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The Thirteenth - An Outdated EtG Community Story. http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=64368.msg1262186#msg1262186
« on: April 07, 2017, 09:48:26 PM »
This Elements fan story is an old collaboration between me, Dawn_to_Dusk, Konkuest and the then Discord, Zyardran. Many of these people have since changed or moved on to other things so, unless there is great demand for it, there will not be more chapters. When I have finished updating this post with the existing ones, that will be it.
The story is now as complete as it is ever likely to get and will be posted here, as it was always meant to be when we were sure we were happy with it.

Spoiler for "Prologue":
Prologue
Dawn
2 Years Ago

    "Are the test subjects ready?" I asked of my assistant, somewhat excited by what was to come.
"They are in the waiting chamber, sir."
"Bring them in, then."
My assistant proceeded to do as told, directing the three  patients in and laying them on the benches. Very few of the people were  here willingly and I felt bad for forcing them. Although the sacrifices  were high, I was required to do this. However, the ones I chose for  this particular experiment were the few people who came of their own volition, since I felt they would want to be the first to possess the cards.
I administered the anaesthetics, which quickly knocked them out, and began the operation. It was mainly just a dose of valium, however there were numerous  surgeries I needed to do to ensure the success of the procedure. "Now  we wait for the patients to wake up" I muttered, not knowing or caring  whether my assistant was listening.

    It  didn't take long for the first of them to wake up. I immediately rushed  over to him to see whether it worked or not and asked him to freeze the  apple laying on my desk. Something small. I handed him a card so that he could have a focus point as he played it. He gripped it tightly between his thumb and index finger, pointing it towards the apple. The fruit slowly, but surely, frosted over until it was frozen solid. Amazing! It worked! After all this time, I'd finally been able to unlock the power of the cards. I looked to the subject, whose face was pale and was acting faint.

    "The  cards... my immediate response is to say that they use the user's  blood" I said to myself, ensuring that I noted it for later. "Try  summoning a pillar"
He  did this, creating a jet of water to erupt from the ground and, almost  instantly, colour returned to his face. "I see, so pillars generate the  energy your blood needs to be replenished! I need to perform more tests!"
I sent the man away, his usefulness spent, and continued thinking to myself.

    These cards... No, these weapons... I can use them. They will bring me to my goal. If I can perfect the techniques...
Yes, I must perform more tests...

Spoiler for "Chapter 1":
Chapter One
Konkuest
The Darkness Enshrouds
                                                   
    I woke up to three loud thuds on the door. Blinking through my groggy eyes, I groaned 'Fucking Hell,' as I grabbed my deck and cautiously made my way across the room. I opened the door slowly to see a guy with fiery red hair, black fingerless gloves and a leather jacket. He greeted me with a cheery "Hi Konk!" and gave me a hug. Fuck, it was really Draco!
"I thought you were dead man!" I managed to spit at him before embracing him in another quick hug.
"What brings you here anyway Draco?" I said to him, knowing that Draco lives pretty far away. I haven't heard from him in forever, and after the initial stage of the Dawn events, it wasn't safe to cross the city. So what made him risk his life to come see me?
"Um, well Konk, you remember when we broke out of Dawn's labs?" Draco said, quickly.
"Yeah, I don’t think I'll ever get that crap out of my head."
"Well, remember the girl that was unconscious? The one with blue hair on one side and black on the other?"
"Yeah, she was in pretty bad shape. Why?"
"Well,  it turns out she was in a coma and she only just came out of it. She's  at my place, resting. She was an experiment, like us Konk."
"Oh Zanz... she can use these?" I said with wide eyes as I quickly pull out my deck, thirty cards of pure darkness.
I couldn’t seem to get rid of them. It seemed like only the people with black hair and dark eyes, those with black blood flowing through their tainted veins, can use these cursed cards.
When I "played" a card, by pulling it from my deck with my thumb and index finger and outstretching my arm, the effect on the card happened to me, or if the card had a creature on it, the creature appeared out of thin air.
If I tried to discard my cards, a huge black oozing wound opened up in my chest and they forced themselves back out. there was no way to get rid of these damned cards. Believe me, tried.
"Yes she can, but not in the same way we can." Draco said, sounding almost confused. I sat him down on my blue tattered couch and questioned him.
"What do you mean not like us? Can she throw away her cards?" I said, my eyes widening at every syllable.
"Not  exactly. In fact not at all. She has more cards and two different  types. It's remarkable, actually." Draco says, looking intrigued at his  own words. "I still can’t believe it myself, I can barely handle 30, but  she holds roughly double that. I honestly don’t know how she does it,"  he adds.
 
    I immediately felt terrible for this girl. She had to deal with 60 cards and two different types of them. Draco was the only person with powers I knew that actually liked having them. He loved the fact he had molten rock flowing through his bloodstream. He adored that when he lost his cards or discarded them, 15 more blazed  from each hand as his fingers set alight, forming a neat pile of the  magic papers at his feet. I never understood this guy, but he was a force to be reckoned with, because he wasn’t afraid of his creatures or his powers. He was in all aspects of the word, a weapon, and a very powerful one at that.
After some idle chatter, we decided to head out so I could see this girl with my own eyes. After the Dawn events, all gas or electric transport was deemed unusable. The roads had erupted with water, magma, dirt, even some of the same black  ooze that runs through my veins, and some other substances I don’t  recall, leaving them little more than a rocky, lumpy mess. You'd be a  fool to try to drive on that.

    Not five feet out of my house, I heard screaming and manic laughing as a woman in a flowing white and blue dress turned  a corner sharply. Hot on her tail was the source of the psychotic  laughter, another woman, half her head shaved and the remaining hair  ending in a purple ponytail. Following the purple-headed woman were five  walking skeletons and a dragon made solely of bones. No skin, no flesh,  not even muscle; just bones. I was not one bit surprised by this display. I’d seen it plenty of times. A person asked for protection from the monsters and a "weapon for hire" obliged, taking them wherever they need to be. The person then couldn't pay the bill and tried to run off, and so then this happened. Can’t blame the weapons, they had provided a service and didn’t get their money. Call me insane but two years on from the initial Dawn events, things like this didn't suprise me anymore. Not to say I wasn't a little startled though, undead on your doorstep is rather unsettling.

Spoiler for "Chapter 2":
Chapter Two
Dracomageat
The Flames Consume

    I chuckled to myself at Konk's look of mild surprise and soon we had reached my house. It was something of a humble but it was home. Upon entering, Konkuest and I slowly approached the young girl with blue-black hair, and as I urged him to sit and wait, she began to wake.
As had happened when she first came to, I found my eyes inexplicably drawn to her abnormally large, void-like pupils and the blinding electric blue that surrounded them. It was strange and uncomfortable, as if some unseen force was drawing me in. It took a good few minutes for me to break from the stare. Reassuringly though, I could sense that I was not  alone in this visual trap, with Konk behind me equally transfixed by  the mysterious aura surrounding the girl. "U-um, h-hello. We rescued you  from Dawn labs, you're safe now. Do you have a name?" I managed to stutter out, memories of my own suffering brought back by the presence of another helpless victim.
She immediately sat up and took a long electric stare around the room, not moving nor making a single sound before finally opening her mouth."Patient 0347-D" she intoned, in a near-robotic manner.

    I hesitantly asked;  "what does the D stand for?" before being abruptly answered with one  word- "Discord". This was the fabled Discord, the girl with two powers.  We'd all heard rumours about her of course, but few believed she really  existed. Yet here she was, sitting calmly in my living room. I just stood there, jaw dropped, Konkuest doing about the same at my side. After regaining my composure I finally asked her "are you honestly Discord? Legend has it you don’t even exist anymore!"

    "Yeah, but I honestly can't remember much else,” she said  back, voice showing a little more sign of humanity this time. With  these words, she shut her eyes tight and buried her face in her hands.  "It hurts... hurts so much," she sobbed before moving her hands aside  again to let her eyes glow out. Her mouth opened oncemore and a similar  light shone from the back of her throat, heralding the appearance of  thirty blue cards from within, which in turn were followed by a gravity  defying trickle of blood. I winced silently as I watched her clean her  mouth with her sleeve, thinking of the pain such paper cuts would cause,  but the worst was yet to come. A huge black opening appeared in her stomach, ripping apart her black and blue shirt  and dripping with a dark ooze that resembled a vile, poisonous  molasses. Another full deck burst from the wound, leaving a neat little  pile in each hand, visually at odds with the mess of suffering that had  just occurred.
   
    Once the light had faded and  the black hole of her stomach closed, Discord slumped backwards onto  the couch she'd been resting on. Her eyes slid shut and the cards slowly  slipped from her grasp as she lost consciousness. ‘All that pain must've knocked her out,’ I thought.
I looked back at Konk and he was almost in tears. "Dude, she's like me, except she's blue too. Watching the cards come out of someone else, it's horrible. Seeing  how much it hurts on someone else's face, it's hard to watch. I hope I  never have to see that again," Konkuest said to me, his voice breaking  with some of the words. He shared her pain, clear as day and it was  hardly surprising. It was no secret that Konk hated his powers and the  torture they put him through. He'd endured the  pain many times, having even brought it on himself in attempts to get  rid of the curse. Two decks at once though? That was unheard of. Surely  it would knock even a bull out.
 
    After  a short while of waiting and chatter between Konkuest and I, Discord  awoke once more. She let out a wince of pain shortly before groaning,  then sighing. Losing her cards was something this girl had definitely  done before, as she didn't seem the least bit suprised by the hellish effects on her body.  I really had to give it to this girl, she could stand a hell of a lot  of pain. Discord turned her body, raised from the couch she had been  comatose on, and finally  pulled herself to her feet. She let out another exaggerated sigh and  looked Konk in the eyes. "the way you looked at me when my cards  reappeared. You've seen that before, right?" She asked empathetically.
"W-well,  not exactly. You see, I'm a darkness weapon." Konkuest said, backing  up, his voice shaking. With that, he pulled out his deck, drawing the  top card, slipping the remainder back into the pocket of his oversized  black hoodie. Closing his eyes in anticipation of what he knew was about  to occur, Konk swiftly tore the card in half, already wincing ahead of  time. A few seconds later, a gaping black wound appeared in his chest,  ripping straight through the hoodie, his shirt and the flesh beneath.  The exact card he had torn up not thirty seconds ago fell out of the  dark, dripping hole to land, quite gracefully, at Konk's feet. He fell  to his knees, groaning in pain and picked the card up, slid it back into  his pocket with the other 29. He clambered to his feet, clutching his  chest still in obvious agony.

"S-see, I told you I'm a darkness weapon." He managed to spit through gritted teeth.

Spoiler for "Chapter 3":
Chapter Three
Discord
The Ethereal Shadows
                   
     I just stared at Konkuest, he was one of my kind, but he seemed more troubled about it than I. I looked at Draco, curiousity almost overwhelming me. "Can you do the same?" I asked, not really sure what to  expect.
"Yes, I can," he grinned, a glimmer of insanity sparkling in his blood red eyes.
He  proceeded to do the same as Konkuest, drawing the top card from his  crimson deck. He set the rest aside and bit down on his chosen card.  With it firmly gripped between his teeth, Draco pulled hard with his  right hand, ripping it into shreds. At this exact moment, his eyes  glowed with an intense orange aura and fire protruded from his nostrils.  His mouth opened, and flames of pure Hell  arose from his throat, licked the roof of his mouth which was charred  black, presumably the result of past use. Raising his hands to his waist  with palms facing upward, his veins stuck out and you could smell his  organs burning within. Then, a fiery portal opened in his left hand and  the same card he had practically eaten just seconds before —a Minor Phoenix,  flew out almost ghost-like, landing right back between his teeth.  "You're a little too flashy old friend," I heard Konkuest chuckle behind  me. "Although I never thought you'd risk Suzy like that," he added.
   
      I just stared in awe, I'd never seen any weapon that could do it like  that! "How did you do that without being hurt?!" was all I managed to  blurt out.
"Well,  you see I still feel the pain but it's different for me. My powers come  into existence as an intense heat that's gone in seconds if I get the  cards out quickly enough." he explained "Cuts  like yours terrify me." This didn't make too much sense to me, with all  the flames everywhere it must hurt way more than a simpler less flashy  card forming. Still, I was  very impressed to say the least. I had never even seen a fire elemental  before, let alone witnessed what they could do first hand!
After  the displays had finished, I began to piece together what they'd been  saying. They'd rescued me from Dawn's labs. Who was Dawn? I recognized  the name, but all that came to mind was pain; intense tortorous pain in my head whenever I tried to recall it.

     I sat back down on the couch, my head spinning. Suddenly my vision  blackened. A montage of horrible images flashed through my mind. Images  of grotesque experiments and horrendous torture, all accompanied by yet  more intollerable pain. And somehow I knew he was there, amongst the  images. A tall figure with emerald hair, raised like needles from his  head. Needles like those closing in on me, the edges of my vision were now all  I can see, blinding like obscuring the face of my assailant. This was  who dawn was but I needed to see more. To know what he really looked  like. I needed to concentrate but could barely get my eyes to focus. Blurs of green, white and black was all my mind could see, swirling endlessly as my vision faded again. No, it can't end like this! Just a little more time!
Blackness.

****

    I slowly tried to open my eyes. After being in darkness for so long, they needed time to adjust. Wait... What did that face look like? I sat up, my vision blurry as my eyes still hadn't fully grown accustomed to the light.
"Discord are you okay?" Konkuest yelled. I'd only known him for perhaps a day and he already seemed to care for me. Was this what friends were? I didn't remember anyone having cared like that before.
"Yeah I'm fine," I replied, still groggy from passing out earlier.
"What happened? As soon as you sat down your face went blank. We took you here and laid you down."
"How long was I out?"
"Not too long, 3 hours maybe. Though after having been in that coma, we freaked out when you passed out."
I shouldn't tell them about the images, I thought. It seemed like it would only cause trouble and unneeded concern. I still felt like they would help to know what he looked like. That way, when we meet face to face I could recognize him, and find out why he would permit such horiffic things.

Spoiler for "Chapter 4":
Chapter Four
Konkuest
Darkness, My Old Enemy
                 
                                           
    Just as I finally managed to bring Discord out of her distressed state, I heard and felt an intense rumbling in the ground. A sudden wave of deja vu came over me. This had happened before, I had experienced this, but when and where was it? More importantly, what was it? Then I heard it. A huge roar coming from the front of Draco's house. This noise was new to me but I knew in an instant that we were under attack. Deck in hand, I rushed down the hallway to the front of the house, companions hot on my heels. I watched on in shock as Draco peered out the window and soon his expression matched mine. In an instant however, it had changed again and he began to speak,urgency, fear and excitement all present in his tone.
"Oh Zanz, Konk, there are creatures outside, you're gonna wanna come see this!" He exclaimed, nearly tripping over his words in the hurry to get them out.
Roused from my initial disbelief, I sprinted the last few steps to the window and took a good look for myself.

     What I saw was unbelievable. Molten lava spewing from the ground and sand that turned to glass in its wake. Fountains of water, soil and the ooze that formed my blood erupted out of nowhere along with several liquids I'd never even seen before. What seemed like pear juice flooded the land with plants and flowers in its wake, but was soon cancelled out by a thick purple sludge that took the life from all it touched. As  they died, these flowers gave off seeds of an unnaturally bright pink  colour, which would hang momentarily in the clearly quite substantial  winds dropping like stones and exploding with wildly varied effect. In fact, nothing felt as it should amist the bright buttless storm raging on outside, and as another lightning bolt struck mere inches from the window frame, it was plain to see that this was an elemental disaster in every way imaginable. To make things worse, the danger didn't end there.
 
    I looked down from the sky to see a giant hulking dragon, a behemoth of sorts, even among its own kind. What really set this monster apart from the rest was its gem-like purple scales, its pearlescent eyes and the violet flames that escaped its less than friendly mouth. I stood frozen in my tracks as the gigantic creature's glazed eyes fell upon me. The window provided no protection from its gaze and nor would it hold back the beast but at least I was shielded from the flames, for now.
 
    For a moment I simply stared at it and it at me, each waiting for the other's move, but then a hand pulled me away from the window. "We need to go!" Draco yelled and so I led us straight out into the dragon's path. Not the smartest move perhaps, but a rampaging monster was something we could probably handle. Unlike the surrounding terrain, still shifting constantly under the force of the elements. Better to face the threat we understood, I thought.
My first card, an Obsidian Pillar,  served to further the curse within my veins. The darkness that consumed  my body was the only way I knew to fuel my powers, the creatures I  summon formed from the very goo that brought about my suffering. I returned the pillar to my deck not five seconds later, its powers beginning to sicken me already and the pillar s placement tying me down. It s  a good thing I did, too as the Amethyst Dragon charged me almost as  soon as I drew my next card. A dragon of my own, black in scales and red  of eye but far smaller than the beast we fought. Its summoning took all the strength I had, low blood pressure making my head spin and forcing me to my kness but that was okay.  I had a creature out to protect us now and the mark of my powers let me  heal far faster than an ordinary human. We were safe for a while but I  would be relying on Draco and Discord as I recovered.

    Discord,  however, appeared to be using Draco as a shield, severely restricting  his use of fire. He would have to count on his few pillars for support  in this fight. Fortunately, his draw was good and he had no qualms about  pumping his body full of magma. It wasn't long before he could call creatures of his own. Six Minor Phoenixes, was his deck stacked? It didn't  matter, rules were hardly a concern when lives were on the line and  with his small flaming birds pecking between its scales, the big dragon  looked a lot less intimidating.
 
    Still Discord stayed behind, slowly rifling through her deck in search of who knows what, as my creature fell. Suddenly, with the bulk of our offense gone, the purple behemoth went on a rampage once more. My powers were on the rise again but it would still be a little longer before I could summon anything sizeable and Draco's deck was hardly built for such conflict. He cast  a stream of fireballs in a desperate attempt to draw the creature away  from his companions but in doing so left their newest teammate exposed.  Crying out in some form of agony, the girl crossed her arms to shield  her face and accidentally brought out her latest card. She's  not had time to read it before but it was what she had been seeking  this entire time, one of only 2 darkness pillars in her deck. Suddenly,  she could see again, the radiating darkness shielding her from the sun.
     
    Finally  seeing the scene before her, Discord was ready to fight back and  instantly called out a phase spider to lock our foe in place, before it  could chase Draco down. Purple flames jetted everywhere as it thrashed  in place and soon the remaining phoenixes were all ash.
Discord was doing well but the dragon's flames had her locked in place. A single lucky blast and she'd be out for the count, I had to do something.
 
    Thinking quickly, I played my trump card, blotting out the sun that troubled her with the dead of night, leaving only a bright white moon to light  the field. With the full moon out, all my creatures would grow in  strength but the real reason I played it was for Dis. Now she could  recall her pillar without fear and escape the fire headed her way.
 
    By this point Discord's  web was in cinders and her spider had disappeared, as if phased into  another dimension. "I need a creature," she called to me and I played  the first thing in my hand. Before I knew it there was not just one  vampire but an entire swarm of bats laying into the once mighty beast  that had given us so much trouble. Bit by bit, the purple scales  disintegrated under their acid fangs, nothing left but a few scraps of  paper. The fight was over and our cards were now just that, bringing me to my knees once more with the force of their return.
"How the hell did you manage that?!" I asked when the pain had subsided. No weapon could summon more than six of a creature and I'd seen dozens.

Spoiler for "Chapter 5":
Chapter Five
Discord
A Question Without Answer

    Not knowing how to answer Konk's question, I instead, decided to show him the card. Fractal, it was called, and its purpose was to fill my hand with copies. "But that's 8 cards!" he blurted out in disbelief, "I saw way more."
    "Let her be," came a quick interjection from the ever-listening Draco. "She has twice the deck we do, remember, the rules aren't  the same for her." With that he strolled over to what little remained  of the battle, cradling a pile of dust in his arms and shedding a single  tear. "I'm sorry, Suzy," he wept, the droplet beginning to boil as it fell, "I never ment for you to get hurt." As I came up behind to try and comfort him, a sudden burst of light blinded me. When I could see again, it wasn't water but fire that fell upon the Ash.
    It  set alight and, in the blaze, the charred remains flickered and danced,  becoming feathers and then something more. After a few minutes, the  bird was born anew and all was forgiven, though she still was still  missing a solitary feather on her wing. Something unheard of for any Phoenix, even a minor one like Suzy.

      As I stared on in wonder, entranced by this transformation and the  close bond Draco and his creature clearly shared, something else caught  my eye. There, at the edge of my vision, lay a pair of cards, one the  purple of the beast we'd  faced and the other a blazing orange blade of flame. "Guys, is this  normal?" I asked, something clearly wrong with the dragon card. Its text  was all still there but the art had faded to swirling shapes,  indistinct within the grey rectangle.
Konk, now completely recovered, confirmed my suspicions. Cards didn't walk around like that and they certainly didn't die. "That thing was so huge, I can't believe it was just an ordinary card," I said in awe.
    "Perhaps it wasn't," suggested Draco, "we're all mutants after all, who's to say only humans can be tinkered with?"
    "Oh Zanz!" Konk exclaimed, "You mean to say that-"
 "Precisely. Our old friend has learnt some new trick."
 "But  to wreak such havock on a peaceful town? What could he possibly hope to  gain?" Konk asked, absent-mindedly flipping the card in his hands.  "Wait, maybe this will tell us," he answered himself as he found its  back covered in dark red letters.

Spoiler for "Chapter 6":
Chapter Six
Dracomageat
The Heat Never Bothered Me Anyway

    Now we were all gathered around Konk to peer over his shoulder. Looking down at the cards he held, however, I was immediately sidetracked. "Wow! A Farenheit! Do you know how rare this thing is?!" I yelled in excitement, practically deafening the poor guy. Setting the dragon aside, Konk stared at the shiny, amber card. Its  rarity was immediately apparent from the two foiled stripes behind its  name and it was hard for him to believe what he held was mere paper. The look of  astonishment on his face conveyed his feelings all to well for him to hide behind distain this time, yet still he tried, tossing the card to me in the most haphazard fashion he could manage and strolling away, back turned in jealousy.
"It just couldn't have been a darkness one," I heard him mutter. "Twelve elemental weapons and we have to find his."
    "Hey wait, Konk! Don't be like that! I have something for you!" I shouted, sprinting to catch up with him.
    What is it?" He spat back at me, obviously riddled with jealousy.
I handed him my trusty dagger, pitch black from tip to pommel. The thing had seen me through many a tough situation before I got my powers but it was a thing of darkness and rightfully his. I watched him look it over, puzzled at first  as to why I would give him a blade when he had a full deck to fight  with. Then, as the weapon turned to paper in his palm, the bewilderment  changed to a joyus shock, all jealousy gone in an instant.
    "Holy shit!" He exclaimed "A Vampire Stiletto! Where did you even get this from?!" He shouted at me, wide-eyed at the gift.
    "Well, it's a long story. Just don't worry about it and enjoy." I said back smiling, trying hard to keep my cool, although Konk could probably see my excitement about my own legendary weapon. My face was hardly good at subtlety, after all.

    I played my new card, giddy with excitement and simply bursting to try it out. As I straightened my arm, Fahrenheit between my first three fingers, the fabled blade morphed into existence, nothing more than a hilt to start with and fell into my waiting palms. As its flame grew, I moved it closer to my eyes and i examined its beauty thoroughly, the glint of ornate metal just barely showing through the fire. A brief reflection caught my eye and I saw the others approaching me, Konk's new Stiletto already in his hand. I turned to look at them look at them, a twisted grin spreading across my face. Konk knew what I meant. He rushed toward me, dagger pointing to the sky, and let out a violent war cry.

Spoiler for "Chapter 7":
Chapter Seven
Discord
Of Boys and Blades

    I watched as my newfound companion's blades clashed and heard the sounds, intermingled with child-like laughter. This was clearly fun for them but I was not impressed. I crossed my arms and gave them a disparaged look. We had no time to waste. Dawn was active again and, while I had no idea what his intentions were, I knew no good could come of them. After about five minutes of their light sword-fighting, I could take no more of them fooling around. With a swipe of my hand and the cards therein, I took their toys and crushed them between my fingers, the sword and dagger mere paper in my grasp. "wait" I heard Konkuest say  but it was too late. The dark weapon had already bound itself to his  essence and was making its brutal ressurgence before he even finished  the word. Draco's did the same but something was off. As the card blazed from his fingers, one of his others burnt away, his body shuddering instinctively at the loss. It seemed these average weapons were limited to 30 cards.

    Both looked at me in shock, mouths momentarily agape before beginning a frantic search for their missing cards. This wasn't helping either. The effects of Konk's enchantment were wearing off and the sun was beginning to rise again. "Guys, we have to go!" I yelled, "There'll be time to compare decks later."
     "But where to?" Draco asked.
 "Anywhere sheltered," I snapped back, losing my temper at their lack of sense, "And don't you dare forget about the dragon's message."

Spoiler for "Chapter 8":
Chapter Eight
Dracomageat
Taking the Weapons to Romanov
       

    We walked in silence for a few minutes after Discord's small outburst before I turned to ask about her final spell. "So, seeing as you replicated those cards, can you do it to this?" I cautiously passed her my Farenheit. "No, it has to be something I could use myself. Besides, that's not how fractal works." With that, she handed me my card back, staring straight ahead all through our interaction. "So how does fractal work then?" I heard Konkuest ask from further back. Discord let out a sigh and replied "how it works is that if there's a creature already out, I play Fractal on it and duplicates appear in my hand. Happy?"
    "Oh, okay. You didn't have to be mean about it you know..." I let out a small laugh as I watched Discord stop in her tracks and turn to look at Konk, giving him a menacing look with her already soul piercing blue eyes. 

    This small show of spitefulness aside, our walk along the base of Mt. Romanov was largely uneventful. So much so that Konkuest began to doubt our knowledge of the area. "Where are we going? Do you even know where we are?" he spat at Discord, who shot him a stern gaze as her annoyance turned to exasperation.
"I know where we are, there's a cave around here somewhere." She voiced, only partially in response.
    She was right to be fed up with him, I thought, Konk was acting like a child. Still, if he weren't, I would be. Patience was never really my strong point.
Discord kept looking to the side now as we went, clearly expecting to see something soon.
"Oh!" she proclaimed, breaking the silence, "There it is!"
    I watched her jump down and run over, fearing the worst. Peering over the edge though, it wasn't far of a drop as it seemed. Guess I'd gotten worked up over nothing. She looked up, "What?" I jumped down to join her, letting out a sigh of relief as I landed safely, before hurridly moving aside for Konk. Konk followed without a moment's hesitation, landing with a thump on the ground that sounded a lot more painful than it looked. Show off.

Spoiler for "Chapter 10":
[/center]Chapter Ten
Dracomageat
The Flame that Died[/center]


    "Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Draco."
"Seriously?" Konk immediately interjected, "You're going to start it like that?"
"It's my story and I'll tell it how I want. Unless you'd rather take the reigns, Mr. Serious?"
I waited but he just looked at me angrily, knowing he couldn't match my story telling ability.
"Didn't think so. Now if we could get back to the story please?" I snidely  added, secretly glad to have kept the fairytale theme. That life was not mine anymore and I needed to mentally keep my distance from it.
    "The boy was blonde, his skin was pale, plain in every way. He dyed his hair a vivid red and now it's here to stay."
From the looks on their faces, I had clearly gone too far again but neither interrupted. Good. I had their attention.
    "Growing  up he was a good kid, almost never misbehaving, but he soon found that  everyone around him was just too similar. That's how the old world  wanted them and, for some reason, they were happy to comply," I  continued, giving myself some backstory before I started on the events  they'd asked to hear about. It never hurt to set the scene.
"He  did it bit by bit and all within the rules but soon Draco was a  different man, clad in the vividest of clothes and the coat of his  trade, hair colour changing every other week. He just had to be himself,  no matter what others would say.
Few  would talk to this new Draco so he learnt to treasure his friends  greatly, even as the relative isolation brought out his crazy side."
    "Crazy side?" came Konk's voice again, "No offense  man but you're all crazy. It's part of what I like about you..." he  said, mumbling the last part so I could barely hear. Obviously even he  underestimated my ears a little.
    "You think I was always this way?" I asked, answering a question with a question.
"By the time I met you, I was a lot like I am now, superpowers notwithstanding,  but the me of old wasn't nearly so cheery. Young Draco was a miserable  little kid, never fitting in with his peers. It wasn't 'til he learnt to  embrace his differences that he stopped feeling so alone. Even after  that epiphany, after he met BlazingAngel and her friends, his wacky positive outlook was nothing but show for a good year."
"My Zanz... I never knew."
    "No one  did. Between study deadlines and the beginnings of a love life, any  slipping of my mask was easily passed off as fleeting troubles." I said,  the third person perspective falling apart now and my head in hands  with the thought of everything yet to come.
"You  were there for me still, throughout it all, the highs and the lows. For  that I'll always be grateful. After all, her other friends were total  dicks."
We both chuckled slightly at that last part, Konkuest knew what I was talking about.
    "In the end though, she was hardly the wonderful person she appeared to be."
"Yeah, you were pretty beat up when she left you."
"She didn't leave me, dude, we were never together," I corrected, "she  knew what was going on and so did I. She had someone else and I knew  we'd never go anywhere. It was the way she said goodbye, or rather, didn't, that was so killer."
"Ah, I remember you saying. You really thought she cared about you, didn't you?"
"The girl I loved cared about everyone but, as I found out that night, Blaze never really was that girl."
    "I'm  sorry man, I really am," Konk replied, repeating again the only words  he had for this point in my life story. As always, I appreciated the  sentiment but that was all it was. It didn't change anything. Didn't  take away the pain. And there was oh so much more of that to come.

Spoiler for "Chapter 11":
Chapter Eleven
Discord
Waking the Nightmares[/b]


    I  could see that Draco was suffering emotionally, anyone could, but there  were still blanks in my memory that needed to be filled. Perhaps if I  forced him to skip ahead, it'd be enough to free his mind from that lost  love. And so I piped up, "It's great to hear you two reminisce but I'm  still waiting for my part in all this."
    Konk  opened his mouth, as if to give me grief again, but said nothing. I'd  phrased that badly, coming off self-centred and insensitive, so he had  every reason to complain. Maybe he wasn't acting out of spite earlier  after all.
    "Come on Draco," I added, since he was clearly in need of further encouragement, "You tell these tales so well."
And  that was all it took. In an instant, he was sat bolt upright and with a  massive grin upon his face. I guess you simply never knew with him.
    "Well, long story short, I was devastated that night. She had truly given me reason to believe in humanity and, with her gone, any motivation I had was gone with it,"  Draco explained, the previous topic finished off in a mere two lines.  "I dropped out of school, seeing no further use to my education, and  soon came across a research centre by the name of New Dawn Industries.  It promised mystical powers for all, each with its own colour written  into the person's DNA. The claims seemed improbable at best but I had  nothing else to live for. If there was even a chance I could make the  world a better and more interesting place to live, I would take it."
"So  you were there by choice?!" I asked, shocked that anyone could even  consider volunteering for that... that... torture, for lack of a better  word.
    "We  both were" Konkuest replied, seemingly knowing that his statement  required a lot more explanation but refusing to comply. We all sat in  silence for a couple seconds, the faint glow of the cards continuing to  warm our bodies.
"Anyway,  2 days after I signified interest, they called me in. They were on and  off experiments only containing a few of us at a time, however me and  Konkuest seemed to be in the same experiments quite often."
"I... may have requested that..."
    "And the facility agreed?"
"They were surprisingly considerate for such a sadistic organisation."
"And you chose to be there with me?" I asked, still not believing what I was hearing, "I thought you hated the organisation. Even before they did all that to you."
    "Oh  you are so dense sometimes! I never chose this life, I chose to save my  friend. Or atleast to try to," Konk shouted back, his frustration with  me clearly stemming from percieved failure, "You didn't know what you  were getting into. That place was death! I had to do something!"
But  I would not have been saved. My heart, what little of it wasn't in  pieces anyway, had picked its path and nothing would turn it away.
    "I  had a dream, Konk. Of helping people. Of making the world a better  place. Of being the fiery angel she never was. Not even you could have  changed my mind."
"I know. That's why I had to bring them down from within."
And suddenly the pieces all fell into place. "Higurashi and her impromptu army, they didn't just happen to be there when we needed them, did they?"
    "No. We'd been planning that break in for weeks. My associates just needed a distraction big enough to get in unnoticed."
    I thought back to the assault that freed us. On the surface, it hardly seemed subtle. Hell, half the building fell to old-fashioned explosives. But no-one knew where the rebels came from or who they were. 'Least, not till we'd regrouped with the latest 'patient' in our care.
"That dark sky wasn't natural, was it?" I enquired, already sure of the answer.
"No  and nor was the power cut that followed. Ever wonder why the one room  we needed to find just happened to be the only one with electricity?"
I thought about it and soon came to a remarkable conclusion.
"Discord?" I asked?
    "Yes. Room 347 housed a weapon of incredible power but alas, her  control was weak. In her fleeting moments of consciousness, she would  lash out against the pain, Sparks flying everywhere. I really wasn't  sure we could save her, not without her killing us all, but you  insisted."
    And  as he looked at me with an odd mix of emotion. Some positive, some less  so, all far too hard for me to read but there was something there,  buried deep, that seemed oddly familiar. Before I could put my finger on  it, however, Konk was talking again.
    "Neither  of us knew who she was. Neither of us knew what power she held. Neither  of us knew that she was Discord, that madman's greatest weapon in the  works. All I saw was a threat and all you saw was a girl in pain.  Sometimes I curse your kind heart for the trouble it gets us into; but that day was different. That day we saved someone. Made an ally. Made a friend."

Spoiler for "Interchapter Interjection from Draco":
I was rather taken aback by this. Not moments ago, the  two children of darkness were at eachothers' throats and now here was  my best buddy talking as if I was his second. It was a relief to see  them getting along, I supposed, but what had happened to make him change  so fast?

Spoiler for "Chapter 12":
Konkuest
When Shadows Dance[/b]
                           
    I glanced over at Discord, her piercing blue eyes staring into me, trying to decern my thoughts and feelings. I slowly got to my feet to take my black hoodie off and a sound caught my attention. Low talking near the entrance of the cave, maybe four different voices. I beckoned to Discord and Draco, them clearly unaware of the noise. Draco slowly got up, releasing a long sigh before saying "Hear something Konk?" He would have continued but I quickly pressed a finger to my lips, silencing him in an instant. His mouth closed and his eyes widened as he grasped the weight of the situation, before starting a mad scramble to retrive his still smoldering cards. Discord was just as startled but on her feet in an instant, going from sitting to standing in less than a heartbeat, cards already in hand.
   
    Her attention not on me, I quickly turned my head to see what Discord was so startled by and saw four arms traders with hands on hilts, various bludgeons ready to be untied at a moment's notice. At once I thrust my hands into the pocket of my hoodie, no time to think, playing the first five random cards I drew. Luckily for me three of those were pillars, keeping my new Stiletto and trusty Parasite from sapping my strength. As they erupted into reality I felt the large rumbling behind  me that I knew so well and looking back over my shoulder I saw crystal  and coal shoot up to match my obsidian, the latter bursting into flames  with a flick from Draco's wrist. Oncemore I felt the ooze within my  veins but I let the hatred and disgust go, knowing that I needed the  strength to fight and that I was the only one currently equipped to  handle cold steel.
   
    Finally, poised ready to fight, the three of us got our first proper look at the four attackers. Two were  clearly weapons themselves, orange hair and nails giving their  modification away, while the others were brown haired bruisers, clearly  more bulk than brains. Both  pairs wore the standard merc attire of kevlar webbing beneath much  cheaper and more tattered civilian clothes, obviously having seen their  fair share of fights. These weren't the elite who could afford to look  good but nor were they clean clothed beginners like the woman we'd seen  before. Our lives were on the line and we couldn't afford any mistakes  if we wanted to keep them.
   
    As  I braced myself for the storm I knew was coming, a flurry of cards  blurred the air infront of us and soon a complex latticework of rocks  and amber metal caged off our only exit. There was no escaping what was  about to pass. By the time my view cleared, a large, brown mace was coming straight for my head. I  quickly rolled aside and let my pest take the blow, poisoning its user  and disloding a few flakes of cheap paint. Figures these assassins would  cheat at cards but no matter, a fake Pulverizer simply would not  compare to my oh so real equipment.
   
    I should have pressed my advantage when I had it, however, for in an instant I was surrounded by sapphire adorned bulls with abnormally large and numerous horns. Eyes red with an unstopable rage, the bovines charged at me in unison and there was no way I could dodge them all. I closed  my eyes and prepared what would clearly be the killing blow but nothing  happened. The Chargers had missed me entirely, or rather I'd missed  them, since I was now standing several feet from their assault. I'd learnt my lesson this time and so didn't wait to ponder the situation before cloaking myself in darkness. Stiletto in hand I chased down the biggest of the beasts and ran my blade along its side, causing it to fall to the floor groaning in agony. The other beasts turned around and saw what I had done but could not see their assailant so turned their anger on my friends instead. With the force of this stampede they plowed on through our pillars as I watched, helpless against them.
   
    A large, charcoal covered insect appeared at Draco's side and was gone  again in an instant, roaring flames in its place. With the sudden power  that followed, the maniac unleashed a flurry of fireballs, quickly  dispatching the remaining beasts.
   
    Discord, on the other hand, was having a much harder time. She had  spent her strength when she changed my fate and was now struggling to  find the pillars to recover. In 60 cards it was clearly a lot harder to  reach the ones you needed.
   
    No pillars at my side either, stealth being of the essence, I  approached one of the brown haired brawlers. It was their life or mine, I  thought, as my dagger shredded through his body armour but that was  where it stopped. It was as if the guy's skin was made of stone. A small  bead of liquid trickled down my blade and my invisibility wore off, my  body unable to turn away.

     "Suzy,  go!" I heard, as a crimson light blocked the man's counter attack. It  wasn't enough. Soon both browns were on me and I was taking fake mace  blows from both sides. Draco threw a few more phoenixes my way in aid  but there was little he could do to stop their relentless assualt. My  skin as hard as my attackers' had been, I could take the pain but only  for so long. The rock encasing me was beginning to crack and there was  no sign of my movement returning. All the while, an army of metallic  soldiers amassed in the background, our orange enemies more focused on  the next attack than what was currently happening.
     
      Fortunately, this meant our little dual weilder had gone unnoticed and  she'd gotten a few more glowing pillars out while we were drawing fire. In  a surprising display of courage, she leapt at me with what was either a  flying hug or the most increadible rugby tackle I'd ever seen. As her  left arm came round, I felt my stomach disappear and I soon realized she  was blocking hits for me. Discord's hand held a weird and impossible  object, loosely resembling a shield, which enemy blows simply passed  right through. Through it and whomever was behind. She moved it around  wildly and soon I was free to join her in motion but now the steel  soldiers were upon us. Each  one now armed with a Titanum shield, our current weaponry was not going  to be enough to take them down so we backed off to hide behind a wall  of flame that Draco had summoned.
     
      As we retreated, I flung my dagger into to the ankle of one of our  orange opponents, knowing that they lacked the Stone Skin of the  brawlers. The fire wouldn't hold them off for long but taking out the  soldier's masters would certainly put a dent in their plans. The  poisoned earth assassin was starting to look a little sickly too.
     
      Draco thew out pillars and a few more of his ashen insects, causing his unnatural flames to flicker with newfound energy, while Discord held  the enemy army at bay with Lightning. I called forth more insects of my  own in case  their masters came for us aswell but our enemies seemed content to keep  this stalemate, likely also building up to a big finish, or maybe just  tending to their wounded. Whatever the case, I was greatful for the  breather.

Spoiler for "Chapter Thirteen":
Draco
The Fire Never Dies[/b]
                           
    "Fully  charged!" I cried as my blood boiled within. Konk had weakened them and  now there was no escaping my wrath. "I call upon the power of fire," I  intoned as I raised my runed card to the sky, "Lay down your judgement  as a sword of dragon's breath, I weild thee, Fahrenheit!" Throwing the  paper into the air as I said this, it became a mighty blade of what  looked like metal but was, in fact,  nothing more than solid flame. It quickly grew, bursting with the same  power I felt inside, until its length spanned the entire cave and, as it  came crashing down, even I cringed at the wave of heat that emanated from its impact. "You want to play with fire? Then  catch!" I yelled as my once pocket sized blade cleaved the ground in  twain, completely obliterating the Graviton army in its path.
   
     My job done, I turned to Konk and laughed, "Now that's how you take out  the trash!" He just looked on in horror, first at me and then at the  warriors rising from the inferno. A new pair of Graviton soldiers, red  and yellow in colour, shielding their masters with ever growing lances  that seemed to be sapping the strength from the fallen blade. But how  could they survive such an impact? Something was wrong. Very Wrong!
   
     I felt faint. I couldn't stand. All the strength had left my body. All  that remained was pain. Cold, black pain. Cold, inviting sleep...

Spoiler for "chapter 14":
Discord
A Narrow Escape[/b]

     As Draco slipped into unconsciousness,  his Fire Shield died out, leaving me to clean up once again.  Unfortunately, all I really had were dragons and there was barely enough  room in our cave for the Fire Eaters we were facing, let alone the  storm I would need to stop them.
     
      Maybe that could work to our advantage though. There were small nooks  and crannies at the back of the cave, the three of us might be able to  fit into one of those for protection.
     
      Covering ourselves in Dusk, we made a run for safety, or rather, we  tried to. Draco may not have been particularly heavy for a person but  that didn't exactly mean he was light. With him slowing us down, there  was no way we would make it to safety like this, with the blood red  lances striking ever nearer in the dark.
     
     As once passed just inches from our heads, Konk turned to look, startled,  at our attackers. His insects had already died, leaving poisonous goo  strewn across the floor but none was on them. The fire eaters' gigantic  reach made them the perfect killers. Their defence  was weak, however, came a sudden realization. A simple life drain spell  could kill these soldiers off. And so that was what Konk tried, leaving  me momentarily crippled by Draco's weight in his eagerness to preempt  the next attack.
     
      It worked, in a sense. They may not have died but the remaining earth  weapon was force to lose some blood to keep them alive, encased in stone  much as Konk had been.
     
     And now they had nothing with which to attack us, at least  while we dashed for cover. What would we do then though? What was our  plan? Were we really just betting on Draco's awakening? Even after how  poorly he dealt with our enemies before? Were we really that desperate?
     
      These thoughts of doom and gloom were cut off abruptly by a slight  twinkle in the depths of our hidey-hole. Something only my sensitive  eyes could have made out. It was a card. No, not one, a pile of them.  Chimeras, spiders, dragons and golems, all with artwork I had never seen  before.
     
     I realized in an instant, these were not mercenaries we were dealing with. They were rare hunters, hoarders  of unique and valuable items. And what in this world was more valuable  than the cards we fought with? We had invaded their hideout but we meant  no harm. It was they who had threatened our lives over measly pieces of  paper. And now we would threaten theirs with them.
     
      I picked out the one card I could use and summoned forth a strange,  insectoid being, it's body made of floating crystal and its head and  limbs coated in thin, glass wires, almost like cobwebs. Raising Fractal  in the air above me, the crystals slowly flew from its body and cocooned  me, becoming duplicates of its card as they did. Within a few turns I  would have the energy to play them and the tables would turn.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 12:50:58 AM by dracomageat »

Offline dracomageatTopic starter

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Re: The Thirteenth - An Outdated EtG Community Story. http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=64368.msg1263043#msg1263043
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 08:23:07 PM »
Not sure why but there was an unmentioned change of speaker at the end of chapter 11. I gave it its own spoiler to help clear up the crazy.

Offline dracomageatTopic starter

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Re: The Thirteenth - An Outdated EtG Community Story. http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=64368.msg1264594#msg1264594
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2017, 12:52:09 AM »
Updated again, sorry it's been a while. Also, screw the formatting. These forums can't seem to handle both bold and centred.

And, just so that everyone's aware, there are currently 21 chapters, I'm just finding it a real pain to copy them into spoilers and so being a tad lazy about it.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 12:53:49 AM by dracomageat »

Offline Aves

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Re: The Thirteenth - An Outdated EtG Community Story. http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=64368.msg1264634#msg1264634
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2017, 07:58:47 PM »
The problem is that you have your tags thusly: [First][Second]Content[/First][/Second]
It should be: [First][Second]Content[/Second][/First]
:darkness War # 4, 9, 10
:darkness League of Shadows :darkness Brawl # 5

The Tentacle's Grip Brawl # 6

Offline dracomageatTopic starter

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Re: The Thirteenth - An Outdated EtG Community Story. http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=64368.msg1264824#msg1264824
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 10:51:05 PM »
Thanks but last time I tried that it just gave the effect of [second]content[/second], whereas this setup briefly worked. I'll fiddle with it later though.

Offline Aves

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Re: The Thirteenth - An Outdated EtG Community Story. http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=64368.msg1264825#msg1264825
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 10:59:14 PM »
Spoiler for Doesn't work:
Not 100% on this, but I'm pretty sure that's just because center has to go first.
[/b]
Spoiler for Doesn't work:
And you have to close the tags you opened second before you close the tags you opened first.
[/b]
Spoiler for Works:
Title

Code: [Select]
[center][b]Title[/b][/center]
:darkness War # 4, 9, 10
:darkness League of Shadows :darkness Brawl # 5

The Tentacle's Grip Brawl # 6

 

anything
blarg: