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About Balcerzak

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  • Birthday 04/23/1983

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    Eden Prairie

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    Blazing Sword

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  1. "Right..." Jade wasn't entirely sure what to make of the newcomer, and making decisions about who actually got to join the group was not in her wheelhouse regardless. Better just do some introductions, and pass that buck along to where it belonged. "Well, my name is Jade; that should do you rather than constantly having to call me 'miss'. As for Ixrathl, he is, uh... I guess traitor would the right word? He's leading a sedition movement, and this group here has been tasked with bringing that to an end. Our leaders are Lavinia and Nessraya," the zombie gestured at each as she said their name. She honestly wasn't sure who had greater authority, so just lumping the two of them together was a quick fix. "Marina there," another gesture, "...is an important uh, well... Her presence is vital to help with the nation's healing process." The Hero had been outed as such the night before, and while Taiyute had been present for that... given her lack of command of the common tongue, perhaps she hadn't quite grasped the full implications. There was a lot at play, and trying not to divert too much from the business currently at hand while still giving enough information to go off of was tricky business. Not to mention, she was essentially calling Marina out as just a figurehead, that was a bit awkward. Jade's expression reflected the discomfort that came with that. "I can catch you up on who everyone else is later, if you're given the go ahead to join up." The news from Erephis that the group intended to head to Hwein eventually piqued Jade's interest, naturally. She hadn't remembered that ever coming up before. The merchant would have to ask after that at some point. Not now of course, there were already too many people pulling the conversation in two many directions, and it was more of a footnote than the main event, what with this business about taking care of a spirit first anyway.
  2. Shaking off the worst of the effects of the psychic assault, Thorvald was pleased to see the rest of the team had continued performing great feats. Even Elaine, whose concerns he had been unable to address. Now, a message was coming in from Hannah, requesting support. "Roger that," his words were a little slower and more deliberate than normal, almost having to force them out, but otherwise there was nothing wrong with his voice. Good, that was good. "King Arthur, I'll be laying down the heat while you'll be keeping their attention. Don't get caught out unaware though!" His warning was pointless. Hannah in the Reign was breath in the wind. He needn't have worried. And more important, it looked like he'd landed a decisive shot, with the enemy craft's thrusters cutting out, and it falling into the lake with a stunning splash. He could almost picture a chubby thirteen year old calling out 'Cannonball' as he launched himself from diving board into a pool. "Well, we've clearly got a good thing going, no reason to let it go to waste," Thorvald mused aloud, then swiveled the Odin's facing, circling about ninety degrees and locking in on the other massive threat. Thorvald HEAT vs Hexis from current position
  3. Does that spell just change your size, or does it fix your mass problem too? The question on Jade's lips that she managed not to ask. It wouldn't do to embarrass the poor librarian in front of everyone, especially as she was at least taking steps. ...Both figuratively and literally. She was still a little apprehensive about the long term effects to her wagon, but, well, what options were there really? As far as the group's plans going forward, Jade had no strong input either way. Sidetrack or no sidetrack was honestly six of one and half a dozen of the other to her at this juncture. So the zombie would be content to let people with actual opinions weigh in on that matter. When the strange figure that had shown up during Nimbus's attempted heist suddenly appeared though, she took an interest. "Oh, you're the one from last night! The newcomer, who wandered into the fight, right? Sorry for, uh, ignoring you after that first meeting, I had... other things on my mind." Had the wanderer seen, was Taiyute watching when Jade had lapsed, had attacked Bladen? The merchant shook her head, banishing the thought. "Was there something you need, Taiyute? Am I saying that right?" It had been some time since she'd heard the name, and given how the traveler had been slipping in and out of that other language when the introduction had been made, Jade wasn't all that confident about anything.
  4. Astin had fallen. Abby'd had her part in that, and it still felt a little unsettling, but there'd been no real choices. She'd been hoping for distraction in the form of dodging fire and shooting back, but the Gamma craft that had swarmed her before seemed to disperse, picking new targets. Fair enough, that gave a little time to size up the two bosses that still remained. The one was still absolutely dogging Kim's Artemis, and honestly Abigail had been about to reverse course and go all in on it, but as things were flowing other heads had decided to focus on the one over the water. Perhaps they'd been influenced by its impressive lightshow, or perhaps they were afraid of the other, but either way, the flurry of activity was forcing gaps in its defenses. Far be it from her to let an opening go unexploited. "Cally, you got a fix on this one?" Abby tossed out a light question, as she swivelled their suit to bring the enemy into better focus. She began pulling the beam claymore from its sheath, paused, and slid it back home. The enemy was out over the water, she'd prefer to stay where she was. ...Plus she'd just been considering how to conserve on energy what, a minute ago, two? How soon she nearly forgot. "Magnum, unless we're going in for the kill," a quiet, almost under the breath repetition to herself. Maybe that would help her remember. It was a little restless, not circling the enemy, not closing the distance. Just steadying, aiming. How did people like Sena ever get used to this? But another couple glances to the instruments, confirming everything was set up, and a final jerk of her head back to the main monitor and Abigail was confident. It may not be her typical play, but she could make it work. "Eat shit and die, furball." Abby cast Valor, Calina cast Sense, Beam Magnum on Theoria
  5. Jade's initial response to Nessraya's surprisingly pragmatic point of view on the situation was anger. She'd bit back any snappy comeback she might have wanted to say, the zombie could ill afford to spoil whatever good will she'd accrued after all, but the feelings of That's easy for you to say, lingered. The general'd never been in her shoes, had she? How could she get penance without punishment? It was only after everyone had filed into the arena for the full aftermath to get sorted out that the realization hit the merchant. Her mind had of course gone immediately to vampires as another possible case of, as--how had she put it--"sudden onset hunger". This, of course, in spite of Lavinia mentioning that in all her years she'd never gotten the urges that bad. So, had the woman been referring to another species then? ...a succubus in heat, perhaps? Maybe Nessraya did know exactly where Jade was coming from. And when she got to thinking that, she just felt empty inside for awhile. Not relieved--though she should have been grateful that the expedition leader was so understanding--just... hollowed out. Spent. Ashamed of herself. Sorting out the treasure return, the rewards offered, the revelation of the hero in their midst. Everything passed Jade by, like she were stalled at the side of the road, replacing a broken wagon wheel. She should apologize; that would be best. But as she'd decided and begun to work up the nerve, as she'd turned to look at Bladen, the man had briefly caught her eye--or at least she thought he did--then quickly looked away, answering something Asami had asked him. He was incredibly obvious about keeping his distance, and who could blame him? Later then. After he'd had some time to work things through. After she'd had some time to work things through. For now, Jade needed to do something to occupy her mind. No more of this standing around, having to play the same thoughts on loop over and over again. Maybe she should take BV for a ride? Maybe she should practice blowing smoke rings. ...Maybe she should take a closer look at Marina's Holy Sword? The Hero had just... dropped it off in her wagon. Things appeared to have come to a conclusion, and people were beginning to filter out, dismiss themselves. It was time to follow suit. No fanfare, no announcements, the merchant would just quietly, calmly exit the arena and walk back to her wagon, get her 'mares settled back into the stables, and then, well, then...
  6. Agni had requested thrown weaponry, and the option Jade had provided seemed to have proven effective, if the cursing from the other side of the building was any indication. The alleyway was much too narrow for her to take her wagon down, but maybe she could follow the man's lead on this one? The zombie was readying her rifle for a shot when the general stopped by. Her magical attentions were welcome, but her questions... less so. An unhappy grimace crossed the merchant's face, and the brief thought of refusing to answer crossed her mind. But Nessraya would hear the truth sooner or later, so better it come from her now, than to try to dodge it, right? "I wish I could tell all the details, but the truth is I lost myself for a bit there. I heard it secondhand that I attacked Bladen, so you should probably see about treating him. I think Lavinia said you'd be better for that than her? I don't remember." Jade finished sighting and squeezed the trigger. "...If you wanna restrain me, I won't resist," she demonstrated her willingness to comply by setting down the gun, and descending from her seat at the reins to the succubus's level on the ground. Hopefully her shot had connected with the rowdy elf, had given her one last good deed to help balance out the ledger before the general took whatever actions she saw fit. Jade scoots between Agni and Nessraya and shoots at Nimbus with the Rifle
  7. Chapter 34, 4 turns Chapter 35, 2 turns Total Turns: 157
  8. Moments, not minutes. That was good. A small wave of relief began to wash over Jade's face, but then the sober news dropped. She'd attacked Bladen while she was out of control. There were no excuses, the zombie just turned her head, down and to the side, and just stared past the vampire's waist to the ground. Lavinia kept talking, it didn't really register, her internal dialogue with herself was already deeply enmeshed in figuring out how she'd phrase her goodbyes. A group this important could hardly stand to have a rogue like her around, after all. The general would kick her out, and she'd go back on her way, hitting the road again, returning to the lonely solo merchant life. Something cold, round, and hard pressed into her hand finally brought a stop to the narrative playing out in her head, Lavinia's hand squeezing Jade's fingers shut around it and the vampire's voice came back into focus now, driving off other distractions. Jade had at least one ally, and at least one other option. It wasn't something being recommended, necessarily. But it was a gift of mercy as a last resort, if nothing else. It gave Jade a strange kinship to that archetypal ex-captain, marooned on a deserted isle, holding the pistol with one bullet in it that his former crew had left him. The merchant had no idea what she should say, she simply nodded, and took the precious gift. It was still too soon to use it, but maybe just having it... just knowing it was there would be enough? Jade tried to smile, at least a little, but it probably looked gruesome. "Something to figure out later," the zombie managed haltingly, replying to the vampire's other attempt to cheer her up, having put forth an offer for mutual help with the healing. "The town is still in danger, no?" And that did seem to be the common consensus, and now convinced that Jade was no longer a danger to herself or others, Lavinia hurried off to heal Xalrei. Where should she go, how should she help out? Stumbling back to her wagon, her 'mares gave some concerned sounding whinnies as she climbed up to the driver seat, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary there. Jade needed to steer a wide berth from the fallen she'd run afoul, so heading straight to the source of the problem, the swordsman leading this operation from out of the arena, that was off the table. Might just be better heading back toward the center of town, see if anybody needed help with anything. Along the way, the merchant almost bumped ran over Agni, but pulled to the side in time and called down after him. "How goes? Everything all right with you? Need anything?" head on over to agni (10,6) and deliver him some ranged goods
  9. "...de ...mm ah... ..ak... up! ...ease! Jade?" Sounds. Words, but off-pitch: sometimes high and tinny, other times low and muffled. Not quite like trying to understand someone speaking to you while your head is held underwater, but honestly not quite that different either. At some point the repeated entreaties pierced through the haze and the fog, and Jade found that she was herself again. It came with a sense of almost vertigo; she wasn't looking where she had been in her last memory, things were off-balance, all akilter. One hand hit the ground, to keep herself from collapsing, and with the other the the zombie somewhat sheepishly brought it to her mouth and began wiping away the mess and the gore she'd left on her face. She couldn't bear to keep looking Lavinia in the eyes. It was the vampire that had been shaking her, and who now embraced her, even in such a despicable state as she was. Of course. Who else would risk it? If she were in their shoes, she certainly wouldn't. Who could blame them? "...Hhh. How long have I been... indisposed?" Jade managed after a few moments. It was all she could really bring herself to say.
  10. Another faint tugging, strength sapping, as Requiem did its work. Given how zombies felt pain, the cursed sword was much more noticeable to Jade than the dagger that Richter threw her way, even if the latter actually did more damage, would require more to properly mend. The vampire's aim had been good, right for center of mass; if she'd been living, it might have changed that. As it was now, the only concerns it presented the merchant were getting her to start thinking about how she probably ought to pull it out, so as not to upset Marina if she were to catch sight of it, and then the stray idle thought that now there'd probably be matching scars on her chest, one on each side. It was as she was distracted then, that Bladen swooped in, snatched Requiem from her and tried some fancy moves with it. Jade grumbled halfheartedly--inaudible to anyone without exceptional hearing, and only then if they were standing rather nearby--first mimicking his promise to return it, then muttering about whether it would have really been too much for the man to ask for permission rather than forgiveness. But despite the posturing, she really wasn't all that upset. Just observing the sword being used, changing forms, taking lives... it was fascinating no matter who held it. Would she have maybe liked to fire another couple rounds with it before having to give it up, yes, but it wasn't as if she didn't have other guns. And so she'd turned, eyeing the rifle she'd set down in the passenger seat, wondering if maybe it wasn't the time to try that baby out. That was when the axe caught her between the shoulder-blades, and then as the thief wielding it wrenched backward, she came with it, pulled from her place behind the reins and falling to the ground, rolling some distance away. The pistol at her belt would have to do it then. By the time the thought had finished, she'd already fired the shot; the bullet entered the base of dwarf's chin, and blasted a hole in the back of his skull, scattering blood and brains behind him. It smelled... delicious. She was hungry. Famished. Ravenous. Jade awoke to a buffet of smells, all around her. One delightful smell even closer than the dwarf that had triggered the change in her. Not quite like roasted chicken, but almost. Duck? No... swan. Black swan. Not roasted though, but that was fine too. Raw was also good. Just, avoid getting a mouthful of feathers. Lumbering to her feet, she found herself barely a half a stride away. Time to just, reach out and... When Bladen felt a hand clasp on his shoulder, he probably didn't think much of it. Seemed to think it was just Jade come to get the sword, "Oh come on, I said I'd give it--AUGH!" But the dismissive protestation quickly gave way to a scream of pain as he felt sharp teeth close firmly around him, biting deeply into the flesh of his upper arm. Not his dominant hand, thankfully, and instinctively he swung hard at the assailant with the pommel of his sword, a loud crack sounding out as reward for his efforts. The vicegrip tightness slackened, and he was able to shove the attacker away, although they lashed out in return, sharp nails scoring deep marks across his chest as they tore through his shirt. But that was the last of it, the unbalanced attacker had fallen. Reaching a hand to her dislocated jaw, clumsily trying to shove it back into place, the eyes that stared up at him were tiny, blazing red points, burning at the center of pupils gone wide enough to swallow the entire iris. Wait, he recognized that face. "...Jade? What the..." But she was reaching out for his ankle now, so kicking the grasping hand away he quickly beat a retreat, and as he turned to check if he'd made it far enough away he saw her turn and crawl the other direction. Towards a fallen body.
  11. Haha, more or less. December was busy as everything, but I managed to finish up the next map over the past couple days. Took quite the tinkering till I was happy with it. Sorry again for shelving this for so long. Chapter 33, 5 turns Total Turns: 151
  12. Mmm, the sword did sap strength, she could feel it tugging at her, sucking a small stream of the magic that kept her animated for its own use. But, all things told, it wasn't so bad as she'd expected, from having a look at Xalrei's condition. Curious. Well, the dragon probably took several hits from her opponents as well, let's not blame everything on Requiem. The strange newcomer did, it turns out, speak the common tongue... though their command of it was perhaps suspect, as Taiyute kept slipping in and out of that and gibberish. There'd be time enough later to ask her where she was from, and when she'd arrived, and why here, but for now the zombie's words seemed to be effective. The rest of her group should be safe from any third party interference. She nodded, and pointed in the direction of one thief that had just been spotted exiting someone's home. "If you wouldn't mind, I think your services could best be put to use there. I will see about," Jade frowned as she turned her head to consider Richter, "I will draw the attention of the vampire, don't worry, you will be able to pass him by." Bracing herself for another siphon of strength as she fueled Requiem, the merchant drove her cart closer, took aim, and stated, "You picked the wrong time to turn on this town." Jade to 13-3, Requiem shoot Richter
  13. Marina had dropped off the holy sword in the back of her cart. It was taking a lot of restraint to not just, take a small break from the fight, pop on back there and take a look at it while she had the chance. It would be legitimate, it had been entrusted to her, she needed to keep it safe right, especially with thieves on the loose? On the other hand, she could just pay attention nobody gets close enough to steal it, and then do the looking afterward. The Hero sounded... bitter, disillusioned with the sword; she wasn't likely to make great haste to reclaim it. The merchant ought to have amply time later. That really was the right call, just, a hard one to stomach. Jade's best recourse to keep her mind of the Holy Sword was to instead occupy her attentions with the current condition of that other magical sword, Requiem. Xalrei still had it, of course. The dragon had quickly taken a shine to the blade, it seemed. At least, she'd never complained to Jade about it. But, taking the opportunity to watch her fight with it--an opportunity the zombie hadn't had in the previous fights, as they'd either been separated or too preoccupied, not nearly side-by-side like currently--it was clear the cursed blade really did have an almost draining effect on the wielder. So much so, that Xalrei even sheathed the blade and began to use her plain iron axe for a bit. Jade pressed her lips into a worried line. On the one hand, she had lent it out, she probably shouldn't meddle. On the other hand, it had started to awaken, and might work in her hands now, like it had when she'd asked the dragonewt to activate it while in their shared grasp. That had certainly been an experience. ...If it didn't work, she still had her pistol, and also the rifle; Xalrei could always ask for it back after she'd stopped to catch her breath, gotten one of the healers to pay her some attention. There was nothing lost by asking. If the young dragon said 'no', that would be fine, but if she said 'yes', that would be exciting. Rolling up alongside the 'newt, Jade called out. "I, uh, I don't mean this the wrong way at all, but I couldn't help notice you've stopped using Requiem for the moment. If you need to gather your strength some before killing with it again, you wouldn't mind, uh, lending it back to me to have another try with it, would you?" "T-Take it..." Xalrei replied, barely managing to keep herself up. "It's yours, anyway..." "Just until you ask for it back, then," she agreed, failing to keep an eager grin from her face as she was passed the cursed blade. The magic item rather quickly changed its form to one more comfortable for her to wield. 10,6 take requiem from Xalrei, shoot Armor Thief, Canto to 14,4 and speak to strange person Well done, strange blade... the zombie thought in Requiem's general direction. You actually make a pretty good gun. Her wagon carried with its momentum, and rolled past the narrowing of the lane and into a more open area of the town, where a curious sight caught her attention. A stranger was also embroiled in fighting with the nighttime ruffians. And what a stranger! Wielding wing magic and speaking in tongues Jade had never heard. "Well met, stranger," the merchant called out as she pulled up beside the new face. "I don't know if you can understand me, but I hope you'll be able to figure it out by actions, if not by words, that I mean you no harm. Me and my companions are also engaged with these ruffians. Most of them are back there, more toward the center of town. So if you head that way, please only attack the actual rioters, not those trying to keep the peace."
  14. After she'd finished readying up, and while Lavinia was rousing the others, Jade had gone to the stables and hitched up her 'mares to her wagon. If something truly unfortunate happened and they needed to make a premature exit from town, the merchant wanted to be as ready as possible. When it became apparent that the night raid seemed to be involving champions from the arena, that threw a real curveball into her understanding of the situation. What purpose? Why now? Jade had half a mind to go straight to the leader, still holding position outside the place where they'd fought earlier in the evening, but the general was leading a push to break through to the larger knots of conflict to the east. Realizing that even if she asked, it was unlikely she'd get an answer, and that stemming the harm was more important that satisfying curiosity, the zombie followed suit, driving over eastward, and firing a swift shot and one of the elves making up the muscle on the south side. Jade 9,6 , Revolver on Merc 2
  15. Jade was glad it was dark out, and that Agni was human, with worse night-vision than most inhabitants of Vaia. Being called a lady, and having him act all chivalrous was unexpected, and she was pretty sure she blushed a little, even if the man had no deeper meaning than simply following customs. They were just customs that she hadn't been receiving for a long time now, so... "Right, we'll just take our time then," the merchant agreed, and they began slowly following in the footsteps of the two that had hurried off ahead. It looked like Marina had stopped moving, but she might start up again, it was hard to tell. If not, and she rejoined, and the party was three again like when Lavinia asked her to see them home, then that would be that. If she followed the vampire again, well, that was also a path, and should still get everyone back to the inn all right.
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