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Topic Summary

Posted by: Cloak
« on: Yesterday at 09:15:59 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:
Survival

Rotiart easily survived the cave in, as did the pandemonium demons wearing the bodies of staff and tourists. The ones that weren't met a very unwelcoming surprise -- sunrise. They exploded into wisps of brimstone and aether, dead and gone.

The rubble buried Rotiart up to his waist, but he was still quite dangerous. But not to Cloak -- in Tier Three of his power, which meant that he had three tendrils of golden-scarlet energy trailing from each of his eyes, which glowed like golden-scarlet suns. Who knew how many Tiers of power he had -- but he had subconsciously places these blocks to his powers, for fear of losing them or becoming overwhelmed or overburdened with them.

"Is this supposed to be impressive, Cloak?" Rotiart sneered with a thunderous voice.

"You have two options before you, Rotiart," Cloak said. His voice was cold and firm. "Return your stolen property, the stolen souls, give them back their bodies, and we can pretend this never happened. Or . . . we can get . . . messy."

"Do you take me for a fool?" he asked, with a belly laugh. "My power knows no peer. Not even you've the power to outmatch me."

"Whatever, whoever, aided in your resurrection has done something to you, Rotiart." Cloak said. "And not for the better. i truly wish that you could see that, even in your . . .
unstable condition, right now. Whoever they are, they twisted you. Warped your mind. This isn't you. You were making enormous strides before you battled the snake wesen. You were bettering yourself, and it was working."

"Save it," Rotiart snapped. He was far too conditioned to hate the RAFians at this point that he would not be convinced. "I don't care how many lies and flimsy rhetoric you spew. I will not be made a fool of again."

"The hard way it is," Cloak said, almost ruefully. Pityingly. Rotiart had made really progress, it was true. Cloak understood why he left his home as well, understood all too well -- a negligent, verbally abusive parent who didn't care about their child. Only in Cloak's case, his mother pretended that she did. "Just know, Rotiart -- it didn't have to be this way."

"You pretentious --" Rotiart splutterred in anger before firing a blast of red energy at Cloak, only to discover that Cloak fired a volley himself a split second before, and it hit him in the face. But it didn't hurt, just blinded him for a second.

It gave Rotiart a giant boost in his already overinflated confidence. Overconfidence usually is always a liability, especially to those who haven't any logical reason to be overconfident.

"Not good enough, Cloak." Rotiart sneered, as the Realm Walker said nothing in reply. Rotiart picked up a large piece of the rubble, unaware of how distracted Cloak seemed to be, and threw it.

Yes. He threw a rock at a Master of the Earth Element. Rotiart was never the smartest RAFian, back when he was one.

Cloak easily pulled the rock into orbit around him, and sent it back to Rotiart with an unintentional pirouette. It hit Rotiart in his right shoulder. This time it hurt. Not by much, but it was enough to cause Rotiart to take this more seriously.

He fired a concussive blast at the Elements Master, who slammed his fist on the ground. Then this generated a wall of stone between him and blast, which successfully blocked it. Then Cloak terrakinetically lifted this massive wall of earth and stone, looking rather like the Hulk holding up that mountain that one time, and heaved it at Rotiart, which hit him in the head. It just got him mad, rather than doing any kind of legitimate damage.

Then again, Cloak wasn't trying to kill Rotiart. He had a plan, and, insofar, it was going swimmingly. For here, Cloak began dodging and evading Rotiart's attacks. Cloak found that he, in the former RAFian's frustration, was starting to telegraph his attacks a bit too much.

"You are DONE, Cloak!" Rotiart roared. "You are DONE! You hear me?! You are -- why are you smiling?"
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 21, 2017, 06:02:37 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN:
Nothing But Bad Days Ahead

After he absorbed every last soul in the basin, he grew. Clothes and all, he grew. His scars vanished, one by one, as he grew to the top of the cavern. His skin became a deeper shade of red, and his fingers became clawed. His feet became cloven hooves, like a goat's, and everything below his waist was shaggy rust-colored hair. His eyes glowed a deep yellow and each eye split into two. So he had four eyes -- two on the right, two on the left -- with no discernible sclera or pupils. He grew an ornate that nearly scraped the roof of the cavern. His chest and abdominal areas were ripped now.

And the Animusraptor Ritus was stuck on his chest, where it looked like a mere knickknack. He laughed, a deep and gravelly voice. He snapped his fingers and lively music started up.

"Great," Saffa muttered, "now he's gonna sing."

"I guess I've been naughty,
I'm afraid I've been bad.
I couldn't leave well enough alone.
I dug up a horrible secret, you see.
And I'm afraid I've made it my own.
It's something so wicked I shudder to think,
Of the despicable deeds that I'll do!
Creating such chaos as you've never seen,
And misery like you never knew!
There ain't nothing but bad days ahead (ain't nothing)!
Ain't nothing but bad days ahead (bad days ahead)!
So kiss off your happiness, bury your dreams,
Face this new feeling of dread!
There ain't nothing but bad days ahead (bad days ahead)!
"

All his pandemonium demons lackeys stuck to the walls, to avoid being stepped on. But soon they began to file outside, sensing what Cloak hoped he had been wrong Earthsighting. Meanwhile, seemingly oblivious, Rotiart launched into the song again:

"The power to change is mine, all mine!
The first thing I'll change is the rules.
RAF and its RAFians are soon going to find that,
I've played them for snivelling fools.
From now on, the forum will hear what I say,
And whatever Rotiart says goes!
The world is my plaything, my yo-yo, my toy!
And I won't stop 'til everyone knows!
There ain't nothing but bad days ahead (ain't nothing)!
Ain't nothing but bad days ahead (bad days ahead)!
. . . And now that I'm back,
There ain't nothing but bad days ahead (bad days ahead)!
Are you scared?
Full of fear?
"

"Not particularly," Cloak said, but Rotiart continued as if he didn't hear him.

"Feel like running and hiding?
Well, ain't that that a shame!
'Coz, honey, it's too darn late!
There ain't nothing but bad days ahead (ain't nothing)!
Ain't nothing but bad days ahead (bad days ahead)!
Move over, Garrotik; Voldemort, get lost!
Take a hike, Knights of Humanity!
There ain't nothing but bad (wonderfully sad)!
Wonderfully sad days (no, no)!
You've never had days (you've never had)!
'Til you've seen my bad ways!
There ain't nothing but bad days ahead!
"

The cavern rumbled. This display of power was going to cause the cave to collapse. There was no saving it.

"Everyone, to me!" Cloak yelled, to the others.



Source song: https://youtube.com/watch?v=5V55et0JQP8
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 20, 2017, 10:32:49 PM »

I'm glad you did -- I kinda wanted someone to be caught up when the big reveal happens in the next chapter. Which is now.

New chapter.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN:
HOW?!

"How the h--" Underseen said, before cutting himself off due to his absolute incredulity.

"You're supposed to be dead!" Gaz said, shocked. "We saw you die, Rotiart!"

And so it was indeed Rotiart, somehow surviving his defeat at the fangs of the Lauenschlange, Lucas Penn. His face matched the rest of his body as being red and scarred. His hair had been sheered off. But he had legs. And he still had his hand that was supposed to be missing -- but make no mistake. This was the real Rotiart -- who was still recovering from his harrowing ordeal from the serpentine wesen.

"This can't be real," Saffa said, as if she was addressing the narration, "a clone. An exosuit or shapeshifter. There are a myriad of other possibilities. Rotiart is dead and this thing before us is a mere facsimile, a fraud, a fake."

"You always thought you were smarter than you are," Rotiart said. "I'll have you know, I am the real Rotiart. Trey Moore was just a disguise."

"But Trey Moore truly exists," Hunter said. "How did you replace him?"

"That's my business," Rotiart said, repressively, not giving them anything.

"How did you survive?" Gaz said.

"That's none of your business," Rotiart sniffed, than his tone became malicious, "You all betrayed me, left me for dead, and soon -- soon I shall have my vengeance."

"I tried to stop the fight, Rotiart!" Cloak protested. "I tried to step in! I tried to stop Malice, Rotiart!"

"You were just trying to show off again, and you know it!!" Rotiart said, briefly losing his composure, before reasserting it again. "You were trying to hog all the glory for yourself. I could have handled that snake dude by myself."

"Rotiart, you tried that and failed," Underseen said, trying to reason with the former RAFian. Yes, former. His Mark had been broken as he had evidently renounced his allegiance to them. "You were unprepared to --"

"I was perfectly prepared!" he said, in a maniacal lapse before succumbing to his emotionless state once more. The five RAFians looked at each other, all having noticed these strange psychological ticks. "You just didn't believe in me. None of you did."

"Rotiart --"

"SILENCE!!!" he roared. "Once my plan reaches completion, I will possess enough power to rule everyone, with my pandemonium demons intermingling amongst them, acting as my secret agents. My power will have no peer -- I will be even more powerful than you, Cloak."

Cloak could have felt anger at that jibe, even been wrathful. But his eyes cut through this lofty rhetoric of Rotiart. He saw the insecurities that Rotiart always had -- afraid of being weak and being seen as such, afraid of being helpless and being seen as such, afraid of being powerless and being seen as such. He did not know the more powerful one got, the more burdensome the power was, like many of those that constantly thirst for power and relentlessly seek out more and more of it. It could be like an addiction. Rotiart was evidently ignorant of all this, and Cloak knew it. All he could do was pity the kid (whose body was now that of a mature man), and feel guilt and shame for not realizing that he was not dead -- somehow, through some undisclosed method that he knew nothing about.

Rotiart placed the Animusraptor Ritus to his chest, and, unsurprisingly began to absorb all the souls in the basin, using them to fuel his power . . . changing into a monster.

A monster declaring that there's gonna be nothing but bad days ahead for RAF and its RAFians. . . .
Posted by: Underseen
« on: May 20, 2017, 12:00:19 PM »

I'm caught up again. I'm enjoying how deep the lore has gotten. Always one for the cliffhangers, eh?
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 20, 2017, 06:38:55 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN:
Back Inside

The RAFians made it back inside now, all heading towards the straightaway tunnel. Once there, they spread out and hid. This was easy for all except Saffa and Hunter, whose powers didn't facilitate hiding as well as the other three's abilities and skills. But they equipped themselves with all the finesse and strategy of a RAFian.

There seemed to no assembly line for pandemonium demon infestation now --probably because all the captured tourists were already soulless and infested by a pandemonium demon each. It wasn't a particularly happy or welcoming thought.

The five were agreed, though, that Trey Moore knew about this. He may have just been a tool or puppet, or he could very well be the man in charge. Either way, he was not to be underestimated -- though both Cloak and Hunter was sure they've met Trey before now. Neither was precisely sure where, but both were unable to place from where exactly. It was bothersome and annoying at the same time.

There was an ominous air in the place as it seemed abandoned -- no infested staff members or administrative personnel, no pandemonium demons, no action or movement of any kind. Cloak was sure that it was still night, so the pandemonium demons didn't need to worry about dying in the sunlight.

The tip of Cloak's tail twitched with anxiety. There was no way that they infested all the tourists. There were many of them -- then again, not all of them may have even been captured. But this was just semantics -- they had to look at the bigger picture here.

Suddenly, a figure swept into the large room, with a mismatched contingent of infested staff members and pandemonium demons. It was difficult to see who was leading this contingent until he stepped up right up to the basin. It was then Cloak noticed that he was holding something. It was that thing labelled the Animusraptor Ritus. Cloak was flummoxed as to why the figure was holding it. Then, as his shifted his position closer, he became aware of who it was.

It was, unsurprisingly, Trey Moore. Only he was wearing a black leather vest that trailed down to his thighs, and a black leather loin cloth that trailed down to his knees. It was a rather odd attire choice, to be sure. But the weirdest bit was how emaciated he looked. His head, neck, and the upper part of his chest looked perfect fine and unmolested, but everything else? It looked like Darth Maul's face. Beat red with black scarring. What had happened to him to get all those injuries?

From what little of the others he could see, he could see similar reactions. Trey apparent had got through some serious physical trauma. It was a wonder that he could even still walk under his own power.

He stood upon the "infestation balcony", but the restraining table had been removed, and he wore a contemptuous look upon his face which looked . . . odd, at this angle. Almost as if he was --

He called out, "I know you're here! Don't bother hiding! It's already too late RAFians."

When none of the RAFians acquiesced to this declaration, he saw fit to call out again.

"Hunter! Gaz! Underseen! Saffa! Cloak!" he shouted. "I know you are here. Show yourselves! Let's get this show on the road!"

No movement.

"Let's end this facade," he growled. "I know that you're here. You know that I'm here. Lets get this done. I want witnesses to my rise to power!"

At this, the RAFians showed themselves, albeit reluctantly.

"Good, good," Trey said, "now my revenge  can be complete."

"Revenge?" Saffa asked.

"Oh, you don't recognize me, Saffa? I'm hurt." he said, with mock vulnerability. Then he touch his face and, with mock realization, said, "Oh, yes, this mask."

"Mask?" Underseen asked, as Trey pulled at his hair. Until it was removed, and his body was wholly swollen red and black with scars.

The five let out a gasp of shock.

"Impossible!" Hunter exclaimed.

"You?!" Cloak said.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 19, 2017, 09:22:00 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN:
The Rendezvous Point

Gaz made it to the point first. Hunter, Saffa, and Cloak made it there second, arriving at the same time. And Underseen was the last to arrive.

"So," Cloak said, breaking an uncomfortable silence, "what did everyone find out?"

"I found a residential area," Gaz said.

"Not too surprising," Saffa said, "it's probably cheaper to house staff here on the island than fly or boat them in every day."

"That's what I thought, too," Gaz said, "but they were empty. It was more like a ghost town than anything else."

"I think I know why," Underseen said, sounding unnerved. "The staff are pandemonium demons. They're inhabiting their bodies, kidnapping tourists for more of them to . . . to wear."

"How can they take over a body with an . . . occupant?" Cloak asked sharply.

"They don't," Underseen said. "They extract the occupant -- the soul, the mind, the consciousness, whatever -- and put into a large basin. Then the pandemonium demon is able to . . . step in."

"Explains that training video I saw in the room at the end of my tunnel," Saffa said, thoughtfully, "trying to teach them to pass -- badly, mind you -- as humans. But the question is why?"

"Global domination?" Hunter shrugged.

"Of course!" Cloak said, rolling his eyes. That was such a cliché motivation, which was why they ran into would-be world dominators several times in the past year.

"Probably more to it than that, though," Hunter said, enjoying Cloak's joke. "I found a locker room where the, um, 'naked' pandemonium demons must hang out during the day. And there were old and disused costumes -- you know, the mascot-type costumes typical of theme parks? You know, Rochelle Rat and Butch Bunny? It looks like the switch to a spooky theme park was less than a year ago."

"But why?" Gaz said. "If I remember right, they did a fair amount of business back when they were that saccharine family resort. Why change it? And why change it so abruptly?"

"We'd have to ask Moore," Cloak said, austerely. "But chances are that he's involved. To what degree, I cannot fathom. He could very well be the head."

"Could he be a pandemonium demon himself?" Saffa asked.

"Possibly," Underseen said, "but we haven't any way to tell unless he sees fit to drop the facade."

"I don't think he is," Hunter said, pensively. "He didn't smell like one. All the staff did, though. But . . ."

Hunter looked at each one in turn. His glance lingered on Cloak, who nodded, urging him to proceed.

"Trey Moore smelled . . . familiar," Hunter said. "Like we met him somewhere along the way before."

"Who?" Underseen asked.

"I don't know," Hunter said, earnestly, "all Cloak and I know is that it was familiar."

"Well, that's ominous," Saffa said.

"What's our next move?" Gaz asked.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 19, 2017, 05:47:57 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER TWELVE:
The Twelve O'clock Tunnel

Underseen took the straightaway tunnel. On the way, he decided to shapeshift something a bit more innocuous than the auburn child form he had adopted. In the darkness, he shifted into the form of a tiny green gecko. While this was good, he felt that the color stood out a bit too much in a dark cave, with minimal lighting. So he shifted into a bat form, and flapped to a cave entrance that found recalled a moderate size of a Yeerk Pool.

There were stalagmites and stalactites everywhere, though the stalagmites were less frequent, but they provided prime roosting spots for Underseen to see what was going on. Because, unlike the other rooms that the others visited, this cavernous expanse was occupied with several people, including the unconscious partygoers, and the island's staff. As well as a few of these pandemonium demons.

The whole facility seemed to work similarly to a Yeerk Pool as well. There was a big basin, but filled with some silvery-white liquid and that the usual Yeerk Pool sludge. Like some combination of a Yeerk Pool and a Pensieve. There was a platform on one side, with shackles upon a flat upright table that looked somewhat like a cross with a fattened trunk. People clearly were bound there for some . . .

Underseen looked at the pandemonium demons, and he was beginning to connect the dots, especially when he saw the robotic arm on the opposite side of the basin. It had four "fingers" of some sort, arranged as one finger on a side of a square. The tips glowed with a faint purplish pink color, almost as if they were the same made from the same material as a soulsword.

Some of the staff pulled an unconscious redhead girl in pink and purple from the throng. They put her on the table cross thing, and shackled her limp, prone body. As to why Underseen couldn't begin to fathom, then it occurred to him that maybe the knockout effect didn't have an uniform effect on everyone -- maybe some came around before others, and others are knocked out longer.

Then the arm activated and reached across the basin, its mechanical fingers opened just as the girl was coming to. But, before she could even scream, the fingers reaching into her chest and pulled out what could only be described as a spirity thing, manifested as just her head. It was swiftly dunked and released into the basin before the spirit thingy -- the soul -- could utter a protest.

Her body, however, remained behind. Prone and nearly lifeless. Underseen had to fight a gasp as he saw a group of four pandemonium demons and staff members gather around the soulless body, and heard them speak in a raspy, gravelly, and inhuman voices.

"Quick!" they said. "Quick! Before the vessel's body goes cold! Quick!"

One pandemonium demon stood before the girl, and pried open her jaw. Then it turned its right hand into gas as it forced it into the girls mouth, translating the rest of its body into the gas until had fully occupied her body, which convulsed mildly during this act. The pandemonium demon opened her eyes, in full control of her actions now, and "she" was unshackled and allowed to walk freely.

So, Underseen thought, as he watched them repeat the process to a young, blonde man in a powder blue shirt with a white sweater, blue jeans, and a yellowish orange ascot.

So, this is how they do it. Underseen thought again, as he watched them repeated the process once more to a bespectacled woman in a pale orange sweater (despite the weather) and burgundy skirt.

There isn't anything I can do here by myself, Underseen thought as he watched again as they repeated the process to an unshaven man wearing a baggy green shirt and brown bellbottoms. I gotta go to the rendezvous point. Gotta let the others know.

With that, he winged off to the spot they decided earlier would be the rendezvous spot.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 18, 2017, 06:02:32 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER ELEVEN:
The Two O'clock Tunnel

Cloak took the tunnel at two o'clock. He proceeded down the tunnel quickly, but silently. His feet moving as soundlessly as an owl's wing. This whole thing held a vague familiarity to him, but he could not begin to discern one. And he found it somewhat disturbing and concerning at the same time.

He noticed the walls becoming oddly smoother, much less cave-like and more like a construct made by human hand. He could tell (Earthsight can be a bit of a tattletale sometimes) that he was nearing the ending point of this tunnel. And the room this tunnel emptied into was more cramped that he anticipated.

The room was circular, about ten, twelve feet in diameter, and completely dark. Not a problem for Cloak's feline eyes, though. The walls had rocky veins that recalled a spider's leg, with a web of stone that recalled a spider web. This seemed rather kitschy, but evidently thematic, to the Realm Walker. It was clear that it was supposed to inspire and incite fear -- but Cloak had never feared spiders (that was his mother). He wasn't too fond of their arachnid cousins, scorpions, but that was neither here nor there.

In the direct center of this circular room was a small dais, roughly two or three feet in diameter, sufficient enough to stand on and look at what was on the pedestal that sprouted from its center, also looking rather thematic, though a bit overdone, in Cloak's opinion. He couldn't see what was on the pedestal (not with his eyes, anyway), as it was obscured by more of that rocky webbing stuff that was cupped over it, like Gollum and that ring he coveted.

But Cloak's Earthsight had already outted it as being pyramidal in shape and no larger than a PokéBall. Cloak couldn't quite tell what it was, or what it was made out of. But it didn't seemed to be earthen. It took Cloak a moment to detect the metal in it, but he was perplexed.

Any layman would see this and just assume that he accidentally stepped on the set of a moderate to low-budget movie, or that this was just part of the attraction. But Cloak suspected something more to it. Almost like it was a . . . a Horcrux or something. Some sort of soul jar? Couldn't be for more than one given its size, unless they were highly condensed. Assuming that he was right in this conclusion to begin with.

But that begged the question. Why have this here? There was no access codes, no protective spells, no nothing guarding this. The stone web would prove to be child's play to undo, even if he wasn't a Master of the Earth Element. They were like movie props than actual wards against would-be thieves and robbers. If this thing was really so powerful and dangerous as Cloak suspected it was, why leave it with such lax security? Why leave it relatively out in the open? This was like begging for it to be taken. Were they really that complacent and arrogant to think that no one would take the thing?

Even Cloak was tempted to show their folly and take the thing -- this Animusraptor Ritus, according to the description plaque at the side of the pedestal. It was as if this was supposed to be a museum piece, held here for posterity or something. This befuddled the Realm Walker further. Was thing even a powerful relic like he had believed? Was even he taken in by this, and believed something untrue?

Cloak could have taken it, but found himself suspicious at how easy it would be. There had to be something more to this. Surely, Trey Moore knew of this, as he owned the park, resort, whatever you wanted to call it.

Thinking of Trey brought Cloak to remember something he didn't notice at the time -- but he must have been mistaken. After all, he looked perfectly . . . it probably didn't matter. He was stymied for a bit on whether or not to take the Animusraptor Ritus, but, in the end, decided against it. Despite much second guessing.

He swept from the room, heading towards the rendezvous point.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 17, 2017, 04:24:34 PM »

New chapter. Sorry about the brevity.

CHAPTER TEN:
The Ten O'clock Tunnel

Gaz had gone down the tunnel at ten o'clock from them. She was surprised that she had come up in a very secluded spot. One that was open to the air, but surrounded on three sides by sheer mountain ridge. And there were like three long buildings arranged like a backward 'E', as well as a small to moderate-sized farm on her immediate right and another path, a dirt one that descended downward, to her immediate left. It was almost as if it was a drain for rainwater.

The buildings looked very plain, almost like army barracks, but they were actually small apartment buildings. The was only so much she could tell from the outside, but they were at least three to four stories high, with evidence of a basement laundry room. She didn't know how good the interiors were, but, just by judging the exterior, she assumed that they must be very plain one room apartments -- hopefully with kitchenettes.

But why was this here? Why did a resort have what amounted to be very much a residential area? She strongly suspected that this was for staff and administrative personnel housing. But there couldn't be more than ten apartments a floor -- and she was being generous with her estimate -- which would mean about thirty or forty apartments per building, which would mean that this entire facility could only house like a hundred twenty, a hundred sixty staff members. Did it take that amount of staff member to keep this resort, this theme park running? The island wasn't exactly big, but it wasn't small, either.

But she was sure that Trey Moore didn't live here. To her knowledge, he was a rather ostentatious man. He lived in luxury and, like most affluent people, wanted for nothing. And, yet, he didn't seem nearly as avaricious as he was reputed to be. . . . Odd, very odd.

Gaz walked quietly and moved carefully, as she looked at these barrack-type buildings. No lights were on, and it wasn't exactly that late out. For the most part, these buildings seemed . . . abandoned at the moment. As if all staff and administration was out. This too felt very odd to her. These apartments -- these barracks seemed almost ghostly and weird. Despite obviously being a residential area, one that was obviously still used, it felt unlived in. With all the ominous sense of a new, empty apartment that was yet to be personalized.

Other than that, there wasn't much to this place. She couldn't exactly break in. Well, she could technically -- that whole "vampire must be invited in" thing didn't really apply to her. Or any vampire she knew really. It was just one of those things made up by Hollywood. The only reason a vampire wouldn't enter unless invited was mostly about a deep-seated decorum towards this politeness. That's the main reason she didn't just go arbitrarily breaking and entering into others homes -- because she wasn't a burglar or thief and it was just not done.

Even though she felt this wasn't enough information to go back to the rendezvous with, it was all she could gather from this area -- as she could not make out any other relevant clue. So, she proceeded immediately to the rendezvous point.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 16, 2017, 04:11:20 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER NINE:
The Eight O'clock Tunnel

Saffa took the tunnel that went eight o'clock from the main hub. She still wasn't too sold on splitting up being the right course of action, but she could defend herself. She had been training in swordplay with Blaze and the other finest swordsmen and swordswomen RAF had to offer -- which, admittingly, wasn't a lot. But she found herself sufficiently competent enough to handle herself in a fight where she couldn't morph (she still rather liked this shirt).

She the room widened into a wide room. She tried not to have flashbacks to exams when she saw what occupied the room. Desks and chairs. Rows of ten and aisles five long. He looked around and saw the walls were bare but smooth. The desks and chairs were all unoccupied however, and they were directed towards a screen up front. A projector screen in which a video was playing on what appeared to be an infinite loop, the sequence indicating when it was stopping and starting again with the words "TRAINING VIDEO" in a white Arial font, upon a black background.

It showed a business woman whose hairstyle, in Saffa's opinion, looked as if it was tortured into submission. She was speaking, smiling what was apparently supposed to be a winning one, but came off as cold and insincere, "Interaction between young people is polite and casual."

Then the scene showed two young adults and one brushed by another.

"Hey, sorry, bro," the boy who brushed by the other said, spilling his drink onto the other one, sound rather stilted. Understandable, considering the video was clearly of a low-budget variety.

"I WILL CRUSH YOUR BONES INTO DUST!!!" claimed the other, who was showing ridiculous amounts of unnecessary aggression. Saffa actually raised an eyebrow at this sudden and inexplicable escalation.

"Let's see how the situation should have been handled," said the woman with the insincere smile again.

The scene replayed again, and this time, the second boy said, "No big whoop, dawg. Yo, did ya catch that new vid on the box?"

Now, Saffa found it cringeworthy, as the first boy replied, "True dat. I'm up to snizz on all popular trends."

"Word," said the second as the camera zoomed in on his face.

"Ugh, it's like a dorky GH," Saffa muttered. She completely lost interest in the video after this, and turned her back on it, as it became more cringe-inducing that not even someone of Saffa's constitution would have been able stomach full exposure to it. He put her hand to mouth, thinking about this.

But all she came up with was questions she didn't have answers to. Was this training video, as cringeworthy as it was, meant for employees -- fully human employees or those pandemonium demons? If it was for human employees, it seemed awfully degrading and condescending. If it was for these pandemonium demons, why? According to that entry Demos provided, they cannot take control of an already occupied vessel -- and that, presumably, includes the original "proprietor" of the body, the rightful owner.

If this was indeed for pandemonium demons, then they either found a way to circumvent this limitation or they found a way to . . . to extract souls. Saffa actually shivered involuntarily at the thought, remembering the Ectoplasmer device from a year or so ago. Despite never having had her soul part company with her body, it still scared her to think about. But, it was not impossible for such a thing to exist.

If they had a . . . a soul extractor -- she didn't want to think about the ramifications of such a device. And Cloak never mentioned seeing any spirits flying around -- and even if he did, there would be a risk to the pandemonium demons having the rightful owners of the bodies they are possessing come and reclaim them, and they would be expelled, if that database entry held any true in it. So, there must be a containment unit of some kind.

But it wasn't here -- but she thought she gleaned enough information to present the others at the rendezvous point.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 16, 2017, 07:02:22 AM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER EIGHT:
The Four O'clock Tunnel

Hunter proceeded by his lonesome. He's heard the term lone wolf before, and couldn't help but question the wisdom of such a phrasing. Animals like tigers, he knew, preferred solitude, except for . . . the most intimate moments, but wolves? Wolves were a pack animal. An animal with a very strict social hierarchy.

He shook his head. He had more important concerns than semantics.

He touched the wall, and it felt rough. Jagged. As if carved out by one none too skilled with a chisel. He couldn't help but wonder if it was supposed to be this way to keep up with "spooky" atmosphere, despite it not really making any difference, as this was obviously a "personnel-only" area. Granted, it wasn't marked as such. But he imagined that it would be applicable, surely.

But the RAFian investigators were given full run of the place . . . though that may have been revoked when they decided to come her covertly. Trey Moore did not seem to like that. But something about the guy bugged him. His canine sense of smell had picked up on his scent before -- and he thought he knew the scent, but he couldn't really place where. It just really bothered him.

Suddenly, the tunnel he was in opened into a wide room with smooth walls. He almost backed out immediately. It smelled of brimstone and a male locker room. Well, the last part made sense, as it was a locker room. But one that clearly hadn't been cleaned in a while. The tile floor was caked with dirt and grime, and possibly other things that he didn't want to question, believing that he was far happier in his ignorance.

There were two rows of lockers, front and back with an aisle between them and dilapidated wooden benches on either side covered in what appeared to be dust. None of the lockers were without rust damage, and one of the four benches was broken, as if from a karate chop.

At the far end of the room were two wrought iron clothing racks, one broken and laying upon the floor, with its burdens strewn about on this filthy floor. Faded and forgotten fabrics littered the floor on this side, with shards of hard plastic littered upon the floor from smashed and mouldering character heads of characters lost to the ages. Even the costumes that were hung up smelled of mold and dampness.

They were clearly not worn for a very long time, and their faded colors suggested that this resort was originally thematically brighter and more vibrant that the dark, brooding atmosphere they had going now. Clearly, the reinvention as a spooky, haunted island type of resort was a relatively recent one, with hit-or-miss successes and failures.

But why? Hunter had to ask. Why completely change over a resort that was doing a fairly moderate business? Granted, judging by the size of this locker room, and the size of the probable staff, it must not have been a great place to work. But, surely, this wasn't the only locker room on the island. Surely, there were more -- this evidence showed that there were lovable park characters for people to take pictures with. Those were done away with, considering the apparent disuse and nonexistent maintenance of them.

But he kept returning to the question of why. Why go through the expense of renovating a lackluster Disney World knockoff into a bad spooky haunted island motif? Was Trey just suffering from managerial incompetence? Was the other setup just not making enough for him? The park looked as if this was a last-minute decision, as well.

Then there was the smell of brimstone. He was certain that that was a fresher scent than anything else in here. Its implications were obvious. This is clearly were the pandemonium demons spent their days considering how dangerous daylight was for them. And it clearly wasn't daytime yet, because they hadn't returned yet.

He had gotten all that he could from this place -- he began to backtrack and head to the rendezvous point.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 15, 2017, 08:25:31 PM »

Okay, this book might exceed the requisite twenty chapters.

New chapter.

CHAPTER SEVEN:
A Team Divided

"So, what do we do now?" Gaz asked.

"Split up," Cloak began.

"Isn't that how everyone dies in a horror movie?" Hunter interjected.

Cloak ignored him. "I can see a myriad of tunnels beneath the island, via my Earthsight. It could very well mean nothing and just be like the underground facilities in Disney World, but it is the only lead available to us. I can tell that they're not rally being trafficked right now."

Cloak closed his eyes, and wiggled his toes. When he opened them, he looked around to six o'clock from where he was standing -- which was directly behind him.

"The entrance is over there," he said, pointing. "After a point the tunnel splits five ways.  But they all twist and turn so it's quite difficult to tell where they lead. Some of them are even outside my Earthsight radius -- at least, from standing right here."

"Cloak, aren't you going to acknowledge the possible problems with this course of action?" Saffa asked. "What if those things, those pandemonium demons, overpower us when we're alone? We don't even know where they are taking these people. Not to mention what they're doing to them."

"I know its not ideal," Cloak said, "but the only other alternative is to search each pathway one at a time, and we may not have the luxury of time."

"And don't forget what the entry said," Gaz pointed out. "These things are capable of bodily possession. That must be why they want these tourists, the clientele of this resort."

"It also said their prospective hosts had to be unoccupied," Hunter pointed out. "It may mean not currently possessed by another invading consciousness, but I have a feeling that Demos meant if it is inhabited by any consciousness at all. Look at how he refers to it as a husk, later on, and mentions the original 'proprietor' kicking them out."

"But then why take the tourists if that's the case?" Underseen asked. "Hostages?"

"Possibly," Cloak said. "But the fact of the matter is we just don't know enough, even with Demos's bare-bones database entry. We must go gain more, then rendezvous at a safe location to discuss our plan of attack."

"Anyone sensing a weird familiarity to this?" Hunter said, suddenly, as they trekked to the entrance Cloak indicated.

"How do you mean?" Saffa inquired.

"I dunno how to explain it," Hunter replied earnestly.

"You don't have to," Cloak said, "I've sensed it, too. Something about this mission feels old hat. Familiar -- like that Heinlein invasion a year ago, or when we first had to deal with Shenecron."

"All missions begin to blend into each other after a while," Saffa said, dismissively. "That's all that is. You're just growing desensitized towards it, that's all."

"And that's a good thing?" Cloak said, quietly musing.

"It's a natural thing, Cloaky," Saffa said, sagely, as they entered the tunnel entrance, "if you do things for a while, you become accustomed to the ins and outs of them, as they become second nature."

"Which can lead to hubris and complacency," Cloak argued mildly. Then they reached where the tunnel split off. One straight ahead, one at ten o'clock, eight o'clock, four o'clock, and two o'clock. "We're here. Choose a tunnel and we'll rendezvous in the forest behind where the luau took place in three hours time."

From there they chose their tunnels and continued onward.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 14, 2017, 09:44:06 PM »

New chapter. Sorry for the tardiness.

CHAPTER SIX:
The Dust Settles . . .

When all was said and done, the five RAFians were all that remained. Every other guest was taken by those creatures. All five were too distracted to tell where exactly they were taken. Cloak couldn't see anything through his Earthsight which found concerning. It wasn't an easy task to accomplish.

"What were those things?" Saffa demanded, when the five reconvened, shedding their newly-unneeded disguises.

"Probably the reason that Moore guy wanted us to investigate," Hunter said, astute and serious. He had done away with the ID mask -- he found it uncomfortable on his snout.

"Yes, but not what I meant," Saffa said, waspishly. Her taydenite shard was still in its sword form. "What were they? How can we beat them? Where did they go?"

"I don't know," Cloak said, and Saffa's shoulders sagged a bit at this. They were accustomed to Cloak's litany of knowledge about strange creatures and things. "Maybe there's an entry in the species database . . ."

A blue holographic display appeared, as Cloak imput all the traits the creatures demonstrated. When it came to the only entry that applied, Cloak said quietly, "Oh, Demos must have updated the database."

PANDEMONIUM DEMONS

KNOWN ABILITIES

  • Feline/canine/lapine physiology.
  • Enhanced strength.
  • Enhanced agility.
  • Enhanced leaping ability.
  • Knockout breath. Pandemonium demon are able to knock out humans into unconsciousness with their green breath.
  • Body possession. Provided the intended vessel is unoccupied, otherwise the pandemonium demon cannot enter or is kicked out when the original proprietor of said body returns. Pandemonium demons, like most demons, retain their powers even while possessing a vessel.

KNOWN WEAKNESSES

  • Sunlight. Exposure to direct light from a yellow sun will cause their skin to blister with boils for a few moments before leading to complete explosion and disintegration into dust.
  • Poor to mediocre acting skills. Pandemonium demons, when inhabiting a husk body, are known to present mediocre to poor imitations of their husk's mannerisms, despite being able to mimic the voice.

"Well," Underseen said, after all five had read it over, "that was to the point."

***

"The shapechanger," said a man, silhouetted by many security monitors. It was Trey Moore. He was watching the RAFians basically out themselves on the security monitors, blowing their cover. "Would be an odd choice, except they wanted to come here covertly. It's almost as if they know. . . ."

"The furry," he said, when he spied Hunter on the screen, "another odd choice. Perhaps they wanted the dog to sniff out something unusual?"

"The bloodsucker," he said, spying Gaz now, "what could the possible choice of having a leech -- a friggin' leech of all things -- come here? What are they playing at? Did they want her to again witness a --"

Then he spied Saffa. "What is she doing here? That --" then he muttered an outrageous utterance that disparaged people of Indian descent, then he continued, "They're all horrible. Even her. Even though she was n--"

Then his eye caught onto Cloak, still disguised using his energy blades that extended from his wrists, Wolverine-like. "Him. . . ." he growled, his hatred palpable. "Of course they'd send him. But no matter. Even he cannot stop what I've put into motion. I'll have my revenge soon enough, as well as a loyal . . . heh . . . fanbase, I guess you can call it."

Then he stood up straight and picked up his gloves, revealing hands that were beat red and lined with scars and scar tissue. He put the gloves on hiding the ugly wounds on his hand.

"Not very long now," he muttered as he left the secret room.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 13, 2017, 10:04:41 PM »

New chapter.

CHAPTER FIVE:
Luau!

There was a luau that night. Because of course there was.

The staff and administration didn't seem to care that it was breaking their entire motif and theme of being a spooky island. Cloak found that he really didn't care for all this pomp and circumstance. He was glad for his disguise -- as it enabled him to be alone and overlooked.

He watched, as did the others, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Just tourists with their stupidly fancy, colorful drinks of topaz yellow and aquamarine blue. Complete with little umbrellas -- the use of which in drinks Cloak did not understand at all. But he never professed an all-encompassing knowledge of humans and their cultures.

Cloak found a little corner to isolate himself. From here, he sat in the shadows, with a perfect vantage point on the entire luau. He declined a drink -- he found the alcoholic drinks distasteful. He just sat and pondered as he eyed the setting sun. The day had come and went -- and they hadn't anything to show for their efforts.

Cloak mused to himself if this wasn't anything but a diversion, a meaningless waste of time. Maybe the claims of supernatural goings-on was just a publicity stunt that Trey wanted so badly for them to validate.

He turned and saw a staff member coming this way before turning and presumably going to the kitchens. Cloak was unsettled when he saw the young adult's eyes. They were empty and vacant. The disguised Realm Walker found their vacuity quite disturbing. They were like soft, moist doll eyes. Nothing behind them, almost as if he were . . .

Suddenly, the tiki torches were lit as the sun retreated over the horizon. It was night now, and their investigation hadn't yielded anything. No evidence, no witnesses, no nothing. Cloak tried to bite back his impatience. Sometimes, missions took some time to complete. He shouldn't expect immediate results, like --

Sudden screams.

Cloak immediately leaped to his feet. His eyes, though disguised as human, penetrated the darkness with feline accuracy. He could see a number of creatures, roughly the same height as he was, despite his human projection being smaller. They had rhomboid faces -- large eyes, a flat nose, and wide, flappy mouths. They possessed large, bat-like ears and were lanky and inhumanly skinny, not unlike a wendigo. Their hands were human-like, but their feet were somewhere between canine or feline digigrade. Their bodies looked like a furless dog's and they possessed no tails.

There were enough of them so as not to be counted easily but not so many that they were a swarm. They were attacking the guests -- this was obviously not part of one big show, as the guests were genuinely terrified. And it was then Cloak noticed that this clientele didn't seem to have anyone over the age of forty. Maybe the appeal was lost on the older set.

It was then he was attacked, and he quickly noticed that he and the others were the only ones not fleeing from these monsters, but bravely standing up to them. All these missions have desensitized them toward that kind of mindless fear-panic response.

Unfortunately, in order to fight back, it meant blowing their cover. But they all hoped that the chaotic flurry of movement, screams, and terror of the guests would help disguise it. If their cover was truly blown, then oh well.

The creature -- a demon by the smell of brimstone on him -- came up real close to Cloak and breathed a noxious green cloud of vapor on him. It did nothing.

"Demonic halitosis," Cloak muttered, "that's new."

Cloak threw his hands in front of himself and then flung them downward to generate the energy blades as wide as his wrists and as long as a claymore. He stabbed  his would-be assailant in the gut, the removed it as he did a spinning pirouette with the other energy blade, decapitating the creature. It collapsed into a strange powder that blew away in the light wind.
Posted by: Cloak
« on: May 12, 2017, 09:00:09 AM »

New chapter. Sorry about the brevity.

CHAPTER FOUR:
Disembarking

Cloak wished he could say it was a facility that was grand or more grand than Walt Disney World, with magic everywhere. But no, it wasn't like that at all. It was a step up from a ramshackled roadside circus or fair, to be true. Probably didn't have the same kind of funding that the Disney Parks had -- and it kind of showed.

But still, the limited funding apparently allowed the builders to think creatively, so, while bits and pieces looked obviously fake and plastic, the spooky ambiance was good, Cloak assumed, to human sensibilities. Even with such a limited budget.

It wasn't like other parks either, as there weren't any of those costumed characters milling about, original or bought franchises. In fact, most of the staffing seemed unusually sparse. Cloak wondered just how understaffed this place was -- but he forgot about this when he decided to make covert glances at the others to account for the other four disembarking the ferry.

It was then that Cloak took notice of a man in what the Realm Walker supposed was a leisure suit. It kind of stood out from the dark, muted colors the staff wore, supposedly to fit in thematically. It fit his thin frame nicely, accentuating his angular shoulders and clean-shaven, square face and relatively short neck. He had dark red curls atop his head, not unlike Ben Savage from "Boy Meets World". He also wore some black leather gloves, which was odd, in this heat. He wasn't very tall, roughly the size of Cloak's human projection. He looked worried, though not quite the panicky sort of worried.

Cloak looked away, he didn't want to be caught staring. It might blow his cover -- that was obviously Trey Moore. He wasn't supposed to know who the RAFians were. That was their terms for the investigation, in case whoever was behind these goings-on got to him and tried to use him for information. Probably a superfluous clause, but they needed to stay undercover. From here, they would scour the island, looking for the culprit.

All in all, a simple mission, one that shouldn't take too long to complete. But still, as Cloak moved on, he couldn't help but get a vibe of familiarity from that Trey guy. He didn't know why. He supposed he superficially looked like Odie, but with deliberate mistakes.

Anyway, he saw Underseen sneak away to the bathrooms, as Trey got a call. He knew it was Underseen calling him to alert him that they were here -- after all, even from this distance, Cloak could hear the conversation, but just barely.

"Hello?" Trey said into his blue smartphone. "Oh, yes. When will you be arriving? . . . Wait, what do to you mean you already have? I didn't see -- undercover? Seriously? You think that is necessary? . . . Because I thought you were joki-- oh, alright. Very well, very well. Please try to solve this whole mess soon, please. I don't want it to impact my bottom line."

Then he hung up, and he wore a very odd look on his face, which seemed to go slack for some reason. It was at this point that he turned his back on him, but Cloak just could not shake the feeling that he had met the guy before.