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Thread: The Archeage Time Line

  1. #461
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    Orchidna - Nightmare

    I’d seen a man with the tendrils of shadows wrapped around his face, with a smile so unnaturally wide. I’d seen a “corpse” wandering the village after nightfall, begging for help that would never come. And I’d seen the Dragon archer himself, walking on Conviction in monstrous dragon armor.

    To say I got no sleep that night would be euphemistic. I spent it cowering in abject terror, jumping at each distant crackle of sound in the shadow forest, and scanning the darkness for signs of the long scream. Even when morning light flooded through the gaps in the walls, the rest it brought was fitful, and dreams of weeping corpses plagued my mind. I saw her, (Orchidna) , creeping up my leg and plunging her needled fangs into my thigh - and I screamed myself awake. As I blinked away the nightmares, the blue outline of her demented smile lingered behind my eyelids.

    My colleagues weren’t faring much better. I awoke to them arguing. The healer pressured the mage to call for help from another guild. One of the others said they would have their friends transfer in. The warrior retorted that outsiders were not welcome here, and that they’d interfere with Conviction’s entire way of life.

    “Is academic philosophy more important than saving a life?” The healer hissed. Her voice was a low but jagged whisper. “They’re gonna throw it in the woods, and we’re just gonna sit here?”

    “Get a hold of yourself,” He snapped, unconcerned with his volume. “You’re a year away from being a professional cleric. You know that level of contact would do more damage to their culture than a few spiders.”

    She looked to me for support, but my meek demeanor told her I wouldn’t take a side.

    “I...I just want to get the heck out of here,” I offered weakly.

    “Very compassionate,” she shot back.

    The wails of an infant echoed in the distance. The healer grimaced. I suddenly realized the catalyst of their disagreement.

    “You can’t save them all,” He said, throwing his hands up in a helpless gesture. “People die. They’re killed in war. They starve. There’s fires. Floods. Disease.”

    “We could take it with us,” She said.

    “That’s not what they want,” he replied, shoving a finger in the direction of the noise. “Your job is to be a ghost here. Not a mother. Not a doctor. Not a savior. You’re acting like one of the fresh recruits right now. You know better than this.”

    Her glare eroded to a helpless gaze. She wiped her eyes. He looked at me to ensure I wasn’t about to chime in.

    “That’s the bad part of life, kids,” he said. “People die.”

  2. #462
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    Hero Leaves Daughter in Shadow Forest

    As we exited the Tree house diner, we saw a familiar and haunting procession of townsfolk. They shuffled as one stepped toward the shadow forest, weeping and and cooing over something small in their midst. I couldn’t bear to look. Tiny cries etched the scene in my head anyway.

    The Hero's daughter has become possessed by the dragon archer” The healer muttered. Her words sliced into me. My breath died in my throat.

    The man emerged from the group, carrying his cloth-swaddled child into the shadow forest woods. As he passed by, his gaze moved to us for a brief moment. A look of stoic resignation hung on his face. There would be time to mourn, but not now. He vanished between the trees. A woman fell to the ground, shaking and sobbing, and was dragged away by her neighbors.

    …...

    We spent the day walking the edges of many things. We tried to stay away from the people, who were busy praying and commiserating and choking back tears. We kept to the rim of the shadow forest, not wandering too far out, nor too close to the village. We tried to do the job we’d come to do, but cataloging seemed inappropriate and hollow at a time like this. We tried to talk to each other without starting another argument. We tried not to lose our nerve. But the heroes words kept repeating across my mind throughout the day:

    “This is our punishment...You’ll be punished too.”

    The Hero didn’t return until sunset. When he did, he wore the same vacant expression. I wondered if he’d broken the custom of his people and remained with his daughter until the end. I wondered how much tradition mattered in a moment like that.

    “Sometimes the little ones come back too,” One of the mages said from behind us. He joined my colleagues and I and laid a hand on my shoulder. “Not the same, though. They come back to play their tricks. Hurt more people. The hero took his daughter far away to protect us.”

    “Will he be alright?” I asked. "The hero, I mean." It was a stupid question, but I wanted to express my sympathy.

    “No,” The mage said. His candor lashed my tongue. “He is broken. Father-no-more. His standing will diminish.”

    Soon, the anguished villagers gathered at their bonfires, and funerary hymns wafted on the night air.

  3. #463
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    Turtle Ship Spotted

    Locals near hero hall watched in shock as a turtle ship emerged off their shores, and vanished.

    Two days later, in the clutches of some cruel déjà vu, the same residents spotted the turtle ship, this time stalking a huge Luscas. With the Dragon Archer on board, the scene became well known throughout all of Conviction. The turtleship fired loud incredible cannons at the Luscas. For the next eighteen minutes, observers watched as 50,000 ton Luscas were swallowed whole by the ocean, the Luscas were scrambling for their lives in the water. They didn’t know it then, but those dumbstruck observers bore witness to one of the most symbolic and defining acts of modern warfare. Back in hero hall, a owl mail reached the high guard: “Luscas crushed by turtle ship.”

    The Luscas come back through giant sky portals these days with such closeness, such time-bomb-ticking detail that by end, you’re convinced the turtle ship has slain hundreds if not thousands of Luscas.

    Why did the turtle ship come, and why did so many Luscas have to die? Tight research and paranormal activities at shadow forest in Rokhala leave few answers untrolled.

    “War” may be the most obvious answer, but talk of the Great War onboard the turtle ship was not mentioned, possibly snuffed out by nervous laughter and buried under polite conversation. The passengers deluded themselves into thinking they weren’t part of something extraordinary, but the fabled dragon archer, a criminal mastermind, was on board. Unrestricted warfare meant the turtleship no longer discriminated between Luscas and other enemies of the sea. The Luscas, a rather stationary type of sea beast, was now fair game, and it was cruising in a war zone.

    If you wade a little deeper into the question, however, the answer to the appearance of the great turtle ship has fragments into varying perspectives, each one showing off rich storytelling and capacity for emphatic character studies.

    Ask a conspiracy theorist, and you’ll hear wild talk of a guild's plot to ensure the Luscas demise in order to lure a war-weary guild into the Allied struggle. Mercifully, the researchers don’t indulge this.

    Ask a player who is deeply involved in the auction house and you’ll be treated to a loot manifest. Luscas frequently smuggled designs to Conviction to help aid in the war effort. These Luscas were no exception. The famed dragon archer made light and recalled how “we would not lose gold by using cannons, but make it and be stocked with various ship component designs.” He was referring to the countless cases of “Luscas loot”. To the many who doubted a single turtleship's ability to take down a Luscas, her loot may have had something to do with it.

    To the crew of the Turtleship, it was all a simple twist of fate. Typically, ships that the crew used were open-top, light warships. Society had learned its lesson from the chaos that ensued on the decks when ships were lifted into the air and the passengers thrown into the ocean. With the ships cover, and quick turning from oars, the cannoners had no trouble finding and firing at Luscas. There was crewmen assigned to use oars, cannons and the drum.

    Watching this struggle from afar was a west ship. Through their periscope, the Luscas couldn’t stomach the sudden effects of turtle ship's dragon breathe. “The scene was too horrible to watch,” he logged in his journal, “and I gave orders to let the East have the Luscas.” It’s conceivable that the sinking of the Luscas fell within the trappings of war, a matter of duty guided by the currents of chance. After all, he had sunk plenty of Luscas as captain.

    Yet the Luscas left him unusually fraught. Turtle ship effectiveness had never been proven until recently, and the application of this modern, disruptive weapon was not only deadly but morally ambiguous. In the same way spy warfare has redefined the relationship between guilds and enemies , and blurred the line between enemy and friend, the power of a turtle ship in Conviction shook the public’s understanding of the nature of war. Upon sinking enemies a crew member exclaimed: “So this is what sea battle looks like! We are like highway men, sneaking up on an unsuspecting sea beast.”

  4. #464
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    I Saw Something Strange in Conviction Discord That I Can't Explain

    My raid friends and I were out at our favorite event last night. Not a really fancy place but, you know, honor, gold, and its easy enough that I don't have to really pay attention. The night started out normally enough, the four of us stuck together during our raid, mostly talking auction house and joking about the faction. Being this was the middle of the week there it wasn't too crazy, maybe around thirty or forty others in the raid. Everybody just kinda keeping to themselves, sorta people you'd expect to see in a raid on a weekday.

    Anyway, while I'm raiding I check out the conviction discord. One of my friends links a live stream. There's a brief burst of orange and red on the screen which I register as a looming dragon in Karkasse Something about it looks oddly familiar though.

    "Hey, whats that?" I call out.

    Suddenly I recognize it. It's hundreds of players at the red dragon in Karkasse.

    "Check out tis stream in Conviction Discord," I say, in raid chat and a few people come to the discord. "That's the dragon raid!"

    The raid falls kinda quiet, everybody staring up at the discord now. The screen shows a wide shot of the of the flying dragon. I recognize a lot of the guilds on the ground, Plus Ultra, Nobody, Cult of the Kraken, Trepidation, etc. The top left corner has a bunch of people rushing in and fighting. It's not a huge battle by any means, but it looks like a dozen people between the perimeter or so have already been engulfed in a battle.

    "Whoa man," said someone in raid chat. "That, uh...that sucks." There's an uncomfortable murmur of agreement that passes around the table. I mean, I don't blame them, I wouldn't know what to say in this situation either. "Yup," I agree, just as awkwardly. Thankfully, the main raid forces are a good distance away. I cross my fingers, hoping my stuff will be okay.

    The stream zooms in to a guy. He's standing a little further away; looking at the battle in the background. "Reinforcements are expected on the scene any moment," he's saying, "and hopefully they'll be able to contain this horrible situation before it spreads any further. As I was saying before, it's very fortunate that everyone with harpoons is out of the area before things got too bad, or who knows what tragic events may have unfolded."

    "He's really laying it on thick," another raid member jokes. I chuckle a bit. All things considered, at the moment it really didn't seem all that bad.

    But then, a few moments later: "Uh...hang on," the streamer says, "We're getting some updated information. It seems...hang on one moment, while we readjust." He starts to shift the camera, the angle focusing on an area to the East. I feel a weird creeping sensation as I watch the camera turn.

    There's a...person, standing there. He is handing out music sheets and everyone is playing weird noises, completely unmoved by the raging battle nearby. The camera is zoomed out too far to make out any features, but it definitely looks like a man and it's definitely standing there. I watch petrified as the camera zooms in closer, the streamer babbling on about "the overlooked, ill fated soul still between the main raid and the raging battle such and such." As the image gets closer, I start to make out more details.

    The person is...wearing armor that matches the guy sitting in the bard voice channel. Or something. I don't really know how to describe it, but he's moving around a lot, and everything he's doing has this bizarre rhythmic quality to it. He starts waving his arms in the air, back and forth, back and forth, and then he's waving them up and down at his sides. Then he's banging both fists in the air. Then he's waving his arms over his head again, back and forth. Everything he's doing is to the exact same tempo. 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. He starts jumping up and down, waving his arms over his head like he's trying to get someone's attention from a long distance, but everything is to the exact same rhythm. Over and over again. 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4.

    "What in the heck," I say, my voice a hoarse whisper. And then the camera gets a little closer, and finally we can make out the person's features.

    It looks like he isn't even the dragon raid. He wearing the red dragon armor. It also has this almost comical look of horror with how it moved...I don't even know how to describe it. Imagine if someone were pretending to look scared, but as a joke. It would have almost seemed funny if the circumstances were different, but instead it was just extremely unnerving.

    No one in the raid is talking now. Everyone is fixed on the stream. The "person" is still swaying and waving around, beating its hands in the air or jumping in circles. I almost don't hear the reporter mention the fact that reinforcements have rushed to protect the raid. Oh gosh, I think, without really understanding what was happening. Please don't go there.

    I stare transfixed at the stream. From this angle you can just barely see behind where this creature is flailing around. Right now it is holding it's face in his hands and shaking it's head from side to side as if saying no. Suddenly you can hear buffs as, presumably, the reinforcements have arrived.

    The creature stops moving. For a second, I see it... change. Then the lights go out.

    We all just sat there, staring at the stream as the camera slowly zoomed out from the now dark area. No one says anything as we all quietly leave the raid. I went directly to my sister's place across town and asked to stay with her. I told her there was something happening at Karkasse and that's it. When I tried to find footage from the stream online later, it seemed like they had been removed.

    I don't know if any of you on this forum know what that thing was... but I hope they stop it...

  5. #465
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    New Guy On Conviction

    I am one of the new guys here on Conviction. I got into this game because my friend told me that she has been playing it since release, said it was a never ending grind, and she still hasn't got the best gear regraded to maximum. I played several games and was always able to get maxed out within three to five months. I was excited to embrace the challenge and the grind.

    I went to the forums and examined each of the servers. I got really interested in Conviction server because of the on-going thread “The Archeage Time Line” and was also told that the role players were on this server and at times there were up to three player nations battling over the world.

    So I got a couple of my friends who hadn't played Archeage to start a character with me. We normally play together on the weekends. We ended up picking West because one of my friends was determined to be a dwarf. Going through the starting areas was pretty fun, and loved the cut scenes and seeing other adventures travel by on the roads with wagons full of goods.

    Before I went to bed I would read a few stories on this thread. By the time I had reached level 40, I had already learned a huge history of this world, its people, and its guilds. I read the legends of past guilds who rose to power, and I also read of evil. The authors who wrote here seemed to turn mad, writing of gruesome events, betrayal, becoming obsessive, or fearful of their surroundings.

    During our dungeon raids my friends would ask me of the history of Conviction and so I told them of what I read. They told me that the stories there were kind of dark... twisted even. I laughed it off and said they are just stories.

    One day when we exited a dungeon I noticed one of the main characters from the story line was standing outside, not really moving much, just like he was waiting for someone. He was an East player and he said something, but I couldn't understand what he said. My friend didn't seem to notice or care and made a portal to another dungeon so I jumped through. I didn't see him after that for a while, but I always wondered what he said. I think what stood out the most about him was his bow, and the red armor that covered his body and face.

    I started getting more involved in group raids. Rifts were opening out of the sky and hordes of monsters were pouring through from another dimension. We saw the man in red armor standing in the distance and a group of stronger players went to confront him. Someone in the raid said “he makes the music” After the hordes were killed, two huge monsters would appear and we would destroy them to. We were beginning to feel invincible.

    That night I was laying in bed, reading another story from the timeline with my room illuminated only by my screen. I heard the faintest music playing in the other room. I thought I must have left the radio on, so I got out of bed. When I neared the door frame the noise suddenly stopped and I heard the floor boards creak from behind me.

    For a moment I froze, I thought what if the stories were true. What if they had been a warning all along. I turned around to face my bed. Nothing there but a glowing screen. My mind was playing tricks on me. I brushed it off and went to sleep. I had trouble sleeping that night, plagued with strange nightmares of my teeth casually falling out and being unable to breathe.

    The next morning I joined a bunker raid. We were setting up to kill the bunker and I had this thought... what would happen if he showed up now? Most of the West was at DGS, and I was suddenly not feeling so invincible. We had set up 2 tanks and began firing on the bunker. Some of us holding harpoons.

    I heard the sound from the other night, a faint music playing or possibly a voice, barely audible and no louder than a whisper. Then from behind us... it was terrible. Out of the sky rained a swarm of arrows. The siege tanks did not protect us from the shots. Within a few moments half the raid was dead.

    When I looked to where the shots came, there he stood. The man wearing the red dragon plate, 30 paces away. I turned to tell my friend to run, but I was too late. I turned to face him and my friend was still standing, dead on his feet, with an arrow between his eyes. The blood trickled onto the grass below.

    The grass danced in the wind, the blood coating it as my friendly slowly slumped to the ground. His once full of life body now lay there riddled with arrows. When I looked up the assailant was gone. The faint music had stopped and I heard the floorboard behind me creek.

    Furious that my friend had died, I stood up, span around, and screamed into my empty room. That isn't something that I normally do and I didn't recognize my scream as my own. I thought perhaps I was getting too worked up over the game and logged out for the night.

    I lay in bed thinking about the blood dripping in the grass. Watching it absorb into the leaves, seep down into the soil. I watch as the blood travels into the ground and the dark spots appear in the ceiling above my bed.

    So yeah, I am one of the new guys to Conviction. You know that ringing you have in your ear? If you listen to it closely enough you can make out the music, the whisper. I feel as though I can really understand it now. We were meant to come here and to find this world. We are meant to become part of it.

  6. #466
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    I know "It" is Responsible

    A-lot has happened here on Conviction. Trepidation attacked an embassy ship. The Thunderwing was slain, and the Titan's wings dropped. A portal opened from another world. Dragon riders and their legions poured through. They have returned from another world after battling Omen.

    I had stepped through a portal into East hero hall and saw the red dragon archer from Nobody hypnotizing the masses with music scrolls. Somehow they had been enchanted with a mystical power which caused raid members to act in a bizarre manner. Their eyes that once sparkled seemed to become dull and they began pacing around hero hall. Soon the hypnotized people were heading straight into the sea of graves.

    They loaded onto a ship and drove by several Red ships without conflict. It was odd to see enemy factions refusing to fire on each other. I asked one of the crew members on the ship why we weren't fighting and instead of responding she looked at the man in the dragon plate and paused. After a moment she said in the most joyful voice, “We are an embassy ship, we are here to study the Luscas and their response to cannon fire.” followed by an unusual laughter. Clearly something was wrong with the crew. When I glanced over at the man in red plate I thought I saw strange pulsating shadows leaping out from his armor. When I looked again he seemed normal.

    After downing a few Luscas and passing several other enemy ships without incident a lone ship under the command of Trepidation approached in a threatening manner. The ship was about to collide with the East ship and several of their crew opened fire on the research ship. A dark aura pulsated across the ship. For a split second everyone on the ship stopped suddenly and as if acting as a hive they reacted together. Trepidation's ship was split in half and the research team completed their Luscas.

    That was only the beginning. A traveler from the west arrived, his face full of worry and fright, speaking quickly of the pirate's intent to stop anyone from the east or west from doing certain content. He stumbled over his words saying that the pirates had been raiding small trade vessels for charcoal and that they kept a few scouts out at Freedich island as lookouts. Taking quick breathes and speaking quickly he said “but I have something even more important to tell you...” That's when the traveler saw the dragon archer and froze. The traveler's face changed... his face twisted into a smile, far too wide. His voice became upbeat and friendly as if the thing that now inhibited his body was not familiar with emotions. “Oh its nothing! Nothing to worry about! I was just being silly haha!”

    With that he turned around and headed out the gates, still with that freakishly far too wide smile. Several of the people there from different guilds were still confused as to what was going on. But I knew it had something to do with the thing whose face is always covered. I knew it had something to do with this. Something sinister was a foot. I would no longer call him the dragon archer or the man in red plate, he was some sort of evil creature and would be known as 'it'.

    I didn't have time to explain because as soon as the traveler left. we had been called to gather to fight the sulfurous, furious, and quite frankly, the salty Titan wing. We had all arrived to battle the Titan wing and as if by magic, enemies had arrived to battle us. Somehow I felt this had been staged. No, it was more then something I felt, it was something I knew. We rose to the sky and I felt an anger I never knew before rise within me. The Titan wing was down to 30% life left and 'it' had only just joined the raid. I was more furious than when I broke my blasted legendary. I watched as several archers stayed in close range of the Titan wing , now flying in close proximity to 'it'. I couldn't believe how they hovered with 'it'. 'It' disgusted me.

    The titan wing fell and the famed wings had dropped. Suddenly everyone started talking about the loot and who should get the split. I spoke up and said that 'it' didn't join the raid until the end and as if by magic... three different people in obviously fake, overly cheerful, upbeat voices said that 'it' had been there since the beginning. I knew that they were aligned with 'it' their fake joyful voices. They were entirely too positive to be real feelings. There bodies were clearly overtaken by 'it'. I knew the truth even though my raid was blind to it all!

    Oh and you know what happened next? I'll tell you what happened next. I was there I saw it all happen. Portals opened up from another world right above us and people came through with dragons. Coincidence? I don't think so. In fact I know its not a coincidence! These things are all connected. If you don't see it by now then I don't know what to tell you!

    When it was time to do Delphinad Ghost Ships. The West command center who has been regularly attending the event is no where to be found. So I did some investigating. Apparently the West leadership was feeling under the weather. If we read through the history of Conviction we can clearly see that 'it' has been influencing the health and minds of people since this world was created. 'It' had something to do with this. I can see through all of the fake cheerful voices who defend 'it'.

  7. #467
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    Doll House

    It seemed that almost everyone on Conviction was busy with something. No Mad had engaged on the Delphinad Ghost Ships. The commanders of No Mad had learned some interesting information about Conviction from their informants in various guilds. The East discussed strategy and battle plans while others in the East worked on the castles. A group of hunters has been training to battle in war zones. The hunters had been patrolling various areas as they went to war claiming the lives of many who were hypnotized by mysterious music sheets. Many of Conviction were too preoccupied to notice what had been happening at the Dollhouse.

    The Dollhouse stood tall among the other buildings in Cinderstone. Located to the South East of the Burnt The wind blew through the nearby trees causing the leaves to rustle and the grass to dance. The sun had been setting casting the sky alight with a deep orange hue. The air was cool from the light breeze with a scent of lavender.

    The dragon archer emerged from the dollhouse, his red suit of plate hiding the blood that now splattered over his armor. Dark swirling shadows could be seen swirling about his armor. A woman stood outside. Her body remained smoldering under her light summer attire. She took another drink from her flask and tucked it away next to her club. The red dragon archer stood in front of her, shouldering his bow, while the building covered was covered in arrows. DollHouse Slaughter



    The man in red plate held up a small mechanical box. It was a shadow channeling device, he said, handing me a hose attached to it. I wrapped my lips around the tip, inhaled deeply, and coughed like an addict even though it was actually far smoother than I expected. Describing the breakdown of the void shadow particles during possession, he chattered about chemistry for a while. I zoned out, the shadows swirling after the brief tolerance break from living with the living...

    He told me he obsessed over many different topics, studying them as much as he would. He had a rather condescending manner of speaking that rubbed me the wrong way, but I was fascinated by his idiosyncrasies and kept listening. The conversation switched to psychology, another topic he obsessed over. My eyes locked on his red helmet wondering what was underneath.

    "You know, you are very easy to read."

    "I know I am, sir. I am an open book."

    "I can read your emotions as easily as if they were written on your forehead."

    "I am a big pile of emotions right now, sir. My old guilds fell apart and I'm talking to everybody to try to make the pain go away."

    "I'm not surprised, I knew this. They really messed you up, didn't they?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Let me help you with that..."

    He reached out and took my hand in both of his armored red gauntlets. At first I assumed he was going to lead me back inside the bloody Dollhouse again, but instead he spread my fingers, touching the skin between them with his cold plated hands.

    "You're very suggestible, aren't you? Do you trust me?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Then I want you to release the tension from your body, let your eyes go out of focus and relax your shoulders..."

    He proceeded to hypnotize me. I told you it got weird. I let his voice wash over me and take control. Talking me through my own mind, he sent me into an ever-encroaching darkness. He began counting backwards and I felt myself slipping.

    "3..."

    It occurred to me that aside from slapping and a sore throat there hadn't been much in the way of pain, which I was a little disappointed about, but heck I had gotten abused , got some attention and was inhaling some fine shadow essence, and hey free hypnosis! I love those old stories about hypnosis of guild leadership.

    "2..."

    Why did I want to be abused so roughly, anyway? Did I enjoy it or was I just desperately trying to forget something? Was I hoping that the stinging of the whips and the belts and the canes would drown out the stinging I felt every morning when I woke up and realized the guild was gone? When I realized I would never raid with them, do dungeon runs, and gather around a camp fire ever again? Was my self esteem in the toilet from the months of knowing they would do that, that it wasn't good enough for forever? Perhaps it was time to infiltrate guilds, and rob the weak minded of their gold and gear.

    "1..."

    What was I even doing here? This guy was clearly messed up, he told me he had a criminal record, was a sociopath, and that he wanted me to be the nexus of a new family for him, none of which were things I wanted to get involved with. And for someone with a criminal record, he even had title of criminal mastermind! Plus I was miles away from anywhere! What if he had some sort of PTSD, got triggered, and he attacked me? I had known demon knights who blacked out when they were triggered, attacking their loved ones as though they were back in the desert fighting enemy guilds. I thought of my dad waiting for me the next day at the raids, what if I never came back to the raids? WHO WOULD TAKE CARE OF THE FARMS? They would never find my body. And then I heard his voice again.

    "Sleep."

    I let go, my eyes closed, and my mind hurtled backwards, into silence. Silence is great when your brain talks as much as mine does. You think it sucks having to listen to nation chat, imagine engaging with everyone in nation chat. I don't think I was asleep, but I was thoroughly relaxed. I could still hear him talking.

    "I want you to think back to a couple of months before you met that guild. What were you doing?"

    "I was doing trade runs. I used to do them by myself on weekends and listen to sheet"

    "What music is playing?"

    "Celt Music Sheet."

    "How do you feel?"

    "Happy."

    I had forgotten about my Sunday morning trade runs. I would take random roads with the music sheets. Before I met that guild, or the other ones. My heart was strong and unbroken. I stood alone without a care in the world. I could hear the Criminal mastermind's voice, reminding me of that time when I was confident and hopeful. Life was good once, maybe it would be again. After what seemed like ages, he counted forwards from 1, and I slowly came out of it.

    "That was weird. I don't know if it worked, if nothing else I am very relaxed and feeling better." There was a new thought in my head that shouted louder than ever. To devour the world of riches, rob the weak minded of their gold... a new directive.

    "Good. You need someone who can make you better. Someone who can fix your flaws and turn you into the person you were meant to be."

    I also didn't like the idea that he wanted to fix me. His eyes scanned me, like he was examining a hamster before some grisly lab experiment. The peace that had come with the hypnosis began to recede, and in its place was a sinking in my gut. My mother always told me, don't ignore your gut. But my mother has told me a lot of things, and I've never been good at listening.

    I inhaled more from the mechanical shadow box and soon the bad feeling was gone again. He asked me what my favorite thing was, I told him it was decorating my house and he surprised me by crafting me a bunch of furniture. Before I could stop myself, I said "You're so sweet, thank you, sugar."

    He froze and stared at me. I stuttered.

    "I'm sorry, sir, I call everybody 'sugar' and it just slipped out. It won't happen again."

    "It'd better not."

    Then that smirk was back, "I'm not 'sweet,'" he laughed, "I've killed people."

    "I know," I said, "but that was kinda your job."

    He laughed again and sat down beside me. "Well, you're right. I killed people in wars, too."

    I just looked at him skeptically, trying to process what he had just said. He looked at me, waiting for a reaction, but I didn't give him one. My gut was screaming at me to run but my brain was sure he was joking, or utterly delusional. In fact, the more he talked the more I thought he must be out of touch with reality. Or maybe he was on the autism spectrum and just didn't have any social skills, other than talking endlessly about his obsessions. Maybe it was me who was out of touch with reality. But I was still inhaling shadows and I had decorating to do.

  8. #468
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    Seduce, distract, incapacitate, assassinate.

    The criminal mastermind had to be stopped. He had killed everyone at the Dollhouse in Cinderstone, and he had struck a deal with an evil warlord to rule over certain areas while he continued to manipulate from within the shadows.

    When the warlord returned after meeting the dragon archer at the Burnt Castle Armory everyone noticed his weapon - a wicked looking, ill-fated thing. It was clear to all that it was the source of his new-found powers. Somehow the dragon archer was responsible. Even the brave travelers in Serpentis spoke of his power in hushed tongues.

    With the wicked weapon, he had conjured shadow creatures and fuddled minds throughout Conviction. Guilds were awe struck, devoid of both wits and strength, and in a surprise move that shocked the lands - the many guild leaders had ruled that the evil warlord should assume control, despite her obvious capacities.

    She had magical items too, though and was not about to give up against the criminal mastermind and the evil warlord.

    She too had acquired an item of power. An amulet that shielded her from the shadow's tricks - enabling her to see through his spirits and left her clear headed even when all others around her fell under the the dark ones sway. It had arrived mysteriously at her rooms, shortly after the evil warlord had returned from his visit with the dragon archer from 'Nobody'. At first she had assumed it was just a pretty piece of jewelry from some admirer of her beauty, but as the evil warlord began his climb to power, she had teased out its true use – and sent a prayer of thanks to whoever had given her this powerful weapon.

    She had another weapon, too. A secret ally. A handsome, strong, lean, clever man who lived in the town near the shadow forest - though truth be told, it might be that many days and nights could pass between him spending a night in his own bed.

    But the Criminal mastermind's power was only growing, and so to, did the evil warlords power. New taxes were levied, new powers were granted. The courtiers openly gaped at the obscene amount of the possessed girls in the Dollhouse. His conjured spirits roamed the castle, ever less subtle. More and more guards - real and phantasmal. The odds of success ever shrinking. So they needed a plan, and it had to be fast.

    The plan that they had settled on was to leverage the evil warlord's own vices against him. It was an open secret that he thought of her. Before he had acquired his weapon, she had often spotted him staring at her - and it was known that he had spoken about her. After his rise to power, the Dollhouse included many women who bore a striking resemblance to her. It was even rumored that late at night, that he would use his dark powers to conjure spirits in her form.

    And so, she would grant him everything he could ever wish. She would offer herself to him, purse her pretty lips and bat her long eyelashes, and thrust out her chest. She had fooled men before. It was easy for her - she was beautiful in a way that she had always found men were powerless to ignore. Her amulet would shield her if the warlord tried to fuddle her wits or to assault her with phantasms.

    Meanwhile, while the warlord was thus engaged, her boyfriend, who would previously have hidden himself somewhere in his chamber, carrying a long knife and a heart full of determination, would strike. He would knock his weapon away from the wicked man and then slit his throat. Simply done. She would rise to power, pardon her boyfriend, grand him a title and take him as a husband - or, at least, a consort.

    Easy - Seduce, distract, incapacitate, assassinate.

    She deeply hoped that her boyfriend would act swiftly, before she had to suffer the warlords caresses - before he thought to move in for a kiss - both plotters agreed that the plan would certainly not need to last any longer than that - nor could it. The pair, after all, was deeply in love. She could not bear to give herself to another man, no more than he could bear to watch it.

    On the set-upon evening, she took extra care while preparing her appearance. Darkening her eyes just so, and reddening her lips. Dressing in light and loose silks - many of which were completely sheer - offering even a casual observer tantalizing glimpses of the smooth skin underneath. And of course, her amulet was worn.

    She approached the warlord's chamber confidently. After all, she had no reason to be apprehensive. Her part was easy - the whole plan would prove to be simple to execute. Seduce, distract, incapacitate, assassinate.

    Uncharacteristically, there were no guards at the doors to the his chambers. So she knocked boldly, instead of being announced.

    The evil warlord himself opened the door. His eyes glittered slightly at the sight of her - he did not seem surprised to see her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a wisp of a phantasm being dismissed. She couldn't help but think that it looked like a succubus. She probably would have been inclined to scoff at the man's randiness, but somehow scoffing at an evil warlord didn't seem right.

    Instead, her eyes were drawn to those of the warlord. Though he was certainly not a bad looking man, she had always thought of him as too evil. But today he seemed younger. Maybe even quite a bit younger. And he stood taller and stronger than seemed exactly right. His eyes were piercing. She ordinarily would have thought this strange, or even alarming - but tonight she did not. Instead, she mused idly that perhaps this would not be so unpleasant after all - it might be unexpectedly fun to do her flirtatious work with someone so Kawaii.

    Wordlessly, he inclined his head and stepped back to allow her an entry. She stepped boldly in. She allowed herself a brief glance around the room, to try to spot where her boyfriend would likely have hidden himself. She didn't see him, but she was captivated to see a strange blur in the corner. One of the the evil warlord's illusions or spirits? Before, she had always been able to see clearly through them. Perhaps this one was different?

    Her heart began to beat faster. What if he was growing in power from dealing with the criminal mastermind? What if he could conjure more powerful spells that would overwhelm her amulet? They hadn't considered that possibility - they had assumed her amulet to be all-powerful. That mysterious blur seemed to hint at unexpected complications in the plan.

    She tore her eyes away from the strange smudge in her vision. She didn't want to give the warlord any sign that something was amiss.

    He was looking at her serenely, smugly even.

    "Good evening, Princess. I've been hoping you would stop by."

    She was pleased to hear that. She thought she heard the want in the man's voice, and it was nice to be desired, even by an enemy you'd sworn to kill. She ran her eyes up and down him, taking notice of his broad shoulders, broader than she thought they had been. A handsome, desirable, kawaii enemy, she mused again.

    Her heart beat a little faster.

    The room was silent. She realized that she should say something. She realized that she was staring. She realized that her mouth was slightly agape.

    "I'm your biggest fan. I don't know what I'm doing here, but I don't care. It would be so awesome if you could shake my hand "

    She struggled to finish. She was surprised at how foggy she felt. It had been years since she had been tongue-tied in front of a man.

    She resisted the urge to shake her head, to clear her thoughts. Remember the plan, seduce him, distract him. She stood up a little taller and thrust out her chest. She raised her chin slightly, to show off her face to greatest effect, and she rested a hand casually on the flare of her hip. At least, she hoped it was casual. She pointedly didn't look at the weapon that the warlord was holding lazily in his hand.

    He took a step closer.

    She thought of her boyfriend, hidden away somewhere in this room. Watching her and the warlord. She guiltily thought of her fluttering heart and hoped that her boyfriend could not tell how she felt. She carefully reassured herself that she would not be cheating. Things would not progress that far, and anyway, this was his plan, too. After tonight he would be a King. Or, at least, a consort to a Queen.

    She noticed how close and how kawaii the warlord was, and felt a blush spread across her face and ears.

    "Tell me, young princess, why did you seek me out tonight? So late?"

    She felt the blush spread down her neck and chest. She felt her silks brush softly against her skin, every time she shifted her weight.

    "My Lord..." she stammered again, staring once more into the warlord's eyes.

    "Ah, and I see you are wearing the amulet that I gifted you! Isn't it lovely?"

    Her heart went from a delicate flutter to a hard stop.

    "W-What do you mean? This amulet was delivered to my rooms..."

    The warlord merely smiled and leaned forward. His large, strong hands brushed over her shoulders, his thumb ran over her delicate neck, as he reached around her.

    "Well, yes. By me, of course. But I see that it has worn out, I think I will take it back. It is of no more use to us, is it."

    Her eyes grew wide but found that she couldn't quite bring herself to pull away from this half-embrace.

    From the corner - from the blur, in fact- she vaguely heard a muffled noise. It could have been a cry in anguish, or a clattering of chains. Or both.

    She didn't dare look. She didn't know what she would see, but somewhere deep down, she knew it wouldn't be good. This wasn't going right, and the blur was the worst part.

    The amulet dropped to the floor.

    She spared one last glance at his weapon. It was glowing a maleficent red.

    She looked back into the his eyes, and her head swam. Every fiber of her being strained towards the man. This great, solid pillar of masculinity. She tried to think of her boyfriend, and couldn't quite conjure his image.

    She tried to remember the plan, but the details, insufficient though they were, escaped her. She knew there was a stopping point, but it was lost.

    Seduce ...? That much at least felt right.

    She stepped in close to the Kawaii warlord, hesitantly wrapping her hands around his neck, grazing her fingers through his hair, drawing his lips towards her own. She relished the taste of him, she breathed in the smells. She ran a palm over the the smooth expanse of jawline. When had this man's face become so impressive?

    She felt the strong arms wrap around her. She felt the strong hands shift up the small of her back, under the gauzy layers of fine silk.

    She tried to remember how the other man had made her feel. She couldn't remember his name. He must not be that important.

    She sighed, "My Master".

    The sound from the corner returned - louder this time.

    She glanced over towards the blur again, but the blur was gone. In it's place was a young man. Tall and lean and maybe handsome, in a coarse, common way. He looked distraught. He was shackled in heavy chains and strained against them. The young man was stripped to the waist, but she was not moved by the sight.

    Her eyes flickered back to the Kawaii warlord and then fluttered shut, as his lips drifted down to her neck.

    The commoner saw her look at him, and he saw the absence of affection in her eyes – the absence of recognition, even. He wailed.

    She felt the Kawaii warlord guide her toward his expansive bed. She allowed herself to be led, happily. She was unconcerned about the man in the corner. Her heart pounded inside her head. She felt like she was floating in a dream.

    "I see you notice our friend in the corner. My sentries caught him trying to sneak in here with a knife! I wonder what he aimed to do with it..."

    His hands moved again, and she squirmed under the affections. Straining to press every inch of her against him. The Kawaii warlord shifted, and her dress slipped down one shoulder.

    "Still, I can be a merciful man, and he did not manage any harm. There is no reason that he can't have his fun while we're having ours -unless you object?"

    She blinked blankly at the Kawaii warlord - giving no sign of even understanding the situation - clearly past the point of being able to object to anything. Instead of answering, she sank slowly to her knees and smiled.

    The warlord lazily waved his weapon in the direction of the man, and a phantasmal woman appeared next to him, beautiful and seductive. She began to drape herself over the bound man. The Kawaii Warlord paused, considered, and repeated the motion. Another woman appeared, identical to the first, and also began to caress him.

    The common man struggled against the chains and recoiled from the women, but there was no escape.

    The warlord smiled an unkind smile and waved the weapon a third time, almost as an afterthought. Another new woman appeared - still beautiful, but unique from the previous two. She draped herself behind the first woman, running her hands over whatever flesh she could reach.

    The man clattered the chains and strained and struggled and howled. She thought he must be screaming words, but she couldn't understand them.

    "Master, why does he resist your gifts?" she asked, but the Kawaii man did not answer.

    Behind them, against the wall, the common man was being played with by the phantasmal girls. One was pressed up against him, kissing his neck and running her hands over his chest, while another was on her knees. The third was kissing the first's neck and running her hands over her . But he continued to struggle. His eyes locked on to the warlord and the girl, filled with terror and hate and disgust.

    As she caught her breath, the Kawaii warlord put a hand on her chin and lifted gently up. Going with the pressure, she stood. They kissed, again, and she was pulled in closer and she squirmed against him.

    He glanced over his shoulder at his other prisoner.

    The commoner's eyes were closed now, and his breath was frantic. The two identical phantasms were now pinned against each other, rolling on the thickly carpeted floor, kissing frantically . The third, having him to herself, had wrapped her arms around him while randomly bouncing up and down. His eyes flickered open – they were not locked on the warlord anymore – roaming from person to person instead. And they were not filled so much with terror and hate and disgust, now – the warlord thought he saw sadness, and maybe a hint of lust.

    The girl was oblivious to the carnival happening in the corner. Her eyes never left the kawaii warlord. She felt as though she belonged to him and him alone. Satisfying her master would be pleasure enough.

    She felt his hands on her, again, and her eyes drifted shut. She focused on the sensations, and on being responsive to every input. She found herself re-positioned, face down on the bed, facing the warlord and his phantasms. She sighed expansively.

    "Oh. Yes. I've never felt anything like this before"

    "Open your eyes."

    She didn't want to open her eyes, but she found that she had no choice. Though she couldn't explain why, the sight of the common man with the phantasm made her uncomfortable. There was something, deep down inside her, that told her it was wrong – that it was bad. Her eyes drifted to the two phantasms on the ground – she liked that more. They looked soft and smooth and warm.

    "Watch what happens, when my servants free that common man. The one who intended to kill me."

    As the warlord uttered these words, the phantasmal women disentangled and began to unchain him.

    The links of chain clattered to the ground, and he was free. He paused for a moment to rub his wrists, where the shackles had bit deeply. Then he looked around for a moment – she thought he looked like he was trying to decide what to do – he looked at the warlord, he looked at the girl, he looked at the phantasms and at the door. And then, with a shrug, he fell on the phantasmal girls, groping and kissing.

    The third came over towards the warlord and the girl.

    The phantasm, one of the twins, lay down next to her. She reached a delicate hand out and caressed the girl's face. She drew her in for a kiss.

    And then her eyes closed slowly. They flickered back open briefly, and then closed again. Just as she gave in to sleep, the felt strong arms lift her up and carry her away.

    She slept deeply and peacefully. Untroubled by dreams or restlessness.

    When the morning dawned clear and bright, She found that she could recall each detail of the events of the night much more sharply than when she had been living through them. She looked out the window. The city stretched out far below her, sharply illuminated by the harsh sunlight.

    It was hard not to be upset with herself for her performance, and for the abject failure of her plan – though it was clear now that she was doomed from the start. She cried for her boyfriend and hoped that he was still well – she hoped that he would forgive her.

    And she knew, now, that she would never be Queen, maybe. She would never again wield any power. Only the warlord and the criminal mastermind held power here. But, she thought, if she was careful – she might still live a comfortable life.

  9. #469
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    Abducted : Conviction - Construction Duty

    Everyone was planning what they were going to do after hearing about the merging of different worlds. People had returned from the nether, others transferred and began building vast amounts of buildings. Some people had begun reporting to hear voices in their head instructing them to build on Conviction or Thunderwing, to build before the worlds merged together so they would be prepared... Only those part of Conviction and Thunderwing would be part of the joyous world.

    It reminded me of the voice in my head...

    I don't know when the voice started precisely. It was so quiet at first I figured I just imagined it. The words soft and almost incomprehensible to begin with.

    I am, in my own view, by no means attractive. People often tell me that I get defensive easily and that I think that any negative general comments are directed toward me. At times I will get very angry and lash out. My only redeeming features being eyes that changed color with my surroundings and my hair which was a gorgeous shade and thickness when clean. The word: "Desirable" was so foreign a concept to me I needed to look it up in the dictionary several times to confirm it was actually a real thing (along with "self-confidence" and "self-worth"). So it naturally never occurred to me that the voice in my head urging me to steal packs, imagine kneeling before a faceless figure, occasional phantom hands I felt roaming my body or voice whispering in my ear that I was a good girl if I just let go, obeyed, submitted... was anything more than a subconscious part of my brain desperate to feel stimulation after so long a dry patch.

    The voice remained in my head for at least a year, urging on more criminal activities, bolder attacks, deeper submission. The scenarios explained and imagined began to get more intense. I imagined robbing several more figures with enthusiasm as the initial one looked on pleased and appeared to be paid by the new figures. Taking that gold and hoarding it for the transfer. Telling me to prepare for the future. To follow my commands obediently.

    "That's it... Good girl... Good girl... You love it. You love to submit to me. To obey. To surrender. Surrender. Surrender your mind to me. To be owned. All you want to do is please. All you live to do is please me. Because it feels so good. So right. So good to be a good girl and obey." The gentle voice was insistent in the back of my mind.

    New desires slowly took hold until I could barely contain them nor my disappointment at their stubborn insistence on remaining fantasy and not reality. I didn't care about the people anymore, only to follow my directive.

    I dreamed of being kidnapped. Taken quickly and quietly with no fuss, no ransom note, and no trail. Of being made unconscious before being shipped in a crate, not on as a passenger, but shipped like an trade pack. Shipped to Conviction where I would be extracted from the crate. Inspected... And then sold to the highest bidder that would have me. Used in whatever way my owner wanted.

    Whenever these fantasies played out in my head, it felt like I could almost feel the voice in my head, not speaking, but smiling... Happy.

    Many moons after the voice began... It stopped. I was shocked, my mind reeling from the absence suddenly there and my heart... Sunk in disappointment. No more voice to obey, to submit to, to surrender to...

    3 weeks after the voice had disappeared I was sitting on the beach when suddenly I couldn't see a thing.

    Someone had put a blindfold over my eyes and hand over my mouth. In shock I struggled against the hold and tried to bite the hand through the hard metal glove they wore.

    Then I heard it. Him. The voice. Only instead of in my head this time I heard it whisper into my ear, the gentle hot breath caressing the soft skin of my ear and jaw.

    "Surrender." Just the one soft word and suddenly I was slumping, putty in the mystery man's hands as he gently pressed me up into a standing position. My brain hazy and unable to fully process. Then I obediently stood and let him tie my hands behind my back - all the while explaining that this wasn't to stop me escaping that I didn't want to escape (to my shame he was right), but to bring to the world that I would belong to and that no matter what I wanted... What he wanted was what was going to happen.

    Wrapping some of the length of rope tying my hands around my waist as well so that it would lead off my body like a leash. Tugging to test it a bit the mysterious owner of the voice I had heard for so long in my head then began to lead me away. All the while I was silent and obedient as I followed despite not being gagged by my captor. We went through the woods (something I could tell from the uneven ground and sticks poking into my legs), until I was put into a seat. The door closed behind me with a slam and I heard footsteps and another door. I didn't know if the mysterious man had an accomplice or was entirely on his own but soon the vehicle started and drove away with my quiet and confused self in the seat.

    At some point I must have been lulled asleep by either the travel or the odd feeling of warmth in my belly I had felt growing ever since I had heard the man's voice out loud. The result was I was woken when I was picked up and carried (definitely by two men this time) before having something shoved over my mouth and nose. Despite my blindfold I soon discovered it to be some sort of oxygen mask they used for a cross world transfer. Gently as they could the men placed me in a crate, my body nestled in the copious amount of hay used to no doubt protect me in transit.

    Some moments later when I was starting to feel nervous enough to actually ask questions I felt a short sharp sting and a odd cold feeling flood my system.

    Whatever it was made my mouth dry, head woozy, and eyes heavier than the last time I had gone to sleep. My brain looked up to see a shipping label : “Conviction - Construction Duty” before I passed out completely not hearing my captors place the lid of the crate on and then begin to nail it down.

  10. #470
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    Out of the Box

    Stashed within the crate labeled “Conviction - Construction Duty” I knew that Conviction and Thunderwing were drifting closer and closer together. Soon the worlds would become one and all the inhabitants that survived would meet...

    Of course I had no idea how long I was out for in my dreamless induced slumber. By the time I awoke I was, lying on a thin mattress on the floor of what looked to be a bedroom and wearing a solid collar that was chained to a hook on the side of a large king sized bed beside me which boasted a cage below it, what appeared to be stocks built into the foot board... And a figure covered in red plate armor was standing by the doorway.

    Being without blindfold and able to get on all fours while I swayed worryingly (at least enough that I wasn't going to try and stand up yet), I crawled to the edge of the bed to get a better look at my roommate. I didn't know if he was the one who owned the mysterious voice, one of my captors, or someone else entirely.

    "Greetings. Good to see you. So good to finally have you where you belong."

    A shiver ran up my spine and I stifled a whimper as I stared at him not knowing what to say.

    Slowly he leaned over taking hold of the ring in my collar that chained me, pulling me forward toward him.

    "You will call me Sir. I have no other name as far as you are concerned..."

    I must have looked confused as he read it on my face.

    "You were so needy, yearning, requiring taming... Owning. Rewiring. So I lured you, with stories I knew you would read, I got a foothold in that deliciously depraved mind of yours and began to rewrite and rewire your urges, your desires, your wants to be what I wanted. To turn you into my perfect worker."

    "And now," he said with a devilish grin, "your real training will begin."

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