waited patiently.

She had actually lost track of time but she wagered she sat there waiting for two if not close to three hours before Joshua showed face. What bothered Katt was that he was alone and looking a little distraught. ?Joshua? Where is Syl-? Before she could even answer there was a scream that flooded the halls. A scream that had her bolting outright from her seat.

?She is with Lord Chaos right now. He is- ? Joshua started to explain but another agonizing scream silenced him. He looked over his shoulder then back to Katt. ?She will be okay. It won?t take long so Lord Chaos asked that you just wait here.?

Katt glared at the young man before her but steeled herself against what sounded like Chaos torturing Sylva.

Joshua cringed and turned his eyes down. ?She liked the valley and has brought with her a few things she said she wanted to plant for her friends.?

Her expression softened and she felt a little guilty for giving the lad such a look. ?Thank you for taking her, Joshua. How did it go with the Iltherian??

?Surprisingly well. It bonded with her almost instantly.?

?She is young so it is no surprise to me.? Katt nodded as she raised her eyes to the ceiling. When her eyes lowered to regard Joshua again she found him nervously watching her. ?What??

?Um?? he started but was unable to finish the train of thought. Instead he redirected as he fiddled with his sash, ?I think they are done.?

She had noticed that the screaming had stopped also but was really hoping that it wasn?t because Chaos did something she was going to have to challenge him on. Still that concern was put to the side as she watched Joshua nervously fidgeting with the sash around his waist. ?Out with it, Joshua. What is on your mind.?

He stopped almost instantly. ?She passed out on her walk back,? he informed Katt quietly.

?What?? Well that certainly did gain her attention. ?Why??

?I don?t know!? Joshua quickly, as if to escape her ire. ?I guess that the travel through the veil was too great for her?? It was just a guess after all. ?Lord Chaos saw me carrying her into the palace on my back. He took her and excused me, telling me to inform you that they would be along shortly.?

Raising a hand she pinched the bridge of her nose. Who knows what problems that may of caused or what Chaos was doing to the girl to make her scream in such a way. ?Thanks for letting me know, Joshua.? It sounded like she may very well have to carry Sylva back. She found it a very tempting idea to bring Sylva to the tower and have D.I.A.N.A do a full checkup but that would be something she would have to think on. Before Joshua could rely Chaos came into the room with a rather zombie looking Sylva in his wake. Hugging some sort of item wrapped in parchment, the youth looked pale and wobbly. As if walking took all the efforts she could afford. Katt?s eyes went from Sylva to Chaos with an unspoken question in her gaze.

?She will be fine but for now I think it is best you take her and go. The first set of markings have been left on her bones and she apparently needs rest.? Chaos looked at Katt as if there was more to be said but instead he gestured Sylva to her older self. ?I will need you to return in a week,? he spoke down to Sylva, ?Consider this your time to spend with family and friend. If need be consider it the time made to say your farewells, just in case.?


His eyes remained trained on Katt. ?There is a high possibility. She has already been told this. We spoke on length about a few things that she needs to take into consideration.?

?Like?? Katt didn?t like that Chaos wasn?t being forthcoming with information.

?That is for her to decide to share with you if she likes.? Chaos simply stated and turned to leave the chamber. On his way to the door he glanced over shoulder, ?It was nice to see you again, my precious dark one. You should come visit me more often.?

Katt grunted and glanced to Sylva, ?Are you okay enough to travel back??

Sylva nodded silently to Katt as she hugged on the bundle a bit tighter.

Chaos chuckled as Katt dismissed him. ?I?ll see you in a month, Sylva.? With that he turned sharply, his robes billowing out across the glossy flooring. ?Come, Joshua. We have things to do.?

?Yes, sir!? Joshua quickly responded and looked to Katt, Sylva, back to Katt. ?Bye.?

He seemed a bit deflated to Katt but she bowed her head to him all the same. Sylva had mumbled something to Joshua as Katt stepped closer to her, arms curling about the young woman. Without a word given, the shadows around them began to quiver, coming to life and crawling towards them. They drew up along the pair like living ink until it swallowed them whole. Then simply collapse, leaving nothing in their wake as the shadows returned to their original places.

Their destination was the tower and it was there that Katt took the time to leave Sylva in the medical wing. Not for a check up but simply for the youth to rest. The staff was given instructions to leave the girl alone and when she was ready to go, she had permission to do so. When Sylva woke she would find the package she had been clinging onto placed with care on a chair nearby.

With Sylva resting Katt restlessly set off on a few tasks.

A month was not a lot of time?

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 07, 2017, 03:33:25 PM »
.: Chapter Thirty: Confliction of Self :.

The invitation was intriguing, to say the least. No reason given, but from Katt and with a reference to possibly bringing Doran... he decided to go alone. The lad was in the middle of preparing for a show, after all, and there would be time to talk soon enough. Better sooner than later, if it was about Sylva as he suspected. Why else would Doran even be potentially involved?  So he arrived as Asile aux Falaises and rang for admittance.

"Hey Ebon." Katt's voice came from above and when Ebon looked up he would find Katt leaning over the balcony as if she had been expecting him. Enough that she was already crawling on the ledge of the railing and jumping down to join him in the front yard. "It has been a while. How are you?"

"I mean, it's a nice day, but from your mysterious invitation I got the impression that it was somewhat serious, so perhaps a bit more privacy?"

Ebon...drinking. She had only witnessed this a few times but drinking with Renna. At first she didn't say anything. Instead she shook her head and made a gesture with her hand. "This way..." She started to move, guiding him around the building and to the sitting area that gave a great view of the infinity pool and the bay. "I am sure many thank you for..taking one for the team." Just as long as she wasn't on the rage end of his wife she was good! She was pretty sure there were times when he was drinking her concoctions that she was sure his wife would show up. Outback he would find a table was already prepared with a teapot and a couple of cups set out all nice and neat. There were a few beignets, too. She seemed to pull out all the stops. "I am sorry about the mystery that was my invitation. I wasn't..even sure if I should involve you let to."

"I'm always here to help if you need it, even if it's just to lend an ear." Sitting down, he picked up a beignet and took a bit. "Mmmmm." Eyes closed in what could almost be described as culinary rapture. "I have missed these on a regular basis." Setting down the pastry, he leaned back in the chair and steepled his fingers in front of him. "So, What's on your mind? Is it your brother, or...?" He was leaving his suspicions unspoken.

Right to business. Ebon knew her very well but for him, there were pleasantries. She wanted to ask how his family was doing and so forth but maybe he was right. Sinking down into a chair she raised a hand and smothered it along her face. Where to begin? How to begin? "Sylva." His suspicions were correct and she made no efforts to hide it. "I know you have been a way ..taking care of her. I don't know why or the likes. Is she a ward of your orphanage now?" That idea only made her stomach turn with the possibilities.

"No, she has taken up residence at a treehouse on the estate, one that Doran originally built for himself. He... invited her to stay there. It's close enough to the manor house that he can visit her, and it's quite comfortable, with power and facilities." He paused and took a sip of tea. "Although I'm not sure if she has ever started sleeping inside, or if she just lies out on the balcony landing." Another bite of beignet. "You know she joined us on our vacation right after Winterfest?"

She blinked at him. "I was..not aware of that." Apparently the connect Sylva had with the Ilnaren family was stronger than she thought. Tilting her head she looked at the table thoughtfully. "I do not remember if I have told you about my bloodline, Ebon." Part of her felt like they had already talked about it at one point. "But Sylva is coming upon something she is going to need to make a choice about or she is going to die. She is ..going to become a threat and I have asked her to remain away from everyone as much as possible until this...situation is handled."

"I know bits and pieces, mostly about your Reevi blood, but I don't recall if you've ever told me the full tale. Does this have to do with what Chaos did to you, with those mental blocks that I tried helping you with?"

She shook her head slowly. "No." So then he didn't know. "I guess I should explain my origin then." This wasn't something that she exactly shared with anyone. "I am born of two bloods. Two bloods that are not able to co-exist in a single form. My father, Caius, knew this. He fashioned a plan to create a weapon of sorts and found him a woman to fool. She was unaware of who or what he truly was or his plans. Months before I was born he left for war and when I was born my mother didn't name me. She wanted to wait for him to return so that they could name me together. When he did return he had my mother killed and me sent off on a ship to Mandrake." She decided to skip a bit of stuff now. "He is the First Male Reevi. And my mother was Altian. Technically I should be dead now as by around the age of 18 my blood would of killed me. Killing me from the inside out. But I made a pact with Chaos and he sealed away and nulled the Altian blood." She would pause there, letting it soak in.

For a moment that lasted eons, Ebon was silent as he sipped his tea and finished his beignet. His expression was stoic, but his eyes narrowed in thought before he spoke. "And Sylva is facing that same fate." It wasn't a question. "So she has to seal the Altian blood away. Do you think Chaos would be willing to help her? If he lives up to his name... well, I know from experience that entities who embody chaos are capricious at best." Then another thought struck him. "You say she has two bloods. What happens if she chooses to remove the Reevi?"

"That is exactly it, Ebon. I had to make a choice and made one in the midst of pain that ...was unimaginable. Yes, she is facing that same fate and going through Chaos is the only way I really know will work. I have asked Ed about being able to help with it but working with bloods is not his thing." So her choices were coming down thin. "I am sure if I request it he will help her..but it is her choice what to do. She can choose one or the other or..just die.." She scratched at her hair and sighed. "I have no idea what else to do." Her hand paused when he asked the last question and her hand slowly lowered. "If she chooses Altian then she will...forget everything. She will be as if a clean slate and the Guardians will come to take her from here. And ...she would willingly go with them."

That notion, quite frankly, staggered Ebon; if he hadn't been sitting, he would likely have collapsed. "Forget... everything?" He knew what she meant to Doran and he suspected that his son meant more to the girl than she may have realized. To be honest with himself, he had begun thinking of Sylva as practically family in his own mind. "Does she know of the choice that she's facing?"

"She does. I spoke to her about a month ago and have been seeking other paths to take. As I said to her, she needs to distance herself from people. If only because as it grows the pain will become blinding and she is likely to attack someone." She tilted her eyes to him. "I will be honest with you, Ebon. Compared to her, enraged, she could crush one of Ed's suits...if not crush it she could dent it with no problem. Altian blood is strong and coupled with the need for blood if only to quell the pain for a short time..." She shook her head slowly. "I fear she could hurt if not kill someone."

"To be fair, Katt, I could crush--or at least dent--one of Edward's suits... but it's not me that you're worried about, is it? It's Doran, and the other children, isn't it?" He drew a heavy sigh. "I've taught Doran to fight since he was seven years old, did you know that? He's very skilled, but still." His dark eyes looked up to meet her gaze. "Do you remember when that bounty hunter maniac came after Race? We both went in to help him... and I ended up with several cracked ribs, a punctured lung, and every bone in my right forearm splintered. So I do understand where you're coming from, Katt. Sometimes all the skill in the world is meaningless when faced with an overwhelming force fueled by rage... or hunger."

"I am not foolish enough to think that any of your children cannot protect themselves, Ebon. And you are correct. You are not exactly the one I am worried of. Would Doran be able to kill her if he had to? Would any of the children? Not only that but if she were to hurt them...she would condemn herself and avoid them. As I told her I know first hand. I did it..and the boy I did it to called me an abomination. He feared me. I ..still carry that guilt with me to this day. I cannot say she would be the same but chances are...she would." When asked if she remembered of Lobo she slowly nodded. It was hard to forget something like that. "Then there is the fact that it is someone you care about. And...she does care for your children, Ebon. As she does for Maggie and Des. I know she doesn't want to see any harm to any of them."

"So that's why she's been staying away from the house lately... why she's even been avoiding the treehouse some nights." He paused for a moment, and one eyebrow arched elegantly. "Would that also explain why some of the livestock has gone missing? If so, she owes me a few head of cattle." There was no malice in his statement, but rather an attempt to ease the mood a little. "I do understand, Katt, and I thank you for explaining it to me as you have. Although... now I wish I had brought Doran today. Eventually he's going to run into Sylva somewhere, and if he learns of this from her before he hears it from you, well, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes when he finds you in that case."

Her head tilted thoughtfully. "I do not know, to be honest. That may be something you would have to take up with her. I don't think she would mess with cattle. The blood tastets odd." Okay so that was maybe a little open, wasn't it. "But I cannot say who or what she feeds on if she is 'lost'." The situation was a little close to home. was right there at her doorstep. He earned a blink when he spoke of Doran. "I..don't..understand."

"Just trust me that he could find a way to make you hurt if you got him angry enough not to care about the consequences. Fortunately, he tends to be fairly level-headed and focused... he has to be." Reaching out, he gently tapped Katt on the forehead. "You know that madness that you have inside your head? In some respects, that's what he lives with every day, floating on the surface of a sea of roiling emotions from just about everyone in this insane asylum of a city. I originally taught him to focus on a wall, to keep out the emotions around him. He was the one who came up with the idea of a boat."

She nodded slowly, understanding what he was saying to a degree. "I do not see why he would be so upset with me if she would tell him what I told her, though." Her brows furrowed a bit. "Ebon? Sylva to Doran?"

"Honestly? I think he's at least a little bit in love with her. Maybe it's the resemblance to you..." He paused and gave Katt a curious look. "You know he had a crush on you for years, right?"

Doran was such a sweet lad and the idea that he had a crush on her was still..rather flattering. "From my understanding though I never seemed to realize it until the later years. But Sylva is not me..So it is likely a passing fancy, yes? When he realizes she is not me. And quite frankly I am glad for this, Ebon. She has taken a path that is all hers. She has..much I did not have at that age. Including the kindness of you and your kin."

"Oh, he realizes that she's not you... but by the time he really came to understand that, he had already come to care for her in her own right." Ebon smiled warmly at the comment from Katt. "She has brought joy into our house, and we are glad to have her. Still... I do think you should tell Doran what you've told me, before he learns of it from anyone else. If you kept that from him, well, he would likely see it as something of a betrayal."

The look on her face when he smiled at her like that was as if she was totally gobsmacked. His words surprised her, no doubt. "R...really.." Apparently Sylva had grown more close to people than she realized. "Do you think I should tell him or are you okay with relaying the message? I actually had suspected you would bring the lad with you but I did leave the choice up to you."

"I think you should tell him. This is something that should come from you, and... even you, he could probably 'read' at least a little, despite what's in your head. It would make it easier for him to understand."

She wasn't sure why she was so uncomfortable telling Doran herself. Maybe it was due to the fact he did kind of see Sylva as her. Pursing her lips she nodded slowly. "Alright. I will try to do that when he is free." She was silent for a moment and during this time she reached over to grab the pot and refresh Ebon's tea. "Thank you, Ebon. For taking her under wing. She wants nothing to do with me and while she makes me..severely uncomfortable I have tried to help her. She has, up until this time, refused my help. I am not even sure she will accept my help if I do get Chaos to assist me." Which may be a good reason to speak to Doran. Maybe he could sway that choice.

"I can't believe that she'd want to forget everyone she's come to know, not when the alternative is, quite frankly, having some abilities that the kids would say are... I believe the word is 'cool'. Would she be able to do what you do?"
"Yes but they are skills she would have to hone, like anyone learning. Hell she might even be able to awaken skills I do not know exist in me. That is something I can't say. Amazing how much our paths have varied, hasn' it?" Her abilities? Cool? She nibbled her inner cheek. "She may not want to forget but she also doesn't want to be like me. She could...also very well just accept death."

"Well, that may be an option, but... I certainly wouldn't recommend it." He finished his tea, and poured a second cup, adding sugar and a touch of milk. "If this Chaos won't--or, for some reason, can't--help her, what other alternatives have you considered. I know you mentioned Edward... but remember, you have far more resources here in Rhydin than you had on your own when faced with the same choice." Another sip, and a bite of his second beignet. "If you want, I could ask Eregor to consult. He may not be a scientist by nature, but he does have the advantage of coming from a society that's a few million years more advanced that even your brother's technology. He might know of something that might help. That is assuming that I can convince him to give DIANA access to his Tower's systems. He doesn't entirely trust Edward with new tech after his dealings with Renna, you know."

"To be honest after speaking with Edward, he has no real knowledge in how to do it. Diana has more knowledge than he does and I am not going to leave it to her to figure out something. As it stands Chaos is the only path I have to look at." While he spoke of Gory she didn't exactly know what Gory could do so she just felt..stumped there. "Ebon? Will...Doran be able to handle seeing Sylva in that much pain? It is going to get..pretty bad..."

"He'll handle it. He's a tough kid." A chuckle escaped from his lips. "Do you remember when Brian--well, not really Brian, but Raven--blew up the Bon-Bon and everyone thought you were dead? Doran went a little unhinged after that, and wound up wandering the streets of Rhydin for a while, carrying the spirits of dozens of Raven's victims around in his head. All that pain, all that yearning for vengeance... but when he finally found Brian, he let it all go and recovered himself again. He could even take some of her pain, to a degree... that might at least give her some time to feed safely, if necessary. I don't know."

Her head tilted as she listened to him, her lips parting faintly. Doran went..unhinged? Because of..her. She could not mask her surprise of this. "He is a strong lad, yes. I do not doubt that." She exhaled slowly and closed her eyes. "Please let him know that I wish to speak to him at his earliest convenience. He can contact me through DIANA at any time." Her lips thinned a bit more as she shook her head.

"I will, and I'll give him the contact codes. He'll probably seek you out tomorrow before the evening performance at the Shanachie. Have you seen it yet, by the way?"

She mused and opened her eyes to look at him. For a moment it could be seen in her eyes. She was..exhausted. "The Cats performance? I have. It is quite..amusing."

Ebon could see the exhaustion in her eyes, indeed, and felt it was time to move the conversation on to lighter topics. For now, the business seemed to be sorted, at least for the next few courses of action. "Doran and Maggie have been visiting gathering places all over Rhydin before or after many of the shows, in character with full costume and makeup. It's been a sight, let me tell you!" His laughter rang out, and then he asked about how her brother was doing, and did she want to see the latest pictures of the girls, and so on through the afternoon.

Community Events / Re:
« on: July 14, 2017, 02:02:32 PM »
Katt dressed up and made an appearance simply to support Peaches. She likely looked several shades of embarrassed in the process but hey! Gotta do whatcha gotta do.

A few mangas on the way out, a pair for her and one set for someone in the near future.

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: July 06, 2017, 04:39:58 PM »
Message Via Diana to Ebon: It is fine. I am sure he has other things to do.
Message Via Diana to Ebon: I am glad Collie helped but yes I think  you should have it looked at by one of the Sisters.
Message Via Diana to Ebon: Who's life isn't. Besides those that are eternal of course

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: July 06, 2017, 01:07:35 AM »
Message via DIANA to Ebon: ... I see. Anything else I should know?

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