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  1. #101
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    He closed his eyes, exhaled slowly, and rubbed the little tickly spot off with his thumb. He then stared at it. He had nowhere to wipe it off on out here. He didn't want to soil his clothes any further as a matter of principle. He eventually opted to wipe it off on a part of his crutch he was unlikely to touch.

    He couldn't see the smeary mark the rubbing left on his face.

  2. #102
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    "You missed a bit, here," Lullaby licked her thumb and rubbed the dirt off Stylus's cheek. "There, all clean!"
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  3. #103
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus swallowed and smiled. After a few deep breaths he said that he'd just remembered having left something in his room. "You should just go ahead, I think we're late enough as it is."

    He turned on his crutch and made his slow way back to the room.
    Last edited by Aval; September 19th, 2015 at 05:41 AM.

  4. #104
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    "No, I'll come with you," Lullaby said gently. She didn't want him to fall again and perhaps hurt himself this time, but she didn't want to say it aloud in case it embarrassed him.
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  5. #105
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus shook his head, knowing it would be impossible to talk her out of it with that tone in her voice. He trudged on, reached his door and turned with a fresh smile to tell her he'll be back in a moment.

    Inside he rushed, repeating his cleaning ritual for his face and hands. There was no time to fix his hair or anything, just enough to make sure there was nothing touching his skin. He didn't have a clean tunic and after a moment decided he wouldprefer to wear one which was clean on the inside at least.

    He reappeared minutes later, wet hair being the only noticeable evidence of his wash but feeling much better.

    "Alright sorry about that, let's go." He chirped.
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  6. #106
    New member ASaluteToYou's Avatar
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    There was a certain, sharp pain as Loft's body was pushed and crunched by the impact of another person, dazing her for a split second after she wobbled away a few inches. Ouch! She thought to herself as she processed what had happened. "Hey-" she called out, almost confrontationally, until the body that had ran itself into hers was none other than Pierce's, at which point she calmed down. "Oh. Hi, Pierce!"

    Despite herself, it sort of felt odd talking to him now. They had remained largely out of each other's company during the festival, though Loft was certain that it wasn't for any particular reason, right? Sure, he had the Hunters and she had an entire society of Builders, and both needed to become acquainted with their respective groups, but that was just a matter of it being their jobs....

    Wait, isn't our job our life now?

    She blinked away the feeling. Guide, I've been over-reacting lately! What's wrong with me? He had been involved in a competition last night, so that was probably most of the reason why he hadn't gotten to talk to her. What mattered now was that Pierce was there, and talking to her. "Up and at it early this morning?"

  7. #107
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    "Oh yeah," he answered. "I checked and there's nothing trying to invade the Clave right now!"

    He paused. The creeping realization washed over him that he had barely, if at all, spoken to his best friend the previous night.

    "We're adults now! Can you believe it?"

    This adult wasn't going to let his best friend down that easy!"
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  8. #108
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    Whet had arrived in the dining hall and was lined up with everyone else. She had kept her head down, tired and finding the study of floor dirt suitable escapism from the mass of people surrounding her. As she got closer to the kitchen she looked up though, and with a jolt she tried to suppress, realized 30 stood only a few people ahead of her. Upon closer inspection she noticed 19 and ...Kalis? She couldn't have helped but notice when he was given his name yesterday. Something about him - about the way he had always been, had made her feel extraordinarily vigilant in his presence since she woke from her attack.

    Still, he had been her friend and so had 30 and 19. Yet none of them had visited her when she was bedridden and none of them had approached her when she recovered enough to work. Seeing them all talk and smile made her feel odd; she had not approached them back then either, taking their disinterest in her as rejection and shaming. She had indeed felt ashamed, but it had been shared by a desperate, bubbling sense of injustice and anger. As far as she was concerned she had done everything the Guide wanted from a hunter. She had kept herself strong and sharp, she had met the standards her elders had set, reported weak callows and encouraged her fellow hunters to follow her example. She had been part of the stronger class and had behaved as she was entitled to. She had not deserved this near-death sentence. Becoming a builder had felt like an insult to her intellect and true abilities. Dying from the attack had, at times, felt more dignified than this. She still clung onto her decision from the night before. This was her future and she needed allies she could trust. Her former friends and the other hunters were not people she felt she could trust. She wasn't sure which reason discouraged her the most: her suspicions that a hunter did this to her or the shame and absolute inadequacy she felt in their presence now that she was painfully reminded by her new place in the Clave hierarchy.

    Whet shuffled along, now with a bowl of food in hand and found a secluded spot as far and out of sight from Kalis as possible.

  9. #109
    New member ASaluteToYou's Avatar
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    "Yep," Loft smiled back. "Adults. Old and proud, with the other adults willing to take us as seriously as they do themselves. Pretty nifty, huh?"

    She kept walking, hoping that Pierce would take the hint to follow her. "But wow- they already have you patrolling? First meal has only just begun! You'll starve if you overwork yourself, which only leads to you not being as sharp as you could be." A smirk graced her face. "And you, of all people, need to stay sharp! It's part of your name, y'know?"

  10. #110
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Pierce mused on this. His name did imply sharpness, and surely Guide would send a signal through names. Perhaps his purpose was to be a beacon of enlightenment for the poor, less intelligent people of the Clave. This was something he'd have to consider later, of course, rather than now, because his friend seemed to be leading him onward toward the meal.

    "And you, uh. You have to eat so that you can, uh..." he paused, looking for a good pun. "You have to be able to loft things. Heh. Hehh..."

    Pierce was pretty sure loft could be used as a verb. Not sure what for though.
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  11. #111
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    "Alright sorry about that, let's go." Stylus chirped.

    "Alright."

    He seemed slightly off but Lullaby wasn't sure exactly why. She decided to put it out of her mind and focus on making sure Stylus didn't trip again.

    They made it back to the dining hall without incident or conversation but arrived to see people filing out.

    "Oh," Lullaby said, "it looks like we missed first meal."
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  12. #112
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    He had told her to go on ahead. This is what happens when people don't listen to him. Why didn't anyone ever listen to him? It was not, absolutely not his fault for not wanting to have dirt touching him. He wouldn't have been able to do his job knowing it was there. And he couldn't be blamed by any rational person for falling over, he didn't choose to and he was normally quite good with his crutch.

    She should've listened.

    And there were her friends; the gaggle of breeders. The people who she probably actually wanted to talk to commanding their own little area of the hall.

    Stylus sighed. "Sorry... I'll see if I can get that string for your mark for you today to make up for it or something. I-I need to sit down for a moment but there's no point in you waiting around and missing more work. Go meet up with the breeders - I'll be okay."
    Last edited by Aval; September 24th, 2015 at 12:51 AM.

  13. #113
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    His tone wasn't very convincing.

    "Are you sure?" Lullaby asked.
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  14. #114
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    He flashed a perfectly crafted Stylus Smile.

    "Positive. Get going."

  15. #115
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    "Alright." Lullaby went over to the table of breeders and sat down next to Myachi, only then glancing back in Stylus' direction.

    "How're you?" she asked Myachi.
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  16. #116
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    Myachi turned to elev-Lullaby with a smile. "Oh ya know," she idly was manipulating her mark, a blood stained light blue bean bag, with uninterest grace in a way that was sure to make her popular with the callows. Blue as a colour was rare in the clave so surely it meant that the guide smiled on Myachi and her future. "I'm nervous for our last breeder class before we get to work proper. Tumi said it's after breakfast and I can't even imagine what is left for us to learn." She looked questioningly at Lullaby, "do you have any idea what the class could be on?"

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

    Meccano sat with the other breeders trying to quell his sudden anxiety. He, of course, was the perfect breeder so had nothing to fear. Right? He had to admit that being the prodigy was sometimes nerve wracking because like what if he wasn't as good as everyone said he was? Meccano never had to fear not making the cut as a breeder, but what if that was bad. I don't even know HOW to fail; Meccano mused. Meccano tugged at one of dreads before smoothing it back into place. For his first full day as a citizen, he had decided to leave his dreads free, but usually he liked to pull his dreads into a tunnel beast tail and wrap it in fabric about halfway down. As he finished primping, he let his eyes wander over the dining hall and tuned out Tumi and Hoop's conversation about guide knows what and Myachi and Lullaby's conversation hadn't even registered. His portion of food as a citizen was slightly larger than what is allotted for callows that are almost citizens. His eyes eventually settled on Stylus who was sitting alone. He let his eyes linger until he realized that Stylus didn't have any food in front of him. Almost mechanically, Meccano collected all of his extra strips of dried meat and grabbed some from Tumi's plate. He got up without saying anything to the breeders and strode across the room to Stylus. He put the food down in front of Stylus and sniped at him. "Hey Stencil, can you try to get your shit together? I know I'm dashing, but I can't save you every day. Besides, I don't know about you, but I am horrified at the thought of you getting even more runty and useless. Can you even imagine?" He shuddered lightly and turned away; "Try not to starve, Spatula." He called over his shoulder.

  17. #117
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    "Hrm... Well... I remember when I was younger I asked Pairing where callows come from and she told me 'breeders are told when they become citizens' and wouldn't tell me anything else. Maybe it's that?"
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  18. #118
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    "Oh yeah, duh. For some reason, that didn't even occur to me. That's probably it. I guess we have nothing to fear then." she said.

  19. #119
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    "Um- thankyou..."

    Stylus was taken aback and by the time he had regained some sort of composure Meccano had already pranced far away. What the pit was he supposed to make of that? Was that a show of dominance? Just a chance to make another snide comment? Would he really give away food for the sake of a putdown that lame?

    Stylus sniffed a strip of meat before cautiously nibbling at it.

    He didn't seem to be trying to draw much attention either so it wasn't a calculated public humiliation or a demonstration of conspicuous altruism. If Stylus knew people - and he did - this was certainly a pantomime message of some kind and he was the only audience. But what could it mean?

    The half-meal did settle pretty nicely in his grumbling stomach all things considered though.

  20. #120
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    Corvo stood stonily by the barricade; she would never show it, but she was very pleased with her hunters today. To impress the new recruits, she had asked her favoured pairs of hunters to report to the front gate early and stand in disciplined rows. Hunters died quickly and often so she had come to love and fear the second day of the year. She already had tentative pairs for the new hunters and huntresses decided, but her personal policy was never to assign mentors. Most of the experienced hunters would pick a new pair to show the ropes for the first couple days, but occasionally the older hunters would decide that no one was worth training. It was a big deal to mentor a pair because you were still expected to meet your quota and you'd have to protect your pair.

    Once she felt that enough people were there that she could consider anyone else who arrived late and could note mental demerits for the stragglers, she smiled at Deuce and Fade. Deuce and Fade are her current favourite pair and had been citizens for two years. Deuce had a determined fire in her that never waned despite the long hours of work and Fade was an excellent counterpart because he was mostly level-headed but when he felt out of control, he fought out of control.

    At Corvo’s smile they each bowed slightly and started sorting the crowd. When they were done, all of the hunters stood in their pairs in two by ten columns facing Corvo. “Brave hunters and huntress of the Enclave, look to the person next to you. This person is your new favourite person. Your life depends on your trust in him or her and his or her life depends on your skill and cunning. Please, take a moment to get acquainted with your partner. Once you feel sufficiently buddied up, take sometime to meet the other pairs of hunters. They will be important too. Maybe if you’re not too pathetic, an experienced pair will take you under their wings. Dismissed!”

    Once her voice stopped echoing around the tunnel did the hunters feel truly released. The new citizens eyed each other warily and old citizens contentedly as they started chatting amongst themselves. The old hunters had no need to acquaint as they were all in their old pairs. Newbees that were lucky enough to be paired with an unpaired older hunter sighed in relief at having someone with experience on their side, but it didn’t seem to occur to any of them that the only way they could be paired with an old hunter was that they let their partner die.
    Three rows back in one of the regiments, Kukri turned to his new partner with dismay. Why did it have to be that dolt One? He stuck out his hand politely and introduced himself hoping that Pierce would do the same so he wouldn’t have to admit that he didn’t know his name.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
    Elsewhere in the Clave, Stone and Thimble were frantically tidying the main workshop. Behind the heavy iron doors to the Workshop, there was always a mess of tools, materials and flotsam from the storm of construction. Thimble privately thought that it was a waste of effort to tidy the largest workshop as it always had the most mess, but Stone felt almost compulsively driven to impress new builders. She thought it had to do with the lack of respect he got even among the other division leaders.

    About half of the builders had arrived once Stone finally decided that the Workshop was suitably impressive, which he signaled with a heavy sigh and a mutter “that will have to do.” Thimble looked out into the crowd and noticed that the early arrivers were mostly old builders, some of whom were trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness of cleaning the Workshop.
    Stone and Thimble had been running the Workshop for almost 5 years so both of them were getting a little long in the tooth, but administrative work wasn’t that strenuous. They mostly served as accountant, quartermasters, and consultants at this point. The builders had by far the most structured hierarchy of any division in the Clave and as such, Stone and Thimble had appointed people to be in charge of smaller teams of about six. Usually the teams of six specialized in a certain field of building like textile work or tunnel reinforcing, but there were also a fair amount of ‘general contractor’ teams that would work in a specialization only as long as that specialization was understaffed or overworked.

    Once everyone had arrived, Stone launched into his practiced first day of work speech. Thimble had it memorized word for word so she didn’t bother listening. She knew she wouldn’t be called to do anything until Stone called team leaders forward.

    Once she noticed Aerator by her side she realized she had daydreamed a little too long. Team leaders were already starting to call their teams. Unlike hunter pairs which lasted until death do them part, builder teams switch every year. It proved disastrous to put teams of only novices to work on sensitive tasks so long ago it was decided that teams must be mixed. Thimble winked at Aerator who had bet Foundation his turn in the draft on the Tournament. She found it hard to believe that anyone gambled against Aerator anymore. He was undefeated. He had won the right to chose his first worker sixth in the draft and with his most important pick, he picked Whet. Thimble raised an eyebrow at him but said nothing.

    As usual, experience builders who had proved easy to work with went first interspersed with particularly talented new citizens. Disliked or unskilled experienced builders always were picked last. Idly, Thimble noticed that the only newbees who had been chosen early in the draft were Whet, Loft, and Ashlar. Good, she thought. We could use more talented girls.
    Once the draft was over, team leaders were given the floor to explain what their team did for the Clave and start a few team building exercises. Builders are all about building whether it’s walls or trust.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
    Back in the main Callow dormitory, Silk was dismissing callows and breeders who had pulled the first meal shift to the dining hall. Rubik was off quieting the breeders who were on brat duty and bringing them their first meal. Rubik hated going into the brat dorm because not only had he seen so many die, they are annoying and smelly and made an unguidely amount of laundry. Children who were as of yet too young to be numbered were as transient and unimportant to him as giving the talk was.

    Most of the breeders who weren’t on first meal duty and weren’t new to this had the morning off and most were showering. He meandered through the makeshift walls that separated the brat dorm from the regular callow dorms and the breeding chambers. Silk had already arranged the couches for the lesson. Couches were rare in the Clave and most of them were allocated to the breeders and callow dorms. They were just extra thick pallets on boxes, but it was nice have somewhere to sit if you got roped into telling one of the Clave’s hours long epics.

    He steeled himself and watched as his six students funnel in. He was pleased to see that they entered as a group laughing. He was glad this group doesn’t hate each other. He ushered them to sit and turned to Silk, signaling her to begin.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
    Over in the Wordwarren, Tome shuffled around happily. He was glad to be finally getting a new apprentice. His last one was a very clever girl, but a bookshelf fell on her and broke her arm. She didn’t survive the amputation so he had been working along for almost half a year. If he was to do the math, it was more likely that it had been a third, but it felt like half a year and that’s all that mattered to him. He knew his new apprentice wasn’t very hardy but he had a good feeling about this one. The guide definitely smiled on Stylus. Tome perched on his high stool behind his tall desk for maximum effect and waited for him to arrive. Tome supposed he had to patient with the boy as he doesn’t walk very fast, but if he could find a tactful way to put it, Tome would mention the importance of timeliness for learned ones.
    Last edited by FayeFox; September 25th, 2015 at 03:32 AM.

  21. #121
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby's hands twisted in her lap, fiddling with the hem of her dress as Rubik explained things. It all seemed... very uncomfortable. Was it really the only way to produce brats? She decided it was better not to ask. If this is how things are done then... it must be the best way, right?

    She was finding herself staring into odd corners of the room and had to keep returning her eyes to Rubik.

    So if that was how a brat got into a dam, how did it get out?

    Oh. Oh Guide.

    Lullaby crossed her legs.
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  22. #122
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    Whet noticed she had been clenching her jaw ever since she was picked which, given Aerator's team was now completed, had been a while ago. She had been picked first and when she realized what it meant it felt as if some of her pride welled back up in her. She stood taller than she had for a while and somehow she felt more like herself; strong and able. She relaxed her jaw and found herself willing to engage and listen as the team leaders spoke of what their teams did. This could be good. She touched the little whet stone in her pouch. This could be home.

  23. #123
    New member ASaluteToYou's Avatar
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    Loft was very happy with her team assignment- she had been put on tunnel repair, which meant that everything was going smoothly for her. I get to work on the ceiling!, she though, which means I have to climb up to the ceiling every day! Gone where her fears of being cooped up at a desk, doing some variant of stuffy detail work.

    Ashlar was on the tunnel repair team with her- Ashlar had actually been chosen before Loft had- so her team's building exercises- everyone making up a short epic and telling it to the rest of the group in turn- went a bit more smoothly for Loft. Granted, not that it would have been too hard for the master story-spinner of her class either way, but she was able to include Ashlar's ever-beloved recurring minor character to this story, and fully enjoy the smile that put on her face.

    This was gonna be a good year.

  24. #124
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    The little door of the wordwarren swung open is the slow, shakey manner one tended to have while leaning on a crutch, already exhausted by the long morning Stylus had had. He appeared, shamefaced, and closed it behind himself.

    "Sorry sir I won't be so late again."

  25. #125
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Pierce stretched his hand out to shake with... uhh... It started with a K...

    "Hi, uh, friend!" He said. "Looking forward to the hunt?"
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