As I walk the streets of this soon-to-be-departed city, I reflect on my little incident in the town square. Ironic, really, that something as fundamentally changing as entropic chaos magic needs such a strong, ordered will to be made manageable. It is akin to utilizing fire to control water or air to harness earth. It seems almost contradictory, I know. I sometimes wonder if the more disciplined magicks require a bit of eccentric chaos to work.~A shoulder knocks into mine as I turn into an open alleyway.. Quickly, I mutter an apology and pull my cloak's cowl over my head, hurrying away. This reaction has been performed so many times it is ingrained upon my psyche. And it has been performed so many times because I do not wish to die. Anyone who catches a look at my eyes will see I have the twisting energy of entropy locked behind them, and with the irrational hatred pervading the minds of so many, I'd rather not be noticed by anyone.~It's taken a toll on my mind and soul, I'm sure. I'm a young man, by God. I should be meeting people my own age, learning in a school, chasing beautiful girls, not running endlessly--and aimlessly--to far distant places. Even as I turn away, I feel the crushing depression of realizing that my life will never have... order in it. Despite the magic I wield, I am not opposed to order, or its necessity. I'm not stupid. Chaos without bounds leads to nothingness, just as order unchecked leads to a twisted kind of entropy. I just want to live as a normal person, unpersecuted and unjudged, with enough order in my life for it to remain sane, yet enough of shifting change for it to be patently my way.~Granted, this outlook on life is liberal by most chaos standards, but I suppose that's because I'm young, and no one ever understands the younger generation, do they? These thoughts flash through my mind as I finish my apology.~And then I feel a hand latch onto my shoulder.
"Breaker!" a voice hisses at me, using the semi-derogatory term for entropy mages. As with many slurs, it once started out as a harmless title of respect, but since then it has become a curse to be spat out. The sheer contempt and malice in the tone makes my blood run cold, and I turn around to stare into five pairs of angry eyes. They're just punks, not Guard soldiers, but I really, really do not want any trouble.~"Listen," I calmly temporize. I've learned that it is better to be quiet and calm, so as to not give the aura of a victim to potential muggers. "I've got half a pound of gold and silver coin in my traveling pouch. I don't want trouble." Actually, the amount is closer to half of that, but I plan on hurling it at their faces and fleeing while they are distracted by the precious metal.~"And what make's you think we can't kill you then take the money?" the leader growled at me. "We'd get some hard cash, and we'd be doing the world a favor, breaker." A knife practically teleports into the thug's hands as he draws it up towards my stomach. ~I am not a large man, and I do not have the sheer reflexes it takes to be a skilled martial artist. I do know more than the average person about fighting, thanks to my dangerous life, but I am not a fighter. Taken off guard, against an armed opponent who knows what he is about, the overwhelming odds are for me to be lying dead and unlamented on the street. That is the nature of probability, after all, as a kindly man who had borne me no contempt had once passed on. The sun will surely rise in the east the next day, apples will fall towards the ground, and the surprised victim of an apparent, violent, mugging will die when stuck with a knife. Those WILL happen, because those probabilities are so assured that it is nearly unthinkable for them not to happen.~The chances that a piece of trash slick enough to trip up an unwary person will be underneath a mugger in time to prevent a poor victim from being slain are so low that they might as well be non-issues. The order of probability, the rule of odds, are cold and iron-fisted, and just as the odds against the sun rising in the west are practically assured, so are the chances that I will walk away from this encounter.~Unless chaos breaks that order, and metaphysical entropy shatters those rules. I release the mental dam that has been holding back my power, and invisible energy begins to dance and twist, influencing the world around me. With a yelp, the would-be killer slips and tumbles on a piece of oilskin that had been lying on the ground.
Damage Shield: Superior
Even as the leader tumbles to the ground, cursing, his cronies are already drawing an assortment of clubs, daggers, and chains. All this for me? I would be... flattered, if I weren't worried about being killed.~Balancing on the balls of my feet, the closest thug, armed with a blackjack, swings at me, and I manage to dodge just in time. Off balance, the ruffian barrels past me and slaps his head squarely into a wooden plank that was perfectly placed to intercept his face. As the second slides down, unconscious, a pair of them come in on both sides, one swinging a dagger, another a wooden club. I touch my entropic power again, and the one with a dagger trips on a slick puddle, his knife plunging into the other punk's thigh. Reflexively, the club-carrying tough flails, and--by chance--slams his baton squarely into the temple of the knife-wielding man. They both crumple to the floor, one unconscious, the other howling in pain.~The last uninjured thug advances more cautiously, almost casually twirling a length of chain. The cold competence with which this last one comes towards me is intimidating, and I feel fear. These dollops of chaos magic I have used to protect myself are far from my capacity, but to use more would risk bringing the Guard down on my head. No, I have to concentrate, or I risk my magic running wild as its chaotic nature is wont to do. Concentrate, concentrate. I stare into the chain-wielder's cold green eyes, and I suddenly have a thought.~Viewed from overhead, the human head is a fairly small object, and the chances of a thrown object hitting it are low. The chances of a randomly falling object doing the same are ridiculously miniscule.~The odds don't mean a thing when the brick falls onto his head.
In The Balance
I run, hoping against hope that I would be far enough from the Guard soldiers and mages so that they would not be able to detect my chaotic energies when they arrived at alleyway. I run harder.~Several streets away from the incident, I slow down to a fast walk, and then to a casual saunter. I've learned that hiding in plain sight sometimes works better than active fleeing, and now seems like one of those instances. They'll be expecting me to be charging out of the city? I'll just stay right here, thank you very much.~I blend in with the crowd, and I spy a street performer hosting a game of dice, surrounded by a fairly large crowd. I stroll over to the box that's being used as the table, and look over the shoulders of a young, pretty woman who was tossing in small amounts of coin as she called out numbers. The woman was losing to the performer much too consistently, and my breaker's instincts tells me that a game of chance cannot be this ordered. With a frown I take a surreptitious glance at the dice, and then at the performer. Interesting. The dice are loaded and the performer himself is using a bit of kinetomancy to nudge the dice as they tumble around. I'm a bit depressed at how easily I spotted the cheating, but at least my conscience can rest easier after what I'm about to do.~Dice is inherently chaotic--barring cheating and crooked die--which would make influencing this not so hard. There is still a certain order that says the number the woman has chosen will have a lower chance of appearing than those she didn't choose, but those probabilities can be broken. I bathe the dice with a brief wash of entropic energy, disrupting probability, and I feel the nudges of the motion-altering magic slide right off the dice, which land on her number. The woman claps her hands happily and takes back her lost coin, and the performer, without missing a beat, continues on as if nothing has happened.
Armor Skin: Superior
I feel a prickling at the back of my neck that has nothing to do with my chaos powers and has everything to do with the well-honed instincts I've raised while living a life of running. I glance behind me...~...and the spear misses my face by inches, burying itself in a wall. I stare at the quivering shaft for a heartbeat; if I hadn't turned right at that moment...~Screams from the onlookers split the air. I thrust the thoughts out of my mind and run. I hear the whistling of oncoming spears around me, and I ready myself to shatter the probabilities that the well-aimed Guard spears will strike and kill me. But then my brain realizes what I'm about to do, and I stop. I can't do this. No way. I can prevent the spears from striking me, but at what cost? I can shatter the probability that the spears will not hit me... but at the expense of an innocent person stuck in this crowded street. No, I can't. The choices aren't good: I can do nothing but attempt to dodge, and die, or I can unleash my magic, and have the deaths of bystanders on my conscience. Horrible, horrible choices. I--~Wait, no. There's a third possibility, isn't there? Entropy mages are called breakers, usually in a derogatory sense, but the name is earned. Entropic energies, by definition, do break things, be they lines and rules of probability... or the very stuff of matter itself. It's a magic that has a definite affinity with death, but now it's being used to save lives, not take them. If I'm lucky.~I stop and wheel around, unleashing my energy. Instead of a flood of chance-shattering magic, I compress and fold it around myself, and as the oncoming spears arrow into my chest, they break apart in mid-flight as the order that has kept them coherent as solidly-built weapons shatter.
Concussive Attack: Superior
I've stopped the initial danger, but all I do now is just prolong the inevitable. The other mages have a hard read on my entropic signature, and I won't be able to escape them. With all the energy and soldiers they can hurl at me, I'm going to be overwhelmed and killed, my magic be damned. Thoughts race through my mind, and not a single one is helpful in the least. I'm panicking, panicking badly, and any hope I have of saving myself is lost in a moment of utter terror.~I lose control of my magic for a brief moment and the chaos I have been controlling twists out of control, curling outwards all around me. Cursing, I try to cull it to me, but it's already running rampant, and the best I can do is focus it and direct it at something. I spy and chunk of rubble lying on the ground, near where the Guards are closing in, and I funnel the entropic energy into it. I frantically look around in a panic, looking for someway, anyway, for me to escape, but there is none. I'm trapped with the--~And then the piece of plaster explodes.~I shake my head to clear the stars from my vision, and see that the buildings are scorched and damaged... and the epicenter of the explosion that caused it seems to be at the place where the chunk of plaster had once been. People are picking themselves off the floor, except for the Guards who had been practically on top of the rubble. They're either unconscious or dead, which means this is probably the best time to run. Again.~As I hurry down alleyways and sidestreets, I realize that I have taken the term "breaker" to new, totally unknown level. By funneling my entropy energy into that single innocent piece of material, I had shattered all forms of order within it, disrupting the chaos/order equilibrium, and the unbalanced chaos had compelled the matter of the brick to explode outwards in a manifestation of utter chaos.~I hear the angry shouts of new Guard units, and I slip through the streets, trying to remain unnoticed.