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MarkK

The days of high adventure (IC)

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Dark Star

The man looked over Dark Star quietly for a moment before shrugging his shoulders. "Be my guest. These roads are fairly lonely and I would enjoy the company." He moved over slightly to make room.

Once Dark Star was seated, he flicked the reins and began his story. "Hmm, where to start. I guess the beginning is always the best place. Freedom Reach is the largest city in the land. People from all over the world come to trade goods or make a name for themselves. The city is protected by a great leader, Lord Centurion, who some say is a god in mortal form. Every year, Lord Centurian calls forth knights to participate in a great tourney. The winners are accepted to join Lord Centurian in the fight against the evil forces of the world. This year's tourney looks to be the biggest of them all. Signs have pointed to a great danger amassing in the north. Lord Centurion will need all the knights he can gather to hold back the darkness."

The driver smiles at Dark Star. "From the look of things, you should do well in the tourney."

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Doktor Archeville

Again, the Doktor manipulated the strange viewing devices to get a better look at the workings of the castle. As the crystal balls zoomed in on the castle, he could see that the courtyard was presently being set up for some kind of ceremony. A large seating stand was being erected with banners decorating the ground.

Doktor Archeville willed the crystal balls to go further within the castle itself, but found his vision blocked. The castle must be protected from outside viewing or whatever the power source used for the scrying devices. In either case, only going there would gain more information.


Doktor Archeville stepped out side and saw that he was actually in the town that he first viewed from his workshop. The streets were cobblestone and the buildings that lined the street were thatched roofed. Looking back at the building he had emerged from, he could see that it was made of stone with a more permanent roof. Compared to the other buildings in the area, his was of a higher quality.

The good Doktor could see that the road led towards the center of the town where the castle sat waiting. Various people moved about cleaning or heading to the inner section of the town. His keen observations showed that even here, preparations were underway for some kind of city-wide event.

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Jack of all Blades

Jack swung down the clothes line, flaming sword in hand, and burst into the building. The change in lighting took a moment for Jack's eyes to adjust. Once they had, he saw that he was in what could only be a common room of an inn. A large bar stood against the wall. Three of the five tables in sight had patrons staring at Jack's sudden entrance. A serving girl stopped in mid-step, surprised by Jack's words and flaming weapon. A few torches stood in brackets lining the walls, giving the room light.

From behind the bar, a large burly man sighed. "Great! Just what we need! Another one coming to the tourney. Why can't these knights stop showing off."

"I don't know Jasper," one of the men sitting at the bar said in reply. "This one actually may win the tourney. Look at that sword! I'd bet a few silvers on him winning."

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Twilight Gryphon

With her load lighten, the woman smiled her thanks. "Thanks." The woman spoke a few words and gestured before walking off the edge.

Instead of falling, her foot found purchase upon the air itself. Slowly, she began walking to the library. As she walked she answered Twilight's question. "Why this is the Chiurgeon's Academy. The largest school of medicine within all the realm, of course."

The woman took a moment to look more closely at Twilight. "You're not from around here, are you? Did you come for the tourney? Lord Centurian could always use healers."

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Witch

Blackbird walked the streets in search of someone to talk. As she moved about the stalls, she listened in on various conversations. The hottest topic seemed to be the tourney that was being held at the castle soon. Lord Centurion had called forth knights to participate in the tourney. those that showed themselves worthy would gain a place at his side. Rumors were that this year, those that passed would actually have something to fight. A large force of darkness was gathering in the north and some feared that it would be too much for Lord Centurion to defeat alone.

Blackbird could see the castle in question in the center of the city, which she learned was known as Freedom Reach. Perhaps there, she could learn what had brought her to this strange place.

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Dark Star settled himself as best he was able beside the man. He was more than a little curious at the driver's explanation. Perhaps this was some kind of alternate reality, though how he'd gotten here he had no idea. He needed to get home but if there were dangers he could stop while he was here, he would happily stand beside other heroes in the process.

He nodded at the man. "Perhaps I shall. If I can be of assistance fighting off evil, I shall gladly give any help that I am able. But I do not wish to fight anyone unless someone is in danger. How is this tourney conducted? And when does it start?" He paused. "This danger to to the north? Do we know anything about it?"

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"...buh?" Jack noted as he got a better look at his surroundings. He stood up straight and let the flaming sword in his hand evaporate as the words of the tavern patrons registered. "I am pretty terrific," he agreed amicably, tossing the startled serving girl a roguish grin. "Such a vision alone has made my journey well worthwhile," he said, bowing deeply in her direction, flourishing his greatcoat for effect. Straightening, he turned back to the barkeep who had spoken earlier. "But a tournament, as well? Truly fate smiles! I implore you, good sir, speak more of this!" The swashbuckler moved to sit at the bar next to the man who had been impressed by his sword. If this had something to do with the so-called 'Tournament of Suits' the other Jacks had mentioned, he might be in far more danger than he'd first thought. Such a widespread effect seemed beyond Jakken Staff's abilities, but magic, the hero had learned, could be funny like that.

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Dark Star

The man thinks on the questions for a while before answering. "Hmm, I think the tourney should be starting in the next day or so. Each year, the tests that Lord Centurion puts into place changes. I'm not sure what this year will look like, but it's bound to be very interesting."

"Not much to say about the darkness, though. It's all rumors to people like myself and all. Only Lord Centurion's closest advisors would have any real information though. Rumors are that a rift has opened and demons are making their way into our world. Some say that the dragons have banded together to regain their place as the most powerful creatures of the land. Which is true, I don't know. I lean more towards the idea that the land is full of undead creatures coming forth to suck the life-force out of us normal people. They would find people like yourself prime meals." The driver gave a short laugh at his own comment.

"Oh, looks like we're here. Just head to the Castle and let them know there that you're here for the tourney. Good luck to you."

Dark Star looked up to see the walls of a town before him. though it was no where near as large as Freedom City of his time, this would be a major sized city here. He could see beyond the guarded gates an inner wall that surrounded a tall castle. The roads that he could see leading to the castle were decorated for the upcoming event and the people he saw around him seemed to be in a festive mood.


Dark Star said his good byes and began moving towards the castle. As he went by, various people called out welcoming words to the hero, his dark form an obvious indication of his knightly bearing. Reaching the inner wall, Dark Star was stopped at the gate with a group of other strangely dressed people. A few of the figures looked very familiar to Dark Star, Captain Thunder, and was that Bowman? It seemed that Dark Star was not the only hero brought back to this time.

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Dark Star thanked the man, grateful for any information really. He noted the other heroes curiously. While he had never met them personally, he knew who they were at least. This also wasn't exactly how he thought he'd meet them for the first time, but these things happen it seems. He flew over to them, nodding at greeting politely those he past and those who called out to him. Coming to a stop, he nodded to them both. "Gentlemen, we've never met but I've heard of you. I'm Dark Star if you didn't already know. I have no idea how I came here and was hoping you could shed a little light on the subject," he said honestly and hopefully.

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Gah, what is that smell?!

... you know exactly what it is.

I hate this place so much!

Patience, we need to find out where -- and possibly when -- we are before we can start plotting a way home.

Archeville was becoming less and less enamored with this place, whenever or whenever it was. He knew the Middle Ages -- and these seemed comparable to it -- were rife with disease and filth. And while his work over the years had allowed him to develop an impressive tolerance to most toxins and diseases, he did not look forward to all the grime.

So he floated up about 6 inches int the air, and "walked" that way to wards the castle, with his hands clasped behind his back. AS he went, he smiled and greeted other, bowing and tipping his "Wizard's Hat" to the more comely women he saw.

"Lovely day for a festival, ja?"

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Twilight flew next to the woman casually, the scientific part of her mind telling her what she was seeing was impossible, but one look around the academy made it clear she wasn't in Freedom anymore. "No, I'm not she replied honestly, "and I'm not exactly sure how I came to be here... her voice trailed off.

"Lord Centurion? Tourney?"

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The sudden shift in reality was certainly worrying, more so because he had not sensed anything of a magical nature occurring. No matter, such a radical change meant he could barely trust his current knowledge of the surroundings, and he had no idea as to how the local situation was. Even if he should be perfectly safe, and if his home had kept at least most of its security that seemed likely, he still needed knowledge. After all knowledge is power, and moreover it allows the even more essential element of control.

So after carefully putting the stopper in the inkwell, drying off the goosefeather pen and other fairly trivial details of preparing a lengthy pause in his work he stood up and shifted over to one of the rooms he'd furnished himself since taking over his 'new' body, the Scrying Chamber. He wasn't surprised to see that the actually rather comfy chair he'd chosen for use in here had been replaced. He was however relieved to see that nothing in the room seemed to have been decorated with skulls or bones, particularly the throne which now took centre stage. It did however have something of a lion motif, which in his opinion was certainly more acceptable.

Taking a seat, relieved at the presence of a cushion on seat at least, the elderly mage cast his mind around the city searching for any thing or anyone else that he could recognise. In particular he sought to find anyone who might have a clue as to how to get him back.

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Blackbird looked at the castle off in the distance. A place at the side of the Centurion? she thought, Not a bad deal. Having a superman at your beck and call would be awesome! She looked at herself. She was nowhere near knightly. Now how could she do this. Walking towards the castle, she thought about her options. She could possess one of the knights, though when it was over, it would be the knight, not her. Thus she would have to keep inside the knight forever. Not a fun idea. Walking towards the castle, she kept her eyes and ears open.

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Jack of All Blades

Jack's grin had the desired result of the serving girl. She blushed as she moved to complete here work. The man at the bar spoke up. "Yeah, the tourney. Lord Centurion calls forth knights to participate in the tourney every year. Those that win, are accepted into his circle to protect the realm. Knights from all over the land come to take part in the tourney. Each year it's different and we like to take bets as to what the tourney will entail."

"Well, I heard this year was different," said one of the other patrons in the bar. "Rumors are that this year, Lord Centurion is gathering an army to fight off the darkness that has been gathering in the north.

The bartender shakes his head. "That's nonsense. Ain't no force in the north. Well, Mister, if you plan in participating, you need to head up to the castle and sign in. You'll get better information straight from the horse's mouth than talking to this bunch of drunk fools."


After having a drink, Jack said his good byes and moved down towards the castle. As he went down the streets, he saw the people preparing for the event. It didn't take long for Jack to reach the castle.

The castle was located in the center of the town with another wall around it. At the main gate, Jack could see a large group of people standing about waiting for admittance. Within the group, he saw a few familiar faces. Wasn't that Bowman over there? And Captain Thunder! Oh, and Dark Star!

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Doktor Archeville

Archeville received greetings in return as he moved towards the castle. None of the people he passed seemed surprised that he was actually walking on air. Obviously, the people were used to seeing displays of power. Everyone looked to be in a festive mood as they prepared the town for the coming event.

It didn't take him long to reach the castle. A large group of people were waiting for admittance. Within the group, Archeville could make out a number of familiar faces. There was Captain Thunder and Bowman. And also intermixed was Dark Star. All seemed appropriately dressed for the present age.

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Twilight Gryphon

The young woman nodded her head. "Yes, a tourney. Every year, Lord Centurion holds a tourney to gather knights. This year seems to be different the ones in the past. There are rumors that some terrible force is gathering strength in the north. Some say, Lord Centurion is gathering warriors to help fight them. I'm going to the castle after I've finished here. They need all the people willing to help out the cause. I'm not much of a fighter, but my knowledge of medicine is quite extensive. I should be able to help."

She looked Olivia up and down. "Would you like to go with me? I'm sure that you would come in handy. Just look how you helped me!"

The woman deposited her books and grabbed Olivia's arm. With a quick word of magic, the library disappeared.


Olivia blinked her eyes and found herself before a walled castle. A large group of people were standing about waiting for admittance. In the crowd, Olivia could see a number of familiar faces. There was Captain Thunder as well as Bowman. Also in the group was Dark Star as well as Doktor Archeville. There was also a roguish looking man that could fit the appearance of Jack of all Blades. Things had turned very interesting.

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Jack let out a low whistle. The tavern patrons' reaction to his powers had given the swashbuckler suspicions, but seeing the recognizable heroes, albeit in setting-appropriate garb, cinched it: this clearly wasn't a matter of time travel. It could be an parallel world, but he'd have expected the journey to be less shifty and more portaly. Then again, perhaps Captain Knievel had simply hit him in the head harder than he'd realized. Scratching his chin, Jack admitted to himself that he was unlikely to make much headway figuring things out on his own.

It didn't take a genius to recognize the tournament as an analogue for Freedom League auditions, however. Centurion, alive and raising a group of heroes to fight an invading army was uncomfortably familiar as well. "Terminus..." he breathed softly. Jack knew he was jumping to conclusions, but it was a worrying possibility nevertheless.

Making his way into the throng of people waiting to be admitted into the castle, Jack took stock of his fellows. Many of them seemed to be acting as though this were all quite natural, just as the villagers had. How could he tell if any of them had retained their memories as he had? After a moment he shrugged, resolving to meet the problem head-on. "Oy!" he shouted, getting as much attention as he could. "Right, show of hands, if I were to make an American Idol crack about this whole audition thing, who'd get the reference?"

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They're not cowering at our power... why are these primitive not cowering?!

Because Metahumans are nearly as common here as in our own dimension/spacetime?

They should be cowering before us anyway....

Yes, yes, the great and terrible Archeville, who- say, there're some familiar faces!

Archeville was quite pleased to see some people he could identify, and rushed up to Bowman, Captain Thunder and Dark Star. "Ah, some familiar faces at last! Lovely day for an Event, ja?"

You do realize these might not be 'our' Bowman, Captain Thunder, or Dark Star, that they could be doppelgangers native to this place?

Yes, but even so, they may know me -- or, rather, my counterpart -- and so be able to tell me more about this place.

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Dark Star looked over at the newcomer and nodded slightly. "I have heard of the show but I'm too busy to watch it myself. But I understand the point. You too are from a different...world/time." He looked over at the arrival of a face he DID know though, or at least thought he did. "Doctor? From Freedom City, yes?" He nodded. "I have no idea how I came here. The world 'changed' beneath me. I'm quite certian I did nothing to precipated a dimesional wormhole or alteration of the space-time but I'm uncertain as to exactly what is going on."

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Jack glanced between Dark Star and Dr. Archeville. "Uh, yeah, what the space man said. Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey." The swashbuckler gave a small wave. "I'm Jack, incidentally," he offered, "Jack of all Blades. No need to ask who you two are. Sort of a random selection, eh?" Jack felt like the odd man out among the better known heroes, particularly the world famous doctor, but remained affable. He'd never make it to the big-time if he couldn't act like he belonged there. Placing his hands behind his head casually, he considered. "Weird bit is that everything's still where it was, just with 'ye olde' tacked on front. Power-lines into clotheslines and warehouses into taverns, eh? Plus the renfaire-chique," he added, gesturing to their altered costumes. "I'm not the only one reading this tournament as 'Freedom League Try-Outs: Now With 50% More Jousting,' right?"

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Speech patterns seem contemporary with our space/time, so this is 'our' Dark Star.

And this 'Jack' guy seems from our time, too. Shame, means we'll have to bring him with us.

Oh, I am sure he is a pleasant enough fellow. He seems easygoing enough.

So did Ted Bundy!

Archeville nodded, "ja, I am quite perplexed by all dis. There must be some pattern, some reason why only we were transferred, but I do not haff enough data to figure it out. Haff either of you met anyvon else from our time? Further," he continued, "I am unsure as to vhere ve are: I cannot yet tell if ve are in some parallel vorld, or de past of our own. I hope it is de latter, time travel makes mein head hurt."

"I am sure, dough, dat ve can find some answers mitin de castle here."

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Dark Star nodded. "I was told a little about the tourney from a traveler who told me about the tourney but little in the way of facts." He related what little he knew to the others. "This Champion seems to be their lord and defender. We need to find a way home, true enough, but if these people are in danger I would be willing to postpone our return trip, once we figure out how to, to help them. We can attempt to join this tourney to meet the lord of the castle, assuming we aren't fighting anyone. Or we could simply wander up, knock and ask for an audience before explaining the situation. Suggestions?"

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"Man, five of whatever they use for currency around here says that we end up fighting in this thing whether we want to or not," Jack predicted. "I've had some experience with wacky tournaments, and participation doesn't tend to be up for debate. Somebody brought us here, or did this to the city, maybe, and they're gonna be ticked if we just decide to opt out, y'know?" The swashbuckler looked from Dark Star to Dr. Archeville. "You two should see if the guys in charge recognize you. Maybe you're like the Black Knight and Archmage of Awesome to them. I can go talk to the registration people and see what the specifics are." Jack paused in consideration. "Seriously, though, copper, gold, seashells, what?"

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Pleasant and clever -- we would do well to ally with this one.

Pft, fast-talking loudmouth is what he is. Leave him here to fend for himself, I say.

And if it turns out that this is our past? Would you really want someone like him running around and altering history?

......... fine, he can come.

"I vould guess precious metals," Archeville answered, "silver und gold, or perhaps animal pelts."

"Dere is some intelligence at vork here, dat intentionally brought us here, dough for vhat purpose I am unsure. De fact is happened so abruptly vould imply an element of urgency, yet none of us haff been approached by anyvon explaining anyding. Dis tournament," he gestured towards the assembled people, "may be a key element; de vons who brought us here may haff brought many others, und dey will only reveal de purpose behind de abduction to de vons who vin de tournament, who prove demselves vorthy of facing vhatever true threat remains."

"I vas headed tovards de vons in charge here anyvay," he continued, "as mein earlier attempts at remotely viewing de castle vere blocked by someding mitin de structure itself. Curiously, as I made my vay here, no von seemed particularly surprised at mein appearance, so either I do haff some counterpart here, or de populace is used to having many, many 'strange visitors' popping in at all times."

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Dark Star nodded. "This tourney does seem optional from what I was told. But it is designed to find the champions to accompany their lord in defense of this realm. If they need help, we shall give it. We can do no less." He shrugged. "I admit that no one seems disturbed by my appearance either. Perhaps you are correct and this is common. Regardless, let's ask the one in charge of this event if we can get under way. I may not wish to fight or hurt any participants but it is incidental. I don't see why it is necessary to only take certain heroes to defeat evil, if that is the point of this tourney. But tourney or no...if evil is gathering, I will be there to meet it. And I would prefer we move to stop it sooner rather than later." He had no intention of fighting anyone in the tourney. But he wouldn't let a battle versus the dark forces take place without him if he could help save lives.

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