Umbra Maxima's Inner Sanctum

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By ImperialStingmon Sat-21-Apr-2018 11:57:09

Mid Card · 228 comments

*In an undisclosed location*

Maximilian: Elfan? Are you here brother?

Elfan: But of course. You would not have sought me out here if you did not expect to find me here correct?

Maximilian: Indeed. Our long journey is nearly at an end.

Elfan: Yet this end is just the beginning.

Maximilian: Not the beginning. A beginning. One of many. We must return to the world. We must live lives that satisfy ourselves.

Elfan: Indeed. How do you propose we start that process.

Maximilian: First we must leave the sanctum. It will be here when we need it. However it cannot stay our residence, for no one can know of it.

Elfan: We possess no currency for the outside brother. That world relies on the buying and selling of goods and services and it all revolves around that accursed dollar. That which drove us here so long ago.

Maximilian: Calm yourself Elfan. We have procured employment, which will provide us with income. Soon we will have our place in the outside world. Then we will move on to the next step.

Elfan: Do we know what that step is?

Maximilian: No. The teacher says we must come to that conclusion on our own as it might be different for each of us. Have faith brother. We are prepared. Now the outside world will not fail us again.

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By Pilgrim Paige Sat-21-Apr-2018 17:31:31

The Moon Maiden · 650 comments

Trippy! Getting the vibe that these guys are cult members of some kind. Creepy; in a way that's clearly designed to for them be heels, I feel.

I've also read through the profile(s) for this tag team. I like the tag name, moveset, move names and height/weight differences. Cool stuff. Tag title tournament is just round the bend; good luck! 🙂


~☆~☆~To the Moon and back~☆~☆~
Former 4CW World Champion (x1)
Former 4CW Custom Cup Champion (x1)
Co-winner of 2018 Rumble in the Storm match

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By ImperialStingmon Thu-10-May-2018 16:16:14

Mid Card · 228 comments

*We see a sparse apartment and Maximilian Yesgill sitting on the floor, eyes shut. Elfan enters through the door. Maximilian doesn't open his eyes but he does speak.*

Maximilian: Were you successful?

Elfan: Indeed. We have a bank account now.

Maximilian: Excellent. It is a shame we must be paid in those paper checks. I had hoped our time away would have seen this become a better world.

Elfan: You know that is not the case. I was asked if I wanted to enroll in mobile banking. When I told her we did own any sort of mobile she looked at me like I had a snake on my head.

Maximilian: You left Daisy at home yes?

Elfan: Do not joke Maximilian.

Maximilian: One of us has to.

Elfan: Have you set up our computer? We need some form of communication and postal mail is apparently too slow now.

Maximilian: Indeed. Though it was tedious. Many cords and wires, and honestly I don't know the point of most of them.

Elfan: I'm fairly certain no one does.

Maximilian: A joke?

Elfan: An observation. Also I believe I was nearly accosted today.

Maximilian: How so?

Elfan: A random stranger called out my name and when I responded he started moving closer and asking for my signature.

Maximilian: That is a fan, Elfan. Our occupation will provide us with many of them.

Elfan: What is the point of them?

Maximilian: Recognition. They will make our names known around the world. Then we will procure more money. All means to the end brother.

Elfan: He also mentioned that Liberation..."tweeted" at us?

Maximilian: Like a bird?

Elfan: I believe so.

*Maximilian finally opens his eyes, looking very perplexed.*

Maximilian: Perhaps we hit them harder than intended?

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By Pilgrim Paige Tue-15-May-2018 19:13:59

The Moon Maiden · 650 comments

Again, I enjoyed this- more than the last, by far, but that was an introductory piece, so... yeah, heh. This is basically comedy gold. Such oddballs, so mysterious and clandestine... and yet so colorful- way more than I ever anticipated from such seemingly druidic individuals.

My only criticism is that in the bit about cords and wires, you missed the opportunity to add, "... and tubes" to the list. Y'know, 'cause of that stuffy old white dude (a politician maybe?) years ago who described the internet as being like "a series of tubes"?

Or maybe I'm just showing my age. xD

10/10, would tweet like a bird again.


~☆~☆~To the Moon and back~☆~☆~
Former 4CW World Champion (x1)
Former 4CW Custom Cup Champion (x1)
Co-winner of 2018 Rumble in the Storm match

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By ImperialStingmon Fri-15-Jun-2018 22:48:15

Mid Card · 228 comments

*Maximillian and Elfan are seen walking up to the admissions window of a local zoo.*

Attendant: Two? That'll be $20.

Elfan: My that is an extravagant price. Do we get to touch the animals for that price?

Attendant: No.

Maximilian: Feed them?

Attendant: No.

Elfan:...Take a photograph with them?

Attendant: The $20 is to get inside. Anything else is extra.

Elfan: Why would we pay $20 to walk amongst animals we can see from a distance? We can just walk around out here, save our money, and watch humans walk around without touching them or feeding them and it's the same thing.

Attendant: Sir. I'm paid to sit here and take money. If you don't want to give me your money then please go away so people can come up who do.

Maximilian: See Elfan it's not his fault. It's the job he has been assigned by those in a higher position of power.

Attendant: No it's the job I applied for so I could sit on my butt while earning money.

Maximilian: Oh...well it's the job that exists that you just so happened to fill that was created by those in a higher position of power then.

Attendant: I guess.

Elfan: Very well. I cannot fault you for the actions of others with misguided hearts. *He pulls out a bank card and slides it through the window to the attendant.*

Attendant: Uh huh. *He swipes the card and slides it back to Elfan. Two tickets print up and then he slides those out to the pair as well.* Have a zootiful day.

Elfan: A what kind of day?

Attendant: It's the slogan of the zoo. The "people in a higher position of power" think it's funny. I have to say it to everyone.

Maximilian: Poor man. Will the oppressive yoke of the zoo makers never be lifted from your shoulders?

Attendant: Not today.

Maximilian: Too true. Come Elfan.

*The two make their way inside. There is a stand with maps nearby and Elfan retrieves one. As the duo mull it over they are approached by a brightly dressed woman with a tray of cotton candy.*

Woman: Cotton candy gentlemen?

*Maximilian and Elfan look up from their map and then at the tray in the woman's hands.*

Maximilian: Cotton?

Elfan: Candy?

Woman: Cute gimmick guys but do you want some or not?

Maximilian: But...why is it pink and blue?

Woman: Because those are the only colors the zoo can afford. And if you hear otherwise, corporate says that that is a lie.

Elfan: Perhaps it is like our clothing. The cotton has been dyed to make it more appealing.

Maximilian: But you don't eat cotton. It is a plant you harvest for fabrics. And dye is indigestible too I believe.

Elfan: Were you sent by Liberation to attempt to poison us madam?

Woman: Who?

Maximilian: Elfan not everything in this place is a machination of Liberation. None of your cotton candy though ma'am. We are fine.

Woman: Okay. The zoo thanks you for coming and hopes you will see fit to spend money at one of our other many fabulous eating establishments.

*She walks away*

Maximilian: Fascinating.

Elfan: Perhaps this will be worth the $20 after all. The humans here are much more interesting than the ones outside.

Maximilian: Indeed.

*The two continue on.*

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By rhys Sat-16-Jun-2018 00:37:11

Moderator and 4CW Head Booker · 5,019 comments

Dude, that was hilarious. I love the character progression of these two oddballs. I love their not from this world gimmick and it makes for some enjoyable interactions. I don't have much more to say other than I can't wait to read more of these two spectacular characters.


RCFIREb.png
Thanks Taker_2004 for the banner!

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By ImperialStingmon Tue-31-Jul-2018 19:08:39

Mid Card · 228 comments

Umbra Maxima at the museum

*We see Elfan and Maximilian approaching a local art museum.*

Maximilian: Supposedly these places possess art and culture.

Elfan: I suppose some place has to.

*The duo make their way inside and to the admissions desk where they are greeted by a familiar figure.*

Attendant: Welcome...hey I recognize you guys.

Maximilian: Ah, the money-taker from the zoo!

Elfan: What are you doing here good sir?

Attendant: Ah the zoo had an...incident...with the baboons and I got laid off. So I came down here and they hired me to do the exact same thing I did at the zoo.

Maximilian: That is unfortunate. Can you move up, eventually rule the museum and all who preside within its walls?

Attendant: I don't think anyone has that kind of power dude. Anyway it's $6 apiece.

Maximilian: Well that's certainly cheaper than the zoo. I assume that only gets us in again though.

Attendant: Got it in one.

Elfan: One what?

Maximilian: Come Elfan, if I have to explain this again we'll never find the culture in here. Good luck with your life attendant!

*Maximilian pulls Elfan inside. In the first room they see several pieces of art, but the one that catches their attention is what appears to be a blank canvas with a guard beside it. The duo approach.*

Guard: Good morning gentlemen.

Elfan: Officer, why is there a blank canvas here?

Officer: It's called "Void". It's art.

Maximilian: It's nothing.

*The officer fishes an index card out of his front pocket.*

Officer: "Void" by Tommy Zedd. This piece indicates the emptiness and fragility of the soul as even a single splash of color would stain the canvas rendering it into a wholly different piece of art. By letting it go unstained we show the purity of true nature and what humanity deigns to achieve. This canvas has not even been touched by human hands as the oils within would leave traces, thereby slowly dulling the pristine white covering.

Maximilian: May I interrupt?

Officer: I have the whole backside of the card sir.

Elfan: There is dust on the "Void".

Officer What?!

*A panicked look falls on his face as he starts scrutinizing every inch of the blank canvas. Maximilian and Elfan meanwhile move on to the next room. This room is full of famous statues.*

Maximilian: This world is an interesting place.

Elfan: We go from such permanent naked fixtures of stone to impermanent naked pictures of paper and data. It's obscene.

Maximilian: Indeed. Come Elfan, I'm starting to think the culture we seek isn't here.

*The two head back out the way they came and we see the guard pleading with a man in a suit and tie that "it's just a speck" and "it wasn't his fault".

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By ImperialStingmon Mon-20-Aug-2018 18:40:25

Mid Card · 228 comments

Umbra Maxima at the aquarium

*We see Maximilian and Elfan standing in line waiting to buy tickets at the local aquarium.*

Maximilian: And then he says "You can tuna piano but you can't tuna fish."

Elfan: I don't understand.

Maximilian: That's what I said! He tried to explain, but the poor man just sounded inebriated.

*They step up to the ticket window.*

Maximilian: Oh good lord.

Attendant: Are you dudes stalking me?

Elfan: Not intentionally. Are you stalking us?

Attendant: Not intentionally.

Maximilian: Well so long as nothing is intentional. We wish to buy tickets to this establishment. Elfan loves underwater creatures ever since he went out to sea and,

Elfan: Maximilian?

Maximilian: Yes?

Elfan: Don't tell that story.

Maximilian: Very well.

Attendant: It's $20 for two but you guys will be happy to know that gets you inside and you get your choice of activity. You can feed the seals or pet the dolphins.

Elfan: Pet the dolphins.

Attendant: Are you sure? It's wet and they're slimy and the establishment,

Elfan: Pet the dolphins.

*Maximilian and the attendant just look at him.*

Elfan: Pet the dolphins.

Maximilian: You heard the man.

Attendant: Yeah. Alright then. You know the drill.

*Maximilian hands the attendant the cash. He hands them two tickets.

Attendant: If I never see you guys again it'll be too soon.

Maximilian: Agreed.

*Elfan and Maximilian head inside.  They enter a big open area in the two story building and see several branching paths.

Maximilian: Well I suppose we should find a map and decide what to do first.

Elfan: Pet the dolphins.

Maximilian: Did we pay $20 just so you could come pet dolphins?

Elfan: ...

Maximilian: (Heavy sigh) Well we still have to know where they are.

Elfan: I do.

Maximilian: Of course you do. Lead the way.

*Elfan starts marching towards one of the paths and Maximilian follows, trusting in him. Sure enough, soon enough the duo find themselves atop the dolphin tank, waiting in line to pet them.*

Elfan: Why do we have to wait in line? Pet the dolphin.

Maximilian: It's the polite thing to do Elfan.

Elfan: Teacher says take what we want. Pet the dolphin.

*Elfan cuts to the front of the line pushing aside a teenage girl.*

Girl: Hey!

Tank attendant: Sir please wait in line.

Girl: Seriously.

*Elfan ignores them both and steps up to the tank. The dolphins look at him curiously. He looks at them. We then see him open his mouth and strange clicking noises and high pitched sounds emanate from it. The dolphins immediately swim over and start making the same noises back. Everyone watches on in astonishment.*

Maximilian: So that's the extra credit course he chose.

*Elfan drops into the water and continues communicating with the dolphins and they act like one big family as everyone watches on.*

Last edited by ImperialStingmon (Mon-20-Aug-2018 18:42:04)

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By ImperialStingmon Fri-28-Sep-2018 22:55:33

Mid Card · 228 comments

*At an undisclosed location*

Maximilian: Elfan, couldn't make it.

*A cloaked figure emerges from the shadows.*

???: His performance has been most satisfactory.

Maximilian: He still knows little of the outside world.

???: He doesn't need to know much.

Maximilian: I fear he's going to be taken in by the very thing that once destroyed him.

???: Should he see its allure I wouldn't be surprised.

Maximilian: He understands how to use it, but I'm afraid once he amasses too much of it it could overwhelm him.

???: What about you Maximilian?

Maximilian: You know I have no problems.

???: Of course you do.

Maximilian: Not with that.

???: You and Elfan have progressed in 4CW much faster than I anticipated. You've been on quite the roll as well, but Silent Sorcery could be your downfall. If you lose to them do you have a plan, to stay relevant?

Maximilian: We're not going to lose to them sir.

???: What makes you so sure?

Maximilian: I have faith in us and *ring ring*...It's Elfan. *Answers phone* Yes brother? ... She asked you to sign her what? ... with permanent marker? ... I mean they tell us the fans should get what they want ... I agree it would ruin the appeal entirely ... I'll talk to you later Elfan. *He hangs up.*

*The cloaked figure turns his head sideways, clearly looking quizzically at Maximilian even though we can't see his face.*

Later that night...

*In an undisclosed apartment we see a woman from behind pulling on a robe while chatting on an iphone she's holding between her shoulder and head.*

Woman: Yeah I can't believe he signed it either. He seems like a weird dude, but he clearly appreciates great things.

*She moves towards her bed where we see a hardback book face down on the bed. She picks it up as she gets under the covers.*

Woman: Good night girl. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

*She hangs up the phone and turns the book over. It's a special edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She opens the book and inside the front cover is scrawled "You are under the protection of the moon's shadow." -- Elfan Simtul.*

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By ImperialStingmon Sun-4-Nov-2018 00:12:54

Mid Card · 228 comments

*Maximilian and Elfan enter a store in a mall.*

Cashier: Welcome to PlayGo!

*The cashier goes back to taking care of a customer and Maximilian looks at Elfan.*

Maximilian: That was polite.

Elfan: A tactic to withdraw more money from our pockets. We came here for two things, no more. I am curious how we have been represented in this 4CW '18.

Maximilian: As am I. I have seen many conflicting reviews.

Elfan: The only quandry left is which system to purchase so we can play the game.

???: What are you talking about?

*An employee of the store has approached the duo unnoticed.*

Maximilian: Are you aware you just snuck up on two potential customers?

???: No I didn't. I was here the whole time.

Elfan: And you are?

???: James, a PlayGo employee. You should buy an Xbox One S to play 4CW '18

Maximilian: Why?

James: It's the best system.

Elfan: Says who?

James: Lots of people.

Cashier: (loudly) James.

*All three men look in the cashier's direction.*

James: You know I'm right Ernie.

Ernie: No you're not and even if you were we've been over this. We deals in facts not opinions.

James: The Xbox One S being superior to your PS4 Pro is fact.

Ernie: No it's not. It all depends on what you want in a game system.

James: Gentlemen what do you believe?

Maximilian: I believe James.
Elfan: I believe Ernie.

*Maximilian and Elfan appear shocked at the other's statement.*

Maximilian: You realize there is only one way to settle this, correct Elfan?

Elfan: But Maximilian we swore.

Maximilian: Then agree with me.

Elfan: No. We need to do research. Had I known how complicated a matter this would be I would have been against us going here from the start.

Maximilian: You have to form your own opinions Elfan and stick to them.

Elfan: Ordinarily I'd agree but this is a different matter. This involves money and highly specialized technology.

Maximilian: Elfan you either change your mind or we have to do what we said we wouldn't.

Elfan: I'm not changing my mind.

Minutes later...

*Maximilian comes out of the store holding a PlayGo bag and smiling.*

Maximilian: Can you see Elfan?

*Elfan comes out with three large bags, each with a box, one a PS4 Pro, one an Xbox One S, and one a Switch, stacked on top of each other and in his arms.*

Elfan: I can see I was played for a fool.

Maximilian: Smile brother. We'll have so much fun when we get home.

*Maximilian starts practically skipping to the duo's vehicle.*

Elfan: At least I can beat him in these games.

*Elfan marches towards the car, carefully looking around the systems to ensure his safety.*

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By ImperialStingmon Sun-13-Jan-2019 20:44:00

Mid Card · 228 comments

*We see Maximilian and Elfan sitting in a booth at a local restaurant. A waitress sets down two cups of water and leaves the table and Maximilian and Elfan resume a conversation.*

Maximilian: Elfan we need to leave. We have plenty of viable sustenance at our abode.

Elfan: Brother what is the point of making such extravagant money if we can not eat just as extravagantly?

Maximilian: You know the point. It is to keep us sheltered, clothed, and yes, fed, but not in this manner.

Elfan: It is one night, brother. I do not intend to make this a habit.

Maximilian: Those are excuses Elfan...the same excuses your parents fed you I imagine.

*Elfan's eyes suddenly narrow dangerously.*

Elfan: You know you should refrain from that topic brother.

Maximilian: It is the truth Elfan.

Elfan: You know nothing. You are younger than I was.

Maximilian: I know what our master has told me. I know what you yourself have told me.

Elfan: I am not my parents. I am making far more money than they ever did.

Maximilian: There's that much more to lose then isn't there?

Elfan: That's enough. Maximilian you have wounded me with your accusations. I will leave, but not to save this ridiculous money. I will leave to be away from you.

*Elfan stands up abruptly as the waitress returns. He storms out of the building. Maximilian gets up to follow.*

Waitress: Uh someone has to pay.

Maximilian: All we got was water.

*As if that settled the matter Maximilian brushed past the waitress and followed Elfan outside.*

Maximilian: Elfan! Duris contunditur veritas in cor meum!

*Elfan pauses on the sidewalk, the Latin phrase resonating in his ears. He turns to face Maximilian.*

Elfan: Truth bruises the heart. Aye, I do feel the pain of your honesty. But brother how can I overcome my past unless I can prove myself unafflicted by their addiction?

Maximilian: That is a complex query Elfan. One we will not find the answer to here.

Elfan: Very well. Shall we place this building under the moon's protection before we go?

Maximilian: They tried to charge me for the water.

Elfan: Very well.

*Maximilian and Elfan walk away.*

The next morning

*A paperboy rides by Umbra Maxima's apartment and throws a paper onto the stoop. The headline reads "Local restaurant crumbles after hours"*

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By ImperialStingmon Fri-15-Mar-2019 14:42:13

Mid Card · 228 comments

*20 years ago...*

*A young child is on a swing set in a yard. Flowers are in bloom and it is a bright sunny day. He propels himself using his legs, there appears to be no one around to push him. The back door to a house is open. After a few moments we hear a woman's voice from inside.*

???: Elfan! Come inside dear!

*The child propels himself forward one last time and jumps from the swing at its peak. He rolls as he lands and as he gets to his feet he brushes himself off. He walks inside and grabs a cup from the counter and fills it with water from a nearby sink. He sits himself in a chair and drinks, wiping sweat from his brow. We hear the woman's voice again.*

???: Fix yourself a snack dear and then watch some television. The babysitter will be here in a few minutes.

*Elfan hops down and walks over to a drawer from which he pulls a kitchen knife and sets it on the counter before heading to a stand alone pantry and grabbing peanut butter. He sets that on the counter and goes back and grabs grape jelly. He sets that next to the peanut butter and then grabs the bread that's nearby and starts to fix himself a sandwich.*

*In another yard far away... *

*We see another young boy on a swing set, smiling happily as a large man pushes the swing higher into the air every time it comes down. A woman is standing in a doorway watching the pair, smiling as well as she watches them. She hates to ruin their fun but things have to get done.*

???: Okay you two that's enough. Max, come inside, I've made fresh baked cookies.

Max: Cool!

*The boy hops down from the sing as the man slows it down. He runs inside past the woman. The man joins the woman in the doorway.*

Man: He's almost too heavy to push.

Woman: Are you calling our son fat?

Man: Wouldn't dream of it dear.

*Max walks up to the pair, chocolate chip cookie in hand, a large bite taken out of it already.*

Max: What are you two talking about?

Max's Dad: That the day is coming soon when you're gonna be pushing me in a swing.

Max: Hah! That'll never happen! You're strong dad!

Max's Mom: See? He believes in you.

Max's Dad: Then that's all I need.

Max's Mom: Go finish your homework Maximilian. The babysitter will be here soon.

*Max nods and polishes off the rest of his cookie. His dad holds out a hand vertically and Max high-fives him before running upstairs.*

*Later that night...*

*Max is huddled on the stairs sobbing into his knees as a young woman wraps an arm around him. A police car is outside the home.*

Officer: Does he have anyone he can stay with?

Young woman: I'm not sure. They always have me babysit so I don't know if he has any other family.

Officer: Would your family be willing to take him in?

Young woman: This was my last night here. We're about to move away. My father got a new job. I don't wanna take him away from everything he knows. He needs stability.
ir
Officer: I'll take him for the night. We'll start searching for his family in the morning.

Young woman: Can I come with? Just until I'm sure he's okay.

Officer: Sure. Though I wonder if he'll ever really be okay.

*The young woman stands up and gently pulls Max up with her. They slowly make their way to the police car and she ushers him inside before getting in herself.*

*At Elfan's house...*

*A police car is in the yard and Elfan is standing on the porch. He's got something clutched in his hand.*

Officer: Do you have any family kid?

*Elfan shakes his head.*

Officer: Were you here alone?

*Elfan nods.*

Officer: Crap. Well come on then. I'll take you tonight and we'll start looking for something else in the morning.

*A smile crosses Elfan's face for a moment. He runs towards the police car and practically jumps inside. The police officer gets in as well. Back on the porch we see that Elfan dropped a tape recorder. As the police car pulls away a voice plays from the tape recorder.*

???: Elfan! Come inside dear!

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By ImperialStingmon Sun-11-Aug-2019 13:15:42

Mid Card · 228 comments

19 years ago...

A group of young children, which we see includes Elfan and Maximilian, are gathered in a grassy field in front of a large ancient looking building. An older man stands before them as well.

???: Welcome children. You are here because you are alone in the world. Fate has gripped your life with it's cold uncaring hand, and subsequently torn it asunder. Many years ago, the same thing happened to me. But here, you will not be alone anymore. Together you are a stronger family than the one that left you, or was torn away. Here, fate cannot harm you, and you will learn that you always have family. You just have to take control.

*There's some murmuring amidst the kids, and the older man waits patiently and just stares out into the crowd. The murmurs are soon silenced.*
???: Time for introductions. I am Archbishop Solomon. You may address me as you see fit. Archbishop, Solomon, Father, Brother, any title will do.  Now one by one, you will stand up and introduce yourself, and tell me how you feel.

*The first child near the front stands up. It's a young girl.*

???: My name is Andrea Iskifal. I don't want to be here. I don't trust you. (She looks directly at Archbishop Solomon as she says this.)

*Archbishop Solomon smiles.*

Solomon: I imagine not. Your life has been torn asunder by old men with seemingly noble intentions. In time though child you will see that I am not burdened by their same afflictions. Let us continue.

*The introductions continue, some of the gathered children stand but don't utter a word and Archbishop Solomon simply moves the proceedings along. Eventually it becomes Elfan's turn. He stands, and the other kids realize he towers above them.*

Elfan: My name is Elfan Simtul. I do not believe in family. Family is a burden that causes you worry and hurt. I am here because there was nowhere else to put me. You don't want me here Archbishop Solomon. If you say otherwise, you are a liar. Either that or soon you will not want me here.

Solomon: My poor boy. I appreciate the suit of armor you have forged around your heart, but nothing is perfectly forged. I will find the chink in your armor.

*Elfan crosses his arms and shakes his head before sitting down again. The last child to introduce themselves is Maximilian.*

Max: I'm Max Yesgill! Family is great. I'm glad to be here so I can find a new family.

Solomon: You are quite eager young one. Good to see that tragedy doesn't dampen your spirit, but I wonder if you are just a mask of smiles and positivity.

*Max's smile does indeed falter for a moment, but it's almost imperceptible as he sits back down.*

Solomon: Welcome my family! To the first day of the rest of your lives!

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By ImperialStingmon Thu-14-Nov-2019 20:36:46

Mid Card · 228 comments

18 years ago...

*Archbishop Solomon again stands in front of a group of new initiates. Andrea, Maximilian and Elfan watch from afar as he introduces himself to them, much like he did to the three of them one year prior.*

Andrea: Archbishop Solomon. He has stuck to his word for the past year. All those new ones though. I wonder if we will get shoved to the side.

Max: Solomon wouldn't do that. He protects us and takes care of us. We just have to mesh with the new ones and everything will stay exactly as it is.

Elfan: You are a fool, Max.

Max: Excuse me?

*Andrea rolled her eyes. The two were always on opposing sides. Max, the eternal optimist, Elfan, always looking for the flaws. She respected both approaches but she was still gathering information. Archbishop Solomon's actions and words could all be a front, despite the genuine nature they possessed.

Elfan: This "family" is a farce. Just like I have said many times before. Mark my words. When the day comes we are no longer of use to them they will rid themselves of us and put us out there alone and with no one. That is how "family" operates.

Maximilian: You're wrong! Family is always there for you when you need them.

*Some of the more senior members started to look over towards the trio.*

Andrea: The two of you hush.

Elfan: Andrea you do not make the rules here.

*Andrea was used to Elfan not listening to her. Despite her being older he clearly had no, or at least very little, authority in his life up till now, which meant he didn't listen to her. He barely listened to Archbishop Solomon.*

Max: Be nice to Andrea, brother!

Elfan: I am not your brother! Brother is a term for a man who can claim close ties to you only to stab you in the back when it's most convenient. I will never have a brother. I did not come to this place for family! I don't believe in family!

Max: Stop it! Family is all we have some times! You should embrace it!

Elfan: Why? So it can leave me feeling sad and helpless like yours did?

*Max's ever-present smile disappeared, and Andrea knew Elfan had crossed a line. Usually if Max's smile dropped, it was only for a second, now it was finally replaced, by a frown.*

Elfan: You see? You call me brother, but because you see me so, I was able to cut you that much deeper with my words. I don't need that kind of hurt in my life.

Max: I am sorry your life has been filled with sadness but there is no need to take it out on me, brother.

Elfan: Why do you continue to call me that?

Max: Because we are all family here! Solomon said so! You are my brother, Andrea is my sister! We are all connected by the bonds we share of being here under Solomon!

Elfan: Interesting. Andrea do you see yourself as Max's sister?

*Max looked hopefully at her while Elfan studied her face. She hadn't expected to get dragged into this.*

Andrea: Max...we are all brothers and sisters under Archbishop Solomon...because that is what he chooses to call us. We have only known each other for a year, and we don't see much of each other due to the separation of genders. So, while I am Sister Andrea...I am not your sister. I'm sorry.

???: Maybe someday you will be.

*The three hadn't even noticed Archbishop Solomon. He appeared to them out of seemingly nowhere.*

Solomon: I sense a potential here, for ties, that will be unbreakable with the proper care.

Elfan: Hmpf. Archbishop Solomon any potential ties I could tie to others were severed years ago. Let Maximilian and Andrea be family. For I never will be.

*Elfan walks off and Andrea watches him leave as Maximilian approaches Solomon.*

Maximilian: I will fix him. I swear it...Father.

*Solomon smiled down at Max*

Solomon: I know my child.

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By ImperialStingmon Thu-5-Mar-2020 03:58:51

Mid Card · 228 comments

17 years ago...

*Maximillian, Elfan, and Andrea are walking in a heavily wooded area. Andrea and Elfan appear to be in the middle of a heated discussion.*

Elfan: I told you Archbishop Solomon said to go to the east! Now you have gotten us lost!

Andrea: I most certainly did not! He said go west! We just have to keep going.

Elfan: You are stubborn girl and your pride will most certainly result in us never returning.

Andrea: Oh will you stop with the gloom and doom? For three years all you've done is mope and be confrontational. You didn't have to come with us you know.

Elfan: Max needed protecting. I wasn't sure from what but you seem to be the most obvious culprit at the moment.

Max: Elfan that is harsh. You had the opportunity to go east. You stuck with us though.

Elfan: As I said,

Andrea: Yeep!

*Elfan turns to her in confusion and annoyance, but before he can say anything he notices what caused her squeak. A wolf had appeared from amongst the trees. There had been no sound, not even a rustle of leaves as it had emerged. The quadruped eyed them, not sure what to make of the intruders into its territory. The trio of travellers watched it as well, wary of making any sudden moves that might cause it to attack.*

Andrea: (whispered)Guys, what do we do?

Elfan: (whispered)I suggest that since this is your fault you provide a distraction so that Maximilian and I might escape.

Andrea: Are you serious right now?!

*Suddenly something arcs over the heads of Elfan, Andrea and the wolf. The wolf turns and chases the pieces of stuff that flew through the air.*

Max: Run!

*The trio quickly book it back the way they came. They run without stopping, until their lungs burn with every breath they take and they finally have to stop. They take the chance and appear to have lost the wolf.*

Elfan: Max, what did you throw?

Max: The last of my trail mix. Father Solomon insisted I take extra, "in case Andrea and Elfan need it."

Andrea: Well...thank you Max. You really saved our bacon back there. And Elfan you're a jerk..but maybe I was wrong and we were supposed to go east.

Elfan: Well if you had said that an hour ago we never would have met that wolf. So it's okay you were wrong.

*Elfan starts heading off and Andrea looks like she might strangle him. She and Max watch him leave, but a distant howl causes them to quickly decide to follow Elfan anyway.*

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By ImperialStingmon Fri-29-May-2020 04:51:33

Mid Card · 228 comments

16 years ago...

*Maximillian is making his bed, looking quite content. The door slams open and he jumps.*

Max: Yah!
*He turns to see Elfan standing there looking both slightly concerned and annoyed.*

Max: Brother, were you testing the door's strength again?

Elfan: I have no time for your antics, Maximillian. You have not by chance seen Andrea have you?

Max: No I have not. Why?

Elfan: I am told she is missing. As an older and bigger youth I have been recruited to join the search.

Max: Well if you can allow me a moment to get my footwear on I can come and assist. Andrea is one of our finest and her going missing will greatly disrupt things.

Elfan: No, you are small and easily lost in the dark. We don't need you out there to worry about too.

Max: Andrea is our sister. You should let me assist. I will not be a burden.

Elfan: Do as you wish. Solomon has not said you couldn't look for her after all. However I am not responsible should you become lost as well.

Max: I will not become lost. I am led by Father Solomon.

*Elfan leaves, with Max hot on his heels. Suddenly one of the other initiates runs by.*

???: Andrea was seen to the west! Come on!

*Elfan and Maximillian turn to head west when Elfan hears a guttural cry to the east. He grabs Max's hand and listens hard and above the din of the camp he can barely make out  a woman's cry of "Stay away!" He drags Max as he starts to head east.*

Max: Elfan? West is the other way.

Elfan: I am well aware, but I heard something this way and there is a chance it could be Andrea.

Max: The other initiate said she was seen to the west.

Elfan: He could have been mistaken.

*He lets go of Max's hand.*

Elfan: You may turn back to the west if you wish, I will continue east on my own. If I am wrong I will admit my mistake at a later date.

*Elfan starts running east, leaving Max to make his choice. After a few moments Max chases after him.

*A few moments later Elfan comes across a grisly scene, one of the oldest initiates is on the ground with a stab wound in his chest. Elfan then sees Andrea holding a bloody camp knife. He hears a rustling and snatches the knife from Andrea's hands.

Andrea: Elfan?!

*Max bursts through some nearby bushes and comes upon the scene, now with Elfan holding the knife.*

Max: Brother Elfan...what did you do?

Elfan: I believe this initiate was going to hurt Andrea. I took it upon myself to make sure he couldn't.

Andea: Elfan, no!

Elfan: Hush Andrea. You are... my sister...and I will protect as you such.

*Max's eyes grew wide. It was the first time Elfan had even remotely used a familial title. What was going on? His mind was reeling. Suddenly the trio heard some shouting and moments after several other initiates burst onto the scene, including the one who told them to go west earlier, along with Archbishop Solomon. He scans the scene.*

Solomon: Elfan, my son. Come, we have much to discuss. Maximillian, stay with Andrea until one of the Mothers gets here to retrieve her.

*Solomon walks away with Elfan, still holding the knife, no one's eyes leaving it as the warm blood coating it drips along the ground.*

To be continued...

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By ImperialStingmon Sun-7-Jun-2020 16:55:36

Mid Card · 228 comments

Later that night...

*In a cabin, Elfan is sitting on a stool, still clutching the blood-stained knife. Solomon is pacing back and forth. He finally stops and looks at Elfan.*

Solomon: I know you're lying my son. Your story is vague and you refuse to elaborate , if you can even do so.

Elfan: You know nothing Solomon. I have said all that happened. Andrea needed to be protected from that vile character.

Solomon: Do you know what it means to take a life Elfan? To have that weigh on your conscience, and not only that but now she's gotten you involved as well?

Elfan: She did not get me involved. I saw a situation and made a choice, a situation I would not have been in if I had not been made to look for her.

Solomon: Then she would be here instead. She would be answering for what she did. Why should you have to answer for what she did?

Elfan: I am telling you Solomon, she did nothing and neither of us should be punished. Is it wrong to protect someone who is in danger?

Solomon: No. This is a place of protection, but there are right and wrong ways to go about it.

*Suddenly Maximillian and Andrea burst into the cabin.*

Max: Sir, stop! Elfan is innocent!

Andrea: He wasn't involved!

Solomon: I am well aware.

Andrea: You are?

Solomon: My dear children I may be old but I am not a doddering fool. I grasped what happened the moment I surveilled the scene. The boy who was killed will be buried. This matter will be dealt with. However, we have to address what the rest of the world believes, which is that Elfan took a life. This cannot be seen as something that is allowed, no matter the circumstances that may surround it. I refuse to let you all be tainted by darkness any further than you have been. I will come up with a suitable punishment for Elfan.

Max: So, he  gets to stay?

Solomon: Of course, the others cannot see an example if it is not here to be witnessed. Now the three of you need to leave, Elfan, you ust leave the blade here, we will take care of it.

Elfan: This is more than I deserve.

Solomon: You are not wrong.

Elfan: Thank you...Father.

*Elfan stood up and handed the bloody knife to Solomon. He joined Max and Andrea and headed out the door. Once outside Andrea threw her arms around him.*

Andrea: How can I thank you?

*Elfan lifted Andrea's arms from around him.*

Elfan: Don't let it happen again.

Andrea: I didn't "let" anything

Elfan: Then you must learn to defend yourself...come. *He starts heading back towards the woods.*

Max: Brother? It is late and we are tired. Can this not wait?

Elfan: That is up to Andrea.

*Andrea thinks it over for a moment.*

Andrea: Get to bed Brother Max. I will go with Elfan. It is already past curfew, a few more hours can't hurt.*

Max: You two...very well, I suppose I cannot stop you.

*Max heads towards the cabins while Andrea and Elfan make their way into the woods.*

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By ImperialStingmon Mon-29-Jun-2020 00:35:49

Mid Card · 228 comments

6 months later...

*We see Max hunched over a small notebook. He puts pen to paper for a brief moment before taking it away and putting the end of the pen to his lips. He looks to the door of his building. Elfan had just left. He had gone to meet Andrea again. He said they were still training. Max suspected otherwise. Elfan had softened since the incident six months ago. It was imperceptible to most, but he had noticed, and, he assumed, so had Andrea. They spent most of their waking hours in each other's company. Every time they went off somewhere Elfan said they were training. Max wondered how much Elfan could truly train her in. When there were group assignments the two of them always made sure they were in the same unit. Max didn't mind as he usually managed to place himself with them as well. They seemed oblivious to him though. To be fair the two had become oddly in sync with each other, each knowing what the other needed, what the other wanted, working as a flawless tandem and handily impressing everyone, including the adults. Elfan was finally applying his considerable talents, size and strength foremost among them, and Andrea had an uptick in confidence that allowed her to flourish like never before. As part of their groups Max was always near the top of the pack, yet he felt like he was getting left behind by the two of them.*

BANG!

*The door had flew open and bounced off the wall as Elfan came in, looking sweaty and disheveled.*

Max: Brother?

Elfan: Ah. Max. This is...well not unexpected, but...inconvenient.

Max: Please explain.

Elfan: There is no time. I should get back to Andrea. She needs more...tutoring.

*Elfan left as quickly as he entered. His mind was racing. He had felt himself growing closer to Andrea. Then she had kissed him, just now. His mind flushed with panic and he ran, but he knew that was wrong. Every step told him to turn back as she called his name and it echoed amidst the trees. He had never experienced these emotions before and they were threatening to completely overwhelm him. He wasn't even sure what had happened. Andrea needed to be toughened up so men wouldn't take advantage of her. It had started as just that. Then she started telling him stories. He started learning more about her life before and everything she had gone through. He had felt it only fair to share his experiences with her as well. Did that mean they had gotten closer? He knew they worked well together, they had proven that time and again and he certainly felt stronger in her presence, but he couldn't explain why, and it baffled him. One person should not make a difference in one's strength output, yet for her, he always had a little more to give. Physically that should be impossible, and he knew that but he didn't care, when she was watching, his heart beat faster, his muscles grew tenser and his mind raced with the anticipation of what he could do. If she was there he thought he could take on the world. He started heading back to her, because he didn't want to lose that feeling.*

*Andrea was rooted to the spot. She had clearly been crying, as rivers of tears had cut through the dust on her cheeks. She hadn't met to kiss Elfan, it just happened in the moment, but it felt right. It had all started six months ago. That night, she couldn't believe she had let it happen to her again, but she had and she was about to end up dead, or worse, if she didn't cooperate. She panicked and lashed out. She didn't realize what had happened until Elfan appeared and broke through her mental fog. Immediately he took control of the situation. He threw himself on the still smoldering embers of the fire she had lit. She owed it to him to get stronger. Then he asked why she had gotten herself in that predicament in the first place. She didn't tell him right away. The more time they spent together though the better she felt. Elfan was nothing if not direct. He had never lied to her, he had been blunt, but never a liar. She appreciated that. The first group assignment after the incident she jumped at the chance to work with him. He seemed less than enthused, but he didn't disallow it so she figured that was just his demeanor. They bounced ideas off each other like they had known each other all their lives. Soon she felt safe divulging her past to him. He in turn divulged his to her. She felt so bad for him, what must it be like, not to know love. She couldn't fathom it. The love of her past was all that had kept her going for awhile. She came here though and that love had all but faded. With Elfan though she could feel it rekindling. Maybe that spark had finally exploded, and that was why she kissed him. He didn't know love though, so he had ran. What did it mean? Did she screw up? Did she push for something he wasn't ready for, for something he didn't understand.... Suddenly he burst back onto the clearing they used for training.*

Andrea: Elfan?!

Elfan: Andrea I am sorry. I was not expecting what you did and I wasn't sure what to do.

Andrea: It's alright. I did it but you don't have to reciprocate.

Elfan: I know.

*Elfan walks up to her and cups her cheek and kisses her.*

Elfan: I don't have to, but I want to. I don't know about this, so I will need assistance, but I also can tell that you make me better Andrea.

*Without saying a word she takes his hand in hers. The two start heading out of the woods.*

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By ImperialStingmon Sun-6-Sep-2020 18:26:46

Mid Card · 228 comments

A few months later...

*A new group of initiates has arrived. Archbishop Solomon is welcoming them as Elfan and Andrea watch from a gate above. Max is there too, but off to the side so as to not disturb the couple. They said they didn't mind his company and while that may be true, they didn't exactly pay him much attention. He looked over the new group. He had been here two years, and now there even more people, more reasons for attention to be diverted away from him. More family to ignore him, cast him aside. It turned his stomach. He thought he would find family here after what happened, but every time he tried to make a brotherly connection with Elfan, or anyone for that matter, he found himself rejected. Andrea was willing to call him brother, but he felt she did that to placate him, not because she felt anything familial towards him. He listened as the archbishop continued to address the new initiates.*

Solomon: Here is where you can find yourself, and the ability to overcome whatever great personal tragedy has brought you here. I understand some of you were reluctant to make the journey here, to leave what you knew and come to a new place with unfamiliar people but I guarantee here you will find peace and, someday find yourselves, and what you need. I do hear however that there is one of you who was particularly excited to come here. Will that initiate please make themselves known?

*A young teen in a hood stands up. He slowly pulls back the hood and Andrea audibly gasps. Max tries to register the face of the teen. His mind races back over six months ago. This was the initiate Elfan, and everyone else had left for dead. There was no mistake. How was he here? This changed everything that had come as a result of that night. As Max's mind continues to race the teen does the same moving through the crowd and hauling Solomon into the air by the lapels of his ensemble.*

Teen: Elfan!!! I see you up there! You didn't finish the job you coward! Now I'm here to make everyone regret it!

*He tosses Solomon to the ground and as the archbishop sits up the teen kicks him square in the face and he crumples and doesn't move. The new initiates begin to cry and scream, some try to flee the scene. Elfan starts to make his way down toward the teen. Andrea follows but Elfan stops as he gets to Max.*

Elfan: Max, keep Andrea here, protect her.

Andrea: Elfan, I'm coming with you. You've made me strong.

Elfan: That's not what this is about.  He would not be so stupid as to come alone. You may be able to handle one of his allies, but what about two or three? I will not let you put yourself in harm's way Andrea.

Andrea: I don't want you putting yourself in harm's way either Elfan.

Elfan: It is I who he has called for, so I will confront him. I should be able to fend for myself until adults arrive. Max I ask you to keep Andrea here...as my brother. Protect her.

*The word brother rang deep and clearly in Max's ears and souls. Was Elfan saying it to manipulate him, so he would get his way? Max didn't really care. This was his chance. He smiled at Elfan.*

Max: I'll protect her.

*Elfan gave a curt nod and ran past him. Andrea went to move but Max moved to hold her back. Moments later Elfan stood behind his adversary.*

Elfan: You had no reason to attack Solomon.

Teen: He didn't care if I lived or died by your hand. And you still walk around here completely free and clear like what you did to me wasn't terrible.

Elfan: What you did was arguably more terrible. Andrea will have that moment etched in her mind for the rest of her life. Besides I did not stab you.

Teen: I'm aware, but that's what all the reports say right? You protected Andrea. Took all the blame. Very noble of you. Now it's gonna get you, that little runt Max who follows you around, and that bitch, killed. You should've minded your own business.

*The teen charges Elfan who catches him and the two roll into the now empty field where the initiates had sat moments ago. The teen ends up sitting on top of Elfan and tries to punch him, but Elfan dodges and he strikes ground alone. Elfan grabs his assailant's head, rears back and clocks him in the nose with a massive headbutt. The teen rolls off clutching his nose and Elfan gets to his feet but he hears a scream from Andrea, someone has emerged from nearby and is confronting her and Max, one of his adversary's allies no doubt. He goes to assist them, but his opponent takes advantage of his rush to move and trips him, knocking the wind from him as he hits the ground.*

Andrea: Elfan!

*Max thinks quickly. He needs to protect Andrea, but then who protects Elfan? He looks down as their attacker nears. The ground is dirt, tightly packed, but not so tight it can't be dug into. And it had rained last night, so it was softer than normal. He quickly reaches down and scoops some up and hurls it at the face of the oncoming teen. It hits him right in the eyes, blinding him, that was the only opening Max needed. He charges and just throws all of his body at the teen in a haphazard attack that knocks him back. The teen rolls backward and smacks his head into a tree and doesn't get up. Meanwhile, Elfan finds himself under heavy assault from his assailant. Max scoops up another handful of dirt and throws it at the back of Elfan's attacker's head. *SPLAT* It connects!*

Teen: What the?

*The distraction gives Elfan an opening and he gets himself free enough to ball his right hand into a fist and crack his adversary on the chin, dropping him in a heap across Elfan. Elfan moves out from under his unmoving body as police finally rush in. They put handcuffs on both teens and Solomon is slowly helped to his feet while everyone is examined for injuries. The police take the two teens away. Andrea runs down and hugs Elfan tightly.*

Andrea: I'm so glad you're okay!

Elfan: And I you. *He looks around and spots Max.* Brother! Come here.

*Max walks over.*

Elfan: You did everything I needed you to today. You protected Andrea, and you even protected me. Thank you. I realize you have been feeling left out lately, but brother, I hope you can forgive me, and know that that shall not happen again.

*Max smiled and felt brightness welling within him again. Maybe he had his family after all. Maybe they just had to realize it.*

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By ImperialStingmon Thu-31-Dec-2020 19:08:00

Mid Card · 228 comments

Present day

*Elfan is lifting weights in the gym, an Umbra Maxima face mask over his face, when Maximilian approaches him.*

Max: Come brother. We don’t need to be here amidst the plague.

*Elfan ignores Maximilian and continues his workout.*

Max: Brother please. We can go home and watch,

CLONG
*Elfan has dropped his weight to the floor and he looks angrily at Max.*

Elfan: Watch what brother? How we failed at Revival? How we are so far down the pecking order now that we haven’t been on Stormfront since? For nearly two years, unbroken, we stood atop the tag division and now we stand on the precipice of becoming an irrelevant footnote! Rookies and greenhorns are swallowing the spotlight like it is water and they are floundering fish. And the veterans, for the most part, are too busy stabbing each other in the back to keep themselves relevant. I tire of all of it. Which is why I am working my hardest to win Rumble in the Storm so we can be on top. And then watch as we use our spotlight to drown them all.

*Elfan picks up his weight and goes back to work as a weary Max watches on.*

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By ImperialStingmon Wed-17-Feb-2021 04:54:30

Mid Card · 228 comments

14 years ago...

*Maximillian had really come into his own Elfan and Andrea had taken him under their respective wings. Elfan toughened him up  while Andrea was teaching him skills she had learned long before she had arrived at the facility. The trio was nearly unstoppable when they worked together.  There were rumors that when they were all ready next year to take the graduation exam that they would be part of the first ever class to all pass. That's how strong Elfan and Andrea were together. They brought up everyone else around them. The graduation exam was a return trip to the real world. To see how society had changed. To see what flaws they could identify in order to make society a better place, and what weaknesses could be exploited to make it weaker. Enough right answers and you passed. Simple enough, but there were always hidden answers, things nobody could spot just looking with naked eyes. Maximillian had seen it last year.  Only so many of the group that had gone out returned and graduated. The ones who didn't, no one knew what became of them. Max hadn't seen them since though. Still he wasn't worried. Not with Elfan and Andrea by his side.*

*Elfan and Andrea had chosen to study the group set to return from this year's graduation exam. Elfan watched their faces closely as they came in. Most looked happy, they knew they had succeeded. Others, more pensive, asking non verbally if they could have done more. Then there were the ones who had clearly done poorly. One pathetic soul wouldn't even reenter the facility. He was literally begging for another chance to go back out.*

Andrea: The idea of failure...

*Her words trailed off, but Elfan heard the fear and disgust in them. He knew they could pull through, so did she, he knew that. That world out there put ideas of "what if" into people's heads though, and those ideas were hard to shake.*

Andrea: Can you believe by the time we take the exam we'll have been here for seven years?

*All who entered the facility and were kept, took the exam after seven years. Still he knew what she meant. It had been a long time since he had seen anything but the facility. What was going on in the world that left him behind? What terrifying new things had come into existence to wrestle families away from desperate children? What new evils lurked out there ready to separate one from something they held dear? Elfan gripped Andrea's hand a little tighter. Nothing out there would take her away from him. She was the one person, besides Max who paid him attention, and he craved her attention. He always did a little better, when he knew she could see. Without her, there wasn't as much reason to try. So, they would take the exam together, the two of them and Maximilian. They would pass. Then they would go back into the world, and the three of them would change it all for the better.*

Andrea: Well we better get back down and get ready to head to bed.

*Elfan noted that the moon had indeed risen high in the sky. That meant next yea their exam would be in the daylight. Different places and different times, so no one could give hints. A daytime exam and tis year's group had gone to a zoo, a movie theater, and a school. None of those places would be in the running next year. As he and Andrea walked away, he wondered what the leaders would have in store for them in on year's time.*

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By ImperialStingmon Thu-8-Apr-2021 03:34:30

Mid Card · 228 comments

13 years ago...

*It was the day of the graduation exam. Elfan awoke before the wake up call had even sounded. He looked across his cabin, his home the past six years, and through the first rays of sunlight that were peeking through the windows he could see Maximilian sitting up in his bed. Had he risen before him? Had he slept at all? Elfan knew he was nervous. It was his nature. Max was unfortunately a bit of a pessimist, didn't really like to take risks and break rules. That being said today was not a day to break rules. He swung his legs off the bed and as his feet touched the floor, then finally came the wake up call. Others started to rustle, trying to roust themselves from slumber. Elfan was wide awake. he looked across the room and locked eyes with Maximilian, he was awake alright. He knew Andrea would be ready too. The three of them had had their sights set on this day.*

*Andrea woke to the wake up call, but as she sat up, the air felt oddly heavy. She thought it was pre exam jitters and brushed it off. Bare feet to the wooden floor, and then she started heading to the washroom to prepare herself. The sixth years had an hour to get ready since the exam was in daytime. A disadvantage, but, thanks to the light of day, some things would be easier to see, for those who needed it. With Elfan and Max by her side though, even if she  was blind, they would help her find her way. She trusted those two. It had been a very long time since she'd been able to put that kind of trust in anyone.*

One hour later...

*Maximilian looked around at the gathered sixth years. He, of course, was between Elfan and Andrea but all in the group had excelled in things they had been asked to do. Everyone was truly coming into their own. Father Solomon was responsible, in the best way. He was going to be one of the exam proctors. Maximilian was very happy about this, some of the other proctors were rumored to look for deeper meanings in things than most people could see. Solomon was rumored to be a bit more easygoing, willing to let you come to conclusions on your own. max found his train of thought interrupted as Father Solomon started to speak.*

Solomon: Sixth years! You have spent a long time here. This place is unchanging, save for the people who come and go, and technology doesn't exist here, nor does weaponry, or money. All of these things exist out there. It is also ever changing. Establishments can be open one day and closed the next day. What may have been the pinnacle of technology can soon become obsolete. Money, and weaponry, can bring both happiness and violence and the amounts of all four can vary wildly. These are things you will need to observe this day. What does technology look like, what will bring about its downfall, does bigger expense, always mean bigger joy, how many people carry a form of protection, and do the ones who do not appear satisfied with their choice, and do the ones who do appear satisfied with theirs? We are going to a place you will be able to observe all of this. If you have never been before, it may be overwhelming. We, are going to a shopping mall.

*Max couldn't remember if he'd ever been to a mall. He wondered if Elfan had. For as close as they had gotten, one thing Elfan never spoke about, at least with him, he couldn't speak for Andrea, was his past.*

*Elfan could remember a shopping mall, at least its basic function. it was several stores, generally housed in a much larger building. What the stores sold varied, but there was also occasionally, some basic repetition. He also remembered a bevy of smells, and sounds, like sizzling meats, and whirring machinery, things and people, making food.*

*Andrea had fond memories of the mall. It had been a great place to hang out. She wouldn't need it now, but it would be interesting to see how it, like her, had changed in the past six years.*

*The gates to the facility opened before everyone who had assembled before them. Elfan, Maximilian and Andrea were ready for the day that would lead to the biggest changes their lives had experienced in six years.*

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By ImperialStingmon Tue-24-Aug-2021 03:28:58

Mid Card · 228 comments

*Elfan, Maximilian and Andrea arrive at the mall with the rest of their group. They gather outside and before going in Solomon addresses them.*

Solomon: You are to enter and observe, take as much time as you need, but be careful. If you are first to decide you are ready to report your findings you should make sure your observations are thorough. If you are last you need to make sure you report something not found by others, lest I think you wasted your time. Once everyone has returned we will go home and from your findings we will decide if you are ready to return to the world. Now, go.

*The group enters the mall several immediately start heading left and right, Elfan, Andrea, and Maximilian stand still though, Elfan's head seemingly on a swivel.*

Elfan: The others are too fast for their own good, there is so much to take in even here at the entrance.

Andrea: An entrance that is also an exit.

Maximilian: I wonder how many of these exist. And why are some of the people leaving seemingly without having procured anything?

Elfan: These are but two of the things we should try to discover. Come you two.

*The trio head deeper into the mall. As they observe their surroundings, unfortunately it is impossible to take in everything, specifically, three young men in black hoodies observing them and communicating to others via walkie-talkie.*

???: Everyone is in. Operation: Solomon's Nightmare is about to begin.

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By ImperialStingmon Wed-29-Dec-2021 19:11:54

Mid Card · 228 comments

*Elfan, Maximilian and Andrea had been walking around the mall for about an hour and a half. They had procured some food and visited several stores. In most they saw the same general things, goods and services exchanged for money. Sometimes it was pretty things like art, sometimes it was practical gadgets, other times still it was things for which they saw no use at all, but the people who bought them, they had the biggest smiles in some cases.*

Andrea: Should we head back to Solomon? I feel like things are getting a bit repetitious at this point.

Max: Agreed The clothing is oddly repetitious as well. A lot of people are wearing hoodies but it's not even that cold.

Elfan: Exactly. Don't you two find that odd. So many hoodies, designed to protect against the elements and cold yet we are inside, and it is a rather balmy day by most accounts.  Also, did you two notice we have been tailed for the last twenty minutes?

Andrea: What?! Elfan why didn't you say anything?

Elfan: I wasn't certain initially, but over time my suspicions grew, and I used various mirrors and other things to keep track of our surroundings. It hasn't always been the same person, but people, in those hoodies specifically, have been keeping close tabs on us.

Max: Just us?

Elfan: I've seen them occasionally stalking others of our group as well.

Andrea: Maybe Solomon set them up. To try to observe us, see if we could see them, maybe it's all part of this.

Max: I feel like these guys are too conspicuous for that. Solomon would be more subtle.

Elfan: Indeed.

*Suddenly an alarm blares through the mall's intercom system. It's followed by a firm voice tinged with panic. "Attention everyone! There has been a malfunction in the mall's automated doors and there are other issues as well. We ask that you remain calm while we try to get things sorted."*

Elfan: That cannot be a coincidence.

Andrea: Their other issues was vague enough to normal people that it may not cause panic. To me, it's super suspicious.

Max: Agreed. Automated doors should still be operable, you would just need to push them open, and even then, they have non-automatic doors should the automated ones be immovable.

*The three start looking around again to get a better idea of the whole situation. Maximilian, looking over Elfan's shoulders, notices one of the hooded figures running towards him, but above the din of the mall, Elfan clearly can't hear him coming. Max immediately tackles Elfan to the ground and the hooded figure can't stop himself, and he trips over the pair, a knife clattering to the ground as his body does the same. Elfan looks confused and angry and then observes the fallen attacker and puts two and two together.*

Elfan: Thank you Max, I had seen some of them inching closer, but obviously I can't keep an eye on everything. We need to stay together and make our way back to Solomon now. If our group can join back up we may gain a numbers advantage.

Andrea: Guys!

*In the moments since the one had rushed them, they had found themselves surrounded by other hooded figures. One, with a dramatic flourish, threw his hood back. His hair had all been shaved off, but the face was still recognizable to Elfan, Andrea and Max.*

Elfan: You!

???: You didn't finish the job all those years ago. Jail couldn't hold me Elfan and now my followers and I have you three and the rest of Solomon's school all trapped and I will take my revenge on all of you!!

*People in other areas of the mall started to scream. The ones surrounding Elfan, Max and Andrea started to pull out weapons. Baseball bats and knives emerged from clothing. A monster of a human stepped up beside the leader. Elfan knew they were in trouble. Surrounded on three sides, and since they were on the second floor, a metal railing being the only thing preventing a potentially deadly fall, they were going to have to fight their way out. The one on the ground was still moving. Elfan stomped his head into the tile floor immediately grabbed the knife he had been wielding and flung it in the direction of the large man by the leader. The blade sunk deep into his chest. He pulled it out and dropped it to the ground. Not a flicker of pain crossed his face. He starts striding towards the trio, but the smaller people immediately rush in. Max trips another one and his head bounces off his own baseball bat, knocking him out. Andrea uses one's momentum to her advantage as she sidesteps him and shoves him and he slams into the metal railing and goes down. Elfan gets a light slash across his cheek as he's taking on two assailants at once, but a right hook puts one down and he slams the other face down into the tile and he doesn't get up. Max surprises one of the group by running at him and tackling him before mounting him and just punching him in the face repeatedly until another hooded man hauls him off. Andrea joins Max though and the two of them take care of him. Security and other school mates have most of the rest of the group busy or restrained.*

Max: Leave my family alone!

*He rushes the leader but in his haste is unprepared for a right hand, with brass knuckles adorning it, and crumples to the ground as the large man swings both his hands at Elfan, who manages to dodge, and the large man's hands slam the metal railing and dent it. Elfan turns around and rams his shoulder into the man's gut, driving him into the metal again, denting it even more. Andrea watches, unsure of what to do. She doesn't trust taking her eyes off the leader to help Elfan. The big man however isn't going down as easily as everyone else. Elfan looks at Andrea.*

Elfan: I will come back to you.

*He backs up and throws his entire body into the large man. They tumble over the crumpled railing.

Andrea: Elfan!!!

*Andrea can't help but watch as Elfan and the man tumble through the air. Elfan manages to struggle to the top position just as they crash into a kiosk below, a loud splintering sound echoing above the rest of the din. Then there's silence, everyone looking down at the two fallen combatants to see if either rises.*

BANG!

*The sound of a gunshot breaks the silence. The onlookers all search for the source of the sound. Andrea touches her chest. Her hand comes away wet with blood. She looks behind her. The leader has a gun in his hand. On the floor, Elfan has regained some sense of being and rolled off his foe, but he can't bring himself to his feet. He looks up at Andrea.

Elfan: Andrea!!
BANG!

*The cry is punctuated with another gunshot. Then the leader appears at the rail and simply shoves Andrea's body over it. Every fiber of Elfan's mind screams at him to move. His body cannot respond, so all he can do is watch as Andrea crashes to the ground, and does not move. The leader is tackled and immediately arrested. Paramedics rush to Elfan and Andrea. Max has managed to wake up and shuffles to the railing. He looks at his fallen brother and sister, and the only sound in the air now is that of sirens, endless sirens.*