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Call of the Void - Chapter 1: Adolescence [Closed]

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Somewhere in Lasria, a hyena laughs. It is a high pitched sound, shrill, and far too human coming from a source that is decidedly not. Its siblings join in one by one, each from a different point in the distance, a half dozen, maybe more, howling with familiar laughter, far too deformed to vocalise in any consistent manner. Soft feet pad along the drab, gray stone of the barren buildings, the remnants of its last hunt still sitting heavy in its stomach, relishing the stench of blood heavy on its snout. a trophy of the hunt, but unsatisfactory. A morsel when one craves a feast. It watches as its prey snaps its head backwards, catching only a glimpse of a black shape disappearing from view. Another staccato of vocalisations echo through the city, piercing the silence that had dominated for perhaps a few seconds too many.

It knew the goal already. They all did. They had all know that this would be their path from the very start. It forces a huff of air into its lungs, eyeing the rays of sunshine disappearing beyond the horizon.

The night of the hunt was upon them. The rite of passage had begun. The clan would see another member before the dawn breaks.

~Chapter 1: Adolescence.~

You can hear its laughter, surrounding you, mocking you with unseen comedy. At first, you had written it off as a hallucination of your tired mind, filling the howl of the wind with some imperfect imitation of a voice after far too long alone in the barren wasteland. But then, it came again, closer now, like a student stifling his laughter in a classroom, subdued. Then you caught a glimpse of it for the first time, peeking at you from the edge of a rooftop. A shape like the head of a dog, far larger than it should have been, protruding snout lined with razor sharp teeth that you could have sworn were grinning at you. It disappeared, cackling once more as you realised what part of it had struck terror into the deepest part of your gut. Its eyes. They had been distinctly human. Aware.

It pounced. You ran. It chased.

That had been hours ago. A relentless shadow hounds your every step, cackling every so often to remind you that it still follows, cutting off many a path with just a snarl or a crash, herding you down the streets as its siblings no doubt did to others, its horrid chuckling ringing in your ears. It keeps pushing you just to the edge of your stamina, before waiting, watching, and then resuming the hunt. A game where every attempt to escape only raises the feeling that you're playing into the beast's hands as you make your way further out towards the edge of the city. Then you see it. Salvation, come to you in the form of a fenced off square, lined with tents.

Perhaps you enter through one of the open gates to the main streets, or perhaps you're cornered in an alley, forced to climb the fence for your life before the inhuman abomination hunts you down. Nevertheless, one way or another, your path ends at the square, and the moment you set a single foot there, the cackling stops. The shadow would no longer creep at the edge of your vision. You would be safe. That is, except for the fact that you're not alone in the square, or at least, would not be for long.

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If the hound creatures had been any more like an ordinary animal, Martijn probably would've come to a halt, tried to help it. Repeat the same mistake as that had gotten him infected, but those human eyes. That was what had been the biggest hint for the Dutchman to start running. It was an exhausting chase. One that didn't make sense to him. If it was one of those howlers or anything like them why was he still alive?

That question fell away as soon as he stepped one food in the square. The quiet that came when he crossed the threshold caught him off guard. It... Did very little to make him feel saver. Absently he petted the little technocyte cat that had been perched on his shoulder as he had ran around. It didn't offer much of an advantage to him during that whole chase. He still was unsure how to make it turn into a hound again.

So for now, it just seemed to be him and the weird metal cat. Then again that was a lot of days now a days. He trudged around the tents, curious to see if anyone else was here, or if there was something to eat perhaps. He was starving.

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Just keep running Karl, just keep running!

That was the only thought that Karl Zakharov had in his head as he rushed down one alleyway and down another, running through the streets like a madman possessed, he panted hard and looked behind him as he tried to see what the hell was behind him. He then ran into a fence, a fence that was easily climbable and Karl wasn't wanting to die just yet so he climbed for his life until he got down into the one place he didn't expect to be.

Saint Gabriel's Square, filled with tents and...not much else, he panted and tried to get up but the years of cocaine abuse had taken its toll on Karl's body, he coughed and sputtered all over the floor, vomiting in the nearest drainpipe as his body went into shock. He wheezed harder than a smoker and he had to push himself onto a wall to try and get some more air in. How did it come to this? one minute he's a god amongst the Lasiran people, the next, he was running for his life like he was a mouse. Was this Karma for all his sins? he didn't know but he knew for certain.

He wouldn't be welcome into heaven.

Edited by Drakeardian

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"This is what you get for going to a country under a communications blackout you stupid b!tch..." she thought to herself as she slowed her breathing and continued to make her way through the street slowly while camouflaged. "Hiding from a bunch of animals or whatever the f*ck they are that have been infected by some crazy disease. Jesus Tapdancing Christ..."

Perhaps Tara should count herself lucky, her infection granted her abilities that have prevented her from becoming meal of the day, abilities that were clearly superhuman like her ability to visually take on the appearance of whatever surface that she was in contact with. Still, it didn't seem like her camouflage ability was doing her any good for these particular predators. It would seem that, despite taking time to train herself in the use of her ability, she was not able to figure out that her scent was not masked by her camouflage ability. It was faint but more than enough for the hyenas that were pursuing her.

"Wonder if they'd die if I manage to nail them in the head... I wish I had my guns." she thought to herself as she continued to slink through the shadows, trying to hide or get into an otherwise advantageous spot.

Edited by MetroFallout

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The oversized coat flapped as she ran, slapping against her thighs. Her chest heaved as she panted, tiny booted feet slapping against the ground, almost sobbing as she ran. The high pitched cackling rang in her ears, driving her ever on. 

Adrenaline really could give you wings. 

But even that had its limits. She could feel herself tiring. She scrabbled as she turned a corner, heading down an alley. 

A dead end alley. 

But she couldn’t stop. The eerie cackling was too close behind. So she kept running, hoping that maybe, maybe, scaling the fence before her would let her escape. 

She was hungry, and thirsty, and scared, and she just wanted her parents. 

Extending her claws, she leapt at the barrier, half jumping, half climbing over it. 

Some might say it was a rather cat like motion. They’d be right too. She dropped over the other side, and froze as the cackling went silent. The lack of it was almost as creepy as it’s presence, if only for its suddenness.

The feline claws stayed extended as Gabby looked around, every sense on high alert, crouched in the shadow of the fence, ready to run at the slightest moment.

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"Begone, you darn thing!"

How long was it now, an hour? Would've been a good workout, but this time she's not running to keep her legs fit. She's running as a result of being hunted. By... whatever that thing is. She might've turned around and thrown an arm its way if the look in its eyes didn't betray how dead set it is on picking her bones clean. There's no chance of just scaring that thing away, even with a punch. So she runs. Hiding isn't an option either, she keeps bumping into stuff with her hands and making noise. Can barely feel a thing with them, good for hitting things but not for feeling your way around them.

Another shriek. Will it ever give up? She even went in and out of buildings, kicked in some doors to get through. That thing is as good at tracking its prey as it is scary. She needs a place to escape to, something new.

She reached a fence. Quarantine zone? Maybe that'll keep it off, she hopes. She reaches a gate but it's locked with a chain. Figures. But there's no time to go around to look for another way in. With a powerful swing, she breaks the somewhat rusty metal obstruction, and the gate opens. In she goes, not without closing it behind her. A seconds steps in, and then it suddenly got so quiet. She sighed, about time it lost track of her, she can finally catch her breath.

Now to figure out what kind of place this is... quietly...

Yet, that thought is intercepted by the sound of a trash can falling over.

Quietly! I said quietly!

Edited by Denny2669

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It always ends like  this, doesn't it? There's clearly something to take from this, something about about greed and perpetual insatisfaction. I mean, I had a good life back there. Fulfilling, helpful, interesting, and fairly comfortable too. People would kill for the life I had. But me? I just kept wanting more. Then again, if I had the choice, would I change anything?

...I wouldn't, would I? Because in the end, it still helped. I was really an idiot, unable to accept that heroes and chivalry were long dead and gone. Which brought me to here and now.

"Rrrraaaaaah!"

With a scream, I put all my strength into my shield arm, slamming the buckler right into the...Thing's path. It's a canine, large and fairly powerful. More annoyingly, it's been pretty persistent at the whole 'trying to kill me' thing. It crashes into the ground, dazed and its jump deflected away from me, and yet again...

I can't do it. Staring at that creatures, its eyes are just too...Human.So I leave again, This time with a few more tricks. Back alleys. Fences; Tours and detours. I still hear the cackling but I'm...Fairly sure it's in my mind. Then again, after hours of being stalked by this thing, paranoia did start to get to me.

And then, nothing. Something in my mind just lets go, and I realize that no matter what, there is no more cackling, either in my head or out of it. My steps echo in a square, all too loudly. I'm not alone, this I realize before even lifting my eyes up. People.  Holy shet so there have been other survivors! I mean, I sure hoped but from what I had seen?

The sound of someone puking rips me away from my thoughts and I etract my sword and shield, not wanting to scare them, as i make my way to them.

"Hey, are you alright? Please speak to me,, I'm a doctor."

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"Get away from me !" The blade swings to force the beast away, but I know that darn monster won't be leaving me alone just because I have a bastard sword to wack it with. 

I go and run, one hand making sure the bag I have on my back isn't falling off, the other, now looking like a crystal, gripping on the blade, there's no purpose in trying to fight those things, for each one I'd manage to scratch or kill there'd only be more, better run. I follow the only way I can go ending up in a square, turning around I notice the animals aren't there anymore. "Did I shake them ?" I wonder, probably just wishful thinking, I'd love things to go smoothly at least once since I've been stuck here.

That is when I hear a voice, a doctor here ? who would be crazy enough to still be around these parts ? no time to wait in pointless questions, better to go and see what it is, who knows, maybe for once I won't be shot at, after all my bandage on the arm does conceal its crystaline look, for now.

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Gabby crouched back when she heard voices. Ordinarily she would have been delighted to hear human voices, but after seeing the all too human eyes of the monsters that had been chasing her, she wasn't too sure that human voices couldn't be mimicked. Also, parrots were a thing.

Still, would they know to offer help, and help of a doctor specifically. And could they also mimic the sound of someone throwing up?

Gabby didn't think so, especially not at the same time.

She jumped when a metallic crashing sound came form nearby. She immediately bolted from the noise, adrenaline driving her to move as far from the noise as she could, ducking into a tent and shooting out the other side.

And straight into someone. Seeing as this person was a grown adult and she was just a kid, she promptly landed flat on her backside. She lay there, slightly stunned from whacking her head on the ground.

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4 hours ago, 404Cygni said:

"Hey, are you alright? Please speak to me,, I'm a doctor."

A new voice appeared, Karl looked up towards where the voice came from. Survivors? And friendly? he hoped so at least. he frowned a bit and tried to understand what they said, his head has been fuzzy for the last few days and he almost forgot how to speak english. He squinted and called out "Ah...I need doctor! yes!" he cried out, slowly trying to get up but collapsing onto his knees again. His body was still recovering from running a marathon without cocaine and he coughed a bit more.

He wheezed and tried once more to get up, slowly getting onto one foot then the other and raising up slowly, resting on his knees whilst he felt dizzy, the oxygen in his brain still recovering but he still felt pretty weak.

Edited by Drakeardian

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One, two voices. Sounded human enough. That was... a first in a very long time. Martijn slowly crept towards the noise. Still not quite sure what to think of it all. It'd be weird if those creatures shepherd multiple people here. He slowly walked towards where the talk came from.

And there was a third. A kid?.. Well the situation was already strange so it was hard for him to be more startled by it. He stepped out, hands up to show he wasn't hostile. His throat felt dry as he started speaking up. "Hello, you three got chased too?" He inquired first, while keeping one hand on the kitten still perched on his shoulder... Carrying a technocyte creature on ones shoulder might not be the best first impression.

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Unbeknownst to Tara, it would seem that the hyenas were corralling her towards the quarantine zone, a fenced-off area in a section of the town square where a small group of apartment buildings used to house about a thousand people.

"How the f*ck are they tracking me so well?" she wondered to herself before she remembered that human senses are actually rather dull compared to what some predator species are capable of. "It's my scent isn't it? I need to find something to mask it and keep hiding."

Perhaps rather thankfully, she was in a position to mask her scent with something else that would be overpowering but colourless, her nose picked up the smell of paint thinners nearby and sure enough, there was an apartment that was undergoing renovation prior to the outbreak.

"Perfect, I can go in there and lose them, they'd never be able to find me in there!" she thought, heading into the apartment to find something she could use to mask her scent with before pausing once she was inside, hearing the sound of approaching hyenas that came in after her. "Or... they still might... F*ck my life! I just want to steal sh!t with my new powers man, leave me alone you f*cking mutts!"

Jumping out the window, she decided to forgo all semblance of stealth and instead applied herself to running towards the fence at the square.

"If I'm going out, I'm going out in a badass last stand. F*ck all of you f*cking mutts, all of you can kiss my f*cking @ss!" she thought to herself as her camouflage began to revert itself into normal colours.

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As the noise has been made by Dino's somewhat excusable clumsiness, she saw something bolt off straight away from her. She had no idea what it was, doubting it was one of those things chasing her as predators don't really run away, but she wasn't keen on finding out. Instead she went a different way, but still inside the square.

The place looked like a mess. To be frank the whole city did, but this place especially. Everything seems to have been set up in a hurry, just the same way it's been abandoned it seems.

But the population didn't seem to be an absolute zero just yet.

A guy, a human, just randomly strolled into her field of vision. Slightly hunched over as if trying to be quiet, brown hair, and some weird spiky stuff on his clothes she can't really make out from the distance. She can barely believe it, an actual person in a place like this. Her first instinct should've been to approach casually and not to startle him, but...

"Hey... hey buddy! Wait up!"

She jogged off towards him. At least he'll see her coming, but her call may still startle him. Her appearance might too, he's not the only one with odd looking arms. Hers looked like pure metal, all the way from the shoulders to her fingers. And not the funky robot kind, they seemed almost fleshy. Having the sleeves of her zip up hoodie ripped off, they're on full display. The rest of her looked pretty normal though, hood up as it's cold.

"God, I didn't expect to see anyone here."

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Well he doesn't look like he's doing too well, this man.Lack of equilibrium, breathing issues, speech-

My thoughts are wrenched away from him as someone rather small bumps into me and...Oooh shet that's a bump. That could be bad. These two could both be facing serious issues right now so I have to take a decision right now...Right. Head. Obvious issue, likely most pressing if non-benign.

"Sir? I'm sorry but I'll go back to you in a few moments."

I turn in direction of the sound and...Yep, that's a child, as expected from the weight of the impact. About ten to twelve, I'd say, laying on the ground and looking dazed.

I crouch, doing my best to look as non-menacing as possible while taking the 'doctor voice' I sometimes take with younger patients.

"Miss? Are you alright? Does anything hurt?"

Edited by 404Cygni
Testing (MKII)

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More people, seems I can come out of hiding, or so I really hope.

I get out from the car I had squeezed myself into to observe the self-proclaimed doctor. "That's many peop..." But my luck strikes me and, as I am called out, the pile of rubble doesn't handle my movement all too well, thus I slide down along the pile to almost fall face first near the person in question. "Well that's what I call failing an entry... I didn't expect to see anyone either." Let's try and save some hint of seriousness adding my own thoughts to hers as I take the time to look her over, she seems to have been infected just like me but not doing anything to cover her arm. "I could use a hand." Better try and actually interact at this point.

Edited by Cyriann

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3 hours ago, 404Cygni said:

Well he doesn't look like he's doing too well, this man.Lack of equilibrium, breathing issues, speech-

My thoughts are wrenched away from him as someone rather small bumps into me and...Oooh shet that's a bump. That could be bad. These two could both be facing serious issues right now so I have to take a decision right now...Right. Head. Obvious issue, likely most pressing if non-benign.

"Sir? I'm sorry but I'll go back to you in a few moments."

I turn in direction of the sound and...Yep, that's a child, as expected from the weight of the impact. About ten to twelve, I'd say, laying on the ground and looking dazed.

I crouch, doing my best to look as non-menacing as possible while taking the 'doctor voice' I sometimes take with younger patients.

"Miss? Are you alright? Does anything hurt?"

Apart from being a little stunned, Gabby was actually fine. It was something she'd noticed since being... changed? Yeah, changed. Anyway, she found herself being somewhat more resilient to small bumps and scrapes such as this. As such, she recovered from whacking her head rather fast.

However, instead of accepting the help up, as she might have done even but a month ago, she instead scrabbled backwards a few feet before, in a rather impressive display of flexibility, doing a backwards roll and coming upright in a single motion. Her eyes were wide, wild even, darting around, and she was breathing fast and hard, one wrong word from flight. On reflex, her claws had extended, and now they were held up in front of her, ready to scratch at anyone who approached. 

All in all, the picture of a scared child. Or cat, indeed.

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20 hours ago, 404Cygni said:

Well he doesn't look like he's doing too well, this man.Lack of equilibrium, breathing issues, speech-

My thoughts are wrenched away from him as someone rather small bumps into me and...Oooh shet that's a bump. That could be bad. These two could both be facing serious issues right now so I have to take a decision right now...Right. Head. Obvious issue, likely most pressing if non-benign.

"Sir? I'm sorry but I'll go back to you in a few moments."

I turn in direction of the sound and...Yep, that's a child, as expected from the weight of the impact. About ten to twelve, I'd say, laying on the ground and looking dazed.

I crouch, doing my best to look as non-menacing as possible while taking the 'doctor voice' I sometimes take with younger patients.

"Miss? Are you alright? Does anything hurt?"

 

16 hours ago, Spikey844 said:

Apart from being a little stunned, Gabby was actually fine. It was something she'd noticed since being... changed? Yeah, changed. Anyway, she found herself being somewhat more resilient to small bumps and scrapes such as this. As such, she recovered from whacking her head rather fast.

However, instead of accepting the help up, as she might have done even but a month ago, she instead scrabbled backwards a few feet before, in a rather impressive display of flexibility, doing a backwards roll and coming upright in a single motion. Her eyes were wide, wild even, darting around, and she was breathing fast and hard, one wrong word from flight. On reflex, her claws had extended, and now they were held up in front of her, ready to scratch at anyone who approached. 

All in all, the picture of a scared child. Or cat, indeed.

Karl looked at the scene before him and his face paled with fear.

He was never good with kids. He had six kids of his own from three failed marriages, two from each wife and each of them failed in a year thanks to his own ego and superiority complex. His body started to relax and recover from the shock but his hands still shook, his mind was addled and he couldn't think straight. He still had his hands on his knees and he took extremely deep breaths to try and get his mind clear. He then raised his gloved hand to the kid and said in what english he could remember "I'm not enemy, promise!" he called out, he could swear he saw the same metallic crustation on her hands before he realised what he could do.

He quickly pulled his glove off and pulled his hoodie sleeve up, showing his metallic forearm and hands, claws retracted and his forearm looking rather...alien to say the least, the elbow jutted out somewhat like a blunt spike. He showed his arm to the young girl and the Doctor "See! We're same!" he exclaimed, his brain still addled and his english still somewhat broken.

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I can't help but sigh. Well, cat's out of the box and it looks like it sucks to be us. My mind sort of slips out of 'doctor mode' for a moment.

"Yep, looks like we're all the same. Won't show you mine because, well, they ain't a pretty sight and nobody would want to see that but...here."

 

In a last second panicked action, I manage to prevent the sharp, menacing blade from following.Just the shield. Shields are good, right? Not as scary, and they make you think of knights. Do children still dream of knights? Not really the moment. Any how, my shields out, and it's clearly made of the same dark biometallic substance cover or making those claws and that arm.

 

"See? It's fine. We're the same. No one's going to hurt you, alright?"

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25 minutes ago, 404Cygni said:

I can't help but sigh. Well, cat's out of the box and it looks like it sucks to be us. My mind sort of slips out of 'doctor mode' for a moment.

"Yep, looks like we're all the same. Won't show you mine because, well, they ain't a pretty sight and nobody would want to see that but...here."

 

In a last second panicked action, I manage to prevent the sharp, menacing blade from following.Just the shield. Shields are good, right? Not as scary, and they make you think of knights. Do children still dream of knights? Not really the moment. Any how, my shields out, and it's clearly made of the same dark biometallic substance cover or making those claws and that arm.

 

"See? It's fine. We're the same. No one's going to hurt you, alright?"

It took several seconds for Gabby to react. Slowly. ever so slowly, her arms lowered, and her claws retracted, once more becoming hidden in the sleeves of her jacket. She take a hesitant step forward, eyes watching the shield bearing woman, ready to run at the slightest provocation. Then another step. Then another, then one more until she was within touching distance of the shield.

Carefully, she reached out with a hand. As she did so, the sleeve fell back a little, revealing the paw like limb, covered in fur the same strawberry blonde as the hair on the girl's head. Her eyes flickered back and forth as she placed her hand on the shield, running her hand over the... person-metal? Person-metal. This wasn't coming from her finger nails after all.

For several long seconds, she didn't do anything. Then, feeling the first inkling of safety since she'd been changed, she did the obvious thing for an eleven year old who was hungry, thirsty, scared, and tired.

She lunged forward, wrapped her arms tight around the woman in front of her, and burst into tears.

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Martijn didn't much mind that the trio had appeared oblivious to his call out. Might have been for the best considering the scare that the kid seemed to have been put through. It was quite touching to see the stranger hug the doctor figure. That along with the pale man revealing his arms confirmed one suspicion at least. They were all infected... He wasn't quite sure if that was a comfort though, considering it'd imply that they were chased here too. 

Letting his mind wander drew his attention away from one thing. The technocyte cat still perched on his shoulder. The little creature hopped off - and much like the old house cat that his mother once owned liked to do - trotted straight up to the nearest stranger, that being the pale skinned man.

And as the cat mewed, it's owners attention would be snapped back to reality. The meow was... far from what the sound was supposed to sound like. It was more akin to a low squeaky growl. Not the loudest noise, but there for keen ears. 

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23 hours ago, Cyriann said:

"I could use a hand." Better try and actually interact at this point.

For a few seconds, the woman simply stared at him. She seemed worried when he fell but once the words left his mouth he just stared. Was it something he said? She had a look of disbelief, displaying stunned silence. Then, she huffed. A reasonable request, she supposed.

"... sure. Here."

Instead of offering him her hand to pull himself up with, she unexpectedly just took hold of her left hand with her right, pulling to miraculously disconnect it at the shoulder. Then, she threw him the disconnected metallic left arm like it was the most mormal thing. Of course it wasn't. It had quite some weight to it, surely would add to the shock value.

"I'll want it back once you're done with it though."

It was a joke. Perhaps a sick one, but this city seems to have that effect on her lately. Watching the guy get up, she suddenly heard something odd, something she hoped she wouldn't hear again since the first days of this epidemic...

"Is that... a child's cry?"

She follows the noise carefully, forgetting it's in the direction where that thing from earlier ran off to, and surprised to see several more people just around the corner! Immediately she counted 4 people, and... boy oh boy, a child really was crying. What a heart breaking sound.

"Geez... hey, um, friendly here! Don't mind me, let's just leave introductions for after... uh, she's all better..."

In hindsight, greeting them with only one arm might've not been the best idea...

 

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il y a 41 minutes, Denny2669 a dit :

For a few seconds, the woman simply stared at him. She seemed worried when he fell but once the words left his mouth he just stared. Was it something he said? She had a look of disbelief, displaying stunned silence. Then, she huffed. A reasonable request, she supposed.

"... sure. Here."

Instead of offering him her hand to pull himself up with, she unexpectedly just took hold of her left hand with her right, pulling to miraculously disconnect it at the shoulder. Then, she threw him the disconnected metallic left arm like it was the most mormal thing. Of course it wasn't. It had quite some weight to it, surely would add to the shock value.

"I'll want it back once you're done with it though."

It was a joke. Perhaps a sick one, but this city seems to have that effect on her lately. Watching the guy get up, she suddenly heard something odd, something she hoped she wouldn't hear again since the first days of this epidemic...

"Is that... a child's cry?"

She follows the noise carefully, forgetting it's in the direction where that thing from earlier ran off to, and surprised to see several more people just around the corner! Immediately she counted 4 people, and... boy oh boy, a child really was crying. What a heart breaking sound.

Her arm disconnects, that's certainly something surprising, but I'm not at my first weird thing happening, that's a first sure, but not first. Iget up and pick her arm preparing a snarky retort to surprise her, but she leaves without thinking which in turn has me left there with her arm in my hand, how thoughtful...

il y a 43 minutes, Denny2669 a dit :

"Geez... hey, um, friendly here! Don't mind me, let's just leave introductions for after... uh, she's all better..."

In hindsight, greeting them with only one arm might've not been the best idea...

"I think you forgot something helping me." I call out to her so she'd turn, I give her her arm back. "Neat ability you got." I take off part of the bandage revealing the green crystal. "Hope I am interesting as well."

That is when I turn around to look at the group. "Well, that is pretty cool to finally find people in this hell of a hole."

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Running with her bow out might be an awkward proposition for the untrained but for Tara; after her wounds had healed and she started experimenting with her powers, it was as natural as breathing. In her mind, she will be conducting her final stand right smack dab in the middle of the square. It'd at least be an ending to her life that she would be satisfied with. That said though, in as much as running with her bow is as natural as breathing, the extra effort required to stop the bow's momentum from throwing her off her stride with each step is starting to drain her stamina unduly. While she isn't panting yet, it's still not a walk in the park... mostly because she's running.

As she approached, she could tell that there was some sort of commotion going on ahead of her while she continued to run towards the center of the square but she paid it no mind until she could finally see them once she was past a corner.

"There's people? Damn, these are the first people I've seen in ages! But... what help would they be against these f*cking dog things?" she thought to herself as she kept running. ""Wouldn't hurt to let them know there's more coming though..."

"HEY! There's more coming!" she shouted at the top of her voice as she approached.

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One by one, survivors of the epidemic come together. One by one, they would feel something churning within them. One by one, they feel some dormant part of them come alive. It hungers. It craves. It consumes. However, you are not left with much time to ponder the tingling under your skin, or the gentle sting like the stretching of scar tissue, as you spot them watching you. Men and women, with muscles that stand incorrectly, built for a quadriped, two watching from behind one of the chain link faces, claws entwined with the metal, elongated snouts cracked open to reveal metal fangs standing jagged, slick with anticipation. You turn your head towards the tingling on the hairs at the back of your neck, and you see another pair, sitting atop one of the buildings lining the square, every muscle under their skin tensed, hunters ready to assault their prey, but... they didn't. Not a single one of the abominations so much as twitched. Instead, they just watched.

It would only be seconds until it became apparent what they had been waiting for. The rustling of static invaded the serene silence, a million aural worms wriggling into the sky, drawing attention to the centre of the square where, on the edge of the fountain, sat a battery-operated radio. Still none of the creatures that had seemed so eager to tear them down earlier were making a move.

"Come closer, dear listener. I promise, they won't bite just yet," coos the soft, beckoning voice of a woman, followed by a throaty chuckle that may have been seductive had it not been accompanied by the distinct scratchiness of an old radio. 

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It's probably neither wise nor reasonable but, for  a moment...Something in me lets go. Just, for a moment, nothing matters but that small, scared child in front of  me. That tiny fragment of innocence in a world gone insane. That hug, I return it, full force, embracing the young one protectively.

"It's alright, it's alright, everything is going to be alright. You're safe, everything is going to be okay."

I can hear some sounds at the back of my mind, a part of me takes note, but they feel...Secondary.

And then everything goes wrong. That stranger, coming in screamign about more of them. More of whom? I can't be sure, but judging from their panic they're actually little room to doubt. In a second, My eyes roam around the square. We have...A woman, apparently fit for battle and wielding a bow. Okay so we have one ranged attacker; That's good, I don't thing those...Undead-like creatures fight in anything else but melee range. At that thought, it's almost like the blade still within is vibrating with exctiation. I've got something to give them alright.  A man who was puking his guts recently. Possible case of withdrawal from...Something, in no way ready for a fight; An unarmed man with...A cat? Okay...Probably not ready for combat either. A young man with a bastard sword; Oh hey, another source of damage if he can use this thing.

Carefully unentagling myself from the little one's embrace, I whisper one last thing.

"No matter what, stay behind me. If you see me falling, start running. Do that and it'll be fine. Okay?"

In silence, my sword simply slides into my hand, like the best prestidigitator in the world (look, no hand!) and I simply stand in front of both the ill man and the young girl, taking a stance with my shield in front. Come on, you f*ckers; I dare you. Try and kill me, fine, but them? I'm going to do as a Stark does and pass you the point end.

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