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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4441
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast


    You will speak with a cordial tone towards my grandmother. It is impolite to treat your elders with such monumental disrespect, and the brazen nature as to which your... attempt to court information from her is not one that I am kind enough to treat with a simple posed look on my face.
    “…Grandmother? That spider? But…” A brief flash of puzzlement flickered over Anna’s eyes for a moment, before vanishing. “Nevermind, it's not important at the moment.”
    “Look. If you want to bow and scrape before your supposed “elders” that is up to you. Whatever you want. I don’t really give a shit.” Anna let out a deep sigh, a clear indication of just how annoying the current topic at hand was for her. “But don’t expect me to do so just because she happens to be your progenitor, y’know?”

    To begin with, the very concept was ridiculous. Respect for what? Old fossils that merely parked their asses on privileged positions for centuries and watched the world spiral down the crapper? She had little respect for even her own elders, nevermind others. The Crones at the Glass Castle. Department Heads and Archmages at the Orloj. In the end, they were all the same. Conservative. Careful. Never getting involved in anything with actual stakes in it. Unwilling to risk anything meaningful. Slow decay through their slavish devotion to the status quo was the only answer most of them were ever willing to provide.

    Very happy to get someone else killed on their behalf though.

    In the end, the world that “elders”, of all stripes, had built was much the same as it always was. Unjust to its very core.

    Case in point…

    IGNORANCE IS PART OF THE PLAN. IF YOU FIND TRUTH AND SPREAD IT, PREY GOES TO HIDING. THEY WON'T SUCCEED. ANY OF THEM.

    CHILD OF THE BLACK KNIGHT. HIJACKED.
    A dismissive snort escaped her lips.

    “…I see. I suppose I should have expected something like that.”

    Perhaps she was too jaded by this point. Those with power always found an excuse for obfuscation. In this regard, very little had changed from her tenure at the Orloj or her time in Finland. God knows the Crones could plot with the best of them. And they always had a plan for everyone. And she hated it. That feeling of being a cog in someone else’s plan ground her gears like nothing else.

    Even if the end outcome was positive, for everyone involved, that crap always left a sour taste in her mouth. Of course, even she could acknowledge that something like that could only be called irrational. If things “worked out” why would you even care about something like that? Just close your eyes, follow your role and get your “good outcome”, no?

    And yet… there was a part of her that wanted to burn it down purely out of spite. To bring down that hubris that saw others as merely disposable pawns in a larger plan. Both of the folks behind this… planetarium and of the arachnid in front of her.

    Well, if it gives me better insight into what is going on here, I can play my part, for the time being, I suppose. Though that “Child of the Black Knight” better not refer to I think it is.

    I know he was a bit frayed earlier, but if that bloody Highlander decided to go off his rockers, I swear...

    "While I trust that Ramia understands that I would lightly maim her if she harmed Cesarina, I am just informing you of this fact so that way you know it in the future! So I respect that you will not do so in the future!"
    “Yes, yes, horrible maiming and all that jazz, I get it.” Anna’s tone didn’t seem as if she took the threat particularly seriously. Or perhaps she simply considered the possibility extremely unlikely? “I have no beef with Feroce, so you don’t need to worry about that. In the end, I just want to fix this mess and be done with it.”

    "W-wait, I'm the one supposed to clean all this up!?"
    “I can get behind that.” A wry grin was plastered on Anna’s face. It would seem that for once, the Estonian girl was eager to follow the suggestions of the strange arachnid. “Enforcing and dealing with threats to the façade is one of the duties of the Third Corner, is it not?”

    “Of course, if you can force the responsible party to fix the situation, you are welcome to try that…” Anna’s eyes fell on the smug, dancing spider. “…though forgive me if I don’t bet on you in that standoff, товарищ.”

  2. #4442
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    The spider clicked it's mandibles again, this time sounding somewhere between an amused chuckle and a wry little sigh. Then it hopped down from Alexstrasza's head, down to her shoulder and stared at the vampire with all its eight eyes. There seemed to be some sort of mixture between acceptance and annoyance there, like someone looking down on their own arts-and-crafts project which had turned out just messed up enough that it was frustrating, but just useful enough that they didn't want to trash it and start over from scratch.

    Finally, the arachnid made a few more waves with its legs.

    Yes, yes. Find the serial killer. But don't forget the other stuff.

    At least, that's what it seemed to be saying. Followed by a small pause as the creature rubbed its non-existent chin in thought, before continuing.

    ... I'll find you later. Don't get yourself killed before that.

    With that, the arachnid jumped down to the floor and approached Anna. For a moment, it seemed to study the raven-haired girl. Then, with what ended up being more pantomime, the creature started trying to signal something. A kind of frenzied dance of sorts, but at the very least, the gist of it came through to those who were watching this strange performance.

    Don't forget about the child. It's important. And be aware.

    It pointed all around them and cupped its "ears" once more.

    You're being listened to.


    Perhaps it was about to say something more as the familiar paused... but judging by the smug expression in its eyes, it couldn't have been anything good. Indeed, just one look at that smarmy insect-like face seemed to imply that the creature was having gleeful fun at the expense of Anna, and her clear annoyance at the whole situation - especially her natural distaste of those older than her.

    In the end, the only thing the spider mimed was a simple:

    You wear your emotions way too much on your sleeve, young'un~!

    Just another chuckle.

    With that, the spider started down the corridor, as if making its leave. Where it was going it was hard to say, but perhaps its task here was done. Or rather, since it had been tailing Nikolai from the start... now that its cover was blown and it had dispersed some "advice" (along with webbing) there was nothing more it could do here. So off it went, to parts unknown, most likely returning to its master. Though before it disappeared...

    ----- Chi.

    The spider turned around to look at the people who had gathered about. Then it seemed to grin viciously and mimed something once more.

    It was hard to tell, but... it was almost like it was saying...

    My regards to the midget. Tell her to knock next time she visits. I was sleeping.

    And with that, the wispy-white ectoplasm spider stepped into its own shadow and just...

    --- Disappeared.

    Nikolai, watching this all with a confused expression, finally let out a resigned sigh and scratched the side of his head.

    "Well... in all honesty, I wouldn't bet on myself either. At least not in that race. Whoever made a familiar that expressive seems to know their theory well. Nevertheless, that means..." He looked at the webbing all around them and grimaced. "... I better get to work then. Even if walls have ears, they don't seem to have eyes... for now. Better scrub this all away before anyone else happens by."

    Having said that, the Ottoman mumbled something that sounded an awfully lot like equations under his breath, and for a moment, something shimmered in his right hand - like a wireframe vectors of a spinning cube. At the same time, there was a momentary lurch in the atmospheric pressure that made Ramia's eyebrows raise, though the mercenary said nothing. Instead, she glanced at the two other girls.

    "... Guess we should head back to the cafeteria, huh? You coming, Lockhart? We're all exchanging some information before we head out on our tasks," the dusky-skinned girl asked. "Man... every time I think we're starting to make some headway, another new and confusing gear gets added into the formation..."

    She clicked her tongue in frustration.

    Nikolai, on the other hand, paused his cleaning long enough to glance at the group over his shoulder.

    "Oh, um. Right. Once I'm done here, is there anywhere I could meet up with you later? I mean, considering what a complicated situation this is, I figured I'd be more useful by offering my assistance rather than going about it alone," he asked. "... Right after I'm done here, of course. God, I hope this isn't as messy as normal ectoplasm is..."

    ... By the looks of it, it might be.

    Still, whatever the choices, Ramia had been right. They should finish up here and return to the cafeteria for now.

    The day was slowly turning towards afternoon, and there was still lot to do.




    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building – Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    There were nods all around the room. While what came after was important as well, for now, checking up on those students that remained at the campus was the priority. While they had no first-hand experience of it (if mere memories counted as first-hand experience), the rest of the group had started to become keenly aware that sticking together and not going off on their own was extremely important. In the Week That Never Was, all of the students had more or less dispersed to do their own things, and with that, everything had fallen to pieces...

    --- Madness that overtook the class.

    That's what Ultra had called it.

    Would grouping up make sure that wouldn't happen?

    Or would that dangerous insanity still persist, picking them off one-by-one, turning allies into foes that were lost to the fog of their own minds...?

    "Well, it's your funeral," Hwan snorted as he looked at John with a raised eyebrow. "That little shit is vicious, so don't blame us if she goes straight for the jugular when it comes to you. From what I've seen she doesn't play well at all when it comes to people with common sense. Hell, she went off so hard at that Skye gal that I think the latter was about to bust a valve. Though if you think you can do any better..."

    He left the words hanging in the air with a sarcastic edge.

    "--- Also, please. Everyone can see that cyanhead follows you around like a puppy. You really saying that you guys aren't together?" The white-haired boy added with a cackle. "From what I hear, you two have been even more inseparable than Mr. And Mrs. Roboto over here!"

    Kean, upon hearing that, frowned a bit. However, he had more important things to worry about. Namely the fact that Elaine's mood seemed to have soured. While he didn't seem to know what to do at first, eventually the silver-haired boy made some sort of decision, and without hesitation, put his hand on the girl's shoulder.

    "Hey, E... you alright? You're doing that thing, y'know," he asked, raising an eyebrow. "The one where you're keeping up your pokerface but your tone of voice just screams that something's not alright."

    ... Right.

    Kean had known the blonde girl for quite a while already. And though he didn't always show it, perhaps he had become more apt at noticing the changes in her attitude as well.

    Subaru, on the other hand, hadn't seemingly realized this as she looked up in surprise.

    "O-oh! Umm, if it is about me, then I-I can of course switch places with someone else. F-f-for example, if you were more comfortable pairing up w-w-w-w-w-with Kean Loinnir here, I can... I can do with Mr. Bin as well," Subaru said, her face beet red as she stared at the duo of Elaine and Kean. "I-I can understand, of course! I mean, I h-have no first-hand experience myself, but... but I have read about such r-relationships! And I know that spending time together is, um, is very important!"

    Kean practically did a spit-take at that, just managing to avoid spraying coffee everywhere.

    "... Well, chalk that up for the first awkwardness of this whole thing," the boy muttered, sounding both embarrassed and amused. "All that's missing is --- Oh. Well, look who's back."

    Indeed, at that moment, the door of the cafeteria opened up once more, and a familiar pair appeared in the doorway.

    It seemed like Anna Vandemeel and Ramia Ramalsaqr had finished whatever they were doing, and were now rejoining the meeting.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Old Train Yard - Warehouse 2
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    Mercedes raised an eyebrow with an amused smirk.

    "What? Nancy, are you gonna, like, trust us enough to allow us to do some sleughting on our own?" The actress asked sarcastically, but not with mean intent. "Well, like, I'm game. While you two go and deal with the pow-wow you have or whatevah, I think we can have a little looksee if we can't find the guy in question."

    However, moments later, the starlet's expression grew more serious and she took a few steps forward. Surprisingly enough, she lifted her arm and laid her hand on Hisa's shoulder, giving it an encouraging squeeze that was followed by a couple of awkward taps. She was definitely not used to gestures like this, but with how much the events of the week had changed her... well, at least the starlet was making an effort.

    "... Still, whatever you two are gonna, like, head out to do - keep your wits about you. And don't, like, take any stupid risks or whatevah. Either of you," Mercedes said with a lopsided grin. "I mean, Lucy might be my bestie... but I can't go and lose my #1 Rival either, can I? So, uh... yeah. B-be safe, or whatevah."

    Suddenly growing somewhat embarrassed of the rare moment of genuine emotions she was having, Mercedes retreated back to the rest of the group, where Leena and To-Totesh were already waiting. The two girls gave each other a nod, and then one at Mercedes, who returned it.

    "L-leave it to us!" Leena exclaimed, striking her chest with a humble fist. "Gosh, I might not know everything's that's going on, but if it's about this town... well, I can't just watch idly by either! I'll just have to make do and fake it till I make it, by Jove!"

    The actress snickered a bit, shaking her head.

    "... Don't worry, Nancy. I'll fill her in the best I can."

    To-Totesh, on the other hand, seemed more determined than ever.

    "Mm. We'll be fine, even on our own. We'll stick together and not take risks. After all, this is a group effort. We all have to do our part," the native girl said, extending her hand to take the tools Hisa had mentioned. "So don't worry. You deal with what you have to, Hisa. And once you're done, we'll meet up again and exchange information."

    Indeed, it looked like those three were more than ready.

    Kagekiyo, on the other hand, had a somewhat troubled look on his face.

    "Well, uh... I can't tell you the exact time, I'm afraid. I've been in that cell for a while, you see. Though, hmm, if I had to make a guess... maybe two, three days ago? Maybe four? Has to be around that time, otherwise I wouldn't be alive. Y'know, considering they didn't feed me. But for the place..." The older man took a moment to point towards the town - and the ocean in particular. "I emerged from the tunnels at the entrance near the beach. There's this hidden entrance right underneath the lighthouse, where the waves meet the rockface. Had to do a bit of swimming to get to the beach and move from there. But yeah, that's where I first came out. Just follow the tunnels straight, more or less, and ended up there."

    So, start of the week and at the beach?

    It might have even been during the night of the Beach Party...

    Still, it looked like he was ready to go as well, after finding Ash.

    Which left...

    "Muuuu~!"

    Ah, Gradient.

    Of course.

    The strange girl had parked herself right next to Hisa, and it didn't look like she was going to go anywhere. Indeed, she grabbed Hisa's hand and linked their arms together, as if to announce that wherever she was going, she was coming with.

    ... Guess that meant that there were three of them heading out as well.

    And as for Pyry...

    "..................."

    He was the same Pyry as before, but... it was clear that his instincts were suddenly primed for battle.

    And more than that, his eyes... they gazed towards the horizon, where the city stood underneath the clouds of storm.

    Somewhere, to a specific place underneath the skies weeping rain, as if he had always known where this would end up in.

    Without any words, even Hisa understood.

    The time had come.

    Storm unlike the one from the week that never existed was finally here.

  3. #4443
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast



    "Hang in there... Rachel..."

    Vivienne gently approached Rachel, making sure that she didn't move briskly, but also that she didn't close the distance in a surreptitious manner. A merely natural manner of walking up to Rachel, like a friend approaching another for a hug... which isn't exactly what she goes for, but it's close enough. Vivienne tries to help support Rachel, ready to hold her should she suddenly crumble. Her hands lightly rest on Rachel's shoulder, making her know that a friend is there to help her.

    But... is that enough?

    Is that truly what a friend would content themselves to do... when there is more that they could do?

    What is there to do, Vivienne Bianchi? You are not so powerless, are you?

    Of course she isn't. 'The Facade', or 'The Charade', it has many names, yet it is something which is a constant across the world of the Turnside. Something that someone like her is supposed to be most familiar with... but if she breaks it here, it is all within compliance isn't it? Yet why does she do this? It is merely a wild guess, and it has no chance to work... but it is indeed better than doing nothing, and hoping for the best.

    Perhaps it is simply because you care.


    "Do not be alarmed Rachel, I am going to try dispel whatever is afflicting you. Everything is going to be alright, trust me."

    It is Vivienne Bianchi who speaks, but the robotic, emotionless tone is gone, replaced by a gentle, caring intonation, warm with feelings. Like a sister's or mother's, trying to comfort you in your trying times. It does not really match the strange bone-like mask which has must materialized on top of Vivienne, but one can see the light of compassion in her one visible eye...

    "Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka, rejuvenate this soul, and cast off the hold of the Evil Spirits over her!"
    Great Spirit__________________________________________________ ________________

    A surge of supernatural energy surges through Vivienne's hands, coursing into Rachel's body and giving off a momentary faint green glow, as if she had become a firefly in the dimly lit room. The deed done, and with her mask still on, all Vivienne can do is look at Rachel eagerly as she hopes that whatever as afflicting Rachel has been dispelled, and that her hunch was correct.

  4. #4444
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building – Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    I tilted the last bits of my drink into my mouth with one hand, showing Hwan just what I thought of his cattiness with the other.

    It hid the grimace on my face as I considered the situation.

    I set the glass down on the table gently, folding my hands against the table.

    "It's nothing worth worrying over too much," I said firmly, half to myself, "An' honestly, it's not all that important in the long run, either. Just me wanting to avoid any awkward situations."

    Like this one we're in now.

    Except instead of just 'oh you want to be alone to smooch' it's more of a 'Hi I either killed or were directly responsible for your deaths last time in this godawful situation we're in, wanna be pals' type of kerfuffle.

    Somewhat different, I suppose.

    "Don't have any problem going with you, Subaru."

    I blame John for everything, I should throw something at his dumb fat head.

    "This is definitely a solid time for some girl talk."

  5. #4445
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    Don't forget about the child. It's important. And be aware.

    You're being listened to.
    “Mhm… I’ll keep it in mind.”

    Aimed at all of them of course, yet Anna couldn’t shake the feeling that it was aimed at her in particular. Of course, it made the current situation not one jot easier. If they were being listened to, then any attempt to discuss things openly and unravel this bloody mystery would be moot. No, worse. It would seed any initiative to their opponents. After all, they would know immediately how to counter any action by them to challenge the situation. Provided that the observers were so inclined, of course.

    …but how? Do they have those… mikrifones in the walls or something?

    Her knowledge of such things was rudimentary, of course. Her assumption was that it was some mundane technical solution. While magic could, obviously, be used to spy and scry on others, long-term observation was… complicated to say the least. Mana was not eternal in quantity in the environment and self-reinforcing loops were rare – anything like this would need a magical item or an Arc Relic as a base, perhaps. Not impossible, but impractical.

    No doubt they’re using some spying technology like they’re the bloody KGB or something. A lot easier to set up than equivalent Turnside stuff.

    "Oh, um. Right. Once I'm done here, is there anywhere I could meet up with you later? I mean, considering what a complicated situation this is, I figured I'd be more useful by offering my assistance rather than going about it alone.
    "You can meet us in the cafeteria once you are done, we’ll see how we’ll go from there. Though what exactly we should do is still a bit of a confusing mess.” The witch’s slim fingers rose to her temple in order to stave off the incoming headache. “At the very least, I’d be interested to hear exactly what you’re capable of. We need to know that much if we’re to figure out the best way you can pitch in."

    "Well, best of luck, товарищ." Anna gave a small grimace as her eyes fell on the discarded webbing on the floor. The only quick way she knew of to deal with that crap quickly was to burn it. Too sticky for anything else. "We'll be waiting for you once you finish with... cleanup."

    And with those words, the Estonian witch was off, hot on the heels of the Libyan mercenary and heading towards the cafeteria.

    "All that's missing is --- Oh. Well, look who's back."
    “Yo.” Anna threw up her hand in a quick greeting to the table as she collapsed lazily back onto her seat at the table, back from her sojourn in the hallway. “Problem solved, for the time being at least. The Ottoman will give us a hand with dealing with this… mess. How he will do that specifically, that’s another question, but at least we shouldn’t have to worry about him popping out of nowhere with nefarious intentions.”

    “…though he’s still Russian, so he might stab us in the back regardless. You never know with those bastards.”

    Despite her rather biting words, Anna herself considered the chance of that happening rather low. Nikolai’s personality was akin to a pencil-pushing bureaucrat if anything. Granted, he could be an exceptional con artist in the vein of the Mad Monk, but it was unlikely. That was what her gut was telling her at least.

    The raven-haired girl kept speaking in a casual tone, even as her hands went shuffling through the pockets, clearly looking for something.

    “He had some interesting insights about the situation, but before I get into that, what about you guys? Any new insights?”

    While she was talking, her hand emerged from the front pocket of her red-and-white jacket, clutching a rather tattered-looking ballpoint pen. Never pausing in conversation for even a moment, she grabbed one of the nearby white napkins and quickly scribbled something on it, before raising it towards the table at large.

    The letters were blocky, almost brutalist, in nature. Pure legibility, with nary a smidgeon of artistic flourish.

    Met something. Suggested spying… listening inside walls on campus? Technology? Anyone check?

  6. #4446
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Main Building – Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast



    “While a rather…extreme case, her attitude is fundamentally nothing particularly new,” John comments on the matter of Xylia Pheme. “The John Dove from a week ago can confront her. And somebody has to, sooner or later. Ignoring her just because she is hard to deal with is not an option for us.”

    Finding no further need to dwell on that matter (Really? She is most likely Colton Davin’s murderer, you know), he follows up with a new issue Hwan Bin has brought up, to his (not displayed) surprise.

    “I do have to thank you for bringing the matter of Ubon to my attention,” he says. “It will cause unnecessary complications if more people reach a similar conclusion, or even Ubon herself.”

    How exactly to tackle this matter, though? Just...walking up to her and saying “just to be clear, I am not pursuing a romantic relationship with you” seems wrong even to him. Well, that is a bridge to cross should he ever reach it.

    Now, John Dove, in his unparalleled callousness, had expected Elaine Winters to power through her feelings about the Alexstrasza/Sakura/Ubon issue. Or at least learned to fake it. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, she has not. Just like nobody should be surprised by now by John Dove being an asshole.

    “Nevertheless, I deem it better were you the one to approach them and verify their safety,” John doubles up. “Of course, I cannot force you to do anything. Should you wish to delegate the role to another, neither I nor anybody else, I think, will oppose you.”

    Perhaps it is fortunate, then, that Vandemeel and Ramalsaqr choose this moment to return.

    “Ah. May I assume the matter has been resolved?”

    They heard no sounds of violence, which is always preferable. Then again, for all he knows, they used some sound-dampening spell and there’s a bloodbath on the other side of those doors. Not that it matters; it is folly to force himself into every single little matter taking place in this mess of a school.

    “We have agreed that, before moving on to do anything, we would check on the people who’ve stayed in the dorms and are currently alone: Inacio, Sakura, Ubon, and Xyilia Pheme. Perchance, did you happen to meet Miss Lockhart and Souma out there?”

    After hearing whatever the two returnees have to say, John has to reconsider his intent to cause the conversation back to the matter of their immediate plans. Vandemeel suggests they are being monitored. How, and by whom? If she knew that, she would have written it as well.

    “Elaine has provided us with a connection that explains the influence of the Norse mythos in the area: a local family, the Kincaids. They, too, are likely involved into this whole affair. It further suggests that a key to oppose our enemies rests in the local traditions that have been pushed aside by this foreign presence.”

    As he speaks, his hands are hard at work on his sketchbook, elaborating a plan. Their numbers will not matter if the enemy assembles just as many groups to specifically counter their own.

    “Anyway, we have to assemble three groups. Vandemeel, I’m going to ask you and Ramalsaqr to split your firepower today. Please join forces with Miss Lockhart and Souma to pursue Gabi’s murderer. Miss Coastrise: considering that your brother is not at his best, it might be wiser for you to stay to watch over your siblings, while keeping an eye on those among our classmates who choose to remain on their own. Ramalsaqr, I would ask you to join Miss Iburi in Group 3.”

    Vandemeel, take Ramalsaqr and Coastrise. If you find an enemy, or an enemy finds you, please trample them with everything you have.

    “Kean, Hwan Bin, I would ask you to turn this campus upside down, focusing on the teachers’ room, the infirmary, the library, the computer room, and Mr. Oceandrop’s office; Miss Sae Min’s office, too, if she has one of her own. Please look for anything regarding this…’Pinefall Project’, what other institutions are connected to it, and in what manner. Anything, no matter how small or vague, could be a lead.”

    Elaine, please join them after asking Sakura and/or Ubon to join Miss Iburi’s group. Once done with the school, I suggest locating Momoi and exchange information, difficult as that may prove to be.

    For good or ill, Momoi only trusts her small clique. If they do manage to solve the case on their own, though, all the better for John and the others.

    “Group 3, that is, Ramalsaqr and Miss Iburi…well, it’s a choice between Tommy Horse’s residence, the lighthouse, or the Pioneer’s Statue and adjacent areas.”

    If anybody has the means to locate Elise Marie Pelltier, deciding a course of investigation after learning what she knows would be the better plan.

    Even an idiot has noticed by now that John Dove is nowhere in this elaborate plan, and this because he is not yet capable of valuing himself enough to create a place for himself in it. He is incapable of identifying the position in which he may be the most useful—despite the obvious choice being joining Miss Iburi, who is currently alone until Elaine succeeds at pulling Sakura and/or Ubon into the group.

    It is to be expected from a man who has spent too many years studying others, and nowhere near enough time looking at himself. Then again, there is no guarantee he will survive the storm that is Xylia Pheme, and even if he does, that joining either of these groups would be the better choice afterwards.

    “Does anybody have any objections to this, or a suggestion for a better course of action?”

    By the way, if the enemy has some sort of future-tech, high-definition camera looking at them right now, this whole thing was laughably pointless.

  7. #4447
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    The other stuff!? But I don't have any clue what the other stuff was about, Matriarch! I can keep in the back of my mind, but I haven't the faintest what any of these random words could possibly be alluding to! You do realize I have no clue who The Man Who Lived Twice or The Woman Who Carries The Star are, right!?

    Actually, you probably don't even know they exist, and all I know is that they do exist, so functionally, all these things are realistically identical to me. I've been growing quite annoyed at the constant digging deeper, as it appears to only lead me down an even more confusing direction.

    I let out a mournful sigh, blowing my hair out of my eyes.

    "Yes, yes, the cafeteria! I will surely be in attendance, as it seems the only thing I am quite sure of right now is how terribly little I know," I said with a sigh, turning to attempt to peer at my own back. "Alas, it appears that I am currently a bit... trapped! Unlike the rest of you, I am currently a bit..."

    I reached a finger down my back and dragged it upwards, feeling the stickiness across my index.

    "Messy! But fortune fairs as fortune fairs!"

    I saluted the girl with a smile.

    "I will see you shortly!"

    I waved an excited hand goodbye as I watched them walk away, tapping the side of my cheek thoughtfully, before blinking as I felt the ectoplasm sticking to my face.

    Dearest Potemkin, I am beginning to suspect that perhaps it is not the town that is cursed, but myself. Is it fortune fair or fortune despair that currently favors me? I meet the Matriarch once more, and yet I am still quite confused as to what goes on around me.

    "You know," I said to no one in particular, "I am beginning to suspect that many of my classmates dislike me."

    I slapped both my cheeks and took a deep breath, furrowing my brow as I held it in before exhaling and shaking my head. Dwelling on unfortunate truths was sure to lead to unfortunate conclusions. What would be for the best would be to ignore said conclusions until I uncover the more interesting ones!

    Such as how I've stumbled into so many godforsaken plots, and none of them seem to have any immediate solutions!

    "Very well then! Away I go!" I said, taking a step and glaring wickedly at the ectoplasm I found my foot stuck in, struggling to rip it free before managing so successfully. There was nary a chance the Matriarch could keep me here. "After all, it would surely help were someone to read the message on my back out loud!"

    The smile on my face fizzled a bit as I realized I would have to follow Anna and Ramia, but I shook my head and replaced it. To be friendless was, really, not that new of a thing to me. And in any case, I definitely had... A-at least one friend! Cesarina was definitely my friend! No, wait, at least three! John and the Executioner were my friends too, right?!

    ...But then again, I seem to have at least three enemies, so maybe I'm friend-neutral at best...

    I shrugged my shoulders and banished the thoughts from my head. To think on such useless topics as friendship was a waste of time, in the end. I had men who had no face to hunt and kill. After I went to the cafeteria of course.
    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.


  8. #4448
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building – Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    I grunted, "I'd be better suited going an' looking into that Lighthouse, I got some questions to ask the geezer there, need to make sure that shithead didn't mess him up or nothin', plus, the Kincaids, they're linked to, something important to me."

    Then, with a frown, "There's not much I can do here, personally, especially considerin' I got one of the ways to get out and about on the town, and, last of all..."

    I laid a hand out flat on the table, "There's an appointment I gotta have tonight, and I'm not going to scurry around this dump like a rat waiting for it."

    At best, it would be nothing at all.

    At worst, it was a trap.

    But at the end of the day, it wasn't something I could ignore.

  9. #4449
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Old Train Yard - Warehouse 2
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    "R-right."

    Nodding back at Mercedes, my face blushed just slightly because of her sudden gesture. It was as if the things that went unsaid exactly because of their embarrassing nature were expressed just briefly - for the exact, expected embarrassing results.

    "You don't have to worry, at any rate," I said as I mustered a faint smile on my face, fighting down my embarrassment, "I'm not planning on letting things go wrong this early."

    Not that I was really in control of that. In the grand scheme of things there were plenty forces that I appeared pretty much powerless against in comparison, but...Those would wait until tomorrow at least. I hoped. While I wasn't sure what to expect, what awaited us for now certainly can't have been that dangerous.

    "And thanks. This is...still sort of new to me, and having people to rely on is hardly something I could afford and wish for until just recently."

    Reaching into my backpack as I averted my gaze, I pulled out a pair of items, and after making sure that they were in proper condition, handed them over to To-Totesh. There wasn't really a need for any explanation at that point - and thus, my attention shifted to Kagekiyo afterwards, who just started giving his answer to my earlier question.

    "That...you're just overcomplicating things now," I raised an eyebrow as I crossed my arms in front of my chest, "The point wasn't to figure how much time you've spent here, in the cell. But for that matter, it's Saturday. Tenth of September, 1994. You can do the math based on when you were sent to the town, which is also what I was wondering about."

    Feeling Gradient grabbing my hand, I reached out with the other to gently pat her head a few times. Yet, my curious gaze still rested on Kagekiyo;

    "I'd assume you'd be aware of when you came to investigate, wouldn't you?"

  10. #4450
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    “Anyway, we have to assemble three groups. Vandemeel, I’m going to ask you and Ramalsaqr to split your firepower today. Please join forces with Miss Lockhart and Souma to pursue Gabi’s murderer. Miss Coastrise: considering that your brother is not at his best, it might be wiser for you to stay to watch over your siblings, while keeping an eye on those among our classmates who choose to remain on their own. Ramalsaqr, I would ask you to join Miss Iburi in Group 3.”
    “Aah, don’t mind that. Something like that would be kinda up my alley anyway. Though Nubata, huh? I ran into Lockhart in the hallway but there was no trace of that guy… You sure they’re working together?”

    “Well… that guy could easily be skulking in the shadows going all “Heh….” for all we know, I suppose.”

    While the topic of spoken conversation was wholly on the things they had discussed earlier, the written statements by John Dove implied something different altogether. The idea wasn’t bad though. If anyone had been listening in, then varying things up might be a useful method to throw their… hunters off their game.

    She flicked over the napkin and scribbled quickly a response on the other side.

    I don’t mind. But will go to the Mitchell’s first. Nagging suspicion about something. Difficult to explain.

    Anna’s eyes flickered over to the other end of the table where Stephanie was now looking at the conversation going on at the table with a curious look in her eyes.

    I can keep an eye on the girl as well. I think she and the Mitchell brat were friends last time. Would be good for both of them to see each other. Other stuff as well, but… difficult to explain at the moment.

    That last part of her writing was accentuated with a deep sigh.

  11. #4451
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Gggh... nnn....!"

    The ritual magic seeps into the redheaded girl, trying its best to clear away whatever supernatural influence had overtaken Rachel. Indeed, judging by how she had been acting, and how her eyes had changed, it was quite possible that this whole thing was some sort of Turnside trick. Or rather, a trap. Something that would catch anyone who would carelessly bring up the name of the Girl In Blue. Indeed, that had been what had set Rachel off, and though the older girl had tried to fight it, this influence had kept its claws tightly gripped onto her.

    Now the question remained...

    --- Was Vivienne's ritual strong enough to break that stranglehold?

    "Nn... mmm...."

    ... It looked like her gamble had, just barely, paid off.

    Looking at Rachel's face, the paleness of it was receding, and the cold sweat on her brow had started to dissipate. It was like watching someone, before your very eyes, come off a high fever. Being so close, Vivienne could even see that the redhead, who had been breathing a mile a minute towards the end, had started to calm down her breathing as well. However, while her affliction was clearly coming down, this presented a new problem as well.

    Namely... it looked like Rachel proceeded to lose consciousness as a result of the clash between the spell and the affliction.

    A minute or two later Vivienne, who had kept a tight watch over the older girl, understood that this had indeed happened. Rachel was still breathing, and she still had pulse, but no amount of poking or prodding seemed to wake her up. It elicited some quiet groans, however, so it was likely this stupor was only momentary. How long it would last, however, was anyone's guess.

    This was, of course, far from optimal.

    After all, Vivienne was knee-deep in a place where she shouldn't have been, alone with the unconscious body of the hotel's heiress by her side.

    If someone were to walk in right now...

    ------ Bam!

    It was like her very own thoughts had conjured up this worst case scenario.

    While Vivienne had been standing next to Rachel, trying to think what to do next, the main door leading to the sidewing slammed open violently. What followed was the sound of two sets of footfalls - one angry and stomping, one much calmer, yet still determined. Not only, that, but Vivienne could hear the sound of two voices - ones that were clearly arguing. It was hard enough to say what they were arguing about, but whatever it was, it wasn't good.

    No, more than that...

    Vivienne recognized these voices.

    "Calm down, Isaac."

    That was the voice of James Halloway - the owner of the hotel, and Rachel's uncle.

    And the other...

    "--- Calm down!? I can't calm down, not any more!" The younger voice growled. "This has gone too far! That poltergeist even dragged that girl into all of this...!"

    It was the ashen-haired man from before.

    "We've watched by so far, but enough's enough! If she's put through more anguish, the Kincaid Clan refuses to take any more part in this sick joke..."

    And he sounded angry.

    "Your guilt is admirable, if foolish," James Halloway replied. "But if you let it guide your actions, the rest of the clan will overthrow you. I'm sure you're aware of this... right, Isaac?"

    And worst of all...

    "Besides, we have bigger problems," the hotel owner continued. "For example..."

    --- They were headed straight for the parlor.

    "--- How did that ghost come in possession of the lost Gram?"

    Which meant Vivienne had only seconds to react, before she was caught red-handed.

    It was as if...

    As if...

    --- The painting on the wall was laughing.


    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Vivienne Bianchi: Friendship Rank Raised!




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Old Train Yard - Warehouse 2
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    Kagekiyo frowned for a moment as Hisa asked him the question. The older man seemed to have some confusion about the date... or so it seemed at first. The truth quickly came to light when he suddenly stared at his own hands... and started counting with his fingers. Hisa could practically hear Mercedes suppress a cackle on the background, and even Leena seemed to snort a little... but at the very least, eventually the goofy swordsman came up with an answer.

    "Hmm, I arrived to Washington state on the sixth, and then spent a day traveling to Seattle. I think I spelunked in those tunnels for a day or so, meaning that when I emerged here it would have been the... err..." He paused again, before a brighter expression came across his face. "Right! Seventh! It should be the seventh! Or, well, the night between seventh and the eight!"

    So that would put him arriving squarely on the night of the Beach Party.

    That was very useful information for the future.

    Though he must have arrived very late, considering even this time, the group that had stayed behind on the beach had not noticed him.

    Still, at least that was one mystery less. And one potential ally added to the list, even if the week repeated itself once more.

    However, those were thoughts for the future.

    For now...

    ... There was a whole other ordeal to get through.

    Just one look at Pyry and his far-away gaze was enough to say as much. There was no avoiding what was to come.

    --- It was in their nature.

    An anger born out of what another felt was a threat to the peace he had found - and an anger born out of what one felt was a betrayal of those who came after.

    One had been saved and decided to run away from it all - while another had fallen deeper into the despair, never finding someone to lift him up.

    One full of anger against a brother who he never asked for - and another full of anger against the brother who was never there for him.

    It was easy for either side, and those standing by them, to claim to be in the right.

    But the ugly truth was... neither had the moral high-ground.

    Excuses could be made, but at this point, they both knew they would not matter.

    After all...

    --- Their instincts were calling them to clash, to sort out these ugly feelings in a way they knew the best.

    One hid his bestial nature underneath a cheerful grin, another wore it on his sleeve.

    But they were, no matter what anyone said, beasts.

    And when two beasts happened upon each other in the same territory, there was only one conclusion.

    "... It's time."

    Pyry's voice was a guttural growl.

    "I know where to go. He knows it too," the boy continued, his burning eyes glancing at the girl. "From here on out... both of us will lay bare our raw selves. What we are without the lies we tell ourselves and to others. So... don't hate us, okay? Either of us. Anyone'd be ugly to look at in a moment like this. But, more importantly, when it starts. When we clash..."

    He closed his eye and drew breath, as if fighting against an urge - or rather, his brainwashing.

    "... That's when our minds will be most vulnerable. You, and Prushka... that's your chance."

    And then, his free hand clenched into a fist.

    "That's when you can destroy the remnants of Jukola in both of us."

    A cold wind of far-away northern lands blew through the train yard.

    "... I'll leave myself in your hands, Hisa."

    That's all Pyry could say.

    From the start, there had been no avoiding what was about to happen.

    For any of them.


    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Hisa Momoi: Friendship Rank Raised!










    Anna Vandemeel, Elaine Winters, John Dove & Guest-Starring Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    Hwan, after cackling at Elaine's gesture towards his direction, looked over the plans that were being written on the napkin. Strangely enough, he didn't seem all that surprised at the possibility of being listened to, unlike Subaru, for example. Indeed, it almost looked like the boy had expected it - only he hadn't been in a position to do anything about it, and thus had to begrudgingly accept it. Now that there was a whole group of them, however, and that the plan to pivot from what was being said aloud was brought to the table...

    "Hmm, yeah. That seems like an okay idea," the Korean boy said with a smirk. "As it happens, I'm quite good at turning crap 'upside-down'. So, what'cha say, Keister? Ready to do some 'investigating?'"

    As he said that, his nimble hands wrote something down on the napkin.

    So Team Girl Power over here goes on Murder Mystery Duty, me and Kean will go look for Inacio first and then take either Sakura or Ubon with us if they wanna come. Meanwhile Blondie and Subaru and go check out the lighthouse, then move to other local topics of interests - like the Kincaids, for example. And if anyone runs into Elise, we'll grab her as well. That about right?

    Kean Loinnir, on the other hand, let out a very natural sounding chuckle as well.

    "Sure thing. I'm no betting man, but if I were, I'd be willing to say us two can find anything they might have squirreled away around the school," he replied as he took the pen. "So you guys better not come back empty-handed either, y'hear?"

    While he talked, he wrote his own two cents on the rather crowded napkin.

    If possible, it might be smart to separate Sakura and Ubon into two groups. For example, if one came to accompany us while other went with E' and Subaru. In fact... hmm. John, you forgot to add yourself here.

    Kean's face showed that he didn't believe for one second that John had done it by accident.

    You were going to check on Xylia, right? Whatever happens with that, why not do it like this: Either Sakura or Ubon goes with Elaine and Subaru to the lighthouse, Kincaids and that stuff - along with looking for Momoi. Meanwhile the other meets up with John after he's possibly recruited Xylia. You two (or three) will meet up with me and Kean once we're done talking with Inacio. Once that's done, we'll decide where we go from there. Either the lookout, Elise or whatever we feel like we can accomplish the best, depending on our group lineup.

    There were some agreeing nods around the table. From the looks of it, just about everyone had noticed John's little "mistake", and with that, it was made sure he wouldn't be alone either. Nobody brought it up specifically, but whether he wanted it or not, the boy with the monochrome eyes was part of this group. Thus, he'd be in one of the teams as well.

    "Mm, this looks good!" Subaru exclaimed, grabbing Tonkori as she stood up from her chair. "Come on then, 'Ramia'. Let us head off!"

    Tonkori echoed the wink the little shrine maiden gave, and let out a happy little bark.

    And with that, the groups finally were formed.

    In one end was Anna, Ramia and Zhou - all of them looking ready to do their allotted task. Visit the Mitchells and find the murderer... and trample them with everything they had. Though, at that very moment, the doors of the cafeteria were swung open as rather oblivious-looking Alexstrasza Lockhart walked in. Luckily, she was welcomed by a delighted squeal as Stephanie ran over to the vampire and practically dragged her over to that group from the hand. Once the small girl had made sure Alexstrasza was firmly sandwiched between Zhou and Ramia, she ran back over to Elaine and gave her one big hug, as if to tell her not to worry - and to tell her to come back in one piece.

    Indeed, that other group was now ready as well. Subaru and Tonkori had quietly taken their place next to the blonde girl, and they both gave her an encouraging nod. Their job would be to meet up with Sakura and Ubon, see if they were able to join up with their group, and then head over to the lighthouse to deal with the matter of the ghost. During that, they would keep an eye out for Hisa Momoi, and once they were done with their first task, they would move over to dealing with the problems of the town itself... most likely Kincaid, for starters.

    This left the last group... or, group of sorts. At the very least, they would all start from the dorms, and then meet up later. In other words, Kean and Hwan practically lifted John out of his seat, while grabbing the napkins to burn later. The two boys didn't seem to have any intention of letting John to head out on his lonesome, or at the very least stay solo. Not only were they all safer if they stuck in big groups, but like it or not, this wasn't a situation where anyone could shy away from bringing their all to the fray. It would require everyone doing their best to do something about this looping nightmare.

    In other words, three teams.

    --- Anna. Alexstrasza. Ramia. Zhou. Stephanie.

    --- Elaine. Subaru. Tonkori. Possibly either Ubon or Sakura.

    --- John. Kean. Hwan. Possibly Inacio and Xylia. Perhaps either Ubon or Sakura.

    And if fate was on their side, they might be able to make contact with Hisa Momoi's group or Elise later.

    There were still many questions remaining.

    Many mysteries left unanswered.

    Many enemies hiding in the shadows.

    But for the first time, most of the class was starting to be on the same wavelength and understood the situation equally. This was no problem any one of them could face alone. To defeat this accursed fate that had taken a stranglehold of them all, they would need an unifted front - friends, rivals and enemies all under one banner.

    A Banner of Hope.

    Hope that there was still a tomorrow to see, a future after the Dead End Sunday.

    A future where they were not prisoners of time.

    And it all started here.

    --- Tonkori raised her head.

    Let's do this, guys!
    "Bark!"


    With that loud command, the three groups headed out, ready to face the incoming storm.


    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Anna Vandemeel: Friendship Rank Raised!








    Elaine Winters: Friendship Rank Raised!



    Alexstrasza Lockhart: Friendship Rank Raised!





    John Dove: Friendship Rank Raised!








    Last edited by Verg Avesta; April 4th, 2022 at 07:54 AM.

  12. #4452
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Avery's Diner
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast


    “That’s quite a lot of warnings about your mysterious past,” Lucille finally says, drumming her fingers on her thighs. The information flows into her mind, sits there, but the more she ponders the more she comes to the conclusion she has no good advice here. Her life is defined by the past, and yet here Elise is, searching for one she may find abhorrent. It’s possible the demon is tricking them—that though the Elise of before was stronger, she was not an ally—but what could they do? Wasn’t its assessment fairly accurate?

    There is never such a thing as excess with lives on the line. But at the same time, it’s wrong to push Elise in that direction. The other girl should do what she feels is most comfortable, but the point of this entire conversation was that the Canadian didn’t know what to feel, or even what to do.

    “I think,” Lucille says, pausing, as if she wants to dial back and pretend her opinion isn’t worth sharing after all, “you should pursue the truth.”

    “Maybe you won’t like who you were, but what firmly matters is the way you act now. If what you find is something awful, there’s always the present to repent. If it were me… I couldn’t stand not knowing things about myself that others would take for granted. And truthfully, we really should be trying to claw for any advantage we can get.” The words come out, and immediately, Lucille doesn’t like them. They’re not perfect, but it’s only herself that expects perfection in this scenario. “Ignore that last sentence. That’s pointlessly pragmatic.”

    “For me, I… Forgetting is not absolution. Whatever you do will always hang over your head, like a shadow, even if you’re unaware. That’s why I think it’s better to know. Who you are may be different than the Elise of the past, but the only way to know if you wish to change is by discovering who you are.”

  13. #4453
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Avery's Diner
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast


    Elise took a moment to consider Lucille's thoughts on the matter, and then nodded slowly.

    "Thanks, Lucille."

    She sighed to herself and stared up at the ceiling of the diner as if something really were hanging over her head.

    "Dire warnings or not though, I don't think I've really got much of a choice but to pursue the truth here," admitted Elise, "I don't think it's the sort of thing I can just ignore. If only because I'm pretty sure I'd go crazy not knowing, but knowing there was a mystery like this in my own past. This... this is definitely the kind of stone I couldn't leave unturned."

  14. #4454
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    When Colt Davin finally regained consciousness, the first thing he heard was the roaring storm outside thick log walls.

    Moments later, his ears adjusted to the sound of crackling fireplace somewhere nearby, and the warmth it provided glowing on his face.

    As his eyes fluttered open, he at first did not realize where he was... until he understood that he was staring at an unknown wooden ceiling where all sorts of items hung from hooks and suspended wires - pots, pans, clothes... you name it. The second thing he understood was that he was tightly wrapped in a warm but rather itchy woolen blanket. The boy himself seemed to be laying on a rather old-looking couch, and most of his clothes were gone, leaving him only in his T-shirt and underpants. Both felt a little moist, but the fire nearby had done wonders in drying them out.

    Right, hadn't he lost his consciousness about the time rain started falling from the sky? He remembered bits and pieces of being carried through the forest, but at some point, it all just faded to black...

    ... And more importantly, where was he?

    Looking around, Colt saw what seemed to be a main room or a "dining area" of a large log cabin. Wind and rain raged and rattled the windows staring outside at a dark forest, but the building seemed to hold fast, and the crackling fireplace dispelled all thoughts of the storm breaking in. Multiple doors seemed to branch out from this main space where he had been left - an area that had a kitchen, a small storage area, a dining table and... huh. Lots of cables running on the floor. A very suspicious amount of cables. And most of them led to...

    "........."

    Finally Colt realized a third sound that was reaching his ears, one that almost melted into the cracks and pops of the fireplace.

    Fingers rhythmically hitting the keys of a keyboard. Someone typing away, slowly and methodically, while staring at the screen of a bulky laptop.

    And that person?



    "............."

    Only glanced at Colt while the boy squirmed on the couch, before returning to stare at the laptop screen.

    Right.

    Immediately, recent memories flooded back into Colt's mind.

    And amongst them, the name that the strange woman had called this man with.

    ---------- Nevada.




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

    This was not good.

    This was definitely not good.

    If anything, this might have been the worst possible situation where Vier could find herself today.

    While she had been tracking Hawthorn, trying to keep up with the elusive vampire and focusing her instincts and thoughts on him, something absolutely crucial had slipped her mind. Namely, the fact that a storm was brewing and it would hit the town full force on the latter half of Saturday. And right now, instead of being in town or bunkering up inside a building...

    --- She was in the middle of Ghostwood.

    Rain was lashing at her, howling winds were throwing her off-balance like shoving hands and at one point a branch from above ripped away thanks to the force of the storm, hitting her squarely in the face and making her eat a fistfull of pine needles.

    She was soaked, she was cold and exhaustion was starting to build up in an alarming fashion.

    But more than that... much more worryingly than that...

    --- Something was very, very wrong with this forest.

    Vier was sure of it now.

    Those warnings the locals had been giving weren't just for show.

    Though she had been following Hawthorn, and he was making a circle towards the town, Vier... had somehow found herself slipping deeper and deeper into the woods. Like again and again she had been misreading the trail. Except she hadn't. So, rather than her own incompetence, it was almost as if the forest was tricking her, trapping her and changing the paths so that she would get further and further from her goals... and the safety of civilization.

    It was like the Ghostwood had swallowed her up, and now refused to let go.

    --- A crack of lightning illuminated the sky above her, and for a moment, Vier felt like she had gone deaf.

    This was definitely not good.

    She was practically lost in an actively malicious forest.

    She was wet, cold and exhausted.

    And lastly, she was absolutely, utterly alone.

    With no one else in sight.

    But then again...

    ... Wasn't that what she had wanted?

    Hadn't she moved into the forest so she could act alone?

    --- Another bolt of lightning scored the sky.




    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Storm raged outside.

    But another was brewing inside the hearts of those waiting within the walls of the Spade Queen Country Club.

    After he was rescued from the panic bunker below the rose garden, Jack Pinkerton had not regained consciousness. It was clear that the man had suffered wounds and his body was beyond exhausted, but at the very least he didn't seem to be in immediate danger... or so the group had determined. Still, for now, the group had moved him to the small first aid room next to the lobby, beyond the reception counter. There, Sierra had decided to stay and watch over her father... and Agent Ferguson had decided to stay and watch over both of them, just so that nothing more would happen to the parent and child.

    This, of course, left the rest of the group somewhat aimless.

    Kajal and Jayesh were still somewhat recuperating from the wounds they had suffered last night. The siblings were huddled around the fire they had built in the massive fireplace of the lobby, bringing the room some much needed warmth from the howling storm outside. Meanwhile, Aleen King was staring into the depths of her cup of lukewarm coffee, sitting at the table near them. The much talked-about breakfast had eventually served as a late lunch of sorts, and while it wasn't perhaps the best for that purpose, nobody was really in the mood to cook some more.

    Nearby, Cathie Walker was pacing up and down the lobby, hands behind her back and muttering quietly under her breath. It was clear that she was worrying about a certain boy that had went and disappeared after the storm had hit. Neither Colt Davin nor Vier Wolff had returned from their attempt to track down Hawthorn, and especially the former had made the redhead anxious. She looked like she was ready to just pull on a jacket and rush into the storm herself... but had just enough common sense not to do so.

    The weather was truly nothing to laugh at. Getting caught in a storm like this in Ghostwood was akin to a death sentence.

    Still, that left the two remaining people of the lobby. Fyrtio was keeping watch, eyeing the rain-lashed courtyard through one of the larger second floor windows. The steel-like woman wore a stone-like mask, betraying nary a thought or emotion. Instead, she was like a hawk that was waiting for something.

    And lastly, there was Zane Mitchell. When the storm finally arrived, he had seemed anxious as well, saying something about his little brother... but now he was busying himself with something, having sat down at the reception counter. Was he fiddling with the phones? Or doing something else with them? It was hard to say, but at least he had a screwdriver in his hand...

    Yes. The morning's slightly cheerful atmosphere had all but evaporated, as Liana Skye noticed.






    John Dove
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Xylia's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    In the end, John Dove had not been able to escape Kean Loinnir and Hwan Bin. The two boys had stuck with him like they had talked about, and from the looks of it, he was part of the whole grouping idea that he had brought to the table... whether he wanted to or not.

    And by the time they had made their way inside the dormitory to look for few of the missing students, the storm had finally arrived.

    Like a clockwork.

    If John remembered right, this timing was exactly the same as last time. Maybe it was his imagination, but even the lightning strikes seemed to come at the same intervals. Or perhaps he just thought of that. Indeed, actually remembering something like that was nigh impossible.

    Still, while the two other boys went to get Inacio - if the Lusitanian was still in his room - that still left John with the unenviable task of trying to coax Xylia Pheme to join their cause. Or maybe "ally herself with them" was a better term. Xylia certainly didn't seem like the type who would be easily moved by a speech or two about hope or working together. If anything, she'd see such things as weaknesses to jump at immediately.

    And so, John Dove stood in front of the aforementioned girl's door, and...!

    "------- Fuck off."

    Was immediately rebuffed, before he had even managed to say anything or knock on the door.

    Had Xylia sensed his presence? That was quite the feat, considering she was blasting music at a high volume within her room.

    Though speaking of which...

    ... This was a weird choice in song.





    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory
    - Ubon's Room
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    By the time the trio of Elaine, Subaru and Tonkori made it into the dorms and parked themselves in front of Ubon's room, the storm had already pounced upon them and did what it did the best. Now, thanks to that, everyone's hair was soaked and flat against their face and the corridor smelled of wet dog.

    Though in this case, the culprit for the latter was Tonkori.

    The damn puppy even managed to look smug when Subaru frowned at it after pinching her nose.

    "I swear, her true form leaks out into the real world at times like this..." The shrine maiden muttered while trying to comb her unruly hair in place - with little success. "I-I must apologize for that, Miss Winters. Tonkori is a good girl, but she cannot help her nature... and sometimes she does get a bit mischievous."

    Tonkori, in return, tilted her head in a way that was both adorable and calculated.

    Still, Subaru certainly insisted on calling Elaine 'Miss Winters'. It was starting to feel less like a sign of respect, and more like the small girl didn't exactly know if they were friends yet - at least enough to use Elaine's first name. Indeed, though roughly the same age, Subaru tended to still have the mannerisms of a shy, younger girl - mixed in with the precocious nature of a girl wise beyond her years. It did hint heavily towards a rather sheltered upbringing...

    "Oh, um, here!"

    The tiny shrine maiden suddenly piped up, handing Elaine a towel.

    "Should help at least a little bit," she added. "Though considering we might be heading back into the storm, I suppose it is a bit of a meaningless gesture..."

    While she said that, Subaru walked briskly over to the door in front of them and gave it a good knock.

    --- Knock that was eventually answered by creaking of door and smell of sugar wafting into the corridor.

    "Who's there...?"

    The voice of Ubon emerged from the crack between the open door and doorway, sounding somewhat listless... and also like the girl had her mouth full of pop rocks.

    Ah, so that's where the smell of sugar came from.



    Anna Vandemeel & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Outside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    By the time the most unlikely group of them all finally got the Mitchell house in their sights, the storm was already upon them.

    Luckily enough, they had seen the signs and prepared with appropriate clothing. Thusly, while wind and rain howled around them, the quintent of Anna, Alexstrasza Ramia, Zhou and "Stephanie" was quite well protected. The last one was even having fun, running around in the howling wind and jumping into puddles forming on asphalt in her galoshes, throwing up big splashes of water everywhere as she did. Indeed, the small girl was certainly having fun, sometimes even turning towards the rest of them expectantly, as if wondering why they weren't enjoying the storm as much as she did.

    Unfortunately, two out of the four older girls present knew what the storm brought with it - and it certainly made it a bit hard to enjoy it as much.

    And one of the other two might have foreseen something, considering her usual languid smile was nowhere to be seen.

    "So, uh... Scholomance, huh?" Ramia suddenly broke the silence, glancing at Alexstrasza. "Guess I should've known. You do have that aura about you, Lockhart."

    She was talking as if she had met many students of the place before even coming here.

    "So... things still as crazy as ever over there?"

    And what was that question supposed to mean?

    Zhou, on the other hand, rubbed her chin.

    "Speaking of crazy~," she started, glancing at both Anna and Alexstrasza. "You were apparently after that murderer, right~? So, got any info to share with us~? Any clues or juicy tidbits~? Something to help us find this bastard~?"

    Her sing-song voice hardly fit the amount of vitriol she exhibited towards the idea of a serial killer in their midst.

    "And Anna~?"

    Zhou turned her eyes towards the raven-haired girl.

    "What was the 'thing' you wanted to check here~? The one you ignored last time~?"



    Vivienne Bianchi
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Parlour
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    That old idiom was more apt now than ever.

    Rachel's unconscious body still lay in the corner of the parlour, aftermaths of heavy fever still clear on her face. Her breathing was shallow and her skin was pale, so anyone who would see her from a distance could possibly misidentify the redhead as being dead. Then, as she had sensed just half a second ago, the footfalls outside the parlour were coming in at a brisk rate. The two people, James Halloway and the mysterious ashen-haired youth of the Kincaid clan, were making a beeline towards the very room where Vivienne Bianchi was in right now... standing over the unconscious body of Rachel Halloway.

    It was more than likely that at least her uncle would jump to conclusions if he saw this scene.

    --- Time seemed to slow down to a crawl.

    Vivienne had only a moment to act.

    At that moment her five senses took in all the information they could about the parlour where she was.

    First, there was the lower area, with heavy bookshelves, a table, a rack of whiskey in the corner, the fireplace, the painting above it, two armchairs situated in front of the fireplace and a glass cabinet full of various hunting trophies. Stairs led up to a higher landing which was a study of some sort. A writing desk, more bookshelves, a proper leather couch and a small table next to it, where one could spend their time reading. There were only two doors in the room. The one leading back into the corridor through which Rachel and Vivienne had arrived... and where James and the young man were right now. And one up on the landing, leading deeper into the building. Possibly locked. There were also three windows. Two across the room from the fireplace - big ones that you'd have to pull up to open. They showed a stormy scenery of Ghostwood outside... and a cliffside. Indeed, they were overlooking the steep mountainside and the raging river that flowed down it towards the Star Lakes. A dangerous escape route. The third window, on the landing, seemed to open into a patio or balcony of some sort that was being lashed by the rain. However, it was smaller in size, and might have been locked as well.

    Time was running out.

    There was no room for hesitation.

    --- Whatever Vivienne would do, she would have to do it now.





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

    As expected, the storm had picked up by the time Elise and Lucille finally left the diner and went their separate ways.

    The wind was just as bad as the brunette remembered, and the rain soaked one to the bone if they were not prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment. Indeed, it felt as if the water had been pouring down for just a few minutes, but already puddles were forming on the asphalt. Thunder roared in the heavens above, and lightning struck with terrifying ferocity, drawing purple veins across the darkening canopy of clouds. The wind picked up even harsher, and Elise could see how some of the street signs were bending and buckling underneath the force.

    It would definitely end up just as dangerous as last time.

    Then again, this was the last time, which made sense.

    Only this time, Elise was making her way towards a lonely gas station on the outskirts of the town, one that loomed in the not-so-distant distance. A place where answers might be finally had... answers about the past that had become a great big unknown to the girl trudging down the side of the asphalt road, head full of worrying thoughts.

    [♪♫♪~!]

    Well, at least one half of her had her head full of worrying thoughts.

    The "demon" within her seemed to be in a cheerful mood thanks to the rain falling from the sky, quietly humming a familiar song about bridges over troubled water within Elise's mind.

    Not only that, but...

    [
    I will lay me down~]

    Whenever Elise looked into the puddles, instead of her own reflection and expression, she saw the cheeky grin and blonde hair of her mental freeloader.




    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High School
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    The storm was upon her like the end of the week.

    By the time Lucille made it back to the Pinefall campus, she was soaked to the bone. The wind and the rain had managed to seep in and with them bring the kind of coldness only nature was capable of. Thus, the warm lights that were on in the dormitory were more than a little inviting. Indeed, these were the only lights on at the campus. The main building, the outbuilding and the pool... they were all silent and dark, like massive mausoleums with only the dead as their residents.

    But even if she wanted to, Lucille had no time to stop and dry herself up, take a warm shower and slip into her comfortable bed.

    Instead, she had a shapeshifter to accost. Or rather, to question.

    If the last night's events were as they seemed, it might be that the girl in question was no willing accomplice of that church warrior in red and her... monstrous companion.

    Still, she would definitely have some answers. Hopefully. Possible.

    --- Maybe.

    But, first things first. Namely...

    ... Where had Sakura and Zhou stashed the shapeshifter in question?






    Hisa Momoi & Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    There was crackling power in the air, sizzling and electrifying.

    And it wasn't because of the storm.

    The air around the old saw mill felt heavy, as if clouds themselves were pushing deeper down into the earth to bear witness for what was about to happen. However, that feeling was merely the byproduct of the ambient mana that was gathering in spot, generated by two individuals who were leaking it like the reactors within them had gone to the overdrive. They had yet to even see each other, and the magical energies within them seemed to rage, seemed to howl with intensity to rival the storm that roared above them all.

    Hisa Momoi, inside the old saw mill, saw how an aura of pure gold had started to wrap around Pyry Leijonamieli. The boy was sitting on one of the old, rusted, upturned piece of machinery, fingers steepled and animal-like eyes pinpointed into the darkness of the door across the room from them. Close that she was, the girl could hear the beast-like rumble that echoed from within the young man. It was like sitting next to a wild animal... perhaps his namesake. An animal driven to the corner in a territorial dispute, who had had enough of running and instead decided to confront what was coming, head-on.

    Small arcs of pranatic lightning jumped across the tips of his mane.

    "................"

    Pyry Leijonamieli's expression was grim.

    After all, now they could both sense it.

    The opposing enemy.

    The unstoppable force that would meet this immovable object.

    ......

    Prushka, outside the saw mill, felt the rain around her but realized that none of it was touching her. The aura of ice white energies, pouring out of Ahti's eye as excess mana, burnt away the rain that fell from the heavens. The three of them, Alpa included, were making their way through the forest and the clearing, where naught dared to touch them. The sheer intense aura of the tall young man with them made sure of that. Ahti had not drawn any of his weapons, but his eye told the truth. He could sense who was waiting inside the massive old saw mill, and he was prepared. Like his namesake, a beast ready to lunge at the prey he had been hunting for so long, hungry for answers, hungry for validation.

    Flares of pranatic flames licked his hair, giving it a ghostly appearance.

    "................"

    Ahti Jalopeura's expression was determined.

    After all, now they could both sense it.

    The opposing enemy.

    The immovable object that would meet this unstoppable force.

    -------- Time seemed to stop.

    The rain.

    The thunder.

    The lightning.

    The clouds.

    In a weird way, it was like the two youths were magnetic poles, ones that both attracted and pushed each other away. They could not have been more different on the surface, but deep within them, it was the very same fire that burnt within both of them. They were both survivors of Jukola, they both carried the fragments of Sampo within them, and they both had been fitted with qualia and artifact of an ancient hero. And without knowing it, their lives before they became who they were now were, in an ironic way, all too similar.

    Just like brothers.

    --- Only, the older brother had never even known about his sibling.

    --- Only, the younger brother had always been bitter towards his sibling.

    Why do you exist? // Why didn't you save me?

    Questions, swirling in the atmosphere that was ready to explode.

    They had not even laid eyes upon each other yet, and still...



    The massive doors at the far end of the mill were thrown open.

    Pyry jumped down from where he had been sitting.

    In that silent moment that stretched to eternity, two trios confronted each other.

    --- Standing in the shadows of the mill.

    Pyry. Hisa. Gradient.

    --- Standing in the doorway to the storm.

    Ahti. Prushka. Alpa.

    And while the last person of each group looked more worried and troubled by what was about to happen...

    The first ones, the instigators, had no eyes for anyone but each other anymore.

    Hisa, standing right next to Pyry, could feel how the growl within the boy turned deeper and more menacing, and his teeth started to grow into fangs, an instinctual rage overtaking his usually gentle eyes and warping them into fury.

    Prushka, standing right next to Ahti, could see how Ahti's hands immediately found their home at the handle of his weapons, his ice blue eye warping into that of a predator, a deeply-ingrained command overriding his brusque yet kind nature and twisting it to rage.

    Yes.

    This was not simply about their differences and the truth between the two boys.

    This was also about the traces and curses of the nightmarish place that had birthed them both.

    Their natures they couldn't control, not unless there was someone there to save them.

    ... And that was why, even though their instincts probably screamed at them to tear each other apart, the two boys remained besides the girls who they believed in, more than anything.

    Even in the middle of fury, there was love.

    Even in the middle of rage, there was trust.

    Thus, instead of exploding into an immediate whirlwind of melee...



    "......
    Ahti
    Timo.
    "

    "
    Pyry
    Aapo
    ......!"

    --- The Brothers Lionheart greeted each other.
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; April 5th, 2022 at 11:57 AM.

  15. #4455
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Colt blinked away the blurriness of eyes that were freshly woken. When the clarity of his vision returned he found himself staring at a wooden ceiling, lined with hooks that hung all of the props and doodads of everyday life. A storm outside rattled the walls, rain peppered the roof, the wind so strong that he could swear the pots and pans hung helter-skelter overhead were swaying with the wind.

    He felt and smelt a fire. The aroma of clean wood burning slowly, enough to fill the cabin with warm air that kept out the storm’s cold, filled his nose. The warmth permeated the blanket he was wrapped in, but it only reached skin deep. His chest and throat felt chilly, and he coughed a tiny cough. Perhaps because he had been caught in the rain, or perhaps because his lungs had never been pushed as hard before.

    He covered his mouth for a second cough, then sat up. The wool blanket slipped down from his chest, and Colt glanced about, until at last he settled on the sight of the other occupant of the cabin. The man with the dull-white hair spared Colt a short glance, then returned to his work. Fingers tapping rapidly on a keyboard, eyes drawn as though by magnetic force to the screen in front of him.

    Nevada.

    Colt remembered.

    “Nevada.”

    The name slipped from his lips without a thought, a repetition drawn from memory. That was the name that the woman had called him, before his meager strength gave out along with his consciousness. Colt knew that name. The boy had heard it, recently, in the pained voice of his friend. Along with the name of his own sister.

    It was then that Colt realized he had spoken the name aloud. He rubbed his forehead, swung his legs over the side of the couch, and realized that he had been reduced to his underwear and a t-shirt.

    “You’re Nevada, right?” This time the boy spoke intentionally. Colt looked around the room a second time, his mind sharper than in the immediate moment after waking. “…”

    He debated asking all the questions in his mind. Those that were grabbing at him from the back of his brain. About his sister, Tris, the previous Pinefall class. But as he looked about the room, he realized that something was off.

    “Where’s the girl?” Once he realized she was nowhere to be seen, he couldn’t leave it be. “The… cat… girl. Whatever she is. Where is she?”

    Asking again, he stood up. The few clothes he had been left wearing were lightly damp. Rising from the couch sent a jolt of pain down his spine, and Colt was forced to remember the fall he had taken at the end. He winced, gritting his teeth and inhaling with a sharp hiss-like sound.


  16. #4456
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "......."

    The man didn't answer immediately. Instead, he continued tapping away at his laptop, occasionally using mouse to move the cursor around and click on something on the screen. The electric hum of the machinery (Colt realized that there were more than a couple computers and laptops spread around the room) melted into the crackling of the fireplace, the smell of old wood and the march of rain across the ceiling. Finally, after finishing whatever he was doing or finding a good spot to pause, the man leaned back on his computer and glanced towards Colt.

    ... Another person with a single good eye.

    Once again someone who had lost their left.

    "------ I suppose you can. Call me Nevada, that is."

    His voice was rough, coarse... gravely. Like someone had crushed his throat in the past.

    Like his vocal chords had been permanently damaged.

    "That's what Max calls me, anyway."

    He took a cup from the table and sipped on it. The contents let out a wisp of steam in the air, and looked much more like thick, rich soup than coffee or normal tea. When the man saw Colt eyeing his drink, he nodded towards the kitchen, and a kettle set upon the stove.

    "... Your friend is in the other room," Nevada continued quietly. "Max is tending to her."

    He paused.

    "--- She'll survive."

  17. #4457
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    ---Motionless.

    Completely motionless.

    For Liana Skye, who had set herself down in the center of the lobby with crossed legs and closed eyes, the chosen position was both a meditative and protective one, the first line of defense against a breach of the front doors, a sentinel that had seemed both out of touch with the world and yet strangely aware of the things going on inside of it.

    Of the group's scattered nature.

    Of the storms going on both outside and inside of the club.

    Storm in her heart.

    ---Motionless.

    Confronting all three, the young woman has refused to move from this position since lunch, a quiet contemplative nature taking over everything else, showing an infinite sort of patience.

    The storm rolls and rumbles outside, lightning flashes and thunder cracks.

    No motion from the woman, no jumping, no fear, a countenance that almost comes across as outright unconscious, that the guard has fallen asleep in her position, until-



    "...!"

    ---Until it happens.

    Hair stands on end, a sudden electrical charge scattering around her body, energy crackling and swirling around her limbs, what should be a clear static blue instead a series of strange, unnatural colors...

    White, no, black, purple...?

    ---Ionized air pops, electricity goes out and flows back, returning to the woman just as quickly as it had left her, as if an invisible hand was guiding them back towards their source, as if she had been struggling to keep them under control, and-

    "Hah..."

    She makes a noise.

    After hours, finally another noise.

    Where rampant electricity had been, a brilliant silver light ignites instead, illuminating the room in it's entirety for a moment before hugging her form in a manner that was almost fluid, the power of the soul emerging to protect the body. Vril and Qi and something else swirling around her form in almost perfect equilibrium, the woman finally stands from her spot on the floor, light receding to just above her skin, her clothes, the most obvious visual aspects being held and suppressed as best as she could, and exhales...

    "Okay..."

    ---Not much she can do about the sheer pressure, the ambient heat flowing from her body like a second fireplace as her main ability flares to life, but her disposition towards the others keeps that warmth pleasant to them, almost...

    Protective?

    But whatever it was, well...


    [Vril Infusion and Qi Synchronization Complete.]
    [Biological and Mechanical Systems Stabilizing...]
    [Testing Physical and Spiritual Connection...]
    [Body Stabilization Complete]
    [EXceed System Online.]





    She opens her eyes.

    "All systems go."


    Up and at em Ciel, tonight's the start of the real nonsense.

    She doesn't really sound any different from usual, still...

    "Now let's see..."

    She had thought about a few things in her meditative state.

    The inability to safely retrieve Colt, Vier or Hawthorne from the Ghostwood... It was a task which would be problematic enough if it was just a normal forest in calm weather, but with the storm, and all the spirits trying to swallow you up for violating their space...

    Suicide, more or less...

    Chasing them would just mean this group would be lost too, so...

    Colt and Vier should be alright if they're together, but Thorne...

    At this rate... I might have to wait for him to come to me.


    She blinks.

    Then there was the possible cause of her recent headaches and hallucinations (after all, there had to be an outside source if it was only affecting her and not Ciel) the knife she had picked up from Nora, which she had set into the bushes just outside of the main entrance, far enough away to test the theory, but close enough that she could retrieve it again if it somehow became necessary...

    Not that she thought it would...

    It more or less had to be the knife, it had similar audio properties to the brainwashing scarabs, and Nora's goal of stabbing her with it in a suicide attack would make more sense if it was a memetic strike, a way of forcing a sort of jinx on the target.

    She couldn't afford to have that sort of jinx.

    Not now, she had to be strong, there were too many people she needed to protect to allow any sort of visible weakness.

    Someone she needed to find too... Before she ran out of time.

    Still, logging those thoughts away as well...

    She had put some thought towards what to do now.

    The group was rather aimless and demoralized, with Hawthorne's bizarre actions, Jack's current condition and the missing members of the group... She wasn't sure exactly how to fix this just yet, if they were going to stay here another night it'd be best if everyone wasn't stressed to the point of breaking before anything actually happened, but...

    Perhaps one thing at a time?

    For now, her gaze goes towards Sierra, Jack and Scottie.

    Now that her 'ability' was active, she could likely heal the werewolf herself, but with doomsday on the way, keeping her Qi reserves as high as possible was also a factor, being unable to fight off attackers could doom the group just as much as wounds could, so if he could heal the damage on his own...

    That might be for the best...

    She'd have to see the extent of it now after some time had passed of course, see if he was regenerating at all on his own, or if the silver had struck true...

    Those sorts of bullets always make things dicey for werewolves...

    So she starts in that direction, her movements light and graceful, almost weightless.

    But as she passes Zane, hands in the pockets of jeans and eyes traveling around to take in everyone, well...

    "...How are you doing?"

    She stops at his side, curious about not just what he was doing with the phones, but...

    "Looking for phone taps?" She smiles at the young man, "Have you called your brother? Is he doing okay?"

    ...How he was doing mentally.

    Need to call Aunt Dorothy too, let her know we're... Mostly alright...
    Last edited by Airen; April 4th, 2022 at 07:05 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--"

  18. #4458
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "... Your friend is in the other room. Max is tending to her."

    There was a pause, and Colt braced for the worst. What reason was there for such a break, if not to brace for delivering bad news?

    "--- She'll survive."

    Unless, of course, the person he was talking to was just the awkward kind of person that would pause at such a moment, sowing unnecessary tension.

    “Friend… I think she’d happily see me dead.” Colt hadn’t realized how heavy he felt until the weight pressing down on him released itself, floating off his shoulders and disappearing into the storm. “But she’s really going to make it… that’s a relief.”

    He exhaled deeply, letting all his anxiety out, then sat back down.

    Colt let his head hang, his wet and messy bangs falling around sloppily. From beneath his messy hair he glanced over at the older man, his gruff and damaged voice echoing its few quiet words in his head.

    “Do other people call you Nevada? Or just her, Max?” Colt recalled that name, Maxine Savage, Park Ranger. “I’ve heard the name around town more than a few times.”

    This time it was Colt who paused.

    “Apparently, my sister was friends with a Nevada.”


  19. #4459
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Outside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "That air?" I asked, peering at her curiously. "I must say I haven't the faintest idea what you are referring to! Scholomance is as Scholomance has always been - filled with laughter, mayhem, and perhaps a tad too many practical jokes to be considered altogether 'safe'."

    I sighed, a bit mournfully. In a way, I missed Scholomance more then anything in the world, but to return to it in my current state would likely invite an incredible amount of chaos and danger that I didn't wish for anyone to be forced to deal with. I looked at her more seriously, before nodding my head rapidly.

    "Are you familiar with the school in some manner, Ramia? I cannot say I have seen you before in our halls."

    My eyes flicked to the other girl, and I paused for a moment, tapping the side of my face. What had I uncovered, in my investigations? To be frank, little of value; or at least, little I could make sense of.

    "I only know of the killer's skill with cutting - near-supernatural - and had finished searching the science room for the stargazer's things. A telescope, bisected so cleanly it could only be from the world beneath!" I smiled brightly, before frowning and folding my arms. "But I know little of his method of combat, and littler still of the man without a face's reasons. Hatred? Rage? It is impossible to say. The next location Souma and I were planning to search was the storage room!"

    I blinked, looking around.

    "Actually, where did he even go...? He was standing right next to me before I ran into my grandmother..."
    Last edited by Frantic Author; April 4th, 2022 at 02:40 PM.
    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.


  20. #4460
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    The familiar storm rages around us. Wind and rain whipping to and fro, rattling the trees and the buildings and the resolve of those who have heard it before and know what it heralds.

    This time last week I was looking through Alex Terrot's room in the hotel, with the biological sister I never knew looking over my shoulder. Now I'm walking back to the saw mill where Pyry was first shot, accompanying Ahti Jalopuera to what may well be his doom. Or Pyry's. Or everyone's. Last time I died in the morning. What's a few hours earlier?

    "It's getting real bad..."

    The umbrellas won't do a thing against this howling. Alpa at least has her suit for protection, but my only defense is Ahti, who's becoming less Ahti by the second. We trudge through the woods, mud squelching beneath boots as the countdown to doomsday ticks ever closer to zero.

    Finally the saw mill comes into view. The same one Fyrtio was in, but has now become the setting for a meeting that has been in the works for years.

    The door slams open. We stride through it, and within is Pyry, only he does not seem as Pyry as before. Behind him stands Gradient, the strange mute girl from earlier, and... a tall, scarred girl. Hisa Momoi.

    You look tired, Hisa. Like you've seen and heard things and they're stuck in your head, weighing you down. Like you're thinking a million thoughts and coming to a worse conclusion with each one. Like you'd rather be anywhere else than here. But if I said that you'd get angry, so I'll keep it to myself.

    I reach out, through the flames, and wrap my fingers most of the way around Ahti's wrist, his hand tightly gripping the handle of his sword.

    "It's okay. No one will hate you. Talk to him as much as you want."

    "We've got your back. Be honest with your feelings, however that may be."

    "Just remember all those embarrassing things you went through this week."

    All things I could say, but don't. Instead my feeble fingers squeeze as tightly as they can, as if to leave a mark on Ahti's skin. After everything, after all we discussed, a touch is enough. We don't need words to communicate our feelings. He knows I'm here, and I know he's going to do his best.

    "Alpa." The girl behind us is the bravest person here today. She did not need to be here, but chose to be. "Thanks for coming. Ahti and Pyry are gonna talk now. Like two hedgehogs trying to give each other a hug." Glancing back, I offer her my last sincere smile of the night. "Just take a rest, okay? And if you can, please keep an eye out and make sure no one comes here to peep."

    With a stout hum, the pink dragon beneath my feet rumbles to life.

    I look at Ahti once more, squeeze his fingers once more, and then let go. With creak and groan, the scooter inches across the vast empty space that makes up most of the saw mill.

    Crossing the no-man's land between the groups, I come to a halt at the halfway point between Pyry and Ahti.

    Meeting Hisa's eyes, I extend a hand and beckon her over.
    Last edited by Bloble; April 4th, 2022 at 07:34 PM.

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