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Thread: Fate/Regalia: Timeskip Summonings

  1. #41
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:08 – Night
    Day: April 12th
    Turn: 4

    As the two clashed together, the hand striking against the whip-like leg, the force escaping from the crash was enough to buffet the area around them, sending smaller rocks flying like they had been feathers. While Fiore's face turned into a hiss, his opponent retained his ever-present smug grin, as if trying to belittle its original simply through it's expression. Showcasing just how powerful it was, the reflection then continued it's attack by twisting the clashing arm around, catching a hold of Fiore's ankle, and crushing it into a vicious grip.

    "All beneath me, all beneath me... or above, it does not matter, does it? In the end, staying apart is only thing that remains an option," the reflection cackled. "That bridge I cannot cross might as well not exist... so why not destroy it!?"

    Heaving a shrieking howl, the reflection dug its feet into the ground and turned sharply around, pulling Fiore with all of its insane strength. The world seemed to lose it's gravity momentarily as the boy suddenly found himself flung into the air, like a rag-doll, straight towards the wall of crystals at the other end of the clearing. It was an attack not unlike a cat playing with its prey, full of sadistic glee stepping unto another's persons strength in an attempt to overpower it with the attacker's own. The message was clear: "This power is the only one that matters."

    "What are you so afraid of?" the female voice, full of glee, continued. "Is this not the way it should be?"

    Casting its hand into the fire that covered its body, the reflection pulled forth a ball of pulsating, blazing prana. Then, in the span of only few seconds, it drew back like a baseball-pitcher, only to send the said ball forth in an attack of pure, concentrated destructive force. The moment the fire left its hand, it turned into a veritable explosion of annihilation, roaring towards the still airborne Fiore. Burning up the ground and the air it touched, the wall of flames approached the boy quickly, threatening to engulf him even before he hit the wall of crystals.

    "Is this not the truth?" the reflection hissed with a murderous tone.

    Wise Up!

    Name: DASEIN: Fiore
    Alignment:
    Truth

    DEMONIC SURGE ACTIVE
    STR:
    C(S)
    END:
    C(S)
    AGI:
    A(S)
    CAS: -

    PRA:
    ∞ (???)

    Demonic Ability
    Lelya Talon
    Rank: ?
    An attack that uses "something" as a catalyst. Will crystallize everything it touches. Burns out a single turn of Demonic Surge when used.

    Spells

    Kresnik Conflagration
    Rank:
    A
    All-consuming fire; a moving, repeating explosion of destruction that threatens anyone caught in its sphere of influence. While normally requiring a significant chant to perform, it can be manifested through the usage of an external fire-source powerful enough. Due to the root of its origin, the spell dips into the realm of impossibility from modern humans, and thus, will by-pass partially any innate defense towards magecraft, inflicting half of the original damage if a hit is scored.

  2. #42
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:08 – Night
    Day: April 12th
    Turn: 5

    It caught our leg.

    ”Of course it did. I doubt whoever designed this mess intended for us to win via force.”

    The pressure on Fiore’s ankle was exponentially more than enough to shatter battlement stones between its fingers; it was only because his body was reinforced to resist the tremendous force of collisions at high speeds that kept the bones in his leg from creaking in the reflection’s grip.

    "All beneath me, all beneath me... or above, it does not matter, does it? In the end, staying apart is only thing that remains an option," the reflection cackled. "That bridge I cannot cross might as well not exist... so why not destroy it!?"
    Then the world twisted itself into a spiral, and Fiore could feel the air drag around him like a cocoon as he was hurled across the clearing of the Crystal City by the sum power of a body equal to his own. Craning his head back, Fiore saw the image of one of the enormous crystal monoliths speeding towards him at an impossible speed. At the same time, an tremendous surge of prana erupted from where he had been thrown, and heat and light danced across his vision as he twisted about in the air.

    "What are you so afraid of?" the female voice, full of glee, continued. "Is this not the way it should be?"
    The fire or the stone, boy, we cannot survive both.

    ”I’m going to assume that other-me is not quite so stupid as to try and kill us with conventional magic,” he thought with a grimance, ”The stone, but I will barely be able to think after this.”

    There was silence – internally. Around Fiore the wind screamed, but there was a brief, uncharacteristic pause in his mind.

    The riddles are not for me.

    Before Fiore could register the words in his own mind, he felt his body twisting. One leg lashed out and he spun, whipping it around full circle. As he hit the crystal formation and slammed into it, two things happened: a segment of the monolith shattered as he exploded through the side and hit the ground, rolling from the impact; and he let out a shriek of pain as his leg split, blood running down the leg, and he heaved himself to the side before the spell could hit.

    It hurt.

    It. Hurt.

    Iridescent flashes clouded his eyes, and the demon reeled momentarily, clutching her head even as she forced the muscles in Fiore’s arms and legs to push him upright. Pain; Fiore could not handle pain well, and he was tragically unsuited for his role as a result. Pain made it easy for her to take over, with his focus almost completely evaporated, but in that moment of initial shock, the internal scream robbed them both of control.

    The fact that he was still talking surprised her.

    “Do you expect me to find something suddenly profound in all of this!?” he snapped, spitting blood as an afterthought and clutching at his chest. “I do not say things without a reason, and yet my own reflection is spitting embittered soliloquy at me as if begging for me to understand something, instead of just speaking plainly.”

    With a snarl, Fiore brought a hand up to his hair, eyes flashing brightly.

    “I am all too aware of my own self-loathing in the most literal of ways, but I do not intend to exist alone with only my thoughts forever. We need to collectively shut up and stop being afraid of getting hurt, or we will get nowhere.”

    And then the weight left his words, and the air fluttered again – the demon had returned. There was an internal groan of pain, and white pinpricks stabbed at the demon’s thoughts as Fiore’s influence retreated again.

    I am…surprised.

    ”I am afraid to even try and solve my own problems; it took the Young Lady’s sabotage to even get us here,” Fiore said breathlessly to himself. ”…I think that might be what happens if we fail and lose the will to ever try again.”

    Do you think that is the answer?

    ”I don’t know,” Fiore groaned. ”Just keep us alive while I try to figure out why we’ve become so damned insufferable.”

    The voice broke into airy laughter and settled into a ready pose. Fiore’s awareness had receded just enough, and the pain did not bother her overmuch. It made her angry, and angry was good – the thinking was his trouble, all she needed was the anger.
    Last edited by Egophobia; February 22nd, 2014 at 08:59 AM.


    \(◕___◕)/

  3. #43
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:08 – Night
    Day: April 12th
    Turn: 6

    Fire painted over the landscape. An explosion of flames washed over the crystal that Fiore had just crashed through, coloring it's blue surface with a hungry red tint. The lustrous blaze seemed to threaten to consume the whole crystal, but only managed to blacken the surface, like smoke taints the glass. The roaring fire persevered still, but it had not hit the Hybrid. Instead, it acted like a beacon in the middle of the area, lighting up the clearing far better than the moon or the stars ever could have.

    In that iridescent light, the smugly smiling form of the reflection walked forward, casting its both hands into the blaze that covered its skin. Even the horn on its head seemed to be burning brightly, shooting out fountains of flames with each and every step. The reflection retracted its hands, drawing out a pair of attacks that it could launch at any second. Its eyes were targeting the young man in the distance which it had thrown him. There was only death and unknown anger in the depths of those furious pools, all of it aimed at the person the reflection had originated from.

    "Useless... all useless... you fear even the first step. You refuse to take it, because of your own stagnation... you shall only turn to ash and cinder, stubbornly burning yourself out," the reflection spoke mockingly as it walked closer, doom following in its wake. "Thus, accept your mindset and follow it to the bitter end...! Impale yourself on ignorance and let out your cry of death!"

    The bleeding eye, the crimson eye, seemed to flash, and prana started gathering into it. The path of vision it had to Fiore, a direct line without anything between the two, seemed to warp. The air itself quivered like it was afraid, and the night distorted in a shape of spiraling cylinder. Whatever was going on with the blood-red eye, it was clear it was another form of attack.

    Not only the flames, but now something unknown threatened Fiore, too---!

    "Lick your wounds in shadows and wail at your own misery..." the female voice hissed, filled with enigmatic rage. "It is the only pain you'll ever understand...!"

    The power within the red eye howled, and finally, started reaching its apex.

    Time was running out.

  4. #44
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:09 – Night
    Day: April 12th
    Turn: 7

    Magical fire leapt and roared through the clearing, melting shards of stone and crystal into brackish slag. Through the haze and conflagration, the living reflection walked lazily, drawing a swirling mass of energy from the flames and into each hand. It spoke again, and prana began to twist through the environment, sweeping along the ground and up into the reflection’s body; a vortex began to form behind one of those glittering eyes, twisting the air between them.

    Boy, I do believe this is beyond my power.

    ”It’s fine, just get close to it. Either I’m right and we win, or I’m wrong and we die – whatever the case, I’m tired of listening to our voice.”

    Cold air wrapped around Fiore once more as the demon’s power surged, and with a single bound he covered the distance between himself and his reflection in a horizontal leap. Their typical grace faltered as the demon twisted to adjust their flight, landing heavily on their good leg in a crouch. Springing upright, the Half-Blood’s hands found either side of the mirror-image’s head and pulled it forward, knocking their foreheads together. Glittering green eyes bored into the unreadable vortex of hatred and prana belonging to their own reflection.

    “What we want more is to be understood, but we cannot expect something for nothing. We have to offer it as well – stop pitying yourself so much that you can only harbor resentment for everyone and everything,” Fiore snapped, his eyes flashing angrily. “I am tired of hating people, and resenting myself for being a hateful person – that is the reason that I am here, and I will not tolerate being paralyzed with doubt before I can even try.”

    My…has it been that long since you tried to understand yourself?

    “Self-loathing makes it difficult to empathize with myself,” Fiore murmured aloud. With a sigh, he relaxed his hold on the reflection’s face and moved his hands down to its shoulders. “…and I will not hear myself of all people insulting the Young Lady. I am…still working out how long I can live in her shadow simply out of gratitude.”

    The voice laughed faintly, flippant once again.

    Besides, we are far too arrogant to allow ourselves to become the thing that we hate most.
    Last edited by Egophobia; April 6th, 2014 at 03:39 PM.


    \(◕___◕)/

  5. #45
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:11 – Night
    Day: April 12th
    Turn: 8

    “What we want more is to be understood, but we cannot expect something for nothing. We have to offer it as well – stop pitying yourself so much that you can only harbor resentment for everyone and everything. I am tired of hating people, and resenting myself for being a hateful person – that is the reason that I am here, and I will not tolerate being paralyzed with doubt before I can even try. Self-loathing makes it difficult to empathize with myself …and I will not hear myself of all people insulting the Young Lady. I am…still working out how long I can live in her shadow simply out of gratitude.”
    The billowing flames raged around the two, the boy and his reflection, like clouds of pure heat that did not touch them. The blood-red eye stared its original, untainted source. The expression of arrogant rage dominated the face of the reflection as it listened to the Kishu's words, allowing him to speak even though he was close enough for it to destroy. The fierce battle seemed to have come to a momentary halt, into a stalemate that hinged solely on Fiore's words. The bestial opponent, terrifying in its power, had nearly overpowered him while spouting its enigmatic words. Now, however, the reflection stayed silent, solemnly waiting for its original to speak his mind. And when Fiore had finished...

    ... It let the raging flames fade away into the night.

    “………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Tha t’s it.”

    Thus spoke the reflection, the possibility, the outcome, the one who broke free.

    With a shattering sound, the horn that had sprouted from the reflection's head disintegrated, becoming flakes of bone that were swept away by the wind. The flames were silenced, and the flow of blood from its eye stopped. The crimson color faded away, leaving behind only the blue-hued stared that was now filled with something far different from the arrogant anger that it had previously displayed. The beast-like claws retracted, revealing hands that were unmistakably human. Even the oppressive atmosphere, the suffocating sphere of demonic aura around the reflection, was gone like smoke into the skies. The breeze that blew through the clearing had swept everything monstrous away, leaving behind a reflection that was nigh identical when compared to Fiore.

    And finally, it opened its mouth.

    "That's just it, isn't it?" the reflection whispered. "There is not a single one in this world who can be alone... and thus, we must be willing to reach out for the others, to change ourselves so we can connect to them."

    Slowly, the reflection raised its hand and caught gently hold of Fiore's shoulder. Then, without hesitation, it pulled Fiore closer, into its embrace. The reflection was warm, warmer than one could have expected, but it was not because of the residual heat from the flames, or the fact that Fiore had been pulled against its bare chest; no, it was because that embrace was not that of a comrade, a friend or a lover... it was an embrace like that of a parent cradling her child, slowly and gently lulling it to sleep while softly singing of the moon and a little dog. Gentle smile floated on the reflection's face, previously marred by haughtiness, and all the affection in that smile was directed at Fiore.

    "Even though we may be individuals, even though we may be born alone in this world... others still exist, no matter what we do. It is those others we use to judge ourselves, to form an image of ourselves, and thus, we need them. Not for any altruistic reason, but simply for us to ascertain ourselves. But, just like we need them... they, too, need us. They may be hurt, they may be in pain, they may be in tears that we cannot see... and if we do not care about those emotions, no matter how insignificant or silly they may seem... we can never truly connect to others. We may be selfish, but in order to grow, we must be benevolent... it is the way this life works," the female voice spoke. "We cannot be prideful. We cannot scoff at their problems and think them beneath us. We cannot turn noses up to the emotions of someone else... because if we do not understand them, how could we care about them? How could we form bonds with them? How could we help each other to grow? Building a bridge between people is a two-way road. We must be willing to change our view, change our priorities, change our morals... in order to see the world how our loved ones see it."

    Placing its other hand on top of his head, the reflection gently stroked Fiore's hair, just like a mother would. It was not to patronize him, or to belittle him... it was simply a gesture of kindness, of caring, of... understanding. The knowledge gained through experience could be seen in the eyes of the reflection, and in its smile. That, and earnest desire to help. It was as if the raging beast from before had been just a nightmare, a delusion of the future, and now Fiore had woken up to find the truth sitting beside his bed at night, holding his hand.

    "Below others, above others... it does not matter where you stand. To understand others is to take their place, and thus, such categories are meaningless. If we do not understand, and judge others solely by our own standards, we simply trample on their feelings, no, on their life itself. It is not for us to question the choices they make, only to see if we can relate to them. We can try to help them, we can disagree with them, we can try to change them... but to do so without the knowledge of 'why' is the ultimate arrogance. It is to expect that we are the only one in this world that matters, and that road... leads to stagnation," the male voice whispered. "It is a road we should never travel, for in the end lies only ruin... ruin and solitude. Therefore, we must be willing to extend that olive branch. Not just for the sake of others, but for the sake of ourselves, too. But... you understand this, do you not? You know the world-view of the one you see before you, and know these words and their meaning, do you not? Therefore... as difficult as it may be, as frightening as it may be... do not be afraid to understand others. They, too, will try to understand you, and if you happen to meet someone whom you can join your hand together with in such fashion... you will create a bond that cannot be broken."

    The reflection, both to itself and to Fiore. It was a firm nod, both reassuring and of acknowledgment. It was a nod that told Fiore he was entrusted with the faith of the reflection, with the understanding it spoke, and with the firm belief that he could do just as it had described.

    “I think, therefore I am. My thoughts are myself, therefore my existence is me. But…”

    The reflection whispered into Fiore's ear.

    “…I am not alone.”
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; April 6th, 2014 at 02:25 PM.

  6. #46
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:09 – Night
    Day: April 12th
    Turn: 9

    He was right.

    “…That’s it.”
    The horn and flames were swept away with the sound of shattering glass. Blood and fury and reddish hue evaporated from the mirror-image’s eyes leaving the blue-green of his eyes as distorted by the color of the crystals. The furious aura dissipated and its claws vanished, leaving behind a proper reflection of the boy. And then it spoke – this time without the hate or malice.

    "That's just it, isn't it?" the reflection whispered. "There is not a single one in this world who can be alone... and thus, we must be willing to reach out for the others, to change ourselves so we can connect to them."
    The figure moved to Fiore and embraced him, reaching back to stroke his hair. Fiore stiffened; it was a strange sensation, and not wholly welcome. Reactively, the demon extended her hand to him in her mind, but he forced himself not to accept her help. Beyond the literal, the metaphysical implications of trying to reactively murder his reflection now of all times. This was something that he wanted – arguably needed – just not from himself. It was a bittersweet feeling. It went on, speaking bits of advice born of experience, and he half-listened.

    Perhaps the demon listened in his stead; Fiore’s thoughts instead went to Cassie Minx, Lily Floralis, Roselia McKlennington, and finally the Young Lady. His life was comprised of nothing but terribly vague relationships that lacked any foundation; none of them were entirely pleasant ones, either. These were the relationships that he was curious about, however – the ones he wanted to work towards. Everybody is troubled; everybody is hiding something about themselves. Trying to help each and every person in the world would be self-important and foolish, nor would he be kind to every random person purely to draw more people into his life.

    In that respect, he accepted his reflection’s trust.

    “I think, therefore I am. My thoughts are myself, therefore my existence is me. But…”

    The reflection whispered into Fiore's ear.

    “…I am not alone.”
    Rather, we do not have to be, boy.

    “Certainty ill-suits me, so why should certainty of failure?” he said with a sigh, the tension leaving his voice.


    \(◕___◕)/

  7. #47
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:11 – Night
    Day: April 12th

    “Certainty ill-suits me, so why should certainty of failure?”
    "If there is one thing that does not exist in this world... it is certainty," the reflection spoke as it released it's grip on Fiore. "It would be unbecoming to fashion oneself after impossibility, therefore... fashion yourself after what you want to be. And how you want those who you hold dear to see you. Become someone worthy of their trust, and they, too... shall become one for you."

    A refreshing night-breeze howled through the clearing, whisking away the last remnants of the battle. With a solemn smile on its face, the reflection took a step backwards, raising its eyes to meet those of its original. The look in them was of someone who had seen too much, of someone who never wanted to see such things again. It was the source of trust he had showed Fiore, the knowledge that with the right knowledge would come the right choices. Changing was never easy, but it was required for one to grow as a person.

    “There is no one that can survive alone in this world. That is why we have friends. And to make those friends, we have to understand them. Just like they have to understand us. No one requires you to be a saint, one with empathy towards every living creature. You will disagree, you will despise, you will hate... but at the same time, you will also love. Create those bonds that you value, and strengthen them through mutual understanding," the reflection said. "Value the way your friends view the world, and they shall value your own personal view. Perhaps you can never gain the same perspective, but that is not what it is about. It is about sharing those perspectives, comparing them, and learning from them. Because only by learning, by listening, by understanding, can you truly find those whom to care about and with whom to share a bond of trust. It is not about ourselves, never has been. It is about the world. It is about life."

    Gentle gust passed the reflection, and with its arrival did the being start finally fading away. Like a mirage into the desert night, like petals of cherry trees whisked away by the fickle wind, it started disappearing from its toes. Soon the legs had disappeared completely, and the reflection was only held up by its willpower. A sorrowful smile crept to its face, and it nodded once more to its original. That nod was the acknowledgment and the acceptance; with it came the sting in the back of Fiore's neck.

    There, the red brand of the Command Spells had appeared.

    “It is about the bonds between friends.”

    And with the words of the reflection still echoing in the air, it disappeared completely, Fiore’s body absorbing the energy it released.

    “I hope……you will do……better…”

    The last words uttered by the now-gone reflection were no more than a whisper, and yet, they still made it to Fiore's ears, before whisked away by the wind.

    "And please tell Young Lady... that I am sorry... and that I... miss---"

    And so, Fiore stood alone in the clearing.


    -------------------------------------
    VICTORY
    To Another World!

    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Master Level: 1
    SP Earned: 1
    AP Earned: 15
    Items Acquired: 1

    ~Command Spells~
    Your proof as a Master

    -------------------------------------


    Suddenly... the atmosphere of the clearing changed.

    It grew light.

    It grew soft.

    It grew fickle.

    From somewhere, a playful whistle of a different wind could be heard. The smell of fresh grass filled Fiore's nose and it almost fell like leaves of trees were gently shaken by the gust. Laughter of unknown creatures tickled his ears as the swelling surge of prana concentrated into the area before him. Something was forming there, something that was emanating this otherworldly area around it. The appearance of this new presence made the Command Spell at the back of his neck feel warm, as if touched by someone's hand.

    And finally, the presence took form. A nimble foot touched the ground, and another. The presence took a definite form, a humanoid form, one that stepped out of the whirlwind of magical energy. It stood up, stretched its back, and entered the world where none like it had previously existed. The giggling of the unknown children grew even merrier, as if they hundreds of ringing bells announcing the appearance of this legend. It was a story, a myth, a history, a record, made into flesh and blood, one that now, once more, walked the earth.

    Thus did the crystals, shining brightly, welcome this newcomer with the numerous runes and symbols that eventually took an understandable form.

    DOWNLOAD: 100%
    SUMMONING COMPLETE
    INITIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAA/ERROR!ERROR!ERROR!ERROR!ERROR!
    [UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY! UNKNOWN ENTRY! ABORTING PROCESS!]
    [REBOOTING, RESTARTING]
    [UNABLE TO REBOOT]
    [UNABLE TO RESTART *******, ENTRY PREVENTED]
    [SOURCE_CONTROL DETAINED, SWITCHING TO EXTERNAL AUTHORIZATION]
    [PROGRESS HALTED]





    [+PRAY WE BREAK THE PARADOX+]







    Space stopped.

    Time stopped.

    World stopped.


    The whole reality around Fiore had come to a halt. Wind was stagnant. The light of the moon was more of a physical object than source of illumination. The dust and rubble thrown around by the zephyr were hanging in the air. Even the swirling prana had completely stopped, becoming nothing more than lines and shapes ahead of the boy. The figure suspended inside that vortex was not moving, being now more akin to a plastic mannequin. Even the twinkle of the stars above was gone, instead replaced with a sight that was like white holes poked into a monotone canvas.

    No sounds, no movement, no sound. The OLYMPUS, and the world around it, had simply stopped.

    Then... a single clap.

    And another. And third.

    Slow applause, coming from a single source, reached Fiore's ears. The sound had no echo, almost if it came from a single speaker. There was no depth or variation in that sound. It simply was. Unnatural and eerie at the same time, there was no way to discern the direction the sound itself came from. Such was impossible in a halted world.

    ... Until the source of the applause appeared.

    The creature was humanoid, but definitely not a human. Clad in multiple colors that were glaringly out of match, it slowly skipped into the view from behind a crystal, enigmatic smile adorning its face. Unnatural eyes stared at Fiore from behind thin-rimmed glasses as the creature tilted its head to an unnatural angle, almost reminiscent of an owl. It stopped clapping, suddenly, and caught a hold of something invisible in the air. From nothingness, it drew something that at first seemed like an orb, only to turn out to be a head-piece of a thin cane. The needle-like tip of this cane struck the ground.

    Grinning like a harlequin, which the creature looked like, it twisted its body from the elbow onward, raising itself with only one hand into the air. Balancing itself above the cane, with only one hand to support it, the creature never let its eyes off Fiore. Soon it was suspended upside down in the air, with only the balance of the thin shaft of the cane holding it from falling.

    In that absurd stance, the creature finally started talking with a sing-song voice that told nothing of its gender.

    "Mɥɐʇ ɐ ʇonɔɥᴉuƃ sᴉƃɥʇ ʇɥɐʇ ʍɐs˙ Iʇ sᴉɯdlʎ ɯɐpǝ ʇɥǝ ɹooʇs oɟ ɯʎ ɥǝɐɹʇ sɥᴉʌǝɹ'" the creature spoke. "ɹɐɹǝlʎ po I sǝǝ dǝodlǝ lᴉʞǝ ʎon˙ Iupǝǝp' I sᴉɯdlʎ ɥɐp ʇo ʇɐʞǝ ʇɥᴉs ɔɥɐuɔǝ ʇo ǝxɔɥɐuƃǝ ʇɥonƃɥʇs˙ Iʇ ƃǝʇs ǝʌǝɹ so louǝlʎ ᴉu ɥǝɹǝ' sǝǝ¿"

    There was no rhyme or reason to the speech of the creature. Perhaps that was why it grinned to Fiore.

    "Hoʍ pᴉp ᴉʇ ɟǝǝl¿ Hoʍ poǝs ᴉʇ ɟǝǝl uoʍ¿ Hoʍ ʍᴉll ᴉʇ ɟǝǝl ᴉu ʇɥǝ ɟnʇnɹǝ¿ Ԁlǝɐsǝ' ǝulᴉƃɥʇǝu ɯǝ' ɟoɹ I ɔɐu uǝʌǝɹ ǝxdǝɹᴉǝuɔǝ ʍɥɐʇ ʎon ɾnsʇ ɥɐʌǝ˙ Iɟ ʎon po' I dɹoɯᴉsǝ ʇɥɐʇ I ʍᴉll ƃᴉʌǝ ɯʎsǝlɟ ɐ ɔɥɐuɔǝ ʇo ɹǝʍɐɹp ʎon˙"

  8. #48
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 0:12 – Night
    Day: April 12th
    Turn: 9

    His mirror-image spoke again, and in its eyes sparkled something mournful and knowing. Fiore wondered if that was an expression he had worn before; it was too tired and world-weary, but somehow he could understand its point of origin. The things that he never wanted to deal with, his reflection had seen and outlived. Moreso than its words, the expression spoke volumes of caution, and Fiore heeded that most of all.

    And then there was the flicker of power, and Fiore flinched, one hand darting to the back of his neck. In the shape of a twisting rose, the heated markings of the Command Seals formed on his skin. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he groaned about the chosen location.

    “It is about the bonds between friends.”
    The reflection began to dissipate, its body turning to motes of light that funneled into the command seals. Before it fully vanished, however, its final words hung on the air.

    “I hope……you will do……better…”

    The last words uttered by the now-gone reflection were no more than a whisper, and yet, they still made it to Fiore's ears, before whisked away by the wind.

    "And please tell Young Lady... that I am sorry... and that I... miss---"
    In the moment of triumph, Fiore become distracted, and his blood ran cold.

    Being tethered to the Young Lady and her influence, forever in her shadow and living as an extension of her – they had both known that sending him to OLYMPUS would challenge their relationship. For Fiore to get what he wanted and find people he could feel close to, his place as her servant would have to be dissolved, and he would need to confront her. He did not mean to betray her, nor to forsake his loyalty to her, though. If anything, she was the closest thing he had to a friend, and at worst, she was family.

    Was she supposed to die in the future his reflection spoke of?

    At some point, a shaky sigh escaped him. His thoughts flew to the events surrounding his arrival to OLYMPUS; the state of affairs back at the Young Lady’s home.

    Are you thinking again of the Twelfth? Killing him seems unlike you, and it will only bring you trouble.

    “I know,” Fiore murmured, rubbing at his brow.

    But his ruminations were caught forth as the ritual to which the command seals were bound manifested. Lights and laughter swirled around him as the shore of a distant island began to materialize in the clearing at the heart of the Crystal City. A roaring wave of prana crashed around him in a vortex, and somewhere within the whirlwind of magical energies, the shape of a human drew forward. One slender foot stepped out, and with it bells and childish laughter and birdsong. Clad in a cloak of otherworldly weaves and the wings of butterflies, etched a thousand-times over with the runes of a forgotten language, a Servant emer-

    A overlay swept across Fiore’s vision, and the world froze. His HECATE phone shook in his pocket and he pulled it out to see the ugly reddish scrawl of an error message; the blinking clock was static and immobile, and the light seemed to peel away from the screen and make everything harder to read. Somewhere in his mind, the demon mused that all of the light in the clearing was being pulled away by the moon.

    Someone has interfered.

    Someone was clapping, slowly at first, but more and more quickly. Sound traveled improperly in this frozen space, and the sound seemed to come from some nondescript place that Fiore could not identify. From behind one of the crystal masses, another figure stepped forward. Dainty and androgynous, it was dressed in the mismatched flair of a harlequin performer. Fiore’s eyes were fixed on the pair of horns protruding from its asymmetrical haircut, uncomfortably reminded of the horn his reflection had possessed. Producing a cane from nowhere, it proceeded to balance itself from the cane upside-down like a gymnast.

    Then, in broken bits of song, it began to speak. At least, Fiore assumed it was speaking.

    "Mɥɐʇ ɐ ʇonɔɥᴉuƃ sᴉƃɥʇ ʇɥɐʇ ʍɐs˙ Iʇ sᴉɯdlʎ ɯɐpǝ ʇɥǝ ɹooʇs oɟ ɯʎ ɥǝɐɹʇ sɥᴉʌǝɹ'" the creature spoke. "ɹɐɹǝlʎ po I sǝǝ dǝodlǝ lᴉʞǝ ʎon˙ Iupǝǝp' I sᴉɯdlʎ ɥɐp ʇo ʇɐʞǝ ʇɥᴉs ɔɥɐuɔǝ ʇo ǝxɔɥɐuƃǝ ʇɥonƃɥʇs˙ Iʇ ƃǝʇs ǝʌǝɹ so louǝlʎ ᴉu ɥǝɹǝ' sǝǝ¿"
    We have to try and understand people, if we want to be understood, the demon chimed, her voice once again merry and flippant. Fiore frowned. The grinning entity was putting forth an awful lot of effort to try and communicate; it was cheerful, but not mocking, and there was enough intonation for him to realize that there had been a question in there somewhere.

    "Hoʍ pᴉp ᴉʇ ɟǝǝl¿ Hoʍ poǝs ᴉʇ ɟǝǝl uoʍ¿ Hoʍ ʍᴉll ᴉʇ ɟǝǝl ᴉu ʇɥǝ ɟnʇnɹǝ¿ Ԁlǝɐsǝ' ǝulᴉƃɥʇǝu ɯǝ' ɟoɹ I ɔɐu uǝʌǝɹ ǝxdǝɹᴉǝuɔǝ ʍɥɐʇ ʎon ɾnsʇ ɥɐʌǝ˙ Iɟ ʎon po' I dɹoɯᴉsǝ ʇɥɐʇ I ʍᴉll ƃᴉʌǝ ɯʎsǝlɟ ɐ ɔɥɐuɔǝ ʇo ɹǝʍɐɹp ʎon˙"
    Fiore withdrew from his jacket the notebook he had been carrying around; there was a heavy crease down the side, but somehow the pen had not been snapped in two. There was no way for him to understand in the least what the singsong voice had been saying, but perhaps it had more of a head for two-way communications than him.

    I am sorry, but I cannot understand you. You seem curious and chose to appear before me, and the only remarkable thing I have done is attempt to confront myself, so is that what you want to know about?

    He tore out the page with these words and moved forward, holding it out to the harlequin.

    It was troubling, in a necessary and unpleasant way,” the demon interjected with its lilting voice, looking the harlequin in the eyes. “To want for comfort, but only experiencing it from a replica of yourself is a bittersweet sensation.


    \(◕___◕)/

  9. #49
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Time: 0:13 – Night
    Day: April 12th

    It was troubling, in a necessary and unpleasant way. To want for comfort, but only experiencing it from a replica of yourself is a bittersweet sensation.
    The grin on the face of the harlequin seemed to falter momentarily, and a troubled look appeared in its eyes. It then clicked its tongue, and the expression it showed was that of a polite, reserved frustration.

    "I ɐɯ ʇǝɹɹᴉqlʎ soɹɹʎ' lɐp˙ Hoʍǝʌǝɹ' I ɐɯ nuɐqlǝ ʇo nupǝɹsʇɐup ɐuʎʇɥᴉuƃ ʎon sɐʎ'" the reflection spoke. "∀ɟʇǝɹ ɐll' ʎon sǝǝɯ ʇo qǝ sdǝɐʞᴉuƃ ndsᴉpǝ poʍu˙ Iʇ ᴉs ʌǝɹᴉlʎ ɐ ɹnpǝ ʇɥᴉuƃ ʇo po' qnʇ po uoʇ ɟɹǝʇ˙ I ɐɯ ɯɐp' ᴉɟ ɐuʎʇɥᴉuƃ˙ So I sɥɐll lǝʇ ᴉʇ slᴉpǝ˙"

    Then, like a clockwork, the head of the harlequin began rotating. Sideways and sideways, like a cog in a machine, it ticked around without any care for bones or cartillage, muscles or flesh. It was like watching movement of a puppet, but at the very least the grin that had returned was now being turned right way up for Fiore. Eventually, after several seconds of silence, the head of the creature hung on an even level with the Kishu, staring him straight in the eyes.

    "But the tone of your voice tells enough, I suppose. Rarely does it do any good to face the truth. Or one of the truths? What you can learn from yourself will always be humiliating, in one way or another. Only few can understand what they can gain from it; some don't ever want to! You must agree, lad, that this is a most peculiar peculiarity of humanity," the harlequin said and chuckled at its own words. The sound was like high-pitched growl. "But, forgive me, I have yet to introduce myself: Pompous I am, as you probably already see. And taking things for granted is an utter horror to me. Natural course of action with me is bound to fail. Yet terribly talkative thing thus tattles this tale. So, if a name for myself I have to create, please, please, call me Pomegranate."

    The harlequin bowed slightly, an action that seemed even more bizarre as it happened to two directions at once: first according to its upside-down body, second according to its right-side up head. Twinkling mischief in its eyes, the creature then extended its hand, pressing its fingers that held the scepter against its palm one by one. In the end, only the index finger remained, thinning the source of stability the harlequin had even more.

    "And for you, this meeting must be odd thing to say the least. Worry not, violence is far from my nature. I am an observer and nothing more, despite my talkativeness being a source many nasty rumors. Oh how they flitter and flutter, skitter and skutter, as if the fact that I talk was a great mystery of some sort! I do fancy myself as a creature of great intelligence, and I'd like to be treated as such," the harlequin prattled on. "But enough about me, and more about you. Since I did call you here, intruding your normal abnormal life, and since I am feeling wickedly kind, could I ask of you a bit of a favor?"

    Winking its eye to Fiore, the harlequin laughed.

    "Life here gets terribly boring at times, and thus, I have to entertain myself. So, how would you fancy a short and sweet Game of Guess?" the creature asked. "I can assure you, whether you win or lose I shall reward you. None can deny you of your rewards at this point, but on the contrary, I can add to them! A boon upon boon, if you will. So... what say you, lad?"

  10. #50
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Location: Halted Process
    Time: 0:16 – Night?
    Day: April 12th

    The harlequin’s face became screwed up in confusion, and another stream of indiscernible noise passed through its lips. Fiore was about to speak again when the colorful body shifted, rolling its shoulders ever so slightly, and then suddenly began twisting its head around like a doorknob. There was no sound of snapping bone or popping cartilage, and there was no way that the harlequin could simply rotate its head through using its neck muscles alone, at least, not without tearing through everything in the process. After a few long and thoroughly disturbing seconds, the harlequin’s head and rotated one-hundred and eighty degrees, and now met Fiore’s eyes evenly.

    Well that’s different.

    And then it spoke again, this time in a fashion be could understand, and called itself a pomegranate. With an omnidirectional bow, the harlequin reoriented its balance with a mischievous grin and began to speak again. Fiore stopped trying to rationalize the time and space of the encounter, and the demon likewise stopped her ruminations of the facts – that being right-side up had “fixed” the harlequin’s speech, or that the time on his HECATE phone had frozen. However, Fiore could not help but be constantly aware of the frozen geyser of prana and magic that had been the Servant summoning; a muted explosion of light and whitewashed color just off to the side.

    "Life here gets terribly boring at times, and thus, I have to entertain myself. So, how would you fancy a short and sweet Game of Guess?" the creature asked. "I can assure you, whether you win or lose I shall reward you. None can deny you of your rewards at this point, but on the contrary, I can add to them! A boon upon boon, if you will. So... what say you, lad?"
    It was a dubious proposition under normal circumstances, even.

    We accept,” the demon replied with her characteristic cheer.

    The pain in his leg was supremely distracting, half of the people he had met on OLYMPUS had seemed reprehensible, the foundations of the city were a mess of lies and conspiracy, and now he had worries for the Young Lady playing on his mind. All things considered, this seemed fairly harmless by comparison, if not par for the course. Besides, the demon herself clamored for a distraction, if she was not to be occupied with defensive thoughts or trying to pick apart their surroundings.

    “I suppose I just need to know the rules?” Fiore murmured curiously.


    \(◕___◕)/

  11. #51
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Time: 0:13 – Night
    Day: April 12th

    “I suppose I just need to know the rules?”
    The harlequin grinned.

    "Oh, they are quite simple. I ask a question, and you answer. Or, perhaps, you could call it the most complicated game of them all? After all, questions are so numerous and not all of them even do have answers. However, be at ease, for I shall ask a question that most certainly has one. It'd be very unsporting of me to simply expect you to know something nobody knows," the creature spoke merrily, yet calmly. "So, if you want to, simply think of me as a creature of myth, of riddles and rumors, that stands in your way because of its own selfishness. That is what most who meet me see me as, after all."

    Switching its center of balance, the harlequin allowed its body to rotate to the side. It moved exactly like its head had previously, but to the opposite direction. Like a hand of a clock, the body turned and turned, eventually settling so that the legs were pointing towards the ground; in other words, like how it was supposed to be. Taking a lotus stance on the orb-like headpiece of the cane, the creature allowed its hands to rest on its knees as gazed towards the skies with its other eye, while the other remained at Fiore.

    "Well... I suppose that will do. It has been quite a while since I've used this one on anybody. I suppose you are ready? If you aren't, well, that is unfortunate, since I shall start anyhow," the creature chuckled. "Life is not kind enough to wait when we are prepared. And since I am a living creature, should I be any different? Ah, but I digress. Let us begin, then."

    The harlequin cleaned its throat, and the eye that had been gazing towards the skies snapped back at Fiore.

    "It was born out of chosen people, their need to hide their words. Used through the scarring weapons, truly mightier than swords. If you drink through all its poison, it will quench your thirst. So tell me, tell me, inquiring one, where is last the first?"

  12. #52
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Location: Halted Process
    Time: 0:11 – Night?
    Day: April 12th

    "It was born out of chosen people, their need to hide their words. Used through the scarring weapons, truly mightier than swords. If you drink through all its poison, it will quench your thirst. So tell me, tell me, inquiring one, where is last the first?"
    Fiore’s expression flickered, and he brought one gloved hand to his face, tilting his head in thought. The riddle smacked of a similar sort of puzzlecraft as the one he had dealt with earlier this evening, but he doubted that the harlequin – Pomegranate, he reminded himself – would give him the luxury of four hours in the library to work it out. He let out a small sigh, and scratched his cheek.

    I take it you are unsatisfied with your solution, the voice chimed.

    In that moment Fiore became exasperated at how he could never tell what both halves of his own mind were thinking at the same time, while she seemed to know him well enough to always guess what he was thinking. It was infuriating sometimes, and it was hard to talk about. Distantly, he could feel her stirring, and was suddenly quite self-aware; she was probably interpreting all of these things as he thought them, too, and he tried to calm his emotions.

    “Sorry,” he murmured aloud, his voice subdued.

    Mm,” the voice replied, a nondescript sound of unconcern. “You enjoy irony and symbolism, so I suppose your guess is ‘The Answer’, no?

    “Unfortunately,” Fiore replied aloud, adding, “You do not like it either, correct?” The twisting in his thoughts meant that the voice was mulling over their collective knowledge, parsing something that he must have overlooked.

    The last riddle was more literal than we would have liked, perhaps. We should take as much of this one at face-value as we can. The ‘scarring’ bit speaks of a pen, or rather its predecessors, I would imagine.

    “Alright,” Fiore sighed in consternation, folding his arms across his chest and resting back on one heel, “I suppose if we are to think of ‘chosen people’, I’ve an inclination to suspect the followers of the god of light. They were suppressed quite a lot, too, so perhaps we are looking for another cipher?”

    Mm, one where the ‘last’ and ‘first’ are interchanged, it sounds reasonable enough. I do not suppose you know something of cryptology that I do not?

    “I’m a butler and a gardener, I have had little impetus to research cryptograms prior to today…”

    Oh, then this will baffle you, ” the voice replied lyrically before seizing control. Fiore’s head snapped up and met the harlequin’s eyes, and the singsong voice of the demon greeted it. “Is the solution Atbash? I do hope so, for the sake of being a nuisance.
    Last edited by Egophobia; April 15th, 2014 at 02:07 AM.


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  13. #53
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Time: 0:13 – Night
    Day: April 12th

    Is the solution Atbash? I do hope so, for the sake of being a nuisance.
    Pomegranate grinned widely.

    "Oh, very good. 'Tis a very good answer. Precise and to the point. Without a shred of imagination of wild goose chase added to it. Chasing gooses is job of dogs, after all. Preferably flying ones. Have you ever seen a flying dog? Or a flight without a dog? Now wouldn't that be the ultimate madness? Oh, but, when I think about it... flight without a dog becomes surprisingly mundane in today's world, does it not? Is this what they call 'madness overcoming itself and becoming mundane?'" the harlequin said and chuckled to itself in a manner that was a bit nerve-grating. "But I digress. Yes, yes, that answer was just that: Atbash. The language used by the Chosen People to hide away their ugly truths. I presume you'll find that answer to be of much use... if you run into right people. They should exist, at least. The right people. Not left people or wrong people. No, I suppose they exist too, but... mm, right people. Just the other day few of them broke that which I govern over, so they should have seen it..."

    Pomegranate jumped and performed a back-flip before landing to the ground. With the grin still etched to its face, the creature leaned forward, holding its weight with its cane. The mysterious eyes peered straight into Fiore, and seemed to be looking right through him, into his hidden depths, and even beyond them. They were eyes of a being that knew much more than the boy before it, a being that withheld knowledge that could have caused insanity... or exceptional clarity.

    "... the ugly truth, that is," Pomegranate cackled with a hint of cruelty in its sing-sung voice. "That is what I govern over, after all. The truth, in all of its ugliness. You realize it somewhere at the back of your mind, don't you? I halted the truth, thus you perceive me through the said truth. You see past it, having acknowledged the conclusion of that truth, and gaze me with your newborn eyes. Not the truth based on your memories, but the truth based on your records. The unbiased alternates of how you perceive and experience this world. People automatically reject something that does conform to their viewpoint, even if it is unmistakably based upon their true record. But see here, lad, do you really think it is their fault? I don't think there exist a single being in this world that does not fundamentally avoid their faults, because those faults are the weakness from which they can be torn apart. And that is where the ugliness of truth stems from. Not from the fact that it is the truth, but from fact that itis the
    record
    truth
    ."

    Suddenly, even though Pomegranate had not moved an inch from the spot it was in, Fiore found himself face-to-face with the creature. When it raised its face, the boy was so close there were only mere inches between them. The eyes of swirling colors filled his vision, and the breath that had a fragrance of exotic fruits filled his nose. If possible, the grin on the face of the harlequin grew even larger, to the point it twisted its face and made it unmistakably inhuman.

    "It's bitter experiences, lad. Seeing what the
    record
    truth
    of yourself is, is recognizing parts of yourself that you don't want to face. People cope with their
    record
    truth
    by morphing their memories to suit themselves, thus making up their own truth. A form which you are most comfortable with, if you will. However, not accepting that this
    record
    truth
    exists often leads to a ruin, both of your self and of your character. In other words, by not experiencing a harsh change for the unbiased better, you are bound to clad yourself deeper into that truth of yours and bring forth your own destruction. Destruction gives birth to a new life, and it, too, will follow the previously set example and bring itself to the same destruction. This creates what we called a cycle of stagnation. To break free from this cycle, you must recognize your own personal
    record
    truth
    and strive to break yourself free. Hmm... now, wasn't there a religion that spoke of this?" Pomegranate tilted its head before shrugging slightly. "Ah well, be that as it may, this is just the words of a someone set to guard this ugly truth everyone who wishes for power has to face. You may ignore it if you choose so, but... it was a rather harsh experience, wasn't it? Repeating it isn't something you'd want, is it? Well, I suppose I don't need to say any more about it, then."

    Taking a step back, the harlequin twirled around once without even creating wind, before coming to a stop and putting one foot forward. With a graceful bow, it extended its hands forward, offering two objects towards Fiore. These items were resting on top of its now opened palms, like rewards given from conquering its challenge; and that was what they were. By answering the question of the harlequin right, Fiore had been given the right to take these mysterious objects.

    One of them was a scroll of paper, wrapped up tightly. It looked like it had been in lot of use. However, a strange feeling of dread seemed to hang around the said scroll.

    The other one was a single piece of a jigsaw puzzle: it changed shape the moment one did not look at it, and innumerable colors warped around its surface. However, the numbers etched on to its surface did not change.

    "Here, take these. They are you rewards for entertaining me," Pomegranate said. "You have truly deserved them, son of man."

    After Fiore had taken the two items, the creature twirled around again, this time taking a hold of its cane at the same time. When it came to a halt, it struck the cane to the ground and looked straight at Fiore.

    "We might meet again. We might not. Rarely do those who conquer the
    truth
    crystal
    once return. However, the
    belief
    air
    , the
    knowledge
    sea
    and the
    justification
    forest
    still remain. Give my regards if you happen to meet those who govern over them," Pomegranate spoke. "Oh, but before I let you go, there is one question I must ask you."

    Rocking from side-to-side, the harlequin began to hum a strange tune. Its eyes never left Fiore, but after a while, it did not seem it was even looking at him. No, the creature was looking at something behind him. Something more than him. Something greater than him. Something more than the sum of its parts. With the grin as wide as its head, the appointed guardian of
    record
    truth
    hummed even louder, before opening its mouth and bursting into song.


    "Kagome kagome
    The bird within the cage
    When, oh when, will you come out?
    In the night of dawn
    The crane and the turtle slipped and fell..
    Who's that behind you?"


    With a grin, the harlequin then shook its head. It raised its hand slowly, clenching into fist its fingers one-by-one. The kaleidoscopic eyes stared straight through Fiore, ignoring him, and looking into what lied beyond him. Yes, the creature now had a new target of interest, even if its words were still addressing the boy before it.

    "You should have asked this already, lad," the harlequin whispered. "Yes, the real question..."

    Pomegranate pointed straight behind Fiore. Straight at ***.




    "Who's that behind you?"




    The world screamed in pain.






    And returned normal.

    Wise Up!

    Acquired: Enigma Jigsaw Piece 1
    A mysterious piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It has been engraved with the numbers: 1-3-5-7-13-14.

    Acquired: S-E-A Report #3
    A report of unknown origin and author.

  14. #54
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    Dunno, but the girls are wearing Velvet Room outfits.
    Posts
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    Fiore Lacere-Ran
    Location: Halted Process
    Time: 0:16 – Night?
    Day: April 12th

    "Here, take these. They are your rewards for entertaining me," Pomegranate said. "You have truly deserved them, son of man."
    Fiore accepted the tattered scroll and puzzle piece, but did not pay them much heed, and absently tucked them into the inside of his jacket. His thoughts were elsewhere, troubled by how the voice had displayed knowledge that he lacked and that she should not have had on her own, and how now of all times she did not intrude into his own thoughts and insert her own answers. She was not laughing, either, and the lack of motion in this distorted world suddenly made him feel very alone.

    He was snapped from his thoughts by the harlequin breaking into song, and the fact that he recognized it disturbed him. It was a children’s song, an unhappy one, and part of a game of which he had never been overly fond. A long time ago, when he had been speaking to the Young Lady, she had sung the same song and mentioned his mother and whatever she had known of his bloodline before their time. Birdcages and blindness – it seemed like the sort of thing the demonic voice would have sung, but she was still silent-

    Son of man, daughter of demons,” the voice snapped without any warning, startling Fiore enough to make him jump. Anger suddenly swelled up in his chest, not at the demon, but spurred on by what she had said, and he could not explain it.

    "You should have asked this already, lad," the harlequin whispered. "Yes, the real question… Who's that behind you?”
    A static scream filled the void, and time resumed, bringing with it the light and sound and roar of magic that had filled the Crystal City. Fiore stumbled slightly, senses reeling, and either through instinct or the influence of the demon brought an arm up to shield his eyes.

    I am here with you,” The voice said, its tone dour. Cold air swirled about as if it had been there all along, once again accompanying the musical voice. “Put my enmity out of mind, you were successful, and we are being impolite.

    Alien characters in glowing script were etched across the surface of the city, spreading out in helixes from the vortex of power at its core. The well of magical power took the shape of an arch, twisted about itself like ivies bending under the weight of flowers and fruit, and a field of tall, pale grass expanded outwards in every direction. A flash of color caught Fiore’s eye, and he saw the hem of a dress slip behind a tree that was not there, or a bit of some garment as its owner slipped into the ghostly field, and all around him were quiet peals of childish laughter.

    The light pouring from the archway exploded outwards, and with it the field became of burst of colors that evaporated into the sky in a single, jubilant cry. The outlines of children flickered in the air like images burned into a screen before they vanished, and the Command Seals on the back of Fiore’s neck pulsated with warmth. The wind carried with it the scent of flowers and fruit and the charged atmosphere of revelry and joy. In the fluttering light that sped up towards the sky and the return of the dim moonlight, a lone figure stood where the archway had stood.

    A message glowed in the surfaces of the crystals.

    DOWNLOAD: 100%
    SUMMONING COMPLETE
    INITIALIZING
    SERVANT CHANTER


    The figure looked up, pink eyes glowing faintly against the night.

    To sadness and glory, I am your Servant and you are my Master. I ask of you, what is your name?

    Oh dear, in looks and language, he is as bad as you.

    “My name is Fiore. I have never been anyone’s ‘master’, nor do I intend to start, so disagree with me at your own disclosure.”

    If you truly are the soul closest to our own, then we welcome you on this effort to reverse our self-inflicted misfortune.

    “Heaven can keep its sadness and glory – help me tell a more mundane story, would you?”

    SCENE END


    \(◕___◕)/

  15. #55
    Your Mother Was A Horse DB-L's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    6,080
    Liu Long Mei
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:45 - Night
    Day: April 13th

    It wasn't supposed to be cold tonight, and yet I still fought back shivers with every step I took in this accursed city. Every ounce of my being did not want to be here, but I knew this had to happen sooner or later. That familiar, sickening sense of dread crept its way up from my stomach as I pressed onward. I looked around at the eerie, crystalline monoliths that composed the aptly named, "Crystal City," and I couldn't help but scowl. After that horrible night of Crystal Shards, I didn't want to have anything to do with this deathtrap they call a city.

    And yet, here I am.

    There was one simple lesson I learned on that fateful night: I needed power. If I'm going to end my shame and live up to my duty, then I must get stronger, no matter the risk. Even with the failures in my life, I know that there's still a chance to make things right. It's finally time that I start to truly live and fight for the sake of those I care for. I owe at least that much to Mother...

    Phew

    I paused for a moment to calm my nerves. Within a few practiced breaths, I stopped the shivering in my body. My only consolation was that Lacey quietly proved our theories right just by having Caster at her side. Slowly, but surely, our little Alliance in 1-B is growing in strength. We just might be strong enough one day to prevent a second Night of Crystal Shards. Though I put in my fair share of work, I really have to thank the others for all their help after tonight.

    Satoko coordinated our investigations superbly in spite of her daily demands at ARES. She certainly earned every bit of her rank as the Lieutenant Commander. Lacey also proved to be quite resourceful in tracking down rumors in the Demeter Market and even her own Dorm. And despite his attitude problems, among many other things, Luthor surprised me the most in spearheading the investigations. He isn't so bad once he's properly motivated to do something other than sneer at me.

    I might have even tried this earlier if it weren't for those incidents with Tatsumi. She probably means well, but she honestly doesn't know her own strength. Thanks to her little ambushes, Dao almost won't listen to me anymore. It's either run or spar. Sure, I could use the practice, but I need to find a more efficient way to train. I'll have to organize some kind of formal meeting time with them. Of course, it won't matter if I don't make it back to the Dorm in time. I hope Dao finds that note I left her. She'll be the only one to know that I came here in case-

    !


    This is the place. Lost in my absent thoughts, I nearly walked right into one of the crystal pillars in the glass-like labyrinth. In daylight, it would have been as unremarkable as any other fixture here. Well, it's as unremarkable as can be on a city full of supernatural people fighting a supernatural war. The moonlight showed a reflection that put me on edge for some reason. Something just seemed off about what I saw before me. Then again, that's another confirmation that helped me stay. Still, those glowing eyes really creeped me out.

    "What?!" There was a sudden flash of red on my reflection in the crystal. I thought it might have been some trick of the moonlight, but it persisted even after I moved around. Within seconds, the red light coalesced on the hand in my reflection. I looked down, but there was nothing that corresponded to what I saw on the crystal. Yes, this is it!




    A Command Spell. It's all set now. The only thing left is this number. Wasting no time, I looked down to the arm that had my Red Hare phone strapped on and readied the keypad.

    1212333454

    I took a moment to calm my nerves and return to my practiced breathing rhythm.

    And then I hit dial.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:47 - Night
    Day: April 13th

    The phone rang once.

    It rang twice.

    It rang thrice.

    Finally, a click announced that the line was opened from the other side. No other sound followed it, and the only thing that could be heard was Mei's own breathing. But, slowly, very slowly, the illusion of completely void of sound vanished as the deviation in Mei's breathing made one thing clear: there was another voice on the other end of the line. It had simply been in perfect sync with her own, making it seem that there was only a single source.

    It was an eerie moment, two voices separated and neither one of them speaking. Even the moonlight that had shone so beautifully down to the city of crystals was suddenly blocked by the clouds, covering the area, and Mei with it, in darkness.

    It was then that the voice on the other end of the line spoke.

    "Hello. This is Liu Long Mei."

    Flash of light. The clouds dissipated above Mei's head. The sudden silver light ran across the surface of the crystal before her, blinding the sight momentarily. It was only a split second... and yet, it changed everything.

    Whereas her reflection had previously been standing just like her, the Mei in the crystal was now deviating from the example of her source. The girl in the reflection had crouched down to the ground, huddling her knees and shaking like a leaf in autumn. She was cradling her own version of Red Hare like it had been a floating piece of debris in the middle of a stormy sea. Her face was buried against her legs, and her hair, disheveled and messy, framed her form like a ragged cloak. The hands, squeezing so hard the knuckles were white, moved ever so slightly, revealed a single tear-stained eye staring at Mei for a moment.

    And then... silent sobbing. Almost inaudible sound that echoed from Mei's phone.

    "Why... did you... come?" a voice eerily identical to Mei's, yet not more audible than a whisper, spoke. "Why...? Why...? Why did you... have to come...?"

    It was like a plea mixed with desperation.

    The reflection was nothing like the girl standing before it.

    The truth of it had been revealed by the moonlight.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Liu Long Mei
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:48 - Night
    Day: April 13th

    "It cannot be...t-that's-!"

    I wanted to run. The voice matching my own was enough to chill me, but what I saw nearly sapped my resolve. From what little I heard, I knew that I needed to steel myself for the fight of my life, but nothing could have prepared me for what was reflected in that ghostly crystal. A dull, sickening feeling began to rise from my gut. My reflection's stare felt like a spell unto itself. Slowly, but steadily, I could feel something unraveling within me. All the horrible feelings from twelve years ago began to surface.

    She reminds me too much of myself after that fateful night.

    I want to run, but I know how futile that would be.

    "No, no more running. This day will come whether I want it or not."

    At least I will face it on my on terms.

    I paused for a moment to steady my breath and gather my strength for what awaited me.


    "I've come to face the truth so that I may honor my promise to the family I still have...and the family I once had."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:50 - Night
    Day: April 13th

    A bitter, cynical laugh cut the silent sobbing for a moment that followed after Mei's words. It was as if the words spoken had been the most ridiculous thing the reflection had ever heard. It was in that mordant chuckle that the speaker seemed to make fun of the whole idea behind Mei's reason of arriving to this place, at this time. Same emotions could be momentarily seen crossing the single eye staring at her.

    "What... what ridiculous nonsense... honor... aha... hahaha... most worthless of all causes..." the reflection spitefully whispered. "
    I'd
    You'd
    come here because of such blindness... haha... get out...! Get lost... child."

    Now the whole reflection seemed to shake in the throes of its bitter laughter, one that seemed to have replaced the previous crying. It was an ugly sight of a human being, or something that at least looked like one, throwing all of its pent-up hatred against someone else in a single display of emotion. The ragged figure that somewhat resembled Mei kept silently chuckling, acid seeping into every sound it let out.

    "There is no truth for
    me
    you
    here, there never was...!" the reflection suddenly hissed, tears once again streaming from the single visible eye. "After all, how could there... no... there could not...! Just emptiness and memories, just the past... just
    my
    your
    chain that tightens around
    my
    your
    neck every day. It's there, always... always... the harsh reality that binds
    me
    you
    ... the taste of iron in
    my
    your
    mouth... and what
    I
    you
    can never take back..."

    Slowly rocking itself back and forth, the reflection was now clutching the phone as hard as it could, and it seemed like it could break the thing at any second. The whole mirror image was like a coiled spring ready to jump, a lighted fuse almost at its end... and the single eye it looked with was solely focused on the girl looking back at it.

    And that eye was full of wrath.

    "... Because they deserved it."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Liu Long Mei
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:51 - Night
    Day: April 13th


    I took a step back before I even realized what I had done. The words from that wretched reflection struck me as if it had actually reached out to attack. Everything in my body screamed at me to run, to reject the horror that confronted me at this very moment. A cold, sinking feeling began to well up from my belly. I was tempted to run.

    ...because she spoke the truth.

    And yet, I somehow stood my ground. I've had more than a decade to run from my past. Nothing will change if I run one more time. Despite the fear that tugged at my mind, my resolve was not broken.

    If she is who I think she is, then her truth is not complete.

    "You're right. There can be no honor for a failure such as me. I was just a child who refused to grow up, and my family paid the price for it in the end. They died because I was a foolish little girl who couldn't see the consequences of her actions. Emotions ruled in place of reason. However..." I adjusted my stance. What appeared to be a retreating step turned into a bracing posture. "Here is where you're wrong. What I felt and what I should have done were completely different! There were a wicked few, I knew that for certain, but innocent people died along with the wicked! I have no idea why Ben brought me back from the brink of death, but I know he still believes in me. If he could still see some good in me, then I am willing to live on with the weight of these sins."
    Last edited by DB-L; April 20th, 2014 at 06:11 PM.

  16. #56
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:52 - Night
    Day: April 13th

    "You're right. There can be no honor for a failure such as me. I was just a child who refused to grow up, and my family paid the price for it in the end. They died because I was a foolish little girl who couldn't see the consequences of her actions. Emotions ruled in place of reason. However... Here is where you're wrong. What I felt and what I should have done were completely different! There were a wicked few, I knew that for certain, but innocent people died along with the wicked! I have no idea why Ben brought me back from the brink of death, but I know he still believes in me. If he could still see some good in me, then I am willing to live on with the weight of these sins."
    "............................................ No."

    The reflection's words were like a bitter sword driven through Mei. The hatred inside they glaring at the girl had now reached its peak, and it was past the boiling point. The whole area seemed to rumble, and light cracks appeared on the surface of the crystal storing the mirror image. Gnashing its teeth together, the reflection drew blood by digging its own nails into its own skin.

    "Innocent? Don't make
    you
    me
    laugh. There was not a single... innocent... soul... amongst them," the reflection hissed and spat. "All of them, usurpers and betrayers, fools and tyrants, sadists and deviants.... yes... hahahaha... that's right, isn't it?
    I
    You
    know it... how they all deserved their fate. Those who survived, did only so because of luck... ahahaha... Yes. Every single one of them... should have been painted red."

    There was a loud sound of impact as the reflection struck its hands against the surface of the crystal. Like a mad beast, it groveled on the ground, trying to get up. The breathing was ragged, the eyes bloodshot, the tongue hungering for carnage. It was a terrible sight to behold, like an incarnation of slaughter forming from a mirror before Mei.

    "They, and so many more, deserved their fate...! They should have... they should have..."

    The reflection grasped for air, desperately. The teeth grew into fangs, and the once beautiful, now ruined, hair started growing before Mei's eyes. Like a snake it slithered into the distance, becoming something akin to a tail of a god-beast that trailed behind the reflection. The head of the mirror image jerked upwards, and the single eye of hatred was now burning red, boring a hole through Mei's soul.

    "THEY SHOULD HAVE ALL DIED!!!"

    The scream of a mad beast echoed in the Crystal City.

    With the screech that was unlike anything a human should have been able to produce, the crystal shattered into million fragments. The sheer force of the reflection's voice had destroyed the barrier between it an its original, releasing the monster from its cage. There, it stood on four limbs, like a wounded animal. Golden fur grew all around its body, covering the once milky-white skin. Jutting pieces of debris, both wood and metal, grew from its body as if to make it a mix between a beast and a siege weapon. The fangs in its mouth hungered for flesh, and the claw-like nails continued to grow into monstrous proportions. Bones creaked as they switched they arrangement, becoming more accustomed to moving on four legs.

    What stood before Mei now was no longer human; It was a beast-god released from her nightmares, a far cry of the kind girl it was supposedly a reflection of.

    “I think, therefore I am. My thoughts are myself, therefore my existence is me.”

    It was a growl of something inhumane.

    -------------------------------------
    Liu Long Mei vs. DASEIN: Mei

    Call of thy soul raised a legend
    Reflection of victor only in crystals of thy anima
    Yes, this is fight or fall
    Let this be a battle of the death of thyself
    Battle, BEGIN!

    Mei –AGI C- vs. D: Mei –AGI A-
    TURN 1: DASEIN: Mei
    -------------------------------------

    The ground beneath the reflection's feed exploded, destroyed by the sheer force of the jump it performed. Like a bullet, it sped towards Mei, the claws in its front legs hungrily reached out for her. The red eye was locked in its original, promising death and carnage with all of the strength the reflection could muster. With it, it bought air of slaughter and blood, sickening taste of copper filling the air. Its mouth was opened wide, revealing the fangs that could have punched through steel. They were aiming for Mei's neck while the claws were about to rip her apart from the waist.

    It was an attack of sheer force and malice, one not bound by any technique or skill. Just animal-like instincts and hunger for flesh. Mad monster released, ready to destroy anything set before it.

    And the target now was Liu Long Mei.

  17. #57
    Your Mother Was A Horse DB-L's Avatar
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    6,080
    Liu Long Mei
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:54 - Night
    Day: April 13th

    Quote Originally Posted by Verg Avesta View Post

    "............................................ No."

    "Innocent? Don't make
    you
    me
    laugh. There was not a single... innocent... soul... amongst them," the reflection hissed and spat. "All of them, usurpers and betrayers, fools and tyrants, sadists and deviants.... yes... hahahaha... that's right, isn't it?
    I
    You
    know it... how they all deserved their fate. Those who survived, did only so because of luck... ahahaha... Yes. Every single one of them... should have been painted red."

    She is everything that went wrong with me. Every single word coming out of her mouth was like a glimpse into my head during that fateful day. I didn't listen as much as I felt her hateful tirade pouring out of that crystal. All those emotions I once buried have now returned full force. The rage, the obsession, the delirium of that self-righteous attitude...I was so sure of myself back then. Looking back on it, I could see what a nightmare I truly was.

    And as if to answer to thoughts, the reflection in the crystal began to deform. Each successive word broke down the facade of the girl she was supposed to represent. In the end, I stared into the eyes of the monster within. She battered the crystal layer like a blood-lusted animal. Each strike resonated with the fury of that fateful night so long ago.

    I flexed my knuckles in anticipation for what was to come.

    Quote Originally Posted by Verg Avesta View Post
    "They, and so many more, deserved their fate...! They should have... they should have..."

    "THEY SHOULD HAVE ALL DIED!!!"
    I was already in motion before the crystal shattered between us. The blast threw more shrapnel than I thought, but I rolled away low enough to avoid any serious harm. When I got up, the "reflection" no longer resembled anything like a human. The beast within was finally here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Verg Avesta View Post

    “I think, therefore I am. My thoughts are myself, therefore my existence is me.”

    "Who is the child now?" I spat back at the nightmarish creature that charged at me.

    Like an uncontrollable lion, it lunged for both my throat and my waist, intending on tearing me apart. I quickly gauged the space behind me. There was enough open space for what I had planned. Prana instantaneously welled up in my hands as I brought my counterattack to bear. Unlike my previous discharges, this one was intentionally left with less control.

    There was a brief silence that would have been broken by a crickets if there were any in this city.

    The beast was met with a wall-like explosion as I fired a wide blast to stop its teeth and claws. My body was flung backwards from the intentional recoil of my attack as the "reflection" ate a face full of destructive prana. With practiced grace, I twisted and rolled to a relatively safe landing, ready for whatever my opponent had next.


    " 'They should have all died'? That's nothing more than the petty grudge of a spoiled princess who shut everyone out! What right did I have to end their lives? Where would it end? I never tried to understand any one of them! I was so obsessed with my own little vengeance that I couldn't even notice the ones who loved me!"


    Wise up!

    AGI: C
    CAS: A
    PRA: A

    Sorcery Trait: Spiritual Dexterity, False Dragon's BloodThis manifests as unique skills with one's Inner Channels. However, this trait borders on Innate Ability as it tends to vary depending on the user. In the Siu Han Family, this diverse trait ranged from powerful Mystic/Pure Eyes to malleable Magic Circuits that could store unprecedented amounts of prana.

    For Mei, this trait manifests in the manipulation and output of her Circuits. She is able to fire jets of destructive prana, mana, or Od from her body depending on her output. These range from breathing hot prana to jet-propelled strikes to firing prana blasts from her limbs. Observers may see these jets as strangely colored lights or Chi, leading to some to say that she “punches fireworks, kicks rainbows, and breaths sunshine and happiness.” Eastern observers have taken to naming this specific Trait as “False Dragon's Blood” after the “Noble Blood” Circuits of the ruling families. Individual projectile or object-charged attacks carry the same cost as a similarly ranked spell.

    Prana Blast (Noisy Cricket): B-rank
    - A simple B-rank blast of destructive prana with no regard for recoil control, propelling the user back with explosive force.

  18. #58
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:54 - Night
    Day: April 13th
    Turn: 3

    "'They should have all died'? That's nothing more than the petty grudge of a spoiled princess who shut everyone out! What right did I have to end their lives? Where would it end? I never tried to understand any one of them! I was so obsessed with my own little vengeance that I couldn't even notice the ones who loved me!"
    The explosion rattled the area, going off like a guided missile and engulfing the spot of discharge into a fountain of dust and rubble. Mei had managed to get away from the blast radius and stop the attack of the reflection in its tracks, but the monster like presence did not fade. Instead, from within the ashen cloud, a red eye, like a marksman's sight aimed straight at the girl's throat, shone with enough light to pierce the darkness. The beast was far from defeated; no, it was only getting started.

    "TheRe was NotHing to nOticE! nOBody to cAre abOUt!" the distorted voice of the reflection growled. "WhAt truLy maTtErs is my oWN feelINgs! My REvenge! mY rAGe! WhAT imPoRTance aRE the weaK aNd thE fooLISh!? ThEir lIVes, sNufFed by MY wiLL anD RighT, aRe of NO coNCern tO me!"

    The hand, with its muscles bulging and claws tearing the air, swiped through the cloud, creating enough wind pressure to completely destroy the cloak that hid the reflection. Standing on all fours like an animal, it directed its sneering, hateful expression and Mei and bared its teeth. Prana rumbled around the creature like it had been a physical aura, twisting and mangling the air like a school of piranhas. Even the act of taking in magical energy became something twisted in the hands of the reflection, selfishly hoarding the energy to itself like a ravenous monster.

    "ThIS liFe is miNE And mIne alOnE! tHE fAtes of otHErS arE liKE dUst In THe wINd! InCONseQueNTIAL anD unABLe to TOuch ME!" the reflection roared, the wood and metal in its body groaning from the strain of the attack prepared. "OnLY thiNG tHAt matterS is... mY deSIreS!"

    Jumping into the air with a pounce that covered the distance between the two instantly, the reflection spun around in the air and brought down its hands like they had been hammers thundering upon the dome of sky. Drawing a sinister arc in the air above Mei, the claws of the beast tore through the night, emitting the magical energy like they had been nuclear reactors cut in half. As they ripped apart the veil of common sense, they claws revealed a searing hot, blindingly white world from the beyond, like staring into the heart of the sun itself. It was pure light, so bright it was impossible to look upon without going blind. Gouging with her nails, the reflection dragged this flaring luminosity with it, bringing it down upon Mei.

    And as the creature released the attack, it fell down towards the girl with a sound comparable to the rocket boosters of a space shuttle.

    A cascade of inextinguishable light approached.


    Wise Up!
    Name: DASEIN: Mei
    Alignment:
    Truth

    STR:
    B
    END:
    B
    AGI:
    A
    CAS:
    C (S)
    PRA:
    C (S)

    Perks
    Sorcery Trait: Sanbao Destruction
    The capacity of forcefully extracting prana from the surroundings, accelerating it within ones body, and then releasing it through the extremities of one's body, ripping apart the physical world momentarily to bring forth attacks of pure magical energy. To an observer, this comes across as emitting searing, pure light from one's extremities, too painful to look at straight. It has been described to make the user look like a pulsar of hellfire, dancing through the battlefield. In that sense, can be likened to a vapor trail of a meteor entering earth's atmosphere or a space rocket leaving the said atmosphere. As this trait is nothing but making magical energy physical and malleable, accelerating it within one's body to extreme heights, and then jettisoning it through one's body, it is, despite it's appearance, a purely physical attack. The physical prana is rammed against the opponent with the kinetic energy equal to small meteor directly hitting the earth's surface, dealing B-rank (S) damage.

  19. #59
    Your Mother Was A Horse DB-L's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
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    Liu Long Mei
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:55 - Night
    Day: April 13th
    Turn: 4



    The smoke cleared and my foe remained unscathed. Of course it wouldn't be as simple as that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Verg Avesta View Post
    "TheRe was NotHing to nOticE! nOBody to cAre abOUt! WhAt truLy maTtErs is my oWN feelINgs! My REvenge! mY rAGe! WhAT imPoRTance aRE the weaK aNd thE fooLISh!? ThEir lIVes, sNufFed by MY wiLL anD RighT, aRe of NO coNCern tO me!"
    "There was nothing to notice because I never listened in the first place! I never once considered how the others felt, let alone what they truly intended! I deluded myself into thinking that my brothers would handle all the duties of the family so that I would pursue my own selfish interests. Even when that responsibility was thrown upon me, I threw everything away just for a petty vengeance. Everyone depended on me and I couldn't even realize that!"

    The air thickened with an unsettling rumble as my enemy drew upon the environment itself for energy. I felt a sickening, prickling sensation surge throughout my body as my mystic channels reacted to the unnatural sight before me. The 'beast' snarled and tore at the air around it, consuming shreds of mana as though it were ripping into the life of the planet itself. It was a suitable sight, I suppose. At least, it was the sight I deserved. The crimes I committed that day weren't so different.

    There was a brief pause in the rush of prana. My shadow self strained and prepared to pounce. If it was a true representation of what I was, then the next attack won't be so easy to avoid. I lowered my stance and limbered my legs in anticipation for what was to come. The sparks of prana emanating from my shadowy self resonated with the mental sparks of my internal world as I gathered prana within my body.

    "Here it comes."


    Quote Originally Posted by Verg Avesta View Post
    "ThIS liFe is miNE And mIne alOnE! tHE fAtes of otHErS arE liKE dUst In THe wINd! InCONseQueNTIAL anD unABLe to TOuch ME! OnLY thiNG tHAt matterS is... mY deSIreS!"
    "Bright! Too bright!"

    I reflexively brought up an arm to shield my eyes as the monster attacked with more force than I could hope to match. However, the sheer mass of the attack and its earlier motions gave me enough time to act. With a quick pivot, I turned away from the meteoric strike and released all the pent-up prana in my back and limbs. The small, but concentrated burst of my own evasive maneuver served as a stark contrast to the sheer violence of the shadow beast's onslaught. A screaming rush of air and prana assaulted my senses as I burned away from the explosion that threatened to consume me.


    But it wasn't enough.


    "Aaah!"

    I let out a small yelp of pain as I felt the overbearing flames bite into my back. Even the backblast from my prana surge was not enough to counterract the explosion's sheer size. Fortunately, the heat had already peaked and faded as I put more distance between me and my foe. After a few more meters, I finally relented and ended my escape with a clumsy roll that sent further pinpricks of pain rolling up my back. A few beads of sweat rolled down my cheek as my disciplined breath briefly broke rhythm from the pain. There was smoke, but luckily no fire. I risked a glance and saw that my upper back was singed almost like Syouko's during her encounter with Luthor. At least that can be healed later.

    The beast would likely charge at me again, and I needed every moment to focus on the battle. I grit my teeth and did my best to bear the pain as I raised my hands to prepare for the next attack. Prana came rushing back, coating my whole body in a reactive sheath.

    Despite my predicament, I couldn't help but reflect upon my shadow self's words. Her voice seemed to crack as she started to lose articulation with her growing rage. It wasn't too far from the painful truth of that fateful night. I dug deep inside and forced myself to look at not only the monster, but the troubled girl within that nightmarish shell. Nothing could have stopped me from getting that last bit of retribution. No words reached me until it was all over, and all that remained were ashes.

    Even so...

    "If my desires were the only thing that mattered, then why did I feel so empty in the end? I got what I wanted, and then I wanted nothing more than to die. There was nothing left when I slaughtered all those 'villains.' You said it yourself! Only emptiness was my reward. My own petty desires brought nothing but pain and loss! If only-" I clenched fists as I stared into that beast's rabid eyes. "-if only I had listened. If only I considered how the others felt as I made them suffer for my own mistakes. Even now, I fail to empathize with my own little brother. We grew up together, I and only saw him for his skills. I never thought about how much I burdened him when I threw my obligations upon him. He had every right to resent me, and yet he forgave me. And after all these years, I still can't see his true feelings. It's sad, isn't it? I focused on myself for so long that I barely even know my own brother."


    Wise Up!
    Name: Liu Long Mei

    STR:
    E
    END:
    D -> A
    AGI:
    C -> A
    CAS: A

    PRA:
    A
    Sorcery Trait: Spiritual Dexterity, False Dragon's BloodThis manifests as unique skills with one's Inner Channels. However, this trait borders on Innate Ability as it tends to vary depending on the user. In the Siu Han Family, this diverse trait ranged from powerful Mystic/Pure Eyes to malleable Magic Circuits that could store unprecedented amounts of prana.

    For Mei, this trait manifests in the manipulation and output of her Circuits. She is able to fire jets of destructive prana, mana, or Od from her body depending on her output. These range from breathing hot prana to jet-propelled strikes to firing prana blasts from her limbs. Observers may see these jets as strangely colored lights or Qi, leading to some to say that she “punches fireworks, kicks rainbows, and breaths sunshine and happiness.” Eastern observers have taken to naming this specific Trait as “False Dragon's Blood” after the “Noble Blood” Circuits of the ruling families.

    Individual projectile or object-charged attacks carry the same cost as a similarly ranked spell. F
    or 20 units [1/3 the cost of C-rank Spell], a single attribute can be boosted as far as A-rank momentarily. Boosting to A-rank will last for 2 turns, B for 3, C for 4, and so on for a single attribute. And for 30 units [1/2 cost of C-rank Spell], two attributes can be boosted up to A-rank for similar durations.

  20. #60
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    70
    Location: Crystal City
    Time: 23:56 - Night
    Day: April 13th
    Turn: 5

    "If my desires were the only thing that mattered, then why did I feel so empty in the end? I got what I wanted, and then I wanted nothing more than to die. There was nothing left when I slaughtered all those 'villains.' You said it yourself! Only emptiness was my reward. My own petty desires brought nothing but pain and loss! If only... if only I had listened. If only I considered how the others felt as I made them suffer for my own mistakes. Even now, I fail to empathize with my own little brother. We grew up together, I and only saw him for his skills. I never thought about how much I burdened him when I threw my obligations upon him. He had every right to resent me, and yet he forgave me. And after all these years, I still can't see his true feelings. It's sad, isn't it? I focused on myself for so long that I barely even know my own brother."
    "OTheRs... OHtErsSOtHeRsoTHERsOThErS!" the beast growled with immeasurable spite, spitting out vile words out of pure malice. "MaGGOts! InCOnSeQUENTiAL loW-BreEDS! FOr mySELf, thE ONLy sOul imPOrtAnt... iS my OWn!"

    The mad eye flashed bright. Prana screamed like a dying beast of prehistoric age, like a colossus of rock and fur, driven to the point of annihilation. It was such a crude way of utilizing magecraft, it would have sickened any magus who saw or even felt it. But for this creature... for this monster born out of Liu Long Mei's reflection, it was something as natural as breathing.

    And that, in itself, was enough to induce primal fear.

    Space warped. The ground under Mei groaned as suddenly, the air itself felt as heavy as a mountain placed upon the girl's shoulders. Her body seemed to be anchored on-spot, her flesh and bones suddenly pulling towards the asphalt under her. Steel and concrete cracked under the pressure, indicating that this change was not only happening in Mei, but her immediate surroundings, too. The only thing it did not seem to affect was the laughing mad monster in Mei's vision, the warped reflection filled with morbid rage. Sharp teeth hungrily gnawed the air, and the long tongue whisked back and forth like that of a snake. And all the while, a purple glow, emanating from the sky above the two combatants, seemed to shower Mei with its unearthly aura, binding her to the ground with chains of gravity.

    "AS tO whAt CoMEs to yOUr nAiVe cLaimE... a bRoTHER? Was THEre somEThinG liKe ThaT?" the monster continued, tasting the word. Then, rage twisted its horrible visage. "If theRE wAs... HIS FOrgIVENeSS wAS aSHes iN tHE wInd! I neeD No suCh tHIng fRoM piTIfuL noBoDIEs sUCh As hIM! ThE ONly onE thaT maTTeRS is... ME!"

    Then, reaching for the stars with its claw, the reflection watched the ascension of... something from the heavens. It was a perfect sphere, purple and black with ever-switching colors, calm and clear on its surface like unblemished metal. But, it still held the aura of a liquid. As it reached the monster, the reflection let out a growl that made the ground shook, and shoved her right hand into the sphere. It slid into the ball of unknown substance like a rock into a tranquil lake, causing nary a ripple. Then, with a beastly snarl, the reflection took a step forward and started dragging the sphere after it. It seemed nigh impossible to move, as if some unimaginable force had been stored within it, but inch by inch, the creature managed to move the sphere.

    It was like watching a string of a bow, slowly stretching to its utmost limit. And when that limit would be reached... the fingers would let go, shooting the projectile with air-breaking velocity towards Mei, the target.

    "... onLY... ME!" the reflection roared.


    Wise Up!
    Name: DASEIN: Mei
    Alignment:
    Truth

    STR:
    B
    END:
    B
    AGI:
    A
    CAS:
    C (S)
    PRA:
    C (S)

    Perks
    Sorcery Trait: Sanbao Destruction
    The capacity of forcefully extracting prana from the surroundings, accelerating it within ones body, and then releasing it through the extremities of one's body, ripping apart the physical world momentarily to bring forth attacks of pure magical energy. To an observer, this comes across as emitting searing, pure light from one's extremities, too painful to look at straight. It has been described to make the user look like a pulsar of hellfire, dancing through the battlefield. In that sense, can be likened to a vapor trail of a meteor entering earth's atmosphere or a space rocket leaving the said atmosphere. As this trait is nothing but making magical energy physical and malleable, accelerating it within one's body to extreme heights, and then jettisoning it through one's body, it is, despite it's appearance, a purely physical attack. The physical prana is rammed against the opponent with the kinetic energy equal to small meteor directly hitting the earth's surface, dealing B-rank (S) damage.

    Spells

    Art of Terrene Imprisonment
    Rank A

    An aura of purple energy, generated by release of prana from the caster's body through magic circuits actualized as flesh. It is projected above the battle ground, and it traps all but the caster into a moving field that detains their movement through increased gravity. The gravity that is standard to planet earth is quadrupled in the field released, stopping any and all movement of human beings. Unremarkable humans are soon killed through extreme case of cerebrovascular accident. Those with powers are not killed, but unless their physical capabilities are counted as above mortals, they will be completely immobilized.

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