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  1. Meanwhile, at the fringes of the darkness , Dio had stopped flicking his tongue out. It was dry as a bone and hurt. Which made no sense, even for a dream. This was nothing, after all, compared to tracking Leroy by his scent in this hamlet of noxious misery. Or even making his way by the tang of sulfur being heavier or lighter in a given direction, groping through sunless subterranean vaults that could have fit a thousand of his race. Full-growns, and they would still have room to spare. Surely some human mis-arrangement of memories wasn't stronger than him, a disciple of the Storm Lord! Growling and hissing to himself, looking every which way at once as he slunk across the carpet, Dio walked right into something with a hoarse bark of surprise. Recoiling, the dragon blinked at the motionless form of Leroy. He was standing, no longer flying, and staring out into the darkness. Dio followed the stare, hidden though it was by the boy's featureless black helmet. "I see nothing, prince," he ventured at last "you know I'm not at one hundred percent, mind letting me in on what's going on?" "This is hopeless." The voice that came from the helmet was familiar enough, but the words were a configuration so uncharacteristic Dio reached out a claw, then quickly drew back. His huge gold eyes peered down at the human, with a look uncannily similar to the one Leroy had given Mrs. Lupine minutes earlier. "What?" "It is. They do not know what to do. I do not know. We are lost." The helmet shattered, and the boy was looking straight at Dio, his eyes wide and trembling. Dio settled gently down. "Leroy, she explained all this, this is just imagination, it can't hurt you-" "The mission is a failure." "We're not just aban-" "I want to go home." "Leroy, get re-!" "I want my mo-mph!" Dio had lashed out with a foreclaw, slamming Leroy to the floor with a bone-jarring THUD. For a long moment he held the boy there, staring down at him. There was no reason to hurry up and let go, Leroy could survive indefinitely without air after all. The prince grabbed the claw, struggling to lift it off his face, which brought another claw crashing down on top of him. There was a short intermission as Leroy struggled to get free, the dragon silently thanking his lucky stars he managed to avoid covering the prince's eyes. That would have been the final straw, and then he'd have to deal with a panicky, jittery ghost that hit like a freight train. Once Leroy stopped trying to escape, Dio let him up. To the dragon's credit, he didn't look smug. Or wise. Or jolly about all this, "They have no plan, Dio," the prince whimpered, looking dejectedly at the others, so far away from the wall of darkness. his voice having dropped to a low murmur. "If...if we split up, I will merely disappoint someone counting on me. If we stick together, I am painfully redundant. Why, why Dio?" Leroy slumped to the floor, tears boiling and steaming down his face "Why did she have me? I...nobody else, in all of Ife, is as weak and helpless and useless as I am!" Dio stifled a contemptuous snicker. It was partially stopped by the sudden realization, he couldn't even small the salt of the tears. Leroy wiped his face, sniffling, and looked forlornly at his dragon. He jumped a little, edging backwards as he stared. Very softly, he whispered "Dio, what...why does your claw look like that?" Dio raised his foreleg, staring at it in bewilderment. Then he saw it, and his heart stopped dead. Where should have been claws were five dainty, human fingers. A horrific shriek rent the dream's air as the green dragon, for seemingly no reason that the people in the cluster could see, took to his wings and raced off into the night, wailing and roaring as he went! "Dio! No! Wait!" Forgetting himself, Leroy rematerialized his helmet, took a hop, skip and a jump, and launched in after him! There was the brief echo of his voice before that too was swallowed up.
  2. Sun Dragon & Dio Leroy was about to respond when a giant green head poked in from out of the ground. The dragon who owned it snorted, said "The prince'll keep his mouth shut if I say so." and ducked back into seeming nothing. Frowning after him, Leroy spun back to beam a magnificently bright smile at Dana. "You may rely upon our discretion." After that, uncharateristically, the young Dragon Prince fell silent, rocking gently on his heels and looking ready to follow the woman wherever she might lead. Tapping at the wrist of his clothes, they seamlessly shifted into a drab grey version of the Claremont uniform. Frowning at it, Leroy tapped again. The contrast sharpened, turning it into shifting gradients of blacks, greys and whites. "There we are, the shades of truth." "Pan and I will withdraw if you have any real secrets. Best if only Astrid knows them, obviously."
  3. Sun Dragon & Dio "At once, Ashley." As Miss Lupine cried helplessly, Leroy shot a look of utter bewilderment at Dio. The dragon caught his eye, opened his jaws, then slammed them shut them with an audible KLAK. Leroy winced, gulped and made the shadow of a nod, gently helping the Nicholson teacher to her feet. "Is there somewhere Vrick...Victoria would feel safe, or especially unsafe, at your academy? If we venture there, perhaps we could find the psionist and wake her up." he looked around at the out-of-scale recreation "Regrettably, despite several of my family members being psychics, I know next to nothing about this." Nodding briefly to Pan, Sun Dragon let go of Miss Lupine as his skin was covered by a black shell of frozen light, his powers over gravity creating faint ripples in the air. "Likewise. Could do something in a pinch, but this is as far outside my expertise as you can get." said the dragon. At Watchdog's order, he'd started ranging a little further from the group, somehow looking even tenser and more agitated than before. His sinuous belly nearly brushed the oversized fibers underfoot, and little tufts of smoke and fire left his mouth at every frustratingly thin taste of the air. With a bound Leroy took up position opposite Dio's, floating slightly into the air as he circled the group, looking out into the off-kilter dreamscape. "Although, this is a very sedate-" "No. No jinxing it."
  4. Dio "Don't get carried away. None of us know where we are or what we're up against." The dragon had rolled and struggled quickly back to his feet, hampered by how many of them there were, and now stalked a rough perimeter around the other sleepers. His wings were held close, angled up, to serve as shields or allow instant takeoff. His eyes were, in the gloom, wide and disconcertingly human-like. Every other time any of the students had seen him, even in battle or lost on wholly imaginary worlds, he'd maintained a detached and even(as Pan could attest) lofty or arrogant kind of self-assurance. Now his long legs bent him low to the ground, his tail swept rhythmically to deter attacks from the rear, and his tongue snaked out with increasing speed and force. Dio paced and prowled, head swinging this way and that to keep his side-set eyes trained at every corner. Hissing suspiciously at the carpet, he passed by the other members of Blue Squad on his agitated patrol. "I've something to report: there's a block on my senses. Ordinarily I could tell the location and guess at the emotional state of anyone in this room...but I can't. Can't see your heat either. I'm a magical creature, so I'd guess we're somewhere unfriendly to my kind." He quirked an eye at Pan "Forever Boy, are you affected? And where in the mantle is Arctos?"
  5. Being just that much more distant from the invader than the rest, the green dragon and the black-armored boy were in prime vantage points to see the attack on the lumbering giant begin. And to see Pan struck to Earth, to Leroy's wincing dismay. By some unspoken sign, the two separated, the dragon straining his great wings to sweep before the antlered invader, Leroy darting through the air to alight soft as a feather next to Pan. Kneeling beside his squadmate for a moment, the prince's helmet parted to let him look over Forever Boy, his face tensing at sight of the cuts and bruises, but relaxing into a faint smile after a quick inspection. He thumped Pan gently on the shoulder as got up, "Fret not, brother-at-arms, that traitor shall not touch you again." He said it with a careless grin, as he turned to face the giant. Meanwhile, Dio had begun chanting, twisting and hissing in the air as he traced some fiery sigil with all four thrashing limbs and his lashing tail. His voice raised to a crescendo, even as he raised his two foreclaws towards the giant, clenching them with bone-crumbling force! The sigil he'd been tracing suddenly flamed to life beneath the giant's feet. From the earth around the Krampus, identical claws of black and grey stone burst out to clutch and tear, igneous talons freezing even as they gripped onto the Yuletide horror. As they closed around black-haired arms and legs, groping for the Krampus' head to shut the eyes and face forever, Sun Dragon's voice boomed over the battlefield. <"I know you understand me, renegade! All powers reject you! Fire, air, earth, and now my...water!">
  6. No ranks in Bluff, I'll go with Startle-Feint. Sorry about that mixup.
  7. Dio: Move Action: Use Flight to get within range of Krampus, let's say within 30ft. of them. Free Action: Switching to the Snare in his Magic Array. Standard Action: Attacking the Giant Krampus with the Snare(it has Accurate 2, but I neglected to list that in the Combat section, will edit that): 24. If that hits, a DC20 Reflex save to avoid being Entangled/Bound, and on a failure all senses are blocked. Descriptors are Magic and Earth/Rock. Sun Dragon: Move Action: As above, get within range, landing in front of Forever Boy. Free Action: Setting a Ready Action to Interpose on the Giant Krampus's next attack. Standard Action: Laying in with a Startle check, using Skill Mastery to get an auto-result of 25 on the Intimidate, Feinting to get the Giant Krampus to try and put him in the Basket of Ancient Winters.
  8. OOC thread for this thread. Get your space on! @Thevshi @Supercape @Exaccus @RocketLord
  9. GM December 10th, 2018, 5.25 AM, five minutes to destination Mars Orbit, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, The Universe, inside of a Pegasus-class spaceplane Light-speed travel was great. With the coordinates set, all systems nominal and nothing especially likely to be between the Pegasus and Starshell Castle, there was little to do but wait and consider what the little band was up against. The pilot and three passengers had a lot of skillsets between them; young adventurer, amateur mystic and philanthropist Veronica Danger, anxious AEGIS Eyespy agent Echohead, otherworldly wanderer Forever Boy and materials-mimic Facsimile, all of them brought something unique to the mission. The mission itself was simple enough: get into Starshell Castle, don't get caught, find out and do as much damage as they can before escaping. Of particular interest were the Nightstone, supposed power source of Blackstar and his followers, and anything to suggest how they could move between Starshell and Earth without the Lighthouse satellite detecting them. That last was of especial importance, since the refitting of the satellite and its augmentation with alien technology included some of the best sensory systems the Coalition could provide. If there was a flaw being exploited, some basic incompatibility, or even some wholly-unknown power at work, it was vital information. Outside there was nothing to see, but on the inside of the windows was a projected simulation of the solar system blurring by. If you looked too long, you started to see patterns in the stars.
  10. Sun Dragon "Mmm...good morning..." Leroy woke languidly, stretching and rolling like some sort of golden flower as he got to his feet. He curled to a stand, legs planting and torso swinging upward with a grace that somewhat defied gravity. Looking about at the new world Blue Squad had found itself in, he glanced reflexively at Pan with a glint of suspicion in his lion's eyes. It passed in a moment, however, as the Nicholson guardian's wailing registered. Leroy's head snapped about to stare at Jessie, his face blank and disbelieving as she cried on the rug. Tentatively, he crossed the distance between them with a ginger step and knelt beside her, putting a comforting arm around her shoulders. He paused again, his brow furrowing deeply as he looked around the room, as if trying to find some answer. At last he resorted to a gentle pat on Mrs. Lupine's back, his melodious voice saying, not unkindly "Action is called for, miss. We shall recover the children and all will be well. If any oppose us, I shall crush them to a pash and my dragon will throw their souls to unending torment..." he paused, having caught said giant reptile's chilly eye "...if it should prove impossible not to." He nodded to Ashley "What is your will, Commander? This place is strange, but seems harmless enough. Shall we proceed as a group, in pairs, singly?"
  11. GM "Well, guess that's my cue." Despite his easy smile and his efforts to keep it discreet, it was hard to miss the wistful glance Col. Austin passed over the Pegasus' interior. Nodding to the each of the small party, Randall stepped quickly out of the spaceplane, adding his voice to the chatter blaring out over the launch-site. Cables detached, platforms scurried back into the recesses, people in hard hats and high-vis vests rolled banks of reverse-engineered alien instruments off the blaring orange stripe extending acoss the runway. The Pegasus had been a mainstay of Freedom League and A.S.T.R.O. Labs' extraterrestrial activity for over a decade, mostly confined to the relatively-close reaches of the local solar system. The opening of the wormhole orbiting Pluto, however, and the resulting increase in alien activity, had demanded a rapid change. One of the first was how Pegasi launched. Instead of the slow, traditional takeoffs common to Terres aircraft, a magnetic catapult had been devised for quick and efficient travel out of Earth's atmosphere. Alternatives were already being considered for the future, as the sheer scale of the wormhole's paradigm shift sunk in. That was fairly far from the minds of the four scouts, however. Their craft was gently set in its tray, tilting them away from the familiar and aiming them into the sky. Aglitter with stars though it was, Agent Echohead wasn't alone in at least some recognition of the vastness waiting for them. Then, underneath the craft, a current raged to life. Veronica had already set the spaceplane for launch mode, softening the impact, but everyone felt it. It was like a large, firm hand had torn them from the Earth and flung them, arrow-like, up into the night. To be continued in, AN UNCIVILIZED AGE
  12. Sun Dragon For his part, Leroy had been doing remarkably little of the talking since meeting Mardo. He'd taken up a reclining position, sprawling across the floor as he leaned on one powerful arm and listened intently to the Nicholson student. Swathed in a white robe belted loosely at the waist with a red sash, Leroy had been caught entirely off-guard at Judy's gentle reminder not everyone was simply untouched by the icy chill of an Eastern US winter. Mardo, on the other hand, had bundled up even inside. Scattered around them was a sizable slice of the Academy library, all books about dimensional studies and comparative religion. "...but, if that's how your Mama treats all of 'em, what's the reason to join? Just 'cause she's more powerful?" Their slender tail flicked quickly back and forth, whispering as the scales scraped the hardwood, their slitted eyes hooded by a deep and earnest frown of concentration. "What's in it for the lwa? They're not just spirits of the world, they're spirits of us, too. Does Mama say stuff like "you can't talk to this person" or "you can't pray to them about this"? Does she think she's God?" "Yes." Leroy watched the younger child's face, his own softened a little by a small, warm smile. "I believe she deserves to be. She grants the prayers truly asked by all: keep me safe, feed me, soothe my fears, take my pain, find me love. In a phrase, 'help me'. All she asks is the help of others in return, to bring more within her reach or knowledge. It is the same with the lwa of this world, Mardo, she desires only their cooperation, to do what they already do yet on a truly grand scale." The swishing tail slowed, paused. "What if they don't wanna cooperate?" Leroy's smiled dimmed. His golden eyes dropped to the floor. "I...I do not know. If any have refused my Mother, I was never informed of such opposition to her will. She is not shy to speak of such, as you might imagine. However, they are not servants." Leroy had come aglow again, eyes lighting up as they raised to the ceiling. "They are allies, partners, as are all who dwell on Earth-2. Amatuken would have all match her nearly-limitless power, Mardo, an absolute equality of outcome. My sisters already begin to match and their children, even their followers and students, are hot on Mother's heels!" "But you're not, Mr. Ransome? Not as powerful as her other kids, I mean? How's that work?" The Dragon Prince laughed heartily. "You have me there, Sepan! Now, would you point me where we left off? I believe it was somewhere in this passage on visits to Guinea..."
  13. "Good morning, Dana!" Every day, Dragon Prince Leroy's smiling, friendly face. "Would you sit with Blue Squad at lunch, Dana? You and Commander Ashley have so much in common!" Every day his bright, excited voice. "Dana, well met. My dragon and I are heading out to help evacuate people from a war zone tonight. Is this world not a waking nightmare from whence there is no end in sight? I should welcome your aid!" Every day his questionable ideas. 'His dragon', the priestly green-scaled monster Dio, was much more low-key. Instead of a never-ending barrage of good cheer, Dio preferred to look for chances to directly assist and support the new student. Asking specfically for Dana as a partner on school projects, curtly crushing gossip and rumors as they grew around her(being a multi-ton giant reptile with powerful magic has its social perks) and keeping his distance when the newcomer made clear he wasn't wanted.
  14. Notice check: 19. Checking to see what's wrong with Stone.