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> IC: Reclaiming the Void
BishopMcQ
post Mar 9 2012, 01:21 AM
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Papa

Datastreams pour past your visions. The term "Prince" in the Tir appears to apply to both the Council of Princes, led by the High Prince, and a social ranking for any of those born to the "Royal" level of society. Since 2065, there have been some social efforts to change the wording after open elections for High Prince were held instead of the previous Rites of Succession. Hundreds of names come up with the title Prince. Narrowing the search to just those linked to lovers and travel south of Portland comes up with three names Jenna Ni'Fairra, Dell Piper, and Fawn Raintree. Ni'Fairra is believed to have a home south of Portland, Piper died in 2068 in an automobile accident with his lover, and Raintree is a missing person of interest to the rinelle ke'tesrae.
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Saytr
post Mar 9 2012, 03:33 PM
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Brock followed Ollies Gaze up to the doll house wondering himself now that he saw it, giving the hmm face he takes another sip of his coffee and waits for the answer to all the info flooding his brain.
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JxJxA
post Mar 11 2012, 02:39 PM
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Standing outside, Uetz looks in the direction of the "wound." He lets his sight move beyond the curtain of the physical, and perceives the astral.

Why are you still here? he thinks to himself. He bites his lip, and begins to catalog everything he must do to prepare for his journey.

I will come for you, Hueltiuh. I will not let you suffer for my sins...
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Redjack
post Mar 12 2012, 04:09 PM
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Doubts. Indecision. Second guessing. Papa sifts through the display results, not committed to the current path. He starts a new search on the one that seems likeliest.

As the team begins to spread out, Papa creates additional AR images of himself, one per location to continue the conversations. He adds a small, smurf icon for each of the remote team members, sculpting their faces appropriately. As he speaks he looks either to the person or in the case of a remote room, their smurf icon.

Looking to Brock, "I would say within a week. We have some loose ends to tie up at the moment and preparations... No sense in paying any rush fees to get there until we know for sure where we are going. We also need to set up a false trail to throw off the opposition."

His various icon then looks to each team member as if speaking to them individually. "Stating with North beyond mountains and rivers, in a great lake surrounded by cliffs. and then adding my research results The Lover's Heart was last spoken of in shadow and darkness, near the City of Roses. One of the mewling creatures which declared itself Prince was taking his love into a secret area. He did not name the place, but discussed it being a few hours to the south. The Lover's Heart is spoken of giving its holder everything that their heart truly desires, but is rife with consequences. Mortals have lost the art of understanding their heart, and instead see only the lies they tell themselves. I came up with either Lake Shasta or Crater Lake."

He pauses to allow a moment to mentally digest, then continues. "Hestaby lays claim to the former. I would be all in to point to that, except that she is not a he... taking his love. So that removed, I say we focus on Crater Lake. Trying to filter the plethora of Princes down to one that could fit that I came to three: First, Ni'Fairra who is believed to have a home south of Portland. Not really anything strong, but when the filtering was done, he remained. Raintree, who is a missing person of interest to the rinelle ke'tesrae and finally Piper, who died in 2068 in an automobile accident with his lover. Currently I am digging deeper into Raintree. Thoughts?"

He then tweaks the session management algorithm to insure that the smurf icons do not talk over the person where people may be talking simultaneous. He smiles. I love being the matrix wiz.
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Saytr
post Mar 12 2012, 05:52 PM
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Brock looks from the hanging house to the front door wide open and decides to walk outside to see what was so special about being outside for Uetz. Addressing the team in teamnet "well anything we need to do to prepare for the upcoming run i am willing to help out in anyway, it was made aware to me before that this would be a length run so i am ready for the long haul if need be."
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Buddha72
post Mar 12 2012, 07:43 PM
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"The description matches what I know of the artifact though there is some disagreement on its origins."

Olethros glances around and finds a chair to stand on - to perhaps get a better view of the weird miniature house on the ceiling.

"I agree - Crater Lake seems more likely. Do we know anything more about the three Princes?"
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BishopMcQ
post Mar 12 2012, 08:39 PM
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Olethros

Looking inside, the house appears to be a loft-style apartment, done on a miniature scale. A sitting room with comfortable benches is visible. There is no ladder or stairwell visibly connecting the loft. Within the space you see clothes, jewelry, and pictures all scaled down. Two items stand out as not being part of the decor--a stuffed rabbit with visible scorch marks and a missing eye, and a black lacquered puzzle box.
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JxJxA
post Mar 14 2012, 02:31 PM
Post #533


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"Did you know that the wound in the Astral is still out there?" Uetz asks the question as he reenters the house, oblivious to the ongoing discussion.

"I did not, even though I walked right by it when we returned home. I was not myself at the time..." He stops himself, realizing that he is rambling.

"I am sorry. Quauhtli, my sister and spirit twin, she calls me to her. I must go. She is trapped there until she has paid the price for being beaten on our plane, or until I come to pay the debt. I cannot leave her there, it was my fault. I failed her. I need to go. I...I am sorry." He stops once more, the words pouring out of him in place of the tears he holds back.

"She beckons me, says I can reach her by passing through the wound once more. If I hold her close to my heart, I should be able to enter her plane and avoid the Huntsman. I...I must do this. She breached the veil to protect me. I would be a coward and a heel if I sat idly by while she calls me to free her."
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Buddha72
post Mar 14 2012, 04:32 PM
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Looking down from his perch on the chair, Olethros steps down and nods as Uetz speaks and makes his way to him.

"If you plan to travel through the tear then please allow me to go with you. It is a rare chance for me and I can be of use on your journey."
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BishopMcQ
post Mar 16 2012, 05:25 AM
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The Front Yard

After preparing yourselves, the questers step out upon the grass. The loud whining in your ears grows stronger as you cross the lawn. As you approach, the air ripples visibly when you get closer.

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JxJxA
post Mar 16 2012, 12:57 PM
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Looking at his new companions as they stand before the wound, Uetz tries to explain a little of what they are about to encounter.

"I know a bit about questing in the metaplanes, but not through physical gateways such as this one. Normally it is strength of will and personality that governs power in the astral, not physical prowess. However, my companions and I crossed the threshold once before out of curiosity. We did not stay long inside it, so I cannot say if that rule still holds true...

"Anyways, we should first encounter the Dweller on the Threshold. It will try to bar our passage. I must convince it to let us by. After that...I do not know. I have never visited Quauhtli's plane, nor have I asked her much about it. I can only say that if you are unfamiliar with my people's faiths, trials by fire are...to be expected..."
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Saytr
post Mar 17 2012, 02:33 PM
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Brock starts to dawn his armor not knowing weather or not it will help where they would be going "I will come and help as well i dont like the idea of losing loved ones especially if who we are going after can be of a lot of help for us." standing with Olli and Uetz he stands well over them in his armor holding his hammer with his launcher strapped to his back.
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BishopMcQ
post Mar 17 2012, 08:34 PM
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Wednesday -- July 20, 2072
Questers

Stepping through the gap, a sense of weightlessness overtakes you. Waves of vertigo wash over you as you hold still and feel like you are flying faster than light at the same time. The force of gravity comes back suddenly as you slam into a cold marble floor. Around you, is a shattered plain. Rocks jut up at odd angles and a distant cracked spire looms on the horizon.

Thousands of creatures, monstrosities your mind can barely begin to fathom are spread across the plain between you and the spire. A spider with gleaming emeralds of poison along its fangs chitters at you as it rises up. Standing the creature comes to Uetz's shoulder. As it speaks, an infant's head presses up from the spider's massive abdomen. The child has a raspy and withered voice that is not used to forming words.

"Welcome travelers. You seek that which has been lost. Face the mirror, speak aloud your secret, and be judged."

The circle between you turns reflective, shining back strange versions of each. Uetz flanked by Olethros and Brock
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BishopMcQ
post Mar 17 2012, 09:29 PM
Post #539


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Wednesday -- July 20, 2072
Papa

From outside, a keening wail builds up and cuts off abruptly as your three teammates vanish. Strangely, none of the fly-spy drones seem to be recording the noise. Your search reports draw your attention back to the task at hand.

The Rinelle ke'Tesrae, literally Rebels of the Spire, have a divided history. Some sources call them a grassroots social movement to improve the quality of life for all in Tir Tairngire, other sources label them an extremist terrorist group responsible for the assassination of several Tir officials and dozens of other offenses. Following the general elections in 2065, the illicit portions of the group appear to have gone underground without any further activity. There are rumors of a splinter cell operating in Seattle, calling themselves the Forgotten. There are also unsubstantiated reports of the Rinelle operating a hidden tribunal to deal with collaborators under the old regime.

Publically, the Rinelle ke'Tesrae have made themselves into a full-blown political party, wielding power and influence in the newly restructured Tir government.

Raintree has not been on the grid since August of 2069. Her family has posted a 30,000 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) reward for information leading to her safe return home. The node had a bounty of information including a picture, and various time advanced images depicting different possible appearances. The week before Fawn's disappearance, she was in recovery from a medical procedure implanting a cybernetic control system to combat early onset Parkinson's disease. Following the surgery, she made two calls to a disposable commcode. The night before her disappearance, she cleared out all of her accounts, a suspected 70,000 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) in certified cred and drove north to Seattle. Housekeeping came in to clean up the next day and found the room empty, with no signs of a struggle. Lone Star found no evidence of magic used on the scene, though the hotel cameras were missing three minutes of footage on her floor.

Fawn was a known supporter of the Council of Princes. During her military service, she was trained in reconnaissance and counter-intelligence.
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JxJxA
post Mar 19 2012, 02:41 PM
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Uetz looks into the mirror, focusing his mind on Quauhtli and his desire to see his sister freed.

"You ask for secrets, and so I open my heart and mind to you. I seek to free my sister from the shackles keeping her from crossing between the planes. I view myself responsible, as I was too weak to protect her when the time called for it. I was even too weak to maintain my morals, setting aside my desire to spare life at a desperate, hate-fueled chance at revenge. And I even failed at that." He bows his head, trembling with the force of the words.

"What is worst is that as terrible as I feel now about taking those lives, a part of me is glad that I killed them. I am... I am afraid that I will do it again, lose control should my harm threaten my sister again. I am afraid that even if I indulge that...fury, I will be too weak to make it count for anything. I just... I am afraid that no matter what I do, I will always be powerless to stop that which I must stop..."
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Buddha72
post Mar 19 2012, 11:06 PM
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Olethros stands atraighter and leaves the body language of a mortal man behind like a shed skin. His face openly shows the desire for the reflected image - the raw hunger for what it offers or represents. His face becomes hard and impersonal almost like a statue - a presence fills him and his voice rings out clear and strong.

"I am Olethros and I was never human."
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BishopMcQ
post Mar 20 2012, 02:38 PM
Post #542


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Questers

You can all see the horde of creatures drawing nearer across the plateau, drawn by the smell of mortal flesh. The Dweller looks down with its infantile eyes across the massive arachnid form.

"Uetzcayotl Tlaloc, born to the betrayers of your land and people, Betrayer of the Smoking Mirror and the Chimalli, Caller of the King in Yellow, you shall find sacrifice and pain. You will choose between the power to change the world as you wish to be able to, or your soul. Know that you were not called to this place by the Eagle.

"Olethros Makhai, fourth eldest, Betrayer of man, Abdicator of responsibility for the path you drew others to, you stand at cross-purposes to your kin yet again. There are two paths before you to claim what you seek, they lie in opposite directions."

The spider turns its head towards Brock, its mandibles clacking together hungrily.

"Speak mortal, unburden your secrets. You were brought here by another's power and must stay within that mantle or be lost to the Ways forever."
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Buddha72
post Mar 20 2012, 04:01 PM
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Olethros looks to Uetz with a mild veneer of concern on his face.

"if the Eagle did not bring us here, have you struck a bargain with Ruined King? This host answers to him."

He turns to the Dweller and the assembled Horrors, showing no fear or revulsion but rather familiarity and curiosity. He speaks loudly to carry over the noise of the masses - perhaps buying a little more time for Brock to answer.

"What has changed? This is not the order of things. Your kind must be called, a way must be opened for you. Why are you here?"
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Saytr
post Mar 20 2012, 04:14 PM
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Brock was astonished by the plane which he knew nothing about, it was facinating and scary at the same time. the spiders metion of Brocks secrets that needed to be brough to light brought his attention back to the task at hand looking straight at the mirror his thought immediatly went to his lost wife and child. "my soul secret in life is the lose of my wife and child that was caused by those who care not of others. the lose of my family and the revenge i want to take upon the halloweeners back in seattle are my secret plus the lifes i take in that path." Brock looks at Uetz and Olethros then back to the spider then around and the plan and grips his hammer and ensures his Grenade launcher is loaded not knowing if it would help but he was not going to let it go to waste if he didnt have to and starts to take a defensive stance as the horrors draw closer he starts to wonder exactly what he got himself into.
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Redjack
post Mar 20 2012, 07:11 PM
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As the group disappears through the rift, Papa has deep pangs of regret. Think of the footage I could get! The thoughts nearly drive him to distraction, but after several long minutes search results again begin to return and he redoubles efforts at focusing on the tasks.

Eying both the results and the accumulated data to date, Papa grimaces. Ok. Gotta be Piper... Jenna Ni'Fairra fails out for the same reason Hesteby did.He spins up another search, this time for Piper. He then considers the state of the defensive systems. Time to find out where to appropriate some supplies. He queues up a follow up search to start looking for where he can acquire the electronics equipment he needs.
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JxJxA
post Mar 21 2012, 11:46 AM
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"I am not familiar with the name, but that would explain a great many things," Uetz says through gritted teeth. Fear and anger flare up within him, and he reaches out to Quauhtli.

Hueltiuh, can you hear me? Do you know what any of this means?

He turns to the spider, and steels himself as he replies.

"Sacrifice and pain are the ways of my people. We earn our place in the worlds beyond through deeds in life or after death. If the Eagle did not call me to this place, then who did? Your master?"
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BishopMcQ
post Mar 21 2012, 01:58 PM
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Questers

"Brock English Grand, first born, kin slayer, none whom have loved you would recognize the creature of malice and hate you have become. You grasp tightly that which is gone, unaware that the harder you fight to hold their memory, the more it slips away."

The spider turns to Uetz

"I have no master here mortal, my duty as always is to stand upon the Threshold and bar passage to those unfit to enter. Though my form changes upon the lands you seek to enter, know that I am eternal and one of the few who stretch across all places. Only the Seeker can know exactly what was in his heart upon beginning the journey. In you, I sense fear, loss, and a need to claim power."

The host of terror made flesh do not respond to the calls. Quauhtli's voice stays silent as well.
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BishopMcQ
post Mar 21 2012, 04:37 PM
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Papa

The household drones surreptitiously begin moving around the house quietly cleaning once their sensors detect a lack of movement. Your coffee mug is refilled with the remnants of the pot brewed earlier, and the other mugs are cleared away. Beneath your back, the automated massagers begin their job of keeping your muscles from siezing as you lay back for the long haul of data work.

From the Tir national news feeds, Prince Dell Piper's death was ruled as an accident after his car ran off the edge of a mountain road south of Diamond Lake. The prince and his lover were found locked in a tight embrace by rescue crews, dead from the impact. Digging a little deeper, you find several pirate broadcasts with a strong conspiracy bend. Images from the road near the supposed crash site show flat, open, straight roads--not the type of place that GridGuide generally veers off a ravine and crashes. Satelite images, obviously hacked from military assets, show three clear circles punched through the windshield. The broadcast claims that Piper was assassinated by the High Prince's orders to recover an "item of national security." It continues with the fact that the unexplained incidents and military quarantine of Crater Lake began two weeks after the "accident." The pirate broadcast was shutdown with extreme prejudice six months later.

Setting the Prince aside for a few minutes while your thoughts percolate, you begin the search for more pressing needs. Online software vendors are a dime a dozen, but they come riddled with DRM restrictions. Beyond the warez clearinghouses, you find a few locations that would contain a broad collection of the software you need. Singularity, the premier programming house in LA. The Carousel Mall, a black market swapmeet with everything and anything. Global Technologies, a skillsoft and autosoft programmer. Hollywood Simsense Entertainment, a simsense and software clearinghouse.

The hardware angle comes up with a limited number of sites that carry items with the specs you are looking for. The Hahn Free Market, CalTech's computer science and optics division, Iris Firmware, and Trident Media all come up as likely candidates.
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Redjack
post Mar 21 2012, 05:50 PM
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The silence if deafening, causing the hacker's mind to wonder, briefly, over recent events. Ending at the present in that replay, he takes a moment to focus on the security footage from the patrolling drones, the home security system and the van's sensors. Satisfied that all is currently clear, he checks the incoming search results. Going from one tenuous clue to the next tenuous clue, Papa he latches onto the "item of national security" and holds that as his lifeline towards connecting the vague dots.

Meanwhile, his attention is split to the incoming results for gear. Internally, a debate rages. Is there no conscience? Do I just take everything that we need? There is little choice. Another encounter, unprepared like on the campus, will surely end with greater bloodshed. For the software, he focuses on Hollywood Simsense Entertainment. The programming houses and black market would surely take it more personal than a clearing house and bring personal resources to bear in seeking the offender. Perhaps a matrix raid would provide the software he needed... Or, worst case, a physical raid, perhaps covering his tracks with a fire.

None of the hardware locations stood out to him as a more likely candidate than any of the others. The Hahn Free Market would probably require multiple targets; a complexity he is ill prepared to handle alone. He selects CalTech's computer science and optics division for no other reason than it is next on the list... Perhaps he'll spread out the hardware just to keep any single score from being too noticeable.

Still lacking even the framework of a plan, he digs deeper down each lane. As the search frames begin to run, he realizes that he is light is connections to actually buy/sell black market gear, equipment. He decides that rather than using the Hahn Free Market as a target, he considers making some purchases from there. He first does a little looking into it to insure he is on the right track and target who to talk to.
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Buddha72
post Mar 22 2012, 02:57 PM
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"It appears you have shaped the Dweller this way yet you claim ignorance of the Horrors before us. What have you carried to this place that would call this forth?"

Olethros looks over the Dweller - a kin of sorts as he understood it.

"If your heart and soul dictate this journey then be clear on what you seek and why though it may already be too late. You may have set events in motion by crossing the threshold to here."
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