Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    This Has To Work

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    This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:30 am

    Date: September 10th, 0006
    Time: 00:09 AM



    Kev wrote:I... I don't know, I just...if I had never gotten close to Fear, none of this would have happened. I'm the one who made him change, and I'm the one who fell in love with him, this is all my fault.

    How could something that feels so...good, lead to so much trouble?

    Livewire looked up. Two glowing blue eyes tried to find their similar in the night as this child sought out stars. Her wish was not to be answered tonight, it seemed. The glow of the city lights cast a haze upon the hanging clouds and stifled the fragile starlight.  She looked to the building beside her. Ragged, aging and worn-down. She had passed it once before when her journey for a Rat’s Home brought her into the Outer District. She felt like she didn’t have the time, to wait for him to travel into the inner city to answer her call.  Thankfully she had gone undisturbed. Maybe it was just the time of night that led to this. Maybe it was the cape. Had not Fear been in this area, purging the living alongside Judge Mortis? It would make sense, then, that this particular fashion statement could be used to ward off unwanted attention.

    She gave up on the endeavor and turned her gaze back to her hands. Five cigarettes were clutched in her fingers, heavy with purpose. A little breeze drifted by and spun the edges of her cape. The thought occurred to her that she needed to find a safe place for her things. Livewire didn’t know what was going to happen to her body, with this.  She didn’t even know if this would work. She wondered what it would feel like, when she died. Would it be death?

    A scream echoed in her memory.  Faint, incomplete, but she knew what it was trying to break against. The thing which began her attachment to a Judge of Death was her worst memory, and it applied here.   She wondered if it would hurt. She wondered if she would be scared.

    Kev wrote: I want to feel him too...!

    It's so hard to feel strong now...he used to be there, always there, always in my mind!

    Now he's not, and...and I feel...incomplete.I f-feel like I've lost a limb, and I can't...I feel...wrong sometimes.

    It had to work.

    She had to do this.  She had to do this for Kev.

    A spark from a cheap little lighter, and the first cigarette was lit. Acrid smoke swirled up from the glowing end as Livewire sucked some air through the paper to keep the ember burning. Light caught the small cloud seeping out of her mouth and throat as she stood within the blackness of a building’s shadow, hidden even from the missing moon. The temperature was recorded. The shadows, at the moment, were unmoving. Livewire was familiar with the signs of his arrival and she was keeping track of them. The smoke drifted enough for her contentment. Maybe she had waited too long. Was he already listening?  Was he already coming to her?  

    She didn't know, but...


    “I need you, Fear.”
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Fear on Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:28 am

    How far must one fall before they seek comfort in death?

    A tiny voice cried out into the void amongst thousands, and yet... it was that voice alone that drew the attention of something most wicked. An ill wind blew past the femme and rustled her cape, the lights at the far end of the street flickering. One-by-one they failed, the boulevard plunging into darkness...

    Rattle...

    Rattle...

    Rattle...


    Footsteps pitter-pattered hastily across asphalt, though they were not what the little femme sought. A group of transients knew what was coming, of the horror approaching, and they fled. The whites of their eyes darted onto Livewire before they scampered around a corner, gone. She was right to believe that nary a soul would trouble her. How could she be, when even the shadows were drawn to the encroaching gloom? When even the temperature plummeted to a frigid chill so vengeful that the very breath could be stolen from one's unguarded throat?

    Rattle...

    Rattle...

    Rattle...


    And then... it stopped.

    A deathly silence filled the air, nothing stirring... nothing daring to make a sound. Nothing, save for the loud electronic hum of the streetlight hanging above the femme's yellow helm and the ambiance of her body's natural processes. The cigarette between her fingers provided the only warmth for meters, along with the meager light that kept her safe from the overwhelming darkness. Both were far too pathetic to be of any further use.

    Seconds passed.

    Seconds where nothing happened, though even seconds could feel like an eternity in the midst of apprehension.

    It must have been like an agonizing lifetime in Hell, quietly standing there as the one source of light as far as the eye could see flickered menacingly. The street and those adjacent to it continued to be devoid of any movement, denying the possibility for help should it be needed. It shouldn't be much longer now...

    Bz-Zzzt... Bzzz-Zzz-Zzt...

    It shouldn't be much longer before the streetlight gave -

    Bzzz - click!

    Before it gave out.

    ...Rattle, rattle, rattle!

    Darkness descended upon the femme and something in the terrifying unknown rushed to greet her. But fortune smiled upon her, however. As the footsteps drew near, the darkness prone to playing tricks on her mind, her faithful companion, the streetlight, had found the strength to once again bathe her in protective light. The shadows were banished instantly but it had already been too late. It was already with her, and in that split-second her bright blue eyes met with the cold, unfeeling visage of a black iron helm stooped to her level. An ethereal gaze stared back, fueled by an otherworldly white glow.

    "Livewire," rumbled a voice most familiar, in greeting. Familiar and yet...
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:25 pm

    They must fall into suffering, suffering of which Livewire had experienced much of in her short years.

    That suffering was what drew her here, tonight. The pain and the love that went hand-in-hand with it drove Livewire to break from the safety of the Inner City. She only knew her own suffering, but in her eyes the suffering of her family was so much worse. If she could do anything, anything at all to even slightly abate it, well…

    That’s what she was here for.

    Those that fled, she did not mind. She might have seen the softer side of him, but Livewire was well aware of how terrifying Fear could be. She did not blame them for fleeing from the shadow’s crawl. She watched them run pass, unbothered. It was not the masses that she came for tonight.  It wasn’t for the quiet or the unnatural cold, but rather for what brought those things.

    A small smile took Livewire’s mouth as the darkness encroached upon her, drowning out the buildings all around in a single shield of black.  Each rattle of distant chain only helped her to realize that this was where she needed to be. He had come. It grew closer, closer still, and Livewire stayed. She would wait for him.

    The light above her flickered. She was unafraid, not of the dark and not of the chill. It had never been the things of the dark which hurt her.  It went out, and only her eyes and the burning ember in her hands were there to fight against the dark.  She smiled still.

    ”Fear.”

    Even before the light had recovered itself to burn against the night, she knew he was there. She knew that he would come to her, when she called. If he could, he would. The light above prevailed and bathed them in that yellow chemical glow. The ghostly light within his helm only brought her comfort. She did not shy away from this specter, this thing of pain and death, but moved forward to embrace him.  This ghoul did not frighten her.

    ”I missed you.”

    He was different. Just like before, when she had called him for the first time. He was different to her, the same but distant. She knew it wasn’t his fault. She knew that it was hard, it was painful for all of them, and so she did not blame him for this. He was still Fear and he always would be. He would always be the one who had helped her, who had guided her and who had shown her a consistence matched by few else. Those hands which were steeped in the blood of so, so, many would be the very same hands which held her in times of need.  She needed him now.

    Her voice was small, soft, but strong. She knew what she needed, she had made her decision and she whispered it into one of the metal wings of his helm.

    ”I want to be a spirit. Can you help?”
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Fear on Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:34 pm

    ”I want to be a spirit. Can you help?”

    The immortal evil within Livewire's undaunted embrace stirred, her quiet words the kickstarter for contemplation. "Mm... a ssspirit," did the loathsome thing repeat. It was impossible to read his thoughts, facial expressions and body language entombed by iron and rot. He nevertheless understood the gravity of the femme's desires. "Do you have a sssoul?" This was an important question and should not be overlooked, though the Dark Judge was largely ignorant of the Cybertronian race. The undead fiend knew that they had a spark, yes. And this spark was the basis of their techno-organic life, allowing them the luxury of continued existence. But was it necessarily their soul? Another low rumble wavered throughout the air, metal groaning against metal. "I sssuppossse if you have a sssoul," he continued, noting the femme's peaceful smile, "it isss possssible; however, the margin of sssuccessss isss largely unknown at thisss time. There are intricaciesss that mussst be heeded." Rituals, after all, oftentimes called for the utmost attention to detail; a plethora of rules that demanded respect.

    One small mistake was all it took before calamity made its grand appearance...

    Nevertheless, Livewire was not to be deterred. If she was tenacious of her summoning the undead fiend, happy to be in the presence of death and all it brought, she will be dogged in seeing this ritual through. Such a trait was admirable, yet this may not be the place to openly discuss Livewire's proposal. Aged bone creaked as the Dark Judge rose to his titanic height.

    "It isss not sssafe here," he hissed. There were things that roamed these neglected streets, see... Things that would easily make a fine morsel of such a naive little child. Bloodstained talons idly flexed at the cursory thought of predators; one of which offered itself for Livewire to take, if she so desired. "Come, I know of sssomeplace where you may ssspeak freely, undisssturbed." A location that didn't have one's business illuminated by the mellow lighting of a faulty streetlight out in the boulevard for anyone to see.
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:16 pm

    There was a lacking of something in Fear’s tone. Something precious was absent, but even this did not deter her. He was still himself, even so.  He was enough of himself to come to her in this time of need.

    Livewire did not let go of him even as they spoke. In her mind she recalled their conversation, the one before he did so much to help her, in which she answered his first question. She decided to not bring this up to him. Livewire realized that she couldn’t expect everything of him right now.

    “I do have a soul. It can even be taken out by magic.” Just in case that was a concern of his. Livewire didn’t know how souls were normally taken out. Well…she knew one way that they were taken out, but the child could only pray that Fear knew of another method.  She figured that it would be difficult, that it would be unpleasant, but she only hoped it was not as horrific as the first time her soul was separated from her body.

    She released him as he went to stand again. Two blue optics stared up at the immovable helm of her Judge as the child took in his every comment. It wasn’t safe there, that she knew. The child held the naïve notion that other creatures, other predators, would not seek to bother her with Fear by her side. She did not know enough to have such caution of the Outer District.

    A tiny yellow hand gripped onto the soiled green one of Fear’s. She did not mind the blood, and was far too eager to take the appendage in her own. It might be not but for the sake of leading her, but any semblance of affection from the ghoul was greedily accepted.  ”Okay.”

    She was, as always, ready to follow him.
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Fear on Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:34 am

    And so it was decreed. Together both femme and fiend left the neglected intersection of Watt and Joule, leaving for a place of secrecy. It was thankfully not a far walk, perhaps a silent twenty minutes over yonder, bypassing a heavily rundown park and rusted chain link fencing. Burning trash cans left by the local homeless served as beacons to follow, yet none dared collect around their rims for warmth; they knew what awaited them if they stayed. Up ahead there was a large concrete wall, scrawled with various hoodlum tags and marred by stray gunfire. And beyond that...

    A house that had seen better days, silently looming on a barren avenue forgotten. This shall do for what Livewire had to say. The Dark Judge was the first to head up the house's splintered wooden porch, his unholy presence shorting out the lonely streetlight behind them. There was no reason to be afraid of the dark, was there?

    "Mind your ssstep," he cautioned. Prevalent rot had already done away with both the banisters and the stairs themselves, enlarged footprints faintly seen in the blackened rings of decay.

    The inside of this decrepit abode accurately reflected the ugliness outside.

    A living room greeted the femme after passing through a badly-torn hallway; water stains marred the walls and floorboards, wallpaper curling inwardly upon itself like shavings of wood. The aroma of mildew was nearly overpowering, second only to the unmistakable stench of rot. Pools of dried blood and smeared hand prints could be seen in various areas of the room if one really looked; easily noticeable was the front door, the creaky floorboards before it, and in a couple of mold-ridden corners. Nevertheless, this place had been deemed safe - even the ominous stairway that led upstairs, to an awaiting unfathomable darkness. There will be no going up there, lest the femme wished to see what exactly had happened to the numerous drug addicts and gang members that once thought to make this a hideaway for their vices. "Have a ssseat," instructed her guardian. A rotten hand gestured for Livewire to sit on the couch. Hopefully she would not mind its glaring disrepair, or the fact that vermin had already left their droppings within arms-reach.

    Mere trivialities, as the ghoul went about securing the place, closing the banged-up blinds and tattered drapes. He made his rounds at least once and only stopped upon finding the house's security to his liking. Good, good... Only a fool would dare loiter around these parts, but it never hurt to remain cautious.

    Now onto business.

    Chains melodically jingled as the Dark Judge sat beside Livewire, his skeletal limbs unseemly. "If I may?" There were cigarettes she had, and a lighter desperately wanting to be put to good use.
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:26 am

    The walk was not an issue for the femme. She could walk for days and not feel tired by the permission of her build alone. Her hand held tight to Fear’s talons as they stalked the sidewalks. Their steps echoed eerily in the dark that was so, so empty. Livewire knew that the Outer City was more dangerous, and most people stayed out of the dark in dangerous places, but the complete abandonment was surprising to her. She looked up at her Judge and remembered the people who had scattered when his signs appeared. She looked around at the paint, the graffiti and the burning trashcans. Where was everyone?

    Maybe she had underestimated the fear that her Judge could bring. Such terror that even darkening shadows and the sounds of his chains could clear an entire block in minutes. Her hand squeezed his slightly at this thought. Still…she wasn’t afraid. But she was starting to understand a bit more.

    As they arrived, Livewire decided to take a moment to analyze the house as their feet pulled them closer and closer to the structure. The porch column didn’t look safe, but…well, it wasn’t like either of them would be particularly damaged by a falling house.

    Livewire hoped not, anyway.

    She carefully placed each foot as she climbed up onto the porch, testing it for any giving-way before she allowed her full weight to rest above it. She noted the rot, and the footprint within patches of it. Had Mortis been here as well?  Each step which brought her into the house also revealed to her more of the damage lying within. The walls, the floor, all looked like they had been in both a firefight and a flood at the same time. She saw the blood and the handprints on the wall. It just then occurred to her why Fear knew this place would provide them privacy.

    She took the seat offered to her, only taking a moment to brush it off before situating herself upon it. Her blue eyes, like they so often did, followed Fear as he went about his checks and stared still when he took his place beside her. Wordlessly Livewire offered one of the unburnt cigarettes and the lighter from her sweater’s pocket.  Even though there were many things to examine in this house, little details begging for Livewire’s attention so that she might uncover exactly what had happened, her attention remained on Fear. It hadn’t even been a week since she saw him last, but the circumstances of the absence made each moment that much more precious.
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Fear on Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:45 pm

    "My thanksss."

    Click!

    A fledgling spark banished the dreariness with flickering oranges and yellows, the sweet aroma of tobacco pungently mixing alongside filth and decay. Embers softly crackled in the quiet. "Ssso, you wisssh to become a ssspirit..." he hissed. It was a strangely casual tone for an otherwise serious topic, and those same undying eyes peered through the murky veil to study his present company. "You know not what you asssk, though there isss no point in ssswaying your decisssion. You wisssh to become a ssspirit for him, yesss?" Another artificial inhale, more wisps outwardly coiling. The Dark Judge savoured his stale breath for a moment, adding, "There isss a way, and it will not be easssy; ssseldom ever isss. If you wisssh to become a ssspirit, the firssst ssstep isss rather sssimple: you die. Everything elssse after that becomesss complicated."

    There were rules to this game, as already aforementioned. And there were consequences should one ignore those rules. There were also consequences for a successful transition, though he figured the femme was already cognizant of some. Best to double-check, yes?

    "After death," the fiend continued, "your sssoul will freely tumble in the void, vulnerable asss it awaitsss judgement. However, sssince there isss apparently no Heaven or Hell, or anything in regardsss to a proper afterlife, I asssume your sssoul will merely float in sssome aimlessss direction, pending... what do you call it, deletion? Thisss world and itsss insssufferable nature." But that was a gripe for another time. Livewire needed to know the Devil in the details. "It will be ssscary, at firssst. You will feel weightlessss, unable to appreciate the certaintiesss you had when corporal. It will be asss if you were rendered numb, though you can very much feel dread. The sssurrealnessss isss alwaysss the worssst, I think. And then, of courssse, once you have essstablissshed control of yourssself and regained awarenesssss, you will begin to notice that you are not alone." And this is the segment that Livewire should heed the most, for these next few words could one day spare her from certain demise.

    "There are thingsss... a great many wicked thingsss, that would happily devour your sssoul. If you are not careful, asss many are not, your ssspiritual journey to releassse, transsscendence, or whatever elssse have you, will abruptly end in sssomething'sss ssstomach. Or whatever posssesss asss a ssstomach, digesssting for an eternity. Oh, that'sss another thing: you'll be eternal, ssso there'sss that." In case the femme wanted a happier perk to cling onto.

    But, to be frank, eternity was a pinch rubbish and over-hyped.

    The discussion took an abrupt pause as the Dark Judge extinguished his smoke against a leathery palm, twisting the filter into blackened ash. Burnt flesh was hardly an appetizing scent. "I'd like another, if you'd be ssso kind," he requested. "It givesss me sssomething to do."
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:34 pm

    The way that Fear could so quickly read her almost made Livewire a little sad. It made sense, of course. He was smart, super-old, and had been inside of her mind. They had spent time together so of course he knew her, could so easily snatch up the reason behind her request. Of course it was for Kev.

    How many people were there in the world that Livewire would do this for, would risk this for, just for the chance of offering them comfort? Not even to guarantee a fix, just to soften the blows that so frequently came?

    How many people was Livewire willing to die for?

    The first stipulation was expected. Livewire’s face did not change, did not show surprise. She had come to him already knowing this requirement, having already accepted it. She listened silently, with rapt attention, as Fear continued. Her soul had only left her body once before, but the one explaining what to be expected had sealed those memories away. She couldn’t remember and was glad for it. Right now, Fear’s words were the only preparation she had for leaving this life.

    Another cigarette was provided without any issue to the ghoul as Livewire mulled over his comments. Now her expression showed some of the apprehension she held, the fear of the unknown, but it would not deter her. She was doing this for Kev. She could do anything, for Kev.

    As he spoke she could feel the trepidation seep in. She imagined how completely alone she would feel, at first. Had she ever felt like that?  Had she ever felt alone?  She had felt alone in small moments, when the night was quiet, before an assortment of deathly specters came to keep her company. Death itself had come to her and, when he was gone, Fear had come. When last was it that she had felt alone? She was born, alone. But eventually things had come that she was too afraid to reach out to.  Things that she didn't understand. She had spent two months, waiting in that small corner of brick. The newborn had been sucked into this world before she had gathered the courage to explore her own. Was that what it would be like, then?  Would it be like being born all over again?

    ”Is…,” she began softly, ”Is there a way to hide from the things?”  She was assuming, to this point, that she wouldn’t have to hide forever. She was assuming that Fear remembered that he would come to retrieve her from the dark.

    ”Until you come?” She wanted to make sure.
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Fear on Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:08 pm

    Ahh... a second cigarette and for him alone to enjoy. Livewire was far too kind. It was lit eagerly and the haze suffocating the room only thickened. Now, her question: is there a way to hide... "Mm... that would depend," replied her morbid guardian. "There are trinketsss - amulets, talisssmansss, charmsss and what elssse have you - that would bid thessse horrorsss away. You, however, are willingly embarking on a journey into the next plane, your sssoul exposssed to all who dwell within it. Physssical possssessssionssss oftentimesss do not transsslate into the ssspiritual." Which rendered any tangible protection moot. It was all sounding very bleak, considering...

    "But do not dessspair." The Dark Judge picked his vacant gaze off the floorboards, no longer satisfied with his examination of the abhorrent memories tethered to it; of those who had perished on this very spot. "If you are ssstrong, if you are able, if you are determined to sssee thisss through, you will persssevere. The key, rather, isss to remain calm and to avoid unwanted dissstresssss. Many ssspiritsss are drawn to the ssstrongly emotional, be they posssitive or negative in nature." He belonged to the latter category, taking selfish delight in those plagued by misery. "The ssspiritual world isss much like thissss one, parallel in desssign and familiarity. However, you will do wisssse to carry with you an air of caution. There are trickssstersss, mm... Entitiesss that will have no trouble reaching deep down into your mind and plucking out what frightensss you the mossst - what comfortsss you the mossst. Your very ssstrengthsss and weaknessssesss can and will be turned againssst you." Still interested?

    Of course you were.

    Though none of what he had said directly answered her question, did it? Was there a way to hide... Was there a way to avoid an untimely demise at the hands of something foul? "Mm..." Regrettably, the Dark Judge was no expert on the supernatural; he was simply the soul of a man thrust into a world he understood little of. Even his very powers were at times foreign. The ghoul nevertheless made a sincere attempt to quell the femme's concerns with experience.

    "Move - never ssstop," he said. "Control your emotionsss and remain alert. Ssstudy your environment and pay attention to the thingsss around you, inanimate or otherwissse. Approach nothing, trussst nothing. You will sssee thingsss; piecesss of hissstory in eternal gridlock. You will sssee the dessspondent, you will sssee sssuffering, and you will sssee death. You will sssee the very thingsss that haunt your dreamsss, mm... It will be imperative that you refrain from visssiting the placesss you feel the mossst ssstrongly toward. Memoriesss, Livewire, are asss every bit dangerousss asss the creaturesss that wield them." Was there anything else?

    Ah yes, there was.

    "One more thing," the fiend rasped. "When you sssee a bright light, do not approach it. It will sssing to you asss lovely asss any sssiren'sss sssong, but you mussst keep from crosssing over. If you do, I am afraid you will have to wait ssseven daysss in purgatory. Do you underssstand?"
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:38 am

    Livewire recalled an object in her possession. A little wooden charm, simple but lovely, given to her which was made to alert to the presence of evil spirits nearby. She figured it would be difficult to carry something like that, since Livewire was fairly certain that she wouldn’t be like Nyreena. She didn’t expect that she would be able to interact with physical objects.

    She listened to each word. Every warning was recorded, every instruction. As he spoke, Livewire began to realize that she had underestimated the task. When they had discussed her becoming a spirit before, she had gotten the impression that Fear would be there the whole time. Now she was starting to think that she might be on her own. But even this would not dissuade her. She had her mission.

    If she was to suffer, she would. She had seen death before, but Livewire at least knew enough to know that it would not be the same. It would not just be the death, not the explosion of a connection shot in the heat of battle, but she would have to experience the spirit of that death as well. She hadn’t done that, before. And above all else she must remain calm in the face of everything she saw.

    She didn’t know if she could.

    The child nodded, showing that she understood. ”I understand.” Livewire knew that she couldn’t leave Kev for seven days. The time without her, the time which would allow him to panic or stew in the knowledge that she had died, would do more damage than she could ever hope to help. They needed each other now more than ever, and that was the exact reason why Livewire took this path.

    She looked at the very same floor that Fear had been examining before. There were not memories for her to attach to it. To her, it was just a floor.   “I’m afraid that I won’t be able to keep calm.”
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Fear on Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:28 pm

    It was... daunting, yes.

    It was daunting to embrace the unfamiliar and submit to it. But be brave, fair Livewire, be brave. Was not Kev worth the sacrifice? Were you not greater than the sum of your flaws, your conviction to be hardened through adversity? The Dark Judge seemed to think so. And as he sat there, cigarette gradually withering unto nothingness, the undead fiend needn't see the femme's anxious stare to comprehend. She was a child, wanting of reassurance and diligent guidance. So the ghoul was going to help this child with what children loved best: he was going to tell her a story.

    "Once upon a time," as all stories go, "there wasss a man. He, like all good men, ssstrived to live a righteousss life - a meaningful life. And he, like all good men, wasss imperfect." Embers crackled as the Dark Judge paused to enjoy a quick puff or two. "But no matter how imperfect he may be, conssstantly battling life'sss temptationsss over and over, pitted againssst a ssseemingly futile battle, thisss man did not yield. He persssevered, he hardened hisss sssoul, he kept to hisss beliefsss sssteadfast. The man had nothing to hisss name other than the ssskin on hisss back and hisss tessstament of character. Then, one day, the man looked upon hisss ssstrenuousss life and grew... tired. Tired and bereft of hope. Nothing the man accomplisssshed, from hisss everyday choresss to hisss mossst prized achievementsss, mattered. It wasss a viciousss, unproductive cycle." Sound familiar, didn't it? "It would ssseem that thisss man wasss doomed to a life of repetition; of being unable to truly make a difference. Dissscouraged, the man withdrew and fell prey to hisss frussstrationsss. Friend, foe, colleague and superior; none of them mattered, none of them brought him the purpossse he ssso desssperately sssought. And then, jusssst when he wasss at hisss bleakessst, sssix chambersss whissspering to him, fortune decided to take pity on hisss missserable sssoul."

    For a reason unbeknownst to Livewire (and perhaps for good reason), the Dark Judge suddenly had a fit of raspy, somber chuckling. Would he explain why, or regale the femme with bittersweet details? Probably not, as he soon continued, "There had been another man - a man ssso clever in hisss waysss that it wasss almossst thought devilisssh. Thisss man approached him and sssaid, 'I've an offer for you, if you're brave enough to take it. Join me, mm... Join me and embark on a righteoussss crusssade to eradicate the sssinful massssessss. Join me to reclaim jussstice. Join me to achieve what you had been meant to do.' Having heard thisss and ssseeing no other alternative, the man agreed and ssstruck an oath in brotherhood. Two othersss had previoussssly done ssso asss well. A pact had been made." By now the femme should be able to connect the dots. She was a sharp lass.

    "One became four, and sssoon there wasss renewed purpossse in the man'sss heart. Though he wasss not initially clossse to the othersss and felt at timesss wary, there wassss neverthelesssss a sssort of... camaraderie that formed. A kinssship nurtured by a unified ideal." But no story was without its disheartening moments and this was no different. "Alasss..." he sighed, forlorn, "it wasss ssstill not enough. They were but four and their enemiesss many. The man had traded a fool'sss errand for another, except thisss time hisss plight wasss ssshared. Missstrussst blossssomed and the quartet teetered precariousssly on the precipice of abandonment. It wasss then, again when thingsss were at their bleakessst, that fortune ssshowed her face a sssecond time. Two witchesss had been found - cultissstsss that for all purposssesss ssshould have been eradicated, yet one of the men had been captivated by their bizarre beauty. Together, the three commiserated their lussst for one another and... er..." Alright, timeout! Judge Fear cleared his throat and could not, in good conscience, tell this part.

    He glanced down at the femme and apologetically shrugged. "Sssorry, Livewire, but you're a little young to hear thisss part. I'm afraid it'sss a pinch R18... And, to be perfectly honessst with you, it'sss incredibly disssgusssting. Let'sss sskip it."

    And so it was merrily skipped.

    "Anyway," hissed the ghoul, "after ssspending additional time with the witchesss and learning more of their sssecrets, the four men had eventually become privy to their magicsss. For thirty daysss did the men rot on their ssstone ssslabsss, naked and helplesssss. And for thirty daysss were they denied food and drink, kept alive only by caussstic toxinsss and naussseating potionsss. It wasss posssitively rubbisssh, but doesss not glory demand sssacrifice? Upon the thirtieth day, asss frail asss a ssskeleton and jussst asss weak, the men ssstood upon the doorssstep of change - they died. And upon their death, they were reborn. Not asss men, not asss the walking dead, but asss sssomething in-between; sssomething that had causssed the man at the beginning of our tale... to ssscream. And from that moment onward, hisss life belonged to eternal ssservitude. Sssuch isss the price of youthful arrogance, and thusss the end of hisss ssstory."

    Smoldering ash sprinkled downward onto the Dark Judge's lap, his mind partially stuck in another segment of time. "I would be lying to you," he morosely confessed, "if I sssaid that the transssition went sssmoothly. It did not and I panicked. The firssst momentsss of awarenesssss, when the Sssissstersss placed thisss iron prissson over my head, I could not remain calm. How could I? I couldn't feel... I couldn't sssmell... I couldn't breathe... It wasss if I wanted to choke, yet I could not mussster the motor control to even bother. And asss they wrapped thessse chainsss around my body, shackling my sssoul to thisss abominable mockery... Asss I watched my brothersss raissse up from the dead, equally hellisssh asss I wasss..." Another sigh, another dejected puff.

    "I had realized my damnation all too late. Releassse can never be for me, Livewire. And asss much asss I enjoy my job, purging to my heart'sss content, I can never know ressst. I can never know peace. The afterlife isss only a passssing fancy; a sssour ache in my sssoul. You, however, have my missstakesss to learn from." Of which there had been many, rest assured.
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:54 am

    Livewire had been facing the unknown most of her life. To be born into a world without knowing of anything else like herself, to be sucked into a new world before seeing the first, and to be thrust into a cycle of acceptance and rejection by her own species as she tried to figure out just what she was. She had faced off against monsters, murdered priests, and had lost so much.

    What came to the breach as an empty page with a smile had been sculpted through suffering into a person. This was scary, yes. It was something she hadn’t tried before, something unfamiliar. But when had anything really been familiar?  What, if anything, had stayed consistent throughout Livewire’s life? She had been wanting for some consistency, for a foundation, nearly as long as she had been alive. And it was only now, after all this time, that the child was letting herself believe that this macabre Judge would keep his promise, that he would always be there.

    That he wouldn’t leave her.

    A yellow helm touched upon one of Fear’s spindly arms as Livewire leaned to his side. She looked to him, listening to each word as he spun his tale. It wasn’t long into the story that Livewire realized who it was about. Her hand gently gripped the edge of his cape. She kept still as he spoke of someone who brought him to this, who led to Fear taking this path. Livewire assumed Judge Death and only added to her ever-growing list of reasons why she would, indeed, play kickball with the fiend’s head if he ever arrived on the Breach.

    …apparently Death was a frisky Judge. Livewire let out a little giggle at Fear’s pause and rubbed her helm against his arm affectionately. Yes, protect her innocence. It was so quick to disappear through the years.

    She looked at his hand, when he spoke of his transition. Her own small, metal ones gripped onto the edge of his tattered cape, the blueprint of the one which was draped across her shoulders. She couldn’t imagine it, being that old. Having taken a life and completely turned it into something foul, something that couldn’t die, only to realize just what had been given up too late.

    It was this, which Livewire sought. Was not the original intent of this discussion, the first time Livewire had approached the topic, because she considered Fear’s path?  Because she planned to see if existing as a spirit would be preferable to the disconnect she felt with her own body?  Was this the right choice, in the long-term?  How long would Livewire be removed, how far would she go?

    The child did not voice these thoughts. They were for her to decide, to ruminate upon. Instead that tiny hand reached to take Fear’s, metal gently holding onto decrepit flesh.

    “Maybe…maybe this place can be an end. Even if you can’t die, not really, sometimes people just disappear. Maybe…you can find a way to end, if you wanted to.”  Blue eyes looked up towards the great helm as her voice softened. She did not want to imagine that he would die, that he would leave. But Livewire, herself, knew that she didn’t want to exist forever. She depended upon the thought, the thin reassurance that there would be an end for her at some point.

    She just hoped that he would wait for her.
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Fear on Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:13 pm

    “Maybe…maybe this place can be an end. Even if you can’t die, not really, sometimes people just disappear. Maybe…you can find a way to end, if you wanted to.”

    Something in the undead fiend was tickled, be it his blackened soul or just a rotting organ.

    "Ha ha ha..." By now the smoke was intoxicating, vision hindered to a mere foot or two. "I am afraid, Livewire, that sssuch a posssssibility isss beyond me," he hissed. A nice gesture on the femme's behalf, but could one with eternal life truly come to terms with an absolute end? Maybe, maybe... Though the Dark Judge still had much to do and he very much enjoyed his job so. Things were even better now that he didn't have to go cleaning up after their reckless leader. One day, perhaps, he would entertain the idea and see just how far he was willing to pursue it. Not now, however. Not now...

    Ah, but they were putting the cart before the horse, weren't they? And on a subject that had no relation to the real purpose of this clandestine meeting. "Ssso, are you ssstill willing to take the plunge?" Are you still willing to submit yourself to the unknown and endure the sacrifice? Of course you were, of course you were... You were, after all, a brave little lass.

    But it will take more than courage to do the unthinkable.

    "You are not ready for the ordeal," was Judge Fear's honest, unbiased opinion. There was much the femme feared, and so long as she held onto this fear, unwilling to embrace it and face what frightened her the most, the transition would only prove disastrous. "But you can be, mm... Through adequate preparation of both mind and sssoul, you can obtain that which you ssseek. You can obtain the ssstrength that Kev now hasss." Did he pique your interest even more? Another cigarette was twisted into ash against his leathery palm and absentmindedly discarded. "You need only embrace me," rasped the fiend, "and sssee the truth in death."
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    Re: This Has To Work

    Post by Livewire on Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:38 pm

    The haze around Livewire’s face glowed a light blue with the light from her optics.  She looked up at Fear and took comfort in his laugh. It was always comforting, each time she heard it. Any instance of hearing his voice was comforting to the child, like a baby bat honing in on the unique shrill of its mother.

    A nod answered Fear’s query of her intention. Yes, she was still willing. Of course she was willing. What wouldn’t she do for Kev?

    She was not ready?  She certainly…felt, ready. But of course, Fear would know better than Livewire would herself. He was the one who she trusted in this, who had some idea as to what to expect and what to do.  His expertise was to be trusted.  She hung on to every word, as always, but especially so now. As strong as Kev? But that had taken months of training, every day except Sunday. Besides…Kev was stronger than she was, Livewire thought. How could she go through the same thing that he went through?

    But she had to trust her Judge.

    At his words, she recalled a scene. Back when Fear had first ventured into her mind, had instructed Kev to embrace him. Livewire’s arms snaked around the cold corpse of her Judge in much the same literal interpretation of his words as Kev had taken.  She took a small amount of comfort in the symmetry.

    ”What do I need to do?”

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