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Everything posted by ZincAboutIt

  1. Lita had to utilize the majority of her espionage training to avoid breaking out into furious giggles, instead waiting for Resh to finish his third introduction with a quiet smile on her face. If only every man were so genuine, she thought with both amusement and longing, memory straying to Kaldemar and the covered patio barroom. I'd know every last thing in this entire city within a fortnight. "No apologies needed," Lita said, grinning. "I'm hardly some noble lady, after all. Just someone who's tailor owed her a few favors." She tapped one slender finger against her upper lip for one moment before continuing. "As for my night, it has been... unpredictable, shall we say. And yet, the night is still new! All these people, all the lights and music - there is just so much to see and to do. Planning for the Festival is all well and good, but everyone knows that all good plans fall to bits after a few drinks and a turn around the bonfire. Better to expect nothing, and let the night unfold as it may. I find that the city is far more willing to divulge its secrets when you least expect it." Some of that was true, at least, though even as she spoke Lita had dozens of DoCI personnel combing the city, waiting, watching. Knowledge was power. But in her experience, going with her instincts had always been the wisest course of action. Following that boundless, insatiable curiosity had led her to her current position, after all. The sensing, the capturing of a secret that no one else could find - that was a pleasure that only a Tineye could truly appreciate. "I like to wander on nights like tonight," Lita said. "You meet so many interesting people." She gestured towards Resh. "I'd invite you to accompany me in my wandering, but it would be terribly unladylike of me to suggest you leave your friends." "However, we've already established that I'm no lady," she said, one corner of her mouth hooking upward into something lovely, but sharp. "So, the offer stands." @Fatebreaker
  2. NPCs that exist solely to get put through the meat grinder of your character probably won’t be a problem since they won’t last more than one scene
  3. We <3 Frosting A little Era 5 Vivica and Bennington for your viewing pleasure.
  4. The whole point of a Radiant character is to progress them through their oaths. Honestly, there has got to be a way to allow for this, otherwise we're just reducing a Radiant to its power level instead of the interplay between progression and brokenness.
  5. This is definitely a question for @Fatebreaker, he'd know best on this one.
  6. If your character has never been in the Alleyverse before this Era, they should not have timeline confusion as they are effectively entering a whole, complete universe with its own history and events. The only people who are changed are the ones who have been here before the re-spiking. The shift is supposed to be permanent, but it will eventually begin to degrade. What is kept at the end of the Era in terms of character development or alteration is up to the discretion of each RPer, so if you really like your changed character, you can keep them totally changed, or just keep some alterations, etc.
  7. It was a quiet evening on the third floor of the Cognitive Ward. Dinner had been distributed, visitors had departed, and the day's scheduled events had wrapped up. The quiet continued behind the door of Room 8 - a pleasant, contented sort of quiet broken only by the soft scratching of pencil against paper. Room 8 was decently spacious, with a little nook for a bed, a window, and even its own bathroom facility. While sterile in original design, the room showed signs of long-term occupancy, and those signs softened the clinical air into something more domestic. The room was lit by the soft yellow glow of a lamp perched on the corner of a little desk facing the far wall. It wasn't quite cozy, but it was tidy. Vivica sat with her legs curled beneath her, sketching contentedly and occasionally glancing up at the window. Through the glass, she could see the city and all its merrymakers traipsing through the streets wearing all of their fantastical costumes. She pointedly ignored the bright spot in the center of the city; that would be the bonfire, which she did not think about. It had been a very good day today, and Vivica did not want to ruin it by thinking about unpleasant things. Instead, she renewed her attention to the drawing before her. It was one of her best. "I think this is one of my best," she announced seemingly to no one, her voice a cheerful soprano. "What do you think?" A gentle violet nimbus of light floated into view as Bennington drifted down towards the paper and then executed a gleeful loop in the air. The little octopus had a body the size of an acorn squash, and emitted a soft light that ranged anywhere from light violet to deep indigo. He was also a hallucination - but Vivica didn't tell that to Bennington. Being aware of her insanity didn't mean she had to be rude, after all. Vivica grinned. "I hope he likes it!" Bennington wiggled two of his appendages in agreement as Vivica carefully set her latest drawing to the side. Then, she got up from the desk and went to brush her hair, making sure she looked presentable. It had been a good week, and the staff had let her start dressing herself again. That was always exciting, because it meant she could wear her Baking Coat. It looked a lot like a doctor's lab coat, but it was different. No one else seemed to understand the difference, but that was alright. She'd worn a coat very similar to this one in her other life, except that coat had been covered in significantly more frosting. Sometimes, she dreamed about frosting. She still remembered how it felt between her fingers: thick, sticky, and hot. They didn't allow Vivica to play with frosting here in the Cognitive Ward, so her Baking Coat was still white. "Do you think he'll come?" She crossed to her door and peered out the little window that was set in its center. Bennington floated over to join her vigil. Strictly speaking, visiting hours were over at the Cognitive Ward - but the staff always made an exception for the Professor. Vivica had a feeling he might turn up; he wasn't much for running around in the city streets during the Festival. Maybe he was also avoiding the bonfires, like she was. It seemed like something he would do. The Professor was very sensible. "I hope he comes," she said, fingertips curling over the little window frame as she peered into the hallway outside. "Maybe he'll bring coffee! Wouldn't that be nice, Bennington?" The little octopus executed three rapid loops in response, glow brightening. Vivica's smile widened in agreement, and the two of them continued watching the third floor hallway, awaiting their favorite - and only - visitor.
  8. Alright well clearly the people against this idea have way stronger opinions than the ones for it - I for one don’t care - so can we call it solved and move on? Edit: I'm going to just post in the old hospital thread. If I need to move something at some point, just tell me.
  9. Please tag me when a decision is made!
  10. Well, whenever this gets ironed out properly, I'd like to know one way or another. This seems to be a moderation issue now, regardless of anything else. So, we'll figure it out I suppose.
  11. Alright, well, I really don't mind so much as long as I don't have to wait for whoever runs the hospital thread (whoever that even is) to respond to me or my characters, if I can just kind of write my own thing or write interaction, that's fine with me. Or, I can create a separate thread just for a mental health clinic, that way the hospital can be kept for people who are hurt or sick, but this could be like a special center, more niche in scope.
  12. I'm not sure if Alleycity is really in the business of forcing people to stay inside the Cognitive ward, this isn't exactly Victorian England But if he was violent to himself or others that would probably be a different story, or if he wasn't able to care for himself, etc.
  13. Sure, I don't actually care. But Voidus suggested it might be a good idea to make a new one. So, whatever! Really, I just want to start RPing my crazy character, and I need somewhere to put her. So wherever that is, I just want to nail it down.
  14. Well also, you don't need to put everyone in there who is a little crazy, but if you need some place for them to go, this is as good a place as any
  15. Hi everyone. @Voidus and I were chatting and figured it could be beneficial to make another, more updated hospital/clinic thread that didn't have unfinished plot strings in it like the old hospital thread from... a long while ago. If you have an injured character, you can take them there, and also if your character is having a mental breakdown, or you need a place to house a mentally unstable character, you can put them there too. We brainstormed calling it the Alleycity Recovery Center, or the ARC. I have considered breaking the facility into three "wings": Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual. Physical damage and recovery is pretty obvious. Cognitive would be for your more mentally unstable characters. And Spiritual damage sounds... complicated. Maybe someone who is still alive after poorly-done hemalurgy, or something of the sort. In any case, I really just needed somewhere to stick Vivica, and since we definitely have lots of characters that either get hurt or go insane, it seemed like a reasonable thread. But, I wanted to check first :]
  16. It would simply be like going to any other world for the first time. You enter, and the world you see and experience is the one that is happening. Since all the inhabitants and the universe itself is bending under the shift, your new character will only know what they know, so to speak.
  17. Lita suppressed a laugh at the man's flustered expression, but allowed herself a genuine smile - a rarity for her these days. The street had dimmed considerably in the last few hours, but it still looked quite bright to her Tin-enhanced eyes; she didn't miss the color in his cheeks as he scrambled to get himself sorted. Lita filed his full name away into one of her Copperminds for later perusal - no harm in keeping the database well stocked, after all - and felt her smile turn a little mischievous when he complimented her costume. Behold, a terrible Denizen of nightmare stalks the streets, armed with a well-fitting dress. "Resh, it's a pleasure." She stepped forward and took his proffered hand. "I'm Lita. Well, I'm Lita most of the time." She gave a bit of a roguish grin. "Tonight, I'm the Coin. And you are..." Lita gave his black robe a cursory glance. "The Lonely God, if I've been reading my mythology right. How serendipitous! The creation meets its maker." Even as she said it, Lita felt an odd sensation on the back of her neck. She rolled her shoulders, then softly dropped the handshake, careful not to let any of her confusion show on her face. The feeling ended just as abruptly as it came. Probably that rusting alleyway still playing tricks with my mind, she thought darkly, vowing not to go back to that place again - at least not for a while. "Perhaps I'm just behind the times, but surely you're not spending the Festival sitting alone in front of a hat shop, are you? It's a terrible night to be without company." @Fatebreaker
  18. Emotional Allomancy is super fun to RP but it does require a level of trust between you and whoever you’re writing with to work well.
  19. It was proper night at last, the sun having pumped the last of its crimson out onto the horizon. Now, it was cooling into violet and indigo, and overhead Lita could see the stars winking into life, amplified by her Tin. She could feel the tempo of the city shifting around her as people drank more, thought less, and allowed themselves to be swept up in the night. The sounds of people laughing mingled with fragments of music, shouts, and whispers. Lita smiled and shoved the last dumpling into her mouth, unaffected by its piping hot temperature. That was probably the best part about Brass Feruchemy - instantaneous gratification. There was no tea too hot, no dumplings too freshly-steamed. And, she supposed, she didn't need to worry about dying in a fire. Probably more important, but thankfully far less practical in her day-to-day. She wandered in a path that would have looked aimless to anyone else, though Lita could tell where her feet were taking her even as she tried to deny it. It was more sensible, she supposed, to come here now than in the middle of the night, when she'd have to worry about someone trying to mug her. Or more like, when she'd have to worry about concealing the body of someone attempting to mug her. Better to get this over with now, and give her the rest of the night to work. Lita walked another block until she stood opposite a small, nondescript alleyway that ended in a brick wall. There was nothing particularly special about this place; it wasn't even an Alley. It was just... an alley. And yet, something always drew her here, whenever she was out in the city. Always, always, she found herself back here, staring down the dingy little corridor between two buildings. Lita stoked her Tin and focused on the little door that had been set in one of the alley walls. Something about that door always made the back of her right hand tingle oddly when she looked at it. She flexed it unconsciously, then crossed the street, weaving through groups and clumps of friends or neighbors until she stood right in the alley's mouth. Lita stared at the alley floor, anticipating what was about to happen, but still gritting her teeth when it did. That pain - sharp, sudden, and cold - lanced into her side like a knife. She lifted her hand to her right side, sliding her fingers along the lower outline of her ribcage. Of course, there was nothing there. There never was. She shivered. A raucous shout somewhere to her right made her spin around, heartbeat pounding in her ears. A girl dressed as a Windspren dashed by, her long blonde hair streaming behind her, as she was pursued by a young man in a Spymaster's bowler. Sloppy, Lita chided herself, forcing her pulse to slow, taking a few deep breaths to regain her composure. She was acting like a recruit, jumpy as a new bride. With one last glance backwards at the alley, she crossed the street again and went on her way. This time, her path really was aimless, eyes skipping over the crowds and shops and stalls for something to anchor her focus. Her heart still beat a little too fast, but no one else would know it now. It was foolish to let herself indulge this odd compulsion, especially on a night like tonight. She was better than this. She had to be better. A slight anomaly caught her eye as she looped back closer to the center of the festivities - a young man sitting alone, eating what looked like an alarming quantity of bao buns for just one person. Lita quirked one eyebrow and felt herself grin as she walked a bit closer, stopping at a respectful, yet companionable, distance. "You know, I'm not quite sure you have enough food there," she said, not bothering to keep some of the laughter out of her voice. "It's Festival night - no need to limit yourself like that." @Fatebreaker
  20. "...and you won't believe what we found down there," the man said, lowering his voice conspiratorially before taking a sip of sapphire wine. Lita widened her eyes, leaning closer across the table, the very image of breathless, rapt attention. "What?" The man grinned what Lita assumed should have been a knowing grin, but what instead was definitely a leer. "Atium." Lita let her mouth open into a soft little "oh", as if the word 'atium' were enough to send her melting into the man's arms with little restraint. As if she hadn't been one of the first people in the entire city to find out about the atium cavern in the first place. The man settled smugly back into his chair and took a longer drink of the wine - hardly wine, really, but that's what the Rosharans liked to call it. Lita supposed it sounded more dignified than 'dyed grain liquor,' and Rosharans, especially newly-imported Lighteyes like this fellow, loved their dignity. They were seated under an expansive canopy that had been set up across the square from the main bonfire. One of the city's more upscale bars had turned their patio into a lush, upholstered paradise dotted with small high-backed tables, chaise lounges, poufs, and plenty of high-pile rugs. At a place like this, you could order pretty much anything - on or off the menu - and the waitstaff would trot it out for you easy as breathing. A couple in the back corner were grinding firemoss, and the young woman entertaining a party of older businessmen was either very drunk, or a prostitute. No other demographic smoked a hookah with such enthusiasm. Lita sipped her own drink, a heinously-sweet glass of orange wine that Kaldemar had bought 'to match her dress.' Tin had let her catch his order at the bar however, when he'd encouraged the bartender to 'add some extra white for luck.' Charming. Still, she'd been chasing this particular meeting for weeks. Through some stroke of fortune that had absolutely nothing to do with his wits, capabilities, or basic morality, Kaldemar had been appointed as the lead treasury liaison for Alleycity Excavation. It was a staggeringly stupid move on ACE's part, which had shocked Lita initially. Tycho Anvor, the aging founder, usually ran a pretty tight ship, and Lita had anticipated quite a slog to get even the most meager scraps of information on their share of the atium haul a few months back. But fate, it seemed, had smiled on her. Kaldemar smiled, too. He was rather handsome with his light yellow eyes, high cheekbones, and sleek black hair - an effect that was marred whenever he decided to speak. Or laugh. Or breathe too loudly. He and Forian would have gotten on famously, Lita thought. She spent a cheerful second imagining poisoning Kaldemar, then reached across the little table to touch one of his cuffs with the fingers of her left hand. Kaldemar did a terrible job trying not to look at it. "I've never seen it before," she said, breathless, letting her fingers slide closer and closer to the edge of his cuff. "The Lost Metal." She could hear his pulse. Lonely God, this man was supposedly some great womanizer, but Lita was half-sure he was about to have an aneurysm right at the table. Because of her left hand. "Y-you Scadrians," he stammered, his yellow eyes flicking from her fingers to her face with a frenzied rhythm, "and your m-metal worship. It's pagan, you know. Makes you," Kaldemar swallowed hard, "strange." Lita stopped the slow descent of her fingers, then allowed her face to collect itself into a slight pout. "Why Kaldemar, you wound me," she said. "And here I thought we were getting to be friends." For the first time, she let her own eyes focus on her fingers, which were now a mere breath away from the skin of Kaldemar's right hand. Then, with a sigh, she pulled her own hand away. "Still," she said, leaning back in her chair, "if I am still a stranger, then it's only natural there would be things we simply couldn't share." Kaldemar looked simultaneously furious and relieved. God Beyond, was he sweating? Dammit, Lita thought, slightly frustrated. It appears this might take a bit more finessing than I had hoped. She took another sip of her "wine," pretended to think, then stood. Kaldemar started, then stood as well. "Now wait a moment, I --" Lita reached into the neckline of her dress and pulled out a single white card, setting it on the table. "My rooms in the city," she said, meeting his eyes. "If you change your mind and decide you want to be friends. I've always wanted to know what it looks like." Kaldemar stared at her for a moment. "Atium, that is," Lita finished, smiling. "Get someone to read that card to you, Brightlord. And do have a pleasant night." She turned and slipped out of the patio, passing beneath the colored lanterns until she emerged under the stars. The noise of the square and the roar of the bonfire were a welcome contrast to the smokey silence under the canopy. Lita felt herself smile, and rolled her shoulders. The smell of woodsmoke mingled with something else... dumplings? Buns? She turned her head, stomach suddenly feeling very empty, and decided to follow her nose. Business could wait. It was time for dumplings.
  21. Lita stood at the street corner where the old man had told his story, sipping a little glass of honey mead. She rested her back against the wall of a small shop that had closed for the festivities, shades drawn over the windows. He'd been one of the better story-tellers that she'd seen during a Festival; she was still puzzling out how he'd gotten the cremling into the black sand. Fooling a crowd of average people was easy, but fooling a Tineye was art. She'd especially liked the bit with the monocle; Mac had only ever worn the thing once or twice, but it suited him so well. The first time she'd ever seen him, she thought he looked just like an Elendel banker with his bowler hat and his starched collar, a cane tucked under his arm. He'd ordered something ridiculous at the tavern, something like sweetened milk or perhaps that fizzy syrup-water that some people liked so well in this city. It was all so absurd that she'd become instantly curious. And that curiosity had led her here. There was still a small pang in her chest when she thought about him, a grief that the people of this city could not understand. For all the grand talk of the old gods and the making of the world, at least some of the story was true. There really had been a man named Mac who had gone into the Alleys seeking what knowledge he could find. He had been the Spymaster in truth, and Lita had been one of his spies. And now he was gone. This city had a Spymistress, now. A tiny twitch in her left sleeve brought her back into the present moment, and Lita quickly finished the rest of her drink before slipping out a small sketchpad and a pen. She leaned further back against the wall, green eyes bright and keen behind her golden mask, and took the pen in her right hand as if to plan a rendering of the festival before her. She made the occasional vague sketch, actually doing her best to lay out the scene, but she was practicing a different kind of art. The pen moved in her fingers, and she twirled it in turn. To anyone else, she seemed a rich young woman with mediocre sketching talent. In truth, she was sorting through dozens of messages from all over the city. Today was one of the busiest of the entire year for her Department, a day tailor-made for an army of spies to gather reconnaissance, observe the city en masse, and check up on anyone who might cause trouble. And to keep some of the other departments under control. Lita grimaced and sent word across town for someone to watch out for anyone from R&D who had decided to go wandering outside the Alleys for "free samples." She'd already caught one attempting to sneak out one of the exit points. He'd been decidedly belligerent, even after she'd explained - for what felt like the hundredth time - that this is why they had an Acquisitions Department. 'But will they know what to look for?' He'd fretted, flapping four sets of clawed hands in obvious dismay. Lita had finally managed to send him on his way after threatening to bring in the head of the Acquisitions Department, but she couldn't help but feel as though her word should have been enough. She was a rusting department Head too, now. Senzho wouldn't have given Mac nearly as much lip - though she supposed that he had plenty to spare. Didn't these people understand that they were part of a secret organization that had to remain secret in order to function? It may have been the Festival of Rebirth, but there was a big difference between costumes and masks and a man in a bloody lab coat with two extra arms and a drool problem. Most people were alarmingly unobservant, but even the dumbest would notice that. Lita sent one last message to her army of underlings, then signed off for the next few hours. They had their orders, and they knew what to do with them. She flipped her sketchbook closed and slid it into a pocket, slipping her pen back into her sleeve. Lita smoothed the front of her golden dress, cut somewhere in the neighborhood of a Rosharan havah, but without that absurd safety sleeve. By the Lonely God, a woman was born with two hands, it was hardly some great mystery what was beneath the rusting sleeve now was it? Lita checked the security of the hairpiece pinned at the base of her auburn bun, careful not to poke herself on the radiating golden spokes, and smiled. She'd allowed herself a little more extravagance this year, and why not? She'd seen plenty of people dressed as the Coin already. She deserved a little leniency after a life spent skulking and sneaking. At least, that's what she'd told herself when she'd ordered the tailor to cut a rather generous slit up the right thigh. With a smirk, she pushed herself off the wall and began to move with the thronging crowd, her Tin pitched low and her Copperminds ready to log any information she might come across. Mac had entrusted her with this city, and she intended to make him proud. Maybe the gods had roamed this world once, long ago. Maybe the Lonely God and the Stranger and the Mother of Nightmare had indeed shaped this place of their own design, back in the dusts of millennia. But there was one part of the story that was decidedly true - there was, indeed, something lurking in the blackened shadows of this city's Alleys, and it was very much awake. Lita smiled and felt the edges of her grin sharpen just a little. It was time to let this city mingle with their favorite legend, and begin the shadow-work of secrets.
  22. >> Welcome to the A.C.E. Records Database. Please enter qualifications. --------- Deb Stancel closed her laptop and rubbed at her temples, squinting into the bottom of her cup and wrinkling her nose at the light dusting of coffee grinds sitting there. She glanced at her watch - a real watch, none of those absurd fabrial devices some Rosharans swore by - and sighed. Half-past nine. With one final glance at her watch, Deb rose from her desk and tugged at the end of her uniform jacket. It was a deep olive green with orange trim, and it matched her pants. Indeed, it matched nearly everything in her cramped little office, as was fitting. This was Alleycity Excavation, and those were Alleycity Excavation's colors. If she was lucky, she'd find a few more competent souls to pad ACE's ranks today, and a few more orange and green coveralls would get churned out for them. No such thing as luck, she reminded herself, smoothing her hair as she rounded the desk and headed for the door. She needn't have bothered; her hair was already as smooth as a sheet of ice, her bun a perfect ring of blonde. A place for everything, and everything in its place. That was how things got done - that was efficiency. And if Deborah Stancel was one thing, she was efficient. She slid a clipboard and pencil off the end of her desk before turning the knob on her door and walking out into the hallway. People scurried this way and that, accountants, engineers, pencil-pushers. They bobbed their heads to her as she passed them, and she returned each nod with one of her own. Smaller, of course, but still. Decorum was to be rewarded. Everything in its place. As she neared the large meeting room at the end of the hall, she spied Farren, one of her assistants. He gave her a deep nod, then straightened up to look her in the eyes. "Ma'am," he said briskly, awaiting her reply. The corner of her mouth quirked up just a bit. "Good morning Farren. Has anyone arrived yet?" "Not yet, Ma'am," Farren said. "Though, it is only nine thirty. The recruitment ad specified a ten o'clock start time." "Nine thirty-six, to be precise," Deb corrected. "It is always important to be precise, Farren. Still," she said, catching him before he could apologize, "you are right. Arriving too early is inefficient. Let us wait then, and see who has answered our call." Farren looked at her, a question in his eyes, though he did not voice it aloud. Deb sniffed a little. "Speak, then. I can practically hear you thinking." Her assistant blushed a bit, but did as he was told. "Waiting, well, it just seems a bit... dramatic for you, Ma'am." Deb raised an eyebrow at Farren, almost cracking a true smile at the young man. "Contrary to popular opinion, Farren, I am human. Allow me this one failing." Farren blushed deeper and cleared his throat. "Perhaps I should go in and, um, wait for you then, Ma'am. Let the applicants know what to expect. If... if, um, that's alright with you, of course." Deb jerked her chin at the door. "Best not to keep them waiting then," she said, and watched as the young man slipped gratefully into the meeting room. She would have laughed, but then, it was not the time for laughter. Not here, not now. Not with what was at stake. Whatever is down there, we'll need all our wits about us. All the wits we can get. Laughter was for later. For now, she waited.
  23. Cadmium is a seriously toxic substance, and while Allomancy technically burns off all the metal, I could see savantism leading to some symptoms of cadmium poisoning that slowly, slowly, worsen over time. A nasty business. Another possible weakness/downside could be some difficulty forming attachments with others. If you're always slightly fast-forwarding time, you might not be able to make a "here and now" connection with others, always slightly disjointed from real time, always looking to the next thing since you can make life speed up through the boring bits. A somewhat lonely, socially bizarre mindset could work in this case. Being present-but-absent all the time.
  24. Lita watched the steam curl off the surface of her tea, her eyes barely focused, gaze shifted inwards. She slid the Coin, her Coin, out of her sock and began to walk its cool, heavy face across the back of her knuckles. Forward, then backward. Forward, then backward. "When I came to this city, all I wanted was a fresh start," she said softly, still watching the steam. "I was so tired of being a piece in the games of lesser men. A sharp tool in dull hands. An apostate of a weak god." Lita flipped the Coin and caught it, opening her palm to reveal the gleaming rictus grin of the spiked skull. "And now? Now I'm a piece on a different kind of board. But there is no escaping it, Laurelai. There is no other option. There are only the pieces on the board, and the hand that moves them. Everyone is trying to be the Queen, but even the Queen is a piece." She looked up at her friend, green eyes cold, pupils widening as she felt herself start to burn Tin. Too much Tin, Lita. Far too much. She shook away the doubt, her mind racing through the fragments of her memories. "I touched him, you know," she whispered softly. "I was so sure I was going to die down there, I could feel it like the breath in my own lungs. I felt the world narrow and stop. I felt it turn in that moment. I was supposed to die, and so I thought, 'What the hell?'" Lita began to walk the Coin along the back of her hand again, twirling it between her fingers this time, burning a little Pewter to help with the dexterity. "So cold." Lita flexed her left hand with the memory of it. "But he was real, Laurelai. He was real. There was a time when he was just like us - just another piece. That is how you win, Laurelai. It's the only way. You let yourself be played. Over, and over, and over. As long as it takes until you learn the rules. Until you can see the pattern. And then, you make your own board. You design the game. You decide who stands on which square. Who plays black and white. That is when you can keep the power that you find. When there is no one left above you to take it." "There is no other way across the board but to be played, and to watch. Watch how the hand moves you. However many times is required. However much of you is required. No matter what you have to do, or who you have to forget." Lita stopped spinning the gold Coin and slid it back into her sock, then picked up the grey one from where she'd placed it on the table. She cocked her head at it, studying its surface, before closing her fist around its face and shutting her eyes. I think you already know my greatest desire, she thought into the coin. I think you knew it that first moment you sat at my kitchen table and offered me all the secrets I could find. And I have made good on your offer. I've paid prices and reaped rewards that I could never have imagined. I have held the power I've always sought - but never for very long. Always, I've been in the service of someone else. Doing someone else's bidding. Finding someone else's answers. I want to be my own Tineye. I want to move the pieces on the board. I want to keep what I find. I'm tired of being the knife. I want to be the hand. She opened her eyes and let the grey coin fall from her palm, meeting Laurelai's blue gaze across the table. "We should get to work, I think," Lita said softly, feeling all the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. The world felt tense, as if it were holding its breath. "Something tells me we're about to get moved across the board." @Voidus @Fatebreaker