Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Shifting Sands

Pages: 1 2 3
Game Room / Pokemon Go Friend Codes
« on: June 15, 2019, 03:20:38 PM »
I live around pretty few Pokestops and I hear getting the friend code gift things can sometimes give you Pokeballs and stuff. I need them in order to, like, play the stupid core gameplay loop, so I figured compiling them here and just tossing stuff at each other would encourage me to walk and do stuff with the dumb game.

My code is
8600 9174 4460

Writer's Guild / Fae-med
« on: October 15, 2017, 11:55:19 PM »
read like "famed" or "framed" ha ha ah

There was a reason that Virmir tended to avoid civilization, beyond the general hermit nature he possessed. When he got around others, there was this nasty habit of him causing collateral damage with fire when he was irked. Honestly, the people who received the collateral should have been thankful that they weren’t the ones that were being aimed at in the first place and only received some brush-off damage. Still, it ended up with him constantly being brought to answer for the things he did, often with some sort of payment or service. Being a hoarding mage, it was simple to do either of those things.

He didn’t recall doing a single bit of arson off in another realm, however! This made for a very suitable reason to grump and complain at the surprisingly bulky elves that kidnapped him and drag him back with them to the realm of the fae.

“Why are you pulling me away from important research?” he demanded of them, dropping a cookbook while they gripped his arms and slammed cuffs onto his wrists. They had already made it clear that they were sent by some very important something or other fae royalty, so he didn’t try and turn and burn them when they just walked into his library.

“Queen Titania and the Circle of Nobles wish to have you answer for numerous crimes committed in their places of dwelling,” the one who looked to be manipulating the portal behind him said, wearing heavy leather gloves that shone with runes. “They all have eye-witness accounts of your crimes. They will be administering your punishment, as well.” He sounded… bored, almost, like he did this daily.

“Ah, that’s funny, you see,” Virmir piped up, shaking his cuffed hands, “I never actually went to their homes or anything, because I absolutely hate portals and going to different realms. I try to avoid it at all costs, after, uh, failed tampering. Usually other people end up pulling me through. But that didn’t happen here either!” he quickly added. “I was here for the past few weeks!”

Neither of the two elves said a thing in response.

“Don’t I get rights or anything? You have to tell me my rights,” Virmir insisted.

More silence.

“Lovely,” Virmir grumbled. Apparently, this was going to be a painful and long trip to an uncaring monarchy. If he was lucky, though, he might be able to prove them wrong and slip out without having to pay anything at all.

When the temporary examination done by the cuffing-elf failed to produce whatever he was looking for, he grabbed Virmir by the arms and pulled him along like a rolling suitcase towards the portal. The fox winced, trying to move his much smaller legs in time with the towering elf and failing miserably. His strides were just impossible to match, and it ended up making his paws drag across the stone floor.

“Could you be a little more careful with your prisoner?” Virmir asked, nudging at the arm of the elf before he stepped back through the portal.

To his surprise, the guy did turn around and give him an answer. “Certainly,” he said, and gripped the mage by his waist, lifting him in one arm and throwing him on his shoulder, moving his vice-grip down to his legs to keep them bound together.

Virmir sighed and grunted, the force of the toss pushing the air of out him. When he got his breath back, he thought about complaining and grumping to the elves some more, but with the record he had so far, it would probably only lead to him having his tail tied to his back, and then his muzzle strapped down and held together. And as tempted as he was to respond to the overwhelming rudeness of having two random elves teleport into his home with fire, he was sure that they would be tough enough to handle some spells, and would have back-up at the ready. If they thought that two was a large enough force to bring him in against his will, then he didn’t want to try and either get them to dismiss that thought, or worse, prove them right.

So he just allowed himself to be pulled through the glowing green portal instead, the elf maintaining it stepping through after the one carrying him did.

The area on the other side of the portal appeared a lot like the forest outside of Virmir’s tower, surprising him momentarily. Then he remembered all those books he’d been reading in his downtime, saying something along the lines of the realm of fae being a more naturally perfect version of his own world – naturally, as in, the green, planty kind. All the trees were full of leaves on every single, strong branch, forming a beautiful canopy over him with the occasional sunbeam breaking through and warming him (when it didn’t catch in his eye). Thick strings of moss, almost like vines, grew along every tree trunk. The forest floor itself was full of numerous shrubs and grasses, each of them so colorful to appear as if the ground was just an enormous painting that had larger plants worked into it after the fact. Between the trees in the distance, a few antlered animals looked on at the group of burly elves and fox cautiously, while the rest of their herd grazed peacefully.

Wow. This place was an even better forest than what Virmir had to work with at home. Maybe he should have visited sooner and tried to get established here first.

Then the elf carrying him hefted him with all the gentleness of a log, squeezing him on his shoulder, and started moving forward at a brisk pace, the sights of the forest turning to a blur around him.

Hmph. Well, maybe he could come back a different time and see if there was an appropriate place to set up, far away from these unpleasant fae folk. Maybe a garden would grow some exotic stuff here. That would certainly broaden his tasting horizons.

Quicker than he would have liked, the forest gave way to a slightly urbane environment. “Slightly” was the only descriptor he could use, considering everything was still built into the trees and plants around the place. This spot was probably no different from the rest of the forest until the fae set up shop, though he did wonder how sections had been seemingly clear-cut while the rest of the trees were still standing, untouched except for additions of tiny platforms here and there, bits of additional flora force-grown in occasionally…

Did they reverse the growth of plants that were in the way, or were they just exceptionally skilled in covering up their lumber work? Could they will the plant life around them to part? Or were they somehow involved in the original creation of the plane?

Vir found himself feeling the most secure in them just being good at covering their tracks, of course. It was the simplest explanation and it meant he was dealing with people on the same magical level as him.

Okay, maybe they were a bit higher up – when he burned things down, it was impossible for him to hide the smoking debris. But what practical use was there to hiding your handiwork, anyway? Sure, it might look nicer, but he didn’t need to worry about that. He just made sure to protect the stuff he cared about the most with protective spells, or better yet, make it out of something fireproof.

His train of thought was derailed immediately by the elf “dude” shouldering his way through a doorway that he hadn’t seen. The air felt different, cooler, as he passed through the absent doorway, and on the other side, things appeared from nowhere. This new zone looked somewhat like a court room from his own realm (which he was unfortunately aware of thanks to jury duty), but enough items were changed to make it look scarily uncanny. The jury box was there, but it was occupied by many similarly dressed and shaped people, all in exquisite and fanciful dress. Their faces were so aesthetically perfected, like they had been shaped from stone rather than born into the world in some imperfect organic way, and they were all bordering on the line between androgynous and elegantly female. Their noses came to the barest of points, and their ears all went up past their heads, the tips of them disappearing into their labored presentations of hair. Moreover, each of them towered over the jury box containing them, and Virmir placed their heights at somewhere between seven and eight feet.

The fox didn’t think he had offended any people out of olden paintings or marble statues lately, so he wondered who exactly these elven beings were.

The disturbing game of “spot the difference” didn’t stop at the people, of course. He noticed that most of the benches that would seat anyone else involved in a case were gone. Those that remained were animate beings of wood, but the sections of them that made up the furnishings were locked in place. What must have been their upper bodies bent at the end of the bench, standing straight up. They moved around and locked eyes with the mage – their faces almost looked like carvings, but again, they were too well made to be shaped out by hand. They didn’t seem in pain, at least, so that made sitting on them the tiniest bit less creepy.

Even though there were only enough benches for a defense and prosecution, that didn’t stop anyone from forming a crowd behind them. Unlike the very eerily picturesque people that formed the jury, those sitting out in the grass that was the floor of the open court room (courtyard room?) were widely varied. There were extremely tiny, almost mote-like people with wings that were almost double or triple their size. He figured these were probably the titular faeries that so many books covered, but he was certain that now was not the time to try and procure one of their antennae or wings for a potion. Next up on the size scale were feral animals that held themselves like anyone with sentience would, and a notch above them were people like him, most of these people taking after the sorts of animals that would normally inhabit the forest, from foxes to wolves to deer, on and on. There were more of those elven types, though none were nearly as unnaturally pretty as the ones in the box. In fact, most of them looked… well, nasty was the nicest word to use, with blemishes and too-big eyes and teeth that had assuredly never seen a dentist. The sizes only kept going up, with what Vir thought to be ogres and the fae equivalent of dragons, serpentine creatures devoid of wings and arms, yet still standing on hindlegs, with scales in many bright colors.

The burly elf carrying the mage finally set him down in one of the uncomfortably alive benches, letting him finally move his limbs again… briefly, he discovered, as more twigs and strands of wood grew from the front of the seat to bind his legs to the spot. Virmir sighed and slumped forward, accepting that he was going to be very desperately in need of some stretching after all of this was said and done.

Now that he was properly facing forward again, he discovered the final major difference in the court. Rather than a tall bench or desk for the presiding judge, there was only an equally towering throne, occupied by the most flamboyantly and irritatingly royal woman Virmir could even hope to imagine. Her hair, in rich oranges and greens, fell all the way to the legs of her seat, billowing in equally careless and flawless amounts. Just like the nobles nestled in their jury box, her facial features were perfect – maybe even more so than the others, if such a thing were possible. For as conventionally beautiful as she was, she was bordering on unnaturally thin, like a bundle of vines that had come together to rule over the rest of these unruly fae folk. And with the way she twisted her arms and hair about restlessly in her throne, she very well could have been.

“With the accused present, the trial will commence,” she announced, projecting her voice throughout the area, a warm breeze accompanying the noise. No doubt this was the queen.

His analysis cut short, Titania went on to establish the proceedings, which, try as he might, Virmir was compelled to listen and take in. Order this, order that, and – right, trying the accused.

The queen looked over to the gathered fanciful elves and gestured, urging them to speak. One of them, a beehive styled hair atop their head, spoke; their voice did nothing to change their androgynous nature. “No doubt this rat here is the culprit,” they said, glaring with exceptionally squinty eyes down to Vir. “The monster scrambled out over my bedchamber’s balcony with gems worth his life a thousand times over. None of my magic could locate him. I’m certain he must have fled to that other plane of his to escape with the loot.”

Virmir scoffed. “Like I blasted care about –“

The wood binding him to the bench suddenly tightened, and that same breeze of warm air he felt earlier intensified… right in his gullet. He gasped for air and struggled, and not long after the seizing powers let off him. He could feel the glaring eyes of the queen on him, accompanied by a restatement of the proceedings: “The accused will stay silent until prompted.”

Grumping and bowing his head out of respect to the power she had, Virmir stayed silent and endured many, many more whining nobles accusing him of things he most certainly did not do.

“That very fink rifled through my milk and cheese stores,” one of them said, though they didn’t look like they would eat, to maintain an unnatural figure like theirs.

“His fur was found in my vineyards… as well as a sudden lack of jugs and vases with my newest creations.”

“And my foyer was torn apart after I returned from tea. My gathered works of art, dashed or stolen.”

Virmir rolled his eyes, and was immediately grateful that the queen was looking away when he did so. She turned back to him, and he simply met her gaze as steadily as he could manage. She was radiating heat like he did when he was really tapping into some magic, but she looked awfully calm, even bored. Now was the time for silent cooperation, no matter how much it bugged him.

After all twenty-four of them had spoken – he counted, with how long it dragged on – Titania held a hand up to stall them from further complaining. Her gaze stayed on him, now. “The accused may now defend themselves.”

Hesitantly, the fox looked around, back to the crowd, and back to the queen. “Do I get a lawyer?” he asked. That was a thing you got in courts. He was smart, but he didn’t watch crime dramas.

Putting on a wicked smile, the queen pointed out to the crowd behind him. “You’re welcome to choose any one of those to speak for you, if you’d rather,” she told him, settling back in her throne.

Once again Virmir looked out to the crowd. Many of them were jeering, some were drooling, and others still looked like they were desperate to see the spectacle that would unfold from him losing. The fiery fox shook his head and looked forward again, sighing. “Okay, point taken.

“As I was saying before, I couldn’t care less about anything that you all mentioned,” Vir began, looking up to the nobles. “I’m not decked out in jewelry, you might notice, and I tend to forget to eat sometimes, so I wouldn’t need to steal any dairy. Let alone wine! You could sniff my breath, I don’t drink,” he said, and puffed out a breath up at the nobles.

The way they recoiled at the thought of breathing in the same air as the accused below them made it worthwhile for Virmir, but he continued.
“Also, I tend to burn things. If I was going to demolish any of your stuff, I would have used fire, believe me.” He thought about conjuring a fireball to prove it, but he liked breathing too much to risk it. “I don’t do running very well unless there’s a wall of fire behind me.”

Titania cleared her throat, an errant rush of air forcing the fox to look back at her. “About that,” she said, pressing his muzzle closed with the same current. She thrust her wrist once, power spilling out from it like water, and the ground before both her and Virmir sprung up with vivid images… images of a grove burning, the underbrush scorched and the fire spreading into the treetops. “If you thought you could ignore the slights performed against me, I was there to witness the aftermath. You set my work back by decades. Nothing major in my rule, of course, but in your lifetime…” The same smile of hers grew wider, her bone-white teeth glaring in the light. “Well, the numbers just work out well. A lifetime punishment simply makes sense.”
Virmir gulped. He had too many other things to do to deal with in his lifetime to have some crazy powerful beings get upset at things he didn’t do. Unable to protest, he just bit his tongue as the queen went on.

“While the duration of your punishment is easy to decide on, I had to confer with the others you’ve offended to get a good idea of how to deal with it. They all seem to agree that the most important points are removing your troublesome magic and mobility. As such, I believe I’ve come to a fitting punishment…” The queen pulled her hand back like she was toying with a yo-yo, the magic that depicted the grove returning to her. She gathered it anew, tendrils of power dancing around her wrist and fingers, and slowly began to funnel it into the fox.

That would have been the perfect time to try and retaliate with copious fireballs, but unfortunately, the magic she was working with was already taking effect. Virmir had trouble keeping his eyes open so as to even aim any fiery projectiles, his limbs wouldn’t even struggle against their bindings, and he couldn’t open his maw… except to yawn. He fought and struggled to try and throw off whatever sleep or weakness the crazy powerful fae was working, but it was pointless. His senses left him in moments, and soon, so did his consciousness altogether.

Writer's Guild / Vir-gnette
« on: May 09, 2017, 11:10:15 PM »
you know, cuz it's like a vignette with Vir?


Virmir grumped and folded his arms while he leaned back in the hard-oaken chair provided – he was very used to this by now. “I’ve told you a million times that hypnosis doesn’t work on me,” he grumbled, slumping down further in the furniture, his eyes barely coming up over the edge of the table. It’s a good thing they did, too, as it was very important that he got to glare at his apprentice across it.
Said jackal of an apprentice was standing tall in his own copy of the same chair Virmir was in. He had his hands busy digging in to a tumbling pile of junk and trash that was, presumably, meant to let him hypnotize someone. There were at least a dozen things that the gray fox had already seen used against him, none of which had worked in the slightest. A golden pocket watch with a swirly amethyst in a prominent position in center of the face of the item went over the side of the table and clanked against the wood floor, sliding under a shelf. Virmir sighed and rolled his eyes. “You’ll be getting that eventually, I hope,” he mumbled.
“Relax!” Medik chimed in from across the way, using both paws to scoop a sizable chunk of items out of his face. “You should be relaxing anyway to make the hypnosis work. It’s kind of important! Your blood pressure might be too high at a resting point normally to make hypnosis possible.”
“I am calm!” Virmir told him in an admittedly not too calm fashion. He cleared his throat and adjusted his cape professionally and smoothed an antenna of hair. “I am perfectly calm. All the time. At least, when you’re not around.”
Medik shifted his own eyes. Apparently some of Vir’s habits were rubbing off on his apprentice, which both made him happy, for he wouldn’t have to try and force them through his thick skull magically, and displeased, as he didn’t want someone else copying his style. Dodging glances was his thing, blast it. So was his vocabulary. At least that was still all his own.
The jackal took his sweet time to sort through the copious garbage he had amassed on Vir’s furniture. Eventually, he finally recovered a silvery link of jewelry that fed into a single swirly pendant, the swirly bit sliding along the links with each little jitter of movement. It might have been a necklace at some point, he thought, but black-and-white swirls were most definitely not in fashion now. He sort of doubted they ever were, which made him wonder why there was any valuable metal at all involved with its creation.
Rather than putting it around his neck, Medik held it at some random point along the chain and lifted it up high, almost eye-level with himself. He even bent his head and the higher half of his spine forward, moving the swirly pendant along with him. He focused hard and put on his best piercing stare, looking right at the fox across the table. “You think hypnosis won’t work on you at all, ever, huh? This one is strong! I’m sure! I found it in a trash can one time!”
Virmir resisted the urge to gag. At least there was no lingering trash smell – he had been promised that everything his apprentice brought to bat today had been washed thoroughly before being brought onto the premises. “I’m certain that it won’t, ever. Especially not if you found some discarded trinket in the garbage somewhere. That doesn’t make me even want to fake it out of pity.”
“You won’t have to!” Medik reassured him. He started shaking the silvery pendant from side to side, prompting the swirls to start… well, swirling. “This thing should be so strong that it will hypnotize the entire world! …I think. Look, if you want me to prove that hypnosis can work on you, you have to be willing to let it happen, okay? It doesn’t work on anyone that’s unwilling, that’s the whole point! You’re just trying to go against the whole thing on principle!”
Sighing, Virmir decided he would indulge the ridiculous attempt. He sat up enough to be straight and looked forward, locking eyes with his apprentice. When Medik shot looks at the pendant over and over again, with matching exaggerated expressions of annoyance, Virmir groaned and complied, looking into the swirls. They were artsy, he supposed, but they didn’t hold any power in them. He would be able to tell, after all, being an accomplished mage! If there was some sort of spell going on, then he would absolutely know. Since there wasn’t even a tiny trickle of energy flowing free from it, he allowed himself to keep staring it over and lose his focus on other things, if only for a short while.
“Good!” The pendant stopped moving in such exasperatedly desperate ways, settling into a slow side to side motion like that of a pendulum. Somehow, the swirling of the pendant was perfectly matched with the sliding it performed while moving left and right. One never interrupted the other – each happened in a perfectly natural manner, a dance in utter harmony. Virmir admitted that that much was cool, and was promptly shushed and told to keep looking at it instead of speaking up.
“The longer you watch this pendant of mine, the sleepier you are going to feel,” Medik promised. Virmir felt no such thing, but he did feel like the room was a bit… darker, somehow. Maybe his vision was getting blurry from having to stare at the that swirl for so long. Still, just to keep his apprentice from getting upset, he kept on watching it.
“Over time, my suggestions will become more powerful to your hazy brain. It’s hard to focus when you are so sleepy. You feel much better allowing someone else to think for you and let you know what’s going on so you can rest your precious mind.” Again, Virmir could not say he felt this happening at all. He made some sort of affirming grunt under his breath, but didn’t say anything more than that; this hypnosis thing was a load of hokey but he wouldn’t voice that just yet. He could let the jackal keep trying, just to keep him appeased.
“Since you are so tired now, I will let you know how things are, as I’m sure you’d like to know,” Medik continued. “Your body is shifting. You are changing shape, from your old self into a more powerful and larger size, with dangerous claws and teeth.” Virmir almost laughed at that, and snuck a glance at his right arm while he could. Just as he thought, everything was perfectly in order, with his long crimson claws and lithe arm. He relaxed and slowly put it back down, going back to watching that pendant without any worry.
“Your clothes – um, what little there are – are blending into your body. You don’t really need to bother with them. You look iconic enough already.” Virmir couldn’t help but snerk and feel at his collarbone, feeling the generous amounts of fluff that stretched far past each shoulder. Of course he didn’t have any clothes. They looked ridiculous. All he needed was the V-shaped, collar-of-a-cape-like fur he had bunched up below his neck.
“Your hair has extended far beyond what it was before – not your fur, your hair.” Breaking eye contact with the pendant for a longer period of time, Vir snuck a look back to his hair and felt at it to boot. No; though it was already plenty long, it didn’t feel any longer than before. His ponytail bobbed and bounced as he turned back to look at the pendant.
Medik glared down at him from above the bridge of his wide nose, turning to put the tip of his nose back at the swirls, instructing him to keep focused. Virmir shifted his eyes before doing as he was asked, albeit with some more disgruntlement than before. His patience was wearing thin. It was obvious that the act wasn’t working, so why try and keep things going along?
“That hair has been bound up near the end like an actual tail,” Medik said. Virmir could catch him bobbing and tilting his head this way and that as he spoke, his own collar of fluff hiding the odd neck muscles at work there. “There’s a nice black band keeping it from falling all apart.”
Virmir scoffed. Of course there was – that was how his hair had always been. Now he was just saying obvious things to try and make the hypnosis seem like it was working, eh? In that case, he’d only allow a bit more of this big joke before he called things off.
With his eyes back to dwelling on the sliding pendant, he did feel a bit more at ease, though it was probably just because it distracted him from the overall ridiculous scene Medik was putting on. He kept moving his head around, almost trying to match the pendant as it moved, now only pinching the top of it with a finger and thumb. With how he was hunched over while he stood in the chair, he looked much more like someone squinting to read a sign than a wannabe hypnotist. Virmir put all the focus he had left in his peeved mind onto those swirls, allowing a few final attempts.
“Your power in magic is unparalleled – you manipulate shadows and fire as easily as one might feel their way through the air or sand. You can bend reality around you as you please.” Again, Medik was just stating the obvious at this point, and Vir had finally had enough of it. He shook his head, and bared his teeth, rolling his eyes.
“Okay, okay, that’s enough of that,” Virmir said, climbing out of the tiny chair and pushing it far into the corner of the stony cave. He wondered why he had ever agreed to stopping their expedition further into the dungeon here to allow Medik to try his ridiculous hypnosis against him again. This hovel of a room was plenty cramped for his long, tall foxy body and he was sick of his hair resting against the floor, and even worse, being threatened with being crushed by the rickety legs of the chair and table.
“Fiiiine.” Medik jumped down from his spot in the chair, readjusting his pose from an intense and attemptingly-hypnotic one to a normal and relaxed one, standing just as tall as Virmir himself. He grumbled and slipped his hypnotic implement around his neck, the steely ring bouncing against his chest as he walked while the leather that held it practically disappeared into all that white fluff above it. “I guess hypnosis doesn’t work on you. Whatever!”
“I already told you that, yes,” Virmir grumbled again, walking out of the side room and opening his maw to incinerate an enormous spider web that was further down the cavernous way. “Just get ready to move, alright? You’re still an apprentice on a mission with me and you’re going to be doing your best to help.”
“Sure, ‘leader,’ lead on,” he mocked, stepping behind Virmir while being sure not to step on that precious ponytail of his that kept dragging far behind.

Writer's Guild / Stand Tall; or, Glass
« on: February 10, 2017, 05:20:11 PM »
I'm not good with titles still so I just gave this a couple of prospective ones

Also, Blue mentioned that he had no idea these were parts of my trade with Virmir, so here's the official mention that this is the fourth one in the series of six.

“You will kneel before the pharaoh-king will see you,” one of the guards said, maybe for the tenth time or so. Even with the persistence of the royal guard, the unwelcomed guest pushed his way between the shoulders of the twin meatheads serving as a barricade to the throne room. The pair of them spun around to face and bring sharpened spears in the direction of the intruder, but didn’t dare move their weapons forward (or back, for that matter). The copper points remained trained on the figure, steady as stone.
Up ahead in the chamber, there came a drawn-out and quiet sigh. “You can let him through without the customary greetings,” the pharaoh-king, up on his throne, told his subjects. The distance to him made it hard to distinguish anything about him beyond the obvious and constant glinting of shining jewels and ornamental gold on his extremities and sides.
Hesitantly, but not for the first time, the guards pulled back and away from the intruder, muscles relaxing and gazes turning back to the hall outside the room. Once they were out of the doorway, the visitor shook his arms and hands out from under his loose black cloak and shut the large doors behind him.
The pharaoh-king was already climbing down from his throne and approaching his guest, frowning under his crown of jewels. “I wish you would play along entirely just once,” he grumbled, folding his arms. “It’s not like you have to permanently be a grumpy grey fox. You can change it up once in a while.”
The fox in question pulled down his black cowl to show just how hard he was rolling his eyes. “It’s sorta characteristic. Besides, you’re trying to be some fanciful form of royalty… and you’re a kid.” He gestured at the height difference between the two of them, though it wasn’t too significant.
The pharaoh returned with his own copy of the eye roll, but then cleared his throat and walked back to his throne, adopting a comfortable position and beckoning the fox follow him closer.
He didn’t approach. The pharaoh sighed again and raised his voice instead. “Advisor Virmir! It took you long enough to get here. What was stopping you from getting out of your room?”
Virmir gave his tail an irritated flick, stirring up sand and his cloak behind him. He turned around, nice and slow, and indicated the door. “You have a couple of slow-to-adjust guards, that’s what.” He politely neglected to mention that he was in the middle of doing something he thought to be more important to avoid treading on the pharaoh’s toes.
The pharaoh broke his calm stare to glare for a moment before settling back in. “Very well,” he said, grit teeth impairing his words, “but I feel like they might not be the slow ones here. I called for your presence because I have something of importance that only you can handle.”
Virmir lifted a single brow and flicked his right ear to indicate a basic level of listening.
Taking one more long look at the doors to make sure they were shut tight enough, the pharaoh decided that might not be good enough and climbed off his throat to be near his guest once more, lowering his voice a notch. “Ugh, okay, I need you to get some stuff from the old pharaoh-types! I need more gems and gold and stuff, some relics, some records –“
“But why?” Virmir interrupted, tail swishing back and forth. The sand and dust around here was getting to him. Even with his cloak and cowl, it was still bitter and biting when he had to make any trek around the palace, especially in the morning. Being inside was nicer, but still not perfect by any stretch.
“Because I obviously can’t go do it!” The pharaoh reached both of his bare arms out towards the door, fingers flexing as extra indication. “I kinda have to be here! And I could really use some more stuff to be, ah, pharaoh-ish in, and…”
“But why me?” Virmir broke in again. “You have a lot of lapdogs standing around like statues here. They have some ridiculous muscles on them, just make them go do it instead of me.”
“They’re jackals, not dogs, just like someone else you probably know,” the pharaoh explained, even bringing his paws back onto his chest for extra clarification. “And I can’t send them out to do it because… because they’re big, dumb, and burly and there for intimidation, not for their minds! I need someone smart with working eyes and brains to do it! …also, if they did it, they might find out I’m not really in the bloodlines of the pharaohs,” he finished, tacking an embarrassed cough on the end.
Considering his abilities, Virmir took to the shortest method of solving the problem. “If you need something fancy to try and fool them again, I could just conjure up some mural or urn. I could paint over your fur, turn it nice and black.”
“Nonononono! It has to be genuine!” he stressed. “We need something that no one at all ever could see through as magic!”
You need,” Virmir corrected.
You fall under me as an underling,” the pharaoh muttered. “…right now. And that makes it your problem, too!”
Fine, so that wouldn’t fix the issue. “If I do it, then what am I going to get out of it?” Virmir asked. “And I don’t want any of the crummy, dusty antiques that are probably broken. If you’re not going to give me a cut of the sellables…”
The pharaoh tapped his foot on the ground, staring at the cracks beneath it as they filled and emptied with small sand devils, over and over again. As one filtered out, he took his foot up off it and slammed it back down, beaming. “Okay. I mean, that’s not a ‘you can have some gems’ okay, of course, but I know what to do.”
Oh, great. This should be good.
“I’ll move your room to one that’s on the floor above my throne room, complete with rope ladder down into here from a little hatch in the ground. I’ll take all those fiscal duties you have and toss them on someone else. …and I’ll make you my historian instead! …that means you get to draw all you want. Hieroglyphs, you know?”
Huh. That did sound kind of good.
“Fine,” Virmir yielded after a chunk of waiting.
“Awesome!” The pharaoh dashed back to his throne, crumpling something up behind it, and rushed back to push the ball of papyrus into the newly-willing fox’s arms. “There’s the, er, ‘treasure map.’ I stole it from one of those fat books. Just go there and gather up as much stuff as you can, then bring it back, making sure that absolutely no one else sees!” Content with his instructions, he retreated onto his throne and tried to pose.
Virmir pocketed it and shrugged. It probably wouldn’t end well for him, but he was getting used to that.
Trying his best to appear royal and important, which mainly involved looking only barely interested, the pharaoh shook his hand dismissively. “You can go, now, Advisor Virmir.”
Virmir resisted the urge to lightly singe the pharaoh and turned to leave. “Certainly, ‘Medenkhamen.’”
The pharaoh pushed out his chest and stammered. “Look, I thought the name was good!”

Writer's Guild / A Magician's Secrets
« on: September 28, 2016, 07:51:07 PM »
Pony warning and all that

It was nice to have some place that was actually my own again. I’d spent long enough mooching off of other’s homes and hovels. Rather than having me crash in Daisy’s practical-mansion, she would have her own space in the decently sized home that I’d managed to buy. Granted, it wasn’t with the cleanest of money, but that wasn’t something I could keep concerning myself with. Stolen or not, it was going to get spent, and I’d worked to get it.
The home was an investment, anyway. I was sure Daisy could do a better job staging her flower stand with a place to rest and relax from inside the city. While some other thieves bothering with Dirty’s jobs spent their coin on fueling their cider or ale addiction, I was supporting myself and a friend.
That was good enough for me.
While I spent most of the afternoon lounging in the… well, lounge of the house, based on how it connected right into the kitchen, with a small hallway back out into the other rooms, Daisy was busy out and about, selling flowers and whatever else. Despite my bunches of free time during the day, I’d never bothered with trying to pick up and learn much about her plant life. It was due in part to laziness, since I figured she would be the one to know and she wouldn’t need any help if she hadn’t before, but I was also busy trying to work on magic and reading up on assorted literature.
One of those was much more successful than the other, of course. I’d learned to read and write when I was young, and I’d picked up on what made life into an experience by just living it out, so I could enjoy (or at least understand) things like Trotstoy and Marey Shelley. Magic, however, was something that I’d seen maybe once or twice in my life before. Pegasi were, unsurprisingly, not very acquainted with magic, considering they didn’t have any way they could possibly cast it. Coupled with a lack of experience was the recency of my discovery of being able to cast in the first place.
Simply put, I was struggling with magic most of the time. After I fumbled a couple of spells, I would take a break and bury myself in a book, preferably a huge tome that would occupy even more time in between attempts. And maybe hide my face away even if there wasn’t anyone else to observe.
After a good chapter of fiction reading, I tried to pick up the solid tome off the table across from me. “Try” really was the operative word there, as I was trying my best to use all the magic I could to keep straining those mental muscles. After some invisible nudging and trembling lifts, the tome started to come off the furniture and gain a pale green aura about it. Semi-confident about it, I kept up all the effort I had already poured in and figured I could just let it drift on over.
Somewhere along the line I guess I screwed up, because the spine of the thing landed on my nose and knocked me down to the ground with it.
Grumbling with renewed annoyance, I forced myself back up, grabbing the book in my teeth this time. At least something so physical couldn’t fail me.
But yet again I was proven wrong. Where my magic had been a few seconds before, there was now a glaring reddish-orange grip on it. It didn’t hesitate to yank the tome away from me and my mouth.
“AGH!” I said, smartly, moving both hooves up to my gums and teeth. I didn’t know how to soothe them, but I wasn’t going to let the tome have a second shot in the same spot either. I threw myself back onto the couch and looked around the room for whoever might be breaking in and trying to assassinate me, one tooth at a time. My magic was pretty sad – too sad to even bring up a shield to protect myself, so I had to use the very fluffy couch as my only cover.
Just in the front hall of the house was a mare, a deep gray in color. Her silvery mane and coat were all disheveled, along with her lashes, giving her a pretty maddened look. Considering she had ripped a book out of my mouth, I was quite ready to attribute the word “crazy” to her already. She had on an ebony cape, though, and it looked completely spotless, rather contrary to the rest of her. There were also a couple of spiky-antennae like bits of her mane that came up over her eyes, lined up perfectly above the eyelashes.
So, yeah, crazy was probably the right word for her.
She had a glare ready and prepared for me by the time I met her eyes. I winced and slunk back a bit further down the couch. She reminded me of my old scolding teachers, somehow. Just add a few wrinkles and bam, you had a pegasus instructor.
Oh, and she had a horn instead of wings, of course. The power holding the tome was pretty obviously coming from said horn, and she toted it like a weapon as she marched further into my home.
“Um, hello?” I tried. Probably not the best way to deal with infiltrators, but I was the one who did the infiltrating.
The unicorn tilted her head, appraising me, and then the rest of the main room and the adjacent kitchen. “You’re Shifting Sands? The thief?” She looked to me again and frowned. “Apparently you’re a bug? I thought you were… not.”
I blinked a couple of times before realizing I hadn’t bothered with any sort of disguise. I threw on the typical one in a flash of color and flapped my refeathered wings. “Yes, I am,” I announced proudly, right before biting my tongue and flying into a different tirade. “But who are you? And why did you break into my home? And why are you here in the first place?!”
Still holding the tome and moving to circle around the couch, she looked back to the front door, which was open a crack. “Well, your door wasn’t locked.”
I stammered a couple of times before I could respond. “Yes, but – but this is a nice part of the city! You don’t just test locks like that! And then amble on in!” Meekly, I reached out with my magic to try and shut the door, but was caught with a book at my throat, making me cough and gurgle.
“Stop that.” The book let off a little, and the mare stared me down. “I don’t trust you trying to magic your way out of this.”
I cleared my throat and very, very slowly stood off the couch. All my movements deliberate, I went to the front door. She lifted a brow by the time I reached it, but I only pushed the door shut and locked it up. Then I repeated the same sort of walking back to the couch and leaned into it. She looked at me like I was stupid, but I knew damn well what I was doing and I didn’t want any more unwanted visitors. “Okay. Now, who are you, and why are you in here?” I reiterated.
She mumbled something under her breath, though it was too long to be her name and it wasn’t long enough to explain why she was about. Probably just calling me stupid or something and hoping I wouldn’t notice. Then again, she didn’t seem particularly sure of herself either. Maybe she didn’t have a plan together in the first place.
Maybe she really WAS a total nut.
I pressed for an answer again, and she gave me another death glare. “Virmare,” she grumbled, through tense teeth. “Virmare. That’s my name.”
“That’s an odd one,” I trailed into speaking, not really thinking. “Usually the ponies around here have some combo name, like me, with the something-this, something-that, like – I don’t know, looking at you, maybe something like Sootcoat or Whitemane or –“
“Yes, well, I’m not from around here,” she interrupted, and used a quick burst of her magic to slam my jaws together. It absolutely hurt. I must have been talking pretty fast for her to have taken so long to have shut me up. “And because I’m not from around here, I’m looking into this thieving thing you and your, ah, friends do.”
Rubbing my jaw and letting it set back into proper place, I perked up at her last few words. “I don’t know if you could call half of them my friends. I’m buggy and all that, like you noticed. But if you really want to get into the same sort of business that I participate in – and I’m not sure how you even know that I do, but I won’t play stupid – then you need to talk to Dirty, not me.”
Virmare didn’t seem to have calmed down in the slightest from the very moment I had noticed her, and yet she still managed to tense up further. “No. The fewer know about this, the better. I’m already here, so you’ll do. You won’t speak a word of this to your friends. We don’t need any further help.”
She looked panicky by now. Maybe even… embarrassed? I wanted to push some more, but my throat and jaw told me not to, so I just let it slide. “Okay. But it’ll have to be something simple if you want only my help. I usually have lots of assistance and favors called in to accomplish a job.” Really, it was mostly just some digging in books and asking around, but if I couldn’t “speak a word” to my accomplices, such stuff wouldn’t be possible.
“No, no, I’ve done my, um, research. I know that it’ll be fine with just you.” She shook her gaze away from me and stared out the window to the street, pulling the blinds down with magic. I didn’t disagree with that but I didn’t feel much more comfortable with her moving anything about in my house.
“So you know what we’ll be trying for, what we’ll be avoiding, all that sort of thing?” I asked, sliding on the couch to a spot closer to the hall and door. It was a just-in-case. Hopefully she didn’t think I was inviting her for a seat. “Or maybe you’ve done some of those scrying spells? You seem pretty capable with your magic.”
“Uh, yes!” She lit up and nodded enthusiastically. “Scrying. That’s it. Up in my tower, far, far away from everything here… but yes, that’s what I did, where I did it. I saw that I would only really need help from you, so I went straight here.”
Apparently I’d given her a pretty perfect excuse. I didn’t really know how I’d challenge her in the first place, so going along with her every word would be much more in my interests. “Right, just me. So. With just my help, where are we going, what are we doing, and what’s going to be needing my help?”
Checking the door and window once more and finding them very secured, Virmare walked back to the center of the living room and slumped down, finally letting some of her muscles relax. “We are going into the center of this city, to one of those big museums. I think it’s called the ‘Metroponitan Museum’ or something stupid like that. We’re going to get inside, ignore all of the fancy paintings and showy items that they have on display, and we’re moving to the back to find a special tome. You’re the one who’s going to be doing most of the sneaking and getting.”
Oh, of course. I was being enlisted into a special squad of me, myself, and I while this crazy mare just hung out on top of the building, if I had to guess. I’d done this sort of thing before, fortunately and unfortunately, but it didn’t make me feel the slightest bit better about the whole thing. There wasn’t a way I was going to get out of it, too. Either I showed up to this plan of hers and did my part, or I didn’t and she came back to find me. If she found me once, she could do it again, and I really didn’t want to lose this sweet house I had just gotten.
So, fine. I was committed; unhappy, but committed. “A tome?” I brought out my books, sufficiently smarmy-like, and shook them about in front of me. “Like these?”
Virmare frowned and knocked them out of my grip and onto the ground with a heavy crash. “The same, but different. We’re getting an old looking one, brown cover, ragged pages…”
“So, like pretty much every book ever in any library or museum or what-have-you.”
She rolled her eyes. “The inside cover has my, urm, brother’s, initials in it. K.V. And the very first page is burned. It should be unique enough to pick out from all the rest, I would hope.”
“Yeah, but now you’re saying we’ll have to pick out old brown books, then open each one of them until we’ve got the certain one we need? You narrowed it down by a lot, sure, but there’s still plenty more we’ll have to sort through. Why do you even need it?” I moved down to pick my books up, comfortable enough in how she was sat down that she probably wouldn’t try and roast me for any movement by now.
She wasn’t very forthcoming with her answer, taking her sweet time and mulling over plenty of words before she even opened her mouth. “Well… I need to…”
Something rattled on the front doorknob. Virmare leapt up and immediately lit her horn, bright orange and specks of fire dancing around it. I hoped they weren’t strong enough to set anything on fire.
“Whoever it is, I’ll take care of it,” I reassured her, dropping my books, and jumped up to check the door.
Before I could reach, it opened of its own accord and a bundle of plants came spilling through, soil and leaf scattering across the floor. I could briefly hear a little “oops” from the obvious culprit, but it wasn’t as loud as the jolt from my previous visitor, followed by a heatwave and a very telltale FWOOSH.
I swore a couple of times and leapt in front of Daisy, putting my reading skills to use. A sickly green barrier came up in the way of her and me, and though it didn’t throw all the fire magic off, the result was only a disgustingly strong, choking pulse of heat that sucked the breath from my lungs. I coughed and let my magic go. It was plenty obvious how weak and poorly made my spell was when it fell apart into little flickers, like a quilted weave being burnt over a fire, each little speck becoming nothing in the span of a second. The plant matter that had spilled over the floor and I hadn’t bothered to protect was charred back, shriveled sadly and clouded in smog.
I didn’t die in a fire, though, and neither did my housemate. And that was plenty.
Shaking away the smoke that I hoped neighbors wouldn’t see, it was my turn to shoot a glare at Virmare. She was surprised, and not much more beyond that. “You know who this is?” she asked, trying to change from her very aggressive combat pose.
I scoffed. “Yes. I do. And if I didn’t, would that make it fine to just roast her?” Daisy snuck by me with wide eyes and darted off into the hall, presumably down to her room. She hadn’t even bothered to grab her stuff. I scooped what I could of the fallen plants together and shut the door. I grabbed a fresh breath of air while I had my nose outside, too, then came back to sit and stare at the very-much-insane visitor I had.
She didn’t seem any more perturbed by my choice of words. “You steal from people you don’t know. Is that okay for you?”
I grit my teeth. “It’s different. I’m not turning anyone into kindling, first of all. I’m redistributing things. And I would do something else if I wasn’t worried about being found out as a changeling. It was just the only thing open to me.”
“Sure,” she said. And she didn’t say anything more. She just looked me down.

Stupid mare was going to drive ME crazy.

“You’re not one to give me a lesson in morals, alright?” I finally recovered my tomes and set them down on the table, giving the one in the middle a solid thump as way of thanks for giving me some good instructions on how to bend my magic. It was much easier to create a dome around my immediate area than put up a huge wall in front of me as a projected barrier. “You – sort of – broke into my home, threatened me, and then demanded that I help you with something I’m not concerned about in the slightest. That’s just ignoring the last part that happened.”

“You could have said no,” she argued, and shrugged. “But now you agreed to it. And you may want to play the hero, but I don’t shoehorn myself into that role.”

I wanted so badly to smack her in the face. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I watched her calm herself back down and head back to the front door, stepping around her handiwork that rested to the side of her exit. “You’ll want to get to the museum before dark. After the moon’s in the sky, they push out all the visitors and keep a few guards on night watch. I assume you can find some way to stick around while they’re escorting the guests out.” And then Virmare let herself out, scuffing up a little dirt on the way.

I climbed off the couch and let out a long-held breath, moving straight to the windows and opening them wide. I didn’t want the smell of smoke stuck in my brand new place, and the room was terribly hot with her in it. The sun was still high up in the sky when I peeked my head out to check. I had a while to relax. I could try and come up with some way out of this, or get prepared for an impromptu break-in and robbery. I still had so many questions for the crazy unicorn, but with how she acted, I would probably only fry my own brains in the process. Maybe this was what it was like to run up against someone else who had an ounce of coercion and smarm in their veins. Then again, she utilized it in a different way than me. She was trying to be a strong-arm type. I didn’t like it.

But as much as I loved to delude myself, I didn’t have a choice.

Writer's Guild / Termination
« on: May 17, 2016, 11:20:33 PM »
I'm not good with titles still, I just do the whole thing and then I spend like two minutes sitting at an empty thing that says "subject" and have to try and delve into the folds of my brain to retrieve something that could pass as good enough to briefly describe what'll show up. anyway this is trade 2 for Vir, later than it should be but it's here

Medik peered around the doorway (if it could really be called that without a door) into Virmir’s treehouse. It was a long climb up the towering ladder outside, and it was pretty far from pleasant with the ropey structure dangling from the balcony. The jackal was glad to finally have ground under him again, even if it was all woody and stony. With his new apprenticeship, maybe he could get Vir to install a sandy area into the treehouse with exported Egyptian dunes.
Inside the house were little knickknacks he remembered from past adventures. Of course, he thought of them as adventures, while the fox was fonder of deeming them “mis-adventures.” A chipped crystal ball here that used to capture future timelines here, set up on a shelf elegantly and plainly; an enormous ruby on a golden chain dangling on the end of a bookcase, supposedly holding a circle of hell there. Even one of the statues of a bat from their encounter with a late gorgon which may or may not have been Medusa herself was still here, looking positively… petrified.

Hmph. Medik was a little peeved to see the rich artifacts they’d recovered just hanging around as simple paperweights and décor. He’d have to make a trophy hall for the mage, just so he could feel better about the sight of these odds and ends.
There was plenty of room, after all. He still wasn’t sure how to do it himself, considering his relative newness with the entire concept and use of magic, but Vir had somehow managed to enchant his treehouse with one of those “bigger-on-the-inside” sort of spells. Everyone worth their weight used one, or so he’d heard. It made things a lot more manageable when your home was just a few square feet in area on the outside but in the thousands on the inside, with even more space open in the future if work was put into it.
So it was more difficult than he would have liked for Medik to find where exactly Virmir was hanging around right now. He wasn’t in the gargantuan library, which still hadn’t been properly refilled after a housefire (which had been done by Virmir himself, and he still hadn’t fessed up as to why). His office, if you could call it that, was empty except for the normal tech and glass of water. The ice inside had long since melted, leaving some drips of water on the table. Medik idly wondered how often he had to replace all the wood and paper in his place with how often the fox chucked fire around… and when he neglected to use coasters.
“HEY VIR!” Medik shouted at the top of his lungs, completely ignoring the ground rules Virmir had laid down when he decided to finally take up the kid as an apprentice. “No yelling on my property outside of huge, problematic emergencies” was somewhere up there in the first fifty or so, but it was quickly falling to the bottom of the list in terms of priorities. He had lately become much more concerned with his apprentice dragging in magical items up to his home, and then having them explode in his face.
That was probably why the ladder had been made a ropey one rather than a plankety one held up on the trunk of the tree. And those new magical presences he had felt outside. “Wards,” or whatever he called them. Vir was complaining about having to get into defensive magic just because of him, but if it made the mage better and safer at his job, then why would he complain about it?
“Over here,” the grumpy fox replied, his voice carrying despite lacking volume. More of that magic used for simple utility. Medik grumbled and followed the trail of words to the best of his ability. If it were up to him, he would use magic all the time to blast people and land and things with a big cannon of sand and stone. Maybe that was why he was still stuck working on stupid small stuff, like READING.
The trail of magic led him down quite a few halls, past the in-need-of-renovation kitchen, a big open shower that was styled like a very plain and simple waterfall, and plenty of locked-shut closets. The wood that Vir had first started conjuring with turned to rocky stone, and then slightly extravagant tile. It was still far from opulent – he said he liked practicality over perception, or something stupid like that – but it still rang out as “professional mage” over the “hermit warlock” that simple wood carried before.
See, Medik was doing Virmir plenty of favors by being his apprentice. Already he had had to go out into town to pick up more varied food, including meats and exported items, work on improving the accessibility and openness of his home, and work on new magics. Things were still locked out of his reach for now, but now he was actually able to get to his own little study room without the fox having to unlock loads and loads of magical doors with his own effort. Even if it was still a slow process, it was a process of turning him from boring hermit that might die of old age with no one knowing of him into mage that could have at least one, very select person in the same building as him.
After getting enough of the tile click-clacking from his claws, Medik finally found said mage around yet another corner. He… wasn’t working on magic. As far as he could tell, anyway. When Virmir started toying around with technology, usually it meant he had just bought something fresh off of the internet or one of his “ergonomic value” electronics had shorted out. Go figure.
This looked different, though. It was a big, BIG setup of lots of wires and steel and consoles and computers… it looked like he had been preparing this whole display and counter and tables of garbage for months. At first Medik thought he might have just gone overboard on some new security cameras, but the monitors were showing hundreds of programs and spitting out thousands more numbers. Frankly, it made his head hurt.
“Uh… wha…?” was all the jackal could manage.
Virmir turned around to acknowledge his apprentice, then looked back at his counter-full of tech, piecing something together with lots of bolts and screws and wires… and other things Medik couldn’t name. “Magitech,” the mage said, like that explained all of his questions.
It most certainly did not. “What?”
Huddling in closer over the toy he was playing with, Vir explained just a little more. “Okay. I’ve been working on this stuff for a while, about half a year – “ of course he had – “and this is just the very barest beginnings of the project. I have more of it under the cabinets – “ which he did not bother to show, nor was he very likely to, if Medik were guessing – “but this will do for now. Perfect timing by you, actually.”
Medik expected a “for once,” but didn’t get one. Schedules weren’t his thing. Virmir didn’t appreciate that. “Uh, it is? You’ve acted like you’re saying a lot, but I still don’t understand a single piece of trash in here. What are you doing with this ‘magitech?’”
Stopping briefly, Vir looked up at his apprentice. “Making cybernetic implements. Duh.”
“Robot parts?” Medik hopped up next to his mentor mage, peering all over his work. “All of THIS junk is to make robot parts you’re gonna install on yourself? Awesome!”

He reached out to grab at whatever the fox was working on only to get swatted back down. While Medik murmured about an “ouch,” Virmir explained again. “I’m not installing them on myself, and they’re not really additions.” He took a step back, showing a hulking chunk of steel that was roughly shaped like a hand. “They’re going to be just-in-cases. You know, in case I somehow sprain my hand from working too hard and end up with a case of sore or torn or inflamed joints and can’t draw or write or cast very well.” He puffed out a breath of air at the thought. “Like that’ll happen.”

“WHAT?!” Medik leaped back and looked all around the big techy room; at the bench for assembly and construction, the tons of consoles and computers, the projections and such… “You’re keeping these as just…in…cases? You’re not going to just use them right away?! That’s such a huge waste! You’ve got all this perfectly good stuff sitting around and – “

“Yes, yes, yeeeeees, I knew what you’d say,” Vir sagely said. “I’m not just sitting around on these things until something goes horribly wrong and I need to use it as a last resort.” He grinned, baring a fang or two. “I’m going to test it out on you.”

“YES!” Medik leaped up, overjoyed… and then flopped back down, hunching over, skeptical. “You’re letting me test something right away. You don’t think it’ll work.”

The mage frowned and gestured at a large, clear table near the center of the room. Medik followed through and sat down there, his legs kicking about in a rhythm. “I wouldn’t waste my time on this project if I expected it to fail.” He took the unfinished hand and swapped it out for a more polished and ready hand in the cabinets. It looked… powerful. There were hydraulics, some sort of ports for expelling heat on either side of the wrist, and many techy-looking holes at the end of the fingertips. “This is just the first bit that I want to test out on you. You can charge it up and fire it like a spring if you build up heat and pressure in the wrist.” He pointed out the ports and hydraulics, pulling the fist out into a flexed position before pushing it back down. “You can channel latent energy and magic from the air through the fingers,” he added, poking each finger individually, “and the whole thing should just be way more durable and powerful than your old hand.”

Medik stared at the new hand in awe… but had to force himself to remain somewhat unsure. “Yeah, but… but, uhh… uhh…” He still had plenty of trouble coming up with reasons to be unready. This was a freaking ROBOT HAND! It was going to make him better at magic, and more powerful, and awesome looking… oh! “Wait! Um, isn’t this dangerous, then, since you don’t trust it on yourself?”

Vir shrugged. “I guess. But all mages experiment on their apprentices. It’s just what they do.”

He couldn’t argue there. He’d never heard of a mage that didn’t have fun at the expense of their apprentice. Heck, Merlin, who was supposed to be, like, the greatest-most-powerful mage to have ever lived, turned that Arthur guy, who was supposed to be a future king or whatever, into a bunny. Or a bird. Or something. Maybe he should have paid more attention when he skimmed through that book.

“Okay, well… um… good!” Medik grinned and rubbed his two organic hands together, looking forward to having one of them replaced with the most awesome robotic one possible. He was jealous of both mages and big burly berserker types who could either sling spells around or stomp and smash people stupid, in that order. If he got this one hand, he could punch AND sling magic around with the best of them!
Or so he hoped, anyway. If it worked. “Do you have some sorta new sleep spell to use on me while you install it, then?” he asked, pulling his legs up on the table and laying flat on it. His tail impatiently swished around under him.
Virmir slogged through the wires, bringing the hand with him and something behind his back. “You could say that,” he said, still smiling.
The jackal saw the flash of cartoon wood and the word “UROCYON,” and then he was peacefully and painfully asleep.

Despite never having grog in any shape or form, the only way Medik could describe his waking state was with that very word: groggy. Most of his body still felt asleep and numb, even if his mind was all there. His right hand was especially numb, but he could at least remember enough to recall the robot piece that should have been replacing the organic one. He sat up, slowly and slipping a bit, and looked to the right arm supporting him off the table.
There weren’t any crazy mishaps that caused him to end up with something else for a hand, thankfully. It was, very simply, a big metal replacement for his old paw. He could feel the cool metal against his fuzzy fur at the lower part of the wrist, and beyond that segmentation he could feel the same sensations as if it were just another organic part of his body. There were some weird looking supports that dug in a bit on the upper part of his arm to keep the new fist anchored, but it could have been worse. It would be a whole lot harder to gnaw or hack off metal than bone, so it was probably yet another improvement in the long run.
As he moved the new appendage in front of him, he could hear some rustling behind him. He managed to turn about in time, but the only further thing he could hear was “catch,” and then a flaming slab of metal came flying through the air at him.
Medik just yelped and through his hands out in front of him, as he figured pretty much anyone in his situation would do. Luckily his right fist wound up and swung through before his left, and the result was the absolute demolishing of the material. Ash wound up pretty much everywhere, except for on the jackal himself. He didn’t see that until he opened his eyes after the terror of burning metal hitting his face, of course.
Vir’s eyes blinked through the scrap and smoke, followed by a single cough from his open mouth that puffed out yet more smog. He shook off and unclasped his cape to dust the entire room, the trash flying out through the halls and out to the outside. Medik didn’t think he’d seen that spell before – it would probably come in handy the longer he sat around in the fox’s place. Those toons that animated brooms and sweeps were small stuff compared to a fox who just used a simple woosh on a piece of clothing.
“Sorry,” Medik mumbled. He wasn’t really. He sorta just had a flaming thing thrown in his face.
Virmir shrugged, donning his cape again. “Apart from the ash that got lodged in my lungs,” he said, coughing to prove his point, “it’s pretty much clean. Besides, I guess I couldn’t have expected any better from someone who’s my apprentice.” He snickered, and Medik beamed in response. “Fire isn’t subtle, and neither is a big punch to the face.”
The jackal was all too happy to nod enthusiastically. “I could make my fist all flamey, all the time, if you wanted. I mean, if I wanted. Since it’s mine, right? I can go punch people and trees and buildings?”
“Uh, no.”
Medik groaned and sighed. “What use is a big punchy robot hand if you can’t use it for BIG PUNCHES?”
The mage already had a mental list ready to run through. “Let’s see. Gardening is a whole lot easier when you can’t sprain or scratch anything, you can lift up and clean under things without a strain, you can stretch your hand out further to grab a glass of ice water when it’s further away on the desk, you can rotate your wrist around so you can grab the change from people at the grocery store – “
Medik grooooooaned and pounded his metallic fist into the palm of his organic hand. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt in the slightest. Maybe he had really fine power control over it already. “Look, when you wanna cut off your own hand and have a metal one slapped on in its place, you can use it for boring chores. I wanna go brawling, or something! No one will expect a tiny little jackal to whoop them with a roboPUNCH!”
Virmir rolled his eyes. “Quit being a kid and help your archmage out now that you have an indestructible fist. I need you to move the bookshelves about, anyway. It’s part of your levitation practice,” he bluffed.
“You just lost another book under them when you tripped on your own cape again, didn’t you?” When his teacher didn’t answer, he grumped and folded his arms. It was… kinda cold, actually, so he unfolded them and let his new hand dangle out away from his side. “Fine. I’ll do stupid chores for you, won’t even get into any big fights in town… but you have to keep replacing bits of me with robo-parts! And not something like that crummy, half-done hand you have in the cabinets back there. I want full-on stuff, like a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher, a big scanning visor over my eyes, a jetpack…”
Virmir grumbled. He wasn’t any good at bartering, but he could try for something, at least. “You’ll get a new change each time you take care of your chores for the day, and I’ll make sure you’re using those new parts when I assign your chores for the day.” He turned around and stared his apprentice down. “Deal? You’re going to be taking me away from drawing and casting, but I guess this still counts as work in the meantime.”
The jackal held out his metallic paw and moved it around. “Okay, deal, but you’re gonna shake on it. No way out of it.”
He wasn’t happy to, but Vir shook on it.

Writer's Guild / Island (And Last) Resorts
« on: December 13, 2015, 12:46:59 AM »
Man I hate titles

Calamari was something that had never graced Virmir’s palate, and he didn’t mind – the stuff looked weird, which meant that all the other senses would likely have the same judgment: weird. “Rubbery” wasn’t a good descriptor when it came to meats.

His lack of desire for that type of seafood didn’t interfere with his plans to create some, though.

“Give up your shadow for the master!” the squidy thing above kept commanding, and had been doing so for the past minute or so, even after being told numerous times to shove off. Tendrils that didn’t quite look organic crept into the cabin that Virmir had taken shelter in, clinging to walls and the floor.

“I am NOT giving anything of mine to your blasted leader!” he shouted in return, pushing a handful of light to the tendril. It shriveled and died in just a second. He was already sick of dealing with all these weird squid shadow mages, but at least he had picked up on how to handle them fairly quickly. It was more like digging a hole to the center of the earth rather than slamming his head against a wall – annoying and killing him slowly, but at least it was getting him somewhere.

“Give up your shadow for the master!” it commanded again, peeking its conical head into the cabin door.


The beast-shadow-mage thing went flying, its oily skin smoking and its robes turning to cinders at the seams.

“Why don’t you deliver that fireball to him instead?” Virmir shook his arms and stood up, not bothering to check out the single room he had been confined to for a bit. He stepped out into the halls of the ship, checking both directions before running in the direction of the deck. These cramped corridors just let the shadow-squids control the light too much – natural light and darkness would still be issues, but at least the squids couldn’t grab the freaking sun.

Not that Virmir knew of, anyway. It was out of his grasp, and he loved fire.

Another squid thing leapt from the hall to his left. “Give up your sha –“

“Heard it before,” the mage grumbled before blasting it in the face. This one just burned and sizzled into nonexistence rather than flying away. He found himself liking that result more. No chance for it to come back from the ground behind him, like the very first one he had encountered.

Which reminded him; just how were there so many of these things? He’d rather find the source of the squidy people than blow the whole ship to bits. Not that blowing the whole thing up was out of the option, of course. If he had to wager, someone would be casting a teleport or summoning up the squids in the lower decks. But there was no way he was going to go back down in there after nearly getting wrapped up in those shadow tendrils!

No, the only other way he could imagine these squiddies getting on the ship was the simple method of climbing aboard. If that was the case, well, he would just have to fire blast every single one of them until the night was silent again. He still needed this boat to pull him into port, blast it. There was a magical silent auction going on and he was NOT going to miss it because of some crazy cult of shadows.

Pushing open the door to the deck proper, he found it overwhelmed with the squids. Normally peaceful moonlight illuminated that many of the normal passengers were hanging over the edge of the boat or dangling in the air, held up only by those shadowy tendrils. Darkness pulsated through them. He wasn’t super familiar with any sort of magic like this, but if he had to guess, these people were already losing their shadows, whether they wanted to or not.

The mage did his best to fireball each and every one of the squids and the tentacles that were holding people up. It took a lot of fireballs. Each squid that he fried wasn’t exactly replaced by two more, but it sure felt like it – maybe it was more of a two-to-three ratio. No matter what it really was, it was mounting in annoyance.

Fire lent itself well to collateral damage, so Virmir was already prepared to fix this problem of infinitely-produced squids by sending the ship up in smoke. The wooden deck was already catching sparks. The best he could do now was keep blasting the tentacles that were holding up innocents. He was not “the hero” by any stretch, but if he was the one being suspended and drained of his shadow, he would definitely want a genius fire mage to be freeing him.

Some of their clothes caught on fire, but that wasn’t an issue since most people were jumping overboard anyway. Most of the life rafts had been deployed, and it was difficult for the squids to get any magic cast on them for some reason. It could have been the water flowing around them, or maybe they just couldn’t wrap their suckers around vinyl or rubber. That was worth looking into, actually – maybe a pooltoy shield would be useful with how often he encountered both those and tentacled monsters.

But not wasn’t the time. Another squid that got into the way was easily blasted away by just the force behind his fireball, and more people were freed as it blazed across the deck. A nice trail of fire was left behind. Vir did his best to usher the people over the sides of the ship, but most of them were slow to act. He didn’t bother with them beyond saving them once. It was their fault if they got caught again, anyway.

He gave it his all for at least a solid two or so minutes. He wasn’t even exhausted by the end of it, either. There were just so many of the stupid shadow squids that there was no point in holding them off any longer. With a grin, he mustered up a gigantic fireball and readied to throw it beneath him, blasting him away as the ship blew –

“Give up your shadow for the master!” another squid demanded, latching a single tentacle around Virmir’s ankle.

“BLAST!” was all the fox could manage in return, being pulled back into the explosion.

The world wasn’t gracious enough to knock him unconscious. He could feel his fur singeing and lighting up, and though he worked with fire all the time, that still didn’t prevent it from hurting a whole lot.

At some point he found himself underwater, with his eyes burning from the water seeping in and plenty of fiery wreckage starting to drop into the area around him. Looking up, he couldn’t quite see the surface. That meant there was going to be plenty of swimming… lovely.

Vir never bothered to practice swimming, for a variety of reasons. Usually he would just cast something to get him out of a jam. Right now was a pretty bad time to try and do that, considering he would never be able to focus with debris constantly threatening to cave in his head if he didn’t get out of the way. He gave up on any sort of idea involved spells and put his all into getting up, up, up, and out.

A pair of planks, squished around something like a sandwich, aimed to tackle Virmir and bring him back down towards the sea floor. They were coming down pretty fast and they were wide enough that he couldn’t possibly just squeeze by them. He tried to grab onto the ends of them and swing off with a forced kick.

It worked, thankfully, and in the process the lower of the two planks slid off. Between the two planks was some sort of… fish lady? A mermaid, maybe. She blinked at the fox, gave something like a thankful smile, and darted away into the dark blue.

What a weird mermaid. How couldn’t she have gotten out of those planks on her own with a tailswish or something? Blasted odd fish.

He didn’t dwell on it for long. His head was aching. Maybe it was pressure. Maybe it was lack of air. Finding out wasn’t part of his plan. More kicks of his legs and fumbling of his arms sent him further up and up, and he could see some light –

He was almost glad to have some feeling of shock as he burst through the surface. It kicked his lungs and heart back into proper order. Pushing down at the water, he kept floating long enough to get some decent amount of air in his bloodstream. Once his limbs had some feeling in them again, Vir tried to swim around and find a piece of debris or convenient island to grapple onto. While there wasn’t any land in sight, he did see a chunk of metal, melted at the edges, drifting along, alone. His surface-swimming was a bit more like a sashay to stay above the water, but he managed to get to his makeshift life-raft and hold on.

Man. Blowing things up was nice, but having to deal with the aftermath was not. He coughed up a bit of water and rubbed at his eyes with the driest part of his cape, though there probably wasn’t one, and tried to stay conscious as he floated along with the remnants of the ship.


When his feet touched something Virmir was most certainly not awake. He gasped and kicked around, desperately trying to free himself from its grasp, and chucked a quick fireball underneath him.

The water surrounding him rose to a scalding temperature and sent him running up whatever his feet had touched, panting all the while. He looked around, more fire at the ready.

Only a friendly island was there to greet him. Palm trees lounged about, the air occasionally tossing their leaves up and around. There were more clumped up around the center of the island, providing shade and darkness from the now quite sweltering sun. Grass was just barely able to grow there, but the rest of the area looked hopelessly sandy.

Most of it was. The area where his feet had been was a little more glassy than sandy, however.

The mage sighed and collapsed onto the sand. It held the sun’s warmth pretty well, and he was thankful for that. The metal that had kept him afloat for… well, at least a few hours, had already melted down thanks to his bit of a miscast. He pondered how he was going to get off this new, land-based raft.

He could try and get some wood to make a tiny ship and sail off with that… but he lacked the finesse and knowledge for good kinetic magic. And there was no way he would be able to chop the palm trees down with his bare hands. He’d need some convenient magic artifact or somehow handy curse, but he was, quite obviously, alone. Maybe he could try and do some self-transmutation, but that was still something he wasn’t sure of. He’d flubbed it up before, and last time it happened it took his apprentice a few days to find the right spell to fix him back up. It didn’t help that he had been a tiny gnat, of course, so he couldn’t get the attention of a rowdy kid playing games without the threat of being swatted and smooshed flat against a wall. Trees, all he had wanted was to manage a convenient “fly on the wall” sort of spell.

Come to think of it, his apprentice would be pretty helpful right now. He would do his best to cast something he had barely practiced, yet it would still end up being the right thing to get him out of the situation.

Vir grumbled. He certainly wouldn’t have been any help at the silent auction, though. He didn’t want a loud-mouth apprentice ruining his chance at getting some priceless magical artifacts on the cheap.

Then again, he’d need to get there in the first place if he wanted to be able to bid on anything! He held his head and kicked up a footful of sand. He almost wished that blasted mermaid had cursed him with some octopus tentacles or a fishy tail in place of his legs. Even without gills, he could have hovered around the surface and got to his destination just a bit slower than a whole boat would have managed.

Whatever. Even if he didn’t have a way off the island safely yet, his stomach was starting to grow restless from lack of food. His whole body was complaining about the heat, as if that wasn’t enough. He climbed back up to his feet and started to stomp more inland, into the shade of the trees, and hunted around.

He wasn’t very good at it. He thought that he saw some shadows around here and there, but he was nowhere near fast enough to chase after them. Just one fireball would have roasted them, but it would bring the entirety of the greenery on the island down with whatever he caught. He was all for the heat but he wasn’t keen on being fried in the sun like his targets. So he continued to aimlessly wander around in the shade, finding some insects that looked sickly, some herbs that might end up poisoning him within an inch of his life, and a couple of unripe berries. His fox nose didn’t sniff anything out of the ordinary, though he had never seen them near his tree lair.

Virmir’s De-Curse TM wasn’t a particularly strong or reliable spell, but it was the only spell he had in that vein. He focused and put just enough power into casting it over the berries, just in case, and ate them.

Their unripe looks didn’t do them any justice. They tasted pretty awful, weren’t filling, and overall were the worst excuse for a meal that Vir had ever had. He spit up the skins before they could go down into his gut, but it wasn’t any happier for only getting the fruit filling instead. His tongue lolling out, he walked back with a tiny bit of a hungered stagger to the shore.

There, he found a tray of food. Perfectly prepared, a filet of fish was laying in the center, still steaming. He didn’t care too much for the majority of seafood, but…

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” he grumbled, and stumbled up to it, taking a seat and tearing into it with his bare hands and teeth.

It was surprisingly good. No bones got in the way of his chewing, the flavor was smoky, middling-to-strong, and had a hint of lemon and other, tingly herbs… it was nice to be able to gorge himself on something despite his “lone survivor” state. Every so often he would wipe his hands off in the water and with his cape, quickly drying off said cape with some tiny embers beneath it. One bite of fish, two bites of fish…

Oh, blast it, he had totally forgot to bother with using that same De-Curse TM that he had just used. Oh well. He shrugged it off and cast it again, on both the food and himself, specifically targeting his gut. That should have been good enough.

He went back to eating comfortably, laying back and filling his belly up. Going from a sunken-in stomach to a billowed-out belly weighed him down and made him rest, but he didn’t mind in the slightest. In fact, maybe it would be best for him to lay back and take a long nap to sleep it all off. Yeah, that sounded nice… but a nap on a lone island wouldn’t be complete without the big hammock stretching between two palm trees.

Hm. Now that would be an issue. Standing shakily and waddling with his full gut, Virmir marched to the trees more inland. He had already used up all of his luck in getting that free meal, so the chances of him getting a pre-constructed sleeping spot were close to nil.

Sure enough, he was still the only sentient being on the island, and no one had made him a free hammock. To make up for it, Vir started taking some of the fallen leaves and tried to “weave” the fronds together. They were finicky, but they didn’t turn out too bad after he forced his will onto them. It wasn’t too long until he had a working bed of leaves. He poured some power into the sand beneath and raised it up, bringing the “bed” along with it. Beaming at his quick thinking (and the thought of a nice bit of rest on a full stomach), he climbed up into the thing and sent it towards the edge of the shade. He didn’t want to be deep in the tiny forest, but he didn’t want to be baking out in the sunlight, either. So he settled on a good spot in the middle of it, laying and stretching out as far as he could go, and wiggled to make the leaves bend a bit more for him.

He wasn’t working right now but that wasn’t a big deal. When he woke up again, he’d feel and think much better with a fed brain and body.


Ugh, the sun had never really burned this badly before, had it?

Virmir grunted and turned on his side, swinging his cape over his face. Ah, that was much better. He held it there and waited, though he wasn’t sure what it was for. The sun wasn’t going to miraculously spark out, nor was he going to feel super ready for the day in a couple of seconds. It was just that sort of wake-up sickness that afflicted everyone.

Eventually he forced himself out of the magical hammock and stepped to his feet, stretching… and grunted, feeling more exhausted than rested. He tried to stretch, but felt pretty weak while doing so. Odd. He walked around… but it felt slow and lethargic. Maybe the gravity on the island had grown while he napped – of course, that was a reach. There must have been a simpler explanation…

He walked some more to experiment. It felt more like a waddle, each step being hefty and ending up with his foot sunken into the hot sand further than usual. He walked, and walked, and walked… and was winded by the end of it. He grunted and held his gut, grumbling and wondering if he should be doing some more exercises by the time he got back…
But his gut jutted out to meet his hand. It was… well, it was big. Where he should have been lithe and fox-like, he was more chubby and draconic – minus the scales, the fire breath, wings, and whatever else. He heard it grumble, too, like it somehow hadn’t eaten enough already.

Virmir urked and tried to press it back into place, where it should be. It obviously didn’t work, but he tried it a second, a third, and a fourth time, each with more pressure than the last. It really only hurt.

Great. Would he have to start doing some abdominal exercises, or running to work all this off? He wasn’t sure. When he had this sort of effect on him, it was a curse, or a spell, or just about anything other than food. It couldn’t have been a curse with his flawless casting, after all. How did one fish meal end up weighing him down so much?

Whatever. The girth he had suddenly put on didn’t change the fact that he needed to start working on a way off the island. He put his hands under the lowest and widest bit of his gut and tried to heft it up. Maybe he could work on his arms, at least, while he looked around the island some more.

The first thing he noticed – and it was easy to notice, to be fair – was another platter, similar to the one from yesterday. It was chock full of seafood once again, but instead of any sort of fish filets, there was sushi and roasted seaweed. It was suspect, to be certain, considering that his weight had only suddenly popped up after he ate the last tray, but he was hungry… and he already had a potbelly stuck on him. How could it get any worse?

It would make him think better on how to solve this issue, too. He plopped down (and it did make quite the plopping noise) in front of the sushi and went to work. He hadn’t had it before, but it looked much more appealing than calamari to him. It had an okay smell to it, and somehow had expert preparation – it was all lined out and assembled in a careful grid.

Plus, it was fish and vegetables. Fish was about the only meat he wanted to bother with, and veggies? Veggies were obvious.

There weren’t any chopsticks, so he just used his hands again. The rolls were small enough to pinch up and drop in his maw. He chewed, and chewed… it wasn’t bad. The rice was soft, and though the food was quite cold compared to the warm fish from yesterday, it was still delectable. Each sushi roll glided across his tongue – the celery had some crunch that spiced up the otherwise smooth and even texture. Carrots weren’t bad for that, either. The fish didn’t add much in the way of flavor but that wasn’t an issue. It was just the filling for the food that was helping satisfy the hunger in his belly that didn’t seem to dissipate.

Soon the tray was empty. Sooner than he would have liked, for sure. He could have eaten at least fifty more of those little sushi rolls! He wondered if there were supposed to be so few in a serving. If they weren’t filling at all, then why were there so few?

Then again, he had gotten them all for free, and he still had no idea where they had really come from. He stared out into the ocean speculatively, expecting something to surface ominously… but it was as empty as ever.

Virmir sighed. If he didn’t start on a way off the island soon, he may put on too much weight to use it. A raft still wasn’t out of the question, if he really put his mind to it. If he just broke it when he sat on it, though, that would be pretty disappointing.

Hm, perhaps there was some way to use these building pounds in a positive way. He turned to the trees behind him and waddled his way to them. Moving a paw along them and giving them a test push, he found that the trunks were, unsurprisingly, sturdy yet bendable. With tropic winds and such, it would make sense that they would need to both resist and move with the forces as needed. Some more pushes bent them further, though he couldn’t quite get them all the way over.
Instead, he tried to saddle up on the tree itself. He tried to climb it, like he had done so many times before, especially with his own tree home before he had those convenient ladder steps installed.


That wasn’t anything hugely important, right? It was probably just some animal that he had failed to catch snapping a twig or something. He kept sliding and crawling up, the trunk yielding further and bending back…


Huh. That must have been a rather large animal. Or a rather large twig. He was aaaalmost to the top now – those leaves would be a bit of an annoyance, but it wasn’t like they were going to disrupt the aerodynamics of his hopeful catapult-tree.



The entire tree toppled underneath him, the wood snapping sadly and loudly. Luckily his pudge broke most of the fall and soaked up any spray of splinters, sending it right back out like a blubbery shield. And when he DID land, the jiggling in his fluff was quite something.

Blushing and grumbling, he stumbled back to the shore of the island, trying to pat at his gut. It felt like it was harder to do. He hoped he was just hallucinating at this point. Maybe he was still in a fitful sleep and he was having a terrible nightmare of becoming so entirely lard-ed that he would never get off the island.

He gave his gut a pinch. He could barely feel it, and it didn’t hurt at all with the mass in the way.

Blast blast blast! Virmir wracked his brain, trying to run through some more quick solutions. If he really was gaining more and more weight, even when not eating, then he’d have to come up with something before he sank the whole island under him. The raft idea was already long gone. If he couldn’t toonishly catapult away, then what sort of toon options were still left to him? Or, more accurately – if his apprentice were here, what sort of crazy thing would he try and pull with his pudge?

His face lit up briefly, thinking of the blasted toys that said apprentice liked to carry around with him. He ran back to the trees as fast as he could (which, alas, was a snail’s pace with lots of panting involved) and tried to climb one again. This time, instead of getting near the top and shattering it again, he got as high up as he could expect the tree to tolerate… and jumped off, trying to position his belly in the way of himself and the ground.

He expected it to send him flying off like a bouncy ball, hopefully in exactly the direction he needed and with the exact speed and angle needed to get him to the auction he had been sailing for in the first place. Instead, he just got another unpleasant landing where his gut soaked up the shock from the fall. More ripples flew throughout him and made his whole body shake like a wave.

The mage groaned and stood back up after his whole body stopped ringing like a tuning fork. He really didn’t know where to go from here. Maybe he could try and float away, out on the sea, but he got the feeling that any sharks or various other predators that saw a huge fox just drifting along would be pretty happy to pop up to the surface and snap at him.
He knew it would be a bad decision, but… right now, maybe it was best for him to just sleep it off again. When he woke up, he’d have some more food. Sleeping on it might give him more ideas, too, but considering the last time had just let to him putting on more weight, he was hesitant.

But he didn’t have much choice.

He lowered himself against the sand, a lot of the heat not even bothering him anymore with how much blubber was in the way. “Bleh,” he mumbled, and tried to sleep again.


It came easily to him. Like, way too easily. He couldn’t remember any sort of sleepless squirming about before he passed out, and it was difficult to try and wake up. That was exactly what his productivity exercises were meant to prevent, which made him even more upset. He rolled about on the sand, and tried to stand up…

But he couldn’t feel his legs. It felt like all his limbs were eaten up by his growing belly now! Thankfully his tail was still there, but it didn’t feel quite right. Wiggling about uncomfortably, he tried to stand back up and get reoriented…

Instead he just rolled around some more, and completely tumbled out into the ocean.

Yelling and fumbling around, he tried to get his eyes wide open, but sleep was desperately clinging to them. Water was rushing all around him, and his senses were impossibly trying to keep up. He took in a deep breath of the deep blue, gagging and coughing as he did so. Whatever this monstrosity of magic or curse was being worked on him did NOT bless him with water breathing or gills. He DID feel something weird on the back of his head, but he didn’t know how it was going to be useful while he was still drowning and tossing about stupidly in the water.

It was one of the most difficult things he had ever done, but eventually he got himself back to right-side up. His eyes weren’t quite pointed forward, and his underside was all ridged or something, and he had fins and a long tail… and he was hefty. Weighty. Full. It was just a rather pointedly obvious fact about his new self. He pushed up towards the surface and finally took in a good breath, but it wasn’t from his mouth. That thing on the back of his head puffed out all the water it had held in before and started taking in some air to get his system back up and running. He slowly swam forward, trying to think.

“You’re complete!” Vir heard from nearby, though it was distorted by all the water. He swished about and moved to look towards the noise. It was that fish-like lady from the ship-splosion before. She looked a bit more recovered, and… wholly more evil. She had little trinkets shaped like skulls of different creatures and shadowy gems strung all around her thin-as-an-eel body. She looked pretty, sure – pretty evil. “You’re finally complete!”

Virmir frowned. He felt pretty justified in doing so. “Complete? YOU did this to me?”

“Of course!” She was beaming, swimming circles around him easily. She was in her element, obviously. “I blessed you with an aquatic form for your service to the deeps. You helped me, so I helped you.”

“Helped me?!” His calm was disappearing – if it had really been there to begin with. “This is the opposite of helping! You fattened me up until I was a blubbery… whale! That’s the word! A WHALE! I like my thin form most of the time, thank you!”

The mermaid-thing frowned in return. She pulled at some of the trinkets slung around her and pointed them at the Vir-whale. “If you won’t be grateful,” she said, shadowy energies flowing forth and around him, “then you will serve to make others grateful.”

“What is that even supposed to –“ Vir started with, but was interrupted by a pointy feeling from beneath him. He dashed forward (as much as a whale could dash), trying to see behind and below him, and saw at least a few more of those merfolk surrounding him. He wasn’t sure how he knew, but they looked hungry. And he was a large, slow animal full of blubber and meat…

“BLAST IT!” he screamed, and kept trying to swim away.

It wasn’t very much use. The merfolk were quicker than he was, and though his hide was pretty thick now, he felt like maybe the spears were just for softening him up. That magic the mermaid had pulled might have started the process for all he knew. Whatever was going on, he wanted out of it, and he absolutely no clue how to go about it.

“OW!” The spears were more like a sting from a bee rather than a tiny poke from a foam stick. He kept swimming, but it was pointless. They could keep up with him, no trouble. There weren’t going to be any crazy, toonish ways out of being jabbed to a slow death. What sort of options did he have left?

Oh. Right. The one option that he had consciously been forcing out of his mind due to the close proximity of trees. Sure, there was plenty of water around now, but with all the blubber that was clinging to his body, he hoped that it would prevent himself from frying.

He poured every bit of concentration into his magic, trying to complete an amazing fire blast to cook the fish around him. The spears that kept digging deeper into his hide were quite the distraction, however. Once he got close to finishing the spell, the iron of the weapons just poked him back to the start. Grumbling, sitting still, and focusing VERY intently, he stopped trying to build up to the blast and just let it seep out instead.

It worked a lot better than he thought it would. He didn’t need a big blast to get rid of the merfolk – the seepage of fire and heat brought the water around him to an intense boil. To him, it just felt like some pleasant sunshine on his skin.

To the merfolk, however… well, the wise ones swam away screeching.

He didn’t bother moving for a long time. The heat was nice, and he felt nice and safe in his current spot. It was pleasant… and somehow, he felt his normal self coming back. Apparently he had literally burned off the weight that had gathered on his body.
Or, more likely, his magic had somehow counteracted the mermaid witch’s, but he liked his version of the story better.
As the spell wore down, Vir opened his eyes again and looked around. He couldn’t see any merfolk approaching, and his lungs were crying for air. He took one thing at a time and swam up, much more lithe and quickly than he remembered being. Once his muzzle broke the surface of the water, he took in another deep, deep breath.

It was still nice and sunny out, and he couldn’t see the island where he had been staying before. He couldn’t see the docks of the city he had been after, either, but he was glad to be alone again rather than tailed by evil mermaids.
He faced east – or, at least what he thought was east – and began swimming, extra appreciative of his tiny, thin body. He wouldn’t have quite as easy of a time moving along, now, but he wouldn’t have to work off this weight once he got home, either. A whale landing on a beach usually led to explosions and forceful pushes back into the sea, anyway, and those would be some annoying delays.

Virmir had an auction to go to, and he was gonna go to it.

Game Room / Them's Fightin Herds
« on: October 04, 2015, 09:07:32 PM »
I'm allowed to support this game even if it has a pun in it so back off Selden

Heeeey, ever wanted a game of ungulates fighting each other with magic and agility and strength? No? Well how about a fighting game with animation and art by Lauren Faust with a dynamic soundtrack that's already been greenlit on Steam and just needs your support to come through?

I would hope that the last thing there would be enough to encourage anybody to fund this game, but if not, maybe you need to take a look at it for yourself. Regardless, check it out here:

It needs your help to survive and all that! Even a little bit is a big help when it comes to thousands and thousands of people. If you pump in $40, less than the typical price for a game, you'll get access to the closed beta, along with other stuff (including the whole game, of course); failing that, just $15 will get you the whole game when it comes out.

So... check it out!

Writer's Guild / Pestered
« on: September 27, 2015, 12:56:39 AM »
       Virmir didn't really have an issue with spiders like most others seemed to have. When it came to insectoids, spiders were like the vampiric vampire-hunters of the buggy kingdom – they could sometimes be a pain and reserved corners to themselves out of the entire household, but it was a fine price to pay when they removed mosquitoes, flies, earwigs, and worse.
   Once he had had a spider stalking out his bathroom for the longest time, presumably drawn to the spot thanks to the dank, warm interior. The little guy had never been an issue and seemed to fill himself up on the more annoying and flight-bound creatures. He disappeared one day and Virmir never really pursued the arachnid.
   He sort of started to regret that one day after he had his breakfast and peeked out the window. Where beautiful treetops and a long horizon had been in his forest had once been, there were now stretches and spans of spindly white web in their places. It was difficult to see even traces of the trees underneath them that supported it. Spring droplets of dew were stuck and dangling precariously on the webs, but he couldn't see a trace of the spiders that created them. And how were they so huge, anyway? Were there a few thousand of them that just moved into HIS forest?
   The mage was convinced that he would have to deal with the issue as soon as HIS property was coming into question. After donning a fresh new cape and tidying up after breakfast, he cleared out his schedule to deal with the impending problem.
   His schedule, however, was disappointingly barren. Virmir frowned at his incompetent arms and hands, flexing them hesitantly – and wincing as he did. If it weren't for them and their blasted miniature and temporary arthritis, he might have had a reason to put off these blasted webs. Alas, there was no conceivable way to fill his day with drawing. Instead, he'd have to go off on some dumb adventure to handle this invasion.
   In times like these Vir wished he had some magical artifacts designed to combat bugs. There was the mystical “bug spray” that lined grocery store shelves; he'd heard of it, but it wasn't going to be worth his travel or money. A magical and handmade bug zapper hung from one of the lowest branches on his tree, making sure that pests would be fried and left at the base of his home for scavengers to eat up. It wouldn't be much use against the smarter and more reclusive spiders.  His fire would handle things... assuming that he would be able to use it in spite of his pained and twisted limbs.
   After descending his treehouse with a flourish of his cape, Virmir set off into the trees. Almost immediately the sun was blocked out by the thick canopy and its shady companions, the enormous webs above. From here on, he would be in the dark, and setting things on fire all willy-nilly would just cause a gigantic inferno that could burn down his own home.
   No – he'd have to use some precision magic, which was far from his forte. Regardless, he knew that he could manage it if he could find the center of the webs. It was an applied family-tree curse; how he came upon the spell would be an extensive and meaningless tale for the purposes of his current adventure. But it was as simple as targeting the center of the mass of tangled webs and silk and igniting it into the first piece of kindling for a fire that would specifically roast every single tiny strand above the trees.
   If only he had some stupid forest fairy imprisoned in a bottle like that one hero seemed to have all the time. A “natural” source of light would be the only hope for illumination in the forest right now, what with the many silky strings that kept trying to strangle the fox ineffectively. But he had no magical creatures on hand. Maybe he'd try to broaden his collection with some mystical bug hunting later... once his arms actually cooperated with his whims.
   Fortunately – or maybe unfortunately – the forest was deathly silent. No animals were skittering around the roots of trees or darting from shrubbery to shrubbery. At the very least it meant Virmir could do his work alone for once. Alone, and in the dark...
   The mage shook his head. That was no way for someone so perfect and of his caliber to be thinking. He would handle anything that would possibly crop up. A swarm of spiders would be as simple as...
   Vir failed to finish that thought, a single, gigantic silhouette of a spider beginning to dangle from the webs above. He didn't see any suspicious sort of red eyes glowing in the darkness, so he assumed that he had used up his luck for the day and it was simply facing the wrong way. Perfect.
   “Die, insect!” he shouted as he slung a chunk of fire at the monster.
   The flames went right through the shadow and lit the trees ablaze directly in front of him.
   “Blast,” he muttered, and it was all he could possibly get out.
   The monstrosity that the shadow belonged to swung forward on its web and caught him in a silken trap, wrapping him up in a fashion similar to a kidnapper and their burlap sack of choice.
   He wished that he would have simply passed out right then. He was still quite awake for a few more seconds while the monster lunged forward onto the forest floor and whacked the flames into submission with its new prisoner. Eventually, he finally passed out.

   Virmir was failing to count how many times he had been knocked out and taken prisoner once he had woken up. It seemed like it was a recurring theme for his adventures. Something about it just made relocation easy, it seemed.
   Where he was now, he wasn't quite sure. Things were at least more light, but it seemed more like a curse this time. All over the walls were designs made from even more web, but they looked like... mistakes. Over and over, mistakes lined the subterranean walls, and they had been diced and torn near the center to further ruin them. Virmir briefly struggled to get up and get a better look around, but he was caught up in yet another web. He glanced at the silk holding him back and desperately hoped that he would not be on another of the “mistake” webs that would soon be cut up.
   There didn't seem to be any other prisoners. Maybe they had been freed, or... eaten, after enough time had passed. It could have explained the rough tears, if they had been shoved right into the maw of some giant spider beast...
   His vision was obstructed suddenly by many chitinous legs, none of them crossing his flesh and fur. They ambled and tiptoed around on the bouncy surface, easily finding purchase. Into view came the whole spider body, in all its fearsome and ebony glory. He couldn't make out any sort of marking on the underside of the abdomen, obviously, and he had difficulty finding anything more distinguishing about the “belly” of the spider other than numerous joints and chitin intertwining.
   Above the spider body, on the other hand... that was plenty easier to distinguish.
   It was like a mad scientist had gotten hold of a book of fairy tales and decided that a half-man, half-horse wasn't weird enough – instead, why not make a half-jackal, half-spider? And at that, why stop the spider features at the lower body?
   Perhaps the jackaless upper half would have appeared attractive if it had a matching lower half... and it didn't possess clacking mandibles, more pairs of eyes, and her hands were not covered in chitin like a mockery of fancy gloves. But she did, and it made Vir gag.
   “Did a sci-fi movie break through the monitor?” he mumbled.
   One of those big spidery legs jolted and struck him across the face, making him pause to take a recovery breath. “You shut it!” she shouted, louder than was necessary, even in a giant cavern. The fox folded his ears tight against themselves and grunted in response to the demand, but she just kept rambling. “You will keep quiet unless you praise the queen!”
   Quietly and carefully, Vir cleared his throat. “And you're the queen, I'm guessing.” Somehow, that voice of hers sounded familiar. He didn't exactly know any enormous spiderjackalthings, but something was similar.
   “Fool!” she shouted in an equally harsh voice, striking the fox across the face... again. “I am but a broodmother. The queen is the ruler of all, the divine being who will lead our world into a glorious insectile age!”
   Virmir twisted his face away and refused to look back at the quite rude and brutal spiderlady. Whatever she was on about would probably not be worth bothering with. Though it might buy him some time to converse with this freak... “Who is the queen, then?”
   In response the spidertaur (drider? Drider, that was what they were called) scoffed and glared down into the mage's muzzle. “You do not know the queen? You are joking. Pulling my legs!” She laughed and chuckled. Virmir didn't find it funny from his place. “The queen is the new ruler of the world – only not everyone has realized it yet.”
   Sounds familiar, Vir thought dryly. This time he kept it internalized. It wasn't worth more smacks to backtalk a freaky monster. Those bug legs hurt.
   “She has taken the world back in evolutionary time! Long ago, when animals were first conceived on this planet, the arthropods and invertebrates were set to become the dominant species, the ones meant to rule with their numbers, their power, their efficiency...” The drider paused and grumbled. “And they were limited, arbitrarily, poorly restricted to a small size because of their simple breathing systems! Insects became synonymous with tiny stepping stones for 'greater beings,' when all along they were the ones intended for greatness!
   “With the queen at the world's helm, all the mammals who believed they were the perfect, flawless result of evolution and millenia of change will be altered to what they should have been all along – INSECTS!” She seemed relieved to have finished her speech, panting afterwards.
   Something didn't quite add up, though. “If insects are so perfect, then why are you still... well, half not-insect?” Vir asked.
   His captor hesitated before answering. “I... am not yet complete transitioning. It will come as time passes, or so the queen says. And I will believe the queen!” Her fanatical disposition returned by the end of her sentence, eyes lit up once more. “And my queen will change me fully to Baroness Jacklyn if I bring a powerful mage as a lord for the new lands!”
   Jacklyn! That was what the girl looked like. Or Medik, or Shifty, or whatever he or she bothered to call himself these days. He/she seemed to have an issue with keeping all those names together based on his/her form, and Virmir definitely could not sympathize with that in any way, nope. It was totally confusing since it wasn't him.
   “Hey, wait!” Virmir tugged at the web holding him down, trying to gesture at himself. “You recognize me, don't you, Medik? Or whatever you want to call yourself by now? I know it's a young adult thing, changing your self-identity and all, but that's not important now. What IS important is letting your best friend go! Riiiight?” He bared his teeth in a big, friendly grin. He wasn't super experience with it, though.
   The drider squinted... and laughed. “Of course I recognize you. Why do you think I retrieved you specifically? I could have set up my webs anywhere, and I set them up outside your home. You were the one I figured I should hold as my way into good terms with the queen. Failing that, you will work as a decent repository for my brood.” She smiled sweetly, then turned away and began crawling up her webs once more. Before she left, she grabbed some... fruit, of some sort, from the webs above and tossed it down on Vir's white stomach with a greasy splat. It smelled atrocious, but it was already on his face and it was probably meant as his food for the moment. After a pause he let his tongue loose to pull in a speck of fruit... and he was pleasantly surprised to find it juicy and tangy. The terrible stench was made up for by the fruity and delicious taste that was held in that plant. He ate up as much as he could, waiting out his imprisonment. How long was his average prison term? It was hard to think of right now. He was glad to find the sun setting soon after Jacklyn left the webbery, allowing him another night of sleep.
   Aches and itches... aches and itches all over. Vir thrashed about on his web-bed, pulling and fighting against the sticky silk. He could feel so much itching under his eyes and ears and sides and he couldn't do a blasted thing about it! Every which way he turned just got him further and further stuck in the web, but he kept trying anyway, hoping it would be fragile enough like the broken, other decorations in the cave. It never tore, even slightly.
   He was pretty sure his paws were cramping up even worse than they had been before, too, so this whole trip was doing him no favors. They felt stuck and rigid and
   “BLAST IT LET ME OUT OF HERE!” he shouted, muzzle aimed at the entrance to the cavern. Maybe someone would hear him.
   Someone other than the drider, that was. But she seemed to be the only one who picked up on it, scurrying down the web path that now led right up to his own little section. She worked fast, it seemed. And quietly. Creepy. But then, spiders excelled at that, didn't they?
   “Ooh, you're coming along nicely,” Jacklyn said, in that weirdly obsessive tone that a mad scientist would get when looking at their very own monster. She took one long claw-like extremity his elbows, pulling it free from the web briefly.
   “OWWW!” The freedom came at a price – it hurt like the blazes! However his arms were being moved, they weren't meant to be like that! “Unhand me, fiend!”
   “Fiend? Hah!” She snickered some and dropped his arm back down to the sticky surface beneath. “You should have a look at yourself, little one.”
   “I'm older than you, you know!” the mage spat, struggling again. The movement was supposed to be cathartic, he thought, since everyone in cartoons and movies would start pulling at their bonds after they made a smarmy statement. It was not helpful in any way. “And I don't get much of any sort of service down here! Where am I going to get a blasted mirror when you have me stuck to your terrible stringy jumbles?!”
   Another smack from the drider came to meet Virmir's face. “I will not have you disrespecting my work, first of all,” she said with a “hmph.” “And I can always provide you a mirror. Especially when you look like...
   “This.” From behind her back she pulled a huge vanity, complete with fancy arachnid décor adorning the perimeter. Virmir peered into it, expecting that he would need a shave or something. Instead he found a disturbing, changing, and worst of all, twitchy site. His antennae had minds of their own, flicking about this way and that with a new green hue to them. The itches from his sides were just now starting to dig their way free from his fur and flesh, a couple of sharp little legs. Following that his fur started to fall away from those regions, shaping over in a solid sort of carapace. Those terrible cramps in his arms made their source pretty obvious, with his default stance now holding them up like a dog begging for a belly rub. His back felt slimy – a couple of wing-like appendages wormed their way into view of the reflection. At least his tail felt larger... but he didn't know how happy he should be about that.
   “Gah!” Virmir said intelligently, frozen in shock and completely forgetting the web binding him.
   Smirking, Jacklyn lightly rubbed a leg over the fox's (if he could still truly be called a pure fox) arms. “Yes, quite. A big improvement over how you first came to me. Could still be much better, of course.”
   “Came to you?! You kidnapped me, you -” He coughed and struggled over his last few words, realizing that something was getting in the way. His throat was growing hard and rigid like that segment of carapace he could see in the mirror. He had to wait for the sensation to pass before he could speak again. “This was that stupid fruit, wasn't it? Let me go! I'll fry you and your whole web-place to cinders!”
   “Sheesh, one thing at a time,” Jacklyn insisted, giggling. “And no. I shan't let you free. You've so much further to progress before I can present you to the queen for a proper lesson.”
   “Me?! Why can't you stick to just one dialect when you're speaking?! Are you from the dark ages or were you born yesterday?” Virmir felt proud about that one. His proudness was only rivaled by his soreness after he was smacked by yet another spider leg.
   Retracting her chitinous appendage, Jacklyn forced herself to calm her breathing before answering. “Perhaps I need to see the queen for another lesson, as well. She improves on all the poor thoughts belonging to our present time.”
   Vir could not help but scoff. “So what, she's got a hold of some swirly pendant, too? Doesn't take much to sway -” He bit his tongue before finishing that sentence. There would probably be getting the impression of a leg on his cheek if he didn't learn to keep this drider content. “To sway people these days.”
   “Hmph. No. It doesn't. Still, her artifact is what is responsible for the improvements upon our minds. Yours will come later – you can't be seen in your sorry state. You'll probably be begging for some acceptance and change after a few more nights in here.” Jacklyn shrugged, that smug smile still stuck on her face.
   Virmir returned the dumb smile. As if. His whole goal in life was to be alone for days and nights on end. This would be a piece of cake and a welcome break from the pestering of door-to-door salesmen that he would get topside. Of course, it would be nice if he could move around, or actually do anything at all.
   “Whatever you decide,” Jacklyn said, climbing out of the webbery once more, “I'm sure it'll be all according to the queen's plans. If you decide to go against her will, she can handle it.” Before she left completely, she tossed down another one of those nasty-good fruits onto the fox's chest. It only splatted just a bit this time, but it was still slick and disgusting. But it was his only food source...
   Left without any real choice, Virmir pawed up at the fruit to get it into his mouth and eat up. It wasn't any better or worse than the last time, but he had to get something into his stomach every day. Even if it was responsible for his changes, he had to fill up.

Role Play Theater / Transformation Theater
« on: May 03, 2015, 05:23:07 PM »
Holy crap, no post on here for months, huh? Disturbing.



There was a browser game that I played a while back that consisted of DnD-style stat rolling gameplay and written TFs based on your choices and your rolls. In more concrete terms, roll d20s and see what comes of it. The goal can be victory, failing and getting to be a horrifying chimera, becoming a very specific organism and staying as that, or whatever else you can imagine.

So... I intend to bring that here! I'm a budding writer (this is where people should vouch for me, cough cough, please) and I want to keep up my practicing. I need things to write, and this is something that keeps my brain running and rolling, making up all these actions, scenarios, and descriptions. It also helps if I want to run DnD things.

(Speaking of, if I like the impression you give here, I might try and pull you into some campaign that still needs one more person)

In essence, I'm looking for people to say who/what they are if they are roped into a sort of "transformation theater," as I put it in the title, and I need justification/reasons/whatever for why I should include you. SELL YOURSELF! This is an application, and I reserve the right to turn away or accept anyone I choose. If you want to include an example of writing, do that. If you think I like you and will bring you in because of that, go ahead. The "application" is WHATEVER YOU WANT! But the more your "application" appeals to me, the more likely I am to pick you out of the chaff.

Sorry for calling you chaff.

So if you're interested, post up! The specifics of the scenario, stats, and all that will be discussed after I've got genuinely interested and intelligent people. I need those first!

Writer's Guild / F.O.Y.
« on: September 13, 2014, 02:44:09 PM »
I was harassed into this

Having never been keen on following any of Medik's "grand schemes," Virmir was entirely justified in being hesitant to take up another offer made by the jackal. When he saw something that seemed like a good idea to his... well, inexperienced might have been the word - mind, he sought after it like some grubby CEO determined to grow their own paycheck. And sometimes it really was that sort of idea; numerous times, he had been after long-lost treasure (Virmir wasn't fond of remembering their Atlantis misadventures), and sometimes it had been stupid enough to get one of them killed. Or both. But given that death wasn't exactly a serious subject for a couple of toons, they always awoke later, and Medik seemed to have forgotten his mistakes by then.

Virmir hadn't, and liked to remind him, however pointless it was.

This time, Medik was still focused on treasure, but this time it wasn't money. Or fame. It was something magical, something ancient, and it was certainly something that Medik truly had no idea about, which left Virmir with very little choice as to whether or not he should get involved. As soon as he had received the parchment from some odd-looking bird on his windowsill, Virmir dropped his drawing where it was and packed an extra cape into his cape, just in case. He jumped from the top of his tree-house to the ground, using his charcoal-cape like a parachute, and started to walk indignantly to where Medik had said he was.

It was a rather long, arduous walk, given that he said he was in blasted Flordia. Why the jackal was there, Virmir wasn't sure. There was certainly nothing ancient or magical about that disgusting Mardi Gras. (That was probably where it was held, right? Somewhere southern.) The swamps there gave him the chills, what with gigantic alligators and other nasty, slimy things residing there.

So of course the destination Medik had left on the letter was in a swamp, just outside of a large town. Virmir shuddered at the thought of running across so many idiotic people, and made sure to take the long way around to the swamp.

And once again, a long way it was. The trek down to Florida had felt long already, but now he had to contend with weird creatures that he had never want to know about, as well as dozens of bugs that would not. Leave. Him. Blasted. Alone.

It was all of two minutes before Virmir decided he had had enough, and summoned up enough magic to coat himself in wonderful, cozy fire. The few bugs who had tried to rest on his body were eaten up by the inferno, and ashes were spit back out. Animals that Vir hadn't even noticed quickly retreated away from him, deeper into marshy pools and behind weeping, bent willows.

The fox smiled. Fire was truly a lovely thing.

He then grunted and tripped over himself, tugged down by a root that sent him face-first into a puddle of deep, deep mud. He coughed and gagged, struggling to righten himself back out. Eventually he managed, but now had a lung full of gunk and a face full of who-knows-what-was-in-the-swamp. He sighed and swiped at his face with his cape to clear off as much as he could, but when he looked down into the clearest pool he could find there was still plenty of mud on his muzzle.

The temptation to just incinerate the entire area was very strong in his mind, but calling attention to himself was something he sincerely wished against. Instead he took out his extra cape and pulled it beneath himself, setting it into the muck like a carpet. Disgusting and annoying as the action was, it would keep himself clean.

Recalling the trick he had learned from some Egyptian peddler a while back, he summoned up enough air (frazz, the entire atmosphere here had so much dang humidity in it) to lift his cape up, furrowing and billowing in the wind like a sail. You know, except sideways. He then gripped onto the sides of the cape as hard as he could, and forced the thing forward with another blast of air.

Virmir didn't like "thrills." But the feeling of rushing air that threw him deep into the swamp without getting any of him covered in swamp-muck or eaten up by alligators was a pretty great sensation. He laughed, once, then a whole-hearted laugh.

It was cut off as the cape (and his head) rammed into a very tall and tough tree.

The gray toon fox blacked out instantly, and only awoke much later, at night, with some sort of rodent-like thing sniffing at him. He swatted at it, and sat up tiredly. He pulled the cape out from underneath him and sighed, the only garment he cared for being torn and covered in memoirs from the swamp. He groaned and packed it back up into his other, close-to-untouched cape. At least he had that.

Vir took a look around where he had crashed, and found nothing that could serve as a point of reference. Left, right, forward, behind him was all just swamp. The trees looked too similar. The only animal that he could see was that blasted rat-thing that was dashing away as he spotted it. The emptiness of the area might be signifying something, he realized. Something like the location of the treasure Medik had informed him of.

Taking one last chance, he looked up, and saw something he really wasn't expecting.

The branches directly above him were sprouting out like the petals on a flower. They were wide enough to walk on, and even seemed to descend like a staircase. With only one real option left (considering that he wasn't going to accept wandering the swamp as an option), he followed the branches as they went down and found the one closest to the ground, which still took a fair amount of effort to climb on.

The tree went up for a very long while. The bark just seemed to keep going and going, and Vir was able to see it the entire time, given that it was his only support as he climbed the branches. Looking the other way, off down into the swamp muck beneath him, wasn't pleasant, so he focused on the bark instead.

The flowering branches led up to a point that was much higher above the rest of the forest. It was so high that a light covering of murk and fog was obscuring his sight back down below. He shuddered as he took his last few steps to the top, making sure that he did not misstep. He hadn't been scared of heights, but a deadly fall into a swamp was a deadly fall into a swamp.

At the final branch, Vir found nothing more. The bark seemed to disappear into nothingness. The top of the tree, though, was open, and seemed to go... down. The gray fox looked down into the dark, empty hole and gulped to himself. There wasn't any other option but down.

He steadied himself for the final jump, looked down into the open tree... and leapt down into the dark, unable to help himself as he yelled and cried out. The fall was longer and much darker than he had ever experienced. Thankfully, he never hit the jagged edges of the whole as he went down, deeper and deeper into the earth than even the trunk of the tree had been. He fell and fell, worried about where he was going to land, hoping that he wouldn't hit the solid ground and end up squashed unless Medik was lucky enough to be hanging around, and ideally he was -

With a splash, Virmir collapsed into water, just enough to break his fall and clean his fur. He blinked slowly and curiously, then patted his fur down and smiled confidently. Just as planned, obviously. He took some more time to get the gunk from the swamp cleansed, then stood up and began walking about to explore the area.

The area was, quite clearly, underground and cavernous. Stalactites and stalagmites hung from the ceiling and grew from the ground, though they were... odd. They looked to be made of a material that was not actually stone. The ground and ceiling themselves weren't really stone, either. It looked lighter than it should, like some odd lighting source was illuminating everything in a cyan glow.

Which, it just so happened, there was.

Virmir's eyes scanned the area before he found the source - a giant fountain that stood in the rear of the cavern, clean and clear water pouring down around it. It literally glowed with a magical sort of brilliance, but Virmir couldn't identify the magic. The aesthetics of the fountain itself were ornate and fantastic. Around the sides were runes - again, he couldn't identify them - and at the top was a single stone angel that held an urn in the crook of her arms. The water flowed from the top of it, propelled by... something.

And at the side of the fountain was a certain jackal, bending over the side and sniffing at the water curiously.

"Medik!" the gray called out.

The jackal's ears perked, whirled, and turned with his head to Virmir. "Hey!" He beckoned the fox over, bending further, almost touching the water.

Vir hurried over before the jackal started slurping up water or dumped some sort of junk in it. He tugged back on his scruff and looked him in the eyes. "Is this the thing you were talking about? The treasure? It's just a fancy fountain."

Somehow, Medik's scruff seemed to retract and the jackal escaped from his grip. "It's not just any fountain!" He pulled out a fancy map of some sort of swamp, and at the center: Fountain of Youth.

Virmir blinked, then stared. "THE Fountain of Youth?" Then he blinked again. "What would you even want with it? How does it help at all?"

Medik looked incredulous, like the answer was obvious. "EVERYONE gets old, toon or not! We get older slower, sure, but this? This would make us live forever!"

"Why would I want to live forever?" the fox asked. He peered around the fountain for anything else, found nothing, and settled on trying to study the runes.

The jackal grinned a slightly manipulative grin. "Why, forever is the best! Imagine how many foxes you could draw in forever!" He started counting on his fingers, then skipped a few thousand. "Infinite foxes! FOREVER!"

At that, Virmir looked up and into the water. He thought and stroked his whiskers. "That does make sense. An infinite drawing session. And I wouldn't have to pick up those canes that the older toons get. Or deal with blurring up in senior years. Or losing my sight..."

Medik rubbed his paws together eagerly. "Perfect! Now, you be my lookout and just keep me safe!" And with that he bent over the fountain again and slurped down water.

Vir shrugged, still looking at the runes. Nothing was going to sneak up on them, probably, so he had plenty of time. Now that he thought about it and looked keenly, the runes were somewhat familiar. He had seen them before thanks to people like Toast and weird cults. Something about... reversal of...


Virmir jumped from where he knelt at the fountain, trying to tug Medik back. Medik, however, was determined, and latched onto the fountain with his claws, struggling to drink more and more fountain water (which couldn't have tasted very good at all). Virmir continued tugging, Medik continued grunting -

But Virmir won the tug-of-war, though it was at a price. The two of them went tumbling back, and there was a FLASH that blinded the both of them. The fox yelled and swiped his cape around to cover his eyes.

Seconds later, he could see again, but nothing seemed too different. Slowly, he sat up. Medik wasn't around - he had probably been flung further backwards. He turned around and stood, searching in the dark; for some reason, the fountain had lost its glow. "Medik! Come out from there!"

The dark was empty. He waited a minute. Still no reply.

Virmir gulped. He felt behind him for his cape, but there wasn't one. Instead, he had on a full covering of cloth... a robe. He blinked and looked down to find a pair of orbs in the way of his sight. 

She blushed as she realized what they were and what had happened.

"Well, whatever," she mumbled. "It's no big change." She pulled out her sword and began to stalk forward into the dark.

She was glad that the Shifty figure had given her a truesilver sword a while back. The metal was durable, to a stupid degree, and it shone in any dark area. Lucile continued to cautiously step around in the dark, waiting for Medik to pop out and try to scare her.

But it simply wasn't happening. Lucile groaned and held her head. "Medik, you know I can't leave without you or child services will kill me," she grumbled.

Then again, how would they leave?

If they could go back up through the way they had entered, she had no idea how. If they were stuck down here, at least they had water. But no food. She held her gut and peered down at it, hoping that she had a small layer of fluff in case they were going to be left without food for a while.

"...frazz, frazz, frazz, FRAZZ, FRAZZ!"

Lucile screamed and dropped her sword, both hands and arms rushing to her gut. "You blasted idiot jackal who just can't keep away from incredibly dangerous and ancient things of power and just have to touch and feel them so that -"

She started hyperventilating, rubbing over her distended gut. There was no doubt about it - that wasn't food. There was most certainly something - someone - in there, and she was not pleased. "I could cut you out, you know, you frazzing blasted cursed jackal!" she yelled, grabbing up her sword again. It took considerably more effort, bending over and picking something up. She groaned and stayed her hand, obviously not keen on cutting into her own gut. ...and it was sort of her fault, too. If she hadn't tried to pull Medik away, maybe he would have been the only one affected and she could just leave with her flying cape that had been replaced by a full robe.

"Gods, you're a hopeless little... pup," she sighed. "And I guess you're... mine." She sighed again, louder this time. She held her head in her paws, rubbing at the growing headache she was getting from yelling.

Lucile wasn't alone, at least. And maybe Medik would be more tolerable before he could get up and run around, or run his mouth. Maybe she could do some thinking or drawing or writing without him bothering her. 

...maybe he could be born as a fox, and be raised to be productive from the start.

Lucile smiled and rubbed at her belly. "Maybe you're not so bad."

Game Room / Guild Wars 2 Again
« on: March 02, 2014, 06:25:34 PM »
It's been a long time since anybody in the chat coordinated on this game or made a guild that we actually all stuck with, so I'm interested in if anyone wants to do so again! I like the game, but I just get so tired of it so quickly if no one plays with me (because I'm beginning to realize just how much of a freaking social creature I am). So if anyone has an idea/wants to be involved, just say something! Please!

Writer's Guild / Snakes, Skins, and Stones
« on: December 23, 2013, 09:33:04 PM »
        Mornings were usually pretty simple for Kendo Virmir. Every day, he woke up to sun filtering into his bedroom through its wooden walls, climbed out of bed, bathed himself, ate some simple, habitual breakfast, and so on. All of that stuff was just preliminary and in the way of what he actually wanted to do: get something done. Drawing, or mowing, or creating; anything like that was his lifeblood, his main hobby.

   Of course, he broke it up with some sparse game-playing in between, but that wasn’t anything exotic or crazy.

   Everything had been going according to schedule and plan since Virmir had woken up. He woke up before the sun had hit his eyes straight-on, he felt energetic enough to get right into the shower, and had a bowl of cereal at his desk without spilling a drop of milk. He put the bowl and spoon into his sink and ran back to his room to don one of his many capes. After clipping it into place and giving it a nice flourish, he stomped back to take his seat at The Desk.

   Right away, he pulled the pen to his tablet out from its slot and started tap-tapping away until he could get to drawing. He experimented a bit with some scribbles and the pressure-sensitivity before he began drawing up the wireframe for himself.

   On any other day, dedication like that was what made Virmir able to be productive and beneficial to his own community. But today wouldn’t be the case.

   As the gray fox sat there, sticking his tongue out and twisting around in his swivel chair, there was a sickening, slimy sound from his front door. He didn’t notice, of course, because he was way too interested in drawing himself. He drew more and more, getting to the sketching…

   Something knocked on the door. Well, less of a knock, and more of a SLAM that dented and splintered the wood inward. “Leave the package at the door!” Virmir yelled behind him, then went straight back to drawing. He could have already been working on the inking if he hadn’t been bothered…

   But the visitor didn’t just stop at the door. There was a hiss, followed by a complete crash of the front door. Wood pieces went flying by Virmir’s face and cracked the wall in front of him.

   “What in the trees is –“

   The fox spun around to face his broken doorway, but there were two very large… things in the way. They looked very similar: both of them were significant in size, bulky, and very naga-like. Only their upper body and lower body were both that of snakes. Their coloring looked somewhat like garter snakes, but they didn’t seem nearly as harmless. The only difference that was visible was the splintered left arm on the front naga.

   Virmir only took a few seconds to analyze their looks, and then went straight to flinging fireballs. He wasn’t nervous about burning his house down at all after getting it enchanted with some help from other prominent mages in his area (read: bribing Shifty to steal some tomes for studying) and his rage was only going to help burn up the stupid reptiles even hotter.

   But the nagas didn’t catch fire. The slightest spark from the fireballs just bounced off of their scales. The splinter-armed one smiled and swung around a bundle of ropes.

   “…blast,” Virmir mumbled, regretting not learning any other spells.

   The undamaged naga had already used the time to swing around behind Virmir and wasted no time in elbowing his neck. He swung forward, knocked out, and the two snake-beings tied up the fox’s limbs. They nodded to each other, and the two of them dragged the fox out by his ears.

   When Virmir came to, his neck and the entire lower half of his body were incredibly sore. With a groan, he struggled to sit up and check on why the latter of the two was so in pain, ignoring the events before his sudden sleep.

   His legs were covered in scratches and bruises, with no real signs of why in the world those injuries were there. He gave them a pat and yelped, just turning away to bother with whatever else might be in the immediate area.

   What he found, he hadn’t really been expecting.

   “Bug-pony?” he asked, though it was pretty obvious what was in front of him.

   The changeling in question looked up from the floor and stared, as blinking wasn’t something that changelings could pull off very well. “Not ‘bug-pony,’ Vir, you know that fully well,” he mumbled, and jabbed at the fox’s wounds to wake the pain up again. As Virmir scrambled back with another yelp, Shifty made introductions as he normally did, making another side comment about the story containing his own background that would eventually, one day, sometime make it down completely on paper.

   Virmir didn’t pay much attention to it, though, and tried to wrap his cape around his knees and shins. He managed to do so, sitting up in a sort of blanketed position. “Aside from abusing me as per your MO, what are you doing here?”

   Shifty’s mood seemed to drop from heaven to hell. “Yeah, uh…” He gestured vaguely. “I was… flying, and then, uh…”

   Virmir arched his brow.

   A loud sigh went throughout whatever room the two happened to be in. “Okay, I was screwing around with some spells I’d picked up, but I think it got a bit out of hand somehow, and there were these naga things that picked me up and… well, now I’m here.”

   “Sounds a lot like what happened to me,” Vir said, and he took a better look at the room around him to try and identify it. There really wasn’t a lot to it, but it helped give him an idea of what it might be. An awful looking toilet was in the far corner, and though it didn’t look like it had been used in years, that didn’t help its looks or the smell that he linked with it. There was a tiny bunk bed that looked like it would accommodate only Virmir’s torso, and no blankets were provided on either bunk. Only one entrance (or exit, as he preferred at the moment) was in the room, and it was a large iron door with exactly four bars at the top for peeking through.

   Or clanging mugs and coins against them, he realized. “Some sort of cell,” the fox mused, and Shifty nodded. “No time to waste, then.” Virmir mustered up all the magic he could with some focus. After only a few seconds, he summoned up some sparks in his paws, gathered them together into a tiny ball of fire, tried to grow it into something dangerous…

   But the magic fizzled and fell apart before the sparks had even come together.

   “Already tried that,” Shifty mumbled. “You think I’d stay in here if I had the chance to get out?”
   Virmir growled and sent a death glare at the door, though it didn’t accomplish much. He turned back to Shifty, who was kicking at the floor again. “What do they want with us? We have habeas corpus, or whatever, right? They have to say why they’re holding us.”

   “I somehow got the feeling that these guys don’t exactly abide by law.” Shifty gestured around the room. “I’ve been here for longer than a day and they haven’t fed me. Granted, I have a different diet than most, but still, I’m starving here. And what’s more…” The changeling stopped and looked down at the ground again.

   The gray fox pushed Shifty’s face back up to look at his own. “What, what is it?” he asked frantically. Normally he would be pretty calm in a case of abuse like this, but isolation from technology, being trapped with a person (or pony of some sort), and not being fed did not sound pleasant. And if there was something more…

   Shifty sighed and turned around. “The tail.”

   Instead of some weird horse-hair-like mockery made of buggy stuff, there was a tiny, curling, pink twirl of a tail. Like that of a pig.

   “…um,” Virmir said, intelligently. “How?”

   “I don’t know!” Shifty shouted. “You think I’d do this to myself?! I can’t pull off any magic when I’m starving like this, and the room won’t let me, anyway!” His horn sparked in frustration. “I can’t change it back, and it bothers me a lot, and… ugh!”

   Something dimly occurred to Virmir as he sat there with the raging changeling. Snakes weren’t exactly known for eating animals of the size of pigs, but naga that stood taller than Virmir weren’t really normal snakes. If they could somehow pull off magic while they couldn’t, and changed around both Shifty and himself before they starved and died from that, well…

   “Have you seen those naga eat anything?” Virmir asked.

   Shifty shook his head, jabbing at his aberration of a tail (which Virmir had to agree with). “I’ve only seen one or two walk by the door, and they always move quickly past us, so I don’t think they really care.”

   That was only a little comforting. Maybe the naga didn’t care for foxes and horse-things, but did want some pork when they actually ended up as such.

   Just as Virmir was getting ready to settle down and take a long sleep to fuel thinking on how to get out, there was a loud rapping of metal on metal at the door. Virmir covered his ears in reflex, but could still hear the scratchy voice that yelled “OUT! FOLLOW!”

   The door swung open, and a very tough-looking naga was on the other side. He looked like he was sort of based off a cobra, and was holding a rugged scimitar that seemed to bend in and out. Like a snake, Virmir dimly noticed.

   Slowly, the fox lowered his hands from his ears and stood up shakily. Shifty stepped ahead of him, trudging up to the naga and keeping his head down. Virmir didn’t much want to break the trend, and followed suit.

   The cobra-naga began to lead the two prisoners on, past dozens of other cells. None of them made a sound. Either there were no other prisoners, or they were all “taught,” somehow, to keep absolutely quiet.

   And since neither of those things were very positive, Virmir wished that he didn’t think too deeply into things like this.

   Virmir just stared after Shifty and the naga in front of him as they stepped forward. He dearly hoped that they weren’t headed to a butchery room, and were just mistaken prisoners being brought outside to freedom. Though he quickly dismissed that thought, it began to resurface when he began to smell the scent of flowers and heard the trickling of water. When the naga slithered out into full sunshine, Virmir allowed himself to think that he truly was being let free.

   The sun was a bit painful to his eyes at first, but the fox adjusted and glanced around. Wherever he was, it was beautiful: There was a stream that made only the slightest of noise; there were kudzu growing up around the walls of the stone building he was in; dozens and dozens of flowerbeds, with busy bees, were scattered around; a few birds chirped and flitted overhead, and Virmir watched them as they flew over to a large gathering of stone. He looked a little closer, and saw what the stone actually was – a giant statue of a Greek warrior, complete with armor, literally chiseled musculature, sword, and shield.

   Cobra-naga glanced back at the two of them and made a sort of “hyuck” noise. Not in a laughter sense, either; it sounded more like a spit than anything. His hood flared and wiggled back and forth, and Virmir just watched in fear. This snake-guy could be a spitting cobra, after all, and dying in such a pretty place was better than a cell, but not much better.

   Seeing no recoiling from the fox, the naga turned away and slithered off again. “STAY,” he said, and both Virmir and Shifty did as instructed. They looked around the beautiful outside once more, then looked back to each other.

   “Um, I know it’s not the best circumstance to ask,” Shifty started, “but have you been, uh, packing on some pounds for winter or something?”

   Virmir gaped a bit at the question and stuttered, well-aware that he had only been eating sparing amounts of veggies in the last month, and none of it had been celery. But when he looked down, he saw his gut was indeed distended, drooping with extra weight that he could not remember ever picking up.

   “And, uh… you shave your tail?”

   Now THAT was nonsense. Kendo Virmir would never do such a thing, and he looked back to see his tail –

   Which was now just a thin little brush of a thing with bits of hair at the tip, flicking around incessantly.

   “GAH!” Virmir shouted, the only way he knew how to react. “H-how?! W-why?!”

   Shifty poked at the pudge Virmir was now sporting, snickering to himself. “Interesting. Probably some sort of effect from that room. Or maybe that spittle…”

   Virmir gagged and pushed Shifty back, holding his belly to himself. “Spittle? What are you talking about?”

   The changeling stepped forward again, though he seemed to be lumbering a bit more than before. He pointed at the fox’s side, before said fox swatted his hoof away. He looked down and saw a bit of green goop that was quickly melting away the fur where it was, but it looked to be dissolving at the same time. Still gaping, Virmir tried to wipe the gunk off with his cape or push it away somehow. When nothing worked, he considered jumping into the stream to try and fix what was happening before he remembered the instructions he was supposed to listen to.

   “No one makes a lap-fox out of me,” he spat, and jumped into the stream.

   Shifty gave a bit of a shout to try and get the fox to climb back out, and quickly, but Virmir was already at work trying to clean the spot off. The goop just wouldn’t go away and it was driving him mad. He picked and scratched at it, but it dug in further. It was forming into something, but he just could tell. It looked like it was black, pure black, and it was still infuriating him and he wouldn’t have it –

   “Misssster fox.” A sultry and hypnotic voice reached Virmir’s ears as he was trying to clean himself off. (The sultry part had no effect, but “hypnotic” certainly did.) The fox perked his ears up further and looked back to where Shifty was.

   Right next to the changeling – rather, holding the changeling like a little pony – was a large, shapely naga with bright, piercing red eyes. Deadly-beautiful snakes were in place of her hair, twisting about in a leisurely manner. Her form was covered in shining green scales that reflected the sun in a wonderful way, and while Virmir wasn’t very interested, she was a pinnacle of hourglass bodies with how her bust and hips were. She was wearing a long, flowing dress that nearly reached the ground, a silky red that helped to bring out her eyes further. The underscales of her belly could only be seen around her neck and chest, and they were the typical yellow, but looked so much better and more exotic than the word “typical” could possibly account for. Her tail was gently curled underneath her, ending a wider tip that looked almost like a spade. And on her forehead was the most expensive ruby that Virmir had ever seen, shaped like another eye.

   Virmir scrambled out from the water, hefting himself more than he should have with the extra weight, and stepped over to the gorgeous naga-lady. She simply smiled, showing a pair of opal fangs against her scales. "Kendo Virmir, yesss?" Her voice was truly captivating, but the "hissssing" was a bit harsh on the ears.

   The fox nodded, finding it a bit difficult to form some words.

   "Good to know that my goonsss could do one little tasssk. Unlike before..." She sighed and began scritching behind Virmir's ears like he was a simple pet. He felt he should object, but it felt too nice for him to complain. "You may know me from mythology, or legendsss of the sssort. I am Medusssa. I welcome you to my abode. Currently, you and your friend here are in my rock garden. What do you two think of it?"

   Shifty nodded from his spot in Medusa's arms, staring at both her and the area around him at the same time. Virmir looked back to the garden, managing to tear his eyes away with the suggestion. He gathered up his thoughts and glared out at the statue in the garden. "It looks real nice and all, but you took us up from our homes and threw us in a cell. Why are we supposed to join you in some pleasant conversation?"

   "Oh, don't be ssso hateful. You can look at me. I won't petrify you, dear fox." Virmir didn't turn around to look, but he could hear the pouting in the naga woman's voice. "Oh, fine. I take all the bessst artissstsss from over the world and even other onesss. I bring them here to relax and ssspend the remainder of their livesss in paradissse. They can work at their art all they want, in the beauty here."

   Virmir soaked that in, accepting that somewhat. He WAS a great artist, and the place WAS pretty grand. His treehouse probably wouldn't ever be so well-kept, tidy, and beautiful simultaneously as this garden was.

   But still, he had to be cautious. "Where are these other artists, then?"

   Medusa didn't hesitate in the slightest. "Working. I hope you two will begin to do the sssame, very sssoon, or I will not keep you around."

   Virmir tapped his foot, which felt heavier than he remembered and folded his plumper arms. "You're not a god of beauty, or art, or anything of the sort, and we know. Well, at least I know. The bug-pony might be falling for you, but I'm not. You were vain and made into the ugliest thing that those old men in the sky back then could think of, and you also got the bad habit of turning your courtiers into statues. Now, if we're here to be your indentured servants of some sort, we refuse." Shifty started to protest, but Vir went on. "I speak for him on his off days, which happens to be now."

   Medusa, unhappy, laid her clawed fingers on Virmir's shoulder, digging the claws in just far enough to draw blood. The fox cringed and kept looking away. "You will draw for me," she said, her voice right up against his ears, "or you will be my art."

   Thinking about it, maybe it was worth it to avoid being a statue that birds would inevitably defecate on if he just had to draw all the time. Hopefully, he'd be fed, too. "What do I have to draw? Because I'm sure you don't want my foxes. They eat you, don't they?"

   Again, Virmir could hear the expression on Medusa's face: a very large frown. "No. None of your kind. I want picturesss of me, all day and night long."

   "What?! No! I need a bit more variety than that," he said, stepping further away and looking around for an exit he could leave through. Whatever was happening with him, he felt much heavier than before, and was starting to lean forward on all fours. "Offer refused, now, can you show me and my friend the way out?"

   There was a loud, grating hiss behind Virmir before the naga slithered in front of him and snatched him by the snout, tearing his face up to look right into the giant red ruby on Medusa's forehead. Immediately he was paralyzed, standing stock still and unable to remember how to move a muscle. "Your way out is right over here, you animal." She pointed to her left, and Virmir couldn't help but start stepping in the direction she had indicated.

   When his eyes finally broke free from the gem, Virmir began to form thoughts again and try to stop himself, but he failed. Over and over, many times, in fact. He found a pedestal in front of him that his hands and legs began to clonk upon, though he couldn't much tell the difference between the two anymore. They were all hard and indistinguishable now, with no thumb to hold anything. And, to make matters worse, he could begin to feel a tingling sensation low in his gut that felt similar to when he was changed into Lucile, which happened more often than he could readily remember now. That tingling began to take form and dig out from his skin, and though he couldn't see it very well, he started to get the feeling that he knew what was happening with his body.

   "Cow," he mumbled through grated teeth that were shifting to eat veggies, and only veggies. "A... blasted cow."

   It felt like an eternity of standing still and feeling odd changes go on through her body before Virmir saw something change in his sight. Medusa came over and plopped the changeling she had been holding onto the same pedestal. Had, as it was a changeling no longer, but a nondescript pig with quite a bit of fat to it. Though, Virmir thought, he was probably no better in terms of slimness.

   Still struggling to try and move, Virmir caught a glimpse of Medusa sliding back with her hands in a mock camera shape, her ruby giving off a dull gray color. His options were running lower and lower, now, figuring that the gray was nothing good. His suspicions were confirmed when he felt a lack of feeling in his limbs, the stone already seizing up his joints. Cringing, he tried to move toward Medusa, figuring that if anything, he could ruin her art as a final insult. It was incredibly slow and begrudging to lean, and he couldn't tell at first if it was even working. But he noticed that his vision of the petrifying piggy in front of him was slanting, and kept working at leaning, and leaning. His sight was getting kinda foggy. His sides felt creaky and hard...

   "Hmm... odd, ssseemsss to be off," Medusa mumbled, much to herself, and slid forward to try and push the cow-Vir back up.

   But gravity works on the side of good.

   There was an immense WHUMP in the garden, followed by the sound of many, many different people taking deep breaths. Virmir himself began to feel from his body again, and it was back to being foxy and male. Experimentally, he wiggled his arm, and swished his bushy tail. He let out a deep breath before he sat up, realizing he had been laying on an incredibly bruised and squished snake woman.

   Dozens of other people looked around in awe of their returned selves, though none of them stuck around too long. Virmir turned to see some old Greek warriors, pirates, vikings, samurai, and more displaced fellows run off and climb over the walls to the outside. He thought about what kind of effect all those random historical types would have, being released on the current world and all, but quickly dismissed it as not his problem. He looked to Shifty, who was kicking at the pedestal and Medusa alike. "Can't even eat bacon," he said, before spitting on the crushed naga.

   Vir smiled just a tiny bit. Walking off, he looked forward to working on his drawing again, hopefully without being interrupted by more snake-type-people.

   "Gah!" The gray fox fell flat on his face as he tripped on something rough and stony. He spun around, hoping that Medusa didn't have golems that were designed to come to life and murder whoever did her in. Instead, he found the large red ruby, released from her forehead and glimmering. Shifty was already flying away, making the garden completely empty now. And leaving the gem behind for those other naga just wouldn't do...

   Virmir sat up a bit straighter in his chair, sipping at his ice water and grabbing his tablet pen. He scribbled there, and here, and added a touch there...

   He leaned back, content with his work, and tapped at the statue in his work room. "I think you'll like this. Plus, you learned a valuable lesson; give me a reference, or I'll make one!"

   Shifty didn't move from his petrified spot, somehow looking both pensive and shocked.

   Virmir grinned and juggled the ruby around before he uploaded the drawing and closed his laptop.

Game Room / Pokemon X and Y (3DS) Friend Codes
« on: October 16, 2013, 07:06:11 PM »
"What it says on the tin"

Just post your friend codes and add everybody, it gives you more friend safaris at the end of the game! It's good for you! Gives you a bunch more Pokemon to catch!

Haha, should've included my own to begin with... it's 4871-4487-0588

Writer's Guild / Go With The Flow
« on: August 24, 2013, 07:56:19 PM »
Apart from the lame Queens of the Stone Age reference, here's my long-overdue part of a trade with Vir.

        Skepticism was the thing at the forefront of Virmir’s mind as he wandered down empty corridors. Well, empty might not have been the right word for it; intercoms were placed at every turn, and the walls were decorated in a tan-white checkerboard style. Lights obviously were placed in the ceiling. They were fancy magical orbs, too, which he liked.

   But the décor wasn’t the part of his tour that was setting him on edge.

   His invitation was. For one, he didn’t like letters forming out of fire – green fire, mind you, the kind used in illusions – he didn’t like them forming in his treehouse. Wood was susceptible to fire, he knew, and the last time a certain dragon had come by, well, he had to relocate. So after he’d stomped out the fancy, yet fake, fire, he’d lifted it up and read it.

   “DEAREST READER,” it began in elegant bold text, and then shifted into an equally fancy, yet completely different font;

   “The single representative at BUILDING 301 has invited you to a constructive meeting for all of the planners of the world. The meeting will entail a training course and complimentary scheduling program. Effects are promised to be revolutionary – all planners are guaranteed to experience a permanent change in the fluidity and elasticity of their planning. Refreshments will be provided.”

   Virmir had been ready to light the blasted thing on fire and send it out the door (directly into a pool which he’d been forced to install after… antics), but something caught his eye. In the bottom right corner of the stationery was a pair of signatures. One of them looked like chickenscratch, or at least something from a little kid. It read “MEDIK.”

   Next to that, though, was a much more elaborate and elegant use of letters. Every letter flowed into the next and it ended with a little curly-cue that ran back to the beginning of the name. It was even in shiny red ink. This one read “Shifty.”

   Those two signatures had been enough to convince Virmir that the meeting had to be inspected. Medik, of all people, would know blast-all about scheduling and planning. If anything, he deconstructed all the meticulous and careful planning that Virmir created on a daily basis. If Virmir wanted to draw one day, Medik wanted to speak with him. If he wanted to play games, Medik wanted him to work on something with him. If he wanted to eat, Medik wanted to distract him with who-knows-what.

   And who was this Shifty person? Needless to say, he or she was incredibly suspicious with a name like that.

   Virmir donned his travelling cape and hopped down from the treehouse, immediately setting out for whatever this “BUILDING 301” was.

   With a name as vague as that, it took a while. The fox went to Toast first, the presumed caretaker of Medik, and asked where he was.

   “I unno,” was all the dragon said. Then he smacked away an inflated knight who was blown up to the size of a gigantic beach hut.

   Virmir tried to ignore the dragon’s lack of manners and dodged a piece of armor that shot out at him as the knight was bounced. “Are… are you sure?” he asked nervously.

   Toast shrugged. “Said he had a special project. Didn’t sound that interesting to me, considering it was about planning.” He turned around, nearly slapping Virmir over with his scaly tail, then spun back around eagerly. “Hey, wait a second, I might have an idea of where he went off to. He made a bunch of investments using my money.” His pupils shrank, and his grin grew razor-sharp. “But I need a toy pretty soon…”

   Virmir was already walking away. “Nope, I can find him on my own,” he yelled back.

        Toast frowned and walked back into his cave, forcing himself to be content with his meager hundreds of toys.

       Without much of an idea of where to go, Virmir forced himself to head into the nearest town. Avoiding as many people as possible (and trying to incinerate fewer), eventually he found his way to a section of town labeled “DEVELOPING” on a wooden sign. At the bottom were numerous building numbers, all starting in the hundreds and ending in the single digits. Virmir traced a claw along until he found the number 301 and found the directions for it, then set off to find whatever was there.

   Much like the area around it, Building 301 was nondescript and plain gray. Not that these were bad things, obviously, considering this was Virmir. It was pretty large, probably more than 20 feet by 20 feet, which made the fox wonder how in the world a little kid would afford such a place, even if using part of a dragon’s hoard.

   The door itself was big and foreboding, too. A set of double-doors, it stood out amongst the rest of the building and almost seemed to be guarding the place. Virmir, however, was not scared in the slightest, and pushed through the pair of doors.

   There was no lobby. There were no people. The door just led into a long hallway that split into other ones along the way.

   Virmir was considering he might have taken the wrong side of the fork a few minutes ago when his nose hit something. He rubbed it and glanced down at the injury, then looked for the source of it.

   Right in front of him was nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just plain, empty air.

   The gray fox tapped at the area in front of him. His knuckles found something solid where his eyes did not. His procedure of dealing with this sort of odd phenomenon was obvious.

   “Blasted illusions,” he spat, and threw a fireball at it.

   The fire splatted against the empty air, and the residue flame started licking away at the wood walls to the side.

   “Blasted… ugh.” The fox pulled his cape off and swung it at the fire, working on killing the orange, dancing flames. Thankfully he had long ago enchanted the clothing so it was fireproof, considering he would have been burnt to a crisp long ago without it.

   While he was still in the process of swatting out the fire, a small *beep* sounded next to his ears. A voice came over the intercom, but it was completely computer default. It… sounded like Microsoft Sam. “Barriers down. Guest recognized. Head inside.”

   Virmir stared up at the intercom and then in front of him. Slowly, he reached forward with his right hand… and found no resistance. Finally cleared, even in such a suspicious way, he continued to head on through the building, hoping for the meeting room, or at least an exit.

   The halls stretched on for a long, long, long, long, long time. He would have called it infinite, but it couldn’t have been. Obviously. Unless it was magical, which, based on all the things he’d seen so far, it probably was. With that in mind, he muttered something about the whole entire place being an infinite swirl of halls and walls, then turned a corner and slammed into a door. An actual door, this time.

   It was simple and businesslike, and the handle cooperated with a little squeak as Virmir turned it. He was fully expecting it to lead into another infinite loop of hallways, but was lucky to find a board room instead. There were climbing charts on the walls and whiteboards with little notes scribbled on them, and plenty of office chairs placed around the table just-so. There were little nameplates in front of said chairs, and each had a name in that horrid smelling black marker. He didn’t seem to recognize them. It wasn’t like he was part of the League of the Organized (if such a thing existed), but he at least thought a couple of noteworthy people he knew would be present.

   But no one was there. Not even Medik, or the mysterious Shifty. Just himself.

   Virmir grumbled to himself and walked along the side of the plain white table, looking for his spot. As he got farther along, the nameplates seemed to get… well, more ridiculous. They went from “Mr. Tom,” to “Atylun,” and then just became a series of squiggles by the halfway mark. Virmir, being the sensitive fox he was, didn’t want to call out this weird sight as a complete set-up, so he kept walking along.

   At the opposite end of the table, which was quite a walk away, he finally found his own nameplate, in that same fancy writing from the letter he’d received hours before. He let out a breath and pulled out his chair to sit down in it.

   Only there wasn’t a chair there. Or any floor, really.

   Virmir yelled “BLAST!” a lot on his long fall down a dark and empty hole. It twisted a bit, too, so when he finally landed in a spotless, white room with no windows or doors or much of anything other than lights, he had a couple of good welts and bruises growing on his body.

   “Guest is present. Central command shutting down,” the same Sam-y voice said, making that robot-like diminuendo as it ceased its speaking.

   Virmir hadn’t really felt the loneliness of the facility, even when he entered it a while ago all alone. Now, without that voice to even provide some sort of company… well, he felt exactly the same. Loneliness was not necessarily bad, blast it, and being a hermit was just fine. The fox crossed his arms defiantly against clichés and stereotypes of the world.

   “Oh, finally,” a slightly deep, but not too deep, and slightly masculine voice, said, coming in to the room… somehow. Virmir couldn’t see an intercom, but when he stood up he saw he was sitting on it. He stepped away from it and stared down into it.

   The gray fox couldn’t really think up what he should question first, so he just went with something that might help him the most. “Who are you?”

   “No one,” a completely different voice said, deep and dark as the pits of hell. “And everyone,” another voice said, this one bright, cheery, and uplifting.

   Virmir didn’t buy it, of course. “Who are you, really?” he asked again.

   A mumble about “no fun” came from the intercom in an oddly familiar voice, and suddenly the entire left wall of Virmir’s empty room slid down. It was pretty slow, but it gradually revealed large panels of bulletproof glass, some terminals of some sort… and in the middle of the entire scene, the familiar little jackal he knew of as “Medik” was sitting there, giggling to himself.

   Virmir further crossed his arms and added a scowl to his face, a growing list of disappointed aspects of appearance. “Oh, great. Don’t know why I even believed you would ever host a meeting on being organized. Look at your fancy computers there! There’s tons of junk cluttered on them!”

   Medik blinked and wiped away some crumbs of food and scraps of paper. Then whole sheets of paper, and some gathered dust. “Well I can’t be expected to keep things clean when I might need them later,” he said. “And… I AM NOT THE MEDIK YOU ONCE KNEW,” he continued, his voice deepening through the intercom. “I AM ASCENDED AND INFUSED.”

   The grey fox walked forward and knocked on the glass. “How many fireballs does it take to get to the center of an experimental testing room?” he asked.

   The jackal sat up and glared down. “I’m monologuing here! Don’t start threatening the guy behind the controls, either! This is a big deal!”

   Virmir sighed and moved to stand back near the intercom. “Okay, okay. What’s your grand evil plan?”

   Medik smiled and continued, shutting his eyes and putting a hand to his chest. “I am here to make you much more fluid and flow-y with your scheduling and whatnot! And, uh, along the way, I’m probably gonna end up explaining the oddities that you found to lead up to this point. Like the whole green fire thing, and the illusions!”

   At that, Virmir quirked an eyebrow. “Yeah, I guess I’m a bit curious about that.”

   Medik cleared his throat and sat up. He grinned wildly and stared down at Virmir as a great, verdant inferno rose up around him. He sure seemed fine with it as there was no screaming or burning. It kept climbing over and over his form until it completely engulfed him.

   There was a noise that sounded pretty close to a candle being blown out, and suddenly the fire disappeared. Underneath it was someone, or something, completely different.

   Their form was gnarled and twisted, like a burnt branch left out in the rain. The exterior had a sheen to it and looked solid… solid, except for the odd holes in the legs and arms. Speaking of arms and legs, the two different types looked almost exactly the same now, even though the thing in the chair was sitting up. Its tail (an ever-important aspect of Virmir’s judging) was made up of a bunch of teal strands of… something. Maybe webbing, or hair, or both. On its torso were a couple of very buggy wings, though they also had some holes in them for whatever reason. That definitely couldn’t help with flying.

   Their neck was segmented in some way, and moving up from that, there was an equine-like head at the very top of the body. It had buggy, green, compound eyes, razor sharp fangs that barely reached over the muzzle, a lack of real ears, and a frilly mock of a mane down the back of its neck. But none of those were the weirdest feature, no – it was, by far, the distorted horn that sat on its forehead. It had a rough green glow that bounced off of its eyes.

   The thing held its arms up and said “Ta-da!”

   Virmir tossed a fireball at it.

   Luckily for the new thing in the chair, the fireball impacted harmlessly against the glass in the way. It shimmered green for a second, clearly some sort of enchantment on it to prevent the very kind of fire from destroying it. The whatever-it-was let out a long laugh before rubbing at some invisible tears at the edge of its eyes. “Oh, that’s an even better reaction than I expected from you,” it said, still snickering. It sounded like that initial masculine voice from the intercom.

   “Okay. NOW who are you?” Virmir asked, grumpier than ever before.

   “Oh, still that old Medik,” he said, shifting his voice halfway through the sentence to sound like the jackal in question. He shifted it back to say, “But I’m new, too. Shifting Sands, Changeling extraordinaire! Shifty for short.” He glanced off to seemingly nowhere. “Origin story coming soon to a website near you.”

   Virmir shifted his eyes.

   Shifting Sands turned back to look at the fox in the testing area. “But that’s obviously not what this is about for the moment. I need to finish explaining things and get on with the show!” His horn flared green, and a parchment burst forth from fire in midair. He lifted it up and grinned. “This is one of the best parts of changing so far. Magic! It’s exotic, flashy, and, of course, useful. How else could I have gotten you to come here without giving you some cryptic message made from fire?”

   Fire was alluring, Virmir had to admit. “So that explains the illusions and magic. How about those other people who were going to show up for the meeting? Did you kill them all off?” the fox asked, frowning.

   Shifty laughed again. “Oh, those were all made up. This was never about others, only about you. You’re such a hardtail when it comes to scheduling and organization and all that crap. I had to come up with some way of getting you out of your tree and into an environment I could work with. Granted, the disguising part only works up to a certain part: until I get lazy. Like with all those names.” He laughed half-heartedly and glanced around.

   “Yeah. I had actually been looking forward to meeting Squiggles,” Virmir said dejectedly.

   “Shush, you,” Shifty said, and leaned over his terminals. He poked around at some oversized buttons with his unwieldy hooves, still grinning to himself. He lifted one hoof over a rising red button and slammed it with extra force.

   Virmir stood up straighter as a large, cold slab of iron slammed against his back and raised him into the air. It rose him up halfway between the ceiling and floor and slid some iron bars over his gut to hold him down. Now safely kept under wraps, dozens of long, pointy needles descended from above him and dangled to his sides. He gulped toonishly.

   The Changeling grinned and kept leaning dangerously over the terminals, watching the event from behind the glass. “Ready for your life to become much smoother?”

   Before he could give an answer, Virmir was stabbed into with tons and tons of needles. It earned quite a few cries of pain from the fox, but they were quickly silenced by anesthesia being pumped through the jabbing pains. The fox panted some and wiggled weakly on the iron slab, but it didn’t accomplish much. His joints and muscles were all weak and useless now with numbing drugs being pumped through them, and he was feeling lightheaded.

   Just barely, he could see Shifty off in the corner of his sight looking a bit nervous. “Ooh, um, maybe a bit too much of that stuff. Didn’t think it would do much of anything to a toon… eheh.”

   Barely conscious now, Virmir felt like his arms and legs were falling off. Struggling to sit up just a tiny bit, he found that they were, in fact, disconnected! He kept squirming around, now a head and torso, trying to wiggle and reconnect the missing limbs. It didn’t work at all. He looked back down at the disconnected pieces, but some bits of water were gathering in his eyes and blurring what he looked at. It seemed like they were now all gooey… and… disintegrating? That wasn’t just the water any more, that was the real deal!

   Dizzily, Vir found that the restraints on the iron slab weren’t holding him down whatsoever anymore, though he couldn’t tell why. Uncaring about that, he wiggled to the side very slowly… until he reached over the side of the artificial floor and fell down to the real one. It was actually rather painless, and even caused him to bounce a bit. Some weird quicksilver goop pooled around him, which he spat away… until he realized it kept making more and more of the quicksilvery stuff, and made him lightheaded!

   More confused than ever and woozy still from the giant dose of anesthetics, Virmir struggled to try and move his limbs around. It didn’t seem to work, but there was a feeling like his arms and legs breaching the surface of water, and suddenly four tendrils of that same quicksilver stuff roooose up and dangled slightly. Virmir blinked and barely sat up, his center of focus rising up with him. He tried to manipulate his legs, and two of the tendrils moved in order with what he thought. He tried the same with his arms, and the other two cooperated with his will.

   The arms and legs he had left behind on the slab above him suddenly swamped down onto his face in a waterfall of goo, shaking him some but not causing any real disruption. The goopy stuff only added on to the puddle of being that the fox was in, giving some more mass and even some extra tendrils.

   Senses returning, Virmir grumbled and looked back at the glass that had a laughing horse-thing behind it. Shifty was rolling around on the ground, giggling himself to death. “Yeah, yeah, it’s funny,” the goo fox mumbled. “Now let me out.”

   Shifty sat up and sighed, tapped a big green button, and sighed. “Fine.” The glass slid down, and before he gave Vir the chance to throw around any magic, teleported him back to his treehouse in a flare of green fire.

   A now-goopy Virmir sat at his desk in his treehouse, holding up a couple of tablets and scribbling away on them. His head was tilted to watch at the main computer, and had a couple of arms and hands made for typing and clicking on it. He yawned slightly and covered it with yet another tendril, the sun setting beyond his window.

   Someone knocked at his door. Letting out a grumpy grumble, he made another tendril to yank open the door. He twisted his head around to look at who the offender was. “Yes?”

   Shifty was there, glancing around inside. “You said we were gonna go to the zoo today. Remember? Are you ready?”

   Virmir recalled no such thing. He pulled up his calendar from a corner of the abode and looked for any sort of meeting and, unsurprisingly, saw no such thing. But…

   He turned back to the Changeling and shrugged a pair of shoulders, half of his gooey form puuuuulling away until it snapped apart, leaving a slightly smaller version of the same goo-fox working while another carbon-copy slid away from his clone. “I suppose. There was that new fox exhibit, right?”

   Shifty grinned and hopped off from the treehouse, fluttering around. “Sure! And see? More fluid schedules. I knew I was on to something.”

   Virmir jabbed slightly at the horsefly and just jumped down from his balcony, hitting the grass with a splash. “Hah, hah. Like I couldn’t do this on my own.”

   Shifty shifted his own eyes, though it was hard to tell.

Pages: 1 2 3