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Thread: The Never-ending Story Thread▓

  1. #1721
    It's that time again -- the summary of the current events long enough to be its own story!

    Current Story Arc

    The NeS Heroes went to China to rekindle the relationship between Rachel Pi and Gebohq Simon. While their relationship was rekindled, indeed Rachel Pi seems to be pregnant, the relationship between Subaru Yamamoto and Antestarr his a rut when Antestarr left her, and the team, to start creating a NeSferatu army. The meeting of Iriana Emp and her father, Al Ciao, may also test the relationship between her and Couchman, the time lawyer.

    However they also accidentally released an alternate Iriana Emp from another universe - a universe where she took her father's Powerplaying power and conquered the Multiverse. Now she is unleashed upon Earth and has already conquered it.

    To defeat her, the late Soriel released their Potentials! 12 Potentials are now present and, as Arkng Thand, warned - they may pose a greater threat than the original threat they were intended to solve.

    Losien is the Main Character of the NeS and a young woman with a strong heart. She is still trying to get over her feelings of being "unworthy" but so far she has been doing a great job - relying on her friends to help her through. However new responsibilities as a 'father' have sometimes forced her to act alone. Her daughter, once named Apple, was genetically the child of Losien and Apple herself (being her own mother). After a mishap travelling through a time warp, and Soriel's action in unlocking Potentials, caused Apple to achieve her Potential and become Chronos. Now Losien is feeling guilty over losing Apple and gaining Chronos. TLTE, Losien's long-time lover, has been frozen in carbonite by Polly Simon, Losien's mother, who is keeping him hidden away. Yet, Baba Yaga revealed to Polly that TLTE does not truly love Losien. Losien is also under pressure from her mother to quit being a NeS Hero and take on the mantel of Queen of Jupiter. Losien was given Fred, Teh Uber Blade and Carlotta the Cape by Soriel, one of the last native survivors of Jupiter. Her Potential is Gwenhwyfar.

    Al Ciao
    Al Ciao, who was once known as Highemperor, is the likeable, and somewhat silly, character of the team. Once the greatest powerplayer, his only power now is to change his hair at a whim from its style and colour. However a recent mishap that resulted in his death caused his body to decompose while he was absent from it. Mecha Lou, a witch, was able to reattach his soul and replaced many of his parts with mechanical parts - giving Al a vast array of robot powers. He is married to Lady LightSide, who was once DarkSide, and she is pregnant with their child. As long as she remains pregnant, she cannot change back into DarkSide and remains at his side. However he is also expecting another child with a woman called Mia, who was responsible for killing him to begin with. He also has another alien-child somewhere that he is unaware of. Finally there is also his daughter, Iriana Emp, who was recently emancipated from him and has found herself joined with the NeS Heroes. They are finally willing to try to work out their differences and plan to travel to Armenia together, where Iriana is said to be Queen. His Potential was killed by Antestarr, many Story Arcs ago.

    Evil G
    Evil G, formerly known as Gebiyl, is Gebohq Simon from an alternate universe. He was once, like Highemperor, a major Powerplayer in the world of NeShattered. However a series of events led to him falling in love with Young, the "Child of the NeS" whom he married in an evil wedding. More recently he has escaped the grasp of the Ever-ending Plot that is consuming worlds beyond this one and returned to Young to be a father to their new child, Chance. Generally Evil G is the anti-hero of the team and usually berates everyone else around him, particularly with his sarcasm and insults. He's arguably got more sense than most of the other NeS Heroes. His Potential was killed many Story Arcs ago.

    Maeve is a British woman with a drinking problem. She has long been in the NeS and has long been drunk. After a failed marriage and several failed relationships, Maeve realised that she was most definitely homosexual and relinquished all ties to her former heterosexual engagements. When she isn't drinking, or trying to get into the women's pants, Maeve is an old friend to Losien and a sobering, pessimistic tone on the group. However she is probably the most rational mind in all of Team Losien - so long as she's not
    too drunk. Her Potential is Venedite.

    The Otter
    The Otter is a British born, half-posh, half-punk drunkard that swings between mildly drunk to completely drunk in the matter of a single post. He has potential deep down but it is rarely able to surface due to his addiction. He also cannot keep his womanising to himself, but his lecherous nature simply pushes the majority of women away. He had a relationship with MaybeChild, a former NeS Hero, which many believe brought out the best in him - but that relationship seems to have ended and Otter is generally unwilling to discuss the topic. Yet he is fairly knowledgeable about most things NeS, having been here for so long and having a higher IQ than Gebohq Simon (though that isn't saying much). He is fairly upset by his Potential, seeing a grim reflection of himself. His Potential is The Nega.

    Lady LightSide
    Lady LightSide was once DarkSide, a malevolent force of the NeS bent on consuming souls. DarkSide joined another evil force to create KnowSoul, only to be separated soon after from KnowSoul and set to work on the Heroes of the NeS. During a fluke of story convention, DarkSide suddenly became LightSide when Losien, and the other heroes, were turned increasingly evil. As part of a ruse, LightSide married Al Ciao when she wound up pregnant with his child, causing the moral-and-gender change to remain permanent, though that may change once she gives birth to Al's child. Still pregnant with Al Ciao's baby, she refuses to be left at the Haunted House of Heroes. Yet she does seem concerned over the issue of becoming DarkSide once again and it is likely, she does not wish for it.

    Tracer is a character brimming with "obvious mystery" as he wanders around in his own personal detective story. Often speaking like a narrative, sometimes badly, he probably dresses like Dick Tracey. He is death defying, having escaped death throughout his time with the NeS Heroes and has a habit of showing up at unexpected moments. He rejoined the NeS Heroes during the Battle Over London. He recently displayed his profound ability to use disguises to his advantage, like any true detective. He has a 'Batman-like' quality, so that he will keep to the shadows and reveal himself at the last minute to offer assistance in unexpected places. His Potential is The Orator.

    Frank Smith
    Frank Smith, Time Cop, has recently arrived from 1000 years into the future on a mission to arrest a time warp individual. He works for TEA, Time Enforcement Agency, which is run by "Mysterious Person". Once he found the person he was looking for she turned out to be Apple, the daughter of herself and Losien Simon. He arrested her and took her to the future, but this caused a big problem in the far-distant future which meant Time Cops from then, came back to arrest HIM. He and Apple escaped, but Apple would go through a time hole and disappear - becoming Chronos (her own Potential). Frank feels guilty and responsible and is trying to figure out where he stands with the TEA. Frank is a homosexual, middle aged man going through something of a mid-life crisis and Mysterious Person judges this case to be Frank's test of competence. Frank has a watch upon his wrist that contains Cynthai (CynthA.I. Mk XIV), an A.I. with a holographic projection able to help him in his mission. Frank's Potential is Prophet.

    Polly Simon
    Sometimes known as "Geb's Mom" or "Los' Mom", Polly Simon is currently with the NeS Heroes because she wants her daughter, Losien, to rise up and become the Queen of Jupiter. This would, however, mean she'd be frozen in carbonite for 500 years. Polly used a wish from Baba Yaga to grant her eternal youth and now appears the same age as her own daughter. When Losien refused, Polly tried to force Apple to take the throne instead, Losien's daughter, however Apple has since become Chronos and beyond such things - leaving Polly with only Losien as an option again. Polly has frozen TLTE, Losien's lover, in carbonite and carries him with her in a walking cauldron. She intends to be granted another wish - a wish that Losien would stop loving TLTE. Baba Yaga revealed to Polly that TLTE only believes he loves Losien, it is not true love. Polly does not seem to have a Potential, possibly due to her use of Baba Yaga's wish.

    Amal, once a young boy under the care of Arkng Thand, grew up under the adopted care of The Last True Evil. Since then, there has been a struggle between the two for guardianship over the boy - neither realising that Amal was becoming more of a man. His character has swung from dark to light but has not developed much depth - something Thand blames on the shadows of TLTE. During Memory Lane, however, problems occurred when Losien, under the influence of darkness, and Amal - having forgotten TLTE existed due to the powers of Michael MacFarlane - developed a closeness that is now, upon the return of TLTE, uncomfortable. Amal has the potential to become the Main Character of the NeS. Now that he has been separated from the over-protective TLTE, Amal has been guided by Soriel's wise advise. Amal's Potential is Quo Anima.

    Rachel Pi
    Once merely a Random Audience Member, Rachel Pi wished for characterhood - autonomy in the NeS - when she fell in love with Gebohq. Her wish was granted when a deal was struck with Arkng Thand, who arranged to allow Rachel character autonomy in the story and seek Gebohq's heart in return for taking within her the spirit of April Fools Day. Her love was cast aside, however, when Gebohq felt that he put her in danger as the Main Character. However he has since relinquished that role to his sister and, after a romantic getaway in the floating palace belonging to Rachel's father, Emperor Pi, they are back together. Only to experience a new trial - Rachel is pregnant. She is strong, bold, and fearless with an unusual comedic streak. Her father, Emperor Pi, wishes for her to return home and give up her life made possible by Thand, making her life essentially meaningless. However, Emperor Pi wants her to follow her own desires. Rachel, as April Fools Incarnate, is debatably a Potential herself.

    Gebohq, once the Main Character of the NeS, relinquished that role not long ago to his sister, Losien. Since then, he met Couchman and Princess Iriana Emp during the Battle Over London, resigned his job as a professional hero to become an associate professor of law, and conscripted as vassal to Iriana in virtually one day. Given opportunities he didn't have before, he then set out to rekindle his love with Rachel Pi, whom never truly stopped loving her but has, up to this point at least, believed that his involvement with her puts her and the the whole of NeS at risk as well as who he really is. Rekindle they did, however they now face a new trial as Rachel appears to be pregnant. Gebohq is often the comedy relief of a group, and though he is cowardly in many ways, he has a deep heroic streak of "doing what's right" when he's truly needed. It should be noted that his Potential is dead.

    Subaru Yamamoto
    Subaru Yamamoto has powers over chi that allow her to perform many unusual tasks, including running up walls, walking on water and hurling herself around. She can also heal, which she considers to be her secondary task - her first is to maim anything before her with a gigantic axe. Once she was always second-fiddle to her friends, but lately she has come to shine alone. She loves Antestarr but she felt, recently, a pang of betrayal as he was turned into a vampire by another woman. Yet she accepted him still until he eventually turned her away and left the NeS Heroes to start turning people into NeSferatu and forming an army - along with Nyneve, the woman that turned him. Subaru is feeling emotionally fragile and hurt. She knows that Antestarr wants to turn Subaru into a NeSferatu, but she does not want to become like him. Her Potential is Orochi.

    Couchman is a "Da Vinci" of the age, being a middleman in every available skill. A polymath of the NeS. He has an obsession with couches and was working as a lawyer until recently when he fell in love with Iriana Emp. During the Battle Over London he chased her down to confess his love for her and refused to allow Emperor Pi to steal her affections. In the end Couchman won this small victory and sought to cement his love for Iriana on a romantic getaway. However with the return of Al Ciao, Couchman's relationship with Iriana Emp may be in peril as she tries to decide who she is and what she wants. Couchman's Potential is Midas.

    Iriana Emp
    Once the Princess of Atlantis - a title made possible by her mother - her status, along with the legend of Atlantis, was forcibly forgotten by Michael MacFarlane during the previous story arc. Iriana Emp is also the Queen of Armenia, made possible by her father, Highemperor (now Al Ciao), though she prefers to be called a princess. Never having visited Armenia, however, Princess Iriana seeks a marriage match and considered marrying Emperor Pi for his rank as Emperor of China. Refusing to become one of his many concubines, she instead turns her attention to courting Couchman for his skills and affections. She has recently become reacquainted with her father, Al Ciao, and they have many issues that they need to work out. His arrival has caused Iriana to doubt herself and long to understand who she truly is, which puts her relationship with Couchman at risk. She is posh, spoilt and believes everyone should do as she commands them to. She also has an addiction to tea. Her Potential is Nyktelios.
    Other Important Characters:
    Jim Seven
    Jim Seven (written often as Jim7) was once the ruler of Hell, however he was voted in as the new ruler of Heaven. As God he joined the Battle Over London when Serapharch, a powerful angel, tried to destroy a fallen angel named Seraphim - a member of Hero Force One. Since then Jim has mostly been establishing a new heavenly domain on Earth which was, disappointingly, established in Burundi. Team Losien have now stumbled into his domain. He did declare a Crusade against Justin Beiber and had him sent to Hell. Jim also still wants Losien and Frank to return to Burundi to help him build the greatest go-kart track in history.

    Antestarr, long since a "tech guy" for the heroes of the NeS, overused one of his inventions not long ago, which led to his body's decay. On the brink of death, an old flame unexpectedly arrived and saved his life by turning him into, like her, a NeSferatu (a kind of vampire who prefer the blood of major characters making hard choices). While he now shares an unusual connection to Nyneve and a bond that can never be broken, he doesn't love her. Antestarr has a solid, clear mind that is constantly at work to solve the problems before him. However he recently has developed a need for the "blood-ink" of characters, as well as melodrama and self-pity, due to his NeSferatu nature. He left the NeS Heroes to start a 'NeSferatu army', which he controls alongside Nyneve. He left, with the heroes, his lover Subaru Yamamoto who he still longs for and hopes to turn into a NeSferatu - even though she doesn't wish it. He is on the search for Young's son, Chance.

    The Last True Evil, or TLTE, was once the greatest villain to the NeS, but the ex-Soviet super-spy turned over a new leaf when he fell in love with Losien Simon. While the true evil within TLTE remains a constant struggle, he uses his love and respect for various characters, particularly Losien and his adopted charge Amal, to keep himself in check. He is currently challenged in his relationship with Losien since she became the main character for the NeS and experienced a 'dark side' during the previous story arc where she cheated on him. Though Losien seemed to not be herself at the time, TLTE's emotions on the subject have yet to be settled through conversation as Losien avoids the issue. Arkng Thand is convinced that TLTE will once again embrace his evil ways and become the greatest threat to the NeS' continued existence. He was, however, frozen in carbonite by Polly Simon - she keeps him in a walking cauldron. Baba Yaga also revealed to Polly that TLTE only believes that he loves Losien - he does not truly. Polly intends to be granted a wish so that Losien will stop loving TLTE. It should be noted that his Potential is dead.

    Young & Chance
    Young is the daughter of the NeS and the love of Evil G. They were married in an evil wedding and now have a son together named Chance. Young raises Chance back at the Haunted House of Heroes - where Chance has demonstrated some unusual qualities from time to time, mostly scaring ghosts and ghouls of the HHH. Currently, Young is the prisoner of Nyneve, and Chance is held captive by Morthrandur.

    Nyneve was the last of the NeSferatu until recently when she turned her old lover, Antestarr, into a NeSferatu too. NeSferatu long for the blood-ink of the Main Characters' line - which is especially strong in the Simon family. Her primary target is Gebohq and is currently hatching a plan against him.

    Twin Suns & The Forgotten Army
    Twin Suns, sometimes known as The Chosen One, is the leader of the Forgotten Army. The Army includes all of the forgotten characters of the NeS, including some high profile cases such as MaybeChild. They are constantly looking for new recruits and are considered a threat to the NeS by some, while others believe that they are heroes.

    Arkng Thand
    Once he was the guardian over both Amal and Apple, Thand has since lost both of them to the NeS Heroes. He is a former NeScholar and one of their greatest. He is mostly aloof, appearing only when he wishes and his motives are a complete mystery, even to his adoptive "children" who often follow his commands without query. Thand seems to have the NeS interests at heart but his actions are highly questionable and his schemes seem to stretch on and on. Many do not know if they should trust him or consider him to be their enemy. Thand has a particular rivalry with TLTE. Recently he has been revealed to be the President of the United States of America, running the government for some unknown agenda. He has a man named "Spin Doctor" working for him, who covers up unusual stories - including the death of Sarah Palin. He has also hatched a plot with Thrawn42689 as his instrument, where Thrawn is watching everything in the NeS by 'infecting' NPCs.

    Thrawn is an android created by Doctor Dormouse alongside Ahnuld. More recently Thrawn has allied himself with Arkng Thand and plots to 'infect' various NPCs (Non-Player Characters) and RAMs (Random Audience Members) - indicated by various formations of his overly long serial number. He seems particularly keen to keep tabs on both Hero Teams.

    Emperor Pi
    The secret Emperor of China and father to Rachel Pi, Emperor Pi lives in the forbidden city of the sky - a palace floating upon the clouds over China, hidden from all. He has many concubines and has mystical kung fu powers that he claims comes from his tea-drinking habits. He has a calm, serene demeanour and loves his daughter, Rachel, very much. He cares a great deal for his daughter and his recent involvement in the NeS has largely been focused on trying to keep her safe and support her through her romantic troubles with her lover, Gebohq. He long ago achieved his Potential, as the Jade Emperor of China.


    Apple, true name Rosebud Simon, was an assassin raised and trained by Arkng Thand. Master Thand used Apple to acquire many artifacts and eliminate problems facing the NeS. She has been a tool to organise and protect the NeS from the shadows without her, or anyone else, realising it bar Thand himself. She is fairly aggressive and seemed to enjoy her job, however recent events caused her to join the NeS Heroes and restrain her killer instinct. A lengthy plot by High Angel to seek vengeance against his rival Highemperor (now Al Ciao) caused her to become pregnant, and in order to thwart that plot, an unorthodox plan was placed from Evil G resulting in Apple being her own mother and Losien to be her father. However she went with her mother to try and save Africa from being destroyed by a temporal bomb, but it resulted in her being thrown through time. This, mixed by Soriel's unlocking of character Potentials, caused her to achieve her Potential and become Chronos - master of time. She started the TEA, Time Enforcement Agency, in Victorian London and has since been known as "Mysterious Person" - leader of the TEA.

    Potential of Frank Smith.

    The Nega
    Potential of The Otter.

    Potential of Maeve and new Hand of the NeS, alongside Bhac. She has the power to control dreams with dream powder (and flight). Her name is a mesh of 'Aphrodite and Venus'.

    Potential of Losien Simon. Her name is Welsh for Guinevere.

    Subaru Yamamoto's Potential. Orochi is Japanese for demon.

    The Orator
    Able to replace The Narrator, The Orator is Tracer's Potential.


    Named after Midas who turns everything to gold, our Midas turns everything into couches. He is the Potential of Couchman.

    Quo Anima
    The Potential for Amal. He is an empty vessel.

    Nyktelios is the Potential of Iriana Emp. She is a Powerplayer. Her name means 'Nocturnal'.
    And now, back to your irregularly-unscheduled story...


    Meanwhile (NeS count: rising faster than a tiny swarm of angry bees), not far away from Losien and company, Ford and his team of Forgotten characters continue distracting the Potentials with their attacks.

    A distraction that is failing.

    What? I'm the Narrator!

    And I'm the Orator, one of the Potentials now aware of the distraction.

    I messed up big time, didn't I?

    Yes you did, and unlike you, I'm not going to follow poor form in telling them.

    You're not?

    I don't need to tell them. One of the Potentials, Prophet, notices a massive monster of a castle moving not too far away.

    Oh dear.

    Prophet: "Was that a non-native castle I just saw moving?"

    Ford: "Oh for crying out loud, are they trying to make things difficult for us?"

    Gwenhwyfar: "That's what we should be asking of you!"

    Bokken Monkey: "Bad luck for everyone, it seems. I'm surprised."

    Sugarless: "And I get the worst of the luck -- I'm stuck with the magic seat maker!"

    Midas: "Things must be difficult for you, my dear."

    Sugarless: "They are!"

    Midas: "Why don't you have a seat while I fetch a good book of mine for you to read."

    Sugarless: "That sounds like a good idea-- GAH! No!"

    Midas: "A good sit will ease your insulin levels."

    Sugarless: "You're probably right, maybe I should just -- I MEAN NO!"

    Midas: "You've done well facing such a diversely-talented Potential. High five?"

    Sugarless: "Thanks! It's nice to get a little -- NOT AGAIN! YOU WON'T TURN ME INTO FURNITURE!"

    The battle rages on between the Potentials and the Forgotten characters--

    Banana Boy: "Apples."

    ...I refuse to describe that character.

    Banana Boy: "Apples?"

    I will not be distracted with details about a Banana Boy.

    Banana Boy: "Apples!"

    I hate my life...
    Last edited by Gebohq; 04-28-2014 at 08:46 PM.

  2. #1722
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Onwards!

    And back again to our NeS Heroes, not to be distracted by our distractors, they have begun their march towards Big Ben again.

    Al Ciao: "Sweetheart, although I'm pretty pleased that you're taking your dating seriously, I'm a bit worried you're being too hard on poor Couchman. Maeve needed rescuing and, to be honest, if I could do CPR I would have done the same."

    Iriana Emp: "Would you have enjoyed it? Even just a little, remembering afterwards how your lips connected with hers?"

    Al Ciao: "... ... ... oh look, we're nearly there!"

    Iriana Emp: "I thought as much..."


    Losien: "Oh look, it's my long forgotten Hero Watch!"

    The watch activates and a hologram of MZZT appears.

    MZZT: "Okay, you guys can stop right there. This building's fragile these days, I don't need some overly pompous Armenian palace smacking the HoH with its lard-laden ass."

    Al Ciao: "I take offence to that! She's just big-stoned!"

    Losien: "MZZT, we need help getting into Buckingham Palace. I thought you might have a secret tunnel or something."

    MZZT: "How did you know about that!? Who've you been talking to!?"

    Losien: "No one, I just know you and how... What's a more polite word for paranoid?"

    MZZT: "Cautious?"

    Losien: "There you go. How cautious you can be."

    MZZT: "Alright. I'll open up the blast doors, you guys should be able to enter the tunnel from the base of Elizabeth Tower."

    The gang starts to move towards Big Ben but MZZT screams at them again.


    Losien: "Oh right yeah..."

    Losien looks at Iriana Emp and muses for a moment.

    Losien: "I suppose we can use Iriana and her new found friend as a distraction."

    Gebohq: "I thought we already had a distraction team?"

    Losien: "Well, now we'll have to have another distraction team, won't we? Iriana, Al and Couchman--"

    Couchman: "Actually, I'd rather go with the tunnel team."

    Iriana glares at the rear of Couchman's head before she petulantly crosses her arms.

    Iriana Emp: "Well that suits me just fine!"

    Losien: "...Awkward! Well, okay! Whatever, let's just split up. Most of us go down, a few sit up here and hang out with the Armenian Palace. The building enough should distract any guards' attention."

    Al Ciao: "I like this plan. More bonding time for me and my daughter!"

    Lady LightSide: "Maybe we should explore your palace while we can? I'm sure the crazy ghosts will come to their senses when they see their returning king!"

    Al Ciao: "Well, actually, I'm not king anymore. But your point stands! We can be like a family of Indiana"

    Evil G: "That sounds like a real TV show. And a bad one. I'm down in the tunnels. Let's get this show on the road!"

    Down into the tunnels goes Losien, the intrepid Main Character of the Never-ending Story. She holds out Fred teh Uber Blade, expecting trouble every step of the way, and Carlotta the Cape gently flaps in the breeze that blew down the long passage.

    Behind her is Evil G, the evil variant of Gebohq Simon from another dimension. While some argue his evil ways a behind him, he would like to think differently - he's just a more sophisticated brand of evil now. Still sheathed, he carries his own ShatteredSword.

    Maeve, the current legitimate heir to the throne of Great Britain, is coming up behind Evil G. Normally she's completely drunk but after recent arguments with Losien, Maeve was denied booze and now she's tee-total going on one whole day. And now she's going to seize her throne from the evil King John! Oh and she died recently, killed by Rachel as a prank...

    Tracer, currently disguised as a royal guardsman (complete with fluffy hat), is the blast from the past - a man that still thinks it's 1950s America wherever he goes. With a penchant for disguises and monologue narration, Tracer also has a keen sense of guardianship over Losien - the team leader.

    Frank Smith, time traveller and current Time Cop on leave. Gay as a fruit bat - which doesn't strike me as very gay, actually - Frank has been going through something of a mid-life crisis, all impeded by his association with the NeS Heroes who have dragged his reputation through the mud on more than one occasion, enough so that Time Cops from the distant future (Frank's own future) are now out for his arrest. He glances at what appears to be a watch, a time relay device that contains the personalities of CynthAI and, more recently, CaptAIn (Sran Cadpill).

    Subaru Yamamoto, a girl with incredible, unusual and varied powers, walks behind Frank in something of a sour mood. Having lost her boyfriend to vampirism, Subaru has been searching for some meaning to her role in the NeS. Something more than wanting to pull Antestarr's eyes from his skull. Her massive axe is strapped to her back.

    Ping, the digital hero, is having some trouble in the underground tunnel and keeps flickering on and off as his signal struggles through the solid earth above him. But the last upgrades he made to his hub ought to have improve his signal immensely, and also lets him watch cable when his mind isn't occupied with the real world around him. On loan from The Forgotten Army, Ping is really there just to make sure that Maeve is crowned queen and the NeS Heroes don't cock it all up.

    Lastly is Amal, possible future Main Character and protÚgÚ of both Arkng Thand and The Last True Evil. Amal is still searching for who he truly is and is growing increasingly concerned that his life is being played out without his consent. He recently acquired a copy of the NeSword from Gebohq and holds it in his hands as he brings up the rear - mostly because it makes him feel important.

    Up above the other heroes approach the gates of Buckingham Palace, with their own Armenian Palace in tow. Following Iriana Emp after a spell was put onto the gigantic, animated chicken legs that are attached to the palace, the palace finally stops and thuds to the ground when Iriana ceases to move. As it lands, there is a thunderous boom that shakes London and wakes up many people in the neighbourhood. Particularly those who find their walls haave been smashed off by the palace's girth.

    Iriana Emp, daughter of Highemperor, is the picture of refinement and upper class dignity. Also upper class arrogance and ignorance. She sips a cup of tea as she admires the gates to the British palace.

    Beside her is her father, Al Ciao, who was once known as the powerplaying Highemperor. However having given up all that lark, Al Ciao is currently content with trying to be a father... and becoming a father to ever more babies. One impending pregnancy stands right beside him.

    Lady LightSide, formerly DarkSide, is current trapped in her current form due to her pregnancy. Her dark side was sucked out of her when Losien, temporarily, turned evil and made even DarkSide look good! And so she is. However everyone knows that LightSide will vanish when she gives birth, transforming back into DarkSide once again and bringing misery to the NeS Heroes once again. For now though, she's rather pleasant and loving to her husband, Al Ciao, and her step-daughter, Iriana.

    Also playing happy families is Rachel Pi, who was denied from joining the heroes in the tunnel because she killed Maeve during a practical joke. So instead Rachel stands before the palace with no small wonder on her face. Of course, she grew up in a palace in the sky, so this is small potatoes, and yet she admires the beauty of the building. Or perhaps its her hormones as she's secretly pregnant and unsure what to do about it. Just as her relationship started to look up, a spanner is thrown into the works.

    Gebohq Simon, the father of Rachel's baby, stands beside her. Formerly the Main Character of the NeS, Gebohq has been sincerely happy to just be "Rachel's boyfriend" for a while and not have to worry about anything. Although he finds it hard to push out the natural instinct to 'save the day', Geb is enjoying his new lease of life. At his side is the original NeSword. Obviously sheathed because Gebohq hasn't the sense to detect danger.

    And so, after that brief character summary that most readers probably skipped over, we return to the dialogue.

    MZZT's holographic signal comes through to Gebohq's Hero Watch.

    MZZT: "I can't reach Losien now that she's down in those tunnels, but I thought someone should be informed... I think the HHH is on fire. There's flames on the other side of the portal. So either it is on fire or maybe Young is a really bad cook..."

    Gebohq: "Wow! We'd better get back there and-- oh hey look! It's a double-decker bus! Wow, it's sooooooo British! And look! A red post box!"

    MZZT: "Well... don't say I didn't warn you."

    MZZT leaves Gebohq to his sudden burst of tourism-fuelled spirit.

    Rachel Pi: "Geb, you lived here for years..."

    Gebohq: "Oh, a British Nanny!!"

    The British nanny scolds Gebohq and makes him sit on the naughty step, where he sulks for the next five minutes.

  3. #1723
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Naughty Step

    The Potentials of the story leap into action as they burst into the clearing made by the Armenian Palace in front of Buckingham Palace. Prepared to fight the Potentials find themselves staring at nothing but the palace and one lone figure sitting on a step.

    Gwenhwyfar: "Gebohq? Are you alone?"

    Gebohq sulkily nods his head.

    Gwenhwyfar: "Why are you sitting there alone?"

    Gebohq: "I was a naughty boy."

    Gwenhwyfar: "Riiiiiiiiiiiiight..."

    Orochi: "They must be inside this monstrosity... Let's go and get them!"

    The Potentials march into the palace, leaving Gebohq to continue his punishment alone.

  4. #1724
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Naughty Step Continued

    Ford's group stare after the unoccupied area where the Potentials had been stood moments before. They stare in silence before Ford's indignant tone finally rises,

    Ford: "They buggered off!!"

    Sugarless: "We should go after them, they're probably onto the NeS Heroes by now."

    The Forgotten Unit heads towards the Armenian Palace, where they find Gebohq still sitting on a step.

    Ford: "Geb, what're you doing?"

    Gebohq: "I was a naughty boy..."

    "That's probably more information than anyone really needed to know..."

    Ford: "Did the Potentials go in here?"

    Gebohq: "Probably..."

    Ford: "I suppose we have to go in then."

    LL: "Into the super creepy castle?"

    Bokken Monkey: "That's probably haunted, knowing my luck..."

    Sugarless: "You know, maybe if you didn't say stuff like that, then we wouldn't get jinxed!"

    Ford: "Right, let's go. See you later, Geb."

    The Forgotten Unit leaves Gebohq still sitting out his punishment.

    Gebohq: "I'm sure five minutes must be over by now..."

  5. #1725
    Deep inside the hellified halls of Buckingham Palace, Qhobeg #1 ringes his hands nervously outside the bedchamber doors of King John. Approximately forty minutes has left Qhobeg #1 to his own devices, and many more minutes continue to flee like the cowards they are, fearful that they might be known throughout history as minutes associated with something King John does. Several times, Qhobeg #1 raises his fist to knock on the chamber doors, only to pull his fist back in better judgment. Several times, Qhobeg #1 considers bolting away as fast as he can, then relapses into greedy stupidity as he considers King John's immense wealth and his own poverty and how he fantasizes that the king's wealth might one day seep into his own pockets through some financial osmosis. Several times, Qhobeg #1 stops thinking altogether, perhaps due to his brain's feeble attempts at self-defense, or perhaps due to a faulty strand of sloth DNA that leaked into the cloning vats he had been made in.

    As Qhobeg #1 works up the courage to run away, one of the guards stationed by King John's bedchamber door sighs before extending his poleaxe to block Qhobeg's way.

    Guard: "Your Majesty, the Prime Minister is here to see you."

    Qhobeg #1 stares at the guard, mortified that his presence has been revealed. A thud is heard beyond the bedroom chamber doors, and curse words even British people would have a hard time making out follow.

    Guard: "Shall I send him in, Your Excellency?"

    Qhobeg #1: "I can tell I'm disturbing him so I'll just come back after a few centuries--"


    Guard: "As you command..."

    Qhobeg #1: "WAIT! I uh--uh--uh-- COME BEARING GOOD NEWS FOR THE KING! Yes, yes, and er--er--"

    His eyes dart around wildly, searching for anything he can spin into the lie that he just made up. The guard runs his thumb down the edge of his poleaxe.

    King John: "I can't imagine what news could possibly be good enough to forgive having me wake up on the wrong side of my gold-framed bed, other than a good old-fashioned morning execution..."

    Just then, Qhobeg #1 sees the mobile castle outside a window.


    Silence. The sweat pouring from Qhobeg #1 forms a small puddle around his feet. The guard raises his poleaxe high above his head.

    King John: "Is it France?"

    Panic sets in as Qhobeg #1 glances out the window, hoping he sees the words he might be able to say to live another day.

    Qhobeg #1: "I... believe they were French allies?"

    King John: "GUARD!"

    The guard smiles as Qhobeg #1 gulps.

    King John: "Send him in!"

    The guard frowns, lowering his weapon back down. Qhobeg #1 sticks his tongue out at the guard.

    Qhobeg #1: "This will be way better than reporting the lack of conscripts."

    King John: "What was that?"

    Qhobeg #1: "I said the poor are a bunch of lazy loafers not paying enough to the king!"


  6. #1726
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Usurper

    From the secrets passages of Buckingham Palace, passages we're all certain exist, the NeS Heroes emerge into the palace proper.

    Maeve: "STORM THE GATES!!"

    Losien: "What? No! Hush! No storming gates! We're being stealthy, remember?"

    "Like a ninja!!"

    Maeve: "Awww... can we storm the gates later then? I mean, a good auld usurping deserves a gate storming or two!"

    Losien: "When you're Queen, you can do whatever you like. But we have to get you there first."

    Guardsman: "Erm... excuse me. This is the men's bathroom."

    The Heroes glance around the room, spying the washbasins, cubicles, urinals and single guardsman.

    "I'd always wondered what the men's toilets looked like!"

    Subaru: "It's like a great mystery has been solved..."

    Maeve: "I've been in loads of men's loos back in my old heterosexual days."

    Losien: "Too much information."

    Guardsman: "Far too much information. In fact, if you could all just wait outside while I finish washing my hands, I can then process you all for trespassing. Thanks."

    The Heroes march outside and stand in a line outside of the men's bathroom.

    Amal: "Why are we just standing here?"

    Evil G: "Because we always end up doing something stupid. Thank you for bringing me back to my senses, Amal."

    Evil G walks casually back into the bathroom. The Heroes hear a series of thuds, thwacks, whacks and baps before Evil G returns and dusts off his sleeves.

    Losien: "Did you enjoy yourself?"

    Evil G: "It's good to let loose once in a while. So yeah I did."

    The door to the men's swings open again and everyone gasps with shock.

    Tracer steps out.

    Tracer: "Sorry, I took the opportunity..."

    Losien: "Let's just get to King John before anything else--"


    Losien: "Oops..."

    But it was too late. Drawn both by Evil G's shouting and Losien's jinxing, the corridor is suddenly full of guardsmen.

    Maeve: "LEG IT!!!"

    The NeS Heroes follow Maeve's first 'royal command' and proceed to run away from the guardsmen. They rush down corridors, through rooms and up stairs until they finally burst into the throne room. There they find one solitary guardsman picking his nose.

    Losien: "Where's King John?"

    Guardsman: "Well, you just missed him. He went off to inspect his new palace or somethin'."

    Maeve: "Bugger, we missed him!"

    Guardsman: "Uh, you're not here trying to usurp are you? I've got orders to chop off your head and stick it on a spike if you are."

    Maeve: "Uh... I rather like my head where it is, thanks."

    Couchman: "Actually, it doesn't matter. We're in the throne room, you are legally the rightful ruler of the realm. You can claim the throne and allegiance of all those loyal to the crown here and now."

    Maeve nods and approaches the throne of England.

    Guardsman: "Uh... I'm really not allowed to let you up there..."

    As Maeve sits down the rest of the guardsmen bumble into the room.

    Maeve: "I am Maeve-- Uh... Maeve..."

    Couchman: "Last official monarch was Windsor. Try that."

    Maeve: "I am Maeve Windsor! Next in line to the throne of Great Britain! I declare the man claiming to be King John to be a pretender and his unlawful acquisition of the throne to be treason! Capture him at once!"

    The guardsmen, after getting up off the floor, all stare in confusion and surprise. Some stare at Maeve, some stare at the other heroes, some stare at each other and some stare at a random porn magazine someone left on the floor.

    Maeve: "Well? Get on with it!"

    The guardsmen jump to attention at the command, salute and march out.

    Maeve: "Well that was easy. When do the sexy handmaids arrive?"


    King John: "Why are you just sitting here man?"

    Gebohq: "Because I was a bad boy..."

    Qhobeg #1: "Maybe we should just go inside?"

    King John: "Fine. But I want his head removed when we come back out. Can't have bad boys sitting on steps in front of palaces, you know?"

    Qhobeg #1: "Right. I'll make a note."

    King John: "Come to think of it, he looked a lot like you, Prime Minister!"

    Qhobeg #1: "I think I just have one of those faces..."

  7. #1727

    With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility

    In the throne room of Buckingham Palace, the newly dubbed Queen Maeve Windsor wiggles around on the throne, attempting to find a comfortable position. To her one side is Losien, her hands on her hips, her fingers drumming, staring at Maeve with growing impatience. To her other side stands Amal, holding the NeSword in front of him in a knightly fashion, his eyes apparently closed in deep thought. Surveying the throne room together, Couchman and Subaru each take focused interest in assessing the condition and strategic layout of their surroundings. Apparently bored with the situation, Evil G stares outside a window. Tracer stands watch by the main entrance, remaining uncharacteristically quiet for the time being.

    Maeve: "I swear, they designed this thing to make it impossible to sit in without a literal stiff upper everything."

    Losien sighs in a not-so-subtle way.

    Maeve:: "What? Do you want to try or something?"

    Losien: "Aren't you forgetting something?"

    Maeve: "Oh, that! Don't worry, I haven't forgotten! I just thought we'd want to wait for a little more ceremony for officially knighting you, is all."

    Losien: "There's a bigger problem."

    Maeve: "Look, I know you're not British, and technically, I think I'm only supposed to knight Englishmen, but I think we can make an exception -- I am queen, after all!"

    Losien: "I'm talking about the Potentials!"

    Maeve: "Oh, right. Do I get superpowers by becoming queen? That'd make things a lot easier."

    Standing behind Losien, a white and green holographic man -- Ping Me -- speaks up.

    Ping Me: "No."

    Losien: "GAH! Who the hell are you?"

    Maeve: "Wow, look who's forgetting things now! He's here to make sure I become queen on behalf of the Forgotten."

    Losien: "Oh, right. I, uh, totally remember you now. Yup..."

    Staring deadpan at Losien for only a moment, Ping Me turns his attention back to Maeve.

    Ping Me: "I'm here to make sure you decree the new task forces made up of the Forgotten Army as well."

    Maeve: "Yes, yes, Remembered Forces One through Twelve. That ought to help clean up the streets and win our little contest with those pesky Potentials, eh?"

    She looks around for approval of her smarmy remarks, and upon receiving none, sits up in her throne and clears her throat.

    Maeve: "As Queen of England, I, Maeve Windsor, sanction the formation of the Remembered Forces, and, uh, there should be twelve divisions. ...oh, and their first task will be to rid the country of the forces of Hell. So...yeah. Go take whatever of King John's riches you can find back to the Forgotten. That's what they needed, right?"

    Ping Me: "And an officially-recognized power to authorize the Forgotten as a legal power, yes. I'll attend to those matters then."

    With that, Ping Me flickers away. Losien stands at a loss for words.

    Maeve: "So I'm still trying to figure out when I start having those sexy handmaidens serving me..."

    Losien: "This isn't as heroic as I was expecting things to be."

    Maeve: "Did you expect to swordfight every demon on the streets of London?"

    Losien: "Well, yes. Certainly not just stick you in a chair telling others what to do."

    Maeve: "Hey! With great power comes great, uh..."

    Losien: "Irresponsibility?"

    Maeve: "I was going to say delegation."

    Losien: "Well, I'll feel a lot better once this is all done with."

    Maeve: "Relax already! This is a time for celebrating!"

    Without turning his attention away from the window, Evil G speaks up.

    Evil G: "Sounds like a good time for a drink!"

    Maeve: "Oooo, good idea!"

    Losien shoots Evil G a glare of frustrated disbelief.

    Losien: "I can't believe-- NO! You can't do that!"

    Maeve: "Excuse me? In case you forgot, I'm a queen now. I can do whatever the bloody hell I want."

    Losien: "And rule the Commonwealth in a drunken stupor?"

    Maeve: "Hey, being queen is a lot of pressure!"

    Losien: "Drinking isn't going to help! This isn't a time to be shirking your new royal duty."

    Maeve: "Oh, that's rich, coming from someone who refuses to be the next rightful Queen of Jupiter!"

    Losien: "That's different! Don't change the subject!"

    Maeve: "Whatever, Miss Perfect. I'm going to have a drink, and if you try to stop me... I won't ever make you a knight! I'll kick you out of the country!"

    Losien: "Fine! Do whatever you want! I'm going out to do some actual good in personally living up to my potential and hope that Potential doesn't kill me first."

    Losien angrily marches towards the main entrance.

    Maeve: "Fine!"

    Losien: "Fine!"

    Maeve: "Fine!"

    Losien: "Fine!"

    Maeve: "Fine!"

    Losien: "Fine!"

    Maeve: "Fine!"

    Losien marches past Tracer and out of sight. A moment of silence passes. Then, a distant voice yells from the halls beyond.

    Losien: "Fine!"

    Maeve: "UGH!"

    She slumps into her throne, visibly upset. Off to the side, Couchman turns to Subaru.

    Couchman: "Catfight, am I right? Me-ow!"

    Subaru rolls her eyes.

    Evil G: "Oh how I do love spreading discord. They're making my job way too easy--"

    Just then, his modified Anti-Hero Watch starts to ring, which he responds by tapping it.

    Evil G: "Yo."

    Voice: "What's the status over there?"

    Evil G: "Rachel, my little lovely lump on my ass! You never call anymore. I feel the romance is dying between us."

    Rachel: "Cut the crap -- has Maeve been made queen yet?"

    Evil G: "Oh, I love it when you're snippy! So quick! Yeah, she's queening it up: setting up the Forgotten Police State, pissing off Los away to march into a suicidal mission of heroics, dipping into the royal wine now, blah blah blah -- Oh! And she sent some guards to get the ol' King John. They're heading for your place, you can thank me later--"

    Rachel: "You let Losien walk off?!"

    Evil G: "Well, yeah. Encouraged it, really."

    Rachel: "Go get her back right now, you idiot!"

    Evil G: "I thought you didn't like her."

    Rachel: "Having her die is bad for the story! And she's your sister!"

    Evil G: "Technically, different dimension. My real one's dead--"

    Rachel: "GO!"

    Evil G: "Fine, fine. Sheesh. Like I want to stick around here anyway..."

    He ends the call on his watch and turns to Amal.

    Evil G: "Hey, Jamal!"

    Amal: "Amal."

    Evil G: "Whatever, nobody cares -- take care of Queen Drinksalot while I go take care of some business."

    Amal simply watches without response as Evil G makes his way out to follow Losien.


    Within the Armenian castle, Rachel ends the call on her end. Off ahead of her, Al Ciao continues to give Lady Lightside a tour of the place while his daughter, Princess Iriana, tries to contain her boredom. Having noticed Rachel on her call, Iriana falls back to her.

    Princess Iriana: "What was that all about?"

    Rachel: "Oh nothing, just business."

    Princess Iriana: "Oh, I was hoping it'd be something exciting."

    Rachel: "Oh, I think we'll have excitement soon enough..."

    Princess Iriana: "Hey, shouldn't your boyfriend be back by now?"

    Rachel, caught off-guard, looks at the time on her watch...


    Still sitting outside the Armenian castle, Gebohq continues to pout as the Royal Guards approach.

    Gebohq: "I must be a really bad boy for these five minutes to feel so long..."

    They look at each other, confused, before proceeding forth into the castle.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 05-05-2014 at 10:21 PM.

  8. #1728

    In The Stars

    Meanwhile (NeS count: more than the stars in the sky), under the constellation of Ursa Major, the NeSferatu, Antestarr, kneels low to the ground with a pacifier in his hand. The pacifier belongs to Chance, the newborn abducted by the Sepulchral Phantom, Morthrandur. Out of a familial responsibility towards Chance's mother, Young, Antestarr has taken it upon himself to hunt Morthrandur down and return Chancce to her.

    Antestarr whistles, and in the shadows which always seem to be nearby him (a perk of being an undead monster better left unseen), a pair of white, beastly stars for eyes flash in view.

    Antestarr: "Come here, Houndor."

    Emerging from the shadows, an 8-foot tall half-Rotweiler, half-bear constellation of a beast approaches Antestarr's side. Despite its size and scary appearance, Houndor acts as if its a puppy-cub, lowering its head to lick Antestarr's face. He grits his face, then wastes no further time by shaking the pacifier.

    Antestarr: "Smell!"

    Houndor: "Hou hou!"

    Antestarr: "No, Houndor, you're not a Pokemon! Smell!"

    Houndor: "Hoo..."

    Antestarr: "Smell!"

    Acting as commanded, Houndor sniffs the pacifier, pondors its scent, and sniffs it again.

    Houndor: "Hou!"

    Antestarr: "You're not a--ugh, forget it. Houndor, find!"

    He shakes the pacifier for emphasis.

    Antestarr: "Find!"

    Excited by the new commnad, Houndor sniffs the ground and air about him, pacing around the area to find the new scent. Reaching into his cloak, Antestarr heaves out a chain used to tie anchors to boats and proceeds to attach it to Houndor's collar. Each time he's about to do so, Houndor moves in an unexpected fashion, forcing Antestarr to follow and try again. After a few failed attempts, Antestarr finally grabs hold of the collar. Just as he attaches the chain to the collar, though, Houndor finds the scent.

    Houndor: "HOOOOOOOUUUU!"

    And bolts to follow the scent, dragging Antestarr along with him.


    His protests go unheard, however, as Houndor pulls Antestarr at celestial speeds. The two, attaining light speed, also gain infinite mass in the process. Since their trip lasted less than a blink of an eye, though, and happened to pass through a plothole in their trek, the rest of the world merely experienced a collective snap-moment of dread before resuming back to business, the likes of which turns a 36-year old woman in North Dakota away from her wholesome life and towards a new life living in the ninth circle of Hell known as Canada to spend more time with her in-laws.

    When Antestarr collects his bearings, he sees that Houndor has brought him to an ominous, sand-white obilisk in the middle of an endless desert. At the base of the obilisk, there is an entrance with stairs leading down into darkness. A sign outside the entrance reads "Ominous Saharan Oblisk For Rent! Call 555-5555 for details!" and below it, a flip sign that currently reads "Occupied."

    Out of the corner of his eye, Antestarr notices a plane wreckage on top of a faraway dune, and nearby now, a familiar man clad in a trenchcoat.

    Antestarr: "A little hot for black, isn't it, TLTE?"

    The Last True Evil: "I'm not in mood for rhetorical questions. I need to get to Losien."

    Antestarr: "Then perhaps Morthrandur can answer to the both of us."

    The Last True Evil: "Down there?"

    Antestarr: "Just follow your nose."

    With Houndor leading them, the three of them descend down the stairs of the ominous obilisk...

  9. #1729
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow That Escalated Quickly

    Losien: "Gebohq, what are you doing?"

    Gebohq: "I've been--"

    Losien: "Actually, I don't want to know. It'll be something ridiculous anyway. Did the Potentials come this way?"

    Gebohq: "Yeah. As well as--"

    Losien: "Doesn't matter. Get up, let's go."

    Gebohq obediently gets to his feet with a bewildered expression, evidently not expecting to be bossed around so sternly by his younger sister.

    Evil G: "Was I ever really this lame?"

    Evil G saunters up to them.

    Evil G: "Looks like I'm on guard duty for you, Los. We can ditch the dead weight, though."

    Gebohq: "Yeah, you should ditch that cape, Losien. I never thought it suited you."

    Carlotta the Cape: "The cheeky little-- You better tell that brain-dead lout your faux brother was talking about him!"

    Losien: "I would rather have Geb with me than you."

    Evil G: "Man, coming second to a retard... that stings."

    Gebohq: "Why are we talking about me?"

    Evil G: "Fine, whatever. But you do realise you're walking to your death, right? Facing off against your Potential will get you killed. And him."

    Losien: "And hopefully you."

    Evil G: "I'm way too charming to die."

    Losien: "Famous last words, perhaps?"


    Losien: "Whoa! What the Hell!?"

    Evil G: "I had to break your last words curse, dammit! I just said the first thing that came into my head!"

    Losien: "And that was the first thing that came to your head!?"

    Gebohq: "Actually, I agree with Evil G, Losien..."

    Losien: "You agree with gigantic hamsters eating plastic oranges?"

    "Uh, no. I meant the suicide mission."

    Losien: "Oh right. It's not suicide. I have to strive to defeat my own Potential and thus achieve my own... I suppose. I'm really not sure how this works. All I know is that they're doing mean things and that makes them villains to the story. Besides, you defeated your Potential, so how hard can it be!?"

    Gebohq: "Actually, I didn't defeat my Potential..."

    Evil G: "He totally wussed out and someone else had to do it for him."

    Gebohq: "Hey, you were me back then too!"

    Evil G: "Please don't remind me. I still get flashbacks and they're not pretty."

    Losien: "You two are like those shoulder consciences, the devil and the angel. Sheesh..."

    Evil G: "And when they both tell you this is a bad idea..."

    Losien: "Sometimes a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do."

    Evil G: "The dishes?"

    Gebohq: "The laundry?"


    Further into the Palace Al Ciao introduces his wife and daughter to a large open-air atrium with a massive fountain at its centre. The fountain has long-since ceased its flow of water, but the grandeur of it remains - if a little less impressive than it ought to have been. Al Ciao sighes as he reminisces his past, the wives he had, the concubines he knew. Both women grow somewhat impatient.

    Iriana Emp: "Surely there must be some tea around here somewhere?"

    Lady LightSide: "They might... but it would be centuries old."

    Iriana Emp considers this.

    Iriana Emp: "That might only improve the leaves! Have you ever tried Pu-erh tea?"

    Voice: "Princess Iriana, I'm glad you're keeping up on your tea."

    Iriana Emp: "Emperor Pi! What a pleasant surprise!"

    Rachel Pi: "Daddy! Uh, I mean-- Honourable father!"

    Emperor Pi: "Jing-Jing, no need to be so formal. You're not embarrassed, are you?"

    Rachel Pi, whose Chinese name is Pi Xue Jing, starts grumbling.

    Al Ciao: "Are you alone, Emperor?"

    Emperor Pi: "Not for much longer. Apparently my new comrades thought it would be a good plan to split up to quicken the search."

    Lady LightSide: "Best laid plans of mice and men..."

    Emperor Pi: "Often go awry. So, I thought I'd come and warn you. Make sure those plans go awry."

    Rachel Pi: "But it doesn't help us. We're stuck in here."

    Al Ciao: "When there's a will, there's a way!"

    Rachel Pi: "Empty platitudes won't help us now, Al."

    Al Ciao: "Actually, I was talking about the dozens of secret doors and passages built into this place. Each king had his own personal escape route constructed into the existing palace. Some with more... flair. It was really used to make a statement rather than for actual escape. But it should still work!"

    Rachel Pi: "Should?"

    Al Ciao: "Well, one of them has to! Right?"

    Lady LightSide: "I think it's our only option."

    Rachel Pi: "Wait, father, what about Geb? Was he still outside?"

    Orochi: "Yes he was."

    And now I, The Orator and Potential of Tracer, shall replace The Narrator. He's rubbish at his job anyway.


    The other Potentials file into the room, one by one, like a villains line-up. Even The Nega manages to stay upright for the pose. Orochi, the Potential of Subaru Yamamoto and scary samurai warrior, stands at their head with her mask temporarily removed.

    Orochi: "Keeping them busy for us, Old Man?"

    Rachel Pi: "Hello Potential people. Why don't you take a look at who you're dealing with before you make any rash decisions."

    Orochi: "Is that a threat?"

    Rachel Pi: "No! I mean actually look at us! None of your... un-Potentials are here! We're all Potential-less! Well, at least within the current context we are."

    Gwenhwyfar, the Potential of our Main Character Losien, dismounts her Pegasus cataphract - which she somehow managed to ride through the corridors of the ruined palace without incident.

    Gwenhwyfar: "She's right. Al Ciao's Potential is dead. Iriana Emp's Potential went off to fight that alternate dimensional version of Iriana. LightSide can't have a Potential and Rachel Pi... actually, I have no idea where your Potential is."

    Emperor Pi: "You shouldn't pry into other people's business, Gwenhwyfar."

    Orochi: "Can it, Old Man! They might not have Potentials present, but they're still NeS Heroes and that makes them a threat. At least a small one. I say we finish them off. That'll get the attention of our counterparts, wouldn't you say?"

    Al Ciao: "Honestly, in this story, they might not even notice..."

    Prophet, Midas, The Nega and Quo Anima stand behind the two powerful women. Midas, the Potential of Couchman, appears to be more eager to engage in the fight than the other three. His ability to turn anything into couches had already proven a massive boon for the Potential Party - especially The Nega who frequently needed something soft to lie on. The Nega himself is the Potential of The Otter and, quite like his unPotential self, is perpetually drunk. Quo Anima, the Potential for Amal, stands and stares with a vacant expression, as always. Incapable of making his own choices and actions. Prophet, the Potential of Frank Smith, unlike the other Potentials, seems disinclined to confront anyone. Because he's a big baby.

    Prophet: "Not everyone around here is so blood-thirsty, okay?"

    He also wets the bed.

    Prophet: "I do not!"

    Do too!

    Prophet: "It was just the once!"


    Suddenly The Forgotten Unit -- or Remembered, as they're now known -- burst into the room.

    Oi! Who said you could talk?

    You seemed busy.

    I'll tell you when I'm busy! Anyway. The Remembered Unit stands ready to take on the Potentials once again after losing them earlier. Because they suck.

    Ford: "Do not!"

    Do too!

    LL: "You guys suck!"

    Orochi: "No, you guys suck!"

    Gwenhwyfar: "I refuse to be drawn into any more of this..."

    Gunther: "I swear by my left testicle, you shall be defeated!!"

    Sugarless: "Just... why!?"

    Gunther: "I value my left testicle very highly."

    Sugarless: "What's wrong with the right one?"

    Gunther: "We had a falling out."

    Then, in comes King John, Qhobeg #1 and a small entourage of cannon fodder. I mean lackeys.

    King John: "Prime Minster! Explain why there are homeless people squatting in my new palace!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Erm... I guess they're probably here to loot it, Sire. Don't worry, we'll have them removed soon enough. And the cleaners will be sure to give this room an extra special hosing down."

    King John: "Good. I can't stand the smell of poor people."

    Orochi turns to Ford.

    Orochi: "Are they talking about us, or you lot?"

    Ford: "I'm pretty sure they're talking about all of us."

    Orochi: "The cheeky little--"

    Guardsmen: "STOP! IN THE NAME OF THE QUEEN!!"

    King John: "I have a wife?"

    The guardsmen pile into the room, bumping into each other as they did so and dropping spears with loud clatterings.

    Qhobeg #1: "No, my King. You love your money too much to spend any on a woman."

    King John: "I thought so. Guardsmen! Explain yourselves!"

    Guardsmen: "You have been usurped by the rightful ruler of this realm - Queen Maeve Windsor! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!"

    King John: "Dammit! I thought I paid assassin's to take her out!? I suppose I should have realised she'd survived when they failed to report back."

    Evil G: "Newbie mistake, man. Happens to the best of us villains in our early days. Baby steps, dude. Baby steps."

    Finally, pushing through the guardsmen, comes the final group of characters to our crazy Mexican standoff. With zero Mexicans.

    King John: "More like a British standoff then! Right? Right!? That was funny!"

    King John's lackeys cackle with laughter.

    Evil G: "Dude! I said baby steps! You'll never be a true NeS Villain at that rate!"

    Losien: "Potential, I challenge you!"

    King John: "So you're not here for me? Unexpected."

    Evil G: "Actually, we probably should be here for him, you know?"

    Losien: "More important things."

    King John: "More important than me!? I think not!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Sire, you do realise that you're encouraging them to kill you, right?"

    King John: "I know what I'm doing, Prime Minister!"

    Gwenhwyfar: "Challenge accepted."

    Losien: "Cool... well that was easy."

    Gwenhwyfar: "But it's about to get a whole lot harder."

    Ford: "Sorry, Heroes, but we won't allow you to do this alone."

    Losien: "Ford, Maeve is Queen, she made you Remembered. Your job's over. You don't need to protect us any longer."

    Ford: "And as we're now Remembered and guardians of this land, that now makes this my turf. On my turf, I take out my own trash."

    Evil G: "Worst. Line. Ever."

    Ford: "Like you can do better, Gebiyl?"

    Evil G: "It's Evil G now, dipstick."

    Ford: "Are you trying to provoke me, Emo Geb?"

    Evil G: "EMO GEB!? Now you're pushing my buttons, you little--"

    Iriana Emp: "Before this escalates any quicker, maybe we should all just calm down a little and think this scenario through? I find tea to be perfectly relaxing when I'm feeling stressed. Especially when going through my abandonment issues."

    Al Ciao: "I'm SO SORRY!!!!"

    Losien: "Al, this isn't the time..."

    Mr D.: "I have to confess, I'm finding all of this quite confusing. I have no idea who anybody is, or why they're here."

    LL: "Me neither, but there's some really attractive women in here."

    Evil G: "Wow, she sounds like someone Maeve would like."

    Midas: "Can I turn someone into a couch now?"

    Orochi: "I say yes! Let's go for it! WRAAAAAAAAAA!!!"

    Ford: "WRAAAAAAAAA!!!!"

    Losien: "WRAAAAAAAA!!!!"

    Guardsmen: "WRAAAAAAAAA!!!!"

    Al Ciao: "WRAAAAAAAAAA!!!!"

    Lady LightSide: "Where the Hell're you going!? Come back!"


    Qhobeg #1: "That Midas bloke left one of his couches here, Sire. Care for a ring-side seat?"

    King John: "Put bets on that Japanese girl in the armour. She's got spunk. And if she looks like she's losing, kill the winner. Can't go losing my money now, can we?"

    Everyone in the room, save for a select few, are suddenly embroiled in an epic battle to the death. King John sits in his armchair while the Prime Minister stands at his side serving him drinks. LightSide is pregnant and thus everyone gives her a wide berth--

    Lady LightSide: "Are you trying to imply that I'm fat, Orator?"

    Nothing of the kind. Iriana Emp and Emperor Pi are likewise separated from the battle because they're busy drinking tea. Iriana offers a cup to Lady LightSide.

    Lady LightSide: "I better not, Iriana, thank you. I might do something violent with it..."

    Iriana Emp: "I understand. I want to protect father too."

    Lady LightSide: "It's your father I'd be violent towards."

    As the battle escalates it evolves into a gigantic dust cloud with arms, legs and random heads occasionally poking free before diving back into the clouded fray. Random Armenian ghosts decide to join in, floating harmlessly - but chillingly - through the swarm of people to give everyone the shivers as they fight.

    One ghost stands next to Lady LightSide.

    Lady Ghost: "I say, you chaps know how to throw a smashing party! We haven't had this much fun in decades! Not since Old Babakhan raided the palace. You should have seen him and his men get torn to shreds by those old traps. Height of entertainment, it was. Lucky for your friends Old Babakhan activated most of those traps really. They'd be the ones being flayed alive if he hadn't. There's Old Babakhan now, flying through the body of your crazy-haired gentleman friend. That's right, Babakhan's the one with the alien growth on his back. Old story. Good one though. You see, when he was young--..."

    Tune in next time for the thrilling conclusion to the NeS' most epic battle yet!! Well, when I say most epic... and when I say conclusion, chances are... Well, you know the drill!

  10. #1730
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Flee

    After an elaborate series of actions involving a paintbrush, bookcase, plunger, a copy of the most recent lottery results and it being a Tuesday evening - all of which thusly resulted in Al Ciao being able to open a secret passage out of the palace - the NeS Heroes were able to escape the fighting and were running away.

    Evil G: "I for one am really glad you changed your mind, Losien. I really thought that Orochi woman was going to chew my arms off at one point."

    Losien: "Live to fight another day and all that, right. Gwenhwyfar was way too tough. It's like she knew everything I was going to do and more!"

    Lady LightSide: "I'm just glad you managed to bring Al back to his senses."

    Al Ciao: "I was taken in my the moment! Couldn't help myself."

    Gebohq: "I'm just glad I wasn't turned into a sofa!"

    Losien: "Yeah, I was a bit surprised you manage to wriggle out of your pants so quickly, brother. I'm not sure what Midas will do with a couch made out of your pants, but at least you're alive. If pantless."

    Gebohq: "Pantless freedooooooom!!"

    Iriana Emp: "I believe this is totally unacceptable behaviour for a vassal of Armenia. You should have trousers at all times."

    Gebohq: "I'll endeavour to get new ones as soon as possible."

    Iriana Emp: "Good. Until then, please remain out of sight. Your polka-dot underwear is embarrassing to look at."

    Gebohq: "Oooookay."

    When Gebohq slinks to the back of the group, who are still running through the overly long secret passage - which is incidentally well decorated and filled with beautiful things to make your escape that much more pleasing - he spies two people running up behind him.

    Gebohq: "Hello!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Hello!"

    King John: "Out of the way peasant! Your King is making his escape!"

    Qhobeg #1: "At least you won your money, my king! That Japanese girl definitely kicked ass in there!"

    King John: "I just want to live to spend it, Prime Minister! And to make sure I do, we leave for that Evil World Leader Organisation meet-up as soon as we're out of this damn passage!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Then we'd best Geb it!!"

    King John and his Prime Minister proceed to 'Geb it' down the secret passage, past the NeS Heroes.

    Gebohq: "Oi! That's a copyrighted move!! You have to pay me!!!"

  11. #1731

    Let Fate Be The Judge

    Within the not-so-famous royal "throne room" nearby the actual throne room of Buckingham Palace, Amal holds Maeve's hair back as she hurls into the gold-plated toilet bowl (the original, of course, having been replaced by King John during his recent rule). He helps Maeve up onto her feet with a mixture of concern and frustration at Maeve's inebriated state.

    Maeve: "Dum risponsi...nastytaste..."

    Amal: "Let's get you to a bed, ok? I'll get you some water and a bucket--"

    Maeve: "GET ME SummmmORE DRINK!"

    Amal: "That's not what Losien would want of you--"

    Maeve: "SHE DOESN'T LOVE YOU!"

    Amal: "I..."

    Maeve: "I du-wanna be the burur uv bad news...gotta be..."

    Amal: "Look, you're under a lot of stress, I can tell--"

    Maeve: "BLOODY RIGHT I AM. Now get me a drinky-poo, dear..."

    Amal: "I don't think--"

    Maeve: "Nobody cares whut you think! You heard the arsehole, dinnya? Now go... go do your queen's... go do what your queen asked of you...."

    She giggles at her own words, then holds the toilet again in her woozy state before throwing up in it again. Reluctantly, Amal exits to find Maeve more alcohol.


    Meanwhile (NeS count: at least past the legal 0.1% of the word count in the story), in the crazy epic fight within the Armenian palace--

    --where the story is described in a much more entertaining fashion, the Potential, Prophet, takes notice of some of the missing combatants.

    Prophet: "Losien and the other NeS group have fled!"

    Orochi: "Distracted again! Let's go after them already."

    Gwenhwyfar: "No, stay here and deal with the others! I'll take care of Losien."

    Despite the most effective Potential leaving the fight, Ford's Remembered Force team still struggles to stave off utter defeat.

    Ford: *over a walkie-talkie* "Backup, we need backup, A-SAP!"

    The Nega: "Has anyone seen the lil' buddy of ours?"

    Prophet: "Quo Anima?"

    The Nega: "Yeah, he wuz s'pose t'get me a nice Guinness to wash down my Captain Morgan's with."

    Prophet: "He's probably doing that then, you dolt!"

    The Nega: "Oh, right..."

    A random guardsman falls over unconscious as The Nega breaks a bottle of whiskey over his head, then proceeds to fall on the floor himself to lick up the whiskey.


    Back in the depths of Buckingham Palace, Amal enters the dimly-lit storage room where the barrels of royal wine are held. He stops in his tracks as he senses the suffocating presence of his own Potential within the same room. Quo Anima steps out of the shadows and towards Amal, appearing as a reflection of the small child Amal once was when first found by the NeS Heroes, both shadow and slate of an otherwise empty vessel of a being.

    Amal: "I don't want to confront you, Potential."

    Quo Anima: "And I don't want to confront you, Heir to the Mantle of Main NeS Hero."

    A moment of surprise washes over Amal before realization dawns on him.

    Amal: "Our desires are irrelevant. You must not be allowed to endanger anyone, and I must overcome my own Potential if I'm to be worthy of inheriting the mantle. Therefore, I, Amal, challenge you to a trial by combat, and let Fate be our judge."

    Quo Anima: "I, Quo Anima, accept your challenge."

    Suddenly, an innocuous older woman dressed in black judge-like robes appears out of thin air. The only oddity about the woman, apart from appearing out of thin air (but really, is that so odd in this story?), is that she wears a white blindfold over her eyes.

    Fate: "You all really couldn't just go through your local court system about this? Maybe settle it out of court, even?"

    The two stare at the woman, one of the mythological Fate Sisters, betraying no emotion.

    Fate: "Ugh, fine, but whoever wins has to pay for my fees. They're not cheap!"

    She then pulls out a metal folding chair and table to place in front of her before sitting down. Clearing her throat, she knocks on the table with a wooden crab hammer. A castle servant comes out of the woodwork to serve her a bushel of crabs before disappearing again.

    Fate: *stuffing her face with crab meat* "Begin!"

    Brandishing his NeSword, Amal stands firm towards Quo Anima, his own blade remaining sheathed behind his back. Tension builds as Amal waits for his opponent to make the first move. He starts to circle his Potential, his blade drawn in the defensive, scrutinizing any telling signs, calculating battle tactics seven steps in advance. Inside Amal's mind, blades swing with terrible power and precision, each action tearing the very fabric of the story thread to shreds, and every outcome ending, at best, with mutually assured destruction, and at worst, his utter and humiliating defeat. Every outcome except one.

    He stops circling his Potential, shifting his stance to the offensive.

    Amal: "I have already won this fight, because we are contesting for the very cores of our character. You will break my body, but you will not break my will."

    Quo Anima: "I cannot break your will, because you have no will to break."

    Amal: "I don't know what you're talking about."

    Quo Anima: "You have no will of your own. You have no potential of your own. You are only a blank sheet to be drafted by the will of others, once from Uncle Thand and now that of The Last True Evil."

    Amal: "Everyone begins their lives shaped by the outside world: family, friends, fate even. I've formed my own will from that, just as everyone else with a story does."

    Quo Anima: "Then what is your story, Amal? To fight the good fight? To prove you can do real good? To earn Losien's heart? These are the stories for The Last True Evil, and he's projecting them on you because he can't do them himself."

    Amal: "They're my own--"

    Quo Anima: "Lies! You said it yourself; our desires are irrelevant. Your desires, your whole life, is as irrelevant and imprisoned as it ever was. At least Thand never pretended it was otherwise."

    Amal: "I AM RELEVANT!"

    With an icy fury, Amal stabs forth at his Potential with the NeSword. Quo Anima's eyes bulge wide, his hands holding his now pierced heart. The Potential hooks his arm around Amal's head to bring him close, eeking out the whispers of his last words.

    Quo Anima: "I have already won this fight."

    As his eyes roll back and close, the Potential falls to his side, his body now prone. Amal stands shell-shocked for a moment in disbelief. He turns to Fate, who looks up in the midst of chewing the end of a crab claw, seeming to wait for him to say something as much as he expects her to say something.

    Amal: "Right, the fees. I'll, uh, send a check,"

    Receiving only a raised eyebrow from Fate, Amal walks out of the storage room with a dark countenance upon him.

    Fate turns her attention to the body of Quo Anima.

    Fate: "So you're paying then?"

    Quo Anima stands up, no longer feigning dead. He uncovers his hand from his wound just enough to make it visible, then wields the story with ease to patch his wound, glowing an malevolent dark aura which coalesces into a nasty scar where the wound once was. He turns his attention to Fate.

    Quo Anima: "No."

    And promptly leaves.

    Fate: "Dang, that's evil!"
    Last edited by Gebohq; 05-18-2014 at 07:36 PM.

  12. #1732
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Willpower

    Amal storms through Buckingham Palace, ignoring everyone he passed. Fortunately the majority if the staff have no idea who he is anyway and with all the upheaval they're just assuming anyone wandering around is supposed to be doing so.

    He bursts back into Maeve's "throne room" to find her sprawled out on the floor. When he slams the door shut, she jolts upright.

    Maeve: "Where's... rum...?"

    Amal suddenly realised he'd forgotten it back in the cellar after battling with his Potential. He began to turn towards the door with the intention of getting her the bottle - but then he stops. What did his Potential say?

    Amal: "I have no will to break? We'll see about that now that he's gone."

    "Whazzat? It's gone? Why's the rum gone!?"

    Amal: "You're not having any, Maeve."

    Maeve: "'Course not! If it's gone, I can't bloody have any, can I!? Get down to the shop and get me some!"


    "By order of the king!!"

    Amal: "..."

    Maeve: "I mean... what am I? ... Queen! In my name get me some booze!"

    Amal: "No. Losien already told you no and you went dry for... how long was it? Since we were trapped by those raiders. You don't need it and I don't need to get it for you. Losien would be really unhappy."

    Maeve: "Bugger Losien."

    Amal thought for a moment. Is he determined to keep Maeve off of the booze just because Losien wants her off of the booze?

    Amal: "I would be unhappy too. You're useless like this. If ever I do become leader of this team, I want everyone at their best. Not half-conscious on the bathroom floor."

    Maeve: "Oh... I wondered where I was. Explains why that beer pump tasted like tap water..."

    Amal folds his arms, proud of himself. No more Potential - nothing to limit him to this 'destiny'. Arkng Thand is off in America, The Last True Evil is... God knows where. They're not around to influence him. There's no risk now - only his own choices. He has willpower of his own at last.

    He briefly senses something, like thee stinging sensation of his Potential's presence - but it lasts only a moment, like a lingering memory from the last post...


    Thrawn42689: "Master Thand, the NeS Heroes have won their competition against their Potentials and placed one of their own as Queen of the United Kingdom."

    Arkng Thand: "A mild inconvenience. She can be replaced in the future. How is your own mission progressing?"

    Thrawn42689: "I have infiltrated forty percent of all NPC Americans. Particularly in the rural states."

    Arkng Thand: "Good. As long as the people of America continue to buy and use modern social media, we can continue to control them. I expect you to have infiltrated at least sixty percent by the end of tomorrow, understood?"

    Thrawn42689: "That shouldn't be a problem, Master Thrawn."

    Arkng Thand: "Once conflict seemed to be the answer to survival now... perhaps it's time for structure and order..."

  13. #1733
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Yacht to Svalbard

    Standing around the Port of London, King John kicks a homeless man as he passes along. The Prime Minister, Qhobeg #1, comes rushing back from his errand.

    Qhobeg #1: "I'm sorry, my King, but none of the ships will take us out of England - by order of the new Queen."

    King John: "What!? How dare they!!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Well, they might be more swayed if we actually paid them..."

    King John: "NEVER!! I won't part with a single penny! It's all I have left!"

    The long line of servants carrying heavy chests of gold and jewels comes to a slow stop, each servant panting with relief.

    Qhobeg #1: "Riiiiiiiiiight..."

    Bhac: "Perhaps I could be of service?"

    Bhac, disguised as an Armani-suited man, approaches the former King of England.

    King John: "With a suit as fine as that, I imagine so!"

    Bhac: "I happen to own a yacht, which is prepped and ready to go at the end of this pier."

    King John: "Sounds good to me! Let's go!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Wait, wait, wait. What's the catch?"

    Bhac: "Nothing at all. I merely wish to further the goals of your King..."

    King John: "Stop fussing, Prime Minister! Let's get out of here!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Well, if you think trusting the shady stranger is a good idea, then so do I, my King. Servants, get the King's luggage on-board!"

    Bhac: "Oh, if you find any scantily-clad women on-board, I apologise in advance."

    Prime Minister: "You apologise for that?"

    The servants, King John and Qhobeg all head onto Bhac's yacht while he stands at the end of the pier and looks on. From the shadows behind Bhac comes Venedite.

    Venedite: "What're you up to?"

    Bhac: "Just doing my job. Someone round here has to."

    Venedite: "Why're you saving that bottom-feeder in particular?"

    "My job is to keep the balance. Right now, the Heroes are winning."

    Venedite: "Uh, strikes me like they're having a lot of trouble with their Potentials."

    Bhac: "Are the Potentials really evil? Are they bad guys? It seems to me that King John is the only real villain the NeS has right now. Priority number one for me is to get him to that Evil Convention he's going to. Maybe then I can help them address this imbalance. In the meantime, the Heroes can have fun dealing with their Potentials."

    Venedite: "And the boat?"

    Bhac: "I'm borrowing it. You'd finished partying for five minutes, I took the opportunity."

    "Well, maybe I'll let you borrow it. I was thinking of hanging out on Olympus with Athena anyway."

    Bhac: "It's Mayaal's yacht anyway..."

    Venedite: "..."

    Bhac: "Was. Well, whatever, there's only his yacht that'll get the King to the Evil World Leader Organisation Meet-up in an hour."

    Venedite: "That thing can travel instantly, why an hour?"

    Bhac: "Well, I imagine some of those women your left on-board may be a bit distracting. It'll be hard to convince them to get off the yacht..."

  14. #1734
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Writer's Emergency

    In the Writers' Realm, Gebohq the Writer bursts into Britt the Writers' office.

    Gebohq the Writer: "Britt! It's an emergency!!"

    Britt the Writer: "You mean you only just noticed that we're the only Writers left?"

    Gebohq the Writer: "We are!?"

    Britt the Writer: "Yes! Tracer dropped off the face of the planet--"

    The scene cuts to a space-view of the planet Earth and Tracer the Writer slowly falling away from it.

    Britt the Writer: "--And Al finally found a woman willing to put up with him for more than five minutes--"

    The scene now cuts to Al Ciao the Writer sat playing Skyrim with his girlfriend.

    Al Ciao the Writer: "I feel like I was just insulted. Did you insult me?"

    Al Ciao the Writer's Girlfriend: "No... but I'm about to -- with an axe to your face!! BWAHAHAHA!!!"

    Britt the Writer: "--So he's now otherwise occupied. And everyone else has been dead for a while now..."

    The scene shifts a little to show the rest of the office occupied by cubicles and skeletons slumped at their desks. Krig the Writer's skeleton appears to still have a beard, The Last True Evil the Writer's skeleton appears to have died during a dramatic fight with the computer and Semievil the Writer now seems to resemble his character.

    Gebohq the Writer: "OMG! What're we going to do!?"

    Britt the Writer: "Did you seriously just say O-M-G?"

    Gebohq the Writer: "Wait, what about that Library guy?"

    Britt the Writer: "You mean Liberius Vir. To be honest he just sits around eating stuff and watching TV. He tends to run away whenever I notice him, I think he's hiding from us. Truth be told, he acts a lot like some of our characters... by that I mean useless and lazy."

    Gebohq the Writer: "Maybe I should start setting booby-traps!"

    Britt the Writer: "To catch Liberius Vir?"

    Gebohq the Writer: "No! To catch random strangers on the street and force them to write for me!"

    Britt the Writer: "Yeah... great plan chief. Anyway, if that's not the emergency you were talking about, what is?"

    Gebohq the Writer: "Oh! It's terrible! I have no doughnuts left!!"

    Britt the Writer: "... Okay. That's very sad. What about the emergency?"

    Gebohq the Writer: "How can I edit anything unless I have my doughnut fuel!?"

    Britt the Writer facepalms.

    Britt the Writer: "Why don't you go buy some? Or you could start worshipping the God of Jam Doughnuts?"

    Gebohq the Writer: "There's... there's a God of Jam Doughnuts!?"

    Nick, the recently ordained God of Jam Doughnuts, appears in a flash.

    Gebohq the Writer: "Wooooooooooooooooooow!!! God of Jam Doughnuts, I have so many questions to ask you! Like, is there a jam doughnut heaven? What is the meaning of dough? Did you really die in the oven for our jammy-sins?"

    Nick, the God of Jam Doughnuts: "... I hate this job... and you're my only believer! It'd be horrible if I actually had some kind of jam doughnut cult..."

    Gebohq the Writer has already started writing pamphlets to spread the "Word of Jam" and "The Truth of Sugar-topped Dough".

  15. #1735
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    As the Writers go about their usual madness, Britt the Writer notices something a little... off.

    Britt the Writer: This is the Massassi Writers' office. Everything is a little off here. And why am I talking to you? You only exist in the story world, Narrator!

    Stop arguing with me and pay attention!

    Britt the Writer: What? I don't hear anything - other than Geb's mumbled ranting about jelly donuts, anyway.

    Exactly. You don't hear anything.

    Britt the Writer: Wha--?

    Britt the Writer suddenly realizes that he cannot hear video game music playing from Al Ciao the Writer's cubicle at the moment.

    Britt the Writer: OMG! Do you know what this means?

    Well, yes, I am the one who--

    Britt the Writer: I've gone deaf! Oh, woe is me!

    Bloody eejit. If you were deaf, you couldn't hear me.

    Britt the Writer: But you're imaginary! I've gone deaf AND crazy!

    *sigh* Just go over there.

    Britt the Writer: If you say so. It doesn't seem like a good idea to listen to one's imaginary voices, but then, I've never let good sense get in the way of my life!

    Britt the Writer goes over to Al Ciao the Writer's cubicle, where he notices that the gigantic widescreen monitor, on which Al Ciao the Writer has been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic virtually nonstop for months, is no longer displaying the game!

    Britt the Writer: Al! Amazing! You've returned to us! Come write on NeS again! It's like... the Second Coming of Al!

    Al Ciao the Writer: Er, no, I'm just taking a break to play Minesweeper, before I go out with my girlfriend.

    Britt the Writer: You have a girlfriend? o.0

    Al Ciao the Writer: Yes, and we're about to head out to game night.

    Britt the Writer: So... you're taking a break from games to go and play more games.

    Al Ciao the Writer: Not video games, or even table top RPGs, though. Board games, card games. Etc. Like Ascension!

    Britt the Writer: Well, can you write a little post on NeS first?

    Al Ciao the Writer: Jeez! Quit harassing me! I swear you're breathing down my neck all the time!

    Britt the Writer: But this is the first time in 3 months I've said anything to you--

    Al Ciao the Writer: Thank God! My girlfriend's here. Toodles!

    And with that, he zooms out the door, briefly tripping over and faceplanting into Geb's stacked piles of pamphlets.

  16. #1736
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Queen of the Commonwealth

    Britt the Writer: "A POST!!"

    Gebohq the Writer: "He Just wrote a bump."

    Britt the Writer is frozen in his jubilant cheer, arms in the air and face of happiness. He stares, like this, for a whole minute into the distance before he finally replies-

    Britt the Writer: "But... A POST!!!"

    Gebohq the Writers shakes his head with resigned concern for Britt the Writer's sanity. He then finishes writing a website dedicated to the worship of doughnuts, including an article arguing why the 6th of December should be a bank holiday for the celebration of pastry.


    Maeve, Queen of Great Britain, bursts out of her personal bathroom. She may have appeared dramatically impressive if it hadn't been for the sick in her hair and the toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her right shoe. The left shoe had departed for lands unknown, leaving her left foot naked as she hurries down the corridor towards the actual 'throne room'. When she enters she finds only her fellow NeS Heroes milling about with nothing to do.

    Standing by the door like a silent sentry is Tracer.

    Queen Maeve: "Oi! Tracer, milad! Get us a few bottles of WKD, eh?"

    Tracer: "Sure thing."

    Queen Maeve: "There's a good lad. Take it out of the treasury, okay?"

    Unfortunately for Maeve, Amal came into the room after her.

    Amal: "Don't do that, Tracer. She can't have any more alcohol."

    Queen Maeve: "Am I Queen, or are you Queen, Amal?"

    Subaru Yamamoto: "Well, he's always looked a bit girly to me. He probably does wear a dress at the weekends!"

    Amal: "I bloody do not!"

    Tracer: "She's got a point, Amal."

    Amal: "I'm not a transvestite!"

    Tracer: "I meant Maeve being Queen."

    Amal: "Oh right."

    Amal straightens himself out, trying to regain a modicum of dignity.

    "We're currently Maeve's only advisors. Even as Queen, Maeve clearly doesn't know what's good for her. She needs... guidance."

    Queen Maeve: "I won't stand for this!"

    Amal: "Plus, we're her friends and she needs out help."

    "... I think the first argument was better."

    Subaru rolls her eyes at Tracer's joke.

    Tracer: "Really wasn't joking..."

    Subaru: "Of course we're Maeve's friends, Amal--"

    Tracer: "Speaking for yourself."

    Subaru: "But I don't think we should try to control her life."

    Queen Maeve: "Subaru, for that, you get to be my first official mistress!"

    Subaru: "I take it back, Amal. Let the b1tch suffer."

    Queen Maeve: "Traitor!!"

    Frank Smith:
    "Aren't there more important things going on right now than Maeve's drinking habits?"

    Subaru: "We're her friends, Frank. She needs our help..."

    Frank Smith: "I've never heard the words 'friends' and 'help' filled with such malice before..."

    Amal: "All we need to do is keep Maeve in check. She's not The Otter, not everything in her character is based on alcohol abuse."

    Subaru: "No, she's just the resident lesbian."

    Queen Maeve: "I resent that! I'm also Queen of Britain!"

    Couchman: "How about a change of tack...?"

    Amal: "What did you have in mind, Couchman?"

    Couchman: "I... I don't want to return to the NeS Heroes just yet. If ever. I'm not sure if I ever really was one of you. I was mostly there for... well, because I fell in love with a young woman."

    Subaru: "Very young woman."

    Couchman: "Well--... wait, what does that mean?"

    Subaru: "You're, what, thirty? And she's sixteen. Quite an age gap, I'd say!"

    Frank Smith: "Don't knock it 'til you've tried it, dear."


    Subaru: "... You didn't know!? You never even asked her age!?"

    Couchman: "I was kind of swept up in the moment!"

    Subaru: "A likely story..."

    Couchman stares at the ground for a moment, shocked and appalled with himself. Frank Smith, who also ran away with a younger lover in his past, just rolls his eyes while Maeve starts to snort-laugh at the man's discomfort.

    Couchman: "Well, that just makes my choice all the more reasonable. I don't wish to return to the NeS Heroes for the time being and as Maeve is now Queen of Great Britain, it'd be a bit inappropriate for the Queen to be gallivanting about, trying to save the world. So, we stay here."

    Subaru: "I am not staying here."

    Couchman: "I meant just me and Maeve. I think Iriana knighted me at some point, I'm pretty sure being a knight in Armenia still means I have a title here in the UK. I'll stay on as the Queen's advisor and help run things. At least until a new government is established, then we can go back to a real constitutional monarchy."

    Queen Maeve:
    "What does that mean?"

    Couchman: "It basically means you don't do anything."

    Queen Maeve: "But I'd still be Queen?"

    Couchman: "That's right."

    Queen Maeve: "SWEET!"

    She flings her arms into the air in victory.

    Amal: "Are you sure about this?"

    Couchman: "Very. Besides, we won't be completely absent from the story at large. Being the Queen of Great Britain means she's also Queen of the Commonwealth nations -- including Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and..."

    The other NeS Heroes all stood to attention at the sudden realisation.

    Amal: "Canada!"

    Couchman: "Maybe it's time Canada was freed from the demonspawn? I mean, the NeS Heroes are supposed to save everyone, right? Maybe one of your future quests will draw Maeve and me back into the narrative. For now, you should go and save Losien from her Potential."

    Amal felt a small niggle in his mind. A brief moment of reluctance. A moment where his mind said 'I don't want to save Maeve'. Although it was only for a second, it continues to bother Amal as he wonders if he is truly selfish in his core with some kind of desire for power - to become the central character - or if it was from resentment to Losien - as the woman he loves but cannot have.

    Amal: "Well then. Subaru, Frank, Tracer -- let's go."

    The four for them file out of the throne room. Amal pauses in the doorway, glances back. Maeve places her hands on her hips with a distasteful pout on her lips.

    Tracer: "She'll be fine, Amal. Couchman will look after her."

    Amal: "Yeah..."

    They leave.

    Queen Maeve looks at Couchman.

    Couchman raises a questioning eyebrow.

    Queen Maeve: "You're gonna get me my booze, right?"

    Couchman facepalms.

  17. #1737
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow The World's Moving

    Even as Amal, Tracer, Frank Smith and Subaru Yamamoto rush out of Buckingham Palace to aid Losien, within the Armenian Palace - sitting just outside the gate of the English one - the Remembered Forces Unit is still battling against the Potentials.

    Ford leaps to the left, narrowly avoiding Gwenhwyfar's glaive as she thrusts it at him. He lands on a very comfortable sofa. Surprised, he sits there for a moment.

    Sugarless: "Ford! You're sitting on Matterialize!"

    Ford: "Oops!"

    Ford hops to his feet. They were one man down. He then ducks as he sees something very large and white headed straight at him.

    LL: "Lucky you, Ford!"

    LL, or "Little Little", waves at Ford from atop of her white tiger. The huge beast roars as it dives at Orochi. Even the powerful Japanese Potential is taken aback by the sudden attack from such a massive animal and is pinned to the ground.

    LL: "Surrender, Evil Doer!!"

    Orochi: "Not on your Nelly!"

    LL's bravado is suddenly put to a stop when the staff of Prophet arcs through the air and smacks her square in the face, sending her flying from the back of her pet. She sails through the air and lands in an unconscious pile of limp limbs. The white tiger, eager to save his master, jumps off of Orochi and runs towards LL.

    Orochi: "Oh no you don't..."

    Orochi scrambles to her feet and throws, with some incredible strength and precision, her katana. It a sorrowful whimper the tiger is cut down.

    Prophet: "W-w-was that really necessary! The poor animal!"

    Orochi: "Are you kidding me!? It was trying to chew my God damn face off!!"

    Prophet: "I can see why! You're a really nasty woman, you know that?"

    Orochi: "Shut it, you big poofter."

    Gwenhwyfar: "Stop bickering like a pair of schoolgirls and put these idiots down!"

    Banana Boy: "APPLES!!!"

    Gwenhwyfar shrieks.

    Gwenhwyfar: "What in the name of God is THAT!?"

    Banana Boy: "Want apples!"

    Gwenhwyfar calms herself, takes a moment, then skewers the weird creature with her glaive!!

    Ford: "Banana Boy!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo!!!!"

    Sugarless: "You brutally murdered our comedy mascot!! How could you!?"

    Ford: "We've lost Matt, we lost our tiger and now this!? Where the Hell is our backup!?"

    Bokken Monkey: "It's all my fault!! I'm so sorry guys!!"

    Bokken Monkey, who is perpetually cursed with bad luck, breaks down and weeps.

    Ping: "Backup's here."

    Ford: "Ping? No offence, but I expected more than just you."

    Ping: "And the rest..."

    From one of the ancient corridors of the palace comes more Remembered Forces - leading them is none other than The Otter, followed by MaybeChild.

    The Otter: "Let's beat the crap out of them, guys!"

    Gwenhwyfar: "Crapcakes."


    Outside the rear of the Palace come the escaping NeS Heroes who were sensible enough to run away from the fierce Potentials. They come to a rest and catch their breath.

    Losien: "King John must be long gone at the rate he was going."

    Lady LightSide:
    "Sorry, I probably slowed everyone down..."

    Losien: "Not your fault, LightSide. We'd have been too slow anyway..."

    What Losien left hanging was that LightSide should probably be thinking about taking a break from the group due to her pregnancy. This time they would have lost King John anyway, but next time it may well be LightSide's fault...

    Rachel Pi: "Right, right, whatever. What's the plan of action now then?"

    Rachel Pi is eager to move on from the topic of pregnancy due to her own, secret, condition.

    Losien: "Well--"

    She is cut off by the sound of a speeding bullet. High in the sky falls a small, dark figure which gets nearer and nearer until Arbiter, the super-saiyan sith lord, smashes through the roof of the Armenian Palace. Al Ciao shakes an angry fist.

    Al Ciao: "I hope you're going to pay for that!!!"

    Lady LightSide: "Seems like the fight inside is really heating up now. Perhaps we should move further away?"

    Lady LightSide puts her hand on her husband's shoulder as he starts to march back towards the palace, rolling the sleeves of his shirt up.

    Losien: "I think that's a great idea."

    Evil G: "No argument from me."

    The group begin to walk down the street when they feel a series of low rumblings. They stop and turn around to see that the Armenian Palace, which has magical legs attached, is still following Iriana Emp wherever she goes.


    After Arbiter smashed through the ceiling all Hell broke lose inside the Palace. The rooms rocked and shook and Characters went flying in all directions - including on very human-looking sofa.

    The Otter: "Why is the world wobbling!? Honestly, I haven't been drinking!!"

    MaybeChild: "Just hold on to something!!"


    MaybeChild: "Not those!"

    MaybeChild smacks The Otter for good old-fashioned satisfaction.

  18. #1738
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    In an undisclosed location--

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Actually, it's a Swiss branch of Cris B's Chikin Shack.

    Aariadon: Good God, man, do you not get the point of "secret meeting place"?

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Nothing secret about this. Hell, the paparazzi are in the next booth, snapping photos.

    Aariadon, First Minister of the Shattered Dimension and advisor to Evil G's rule there, facepalms.

    President Thand: Fear not, First Minister. Switzerland is neutral territory, its barriers enforced by King Krog.

    High Imp: Don't you mean King Krig?

    President Thand steeples his fingers at the archfiend, nemesis of Al Ciao, or rather, the nemesis of who AlCiao used to be: the Powerplayer Highemperor. Once a pactmaker of supreme power, High Imp's soul has been splintered into a thousand pieces and he no longer possesses his ancient pacts of power. He has been making up for lost ground since then, and now has contracts granting him ownership of a cigar, an imaginary gun, a porcine slave, Archangel Jim's wallet, a thousand gallons of itching power, a favor from Janitor Bob, and fifty billion defunct Enron stocks.

    President Thand: Of course.

    High Imp looks suspiciously at the NeScholar, U.S. President, and archmanipulator, but decides to let it pass.

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Oi! Thand, you're a good guy, aren't you? What are you doing at the EVIL World Leader Organization meeting?

    High Imp: No doubt dipping his fingers in everything, like he usually does. And confusing the fractal as to his nature and alignment even further.

    Aariadon: Besides, half the world is convinced that America is evil anyway. And what about YOU, High Imp? You're not ruler of Hell anymore! As I remember, you were supplanted by Jim Seven, who's since been supplanted by Mister Eight and now Mister Nine!

    High Imp: Mister Nine is unavailable. I believe he has taken a constitutional.

    Aariadon: A constitutional.

    High Imp: To the far corners of time and space with his former superhero team.

    Aariadon facepalms. Stalin's Clone's Ghost continues to munch loudly on chicken.

    High Imp: Apparently, I'm still on the books as Canada's Prime Minister. It may be a defunct position, but the Majordomo deemed it a sufficient rank, and sent me in Mister Nine's stead.

    President Thand: One might ask why you are here, First Minister Aariadon. You are not a leader of this world.

    Aariadon: Meh. The Shattered NeS is just one evil superconglomerate, there's no other evil leaders; I need peers to socialize with, you know?

    President Thand: But you were assigned to these meetings by Gebiyl.

    Aariadon: No duh.

    President Thand: I believe he has vacated his throne.

    Aariadon: BLOODY HELL! I was wondering why I hadn't gotten any texts from him lately.

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Oh, hey, where's King John? Blighter's a bit late, isn't he?

    At that moment, King John comes in, attended by several scantily clad women. What John doesn't know is that these women are lesbians - lovers of Venedite, in fact - and are secretly lifting his various coin purses while he is... distracted. Behind them comes Qhobeg #1, who is deftly and dutifully relifting the coin purses back, lest the former king chop off an unfortunate prime minister's head when he discovers the theft. Behind all of them come the multitude of castle servants bearing treasure chests and jewelry. The Chikin Shack is quickly clogged up.

    Cris B: BLOODY HELL! All you loafers, out of here!

    Seaman Stains, Waiter: Oy, cap'n, dem landlubbers be laden with treasure, arr!

    Cris B: Never mind, you can stay! You get any chikin you want! ALL of it!

    The castle servants, hungry and starving due to King John's stringent purse strings cutting their food budget, eagerly proffer the treasures they carry.

    King John: BLOODY HELL! Stay right where you are, servants! That treasure is MINE!

    Cris B and King John stare each other down, and it looks like there's going to be one bloody faceoff, when...

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: BLOODY HELL!

    Everyone turns to look at the secret despot of Russia.

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: I wanted all dark meat! There's a wing in here!

    Cris B panicks, not wanting to lose his most reliable customer, and hurries over to pacify the ghostly clone. King John settles for shooting a dirty look his way.

    Aariadon: So why are you late, King John?

    King John: Oh, had to deal with a little uprising back home. By the way, any of you have a couch I can sleep on?

    President Thand: I am aware that Armenia currently possesses a glut of couches, although their stock is currently sequestered in Great Britain.

    High Imp: How would you know a little insignificant thing like that?

    President Thand merely sips his tea, not deigning to reveal his association with the Potential Midas, who is currently increasing said stock within the courtyard of the Armenian Palace. High Imp rolls his eyes.

    King John: No good. I need a couch in... not Britain. Also it should be a gold couch.

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Oh, I've got an old gold couch at my secret volcano lair. You can sleep on it as long as you like. Not very comfy, though, seeing as it's, you know, gold.

    King John brightens and begins ordering his treasure-laden servants about, directing them to Stalin's Clone's Ghost secret volcano lair, miles beneath the Siberian tundra. Stalin's Clone's Ghost takes a satisfied bite of his dark meat, having been placated by Cris B with a free platter of nothing but legs and thighs, and mutters under his breath.

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Probably shouldn't tell him it's fake gold...
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-03-2014 at 10:03 AM.

  19. #1739
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Our heroes facepalm as they realize the Armenian palace is still following them on the giant magicked chicken legs that Polly Simon stole from Baba Yaga's hut in Burundi. Or more specifically, following Iriana Emp.

    Evil G: It seems like it might be a... challenge... to sneak away from a battle when the battle is following us.

    Gebohq: No problem! I'll just whip out the Tanooki suits again and we can all fly away!

    Amal: That is the stupidest idea I've ever-- wait, that would probably actually work.

    Iriana: We are not leaving my ancestral home behind.

    Al Ciao: Hear hear!

    Lady Lightside: Sometimes, we must leave our heirlooms behind. I left my ancestral homeland long ago... was forced to, when it sunk into the sea.

    Iriana: Really? My mother's ancestral homeland sunk into the sea, too! Small world!

    Losien: Where are y'all from? Crete?

    Iriana & Lady Lightside: Atlantis.

    They look at each other, surprised.

    Iriana & Lady Lightside: You're from Atlantis? I'm from Atlantis!

    Gebohq: Wait, when did Atlanta, Georgia fall into the ocean?

    Subaru: When General Sherman conquered it in the American Civil War.

    Losien: No, he torched it, he didn't drown it.

    Subaru: Meh, American history.

    Rachel: I know, right, girl?

    Evil G: Who cares where they're from? We still have the itty bitty eensy weensy little problem of a GIGANTIC FREAKING PALACE FULL OF RAMPAGING DEMIGODS FOLLOWING US!

    Al Ciao: Lady Lightside might have a point, Iriana, it might be best to leave it behind. At least for now.

    Iriana: But all the stores of Armenian-leaf tea!

    Al Ciao puts on a brave face.

    Al: I'll go get them. You all go on.

    Iriana and Lady Lightside instantly look appalled. Losien beats them to the punch, though.

    Losien: No, Al, we're not leaving anyone behind.

    Al: I've failed my daughter too many times, Losien. I need to do something for her. It won't set things right, but I still need to do it. I'm the only one in this group with robo-strength who can carry all the tea stores by himself, and one person can stealth it better than the group - especially when that one person knows all the secret passageways.

    Al kisses Lady Lightside and hugs Iriana, then dashes back towards the palace. Our heroes don the Tanooki suits and start flying away while the palace looks forlornly after them, unable to follow. As they fly away, they hear, in the distance, Al's battle cry...


    Al's spring-boots catapult him from the ground up into the palace where he collides with statuary.


    In Buckingham Palace, Couchman is advising a very hung-over Queen Maeve.

    Maeve: Oy, my head. Look, if you won't give me booze, at least gimme some lesbian concubines!

    Couchman: I believe all the available lesbian concubines have been hired for your Potential's harem.

    Maeve glares daggers at him.

    Couchman: ...but I believe more could be found. In the meantime, your Majesty, it occurs to me that you all accomplished what you set out to do.

    Maeve: Until I'm drunk as a skunk, I have not accomplished what I set out to do.

    Couchman: Er, no, I mean, you were crowned and the challenge with the Potentials was won. But we still need the Potentials for the original purpose for which Soriel released them.

    Maeve: What purpose? Giving us a reason to drown our insecurities in booze?

    Couchman: No, to defeat Powerplaying Empress Iriana.

    Maeve: Oh, right.

    Couchman: The Remembered Forces are in combat with the Potential now, perhaps General Twin Suns should be alerted to redirect them.

    Maeve: Sure, go ahead. Hey, I know! I'll make you Supreme Delegate! I delegate to you authority to do whatever you need to do so you can leave me and my lesbian lovers in peace!

    Couchman: Uh, I'm... honored, your majesty.

    Maeve: Bloody right you are. Now find me some booze!
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-03-2014 at 10:05 AM.

  20. #1740
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow The Meeting of Evil

    Aariadon: "Okay, let's get this over with."

    The view pans out and away from Cris B. Chikin' Shack of Svalbard to reveal a deep, menacing chasm situated just behind the chicken restaurant!

    Cris B. and his employees all stare out of the rear windows with shock and horror.

    Cris B.: "I don't remember that being there!"

    Seaman Stains the Waiter: "Anyone ever seen From Dusk Til Dawn?"

    Cris B.'s face turns white with panic.

    Cris B.: "Do vampires like chicken!?"

    King John: "It's been a while since we had one of these summits. I think it's perfect timing!"

    Arkng Thand: "For you personally, I presume?"

    King John:
    "Who else matters?"

    The evil-doers all troop out the rear of the Chikin' Shack and down into the depths of the chasm where ancient, crooked walls have been carved from the dark, obsidian rock. Red, glowing eyes appear in the rock.

    King John: "Why are there red eyes in the rock anyway?"

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: "It's atmospheric!"

    High Imp: "And the chicken bone's you're tossing down the stairs are really helping..."

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: "Bones are bones! And bones always look creepy!"

    The ghost scoffs another bit of chicken.

    King John: "How are you actually eating that?"

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: "I'm the ghost of Joseph Stalin! I am so potent with evil power that I'm practically corporeal! That's right. I'm that awesome."

    High Imp: "Never imagined Josef Stalin to use the word 'awesome', to be honest."

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: "Okay, well I'm the ghost of his clone. The clone was born and raised in Montreal. But still! The evilness! Look at me eat this chicken!"

    Arkng Thand: "I rather feel that the calibre of evil villains has somewhat decreased over the years..."

    High Imp: "So much so that they allow non-villains like you in here, Thand."

    Arkng Thand: "If the current villains aren't up to the task, the story will find someone who is capable of filling their boots."

    The super villains all scowl at Arkng Thand for his unarguable and snide remark.

    Totallyevil: "I hear a bunch of old women bickering... oh wait, it's just you lot."

    At the bottom of the old, black stone staircase is Totallyevil; daughter of Dr Evil, ruler of Disney. She nods her head at King John.

    Totallyevil: "I hear your Prime Minister put a motion through to the summit. We're going to review it first."

    King John: "Uh... you did?"

    Qhobeg #1: "Asking for help getting England back, Sire."

    King John: "Oh right. Good thinking, Prime Minister! I knew there was a reason I was still paying you!"

    Qhobeg #1: "Paying me in peanut butter isn't exactly what I would have hoped for... but I do love the stuff."

    King John: "Which is good news because I think it's disgusting, so I'm happy to give it to you! Win-win!"

    Aariadon: "Where's your father, Totallyevil?"

    Totallyevil: "He's already at the meeting."

    Aariadon: "Who's the chairperson?"

    Arkng Thand straightens his back and jacket lapels, expectantly.

    Highempress: "That'd be me, pipsqueak."

    The super villains gasp with shock and disgust.

    Aariadon: "Wait -- did she just call me a pipsqueak!?"

    Totallyevil: "She the ruler of the world so... all possible votes are her votes. And she voted for herself."

    Highempress pushes past the group and marches towards the centre of the very circular room at the bottom of the chasm. Only a single light illuminates the centre of the room where the Highempress takes her seat. Before her sit the rest of the world's greatest evils, all cast into shadow, in a semi-circle.

    Highempress: "Well, this is going to be great fun! First motion is... oh, it's mine! What a surprise!"

    There's a general murmuring of dissent from the crowd.

    Highempress: "Does anyone have something to say!?"

    No one does.

    Highempress looks dismayed. Then she decides to kill one of them anyway - she pushes a button on her chair and one of the random evil villains suddenly plummeting through the floor as his chair tips him out.

    Highempress: "Now that we're all on the same page. I propose a motion. We must destroy the one known as Nyktelios."

    JM: "Who's that when they're at home? Not that I care..."

    "She's me. Me from this universe."

    General mutterings about regulating the organisation to natives only in future pass about quickly, but cease when they see Highempress' finger hovering over the Button of Doom.

    Highempress: "She's the Potential of one of the NeS Heroes and she's a menace."

    Dr Evil: "Couldn't you just destroy her yourself?"

    Highempress: "She's me! She's just as powerful as I am, only she's even more determined and driven than me! She has real issues!"

    Everyone looks at Highempress dubiously.

    Highempress: "She's just a pain in my backside. She won't leave me alone! I want to go out and kill some peasants, she's there waiting for me. I want to go out and open a puppy orphanage, she's there. I want to go out for a bottle of coke and she's bloody there! Our fights are so epic, the Writers couldn't even write them in! We've destroyed mountain-ranges all over the planet, we battled in the depths of the oceans, we accidentally crashed into the moon and sent it out of orbit!"

    Totallyevil: "Seriously!?"

    Highempress: "Don't worry, I had it replaced with a new one."

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: "I thought it was looking a bit pink lately."

    Highempress: "So! All in favour?"

    No one says anything. Highempress doesn't look impressed.

    Then, one small voice rises from the crowd.

    Qhobeg #1: "We will!"

    King John: "We will!?"

    Speaking quietly to King John, Qhobeg reassures him;

    Qhobeg #1: "If we help her, she'll help us get England back!"

    King John: "I want to be alive to enjoy that fact!"

    Qhobeg #1: "It's not like she'll ask us to fight Nyktelios. She'll just use us as a diversion or something! Besides, if we help, others might join us too!"

    Highempress: "Excellent! Anyone else?"

    Silence fills the room.

    Qhobeg #1: "Or not..."

    Highempress: "Anyone want to live to see the end of this meeting?"

    Everyone: "AYE!"

    Highempress: "So! Motion passed! All super villains will now work to destroy Nyktelios!"

  21. #1741
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Highempress: Alright, everyone out! Go fight her!

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Shouldn't we, er, maybe have a plan of attack?

    Highempress: Ah, I keep forgetting you puny mortals can't afford to just do direct superpowered assaults.

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Technically, I'm not mortal...

    Highempress: Did you just talk back to me? DIE!

    She presses a button. The random evil leader sitting next to Stalin's Clone's Ghost disappears into a trapdoor with a scream. Highempress peers at her console.

    Highempress: Oops, wrong one. My bad! Well, let that be a lesson to you, Stalin's Clone's Ghost!

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: Also, I'm technically already dead.

    Highempress: Did you just talk back to me AGAIN? Die!

    She presses a button. The random evil leader sitting on the other side of Stalin's Clone's Ghost disappears into a trapdoor with a scream. Highempress stares at her console with such displeasure her console shrinks back in fear. All the random evil leaders sitting around Stalin's Clone's Ghost begin edging their chairs away.

    President Thand: Your majesty, Stalin's Clone's Ghost is a named character, with characterization, no less, and therefore is not subject to arbitrary termination under Clause 29.w.ii.ff.3 of the NeScholars' Codification of Story Conventions.

    Highempress: I am ABOVE story conventions! Don't forget, I conquered this puny planet with EASE!

    President Thand: You did so off-camera, and the protagonists were not involved.

    Highempress glowers at him. Her finger begins drifting to her console. All the random evil leaders sitting near Thand begin edging away.

    Qhobeg #1: So wait - does that mean I can't die? SWEET! Suck it, losers!

    He stands up out of his chair and saunters off. Random evil leaders hurriedly dive out of his path, terrified that trapdoors will start opening beneath them if he comes too close.

    Highempress: Oh, this is BEYOND ridiculous.

    She holds out her hand, and arcs of magical SUPAH POWAH crackle out from her fingers, frying Qhobeg #1 to a toasty crisp. Stalin's Clone's Ghost chokes on his chicken.

    Aariadon: My God! None of us are safe!

    President Thand merely smiles his small mysterious smile at the Highempress, who steadily meets his gaze and then flicks her wrist. Qhobeg #1 jerks back to life, coughing and sputtering as vigor surges through his burned and blackened body.

    Highempress: I can kill you all I want, if I just resurrect you afterwards.

    Qhobeg #1 is white as a sheet.

    Highempress: Dismissed.

    Stalin's Clone's Ghost: But what about a plan....
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-05-2014 at 10:29 AM.

  22. #1742
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Balancing Act

    Back in London, the Remembered Forces Unit are still being flung around the room. A lot of vomiting made the entire experience very unsettling.

    Although the heroes, particularly Iriana Emp, have flown away in their tanooki suits (that someone apparently had been keeping down their trousers just in case they were ever needed again), the Armenian palace is still making a valiant effort of trying to pursue its quarry. It bounces up and down, hopping madly.

    After being hit on the head too many times, Al Ciao became a NeS Hero. But that's a long ago story. Right now, he manages to avoid being hit on the head - by the walls, ceiling and floor and any flying ornamentation that might be whizzing through the corridors - after he presses a button and was suddenly enveloped within a huge, inflatable ball that extended from a slot on his head. Initially believing his brains had fallen out and that he was trapped within the floating ball of the Good Witch of the North, he realised he was protected from the bumps and knocks of the gyrating palace as he bounced along the corridors. Albeit awkwardly.

    He eventually manages to bounce his way into the narrow servant passages until he reaches the cellar where he recalled experiencing many an illicit affair with maids... despite also having a lot of harem girls.

    Al Ciao: "It's not my fault they couldn't keep their hands off me!"

    There, standing by the boxes of ancient Armenian tea leaves, is none other than Emperor Pi.

    Al Ciao: "Who else would be standing guard over boxes of tea?"

    Emperor Pi:
    "Exactly. I'm pleased to see someone else had deep concern for this most excellent and incredibly rare brand of tea."

    He sips a cup.

    Al Ciao: "You know, I'm actually surprised it lasted all this time."

    Emperor Pi:
    "Me too, but you have brilliantly preserving boxes here. You must have had a very dedicated tea-drinking butler back in your days as King Emp?"

    Al Ciao:
    "Probably. But right now - how are you just standing there?"

    Emperor Pi: "Your ancient Armenian-leaf tea has a very weighty texture to it."

    Al Ciao: "Does that somehow answer my question?"

    Emperor Pi: "Indeed."

    Al Ciao: "Right. Well now I have to figure out how to get these massive crates of tea leaves out of her and to my daughter... who's flying away..."

    Emperor Pi: "Ah, Iriana Emp. The wife I've always longed to have."

    Al Ciao: "Dude, you know I'm her father right?"

    Emperor Pi: "And you must realise, as the wife of an Emperor she would be well-looked after."

    Al Ciao: "Yeah.... I'm sure..."

    Emperor Pi: "You seem to have stolen something from the Good Witch of the North..."

    Al Ciao: "I thought so too. But it's just an inflatable ball. Like the one's people run on water with. But more importantly, I have to press a few of these buttons and find something that will let me carry a fuq load of crates..."

    Emperor Pi: "I ask that you refrain from doing that."

    Al Ciao: "It's okay! I'm getting better at guessing what these buttons do! Last time I only electrocuted a small hamster that only one twelve year-old will miss. Minimal negative consequences!"


    Mother: "How did Harry Hamster die!?"

    Twelve Year-Old: "Some man zapped him with a ray gun!!"

    Mother: "God damn it! Must have been a rival scientist! Now my cure for cancer will be set back by twenty years!"

    Twelve Year-Old: "You were experimenting on my hamster?"

    Mother: "Uh... How would you like a pet dog?"


    Al Ciao: "Minimal... conse...quences..."

    Emperor Pi: "No need, King Emp. I have made other arrangements to rescue the tea-leaves."

    Suddenly the wall crashes down and bricks break into rubble. As the dust settles, Al Ciao sees a massive, Chinese dragon peeking in at him.

    Al Ciao: "Oi! You broke a hole in my palace!!"

    Emperor Pi: "Right now your palace seems to be breaking holes in itself with this incessant hopping. In any case, help me load these tea crates into Long Xiang's gondola."

    Al Ciao reaches towards a crate, only to find himself eternally impeded by the inflatable ball around him.

    Al Ciao: "Nooooooo! I'm doomed to spend eternity trapped inside a rubber sphere! When will I again feel the touch of sunlight on my skin!? The sensation of wind upon my face!? The wetness of a woman's tears-- What's your dragon doing?"

    Long Xiang's small claws - or at least relatively small, they're still bigger than both Al Ciao and Emperor Pi put together - reaches inside the building and approaches Al Ciao. He tries to wriggle away but finds that the hopping momentum of the palace shunts him straight towards the incredibly sharp claws aimed at him.


    Al Ciao screams as, after Long Xiang burst the rubber, he is being flung around the cellar like a ragdoll in the jaws of an overly playful dog.

    Ten minutes later, Al Ciao, Emperor Pi and the tea crates are all someone in the gondola hanging below Long Xiang and are soaring through the skies of London.

    Al Ciao: "Now, to find my daughter!"

    "Not so fast..."

    Al Ciao and Emperor Pi spin on the spot to see the lingerie-clad Hand of the NeS leaning back against the edge of the gondola. Al Ciao's mouth hangs open.

    Al Ciao: "Is it too late to declare that I'm a lesbian?"

    Emperor Pi: "Hello my dear."

    Venedite: "Yo, brother Potential-man. Glad to see you're no longer running with the pack."

    Emperor Pi: "The tea was in danger."

    Venedite: "Right... got to save that... tea."

    Emperor Pi: "Not very British of you, Venedite."

    Venedite: "True. My unPotential is probably making a law forcing all of Britain to drink the bloody stuff..."


    Maeve: "I do hereby decree that all subjects of the British crown shall henceforth drink tea all day long! And never - I repeat never - shall tea be drank absent milk. That'd just not normal."

    Couchman: "As most British do this anyway, I doubt there'll be much resistance to your first decree, my Queen..."

    Maeve: "Punishable by DEATH!"

    Couchman: "Might be a bit extreme."

    Maeve: "... by TORTURE!"

    Couchman: "..."


    Couchman: "Wouldn't that count as torture?"


    Venedite: "Maybe I should just cut to the chase?"

    Al Ciao: "That would be for the breast. I mean breast. Uh... breast..."

    Venedite: "Best..."

    Al Ciao: "Yes. Breast."

    Venedite: "You know, I enjoy having this kind of effect on women... but really not men. Ewww."

    Al Ciao: "You know I have a cyber-penis, right? I could probably detach it!"

    Venedite: "That's both disgusting and terrifying."

    Emperor Pi: "King Emp, perhaps you should try some tea? It may relax your... nerves."

    Al Ciao: "Are my nerves showing?"

    Emperor Pi: "Indeed."

    Al Ciao quickly drowns himself in the tea offered.

    Venedite: "I'm here to warn you that Bhac is up to something."

    Emperor Pi: "Does that concern us?"

    Venedite: "It should concern him at least. Bhac is working with the villains. Reckons he's evening the imbalance, but I'm not convinced. I think he's going to try and oust me."

    Emperor Pi: "Then why not deal with him like you did Mayaal?"

    Venedite: "All this intrigue and suspicion is exciting! It's like Tinker, Potential, Hero, Hand!"

    Al Ciao: "You just made a Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy joke... The Writers are really scraping the barrel."

    Venedite: "Quiet you! The Writers are constantly scraping the barrel with your dialogue!"

    Emperor Pi: "Why aren't you telling the other NeS Heroes this? Why are you telling King Emp in particular?"

    Al Ciao: "You keep calling me that. You know I changed my name right? Twice?"

    Venedite: "I tried to tell them... but... then I saw them in their tanooki suits..."


    In the past;

    Venedite appears.

    Venedite: "Hey guys-- What are you wearing!?"

    The NeS Heroes that have suits waggle their tails to keep afloat.

    Venedite, not waiting for a response, begins to bawl with laughter. The tail wags become agitated tail wags.


    Venedite: "It didn't go so well."

    Al Ciao: "What do you want me to do about it?"

    Venedite shrugs. A strap from her short nightie slips and Al Ciao's eyes boggle.

    Venedite: "I'm just giving you a heads up is all."

    She quickly pushes the strap back up before Al Ciao has a heart-attack. Emperor Pi remains unfazed.

    Al Ciao: "Maybe you should help us!? Like Bhac is helping the bad guys."

    Venedite: "That sounds like work. And I have too many women to sleep with, and so little time to do it!"

    Al Ciao: "Uh... there are women on the team?"

    Venedite: "I have to confess, I like the look of Subaru. She's as pretty as Orochi but less vicious. And I don't meant feisty. Subaru is feisty. Orochi literally bites. And draws blood."

    Al Ciao: "So is that a yes!?"

    Venedite: "No. Too busy. Have fun!"

    Venedite hops out of the gondola and floats away in a lovely image of lace and silk.

    Al Ciao stares longingly.

    Emperor Pi: "Aren't you married?"

    Al Ciao: "So? You're married to how many wives?"

    Emperor Pi:
    "I would never stray with a woman I wasn't married to."

    Al Ciao: "Yeah... well..."

    Emperor Pi: "Aren't you a little old, by the way?"

    Al Ciao:
    "Says you!"

    Emperor Pi:
    "You still have many centuries on me..."

  23. #1743
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Waggling Tails

    Five suited Characters waggle their tails as they slowly fly across the London skyline. Each of the five are carrying one other member of the Hero Team. Gebohq, Evil G, Rachel Pi and Subaru are all wearing their suits from earlier. Tracer used his special disguise ability to whip out a tanooki suit from his hammer space dresser and joins the five carriers - though, by far, he looks the weirdest.

    Subaru: "Like one of those way too old cosplayers."

    Tracer: "It's lucky I had this suit, Jap--"

    Subaru: "Whoa! Racist bast--"

    Losien: "He's from the fifties, Subaru."

    Subaru: "Like that's an excuse?"

    Losien: "Seems to be a good excuse for the sexist prattle he's been spouting for several pages now."

    Subaru: "Well at least I got to carry you, Losien. Wouldn't want to be your brother right now..."

    Gebohq is struggling to keep a hold of the pregnant LightSide.

    LightSide: "If you drop me, Gebohq, I shall come back to haunt you!"

    Gebohq: "I won't! I won't! I won't! I won't!"

    He repeats himself as he starts to drift lower and lower, leaving the rest of the team high above.

    Rachel: "What about me!? I have to carry this bugger!"

    Amal: "I'm not that heavy!"

    Rachel: "I'm strong but I'm not a man! I ain't got the biceps for this!"

    Evil G: "I think I got the best deal, don't you Princess?"

    Iriana: "Please refrain from any more breast groping and yes, this will be a fine arrangement."

    Evil G:
    "I can't make any promises."

    Losien: "Other-worldly brother of mine, please stop trying to abuse Iriana."

    Evil G: "I'm only playing with her head."

    Subaru: "And her breasts, apparently!"

    Evil G: "You guys really ruin a good joke. I wouldn't really do anything to her! I have a wife already. I don't need to be feeling up adolescent girls!"

    Iriana: "I am very much of age, I'll have you know."

    Evil G: "Not in America, darling. Not for anyone over eighteen anyway."

    Iriana: "I detest being called a girl. Or darling. It's your highness, or majesty. Or you may call me divine one. Perhaps elegancy. I made that one up. I think it has a ring to it."

    Evil G: "How about I just drop you instead?"

    Iriana: "No!"

    Iriana panics. Evil G chuckles.

    Frank Smith: "Iriana might not want to be groped by the man carrying her, but I wouldn't say no. How about it, Tracer?"

    A series of homophobic expletives suddenly erupts from the 50s-Tracer and he accidentally drops Frank Smith who plummets towards the earth below.

    Tracer: "Whoops."

    Losien: "That's it, we're going to have to have a decency clause written into the NeS to limit the amount of bigotry you're allowed from now on, Tracer."

    Tracer: "C'mon, doll. I ain't no shoelicker."

    Losien: "Was that even a real word in the fifties?"

    Somewhere below Gebohq is surprised to see Frank Smith whiz past him.

    As he falls, Frank's wristwatch decides to lay comment.

    CynthAI: "We appear to be falling, Agent Smith."

    Frank Smith: "Master of the obvious once again."

    CynthAI: "Might I recommend a jump to save our lives?"

    Frank Smith: "I will. I'm just thinking where and when. It wouldn't be good to run into those Far Future Cops."

    "Who may no longer be out for your arrest. You did pass your trial after all."

    Frank Smith: "But is it worth the risk?"

    The second voice within Frank's watch adds;

    CaptAIn: "Do you want to die, Lieutenant?"

    Frank Smith: "Point taken."

    Frank presses a button on his watch and ZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP!! He bursts through the fabric of space-and-time.

    Tracer: "That was lucky. See? I didn't kill him."

    Losien: "I really preferred ninja Tracer."

    Evil G: "Actually, just to go back in the conversation a little bit - Rachel, it's probably good you get to carry Amal around. You're looking a bit chubby there!"

    Rachel Pi flushes.

    Rachel: "I can't be showing that quickly!!"

    Everyone goes silent.

    Losien: "Wait... what?"

    Rachel: "Fuq."


    When they finally land on a small hillock somewhere in the suburbs of London, Losien is still in full rant at Rachel for keeping such a secret.

    Losien: "You should have told me, Rachel. At least me! I'm the baby's aunt and your team leader!"

    Rachel: "I don't even know what I'm going to do about it yet, Losien!"

    Losien: "What the Hell does that mean?"

    Rachel: "It means what it means!"

    Frank Smith: "You guys took your time."

    Frank Smith stretches and cracks his neck from where he'd clearly been sleeping.

    Frank Smith: "That was a much needed few hours sleep."

    Subaru: "Few hours?"

    Frank Smith: "Time travel."

    Subaru: "Right, because that's how you should use time travel - to catch up on your sleep!"

    Frank Smith: "Can't risk anything longer than a few hours. Just in case."

    Evil G: "Actually, that sounds like a great way to use a time machine. Spend all day doing fun stuff, go back in time and get your sleep - don't miss a single hour of the day!"

    Tracer: "Where's Gebohq and Preggers?"

    Losien: "You mean this one or the other one?"

    Rachel: "Ha-ha..."

    They squint out and see the waggle of Gebohq's tail as he slowly heads towards them with LightSide in his arms.

    Tracer: "I think it might be time that Preggers heads back to the Triple H..."

    Losien: "Maybe both of them should. Just to be safe."

    Rachel: "That isn't going to happen."

    Losien: "Have you even spoken to Geb about this?"

    Rachel: "Sort of."

    Losien: "What does that mean?"

    Rachel: "It means he knows."

    Evil G: "Didn't that Magick Voodoo kid say she met your kid in the future?"

    "I don't buy into the whole pre-determined destiny thing."

    Subaru: "Besides, I think that kid was a few screws loose. Just like the older sister."

    Tracer: "Do you want me to take LightSide back to camp, boss?"

    Losien: "Or maybe Gebohq should since he's already carrying her."

    They all watch as Gebohq continues his infinitely slow approach.

    Tracer: "Are you trying to torture him as punishment for knocking up the Asian?"

    Subaru & Rachel: "HEY!"

  24. #1744
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    And now, for a post that does absolutely nothing to advance the plot!


    RAM #1: Hey! Who's flushing toilets during a scene?

    Losien: Not me. There are no toilets installed on stage. Like ever.

    Rachel: I don't think they even exist in our world.

    Tracer: The dames talked among themselves, arguing over the improbability of sewage devices, never knowing that the flush was an obligatory occurrence when the term 'plot' is mentioned.


    Perhaps I should rephrase. And now, for a post that does absolutely nothing to advance the story!

  25. #1745
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Escaping the Armenian Palace

    Returning to London, the Armenian Palace is still hopping about. However then, suddenly, it homes in on a scent - as though Iriana, somewhere, had landed on the ground again... after all this thing was able to home in on her all the way from Armenia...


    Al Ciao the Writer: "DERP!"


    Inside the Palace the various groups of former combatants are all suddenly flung against the rear wall as the Armenian Palace runs through London. Londoners would have wishful thoughts of the Knight Bus in Harry Potter that squeezes in and out of traffic and buildings flawlessly... wishful thoughts because the Armenian Palace is a different beast entirely and, instead, belly-flops through the nearest building. Or whatever passes for its belly.

    Gwenhwyfar: "Stop! Just... STOP!"

    She leaps and hurls herself to one side, whizzing past a random Royal Guard who is clinging to a sofa that is suspiciously Matterialize-shaped, and tumbles down a random passageway - away from the fighting (or random slapping during brief intervals in the bouncing about). When she reaches the end of the corridor she is forcibly ejected from the building via a large stained-glass window.

    She lands on tarmac with an uncomfortable thud and splintering, coloured glass. She groans and lifts her head. Fortunately, in a way, she had already thrown up all of the contents of her stomach inside the palace so she manages to keep her composure while her head slowly stops spinning.

    Gwenhwyfar, with shaky knees, gets to her feet. She hears a loud neigh above her. She doesn't need to look up to recognise the whinnying of her loyal Pegasus Cataphract that, apparently, fled when the fighting started. Probably flew off to find sugar cubes.

    As the Pegasus settles on the ground, her hooves clips on the hard road, Gwenhwyfar feels her strength slowly returning. She growls to herself as she feels anger rising within her.

    The Potentials had lost their pet with the Heroes, the Heroes had escaped thanks to the Remembered Forces, Austria won Eurovision (she had always had a problem with Austrians) and she had been jiggled about by a God damn building for the best part of a day.

    She mounts her steed, having regained her wits fully, and charges forward with a cry. She holds her glaive like a javelin and when she reached one of the two magical legs of the Armenian Palace she jabs the leg.

    The Palace stops running and leaps into the air with surprise and pain. It hops on one leg. That is, until Gwenhwyfar jabs the remaining leg. The Palace falls onto its back and kicks its sore legs in the air.

    An ominous gust of wind whips at Gwenhwyfar, anticipating an act of a questionable nature. With tremendous speed she lashes out with her glaive. A moment later she and her Pegasus are standing silently on the other side of the Palace... then the legs fall off. Finally the building is still, albeit on its back.

    Gwenhwyfar waits.

    Next moment one of the Queen's Royal Guards flies out of a window, still clinging to hiss Matterialize-couch, high into the air until he pings off into the sky like Team Rocket. From the same window jumps Orochi.

    Orochi: "Any sign of the Heroes?"

    Gwenhwyfar: "None."

    Orochi: "Damn them. They're smarter than we ever gave them credit for..."

    Gwenhwyfar: "Stalling us with a bouncing palace was very smart..."

    After a moment of silence they both burst into laughter.

    Orochi: "Yeah, like they did it on purpose!! HAHAHA!"

    Gwenhwyfar: "But the sods are lucky... We'll have to track them down and finish them off."

    Prophet: "Whatever happened to the agreement you made with them?"

    Prophet and Midas climb out of the remains of a chimney.

    Orochi: "That was just a game. Now we get serious. We can't allow those idiots to run riot throughout the NeS. We are far more capable heroes than they will ever be."

    Prophet: "Uh... we're their potentials... they could become us."

    Orochi: "Don't start trying to make sense of things now, Prophet! We've got work to do! Where's Brain-dead and the Drunk anyway?"

    Gwenhwyfar: "Doesn't matter. They're just slowing us down at this stage. Let them go and... do whatever they do. Prophet, you'll have to track them down. Losien is too far away from me to sense properly. Perhaps we shou--"

    Gwenhwyfar's words are cut off as something crashes through a palace walls and collides with her, taking her off of her Pegasus. She and the figure comes to a tumbling halt a kilometre down the street. She quickly raises her head to glare at her attacker.

    Already rising to his feet, a menacing aura seems to emanate around him. One of the NeS' classic Powerhouses/Powerplayers - Arbiter.

    Gwenhwyfar: "I'm not here to play with you, Forgotten punk."

    Arbiter: "Maybe not. But you will be played with nonetheless."

    The Otter: "That sounded wickedly dirty, don't you reckon?"

    The other Remembered Forces were emerging from the building, one by one. Or at least they were until MaybeChild smacked The Otter on the head and sent everyone toppling back down into the palace.

    Orochi turns from the slapstick scene behind her to call to Gwenhwyfar;

    Orochi: "Finish him quickly!"

    Midas: "We should get after the NeS Heroes before we're distracted - again - by that lot back there."

    Orochi: "Yeah, I think so too. C'mon you two, lets get a move on."


    Losien: "But seriously, Gebohq has the fastest way to get to the HHH."

    Amal: "Actually, I have a copy of the NeSword too. I could probably get to the 8th Dimension."

    Evil G: "And there's my Anti-NeSword. Probably would work too."

    Tracer: "And in all probability that sword Soriel gave you would likely work as well, Losien..."

    Losien: "So much for plot devices if every bugger's got one. Look. Geb. Just take LightSide back to the HHH and make sure she's safe. Tracer, if you really want to go - you can go too."

    Tracer: "I didn't say I wanted to go."

    Losien: "I'm beginning to forget who's the leader of this group."

    Tracer: "Alright, chill your bonnet, kitten. I'll babysit Mrs Ciao and your brother."

    Gebohq: "I don't need babysitting..."

    Evil G: "Debateable. I remember when you thought a Buddha was the same thing as a Budweiser..."

    Gebohq: "So did you!! Wait -- they're not the same thing?"

    Evil G: "Hope Preggers and Dick Tracy have fun putting up with you, Dipstick."

    Gebohq: "I'll tell your wife you said hi, shall I?"

    Evil G suddenly looks a little cowed.

    Evil G: "Uh... yes. Tell her... you know?"

    Gebohq: "No?"

    Evil G: "Don't make me say it in front of everyone."

    Gebohq: "That you'd like her to cook pizza for dinner tonight?"

    Evil G: "What? No!"

    Gebohq: "Aww."

    Gebohq looks at Losien hopefully.

    Losien: "I don't cook, Geb."

    Gebohq begins to turn his gaze.

    Rachel: "Don't even think of looking at me."

    Losien: "Time's wasting, Geb."

    Gebohq unsheathes his NeSword and, with one fluid motion, the narrative splits with a screen-wipe. Gebohq, Tracer and LightSide find themselves on the edge of a mysterious wood.

    Gebohq: "Good to be home."

    Tracer: "Can't say I've ever thought of this place as home, pal. More like... a crypt."

    "Probably because there is a crypt."

    The three of them discuss the pros and cons of living in a haunted house as they walk through the outskirts of the woodland.

    Gebohq: "I remember that lady ghost who died in the shower. I know it's a bit mean... but I'm really glad she died there."

    "I never realised how perverted you were, Geb."

    Tracer: "I think I remember Gebohq inherited The Otter's porn collection..."

    LightSide: "I can't even begin to imagine..."

    Gebohq: "No one says porn anymore, Tracer. It's pr0n."

    Tracer: "Call me old-fashioned."

    LightSide: "We do. Frequently... uh-oh..."

    The three Heroes step out of the treeline to see a smoking ruin. Licks of fire here and there still caress smouldering pieces of wood and a thick black cloud still hangs in the air.

    Tracer: "I thought I could smell burning... what happened here?"

    Gebohq runs over to the edge of the charred remains with panic on his face. She begins to run around the building, looking for some sign of life or some open path to get further into the burning rubble.

    Tracer: "Let's hope no one's been put in a wooden kimono..."

  26. #1746
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Gwenhwyfar

    LightSide: "I don't know about a wooden kimono..."

    Tracer: "Means a coffin."

    LightSide: "Riiiiiiiight... well I don't know about a wooden one, but there's a metallic one."

    LightSide points across the ruins towards a coffin-shaped glint of metal.

    Gebohq leaps over a flames of death - although the flames of death are only a few centimetres high by this point - and bravely makes his way towards the stasis pod. The pod is the same kind of pod that Gebohq himself once occupied before he was rescued, primarily, by Rachel. A sharp pang of guilt is only suppressed by anxiety as Gebohq gazes into the pod to see the still, and unconscious form, of Miss Fire inside...


    Gwenhwyfar, in London, dodges Arbiter's fist as he charges at her. His face remains stone-like, void of expression even when attacking with such outrageous strength. She jumps backwards, intending to bring her glaive to bear but the Saiyan-Sith warrior seemed to expect this and sticks close to Gwenhwyfar - essentially disabling her primary tool and putting her on the defence.

    As she continues to dodge several strikes, she quickly takes a brief opportunity to whistle loudly. There's a loud whinny and the Pegasus Cataphract comes soaring down towards them. Arbiter jumps back to avoid the animal, giving Gwenhwyfar the moment she finally needs. She waits for her mount to pass by and then thrusts forward with such a rush of speed that the very air breaks and sends a crackling sound to her ears.

    The jab, however, fails to connect and, instead, pierces his dark cloak beneath his armpit. He instantly locks his arm and, using all his weight, he prises the glaive from his opponent and sends the weapon flying off across the street - where it slams into an adult sex shop with as much phallic imagery as we're allowed to show on the NeS.

    Gwenhwyfar snarls at Arbiter, who still bore his mask-like face as he stares her down. She lunges forward with her mailed fist and smacks Arbiter's jaw, which sends him spinning. But only for a moment. He retaliates with a shocking fist of his own and Gwenhwyfar feels her nose bone break. Her blood gushes from her nostrils, covering them both in small patches of wet red. As she reels, Arbiter continues his assault with another strike to her face that drops her to her knees. Each punch, she felt, was like an impact with a lorry. She begins to crawl away, desperately trying to get just one brief second to catch her wits, but she is slammed against the ground when Arbiter's foot stomps on her back.

    She coughs up more blood.

    Gwenhwyfar: "No..."

    Arbiter: "There are none that can stand up to me. Not even a Potential."

    She blinks a couple of times and begins to chuckle a little. Arbiter allows her a moment as she pushes herself over and onto her back to look up at him. Although covered in blood, her smile can be seen clearly enough to bring a minute frown to Arbiter's brow.

    Arbiter: "Your last moments... like this... you should be more embarrassed by yourself, Potential."

    He raises his fist which begins to draw in ethereal power from the very air around him. This ethereal power is sometimes called the ebbing of awesomeness which doesn't really do anything other than make things look cooler. He unleashes his built-up power and slams his fist into Gwenhwyfar.

    Into her hands that is.

    Gwenhwyfar: "Round Two."

    With more strength than seems physically possible, Gwenhwyfar twists her hands which causes Arbiter to spin off in a pirouette. The Potential quickly finds her feet and shakes her head, dispelling the last vestiges of confusion from her mind. Arbiter was clearly acting tactically when he pounded her skull, the only soft target she had exposed. She decides she has to somehow use that to her advantage.

    Knowing he would likely attempt facial strikes rather than bodily attacks meant that she could more easily predict his actions. She runs towards a nearby parked car, hops onto its bonnet and then plunges her mailed elbow towards Arbiter's head as he rose from the ground. The crash took Arbiter by surprise and sends him falling forward, flat on his face. Without waiting for him to stand up again, Gwenhwyfar turns and, with unimaginable Potential power, hoists the entire car into the air. She tosses it high up and dives out of the way as it comes crashing back down again ontop of Arbiter...

  27. #1747
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Moving On...

    Before Gwenhwyfar could go far there's a tremendous BOOM and the car flies off across the city. Behind the Potential is Arbiter, once again, though now he is floating several inches from the ground and surrounded by a yellow aura that reflects the physical change to his hair. Once black it is now bright yellow and standing on end.

    Gwenhwyfar just sighes as she turns to face Arbiter.

    Gwenhwyfar: "Haven't you got anything better to do?"

    Arbiter seems to think about this for a second or two.


    The speed at which Arbiter flies towards Gwenhwyfar would have been missed by even the most sophisticated high-speed camera. And yet it is not fast enough to overcome this Potential. With speed to match Arbiter's, Gwenhwyfar swings her glaive in an arc that caught Arbiter's trajectory and, with the same momentum, sends the Super Saiyan into an uncontrollable spin. He slams into a tall building, putting a large hole through it. Gwenhwyfar rests her glaive across her shoulder and waits, tapping it once or two in impatience.

    But instead of seeing Arbiter emerge from the gratuitous hole she is instead targeted by a colossal beam of light that strikes her and, after pushing her across the street, pins her against the foot of a building. After a minute or so the beam dissipates, releasing Gwenhwyfar. She staggers a few steps, noting the cracks in the wall behind her. She then glances down to see the menacing scorch marks upon her armour. As she looks up she has just enough time to raise her eyebrows in surprise...


    "Without power the stasis chamber is going to stop working soon. It'll run on batteries for a while, but eventually it's going to open and Miss Fire'll be in trouble."

    Tracer: "What's wrong with the broad anyway? I don't remember."

    "She took a hit and was injured. Internal injuries probably. Dammit, I'm a hero not a doctor!"

    Tracer: "Do we know any doctors?"

    Gebohq and Tracer both wince and stare off into the distance, deep in thought.

    Gebohq: "Surprisingly few doctors come to mind..."

    Tracer: "As a group of people constantly putting our lives on the line, you'd think we'd have met a few by now..."

    LightSide: "There's one... sort of..."

    Tracer: "Who?"

    LightSide: "The witch that saved my husband's life..."

    Gebohq: "But that made him a robot!"

    They look at Miss Fire in her stasis pod.

    Gebohq: "Actually she'd probably like that."

    Tracer: "How do you contact this witch?"

    LightSide: "Uh... the ghosts did it."

    Gebohq: "Speaking of which, where are the ghosts? They shouldn't have burnt dow?n in a fire."


    Somewhere nearby...

    Ray Stantz: "That's the last of 'em, guys!"

    Ray Stantz tosses the final spent ghost trap onto an almighty pile of them. The pile of traps is smoking dangerously.

    Peter Venkman: "'Bout time. You realise we've been trying to get those bastards for years? I guess it's lucky someone left the oven on in that place?"

    Winston Zeddemore: "I still don't see why we came out here to get 'em anyway. Nobody lives out here."

    Peter Venkman: "Look, Winston, we've been doing our jobs a little... too well. So now there's no money. When there's no money, there's no food. When there's no food, Ray gets grumpy..."

    Ray Stantz: "Hey..."

    Peter Venkman: "So, we're gonna take these little guys back to New York and tell the mayor we've been catching 'em round the city. We get paid. We get food. Ray gets happy."

    Ray Stantz: "Hey..."

    Winston Zeddemore: "Wait, so you're gonna con the everyone!?"

    Eagon Spengler looks down guiltily, Ray Stantz looks oblivious and Peter Venkman nods sagely. He puts his arms around Winston Zeddemore's shoulders.

    Peter Venkman: "We are gonna con everyone, Winston."


    Gebohq: "If... If there's no more ghosts then... then..."

    LightSide: "Then we can't find the wi--"

    "Then what do we call this place!!?"

    LightSide and Tracer stare at Gebohq.

    Gebohq: "It's not Haunted anymore!!!"

    "Since there's no building now, it's not much of a Hall or House either..."

    Gebohq looks even more aghast.

    Gebohq: "So... so... it's just called... 'Of Heroes'!?"

    Tracer: "Priorities, Geb. You need to learn them."


    As Gwenhwyfar and Arbiter roll around in their tussle, Gwenhwyfar suddenly cries out with a yelp.

    Gwenhwyfar: "YouBIT me!!!"

    Arbiter: "All's fair in love and war!"

    Gwenhwyfar: "But... you BIT me! What the Hell kind of stunt is that!? You better not have rabies!"


    Evil G: "So, what now? You're not actually thinking we should try to take on the Potentials, are you?"

    Losien: "That's exactly what we should do. But, as Soriel would have once said to us... we need a plan."

    Evil G: "Yeah, it was also that crackpot's plan to release them in the first place!"

    Losien: "For a good reason!"

    Evil G: "Which was?"

    Amal: "To take down Highempress."

    Iriana Emp looks guilty, as though it were somehow her fault that the alternate dimensional version of her came through a mirror and tried to kill everyone.

    Evil G: "And has that been done?"

    Amal: "Well... Iriana's Potential went after her so... maybe?"

    Losien: "But the rest of them are out of control. They're not doing what we needed of them and they're now more of a threat than Highempress. At least to us."

    Rachel: "So what's your plan?"

    Losien: "We need to isolate them. One by one. That'll make them more manageable. Together we'll never be able to do it. But all of us stand a better chance against just one of them."

    Rachel: "And how're we supposed to isolate them? I don't think leaving sugar cubes in boxes will work."

    Losien: "You've seen how they are. They're completely disjointed! There's no unity between them at all. The only one's that seem to be vaguely on the same page are Gwenhwyfar and Orochi. It should be easy to catch them alone, we just have to figure it out. One by one."

    Amal: "I... already dealt with one of them."

    Everyone stares at Amal with shock and disbelief. Eventually it is Evil G that finds his tongue first.

    Evil G: "And when were you planning on telling us this?"

    Losien: "I don't feel any different, so I assume you didn't kill Gwenhwyfar."

    Amal: "It was my own Potential."

    Evil G:
    "You mean you killed the mentally handicapped one? Dude..."

    "Don't joke! He found me in Buckingham Palace. We duelled. I won. Fate was there as judge. It happened. It's over..."

    Losien: "How do you feel, Amal?"

    Amal thinks about this. He knows he doesn't feel sadness or regret.

    Amal: "I feel good. Great even. I make my own choices."

    Evil G:
    "You feel good about killing your dim-witted cousin?"

    Amal: "He wasn't--"

    Evil G: "Okay, okay. No joking now. I don't think he's dead."

    Amal: "How do you know?"

    Evil G: "I remember how it felt when my Potential died. It didn't feel good..."

    Clearly there is more Evil G could have said but he didn't.

    Subaru: "Maybe it feels different for different people?"

    Evil G:

    He doesn't sound convinced, and no one looks convinced.

    Losien: "In any case we need to figure out where they are and how we can divide them. If Amal truly met his Potential in Buckingham Palace, then I'm guessing some of them are already divided away from the rest of the group."

    Subaru: "How can we find out?"

    Losien: "MZZT must have access to the cameras all over London - the most monitored city in the world. He can track them for us."

    Evil G: "So you're more than a pretty face!"

    Losien: "Do I have to remind you, again, that I'm your sister?"

    Evil G: "Maeve's not here, I felt I needed to fill in for her."

  28. #1748
    Virgin Fleet Admiral
    Losien: Good, you can fill in for Otter too, you've already got a double helping of dumbass.

    Everyone Else:

    Evil G: I'm your brother! Sort of.

    Losien: Had to be said.

    Evil G: I take it back. You aren't just a pretty face. You're an ugly old sow.

    Losien: Why you little--

    In orbit, high above, Bhac is playing puppetmaster. Tiny strings connect from his fingers down to Losien and Evil G, far below.

    Bhac: Muahahahaha, promoting conflict for the win!

    You're beyond the atmosphere, there's no air to carry sound waves.

    Bhac: ....

    That's what I thought.

    Bhac: !!!!


    Britt the Writer: That's IT?!

    Al Ciao the Writer: Promoting randomness for the win!

    At Britt's incredulous look, he goes on, looking somewhat guiltily as he does so.

    Al Ciao the Writer: Also, I'm leaving for game night in a minute. Had to whip up the first random thing that came into my head!

  29. #1749
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Journey to the Centre of London

    Britt the Writer: "Game Night!? Why was I invited!?"

    Al Ciao the Writer: "You smell like pandas."

    Britt the Writer:
    "Just because I live in China doesn't mean I hang out with pandas..."

    Al Ciao the Writer: "Says you."

    Britt the Writer: "How do you even know what a panda smells like?"

    Al Ciao the Writer:
    "Uh... Because you smell like a panda, so I know what a panda smells like!!!"

    Britt the Writer:


    As Bhac stares down to the Earth with his Uber Vision Eyes, gloating over his minor victory at ****-stirring amongst the squabbling heroes (who probably would have found a reason to b1tch at each other even without his help) he doesn't notice the rather large object heading his way.

    Bhac: "!!!?"

    No amount of overhearing the Narrator - the little cheat - is going to save him from the huge piece of space debris that slams into him. Flat as a pancake against the tremendously large piece Star Destroyer that has been floating about since the first-ever story-arc, Bhac is taken away into orbit, thus freeing the heroes from his temporary spell.


    Losien: "Yeah, well I've had it with you! Your attitude sucks, you don't help us, you just get in the way! We all know you only came back here for Young and Chance - and bugger to the rest of us!"

    Evil G: "Damn straight! Why should I care about you lot? You're all useless idiots that run around like headless chickens. Occasionally you get lucky, but seriously those Potentials are spot on when they say they'd be better heroes than you. In fact, I don't even know why I'm still hanging around with you. I should have gone back to the HHH instead of that dewb alter-ego of mine."

    Losien: "You're the alter-ego round here!"

    Evil G: "What was that? I couldn't hear you over your own ego."

    Losien: "My e--!!? Your ego rivals JM!!"

    Evil G: "Yeah, well you smell like pandas."

    "How do you even know what pandas smell like!?"

    Evil G: "Well, you sm--"

    Excuse me folks. I do believe I said Bhac's curse was lifted some time ago...

    Losien: "What curse?"

    Evil G: "The Narrator wasn't talking to you Ms Boobs Galore. Obviously I'm the only one worth addressing here."

    Losien: "What did you just call me!?"

    Evil G: "Ms. Boobs. Gal--ock!"

    Losien dives at Evil G and a they ensue in the most pathetic sibling-like fight imaginable.

    Rachel Pi: "You're both a waste of time."


    Somewhere else people are trying to have a serious moment of trepidation.

    Gebohq: "Difficult to do when our scene rides on the back of that."

    LightSide: "What?"

    Gebohq: "Uh, nothing. You know, we should really recruit a healer sometime..."

    Tracer: "What do we do for now? If she's going to wake up soon, she's going to be in a lot of pain... and I guess she won't have much time to live."

    Gebohq: "Wait... I think I remember something..."

    Tracer & LightSide:

    Tracer & LightSide: "..."

    Tracer & LightSide: "..."

    Tracer & LightSide: "..."

    Tracer: "How slow is your brain!?"

    Gebohq: "What? Oh right yeah. I got sidetracked by doughnuts and pr0n."

    LightSide eye twitches, while Tracer facepalms.

    Gebohq: "There's a way back to London."

    Tracer: "Yes. Your sword."

    Gebohq: "No, I mean a portal. MZZT opened it between the HHH and the HoH."

    LightSide: "So... how does this help?"

    Gebohq: "Because it will take us straight to MZZT and his techno-gizmos. He could probably fix the stasis pod!"

    Tracer: "Not bad, chief. I'm impressed. For a change."

    Gebohq grins with pride, obviously not understanding the connotation.

    LightSide: "Doesn't really solve the long-term problem of her needing to be healed though..."

    "The witch is a techno-witch, right? MZZT might have her phone number! They probably go to techno-parties."

    Tracer: "I think you mean inventor's conventions..."

    Gebohq: "Right! Let's go!"


    Shortly, the Heroes in London are sitting on a bus headed to the city centre and Big Ben. The other passengers stare at our Heroes with a mixture of entertainment and fear. Especially Subaru and Evil G who are both dressed as tanookis.

    Evil G: "Knew I should've changed."

    Losien: "With Gebohq and Tracer both gone, we don't have enough Tanooki suits to fly everyone there. The bus is the quickest option."

    Subaru: "Hey... I feel something..."

    Evil G: "I know, I feel stupid too..."

    Subaru: "No no... something... else."

    Frank Smith: "I feel it too."

    The other heroes peek at this irregularity.

    Amal: "Your Potentials are here."

    Suddenly the bus is awash with screams and yelps as the Heroes and the London passengers are hurled through the air. The bus spins through the sky as it is propelled upwards... until gravity takes effect and pulls the large, heavy object back down to the ground. After the dust settles, Prophet slowly lowers his staff and approaches the bus with Orochi and Midas at his side.

    Prophet: "I hope no one's too badly hurt..."

    Orochi: "Wuss."

  30. #1750
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Britt the Legend: Chapter One

    Now that the Evil World Leader's Summit was over, Arkng Thand has returned to the United States of America and is in the library of the White House. Thand had spoken with the evil world leaders and gleaned much about the state of the world - not that he didn't know most of it already - but one thing stood out in his mind. The passing of Britt the Barman at the hands of the Ink Blood-lusting Antestarr.

    Arkng Thand sits in an armchair with a carefully selected book and begins to read it. It would probably take him a few posts to get through the entire thing...

    Britt the Legend

    Long ago in NeS History the boy Britt was born fatherless and was thus known as Britt the Basturd... however my editor now informs me that such detail is irrelevant. My editor happens to be Britt by the way.--
    Thand notes the scrawl of ink that follows as, presumably, the editor wrestled with the scribe.

    And so Britt the Bas-- I mean, Britt the Boy was one of the lowest dregs of society, living on the streets and performing the most menial of jobs for those of higher stations. The year was 207 BC and Britt the Boy's destiny of greatness was about to commence...

    Gebtulus Simonius: "You boy! What day is it!?"

    Britt the Boy: "Why, it's Christmas Day, Sir!"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "What're you talking about? Christmas doesn't exist yet!"

    Britt the Boy: "Oh... Sorry, it just seemed like something an orphan kid should say, Sir!"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Orphan you say? Excellent! You can come with me and join the army."

    Britt the Boy: "Uh... what?"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Face it, you haven't got anything to live for! And I have debts to pay! So I need an army I can send to Gaius Claudius Nero in his Carthage campaign. My debts get paid, you get to die an honourable death. Win-win."

    Britt the Boy: "You seem like a bad guy..."

    Gebtulus Simonius: "So? You get what you need, I get what I want. Now go on. There's other wretches in that soft excuse for an army too. Don't worry, they'll slap a helmet on you. You'll look the part at least. Over there, that's the chap that'll sign you up!"

    The Roman noble shoves Britt the Boy off towards a man with a piece of paper. He was taking signatures of any plebeian that happened to pass by - either taking their names for the Simonius army or taking their souls, who knows?

    Britt the Boy signed his name down and thus began his long march to Metaurus where he and the rabble he was with would be asked to face Hasdrubal of Carthage. Britt's the Boy's helmet was much too large for his head and his armour was made of Egyptian papyrus. His spear was a stick with a sharpened end and his cape was a second-hand garment his years-dead mother had left him. The others in his troop were mostly criminals that wished to escape justice, except for one other boy.

    Britt the Boy: "Manlius a piece of your armour has fallen off."

    Manlius: "Oops! Why did they bother giving us this rubbish anyway? Might as well send us out there with nothing on!"

    Britt: "That would be embarrassing."

    Manlius: "I didn't mean literally, stupid. How old're you anyway?"

    Britt: "Eleven. You?"

    Manlius: "Fifteen. That's why I'm here. Parents tried to marry me off."

    Britt: "Really? Why!?"

    Manlius: "Grandchildren or something. I don't know! Don't care. Just wanted to get away and this sounded like fun. As in it did sound fun. Now..."

    Britt the Boy and Manlius continue to march through Italy towards the battle, often trailing somewhere behind the older men and being shouted at by their commander. Most of the way the two boys share stories of how hard their lives had been, but Britt the Boy got the impression that Manlius' stories may not be entirely true. Despite that, Britt the Boy was pleased to have one friend in the whole wide world at last.
    Arkng Thand: "Well now you just know something bad is going to happen..."

    One night the small troop finally reached the main army's camp and set up a few tents of their own. Manlius and Britt the Boy shared a single tent and Britt the Boy, at least, was glad to finally share his tent with his friend. But when it came time to sleep, Manlius just lay down in his armour.

    Britt: "Uh... isn't that uncomfortable?"

    Manlius: "It's made of paper."

    Britt: "Sure... but wouldn't it be more comfortable undressed?"

    Manlius: "What if we're attacked in the middle of the night, Britticus?"

    Britt: "You know I prefer just Britt."

    Manlius: "If you're going to ask stupid questions, I'm going to call you by your full name."

    Britt: "I knew it!"

    Manlius: "Knew what?"

    He opens one eye.

    Britt: "Your stories always seemed... wrong. And the way you act, especially when you go to pee... and now... and your name!"

    "Whatever it is, I probably don't want to hear it..."

    Britt: "You're a girl!"

    Manlius shot bolt upright and clamped a hand over Britt's mouth.

    Manlius: "By the Gods, can you say it any louder!?"

    Britt, hand still over his mouth, nods enthusiastically.

    Manlius: "Stupid. Keep it down and don't ever say that again. Understand?"

    Britt, slower, nods again.

    Manlius removes "his" hand.

    Britt: "But--"

    Manlius clamped "his" hand over Britt's mouth again and stares at him with dead-pan eyes. Britt sighs and nods before Manlius' hand is removed for a second time.

    Britt: "At least tell me why. Whisper."

    Manlius: "I told you why. I didn't want to get married off, okay? It's complicated. You wouldn't understand. My parents are... different."

    Britt: "At least you have parents. Mine're both dead. Or at least I think my father's dead."

    Manlius: "My father... isn't my father. My parents are rich Roman nobles that run a gladiator school. I guess my mother got bored of my father and... you know. Slept with one of the Britons father had as a gladiator."

    Britt: "Your real father?"

    Manlius: "That's right. Father had the Briton executed, of course. But, luckily for me, took me in as his own daughter and, obviously, told everyone I was his. Only he and my mother, and eventually me, knew the truth."

    Britt: "Sounds... complicated."

    Manlius: "I told you it was!"

    Britt: "Well, it still doesn't sound like a good reason to join the army."

    Manlius: "Seemed like a good idea at the time, like I said. I thought my father just wanted to get rid of me, you know? The unwanted child. But now... I don't know."

    Britt: "Look, we could still get out of here! I'll help you escape and you can go back home!"

    Manlius: "Hey, just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I'm going to run from fighting. I've Barbarian blood in me."

    Britt: "I didn't say that. But we'll both probably die here. I only came here because I had nothing else. But now... well, now I've got a friend that deserves a second chance. So maybe I do too?"

    Manlius: "You think so? What about the battle?"

    Britt: "Do you think we'd help turn the tide of battle?"

    Manlius: "In our papyrus armour? Maybe not. Okay, let's get out of here!"

    Britt and Manlius peek out of their tent to see most of the army had gone to sleep. If anything the remaining soldiers would assume the two of them were going for a pee. They tried to walk away casually as possible, probably making themselves look more conspicuous in the process.

    The further they got from the camp, the quicker they started to walk. But then they were noticed by a scout, who had been on the look-out for Carthaginians, and a holler went up. Soon, as the two youngsters ran, soldiers were after them and the sound of hooves trembled through the ground.

    Manlius: "Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger!!"

    Britt: "Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks!!"

    Manlius: "I knew this was a stupid idea! Why did I ever listen to you!?"

    Britt: "I was just trying to help!"

    Suddenly the horses were in front of them and they were forced to come to a halt. They tried to turn back but more horses were behind them. Swords were raised and words were being yelled but fear had grasped both Britt and Manlius so they couldn't understand. It seemed like the two were going to be killed on the spot before the horse commander broke through the line and addressed them with a deep, baritone voice.

    Commander: "Stop! They're just boys! How old are you?"

    Britt was quick to answer, knowing he was the youngest of the two.

    Britt: "Eleven, Sir!"

    Commander: "Are you scared?"

    Britt and Manlius nodded as fearfully as they could.

    Commander: "Who's unit did they come from?"

    Horseman: "Scout said they were coming from Simonius' unit, Sir."

    Commander: "That Gebtulus Simonius is a sponge and a scourge on society. I'll deal with him when I return to Rome. Let the children go. Do you two think you can make it to Rome all by yourselves?"

    Manlius: "Easy, sir! We marched all the way up here, we can march back again!"

    Commander: "Don't sound too confident, boy! I make have to enlist you after all!"

    Manlius: "Uh..."

    "Go. Both of you. Run along."

    The two of them ran as fast as they could, away from the camp and the goodly Commander that released them. They didn't stop until they could see the nearest town's lanterns by the walls.

    They rested on the grass, panting and wheezing.

    Britt: "You never did tell me your real name."

    "It's from my homeland, you wouldn't understand it. Probably couldn't even say it."

    Britt: "Try."


  31. #1751
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Britt the Legend: Chapter Two

    Arkng Thand continues to read his book,

    Britt the Legend

    Many months after their escape from the military, Britt and Nyneve finally found themselves back in Rome. They had travelled city-to-city progressive south-westwards until they reached the fabled gates. They'd long ago shed their papyrus armour and were clad in simple garbs that Nyneve had been able to barter from a trader by using her father's name. Of course they were much finer clothes than Britt had ever worn before and he often marvelled at himself in reflections from lakes, ponds or even puddles after the rain.

    As the two of them began to walk the streets of Rome, intending to head straight to Nyneve's parents' home, they were suddenly bustled into an alley by two very strong men. They went kicking, screaming and biting but no one bothered to help.

    They were thrust before the feet of a man they had both known some time ago - Gebtulus Simonius.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "You know that ****** Commander is after a pound of my flesh because of you two urchins? I get threats, I get letters, I get sanctions, I get verbal abuse -- all because a couple of street rats got caught running away from camp. The rest of the brats I sent up there had the decency to die in battle, what the Hells were you two doing, huh? Running away!? Like you have any reason to live!?"

    Nyneve: "I'm not a street rat! I just pretended to be!"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "I can frickin' see that! You're not even a boy! What's this? Cut your hair and everything? But now you're in ladies robes, I can really see it. How old're you anyway? Older than twelve like you told me, right?"

    Nyneve: "What does it matter? I'm higher born than you! Now let us go! If my father hears how you've treated me, you'll live to regret it."

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Fine fine. You can go."

    Britt and Nyneve began to walk away but a hand grasped Britt's shoulder.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Not you, street rat. She might be a noble, but you definitely aren't. You're too stupid. Boys, I think we should string the little wretch up and hang him from my slave house. It'll give the patrons something to laugh at."

    Nyneve: "No! He comes with me!"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "My patience with you is wearing thin, girl. I'm letting you go because I have respect for your lineage, but if I killed you now, no one would take the time to identify your remains. You'd just be some dead urchin or prostitute. So... bugger off."

    Nyneve, for the first time, appeared genuinely scared. Being so close to home and suddenly threatened so brutally could shake even the strongest of hearts. Britt breathed deep.

    Britt: "It's okay, Nyneve. Go now. I'll be okay. I'm worth more alive than dead."

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Don't bank on that, kid."

    Britt: "If I'm seen alive with you, I think the Commander would relax a bit, right?"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Huh! Not so stupid after all!"

    Realising that Britt was going to be safe, Nyneve slowly backed out of the alley. She stood staring after Britt for a long pause before she finally ran away.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Okay. I'll spare your life. My wife could use a new pet anyway. All my kids are from my first, second and third marriages, this fourth's a dud. Better that way, fed up of kids. Waste of money they are. You'll be branded as one of my house slaves. Let's go, stupid."

    And so Britt the Boy was taken into the House of Simonius, branded with a large "S" and made a personal slave of Gebtulus' wife, Junia. Junia was a young woman, not much older than Nyneve, but was incredibly slow-witted and passive. Often she spent her days indoors, staring out of windows or at paintings. The only time she seemed to liven up was during social gatherings, especially when her best friend Locretia visited. Locretia was incredibly materialistic and often wore grandiose garments and jewellery to show Junia. She also brought opium with her, which the two women would indulge in for several days.

    Britt's duties were usually to help clean, cook and tend on Junia's demands. He was also allowed to leave the house and make purchases on Junia's behalf, as she never wanted to go outside. He grew older and more depressed. He watched slaves come in and out of House Simonius, put on a stage with plaques detailing their names, health conditions and countries of origin and then sold to other nobles. Britt felt deeply sorry for them, believing they would be treated much worse than he was. After all Britt was technically Roman, though a slave.

    When Britt finally hit fourteen he saw someone he had never expected to ever see again. At seventeen and with lengthy, clean hair, Britt didn't even recognise Nyneve at all. As he stood in the courtyard watching the slaves being bought and sold, Nyneve approached him.

    Nyneve: "Britt! I can hardly believe it's you!"

    Britt: "Uh... you're not supposed to talk to me, miss. I'm a slave... how do you know my name?"

    Nyneve: "Seriously? The Narrator just told the Readers that we went through this, we don't need to have this pointless conversation."

    Arkng Thand:
    "Breaking the fourth-wall, are we?"

    Thand winks at the NeS Readers.

    Nyneve: "Maybe I can help get you released, Britt? If my father buys you from Simonius, he could then free you!"

    Britt: "You think he'd do that?"

    Nyneve tutted.

    "I can't guarantee it..."

    Britt: "Then I should just stay here. I have a good life... comparatively..."

    He motioned towards the slaves.

    "There's a lot of them kept in cells underneath the house. I feel so bad for them."

    "Slavery is terrible, and we've both been affected by it. My real father was a slave too, remember? I'm sorry this happened to you. It's my fault..."

    Britt wanted to avoid the blame game and changed the subject.

    Britt: "Where have you been all this time? I see you and your parents made up!"

    Nyneve: "Yeah, we did. I didn't have to marry, which is good. I said I'd run off and join nomads instead of the army and they relented. I tried to find out where you'd gone but Gebtulus just kept fobbing me off, saying you'd left the city! What a scoundrel, you were here the whole time!"

    Britt: "He probably didn't want you trying to free me."

    Nyneve: "How is he to work for?"

    Britt: "I work for his wife, Junia. Mostly I think I'm here to go shopping for her. It's what I usually do. Why're you here?"

    Nyneve: "Father is looking for new gladiators. I don't think he'll take anyone here though. I'm so happy I found you again, Britt."

    Nyneve looked like she was going to hug Britt but refrained, not wanting her parents ire.

    Nyneve: "Your master did tell my father that he should come today though. Important business. Father assumed there'd be a strong slave up for auction, but apparently not. I don't know what Simonius is playing at, but he's going to make father angry..."

    As the two continued to talk, another figure entered the courtyard with several guardsmen. He wore the bright, silver armour of the military and when he removed his helmet they both recognised him.

    Britt & Nyneve: "The Commander!"

    The Commander, indeed, who had once set them both free from military service. He dismounted his horse and approached the entourage with Nyneve's father.

    Nyneve: "What the Hells is going on, do you think?"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Thank you for coming! I have a special event planned for you all!"

    The Commander: "You know I have no interest in slaves, Simonius!"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "And I do not intend to sell you any! Guards!"

    The large gates to the courtyard were suddenly slammed shut. Some of the people in the courtyard ran towards them and pounded their fists.

    The Commander: "What's the meaning of this, Simonius?"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "I am a man of few principles, but one of those principles is vengeance. Everyone in this courtyard has wronged me in some way and today, you shall all pay the price for that mistake. Slaves!"

    From the open archway that led to the lower levels of the House of Simonius came a horde of slaves - with weapons. They shuffled slowly out, confused and squinting at the sunlight.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Freedom will be granted to all of the slaves that kill the Romans standing before you. All of them. Dead."

    Initially the slaves looked at each other with hesitation and doubt, until one brave soul, eager for freedom, suddenly charged at the Romans. His sword cut down one unarmed woman. Instantly there was a clamour for survival as the slaves tore into the Romans. The Commander and his guards pushed their way to the front to fight off the slaves, but their numbers were too great and the slaves went around them - hacking and slashing at any who stood before them. Nyneve screamed when her father was skewered by a sword but Britt held her back and stood in front of her. The slaves, seeing his brand, left him be.

    The Commander: "Stop this madness! He will never grant you freedom! Stop!"

    The Commander's cries went unheard in the madness and savagery. Britt thought on his feet. He had to rescue the Commander. Nyneve's father was gone, but that man still stood. Britt used his key and opened the door to the house proper.

    Britt: "Everyone, the door's open! Inside, you can kill the rest of them!"

    Slaves began to take the bait and rushed through the door with blood-hungry eyes. Britt tugged at Nyneve.

    Britt: "Nyneve, I have to help Junia escape!"

    Nyneve: "Why!?"

    Britt: "Because... because... because she's kind of stupid and doesn't really deserved to be butchered by this lot."

    Nyneve: "Just like... just like my..."

    Britt: "Don't think about it just now. You've got to be strong again. Just until we're all out of this alive!"

    Nyneve managed to nod and follow Britt inside the house. They saw slaves running wild, mostly smashing and breaking whatever they believed looked valuable. Britt led Nyneve up a side passage to the rooms he knew belonged to his mistress. As they burst into the room they saw Junia lay upon the floor of her room with a small knife pushed into her chest. Stood over her with a look of surprise was Locretia.

    Locretia: "Britt! I'm surprised to see you! I - I just found Junia this way! My lovely Junia! My best friend! Those beasts must have killed her!"

    Britt: "No..."

    Locretia: "Don't worry, Britt, we'll be okay up here for now. I just saw Gebtulus go by. I think he has a plan. You're not with those slaves, are you Britt? You were always a good boy. Keeping our little opium secret..."

    Nyneve: "The rioting slaves seem to like smashing things, but this room..."

    Locretia: "I guess they just wanted to kill the wife of the master first. How should I know the mind of a slave?"

    Gebtulus Simonius burst into the room and saw his dead wife on the floor.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Damn it! Now I need another wife!"

    Britt felt anger stir at Gebtulus Simonius' casual dismissal of Junia's demise. Junia may have owned Britt, but Britt felt she never understood much of anything that happened around her and could be seen as blameless.

    Locretia: "Don't worry, Gebtulus, there are plenty of women out there."

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Perhaps, but it's a pain to find a decent one. Anyway, I have to deal with this slave revolt. I have a last resort for this kind of situation. I've done it once before during the last slave revolt--"

    Locretia: "There was another revolt!?"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Yeah. They killed my second wife. Probably a good thing really, she was a pain in my arse."

    Locretia: "What's your last resort?"

    Gebtulus Simonius smiled a dark smile, much more menacing than any Britt had ever seen from him before.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Death incarnate."

    From the shadows emerged a dark-clad figure who appeared to have melted out of the shadows rather than stepped. He was tall, dark-skinned and had white tattoos on his face. His eyes were completely white, suggesting that he might be blind.

    Locretia was taken with disgust.

    Locretia: "Another slave? Gebtulus, is this wise?"

    Man: "Slave? You are mistaken. I am Death. I feel Death. I sense it. I sense it on you, Locretia. I sense it upon your hands, in your hair, in your heart..."

    Locretia staggered away from him.

    Locretia: "Who are you?"

    Man: "They called me Askia before I became the bastion of Death."

    Locretia: "Gebtulus..."

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Don't worry! Relax. Askia here is in my debt. We have a perfectly good arrangement. I help him with his specialised... diet, and he does a few murders for me. It's a very good arrangement."

    Slowly, with a kind of crooked twist in his neck, Askia turned his head to look at Britt and Nyneve, who were cowering in the corner. He smiled a broad smile of pure white teeth and two very sharp fangs.

    Then he was gone. He disappeared, but from below they could hear the screams of the slaves as they were being torn to shreds by those sharp teeth.

    Nyneve: "By the Gods, what kind of monster is that?"

    Gebtulus Simonius looked at Nyneve and Britt as though seeing them for the first time since he entered the room. It took him a moment to recognise Nyneve but when he did he smiled with happiness at his good fortune.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Brilliant! The one that got away has returned! Surprised your father was stupid enough to bring you with him today. Actually I should be surprised he was stupid enough to come at all, but there you go. Arrogance breeds stupidity in those who believe themselves to be untouchable. No one escapes me forever, girl."

    He approached them and, with his arm around their shoulders, guided them to the balcony of Junia's room. Britt glanced back at his fallen mistress again, seeing Locretia also staring down at the dead woman. When on the balcony the two were made to look down at The Commander who was killing the last of the slaves. Of his four guardsmen, two had survived.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Good show, Commander!"

    The Commander: "You won't get away with this, Simonius! I shall come up there and tear your head from your shoulders!"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Patience, my friend! You have only passed the first challenge! Askia, where are you!?"

    From the house below Britt and Nyneve came Askia. He slowly approached The Commander.

    The Commander: "I advise you, African, do not approach further or I'll be forced to strike you down."

    Askia: "I sense so much death on you, Roman. It practically falls off you like blood might. A skilled warrior, honourable and dutiful. But how would you feel in the face of true Death, warrior?"

    Askia pounced upon the first guardsman and pulled his head off with his bare hands. Both the Commander and the remaining soldier were taken off-guard by the sudden horror the act, but The Commander regained his composure quickly and made a strike at Askia. The two danced around the courtyard, Askia constantly dodging or deflecting The Commander's attacks. When the second soldier tried to help his Commander, Askia first wrenched the man's arm out of its socket and then tore his throat with his fangs. This sent The Commander into a rage at last and he desperately, wildly, tried to slay the beast that was Askia.

    Britt: "Please stop this, Master!"

    Gebtulus Simonius:
    "I think not."

    Gebtulus Simonius looked elated, thrilled with the upcoming prospect of death and carnage.

    Suddenly Nyneve moved and shoved Gebtulus Simonius, trying to push him over the balcony. Unfortunately she lacked the upper body strength and the Roman merely staggered aside. He shook his head and struck Nyneve with the back of his hand.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "I'd kill you, girl, but you'll be more valuable to me as a slave."

    Nyneve, who had fallen to the floor, looked up at him petulantly.

    Nyneve: "You can't! I'm a noble!"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Are you, now? I know about your little secret, girl. Your father was slave and that makes you the offspring of a slave! Your mother has no husband, she will be shamed and left destitute. You, on the other hand, will become my slave. In fact, I'll make you one of my next wife's maids. Be thankful for at least that. You're too educated to be sold as a prostitute."

    Nyneve glowered at Gebtulus but there was also fear in her eyes. She knew he was right and she was desperately trying to solve the problem in her head. How to escape and save her mother? Her hope lay with The Commander.

    But Fate was not on Nyneve's side.

    Fate: "Hey, I'm impartial here."

    Britt: "No! Commander!"

    Askia finally stopped playing with the Roman soldier and wrenched his sword from his hands. With one hand he hoisted The Commander into the air by his neck.

    Gebtulus Simonius:
    "Kill him, Askia!"

    Askia continued to hold The Commander in the air, a wide grin on his face.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Now, Askia! Stop playing with him!"

    Askia: "No."

    He put The Commander down.

    Nyneve, hearing the words, sighed with relief.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "What!?"

    Askia, without warning, clamped his mouth around the neck of The Commander and drew his blood. It was now Gebtulus' turn to breathe a sigh of relief.

    Askia: "You remember our agreement, Simonius?"

    Askia allowed The Commander to fall to his knees. A pitiful sight for Britt to watch. The once proud, brave and good man forced to his knees by a monster. Britt didn't even feel hatred towards Askia - it was towards his Master.

    Gebtulus Simonius:
    "What of it?"

    Askia: "I would serve you here until I found one worthy of becoming one like me?"

    Gebtulus Simonius instantly turned a vivid shade of red.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Anyone but him! Askia! I forbid it!"

    Askia bit his own wrist, leaving a wide gash in his skin. Blood poured from the self-inflicted wound.

    Gebtulus Simonius: "No! Stop!"

    Gebtulus Simonius was practically bouncing up and down on the balcony with petulant fury. Askia's blood dripped onto the face of The Commander. When just a drop fell between his own lips, a strange change began to take place in the kneeling figure. He thrust himself up with renewed rigor and began to drink from Askia's wrist.

    Britt: "What... what is he doing?"

    Gebtulus Simonius: "Making my most hated enemy immortal. Turning him into a monster just like Askia."

    Britt: "No..."

    Askia: "Rise... NeSferatu!"

    The Commander rose and, without turning back, the two men leapt into a shadow and disappeared from the courtyard. Britt, Nyneve, Gebtulus and Locretia in the chamber stood in silence, reflecting upon their own situations. It was Gebtulus' anger that came spilling through first, declaring that he would have a new wife by the end of the week and that Nyneve would be her personal slave. Nyneve looked up at Britt.

    Nyneve: "I don't think I can keep being strong, Britt..."

    Britt: "It's okay now. It's all over. We're at a loss..."
    Arkng Thand leans back in his chair. History is one of those things that he knew so much about and yet often needed to recollect the information. NeS History is also one of those unknown things that the mists of time obscure and alter as it so feels.

    As he dwells on this he picks up a cup of coffee and drinks, relishing the bitter taste.

  32. #1752
    Virgin Fleet Admiral

    Britt the Legend: Chapter Three

    President Thand keeps reading...

    So it came to pass that Gebtulus married Locretia-

    Gebtulus: Just as well. She's livelier than Junia but still empty-headed. Prettier though.

    -and Nyneve was made her handmaiden. Locretia treated her well though; Britticus the slave made sure of that, on pain of revealing her opium habit. Even though he was pretty sure Gebtulus already knew about it, and didn't give two figs, Locretia didn't know that.

    Gebtulus was in a dither for a long while over the loss of his best ally AND the immortalization of his most hated enemy, all in a single stroke no less. But one day, he was so happy that he actually whistled whilst walking through his villa, instead of whipping some random slave.

    Random Slave #1: Not really an improvement. Instead of abusing our backs, he abuses our eardrums. Give me a good whipping any day.

    Gebtulus charged into Locretia's room, and Nyneve carefully shoved the opium behind a strategically placed array of pots.

    Gebtulus: Wife! Make yourself presentable. My new enforcer is arriving today!

    Locretia: Oh? Er. Yessssss?

    She was of course a bit loopy from the opium, but Nyneve quickly intervened.

    Nyneve: I will see to it that the lady is dressed to suit.

    She never called him 'master', refusing to let go that last shred of pride, but Gebtulus was in a good enough mood that he didn't even notice. She sent a sour look at his retreating back and turned to the task of making her lady presentable.

    When her task was done, she managed to excuse herself, and tracked down young Britticus, who was growing into a fine, strapping young man.

    Nyneve: So what's all the fuss about?

    Britt: He's found a replacement for 'Death'. Some Armenian mercenary, the right hand of his queen. Supposed to be the greatest living horseman AND the greatest living archer.

    Nyneve: Oh? What's his name?

    Britt: Eh, it's some foreign gibberish. In good solid Latin it comes out to 'Imperator'.

    Nyneve: 'First citizen'?

    Britt: Yes, apparently, his family has been the right hand of the Armenian royal dynasty for some time.

    There's some ruckus out in the villa court at that moment, and Nyneve hurries back to see Locretia out to the event. The slaves line up, in order of rank and seniority, with Britticus near the front. The villa gate opens, and with very little fanfare, a horse trotted in bearing its master.

    She was a woman. Dressed in very nonfeminine leathers, and unhelmeted, she had a long ponytail of pitch-black hair that dangled below her waist, and striking blue eyes. She had a bow and quiver strapped to her back, a sword on her hip, a dirk on her other hip, and a bandolier of short knives slung from left shoulder to right hip.

    Gebtulus: Well? Where is he?

    He was looking behind the woman, clearly expecting someone else. The woman arched an eyebrow, and dismounted her horse with an elegant ease.

    Woman: I am... Cathia Imperator, in your tongue.

    Gebtulus: *sputtering* A... a WOMAN?!

    Cathia Imperator frowns slightly.

    Cathia Imperator: That is correct, sir, I am female.

    Gebtulus: Preposterous! A woman cannot be the greatest horseback archer alive!

    Cathia Imperator rolls her eyes, mutters something about narrow-minded Romans, and plucks a knife from her bandolier. Gebtulus pauses from his rant to widen his eyes and back up, opening his mouth, when Cathia flings the knife to a point in the villa wall high above, clear across the courtyard, where it twangs slightly as it sinks into the wall.

    Then she draws her bow with blinding speed, fires an arrow straight up, before releasing another arrow that strikes the first arrow, thereby adjusting its aim so that it angles and instead strikes the knife imbedded in the wall.

    Gebtulus' jaw has dropped. So have several of the slaves', including Britticus. Nyneve, however, is smiling.

    Nyneve: I *like* this chick...
    Last edited by Al Ciao; 06-23-2014 at 02:08 PM.

  33. #1753
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Britt the Legend: Chapter Four

    Britt the Legend

    A year rolled by since the unforgettable slave revolt and the mysterious Askia. Britt had been dubbing himself Britt the By-stander, as he felt all he had done was stand-by and watch the carnage around him. The strange downfall of The Commander had shaken Britt to the core. The Commander had always been a symbol of unbreakable heroism and bravery within Britt's dreams for all his years as a slave to Simonius - but to see the man somehow twisted by the sinister evil of Askia felt like a metaphysical slap to the face.

    Britt's service in the House of Simonius fluctuated week-by-week. Some weeks he was in charge of the slaves' care in the basement, other weeks he was once again the attendee for the Master's wife.

    Locretia Simonius: "Britt darling, please fetch my new jewellery!"

    Britt went out of his new mistress' room to get her jewellery from the merchant in the hall. Shortly after Junia's death, Locretia had become Gebtulus' fifth wife. When she arrived, she replaced everything in Junia's room with new furnishings - erasing all trace of the dead woman. Initially Britt was resentful of this, but ultimately decided it would have been worse if Locretia was sleeping in the very same bed Junia had done. Over time he started to grow slightly fond of Locretia. She wasn't as simple-mindedly na´ve as Junia, but Locretia had a strange kind of charm that rubbed off on him. He didn't know what it was exactly, but she somehow endeared him. The sound of her voice, the lilt in her laugh, the paleness of her skin...

    Britt quickly returned with the jewellery. Locretia was already seated and rose her hair expectantly. Britt slipped the large necklace around her shoulders, each partition was a huge gold piece and Britt could feel the weight of it as he put it upon her chest. He fastened the thick clasp at the back.

    Britt: "Can you stand the weight of it, my lady?"

    Locretia: "I am a woman of high birth, my simple Britt. One must take such great burdens to remain in fashion."

    Britt rolled his eyes. He could never tell if she was trying to be funny or not. Another slave entered the room, dressed in a simple, white robe and her dark hair was tied to the side in curls.

    Nyneve: "My lady, I have your milk balm."

    Locretia: "Good. Put it there and tell me what you think of my new necklace, girl."

    Nyneve grinned at Britt while Locretia's gaze was distracted by the shiny trinket around her shoulders. Britt grinned back but tried to straighten his lips out when he realised how stupid he probably looked.

    Nyneve: "I think it looks beautiful on you, my lady. The colours are so vivid and match your hair wonderfully."

    Nyneve moved around to the rear of Locretia and gave Britt a playful nudge with her elbow. Britt nudged Nyneve in return, leaning over and shoving her with his shoulder.

    Locretia: "I do appreciate having you here, girl. You have such a good eye for these things. Alas... this is supposed to be worn in the bare minimum of clothing. Hopefully it's going to increase fertility so I can finally secure my place in this household... Britt! What do you think?"

    Before either slave knew it, Locretia had turned on her stool to face them with her chest, and necklace, exposed. Britt instantly averted his gaze to the ceiling, while Nyneve demurely lowered her head.

    Locretia: "Britt, what are you doing?"

    Britt: "I-I- ah, I'm not supposed to look, my lady! It's not allowed!"

    Locretia: "I am your owner, Britt. That means I say where you can and cannot look. I'm commanding you to give me your opinion."

    Britt slowly lowered his head. He felt flustered and he was certain that his face must have turned bright red. Locretia wore a discrete, though self-satisfied, smirk. Britt stood with a fixed, dream-liked expression on his face for a long while.

    Locretia: "As a man, I want to know... does this appeal to you?"

    When Britt swallowed he found his throat dry. He managed to nod before he could find words.

    Britt: "Y-yes. Very much, in fact. Very... very... appealing..."

    She stood, without redressing, closing the gap between them by just a fraction - yet that fraction seemed to cause the intensity of heat that Britt could feel in the air around him to increase even further.

    Locretia: "Thank you, Britt. I trust in your male judgement. I hope it's enough. Girl, apply the milk balm. My skin must be ultra soft for this evening."

    She finally turned her back to Britt, releasing him from sexual torment.

    Locretia: "You can go now, dear Britt. Look after our pets will you?"

    Britt bade his farewells to his mistress and left her chamber. Once outside he breathed a deep sigh, still dwelling on his confused feelings for Locretia. All the while his liking of her increased, and yet at the back of his mind he knew she had murdered his former mistress, the innocent Junia. Even Askia knew it. Blood-stained hands. He shuddered as a chill ran up his spine, and yet he couldn't shake the fixation he had with her.

    He made his way down into the basement where the "pets" were being kept for the day. The slaves were allowed to walk around the courtyard for one hour a day under guard and that time was almost up.

    Many slaves were packed into the small cells, forced to share a single bucket to go to the toilet in and given scraps of food from the master's table. One lone guard stood in the basement, the rest were taking up positions in the courtyard.

    Septimus: "Britticus! Will we get any bread today?"

    Britt: "You haven't been fed?"

    Septimus: "No. The guards came down earlier with what looked like our food but... I think they fed it to the dogs."

    Britt: "Sorry about that. I'll ask someone upstairs later to bring down anything that's still available. Any other problems today, Septimus?"

    Septimus: "No. Life's just peachy. Davius over there learnt a new trick today, didn't you Davius? He can now fart the Roman legion's marching beat."

    Britt: "Sounds like you've had a productive day."

    Septimus: "I never thought I'd say this, but I hope I get sold soon. Anything would be better than this."

    Britt: "Don't jinx yourselves, I've heard horror stories about the mines."

    Septimus: "Right now I'd take deadly labour over starving in a tiny cell."

    Britt: "Fair point. I will try and get some food to you soon. Buyers will be here tomorrow, so we can hope you all get bought and taken to better homes than this."

    Septimus: "Except Old Villius. I think he's been here for forty years or so already. Can't tell for sure though, he's gone kind of mental. Keeps talking to his own toes."

    Britt: "Just don't let him talk to your toes, and you'll be fine. If he gets hold of those... you'll be walking funny for the rest of your life."

    Septimus: "Thanks for the warning. Let me ask you something before you go?"

    Britt: "Okay."

    Septimus: "How'd you land such a sweet gig? How'd you end up doing this? Serving the lady of the house, looking after us poor plebs?"

    Britt: "Funny when you put it that way. I never really saw myself as fortunate to be here, to be honest."

    Septimus: "Want to switch then?"

    Britt: "Yeah, when you put it that way... I'm sure things will work out for us both, Septimus. It's been an honour to meet someone so interesting for now though."

    Septimus: "Likewise. I bet it's not everyday you get to meet the son of Minerva, right?"

    Britt: "Still think you're the son of a goddess?"

    "No thinking about it, my friend. If ever I get out of here, I'll prove it to you."

    Britt: "I look forward to that."

    Britt left the cells and walked out into the courtyard to see that everything was prepared for the slaves' walk. One of the guards nodded to him and he nodded back. Usually the guards avoided talking with him, thinking him beneath them - despite the fact that those higher than the guards liked to talk to Britt all of the time. That was, except for Cathia Imperatus, the personal bodyguard for Gebtulus Simonius. She was entirely different from everyone else in the house, seeming to exist on some other plane entirely. Although most found her cold, Britt found her indifference a welcome change from the other guardsmen.

    The guard walked down into the basement to let the slaves out. Britt intended to watch for a while and then go try to find the slaves their food, but then he heard his name being shouted.

    Locretia: "Britt! Britt!"

    Britt rushed to the centre of the courtyard and looked up to see Locretia leaning on the balcony wall. Her voice was agitated and anger was written all over her face.

    Locretia: "Britt, get up here! I need you!"

    Britt did as he was bidden, ignoring the snickering of the guards around. He burst into his mistress' chambers to find her drinking a large goblet of wine. She slammed the goblet down on the tray held out by Nyneve when she saw him enter. She thrust an aggressive finger in his direction.

    Locretia: "I thought you said I was appealing! You told me, to my face, that I was desirable!"

    Britt: "You were! You are!"

    Locretia: "Well, apparently either you're lying or you're wrong! My husband, once again, doesn't want me. Once a month isn't going to increase my chances of stability here! What's wrong with me? What's wrong with this necklace!?"

    She stared at Britt as though he ought to have all of the answers. He managed a bewildered shrug.

    Locretia: "I really believed you. I thought... yes, I was so irresistible..."

    Britt: "Lady Locretia, I think you are the most... attractive woman I've ever met. Beyond words, you are infinitely beautiful. Everything about you is so incredibly lovely. I've admired you for so long in every way. I'm sorry about my Master, but I assure you it is no fault of yours. You are so... perfect..."

    Britt detected a stiffness in Nyneve's posture that told him she was unhappy with his sudden outburst of affection, but she otherwise blanked him.

    Locretia visibly softened, though she kept her back straight and indignant. But her eyes were suddenly filled with warmth and encouragement.

    Locretia: "Yes... I have to say, I had noticed."

    Britt lowered his head and fell to one knee.

    Britt: "I'm so sorry that I've embarrassed you."

    Locretia: "Maybe it was all your attention that filled me with delusions of my own beauty... Or maybe I just have a beauty only a plebeian can admire..."

    Britt: "I don't believe that. You are much more beautiful than any of the other noble women I've seen come in here. You are the Master's fifth wife... maybe... he's just... well, he is who he is..."

    Locretia: "You mean he's a complete basturd, right?"

    Britt refrained from answering that.

    Locretia: "Girl. Get out. And close the curtains when you do. And don't let me be disturbed for the rest of the evening..."

    Nyneve, stiffly, walked out wordlessly and closed the curtain as bid.

    Locretia: "There's a very simple solution to my problem, Britt. Do you want to help me?"
    Arkng Thand takes a long, slow drink as he reads the next few paragraphs of the book. He knows such content would be completely censored from the NeS, but a book within a book gets some leeway. Unfortunately, dear readers, you're reading the NeS and not Britt the Legend, so only Thand here gets to enjoy that section of the story.

    Some months later and Locretia is one happy mother. The child, dark-haired just like his mother, is considered a miracle by everyone as mother and father only shared a bed a few times. The baby seemed to arrive a little premature, but he was perfectly healthy and strong.

    Septimus rubbed his eyes and Britt related the news of the birth. Following Britt's increased 'influence' in the household, he had been able to get his friend a job in the kitchen. Septimus considered himself eternally indebted to Britt for this and so he was willing to sit through a step-by-step explanation of the whole birth, despite wanting to sleep or vomit depending on how vivid Britt's depictions were throughout the tale.

    Septimus: "Congratulations, you are the secret father to a horrible Roman noble."

    Britt: "We don't know that! The baby is probably the Master's!"

    Septimus: "Come on! Seriously, what are the chance?"

    Britt: "Still. I think it's best if I believe the baby isn't mine... puts me in a dangerous position."

    Septimus: "You've been in a dangerous position for the past eight or so months. You and the mistress. You're lucky me and Nyneve can keep our mouths shut, else both you and she would be nailed to crosses."

    Briitt: "Thanks for the reminder."

    Septimus: "Just wanted to keep your head in play. What're you going to do now that Locretia has her child? Think she still 'needs' you?"

    Britt: "I suppose... not. I don't know what will happen. She's the boss, I guess."

    Septimus: "I know there's every possibility you could get strung up at any day, but wow... I wish I was you."

    Britt rolled his eyes.

    Septimus: "I was talking to Nyneve earlier today. You know she still holds a candle for you, right?"

    Britt: "Nyneve hates me."

    Septimus: "I don't think so. She just doesn't want you sleeping with Locretia."

    Nyneve: "Actually I don't want him sleeping with that witch, and I hate him."

    Septimus: "Sneaking around in the dark, Nyneve?"

    Nyneve: "My ears were burning."

    Britt: "How are you, Nyneve."

    Nyneve: "I'm still not talking to you."

    Britt: "Oh..."
    Arkng Thand: "Rather draws in the Simon lineage into question, doesn't it? And, in my mind, raises the issue of blood ink and its attachment to certain blood lines... and now I'm talking to myself. I've spent far too many years alone..."
    Last edited by TheBritt; 06-25-2014 at 11:54 AM.

  34. #1754
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Britt the Legend: Chapter Five

    Britt the Legend: Chapter Five

    Septimus: "I think she likes me."

    Britt: "You think everyone likes you."

    Septimus: "Am I wrong?"

    Britt: "Yes. Cathia Imperator regards everyone as a target..."

    Septimus: "Target for sex?"

    Britt: "Arrows."

    Septimus: "You really know how to kill a guy's mood, you know that?"

    Britt grins.

    Britt: "First time I've been told that!"

    Septimus: "Life's just full of surprises."

    The two young men were milling about the atrium. Septimus had finished cleaning the cooking wares and Britt was free from duties for a few hours... unless his mistress called.

    Locretia: "BRIIIIIITT!!"

    Britt: "I don't get five minutes, do I?"

    Septimus: "For anyone else she just sends Nyneve to fetch them. You she shouts. Every time. I think she just likes screaming your name."

    Britt: "And that's the last sex joke you get to make. Nothing's been happening in that regard since the birth of--"

    Septimus: "Your baby?"

    Britt: "Their baby."

    Britt glared at Septimus as he left the atrium and made his way to Locretia's chamber. His relationship with the mistress was still positive and Britt retained great status in the household, but the physical aspect had ceased. Britt never understood why, but he assumed she had what she wanted to secure her place in the Master's life - Britt wasn't needed any more. Of course his and her lives were built up upon these secrets, so while Britt did his role as the lady's slave, he was in a superior position than most would expect.

    Locretia: "Pass me those ear rings."

    Britt looked beyond her to the ear rings that lay just out of reach. He rolled his eyes.

    Britt: "These are very beautiful, my lady. Is there some special occasion?"

    Locretia: "Filius Farlanae is visiting."

    Britt: "Again?"

    There was a pause as Locretia considered what kind of attitude she was supposed to have to Britt's comment. She narrowed her eyes.

    Locretia: "What are you implying, Britt?"

    Britt: "It's just that he's been visiting you quite a lot lately. Which is funny because I thought he was the Master's friend... who he never visits."

    Locretia: "... are you jealous?"

    Britt: "I don't think that's possible."

    Locretia: "Then why even make comment?"

    She was wearing her small-lipped fake-pout. A picture of incredibly "cute anger".

    "I'm just curious, that's all. The welfare of my lady is part of my role here."

    Locretia: "I will be fine. I'm just enjoying the attention, that's all."

    Britt: "You don't get enough?"

    She turned on her stool.

    Locretia: "No. I don't. My husband continues to be elusive and I can't... continue to... do things we did. We were too close and that made things much more dangerous."

    Britt: "Right. I can see that. I really do--"

    Britt leaned in to help adjust Locretia's jewels so that they sat more pleasingly.

    Britt: "--but I don't think that means you should get too... close to the best friend of your husband. That'd be harder to conceal."

    Locretia: "I told you, I'm enjoying the attention, that's all. He's bringing a gift today."

    Britt: "What kind of gift?"

    Locretia: "I have no idea. But it's a gift for me and my husband, so it won't be anything... I have to coneal, as you put it."

    Britt: "That makes my job easier, at least."

    Locretia: "Thank you, Britt. Just remember... you are my favourite."

    Britt: "And I'm honoured by that fact. I'll go find Nyneve and ask her to prepare for your guest."

    Britt bowed and left the room with a smile on his face. It felt good to be treasured by someone, even if they owned you. He wasn't sure how 'owned' he even felt the older he got.

    Locretia: "Wait! Britt!"

    He rushed back into the room.

    Locretia: "Also tell Nyneve that the new girl is to be punished by the guardsmen for theft."

    Britt: "Wow, really? What did she steal?"

    Locretia: "She didn't. I sold Gebtulus' latest gift - a dull necklace made of jade - and I don't want him to find out."

    Britt: "Oh..."

    Locretia: "It's going to have to bee a severe punishment this time though. Her left hand is to be cut off."

    Britt: "What!?"

    Locretia: "Well, I can't cut off the right, then she'd have no use."

    Britt: "But- why cut off any hands? Isn't that a little extreme? She didn't even commit the crime."

    Locretia: "What will my husband think if I let her go free of punishment, or even with a light punishment? He'll know I'm lying about it. He has to believe it. She's just an idiot girl anyway, barely a capable body slave. I'd have sold her weeks ago but she does have lovely coloured hair."

    Britt: "But--"

    Locretia: "Go, Britt! I don't have time to listen to your moaning. Sometimes I find it endearing, but not today. I have more important things to think about that some stupid slave girl."

    Britt stared at the floor.

    Then left.

    A short while later Britt was stood with Septimus and Nyneve after explaining what Locretia Simonius commanded.

    Nyneve: "I won't!"

    Britt: "And then you get into trouble and Locretia gets someone else to deliver the message - so the girl loses her hand anyway."

    Septimus: "Britt's right."

    Nyneve: "That woman is evil!"

    Septimus: "Nyneve's right."

    Britt: "She's not evil. She's just... I don't know. Deluded? Misguided?"

    Septimus: "Roman?"

    Nyneve: "Stop making excuses for her! You don't get it! You're blinded because she's nice to you. But it's only to you! When she talks to me, she never even uses my name! I'm just girl, Septimus would just be boy. But you, you're Britt! Always have been!"

    Britt: "Who care what she calls you? We're just slaves anyway."

    Nyneve: "No! We weren't always slaves! Have you forgotten that? Remember what they did to us?"

    Britt: "Gebtulus did that, not Locretia."

    Nyneve: "She murdered Junia."

    Britt stared at the wall.

    Britt: "Maybe..."

    Nyneve: "No maybe! You heard Askia!"

    Britt: "I'm not ready to put all my faith into the words of a monster that I know murdered The Commander."

    Nyneve: "And why would he have lied?"

    Septimus: "This is a pointless argument, guys. What're you going to do about the girl?"

    The three of them fell silent. The atrium they stood in was still, the water of the pool was perfectly clear and the light above was bright through the clear blue sky. Britt stared up and relished the crisp coolness of the air before he settled his mind.

    Britt: "I'll take her. I'm sorry, Nyneve. I should have just done it myself to begin with. You shouldn't have to do it."

    Nyneve: "Neither of us should have to do it!"

    Britt didn't say another word, he simply walked away. He felt acid in his throat and a deep sense of guilt. He told himself he was just doing as commanded, he was doing what he was supposed to do and yet he couldn't shake the sense of guilt. Was there more he could do? He found Cathia Imperator walking across the courtyard, away from the slowly closing gates. Filius Farlanae was walking with Locretia into the house. Britt watched them go before he approached Imperator.

    Britt: "There's a slave that needs punishing. Her left hand must be cut off."

    Cathia Imperator: "That's a duty reserved for the guardsmen."

    Britt: "I know, but..."

    Cathia Imperator: "But what?"

    Britt: "You're the best, right? The punishment... the slave doesn't really... deserve it. So, I was thinking... I should ask someone who'll do it cleanly. Do it so there's less pain or whatever."

    Cathia Imperator: "I get it. You're trying anything to assuage your guilt."

    Britt: "What? No! Why wo--"

    Cathia Imperator: "I'll help you."

    Britt: "You will? Oh right. Okay. We should probably go get her then..."

    Cathia Imperator: "That's right."

    Sometime later Britt walked slowly behind Cathia Imperator as she dragged the weeping girl out of the slave quarters. She was young, small and frail. Her hair was blonde, though dirty, and her skin was incredibly pale. Britt guessed she was from Gaul somewhere as she kept crying out pitifully in her native tongue. The sun was nearing sunset and their shadows were elongated across the courtyard. Some of the guardsmen initially took an interest in the sudden ruckus but quickly lost interest when they saw Imperator was in charge.

    Cathia Imperator roughly yanked the girl to a stump and slapped her hand down. She quickly tied the girl's little white hand to it and watched her squirm. Imperator suddenly grabbed the girl's head and held it before her own.

    Cathia Imperator: "What's your name, girl?"

    "They call me Florina here."

    Cathia Imperator: "So what is your real name?"


    Cathia Imperator: "This is a dark day for all of us, Seren. Steel yourself."

    Imperator rose and drew a long knife. Britt had already brought over a flame pit as asked and she stuck the knife into the flames. She waited for a minute.

    Cathia Imperator: "Are you ready, Britticus?"

    Britt: "Me? I don't think I'll ever be ready for this."

    Cathia Imperator: "You have to be quick. Once I give you the blade, you strike immediately."

    Britt: "Wait, what? You want me to do it?"

    Cathia Imperator: "You must take responsibility for your own choices, Britticus. You may not have given the order, but the order was given to you. You should do this yourself."

    Britt: "I can't!"

    Cathia Imperator: "You must."

    Britt looked down at the girl. She looked up at him with pleading eyes. In those eyes he couldn't decide if she was begging him not to do it, or to do it himself. He couldn't do it. He knew he couldn't, and yet Imperator was right. Nyneve and Septimus both told him the act couldn't be carried out, but he said it must. Why? He could have told the Master the truth, or simply punished the girl in some other way and accepted punishment for himself? Instead he readily accepted Locretia's wishes. Was he blinded like Nyneve said?

    He put his hand around the blade's hilt. Imperator stepped back.

    Britt's muscles tensed.

    Britt: "I'm sorry, Seren..."

    He drew a breath and experienced a numbness that washed over his soul. When he opened his eyes, the world around him seemed distant and strange. He quickly pulled the knife out of the fire pit, rose it and brought it down again.

    Cathia Imperator: "Stop!"

    Britt's hand froze inches from the girl's. The heat of the knife would have been felt upon her white skin. Britt knelt, panting and staring wildly. For whatever reason he had been stopped from committing the act. An act he suddenly realised would have ruined him and his soul for eternity. He didn't believe that the gods particularly cared about the state of his soul, but he did. He dropped the knife and untied Seren.

    Britt: "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I'll try to get Locretia to change her mind, I promise! I can't believe I was going to do that!"

    Seren simply cried and cradles her hand.

    Cathia Imperator: "I didn't stop you to make you feel better."

    Britt looked up at the leather-clad woman.

    Cathia Imperator: "You're about to be killed."

    Britt: "What?"

    He turned to follow her gaze towards the house. Even in the reddening sky the house was clearly illuminated, as were the figures running around inside.

    Britt: "Slave revolt?"
    Arkng Thand rubs his eyes from all of the reading and has a drink of water.

    Thrawn42689: "Master Thand, I have assimilated my software into 72% of the American population. With Facebook's acquisition of the Oculus Rift technology, my estimates for maintaining control over the population in the future have increased by 170%. Child's play."

    Arkng Thand: "Very good."

    From the slave chambers came Septimus looking elated. Britt ran to him.

    Septimus: "We're free! Britt, we're free!"

    Britt: "This is madness, Septimus! Slaves have revolted before and each time Gebtulus puts them down! You're all going to be killed!"

    Septimus: "But this time something amazing has happened... time travellers!"

    Britt: "..."

    Septimus: "No seriously! From they future! They came in a blue box!"

    Britt: "..."

    Septimus: "They're like... crazily powerful. They obliterated the guards inside already. Everyone's going mental! They're all headed to the atrium now, then out of the doors!"

    Britt: "The atrium?"

    Britt's eyes widened.

    Britt: "But... that's where..."

    Britt ran inside, Septimus after him.

    The corridors were a mess, just as had happened the previous time. The house was in ruins and guards lay everywhere in bloodied piles. However everything was eerily quiet, most of the slaves must have already passed through. As he reached the atrium he saw two unusual figures - one in a heavy, black cloak that looked not too dissimilar from Imperator, and the other wore a red cape and clothing made of unusual materials he had never seen before. The two of them ran with a crowd of slaves, cheering with excitement and thrill of adventure.

    Before Britt was Filius Farlanae's present to Locretia - a strong wooden table. Such large tables were a relatively new invention that were fashionable amongst an elite few. Britt didn't understand why someone would want to sit at a table rather than lie beside it, but he wasn't a high-born noble.

    He approached the table and looked down at the face of Locretia. She was little more than a bloodied mess, beaten and beaten long after she was dead. Yet her face was surreally clean of injury save a spattering of blood. He ran a finger from her eye, leaving a bloody trail down her cheek. He stood there, holding her face without noticing that others had filed into the room.

    Septimus: "Britt!"

    Britt realised he had been called several times.

    Britt: "Sorry..."

    Septimus: "We've got to go..."

    Britt: "You go. I'll just... I'll just stay here."

    Septimus: "Don't be stupid. You're a slave too. Gebtulus will have you up on a crucifix just for being here. I'm sorry you had to see her like this, Britt, but she's not worth losing your life over."

    Britt: "How can you say that!?"

    Britt pushed his friend away in an uncharacteristic fury.

    Britt: "She's the mother of my child!"

    Septimus: "She was also a cold-hearted killer that abused every slave in this house, bar one."

    Britt didn't reply. How could his child grow up without a mother? It was fortunate the baby was with Gebtulus' parents or else the slaves may even have killed the child... Britt was growing increasingly horrified with everything around him. He broke down into tears. He felt he had been crying for hours, but he knew it had only been minutes before Nyneve's arms tried to pull him up. She kissed his forehead, his temples and continued to encourage him up but ultimately he pushed her away also.

    Slave #1: "Just leave him! He was one of them anyway! Look at him, getting upset over that witch!"

    Slave #2: "He was always running around after her like a dog. He's as bad as them, keeping us all locked up in the cellar. He had the master's keys and everything."

    Septimus: "Hey now, I was down there once too. We all did our roles here."

    Slave #3: "We should kill him too."

    Slave #1: "Definitely."

    Nyneve: "How can you say that! He's one of us!"

    Then a small voice piqued above the rest and sealed Britt's fate.

    Seren: "He was going to cut off my hand. He was going to do it himself."

    Silence followed and Britt knew that even his friends were appalled. Why had Imperator made him do it himself? What point was she trying to make? It didn't matter now. The beating he received was done with less ferocity than they had done against Locretia and Filius, Britt knew this because he was able to lie on the table and die slowly and he bled out. The world was silent. He thought he saw Nyneve over him for a brief moment but then even she was gone and he was alone with the dead, ready to join them...
    Arkng Thand: "And so the line of Locretia Simonius and Britticus lived on and, probably, leads to our beloved Simons of today. I wonder if there are any other... deviations in that family tree. I'll have Thrawn do an analysis later in the week. I wonder if Britticus ever... visited them later."

    Man: "Do you want to live, Britticus?"

    Britt: "No."

    Britt was surprised to find that he was able to speak perfectly clearly, though it felt as though his lips weren't moving. In fact he couldn't feel much of anything. The shadowy figure stood before him, but his features were constantly shifting as though he had no true shape.

    Man: "Why would you throw your life away?"

    Britt: "I don't deserve life..."

    Man: "Because of the actions of others?"

    Britt fell silent.

    Man: "Or because of the pain of loss?"

    Britt didn't want to hear anymore.

    The stranger leaned in close.

    Man: "Let me give you your life back, Britticus. You can live, join your friends again. There are still people that need you."

    Britt thought of Nyneve and Septimus. Where would they go? How could they escape Rome?

    Man: "In fact... I can give you the greatest gift of all. Not just one lifetime... but many. Immortality, Britt. Live forever..."

    Britt began to panic.

    Britt: "Are you Askia!?"

    The man laughed.

    Man: "No. Far from it. For now you can call me... The Negotiator. All you have to do is sign this contract..."

  35. #1755
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Britt the Legend: Chapter Six

    Britt the Legend: Chapter Six

    Britt groaned and clutched his head. A deep throbbing seemed to reverberate his entire being. Everything around him was dark and he found it difficult to breathe. He tried to sit up.


    Britt: "Ow, buggery..."

    He smacked his head against something. He felt upwards to find he was in an enclosed, cramped space. He then realised that the pounding in his head was literary pounding through his whole body - the wooden frame surrounding him was pounding. He began to bang his fists wildly against the wood above him and shouted at the top of his lungs.

    The banging ceased and Britt shouted again. As he continued to shout, the pounding began again in earnest - quicker and harder.

    After some unusual sounds above there was a final thud, much closer this time, and then a moment of silence. Britt panted heavily, nervously. Then, suddenly, there was a blaze of light that burnt his eyes. Relief came as a figure blotted out the light, surrounding this dark silhouette with bright, seemingly holy, light.

    Voice: "You're alive after all..."

    Britt: "Imperator?"

    Cathia Imperator: "I admit, I had my doubts when I was told to dig you up... but here you are."

    She thrust the wood from above him and helped him to sit up. He rubbed his eyes and squinted at his surroundings. He was in a grave.

    Cathia Imperator: "Sorry about the daylight. I did come in the evening, but it was a bugger finding where you'd been buried. Surprised old Simonius agreed to bury you at all, but apparently his wife had asked for you to be buried with her. Of course she thought you'd be alive. I suppose she was a traditionalist in that respect."

    Britt spluttered with shock.

    "I-I'm dead!?"

    Cathia Imperator: "Apparently not."

    Britt: "I'm not a-- a--"

    Cathia Imperator: "I have no idea what you are, to be frank. But whatever you are, you're evidently blessed. I don't know if you died and came back, or if you never died at all. You looked dead. Found your body myself."

    Britt: "There was a weird man. Offered me a contract."

    Cathia Imperator: "That sounds ominous. Probably the same man that told me to dig you up."

    She helped him out of the coffin and then out of the pit where she'd jumped down. The sunlight was shining through the open doors to the Simonius family tomb. He glanced around and saw the graves of both Junia and Locretia, side-by-side.

    "I don't think they should have been buried together..."

    Cathia Imperator: "Why? They were supposed to be best friends before Junia was killed by a slave."

    Britt: "I think she was killed by Locretia herself..."

    Britt looked down sadly at Locretia's grave. She may have had her dark side, but Britt couldn't dismiss his own selfish feelings for her.

    Cathia Imperator: "Strange, why would you think that?"

    Britt: "I found her standing over the body of Junia, knife in hand. And Askia said he could feel death upon her."

    Cathia Imperator: "Circumstantial, surely? She told me she killed the slave that had killed Junia. The man had stabbed Junia and then chased Locretia into the next room where she managed to use a heavy ornament to club him to death. She was horrified by her own actions - even if they were in self-defence - and never told anyone save me. She thought I would understand. I did."

    Britt stared at Imperator in disbelief.

    Britt: "But you only have her word?"

    Cathia Imperator: "True. So which would you prefer to believe?"

    Britt grit his teeth, hating himself. The leather-clad Imperator turned away from him with a dramatic swoop of his cloak and marched out of the tomb. Britt took a few moments to gather himself before he followed her. Once outside he had to admire the beauty of Roman architecture as the two of them passed by the various family tombs of the cemetery.

    Cathia Imperator: "Locretia was much more tolerable than the new mistress of the house, I must admit."

    Britt: "New mistress? The Master has a new wife already!? I thought he moved fast last time, but this is just crazy!"

    Cathia Imperator: "Ah... you haven't a clue how long it's been, have you?"

    Britt: "...I don't like the sound of that."

    Cathia Imperator: "It's been three years."

    Britt: "By the gods!"

    Cathia Imperator: "You know, if you keep shouting at the gods they'll probably come down here and spank your arse."

    Britt decided that sounded fairly enjoyable depending on which god he envoked. Three years was a long time. How had he survived? Was he truly dead?

    Britt: "Am I a zombie!?"

    Cathia Imperator: "What's a zombie?"

    Britt went to answer, then realised he didn't know.

    Cathia Imperator:
    "Well, whatever the case, you're free now. I really only showed up out of morbid curiosity. I really expected to find your decaying corpse."

    Britt stared at her incredulously.

    Britt: "And you still dug me up?"

    Cathia Imperator: "I meant morbid literally."

    Britt: "Truly disturbing..."

    Cathia Imperator: "Goodbye, Britticus."

    Britt: "Wait, wait, you're just going to leave me here? Shouldn't I come with you?"

    Cathia Imperator shook her head with disbelief and mild exasperation at Britt's lack of foresight.

    Cathia Imperator: "Simonius thinks you're dead, you're not reported as missing, no one will look for you. In fact, only I know you're alive. You're a free man once again. Take it."

    Britt blinked. A surge of elation was welling within him, but it was corked by a sudden sense of displacement. He didn't know what to do by himself. A whole world of nothingness. He remembered his life before he was a slave and it was not pleasant. He had been better off as a slave rather than dying of starvation or disease in the streets. Yet he was now more world-weary. He understood things that he couldn't as a boy. He could do this!

    Britt: "But wait, what about Septimus and Nyneve?"

    Cathia Imperator: "No idea."

    Britt: "So they escaped? They're alive?"

    Cathia Imperator:
    "They certainly did escape, yes. Other than that, I don't know where they are or if they're alive."

    Britt: "Right..."

    Alive, possibly immortal but alone.

    Britt: "Why do you work for Simonius?"

    Cathia Imperator: "Got to have money, Britticus. It's the law of the world."

    Britt: "But surely there's better work you could do?"

    Imperator raised an eyebrow.

    Cathia Imperator: "I mostly stand around doing nothing and get paid a lot of money for it. All on the off-chance someone tries to kill Simonius, which is surprisingly infrequent. It's not my dream job, but it's a good one."

    Britt: "And what would be your dream job?"

    She smiled for the first time since he'd met her. It was strangely bitter-sweet, feminine but sinister.

    Cathia Imperator:
    "To conquer the world."

    Britt: "Wow... that's quite the... ambition."

    Cathia Imperator: "You asked."

    Britt: "If you were a slave and you found yourself suddenly free. What would you do?"

    Cathia Imperator: "Conquer the world."

    Britt rolled his eyes.

    Cathia Imperator: "Fine. I imagine I'd go back to my homeland."

    Britt: "This gods-forsaken place is my homeland."

    Cathia Imperator: "In that case, I would form my own band of merry men and rob the rich."

    Britt: "And give to the poor?"

    Cathia Imperator: "No! Why the bollocks would I do that!?"

    Britt: "I don't know, it just sounded like something that should be done... I'm not sure if I'm the bandit-type, to be honest."

    Cathia Imperator: "I saw the fires of violence within you, Britticus. It lingers within."

    Britt: "I don't like that sound of that at all."

    Cathia Imperator: "You seem to dislike a lot of things you hear. Maybe you need to adjust yourself to suit the reality around you."

    Britt: "... or, if I did conquer the world, I could adjust reality to suit me."

    Cathia Imperator: "You can't steal my dream, Britt. Get one of your own."

    Britt: "Why don't you conquer the world, Imperator?"

    Cathia Imperator: "I would need an army. Everything begins somewhere."

    Britt: "How would you get an army?"

    Cathia Imperator: "Well, you need to be charismatic to draw people to your cause."

    Britt stared at Imperator.

    Cathia Imperator: "I have plenty of charisma!"

    Britt continued to stare at her.

    Cathia Imperator: "Okay, maybe my charisma needs a little work."

    Britt: "Or maybe you need someone else to be charismatic on your behalf?"

    Cathia Imperator: "I'm kind of used to doing things by myself."

    Britt: "So you want everyone to follow you and work for your ideals, but you don't want people to help you so..."

    Cathia Imperator:
    "I'm aware of the paradox."

    Britt: "So why don't I help you on your quest? That could be my new place in life?"

    Cathia Imperator: "You and what army?"

    Britt shrugged.

    Britt: "That's what my charisma is for."

    Cathia Imperator: "You do have a strange kind of charisma about you. I wouldn't have said you were especially charismatic to begin with, but you do draw people to you. You even got me to talk to you, so you must have something..."

    Britt: "So... it's a deal?"

    Cathia Imperator: "Fine. I suppose I'm not getting any younger. Plus, to be honest, I was beginning to get a bit flabby working for Simonius with so little to do all the time. We start in my homeland of Armenia."

    Britt: "Great! Maybe we should try to find Septimus and Nyneve first? I'm sure they'd join us."

    Cathia Imperator: "Not sure about that, but I'm happy to do it. I think it's a good place to start this. Give us a bit of experience with something easier."

    Britt: "So where do we start?"

    Cathia Imperator: "They're your friends, how should I know?"

    Britt: "Well, I know Nyneve is from Briton. Maybe she went there?"

    Cathia Imperator: "You want me to travel all the way to Briton? Are you out of your mind?"

    Britt: "Hey, you want to conquer the world, right? You'd have to get there at some point anyway!"

    She put her hands on her hips.

    Cathia Imperator: "And do you own a ship? Do you even know where that land is, how big it is, how safe it is?"

    Britt: "I suppose we need to do a bit of research first... Or invoke the gods!"

    Cathia Imperator: "That's a terrible idea."

    Britt: "Come on! I'm sure they'd be happy to help! All good adventure stories have gods helping the heroes!"

    Cathia Imperator: "But they don't usually help foreign heroes who plan to conquer Rome itself."

    Britt: "I suppose so. Plus the gods usually act like spoilt kids and treat humans like their personal playthings."

    Cathia Imperator: "You shouldn't have said that."

    There was a crack of thunderous wrath and the sky above the cemetery turned dark. A second strike of lightning fired to the earth, this time just a metre from Britt and Imperator. Britt leapt in fright, straight into the arms of Imperator. She growled and dropped him like a stone.

    Britt: "Ouch..."

    Zeus: "I'll give you something to 'ouch' about in a minute, you ungrateful little sod!"

    Britt: "Wow! Zeus himself!"

    Zeus: "Of course! The lightning should have given it away."

    Britt: "Fair point. Is it too late to say I'm sorry about using the gods' names in vain?"

    Zeus: "You, human, don't release everything we did for you!"

    Britt: "Uh... you're right... I don't."

    Zeus: "We spared your life so many time by altering things down here, we granted you clemency from the wrath of many people who ought to have lobbed off your head for a variety of reasons and all you can do is complain about how we somehow wronged you!"

    Britt: "So... your idea of helping me was to make me a slave to Simonius?"

    Zeus: "You got to meet Locretia didn't you?"

    Britt: "Who was someone else's wife..."

    Zeus: "Yeah well, I do that all the time! What's the problem?"

    Britt: "You really don't understand humans very well, do you?"

    Zeus: "I don't need to understand you, I just need to know what's good for you!"

    Britt: "Sleeping with my Master's wife was good for me?"

    Zeus: "Of course! Had fun, didn't you?"

    "Not really the point..."

    Zeus: "You got status, respect, love and affection."

    Britt tried to think of a rebuttal beyond 'but I wasn't free', but nothing else sprang to mind. Unfortunately he knew freedom wasn't exactly high on a gods' list of importance. Sex was usually number one, and vengeance was usually second.

    Britt: "And you sent The Negotiator to save me from death, I expect?"

    Zeus: "We bloody did not! Gods-damned wild card, that one."

    Cathia Imperator: "Did you just damn yourself?"

    Zeus: "Quiet you, unless you want me to alter your destiny so that you'll wind up being eaten alive by angry gerbils."

    Cathia Imperator, for the first time, looked horrified.

    Zeus whipped out a cigarette and popped it into his mouth. He lit the end with a lightning bolt that shot out of the sky - overkill much?

    Zeus: "Don't think you're safe from my wrath, Narrator, or I'll have your ethereal bollocks in a vice."

    Zeus is such a great god. Everyone loves Zeus.

    Zeus: "Better."

    Britt: "Who're you talking to? And what's that in your mouth?"

    Zeus: "For me to know and you to find out in a few centuries."

    "Uh... right. So are you going to help us conquer the world!?"

    Zeus: "I came here to chastise you!"

    Britt: "Okay, but you've done that now. So can we have your help?"

    Zeus drew a long drag on his cigarette as he contemplated. Ash fell into his long, white and curly beard.

    Zeus: "Alright, bugger it. Fine. What do you want me to do?"

    Britt: "We want a boat!"

    Cathia Imperator: "He means a ship! A big one!"

    Britt: "Aye, what she said."

    Cathia Imperator: "And a crew for it!"

    Britt: "Oh yeah, good thinking."

    Zeus: "Done."

    Britt and Imperator look around expectantly for a few minutes.

    Zeus: "Stupid. A ship in the middle of dry land isn't going to do you much good, is it? I can plonk it here if you want me too, though..."

    Britt: "No no! Thank you oh Heavenly Father!"

    "Don't call me that. That's just weird."

    Britt: "Okay... chief... bossman. Where should we find our boat and crew?"

    Zeus: "The docks, where else? Of course, you don't just get the ship. Your destiny is to get a ship and crew, so you have to work for it."

    Cathia Imperator: "I knew it was too easy."

    Zeus: "I can take it back, you know?"

    Cathia Imperator: "I meant to say, that's perfect! I like to work for what I receive anyway."

    Zeus: "Good human. Alright, you two go and enjoy your little destinies then. I have to teach a Princess about the ills of chastity."

    With that he exploded in a flurry of electrical sparks that crackle and sizzle through the air, making both Imperator and Britt's hair hand on end.

    Cathia Imperator: "That went well."

    Britt: "Yeah. I'm surprised really. We should probably do something about our hair before we go to the docks though..."
    Arkng Thand: "Even today, the gods like to dabble. It's probably for the best they're not as... widely spread as they once were."

    Thand taps his chin in reconsideration.

    Arkng Thand: "There again, perhaps having so many potent beings in a one place isn't such a great idea either..."

    Britt and Imperator reached the docks and began wandering with no idea where to go. They kept inspecting ships to see if anything suggested it belonged to them.

    Septimus: "Imperator! What're you doing here?"

    They turned to see Septimus with a large bottle of wine in his hand. He squinted at Britt.

    "Who's your boyfriend?"

    Cathia Imperator: "Britticus."

    Britt: "And we're not dating, Septimus."

    Septimus beamed drunkenly.

    Septimus: "Wow, his name's Britticus too? What're the chances? You know, my bestest friend was called Britticus? Of course, he hated to be called that, always insisted on--"

    Britt: "Britt."

    Septimus: "That's right! You too!? Must be a thing for all Britticuses. Britticusi... Britticusae..."

    Cathia Imperator: "It's the same Britt. He's back."

    Septimus: "Like he just went on holiday, eh?"

    Cathia Imperator:
    "What're you doing here?"

    Septimus: "Funny you should ask! I just met this sea captain guy and he bought me a drink after I insulted his wife because she has a beard and then I think we gambled for his ship and I won so I am the captain even though I can't sail a ship and then..."

    He finally ran out of breath and began wheezing.

    Britt: "You own a ship?"

    Septimus: "I think so! I think I also won his wife... including her beard."

    Britt: "Disturbing..."

    Cathia Imperator: "So you got the crew too?"

    Septimus shrugged.

    Britt: "Which boat is it?"

    Septimus stumbled towards the nearest ship, squinted at it and then declared with his arms wide;

    Septimus: "Must be this one!"

    He stomped on-board and announced to the crew, who were preparing the ship to sail, that he was their new captain. The crewmen continued working with suspicious and confused faces.

    Woman's Voice: "It's true lads! The Captain gambled her away and this skinny little man won. Ship's his, as am I!"

    The "woman" was very large, both in height and bulk. She wore a loose shirt and trousers but her most noticeable feature was the black beard on her face. Britt's eyes roved from the large breasts she had to the large beard she also had, and back again.

    Britt: "By the gods... what kind of monster is this!?"

    Septimus: "This is my new wife, apparently. Her name's Dave."

    Britt: "Riiiiiiiiiiight..."

    Dave: "Nice to meet a friend of my husband's. So, loverboy, shall we retire to the Captain's cabin?"

    Septimus: "Is there more booze in there?"

    Dave: "Of course!"

    Septimus: "Then yes! Set sail men!! Weigh anchor!!! Lay a course!!! Swab the decks!!! Release the hounds!!!"

    Crewman #1: "Uh... we don't have hounds... but we can lay a course. Where to, captain?"

    Septimus: "Neverland!!"

    The crew all exchange glances.

    Britt: "He means Briton!"

    "What the Britt clone said!"

    The crewmen got to work while Dave and Septimus went off for some alone time in the Captain's Cabin.

    Cathia Imperator: "He's going to wake up screaming..."

    Britt: "Yeah... Zeus has a twisted sense of humour."

  36. #1756
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Funny How it All Works Out

    While Arkng Thand is reading his book in the U.S.A., Nyneve - one of the book's primary characters - is in France, deep in the catacombs of the NeSferatu's retreat. She is lay upon a large wooden table that she had stolen from the Haunted Hall of Heroes several pages ago.

    As she lies there she can almost smell that ancient blood spilled upon it - Locretia's and Britt's. It was their blood, the oldest of the Simon line, she had used to create her synthetic blood ink. She had watched Britt beaten to the brink of death upon this very table, watched his blood spill and then, centuries later, she knew where to find it.


    Gebohq the Writer: "Holy crapcakes, it's like you planned it!"

    Britt the Writer: "Funny how it all works out, eh?"

  37. #1757
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Britt the Legend: Chapter Seven

    Britt the Legend: Chapter Seven

    For the first few days Britt was constantly throwing up over the side of the ship. But once he got used to the rocking motion of the sea he found the experience to be thrilling, seeing the open ocean before him and the strange lands to his left and right. They would frequently dock with random cities in Southern Europe and Northern Africa, granting Britt some incredible cultural experiences and shocks.

    Once they were attacked by pirates but the crew proved to be well-versed in combat - suspiciously so - and Britt's only contribution to the battle was to smack someone with book. Who turned out to be Septimus.

    Septimus spent most of his time blind drunk, which Britt suspected was the only way Septimus could look at his new "wife". Imperator kept mostly to herself, only appearing when Britt seemed to be in danger of falling off the side of the ship, drinking poisonous liquids, eating gunpowder or putting his head inside a cannon for a "closer look".

    When Briton was finally in range the trieme was rowed straight up onto the beach where it was laid to rest. Some crewmen remained on guard duty, working shifts with the rest of the crewmen who went to the nearest town with our heroes.

    The nearest town happened to be a hill fort that the local Iron Age tribe, Durotriges, inhabited. As Britt, Septimus, Imperator, Dave and the other crewmen entered the fort the people stared at them with intense dislike and distrust.

    Britt: "...Maybe we should find a new town?"

    Then there was a loud neigh of a horse and they turned about to be confronted by a strange, shirtless man, pant-wearing man with the head of a horse.

    Everyone: "... "

    The horse-man then spoke by simply opening his horse-mouth, not needing to move his lips to form words.

    Horse-God: "I'm Atepomarus."

    Everyone: "... ... "

    Horse-God: "Atepomarus? Brythonic god of horses, that's British to anyone reading this book--"

    Britt: "Book?"

    Horse-God: "Nevermind. It's okay, just call me the Horse-God. Everyone seems to get a good giggle out of that."

    Everyone: "... ... ... "

    Horse-God: "Not even a giggle? You guys suck."

    Britt: "Suck? On what?"

    "Just -- okay! Skip all the small talk, your Princess is in another catle. And by Princess I mean Nyneve. And my castle I mean fort."

    Britt: "Wow! You know Nyneve!?"

    Imperator: "You knew we were looking for her?"

    Dave: "You know who we are?"

    Septimus: "You have the head of a horse..."

    Horse-God: "I may be the god of horses, but I'm still a god, okay? I know stuff. Plus, this was a whole plot point going nowhere."

    Britt: "Plot point?"

    Horse-God: "I hope I never have to deal with Heroes as dim-witted as you lot in the future..."
    Arkng Thand: "Foreshadowing. Silly Atepomarus. You condemn yourself."

    Britt: "So, where is the fort with Nyneve in it?"

    Horse-God: "Ireland."

    Britt: "Where's that?"

    Horse-God: "Uh... Ancient Roman name... Hibernia."

    Britt: "Right! Off to Hibernia then!"

    Horse-God: "Actually that information doesn't come free..."

    Britt: "What do you want in return?"

    Horse-God: "You have to kill the most dreaded, vicious, horrible, horrendous, villainous, dangerous, vile, disturbing, savage, cruel, depraved, heinous, monstrous, disgusting, disreputable--"

    Imperator: "Can we skip the rest?"

    Horse-God: "--beasties ever known to man."

    Britt: "Uh... I'm not really sure if we're the guys for the job, to be honest. We're not really the 'slaying beasties' type. We're more the... 'taking it easy' type."

    Imperator: "No, Britticus! This is it! Our first chance at valour as a group. We do this and we'll go down into Celtic legend! They'll probably get the story all messed up and wrong, maybe change our names -- maybe to George -- and get the monster wrong -- maybe they'll call it a dragon -- but it'll still be all about us! This is our chance to prove ourselves. A test!"

    Britt: "I kind of don't want to die."

    Imperator: "You've done it once before, why not go a second round?"

    Before Britt could rebuke, the Horse-God - with his weird open mouth - was talking again.

    Horse-God: "Great! Just head north of here and you'll find them. Good luck!"

    Britt: "Uh, aren't you going to give us magical weapons or something? You know, quest rewards?"

    Horse-God: "Uh... I could give you a sugar cube?"

    Britt: "No thanks..."

    Horse-God: "That's good, I was planning to munch on that later. I haven't really got anything else. Except for these--"

    The Horse-God pulls out a suitcase, flips the clasps and reveals a treasure trove of guns!

    Britt: "What the heck're they!?"

    Horse-God: "Well, this one I like to call 'The Little Helper'..."

    Sometime later Britt is kitted up with more guns than an Arnold Schwartzenegger and ready for action. The Heroes stand at the spot indicated by the Horse-God but see only rabbits...

    And we all know how THAT ends.
    Arkng Thand: "There should be a ticker for how many times that gag crops up throughout the course of NeS History."

    Britt and his party finally made it back to Maiden Fort and the Durotriges tribe - only half a crew short of men.

    Horse-God: "Wow... I'm impressed you came back alive."

    "You are a rubbish god."

    "Now that's a bit uncalled for!"

    Imperator: "At least you finally experienced your first kill, Britticus. Now you're a real man."

    Britt: "Because I used a machine gun on a horde of rabbits?"

    Imperator: "Deadly rabbits."

    Britt grumbled an dumped all of his guns at the feet on the Horse-God, never intending to use them ever again. Dave, who had lost an eye during the rabbit-battle and looked all the more horrific, started recruiting new sailors from the Durotriges while Britt, Septimus, Imperator and the remaining crewmen returned to the trieme to lick their wounds.

  38. #1758
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Britt the Legend: Chapter Eight

    Britt the Legend: Chapter Eight

    The trieme bumped up onto a beach in southern Ireland, or Hibernia as our crew knew the land. Arriving in the lands of Deas-Mhumhain - translating as South Munster by modern English parlance - the heroes headed to the nearest town in search of their quarry.

    Britt: "Wait, did someone just say this place is called MONSTER!?"

    Septimus: "Pretty sure he said Munster."

    Britt: "Just because you change one letter of a word, doesn't mean you're saying something else."

    Septimus: "Like... w4ng!"

    Britt: "Exactly."

    Septimus: "B4lls. Peniz. Deek. Co--"

    Imperator: "We all got it, Septimus."

    Britt: "Bit of a fixation with male genitalia you have there, Septimus..."

    Septimus: "I'm going through a very confusing period of my life, Britt."

    Britt: "Do you need to talk about it?"

    Septimus: "Exactly, yes. Yes I do."

    Britt: "... It's going to involve male genitalia, isn't it? Maybe you could talk to Imperator about it? She's a great... listener."

    Septimus: "You think so?"

    Septimus looked at Cathia Imperator with concern.

    Septimus: "Do you think... she really is a... she... under all that leather?"

    Britt and Septimus stare at the Armenian woman, who begins to show signs of discomfort shortly before hurling a rock at them. After fleeing a short way, Britt and Septimus continue their discussion.

    Britt: "I assume she's a woman. Either that or she's a very pretty man."

    Septimus looked from Imperator to his "wife", Dave.

    Septimus: "It's not like it could get any worse..."

    Dave: "We're almost at the town of Blarney! Come on, husband of mine!"

    Septimus was unceremoniously carted off by his wife, and away from Imperator. Imperator herself drew closer to Britt.

    Imperator: "You told Septimus to talk to me about his marital problems, didn't you?"

    Britt: "Uh... would I do such a thing!?"

    Imperator: "Do it again and I'll strangle you with your own toga."

    Britt: "You're very mean at times, you know that?"

    Imperator: "Toga. Neck. Death."

    She pointed a warning finger at Britt as she strode off. Britt grumbled to himself, not just because he had been threatened but also he was now reminded of how bloody cold he was in his toga. The wind kept whooshing up to his nethers.

    As the band of Roman-Durotriges enter the small town they are met mostly with gasps and surprise. Soon the Durotriges crewmen were jabbering in Celtic languages with the townsfolk to get them information and somewhere to stay. It was soon revealed that the townsfolk knew exactly who they were talking about and that the "crazy foreign girl" was currently kissing a stone.

    Britt: "A... stone? Is that a euphemism?"

    Dave: "Apparently not. It's an actual stone that she's snogging. Someone said it gives you special powers."

    Britt: "Kind kind of powers?"

    Dave: "No idea. Let's go and find out!"

    Britt: "Right. To the Kissing Stone!"

    They find the mysterious stone in the middle of a field and, as they approached, they could see Nyneve atop of the rock - puckering up. Even when they drew close, she didn't remove from her efforts.

    Britt: "Maybe you should... get a room?"

    Nyneve: "Rock's too heavy to shift..."

    Imperator: "And why exactly are you tonguing a rock?"

    Nyneve: "This rock is supposed to grant the kisser a silver tongue! Able to convince anyone to do whatever I please!"

    They stand and watch her for a while.

    Septimus: "I think you're doing a bit more than just kissing there, Nyneve."

    Nyneve: "It's not working, so I'm trying to please the rock!"

    She suddenly stopped and stared at her friends.

    Nyneve: "Maybe... it did work... and now I can see ghosts..."

    Britt walked over to her and she looked straight up at him.

    Nyneve: "Is it nice to be dead, Britt?"

    He wrapped his arms around her in a tight, warm and very-much-alive hug. She sat, shocked, for half a minute before she returned the hug in a death-grip fashion. Then she kissed him, all over his face, amidst laughing.

    Septimus: "You know, kissing Britt would probably lower your intelligence, not increase it..."

    Dave: "Maybe these two and the rock should be getting a room?"

    Nyneve: "How are you alive, Britt! I cried for you for months, you rotten basturd."

    Britt: "I was... maybe dead? Or maybe asleep. I think I was sleeping... for three years."

    Nyneve: "Yeah, because that sounds totally believable..."

    Britt: "You believed kissing a rock would grant you a magical tongue."

    Septimus: "Maybe it did, but her tongue's magical talents lie in a different set of skills? Eh? Eh?"

    Imperator: "I wonder if I could lift that rock and drop it on you..."

    Dave: "My Septimus doesn't need to kiss a rock to get those kinds of powers, right my love?"

    Septimus' face turned stark white.

    Britt and Nyneve get up off the rock and dust each other down. Unlike Britt, who had kept his traditional Roman attire, Nyneve had "gone native" and was wearing animal hide and, in particular, trousers.

    Britt: "Those are very effeminate, Nyneve. Aren't you... embarrassed?"

    Septimus: "But Britt, all the men here wear them too!"

    Britt: "Oh really!? I thought there were just a lot of women here!"

    Nyneve: "By the gods, Britt! Most of the men here have beards!"

    Everyone, bar Dave, shifts uncomfortably.

    Britt: "Right... moving on!"

    Nyneve: "Actually, why are you even here? Don't tell me you came all the way to Hibernia just to find me?"

    Britt: "Of course I did!"

    Nyneve looked at Britt with wide and impassioned eyes.

    Britt: "Uh... is that a bad thing? Please don't cry..."

    Once again she wrapped her arms around her old, formerly deceased, friend.

    Imperator: "Okay, even I'm beginning to feel a bit awkward."

    Britt: "Forgive us for having a very real and emotional reaction to events, Cathia."

    Imperator: "We've got adventuring to get on with! Not to mention a world to conquer!"

    Britt: "Why're you in Hibernia, Nyneve? I thought you were from Briton?"

    Nyneve: "Actually I was tracking our old friend... The Commander."

    Britt stopped dead in his tracks.

    Britt: "What!?"

    Nyneve: "After I arrived in my homeland I started hearing rumours of a strange Roman man that travelled through the area on his way to South Munster, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. The dead were all killed by wounds to the neck and blood was... everywhere."

    Britt: "... but only one man? Not Askia?"

    Nyneve shook her head.

    Britt: "Maybe... maybe he could be convinced to join us on our quest to conquer the world..."

    Septimus: "Uh... are you still talking about the guy that murdered a load of people?"

    Britt: "He was a great military commander until a... sickness... took over him. I do believe we could turn him back, or help him control his darkness. If he could join us he could probably win your war for you, Cathia."

    Imperator: "Well I like the sound of that. But if he proves to be a danger, you should know... I won't hesitate to cut him down."

    Britt glanced at Nyneve before he gave Imperator an affirmative nod of agreement.

    Britt: "Nyneve, can you lead us to him?"

    Nyneve: "Of course. I just... wanted to get the power from this rock. I could convince him to become good again if only it worked!"

    Britt looked at the rock.

    "You're not actually going to--"

    Britt: "When in Rome!"

    Septimus: "We just left there!"

    Britt kissed the rock.
    We find the book Britt the Legend has been left open on the end table beside Arkng Thand's armchair in the White House library. Instead he is across the room on a personal computer. Yes. Thand in a on a computer.

    Arkng Thand: "Wikipedia is an incredibly useful tool. Just wanted to look up this Blarney Stone. Turns out it's a real stone! Who knew? Might be a good artefact to add to my... collection..."

    He gets up from the PC and get back to reading.

    The group was soon standing outside a small, dark castle. Even in the Iron Age, the castle was worn and crumbling. Narrow flags billowed in the wind, though they were empty of all sigils - just black and tattered.

    Septimus: "Just to bring up that word again. Monster!!"

    Two soldiers stood outside the castle gate, looking very bored. As the group approached, they demanded that the halt. They were wearing iron age armour and had simple axes for weapons.

    Soldier #1: "Oi, you lot. Bugger off!"

    Soldier #2: "You tell 'em, Soldier #1. Little blighters."

    Soldier #1: "Thanks for your support, Soldier #1. The cretins'll soon realise they're never gonna be getting past us."

    Soldier #2: "Couldn't agree with you more, Soldier #1. We that have such keen eyes and skills of detection can spot peasant beggars a million miles off."

    Soldier #1: "Though I couldn't agree with you more, Soldier #2, I have to say in this case it would be unnecessary. One would be able to smell the stench of these yobbos long before they came into sight."

    Soldier #2: "Too true, Soldier #1. Now, shall we shoo the penniless scum or would you like to stick 'em with your axe?"

    Soldier #1: "As much as I'd like nothing better than to impale my axe in someone's skull, Soldier #2, you understand that our master dislikes to draw attention to this 'ere castle. Prefers the quiet life out here. Not that I blame him and all."

    Soldier #2: "Fair enough then, Soldier #1. Then we ought to threaten the little bleeders sufficiently as to equate the prospects of axe-skulling, without actually having to follow through with said act."

    Soldier #1: "Right!"

    The two soldiers returned their gaze to find no-one there.

    Soldier #2:
    "They're buggered off!"

    Inside the castle, our band of merry men--

    Imperator: "And women!"

    Dave: "Exactly!"

    Everyone stared at Dave.

    Dave: "What? Girl power!"

    Everyone's spines quiver.

    Maid: "Oi, what're you lot doin' in 'ere?"

    Britt: "Uh... We're here to... for the, ah.... audit."

    Maid: "What's an audit?"

    Britt: "Something very, very complicated and long-winded that your pretty little brain wouldn't understand."

    Maid: "Oh right. Tiarna Deas-Mhumhain says the same thing to me all the time."

    Britt: "Tiarna Deas-Mhumhain...?"

    Britt worked his mouth, finding this foreign language incredibly difficult to get his mouth around. He swore there weren't this many sounds that the human tongue could make.

    Maid: "You don't know the name of the master?"

    Britt: "Oh right! Sorry, I wasn't sure where we were on our list of people we needed to audit today! Let me see..."

    Britt checked a blank piece of papyrus.

    "Right. Yes. There we are. We must have skipped... Mr... Poopypants... from Castle... WaterCloset..."

    "That must be one of them northerners. Weird people them lot. Just listen to those names, am I right!?"

    Britt: "Very, very right."

    Maid: "I'll let the master know you're 'ere then so you can get on with your audit!"

    Britt: "Cheers."

    The maid toddled off and our merry men--

    Imperator & Dave: "AHEM!"

    -- breathed a sigh of relief.

    They had to wait just a few minutes before a dark shadow appeared in the large archway leading out of the main hall. A deep sense of fear suddenly struck Britt and his mind flashed back to the courtyard - repeating the downfall of his hero, The Commander, over and over. The figure wore Celtic hide and furs, culminating in a long fur cloak made of wolves. His hair was still shaved short though, reminding Britt of that militaristic style beneath the new barbarian attire.

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "What are you doing here?"

    Britt: "Well--"

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "Wait. You! I know you!"

    The man stepped out of the archway and into clear view of the hall. He approached Britt quickly and grabbed his face. Their eyes met and the man that was once The Commander stared deep into Britt's face.

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "I do you know... boy!"

    Britt: "That's right. You saved my life once. And the life of my friend, Nyneve."

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain looked to Nyneve.

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "Girl..."

    Septimus: "Can we stop with the creepiness yet? It's freaking me out..."

    Imperator: "I'm surprised anything can freak you out any more..."

    Imperator glanced from Septimus to Dave and back.

    "I'm learning to compartmentalise my mind and put locks on certain compartments. Then barriers, boulders, trees and anything else my mind can conjure for defence."

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "Why are you both here?"

    Britt: "We were there when Askia--"

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "DON'T--! Don't speak his name in my presence!"

    Britt: "You... don't like him?"

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain:
    "I loathe him, fear him, love him. He is my father and my teacher but also the one that dragged me down into this... darkness."

    Britt: "Can you control... yourself?"

    The NeSferatu smiled and his deep voice rattled through Britt's mind.

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "Aaaah, spoken by one who has not tasted the essence of life itself. The blood is the only thing I live for, Britticus. It is the only sanctuary I have left from my eternal torment. I wouldn't want to control it. When I am not drinking I am in despair. Only when I feel the blood of human life do I find respite from the pain of my existence."

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain's hands were still upon Britt's cheeks and his fingers toyed with Britt's tanned skin, then his neck. Behind Britt, Cathia Imperator had drawn her daggers as inconspicuously as she possibly could.

    "But what if you could find a new meaning to your life, Commander? You wouldn't need a sanctuary. You wouldn't need to hurt other people."

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "Other people, Britticus? My dear boy. I am no longer people. I am NeSferatu. I am a monster!"

    Septimus: "What have I been saying all along, eh?"

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "It is... lonely, Britticus..."

    Britt: "Then join us! We'll help you!"

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "You could never even begin to understand the darkness growing within my dead heart. It is growing and growing. My hunger grows stronger and stronger. There's only one way you could ever understand me. You would have to join me. Become NeSferatu..."

    Britt: "Sorry, Commander. I truly am. I do not wish for it."

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain: "Neither did I."

    Imperator: "I've had enough! Take your hands off of him, foul creature!"

    Britt: "Cathia!"

    But the NeSferatu didn't release Britt, even when Britt tried to move away. Then struggled.

    Britt: "C-C-Commander! Let me go!"

    Tiarna Des-Mhumhain:
    "Fate must have led you to me, Britticus. A link to my past. I will make you, that lost boy who needed me all those years ago... I will make you my son and we will live here together... for eternity."

    Imperator: "NEVER!!"

    Cathia Imperator threw one dagger straight at Tiarna Des-Mhumhain with such accuracy that the dagger missed Britt's own head and plunged into the NeSferatu's shoulder. The impact knocked Tiarna Des-Mhumhain back and weakened his grip on Britt enough that the young man was able to escape and retreat. Confusion ensued as the crewmen all began to attack the night-stalker. For the first time, Britt could see the terrible power of Askia reflected in The Commander. The NeSferatu tore through two men, forcing his arm straight through both of their chests at once, with his other hand he yanked the knife from his shoulder. He grabbed another crewman by his skull and crushed it with a single hand.

    Britt: "RUN AWAY!"

    Upon hearing Britt's voice, Tiarna Des-Mhumhain stalked towards him and ignored all those who began to run. Britt took a few steps backwards, fear gripping his soul.

    Imperator: "Stupid!"

    She fired an arrow that flew through the crowd of fleeing people and managed to lodge itself in the leg of Tiarna Des-Mhumhain. Without waiting to see what happened next, Imperator ran to the frozen Britt and hoisted him over her shoulder as though he were a sack of sand. Britt saw Tiarna Des-Mhumhain rip the arrow from his leg with a cry of pain and anger but even as he set his eyes on Britt and Imperator, Britt realised that the NeSferatu had seen a new target.


    Imperator glanced back. Only Nyneve was left in the hall, caught in the clutches of Tiarna Des-Mhumhain. The chances of successful rescue processed rapidly in her brain and the conclusion was - continuing running like Hell.

    They burst through the castle gates, each door knocking the two soldiers out. Britt tried to fight his way out of Imperator's arms, but she simply held tighter still. Though a part of Britt was astonished at the strength of this woman, his mind was desperately willing Nyneve to escape. To run after them. But even at such a distance Britt could still see her being held by Tiarna Des-Mhumhain. He saw the moment. The blood. The exchange... the loss of Nyneve, Britt's greatest and oldest friend...
    Arkng Thand: "I wonder if Britt would have felt differently if he knew that she, technically, outlived even him..."

    Arkng Thand is now dressed in a dressing gown as evening peers through the windows of the library. He takes out a pipe and begins smoking.

    Arkng Thand: "I don't indulge often, but I have a feeling this book may take a while..."

    Britt lay in the foetal position. He had cried himself dry, now he just lay in silence. He wasn't sure what he should do about Imperator. He should be grateful, but instead he resented and hated her. Britt felt he should have died there. It was him that The Commander wanted. Nyneve died in his place...

    Besides Imperator, Britt cursed the gods. He wondered if this was Zeus' price for the favour he granted. Why had they not saved Nyneve from the evil plague that ravaged The Commander's soul?

    But mostly, he hated himself.


    Back in the castle, Nyneve woke up.

    Maid: "'Ello love! Seems you had a bit of a fall, the master tells me! There's a wet towel by your bed if you start to feel a bit hot. I'll go cook you up some soup!"

    Nyneve sat up and clutched at her bare beck. No wound. It had already healed. She felt different, she felt... powerful.

    Nyneve: "Maid, wait! I... I don't speak the local language very well. What does Tiarna Des-Mhumhain mean? I get the impression it's a title, right?"

    Maid: "Your from Briton, right? I suppose it would translate, literally, into... erm... Count Desmond."
    Arkng Thand looks up to the NeS Readers.

    Arkng Thand: "I wonder who saw that coming?"

  39. #1759
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow The Unexpected Might

    Losien manages to pull herself from the bus, falling out of a broken window. She rolls away from the vehicle and comes to a rest, staring up at the sky. It was clear and blue but instantly blotted out as a figure looms over her.

    Orochi: "Well, well. If it ain't the leader of her merry band herself. Stand up."

    Losien struggles to her feet. She feels physically worn out, though she's pretty sure her body is otherwise in tact beyond some cuts and bruises.

    Orochi: "You're lucky, Losien. Gwen will want to take care of you herself. So, for now, you're going to be our prisoner. Prophet, think you can guard this one?"

    Prophet: "Like I'm incapable?"

    Orochi: "Like you're soft and might let her run off."

    "I won't let her run off, no."

    "Good. I want mine. C'mon, mini-me! Where are you?"

    The Japanese samurai crouches down to look in the bus. She reaches in and begins tugging at a body. She yanks and yanks until the prone, and unconscious, form of Rachel Pi is released from the vehicle.

    Orochi: "Damn, forgot there was a second Asian on their team. Alright, need to find a second Asian leg."

    Prophet: "Midas, could you check if she's alright?"

    Midas sighes, as though he were asked to doing something taxing, before he obeys. He kneels down and slaps Rachel's face.

    Losien: "Be careful! She's pregnant!"

    Prophet: "Really? Well that changes things!"

    Orochi: "No it doesn't!"

    Prophet: "Orochi..."

    Orochi: "Okay, fine! We can let one of them live. A-ha!"

    Orochi starts yanking on another leg.

    Subaru: "Ouch! Ouch! Get the Hell off me, arsehole!"

    Orochi: "That totally sounds like me! Got the right one!"

    Orochi receives a kick to the face and involuntarily lets go of Subaru's leg, which scurries quickly back into the bus.

    Orochi: "God I'm a feisty one!"

    Prophet: "This is getting too weird even for me..."

    Suddenly there's a calamitous fuss from within the bus and then a bright flash of light.

    Orochi: "What in the name of Uncle Ben was that?"

    Prophet: "Pretty sure that's what they call an escape."

    Orochi: "How!?"

    Prophet: "Time travel."

    Frank Smith: "That's correct."

    Prophet half turns to see a laz0r gun aimed at his head. The Potential's eyes widen with surprise and then they're blinded by the bright light the gun emits. All within one second Prophet is killed. His headless body falls to the tarmac.

    Orochi: "N--NO!!"

    Frank stares coldly at Orochi.

    Frank Smith: "You'll be next."

    He disappears.

    Orochi: "Where... where did he go?"

    She stares around wildly, her katana in her hands. Then she grits her teeth with rage.

    Orochi: "Where are you!!?"

    Frank Smith:

    She has enough time to look up to the underside of the bus, which was facing up towards the sky. Frank Smith stood atop of it, his laz0r weapon primed. He fires. Orochi, in a last ditch attempt to save herself, brings up her katana to deflect the beam of light. The energy blast pings off of the weapon, but strikes downward and lashes her leg, slicing open the armour and opening a wide gash in her skin.

    After a cry of agony and rage, Orochi stares back up to find Frank Smith was once again gone from sight.

    Orochi: "No... I can't be beaten by... by such a simple trick..."

    She props herself up against the bus and then struggles to her feet. The blood from her wound flows more fiercely, forcing another cry from the Potential. She holds her sword out, readying for another attack.

    Orochi: "Midas! Midas! Hold that pregnant girl! Grab her! He'll have to stop to protect her!"

    There is no response.

    Orochi: "MIDAS!?"

    She dared not to move around the corner for fear of walking into another trap or of falling to the roadside. She pants heavily.

    Orochi: "Orator... where the Hell did you go?"

    Well, now that I can take credit for. There's only one person in the entire NeS who could have taken out The Orator. And that's me, the true and rightful Narrator.

    Orochi: "How is that... even possible...?"

    To be fair, I just locked him up in the sound studio. He'll be there a while...

    Suddenly someone appears at her side and, on reflex action, Orochi strikes. She manages to suddenly stop her blade just a centimetre from the neck of Midas who stares at her with wild panic.

    Orochi: "You stupid, *****ing git!"

    Midas: "I didn't want to be heard in case he comes back!"

    Orochi: "Where's the god damn girl!?"

    Midas: "He appeared and took her! Just like that. In and out."

    Orochi: "God damn it! How could we be taken out so easily by a cheap parlour trick!?"

    Midas: "Well, it's quite a trick he has to be honest. Anytime... anywhere..."

    Orochi: "Prophet..."

    Orochi closes her eyes and single tear falls down her otherwise hard features. She slowly opens them again, her mourning period over.

    Midas: "He killed the nicest of us. Hell if we were all dead, Prophet probably would have joined them."

    Orochi: "No! You don't know him like I... did... he was soft, but in his heart -- he was one of us. He knew who's side he was on."

    Orochi finally lets her guard down and slumps down against the bus into a seated position.

    Orochi: "But... the fool killed his own Potential..."

    Frank Smith: "That I did."

    Orochi grit her teeth.

  40. #1760
    Tea-sipper, character-killer

    Arrow Cut into Shards

    Frank Smith falls to his knees. He feels pain, but it's a strange sensation. It's not physical, it doesn't even feel psychological. It's like his soul is on fire. He clutches as his chest, then at his head but there is no relief. He wants to laugh, he wants to cry, he feels hollow.

    He knows someone placed a hand on his shoulder, but he couldn't feel it against his skin. Numbness has washed over him. He wants comfort from his friends, but he resents their presence. He wants to be near them, but he wants to be alone. He leans over and pushes his forehead into the marble floor of MZZT's studio.

    Evil G:
    "Best to let him be, Rachel. There's nothing anyone can do to help him now. He has to come through by himself."

    Rachel pulls her hand away from Frank's shoulder.

    Losien: "You went through this, Evil G?"

    Evil G: "Yeah..."

    Losien: "And that means my brother did too... poor Geb..."

    Rachel: "It's funny, I don't think I've always appreciated the things Geb has been through. He's just so... so..."

    Losien: "Geb."

    Rachel: "Exactly. And now Frank has to experience this, just to save us. I wish there was something I could do to help him."

    Evil G: "Even those annoying AIs know to shut up and leave him be. You should too. Leave him in here, we should talk to MZZT."

    Losien, Evil G and Rachel leave the bedroom that MZZT allowed Frank to use and enter the clock-face room that MZZT uses for his computer equipment. Computers are set in a square around the central column, wires and cables are scattered across the floor, while some hang from nails in the walls, or hooks from the ceiling. Screens are everywhere. One of the clock-faces was destroyed long ago and never repaired, giving them all a panoramic view of London. Amal stands there, looking out at the city in silence.

    Iriana Emp is sitting in a corner, sipping a cup of tea nervously. She has one arm in a sling and keeps knocking it into things. Of all of the heroes, she seems the most shaken by the experience - barring Frank Smith.

    Losien: "It seems like everything is falling apart, MZZT. What can we do to fix all of this?"

    MZZT: "Sorry I couldn't be more help. The cameras were up and running under the Dominion of Bleeding Eyes, but King John didn't pay the city's electric bill so they're all dead. I can hack into a satellite or two, but it's only to be much slower manual searching."

    Evil G: "We just ran away from them, why do you still want to find them, Los?"

    Losien: "We were taken by surprise and there was three of them. We need to corner each one individually. Then... take them out."

    Evil G: "You saw Captain Quasar in there! You still think that's a good idea?"

    Losien: "It's our only idea! They want to kill us, brother! What can we do!?"

    Rachel: "How is it the evil one is telling us not to kill someone, but our goodly leader tells us we should?"

    Losien: "Because it's the right thing to do."

    Evil G: "You're sure about that? I know how it felt to have a Potential. It felt better."

    Losien: "It's an irrelevant argument. They're going to keep trying to kill us, no matter what we do. The only way to beat them is if we corner each one separately with a plan of attack. If we leave them be, they'll come together and finish us off. You saw what just happened. Imagine what would have happened if Frank hadn't saved us! Orochi was about to kill Subaru!"

    Amal: "And we would all have been next. I agree with Losien."

    Amal speaks as he continues to stare out of the opening, not turning to face his comrades. Evil G just shrugs.

    Evil G: "You know what? Fine. Whatever. Just don't come crying to me when I'm proven right and you feel like your insides have been pulled out of your sphincter with a coat-hangar."

    Iriana Emp splutters her tea.

    MZZT: "And our other little problem?"

    MZZT points at the portal showing the ruins of the HHH. On the other side they can see Gebohq, Tracer, LightSide and the rapidly heating stasis chamber. However as they look the image appears fragmented, like looking through a broken mirror. Each shard doesn't seem to follow exactly what is on the other side as one continuous image. Sometimes an arm will be raised in one shard, but down in another. In one shard, a part of Gebohq's shirt appears to be red while in the others it's blue. In one shard Losien is certain Tracer's chest has a bosom.

    "I don't think I can fix it. Not anytime soon. The dimensional gateway is too splintered. I... don't know if it's safe to come through. It's connected to about... twelve different dimensions that are all on a similar timeline to us. Each shard should have some version of Tracer, Geb, LightSide and Miss Fire that have all followed the same course of time as we have. Except each will be different in their own way. You can see maybe there's a female Tracer--"

    Evil G: "I most certainly can! I never imagine Tracer could be so well endowed!"

    MZZT: "--but the differences could boil down to something much more basic, like a version of Geb that really likes to each oranges instead of doughnuts."

    Evil G: "That verges on sacrilege, MZZT. You'd best watch your words, you'll get the god of jam doughnuts down here."

    MZZT: "Or we could have a version of LightSide that isn't pregnant, or where she's got a different personality--"

    Losien: "Like maybe she wants to consume everyone's souls..."

    MZZT: "Yes. I'm pretty sure at least one or two of those fragments has DarkSide in them. But he... she... whatever is with Geb and Tracer, so maybe they're good DarkSides?"

    Losien: "They can't get through can they?"

    MZZT: "No. They're all on the same narrative timeline as us, meaning if one of them decides to go through - it's because all versions of that person decides to come through."

    Losien: "And none of our guys are that stupid..."

    Everyone in the clocktower looks at each other, then shout through the portal.


    Gebohq: "Huh!? You want me to come through the portal!?"

    Gebohq, and his alter-egos, approach the portal.

    Everyone: "NOO!!!!"

    Gebohq: "Oh... okay!"

    Losien: "So they can't use the portal. Geb will just have to use the NeSword to bring them back here."

    MZZT: "There's a problem with that."

    Losien: "Why did I know you'd say that?"

    MZZT: "As I already said to the guys on the other side, tearing a hole in space-time with the NeSword would be fine for Gebohq, Tracer and LightSide... but not for Miss Fire. She's in a pod that has literally frozen time. She's not just a case of slapping some ice on her, she's literally trapped in time. Putting her through a tear in time would break that time-lock... violently. She'd explode. A time explosion to be exact, which means she'd explode and probably take everyone with her. Actually probably more of an implosion than explosion..."

    Losien runs her hands through her hair, pulling it all back from her face. Then she rubs her eyes as she tries to think things through.

    Losien: "Do you think you could fix the pod if you were there, MZZT?"

    MZZT: "Not a chance. Really the issue isn't hard to solve, it's just a power problem. But there's zero power source there now. Not even enough to give the pod an extra jolt. If I can get her here, I can zap it enough to give her a few more days but really she needs to be hooked up to a real power supply if you want her to stay in there."

    From the other side LightSide's voice can be heard, however it seems to be interjected by several other voices too - as though different people were all speaking at exactly the same time.

    LightSide: "We need my husband! Where is Al Ciao? Only he will know how to reach the mecha-witch that saved his life!"

    Evil G: "Good point. Where the Hell is Al anyway!?"

    Iriana looks up from her tea, tears suddenly in her eyes as guilt descends upon her.

    Iriana: "He-he went to get tea from the Armenian castle... for me..."

    She suddenly breaks down into tears and then moans and tears when she bashes her wounded arm.

    Evil G: "Just great, now we have to put up with a crying child."

    Iriana is evidently so upset she couldn't even protest Evil G's statement. Evil G approaches the shattered portal.

    Evil G: "Could we throw cables through to them?"

    "Electrical power isn't going to travel across time-and-space like that."

    Evil G: "I'm beginning to feel the weight of plot contrivance."

    Tracer: "Okay! We have to do something and I ain't one to watch a pretty dame die while I stand around slapping my gums."

    Rachel: "I think I only understood half of what he just said."

    Tracer approaches the portal.

    Evil G: "What the--?"

    Losien: "Tracer NOOO!"

    Evil G quickly backs away as Tracer, in all of the shards, reaches the portal. In his multi-layered voice he speaks;

    Tracer: "Here goes nothin'..."

    He steps forward.

    As he comes through the portal, his body is sliced up into each shard segment like a man being put through a dough-slicer. Rachel clamps a hand over her mouth before she throws up and Losien looks away.

    Fortunately for our censorship, Tracer doesn't fall apart in a bloodied mess. Each segment of Tracer begins to seal up and reconnect to the whole as he stands in the clocktower. And yet he seems to be in pain as he falls to one knee. He clutches his head, knocking away the Dick Tracy hat. Then the hat changes into a Sherlock Holmes deer-stalker hat, then back into a Dick Tracy fedora only coloured green... his body, likewise, keeps changing.

    MZZT: "He's... he's cycling through all twelve versions of himself! Each one is there, trapped into this single... form."

    Losien: "How is that even possible if we're on the same timeline as those other dimensions!?"

    MZZT: "That's exactly the problem! He's cycling through here, and in the other twelve dimensions. Our Tracer is in our world one split-second, then another world in the next second, and a third world in the third second. Cycling through one-by-one!"

    Losien: "Will it end!? Can we stop it!?"

    Even as she spoke the changes started to slow down, becoming every two seconds. Then every three seconds. Then every four.

    Losien is about to reach out to him but Evil G holds her back, knowing poking something as temporally potent as this would probably be very bad.

    Eventually the changes slow right down, Tracer's body seems ready to settle on a single form.

    Evil G: "Please be big-boobs Tracer! Please be big-boobs Tracer!"

    Tracer raises his head.

    Evil G:

    Tracer is wearing a long black coat and a smart suit underneath. As he opens his eyes he smiles, feeling the pain of transportation no longer. He picks up his deer-stalker and shoves it on his head.

    Tracer: "Well, well, well! Aren't you a sorry lot!? Although Losien, you are much prettier in this dimension than you are in mine. And Evil G? You look very masculine, unlike my Evil G."

    Evil G: "I'm a girl in your world!?"

    Tracer: "I would have used the world woman, but yes."

    Tracer grins at Evil G with amusement and takes out a pipe. He pops it into his mouth and lights it up.

    Tracer: "Now then. How to solve our little problem, eh? I don't think sending a half-dead woman through that shattered portal would be a good idea right about now, do you?"

    Evil G: "I can't believe I'm a chick in the other world..."

    Evil G then brightens.

    Evil G: "Am I hot?"

    The door to the bathroom suddenly opens and Subaru steps into the room. She stares at everyone staring at her.

    Subaru: "What? I had to take a shower! I was covered in blood!"

    Tracer: "Wow, Subaru!"

    Subaru stares at Tracer with confusion. Tracer chuckles lightly.

    Tracer: "Apparently some things don't change."

    Rachel: "Subaru, this is Tracer."

    Subaru: "Hello Tracer, my name is Gullible."

    Tracer: "Well, I would call you Gullible if I thought you'd prefer it."

    Rachel: "But seriously, Subaru... are you feeling okay? You got it rough back at the bus."

    Subaru: "Honestly, I feel fantastic after that shower. Absolutely fine!"


    Orochi: "Just... do it."

    Frank Smith: "I'm not here to kill you, Orochi. I'm here to save you."

    He hands a medical kit to Midas.

    Frank Smith: "Patch her up. Get her back on her feet. She has work to do."

    Midas: "What're you talking about? I should turn you into a couch right here and now."

    Frank Smith: "I don't have a lot of time to explain."

    Orochi: "You blow the brains out of your own Potential, you try to kill me and end up obliterating my leg and now you come here offering me a frickin' job?"

    Frank Smith: "Killing my Potential was the greatest mistake of my life and I hope it's not one that costs us the battle."

    Orochi: "What battle?"

    Frank Smith: "I'm not the Frank Smith you just met. He's currently having a nervous break down over the loss of his Potential. I'm from the future... Frank's future. When Soriel released you, he knew what he was doing. Losien was a fool for doubting Soriel's plan. Soriel... he saw so much more than the immediate future. You weren't released just to deal with Highempress... there's so much more at stake and if you continue with this petty rivalry with the NeS Heroes you're going to see the end of everything."

    Midas: "You're almost as preachy as your Potential, you know that?"

    Orochi: "Explain bluntly."

    Frank Smith kneels down before Orochi and removes his sunglasses.

    Frank Smith: "The Ever-ending Plot is already here."

    With those final words, far-future-Frank is suddenly enveloped in trans-temporal light.

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