Stormblessed Dolphin

An Old Friend a New Threat

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Deveraux Dufor casually stabbed backwards with his sword, a nice steel long-sword, to kill an eldritch abomination. He had heard it coming towards him for the past ten minutes at least, stalking closer and closer, sniffing him out with, with what he now saw as he turned towards it, an unnatural 37 nostrilled nose. Seriously, it was like an over-sized trunk or shaft of flesh, with 37 holes in it. But enough of that. Deveraux, or Storm, as more people knew him, continued to stride purposely through the shifting Alleyways. He'd spent a lot of time here in the past twenty-odd years, and he was quite used to it's rules by now. Though, that didn't diminish the danger. Even now, his compounded tin hearing let him know that there were a multitude of other creatures all around him. 

Now, he was sure he'd come far enough, any moment now... abruptly his surroundings changed, and he was standing somewhere outside the walls of Alleycity. Yes, he was where he wanted to be. Rusts he thought, looking up at the walls, This place has changed so much.

He’d sworn he wouldn’t come back here. Sworn to never return to this place of Memories. Somewhere in those walls, was where he’d had himself stripped away. Swing had thought he was ready, but..

Harmony, Swing.

He fell to his knees.

Not Here, damnation it.

He was shaking, by Preservation’s wings, he was shaking.

This is why I swore to never come back here.

But he’d had too. Once he’d heard of the state of TUBA.

The memories passed, and he picked himself up. He sheathed his sword, and walked along the walls for a time, until he was approaching the gates. He pulled his cloak tighter around him, and pulled on his hood. As he made his way into Alleycity proper, he looked around at the buildings. Many of them seemed.. alien. He’d seen the beginnings pf skyscrapers in Elendel, sure. But the buildings here were sleeker, and reflective; like towers of glass. So much had changed.

Despite the changes, the streets themselves were still familiar enough, even after all this time. Deveraux made his way to the TUBA headquarters, which, while still in the same location, was several stories taller. Offhandedly, he wondered if the old Terminals were still in use.

He opened the door, walking up to the reception desk to find an aging man sitting leafing through a magazine. He thought he recognized the man, hadn’t he been involved with the creatin of the Terminals, actually? What was his name though, Gared maybe? Yes, his nametag confirmed.

Gared looked up from his reading. “Can I help you?” He asked evenly, in a somewhat gravelly tone.

“Yes,” Deveraux replied. “I need to speak with Deteca, immediately.”

Gared looked surprised. “Oh, well.. er.. you’ll have to fill out some paperwork before you can--” he cut off. He seemed to finally be taking in the man standing in front of him. Deveraux lowered his hood.

“St-Storm!?” Gared stammered.

“I’d prefer if you called me Deveraux, but yes. It’s me.” He replied flatly.

“I, uh—right. Of course. I’ll get a message to Deteca right away!” Gared pulled a small mobile from his pocket, and tapped the screen in a manner that made Deveraux dizzy. He’d of course heard of and seen mobiles before. They were like complex and advanced spanreeds. They had existed for a good number of years now, but had not been prevalent in Alleycity until the “towers” that powered them had been erected. Regardless, He would probably need to take advantage of them. His plans.. well, he’d get to that when he came to it.

Shortly, an assistant came and lead him to an elevator, which shot downwards. They disembarked, and made their way through several winding hallways, to a smaller meeting room. Now he would just have to wait until Deteca arrived.

Edited by Ookla the Glucose Dolphin
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On 1/24/2020 at 3:22 AM, AonEne said:

Minutes after, she’d reached the door she’d been directed to. Nervously, Deteca opened it. 

Deteca released a breath. Yes. Yes, that was Storm. It had been so long without word, she’d considered that he might have died, but he appeared unharmed. Closing the door, she glanced around the inconspicuous meeting room, then walked over and held out her hand. “Storm, this is an unexpected pleasure. What do I owe it to?” 

Edit: @Stormblessed Dolphin

Edited by AonEne
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"I'd prefer you called me Deveraux, actually," he replied, taking her proffered hand. 

She had taken to leadership well, he could see. She stood with a firm posture, and her face barely betrayed the surprise she surely felt at his return. Oh, but what had she been doing..

"I'm here because I've heard.. interesting rumors about the goings on of TUBA."

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“Deveraux.” She nodded. Whether it was his true name or one newly adopted, she hadn’t run across it before in reference to him; it reminded her of the names in Scadrial, or...was it Germany, France, England? One of the European Earth countries. Geography had never been her area of expertise. 

She shook his hand and released it, giving him a friendly smile. “Rumors like what? People can come up with some crazy things sometimes - you know that well enough yourself, I’m sure. You’ve probably lived through your share of being called a secret Hemalurgic abomination, or having kids with a half-koloss, half-alien from Second of the Sun!” 

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Internally, Deveraux frowned. She seemed so careless... yet surely she saw what he was talking about.

"I barely remember anymore," he said, perhaps a bit intensely. "But nothing like that, no."

He walked to the side of the room.

"I've just become... concerned. Concerned that TUBA has strayed from the principles it was founded upon."

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31 minutes ago, Stormblessed Dolphin said:

"I've just become... concerned. Concerned that TUBA has strayed from the principles it was founded upon."

Barely remember? You’d think your experiences as the leader of a guild would stick with you, she mused. She had no doubt that she would be remembering the oddest, most unexpected things from this time late into old age. But then, everyone was different.

“Well, we can’t exactly spy on the DA anymore, of course, since we’re not underground. And some time after you left, we decided that opposing them violently...to the point where everything we did was meant to bring them down...was not the wisest course of action if we wanted to stay able to help the people of Alleycity.” She chose her words carefully. “We’re still against people being harmed, and that’s the most important part. Sometimes you have to work with the lesser of two evils - we’ve had to face worse things than the DA. I don’t like it either, but it’s let TUBA do a lot of good.” 

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Deveraux began to pace the side of the meeting room, running his fingers across the long table set against the wall. She sounded careful. She had been a wonderful choice to lead in his stead, her tact was unmatched. 

"I see, yes," he said, almost thoughtfully. She seemed hesitant... perhaps she was not the one to blame. 

"But even with that said," he turned to face her. "I've seen the true evils that they delve in. In just months among them.. I do not look too fondly on those days. The lengths they are willing to go for hemalurgic experiments.. There are better ways. Don't get me wrong, I could never condone putting spikes where they don't belong," he mumbles something about cookies. "But as a tool, as a magic, it is valuable. Of course, I saw that even before. Its a shame the stone soldiers were put out of commission so quickly..." He stares off pointedly.

"But that's straying away from the topic at hand. I don't know if I could say that the DA is the lesser evil... I just don't know."

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36 minutes ago, Stormblessed Dolphin said:

"But that's straying away from the topic at hand. I don't know if I could say that the DA is the lesser evil... I just don't know."

The stone soldiers - Deteca knew about them, but she hadn’t ever seen one. The few times TUBA had used them, she’d been off the Alleyplanet on other business. They’d always sounded impressive to her, though. “I know,” she said quietly, joining Sto - Deveraux in recalling days spent undercover. He’d gotten further than she had into their ranks, back before she had even been a member of the guild, when they still paraded around the name Light Alley to hide behind. He was a phenomenal spy. “The things they do, well. There’s a reason why we’re both in this guild and not that one. I don’t have to be reminded of that.” 

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Deveraux sighed.

"It isn't enough," he whispered. "It can never be enough..."

He suddenly turned angrily, sweeping a vase off of a desk.

"The DA has reigned for too long!" He shouted, a crazed look in his eye.

"I tried to tell you all before!!! And yet we STILL walk in their shadow!"

He breathed a heavy breath. "Do you understand what I'm saying?? Deteca?? Everything We've worked for! It's as if nothing has changed. I've watched from the Alleys, barely ever emerging to see what was truly happening. For though I thought my work had payed out well. But deep down, I think I knew it had been all wasted."

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Stormblessed Dolphin said:

He breathed a heavy breath. "Do you understand what I'm saying?? Deteca?? Everything We've worked for! It's as if nothing has changed. I've watched from the Alleys, barely ever emerging to see what was truly happening. For though I thought my work had payed out well. But deep down, I think I knew it had been all wasted." 

Deteca was about to quietly agree with his statement when Deveraux attacked a vase and screamed at her, and she jumped back a little like a startled songling. His eyes were rabid, his breathing hard, and she could only stare as he insisted all that they’d done was nothing, wasted effort. At first there was only shock and taking it in, but anger rose hot and swift as Taldain’s first sun, with a weight to match. 

“Nothing?” she repeated near-silently. “Nothing has changed? All the good we’ve done, the people we’ve saved, those who find another day to live or the food to live it with because of us, the armies we’ve helped fight off, and all while keeping it together inside, not being accused by the government like some, not attacking other guilds unprovoked like some, not warring internally like some - all of that, and you call it wasted?”

She hissed her words now, choking on the distinct feeling of betrayal from someone she looked up to. The man who’d founded the cause that became her life’s purpose, her family, and her home all in one...and he thought everything she had put her life toward meant nothing, because they were still in the DA’s shadow. We’ll always be in their shadow. They aren’t leaving, and there’s no changing the fact that they were the first, inextricably threading through almost every event in history. If he was still looking to bring down the Dark Alley, then Deveraux needed to wake up. It wasn’t happening. It hurt, that an organization which hurt people in the name of learning would never go away, that this wasn’t like a story where the heroes defeated the evil in the end. It had taken her a long time to accept that, at first. 

But she had. This evil was staying, because this wasn’t a story. It was simply life, messy and coded in grays, and in real life the bad guys didn’t just conveniently lose. Or lose at all, sometimes. 

Despite that, TUBA was doing good. They were saving lives. They were making things better. Not all things, but some. That was worth it. “Were we supposed to just ignore the rest of the world? Go off and kill ourselves denting the DA just for the sake of making an impact, when we’d barely be doing that? Let’s not make a Ferring out of a Fullborn here - they’re more powerful than we are. There are other ways to help the worlds we live on.” She realized her hand was flat against the table that ran the length of the wall and consciously relaxed it. 

“So, no, I don’t understand what you’re saying. I apologize if I have sounded heated,” Deteca closed with, trying to deescalate by retreating into her more formal tone. 

Edited by AonEne
Added ‘her words’ so it didn’t seem like she’s literally hissing at him like a cat lol
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15 hours ago, AonEne said:

“So, no, I don’t understand what you’re saying. I apologize if I have sounded heated,” Deteca closed with, trying to deescalate by retreating into her more formal tone. 

He stood quiet for a moment. 

"I can see where you're coming from. Truly, I see it..."

Deveraux folded his arms, staring blankly at the wall.

"But history... can be rewritten. All things must die. Perhaps it's time to let it all burn."

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15 minutes ago, Stormblessed Dolphin said:

All things must die. 

Quote

Black out the skyyyyyy, all things must diiieeeeee 

Listening, Deteca took an actual step back. “I’m sorry, what?” 

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Posted (edited)

Deveraux snapped his head up to look at her.

"No, I suppose you are not ready for this," he said intensely.

"But ready or not, the time is here, and it begins quite simply. it's time for this city to burn."

He held his glare, looking at her with a wild animosity. 

"You can either be with me, or against me. And when it's done, History can begin again. It will start anew, with TUBA."

 

Edit: @AonEne

Edited by Stormblessed Dolphin
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1 minute ago, Stormblessed Dolphin said:

“You can either be with me, or against me. And when it's done, History can begin again. It will start anew, with TUBA." 

The anger fled her so quickly that there was nothing to replace it, just empty confusion. “You want to burn the city down.” She heard her voice losing the semblance of formality she’d held to before, falling into something flat. “Storm. I mean Deveraux. Do you hear yourself right now?” How do I talk him down from this? 

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4 minutes ago, AonEne said:

“Storm. I mean Deveraux. Do you hear yourself right now?”

"Answer me, Deteca!" He took a step towards her.

"With me?" He said, pointing at himself. "Or, against me?" He made a wide sweeping gesture.

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Posted (edited)

50 minutes ago, Stormblessed Dolphin said:

"With me?" He said, pointing at himself. "Or, against me?" He made a wide sweeping gesture. 

Against, obviously against - but she inhaled and then couldn’t say it. I promised that I would give leadership back to him if he ever returned. I promised never to betray TUBA. Her pulse tapped lightly on her eardrums, heart protesting the decision. 

There is no choice here, she told herself firmly, and whispered the oath she’d made to her guild when she’d been promoted again. “I swear by all that I love that I shall never betray or spy on TUBA, that I will lead it as well as I am able, that its members can trust in me, and that I will uphold its values insomuch as I am given the chance to do so. Thus is my truth. So help me Adonalsium.” 

I shall never betray TUBA. And saying things like this...I can’t let Deveraux lead TUBA. It would be a betrayal to us and to all of Alleycity. 

“I’m against you,” Deteca said calmly, and started reaching for her phone in her back pocket - 

Edited by AonEne
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8 minutes ago, AonEne said:

“I’m against you,” she said calmly, and started reaching for her phone in her back pocket - 

She whispered something, he burned from one of his metalminds embedded in his chest

"...that I will lead it as well as I am able, that its members can trust in me, and that I will uphold its values insomuch as I am given the chance to do so. Thus is my truth. So help me Adonalsium.” 

“I’m against you,” she said calmly, and started reaching behind her.

. . .

In a flash, he pulled a dagger from a sheath at his belt and rammed it into her stomach.

He stared into her eyes as they widened in shock and fear. "Then so it shall be," he whispered hoarsely.

He ran from the meeting room, past confused people in the halls, back to the elevator he had come down in. He ran out of the reception area, he ran out of the city. He ran until he found an entrance to the Alleys, and he ran until he was lost in their dark embrace once again, tears running down his face.

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