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 Remove the Mask

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Kazatul
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Location : Los Angeles, California

PostSubject: Remove the Mask   Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:08 pm

So she had agreed to accompany me on this little treasure hunt. It had taken some persuasion, but agreement was acquired. Meloli and I, well the persona I would playing at the moment, travel to some nearby, more dangerous ruins. I typically used this place to lay low and occasionally store goods of a sensitive nature that I need to keep off the radar. While traveling thru the ruins, I spend more time observing her and her mannerisms than actual watching where I am going or actually looking for anything. I would "discover" an object here or there that I thankfully already knew was here to seem like today was my lucky day...

That is until we are walking down a hallway with an old wooden guard rail lining the edge of the upper "catwalk". Now I don't know if I walk lighter than she does or if she just got unlucky, but the flooring beneath her right foot give way. The obvious reaction to keep from falling when near an edge, grab onto the guard rail. The only problem with trying to use an old wooden railing to stop your fall... it's old. The momentum of her off-balance safety grab does not stop with the wooden banister but instead pushes her through it. One of the hazards of ruin searching is just this sort of unfortunate event. Whether she screams or remains silent would have no bearing on my ensuing action... I don't even know if she sees me as I vanish from sight and reappear following her path towards the lower floor and what is sure to be a great deal of pain, paralysis, or even death. None of those are acceptable. My form would emerge from the Void for not even a moment before she would be pulled into the portal with me before we land on the ground. I look back up at the railing before looking back at the young female adventurer. The facade is dropped and my voice falls into its normal meticulously calm tone. "Are you alright?"

375

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:41 pm

They say your whole life flashes before your eyes just before you meet death, well Meloli didn't watch a nice fuzzy edged montage of all her happy moments from childhood until the present. She did however see flashes of the three most important faces in her life, which could be considered as her whole life because without the three of them living would mean nothing. Falling, or being caught under something else falling, is always a danger that comes along with inspecting non regulated ruins, a risk the young woman was well aware of when she entered this new site with the strange adventurer she'd met only a short time before. It wasn't her best idea of the day, it probably ranked right up there as her worst idea for the past few months, but it was a calculated risk that she considered and accepted. Everything seemed to be going fine, the man had even uncovered some mundane items that had probably been tossed aside by relic hunters searching for more valuable things, but she was still uneasy about something as she began across the upper walkway. When she felt the flooring beneath her foot begin to give the uneasy feeling got worse... not because she was about to plummet to the floor below, but because she had to make a snap decision, reveal herself or risk serious injury, possibly even death. Never being one to openly choose death, Meloli tried to grasp at the banister as a last ditch attempt to avoid branding herself a freak but to no avail. That wood gave way as well and her downward spiral to the hard, unyielding floor below continued. She was ready to slow her momentum with the latest trick her mother had been pushing the young woman to practice, figured that if she did it closer to the floor she had more chance of the man not noticing, but before she could get the first word of the chant out of her mouth something almost unbelievable happened. The stranger proved that there was more to him than meets the eye... and that Meloli wasn't the only freak in the room.

Somehow, by use of some ability far more interesting than anything she possessed, the man seemed to pluck her out of her midair fall and deposit her safely on the lower level with him. As she turned to take in the man she noticed that his demeanor seemed different. Maybe he was resigned to the cat being out of the proverbial bag and took on a more somber persona to ready for her reaction... or maybe there was even more to him still. Either way... her gaze followed his up to the now broken railing and then back down with a nod and a sigh of relief. "Yes, thank you, I am fine. So what do you call that trick of yours? It didn't feel like hovering or flying, it felt odd, like there was some sort of displacement involved." Her mother called their shared ability wisp or hovering so she was very familiar with how it felt when she controlled it and when her mother did. As for flying, well she remembered that sensation all too well from her adventurous day spent with the man from above and the jaunt in this strangers arms felt nothing like the free, windblown sensation she'd felt that day. There was no judgment in her words or tone, mainly she was speaking with gratitude and curiosity but in a way that made it seem like speaking of these super human abilities was normal conversation, that she didn't find his possessing them the least bit odd. But on a tiny side note, the uneasy feeling had not gone away so the weak flooring was not the danger she was sensing... if anything it had grown stronger with the knowledge that this man could be capable of hurting or overpowering her. Entering a strange, isolated structure with a total stranger was now beginning to inch up toward the title of the dumbest idea of her entire life.

748

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Kazatul
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:40 am

The package was still secure. Good, but I needed to salvage this situation quickly. I had revealed that I could do something... "unnatural". What takes me off my game a bit is the fact that she is extremely nonchalant about the whole thing. I am both relieved and baffled. Most people either freak out or are overly excited by the realization of what I can do. The one thing that I am really trying to figure out is why people keep calling my abilities, "tricks". As if I am some parlor magician performing sleight of hand or some other silly joke of an ability for the ooohs & ahhs of half drunk onlookers. My response would be as any other, calm, concise, and vague, "That was called keeping an accident from being an incident. You have seen someone use similar powers before haven't you?" I already knew the answer, but I figure that I should keep the feeling of control with her. I still needed to ask her to come back with me and mee with my employer. Since her acceptance of his offer has nothing to do with me, I am pleasantly not compelled to try & convince her of anything. Especially because I don't like the fact that he seems to be trying to bring all of the talented relic hunters & ruin searchers under his or the Monarchy's control.

250/625

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War


Last edited by Kazatul on Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:57 pm

Hmm... maybe it wasn't such a good idea to react that way with a man she didn't know... cause now he's asking, as if he hadn't already figured it out, if she'd ever seen anyone else do something similar. Oh, well, hole already dug, might as well jump in... at least she doesn't have to admit to having a few tricks of her own up her sleeve. Nodding after only a moment of hesitation, Meloli answers him truthfully. "Yeah, I've seen one or two with similar tricks, but not quite like yours. Their tricks were more flight and less poof in and poof out... I guess that's the best way to explain it. What do you call yours? I assume 'Poof' would not be your chosen moniker for it, that would be more like what someone like me would call it." For some reason, one her mother usually attributed to Meloli inheriting her father's thirst for all things knowledge related, the girl often times seemed more interested in the names and mechanics of the tricks she'd been shown rather than amazed at the power behind them. Like most things in life, she assumed that having a solid understanding of how something worked or was done could lead her to being able to mimic the results until she herself could harness the power correctly. Not that she was going to test her own abilities with this 'Poof' trick, but if the man shared his term for it she could have a decent point of reference to begin researching it... starting with picking the brain of her trick teacher, dear old mom.

295

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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:12 pm

Looking at her, I begin to wonder if she was as skilled as I have been led to believe. My first response might be considered a little harsh, so I pause for a moment remaning silent as I ponder upon how to pose my response. Exhaling before I speak, I address the young woman, "My abilities are not tricks. It does not have a name because it does not need one. I can walk thru the Void. I gather you must have some powers because otherwise you'd be dead already for sure." I look around the room & back upstairs. I speak calmly as I tell her that we should keep moving. "You can lead the way now. Now that I don't have to pretend, I can focus on my real mission, keeping you safe. Yep. The cat was definitely out of the bag on that one now. It's of no consequene if it allows me to operate better.

159/784

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War


Last edited by Kazatul on Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:17 pm

Wow, this guy seemed a bit testy about his powers being called tricks, something that seemed a bit odd to Meloli, but odd doesn't mean he has to get snippy with her. "I'm sorry you seem to take offense at me calling your abilities 'tricks'. That's the way I was always taught to speak of them in mixed company. I will try to remember that you do not prefer that term. And if you walk through the void, why not just call the power Void Walk or something similar. They all need names so you can talk about them with others of similar skill." Of course talking about powers among friends and family is completely normal in her mind, and it probably won't even occur to her that he would not feel the same way. As for that other stuff he considered conversation that came out of his mouth, the stuff she tried very hard to not call out as rubbish before commenting. "And what exactly makes you believe I would be dead by now without abilities of my own? Just because I fell off of one rickety crappy walkway in a ruin that I haven't had time to properly scout out that YOU chose, does NOT mean that I am not good at what I do. Nor does it mean that I need any kind of powers to... or any man for that matter... to keep me safe, as you put it." Obviously the man had hit a somewhat sensitive button with that particular line of conversation, one that could have possibly led Meloli to head for the door were she not already curious about this 'real mission' to keep her safe and just how it came about. "And just who or what orchestrated this mission you think you're on to keep me safe?"

317

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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:36 pm

Void Walk? So she is simplistic. Good to know I suppose. I would reply in that calm and cold voice, "Testy? Apparently, it is I who should apologize. You did not rile, miss. I merely like to correct potential misconceptions. Tricks would imply deception is all. A power implies an ability or gift that one possesses. As for my observation of you, it is simple probability. If you had this accident here in this field of interest, then it is assumed that you would have had potential mishaps before. Also, you are far too nonchalant about being transported thru the Void. That leads me to believe that you have experienced abnormal means of travel before. Also, you being taught to speak of powers in a certain way also gave it away. Further observation, you are tired of being looked down upon or thought weaker & unable to take care of yourself b/c you are a girl or for any other reason. You want to prove yourself but you tend to play it safe. Also, you will not have time to "properly scout" every set of ruins you come across. Sometimes they will just be there and the party leader will deem them an acceptable, but brief detour. Are you going to pass up on that opportunity just because you don't have time to properly scout them?" She is actually interesting to me. I look at her the same way a gardener or florist might look upon a flower whose petals have simply not opened to bloom yet.

281/1065

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:54 am

ooc: Warning: Change to 1st person ahead. Now entering the mind of Meloli... Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

So exactly where do males go for their classes to learn how to speak to a woman in a calm and collected voice, with words that don't seem mean, but manage to make her feel less than an inch tall and stupid to boot? It would be nice to find such a place and shut it down for good... but since the ability is probably one that comes as a free gift with every penis installation, I figure the best idea would be for me to find some other way to deal with my personal frustration and irritation that comes with being spoken to like this. Given that it seems like nothing I say will dig me out of this hole I've burrowed myself into, silence would probably be the best option... or mostly silence. "Fine, point made. Now why are we here if you aren't looking for artifacts and who sent you to keep me safe?" I swear to all that is good and holy, if my parents or that man that currently can be called my lover had anything to do with this I will make them pay. My parents will pay dearly with many hours of needless worrying but my love will pay with a painful demotion back to nothing more than adoptive brother for a while. Of course the idea that someone I don't know could be behind this never enters into my naive little mind... and why would it? That would just make things easy for me and the laws of good adventure would never allow that.

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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:19 pm

I smile at her. "Who said I wasn't looking for artifacts? I'm merely more interested in seeing how you perform than in my explorative ability." Still, I had not answered the question about who sent me to her. It seemed that she did not like not knowing which is mildly entertaining to me. I liked to analyze and study people in less than comfortable situations. She seems quite interested in who sent me. Looking around, I note a hallway leading to the right behind me. A slightly damaged stairway leading back up to our left. A dark hallway ahead of us that has a set of double doors at the end of the 10 yard hallway and a door about halfway down leading to the left under the stairs. I address her again, "We should keep moving. There is more to explore after all. Which way should we go?"

159/1224

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War


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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:07 pm

Grrrrrr! Why can't this dude simply answer a frigging question with a straight response?!?! Is it really so hard to give a name? Maybe he can only handle one question at a time, perhaps two back to back was a bit much for him to swallow in one gulp. I guess I should try tossing out smaller bites from now on, it is slightly rude of me to expect him to be as adept at swallowing information as I am after all. Hmm... ask about his employer again, in smaller words this time, or go after that very suspicious tidbit he dropped in his oh so vague response about my performance? Decisions, decisions.... "Uh uh, I am not moving one more step until you tell me exactly why you are interested in 'seeing how I perform'." With any luck he will be able to handle that bite and give me a straight answer, there is no way in hell I'm staying in a semi dark abandoned ruin with some strange guy who is charged with 'keeping me safe' and 'interested in seeing how I perform'. This started out as such a good day but has quickly taken a rather creepy turn... and it doesn't even have anything to do with the fact that he has powers I've never imagined, powers that most likely surpass my own by leaps and bounds... nope, not about his abilities at all, his purpose and intentions are the only things raising the creep factor here.

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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:35 pm

Looking at the young woman as she issues her ultimatum, I arch my eyebrow first before I nod to her with a brief grin. I furrow my brow as if weighing the options before responding, "That is fair. We will see if you honor your word, Miss Meloli. To answer your question, I am interested in seeing how you perform during this little adventure so that I can report my observations back to the person who sent me here. So now that I have answered your question, it would be polite of you to answer my answer. Which way would you like to go?"

Normally, I did not like to repeat myself unless explaining a strategy or plan of action that I felt had certain aspects of it that might be considered complex. This was not one of those times. Still, with her, I felt that I should not rush the matter. I sigh, provided she hadn't decided yet, before I speak with a more soothing tone than my normal directness, "Meloli, I have no intentions of harming you or leading you into a trap of any sort. There is someone who is wanting to meet you, but they have time constraints so this is a potential gateway to many wondrous opportunities. That is why I am here. Nothing more, nothing less. You are already here, so logic states that you might as well explore the location.

254/1478

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:22 pm

I probably should have specified that I wanted a good answer... not just more words spat out toward me on the heels of an arched eyebrow and a grin... one that I won't admit was cute no matter how much torture I am forced to suffer. The first response he gives me begins with a bit of hope and then it plummets to the ground for a fiery crash and burn moment, which of course leaves me fighting back an impressive pout... and I can pout with the best of them, ask my stony faced man sometime. While I take a moment to decide if I am really going to continue on with him, given that he is only giving me bread crumbs while asking for me to trust him with my very life and well being in return, he seems to sense my hesitation and attempts to smooth things over to salvage his mission. Keeping my face purposefully blank while he talks, I wait until he is completely finished before allowing my grin to break through. "See? That is all you had to say. I still want to know who sent you but as long as I can trust that you mean me no harm, then I can move forward and continue to explore this place." With that said, and with my fears put to rest for the moment, I turn toward the hallway containing the double doors and set off to finish the exploration... being careful this time of weak spots in even the ground floor in the hopes of preventing any further accidents.

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Kazatul
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:34 pm

I nearly forgot one of the essential rules of guardianship... always make the charge feel as if they are in control, while giving them as little control as possible. My eyebrows raise for a brief moment in a sort of "ahh, I see" fashion. She was persistent about finding out who my employer was, which I can respect. I am pleased that she temporarily drops the issue as it was still not time to reveal his identity. As her steps take us down the hall, I casually proceed behind her. Spatial energies flow around me as I prepare for pretty much anything to happen. Also, it was just natural for me to feel comfortable with the void around me.

My senses remain fully alert at their heightened state as I scan the area again. It is now that I realize that I may actually need to seek out the Old Hag in order to learn how to use other forms of magic so that I can create light when surrounded by darkness. I am pretty comfortable seeing in the low light visibility, but it is harder for me to keep watch over her considering that the light from outside has a harder time with no windows in this hallway. I wonder which way she is gonna go as the option of veering left or straight ahead for the double doors is upon her. I would remain silent as I walk behind her. My steps are fairly quiet by training, but I make enough light noise so that she knows that I am still with her. I do not know for sure the effect of such knowledge for her, but most charges take comfort in it.

297/1775

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:57 pm

Walking down a dark hallway, that is growing ever darker with each step, being followed by a strange man I've only known for a couple hours who has admitted to being assigned to watching over me and evaluating my performance almost seems like some way to start off an extra creepy urban legend story... you know, the kind where the stupid young girl ends up dead or violated at the hands of the creepy stranger. Trying to force those disturbing images from my mind... especially the detailed scenes of the various violations and manners of death I could meet at his hands... I continue down the hallway making sure to listen out for the sound of his footsteps behind me, more to make sure there was room between us rather than that he was still with me. The double doors wait just ahead, and even though I could veer left, I head right for them. We can always check out what lies to the left later on, the double doors seem exponentially more interesting at this moment in time... and of course I'm betting on and hoping to find a decent window in the room beyond to cut through the darkness surrounding us. At least if he turns out to be a liar and tries to violate me I will hopefully have some light to aid my defense.

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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:05 pm

Moving on ahead, she stays the course heading straight for her objective. That could be interpreted asshe is very focused or as she is short-sighted. I would need more time to assess which it is. As we approach the door, I take a deep breath to see what I could smell. It's strange b/c I don't smell food as I had thought I would. So it was not a kitchen? We proceed further. As soon as she opened the double door, she would find what resembles an office, but it's rather large with several tables. It is illuminated by these strange staffs with glowing orbs atop them. There are inscriptions written on them, but it looks like symbols to me.

There is one table directly to the left that has some small, thin rectangular papers in a stack and scattered in five piles of seven with some of the papers in the middle. There are symbols on them and one of them has a predominantly red picture of a person on it. Next to each pile are circular, colored pieces.

On the next table is a relic contraption that is biege with more thin rectangular pieces of paper. These all had pictures and people on them. They had symbols on them to. Taking a closer look at the arrangement of the slips of paper, they seem to be placed in stacks according to their symbols. As the stacks get closer to the contraption, they are maintained in better & better condition. There are some shiny objects on the opposite side of the contraption. Also on the table is a knife and two books. One of them looks to be a ledger as I notice the same symbols from the slips of paper on this table and the items on the other table. I wonder if they are placed for a ritual of some sort. The other book is completely strange but has lots of pictures.

The furthest table's contents are difficult to see from the entrance as there is a shade in front of it, half withered away.

368/2143

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War


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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:30 pm

After opening the door I cease my steps at the edge of the hallway side of the threshold. I wasn't ready to go charging in at first glance. Whatever this place, this room was used for, it gives off a not so safe vibe. The illuminated orbs give me cause for concern first off because I wonder if that could mean the room was still in use, and if this is the kind of place those using it would want to protect from invaders. While still in the doorway I gaze around the interior, or what of it I could see from my position, to try and take in whatever visible clues available. Aside from the illuminated orbs, everything seemed to be well out of use, which only manages to arouse my curiosity more. If the dust covering the strange relics has really been there as long as it seems, then how is the room still bathed in light after so much time? Just before stepping into the room I bend down to more closely inspect the floor around the doorway, to make sure there is nothing to trip over or any weak spots to fall through, this place could easily have one of those infernal string things that one of the buildings a few months back had. Why would the people from before want to thread a string across a doorway a couple inches above the ground? It makes absolutely no sense to me and tripping over the stupid string does nothing but tick me off and make me look like a fool. As long as there is nothing dangerous or tricky near the doorway, I would venture forth with dust brush in hand and begin to studiously examine the nearest table of items.

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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:43 pm

The illumination orbs worked on a very simple system from the old time. Understanding it now however would prove extremely difficult. There was one thing, the Dawn had not gotten rid of in its reset... the sun. For the last 20 years, it would rise every day bathing the world in its light.

The door wasn't trapped and as I scan the room myself, I don't see any traps or alarms in this room. That seems strange to me, but I did not want to raise concern in Meloli. I suppose not many people would actually want there to be traps and security mechanisms that could harm them. Seeing no point in wasting time, I smile at her & nod, "Time for you to do your thing." I would step inside past her hesitation and start looking around. Obviously, the thing that draws in my attention first... the knife! Perhaps that isn't quite normal to instantly go for the weapons in the room when not under attack, but they provide more fascination for me. There is a strange garment on the back of the chair next to the contraption and knife that I had not noticed before. It looks like leather armor, but it is a strange design as it leaves the entire chest open or perhaps the back which would be even worse. I would glance over at her from time to time to keep an eye on her, but this armor garment had captured my attention for sure.

264/2407

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War


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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:08 am

Once I was fairly sure there were no traps waiting to be triggered and fully entered the room, I immediately set out to brush away the years of dust collected atop the items on the first table. Careful not to touch anything with my fingers at first, for fear that the natural oils produced by my skin would damage or even possibly ruin the artifacts I handled, I brush away the thick layers of dust that had built up and adhered to the items over the years. Once the full design of each item is once again exposed to the world, I turn the brush around in my hand and delicately poke and prod at each strange object to test fragility. The items that appear to be crafted from paper seem much more delicate than the colored circle things... they will need more specialized tools than the standard set I brought with me today... so I force my curiosity to the side and strongarm my hands to steer clear of each stacked paper pile. The circular objects appear to not only be more durable, but also able to withstand being handled with non gloved hands... which I quickly take advantage of as I lift them one by one, turn them over in my palm, and examine them closely.

While focusing on this first table, I am vaguely aware of the man elsewhere in the room... but only vaguely. In the back of my mind... and I mean the way way way far back part (what I would compare to the annex parking lots across the busy four lane almost highway street from the mall if I knew what a mall was)... I wonder if he even know how to properly handle relics, since his original story has now been completely debunked. Of course that thought isn't important enough to draw my eyes away from the relics in hand, not yet anyway, probably not until I hear him move something or catch some form of artifact movement out of the corner of my eye... then I might not be so nice about how I critique his methods or how I offer a crash course in treasure hunting.

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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:13 pm

This strange piece of armor truly intrigues. What is even cooler is that there is a strange apparatus under it with a shiny piece of jewelry or something dangling in the apparatus. It is very peculiar to say the least. I pick up the leather set of straps and inspect them before I start to notice that it reminds me of a harness trap or a spider's web, so get a good look at the piece of jewelry & it's not as light as I initially thought it was, but seeing no use for it, I put it back and leave it for her to inspect. I need to learn wind magic to use wit my Void powers so that I could create a small vortex to reove all this damn dust! That would also be useful for gas traps. Hmm... so many applications of a vortex ability. I could also use it to hinder an adversaries movement or bind them. Ya kno, that thing just moved up on my to-do list. That is what I need. An operative that is skilled at locating skilled users of different ability types outside of Village of the Sun. I don't wanna be forced to travel all the way over there for training. Deciding to continue her evaluation, I ask, "So what is all this stuff anyway? Are u able to discern its application yet?" I knew she probably hadn't but this lack of ample time is what most explorers and archaeologist that I've traveled with are forced to deal with from their employers or their party, so I had best simulate real experiences for her.

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
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PostSubject: Re: Remove the Mask   

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Remove the Mask
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