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Shared Story: Character Campfire:

PI
There have been a lot of these threads in the past. Each time, things have gone wrong, and new rules have been added, so that things will never go wrong again. Somehow, things always go wrong anyway. Let's shake things up a bit. Let's harken back to the early days of the Collaborative Writing threads, where we didn't know what wouldn't work, so we gave everything a chance.

Welcome to the shared story. Bring in or create your own character. Serve as narrator to his or her piece of the setting and plot. There are no rules but those of English grammar and good storytelling. If you are not sure whether or not you should do something, do it. It is better to ask forgiveness than permission. Let's see what we can do.

______________

The last gas for a hundred miles was closed, and looked as though it had been for a very long time. The only sign of life, from horizon to horizon and across the hundred miles of desert for which the gas station was supposed to be providing fuel, was a campfire. It had been built out of garbage and the meagerest scraps of wood, by someone who had never been a boy-scout. It was doing very little against the cold.

At first glance, the fire was abandoned, just like the gas station and the road beside it, but if anyone stopped for a moment or two, they would have seen fresh footprints in the dirt. They might have noticed something huddled against the shell of pump six, and if they listened, under the wind and the fire and and the yips and howls of desert wolves, they would have heard the labored, metallic hiss of worn-out machinery, because the something asleep at pump six was something breathing.

Ta-dum.. ta-dum..

The purple dusk is beautiful as when the red sun has all but disappeared beneath the horizon. The air does not move, but you could hear it whisper to your ears when you walk the sorrowful plain. The dirt and gathered sand remembers your every footstep. By the refueling station, the lonely fire is slowly dying.

And there is Quon. She who'd wandered the desert quietly, her hair tuffed and rumpled. The life module vest she wears has kept her alive to this point, feeding her body the necessary nutrients and filtering out toxins intravenously. But an indicator on the unit is beeping yellow; its salt, calcitrol, and water supply nears depletion - and eventually the catalytic process would end, leaving her kidneys struggling for dialysis.

Maybe there will be some more salt and calcitrol left in the station.

As she approaches, she hears a strange noise by one of the pumps. "Ra-ra?" she goes. She strides, more slowly now, cautious as she begins to investigate the happenings by one of the pumps. Ta-dum.. ta-dum.. her heart beats.

edited 20th Sep '12 3:13:22 PM by QQQQQ

 3 Collen, Thu, 20th Sep '12 3:55:12 PM from it is a mystery
vilent waler
Felix strode through the desert, glad that soon night would finally fall. It felt like forever since he left Ne'aerhaven, one of the several communities that made up August, but he knew it had only been a single day, more or less. Close to his heart he held a hastily-sealed envelope, afraid that if he put it in his pocket it might fall to the ground and get lost underneath the sand. It would take much more than March luck to get this letter to its destination.

Although Felix was mightily curious of what the letter said, he dared not open the envelope. The king of March - well, his messenger at any rate - told him over an over again not to open the envelope and certainly not to give it to anyone. Direct orders won out over curiosity, and so the envelope remained unopened.

Felix brushed a curly hair away from his eyes, wishing he'd been able to get his hair cut back at Ne'aerhaven. But the Augustans didn't have any barbers; their hair grew out very slowly (out in the hot desert they had little need for hair to keep them warm) so they never saw any point in them. "Cut it yourself, " one of the residents of Ne'aerhaven had said. "Nobody will notice it among the desert sand." Be that as it may, Felix was loath to leave it all in the desert, all in a jumbled mess in a completely random location. He twitched at the mere thought.

Felix squinted at the horizon, wondering if he'd be in September any time soon. It had to be somewhere near here, surely... However, he saw not an inch of grass nor a single apple-bearing tree in the distance. However, he did see some sort of building, and (Could it be...?) a figure wandering near it.

"Hey! You there!" called Felix, breaking into a run, his voice somewhat rough from almost a day of disuse. "Wait! Do you know if I'm near the September border yet?"

edited 20th Sep '12 5:39:37 PM by Collen

PI
The figure at pump six shifted and opened his eyes.

"Ra...what?" he said, through a thick layer of sand and dehydration. He wanted to cough, but the mechanisms for that sort of thing had been long since destroyed. His massive chest carried on rising and falling, and it would, he suspected, long after he finally managed to die.

He tried to look around for the voice, but had no high hopes. It had been so soft, and so like his subconscious to dream up a bit of company. He let his head fall back against the rusted metal. The fire had gone out and he couldn't even see his hand in front of his face, but he knew there was no-one there.

The man began to drift again, eyes slipping closed, foreign metal hands still scraping air and sand and grit across his raw esophagus. Maybe this is the last time, he told himself cheerily, as he did every time he went to sleep. Maybe I'll never wake up,

""Hey! You there!"

He opened his eyes. Well, he told himself, as he did every time he woke up. Maybe next time, then.

Then he realized the moment's greater significance. There were voices. Definitely this time, but why could he still not see anything? It took the man another second to puzzle it out, and when he finally pulled his own coat away from his face and looked around to find that the fire had not gone out after all, he felt absolutely ridiculous.

The small voice belonged, Damien could only guess, to the woman just a few feet away from him. The other (Something about a September border? It made little sense to him.) to a man running towards them both. A younger, spryer Damien would have already been in emergency defense mode, probably running to meet the man head on. Now when he tried to pull himself to his feet, three different alarms started beeping in different parts of him and he only made it two steps before he fell over again.

"Ugh..." said Damien, because he was feeling unusually verbose.

edited 20th Sep '12 5:34:09 PM by DaeBrayk

(OOC: mood music!)

There is another man arriving also, as Quon notices the blinking robot that lies there against the pump, in a slump. The man had called out about September. "Today is.. November, " Quon tells. "The month of September came and went, and it won't be until the following year when you'll come across another September."

More urgently, she turns to the robot - the poor thing has surely seen better days. "Ughh, " its metallic voice goes. She kneels down by its side and notices how its chest heaves up and down, like breathing. Faintly she could hear alarms in its servos, and she gently lays her head against its chest, intently listening, ascertaining what needs soothing in its being.

edited 20th Sep '12 5:03:45 PM by QQQQQ

patience, young padawan
The girl's eyes snapped open.

Even though sounds carried for miles out here, it had been days since she heard something that didn't howl or skitter or chirp. For once, it was a voice. A human boy's voice, muffled by the walls of the little building in the gas station where you bought snacks and paid the boy at the counter for your gas.

And it was also nighttime already. She could see nothing, only a warm, fiery trickle through the bent-up blinds in the window and glass door with its cracked, sun-dried merchandise stickers.

The eleven-year-old wrapped herself up in the old dust-scented blanket she had found in the back, holding it with her chin as she forced herself to her feet with the arm that wasn't broken. It throbbed and fought her, itching from the makeshift splint she had learned to make from her mother. 'Anything straight will do, ' Mama said, 'The worst thing you can do to a broken arm is keep it from healing straight.'

Her heart throbbed. Her cheeks grew hot. She missed Mama and Papa. She couldn't even remember how many days it had been since the storm where they got separated.

Her breaths came out in hiccups. Her tears evaporated, leaving behind thick, cold trails like dried-up riverbeds. They had to be looking for her. There was no way they'd leave her behind- none at all. Any day, they were going to be here, and she was going to be back home, in New York, in her own bed with the red bedspread.

Any day now, she told herself.

Any day.

She pushed the door open with her body, revealing herself to the people outside. Unbeknownst to her, she had gone burnt and thin from scrounging meals together from the lizards and desert animals. Her brown hair hung scraggily in her vivid, violet-colored eyes without her ribbon to keep it under control- she had to use it to tie the splint she made out of a broken piece of wood to her left arm. She was at least dressed somewhat for the desert sun, in long pants, worn-out sneakers, and a white, glittery short-sleeved top.

Wait... what happened to the fire?
Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.
 7 Collen, Thu, 20th Sep '12 5:40:43 PM from it is a mystery
vilent waler
I think I should mention that Felix is... around fifteen. Of course, if your character would think of him as a 'man' anyway, it's all good.

Felix turned to the woman, confusion creasing his face. "What... months? I don't- What's a month? And why would a year decide which region I'm in?"

He looked at the robot. "And what's-"

Before he got a chance to finish his sentence, a girl exited the building, looking to be in a rather sorry state. "Who are you? And what's- are you- are you okay?"

I just realized that Felix wouldn't know what a gas station is.

PI
After fifteen incredibly long years in the employ of a scientist specializing in robotics, cybernetics, and disregarding legal regulations, Damien had undergone countless patch jobs and several involuntary resurrections. Two of his fingers had been replaced, and part of one knee. The only part that had not completely or mostly stopped working was standing in for his obliterated diaphragm muscles, and that was loud enough that if it ever stopped working, everyone within five feet of him would know.

The whole affair looked like a bad meat market crashed into a used electronics store. There were scabs and scars and bits that never quite healed properly. It turned Damien's stomach to look at it (and Damien's stomach was practically indestructible, ) and now there was a woman with her head against his chest, like it was the most natural thing in the world.

His breath would have caught in his chest, or his heart might have skipped a beat. Neither of these things ever happened anymore, but the tiny alarms inside started back up again, just to let him know something was out of the ordinary and probably terribly wrong.

"Don't worry about that, " he wanted to tell her, or perhaps "Hello my name is Damien and what are you doing with your head on my chest, " but he knew he'd never have enough air in his lungs for a sentence like that. While he struggled to find a phrase that his brain, his mouth, and his lung capacity could all handle at the same time, his half-metal hand drifted up of its own accord and brushed against her hair.

edited 20th Sep '12 6:04:08 PM by DaeBrayk

 9 Snowy Foxes, Thu, 20th Sep '12 6:15:55 PM from ´ ಠ/// Д ///ಠ` Relationship Status: Heisenberg unreliable
Let's swim together!
The soldier didn't know where he was. He didn't understand the stars that winked at him when he lay down at night, even though a few days ago he knew them.

What he did know was that the last place he knew was Himmelburg, and home was directly north. Every morning, he woke, stretched, stood up, put on his knapsack, pointed himself north, and walked. A simple formula that numbed his brain, despite the stories he told himself all day long. He used to whisper them until his canteen started running low.

It didn't work the way he meant it to.

He had never been good at geography—or anything at school, for that matter—but he was very, very sure there was no desert between Himmelburg and where his family was waiting in the village tucked between green hills and sleepy, dark forest.. He was also very sure that the road wasn't this black, and was better maintained.

If only he had taken a train.

The soldier spat to the side and cursed the stars for changing and getting him lost. He cursed his heavy, dark green uniform for roasting him in the daytime and not being quite warm enough in the nighttime. He cursed himself for losing his knife so he couldn't cut the matted, light brown hair that clung to his sweaty forehead.

Something fuzzy appeared on the horizon. He learned from experience that what he saw in the desert usually wasn't really there, but this thing happened to be where he was going, so he pressed on.

His eyes crossed when he reached the gas station. He was vaguely aware of the presence of a pitiful fire, some humanoid shapes.

And he fell to his knees, opening his mouth to form one, simple word: Help. But he hadn't used his voice in so long and his throat was so dry that he began to cough. And cough. And he couldn't stop until he tasted blood and spat out a spectacular spray of it.

His hazel eyes looked a little brighter while he stared at the gooey redness on his hand, as if fascinated by the vibrant color, and he ignored it trickling down his chin.

But it felt good. It was a wonderful feeling to heave his chest until it felt like it was about to split in the middle or explode from within. The blood on his hand and all over his uniform was beautiful.

He chuckled, prompting another fit. But at least he knew he was alive.

edited 20th Sep '12 7:59:26 PM by SnowyFoxes

 10 Crystal Glacia, Thu, 20th Sep '12 6:42:45 PM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
"Huh?" The girl looked up at the strange boy who was screaming earlier. "Um... I'm a little hungry and I don't know where my parents are, so..." She stared at the dusty, dry ground. "I don't know."

It was so cold she could see her breath. Didn't Papa already tell her why it got so cold at night in the desert? She couldn't remember if he did, let alone what he said.

Behind her, there was a man with wild eyes, like Uncle Eli. He had coughed up blood, a sight that she barely found odd enough to be worth getting worked up over.

"I'm Bianca. What're your names?"
Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.
 11 Collen, Thu, 20th Sep '12 6:59:10 PM from it is a mystery
vilent waler
Felix smiled, though he was still worried about the girl. "Er... name's Felix. Prefer to keep my surname to myself, if you don't mind. Why are you out here? Where did you last see your parents? Are you from August? I think it's a little ways back to Ne'aerhaven. I could take you back- well, no, I can't, I have a letter to deliver- but..." He bit his lip and knelt so he'd be equal height to the girl. "Are you injured in any way?"

 12 Snowy Foxes, Thu, 20th Sep '12 9:03:12 PM from ´ ಠ/// Д ///ಠ` Relationship Status: Heisenberg unreliable
Let's swim together!
The soldier hastily wiped the blood on his uniform before trying to crawl closer to the fire, now a little ashamed of the disgusting episode that just took place. He was far from clean anyway, but he had to maintain some dignity.

Pretend Eva is watching you.

With the image of that plump, matronly, stern woman who was supposedly his sister in the back of his head, he stood up straight and combed his hair with his fingers.

"I'm—"

He almost choked when he tried to say the name. It was difficult to call it his name. The creepy blind man warned him that it would feel wrong for a while. They had tried to perform a delicate process without really knowing what they were doing, the blind man often said smugly, as if to emphasize how well he patched things up considering the circumstances.

Smug bastard. But the soldier owed him. He swallowed and tried again. "Philip Ritter, " he said aloud, and then mouthed it to himself over and over, not caring that he looked a little crazy. The syllables sat on his tongue and he tried to feel around them. They felt familiar, as they should. It had been plainly stated to him that his name was Philip Johann Ritter and he lived in a little town with a family that loved him very much and didn't want him to go to war. Maybe they knew this was going to happen. These things didn't feel like facts yet, though. When he repeated all the facts he knew to himself, they felt more like facts every time. Just not enough. He wanted very badly for them to be facts, because when he closed his eyes and tried to see those people he could remember things.

It all felt very odd. Well at least this Felix person seemed to know this land. Philip quietly stood next to him, hoping to pick up a hint, and if he couldn't, he'd ask. But the names Felix already mentioned didn't sound likes names he knew at all. Maybe the creepy blind man accidentally forgot to fix a few patches of Philip's brain.
PI
Damien realized that the woman had fallen asleep. Just his luck, really. She was probably the first woman to touch him in years who wasn't wearing latex gloves and stuffing him full of machinery. Part of him wanted to stay like that, holding her until she woke or he slept or his mechanical lungs finally gave out and he could sink forever into what was probably a hallucination... He lifted her off his lap and left her curled up against pump six, while he attempted, with more success this time, to stand up.

When his insides stopped beeping at him and the world swam back into focus, Damien found himself watching a man's blood-splattering coughing fit, envying him every pain-wracked gasp. There were two kids now, but they seemed to be getting along well enough. Part of him, probably somewhere around his liver, told him that they were young and scared and that he should help them. The vast majorities of the parts of him knew that he could kill both of them at once just by falling over at the wrong moment, and it wouldn't really be worth any comfort he could provide them by trying to gasp out the English language. He turned back towards the coughing man— Phillip, as he had stopped coughing for long enough to introduce himself— who was now approaching the fire.

Damien shoved his hands in the pockets of his tattered coat and edged closer as well. "Damien, " he said, nodding in greeting.

 14 Crystal Glacia, Thu, 20th Sep '12 9:28:54 PM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
"Hi." Her voice tiny, Bianca waved lazily to the group at large, making sure to turn to everyone. Philip, Damien, Felix. There was a strange lady, too, but she seemed to have slunk off on her own. That's okay.

She turned back to Felix to answer his questions. "I was with my mom and dad, but then there was a sandstorm and it blew all of us off-course. I fell on my arm. I think it broke. Mama told me that if I could bend it wrong, I should tie something straight to it so it heals straight."

No, stop it, talking about Mama and Papa was just going to make her cry again! How could she still have tears left after all this time? The only thing left to do now was be hopeful.

Her wide, intensely violet-colored eyes met Felix's own. "Are you lost, too? Mama and Papa should be here any day to help us."

Night, guys. Time to cram for a Death of a Salesman test tomorrow.

edited 21st Sep '12 4:26:25 AM by CrystalGlacia

Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.
 15 Yomegami, Thu, 20th Sep '12 9:55:54 PM from out of nowhere Relationship Status: In denial
Sanely Insane
Another figure made its way across the darkening desert, its walk non-indicative of its current mood. Occasionally, it stopped and raised its head, as if it was sniffing the air or perhaps looking for something.

At a distance, one could easily mistake it for a bird. It had the same posture as a bird, plus it was covered in feathers. However, a closer look would reveal that this was no bird - it had no beak, only a reptilian (but still feather-covered) snout and a mouth filled with tiny, conical teeth. Its "wings" were in fact arms - the long feathers there obscured the creature's inward-facing hands, each consisting of three, claw-tipped fingers. Perhaps most tellingly, its feet each sported a large, sickle-shaped claw on the second toe, which was held off the ground. This creature was, in fact, a dinosaur - a Velociraptor, to be specific.

Whitetip, as her name was, hardly minded the desert. In fact, she enjoyed it, being a native of a desert herself. However, she wasn't exactly at ease here - she felt incredibly out place, like she had been for the past couple weeks. Ever since she had been taken away from her pack and dropped into a world she did not recognize by some power beyond her control, she had been lost, wandering from this spot to the next. Her wanderings had brought her to this place, that reminded her greatly of her homeland but yet was so different.

Right now, her primary concern was to find cover of some sort. Without her pack around, she felt alone and vulnerable - easy pickings for whatever predator happened to stride by. Her answer seemed to be granted when she spotted a glow on the horizon. From her past experiences in this world, a glow usually meant there was shelter nearby. If nothing else, this place would likely be a good place to spend the night.

In her excitement, Whitetip picked up the pace, and soon enough reached the source of the light; a spot filled with fire that did not spread beyond its bounds. She stopped quite a ways from it, however, as much to her dismay she found that she was not the first being here - there were other beings standing around the spot of fire, beings of the sort that she had negative experiences with in the past.

Torn between getting out of the open and avoiding notice, she settled on skirting around the spot of fire, holding her head down low and walking as quietly as she could. She could see structures of a sort by the light; getting into one of those and finding a spot to spend the night shouldn't have been too difficult. Hopefully.
"Hell if I know": My life philosophy.
 16 Snowy Foxes, Thu, 20th Sep '12 10:05:08 PM from ´ ಠ/// Д ///ಠ` Relationship Status: Heisenberg unreliable
Let's swim together!
For fuck's sake, what is it with people named Damian and being creepy as all hell? The man who wrapped bandages over his empty eye sockets, spoke in a monotone, and brought Philip's memories back was named Damian, and this guy... oh, hell. What happened?

Well, it wasn't that bad after the initial shock, and Philip never showed any signs of disgust or fear. He had seen things at least as bad in battle and laboratories.

Unfortunately.

He kept listening. The little girl who shared his adoptive cousin's name had broken her arm, and he wondered if there was anything in his knapsack that could help her. He slid the straps off his shoulders, let the thing fall, and knelt to search through it. Canteen, bread crumbs, revolver, and... no. He hung his head and tried to hold back another cough. He didn't know her and her eyes were creepy, but she was still a little kid, you know?

When Philip looked up, there was something else at the fire.

He wrapped his fingers on the grip of the revolver. Hey, it could be delicious. And those claws looked nasty.
PI
Damien held out a hand to stop Phillip and shook his head. "Packs, " he said. "They run in packs."

Truthfully, Damien had never heard of a raptor pack this far from Louisiana. It was probably a lone escaped lab experiment, scavenging sick wolves and stranded travelers. That said, escaped lab experiments could be intelligent— tame, even, and they would all be in trouble if the fire died before sunrise and the wolves came. The way Damien saw it, he could get mauled now or mauled later, and either way he would wake up in a refrigerator four months from now with his good arm replaced with an egg-beater.

He stepped slowly away from the fire, not quite towards the creature, but more in its general trajectory. He tried to think of phrases a lab raptor would have been taught, or of things Kiki had known, but the situations, now that he was a few feet further from the fire, suddenly did not seem so comprable. He held out his arm anyway— his good arm, just to do it properly. He swallowed.

His good arm was the left one, with all five fingers and the tattoo he had gotten just before taking that job with the Cyberneticist. His face was mostly intact only because his boss was fond of it, and careful about putting it back together. His left arm and its tattoo had actually never been destroyed.

At least maybe she'll stop with me, he told himself, trying to put a noble spin on the situation. His hand shook anyway.

 18 Collen, Fri, 21st Sep '12 3:46:00 AM from it is a mystery
vilent waler
Felix shook his head, and said to Bianca, "No, I'm not lost. I think. Probably. I mean- I know I'm in August, and I'm almost at September- I think I am, at least..."

Felix looked at the child with pity, wishing there was a way he could help her without being late on delivering the letter. Felix felt that he had to be quick so he wouldn't keep the king waiting- probably unnecessary, but it made Felix uncomfortable to leave the king hanging...

Felix turned to the barren desert, looking for some sign of Bianca's parents, even though Felix had no clue what they looked like. All he could see, however, was sand and the last streak of orange in the sky fading away, snuffed out under the starry black of night.

He turned back to Bianca. "I don't know. I've been told a few times that sometimes you need to take action yourself rather than waiting for another person to take it for you. What if your parents are lost too?"

edited 21st Sep '12 3:46:17 AM by Collen

 19 Yomegami, Fri, 21st Sep '12 6:44:23 AM from out of nowhere Relationship Status: In denial
Sanely Insane
It didn't take Whitetip long to realize that she had been noticed. Apparently, she wasn't being as quiet as she would have liked, or maybe it was because something like her really didn't go unnoticed. Whatever the case, she whipped around to face the being that had decided to approach her, staring at it with a face that appeared emotionless but actually hid apprehension and fear.

She was at a loss about what to do. Part of her wanted to lash out, but she fought that urge back - attacking wouldn't get her anywhere, especially since she didn't know what it was capable of. Besides, one time she almost died just for being in the same general vicinity as one of these. There was also the option of rearing back and displaying her claws, as a nonvocal way of saying "Stand back, I'm armed."

A few moments later, the decision was made for her - the being stretched out its arm, hand facing towards her. She flinched a little, but then realized that the gesture was probably not malicious in nature. Whitetip tipped her head to one side. Was...was this thing actually trying to be friendly? This was a new experience for her, if it was.

Once she had deduced that it wasn't trying to attack her, she cautiously approached and sniffed the outstretched hand. She did not know what these beings normally smelled like, but something about this one smelled off, even with her lack of knowledge. There was something different about this one; something that she couldn't quite pinpoint. Whatever that was, her reaction was decidedly rather neutral; she didn't go for the expected bite, or even open her mouth. She pulled her head back and looked back at it, head cocked to the other side.

Should she try communicating with it? Her past attempts at that also didn't go over so well. Yet, in this case that seemed like the best option. This one both smelled and behaved differently from the others she had met thus far, so maybe, just maybe, this attempt would bear fruit.

"Who are you, and what do you want from me?" she attempted to ask. To her own ears, her voice sounded like that of a 15 year old female, if a little gravelly. To anyone who didn't understand her, however, it would sound much like unintelligible growling.
"Hell if I know": My life philosophy.
PI
Eventually, Damien realized that he was not about to have his arm torn off. He fought the urge to walk back to the campfire and write the whole thing off as having been a stupid idea. "Can you write?" he said, and drew a "?" in the dirt, so that if faced the raptor.

 21 Motree, Fri, 21st Sep '12 10:30:25 AM from certainly not from under your bed. Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
partnerrrrrrrrrr
Dust billowed across the desert and the weathered, lonesome road winding through it. The crumbling and decrepit pavement hadn't been used in years, and without maintenance, had deteriorated to practical non-existence thanks to the combined forces of old age and the elements. The night sky, an inky blue and filled with countless twinkling stars and a mother moon, seemed to stretch into infinity in the boundless desert while a faint haze from the lingering heat in the sands seemed to obscure the point at which sky and earth met on the horizon.

Two solitary figures walked along the solemn road, wandering with no real destination yet determined not to return to their old homes. The first, a hulk of a man that looked to be a few inches short of being seven feet tall, thick-framed and well-muscled. His dark skin, rugged features, and the strange runes and symbols tattooed on the right side of his face and his arms seemed to suggest that he was some tribal from a far-off land; however, the look in his steel-grey eyes and the composure and dignity he carried himself with suggested a gentleman intellectual. He adjusted the sizable pack and on his back as he removed his cowboy-style hat, briefly rubbing his bald head with a gloved hand before deciding to keep his hat off for the night.

His companion, who appeared to be a bit younger than him, seemed to be the polar opposite. The very androgynous-looking young man stood only a few inches above five feet in height with a thin and vaguely girlish build, which was nearly completely hidden by his loose clothing and duster. Needless to say, he was absolutely dwarfed in comparison to his massive comrade. His abnormally pale skin stuck out against his shaggy and slightly unkempt chocolate-brown hair, even moreso in the moonlight. His stride was similar to that of a man on the run- unobtrusive, trying not to draw attention to himself. A strong gust of wind blew across the desert plain, stirring up the loose sand and dust on the ground. He tilted his hat - identical to his partner's - forward a bit and shielded his dark green eyes from the rising dust.

The larger of the two glanced down at his companion and placed a hand on his shoulder, as if to steady him in case of a fall. It was a normal thing for them, now, this affectionate and protective gesture. It has been for the past three years. The two always looked out for each other, and knew each other so well that they could go miles without a word between them, and still know exactly how the other was doing.

"Charles, " the massive man addressed his companion, his voice deep and gruff, looking intently at the boy, "Do you need to rest?"

Charles snickered a bit, before meeting his partner's gaze with his own, ". . .You don't miss a single detail, do you Mai'iq?" He took Mai'iq's hand into his own and just held onto it a bit. "I'd like to go maybe another couple miles or so, find some sort of shelter, " he reasoned.

Mai'iq simply nodded in acknowledgement, and the two continued on without another word for another five miles. Eventually, the smoke and glow of the campfire and silhouette of the abandoned gas station became visible from a safe distance. The two tensed slightly, and took cover under the shroud of night. Mai'iq focused on the group, and the runes around his eye briefly and dimly glowed before returning to normal just as quickly. He nodded at Charles, letting him know it was safe. Whomever those people were, it was safe to say they were neither members Guillotine nor the Alexandrias' goons.

"Just travelers, " Mai'iq said rather bluntly, "A few adults, a child, and what seems to be a velociraptor."

Charles had to stifle a bit of a laugh at that last bit. No matter how absurd, Mai'iq always stated things as they were, and was always blunt and to-the-point about it. ". . .So, safe to approach?" he asked.

"Most likely. And best we do. The child looks injured, " Mai'iq replied.

Charles nodded, and straightened his posture. there was no need to fear these people, at least for now. And if they turned out to be hostile. . . Well, he and Mai'iq hadn't been surviving on their good looks alone. Putting on a sociable front, Charles led on and approached the campfire group, glancing briefly at the velociraptor, partially in disbelief that one of those things was still alive and kicking. Then again, he'd seen stranger things.

"Hello, there, " he said in his somewhat feminine voice, raising his hand in greeting to the group in general, ". . . Sorry to barge in on everyone like this. We didn't think anyone else was out here, really, other than us."

Charles cleared his throat and shuffled in place a little bit. He didn't seem to adept at socializing, ". . . Anyways, you guys wouldn't mind if we joined you for a bit, would you? We've been trekking through this desert almost all day, " he explained, then added half-jokingly, "Plus, it's been a ling while since we've run into anyone that wasn't trying to kill us."

Mai'iq shot a glare at Charles at that last bit, almost as if he were scolding the younger man for joking about such things.

edited 21st Sep '12 1:25:05 PM by Motree

“LI SHANG IS BASICALLY BAMBI, YOU KNOW, IF BAMBI WERE A MAN” - Dr. Shrubbery

patience, young padawan
Fun fact: velociraptors weren't that tall.

Bianca considered. "Yeah... I bet they are."

She could not, for the life of her, bring herself to focus on the words behind her. Laced with something growly and terrifying, the reptilian's speech, though it clearly gave the impression of being words, failed to register as speech, only noises. A sense of deep wrongness crept through her skin as she dared to make eye contact with the thing behind her.

Those scary eyes, the cold skin, and... the teeth.

The teeth.

Bianca shuddered; she could literally feel the rush in her arms and legs. And then, two more shadows approached; one looked okay, but the other...

She slowly backed away, to Felix's side, pulling the blanket over her head like a cloak.

Why did all these scary things have to come here?!

edited 21st Sep '12 1:09:10 PM by CrystalGlacia

Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.
 23 Yomegami, Fri, 21st Sep '12 11:49:14 AM from out of nowhere Relationship Status: In denial
Sanely Insane
Whitetip was rather disappointed when it seemed like her attempt at speech failed. It looked like she really didn't have a way to tell these beings that she wasn't going to harm them unless they tried to harm her. On the plus side, at least the one that was trying to get through to her didn't take her response as a threat.

Could she write? Odd question, especially considering that she didn't know what that meant. Thankfully, the being demonstrated what he meant by drawing a question mark in the sand in front of her. So apparently, to write was to make those scrawly symbols she had seen plastered around this new world. To her, it seemed like an elaborate way to mark one's territory.

The answer to the question, then, was most certainly "no." However, Whitetip did not want to know what would happen if she refused, so she figured she might as well try. She raised one arm, and then the other, before deciding that her decidedly inflexible forelimbs probably weren't the best tools to go about this. As much as she hated to dull her toeclaws, one of them would probably be best for the job.

Soon enough, she planted one on the ground and started dragging it around, trying her best to create something legible. A few minutes later, and she stepped back and looked at what she had made. If the other being was expecting useful information, then it would probably be disappointed. Lacking a better option, Whitetip had simply chosen to copy the question mark, though given her inexperience the resemblance was only scant.

As she waited for the being's response, she caught the sight of someone else looking at her. She turned to face this new being, who was much smaller than the one that had approached her, and who looked much more normal (though noticeably scared). Whitetip did not approach this being, merely cocked her head to one side as she had done earlier. Apparently, these people had never met one of her kind before. The appearance of an additional pair of newcomers broke the awkward staring contest, and the small being cuddled up next to one of the others.

With a mental shrug, Whitetip went back to waiting for the response of the larger being.

I might have misinterpreted "cold, nubby skin, " but Whitetip is covered with birdlike feathers, so most of her skin isn't visible.
"Hell if I know": My life philosophy.
PI
Damien nodded at the raptor's mimicry, and though he was not quite smiling, his frown had softened. "Well done, Raptor. That is one fine piece of literature."

He turned to greet the newcomers, one of them almost as tall as he was, and even more tattooed. Damien liked him already. "Make yourselves at home, " said Damien. "It's not my fire, anyway. Hers, I think." He indicated the girl with the broken arm. He had merely stumbled across it and kept it going. "I'm Damien. This is a velociraptor. I'm curious, Charles. What makes you so sure we aren't trying to kill you?" Between a soldier covered in blood they had no way of knowing was his own, the obvious velociraptor, and himself, Damien was surprised they had come across as at all approachable. He couldn't really blame the girl for hiding in her blanket.

edited 21st Sep '12 1:57:49 PM by DaeBrayk

 25 Collen, Fri, 21st Sep '12 1:16:15 PM from it is a mystery
vilent waler
Felix caught a glance of the creature and pushed himself back slightly with his feet in a mixture of surprise and fear. What is that?

However, he knew he'd have to be strong. No point in wimping out if it came to a fight. The creature didn't seem hostile... at least, not at the moment. In fact, it seemed to be... trying to write something. Personally, Felix would like to just kill it, right there and then. However, he'd probably be dead by the time he drew his dagger out of his pocket...

Felix moved closer to Bianca, trying not to show any panic. "It's okay, " he said in an undertone, "I don't think it'll harm us."

If only he actually meant that. Felix scooted farther away from the creature.

He looked up at the young man who'd just arrived, trying to ignore his hulking companion. "Er... Hi. I wouldn't be so sure nothing here wants to kill us... Um, there's that... feathery thing over there... I'm not sure what it is.

"Besides that, I'm Felix, and the girl under this blanket is Bianca. What about you? Name? ...Gender? And who's your friend over there?"

edited 21st Sep '12 1:18:08 PM by Collen

Total posts: 319
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