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[F1-OP] Begin - The Monument of Life


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Post #20

Freyd listened silently to the exchange between Alkor and Setsuna.  It was similar to one that had passed over a fishing rod between him and the young woman.  She had nudged her course as a result of that discussion: an oath taken and adjusted.  The little white wraith considered herself to be a lost cause, and did what she did so that no one else would have to.  How often had he used that excuse himself, and still did?  

"How many of us will be left if we all become martyrs?"  

It was an open question, not meant for anyone in particular, but had lingered on the edge of his own outlook for the better part of a year. 

"We steel ourselves and become the blades wielded for our own survival, and risk becoming part of the damnable machine in the process.  When are we no better than broken mobs that cannot respawn?  When are we just glitches, waiting to be purged?"  He turned his cowl in their direction, no hint of expression or emotions carved upon pale and neutral flesh.  "The sad truth is that your approaches are both right and both wrong.  More importantly: both are necessary."

Freyd shrugged.  He knew where he stood, but it wasn't like there was a single all-encompassing or correct answer to these questions.  This was life in Aincrad, and they each had to make their own choices.

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Krysta usually wasn't one to purposefully eavesdrop on other conversations, it was often rude. However, the context she overheard brought her to listen anyway, as she was now willing to join the conversation when the time was right. After yet another player gave his thoughts to the two players' discussion on life and death, Krysta would need to give her thoughts. She would walk a bit closer to the players in said discussion. "While capturing is indeed an option for some, there are others who are far worse than one might think. While it is true that we mustn't let our blades and anguish control us, I know for a fact that some have gone beyond the point of no return. Even if they still act as though they are human, they could easily be a wolf in sheep's clothing; a monster waiting to strike."

Krysta looked back to the monument, then back to the players again. "I have seen an unholy inferno burning in one's eyes, and it bore no justified means, only evil, hatred, and malice. I cannot simply stand around while she slowly but surely quickens her pace in killing. Capturing is too good for her, as she is clever and will likely find a way out of it. There are many risks out there, and letting Dazia remain at large...is one that I shan't take. She has killed three players, including my cousin, and it is likely she may kill again." She added. Clearly, she was taking the side of the female player in the conversation.

@Alkor @Setsuna @Freyd

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One of the familiar faces that acknowledged the clown’s entrance into the ring was Alkor. Macradon didn’t know the man very well, but he knew that there were connections between him and Mari, they had only met briefly at occasion, so familiar and familiar, it was probably more like a known face than actually familiar with the owner of that face. He flashed a smile, nodded at @Alkor, and went on with his business. With the few steps leading up to the monument, Macradon went to the top of the list, very close to the start of the list in alphabetical order, there was the first slain Macradon truly regretted.

«Draigo»
Player-Killed by Macradon.

It wasn’t his proudest appearance on a slate, and it wasn’t his first nor last on this monument. Remembrance to the fallen, Requiem of Aldhyn, words he had taken closer to him after what he did to that “guild” if you could’ve called that ragtag motley crew a guild. “I’m sorry Draigo, I shouldn’t have, you were more worthy to be here and lead the troops than me. I’m merely a bunch of numbers bunched up to the highest gauges, you had charisma, you could’ve moved mountains … if only you weren’t all that gungho on replicating that other murderer …” he muttered as he slowly grazed the monument at Draigo’s section.

He glanced to the left and right, he knew exactly where the other names were, their exact position, it had become second nature to him, to ask for forgiveness, not from the souls he had cast away, but to their families, their loved ones, the ones that will truly experience grief now that a life was taken away before they had the chance to repent.

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Sketch continued to the exit, but the second of the two clowns blocked his path. His steps paused and the brunette sucked in a breath. Further confrontation would only make him a hypocrite. However, as though this stranger seemed to be subtly urging Sketch to stay, he picked up on the continued conversation behind him. His attention captured, Sketch turned back toward the assembled players.

The man he learned to be named Alkor spoke to the girl most offended by the earlier display of insensitivity. In his words, Sketch heard wisdom and experience. Of all those present, Sketch felt inclined to listen more to Alkor. He felt they may have some common trains of thought. The one who blocked his path continued to the group, freeing the exit. Sketch instead chose to stay. He approached the Monument of Life once more, but at a distance. His eyes snapped to the original transgressors but then again to Alkor and the girl he seemed familiar with.

Pain, loss, closure...’ Sketch repeated in his mind as a theme. Underneath the girl’s interesting dialect was a deep seated conflict. Someone out in the world took from her what could never be replaced. Even Sketch felt empathy for her cause. He also understood Alkor’s point.

An eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind,’ he mentally recalled from some old saying. ‘But to claim the life of one so many would live... the choice should be simple. Would she have the fortitude to take a life? Would she be willing to live with it or has she lost the will to live?

Sketch remembered the skirmishes he and his veteran colleagues participated in. At night, they let down some of the walls and let the pain, remorse, and horrors escape. Sometimes, they did so to escape the internal purgatory forged of their own choices. Sometimes, it was a bleeding penance. Those that bragged and boasted... well... that mindset was something Sketch failed to understand.

While lost in thought, the clown mentioned a name at the Monument. 

Draigo,’ Sketch mentally repeated. ‘Hmph, he’s not a clown after all. Just another tortured soul with a mask of paint and laughter to hide the mirror that sleeps deep within.

Sketch was surprised. Despite their theatrical differences, they were still human underneath the guise. And if one thing became painfully apparent about being in the field, it was that monsters were the lesser of the evils roaming free. Other people, just like in the real world, were the darkest nightmares to fear.

@Macradon, @Alkor, @Setsuna, @Recon

Edited by SketchSkirmish
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"Guess I shouldn't go to the graveyard before noon...guess I'm not that much of a mourning person" Recon gave a quick chuckle before heading away from the group. It hadn't hit him that he said a terrible joke once again besides why should they care he was leaving after all. He started going over the information he gathered from the Monument of Life player killers and dangerous boars. I should make friends quick or else  Recon didn't want to end up with his name on that thing. He took a breath and started to walk away from the group now with the information gathered it's time to make a move. The other players conversations didn't interest him and it didn't help that he was seen as a terrible person. "Alright time to begin the journey of suffering, death , and most importantly friendship. Wait...where do I start?" Recon mumbled to himself.

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He chuckled at the light remarks, even though he wasn’t sure if he should. The situation was already tense before his arrival, his shitty antics didn’t seem to really make them all converge on him as a common enemy, and nor did this jokester’s calls diffuse much tension. Looking around him, it seemed it wasn’t one big gathering, but rather a conjunction of lesser gatherings, possibly solo excursions, that just seemed to get muddled up together with people perhaps a bit too eager to act cutthroat. “I ain’t gonna be mediator in this shit, but I’d still want some popcorn if any more drama fusses up.” he thought for himself and looked back to the name “You and your guild will not be forgotten. Perhaps by the people, but the remembrance of you will stay with me forever” he mumbled.

“Have you tried killing someone first?” he asked out to mr jokester @Recon “That’s a great way to start suffering, you’ll probably feel pain when your victims nearest catch wind, and you’ll find friends in people who consider your victim their common enemy.” he added as a joke, trying to see if he could continue the escapades of shitty puns.

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The two clowns exchanged a few more words but despite the second's entrance, an air of experience hung about him. Sketch took interest in this. He approached the Monument of Life beside the fellow and eyeballed the names in the area he was looking. The guy was busy berating the insensitive prick that already made his way for the exit. People like that would end up crossed out on this monument soon enough. There are no police here, and all it took was one simple math equation to broil your brain in a nice, steamy, bone cocoon. Shame, but it was certainly not Sketch's job to check people from throwing away their lives.

«Draigo»
Player-Killed by Macradon.

There it was, the name he heard earlier. The potential adventurer turned a sideways glance toward the man beside him.

'A killer...'

"F---," Sketch swore involuntarily. The tension of a fight or flight response coiled down his spine and turned his stomach into a rock. His hand lingered low as if he'd anticipated needing to defend his life, but it quickly relaxed. He took a step back and looked puzzled.

'Killers can't be in safe zones... Was it a duel like the ones in the streets? Can't be, some of these deaths say from dueling. It was murder. How?'

"Jesus, you're just like those guys." Sketch commented in referenced to the military veterans he remembered hanging out with during airsoft mil-sims. Sketch shook off the goosebumps from the adrenaline. "I'm sorry."

An apology was all he felt was appropriate. He lacked the details and did not hold the prestige to inquire. In fact, the apology could have been directed to any of the other players gathered. Between his outburst and the other guy's insensitivity, it all defiled the purpose of the monument. This is what awaited him outside the city walls and it was ugly.

@Macradon@Alkor@Krysta@Freyd@Recon

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  • 2 weeks later...

His smile would fade slightly as one of the strangers apologized to him “Oh? You don’t have to be sorry, most of these guys asked for it … literally. I should be apologizing for taking them away from possible rehabilitation. No one should apologize to me for what I’ve done other than me, no one should take the responsibility for my actions other than me. I’ll just make do with the promises I’ve made, especially to this guy here, he trusted me more than I trusted myself, so I gotta live up to the ideal he saw me as.” Macradon said and readjusted his smile to keep his cheer up. He lightly caressed the monument besides Draigo’s name, remembering for what he had done leading up to their quarrel.

“Of all the names I’m attached to, I’m mostly sorry about Dagger_Guy over here” he said and pointed at a name not too far from Draigo “I had him in custody, but I got caught up in emotions, he could’ve still been here if it wasn’t for me, he could’ve been safe, people could’ve been safe from him.” he sighed and turned his smile into a light frown “But things don’t always turn out for the best. The entire monument here is a testament to that.” he added and gazed over the entire wall of names.

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"Dazia, you say?"  The name wasn't familiar, but the notion that another player killer might actively hunting newer or less experienced players had caught his attention.  Staring at the seemingly endless list of names was routine for him.  It provided perspective on the state of the game, and the player base as a whole.  You could tell when the strain was wearing: the kill count spiked for a time.  One hand resting on his left hip, the other scratching and the jut of his chin beneath his cowl, the Whisper was clearly pondering.

"Yeah.  Alright.  Let's go hunt her down.  Right now."  It was time to see if money followed the mouth.  Krysta was placed under the awkward spotlight to see if she would live up to her words.  Would she bite, or was it bluff and bluster?  Everyone seemed to gripe about PKers, but how often did anyone actually do anything about it?  Macradon seemed to have, which earned him a modicum of respect.  Clown or no clown, he had his head right on that count.  And so Freyd thought he'd run a test on himself.  Would he actually kill, if it came to it?  His name didn't appear anywhere on this wall.  His pride didn't require it, but was he actually compelled to avoid it?  He didn't know.  Maybe it was time to find out?

"Come on.  You can fill me in on the details as we walk.  Where was she last seen?"  It actually seemed almost stupid to declare a hunt in full view and earshot of so many people, but if he was going to run a real test, some declaration might as well serve as a control.  "I'll need to know who she killed, and how.  Her cursor's orange, right?"

@Krysta

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Nothing seemed to happen with the conversation which she had addressed, but someone else seemed to hear Krysta's words.

"Where she was last seen, that keeps changing. She's been surprisingly elusive, and there was this trio of players willing to seek her out...they've sighted her time and time again, but not once have they been able to actually catch her." She revealed. "Dazia has killed two within duels, and one outside of duels. My guess is that the duel victims only sought to spar, but she surprised them by making the duels total loss and killed them then, when it was too late. As for the latest one, that kill did seem to be outside of a duel, but who knows what had happened there...what confuses me the most about her latest kill is why her cursor is still green." She added. "She will be difficult to draw into combat, especially if it is a battle she cannot win."

It was true, she had managed to avoid lethal combat with Krysta time and again, but one day, She would end Dazia's evil once and for all. She gestured to the three names of the players who Dazia had killed.

 

<<Wardege>>

Full-loss Duel against Dazia

<<Lupix>>

Full-loss Duel against Dazia

<<Aldinago>>

Player-Killed by Dazia

 

"These are her Victims." Krysta explained. "And if she is not stopped soon, they certainly will not be the only ones..."

@Freyd

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A plan was already forming in Freyd's mind.  Clever killers often like to celebrate their wit.  She had a pattern.  It was as good as giving him a formula by which to decipher her soul, deconstructing it to exploit her weaknesses of character.  Turning towards the nearest exit, he realized how he might be making truth from misconceptions.  People always assumed that his dark, worn travelling clothes signified something malicious or outright dangerous.  In most cases, it was nothing more than a matter of practicality.  The man lived his life scouring dark caves and shadows, bringing secrets to light.  Today, it seemed the stereotypes might actually find purchase, branding him a danger beyond mere prejudice.  Two steps into his venture, he paused, the supple charcoal-coloured wool of his hood half-turning over his shoulder, calling his voice back towards the monument.

"Setsuna.  If you are finished here?"  Respect was due for conclusion of her patronage to memories, fostering that which drove her.  The sound and smell of fish intruded in his memories, recalling some of what he'd learned of those cold-burning truths.  "Come, little sister, it's time you show me how you lead your hunt."  Every term has meaning, changing when it emerges from private use to public declaration.  It was the first time he'd used the term in the open, and not by accident.  Freyd never chose to do anything at random, and was not beyond manipulating chance to meet his needs as fate and fortune revealed their outcomes.

"Come, errr... whoever you are. Let's go deal with your Dazia."

[Freyd leaves the thread]

@Setsuna

Edited by Freyd
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As if a complete change in demeanor, a shift from sorrow to a cold intensity. As Freyd would beckon, the girl was at his command. Adjusting her katana on her hip, reaching for the bit of cloth around her mouth. Her cursor disappears, her name stricken from above her when targeted. "Force her cursor orange, then cut her down." Setsuna muttered coldly to the pairing through the bit of fabric. "You want this done correctly, find her. Call her to action, and force her hand. Feign weakness if you must, she dislikes you." Her eyes like ice as she stared into @Krysta "Then play bait, pretend to be injured and see what she does. If she's the monster as you claim, then she will strike. Do you think you can handle that?" The result was cold and unfeeling, as Setsuna would take point. It was a welcome play to change, to bring her out of her own painful memories. As she breaches the doors of the monument and allows some of the sunlight to bleed through, she'd vanish like a wisp on the wind in a smattering of white.

Ready to begin the hunt

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was time to put all of this to an end. Krysta had been failing to find the right opportunities to fight her, and every time she had tried to find her in a scenario that would allow her to fight this evil, she would fail to even see her. The white haired female player would suggest a battle plan. She had been able to take a hit from Dazia before, she could do it again. "I am willing to take on such a role for the good of the players in Aincrad." She answered. She then looked back to the monument, just in time...to witness another name get crossed off the monument.

<<Derenze>>

Player-Killed by Dazia

A fresh kill. "No...she has gone and done it again! We must leave now, we haven't a moment to lose!" She exclaimed, before hastily leaving with the two players who were willing to help her in this endeavor.

@Freyd @Setsuna

[Krysta leaves the thread]

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