The Smiling Man
- Feb 14, 2006
Just a few things before starting:
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- This thread will stay open for a week, at which point it will close and the week's winner chosen.
The song drifted on its gravelly-sung tune, as it took a firm hold on the old man's mind. His great, flowing, white beard hung from a wrinkled, old face. Bright blue eyes gleamed behind a pair of simple round-glasses, which squatted on a pointed nose.
Long, thin fingers tapped at the armchair in that age-old mortal way - of finding that particular beat, that mystical harmony - and just rolling along with it, enjoy the grand old ballad. The red and black robes he wore rustled at the sleeves as his arms went wildly waving about.
On the wallpapered walls, all the varieties of clocks; water-clocks; grandfather clocks; hourglasses, sun dials; even a quite minute spiral galaxy flared to life. The clocks ticked their; the grandfather clocks tolled; the water-clocks plunked; the sun dials shone; and the galaxy spun about, flitting throughout the room.
Zaman Saati smiled, as he enjoyed the thrilling trumpeter's final notes - and the objects throughout the room taking their rest - and the music device switched towards looking for the next tune, the gears whirring and gyrating about, finding the song its master desired. Not long after Master Saati had fixed himself a cup of tea, the mug a gentle painted china, part of a set he had long ago uncovered somewhere, the next song began to take its sure, loving embrace about Zaman's mind.
The various time-counting and calculating objects, gizmos, and the whirling galaxy sat only in contentment, confined to their enjoyment as they ticked, plunked, and performed their duty in passionate, gentle silence.
Saati took another sip of his tea, savoring the aroma of both song and the drink, swirling the contents around in his right hand, the left holding the saucer with a steady hand.
How quaint this mortal is. A pity his time and country were so backwards in some ways, when compared to how their delightful society acts now! Though, their music has been diluted profusely - why aren't there more of these musicians? Then again, I've seen them all come and go - as is my duty, I suppose.
Time has a way of changing these little mortals' minds after awhile, though it always takes the one person to go against that sort of majority in typical human fashion. Zaman took another sip of the tea, feeling the warm liquid travel down to his gut.
And this drink too, this tea. I remember the first time these humans brewed such a concoction - dreadful stuff. Tasted like hogwash. Luckily, the years have aged what had once been considered difficult and foul-mouthed into something simple and tasty, indeed.
The song uttered its final, last note as the door opened with a gentle chime, and a young man walked into the small store. The Master of Time turned in his chair to meet the mortal, setting his teacup off to the side onto the desk, and clasping his hands together, elbows on the flat wooden surface.
The stench of the wharf rose in a cloud, half-visible under the lamplight. Sailors trudged through it unaware; in the predawn dark, they were reduced to misty silhouettes. He stood on the street opposite. Smiling, tapping his fingers to the tick of his pocket-watch . . .
Time was up. The black date on the calendar had arrived, just upon his return to London.
Black Ben patted his waistcoat pocket fondly, and set off towards the wharf-house. Tick. Tick.
Name: Benedict Stoddard, called “Black Ben”
Age: 99, or 30
Appearance: Benedict is a man of many backgrounds—and if one looks carefully, some can be traced throughout his appearance. No one can mistake the cavernous eyes of a street magician, the long chin and sharp cheekbones. The moniker "Black Ben" originally came from his oil-black hair, slicked back to barely brush against his collar. In contrast, his teeth are unnaturally long and white, his con man’s smile consuming most of his face. A thin scar crosses the right corner of his mouth, almost unnoticeable after years of applied balms.
Stoddard walks with the poise and bearing of an aristocrat, but his taut, wiry build can only belong to a brawling thief. Owing to his Contract, his body has remained so for seventy years. He can flex and contort himself in ways that even a twenty-year-old would find difficult. Granted, doing so for seventy years has worn away most of the cartilage in his joints, but this manifests only as a slight stiffness from time to time. Black Ben keeps a cabinet of magical medicines within his spindly fingers’ reach, so he worries not.
As befitting a man of his occupation, Black Ben travels England in a well-tailored suit that serves both fashion and function. The jacket features two slim pockets inside his sleeves, in which Benedict can stash powders and charms. The trousers are slim and form-fitting, cut from thicker fabric than most. His embroidered waistcoat was made unusually sturdy; the pocket containing Black Ben’s watch is doubly reinforced, with a metal hook to keep the button from unfastening.
Atop all of this, he wears a black Ulster overcoat—slightly out-of-date, but fitted with numerous pockets on the inside, and able to close over the whiteness of his shirt. The ensemble is completed by a pair of stealthy leather shoes, lightly stained from skulking about.
Equipment & Abilities: To fulfill his master’s grisly needs, Black Ben Stoddard employs a number of deadly instruments: His person holds two pistols, three knives of different sizes, and a plethora of charms and powders. They are often employed in tandem with one another—for example, to cause hallucinations in a target, so as to move him within Ben’s line of sight.
Most essential, however, is his pocket-watch. According to his Contract with the demon Chronus, Benedict is granted a certain amount of life in payment for a service done, in addition to powers bestowed upon all Chronus’ servants. His life is quite literally measured by the hands of his timepiece, and his powers can be accessed through it alone. The watch’s many dials track Stoddard’s life, the time awaiting his next task, and of course the current time. It is wound by two keyholes—the first correlating with Stoddard’s powers, the second correlating with his life. Chronus possesses the only key to this second hole.
By winding his watch a certain way, Black Ben weaves a “time bubble” around himself—bending spacetime to flow more slowly or quickly around him. In this way he can cross the city within minutes, or complete a ritualistic spell in less than half the time. With a limit of a few minutes, he can also reverse time in an area outside his person. Doing so strains the watch’s mechanisms, however, and shortens his remaining time. Black Ben uses this magic very sparingly, all the while guarding his watch and key with his life.
Personality: A genuine magician of the occult, Black Ben has lost a piece of humanity through his diabolical transactions. His mannerisms have been perfected over the larger part of a century, but somehow fail to reach that innermost part of a person. Benedict can be sophisticated and worldly, crass and familiar, charming and gentlemanly, sly and secretive. With his unique attire and manners, he can blend into any social setting of 1887 London. But a demon’s thrall is forever separated from that part of human nature belonging to Good—a person’s ability to trust.
Some part of Black Ben remains forever aloof, tied to his master in the Hall of Saturn. Sensing this absence in his soul, people instinctively shrink away from him. He can neither trust nor be fully trusted.
After decades of service, Benedict Stoddard has become a caricature of his former self. A portion of his mind is constantly devoted to finding new ways of exploiting others, even when it serves no purpose to do so. None of his old rivals remain, yet he continues to weave elaborate plots in his mind. He is unaware that they no longer serve any goal, and that his true desire is simply to enjoy snatching victory from others.
Above all, he is firmly convinced of his brilliance, independence, and autonomy.
The Contract, in his mind, is merely a contract—all part of his master plan.
History: By the year 1813, Black Ben Stoddard became a figure of some prominence in the London underground. By day he performed as a street magician, selling quack charms and fortunes. He made a decent living’s worth from tips alone, but his true profit lay in real magic, bought and commissioned by criminals of all sorts. Curses, poisons, summonings, and enchantments were all offered for “appropriate costs”.
Benedict was remarkable not in the uniqueness of this service, or even his ability; occultist magicians have been available in London for hundreds of years. Rather, he became known for his reliability—as magicians-for-hire were not famous for their long lives or constancy. He was meticulous in his work, driven in equal parts by fear and ambition. Every curse was neatly closed and contained; every summoning was conducted with twofold precautions; every poison was mixed with exactitude.
He worked with a nebulous goal in mind, with many detailed steps. By ingratiating himself to the city’s major entities, he would eventually pool enough contacts and resources to make a business of his magic. He would crush his once-rival magicians, and establish a monopoly on magical services.
Black Ben’s greatest obstacle—eventually his undoing—came in the form of a captain for the East India Company, Samuel Cowley, who requested charms for use on the Gorkhalis in Nepal. A peaceful takeover of Nepal was the Company’s sought ideal, but the Ghorka chiefs were conflicted. In a desperate attempt to bolster his reputation in the Company, Cowley purchased several charms to aid the negotiating process. He was discovered, to his shame, and the brief Anglo-Nepalese War began.
When it concluded in 1816, Cowley went searching for Black Ben.
The discharged captain was now mocked throughout as the “East India Sorcerer”, and a superstitious loon. He would not have stayed afloat, were it not for his family’s coffers—which he poured into a manhunt for Benedict Stoddard. The magician retreated to several hideouts throughout the city, and eventually fled London altogether. Cowley’s hirelings pursued him north into York—then west, to Blackpool—and across the sea to Ireland. By the end of 1817, Black Ben had backed himself into a corner.
And so he sought to employ a major demon, to end the manhunt for good and all . . . Pressed for time, he did not act as cautiously as in years past.
His favored summoning circle usually functioned as a one-way gate, except for when dealing with denizens of the Ninth, Sixth, and Seventh Circles of Hell. He remembered to add restrictions for the former two, but failed to block the Seventh Circle, housing those guilty of violence. The magician was spirited away to the Hall of Saturn, home of the pagan god Chronus.
The Titan, despite holding Stoddard completely within his power, made a pretense of offering a deal. By his proposed accord, a Contract with one of Hell's demons, Chronus would insulate the magician from death. He would embolden his flesh, sharpen his mind, and bestow him with supernatural powers. The enemies of Black Ben would fall like wheat before the scythe of time, and London would be forever branded with his mark.
In return, Chronus required two tributes: The first, a permanent token to show allegiance. The second, a regular tribute of violence. The Titan King is most infamous for the cannibalistic feast he made of his children, and requires that all of his servants mirror his act of bloodshed. The magician would pay for his life in murder.
Benedict Stoddard agreed, and made the fitting tribute of his pocket watch—a timepiece, for the pagan demon of time. The heart of Black Ben was then served on the Titan's plate, and the timepiece of Chronus took its place near Stoddard's chest. The transaction complete, the newly-born thrall of Chronus returned to the material plane. He was given pockets full of raw gold, to be sold and used as needed.
And as Big Ben keeps vigil over the Houses of Parliament, Black Ben keeps the streets of London under his watch. No place, not even an ex-captain's posh apartment, can pass unnoticed under the hands of the clock . . .
Nickname : Viz, Visa
Title&Rank : Zero - Untouchable
Appearance :The gentleman stands a height of about five feet and nine inches in height. Bearing a fairly strange designed suit. With an orange tie, fastened with nice and leisurable feel. Not a man for luxary, his hair often stays the way it is, undone and rather jaggedly spiked downward. Taking his hat off, his hair forms at something of a slope.
His eyes themselves are something of a diversely diluted green thats a much more burned lime color.
Quite charming really. A rather collected, but fairly timid and pulled off individual. Vista is something of a person, with time, you would think he's garnered a bit of experience in conversation. Its not the case, being a fraction social the less people he knows, the less they would worry about him and vice-versa. While there was a time he was labeled as a vagrant and pejorative, he seemed to filter out that 'noise' of his name and learn to leave things, people, contact behind him. As a shadow of time, he exerts help and is never there to take the credit like a deserving heroic, making him a vigilante of time.
Abilities : Time. He's never been touched, never been harmed, never been seen or even remembered with time respectively. While influencing it on an extreme that bypasses time spells, he can afflict more than just objects, but the entire radius of the world inhabited and become an example of 'cause&effect'.
Time in perspective - Using his power to push time into a common spell known as "Stop" in a more prominent act, he traps the body. Time around them moves, but with being immobilzed ones motor-senses are also stopped, completely unaware of precious seconds slipping by. Used for an approximation of seconds, to several minutes, in making hasty escape or moving the trapped recipient somewhere else.
Slow -> Normal -> Fast -> Light Speed - Using his time powers on himself and on others, it causes time-based anomalies upon the afflicted. From making someone several times slower, of which inflicts both the muscles, brain receptive signals, and senses, to jumping them through time speeding them up to double-time, to light speed. Light speed however is a bit different, time stops around those pulled in and its more a key of the body being boosted to such a state thats super-human. Touching someone while in light speed would cause them serious damage if they aren't pulled in or extended to fall into the very same spell. Trapping a hostile in lightspeed leaves them to sit in complete inertia until released.
Time Reversal - To the extent he moves time, he is able to rewind events but there is a limit to how much he can 'undo'. He is able to expand it, but the cost is ridiculous because he can at most rewind is about one year of time. Affecting memories of events, and even eliminating lingering deja vu's. Whats painstaking about reversing is reliving everything that had already happened, more importantly, doing events slightly differently.
Time Travel - Displacing himself through time of the year of his choice, he jumps at light speed and as a singular object, jettisons backwards through time. Zero simply jumps to points in time with point accuracy. Since he doesn't regulate space, its taxing when it comes to pinpointing where he want's to go. To save himself trouble, he uses his keyblade's ability to act as a marker for a destination of interest. In returning to the present, he marks his positions with dates tied to the ends of his markers.
Time Globe - Calling upon magic Vista creates a small time globe. A white sphere, with a string of roman numerals and miniature big and small hands that envelop around it endlessly. The Globe itself is often called and summoned to be used as an external tie to Vista's abilities, and in doing so he is able to save magic by imposing a temporal control that would normally be found in his abilities, but saves him the additional strain by calling upon his resolved Time Globe. The Time Globe at the sametime is a container for things that pass with time, namely information, and in combination with other spells he can quite literally implant knowledge through another magic spell known as 'transfer'.
Transfer - A magic spell Vista calls upon for implanting both knowledge of varied sorts, often done in combination with Time Globe. To the extents of information, false memories, bits and pieces of prophecies, and fragments of information imposed that in actuality can inherently resolve semi-independently.
Time Portal - A spell that vista casts as a branch from the Land of Departures 'Lanes Between' which is a temporal gateway through time, given Vista is unable to manipulate space, to make sure he or his passengers touch base rather than fly through space forever, they are broken off at a certain time, and the space is guided by a marker, several are indespensible in making landings accurate. Closest travelers land, are within three feet of the markers they are dropped at.
Blind - A spell that summons a powerful array of light, globe shaped, and seems to shine around and sweep all that can see its light. Having a blind effect, of which hampers even those that close their eyes with a temporary impaired state of vision for a minute.
Heart Ignition :
Keyblades and chains : (You start with a single keyblade that in reality you have no idea what it looks like or its true powers. With this said, the keychains come into play. You have a keychain automatically attached to your keyblade thus changing it from its true form and giving it the look it has. On the same note you have another keychain.
KeybladeForm Appearance A : Grigori
Ability- Magic Hastega; The variant of which greatly reduces the interval of regaining access to magic.
Keyblade Form Appearance B : Ethernal
Ability- Marker; His keyblade juts small capsule-like beacons with an infinite number. The markers are used in conjunction with Vista's time traveling, and lets say he traveled back in time and left a marker, that marker should be in the same spot several years later. At the sametime, the markers can be used to teleport. Using several at a time, they mark his locations and he visits them regularly, and the like.
Recent History :
He's not one to make fun of this. With Vista's variant of time, he can't stop himself from aging or rather he'd feel unnatural if he didn't age. Rolling his eyes, he rummages on the harrowed end of space that was once Destiny Islands at the current. What brought him here one might ponder? In his time traveling, he learned a great deal of things, and of people from history. Keybladers before him, eons before him at that. The worlds before they became harrowed ends and the events that transpired to cause them to become the way they are.
How to stop them. Kingdom hearts was apparently connected somehow. The heart of all worlds is all he seemed to really know, but when one has kingdom hearts, this 'all-powerful means of omniscience' in a heart. What do they do with it, how do they use it? A single soul managed to, and in the blinding flash, this alternative became what tied into history.
"White lies...reveal black truths...man oh man..."