>What lies beneath is fire and stone....Pastebin Part I: http://pastebin.com/CaFpKVuWPastebin Part II: http://pastebin.com/2Bx9yvhc Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/28449699/Here you stand, reborn as a creature as inhuman as anything that walks the plains of Africa and the shores of China. The water that sluices down your body has cleansed the oils and salves of the ritual from you, but it cannot cool the fires in your blood. A thought, a desire, and you would be an inferno of burning flesh and rock-llike armor, meant to expunge the corrupted flesh of Human and Nazzadi the Chrysalis Corporation has created in the name of the Children of Chaos to topple the N.E.G. It does not keep you from feeling sorrow at the loss of a friend. Fanzi's family will never be told of how she died, or why; the only ones who will know are the members of the Eldritch Society. It doesn't seem strange to you that she did die; she was weak, in some fundamental manner, someone less than ideal for becoming a Tager. It doesn't ease the sadness by much, but it is something you wholeheartedly believe is true. The dichotomy of your feelings is sharper than you expected, and it is obvious that the symbiont is already having an influence on you. It isn't unexpected, but to have formed such a close, deep bond so quickly is unusual. Or perhaps it isn't unusual and no one ever talks about it. [Con't.]
>>28524878Be that as it may, you've been standing in the shower for half of an hour, and in another half hour you're supposed to meet Yen Chau, who claims that Viss and Rechert are a liability to the murder, and will get the others killed. The idea of them getting you killed is laughable, and Yen's claim that they are weaker, somehow less powerful than other Tagers is patently ridiculous. The elders have already planned to send you to another enclave of the Society, while the Spymaster of this enclave has already set up a task for the murder, one which you will see through with them. While you hope some will join you in the trip to the new enclave you plan on leaving the choice up to them. Leaving the shower at last, you brush out your hair and wrap it in a towel to dry, wrapping yourself in another towel after. The closet is open; Fanzi's clothes and yours, easily separated by size considering she is – was – three sizes larger than yourself. Training outfits, casual clothing, even a set of body armor. You have some time, and you're not entirely sure what is going to happen with Yen. And you remind yourself you need a call-sign, eventually. For now, Anne will do. Dress casually, you can spruce up for the funeral. Dress in armor, you are a warrior now. Dress nicely, make impressions. Other – write in.
>>28524908[X] Casually. We make enough impressions.
>>28524908>[X] Dress casually
>>28525030On second thought, dress nicely. This is a time to make positive impressions, I think.
>>28524908> [x] Dress nicely, make impressions.
>>28525030>>28525091>>28525097>>28525134>>28525191[X] Dress casually, you can spruce up for the funeral.[x] Dress nicely, make impressions.Deciding for something a little nicer than usual but not overly so, you lay out your black blouse with the gold, ruby, and sapphire embroidered panel with the dragon beading, then simple black slacks. You do stick to simple lingerie, equally black. A woven leather belt, with a pocket for your PDA, and a golden buckle, as well as basic flats, trimmed with gold as well. High heels are for dying in. You finish your hair drying and comb it out, the tangles coming out more quickly than usual, given not only your new strength but the lack of pain that the process usually involves. Rather than take the utilitarian ceramic knife you usually wear out – other than at rituals – you take the lacquered wooden that conceals the hiltless tanto-styled dagger you received from your mother on your eleventh birthday. You forgot the name of it, it has a proper name, but you usually do not wear it outside of special occasions. This probably counts. After dressing, adding the tiny amounts of makeup that accent a Nazzadi's jet black skin and crimson eyes, and putting the room in order, you settle down to wait for Yen Chau, thinking on what you have learned of Spectres. [Con't.]
>>28525305Typically, Spectres are creatures of death in a far more intimate manner than most. They are determined, steadfast, and decisive. They also tend to be very aloof and detached....all tings Yen is definitely not being right now. Spectres are not incredibly tough, but they have significant regeneration, enough to be nearly a match for that of a Vampire or Efreet. Their armor isn't as tough however. Their ability to phase through solid matter isn't a huge concern for you unless he decides to attempt to use the Spectre's limit attack on you, but the gravewind might be a problem, largely because it is impossible to see through. You don't know if it can obscure thermal sensors; Spectres might not be as warm as other Tagers or creatures, but you know for a fact a Spectre can sense thermal variation through their own gravewind from combat training. He was [physically stronger than you to begin with, but now you doubt that's the case; on the other and, he was a mystic, and has a lot of orgone to power his new abilities with.It occurs to you that you stopped thinking about mentality and started considering how to combat Yen, and that in and of itself is cause for concern. Did the ritual go wrong for him in some way? Did facing the symbiont drive him mad, or did looking Beyond do it? Or is it something else, something to do with Viss or Rechert in particular?  Find Rechert or Viss, ask them. Wait for him here, it won't be long. Alert someone. Other – Write in.
>>28525318> [x] Wait for him here, it won't be long.Let's hear him out first before coming to any conclusions.If we do want to alert someone, better ask the Elders or someone who has more experience and power than us.
>>28525318[X] Wait here. A tager of our word.
>>28525379>>28525414[X] Wait for him here, it won't be long.It doesn't take long for there to be a knock at the door, but rather than Yen it is another Human acolyte of the Eldritch Society by the name of Marie, another who seeks yo accomplish the Rite of Joining. “Your pardon, dame, but Yen Chau sent me. He would like you to join him in the combat training room, alone.” Well, at least you qualify for the title now, though you're still not blooded.“Is that what he said?” Your words come out a little harsher than you intended, and Marie bows her head, making an apologetic gesture. Rising from the chair you take the aikuchi – you knew you remembered the name of the damn thing – and slip it behind your back, into the tight belt loop made for holding the sheath snug. “I am sorry, dame, yes, that is the request. I apologize for troubling you in your grief.” she bows her head, but remains standing at the door. The poor woman is clearly upset but you don't you upset her that much. You're not sure what got up Yen's ass....but then again you're not truly his pack leader, are you? He should still have some respect for your status. Yen ~is~ a scholar and a mystic, and perhaps not really used to abiding by any hierarchy other than that set by the Elders or other sorcerers; he's slightly better than an adept after all.You're not even capable of being a novice now. [Con't.]
>>28525638“Is there anything you need dame?” Marie asks, troubled by your expression perhaps. She certainly seems worried about something. Oddly, the acolyte is still waiting by the door for you to dismiss her rather than excusing herself and going about her own interrupted business, perhaps showing you due deference. Perhaps not. People have been treating you oddly ever since the ritual. No, a little before that, now that you think about it. Ask her what's wrong. Apologize for scaring her and send her on her way. Ask her to tell Yen to meet you here. Other – Write in.
>>28525656>[X] Apologize for scaring her and send her on her way.might aswell humor him
>>28525656> [x] Ask her what's wrong.> [x] Apologize for scaring her and send her on her way.
>>28525656[X] Apologize for scaring her and send her on her way.Let's see what he wants.
>>28525705>>28525721>>28525731[X] Apologize for scaring her and send her on her way.[x] Ask her what's wrong.“What's wrong Marie? If I scared you, I apologize....” Marie looks up with a wan smile, and shakes her head. “No, dame, you didn't scare me. I just....I've talked with Yen before, and he wasn't himself. I mean, you're different too, but not like him. He was....” She wrings her hands, and there's a definite tremor in her voice. “Go on, Marie, please.” You can understand her hesitence – Tagers are almost godlike, infallible beings in the Society. Hell, the Elders are still awe-inspiring and you melt concrete by standing on it. “And call me Anne.”She looks at you, and takes a deep breath. “He seems like someone else. Like he's....like he's scared, dame – Anne.” That does rock your wold a little. After being in the Beyond, after joining in symbiosis with the Higher Beings, now he's frightened? “Thank you Marie. I'll talk to him. It will be all right.” She smiles in relief and bows her head, almost curtseys. The very concept of a Tager being afraid is alien; and he's a Spectre to boot. What could he possibly be afraid of? [Con't.]
>>28525794After Marie leaves, you slip out into the halls. There is a little activity, some preparing for the funeral, others greeting the new Tagers in their midst, and still others going on with their training, teaching, or studies. The combat hall should be largely deserted, or perhaps entirely deserted if Yen Chau has decided to have people leave. Tagers are the upper echelon of the Eldritch Society, and it would not be unusual for a Tager to requisition the combat room for one purpose or another. You receive a number of greetings, both from people you know and strangers, and even the older Tagers give you polite acknowledgment as you pass, despite the fact you haven't been blooded. It doesn't take long to reach the training room, and as you suspected it is empty, save for Yen. He stands in the center of the room, hands flat together in front of him, as if praying, and you can see his mouth moving in the dim lighting that streams from the edges of the room. There is the faint reek of decay and rot, remnants of the gravewind as though he's been practicing combat while waiting for you. Under normal circumstances that is understandable, curiosity about your own powers abounds. Except that having cleared the room and asked that you meet him here alone screams of confrontation. He's wearing a black uniform, similar to those worn by off duty Tagers, tailored to fit nicely and reinforced both for protection and to prevent damage from the rigors of investigation and the hunt for the enemy. He doesn't appear to be armed – well, insofar as any Tager can be considered 'unarmed' – while you are carrying the knife you usually carry when not training, sheathed behind your back. Everyone knows you carry it and it isn't exactly unusual for people to be armed. The Society has many enemies.You're starting to wonder if you have some you weren't previously aware of. [Con't.]
>>28525805Only the lights at the far edges of the re-purposed warehouse room are on, leaving the center of the room coated in a blue-grey gloom. Not that this bothers you in the slightest: you can see the sweat on his brow and the slight tremor in his hands as he lowers them to his sides with perfect clarity. It takes a bit of effort to maintain a cool demeanor, because Yen has been really getting on your nerves. Not your nerves, perhaps, but your symbiont's, definitely. Even if those nerves are currently in a different dimension. You walk towards him, and he steels himself, his expression determined and angry, but his eyes are narrowed, suspicious.  Confront him directly. Invite him to explain. Ask him what's going on. Other – Write in.
>>28525811> [x] Invite him to explain.Be friendly and polite. There's no need for a confrontation, especially on this day.
>>28525811Invite him to explain. What's eating him?
>>28525811[X} >>28525872 and >>28525847
>>28525922>>28525872>>28525847[X] Invite him to explain.“Can you explain what is going on now, Yen? What is it that has you so wrought?” Seeing him like this brings more concern than the intense irritation it engendered last time you tried to talk to him. True he's been pushing your buttons a little, but maybe now you can get some answers. “At first I was pleased that you had survived the change, the Sacred Joining, Anne.” He looks down at you, though you're not particularly short, and crosses his arms. Yen's never been so defensive, so nervous, even when faced with the possibility of being eaten by monsters summoned in the rituals he spent so much more time learning than you did. “Seeing you there, transformed, changed by the Higher Beings into an engine of destruction far more powerful than....than anything I'd imagined you would become, it made me aware of something.” Whatever he was going to say before he changed his mind was probably closer to the truth than that. “You can't be allowed near Viss and Rechert. You'll destroy them.”It sounds utterly ridiculous. In fact, it sounds like something more rehearsed than what he actually means. Yen is sweating bullets and looking at you with that haughty, noble expression of his that makes you want to laugh, it's so unlike him. “You can't lead them anywhere. You shouldn't even speak to them or be near them.” This isn't sounding so funny anymore. “You shouldn't even be an Efreet. You shouldn't be allowed to lead, and you should never lead them.” His expression slips, looking more fearful than protective or demanding, but he shakes his head and looks you in the eyes. “Just leave them alone Anne.” His hands clench and he glares at you, trying to intimidate you again. That's going to work this time, definitely.  What's wrong with you? Why exactly should I? Are you jealous? Other – Write in.
>>28525930> [x] What's wrong with you?Why would we hurt our friends?
>>28525930Looks like he's had issues with us. Maybe with us allowing Fanzi to take part in the ritual? Maybe he's jealous, maybe he genuinely considers us incapable of leading. Or he has hots for Viss and Rechert.Of course it's possible that someone forced him to say that, internal conflicts and all that, or that it's his symbiote driving him mad.
>>28525930[X] What's wrong with you?I sense a disturbance in the Force.
>>28525957This. Jealosy does not become you, Yen. Maybe you need some time to recover your balance after the Joining.
>>28525999Or he wanted to be the guy in charge, or the strongest Tager around.
>>28526020Oh yeah I forgot to type that in.
>>28525957>>28525999>>28526012>>28526013[X] What's wrong with you?“What's wrong with you? Why in Earth would I want to harm either of them? They're TAGERS, Yen, like we are. We all have the same goal, the same needs in the end. So what is wrong? Tell me, please.”Your question, neither flippant nor angry, seems to anger him further. He turns around and brings his fist up to his bowed head. You can actually hear his joints creak in the silence of the room as he clenches his fist tightly. “Why is that important? Can't you just trust that I know better than you do?” Now he's being cryptic AND obscure, in addition to obtuse. 'If you lead, they'll follow, and they'll suffer for it. That's all you have to know, Anne.” “Yen-”He turns on you, standing tall and for a brief moment, you can see the aloof, potent creature that he should be, the Spectre behind the facade of man. “Gravedigger.” [Con't.]
>>28526090You stare at him and rather than continuing to meet your gaze he seems to wilt a little, cower in the face of your presence. Which is disturbing, because you're not actively trying to cow him. For a moment you thought he would be okay. “Gravedigger, you've been hinting and hemming and hawing, and you've not given me one real reason to take you at your word. Give me an actual real reason. Stop acting like some half-mad prophet and explain this to me.” His eyes get wide at your use of the word 'prophet' and he grimaces, and glances around, fearfully – not just nervous, but actually afraid! You haven't heard a single sound other than the air vents, and the lingering scent of the gravewind is all that can be smelled, but his rampant paranoia is worse for all that. “Yen?” You speak his name softly, and reach for him. That's when he swings at you.... Dodge – roll 1d30+8 Agility check. Take the hit, you're tougher. Other – Write in.
Rolled 4 + 8>>28526102dodge fast
Rolled 29 + 8>>28526102> [x] Dodge – roll 1d30+8 Agility check.
Rolled 6 + 8>>28526119>>28526138Here's hoping for a good roll.
>>28526119>>28526138>>28526203[X] Dodge – roll 1d30+8 Agility check.The utter shock of being assaulted by Yen Chau throws you entirely off your stride. You've always been quick to react, always been about getting out of the way of your attackers, because you were a lightweight. But this was too insane to be prepared for. He hits you, a solid blow, across the face, snapping your head back....and that's all. You barely felt the impact, and the bruises won't even have time to show before they heal.He ATTACKED you! The stupid, smelly little Spectre ATTACKED you! Never mind that it didn't hurt, he's a Tager, a brother in spirit and alien flesh! And he ~knows~ how powerful you are! You lift your head, you inhuman resilience having absorbed the entirety of the blow, and gaze coolly at him. Yen Chau, mystic, scholar, summoner of creatures from Beyond, Tager, and holy warrior of the Eldritch Society, trembles in fear. He's terrified of you. He's not becoming a Spectre, and he's trembling in mortal terror of you. You've changed, but not that much. At least, you hope not.  Hit him back. He'll live. Probably. (Agility, 1d30+8) Manhandle him, but don't hurt him. (Strength 1d30+9) Try and talk him down. (Presence 1d30+7) Other – Write in.
Rolled 25 + 7>>28526251> [x] Try and talk him down. (Presence 1d30+7)Quick question, higher is better, right?
>>28526259>Yes, higher is better, there are no crits, only degrees of success and failure.
Rolled 10 + 9>>28526251[x] Manhandle him, but don't hurt him. (Strength 1d30+9)Time to play to our strengths.
Rolled 23 + 7>>28526259Second.
>>28526259>>28526272>>28526288[X] Try and talk him down. 1D20+7 Presence check.[x] Manhandle him, but don't hurt him. 1D30+9 Strength check.>32, 30>19“You can't do that, Gravedigger.” Well, it's patently obvious that he can, but that's not really what you mean. “I'm not some acolyte you can terrify with a few words and the threat of violence. I'm not even your superior, or your pack leader.” You look at him and extend your arms at your sides, palms open, nonthreatening. “I'm your ~friend~ Yen Chau. I'm here to help you.”You can smell his fear, his eyes are wide and mostly sclera is visible. “Don't do this to us. I'm not going to ignore a warning, or hurt Rechert or Viss, I'm not here to hurt you. I'm here because you asked me to be here, and I'm not here to punish or defeat you.” You take a slow step towards him, and he looks down, his eyes filled with tears, his body shaking.You take another slow step towards him and he swings again, but you have both your hands up and at his collar before he can even finish the blow, your arm blocking his. You were always the fastest and this time you were prepared. Lifting him off his feet is ridiculously easy; you have him off the ground and at arms length effortlessly. Now you're one of the strongest as well, apparently.“Are you INSANE?!” You only pull back a couple of inches and thrust him up and away, and he crashes into the ground a half-dozen feet away from you. You're there before he can do more than roll onto his belly, dazed by the impact; then your foot is on the back of his neck. You press, he goes down – this isn't even a contest between you despite him being six inches taller and outweighing you by seventy pounds. [Con't.]
>>28526339It isn't going to stop him from leaving. He could turn into the Spectre and side through the floor. You couldn't stop him at all, nothing could. Yet he remains under your foot, held in place, his hand ineffectually trying to grab at your ankle from behind. As if he's forgotten every moment of combat training. “What the dark blazes is wrong with you, Yen Chau?” This time there is no holding back. The voice of Authority, the command of a Tager. The leader of a murder of Holy Warriors. “Tell me the TRUTH!”“Th....the future....the future is set....in stones....” His heaving breaths are unnatural, unhealthy. Then he begins to change, transforming into the Spectre that he should be, the Tager he is. Instantly you know something is horribly, horribly wrong. [Con't]
>>28526346His scream echoes off the silent grey walls, his fingers digging into the concrete floor. You step away, knowing how dangerous it is to be in contact with any transforming Tager. It is never this long, this drawn out. You watch as his flesh becomes porous in some places, other places where his skin sliding off in sheets – not the entirety of his skin, but individual layers of his skin collapsing in on itself. His muscles are twitching living fibers of crimson, fraying and then bursting apart, his bones shifting in pieces and immediately re-mending, leaving them looking like badly stacked cans. Even now his regeneration is fighting the process, half healing him as his flesh takes on unnatural life of its own. He rolls onto his back and you can see inside him, his chest cavity a raw, pulsing, gangrenous wound. You can see PAST him, through him, as though there were no concrete below him, a gaping emptiness filled with writhing, pulsing....life, perhaps. You haven't the slightest idea what they are, but they're not part of him, not part of the symbiont. Some weird corruption of Human and Higher Being, collapsing in on itself. His extremities are blackening, a glistening hideous charring of his features, as he struggles to breathe with organs gone mad with alien life. You can see the organs that should be combined hearts, alien flesh intertwined with Human flesh, and then fraying, collapsing, corroding into black sludge that dries almost immediately. The glowing red eyes of the Spectre, superimposed through the flesh of the human, you can see both sets looking at you, pleading, terrified as his screams become mere gurgling, his liquifying flesh filling the sacs that should be lungs or breathing organs. Aware. Intelligent. Both of him, symbiont and man, aware that they are dying. Dead. Oily black liquid, then char, and little else. Yen Chau, Gravedigger, is dead. TO BE CONTINUED....
Well fuck. They're going to blame this on us, aren't they?
There should be a thread tomorrow at about the same time.>>28526382Maybe. depends on how you deal with it.
>>28526414Great. See you next time, and thanks for running.
>>28526358Thanks for writing, mate. Got a twitter?
...well that was totally unexpected. Does this happen, ever? A Symbiote accidentally bringing something else along with it?Either way, I regret not suggesting we bring along someone else as a witness.
>>28526590Anne hasn't heard of it happening. It's probably something they would warn would be Tagers about, you would think....
>>28526590I don't think that it's a symbionte thing. Yen dabbled with magic, who knows what he tapped into or made a deal before. And even then, we're surrounded by sorcerers and spies dealing with world and dimension spanning intrigues - he could've just been used by some of them.
>>28526658There is one group of people who might know what happened.