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RPG The Ragnarok


Sandy
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[FONT="Palatino Linotype"][CENTER][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-logo.png[/IMG]
{Rated [I]mature[/I] with excessive violence, language and sex.}[/CENTER]

[i]Since the dawn of civilization in the planet Earth, there have been gods and goddesses who have used humankind as pawns in their disputes. Taking countless forms, the deities have always found a way to enter the hearts of humans and persuade them to do their bidding. This has caused endless misery, wrath and pain to the mortals, yet they fear too much to doubt the almighty forces of the universe.

One god has remained neutral through this all, observing the actions of his brothers and sisters with his empty eyes. One day he decides that he has seen enough. Summoning the warring gods and goddesses, he organizes a fateful game of cards he calls The Ragnarok, or the Fate of Gods. The stakes are high, as the one deity who wins will rule over the universe. The other gods must succumb to him or her and leave the Earth.

The other gods and goddesses agree to participate in their brother’s game. He tells them that they must choose three souls, dead or alive, to represent them in the multidimensional gameboard. One by one, the deities must get rid of the souls representing their rivals, and try to save their own champions. They can do those things through the Cards of Fate, dealt to them by their brother, the God of Death. He will make sure that there is only one god left in the world when the game ends.[/i]
[CENTER]~~~~~

[SIZE="5"][U]The Deities[/U][/SIZE]
[i]Sandy[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Paraxis[/SIZE], the God of Death
[B]Power Card[/B]: Undead
Makes the mortal soul carrying it immune to all cards, including Death Card, but also make it’s flesh start to rot.
[i]Aaryanna[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Treisleilai[/SIZE], the Goddess of Sin
[B]Power Card[/B]: Bloodlust
Magnifies the mortal soul’s sense of desire to the point that they ignore reason in favor of lust and greed.
[i]Rachmaninoff[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Celesta[/SIZE], the Goddess of Life
[B]Power Card[/B]: Heal
Grants the user the ability to heal all but the most mortal of wounds. However, it also exacts a toll proportionate to the level of healing done.
[i]SunfallE[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Bellanna[/SIZE], the Goddess of Love and Beauty
[B]Power Card[/B]: Passion
Makes the mortal soul so beautiful and desirable that none can resist them, even if pursuing them results in their own destruction. The one given this power has control over whether or not it’s active as well as whom the power is being used on.
[i]Aaryanna_Mom[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Raone[/SIZE], the God of Light and Truth
[B]Power Card[/B]: Light of Axiom
The mortal soul granted this power will have the ability to see the undeniable truth. This also allows the mortal to detect the truth in the atmosphere and realize when they are in precarious areas. In exchange, the mortal soul will progressively give up his or her memories until they are no longer in possession of the Light of Axiom.
[i]indifference[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Jachym[/SIZE], the God of the Sea
[B]Power Card[/B]: Tsunami
Gives the soul the ability to control water, from keeping the water away from one’s self to prevent drowning to creating a powerful Tsunami. However doing so will exhaust them both mentally and physically.
[i]Shy[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Illyria[/SIZE], the God/dess of Insanity
[B]Power Card[/B]: Madness
The wielder gains the power to control others' perceptions and manipulate them at will. This card also manipulates the perceptions of the wielder, wearing away at their sense of reality until they are truly insane.
[i]Darren[/i] as [SIZE="5"]Telumas[/SIZE], the Goddess of the Moon and Hunt
[B]Power Card[/B]: Sure Shot
Whichever mortal soul possesses this card, has a sure shot death in their pocket. Once a Death Card is attained, they may use it on whomever they wish, without fear of protection from any type shielding card, should they be introduced.

[SIZE="5"][U]The Souls[/U][/SIZE][/CENTER]
Ashley “[SIZE="5"]Ash[/SIZE]” Brendan
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-ash-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 19
[B]Origins:[/B] Torquay, Australia 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Beach Bum
[SIZE="5"]Charles[/SIZE] Jefferson
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-charles-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 22
[B]Origins:[/B] Charleston, South Carolina (USA) 1854
[B]Occupation:[/B] Slave
[SIZE="5"]Charlotte[/SIZE] Jouet
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-charlotte.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soulswapcard.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soulswapcard.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 27
[B]Origins:[/B] Versailles, France 1789
[B]Occupation:[/B] Nobility
[SIZE="5"]Christopher[/SIZE] Francis
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-christopher-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 46
[B]Origins:[/B] Marseille, France 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Electrical Engineer
[SIZE="5"]Enora[/SIZE] Isago
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-enora-death.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-timetravelcard.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 125
[B]Origins:[/B] Cairo, Egypt 3007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Judge
[SIZE="5"]Farah[/SIZE] Salam Abdul
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-farah-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 35
[B]Origins:[/B] Kabul, Afghanistan 2003
[B]Occupation:[/B] Housewife
Hanja [SIZE="5"]Cho Hee[/SIZE]
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-chohee-death.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-dualdeathcard.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 27
[B]Origins:[/B] Seoul, South Korea 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Traditional Arts Teacher
[SIZE="5"]Ian[/SIZE] Hughes
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-ian-death.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-dualdeathcard.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soulswapcard.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 35
[B]Origins:[/B] East Anglia, England 610
[B]Occupation:[/B] Fletcher/Tailor
[SIZE="5"]Ira[/SIZE] Petrov
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-ira-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 28
[B]Origins:[/B] Tver, Russia 1935
[B]Occupation:[/B] Retail Store Clerk
James “[SIZE="5"]Jamie[/SIZE]” Alan
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-jamie-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 24
[B]Origins:[/B] Los Angeles, California (USA) 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Night Club Bartender
[size=5]Jeanne[/size] Rawlings
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-jeanne-death.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-creationcard.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-anticard.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 30
[B]Origins:[/B] Quebec, Canada 1985
[B]Occupation:[/B] Wedding Consultant
[SIZE="5"]Joe[/SIZE] Gossett
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-joe-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 59
[B]Origins:[/B] Birmingham, Alabama (USA) 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Puppeteer
[SIZE="5"]Kenneth[/SIZE] Harvey
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-kenneth-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 25
[B]Origin:[/B] New York City, New York (USA) 1914
[B]Occupation:[/B] Photojournalist
[size=5]Kenneth[/size] Jouet
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-kennethjunior-death.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-creationcard.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 6
[B]Origins:[/B] The Ragnarok 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Child
Kirima [SIZE="5"]Nagi[/SIZE]
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-nagi-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 11
[B]Origins:[/B] Kyoto, Japan 857
[B]Occupation:[/B] Shrine Maiden
[SIZE="5"]Marta[/SIZE] Kramer
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-marta-death.png[/IMG][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soulswapcard.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 48
[B]Origins:[/B] Vienna, Austria 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Graphic Designer
[SIZE="5"]Naomi[/SIZE] Gallo
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-naomi-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 20
[B]Origins:[/B] Milan, Italy 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Student/Clothing Store Cashier
[SIZE="5"]Patrick[/SIZE] Malone
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-patrick-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Male
[B]Age:[/B] 16
[B]Origins:[/B] Dublin, Ireland 1900
[B]Occupation:[/B] Choir Boy
[SIZE="5"]Reiko[/SIZE] Cheng
[IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-reiko-death.png[/IMG]
[B]Gender:[/B] Female
[B]Age:[/B] 18
[B]Origin:[/B] Pulau Palawan, Singapore 2007
[B]Occupation:[/B] Unemployed
[CENTER]
[SIZE="5"][U]The Rules[/U][/SIZE][/CENTER]
[SIZE="1"][indent]1. Your aim is to get rid of everyone else’s souls and protect your own.
2. Each soul can be freely controlled and developed by all the gods.
3. You can kill souls only with Death Cards, and revive your own souls with Life Cards.
4. Both cards are gained by collecting a total of 4 Death or Life Points.
5. You get Death Points by making the souls do specific negative things.
6. Life Points are awarded to those who make the souls take specific positive actions.
7. There’s a secret list of actions that merit either 1, 2 or 3 Death/Life Points.
8. When an action on that list has been used three times, it will no longer merit any points and will be made visible to all deities.
9. Death Points and Life Points cancel each other out, so you need to remain consistent with your play style until you gain a card.
10. When you reach 4 points and receive a card, the counter will drop down to zero.
11. Sometimes getting 4 of either points will give you a new type of card instead of Death/Life Card.
12. One of the other types is the Creation Card, which will allow you to create a completely new soul.
13. When you gain a card, you can freely choose when it’s most advantageous to use it.
14. When you use a card, you include the image of the card alongside with the image of the soul you use it with to your post.
15. However, if you want to use a Life Card or a Creation Card, you should notify me through PM along with the target of the card, and I will post it for you to avoid revealing your souls.
16. From the get-go, you’ll have access to your personal Power Card that you can affiliate with any soul you want.
17. You can only give your power to one soul, but that one soul can carry several powers.
18. If the carrier of your power dies, the Power Card will be returned to you to be used to another soul. You can also opt to remove the Power Card from the one you gave it to anytime.
19. When all of your souls have died, you have one post to try and revive one of your characters, after which you will be erased from the game along with your Power Card.
20. The winner is the deity whose soul (or several souls) is the last one alive.
21. In each post you must have at least a sentence written from the point-of-view of the deity you're playing. You can write from the point-of-view of several mortal souls in one post.[/indent][/SIZE]

[center]~~~~~[/CENTER]

[COLOR="DarkOrchid"]Paraxis, the God of Death, gazed upon his brothers and sisters with his empty eyes reflecting the depths of eternity. Seven deities stood around a decorative round pool filled with swirling mist. These seven were the only deities who had remained to face the Death God's challenge. The others had abandoned Earth voluntarily.

Among the seven was the dark Treisleilai, the immaculate Celesta and the voluptous Bellanna, three goddesses who reigned over the morality of the humankind. There were also the brilliant Raone and the raging Jachym, glaring each other scornfully. Telumas, the Heavenly Huntress, stood next to her twin brother Raone, eager to best him as well as the rest of the deities. Finally, there was Illyria the Insane, an enigma even to the God of Death. Each of them held a card in their hands.

[B]"You have prepared your Power Cards?"[/B] Paraxis said with his coarse voice. [B]"Then reveal them."[/B]

The seven deities laid down the cards onto the edge of the pool. Paraxis conjured a card of his own and showed it to the others.
[B]
"These cards will either aid you in the game or help bring you down. Use them well. Now, call upon the pawns you have chosen, and send them into the Ragnarok."[/B]

The deities closed their eyes, and the mist in the pool began to clear up, revealing sixteen mortal souls surrounded by bright light.

[B]"They will wake up separated from each other, finding themselves in a room from their memories. What lies beyond that room, no-one can foretell."[/B]

A thin smile appeared on Paraxis' pale face. [B]"Let the game begin."[/B][/COLOR]
[CENTER]~~~~~[/center]

Charles Jefferson woke up to a rocking sensation. He opened his eyes, and saw a wall of moist planks before him. His eyes widened with panic as he realized that he had returned to the place that haunted his dreams years after leaving it behind: the ship that had taken him and hundreds of others from their homelands to under the slavery of the white man.

He tried to stand up, but the shackles between his hands and feet made him stumble back down. He felt like he was the same nine-years old boy who had witnessed people around him dying to starvation, wounds and diseases during those long months spent inside the hull of this ship. Only this time, there was no-one else around.

Charles got up slowly, and struggled to remain in balance as the room around him rocked from side to side. Dragging his shackles, he slugged towards the stairs leading up to the deck.

[B]"Help!"[/B] he shouted, out of a spur of the moment. His captors must've still be onboard. [B]"You forgot me down here!"[/B]

When no-one replied, he started climbing up the stairs. He reached the door, and saw flashing light and rain trickling in between the planks. But as he pushed it open, he didn't come out to a deck of a ship, but something completely else.[/FONT]
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[indent][size=1]Illyria laughed to herself as the other Gods placed their power cards into the pool. It had been many years, millennia even, since the Gods have found themselves with such a unique challenge, but this was the moment Illyria had been waiting for. Human souls have always been toys for the Gods to manipulate; this game would no doubt be a chance for Illyria to put her experience to the test.

With a wave of her hands she transformed from a pale, asexual figure into a handsome, dark skinned woman. To Illyria changing her appearance was no more difficult than a human changing their clothes.

"[b]Much better...[/b]" Illyria said as she stared at Bellana, "[b]But I'm a biased judge. What do you think?[/b]"

It had been many years since the two Gods had even spoken, but there was once a time when they were lovers. Illyria saw this as yet another chance to prove her worth to the Goddess of Beauty, and perhaps repent for the great sin that tore them apart.

“[b]Dear beauty,[/b]” Illyria said with a mischievous grin, “[b]Fifteen souls will be a small price to pay for our eternal love.[/b]”

Bellana turned her head away and sighed.

“[b]Your words are yet another layer of deception, Illyria![/b]” she replied angrily, “[b]Our history will provide you no mercy from me. Be warned that even my affection to all of life’s creatures has its’ limits..[/b]”

The other Gods laughed amongst themselves, infuriating Illyria.

“[b]Very well, dear Goddess. But who among you can tell me the difference between madness and love?[/b]"

"[b]A riddle, Illyria?[/b]" Telumas asked, "[b]I grow tired of your antics already...[/b]"

"[b]Don't you see? Bellana’s deceptions are of the heart while mine are of the mind![/b]”

Paraxis quietly motioned for the attention of the Gods.

“[b]Well spoken my brother,[/b]“ Paraxis replied, “[b]For love is a game with few winners.[/b]”


[center][img]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-marta.jpg[/img][/center]

It seemed like a lifetime since Marta Kramer last laid her head against the soft feather pillows of her queen-sized bed. The Austrian graphic designer had been a lot of things in her life: a doting wife, a well-respected professional, but on that bed two months ago everything had changed.

“[b]What is going on?[/b]” she asked as she awoke, “[b]Karl?![/b]”

Marta turned to her side and realized that her former lover was nowhere to be found. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and surveyed the room around her. It was modest bedroom that she and her husband had spent so many years of their lives together. More importantly, it was where she found out that the life they had built together was a lie.

Instinctively Marta reached over to the nightstand to grab a cigarette, but found nothing. She immediately walked to her dresser and opened up the drawer. There she found two objects; a conservative gray pantsuit from her job, and a familiar, bloodied knife.

"[b]I can’t be here![/b]" she screamed as she ripped the drawer from the dresser and tossed it onto the carpet, “[b]What about the trial?[/b]”

The woman looked around the room once more, realizing that her husband’s photographs and belongings were missing: It was as if he had never been there at all. Marta suddenly realized that she wasn’t in her home. A bright light could be seen penetrating through the cracks of the bedroom door. Wherever she was, Marta knew that the door was the only way out.

Panicked, she quietly changed out of pajamas and into the clothes left in the dresser. A quick search of the room turned up nothing else, save for a few of the cigarettes she had so desperately been searching for earlier. No lighter, though. She stuffed the cigarettes into one of her pant pockets and began bursting into tears.

“[b]I had promised myself that it was a mistake when it happened, Karl,[/b]” Marta cried, “[b]But I’m beginning to think that it wasn’t an act of rage or passion. Maybe this is just who I am…[/b]”

Marta grabbed the bloodied knife from the carpet and headed for the door.[/size][/indent]
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[FONT="Tahoma"]Raone leaned gently on his golden maul and paid no heed to the others around him. He knew most of them well enough, inside and out...whether they had volounteered the information or not. Their affairs interested him little, he only spoke to them out of a sense of the requirement for idle time killing. Though he appreciated the genuine purity of Celesta, as that very image was silently projected from her gentle eyes. He also placed a more obscure appreciation for Bellana's beauty, something he'd more than often forsake in exchange for more righteous thoughts. He admonished the attitude of his brother Telumas and considered himself above such breeds of disposition.

[b]"Those glowing eyes of yours never reveal your thoughts, great God of Light and Truth. Perhaps you'd like to give us some insight into how you feel about this situation?"[/b] spoke Paraxis, curious to everyone's reaction to the gathering.

Raone stared silently downward as the souls began to become clear. He didn't turn his head but responded in reference to the question.

[b]"This game of yours may be unjust, but even I must admit to the temptation of the prize. To create a righteous world, it appears one must partake in shady practice."[/b] Raone replied, hinting almost at a slight satisfaction of his participation.

[b]"Temptation, what a word to use Raone. I think we'll be seeing much of that during this little event."[/b] Bellana spoke in a sultry voice, running a single finger down her long and wavy hair.

Those words seemed to put quite the grin on Treisleilai's face, if such a feat was possible physically. The senses betwen the gods and godesses were almost keen enough to detect such inner reactions. At least those that played more obviously and predictable to their own personalities. Each of them represented some definitive form of character known well enough within their little group.

[b]"Perhaps we should just watch on, my dear comrades."[/b] Raone insisted.

[center]* * * * *
[img]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-nagi.png[/img][/center]

A shrill yet somewhat muffled scream pierced the wind that blew the flames even further across the temple grounds. Debris fell from roofs of the buildinds and tree branches incinerated within seconds of hitting the ground. More screams could be heard in greater number from outside of the walls of the shrine of worship. The frightened girl looked up from her huddled like stance and hastened toward the wall only to collapse to her knees when she got there.

[b]So...hot...I can't move...[/b] she said to herself as she began to cry at the thought of those around her burning to death or being crushed underneathe debris. She was too afraid and shaken up to even notice her garment had caught on fire. She scratched at the walls of the wooden built shrine meekly before turning her sweat emblazoned face to her back. Realizing she didn't have the strength to do anything but escape her clothing, she pulled herself out of her robe and crawled as far as she could into a corner that was still untouched.

She couldn't stand it anymore, her vision began to blue and every movement she made felt like it made her body heavier and heavier. She was now leaning against the wall against her will as her eyelids shuttered like a camera, and finally closed completely. The young girl's limp body lay there motionless as the heat from the flames claimed her consciousness. The last sounds she heard were that of her mother's hysterical voice calling out her name...

[center][b]Nagi! NAGI! NAAGI! ANSWER ME! HEAVEN PROTECT ME SO I CAN SAVE MY LITTLE GIRL![/b][/center]

Darkness...but moments later a shine. Nagi's eyes fluttered open and her body felt as if ready to jolt, but her lack of energy deprived her of such a physical reaction. Her mind was in a haze and her body was nearly drained of strength to the point of imitating starvation. Her hair seemed shortened, and sloppy tossed about...singed was more the appropriate term. What had happened? All she remembered...were the sudden arrival of flames, and horses galloping outside the temple grounds. That was followed up by the screams...and then she remembered her struggle. Was she dead? Where was she?

[b]"Have I...been spared?"[/b] Nagi spoke weakly, only able to move her eyes.[/FONT]
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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]Jachym eyes narrowed just a bit at Raone observation of the unjustness of the game and yet he still calmly admitted to giving into the temptation of the game for the sake of righteousness. [I]Fool, in the end it is power that always wins.[/I] He thought with contempt.

"[B]Perhaps we should just watch on, my dear comrades.[/B]" Raone insisted.

"[B]Something you do well Raone, you'll need more than observation for this game.[/B]" Jachym observed with a disdainful hint in his voice. He glanced at the cards on the table, taking note of the powers that each one of his brethren had chosen.

It would require careful planning and cunning for each card could easily bring their downfall upon them. For now he would keep his thoughts to himself. Even Raone could be fooled if done correctly. He looked to each one who was standing around the table, carefully weighing just what he would be up against.

Even if on some level they were attuned to how the other would react there was still the element of the unknown and surprise to be had. A slow smile spread across Jachym's face. It would be entertaining to see who won the game, he had always favored those who were powerful and helped themselves instead of relying on the strengths of others.

[CENTER][IMG]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-ash.png[/IMG][/CENTER]

Warm sunlight poured in through the cracks of the blinds that were pulled down in the bedroom of the beach house. Slowly but surely they spread across the room until they came to rest in the eyes of the youth who was still sprawled across the bed. Half under the covers and sound asleep without a care in the world.

With a groan Ash rolled over in an attempt to hide from the light but it was too late as other needs brought to home that it was time to get up. Stretching broadly he kicked the covers off and stumbled into the bathroom to take a moment to get cleaned up before coming back out and getting dressed in his usual swim shorts, light tee shirt and sandals.

Ash smiled at the lingering scent of vanilla as he made a token attempt to make up the bed before going over and opening the blinds. As always the view of the ocean and beach was beautiful, even more so at night when the sun was setting. The only question in his mind as he left the bedroom to grab a bite to eat was to wonder who would be sharing that sunset with him this time.

[I]Nothing like having rich parents who don't care if you do nothing but live in the beach house and play all day.[/I] Ash didn't care if others called him a beach bum. Why work when some other fool who actually needs money can do it? That would be unkind of him to deprive some poor soul of a job when he had no need for money.

Then since it would be a while before any ladies showed up at the beach, he grabbed his surf board and made for the front door of the beach house to catch some waves to pass the time. He paused only long enough to put some suntan lotion on before he was out the door.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"]Illyria words about love and madness being but a deception of the heart and mind still was foremost on Bellana's mind as the other gods conversed among themselves. [I]All this time and Illyria still cannot see the difference between true love and trickery. [/I]If she were prone to such a thing she would have sighed. For those who truly did love... Bellana brushed the thought aside, turning her attention back to the others.

Her card carefully prepared Bellana began to study the champions to determine just who to give her power to. But then she decided to hold of just a tiny bit, to wait and see what the others would do. It would be wise to wait on those who so far had been silent and not voiced their opinion. She smiled a bit at Raone who was still looking ever so serious about his intent to create a righteous world. It was, in it's own way, amusing.

Raone with his inability to see the truth in even his own willingness to engage in deception to gain truth. The irony of such a thing was not lost on Bellana, such was the nature of temptation, for it was more than of the flesh. [I]I wonder which one here will be the first to fall to it?[/I] Bellana turned her attention to the board before them, watching the souls who were being called forth to the Ragnarok.

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"[B]Hello! Anyone there?[/B]" Ira called out, desperately seeking a voice, any voice as she stumbled through the ruins of what was once the store she worked in. It had been hours since the earthquake that had caused the building to fall apart. She could have sworn that a section of the building had landed on her directly. The horrible feeling of her neck breaking along with the following sensation of falling into darkness had been unmistakable, but she had woken up underneath the sturdy metal desk in the main manager's office, covered by a thick layer of dirt. Unharmed by the debris.

Luckily she had been able to get out from under the debris, and start to attempt to work her way out of the store, but most if not all of the sections were blocked by the devastation. [I] Where are the authorities? [/I]Surely she would have heard someone attempting to search the building by now! But it was deathly silent as she stumbled over destroyed walls and bits of the ceiling strewn all over the place.

But what puzzled her more than anything was the absence of bodies. Not that she wanted to see someone who had been crushed, but how had all of them managed to escape? Ira had barely even realized what was happening before she had thought that she had been crushed by a part of the ceiling falling on her. [I]What is going on? [/I]She thought desperately.

Finally Ira came to what looked like an undamaged door leading out of the store. Holding back the tears that threatened to flow, she ran to open the door and step outside. [I]I hope the others made it out too![/I][/FONT][/COLOR]
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Celesta was in all honesty, not even sure why she had chosen to stay and play Paraxis's game. Life was what interested her, not games, or deceptions or using others to further one's desires. And yet that same interest compelled her to stick around if only to see to protecting those who had been caught up in the struggle among the gods for so long. She could admire and even to a certain extent understand Raone's intention to create a righteous world, but even among nature, deception was a necessity. Hunter and hunted, all a delicate balance of survival. Life was more than the souls of the humans who inhabited the Earth.

Should she manage to win this game of Paraxis's it would finally put an end to the pointless interference of the Gods. It had seemed so innocent when it first began, extending her reach to prolong life and yet even that at times had backfired. Celesta could not see the truth as Raone could and thus it was difficult to know until later that restoring someone's health was a mistake. [I]I must be careful who I give my power to[/I]. Celesta thought as she ascertained what powers each one had prepared to bestow on a champion of their choosing.

"[B]You seem strangely quiet Celesta.[/B]" Paraxis spoke directly to her. "[B]Have you nothing to say in regards to this game of life and death?[/B]"

"[B]Would you have me repeat myself as to the beauty of all life?[/b]" Celesta countered in a calm and clear voice. "[b]You claim you wish to put an end to the needless suffering caused by our interference. And yet you chose to use the very same method of deciding the winner by interfering with the very souls you apparently loathe to see toyed with.[/B]"

Celesta turned back to the pool to watch the souls who continued to appear in The Ragnarok when Paraxis merely nodded to her, saying nothing more. She wondered if the humans knew how much was at stake here. Even removing all the Gods except one would be a form of interference since they too were a balance of light and dark. Just as some humans should not have their lives extended, some Gods should not rule without others to keep them in balance.

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[I]How did it come to this?[/I] Reiko thought in despair as she finished getting dressed. [I]How will I tell my parents that I lost my job? [/I] It wasn't that she tried to to get fired, but Reiko had refused the sexual advances of her employer. [I]They'll never believe that a wealthy man such as him would threaten to fire me if I didn't do as he asked.[/I] In all honesty Reiko had not believed her employer either, she had laughed at what she had thought was a joke. That is until the next day when she arrived at work it was to find that she had been dismissed and accused of stealing documents from the company.

"[B]Oh this is just great.[/B]" She sighed to herself as she finished putting her hair up and a bit of makeup on. "[B]No one will hire me now and if I can't work, how will I ever pay for college?[/B]"

Reiko sat down at the small desk in her room and pulled out yesterday's newspaper to look at the job listings. Most if not all of the decent secretarial based jobs that she had prepared for in High School were connected to the very company she had been fired from. Carefully she crossed each one off. There would be no point in applying to any of them, by now she would be on their black list.

Next were the light industrial jobs, ones that required no skill but were more demanding physically. [I]Well at least they pay well[/I]. Reiko thought as she circled a few to go and check out. She had enough saved to pay for things for a few months, once that ran out she would have no choice but to return home. [I]I hope it doesn't come to that [/I]she thought as she carefully folded the page with the job information on it, placed it in her small handbag and left her apartment.
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[SIZE="1"][COLOR=#3D597E]Telumas watched quietly for the most part. She was cool and calculating and only chose to speak when she found the most opportune time. Seeing that six of the "participants" had woken already, Telumas decided that it was her best chance to fully gauge her competition

[B]"It's the same speech with you every time, isn't it Celesta?"[/B] She spoke in the most kind voice a goddess of her stature could muster. The Goddess of life did not turn her head, but her eyes connected with Telumas.
[B]"There is beauty in life, yes. And to cherish that life for as long as fate would hold is also important. But to deny the aspect of a hunt is to deny the basic instinct of human, and even immortal, nature.[/B]

[B]"Do you imply that I do not respect the forces and powers of the other immortals?"[/B]

[B]"I merely mean to say that you let your emotions rule your judgement."[/B] This was a fact that Telumas had discussed with her brother on numerous occasions. Their distant relationship never stopped them from being honest.

[B]"You participated in this 'tournament' for reasons unknown to everyone but yourself. I participated for reasons everyone should know: The hunt. The several mellinia I've spent in the forests and jungles hunting, I've learned that only the strong survive. And I can think of no better challenge of strength and wit than a contest of hunting."[/B]

[B]"That is something you would admire."[/B] Raone said, quietly. There was resent in his voice and he did not wish to involve himself in his twin's affaris, but Telumas had no doubt that he was examining her every word and movement. She finished her conversation and turned back to the pool at the center.

In the end, Telumas knew she had the upper hand. While beauty, life, and truth are important in the real world, this game is one of death and more importantly, a game of hunt. Surely the goddess wouldn't have trouble eliminating her enemies, catching the pray, and attaing the prize.[/COLOR]

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Joe sat quietly on the porch with his wife, Cora. It was a past-time that Joe's father had shared with he and his wife, and one that Joe had shared with all three of his children.

The two elderly folk were in matching rocking chairs, holding hands and watching the sun rise to the east. It's orange sliver was just beginning to peak over the neighboring houses, when Cora spoke.

[B]"So Papa, what've you got planned today?"[/B] She asked, taking a sip of her lemonade.

[B]"Oh Mama, the same as every other day."[/B] He gestured to a large wooden box sitting at the edge of the porch steps. It was another birthday for some youngster and it was his puppet routine that made their day.

[B]"Oh of course,"[/B] she said sweetly and rubbed her husband's hand several times. [B]"I think it's mighty sweet what you do for them kids."[/B]

Joe leaned across his chair and kissed his wife on the cheek before standing to re-enter their home.

[B]"Can I get you some more lemonade, Mama?"[/B]

[B]"If you don't mind, Joe. I'll be right here when you get back."[/B] she said.

[B]"I know you will."[/B] and he opened the door to a strangely white room.[/SIZE]
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[FONT="Palatino Linotype"][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]The circle of deities observed each others, cautious to make a move themselves. Paraxis suspected that his brothers and sisters were hesitating because the stakes were so high, so he decided to show them how the game should be played.

[B]"Hold nothing back"[/B], Paraxis croaked, his ancient voice unbefitting to his youthful, pure face.[/COLOR]

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Cho Hee Hanja wasn't an outgoing person. She didn't enjoy the company of men nor other women, she preferred solitude and silence. Even in her classes she demanded that her students spoke only soft, low tone, and the one thing she hated the most was incessant giggling.

It didn't mean that she didn't ever smile, though. On the contrary, the courteous smile never let her face. She had smiled when her sister had married a poor comic artist, she had smiled when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, she had even smiled when she heard her father had died in a plane crash.

She smiled when tears were running down her cheek.

She was smiling now as she sowed the seam of a traditional Korean [I]hanbok[/I] dress. That giggling idiot Yoon Sang had torn it in the last session. Cho Hee had kicked her out of the class three years ago.

Cho Hee's sowing came to stop. She looked down to the dress she was holding. She had already fixed the seam three years ago, so why was she doing it now?

She looked around the room she was in. It was filled with [I]hanboks[/I] and other traditional costumes of every color imaginable hanging from racks. She suddenly realized that there was no door on sight.

Then she heard it. Sobbing.

She dropped the dress and the needle, and stood up. She walked towards the voice, pushing the racks and dresses out of her way. It seemed that there was no end to them. Finally she stumbled out amongst the clothing racks and into a large room with charred wooden walls and pillars. Some of the ceiling had fallen down revealing a sky filled with a cloud of smoke. She saw a lone little girl sobbing in the corner of the hall.

[B]"Are you alright?"[/B] Cho Hee asked cautiously. The girl looked up at her with her large brown eyes wide open, looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

Cho Hee smiled at the girl. There was one thing that she hated almost as much as giggling: little children.[/FONT]
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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]"[B]I merely mean to say that you let your emotions rule your judgement.[/B]"

Jachym snickered a bit at Telumas's statement, and then even more so as she continued on to glorify the aspects of the hunt. Even she was not immune to letting her [I]emotions [/I]rule her judgment as she had just accused Celesta of doing.

Clearly, seeing the truth was something she did not share with her brother Raone. He turned his attention back to the souls who were still being awakened.

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Naomi Gallo looked up in time to see her ex boyfriend entering the store where she was working. With an inward groan she contemplated simply leaving her post to hide in the employee lounge until he left. But a customer with a bunch of clothing approached her station, ready to purchase their goods and leave. With a fake bright smile she turned to help them, chatting politely while doing her best to ignore the fool who was approaching. [I]Please let him have the sense to wait until I'm done before he opens his big mouth. [/I] But no such luck today.

"[B]Naomi![/B]" His shrill voice rang out, drawing everyone's attention to the slightly tipsy young man. "[B]How can you be such a bitch![/B]"

With a wince Naomi handed the customer her receipt and credit card, wishing her a good day before turning to face Nathan who was almost to her location. Out of the corner of her eye she could see the customer hastily making a retreat and she couldn't blame her.

"[B]You need to leave Nathan.[/B]" She said coldly as he finally stopped within arms reach. But he would not hear it and when he grabbed her arms roughly, she realized with alarm that he was more than just a little tipsy.

"[B]Leave?[/B]" He said as he glared at her, gripping her arms tightly. "[B]After all I've done for you? You can't use someone like that and just cast them aside.[/B]"

"[B]Let me go Nathan, you're hurting me.[/B]" Naomi said quietly. "[B]I mean it, you need to leave. We can discuss this later.[/B]" She yelped in pain when he tightened his grip and leaned in a bit.

"[B]No! I didn't take the time to come here only to discuss it later.[/B]" Nathan growled as he started to drag her towards the back of the store. "[B]We'll discuss this now.[/B]"

[I]Why me?[/I] Naomi thought as she struggled to pull free. [I]At this rate the fool is going to get me fired![/I] They had only gone a few steps when her manager appeared, a clear look of disapproval on her face. [I]Oh hell![/I]

"[B]I'm going to have to ask you to leave sir. If you have something to discuss with Miss Gallo you'll have to wait until after her shift is over.[/B]"

But Nathan's answer was to let go of Naomi with one hand and to shove her manager aside. "[B]Stay out of it bitch![/B]"

Furious, Naomi struck out, slapping Nathan hard with her left hand, rocking his head to the side. A move, that as soon as he turned to face her angrily, she knew was a mistake. [I]Oh my God! He's completely lost it![/I] It was the reason she had left him, when he was drunk, he was mean and hateful. It didn't seem to matter how many times he promised to do better, and when he had struck her several times she had broken things off.

Within moments she found herself struggling to get free as he backhanded her, and only his grip on her right wrist kept her from falling over from the force of the blow. Desperately she brought her right foot down in his left foot since he was only wearing sandals. Then as he stumbled a bit she brought her knee up to hit him squarely between the legs. Wincing as she did so, but it was enough that even in his drunken state he finally loosened his grasp enough for her to pull free.

With a sob she turned and ran as fast as she could for the front door of the store, terrified by what had just happened. In all the time they had dated, he had never struck someone else or been that angry before. [I]What do I do?[/I] She wondered as the automatic doors opened up as she approached them. She ran into the white light of the sunlight outside. [/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"][COLOR=#3D597E]Telumas had tired quickly of the watching her soon-to-be victims. She had tired even faster of the poor attempts to break down her strategy. Telumas had left the general area surrounding the pool used to view the mortals, and instead resolved to sit on the stone steps just outside the temple. She laid back her head, staring at the closeness of the sun and moon in the mythological realm. her beautiful grayhounds had sensed her exit of the temple and greeted her with wagging tails.

[B]"Do you wish to continue the game, Telumas?"[/B] Paraxis had approached without her knowledge.

[B]"Don't be rediculous."[/B] her bluetick hound sensed the resent in her voice, and accompanied the comment with a loud snarl at Paraxis. Telumas patted its head into silence. [B]"I do not requre constant viewing of the mortal pawns in order to carry out my strategy. A strategy which will unfold soon."[/B]

[B]"Prideful as always."[/B] Paraxis was nearly scolding her.

[B]"Only at the game that I rule."[/B] She corrected. the grayhound at her feet lifted its head to stare at Paraxis.

[B]"Pride can only carry you so far."[/B]

[B]"As the sea can only carry one from shore to shore."[/B] She retorted, for she had heard Jachym's supressed laughter from earlier.

Paraxis sighed. He obviously didn't have time for this; his mortals were on the line just as much as her own.

[B]"Do not worry, Paraxis,"[/B] she spat, trying to guess what he was thinking, [B]"If there are any new developments, I will be there."[/B]

Paraxis sighed again and stood to leave. Both of the hounds watched him until he dissappeared into the temple completely.[/COLOR]

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[B]"Can I bring you anything else, madame?"[/B] Charles asked. It was Charlotte's personal servant, and one whom she cared for greatly.

[B]"I don't mean to be rude, Charles, but could you fetch Sophia from the guest room?"[/B]

[B]"Certainly madame,"[/B] he replied, but before leaving, he asked, [B]"May I ask why?"[/B]

[B]"My dress no longer fits me and I require a seamstress."[/B]

[B]"Miss, pregnancies often do that to a young woman. If you don't mind my saying, you should be celebrating this with your husband."[/B]

[B]"Yes, Charles, but with Alexander attending the Estates General, he hardly has enough time for me. And I know he wouldn't want to see his missus half-way falling out of her dress."[/B]

[B]"But if it's as you say, then the master won't see you. Surely the other women will respect a lady seven months pregnant."[/B] He was failing miserably to console her

[B]"I am afraid, Charles, that the women will be more unforgiving than my husband. 'Nobility must act as such'." [/B] She quoted her husband's statement from memory. She knew Charles could sense the remorse in her voice.

[B]"Yes, madame. As you wish, but if you don't mind my saying. I think you look stunning."[/B] And then, Charles left for Sophia.

As soon as he was gone, Charlotte looked down at her large stomach and felt her child kick. She smiled at the thought of her future son or daughter. And then, without warning, a feeling of vertigo took over and Charlotte blacked out entirely.[/SIZE]
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[size=1][indent]“[b]Sixteen souls,[/b]” Illyria said with a sight, “[b]Each one more boring than the last.[/b]”

Celesta turned to Illyria. Other than Bellana, Celesta had always been the least amused by her brother’s cynicism.

“[b]Boring, you say?[/b]” she asked, “[b]If you find yourself so disinterested in mortal affairs then perhaps you’d like to forfeit the competition early.[/b]”

Treisleilai nodded in agreement.

“[b]Celesta is right. Before you blame us for the failures in our selections, perhaps you should first turn those evil eyes onto yourself. You had as much freedom to choose your souls as any of us did, Illyria.[/b]”

The God of Madness scowled.

“[b]If I were to truly choose my heart’s desire, those choices might stand out in the bunch,[/b]” she replied with a laugh, “[b]Of those selected, who can say which, if any, aren’t touched by madness in some fashion…[/b]”

“[b]You speak of madness as if it’s a gift,[/b]” Celesta replied, “[b]It may be even beyond our grasp to fathom how much pain you’ve truly brought upon this world.[/b]”

Illyria grinned.

“[b]And will continue to bring. Assuming I’m the victor, of course.[/b]”

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“[b]Mr. Francis...er ...Christopher, I feel like there’s been an elephant in the room for the past month or so… in our sessions.[/b]”

“[b]I’m not sure what you‘re talking about.[/b]”

“[b]Well, a few weeks ago you had mentioned your… father’s passing.[/b]”

“[b]I did, didn‘t I? I guess it‘s been very hard on my Mom. I‘ve been so busy with work, I guess I haven‘t had time to properly grieve.[/b]”

Dr. Richards nodded.

“[b]Yes. In our sessions you have spent a great deal of time speaking of him and his illness, yet you haven‘t bothered to discuss his death with me in any significant way.[/b]”

“[b]There isn’t anything to say, doctor. He was a quiet man, and had a very quiet service. I’ve spent much more time around my Mother’s home, trying to help her with errands and the like…[/b]”

“[b]Did you say anything at the memorial?[/b]”

Christopher took a sip of water, retreating further back into his chair.

“[b]I.. wasn’t asked to. My uncle said a few words about their childhood, and my sister also had a nice speech. I think I’ve mentioned that they were close before.[/b]”

“[b]Why weren’t you asked to speak at the service?[/b]”

“[b]I have no idea.[/b]”

“[b]Why do you think you weren’t asked to speak?[/b]”

Dr. Richards took a few notes, eyeing Christopher curiously.

“[b]B-because my Mother knew.[/b]”

“[b]Knew what, Christopher?[/b]”

“[b]That I despised the man. I had been wishing he was dead for a very long time.[/b]”

“[b]Because of his alcoholism?[/b]”

“[b]No,[/b]“ he replied dryly, “[b]Because he hated me.[/b]”

“[b]And why is that?[/b]”

“[b]He hated me because of what everyone said about me. The press, they‘re monsters for the torture they have put and my family through.[/b]”

“[b]We’ve been in these sessions for over a year and you have said that your issues with your father predate the arrest. Could it be that you feel distance from your father for another reason?[/b]“

“[b]Please don‘t try this again, Dr. Richards.[/b]“

“[b]You can just say it… you’re a homosexual.[/b]”

Silence. Christopher clenched his fist in anger.

“[b]You don’t honestly believe that, do you?![/b]” he shouted, “[b]It’s enough to come to these damned meeting every other week for a year, and you still come at me with that bullshit! I‘m not a homosexual, Dr. Richards…[/b]”

“[b]Despite my own professional opinion, Mr. Francis, the government believes you are in fact a closeted homosexual, rather than something far, [i]far[/i] worse. As such, unfortunate incidents like the one that placed you in my care can be prevented in the future, if and only if you confront your inner demons and seek treatment.[/b]”

“[b]‘[I]Inner demons?![/I]’ I’ve told you a thousand times, I’m not gay, and I don’t know how those files--[/b]”

“[b]You know exactly where those photographs came from, and so does everyone else in France![/b]"

Dr. Richards stopped herself for a moment, hoping to calm both of them down.

"[b]Christopher, If your neighbors hadn’t left the country so suddenly…[/b]” she pointed towards him accusingly as she spoke, “[b]I don’t know… you’re very lucky the judge ordered counseling after everything you've done.[/b]”

Christopher Francis suddenly turned pale. He stared at Dr. Richards with a grim expression on his face, and slowly rose to his feet.

“[b]I… I think I’d like to end this session early.[/b]”

Dr. Richards rolled her eyes, and wrote a few more notes on her papers.

“[b]That‘s probably for the best… [/b]” she coldly replied, “[b]Please see my assistant on your way out, Mr. Francis. Your court-ordered appointments are scheduled to end with this session, but I‘ve recommended to the government that you continue seeking treatments, with a different doctor.[/b]”

“[b]Thanks anyways, but I think I'm going to be leaving Marseille. This year has been nothing but a waste of my time.[/b]”

"[b]Goodbye, Mr. Francis.[/b]"

Christopher stormed out of the office, slamming the door behind him.[/size][/indent]
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As always, it seemed that her fellow brethren among the Gods could not or simply would not in their pride, see her for what she truly was. Celesta knew that of all who were in the room, Raone would be the only one to see her with some form of clarity. With the tiniest of sighs she turned to look at the pool. It was time to do as Paraxis stated, to hold nothing back and set her own strategy in motion by bestowing her power to one of the souls. Whether or not that soul was her champion or not did not matter, let the others wonder as to just who got her power for now.

Celesta had ignored Jachym's suppressed laughter at Telumas's statements directed towards her, they were nothing new after all. The huntress always assumed that others disrespected her abilities just as she also arrogantly assumed that they gave her an edge. [I]We shall see[/I], Celesta thought as she ignored Teluma's exit, since she had clearly mistaken the idle banter as more than just words.

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[I]What a night[/I], James Alan thought, pleased as he got ready to leave work. The ladies had been most generous with their tips as well as the appreciative and measuring glances and caresses he had gotten from those close enough to sneak them in. It would probably upset his girlfriend if she knew though, James or rather Jamie as he often was called had already had one fight with her about him finding a job that did not have him serving drinks dressed in tight leather jeans with no shirt and a leather studded type of collar.

But living in Los Angeles was expensive and finding work that paid so well wasn't easy, especially since he had never gone to college. And other than a handful of times, he did not sleep with the customers. Jamie sighed to himself as he stripped out of his outfit in the back room and changed into his simple jeans and tee shirt to head home.

"[B]Dude, you're an idiot,[/B]" his co-worker Jake said as he came into the room to get ready for work.

"[B]What's that suppose to mean?[/B]" Jamie laughed as he finished pulling on his shirt.

"[B]Don't think I didn't notice you watching the newest girl. You've already got a girlfriend, remember?[/B]"

Jamie shifted uncomfortably since he had been watching the newest employee, "[B]Well yeah, but lately she's on this kick about me finding another job so I'm not sure how it's going to work out."[/B]

Jake just laughed, "[B]One of those eh? Too bad. I hope you at least got a taste of her first.[/B]" He remarked before he turned and left to go and take his station behind the bar of the expensive club they both worked for.

Jamie just sighed to himself as he grabbed the rest of his things from his locker before heading out the back door. He was surprised by a brilliant flash of white light and what seemed to be a woman dressed in a flowing white gown with long flowing black hair. [I]What the hell?[/I]

"[B]I have chosen you mortal,[/B]" she spoke with a voice that was beautiful in a way he could not describe. "[B]For now you will house my power, the ability to heal. Use it wisely.[/B]"

"[B]What?[/B]" Jamie stammered, but she continued as if he had not spoken and he fought to try and see her more clearly through the blinding light.

"[B]You would do well to remember that your own strength will be tied to my power, the greater the need, the more it will cost you.[/B]"

Then without warning the light and the woman was gone and Jamie found himself in a place he did not recognize. [I]What the hell just happened? Who was that woman? And what did she mean by power to heal?[/I] He looked around uncertain as to what he should do as well as feeling confused by the strange sensation that he had been changed somehow.
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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"]Bellanna just looked at Illyria through slightly narrowed eyes before turning away. "[B]Leave it to you to enjoy inflicting pain on others Illyria.[/B]"

"[B]Whatever do you mean dear Bellanna?[/B]" She said with a grin. "[B]Did I not say that given a chance I would choose according to my heart's desire? That extends to more than mere mortals.[/B]"

"[B]Then perhaps you would do well to do away with madness and look deep within that heart of yours to see what you truly desire.[/B]" Bellanna gave Illyria her full attention briefly. "[B]If you even posses the ability to see beyond the madness you yourself are caught up in.[/B]" Bellanna turned away and back to the pool to watch as yet another soul awakened to The Ragnarok, before long all of them would be there and then the games would truly begin.

"[B]One's madness is another's truth.[/B]" Illyria stated, causing Bellanna to look back at her.

"[B]As it should be.[/B]" Paraxis chimed in.

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Kenneth Harvey was late. And if there was one thing he was sure of, his boss had no patience for anyone who was late. Cursing under his breath he grabbed his equipment for taking pictures and started to head for the door when the strap on one broke, causing the case to spill to the floor and pop open. All of his stuff went everywhere.

"[B]Shit![/B]" He swore as he dashed back into his room to find the spare case. "[B]For the love of... I don't have time for this![/B]" Frustrated he headed straight for his closet.

Angrily he practically tore the doors to his closet off their hinges in his haste to snatch the spare case he had. Quickly he grabbed it and went back into the main room and getting down on his hands and knees he grabbed everything that had fallen out.

Kenneth was just standing up when the phone rang. "[B]Now what?[/B]" He practically shouted as he stalked over and picked it up to answer. "[B]What do you want?[/B]" He growled at the person on the other end.

"[B]Don't take that attitude with me Mr. Harvey, if you don't get your butt over here immediately you're fired, understand?[/B]"

Kenneth winced at the irritation in his bosses voice. "[B]Yes sir, sorry sir, I'll be right there sir.[/B]" Quickly he hung up and headed for the door to the apartment complex he lived in muttering under his breath.

"[B]Yes sir![/B]" He said sarcastically, "[B]How about I kiss your ass while I'm at it sir![/B]" Kenneth reached for the door handle intending to open it. "[B]Damn stupid immature fool![/B]"

Kenneth stepped through the door, slamming it shut behind him. [I]I need to find someone else to work for [/I]he thought as he headed down the stairs and out the main door to the building.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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[FONT="Tahoma"][b][i]'Mortals are strange, the majority of them are dishonest with one another even when there is no reason to hide the truth. It seems no matter where they are, people have become far too adjusted to the idea of hiding behind false images of what they deem as ideal. Yet no energy is put into making that image a reality. Is something that will last the duration of their life really not worth pursueing to them?'[/b][/i]

Raone thought to himself as he watched as each soul chosen to participate in this [i]"game"[/i] of Paraxis's was brought to light.

[b]"Raone, i'm interested to know whom of these pathetic mortals you would bestow your light on. None of them appear to be worth it."[/b] Illiriya commented, clearly unimpressed. Raone just straightened his posture and tapped his fingers against the shaft of his maul.

[b]"You never were the patient one. I'm afraid you'll find out the same time everyone else does."[/b] Raone responded, as he continued to watch on as the next mortal was made visible to the gods and goddesses.

[center][img]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-ian.png[/img][/center]

[b]"Ian! It's Joshua! He's arm is injured, he was trampled by the guard's horses on the road!"[/b] a hysterical man screamed as he ran toward the tents of a small forest settlement. Ian Hughes stood up with a concerned look on his face and placed his quiver he was sewing on the grass.

[b]"Harris, calm down. What has happened? Where is Joshua?"[/b] Ian asked. The old man he called Harries fell to his knees as he reached Ian's tent and began frantically pointing behind him.

[b]"The King's guards, they found out about our village. They are headed this way, I took Joshua with me to bring back more firewood when we were accosted! My deepest apologies for not being able to bring Joshua back. He did manage to get away though, he ran into the forest!"[/b]

Ian stood up suddenly with a concerned look on his face. The settlement's defenses were out, only a handful of them were still present. Ian had made bows, arrows, and quivers in bulk for many years for people but was not actually a fighter himself. He knew his way around the art of archery of course, but never actually killed anyone before.

He looked down at his box with his eyes fixed on it for a good five seconds before going to grab it. His hand began to shake as the reality of the situation began to sink in as he reached for the quiver.

[b][i]'I have to tell Francis...but just five or six men won't be enough. I...I have to do my part too.'[/b][/i] Ian thought to himself as he made his way for the head of the settlement's defenses, Francis's tent. After a few steps he stopped at the sound of the horses galloping, they were close now. Ian heard one of them scream to fire, as arrows flew through the air with little accuracy, obviously meant as intimidation shots.

[b]"Francis! The guards! They've come!"[/b] Ian screamed out as he ran up the hill toward his tent. He ran as fast as he could and reached the tent, he pulled the opening aside, only to be met with a blunt shot by a sword hilt to the face.

Ian fell backwards hard clutching his chin with both hands, fighting not to make a moan of pain. He stumbled over to all fours and crawled away instinctively leaving his bow behind. He struggled to stand again but he soon felt the stinging sensation of having the back of his leg cut by a sword.

[b]"Argh! Damn..."[/b] Ian muttered, clinching his teeth from the pain. He looked up at his attacker, he wore chainmail with the emblem of the King. [b][i]'They've pincered the village? How could they have known...is...is there a spy?'[/b][/i] Ian thought to himself as he tried to back up but a tree blocked his way. [b][i]'Dammit...I've got to do something so I can help the villagers get to safety...'[/b][/i]

Ian ducked the swing of the guard's sword and scrambled as best he could with his injured leg through the leaves and dirt and lunged at his bow. His hands were still shaking, he picked it up but it was as if he wasn't even sure what to do with it. The guard advanced again and tried to stab downward but Ian rolled out of the way and spilled downhill.

Ian huffed and puffed as he reached behind his back and pulled a single arrow out from the quiver. He pressed it up against the bow and struggled to get it in place right. His nerves were getting to him, but he wasn't sure if it was fear or anxiety. He held the bow ready to fire and observed the top of the hill he fell down to see the guard. Seconds passed and nobody showed their face.

[b][i]'Where...where did he go...where did he go!?'[/b][/i]

Ian only heard the sound of footsteps and horses but nothing near him. He backed up slowly, moments later hearing the snapping of a branch within his vicinity. He turned his body quickly to look but saw nothing. Ian put himself at a temporary ease as he turned around intent on finding some of the people he can lead away from the forest. He turned slowly but bumped into another person with his arm before seeing him.

[b]"Get away!"[/b] Ian yelled as he drew back his bowstring again out of self-preservation and let it go before he could even get a firm grip on the furthest pull back point. The arrow soared three feet infront of him and pierced the person infront of him. He dropped to his knees as blood covered his body, the arrow sticking out from his abdomen. Ian's eyes grew large though as he realized only seconds later that it was not a guard he shot.

[b]"...god....oh god...J...Joshua! JOSHUA HOLD ON."[/b] Ian screamed as he lifted the head of his youngest son up. Joshua tried to speak, but the wound had taken him quickly. He lay dead in his father's arms, his eyes wide open and lifeless, his shoulder length brown hair trailing in the dirt. Ian shook and cried with blood on his fingers. He had finally done it, he had killed someone with the very arrows he made...and his first victim...was his own son. He stayed there until he was discovered by the king's guards, but at that point he didn't care.

[b]"Alright rebel scum, you'll enjoy the confines of the dungeon before your execution!"[/b] one of them said, tieing Ian's hands together and forcing him away.[/FONT]
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[COLOR="DarkRed"]Treisleilai only stared ahead with her flaming black eyes as the others bickered. It amused her, as did most thing. Those raging motions - those swirling thoughts, that beautiful pride. All were things she could not harbor in herself, and so turned to imbue it into others. She danced in the fires of sorrow and the horror of desire. She would be the only god to rule all of mankind. She would bathe their race in sin. [/COLOR]

[CENTER][img]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-farah.png[/img][/CENTER]

[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]The room in which Farah awoke was one of a grotesque and horrific nature. It was only about the size of an average bedroom, but all of the walls were completely black. Only a dim, sourceless light radiated about the interior. For the first couple hour, she had done nothing but panic blindly, calling out and banging on walls. Her mental unrest peaked when she realized the blood splatters trailing across many of the walls. For a while afterward, she'd only cried and begged for death. She contemplated suicide. After all, she was already strapped up with explosives.

"Put this on!" Her husband screamed in their native language. She cried and begged for mercy, but he beat her in the face to the ground. "You are my woman, do as I say!" When she cried he became enraged. He would tear off her garments and rape her. Once she was limp and submissive, he tied the explosive belt around her, put her clothes back on, and dragged her out into the city street.

He had never told her what they planned to use her to blow up, but it was just as well because she disappeared only minutes later.

Even though she'd not wanted to die before, now it was constant on her mind. She hovered her finger over the trigger and tapped on it with the tip of her nail. Where was her husband? He would have filled her with his love and given her a direction to walk. Now she was all alone.

After having slept, and once more spending her time with tears, she became smart. Perhaps she gained some near-death focus, or her mind was no longer willing to be idle when a conclusion was available. She unstrapped the bomb from her belt and laid it on the ground beside one of the walls. The cord was long enough that if she jumped away in the 2-second interval before the bomb exploded, she might not be harmed.

Her plan was put into action, and from the other corner of the room she flinched, as her huddled body avoided being harmed by the explosion. She was not so lucky with the chucks of wall which flew off. I tiny piece sliced a knuckle of her left pinky finger clean off. A larger piece narrowly avoided blowing her head into tiny chunks, instead cutting the veil down from her face. She also received a bruise on her thigh.

Though howling in pain from her bleeding finger, she hurried through the newly-made hole in the wall, but emerged somewhere that made no sense to her. [/COLOR]
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[size=1][indent][b]How unnecessary![/b] Illyria announced the group, “[b]What is the value of a healing card if nobody is yet injured?[/b]”

“[b]Give it time, brother,[/b]” Celesta replied, clearly annoyed, “[b]As our players awake things will change. You may very well wish for the power of healing before this game is over…[/b]”

Telumas nodded.

“[b]The pieces are falling into place, Illyria[/b]” she added, "[b]Tread lightly, for I fear Celesta's trap may already have been set...[/b]"

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Patrick Malone woke up hungry. Every morning he woke up hungry. Life in Ireland was better after the famine had ended, or so he was told, but everywhere he looked he was a people starving. His father, a simple farmer, hardly earned enough to feed himself after paying the landlords, let alone his seven children. Patrick and his siblings were forced to sing for their supper through the church, but even that wasn’t enough.

The starving masses needed more, yet everywhere they looked they faced great difficulties. Whether it was King Edward or the corrupt government, it seemed that God had given up on Ireland.

The thin young man opened his eyes and realized that he must have dozed off during midnight mass. The large wooden church was seemingly abandoned for the night. [I]I had better get home,[/I] he thought to himself as he looked around the empty church, [I]My father is going to beat the shit out of me for being so late.[/I]

Patrick noticed the prayer candles stacked against the church walls. Over the years he had said many prayers for his friends and loved ones, yet not a single one was answered. His mother grew more and more sick by the day, but nobody seemed to be able to pay for his medicine. As Patrick approached the candles, their flames seemed to grow.

“[b]There’s no point, is there?[/b]” he said as he picked up an empty candle to say a prayer, “[b]But I gotta try anyways for you, Mum.[/b]”

A single tear rolled down Patrick’s cheek as he prayed for his mother’s health. So many of his friends had traveled to the United States in hopes of starting new lives, but he knew that the woman wouldn’t be survive the long trip. More importantly, his family couldn’t afford their rent, let alone a voyage halfway across the world.

He grabbed an unused match set against the altar and struck it. A brilliant burst of flame exploded from the small wooden stick, causing Patrick to drop it from surprise.

“[b]Shit![/b]” he exclaimed, “[b]What the hell was that?[/b]”

A single spark of the matchstick ignited against the oils of the wooden altar. The altar, the candles, the wall. Soon the entire church was ablaze. Paralyzed by fear, all Patrick could do was call for help, his voice muffled beneath the sound of the roaring fire.

He stepped back cautiously as the fire continued to grow, slowly making its way for the doors. The young man dashed towards the exit, pausing momentarily to assess the situation. In a moment the only haven for his small community would become a pile of ashes and it was all his fault.

For the first time in his life Patrick Malone wasn‘t hungry. He was afraid.[/size][/indent]
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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]Jachym smiled at the irritation in Illyria voice over Celesta bestowing her power so quickly. He had yet to decide just who would receive his power but he could understand why Celesta had put her own strategy in motion. The real question was determining just what her strategy really was.

"[B]You always were a bit slow in understanding why the rest of us do things in the manner we see fit Illyria.[/B]" He said scornfully. "[B]Bellanna is correct, perhaps madness has clouded your judgment.[/B]"

Illyria glared at him, her eyes narrowed, "[B]Just as the endless seas have washed away any judgment that you might have had.[/B]"

"[B]Let us pay attention to the game brethren instead of bickering among ourselves."[/B] Paraxis chided.

With a mocking half bow towards Illyria, Jachym turned his attention back to the pool. All of the chosen souls had arrived, it was time to truly begin.

[CENTER]***********************************[/CENTER]
Ian was sunk in the deepest of grief and despair as the King's guard finally removed his bonds to shove him into the confines of the cell. But as he stumbled through the door he was struck by a flash of light so bright that instinctively he closed his eyes. Confused by the sudden change in temperature since he could feel warm sunlight upon his back, he opened his eyes and stood there, wondering if he had slipped into madness.

For he was in an open field just outside what appeared to be a wondrous village with buildings made of the finest craftsmanship he had ever seen. Confused he stumbled towards the city, made of what seemed to be a type of smooth stone. But the closer he got, the more confused he became. There was no sounds to be heard and when he finally walked through the gates, it was clear that in spite of the open market with foods in the stalls, there was no one there.

"[B]Where am I? What is this place?[/B]" He wondered aloud as he found a spot to sit down, exhausted by all that had happened. He was wondering what to do next when a youth stumbled out of the doors of one of the closet buildings.

He was coughing and running hunched over as if something troubled him, until finally Ian saw him stumble and roll down the stairs uncontrollably before coming to a rest. Ian was considering what to do when the youth finally started to get up, looking behind him in panic before finally turning around to look at the surroundings. He seemed to be just as confused as Ian was, though upon seeing him he froze in place.

Decided Ian stood up and approached him. "[B]Excuse me, but do you know where we are?[/B]" He halted when the youth looked like he was going to run.

"[B]No.[/B]" Patrick finally spoke up, looking past Ian at the food that was out. "[B]Are you the owner of this market place?[/B]" Patrick asked, forgetting in his hunger that Ian had just indicated that he didn't know where they were.

"[B]No, like I said, I don't know where I am. I don't even know how I got here.[/B]" Ian tried to put a calm expression on his face, but it was hard, all he could think of was poor Joshua. "[B]My name is Ian, what is yours?[/B]"

"[B]Patrick sir.[/B]" Once again he glanced at the food, it had been such a long time since his last real meal. The church, though the food was plain, was not stingy, but with seven siblings, it was never enough. This Ian seemed friendly enough... He knew better than to steal but as he looked around yet again and saw that no one else was around he finally gave in. Picking up an apple to eat, and when Ian seemed to give it no mind, he sat down and helped himself.

Ian thought to say something but changed his mind. The poor boy was painfully thin, not like his poor Joshua who though they lived a simple life, always had enough. Besides, other than the youth he still had seen no one else around. If there truly was no one it would be wasteful to allow so much food to go to waste.

He ignored Patrick in favor of entering one of the buildings to go to the top level and look out. He ignored the pain from the wounds he had received, oddly, from the moment he had found himself in this strange new place they had nearly vanished. But when he reached the top and could look out. He was chilled by seeing nothing but more buildings and no signs of life beyond the boy who was still down on the street helping himself to the food there.

With a tiny sigh, Ian turned to head back down only to stumble when he accidentally hit a small well crafted statue, tipping it over. He reached to grab it and missed. Ian couldn't help but wince as it struck the floor and broke into pieces. [I]That's probably worth more than our entire village! [/I] Hastily he left the room not wishing to be caught by whoever owned the place. Moments later he was back on the street, wondering what to do next.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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"[B]Trap you say?[/B]" Celesta resisted the urge to sigh. "[B]I do not trap, nor hunt, I support all of creation.[/B]"

She could see that the others were going to speak but she deliberately turned her back on them to look at the pool instead. It bothered her that they could not resolve their differences and were resorting to such a terrible game to put an end to the petty bickering that had plagued them for so long.

[I]I must win this, or else all of creation is doomed[/I]. For most of those who remained would be troublesome should they be the one to emerge as the victor of The Ragnarok.

[CENTER]**************************[/CENTER]
When Charlotte Jouet came too, it was not where she was suppose to be. Startled she tried to get up, frightened by how she had ended up in such a distant and unknown place. She had barely sat up on the cold stone street among the equally cold buildings made of a type of marble when a young man carrying some strange cases came running out one of the doors only to halt in confusion.

"[B]What the hell?[/B]" Kenneth Harvey exclaimed. "[B]Where the hell is this place?[/B]"

Charlotte took in his poor attire with a glance and without thinking, slipped into the stance of one of Nobility and spoke up with authoritative tones when the young man's glance met her's.

"[B]What are you gawking at? Help me up at once![/B]" But it did not have the reaction she was accustomed to getting as the man simply raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms.

"[B]Why don't you get yourself up lady. I don't know what hole you crawled out from but I don't take orders from stuck up strangers.[/B]"

Taken aback Charlotte couldn't help but glare at him, how dare he insult a lady in such a manner! Furious she struggled with her long skirts until she was finally up. She stalked over to where he was, prepared to slap him for his insolence only to gasp in surprise when he caught her wrist.

"[B]Now I know you're nuts.[/B]" He snarled at her as he pushed her back and let go of her wrist at the same time. "[B]What kind of bitch rudely demands someone help them and then tries to hit them when they refuse because the one asking was rude to begin with?[/B]"

"[B]What kind of man would refuse a lady who was obviously in need of help? Clearly I mistook you for a gentleman, I won't do so again.[/B]" Charlotte said with a huff. She turned to stalk off and halted again. For one thing she didn't recognize the city she was in. It was built of fine marble and was of excellent craftsmanship, but it was also empty. Other than the rude man she had just met.

"[B]I take it you don't know where this crazy place is either, or else you wouldn't be standing there gawking like an idiot.[/B]" Kenneth said.

Charlotte turned around. "[B]If I knew that I most certainly wouldn't be talking to you.[/B]"

"[B]Oh of course not, since according to you I'm not a gentleman. Well I got news for ya, you aren't a lady either.[/B]"

Both of them just stood there, glaring at one another, wondering what the hell had happened and how they had ended up in this strange place. [I]Great,[/I] Kenneth thought. [I]I finally get out of having to go to work only to get stuck with this nut case.[/I]
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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][I]So Celesta has already made the first move[/I]. Bellanna thought[I]. And Treisleilai is strangely quiet.[/I] She looked to the pool, those who had been chosen were all there, but who should she give her power too? As she watched the mortals begin to run into each other, some in a most literal fashion, she smiled as a thought occurred to her. [I]I will bestow my power, in due time. [/I]

Bellanna cast a sly glance in Raone?s direction. [I]I wonder if even he will see this coming?[/I] It would be amusing to see, that was for sure.

[CENTER]*************************[/CENTER]
[I]Okay? This is just silly.[/I] Reiko Cheng thought as she looked around at the strange city she was in. All she had done was simply walk out the door of her apartment to go job hunting but instead had found herself in this strange place. She had been walking for a while, cautiously calling out but to no avail. The place seemed to be deserted. And if she was not mistaken it seemed as she was in something out of history no less. It reminded her of ancient Roman and Grecian styled buildings that she had seen in old movies and history books. No signs of modern conveniences at all, no phones, no lights. Even her cell phone was picking up no signals at all.

?[B]This has got to be a dream.[/B]? She said to herself as she approached one of the larger buildings, climbing up the steps to open the massive doors and peek inside. But before she could do more than open the doors and register movement, a flash of seeing someone moving and then whoever it was slammed into her as they ran out the doors Reiko had just opened. She did not have a chance to react as the momentum sent her backwards and the two of them literally tumbled head over heels down the marble steps.

Several times Reiko felt her head slam painfully into the hard cold marble, making her feel light headed until finally she came to a rest half on her back with the unknown person resting on top of her. Still feeling slightly dazed she struggled to shake it off and shove the person off her but then they began to stir lifting their head and she was startled by realizing that it was another woman.

For a long moment the two just stared at one another until the other woman hastily untangled herself and moved to the side so she was sitting on the ground. Reiko sat up and looked for her small hand bag and saw it resting on a step about halfway up the steps.

?[B]Why don?t you look where you?re going next time?[/B]? She said, but the other woman was not paying attention as she was focusing on the doorway. Then as if realizing Reiko was there she turned to face her, a darkening bruise appearing on her right cheek.

?[B]I...[/B]? Naomi Gallo stammered as she slowly got up, looking around. ?[B]What the? Where?[/B]?

Reiko sighed, ?[B]Are you always this articulate?[/B]? She asked as she got up and went to retrieve her hand bag, turning to look back at the other woman once she had it.

?[B]I didn?t see you.[/B]? Naomi stammered, turning slightly red, embarrassed that she had knocked the other woman over. She was about to say more but halted at the sound of two people arguing coming their way.

Both of them turned to see a pregnant woman wearing outlandishly older clothing arguing with a guy who was carrying what seemed to be an older styled camera case. Both of them were unsure as what to think but clearly the guy was pleased.

?[B]Finally![/B]? He exclaimed upon seeing them. ?S[B]omeone who isn?t dressed like an old sissy.[/B]? A remark that brought a scowl to the pregnant woman?s face.
[I]
What in the world is going on here? [/I]Reiko thought. [/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"][COLOR=#3D597E][B]"Tell me Celesta,"[/B] Telumas chimed in, after some time.

A few, such as Bellanna were occupied with what was happening inside the Ragnarok. Others were talking idly amongst themselves.

[B]"What do you plan on doing with the mortal realm, should you win?"[/B]

Celesta gave Telumas her full attention for the first time since the "game" had started. However, she did not answer; merely gawked at such an interesting, or perhaps, difficult question.

[B]"You claim to value all life the same, yet you participate in such a cruel display of death. I'm curious what you would do if you won? Would you allow all mortals to live forever?"[/B] She pressed.

Celesta remained quiet once more. After a few moments of contemplation, she replied, [B]"I believe that my stance on life is clear, Telumas."[/B] She mocked the huntress, but danced around the question. After more thought, [B]"Life and death come as a part of nature. I suppose all living things must die eventually, but one should never disrespect a mortal's life simply because they can."[/B]

[B]"Right, you are,"[/B] She replied, beginning to walk a circle around the pool in the center. [B]"However, is participating in the Ragnarok not a direct contradiction to that statement?"[/B]

The goddess of life hesitated. It was a paradox that Celesta had struggled with since the beginning of time and Telumas knew that. Celesta opened her mouth to speak, but Telumas cut her off.

[B]"The mortal realm should not be ruled by one who is biased in mortal affairs."[/B] Treisleilai nodded in agreement to this statement. She must have missed her own one-sided agenda. [B]"If I were to win--"[/B] She continued.

[B]"Yes, what would you do?"[/B] Jachym spoke for the first time in quite awhile. [B]"For that matter, how do you even plan on winning?"[/B]

But this was something, Telumas was prepared for. She picked up her Sure Shot card and tossed it into the pool, not caring who received it. [B]"I have a strategy, do not worry. But randomness alwasy makes thing more interesting, wouldn't you say so?"[/B][/COLOR]

[CENTER]***************[/CENTER]

Charles Jefferson emreged to something completely different from a ship's deck. In fact, he found that he wasn't even near a body of water.

[B]"What's going on?"[/B] He shielded his eyes from the sun. His arms were still heavy from the shackles, but he climbed out into the strange room nonetheless. [B]"Where am I?"[/B]

[B]"Search me,"[/B] A boy's voice spoke up behind Charles. He turned slowly to find a white boy, dressed in odd clothing and carrying some kind of board. Charles was too confused to speak. The white boy didn't even speak like the owners he had come to known.
[B]"Do you need some help?"[/B] He asked with an unfamiliar kindness. Without waiting for an answer, the boy had reached him and held out a hand, which Charles instinctively flinched from.

[B]"I'm not going to hurt you,"[/B] Again Charles was confused, [B]"Name's Ash. What's yours?"[/B]

Charles took the white boy's hand and heaved himself out of the strange hole in the ground that was once his holding quarters. The doorway dissappeared the moment they were through it.

[B]"Charles, sir."[/B] he said. The sir, once agian, was instinct. [B]"Do you know where we are?"[/B]

[B]"No clue, but it looks like you could use even more help."[/B] Ash said, pointing to his shackles. He stood again to fetch something from the far side of the room. Charles couldn't make out what it was, but it certainly wasn't a key. The boy put it into the keyholes of his shackels and fidgeted around a bit before dropping one chain after another to the ground, freeing Charles on a level neither of them could comprehend.

Suddenly, Charles felt a sharp pang through his left shoulder. It was white hot and he doubled over in pain. Ash went to help. He laid the slave on his back, attempting to prop his head on one of his back-packs. The rich kid really had no idea what else he should be doing. He had only see that on TV.

Eventually the pain passed just as quickly as it had come, and Charles regained mobility, being helped up again by the strange boy.

[B]"We should probably get out of here,"[/B] Ash spoke after surveying the room.

[B]"Yes sir."[/B]

[B]"Cut it out with the sir thing, will ya? You look older than I am. My name's Ash. You should call me Ash. Okay?"[/B] He patted a hand on Charles's back and the began walking towards what appeared to be the exit.

[I]You have the power to change your destiny. Only you can harness it[/I]

Those words seemed to echo in the back of his mind as the two men exited the bright room into an even brighter exterior composed of gorgeous marble buildings. Charles remembered his grandfather telling him that every night just before he passed away. However, the part that caught his attention was the fact that the words his grandfather used to often in life, were now spokeng by a smooth female's voice.[/SIZE]

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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]"[B]I have a strategy, do not worry. But randomness alwasy makes thing more interesting, wouldn't you say so?[/B]"

Jachym merely said nothing to this statement, it was nothing more than Telumas usual attempts to hide her strategy, a true hunter did not rely on randomness. Without a doubt he was sure that her power had flown to who she desired to have it.

And the ever so tiring statement that one who was biased should not be involved? In a way, even Jachym was tired of hearing the same old speech as each one of them through the millennia had made such grand statements many times over. Nitpicking at each other much in the way mortal children did.

He studied the mortals with interest since though he had decided which one to give his power too, it was still just a tiny bit too soon to do so. With a smile he watched on.

[CENTER]*****************************[/CENTER]
Christopher Francis did not know how he had ended up in this strange city and on some level he didn't care. Family or not, supposed 'inner demons' or not, he was tired of society and their narrow minded views upon what they considered him to be. He was not homosexual, not in the sense that the damn doctor and the government thought. Did eating a cow make one a cannibal? Of course not! There was no point in talking to them since they would never understand that younger boys filled a need and were not an indication that he wished to spend his life with one. Or any other guy for that matter.

He sighed from his vantage point of watching the only two people he had seen since he had found himself in the strange city. The older one had referred to himself as Ian, the younger one, the one that he was really watching called himself Patrick. How long had it been? Since those distasteful photographs had been found? From the strength of the urgings he was having, it had been far too long.

It was a shame, as he watched the two of them enter one of the buildings across the street, that the boy was not alone. He didn't dare approach them so easily. At least not until he understood the situation a little better. And when he did... Just the thought of having Patrick all to himself was almost more than he could stand. There were all sorts of things he had always wanted to try but Christopher had been too afraid of being caught by those narrow minded fools who did not understand.

He turned his attention back to the residence he was in, for that was what it was, someone's home, with beautiful furnishings and comfortable accommodation's. Even the very bathroom had been equipped with a full sunk in tub instead of a more modern shower. [I]I wonder if the water is heated?[/I] He had noticed two handles for getting water. It had been such a stressful day and a hot relaxing bath as well as taking the time to relieve the urges he felt would be perfect.

Decided Christopher went and checked, smiling a bit when he turned them on and discovered that one of them was indeed hot water. He didn't know how it was possible, what with the city being deserted and all, but since it was, there was no reason why he could not take advantage of it. As the water flowed he searched and found towels along with clothing in a more ancient style. Then once it was ready, he stripped down, and slipped into the water.

Then moments later, once he was sure he was truly alone, he slipped into the mental fantasies he preferred as his hands slipped under the water and he brought himself to the brink and beyond as he imagined it was the boy servicing him and not his own hands. [/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[size=1][indent]“[b]This one fascinates me,[/b]” Illyria said as she stared into the pool, “[b]The woman in the shroud… Farah, is it?[/b]”

Paraxis nodded.

“[b]That is her name,[/b]” the God of Death replied dryly, “[b]But please keep your bias to yourself. Any affection you show to these mortal souls may in effect make them a target…[/b]”

“[b]Certainly, brother, but I find nothing more fascinating than a soul who lives their life behind a mask.[/b]”

“[b]To some a veil is a mask, but to others it might be a cage. Everything serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things.[/b]”

[center][img]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-jamie.png[/img][img]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c323/SamSandy/Ragnarok/ragnarok-soul-farah.png[/img][/center]
Farah stepped through the hole in the wall, slowly groping her way through the smoke of the explosion. Bruised and bleeding she knew she would have to leave before the police arrived, but the woman had nowhere to go. If she returned to her husband she would be scolded, beaten and possibly killed for defying her wishes; the alternative of turning herself in was even worse. She knew that Allah was angry, why else would he have allowed her to survive?

Clutching her wound she continued to move forward, and felt a sudden change in the climate. No longer was she in the dry, arid dessert heat but in a foggy, lush rainforest. She had been told stories of such places when she was very young, long before the war, but never in her life did she imagine it to be so beautiful.

[I]How can this be possible?[/I] she thought to herself, [I]Maybe I did die after all…[/I]

The tall jungle trees seemed to stretch on forever, and the unfamiliar sounds of wildlife could be heard echoing throughout. She noticed a colorful bird perched on one of the branches of a nearby tree and found herself entranced by its’ beauty. For several moments the pain of her wound seemed to disappear as she continued to be hypnotized by the unfamiliar creature, not noticing the sound of footsteps trailing closely behind her.

“[b]Hello?![/b]” an unfamiliar male voice called out a few meters away, “[b]Is anybody there?[/b]”

Farah turned around and was shocked to see what she found. A pale young man with long dark hair and penetrating blue eyes. In his ripped jeans and tight-fitting tee he seemed even more foreign to her than the mysterious rainforest. He looked like one of the sinners who had occupied her homeland: [I]an infidel[/I].

The stranger smiled as he approached her, cautiously extending his hand to greet her.

“[b]My name is Jamie,[/b]” he said, “[b]Are you alright?[/b]”

She quickly pulled away, turning her head as to avoid eye contact with the young man. Never in her life had she met a man so careless and disrespectful, but how was she able to understand what him?

Jamie eyed Farah’s navy blue burka, now stained with the bright red color of her own blood. He remembered everything the strange woman had told him back in Los Angeles; if he truly had the power to heal perhaps this was his chance to use it.

“[b]Please, please… listen to me. Are you injured? You’re bleeding, aren’t you?[/b]”

Farah began walking away cautiously, making sure not to trip in the deep jungle brush. This boy looked nothing like any doctor she had ever seen. More importantly, she would never allow a strange man to touch her, regardless of the circumstances. For a proper and respectful woman like Farah, to think otherwise would be madness.

Jamie tugged tightly onto Farah’s clothing, ripping the veil off of her to touch her wounds. Although he didn’t know exactly how he was going to help her, he knew that touching her was the key. Farah screamed in agony as the force of the pull knocked her to the ground. So badly hurt, she hardly had the strength to fight back as the white man ran his fingers alongside her severe wounds.

“[b]Just stay calm.. Oh shit… I hope you understand me. I’m only trying to help…[/b]”

As Jamie pressed his hands against the wounds he felt a powerful force overtaking his body. He saw the strange woman who had embraced him, and with that, a bright light emanated from his hands. Farah struggled to get free, but Jamie’s brilliant glow seemed to paralyze her. When the glow finally faded all of Farah’s wounds were healed, her finger repaired, and the blood was gone.

“[b]Why did you touch me?![/b]” she shouted as she violently pushed Jamie off of her, “[b]God, what have you done to me!?[/b]”

Jamie began moaning on the ground; now one of his fingers was missing and bleeding in the same manner that Farah’s were. She instantly recognized these wounds, and her eyes narrowed as she looked at the helpless young man. He wrapped his hand in his shirt to stem the bleeding.

A loud roar could be heard in the distance, and Farah immediately turned to it, startled. She quietly grabbed her clothing from the ground, and redressed herself quietly. Jamie continued to cry from the pain, eventually getting to his feet.

“[b]You need to help me…[/b]” he begged. No response.

“[b]You need to help me, you bitch![/b]”

Farah looked at Jamie, her eyes filled with hatred. The loud roar could be heard once again, this time closer and louder than before. Jamie extended his bleeding to the woman, and she immediately struck it away. Farah reached for a large stone on the ground, and struck him across the skull with a strength she had never felt before. For her entire life she had been a victim to her husband and the men of her life, now due to the foolish sacrifice of this stranger she had been given a second chance at life.

Jamie fell to the ground unconscious, a small pool of blood spreading across the thick jungle brush. Farah grinned from beneath her shroud, and retreated further into the forest. Nightfall was approaching.[/size][/indent]
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"[B]What were you saying about unnecessary Illyria?[/B]" Celesta commented as she watched Jamie use the power to heal the injured woman.

He clearly did not understand how the ability to heal worked. Though once he woke up he would. Just as it took his strength to heal, once he had rested, the injuries that he took upon himself would also heal. Even now as she watched him through the pool his finger had already regrown and the blow to his head had stopped bleeding. A little while longer, and other than the blood on his clothes, there would be no sign of injury at all.

"[B]Lets see just how willing he is to heal again, after that incident, your power is as good as useless.[/B]" Illyria taunted.

"[B]We shall see.[/B]" Celesta said with a serene smile.
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Ira was beyond confused, she had left the devastated building where she worked only to find herself in a strange lush jungle she had never seen before. She had turned back to go back into the building, but it was gone. Now, as she traveled in an attempt to figure out where she was, the sounds of someone moaning caught her ears. [I]Is it someone else who escaped the building?[/I] Without giving it a thought she ran towards the noise and halted at the sight of an attractive young man in tight jeans and a tight tee shirt with blood stains lying on the ground.

Alarmed she moved to see what had happened only to halt at the strangest sight she had ever seen. As she watched, his wounds began to close and the bleeding stopped. [I]What in the world? What is he?[/I] Ira considered running but his eyes opened and met hers, looking equally as confused as she felt. He looked at her stupidly and then with great alarm he looked around while running his hands along his own body where the wounds had been. Then after letting out a sigh of relief he turned his attention back to Ira.

"[B]Who are you? What happened to the other woman?[/B]" He asked her as he slowly got up.

"[B]My name is Ira but as for another woman? You were the only one here and I don't know what happened. I left the store after the earthquake and found myself here.[/B]" Ira explained.

"[B]Well good riddance.[/B]" Jamie said. "[B]To the other woman that is, she's the stupid bitch who hurt me in the first place.[/B]" He lied just a bit, while smiling at the attractive woman he had just met. Nothing like the silly cold bitch he had helped.

"[B]My name is Jamie, why don't we see if we can find out where we are?[/B]" He offered his hand to her and then smiled inwardly when she hesitantly took it. [I]Perfect![/I] If he was lucky, he would get to do more than simply hold her hand. She was exotically beautiful with her high cheeks, slender body and beautiful flowing brown hair, nothing like his cold girlfriend. Who the longer he looked at Ira, the more he decided to dump her the moment he saw her again.

In no time the two of them came across what appeared to be a deserted city made of marble. The first home they came to was fantastically built with very lush furniture and such. [I]Man what I wouldn't give to have a place like this![/I] Jamie thought as he looked at Ira who was also gawking at the place.

"[B]Well it seems that no one lives here and night is coming, so I say we simply take the place and use it.[/B]" Jamie ran his hand possessively along a set of silk curtains in the main room as he looked to see what Ira thought. Wishing on an unconscious level that both would soon be his.

"[B]I guess that would be best.[/B]" Ira said shyly as she met his gaze. "[B]I'll look and see if there is anything to eat, I'm sure a place as large as this has several bedrooms.[/B]" Quickly she left the main room, slightly embarrassed by how much she had enjoyed being looked at. Back home she was considered more common looking and quite frankly envied the other girls who got more attention.

[I]Was I saved from the earthquake so I can finally have a chance with someone? [/I] She knew it was wrong, but as she moved through the beautiful home and explored further, the greater the desire to simply move in and spend her time in idle leisure became. [I]Have I died and gone to heaven? [/I]She wondered, after all, why else would an attractive man actually show any interest in her.
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[FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][COLOR="RoyalBlue"]"[B]Dear Raone,[/B]" Bellanna spoke ignoring the others who turned to watch. "[B]You have hardly spoken a word or made a move since this began. Are you giving up when the prize is so close?[/B]" She smiled ever so sweetly when he turned to look at her.

"[B]Truth does not require idle chatter Bellanna, you will see it soon enough.[/B]" He chided her as if scolding an impatient child.

Bellanna laughed delightedly, "[B]You are as stoic as ever Raone.[/B]" She reached up and ran her right hand down through her long flowing blonde hair. "[B]Truth, beauty... who's to say there is any difference?[/B]"

She turned back to the pool, it was time to bestow her power and set her own plans in motion. Bellanna was certain that Raone and even Paraxis did not understand her true motives for playing his little game. She smiled at the thought of achieving her goal.

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Cho Hee was wondering what to do with the child who was sitting among the ashes, she had thought about turning back and simply leaving but when she looked she had found that she was stuck in this new place with the crying child. Exasperated she went over and asked her what was wrong.

"[B]I don't know.[/B]" The girl sniffed. "[B]Everything was burning and I can't remember.[/B]" She looked at Cho Hee and then made up her young mind. "[B]I'm Kirima Nagi, who are you?[/B]"

"[B]Cho Hee.[/B]" And though she would rather not she extended her hand. "[B]We should go and look for your parents don't you think?[/B]" Not that she really cared, if she thought she could do so, she would have simply left the child where she found her.

"[B]Okay,[/B]" Kirima Nagi said hesitantly as she took Cho's hand and stood up. There was only one way to go and both of them took it, but it was not to a place that either one recognized. For stepping out of the burned building went into a strange city and just like before, Cho Hee noticed that the place they had been in was gone.

"[B]Wow![/B]" Kirima said as she let go of Cho's hand and started to wander off into the strange city built of marble. Cho moved to follow when suddenly time seemed to stand still, or perhaps it was just her as she found that she could not move.

"[B]So cold,[/B]" A radiant voice chided her.

Alarmed Cho tried to move but it was if her body was not her own and she found that she could not. [I]What is going on? [/I] She thought in panic, Kirima seemed unaware of her plight as the small child continued and ran up some stairs to enter another building.

"[B]So you don't like the company of other men? How troublesome, and yet I sense a deep well of passion within you.[/B]" As the last word was spoken an Asian woman appeared, ageless and beautiful beyond words.

To Cho Hee, it felt as if her heart had stopped as all sorts of strange feelings she had never felt before assaulted her senses. She struggled to speak and yet could not. [I]W...who is she?[/I] She wondered as the woman approached her and then walked around her while running her left forefinger along her shoulders, sending traces of what felt like fire running through her body, making Cho shake with a sensation she had never felt before.

When she was once again facing Cho, looking at her curiously, the woman smiled. "[B]I was right, you do posses it and therefore it is fitting that of all who are here, my power will for now, belong to you.[/B]"

[I]Power? What does she mean by power? [/I]But before Cho could wonder the woman moved closer and then to her utter shock kissed her passionately. At that point she could not have moved even if she wanted to as the same fire she had felt when the woman had simply touched her intensified as if it was filling her whole body. For a moment everything seemed to go black as she felt faint and collapsed to her knees fighting to stay conscious.

"[B]There she is![/B]" A familiar voice said.

Cho Hee looked up to see that Kirima Nagi had found two other men, both of them looking at her curiously. The woman she had met was gone, she would have dismissed it as but a dream if not for the odd feeling within her, as if all she had to do was wish it and those around her would do as she commanded. [I]What did she do to me?[/I]

"[B]Are you alright miss?[/B]" The older man moved to help her but Cho Hee waved him away.

"[B]I'm fine.[/B]" She said as she got up. But inwardly she was ready to scream. [I]First a damn kid and now men? Why couldn't it have been a woman? [/I] Cho Hee halted at the last thought, troubled by it. Why would the gender matter?

[I]Because foolish one[/I], the voice of the mysterious woman whispered in her mind.[I] It is a woman who interests you. Passion, the power I have given you is not limited to the opposite sex. [/I]

Cho Hee thrust the thought aside. [I]No! [/I]To be interested in women... The shame it would bring to her family, she couldn't be like that! Still, what did she mean by Passion being a power? You can't make someone love you, can you? Troubled she watched as Kirima introduced both Ian and Patrick to her.

"[B]We should really find a place to sleep.[/B]" Ian was saying. "[B]With night approaching we don't know how cold it will get here.[/B]"

Cho nodded in agreement following along as the two men went to another building that turned out to be a home with the furnishings inside. She smiled as she always did as Patrick took Kirima to show her where the things were located in the strange home.
[I]
That woman couldn't have given me the ability to sway others. Such tales are nothing more than fantasy![/I] But her curiosity got the better of her and she tried to focus a bit towards the one called Ian, if only to see what would happen. To her utter shock, as she did so his entire demeanor changed and he focused his gaze on her intently.

"[B]If you don't mind my saying so Miss Hee.[/B]" He looked a bit embarrassed. "[B]But you're very beautiful.[/B]"

Alarmed to no end Cho Hee slammed shut the intent and pracitally ran out of the house to take deep breaths and calm herself. [I]It was just a fluke![/I] She thought desperately, even though she somehow knew it was not.[/COLOR][/FONT]
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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]"[B]You always were a bit of a show off Bellanna.[/B]" Jachym remarked once she had returned from bestowing her power to one of the souls. A remark that resulted in her giving him the tiniest of mocking bows.

"[B]And you are always too reserved Jachym, waiting to see who is more powerful instead of realizing that the longer you wait, the more you lose.[/B]"

"[B]Just as tossing one's power in too soon is equally as foolish,[/B]" He smirked. "[B]But then I suppose for you, waiting is not something you do well.[/B]"

Bellanna just smiled mysteriously instead of bantering back like she always did.

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Even though it was getting dark outside, Cho couldn't stay. It wasn't the strange power either. She hated children and now, though she'd rather not admit it, she realized that she didn't like men either. Cho had spent so long keeping that fake smile plastered on her face that in truth, she felt like snapping.[I] I've been hiding what I am all this time. Is that why she gave me this power? To force me to realize it?[/I] She continued to wander.[I] I have to find out.[/I]

As she wandered through the city, aimless picking a street without care or regard to where she was. Cho wondered just what had happened. The only thing she could think of was that she was dead, but if that were so, just what was this place? If she were to guess, based on the styles of the buildings and what the woman had told her, she would have to think she was not quite in heaven but rather somewhere. Like a spot in between. [I]Do I have to accept things to move on?[/I] Never had she been so confused before. But then flashes of lights caught her attention and she froze, wondering just what was going on.

Reiko was feeling restless, she didn't know Naomi, Kenneth or the stuck up Charlotte, but she had no problem recognizing disdain when it was so clearly spoken. Even now Charlotte's words rang in her ears, her objection to her even being around.[I] Why in the world would a filthy heathen slave such as yourself even be allowed in this fine city?[/I] Reiko had been shocked, her a slave? What in the world had given Charlotte that idea? But when she had said nothing Charlotte had continued in that hateful and haughty voice of hers. [I]You don't belong here, and the moment I find your master rest assured I will inform him of your shameless behavior. [/I]And with that... Charlotte had left to go and explore the building.

Reiko was wondering if she should simply find another spot when she noticed what appeared to be a wall of flame running along the streets heading towards her location. At first it was fascinating to watch as it ran along the street, lighting the torches that were located along the outside of all the buildings. But then it hit her that though it was not damaging the buildings... All that was outside was being turned to ashes.

She turned to run back to the building where the others were only to realize that the time she had spent gawking had resulted in her being cut off. Reiko turned to run for the closest building, wondering if she would make it in time. At the last possible moment she got the doors open, and slipped inside. For a brief second the heat from the flames washed over her and then they were gone as they moved on. With a sigh of relief she turned to look at where she had found herself. Reiko was not about to leave after what had just happened.

It was then that she realized she was not alone, another woman, who was also Asian, was standing there, watching her with the oddest expression on her face, it reminded her of the look she had gotten from her boss who had threatened to fire her if she had not slept with him.[I] Is everyone in this place nuts? [/I]

"[B]Uh... I'm Reiko.[/B]" She stammered, uncomfortably aware of just how beautiful the woman really was.

"[B]I'm Cho.[/B]" Cho Hee responded as she searched Reiko's face wondering if the two of them seeking shelter in the same building was also arranged by the woman who had given her this strange power.

It was clear that she couldn't properly control it, for the more upset or emotional she felt the stronger the feeling of fire running through her became. It was like she was the one being controlled instead of her controlling it. She took a step towards the other woman, apologizing in advance for what she was going to do. But just like with Ian, Reiko's stance changed as she watched her approach.

"[B]I'm sorry.[/B]" Cho whispered as she took her into her arms and gave herself over to the fire that was now coursing through her veins. Cho ignored Reiko's small attempts to protest before she too was consumed by the power of passion. And somewhere, a tiny part of Cho's mind screamed in horror over what she was doing, at the[I] sin [/I]she was committing. [/SIZE][/COLOR]
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