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With the cooling season of Autumn, Ice-types are starting to re-emerge from their hibernation as Ghost-, Normal-, and Flying-types swarm in the largest numbers they will all year. In comparison, wild Fire- and Bug-type populations are falling in number. The migration of Flying-types to the south in search of warmer weather has also started, as Istin City starts to re-freeze and Autumn marks the beginning of Cypwater Point's rainy season. Handlers and Rogues alike should be wary: Ghost-type powers are boosted during this season, at the cost of being more prone to their triggers.

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 The Power of Intent, Johanna Murdoc / Closed
Flight
 Posted: Aug 29 2016, 07:41 PM
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judge of the stables
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Total Posts: 976
Member No. 1433
Joined on 30-January 14.


Characters:
Eryn Norwood, Adelaide Hawksworth, Iuchra Nic Longáin

Awards: 1




Johanna Murdoc, level 12


Bounty:
QUOTE

Claire Odette (Lv. 7-10, specialty Psychic


Spawns paid here:

http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz241/HarperRegion/Sprites/312minun.png
(failed 50/50 roll)
Minus and Volt Absorb
Wish and Fake Tears

http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz241/HarperRegion/Sprites/63abra.png
(successful 50/50 roll)
Synchronize and Magic Guard
Barrier and Skill Swap

Level Bracket: [ 1 - 54 ]

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Eryn
profile & travels
Addie
profile & travels
Iuchra
profile & travels
-
please refer to me with they/them pronouns!

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Johanna Murdoc
 Posted: Aug 29 2016, 07:50 PM
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Total Posts: 339
Member No. 468
Joined on 26-July 12.


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N/A

Awards: 2




This post is for my organization.
This whole thread will be under a trigger warning for snips of Johanna's memories and for her opponent's use of mental manipulation.

Odette's Team and Moves:
1. Alakazam, Lv. 50
    Tutors: Magic Room, Skill Swap
.
2. Wobbuffet, Lv. 45
    TMs: Safeguard, Encore
.
3. Mr. Mime, Lv. 48
    Egg: Nasty Plot, Teeter Dance. Tutor: Recycle (holding Psychic Gem). TMs: Aerial Ace, Infestation, Trick Room, Dazzling Gleam
.
4. Delphox, Lv. 47
    Egg: Magic Coat. TMs: Shadow Ball, Psych Up, Grass Knot
.
5. Politoed, Lv. 52
    TMs: Psychic, Attract, Brick Break, Hyper Beam, Earthquake. Egg: Mind Reader, Mist
.
Details about Odette:
Member of the Order


Goals: Kill Odette. Obtain lv. 5 Abra.

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Lune . Ghost . Vita . Sol
Alvar Holdt
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Johanna Murdoc
 Posted: Feb 24 2017, 12:59 AM
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Members
Total Posts: 339
Member No. 468
Joined on 26-July 12.


Characters:
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Awards: 2




Memory. Such a potent, powerful master, by turns subtle and domineering.

Silence held heavy in the inn room, three floors above the tavern that had gone quiet hours ago. Closer now to dawn than dusk. Much closer. Sleep was as elusive as it had ever been for the aging assassin -- and she was aging. Here, in the darkness lit only by the soft glow of a burning fox's coat, she could admit that to herself. Here, she could be honest. For once. She was a creature of the night to be certain, but she was not a creature of choice however much she wished she could be. The weight of the lucario's eyes in the darkness was insurmountable, impenetrable. He knew, as much as the fox with her twinkling psychic gem and her affinity for the ghosts knew, but his gaze held judgement. Held compulsion.

The regal fox? Hers waited. Reserved her judgement... and perhaps, somewhere behind those pupil-less eyes, hungered. There were certainly enough legends about her kind. Johanna would have felt safer -- yes, she would let herself keep that thought -- safer, if the fox had had darkness in her veins.

The weavile simply understood. Curled on her stomach, cold as ice and staying there so long as she herself laid still letting the frostbite eat into her skin in exactly the same way that electricity didn't. Memories.

The feeling of flesh open to the air, the frantic beat of the heart and the unnatural, incredible calm of the sight of the blood welling, dripping. Pain that was searing hot and blistering cold and neither of those at once. It was not the first time she had bled. It was the first time she had not bled in combat. Not that she would ever forget that first mistake, either. It was many years ago, but some memories... some memories did not fade with time. They grew stronger, waiting in the shadows of the mind for the moment they could step forward and offer themselves again. Some memories sang, and screamed, and begged, and yearned, and craved. Was it worth it to give in again? To feed them fuel for a temporary pause to their burning need?

Gould had once said to her that people were made of nothing but longing. She had scoffed; he had been in his cups; she wasn't sure whether or not he had been joking or just thinking aloud while she had been working as his guard. It didn't matter. He had been right.

She lay still and prone, unblinkingly staring at the ceiling nearly lost in the darkness. Another unfamiliar ceiling. Unlike some rogues she had known -- but who ever thought of themselves that way? -- working, killing, had never made her feel alive. Not the way they meant it... but other things did. Her hands clenched reflexively closed and open, closed and open. The lucario held her knives. He did not trust her. He could see her desire, and he could see how she hated in that moment that he could see it and know it, and was glad of it. Instead, she counted her breathing, and clenched her teeth, and stared up at darkness thicker than night. No doubt there were plenty of shuppet outside her window tonight.

It was a memory that, had she still had the option, she would not have been strong enough to resist.

Nothing had been wrong, nothing had gone wrong, and it was useless to ask no matter how often Ghost's eyes flicked to the fox with the mental question that she never passed on. Johanna knew he was asking it all the same. Why? What's wrong?

What was wrong? Nothing. It was almost humorous. But she was not laughing and had not been laughing with the dark mood on her the past several nights. She was on a hunt. She had eluded the Order, for now. She had coin in her purse and a roof over her head and warm food in her belly. She had companions who could do nothing to push the miasma away, and they knew it. Even Lune had withdrawn the darkness she cast over them all like a coat, seeking to lighten the woman's load, but still every beat of her heart was as hollow as the beat of a drum. Begging.

The sun had begun to rise by the time she sank reluctantly into a fitful sleep and the lucario set her knives down again on the table.

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Lune . Ghost . Vita . Sol
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Johanna Murdoc
 Posted: Mar 11 2017, 10:05 AM
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*****
Members
Total Posts: 339
Member No. 468
Joined on 26-July 12.


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Awards: 2




Dreams bore her back through the years, dragging her behind them like a traitor to the gallows.

She was thirty-one, witnessing through the amulet worn by the fox what was being done to her old partners, partners of blood and partners of her heart, whom she had been forced to abandon to save her own life. She watched them suffer. Her heart broke again in her chest. And again. And again, with each beat.

She was twenty-eight, fleeing in the night from the only home she had with neither family nor friend. The man who had shown her strength and given her steel and come to be her mentor, now the most dangerous and potent enemy the assassin had ever made. She had known he was ruthless, admired it. But not like this.

She was twenty-six, completing her work mechanically, efficiently, coldly, with an obsession that made Gould grow distant from her and watch her speculatively when he thought she could not see -- and then when she could.

She was twenty-two, driving her knife through the breast of the man she had once loved.

Back and back again, each moment tearing through her like wicked barbed blades and taking more of her with it. Always, her traitorous heart whispered, always you are alone. You are not wanted. No matter how many lives you take, you will never find one of your own. She fought, desperately, pleading with her own flesh to wake, but to no avail. The night terror gripped her like an arbok with a mouse. She watched herself go through those motions of life as though from outside, slamming her fists again and again against the invisible barrier that kept her from reaching in and changing it. She saw herself twisted and bloody on the floors, so still, too still, the electric lion standing over her. Jobs gone right. Jobs gone wrong. Jobs gone horribly wrong.

And then, in the quiet, memories of people she had seen, people she had killed. Men in bed with their loves, sleeping twined together and apparently at peace if not for the blooming red stains beneath their ears. Watching elegant women eat from a poisoned plate, their laughter still chiming through the banquet halls with all the vibrancy of a life easily lived and an easy confident superiority. A child, dressed in a frock worth more than her life at his age, so easily lured away from his nanny laughing and clapping his hands to chase the pretty bird, so slim a throat she had opened. They had been happy. She had not known, nor asked, why they had to die after a while. They were not important. But they had been happy. She had stopped counting long ago.

Yet she still remembered their names. All of their names. There had been eight Johns. Four Tomases. A woman named Elinor. Anastasia. Anne. Elisabeth. Maggy. Joseph. Carolina. Tobias, and Forrest, and James, and Deveraux, Agnes, Joan, William, Aelric, Katherine with a K and with a C... the list went on and on in her mind. The little boy's name had been Rowland. Names she knew and names she didn't but remembered by their titles. She had lived too long.

In her dreams, they reached for her, clawing at her arms and hands and feet and clothes as she fought against them to swim up, to make it to the surface. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't let them pull her down into that darkness with them. She was drowning. She couldn't move her legs, couldn't move her arms, couldn't --





She woke with a gasp, panting, drenched in cold sweat and bound tight in the blankets by her own thrashing. She looked for Skimmer's bright feathers, Lionheart's blue-and-black coat and flaring mane, but she saw the warm glow of a firey fox, the light glinting from the golden carapace of the insect beside the window fanning his wings free of morning dew, Lune curled up in sleep beside Ghost's hind paws. The lucario stood where he had stood the whole of the day before, leaning against the wall and watching her with those bottomless, wretched eyes that saw too much of things she wanted to still hide. He had not moved so much as an inch. She flinched back, scrambling to sit and wrap her arms around herself, her knees. She buried her face in them. Breathe. Breathe. It was only a dream.

If only she could shake the feeling of the cool hands of the dead holding onto her.

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Lune . Ghost . Vita . Sol
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Johanna Murdoc
 Posted: Mar 21 2017, 04:11 PM
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Total Posts: 339
Member No. 468
Joined on 26-July 12.


Characters:
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Awards: 2




It was a long time before she mustered the will to break from the paralytic sense of weight that clung to her, remnants of the nightmare. A long time before she felt the rough woolen blanket and felt sure of the reality of her bones. A sharp, deep inhalation, realising that her breaths had been shallow, rapid. Another, conscious of it now and her racing pulse. She swung leaden legs over, curled into a sitting position, arms around herself and leaning over to her knees for a while before she could straighten and defy the feeling of vulnerability and exposure.

Vita stretched, bowing so that her toes flexed and spread and her tails flared out behind her to fill that side of the room, yawned, and padded over to the woman. She nudged Johanna's leg with an ember-hot nose. We have a hunt.

Johanna nodded as the words slid in and out of her mind like a breath of wind, carrying traces of the scent of the woman they had been tracking and her pokemon, the sight of paper notes from Vita's perspective, the sound of human conversations as Johanna spoke to innkeeps and barkeeps and traders and street children almost muffled to the fox's ears in the same way that Johanna herself did not intuitively assign significance to pokemon calls. An unusually rich stream of sensations. The fox was getting better with that amulet, somehow.

She shook out her fur and padded off to give the human space of her own to stretch and sat beside the door, waiting. Eager to hunt.

When Johanna stood, Ghost blinked and dipped his head for a moment, waking from whatever reverie had held him while he gazed into their auras and stood watch in the night. He uncrossed his arms and limbered them, making Lune stir to wakefulness in the process, and passed Johanna's knives back to the woman to sheath and belt as she put her armor back on. The old leathers still held the shape of her body despite their usual inhabitant's absence, having been flung carelessly onto the only chair in the room the previous night. The assassin fumbled with the linkings and ties as she re-situated them above the padded tunic she wore beneath. He marked the lines where the armor normally hid the cloth from the sun, the difference in color between a truer black and the sun-faded dark grey of the road.

Lune yawned as widely as the ninetales had and rolled up to her feet in one fluid motion and bounced on the balls of her feet, grooming her feathered crest and collar with sharp claws and eyes as bright as only those who slept well and deeply could be. Sol, too, looked well rested and bored enough that he had begun to emit a thin, high pitched keen at the delay.

Johanna put a light hand on his head, hushing him. Offered pokeballs to her team so that they could decide whether they wanted to walk or wait. Vita sauntered up to touch her ball. Spare me the chase. Let me know when we are closing in for the kill. A flash of teeth, the taste of hot blood, hot flames. The song of adrenaline in the muscles and the pride of prey taken. The woman shook her head briefly to clear it, then offered the remaining balls to the others.

Lune rolled her eyes, shook her head. Sol made a show of ignoring the offer. Ghost hesitated, conflict flashing behind his eyes, took a step forward and opened his mouth just so as if to speak, then snapped it shut with an abrupt frown and shook his head.

Johanna shrugged; the lucario had his own sense of duty, she supposed. Wearily, she clipped the empty balls beside Vita's on her belt within easy reach, scooped up the scrap of birchpaper from the table and double checked the addresses scratched on it. They had narrowed it to three of Odette's most likely haunts: an old abandoned shipbuilder's cabin and shop outside the city walls on the northeastern edge of the city, the second floor of a spicer's shop that smelled so powerfully of Harperian rosemary and dill that (according to the street rat kid who she'd bought with a full belly and a florin) no one could smell any dirty business Odette brought home with her from work or the apothecary's own foul concoctions, or the most unlikely sounding of all -- a well-kempt villa on the river.

This morning, the spicer's shop stood out to her, calling like a siren. That shop, she would visit last. A good assassin trusted her instincts, after all, and she was still that. Time to eliminate the less-likelies. A cool finger caressed the back of her neck and dribbled down her spine. A good assassin.

Eight Johns. Four Tomases. Elinor. Anastasia. Anne. Elisabeth. Maggy. Joseph. Carolina. Tobias, Forrest, James. Deveraux, Agnes, Joan, William, Aelric. Katherine with a K. Catherine with a C. The little boy Rowland. Alvin.

Yes, she had been good at that.

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Johanna Murdoc
 Posted: Apr 13 2017, 08:59 PM
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Member No. 468
Joined on 26-July 12.


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Weavile at her side and her fingers buried in the fur just behind the pokemon's feathered crest, she walked the streets. Ghost trailed behind her, attracting unwelcome stares and an occasional, peculiar, nod-that-was-not-quite-a-bow. He was as lost in thought as she was lost in fog. No doubt lack of sleep had come to call. Miss Murdoc was no longer as young as she once was, and today her years weighed on her. She repeated the addresses in her mind like a dreary beat, using her self control to focus.

The villa was her first stop, and she fetched up on a low stone wall with a gesture to the ninjask who flicked in-and-out of view as he moved between hovers in the air. The bug vanished over the fancy iron fence with a whine of his wings. He was louder than she liked, but there was no changing that and his kind were becoming common enough in the spring. Sol would check the building, peering through any windows he could see or get into. He was fast enough to get out before they shut, and if that failed large enough to pry one open at need. She was not worried. His resistance to the psychic type would let him waver illusions enough to decide whether the place was the right one.

She absently ran her fingers along the weavile's feathers as the dark type purred softly at the grooming, then let her hand drop, folding her arms and leaning beside the lucario. Time to focus. Her mind slowly began again to churn while Lune stretched on all four paws and sauntered over to bask in a patch of shadow in the lee of a building, always with one ear cocked just so for trouble. Not so alert as she might once have been, though. It was a change, but a good one: she trusted the lucario to look after her Partner. At least to a degree.

But what was she herself doing here? Taking another bounty on? The assassin had gold -- plenty of it. The Rose Bowl was set to begin soon, and wouldn't her time would be better spent training for it? She could even pay for passage on a trade ship, leave the region altogether and find her peace so far away that Gould would not spend the energy to touch her.

The thought had never occurred to her before. It was appealing, in its way, but also deeply... unsettling. Harper was her home. The conviction shook the thought from her as abruptly as a dog shaking off water. No, she was done running. She had decided that already. Ghost glanced at her as she rubbed her eyes, but remained silent, watching her aura and its strange mists of color. They meant something, but he simply could not remember what it was that made those mists important. He held his tongue.

Sol returned before she could chase the end of that idea and clicked his claws together in a mimicry of his x-scissor. Nothing. Johanna snorted and quirked a grin when the bug darted over to Lune and gave her a jab to 'wake' her -- Lune leapt up and sprayed him with a burst of Icy Wind for his trouble and an unserious snarl before settling her fur back down. Sol made that strange clicking noise that passed for amusement and shook the dusting of frost from his wings. It had not been a move meant to damage. The weavile stalked over with such great dignity that the woman simply had to ruffle her feathers and muss their order.

Lune snatched Johanna's hand away with an indignant glance and set about fixing her crest. Johanna was so, so tired. An assassin got nowhere, though, without discipline. It might as well be part of her bones. On to the next address.





The abandoned shipbuilder's seemed too obviously a false lead. No matter how many angles Lune blasted it from with her dark pulse that send shivers of alertness and trembles up her arms, it remained a ramshackle place with a roof falling in and too many rattata droppings for taste. It took some digging by hand on her part and Ghost's after Lune scented oil and rust to uncover the root cellar door beneath a carpet of leaves woven into a careful imitation of typical cover. The door swung open on well-oiled hinges despite the rust, and yielded what was certainly a rogue's den, with weapons and tools lined up with care -- but there were no signs that it belonged to Odette, nor that she had been there recently. They closed and re-concealed the den. No reason to interfere if it wasn't hers, no reason to alert her to their presence if it was.

Things never could be easy.

A wave of self-pity swamped her for a moment, left her breathless, composed of exhaustion and remnants of her old pride and memories of her team and the weight of her years beginning to mount on her shoulders and joints. It could have been easier. She could have chosen some other path. She could have been a tutor for the nobility she instead had walked among in make-up masks and shadows like a wolf in mareep wool. She was brilliant -- in a fight. But she had wasted herself, and looking back on the time spent so poorly made her want to weep. Instead of a home, she had a fox for a campfire and the whims of the weather and fortunes.

She glanced at Ghost. Someone else whom she had let down. Someone else she had failed. He should never have evolved -- his arms crossed and his eyes dark and shadowed, and she felt certain that they both knew that he had much the wrong choice. The wrongest choice. She looked at him and at the weavile and at the glimpses of ninjask up above and saw only phantoms of her old team, her family, and more pokemon she would lead to their deaths and betray and abandon.

Johanna reminded herself to breathe. Drew a shaky breath. She felt so... wrong. Her stomach rolled, and she held her middle.

Lune was at her side then, pushing past the lucario who stood as though oblivious with a disgruntled snap at his leg and the icy air that wound ever through the weavile's fur pressed up beside her leg, giving her just enough of a shock. A claw, finding its way between leather pieces and into fabric and flesh, a pinprick like fire. Johanna let her focus narrow, narrow to that specific point. To listen to her body. She felt her thoughts ease, felt herself calm and settle into her breathing and her feet again on the ground.

She was an assassin. Not a tutor. That was not a life for her, and that was not a life she wanted. She knew that in her bones, understood that there were different kinds of people. She was no less a predator than the weavile or the luxray, no less in her element on a hunt than the ninjask or the swellow in the sky. No more able to lie to herself than the Ghost on her team, the lucario. No less vengeful than the ghost she had trained, with her frigid heart. A long, deep breath, letting that point of pain wash through her. What had she been thinking?

Things were never easy. But that was okay. If they were, Johanna Murdoc would not be. Back to business, and she knew her quarry's den. The chase was on.

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Lune . Ghost . Vita . Sol
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Johanna Murdoc
 Posted: May 29 2017, 04:12 PM
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A sharp breath. Irritation. Grudging respect underlaid with a taste of fear. "She is still coming, then." The woman standing with crossed arms beside the window looked like nothing so much as a bag of sticks draped in skin and had a voice to match. She had let her physical body wear away from negligence in favor of her mind.

Yes. His dark eyes sought her, but what he saw was never a mirror for what he knew as her through their bond, just as his own tepid body did not match his mind. Along that bond came comfort, reassurance, an apology, a worry. The alakazam's mind moved in more directions in a moment than hers could follow, but she knew that, and knew too the bitter edge of finality in his mind. He hid something from her then, tucking it behind him with deliberate care that she should catch a glimpse.

"What's that?"

The great psychic only looked at her, but Odette understood. She let it go, the question of their legacy like a black miasma around them in the cramped little shop rooms. Thoughts drifting through the scents of a hundred herbs and past a hundred experimentations with black alchemy that swirled slowly in their stoppered jars quietly curing. They knew with the certainty of a beast brought to bay that they would not return here, win or loss.

We will kill her. I still hold the fox and the wolf.

"And Gould will make us rich, wealthy enough to begin again across the seas."

Such lies loved ones tell one another, and no one among them deceived. Odette unfolded herself and rested one withered hand on the psychic's brow as he sat beside her, more intimate than any mental touch for its rarity.

He closed his eyes. Below them, the shopkeeper forgot that he had ever had an upper floor room. Between them, the door looked like nothing but blank wall. Beyond them, people passing on the street saw, not a wall with windows, but another patch of sloping roof. He took from himself, the Substitute, and gave to it some of his mind and some of his power. Odette separated her hand from him to place it into an urn, black as onyx and crusted with silver and gems from the neck to the rim like a collar or a fraying hangman's rope. She sealed the top with wax and then with lead. Within, it would last and maintain their peace even if he moved beyond the veil.

He teleported them from the shop they both understood to be their tomb to a remote square and he built the necessary illusion, felt the twisting tendrils he had woven into and through and around the assassin's mind, and ever so slightly made the adjustment. Persuaded her that this was the shop, was where it had always been, bolstered the confidence that she knew the city by a pinch. Pulled over that the veneer of detachment and self-disgust and loss he had spent weeks cultivating from her own darkest reaches. And still, though she did not know him, still she was like enough to the dark that it took his focus.

But that did not mean they would simply bow. There was always a chance, always a way. Odette touched each of five other pokeballs, and he wrapped them and wove them into the illusion with their aid and acceptance. They would see how well their hunter could handle the odds against them. He removed himself, and her, to a hidden place at the edge of the scene. He had to preserve himself, to hold this last illusion and control the wolf in the fight.

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