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Author Topic: Stranger in a strange land  (Read 762 times)

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Offline XIVTopic starter

Stranger in a strange land
« on: April 24, 2009, 01:00:00 PM »
Temporal bubble collapsing in 3...2...1.....temporal bubble collapse imminent."

The feminine voice intoned such words directly into his head. As the brilliant white sphere collapsed, what greeted the young mans eyes was certainly unexpected. Even so, the arrival at an unknown destination did little to perturb his calm exterior.

Then again nothing really could. He'd advanced beyond the necessity of such things as shock once he'd mastered his art. Reality hacking. when existence itself was pliable to your whims little could perturb you.

His latest attempt to extend his abilities had, it appeared, deposited him at an unknown spacial coordinate. which meant he'd just have to make do with what he had. and that wasn't much.

A black hooded duster, black t-shirt, black baggy pants and boots were the sum total of his inventory. The computer that allowed him to bend reality to his whims didn't exactly count for inventory as it was implanted in his head.

data streams cascaded across the screens implanted in his opaline eyes, feeding him relevant data on the location. Temperature, atmospheric pressure, apparent weather patterns, mineral concentration etc.

hopefully his little light show hadn't spooked the locals but he wouldn't bet on it. Usually places this developed were not so well receiving of unexplainable phenomena. ah well, he'd just have to see how things played out. Stepping out of the small crater the Temporal bubble had created, the glass that the heat of it had generated crunching under his booted heels.

Offline Oleander

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009, 05:41:30 PM »
"Todo que usted será .. Ya fue escrito"
[All that you'll be .. it was already written.]

Had the world finally caught up to her? Or was she still running? Running for freedom .. or running from the truth. Either way .. she had to keep running. Run .. run. Again, and again. All she could do, to escape, was to run. She could smell the scent of game upon the air, as the cool, crisp wind struck her face, chilld her bones and flushed her of all colour. But never did she cross the scent, of another living being. Nothing to console her loneliness, to help her break from the madness of being alone. Forever she would be lost within her mindless reveries. Lost upon her aimless journey, and her helplessness, would soon become her greatest weakness. She had fallen, far from the grace that had once been herself.

Nimble digits brushed across her cheek, each knuckle kissed with a silver ring. Pale skin glimmered in the beating light of the sun. The weather had stricken her lately, hindered her progress. The white tunic had been let open down the center .. exposing the smooth lines of her body, but tied to conceal the necessary. A small silver cross was nestled comfortably between the soft curves of her breasts, it's position reflected the light, as if there was a burning star center her bosom. There was no trouncing about as Oleander today. Today she was strictly Esmerelda. The heat forced her to expose the femme beneath the clothes.

Pushing forth along the beaten path, the scent of life brushed past her and those sea green eyes danced further along the given trail. Studying the marks made within the world. There was someone else there. She could barely make him out upon the horizon but as she grew nearer, his visage became clear. A soft smile played across her lips, before they parted for her to speak. Her voice rolled forth in a soft purr. Her accent light hearted and her tone kind.

" You look just as lost as I am"

A heartfelt giggle was tossed into the air then. Esmerelda had never seen someone whom paled in pigment as she did. Nor had she ever seen the likes of this man .. his difference almost made her want to lable him an outsider .. an enemy.. but alas, strangers were friends waiting to be made.

Offline XIVTopic starter

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2009, 05:42:30 PM »
You look just as lost as i am.

The uttered words caught him unawares. But instead of whirling about in surprise, he simply turned his body slighly, his Opalescent eyes taking in...if he were religious at all he'd say an angel. But the experiments performed upon him had led him to believe there was no God. no God would allow such horrors as had been commited upon his body.

" seems so. I'm not exactly sure where this is, but anywhere is better than the place i left."

His voice was soft. Rich and smooth, almost like velvet to the ears. not quite a baritone but still suitably deep. The tone though, was quiet, almost but not quite a whisper. As if he wasn't used to talking to people.

Slipping his hood from atop his head, it became quite clear that the only color to be found on his person was his clothing. His hair was as white as snow, the same for his skin and eyes.

Luckily though, it seemed he bore no weapons. not a bulge to be seen under the coat to indicate such a thing. nor in the way he stood. But his eyes....something seemed quite strange about them. Beyond the fact they were white, it almost looked like there were...words scrolling across the pupils?

"forgive me if i don't introduce myself but i doubt giving you a number is appropriate. and i...can't remember my actual name." 

Offline Oleander

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2009, 05:46:02 PM »
She kept her distance. Even the most trustworthy of strangers could never be trusted. Though weapons were not apparent, Esmerelda knew the body was just as lethal as any blade. She stayed her blade, as any kind traveler would do. Taking a few paces forward she bowed most respectfully. Her dress was much different from what he would see when traversing these lands. Others would be found in embroided silks, and satins. Lavish colours and designs. She was set apart from the many. With her black, worn, leather pants and her white frock. The billowed sleeves casted lace upon her hands, hiding the petite appendages in an array of white rose designs.

" I believe these lands are the Austrlands. My luck has crossed a few of it's inhabitants .. but their sense of direction seems lack."

Another polite giggle was thrown into the air before she gestured to the path before him. It was obvious Esmerelda knew the ways of foreign lands, and it seemed this awkwardly quiet stranger did not. Perhaps an arrangement was to be made? She would help this man.. whom held no true name. When he removed his hood and revealed the ivory, pearlescent beauty of a man, Esmerelda felt the woman inside of her stricken with awe. A soft smile danced across her pale tiers and sea green eyes lowered to reflect the blue pools of the dew droplettes upon the leaves.

"Numbers are just that, my friend, numbers. As Names are merely letters arranged to sound interesting. "

Her voice, was unlike a voice you would commonly hear from a woman. It was soft, low and resonating with a deep hum. As if there were a million cords being struck to form the structure of her seranading voice. A clever masquerader. She took a few steps forward, if one had seen in her in the dead of night they would have surely mistaken her palor and lack of color for a vampire of lore. But alas, she was nothing but a Spaniard. A Holy Crusader lost in a Godless world. Fending for herself. Her beliefs and religions tested. Broken, and strengthened.

" Perhaps, if you're heading towards the next town.. I might accompany you? Traveling alone can be quite .. whats the word..boring?"

Offline XIVTopic starter

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2009, 05:46:43 PM »
He could not help but smile. when was the last time he'd been shown even such a token gesture of kindness? not since claire. The quiet mousy scientist that had been charged with his mental health through the painful process that had allowed him to become something...more than human, yet less at the same time.

"I think i'd like that, thank you."

He turned then, the lenses in his eyes zooming in upon the small village. maybe a few hundred people at best. Mineral readouts showed a lack of hydrogen...hmm low water just out of their reach. well it was only passing through....

"You can call me 14. It's the uh...designation i was given. It's better than 'hey you' I suppose. I didn't catch your name by the way."

A quick stream of algorithms activated a sequence through the implant. the basic idea was to turn numbers into physical wavelengths that affected things on a quantum level. The theory was that it wasn't so much creating things as plucking them out of probability that they would exist there and compressing their potential existence into actual existence.

A walking stick appeared as if it had been there the whole time. The reason behind the action, if asked was ridiculously simple. He got a kick out of small things like that because it had bugged the project heads to see him abuse his powers so pointlessly.

The hood was brought back up and a tilt of the head given to the village before he began walking. okay, he had no idea what or where he was. Or what time he was in. Given the womans clothing he'd calculate some sort of cultural equivalent to the european late mideival. no, he wasn't nervous not a bit. He just had to try and not disturb any cultural laws.....yeah....easy.

Offline Oleander

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 05:47:03 PM »
When he agreed to her idea, she smiled brightly. Showing off that set of pearly whites. Everything about Esmerelda was human, except her lack of pigment, and the colour of her eyes. She proceeded that few steps to bring her up to the side of her new traveling companion. Her hand rose to greet the air with a gentle kiss as her finger pointed in the direction of the town. He thought he could see .. with his technologically advanced eyes .. if only he could see what Esmerelda saw.

"The town is just off this way, it's small .. isolated. Not much, but it's just a passer through. The town is generous, from word of mouth. They lack the necessities to support a mass ammount of life, but they get by."

That was when he inquired a name .. something she had failed to give him in consolation for his lack thereof. XIV. That was what he had opted to call himself. A small smile placed it'self upon her lips and she turned to face him. Offering a petite, and seemingly fragile hand for a partial wave.

"Pleasure to meet you. Amigo. My name is Esmerelda."

Her tongue formed each percise sound. Rolling her 'R's and sharpe 'S's. She pursed her lips slightly as she turned her attention to the path ahead of them and as he took that step forward in the right direction she followed. Her hand resting upon the hilt of her sword for comfort. Almost as if it was her own little walking stick. Sure, he'd performed some sense of magic, pulled something from a desolate nothing, but that was nothing new to Esmerelda.

When she moved, the long braid that cascaded down her back swayed. Its length reached to her mid-thighs. Expressing some sense of accomidating for a lack there of in the years before. Having grown up with little to no hair at all, when Oleander had the chance to Galavant around as Esmerelda, she took to the slightest chance and grew her hair to it's fullest. Loving those silken curls, and their many unique styles. Though, when she played as Oleander .. their style was limited, and very dificult to transform her beautiful face, into one that spoke soft masculinity, and screamed manliness.

Since her time in the Holy Crusade, she'd lost herself .. and where else could she start to find herself, than with a man whom seemed lost himself. The outcomes were numerous, and the journey unknown, but that made this task all the more intriguing. Why do it alone, when you could do it with someone else.

Yo no soy un Héroe. No.
Yo no soy un Monstruo. No.
soy el intermedio.
La necesidad de Sobrevivir.

Offline XIVTopic starter

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 05:47:40 PM »
Good to see she hadn't been spooked by his hacking abilities. If her reaction was normal he may just get to like it here. a place where his talents didn't label him a freak was a welcome change. Yet he couldn't help but be a bit mesmerised at the way her hair shimmered in the early morning light.

"Judging by the architecture i'd say this is an eastern style...uhm....i'm not sure the equivalent around here to china but the architecture is very similar. if these people are as generous as you say then they are a rare exception."

The layout looked to be similar to the chinese architecture of the period aroud the uniting of the 7 kingdoms. Most people from that region were quite secular and didn't take to outsiders very well. a reception he was quite used to actually. Usually when the Cerberus Unit was called into play things got very messy and as such the crew got a bad reputation.

But nevermind that. why was he ruminating on the past? Here he was, in a new world, with not a chance that any of the project heads could locate him, and with an angelic looking woman as a willing traveling companion. This had to admittedly be the high point so far in his life.

"Excuse me for being foreward. But Esmerelda is a very pretty name."

He could feel the heat spreading over his face. His very pale face. Thank god his hood mostly concealed the blush. As they approached the small village he couldn't help but stare in curiosity.

Children running, laughing...playing. the elderly being treated with utmost respect.People being kind and helpful. The look in his eyes clearly indicated that such concepts were foreign to him. All he could remember was the aseptic walls of the bunkers and surgical theatres. The cold clinical treatment of the doctors after the cranial surgery.

But this kindness,so strange. Yet it called to him, begged him to react, to feel. he just...didn't know how. he snuck a quick glance at his traveling companion to gauge her reaction, only for his eyes to notice something.

while they looked happy, content with their lot in life, he couldn't help but notice the signs of malnutrition. Most of the Cerberus assignments were to third world countries so the signs were glaringly obvious to him. perhaps it had to do with the wells? poor irrigation could easily explain the lack of food.

Offline Oleander

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 05:47:55 PM »

The word slipped past her lips with a hint of uncertainty. She shrugged her shoulders a little. Esmerelda knew the people of this region were not very friendly, but the particular town before them had a reputation for taking to outsiders. They were the commoners, the hard workers. The farmers and the carpenters. She was used to these kinds of people. The true hard workers of the world. She came from just such a family .. but her own had been lost in the spoils. Rather than cherishing the glory of their work.

"Rare exception is true. They're not like the rest of the population which inherits this land."

Esmerelda was used to hostility, violence and fear. It wasn't often she could look forward to a kind, and gracious welcoming. When she had partaken in the Holy Crusades, and voyaged with the Spanish Armada, outsiders had not accepted them as easily as they had thought. She'd sleign in the name of another mans God and mourned the death of friend and ally. Her soul was just as torn as any other.

"Your compliment is kindly accepted.

A soft blush flourished upon her pale flesh. It's soft rogue hue very evident upon her cheeks. She was flush of all color with that minor exception. Oh the woes of being a woman. She loved it. As they approached the town, a very pleasant smile graced her lips. The corners upturned sweetly. Her expression and reaction were all pleasant. The laughter and open air of the community was something she'd long since been looking forward to.

She gestured for her traveling companion to follow as she proceeded into the village center. A few of children questioned then, in a language not so common. Curious kiddies followed them, one in particular had began to rug upon the flow of her sleeve. Pausing Esmerelda lowered onto one knee and ruffled the obsidian tresses of the young boy, whose dirty face beamed up at her curiously.


The boys eyes lit up and his mouth moved to mouthed the letters which formed the word. His expression spoke knowing and familiarity.


A soft giggled was surpressed and she stood with a nod. Ruffling his hair. She'd passed through this town once before on her journey in the other direction. Only then the children had known her as Oleander .. and though the lot of them knew she was a woman, some of the elders might not of known the difference.

"You'll find just about anything you need here, and they're willing to bargain for good prices or trades. Where is your next destination? Perhaps a night in this town will help you find your sense of direction and perhaps let you become familiar with the way of these lands."

Offline XIVTopic starter

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2009, 05:48:33 PM »
Such a quiet, pleasent sight. The children seemed drawn to esmerelda. He got the feeling, by the blush staining her cheeks a pretty pink, that she wasn't too used to being complimented so openly.

The way these people reacted, and the way she reacted to was so strange. Even their reaction to him. A white skinned, white haired, white eyed outsider. They showed no fear of him. And that smile she'd given them all.

He wanted to put that smile on her face too.

"Payment? perhaps i can offer my services? I'm not sure where i may go next. this is the first time I can remember being outside the la....uhm outside."

Smooth, he'd almost let slip he was a guinea pig. Turning to what he guessed were the people in charge, he activated a sequence of algorithms. the air seemed to shimmer a moment before settling back into the calm state it had been in previously. Yet when he spoke, the gentleman seemed to understand him perfectly.

"where are your wells?"

The asian man seemed almost startled that he could understand XIV's words. But shook it off and indicated the small well just behind him. A quick scan revealed exactly what he'd suspected. the well just barely touched the large aquifer beneath their feet. that was a problem easily solved.

Another set of algorithms was loaded while XIV placed the walking stick on the ground beside him. with his hands thus unencumbered, he stepped up to the well, holding his hands out, palms facing the well. Matter manipulation of the calibre required focus.

The data streamed through his eyes, variables constantly being added or subtracted, changing just as the well itself changed. the small pine enclosure gaining size, filling out into stone blocks, as opposed to the wood. Unseen by the townsfolk he was also deepening the well, punching through to the aquifer below. The support that the bucket and rope hung from was reinforeced, the bucket's size increased. It may take some time but with this setup they could properly irrigate.

A small trickle of blood trailed down from his nose as the act was completed, his hands dropping as he stumbled back as if struck. He took great heaving gasps as if he'd just run a marathon. Shit he'd over worked himself...oh he needed to sit down.

well, it seemed they grasped the full importance of what he'd done. as he sat, collecting himself, they set to testing the alterations. The looks of shock upon pulling up a full bucket of clean water was worth the pounding headache.

He reclaimed his stick, using it to help him to his feet as he wiped the blood from beneath his nose and massaged his temple. oh his head hurt.

"Enough for room and board?"

To his surprise the man actually bowed to him. the look on his face was priceless. obviously 14 wasn't used to gratitude.

"This way please. we do not have much to offer, but what we have we will happily share"

Offline Oleander

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2009, 05:49:00 PM »
Her movements ceased, as XIV moved closer to the well, she could tell by his body language he was calculating depth, structure, support .. he was studying it. Hard. She watched quietly. Observing from the distance. Her pale skin glittered in the bright sun, the small boy stuck to her side, his little fingers intertwined with her own slender digits.

Those vivid sea green eyes rolled into a stormy blue as she moved around to watch his movements, his choice of action. Surely she'd seen things like this before. But not so much for the purpose of helping the weak. She had only seen such power used for war, destruction and chaos. To see it being put to greater use caused her pale pink lips to pull into a most charming smile. One that noted satisfaction, happiness .. a sense of being fulfilled.

The reaction of the people, came with shock and adoration. Confusion and bewilderment. Their movements, though cautious, were curious. They lacked the understanding, and the full use of magic. As they pulled the clean water from the well, it was means for celebration and payment for their grande savior. Their angel.

"Mi vida..."

Her words came soft, and he'd find them comforting as she spoke close to his ear. Her hand held at his back in a supporting manner as the other came around with a piece of cloth to gently wipe the blood from his nose. Esmerelda felt the need to comfort him, to protect him. The words of her Queen pushed her forth to do just so..

Oleander, you are the Shepard. The keeper of the sheep. It is your duty to guard them, to weed out the wicked and the weak.

"Soy el flautista moteado. Estoy de aquí proteger el fuerte y el valiente. Para erigir las tumbas del débil y el malvado. El donador, el guarda, el aliento de la vida. Soy la cosechadora, el tomador, el aliento de la muerte"

Her words came quiet, spoken to herself as she gently pressed a small kiss to the boys temple. Comforting him from his moment of reprimand. With great power, came great repricussion.

"You did a very wonderful thing for these people.. I am greatful."

She rose to her feet fully and as the elder began to lead XIV away, Esmerelda took in the general view of the town. She was sure they would set him up comfortably with room and board. She need not worry about her new found traveling companion. She had more important things to worry about. The wind was whispering .. it's words quickened and fear stricken. Something dark was coming .. with the storms brewing in the east .. the rain would be upon them soon and with it, the spirit which summoned such hatred. Esmerelda could feel it in her bones .. she'd come this far for a reason. Her expertise would be needed.

Not only in the art of swordsmanship .. but her art in the holy matters of the world.

"Hope is fading ... "

Offline XIVTopic starter

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2009, 05:49:31 PM »
The villagers indeed set him up like royalty as best they could. obviously clean sheets, as well as warm food was something they had in little abundance, yet they shared what little they had. despite the fact that his meals back in the lab had been prepared exactly as he could ask for them, the food brought to him by the matronly looking old lady tasted infinetly better.

was this how life should be?

Once his stomach had been filled he was led to the bathing area. He was still a little shy about all the scars he'd received from surgery as well as all the incursions he'd been a part of. Somalia, uganda, russia, haiti. So many had he always missed this side of things? well, traveling with a heavily armed military convoy would of course make he locals skittish.

So there he sat, his coat and top layed across the bed. Clad only in his boots and black combat fatigues.He'd have to get something new eventually. these wouldn't hold up very long in a place like this.

Absently he let his fingers glide over a particularly jagged scar across his ribs. that hadn't been a pleasent memory. The feeling of the machete biting into not just his skin but taking chunks out of his ribs. he could just barely feel the screws in the metal plates they'd put in.

Another scar, this time in his hair. the most important one at that. It proved is lack of humanity. They'd put that thing in his head,they'd taken his memories away. he didn't want to hate anyone. But they had stolen his past, his very identity! nobody had such a right!

He took several steadying breaths, wondering absently where Esmeralda was. Perhaps she could help him with his little predicament. XIV was a designation, not a name. He hated being reffered to by a number. maybe she would have some ideas.

Maybe he should have put the shirt back on too. He wasn't exactly one to realize it but his scarred body was actually quite built. not an ounce of fat to be seen. the daily training regiment saw to that.

Offline Oleander

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2009, 05:49:54 PM »
Esmerelda was still outside, monitoring the outskirts of the town. Her mind roaming, her eyes scanning. Selecting every little detail that meant something. Things that spoke to her, screamed to her of the coming storm. The clouds were rolling over the horizon, blotching out the sky .. and soon the sun. The rolled in thick and heavy. The thunder rolled across the sky, like a thousand hooves beating into the sodden earth. The wind danced through the valley and into the town. Sweeping past her. Unsettling obsidian tresses from their holds.

Turning her back to the storm brewing, she headed back into the town to push people into returning to finishing up their business early for the day. She wanted them all in their homes where they would be safe. She took to helping move merchandise, and belongings into shelters, homes and shed holdings. Ushering horses into stables and children into safe loving arms of their parents. Esmerelda was a hard worker, a guardian, a protector. She could feel something unnatural about this storm and it bothered her.

She paused for a moment to take a breather. The cool breeze felt good after a day in the sweltering sun. Her pale skin felt chilled and seemed even more pale in the chilly weather. Sea green eyes swirled into a vivid blue. Murky at the center with a deep green. Flared at the rim with an odd gold. It was then her attention was drawn to XIV. A soft blush flourished over her cheeks as he stepped into the light without the mask of his shirt. Though his body was scarred, he was a work of art.

As if he was sculpted out of stone. A greek god. Esmerelda shook herself back into reality and smiled warmly, brightly in his direction. The cross at her neck burned bright against her skin as her temperature rised.

"There's a storm coming. We'll be here for a while... mind helping me get the horses into the stable?"

Slender digits, knuckles each kissed with a silver ring, rose to push her hair from her face. Pale pink lips still pulled into that soft, sweet smile. Esmerelda was the image of an angel. All silvers, whites and pure bright glory. Though, as such .. she was on of the worst. For angels were not the purest of creatures, nor were they saints. They were sinners with a cause. Esmerelda didn't believe in angels, or saints. She believed in doing for the common good. In return she received that which she needed to survive, out of common decency.

Offline XIVTopic starter

Re: Stranger in a strange land
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2009, 09:18:25 PM »

She, nor the town had treated him any differently, which was an immense relief. He'd seen people cower before him when all he'd been trying to do was help. But these people obviously hadn't been broken.

They had been strained yes, but not broken. And with the alterations XIV had made perhaps the place could flourish?

The horses, strangely seemed quite docile around XIV, almost to the point one could say they were hypnotized. not that he was a hypotist, but the aura that he exuded was so utterly non-threatening that even the animals noticed.

He gave Esmerelda a slow look while she was turned away before returning to his own tasks. But those were quickly finished.

"So, you seem to have had a harder day than me. surely here is something i can do to allow you a moments reprieve?"