I think I am here.

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I think I am here. last won the day on October 9 2019

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  1. Rob nodded, trying to think of what that would entail. Doc had given him a home, he had led them and had taken care of him when he’d been in a new city, just getting used to his powers. Doc was the adult that anchored everyone here to the real world, had brought them all together in typical Bondsmith fashion. He provided stability, the foreign voice inside of him spoke. Provided a comfort zone, a safe place. He is the reason nothing changes, the reason we’re in this cycle in the first place! That made sense, Rob thought. After all, you couldn’t destroy the board if you didn’t break some of the rules. Lightly he stepped back, meandered over to the backyard door entering into the house again, looked back to Shana in a silent question as he slid it open and entered the main living room. “Hey,” he said to James, who was sitting on the couch, and tried to assume a calm tone. Surely Bondsmiths knew things about each other. “Would you know where Doc’s office is?” @Wyndlerunner
  2. “The right ones,” he repeated affirmatively, found himself visualising the plan they were slowly carving out, a plan of affirmative action, a plan of not standing by anymore, of finding the root of this conflict and obliterating it. And when he looked in Shana’s eyes he could see she meant her words. Her face was hard, and her words were coated in mission and duty. Because it was their duties, as Radiants, to bring peace. At any cost. She was right. There were liars on both sides. And Rob hated liars. “So, it’s a plan,” he stated, stepping back and picking up a pebble off the ground. “See if Doc has any information on other, more radical Radiant groups. Follow that thread and see where it leads. Or go Voidbringer-hunting and use some of our interrogation techniques...” He breathed in a little stormlight and the pebble liquified between his fingers, dripping on the ground. “...to see what they know about who’s attacking them.” Rob nodded himself, finding himself appreciating Shana’s bravery, at the courage it took to admit your brethren weren’t always right. “You’re a good friend,” he said. “A great friend. I... wasn’t expecting much from this conversation, but you understood me. You’ve always understood.” He fell silent, then raised his fist slightly in front of him. “We will bring peace. And we’ll destroy the liars who get in our way.”
  3. Rob nodded when she repeated his words, took a quick step towards him, face twisted, balled her fists in frustration and continued on. He nodded when she talked about how there would never be peace, nodded again when she said no one was even looking for peace, couldn’t stop nodding and his hands dropped by his sides when he realised she was beginning to understand him, understand the frustration, and a part of him was relieved he had been able to trust Shana enough to speak to her. The sphere continued pulsing when she stopped, and Rob waited in silence for a few moments. He stepped a bit closer and dropped his voice. “You know exactly how I feel,” he said, let the words hang in the air. She nailed down the feeling, the frustration at the vicious cycle. His voice seemed harsher to his own ears, but he ignored it and stared deep into her eyes. “You understand, understand it completely. The Voidbringers are liars. And murderers. And we are too if we stay like this, perpetuating the cycle by only fighting back when we’re attacked. You get it, Shana.” He couldn’t stop warmth from colouring his voice, and yet the feeling behind it was something else, something more than a simple agreement or friendship, but an emotion the sphere seemed to be driving: ambition. Hunger. Anger at the Voidbringers. Passion at the cause of removing them. Unable to stop his train of thought, he stepped closer again. “You’re right. Change the board. You...” he stopped for a moment to make sure he wasn’t lying, then continued. “...Are the best fighter I’ve ever seen. Together, we’re unstoppable. The dream, the prom, the wedding, the infested house next to ours. Storms, we even have to go on opposite sparring teams because of how unbalanced it is.” He stopped for a moment, mostly to notice the sphere seemed hot in his pocket. “No one else sees it the way we do. No one else is willing to change the board, but we can. Together. And we don’t need Doc or James or Cassie or Ben or Sawyer or Luther or anyone else.” He stepped back again, falling silent, then nodding to himself. “Change the board,” he repeated thoughtfully. “World War II only ended because of the atomic bombs, after all.” @Sorana
  4. Hello there!
  5. Rob continued staring at her, even after she finished. Help him. The thought wasn’t new, Shana had helped him plenty of times before. That’s what friends did. With sparring, with debating, with understanding what people meant when they winked at you and all sorts of other things he couldn’t understand, but she could. Still, though. It felt... odd to accept assistance so easily. “‘Different’,” he repeated. He seemed ‘different’. The sphere pulsed in his pocket. Shana had been the only one he’d told about it, and the first thing she’d suggested was to destroy it. But he’d kept it, so he could ask Doc or James, or better yet, the Voidbringer, for answers. But that last one wasn’t an option anymore, and he knew Doc and James would probably try taking it from, which he couldn’t allow. It was his. He considered a blunt ‘I’m fine’, but stopped himself. That would be lying. And Rob hated lies. Glancing around to make sure no one else could listen in on them, he took one step further into the backyard, to distance the conversation even more from the house. “Everything seems to repeat itself,” he responded instead, trusted Shana to understand what he meant in a way he didn’t think he could trust anyone else. He continued staring at her, trying to keep the emotion out of his voice. “Like we’re characters in a TV show. Live, eat, get attacked, defend ourselves, lose someone, then win. Then gain another roommate. Then, next month, the same. Live, eat, get attacked in a dream, defend ourselves. Then get attacked at prom. And then on the wedding. And then, in a house right next to ours. On a loop. And again, again, again and again —” The sphere pulsed, and then —oddly— he couldn’t control himself and crossed his arms, resuming a defensive stance at being so open. He’d let go, spoken too much. His father’s voice remained in his head, full of expectations, full of instructions and rules. “It’s...” he almost gave in. It’s frustrating. It’s making me feel powerless. It’s hurting to see some of our own members die. It’s hurting to see YOU let Voidbringers free! “It’s... something that needs to be solved,” he said.
  6. It didn’t take an emotion-reading mastermind to know something was wrong, and at Shana’s voice he found himself feeling kind of sad for her. She sounded so worried, so different from the usual cheery demeanour, but then again, a lot had changed since the recent Voidbringer attacks. Storms, even Rob had changed, both in ways he could notice and ways he had no idea about. At the “please” he walked forward, followed Shana to the backyard door and opened it patiently, keeping his emotions masked, trying not to let an ounce of feeling, good or bad both, to escape him. Times like these, he needed to be a rock. A safe, solid rock that could deal with anything life threw at it. An emotional rock was a useless rock. When he was outside, he tried to think of what to ask. Whether something was wrong? Whether she’d gotten update of a new Voidbringer hideout? Whether she’d changed her mind about the captive Voidbringer? Okay, maybe not that last one. So, instead of asking something complicated, he allowed himself the briefest of exhales to steady himself and met her eyes. “Did you need help with something?” He asked instead of anything fancy, because if there was one thing he could offer as a Stoneward, it was support. “I can do it, I wasn’t doing anything before.”
  7. The conversation was going fine and Rob glanced at Shana when she entered, somehow knowing when she asked to speak to him that it would be something serious. Like the Voidbringer, or his reaction. Allowing more of his natural neutral expression to creep in and take over the softness, he stared blankly at her, his friend. Maybe she needed him, though. And he’d always be there for support. “Okay,” he said quietly and walked forwards, out of the kitchen by a few steps. He thought about crossing his arms, but decided against it. Maybe it would let too much frustration through.
  8. Rob looked to Cassie for a moment when she spoke, then turned towards her, the glass of water in his right hand. It wasn’t everyday somebody asked if you were doing fine, and slowly, softly, he let some of his frustration go, let his expression slightly soften as he took a sip of water. “Yeah,” he said, figuring she must have been referring to how he was outside. He almost made an excuse about how chaotic life was being, how everything recent from the flames to the dream battle to prom to picking up that black sphere had changed his world upside down. But that be admitting too much weakness. And if is father had taught him one thing, it was to not be weak. “Just... things have been hectic. So I’m trying to push through that.” Tellingly, he glanced for a moment outside, where the Voidbringer would have already escaped, then brought his attention back to Cassie. “You? Getting through life alright?”
  9. Rob stayed outside when the others went back into the house, his body still turned towards the yard, his eyes still trained on the Voidbringer’s back as the creature left. He felt chained, bound not by his oaths but by the house. By his friends. By the rules they all made for each other. Rules of engagement, whether to attack an unarmed Voidbringer or not. Because that had worked so well all the last couple hundred times the Voidbringers had attacked. But what could you do, except let it happen? He wouldn’t fight his friends. Why not? Because they were his friends. And that was a part of friendship, he decided. To live with their choices, even if you didn’t agree with them, even if you despised what course of action they’d taken. To live with it, make peace and let go. Easier said than done. The Voidbringer will kill more people, and the blood will be on your hands. Rob knew that. He knew that, and he shoved the thoughts deep within himself to some abandoned, dark place and turned without a sound to go back into the house. The Voidbringer was leaving, that was something he couldn’t change. Idly, as he entered back into the house and the cool air-conditioning, he found himself nostalgic of when things had been simpler, when you could have a friendly spar and then eat meatballs an hour later, then talk about prom and make a shopping checklist. Simple things, human things, and yet, he relished them. It made him feel human, feel like a normal teenager, and he found that precious. Looking around, and seeing everyone discuss things on the couch, he tried to not let emotions cloud his thought and went to fill up a glass of water in the kitchen, listening to Shana talk. She was smart, he realised. Not maths-smart, maybe, but smart nonetheless.
  10. As Dr. Ian Malcolm says about resurrecting dinosaurs: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.” Hemalurgy is a horrific blood magic/science, and if it was discovered in the real word you bet it’d be exploited faster than you can say ‘Ruin’ and would probably cause the suffering of millions to come as Hemalurgy-related crime becomes its own thing. You also can’t discount the many benefits of Hemalurgy, as explained in a variety of threads on the Shard. Hemalurgy, especially in today’s world, can also cause wild miracles and potential save lives. So, like the invention of the sword, or the gun, or the process of organ harvesting, it creates opportunities for both great miracles and great pain. Either way, humans will be humans, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather fancy being the world-famous scientist who discovered Hemalurgy. There’d be textbooks with my name on them, maybe a docuseries on my life, perhaps even my name becomes a household name! Who knows, maybe they’d even name it after me
  11. As they trekked through the damp underground of AlleyCity’s sewers, Max stayed near the back of the group, keeping an eye on the way they’d come. A group was useless if no one was watching the back, keeping an eye out for an ambush and making sure no enemy could sneak up behind them. But as they delved deeper and deeper within the complex underground framework, and people started uncovering things, clues, the possibility seemed far-fetched. They hadn’t stayed, hadn’t planned an ambush. The Dustbringer had a friend, and they’d escaped together. “Why did he have a friend just hanging around?” He thought aloud. “Already here, in the sewers, waiting for our Dustbringer and helping him escape? Was it planned? Did the Dustbringer have some sort of SOS signal?” Both possibilities betrayed an intelligence Max wasn’t sure he’d seen in the raging Koloss-blooded. But appearances were deceiving. The grey, leathery skin was an oddity. Fake skin for some robot? Some Epic with a weird ability? A gunshot rang, sudden and sharp, and Max had to blink a couple times before it left. He was used to gunfire, but the echo in this tunnel hadn’t helped the situation. He looked up at where people were gesturing. “With Sethramir, I might be able to shoot a strong plume of wind directly up. That should dislodge it,” he said, summoning the silvery sword in his hand.
  12. Anger bled through Shana’s voice, and while she stared at him, Rob kept his gaze firmly on the retreating Voidbringer, the shrinking figure a lost opportunity, a pile of sand slipping through his fingertips, to be gone before. The Voidbringers woouldnt be so amateur again. They’d improve, learn something new, and when they came back they’d put up more of a fight. From the corner of his eye he could still see Shana staring at him, her stature strong and ready and unmistakably glowing. “He will leave,” she stated, and the way she said it assured Rob there would be no arguing with her. An ultimatum, then. A choice. Now, hesitantly, he looked away from the Voidbringer and at Shana, still keeping the demon in his periphery, as if losing line of sight would make him disappear. But now he could focus on Shana and he turned his body to her fully, crossing his arms and noticing the way she held her weapon, the way emotions leaked from every action she did and every word she said. Hurt, that he was doubting her. Staying perfectly still, he looked into Shana’s eyes. Was he clenching his jaw? He was getting sloppy in holding back his emotion, but this was a frustrating situation, and Shana didn’t help. Would she attack if he tried to subdue the Voidbringer again? Would they fight? For a moment a dark idea intruded into his mind, as if whispered into his consciousness, a thought that was gone just as soon as it had appeared: You would win. And then it was gone, and all Rob was left with was a friend staring up at him, hurt and angry, just wanting to let an unarmed prisoner go. Blinking, he looked to Shana again with new eyes and slowly, imperceptibly, nodded. “Sorry,” he said. This was wasn’t over, far from it. He would find answers. Even if his best opportunity was walking away, aided, of all people, by the friend he trusted the most in the house. The friend who was laying down a choice Rob knew he couldn’t make. He wouldn’t fight his friend. His frustration boiled in his core, a simmering, burning hatred just under the surface of his stillness. Sharply - maybe too sharply - he turned and stared at the Voidbringer, then at Shana again. She was choosing to let a monster go free, but she was still his friend and he’d respect her decision out of respect for her. “Sorry,” he repeated, uncrossing his arms and walking back to Cassie and James. @Sorana
  13. “Our ages. Personality?” Rob shrugged. Cassie was right, the Voidbringers likely knew all of that information already. And this had been their chance to get some information of their own against the threat. Their one and only chance, and he was strolling right out in the open, they were letting him free. But it just felt... wrong. As if they were helping the threat by giving the Voidbringers one extra soldier. If the Radiants needed him gone, why not just remove him? “He’s an important figure among the Voidbringers, right?” He asked and turned towards Cassie. “Would a ransom work?”
  14. The cat didn’t like Rob closing the door to his room, and promptly hopped out of his arms, racing down the stairs. He weakly tried to wave goodbye to it, but couldn’t help purge the sense of sadness that threatened to overwhelm him at the cat rejecting him. No, he’d have to stick to those online videos of cats. Online cats didn’t run away from him. He needed to rest. He was beginning to hear things. Whispers. He turned off his room light and held up the black sphere, it’s cloudy surface obscuring what was beneath. And Rob had to know what was beneath. At school, he’d felt genuine rage for the first time in a while, had come too close to showing it. And at the fight with the Voidbringers, he’d been needlessly aggressive. Why? He had to stay strong. That’s what a good Stoneward did. Stayed strong for his friends. But this sphere was an enigma that eluded him, and though he didn’t want to say it, he didn’t want Doc or James or Ben or Shana or anyone else to see it. It was his, he’d found it and he’d need to figure out what it was by himself. And it wouldn’t be like the others would notice a change, right? They were used to Rob not showing any emotions anyway. Moving to his window, Rob tried to close his blinds before he saw the Voidbringer exiting. And Cassie, James and Shana there, allowing it. If there was one person who knew about the sphere, it was that Voidbringer, and Rob would find answers. Departing from his room, Rob walked downstairs to where Shana and the rest were, near the garage. “What if he gives intel on us?” He asked to any of them, @Sorana @Wyndlerunner @AonEne
  15. Someone coughed. Marcel jolted himself awake, consciousness and memories floating into his mind, names and faces appearing in his vision. Wita, Lewis, Kira, Big Ben, the plot, the one they had to stop. He tried to move but sharp tendrils of agony flashed in his side and he collapsed again, taking deep breaths and clamping his eyes shut. With a shuddering inhale he placed a hand on his abdomen and felt a moistness. Cracking an eyelid open, his worries were confirmed when he raised a bloodied hand. Stab wound, he realised. One of the goons must have nabbed him before he could put them down. Looking up, he saw the rest of Big Ben tower above him. Wita and Lewis were up there, somewhere, putting an end to this. Somewhere along the journey he must have collapsed, and the battle had been too fierce to stop. But he was alive, and while he was almost dead, he wasn’t. Not yet. Slipping a hand into his pocket, Marcel brought out a piece of animal bone, and then his scalpel. Four parts to making a seal, Marcel, he told himself, as if he was back in that house, teaching Wita. First, what type of seal. Immediately, his shaking hands sketched the typical patterns of a conditionals. He took it slow and made sure he did it right, a single wrong stroke would mess the whole thing up. Only his years of experience kept him from messing up too many times. Next, what the actual condition IS. Now, again, his hands went to work, and another ring of markings were made, allowing the bloodseal to detect if his blood drops was far away from each other, indicating an injury And finally, the result. A few markings later, the seal was complete. It was shoddy by Marcel’s standards, a crude, functional stamp, all the artistry gone, but Marcel didn’t need art right now. Bracing himself, he stifled a scream of pain, biting onto the cloth of his sleeve as he pressed the seal to his side to get his blood, then stamped it on the ground, creating a raised pattern on the concrete. The seal flashed, and agony overtook him again as his blood swirled and moved inside of him, and as the blood he’d bled slowly gathered up, pulling back inside him. The bloodseal was the same one he’d made for Kira at the house, a healing seal, and it worked just as you’d expect the result of blood magic to: functional, but painful. As the last of Marcel’s blood pulled from his clothes and re-entered his blood-stream, he could feel his tiredness fading, and his death slowed. He’d medical assistance to patch up the wound, but at least he wasn’t bleeding out. Using the wall behind him for support, Marcel began to stand up, and slowly, but surely, he limped forwards, inching towards the stairs and Lewis, towards Wita and towards the enemies they had to stop. He’d come this far, he wouldn’t leave them to fend for themselves, he wouldn’t abandon them. Not yet.