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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4561
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "I... Okay."

    For a moment, Tris leaned into the hand, as if desperate for that warmth... but then she nodded, understanding the point Liana was trying to make. She adjusted the sword on her back, fixed the hood of her cloak and turned around, starting towards the door. As she walked, she passed by Dorothy, who flashed a brief smile. Then, with the door opening and closing one last time, the knightess was gone, leaving only the girl and the old fae to stand there in the rain.

    Dr. Canseliet glanced towards the rainy skies, narrowed her eyes and clicked her tongue.

    Almost like gazing upon an annoying relative.

    "Damn that lout, riding to battle so brashly," the fae said and showed a humorless smile. "As below, so above... or something like that?"

    The words she spoke were muttered more to herself than to Liana. However, afterwards, she motioned the girl to come closer, under the awning of the house. Once she had gotten to some shelter from the rain, Dorothy took a moment to eye Liana up and down, almost like she was inspecting the human for any damage. And she most likely was. Those trained, inhuman eyes were looking deeper than just her bodily changes, and seemed to understand much more than they let on.

    Finally, after good minute or two of silence, Dorothy closed her eyes and leaned back, letting out a quiet sigh.

    "... The touch of Ginnungagap upon you is strong. Either you've held a shard of it in your hand, or you've let your thoughts be infested by it. Though... perhaps it did not come alone," Dorothy mused quietly, rubbing her chin with her sleeved hand. "Rather, it rode upon the shoulders of a malicious fylgja of sorts, one which you accepted by not accepting it. You opposed it too vehemently, child, to the point of allowing the thought within your mind."

    Another sigh, this one much more like that of an exasperated adult.

    "Be glad you seem to be protected by a 'fylgja' much more well-meaning. Were it not for their presence in your mind, I've no doubt you'd be seeing shadows everywhere by this point..." The fae continued, before narrowing her eyes. "... Or perhaps an actual, physical manifestation. A thoughtform made real. Truly..."

    With some sad amusement in her eye, Dorothy suddenly moved forward, and laid a sleeved hand atop of Liana's shoulder.

    "... Truly you are as stubborn as your mother."

    Said so with a hint of sorrow.




    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    Did...

    Did the gigantic serpent just smirk?

    It definitely did, didn't it?

    Those primordial eyes were as unknown and untouchable as ever, but those monstrous jaws, definitely, absolutely, turned into a darkly amused smirk for just a moment there. What an absolutely bizarre human emotion for such a manifestation to show... and what was even worse, it was definitely because of Prushka's words. It was like the creature was actually enjoying watching her awkward response to it all!


    NO. I DO NOT THINK I SHALL.


    The creature's booming, soundless voice answered.


    I AM AN INDENIABLE PART OF HIM. WHATEVER QUESTIONS I MAY HAVE OF HIM, I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER. MY SOURCE OF CURIOSITY LIES SOLELY WITHIN YOU, AND THE REASONS YOU WOULD GO AS FAR AS TO INVADE THIS SPACE IN A MANNER SUCH AS THIS.


    It seemed that even the manifestation of the instincts and the brainwashing, the undoubted venom, acknowledged what a massive overkill this combination of abilities had been. Though it did not seem disappointed by it - the exact opposite, actually.


    BESIDES...


    Wait.

    Now the smirk was back.


    ... IS IT NOT ONE OF THE JOYS OF YOUTH TO FIND THE TRUTH OF SUCH QUESTIONS YOURSELF? TO FRET AND FUSS OVER WHETHER YOUR FEELINGS ARE RETURNED OR NOT? NO, I THINK I SHALL NOT SPOIL THE SURPRISE FOR YOU. WERE I TO DO SO, WELL... WOULD A VICTORY THEN BE AS SWEET?


    Yeah, it was definitely smirking.

    ... Could a manifestation of instincts be actually making fun of her, in a way?

    And a big serpent at that?


    STILL...


    The serpent grew more serious once more, and it's massive head pushed closer - close enough that Prushka could practically touch it. Those massive eyes where within lied inhuman wisdom of the most potent kind, the most dangerous kind, reflected her own face back at her. And in the eyes of her reflection, she could see the reflection of the serpent... and so forth, and so forth.

    Like an eternal loop of sorts.


    YOU WOULD TAKE HIS DIRECTION ON PURPOSE THEN? TO LEAVE HIM WITHOUT A PATH, WITHOUT A REASON... BECAUSE YOU FEEL THAT IS FOR THE BEST? A LIFE LED IN UNCERTAINTY, WITHOUT KNOWING THE RIGHT ANSWERS TO THINGS PERTAINING TO YOURSELF? YOU WOULD SET THE CAPACITY TO FAIL TO BE AS IMPORTANT AS THAT TO SUCCEED? AND MORE IMPORTANTLY...


    The serpent narrowed its eyes.


    ... YOU WOULD NOT GUIDE HIM EITHER? ONLY STAND BY HIM. AND HAVE OTHERS DO THE SAME? EVEN IF MEANT THAT HIS RAGE MAY TURN ON ONES YOU CARE ABOUT? EVEN IF IT MIGHT TURN ON YOU?

    YOU WOULD STILL LET HIM MAKE HIS OWN CHOICES? NOT GRIP THE DARKNESS WITHIN HIM IN MY STEAD, BUT RATHER...


    The monster paused.


    ... ALLOW IT TO BE FREE?





    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---


    NOT PERFECTION...


    The serpent tasted the words, the idea, the concept.


    ... BUT COMPLETION.


    And seemed to find it satisfying.

    The huge head tilted to the side slightly, allowing one of it's eyes to stare straight at Hisa. In it, she could see her current form reflected back at her. Not her usual self. Not the scars, or the downcast eyes, or the presence which tended to like to be left alone. No, instead she saw her face only marred by the cut on her cheek, her eyes pure and straightforward, refusing to back down. She saw that her back had become straight and strong during her words, and her clothes - changed by her odic energies - had flared up like a royal regalia.

    In a sense, it was a far cry from how she usually presented herself. But at the same time, it did not feel strange at all.

    Rather, this too was what Hisa Momoi was.


    TO TAME THAT DARKNESS IS A TASK NEVER-ENDING. EACH AND EVERY HUMAN HEART HIDES WITHIN THEM ONE JUST LIKE IT. AND EACH AND EVERY HEART HAS A SERPENT, JUST LIKE, COILING AROUND THAT DARKNESS - HOLDING A FIRM GRIP OF IT. EVEN YOURS. IT MAY NOT BE AS LITERAL AS YOU HAVE MANIFESTED HERE, BUT BELIEVE ME, IT DOES EXIST.


    The manifestation spoke with that booming, soundless voice of it.


    SO, TO ACCEPT ANOTHER DESPITE THEIR DARKNESS, TO UNDERSTAND IT IS ONLY ONE FACET OF THEM, AND HOPE THAT IT CAN BE OVERCOME AND TURNED INTO MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING... WELL.



    A smile-of-sorts formed on the serpentine face.


    I DO HOPE THAT HE IS NOT THE ONLY ONE YOU OFFER SUCH CHANCE TO, ON ACCOUNT OF YOUR HEART.


    Was it warning her? No, it was neither warning nor admonishment. Rather, it almost sounded like the thing was... hoping for it? That it saw it's own suggestion as th emost interesting outcome in all of this? Something to that extent, perhaps.


    FEAR GIVES BIRTH TO COURAGE, YET COURAGE IS WHAT ALLOWS FEAR TO EXIST. TRULY, YOU ARE RIGHT. THEY ARE THE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN. JUST LIKE EVERYTHING IN THIS LIFE. IN THE END, DARKNESS GIVES BIRTH TO LIGHT, AND LIGHT GIVES BIRTH TO SHADOWS. THE DUALITY OF THIS WORLD IS NEVER-ENDING, AND EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, YOU MAY FIND EXAMPLES OF IT.


    The massive serpent blinked, slowly.


    ... SO, KNOWING THAT, REMEMBER THIS. IF YOU WISH TO EASE HIS SUFFERING, DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF TO SUFFER IN HIS STEAD. DO NOT LET HIS PAIN GIVE A BIRTH TO A PAIN OF YOUR OWN. THERE IS TOO MUCH PAIN AROUND ALL OF YOU ALREADY.


    A low, rumbling sound echoed in the cosmos.


    A GREAT SUFFERING REPEATS, FOR THE SAKE OF SAVING PEOPLE FROM EVEN GREATER GRIEF AND PAIN. A BOXED GARDEN THAT MAY HAVE BEEN STOLEN BY OTHERS FOR THEIR PURPOSES, ONES VERY SIMILAR TO THOSE WHO CREATED ME... BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, HISA MOMOI.


    The snake, for the first time, mentioned her by the name. And it narrowed those massive eyes.


    ORIGINALLY, AND EVEN NOW, UNDERNEATH IT ALL, THE TRUE REASON... I FEEL THAT IT WAS TO END A GRAND SUFFERING THAT HAS LASTED FOR DECADES.

  2. #4562
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "...Sorry."

    Sensing a hint of genuine sorrow from the older woman, Liana instinctively apologizes for causing it.

    "Codes of Chivalry... The bloodline holds those sorts of values dear, no matter how far from Brécilien we've wandered nowadays..."

    Naturally she would reject the existence of such a malicious creature, something that preys on the weak and defenseless, haunting and hurting them inside of a space where they can't even hope to run or hide and where even the powers of the Turnside didn't seem capable of turning the tides. It was a cowardly sort of evil, one that had poked and prodded at her sense of justice until ignoring it in the moment had become next to impossible, and now, just as it's cowardly nature dictated, it seems it really had intruded in her mindscape...

    "There's enough pain in this World already... Something that does nothing but try to cause more... Is hard to ignore..."

    She looks down at her hand, phantom image of the poison knife flashing across the surface of her eyes for a moment. It had seemed like such a small thing, harmless in the grand scheme, a way of trying to understand why exactly Nora had been driven to such a bizarre state when she had seemed so stable earlier in the week...

    I guess I did figure it out...

    "...So it was probably both things, the thoughts and the shard I mean."

    She explains slowly, her features tired and -for a moment- surprised at the fact that the fae had touched her voluntarily. It hadn't been a touch she had been expecting, her body freezing up at the contact as a wave of confusion goes through her, a rare flicker of true weakness that she doesn't know what to do with, that catches her breath in her throat and stops her explanations for a time, but...

    "..."

    While a part of her had felt an undeniable wish for a more maternal gesture, she was thankful for even that much concern from the fae.

    Dorothy wasn't really the hugging type, much as she might secretly wish she was...

    "We were attacked last night, by someone trying to spread the shadow's influence around, make everyone at the club see it." She admits, seeing no use in not explaining exactly what had happened to her. "I don't know how they were doing it exactly, whether it was some sort of black technology or ESP, but we caught her near the end of the night and when it was all over she dropped a... Weird black knife..."

    A memory of the moment flashes across her vision, of onxy blade coming at her as if from nowhere, something that she had thought was just an assassination attempt at the time...

    Looking a bit more nefarious in retrospect.

    "She tried to stab me with it... If it was this Ginnungagap shard... I guess the intent was more to poison my mind than kill me..."

    A momentously cruel act.

    "She didn't actually manage to do it thanks to Thorne. But like an idiot, I picked up the knife later to examine it. Kept it on me for awhile until I... Saw a shadow no one else could see, not even other me. At that point I realized something was wrong and got rid of it, but..."

    She flexes her hand again slowly, voice lacking it's usual energy now that there's no one around to really put up the invincible face for...

    "You're right though...I need to remember to thank Muse. If it's a fylgja protecting me... It sounds like she blocked the brunt of it."

    Nora not having a Muse explains how quickly she succumbed to the shadow, but... If they're both fylgja...

    What is Dot really...?


    She frowns, then softly, after a moment's contemplation and with the same exhausted voice of someone who's been battered by the World-

    "So am I dangerous?"

    -asks the obvious question to the fae.

    The haunting one.

    "I don't have the knife anymore, but it sounds like the Yawning Void is clinging to me... I'd be both a poor knightess and a bad niece if I let any of you guys get hurt on my behalf, so..."

    She looks towards the house, towards the friends she can no longer see, the people she has a duty to protect, and...

    Closes her eyes.

    "I'll stay away if that's what's best for everyone."
    Last edited by Airen; May 7th, 2022 at 05:12 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

  3. #4563
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm



    “I would request not to lay the blame of me, Hwan Bin,” promptly retorts John, making his presence known as the Korean ends his little monologue. “If you believe Souma’s behavior and words to be worthy of attention, then follow that thought. There was no need to concern yourself with me; the current crisis is by far the primary issue.”

    He nods, both to himself and to the boys in front of him.

    “You know in what direction he went? If you think we can catch up, then we’re going after him. Anything that catches that guy’s attention is worth looking at, if only to make sure he doesn’t get us into further trouble. If you think it’s no longer feasible to catch up to him, though, we should then resume our original plan. Whatever the case, you can tell me on the way if you tried looking into Inacio’s room. With that said…”

    Only then does he take a moment to acknowledge the two ladies also present.

    “Good evening, Lucille, and Stranger-Who-Feels-Somehow-Familiar,” he greets. An acquaintance of Xylia’s, perhaps? “In the current circumstances, I can only say I am glad you are well.”

    Perhaps not wholly accustomed to natural facial expressions just yet, John’s jaw tightens even as his gaze softens upon resting on the fair blonde.

    “I got the gist of what happened last night from Elaine and Kean here. Thank you for your hard work, Lucille. Thank you for enduring. I do not know the details of your connection to that vengeful spirit, but…please remember that the past should exist only to push you forward, not to hold you still in an intangible grasp.”

    She can—no, she should be better than himself. Everybody there should.

    “Faith—either in a higher power, or in yourself—is not meant to be perfect and unfaltering. No, it is something to be questioned and challenged every day, to thus build upon it, so it may become strong and invigorating. This I say as one who has lived in blind faith, wandering in the dark, for all of ten years.”

    He shoots an urging glance to the boys, wordlessly indicating that it is time to go in whatever direction they deem most feasible. He does have one more thing to say, this time to both women.

    “I don’t know who you are, Miss, but if you are not Lucille’s enemy, then please take care of her. Please take care of each other.”

    He is not asking them to be friends, to hold hands and sing kumbaya. Only to do what is right, in the current circumstances. Shouldn’t be too much asking, but he just came back from an enlightening conversation with Xylia Pheme, so there goes that thought.

  4. #4564
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---


    "Uuuuuu..."

    Am I being teased here? By the literal manifestation of Ahti's doubts and fears? By a serpent the size of a skyscraper?

    Ahtiiiiiiiii! This is your fault somehow!

    "H-hmph. It's n-not like I wanted to hear it from a big scaly lug like you anyway!"

    Right! I'll just make Ahti himself say the embarassing stuff once we're out of here. That'll be my revenge!

    As I'm busy pondering righteous revengeance, the great serpent slinks ever closer, until it is right before me. A single breath from its massive head sends my hair whipping to and fro, and its massive eyes are large enough to show the reflection of a reflection of a reflection within.

    It asks. About whether darkness should be freed.

    "It has to be free."

    Without hesitation, I reply. Not just as myself, but as an Esper.

    "Keeping your emotions in stasis like that, never letting things change, that's the same as running away from yourself. Even if it's awful, that's part of who he is. I won't reject it. Doesn't matter if it's sweet or sour, it's still Ahti."

    This is the mistake humans - no, even Espers make.

    "He'll get angry for sure. He'll find plenty of things to hate in this world. But when he hates, it'll be what his heart chose. Not some terrified human in a lab. He might - no, he'll definitely make mistakes. He'll do things he regrets, hurt those he cares about, and wonder if freedom was worth it."

    I tilt my head up until my neck hurts, and match the serpent's slitted stare.

    "I'll be here to bother him when he's being a pain. And to make sure when he does do something he regrets, it's something he can recover from. And as he stumbles through life, he'll slowly pick up the pieces. He'll learn about himself, who he is and who he wants to be. When he fights, he'll fight for what he believes in."

    Just as we did for each other, all those years ago. Just like Pinefall is doing now.

    "That's how humans grow. By taking responsibility for themselves."

    In a way, this is damning Ahti to a life of confusion. Even so...

    "He can do it."

  5. #4565
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Outside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    I watched as Anna entered, and frowned. This seemed... off. What exactly was it that I was missing? The storm broiled, and I stood there, utterly still. Ramia's face peeked out at me from the tree, and she spoke about... something.

    "...What?" I frowned. "How the devil do you play games with videos? Is this another of those black arts that those of the world that faces front call 'science'? Frankly, I can't understand a lick of it."

    I sighed, shaking my head as I clicked my tongue and crossed my arms. The wind was devilish, but this was a night where devils could roam, was it not Potemkin? I can taste it in the air, the storm. It's like a rush in my veins, the thunder hammering in the back of my skull like my heartbeat would have, had it ever beat in the first place.

    "Well, to be frank, we have scarce little we can do," I said as I moved towards the tree, leaning against the trunk and closing my eyes. "Inevitably, trash will be thrown out the door. Or perhaps we shall make nice with a murderer, yes?"

    I smiled lazily at Ramia, twirling a finger as a lick of fire danced across my knuckles and trailed up the side of my shirt, and I relished in the faint warmth for a brief moment before I extinguished it.

    "It is not uncommon to find strange bedfellows in such strange times. Anna is the one inside, so she'll take the lead. Or - I could start yelling rather loudly. Perhaps that would draw Lane's attention?"
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it

    #THELEGENDNEVERDIES

    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  6. #4566
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    I frowned out at the pouring rain, rushing down from the heavens like the cold spite of a callous and uncaring God, washing the quiet, bizarre town with its unique, misery-colored hue of seeping gray and sullen black.

    Road's End, I reflected, was not one of those telenovella starlets I had seen once upon a time.

    It looked dreary, ugly, depressing and a faint tinge of sullenly menacing, like a red-faced, balding man nursing his drink and his tarnished wedding ring, waiting for the right moment to let out his mewling rage and frustration at the jobs leaving, his wife growing distant, his lack of relations with his children, and just let it lash out.

    Crushing down upon some hapless patron of the establishment, like the rain from the storm.

    After all, he could reflect, in one of his futures, it was better than loosing his demons upon his wife, or his children.

    This, I felt, made him better than some.

    Perhaps, like him, we could have a future outside of this miserable, rain-swept landscape.

    My arm ached as I parked the car, eyes having already swept once, twice, over the land the night's events had crashed upon.

    Crashing waves tinted with the phantom scent of brimstone, holy light as merciless as a judge's gavel, howling fury, burning resentment, betrayals and damnations.

    Not the strangest Friday night, I would admit. But certainly worth talking about.

    "Well, Ubon," I began, "Basically, a guy thought he had us made, but we put some brain cells together and ganged up on him, beat the tar out of him, too. He's pretty gone, I'd say."

    Until next week, I thought darkly.

    "Some other weirdos showed up too, in the beginning, but they took off pretty quick once things started to not look good for 'em."

    I rubbed at my chest idly, trying to work some of the soreness out.

    "Yeah, this is a different guy, sailor, name's Joshua, he uh, looked after Kean while he was, ah, not himself." I scratched at my cheek, "Think he's Mormon or somethin. Anyway, he's been around for a hot minute, knows some stuff about some stuff, we're gonna chat him up and pick his brain about the weirdness, Lighthouse, the Kincaids, anything you lot might think of that I don't, et cetera."

    I shuffled around, frowning, "Probably won't help too much in this weather, but I should have an umbrella or two buried under the seats."

    For my part, I'd gotten old Red out, the deep hood down for the moment.

  7. #4567
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    "Maybe it was, maybe it was not. No point in trying to make sense out of such matters without knowing more, as they simply just distract my thoughts. But whatever the case, us being here is upsetting nonetheless, since we were dragged into this without of us ever being aware. Forcing others to try to solve your problems, and ease your suffering while putting those through a suffering even worse is hard to see as a considerate thing to do."

    I wasn't exactly the 'hero' type either, so while I would without conditions go out of my way to save some...I wouldn't make selfless sacrifices for people I have never even met and don't even know. At least, not without being informed beforehand what I was getting myself into, instead of just being thrown into an endless cycle of death and misery.

    Though, more importantly...

    "Not that it's something you have to worry about. It's really far off topic from the actual purpose of our meeting here."

    Certainly, the matter of freeing Pyry's soul has now turned into everything but that. From the nature of this loop, to the extension of the question of emotions, all the way to the darkness within my own heart...

    Well, that was something I was almost too familiar with, even if it's something that exerts a bit too much influence at times. I manifested many of those emotions and had plenty discussions with afternoon tea on the side with them, back when I had to create my own compant to see faces other than mine. Even now, they are still with me, always...So it's hardly something the serpent has to point out.

    "Still, anything else that you'd wish to say? Or is it perhaps finally time?"

    My tone, much less threatening this time, still carried a sense of urgency, so as to remind the serpent of what this meeting was supposed to be converging towards.

  8. #4568
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Lucille can’t quite read Hwan’s expression. Not that she was good at reading others, but from her frame of reference, that look was… not quite as harsh as she expected? They don’t seem very bothered about Xeni being next to her, more focused on Inacio’s and Souma’s respective disappearances. But before she can pipe up, to offer her help—

    John arrives, interjecting his thoughts on the matter.

    “I got the gist of what happened last night from Elaine and Kean here. Thank you for your hard work, Lucille. Thank you for enduring. I do not know the details of your connection to that vengeful spirit, but…please remember that the past should exist only to push you forward, not to hold you still in an intangible grasp.”

    “Faith—either in a higher power, or in yourself—is not meant to be perfect and unfaltering. No, it is something to be questioned and challenged every day, to thus build upon it, so it may become strong and invigorating. This I say as one who has lived in blind faith, wandering in the dark, for all of ten years.”
    It’s rather embarrassing for him to talk about this so openly, but his words are rooted in kindness, and not something she can refute. His points are quite correct, but that darkness in her heart lingers. She could have done better. No matter how illogical that thought is, it has taken root in her mind.

    Still, she smiles. Lucille can’t overcome the human happiness that comes with being praised, even if guilt screams at her not to be.

    “T-thank you, but it seems there are more pressing matters at the moment.” She turns to Xeni. “Do you need a key to my room? I’m of the mind to accompany them on their search for Souma. I’m already soaking wet anyway, so what’s another excursion in the rain?”

  9. #4569
    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by LBJ
    [Or, well... not a lie per se. She's just letting truth slide off of her like water against rocks.]
    [She's good. Billie is as slippery as an eel for sure,] agreed Elise, [If I didn't already know a bit about some of stuff she's been weaving around, I probably wouldn't have even noticed she was omitting anything.]

    Tommy was likely to let something slip and then backpedal when he realized what he'd almost said. Jake was likely to leave a hint or two in his lazy ramble. It was clear that Ms. Boulders was much more careful with her words.

    [The frustrating part here is that she probably is one of the people who's most familiar with the history of Pinefall... You think there might at least be a kernel of truth to her bit about Mr. Oceandrop being around twenty-two years ago?]

    That he was there for the massacre twenty-one years ago...

    It always did feel like Pinefall was perfect for the Oceandrop Program before there was an Oceandrop Program... Just how much of it was by Mr. Oceandrop's design? At the very least, I think we can be sure that he was responsible for those owl costumes...

    Elise thought about that old newspaper she'd recovered from Travis the previous week, which described a mysterious philanthropist millionaire donating the costumes to Pinefall to replace their old mascot, and of Mr. Oceandrop's owl band that had accompanied him when they'd first arrived at Pinefall.

    It's hard to imagine Oceandrop having a sinister intent, not if he was that Dan Cooper. Not after hearing about that final message from Elaine. That still leaves the question of what, exactly, his game is though...

    Elise took a sip of her drink and then set it back down on the counter, and looked back down at the demon's reflection in the drink.

    [Hee! It looks like we're deep in the cups now, LBJ.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Billie Boulders
    "The old boy doesn't really visit here that often. Not a drinking man, I'd wager. I think he has a... thing for pie, if you catch my meaning."
    Elise looked up from her drink and nodded to Ms. Boulders, "Mhm, I've heard it said that the cherry pie at Avery's is to die for."

    A terrible realization dawned on Elise. She hadn't eaten any of Avery's cherry pie this week.

    We'd eaten so much delicious breakfast, we hadn't saved any space for pie!

    "What was... special about the class that came after yours?" asked Elise, "Was, uh, Daniel-"

    Okay, calling Mr. Oceandrop by his first name is too weird.

    "Was that class something like ours?"

    "For that matter, what were the renovations he pushed for back then? I've been trying to figure out the timeline for the construction of Pinefall. I know that the Outbuilding is one of the most recent additions to the campus, built by the Oceandrop Program, but what about the rest of it?"

  10. #4570
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    A sigh.

    One from, yet again, an exasperated adult.

    Followed by the sleeved hand lifting from the shoulder, rising up... and softly bonking Liana on the top of her head.

    "No, you're not dangerous, you buffoon. If anything, you are in danger. So rather than making yourself scarce, you should surround yourself with those you can trust... and whose senses you can trust," Dorothy spoke, hands now on her hips and a stern look on her face, as if she was softly admonishing the girl. "You children of Bretland are always so quick to the self-sacrifice, I swear..."

    Like a teacher, she lifted one hand and one finger (even though it was covered by the overly large sleeve, still), as if to make a point.

    "Listen here: Ginnungagap is not inherently evil. It is the space-between-spaces, the middle between two extremes - such as heat and cold, light and dark, war and peace. In other words, it is the transition between everything, and as such, not an actual physical space... yet it does exist. And just as the transition between 1 and 2 can be instantaneous, it can also contain within itself an infinite number of decimals. Hence, it can be thought as Yawning Void. But it should be more properly thought as a place of... power. Magic, if you will."

    Pacing back and forth at her porch, the fae was starting to sound more and more like a teacher as she spoke on, and strangely enough, Liana could practically see shades of her own mother in how the creature was acting. Was it something borrowed, or had the presence of the human woman affected the good doctor without her even realizing it? It was hard to say. Nevertheless, these mannerisms certainly came in handy right now.

    "It is, after all, in the crevices of accepted reality where the impossible, the supernatural exists. Such is the case for Ginnungagap as well. Thus, by it's nature, or rather, as a rule of thumb, the Yawning Void can scarcely support life as you humans know it. The conditions are not the best... suited," Dorothy said, a curt smirk appearing on her lips for a moment. "But where physical objects have a hard time existing, the non-corporeal thrives. Information, especially, taking formless forms to be transmitted from one phase to another. Why do you think Mimir built his well there?"

    Now the fae lifted up both her hands, as if to represent the two extremes of what existence could be.

    "See, the World of Man... the current World Logic, is based on the Aristotelian Logic of sorts. Dualism, if you will. Things are either true, or false. Real, or unreal. Existing, or not existing. One, or the other. One, or zero. Ginnungagap is the decimals between those two extremes - and they are infinite. And by grabbing that shard, you fastened yourself to that hidden layer between one and zero others do not see. The Non-Aristotelian Plane," the doctor continued. "Like threading a needle and plunging it through the canvas. Because that's what it was. Not a knife, but a needle. Or a nail. You are now aware of the crevice between true and false, and the things that exist within it."

    And her eyes bored deep into Liana's, as if to imply how serious this situation was.

    "--- And those shadows are many and dangerous."




    Lucille Faraday & John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Hwan snorted as he glanced at John, trying to act like his sudden appearance hadn't managed to surprise him a little bit.

    "I wouldn't have waited for your, but Keister here figured you looked like you'd do something stupid if we didn't babysit you, so here we are," the Korean boy said with a smirk. "That being said, uh, right... who's the person behind you, Goldilocks?"

    For a moment, all eyes were on Xeni, who thoughtfully enjoyed her tootsie roll... until a loud crack informed that she had bitten through the tough candy surface.

    "Xeni. Xeni Techne. I'm... well," she, despite her absolutely robotic array of emotions, managed to look a little bit sheepish. "I'm your classmate. I guess. Technically. I've been going here. On someone else's behalf. So I know you. All. You just haven't seen. This version. Real version. Of me."

    She gestured slightly towards Lucille.

    "I was used. Last night. As a weapon against them. Controlled. By the ghost," she explained curtly. "But now. It's water under the bridge. I hope. Speaking of which."

    Her eyes (and their panda-like rings of exhaustion) turned towards Kean and Hwan.

    "Explain. This thing. About Souma," she added. "It sounds. Important."

    Under this newfound pressure, both boys recoiled a bit... but then awkwardly continued their explanation, adding more details this time.

    "See, well... while the rest of you all stayed in the cafeteria to clean-up before heading out, we made a beeline for Inacio. I figured we shouldn't leave John out of our sights for too long. No offense John, but you we're being pretty unlike yourself earlier today. Worryingly so," Kean said, crossing his arms and shooting a meaningful look towards the blue-haired boy. "Since Inacio wasn't there, we moved back to the main building to check the music room. As we were entering, we saw Souma come from that storage room next to it. That's when he said all that, and then headed towards the lobby. That was about... twenty minutes ago, I think? A bit more? 25?"

    Hwan gave a vague nod and a shrug at the time proposed.

    Twenty-or-so minutes ago...

    So this would have been when John was just knocking on Xylia's door, and Lucille was on her way up the hill leading to the campus. Meaning that Elaine and Subaru had yet to make it to Ubon's door. Anna, Zhou and Alexstrasza (along with Stephanie) had probably left the campus already at that point, or were in the process of. After all, Lucille had not ran into them on her way to the main gates.

    "Yeah, I guess. Like he said, the guy headed towards the lobby. So either he..." Hwan continued from there, lifting up one finger. "A) Got out of the main building. B) Headed to the western wing to check on that something, or C) headed to the second floor. That's all the ideas I got. And since you didn't see him here at the dorms, in case the guy got out, he could be either somewhere else on campus or just straight up left. So, while we can take a look around..."

    He frowned, clearly not fond of the situation and the mystery Souma had left behind.

    "... Where should we start? And should we split up to cover more ground?"

    Surprisingly, the soaking wet Xeni nodded.

    "I'll help," the girl proclaimed, before glancing towards Lucille. "Just like she. I'm already wet."

    For some reason Hwan suddenly had a hacking cough.




    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Mormon..."

    For some reason, Sakura smacked her lips rather icily.

    "... I suppose I'll hold my tongue, then."

    Ubon and Subaru shot confused looks at each other and Elaine, but it seemed that the older girl was not willing to talk more about that particular subject. Indeed, not even Tonkori's adorable, confused tilt of a head could make her open up more. Thus, instead, the girls piled out of the car, opened up the umbrellas that had been pointed out to them, and took off towards the lighthouse in the distance.

    The path up the cliffside itself was wet and muddy, and slippery to boot. It took some concentration to not fall, something that was not a desirable option considering how easily one could also fall of one of the nearby ledges, down into the beach, the rocks or the churning ocean. Halfway there, Subaru actually picked up her dog to make sure she wouldn't be swept up by the torrential bad weather.

    As for the umbrellas, they turned out to struggle greatly to shield anyone, thanks to the wind. Poor Ubon was almost yanked to the skies due to particularly blustery gust of air.

    --- Still, fortunately without any casualties, the quartet (plus dog) eventually made it to the thick iron door. They threw it open and piled inside, finally shielded from the storm once more.

    The interior of the lighthouse was as damp, cold and depressing as it had always been - now perhaps more so thanks to the weather. Piles of upturned and half-destroyed furniture was still scattered about, the old remnants of some house or another, along with large boxes, sheets of orange glass, lanterns that actually sputtered with quiet flames and trashbags piled into the far "corner" of the circular building. Indeed, it looked like someone, perhaps Joshua, had gone through the trouble of lighting the place up, as if they were expecting visitors.

    And speaking of which, the echoing, ghostly footsteps on the spiral staircase that ran around the edge of the lighthouse informed the group that the patron of the house had come to greet them.

    Looking up, Elaine saw the familiar sight of old sailor uniform and a mantle thrown on one's shoulder like a cape. The old Mormon ghost was moving slowly, carefully, as if trying to ease the burden on his old, incorporeal bones. However, Joshua had made about halfway down the stairs when the girls noticed that this was not exactly the case. No. Instead of just showing his age, Joshua was... wounded. Damaged in a rather obvious way. He had no wounds or cuts, but his body was slowly leaking ectoplasm in the light of the dozens of lanterns below, the strange substance evaporating in the air like bubbling gas. He also looked more faint than before, more transparent, like his presence had not been all there.

    Still, that brusque smirk on his face was the same as ever as he gazed down at the group, and especially Elaine.

    "Kid. I see you survived," he said with a voice that was a complete mismatch to his youthful face. "That's good. Very good. I wanted to make sure after everything that happened yesterday, but I was... indisposed, one could say."

    He barked a short laugh that devolved into a cough.

    "Sorry. Could one of you grab one of the blacklights from down there? Shine it on me?" He asked with an annoyed groan. "I'd do it myself, but my blasted hands are having hard time grabbing anything solid right now."




    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Hmm... I guess you could say that?"

    Billie rubbed her chin, deep in thought... or that was how she seemed to be, at least.

    "That class was something like you guys, in a way. Not the same situation, as you can probably understand, but they were... troubled kids. All of them," the owner explained vaguely, like she couldn't remember very well. "Guess that led to what happened eventually. A tragedy, to be sure. Though... not something we like to advertise in this town, as I'm sure you can understand. Let the memories sleep and all that."

    Well, that part definitely sounded like a warning of sorts. Or rather, a clear message that Billie wasn't going to talk about the massacre 21 years ago. She must have suspected that Elise knew about, considering how she had been dancing around the date. And this was a between-the-lines response to her unspoken questions.

    However...

    "If you really want to know, I'd suggest finding a guy who goes by Guildenstern these days," Billie added. "He's one of the members of that class who... stuck around, afterwards."

    Well now.

    That was a surprisingly generous hint. Or... was it? If Billie was so adamant about not sharing too much, then... why say that in the first place?

    LBJ's cackle seemed to indicate that the demon might have had an idea, at least.

    "As for the renovations, err... lessee here..." Billie grunted, eye closed for a moment as she crossed her arms. "I think the first one he pushed for was increasing the size of the pool building. Tore down the old one, dug a huge hole for new foundations and basement floors... hell, I think they hit the sewer lines accidentally while they were doing that. But it was important since people would pay to use an Olympic-sized pool, and back then people in town still had money. Anyways, from there I think it was just the matter of the main building. Adding the west wing and so forth. Thanks to that whole debacle we actually had to mainly use the second floor during our last school year, and I think the next class did too. Construction work, you see. He also added that clock tower, and..."

    She paused for a moment, before snapping her fingers.

    "Ah, right. He actually sponsored increasing the dorm sizes, though this was before he joined the faculty," the owner added. "... Ironically enough, I think the guy's poured more money into Pinefall than anyone else - including the town. Guess he just loves his old alma mater. "

    At that point, LBJ cackled again.

    [The thing is, I don't think she's actually lying. That's what makes her a good liar. She's never actually saying anything that would be a fib. Instead, she just... omits the actual truth. The actually important bits,] the demon explained, grinning sinisterly inside Elise's glass. [So we can trust what she says, but she'll never let slip anything that might bring us too close to the truth.]

    The thought paused, before frowning heavily, almost angrily.

    [... I bet the Guildenstern fellow is more or less insane. That's what happens to humans after such events. That's why she didn't mind mentioning him,] LBJ added. [She knows that it'll be a dead end for us - something that makes her look reliable, but in the end, is fake hope - fool's gold.]




    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---




    So spoke the great serpent, it's eye reflecting the entirety of Prushka - her decision, her determination, her belief.


    THAT IS, INDEED, THE BEAUTY AND TERROR OF FREE WILL. THE FACT THAT WE CAN, AND ARE ALLOWED, TO MAKE MISTAKES. WHEN WE SUCCEED, IT IS BECAUSE OF OURSELVES. AND WHEN WE FAIL, IT IS BECAUSE OF OURSELVES. AND WE SHALL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT, AS IT SHOULD BE.


    The eye closed, for what felt like the final time.


    INDEED... THAT IS HOW THINGS SHOULD BE. IT IS NOT PERFECTION, BUT COMPLETION. THE DIFFERENCE IS SMALL AND YET SO VAST.


    The head of the venom rose up, higher and higher, until the body towered above Prushka once more and looked down on the girl from the skies of cosmos with its unseeing eyes. The monstrous thing, a terrible chain that controlled the soul of Ahti Jalopeura now presented itself in its full might before the one who had come to destroy it. Or rather, uproot it. In a way, just as much as a great serpent, it was the root of a dreadful tree that had burrowed itself deep within the two brothers - and indeed, all seven brothers, wherever the others existed.

    It was, one could say, the root of all this trouble.

    And it needed to go.


    THEN, PRUSHKA, YOU MUST DO THE SAME. YOU MUST RUN TOWARDS WHO YOU CAN BE, NOT AWAY FROM WHO YOU ARE. I AM THE SOURCE OF PAIN IN THIS EXISTENCE, AND THUS, I CAN SEE IT - I CAN SENSE IT. THE GREAT, GREAT, DEEP PAIN THAT LINGERS IN THE WORLD AROUND YOU ALL. A PAIN SO DEEP THAT IT HURTS AND SCORES THE EARTH ITSELF.


    The serpent's voice boomed for one last time.


    BUT AS GREAT AND DEEP AS THAT PAIN IS, IT HAS A SINGULAR SOURCE. ONE CAUSE. MANY, MANY EFFECTS. A SINGLE STONE MAY BE CAST INTO LAKE, BUT THE RIPPLES IT CREATES TRAVEL FAR AND WIDE.


    Ironically, they were words of advice, of all things.


    DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE LED ASTRAY FROM THAT TRUTH. AFTER ALL...


    And there was a smirk on its colossal lips.


    IT IS RAINING ON SOME OTHER DAY.


    One that faded all too soon.

    AND NOW, PRUSHKA...


    The serpent, the venom, the fever, the instincts... lowered its head, like before an executioner.


    YOU MUST STRIKE ME DOWN. YOU MUST UPROOT ME.


    It was not a human existence after all - it did not mind its own destruction.


    IF YOU WANT TO SAVE THE ONE YOU HOLD DEAR...


    It accepted it. Even welcomed it.

    After all... it had been presented with an equal alternative to its own existence.


    KILL ME.


    So, it made way for the other path.


    AND REACH OUT FOR YOUR MOON.





    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---



    So spoke the great serpent, it's eye reflecting the entirety of Hisa - her decision, her determination, her belief.


    I HAVE SEEN YOUR ANSWER AND I HAVE FOUND IT TRIUMPHANT. THAT WHICH TORMENTS US ALSO MAKES US STRONGER FOR IT. FOR THERE CAN BE NO LIGHT WITHOUT SHADOW, AND NO SHADOWS WITHOUT LIGHT. WE ARE ALL, AFTER ALL, SUM OF OUR PARTS - OR EVEN MORE. COMPLETE, NOT PERFECT. THUS, THERE IS NOTHING MORE LEFT TO DO. THOUGH, BEFORE WE MOVE ON TO WHAT MUST HAPPEN...


    The eye closed, for what felt like the final time.


    ALLOW ME TO LEAVE YOU WITH SOME PARTING WORDS, AS YOU HAVE LEFT ME - AN EXISTENCE YOU DID NOT HAVE TO EVEN CONSIDER, MUCH LESS AMUSE WITH A RESPONSE IN THE FIRST PLACE.



    Thus, with its eyes still closed, the reptilian colossus rose upwards. It reached towards the heavens of the cosmos with its massive body, towering now in a manner that fit its booming, soundless voice much better than being eye-to-eye with it. As the venom reached its apex, it turned its head downwards to regard Hisa once more, the opponent that had come to defeat it. After all, it was the final enemy of Pyry Leijonamieli. Himself - the final monster. Just like the heroes of yore, she would have to destroy it in order to free the sun into the world once more - allow it, finally, to be free.

    So that a heart much more whole could be born from the ashes.

    Like a phoenix.


    KNOW THIS, HISA MOMOI. IT IS NOT MERELY A PAIN UNKNOWN THAT TORMENTS THIS LAND. IT IS A PAIN SHARED BY MANY, YET MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT IS ALSO YOUR OWN PAIN. THE PAIN THAT YOU HIDE WITHIN YOUR HEART, WHICH MAKES YOU WHO YOU ARE TODAY. THIS SUFFERING MERGES TOGETHER, LIKE A GRAND STORM MADE OF MANY CLOUDS... AND I FEEL THAT IT IS THIS GREAT, CONCENTRATED TORMENT THAT NEEDS TO BE HEALED - WHICH IS WANTED TO BE HEALED.


    The serpent looked almost like it was smiling.


    ALTHOUGH IT MAY SOMETIMES BE HARD TO BELIEVE, FROM WHAT MY LIMITED UNDERSTANDING FROM HERE HAS SHOWN ME... THERE ARE THOSE OUT THERE THAT WISH TO SAVE YOU AS WELL. TO DELIVER YOU FROM THE PAIN AND SUFFERING YOU'VE GONE THROUGH. BUT HUMANS, AS THEY ARE, ARE CLUMSY. SO VERY CLUMSY. AND LIKE SAND, THEIR BEST EFFORTS SOMETIMES SLIP THROUGH THEIR FINGERS.


    It was almost human expression, in a way.


    SO, IF YOU CAN... DO NOT BEGRUDGE THEM FOR IT. YOU ARE ALL FLAWED CREATURES AFTER ALL. YET THOSE FLAWS MAKE YOU ALL COMPLETE. JUST LIKE YOU YOURSELF SAID.


    In the end, it was rather bizarre for an existence like this to exhibit so many human elements, despite not being one.


    YOU ARE NOT A STRANGER IN THIS LAND. YOUR PAIN IS PART OF THE SUFFERING ALL AROUND YOU. IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS NO COINCIDENCE. NOTHING EVER IS.


    Such as giving parting words of advice.


    YOU WERE MEANT TO BE HERE FOR A REASON, EVEN IF IT ELUDES YOU NOW. YOU AND ALL THOSE AROUND YOU. AFTER ALL...


    It drew a deep breath.

    IT IS RAINING ON SOME OTHER DAY.


    And prepared itself.

    AND NOW, HISA...


    The serpent, the venom, the fever, the instincts... lowered its head, like before an executioner.


    YOU MUST STRIKE ME DOWN. YOU MUST UPROOT ME.


    It was not a human existence after all - it did not mind its own destruction.


    IF YOU WANT TO SAVE THE ONE YOU HOLD DEAR...


    It accepted it. Even welcomed it.

    After all... it had been presented with an equal alternative to its own existence.


    KILL ME.


    So, it made way for the other path.


    AND REACH OUT FOR YOUR SUN.

  11. #4571
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm



    Quote Originally Posted by Kean
    “No offense John, but you we're being pretty unlike yourself earlier today. Worryingly so.”
    “That is because I am trying to be something other than ‘myself’,” John admits. “My usual self will not cut it. I have…no, not better. I have to be more.”

    Really? That’s the conclusion you reached, John Dove? Or did you figure out a new, original way to lie to yourself?

    Or perhaps this is a hopeless boy’s equally hopeless attempt at filling the void left behind by moonlight. The struggle of an idiot who does not yet admit that the things he is lacking are the very same things he ground into dust and dumped at the bottom of a metaphorical ocean. That nothing is lacking, only discarded and put aside.

    “However, I cannot deny the drug might have something to do with it,” he then adds. “I won’t know if it is still in effect unless somebody does something overtly supernatural, and there might be further side effects we do not yet know.”

    With that said, John focuses on the matter at hand, with a brief moment of concern over Hwan Bin.

    “Are you alright?” he asks following the light-haired boy’s fit of coughing. “You’re plenty wet yourself; you sure you’re up to going back out there?”

    Letting the Korean to make his own choice, John meditates on the chances to find Souma.

    “But…twenty minutes is too long, especially in this storm, unless any of you has unthinkable tracking skills. There’s no catching up to Souma, unless he has yet to leave the campus.”

    He turns to the new, unknown girl.

    “I do note that you avoid revealing who you’ve been replacing these past few days, but the only thing that matters is that you are not the usurper after the rest of us. It’s not like you’re the only ‘secret classmate’ we have, anyway. If you’re willing to help, then I welcome your help wholeheartedly, Miss Techne.”

    He makes an overt gesture, vaguely encompassing all his classmates present there.

    “We are already here, so we could sweep through the blocked areas of this dormitory before splitting up. The three of us already intended to investigate the main building, so we can just look for Souma while we’re there. That leaves the outbuilding and the sports facilities. I’ll leave either to your discretion, although I would personally suggest the outbuilding; I know a number of people have been skulking around in there,” he adds, shooting the sparest of glances in Hwan Bin’s direction.

    On a side note, he has not forgotten about the sports field and its storage shed. John had made a mental note to visit Miss Doubleday at some point today, but there is just not enough time for everything.

    “Furthermore, the pool building…demands the utmost caution, but I don’t need to tell you that, Lucille. I would understand if you would rather avoid it, or perhaps we could all just go together. There might be worth in verifying that Mr. Briggs is still in one piece.”

  12. #4572
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm




    "..."

    Did she just... Bonk me on the head...?

    An interesting expression, one that only this particular fae has seen twice.

    It's the look of a young woman that has been caught entirely off guard, who had already been mentally preparing the best way to go about ensuring she didn't become a danger to everyone else... Only to have an older woman bonk her on the head, call her a buffoon and pretty much state that she should be doing exactly the opposite of what she had been intending on doing, in other words...

    She was being scolded by a maternal figure.

    "..."

    Naturally, seeing as how this is an event that "Liana Skye" is not used to in the slightest, one that really only exists inside of the memories inherited from a certain other, she finds it close to impossible to muster a proper defense against it. The surrealness of the event makes her freeze up and stare silently back in what must be instinctual obedience, one of the side effects of the rampant mommy issues even she can admit she has nowadays, sitting in a haze where she both can't believe she is being lectured at, but also can't bring herself to fight back immediately either, like...

    "..."

    ---She doesn't hate it.

    It's sort of... Refreshing in a way.

    "..."

    Indeed, when the woman starts to pace, her recovering mentality sees a different sort of figure in those movements. Echoes of long golden hair, mark of ancestry from a land far beyond the one they inhabited now, one that made her stand out in Japan in spite of her name, yes...

    "..."

    When a teacher begins her lecture, when that echo plays out in front of her eyes, Liana...

    Chameleon Effect?

    ...They really must have been good friends.


    ...Closes her eyes once more, so as to clear her thoughts in the way she knows best.

    Even if just for a moment.

    She sits down, legs cross naturally, hands coming together to rest on legs, and-

    But auntie is auntie and mom is mom.

    Can't force my expectations on anyone.


    -listens to the lecture without interrupting, without blinking, and without moving from her current position, eerily still in a manner reminiscent of a machine.

    The constant drone of rain and occasional thunder crack do little to shatter her attention, violet eyes following the pacing woman without the body following suit, listening to everything she says even as the subject matter drifts towards realms of the more unfamiliar... Part of her origins lay with mages in spite of what her body was like now, so the concepts themselves are easy enough to grasp on a surface level, imaginary beings weren't exactly unfamiliar to her, and she had even spent a small portion of last night inside of a place that did not technically exist, populated with beings that also do not exist and whose attention must be avoided at all costs (lest you awaken something that should not be) but...

    The longer the lecture goes on, the more of a slight frown appears...

    Not a frown aimed at Dorothy. No, the frown is aimed at the increasingly frustrating nature of the opponent that was presenting itself to her. She had never been big on the metaphysical beings, imaginary numbers, conceptual entities, completely manifested demons, those sorts of things were always the sort of thing that her skill-set wasn't great at handling...

    It's hard to punch an idea, after all, even as a Neijing Master. Magic would have a slightly easier time, but her current body wasn't great with mana, and her Vril techniques...

    Lacking at the moment.

    The Qi specialization could be a bit crippling at times.

    Whatever happened to good old fashioned physical monsters?

    She thinks, complaining to herself about the situation picking up a single
    needle
    knife
    has gotten her into.

    All I'm running into is the mental stuff, cowardly memetic hazards.

    I'd rather fight an angel.


    Dorothy looks her in the eyes, trying to transmit the seriousness of the situation to her, and...

    She gets it.

    The idea of those beings angers her off more than a little bit, especially with how frustrating it is that they can haunt her while safely hiding in their own nonexistence, but she does get it.

    "Delusions then?"

    She asks in a tired voice.

    "Imaginary beings, things that both exist and do not exist. Touching the knife allowed me to perceive their existence and for them to perceive me, and they are now going to act like a mental illness or haunting and try to lead me astray, to my possession, insanity, or death, while hiding behind their own lack of existence when it's convenient to make a traditional counter attack impossible? Definitely sounds dangerous."

    Can't beat up something that doesn't exist.

    Her voice is tired, but she takes it seriously, aware that she's being told this because the fae does care about her to some extent.

    "I'm paying for possessing forbidden knowledge basically... Not getting anything good out of it either, so can't say I'd be thrilled to wind up losing an eye."

    It's quite the unfair situation, of course such beings are inherently unfair, but it's more than a little frustrating to have such an obviously malicious enemy that you can seemingly do little to defeat.

    Why in the World would anyone willingly want to deal with those sorts of shadows...?


    There are a few reasons that come to mind of course, like desire for power... A lot of people would say she just doesn't get it, as she has always had at least a little bit of inherent power (and honestly she had more than most) whether as a mage or as an android, but...

    Honestly.

    No.

    Still no.

    She still didn't think it was worth it, whatever they were getting, not worth dealing with these sorts of things.

    There are perfectly functional non-eldritch rituals out there, learn those instead-!

    Go to Church!

    Hire one of the mad scientists!

    Stop making deals with eldritch beings-!


    "Still... I can't imagine the uh... Needle I was attacked with was the only one of it's type. If what those beings want is to exist as a sort of egregore they would want to corrupt more than just one or two people, right? The woman who had the knife was pretty clear about what her goals were, give the shadow a foothold in reality. If there are weapons around that can just induce that state in others through touch, this town is in trouble... Probably explains the eye issues going on in town actually..."

    Wincing she stretches forward a bit, one hand going up to both clutch at a building migraine and make sure both of her eyes were really still there...

    "But okay... I imagine fighting this isn't as simple as just destroying any shadows when they manifest, it's never that easy." She says softly, shaking her head. "Am I just supposed to ignore it and try to forget? Find a way to alter my own memories and shift my cognition back? Stay around everyone else and double check what I see with what they see? Deny their existence that way?"

    She sighs with head in hands, annoyance at the shadows (coupled with her frustration at being so helpless in the face of them) bubbling up once more.

    "Just hiding from a problem doesn't sit well with me..."

    A pause here, then, slowly, with dawning worry...

    "By the way... This conversation isn't dangerous for you, is it...?"

    Part of the reason she had come here had been to protect Dorothy after all, endangering her by talking about her problems would be...

    The complete opposite of that.
    Last edited by Airen; May 9th, 2022 at 05:37 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

  13. #4573
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    I didn't roll my eyes at Sakura's comment, but I thought about it.

    Honestly, these religious types...

    Still, at least she's willing to be civil, which is more than I'd expected in the past.

    "Yeah, try not to make any comments about their weird underwear business, he might get offended. Or do, he's a grumpy old geezer who looks like a middle schooler."

    This was the last thing I said before we set out into the blustering winds of the north-west.

    It was decidedly unpleasant, I reflected, one red-clad arm snapping out to steady Ubon as she was almost blown off her feet.

    The difference between looking on something unpleasant and actually getting involved, I supposed.

    Still, no one was too inconvenienced aside from being a bit wet (I'd have to dig out some towels as well.), and we arrived at the great white knife only slightly worse for wear.

    My eyes scanned about the interior after barging in without fanfare, scattered debris dotted the floor, ratty furniture, orange (my brows furrowed) glass in long panes laying about, lanterns lit with flickering flames were placed here and there.

    My attention turned to the stairs at the sound of footsteps, the familiar form of the phantom sailor descending the stairs gingerly, like favoring a wounded limb.

    Spirit-stuff seeped from his form like an open wound, making my frown grow as I crossed the room to turn on the black light as he'd requested.

    "You look like shit," I said bluntly, "Dybbuk take a good few bites out of you then, huh?"

    I paused for a moment, then dipped my head, voice softening.

    "Thank you, for what you did, really. We got him back."

  14. #4574
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    "I can't kill you."

    To the serpent who has accepted its demise, I have only these words.

    "It is always raining some other day. Even when the clouds clear, the ripples will remain."

    Perhaps it is merely because I see the world differently. To this sixth sense of mine, the wishes of the heart manifest themselves in the strangest of ways. There are things I don't understand. Truths I have yet to grasp, that this being before me intuitively realizes. In that same way, I have had the fortune of having stumbled upon a few nuggets of wisdom of my own.

    "You will never be truly gone. Even after you are uprooted. When he is free, Ahti will remember how he felt, trapped by those instincts, for the rest of his life. You can kill a monster or a man, but you can't destroy a feeling. Nor should you try. Those experiences, wonderful or painful, make us who we are."

    That is why, when I raise my hand one last time, it is not to deliver a murder stroke.

    My shaking finger, veiled in light, taps the wyrm on the forehead.



    "Linger on, serpent. As a memory of the path not taken. As a broken chain that can no longer touch the darkness in his heart."

    "So that Ahti Jalopeura can grow up to be a splendid human."

    In truth, my eyes are already drifting.

    To the moon above, waiting for me.

    I reach out for it...

  15. #4575
    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by Billie Boulders
    "If you really want to know, I'd suggest finding a guy who goes by Guildenstern these days. He's one of the members of that class who... stuck around, afterwards."
    "Guildenstern? Like Rozencrantz and Guildenstern? From Hamlet?"

    She'd heard that name before, beyond the context of Shakespeare's play. Hisa had spoken of him when they'd met in the shadow of the main building before class. Guildenstern was the implied companion of the mysterious traveling shoe salesman she and Elaine had encountered on their first day at Pinefall. Hisa had asked Muse about him in her dream that night. This proved to be a dangerous question as Muse's attempt to divine an answer had apparently nearly caused the dream to collapse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa Momoi
    "He is close. Closer than you think. Walks among us with a face of another. Hides his deeds with the hands of another. Another side of the mirror we see, laughing at us when he hides. He once lived on the other side of the wall, watching, waiting...but that is not someone we must search for. He is gentle Guildenstern - Eager for fun."

    "He wears a smile…"

    "Everybody, Run."
    Elise thought about her clean and not at all bloodstained hands as she gripped the warm cup. Given Muse's description of him, they'd speculated that Guildenstern might have been responsible for whatever had happened to her during her memory lapses on the previous Sunday.

    [Insane and dangerous. Yeah, no. Hisa asked about Guildenstern and was warned not to go looking for him. I think I'm good with following that advice too. Some leads just aren't worth following up on.]

    I'm sure it's not Ms. Boulder's intention, but from the sounds of it, looking for Guildenstern isn't just a dead end that leads to nowhere. It sounds more like it's a dead end that ends with a corpse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bille Boulders
    "Ah, right. He actually sponsored increasing the dorm sizes, though this was before he joined the faculty... Ironically enough, I think the guy's poured more money into Pinefall than anyone else - including the town. Guess he just loves his old alma mater. "
    Elise listened as Billie recounted what additions and renovations Mr. Oceandrop had made to Pinefall in the past.

    "That pool is amazing and worth every dollar spent on it. It was a wise investment," stated Elise, "Huh, I'd thought the main building was built all in one go, because the east and west wings are mostly symmetrical, but... I guess they aren't quite, are they?"

    Elise took a sip from her drink as she imagined what the original structure must of looked like, without the west wing of the school or the clock tower.

    "It's kind of hard to imagine the school without that clock tower. What was there before?" asked Elise, "For that matter... if he expanded the dormitory, I imagine he twinned the building? Which half was the original? I'm going to guess the south end, which was renovated for us, because it's got the laundry room, and the north end doesn't. That and the washrooms. Unless they removed a washroom on the second floor of the north wing to be a dorm room instead in the recent renovations, but I'd hate to imagine one of my friends is sleeping in a former washroom."

  16. #4576
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    My hand rose slowly, far above my head. In it a razor sharp blade of pure energy glowing with the blue of the millions of particles it was made out of, remaining just as weightless as it extended further beyond to match the borderline colossal size of the serpent. In just a moment, it would rend both the and the great serpent underneath asunder, erasing it and anything it ever stood for from the existence of an already nonexistent place.

    My piercing gaze rested on it, with my expression void of any emotions. My grip on the blade's handle tightened as the muscles in my arm were getting ready to strike with all my might.

    This was it.

    In just a few moments, Pyry would finally be free of his shackles.

    Free of the curse that plagued his existence, and finally able to be himself.

    I certainly did not expect that it would turn into such an experience. That the mindscape would manifest as such a place, and that mere concepts and memories could take form in an even more elaborate way than what I could achieve with my dolls.

    Fascinating, but also frightening in its potential.

    A thought that already occured to me here, and yet it just kept resurfacing with each passing moment that got even more surreal than the last.

    Still, I could only be glad that things did not go too wrong, and that soon we’d be able to return to the real world.

    In just a moment now, after the serpent that never should have become a sentient being in the first place meets its end.

    It was simple.

    So why did I hesitate?

    I did not even think twice when it came to taking care of the memory of the doctor. He wasn’t real, even what he was just an imitation of an existing person. A figment of imagination with dubious intents, one standing between us and our goal with no intent of stepping to the side. The serpent was similar, its mere presence a poison to this place, and yet…

    It wasn’t the one that chose its purpose. It was evident that it had to be gone from this place, but in the end, it was hard to put the blame on it. Quite different from the doctor, it was also its own thing. The serpent that never should have become a sentient being in the first place, it should have been such a simple obstacle.

    So why was it anything but simple?

    “No.”

    My hand moved, but not so that it would bring the blade down to end the serpent. The long, pale fingers let the handle out of their grasp, and the colossal sword, with nothing to hold it up, started falling to the ground. However, long before it could reach the dark, glassy surface, it split back up into the millions of odic petals it was made out of, only for those to spread out and slowly float upwards to disappear into the starry cosmos above.

    “You can’t stay here. The chains must be broken, but even if I could do that without erasing your existence as well, you would no longer have a purpose here. But…Since your fate is already in my hands anyways, I have a better idea.”

    Hastily, I reached into my pocket, and after some searching, pulled a small fabric doll out of it. One smaller than the usual, still quite incomplete, with a large metallic coin embedded into its body. Holding it up into the air, I gave it a better look under the light of the bright skies, then my eyes shifted back onto the serpent.

    “Not that I’m giving you a choice. Though, if it’s too much of a torment, then I can just end you any time later. Now…”

    Just like before, the world around us started shifting under the influence of my powers. Something was changing, but it wasn’t quite as monumental as the scenery before, like the grand sea taking over everything within sight. It was much more subtle and far less tangible. But a change was still happening, until…

    “Hopefully you’ll find your new place more pleasant.”

    My eyes that have been staring at the giant creature until now have lost their target. From one moment to the other, it was no more. Its enormous body vanished into thin air, leaving nothing behind aside from the pillar that it was coiled around.

    Instead, my gaze turned towards the doll in my hand, the coin on its body now engraved with the depiction of a tiny serpent.

    “Not binding, but not being bound to anyone either.”

    I’d have to finish the doll at some point. Maybe make something more appropriate. But until then, what it meant…

    “Instead of a fleeting existence within an imaginary realm, you would live on with the doll as your host. Then, once the image of this place stops being suspended in our reality, you’ll get to experience the outside world.”

  17. #4577
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    After manipulating my own senses to purge any foreign interference… Nothing changed. I couldn’t see further. My fire was flickering, despite the careful and persistent care I gave it. Its heat and light slowly dissipated as the darkness crept closer and closer. If I kept working on the fire, the darkness and coldness would go away if this was a normal survival situation. Even if it was a Turnside phenomenon, I should’ve been able to purge any mental effects or negate particular physical environment alterations such as darkness. If there was a visible enemy, I could shoot them or physically beat them up. If it’s not one thing, then it’s another. Logically think through your circumstances. Adjust your solution based on the information you have and other attempts.

    And that led me here. In a hidden, survival shelter struggling in a malicious Turnside forest that is aiming to kill me. By myself with no one around. Ha. At least if I died out here, no one would come across my dead body. If they did, then I can serve as a forewarning to what is going to happen to that poor, unfortunate soul that also wandered into the forest as well. I would merely be MIA. A mystery that allows peoples’ imagination to go as horrible as they want to imagine my presumed death. That’s what would logically happen if I kept trying to use my special operations knowledge, ESP, and was determined to solve this problem by myself… It’s fine. This time was a failure. If my hunch is true, then I would wake up Wednesday morning in Vier Wolff’s room at Pinefall High School. Just reset everything back to the neutral state before Vier Wolff got close to anyone. Vanish before any connections were created. Erase the memories of anyone who had a connection from that Tuesday. Like Hawthorn said, I can’t halfway avoid anyone. If I was going to do something, I need to be decisive.

    “...”

    I pulled out a card and ripped it. If it was a normal card, then what I was doing was merely a tantrum at worst or at best sanitizing any sensitive information I had on me before dying. This particular card was a tarot card that was made with a picture of a young woman, dressed in old clothing. She was holding a black bird in one hand, and a large club in another. A spade-shaped shield of gold hung from her waist, with a frowning face staring out of the card. A very particular card that Lobo, the King of Currumpaw, gave me. I originally planned on using this against Hawthorn. I wasn’t positive if I could’ve eliminated Hawthorn without dying myself even with using Colt Davin as a juicy meat shield/bait. Lobo would’ve ensured the elimination of Hawthorn and reduced the odds of me dying in the elimination as well. And maybe Lobo would’ve enjoyed a duel between the two of them.

    Now all I needed to do was survive until Lobo showed up. If he showed up. I was definitely going to die if he chose to not come, but if he did then there was a high probability of living. Whatever was in this forest didn’t seem to affect him and I knew that he could eliminate the inclement weather that was occurring right now.

    And if he didn’t show up? Then I was going to make this forest work for my death. I wasn’t going to go gently in this storm. While I presumably will show up again at my room on Wednesday of this week again, I wanted to get as much information as I could out of each week. Even if things reset again, I can prevent things from occurring the same way. Not follow the same path. Let Lobo have his honorable duel against the Crimson Church member. Disregard Fyrtio being Zieg and interact with her more normally. Warn the Omkaras about their insider threat. Tell Liana about the sense manipulating machines. Actually follow on my promise to Aleen.

    But I didn't have to be next to them. I didn't have to be their friend. I could always support them indirectly by dropping hints or from a distance. Yes... I know it's not decisive. It's not logical. But right now... I'm not sure if I can make the final steps of both paths.

  18. #4578
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Joshua let out a harrumph as he descended the rest of the stairs down.

    "Don't sweat it, Kid. I did only half of what I said I would. Dang overcompensating young'un, thinking he can do away with me so easily," the old ghost grumbled. "I haven't been in this town for this long to be erased by some newcomer! He wasn't half the monster Lady was, and even she couldn't put me away on her best day, hah!"

    Still, as the sailor-uniformed ghost walked past the group of girls, Joshua took a time to pat Elaine on the shoulder. His hand went through her physical body, of course, but the slight sensation and feeling of cold served as a sign that he was there, and that he had done so. From there, bathing in the light of the various blacklights that had now been turned on, the old ghost walked over to one of the upturned coaches and sat down, allowing the bluish illumination to wash over him - as if to make him whole again.

    No, not just "as if". It was definitely strengthening his existence.

    ... Somehow?

    "--- It's because of the Lady. Been always a bit weird existence after her. That is, after shanking her and getting cursed for my effort," Joshua grunted at the questioning gazes of the group. "Certain types of lights... I think your kind calls them wavelengths or something, strengthen the presence of her kind or something. Condense it. Bah, I'm not sure what's the technical term. You'd be better off asking those eggheads that used to sneak into the town. Or go through their things, I'm sure they left some of their work behind. Anyways... Ah."

    Suddenly, Joshua's eyes snapped to Subaru.

    "I see you brought the foreign little missy too," he said and flashed a smirk. "Good to see you, Subaru. Face-to-face, properly, that is."

    Subaru, surprised at the sudden attention paid to her, let out a loud eep and bowed down in a respecteful manner.

    "Y-yes! It is very nice to meet you, Mister... Um... Joshua?" She asked, looking a little flustered. "I-I am glad to see that you are still ali--- err, um... lingering?"

    The sheepish look on the shrine maiden's face made Joshua snort as he rolled his multicolored eyes.

    "You can just say 'undead'. That's what we called this back in the day, so I don't mind," the old ghost cackled, before turning his attention back to the rest of the group. "Now then... aside from courtesy visit to check if I'm still kicking - which I do appreciate, don't get me wrong - something tells me that you lot are here for other reasons too. Or rather, you all look like you've got a hunger for knowledge in your eyes. And since we're no longer dealing with that blasted young'un and his over-ambitious plans..."

    The red and green eye narrowed at the group.

    "... How can I help you, then?"




    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Yeah, like that Shakespeare play. Or was it by Tom Stoppard? Anyways..."

    Billie rubbed her chin in a momentary thought.

    "I think that guy had a real name too - as in, he was just called Guildenstern by his friends. A bit of an odd bird, if I remember correctly. A somewhat... androgynous person, in more ways than one. You could never really tell what they were or who they were. I think that was part of the reason for the nickname. Y'know," Billie explained with a lopsided grin. "Rosecrantz and Guildenstern can be anyone. They are the least important members of the cast, give or take, yet their fates are presented as important, scene-stopping for the play itself. Yet, for all their supposed importance, the common thespian joke is to swap the characters mid-play."

    The large woman shrugged, as if to say that even she didn't know how true this theory was. After doing that, she turned around and grabbed a can of soda from the glass-windowed fridge, popping it open and pouring herself a cold one. And followed that by pouring a sizeable of amount of cheap whiskey into the glass as well. A drink she then took a sip out of and began to nurse, like it had been completely normal thing to do.

    "Guess it also fit because they're both Norse names. Or from that area, at least," Billie continued. "Anyways, moving onto the subject of the dormitory..."

    She paused for a moment to think.

    "... Actually, if I'm not completely mistaken, the northern end was the original one. The one that's currently not being used. I could be wrong, but that's how I remember it at least. The campus was rather different back in my day, after all," she said with a hint of a smile. "For example, like you said, the main building looked rather different - especially without the clock tower. Originally there was this grand balcony that extended over the entrance, with greenery and everything."

    The owner chuckled as she took a swig from her drink.

    "The centerpiece was this raven statue made out of white volcanic stone," she added. "I wonder what even happened to that thing, in the end...?"




    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Dorothy smiled with some dark and mischievous amusement.

    "Worry not, child. Even though I'm bound to these lands, I'm still a resident of Álfheimr," she responded, sounding a bit smug. "For me to be touched by this knowledge is far different than it is for human to be. First of all, I already touch several other planes with my existence, not just this one. That comes from just being a fae. As for other reasons, well..."

    She put her sleeved hand over her mouth and chuckled.

    "--- Let's just say that presences of Ginnungagap and I do not really mix, so we stay out of each other's way."

    Álfheimr - in other words, the Norse land of the elves. In this case, it either referred to the Fae Kingdoms, the plane outside human touch where their ilk gathered... or it referred to the proper world from Norse mythology, which would make it separate from the kingdoms themselves. Indeed, that was often the problem with Turnside creatures such as elves. With many different origins, their natures tended to vary wildly - especially in Europe, where these tales have had time to mix and and merge to the point it's hard to say where one ends and another begins.

    "Still, what comes to this creature, you must forget the notions of real and not-real. 'Delusion' is a biased word in the first place, and not really a good one to use... but I suppose it suffices. Still," Dorothy continued, lifting up both of her sleeved hands. "On one end we have real. On the other, unreal."

    She waved both hands lazily to demonstrate this idea.

    "It's a binary choice, one that's true for this World Logic. But this shadow exists between them. It is both, if you want to twist my arm about it. So you cannot say it is something unreal trying to make itself real, because that would not be the full truth of it," she continued. "And that's part of the problem too. Were it an actual delusion, it could be purged from your mind. Even I could do it. In that sense, it would be much closer to what you humans refer to as 'demons'. But in this case, hmm..."

    The good doctor put a hand on her hip and rubbed her sharp chin with the other.

    "It may gain foothold when more people are given proof of it's existence. But the same applies in reverse. If you prove that it does not exist, it loses that foothold. A midling existence such as itself is either strengthened or weakened by various factors, its 'weight' increasing or decreasing as decreed by multiple things. So, if the situation you find yourself in allows it to exist, disprove that possibility. If a person believes in it and acts as a receptable of sorts, disprove that belief. Find the actual truth, and do not let yourself be swayed by it's lies-that-can-be-true. And most importantly of all..."

    Dorothy looked Liana straight in the eyes.

    "Do not obsess over it. Do not fall for its taunts. Do not personify it in your mind. Because what you personify it as, that it shall become."

    And the words she spoke carried a tone of warning in them.

    "Let it be just a thought, nothing more."

    A pause.

    Then, a mischievous smirk once.

    "... As for the weapons, you only need to find a fitting creature to act as their keeper. Someone who symbolically fits the role, and thus should be exempt from their influence, to a degree," she added. "A draugr or something similar, a barrow-guardian of buried treasure, might be a good choice."





    You really think that's going to change anything, Vier?

    Your plans have worked so well so far, haven't they? Your carefully crafted, by-the-books plans, made with any hint of emotional attachment or bias. They always guided you right, no? They always went off without a hitch, and only brought success, didn't they? That's why you're in such a great position to begin with. That's why you're stuck in this dark forest, literally dark forest, with a storm raging around you with ever-increasing force. That's why the flame you built is sputtering and about to die. That's why you're cold, wet and without any way to get out of this situation.

    Haven't you noticed already? All this work, all these plans, all this logic...

    It's what got you killed in the first place.

    And now it's going to get you killed again.

    But when you repeat, what?

    You're gonna do it again?

    Just to end up here yet again? In a situation with no way out, dying because of your own stubborness? Is it that fun? Are you enjoying this in some weird way?

    Or could it be...

    --- You're just the same, little, terrified girl that you were to start with?

    Forgotten by the world. Forgotten by your friends. Forgotten by your family? Nobody even looking your way. You had no way to fend off for yourself back then, and from what it looks like, you still don't. Know matter how hard you try.

    It'd be amusing, if it wasn't so pathetic.

    No matter how hard you trained, no matter how hard you killed your weakness, no matter how hard you tried to make yourself separate from your past...

    You're still just the same child you were back then, in that classroom.

    Aren't you?

    ....

    ---------------------------------------------------- Vera?

    All you can do is---

    Wait.

    What are you doing?

    No, I ain't about to be clutched here...!

    The shadows, they were already at this fream's neck!

    I was 'bout to be gangbusters, so you can't!

    No!

    NO!

    Stay away from my forest, I ain't 'bout to hit the road just cause you got your peepers---


    “Vier”
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    It was quiet.

    Peaceful.

    The storm was long since gone. Or... had it even existed in the first place?

    All around her, there were merely the sounds of the forest itself. A gentle breeze in the trees, the distant hoot of an owl, last crickets of September still chirping in the darkness... it was like a cacophony of static noise, the roar of a television set without a channel or a radio without a station, had just been plugged out of her ears. And instead, she got to hear what was truly around her. Something quiet, something unseen... but at the same time, something gentle. Something that lacked the threatening force of the storm that had surrounded her.

    Indeed. While the darkness still remained. While there was still nothing to see outside her small shelter, Vier could feel it.

    For some reason, she was safe. The hunger of Ghostwood could no longer touch her.

    Not only that, but her clothes... they were dry. And she was warm. The fire in the pit before her was crackling cozily, it's light illuminating her own face in the absolute blackness of the world surrounding her.

    No, not absolute blackness.

    The world around her might have been one big shadow, but in that shadow, she finally started seeing shapes.

    Trees, reaching out to the skies.

    And more importantly...

    --- There was a fire, in the distance.

    A clear campfire, nestled between a couple of tall pine trees, the light glowing in a soft ring around the flames themselves.

    In the light given by the campfire, she could see the branches of the pines that reached out to cover and shelter the fire itself, and the surfaces of the sycamores that stood around as if in a ring around it. Not only that, but she saw three large logs set in a triangular pattern around the fire, clearly meant for sitting. The smoke that trailed upwards from the campfire seemed calm and relaxed, disappearing somewhere into the darkness where Vier was pretty sure she could see some twinkling, distant stars. A faint smell of kettle-made coffee hung in the air, along with something sweeter.

    It was... odd. Very odd.

    In a way, it did not even feel like reality.

    Just like...

    Just like the silhouette she saw, drawn against the flames of the distance campfire.

    Someone was sitting there, staring into their campfire.

    And they were... whistling?

    Whistling a song.

    One that carried softly, gently in the night.




    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    What remains of the serpent is nothing but fragments of light.

    Ones that disappear high above.

    And...

    --- A feeling.

    Something that once existed there, but not any longer. No, now that chain has been cut. The venom has been uprooted and cured. The instincts that once controlled the mind of the proud lion are finally gone - the last remnants of the terrible home that birthed them both. Instead what exists now is... nothing. Or rather, the absence of rules. A free expanse of the cosmic sky. It shines far above them all, a dawning yonder where innumerable paths stretch out to infinity, only waiting to be traveled down. No longer is there one road, restrained, looping in on itself.

    No. Now there is freedom.

    And it has been thanks to Prushka.

    --- What stands before her are stairs. Stairs of silver, ones leading in a spiraling pattern up the massive stone pillar. They stretch all the way to the moon that awaits her, to its hero to finally rescue him.

    And her steps take her forward.

    Each step brings her ever higher, ever forward, towards the final goal. Each step feels like an infinity, but is over before she knows it. She rises higher and higher, high above the frozens seas of the unconscious and instead towards the soul itself - where the 'It' of the lion truly resides. And as she does, she can feel them all around her. Strange emotions, strange scenes, strange memories... yet ones that are all too familiar. Ones that she recognizes. They are memories she shares, but at the same time, they are not hers.

    They are the memories of Ahti Jalopeura, ones that he shares with her.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ahti
    "... Alright. Get to healing, Imp. And don't try stupid things. I'm watching you."
    Every word he speaks is agony. He can barely see through the haze of blood that covers his vision. The young man in the background is but a blur, but for some reason, this scared, terrified little girl in front of him... he can see her clearly. Surprisingly clearly, in fact. Maybe it's the fact that despite almost getting killed just moments ago, she's still trying her best to look tough. Trying her best to look like she knows what she's doing. Trying her best to seem like she's got everything under control.

    As he reveals his wounds, he can't help but to chuckle internally, even though it hurts.

    --- It reminds him of himself so much it's laughable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "It's Prushka. And I'll have you know the one who saved your life is one of the Pinefall crazies. If you think you can impress me by throwing around your name like that, you'll be sorely disappointed."
    Who does she think he's fooling? Him, or herself?

    He can't really decide. And he knows he should be far more careful with these strangers than this, but at the same time... he's hungry beyond belief. His automated healing isn't strong, and what it can do requires a lot of energy. Hence he requires a lot of food. So, for once, he's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Even if that gift horse is a mouthy shorty who seems like she's a magnet for trouble.

    But one thing he just can't wrap his head around is...

    ... Why the hell did she come back? To help him, of all people?

    That just doesn't make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahti
    "... You really are a handful, huh...?"
    He had never seen her like this. Just when he had started thinking he understood what she was like, she went absolutely berserk. All over the death of a classmate of hers? What was even that about. He had stared death in the face for hundreds of times, seen dead bodies more times he could count, and it had never affected him like this. No. To him, it had been just another part of his daily life. But to see her so emotionally haywire regarding it that he had to eventually carry her passed out body to her bed...

    ... Was it him who was broken after all?

    Not her?

    Sitting there at the side of her bed, he softly brushed aside a lock of hair she had been chewing on, while gazing down at her sleeping face.

    She made him question it all. His reality. His convictions. His truths.

    And he was starting to be afraid of it.

    Especially since...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahti
    "........?"
    He adjusted the sword on his back and hid better into the shadows. Somebody had almost caught him. The rocks of the cliffside hid his body from their sight, but still... why was there someone here, right at this time? The harmonica music was one thing, but...

    ... A girl?

    As he watched, he saw the person who had stopped by the side of the road with their ridiculous vehicle. It was a small girl, one who had come to a halt probably thanks to the music. And, more than that...

    ... As he peered closer, he realized something.

    She looked so alone. So lost.

    A reflection of the face he saw in the mirror every morning.

    And upon that realization, something within him felt a pang of pain.

    ".... Tch!"

    Enraged, he pushed further into the shadows.

    He didn't need this right now.

    He had a prey to hunt.




    And then she was at the top of the stairs.

    The memories had ended, and instead, Prushka found herself staring right into the soft glow of the moon - a ball of light hanging within the pillar of stone, like a cradle suspending a great egg in its center.

    And within that egg, sleeping peacefully...

    --- Was Ahti Jalopeura, clad in nothing but his own limbs.

    Slumbering away, a sleeping free will, one that hadn't even broken free of its own birthplace.

    He only needed one last push.

    One more encouragement to awaken.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    What remains of the serpent is nothing but fragments of light.

    Ones that disappear high above.

    And...

    --- A consciousness.

    Something that once existed there, but not any longer. No, now that chain has been cut. The venom has been uprooted and cured. The instincts that once controlled the mind of the proud lion are finally gone - the last remnants of the terrible home that birthed them both. Instead what exists now is... nothing. Or rather, the absence of rules. A free expanse of the cosmic sky. It shines far above them all, a dawning yonder where innumerable paths stretch out to infinity, only waiting to be traveled down. No longer is there one road, restrained, looping in on itself.

    No. Now there is freedom.

    And it has been thanks to Hisa.

    --- What stands before her are stairs. Stairs of gold, ones leading in a spiraling pattern up the massive stone pillar. They stretch all the way to the sun that awaits her, to its hero to finally rescue him.

    And her steps take her forward.

    Each step brings her ever higher, ever forward, towards the final goal. Each step feels like an infinity, but is over before she knows it. She rises higher and higher, high above the frozens seas of the unconscious and instead towards the soul itself - where the 'It' of the lion truly resides. And as she does, she can feel them all around her. Strange emotions, strange scenes, strange memories... yet ones that are all too familiar. Ones that she recognizes. They are memories she shares, but at the same time, they are not hers.

    They are the memories of Pyry Leijonamieli, ones that he shares with her.





    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “Just...Tell me if it hurts, I guess?”
    Man, he did not expect her of all people to come to his aid. Truth to be told, he had been pretty wary of her before. Maybe it was instinct, maybe there was something, sometimes in her eyes that made her somewhat scary. However, considering that after a brief and slightly awkward silence she set to work to help him out without any hesitation... maybe he should adjust his thoughts just a little bit? If anything, that strange darkness he sometimes saw in her...

    ... Wasn't it a little bit familiar?

    Oh. Oh, damn.

    That actually felt really good. His back hadn't been through this sort of maintenance since...

    ... Huh.

    Since Angelica, probably.

    In fact, her touch was and technique were... surprisingly similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyry
    "And who knows, maybe I'll become deserving of those feelings of yours while I'm at it."
    It was terrifying.

    This whole situation was terrifying.

    The memories of times that he had been involved in, but had never experienced... the times that he supposedly spent together with these people, but he never got to live through... just the mere thought of them made him feel like he was breaking out in feverish sweat. No, more than that, the feelings in her eyes when she looked at her... they were terrifying as well. Far more terrifying that whatever memories she could have shown him.

    Because they were feelings he felt reserved for someone else - the other him. And since he had not experienced what he had, he could not respond to those feelings like he would have wanted.

    More than anything else, despite this surreal situation, he was afraid of breaking the heart of the girl before him, who had come to him in desperation.

    ... So, he wouldn't.

    Not just because this was Ange's little sister. Not just because she had, apparently, experienced a whole other week with him. Not just because it was what was expected of him... what his instincts told him to do.

    Just one look at this girl told him enough. He wanted to be there for her. Her eyes held that loneliness that few people ever experienced... and she deserved at least one person who'd be, without ulterior motives, always on her side.

    So, in that moment, he made a decision.

    He'd be that person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyry
    "--- It might not be my place to say it, but good job at making it this far, Hisa. I'm proud of you."
    He really meant it.

    Watching their reflections in the waves lapping to the shore of the lake, he spoke the truth he had been thinking for quite a while. He really was proud of her - in many ways. After all, from what he understood, the life she had been living up until this point... it had been a harsh one. The burn marks on her face already told as much. Not only that, but the situation she found herself in, along with all the others... it sounded like a nightmare. While he himself couldn't remember it, he had seen how it affecter her and the others.

    That's why he felt like he needed to say it aloud. To encourage her, and to make sure she knew her efforts did not go unnoticed.

    She might have had hard time connecting with others, she was slow to trust and she harbored a darkness inside her... but she still tried her best.

    Even if she stumbled, sometimes. Even if it wasn't easy.

    She was still trying, every single day.

    And she needed to know it was worth it.

    Especially since...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyry
    "You really love your little sister, huh?"
    Angelica, upon hearing those words, turned around to look at him. She had been staring at an old polaroid picture in her hands, the spring breeze of nothern countries playing in her hair. The silver-haired girl smiled a little sadly and pocketed the picture, before letting out a quiet hum and a nod.

    "... I do. Life hasn't been easy for her. And it will continue not to be. But even so..."

    Angelica's hand clenched into a tight, determined fist.

    "--- I want to make sure she'll be happy. And I'll do anything to make that true. Even if it means becoming a monster... or making the world my enemy."

    Then, those blue, blue eyes turned to look at him.

    "So, Pyry... if something happens to me..."

    Don't say that.

    He wanted to say it, but couldn't bring himself to.

    "... I want you to look after her. She'll need someone like you... far more than I ever would."

    That made his eyes widen.

    "What the... what the hell do you mean by that!?"

    Angelica only laughed.

    "You'll know, eventually."




    And then she was at the top of the stairs.

    The memories had ended, and instead, Hisa found herself staring right into the blazing halo of the sun - a sphere of light hanging within the pillar of stone, like a cradle suspending a great egg in its center.

    And within that egg, sleeping peacefully...

    --- Was Pyry Leijonamieli, clad in nothing but his own limbs.

    Slumbering away, a sleeping free will, one that hadn't even broken free of its own birthplace.

    He only needed one last push.

    One more encouragement to awaken.
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; May 10th, 2022 at 12:47 PM.

  19. #4579
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "...Draugr, huh?"

    Slowly, the erratic flickers of argent flames around the young woman resume a more natural course as she wrestles to get her spiking irritation at the events of the past half-day back under her control, to resume the proper breathing techniques that she has always used, in both general life and martial arts, to ground herself back into a more neutral state, and...

    "I see... I know a few vampires nowadays, not quite the traditional image of a barrow-dweller, but..."

    She sighs, head slowly shaking from side to side as she considers the idea of it.

    "Even with a keeper, the damage someone could do with one of those is immense. If just touching the blade itself is known to anchor you to the Ginnungagap, being slashed with that same blade seems like it'd also spread the effect. Taking them from their wielders without being infected by them would be... Problematic, you don't go into a fight with the expectation of not getting hurt."

    Or well, you could technically, but...

    It was foolish.

    Part of learning how to fight is to accept the possibility of injury, if you cannot do so, you'll freeze up when it matters the most.

    "But I'll keep it in mind... Probably too late for this go-around I suppose, but I'll keep it in mind..." Slowly she stands back up from her place on the floor, dusting off her jeans as she goes. "If there's one thing all these years of meditation have taught me, it's how to empty my mind for awhile."

    For a moment her gaze drifts out towards the storm, towards falling rains and streaking lightning, distant trees and wires swaying and dancing beneath the wrath of nature, a sight that can be both calming and distressing depending upon the eye of the beholder. She'd never really disliked storms, the sound of rain had always been nice and soothing, the sort of gentle white-noise that makes it easy to fall asleep, like the gentle hum of an electric-fan in a closed off room...

    "...Ah geez, I've spent all day being gloomy, I'm super sick of it."

    Best perhaps, to think of things in that sort of light.

    She wasn't supposed to be the pessimist, if she could see the good in people, why not the good in situations?

    "..."

    Violet eyes drift back to the fae, clear exhaustion is still present in them, exhaustion of the mind rather than exhaustion of the body perhaps but fatigue nonetheless, eyes of a young woman who hasn't felt like anything has gone right in quite awhile now, but also...

    Eyes that push on regardless.

    That is, after all, what she does.

    Push on.

    "I believe I still have a promise to you I need to fulfill, that storage room won't sort itself out... And I'm sure the others are getting pretty anxious right about now, I promised them an explanation too, so I figure I'll fulfill both of those promises at the same time, but..."

    She looks at the fae.

    Really looks at her this time, taking in the features, the words from earlier that sounded like rants at a relative causing the storm, the obsession with keeping her arms hidden at all times, and...

    "..."

    ...lets that one go.

    She could get more information about Dorothy herself from the promised story anyway, there was no need to question her on it right here and now, not when this was about the closest they would probably get to 'having a moment anyway,' where the fae had gone above and beyond what one could honestly expect from her, but...

    "...I do have one more thing I want to ask you if that's alright, I figure it'll distract me a good bit... Give my brain another mystery to poke at... Besides trying to figure out where the heck Thorne went, anyway."

    ---Yes.

    There were a few things she could ask, but this one bothered her the most...

    "You've lived in Road's End for awhile from what I've gathered... Thorne talked about you like you were here way longer than he was, and I've been told you have something to do with the wards on the Owl's Nest Hotel... So I think it's a safe assumption...?"

    It's sensible enough logic to her, but really just the prelude to her actual question...

    "There was something else I remembered this morning, a brief... Flash of Sora's memories."

    Dorothy was one of the people that already knew about the nature of her connection to Sora, so talking about it with her was a simple enough matter, yes...

    "...She'd been to Road's End before, I could remember some of it, the sound of wind in sycamore trees, their scent in an autumn breeze... But I couldn't get anything more than that before it faded... I knew I was missing bits and pieces of her memory, but I didn't really expect to find traces of her here in town, I mean Mom came here too at some point so I guess it makes sense, but..."

    For a moment she stops in place, visibly struggling to figure out the best way to ask this, before finally...

    "Did you ever meet her? Sora?"

    ...Something clumsy comes out.
    Last edited by Airen; May 11th, 2022 at 04:26 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

    Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stilled and the actors leave the stage, the story will never truly end.

    Regardless of the form it takes, as long as there are memories of it's existence, the story will continue on.

    In a small ward in the heart of a once devastated town, life carries on as it always has...

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

    We'll continue to walk down this path for eternity.




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

    For That Which Falls Only to Rise is Simply a--"

  20. #4580
    Elise Marie Pelltier
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station - Bar
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    She took another sip from her drink and set it back down. She glanced down at her blonde haired and blue-eyed reflection in the glass and frowned as a thought crossed her mind.

    "Did-did Guildenstern have a, uh, Rozencrantz?" asked Elise, "Like you said, the characters are almost interchangeable, but they're also a near inseparable pair. It's hard to imagine one without the other."

    Hisa and Elaine said they encountered Rozencrantz the shoe salesman. Was he part of that class too then?

    "Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Norse names? Wasn't Hamlet itself based on an old Norse story too for that matter? Of course, you've never experienced Hamlet until you've read it in the original Klingon."

    Quote Originally Posted by Billie Boulders
    "The centerpiece was this raven statue made out of white volcanic stone. I wonder what even happened to that thing, in the end...?"
    The imaginary image of Pinefall as it once had been began to take a fuller form in Elise's mind as Billie described the main building as it had been before its renovations. In the place of the clock tower at the main entrance, there was a grand balcony, covered in greenery with a statue of a raven in white stone sitting in the centre.

    "A raven?" exclaimed Elise, "Huh, I always thought that Pinefall's official animal was the owl, given our mascots. A raven carved out of a white volcanic rock? Oh, I wish I could've seen that. That sounds cool! How big was it? The Lighthouse is also a white volcanic rock, isn't it? Was the raven carved from the same sort of material then?"

    And then there was that sample of that sort of stone in the hospital in that lab with all those tissue samples in Petri dishes... recalled Elise.

    "That white volcanic stone... that's not a local material though, is it? It's all sandstone, basalt and slate around here. The Olympic Mountains aren't volcanic. Stone like that would've had to have hauled it in from the Cascades, at least, right?"

    Elise paused for a moment as she realized she'd started rambling about stones.

    "Ah, sorry for rambling there," apologized Elise somewhat sheepishly, "I'm something of an amateur stonemason, so I'm kind of fascinated by stuff like this. There wouldn't happen to be any other statues like that raven around town that I could still see?"

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