*Edge of War

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Joined: 13 May 2010, 14:28

*Edge of War

Post by Dumastin » 05 Jun 2017, 10:25

The man who perched atop a large rounded stone was one who would be unfamiliar even if one had met him so much as a week before.

His face radiated a sense of confidence that it had not then. Quiet assurance. And his eyes sparkled with understanding…

For the third time today, he watched as the grass laid flat in a small circle about ten feet in front of him. Thin blue lines started to trace themselves across the ground there, and he felt, once more, an unspoken confirmation of what it was he was looking at. He did not understand the patterns, nor could he feel the tremendous-but-focused power going into each glyph, but his new friend did, and that understanding passed between them.

Twice today he had drawn Soulmirror and thrown it at the pattern as it formed itself. As the blade broke the lines, they had stopped, then evaporated away as if they’d never been there, leaving only a circle of pressed-down grass that slowly started to stand back up. This time…

He laid a hand on the hilt of the blade, above his right shoulder. His skin tingled as the blade’s power washed over his body. It was an odd feeling; he looked down, always mystified by the process, as his clothing was replaced by mail and plate in shining gold, fitted to him as closely and as comfortably as if it had been forged to his body, though unadorned. The world went just a little bit darker as the helm formed, a sort of simple dome that covered his head, with a mirrored silvery visor that obscured the upper portion of his face and a sort of golden mandible that came down along his jawline.

He felt that odd resonance once more now that he wore Soulmirror’s Raiment. It hummed in tune along with his own ki, growing stronger as he did, and amplifying his power as well.

He slid down to the ground and leaned back against the stone, watching, waiting for the transport spell to complete. Apparently, whoever it was that kept sending it was going to be persistent enough to keep trying until they got their way.

He wasn’t sure whether it was a feeling from the sword or his own instinctive hiss of surprise, when a short time later the spell completed and a very familiar Namek walked out into the sunlight. Either way, he very nearly drew Soulmirror right then…

“Ah, there you are, Silas. I see you’re doing well for yourself.” Silas felt Dumastin’s gaze sweep over him, and he swore he got the feeling that he was being looked *through,* like the one living eye upon him saw not just Silas but everything about him.

Silas’s mouth drooped into a frown. “You seem pretty casual for someone with so much to explain. You think you can just show up and be forgiven so easily? It was my determination to find the strength to kill a monster like you that led me here in the first place.” What was that strange quiver from the sword? And the Namek gave him a look that he could only describe as ‘knowing…’

“Yes, yes, everyone wants to kill me for the rampage of the Thorned. I remember. I was watching when it happened. I know the number of the dead. Eventually I knew their names as well.” He slowed, paused in his speech, and sighed slowly, shaking his head.

Silas drew Soulmirror and held it out, tip pointing at the Namek. “You seem pretty nonchalant about it. Some of them were my friends.”

Dumastin held up his hands, palms up. “Do we really need to go through this in detail? You would probably enjoy gutting me with that thing, or trying to at least, but on the whole long list of really terrible mistakes I’ve made over the past few years, the emergence of the Thorned is one of them that’s actually not so much my fault. Sort of.” He shook his head and shrugged.

Silas’s left hand flicked, and a shining golden dagger whipped through the air at the Namek’s heart. It was an impulsive action if nothing else, but the way Soulmirror was reacting… he wasn’t surprised when the Namek’s left arm moved, as fast as any Ascended he’d seen, and snagged it out of the air. He held it up between two skeletal metal fingers, turning it this way and that to inspect it, as a faint haze of sky-blue mist discharged from some kind of vent near his left shoulder.

“I left the force. Sold everything I owned, went to Vegeta to be alone with my thoughts. Trained every day because I didn’t have anything else to do, because I wanted to find some way that I could have done better, made things work.” He spoke without really concentrating on the words, watching the Namek like he was watching a snake.

“I imagine that eventually you realized that it wasn’t really your fault. That the gap of power was simply too large, that there was no way to ‘do better,’ that the only way to change things would have been to ‘be stronger…’ Yes, I know the feeling. All too well. I suppose it was a moment liked that which led to the Thorned being unleashed. And then once you accepted your failure and focused instead on the path ahead… I suspect Soulmirror appeared before you then, didn’t it? It had been searching for a master for a long time by that point.” Dumastin’s face fell. “I can see it. The minor fluctuations in the sword’s power. It’s afraid of me, isn’t it? Can you hear its voice, or is it more… just a meeting of the minds?”

Silas slowly lowered the blade. So his feeling of unearthly perception was accurate as well; he wondered if that was the blade sharing its own understanding with him again. “Feelings, mostly. Sometimes concepts. Never words. I don’t know if afraid is the right word.” His grip tightened. Not fear, but a sort of… apprehension. It believed… “It seems to believe you mean to take it from me. You have to know I won’t allow that.”

“Yes, I imagined it might. I’ve encountered it before, you know. If it were able to tell you, I’d say to ask it what happened when it tried to bond itself to someone whose heart and mind wasn’t as strong as yours is. It doesn’t mean to do it, you have to understand; even if it was forged by a demon, I don’t think he imbued the blade with any kind of specific evil intent. It’s… an accident of sorts. The sword is drawn to a certain… well, that’s not terribly important. I’m not here to discuss theory.” Dumastin walked around Silas in a circle, eventually taking a seat on a tree stump, though the tension didn’t lessen one bit.

“Then what are you here for?” He could feel the sword urging him. It really was frightened of Dumastin, and it wanted to attack him, not sit here bandying words about, but Silas forced it down and resumed his casual-appearing lean against the rock outcropping.

The Namek watched him, his face unreadable. Choosing his words? He always remembered Dumastin as a charismatic type. He had to keep in mind how dangerous he knew he could be.

“I do need that sword back. It’s much too dangerous to be left in the wild, so to speak.”

Silas scowled. “It’s too dangerous to trust with you, too. I’ve seen what happens when you get too much power…”

“Yes, well. Back to that, is it… I’d like to say that the Thorned wasn’t me, but that’s not really true, either, I suppose. It was, really, in a sort of distorted sense. What do you want to hear from me, though, an apology? I am what I am, Silas.” He sighed. “I don’t need the sword for its power. The Thorned forged it using my knowledge, after all; it’s not really all that stronger than I am. I need it for another purpose, to use it for a tool, not a weapon. Soulmirror is almost unique for a few of its properties, and I don’t have time to construct something that can accomplish the same goal.”

Silas’s fingers twitched. He almost felt his arm move for just a moment. He shoved down on that impulse, *hard,* because he recognized that it hadn’t been his own. Something about Dumastin seemed to bring out an unruly side to the blade that he hadn’t seen in the short time they’d been together.

“I’m not giving it to you. I don’t trust you to use it properly.”

Dumastin sighed. “Silas, I really wish I could just destroy it, but I’m not really sure how. It’s dangerous. You’re lucky you’ve got a good streak of bastard and a tough mind, because it can and has chewed up and spat out lesser men than you. Put one of them down like a rabid dog, and I’ll say now it was just as much of a mercy. Another nearly killed a couple of my friends. The sword isn’t good or evil, but it’s *dangerous,* and it definitely doesn’t know better…” His mouth worked up into a grimace again. “Put it aside for the moment. Let’s get down to the meat of it, because I’m sure you’re not exactly pleased to see me again and I’ve got a world of things to do and barely any time to do them. But for better or worse…”

He stood and walked toward Silas, and this time Silas didn’t hesitate before raising the sword again in a defensive stance. “You stop there. I know you pretty well by now, Dumastin, and I know you’ve always got your tricks.”

“No tricks this time.” Dumastin held up his hands, open and palms up, to show he was unarmed. Not that either one of them believed for a moment that this meant anything where Dumastin was concerned. “Look here.” His right hand came up-slowly-and pulled open his shirt to reveal where a milky-white blotch covered half his chest. “Cards on the table, Silas. You know me too well to trust me in arm’s reach of you, but you damn well better also remember that when I say something, I mean it. I’m dying. I’ve got a few months left to live, maybe. Longer than I’d expected, but not as much as I’d like.”

Silas slowly stepped around, getting the rock out from behind himself, and back. Only then did he relax and let his gaze rest on the… infection? He felt a sort of shudder from the sword. It didn’t seem to recognize the sickness, but he did get the impression that it was… somehow more than fatal.

“I have something to do. Something *major.* There’s a serious threat out there, in the form of a twisted Eternal Dragon straight out of Namekian legend. And I mean the bad kind of legend, Silas. Fire and brimstone, wailing and gnashing of teeth, Old Testament sort of legend. Seven Nightmare Dragonballs to summon a creature so powerful that it could grant someone the power to wipe away civilizations.” He shuddered. “I think I have a chance to destroy it. Kill it dead, render the Nightmare Dragonballs powerless. It’ll take everything I have, but it’s possible…”

“Okay, you really are crazy. Dragonballs? Now you’re talking about a kid’s tale?” Silas seemed exasperated.

Dumastin quirked an eyebrow in response. He was a bit surprised that Silas had even heard that much. He wondered exactly how much cultural blending had gone on over the years, because the Dragonball legend was one relatively peculiar to Namek. “Is that really the least plausible thing you’ve encountered where I’m concerned? I’d offer to show you, but the things are serious bad news, I’ve had to take some fairly extreme steps to conceal them. Okay, suffice it to say that I believe that there’s a serious threat that I could potentially be able to deal with. We can debate Namekian mythology another time.”

“So you need the sword to deal with it. But I still don’t trust you with it. You… dying… makes me even less inclined to trust your word, because you always struck me as the type to do something crazy if you thought you had nothing left to lose.”

Dumastin grinned at that. Silas had scored a point on him there. “Even so. My point is, whether you believe me or not, I believe what I’m saying pretty strongly. Enough that I’m willing to fight you for that blade. Not here! Not now!” He practically shouted as Silas had stiffened, recognizing the man about to drop into a combat stance. “I have another problem entirely right now that, luckily for both our sakes, takes absolute priority. I’m not here to pick a fight today, Silas. I’m here to offer a temporary truce. Arlia. Some new leadership has emerged among the demons spawning on that planet, and they’re *dangerous.* They’re massing invasion fleets even as we speak, and while normally that’s something I could deal with, that leadership has a couple of Ascended stronger than anything I’ve ever seen.” He crossed his arms, seeming troubled. “I’m not even sure the Thorned could beat these guys, not by himself and without any outside edges. It’s going to be an absolute mess, and we need backup badly enough that I even tracked you down to make a deal.”

Silas grimaced, but… he couldn’t just turn away. He even felt Soulmirror humming, as if in reflection of his thoughts: the chance to fight something like what Dumastin was referring to was, in fact, part of the reason why the blade had been drawn to him in the first place…

“If you’ll come and fight with us, or even agree to be willing to answer our call in case we need you, then here’s what I’m offering in exchange. We can settle the issue of Soulmirror once we’re both recovered. Just the two of us, on neutral ground that I haven’t prepared to my advantage. It’s the best deal you’re going to get.” He extended his right hand, looking at Silas’s face where his eyes were obscured by his visor. “I won’t say that you should spend your time looking over your back if you don’t take the deal, but you and I both know that if it comes to it and I have to pick a fight, it’ll be anything but fair.”

Silas seemed to pause, waiting for some time as he considered Dumastin’s words. His jaw worked a bit as he thought, though it was hard to see what he was thinking under the opaque visor. But finally… he extended his hand. “I’m not doing this for you, you understand. If those demon warlords are as powerful as you say, they’re exactly the type of opponent Soulmirror and I most desire to fight. Signing on with you is just a means to that end… although I’ll still take the deal, as a bonus on the side.”

Dumastin grinned at him. It was that same damned infuriating grin as always. “Welcome aboard, then, Silas.” When he shook the human’s hand, he transferred the coin he’d palmed. “Keep that with you. I’ll make sure you’re aware of what’s going on.”

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Re: *Edge of War

Post by Rizion » 05 Jun 2017, 12:20

P.s. Duck you, Dumastin

- The rest of the world

Rpp rewarded

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Joined: 13 May 2010, 14:28

Re: *Edge of War

Post by Dumastin » 05 Jun 2017, 14:03

Dumastin really hasn't won a lot of admirers since his return from the dead. Honestly it's kind of an interesting contrast to pre-timeskip, when I played him off as being reasonably popular; nowadays he pretty much shambles around in disguise wherever he goes because he'd probably find a death mark on his head if people actually knew him.

It's interesting, to me, that people seem to hate him more for his failures than for other things he's done. I wonder if that's because his accomplishments aren't really worth much? Or perhaps they're less visible than they once were, or perhaps that his failures really are just that titanic to the people closest to them.

I hope anyone who's followed him has found this long, long arc of the "crumbling" of that dashing leader persona to be interesting, at least. He's still Dumastin on the inside, but there's a bitter edge to him now.

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Re: *Edge of War

Post by Kuro » 05 Jun 2017, 14:14

It's a sad event. But hits true to ho.e for a lot of people in the world to or not. It's the gradual loss of those closest to him that seemed to spark that downward spiral. I think losing arlia started it then since max it seemed to be all downhill with whatever he does but, what seems strange, he was still the one to call to try and get "his crew" or friends out of whatever trouble they seemed to get themselves into.
I feel honestly he was rather mistreated by the fracturing of his friends. First Jules disagreeing, requius outright misplacing her hate, think she got over it after the dragonballs and found out towards him
Elphlane and samuel still like the guy so there is two? Lol. Anyways there will still be fun twists and turns before it is all said and done.

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Joined: 13 May 2010, 14:28

Re: *Edge of War

Post by Dumastin » 05 Jun 2017, 15:44

Samuel and Dumastin have been growing apart lately at a rapid pace, too, although he's still close to Jules as far as that goes. Jules is probably the only "Platinum Dream Gen. 2" person that Dumastin really deeply trusts at this point.

He has a certain amount of faith in Sam, it's important to note. But he doesn't trust Sam to have his back, not like he would have done implicitly for Julian/Max/Stoate. I think he has some very good, very solid reasons to feel that way.

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Joined: 22 Jan 2009, 23:17

Re: *Edge of War

Post by Rizion » 06 Jun 2017, 11:22

Dum can trust that Rizion will always be there for him.

With a sword.

To shove in his neck.

Because he is the destroyer of worlds.

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