In Progress Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
05-28-2017, 04:35 AM
Post: #951
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"But not being able to kill something has never deterred me from shooting it."

Valentine started shooting the Maw. He threw a few lit sticks of dynamite into it for good measure.
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05-28-2017, 04:45 AM
Post: #952
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
The Void...

Theresa has been unable to forget. How could she? The dark terror which approaches them and consumes all in its path... She remembers. She knows. The voice of darkness, the voice of death, it echoes even still in the recesses of her mind. That maw is nothingness incarnate, the end of all. It is the dark hand of death, which seeks to extinguish all, claim the souls of the faithful and the sinners and put out the sun, the stars, and all light in this world. The Void has come for them, but she will not submit to it.

"I shall never submit, demon, for I see through you and know you for what you are! You shall not succeed, for so long as we live the light of hope burns in this world!"

She rides for a supply wagon.

"Light! We must make light! Hand me a torch, will you?"

The one, the only, Vancho!
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05-28-2017, 04:49 AM (This post was last modified: 05-28-2017 04:50 AM by Protoman.)
Post: #953
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
(05-28-2017 04:35 AM)Cidellus Wrote:  "But not being able to kill something has never deterred me from shooting it."

Valentine started shooting the Maw. He threw a few lit sticks of dynamite into it for good measure.

Try as you might, no matches catch flame. The dynamite won't light.

(05-28-2017 04:45 AM)Vancho1 Wrote:  The Void...

Theresa has been unable to forget. How could she? The dark terror which approaches them and consumes all in its path... She remembers. She knows. The voice of darkness, the voice of death, it echoes even still in the recesses of her mind. That maw is nothingness incarnate, the end of all. It is the dark hand of death, which seeks to extinguish all, claim the souls of the faithful and the sinners and put out the sun, the stars, and all light in this world. The Void has come for them, but she will not submit to it.

"I shall never submit, demon, for I see through you and know you for what you are! You shall not succeed, for so long as we live the light of hope burns in this world!"

She rides for a supply wagon.

"Light! We must make light! Hand me a torch, will you?"

Theresa tries to ride towards the supply wagon. Again, as much as her horse gallops, nothing changes. She doesn't get any closer.
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05-28-2017, 04:52 AM
Post: #954
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Theresa shouts.

"In the wagons, you must make light! Please!"

She fires her gun at the maw, not expecting much at all.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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05-28-2017, 05:20 AM
Post: #955
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Oh, no.
No, no, no.

Not this again.

Florence might not have been hit by anything, but this sight is enough to steal the air from her lungs. That sky...the blackness...she remembers it. God, she remembers it all. Her breath leaves her in a weak whimper that betrays the way she always feels. Weak. Worthless. Entirely incapable of subverting what seems to be the inescapable fate of her friends. Of her.

Her legs are trembling as she stumbles her way to El Dolor, standing in front of him to try to shield him from anything else that might shoot out at him. It's the least she can do, right? It's-- it's something. It's anything.

"No." Her voice is a croak as her hands tangle in her hair, in those thick wiry chords. Tears bead in her eyes as she clamps them shut, and then promptly roll down her cheeks just before she opens them again. The breath she takes in is deep, sudden and gasping, and she turns unsteadily on her heel, still shielding El Dolor. Her arms spread defensively in front of him as her chest heaves, little half-hyperventilations gripping at her.

Though she repeats herself.

"NO."
Louder this time. With more conviction. With a crease between her brow that her Mama would've known as her 'stubborn line'.
"NO!"
Her gaze sweeps from one side of the cart to the other-- and then halts.
No, she'll face this. She raises her chin, teeth defiantly grit together. Her eyes are steely gazed, dead-set on the maw approaching them. On their inevitable fate.

And she laughs.
Oh, she laughs, and it's a strange combination of things. Fear, relief, pain, desperation, and even pity. The same pity she felt for those weird, masked men. For those shadows. For those husks.

"I ain't givin' up. Not for you, or for this place, or those masked guys, or that turtle, or for anything!" Her throat strains as she belts it as loud as she can. Mama would've been proud. Mama was a loud woman too. A woman with some mighty powerful pipes. Flo can hear her Sunday Morning hymns in her ears now, a distant memory. So beautiful.
"I remember this place! I don't know what you want, and I wish those guys would've given me some other information, something I could've used to help-- but it doesn't change anything!"

Her little shoulders raise as she balls her fists, keeping her defensive stance in front of El Dolor.

"I ain't lettin' go. Not now. Not ever. And you ain't never, ever, gonna be able to take that from me!"
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05-28-2017, 11:05 AM
Post: #956
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Rowan is white as a ghost. All his life as Mr. Runner he had always done just that. Run. From the law, from other criminals, from governments and bad deeds and the ghosts of what might have once been loved ones. Even this whole godforsaken journey was nothing but running away punctuated with a few instances of gunfire. It had always been easier than confronting things head on.

Yet try and think as he might, he knew there was no more running he could do. Everything he had ever done, every path he ran down, led to this, and it looked like he was finally all out of roads.

One by one he numbly drops his guns, letting them clatter about on the wagon. The rifle, the revolvers, each and every knife. He begins unholstering the derringers and letting them fall.

Light.

We must make light.

Rowan barely catches Theresa's words. Valentine and others are trying and failing to light matches for dynamite. Pete is firing beside him, his weapon flashing with every shot. Others all along the caravans are doing the same.

He's not going to give up here, not after all of this. He may be out of space to run, but that didn't mean he'd take it lying down if there was some apparent chance.

Rowan ducks down and catches the last of his garbage pistols just before it hits the ground. He would immediately look around for a torch, a lantern, anything he can light on fire, and fuel to make it burn easier and brighter.
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05-28-2017, 01:10 PM
Post: #957
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Molly wailed and started crying. Fuck. Getting shot isn't fun. She tried as best as she can to keep her pain to herself and not show her siblings but it was HARD and she was failing. Then... The maw came. Her body went cold as she stared at it. Did she already die? Is this what death is like? She could still see Trent and Lizzie. A sad seeping of finality started to flow through her. She couldn't stop this... She can't protect Trent. Can't protect Lizzie...

Molly hugged both Lizzie and Trent close to her. She put her hand on both of the back of her hands and pressed them into her chest so they didn't look at what was behind us. She opened her mouth and did the only thing she could do. "Shh... Shh.... It's going to be alright. It's going to be alright. I won't let anything happen to you. Nothing's going to happen when I'm here." She lied.
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05-28-2017, 05:11 PM
Post: #958
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Such defiance.

Such foolishness.

Blackness fills the vision of the little girl, the nun, and the... hm... 'wrestler.'

From that blackness springs a smile.

My smile.

Do you not fear the visage of your Creator, children? Or have you forgotten Me? You've only just seen it, little one. How could you have forgotten My reach? My power?

I have an eternity to wonder over these things, and yet I knew their answers before the quarks that make up the particles that make up the atoms that make up the molecules that make up the cells that make up every part of you were even conceived of - though I'd conceived of them before that, even. I will spend no more time commenting on your ignorance. I will only alleviate it.

You've forgotten Me? Perhaps it is time I remind you of who I am.

I allow your vision to return to you. I direct all of your eyes toward Me.

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You've got a terrible misconception in your heads.

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You think you can resist the law.

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You think that your struggles might amount to something. Mean something. All meaning in the universe has been ordained by My hand.

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You think you can overcome the natural order as I have mandated it and still escape my reach.

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You cannot.

Try as he might, the bandit cannot find a torch. How sad.

The little girl's coos do nothing to comfort her siblings. They see her foolishness for what it is.

The priestess, the miner, and the doctor allow me to return their bullets to their natural state. The mourner you know as Martha joins them in futility.

The runner you call the Caravaneer, who was once called Benjamin, puts himself between the farm girl and Me. Just as she tries to place herself between her siblings and inevitability, so too does he offer himself up as a shield for her. Touching.

The grieving father known as Nate places a hand on Pete and Rowan's shoulders.
He knows he cannot run. He welcomes reunion. The firebrand named Bart will not accept this. He draws his sword and prepares for a fight to the end. The sullied girl, Carmen, wonders if this is the God she once thought she served.

The orphan named Catherine wonders if giving in will end her pain. I inform her that it will. The old woman - Emma - has died. The sickly girl is held by her dearest. Even she, the woman who was ready to give up and die fighting the false prophet I empowered, refuses to accept Oblivion. I wonder why. I already know.


...

somewhere on the distance, lights gather.
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05-28-2017, 05:24 PM
Post: #959
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"You underestimate how many bullets I'm willing to fire!" Valentine yelled.

HE KEPT FIRING AND THROWING.
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05-28-2017, 05:32 PM
Post: #960
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"You're not God, beast! For the Lord is the one who divided the light from the darkness, the waters from the waters, and the heavens from the Earth! God is the creator, not the destroyer, for He is Life!"

Theresa spits in the face of the deceiver.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not!"

She also shoots, more out of defiance than any chance of hurting the thing, but she knows that she must not give up, for that would be to surrender life to darkness and allow the holy spirit of God to leave this world. And she was not about to let the others, and their hope, die.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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05-28-2017, 05:48 PM
Post: #961
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
This is a familiar sight. A familiar feeling. The emptiness, the coldness, the lack of control and motion...

Florence tries to clamp her eyes shut, but it does nothing to alleviate the blackness. It's strange, how final it seems. How different it is from the inside of her own eyelids. When she opens them again, she gets a vision, one that has her hands trembling, even as she refuses to move.

The moon...the light...

"It doesn't matter." Despite the steadily increasing trembling of her body, her voice remains strangely even. More even than her knees right now. "I saw this before, but I didn't know You. Dunno what you're capable of, or what you think you can do. But it doesn't matter!"

Her chest puffs out as she draws in a breath.
"Natural order or not, it doesn't change nothin'. Doesn't matter how big your reach is. I ain't givin' up. I ain't givin' in, and I ain't gonna let anyone else, neither!" Her hands stay balled up in those fists. "I got out before. I got out of this place before. Explain that. If you're so gosh darned almighty, how come I got out of here?"
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05-28-2017, 06:34 PM
Post: #962
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Valentine sighed, reloaded his gun, holstered it, and stood up in the wagon.

"I believe I quote my sister in her lovelier, more rebellious days when I tell you to go fuck yourself, you damn dirty maw!" Valentine shouted to the maw.

Good ol' Florence Valentine was way cooler in her teens.
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05-28-2017, 06:35 PM
Post: #963
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"I'll forgive you the profanity, Doctor, for I feel the exact same way!"

The one, the only, Vancho!
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05-29-2017, 11:54 AM
Post: #964
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Rowan rips off some of the tarp from the caravan, places a small amount of gunpowder inside of it, and wraps it around the end of his discarded rifle. If this thing is hiding every fire but that of war and violence, he will gladly make his own use for it.

Rowan takes his remaining derringer and forces the barrel into the gunpowdered cloth before pulling the trigger.

Let there be light.
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05-30-2017, 01:28 PM
Post: #965
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Allie was tripping mad balls. But in what were surely her delusions brought on by blood loss and stress, she noted... that everyone else was tripping too? Which, surely, could just be a thing her own tripping was tricking her into thinking, but, well, she thought that perhaps she was a bit better than that. No, her senses caught up with her, to tell her that nonsense was happening.

So she had to do something, of course. She tried to tie up her arm, and shifted. "... Reflectiom. Glasses, mirrors, anything, to amplify and fling it back and..." She tried to stand. She needed to get moving.
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05-30-2017, 03:24 PM
Post: #966
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Molly cried into the protective hug she had with her siblings. "I don't care! I don't care what they see it as or what you tell me! I'm still going to die fighting tooth and nail to protect my sister and brother!! I don't care if I have to go against the darkness itself! I won't let you have them!"
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05-30-2017, 04:29 PM
Post: #967
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Coyote hasn't been snarking or shooting for a while because of this eldritch entity. Coyote always has been a carefree woman who never had a care for anything higher than booze and boleros, so to be fair, this is a lot to take in. A lot of information, existentialist nihilism, and sensation of how she's just an significant speck in the cruel and callous world called reality.

Anyway, her brain restarts and she starts screaming and shooting at the...thing. Yea.
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05-31-2017, 05:02 PM
Post: #968
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Pete tries to sniff out where his pa is hiding his gat-danged gold!
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06-01-2017, 12:58 AM (This post was last modified: 06-01-2017 01:05 AM by Protoman.)
Post: #969
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
A smaller tendril seems to be taking a place by Rowan's fire.

Pete smells nothing.

Arleen holds Allie tight, hesitates a moment, staring at Allie's wound, then seems to come to a decision. She stands to her feet and helps Allie stand with her. "You need help gettin' somewhere, darlin'...?"

Every word of defiance fuels the fire in the distance.


Your attempts at solving this as if it is a riddle amuse Me.
Light? You think the Creator of the Stars, the Setter of the First Flame would be afraid of Light?

Ignorant children. I am not merely darkness.
How little you know of your creator...

I am merciful. Perhaps you do not know the weight of your sin.
Allow Me to explain myself, and perhaps you can clarify something for Me.
If you do, and accept your fate, I promise you a swift Oblivion.


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06-01-2017, 02:50 AM
Post: #970
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Allie came out of the vision with a hand on Arleen's, and the hurt arm close to her side. She was a bit wobbly, and that shoulder hurt like a bitch. Standing, she peered out of the cover, and saw Rowan's light, or thought she did, anyhow. She pulled her mask down around her neck, and Arleen might have noted that the face she made was one she often did, when the gears in her head were turning.

"... Not far." She whispered. "But I'd be grateful if you could grab Leech's bit." Carefully, she climbed into the back with Coyote, and started sifting through books. She pulled out a hardback titled "The Aberdeen Affair" (the cover being a couple of ladies "snowed in" in a rather cosy looking room, sharing a seat of course), and started tearing it up. With considerable effort, she rolled up the cover, making it into something of a cone shape, and started laying paper in that.

"This whole... everything. It's giving me a sense of deja vu, but to something I can place for once. Somewhere in Isaiah I think, where he's going on and on about all these terrible things that will happen, because people are terrible, essentially. He talks about... how God will scatter everyone, and ruin the earth. Dry it up. And punish people. That even- even the sun and the moon would be shamed, or something. And there's that hint in the middle, keep faithful, but he doesn't even finish it with 'and you'll be alright if you do' like so many doomsday prophets."

She stood, taking out her knife and cutting strips from the back of the wagon cover. She'd worry about fixing it if it ever became a worry again. Biting at it once in a while to pull out long strings, she wrapped cloth around the cone, tying it tight between layers. She left a hole at the top, so air was getting into the thing.

"But I find there to be a discrepancy. I always got the idea that the end of days would be a lot quicker than this. We've been out here for some time since the world stopped turning, and met so many who, presumably, would have been taken away and punished by now, and if this was the punishment, why were so many children still there..."

Setting her work down, she took out her revolver, dumping all the bullets into her hand. She obtained some gunpowder, and sprinkled some over the papers inside her torch head, and smearing some over a last piece of paper with a hole punched in it. The hole was lined up with where the hammer would hit steel, so that, hypothetically, she could get a spark onto the paper without interfering with the strike. She set the thing up to fire.

"And I was never the best Catholic, in any case."

Adelita pulled the trigger.

Light, damn it.
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06-09-2017, 05:26 PM
Post: #971
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"Your cosmology is frankly, wrong. You should read more Scripture."

Theresa can't do much from her horse, so she just murmurs the Lord's prayer under her breath. Maybe the real God will come and do something.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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06-09-2017, 05:33 PM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2017 05:34 PM by Cidellus.)
Post: #972
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"Sorry, but Chaos was the least interesting of the Gods! I'm partial to Gaia and her brood, myself. Dionysus knew how to enjoy himself!"

Good ol' Dionysus. Great guy. Loved to party.

Valentine kept shooting, grinning as he did it. He had no gods but firearms and Fortuna.
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06-09-2017, 05:36 PM
Post: #973
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"PA YEW AIN'T STOPPIN' ME FROM GETTIN' THE GOLD, I KNOW YER HIDIN' IT!"

Pete looks for anything he can use against his Pa.

Wait.

"IN FACT, I DONE GOT ME SOME GOLD RIGHT HERE!"

Pete reaches into his pocket and pulls out his sack of teeth-gold, holding it high and proud.

"I FOUND IT! I DONE FOUND SOME! AND IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL I FIND ME A GAT-DANGED MINE! I'LL FIND THE MINE OF SOLLYMON HIMSELF! I'LL SHOW YA, PA, I'LL SHOW YA!"
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06-09-2017, 06:33 PM
Post: #974
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"You're not all!" Florence's brows knit as she balls her fists even tighter, her little nails leaving little half-moon cuts in her palms. "There's more than you! I saw it! I saw the figures in the masks, and the big turtle! You aren't everything! There's more to this outside place than just you!"

She stays in front of El Dolor and the other women, arms still outstretched protectively.
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06-09-2017, 06:47 PM
Post: #975
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Coyote is touched by Florence's display but also Jesus F. Christ, everything else.

Continue shooting, yessire.
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06-09-2017, 06:55 PM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2017 06:56 PM by pail.)
Post: #976
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Molly stands up! "WE RUN CAUSE WE WANNA LIVE! IT'S PRETTY SIMPLE! I'M NOT GOING TO STOP FIGHTING FOR MY CHANCE TO EXIST IN THIS BLASTED DESERT OF A WORLD!! BECAUSE LIVING IS BETTER THAN DYING!! I'M NOT GOING TO GO OUT LIKE A WUSS! NOT WHEN LIZ AND TRENT ARE WATCHING!"
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06-09-2017, 09:27 PM
Post: #977
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Ah yes. Want. The root of all Sin. It was a mistake of mine - or, perhaps not. A mistake of Will. No matter. It will soon be wi

The light in the distance grows too bright to ignore. All at once, you and the God before you all feel compelled to gaze towards it - aye, even he is powerless against its allure.

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The light shimmers on the horizon.

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Then raises into the sky.

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It grows brighter and brighter.

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And brighter still...

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And brighter still.

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It's intensity outshines the sun.

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And shatters the sky.

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And makes it explode into one trillion chaotic colors.

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The light casts itself down. It catches the fires set by Allie and Rowan.

Your flames burn bright white.

The gray ground below you reveals itself to be the desert sands.

The horses are once again capable of movement. They take off. The Caravaneer, Martha and Nate waste no time in setting their hooves thundering off.

The tentacles are freed from their shackles, and pursue you.

TRUE FINAL BOSS
ESCAPE
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06-09-2017, 09:29 PM
Post: #978
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Valentine glanced around at the torches.

Then he patiently reloaded his revolvers, holstered them, and started trying to light a damn torch.
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06-10-2017, 12:17 AM
Post: #979
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Rowan, now rightly pleased at himself for figuring out something in a way that didn't involve shooting it for once, begins putting together other makeshift torches and uses his to light them.
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06-13-2017, 01:47 PM
Post: #980
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"GIMMMMMME BACK MY GOOOOOOLD"

Pete savagely strikes at any tentacle within range as he's (hopefully) dragged along with the party.
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06-13-2017, 02:02 PM
Post: #981
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Allie grabbed the bit out of Arleen's hand and shoved it onto her light, making a torch whose handle wouldn't burn up. Perfect. She shoved the handle right back into Arleen's hand and held it a moment. Gay as hell.

But Allie had shit to do, she could figure it out. She grabbed the reins, at a disadvantage without the bit, and channeled her years of just. Being with Leech, into steering her right through this.
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06-13-2017, 02:44 PM
Post: #982
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"Ride, ride!"

Theresa spurred her horse on and rode closer to the wagons. She shot at any tentacles that approached her or the caravan.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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06-13-2017, 10:02 PM (This post was last modified: 06-13-2017 10:03 PM by Protoman.)
Post: #983
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Pete pierces the tentacle! Under the light of the torch, it seems to actually have some effect, and the tentacle recoils!! Theresa does the same for Allie's wagon!

Allie regains control of Leech, who seems to be serene under the light of the torch!

Valentine snaps a board off a super dry barrel and sets it alight with his gun! The white light shines over and touches the torch, granting his party light as well!

[Image: GfCOwMp.png]
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06-13-2017, 10:06 PM
Post: #984
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Valentine saw Pete stab it with the torch, then smirked.

"What God fears the light?" Valentine asked the tentacled mass, lighting dynamite with the torch and throwing sticks at the tentacles. "We'll see how you like this!"
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06-14-2017, 09:52 AM
Post: #985
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Molly saw the light come down and was awed at all the color that appeared in the sky. She was stunned for a while. She saw people fighting the monster with the light. She turned to the Caravaneer. "Do we have anything on this cart to make a light with??"
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06-14-2017, 09:54 AM
Post: #986
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
Florence also notices that things are working again! That light is working! Fuck this thing!
She lowers her arms to lunge for a series of torches, grabbing two and lighting both. One, she hauls back and throws at the same tentacle Valentine was aiming at.
It's a weird feeling, wanting to hurt something. She doesn't like it much, but it's also not really an unwanted thing in this situation.

Kind of nice, actually.

"You ain't everything! You ain't the only thing in this universe! You ain't the end all, or the be all! You ain't nothin'!"
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06-14-2017, 02:19 PM
Post: #987
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
"Hey, get me a torch someone!"

Theresa reaches out for anyone to hand her a light source.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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07-09-2017, 08:25 PM
Post: #988
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Two: The Sound and the Fury
The horses tear through the rocky mountain path, hooves clattering against stone and dirt. The great tentacled thing rips through the rocks behind you, pulling some unseen form forward with hundreds of inky black appendages. It's gaining on you.

The horses speed on, pushing forward as quickly as possible. You can feel them straining to get away from this thing, just as desperate to cling to life as any of you. The tentacles crash and crush the earth around you as you ride forward, forward still...

You didn't see it coming. The world of illusions had overtaken your senses, made it impossible to tell reality from the phantasms this dark god had surrounded you with... So when you hit the mountain pass, and the beast found itself unable to reach after you, incapable of pulling itself through, you were all surprised to find relief coming in any form other than death.

"You may run,"

it calls out behind you,

"but know this: Entropy is the end."

...

The moon is gone, shattered into a dozen pieces. The light it casts on you is fragmented, fractured, but still, you push on.

You can't die now. You can't let this all be for nothing. You can't let him be right.

The women rejoin you, having scattered to the winds. It seems they managed to evade the confrontation you were just through. Most seem disbelieving when told about it, but some few seem to recognize something familiar in your words about a dark god. The look on their faces makes it clear they won't talk about it - not yet.

The women thank you and pray you meet again, but recognize the danger in traveling in such a huge group. Supplies are thin, and traveling in such a centralized fashion is unwise. The woman Valentine saved - a beauty appropriately named Belle - decides to stick with you. The rest go, but not before their leaders swear to repay this debt someday.

...

The mountains are hard. Cold. Without the moon to guide you, there are occasional accidents. Normally, it wouldn't be anything serious, but the buffalo have thinned here. A lost bag of jerky might not be a big deal normally, but here, it was a veritable tragedy.

Still, you press on. You've got to believe there's something better soon. You've got faith that hope lies just beyond the horizon. The colors that dot the sky lead you to hope that, if nothing else, another sunrise is on its way.

And then one day

your faith is rewarded.

You come over the peak of a particularly tall mountain and find beneath you a river valley, filled with grassy fields and...

Grass.

The Caravaneer says it best: In that moment, those soft, loamy browns and that bright shade of green are the prettiest colors he's ever seen.

Before you have a chance to celebrate, Martha points to the west. From this angle, an opening in the mountains has revealed one hell of a sight.

The sea, with the sun rising over it in an explosion of colors. Soft blues, purples, reds, oranges, and pinks all blending together in a gorgeous cascade. The sea bleeds into the sky, fading off into...

Nothingness. There's a gap on the horizon, between sea and sky, where only stars exist. Stars, the sun, a blue marble in the distance, and

a great

green

turtle fin.

CHAPTER THREE: GENTLE IS THE NIGHT

[Image: TWmnyCS.png]
Reply
07-09-2017, 08:34 PM
Post: #989
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
"Well. Don't remember the coastline looking like this," Valentine remarked, tapping his hat.
Reply
07-09-2017, 08:35 PM
Post: #990
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
Pete is probably way too busy tripping balls from bloodloss and pain to process any of this.

He looks around, unimpressed.

"Don't see... Mah gold... Gotta go back... Kick mah pa sideways 'til he tells us."

He jerks himself off the back of the horse he's been riding on and falls facefirst into the grass.
Reply
07-10-2017, 09:41 AM
Post: #991
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
El Dolor missed literally that entire terrible eldritch thing. Blood loss is a hell of a thing, don't ya know.

"EL DOLOR... IS PROUD OF ALL OF YOU," he says, after someone presumably catches him up.
Reply
07-10-2017, 10:31 AM
Post: #992
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
"Well, the turtle's new but I reckon it's better than the fucking tentacles."
Reply
07-10-2017, 02:03 PM
Post: #993
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
"I reckon we might just be out of west to run now. Hopefully Coyote is right and this turtle we're sitting on is a friendlier god."
Reply
07-10-2017, 03:17 PM
Post: #994
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
Theresa dismounts her horse and sinks to her knees when she sees the grass and the coast. She reaches out and touches it, making sure that it's real.

"O Lord, how you have provided for us... This, our promised land."

The one, the only, Vancho!
Reply
07-10-2017, 04:43 PM
Post: #995
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
"DO NOT WORRY, FRIENDS! IF THIS TURTLE IS NOT SO BENEVOLENT, IT WILL BE PACIFIED... BY EL DOLOOOOOOooooo-"

El Dolor fell facefirst on the grass. That's what you get for trying to pose dramatically while being on your feet at all is medically inadvisable.
Reply
07-10-2017, 05:08 PM
Post: #996
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
Oh. Oh...

Wow.

Allie brought Leech to a halt, and stood, peering out on the horizon. Nothing ever made sense, and she was starting to try coming to terms with that. Taking a deeper breath, she watched, as the fin rose and fell past the end of their new world.

She couldn't believe Theresa was still on about this Jesus shit.

Yeah, Allie looked to Arleen, and then hopped down to walk beside Leech. So she could walk in grass when they got down the mountain. She'd never been to a beach before, this was exciting. The fin, and the little smudge they'd left behind kept her attention, for the most part.

"... Think it's time to set up camp..."
Reply
07-10-2017, 05:10 PM
Post: #997
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
"Yes, yes," Theresa says. "Let us set up shelter, I shall look for a source of water."

She gets back on her horse to scout out the area.

The one, the only, Vancho!
Reply
07-10-2017, 05:10 PM
Post: #998
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
Arleen seemed shaken by the sight before her.

She pauses.

"...Why stop at camp? This is damn near the only place in the world we could build a home."

"That's what I'm thinkin'," Caravaneer chimes in. "We could make somethin' here. Somethin' safe. Somethin' nice. Someplace safe from folk like the sort we've been fightin' against.""
Reply
07-10-2017, 05:13 PM
Post: #999
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
"... I just think we should ensure we are actually safe here, first." Allie said, after a brief pause. She didn't trust places that seemed nice. There were monsters about, and some in human skin. This'd all made her wary.
Reply
07-10-2017, 05:13 PM
Post: #1000
RE: Hope Rides On - Chapter Three: Gentle is the Night
"Suppose I'll have to set up a clinic again," Valentine said. "Might be useful to have a place to ply my vocation."
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