Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Obi-Wan

Been traveling northeast the last week or so, things have been 'slow', as far as my heinous crimes against life in effort to slay a monster.  Still, I sort of like the east coast, I think.  I always wanted to visit Maine back in the day.  The idea of having lobster fresh from the sea, and to look at picturesque light houses on the rocky shore as the wind sweeps in from the ocean.  Sounds nice to me,  there or the Pacific Northwest.  Both seem just wholesome areas, and this comes from someone born in the 'Heartland' of America.

Anyway, so some of you probably have heard Robert calling me out lately.  I really didn't want to have this meeting with him. 

Look despite my....current work therein, I've made it clear that I do not enjoy it, but it needs done.  Robert's the key player that put me in the spot I am today, but still in a way, I have had a deal of respect for his trials.  I remember that day months ago when he chose me to play Sage to a bunch of scared, and confused people, when I hadn't even seen the monster myself. 

Still I gave it a shot, and let delusion and grandeur fill my head...we all know how that ended by now.

So about Robert...the tormented man that has been mindscrewed, charred alive, beaten, drugged, and lived in some sort of maintenance hutch for weeks in a bad suit, eating beans...

I have to say the last part really makes me sad.  I just picture him, delusional, sitting in a crawlspace, so filled with his own misgivings, that he forgot how to live on his own.  He forgot who he was.  Identity is practically the only thing I have.  That plus a few clothes, a backpack, my blade, mask, and a healthy dose of frustration.

...and a nameless shroud that tries to rip my lungs out of my chest when I stop moving for more than a few hours.  Unfortunately, my shadow is not something I could ever forget nowadays.


So Robert had asked me to meet him, via my old email that I hardly check nowadays.  I can't believe he wanted to meet me in Roanoke, but I suppose that's fitting.  I still can't figure out how the hell he knew I was in Virgina, but I decided to take up his offer, despite my misgivings.

He asked me to meet him in the children's section of some library in town, after hours.  Certainly a novel idea of his, but again, I obliged.

It wasn't hard to break into, however I still quite worried about some sort of silent alarm being triggered.  Night consumed the city as I peered outside, towards the main street, looking for some sign of police, or investigation, cursing myself that he may have simply sent me here in hopes I'd end up in police custody.

Then I started thinking about him again.  The man's been tortured so much by evil, he was bound to be corrupted.  What would I do if he was marked?  Could I take his life so easily?

What if he wanted me to ease his pain?  To stop living this futile cycle of loss and horror.

I wasn't certain what I would do.

I sat on one of the children's stools, rocking quietly as I stared at the floor in thought, when I heard footsteps from near the restrooms.

Unknown>>>  Hey...Sorry about that, dinner was so good, it wanted a repeat performance.

I looked up, darting to my feet.  Even at night, the library was illuminated enough that I should've had no trouble seeing anyone, yet the room was empty.

Unknown>>> So...what happens now?

I scoured the room, my hands clenching anxiously.

Me>>>  Robert?     Where are you?

I hear a belabored sigh, in response.

Unknown>>>  So...It works that well, huh?  Take off your mask.

Like hell I would.  If he had been mindfucked again, I needed every assurance I had to survive any unpleasant encounter. 

Me>>>  No.

I've had vision trouble since Arkady nearly broke his blunt ass blade against my head, not to mention even more memory troubles.   I squinted my eyes, mentally screaming to myself to focus harder.

My gaze just...slipped around him at first, as if he were beneath my view.  Reminded me of our mutual foe.

Me>>>  There you are...so finally I meet the second man that drug me into this nightmare.

I assessed Sagel in his glory.  He was thinner than I expected.  Wearing a bandanna over his hair, he looked gaunt, almost yellow.  He kept his hands in his hoodie pockets, but I could see how frail his body had become, even without his hands visible.  For a man who had plastic surgery to restore his appearance not that long ago, he looked like hell. 

Me>>>  You look like hell.

He drew out a hand to click on a toy carousel, which spewed out light and tinkled music,  his gaze drawn to it for a moment.

Robert>>>  Better?  Yeah, I like it too.

Certainly he was not here to discuss merits of projection images from library toys.

Me>>>  What do you want, Sagel?  Are you here to kill me?

The thought infuriated me.  Robert had lost his mind repeatedly, could he have seen me as something worse?  I swept my arms open, reveling in the sarcastic drama.

Me>>>  To remove a rabid dog?

He looked up, unreadable, as I boiled in contempt.  Yet the anger faded from me, evaporating into the night sky, as my arms fell to my side.

Me>>> This isn't Star Wars, man...

Robert shrugged, his hand slipping back into his hoodie.  Poor bastard must have been so cold, whatever he had done to himself, he was so gaunt, that for the second time in his life, he resembled the monster more than I'm sure he wanted to admit.

Robert>>>  I admit that.   You ever wonder what you would've been, if you had went down the other path?

He looked around the room as he provoked me to contemplate my wreck of a life.  Before I could answer the question, he added to his musings.

Robert>>>  Running like M maybe?  Well...No use mentally fixating on 'what could've been', right?

He slouched, almost shrinking, a haggard look on his face.

Robert>>>  No.  I am not here to stop you.  I just need something from you, then we never have to see each other again.

I glossed over his comment, still stuck on his question for a moment.  I hated the idea of running, but what would've changed?

Me>>>  I don't think, I could've.

My voice cracked, as I considered those possibilities.

Me>>>  I couldn't have run, like M.  He was the only one who managed to make that work...Everyone else realized they had to fight at some point, to end it.

I looked away, towards the inane posters all libraries carry, as I pondered that maybe, maybe the ones who ran, and never looked back were the ones who were the bravest of us.  Cutting ties with the entirety of life, save a simple blog, knowing that for the rest of your life you'll be hounded by a monster,  is that strength?

Me>>> I wasn't strong enough to just run, and live like that forever.  No...I wanted an ending once, Robert.

All the angst, and depression of the last few months swelled within me, even now as I relate this, I can't help but

Me>>>  I wanted a chance to be someone.  I was stupid, and I chose to fight it.

He leaned against the far wall, next to the carousel, his thin hand idly played with it, causing the stars and moons on the wall to spin about.

Robert>>>  Stupid, yes, but it wasn't a waste.  At least not in the way you think it was. 

He straightened up, looking back towards me, before he continued.

Robert>>>  Anyway, enough mysterious babble about 'high level' concepts.  To business?

I couldn't help but be amused by him playing it straight for once, without euphemisms, or cryptic speech.

Me>>>  I thought mysterious babble WAS your business.

He laughed sadly, looking at the floor.  I joined in with a soft chuckle.   Two pathetic men, in their last gasps of life.  Gallows humor at its finest.

Robert>>>  Yeah... Stock in trade, claim to fame.   How about some real simple stuff then?

He tilted his head to the side, his voice grew stronger.  A bit more as I had imagined him, even rocking on his heels, as if giving a lecture to his old student.

Robert>>>  He is Death....  We've trussed up the ideal.  Made it seem noble, or coldly compassionate, or a hot goth girl...but we're still afraid of it.  Of Him.  We run, we hide...fight...some try to forget about it, only to remember later.  He's always there, and he will get us all in the end.

Five months ago, I would've been spellbound by his oratory, even still it was oddly humbling, to hear him talk.  Some time ago, before he was shattered beyond belief, this man started the united front that remains even to this day, even if disdainfully referred to as the 'Core Theory' days,  done in by people's self-glorification.

Me>>>  You speak of death, or of the monster.  One's been spared to me, the other's just waiting.

He shrugged again.

Robert>>>  I think it doesn't matter much at this point.  He's changed too much.

Me>>>  He's changed, you think?  Who's to say the brazenness, the use of agents, the many appearances.  He could've done this all before, we would've had no idea,  hell a great deal still don't know of him,

The lucky bastards.

Robert>>> Gut feeling.  Anyway it's the agents that are the real problem, particularly *that* bastard. Which is why I am here.

I could taste the venom of his reference to Redlight.  I didn't want to even think about him.  All I can see is a woman on her knees, begging me to shoot her, when I think of that name.

Me>>> Redlight...the pain in the side of most everyone I know.  Heh, even Strahm.   So you think you can kill him?

He nodded softly, sincerity and conviction in his tone.  He gestured with his off-hand as he continued his theorem.

Robert>>> I know how.  If he takes over Cynthia, then it's done.  He'll have his own army, away from Him, and well...he'll just run roughshod over us, then go public probably.  He's an ambitious little shit.

Robert>>>  I can't just stab him, as he's 'invested' enough of himself and his identity to make a jump to another of his puppets.  But, I know what to do to really, and truly kill this bastard.

Bodysurfing.  Robert's still a damn loon, but that would explain his speed in transit.  I doubt it's true, but we all know stranger things are out there.

Me>>> You really think there's more than one out there...that there's a whole network. I still don't buy it. But I'm all for killing the smug asshole, and adding him to my collection.

Certainly Redlight's bone would aid in my attack on the tree...

He shook his head, cutting my thoughts short.

Robert>>>  You'll never do it, and you don't want to.

I shrugged back, for once, as I considered my ever fading options.

Me>>>  It's not really my task at hand. But if I see the bastard, i'm not saying I wouldn't take the swing....no, I'm better off not seeing him again. Not after Nessa.

Robert>>> I was...not wholly correct about the network. Bad intel on my part. But he can body surf, he just has to do something special with Cynthia....Alright, enough dancing about it, zero.  Where's the tree?

I was in the middle of a speculative answer when he stunned me.  The Bleeding Tree.

Fuck.

Robert wanted to see it.   I suppose that at least he believed it was real, so that's a comfort to my sanity, though the world'd probably be better off if it was just my own hallucination.

Me>>>  You want to....Robert, no.   Don't do that.

Lost for words, I stumbled over myself.  He withdrew a set of pruning shears from his hoodie pouch.

Robert>>> It's important, zero.  Where's the tree?  I know it's not 'fully real'.

I drew my blade quickly, then took a step back.  Certainly a set of shears were no match for a blade, even a crap one like mine, however it was a threat that I did not intend to ignore.  Even as he held the shears one handed.

Me>>> It *is* real.  Robert...The tree *will* kill you.  You're sickly enough as it is.

Robert>>>  Maybe, but I'd rather die doing something...

He set the shears on the half wall beside him, next to the carousel, then gestured to my blade.

Robert>>> And put that away please.   Not like I have much time left anyway, so why would you even care?  I die, one less schmuck you have to kill, right?

He still thinks I'm a psycho, that the deaths at my hand were for vengeance.  Certainly it was murder, but with greater purpose than that. 

Me>>>  You were once a noble man, Robert.  Even if your choice of replacement was faulty.  Heh...I admit, I have considered killing you, though not with malice, but with mercy.  To end this suffering you've been throwin into repeatedly.

I lowered my blade.

Me>>>  But...heh...you want what I wanted once, long upon a time, don't you?  A last chance to do something worthwhile.

Robert>>> My kind of thing, along with the babble.

I could relate to that.  The man was everything from a 'guardian' to a liar, to a perfectly average person at times.  He wanted to figure out which of those he really was.

Me>>>  I understand that, but fuck man, why the tree?

Robert gave a weak smile as he gestured into another shrug.

Robert>>>  It's complicated.  You want the short version, long one, or just the comfort that it's not going to affect you.  You'd probably be happier not knowing.

I sat down on the same stool as I thought things over.  Certainly I had a little respect for the man, but was there any trust?  I rolled several variables around in my head, when I decided that I've always been a bit of a gambler.

Me>>>  When you get there, you'll see the trees just part, and the ground will shift to roots...and it will suddenly be before you, a body upon each branch. A crashing weight will send you to the ground, and every time your skin will touch the roots, it will drain your life....The worst is the eyes...do not make contact with its eyes.

I looked up to ensure he was listening, before I continued.

Me>>  It is an unearthly glow they create, and every second you are drawn to them, is as the same as the monster's own mindgames...."

He nodded, then gestured towards the exit.  I stood as he went to depart.

Robert>>  Thank you.  Have a good night, zero.  Good luck.

He paused as he turned to face me.

Robert>>  One more thing...

The window next to me shattered, as a tremendous boom broke the silence of the air.  A smoking hole in Robert's hoodie pouch appeared, with the glint of metal inside.

The fucker tried to shoot me.   However lousy aim he had from that awkward position was soon to be fixed as he drew his pistol on me.

I started to dive for cover, dropping my blade in the process.  Last thing I wanted was to be impaled as I panicked.

A second and third shot rang out as I scrambled behind a children's table, frantically looking for some way out of this mess.

Robert>>>  For what it's worth, sorry...

He was already gone when I steeled myself, ready to attempt to close the distance.

Metal glinted off the floor, flickering stars and moons upon it from the projection.

The blade, that had cut the Bleeding Tree.

Now it was sundered, broken almost in half

59 comments:

  1. Wouldn't have known he had it in him to pull such a thing. I knew he was - well, him, but this...very interesting.

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  2. This was a meeting of Giants.

    I'm glad you made it out, Zero.

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  3. Psssh--HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Oh man, I wish I could have seen this-- wait, no I don't. Then I would I have been near two armed maniacs, and that's never a good position to be in.

    "I doubt it's true, but we all know stranger things are out there."?

    Oh ho ho...

    -STEWARD

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  4. Maine... What a nice coINcidEnce. Seeyou there.

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  5. Even if he tried to shoot you... keep him the fuck away from that tree.
    He's clearly not all there as it is. That thing sill fucking destroy whatever shred of the Sage is left in there.

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  6. Bah. A sword is a sword. It has no meaning beyond what it's wielder gives it. Believe in another sword, and it will do the job just as well. You ought to know that by now.

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  7. Ahem. I've written a short ballad to commemorate this event:

    A nighttime meeting 'tween Sagel and zero
    One straddling the edge, one former hero.
    They talk of not giving up, no surrender
    to that tall man who is Slender.
    "Where is the Tree?" Sagel doth ask
    As zero watches from behind his mask.
    "Don't look into it's eyes,"
    zero warns, then surprise,
    Sagel tries to kill him with hot lead
    but misses (he probably should have aimed for the head).
    Then he leaves with lots left unspoken
    and the knife of nothing all broken.

    Wow. That poem kinda sucked.

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  8. Amal, how you can you be so callous? Can you not see that the man has just witnessed the destruction of his only friend?

    And Martin: it seems that for once we agree on something.

    -STEWARD

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  9. I'd have to disagree with Amal. I've little more than some broken steel and it's... a bit more effective than any given proper blade.

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  10. And Martin: it seems that for once we agree on something.
    That my poem sucked? Or that he should have aimed for the head?

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  11. The Sage in Robert is gone now. Let him deal with Redlight and do whatever else he's planning. Nothing we can say or do will tear either one of them from their chosen paths.

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  12. Zero, if you have an ounce of decency left, stop Robert from seeing the tree.

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  14. Actually, I think I have to side with Robert on this one. As callous as it seems, Robert knows he's going down, and we all know it too. So who better to have an investigative look at an insanity-inducing tree? Plus, even though his stability fluctuates a lot, I don't think he's actually all that far gone. I mean, he snapped Zero's sword, right? He did something to hinder Zero's quest in offing runners, and he did it deliberately. There's definitely still something there.

    I think Robert's got something big planned, and I'm willing to support him for it.

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  15. For the record, I was just aiming for your leg.

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  16. Oh Robert, you so crazy.

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  18. Ahem Robert. There is no such thing as "just aiming for a leg."

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OnlyAFleshWound

    "In reality, there's no "safe" place to shoot a person, not even in a seemingly non-vital extremity like a leg or arm. Bullet wounds to the shoulder will almost invariably either kill the victim from blood loss or cripple them for life. There are huge blood vessels in a human being's shoulder as well as lots of very delicate nerves and a very complex ball-and-socket joint that no surgeon on Earth can put back together once it's smashed by a bullet. There are huge blood vessels in a human being's legs too, a shot that nicks the femoral artery will cause a fatal loss of blood in only a few minutes. And this is all assuming a "clean" through-and-through wound, disregarding the possibility of the bullet glancing off a bone or joint and deflecting or fragmenting into pieces which then can hit something else inside. In short, there's no way for anyone, good or bad, to shoot someone and know that they will survive the wound. As they say, if you're shooting at all, you're shooting to kill."

    So either you were trying to kill him or you were stupid enough to think that bullets work the same way they do in the movies. I love it when you guys do our work for us. Dumbass. This is the man you kids were ready to follow through hell and back? I mean really there was no way our side was going to lose on this one. Zero gets killed, we win. Zero stays alive, we win.

    So your sword is broken huh, Zero? Don't worry sugar, all men get rendered impotent at one point or another.

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  19. I'm sure you know all about men being impotent around you, eh Rika?

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  20. Your blog title actually got me to thinking, and Obi-Wan is a pretty good analogy. You, Robert, and Maduin are all that's really left of Core Theory. You're like blogging Jedi.

    Of course, that makes you Darth Vader. Can I talk about how there's still good in you and stuff, or would you like me to skip it?

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  21. Well that pretty little hammer of mine does tend smash things down flat.

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  22. That's gotta suck. Even as a Proxy I can't mock something like that. WELL I CAN but like I told you, undying respect and all that. Anyway, did you have any emotional attachment to the sword?

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  23. @Nil - Of course I did/do. It's only one of two things that help me remember myself. I'm not stupid enough to think I can get it reforged either.

    @Rika - Didn't I send you off to your corner with that sick burn I laid on you a while ago? Why are you still here. Go tuck your tail between your legs, and step off.

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  24. Ooh look at the brave words from the sad little man. Hate to disappoint you sugar, but your supposed "sick burn" has no effect when you were less then subtle about your reaction to me back at the coffee shop. It is so adorable though that you thought you had somehow upset me!

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  25. Sofaryou have callEd me an asShole, a SHithead and a fuCker. MayIaskwhy? Apart from the "me wAntinG you dead" thing.

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  26. You're obnoxious. I imagine that's why he's calling you names.

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  27. I borrowed Zeke's rage issues on a test drive.

    It might have something to do with the whole 'want me dead' angle, and the slaughter of.....minions? I don't have minions.

    Maybe if you explain that further, and drop the caps that makes my eyes hurt, I'll be more civil.

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  28. And Rika, please....

    you couldn't have been more on display, if you were two eggs on a plate.

    I make no secret that I enjoy the ladies, though I tend to pass on the psychotic, hammer wielding ones.

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  29. Sugar, this comment is perhaps the greatest example yet of what makes you so pathetic it’s almost pitiable. Because of course in your world, a woman has to be on display for you. It would never occur to you that a girl would dress for herself instead of preparing herself to star in your personal fantasy.

    You’re trying to claim that the reason you don’t like me is because I’m a hammer wielding psycho. So that means lead pipe wielding psychos are fine then? I think someone is just trying to fool himself. Of course you’re trying to fool yourself with a lot of things, aren’t ya sugar?

    You know what your real problem with me is as compared to her? It had nothing to do with the state of her sanity or mine. You could handle her cause she was dumb as a post. You could talk down to her, make her not know how to respond, and she would be nothing more then a walking fantasy for you to enjoy. Me on the other hand I got a brain. I may be “annoying and belligerent”, but you can’t use your words to push me into an intellectual corner. Instead I keep coming right back at you. No matter how good you think your comebacks are, you can’t make me back down.

    And doesn’t that just piss you off?

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  30. Not really. You forget that the moment we met, you tried to charm me with a brilliant smile, and a sweet voice, so your justification falls flat.

    Take offense all you want, you're just upset I called you on it, so you can suffer the mock indignity that lets you call me sexist, of all things, in the middle of an underground war.

    Sure you're smarter than your predecessor, you've managed to show that just by being able to write a well thought out sentence, though it's hardly a challenge to have outshown that woman.

    Maybe you're smarter than me, that's hardly at stake here, not to mention pointless. The real question is if you'll be able to stop me.

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  31. It may be late to say it but conventional sables usually breaks after some slashs. More or else like 20 hard strikes until breakdown..

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  32. it was bound to happen, it's a replica, and I'm sure I didn't maintain it properly, but still...it's like one of the only things I have.

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  33. Will I be able to stop you? Oh sugar, I do love a challenge, but somehow I doubt your...abilities will give me much of one at all.

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  34. Does it belong to you, Glass Man?

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  35. Yeah, my first training sword broke too. I was a little kid in elementary school by then so I was about to cry for it. I had it for 2 years.

    But it is no good to have a bond with a un-animatted object. Is not the weapon, but the user what is important.

    Currently I'm doing line at the border. I know a couple of places where you could find some durable weaponary. If you dont mind to go to California..

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  36. The proxies tried to kill you.
    Robert tried to kill you.
    Guess that the remaining candidates for your death are Slender itself and this "shadow".

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  37. Virginia.

    This state is very important, Zero.

    I suggest looking into its history....

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  38. heh, you obviously don't realize what sort of deadline I'm on, Peter Rivers.

    Maybe if this blows over, I'll look into it. It'd be nice for things to sort of wind down for a bit.

    @Glassman - Still more threats? I just don't get you, man. Although I congratulate you on proper speech, feels good to be humanesque again,eh?

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  39. XD I understand. History class was just a fave of mine in school is all.

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  40. Man, I like how you hate Arkady for being a sociopathic murderer when you've killed more people than him with the same amount of remorse.

    Well, at least your sword is broken. Maybe that'll set back your killing spree by a little bit.

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  41. he fed his roommate to the monster for a laugh, while all the death at my hand is either simple justice, or with greater purpose.

    My sword still has a point. You not so much.

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  42. Dante, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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  43. Pretty sure he said in his blog that the whole "for a laugh" thing was an excuse covering up his fear. But hey, reading isn't an important life skill or anything.

    As for justice and a greater purpose, those things have been said before. I'd bring up examples, but it would be hard to resist the urge to break Godwin's law.

    Glass Man, I wholeheartedly agree!

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  44. @Dante:

    HitlerHitlerHitlerHitlerHitler

    It's been too long since I lAughed.

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  45. You dare put him in the same boat as Arkady.

    You are blind.

    It pains the sage to do what he does.

    Ever so painful.

    But he is...the only one.

    He is strong.

    You are weak.

    You are blind.

    You cannot see.

    The sage will teach.

    Will teach with his sword.

    The point of his blade is not what drives his quest.

    The point of a blade can never determine destiny.

    All those who oppose will fall for the greater good.

    There bones will be ripped from them.

    The evil must be dealt with.

    You are blind.

    Too blind to see the real threat.

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  46. You sound a lot like a proxy, Julian; has anyone ever told you that before?

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  48. Well both proxies and ZeroSage's followers tend to be weak-minded, so similarities are bound to occur in their writing styles.

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  49. Says the man who opposes.

    You do not see.

    You do not understand.

    Or if you do see.

    If you do understand.

    Then you deserve to Burn.

    For if you oppose the Sage.

    You side with the evil one.

    Hindering his quest makes you a proxy.

    For you are doing the dark one's will.

    Destroying our only hope.

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  50. And THAT, Zero, is what I'm talkIng about. See what I have to deal with?

    Andyes, Iam still going to kill you.

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  51. I suppose I should say something here, about having followers.

    Don't.

    Don't damn yourself because you think I'm doing something good.

    As for you Glassman,

    you don't have to listen to Julian, who is reminding me way too much of Remnant

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  52. Zero I don't know if you've checked the computer's blog recently, but the Amelia there is apparently the lost sage Amelia. She isn't dead. You need to get over there to talk to her.

    http://noplansnoprototypenobackup.blogspot.com/2011/05/determine-disposition-of-salvage-team.html

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  53. then this thing is a liar, time to put it straight, or pull the plug

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  54. So, shot inthe dark, butcanyou tell me where youare?

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  55. Don't think anything of our writing style Zero, We are just a little strange when we get worked up.
    Yesterday was hard. But to address what you said earlier, what do you call this life Zero? We say we are all damned and anyone who disagrees should take a long hard look at the evil who follows their every move. The only hope for a damned man is faith. Faith that he can be saved.
    We can't say that we are as die hard as Julian, but we do believe in your cause and will defend it, we do believe that those who stepped back, who succumbed have committed a crime against us all. So here's the question. Do you support what you believe in, in spite of the threats from a dyslexic serial killer? Or do you stick to what you believe in? Which is the only hope in our eyes. You have more support then you know Zero, you are strong, in our opinion the only one strong enough to end this all. People don't see why you continue to kill if you feel such remorse afterwards. Why do soldiers do what they do when they know they are ending lives? They have a job to do, and they have the courage and resolve to see it through. It's the same for you Zero. Keep on course and you will lead us to redemption, you will free us from the black figure in the night.

    And just to clarify, we do know the proper definition of dyslexia. Our use of it did not fit and we are aware of that.

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  56. hmmm, soldiers. Led into hell itself.

    what a waste...

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