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

    Face It, You’re Broke!



    Posts : 829
    Join date : 2014-03-22
    Location : Deadworld
    Level : 60

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    Face It, You’re Broke!

    Post by Mortis on Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:44 pm

    Time: Early Morning
    Date: June 4, 0008

    It was another early morning, one that manifested in one of the undead’s favorite ways. Mist clung close to the dips in the rolling hills, creating smoky grey pools between them that made those knolls look more akin to a plethora of islands. The mist caught the sun as it steadily began to rise over the horizon, and for a moment the undead superfiend could not help but bring his steed to a halt as they crested one of the numerous rolling hills to better appreciate it. An empty sigh escaped him, content at the view, but beneath his saddle he heard a very equine sigh of a different sort.

    The eternally grinning mare’s toothy grin was curdled into a rictus scowl, her single intact ear pinning back slightly as something idly simmered within her mind. Distaste, discontentment, something had his right-hand-mare absolutely disgruntled this particular morning.

    He leaned forward in the saddle, leather creaking upon leather as he brought himself to look Samhain in the eye as best as he could. ”You ssseem troubled, my dear.” He softly rasped, a mental stroke soothingly running itself alongside the crest of the great undead horse’s neck.

    Was the walk not to her liking? Or perhaps there was something close by that was irritating her? As his horse “spoke up”, it soon became clear that neither was the case.

    The walk is fine, master. It is not what troubles me. There are matters on my mind that have been sitting for a long while, matters regarding you, and a few of the other denizens upon the farm.

    ”Oh?” The undead leaned away, his tone stuttering in a sheepish manner. ”What sssort of matterss might thisss be? You, your ssissster, Woolie, you all ssseem content out here.”

    This was the first complaint he had heard, even.

    The mare’s tail flicked, and another puff of icy air forced her mummified nostrils to flare.

    Seem would be the operative word, master. We enjoy all you do for us, and appreciate your care, but we are beginning to worry, master. You have not been yourself for a long, long while. Ever since the trip to Master Fear’s home this past winter, you seem... different to us.

    She could sense the way her master’s thoughts began to tense, and soon after a low, drawn out hiss whispered from his skull. Yet, he did not say anything, his tongue, however rotten and perforated, had somehow been tied. Regardless, she took the opportunity to speak further.

    ...Angemort has spoken to me recently in regards to the ewe. She wonders why she does not see her ‘uncles’ very often anymore. My sister and I are puzzled as to why you are so brave out here, and yet are anxious to the point of being nearly overwhelmed with terror when you enter the city. We do not understand this.

    Though Angemort was far closer to the black sheep than Samhain was, she could not dismiss the concerns of the other undead mare.

    Humans were numerous, yes, but they were puny things. She could dash the bones of them to pieces with a single flick of her head if she so wished, and she knew Master could do much worse. They were clearly not a threat, so why did he treat them as such? Not to mention, she had seen the memories of her master when he began to remember the times before they arrived here, before so much had changed.

    What made him avoid his brother as well to the point where he began to denounce that they were so anymore?

    Her master, meanwhile, hissed like a kettle coming to a boil atop her back. She could feel him trying to puzzle together a response, a sensation that felt like how the radio sounded when he was switching between channels when he decided to lay out in the grass at times in the evening. As for Mortis, he was caught off guard that the mare was so astute as of late, and that she was capable of thinking so deeply on matters to the point where they became hidden from him. She had been considering things for months, since they had traveled to the jungle, in fact.

    Likely it was a symptom, no, a mutation from having spent so long in his mental presence. Or, so he attempted to reason to himself. Even so, Samhain was a smart horse regardless.

    "I...I... Ssss... It isss a long ssstory, Sssamhain.” He hissed.

    We have plenty of time before the ewe must be let out for breakfast.

    ”...Ah,” He reached a clawed hand from the reins to grasp at the back of his neck and gently rub the greened flesh of it. ”Ssso... Ssso we do.”

    The radio’s clock read it to be a good three hours before they needed to return. Though tempting it was to try and coax the mare to return home a little early and check to see if Woolie may have somehow not decided to sleep in, her legs looked like they would not be moving anywhere anytime soon. The undead sighed, and let the reins slip from his hands to rest on the protuding bone of the animal’s spine. His tail flicked to either side momentarily, and he leaned back in the saddle, looking past the mare to the horizon as it steadily saturated with fiery color.

    ”I decided it besst to keep my disstance from Fear and hisss family, they do not need me in their livesss. He hasss Kev, and Livewire, and friendsss to occupy himssself. If I were to get involved anywhere beyond lettersss and the occasssional gift, I would only bring them misssery. It isss all I give to the living, Sssamhain.” He explained,  both of his hands came to rest on his thighs as he continued; ”Ssso long ass my aura iss the way it isss, and none posssesss the ability to attune themssselvesss to essscape itsss corruption, it isss the only outcome if I were to vissssit and interact asss often asss I usssed to. You had ssseen the memory of what happened to Vessskur, Sssamhain. You were around when I wasss debating dessstroying the journal. If I linger around the living they will certainly die.

    He could not make friends, he could not find love, companionship, or even a close acquaintance. The only regular interaction he could have was with his animals, this he was certain of.

    Though Samhain, for some reason, thought differently on the matter.

    But Master Fear and the Metal Girl are not alive. Why can you not seek them out? They live close enough by that we do not need to jump into the ether to reach them, and they will not die.

    ”It isss not them I am worried about, it isss Kev. He isss alive and unattuned to my aura.” He countered, ”If I visssit too often, if I linger near him, he could die, Sssamhain. Fear had already disssowned me once when Vessskur had died, I would not want to know hisss wrath ssshould anything happen to Kev.”

    The horse made the equivalent of a shrug in her thoughts.

    What does it matter? You do not see him as your brother now.

    There was a low hiss and the undead’s hand reached up to pinch the bridge of his snout, ”Ssssamhain... Sssamhain that isss not the point.” he rasped in exasperation, ”I do not want to repeat that again. I do not want to be unintentionally resssponssible for another death that could have been avoided by keeping my dissstance. I do not want a repeat of passst hissstory, to be sssome clumsssy fool that iss unaware of their own threat. I am better than that.”

    The horse’s pinned ear laxed, both it and the stub swiveling -and wiggling- as the cogs turned in her elongated skull.

    Does Kev have to be there when you see Master Fear and the Metal Girl? If he is the problem, then remove him.

    Mortis’ hand removed itself from his skull to settle in his lap. For a moment he turned his gaze from the horizon to watch the mare’s ears flick to and fro as she thought on the matter. His jaw clicked upon speaking once again.

    ”He isss not a problem, Sssamhain.” He corrected, he did not bother with the femme’s name, as that in the past had been like trying to pail water out of a sinking ship. I am the problem. Jussst asss I wasss the problem when it came to Vessskur, and Lunette... Ssss, and not to mention he and Fear may asss well be conjoined. The only time I had ssseen him without Kev wasss when he visssited me for the Holiday.”

    Likely there would be unease if he even attempted to breach the subject of seeing Fear and Livewire without Kev’s presence. Unease from Fear, unease from Kev... At times he wondered if anyone even remembered he had an aura that could fatally corrupt the living, or if everyone involved opted to forget what had happened and he simply was not given the memo.

    It would not be the first time he was out of the loop, case-in-point being Lunette having returned. How long had that been going on?

    ”Ssss... Even ssso, I think they appreciate that I am out of their exissstencesss more than anything.” He sighed, and for a breif moment both her ear and the ragged stub that remained of the other one rested on him.

    What makes you say that, Master? I had heard you two while you were in the city, he seemed to want to catch up.

    The memory was shared between them, albeit from different perspectives.

    Last month:
    Alright. It was still nice to see you. Will you be by more often?

    Even if only for absinthe?

    It wass nice sseeing you again, it isss good to know you keep getting new friendsss.

    I am uncertain. I do not like being near ssso much life.

    *respectful nod*

    Maybe it would help if Fear was here too, sometime?

    ...Perhapsss, but I do not prefer to sstay inssside for very long.

    I musst be on my way.

    One saw an invitation, and the other saw something else:

    ”He wasss being polite, Sssamhain.” Mortis replied, ”The living, people sssay what they do not mean all the time. They will sssay it isss nice to sssee you again, that they were glad to meet you, that they would like to sssee you again... Sssome... Ssssome will even sssay they love you and never mean a ssingle word of it. It isss how they work.”

    It was all pleasantries, little white lies and empty words for the sake of being sociable. Lunette certainly never wanted anything to do with him again after what happened with Veskur. And, as he looked back... Perhaps that was for the best. It was the for the best their paths never crossed again, it was for the best she moved on, and it was for the best that she never said a word to him and  he never bothered her or her newest lover.

    Just like it was for the best that Mortis never returned to the Sanctuary, and that he never received a summons or invitation from his brother to join them as Kev offered.

    They never offered an invitation to join them or summons to begin with.

    Samhain’s snout tilted to the side, a single eye socket now focused upon her rider.

    Kev asked if you would be by more often. That is all I remember him saying.

    And Mortis replied in that he was uncertain and did not like lingering around the living, as the history went. His skull tilted slightly, moving his empty gaze away from the mare to look contemplatively at a particular stretch of grass.

    ”Ssss... You have a point. Perhapsss... Perhapsss it isss not out of the quessstion they are waiting for me inssstead.” The undead’s shoulders shrugged with another heavy, albeit dead breath, ”But even ssso... They may have moved on. They may not be interesssted in having me around anymore, like Lunette. Fear ssstill sssharess a mental link with me, though we do not ssspeak often anymore he likely knowsss the ssstepsss I have made to dissstancing mysself jussst from overhearing.”

    His claws tensed upon the holey leather that covered his thighs, and regained eye-socket contact with his steed.

    ”He may have already disssowned me again, but quietly.” Mortis rasped,  ”If he hatesss me, it would not matter what Kev sssaid or offered to begin with.”

    It was a possibility, but there was another detail to this matter that made it mor complicated than what her Master had offered. She could already hear Angemort worriedly whispering away in the back of her head as she overheard some of their conversation.

    It will be difficult to explain this to the ewe if it is indeed the case, she is a simple creature. Neither she nor Angemort will be pleased.

    Mortis shook his skeletal head, before his gravelled voice split the silence between them again. ”Indeed it will be, but if it isss the casse, there isss nothing we can do. Fear can only deal with ssso much, and even if I meant to protect hisss loved oness... I... I may have jussst hurt them inssstead.”

    The mare’s nostrils flared open with another puff, and her head turned itself towards the horizon again as she noticed something dart across one of the distant hilltops. But, her ear was still fixed upon her rider.

    How will we know if this is indeed the case then?

    ”One way would be to sssee them in perssson. I know from experience Fear may confront me persssonally.” He hissed, though he did not sound very confident about the offered option, ”Mossst likely we will find out from them sssimply not contacting usss anymore, a ceassse in lettersss from Livewire perhapsss.”

    His claws curled against the leather with a dull creak at the thought. Though it was not an eagerness or zeal that made his talons tense.

    You seem pensive, you do not want this outcome to occur.

    His skull focused rigidly upon the mare, ”No, but it may be inevitable regardless. I ssswore to myssself to ssstay away from the living, Sssamhain.” The superfiend urged, stressing the terms of his agreement especially. ”My place isss not with them, it isss with the dead.

    Despite her Master’s urging, something about that did not sit right with the mare. It sounded right considering what had happened to her Master, but it also contradicted a few things.

    But Master Fear is dead. Livewire is not alive like a person either, she could count as being dead.

    The ghoul’s hisses became ever more exasperated as he debated with the animal. Debating, with a dead horse even, that was certainly not what he had foreseen when he had initially became an undead bringer of decay and destruction.

    ”Yesss, we have esstablissshed thisss, but we cannot be around them becaussse of--”

    He was cut off mid reply as the mare’s attention refocused itself fully back upon him.

    You are scared.

    She chomped a little at the silvery bit in her mouth as she considered her words and pressed on.

    You are scared of facing them again. I can see it in your thoughts, Master.

    He was scared of them, because he knew that there had been a reason why they had never told him why the Anitra had come back, why they never told him she had come back to begin with. He was scared because he knew it would inevitably come up, and there would be a whole other level of pain he would have to face that he spared himself from by staying out of their existences.

    He also knew they would be upset about him keeping his distance from their family as well. Fear, Kev, Livewire, they would be upset that he stayed away from them for so long, even with the letters he sent.

    He knew it, and she knew it. But there was still more, and more, and more.

    He was scared of facing the cat-woman again, he was scared of facing the robot, he was scared of facing whatever may have been said behind closed doors, the sharp tips of daggers whispered in secret to be plunged in his back. Did he know this to be the case in truth? Of course he did not, but history had ways of repeating itself oh-so faithfully. It was why he limited the reach of his senses, and kept himself dulled. All of it was an effort to hide, and keep the unknowns hidden where he could best come to his own conclusions. This was without even breaching the topic that was his anxiety regarding his aura.

    ”I....I, ah.... Yesss.” He confessed, it was impossible not to, with how Samhain was joined with him mentally. ”Much hasss happened, much hasss changed... I do not want to fall into another sssituation like what had occurred two yearsss back. I do not want to return and be sssuddenly confronted with missstake after missstake, fault after fault. Methinksss that isss what isss waiting for me ssshould I return... Jusst another guillotine blade aimed for my throat.”

    Samhain paused as her master went quiet after that sentiment, her tail flicked from one side to the other, swatting aside invisible flies. She mulled it over, while her rider plucked the wide brimmed hat from his skull  and pretended to inspect the frays in the edges of its brim.

    You want to run, master... I know animals that run, prey runs from what would eat it. It runs because it is vulnerable and knows it will surely be eaten if it does not run. I have spent barely two years with you, master, you do not strike me as one that would be associated with prey. Yet...  Yet you are acting like it.

    He could feel the undead mare scanning him over with scrutiny, thinking, letting the point of her oddly penetrating diatribe percolate through her thoughts and observations.

    I think you are confused. I think in your running you have forgotten yourself. You may have a deadly aura, yes, you may kill effortlessly without even intending it. But the Master I have seen in your memories, before you started running, did not fear confrontation. They did not fear those puny people that all over the city... They also did not fear being there for those that needed him.

    Her master’s posture drooped slightly, his claws fiddling with the brim of his hat in embarrassment. Fear and Kev may not need him anymore, as went his knowledge, but Woolie did, and Woolie deserved better than the undead he was being currently. Lunette had deserved better, as did Fear, and Kev, and Livewire. He may not have been able to make it up to the Anitra woman anymore, but he could at least make it up to Kev and Fear’s family, or at least try.

    Samhain of course had one other detail to add to it all.

    And I deserve better than a Master that becomes terrified at the mere sight of a living person. I like you, Master, but I cannot keep soothing you as intensely I had needed to when we visited the last time. It taxes me a great deal.

    She may have been a smart horse, but she was a still a horse at heart. A master, a leader, would not be so lacking in confidence. She wanted to see him be able to visit there without fear, to be able to ride down the street without becoming hyper-focused on how alive it all was and how everyone could possibly be corrupted by just bumping into him on an off-chance. She wanted him to be as confident as she had seen he could be, not this cowering shade of his former self.

    ”Ssss... You are right.” he rasped finally, while tracing the outline of a hole that had been rotted into the brim of his hat. ”I am sssorry I have been sssuch a burden to you, I had not meant to be. I appreciate your sssupport thuss far.”

    There was a sensation like the mare’s body had been embraced in a hug, the mare’s head picked up with a surprised jerk. But it was not from her being startled, as she turned her head around to gently nip at the holey leather that covered Mortis’ calf.

    Neigh, you are not a burden. I support you so because I like you. Am I not your best friend?

    He playfully batted away the intimidating creature’s nose with a light swat of his claws. The undead gave a croaking chuckle and replaced his hat upon the back of his cranium, adjusting it to keep the sun out of his eye sockets. Though he did not need to worry about glare, he preferred to keep his skeletal features in shadow.

    ”Yesss, yesss you are. Even ssso it paysss to appreciate the fact you are.” Though the warmth in his tone faded as he took his attention off the mare and out towards the sunrise. ...But I am uncertain where to begin exactly. Everything you mentioned is immenssse to take on at once. It ssshould be done in partsss, planned and executed carefully. The city iss ssstill a very intimidating place, mon dessstrier.”

    Her ears pinned at that.

    Nothing is more intimidating than me.

    The undead chuckled once again, a little sheepishly. He could name a few things that were far more frightening than Samhain, but before he could say anything she added more to it.

    The bears run when they see me now.

    It was a fact she said with pride, maybe a little too much pride. But there was a method to her confident perception of herself. Even if she was not the most intimidating thing her Master had seen, she was the most intimidating thing the city likely had seen as of late. While her master was picturing a full grown brown bear waddling its chubby self away from her angry form, she elaborated further.

    The city has a big meadow in it, we could start there.

    ”...Perhapsss. It isss very roomy and open.” He agreed, the location was a nice offer, and one he had not considered prior. ”We could ssstart there, sssometime.”

    Good, we can bring Woolie there today.

    ”Yesss, we could take Woolie-- Today?!” He nearly did a double take, ”That... That ssseemss a little sssoon, don’t you think, Sssamhain?”

    He fidgeted nervously in the saddle, and his claws drew themselves up to curl like dead brambles against his chest. Today, just after they had discussed everything, that was jumping into things way too soon, way too fast. Alas, if only the horse felt the same way about it.

    Yes, today. I do not see how it is too soon, you agreed that it had to be done.

    The undead’s hoarse gravel grew timid at the mare’s enthusiasm. She... she really was serious about this.

    ”Well, yesss, but--” He did not get to finish his statement as Samhain’s voice picked up on their link once again and cut off his thoughts.

    But nothing, we should start now. It will only be forgotten if we do not start at some point, and the best point, I feel, is today.

    Though her master was palpably apprehensive to the point where his tail curled and flicked to either side in the saddle, she was fully confident that this idea of hers would kick off just fine. All they had to do was return home and pick up Woolie to come along for the ride.

    ”Ssss... Sssamhain...” Mortis piped up above her churning thoughts, ”I appreciate your zeal, but perhapsss we ssshould do thisss... Tomorrow? It isss going to be a warm day, there will be people there, lotsss of people. I do not think thisss iss very thoroughly planned out. Maybe... Maybe we could try thisss in the winter, even, when there will be lesss of a crowd.”

    Again, there was no dissuading the undead horse. Her mind was set, and when it was set she may as well have matched her master’s stubborn streak.

    Nonsense, so long as I am with you, I will ensure no one comes too close.

    Yes, that was part of his worries. ”...You will, yess, but the ISO’sss may not be ssso keen if you bite ssomeone, or sssay, choke ssslam them into the ground.” He hissed, ”I do not want  them taking notice of our presssence. Your meansss of keeping the living at a reassonable dissstance mussst be... gentler.”

    Her intact ear twitched at this. Gentler, he said. She did not know much regarding the ISOs, but she understood what he meant. Although her agreement was begrudging.

    ...Very well, Master. But in what way do you want me to keep the people from coming too close?

    That, in all honesty was a good question. Most of his experience was either being physical himself or becoming aggressive if he did not want someone touching him or being too close. The undead tapped a talon to his chin, thinking. It had to be something that felt natural to her, something that would not require too much instruction.

    ”When you were alive, how did you tend to keep sssomething from coming too closssse to another horse?” He asked, and the mare’s head turned a little more towards him.

    You mean, like a foal?

    The undead shrugged with a snap and a pop of his withered shoulders, it was admittedly infantile sounding, but it was a start.

    ”If that isss how you mussst perceive it, yess, like a foal.” He hissed thoughtfully, his chin tapping ceasing to let his claws flourish in a gesture towards the mare to proceed, ”What would you do to keep sssomething from coming near a foal?

    Her response was quick, instinctively quick.

    I stood between it and whatever came too close and moved the foal away, or I moved whatever was approaching away.

    Oh, so she had experience with this. He admittedly had not expected it, but perhaps he should have. The mare puffed once again, and drew his attention away from that brief curiosity into her past life.

    Shall I do this?

    ”The firsst part will do, you are large enough that you would create a perfect barrier. No one would try to presss to come any clossser to warrant moving me away, methinksss.” He approved, but there was always an odd outlier somewhere that tended to pop up. ”We need only worry about moving or defending ssshould we ssomehow encounter any aggresssive partiess... But that is highly doubtful. No one would dare ssstart a fight within the city limitss.”

    He trusted her to be able to keep the living at a comfortable distance, and he knew she knew better than to start a fight he did not want... At least, such was usually the case. But here? This was for the sake of something she wanted him to get over, and to an extent, Mortis wanted to be able to move around without feeling so anxious as well.

    I can do this. I will be... a barrier for you. If it will help you stop being so afraid of the city.

    Her reply, thought tentative, was the best thing he could hear from her. It was start in right direction for both what she wanted, and what he wanted.

    ”Thank you, Sssamhain. It meansss a lot for you to do thisss for me, with me.” He appreciated it immensely, even if it seemed like a small change.

    After all, no one else really had... offered, or even noticed anything from what he could discern. Perhaps anyone who may have offered in the past were even content with him being anxious regarding the city and outright avoiding the living to the point of obsession.

    Of course, you are important to me. I would do this for no one else.

    That was also something he very rarely heard, if at all. It was enough to ease a little more of his apprehension towards visiting the city, even if it was only to sit at the park for the day. Or maybe not the day, staying there from morn til dusk seemed a little bit too much time to spend there, especially when he still had to tend to the garden. Perhaps he could stay for an hour or two?

    Three hours

    Samhain nodded her head in her horsey way, though by now she was becoming more of an entity of her own instead of a mere equine.

    ”I... I sssuppossse that would not be too long.” He hissed quietly.

    But, he would not be alone, Samhain would be there, and so would Woolie. Already those were two very supportive friends and family to stick through it with him. He glanced back towards the horizon, the sun was now climbing over the hills and burning away the morning mist as it ascended into the sky. They had to have been here for over an hour or so, just talking and thinking. It was time they returned home, Woolie likely was beginning to rouse from her dreams soon enough.

    Samhain picked up on her master’s pondering, awaiting him reclaiming the reins within his claws before she turned back towards the farm and started trotting her way back home.

      Current date/time is Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:34 pm