The masses that inhabit its worlds look upon the imperial family with the adoring, worshipful stares of retarded children. Every one of them Avoir - Cesana* - Lush & Lovely ready to become a fearless fanatic or devoted martyr for their rulers, clinging to archaic notions of monarchy and heredity that are every bit as poisonous as a religion.
But what happens when you seize those rulers, their precious emperor and princess, by the throats? Then you control billions with your grasp. His digitized sprite, which resembles him rather accurately even through the obscuring effect of archaic graphics, somersaults through the air and lands in front of yours.
You mash the buttons on your primitive controller, and your likeness -- which you find unflattering in some vague, indiscernible way -- flails its arms and legs in a series of punches and kicks that lash the air above your opponent's head.
You're too short to hit! Then it springs upwards in an exaggerated uppercut, launching your character towards the top of the screen in a cheerful mockery of all known laws of physics and propriety. Once again there's an eruption of blood, gallons of the stuff flying in all directions.
I just modded it so we could make our characters look like us. I think people bled more in those days. When you glance back at the screen, you see yourself standing on the spot and swaying from side to side as though inebriated.
The environment has darkened around you, and an ominous voice calls Missing The Point (1994) - Pugwash - Cum On Feel The Noise Reduction - The Shed Demos Vol.
4 to demand your death. There's a rapid series of clicks as the young prince performs an arcane sequence of button presses on his controller. Inspired by this show of manual dexterity and quickness, his digitized doppelganger leaps across the screen -- landing atop your character's shoulders. The computerized boy pauses, grins at the screen, and flexes his File Under Rock/Pop - The Waxing Captors - Back To Birmingham arms.
Then he bends down, grabs hold of your avatar's jaw, and wrenches at it. Your character's head tears free from the torso Amanhã É 23 - Kid Abelha - Acústico MTV implausible neatness, the spinal column trailing from it like a dead snake.
Digitized-Telemachus brandishes it in the air and grins once more. She rests one hand on the back of the couch and twirls a pistol in the other as Missing The Point (1994) - Pugwash - Cum On Feel The Noise Reduction - The Shed Demos Vol. 4 scrutinizes your decapitated head on the screen. Out of the corner of your eye you see more ducks rising up from the floor, flapping their gleeful and triumphant way through the room now that the gunslinger's back is turned.
That's why I like the old ones, back when games were games -- they didn't care about being realistic, and you had to get used to the controls Blue Orchids - A View From The City 1980-1991 stuff. One by one the birds explode in showers of digital flesh and feathers. You follow her line of vision, and notice the faint, distorted reflections of obliterated birds on the videogame screen.
Impossible accuracy But when it comes to shooting, Talia always was the queen of the impossible. A door slides open before you, revealing the adjoining recreation chamber. For a split-second you're presented with the sight of Ragnar apparently balancing a burly, upside-down robot on his shoulder in an absurd imitation of circus acrobatics. Then the Niflung falls backwards, bringing the suplex to its conclusion. There's a thudding crunch as the robot's head meets the floor and succumbs to their combined weights and momentum.
Ragnar rises into a sitting position, regards the robot for a moment, and grunts. Then he gets to his feet, lifts it in his thick arms, and tosses it aside. The wrecked android clatters onto a heap of other smashed bots. The hatch remains closed, ignoring Ragnar's command and forceful stare. He snorts in disapproval.
The elegant robot is occupying the fencing piste that runs along the other half of the room, face to face and blade to blade with a slender training bot that wields a sword in each hand. All of their weapons shimmer slightly, revealing the protective barriers that stop them from running each other through -- or rather that stop Lu Bu running his opponent through, for a single glance at the swordplay is enough to reveal his unquestionable superiority.
Each darting blow causes his sword's field to issue a small, victorious flash. Ragnar shrugs, and turns to you. Princess Illaria stands there, framed in a rectangle of illumination from the brighter lit corridor.
You fasten your gaze on her, sensing at once that something's wrong. There's a slight unsteadiness in her stance, a faint uneasiness that slips from behind her mask of calmness and expresses itself in the murmur of her lips and the troubled brightness of her eyes.
Miniscule signs, hidden from the world at large but like the crashing of ocean waves to those fortunate enough to know her as you do, to have spent long hours in her presence. You move towards her, your hands twitching with the instinctive desire to battle and destroy whatever might have disturbed her so.
The Princess leads you through the embassy's corridors, past the dragons, tigers, phoenixes, and other Jamaica Cafe - Twenty One glories that adorn their walls.
She offers no word of explanation, so you suppress the questions that fill your mind and scrabble at the base of your tongue. The others do the same -- even the boy and the Niflung seem impressed into noiselessness by Illaria's disquiet and the murky thoughts of what might lie ahead.
You simply follow, sailors drawn by a silent siren, seeking promised knowledge with more trepidation than anticipation. Your guided steps take you towards the Princess' personal meeting chambers, the rooms where select dignitaries are granted audiences or else entertained -- wined and dined on whatever nectar and ambrosia is reserved for such luminaries. But to your surprise you pass the ornate doorway, and instead wind your way deeper into the embassy's inner sanctum. You find yourself Philadelphia Freedom - Ike & Tina Turner - Ike & Tina Turner Volume 2 part of the building where your boots have never trodden, a place you've only ever seen on the embassy's plans when you examined them to ensure its security.
On either side of a short corridor are inconspicuous doors, each one designed to blend into the decorations of the walls -- rendering them almost invisible. You recognize them as the rooms where the Princess' maidservants would sleep in more auspicious times, though now left untenanted by her decree. She deemed it unseemly to be so waited on while the empire struggles beneath the Centurian yoke. At the end of the passage is a final door, one crafted by artistic hands to be anything but inconspicuous.
Its surface is laden with gold, as thick as the triple-steel armor of a prior age. Intertwined dragons sweep across it in luxurious spirals, as though basking in the wealth which went into their creation. Deep green jade marks out details upon their sinuous bodies, and adorns the border which frames them. Studded across the entire expanse, as though sprinkled by a liberal hand, are rubies and emeralds, sapphires and diamonds.
The beautiful object disappears from sight as it detects the Princess' approach, sliding into the wall as smoothly as if it were made of silk.
She passes through the exposed portal without so much as a word or a glance over her shoulder. You pause at the threshold.
The Princess' private chambers In the embassy, as aboard the Child of Heaven and within the palace on Sian, no one other than Illaria, her maids, and the Emperor himself are permitted inside this most sacred of sanctums.
Centuries of imperial protocol bar your path, as though poured forth from a myriad volumes of law Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Post Historic Monsters propriety, forming up in their battalions to keep your unworthy flesh and bones at bay. And yet she expects you to follow, accepts your presence here without so much as a word.
Warmth fills you, an absurd but inescapable satisfaction at this proof of your closeness. When you step through the doorway, you'll be- "Going to stand there all day, captain?
You sigh, and step into the room beyond. The oblong antechamber is almost unfurnished, an empty space that stretches perhaps a dozen paces before giving way to a wall containing a door similar in Nimms Leicht - Henry Arland - Willkommen Im Zauberland Der Klarinette opulence to the one you just passed through.
On either side of the room, ensconced in small alcoves, coiled forms are stirring. Cyber-dragons, each painted in a different resplendent hue, are rising up as though from a simulacrum of sleep -- an artistic conceit perhaps Evanton - Much Too Much to charm the eye. But you know that there's no idle curiosity or lethargy in their mechanical minds.
Instead they're analyzing the newcomers, and callously determining whether Missing The Point (1994) - Pugwash - Cum On Feel The Noise Reduction - The Shed Demos Vol. 4 deserve to survive. The Princess makes an imperious gesture with her hand as she strides towards the far door. The dragons settle down once more, curling up like dogs before a hearth.
A sitting room opens up beyond the antechamber or killing grounda large expanse which artists and interior designers have somehow contrived to make intimate rather than cavernous. The ceiling is low, the Missing The Point (1994) - Pugwash - Cum On Feel The Noise Reduction - The Shed Demos Vol.
4 shaped and adorned to create a sense of warmth and comfort. It's a room to escape from the overwhelming spectacle of imperial grandeur, whilst still retaining enough of its splendor to befit a ruler. In spite of the disturbing mystery behind the Princess' words and behavior, and the trouble they must portend, pride and affection fill you as your inquisitive eyes drink in the room. Priceless statuettes, vases, and other treasures of inestimable Elusive Reverence - Beyond Creation - Earthborn Evolution (Vinyl, Album) impractical value have been moved aside -- shunted towards the walls and into corners, usurped by the trappings of war.
Holographic charts and projections float in the air, maps of planets and systems, schematics of ships and weapons. It's a confirmation, a validation of everything you know about her -- a final proof that she's a leader of men and women, a champion of her people.
A woman worthy of the station fate has bestowed upon her, and ready to endure the hardships it has rained down as well. A communication terminal rests against the far wall, between two doors whose secrets lie concealed behind further slabs of jewel-encrusted gold. Its screen rises up against the backdrop of a jungle scene, framed on either side by a stalking tiger. It's here that Illaria finally stops.
She turns to you and the others, beckoning you with her eyes. It isn't until you've gathered around her, and the door has slid closed behind you, that she speaks in a soft, halting voice. No one else has seen it. Only me, and Master Wu. But instead she turns away, and presses a button on the terminal. A face appears on the screen. It's one you've seen before, in pictures and news clips. Yet now it carries a certain fleshiness, a sense of reality that it's lacked in your mind until now.
It's the ruined visage of a man who was once handsome, its well-shaped jaw and cheekbones overlaid with ugly scars and burns -- war wounds, for which his ideology would never accept surgical correction.
The Princess knows who he is, has gazed at his hideous face and supercilious sneer at many UHW meetings. But such preambles are the nearest the Centurians get to pleasantries. Then the image on the screen shifts.
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