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The Crossroads - Outskirts of Chel'el'Sussoloth [PRIVATE]

Postby Xian » Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:31 pm

(And lo, did he cast off the shackles of his many midterms and assignments, and was able to put together a half-decent post! And there was must rejoicing! [on his part, at any rate])

"My most interesting story?" Athidus repeats in a somewhat hushed tone. "You're right, life as a mercenary is filled with all kinds of danger and peril; half the time, it's from your fellow mercs." Athidus smirks at his own comment. A favourite story of Athidus' was the one about a treacherous companion he had while freelancing. The story was a little different- and usually a little better, every time. "In particular, when employers distribute a set amount of ada over a group, it really becomes quite lucrative to ensure that a few of your companions get knocked off before it's time for payout. If you're the last man standing, you get the pay of five men. Not so, in this case, and I'm glad for it."

"But," he says with a languid stretch, rising up to a sitting position again. "If we're going to start telling stories, why not get everyone else around the fire? What's a story without an audience?"
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Postby Starlitdragon » Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:03 am

The Drider ceased its high register squeal. It stopped dead, and merely stared at the three drow present. Athaeyen began to feel uneasy.

"Well, can you talk then?" she broke the awkward silence. About fifty yards away, Athaeyen could hear the murmur of voices from the campfire. Well, at least some of us seem to be socializing. I should return soon. Though I have no idea what to do with a Waelinider. It's unlikely that it's dangerous but..

The of the Waelinider's stare began to irritate Athaeyen. The creature simply stood stock still. "If you aren't going to talk, can you at least understand me?"

Any reply the Drider may have made was akin to that of a statue. Shrugging, Athaeyen approached the pitiful creature, hand on the hilt of her dirk. He backed up at the sudden movement. Turning to Ma, she raised an eyebrow, completely forgetting his inability to see the expression of skepticism. It's a Waelinider for Sharess' sake. This idiotic creature probably went half-mad, and has forgotten how to talk. It's.. Gross. It can't have been like that for long though, or it would have been a whole lot hairier, and we would have been facing a Streekaider. Never mind, I'm tired to trying to make friends with it. The only threat this one can pose is to draw hungrier cat-demons to us. But maybe.. What am I thinking?! Waeliniders are just as single-minded as Drowussu. Heh. The species would be a good match..

Aloud, Athaeyen ordered Ma and Meron to follow her. She watched the Drider out of the corner of her eye. A startling thought occurred to her. Maybe this Drider knows the way to the Hive? You know, animal instinct? Or about the killings? Hmmm. I wonder if.. Movement interrupted Athaeyen's musings. The Waelinider was following her. A feeling of uncharacteristic pity flashed for a moment before she clamped down on herself.

"Hurry up Meron. Ma, you can finish dinner at camp. If Spider-boy here wants to follow, I have no problem. If it's hungry, maybe we can.. You know, try and feed it."

((Please read this OOC Statement: I hope its alright if I control the Drider (no fighting, just a bit of communication). Here's a little contest: if you like, tell the most outrageous/interesting story about your character. If you choose to tell a story, you get to play the game, poke-the-Drider. Meaning you can question the Drider, scare it, ect. If you frighten our spider-friend enough, something interesting will happen. If none one wants to poke the Drider, Athaeyen will, to get the plot going again. XD))
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Poke the drider, huh?

Postby Maximillian Caine » Thu Nov 18, 2004 3:45 pm

There was a note of excitement in Ma's voice as he swung in behind Athaeyan.

"Mistress? Can I keep it?"

Ma rather hoped Athaeyan would say yes. Mobile and docile travel rations would come in extremely handy. And hey! This would be his first time at Drider taming!
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Postby Starlitdragon » Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:44 pm

Athaeyen appeared to deliberate the amusing thought. "Well, Ma, if the Waelinider sticks around, go on ahead. Treat it nicely though." The meek spider cross followed the pair to the fire. Meron lurked behind, ensuring suitable behaviour from the new joinee. Upon reaching the fire, Athaeyen happened upon Xian and Shiv'aarl just as the mercenary was about to embark on his tale. She welcomed the idea, glad for a distraction. Sitting down, she motioned Meron to cease menacing the Drider, and to attend to Athidus. Reluctantly, Meron set down his halbeard and joined the audience.

"Greetings, Athidus, Shiv'aa- Shiv. We've brought along a Waelinider, so I hope you have no objections." Athaeyen paused, and waved vaguely at the lurking shadow. "Please go on with your tale. It seems we will be in for a treat tonight."
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Postby Xian » Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:09 am

(I apologize; the ball has been in my court for several days, and I certainly dropped it. Anyways, for those of you who don't like long posts... tough!)

(Okay, after having written this thing, it’s absolutely huge.)

Athidus seems rather struck by the company, gazing at the Waelinider with a fairly astonished look for several seconds. "You just brought a Waelinider along?" he asks incredulously. He didn't think they were quite that common. In short order, he recovered his composure and smile. "Just as long as he doesn't try to take a chunk out of anyone, he's welcome company around any fire of mine."

Now that everyone had been assembled around the fire, the gears within Athidus' head began to turn. He had never been particularly satisfied with the way the story of his lost companions had turned out; it was slightly too typical. Unfortunately, relating the improved version within the taverns would be met with confusion, given that he had already told it once in the Black Dragon. But no story was complete without a good bit of treachery, though that was a fairly common element, to be honest.

“It might not be an appropriate tale to tell while we’re out here in the Sharess-forsaken wilds- no offense, Athaeyen, Meron.â€
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Postby Kite » Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:05 pm

Throughout the tale, Meron was unusually tense-- no, utterly captivated, pulled to the edge of his seat. At it's conclusion, he smirked, amused.

"A delicious tale. Sirande is a fine example of empath's everywhere, for which I am proud to say, is decidedly dead. Every one of those scheming curs deserved to be raped and mutilated for their scheming... er... schemes."

Meron folded his arms approvingly with a nod. "I'm sure the Sarghress mused at that outcome. An enjoyable game of watching pitiful creatures fight each other for scraps of coin and petty love." He leaned forward at Athidus, turning his nose up with a cocky grin on his face. "All you accomplished was giving them a bit of free entertainment. Nice tale."
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Postby Starlitdragon » Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:48 pm

((Wow, nice story Xian. Some unfortunate news: Havoc decided he could no longer keep up with the RP, so he wishes to drop out. I have arranged a slight case of catatonia for his alchemist, so he does not need to post. Also, he can still revive his character at any time before Drider City if he chooses.))

The narrative had magnetically drawn in Athaeyen. She felt fury at the treacherous Empath, sorrow for the deaths of Athidus' best friends. At the tale's release, she felt her breath return. "That was a captivating story Athidus. Thank you." Athaeyen briefly glanced at Meron before continuing. "Now, is there anyone else that would like to share before we retire tonight? Shiv? You're an empath, perhaps you have a tale for us. Ma, Meron, despite the fact we originate somehow from the same clan, I don't know anything of you. And Yul.."

The alchemist simply sat there, staring into the flickering flames. Something seemed to have changed. Athaeyen summed it up to the stressful events of the day. She trailed off, shifting her gaze instead to the Waelinider.

Something is wrong. Waelinider are far too rare to simply encounter randomly in the wilds. If only I could remember what we learned.. Wait.. Driders are created two ways: the fusion between drow and spider with mana, or natural reproduction. The latter method is a myth, according to Fay. So. Could it be possible that the cat-demon and Waelinider are connected somehow? If only I could get this thing to talk.. I need a few eloquent speakers. Perhaps after everyone has told their tale, I can decide who may question the Drider..
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Postby Kite » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:33 am

(Shortest post, ever!)

"Heh, I'm your average grunt, that's all you should care to know." Meron grins, proudly almost, at that point. "I've been swinging my sword for my clan as long as I can remember. What I don't remember is who exactly I pissed off to get this babysitting job."
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Postby Onizuka » Mon Nov 22, 2004 4:24 pm

Shiv'arl listened intently to Athidus's story. At the mention of the other empath, a flicker of an undiscernable emotion flashed across his face. Upon the end of the tale, Shiv stated, "A most intruiging tale. Tis a shame things ended the way it did." Then replying to Athaeyen, "A story? I suppose I have a few. While I could regale you with tales of my exploits, I think I will instead delve into my past." And with that, a dark shadow just seemed to pass over Shiv'arl's face.

"It all happened some time ago, when I was still a member of the Ill'hardro clan. Growing up, I was trained to be a soldier from day one. But I also displayed empathic tendencies at an early age as well. The combination of these two kept me from having any friends growing up. There was no one, except one girl. Her name, you will never know. She and I were inseparable. If I was not training, I was with her, and she with me. She was a simple girl, but she calmed the chaos of minds around me, and I made her feel safe.

"As we grew, we came to depend on each other. There was nothing we could not tell the other. After some years time, we became lovers as well. She grew to be the prettiest thing I had ever seen, and she accepted me, despite my sullen disposition and rapidly growing number of scars. In all honesty, she was all that really mattered to me." Here, a brief smile flickered on Shivarl's face. "She and I shared a love that is rarely seen in this world.

"However, the clan leaders had a problem with our relationship." Upon this statement, Shiv's face darkened once more. "Those pompous bastards thought I was spending too much time with her and not focusing on my training. They feared I would choose her over the clan. There was no need for such worrying, I would have stayed loyal, if only to protect her. I was their best soldier and was quickly rising through the ranks. All who served under me said I was a wonderful leader. But this was not enough for them. Several times, they had manipulated incidents in my life to try and make me more loyal, but all it had done was cause resentment on my part. Then came the night of their ultimate betrayal.

"It all happened the night of my promotion. I was going to be made a captain of the guard, a very prestigious position. I was more excited than I had been my entire life. That night I could hardly sleep; I now wish I hadn't. I awoke in the middle of the night, only to find my hands and legs physically and magically bound. I tried to scream for help, but I was gagged as well. I tried to see who had done this to me, but they all had their faces covered. All I could tell was that there were six of them. Uncaringly, three of them picked me up and carried me to the house of my sweet. Unceremoniously, they dumped me on the floor of her main living space. Struggling, I managed to get into a kneeling position, and I saw her. She was bound and gagged like me, but they had also blindfolded her. Kneeling her in front of me, they removed her blindfold.

"The look on her face when she saw me, it goes beyond description. A look of fear and horror, her eyes pleading with me to help her, yet I was unable to. For several moments they left us like that, unable to embrace, to touch, just looking at each other. During those moments, there might as well have not been anyone else there, for hers was the only mind I could detect. She was projecting so strongly, any empath could have found her. Her mind was a torrent of fear and terror, yet, in spite of the circumstances, love as well. Love for me." Here, Shiv looked towards the ceiling of the cavern and a small tear rolled down his face.

"What happened next, I will never forget. Three of them stood behind her, and drew their swords. Then, without warning, they ran her through. That last look on her face will ever be seared into my mind. They then left me, saying my magical bonds would break in a few hours. Knowing my reputation, they knew I would get out of the physical bonds in time as well. The next night was my last night with the clan. I took some ada, a spear, some daggers, and the clothes on my back." Shiv looked straight on the fire, a light behind his eyes that had not been there before. Clenching his fists, he says, "All of them will pay one day, this I have sworn."
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Postby Xian » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:44 am

Athidus paid little mind to Meron's words; in every crowd, after every story, there was always one person who would deny the solemn nature of the tale by mouthing off, by pointing out where he had gone wrong, by denying that his friends were even worth the sorrow that everyone else displayed. Athidus was never surprised, nor was he offended. "Thank you, Meron," he said simply, then turned his attention from the bodyguard. "I'm glad you enjoyed it, Lady Athaeyen."

At the telling of Shiv'arl's story, Athidus appeared as emotionally wounded as any. The fact that he fabricated his own stories, however, always cast a shadow of doubt on the truth of the tales others told, and so he found it difficult, at times, to sympathize. But years of watching people- mostly targets, but in recent years, just people- had made Athidus a fairly good judge of character. A note of deep hatred in Shiv'arl's voice registered in Athidus' mind as he uttered the last sentence of the tale. It was that one note that convinced Athidus of the genuinity of the narrative.

No wonder he was so hostile, he considered, remembering their first few encounters. He had always considered his own personality somewhat unrealistic. For a man with as many tragic tales as himself, he certainly was cheerful. The reality that his life had been relatively free of loss allowed him to remain that way. For Shiv'arl, who had lost everything except his life in a night, Athidus couldn't help but hurt for. He said nothing, but he was sorry, for the same reason that his own tale made him so: That the world had to be designed so cruelly; that these tales were anything but fiction.

Athidus made note of the entire story in his mind. It was wonderfully heart-wrenching, and, no doubt, would probably net him a few free drinks next time he was in the Black Dragon. He would have to make up a couple more names, change the clan, and embellish a few details, but that was what he lived for.

After a few moments of silence following the tale's conclusion, Athidus looks up with a grim smile and asks, "Anyone have anything more cheerful?"
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Postby Onizuka » Tue Nov 23, 2004 4:08 pm

Shiv'arl simply looked at Athidus after his latest statement, then got up, turned around, and walked several feet away from the fire, his entire body was as rigid as stone.
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OOC Comment

Postby Maximillian Caine » Tue Nov 23, 2004 11:02 pm

((I'll remove this, but I have a most excellent story that is still being written ^^;;; Erk, it isn't goping to be ready today. Sorry!))
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Postby Starlitdragon » Tue Nov 23, 2004 11:43 pm

The sight of the Waelinider sparked a memory from Athaeyen's mind. It was an old tale told by the clan nurse folk, but a favourite amongst the Beldrobbaen.

"I have little in my past that would be worth telling." Athaeyen paused, the words of her blatant lie hanging awkwardly in the air. "But I can share an old story I learned several years ago. The true names have long been forgotten, time having devoured them, but for the narrative's sake, this is the tale of Khrys'Dhalis."

Athaeyen never had been much of a story teller. That skill was reserved for those who were good with words. Athaeyen was fine with them, but could never find the right ones to suit the atmosphere of a mythic yarn.

"Khrys was a guard for our clan. He was as good a warrior as any, with a voice sweeter than a bell. We never knew his sorcery, though romanticizing poets often label it as Spellsong. A rare gift in our clan, to be sure. He fell in love with a sorceress by the name of Faal'nenkha. Of course, with her formidable talent, she was of a noble status. With his charm, Khrys managed to secure a position at a prestigious state dinner. This was long ago, when the mention of ‘Beldrobbaen’ would perk the ears of the meanest commoner. Every Illhar’ess worth noting was present in our home. Faal’nenkha was attending on special invitation. She had secret orders from our Illhar’ess to assassinate one of the leading figures present. Whether or not she succeeded, we do not know, but Faal found herself strangely attracted to the male, Khrys. Perhaps it was the way the candlelight danced from his honeyed eyes, or the alluring quality of his voice. That very night, they pledged themselves to each other.

Faal was called to another mission, quite possibly another assassination attempt. This time she failed, and was captured by the intended target. Upon hearing this, our clan did nothing. After all, to associate ourselves with such a failure would lower us even further. But Khrys, as hot-headed lovers often do, refused to abandon his love. He went to her rescue. He took up a position in the antagonist clan, working as a guard in hopes of gaining access to his fiancé’s cell. A month later, such an opportunity came, and he took it.

Khrys came to the labyrinth where the prisoners were held. The dismaying cries of the damned stilled his heart, but the passion he felt drove him on. He had no way of knowing which cell his love was held in, thus he stumbled in the dark, praying to Sharess for that one illuminating moment. After many hours of wallowing hopelessly, Sharess granted his wish. He found Faal, but it was a bittersweet reunion.

Faal had become something different. She was no longer a drow, well, not completely anyway. The lower clan that had captured her were experimenting with the ‘modern’ techniques of fusing spider with Drow. She had become a Waelinider, the newborn, the cursed. The summoner that had preformed her transformation was a clumsy one, and had accidentally blinded her in the horrific process. No more would her fair expression greet the great halls of our clan. Khrys was crushed, but even still, freed Faal from her dreary prison. He intended to escape with her, and try and reverse the chilling fate that befell the one he loved.

Khrys was caught, but managed to escape a certain death by bribing the guards. He also managed to convince the guards to allow Faal to escape with him. They happily obliged, relieved at the prospect of ridding themselves of the odd hybrid that haunted their dungeons. Khrys came to another sorceress, and begged to be turned into a Waelinider himself so he could communicate with Faal. After a hefty two years hard labour for the sorceress, she obliged. The two were happy for a time in their strange forms, and perhaps they could have lived happily ever after. But drow slavers captured Faal, and she was sold in Chel’el’Sussoloth. Distraught, Khyrs was not willing to give up after sacrificing so much. His position in the clan for a start. The Beldrobbaen had forsook him, seeing his employment in the rogue clan a sign of betrayal.

He made three attempts to rescue Faal. The first two resulted in failure, and the loss of two of his limbs. Before he made his final endeavour, he made a plea to his former clan to aid him, for the sake of clan honour. For, the name Faal’nenkha was not yet forgotten, and her demeaning end would reflect badly on the clan that held her in such high esteem, should word ever leak out. Reluctantly, our clan agreed, and provided a battalion to aid Khrys with his task. At this time, the Beldrobbaen were more kindly inclined to Driders, and were trying to keep relations friendly. Indeed, I believe the Hive representatives had a strong influence on the clan’s decision. Khrys found Faal again, and managed to liberate her from the military platoon she had been tethered to. But his love no longer recognized him, or any other. She had been driven insane in a short period of time. Bear in mind it doesn’t take much to cow the fragile mind of a Waelinider. Khrys, heartbroken, took her in anyway, and returned to the clan halls. Again, he used his Drider influence to be allowed to settle within our walls. Several months after settling in, Faal killed one of the noble’s favoured slaves. The noble was not so forgiving, and ordered Faal to be executed, unless Khrys could pay for the slave. Khrys had not an ada to his name, but he bargained his service to the noble. The noble agreed, provided Faal remain under her jurisdiction for three years. Khrys fought for the noble, did her dirty work, and defended the noble’s household for those three long years. On the very hour his service expired, he came again to the noble, asking for the return of his loved one. The noble laughed cruelly, and told Khrys a gruesome tale of Faal’s end in the bowels of her prison. Enraged, Khrys challenged the noble to a duel. He won, but at a terrible cost. As he lay mortally wounded and helpless, blood draining from a score of wounds, one of the noble’s daughters made his final transformation.

Khrys’dhalis, the charming bard and dedicated hero, became a guardian naga. Still, he sang his grievous tale to visitors, if they would stop to listen. Finally, his luscious voiced ceased, and his serpentine body stiffened in a curious stone fashion. Khrys was a statue, the stone remnants of condemned heroics. Coincidentally, the petrified remains of a female Waelinider were found in the depths of the clan dungeons. Another noble with a strange sense of humour united the two stone figures, perhaps out of pity.

Both statues still remain in our halls, and some say their voices can be heard by dreamers. They murmur to each other for eternity, both thanking Sharess for their perpetual union."

Athaeyen stopped, and cleared her throat. She was unused to talking for such a length. The Waelinider shifted, and made a mournful noise at the story's conclusion.
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Postby Maximillian Caine » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:05 pm

((This assumes that Ma has not been sitting with the main group, but instead has been rifling through packs looking for food, and has been listening keenly))

~Well.. how about this?~

Ma reckoned, the Drider, like any wild animal would respond best to those people who gave it food. But he wasn't sure about what to give it. How would it respond to travel rations (not noted for their taste)? So, he put together a smorgasbord of what was strictly speaking, other people's food. However, he had Mistress's permission to eat, and they'd thank him when they realised just how tasty a Drider was!

However.... he'd need to get past the group to get at the Drider... hem... how was he going to do this?

AHA!

Ma rejoined the group, squatting down between Athayean and Athidus

"We all sad people? Here, a little story about the wilds.

It was a bad hunt. The Szgarat* were hiding, couldn't find any Koss**, and almost got eaten by Fang Fiends. Full Light was over, and I had nothing for Eldest Sister. I was desperate. You don't bring nothing to Eldest Sister - not unless you want to be the meal! So, there I was, walking.."

Ma sprung to his feet and strolled over to the Wae'linder, swinging a bag stuffed with food.

"... and thinking about where food would be. Stupid! First rule, listen first, think later! I was so clumsy, I walked straight into a Kodor Beast!"

At this point, Ma mimed bumping into the Wae'linder, and taking a little step back.

"Oh, I was so scared I nearly made a mess. Kodor are always hungry, so I opened my pack, and gave it a Siznau***."

Ma took a mushroom from the bag and offer it to the Wae'linider

"It loved it! I made to get away. But, I was stupid. Once it got a taste, it wanted more. The thing followed me! Oh, you should have heard it!"

Ma whined like a hungry dog.

"So, what could I do? Well, I gave it another one, or it would eat me!"

Ma proffered another, differently coloured mushroom to the Wae'linider

"Well, I knew if I was going to get away, I needed to distract it. But.. what with? Then I realised. It would take everything I had left..."

Here Ma gave the Wae'linder a handful of travel rations, then sprinted around the group, "accidentally" throwing the empty bag away.

"Then, I ran! And.... it didn't work. Kodor Beasts are fast and have good noses."

He stopped between Athyaen and Athidus, and looked down at them.

"Almost caught up with me, twice! Eldest Sister was not happy when I came back with a Kodor Beast on my trail. But, in the end, it all worked out. Kodor Beast when slow-roasted tastes really good!"

*Scavengers that are good eatin' if you can catch them

**Edible type of mushroom

***A rare, sweet mushroom which grows where Drow have died.
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Postby Starlitdragon » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:37 pm

Athaeyen smiled at the message implied by Ma's amusing story. She was about to comment when the Waelinider inturrupted. It snatched the mushroom up, and gingerly nibbled on the cap. It whined again, turning its wobbling eyes to Ma, as a hungry dog would.

"Like.. Food.. Please-master?" The Waelinider groped for the second mushroom, found it, and devoured it in seconds. Athaeyen started at the short speech. She did not think Waelinider were capable of speech. The voice had an thick accent to it, the words came at an unsteady pace, but nevertheless, the Drider proved quite understandable. This changes everything.. thought Athaeyen.

"Waelinider, do you remember who you were before you became what you are now?"

The Waelinider jerked to face his questioner. "No-tell.. You.. Magick.. Bad-drow! Like-no.. No.."

Athaeyen sighed. She had little patience for the tedious skill questioning a creature required. Approaching the spot where Athidus and Shiv'arl sat, she murmured a preposition. She made sure her voice was loud enough so the sensitive ears of the Xuile'Solen could hear as well.

"Well, I have no experience whatsoever in questioning things, so I'll leave it to you three to.. Determine.. A few things. I think there's a chance the Waelinider can remember something of its past, if it can speak a little. Please ask where it came from, how it came to be this way, height, weight.." Athaeyen trailed off at the apalling attempt at humour. "Err, well, you can all have a go whenever you like. No physical damage please- I think this.. Thing.. Has been through enough." With that, she sank back to her comfortable spot in the flickering firelight, deep in thought about the day's events.

((Poke-the-Drider commences! You may question, scare, bribe, or try and invoke any emotion/mood in our eight-legged friend. You can ask questions outside what my character mentioned. It's alright if you all post your trys at once- I'll respond in one giant post if needed (I will temporarily control the Drider, if that's alright). Oni, Xian, and Max may start. Kite, I think you missed the story contest, but you can participate in the next event if you like. :p))
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