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The world has ended.
Three weeks ago, the gods ceased to be. With their absence, the world followed suit, leaving only a single city in its absence. In the days since, any semblance of law and order has vanished with barely a trace. Communications are down, and the cell towers with them. Power is out in many parts of town, and supply lines are non-existent. The streets continue to twist and turn, filled with hazardous roadblocks or monsters from the darkest pits of hell. Even the police are at their wit's end. Only the local factions are maintaining a fraction of order, and even that may not last.
Standing above it all are the Sacred. Humans and occasionally animals infused with the lingering essence of Gods and other such beings, they possess power and abilities far beyond their mortal kin. Some have already used it, seizing power as they carve out a new world order. But the Grail is the ultimate prize. Possessing unfathomable power, it can remake the world on a whim. Only the Sacred are capable of using it, and it will only appear to the last one standing. Or if those that remain can agree on a singular vision of the future. If they can, then perhaps the world has a future after all.
Whether everyone lives to see it is another story.
Underneath the centre of town sat an old, musty subway tunnel. It looked like a demilitarised zone. Wads of paper and crumpled plastic bags littered the walkways and tunnels, with scattered groups of citizens huddled together for warmth. Many of them were engaged in some sort of task, whether it be refilling cartridges, polishing weapons, or skewering rats for extra rations. The Peacekeepers took in anyone seeking refuge, but the price was food and supplies, or contributing as best they could. Only children and the sick or injured were allowed to loiter, and even they were encouraged to pitch in when able.
But despite their mass conscription, it wasn't enough. Even with the manpower and resources available to them, they were under attack from monsters or rouge gangs at every turn. The tunnels were mostly safe, but if they wanted to keep patrolling the surface, they needed to up their numbers. Or at least get more people who could fight. Even their Sacred wasn't worth much. He was good in a pinch and for powering the trains, but not much else. They needed help. To that end, they sent messengers out to the different districts, spreading the word. Everyone who agreed to help would be given ample food and supplies, and a free train ride over to their central base. With any luck, that would be enough to draw even the most passive mercenaries or Sacred out of the woodwork.
Eventually, the Peacekeepers rounded up a sufficient number of helpers, gathering them to the central tunnel only blocks away from City Hall. Both their leader and Sacred were on their way, out on a quick supply run before checking on the new recruits. But for now, they were free to mingle, convert, and do whatever it was Sacred did.
What were they supposed to do?
Edited by kkhohoho on Jan 8th 2021 at 11:15:04 AM
It had been only a few short days ago that she'd woken up and realized who she was. Quite literally - she'd been napping when she changed, her body growing into the shape of a woman with fur rather than a macaque. It had been only a few days since she'd taken a name.
Nonetheless, Sun Setsuko was confident. She was, after all, the Monkey Queen, heir to the legendary warrior Sun Wukong. None could best her. None would best her. She would be the one to save the world.
Though confident in her strength, Setsuko also knew that friendship was important. There was no need to fight on her own, especially since the world was at stake.
To that end, Setsuko jumped at the offer from the Peacekeepers. It promised not just friendship, but a chance to help others.
It was with genuine exuberance that she burst into the subway tunnel, chest puffed out in pride. "Don't worry everyone, for the Monkey Queen, Sun Setsuko, is here to help!"
Standing off to the side was a pale, somewhat androgynous young man. Both his hair and eyes were red, and his clothing was quite a bit fancier than the norm for this city. More eye-catching, however, were the pair of horns on his head and the black tail.
Amos hadn't wanted to come here, not really. He'd been holed up in his apartment, surviving by hoarding food—greed was a virtue in the apocalypse. Unfortunately, supplies were running low, and Amos had found himself faced with a decision—slowly starve to death, scavenge and risk encroaching on someone else's territory, or join the recruitment drive.
It was not a hard choice.
That didn't mean he liked being here, though. Quite the opposite—he knew better than anyone that he was far too greedy, too uncaring, too self-serving to be an effective Peacekeeper in any way. Really, he'd probably end up fleeing with the supplies once he got them. Or perhaps he could rope the leader into some sort of deal for a bigger cut? The corner of Amos's lips twitched upward. Now that was an amusing thought.
Suddenly, some sort of...monkey girl...burst into the subway and announced herself, giving her name as Sun Setsuko and declaring herself the "Monkey Queen". Amos raised an eyebrow.
"I believe we are all here to help people, so that should go without saying." A lie. He approached her and held out his hand, giving her a polite smile. "Still, it is good to meet you." Always best to start off on the right foot.
It would've been stupid not to accept the messengers' offer. Naomi at that point had been on the verge of starving, and was subsisting only on Ignael's carefully timed miracles. But they only contained essential nutrients, and Naomi was sometimes too weak in heart and mind to even follow Ignael's simple direction in preparing it. Many a night had gone by in tears, still barely able to fathom what had happened to the world.
As such, she eagerly accepted the offer for free food, water, and a train ride of all things. She probably wouldn't have (albeit with a heavy heart) if they'd been another faction, but from what she'd heard the Peacekeepers were some of the more charitable ones in the city. That, and Ignael seemed to agree with the idea of helping them out, which was all the incentive she needed.
Clad in a heavy jacket and scarf for the sake of warmth, Naomi trudged after the other Sacred, a mix of anxiety and curiosity on her features as she approached them. One of the males seemed to cause a rise out of Ignael just by her looking at him, and thus she stuck closer to the monkey girl out of caution. She seemed more trustworthy.
“...E-Excuse me. You're the other Sacred...? I'm Naomi... it's nice to meet you...”
Before, she would've said this with more enthusiasm and vigour. Now, with the world an apocalyptic husk and her view of life as she'd known it shattered forever, she was a lot quieter and cautious than before. A perhaps sensible attitude to adopt after the collapse of existence, as she didn't much like the alternative possibility of becoming brash and cruel.
Edited by Enirboreh on Jan 8th 2021 at 6:26:40 PM
An introduction was only as good as the pyrotechnics involved with them. So as Setsuko stepped in with her bold confidence and Amos with his dull reaction towards it, the bright purple smoke began to slowly pour in.
“Ladies and gentlemen..,”
A drum roll echoed out as a figure could be seen through the smog and fog, arms out and the cocaphony building.
“Please put your hands together for the savior of the mundane, the boring! For I come not only as your savior...but as your entertainment!”
The smoke blew away and the gaudily dressed Ring Leader stepped in with a laugh and “applause” following him. Removing his hat and taking a deep bow, he grinned.
“Elijah Warran. Now we can let the fun begin.”
Edited by MichaelDj54 on Jan 8th 2021 at 12:30:58 PM
"Hiya!" Setsuko grinned cheerfully as she took Amos's hand. "Nice to meet you too."
Immediately Amos would notice that her grip was like iron. She was careful not to actually hurt him, but he'd be able to tell how inhumanly strong she was.
She then turned to Naomi. "Setsuko. It's nice to meet other people like me. Not monkeys, but like, Sacred-"
And then the smoke poured in. Setsuko instinctively reached for the metal rod on her back, preparing to leap at the enemy as they appeared, but then it turned out to just be another Sacred announcing themselves.
"Oh, wow." Setsuko said, clapping at Elijah's performance. "Are you from a circus?"
Food and supplies were things Emma sorely needed right now. Up to now, she had been making do with what little she could find and keep in her backpack, but at this rate she was only a couple days away from trying to eat one of her own tentacles. So the offer from the Protectors or whatever they were calling themselves couldn't have come at a better time.
Emma tried not to draw attention to herself as she walked in. Thankfully the light show from that Elijah guy helped with that. It wasn't that she was shy, exactly, but one of the first things she'd noticed after becoming a Sacred was that people... didn't like her. They were afraid of her. So by keeping to herself, she was mostly trying not to scare anyone and ruin the gathering.
Those were other Sacred then? She'd never met another one before, but she could somehow just... tell. Not that they didn't stand out anyway, what with the horns, and the light show, and the monkey...ness.
If Leon was honest, he didn't have much of a reason to attend this meeting. Food and water were available even in this chaos provided you had the right tools and skills, he snagged a nice green piece of parkland as his new home, complete with ample foliage to shield him from the rain and sturdy boughs tall enough to watch over the area. Of course, all that was made easier thanks to his abilities as a Sacred, which was the cherry on top of the chaos that was current life now. Though his powers weren't the flashiest, they complimented what he knew and was used to, and that suited Leon just fine.
So when a stranger approached his tree with news of a meeting and offering security and supplies, Leon only promised to consider the offer, and sent the messenger back with a box of fresh fruit as a consolation gift. Although food and security weren't an issue for the Sacred, a part of him did miss the normalcy of his old life, even if it was just limited to trade and teaching basic survival skills. And if they were offering, he could use some new tools and basic medical supplies. In the end, Leon headed to the subway, if only to satisfy his curiosity and see what sort of aid the Peacekeepers needed. If not for the "out of place" look in his eyes when looking around, the outdoorsman could easily pass off as another face in the crowd of survivors.
Leon had been offering some dried fruit to a group of children when a loud...monkey woman burst out of the subway and declared herself to be the Monkey Queen. "Well, that's the plan if everything works out. Though ya got more than enough cheer for the group of us, Miss." He grinned as he walked over to join the growing group of Sacred and stood by Setsuko There was something about her that seemed to resonate with the Horned God, and a faint smell of fruit began to waft around him. "Name's Leon, pleasure meetin' some new faces not wanting to tear mine a new one." He introduced himself with a quick nod,
Amos's smile faltered a bit as his hand was suddenly enveloped by iron—not enough to hurt him, but enough to get a feel for how strong Setsuko was. "I, er..." He carefully pulled his hand away. "Well, I can tell you're quite strong, even for a Sacred."
Setsuko then turned to talk to another woman, one with orange hair and brown eyes. Amos's eyes flicked over to her and—
He almost stumbled back. A sudden surge of anger and hate and what could've even been fear coursed through his body. This woman was a Sacred—that much was obvious, but she was a Sacred that the infernal part of him loathed.
Could she be...an angel?
Amos quickly put a lid on that surge. Wouldn't do to start a fight here, especially since his powers weren't geared much towards fighting. Instead, he threw on another polite smile. "Ah, another Sacred? Very good to meet you."
Then came another new arrival, this one announcing his presence with a ridiculous amount of smoke and mirrors. Amos raised his eyebrow again as he watched the display. "Well, this recruitment drive should be interesting." In all the excitement, he didn't even notice Emma.
It had been a few days since Alan learned what his future was going to be like. About what his new patron expected of him...and then he was left to deal with the aftereffects and the chaos that ensued as the world came unraveled. He already had some plans for what he intended to do with himself now, and he'd been setting up nicely, but then the Peacekeepers got into contact with him.
Chaos theory states that despite the chaotic appearance of certain systems, there ARE underlying patterns... and I intend to ascertain those patterns.
Interconnectedness, self-similarity, feedback loops and self organization...
He stayed away from the other Sacred and quietly contemplated. He was not opposed to helping the others in their little quests, but he had other things in mind than playing follow the leader.
“Not just from the Circus my lovely dear, I am the circus! Everything within them, the thrills, the chills, the heart pounding excitement! I am the entire circus PERSONIFIED!”
Resisting the urge to mentally shift their surroundings into a massive sprawling tent he focused on his conversation partner and his grin only grew wider.
“The monkey queen...” he echoed with a chuckle. “I foresee big things in your future and I certainly hope I’m there to see every single step! How exciting just LOOK at all of this potential surrounding us! I’m giddy with excitement!”
"Of course there's big things in my future." Setsuko replied, grinning ear to ear. "I'm gonna save the world, after all."
She said this without a hint of sarcasm or doubt. So sure was she of herself, perhaps to the point of arrogance. And yet, within her mind there was the tingle of approval. If anyone could claim they would fight the world and win, it would be the heir of Wukong.
Another new face appeared, and Setsuko turned to greet him as well. This time, however, her nose twitched, as she registered a familiar smell. Fruit, fresh and delicious. She didn't know if Leon was making the smell with magic or if that was just how he smelled, but Setsuko found she liked it.
She resisted the urge to go over and lick Leon, and settled for licking her lips instead. "Hi, Leon." Setsuko said, her voice a bit more sultry then she'd intended. "It's nice to meet'cha."
Leon was sure there was something in Setsuko’s tone and look that was probably flying over his head, though he couldn’t for the life of him pick it out at the moment. If there was one complaint he had about his isolated upbringing, it was that a lot of the slang, trends and cues tended to just confuse him. Still, she seemed friendly, and nothing about her was setting off any “threat” warnings at the moment so Leon relaxed. Maybe she was just hungry given the smell of fruit. “Likewise, Miss Setsuko.” He replied with a friendly wink. If yer hungry, I got some ratios I can afford to share.” Adding to the rest of the group, “Offer extends to the rest of y’all too. It ain’t fancy, but it’s energizin’.”
Edited by Pentigan on Jan 9th 2021 at 6:58:20 AM
“I-I wouldn't mind something... to eat. Please...” Naomi started, blinking out of a momentary daze and turning a little pink as her stomach rumbled in that very moment. “I uh... haven't had good luck in finding much. Must be too slow to get there before everything gets raided...!”
She attempted a smile towards Leon at this, but her heart suddenly palpitated as her vision swam in a very familiar fashion—forcing her to clutch onto the nearest object/person for stability as she momentarily lost her sense of balance. Her eyes became glazed, and rolled into the back of her head—a kaleidoscopic array of disorienting colours overtaking her vision as Ignael formed himself in her mind's eye.
“Naomi... a demon abounds... stay vigilant... mind free of lies...”
Thankfully, he retreated from her shortly thereafter, and she straightened upright again as she shook her head free from the disorientation. Her gaze flicked over to Amos, and lingered for a long moment—before she tore it away from him again, instead looking between the others.
“...Sorry. I've... never seen so many Sacred all at once...”
Edited by Enirboreh on Jan 8th 2021 at 8:45:23 PM
So this man—Leon—was just...offering them his food. Without asking for anything in return. Well, Amos would be remiss to say no to free things. "I'll take that offer," he said, stepping forward.
And then the orange-haired woman had what could be best described as a brief seizure, gripping the nearest object as her eyes rolled back in her head. She recovered fast, though, which he supposed was good for her.
He did notice the way her gaze lingered on him, though.
Definitely an angel.
"What was that?" Amos asked, his surprise only slightly faked. "You looked like you were having a seizure."
"I'd love nothing more than to sit down and enjoy something to eat!" Elijah said as he approached the slowly growing group, chuckling a little bit as he adjusted his hat and beamed that charming if not slightly psychotic grin to them. "And to get used to my new friends! How exciting, so many Sacred and so many stories to enjoy of...a wonderful show if there ever was one."
"So then!" He clapped his hands excitedly, a small puff of smoke puffing out from the collision. "Let's eat and introduce ourselves! Just because the world is ended doesn't mean we need to be rude and aloof about it!"
Well, it seemed the loudness had well and truly arrived. Everyone seemed to be introducing themselves over there. Well, he'd be more suspicious if he didn't at least make an effort at some sort of introduction. And he didn't need the scrutiny right from the word "go". Approaching the others, Alan looked at another new arrival likewise noting there were a lot of Sacred here, "Astute observation. Well then, allow me to introduce myself, seeing as I'll be along for whatever comes of this. My name is Alan Ib-Salah, a..."
He was interrupted by one of the girls having what looked to be some sort of possession incident. Though it didn't give him the vibe of a demon making its new home. "...Well, a pleasure."
When another of the Sacred inquired about what that was, he said, "If I had to hazard a guess, it would be an essence indwelling within her, making its opinion known in her mind."
Interesting. More like us. Knew there might be here. Felt them, a little. Glad it's none of our family. Might be awkward later. Watch your hands, Paul.
This last was directed at Paul Barach himself. Distracted by the new arrivals instead of the knife he was sharpening, he paid for it with a thing cut across his thumb and a muffled curse. Paul had arrived in the Peacekeeper's group a few days ago and settled in as a general handyman and tinker. He didn't know if he'd be staying here, but ideal hands were no good and it was better to show your skill than boast about them.
"Do you want to go say hello?", he murmured, hoping the answer was both yes and no. Being alone had worked out pretty well for them so far, but he had a sense that H had a plan or at least a goal. Though if other people like him were wanted around Paul couldn't yet tell. His "guest" was very taciturn most of the time.
Maybe. Feel them out. See if they will be trouble. Better to know what the horse will do before we shoe it. He kept making those weird metaphors, but Paul generally got the gist. Using his hammer as a support, the hulking man got slowly to his feel Already tall, the increase in mass had been disquieting, and he suspected that the change's effect on him had not even been a subject of concern for Hephestus. He was more efficient now, after all. Adjusting his poncho, Paul Barach slowly ambled over to the small group and paused to listen before joining them.
“I-I'm fine. It's...” Naomi began in a cautious manner, flicking her eyes over to Amos a moment as she pursed her lips thoughtfully. “...It happens a lot. To do with my... powers. I'm fine, I swear.”
There were more coming, and once again Naomi found herself marvelling at how many there were here. It suddenly felt important, like a turn of the ages. Or at least for her, as she'd barely talked to anyone since the gods had perished.
Still, she smiled a little, and offered the newer arrivals a gentle wave in a rare reflection of her previous self. A little cheeriness couldn't hurt from time to time.
“I'm Naomi Hughes. I didn't know there were so many Sacred... it's... strange to see you all here...” she admitted, looking around at the group as a whole. “But it's nice to meet you all, still...!”
"Oh we're doing full-name introductions. Alright well I'm Marcus Sol, do not expect me to be too useful when shit goes down because I have spent these three weeks sleeping little and drinking a lot."
He holds up the bottle and laughs. Smooth.
Edited by Pentigan on Jan 9th 2021 at 6:58:34 AM
Well, Naomi was her name, and it seemed she was dealing with a rather intrusive figure in her headspace. It might be interested to try and go for a scan of what was going on with her. Could be informative.
Then Marcus spoke up and—- Alan sighed.
"...At least you're honest and forthcoming about it. I will keep that in mind, and depend on you exactly never."
At Leon's offer, Setsuko grinned wider. "Oh yeah, I'm starved."
Then Naomi stumbled a moment, her eyes turning backwards somehow, before reverting to normal. Setsuko cocked her head in confusion a moment, before Naomi clarified it was something with her powers.
"Oh, is it because the person in your head is talking to you? The Great Sage tells me stuff sometimes, but that looked way more intense." Setsuko mused.
Gods are assholes. Whoever it is, they're probably fucking with her to show off how 'powerful' and 'mysterious' they are. Feh. Wukong murmured into the back of her mind. If I could get into the girl's head, I could definitely kick that thing's ass.
Setsuko stifled a giggle at that, instead putting her hands on her hips. "Speaking of, who are you guys the heirs of?" She puffed her chest out proudly. "As you can no doubt tell, I am the heir of the great Sun Wukong, Great Sage Who Equals Heaven! I'm super strong and fast and fight good."
Well, by keeping to herself, Emma had admittedly managed to avoid causing trouble. But it was also really, really boring. The other Sacred were all chatting without her. She wanted to be part of that.
Taking a deep breath and preparing for the worst, Emma walked directly into the gathered group of Sacred that kept getting bigger. She knew this probably wouldn't end well, but... eh... she'd never really been one to worry about consequences.
"Hi. I'm Emma."
“Oh, yours talks to you too? That's a relief...” Naomi admitted, smiling a little at Setsuko as she exhales. “Yeah, it's... disorienting. I'm... I think I can get used to it though. Maybe...”
At Emma's approach, she went suddenly pale and drawn; looking away from her with much more aversion than with Amos as she felt a cold shiver run down her spine courtesy of Ignael. Whatever Emma was... or what she was housing... it was clearly setting off some alarm bells in her own patron.
“M-My... I'm not an heir of anyone. Not... well, not an heir as in an heir, but–” Naomi paused, trying her best to ignore that wretched feeling she got from Emma and instead focusing on answering Setsuko's question first. “...His name's Ignael. He's a seraph. But he um... he says he belongs in Heaven. He's not a messenger angel... so he struggles with the... t-talking thing...”
With Ignael gently reminding her to do so, she breathed a sigh and turned towards Emma with a tight smile, offering her a handshake in a manner that looked unnerved yet willing to at least try.
“H-Hi, Emma. I'm Naomi.”
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