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March 20th, 2020 The ocean was amazing. Emily had loved the water her entire life, but this was a communion with it she'd never imagined before. When she was under the waves she was stronger, faster, and more at ease than she'd ever been air-side. She wasn't Aquaman with the creatures of the sea at her disposal, but then again she also wasn't expected to rule over an underwater kingdom with politics that made Game of Thrones look cuddly. So when a mixed pod of dolphins and swordfish sharks approached her, she was understandably perplexed. The dolphins came forward first, swimming close enough around her to gently bump her with their noses; she got the distinct impression they were trying to make her comfortable. Next came the mako sharks, forming a loose sphere around her. The dolphins swam to one side of the sphere and gave off a series of excited clicks as the sharks began moving; it was clear Emily was to move with them. Other animals that drifted near them actually stopped and gave them room, like cars pulling over to the side of the road when fire trucks came blaring past them; they didn't flee as they normally would from such a large frenzy passing by. They swam faster than any shark should be able to, passing from the eastern coast of the United States where Emily had last been ashore deep into the equatorial region of the Pacific in a matter of hours that should have taken days. After a time the sharks split apart to drift in place around a submerged plateau rising from the ocean depths. The shelf bore a pristine coral reef, exploding in colors and vitality. Emily was herded by a single shark companion towards the center of the reef before that shark also took up sentry, floating in lazy circles just below the surface overhead. "Thank you." They weren't words - a jellyfish lacked the physical structures necessary to speak - but she felt the intent in her mind and knew it was directed at the both the sharks and her for making the journey. A singular immortal jellyfish floated up from the rich life teaming in the reef and made it's way to just in front of Stormer. For it's kind, it was enormous - nearly six inches from bell to tentacle tip. "I am Memory, Emily. What is known upon this world is known within me. As you and other walkers have become loud upon the world, it has been comforting to know that at least one of you has returned to the waters. It gives me hope that all will not end with you and your kin." The jellyfish bobbed closer and Emily could feel a sense of immeneness to it despite it's relatively tiny size compared to her. This was a creature of both power and timelessness. "Others of the loud walkers, Emily, they have changed that world to their whim. This alone is not enough to rouse my fear - their new waters are an interesting new current to the world. In their ignorance and carelessness however, they have uncovered an old truth of the world. Of you walkers. If they are not careful they will call back the living suns to our world's shores. I fear that even you new loud walkers will not be sufficient to protect our home from their return. They are powerful, proud, cruel creatures, Emily. They will destroy you and your kin if they see them as a threat. They will burn the entire world and spread it 'round our star if they deem it necessary. As they have done here once before." One small tentacle pointed back behind Emily. "Gather your kindred, Emily of the Waters. Go to the places they have uncovered, beneath the dry place walkers call the Sahara Desert, in the tunnels they made to fill their new sea. Look for the tunnels that are not theirs. You must find the buried places of the living suns; you must keep them from the unwary and the foolish. If you can, destroy their places completely - but be cautious. We do not know what safeguards they left in place. They were cruel even to one another and trusted no one. Learn and act, Emily. Before it is too late for us all."
Malachite posted a topic in New Orleans, Brought To You By TeslaTech's IC ThreadsTwo things traveled faster than light among the Sable Krewe: rumors and fear. The first because they were fun and second because the Tesla Cabal was terrifying and omnipresent outside of the bounds of the city. So when a full Circle of Technicians showed up on the outskirts of New Orleans, it took less than an hour for word to spread even to those currently out and about in the Upper. Calls were being made to come to the Under for safety and to try and figure out who did what that had the Cabal sniffing around. As Nym zipped her way around the Upper to gather people up, several members of the Krewe received "special invitation". Jack LaMontagine was 26 minutes into an hour long massage with Ruby Staddler, a regular client that swore by his "magic hands" for her relief from rheumatoid arthritis. Even if nobody got just how true that was, it was still nice to be appreciated. From behind him he heard Madelaine's voice call out, "Jack, please come here." Sheer shock at hearing the mage's voice in the Upper propelled him away from Ruby with a murmured, "Just a moment, Ms. Staddler," and through the doorway of his office. On the other side wasn't the small waiting area that should have been there. Instead, he found himself standing in center of the Under's amphitheater and greeted by the triumvirate that effectively ran the Under: Madelaine, the resident mage of note; Puck, who's superpower seemed to be seducing anyone with a sex drive, and Captain Nola, the spirit of New Orleans. Hundreds of members of the Krewe were already inside the amphitheater, with more streaming in to add to the chorus of whispers. The air was thick with fear and confusion; notable members of the community were directing people to sit quietly, make room for others, and wait for the meeting to start. He could hear the word "Technician" repeated over and over in the whispers. Elsewhere, Belle Fontenot was spending a lazy early-summer day in her shop. Which is to say it was annoyingly hot, the fan was only so much help, and air conditioning was for the rich and weak. Of which Belle was neither. Little Nym bounced into the shop looking sweaty and hyper. "Close up, you gotsa meeting to go to! You know where! Gotta run!" The short forever-preteen had turned on heel to bounce out as quickly as she'd come in when a young white man - almost stereotypically light-haired and blue-eyed - burst in just in front of her. He stumbled to the side, clutching a hand that looked withered and burned at the same time. Blood smeared down his face and smudged his tattered button-down shirt and jeans. He leaned against the wall next to the door, breathing heavily and clearly in a great deal of pain. "Help, please help me. I need sanctuary!" Belle's mind reeled the moment he'd stepped in: chaotic images flashed across her second sight of faces, intricate spellwork, and strange mechanical cogs. She could smell steam and thick, acrid smoke along with the harsh copper tang of blood that wasn't quite right. Low whispered chanting, metalic squeals, the hiss of steam through pipes, and winding through the entire cacophony the screams of souls - something she'd never actually heard before but knew exactly what it was the moment the "sound" hit her and knew with that same iron certainty that it would fuel nightmares for the rest of her life - assailed her. And stamped over the whole ghastly mess was the eldritch stamp of the Tesla Cabal. Standing in front of her, begging for help, was a Tesla Technician.
March 20th, 2020 Demonic Stormers are threatening our world and our SOULS! Christian spiritual warriors must stand up to this Satanic invasion! Join the Garrison today! Below the garish printout were tear-tabs with the phone number to the Faith House, a large residence just off campus that had been left with a trust for Christian-based groups on the Penn campus to use. Across the poster was spray painted Είμαστε θεοί! in bright blood red letters. Neither Donald nor Renata needed Google Translate to tell them what it meant - they’d seen the graffiti around campus for nearly a week now and already knew. “We are gods!” There was another Stormer on campus and it was Not A Good Thing. It had started with a rash of thefts, trashed dorm rooms, and petty scares when coeds were walking alone outside. A month ago the leaders of the conservative Christian group The Garrison had been alone in Faith House working on similar posters and pamphlets to litter campus bathrooms with. They were now both in ICU units and phrases like “long-term arrangements” and “managed expectations” were being quietly murmured to exhausted parents. Even if the two twits had tried to exorcise Donald’s entire dorm building (“To make sure his demon didn’t try jumping into another student’s body,” Merideth had explained with a sincerity that made everyone in the Dean’s office wince), they hadn’t really deserved what happened to them. Something had been born that night, ugly and twisted and hateful, and it left the word ΦΟΒΟΣ spray painted across walls, ceilings, floors throughout Faith House. On Merideth and Gregory, it had been carved into their skin over their hearts. In the week following, a half-dozen other Garrison members were attacked, though none were beaten to the extent of Merideth or Gregory. After that week though, the assailant spread out to other students: some were attacked, others chased around campus by illusions and just dread until they found a group of people or collapsed from exhaustion. Campus moved to a mandatory buddy system, then a mandatory five+ group system. Even the boys traveled in packs to the restroom now. Anywhere they’ve found a lone victim, Phobos has left their signature; as the campus has locked down more and more on providing targets for the attacker, those that do tempt fate have been found beaten. The first death was Darren Evans, a Garrison member beaten to death with the large Bible he’d been carrying away from the meeting. Garrison meetings had been made secret in time and place after Meredith and Gregory were found, with current low-ranking members taking on the title of “Scouts” for the organization to bring those interested to the clandestine meetings. Darren had just been promoted to “Lieutenant” and had been gifted the bible in the meeting. Campus was closed the day of the funeral; some parents were already pressuring the Dean to close the school until the murderer was caught. Donald stared at his door. When he’d left for class in the morning, he’d cleared off the religious tracts, pleas for help with everything from schoolwork to apparently a “Stormer case” of the crabs (ewww), and just a large marker-drawing a dick on the wood. Typical morning at this point, really (the dick drawings weren’t even new or unique to him - they were drawn on all the dorm rooms down the hall, each one in a different color. Apparently someone had gotten to Walmart over the weekend and restocked). What was new now was the bold sharpie covering most of his door: Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. John 4:6-7 The penmanship was even passable, given the doorness and sharpie pen of it all. Sighing, he pushed his way inside and dropped his backpack next to his desk. When he turned to flop onto his bed, he found two crisp black envelopes laid carefully on the bedspread. One read “Donald” in flourishing emerald handwriting that put the door to embarrassing shame; the other had “Mask” written in the same handwriting but in scarlet ink. On the back, pressed into the black wax seal, where the letters ΦΟΒΟΣ.
March 20th, 2020 Even thought it was the six month anniversary of the Storm, as the saying goes: the show must go on. Kushiel's Dart Season One had released a month ago, adding rotations of promotional appearances on top of Eva's grueling production schedule for season two. Literally no one human could have kept up. Luckily Eva Zelenka was a Stormer, and one that didn't need to sleep nearly as much anymore. She could pull all-nighters like a teenager and still have perfect make-up, not forget the dozen names tossed at her before being shoved out on a talk-show set, and still be the most captivating and well-loved celebrity in Hollywood since Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. The world loved Eva and it drove her Melisande's actress, another "nu" Stormer named Vanessa Carmichal, utterly insane. The part wasn't so much Vanessa acting as her just being her vicious self and reciting lines. Eva would fire her just for her level of bitch, but the chemistry was just perfect on screen. She'd told people she needed a little time to herself to go over scripts and production schedules for second season - and get a little down-time from people. That made the knock at her trailer both expected and annoying. Dave, her primary "gopher" assistant, called out from the other side of the door. "Um, Ms. Zelanka, there's, uh, there's a-a Mr. Reis here to see you." She'd heard that stutter before. From hundreds of people at this point. From Dave on his first day. It was the stutter of someone trying to think while someone like her was in sight. There was a Stormer outside.