A Christmas Thread (Open)

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#1
December 25th
Jedda, Saudi Arabia
7:15 AM
DEI Main Campus


"Look alive, Eliza!"
"Nrgh."

Ah, Christmas.

Placed at the center of the Dimensional Energy Institute's Jedda campus, a mighty fir stood tall, decorated with gleaming baubles, tinsel, and quaint little ornaments in the shape of Gespensts and Axios. It was a yearly occurrence, one greeted with enthusiasm and holiday spirit by the uninitiated, and... pure, unfiltered terror by those who knew better.

Standing below, considerably less mighty, was the diminutive form of Eliza Kruger, her form wrapped in a coat, scarf, mittens, and fluffy pink earmuffs. She was flanked by the as-ever loud and proud Director Bertram Kessler, bedecked in a festive white and red jacket and christmas hat, his sunglasses sparkling with glitter that matched the gleam of his permanent grin of confidence in whatever he happened to be trying to sell you at that particular moment.

"This better be good, sir." Grumbled the scientist, "I still have nightmares about last year."

The Institute's Director scowled, and shrugged.

"I'll admit: Proton Energy Christmas Lights may not have been the brightest idea-"

"Oh it was BRIGHT alright, Bert. I heard you could see it from orbit. Before it blew up."

"This time, I've already had Doctor Couch conduct all the necessary safety tests."

"Is that supposed to reassure me?"

Undeterred, Bert clapped his hands. A pair of SD Cornix flapped their way awkwardly into the plateau, pulling free a crimson sheet that had been placed atop the tree. Beneath was... Well.

A Christmas tree ornament like no other.

A gleaming star that refracted all the colors of the rainbow, its edges trimmed with brilliant gold. Even Eliza was taken aback briefly by its beauty, her eyes widening like little saucers as sparkles practically burst into being about her.

"BEHOLD! THE D.E.C CHRISTMAS TREE TOPPER! ...Patent pending!"

"That sounds... Uncharacteristically safe." Hazarded Eliza, leaning over as Bert produced a small remote control, beaming with confidence.

"What does it do?"

"Well aside from retailing at the low, low price of only four hundred thousand Directory credits, it saves a tremendous amount of time and money on labor!" Explained Bertram as he fiddled with his device. Sparks of energy began to crackle through the air, condensing about the tree, emitting a low, baritone hum.

"You see, instead of hauling the tree back and forth from the lot, we simply use the latest in dimensional transfer technology to warp it directly to the consumer's living room! Then, once the festivities are over, place it back into a dedicated pocket dimension for preservation until next year."

"Is that really safe?"

"Absolutely, just watch!"

"AHHH NO WAIT-!"

There was a blindingly bright, incandescent flash of green... and then-

Nothing.

Where the great tree had once stood, remained now only earth. Eliza peered out from behind Bert, her features turning from caution to elation as she clasped her hands together.

"Bert! WE DID IT!" She cheered, grabbing the man's shoulders and shaking him violently; "Something actually worked for once! Quick, what do we do next?"

Regaining his composure, Bert gave a warm chuckle and laughed, patting her shoulder.

"Oh, that's simple. See, we attach this tracking device-"

"Right."

"-to the tree, and then we can direct its location-"

"...Right..."

"-by... by using this... tracking... we... attach... attach..."

A long, quiet silence fell over the two as they looked at the beacon still held in Bert's hand. A tumbleweed drifted past. Eventually, the silence was broken by a quiet sob from Bert, as he covered his face.

"There there, Director." Sighed Eliza not unkindly, patting him on the shoulder as she led him back towards the campus.

"There's always next year."




Where will the D.E.C.C.T.T end up? As it travels all across L'Isola and beyond, add your own chapter to the story!
 

Hitura Rael

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Sep 29, 2018
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#2
"As you can see here your highness, your father made a legally binding deal with us before all that... funny business with the poltergeist and-"

"Nearly destroying the world by inviting a warlord from another reality into our kingdom?" James finished with a monotone drawl. He stared at the halfling in front of him, ocean blue eyes half lidded as he stared beyond the 'emperor'. Normally, it was the look he gave someone when watching death shadows flicker around, shades always knew when someone would die after all. This one was... interesting. Like predators taking a sniff at a meal then fleeing from the stench. He lifted his head from the back of his hand and sat up straight, elbows clearly off the desk before Erwon deigned fit to elbow him for posturing rudely and decidedly unkingly. His half brother looked far more bored than James felt, though he knew that was likely a front. Erwon was, after all, the tactical mind behind the reign. James was king in name, but they ruled together and kept each other balanced. Plus it meant he could run off with Adrian and the boys when he needed a break.

Erwon stiffled a yawn with the back of his hand. "Be that as it may, that was then and this is now. How would you even back up your claims to this land."

James cast his glance over at the caramel skinned half-elf, watching the cogs turn behind his lavender eyes. Of course neither would honor the agreement made with this supposed emperor. It had been a power grab by his father to begin with, keeping an upstart enemy close to direct at another enemy later- had that not been thrown off by Erwon and Merida's individual assassination attempts that day. James' eyes drifted from Erwon to the tall lanky man in the corner, watching the three. Poor Adrian looked so bored over there. But he needed to be there to speak on his sister's behalf, she had her own duties to attend to. Sad, He would have loved to see the tiny woman tie this warmonger in knots verbally and send him running back with his tail between his legs.

"Quite obviously by force, Jame- King Steelheart," The halfling quickly corrected himself.

The corners of James' eyes tightened as he stared at the man harder. "Open war. Against..."

"Whoever necessary." The Halfling stated with utter conviction. "And you know the devastation my army can cause should I unleash them."

James sighed, rubbing his forehead. "I will review the documents and we can resume this when other relevant parties are free to attend the discussion."

"But-"

Adrian grunted, shifting his stance to put his hand to the gun at his hip. Erwon shifted slightly himself, his hand slipping to where he secreted knives under his coatee. The halfling was not stupid though, however much James wished he would be. With a growl, the halfling acquiesced and bowed. "As you wish. I will give you the time you require for this. But I will not stand being put off forever." The halfling turned with a huff and stomped toward the chamber door. He slammed it behind him.

James sank back in his chair with a sigh, rubbing his face. Adrian stepped over to him to rub his shoulder. "Why must we continue to clean up his messes..."

Erwon grinned, "You mean 'why do I have to continue to clean up his messes'. And you wonder why I declined to take that throne outright." He chuckled. "Are you going to give him the land? Arajin won't stand for that... It'll be a slaughter for his tribe."

James shook his head and put his hand over Adrians, "Of course not. I said it to buy time."

"Meri can't solve this one love." Adrian squeezed James' shoulder comfortingly, "Honestly, just strike first and be done with it."

James sighed again, "That wont solve anything. We need a much better solution than violence."




Sitting around waiting for tense meetings to finish was pure unadulterated torture, Raphael decided. He sat on the dining table, legs folded as he watched the mostly empty dining hall. It had once been for large extravagant parties, back when his grandfather ruled, now it only hosted family meals. Family meals that should have been an hour ago and with a lot less intrusion from tiny warlords. At ten years old, Raphael was already tall for his age and promising to be somewhere around his dad's height. His aunt would not be happy with that, her growth permanently stunted. He didn't know by what though. He glanced up from picking at a thread in the hem of his pant leg to glance over at his brother. They were twins, though not looking much alike. Where Raphael was tall, lanky, black haired, and green eyed; Tristan was of average height, a bit chunky, auburn haired, and deep blue eyes. He took more after their father than their mother- as the servants said. And much like his father, Tristan was fond of reading and passing the time with books or other equally boring things, making the boy boring by association. It made Val's job easier though.

The amazon of an elf smiled brightly, ever unperturbed by her used to being a guard- more like babysitter- and being bored all the time. He knew she had her eyes on him though. She always did. He was her favorite little trouble maker. The other red arms traded off who would take Josh. Babysitting a two year old was not fun after all. Sylvie sat on the floor with him today, ears perked up to keep them out of his reach, rolling a ball to him. Sometimes he would put it in his mouth, looking up at her with those curious emerald eyes. Sometimes he would roll it back. Once he threw it back at Django, nailing him in the nose. The man had made a show out of acting injured to make the toddler laugh- but it just made him start wailing. Josh was a sensitive little thing.

Boring has a way of either staying boring or suddenly becoming very not boring very fast. A brilliant green light filled the hall with a thrum of energy. Raphael shielded his eyes with his arm until the light faded. Josh wailed inconsolably, startled by the sudden appearance of... A tree? Raphael lowered his arm and stared at the bauble covered tree with stunned silence. The low faint thrum vibrated through the hall, barely drowned out by the Toddler. Sylphie scooped the child up and bounced him, whispering hushed words to him.

"What... is it?" Tristan gawked, staring at the tree in silence.

Raph slipped off the table and moved closer, Val hot on his heels with a casual speed walk pace, "Don't get too close princeling, the tree might bite," she teased and pushed past him to poke at it. "It looks like a winter fest tree. A bit early isn't it?"

Raphael slowed his approach, careful of the tree after her warning. He'd heard stories from the Tyger folk of a tree that ate people where they came from, he had no intention of being an ancient tree's dinner. "Do you think it's Mossbeard?"

"Nah. How would he get here? He's six months journey away. And he guards the- Nevermind." Val quickly cut herself off, leaning in to expect the lights.

Sylvie took Josh up to the tree, still bouncing the quieting baby. "Shhh. See? It's okay. Harmless. Just someone's spell gone wrong I bet."

Little Josh reached out and took an ornament from the tree, looking at it closely and giggling happily.

Raph smiled, "Hey, we should put something on the tree so Josh can keep that and it won't be missing any ornaments. Like a trade." The thrumming picked up again, crackles of energy gathering to the star transfixed on the top of the tree.

"Raphael, that is a stu-" Tristan cut off as the door banged open and Itteh Bitteh came stomping down the hall- as much as someone so short could stomp so low to the ground. Tristan glowered at the halfling, then shifted his gaze to Raph.

Raph grinned, something between mischievous and malicious. Tristan nodding only gave him the permission he didn't need. He reached out and grabbed the halfling, augmenting his strength with his magic to pull the small man off balance and swing him toward the tree. It didn't have enough oomf behind it, but Val with a similar grin caught the halfling, lifted him up, spun around thrice, and tossed him into the boughs of the tree with a confused and startled yelp from the halfling. Another brilliant flash flooded the room and the tree was gone.

"Good work Val," Raph grinned, "Surprised you did that though..."

Val laughed heartily, "Kid, I've wanted to throw that man into the ocean for years."

Tristan shut his book and set it on the table, "And now that is one less problem for Father and Auntie Meri to deal with."