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Training in the Wharton State Forest (IC)

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Date: September 23rd, 2009

Deep inside the Wharton State Forest, Leon finish setting up his camp that are located near the small cave. The camp is not very flashy but very simple. He have put most of personal being inside the cave and he have putting up a heavy wooded wall on the cave entrance. Leon is just outside the cave as he started to prepare for the training. He have already made some strange training equipments that are often seen in old kung fu movies. He is sitting on the ground as he putting some heavy weights on his wrists and ankles.

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Blink walked slowly through the Wharton State forest while deep in contemplation. Her hands were thrust deep into the pockets of her loose fitting athletic pants and every now and again, her feet flicked out to kick a pine cone or rock off of the gravel path. Being a cooler afternoon, she wore a pale cream fleece over the top of a tight baby blue tank top. Between the fleece and her own brisk pace, she was warm enough, and welcomed the exercise. Yet it wasn't a physical need that brought her to the part this afternoon.

Even since the afternoon on the wharfs she had been questioning what she wanted out of life. Originally, it had been simple; provide enough money to care for her dad and make sure he never wanted for anything. Yet for all the money she had funneled to him, his lifestyle had changed very little. So if it wasn't for the money, why steal? The thrill of the chase, and the excitement of the job was a reason, but she didn't care for the hardships she had caused others. At the moment she could come up with no good reason other than force of habit to continue with her 'line of work'. To make matters worse, she had crossed a mob boss, and genuinely liked helping the young Natasha. With all of these confusing thought mulling over in her head, a long walk seemed like a good change of scenery.

She hadn't been walking for more than a few miles when she heard something off the path. It sounded kind of like fighting, yet without the intensity that some kind of struggle would create. Her curriosity piqued, she quietly moved to see what was going on.

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As Jack of all Blades walked deeper into woods behind his neighbourhood, the practice foil resting on his shoulder bounced up and down in time with his footsteps. The swordsman felt a bit self-conscious walking through the forest in his full costume, but the crisp autumn air made him grateful for his heavy coat. He scanned back and forth as he went, looking for signs that someone else had been there. Jack was pretty sure the martial artist he'd met earlier that month had mentioned something about Wharton State, but there was a lot of ground to cover. He was about to give up and head back to the city when he heard faint grunts of exertion. Picking up his pace, the swashbuckler made his way towards the sounds.

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Far to the western end of Wharton Forest was a highway, down which a semi truck sped. As it passed, a man-sized form droppe off from under the trailer and rolled down the ditch into the woods.

"Ooof... ow... sonuva... last... time... I... travel... coach!"

After a few moments the form stopped rolling, when it slammed into and wrapped around a very old and very thick tree. The form was still.

And then slowly rose up, popping dislocated limbs back into place as it did.

"Eh, still safer than air travel. Now, let's see, where is-" The figure turned around, getting its bearing, then, "ah-ha! East!"

The figure set off, whistling a tune as it went. It was headed towards Lantern Hill, but would be having a few encounters before it reached its destination.

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It was Tempest's solemn duty and sole purpose to commune with the Creators everyday and inform them of anything that he had learned about the humans. The last several days had been most illuminating. Tempest had learned much of "American culture" which in turn gave him a greater understanding of the American humans. For instance Tempest now knew had one could "drop it like it was hot" without the use of flame or a heat source.

As Tempest's senses returned to the material plane of existence, he again felt the presence of life all around him. Rather than fly out of here, Tempest decided to walk through the forest and be surrounded by life for a longer period of time. He felt the earth beneath his feet and let the sensation travel throughout his body. Nearly 20 minutes into his walk, Tempest heard the sounds of life off in the distance, and out of curiosity began to approach. He crept between the trees, trying to be as stealthy as possible, a task at which he failed miserably, in an attempt to observe this new behavior while he snacked on an apple he had plucked from the trees.

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Leon have tied with huge ropes around a tree where he will practicing by striking on it to improved his blows and withstand the pain by delivering powerful strike. He don't use any protection on his fists or feet because he want to harden them even more. Before he practicing by striking on, he took a short standing meditation before he start striking on it. The thick ropes that are tied on the tree are softing the blows from Leon. Leon start slowly punching on the tree until he started to increased his speeds. While he punching at the tree, he also perform strong side kick on it and some forward kicks. The weight on his wrists and ankles are making him harder to perform fast blows but he still try to push his limit because he want to go beyond the human limitation of the body.

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As Blink moved to the noise, she became aware of others heading in the same direction. With the mob, and others, after her, discretion seemed to be prudent until she could find out who was following her. Or, she corrected herself, if someone was following her. Yet, for all that she tried to remain silent, her efforts were clumsy and worse, noisy. She chastised herself for letting her skills lapse so badly. If there was a tomorrow, she vowed to come back here and brush up on moving silently through the forest.

As she moved, she came upon a clearing where someone had set up quite a rugged little camp. He was spending his time smashing his fists and shins into various wooden posts and contraptions. Frankly, she had never understood that method of fighting, water always beat stone, didn't it?

Regardless, she kept herself at the edge of the clearing trying to discern how many others were coming and if they had noticed either the clearing, or Blink's own clumsy footsteps.

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It didn't take long for Jack to find Leon's clearing once he started following the sounds of training. He found the monk delivering powerful blow after blow against a tree. The swashbuckler simply watched the martial artist for a moment, impressed by his tenacity. Jack considered himself more of a finesse fighter, but Leon's ability to rain punishment on a foe, regardless of personal discomfort, gave him pause. Eventually, the swordsman cleared his throat loudly and stepped further into the clearing.

"Uh, hey, Leon!" Jack lifted the foil resting on his shoulder up a few inches, drawing attention to it. "You still up for some sparring? I don't want to mess up your, like, monk mojo or whatever you've got going on with the arboreal abuse."

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"Hel-lo -- voices? Now who would be out here, at this hour? Teens on a camping trip? Or someone trying to hide something? Might as well investigate..."

As Dead Head walked through the forest, still whistling (though now it was a different tune), two people in/near Leon's training area became aware of something very, very wrong.

Tempest felt the approach of something utterly and unspeakably wrong, a jagged gash in the patterns of life itself. It first noted that the birds and other forest creatures had become very, very quiet, then had all bolted in panic, headed north, east, or south -- but not west. West, the direction in which the Sun set (from the point of view of the humans, at least), and thus associated with night and cold and death. Tempest knew, better than most humans, that death was a completely natural part of life, an inevitability that lead to rebirth and renewal -- but what approached was not natural; it was a mockery of both life and death, of the entire natural order!

Jack of Blades felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, a feeling of unease resting in the pit of his stomach. Ever since his powers had been awakened, he'd had a vague sense for the energy around him, from hidden power lines to the electrical fields running through all living things. Even now, he could sense Leon in front of him even without looking. Concentrating on the uncomfortable feeling, he realized that there were other presences somewhere in the woods. One felt almost like a person, but was somehow... off. The thought of a creepy, not-quite-right porcelain doll sprang to the young man's mind.

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This was a new sensation for Tempest. This was undoubtedly what humans would call a "shudder" which was proceeded a feeling of intense discomfort, often times mental in nature. For reasons unknown to Tempest, humans exhibited a sign of physical unrest when so mentally afflicted. Whatever this unnatural feeling was, had made Tempest understand the sentiment.

Tempest made a move to intercept whatever this force was, but then suddenly stopped. This force was moving toward the humans, but not with a sense of urgency. Tempest then looked at the new arrival in the clearing. Perhaps this was a gathering of the villain humans? If they have allied themselves with an evil force such as this it would be beneficial to understand their potential plot so that it could be better combated. For now, Tempest hung back in the trees to observe. Wrath would come later.

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Leon stopped with his training when Jack show up. He turned to him while he resting his fists on his waist.

"Hello Jack! I was waiting for you!" He greeted to him as he shaking his hand.

"I don't mind ending my training now but let me remove my weights first before we can start sparring each other." He said as he sat down a rock. He removed the weights from wrists and ankles, it sound very heavy when it dropped down to the ground.

"By the way... I'm not a even monk, I´m just a martial artist..." He said as he standing up and then he make some quick stretching movements.

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Jack grinned. "Leon, buddy, if it punches through bricks like a monk and meditates under waterfalls like a monk, then-- jeez!" The swordsman dropped his foil to the ground and gripped the side of his head. Out in the middle of the forest, away from the 'white noise' of power lines and crowded streets, his energy sense was much clearer. As such, it came as all the more of a shock when his brain started freaking out in two directions at once. To the west he sensed something that turned his stomach; something that was so close to a regular person that the vague 'wrongness' was all the more discomforting. In the opposite direction was veritable pillar of energy, concentrated to such a degree that Jack felt like his eyeballs were vibrating.

Concentrating through the unsettling sensation, the swordsman flicked out his lighter, calling forth a fiery sword with practiced ease. He glanced around the edge of the clearing warily. "Hold that thought, Leon, we got company. Freaky company."

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Leon, Jack and Blink all clearly made out a figure approaching the clearing, from the west -- so not from Freedom City, unless it had doubled back -- but could not make out its features due to all the shadows. Three things could be made out from where it stood, at the edge of he clearing: there was a green glow at its face (a glowstick around its neck?), it had something with a long handle strapped to its back, and it was whistling a vaguely familiar tune.

"Hey fellas!" it called down to Leon & Jack in a gravelly but upbeat voice, with a noticeable Southern drawl. "how y'all doin'? What all's goin' on here?"

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Blink felt unease, standing at the edge of the clearing. She wasn't sure if it was due to her own thoughts and moods, or something else. However, a very well defined survival sense taught her to never be unprepared. Her outlines faded as her body matched the coloring of the forest around her. The two guys in the middle of the clearing looked like they were sparring partners and had been in the process of greeting each other. One of them must have sensed something since he summoned up some kind of torch or burning blade.

It was about then that she both saw and heard someone calling out to the pair; an odd figure approaching the clearing.

Part of her was disappointed. A little excitement might just get her out of the funk she had been in. She had even been considering approaching the pair, they looked competent enough to offer a good workout. However, until she got a better handle on what was going on, and why she felt unsettled, she would stay put and observe from a distance.

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Logic dictated that one should thoroughly analyze an alien situation before immersing one's self in the events. That way one could make an objective opinion without any biases towards any one outcome or another. The problem was however waiting for the events to unfold. Waiting was what the humans referred to as boring. Tempest hated the anticipation. He wanted things to happen now. He needed to know more.

Throwing caution to the wind, Tempest strode out of the forest in full view of everyone. He was a whirling flux of the classical elements in a humanoid form, though he seemed to particularly like earth and wood. He walked until he was about 20 paces away from the two normal humans and then spoke. "Greetings training humans. I would advise that the training humans maintain a safe distance from the other creature; it is a non human. It is a non-life. It is too curious."

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Turning to the fantastic being, Jack nodded with exaggerated amicability. "Well, sure, Mr. Glowy-Shifty-Migrane-Causing-Energy-Man. A non-life. Y'know, I was just going to say that?" The swordsman glanced down at the blade of flame in his right hand. He had a feeling it wouldn't do much good against humanoid elemental, but out in the middle of the woods he didn't have many other energy types available to him.

He looked over his shoulder to the earlier arrival with the Southern drawl. "How about you, 'hoss'? Got a case to state? I'm an easygoing guy, far as weirdness goes," Jack said slowly. The swashbuckler gestured casually with his sword. "Breaking a few natural laws right now myself, but you're both pushing my tolerance levels, comprende?"

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"Hey, whoa, hold up, now, fellas," the figure said, raising its hands, "seems t'me y'all shouldn't be judgin' a man based on the initial vibes he gives off. Don't judge a book by its cover, an' all that."

The figure shifted a bit, but kept its position at the shadowed edge of the clearing and kept its hands up. "Seems a bit of introduction might put us all a bit more at ease. I'll go first: folks call me Dead Head -- looong story, involving the Grateful Dead -- and I'm new to these parts. Truth is, this is the furthest north I've ever been; as I'm sure you can tell by th' way I talk, I'm from the South. Been wanderin' for, oh, 'bout a decade, tryin' t'help those I can in my own special way. But I'm not exactly... presentable, so I do most of my work from the shadows. The folks I help tend not to mind none, though, most're just happy someone remembers 'em."

Th figure shifted again, such that he was probably looking at the roiling elemental form. "So what's yer story, Cap'n Planet?"

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Leon started to used appearing of supernatural being. But why they appear right in the middle of forest make him wondering. He first looked at the elemental being and then at the undead who seem to speak with southern accent.

"Man... I'm started to get used of strange appearing of supernatural beings and superheroes..." He simple said until he suddenly hear sound of somebody who is hiding. He turned to the direction to the sound.

"Excuse me, are you gonna appear too?" He asked to Blink who is still hiding.

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Blink hadn't quite shifted fully when she was called out to reveal herself. It didn't say much about her ability to sneak up on people. While she hadn't had a lot of time lately to practice, she shouldn't be this rusty either. Still, fortune favors the bold, she thought as she stepped out into the clearing sizing up each of the inhabitants.

"I heard some noise and thought to check what was happening. Not sure about your friends, but you have an interesting technique," she said. Then continued a little defensively, "Besides, it's a free park and it's not like I was breaking any laws."

She looked around, meeting their eyes as she looked at each of them in turn. Her father had always told her to do so, showing weakness was never a good idea. Especially when you might be called on to fight or make a tactical retreat. If you appeared weaker, it made your foes bold and there was less chance they would hesitate. Then it hit her, she hadn't actually been doing anything wrong and the park was a public place. More to the point, there was likely some kind of law about brawling in public... not that it concerned her overly much.

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These humans were indeed interesting. No matter how many new things I learned out these humans there was always something new to learn. "Training human, energy sword human and poorly hidden human, I am called Tempest." The giving of names was a tradition among the humans used to establish trust. In this instance the giving of the name was to lessen the potential hostilities that the humans were bringing forth. "I do not intend for harm to befall any of you this day. However, that first means determining the disposition of this abomination creature."

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Jack glanced at the woman who had just entered the clearing. "I think you just got dissed by the walking forest fire," he noted absently. Turning back to the elemental, he continued, "Now where were you when I was trying to come up with a codename? 'Energy Sword Human'; the merchandising rights sell themselves. That said, I guess I'll be sticking with Jack of all Blades for now." The hero lowered his sword, but kept it ignited and looked between the two more exotic characters present warily. "Alright, so, Dead Head and Tempest. Great. That's... great. So we know who we're talking to. 'Who' is important. How about moving on to 'what'?"

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"Well, if y'all insist on having labels and all that," Dead Head said, his voice dripping with faked indignation as he strode forward, "then, yeah, I suppose I could be called an abomination. For several reasons."

Dead Head moved more into the light, and the first thing most if not all of you notice is his face. It is, to put it mildly, horrible: pale and leathery, with sunk-in eyes -- which glowed with an eerie green flame -- over an unusually small nose. Beneath that was a mouth seemingly frozen into a twisted smile, lips pulled back tight to reveal yellowed teeth set in blue-black gums. He had long, ghostly white hair that flew free in the breeze.

When the Elemental said it was "non-life," a more common term would be undead, because he sure looked like one. That, or it was a really good makeup job.

The second thing to register was its clothing: it was dressed like a biker, boots, jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket, all very worn.

"One," it began, holding up one index finger, "I'm one of th' Living Impaired. I ain't dead... but I ain't alive, either. Two, " he continued as his middle finger went up, "I do not -- I repeat, do not -- crave brains, or blood, or anything else. Three- oh!" Its ring finger would have gone up next, but there was nothing but a stub there. The undead biker began searching its pockets, and after a few moments drew forth its missing digit.

"Ah, that was a close one!," it said as it reattached its finger. "Now, where was I? Oh, right: three -- I got over the whole angsty, grim, brooding monster thing years ago, and now I focus on helping folks."

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Jack glanced at the woman who had just entered the clearing. "I think you just got dissed by the walking forest fire," he noted absently.

"I suppose I did," Blink said without any trace of malice in her voice. She'd long ago learned to control her temper.

Then as Dead Head went on to explain himself, Blink responded, "you are what you are... which is mostly what you do, not what you are. Besides, why would you care what others think of you?"

As the situation defused, Blink had naturally relaxed a bit. No one here was going to clap her in irons, and she had to keep reminding herself that to her knowledge, there were no outstanding warrants for her arrest anyway.

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Leon looked at the woman who just had hiding, it seem that she have been in wrong side of law but he don't know about her so that he can't simple assume that she is a criminal. He then looked at the others, the undead who call himself Dead Head and elemental being Tempest. He was only expected Jack to come but he never expect to face three stranger at same day in the forest.

Ahmm... But anyway it is interesting to meeting you Dead Head, Tempest and... you miss...! He greeting with slightly confused look.

Let me introduce myself... My name is Leon Yeerum but better known as Leon Mighty. I'm martial artist who travel around the world to improved myself. Me and Jack of all Blades know each other with our early encounter.

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Tempest turned to each of the humans as they were introduced. "Jack of all Blades human, Leon Mighty human.... Dead Head abomination." It was quite clear that Tempest didn't much care for Dead Head's being, though he did put off his initial hostilities somewhat. This Dead Head abomination is a most curious of creations. Does the human world truly contain such beings? I shall endeavor to learn more about this Dead Head abomination so as to prepare myself should I have further encounters with that sort of being. In addition if I conserved with these humans I may learn more about them.

The constantly shifting elements that comprised Tempest suddenly halted their pattern. Then, one by one, Tempest's body became composed of a single classical element until he had cycled through all of them before it resumed its previous flux pattern. "I am everything that you know, given motive by what you cannot comprehend, and destined to learn that which is natural to all. But in this clearing, I am but a friend and ally."

Then, whatever would pass for Tempest's eyes glow bright white and the ground shifts and ripples. Set off to the side of Leon's training area, the grass, soil, rocks, earth and trees come together to form a seating area arranged in a circle. If you hadn't seen the area change with your very eyes, you would have sworn that everything had just happened to grow that way.

"It is my understanding of human customs that carrying on a conversation while standing is less preferable to that of one where the participants are seated. If that is indeed the case, then I suggest that we continue our conversation here so that we may endeavor to learn more of one another. Is this agreeable?"

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