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Initial Findings
(2013-04-06 - 2013-04-29)
Stored recording of ancillary darkness laboratory 12. Status: ACTIVE
Robed Figure The preparations are complete. They would be arriving soon.

Twelve walked and his footsteps made no sound on the clean black floor. The rooms, this reception chamber and the number of small rooms. The stone archways and hidden chambers and workspaces scrawled with ancient runes and brimming with humming machinery was nevertheless a castoff.

A small and broken place he restored to greatness and would elevate further by his work. Everything must be ready.

Twelve drew the hood of his brown cloak over his face, not allowing himself the luxury of a moment of uneasy fidgeting. He stands completely still in front of the glyph as each symbol begins to glow in sequence. Dark scrawls of smoke rise from the design as the portal slowly peels itself open and reaches out with tendrils of smoke into the darkness to snatch up it's intended and bring them here.

In a pocket, the card still faintly crackled and smoked. A promise, a task seemingly impossible.. and yet he had to complete it. He would not be allowed to return empty handed.

There may still be yet a way to turn this around to his favor. He must only .. wait.
Darkness calls to darkness. The Greater the darkness, the stronger the pull. Yet logical, logical knows the danger of more powerful darkness. However when a dark portal is open and a summon by that darkness is given, one will answer this call.

After all, Shadow Lords make such dark portals and his majesty is that of a Shadow Lord. What the Dark Knight did not know is the deal that was forged. He did not realize that his Emperor had given permission for him to become another's 'toy'.

So soon stepped out of the portal the dark armored figure of the Dark Knight. His foot coming down upon the stone ground, as dark mist expanded out from the step of his boot. The darkness swarming around him, slowly pulling away as his own darkness continued to cloud the armor. Those red eyes glowing brightly as it peers into where he has been summoned. Soon the next step comes. Just as calm and just as methodical.

He takes a few more steps forward. His clawed gloved hands by his side, though they did stretch out slightly and flex his fingers as his red eyes glanced around. The cape barely moving with each step he took. Soon those very red eyes shifted to the hooded figure. There was a long silence before a gentle cant of his head. "Whom summons the Dark Knight?"
Robed Figure "One who has bargained from your master your services and your compliance." The robed figure gestures to the portal which begins to die away, flickering streamers of shadow fading as each point withers and turns to black dust that does not even mar the cold expanse of stone with it's presence.

When all trace of the portal is gone the robed figure speaks. "So let us begin with a question. From this question we will work ourselves back to the truth. What is your purpose, dark knight? Why did your master create you?"

Such a question, and such an answer would be useful indeed. An inconsequential beginning from which a skein of questions waited to emerge.

One loose thread. That was all he needed to begin this impossible task.

One loose thread, to pull and to spin until nothing lay hidden from him. After all.. this question was not such a thing as he was privy to.

Not for himself.
The Dark Knight stands still, even as the portal closes behind him, leaving nothing behind but the cool air. The cool air he ignores as his eyes stays focused on the robed figure before him. His head cants slightly to the other side as the figure explains. "If it is by the Emperor's will, then so be it." His voice rumbles in the echo that the helm provides.

He stays emotionless as he just continues to watch the hooded figure, trying to sense where his heart may lie, if any, and observing for any sign of weakness; perhaps even for the honest of those words from before. Yet if his Majesty did order this to be done, then by not following would be going against the Emperor's wishes.

As such, he must obey, until the one before him showed a lie to be uncovered and then...

..Then he will make this hooded serpent pay. For the Dark Knight is loyal only to one and to abuse that loyalty would go punished with extreme measures.

The darkness continued to flow around the Dark Knight at the next set of questions. It swayed down to his feet where he stood. The mist of darkness playing in the cracks. Parts of the armor for a moment seemed thin of the darkness, showing the hidden gold trim before it was covered once more. Dancing to one side to the other. The darkness being pooled out at rest, as there was no high need of its power during this moment.

Yet if he was given reason, he could flare the darkness back up without so much of a blink. Yet while he stood there. He tilted his head to one side to the other. Those red eyes searching, scanning. Perhaps even his own gears turning or maybe even pondering over information he was being fed from another source he contacts in silence.

5tThe answer to these questions would come when he was sure just by whom he was dealing with and by what his Emperor desired.

"I am the Dark Knight." His eyes were starting to glow a brighter red for a moment, before they simmered down. He then shifted his weight before he came to rest his armored claw hand to his chest plate, then lowered himself down into a bow. "I am the military commander of the Palamecian forces. On a special operations mission by the orders of my Emperor. No one knows of these orders, beyond now.. you.."

"Beyond my rank, I only serve one higher purpose." He raises up his head once more, coming to stand once more at his full height. "I serve my Emperor and do by his will. What he commands, shall be done."

The Dark Knight then lowers his head once more. "..what else do you wish to ask of me, sir?"
Robed Figure "ah..another nameless puppet set to the dance.." The robed figure moves around them once in a lingering circle, only ringing silence following in their footsteps as they turn their regard on the champion of Palamecia. It is an utterly detached regard, regardless of the darkness and the looming threat that gathers in the silence between them. He gives no more attention to the knight than to the idly examined doll of a villager, the roughly sewn edges tattered and frayed.

He makes a small gesture and the featureless walls ripple. a single wave passing vertically across the blank and featureless walls starting to crack and crumble at closer examination. The wave seeps into an empty place in the far northern wall, an archway appearing with a smear of evaporating darkness revealing a set of stairs formed in cracked grey stone leading upwards. The robed figure turns from the dark knight and moves across the black marble of the chamber. "Come." is the command he gives next, sweeping up to the next chamber above them and budgeting such time very carefully. A number of tasks already set into motion by the time they arrive at the top of the staircase.

The testing space is cramped with machinery, itself a patchwork of smooth chrome lines and sharp angles sheer enough to cut paper and flesh. Vines of cabling droop from the ceiling rafters of this confined space, as much above consumed by machines, lights and mechanical extrusions as below.

Several crystalline tanks line the eastern wall, a dark but translucent fluid within holding the sleeping forms of nameless and faceless 'guests' to the laboratory in question. Several tanks are empty. Another bank of tanks along the west wall teem with an opaque fluid, a darkness in which yellow eyes dart and swim, concentrated shadow poured from container to container to find it's way here.

It is that tank that is not quite here or there but whose extrusions and shielding are present, but the actual container a thin membrance of shadow reaching into a darker world. Into a vast darkness from which only this sliver of shadow has been brought into focus. "Stand there." The robed figure gestures with a hand to a position underneath a great mechanical arm that hangs from the ceiling like a languid tentacle. He himself is stationed near a console, flickering screens of energy pasting long scrawls of texts and readouts that flicker and phase in and out of visibility as though the screens were ghosts themselves.

"I will take some readings first, and then we will see how good your master is at the dance. Pray, for his sake, should you have no concept of your own."
The Dark Knight continues to stand there as things start to unfold. His red eyes only observe what he sees before him. Yet no reason to real away or even showing any sign of fear. The question one would have to wonder is if the Dark Knight, so lacking of emotion, even understood the concept of 'fear'. Perhaps on a logical level, but on an emotion was another point entirely.

So when the Robed figure tells him to come, the armored knight follows. Each step clam, in time with the next, and with ease of pace.

The machinery was of some interest though as he glances around the room with those red eyes. Taking in the jagged edges, then his eyes trace over to the tanks. Examining each tank with a great deal of interest as his gaze moves over them. Absorbing all the information around him like a child opening their eyes for the first time. It was a curious place, just as the being for him was as curious.

The tanks with darkness in it though gets a long stare and minor head tilt from the Dark Knight. The silent wanderings of just what research was done here with this technology and the combination of darkness. Where his Emperor did such with magic, it would seem this man was one of science.

The puzzle starting to become a bit clear now.

The Dark Knight then moves to stand in the position of where he was told. Only looking up for a moment at the device ahead, then his red eyes gaze to the floor, before they move over to the Robed figure. No reply comes to the Dark Knight to the Robed figures comment, only a stare, before he looks away with those red eyes. His own darkness that flows around him, moving about in its own curious nature, before moving in close to his form.

Now it was a game of wait, it would seem.
Robed Figure The mechanical arm spits and crackles to life, slowly uncurling one sinuous joint at a time as hydralics splutter and hiss from creaking disuse into functionality again.

A dark plume of steam escapes a grating over the floor in one part of the cramped laboratory, a vague but intense glow obsidian glow piercing the sterile tracks of lighting sunken into the nest of machinery above.

The tendril tends, a dark aura crackling to life across the smooth shining black of the metal as it wavers above and behind the dark knight like a serpent.

Lightning fast the mechanical arm clamps down, biting into the armored back just underneath the left pauldron. The dark aura seeks to plow through the darkness into the armor underneath, latching on like a lamprey. The fanged mouth that bears down on the dark knight once the connection has been made and secured is no more tangible than a nightmare, flashing blades of darkness flensing the upper layer of darkness and siphoning it away along long tracks of infused tubing that pour the essence into a much smaller container near the robed figure that churns as tendrils of smoke and shadow leak into the containment.

They give no thought and pay no mind to the first tenuous wisps of darkness, hands flying expertly across the console as the machine with it's wraithlike blades burrows deeper into the darkness. Sampling it. Examining it. Storing the cut away fragments as it peels away, a layer at a time, the essence of the dark knight sealed to his armor, and his service, and to his will stripped of name and light and memory.
The Dark Knight red eyes dart over to the sudden movement he caught on the edge of his vision. He doesn't move however, still remaining even as the claw attempts to pierce into the darkness. It was probably a clash at that very moment. The very darkness enforced their by magical property pulled from Leon's own heart, attempting to refuse the breach.

Yet it gives away, and even then, more darkness attempts to move back in to protect itself. Eventually the wraith blades do fine their way, but each attempt is met with a greater force of resistance. The Darkness resists. It fights. Yet it is slowly torn away.

The Dark Knight despite this great pain, doesn't flinch, he doesn't even scream. Instead all the robed Figure will see is him slowly closing his eyes. Him not even looking at the world anymore. It was as if the very Knight was acting as a statue to the world. The dark mist around his armor almost thins out to the point where the gold trim could at last be seen. The gem stones glowing just faintly enough to cast through the now thin veil of darkness.

Yet the darkness by his feet becomes thicker, like a pool that was starting to form under him. Moving, swaying, waiting...

Darkness pulled away, continues to fight. Continues to try and draw itself back. It wasn't letting itself be exposed with ease and yet, perhaps deeper down the pool that was created, a very sliver of light may start to be accessed. Just a small sliver of light that had been nearly crushed out. Just enough light-- just enough to keep the darkness here at bay. To not consume. To not destroy.

Yet it refused to grow, it refused to expand. It just stayed in its very small corner of the heart. In a very small, reclusive corner. Then like a wall, a very dark wall, it suddenly hides the light once more, as the darkness attempting to slam back together again. Attempting yet again to fight.
Robed Figure The initial readings flare in quick staccato across the ghostly screens. The robed figure paused briefly in his movements to read over the summaries. As the data flowed across the screen and folded over on itself at his command.

He looked over at the smaller container and two fingers reached out to trace a rune on the surface of that containment. The glass crackled and hissed, becoming even thinner but more crystalline in composition. Dark ice locking away a sample of the captured darkness that abruptly flash freezes with a faint pulse of dropping pressure and magical energy.

The robed figure wrapped his fingers around the frozen crystal, deftly disengaging it from it's receptacle and placing it on the grey plate of another machine. This machine scanned the crystallized darkness, taking it away in a much more fine scale manner than was being practiced on the knight themselves.

Digging down into the magical roots of the darkness, threading backwards from those magical threads to the interweaving of the darkness personal to the nameless puppet with darkness stolen and fed to them by the armor and the magical connection streaming back to the Emperor of Palamecia.

A self-regenerating matrix.

Not exactly self replenishing for the great wellspring was not here and a rebinding would be neccessary from time to time. That source was onlydrawn upon, at some distant reserve, from the reservoir of dark energy the armor fed upon to sustain itself and its functions.

The robed figure input a few more sequences into the computer, another obsidian ripple shuddering across the floor now in intersecting rippling lines as if the floor were the surface of a deep and endless pool. A quivering lake of perfect stillness, kept mirror smooth only by surface tension alone.

The wraith blades bit deeper.

Initializing Phase 2.
The blades continue to bite down into the darkness. It still fights. It still denies. Yet then with those red eyes slowly opening and staring at the robed figure. The pool of darkness around his feet ceases to build. Only moving in wisps. Those red eyes staring with a gentle glow of a much brighter red. The very tips almost a orange hue in color.

The Dark Knight's hands flex gently, as dark mist forms around his finger tips for only a moment before it is slowly pulled back in. Those red eyes searching for something on the robed figure. Weakness perhaps? Strength? But it was indeed a stare of a hunter examining another predator; or perhaps possible prey.

Yet those words echoed from his Emperor. To treat the Robed Figure as if he was Mateus, but to never forget who was his true master. Yet, this test was slowly becoming a matter of patience. A slow patience that was being clawed at from the pain starting to twinge deep within. A pain that his Emperor taps into when binding the armor.

There was knocking on the 'door' within. Yet no one cared to answer that knock. The very darkness within starting to fight back. Attempting slam back against the wraith blade with far more aggression then before. Attempting yet to still fill the gape that was being carved away. As if trying to tell either this intruder device that it had no right here or perhaps to prove it was the stronger.

The Dark Knight mean time only lowered his head slightly, before his eyes returned back to their normal red hue once again. Those hands starting to relax; yet the staring continued.
Robed Figure The sharp tones of warning alarms split the deathly, whirring silence of the chamber. The robed figure turned from his examination of the lesser machine and the crystallized essence back to the main consoles on which blared angry red and pulsing black.

The alarms cut off, one after another, as their blared warnings were read and filed away and shut down. Another sequence of keys and metallic circles almost as thin as hairs and interlocking in an intricate dance of silver across the rippling black floor came into being.

The intricate designs began to pulse rhymthically, runic trails beginning to worm their way up from the floor in quickly crystallizing patterns like frost reaching its way up the open air. As the spectral ice rises, each pulse amplifies the power of the wraith blades who themselves are infected with the spread of that ghostly ice. The air thickens in a long column around the dark champion, building pressure continuing to bounce the power of the questing blades as if through an echo chamber.

Mirror Drive Activated.

Amplifying and then amplifying again. There is an instant of crushing pressure as the runes on the ground activate. Abruptly the mechanical arm seems to shatter into a thousand mirror bright shards of reflection in this thick column of air embued with illusion. A thousand, thousand echoes of the lamprey tendril drive downwards at the knight, attacking the darkness from every angle and from every point, no longer siphoning it but rather scraping it away delicately like the flashing knives of a million mirror bright scalpels.
There was a shift in things, very dangerous shift in the environment. Suddenly what was slowly cutting of the darkness that had become one of ripping and tearing. The very sheer intense pain of it caused those red eyes to go wide, before they closed shut.

The Dark Knight slammed down to one of his armored knees, almost pulling the machinery with him. His hand clawing into the pool of darkness that had formed, before it starts to crawl back into the armor. The then layer of darkness outside of the armor vanishing, as it sinks in and going back inside.

Inside to the body.

Inside to the heart.

'Remember who your master is'

The Dark Knight's body stiffens up. Those clawed fingers starting to dig into the metal. There was a low rumble from behind the helm. The claws continue to scrape slowly, causing a gentle screech as metal meets metal.

'They are all dead. They are gone. There is nothing for you here'

'Loyalty to me'

The Dark Knight hand suddenly slammed into the metal plate, the claws digging in as those eyes slowly opened. The helm slowly turning to look at the Robed Figure. Those red eyes no more, only a predatory gold stare at him. Those predatory gold known by those who seek the darkness, who summon the darkness. That dangerous pull and his own glow just as bright as any heartless, with only edge of humanity within them.

There was another low rumble, as the Dark Knight attempts to stand up, but fails too. His other hand goes into the very steel now. His body arching like a cat, as the cape hangs around his form. However his hands flex out of the metal, before he closes his eyes once more. He goes to force himself stand once more. Forcing his feet to come under him. "..I am.. the Dark Knight." He states only to himself, and when those eyes open again. They are bright red once more, glowing only with flicks of orange at the tips of his eyes. The darkness suddenly explodes out from under his armor, attempting to wrap itself around the machinery. "The light you seek will not be found. Any further attempt at this experiment will result in destruction."
Robed Figure Alarm klaxon wails and is sileneced by a small and negligant gesture. The robed figure examines the screens for a long few moments as the dark knight's works fall into the silence. He inputs a sequence which causes the Mirror Drive to fall apart, as ethereal as a bunch of snowflakes.

The robed figure slowly turns, and reaches a hand back to push two keys with his gloved fingers.

Phase 2 complete. Admin has called a halt to further proceeses. Saving data. Returning to Standby mode.

"...Interesting." The robed figure speaks. No pain or anguish drew any hint of words, pleasure or even interest from him. But words... words spoken as the dark knight salvaged his control fall into the chamber like smooth stones. A yellow light glows underneath the cowl of the hooded figure as a baleful yellow eye opens, matching that predator stare point for point as the quiet continues to stretch.

The yellow eye dims and then disappears, the edge of a smile fading into a blank expression. "Very interesting. And now that the formalities are out of the way.. let us proceed to the field trial." Again, the edge of that smile in a face completely black except for the strip barely visible underneath the hood. "..It's not a much more complicated task than standing still, I assure you."

He chuckles very.. very softly. "..but first. I have been a poor host. Let us further examine this task.. after dinner."

And without another word he walks away from consoles and laboratory, moving into another hallway. "..And after you collect yourself."
The Dark Knight watched as all the machinery was shut down. His red eyes slowly taking back their normal glow of color as he straightened his own posture once more. There seem to be no sign of anger for what had just been down. Nor did their seem to be any regret either.

His motions were calm as ever and his own breathing just as calm, though hard to hear. As he watches the robed figure for a moment he gives a soft nod of his head before he speaks. His voice also still remaining calm and his voice precise. "As you wish."

Then after a few moment of standing there, the details of the armor started to fog over once more, before the darkness yet again roamed over the highly polished dark surface of the metal. Slowly cascading down to his very feet. As he moves off the platform, like so many times before. The darkness surfaces under each step.

There was further things to be discussed and that, was a very taxing event.

This scene contained 14 poses. The players who were present were: Robed Figure, Leon