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Biting Cold
(2013-01-10 - 2013-01-11)
Introspection Interrupt. Dead ends and Portals and Heartless, oh my. Also. Drama.
Riku Time for expedition. Surely nothing can go awry.

Splash. A calm and placid lake over which a bank of freezing fog is rolling, the water vapor washing out the color of the landscape more than a dozen yards in any direction. The trees and brambles poke out of the gloom, black stick figures whose definition gradually loses focus the farther they recede into the fog.

The floor of the forest is littered an inch deep with dark, soggy leaves and detritus. A cloaked figure stands on a rocky slab jutting sideways from the rocky soil, a small pile of stones near their boot. Every so often, they bend down to reach for another one and send it out across the water. The rock skids twice across the smooth surface before plunging into the deep water. There is a longish pause and there is something waiting out there in the woods. The wolves that so often frequent this area, and perhaps darker things are.. absent. No bird sings. No animal noises whatsoever penetrate this forest lake.

The cloaked figure bends down and retrieves another rock.
Deelel Deelel still didn't get why certain things changed when she wandered from world to world. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't it was perplexing as the transformation and alterions to her form when she arrived in user space. There was much to look into she'd been tracking down a wild lead on the even hint of a hermit who might know something abotu the heartless and how to fight them. It was likely a wild goose chase, still there was nothing else to do better to follow it up. Her normal strange techie leaning outfit now looked like something out of a fantasy table top down to having a long traveling cloak of which she was clad for really. Well the cloak was something she bought with her the nature of this place was alien, wild, uncontroled there was no order to the chaos here she could see, yet she found it interesting...but she's as of yet unaware of there being others. She is however on her guard, who knows what might be lurking out here.
Mercade Alexander Things are peaceful. Introspective, in the fog.

It's a place someone can get lost in and think to themselves. Perhaps this is why the cloaked figure is there. Perhaps it is not. Regardless, there is the sound of a portal nearby. The sound of something being disgorged.

There is another sound. A quiet, growing noise. It sounds kind of like...


SPLASH! Suddenly, a blurred form crashes down from high in the sky, plunging straight into the lake and sending up a huge spray.

A minute later, a shaking hand reaches up to grip onto the rock outcropping, a sudden detective struggling to pull himself up.

Way to go, Mercade.
Riku There is a shape in the fog not too far away from where Deelel is moving through the forest. It's half hidden by the shape of the trees and the underbrush. It is completely stationary, a spire of oddly shaped rock until a vague moment of mottled illumination plays over an armored surface. The helmet turns slowly to regard Deelel, revealing itself by the swirly eyes painted on the open faced helmet. Yellow eyes pierce the dim illumination.

The cloaked figure still some distance away around the edge of the lake hitches in their repetitive movement, turning their head in the direction of Deelel. The heartless continues to stare at Deelel from it's post, completely unmoving as Mercade splashes down into the lake.

You gain status effect: -Cold-

The cloaked figure drops the rock and snorts very faintly to themselves, getting a minor part of that status effect as wave splashes up at them. They cough out a startled chuckle, the vague shape of a sword gathering around their head vanishing in another instant. "Portal magic." he says these words with the same inflection someone would give to a heavy implication that would require several flocks of geese to express. The figure reaches out a hand, attempting to help the detective up onto the outcropping.
Deelel Deelel hears a screma something is coming well something's fallen out of the skies into the lake and made a heck of a mess. She looks up at the plume of water and pauses as someone hauls themself out of the water. She managed to avoid fgetting cuiahg up int he fall however there's something there she halts for a moment she feels like she's being watched but can't find anything she just happens to miss the eyes but she's clearly looking about and distracted from looking into Mercade working on his belly flop.
Mercade Alexander Mercade finds someont giving him a hand up. He takes the hand without looking at who's offering it, and the detective clambers onto the rocky outcropping shivering with cold as he is soaked through from the DOOM SPLOOSH. He looks up, flopping onto his back in a spreading pool of chilly water. "Ugh... Thanks." He says. He rubs at his face, trying to clear his eyes. "I wasn't expecting the portal to come out there..." He says.

He squints, looking up and wondering what he might see in that cloak. "Huh. Mysterious type, huh?" He says. Looks like he isn't making the connection yet.
Legion Playing with portals!! A Mercade plummets... TO HIS DOOM. But so does Emi. She tumbles out of the portal moments after Mercade and--notably--does not scream but instead is clearly nonplussed about the whole ordeal as she crosses her arms lightly even as she tumbles into the lakes.


She immediately starts splashing wildly in a way that suggests that as far as swimming goes, she is perhaps not very good at swimming if at all capable with regards to swimming. Survey seems to suggest that no, she does not know how to swim.

But even so, she struggles not to drown nonchalantly.
Riku Strangely, the heartless doesn't attack Deelel as their juicy bits and bytes are distracted by the epic splashdown. The knight continues to stare at Deelel from it's concealment with an unnatural passivity. It only occasionally twitches from time to time, making the leaves rustle as a wind blows through the forest. %R
The cloaked figure turns away from Mercade and raises a hand to their face when there is another splash followed by wildly thrashings. Status effect: -Cold- has become Drowning 1.

The figure turns around, pausing slightly and watching them thrash and twitch. "Oh-- the hell with it." This said, they reach up, unclasping the cloak and throwing it down at Mercade's upper half as he struggles to clear his eyes.

Riku jumps into the freezing water to go fetch the thrashing shape in the lake.
Mercade Alexander Mercade doesn't get up as he looks at the mysterious cloaked figure. It's like something out of a storybook. The shadowy, ghostly person shrouded in mystery and wrapped in an enigma with a side of puzzle and maybe a little garnish of riddle.

Suddenly, Mercade feels slightly peckish. Regardless, it's the suddenl followup splash from Emi that causes Mercade to sit bolt upright. He can't let the newest member of the TDA drown already! He gets to his feet and prepares to go in after her when...


Mercade stops, shocked and staring as he sees the teenager dive in after Emi. For a moment, Mercade's eyes narrow. Perhaps his hand strays towards his coat. The hidden holster with his gun?

Regardless, he does not. Instead, Mercade leaps into the water, attempting to join up in helping Emi to safety.

It's almost like he doesn't trust Riku to help Emi.
Legion Riku has white hair and has a pretty face, HE MUST BE EVIL. Unfortunately, Emi does not know such base truths as this and him helping her not drown is probably at least a good mark in her book. And hooray! Mercade is helping. Actually, despite being appreciative of not dying to water, she is SUPER ETHICAL EMBARASSED. Her cheeks pinken lightly as she coughs out water she ended up swallowing from plummeting into water from a great height.

She is light and easily portable.

"You are..." She breathes. "--the one who was fighting that dark knight?" She coughs, interrupting her from utilizing her quirk. Great sadness. She gives Mercade an apologetic look for their mysterious gap in their skillset.
Deelel Deelel still doesn't notice the Heartless, but she feels she is being watched. She knows she is but can't seem to find it. She pulls her cloak tighter and now is heading to the water something is going on over there and she should see what's going on but the Heartless could see she's starting to wander off towards the water. Just what is going on over there... "DO YOU NEED SOME HELP OVER THERE!?" Or do the two have it covered she can never call somedays.
Riku And see the absolute lack of caring Riku has for this. Actually living in a place with a large amount of water seems to have it's advantages, even if the water is so blistering cold that he has started already to shake.

The teenager grabs Emi from behind. "Yeah. Come on." He hauls the woman towards the lakeside, ignoring Mercade utterly unless he tries to take Emi from him.

Regardless, he releases her when they get into shallow enough water for their feet to hit bottom and for him to stagger out dripping onto the forest shore.

Several spires of rock turn out to be a perimeter of heartless as more knights appear out of the fog. Riku shivers from the cold, looking straight at Deelel. "No. But you m-might, stumbling around in the forest like that without paying at-at-tention."
Mercade Alexander Mercade doesn't interfere. He's just in proximity. He smiles to her, kindly, despite her embarassment. Mercade, too, is shaking as he gets out of the water, and staggers onto the shore, clapping himself and trying to shake out the chill water. He waves to Deelel but doesn't say anything yet, his jaw is clattering. He has to keep moving. He pulls off his trenchcoat, and tosses it onto the ground, before he turns and walks over to the rockey outcropping. He picks up the still-dry cloak of Riku's, and walks back, tossing it over to him without looking at him or saying anything.

It's only moderately awkward. "Are you okay, Emi?" Mercade asks. He can't use his coat to let Emi warm up, it's soaked at the moment. And that's leather too, dammit.
Legion Emi lets out a relieved breath once her feet can actually touch the ground. She looks to Riku and says, "Thank you." because, really, he had no reason she could understand for doing that beyond well not being the sort of person who likes to see people drown. She can't dry off while in the water so she makes her way to the shore, nodding to Mercade. "This one will be fine." She says. "My feet can touch the ground now." She is shivering too and does indeed stumble over a few of the words.

She gives a concerned look Rikuwards because he is shivering and then steps out of the water. She shakes out her feet a few times and then tilts her head smacking one side of her head, water spilling out of her ear in a way one might even call 'cartoonish'.

Electricity ripples across her body sharply shortly after, her hair fritzing out considerably as she dries herself off. "Thank you for asking." She says, not shouts, towards DEelel who might not even hear it but it pays to be polite even if you're not going to raise your voice over it.
Deelel Deelel well has no Heartles to worry about for now but she really doesn't like this. The pauses wait water? She's seen the edge of the sea of simulation she's assume large bodies of water are instant DEATH!. She just stares as all these users are frolicking about in it like it was energy ready to be drunk in the morning. She's really conufsed here. She has been and she now looks back wait what the heck was that. Okay there is something there and she's going for her light disk now. She'll thank the stranger later.


She stares down the thing that's lurking.
Riku Riku grabs the cloak without comment, throwing it around himself as the knight heartless come out of the trees. Another wintery wind rips through the barren trees, blowing eddies of fog across the scene and sliding fat tendrils across the ground to obscure the forest floor. The heartless that comes out of the woods only a few feet from Deelel attempts to simply move past them in a erratic clanking of armor, ignoring the identify command.

Riku walks furiously across the forest floor straight towards the other heartless who slide away from him as he blows past him and close up behind him, forming a shield as four knight heartless stare at the group as Riku turns around, hand shuddering as he clasps the cloak around him.

A heat mirage of dark energy bakes off him as he looks warily at the group. "Hilarious portal error again drops trouble in my lap." he doesn't particularly sound amused. He snorts softly. "Figures."
Mercade Alexander Mercade doesn't look after Riku, but he does... pause, tilting his head as he listens. His eyes narrow and he looks out into the fog. "Trouble follows some people like a stormcloud." He says to no one in particular, as he puts himself on guard. "So Legion, do you see anything out there?" He asks. "This is a pretty wild area. It would be a problem if Heartless got the drop on us."
Legion Emi had forgotten about the possibility of Heartless and it isn't until Mercade mentions the possibility she starts thinking of it. Emi needs to work more on thinking with portas.

'Identify', she hears and naturally sees Riku moving through the Heartless--easily.

"There are Heartless here." But they seem to be listening to that fellow over there. Through the fog it's a lot harder to see but where there's some heartless there generally tends to be more heartless. Some and more go hand in hand. Like s'mores. "Did i thank him improperly?" She quietly asks of Mercade.
Deelel Deelel calls out a warning. "We have Heartless, unknown numbere prepare yourself!"

She's got the disk out from under her clock and heck she's thropwing the cloak off in one fluid motion. She looks at the hearless. "So looking for another world to infect virus? This is the end of line for you."

She's now launching her disk at the heartless. LEgion is right, it's like where there's one there's a hundred of them.
Riku Riku stares at Mercade with a puzzled expression, turning his head from side to side to peer into the fog as if curious himself to see if there were other heartless about than the ones right in front of him.

He doesn't dismiss them quite yet, the knights still forming a barrier between him and the rest of the forest travellers. "They're all mine." he explains after he decides that he can't sense any wild heartless in the territory. "I didn't want to be --HEY!" he looks after Deelel as the disc slams through the knight heartless, leaving a burning shadowy hole where it's head used to be. It slowly slumps onto it's knees and explodes in a plume of dark vapor.

Riku shakes his head, throwing out a hand towards Deelel. Thorns explode from the forest floor, attempting to wrap around her legs and arms and hold them fast. "/Don't/ do that again."
% The Heartless shuffle and twitch, claws reaching for Mercade and Legion although they remain locked in place for the moment.
Mercade Alexander "He's the master of these Heartless. And where there's some. There's always more." Mercade says, as he looks over the Knights surrounding Riku, who watch him and Emi hungrily. "He's the one who destroyed our world. Emi." He says. "There's a lot of bad blood between us." It's not you, it's us.

"It's certainly a mockery of fate that we run into each other like this." He says, frowning.
Legion Oh no that poor heartless got murder--


Emi lightly smacks herself up the head for that one. But she doesn't attack them. What she does do is recognize that they are roughly in Riku's hands and Riku doesn't seem to be siccing on them just yet and as such she should behave in a manner that encourages Riku to continue not siccing the Heartless on them. This is not really an ideal situation for getting into a fight.

She also listens to Mercade which has yet to fail her in any notable way.

"Why did he?, The Network inquires." Emi says.

He can control the forest too? She tries and fails to pat down her hair, it just fritzes out again.

She wrinkles her nose in annoyance.
Deelel Deelel had thought she was distracitng the heartless for Riku, Mercade and Emi. Only tif ind out as she's caught and snared by one of teh heartless. Okay that's one down but now there's things comeing out of the ground reaching out towards hert to capture her and she's snared. She's used to guards being able to drop the ground from under her. Not thing digging through it, this is just nuts. She hears that this user desrtroryer an entire system of their own kind. That just leaves her with a look of abject horror on her face. Either he's willingly working with the heartless like LEXUS or he's so infected he's that far gone. Both are horrorgying to her. She'll struggle a moment longer to get lose.

"A viral user?!"

In the words of a famous anti viral basic. This is bad, very bad.
Riku Riku continues to glare with consternation at Deelel, ignoring the detective and not making eye contact.

He lashes out with a hand when one of the knights starts to move towards Emi. As he slams the hand down on the armored shoulder, the heartless goes still again. "Soon." his voice much quieter and only directed to the minions. He looks puzzled at Deelel but it hardens quickly into anger.

"Look. If I let you go, will not NOT try my patience some more? You can believe what you want."
Mercade Alexander "Do you really think it's that easy?" Mercade says. "Just 'go away'?" He snaps... And then he pauses, turning away from Riku. "No. Of course you don't think that." He glances over to Emi, and sighs. "He destroyed our world because he thought that by doing so he would protect other worlds. He saw something there that frightened him very deeply, and he made that choice. And now he has to live with it."
Legion Destroying a world to protect other worlds? Emi looks between Mercde and Riku. She'd use the expression 'you could cut the tension with a knife' but she imagines that even a knife would have difficulty here.

So instead she cups her hands to her lips and shouts, "He helped rescue me from drowning!, The Network suggests--" She pauses, trying to think of a good word but ever since she fell into the water she hasn't felt really up to snuff. "--Nonshootys." She finishes. "You are a program as akin to that Caduceus, yes?, The Network connects dots."
Deelel Deelel looks right at Riku for a long moment. She halts her attack as she attempts to get lose still.

Mercades words do his the basic, wait he's implying Riku isn't really infected but willingly did this. She knows there were over a million users and who knows how many basics on their ... systems. She came from a system in that city so there would be..." There's just this horror on her face. He derezzed many for that and she doesn't what to think about that world's grid network. She really doesn't. She knows not how many heartless Riku has, he may have enough to overwhelm them it would be unwise to behostile. She'll try to put her disk away for now but has no intent to leave.

"Correct, ID's Deelel. I know CADUCEUS."

She looks back at Riku with the same waryness LEXUS would inspire.
Riku "Ah, Mercade. Still in love with the sound of your own voice, I see." Riku doesn't look at the detective as he says this, narrowing his eyes as he mutters. "It's not easy. But I would do it again, knowing only what I knew at the time. Knowing only that /scream/ that promised that nothing I could do would be enough. That I'd lose her anyways. That I'd lost everything already." Riku shrugs one shoulder, sighing quietly. "It was right."

Riku waves a negligent hand towards the thorns, releasing Deleel. "Go." he tells the heartless, who do not in fact charge forwards towards the group. They waver and vanish, disappearing as the teenager finally makes and holds eye contact with Mercade. Yellow eyes narrow as he tells Deelel in a calm, even voice. "I'm sorry it had to be that way. Would you have listened to me if I had come to you, Mercade? What would you have said? It's okay-- everything will turn out alright somehow?"

Riku chuckles bitterly to himself, but he looks hopeless and tired in the aftermath of the concentration it requires to summon the heartless and maintain them.

"Why did you help me?" he inquires of Emi, but-- it looks like he hasn't reached the end of what he wanted to say, so he shakes off the question as unimportant. "What has that gotten you? How much progress have you made on your case files? Who is leading you around by the nose this week?" he shakes his head. "I.. hoped that you could help me. Once." Riku turns his back on the group, looking at Deelel with wary attention in case they attacked. "But you couldn't even help yourself, you were so busy helping everyone else."
Mercade Alexander "At least I talk to people instead of expecting them to be psychic." Mercade snaps back. "I..." He pauses, and then collects himself, going quiet and breathing. "Never mind." He looks away. "No one can help you, Riku. You never let them." He says. "No one can work with that."

Mercade looks to Emi. "Emi, I'm going to go. This conversation is pointless. If you want to stick around, feel free." He picks up his trenchcoat from lying on the ground, and he puts the sodden leather back on, turning and heading into the forest, walking away from the lake.
Legion Emi nods lightly to Deelel with that confirmation. That's interesting! She isn't sure what's the deal with the super frisbees but maybe it'll be made more evident later. "We had run into him." She says instead. She bites at her lip thoughtfully, especially at that latter bit though. She almost tries to answer it as if it was meant for her, however the very idea of Mercade being too busy helping other people to help himself troubles her because it makes her think about how Mercade had helped the Network and perhaps there were better uses of his time?

She shakes her head. "It seems more difficult to help yourself over others, The Network supposes. Nevertheless, presuming you are referring to your battle before, The Network offers 'it seemed like a good idea at the time, wink nudge'."
Riku Riku looks down at the forest floor, watching the patterns of fog flow across the ground. He clenches a fist, then slowly lets all the tension run out of his body. He shakes his head slightly, pulling the hood of the cloak back over his face and refastening the cloak as he prepares to leave. He turns to face Deelel and Emi, his eyes flickering towards the retreating Mercade for a moment before going back to Deelel.

The narrow eyed warriness returns but he actually smiles at Emi when she answers him. "Okay." he pauses, as if wanting to continue this, but his eyes flicker over to Deelel and he simply bows his head slightly towards Emi and turns away, disappearing into the fog.
Deelel Deelel is not going to press Riku at this point, he has an unknown number of forces about. If he was powerful enough to destory a world, it would be foolhardy to tackle him unprepared. She's going to start backing off herself. She pauses for a moment looks at Mercade "We need to talk later, sir." She gives one last wary look at Riku before pulling out her light rod, forming the cycle and driving off.

This scene contained 32 poses. The players who were present were: Riku, Mercade Alexander, Deelel, Legion