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    • In game character name:  Shiori Komatsu

      Preferred Name: Shiori, Shio.

      Pronunciation: [SHEE - oh - REE], [SHEE - oh]

      Alyx Noirtier likes this
    • I am finished it too :3

    • "No, put that here."

      "For fuck's sake, no! Put that one next to this one."

      "This isn't that difficult. Why are you making this harder than it needs to be?"

      For the past several hours, Jebei had been in the estate's workshop, mostly making exasperated noises and trying to get the mammets to comprehend what he wanted them to do. It wasn't their fault, of course. The tiny, wiry-armed mechanical constructs had been built for assisting in the fabrication of airships, not to participate in a Dotharl's pipe-dream. To Jebei, the situation was simple: Follow the schematics and build individual pieces from the materials supplied, just as in airship creation. But airship creation usually didn't involve a bag of baby coeurls needing disemboweled. It was this impromptu bit of bio-engineering that lead the mammets to click and whirr angrily. As if to say, "I can't believe we have to do what this asshole is asking us to do." Logic chips dictated that this wasn't going to work. Sure, the horse would look like a horse. But the organs would likely just slop out of it unless Jebei found a way to keep them secure.

      The mammets were not made to feel better about the whole thing when Jebei left the workshop and then returned several minutes later with a box of thin, gold wiring.

      Thoughts of using Allagan schematics had first popped up in Jebei's head shortly after Hellsbringr's untimely demise. There was no way that he could bring her back from the dead, so this seemed like the next best option. His occasional forays into areas where they had been active had always yielded glimpses of the horrors they had wrought through a combination of science and magic. The Collective itself had a limited amount of information regarding these experiments, at least before Jebei sent people out to get more. And even then, the knowledge base was woefully lacking. This was, after all, just one man's project.

      The very idea that he had done something intelligent for once instead of just cutting something apart was enough to cause him some modicum of excitement. If he could make this work, then what else could he be capable of? Inancha and the dearly-departed Warmaster had both, at one point, attempted to educate Jebei on the finer points of Thaumaturgy and Conjury...They hadn't stuck, of course, but that was before Jebei's realization. If he couldn't understand that what he did through his Shadow was simply an expression of his Aether and his will, then what hope did he have to learn more advanced techniques? Now, he at least felt it was possible.

      Jebei monitored the mammets, red eyes drifting lazily from machine to machine just to verify that they were doing everything correctly. The sounds of clicking and grinding and scraping and that hard, metal keening was almost musical. A craftsman's lullaby. Jebei sat down on the floor near the machine used to launch the airships and leaned back against it. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to fall asleep to the sounds of the work.

      Fire has a familiar smell to you, doesn't it? That's because you are intimately familiar. How many villages have you burned? How many tiny suns flecked the fields of Azim? It was never about warmth or comfort. It was always about leaving ash to roll around in...Playful little pup. I left you warriors and you turned them to ash with your hubris.

      Jebei's eyes opened, skin feeling warm...Even hot. He scrambled to stand on sleepy, quivering legs, using the airship machine for leverage. It burned his fingers to touch it and his stare beheld what was before him with terror. The entire workshop was bathed in dancing, licking, roaring flames. Mammets melted into misshapen piles of smoldering metal. He could see a small, clawed hand reaching from the amalgamation, twitching and desperately seeking help. His head swung around, but he was trapped in the flames. There was no door, no airship platform. He held his hands up to his face. No burns. Jebei's vision was still a little bleary, but he made out the shape of a man in front of him; a warbling and garbled silhouette in the heat. "Not real." Jebei grunted, a bead of sweat rolling down his violet forehead.

      As real as you want it to be. I'm just your will, remember? Isn't that what you said?  And if that's the case, then who's to say we can't burn this whole thing to the ground? That's what you always do, Jebei. You burn things. You burn people.

      "You're not real at all. You're just part of me that hides in here." Jebei tapped his temple. "I don't need to commune with you and that your last refuge is the shape of Erketu is evidence that you have no power." Speaking seemed to help provide a cool respite from the burning flame. The fires flickered and shrank under Jebei's declaration. But they rose and roared in defiance when the shadowy form of his father chuckled and stepped closer to him. He had a strong resolve, but even it was shaken by this.

      You were supposed to fight and die. That's what a Dotharl does. Instead, you agreed to become a Dalamiq's pet. Do you know what happens to pets when their owners grow tired of them, Jebei? They snap their little necks. They leave them alone in the woods to be eaten by larger predators. They put them in tiny-tiny-tiny cages where they starve waiting for a new owner to come along. That's the fate you've agreed to.

      Jebei grunted at the apparition and started pacing. He moved towards the door, moving his arms to scatter flames from his path. But it seemed that each step he took only caused the actual door to move further and further away. Even with a clear path, the door remained far out of reach. This dream was deep and his Shadow had control here. "Zalitai isn't like that. He doesn't just throw people away. I will always have a use to him."

      Always. Always is a long time, Jebei. I know I can't get you to agree with me. Being under the thrall of the Dalamiq means that you're immunized to common sense. After all, under him you met her, didn't you? Such a small, frail Raen. I wonder how scared of you she is under the surface. She's separated herself from you...Hides in the Chocobo Forest because she likes the animals? Or because you're a monster?

      He swallowed hard and saw the grin forming on the apparition's face.

      How much longer can this joy hold before you have to burn it all down? You don't deserve her. You don't deserve this! You are a base murderer living on borrowed time.

      "Shut up!" Jebei finally snapped, turning to face the shape of his father. He approached it and loomed over it, eyes burning brighter than the flames. The fire rose up in response to the outburst.

      Behold the real Jebei. So angry. So full of hate. You're not pissed off because you disagree either...You just want a fight. Can't help it. It's in your nature-nature-nature!

      Despite knowing that the thing was nothing but a manifestation, Jebei lashed out and grabbed it 'round the throat. His fingers squeezed amorphous black. A choking, wheezing laugh escaped its lungs. Cold seeped over his knuckles and, in that moment, Jebei and his Shadow became one being in infinite space. Their forms swelled and mixed and Jebei couldn't determine whether his screams were actually his. The flames swirled, sucked into the vortex created by their mingling; a drain slurping down the vestiges of this current reality and replacing it with violent, flashing nothingness. There was punctuation in the void, perforations that Jebei's 'eyes', if he could even call them that anymore, couldn't fully understand.





      White scales.

      Gold scales.




      Black sun.

      Black scales.

      A polished stone.


      "We can't do this...There has to be another way." "Have you lost your spine?"


      Jebei re-entered his body with the force of real falling, tumbling out of the void and back into himself with gasping breaths. For a moment, he felt hot and this was disconcerting enough to elicit a loud scream from him. But even a blurry examination of the workshop and the mammets, who were staring at him, but not maimed or melted, revealed that everything was fine. He reached for his shirt and lifted it to his forehead, patting away sweat and tears and any other fluid that had accumulated there over the course of his fitful sleep. He said nothing to the mammets, who went back to work, but merely grunted and left the chamber to go and get a glass of water.

    • Our first 'formal' OOC FC meeting was held on 4/23/17 based on a desire for more formal engagement and conversation about what's going on behind-the-scenes with the Collective, as well as provide a forum to pitch ideas and ask questions. Participation was great, and we had a lot of ground to cover!

      We'll be conducting these meetings on a monthly basis going forward, but for now here's a high-level recap of what was discussed:



      • Zal's coming out of his burnout, and dealing with some overdue maintenance tasks as a result. Member access to the website should be fixed for newest members, and removed from those who have since left the ranks. As a reminder, usernames on the forums should be the same as your primary play character (first) name - if you need to have your username updated, please reach out to an officer!


      • Clean-up of unclaimed alts in the linkshell and free company is imminent. If you have alts in either, please note their names using the 'Short Messages' feature in the Free Company. We'll give everyone a heads-up when we decide on a deadline before clearing the inactives.


      In The Works

      • Rank-up requirements are under review. Latter relic phases will require a great deal more programming than phase 1 due to some of the incredible-but-time-consuming stuff we have planned, so we'll be mitigating this by providing more advancement opportunities in-between. There may still end up being a temporary hard-stop at whatever rank ultimately necessitates the second relic, but this will not preclude people from moving into officership roles if we feel it is warranted.


      • The new combat system is nearly ready to be deployed. I'mhati is still wrangling with code, but he's offered an eta of approximately two weeks for the first iteration. If he doesn't deliver you can expect a trial.


      • We'll be taking some time to touch up resources detailing our story on the website to provide a little more transparency, including a new series of 'story so far' recaps for our major story threads. These should begin to crop up by the end of April.


      • Filming has begun for a free company trailer, but still in the early stages and I'm a perfectionist, so this isn't a project with a set deadline but rather something I'll be building on as inspiration strikes. I'm hoping to finish it in time for Stormblood.


      Roleplay Talk

      • We've been actively working to realign some of the story presentation both to make some of the intrigue at the heart of the Collective more apparent, but also to re-establish our position not as moustache-twirling villains but rather an organization that - while morally ambiguous - is seemingly still acting in the interests of the realm. There are laws to obey after all, though who's to say what goes on behind closed doors?


      • We are continuing to tell the story that is bridging us over into Stormblood. This ties a little bit into the above point, but also means we're driving towards a finale in June! We'll be hosting this via a Discord RP session during the week leading up to early access, which will hopefully provide everyone an interesting hook for traveling beyond Baelsar's Wall.


      • There was a discussion about revisiting some of the old systems that allowed members to post and participate in missions of their own design. Thank you Koko for the excellent template! We'll be investigating the possibility of re-integrating this in a more fluid method than the previous points system., and not necessarily tied to rank-ups.


      • Another reminder to everyone, we're all for collaborating and facilitating any stories or plotlines our members wish to introduce! We'll look into a method to formalize this process to make it more immediately present.


      • Finally, we had a discussion regarding making sure RP is inclusive for everyone. While everyone agrees that outside of select circumstances, there's no reason anyone can't come up with a reason to engage with ongoing roleplay, we also acknowledged that as a whole we can all do a better job of making those opportunities more visible. We'll be posting some more about this, but for starters we've decided to introduce a mentor program to help get our newest members included and familiar with the company.


      Out-of-Character Activities

      • We'll continue to hold out-of-character meetings on a monthly basis. The discussion is great, as is the chance to really get together and socialize as a group outside of the usual drunken saturday nights.


      • Some additional OOC activities are planned for the next month going into Stormblood, specifically helping others learn some of the extreme Primals they might have missed, and...maybe, possibly, kind of dicking around with Diadem? Maybe. Also, we're acknowledging that Thursday nights aren't really working out for treasure hunts, so we'll find another timeslot for those.


      • Movie nights might be a thing! More to come on this front, but I'm not above marathoning 3 hours worth of Steven King's 'IT'. The original version.


      Thanks to everyone who participated - there is much and more to come!

    • As we continue to grow in membership and the scope of our story expands, we've acknowledged that it's not always easy for our newest members to feel comfortable engaging in activities swarmed by veterans, nor do our officers have enough hands to properly attend to everyone!

      In an effort to address this, we are implementing a mentor program! Though there are no clear rewards tied to mentoring (participation is its own reward and all that), positive participation will be factored into the speed at which one advances through our ranks (though it is by no means mandatory). In addition, participation in the mentor program will be used as a metric in determining any individual's readiness and eligibility for officership.


      In order to be eligible for mentorship, members must be:

      • At or above the rank of 'Initiate'
      • Demonstrably active both in terms of online presence and roleplay engagement
      • In good in-character standing with the Collective

      There's no need to 'register' to be a mentor - officers will be pairing people up based on needs, however if you would like to volunteer yourself more readily you are more than welcome to do so by approaching any of the officers. Similarly, you are welcome to decline being a mentor at your convenience.


      Mentors will be responsible for introducing new members to the Collective - its story, its members, and the Black Vault proper.


      When a new member joins the Collective, he or she will be immediately appointed a mentor both ICly and OOCly who will be expected to:

      • Give them a tour of the Black Vault
      • Appraise them of any rules, expectations, and potential faux pas pitfalls
      • Introduce the new member both over the linkpearl and to anyone physically present in the manse

      In addition, mentors will be expected to engage their proteges to help involve them in ongoing roleplay, as well as to answer any questions or concerns they might have both in-character and out-of-character.

      At the conclusion of the new members' two week probationary period, mentors will make a formal recommendation to either promote their assigned newblood to the rank of Initiate, or for them to be removed from the company. Officers of course retain the right to override either recommendation.

      The relationship between mentor and protégé does not end there, however, as we hope the bonds forged will last the entirety of a characters' tenure with the Collective. Indeed, having sponsored their protégés for full-fledged membership, mentors may find themselves recognized and rewarded for the successes of their disciples - or punished and looked down upon for their failures.

      While the mentor program is by no means mandatory in order to progress through the ranks, positive participation will be factored into the speed at which one advances. Note that participation in the mentor program is mandatory in order to be eligible for officership, for those interested.


      We hope this new program helps to provide additional avenues for our members to engage with the Free Company, and look forward to seeing the bonds and stories that form as a result!

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      Khada'li likes this