The Dragon and the Idol

Mar 23, 2021
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#1
August 20 OE 102
Jericho Faction Territory
Santorini, Greece

1130 hours

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It was quite breezy by the shores of this photogenic locale in Greece. The white villas dotted around the island contrasted greatly against the marine blue of the Aegean Sea. Today seemed to be a busy day, markets full of people, restaurants beginning to fill up, not to mention the number of other businesses which were present on the streets.

<Greece... The cradle of western civilization as the teacher used to say. Not only that, but a beautiful place as well to boot.>

Dimidas thought to himself as he walked to where he had to meet up with his new ally. Previously he had already been briefed on the world he found himself in, the Lunar Kingdom, Endymion, DEI, Terra Sentinel, the Lunar Kingdom, as well as the recently revealed group known solely as the Cult of Volkruss. Right now however, he was dealing with another faction entirely, the Combine, a faction composed of those living in space, namely the colonies.

<So it’s just like back home with the Empire...>

Dimidas would sigh at the thought

<Sometimes the world just doesn’t change.>

Dimidas would walk through the crowded market streets of Santorini, currently wearing a black turtleneck sweater along with an olive green jacket. His lower half wore a pair of grey slim fit pants. He also currently had a black face mask, mainly in fear of attracting unwanted attention for his draconic features as they were not very common in the world, let alone human-animal hybrids.

Dimidas would then walk to a cafe, telling the person in front that there was a reservation made here. He was then led to a table in a private area overlooking Santorini and was sat down, waiting for the person he was supposed to meet at that time. Currently, all he had on her was a name.

“Matilda Cortaine... or alternatively Tilde...”

Dimidas spoke silently to himself, as if to remind him of who he was about to meet. Perhaps getting to know them over a meal would help them connect for the upcoming mission.
 

GEAR

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#2
"It's peaceful, isn't it?"

He didn't have to wait long.

A voice rang out from behind Dimidas, likely snapping him from his daze. A tall, blonde woman with a black sweater sauntered into view were he to crane his neck, her head looking out at not the sea, but the people in the distance. This, she thought - all of this was under Jericho? She'd have to give him a bit more credit next time they met, maybe when he wasn't hamming it up. Her left hand fingertips drummed her lips gently as she stopped.

"Doesn't that bother you?" She asked, a curious glint in her eye.

"All these people sitting around, like nothing bad could ever happen to them?"

After letting the question hang in the air, she gave a laugh and a shrug, as if it was just a joke before slipping into her seat, proffering a hand in his direction.

"Dimidas, right?" She said; "Tilde Cortaine."

A moment later, she cocked her head a little, adding teasingly:

"...Really got that fresh-off-the-boat look going on, you know that right?"
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#3
As Tilde walked into his view, his stoic persona shattered in a moment. Looking at her, it was like he was pulled into a dream as his eyes widened. A rush of thoughts went through his head in a slit second.

<It couldn’t be her... She looks almost just like her... But I saw her die...>

Dimidas was speechless for a moment before he uttered a word under his breath.

“Ashley?”

He would quickly snap out of it before removing his mask to show the dragon scales on his chin. His eyes slowly zoomed back into focus as he looked right at Tilde.

”S-Sorry for the less than stellar appearance. The mask was necessary to not draw unwanted attention to our little meeting.”

He stuttered a bit as he began his dialogue with her. Seeing her clearly made him a bit uneasy.

”It is nice to meet you regardless, Tilde. Has Jericho told you anything about me?”
 

GEAR

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#4
"Yeah, he said to look for a weird kid who's new to L'Isola and put him to work. Guess that means you can fight, at least."

Tilde spoke conversationally, legs folding under the table and kicking as she tapped away at holographic menu happily. Of course that wasn't exactly what the man had said, but she was already having her own fun winding him up a little. The dragon-slayer reached over the table a bit, tapping the mask and giving him a wink.

"Masks aren't exactly in fashion, in case you didn't notice. You look like a dork."

An abhuman at that, she added, mentally. A lizard of some kind. Well, she thought, as long as he didn't flake all over the place, it was something she could put up with. She lapsed into a short silence, letting him speak and get his bearings before folding her hands together on the table, lifting them up to form a loose net for her chin as she gazed at him, inquisitively, a smile curling up the sides of her lips like a pink snail.

"...Was she pretty?" She said suddenly, not breaking her gaze with his own. Perhaps his quiet outburst earlier had not gone unnoticed?
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#5
“Y-Yes... she was. You... heard that?”

He said as he looked at her.

“As for the mask, I will try to think something else. But that would just be my armor, I would look very out of place with that. Any suggestions on how to cover it up?”

He was starting to get a little uncomfortable but still tried to keep up his regular tactical soldier demeanor. But it was quite hard given the circumstances before him. He decided to look at the menu before him, deciding to get a chicken gyro and a bit of vongole pasta.
 
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GEAR

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#6
"Outsiders always have some kind of sob story. Their worlds always ended up swallowed by the Crawling Dark, after all."

Tilde looked out at the sea as she spoke, leaning back in her chair as their food was delivered. A combination gyro sat untouched on her plate as she continued, hands folded on her lap, glancing back over at him.

"L'Isola is where things wash up. Nobody knows how, or why. Not really, that is."

At his somewhat awkward response, she couldn't help but smile. He really was just a kid after all. Still, Jericho saw something in him - and consequently, she would do her best to keep him alive. She lifted up the mask and waved it about in her hand airily, chiding him gently.

"How are you going to get a girlfriend if she can't see your face?"

Her eyebrows raised, accentuating the question before returning it to the table. She took a bite of her food. Cold, she thought. Had she spent too much time enjoying the sound of her own voice? As if reaching some kind of revelation, she clapped her hands together with excitement and beamed at Dimidas.

"Don't worry!" She said, sparks practically flying from her head;

"Big-sis Tilde will take care of you. After this, we're taking you clothes shopping. If you're going to represent Mr. Jericho, then you'll need to look sharp. The clothes make the man, you know?"

Of course, he didn't need to know that she'd had her own eye on a few bargains. It was all so lovely, really. Such a shame that everything would eventually be washed away. She pecked away at her food before adding, as if it were nothing but a mere afterthought:

"I'll explain the details of the mission on the way."
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#7
”Right... I suppose it would not be unusual then if that was the case.“

He said regarding people and things getting ”washed up” here in L’Isola. But what she said piqued his interest a bit.

”What exactly is the Crawling Dark? Jericho has not told me anything about that.”

He said before taking a bite of his gyro, it was noticeably colder for him. His body did produce more internal heat after all so it made sense he would feel the temperature difference a lot more. He did enjoy the flavor it had however. He raised an eyebrow as she called herself “Big-sis” however.

”Big-sis? Surely you can’t be that much older than me.“

He nodded his head as he stuffed more of the gyro into his mouth as she told him about when the mission details would be given to him.
 

GEAR

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#8
"Must have hit your head on the way in, huh?"

Tilde had opted to leave the rest of her food, evidently having lost her appetite. Instead, she picked up her drink - a coffee, swirling its dark contents with a thin plastic stick between the two of them.

"There are no other worlds left." She explained, bluntly. "The Crawling Dark's the one thing everyone from the outside remembers in common... Well, the ones unfortunate enough to be around when it hit.

An unstoppable wave of blackness, like the falling of an endless night, smothering everything like a blanket. Sometimes things come out of it. Weird things.

Some people see something like an angel. Sometimes it's a bunch of statue-like MW. I heard someone even saw a skeleton once. But there's one thing in common:"

She stopped stirring, and took a sip before letting it return to its cup. The hot bitterness was welcome on her tongue, and she took a moment to savor it before continuing, letting the young man sit in suspense as seagulls cawwed overhead.

"Nothing that ever goes in comes back. It's gone forever... as far as anyone knows. Some people think there's an entirely different world in there, but I can't say I'm keen to find out for myself."

Tilde shook her head, taking another drink before letting her hands fall to her lap, where they rested in contemplation as her face displayed mock seriousness, tone dropping a little as she shot him an accusatory look.

"Hey." She said flatly; "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to ask about a woman's age? ...Honestly."
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#9
“Well, that helps to explain how I got here...”

He said as he held his head trying to remember what it was that encroached upon him in what he thought were supposed to be his final moments.

”For me, it was like a horde of... Agh, I can’t even remember the specifics. It was just a horde of... something.”

As she mentioned his manners, he would take another bite of the gyro. Feeling the breeze in the air with his eyes closed.

”Sorry, a bit of a habit back in the day. I tended to probe people for information while I worked undercover as a test pilot for the Earth government. Forgive me if you find that somewhat offensive, Ashle-.”

He cut himself off before he could fumble, he then very quickly corrected himself.

”Tilde. If you wish to make more fun of me, so be it.”

He didn’t know if this was a test or not, but he just decided not to take any of her teasing from this point on.
 

GEAR

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#10
As he spoke, Tilde rose from her seat, tapping her card on the edge of the table as she did so, the telltale bing-bong registering her payment. When he asked if she was going to make fun of him, she turned-

And his eyes were brought level with her index finger, thumb cocked upright behind it, pointed directly inbetween his eyes. Everything seemed to be quiet, the whole world hanging in silence on that one moment. Her thumb moved down minutely - and a noise escaped her lips.

"Pchew~."

Matilda brought the finger-gun to her lips, and blew on its imaginary barrel. Despite the childishness of the gesture, there was nothing but seriousness in her voice, and her eyes as she gazed down at him.

"The old you is dead." She said, coolly.

"Providence has seen fit to bring you here, to liberate you when all others perished. You survived because you were different. I don't care what happened to you before, because what transpired in a dead world doesn't matter to anyone. Not anymore."

She placed a hand on her hip as she lowered her head, and voice, speaking close to his face, to his ear as though they were sharing some kind of secret.

"Your accomplishments? Gone. Your friends? Gone. Yet, you haven't so much as shed a tear."

At that, she gave a small, curious laugh, pausing before continuing.

"Your sins? Your enemies? Your secrets? Those too... are no more. Tabula rasa."

She rose back into the light... and again, there was something about her eyes. A glint of something deeper, some distant, ferocious drive, the kind that made men scale the highest mountains just because they could. Her hand came down, white palm outstretched, offering to help him up.

"Today," Tilde said softly, "Your new life begins."​
 
Mar 23, 2021
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#11
”You may have a point.”

He stood up on his own and looked at Tilde. His eyes somewhat unmoving.

”But of course what defines us will never change. I will still be me, I may change... But not today. As for what I have done, that may be gone as well, but what it meant to do those things will never fade away from me.”

His voice became a bit somber in its tone. She was right though, he hasn’t quite grieved anyone since he got here. It was like something fast forwarded that point in his life before he could even have a say in it. There was something wrong with this world. Was he in a simulation? Was he in a fabricated reality? Was he in the depths of hell or purgatory? He didn’t know, all he knew was that holding onto something from his past life was something he should do to keep himself sane in this brave new world.

”That doesn’t mean I won’t take you up on your offer however.”

He said before taking her hand into his.

”Show me the way through your world then, Tilde.”​