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DRAFT LOG #2: The Battle Game!
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lucetimods wrote in lucetilogs
Who: Everyone on the draft
What: Fighting bad guys!
When: Today (after 12PM) to the 19th, in the evening
Where: The Mining Facility
Summary: It's an underground mine! And the Malnosso want you to kill and capture all the bad guys! Oh, but don't let the rocks fall on you. That could hurt.
Rating: B for BLOOD. Seriously. People are going to die. People have already died. We're not going to make it out of here. We're all screwed, it's Game Over, man!

Everything you need to know is listed here and also this way. If you haven't signed up yet and want to be on this draft, then go do it and stop being lazy!
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[It's been a long few days, especially after the Third Party broke through the barricade: the smaller tunnels are far too small to summon Raven, and even in the larger caverns it's exhausting to maintain the Chain for very long. The fact that he's there with Jack, though, adds even more to the burden that Gilbert feels, for protecting his previous master is always uppermost in his mind. And since the two of them managed to get separated from the other fighters a bit ago and are now lostexploring a different part of the tunnels, he's even more on edge.

The section of tunnel they're currently in seems safe enough for the moment, at least, as Gilbert has neither heard nor seen any sign of the Third Party for a while now. He's tempted to push on and get back to where the others are, but finally decides to call a halt, more leaning against the cave wall and sliding down than actually sitting, and begins to check over his stock of ammunition. Running out now would be... well, inadvisable.]

[Jack isn't going to protest the chance to stop and rest at all; unlike Gilbert, he's not accustomed to fighting, and this entire situation is far too reminiscent of the Tragedy of Sablier for his comfort. Fighting. Killing. Why? Why does this have to happen? He didn't ask to get wrapped up in any of this-- for Gil to get wrapped up in any of this. He'd gladly accept this punishment if it meant the other would be safe, but...

Now it's his turn to mimic Gilbert and slide down the wall into a sitting position, hands still in a deathgrip around the hilt of his sword. It's ironic-- he both hates the feeling of it in his hand and finds it comforting at the same time. Then he notes what Gil is doing, and, seeing it as a distraction:]


... do you have enough?

[Gilbert hesitates just for an instant before he resumes his work, checking the chambers of each pistol before sliding it back into its holster. He doesn't quite look at Jack, though he does cast a sidelong glance in that direction as he moves on to his pockets.]

As long as we don't get into any pitched battles, I think so.

And we probably can't ask them to deliver more to us out here either.

[At last one hand looses its grip on the sword and he brings his arm up to wipe ineffectually at some of the dirt and grime that's accumulated on his face. There's probably blood there as well, but he's trying hard not to think about that part.]

Do we even know where 'here' is...?

The Malnosso are usually anything but kind.

[He finishes his silent inventory and pauses again, then fishes for a cloth in his pocket and hesitantly offers it to Jack— still without quite meeting his eyes, mind.]

Not... quite. If we keep going this way it should take us back to the large cavern we were in earlier. I've been trying to keep track.

[Jack accepts the cloth with a nod of gratitude and uses it to clean his face; he's about to hand it back when he glances down, notes how dirty it now is, then frowns and sticks it into his own pocket for the moment because he's pretty sure Gil doesn't want that back.]

It's ironic... I never expected I'd have to fight like this again.

[Scared, desperate, and forced into a situation with no means of escape.]

[He... really doesn't. Thank you for realizing that, Jack. Gilbert starts to respond but barely gets a syllable out before falling silent again, lifting his head and turning slightly away with a deepening frown. Did he just hear...?

After a moment the sound doesn't come again, but though he doesn't immediately rise he still doesn't relax now that he's on guard. His hand falls to one of the pistols, ready to draw if needs be, and apparently distracted enough to be a little more candid than usual.]


I didn't expect to see you again at all.

Does it bother you?

[It's a rhetorical question, really-- he can tell from the other man's behavior that it does in fact bother him a great deal. It's hard to escape noticing the fact that Gilbert has been deliberately avoiding him ever since his arrival a few months ago, and while he's more than willing to give him his space (and understands why), it still hurts.]

I....

[Truthfully, Gilbert doesn't know how to answer that question. Yes, it does, because Jack is part of a past that he'd thought was... well, past. (More or less, at least, given the man's continued presence within Oz.) But at the same time it doesn't, because it's Jack. It's a chance to redeem himself by protecting the master he once failed, rather than simply trying to make amends for it.

The words conflict and choke in his throat, additionally warring with the all-too-strong realization that he really shouldn't be having a serious conversation when there might very well be enemy fighters around the next curve of the tunnel, and pushes to his feet again in an attempt to cover for the lapse.]


...I don't know what you want to hear.

I want to hear the truth, Gil.

[Not just because he already knows what that truth is, but also because lying has never suited Gilbert at all. He's far too honest to be able to lie well and Jack doesn't like seeing it... in part because it brings to mind his own perfected ability to lie with a smile, and that's one path he really doesn't want his former servant going down. Let Gil retain at least some purity, unlike himself...]

[Gilbert watches the darkness farther down the tunnel for several heartbeats as he considers, then finally shakes his head and just repeats his earlier statement.]

I never expected to see you again.

[Jack's only response is a soft sigh and he shifts his grip on his sword, still feeling awkward holding a weapon at all. But Gilbert... the other man handled those guns so naturally. He isn't quite sure how seeing that makes him feel, but he's not going to question it right now, not when the other's marksmanship is coming in handy like this.]

I did tell you that things had changed. That I'm not the person I once was.

[He turns back halfway, not enough that he's looking at Jack, but enough to be able to at least see the man out of his peripheral vision.]

...it wasn't something I wanted you to see.

So you thought I'd rather see a you who wasn't the real you.

[Again, something Jack is all too familiar with, and that's precisely why it makes him so uncomfortable. It's not his place to lecture Gilbert about this and he knows it.]

That's not what I—

[Except that it... kind of is, in a way. Gilbert cuts himself off, hesitates, then rephrases, a little quieter this time.]

You shouldn't have seen it anyway.

And why not? Did you think I'd reject you?

[Though his tone is mostly serious, there's a hint of an incredulous laugh as he speaks. Really, Gilbert, you should know better than that by now.]

[The way that Gilbert turns away again with his shoulders set in a stiff posture says far clearer than words that... well, yes, he kind of did. And he doesn't like being laughed at for it, either, even if he's sort of used to that kind of treatment by now.]

...it doesn't matter.

[And even if he'd planned to add anything else it's prevented as he hears that sound again, something like a scuff of movement down the tunnel. Where exactly or what it's hard to tell, with the way sound echoes against the stone walls, but he still freezes in place, almost holding his breath as he listens.]

[Jack is halfway to replying, mouth open to protest that, until he hears whatever it is that Gil has also heard and the words die on his lips. By this point he's so jumpy that he'd be going for his sword even if it were nothing more than a mouse... but something tells him that isn't the case here.]

[A moment later the sound repeats itself, a little louder, then again: footsteps, it has to be, distorted slightly by the tunnels but definitely approaching their position. Not only that, but approaching from ahead of them. If they hadn't stopped to rest, they might well have walked straight into... whoever it is.

Gilbert draws his pistols from their holsters, moving without even looking back at Jack into a position where he's clearly protecting the man, watching the shadows with tense anticipation.]


Maybe we'll be lucky. Maybe they'll be allies.

[Jack's furrowed brow makes it clear that he isn't happy at the thought of Gilbert placing himself in harm's way to protect him; he stands and steps forward as well, sword held at the ready as he moves up to flank the other man with steely eyes.

This is the Jack Vessalius who is known as the Hero of Sablier, the man who brought all of Pandora to their knees.]


I wouldn't count on it, not in this place.

[Gilbert might have tried to protest that move, might have attempted to insist that Jack stay where Gilbert could cover him, but the change in attitude and bearing stops the words before he can even form them in his mind. This Jack isn't someone he can argue with. He can't even think about that.

There's little time to consider such matters, though, for just then those approaching become visible: the Third Party, of course. No luck for the pair of them. It's only a small group of fighters, at least, likely a scouting party.

Gilbert takes aim and fires without hesitation, picking off the one who appears to be the leader to give them the advantage caused by the momentary confusion that ensues, and then the fight begins in earnest. It's short, intense, and bloody, but when the last Third Party fighter falls to the ground Gilbert slowly lowers his gun, glancing around to be certain none of them are still moving before he turns to check on Jack.]


Are you hurt—

[And for an instant he stops, eyes widening just a fraction as he catches a glimpse of motion behind his former master. In the confusion of the shadows he can't see much more than just movement, but that appears to be an arm raising a weapon and without any thought Gilbert is moving. There's no time for anything but to shove Jack aside, to get him out of harm's way so that the blow instead strikes Gilbert's unprotected back.]

[There isn't time for Jack to react, for him to even think, before Gil collides with him and sends him stumbling to the side, mind reeling from the suddenness of the attack and how could they have been caught unprepared like this...?

A few awkward steps later and he recovers his footing just in time to glance up and see that sword strike home and send blood spattering onto the ground, and suddenly Jack's mind is a hundred years in the past and he's the one holding that sword and...

No. Not again. The transformation is instantaneous and almost frightening; with a roar of pain and rage he surges forward towards the Third Party member, sword aimed to run him right through-- and run him through he does before he can even retaliate, his momentum carrying them both several paces backwards until at last he stops, sword hilt-deep in his opponent's abdomen and blood gushing over his hands. But he doesn't even notice that, nor does he wait until the enemy has gone completely limp.

Instead, he leaves the sword where it is and races back towards Gilbert, heart pounding so loudly he can hear it in his ears, afraid of what he's going to find...]


Gilbert!

[Gilbert lies where he fell, collapsed almost bonelessly limp as blood seeps through the gash across the back of his coat, puddling on the tunnel floor with a few scattered feathers from his damaged wings. As soon as the sword had fallen all the rest of the world was gone, for him. He could hear nothing but the thudding of his heartbeat, know nothing but the all-encompassing pain pulsating out from the wound across his back. And yet... if nothing else could draw his attention from the dizzying abyss into which he's falling, the sound of that voice could. That voice— Jack.

His eyes open just a fraction, though focus on nothing, and his lips form a single word he no longer even has the strength to give voice: "Master".]

[The pain that jolts through his knees as he drops down beside Gil's injured form scarcely even registers in Jack's mind, so focused is he on the sight before him. There's blood, so much blood - too much blood - his only thought is on how to stop it; shaking hands tug at his cravat in an effort to get it off for use as a makeshift bandage, but he's too much in shock to remember how knots even work right now.]

Gilbert! Hold on, don't try to say anything... you'll be just fine, I'll call for help, so...

[Maybe somehow, if he says it enough, it will actually be true, though the logical part of his mind knows there's no way even someone of Gilbert's nature can survive such damage to his wings.]

[It isn't the meaning of the words that matter, which is fortunate given that there's really little of importance (or at least, truth) to them. The only thing that matters is that Jack is the one saying them, that it proves he's all right, that Gilbert's effort to protect him actually succeeded.

His eyes slowly close again, the lids grown far too heavy, but at the same time a smile curves the corners of his mouth. It was worth it, then, and as he breathes out a long sigh it shapes into two barely-audible words.]


...didn't fail.

[And he doesn't draw in another breath.]

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