Author Topic: The Hunter, The Far, and The Other  (Read 34 times)

Mach

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The Hunter, The Far, and The Other
« on: May 16, 2020, 05:45:15 PM »
Go to the Desert Sky Festival! It’ll be fun with food, entertainment, drinks, and shenanigans! That was the promise though the reality had proven to be much less appealing. Kites, prayer flag poles, and PTSD inducing hot air balloons are what had actually awaited him. A shindig not of his sorts, too wholesome and cheery without any wacky or debauchery. The night would have proven quiet the bust save for the last minute shenanigans that came along in the form of a chimera. Not exactly nice things to fight but not exactly hard for a fellow like him… unless you had squishy mages making the tactically poor choice of running to the front! Chasing down the princess he found himself on the wrong end of a lot of teeth. A stupid mistake, both the chasing and the participating to begin with given how much boom your average Rhy’Din denizen seemed to back. Should’ve just sat out with the peanut gallery and ate shrimp!

Now hobbling along down the cobbled road, the hunter squinted at the landmarks that were both familiar yet foreign. Where the hell had he gotten to!?! He'd rendered a basic amount of first aid to himself at the festival after his human chew toy act but had skedaddled before anyone could fuss too much over him and his oozing. No need bringing down folks worrying over his broken ass! No, he knew how to take care of himself and that meant meat to replenish the blood he'd lost. After that he could wait for the regeneration potion to do what it did... maybe. It was seeming to take it’s sweet time and he was starting to wonder if he'd make it before then though there was nothing doing now. Just had to keep on keeping on until he couldn't keep on any longer, alone as was the only way he knew how.

Stumbling past what he swore was the same statue he'd passed twice before the man blinked as he came to the back of a large institutional looking building. That... that didn't look like a steakhouse, that looked like a university classroom hall.... ****.

He turned to look for a street sign but the entire world seemed to turn with him, shifting and suddenly wrenching to the side. Mach hit the ground with a thud, blood dribbling down his brow from a cut as the bandages around his leg soaked red despite the pressure he'd tied them with. s***. s***! He had to get, had to keep doing, had to... had to... rest. Yes. NO! His mind swam as he peered at the sideways world.

Within moments, soft footfalls neared the rumpled heap of a man.  At first wary but the closer they sounded, the more urgency they took on.  They of course belonged to a skittish little fae who happened to live nearby. Unbelieving at first, she was horrified to see it was indeed her friend likely dying just feet from her humble little home.

She crouched down beside him, gnarled little fingers reaching out to lightly touch his shoulder.  A shaky little whisper urgently called to him.

"M-Mach?  M-Mach, c-can you h-hear m-me?"

The man jerked a little at the touch to his shoulder, a spooked look crossing his very drunk looking features. Force of habit, he may have glomped on everyone but he was always aware of his surroundings. Then again when he wasn't typically was when terrible things happened to him.

Rolling onto his back that panic subsided as he saw a familiar face. "Oh hey! Lexi! What are you... um... doing onna ground like this?" He grinned drunkenly though not a drop could be smelled on him, he was obviously delirious from blood loss. "Shouldn look so worried, detracts from your pretty freckled face." A grin as even in such a state he had to schmooze.

Her brows knitted as she quickly went into assessment mode.  She tsked softly before speaking again.

"A-Alright, l-lets g-get you in-s-s-side."  She moved quickly but gently to try and hook a skinny arm under whichever arm seemed less injured.  She certainly had no upper body strength to speak of, but if he would let her, she would push up under him with a surprising amount of leg power and quickly but steadily get him into her tiny home.

A trickle of blood ran down from his head, a jagged cut up his brow probably speaking to his bad decision not to seek medical help. Something knocked the sense from him and he had so little to begin with. Some black, tar like blood sat dried around his lips. Something about the blood was disturbing but seemed the least worrisome insult to the man as it looked well past being an active problem. That honor was for his tightly bound thigh, blood having soaked the pressure dressing and now staining the cobbles beneath.

"Oh... how lu-lurid! But you gotta boy you... um... like, yeah? I... I just need to find Patrelli's. Two 72 ounce steaks and I'll be right as rain!" He'd sort of lump for a bit before having a bit of lucidity helping her help him up. Back on his feet however and he'd begin trying to wander off.

She persisted and fitted herself neatly in his under arm, her thin arm snaking around behind him to hold him to her.  With a placating tone, she murmured softly to him.

"Y-Yes, M-Mach.  L-Let's get you s-s-some s-steak.  R-Right after we c-c-clean you up."  She guided him to her front door and pushed in.  It was never locked anyway.

Or so she would attempt to placate him as she led him to get abode but the hunter had other ideas. "I don't need cleaning. I'm fine. I'm fine damnit!" He struggled some but not much feeling her thin frame pressed up against him. Bled as he was, he apparently still had some higher cognitive functions left and knew he could easily hurt the girl if he struggled with vigor. She was a waif and he was a well muscled and toned fighting machine afterall.

Being led he noted the dilapidated shack she led him to. Something about it's appearance seemed familiar though it didn't take long for even his oxygen starved brain to piece together.  "Your home..." His words tired in a way they'd not been before, perhaps a touch betrayed promoting a bit more struggle. "Seriously, I'm fine. Just... I just.... I turned around is all...Let me go Lexi, I'm fine..." The words a mantra, as though if he said them enough times they would be true.

Indeed, much more of a struggle might strain a muscle or two on that delicate frame of hers.  Perhaps more.  Still she had to try.  Scarred little hand gently stroked his back as she tried to guide him again.

"I-I kn-know.  I-I kn-know you a-are.  J-Just hu-humor me?  P-P-Please?  I-It's l-late and I'm s-s-scared."  That much was true.  She was scared.  Scared if she ket him out of her sight, she'd never see him alive again.  Gentle but firm, shed'd try again to get him through the door and into the worn old arm chair in her tiny living room.

Mach growled lightly, a tired threat but it held no obvious malice. The man was self sufficient to a fault, much more so of recent months. And while he was usually really good at hiding this side of his dangerous life from others tonight had been an anomaly. Too many cooks in the kitchen, too many things to keep track of and he made a grave mistake. And rather than get the help he needed he sought to preserve the image folks had of him, a gallant, goofy badass that rode off into the sunset... even if that might well kill him.

Inner turmoil rolled for a moment longer before she'd feel that tension ease, a ragged sigh escaping. "Sorry Lexi..." He was in a bad way but it seemed he was still capable of processing what he was doing to others. Just how hard was he able to soldier on, to whip his mind and body to perform even on the brink of failure?

Moving with her now rather than against he'd collapse into the chair, fingers moving to pull at his depleted trauma kit he carried, looking for a few last supplies. "Got munched on by a chimera... lions head, no venom. Deep wounds. My... my regeneration potion isn't working so well and I'm out of spray plug so thought... thought..." He faded a little, head lulling before snapping back up. "Thought I just need some iron and protein. Can build blood quick. Better bandage and... yeah" He spoke clinically obviously very used to giving situation reports even half dead.

As he sank into the chair with grooves and indents that were unmistakably not Lexi sized or shaped, the little fae wasted no time with questions he'd likely be unable to answer in his rapidly declining state, and instead began bustling about.  Clean linens and bottles of herbs and tinctures seemingly materialized at his feet.

Taking immeasurably great care, she quickly packed on more pressure, not daring to disturb what little barrier the previous bandages provided.  Wrapped within the layers of new bandage, she applied leaves whose names were rooted in languages long since dead.  Leaves that would help staunch bleeding for moderate injuries, but it was all she had on hand.

"D-Down to the b-bone..."  she murmured, mostly to herself but loud enough to be heard.

"I-If o-only I c-could-" she cut herself off short, shaking her head.  She'd learned her lesson the last time she tried to heal him and sent him to some unknown world.  Three full scoldings from three separate people, present company included, and a torturously long visit with an actual doctor later, she was certain she would never make that mistake again.

Still, she chewed her bottom lip worriedly as she looked at his ashen complexion.

Even as drain drunk as he was he could feel the void he filled did not match the waif... not that he'd checked her out for such or anything! Right. Yes. Okay. It was a mystery though then again what little he saw of the residence seemed to be one big puzzle. It looked to be hers and yet not, the two notions disjointed but undisputable. Still, that was a line of thought that would have to be back burnered for the much more pressing matter at hand.

He half listened, half watched, half faded as she worked. He couldn't feel what was applied but he could feel the muscles contract slowing the ooze if blood faster though even then it wouldn't staunch. Damn, he must have been nailed with some of the snake's head venom as well. Of course her assessment was correct, there were teeth marks for not the first time in his life on his femur.

Those last words, murmured with worry and impotence did warrant a dry chuckle as he reached out with that organic and of his the stroke her cheek gently on its way to ruffling the nest of her hair. "It's... it's alright Lexi. Don't... don't do anything dumb, yeah? I don't... don't want you hurt on... account... my account." His head lulled for a moment before snapping up again. "Gotta... take care of yourself... get gussied up and tell that boy how you... you feel. Me? I'm... I'm just going to... take a rest, yeah? I think I earned that... didn't I?" The last bit sounded distant, not spoken to the girl so much a question for the world at large.

She sat back on the floor in front of him, feeling useless for all her efforts and rudimentary training.  Deeply scarred little hands covered her face for a moment before they continued on to weave into her hair.  She clutched handfuls of it as her elbows came to rest on her knees.

After a brief moment of despair, her resolve strengthened.  A look of determination set in her features.  She was about to do something dumb.  Yes, she was vaguely aware of the adverse side effects her magic, or anyone else's, had on the hunter, but desperate times called for dumb and desperate measures.  Pulling her legs into a criss-cross position, she gingerly placed a bloodied hand on his ruined leg and closed those large dark brown eyes, ready to deal with the consequences of her decision as they came.

She pulled ever so gently.  She pulled at his injuries the way one would pull at a splinter in a child's little finger.  She made no attempt to calm or soothe through any ethereal means.  No, her efforts were one way only.  She pulled rips and tears from muscle and tendon.  She pulled gouges and fractures from bone.  She pulled toxins and poisons and potential infections from gaping wounds that would soon cease to gape.  Shredded muscle would knit as her own rent asunder.  She gasped and grit her teeth as pain seared in her own leg as it split jaggedly.  Wounds seemed to open from within and her blood pressure dropped dramatically, making the color rapidly drained from her face.

As she weakened, she mentally prepared herself for what she was sure to come.  She continued to pull even as she awaited his undoubtedly inevitable catatonia.

Undoubtedly, inevitable catatonia... if only the girl were so lucky. Despite all has outward appearances and assurances the man was still a hunter of mages, and a relatively successful one at that. And a fellow didn't get so far in his line of work without tuning themselves into the ebb and flow of the ether... and attaching a big red flag to that feeling.

Mach may have been drifting out but his hind brain acted, organic hand shooting out to push the fae away forcefully. "s***... what?... No!" And now his fore brain kicked back to life, realization percolating through the haze of hypoxia and toxins that his brain swam in. He could only hope he broke the link though his right hand still flailed for the caster hung under his arm. "No, damnit, no!" He felt his wound closing but it was too much, felt toxins being drained when he literally drank them to begin with in the form of his potions. She didn't know about limits, didn't care about balance. She just healed and took with neither thought or concern for herself. And she did it impulsively, without thought to the end state. His leg would be closed but he'd still be hypovolemic and worthless even as her flesh rent. Then what?

And more so she just didn't understand. Completely his fault but still, it was ignorance nonetheless. That his catatonia and reaction to magic were two linked but vastly different things. His stomach rolled, a sick feeling climbing until a gulch of black, lifeless blood erupted out of his mouth. He tried to say something but the man could only wheeze as his blood pressure tanked. It was perhaps a small miracle he pulled that mostly depleted trauma kit out first as his fingers began desperately feeling through the few syringes left. Plucking one with a dangerously long needle he aligned the nasty looking then between his ribs before shoving it's length in, the dispenser plunger popped to send out a dose directly into his heart, kicking it so it didn't stop as it was threatening to. Still, the man reeled, slumping forward in the chair. "L-Le-Lexi... y-you o-o-ok-kay?" Words sputtered as he tried to hold on to conciseness.

She thought she had it all figured out.  Foolish little fae.  It seemed a bit late for a lesson in discernment, but rest assured, should the little halfling make it fully back to the living, she would most assuredly apply it to any future healings and dealings.

His push would send her tumbling back where she would lay sprawled at his feet, a mess of skinny arms and legs and ridiculously long hair obscuring a good part of her face.  All save for the eyes.  Those rich dark brown eyes that now stared empty and hollow at the tiny unlit fireplace just in front of the armchair.  To the untrained, she was as good as dead.  And really, she may as well be as still as she was.  Hardly any recognizable breath or heartbeat.  Yet, somehow a single thread, as weak and frayed as her simple clothing, tethered her to life.  For now.

If either of them did. The man wasn't sure how well her empathic healing worked on replacing blood but it would be a moot point as the magic just pushed him past his saturation point causing massive damage in the form of that black vitae he vomited. So he was hypovolemic regardless on top of the fact that if she were sucking toxins out of his body she may well have sucked some of that regeneration potion he drank which was essentially cancer in a vial. If that were the case she might be in better shape than he as the potion was doing little for him but for someone else...? On top of battle stimulant which was essentially body altering poison drugs and epogen which would have seen her wasting what little muscle she had to make blood. All those potions almost made the true venom in his veins from the chimera that shut down his coagulation pathways seem mild by comparison. It was little wonder he needed an augmented liver to process his potions less they killed him.

Though it looked like Super (temporary) Alexia had not been made as they flopped down lifeless on the ground.  Mach would have cursed if he had it in him but he really didn't. He was barely hanging on as it was, the needle left in his heart for another kick just in case. Running, or stumbling, through his options he moved to collapse next to the girl, hands stripping her of what modest bottoms she had on to check the damage transferred. Damnit, he knew he should have been more belligerent, just forced his way on by and collapsed elsewhere! The irony was not lost on him... Moving he'd wrap up that skinny thigh as he tried to assess what needed to be done to help.

The immediate weakness that came with blood loss was the problem.  And had that remained the only problem, the various drugs may have helped.  Or she may have overdosed.  But that would never be determined.  Because the very first problem brought her close to death.  Not as close as she had come to it in the past, but close enough so that things in the ether that stretched from this world to dozens of others took notice.  Some benevolent and some by far more sinister.

Of all the beings and creatures between realms of the living and the dead, this one in particular beat all the others to the punch.  It was this being that would have the little fae's eyes slowly blink back to consciousness, leaving behind the warm rich spark those dark brown eyes once held.  For the moment, she simply lay there, letting her senses catch up with her.

As for the real Alexia, she was lost in darkness somewhere.  She saw shadows of things she couldn't quite make out.  Things that lurked just in the outskirts of her vision, blurring and dissipating when she tried to look.  It was from within this oblivion she tried calling out.  But without a mouth, much less a voice, would anyone hear her distant cry?

"M-Mach..." the faint echo whisked by like an errant breeze, here and gone in an instant.

Finishing with the dressing Mach, well, took a moment or three to fight back against the clarion of alarms that were going off in his head. He was in very bad shape but that didn't matter as Alexia lay there catatonic over him. Him! Of all the stupid, dumb, bird brained things killing oneself for a dead man walking had to be there dumbest! Stupid empath! Dumbass girl! The angry thoughts rolled, fueling that piss and vinegar he worked to channel to keep him going. Yeah, he was going to save her ass and survive himself just so he could chew her ass out up one way and down the other!!!

Brushing hair aside he'd lay his ear to her mouth and nose, listening and feeling for breath as he stared at her chest for the rise and fall of life, natural hand catching a wrist to feel for a pulse. She was there, but just so. Damnit! Reaching back he'd fumble to grab a vial from his belt - a small red ampule which he broke the top off and would proceed to pour into the little fae's mouth, fingers pushing open lips and wedging between teeth. Certainly not the romantic passing potions through a kiss but that was dumb as you lost a lot of potion down your own mouth that way. Anyway, this was a Rhy'Din grown and brewed health potion, useless and potentially murderous for him. He only carried a few ampules for idiot bystanders who didn't run fast enough away when he was working.

Faintly he heard something, was that Alexia? It was a soft call, barely perceptible and distant. What the? Yet still something happened. The girl's chest rose and fell quicker, her heart rate rose, the tickle of breath washed over his cheek. Lifting some he saw the spark of life once more in those big brown pools yet something was off. The gaze was cold, lacking something of the girl's usual look. "A..Alexia..?"

He pushed back, watching her a moment though the motion shifted what little blood he had causing the world to roll, his heart jittering. ****. He had to, to... He hit the doser button once more, a bolus of chemicals pouring into his heart trying to stabilize and prevent the muscle from failing. But the fight was lost on all other grounds as Mach fell over sideways, no energy to stop his list as he slumped onto his side. He mouthed a name, a word but he had no breath to give such voice, the world swirling dizzily before his conciseness slipped from his grasp.

(Written with the wonderful Alexia Longbow)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 05:59:47 PM by Mach »

Mach

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Re: The Hunter, The Far, and The Other
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2020, 09:12:31 AM »
Awakening Mach heard the soft lap of the pitch black waves before him, the coast of gray stretching out to the horizon either way while a sky of overcast hung above. It was a familiar scene to the man, handsome in his brown wool dress uniform with a mantle, two hands tucked in pockets as he took in the sight with his two cobalt blue eyes. A younger version of Mach, a man in their mid to late twenties when time had frozen for them.

Taking a drag off his cigarette he quietly contemplated the waves and the events that saw him at these crossroads once more between life, death, and the ether.

He was alone and then suddenly he wasn't.  Behind him a beautiful ethereal figure with cascading waves of silky brown hair flowing about her shoulders.  She was clad in long fine linens that enrobed her down to delicate feet that hovered several inches above the ground.  The cause of her hover were a pair of gossamer wings that extended well above her head.  They fluttered and let her descend to lightly touch down.  Fathomless dark brown eyes regarded him with warmth.

A brow quirked as he regarded the ethereal woman that touched down behind him, world weary eyes taking in their details in a very familiar way. It was that sly assessment he gave everyone on first meeting, the hunter tendency obviously well entrenched even in this dead world.

"Well... you're not the usual entertainment... or you trying out a different look Sunshine?" Lips hitched into a cocky half smile as he spoke to what obviously was some sort of apparition. No, the residence of these crossroads ought to be that reaper of his, or so was his thinking. "Fancy a shag or we playing another game? Can't say I've got much to play with though." A sheepish grin as he pulled out a fistful of poker chips which shown almost painfully brilliant in contrast to the drab surroundings.

Old habits died hard.  Thin smooth arms rose to hold herself in a timid embrace.  She looked around, unsure of her surroundings, fading and reappearing for just a moment.  When she finally met his gaze again, she spoke.  Gone was the usual halting stutter, but the voice was still as sweet and familiar as ever to those who knew her.

"Mach? Is that you?"

That half cocked grin faded as the woman spoke in an all too familiar voice. Wait. "Alexia?" He squinted taking her in again but this time comparing the woman to the ragamuffin. Structurally... yes, it was the person though obviously this was the version of her... s***, when was she ever like this!? Thin yes, timid, absolutely, but it seemed the ragamuffin girl had been a real looker at some point... for those into the gangly fae look. Granted he'd certainly had fun with his share because, well, terrible.

Of course such thoughts made the man feel even worse still as he realized that something terrible had to have happened for her to be as she is. More so because it seemed she'd been a winged fae at one point but was apparently no longer... and Mach knew shearing a fae's wings was a most horrible thing to do.

As these initial thoughts passed the pressing questions arose starting with perhaps the most important. "What are you doing here? Do you know where here..." And something occurred to him, that fist full of chips hurriedly shoved back into his pocket. "Do you know what this place is? You shouldn't be here!"

She shook her head, a frown pulling down on soft pink lips.  A single tear welled up and dared to mar her complexion as it trailed down her lightly freckled cheek.

"I'm not here...  not always.  Sometimes I'm in darkness.  Sometimes I'm in my old home with Mama and Papa."  A sad little smile tried to shine through but failed.

She took a shuddering breath and more hot tears spilled one by one.  Her lower lip trembled as her large dark eyes slid closed.

"I...  I'm dead, aren't I?"  She whispered softly.  Those gossamer wings moved slowly open and closed, much the way a butterfly might, before gently lowering and folding neatly, almost flush against her back to swirl and flow with the rest of her garb.

A frown crossed those handsome features as something broke within the fae, a tear rolling down as they spoke of darkness and their own representation of... damn it. That meant that she'd been here before, to the dead lands between. Serah had called it Valhalla or something like that but Mach only knew of it as the Crossroads, a place folks ought not be familiar with less they constantly put their life on the line. Alexia... probably did know of here because of course she'd heal another to the point she danced on the near shore. Damn it!

His teeth ground and yet he closed in on the woman in broad strides, arms opening to close around them in an embrace. Gentle, warm, comforting... that was the hold those strong arms evoked. Like a rock in a turbulent sea. "You're not dead." He spoke softly. "But this isn't a place for you to be. What are you even doing here? Last I recall you were walking up, your breathing normalizing. You shouldn't be..." A thoughtful pause before he shook his head refusing to release her from his warmth simply to be glib. "... here. What... what happened?"

She fell into the embrace.  In the living world, her tiny frame hardly had any heft to it.  Here in the in between, with far less physical substance, it was like embracing a breeze.  A warm, soft breeze with sweet smelling skin of lavender.  Her head lay gently on his chest as thin arms hooked under his to press lightly against the backs of his arms.

"I don't know.  I tried to go back.  I always go back.  But I couldn't see and there were things, sharp hungry things pulling at me."  Her body wracked with sobs.  After a shaky breath or two, she pulled back just enough to look up into his face.

"You were right.  I was so stupid!  Please, yell at me and tell me how stupid I was!"  Her eyes were pleading and despite how frantic she became, that sweet voice never became shrill.

Mach worked to comfort the fae in the only way he knew how, his body a bastion to seek refuge against as his mind worked through what was said. She'd tried to go back but couldn't. She couldn't see. Sharp things? Pulling? He racked his brains trying to coble as much about the in-between as he could.

It wasn't a land for humans, not really. Mages could recall it, some even able to access it though such was typically ill advised and taboo. Hunters had a passing familiarity with it though only so much that it was at the junction between the near and far shores. No, those that really were familiar with this place were those creatures with a strong connection to the ether... spirits, elementals, fae...

As she looked up at him pleading with him to yell at her he couldn't help but smirk. Alluring as any of the fairy folk, exotic and mysterious, this was still Alexia... with all the questions this notion brought. Leaning in he pressed a gentle kiss to her brow. "Alexia..." Cobalt blues delved into those brown depths, gazing for a long, tender moment. Then he head-butted her.

A caring headbutt though! With all the screaming pain and best intentions behind it! A hiss escaped as even he felt the throb from that. "Yeah, that was pretty damn boneheaded Lexi. We need to work on your gung ho attitude once we get back..." 'If I go back since you sort of ****ed me good' crossed his mind but he didn't speak such words as he knew the woman would just shut down in guilt if he needled her as so. No, they needed to figure out what was going on before something happened to his or her state.

"You said this happens... often? How do you usually get back or prevent others from taking over?" He spoke frankly, going over things his training into magical investigation had taught him while still trying to piece things together. Damnit if only he were a scholarly type!

The sudden jolt cut short her sobs and pleas with a small mangled cry.  Stunned, the fae futilely shut her eyes to the stars that flashed in her vision.  When she opened them again, she was just the tiniest bit cross eyed for a split second.  A shake of the head and several blinks cleared that right up.

"Others?  No, I... I just go back.  Everything goes cold and dark, sometimes I think of Mama and Papa, and then I'm just... back.  These other places, bad places, I don't remember them."  She looked around them again and her presence flickered again.  Just a quick blink and she was back.

"I don't want to go back to the sharp place."  She whispered, sounding more like her physical self.

Her head lowered to place the tender area back on his chest for a moment as she tried to collect her thoughts.  When she lifted it again, she stared at his collar pensively.

"It's like when you're walking somewhere and your mind starts to wander.  You just keep walking and before you know it, you're there, but you don't really remember how.  Only this time... this time I never arrived."  Her brows knit in frustration.

"I can feel it.  I can feel where I'm supposed to be, here," she pulled one small pristine hand back to gingerly rest on her heart, "but I just can't reach it."

As if to emphasize her point, a soft light glowed where she touched and a thin thread-like strand of light curled out, reaching several inches, the end seemingly searching for something.

Well, that seemed to get her back on track! Who says percussive maintenance didn't work on folks? Listening to what was said he worked to try and shove the pieces into a cohesive picture. She just goes back and doesn't come to these 'bad' places. That almost got a chuckle out of him knowing she viewed this as a bad place. She wasn't wrong by any measure, it was just funny to the man to hear his personal connection to these shores as bad. Right giggle worthy though he kept such to himself as he continued to listen, watching as she demonstrated her connection to her physical form. Something about that warm light attracted the man, like a moth his own hand rested over her heart gently for but a second before he ripped it away.

s***, that had to look creepy! Then again he couldn't help feeling some understanding. Souls attracted souls, and hers was brilliant unlike the bare embers that were his. Wait souls... body... can't reach. ****.

"So is it prickly and such when you do try to go back?" His voice gentle though there was growing concern on those handsome features, those arms around her squeezing in gently.

She watched his hand as it touched just above her left breast.  The strand of light began to curl almost lovingly around his wrist until he pulled it away and it once more tried to search.  Large dark eyes widened as she looked up at him, but not in shock but as if to ask, 'you see it too?!'  His question darkened her face and she shook her head slowly.

"Not prickly.  Sharp.  Like teeth and claws.  That's the bad place.  There's something in my way and it pushes me there."

The strand, longing for the connection that was almost made, trailed delicately along his lapel.

Mach watched the light and listened to her words, a slow nod as realization occurred. "You've been possessed... your body that is. By an outsider..." Shuffling he drew out one of those brilliant poker chips, a motion for her to hold out her hand. He watched carefully as he placed the chip down and it... did nothing. "****, that seals it..."

A look back to those big brown eyes of hers. "A piece of my soul..." Motioning to the chip. "Souls, as I understand, need bodies, are drawn to them. Yours..." He pestered the light that slowly crawled to him from her heart. "Is looking for one... mine. While mine isn't drawn to yours because something is already possessing it. So it just sits there." He thinks. This was awfully big brain stuff for the likes of him though he spoke of it with gusto. Would have been a pretty egg on face situation if that bit of his soul vanished into her but it was an experimental gamble he was willing to make.

Taking back the poker chips he'd pocket it while watching the woman's reaction.

She listened intently as she processed every damning word.  She seemed to understand well enough as she watched the demonstration.  A brief look of disgust twisted her lovely features at the thought of something inhabiting her body.  All she could manage was a defeated not.  She drew in a breath and let it out slowly as she placed both palms on his chest and gently pushed away, taking a step back.

"I don't know what to do now."  Her arms once again wrapped around her petite frame.

"I never told Danny-"  And apparently she would never tell Mach what she never told Danny either, for as she spoke, she began to flicker again.  She felt the pull and her lower lip trembled at the thought of returning to where unseen things clawed and gnawed at her.  In and out, the last shreds of her being began to fade.

Mach watched as defeat twisted those features, the expression heavy like a slug in his belly. Damnit. Yet another thing he would have to headbutt her over when the time came, that her body was so much more prone to such. As a human he was not a creature of the ether, his body and soul were inseparably linked which made possession very unlikely without an active, aggressive approach. But fae were different, their bodies were but vessels as he understood which meant without proper wards others could potentially enter.

Chewing on his lip his mind raced as he considered his options. The woman hugged themselves, spoke but was cut off as her soul once more heeded the call of her body... even if something else would be waiting. No... no! Think damnit! There had to be something he could do, some vessel he could... could...

Mach looked at her, a dangerous glint in his eye. "HEY! SUNSHINE!!" He yelled out to the empty beach, a pointless gesture and yet as the words left his mouth a shadow came into focus just on the periphery of vision.

A tall finger, feminine and lean like her cast in a black hooded robe that clashed with the alabaster of their skin. Beneath the hood was a pretty, angular face painted like a skull. "So you finally call Elitia Vance Turner?"

Mach looked at the figure, that dangerous glint growing into a grin. "Damn right, I got a proposal seeing as you haven't been here from the start. Must mean I'm surviving, yeah?"

"By definition."

Mach fished out two chips from his pocket, holding them up. "I wanna take this one with me. Share my vessel with her till we can get hers sorted." And now he reached out, his hand clasping her breast to give that string of light an anchor to climb on. "What do you say!?"

For their part the pale figure just watched emotionlessly. "You know what this will do Elitia Vance Turner? It-"

"Can I do it or not!" A look back to Alexia checking on her as he made that devil's deal.

She flickered so dangerously, it seemed as though his hand would pass completely through her.  Instead, it grounded her.  She solidified with the faint sound of fabric tearing.  The hem of her lofty dress fell at an odd angle as though something had snagged it terribly.  She gasped at the shock of being anchored but had no complaints, only questions.

"What are you doing?"  It was unclear if she beseeched the hunter or the wildly flailing strand of light that now wrapped firmly but gently around his arm, snaking up to reach for the same spot in his chest.

Mach shot her a little smile, watching as that light crawled up his arm like a vine. Rather than answer he turned back to the robed one. "Can I?"

"It is your vessel Elitia Vance Turner, you may do with it as you please. But there will be consequences."

"Ain't there always.* That last bit muttered to himself though it didn't stop him from tossing the chips to the skeletal figure, the brilliant pieces shattering almost tragically in their grasp. Looking back now Mach shot her an apologetic look. "Sorry Lexi, think you get to be angry at me next for being stupid. If you can, call out, I don't remember stuff from here, yeah?" That smile crooked into a grin. "And sorry, just gotta do it once, hope you forget too..."

And with that he pulled her to him, his lips meeting hers in a kiss as he drew her in opening himself to that light which reached for him. Giving himself in to partial possession, yeah, this was a very stupid idea but it was the best way he could think to protect the woman. And so it would be up to her to cling to him or not as he began to flicker and fade, the price paid so now he was returning to his miraculously still running body.

Her eyes went wide as he pulled her in.  She tried to protest but his lips cut off anything she might have said after an abrupt 'No-!'  Tiny fists beat at his chest and tried to push away when she realized that even if she succeeded, she would likely cost him more than he had already put on the line.  With one last tear rolling down her beautiful ethereal face, she once again gave into him, her eyes closing, giving the last shining tether to her soul a chance to attach to him and fade away with him wherever he would go.

Mach knew he was robbing her of agency, forcing her hand to his half baked schemes but to him it was the only kindness he could offer. He could see how distressing being pulled back to whatever took over her body was and he'd had personal experience being a fragmented soul in the in-between and knew what scars such left on a person. At very least he could try to protect her from such even if she may grow to hate him for it. But that was a risk he was glad to make. And this kiss? Well, this was Mach afterall, it would be impossible to tell and good luck getting a straight answer out of him!

Feeling the warmth of her soul intertwined with his the man shuttered but held fast as those tendrils made a home within him. If she were so tuned she may notice that she was the second to have a connection to his soul. Another presence, inhuman and very magical was deeply connected as well in a way much different than her. More parasitic in nature, a strain though something about the connection felt broken, incomplete. What in the hell had the man been doing in his life!?

As the dead crossroads faded his senses did as well, that press of lips vanishing until there was nothing but void. And then…

(Written with Alexia Longbow)

Mach

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Re: The Hunter, The Far, and The Other
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2020, 12:27:10 PM »
And then there was pain. And sickness. And all around feeling like crap. A groan escaped as that lone cobalt opened against better judgement just to lay there dead. "W-what the f-**** happened..." A moan to the world at large as he worked to will his noodly arms to function.

She went willingly now, firmly attached and eternally grateful.  The other inhabitant, though unseen to her for now, she felt the overwhelming urge to avoid at all costs.  Her shining soul followed him back to the physical, a soft warm glow, soothing and comforting, settled into the tiniest corner she could find.  There she would curl up and sink deep into the folds.

Her poor little body, now infested with something, writhed, every inch of it staticky with pins and needles.  Fresh wounds from the most recent healing attempt knit and repaired slowly but surely.  Weak, but gaining strength with each passing moment, she sat up and groaned, her voice deeper than usual.  Taking a cursory glance around, blurred shapes swirled.  Too soon.

"Where am I?"  She rasped to no one in particular?

Mach flopped a few times, a curse escaping as he rolled into the heart kicker syringe still sticking out of his chest. This would be pulled out with much less vigor than he'd hope. Dammit he just felt drained. Drained. Cold. Crappy. Pained. And somehow alive. Damn that Alexia and their meddling! Then again closing up the most egregious wounds before he shoved her away was probably why he was still of the land of the living... if just so. Rolling to his back he totally regretted this as his low volume of blood sloshed, sending his world reeling for a good minute before he was able to focus on fishing out a vial from his belt which he tucked away in sleeve not wanting the fae to handle it. An epogener with included bolus of iron for making blood, to be taken when Lexi wasn't around.

Hearing a voice the man looked over to the curled figure. A voice? Something seemed off about that tone though perhaps the odder thing was the manner. "What?" Asked to the non-stuttering Lexi. Did... did they heal him so hard he broke their stutter!

Images slowly steadied.  Those hollow dark brown eyes turned to the barely alive Mach and regarded him with a coldness even a perfect stranger would take issue with.  Eyes narrowing, she shifted into a kneel with one knee down and one foot planted on the floor, not quite steady enough to rise.  Yet.

"Hey... friend," she tried again to survey the room, taking note of the blood and bodily fluids, bandages, the overall wreck of the immediate vicinity.

"Be a lamb and remind me where we are, would you?" Those rapidly pinking lips parted into a smile that existed only on a paper thin surface.

Resting as he could, the schmooze sort of watched Lexi as they moved, a chill holding to those usually warm yet timid features. This rose alarms in the hunter who was always watching, always taking note of the world around even when playing the fool. This was abnormal and abnormal usually meant trouble. Still, it wasn't like he knew an awful lot about the girl, maybe this was just a thing. She was pointy ear touched after all, they tended to be an eccentric lot.

Moving carefully he rolled onto his side, a thought before his hand slipped behind to support him. "Lamb, eh? Have a little fun and already forget my name?" A woozily cheery smile offered. "We're at your home at the university... I think. Why?" Friendly and dopey, that was Mach as he lounged there looking a few shades of blue.

The word 'fun' called her attention down to her lower half, now clad only in a modest undergarment.  One could almost see the wheels turning in her head.  A soft chuckle spilled from her lips and her smile leaned into the seductive side.

"Sorry about that... Tiger,"  Sultry tones poured from her like honey.  "You know how it is when things get rough and kinky."  She moved a touch closer, trying to get a better look.

It wasn't the best idea, but it was all she could come up with at the moment and she rolled hard with it.  Her movements lengthened into a feline like crawl.  To the common dupe he pretended to be, it would seem she was just angling for round two instead of trying to locate weapons, advantages and disadvantages, and an exit strategy.

"Oh, you minx." That grin curled wickedly. "We ****ed things up so badly last time, yeah? And you wanna go at it again? s***... guess a fella can only be so lucky going doing something they love. Why not take off the shirt so I can see that bounce, yeah?" He motioned to her chest as she crawled towards him, a lurid look to his eye as he all but licked her down with his gaze.

Whether they took the bait or not it would only require a moments distraction for Mach's hand to snap back around from behind, sidearm in tow and thrust forward towards the center of mass of the slender fae. His gaze turned hard with a quickness as he stared down the woman. "I ain't sure who or what you are, but you ain't Lexi. Hands up, ankles crossed. Make any sudden move and I'll drill you."

His tone was cold, hard, steady. This was the hunter, for as much bluff as he could muster. His caster would have been much better for this sort of thing but he didn't have a spell in him that wouldn't kill him at the moment. Just what the hell happened to Lexi!? Was... was this really a thing or was this an abnormality? His mind raced as he stared down the gangly woman before him.

His ruse had worked.  She had in fact pulled back to rest on her haunches and begun lifting the hem of her blouse in that alluring cross-armed style.  It seemed like a half decent idea.  He was certainly good looking enough.  Granted he seemed more metal than man but that never stopped this particular being before.

She hadn't made it far, just enough to expose smooth if not questionably thin midriff.  His command had her crawling backward like a cornered animal, a sharp toothed hiss twisting her features.

"A hunter," she all but spat the words.  "I might have known."  She growled as she once again observed the intense blood spatter among other things on the floor.

As she backed into the space below a quaint little window seat, a cruel smile spread with realization.

"You won't hurt me.  The way you say her name? No, it's all bluster.  You'd never hurt your precious Lacey."  She gave her newly mended legs a test step and found herself slowly rising.  She took the opportunity to rip off the small thin curtain and begin to fashion a less eye catching attire than simply bottomless.

Mach kept up that ruse with ease as he used that age old way to lie like a champ, include a hint of truth. Not that broken skeletal girls were his jam or anything but there was enough interest in the girl in the right ways to stretch for believability. Helped that he was generally terrible too.

Hearing that title come from the woman in a hiss as they retracted gave him pause. So they knew that term and used it with revile. That told him something even if his brain swam in it's hypoxia. Damnit, keep it together!

He couldn't quite figure out what was going on, didn't have enough in him to piece things together but he did know a bad situation when he saw one and something bad was going on with ‘him and his’ which did not sit well at all. Moving against his warning he watched the woman rise, mocking him as it crafted some modesty. His gaze didn't change as he tensed up in, was that impotent rage?

No, it was stabilization as he pulled the trigger. The first round snapped high and to the right sinking into the wall next to the woman. Adjusting his aim the second would drill them in the right shoulder with 220 grains of full metal jacketed 45 ACP. Not the best round for dropping squishy targets but beggars couldn't be choosers. Besides, he knew she could heal and had health potion on board but that didn't mean he wanted to grievously mame her! For all he knew Lexi was still in there begging for him to stop!

This was all a gamble and one he played seriously as he centered that semiautomatic again. "I said don't move. You know how hunters are, we care for nothing but our prey. Now. Hands up, down on knees, ankles crossed or I'll drop you." He called it as his expression hardened, his muscles tensed as he held that gun level and true selling the threat.

The first shot into the wall made her start, invoking rage as her eyes widened.  But before she had a chance to become indignant, the next shot blew her shoulder back like it was hit with a battering ram.  A terrible shriek from deep within, almost primal.  Her good hand flew to the wound as she sank slowly to the floor.

"Bastard!"  Her voice guttural and venomous.  "Alright!  Alright!!"  Frustrated, she relented, shifting carefully to cross her ankles, only the one good hand rose.

Holding that deathly glare the man raced through his options. Damnit, he hadn't thought this far! He knew he needed to stop them but then what? It wasn't like he was in any shape to really apprehend them and he couldn't do any magic to try and fix this somehow. Damnit! Maybe it would have been better to let them get all up in the Mach popsicle before he drew the gun so at least they'd have been in his arms already! Then again he wasn't really sure even he could be such a bastard as to assault the girls body even for her own good. Seemed there were lines the man didn't cross even if he denied such.

Moving cautiously he broke the top off the epogener vial, the contents sucked back without taking his eyes off the woman. Steam escaped his lips as the potion took hold and he slowly moved to rise to his knees, hand stabilizing him as he went though that gun would remain thrust forward.

He held onto that glowered threat, his bluff of control as he found his knees, free hand now moving to fish out a pair of cuffs which he tossed over, a mental curse as he wobbled when he did this. "Put those on, behind your back." His jaw flexed as he bit down hard, fighting gravity as it stole precious blood from his brain giving him an ashen appearance. "Hurry up!" A snap and an internal plea.

A single eyebrow quirked, slow and high.  The bloodied shoulder was given a deliberate look before turning those barren eyes onto the pair of cuffs on the ground, then back to the hunter, a slow, cruel smirk pulling at one corner of her mouth.

"And how do you propose I do that, Tiger?"  Saccharine dripped from her words.  Still keeping the demanded posture, she pulled her lower lip in to tease and torture with pearly white teeth.  Meager as it was, her chest still held plenty of appeal when she pressed it forward, letting what remained of her top, and any waning modesty, slip down.

"Come on, now, handsome.  There's gotta be something we can work out?"  A throaty, salacious chuckle worked its way through.

"I'm not all that bad... unless you want me to be..."  It wasn't as though she actually expected any of that to work, but really, would anyone blame her for trying?  Anyone besides the innocent counterpart lodged in his existence, that is.

"No?"  Soft lower lip jutted out in a tempting pout and long feathery lashes bat a few times.  Soon enough, the act would drop and an almost bored expression took its place.

"Fine.  Your loss.  But, really..."  She cocked her head toward the blasted shoulder.

He growled threateningly as the stranger teased him, making him really second guess his strike zone. Oh who was he kidding, the man had certainly made considerations and could tell there was a beauty under and that gangly ragamuffin. Didn't change the fact that it was very uncomfortable being tempted with such by what was most probably not Alexia. Like, yes, but, like, very no! That lone colbalt did roam a bit pissing on the skeleton of his 'good' conscious though it never lulled far from the target at hand.

Damn, they made a decent point though he knew they did it just to get him close. He knew he didn't look like he could put up much of a fight and honestly a paper bag could probably stave him off in his condition. s***. s***!

"Bad on command, huh? Right. My loss but that ain't yours to give, yeah?" A prod testing out what theory his mush brain had concocted. Maybe this was possession in which case where the hell was Alexia!?

Making a few considerations he'd begin to scoot over. "Turn around, lie down, ass up, arms to your sides, palms to the sky."

That foreign seductive smile returned as she slowly lowered her arm, the other still hanging, immobile.

"Change your mind, did you?"  A delicately pink tongue slipped out to moisten her lips.  His expression didn't let her keep up her tease for long.  She laughed snidely as she moved to follow his new instructions, which proved difficult using only one hand already slick with blood from her wound.

"Oh, don't be such a sour pus, I'm playing nice, see?"  Her back to him now, she lowered herself deliberately slow.

"Har, har, get on the floor." He'd watch as the woman slowly lowered themselves to the floor, half expecting them to 'accidentally' lose the makeshift skirt and modest undergarments beneath simply to try and tempt him more. No, this most certainly wasn't a different 'side' to the fae or else he was sure he'd have heard about it in the circles he traveled. So the only option was possession which meant he'd have to capture the body and drive out whatever had taken residence. Considering a moment he pulled out another vial from his belt, the contents thrown back quickly as the woman settled onto the floor.

He'd shudder, his heart pounding as the potion took hold whipping his body to push forward even as it burned through what little energy he had left. Shuffling the rest of the way over he'd plant the barrel of the gun into the back of the woman's head, the cuffs snagged before he grabbed to shackle the useless arm first.

As her injured arm was grabbed, she hissed in pain.

"Easy!"  She growled, turning just enough to glare back at him.  "You really gonna shoot poor Lizzie's brains out?"  She snarked at him,

He leaned in, that injured arm wrenched uncomfortably as he bore that gun barrel into the back of her head painfully. "Would I? Yes. In my profession it's the kind thing to do in these situations. And the name’s Lexi." The words an angry growl spit into her ear as he made his point. It was stupid letting them get under his skin but then Mach wasn't really up to thinking straight. Pushing back up he wobbled a little as that pistol was drawn back and shoved into it's holster so he could grab the woman's other hand to feed to the cuffs.

Another grunt of pain tore from her lips.  It easily turned into a humorless chuckle as he corrected her.  Call it a small victory regardless of whether misnaming the poor little fae was on purpose or not.  Angry words forced into her ear pulled an involuntary shudder and moan and she almost pouted when he pulled away, turning again as the pressure to the back of her skull was relieved.

In that flash of a moment, her demeanor shifted.  No longer taunting and crude, but calculating.  She didn't know that the reason her shoulder had almost immediately knit back together after dramatically soaking what little shreds of clothing remained was majority in thanks to the capsule the hunter had shoved down the halflings throat earlier, and she didn't care.  But she would make full use of that nifty little piece of information.

Dropping the feigned immobility, she wrenched out of his grasp to put both palms on the floor and push up with full force.  She waited for her head to connect with his face just enough to stun him, not enough to further damage this shiny new vessel, and scrambled up and out the nearest door.

It was a rookie mistake as he focused on the prize and not the situation. Then again his brain was mush and his body whipped dry so he had to be given a pass, right? He saw the one hand pull away and grabbed for it only giving the other a chance to do the same... and then he saw stars. He cursed as the world spun, his mind reeling for much longer than it should have. Damnit, move!

Stumbling to his feet he started after the woman drunkenly, everything heaving and yawing by his perception. He'd hit the door frame which spun him, throwing his world into disarray, everything just falling apart. "D-Damnit! G-Get b-back here you-!" Everything went sideways and suddenly black as his head struck hard cobbles robbing him of consciousness on the drying puddle of blood where he'd been found.

In that lithe, dainty little frame, she slipped away easily, laughing as she did.

"Don't worry, I'll take real good care of sweet little Lexi for you, Tiger!"  Her taunt echoed and bounced off of trees and backs of university buildings.  She was gone.

(Written with the talented Alexia Longbow)

Mach

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Re: The Hunter, The Far, and The Other
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2020, 12:32:09 PM »
Everything hurt. A groan turned into a groan as reality returned to the man like a ton of bricks. Well, if pain meant he was still alive then he was feeling very alive right now! With effort he drug the arm draped over his face off, a wince as it flopped and bounced still woefully attached to him. A few more moments were spent feeling very sorry for himself before he dared to crack open that lone cobalt eye of his.

A canvas of aged offwihite plaster pocked with the marks of bad decisions laid before him. Yet another ceiling he didn’t recognize bathed in midmorning light. Shifting a little he felt his mouth crack like dried basalt, parched and wretched feeling. This in turn elicited another displeased groan as he considered the sweet bliss of death to all this life.

"Dude! He's alive!!" Another groan, hissy in flavor as the exclamation was nearly shouted in his ear. A thunder of footfalls meant that when he dared open his eye he was greeted by at least 4 men now staring down at him from before that ceiling. What the actual hell? None of them looked to be medical professionals; but rather a gaggle of young men barely old enough to smoke than treat anyone of anything but common sense.

Swatting miserably at the crowding faces found him being hoisted upright, a move he was very not onboard with until he felt something wet touch his lips. A room temperature flat beer, or the damn nectar of the gods as it felt to him as he greedily chugged down the liquid. Another was fed to him before someone found sense to give him water and, bless them, a fresh beer too.

Nursing that last treat, Mach looked around his surroundings. A smallish room without even a door separating it from the commons area. It looked aged with use: a few pinup posters on the wall, a few random thrift store chairs, a side table with a candy dish of condoms, and a couch where he was pretty sure he didn't even rank in the top ten leakiest things ever to grace it. "W-Where the hells am I?" The question barely a croak as he was already stealing a cigarette from one of the younger looking fellows.

"Alpha Alpha Nu!" He and a few others winced from the chant shouted moniker from one of the more excited looking guys.

"This is the Ahh Nookie frat house buddy. Louie here found you down and out and brought you here…" Blue eye blue slid to the motioned to Louie - a sour looking emo sorts by his reckon.

"How long ago was that?"

"About 4 days ago."

It was no wonder his torso felt itchy. The soul scar of when he was ripped in half by a dragon was obviously acting up since he'd not dosed on regenerative potion for so long. Scratching a little he let one of the young men light his cancer stick. "s***… so it's Wednesday?"

"Thursday."

"****." A few tentative drags were taken off his cigarette as he tried to remember what the hell happened to him. He remembered the desert sky s*** show with the chimera; chomp, chomp; look for steak… He thought he remembered something about gangly limbs and anger and seduction and shooting and cool ground and… he shook this head trying to shake away the haze but instantly regretted that as the side of his head just throbbed. Damn, there was a goose egg and everything! Must have downed pretty hard into the ground which knocked him well and truly out. "So… why did you bring me here?"

"Well, it was obvious you needed help and here was close!"

"Why not call an ambulance?"

This… got an uncomfortable amount of silence as the boys shuffled about. "Well… being Aah Nookie, um…"

He raised a gloved hand cutting short the explanation. "Riiight. Disciplinary woes, got it." The tension noticeably eased as he got it on one. Then again with a nickname like that and the party favors laid out it didn't exactly take a genius to make such a connection. "You know, ambulance calls are anonymous unless you stick around to answer questions…"

More lightbulbs turned on with that then should have. Right, disciplinary issues and dumb as rocks. It was a wonder he was even alive! Then again that was a curiosity as he recalled his leg being in pretty bad shape and his potions doing a fat lot no good for it. Maybe after he collapsed it got its act together? Another mystery to throw into the back of his mind as he had much more pressing issues at hand. "So, uh, hey, any of you know how to get to Patrelli's? I'm ****ing famished and…"

Looking around he got a lot of blank stares save one woefully studious looking sort. "Oh, I know where that's at. Down Tulane street to the left of the elephant fountain by the Department of Psychology quad."

Right! He knew he took a wrong turn! Looking about his unlikely savior's he let a little sigh, a half cocked grin pulling on his still dead feeling lips. "Nice. Hey, who wants some steak? I'm buying, can discuss things there."

This idea went over very well as the room erupted into jubilation, a few of the men running off to tell the rest of the house of their personal corpses generosity. Whatever, it wasn't like he could take money with him when he died, might as well spend it while he was here. And so struggling to his feet with the help of a few new 'bros' he would head out with Alpha Alpha Nu for a nice morning steak brunch looking ripped apart, bloody, and half dead… or Rhy'Din casual as he knew it. He couldn't exactly ditch the feeling that he was forgetting something, or several something's important. But those could probably wait till after steak, right? Well they would or perhaps he'd even be so lucky as whatever it was would resolve on it's own, either way him and his frat bros headed off.

(Once again thanks to Alexia Longbow for writing this scene!)