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Random Encounters (OPEN)

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Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:15 pm

The weather was being insolently cheerful, with the sun glaring through the mostly deserted cafeteria’s windows. Absently prodding the bouncy mixture the cooks insisted was pudding, Tamerlane sighed. Most of the capital’s population was enjoying the peace and quiet after the recent unpleasantness, but stagnation was a pet peeve of his. Was it too much to ask for a decent side quest to pass the time? This dream of his was getting rather tedious. The bronze-haired alchemist decided that if something interesting didn’t happen in the next half an hour he was going to have to take measures.

Those usually resulted in reprimands on his official record and people trembling when they came across him in hallways, but such was the price for a modicum of entertainment around these parts. Paragon playthroughs were such a drag, anyway: all of the best one-liners involved somebody’s painfully ironic demise, and to be honest he’d never been particularly picky about who the somebody was. Toys were for playing, after all, and if you broke them... well, it was always easy to find others – the world was just crawling with them, after all!

Tamerlane had been in Central for two days now, idling around while the bureaucracy chewed on the matter of where he’d be shuffled off to next, and the wait was getting to him. The bronze-haired soldier was fairly certain he’d end up in South HQ, though in what capacity was anyone’s guess – the anticipation at the reveal of that little surprise had been enough to get him through the first day, but he’d been getting more twitchy by the hour ever since. The bespectacled man had been left to his own devices until the paperwork was processed, but since he lacked a State Alchemist’s license all the interesting libraries were still off-limits to him.

Where was RIOTE when you needed them, anyway? Random explosions and flashy master plans were just the thing to break the monotony around here. How typical of the miscreants to be so unreliable, they were so inconsiderate of other people’s feelings! A flicker of movement at the edge of his field of vision caught the man’s attention. In a flash, he caught the bee that had been wandering near his dessert under his empty water glass, watching it try to escape angrily with a gleeful smile.

“Well, well,” he murmured, “what have we here?”

The insect buzzed in response, apparently none too pleased at its predicament. Tamerlane pushed up his glasses and unholstered his handgun, an old-fashioned top-break revolver with nine shots to it. Putting it down next to the prison-glass, he drummed his fingers against the table thoughtfully.

“Let’s have a bet,” the alchemist offered the insect. “If someone walks into this room in the next five minutes, I’ll let you go.”

His smile turned a little more vindictive and he loomed over the glass.

“If not we’ll... experiment, you and I,” he finished with an ominous chuckle.


Last edited by Tamerlane Kaufmann on Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:07 am

Ugh.

He hated cafeterias.

Dens of germs, dens of uncleanliness, the common military rabble sitting with their rolled cigarettes behind their ears and chomping so... roughly... upon their pasties and sandwiches. The smell of disinfectant and MRE rations hung in the air, a suffocating, ghastly stench, the edge only softened somewhat by the smell of actual food coming from one of the windows, middle-aged, broad, chubby women stirring at great vats of sauce.

He was only here because he was in the building for some damned bureaucratic reason, and, between meetings, driving, and the occasional contract, had actually forgotten to eat for the past twenty hours. It was when a tendril of hunger struck at his body and his muscles physically began to loosen - not to mention the consistent grimacing of his stomach - that the assassin had once more realised the drawbacks of this mortal forms, and a necessity to eat, rather urgently. And then he'd passed the cafeteria.

Desperate times indeed.

He really did hate mixing with the common soldier most of the time. So... obtuse, so arrogant, that stench of unwashed uniforms and a lack of deodorant from their time in the off-duty gym. Hulking great beasts of men garbed in tank tops clinging to their grotesquely muscular forms, an obsession with physical fitness taken too far, perhaps an overcompensation for other deep-seated inadequacies, be they mental or otherwise...? Musing to himself as he walked along with a demented hum, Ayden absentmindedly wondered if there was some form of steroid addiction epidemic plaguing the Amestrian military.

But the reason he despised ninety-nine percent of the common grunts was their conformity. They were all the same, through their macho bullshit, putting up a front to hide insecurities germinating from trauma in early childhood, trying desperately to impress people - and, really, when you got them on their knees and had them sobbing through only the use of words (and, occasionally, the barrel of an unloaded pistol) it became quite easy to see just how fragile most of them were on the inside. Breaking people was an art, and when you're as skilled at it as Ayden was, you can tell the fragile ones from a mile away.

"Yeah?" The old, fat, cook was staring at him halfheartedly and exhausted through the quivering metal screen that was yanked upwards every morning at 6AM sharp. She'd probably been on duty since then. "Whatcha want?" The cook gestured idly to a menu behind her.

"That's 'what do you want, Major General?', to you." Ayden grinned back, hoping he could at least scare the living daylights out of someone with a veiled threat to their occupation. Her eyes widened and she begun to stutter, realising she could lose her job, with that eerie pearl-white grin upon his face as he gestured to the blackboard menu. "And I'll take a large black coffee, a glazed donut, and a sandwich, beef and horseradish. From the private stocks, and hold the spit." He'd served up at Briggs from Lieutenant through til Major General - he knew how this worked. All three of those things weren't on the menu, but they'd have them. Somewhere, at least. "And, quickly, please..." He stared at the name-plaque hanging limply from an apron covered in a collage of off-brown stains. "...Doris."

The startled cook tottered off and returned a few minutes later with his food, the line behind him amassing somewhat since he'd been here, no-one so much as bothering to murmur discontent with the slow progress of things. With a gentle inclination of his head - and no money, of course - he took his tray, and left, scanning the area for any open tables. Of course, he could sit wherever he so well pleased, with his rank and stature, and not so much get an eyebrow batted at him, but he felt like... well, he wanted some lunchtime entertainment, was all.

It was when his eyes fell upon a long, bronze-haired man in a uniform sitting alone playing idly with a glass and a small bee trapped underneath, buzzing around the glass angrily. The revolver sitting on the table made Ayden arch his eyebrow. Bingo. He'd found a playmate for the while.

With a contented smile, he stalked over to the table, letting out a cheerful sigh, half of release and half of anticipation when it came to the surprisingly delicious-looking food on his tray. "Now, now," He muttered, when within earshot. "Didn't your mother ever teach you that it's bad manners to play with your food?" He put the tray down on the seat across from Tamerlane with a resounding snap and let out a dull, lurid chuckle, eying the bee under the glass. This one... seemed fun.

((Remember - you need to colour your speech to show which language you're speaking in, even if your character's on his own!))

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:09 pm

Ah, a challenger appears, Tamerlane mused as he counted down through the second minute, eyeing his bee with overtly sinister intentions. A man in uniform – a Major General, from the decorations – was parting the sea of cattle to make it to his table. The alchemist hummed to himself thoughtfully as he rapped his spoon on top of the glass containing his prisoner, mildly amused at the way the vibrations sent it careening in every direction.

Even in Central he had enough of a “reputation” that people avoided sitting too close, which was probably better for everyone involved – boring people made his fingers itch, and the bronze-haired soldier had been trying to keep his body count down this month. Reviews were coming up, after all, and it wouldn’t do to have his superiors disapprove of him! Still, it was unusual that someone would seek him out this blatantly. Good - unusual might just mean interesting. And if it didn’t, well, he’d always wondered if a body would fit in the garbage disposer the kitchen staff had in the back. Either way, Tamerlane would be entertained until the end of the lunch hour.

"Now, now. Didn't your mother ever teach you that it's bad manners to play with your food?"

The tall alchemist’s lips twitched into an amused smile as the stranger put down his tray across the table.

“Alas, Major, I am but a humble country orphan who never benefited from his mother’s lessons,” he lied in a melodramatic tone, resting the back of his palm against his forehead in a pained expression. “Abandoned on the side of the road by my parents, I was raised by a kindly pack of wolves and took their customs as my own - to this day remain a most ill-mannered sort, I’m afraid.”

Rapping his spoon against the glass a second time as punctuation, Tamerlane watched the insect fruitlessly struggle for freedom. The more it tried to escape, the more he felt like denying it. There was something beautiful about helpless, confused despair, wasn’t there? Now if he could only figure out a way to put an actual person in a similar apparatus. The logistic of getting a glass that size made alone would make for an interesting problem to ponder.

“Just kidding, of course,” the alchemist smiled, flashing pearly white teeth at his superior officer. “I’m just cruel when I’m bored.”

Taking a moment to study the man in front of him, the bronze-haired soldier conceded the Major-General was one of the most memorable-looking NPCs he’d met in some time – long silver hair, limpid blue eyes and that panoply of attention-grabbing scars made him easier to remember than the usual military stock. What looked like ink smudges on the man’s index finger pads revealed itself to be a pair transmutations circles upon closer inspection. An alchemist, then.

Why, that was almost interesting! Even more interesting, though, was the man’s lunch. It was by no means on the menu, Tamerlane was willing to bet his neighbour’s life on it: beef sandwich and a donut? And that didn’t look like the regular slop of a coffee he usually got, either. Clearly rank did have some privileges. Taking out a roughed-up pack of cigarettes from his uniform’s breastpocket, the soldier fished out a smoke and produced a lighter from his sleeve with a flick of the wrist. Lighting the cigarette, he met the Major’s eyes as he took a lazy drag from it.

“So who do I have to kill to get a meal like that?” Tamerlane asked casually, a sardonic smile stretching his lips.


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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:42 pm

“Alas, Major, I am but a humble country orphan who never benefited from his mother’s lessons,” Ayden grinned as the backhanded palm came up to the alchemist's forehead in the illusion of drama. The off-handed error in his addressing a superior was nothing really to blink at; it seemed this one would be... fun. “Abandoned on the side of the road by my parents, I was raised by a kindly pack of wolves and took their customs as my own - to this day remain a most ill-mannered sort, I’m afraid.”

He arched an eyebrow. Common soldier, sadistic tendencies, and he was this well-spoken? Certainly an interesting sort. Ayden leant back against his chair and surveyed the man as he held one half of his beef sandwich, taking a small bite from the corner end, the horseradish and tough skin of the cooked beef coming together in a taste he'd always thought to be a few shades off of perfection. "Just kidding, of course," The silver-haired assassin waited for a continuation of the officer's sentence. “I’m just cruel when I’m bored.”

Perhaps they were more alike than he had initially fathomed. "I wouldn't necessarily call it cruelty," Ayden shrugged with something maniacal sparkling in that gaze as he let himself drift forwards, silver hair swaying gently in front of his eyes as he drew a tad closer to his newfound acquaintance. "One man's sadism is another man's entertainment, after all." And that rang true for him. He finished off the last bite of the sandwich, chewing as elegantly as one could, and dusted off his hands with a sigh, sitting back once more. "And technically, the correct shortening of my rank is General, as opposed to Major, but let us not split hairs, eh?"

“So who do I have to kill to get a meal like that?” Ayden grinned to himself and the light of the cafeteria glinted off eerily white teeth, stretched into a long toothy curve across his face. Seems this one had a sense of humour on him! And here, he'd thought that under the good Chancellor's rule, Amestris was starting to become oh-so-dull... he took the donut and the coffee on their separate plates and set them down upon the table, before sliding the tray - containing the second half of the beef sandwich - over to his fresh bronze-haired companion as a token of good will.

"Well, let's see," Ayden rose his hand and began to count on his fingers, staring off into the middle-distance. "A couple of RIOTE battalions, a mafia captain and a half-dozen of his lieutenants and high-ranking corrupt associates, the odd defective Drachman informant, a good slew of Cretan chimera gangsters, a professional Aerugese ball-dancer, an Esparian colonel convicted of various international war crimes..." And he could rest assured that was only the basis of a list. The assassin shrugged it off, grinning back in response. "The usual lot, to be honest." What was his bloodly little count even up to, anyway? He'd marked number three hundred and fifty before Christmas, but he'd gotten relatively busy in the past couple of months - and with Mr. Irlov the other day... hm, he was unsure. He'd have to check the books.

A sharp gaze cut through the silence, though, as Ayden eyed the cigarette, the smoke beginning to fill the atmosphere and his nostrils. Ugh. Well, even promising individuals had bad habits, it seemed. His could be... considered less-than-desirable, but, god, at least he wasn't a smoker. Slowly, the Major General reached into his pockets and fetched a pair of black leather gloves, slipping them onto his hands with a calculating stare straight into his fellow alchemist's eyes.

In a single, deft movement, he leapt forwards and tore the cigarette from the bronze-haired man's mouth, taking it and haphazardly flicking it off into the distance without looking. He offered a vindictive, challenging grin in response, tilting his head ever-so-slightly to the side and jerking a thumb over his shoulder to a small sign on the plaque. "No smoking." Ayden arched an eyebrow and broke into a steady giggle, half antagonistic and half plainly sporadic from the man's apparent insanity, ceasing after a few moments and sighing gently.

The weight of the Children hung familiarly at his ankles serving as a reminder that if this individual was even so much as politely disgruntled at his superior's actions, he could educate him on just how chain of command worked - from the stars on his epaulette - the Major General still, after all this time, choosing to shy away from typical uniform and don his regular phantasmal black garb - Ayden could tell that there was enough of a distance between the two that his "education" could be as vicious as he liked. But the murderer had a feeling that it wouldn't come to that; this bronze-haired man was far too intriguing to start a fight over something as trivial as a single cigarette - he wasn't like those "uber-macho" brutes who wandered the cafeteria inbetween bouts of intense rowing.

With that, he sipped at his coffee, the drink having cooled just enough to be of a drinkable yet satisfactory temperature. "Just who are you, anyway, soldier?" He murmured somewhat whimsically, staring off and not really giving his remark a second thought. At the end of the day, what did he care? This man was interesting, but not integral - perhaps things could evolve to be a tad more fun than simply the boring, boring, boring bureaucratic events of the day he'd been so unfortunately lead into. There were sociopaths abound in their military, that much was true; but... perhaps this one had... a tad more potential.

((Tris - sorry if you're not comfortable with Ayden taking the cigarette from his mouth, acted on initiative here, thought it'd be the best way to go about. If you're not happy with it, please buzz me on the box, PM or Skype and I can edit the post. ^_^))


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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:10 am

"I wouldn't necessarily call it cruelty. One man's sadism is another man's entertainment, after all."

That sounded like a justification, something Tamerlane had never really bothered with. He knew he was petty, cruel and often vindictive to the people around him – or would be, if there were any of those. You could not be cruel to something that was not real, after all, no matter how hard you tried. It was not that the rules the people of this world lived by did not apply to them: they were, indubitably, bound to law and morality just as surely as they were to gravity and thermodynamics. But why would any of those apply to him?

He was the dreamer and they were the dream, it would be absurd to consider him the same as them. Oh, the alchemist still hit the ground when he fell and still got cold when winter came, certainly, but those were temporary things. The day would come where Tamerlane’s understanding of the dream was sufficient to free himself of such trivial shackles, and then... Well, he would wake. That was bound to be
interesting.

"And technically, the correct shortening of my rank is General, as opposed to Major, but let us not split hairs, eh?"

“One of these days I’ll manage to go through a protocol briefing without losing interest,” the alchemist mused aloud.

The silver-haired stranger pushed the remaining half of his sandwich towards him, to the red-eyed soldier’s surprise. Wanton bribery this early in the conversation? He liked the precedent being set here. Blowing a mouthful of acrid smoke to the side – not out of any particular politeness, but because until he knew the other alchemist’s field of specialty anything was a potential weapon in the man’s hands – he abandoned the poor little bee to set his own tray aside and make room for the General’s.

"Well, let's see. A couple of RIOTE battalions, a mafia captain and a half-dozen of his lieutenants and high-ranking corrupt associates, the odd defective Drachman informant, a good slew of Cretan chimera gangsters, a professional Aerugese ball-dancer, an Esparian colonel convicted of various international war crimes..."

Chimera gangsters. That was a thing, now? Clearly he needed to get out in the streets more, he was missing out on all the interesting random encounters.

“Would have killed the ball-dancer too,” Tamerlane offered thoughtfully. “I never could stand a man in dress shoes.”

"The usual lot, to be honest."

“I only ever get to dispose of the odd imbecile,” the Red Smile Alchemist sighed. “The Chancellor should just hurry up and get us into a proper war already.”

Silence settled between them for a moment, made sharp by the Major General’s fixation on the cigarette between his lips – Tamerlane raised an inquisitive eyebrow, but said nothing as the silver-haired officer reached for a pair of gloves and slipped them on. He had absolutely no idea where this was heading, and was quite savoring the feeling. The bronze-haired Captain’s face remained blank as the other man snatched the cigarette out of his mouth and threw it to the side before pointing to a nearby sign.

"No smoking."

How mundane. Disappointing. Tamerlane cocked his head to the side, and wondered exactly how much trouble he could get for sticking the knife he had hidden in his sleeve right in the Major General’s jugular. Light glinted off his glasses as he seriously considered the matter, and his fingers twitched. The man was fast, true, but there were limits to how fast you could make your body go without resorting to Xingese arts. Would he get the blade in before the man put a bullet between his eyes? Will I even die if he does? Some part of him, the same part that had led him to murder his stepmother for no reason at all, was itching to find out. Then, suddenly, the red-eyed officer laughed out loud. It was too early to kill a newly-introduced character yet – they should have another few chapters before getting to that. Besides, the man had managed to remain interesting so far: there were few enough fish of that sort in the pond that only a fool would go fishing.

“Equivalent exchange,” he finally declared after a moment, hand whipping up lightning fast to pilfer a bit of the silver-haired officer’s donut and pop it in his mouth.

"Just who are you, anyway, soldier?"

The alchemist finished swallowing the fruit of his glorious conquest and pushed back his glasses.

“Captain Tamerlane Kaufmann,” he replied. “And you would be?”

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:43 pm

“One of these days I’ll manage to go through a protocol briefing without losing interest,” Ayden shrugged. It wasn't really a question of briefing, just chain of command, to him. You keep the people above happy and do... whatever you want to the people below. As such, the alchemist himself had ascended from a position with large body of people superior to him and a small area of command below to one which was exactly the opposite. Only the Chancellor and the Commander of Fort Briggs had superiority over him - though with the dear Lieutenant General Tsukino having passed away recently, and the occupation of the northern fortress, the number of people he had to respect in the military dwindled to a steady one. “Would have killed the ball-dancer too, I never could stand a man in dress shoes.”

Ayden smiled over fond memories. "It was a woman," He remarked, somewhat detached; Joan Leblanc. Gelemortian by birth, Aerugese by profession. The pursuit had been somewhat short-lived; but the events that had taken place afterwards were of sheer ecstasy, in that slaughterhouse. Meat tenderiser, dialysis unit... aqua regia... suffice it to say that things had been oh-so-excellently gory for the silver-haired assassin and his little plaything. But that was a more... personal affair.

Hm. That arc of his life still needed a continuity, anyway; it'd been months since he'd even thought about those foul pieces of shit that had murdered his father. But alas, that vengeful chapter was yet saved for another time - military work came first whilst he planned his revenge on the librarian in secret. “I only ever get to dispose of the odd imbecile. The Chancellor should just hurry up and get us into a proper war already."

"Agreed," Ayden murmured in retort. This man was making him... pensive. And not in a bad way, not that goody-two-shoes moral reflection. This was of the nature of his business; murder was in his blood, and, quite frankly, the Amestrian military had provided him with something of a dry spell, recently. "Oh how I wish for a missive to take Drachma, cutting through Moscow with blade, bullet, and alchemy..." He whispered almost poetically, the smile on his face stretching a tad more.

“Equivalent exchange,” The segment of the donut vanished into the bronze-haired alchemist's fingers and way from his reach in a fairly speedy manner, but, alas, the defense of his confectionery was not Ayden's priority. The suspended state of the other man's expression was mirrored by the silver-haired assassin, the eternal and insistent curling of his lips into a smile of a variable scale remaining in permanence upon his pallor.

For a moment everything hung silent between them. Neither moved, the bronze-haired alchemist sat with a matter-of-fact look on his face, proud enough with himself that he'd supposedly conquered fresh ground over a superior's reflexes. Ayden popped the last quarter of the donut into his mouth and dusted the sugar from his hands. His hunger for mortal energy and sustenance of one variety had now been sated... but with his eyes on his newest toy, he ran his tongue over his lips in a slow, steady movement, scanning the man up and down as the light refracted from his corneas. The licking's nature was questionable at best; the donut had left a light dusting of sugar over his face, but the leather-clad murderer wanted to see if his fellow alchemist would respond, at all. Thus far his analysis was that this man's mental state was more than hardy enough to deal with the Major General to an extent - but what would happen if the assassin just gave him a little... push?

In a swift, fluid movement, Ayden's right hand snapped to the top of his shin of the same side, drawing Astaroth of the Children, the M1911 adorned with the inlay of a smiling yellow emoticon with a single blue tear running down its cheek. In one arc, he simultaneously pulled the pistol up, eased back the hammer with a click - the round already chambered thanks to the Major General's meticulous morning routines - and aimed it dead-on, across the table, at his acquaintance's chest.

"Chain of command," He commented, in the same manner as the red-eyed man's previous comment concerning equivalent exchange. For a moment, his smile widened and he tilted his head once more, the gun barrel held perfectly steady. The man's reply to his question of identity came but a moment later.

“Captain Tamerlane Kaufmann. And you would be?” Kaufmann... he'd heard tales of a Captain Kaufmann in the meetings earlier in the day. Only a brief mention as one of the new division heads for South. Normally, that fact would have been of no significance or consequence whatsoever; but this guy was young, and he seemed to have come out nowhere. New blood. Up-and-comer. Fresh and wet behind the ears still. Alchemical specialist. This tale was becoming hauntingly familiar; it was... almost too similar to his ascension through the ranks of the military. With scrutiny and almost suspicion in his eyes - suspicion rooted in pure circumstance - Ayden scanned the alchemist up and down once more.

"Major General Ayden Derocha of Briggs." That was one of his claims to fame. "Blackskull Alchemist." And there was another, one of his specialties on the table. "Amongst..." How to put this without being too obvious... subtlety was a virtue, after all. He leant forwards over the table, arching his spine and letting his grin widen as he pressed his face closer to Tamerlane's. The gun was still dead steady at Ayden's side. Finger on the trigger. "...other things."

[INITIATE THEME]

"I wonder..." He pushed forward even closer, whispering. "...do you think you could load, cock, and fire that... antique... you call a revolver in the instant it'd take me to just..." He eased the trigger down ever so slightly, letting it click, audibly, but not nearly breaching the pressure threshold actually required to launch a round. He looked down to the barrel of the M1911 once more and tilted it upwards on a slant, the metal muzzle of the pistol now aimed towards the general region of Tamerlane's face.

A moment later, he locked gazes with Tamerlane once more, azure on crimson, and pushed his head forwards. He blinked once; and moved off to the side, almost whispering in the Captain's ear. "...blow your brains out?" With that, he eased back, the hand holding the M1911 dead-steady, a widened, toothy grin on his face, Ayden sitting back against his chair and flexing his grip around the pistol, waiting for his fresh plaything's retort, clearly content with himself.

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:20 am

"Agreed. Oh how I wish for a missive to take Drachma, cutting through Moscow with blade, bullet, and alchemy..."

Ah, wasn’t that something to dream of?
Not one of these little skirmishes the enemy offered them these days but a proper war, the way they used to make them in the old days. To make men remember what they’d been like, before they’d learned to pretend they were civilized. To sing that age-old song of war again, to fly the banners and march northwards steel in hand. Yes, it would be something to bring the full wrath of Amestris to bear on those haughty terrorists pulling the strings in Moscow and see the whole edifice come down on their heads like a house of cards. To slash and burn and tear down cities, to sow salt around the corpses of the enemy so that nothing would ever grow again where they had once lived. Tamerlane could almost taste it on his tongue, the taste of smoke and burning flesh on snow. He wanted to ride a tank down the Red Square over the corpses of fleeing civilians, to use the Czar’s corpse to fuel his cooking fire.

A glint of madness danced in the bronze-haired officer’s eyes as he dreamed of setting the world aflame until there was nothing left but a handful of burnt-out supplicants crawling through the ashes of the Old World. Sighing, Tamerlane put the thought away from his mind – it might be a long time still, before the word came that Drachma was to fall. How despicable it was to put a man as fond of peace as the Chancellor in charge of a country, really. It might be amusing enough to put a man who knew that blood was meant to be spilled behind the supreme desk, one of these days. That very thought was treason, of course, but what did Tamerlane care for that label? He’d remained in Amestris, remained a dog of the military, only because it had so far managed to provide proper entertainment for one such as him. If it ever ceased to provide, well... there was something contemptibly beautiful about biting the hand that had fed you.

"Chain of command."

While he’d been dreaming the red dreams, it seemed that the NPC had been getting a little too uppity for his own good – there was a handgun pointed at his chest, with a garish yellow inlaid emoticon on the side of it. Did the man think the threat of death or pain would deter him? How quaint. Maybe it was time to explain to the dear General the difference between the Protagonist and the Secondary Characters. More specifically, how expendable colourful new names were in a weekly publication like theirs – why, they got killed off all the time just to show how dangerous the person doing it was. Tamerlane cocked his head to the side, eyeing the pistol with nothing more than mild interest.

“There’s only one law that holds when the guns are out,” he replied casually, “And that isn’t it.”

"Major General Ayden Derocha of Briggs. Blackskull Alchemist. Amongst ...other things."

That was a name he’d heard of before, even before coming back to Central. The military’s attack dog, the one they sent to take out the trash. They said the man was insane, that it rained blood wherever he tread. Why, this might even be interesting.

"I wonder... do you think you could load, cock, and fire that... antique... you call a revolver in the instant it'd take me to just... blow your brains out?"

“That’s the wrong question, General,” Tamerlane said as a wicked smile bloomed across his face. “I could make you guess, but that’s just boring so let’s just skip straight to the answer. The right question is “Why don’t I hear the bee anymore?”

The newly-transmuted hydrogen sulfide inside the glass would have been rather harmless, if not for the fact that the bronze-haired alchemist had never put away his lighter: there was a click and an explosion lit up the table, sending glass shrapnel in every direction. Thrown back by the sheer force of it Tamerlane was sent crashing into the table behind them as he laughed madly, his glasses falling to the wayside during the impact. Pushing himself up, the grinning alchemist brought the revolver he’d managed to clutch at the last moment up to aim at Derocha.

“Why, Blackskull,” the long-haired man said teasingly, “I did have the time to cock it. Now let’s just assume it’s loaded, and that leaves us with one last question – would I have time to fire?

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:24 pm

“There’s only one law that holds when the guns are out,” Ayden arched an eyebrow, and finished the last of his coffee, putting the tall, empty, polystyrene cup down upon his tray and pushing it aside. Oh? And what would that be? “And that isn’t it.” The Major General had almost forgotten that he was holding Astaroth and had it aimed at Tamerlane's head from the familiar wait of the pistol. Oh, what fun the two of them had together.

"Indeed," Ayden retorted. He knew that rule too well. "A rule of instinct and human reflex. He who shoots wins..." And, considering the fact that he was sat there, very much alive, the Major General could have been said to be something of a winner in this particular context, with an absolutely spectacular player record.

"That's the wrong question, General," Oh? Ayden had eased back into his chair, keeping the pistol very much aimed steady. His grin fastened and solidified. It appeared that a silly little loaded handgun wasn't going to break the good Captain's mind just yet. “I could make you guess, but that’s just boring so let’s just skip straight to the answer. The right question is “Why don’t I hear the bee anymore?”” Click. Click. FOOM.

Ayden barely had time to throw his arm up in front of his face as the gas around the glass detonated, and Tamerlane was thrown back, cackling madly. The source of the explosion itself had been closer to the bronze-haired alchemist than he, but the shrapnel was more of the assassin's concern; however, this wasn't quite his first time in dealing with situations involving explosive fragmentation, and, so he remained calm, kept his cool, tensed his body for the shock, and threw up the arm.

The physical and instinctive reaction would have been to wince as the glass shards slammed into his arm instead of the facial area, one particularly large one carving itself a nice home deep in the flesh beneath his bicep, tearing through the leather with ease. A few of the fragments slammed into his combat vest, pitifully bouncing straight back off and clattering onto the floor. A couple glanced the arm clutching the gun, and at best, the alchemist's arm vibrated.

The echoes of the explosion faded with a ringing in the assassin's ears as the halls began to vacate, the cafeteria emptying around the two men sat in what was apparently now a standoff. “Why, Blackskull, I did have the time to cock it. Now let’s just assume it’s loaded, and that leaves us with one last question – would I have time to fire?”

Ayden growled in response, his smile curving upwards as he lowered the arm serving as a guard in front of his face, which was luckily unscathed, save for comparatively eon-old scar tissue. "Now that's more like it," The snarl came, after but a moment, as the alchemist removed the shredded sleeve of his jacket from his free hand - the one not clutching a gun.

With the jacket half-removed, Ayden swapped the gun to his left hand instead, the one maimed with the shards of glass, still embedded in his flesh, equally as proficient with that side of his body. "Let us assume that it's loaded indeed, Captain," The alchemist spoke with a grunt, shrugging off the other sleeve of his jacket and casting it aside, to reveal the full extent of not only his alchemy, but his more empirical arsenal.

It was a regular day, which meant that he had the pair of revolvers holstered at his hips on the gunbelt, the tantou sheathed at the back of his waist, the Canis Twins sitting in their respective shoulder-holsters, and the two bandoliers, one of throwing knives and one of small, intricate glass phials of a deep, crimson liquid crossed over a ceramic-plated reinforced bulletproof vest. Inky tendrils twirled their respective and symmetrical paths down each of Ayden's upper arms, down onto his wrist, and lastly, his hands, where he still, in one hand, the respective arm dripping with his own blood, held the semi-automatic pistol, wrapped with the leather of his glove.

"That said, my dear fellow, you appear to be missing a small factor from the equation." Ignoring any glance that would have laid on his arsenal, of sword, shot, and science, he tilted the gun ever so slightly and cocked his head in the opposite direction. "The trigger pull weight of your gun is far heavier than mine, considering that that appears to be a standardised top-break revolver to my semi-automatic pistol. More cumbersome, heavier firing system..." He drummed the base of the handgun, where the magazine was fed into its well, against the table twice. "...and no modified, sensitive hair trigger like mine possesses!"

Ayden grinned. "From average statistics," He tilted his head once more, looking off into the middle-distance with a false pensive look upon his face. "I'd be able to squeeze off three shots in the time you could so much as fire one." That was the truth - these situations had come about before, and in almost all of them, reflexes and a supremely modified trigger system had ensured the alchemist oft came out unscathed. "Not to mention that the one round you could get off would have to be aimed right between my eyes, because..."

Instead of illustrating his point with words, Ayden simply drummed the knuckles of his free hand against the ceramic plate over his chest. "...well ...you see my point." He cocked his head once more and the pistol tilted similarly, once more caught in false thought. "I doubt I have to even assert to you that, by way of hierarchy, assaulting, or even..." His tongue rolled over the word with such sarcasm. "...murdering..." As if this Captain, this novice, this respective child could even raise a glass to his clearly supreme abilities, be they physical or alchemical. "...a senior officer, is something of a bad idea, because that's common knowledge."

Ayden's grin twisted into one of true malice and control. Now, this? This would be the fun part.

"But you're not stupid, Captain Kaufmann," He mused, that brilliant, pearl-white smile ever-so-clear, his lips widened and putting it on display for all the non-existent spectators of their little spat to view. "You're tenacious, hot-headed, foolish, and ignorant," He spat each of the four words like they were poison, before moving on into a far lighter, chiding chant. "But you're not stupid."

Ayden glossed over these facts and into a more melodious tone hanging underneath his every word with a dark, deep drawl and a sense of almost telepathic foreboding. "I can see it in those bright red eyes of yours, Captain," He smiled and pushed his torso over the chest, one hand curled up into a black, leathery fist and the other still clutching the gun, slamming both against the table in unison to further affirm his point. "You know all about the bullshit of military hierarchy, and all the protocol and bureaucracy..." Something twinkled in that sky-blue stare. "...you... just... don't... care."

It reminded him of someone else. A man he too had knew; or more importantly, a boy. His name was Ayden Derocha, too. A child, before he'd ever become such an alchemist or assassin of repute, still under tutelage. A pale, frail little blind boy, who had lashed out and maimed a gang of bullies that had ambushed him. For that child had furiously opposed to consequences and not bothered to consider them. They had meant nothing to him. But consequences were everything - where the next bullet from the barrel of your gun struck, whether the blade stopped before or after it had cut into the flesh, whether you recoiled from the fire or walked straight through it. All of those had ramifications which could become game-changing in just a second.

Reaching over with a free hand into his gun-arm, Ayden's face tightened as he yanked the largest of the shards of glass from the underside of his bicep. A jagged piece, barely two inches long and an inch wide at its base, thin and curved. An idle spurt of blood came out as the assassin tugged the would-be shrapnel, containing inside it a tiny little basin of blood within the curves, and let all of it drip down onto the table, running into the pool that had already formed from the various puncture wounds on the alchemist's arm. "But none of this, Captain Kaufmann, truly matters, because..." With a smile of true brilliance, the assassin rose the index and middle fingers of his free hand, tainted with a gentle patch of deep, red liquid. "...you made me bleed."

With that, Ayden threw the pistol back into his right hand, jumped to his feet, and slammed his left palm down into the large - and growing - pool of his own blood. There was not quite enough there required for everything to work out and be a truly spectacular display, but it would do, for all intents and purposes. Beneath his palm in the warm, watery body of liquid, the blue, electric discharge of transmutation crackled, drawing in light from around them and centering a rather spectacular little show upon the two duelling alchemists.

A single fluid movement brought his knee up and the table skidding forwards onto its side, the blood glowing but for a moment before the hydrogen molecules within, no longer tethered to the oxygen, separated and all clumped together, detonating in an explosion on the surface of the table, now tilted upwards as the silver-haired alchemist crouched behind it for cover. "GYAHAHAHAHAHA!" Ayden Derocha cackled with gleeful, maniacal laughter from behind it, his free, second, bloody hand diving to his left shin for Astaroth's counterpart, Asmodeus, and wielding the twin M1911 pistols - the Children - in full. Instead of a tear upon the smiley face in this pistol's inlay, there was a small bloody droplet rolling down the face's cheek. For, reflecting this, Ayden represented the two sides of the coin, the two polar opposites of his delirium. High and low. Ecstasy and malice. Mania and dementia.

"YOU FORGET, CAPTAIN, THAT I AM AN ALCHEMIST, TOO! GYAHAHAHAHAH!" He called out from behind cover. If the novice so wanted a fight against his superior, in both alchemy and rank, the comparative master, then so be it.

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:32 pm

The rank and file was scuttling out of the cafeteria like rats fleeing a sinking ship, heads down and nowhere near inclined getting in the middle of a fight between two alchemists of questionable sanity. Tamerlane was somewhat disappointed at the fact that his audience was running in the opposite direction, truth be told – he’d prepared a speech and everything, and now the only person to hear it would be Blackskull! Admittedly the Major-General was an NPC with a name and fancy guns, meaning that unlike the rest of the herd he was probably plot-relevant, but sudden fights to the death just weren’t the same without the plebe cheering at the blood spilled from the stands. That was the problem with civilization, it put fear in the crowd’s bellies instead of a proper hunger to see guts strewn all over the floor. Derocha’s sleeve had been torn by the shrapnel, the bronze-haired soldier saw, but the damage seemed purely aesthetic. A shame, it would have been an interesting plot twist to have the Boss Fight done with the first blow. The halfblooded alchemist supposed he needed to grind more before his level got high enough for that – and to be honest, he wasn’t even sure whether the world ran with level scaling or not. That could be problematic.

"Now that's more like it."

“Why, General, I might just blush,” Tamerlane replied with a wicked grin.

"Let us assume that it's loaded indeed, Captain."

The man was a walking arsenal, really – twin pistols, one of which was currently moonlighting as the death threat pointed at him, another pair of what looked like submachine pistols on his shoulders, a blade on his back and a interesting panoply of throwing knives and red vials. It was blood in those, if the alchemist wasn’t mistaken, and if they both survived this little talk he might just be curious enough to ask whose it was. Loaded like a mule as Derocha was, it would have been easy to assume he’d be appropriately slowed down but his earlier nimbleness ran in direct contradiction of that assumption: the training that had lent the General that kind of speed must have been interesting indeed. By comparison, Tamerlane was nearly naked: he wore the blue uniform of the military’s leashed dogs and an empty holster at his hip where the revolver aimed at Blackskull’s head had once rested and a few straps of leather concealed a pair of knives up his sleeves cunningly. The Red Smile Alchemist preferred to walk about unburdened, frankly – he could pull all the heavy ordnance he needed from thin air, as long as he had something to ignite his alchemical specialty anything else was just dead weight.

"That said, my dear fellow, you appear to be missing a small factor from the equation. The trigger pull weight of your gun is far heavier than mine, considering that that appears to be a standardised top-break revolver to my semi-automatic pistol. More cumbersome, heavier firing system... and no modified, sensitive hair trigger like mine possesses!"

The red-eyed captain’s smile widened, flashing pearly teeth in a strange form of glee.

“Terrible odds,” he agreed cheerfully. “It’s like I’m just asking to get killed, isn’t it?”

"From average statistics, I'd be able to squeeze off three shots in the time you could so much as fire one. Not to mention that the one round you could get off would have to be aimed right between my eyes, because..."

The other officer rapped against his chest, the sound coming off of it betraying some sort of body armor. Ceramics or a hardened polymer, if he had to guess.

"...well ...you see my point."

“Do you have a crying emo smiley painted on that too?” Tamerlane inquired curiously, squinting, “I can’t see without my glasses.”

"I doubt I have to even assert to you that, by way of hierarchy, assaulting, or even ...murdering... a senior officer, is something of a bad idea, because that's common knowledge."

A bad idea. The words carried the implied command of “do not do this” and that was making his trigger finger itch with that familiar urge to cross the line just because it was painted on the ground. Did Blackskull really think he was the kind of man who cared about consequences? There was no plan at work here, no hidden intention behind this fight he’d started in a flash of flames. Plans were for people who cared about outcomes, and why would he? Whether this ended with shared drinks over the gutted, fuming carcass of Central HQ or with a state funeral for either or both, what did he care? As long as this moment kept going forward, as long as the wheel kept spinning and boredom was finally beaten back for a moment or two. Moments away from the distinct possibility of getting a bullet in the head, Tamerlane’s smile had never been more genuine. He loved this whole scene, the acrid smell of the still burning table wafting to his nostrils along the smell of fear the fleeing soldiers had left behind. A dogfight between strangers, a meaningless duel to the death between madmen started on a whim. What a pointless battle, he grinned in utter delight.

“Common is for commoners,” Tamerlane replied in a saccharine sing-song voice.

"But you're not stupid, Captain Kaufmann. You're tenacious, hot-headed, foolish, and ignorant. But you're not stupid."

“I’m very flattered,” the alchemist replied apologetically as his mood whiplashed back into seriousness, “But I consider myself married to my job. Besides, there are rules against this sort of thing, you know!”

"I can see it in those bright red eyes of yours, Captain. You know all about the bullshit of military hierarchy, and all the protocol and bureaucracy ...you... just... don't... care. But none of this, Captain Kaufmann, truly matters, because ...you made me bleed."

A flurry of movement, and in the blink of an eye the table was tipped towards him and exploding anew – the heat licked his face roughly, leaving a hand’s worth of blackened flesh and sending him flying back into the air, stunned and somehow still echoing Blackskull’s insane cackling with his own. Sailing right into a chair, Tamerlane felt a rib give as momentum carried him right into another table and foodstuff scattered all over the room. Rolling on the ground with a pained gasp, the bronze-haired captain caught the edge of a still-standing table and pushed himself up. A hysterical laugh bubbled up the halfblood’s throat, spilling over and resounding loudly in the emptied cafeteria. Twenty three years of living, and finally he was meeting someone who got it. That when playing a game as asinine as this one, when dreaming a dreaming as boring as this one, the only way to remain sane was to flip the board and carve a smile into the face of the rules with the edge of the knife.

“That’s it,” he clapped appreciatively as an unholy grin stretched his face to the breaking point. “That’s exactly it. They all yap yap yap, about protocol and rules and do this and don’t do that and this is wrong, or right, or follow your orders. Who you can kill, and who you can’t. They paint the world in black and white and pretend that’s all the colours of the pallet.”

There was a fevered glint in Tamerlane’s eyes now and he threw up a dramatic hand in the air, warming up to his subject.

“I want to make a perfect human,” he said, slipping behind another table for cover.

His revolver miraculously still in hand, he tried to get a lock on the other alchemist’s location as he talked.

“I want to bring down the sky on all our heads. I want make everyone immortal. I want to burn Drachma to the ground. I want to sell Amestris to Aruego for a penny and two parakeets. I want to start the Zombie Apocalypse, I want to become the Pirate King, I want to fly, I want to stop being bored,” he snarled.

Mania lit up the red-eyed soldier’s face and he smiled brilliantly.

“So let’s have a war, General!” he finished cheerfully, “And make it a good one.”

Lightning ran up and down his arm as the transmutation circle on his left palm came to life, crackling merrily as Tamerlane forced creation to obey his will and transmuted a chunk of oxygen above the Good General’s cover into hydrogen sulfide. The odor would be a little tip-off of course, he decided as he aimed his revolver and fired right into the cloud, but certain proprieties had to be observed. The third explosion of the afternoon came alive, and Tamerlane laughed through his still-ringing ears.

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:48 pm

“That’s exactly it. They all yap yap yap, about protocol and rules and do this and don’t do that and this is wrong, or right, or follow your orders. Who you can kill, and who you can’t. They paint the world in black and white and pretend that’s all the colours of the pallet.” Behind the table he was using for cover, Ayden had discovered that his fellow alchemist too had something of a habit for such grandiose spiels and speeches. As such, it was only fair that he let this would-be novice challenger complete his lead-up, build perfect suspense before crashing it all down, setting the spark to the powder keg. But the man on the other end of this speech was perceptive: and as such, he would wait for this crescendo with bated breath, eagerly anticipate it, expect it... and then counter with one of his own.
“I want to make a perfect human."


"But, my dear Captain," Ayden called back in retort. "Humanity is not perfect by its very definition!" He grinned. "So the concept of a "perfect human" is, infact," He paused with a little giggle slipping from between his lips. Oh, how to word this?! "A perfect oxymoron." And even if there was such a standard of humanity to ascend beyond the rank and file and reach true perfection, it wouldn't be this wet-nosed apprentice. It would far more likely be he. The assassin. The scholar. The ancient. The vengeful. The legacy. The master.

Tamerlane continued on the other side of the upturned table. “I want to bring down the sky on all our heads. I want make everyone immortal. I want to burn Drachma to the ground. I want to sell Amestris to Aruego for a penny and two parakeets. I want to start the Zombie Apocalypse, I want to become the Pirate King, I want to fly, I want to stop being bored.” Well, that was all well and good, wasn't it?

"The sky is there to symbolise our dreams and aspirations. If all were immortal, then we would simply yearn for mortality in inverse, and there would be naught special for it." Each of these issues were flawed. And one by one, he would address them. He would prove the Captain wrong. Prove that his logic was flawed. And, by extension: that he was, too. "Destroy your enemy in one fell swoop, and who will stand against you as a target and for entertainment? And if we're in the business of selling one nation to another, then I'm certain that it would be Ishval going first." Wasn't even a proper state, after all, no matter how it yearned for it.

"The zombie apocalypse would be a tad more difficult to survive, and I've met the pirate king; his position of so-called 'power' isn't exactly one to aspire to." He remembered Salazar Masu, and his 'big brother', Xanthus. Back in the days of the Black Company, Major General Dauthi... ahh, it seemed like an age ago. "If you want to fly, take a plane... but, boredom?" Something mad twinkled in those cerulean eyes. "There's a problem I daresay we can address."

“So let’s have a war, General! And make it a good one." The crackle of alchemical discharge on the other side of the wood was a dead giveaway; and infact, if Tamerlane hadn't already pulled that stunt with the glass, the stench of rotten eggs and the gaseous disruption above might not have piqued such a response from the assassin, but he was a man of logic above many other things. He put the facts together, and as the transmutation finished and the Captain rose his revolver to fire, Ayden instead ducked to the side and pulled his body into a roll, drawing a bloody line against the ground as his arm, still freshly cut, slid against it.

The revolver fired and the cloud erupted into a great explosion to complete the afternoon's trifecta. Well, now; things had certainly gotten nice and interesting, and just in the manner he liked: nice and fast. With momentum, he pulled himself through from the roll into a slide, toppling a single table lengthways in a deft movement and yanking his body behind it. "Are you done, Captain Kaufmann!?" He called out, pushing his back against the table's underside and clenching both of the pistols. Waiting for no response, he continued. "Good! Because I've got a little retaliation for you."

Producing from behind him a small satchel, Ayden dove into it and grasped two cylinders. "Tell me, Captain, it's apparent that you have no respect for the lives of others, or even life on the whole," Pulling them out, he rose them in front of him, and set them down, having lowered his pistols. Plain, grey, no labels, no block white capitals, no lettering and no designation. But, oh; he knew what they were. "But what do you think of Death?"

He shrugged, setting each of the cylinders down aside him as the circular pins jammed into the top rattled. "What do you know of Death? Do you respect him?" His left hand went to his right side, and drew from his shoulder-holster the first member of the Twins, his MP7 machine pistols. Engraved upon the edge read in capitals the words 'Canis Minor'. "What do you know of Death? The sweeping entity who at one point has or will come to us all, whether it's a brush when he strikes us through the passing of a relative or friend, or whether he raps his spectral knuckles upon the door he so calls his own?" Right hand to left side. An identical weapon. Automatic. Extended thirty-two round magazines. 'Canis Major'. "What do you know of Death? He who calls himself the Reaper, the most recognised supernatural entity of all time, and goes by many a name for all? Samael. Abaddon. Thanatos. Yama. Osiris."

He inspected the two weapons, one at a time. On each he inspected the magazines, checked they were full, before loading them fresh. Drew back the bolts and let them slide forwards, the first round locked and primed into the respective firing chambers. "So what do you know of Death, he who has his permanence engraved upon each and all of us, none with any exception? He who stands over us, a spectral omen, a Sword of Damocles hanging above each of our heads, a timebomb that none can defuse, sitting at our very cores, waiting to detonate and blow as all to tiny, bloody pieces?"

He set the machine pistols aside. Here it came. The climax. The crescendo. Not far, now. His favourite part of any rhapsody or symphony. "So what do you know of Death, he who feeds on chaos? Feeds on strike, misery, pain, suffering?" Everything in the room fell still and silent for a moment. Only the wind gently churned around the pair of them. "Feeds on... war?"

With that, he grasped each of the cylinders. Grenades. Smoke grenades. "Perhaps I cannot answer that for you, Captain Kaufmann," Ayden shouted from behind his cover. "But I can answer for what you don't know of Death." He paused, with the most fantastic grin, the most lustrous, pearl-white, self-righteous smile upon his face. "I am his emissary. His apprentice, his student, his servant and his scythe."

Without pausing for breath, seemingly, the assassin continued. "I carry out his wishes, his orders, his commands and his deeds from within this mortal form." Something took his breath from him as he continued, almost eerily gleeful in his admission of these facts. "I am... his incarnation."

And here it came. "So, I say..." His gloved grip tightened around each of the grenades. "Captain Kaufmann," Three... "With all this in mind," Two... "If it's a war you want..." Two simultaneous ping noises followed by light clatters as the grenade pins rattled to the floor. With each hand, Ayden tossed the pair of grenades behind him, grinning with true mania as they began to hiss, filling the room with a deep, strong smog. Perhaps Tamerlane could transmute some of it into his petty explosive gas, but not this quickly, and not all of it at once as the smoke began to seep from each of the grenades in seemingly endless rivers. It masked his position, his location, and meant that the challenging alchemist would only be able to pinpoint where he stood from the dimmed muzzle flashes of his weapons and the crack of exploding gunpowder.

Ayden grasped both of the machine pistols, and threw himself upwards, his body twisting and contorting into a great flesh-like pillar as he sprung upwards. "IT'S A WAR YOU'LL GET!" With that, he begun to alternatively clamp down on the triggers, releasing a short burst of rounds with each pull from each of the pistols off towards the completely-obscured table that Tamerlane had been crouching behind. The splintering of wood gave way to the fact that he'd met his target - or at least, a target as he shredded the table to pieces, hopefully keeping his pitiful challenger suppressed. "BYAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!" And that? That was a fitting accompaniment to the thick stench of artificial smoke and cordite, and to the crackle of gunfire and the gentle tinkling of cartridge casings falling upon the floor. Empty. Smoking.

This war... this war had just begun.

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Re: Random Encounters (OPEN)

Post by Csilla Angelis on Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:04 am

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