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


    Dead Man Walking

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    Mortis
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    Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:13 pm

    Time: 7:00 AM
    Date: February 5, 0006

    There was nothing he could do, nothing that he could say or give that could mend the pain he had caused. Too much had happened, he reminded himself as he had sulked through the ghettos, keeping his towering form to the shadows of the alleyways. Unfit to serve their cause, unfit to be a brother, unfit to exist; he sought shelter within the abandoned ruins for the days and nights he replayed his brother’s remarks over and over. The homeless and depraved souls that took refuge within their confines knew him well enough to scatter at the sight of his host, regardless of whether he gave chase.

    For the best, he decided, for what company or comfort did he deserve? Isolation and exile were the only fruits of his efforts. From the ones he had made suffer from his own foolish actions.

    He could no longer summon the enthusiasm to kill as he once had, his talons barely gave a single twitch at the sound of a hammering heart just outside the crumbling walls he curled up against. It was tempting to sit there, to let time eat away at his body and soul until he was nothing more than a pile of dust. For a moment he pondered perhaps riling the stronger denizens of this festering scab and letting them catch and contain him indefinitely, he knew the Mercenary still lingered within this underworld, as did the Piper... But, the idea of giving them the satisfaction of doing so turned something within him like he had been subjected to a foul stink. It was what he deserved, and yet the undead found himself adverse to the idea of possibly being kept as a trophy.

    His thoughts went back to the tomb they had been kept in within the Mega City, housed tens of meters underground, surrounded by layers upon layers of cement and metal. If he could not be destroyed, Mortis longed to be shut away, to be forgotten and lost to the sands of time. However, here he knew that was not an option, there were no Judges that would seek to contain him, there was no Justice Department, no Death Cult, not a single soul who recognized him from that dimension.

    Or, perhaps not... There were the ISOs, if he managed to get their attention surely they would do something. They could contain him, maybe even destroy him. It would be no more than he deserved, for making his brother suffer, for making his friend suffer, for letting himself turn into a monster. Mortis’ host shuddered and another series of pitiful sobs quaked from his empty ribs.

    It was all there was left for him to do. He could not let himself exist after he had betrayed his brother, abandoned him when Mortis was needed most. His brother could no longer bear the sight of him, and Lunette... He doubted Lunette would be able to stand his presence either after having been left to suffer for so long.

    During the night he roused himself from the shadowy depths of a decrepit building he had taken refuge in, and urged his clawed feet forward in a somber march. Through the dingy streets of the ghettos and into the ISO’s jurisdiction, the undead mindlessly wandered, awaiting an opportunity to perhaps face one of the city’s mysterious guardians.

    ...Through the bustling business district, past the different shops and entertainment that coaxed and called in the recreational district, through all of these he saw plenty of sinners, plenty that would have been worthy of his touch and therein the ISO’s merciless judgment. Yet, they too were passed by, the sorrow upon the ghoul’s shoulders too great to lift a single talon. Soon the city’s towering buildings exchanged themselves for the quaint serenity of the suburbs, though the undead did not appear to notice or care as he continued to wander.

    The sun was beginning to peek over the edge of the houses, and all he had managed to do was return to the very streets that Fear had personally demanded Mortis be banished from. It was pathetic and yet...

    Yet he could not help but find it fitting, in some sense of sick irony.
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Fear on Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:44 pm

    "Percy, no."

    But the command had came too late! Paws waddled across cement and dirt as a portly English bulldog defied his morning walker. With a drool-covered smile Percy wedged his latest find between his teeth and displayed it happily for everyone to see, panting up a storm. Fear could only watch in complete disbelief as the wrinkly little rebel acquisitioned yet another wretched rock for the garden. Every morning Percy did this, every morning! It was enough for the fiend to tear out his obscenely-long fingernails. "Goddamn it, Percy, that'sss the tenth ssstone today! What do you take me for, your persssonal ssstorage ssspace? You can't have that one," he demanded. Oh, whined Percy! Oh, lamented Percy! And when he began to make a commotion, they soon followed suit.

    I want a rock too!

    How come Percy gets to always choose?

    It's not fair, you smelly bigot!


    Dogs! Crying, crying dogs! Leathery hands slapped onto the fiend's helmet as his mind throbbed with unruly barks and slobbery canine thoughts. "Biddy, Metusss, Ossscar!" Fear snapped impatiently. "You know Percy picksss up rocksss on our morning walksss; it'sss what he doesss. Why do you lot sssuddenly care!?" Because it wasn't fair, they whined in unison. "Oh my God... really!? Okay, fine! Fine, you all get to choosssse a ssstupid rock thisss time, alright? Will that sssilence you incesssant little blightersss?"

    A chorus of excited yips and howls was Fear's reward for his generosity, the undead's mind pulsing with even more unwanted noise. "Yesss, yesss, yesss," he sighed, trying to calm the unruly mob down. "Dogsss everywhere rejoice, etc. Now kindly get a move on it, becaussse we have to finisssh your morning walkiesss."

    With a rush of hair and spit, the dogs chased their own tails and leaped for joy. Walkies, walkies! Oh, we love walkies! We love walkies almost as much as we love - LOOK, SQUIRREL. Aaaaand off the barking trio raced, teeth snapping and paws loudly pounding against asphalt as they began chase down the street. The only one who didn't join the pursuit was Percy, who appeared a little... downtrodden about something or other. Fear snorted and dismissed a nonchalant hand at the rest. "Eh, I am rooting for the vermin... And what'sss eating you?" he asked the bulldog with an irritated tone.

    ...I want to keep my other treasures. Can I keep my other treasures?

    Sigh, there was just no winning, was there?
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:57 pm

    Leathery soles continued their shuffle and the undead turned down a quiet street. His bony snout was tilted towards the pavement, the long chain that hung from his neck clinked briskly against his chest with every step he took. Sooner or later something would happen, he told himself, something would come across him and he would be able to accept his fate in all of its finality.

    Would it change anything he had done? Of course not, but all the same, there was nothing he was able to do in the first place, was there? A shaky sigh rattled from his throat, and the undead pulled his dark overcoat a little tighter around himself. Something thick and papery crinkled with the motion, and Mortis reached down to adjust the contents of an interior pocket. He could not alleviate Lunette's suffering, he could not mend things between himself and his brother, and yet he found himself unwilling to toss aside the bottle of vodka and packet of cigarettes he had purchased over a week ago.

    Pathetic. He hissed to himself.  Pathetic that he still clung to something that he no longer could fix, and what no longer was. Too much had been broken, too much had been shattered to the point where therew as nothing that could be pieced back together. His brothers, his friend, himself; it was all nothing but dust through his fingers. There was no reason to even bother... Yet the bag still remained within the pocket of his coat.

    The sound of barking dogs distantly reached him through the somber haze upon his mind the next street over, part of what he used to be reminding him of the noise regs they were likely breaking. "...Nnnngh" But he was not that anymore, was he? He was nothing, not a Judge, not a brother, not a friend, and as far as he was concerned, not even a person. A monster was what he was, not lawful, not human, not anything worth love or care. A leathery hand reached up and gently clasped themselves around the chain upon his neck, idly toying with it as he grew towards the end of the street and turned to sulk down the next one.

    "Yesss, yesss, yesss, dogsss everywhere rejoice, etc. Now kindly get a move on it, becaussse we have to finisssh your morning walkiesss."

    ...That voice.

    He paused, slowly turning his head in its direction. He knew that voice, and it was close. Perhaps that was what had drawn him here, truly... The link was still open across all those days he had spent in the ghettos, where his brother tread, he knew of it even if he was not paying full attention. It had been a lingering sensation at the back of his mind, present, but not what Mortis focused his attention on. He did not need to keep listening to Fear's thoughts to know what he had put him through, and there was no purpose in attempting to connect with a psyche that wanted nothing to with him.

    ...Even now, he doubted there was little Fear would tolerate if he came across him this morning. But, doubt was what had gotten him here in the first place, wasn't it? Doubt was what sent him to the grasslands, doubt was what killed Veskur, and doubt was what had been the final catalyst to push his brother away. Doubt and irresponsibility, two things that should never have a home within a Judge's mind, within his mind. Perhaps if he just... tried, even a single word in the right direction...

    His thoughts were quick to remind him of his brother's parting words.

    "Pleasssse leave... I cannot ssstand the sssight of you any longer. Leave thisss place and go about your dutiesss. There isss nothing left for you here but broken promisssesss and dreamsss."

    There is nothing left.

    Pain swelled once more within his ribs, a quiet, anguished sound hissing from his teeth. There was nothing left, but maybe he could... he could try and find something. Something else, something small but forceful urged him forward, towards the sound of his brother. At first his steps were purposeful, but as he drew closer and beheld Fear's new appearance, he started to slow until he paused a few meters behind him.

    He looked so... small, without his full attire. His shoulders no longer looked wide and imposing, and the emaciated shape of his host was no longer concealed beneath a dark cloak, or garnished with a belt of practical horrors. The only remaining attire that suggested he was the undead he had used to work with was his collar, his leathers, and the bat-winged helmet upon his head. It was odd to see him like this, and at the same time... this was the look of freedom. Unshackled from an outmoded purpose, a being that no longer answered to a hypocritical creature that dared to call them brothers.

    A freedom that perhaps he now shared.

    Mortis willed himself forward, slow steps drawing closer to where Fear stood. For a moment he thought to perhaps reach out to him, a clawed hand gingerly raising before it inevitably drew back and rested its knuckle against his teeth. "F-...Fear?" His voice was quiet, vulnerable in its tone despite the sorrow that plagued his thoughts.

    "I..." He paused, the undead's tail curling between Mortis' bony legs to rest against the inside of his thigh. No glow could be seen within his eye sockets, whatever flame may have been there weeks ago had long since been snuffed out. "Could we...C-could we talk?" His voice sounded strained, pressured. "I...had not meant to leave you waiting, all thossse nightss ago. I had not meant to leave you s-sssuffering, you and Lunette." His gravelling voice cracked as he spoke, and the earlier strained tone gave way to choked sob. His back curled in on itself as another shook him, and the chain around his neck loosely feel forward to hang limply in the crisp morning air, his badge nowhere to be seen.
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Fear on Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:06 pm

    Clack! Clack!

    It had taken nearly five minutes of unnecessary squabbling and compromise, but everyone had finally gotten what they wanted in some fashion or another. Biddy, as stern as always, had chosen a modest pebble as her contribution to the garden. She refused to accept anything less, deeming the smooth round stone to be a practical asset. For what, er... no one really knew. The sheepdog was sometimes an enigma, even to Fear himself! Next on the list was Metus. He, unlike Biddy, appreciated something for its aesthetic qualities more. His choice was a rock of unusual white colour, its surface almost chalky and strikingly reminiscent of milk. The way it glittered beneath the morning sun was dazzling. And, last but not least, Oscar. Now, he was a dog with ambition. Whereas the other two had made rational choices and lived within their means, the little min-pin had other ideas...

    "Ossscar, what are you doing..." the fiend asked tiredly. Everyone swiveled their heads to spy the tiny terror seated proudly upon a large boulder. That's right, a boulder, and it was currently resting within the grassy confines of someone's lawn. The very absurd nature of Oscar's choice earned a scoff out of Fear. "I am not accepting that asss your choice. I sssaid a ssstone, not a bloody megalith. Get down from there and choosssse sssomething reasssonable before whoever isss in that houssse comesss hollering out."

    But Oscar refused.

    You said we could choose a rock, the dog insisted.

    A growl rumbled within the fiend's throat. Was that sound of disobedience? Because the fiend absolutely loathed disobedience. "I did," he hissed, sounding short, "but I alssso assssumed that you all would make a feasssible decisssion."

    Well, that's what you get for assuming.

    Wrong answer.

    "Don't you back-sasssss me, you little pain in my asssss! Get off that rock, get over here, or ssso help me God I am going to sssnatch you by the ssscruff of your neck and ground you into hot dog meat!"

    And then came the yipping...

    Always with the yipping.

    That was the absolute last straw. See, the other dogs were smart. They knew better than to tempt the hand that walked them, but Oscar? Oh, but Oscar... Biddy and Metus at once parted before the fiend and hastily stepped out of his way, not wanting to incur his wrath onto their hides. The two bowed their heads low, ears dropping, and slunk behind Percy for cover; the latter simply remained panting, completely oblivious to the inevitable confrontation between unruly dog and aggravated undead.

    "I will sssay thisss one, lassst, time," Fear hissed through his teeth. He halted in the middle of the street with legs spread apart, hands poised to strangle a little doggy's neck. "Get off that boulder and come here, Ossscar. We need to finisssh your - "

    Police brutality, police brutality!

    "THAT DOESSS IT! C'MERE, YOU LITTLE - "

    Thus, unruly dog and aggravated undead went into a bout of fisticuffs. Oscar put up a valiant fight - as valiant as any tiny min-pin could muster - but even his fiery spirit was no match for a righteous smiting. Psychic-induced paralysis to the legs was all it took for Oscar to lose, his eyes wide with fright and his mouth agape. Cheater! he cried, cheater! Indeed, Fear had cheated. And as the tiny dog helplessly stood there, barking like his life depended on it, the towering fiend rigidly swooped down and plucked Oscar right off his arrogant perch. "That'sss right, I cheated," he rasped smugly, rubbing it in. "And you can ssskip demanding your rightsss becaussse: A) no one can underssstand you; and B) you don't have them. For your brazen disssressspect for the law, I hereby sssentence you to confinement in the Bad Place for the remainder of your walk!" And if you thought Oscar had been making an ungodly scene prior...

    Nooo! Not the Bad Place! He shrieked even louder, thrashing and wailing in his captor's monstrous hands with all of his tiny dog might.

    Fear was naturally beyond satisfied with how the circumstances evolved. Thinking of sticking it to the Man, little punk? Think again! "He he he... Oh yesss, Ossscar, the Bad Place, and you are going to ssstay in there until we return home. Sssay 'goodbye' to fresssh air and the blue, blue sssky. Bye, Ossscar, bye~!"

    Nooooo - !

    There was a harrowing - ziiiiip! - and the barking ceased, Oscar at the mercy of a fate far worse than death. By the time Fear returned to the others and stood triumphantly on the sidewalk, neither of the three good little pooches had the courage to stare up at the ghoul's chest. If they did, the dogs would only be horrified by the Oscar-shaped lump wriggling beneath his leathers. "Well then," Fear remarked, dusting off his hands as he eyed the other three expectantly. "I trussst that the ressst of you will make the remainder of your walk pleasssant. Biddy, Metusss - no more arguing back and forth about inssstrumentalisssm versssusss aessstheticisssm?"

    No sir...

    I am a good boy...


    "Percy, no more asssking quessstionsss about your blasssted rocksss?"

    I don't even like rocks, boss.

    Pleased, Fear rigidly nodded at their obedience. "Good. All very good anssswersss," he replied. "Now, let usss be off. We're burning daylight and your massster expectsss you home very sssoon. Biddy, take point and ssset the pace. Metusss will take over once we reach the interssection of Watt and Marconi."

    Biddy physically shuffled on her paws. Can't do that, she panted.

    Not the answer the fiend wanted to exactly hear. He placed both hands upon his bony hips and grumbled, "And why not, Biddy?"

    ...Because there is another smelly rawhide obstructing the path.

    What...?

    "Bollocksss!" Fear snorted, glancing up. He disinterestedly looked over a shoulder to see what all this nonsense was about. "There'sss nothing obssstructing the ssside - MORTISSS." Sure enough, it was the fiend's brother-in-arms, standing there as plain as day. How long had he been there!? What had he seen!? And, most importantly, was he going to report back to Kev how Fear punished Oscar!? A thousand and one questions raced within the ghoul's mind as he merely loomed there, unable to get a single greeting or snarl out of his throat. "M-Mortisss...!" Eh, flustered stammering will have to suffice.

    "Could we...C-could we talk? I...had not meant to leave you waiting, all thossse nightss ago. I had not meant to leave you s-sssuffering, you and Lunette."

    ...Huh?

    Of all the things he didn't except his brother to say, this was probably one from the very top. "Oh... talk?" Fear repeated, uncertain. A hand rose to rub the back of his helmet as the ghoul awkwardly gave Mortis' request some thought. "Well, ah... I'm kind of... kind of busssy, sssee... and I have to walk Kev'sss dogsss for their daily exercissse, and..." And this was his brother who sounded, and felt, worse for wear. The telling hush of a weary sigh escaped Fear's throat and he lowered his hand, eyeing the other undead with more resolve. It wouldn't be very brotherly of him to turn down Mortis right here and now, hardships or not... Besides, Mortis wasn't looking too... put-together. No offense, of course! "Alright, we can talk," the fiend agreed. "We can talk here or we can talk asss we head down the ssstreet; either option isss fine with me." There was then a pause. A pause, before...

    "Sssay... where'sss your badge, Mortisss?"
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:43 pm

    He had seen plenty, the dogs running back with their rocks and the stones they had picked out for Kev's garden. He had even seen the way he had handled Oscar's impetuous nature and stuffed him into what remained of his uniform for safe keeping. Perhaps at another time, when he had been a different creature, he would have said something about it and perhaps lectured the fellow undead on his dog-training methods, but Mortis in all was simply too... disheveled.

    Not to mention whether or not his brother broke any laws was no longer his place, regardless of whether he wanted it to be or not. He no longer wanted it to be his place, to be a Judge meant having to be shackled and chained to an ideal that no longer existed nor was feasible. There would be no necropolis, there would be no lawful place to retire, there was no more purpose to upholding the law of a Chief who was never there for them. He mulled over this destruction of his existence, and the quarrel that occurred between Fear and his dogs grew distant, as if they all were at the end of a long tunnel; echoing, existing, but nowhere close enough for him to focus his attention. They were all so far away, too far away...

    "There'sss nothing obssstructing the ssside - MORTISSS."

    His attention was brought back to his brother at the surprised exclamation of his name. "...B-brother..." He replied, his crisis robbing him of his gravel for a breath and leaving him with only whispers. He took a tentative step forward, taloned hands flexing ever so slightly, wanting to reach forward, to make contact. However, just as quickly as they had awkwardly made their motion forward, he drew them back, skeletal limbs mechanically drooping back to his sides. His name was stammered, the ghoul's brother in arms flustered with his sudden appearance. He watched him, unsure what to expect as his brother mulled over his request.


    "Oh... talk? Well, ah... I'm kind of... kind of busssy, sssee... and I have to walk Kev'sss dogsss for their daily exercissse, and..."


    Busy...

    "I-I sssee..." He hissed shakily, stepping back. He was right, too much had happened, too much time had passed... Once again he had come too late, and said too little. Fear had his dogs to walk and chores for the day, and Mortis... Mortis was to be left with the fate he had built for himself. He tried his best to hold back another sorrowful gulp and slowly nodded in understanding. He should have known, after all."I will leave you to y-your animalsss, you have far more important thingsss to attend to--?"

    "Alright, we can talk,"

    Mortis paused mid step, his skull tilting up to look Fear in the ocularia. "Y-yesss?" He hissed after taking a moment to process Fear's statement. Torn between relief and disbelief, the sheep-skulled undead hardly noticed the minute tremors rippling through his host until his brother had mentioned they could either stay or keep walking. "I don't want to... to keep you from your walk. We can keep moving." He rasped, awkwardly stepping onto the lawn so Fear and the small pack of dogs could walk past him.

    He glanced down at the chain as his badge -or lack thereof- was mentioned. "O-oh..." He had almost forgotten about it, grasping the end of the chain between his thumb and index finger to idly turn the links of shiny metal between them. "I got rid of it." He managed to say, "I cannot be a Judge, Fear. After what happened thosse weekss ago... After what  had put you through, I could not call myssself a Judge. You were right, all I am isss a monssster. A ssslave to an ideal that no longer makesss sssenssse, that no longer hasss- hass purpossse."

    He looked down at the grass beneath his feet, already starting to wither to an ugly brown from his decaying state. "Without it, I am a monssster, and with it I am no better... I-I don't know what I am anymore."

    He could not call himself a brother, for he betrayed Fear too many times...

    He could not be a friend, for a friend would not leave another to suffer during their time of need...

    And he could not be a lover, for who could truly love when they knew not what it meant?
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Fear on Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:17 pm

    Something was amiss. It wasn't right and it wasn't wrong, but it was... amiss.

    Dozens of eyes pulsated in their sockets as Fear appraised his brother's presence quietly, the undead currently bereft of words. Was it the trench coat? Maybe the buckled posture? It was both of these things and yet... not. Something was the matter with his brother, and it had very little to do with the other ghoul's appearance. There was trouble in his voice, in his body language... Despair, self-loathing, yearning; Fear only need sniff once to get an accurate taste of what plagued Mortis' psyche. The dormant predator within his rancid breast growled, though that could have been Oscar.

    The great and powerful Judge Mortis, one of four Dark Judges tasked with eradicating the living, and here he was... a broken shell of a wretch. There was irony to be savoured, if Fear had been a petty man. A small pang of guilt teased the frayed edges of his mind, where once a connection had thrived. Oh how it pined to be one again...!

    "I got rid of it."

    Fear's first words came tumbling out, "Holy ssshit..."

    His next, and arguably more dignified, soon followed next. "But, Mortisss, you... you wanted to be a Judge, no? I thought you wanted to continue our jussst caussse and purge the sssinnersss to your diligent heart'sss content?" Why would he, however? Why would the honourable Judge Mortis desire such a thing when he was essentially championing an agenda all, all alone? Why would the honourable Judge Mortis bother when there was no drive? No camaraderie? No purpose? After patiently listening to Mortis' dilemma and remembering how their previous confrontation had gone incredibly sour, Fear grew visibly restless. He tapped a foot against the pavement anxiously, eyes no longer fixated upon his brother but now onto the sky and onward.

    "Mm... I'm sssorry," he hissed without provocation. Unlike his brothers, Fear had always been pegged as the nervous sort. The first to grow doubtful, the first to suffer from - ahem - performance anxiety, and the first to lose motivation. But to hear someone like Mortis be these things...? Mortis, who was as crafty as he was resolute in judgement? No, that just wasn't right.

    Unwilling to send Mortis away, a shrill pierced the air as Fear directed his attention to the dogs. "You know the drill," he told them. "Keep pace, ssstay on the sssidewalk, and behave. You are to wait at the intersssection until we catch up." They did as they were instructed and without quip, sparing the ghoul of additional headaches. Good, because there were far more pressing matters to deal with... Fear glanced back at his brother and gestured with his head, beginning to move forward, "Come on, let'sss have ourssselvesss a nice chat, yeah? Tell me what'sss eating away at you, Mortisss. Go on, don't be ssshy." Maybe they could stop along the way and enjoy a nice smoke together?
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:30 pm

    Perhaps at one time he wanted to be a Judge, to purge the living to his heart's content, but now... He shook his head. "It isss... it iss no longer my calling. Killing holdsss no purpossse, it isss mindlesss. Our Chief isss not here, Fire iss not here, and even if they w-were..." A clawed hand rose to grasp the top curve of his snout, giving it a gentle squeeze before resting upon it, his other arm wrapped around his middle. As he did so, a small crumpling sound of paper could be heard, muffled beneath the fabric of the heavy overcoat. "I-I ssstill would be unfit. I had abandoned you, my brother, I left you to sssuffer alone. My actionsss made you sssuffer again. If I were to ssserve my dutiess... T-there would be no point. Death isss temporary, all I would be doing isss whittling away time before they found out how to contain me, maybe even dessstroy me." The latter of his explanation brought another shudder through his host, the hand upon his snout brushed itself up to rest at the back of his skull and idly scratch at the bone. It was why he came out here in the first place, to perhaps incur the wrath of the city's guardians through a killing, a perfect opportunity that they could not ignore. If the people of this place could not defeat him, to place him in a crystal buried out in the middle of nowhere...

    Perhaps-- Perhaps they could do it. Maybe they could be the bullet between the eyes he deemed so necessary for his crimes.

    "P-perhapsss I ssshould have let them..." He uttered beneath his breath, too ashamed of his choice to let his brother hear completely. And yet, it would be the right thing, the proper action, for all that he had done. Empty sockets caught Fear's foot tapping out of their corner, and beneath his coat Mortis's tail gave a small, nervous flick.

    "Mm... I'm sssorry,"

    "Pleassse... Don't be sssorry, brother. I did thissss." Mortis rasped, morose. "I left you alone, I made you worry. I made you have to take my place when I wasss sssupposssed to be here, ss-sssupposssed to be accountable for my actionsss, my sssinss." He had killed Veskur, not his brother, Mortis had made Fear wonder whether he would be able to acclimate, made him question their bonds. Mortis had made him suffer, and in turn everyone who cared for his brother as they did what they could because of a wretch like himself that could not listen.

    "You s-sshould have never needed to take my place." His gaze drifted to the ground once again, the talons sitting at the back of his head digging slightly where the rotted flesh of his neck met bone.

    Something shrill pierced the air and Mortis looked up to catch his brother commanding the dogs to go on ahead, along with the inclination of his head as he started to walk forward. He waited for Fear to move towards him, then fell into line beside the fellow undead. What was eating at him, he asked, what was making the shep-skulled undead suffer so. "...Many thingsss, brother. Ssso many thingsss are pulling at my being, making me ache. I left you alone for over a month, I killed Vessskur without realizing it..." Stale, dead breath hitched in the ghoul's chest and he sobbed again. "I-I ssshould have been more careful, with you, with Lunette... I betrayed both of you over an ideal that no longer mattersss, that I can no longer carry out. I don't know a thing... A d-damned thing about love, about jusstice, brotherhood, care... I'm jussst-- I'm jussst a monssster!"

    Like Sidney, like those sisters...He was nothing but a murderous undead thing.

    Mortis' host shuddered once again, the claw upon the back of his head shakily moving down to stuff itself in one of the jacket pockets. His skull gave a small, slow wag to either side, "I-I'm not even... Even a perssson." He sobbed, his steps were awkward, attempting to keep pace with Fear's own even though his host would rather be more sluggish as they walked along the pavement.
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Fear on Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:29 pm

    Hnngh... this all sounded so very wrong, and yet...

    "It isss... it iss no longer my calling. Killing holdsss no purpossse, it isss mindlesss. Our Chief isss not here, Fire iss not here, and even if they w-were..."

    "If I were to ssserve my dutiess... T-there would be no point. Death isss temporary, all I would be doing isss whittling away time before they found out how to contain me, maybe even dessstroy me."

    "I'm jussst-- I'm jussst a monssster!"

    "I-I'm not even... Even a perssson."

    It sounded so, so eerily familiar...

    Another crossroads dawned upon Fear, the ghoul hesitant as he continued ever forward on this unknown path. Was this... was this the price of individuality? In severing Mortis from his existence and operating as a single unit, had he damned his brother to this miserable fate? When alive, they acted as individuals. But in undeath, they had become brothers. Had he been too selfish, too blind, in wanting to obtain a reason to continue existing for himself? For a long moment, Fear teetered between outright reestablishing their mental link and displaying more caution. If he wasn't careful, Mortis' anguish could saturate all it touched. Not everyone was well-equipped to handle such negativity, least of all a scaly alien.

    "Mortisss..." A handful of vigilant eyes removed themselves from the dogs and latched onto the other superfiend. "Mortisss, you are a perssson," Fear reiterated, stronger than before. Out of consideration for his brother's plight, he slowed in his gait and kept a more agreeable pace for them both. "And I mussst apologize, because my wordsss on that fateful evening had been cruel - far too cruel." They had been spoken out of anger, out of desperation; both were a treacherous cocktail in the hands of an impassioned mind. "I know that... you made your missstakesss," Fear continued quietly, "and I know that I've made mine. We were both raisssed to judge othersss for theirsss while overlooking oursss. We're not perfect, Mortisss... Asss much asss Death and the Sssissstersss opined that death wasss the ultimate assscensssion, look at usss. We're two young men who feel asss ancient asss we are, making human errorsss and ssstill asss naive and biasssed asss we were before. Nothing hasss changed."

    And that, frankly, was hard to believe when you had been told repeatedly that you were perfect.

    It was a troubling conundrum and Fear didn't want his brother suffering alone. He stopped in his tracks, admiring the typical suburbia setting around them, and hissed, "Let'sss face it, Mortissss - we're monssstersss, plain and sssimple. We're don't have a pulssse, we cannot enjoy the mossst basssic of sssensssesss, and we reek of a crypt. We became monssstersss the very moment we agreed to Death'sss little transssformation." Creatures like them honestly had no place in society, let alone within a community, and yet here they were, weren't they? Here they were, trying to grab a little happiness for themselves...

    The ghoul would have chuckled at the thought if not for present company. "And don't you talk about getting contained or dessstroyed," Fear scolded, sounding a pinch angry. "We're all that'sss left, Mortisss. If you became captured or obliterated into nothingnesssss, I would never be able to exissst asss I do now."

    Even if they currently had their disagreements and issues with each other, all of that unpleasant business would have been set aside at a moment's notice should Mortis be imperiled. "I would go in gunsss blazing and dropping nuclear warheadsss," Fear nodded, matter-of-fact. "Oh yesss," he continued, resuming their walk. "I may ssseem like a ssstupid, obliviousss undead who forgetsss thingsss left and right, but I am a tool - a weapon. You and I, Mortisss... bloodssshed hasss been practically ingrained within our sssoulsss. I will raze entire countriesss to the ground and bring about the deathsss of billionsss yet again if it meansss releassssing you. Hmph, not like Sssidney bothered doing that when he wasss off getting drugged up to hisss damn eyeballsss!" Bitter? Yes, just a tad.

    "Ah well..." Fear sighed. "It sssimply won't do for our ghossstly blood presssure to rant and rave about him. It'sss jussst you and me now. It'sss jussst you and me..."
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:15 am

    He was not a judge, he was not a brother, he could not be a friend... What was he, if not a monster and nothing more? The undead chanced a look over at his brother, the fellow ghoul's eyes partially on him as he uttered his name. He nearly paused in his steps as Fear gave his assurances. "...Y-you think ssso?" His voice wavered and the undead swore his ribs were beginning to feel a few sizes too tight despite how dead his host was. "hnnngh..." He unbuttoned part of his trench coat as if to allow himself to breath easier, yet his ribs had been completely hollow for years.

    Too cruel he said, far too cruel... Mortis looked over at Fear fully now, listening as he continued to reassure him. It was familiar and yet... he could not help but have the begging feeling he should not be reassuring him, that his host should have been shattered by now and his spirit swallowed and locked away for all eternity. But, he still listened, for his brother had a point, a taste of wisdom to impart upon the sheep-skulled superfiend.

    "...We're not perfect, Mortisss... Asss much asss Death and the Sssissstersss opined that death wasss the ultimate assscensssion, look at usss. We're two young men who feel asss ancient asss we are, making human errorsss and ssstill asss naive and biasssed asss we were before. Nothing hasss changed."

    "No, we're not perfect... But there are missstakess that... T-that were avoidable. If I had been more careful, more thoughtful, a more sssenssible being." He rasped tiredly, sorrow was every bit as draining as anger, as wrath in all its fury. It was merely a different kind of drain, a pulling drain that tugged at his soul and threatened to sink him should he not pay attention. "I had failed to lisssten to your advice, I-I have been ssso foolisssh. I had worried that perhapsss my ruminationsss, my epiphaniesss that I held out in the wildernesss would have made you... Made you anxiousss. I grew paranoid and--" Another sob interrupted him, cutting of his thought. Bony knuckles raised and tapped against his skeletal grin, uneven incisors lightly biting into them.

    "I... don't know a time before thisss place that I have ever ruminated ssso often upon ssuch demonss." He finally finished, continuing to idly nibble at the leathery skin. At once Fear stopped, and Mortis turned to look at why he did. As Fear looked around, he too did so, although the undead could not find himself able to fully appreciate his surroundings as his brother did. A few days prior these were the dwellings of the iniquitous, and now... They still were -as was the nature of centuries of ingrained training- but there was little he could do about them, and for the moment he knew not what to think of them. Too many things troubled him, too many to care about the ceaseless drumming of heartbeats within.

    But not enough to drown out his brother's familiar, honest hiss. It's message?... The undead shifted upon his rotted soles in the middle of the sidewalk. "Ss-ssso I am both a perssson... And a monssster." the ghoul slowly replied, assuring that he interpretted his brother correctly as he let it sink in. He was neither black, nor white... He was grey. Although upon pulling his claws from his pockets to inspect, he deduced it was one of the darker, stormier shades of grey. He was both, and for a small moment he decided it best to instill that perhaps being both was better than being neither altogether.

    A small comfort, but it was better than none. It was a step further away from attempting to incur the wrath of the ISO's. And, in the depths of his blackened, dusty heart, he did not want to truly be destroyed. Much like his brother did not want him to go off and get himself contained either.

    "We're all that'sss left, Mortisss. If you became captured or obliterated into nothingnesssss, I would never be able to exissst asss I do now."

    "Y-yesss, all that'ss left..." He rasped, a little more distant. His earlier contemplation, his self-destructive thoughts and devices turned a shade more sour, guilt tracking its way through his ribs and lacing itself within the more cognizant remnants of his troubled mind. There really was no one else... was there? They had no home, no brothers, no sisters, not even their cousins as removed as they were. There were just the two of them, Fear and Mortis, two superfeinds stuck on a backwards dimension with no way out and no way to contact anyone of their disappearance. A chill raced its way up his spine at the thought and his claws curled shut and his arms crossed tensely around his middle.

    "D-do you think they notice we're gone?" He hissed, the sheep-skulled undead tilting his snout up to stare at the sky, and perhaps beyond the steadily lightening sky. "...I-if they have not been dessstroyed?" Would they be looking for them, or would Death have gone the same route he had when Fear went missing during their initial attempts to purge the Mega City... Part of him hoped they went looking for them both and yet he also wished they never found this place.

    Was it bad he thought that? Did it make him a traitor thrice over-- eight times over? ...Did it even matter anymore now that he abandoned the badge? A low keen crawled from his throat and the towering ghoul moved himself closer to Fear, a clawed hand uncurling from his middle to reach towards one of his brother's, but paused midway. It stayed there shakily, uncertain if the gesture was able to be reciprocated or if physical distance was necessary for the time being. Quietly his thoughts went to Kev, suddenly remembering the alien shared their link. Would the contact damn both him and his brother to feel his anguish, his conflict? His talons tensed, but remained in the air awkwardly.

    Even as they started moving again they stayed that way, the undead forgetting the offered appendage as he listened to Fear regale him, remind him, of what he was, what they both were.

    "...You and I, Mortisss... bloodssshed hasss been practically ingrained within our sssoulsss. I will raze entire countriesss to the ground and bring about the deathsss of billionsss yet again if it meansss releassssing you."

    It'sss jussst you and me now. It'sss jussst you and me..."

    "Jussst you and me..." He echoed quietly, inching a little closer to Fear as they made their way down the sidewalk. Once again he echoed the sentiment within his head, still not all that better, but it helped in the small way that it did. "I-if you had been captured, I would decay nationsss to dussst, wither the world until n-nothing remained sso that you may be freed." He rasped, the tension in his mind managing to make him stumble over his words.
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Fear on Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:03 am

    "Of coursssse I think ssso!" Fear huffed at the prospect of repeating himself. "We have namesss, don't we? We have sssoulsss, don't we? We have free will, don't we?" So, by that logic, they were people! A certain discussion with Cailia Hallow came to mind, though the ghoul wisely didn't bring her up. Mortis and the she-demon hadn't exactly gotten along that night...

    Though his better judgement sternly disagreed, Fear couldn't help but send a small parcel of confidence and energy into his brother's psyche. It was nothing major or groundbreaking, but it was just enough to bid some of those lesser demons away. Mortis deserved a far better fate than to be consumed by his own internal troubles. "I would reckon that mossst missstakesss are avoidable," the fiend spoke up. "But, alasss, sssometimesss we are plagued by our own flawed thinking. The mind isss a funny, funny place, Mortissss; would you believe that many fearsss are irrational and become phobiasss?" If anyone knew the mind, it was Fear. As for failing to listen and succumbing to his paranoia, well... There was no denying Mortis' blame, yet it wasn't necessary to rub the fact in. Fear shrugged, stepping over a crack in the sidewalk. "That'sss all true, yesss. I wisssh you had been there during Missster Rabbit'sss death, but... no point in wissshing for imposssible thingsss, yesss? Besssidesss, you are here now and that isss what mattersss."

    If he said Kev couldn't hold a grudge, then he couldn't hold a grudge.

    "D-do you think they notice we're gone? ...I-if they have not been dessstroyed?"

    The fiend yet again stopped in his tracks, his ethereal gaze lethargically surveying the world around them, hands on his bony hips. "I don't know..." Fear answered, looking out yonder as if the answer would just somehow appear. "I think they would - you know, asssssuming if they weren't obliterated into a thousssand tiny particlesss - but it'sss ussselesss worrying about that ssstuff, right? I mean, we'll never know either way." So there wasn't much point in fretting over something they held no power over. That's how Fear saw it, at least.

    As they walked further down the street, their pace as lazy as any easygoing Sunday, the fiend began noticing his brother's silent want for closeness. Poor sod... What had happened out there, in God's country?

    "I-if you had been captured, I would decay nationsss to dussst, wither the world until n-nothing remained sso that you may be freed."

    Oh, that sounded like a wonderful dream!

    Fear decided to make the first move and he fondly clapped a broad hand upon his brother's shoulder. "Mm~ Sssave a couple of sssinnersss for me, yeah? I can't let you have all the fun purging all the living, now, can - ?" He suddenly looked down, taken by surprise. "Oh, hang on a sssecond... I forgot." There was a faint - ziiiiip! - and out came poking a little doggy head, Oscar breathing for dear life.

    Air! gagged the min-pin, air!

    This was of course followed by, When I tell Master what you did, I hope he turns you into a giant leathery chew toy, you rotten bas - !

    Aaaand up went the zipper, Fear shoving Oscar's wriggling face back into the horrible stench that was his onesie. "Dogsss," he mumbled, shaking his head. "Man'sss bessst friend, puh! My rotten asssss they are. Catsss have proven themssselvesss lessss annoying and more independent." You hear that Oscar, you little blighter? You were just a needy creature with a brain the size of a small fruit!
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:59 pm

    Souls, names, free will... "Yesss, we do." Mortis agreed, but something about that simpleness failed to cover part of what plagued his mind regarding the subject. "But doesssn't a persson alssso know love, care, the proper nuturing of a brotherhood? During thessse yearss you have demonssstrated to know far more about them than I had ever thought I had known. You had kept hoping, kept dreaming that perhapsss I would sssee your way and I had... I..." He shuddered, though now the tremors were starting to finally lessen. "I had only thrown your care and patience back at you. I had abussed your kindnesss, I abussed Lunette'sss kindnesss... Veskur'sss. What place isss there for me? I had talked with her, lissstened, indulged sssome of the more manageable curiossitiess but in the end... I-I had never been a friend to her, have I? Jussst asss I have not been a brother to you." He gravelled, grateful for the slower pace as he pondered the matter a little further.

    "I...I like her, Fear. Ssshe isss very kind to me, a good friend... Perhapsss one of the only sssinners I have taken a liking to upon thisss dimenssion. But I have been foolisssh, clumsssy. I had not recognized care when it wasss sstaring me in the face, and when it was sssuggessted that perhaps ssshe had taken a great liking to me, perhapsss even love...I had not even known. Yet to both you and Kev it was staring you both in the face. I do not recognize ssuch thingss, sssuch obviousss nuancess..." Mortis sighed, stale air shaking through his teeth. "I had not consssidered Vesskur could have... h-have been the one purifying her from our aurasss. Yet, it ssseemed... sso obviousss."

    Why else would he have been absent from the Sanctuary when in the past he had nearly been attached to Lunette's hip each time she sauntered in? Who else was adept at magic and stayed close enough to the Anitra lady to know what was causing her ills, who cared enough to rid her of them all to the point where she was completely clean of their corrupting taint each time she visited? His shoulders rocked with another series of quiet sobs. He killed him, he betrayed the one living person on this whole accursed dimension that did more than tolerate him... And he did nothing to rectify the damage.

    A small taste of confidence swept into his mind like a warm breeze, lifting him ever so slightly. Energy flared briefly like a small flame. He tilted his skull towards the fellow superfeind, a glancing gesture but the lift was enough to send a brush of gratitude and thanks towards the other. Irrational fears becoming phobias... "I would believe it." He hissed, after what transpired these past two years, he held no reason to deny it. "I had thought repeatedly that perhapsss you would... you would abandon me, perhapss punissh me, for my less conforming thoughtsss. When my feelingss sstarted to sssurface I feared that they would not be undersstood, and when I returned after that time ssspent in that no-man'sss land... When I ssaw you, heard you on that walkway. I-I feared the worssst had happened, that during my abssence sssomething happened and I wasss no longer your brother, that I had not been there for you during that length of time and you sssuffered greatly." Mortis rasped, the memory of undulating shadows and a calm, emotionless professional tone still vivid within his mind.

    "...I had been partially right." He finally hissed. Fear had suffered, he suffered what he should have been suffering this whole time, instead of wandering around the grasslands filling his head with denial. Just as he had the last time he went out there, he had told himself it would be different and yet... It was the same tune all over again. Only Mortis went and warped himself in a different way. "I-I wissh I had been there for Vessskur'ss death asss well, brother. You ssshould have never had to take my ressponssibilitiesss, my dutiesss. Now... I am uncertain if thingsss could be mended between myssself and Lunette. I betrayed her asss much asss I had betrayed you. Ssshe isss a kind sssoul, a caring sssoul... But ssshe also ssuffersss. I am a part of it, perhapsss a large part now becaussse of my clumsssinesss." There was only so much suffering one could take before they reached their threshold. He had been gone for a long while, over a month. She had been left alone with her agony for over a month... The undead existed outside of a mortal's timespan, but he still understood that they operated at a swifter rate. A month felt like eternity when under the turmoil and pain that came with self-hatred. It ached, it throbbed and burned like a festering wound.

    "P-perhapsss I have done too much..." He hissed, he could be here now, but here was a long time away from when he was supposed to be around.

    His brother stopped in his tracks yet again, and Mortis paused, turning to see what caught Fear's eye... Or perhaps his mind in this case. The sheep-skulled undead only saw houses, lawns, and the street they were standing on. As the other looked out as if the answer would appear, he too found himself looking in the same direction. Stranger things have happened upon this dimension, after all.

    "I don't know... I think they would - you know, asssssuming if they weren't obliterated into a thousssand tiny particlesss - but it'sss ussselesss worrying about that ssstuff, right? I mean, we'll never know either way."

    Mortis looked out at the horizon a short moment longer. His brother was correct, there was no purpose wondering about people and things that may or may not come to pass. "Yesss, you are correct... It isss sssomething that I cannot help but ponder at times," He turned his snout to look at the fellow superfeind. "I ssstill remember how your disssappearance wasss treated. Knowing that we can be asssumed dessstroyed ssso quickly, ssso easssily..." He sighed and shook his head, leathery, rotted flesh creaking and crackling. The time to keep walking arose once again, and he fell into step alongside his brother, ponderous and easy. "I am torn, brother... Part of me hopess they come and find usss, join usss in thisss dimenssion, and the other... I-it hopesss that they do not happen upon usss at all. That we ssstay lossst, perhapsss even conssidered dessstroyed." Hope was a strange thing for a genocidal monster like himself to have, and how it manifested; Mortis could not help but find it stranger. Yet, his brother was right, there was no point in ruminating upon it, in letting it tumble about in his mind and grow into another irrational fear. That was how all of this mess started in the first place.

    CLAP!

    Mortis's host jumped a little in surprise, his snout swiftly looking about before he noticed a clawed hand clapped upon his shoulder. Contact, closeness... It was soothing, comforting to have some sort of connection with Fear again, even if it was only a hand upon his shoulder. His posture eased and the undead shifted his awkwardly hanging hand to rest on Fear's shoulder in kind. "...T-thank you." He rasped gratefully. "Of courssse, brother!" For the first time in a long, long while, a chuckle rumbled in his ribs. It was a small one, quiet, but still a pinch of mirth nonetheless. "I would not want to keep all the fun for myssself--?" He paused, tilting his skull as Fear mentioned he forgot something and unzipped his leathers. Out popped a small dog's head, gasping for fresh air, and then Mortis too remembered what fear was talking about.

    "Ah, yesss... I forgot about him too." The ghoul admitted, his empty sockets focused upon the tiny beast. It started yapping, disgruntled doggy thoughts broadcast to the open air, and just as quickly as it had seen the light of day, the dog was zipped back into the onesie. The undead said nothing of it, for he remembered the toe-stealer very well. Dogs, indeed. "He certainly isss impudent. The ressst ssseem very well behaved in comparissson. Metusss esspecially." The ghoul commented, looking over to the small pack down the street and giving a small nod in the great dane's direction. That dog had always been one of the more obedient animals he had been around. Although as the topic of cats had been brought up, in spite of himself and knowing exactly what kind of cats Fear meant... His thoughts turned again to Lunette, to what her sweet face must have looked like when he was not there.

    To what she must have sounded like when his actions had made her loathe herself.

    "Yesss... Independent." He rumbled softly, his snout tilting to look down at the sidewalk as they meandered along.
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Fear on Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:35 pm

    "Yesss, but we're alssso Judgesss, remember?" Simple is as simple does, and Fear liked to think of himself as a very simple man. "The way I sssee it," he began to explain, moseying on along, "isss that Law Ssschool did an ol' number on usss. I mean, sssure... what young lad doesssn't like firing a gun and ssshooting ssstuff, or running around playing Judgesss and robbersss with rather large sssticksss and other quessstionably dangerousss, you know, thingsss? That'sss what being a boy isss all about!" Just one of the many universally-accepted truths of boyhood, right? "Of coursssse..." the fiend paused, nodding to himself, "I would reckon that mossst normal boysss aren't forced to wake up at the crack of dawn each morning, ssstill ssshivering from the previousss night'sss chill asss he ssslipss into hisss cadet'sss uniform and praysss to whatever god up high that he doesssn't be ssssent to the houndsss for sssome crummy reassson. Let'sss be honessst, Mortisss... Law Ssschool wasssn't raisssing fully functional adultsss that had any hope of reintegrating with normal sssociety. We're jussst toolsss of a sssyssstem and nothing more, expendable until sssomething either bumpsss usss or replacesss usss."

    But, simple or not, Fear wasn't stupid. He may have stupidly blundered into traps and made that damning pact with ol' Sidney, but the ghoul knew a thing or two that his brothers may not have considered. Like people, for instance, and just how complicated they could really be. A hardened fingernail tapped against metal as Fear pointed at his temple, chuckling. "We empathsss know thingsss, sssee." And someone with a name like Judge Fear didn't get his moniker by wearing an old bed sheet and spooking people the old-fashioned way. "Underssstanding what goesss on in the heartsss and mindsss of othersss isssn't imposssibly difficult, Mortisss. It jussst takesss, I think, patience and a way of predicting their thoughtsss and emotionsss. Being a psssychic doesss help, naturally." As for Miss Kitty... Well, not all psychics were made equal, were they?

    "Look, mate... I don't know how to tell you thisss, but..." Fear let out a light sigh and glanced over at the other superfiend, weakly shrugging. "Missss Kitty wassss hit hard by what happened in December. And while I can't sssay for sssure if ssshe'sss 100% better, I can at leassst sssay that ssshe'sss... a little banged up. A wound like that doessssn't heal quickly, Mortisss, and your absssence made it all the more unbearable. Sssorry to sssay it, but... I don't think anything can happen between you two. Not now."

    Perhaps it could have been... And perhaps it couldn't have. Either way, the moment was lost and the ghoul didn't want to get his brother's hopes up. That was an awful, awful torture. "Of courssse, I think you can at leassst be friendsss," Fear added, indicating that perhaps everything wasn't entirely lost. "It may not happen right away and you'll have to work for her forgivenessss I'm ssssure, but... I'd like to think there'sss a good likelihood that you and Misssss Kitty can once again become good palsss. Ssshe'sss a very kind perssson, Mortisss. I don't think ssshe would be the type to cut off all relationsss with a perssson if there'sss a way to sssalvage thingsss for the better." But before the sheep-skulled nincompoop could even respond, Fear pressed a firm talon into his brother's emaciated chest. "And don't be a thickheaded git about it thisss time, yeah?" he remarked. "You cock up again like that and it'sss over and done with."

    "I had thought repeatedly that perhapsss you would... you would abandon me, perhapss punissh me, for my less conforming thoughtsss."

    "Pfffft!" That's what Fear noisily responded with to the above.

    "Really?" he asked, incredulous. Dozens of eyes rolled in their sockets. "Me, punisssh you? Pleassse... We all know that I am the, quote on quote, black sssheep of the group. Er... no offenssse to your eternal predicament, of courssse. But honessstly, Mortisss!" An aggravated sigh escaped his rotten threat and Fear huffed. "If anyone wasss expecting punissshment, it wasss me. I got clossse to a sssinner and royally chuffed it. Asss sssoon asss Kev asssked hisss quessstion many, many moonsss ago and I indulged him, I knew right then and there that everything wasss going to go absssolutely, posssitively, horribly titsss-up. There wasss no way around it." And therein the two brothers approached their problems very differently.

    Whereas Mortis had thought to detach and run, Fear much preferred tackling things as they came. Did he necessarily want to? No, not always. But it was far better to manage issues when they arose than it was to put them off, where they could alarmingly blow out of proportion at a moment's notice.

    "You ssshould have never had to take my ressponssibilitiesss, my dutiesss."

    Fear shrugged, the helmeted ghoul fairly casual throughout their discussion. "I'm a Judge, I'm your brother," he answered. "It'sss what we do, eh wot? We're not quittersss, we're fightersss. There'sss sssolidarity behind our badgesss, even if our headsss get too far up our own assssesss at timesss, ha ha." Now, what's this about the other two absent chuckleheads? Fear looked at his brother with a skeptical stare. "You actually want Death and Fire here?" he asked, unbelieving. "Whew, Mortisss! That'sss... That'sss a resssounding 'no' for me, mate. I don't want to sssound like an ungrateful ssscrote or anything, but Death? Really...? At leassst Fire isssn't a right two-faced assshole." A pause. "...Okay, well, he isss - but we're not rebelsss! He'sss the sssame pissss rank asss usss: a lieutenant. I can count on Fire to not ssstab usss in the backsss and deem himssself more important than hisss peersss." Hint, hint: Fear was still bitter about Limbo. "But Sssidney?" He rigidly shook his head, going - "Mm, mm... No. No way. Becaussse asss sssoon asss that sssmiling tart landsss here and declaresss thisss world unlawful, guessss who elssse ssshowsss their wretched facesss? That'sss right, the Sssissstersss. Do you want to deal with that old hag Nausssea, or her sssnickering little gremlin of a cohort Phobia? They're awful! They'll jussst fill all of Death'sss holesss with their playthingsss of the damned and then we'll be ssstuck on the sssidelinesss experiencing it." Here's another hint, hint: Fear also didn't fancy the stupid bucket on his head.

    That unpleasant diatribe out of the way, the fiend gave Mortis' shoulder a fond squeeze and dropped his hand. "You are welcome, brother. Asss much asss I have been disssgruntled with you over the passst monthsss, I'm not a heartlesssss basssstard like Death." And that was something Fear carried around with pride.

    Anyway, the dogs!

    By now the chatty fiends had made it to the intersection where the rest of the animals patiently waited, all three panting beneath the warming sun. "Good doggiesss!" the ghoul praised, giving each of them a scratch behind the ears. "Ssso obedient and attentative, not at all like a certain ssspoiled rat." A low growl emanated from Fear's broad chest, though no one paid much mind. "Metusss, lead the pack. We will be right behind," he commanded. Shouldn't be too much longer before they rendezvoused back at the house. They were practically halfway finished with their morning walk!
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:37 pm

    Judges, yes he remembered. Mortis gave a small nod, his empty sockets upon his brother as they continued their walk. Law school, he remembered it well, thanks to Fear's tireless efforts all those months ago. He remembered the instructors, the threats of being tossed to the hounds... And, of course, waking up with the morning's chill still clinging to his young bones, quickly slipping into uniform and hoping he did not get the switch. Again, Fear was correct, they had been raised, trained year after year of their young lives and even past graduating Law School, to be living weapons.

    In this case they had graduated to a whole new level of tool. Undead monsters who could not die, held no heartbeat or pulse, and wielded powerful psychic talents with a snap of their fingers and a direction of simple will. "Yesss, and thisss dimensssion wass what it took to make uss outmoded." He agreed, "Outmoded toolsss and weaponsss of a ssysstem that no longer holdsss meaning... In that sssysstem I had excelled, brother. But my talentsss... What made me formidable then, a perfect weapon, what place do they have in thisss dimensssion? Everything I touch turnsss to dussst, both figuratively and literally." The undead reflected morosely. "If I could choossse once more what I would become, I would have chosssen your empathy. Decay isss powerful, it hasss itsss usssess, but to sssee what goesss on not only within oness mind but alssso their heart... That isss a pricelesss ability and arguably the mossst powerful." Mortis could be called clever, he could be called cunning, but he knew he was far from understanding or wise matters beyond underhanded schemes and coups. His mind was mechanical, as was his element. He may experience passions, but understanding them... he still had much to learn.

    "Underssstanding what goesss on in the heartsss and mindsss of othersss isssn't imposssibly difficult, Mortisss. It jussst takesss, I think, patience and a way of predicting their thoughtsss and emotionsss. Being a psssychic doesss help, naturally."

    A small sigh blew through his ribs, and the undead gave a small shake of his head. "It helpss, but only if one knowsss where to look. You know where to look, brother, the mind, the heart and all of their passions and feelingsss are your element. I... I am nowhere near asss adept." Psychics were not made equal, and the difference between Mortis and Fear was a full case in point. He listened as his brother sighed and explained with a weak shrug. She was in bad shape, perhaps not even fully over what had occurred. Mortis' head looked down to the pavement once more, a soft, shaky hiss pressing itself between his teeth as his chest regained its ache in full.

    "I- I underssstand. After you told me what had happened, I cannot sssay in confidence that I sssee myssself with her beyond anything more than a friend. Not after I have hurt her and left her to sssuffer. S-sshe desservesss far better." Stale breath hitched in his chest and the ghoul shuddered with another sob. "Sssshe desservesss sssomeone who would risssk everything for her, their health and life for her well being. Not me, not sssome fool who knowsss not the faintesst thing of love and care." The hand on Fear's shoulder gave a small squeeze, and his free hand rose slowly to rest on the bridge of his snout. His host shook once more with sorrowful tremors. "None of thisss would have happened if I had been more cautioussss, conssiderate of the differencesss between usss, consssiderate of her."

    Whether it could have been or could not have been no longer mattered, for Mortis and Mortis alone had been the sole reason as to why any chance had died. He had grown to close without considering the consequences, him, the supposedly more sensible superfeind of their group. What cleverness did he possess, what wisdom, when he knew nothing about how to prevent those he liked from being hurt? "I... I don't believe I would like to have anything beyond friendsship with a-anyone after what I did to Lunette, and what I did to you." He shakily gravelled, a somberness hanging heavily to his voice. Who would want a creature like him? Who would look at his monstrous form and see anything other than a killer, a rotting devil that brought nothing but turmoil and decay wherever he roamed, regardless of whether he wished to or not? He knew the answer, and the answer was no one. "...I have no place within ssuch mattersss." He sobbed, the ache in chest feeling as if something sharp and jagged were being languidly twisted within its center.

    "It may not happen right away and you'll have to work for her forgivenessss I'm ssssure, but... I'd like to think there'sss a good likelihood that you and Misssss Kitty can once again become good palsss. Ssshe'sss a very kind perssson, Mortisss. I don't think ssshe would be the type to cut off all relationsss with a perssson if there'sss a way to sssalvage thingsss for the better."

    Mortis glanced up from the cracks in the sidewalk, "Y-yeah?" His was a quiet, hopeful whisper, or at least what could be discerned through his guilty sorrow. An opportunity to mend things, to perhaps help Lunette with her wounds, with the damages he had inflicted upon her. Yes, this was what Lunette needed, what he needed... His hand lowered from its place on the bridge of his snout and the superfeind's jaws creaked open to reply-- Jab!

    But not before he noticed the talon that was jabbed against his chest. A muffled crinkle of paper protested beneath it, and Fear gave a warning, a firm warning. "I-I will be certain not to, brother." he hissed, remorse mingling with hopefulness to make a strange stew within his mind. "I don't want to make her sssuffer again." Mortis added "I want thingsss to be better between usss, I want to try and remedy thisss, if posssible." And if it could not be remedied... The thought was enough to pull him back down and smother his hope away from the small flicker that it was. For it was all too possible that he had done too much and nothing could be salvaged from the tragedy he had inflcited upon both of the Anitras. Upon Lunette, upon Veskur... The poor rabbit, he had been nothing but loyal to her and his corrupting state snatched him away from her. "Did... Did Vessskur return?" He asked softly, uncertain and yet quietly wondering, wishing that he did, for Lunette's sake. He stopped , moving in front of Fear and placing both of his clawed hands upon the fellow ghoul's shoulders. "Pleassse, tell me he returned for her." Wonder grew to anticipation, and then worried tension. He was not certain he was ready to hear if he managed to not return, that maybe he stayed dead, but it was a possibility nonetheless, even as he struggled to keep positive and remind himself that things were not always so final in this dimension, that death was not as permanent as it had been on Deadworld and in Mega City One.

    "Me, punisssh you? Pleassse... We all know that I am the, quote on quote, black sssheep of the group. Er... no offenssse to your eternal predicament, of courssse. But honessstly, Mortisss!"

    Ah, yes, the sheep's skull... The ghoul attempted, unsuccessfully, to let his brother's words sink in and chase away the possibility that Veskur had not returned. If he was gone for good, his brother would have said so. He would have said so when they spoke last, all those weeks ago, s-surely! He focused upon the conversation as well as he could, as well as anyone could while feeling their sins crawl up their back and tear at the aching wound in his soul. "It would be hypocritical of me to punisssh you, brother." He rasped, kicking a pebble away from the pavement with a tap of his clawed toes as they moved along. "After I had been hiding my feelingsss away for centuriesss, feelingsss that were ass every bit unorthdox asss your decisssion to grow clossse to Kev. I am glad you ssstayed with him, that you are ssstrong where I am weak. I..." He paused, looking up from the ground and to Fear, "I want to be more like you." Mortis wanted to be strong like his brother was, to not think to flee from something strange or challenging, to not grow conflicted over what and who he was. Not that he could anymore, he abandoned his badge in that liquor store, left it and all that madness that came with it to rot away.

    "You are, yesss... But it wasss wrong of me to leave you to bear the damage of my poor choicesss. I left you alone for a month, brother. A month that required my presssence more than anything elssse... I left you wondering if I would return at all." The hand upon Fear's shoulder squeezed gently again, and the sheep-skulled undead inched closer until his overcoat brushed against Fear's side as they walked. "No one, essspecially my brother, ssshould have to be left thinking about that. Not for a sssingle day, and not for over a month." The ghoul gave him a gentle squeeze, an awkward side-hug if a passerby caught it. The bag crinkled again and Mortis broke contact only to open up his jacket and fiddle with one of the interior pockets. "I had been meaning to give you thisss, I picked it up on the way back when I had initially returned."

    There was some more crinkling as the undead superfeind grasped at the object, and then shimmied a heavy paper bag out from the confines of his overcoat. The paper itself smelled of week old alcohol, a few stains visible on the bottom from where it had been resting on the ground of the liquor store he broke into days ago. "The ssstrongessst I could find, along with a pack of quality cigs." He propped open the bag so Fear could see the bottle of vodka sitting within, a pack of European cigarettes still wrap in plastic snugly tucked next to it.

    As for Death and Fire... "...When I had been out wandering, my mind wandered to ssstrange placesss." He sheepishly admitted. Oh, but that image Fear had so generously painted...It sent a different kind of shiver down Mortis' spine; an unpleasant, disgusted sense of dread at the prospect. "Sssss... I would prefer Fire's presssence over that if given the choice any day." Death may have said some things were an acquired taste, but there was nothing that could acclimate Mortis to that hellish scenario. Not in three hundred years, not in one thousand. There was simply certain things that were meant to only be subjected to a single mind and no one else.

    "I am glad in more waysss than one that you are not like Death." He hissed, relieved. Before long they caught up with the dogs, who were waiting patiently for them at the corner. He glanced over at the growling within Fear's chest for a split second, though there was nothing within his empty sockets to suggest he looked there at all. "How long doesss your walk tend to take?" He rumbled curiously.
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Fear on Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:32 pm

    "Yesss, and thisss dimensssion wass what it took to make uss outmoded."

    "On the contrary... we were outmoded the very sssecond we finissshed purging Deadworld." Think about it, brother. Really think about it. What use were all these otherworldly powers when the job had been satisfied? And as for hopping over to Mega-City One when the majority vote had been to not jump dimensions, well... Otherworldly powers or not, psychic will or not, none of the Dark Judges had been entirely successful in reducing that abhorrent metropolis into lawful rubble. So, really, the hissing quartet was just as ineffective as the average nutjob; they were simply more stylish in dispatching their foes. "Believe you me, Mortisss," Fear answered, shaking his head. "You wouldn't want empathy, becaussse then you would be ssshackled to emotionsss and thoughtsss not of your own devisssing. It wasss all fun and gamesss ssstalking the occassssional randy teenage couple or two, but after reaching your hundredth it jussst becomesss uncomfortable for all partiesss involved." A small example out of a much larger pool.

    It was true. About Fear knowing where to look, that is. No sinner, unprotected by psychic shields or technology, could hide their deepest feelings and desires from his unwavering gaze. And neither could a certain sheep-skulled fiend, for that matter...

    A thousand questions ricocheted in the helmeted ghoul's melon, pistons firing on all cylinders.

    Morose, regretful, seemingly unable to move forward as if currently... This was a stark contrast to how Mortis had been behaving previously, not even two months ago. What had happened out there in the woods? What had really happened...? It wasn't Fear's place to butt his rotted nose where it didn't belong. He quietly plodded along with his brother, mentally counting the number of sobs and wheezes, and was content to listen. Seemed like the right thing to do, he reckoned to himself.

    Hope seemed to be... fleeting with his brother, Mortis' mind a turbulent place. Just as his claws managed to catch a small piece and hold it close, it just as easily slipped away like the wind and left him at the mercy of anguish. A predatory urge awoke and lapsed into slumber with the coming and going of his brother's ambiguous tides; though Fear kept a masterful handle on his sadistic nature and could readily distinguish friend and foe, Mortis' uncontrollable sorrow was beginning to take its toll. The fiend diverted more of his strength on bolstering the connection between himself and Kev. It would be most... unwise to let any of his brother's woes clumsily seep into the open.

    Claws firmly gripped Fear's shoulders and he abruptly halted in his tracks, senses returning to the physical plane. Mortis' bony snout was the first thing to greet him. "...Hmm? Oh yesss, Vessskur returned for her," he replied, subdued. His thoughts, naturally, lied elsewhere.

    "After I had been hiding my feelingsss away for centuriesss, feelingsss that were ass every bit unorthdox asss your decisssion to grow clossse to Kev. I am glad you ssstayed with him, that you are ssstrong where I am weak. I..."

    "I want to be more like you."

    "But it wasss wrong of me to leave you to bear the damage of my poor choicesss."

    "No one, essspecially my brother, ssshould have to be left thinking about that. Not for a sssingle day, and not for over a month."

    Something needed to be done.

    As soon as Mortis offered him a bottle of vodka and a pack of smokes, Fear made his opinion known. He held the paper brown bag in his hands, hissing, "I appreciate the token of generosssity, brother, but you really ought not be ssso depressssingly sssullen." A zipper was once again pulled and out popped Oscar's little head, the dog gasping for fresh air. This time the pooch learned his lesson and didn't growl at the hand that tortured him. A minor distraction. Fear motioned for the dogs to keep walking as he resumed conversing. "You are not weak, Mortisss, and you mussst remain true to yourssself," were the ghoul's words. "And while I do agree that it wasss wrong of you to leave Missss Kitty and me behind when we could have ussssed your sssupport the mossst, I, persssonally, am not holding a grudge - ssso long asss you realize the errorsss of your actionsss and are willing to rectify the sssituation. Entertaining your misssery, however, will only ssset you back. Rissse above, brother, rissse above." If Mortis continued to brood in the past and fixate on his mistakes, would that not blind him to achieving possible solutions and a more enjoyable future?

    Fear seemed to think so. "Oh, our walksss normally take anywhere between half an hour to forty-five minutesss," he casually answered. "It dependsss on how well the dogsss behave and if there are any unforessseen encountersss along the way. No big deal to me, though. I am content ssso long asss they have their walk and I get to creep around, ha ha."
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    Re: Dead Man Walking

    Post by Mortis on Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:29 pm

    The undead gave a small sigh, thinking back to Deadworld upon his brother's statement. Again, he was right, they all had finished their work the moment their planet was dead. The only thing left to do was retire, just as it was in this dimension. What purpose did they truly hold when they had exhausted it beyond reasoning, initially for the sake of rescuing Death from his captors and quickly after following him along to try and purge the Mega City which stubbornly refused to die. "Yesss, we had agreed to sstay and retire inssstead of follow Death, hadn't we?" Mortis replied, and Deadworld, in all sense, had been where they were supposed to stay. Even with all their cunning in the end their goal had not been completed. Not in one year, not ten, not even in twenty, thirty years. He glanced down again, thinking back to his pondering out in the grasslands...

    To think he had been willing to toss everything aside for the sake of an idea, an ambition that held no meaning. A few days ago he had fully believed that keeping his job had been the right thing, the only responsible thing for him to do. That in the end what he gained from this world would not matter, for sooner or later it all would wither when he and those he held dear had to come to terms with the fact he was indeed a monster and not worth a single ounce of their love -- which, in the end, turned out to be true anyway due to his own actions. Instead, the were all misguided, poorly judged decisions that harmed far more than they helped anyone... And he nearly went through with them all.

    "You wouldn't want empathy, becaussse then you would be ssshackled to emotionsss and thoughtsss not of your own devisssing."

    The superfiend brought his gaze away from the pavement. "I already am damned to hear the thoughtsss of every living being, brother. Their pulsssesss beat like a drum in my head alongssside their idle ruminationssss." His teeth softly clacked with every word, "Would I to know what lay within their heartsss asss well asss their mindsss, I would sssuffer one hundred in order to know thossse of one I hold dear... But," There was a pause, though no shudder coursed through Mortis' host, nor a whimper or weep this time. "I alssso underssstand what you mean. In time it all would become ssuffocating to me, what they feel I would undoubtedly know and feel myssself, and it would have looped back to you. It would be a sshort-ssighted ssselfissh desssire of mine." Even if it would give him insight, the cost would be nothing short of having to suffer a thousand feelings alongside a thousand thoughts. Wishing to have something that was not his to obtain never helped in the first place to begin with, he silently reminded himself. Whether it be a person, a relationship, or an ability, it would do no good to set his sights to where he could not tread.

    And his brother, his dear brother... he did nothing but stay there for him to talk to, bless him. Listening rather well, actually. Throughout all his sobbing the ghoul walked quietly alongside him, the walled off connection muting his thoughts to the sheep-skulled creature. It was only when Fear replied to him did he wonder if perhaps he was thinking deeply himself. The more rotted of their duo relaxed visibly in his posture, a sigh and a swell of relief washing through him. "Thank you, I am glad he returned. During thessse passt few daysss, I had grown fearful that perhapsss he did not and ssshe wasss ssstill alone." The undead graveled, his tone still subdued but less morose than it had been prior. Things were not as bad as he had thought they may have been, and that was enough to lift his spirits by a small, short peg. His gift as well was accepted in his brother's clawed hands, and in return was an honest opinion.

    "I appreciate the token of generosssity, brother, but you really ought not be ssso depressssingly sssullen."

    Oh, oh dear... Even with their link blocked off, Mortis' emotions had been rather strong, hadn't they? His one hand freed, The undead adjusted the edge of his overcoat, pulling it a little further over his chest. "A-apologiess, brother." He stuttered, pulling away his hand from Fear's shoulder to shove itself into the pocket of his trench coat. Not out of being fearful of agitating his brother, but physical contact with a Psi often allowed a link to another's thoughts and emotions. His own emotions must have started to become, for lack of a better word, a heavy load to carry. For a moment Oscar's head popped out from the confines of his brother's leathers once again gasping for air but abstaining from making any complaints. Though his attention was more upon his brother as he went on.

    "I do realize my missstakes and I want to mend the woundsss left behind by them, brother. You may not hold a grudge over my actionsss, but the thingsss I have done, the thoughtsss I had entertained while I wasss out wandering... Fear, the conclusssionss I had come to were--" Mortis hesitated, taking a breath as he collected his thoughts. "I had consssidered retirement greatly while I was out in that no-man'sss land, but there wasss another sside I felt I could not ignore. That if I were to retire, it would not be in earnessst. I had thought that if I retired while I ssstill had thisss desssire to purge life, that I returned and ssstill held the mindssset we carried for centuriesss, that it would have been jussst asss much a crime asss it would have been to return to you and sssay I wissshed to remain a Judge, when retirement wasss the wissser option insstead of continuing with Sssidney'sss plansss. If you had managed to detect that I sstill held thisss predator'ss insstinct, I-I worried that it would hurt you, that I may asss well have been entertaining a lie and giving up your hopesss." He rasped softly, his gaze traveling down to the ground once more, idly counting the cracks as they walked. "Yet if I kept my badge and continued to try and carry out Deadworld'sss law, it would have been crussshing to your hopess, your dreamsss... I had been right about that posssibility. Even out there, I could sssee you ssseething upon my return ssshould I have remained a Judge, feeling betrayed after everything you had done to help me. I had an epiphany out there, brother, a grim epiphany regarding anyone and everyone that may have thought to be curiousss or interesssted in usss. In time I had realized it wasss all ssso fleeting... Love, friendssship, the moment I no longer sssatissfied a curiossity or was no longer fassscinating, that they realized I wasss nothing more than an undead monsstrossity they would leave and move on, perhapsss flee in fear. Jussst like that hissstorian who had been visssiting death and became corrupted, like the dimensssional sstudiess ressearcher who wanted to vissit Deadworld, and like the Death Cultisstsss in Mega-City One who wisshed to be brought to ssalvation. Sssooner or later sssomething would happen that would sshatter that outlook, that they would get more than they bargained for and become horrified..." He sighed, both of his hands resting in his coat pockets as they went on.

    "Sssooner or later I would do sssomething that shattered Lunette'sss expectationsss, that ssshe and anyone elssse who had thought to perhapsss grow clossser, to attempt to be friendsss would recoil in horror no matter how loving, how caring the were. Once again... I wasss correct. I may not have rotted anyone in front of her, but I had been what killed Vessskur and it may asss well have been the sssame thing. It isss not sso much entertaining misssery ass it isss realizing that much of what I had consssidered during my leave wasss far more correct than I gave it credit for being." He explained, a sadness present in his voice as he pondered his leave further. "...I-I had even wissshed to kill her, brother." He hissed, disgust mingling with his sullenness. His talons slid out of his coat pockets, the superfiend looking down at them as if they were some hated thing. "...Becaussse ssshe wasss alive. What doesss that make me?" He pushed his claws back into his pockets, consideration of Fear's own nature rising up to try and push away the weight of his guilt to a more manageable level. His brother still wished to help him, he still was there and willing to speak to him. He should be grateful for that, to know that not everything is completely lost and turned to dust.

    "I want to rissse up, brother. I don't want to entertain misssery and ssstay like thissss. It isss hard, brother, when I feel ssso... ssso guilty, that I dessserve a harsssher punissshment for my actionsss." Mortis rumbled, resigning to stay close to his brother as they walked, but carefull to keep from making physical contact until his own emotional state improved.

    "It isss a nice time to walk." The superfiend replied, attempting to focus on something happier. "Not many people are on the ssstreet, and it isss before the morning russsh to work." Getting to torment the toe-stealer whenever he got out of line must be a nice boost as well.

      Current date/time is Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:51 pm