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On the eastern edges of Alleycity stood a large, stone tower. The tower was crooked, it's walls seemed to spiral around themselves as they grew from the ground and culminated in a metal tip which resembled a satellite dish. The door to the tower stood open, a young man in his early teens waited in a fine suit, holding the door ajar and greeting visitors as they arrived. Invitations had been sent out to a number of individuals, requests had been posted in taverns and missives had been sent to various guilds, all to try to gather people in this tower for an expedition. They'd kept the invitations brief and to the point, a somewhat eccentric scientist had discovered a rift in the cognitive realm, while the cognitive realm was already a convenient means of travel to distant places it still took some time, and this rift in particular seemed special. It was a rift to an entirely unknown section of the universe, or perhaps a different universe altogether. Some early groups had passed through and begun to scout out the area, reporting constellations that didn't match anything that had been previously recorded. But now a larger expedition had been requested, and they needed volunteers. "Good day sir, my name is Gedwyn, may I take your coat?" The young man at the door asked as a man walked briskly up to the door. "Thank you sir, the gathering is just through that door, to the right of the stair case." He gestured towards a set of double doors on the interior that led into a large room, larger than seemed possible given the dimensions of the tower, filled with large comfortable couches, a warm rug and a roaring fireplace. A trio of other men and women, dressed as waiters, circled the room. They offered drinks and food to those waiting in the interior.
Erlend looks up from his work and out the window, there’s a class in the recreational area at the moment. They seem to be practicing Steelpushing, though they aren’t very successful. With a smile he turns away from the window and looks back at the plans. Shae has made them, he had found out that we where originally going to have walls and he had made a stamp to change the entire complex into a fortified castle. He looks up and Shae, who was waiting for Erlends approval, “I think it’s fantastic, though I hope it never has to be used.”
Work had been going on for months. A massive building, not a skyscraper, but still huge, constructed from people no one had ever heard of. Rumors went around that it was really the Ghostbloods, the Dark Alley, or even a second Den of Thieves. That Hellbent, the terror of villages, was back. Another Alleyzon building, or Trident, or Craftsmen. That it was an outreach of Avatarism. But above them all, a rumor scarier than any of them. That it was something new. A new power, bigger than the Den, bigger than the Ghostbloods. The rumors differed on whether it was a good force, or a bad one. What they would do for the community, help or harm. Crow Blackice did not know. And Crow didn't care. Crow looked up at the nearly finished building, a shimmering monument. A white marble, tiny veins of strange black stone running through them. The building was a colossal sight, taking up the space that four massive houses, and their yards, would normally occupy. Thirty floors, some with massive windows, balconies, some completely windowless, some with windows barred, all an ominous sight. The grounds around it surrounded by stone walls, small metal wires covering their surface, and links of spiky metal covering the top. It was all electrified, Crow knew. For all she knew, they might have a defense against Coinshots, Windrunners, and others of that sort. One reliable way in. The massive gate, big enough to let in full semi trucks, but normally shut and electrified even stronger then the walls. But Crow was here to learn. It was time for a grand opening. They would announce what they wanted, they were inviting anyone to come. It was now that they would learn the name of the company, or whatever it was. And now Crow could figure out whether it would help her, help her get revenge on them. The Acutes, the bane of her life. And as Crow sat there, wearing her gray hoodie, black sunglasses, sweatpants, and sneakers, for all anyone could tell a normal person, admittedly one bigger than the average football player, and more muscular. She sat in the driver's seat of the truck, watching carefully. Her armor was in the back, but she had her shardblade, and the warriors lenses she now wore. And as she watched, a massive logo was lifted into place, letters following. The logo was the symbol of the Aes Sedai, but with lightning streaking within the white, and a raging fire contained in the black. And the word, large, PlasmaCore. The 'Plasma' part was white, the 'Core' in black. Crow grinned, watching all the trucks leave, the construction workers taking a bit longer, then following. The building, property of PlasmaCore, was done. The rumors could cease soon. And she could get what she wanted. If she was lucky. Ezra kept his face a cold mask, even though he knew it was covered, as he walked through the city. He walked past building after building, skyscraper, mansion, shack, park. He walked through Hellbent Park, into a rundown area known for a dangerous gang, Bloodflame. He walked out of it, into the area near Alleyzon headquarters, one of their skyscrapers, huge. Past a rich area, all the houses with electricity, outside of the crater. Smaller houses, normal. And at every house, road, wall, park, he left posters. They had forty like him, going through the city, in the night, putting them up everywhere. Each had the same message, a simple thing, telling exactly what it meant, exactly what the purpose was. No color, except the logo at the bottom. Each went: PlasmaCore is now hiring. Unique investiture and powers wanted. Come to the opening party tommorow if interested! Ezra, done with his job, circled back to the PlasmaCore building, entering the gateway at the same time as four others who had finished as well. They entered the front of the building, took an elevator up onto floor seven, and stepping out. This floor was just hallways, all with different elevators. Each locked, needing both a spiritweb scan and a long password to open. All five of them walked to the same, one of them opening it and the others stepped in. The elevator went up, and up, all of them standing there, uniform in black masks, black cloaks, and black hoods, no skin visible, lenses for eyes dark. None spoke, as the elevator slowly went up, resembling a gargoyle more than a human. Finally, it clicked, and they exited, onto Floor Nineteen, Section Four, Clearance Level 12. The room was dark, and the only light came from computer software, and strange glass tubes in the back. Each, in unison, walked to the wall opposite of the cylinders, stripping of the mask, the hood, the cloak, and everything else. It revealed a face with a spike through one eye, in each. The other eye was, in each, an oily black. Each had the left arm and part of their chest covered in strange bone growths. Each had another spike through the heart. But the strangest part was not that. It was the fact that each looked the same, well muscled, but more than that, each the same hair, face, legs, hands. Each a mirror of the others, the only difference between them the number tattooed on the waist, each different. On those there, two, five, seven, eight, and thirteen. Each walked forward, towards a respective tube, numbered like they. The tube opened at the front, and each stepped in. It filled with a light green liquid, and as it reached his face, the slimy substance, warm, touching his chin, E.Z.R.A. Thirteen allowed himself a small smile. Then experience faded. Thirty messagers left the building, each riding a silvery motorcycle with PlasmaCore logo on the side. Each carried three things. A computer chip, with files within, a scroll, covered in writing. And a wristband, covered in strange buttons, with a screen at the top. They split up, each going to a different target, a different guild, business, rich person.. Each asking for funding, in return for information from their research, into investiture and other powers mixing. Ghostbloods, TUBA, Black Crusade, Church of the Whiterose, Craftsmen, Alleyzon, and more. The writing in the scroll was two things. The request itself, and an invitation, which read: Please send a representative, or multiple, to the opening party! The party is tommorow, at midday. PlasmaCore will be happy to have you! The computer chip contained the same writing, but also a map to PlasmaCore headquarters, and a menu of the food available at the party, along with locations for members of each guild to sit, relax, while the party went on. At least forty scientists bustled around the room. Each wore a white lab coat, standard in every way except the PlasmaCore logo. But Bane knew it wasn't real. PlasmaCore. He shook his head. Just another way for power to mask itself. The Bureau was powerful, and this was how it got what it wanted. The room was massive, a whole floor, one of only two floors with one purpose in the entire floor, though one other came close. In the middle, a massive circle was clear, but the edges had strange things, like a Chaos Marine, chained to a wall, his armor beside him, being dissected. His screams were pitiful. On another side, a man was being implanted with spikes. In another, a female epic was creating strange orbs of light. Bane didn't know what the Bureau, and therefore PlasmaCore, wanted with this, he was only Clearance Level Fifteen. You needed at least Sixteen to be told about this project. So Bane just oversaw the scientists. Waiting, watching. While Seb gets to have all the fun in the party. Seb smiled from where he sat off the side of the stage, watching the party unfold. No representatives yet, but it was a half hour before the party even started. One woman from Alleyzon, but that was it in that way. But test subjects? Sebrial chuckled. There was plenty. Subject after subject after subject. And more would arrive. And, as the highest rank besides full Bureau members, I got to stick Bane with the scientists and have fun here. Ah, yes. This was bliss. He took a sip from his drink, a strange, bubbly, purple thing, a mix of some soda and Rosharan violet. And he continued to watch, the massive room with a dance floor in the center, styled after a Roman theatre, so that the stage would echo throughout it all. Layers up the sides, some with seats, some with foods, some with tables, one with massage chairs. And at the top, the area for representatives. It was time.
Somewhere on the outskirts of the Alleycity, a man was digging up a grave. Who was he? Well, that's really not important, he doesn't really even need a name. Suffice it to say, he was a graverobber. No? you insist on a name? Fine then, his name was Jaks. Happy now? Now, back to the relevant events. Jaks was slowly digging out a grave, he was in no hurry, there was no one around. Besides, he didn't like to strain himself. A light breeze blew through the night, shaking the trees. A single leaf descended and brushed the tombstone next to him. It was a rather ornate tombstone, an obsidian staff, with a spear and scythe curling around it like snakes. Set on a short circular base with flourishes and embellishments carved into it. He had been digging at a steady pace for nearly an hour, taking his time. He paused to wipe the sweat from his brow, and looked up at the moon, a distant look in his eyes; he fingered a small hourglass pendant he wore around his neck. He soon resumed his digging, and it wasn't long before his shovel struck something solid. "Aha" he muttered under his breath, kneeling down to brush the dirt away. As he did, the edge of a sleek, black coffin was revealed. He gasped. "By Voidus himself.." he whispered. He quickly returned a shovel-full of dirt to re-cover the coffin. He glanced up at the tombstone, recognition dawned on him. Of course. He rushed away into the night, still holding his shovel, heedless of any who might see him. *** It was less than a quarter hour later that he returned, a bag slung across his shoulder. He knelt before the still fresh dirt, and pulled some kindling from within his cloak, set it out over the grave, then carefully laid out the contents of the bag; the bones of Saint Valvoch of the Alleys. He inspected his work for a moment, pulled out a flint and steel, then struck it, lighting the kindling.