Beyond The Bounds (MK & Kujo)

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#21
There was, in the distance, yet another shrill, insistent mechanical whine. Another one of the flyers came into view over the horizon - yet, unlike its fellow, something was clearly wrong as it swayed haphazardly through the air, smoke billowing from its wings. Something clung to its surface, like a spiny limpet, a dark blue sheen across its spiny back as it resisted the drone's attempts to fling it off.

"Grrrrrrrrghgkkkkkaaaaa!!!"

VOL-Cell infused muscles flexed, power surging through limbs that were like tree trunks, as a pair of heavily armored hands tore through armor as easily as if it were tinfoil. With a sudden, horrific shriek of splitting metal, the wing of the drone was torn free, causing it to whine as it dropped sharply, smashing into the canopy below-

A bright red explosion lit up the surroundings, sending flames surging across the horizon.

Out of the explosion, walked... Well.

Something an awful lot like Romme.

It stood at approximately the same height - yet while Volfeed was refined, a very picture of alien terror, this entity traded mystique for raw, unfiltered power. Every inch of it bulged with rippling bio-boosted muscle, something of a cross between an ox, a stag beetle, and several tons of steel. Several slit-like orange eyes peered wildly at Volfeed, the mere proximity of the two EATERs exchanging more information than could ever have been said with words.

"Vol... Hazard...!" Gasped the girl, recoiling as she did so closer to Derrick.

Volhazard's mouth - no, that was too generous an assessment. Its mandibles, for lack of better term flexed outward from the cool, cobalt horn encrusted shell that made up its head, gnashing about with the unaccustomed effort of needing to communicate in more than simple howls.

"You... EATER...!"

It raised an arm that could have snapped a truck in two with a flex of its bicep, and pointed at him. Yellowed eyes widened with sudden, keen interest.

"Do you... Hear the voice too...?"

Suddenly, the girl gave a yelp and withdrew sharply from Derrick. There was... a strange scent in the air, as though something was burning.

Trembling, she lifted her fingers - now coarse, and reddened, with a faint trail of smoke making its way into the air. Where her fingers had met his bare skin, it was as though she had grasped a red hot iron. Tearing her eyes from her wound, she looked at him - and shrunk back, eyes wide.

He could not have known what she saw as she looked at him - the "shadow" that hung over his presence. As though there were "something" between him and the rest of this world, which caused even the VOL Cells in the grass below to wilt away from him.

"Y... You..."


She whispered, fearfully - yet, this time at least, he could seem to fully understand what she was saying.

"Are... death..."
 

Kujo

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Nov 14, 2018
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#22
The dark EATER regarded its hulking new acquaintance in a short moment of stunned silence. Romme wasn't exactly expecting immediate conversation, but then again he didn't really know what to expect from his first encounter with his own kind. Almost as soon as Romme untensed himself, recognizing this VOL as non hostile for the moment, something felt unnaturally wrong. It was the kind of "off" that could only be labeled as instincts or a gut feeling. Romme's basal marks of humanity, at least what little remained in his alien body, would faintly recall the basic "fight or flight" reflex in response to unknown or unnatural danger like the oncoming of complete silence as a predator is spotted in the wilderness or the strange sensation of electrons lining up to strike oneself with lighting; meanwhile his inherited senses from the VOL cells granted him more concrete, if faint, whispers of danger: something wasn't right about this EATER, and the sense of unknown dread continued to build the longer Romme's cells attempted to "communicate" with their's.

Romme subtly assumed a less guarded stance but remained ready just in case. "Voices?" Romme asked tentatively. Volfeeds eyes glanced here and there for anything that might be a source for such things. "I'm afraid I don't follow."

Romme hesitated to ask of the EATER's state and wellbeing, deciding that such a thing would likely be confrontational. The last thing he wants is to expedite being on the receiving end of those gargantuan man-handlers.
 

MKR

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Aug 19, 2018
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#23
Volhazard, that seemed to be the name of whatever caused the explosions that filled the background. A unusual form of ambiance that was for sure. Before he could contemplate it any more the girl yelped, and the stench of burning became evident in his senses. His eyes looked towards her, the hand that had been pressed upon him now looked as if she had dipped it into acid.

As he shifted his weight to sit upright he could feel the grass wilt and die as he touched it. The woman's fingers reminded him of when Gail had tried to touch the Astranagant, but her words were just as interesting, if by interesting one meant jarring.
The Lunarian pushed himself upwards, now sitting straight. Giving a glance to the way the trees had evaded him, how every living thing in the Swordian seemed to die at his mere touch. He shot a glance towards where this Volhazard entity was to get a glimpse of it.

In spite of her yelp of pain prior, and her fear now the woman seemed very intent on keeping her voice to whispers and so would he. 'Death' or not, he doubted his odds against a monstrosity twice his size with the power to take on a weaponized plane.
"Death?" His tone was hushed, for her ears only. He doubted that any Lunarian could walk in here and cause the wildlife to die on a touch. So this was unlikely to be a genetic thing. Which meant, this was likely one of his 'targets'. The invaders Zivon spoke of.
His glance turned from puzzled to piercing, now looking directly at the woman.

"And what would that be the death of?" He asked her.
 

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#24
Volhazard gave an uneven chuckle, its whole body shuddering with strange mirth, as though the question was somehow amusing in and of itself. It reached down and dredged its hand through the dirt below, raising it for Romme's inspection.

"Death, rebirth... Rebirth, death..." It rumbled;

"Trapped, forever. Suffering."

It tipped its hand, allowing the dirt to fall from its hulking fingers back towards the earth, along with the strands of alien grass it contained, letting them float gently back to the tilled ruin below.

"Free us." It continued; "Saviours."

There was a curious glint to its eye, as it returned its gaze to Volfeed, settling back into a gorilla like hunch. At least it didn't seem to be aggressive, more just... insistent.

"From between place."

Meanwhile, Derrick's would-be assailant paused at his question.

"You don't know...?" She asked, tentatively.

Her eyes shot sideways at Volhazard, then back to Derrick. There was a long, contemplative silence. Could she trust him? This outsider, with the dark pallor that hung over him?

...

He deserved to see it for himself, at least.

She turned back towards the canopy, and motioned for him to follow - there was still fear in her eyes... But also determination.
 
Nov 14, 2018
48
1
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#25
Intriguing.

Such ramblings, even to Romme, were of little meaning, however the meaning did not matter so much as the ramblings themselves. In his unending quest for information, Romme had happened upon a number of locales and hubs of people prattling on about similar, profoundly inane things. Fringe communities of what seemed to Romme to fall just shy of occultism.

Whatever the EATER was on about, the natives in this vessel are likely similarly "cultured".

Hoping to glean more information, Romme probed, "Free you? What binds you?"

Granted that the Scholar was relatively new to the whole being-an-alien thing and likewise inexperienced in dying, he was unaware of any sort of life and death cycle that might pertain to EATERS. Romme knew that his new body was incredibly resilient and could miraculously recover from what would normally be grievous wounds, but was he now unable to truly die?
 

MKR

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Aug 19, 2018
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#26
Derrick glanced sideways as Volhazard continued its musings, taking particular notice to that last phrase before returning his attention to the one in front of him. He could not help but connect the phrase between places with the sights he observed during his journey with Gail. Of course it had also mentioned 'saviors', meaning it either knew that Romme had not come alone, or Romme and whatever he now was were two separate beings.

"An educated guess is the best I can offer." He replied to her query as he followed her, keeping an eye on his surroundings as he would very much not like to be ambushed here. "But as you call me 'death'... I have to wonder what that makes you, and me." his tones were still hushed garnering the attention of the massive muscled being seemed like a poor choice. Even if 'death' seemed to be exactly what it coveted.

It was by now all but confirmed that this place was a form of intruder that Zivon had spoke of, but simultaneously the key to it was handed to him by Abremalin instead and there were ties to the Directory and the Gods both. If he was going to have to be the Janitor of an entire dimension he could do with some information before he started cleaning the wrong places.
 

GEAR

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#27
Volhazard's body rumbled with a deep, throaty chuckle that was half laugh, half chitter. It was as if it not even the one wearing the suit could quite make up their mind as to whether they were beast, insect, or man.

"You will see." He said.

"Because-"

It raised two large, armor-plated fingers and pointed them at its eyes, before swiveling them back towards Romme.

"They see you."
With a thrust of a tree-trunk like arm, Volhazard bounded back, gaze remaining locked on Romme's own, until it vanished into the darkness of the treeline, steps thundering into the air until they faded completely, leaving only... Questions. The grass waved gently underfoot, and a foreign breeze whistled through the alien forest. To the Lunarian scientist, so long having to conceal his identity, it must have felt like a second homecoming - the soft scents on the breeze, and the unseen ways in which his own cells were greeted at even the smallest of levels.

He belonged here.

But... What had become of those that came before?

Meanwhile, Derrick and his guide made their way through the forest. It seemed now more apparent than ever that whatever this place was, it held its breath as he passed.

Birds ceased chirping, the tree branches subtly swayed out of his path, and there was the occasional furtive rustle as some unseen creature darted away from his looming shadow. Whatever this was... It wasn't something Zivon had ever mentioned, not even in passing - whenever, of course, the deity could be roused to give his commentary. Perhaps even now, he was watching his progress?

His thoughts, perhaps, would have been interrupted by the sound of running water as his companion suddenly dropped from view, stumbling down a short, rock-studded hill.

Here he could also clearly still make out the wall of the Swordian, a looming wall of corroded metal that occupied the entire right side of his vision - and below it a broad grate, through which water thundered down. The surface of the artificial river gleamed, catching the artificial sun against his gaze with its brightness as multi-hued fish never before seen in this world flicked past, just below the surface.

The girl glanced back at him, still evidently weary - but pointed, guiding his gaze downstream.

On a section of the Swordian's wall, none of the plantlife that riddled the rest of the metal resided. Instead, the metal appeared... scorched, and warped, as though it had been visited by a great fire, making its various intertwined shades of black blend together, like a portrait made of soot.

"That's you, isn't it?"

The form was undeniably familiar to his memory, yet so far removed from what he knew as to be entirely distinct. Dark, jet black wings like those of a bat, spreading out like claws curling down from the metal, enveloping the shape of the swordian in its embrace. A horned visage peered out from the darkness, a pair of pointed eyes just barely visible from the gloom, in which flecks of white seemed to suggest the distant sparkling of an infinite cosmos.

And underneath it all, a silhouette that must have been terribly, impossibly old, yet which time had not dulled with age, the back of a figure watching the destruction of this strange place, his hand extended as though to grasp it all in the grip of his palm-

With what could only be wavy, white hair.
 
Nov 14, 2018
48
1
8
#28
Euphoric but nonetheless perturbed, the great black creature firmly put its hands to its hips. So much for getting information.

Romme could neither sense Derrick nearby nor see him with Volfeed's many eyes. All alone now in this strange yet familiar wilderness, the Scholar mulled over his options. Firstly, Romme very much wished to head for what appeared to be a city off in the distance, just peeking above the greenery; whether or not the residents there were anything like the EATER he just met, or if there were residents at all, it would certainly be interesting.
On the other hand, leaving Derrick, human as he is, to fend for himself in this environment would be rather cruel... However, Romme then considered that he had already gotten what he needed from the young man and had no further use for him; he had in fact seen Romme's true form after all.

The choice was rather obvious. If Derrick comes back, well done for him. If not, Romme uses less fuel on the return trip.

Romme gazed at his left arm for a long moment. In the shimmering darkness of his chitinous mass, Romme met eyes with his ghastly reflection and continued to ponder. Seeming to have come to some sort of decision, the EATER looked forward and marched on into the wilderness.
 

MKR

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Aug 19, 2018
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#29
Derrick calmly followed, noting the interior of the ship and tracking the way he came from as best as he could. Death or no, a route back was always handy and in lieu of breadcrumbs a mental map would have to do. The knowledge that everything here feared, or at least was cautious, of his very presence came as little surprise now. Given that even foliage was 'clever' enough to evade him as best as it could.

Granted this would have been something incredibly useful a few years earlier, pushing branches out of the way of low hanging foliage was annoying at the best of times and in contrast to his ventures into Earth's forests these trees would do so themselves.
And then, everything came into sight. The artificial water sparkling in the artificial light as trees that feared his shadow took it all in with their roots. A moment to first observe how similar yet alien that scene was. Mentally he compared it to a self sustaining terrarium left alone for years.

Of course that made the sight at the end of the river all that more... Distinct.

He stepped forward without a word, past his tour guide as he approached the mural. It was like a caveman painting, age impossible to discern for one not trained in it. Which he was not, his life was in dedication of science not archaeology. He said nothing as he reached behind his head, the hair he had tied up bustling as he did so.
"A black angel, more akin to the Grim Reaper.. Then again it too is an angel in many a mythos." He noted. "No wonder you call me Death." His hair stopped bustling, falling downwards into, long, wavy, locks. Almost a mirror image of the mural in front of them.
"Because yes, an angel that is a memory of familiarity within this head of mine and this silhouette."

He looked back towards the girl, pocketing the hairband "Would mean that I am 'Death'."

His eyes burned with a mix of emotions, curiosity mixed with anger, mixed with annoyance and a very slight tinge of mirth. He covered his mouth with a hand, pulling his cheeks slightly downward as he averted his gaze for a moment.
"A question, two in fact." Derrick noted, "In this, I presume, society here. What is the importance of death and Death? And secondly, how long has that been there?"
 

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#30
"Before I came here... Before anyone remembers."

The girl blinked slowly in the light, the only sound between the two being the rushing of the water.

"This place... Radi Es Radius..." She said, "Collected people from dying worlds. Whatever its original purpose... That is what it did."

There was a strong accent to her voice, but it seemed easy for him to understand. Perhaps it was yet another strange benefit of the role that had been thrust upon him? She walked forward, standing next to Derrick, to place her hand on the metal's surface. Taking it away, nothing crawled upon her palm - not even dust.

"Death came before. Then, it took those who made this place. Punished them for breaking the laws of the world."

Her tone was not quite somber... Whatever had happened, it seemed, had been a long time ago. She afforded Derrick a small shrug - nothing either of them could do about it now.

"The black marks left from that time are still here, where nothing dares to grow. Scars... that never heal."

She folded her arms, looking the young man right in the eyes. There was the distant plop as a scarlet, veined fish leapt upstream in a fashion not unlike a salmon - albeit assisted by what appeared to be small, spined wings.

"And now, Death has come again. But... This time, maybe Radi Es Radius' can be put to rest."