"Time magic? Suppose that explains that insane fight you had on Sanctuary. You and that insecure looking dude just seemed to become a blur and...well it's hard to describe really." Quill down at Kaida and made a face. She seemed much more calm about this training. "To be honest I didn't see myself as speedy either...but I can give you a race. Give a chance to scout the area too."
Quill walked up to the closest tree and gave a strange look to DJ. What was the purpose of training with Kaida? Aura training had failed miserably. Perhaps her experience could teach him something. And give Quill a chance to figure out this weird 'vertigo'. Positioning himself at a tree, Quill readied himself to hop.
Quill awakens, his dreams murky and unclear. This was honestly an improvement over his normal nightmares. Arriving at the ship, he gives a bemused look over at DJ. "So...any chance you're gonna tell me why i'm here? I can't help but feel you just didn't know where to put me..." Quill says with a look down. But DJ and this guy Alex seem pretty convinced they know what they're doing and Quill had nothing better to do.
They arrive in a heavily forested area, the beauty and immensity of nature taking him aback. Quill answers "I uh...no." to DJ's question.
As he departed the Gummi ship Quill was one of the last to get off the gummi ship. Spending his time considering the mission, he was out of it as DJ and Shiro surprised them with the various implements. "I...I can't say I've seen many of these to be honest. My world now seems comparatively...privative." Walking over to the display, many didn't really catch his eye. He'd gotten so used to his keyblade and then had to get used to this stone sword on his back. He didn't know what he could possibly use. "Perhaps I just need some time to think it over. I-" Of course that's when he saw it, though he didn't know what it was. The cylindrical weapon was hand held, the weight heavy and the feel smooth in black chitin hands. It was a gun, a machine not used on his world. And Quill thought to himself 'Very interesting...' before placing the weapon down.
Pulling DJ aside, Quill wondering to himself why am I going with those 3? He didn't have any experience with space, time, light or... Well he couldn't say Darkness, he had quite the issue with it. Quill looked away, knowing he had been feeling off since his aura test. And that strange feeling, that unsettling Virgo he was experiencing. What did it mean? He elected not to bother DJ and Shiro with this small issue, going to bed instead.
As their battle begins to wind down, Quill finds himself facing down the Headless Horseman. The figure now donned the skull of the lich he'd heard about in the briefings, the Horned King. As Oogie's game reached it's end the assassin came after Quill, striking blades with the dangerous villain. With his phantom steed, his swift deadly blade work and the intimidating presence of the skull it was too much to handle alone. But soon the tides turned, the smiting of Oogie out numbered the Horseman. "You only...delay the inevitable...your heads are mine..." Raising his hand, flames collected in his palm and swelled until the fireball was larger than his entire body. With the hand gesture the flames spread out and rays of scorching heat risked attacking everyone, even those defenseless and recovering. "No!" Quill cried out and without thinking he swung out his blade, the blade somehow creates a force that knocked away the fire. Was it a gush of Air? Magic? Or...something else?
The Horseman cursed us and disappeared from sight. The rest of the party find themselves freed from the game and the barrier allowing them to leave. But something felt like it was pulling Quill's attention. His keyblade seemed to move slightly, jittering back and forth. Trusting his instincts he picked up his blade and followed the pull. It led him to the wreckage of Oogie's control center. Flipping over broken panels and deep within the circuitry of the machine, a glimmer of light could be seen. Quill had to dive deeper and clear away broken pieces of ramshackle machinery. But finally he found it, the glimmer. It was a very tiny keyhole and his blade seemed drawn to it. Pointing down to it, a beam of light shot through and connected with it. Quill could feel it now, a feeling that made him understand this place better, it was the heart of the world. His Keyblade finished it's sealing and seemed...different. The heavy stone blade seemed in some sense lighter. "Huh, that's definitely...a new feeling." And Quill smiled, genuinely now.
As they approached the front door, it seemed impossible for a home to exude such a powerful menace. Not in a traditional way but it was just so creepy with the ripped cloth and ram shackled accoutrements put around his home. It seriously made Quill wonder if they had come to a condemned building rather than a place a person might live. After his conversation with Kaida, Quill was feeling slightly better. At least in the sense that his paranoia was justified, and distracted from his recent wounds. He allowed Jack to take point and try a more diplomatic tactic, but this only resulted in us falling for a trap. "You bastaaaaaaaaaards!" His voice echoed as they all fell down the tube, depositing them in a pitch black room. Looking around, he shuffled back. "Everyone! Put your backs to each other and make a circle! And Jack, can Zero make his nose shine any brighter?" Jack nodded, whistling for Zero to illuminate slightly more of the room, but it did very little. The floor was covered in a strange spiraling pattern, with numbers dotted about. Suddenly they heard one of the kids again. "Come on out you brats, you and Oogie are finished with terrorizing this World!" He tried to act brave but Quill was the least ready for a serious fight.
Quill was happy to hear he wasn't crazy, that someone else had noticed something was off. "Exactly!" He realized he was being to manic and loud, getting strange looks from his party members. He lowered his voice again. "Right...I haven't been feeling in constantly. The Heartless, they're presence is always a low level on my radar. But this...I can't put my finger on it." He copied Kaida's same looking around, trying to see something that wasn't there. Quill sighed and grunted, the pain in his abdomen still burning. "These feelings...they're manifesting as weird vertigo attacks. But I wonder why I'm getting them now..." He gave Kaida a look, hoping he could count on her if he starts to fall behind.
Reaching the end of the forest, the trees died off here as the hills became deeper. Cesspools of toxic liquid became more frequent, the pools all leading down a slope. As the road led onto a series of planks, they began to see in the distance a monstrous site. The stitched together cobbled together home of none other than Oogie Boogie.
Quill cleaned the coughed up blood from his mouth, the off metallic sting on his tongue a reminder that he failed again. If he didn't have allies here...well it wasn't prudent to dwell on it. It was just...the heartless reminded him of so much pain. Pain he allowed, pain he caused. Quill shook his head, he just had to try harder. "Kel I'm fine really. You shouldn't worry about..." Wait, there was that feeling again. When he said Kel's name, it was like invisible eyes looked our way again. Was Quill losing it? Blood loss? No...it something else. Quill stumbled forward but shook off his vertigo easier this time. "I...Erm lets keep moving."
As Quill walked with the group, he could tell the others had his eye on him. He looked back to his a reassuring smile, likely not as reassuring as he liked. He slowed his pace and walked alongside Kaida, who asked about his health. Kaida's appearance had definitely tied with Quill's in the most terrifying, but he'd get used to it. "I'm alright but..." Lowing his voice he spoke in a hushed tone his learned in his military life. "Have you...well I understand your aura is Time correct? Do you get weird feelings like something isn't right? Like something getting distorted? I don't know what but...I keep getting the feeling something isn't right." As they walked along, Quill's eyes narrowed on the castle in the distance. "And it might get weirder soon."
As the Heartless swarm him, cuts and gashes spattering Quill's body he begins to lose consciousness. He left himself open, he let his past cloud his abilities again. As he began fading away, Quill cursed his uselessness. He... "Dy n on us a re dy zet a sc r b? N t s rp isi g" The faintest voice in his echoed, where was it coming from? And the voice...it sounded familiar...
Suddenly the flash of cold and bright light zoomed into his hazy vision. The Neoshadows were bombarded and sent flying off the injured man. A keyblade coated in ice came flying back to Kel's hand as the Heartless were afflicted with frostbitten broken limbs. And with swift and precise cuts, Luna's blade destroyed the monsters with ease. A fading Quill laid in his own blood, barely able to move. His body was afflicted painful gashes, accept for one part he could move. His hand, wrapped in Luna's cloth, was unscaved. He reached the hand out, wordlessly asking for help. His hand was grasped by soft yet firm hands and Quill began to feel a magic wash over him as Luna's voice echoed in his head. "Mhmm errrggg..." The deeper lacerations weren't healing but the surface cuts where Quill bled out were closing up. Luna got a chance to see something very strange. The black chitin on Quill's body stabbed into his flesh, forcing the cuts to close painfully. This is how Quill has been healing, his body was simply forcing broken bones back together. The armor could inject thin spines from the outer shell into Quill's broken bones or cut flesh. It'd return them to their proper places and restoring it's functionality, if briefly.
Forcing himself up, Quill looked at his teammates who crowded around him. "Luna...AJ...Kel...?" He looked around. Jack was fighting off the last heartless with ease with Kaida helping him. "Did either of you say something about zet...never mind. I'm woozy..." With some help he managed to stand, if barely. Luna would insist he sit and rest but Quill shook his head. "Don't worry about me. Next time...I'll be careful. I'm sorry to worry you all-" He heavy cough with spits of blood came up, the black chitin was sewing up his body painfully. "I'll walk in the back, keep my pace slow till my injuries are better. Check on everyone, than we make our way to Oogie's house."
Quill was breathing heavy, this was pain to him. All the terrible memories of fighting these creatures, how much death was on their hands. He despised them...and he despised himself that he became part-them. Swinging in wide cleaves, Quill nearly hits AJ in the head with his blade. Adjusting just in time to not hit him, he was getting sloppy. Quill appreciated the help from AJ and the support from the others but he couldn't fight too close to them. He backed off and used his weaker magic to get the attention of a crowd of heartless. "Sorry but I'm still rusty, keep your distance from me!" If he had caused AJ injury, or worse...he wouldn't risk that again.
He managed to bring nearly 20 neoshadows over to a curvy hill, it unfurled at Quill fought off his attackers alone. He wouldn't cause anyone more pain, he couldn't. A neoshadow gets close as Quill is distracted and gets a slice under his ribs, the cut spraying blood on the soil. Grunting in anger Quill went for the Heartless' throat, choking it with his chitin claws. He kept squeezing and squeezing, the Heartless wriggling in his grip as Quill's body engulfed itself in darkness. "Never Again" He was torturing the monster with a slow death but something caught his eye, Luna's cloth, the cloth wrapped around his hand. "The best way you can thank me...is by not giving up" His expression softened and he dropped the creature to the soil, it scurrying away back into the shadows. "I'm..." Flashes of his team caring about him, they began to heal the hurt inside. The darkness surrounding him fades and Quill is forced to take a knee. "I'm not...like you monsters..." His grip in blade slips as his chest gash starts to slow him down. The Neoshadows take their chance to pounce at once, their bodies pile on top of Quill as his endures their attacks.
As Jack began to explain the situation in Halloweentown, the shadows of the hilly cemetery began to coalesce. He knew these all too well, Heartless. "I see Oogie's friends are kinda protective huh? Everyone, watch each other's six." Quill unclasped his massive heavy blade from his back, dropping it into the soil with a heavy crunch. Twirling into a charging stance, he let the shadows come to him. Neoshadows and these new Heartless he'd never seen came at him in an instant, pouncing on top of him. Quill raised his blade and caught their claws, digging his feet into the ground as the weight of the Gargoyle and several Neoshadows pile on top. With a deep grunt Quill knocks them up off his keyblade then swings around for a heavy baseball swing to catch 2 Heartless by their necks. They disperse but more surround him. Quill looks over to see AJ and Kel doing a good job of charging forward to meet their enemy. Kaida and Luna were backing up Jack at the moment behind Quill, he could work with this. "Strike Raid!" Throwing his keyblade, the spinning weapon caught many White Knights, Hover Ghosts and Neoshadows in the huge blade's spin, sending them forward and back to split up their enemies formation. "You guys got incoming!" As their enemies were spun towards their two groups. Now Quill had a handful of Gargoyles and the many Neoshadows that kept coming. Quill had to swallow down fears from his days fighting an army of Heartless, the fear that they'd instill was chilling. But he was resolute to fight on his feet.
Gonna claim Titan Chain, I hit 75 Achievement Points.
I'll take the XP. Sanctuary page completed.
As Jack led them out, Luna insisted that Quill sit and catch his breath. He tried to rebuke her but "Really I'm fine I'm-" Her expression told him all, this wasn't up for an argument. Letting a silent chuckle out and a sigh, Quill sat on the steps leading out of the lab. The other three trotted ahead to get a keep up with Jack and Zero. "I'm sorry again...I guess training took more out of me than I thought. I mean I keep getting this weird feeling like things get...crooked? I don't know." He looked down, not meeting the princesses eyes as he let his embarrassment show. Feeling her sit as well, he let another deep sigh out.
"I wish I could be strong...strong enough to overcome the trauma I'm desperately trying to forget. I wanna forget it all, to wish I never hurt everyone. It's because of me...that I don't have a world to run back to." Quill inhales and takes out a flower, one he picked in the cemetery. The strange thing was he could hardly feel it, the sensation was numbed through black chitin claws. "I can tell...there's truth in what you're saying about my trauma. Your voice, it's strained when you talk about your own past but you seem almost empowered by it. Yet when I think of everyone that is gone now, I know that this journey won't matter. I spoke with DJ about my World...he said there's a chance...that even after stopping No Heart that it would still be consumed by darkness..." Twirling in his hand he snaps the stem and the orchid falls to the stone below. "So, what do I even fight for now? My redemption? Unlikely. My friends? I could just cause them just as much pain." Another deep sigh as Quill clenches his fist till drops of blood splatter the stone. "But, at least for now I want to believe. I want to have faith in your words and hope for something better. I want to hope Luna, I really do..." His yellow/black corrupted eye looked to the young woman, with sincere conflict bleeding through. "Thank you for listening and your council Princess."
Walking ahead to meet the group, he gave an apology to group. He couldn't help but feel there were eyes on them walking in the far stretches of cemetery. Something about the spooky echo's and deep dark night made Quill's skin crawl. "And Jack, you don't happen to know three kids in costumes right? Lock, Shock and Barrel? We met them briefly...on a walk in the forest." Quill didn't really know how to explain to Mr.Skellington their arrival through the gummy ship or that they weren't from this world.
Though Quill has some hesitancy, following a walk talking set of bones isn't what he expected, he knew that he'd have the best chance to lead them to Oogie. "That's fair, we appreciate the help Mr. Skellington sir. To be honest with you, we're also worried about his...dangerous methods. That's why we're here." Jack seemed nice enough, it would be best to be candid with the man. Well, man was a strong word but it fit best.
Arriving at the doctor's office, a deep fear arose as they were given a tour of the gruesome laboratory. The doctor himself, while grouchy, was reasonable enough. But he gave off some seriously bad vibes as he showed off his experiment, creating some homunculus or golem it seemed. "I've seen some horrifying things on my world but this...this is a new bar." Weirdly enough Jack and the Doc took that as a compliment. This place was beyond strange.
As they mentioned they went back and forth about Jack being the pumpkin king, something caught Quill's eye. By the window...was there something there? It was like, he couldn't look at directly to see it but in his periphery some...one was there. "I think I see- Aaaggghh." Again that strange sense of vertigo, like the world was crooked, causing Quill to fall forward and knock over a rolling cart. He would've fell on his face if not for Jack's new weapon, screaming 'Soul Robber' and using the ectoplasmic whip to catch him. "S-sorry sorry guys. I just thought, well i thought i saw something at the window but...I guess I'm seeing things." His aura training still must be taking a toll on him. He looked to AJ, Kel and Luna to see if they had noticed anything there but...again he just looked crazy to the group. Not a great first outing for Quill. "Erm yes, thank you Jack. A bit of air would help." And to avoid seeing the Doc from opening his damn skull would be great too.
Quill was hesitant to answer all her questions, for fear of what he thought it all meant. But he couldn't say nothing now. "I'm...not sure how to put it but I didn't really connect to my Aura in our training. I think what's in my body, what's tainted it, it forced me to reexperience a lot of trauma. I fear that, to lose myself to the corruption in my body. It's the exact thing Eraqus told me. I'd fall to it, nobody has come back from it..." Quill's look was solemn and sad, staring down feeling disconnected talking about all this. "I just...I worry about hurting others." Again. "So I suppose I was curious if you knew where I could guide myself. From the ship and that crazy lady with chains, you have a connection to the aspect of Light correct?" Quill felt more relaxed around Luna then he though he'd be. She was quite kind, surprising with Quill's own experience with royalty... "I don't know if you have any guidance but- Is that a talking skeleton?"
Before their conversation could continue, a very skinny and tall man came delicately walking down the graveyard road. But this was not just a man, but a skeletal man. With a little spectral dog of all things! Approaching them, Quill was nearly freaked out and wanted to pull a weapon. But Luna's presence was quick to calm his fears, the darkness of the place fading away as the light from the dog illuminated them. "Preparations? Uh well we're more here to...observe the event. Um what event is this again?" He said something about Halloween...likely an event Quill hadn't had on his world. "I'm...Quill and this is Luna...and you're a denizen here?"
Quill sees the adamant look on Luna's face, she was going to budge on this. Not that he minded the backup. "Yeah, come along then. An extra set of eyes is good. I..Agh!" Quill felt dizzy for a moment, like...well he couldn't describe well but a strange sense of vertigo. Nearly falling, he caught himself on a tree. "Sorry...I'm fine." It was like, he could sense something out of ordinary. Was this...his aura? The feeling passed quick, Quill returned to his upright stance. Turning back to Kel, Kaida and AJ he put on a tough face. "Be safe and watch each others backs alright? I'm getting a strange feeling we're not dealing with more than the Hellfire Club on our end."
Walking ahead, he slowed his pace to stay along with Luna's. As they entered the town proper, the strange magic the others spoke about began creating an illusory appearance. Quill was near ecstatic for a moment, hoping to see something different than his disfigured mutations. Yet a glimpse at a puddle of water only made his face sour again... "Erm, thank you for accompanying me. This is...still new to me but I want to prove myself worthy for this group and our mission. Even if recently I haven't been doing much of either..." He kept his story vague but telling the princess more about his failure at training his Earth Aura did help get it off his chest. "Perhaps Eraqus is right about me...he is an expert on all thing Light." He realized he was laying a lot on the young woman he hardly knew, apologizing quickly. "Sorry, just had a lot on my mind. I'm not...the best at small talk. Um, hey I was curious...are you really a Princess of Light? Like the ones they debriefed us about at the meeting?"
As they spoke they reached a graveyard, dotted with lit pumpkins. A sewer ran through the area, the water a sickly green. Spiked fence gates, warped looking metal, surrounded the area the area. Strangely the children's tracks ended here...
With the strange children's suprise arrival, the strange costumes of the kids gave Quill the heeby jeebys. They all seemed so...demented in a sense. It was hard to parse their babbling but Quill recognized the name from the recent meeting. "Oogie Boogie? You work for him. Hey! Wait we need some answer you brats-" Before Quill could approach they hopped into...a bathtub of all things. And it carried them away! "What the hell...Ok I'm gonna give chase. We meet back here to rendezvous alright?" Quill saw part of the group hopping into the tree shaped door, looking for their own Hellfire Club targets. Seeing Kel, Luna, Kaida and AJ still mulling over things Quill thought it best he scout ahead. "I'll take Point team, try figuring out where the kids are going and fall back to give you guys the intel." Quill felt kinda good to use his military lingo again, bringing back better times of his training. He wouldn't stop a person or two from tagging along to watch his six, but Quill wasn't choosey.
Stepping out of the Gummi Ship, the strange looking blocky vessel that Quill questioned already, they found themselves in a dark autumn forest. Quill hadn't seen a living forest in so long, his world's plant life dead and infected. Squatting down, Quill felt the texture of easily crumbling leaves and the smooth oak roots on the ground. It was...tranquil. In it's own way. "So this is...what other worlds are like..." The faintest of smiles showed on his face before returning to the group.
Walking close the trees, his claw like fingers lightly grinded against some of the oak of each tree. Faint scratch marks appeared, except for on the pictures of the various symbols. The paint that clearly made these holiday icons didn't smudge or chip no matter the force. Very strange. Approaching the door with the large pumpkin on it, echoes of the conversation Quill had with Beuce the night before rung in his head...Was Quill really ready for this? Though the long conversation they had that night gave Quill hope for improving his skills and tapping into his aura...Quill had his doubts. "This door...the doorknob seems jammed." Taking a knee and getting closer, Quill attempted to jimmy the lock too. Something about the door called to him.
Quill was utterly flabbergasted seeing the strange transformation AJ went through. His different personalities melding and assimilating into one, it really did seem like AJ went through quite the trial for his mastery of his aura. But it also reminded Quill that he felt off. He hoped to prove he could be a strong member of the group, to be worthwhile investment. But as he tried to strengthen their bonds and improve his skill, it was clear to Quill that he wasn't getting much progress. What he saw in his dream, the hold his trauma still had on him...it was a barrier too impossible to break...
Quill spent most of the meeting silent and nodding. He knew he needed all the intel he could get, these were strange and unfamiliar enemies. But those doubts about himself only weighed him down.
Several hours later, the cursed man was sweating a storm as he practiced his blade forms. Quill was never much skilled in his blade techniques, often just overpowering his enemies in desperation. But his aura training gave him doubts about that strategy. Running blindly into his enemies would only result in him endangering himself and his allies. And Quill did feel different after his training. He felt quicker, less rough and reckless. Perhaps the training did help some? What made it worse was trying to swing his insanely heavy keyblade. Quill struggled to hold the massive stone blade straight, his single strikes were sloppy and untrained.
A rustle in the grass got Quill's attention it was the glass armed man, Beuce. "Ah, uh hey..." The training ground was damaged with cuts and divots from Quill's attempt to increase his skill ceiling "Sorry about the mess...if you wanted to use the grounds...."
Hey I'm also gonna spend for Fist Bump (1000 munny), Vorpal Blitz (900 munny) and Fire Strike (600 munny). I should have 300 munny now.
I'm at 71 achievement points, so I also qualify for a +1 AP.