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[Graded]Remade in His Image
Topic Started: Jan 7 2012, 11:10 PM (1,396 Views)
Allura
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The long tubular things reared their heads, their sandy brown annulated body hiding under the dry sand of the desert, their full lengths a mystery. Their anteriors rose out above the dunes, towering a head taller than she, each boasting an impressive ring of teeth adorning their stumpy ends like a wheel of sharp spokes. For something that size, they were surprisingly swift, traversing the desert under the sands like fishes in the sea. Eyeless creatures that they be, the pair tracked their prey's movements through her footsteps on their sandy habitat, the vibrations sending information to the rings of sensory cells running the entire length of their bodies. They flanked their quarry, one on each side with practiced co-ordination, corralling her into a desired position of their choosing before they strike. But Llura was never one to give in to their orchestrations. She was not about to be ran down by the sandworms. "Godspit!" she swore at her assailants as she ran. "Don't you ever give up?!! I'm no worm food!"

---

~The day before~
Llura was lost again. She had been doing a lot of getting lost lately, but this one took the cake. After her troubles in Trillium, she had come to South Fiore following a lead. Instead of ending up in the Dandelion Sector, she'd overshot her intended destination and arrived at Ilcopai in Sanzibar Desert, and made a mental note to stay awake in trains the next time she gets in one. The town was not the kind that would interest Llura naturally. Famed for its scholars, Ilcopai was dotted with libraries and schools and other learning institutions. Bored of looking at books with too many words and no pictures, she sought out something exciting to do and thought of going into the oasis, only to be warned by the locals with tales of mysterious disappearances and unprovoked attacks by sandworms, creatures that lurk under the sand resembling earthworms which, when provoked, would spit toxic rust. The thought of seeing one of these strange creatures excited Llura, who adjusted her sightseeing itinerary accordingly.


~Earlier today~
Llura was unimpressed by the oasis. She had decided to go there without the aid of a local guide and managed to find her way to the lush respite without getting lost. Time to see those worms, she thought and headed out into the barren dunes beyond the oasis's northern edge, sneaking past the warning posts. Llura could not tell how long she had been out here but whatever it was, she was starting to get bored as no sandworms were sighted. She looked back towards the direction of the oasis to get a measure how far she'd walked. It was by now hardly visible from where she stood but it did not concern her. She just had to be sure she was not lost. Unaccustomed to walking on sand dunes, Llura's calves were beginning to ache as her lack of proper sand travelling shoes had meant extra effort had to be exerted with each step.

She sat down on the hot sand, ignoring the heat on her bottom and took off her boots, tipping them to remove the sandy contents that had accumulated within. She was about to give up her search for those sandworms she had heard about and was turning towards the direction of the oasis when she felt the rumbling beneath her bare feet. A few yards behind her, Llura could see sandy trails appearing out of nowhere, and the sand around her began to shift. Alarmed by this sudden unnatural movement about her bare feet, she stood up quickly, wondering what was happening. The answers revealed themselves to her as two earthworm like things reared above the surface, their eyeless head facing her. No one said they were this big!! She thought alarmingly. They dived once more into the sand in one fluid movement, and before her Llura could see two moving mounds of sand moving her way. She turned and ran, not even checking if she was heading in the direction of the oasis.

---

The sand was impeding her escape from her assailants, not helped by her lack of desert trekking equipment. Llura ran as fast as she could manage under the circumstances, her boots held in her hand. "Go away!!!" she shouted back at the blind things chasing her, hoping they would understand her plea. "Leave me alone!!" she shouted at them again, this time angrily, as she stumbled away clumsily from the moving trails, moving as fast as she could manage to increase the distance between her and the hidden hunters. As she ran for her life, desperately hoping that she do not end up becoming sandworm food, she could see a lone figure in the distance, a tall man with a tall hat silhouetted against the sun. Thinking him to be one of the locals, she started running towards him, screaming at the top of her lungs, "HEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLP!! SANDWORM ATTACK!!!!!"



Edited by Allura, Jan 7 2012, 11:15 PM.
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Balmung6
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The tall hat man in question was Blitz, who had been traveling from the same city Llura had been, albeit a few hours later than she. While he didn't particular care for the heat, he did have a few reasons for traveling this far south - one being Ilcopai's research - Blitz was an inventor, and new technology fascinated him, Blitz usually finding a way to incorporate an extremely interesting design into an invention of his own making. He also liked collecting data on wildlife in various areas - not for experiments, but just for his own hobby - he liked to fight, and armed with knowledge puts a fighter on a damn good starting ground. And while Blitz admittedly did not like extreme heat, this desert was more bearable than most due to the abundance of oasis ponds dotting the landscape. He briefly wondered what the plural for oasis would be - oasises? Oasi?

He was still wrapped for desert weather - no need for a fancy bandana or hat with his friend Shoop perched upon his brow, but he still bore a beige leather cape and a matching scarf, mostly to keep sand off his face and the sun off his back. He was lost in his own thoughts, until he heard a cry for help. Looking around, he spotted a girl running from a pair of things that looked like desert tapeworms. As he ran forward, he briefly noted that he actually felt a bit odd getting an invitation to combat - usually he just charged into battle whenever he felt like it.



Blitz ran past the girl, straight at the two sand worms, the two worms keeping to either side as they approached, then leaping straight at Blitz, Blitz jumping and kicking off the head of one as he somersaulted over the other, landing in the sand behind them as he spun to face them, the sand worms turning back to him. As metal spread along his form like water, he raised a hand with a grin and gestured with two fingers, encouraging them to attack....which they did. As Blitz's metal coat finished, they went to either side and leapt as one, Blitz letting his fists expand at the last moment to the size of beach balls, the worms teeth scraping along either fist as they tried to bite it. "Careful, you might hurt your teeth." he said, still grinning as he slapped the two together, the pain causing them to let go of his fists, Blitz hopping over their heads to plunge his hands deep into the sand, grunting as he yanked two tails out of the dunes, tying them together as he yanked to get the rest of them clear of the sand. Grabbing the tail knot, he swung them around, creating a small spray of sand, continuing the swing as he swung them in circles, faster and faster, until he let go, letting the two fly off into the blue sky like a firework, landing so far away that it was hard to tell just how far they'd flown.

Dusting his hands with a few metallic clangs, he let his hands, then the rest of his body return to normal, the metal receding as he reached up and gently removed the goggles from his face, approaching the girl who'd needed help. "Are you alright, miss?"
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Allura
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Llura fell on the ground as the man with the tall hat leapt past her and into the path of her two annelid attackers. Her face full of dirt, she turned round and stared in awed silence, the thought that she was now safe from ending up as worm food nowhere in her mind. All she could think of was magic. Llura had met many mages in her 'travels' but nothing had impressed her as what she had just seen. Sure, the polite monk who could walk through doors was rather special but that had been her very first magical encounter and she had met a few more since. But a body that coated itself in metal and hands that grew, now that was something different. Her closest experience of such metal magic was in Trillium when she had a run in with some evil mages, but even that was nothing like what was witnessed before her this very moment. As she watched the fighting before her, Llura's wide brown eyes were fixed not on the sandworms but the man who had come to her rescue. She was mesmerised by the sudden metal form his body took on, as if a suit had been hidden somewhere and now had magically appeared. The fight was over in no time, which Llura was rather disappointed with for she had wanted to witness this magic before her for much longer.

The man's metal 'skin' receded just as fast as they had first appeared, which caused Llura's brain to go into hyperdrive. How did he do that? she wondered, thinking up various scenarios and different reasons for the technique. Metal blood was one she dismissed quickly. Maybe some form of hidden miniature armour, was the one she placed her bets on. Must be some magic unique to the desert people, she thought and thought some more, trying her best to come up with an answer as the man walked towards her, the panic she felt earlier now something consigned to the "What, that?" compartment in her mind.

"Are you alright, miss?" the man asked as he approached her, the sandworms gone as if they never existed. Llura stayed in her position on the ground, watching as he came nearer, her eyes scanning his whole body, looking for any sign of any hidden armour tucked somewhere discreetly. "Where'd you put it? You know, your secret armour?" she asked as she stood up, dusting sand particles clinging all over her body, her eyes still surveying every part of the tall figure, finally resting on the tall hat above his brow. "No, wait, let me guess... It's under that tall hat, isn't it, isn't it?" she said excitedly with a grin as she gestured at his hat, proud in thinking she had finally figured out the man's secret.
Edited by Allura, Jan 8 2012, 02:07 AM.
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Balmung6
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The seemed to think he had armor stashed away somewhere - which wasn't technically far off, magically speaking - and laughed at her comment about hiding it beneath his hat. "Oh no, miss, I'm not hiding it, persay, and I'm still not sure if "armor" is the right term. My magic is Takeover magic - rather than carry around armor, I simply alter my own form to become the armor itself - a time saver, in my humble opinion," he said with a shrug and a smile.

"Though it's nice to see someone interested in magic...I wonder," he said, slipping his goggles back down and pressing a small purple button on the side, the word turning gray through his eyes as he stared at Llura for a few seconds. "As I thought, you're a mage yourself, aren't you?" He raised the goggles back up, resting them on the bottom part of his hat above the brim. "Tell me, miss, exactly why were you so far out here if there were creatures like that out here? Granted, I didn't know about them either, but I didn't mention to anyone that I'd be venturing this way." Blitz shrugged.
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Allura
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The man tried to explain to Llura about the nature of his magic, his good intent to educate her lost to the girl as Llura could not understand a single word. Takeover what? She thought. Who's being taken over? Must be desert speak for magic, she thought. The man puzzled her further when he somehow managed to know that she had some form of magical ability. She narrowed her eyes at his questions before answering, careful not to give too much away to this man who seemed to have many talents, most of which she had yet to figure out. "How can you tell? Maybe I do..." she considered her options and a cheeky thought crossed her mind. "Maybe if you show me how you do your's then I will show you my magic?" she asked half-heartedly, not really expecting any answers. "Yea, well, I was just, you know, sight seeing. The town is too boring. Too many books and people talking all specialitified." she said, meaning to say they were all too schorlarly. "Someone told me there are sandworms out here in the desert and , well, why not? Just didn't expect them to be that big!" She grinned. "But it's all done and dusted now. You saved me with your special desert magic and all so yea, thanks for that!" she said, finally remembering the mortal danger she was in previously. "And you will come in handy too cause the townfolks been talking about mysterious disappearances and all that." She added the afterthought in a matter of fact way, intending to stick by the desert mage's side no matter what, at least until they get back to the safety of the oasis.

Just as their exchanges on the dunes were taking place, Llura suddenly noticed movements from the corner of her eye. The strangely mechanical motion was clumsy and inelegant. Llura stopped in mid speech about how she ended up in this part of the world, a puzzled look on her eye. "Did you see that?!!" she pointed in the direction a few yards to the West. "That thing there! It's spying on us!" she shouted before putting her boots back on and giving chase to the scuttling mystery.

The small whirly mechanical thing was a funny construct. No larger than a small suitcase, it was a mishmash of different parts, some rusty metal, some junkyard scraps, but the most disturbing part were the living flesh attached to it- one of which was a desert fox's head, stuck to the left side of a metal box that looked to be once part of a small refrigerator, its eyes wild and feral, staring at Llura from afar with unimaginable pain. In place of its feet the strange thing had a multitude of spindly metal legs coming out from the base of the box, each with a square panel at the end to stop them from sinking into the sand. Perhaps the most chilling of all was the one arm behind the fox's head- undeniably human, pallid and blue from rigor mortis, with five stiff dirty fingers holding a viewing lens of some design. The strange thing realised it had been seen and padded off quickly, its multiple rusty mechanical legs leaving multiple squares in the sand.

"Did you see that?!!"
Llura shouted again, reiterating her amazement at the desert mage before running off after the thing without even so much as waiting for an answer.
Edited by Allura, Jan 8 2012, 03:40 AM.
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Balmung6
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The girl appeared confused by the explanation of his magic - Takeover wasn't an uncommon magic, but admittedly it was rather scarce in some regions of Fiore - the chances she hadn't heard of it before now were slim-ish, but significant, so he let it slide, knowing trying to explain further would only make it worse. She seemed suspicious of his knowledge of her abilities, thought, so that part he did elaborate on: "It's my goggles, miss," he said, tapping one lens with a fingertip, "They have a variety of filters and options - one is a magic filter that lets me see traces of magic and mages - through the filter mages show up as humans with clouds of arcane dust swirling around them."

"And my magic....well, I already showed it to you, and explained it, to be honest,"
Blitz said with a shrug. "Not much else to tell. Though I suppose I still have my Ex-quip magic, though to be totally honest, I don't use it much." He listened to her reasons for being this far out, raising an eyebrow at the word "specialitified", which he was fairly sure wasn't a real word - she seemed bright enough, so it was more likely that the scholar's fancy wordplay was lost on the poor girl and just helped fray her temper. She also called his magic "desert magic" - something he decided to clear up from the get-go. "My magic isn't related to the desert, miss, I'm not actually from around here. I'm just passing through, and got these items from a local store," he said, tugging at the scarf around his neck, noting a small tag reading: "Made in Erelen."

His charge suddenly caught wind of something watching them and scrambled over the nearest dune to pursue it, Blitz following a second later. Rounding the top of the dune, he saw a scrapyard heap of rubbish all strung together, but he could appreciate the metal usage, at least - until he noted a bit of two of living things sticking to it, quickly losing any respect or curiosity about it. Llura's question of if he saw it was answered by a giant metal fist with a chain attached to the end soaring past him, grabbing he creature by three of its legs, Blitz dragged it back to him, using one giant metal finger to keep it pinned, avoiding the "head" and peering at it. "What a twisted being - I wonder who created this thing?"
Edited by Balmung6, Jan 8 2012, 02:05 PM.
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Allura
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~Somewhere else in the desert~
The large screen flickered and crackled to life as tiny lacrimas powering it flashed in the background. The image relayed from somewhere outside the compound played on the interface amidst sporadic interference, observed remotely with great interest by someone within the large room. The man whose face almost filled up the entire screen stared directly into the room, his metallic digit piquing the interest of his unseen audience. "Look, Six. A metal-based Takeover mage. How serendipitous." The mystery audience said with a smile. "No one made it, Takeover mage. I REmade it." More than a hint of pride tinged the observer's voice, his answer unheard by the man on the screen. "Should we invite him back here to show him how we do it, Six?" he asked his out of sight companion, his laughter echoing around the room, bouncing off metal walls and pipes.

---

Llura gave chase to the strange construct and scrambled to the nearest dune, the man's explanation for his magic and eyewear temporarily ignored. His earlier attempt to correct her on his place of origin through the label on his scarf was lost to her as Llura was never good at reading. As he joined her on the top of the dune, Llura's eyes were once again wide with wonder like a child who had just seen an amazing toy. Her new travelling companion's metal hand detached itself from his wrist and flew off, trailing a chain connecting the two parts that were once one. The metal fist retracted with the macabre construct in its metal grip, retrieving it to the pair in no time. As the Takeover mage studied it, pinning it under one giant finger, all Llura could do was to look at the metal hand. She moved her head around it, resisting the strong urge to touch its gleaming metallic surface for fear of offending its owner.

Stumped by how it all connected, she returned her attention to the gruesome captive. "Heheh." She grinned. "This thing here is kinda like you, metal and meat." she teased. "Think it's got magic, too? The head's still alive..." She said, her voice trailing off as she looked at the desert fox head which was snarling and bearing its teeth at the pair aggressively, the human hand flailing limply behind it. "Whoever made this have really bad imagination..." she commented, imagining herself to be an art critic. "No sense of pro...erm...portion...? How does it all stick together?" she wondered aloud. "You think it's magic? What kind of strange magic could hold a living thing to junk?" she asked absentmindedly, firing one question after another before her attention was drawn back onto the metal hand with the retractable chain. "Can your google see anything?" she asked, mispronouncing the word for the eyewear.
Edited by Allura, Jan 8 2012, 11:21 PM.
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Llura seemed fascinated once again by his magic - my magic must be like a toybox to her, he thought with a mild chuckle. As he examined the creature, Llura's comment about their similarities made him snort. "Please. My magic is the perfect example of a fusion of man and machine. This thing," he said, emphasizing his point by tapping it twice with his free hand, "Is an abomination of nature and science both. I hardly think this poor fox or unfortunate human willingly parted with bits of themselves." Llura also noted the beast's makeup, Blitz saying "proportion" when she struggled with the word. "It's probably held together with magic of some kind - or I certainly hope so, the alternative is a bit grisly to think about," he said with a wince. He did slide his goggles back down over his eyes with his free hand as he examined the creature trapped beneath his other hand. There were tell-tale marks of magic near the fox's neck and where the shoulder should have been on the arm, and a mild flicker of it around the contraption itself.

"Yep, magic," he finished, raising his goggles. "Though I can't be 100% sure if that's how the limbs were attached or simply how they got removed from their former owners."
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Allura
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The man dismissed the similarity between his own magic and the one holding this unnatural thing together, to which Llura nodded in agreement. His cool and scientific assessment made his conclusions all the more chilling to Llura's ears, her attention now returned to the thing wriggling under the big metal hand once more. Removed.... she thought. Poor sap. Best not to end up like him/her. She told herself while looking at the limp hand, relieved that the Takeover mage was beside her. Llura decided then her chances of survival were the maker of this affront to nature decided to come for her limbs would be next to none. "I think we shouldn't stick around. Who knows whoever made this won't be coming back for more parts." she said with controlled calmness, trying hard not to let her unease show.

Just as she stood up, Llura heard a buzzing sound, a growing dissonance that was getting ever closer. Llura looked around trying to identify its source but could not discern anything amongst the sands. As the sound persisted, growing ever louder and closer, she realised then where it was coming from. "What are those?" she said as she pointed up towards the cloudless sky. "Are those..." she put her hand across her brow, shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun. "...toy planes?"

They came fast and in numbers up to two dozens, a small fleet of small things on wings that were like the captive under the metal arm of the Takeover mage. Some had heads of various small dessert rodents mounted haphazardly on toy planes, connected by valves and wires flailing in the air, tiny guns with real bullets in them attached to toy wings. Some were a mockery of flying birds with wings attached to toy tanks. There were a couple of even more sinister combinations, a melange of children's arms holding guns, attached to gnarled metallic tubings clumped together with soldered on rusted rotor blades. The melange of miscellaneous parts was united by their singular action- they were all flying towards the duo on the sand at fierce speed. "This doesn't look good!" shouted Llura as she looked for cover in this wide expanse of desert. And the flying abominable toys began shooting.

As she ran, Llura thought it odd that the flying armada of nasty mixed-up things seemed to be missing her on purpose. It was as if they were off their marks intentionally, their co-ordinated attacks directing them to run in a specific direction. But Llura was far too busy trying to survive to protest.
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As they examined the pinned creature, Blitz nodded to Llura's suggestion to get moving - unlikely that they'd be alone for long - even if the owner wasn't interested in more parts, as Llura feared, he - or she - would still probably be interested to know what happened to its creation. Llura did look a bit off, though - probably worry or concern. Not that she had much to fear with him around - a misshapen flesh working was not going to spook him off. As they were about to leave, however, a buzzing noise filled the air, a noise that rapidly gained volume. Blitz glanced around in puzzlement, until Llura pointed something out - a tiny fleet of toy planes, but with grisly addons, like the one they had pinned.

He wasn't too worried - there were around two dozen, but they were toy planes, after all - until they opened fire on the two, Lllura running the opposite direction. Blitz held his ground, though, knowing they couldn't hurt him in this form. Llura was in significant danger, though, so he picked up the creature he'd subdued with one hand and slung it into the crowd, knocking two of the things from the sky as all three ghastly machines landed in a heap on the desert sand.

His arms glowed, briefly, then thickened a bit around the forearm, as his irises grew small prongs in the cardinal directions, making his eyes look like crosshairs - taking aim, the tip of several missiles poked out the end of his now cannon-like arms, one from the cannon proper and a few around it. Firing, the missiles arced with a screech as they soared through the air, smashing into the fleet in pieces, a giant blast of explosive flame engulfing the planes, as they fell in flaming piles to the sand, only to be snuffed out with a hissing noise.

Walking over, he poked one with a cannon-arm. "It's alright, Llura, I don't think they'll be getting up again."
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