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Messages - ReaperJoe

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Beacon Academy / Re: opening act [Open]
« on: Today at 04:58:24 AM »
It seems, despite Saffron’s encouragement, Aurelia’s criticism of Azure’s weapon fell on deaf ears.  The fact that not one, but two fellow students managed to point out the flaw the instant the mechanism was revealed should have been more than enough evidence to convince her that it needed to be addressed.  However, Azure’s reaction fits the profile Aurelia’s constructed so far: her stream of condescending descriptors weren’t merely insults designed to put Azure in her place.  They were that, too, but they were also character flaws Aurelia’s observed in the short time they’ve been conversing.  In this case, arrogance and childishness.

Aurelia keeps her thoughts to herself, though.  No point in wasting her breath if the new student refuses to listen.  Besides which, she felt the next point of conversation held far more importance.  The apparent passivity Saffron and Azure demonstrate when considering anonymous threats will only serve to their detriment in one way or another.  She needed to drive this home, and thus says, ”Appeasement of aggression will only invite more aggression.  Anonymous threats cannot be negotiated with by very definition.  And the fact of the matter is simply receiving those threats places you on the same footing of every king who has ever made a controversial decision ever.”

”For whatever reason, the people sending you threats find you and whatever you stand for important enough to want you out of the picture.  Whether or not they’re capable of delivering on said threats is irrelevant.  What matters is how you respond.  You could give into them, abandon your career, disappoint anyone and everyone who ever believed in you, and most importantly reinforce this terrible, cowardly, and utterly despicable behavior.  Or you could press on in spite of them, and take every precaution available to make sure they never have a chance to hurt anyone.  Men don’t follow those who kneel.”  Despite the obvious differences between the two, Aurelia feels similarly to Azure on this subject: innocent lives shouldn’t be put at risk.  But those with small minds will find and use whatever tactics they have available to push their nonsensical agenda. 

Unfortunately, common ground seems to be few and far between, and Aurelia has to stew for a minute after Azure explains the true meaning behind the word “princess”.  It’s only thanks to her incredible discipline that her face doesn’t contort in anger in response, her pursed lips and momentary silence act as the only sign Azure’s tongue-lashing had any impact at all.  It stung, but Aurelia suffers through in silence, before her lips finally relax.  But then, bizarrely, they curl into a slight smile.

”Hmm, well done,” she says in an oddly pleasant tone, ”you’ve insulted my demeanor, implied I have no friends, and insulted my intelligence by explaining it to me out of meter, rather than letting me interpret it for myself.  A much better put-down.  In respect, I shall rescind my comment on your lyrics.  Though, in return, I’d like to borrow your analogy for a bit.”  Her smile disappears as she finishes, her face returning to a neutral, stern expression.

”Tell me, which is better?  To sit among the rubble of your own creation, or standing in dirt not having built anything at all?  Is it better to bear the crown for a moment before the weight crushes you, or to always remain in the faceless mob?”  Aurelia’s eyes are sharp as she takes a step forward towards Azure for emphasis.  ”You may see me as haughty and alone, and I may sit on a crumbling throne.  But I’ll gladly sit if that’s the price of trying to hold myself to a higher standard.  What about you?  Would you face the prospect of ruination in pursuit of greatness?  Or will you stay in the filth of the masses, always afraid of the sky? 

Aurelia held eye contact with Azure for a few seconds to make sure her point was driven home, but then broke off to turn to Saffron and say, ”My sincere apologies.  From the moment I walked up, I seem to have darkened and hijacked your conversation, which was never my intention.” her posture and countenance has softened considerably as she spoke, and she gives a slight apologetic bow before turning back to Azure.  ”And to you.  I should not have snapped at you as I did.  I won’t make excuses, only offer an apology.  I’m sorry,” she says, again offering a bow. 

The reason Azure’s insult stuck so hard this time was because it accurately criticized Aurelia’s actions up to that point.  Baseless accusations and slander can be dismissed outright, and the horse faunus has been called enough names to fill a dictionary.  But if an insult reveals a flaw, then the knight has no choice but to address it.  After all, she holds herself to a higher standard.

”*Ahem!* Anyways, I believe we were discussing the possibility of sparring?  I have no doubt there are still aggressions that still need to be worked out, so perhaps we can move this conversation toward a practice arena?” Aurelia stiffens back up as she changes subjects, uncomfortable with being vulnerable.  ”Let’s see, summers…Well, for the most part, Father would keep me in Atlas to further my education, but on weekends I would occasionally return to my birth-family to spend time with them and go horseback riding.”

Azure (and most likely Saffron) unfortunately had the wrong impression concerning Aurelia’s adoption.  To be fair, the circumstances were notably bizarre, but nonetheless, Aurelia’s birth-family is alive and well.  More importantly, she is in consistent contact with them and on good terms.  Aurelia was actually granted the privilege of joining the Lumen family as gratitude for saving a young Pearl Lumen’s life, where she would have access to better education and a much higher chance of success.   

Beacon Academy / Re: Big Game Hunting [Closed]
« on: October 20, 2018, 02:54:26 AM »
Smokey watched as Kisha bounced around the ruin with all the excited glee of a kid in a candy store.  It’s mildly irritating how she can still have so much energy and enthusiasm while he’s sucking wind.  Maybe he should offload some of this ammo onto her, and at least give his back a bit of a break. 

Smokey shoves his petty thoughts aside for the moment, though.  While he’s had relatively little interaction with her, he’s aware of two distinct qualities Jima possesses.  Number one, she knows a lot about Grimm.  Number two, she’s stared down a point-blank 7-round volley from Matchstick without even flinching (and Smokey’s still not sure if he should applaud that).  The point is, if Jima says there’s a bunch of big, nasty beasties in this dilapidated colosseum with a big smile on her face, then there’s a bunch of big, nasty beasties in this dilapidated colosseum.

So, when the Grimm start to make their presence known, Smokey’s hand falls to the massive revolver strapped to his waist, as his eyes scan for the source.  That is, until Jima’s weapon starts coughing up smoke.  As she leaves the first years to fight the coming onslaught on their own, Smokey spares a quick, annoyed look in her direction.  Poor weapon maintenance is inexcusable, experimental or not. 

When the first Grimm finally emerges, Smokey’s first action is to completely ignore it.  It’s a Creeper, not exactly a major threat.  If he were on his own, or employed as an escort, he’d immediately move to take care of it.  However, there are four combat capable compatriots accompanying him, and they should be more than able to—actually now that he thinks about it, he has no idea how his current comrades combat the Creatures of Grimm.  And that gives him an idea…

”So, uh, how ‘bout this?” the gunslinger says nonchalantly, as he turns his back to the charging monster and walks away, confident that one of the other three will take it out before it reaches the group.  ”You three versus me, see how many points we can rack up.  Those critters are worth one each, and everything else we’ll decide on the fly.  I’ll even give y’all a five point head start,” he says with a smirk, gesturing to the approaching beasts.  He seems very confident that he could easily make up the deficit.

Though, sportsmanship isn’t the only reason Smokey’s not joining in the fight yet.  Shooting individual Creepers with Matchstick would be a terrible waste of ammo, and using a semblance charge this early could leave him vulnerable if one of the bigger denizens appeared at an inopportune time.  In fact, Smokey may actually be an unwitting genius.  If the others agree to the competition, they’ll be less likely to rely on Smokey’s raw power and more likely to step up during Immovable Object’s cool down period.  But Smokey didn’t think that far ahead, he’s just trying to spice things up while waiting for a proper target. 

At the very least, he can take this moment to work out some of the kinks in his muscles from that long walk. 

Smokey's Combat Log
Aura: 100% (Assuming charging Grimm is taken out before it hits him)
Matchstick: 7/7
Semblance:  Inactive.  20/20 remaining
Dust: 14/14 Fire, 14/14 Ice

Action:  Stretching, loosening up.  Being that guy, honestly

Beacon Academy / Re: opening act [Open]
« on: October 18, 2018, 05:09:52 AM »
The chat between Azure and Saffron continues, and Aurelia finds some of the subject matter to be most uninteresting.  To be frank, she cares little for the subject of body art, piercings, and the like.  If others wish to adorn their bodies with such trivialities, it’s fine by her as long as it doesn’t get in the way of her work.

The weapon, on the other hand, does pique Aurelia’s interest, though not in a necessarily positive way.  Where does she begin?  ”Dust is a finite resource, and field missions could take days or even weeks to complete.  Eventually, your weapon will run out of dust, and a non-functioning weapon is, at best, a glorified club and, at worst, dead weight.  I highly recommend you address that at the first available opportunity.  There is a forge here with all the materials you will need,” she critiques.  Aurelia’s certain Azure won’t want to hear it from her, even more so if the wolf faunus had crafted it by hand.  But a potentially crippling flaw should be resolved as quickly as possible. 

Though, as controversial as telling someone to change the weapon they worked so hard to create is, apparently Aurelia had unintentionally stumbled into a debacle of a different sort.  It seems her dismissal of baseless detractors has met with a surprising amount of resistance.  Azure’s entire demeanor had changed, in fact, to the point she looked like she wanted to fight.  Perhaps Aurelia should clarify.  ”There seems to be a grave misunderstanding.  I do not condone threats of violence or acts of ridicule.  Public figures have always come under scrutiny, no matter their line of work.  Whether it’s right or wrong is irrelevant, it simply is.  And it only gets worse if you try to hide from it.  That creates room for rumors to circulate, which will inevitably further damage your reputation,” she explains.  Aurelia’s no stranger to petty politics.  She’s the adopted daughter of a wealthy Atlesian, which means she had to withstand the scrutiny of the Atlesian elite starting from the age of ten.  Those people actually had more than enough power and influence to take her down, if they were so inclined, but she couldn’t afford to stay closeted in the shadows.

”That being said, if mere music managed to shatter someone’s world view so thoroughly they were driven to send you death threats, that is an accomplishment, even if you never necessarily wanted it,” Aurelia says to Azure.  Yes, that was indeed a compliment, or at least as close to one as Aurelia can get.  It may not be worth much at this point, but it’s something.

Unfortunately, any points Azure might have scored with Aurelia on that topic quickly vanish as the first-year’s sarcasm bleeds through in the form of continued flirtations.  Aurelia has half a mind to stomp on the tail as it brushes her ankles, but she refrains from doing so for the moment.  Her disdain only increases as Azure goes on an entirely unnecessary and sarcastic rant in response to her questions.  And while that in and of itself was obnoxious, the fact Azure continues to show zero respect toward Aurelia is unacceptable.  So, when Saffron suggests some “hands-on” training, a small smirk appears on the knight’s face.  If nothing else, Azure will learn manners.

”’Informality’?  Informal’s certainly one word to describe you.  I’d have chosen ‘arrogant’, ‘childish’, ‘impulsive’, ‘reckless’, ‘disrespectful’…the list goes on, really.  But, no, ‘informal’ works,” Aurelia retorts to Azure’s smart remark almost immediately.  ”Also, ‘princess’?  If you’re going to resort to name-calling, the least you could do is try to make it insulting.  If your lyrics are as creative as your insults, I can imagine why you would look into another career.”     

As Saffron attempts to change the subject, Aurelia is somewhat surprised to learn Azure is also Atlesian.  She embodies none of the traditional aspects that one would expect, but fact can sometimes be stranger than fiction.  ”I am also of Atlas.  I am the adopted daughter of the Lumen family, you may know of them if you’re locals,” Aurelia says.  The Lumens are wealthy, sure, but not to the extent of the Royales or the Schnees.  Still, they do hold some degree of prominence, it wouldn’t be too surprising for someone who grew up in Atlas to know of them.  Their name certainly came up when Aurelia was adopted, that’s for sure.  Faunus don’t get adopted into aristocratic Atlesian families every day, after all.   

Beacon Academy / Re: opening act [Open]
« on: October 16, 2018, 04:13:40 AM »
Listening in to their conversation, Aurelia took note of Azure’s weapon.  A weapon that requires dust to work is problematic, to say the least.  Dust is a limited resource that should be carefully rationed throughout any given mission.  Use too much too early, and the later legs of the mission will become exponentially more difficult.  Refuse to use it, then there’s no point to carrying it at all.  For now, though, Aurelia keeps her thoughts to herself, instead merely listening to the conversation at hand.

Doing so reveals that Azure is some sort of stage performer, a “rock star” if the guitar-weapon, lackadaisical attitude, and overall persona are any indication.  Upon closer inspection, the girl does seem vaguely familiar.  Perhaps she saw a poster in Atlas advertising her tour, or maybe around Vale and Beacon?  It never really interested her at the time, being far too busy with classwork or the tournament.  Quite frankly, given that she’s seeing the woman in the flesh (quite a bit of flesh, at that), she’s still not interested.  A few cursory glances and snippets of conversation tells more than Aurelia needs to know:  Azure is one of those “original” characters, ones that prefer style over substance.  She’s unapologetically reckless, judging by her weapon and this story of swinging a guitar into someone’s face.  And let’s not forget that she strips down to a sports bra in broad daylight with little regard to her surroundings.

There’s at least a bit of consolation, though.  Azure’s at least dimly aware that her presence and actions have consequences.  It may be a reluctant acceptance, but the fact she recognizes herself as a “political statement” at all is a sign that she can grow.  ”Anything worth discussing will be politicized. You should consider it an honor if people think highly enough to try and put you down,” Aurelia says, quoting her adoptive father.  At the very least, Saffron and Azure’s conversation is clearly innocent in nature, judging from the content.

Saffron’s embarrassed reaction confirms her observation.  At least someone can understand the concept of public decency.  Still keeping her stern countenance, Aurelia responds to the echidna faunus’s explanation, ”I see.  In that case, I wish you well in your endeavor. Real world experience is hard to come by, even as a combat academy student.  Perhaps we’ll be working together on a mission while you’re here?”  A goal driven by realistic understanding is one Aurelia can fully support, and she would relish the opportunity to work with a fellow Atlesian Faunus. 

The other faunus, though, does not receive such a kind response to her flirtations. The horse faunus’s expression is still as stone-faced as ever, but her voice carries all the disdain of Atlesian high society.  ”Was that a proposition?  Forgive me.  As much as I would relish the opportunity to jump a half-naked floozy in broad daylight, I’ll have to take a raincheck,” she says icily.  Flirting with Aurelia when she already doubts your motives is definitely the wrong move. 

Unfortunately, that outburst would probably keep Azure from identifying herself as a first year, but there are enough context clues (including Saffron’s explanation) to infer the situation.  ”I see, a new student.  That explains both the weapon and the lack of uniform,” and the blind arrogance, Aurelia left unsaid.  ”I suppose the first thing to do is make sure you’re all settled in. Do you know where you’re staying?  Do you have your room key?  Have you been fitted for your uniform?  Do you have your uniform?  Do you have your schedule?  Do you know where your classes are?  And have you secured a weapons locker?” Aurelia fires off rapid-fire questions, running through a mental checklist of things first years are likely to overlook or possibly disregard.  She may not necessarily like Azure at this point, but her responsibilities as an upperclassman demand she assist the new arrival.  After all, they may end up having to work together at some point.

Aurelia continues, ”As far as classes are concerned, you should be fine if you passed the entrance exam. As long as you maintain a diligent work ethic and attendance record, you should learn all you need to know.  The faculty here is excellent, as expected of a premiere combat academy, and they’ll be more than willing to assist you should you require it.”   

Smokey was about to take Siu’s advice and start heading to the rendezvous point, but the untimely arrival of the Nevermore managed to thwart that plan.  With no cover and no real shielding to protect him, Smokey was forced to take the full brunt of the volley.  Fortunately, not too much damage was done, and the pain quickly passed. 

Still, the group’s out in the open in this valley, and Smokey has nothing that can bring down that bird from this far away.  Well, there is that, but he’d rather not bring that out at this point in the game.  The mission’s already accomplished, and as much as Smokey would like to go trophy hunting, there are other, bigger fish to fry.  In the meantime, though, that leaves him on scrub duty.  Shooting individual Beowolves feels like a waste of ammo, but there’s really not much else to do. 

Ignoring Mikado’s teasing and leveling Matchstick at his quarry once again, the familiar gray aura surrounds and solidifies around Smokey as he activates his semblance one more time.  Then, two shots fire off from the revolver, taking out two of the four landlocked Grimm, as Smokey strafes towards the remaining two Beowolves in an attempt to bait them towards himself.  If they charge him, then at least he can kill the remaining two without wasting any more ammo.

As he’s doing all this, though, there’s one thing that’s bothering him. Didn’t Siu say there were two Nevermores?  Did Siu take one out with her scouts?  Or did it fly off toward another target…?

”Oi, weren’t there supposed to be two of those things?  What happened to the other one?” Smokey asked, deciding to voice his concerns.  Best case, he’s fretting over nothing and the Nevermore buzzed off somewhere.  But if something else caught its eye, such as a transport or an evacuation ship, the hunters might need to shift priorities.

Smokey's combat stats
Aura: 96%
Matchstick: 5/7 ~No Dust Loaded
7/14 Fire Dust, 7/14 Ice Dust

Action:  Shooting 2 bad doggos, moving toward other bad doggos

Beacon Academy / Re: opening act [Open]
« on: October 09, 2018, 03:17:30 AM »
As she’s only just now entering the conversation, Aurelia wasn’t quite sure what to make of the situation presented before her.  On one hand, Saffron had wrapped her arms around the other girl, her faunus trait revealing themselves due to some form of excitement.  On the other hand, as soon as Aurelia walked up, the woman named Azure had stripped her jacket off.  The resulting amount of skin showing did little to assuage Aurelia’s growing concerns.  She had wanted something to do in order to distract herself, but she wasn’t expecting to have to play disciplinarian, especially not to an Atlas student of all people.

”*Ahem* Yes, well, I can relate to the stress quite well, the tournament bouts were all hard-fought battles.  That being said, and while I certainly can appreciate wanting to—shall we say—vent your frustrations, perhaps there are better times and places than the middle of an academy garden in the middle of the day,” Aurelia says to the two of them rather sternly.  In any case, from Aurelia’s tone, it seems clear that Azure’s name doesn’t ring a bell. 

”Anyways, I had merely wandered over to sate my curiosity.  It’s somewhat rare to see an Atlas student here in Vale, and I simply wished to introduce myself,”  she continued, her voice still carrying that stern undertone.  ”Might I ask what brings you to Beacon?  That question goes to you, as well,” she asks, gesturing towards Azure.  As far as Aurelia knows, she’s a total stranger with no visible indication that she is a student of the academy.  She might have been a guest of some sort, perhaps a companion of Saffron’s. 

Turning back to Saffron, Aurelia says, ”You also mentioned that I might be helpful in some way.  If I may be of assistance, I’d be happy to lend a hand. How may I help?”   

Beacon Academy / Re: Weathering the Storm [Open]
« on: October 08, 2018, 02:49:33 AM »
”Look, if  you must know, I’m doing independent research,” Smokey stated flatly as he locked the cylinder back in place.  As he does, a dark-gray aura surrounds him and solidifies, indicating that he has activated his semblance.

”I’m testing these here prototypes to see how much cover they offer from spread weapons.  The objective is to block the entire spread with the least amount of material,” he continues as the barrel of the revolver levels at the first dummy.


The gun fires, and in the next instant, the target with no “shield” was blasted back and knocked over a good distance away.  Strangely, though, it was still intact, despite taking a direct hit from one of the hardest hitting weapons in Beacon.  It didn’t seem to bother Smokey, though, as six more shots ring out in succession, producing similar results.

From a distance, it’s hard to tell why the targets didn’t get blasted into smithereens as soon as Matchstick went off, but if anyone studied the contents of the peculiar ammunition Smokey loaded, they’d find that the shell contained paint, rather than shot.  The only reason the targets were blasted back in the first place is simply because the gun just carries that much energy.

After emptying the cylinder, Smokey made his way over to the targets and studied them for a bit before taking out his scroll and taking pictures of the results.   

Beacon Academy / Re: opening act [Open]
« on: October 07, 2018, 01:28:10 AM »
It was a pleasant day, today. Unfortunately, the beauty of it was currently lost on Aurelia, who is currently lost in thought. She had intended to take a brief stroll through Beacon’s gardens in order to clear her head, but it was to no avail: the horse faunus was still pensive. 

The Vytal Festival Tournament had exposed a reckless tendency in her fighting style.  Aurelia took many unnecessary risks in her first-round bout, even willingly giving up her sword for what was at the time an unknown benefit.  And while those risks did feed her information on how her opponent fought, Aurelia was punished rightfully for each risk she took.  The worst part is that she would have never fought like that while on horseback.  The combination of being out of her comfort zone and fighting

That being said, mistakes can be corrected, and her tournament showing wasn’t what was bothering her.  The problem was that she was supposed to be a team leader:  what happens if those flaws come through during a mission and she recklessly risks her teammates?  Forget just keeping the team together, she’ll get someone killed!

Aurelia sighs, probably for the hundredth time that day, as her tail idly flicks.  She needs to find something to take her mind off of such grim topics, but that task seems to be more than just a walk in the park, much to her chagrin.  But why is she getting so worked up over this?  Flaws can be fixed, and she’s already recognized and identified said flaw, and that means she’s already taken the first step to amending it. 

But you haven’t taken the second, yet. her thoughts intruded, scolding her for her time spent idling in a garden.  And it was true, Aurelia had yet to do anything that could qualify as progress towards rectifying the problem.  Not for lack of trying, though.  The problem lies in her decision making.  And not just tactical decisions, either, but in individual instants during the heat of battle.  Any armchair warrior can reflect upon mistakes in hindsight.  What she needs is experience, and that’s an incredibly difficult and risky thing to come by.  So, no, she hasn’t made progress fixing her fatal flaw.

Aurelia shakes her head to try and snap herself out of her thoughts.  There’s nothing that can be done about it right now, so she should find something else to do.  There’s no point in worrying.  Something else to do, something else to do…

She took a moment to scan the area, mostly to gauge how far she had wondered in pensive thought before regaining her senses.  It was here that she spotted Azure and Saffron chatting under a tree, though it wasn’t their conversation that caught her attention.  The white Atlas uniform stood out quite clearly against the background, not to mention Aurelia had the feeling she had seen her somewhere before…

”Pardon me, I believe I’ve seen you before.  By any chance, did you participate in this year’s Vytal Festival?” she asked Saffron as she made her way over to the pair.  Looking to the other girl, she took a few seconds to study Azure.  Unfortunately for the first year and despite being an Atlesian Faunus herself, Aurelia fails to recognize the artist.  Her upbringing had instilled in Aurelia an appreciation for classical, as stereotypical as it sounds.  Still, her observation did apparently yield some insight, as the horse faunus brings a hand to her mouth in mild surprise.

”Oh, forgive me, I seem to have forgotten my manners.  Aurelia Lumen, Beacon third year." she says as she bows, before returning to her ramrod straight posture, the crease in her pants barely affected by the movement.  Yes, Aurelia, despite clearly being a woman, is wearing the male uniform for whatever reason.  On top of that, the creases and folds are immaculate, and not even a hair is out of place.  She could put even Atlas students to shame, at least when it comes to rigid appearances.

With no enemies in sight and his gun finally reloaded, there wasn’t much Smokey could do at the moment.  The only thing he does is remove the fire dust cartridge from Matchstick.  No point in wasting dust on beowolves.

The nevermores are going to be a problem, and a problem that he can’t really solve at that.  Smokey doesn’t really have a way to kill them if they keep their distance.  Well, they’re Grimm, so they’ll probably dive for him eventually, and if he plays it smart he could probably nab one of ‘em with a few shots down the gullet.  But even then, that’ll probably require a fair amount of luck.  He hates to admit it, but he’s been kind of useless during this expedition.

At least the village is evacuated, which means the group can just call in the bullhead and start preparing to head back to Beacon.  Mission accomplished, right?

Smokey's combat stats
Aura: 96%
Semblance:  Manual Deactivation!  2nd of 2 rounds Cool Down. 
Matchstick: 7/7 ~No Dust Loaded
7/14 Fire Dust, 7/14 Ice Dust

Action:  Removing Fire Dust, twiddling his thumbs

With the Deathstalker fading away, Smokey quickly surveyed the battlefield for any more approaching monsters while shrinking Matchstick back to revolver form and reloading.  It looks like the group was in the clear for now, so Smokey drops Immovable Object for the time being. 

Since Mikado already asked the pertinent question, Smokey simply awaited Siu’s report.  At least he should be able to hear better with the rain breaking up, so that’s nice—

The sound of howls and screeches echo throughout the little valley the group had fortified themselves in.  Looks like they aren’t out of the woods yet.

Smokey's combat stats
Aura: 96%
Semblance:  Manual Deactivation!  1st of 2 rounds Cool Down. 
Matchstick: 0/7 ~Fire dust loaded (Reloading)
7/14 Fire Dust, 7/14 Ice Dust

Action:  Reloading

It’s been a few seconds since Aurelia began channeling her semblance.  If she’s timed this correctly, Airi should be entering the forest now.  The sound of approaching footsteps should make itself apparent any moment now. 

But footsteps never come.  Opening her eyes for a moment to scan the area, Aurelia’s just in time to witness a fireball crash into a nearby tree.  The leaves begin to catch fire and start to spread, but, for now, the flame is small, localized, and not a threat.  ”Even now, you still refuse to fight me?” she mutters as another fireball comes careening toward her.  Even if Airi used every ounce of fire dust she had, it would take several minutes at best for a fire to be enough of a threat to smoke Aurelia out.  She only plans to be here for less than twenty seconds.  Airi’s unwillingness to fight will be her—

Aurelia’s startled from her thoughts as the second fireball explodes and sends shrapnel scattering about.  She maintains concentration on Noble Steed’s summoning, but her thoughts grow slightly more worried.  She needs to find a way to defend against that attack, at least temporarily.  She needs to stay above 25% aura for a few more seconds, otherwise she will be unable to activate her semblance.  She also cannot move during the channel, otherwise it will be interrupted and she’ll have to start over.  That means she’ll have to block it somehow.

Since she can’t move, the only option is to use an aura shield.  She’s already forced to concentrate on her aura, so a little multi-tasking shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.  Still, it’s not like she can project a barrier that completely surrounds her, or even project one continuously—even for the short amount of time left on the summoning.  She’ll have to project individual shields semi-randomly to block the shrapnel effect as the fire/ice grenade explodes.  It’ll almost certainly be impossible to block all of the effect.  Still, there are enough factors in her favor that give her hope of blocking anything at all.

First, the shrapnel will come from one direction at a time, even if they’re fired in rapid succession.  As long as she pays attention, she can narrow down where the attack will come from and focus on one side at a time.  Secondly, Aurelia only plans to block vital areas.  If she tries to defend too much, she’ll risk either losing concentration or whiffing her blocks entirely.   Finally, there’s a chance Noble Steed will arrive in time to block damage.  While she hates to let her mount take free hits, Aurelia will probably need to rely on unconventional tactics to win at this point.

Settling on her gameplan, Aurelia gazes out through the woods to the rest of the arena.  Just because Airi can’t see her doesn’t mean it works visa versa.  Still, between the natural foliage and the slowly increasing flames, it’s difficult to make out what her opponent’s doing.  Which is why it’s nice Airi has so graciously provided no less than four instant replays for her every action.  As she watches four heads bob down and up on the ice dust side of the field, it’s fairly easy to conclude Airi picked up some of the crystals for her own use.  As for what that use is, Aurelia has a few guesses, but right now she needs to focus on these last few seconds. 

Aura: 31%
Noble Steed "Duration": 8 hours
Channeling Semblance: 2nd of 3 rounds

Action:  Continuing summoning of Noble Steed

Between Mikado and Kiro, they could each grab one claw, and that would leave only the tail.  I can probably dodge the tail.  Still, can scrawny-ass over here actually hold a claw off long enough for me to get in close enough? Smokey thinks to himself as he falls in behind Mikado.  To be frank, he has doubts about Mikado’s brute strength, and he can’t help but wonder how lizard boy’s going do it.  So it comes as a complete surprise when—


Smokey goes slack-jawed when the Deathstalker is knocked clean on its side with both its claws and tail restrained, albeit temporarily.   He can’t deny it, that was smooth.  Its only when Mikado shouts that Smokey comes back to his senses.  Despite the impressive showing, its clear Mikado alone isn’t enough to put the monster down for good.

Switching to volley form, Smokey reactivates his semblance and charges to the exposed underbelly.  The Deathstalker’s struggles mightily, but as long as those chains hold, Smokey can approach it without incident.  When he finally reaches the underbelly of the beast, he holds up Matchstick and jams it against (if not through) its abdomen and squeezes the trigger.  All seven rounds fire off and wreak havoc on the Grimm’s body.  A fire-enhanced, point-blank blast ought to be more than enough to kill it outright then and there. 

Smokey's combat stats
Aura: 96%
Matchstick: 0/7 ~Fire dust loaded
7/14 Fire Dust, 7/14 Ice Dust

Action:  Point-Blank Matchstick Volley!  (If there were aura counts, this would be 140% + 35% Fire)

It's in the getting started link under rules and information.  Its kinda hidden away, so its pretty easy to miss, so here's a link to the post.

The Vale Region / Re: The Hunter Of Lenshin (Closed)
« on: September 10, 2018, 05:58:21 PM »
They’re holding a festival?  When they’re dealing with increased Grimm activity?  Aurelia’s starting to think this is no simple misunderstanding of protocol.  Something isn’t right.  Or, perhaps better fitting, something isn't wrong.  Ever since she first saw the town through the bullhead window, things have been abnormally normal.  Citizens casually going about their day, a mayor insistent on dining together, and now some sort of celebration? 

Aurelia absent-mindedly strokes her chin in pensive thought.  Individually, these happenings could be dismissed as mere coincidences, but all three occurring at the same place under these circumstances?  This couldn’t even be dismissed as poor management, as settlements outside the kingdom only last if their people are prepared for the dangers.  This is simply too lackadaisical for a settlement that’s lasted this long.  At the very least, if they felt the need to call in huntsmen, there would at least be some provisional evacuation measures in place, wouldn’t there?

Maybe she’s paranoid.  Beacon assigned this mission to students because it was deemed simple enough, and they even sent a first year along.  If the townsfolk are this relaxed, it’s possible they’re just very confident in their success.  Besides, her suspicions are founded on normal day-to-day activity and overzealous generosity, there’s no real evidence to back them up.  Still, she can’t shake this uneasy feeling.

Lowering her hand as if to signal she’s done thinking, Aurelia responds, ”Perhaps…we can afford a few changes in plans.  We’ll still use the remaining daylight to survey our surroundings.  However, when night falls and if we’re not otherwise indisposed, I suppose we can afford to return to town for your festival.  Though, if we do so, we won’t be heading out again until morning.  Are you sure you’re alright with delaying our mission?   This is your town, after all.”  Aurelia chooses her words carefully, disguising her suspicious thoughts with thoughts of accommodation while also attempting to drop subtle hints to the rest of her group.  She’d like to get their thoughts on the matter in private, but they need to leave town without raising suspicion of their own first. 

Beacon Academy / Re: Big Game Hunting [Closed]
« on: September 10, 2018, 05:06:22 PM »
Smokey couldn’t help himself.  A grin slowly formed on his face and grew wider and wider as Jima lists her quarry.  He might actually get a chance.  It might score a kill today.  And that was some good news.  This was going to be fun.

This was boring.  The group had been walking for what feels like an eternity through the Emerald Forest, and Jima won’t stop prattling on.  Sure, her ramblings were interesting at first, the girl’s really done a lot of research.  But this endless hike, not to mention the amount of weight he’s carrying, is taking its toll on Smokey’s enthusiasm.

So, when Jima finally reaches the end of the tree line and shouts in triumph, Smokey eagerly looks around her to see…a road.  Yay.

Fortunately, they didn’t have to walk much further, and as Jima walks the group towards a stone archway—with a path that slopes up.  Fantastic.  He doesn’t complain, though.  He brought this on himself, complaining won’t get him very far.  At least the slope didn’t last very long.

When they emerge into the colosseum, Smokey takes a moment to marvel at the size, scale, and architecture of the ruins—most notably the seats. But, well, Jima’s pressing onward, so despite the complaints from his legs, he carries on, too. 

When Jima finally settles on a spot on the arena’s floor, Smokey takes a quick look around.  The ruins are impressive, no doubt, but…

”So, uh, where’re the Grimm?” he asks, breaking his silence for the first time the entire trip.

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