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End of Year News (December 2017)

Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:57 am by Adrian

(It's been one year since I made a news thread, oops)

Merry Christmas/Festivus/whatever holiday you do or do not celebrate!

2017 was a pretty busy year IRL for most of us - according to forum statistics, our busiest month was in June with 1671 total posts, meaning our post rate has been a little …

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Forum Bug

Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:18 am by Adrian

Hi all,

We're aware of a peculiar forum glitch that's causing some subforums to be locked.

Due to the lateness at this time, it might be a while before the glitch can be remedied, because despite my best efforts and as far as I can tell, everything seems to be working fine admin-side. It may have …

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Discord News/Update Test

Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:35 am by Adrian

Just a news, update test. Trying to get this thing to work.

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Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Hime on Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:27 pm

- Kaito -

I straightened myself up, taking in her excitement as I tried to quell my own. We never had the opportunity to leave Kami before, and this was an excellent offer; our powers would undoubtedly become more refined in our time spent with the Regime. However, I had my reservations, Father being the biggest one.

"We must speak to him about this," I then told my sister firmly.

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Shaybaysasuke on Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:35 pm

~Hana~

I groaned, folding the letter and looking at him with a pout, "Fine."

Doesn't really matter, I thought to myself, He's not going to stop me, this is my chance.

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by WritingBookworm on Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:30 pm

File No. 1111
Interview between Soul Leader Darren Blackburn and Cassia Mason

Location: Valker, Miramaki



Darren: Could you please state your name?

Cassia: Why? You already know it, don’t you?

Darren: It’s for the record. You’re being recorded.

Cassia: Of course I am. Cassia Mason. Who’re you?

Darren: Soul Leader Darren Blackburn, at your service.

Cassia: Blackburn. Like, Ava Blackburn? As in, Prime Minister Ava Blackburn?

Darren: That would be correct. But we’re not here to discuss me. We’re here to talk about you.

Cassia: Is this about the whole Soulshield incident? What even happened there? You were saying something about how it reacted to me?

Darren: We’ll get to that later, don’t worry. For now, please tell me about yourself.

Cassia: What is there to tell?

Darren: Plenty, I’m sure. Where are you from?

Cassia: Here.

Darren: Where’s ‘here?’

Cassia: Miramaki, where else? I never had a consistent home. I was always on the move with . . . With . . .

Darren: With?

Cassia: No one. Just some friends.

Darren: I don’t mean to pry, but from the sound of your voice, it sounds like they seemed more than mere friends.

Cassia: [She sighs] You got me, all right? They weren’t friends, they were family. I didn’t have a family, so I made one for myself. And now they’re all dead, dead because I made a stupid mistake and couldn’t protect them —

Darren: It’s all right, Miss Mason. Breathe. Just breathe.

Cassia: [She sniffs] Damn, I forgot we were being recorded. I don’t want to talk any more about that night, if that’s okay.

Darren: Then we won’t talk about it. How about we talk about why you’re here in a Federation jail? You seem nice enough.

Cassia: I stole a blaster from one of your little Fed buddies. He got me before I could get away.

Darren: Why steal the blaster?

Cassia: Honestly? No idea. At the time, I told myself it was because I wanted to get the bastard that killed my friends. That killed Athyl. But the more I think about it . . . [she chuckles] well, I’m seeking death now. Who isn’t to say I wasn’t seeking it back then as well?

Darren: You may be assured — or disappointed — to hear that we do not execute simple thieves. Grounds for execution are much, much higher than that.

Cassia: Just my luck.

Darren: That aside . . . I believe you are made of strong stuff, Miss Mason. Even now, you say you seek death, but you’ve also informed me of your mental state — almost like you’re seeking help. Things may be rough now, but in the end, I do not think you want to die as much as you think you do.

Cassia: . . .

Darren: And if you did, it would be a waste for the Cosmos to lose you so soon.

Cassia: No one would miss me.

Darren: Someone would. Trust me. Even if it is only myself — in this short time we’ve had together, I think I’ve begun to like you.

Cassia: Why? I’m just a sad, washed-up orphan.

Darren: But you could be more. You may yet find a new reason to live. Now . . . Miss Mason, you asked about the Soulshield, yes?

[Interview continued on Page 2]

~ ~ ~


Prime Minister Ava Blackburn thumbed through the printed interview Darren had given to her, looking it over like it was a legal document, through which she had to discern fine print. Anxiously, with the Soulshield weighing heavily upon his back, Darren looked up at the clock hanging above her desk. 18:47. She’d been looking over the interview for well over ten minutes. She had to have finished reading it by now.

“Well?” Darren tried.

His mother looked up.

“You,” she said slowly, “want a her to be your successor to the Soul Regiment? Pardon me, Darren, but . . . are you out of your mind?”

“If it’s the mental state you’re worried about, she improved a lot more while I was talking to her,” Darren said. “She was still cautious, understandably so, but —“

“Darren,” Ava said, “I love you, but you have to recognize who we’re talking about. The candidates for this Soul Regiment are some of our most promising yet — two distinguished cadets, a refugee, a noble set of Kamese siblings, an heiress. The Teal-Eyed Dragon, the Kamese Prince’s bodyguard, and even Princess Erina Corvosa of Abalos herself. And you want all of them to be led by a criminal?”

Well, when she put it like that . . . Darren had to think of something, and fast. “I saw her criminal record firsthand. It is not severe at all, just a few petty robberies here and there. And she also mentioned she was an orphan, so I bet she only did it to survive.”

“A record is a record. She owes no allegiance to us —“

“She’d owe allegiance to the Regiment,” Darren said, keeping his tone carefully controlled. If he was being honest with himself, he never liked the idea of blind loyalty to the Federation. “That’s what’s most important. She seems like the type who would put that responsibility on her shoulders and see them through.” When the Prime Minister still wasn’t moved, Darren sighed. “All Soul Regiment members have to swear on the flag, right? Mason and the rest of them will be bound by oath to put the Federation first.”

The Prime Minister sighed, holding her forehead in her hands. “Why are you so insistent about her?”

Truth be told, Mason had reminded him of himself when he was younger. He saw himself in her — that same attitude that would eventually come to be refined into something great.

“Geodes never look like much until you take a chance and see what they’re made of,” Darren finally said. He put his hands on his kneees and stood up from his chair. “And besides. Even if I — if the Federation — didn’t choose her . . . The Soulshield already did.”

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Lady Senbonzakura on Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:07 am

3019, Tali’on, city of Ranno




The auction-house was crowded with people. All around them, there were business managers looking for cheap workers, families with children looking for nannies, and single talwa and tale looking for someone to replace a spouse. They were everywhere, and noisy to a deafening degree, from sale-pitches and negotiations to cries and pleadings of please, mother, father, don’t let this happen to me…




But No’sha wasn’t listening; they had turned their surroundings to static. They were more focused on watching the baby in their arms. Little Yoney, not even a year old, was sleeping, somehow, in all this chaos. No’sha didn’t want to let her go just yet, not until the very last minute anyway.




No’sha wasn’t crying. They thought they would, but they weren’t. Their mother, Reenya, however, looked like she was trying her hardest to keep it together. Her eyes were red, and she was continuously taking a quick breath in through her nose every twenty or so seconds, looking anywhere but at her children.




They stood in the crowded, noisy auction-house for what seemed like a long time, waiting for the documentation to go through. Reenya stood next to No’sha, and for the first time the entire day, spoke:




“No’sha…” she said solemnly, “you know I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am.”




The teen didn’t move, not even their eyes, to look up to their mother. They were still staring at their baby sister, trying to memorize her, convinced they would never see her again as long as they lived; “You could try.”




Reenya was silent again.




After a few more minutes, the triangular light on the shockcollar around No’sha’s neck went from red to green, signifying that they were available for auction. Reenya let out a shaky breath, trying to calm her nerves, before looking onto the crowd again, waiting for offers.




A family with two children came by, searching for a nanny, but the kids called No’sha awkward and lost-looking and were tugged away by the parents. Reenya tried to flag down the attention of woman wearing a business uniform, but she explained that her company had given her a budget for slaves for labor, and No’sha was too thin to be a “good investment.”




Not long after that failure, No’sha felt a pair of eyes on them that they hadn’t before. They belonged to man not at all young, but not old, who was pacing back and forth as he watched them from afar. When the man started making his way towards them, they looked down, and tried to act like nothing happened.




The man gave his greetings to Reenya before turning and giving No’sha a once-over. “What’s your name?” he asked the teen.




“I named them No’sha.” Reenya answered.




“No’sha, huh?” The way their name sounded on the tongue of the man was nice, “That’s a very pretty name. My name’s Ja’yon. Is the baby yours?”




“Oh, no, that’s my dau-”




“With all due respect, miss,” Ja’yon interrupted Reenya, “I wasn’t asking you.”




Seeing as No’sha was now being spoken to, they felt it was safe to answer. “Might as well be.” they replied, readjusting their hold on Yoney.




Ja’yon smiled a little, watching No’sha’s face stay relatively emotionless, before speaking.




“Well, I’m a mechanic with my own garage in the city. My wife has been dead longer than you’ve been alive, and my kids are all grown and gone. The job’s eating up all my time.”




Reenya straightened up a little, seeing an opportunity for a sales pitch.




“No’sha’s wonderful at keeping a house in order. They’re a great chef, too! And if it’s any bonus, they will gladl-”




“I can also read and write.” No’sha announced flatly. They wondered if he would be uninterested once he knew they could comprehend language.




“What?"




“Can you?” Ja’yon asked, basically ignoring Reenya by this point, “That’s pretty rare! No wonder you seem so smart.”




“I didn’t think owners wanted smart talmey.” No’sha commented, expression unchanging.




“What can I say? I guess I’m rare, too.”




For a half-second, No’sha’s mouth twitched into a small smile, mirroring Ja’yon’s growing grin.




Reenya’s pupils flickered between her child and the man, trying to think of a way to reinsert herself into the conversation. She then asked, “Do you have an offer?”




Ja’yon finally seemed to acknowledge her again, before nodding, “I do. How does 500,000 talyas sound?”




Reenya sighed, likely just realizing what she was doing, before admitting she was expecting a little more.




“575,000 talyas. 600,000, and I get the kid’s choice of belongings. Final offers.”




The woman braced herself, closing her eyes and sucking in a very deep breath. “Sold.”




No’sha didn’t do anything else after that, except stand and hold Yoney while waiting for their mother and new owner to finish the transaction. She was awake now, but still quiet, staring back up at them with those blue eyes. Their blue eyes. Pawa’s blue eyes.




Eventually, Ja’yon returned to where No’sha was standing while Reenya finished signing her half of the documents. “So tonight, you’re gonna come home with me. Tomorrow, I’ll help you pack up your stuff and bring it to my apartment.”




No’sha felt themself nod vaguely, not even sure if they were really listening.




“And don’t worry about seeing your family.” Ja’yon added, “We’ll visit, I promise.”




Seeing Reenya approaching, No’sha leaned over to give Yoney a kiss on the forehead, before hesitantly handing her back to their mother. Ja’yon deactivated the shockcollar, allowed No’sha their goodbyes, and then escorted them out.




That would be the last time No’sha ever spoke to their mother.






3021, Miramaki, Valker district




No’sha felt a little dumb staring at the ceiling so much, but they couldn’t help themself. The architecture in the restuarant was stunning, and they wanted to soak it all in. The high ceiling, the arch patterns criss-crossing, the chandleirs - it was something they never got to see at home, nor there in Miramaki either.


Seeing one of the wait staff had taken the plates away, No’sha returned their attention to their father sitting across from them.


“Dad, what was this for?” they asked, “Am I dying? I think I’m dying.”


“What’dya mean?”


“You taking the day off, the movie, the fancy lunch...this isn’t cheap. What’s it for?”


Taren let out a breath of laughter, interlacing his fingers together on the table. “You don’t remember.”


No’sha shook their head.


“No’sha...it’s your birthday.”


They blinked.


“...You’re twenty now.”


A nod.


“...So we’re celebrating your birthday.”


The brunette frowned slightly, as if they didn’t understand. “I’ve never had a birthday celebration before.”


Taren nodded, and smiled. “So we’re starting this year!” he announced. He reached into a pocket in his jacket, and pulled out a small, long, 
multicolored package with Tali’onian symbols, and No’sha’s eyes began to widen in recognition.


“Is that..?”


“Yes it is! Yoyokuku, you’re favorite.”


No’sha snatched the candy out of Taren’s hand, scanning the bright green and pink wrapping.


“I’m sorry, I couldn’t find any purple. There was only green, pink, and blue.”


“No, Dad, this is great! Thank you.” 


With that, No’sha tore open the top layer of plastic packaging, revealing two long but thick white cylinders that looked like chalkboard chalk, and a small plastic cup full of a lime green powder. They took one of the white pieces, and placed it in their mouth. It was sweet, almost sickeningly so, before dipping it into the powder.


“You get the other one.” they told Taren.


The older man bowed his head in thanks before taking said white piece. “Oh, almost forgot.” From another pocket, he brought out a small, flat device. 


“You got an email to the Homescreen, but it was marked high priority urgent.”


Putting the piece back into their mouth, they took a second to enjoy the tart of the green powder before accepting the device.


“It’s from...the Prime Minister.” They looked back up to their father with their eyebrow raised.



“I thought so, too, but it’s verified. I think it’s safe to open it.”


No’sha nodded, before allowing the iris-scanner to identify them by their eye, and opening the email:


Dear Mx. No’sha Rannowa,

It is our pleasure to inform you that you have been selected as a potential candidate for the Soul Regiment of the Federation.  The Soul Regiment has carried an honorable tradition for centuries, so to be selected for such an honor is indicative of your caliber.


Should you choose to accept this honor, there will be an aircraft waiting to take you to the Soul Regiment Headquarters in Valker, Miramaki.  Be prepared by nine o’clock AM, Miramaki Standard Time.

We look forward to working with you.

Signed,

Prime Minister Ava Blackburn.


“<Pawa...>”


“Yes?”


“What the Sha’reney is a 'Soul Regiment'?”
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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Sal on Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:35 am

{ Nora }

You never forget.

The pain of those you have lost never leaves you. Some days it boils inside of you like lava waiting to erupt deep from the caverns that hold it. Other days, it follows you like a lurking ghoul; notable, but manageable. And that's what you do, manage it, adjust to living with it and adapt to the pain it gives. Instead of letting that pain eat away at you until you're nothing but a corpse. That, well, gets you no where useful. However, using it to better yourself? That's worth while.

Still, there are nights where I wake up, expecting to turn over to Wren and wrap my arm around her to pull her into me. Murmuring into her soft locks about the stupid things I dreamt of that were keeping me from sleeping. That's when I realize that now it is only a pillow. The warmth is no longer the bodies of my sisters but a warm room that kept me safe from the dangers of the streets below where we used to lay our heads to rest.

I miss Wren even after all this time. I miss the other girls as well, but, Wren was different. Her mother, Daliah, told me Wren had an infectious positive aura. She always wanted to care for everyone, especially those who didn't have it as well as she did. Which, is why she ran away from home to start the Vixens in the first place. Her mother, despite missing her and upset she had lost her little girl, felt proud of what she had done. Daliah keeps telling me Wren isn't the only person she's proud of; as, she's grateful for all the bravery I had to accept the role as the protector of my sisters.

So even with all the pain, there is a lot of good now. Daliah has helped me adjust to the life as a Federation soldier, adjusting me to how things work and living a different life than what I was used to. I can help my mother now too, and I occasionally visit her from time to time to give her some money. I'll also tell her about what's going on, but, I'm glad I can finally turn things around and be the one supporting her. After all, she deserves the best for all she gave me.

Truth be told. I was happy with where I was now. Even without the Vixens I knew that they were all smiling down at me, proud of their Teal-Eyed Dragon who stepped up to do more. I'm still mortified of failing again. I think about failing my team, my comrades, even Daliah or the entire Federation as a whole. But, I remember things Wren told me. How, I can never do better if I keep being my worst enemy.

Seriously, I wish Wren was still here. But she's not. And all I can do is remember her from now and until it's my time to join them.

Ding Ding!

While reminiscing through my brain, I had been spending my morning in the open area of my room stretching and meditating. I almost ignored the sound as my new device--still hadn't bothered to learn the name--made an alerting noise. It definitely wasn't an alert from Daliah, and curiousity was too strong in me to ignore it completely.

Rising back to an upward position, I headed over to the desk. I pulled back a lock of hair and opened up the tablet.

There was an email.

Dear Ms. Nora Dryce,

It is our pleasure to inform you that you have been selected as a potential candidate for the Soul Regiment of the Federation. The Soul Regiment has carried an honorable tradition for centuries, so to be selected for such an honor is indicative of your caliber.

Should you choose to accept this honor, there will be an aircraft waiting to take you to the Soul Regiment Headquarters in Valker, Miramaki. Be prepared by nine o’clock AM, Miramaki Standard Time.

We look forward to working with you.

Signed,

Prime Minister Ava Blackburn.


"Well, shit," I mumbled, not sure what to think of it at first.

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Adrian on Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:01 am

Miramaki, 2995

"This is such a cruel thing, Jadhe."

"Sometimes, my love, merciful acts require a minor cruelty."

A dark-hooded pair stood before a set of steel doors, facing their child's destiny. In Jadhe's arms rested a bundle of blankets, nestling a newborn child. Its dark eyes were closed in a sign of peaceful sleep, unaware of the fate that would befall him in just a few moments' time.

"Meihr," the man whispered in sorrow as he watched silent tears begin to trek down his wife's face. Meihr reached for her child once more, taking him in her arms, and she bent her head low. She kept her weeping to a minimum in fear of disturbing the child - her last act of motherly protection. Slowly, Meihr approached the doorstep, gently kneeling down onto the cold street and carefully placing her only child right in the middle of the double-doors. Jadhe watched this act with distant eyes, almost restraining himself from lurching forward, from stopping all of this before it was too late.

Finally, Jadhe looked down the alleyway. "We should go. We can't risk being exposed like this. If they realize we've left-"

"Yes," Meihr replied. She took a few shaky steps backwards. "I just... I just hope, deep down, that we're wrong. That this isn't necessary for... for...."

"So no other parent will have to feel our shame," finished Jadhe.

"Yes." Meihr wiped a final tear from her cheek, squaring her shoulders in resolution. "We should return. Our only way back home will not wait forever."

"Rubbing shoulders with smugglers," Jadhe muttered. "Perhaps we can finally move on from this dark path."

"And hopefully our child will seek the light."

The two walked away, unsure if they would ever see their only son again.

Miramaki, 3021

~Zhoten~

It was that time again, wasn't it? We were getting another Soul Regiment?

Thank. The fucking. Stars.

No offense to the last group! They were skilled. But, honestly, a change of pace is good. Contact with lacrima can be dangerous, after all. Not sure why the Federation thinks it's such a good idea to keep using it, considering, you know, it was literally used to bring entire worlds to their knees.

But they pay me, so I guess I don't really give a shit.

Anyways, yeah, new recruits! Another group of kids I gotta work with. I rolled over in my bed, staring at my clock and trying to decide if it was worth it to get up now or in a couple of hours.

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Comrade Squid on Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:10 pm

Conrad began to walk towards the door.

"Oh, Typhonus, one more thing..."

The young man turned to face his superior, who continued. "I'm sure you already picked up on this, but just in case; all of this is classified. Tell others only on a need-to-know-basis."

Conrad nodded. "Of course, sir."

"Dismissed."

---

Within half an hour, Conrad had already gathered all his necessary belongings and boarded the shuttle that would transport him to the Federation Headquarters. The passenger section was clearly intended for military transport, with two long steel benches on each side that would seem to support a group of twenty four. He wondered if any of the other eleven candidates, or possibly all of them, were meant to join him on the shuttle but he doubted it, seeing as he was the only person there and he never considered himself an unusually early person.

There could be one or two more though, he considered as he took a seat at the fair end of one of the benches. He noticed his stealthsuit hung up on an armor rack at the end of the transport bay, along with his standard weapon loadout, which relieved him.

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Hime on Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:38 pm

- Kaito -

I half-smiled at the fact that she was possibly going to listen to me for once. "Let us go see him, then," I told her, putting the rest of my weapons away.

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Shaybaysasuke on Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:53 pm

~Hana~

I grumbled as I turned away, not getting mad at him but getting preemptively mad at Father for what he was probably going to say. I kept the letter firmly in my grasp as I started moving, knowing exactly where he and mother would be at this time of day.

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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

Post by Paradox on Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:53 pm

Laure-

I had gotten all my stuff together the previous night, so it didn't take me long to prepare to head out in the morning.  After a long discussion with Aunge and some other superior to confirm it was actually legitimate, I wasn't going to ignore the opportunity, so I said goodbye to my squad, let my mother know, and I was going.
I climb into the shuttle, seeing one other already in the military vehicle.  He looked like another cadet, or at least, somehow connected to the military, and I assume, another candidate.  Nodding to him as I put my gear down, I walk over, extending my hand in greeting, "Have you been invited to the Soul Regiment as well? Laure Vaisea, Federation cadet."

(Quick note that Laure's name is very obviously Saaran, if Conrad cares)


Erish-

A young girl sits at the edge of her garden, ash falling slowly from the sky.  She doesn’t care though, instead watching a grub wiggling its way through her community.  She had been watching the grub for the last half hour, since she caught sight of it among the plants of her community’s farm.

Erish, yatanza inen kaf ish!”  Her mother cries from a nearby house, but the girl pays almost no attention.  She continues watching the grub closely, completely unconcerned with the flakes of ash falling more heavily now.  The vents nearby had opened up, and the girl’s father, as well as many of the other miner’s had gone to close them.  Until they did, though, more ash would rain down.  Her mother came back to the door, waiting on the girl.

Erish, yatanza inen kaf ish asha ton!”  The girl sighs, turning towards the house.

Ore, Menesh.” She takes one last look at the grub, then steps into the house and doesn't look back.

----------

I wake up from my dream, breathing heavily.  Sitting on my bed, I grab my viewscreen, tapping out a note for the future

Another dream about my parents.  I don’t understand why I care, psychologically, they're long dead, of no use to the Great Work.

I stand up, wandering over to my workspace, and begin another long day of progress.
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Paradox
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Re: Soulblade [Roleplay Thread]

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