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

    If At First You Don't Succeed...



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    Join date : 2014-03-22
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    If At First You Don't Succeed...

    Post by Mortis on Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:22 pm

    Time: Early Afternoon
    Date: April 19th, 0007

    Heavy hooves plodded over the ground, frozen earth cracking beneath them as the mare traversed the grasslands. This part of the planet was still in mid-thaw, though the snow had long since melted away as the temperatures began to climb, the ground mostly remained in a wintry freeze. Though, with the way the sun peeked from between the fluffy white clouds that passed overhead, and the warmth that radiated against the mare and her rider’s back, none would have been the wiser. If not for the barren trees that the two ambled past along their afternoon hack, it could have been assumed that the world had already passed into mid-spring.

    However, despite their pleasant surroundings, one of the wayward duo was feeling less than agreeable.

    Samhain toyed with the metal bit that rested within her rictus grin, a single ear pinned back as she gave a forlorn huff. The mare’s usually proud posture had slumped to where her head drooped low, and her dry, mummified lips were pulled into a resemblance of a disappointed frown. There was a creak as her rider shifted within his saddle, leaning forward to give the monstrous undead steed a reassuring pat and a rub against the rotten, greened flesh of her neck.

    ”Sssammy, do not be ssso down. You have been moping for two daysss.” Mortis rasped, though his tone was more consoling than anything that suggested scolding. ”Ssso our effortss to find you decent barding were unfruitful, it isss not your fault or mine. I have told you thisss before, mon dessstrier. Sssometimesss thingsss sssimply do not work out.”

    The undead mare lifted her head slightly from its drooping position, her intact ear swiveling back towards her rider. For a moment, nothing but the heavy thud of her hooves upon the frozen ground could be heard between them, their mental link was a static of mingled feelings and thoughts as Mortis observed his steed mull over his words and in turn contemplate her response.

    It my not be either of our faults, Master. But it still feels like a loss, you really wanted me to be well protected. You faced the city, for me.

    ”I ssstill wisssh for you to be protected, and asss I have looked back on our trip, I have conssssidered that perhapssss it would be wissse for Angemort to have her own protective barding asss well.” Mortis replied, though as for how they would accomplish this remained to be seen. Still, the undead was not about to let one of his best friends despair, quickly adding; ”We will sssimply have to find ssome one elssse who can aid usss in this endeavor.”

    The stump of Samhain’s right ear wiggled as if to swivel back towards him, her ear and a half not so much pinned as they were attentively pointed back to her rider as she listened.

    You said in the past that you had only found that one shop in the city that could help us. I thought there were no other options?

    ”I could have been ssshort-sssighted in my ssearch, Ssssamhain. I too make missstakesss, I too can overlook available optionsss without realizing it.” The undead shrugged, letting the reins sit loosely in his hands as he rested them upon his lap.

    So long as he had been mortal at one point, he was open to faults and mistakes. Though immortal and powerful, he far from a perfect being. Though he had searched phone books and the like, they were limited in their own ways. Names could get lost among the endless lines of shops and artisans that filled page after dusty page of those overgrown door-stops. Newspaper listings were brief and mostly advertised public sellings; people trying to get rid of junk that is taking up space in their garage, families trying to find a home to an unexpected litter of puppies, people selling their cheap labor, their odd talents, their even odder knicknacks... Mortis would sooner expect to find a used saddle for sale in there instead of a good saddler.Maybe the best way to find what he needed was to forego the usual route and instead go the supernatural route. The most familiar way, his way,  the way of telepathic talent.

    Out here, it was the perfect place to practice his craft. Though many animals have already come out of hibernation or began their return from the southern hemisphere, the grasslands were still quiet. The ground was too icy for the smaller critters to begin scratching their way out of their burrows. Of course, the superfiend did not require absolute silence to do his work, his disciplines taught him to block out the surrounding static, the background noise of life as it teemed like the skittering of so many chitinous legs in his senses. But, the quiet was nonetheless welcome to a being that preferred a dead environment above all. There was a low hiss as the undead focused, opening his senses to his surroundings, to the grasslands. Logically, where would one think to find a tack and barding shop if one decided to look? The woods were too constricted for anyone to think of keeping a horse, the mountains were too rugged and steep, and the desert was too barren for their upkeep.

    I resent that.

    Of course, Samhain could not help but ‘speak up’. A low puff rattled through her flared nostrils, the mare’s ear and a half flexing from an attentive position to a disgruntled flattening against her neck. A rough, graveled chuckle bubbled from Mortis’ throat, his concentration breaking momentarily.

    ”I mean living horsssesss, Sssamhain. You and your sssisster are a ssspecial exception.” He reassured, his laughter quelled shortly after.

    An exception that makes us all the more dear to you.

    ”Yesss, mon dessstrier. Very dear to me.” A great asset, and an even greater set of friends.

    Perhaps some would argue otherwise, that his friends should be living, or simply not equine. But with the personalities he had come across thus far during his stay on Portal Breach, there were few he would trust to have his back regardless of the circumstance. They were more, say, fairweather friends, better suited for superficial acquaintances than trusted allies. The type that would “sell someone out for a single corn chip” as the juves were saying nowadays. Naturally, these characters did not catch his interest.

    However, as he settled upon scanning the ever rolling hills and expansive meadows of the grasslands, something did manage to catch his interest. A buzzing of thoughts, just off the edge of the grasslands where it met the desert. Multiple minds chattered with their personal thoughts as they milled about, sentient, non-human. The former detail sent a sinking feeling in his gut- which was completely hollow, funny, that. But even so, the thought of being around mortals when his aura could easily corrupt them was not exactly a motivating sensation. His experience told him to know better than to rule any possibility of immunity from their non-human state. If he could corrupt someone that was part demon of all things, he could corrupt nearly anyone with a functioning organic brain.

    A familiar presence wormed her way through the link, burrowing through his concentration to opine against his inner rumination. Outside of his head was a sharp snort, while inside there was a scolding mental nip and a sensation that suggested the pinning of two slender ears.

    Nonsense, we did just fine in the city, even if we failed to get the armor. That place was more cramped than it is out here.

    Though the nip was purely within his mind, Mortis still found himself reflexively rubbing his arm with a rotted, clawed hand. Ssss... You are correct, if anything there isss lesss of a chance of corruption out in the wildernesss. But-- His mental response was cut short, his companion quickly speaking up.

    No buts. Please, Master. Do not doubt yourself so readily after your first success.

    ...Yesss, fine. There isss no reassson to... ssso quickly resssort to doubt when our vissit in the city wasss... relatively posssitive, in the sssensse that no one grew ill. Yet. He hesitantly replied, the undead’s mental presence was like a deflating sigh, limp, heavy, and all around exasperated. Samhain readily picked up upon the undead’s beginning demoralized state, but of course she would, clever horse.

    You are still not certain?

    Unconvinced. Mortis relayed back. But, perhapsss that one sssuccesss will not jussst be a sssimple fluke. Dessspite my insssecurity, you both ssstill need proper barding in cassse we find a real confrontation.

    He could not deny that the entities that existed out here tended to be hostile and more often than not, powerful. Perhaps it was due to his malignant aura that these powerful, destructive beings were drawn to him. Or, maybe he simply was akin to a virus or illness in an otherwise healthy body, and the surrounding environment was attempting to expel him. It was not as if the undead had actively sought his challenges, but more they were uncanny strokes of luck, or the lack thereof. Whether it was dredging up a wool-covered alligator out of a frozen lake while ice fishing, drawing out a house-sized armored bear from the depths of the woods while seeking bee hives, or even luring a bloody wendigo onto the property while doing nothing but sitting on the couch and watching the telly; trouble just seemed to follow him no matter where he roamed, or did not roam.

    It was all the more reason, and motivation, for him to resume his scans of the sentient beings he had found near the edge of the grasslands. From what he could discern, they were strange, strange in the way that they were so oddly fixated on equine things. The hooved beasts seemed to be their whole world to the handful of creatures he had stumbled across during his search. But, that oddity aside, there were a few among them that were skilled saddlers, if not highly experimental in their materials. A few strange components crossed their minds as they went about their work, some completely foreign to him, and others a little more familiar.

    Now where did I put the glassteel...I swear I had a few sheets sitting in storage. It would go perfectly with the aetherillium I had in mind for this design...

    Now, Mortis had no idea what this Aetherillium was, but it had been a good few years since he had heard anyone even mention glassteel in passing. The last time he had heard it, verbally or mentally, had to be back in the Mega City. But, this being did not seem to be from Mega City One or even familiar with the immense metropolis at all. A fortunate break, he had to say, as even with his recent look, there was nothing he could do about his undead state, the chilling presence, or the painfully obvious jut of his bony snout from beneath the wide brim of his hat.

    Sssamhain, I believe we have found the craftsssmen for your barding. Mortis’ mental statement brought the mare’s ears to perk in his direction. Follow my lead, they are not far.

    He only needed to point the mare in the proper direction, her rotting face tossing with a puff as she turned with a crack of her whipping tail. His steed eagerly leaped into a gallop. Samhain’s spiked shoes kicked up fistfuls of new grass and icy earth, as they drummed a brisk rhythm. Like rolling thunder, the sound rumbled into the distance, following both horse and rider as they disappeared over the horizon.


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

    Character Sheet
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    Stamina Bar:
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    Re: If At First You Don't Succeed...

    Post by Mortis on Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:41 am

    When it came to speed, the undead steed was unmatched- at least by equine standards anyway. The distance between the both of them and the source of the thoughts that Mortis had picked up on his scan rushed by. The ground beneath the undead mare’s hooves passed in a blur of lush green, her rider was positive they had to be pushing past speeds that would be suitable for a vehicle on the highway. Though they tended to travel via the ether when they wished to get somewhere quick, there was something exhilarating about the sound of her powerful hooves drumming against the ground like thunder, the way the wind whipped through the cavities of his skull and pulled at the long fabric of his duster, watching as they flew through the world while his claws were curled tightly around her reins. He could not help but feel a sense of power, of strength beyond the reach of his own supernatural talents where he sat in her saddle. There was a part of him, naturally, that did not want to welcome their arrival as they neared the source of his find.

    The drumming thunder of Samhain’s hooves slowed to a trot as they approached their destination. Where the grass was still lush, before it started to gradually give way to the entrance to the sandy wastes, was what looked to be a ranch from a distance. It had a large pen, fenced in with wooden logs. It was the kind large enough to keep a few horses with plenty of room to move, just off the side of a long building that looked like a barn and a  space cruiser had collided. In fact, Mortis was fairly certain that was exactly what happened, as he leaned around his steed’s neck to better observe the tail end of the sleek, chromed vessel that jutted sideways out of the far end of the barn. It had to be just as long as the building it was sticking out of, and its owners evidently wasted no opportunity to integrate the two together. Metal plating, tubing , rivets... They spanned and fixed the two together to the point where it was difficult to puzzle where the space ship ended and the barn began. At one point the structure was painted a vibrant red, but with long years of sitting in sun, had beached away the depth of the crimson paint. Out front was a wooden arch, like those that marked the entrance of a dude ranch. The original name had been covered over with slats of wood that had been nailed onto it, their edges jagged and burnt. Carved and painted into the face of the slabs of wood was a name:

    Equus Saddlery and Equine Performance

    Beneath was an addendum, neatly chiseled into the wood with smaller letters, though it was difficult to make out beneath the thick layers of red paint that had been spread over it:

    EST’D The Day We Crashed Into The Barn. No Don't Write That. Where Are The Voice Controls? Give Me the Controller, Cob!

    ”Huh...” How odd, it looked to him like the chiseler went completely mad during the remainder of his task. Perhaps it would be wise to stay on his guard, more for the sake of his and Samhain’s wellbeing instead of the matter regarding his aura.

    As both horse and rider grew closer, they found a weedy, gravel path that lead up to the structure, pockmarked with small dents from numerous equine hooves. All of them looked as if they belong to ponies compared to the massive hoofprints Samhain left in her wake. Yet, the undead was not so confident that they all belonged to horses that were owned by the strange group within the amalgamation of a building. They all had lead away from the barn, none of them went towards it. Mortis tapped a talon to his chin, a low hiss whispering through his teeth. The hoofprints were old, and so he could not help but wonder if this group of non-human entities had ever seen a customer before. They could not have been here for very long, or at least not in business long enough to be well known.

    Passing under the sign, Samhain slowed to a walk as her rider guided her around to the side of the barn; from what he gathered from his scans, that had been where the entrance to the store was found. Broad red doors made the way into the barn part of the building, resembling the ones he had on his barn back home. The only difference were the two signs hanging out front, one reading “Welcome” in thick black cursive, and the other that hanged beneath it flipped around to read “Open”.

    Inside he could hear and sense the occupants milling about. So far as he could discern through his senses, he was going to be the only client visiting them today. There were no other thoughts aside from the non-human creatures that scuttled about the immense interior. But he had to give them credit, they had crashed into the perfect building for a business. Leather creaked beneath him, as the undead swung his leg over Samhain’s back and hopped down out of the stirrup.

    ”Wait here, Sssammy, I ssshall return.” Mortis hissed, and gave his faithful steed a fond pat upon her shoulder.

    With that, he pushed the barn door aside with a creak. What awaited him inside was far from what one would expect, and so the undead thought it one of his wiser decisions that he did not think to make expectations of a building that was cobbled together from a barn and a space ship. The walls caught his attention first. Though outside they looked to be wooden slats, inside it was devoid of a single sliver. Instead it gleamed with a metallic shine, riveted together as it reflected the cyan glow of the two rows of thick tubing that slithered over it and came to meet just above the entrance, branching out into smaller vein-like structures to reach up into where the loft would be. He guessed them to be filled with some sort of fluid. They had to be, given how they... pulsed. Yes, pulsed, like something was pumping the bright blue fluid through the tubing like they were arteries. A flicker caught his eye- or lack thereof. Set just beneath the strange vessel arrays were a single row of tall screens that covered the entire wall to his left. They sat within metallic frames, flitting between design blueprints that were situated upon equine silhouettes. They all displayed some sort of concept for riding equipment; saddles, blankets, barding, and some that just looked too foreign to make out their purpose. Next to them, blocky, strange text strung down in long rows, glistening in a lighter blue. Metallic plating clapped softly beneath his bare feet as he stepped further inside, finally noticing the important detail of this chamber:

    There were no racks of wares, no saddles, no leather lines. he did not even make out the shape of a cashier’s desk within the barren room.

    He paused as he heard an electronic chirp from beneath him, and he glanced down just in time for something bright, brilliant and shimmering, to spring up before him. At first it looked like nothing but a cloud of lustrous cube-like objects, before they snapped together into a lithe,human-esque shape. Whatever their gender, he could not discern, but the way that the being’s head balloned out above their shoulders upon a slender neck, and their large, slanted dark eyes stared out like a deep void, he could tell that they were just as inhuman as he had scanned. Grey skinned, and donned in a suit that looked more tinfoil than recognizable fabric, the being flickered slightly; they were a projection. Mortis was no stranger to holograms, as he looked down at the diminutive being. It admittedly was a welcome sight, after his earlier tension regarding the possibility of encountering living proprietors. Though their dark gaze was not focused on his eye sockets, or even anywhere near his face. The projection was staring straight ahead, which was intended to be at someone at its eye level. In this case however, the grey alien was staring right into his belt buckle.

    ”Greetings! My name is Equus, welcome to our humble shop. Our working hours are Monday through Friday, oh-nine hundred to seventeen hundred hours.  May I help you with anything?” It, or perhaps He, greeted. It’s voice was as canned and synthetic as its holographic form, possibly a recording.

    ”Ah... Yessss.” Mortis replied, stepping back a little as his skull tilted down to watch the flickering hologram. ”Yesss, would you be able to help me with--”

    He did barely got time to finish his thought when Equus spoke up again. ”Great! We make saddles, barding, blankets, and equine accessories. Please select from this list which one you are interested in, or if you would like a custom order.”

    Yes, of course, it had to be automated. Mortis did not have to wait before a menu unfolded in the air just in front of the holographic grey alien. Unfortunately, it too was at the undead’s hip level. The undead uttered something under his breath about bloody aliens, before stooping down to get a better look at the projected menu. It looked nothing more than a light blue outline containing the aforementioned list that hovered in its center. Though it thankfully had been translated to a language he was familiar with, instead of scrolling like the strange cosmic tongue on the screens that lined the wall. With a crackle of his joints, a single claw uncurled to point at the menu, following his hollow gaze as he perused it down to the option at the bottom of the list. His gnarled, yellow talon hovered over “Custom Order” briefly, partially contemplating if he wanted to know just how deep this rabbit hole went, or if he wanted to just try his luck making the barding himself after some time of research and practice. In the end, he pressed the flickering text. Samhain and Angemort were worth this strange, fever dream of a collision between wild west and outer space. His friends, his family was worth it.

    He breifly recoiled his arm back at the menu blinked closed and away, the hologram flickering as it presumably ran through its resulting routine. ”I see you are interested in a custom order! Please wait one moment, a saddler will be with you shortly.” The projection cheerily stated, before clasping his slender fingers together in front of himself, a small grin appearing on his face. ”In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our other offers. Such as our recently released Lightspeed performance attire...”

    No sooner had the hologram rattled off its pre-recorded ad, it displayed an equally synthesized visual of what had to be the strangest looking tack the undead had ever seen. It looked as if the poor animal had been wrapped from head to tail with silicone chips and LED lighting. His talons curled at the sight, while the hologram prattled on about the aforementioned performance attire. But, what was more present in the undead superfiend’s mind, was that the holographic alien had mentioned the presence of a saddler to be with them shortly. Briefly his host grew tense, a low hiss escaping him among the pre-recorded chatter. Not long after, a familiar presence prodded his thoughts from across their mental link.

    How goes, Master?

    It goessss, Sssamhain. He slowly replied, keeping his opinions psychic in case speaking aloud made the hologram do anything else. Thisss essstablissshment isss ssstranger than I had previousssly expected. Ssso far however, they ssseem to be asss I had read during my psssychic ssscanss. We are awaiting the arrival of a sssaddler, currently.

    All the while, the undead took the opportunity to take a scan of the futuristic saddlery, picking out five life energy signatures milling about further back, where he figured the barn became the spaceship. All of their thoughts reflected that the hologram, or something it was connected to, had alerted them to the presence of a customer. But, only one of them came to approach the main chamber, or perhaps it was more a show room the more Mortis considered it. There was a hiss like air rushing from a pressurized door, and one of the chromatic panels that covered the far wall of the barn slid aside. Mist rushed from the opening, and from within it, a short silhouette could be seen waddling forward, no taller than a child.

    ...Hold on for a moment, Sssamhain. I believe the sssaddler isss here. Mortis mentally added, watching as what was presumably the saddler emerged from the cloud of mist.

    Their slender arm fanned aside a few strands of pale fog as they stepped forth. There was very little difference between this one and the hologram that he had been speaking with earlier. Only one thing was different between them that Mortis could discern, which was merely the appearance of their attire. This one was wearing some form of leather smock over their foil body suit, albeit also integrated in the way the barn’s exterior had been. Chromatic plating and cyan patterns that resembled arteries and veins flowed halfway down the front of the leather work clothing, meshing into the toughened hide in a way that would make one question if the alien machinery was growing the leather, or the other way around. The aforementioned projection, upon the grey skinned alien’s arrival into the chamber, paused mid sales-pitch and blinked away with a static crackle.

    ”Bah, accursed door... I thought I told Tennessee to look at the hydraulic leak." They muttered as they fanned away the remaining fog that clung to the air around them. But as the alien creature made their way closer, they clasped their hands together and cleared their throat, putting on a more welcoming tone. "Greetings! I hope I did not keep you waiting. My name is Halflinger and I will be assissting you today with your order.

    The patter of tiny feet traveled across the metallic floor, and as the grey alien grew closer, they thankfully displayed another difference from the hologram as they tilted their two-sizes-too-big head upward to look at his skull. The way their almond eyes widened at his visage, Mortis could only conclude that they were just as unfamiliar with the undead as many entities he had come across here. Or at the very least they were unfamiliar with the living dead existing outside of movies and television. True to form, the smell of rotting flesh hit him just the same way as any other mortal, and the alien’s storefront smile curdled for a brief moment before their smock, or was it armor, provided a filter to fit over the alien’s mouth and the two pinprick holes above their lip that served as their nose. Bright blue veins snaked up into the alien’s nose and mouth akin to a feeding tube for oxygen. Did this being even breathe oxygen? Such unspoken questions remained only that, as the grey began to speak again.

    ”Ah, better. Oh--Ah, I mean no offense, but your odor is quite... pungent.” The alien explained, his smile returning. ”Our species do not take well to methane you see. Now, you had indicated that you were interested in a custom order?” Their three fingered hands clapped together, and the alien tilted their head to look up at the undead superfiend expectantly.

    Admittedly, the first thing on Mortis' mind was not exactly business, but a curiosity. ”You do not fear me?” He rasped, indicating to the alien with his rotted hand.

    ”There is no need to fear an interested customer, no matter their appearance.” The alien returned, still sounding as pleasant as ever.

    Ah, right. He was a customer, a paying one at that. Perhaps these beings simply did not get much business all the way out here? It would explain how readily they were to accept whoever walked in the door.

    ”Ah, I sssee.” Mortis breifly turned his skull to look down as he his talons dug through his pocket to produce his journal. ”I have a desssign in mind for sssome barding for two draft horssess. I have the look of it drafted out, along with the meassurementsss and preferred materialsss... Ssspeaking of which, would you be able to work with Kevlar and Plasteel?”

    The alien’s expression lit up, but it was not at the mention of the barding design. ”Draft horses?! Oh my... No, let me guess, they’re Percherons right? Destriers?” They excitedly asked, ”I mean, you mentioned barding with Kevlar and Plasteel, you must be intending to see a few fights.”

    The undead’s skull tilted, his jaw falling open for a moment before he replied, ”Ah, yesss, sssomething like that. How did you know?” The fact that the alien guessed so quickly was admittedly a surprise.

    ”My crew and I are something of equine enthusiasts ourselves, we’ve been enamored with the creatures since we came to this planet.” The alien chuckled, likely to themselves before they added; ”We even gave ourselves planet-side names after different types of equine breeds. Mine is Halflinger -as I have introduced myself- and my crewmates are Tennessee, Cob, Belgian, and Equus.”

    While the alien, Halflinger, thought the idea was rather clever, his customer however did not sound so intrigued by the idea of a group of aliens being fully enamored by a single mortal beast.

    ”Really?” He rasped, the journal still grasped in his claws as he looked down at the diminutive alien salesman, his flat tone was all that was needed for the being to give a small cough and compose themselves once more.

    ”Ah, yes... Right! the design,” he threaded his fingers together, pointing to the journal in Mortis’ hand. ”We can work with the materials you have asked for, though we will need to order the Kevlar. Lately we have been working with more rigid materials. May I have a look at your draft?”

    ”Certainly, one moment. All the measssurementsss have been triple checked before I came here.” Mortis flipped open the journal to the page he had marked, unfolding the paper pressed within it that held the design he had sketched before. One page held a list of measurements, although now the first had been labeled “Samhain”, while a new page was devoted to  a list of measurements under the name of “Angemort.”

    Plucking the design out of the journal, he stooped down to present it to the diminutive alien to evaluate. Slender fingers grasped the edges of the paper, and Halflinger’s large, dark eyes flitted over the sketch and the materials associated with it.

    ”I see... It looks like you are going more for the modern riot patrol look. Very practical, if not a little simple. May I see the measurements you have recorded?” Halflinger asked, and thus received the journal complete with all the required measurements. Their hairless brow crinkled as they evaluated the long list of metric numbers, silent as the paper crinkled with the page being turned was the only sound between them. ”Hm, I can work with this, now may I see the other drafts?”

    A low hiss escaped the undead superfiend, takenback by the request. ”Excussse me?”

    ”The horses, of course. I would like to see them so I can check the measurements. Your work is thorough, but it is best to check again before we get to work.” The alien folded the design back up and set it in the journal, keeping a corner peeking out of the pages as a bookmark, before moving to step past him towards the door. ”You have them waiting outside, right?”

    As he pushed the door open to step out, Mortis followed in behind him, his claws curled over each other. ”Yesss, one of them. I can sssend for her, however--” He did not get to finish his response as a sharp gasp erupted from the alien.

    ”Super-Nova! What happened to her!?” Halflinger exclaimed, one hand raising to rest against their smooth forehead. The sight of the undead steed must have been overwhelming for a mortal who was accustomed to seeing more... lively specimens. ”She looks like she’s been in a state of decay for months, years! I thought you said you had a percheron, not the remains of one!"

    Samhain’s ear and a half pinned, as if well aware of the alien’s exclamation, and she lifted her nose with a disdainful snort. So far as she was concerned, she was even better undead than she was alive. She turned to face her master, nickering as he stepped out of the barn to join the horrified grey alien.

    The undead gave a breif wave to the towering undead steed before turning his attention back to Halflinger. ”I sssaid no sssuch thing.” Mortis rasped, stepping around the saddler to approach his steed. ”I sssaid I had sssomething like it. In life my Sssamhain wass a percheron, yesss, but in undeath ssshe hass become sssomething ssso much greater. Taking up her reins in one hand, he gave the undying steed a gentle pat on the bridge of her nose.

    ”Ah... Y-yes, I see. I was not expecting your horse to be- ahem, undead.” Halflinger replied, attempting to compose themselves  as they glanced between the horse and then back to the notes.

    ”Will there be a problem, Halflinger?” Mortis rasped, his skeletal jaw clicking with the utterance. Around him, the heated air on the border between the grasslands and the desert suddenly chilled.

    The grey’s eyes widened as they stared back at the sheep-skull’s empty eye sockets. For a moment it looked as if a red glow was burning deep within them. But, that could not be, it was just a skull, it had to be a trick of the light. So was what Mortis caught Halflinger thinking to himself to quell his growing anxiety.

    ”N-no! Not a problem at all. Just, ah, keep her still while I get to checking the measurements.” They quickly replied, offering a shaky smile before turning their pitch black, glassy eyes to his wrist, or more the device that was built into the sleeves of their foil bodysuit. They paused, a realization dawning upon them; ”...You said you had a second horse, are they here?”

    ”I had tried to tell you before you ssstartled at the sssight of my horssse that Angemort will need to be fetched.” Mortis replied, before he turned his attention to Samhain. ”Ssssammy, be a good girl and a fetch your sssisster, will you?”

    The mare’s psychic response was as faithful and confident as ever.

    Swiftly, Master.

    With that, she turned as Mortis released her reins, and Samhain trotted back towards the gravel path. Around her, a dense mist began to accumulate, swirling around her hooves and up her legs as she departed. Within moments, the mist rose and grew to envelop her completely, not a single sign of the undead mare left to be seen. Just as quickly, the mist dissipated, revealing the horse to have disappeared as if she were nothing more than a ghost.


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

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    Re: If At First You Don't Succeed...

    Post by Mortis on Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:46 pm

    In no time Samhain had returned in another icy cloud of ethereal mist. At her shoulder as she stepped out of it, was Angemort. The mare gave a shake of her partially skeletal head, her ears pinned sightly against her neck.

    Master, I do not like being away from Woolie when only the bird is there to keep watch.

    A soothing sensation drifted over the mental link between Angemort and Mortis, he understood her dismay. The mare never liked leaving the ewe alone for a moment, the two of them being as close as they were. I know, but I would not take you away from the farm unlesss it was a matter of great importance. Thisss will only take a minute, Angie. The sssaddler needsss your meassurementsss.

    Icy air snorted from the exposed bone of her nose, and the bony whip that remained of her tail flicked in agitation from side to side.

    But you already measured me! You measured me three times!

    Mortis gave the mare a mental pat upon the side of her powerful neck, a small sigh eliciting from his host as he replied over their mental link; Yesss, Angemort. I am aware. The sssaddler wants to check over my measssurementsss before he proceedsss any further with the order for your armor.

    She gave another sharp snort as she came to stand next to the sheep-skull headed fiend, clearly unimpressed with the whole ordeal. Yet, she made no move to disobey and turn to run back to the farm either. A little lower to the ground, Halflinger stepped up to regard the second horse that had arrived.

    ”S-so this is Angemort, huh. What, ah, did she used to be?” The grey asked, his void-like gaze fixed upon the imposing undead animal.

    ”...A Belgian, I believe.” Or so he remembered the cultists had said when they had rounded up nearly every draft horse within a few miles all those years ago.Admittedly he did not pay much attention to the breed at the time so long as it could pull.

    There was a creak of ancient joints as he tilted his head slightly to look at the apparently dumbfounded alien.”When will you begin the meassuring?”

    ”Oh! Uh, right now. We will begin right now.” Halflinger replied, snapped out of his mixture of awe and horror with Mortis’prodding. Immediately he looked to the glossy panel on his arm, resuming what he meant to do before. ”Please hold them still for me while I take their measurements.”

    Halflinger gave its glossy surface a light tap, and an interface menu was projected in the same cyan colored light as the hologram and the fluid that was being pumped through the barn’s vein-like tubes. That same chunky, illegible text manifested upon the projected interface array, as Halflinger tapped in what the undead presumed to be commands for... Something. What that something could be was revealed shortly after, as a flat beam of light spread from Halflinger’s wrist to scan Samhain from ear to hoof and nose to tail. The undead mare’s nostrils flared and she gave an uncertain snort as the light danced over the rotted flesh of her host. Thankfully the entire ordeal lasted for only a few minutes before the light blinked over to Angemort to do the same thing. The mare reacted about the same, as she pinned her ears and stamped a hoof against the sandy ground, punching a dent into the gravel.

    Upon completing the scan, the bright blue light blinked away, and the interface array reappeared above Halflinger’s arm. However, the imagery that Mortis managed to glimpse did not look so alien as it did before, as a rough line rendering of a horse rotated in the center of the projection, surrounded by a few lines of the alien text.

    ”...Hm, a few of your measurements were off by a millimeter, but otherwise they are workable.” Halflinger reported, turning his gaze to the towering undead superfiend, ”It should take about two weeks to get the materials and complete your order. I will be keeping the design you made for reference.”

    Mortis nodded, shifting his weight from one leg to rest upon the other. ”That isss acceptable. What doesss the price for all of thisss come to?”

    Halflinger approached, and Mortis found the journal offered back to him once the sketch of the armor had been removed from between the pages.gnarled fingers curled around the worn leather binding, and the black book was slipped back into the front pocket of his overcoat. His senses picked up upon the thoughtful hum that resonated in Halflinger’s throat, and the equally shrewd deduction as he measured out the cost of his business’ latest commission. Unfortunately, while xenoglossia was a boon when it came to understanding foreign thoughts, it did nothing to aid in puzzling out the riddle that was this alien’s mathematical system. The grey’s massive dark eyes narrowed into equally obsidian slits, their spidery digits tapping against each other as his lips drew into a thin line.

    ”I would say around... eight-hundred credits would be a fair price.” They drawled finally, stepping towards the towering undead and his mares upon giving the proposed price.

    However, something about the price seemed a little... off. Or, perhaps it was not the price, but the way that Halflinger’s thoughts felt. Tense, shifty, as if they were being less than completely honest. Mortis had seen this, felt this before; Haflinger was attempting to embelish the price. A low hiss escaped the superfiend as he too took a long, creaking step towards the alien as well. The undead’s looming stature draped the diminutive grey in his icy shadow.

    ”Indeed, if the price were truly fair.” Mortis rasped, "Do not think to fool me, Haflinger. It would be churlisssh to gouge, when you and I both know, you do not believe that to be the true price."The moment the words rasped from Mortis’ skeletal maw, Haflinger’s appraising expression dropped like a sack of rocks.


    ”Five-hundred creditsss.” Came a reply hissed from ivory bone.

    Five-hundred?” Haflinger balked, ”That is ridiculous!”

    ”And eight-hundred isss not? I could find a better price in the city, half-price even.” Mortis returned, though the grey’s eyes were like deep pits of glistening tar, he could sense the alien glancing to either side.

    ”S-seven-fifty.” The alien stuttered, before repeating the price once again. Seven-hundred and fifty, that is my best offer considering you want a custom order.”

    ”A cusstom order made with common materialsss, Halflinger.” Mortis hissed, his decayed arms came to rest on either side of his hips as his tail started to flick irritably from side to side. ”I will raissse you to sssix-hundred due to the amount of Kevlar fabric required, but no more.”

    "Seven hundred.”



    ”Ssss...” He had gotten the gouging little grey down into the six hundreds at least, likely he could not press them to go any further judging from their thoughts. Though in all honesty, Mortis  was feeling ready to turn this diminutive mortal to dust if he spent any longer haggling. ”Sssix-fifty it isss.”

    A grin filled with tiny, pointy teeth spread across Haflinger’s face- the face of victory no matter how small. ”Deal.” With a rustle of metallic fabric, the grey raised his hand towards him, palm open as if wanting to shake his hand.

    Mortis’ posture softened, his spine creaking as he leaned to look at the gesture, but his rotten green hands remained planted on his bony hips.

    ”You, ah, shake hands on this planet, right?” The grey inquired, glancing between his dangling hand and the towering, rotting customer.

    ”I do not ssshake.” The undead’s bony jaw creaked with the utterance. ”When ssshall I be expecting to pay your crew, Halflinger?”

    The grey's hand slowly, awkwardly lowered back to his side. ”...Right.”[/i] But, his smile shrank only slightly. ”You can pay us once we are finished, in case any complications arise.”

    His hand released from where it rested on his hip to tap a gnarled talon against his skeletal chin. ”Yesss, of courssse.” He replied, ”My thanksss for doing bussinesss with you, I ssshall return in two weeksss.”

    ”Ha-ha, thank you- um...” Halflinger paused, a realization catching his thoughts; ”I don’t believe I got your name.”

    ”Mortissss.” The undead replied simply, before returning to the two mares that stood patiently behind him.

    Dirt crunched beneath his leathery soles as he approached them both, a trio of perked ears facing him. The towering steeds, as he read them, were already considering the journey home. Angemort especially was eager to turn back, as she huffed and bobbed her head. One holey ear flicked back in the direction of home, as if she were seriously considering galloping the tens of miles that lay between Equus Saddlery without them.

    Fret not, Angemort. We are leaving. Mortis’ thoughts reassured her, drifting across the link alongside a soothing sensation that caressed itself down the towering mare’s neck.

    There was a sharp snort in reply, the undead mare’s skeletal snout bobbing before looking over her shoulder at the miles of green hills that rolled behind her.

    Leave faster, I want to return to Woolie. She is all alone back home.

    Mortis sighed as he lifted a foot into the silvery metal of Samhain’s stirrup, grasping her shoulder to pull himself up and into the saddle was a creak of withered joints and supple leather.

    Ssshe isss not completely alone, Angemort. Ombre isss there, his sssize will be enough to ssscare off any fool that wandersss onto the property.” The bird’s wingspan alone was a foot short of three meters in length, not to mention scavenging creatures were notoriously stubborn and persistent by nature.

    Yet, it did not seem to be enough to console the mare completely.

    But can he kick? Can he bite? I have seen him do nothing but laugh and waddle to clean up Samhain’s messes.

    A second voice joined the debate alongside a harsh snort;

    Messes? Sister, I do not create them, I prevent them. Keep your fears in check.

    Samhain pinned her single intact ear, before the superfiend could intervene, the grinning undead steed feinted a bite towards Angemort’s withers. With a brisk tug of the reins and a mental scolding from her master, the undying war horse snorted and lifted her head away from an attempt at a second reprimanding from her sister. Teeth clapped sharply together with a shrill squeal, and Angemort pinned her ears at the other undead horse’s hoarse shout in indignant retaliation.

    ”Ssss!” An icy weight dropped through the mental link upon the dueling steeds like thunder. Both were immediately shaken from their arguing and stepped away from the other with a chorus of huffing and agitated tail flicking.

    Girlsss! Mortis’ scolding tone was just as apparent when relayed mentally as it had been verbally. You both are better than thisss, for ssshame.

    Sorry, Master.
    Sorry, Master.

    A sibilant sigh escaped the undead’s skull as he gripped Samhain’s reins. Beneath him, his steed hung her head, ears pinned, but not so severely as they had been while arguing with her sister. The sound of bone rubbing against cloth met his senses, and Mortis’ gaze turned to catch Angemort’s bony snout gently nudging against his leg, undoubtedly appealing for reconciliation.

    Are you mad at us, Master?

    Mortis shook his head at Angemort's question, I am not mad at you two, I dissslike your behavior. If you both mussst... clear the air, do ssso at home and when I am not ssseated upon your backsss. You both know thisss. A soothing sensation radiated from him to the two undead steeds, and not long after they slackened from their earlier tension. Pinned ears flicked forward and relaxed, and the pensive expression that drew Samhain’s rictus grin uncomfortably taught fell.

    We got carried away.

    Samhain was the one who ‘spoke’ this time. With a light mental guiding from the sheep-skull headed undead, she and her sister turned to travel back. Already a light veil of wintry mist was beginning to pool around the two horses. As it steadily grew and swallowed the retreating steeds,  The undead superfiend saw fit to reply.

    Indeed, but it hasss been handled. I only asssk you tow keep your grievancesss to yoursselvesss on the way back. A mental agreement met the retired Dark Judge’s thoughts, just as the mist swallowed them entirely and carried them to the ether.

    ((This thread is complete and may be locked.))

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    Re: If At First You Don't Succeed...

    Post by Sponsored content

      Current date/time is Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:38 pm