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About trollthumper

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  • Birthday 09/06/1986
  1. 10th Anniversary Vignette: 10 Years

    Cannonade A Higher Level March 27, 2007 "How's it going at the foundry?" Joe pushed his food around his plate. The family dinners were usually a point of pride, and he was always happy to spend time with his folks. Especially after getting his own apartment in Lincoln and dealing with a hundred different flavors of ramen. But lately, it seemed they'd taken on a specific tone. Especially tonight, when Mom and Andy were out on the first leg of the college tour. "Everything's good," he said. "Haven't set anything on fire yet." Dad laughed. Joe could tell it was a little guarded. "Pay's good, right?" "Can't complain, for where I'm starting out. And I'm taking the effort to set some aside." "Really? Good to start setting up savings early. Got an eye on anything in particular?" Here it was. "Dad, you know, you don't have to worry --" "I don't think it's worrying, Joe. But, like we said --" "I don't want you to bust your ass for me --" "I'm your dad. It's my job to bust my ass for you. You don't have to worry -- " "I do. Andy's got a lot better chance of getting into a good school than I ever will. And you did just fine in construction --" "Yes, but..." Dad sighed. "World's changing, Joe. Union job doesn't go as far as it did. I just... want you to try and find something that fits you, you know? Something that reaches beyond here. Your mother and I wanted to give you the chance to follow your dreams, and --" "And you're not sure the foundry's that." "Well... not in so many words, but..." Joe raised a hand. "Dad. I know what you're saying. Maybe I'll find something else. But if I don't... the foundry pays well, it's honest work, and hey, I get benefits. More than I can say for most guys my age. If something comes along, then good. But... this is where I am now. And I'm okay with it." Dad nodded. The situation seemed defused. "Still, Joe... couldn't hurt to keep an eye open. Maybe something big will befall you when you least expect." March 28, 2017 "Are you serious?" It wasn't said judgmentally. Just as an examination. Still, Joe wanted to slink into the depths of the booth. He had met his dad at the bar to discuss matters with Asli, and where they might be going. "I'm not saying it's serious, serious, or that we're there yet, but... I mean, we've moved in together, we've talked about the faith issue... I mean, there's a next step, and we're probably gonna take it eventually, so..." "So, you want to sound it out? Is that it?" "It's not like I've got cold feet, but..." Joe sighed. "We get along great, but we're still different in a lot of ways. We've worked it out, but I'm always afraid there's gonna be some riff that's gonna tear it apart. And then there's... our line of work. I mean, she can handle herself, but the kids? Andy and I didn't get our stuff until relatively late, so..." Joe's dad put his drink down. "Joe, I may have never gotten the... blessing from your grandfather that you and Andy did. But let me tell you something. When I met your mother, I was just getting used to being a foreman. I have a decade and a half on her - she may have pursued me, but I kept asking myself, 'What am I even doing with this woman?' But she got me to the altar, and around the time she was pregnant with you, your grandmother... had the first of her turns." Joe's dad ran his finger around the rim of his glass, as if trying to meditate on its meaning. "What I'm saying is... there will always be something that keeps you from taking the next step. Something that makes you fear you're about to step off into thin air and plunge ass-first into the abyss. But you overcome it. There will be people to help you on the way. You can't be limited by your fear of what could be. You have to focus on the potential of what could be." He smiled. "Besides. Your mother's already decided you'll have cute kids with her, so you can't let her down." Joe laughed. "You're sure? I mean, if it comes to that?" "Joe, I'm not the father who gives the blessing in this case, but... you've got my blessing. You sound like you're ready for what comes next." March 29, 2027 The suit still felt weird. He’d gotten used to wearing a dress shirt, tie, and trousers. Even if he forewent the jacket. Even if he paired it with boots. It carried an image, but he wasn’t going to bend fully to it. Still, going up in jeans felt a bit too… Texas. And going up in his full costume would just be weird. If they ripped Dukakis apart for the tank… then again, Dukakis never broke a tank if half, did he? A gust of wind told him he wasn’t alone. “How’s Boston?” said Joe. “Holding itself together,” said Andy, who’d swiftly gotten out of his Barrage costume and into his suit. How he could do that without tearing the clothes had apparently taken years of practice and many dollars invested at a thrift shop. “I figure if I duck out for one night, the city won’t go to hell.” “Yeah, we always say that, don’t we?” There was a moment’s silence. “So,” Andy said, “Asli’s still good with this?” “It’s safer than the other route.” “Says the man who took a rocket to his face.” “Yeah, well, the more rockets…” Joe sighed. “I’m not invincible.” “Could have fooled me.” “Look, I’m counting on being a tough son-of-a-bitch. If I wasn’t… I mean, a hero going public and doing this is lining up for it. But I can’t count on being able to tough out everything that gets thrown at me. I’m not giving up the duty, I’m just… taking it elsewhere.” “You could just put the helmet back on…” “Half the reason the press is here is because I’m Asli’s husband. The other half is they pretty much already know.” Joe adjusted his tie. God, it always felt tight. “I mean, fairy tales and all that, but a mild-mannered steelworker hitched to a famous DJ? They always suspected there was something there.” Joe sighed, looking at the mirror. “I mean… look, you’re right. I am the strong one. Means I’m stubborn as hell. So…” He just let it fall silent. Andy put a hand on his shoulder. “Dad would be proud. If that’s what you’re afraid of.” “It’s not. But… man, I wish he was here to see it.” “Well, I’m sure, wherever he is, he’ll be celebrating.” The murmuring outside was reaching a bit of a pitch. Joe knew it was time. “All right. Let’s go do something stupid.” --- “Good evening.” Joe stood before the podium, trying to grip it carefully. There was still a bit of nerves, and while he was very good about controlling his strength… well. “Most of you know me - if you know me at all - as Joe Macayle. Community advocate. Head of United Steelworkers Local 317. And husband to Asli Sadik. But you may also know me by another name. Cannonade.” That brought the thunder. Joe waited for the tide to die down before he spoke. “I suppose you want a demonstration. I mean, I could bend a steel bar in half, but that’s kinda going against the point of the day. I could show off my resilience, but my wife’s got a thing about me getting shot in public to prove a point.” There were a few laughs as people tried to figure out how to take that. Okay. Maybe leaning in with humor this early was a bad idea. Time for earnestness. “You may be wondering why I’m coming out like this. Truth is… I’ve been spending over a decade now, fighting on the streets of Freedom. Busting crime rings, driving out monsters, helping to repel things that represent threats to our life and liberty on a fundamental level… but there are other problems in this country. Problems that can’t be punched - and man, do I know from punching. For too long, there’s been an imbalance in this country. There have been efforts - sustained efforts - to jam the system of government so that people born with wealth that most people can’t begin to dream of can pull the ladder up after them. If the ladder even existed at all. There is an attempt to separate the American people out from the process of America - of creating a system of politics that feeds itself, with systems of security and law that feed themselves. A system that throws whatever crumbs it has left to everyone else and expects them to beg for thanks. “We can’t allow this to stand. We can’t allow this system to keep driving us apart in the name of feeding it. We have to address problems both on the local level and in the highest reaches of our nation. Which is why I, Joe Macayle, am announcing my candidacy for United States Senator for the state of New Jersey.”
  2. And All the Devils Here [IC]

    "Me?" said the demon behind Sam's lips. "Oh, I'm the prag, dear. They don't really have a name for me. They took it and smeared it across the walls in filth under 'FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL...'" "Get him out," said Sam, clutching his head. "Please, get him out..." "Good idea." The window shattered, as if hit by a sledgehammer. Sam drifted up from the bed, dangling like a hanged man, his feet hanging inches off of the mattress. Dunya was already running for something, while Samantha stood braced in the doorway. "I will tell you something, though. They call me Jackanape, and a lot of things not suited for print. I'm low on the pecking order, here, but it was a lot better before we ended up woven in here. By this place. By these cursed streets."
  3. Et In Arcadia Ego

    The espresso ran over and onto the floor. Despite the assumptions about how attuned to death he might be, Eric LaCroix did not go through life in a major metropolis in a state of perpetual angst. The pinging he typically felt on his death senses was like a cold breeze, when it did go off. Some more harrowing passings might result in a traumatized death scream, but it wasn't like he had all of Freedom City's freshly deceased screaming in his ear day in and day out. So when this death came, it said a lot that he it caused him to freeze. Not a momentary pause, but as if every muscle and nerve in his body had turned to pure ice. Worse, it came with absolute, crystal clarity. He knew the direction, he knew the distance, and he knew the tenor of this death. Oh, f----. He ran from behind the counter at the Black Petal. He was able to mumble something out about "horrible nausea" to the manager. He thought. He didn't care. He was tearing through the personal void to Duat, changing into his armor and face. Nick Cimitiere ran out the other side, dashing to confirm the last thing he wanted to confirm.
  4. Mindjumper (PL10) - Thogphog

  5. Player Away Thread

    Take care, Raveled. We'll be happy to have you back. Until then, good fortune on your travels.
  6. A Peculiar Proposition (Open)

    Huh. "Popularized rock and roll"? That was interesting. Especially given the general scale of history. Please don't tell me I went back in time and pulled a Marty McFly by stealing Chuck Berry's thunder. And maybe I invented, I don't know, "music with rocks in it"... "I'd be interested in hearing more about how that came to pass. Though, uh, if we want to use names, 'Nick Cimitiere' will do in a pinch." As the conversation went on, Nick took notice of the other arrivals. He nodded to Revenant and offered a brief wave when she arrived. When Aquaria showed up, he may have look for a bit long, but at least made such not to look for too long. I'd heard of her. Maybe I had a few too many encounters with the weirder end of the pantheon, but she seems... I want to say "okay," but... well, at least she seems pleasant.
  7. And All the Devils Here [IC]

    Samantha raised an eyebrow but didn't offer much protest. "Your ways are yours," she said. "As long as no goats are getting slaughtered in here. We've got enough blood as it is, and I don't feel like making gyros afterwards." Dunya returned, carrying a needle. She leaned in to inspect Thomas isolating a vein. She inserted the needle into his bicep, drawing a trace of blood, waiting for word from Nicola on how much was enough... When Thomas's hand lashed out with terrible speed, catching her wrist. The man's mouth rolled open, a strange voice emerging even as his lips made no clear motion, followed by a thin and human keening: "What do we have here, sweetling, sweet thing? Help me, please! I'm lost! We're all lost, you dumb bitch. They laid the roads with Catalhoyuk, and then they lost the map. I can't find my way out! No one can. Oh, the Malebolge, the Malebolge... Please... oh, please... They built a labyrinth for purification, but oh, all the filth had to go somewhere..." "
  8. Orphans of Yesterday [IC]

    "All right," said Cavalier, adjusting the couplings on his armor to make sure the power matrix was still holding. "I kinda actually do want to see more of this planet. See how far they've come." He took the sky, ensuring that the others were following after - or, in Jessie's case, at least staying within visual range. The city behind them soon faded, giving way to a verdant forest... but the forest was not entirely empty. There were clearings cut into it, with small camps that likely served as logging installations. Guessing even Lor tech needs a boost from raw materials. A few tall towers rose above the trees, likely serving as watchpoints for these "titans." Cavalier's gaze swept past the forest to a snow-capped mountain at the far end of the woods. The stars crested the mountain, and a boreal light shone down on the snowy cap. Soon, however, Cavalier realized that the light seemed to be floating right above the mountain in small strands, trailing up like smoke. He broadcast to the others, "I don't know if that's sufficiently temporally twisted, but it might merit a look."
  9. A Peculiar Proposition (Open)

    Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay. There was a general rule in magical circles about names. One that might be more tightly enforced than in superhero circles. In superhero circles, a name made you vulnerable. In magical circles, with the right oomph behind it, a name could make you malleable. Controllable. So Nick was not sure what was happening that this practitioner was coming up to him and just saying his name - his name - out loud. As far as he could tell, it wasn't his true name, as it lacked that harmonic aura like a finger run across a wine glass. And he really wasn't sure where the "Prince" bit had come from. But it was still a hell of a thing. "If I'm a prince," he said, "I'd like someone to show me to my chateau." He extended his hand. "I don't think I've had the pleasure of meeting you. But it sounds like it may not be the other way around..."
  10. A Peculiar Proposition (Open)

    Nick Cimitiere hadn't exactly been the most social of mages as of late. Not that Freedom City's premiere necromancer had been slacking in his duties. If anything, it sometimes seemed like the night work was his prime opportunity to cut loose. A change in management at the Black Petal Cafe - a joyous retirement, not anything severe - had resulted in an idea in expanding the venue space to serve multiple purposes. Instead of the usual array of paintings for sale in a coffee shop, the Black Petal would in part turn into a dedicated gallery space, complete with showings and everything. And Eric LaCroix's art history degree would serve a purpose, after many, many years. Of course, between making drinks, extolling the virtues of local art, having a hand in curating works and artists, and dealing with the restless dead and even-more-restless spellbinders of Freedom, Eric - and Nick - did not have a lot of time for a social life. So when the invitation went out for a gathering of practitioners, he just had to accept. He arrived with a pink box full of strawberry and cream cupcakes - topped with small sugar skulls, because he just had to be that guy. Those skulls, of course, went well with his sculpted white skull makeup, the black pompadour, and the black rockabilly duds and leather jacket that were his costume of choice. "Sorry if I'm a little late," he said. "The makeup was a bit troublesome tonight."
  11. And All the Devils Here [IC]

    Samantha laughed. "It would be hard to describe the times when not," she said. "I... suppose I should start with the basics, though. His name is Thomas Alande. He's not one of our long-timers - he's been here maybe 2 months, at most. Recently lost his apartment after losing his job. He wasn't losing himself, wasn't falling apart - he wanted to get back into the market. We were helping him with recruiting firms, but... well, it's hard to find work in this town, even if you have a proper address on your resume. But aside from that setback, everything seemed to be going okay." "And then..." said the Middle Eastern woman, before clamming up. She looked to Samantha, as if realizing she was speaking over her. "It's okay, Dunya," said Samantha. "About a week ago, Sam... he started sleeping longer. He seemed more irritable when we woke him, and a bit reserved. He was afebrile, so we didn't think it was fever. We were making a deal with the free clinic to get a doctor over when he attacked one of the other guests. We got him in the private room, gave him some Haldol, and waited. That was when the... manifestations started. Twenty minutes in - too soon for the drug to leave his system - we heard long bangs coming from the room. Soon after, there was this... we think it was cursing, given the tone, but we couldn't make out the language." "So, the answer to all that weird stuff is 'Yes,'" said Dunya. "As for that whole 'fortress' thing... I don't want to speculate, but... if he's been doing this whole Linda Blair thing, slamming walls, breaking furniture... why's he still here?"
  12. And All the Devils Here [OOC]

    Medicine: It appears that he's still showing residual signs of malnutrition, but may be recovering. Arcane Lore: There's nothing clearly arcane about the man. No witch's mark, no fingers that bend backwards, none of that. There is the faint smell of brimstone, but that's to be expected. You do find something at the nape of his neck, however - a series of arcane glyphs, much like the ones in the circle. You can't directly translate them, but you're familiar enough from the books to know they're not letters.
  13. Here Comes The General (Open)

    The Light. Cavalier was very tempted to do something very impolitic right now. But there was enough trouble awaiting the Star Knights being here after the last encounter with Frankan. Punching a journalist in the face would just add to that. Of course, that was if he was really talking to a journalist. This could all be a very convincing cover... but there was a good chance that it wasn't a cover. Machine-gods with all-consuming hunger. Horrors from the Terminus. And now I have to worry about the idea that the bright shiny light that hollows you out and makes you a sunbeam for Cthulhu has decided to learn some lessons from Scientology. He regained his composure. "It's a time of change," he said. "And in the wake of the Communion, people are trying to find some meaning in this universe, find a sense of purpose, a source of comfort. There are gods upon gods out there to provide solace - I think I've met one or two of them." He paused, going from charm to concern. "But we must remember who we put our trust in. The Communion fancied itself a god, as well, and believed that its victims were being kept in some sort of afterlife, preserved from the tide of entropy. We even heard tales of it using psyops and first strikes based on established cult presences on certain worlds. If you find comfort in the shelter offered by divinity, then use it for good. Just make sure you know what you're worshipping, and what plans it has for you in its vision of paradise."
  14. And All the Devils Here [OOC]

    Judex: On a 30, you believe you may have seen this symbol before - in that blasphemous text/possible hoax, the Ars Goetia. You didn't read much of it, but you think - or, more likely, the shard of Uriel thinks - that it may be the sigil of Sabnock, a demon said to craft tower and cities, arm and armor soldiers, and inflict blights upon enemy armies. Tattered Man: There are scuff marks under the bed... but they're not recent. If the sigil was painted across this floor, it was done without moving any of the furniture.
  15. Orphans of Yesterday [IC]

    Cavalier ducked away, not so much guiding Roulette as hoping he was following in his footsteps. When he got the confirmation he was, he spoke. "Look, I... I hope you don't mind me dumping out my baggage on you, it's just... of everyone here, you and I... well, the thing at the Iridium Shore... I feel like you're the only one here I know enough. Even if our paths kinda break off real fast each time. I..." He paused. "I was stuck out here. Not here, particularly. The Cloud. The Large Magellanic Cloud. Five years. I wasn't even a castaway, like these guys. I was grabbed off of Earth by some... beings with sharp instruments and interesting ideas on where to stick them. I got out of that situation fast, but I spent five years stranded a galaxy over, with no idea on how to get back to the Milky Way. No idea if I'd see my planet again. No idea if I'd see my family again. I finally got back. Finally found my home again. And now..." He shook his head. "There's a way out of this. I know there has to be. Some sort of loophole in this goddamn bootstrap paradox that no one's had the chance to dart through yet. But if there's not... I can't stand the idea that I got out of one of these clusterfraggs, defeated the possibility that I'd die out in the void without my family ever knowing what really happened to me... only for it to happen all over again. So, if I'm going all alpha dog and trying to keep people like Bliss from going off script... well..." He let the thought trail off. Fortunately, before he could think on what to say next, Aquaria interrupted the awkward silence. "Hear you loud and clear, Aquaria. What's up?"