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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4581
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---

    "Hmh..."

    So many memories. Memories that were supposed to be reassuring for me as well. That would chase my doubts and fears away, by eliminating the wall that stands between two people, a layer of uncertainty that always has one guessing how the other feels or thinks.

    Originally, I would have been eager to seek this reassurance, to disregard this last bastion of privacy just to get reliable, unbiased confirmation of one's standpoint, but...

    While I was happy to see them, here and now, I didn't need them. I trusted Pyry, and by now, I wanted to assume that I understood him as well, even without crossing that gap.

    Still, the memories passed too eventually. Before I even realized, I was at the summit of the endless climb, standing in front of the blazing sun that felt to be radiatiating even more intensely, with even more vigour.

    So powerful, yet also so peaceful, as the form of Pyry rested at its core uninterrupted.

    I raised my arm, and extended a finger towards it timidly.

    Was I supposed to touch it?

    Wouldn't it burn, with it being the image of a magnificent sun?

    Mayhaps I just had to call out to him?

    "Your time has cometh, Pyry," I said quietly, my eyes lingering on his form, "Awaken from your long slumber. You are free once more."

    My index that's been hovering just an inch away from the surface of the bright orb finally pushed on, touching it gently, and just barely.

  2. #4582
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Precipice of Arche // Shore of Unconscious
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: ---


    As I ascend the silver staircase, memories and feelings wash over me like spring rain.

    Ahti, is this what you wanted to share? Those parts of your heart that you kept out of sight, you're willing to show them? Thank you so much. For trusting me.

    To think, you were there from the start. That night feels like so long ago. I rode around the town after Elizaveta ran away, cheek and heart both aching. Stopped under that lighthouse for just a moment to listen to the harmonica. Never realizing that you were there, hurting all the same. We stood there, so close yet so far.

    "We're... a pair of idiots, huh?"

    Wiping the tears from the corner of my eyes, I continue the long ascent. Until there are no more stairs to climb. Until the moon shines brightly before me.

    The sleeping form within seems so vulnerable. Like a child that has yet to be born. But he is no child, no princess trapped in a castle. Ahti, you never realized it, but you're strong. Not just because you have muscles or magical powers. Even wounded, your heart beats so strongly, wanting to live despite all the pain it has endured.

    I want to support that heartbeat. Just like we all used to support each other in the past.

    No, not just like that.

    When I think of friends, I think of Ubon. Alpa. John. People I want to be around, to eat pie with.

    When I think of siblings, I think of Pyry, who's like a foolish little brother that needs reining in.

    But when I think of you, it's different. I want to tease and be a nuisance and play with you and not leave you alone, for a long, long, long time.

    "...come on, sleepyhead. Are you gonna make me say it?"

    The sleeping moon shines brightly. The chain has been broken. The anger that once gripped it is but a memory. It sleeps now only because it does not recognize its own freedom.

    Or maybe, it's like Sleeping Beauty? If that's the case... alright, fine, but just this once!

    Standing on my tip-toes, I can't quite reach it. So, with the squeeze of a stress ball, the Dragon appears at my feet. I step onto it, gaining a few more inches, and then, before this meager courage fades...

    "There's nothing to be afraid of anymore. Open your eyes, Ahti. You're free."

    I close my eyes and press my lips against the moon's surface.

  3. #4583
    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


    “So… my, no, our family is from Road’s End, huh?” Blood. His blood, Remmie’s blood, his… his little sister’s blood. Their blood. “Maybe. That might explain a thing or two.”

    Already Colt had accepted that in Road’s End, there is no such thing as a coincidence. He had no life to recall before this one began, and in that void he could imagine that his blood may hail from this small town. With or without destiny pulling the strings, he would have found his way to this place.

    Storming rain drummed in the boy’s ears. The cabin’s walls rattled with battering winds, sealing him in.

    “I’m going to find her.” An iron conviction spoke those words. He rubbed away the blood from his punctured lip. “She’ll be in this town. I’m sure of it. Maybe I’ve already met her and don’t realize it.”

    I probably have, once before, another week, another time. Another me.

    Clenched fists silently cursed the storm.

    “Long as that storm’s ragin’, I ain’t going nowhere. I know just how hard it’s coming down out there, and I’m not feeling suicidal enough to try my luck. So,” having had enough of the topic of brothers torn apart from their sisters, Colt leaned back and planted his hand on his forehead, slowly sweeping his hair back in resignation. “What’s the deal with you guys?”

    He said that which was on his mind.

    “Not a single question about the catgirl? You’re not normal folk either, I assume. Nobody in this town really is.”


  4. #4584
    for me, there is (you) Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    “…Drug?”

    John is certainly different, and the sound of some drug that interacts with the supernatural is certainly cause for alarm. On the other hand, she doesn’t expect a real answer. There are so many things that need to be done before the fateful time comes, and heads to keep track of, places to keep safe. If John took them, then they were for a valid reason, right?

    She hopes, at least. That, and she wonders why Hwan is coughing so much. Already got a cold from the rain?

    “…You’re probably right about being unable to find Souma in this weather. If we do limit our search to campus, though, there’s no need to search the closed off part of the dorms. That’s where I came from with Xeni, though, I admit that it’s possible Souma could have snuck past us. I’d think it’s unlikely, though.” Now that the area they have to cover is a bit smaller, Lucille thinks about where they could look. The main building, the outbuilding, and the… pool. Now that it’s brought to her attention, though, she feels like she can’t let it go. Jake’s safety is important, and if that monster had gotten to him that Saturday night…

    “No, I can go. I’d need to grab my stuff, but I can check the pool building. With or without everyone else,” she says confidently. Her thoughts are full of noble intentions, of rescuing someone in distress, but deep down in her heart, the reason is hardly morally clear cut.

    This time will be different.

  5. #4585
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    For a moment, Dorothy simply gazed at Liana's face, her eyes full of unknown emotions and experience of years that far surpassed any human in the sheer amount. While her usually languidly mischievous attitude made her seem like a cheeky cat at times, the truth of the matter was always that this "Auntie" standing before Liana... she was an elf. No, not just an elf. Judging by her words, she was an elf from a region very old and very venerable.

    The role of elves in Norse myths was not mere tricksters. They were of hero blood, dangerous enemies and fierce warriors.

    They had much more in common with the jötnar and gods than fairies of the British isles.

    --- And in a moment like this, when those inhuman eyes gazed deep into Liana, it was easy to realize this.

    "I arrived to this land because it called me. This piece of Midgard, still existing, built around the Grove of Fetters. And I've been here for a long time. Long enough to see the aftermath of the battle between us invaders and the spirits and gods of this place. If you've seen the hotel, child, you know what sort of protections were built back then - great rituals to keep out those who would reclaim their land," Dorothy spoke, her tone serious and without mirth. "They're not to keep us out. They're to keep the native spirits of this land at bay. And they've been strengthened by the lord of that manor, and his complicated, pitiable past. And they're just a single example of the many, many signs those who came from afar have left here."

    Turning around, the good doctor used her sleeved hand to open the door and pull it back, revealing the doorway beyond it. She stood in the doorway for a moment, staring into the darkness of her own house and listening to the sounds of people inside. The quiet murmurings, chatting and tired sighs of those people who had been caught in this same spiral of mysteries and death, darkness that seemed to be looming in every single crevice of the town. Like a stranglehold of vengeance that refused to let them go.

    "Child... that 'orphanage' was one of these examples, these remnants, as well. And hardly an orphanage. You would think of it better as a... school. They had dormitory for sure, but it was still a school. Unfortunately, while stories make it easy to think of those wishing to stay separate from governing authorities as courageous rebels, truth... can be anything but," Dorothy paused for a moment, humourless smile floating on her face. "Sometimes, people are isolated for a reason. Or sometimes, people isolate to enforce their own logic to others."

    In other words...

    A group might be isolated because they're dangerous.

    ---- Or because they're a cult.

    "About two decades ago, that dormitory and school existed here. And about two decades ago, it gave birth to a tragedy. A clash between blind, arrogant ideals... uncontrollable bestial rage... and unflinching devotion to duty. None of them faultless, none of them in the right," Dorothy continued, shadows of the doorway hiding her expression. "... So yes. I've met her. Twice. Long ago by your human reckoning. I lived in this town, after all. And this..."

    She glanced over her shoulder at Liana, and while her mouth was smiling, her eyes were not.

    "... This is the town where Sora Hikari died, twenty-one years ago."

    And with that, the fae headed inside.




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

    Billie chuckled warmly.

    "Hah, don't worry about it, kiddo," she said with a grin, taking a swig from her drink. "Mind you, I don't know much about the make of these things, but I do know that the lighthouse is made from volcanic rock from... err, was it Mt. Saint Helens? Yeah, I think so. So yeah, I figure that the raven would be made from the same thing. But aside from that, I don't really---"

    A sudden groan from the other end of the counter cut Billie off and drew the eyes of the pair towards its source. A source which happened to be an older brunette of a woman with unkempt hair, messed clothes and a rather clear hangover written all over her face. As it turned out, she hadn't been just sleeping - she had had her face buried in a drink that was like pitch black tar, one that she had apparently now finished.

    The woman frowned at the two, looking like she was somewhere between sloshed and migraine'd.

    "Thas... the raven... ish the norse symbol. The owl... issshh... native," the woman slurred, swaying from side to side. "It'shh... like... like a... like a clan shhhymbol. Hah! Haha! W-wear your colourssh and all that... jazzzzz...!"

    Billie frowned at the sight of the other woman and shook her head, muttering a quiet apology under her breath.

    "Iiii... I think *hic* ish a shhet! A shhhet of tree! The two ravenshh... and the old man!" The drunk woman continued, looking a bit smug. "But they nnnevver got rid off the old man... toooo ssschared, ssshince he was keeping watch! Aha, ahahaha~"

    Billie, finally, let out a sound between a groan and a sigh and scratched the back of her head.

    "Ah geez... sorry, I think I need to take Carrie to bed," she said as she walked out from behind the counter. "She's been having a bit of tough time lately and now she's just been drinking non-stop..."

    Making her way to the other woman who she apparently knew pretty well, Billie hoisted her up gently but firmly, like throwing a kitten over her shoulder. While it was slightly hard to see from behind the counter, Billie really was way strong - stronger than even your average man. If anything, just looking at her like this, standing in her full height and carrying this "Carrie" over her shoulder like it was nothing, well it begged the question...

    ... How the hell had this woman become such a beast of a human?

    "I'll go put her to bed, so we'll have to take a raincheck for a moment. Though, hm..." Billie rubbed her chin for a moment, thinking back to Elise's question. "I'm pretty sure there were two. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, that is. Just that they were, yeah, pretty interchangeable. I think they were siblings or something, but if I'm honest, I never really interacted with them too much."

    A lopsided grin appeared on the owner's face.

    "Like said, it's that old theater joke of switching their actors mid-play without anybody noticing," she added. "That's how little impression they tended to leave on others."

    And with that, she turned around and headed into the backroom stairscase of the pub, leaving Elise alone with her drink and her demon.




    Colt Davin
    Location: Forest Ranger Cabin
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    Nevada gave him a quiet nod.

    "... Yeah. You could say that."

    He wasn't even bothering to hide it. Then again, considering what he had talked about so far, and how he had reacted to this whole situation, it was impossible to think that the older guy was in any way normal. He had to be neck deep in Turnside, just like the woman who had been with him. After all, they had taken the sight of bloodied cat-person and Colt from earlier in a stride.

    So, there was no use in even hiding it at this point.

    "We're..... remnants. You could say," he added. "Too stubborn to quit. Like others did."

    In that moment, the door leading to the rest of the building slammed open.

    "What he means is that we haven't given up yet."

    Sounding rather annoyed (and like she had been waiting until the topic had changed in the living room so she could enter), the semi-familiar sight of a certain purple-haired older woman entered Colt's field of vision. She was a striking lady, that's for sure, though "lady" might have been a bit too much. If anything, she was more of a tomboy, her expressions and mannerisms rough and almost manly, same as the way she spoke.

    In a weird way, she made a good contrast to the quiet and reserved Nevada.

    --- So, this was Ranger Max Savage.

    What a name.

    "Your cat friend's not the weirdest thing we've seen at Road's End. She's fine, by the way, but I doubt she'll be moving out of that bed any time soon. Go see her if you want," Ranger Savage informed Colt as she strode over to the kitchen to pour herself some tea. "This place's a hotbed for weird stuff, has been since time immemorial. From the norse settlers to the Lady's View Lighthouse to local werewolves, we've got it all. And unlike cowards like Albert and Tommy, we're not pretending we don't know they're out there. We still remember, and we'll never forget."

    Having poured herself two cups for some reason, Max walked over to Colt and handed him the other one - and once the boy took it, ruffled his hair like it had been the most logical thing to do. It was almost like the woman had decided he needed it right now, and that's why she did it. Not like a gentle older sister, but a rough older brother who was telling him to cheer up a bit already.

    With that, the ranger walked over to one of the armchairs and sat down, throwing one leg over the other and slurping down on her steaming beverage.

    "We're also not stupid enough to trust anyone in the town. The amount of lies that permeat that place is staggering. So we keep to the outskirts, we watch and we plan - until it's time to strike," she continued, snorting. "But it's not easy. Information here is scarce. Your current predicament, us seven years ago, the massacre twenty-one years ago... McLampet's downfall in the 60's, the air force activity in the 40's, the lighthouse in the 1800's, the early settlers... it's hard to say where it truly starts, and what's just build-up. So, for now, we're focusing on what bothers us the most."

    Nevada frowned at his friend.

    "Max..." He grunted, as if warning her.

    But she simply snorted.

    "What, I think he deserves to know it. After all, it involves him too," she answered. "It's the kid's sister, for God's sake."

    And with that, she looked back at Colt.

    "So yeah, right now, we're after Remmie's killer."

    Words that were spoken in an almost frighteningly casual way.

    "---- We're after Guildenstern."




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

    In the end, the group waited for only couple of minutes while Lucille and Xeni got their stuff.

    Despite her clear fatigue from last night, the shapeshifter seemed more determined than ever to assist everyone in the search for Souma. Perhaps it was because she felt indebted to Lucille and the way she had treated her, or perhaps it was because everyone had seen her in her real shape now, but whatever the case, a fire was apparently lit within her heart. And while the two girls got their things, the three boys stared out into the darkness of the storm and planned. Hwan kept a hawk-like glare out towards the campus area, while Kean fiddled with something that looked like a...

    ... What even was that handheld device?

    "Short range scanner," he explained. "At the end of the day I'm an information gathering-and-erasure unit. I have a few tricks up my sleeve."

    However, according to the silver-haired boy right afterwards, there was not much he could pick up. The rain was muddying up his detection capabilities, and aside from the five of them (and a certain foul-mouthed someone in their room), the dorms were devoid of people.

    So, once Lucille and Xeni were back, the group took off into the rain, determined to split up and cover more ground in their search.

    Or, at the very least, that was the plan.

    Until Hwan opened his mouth.

    "Wait..."

    His magenta eyes narrowed.

    "Kean. Did you leave the main building door open?"

    Slowly, the Irish boy shook his head... and turned to look at the door in question. As did everyone else.

    There, in the distance, it was quite unmistakeable. The heavy double doors leading into the main building were... open. Not open wide like someone had stormed out, but slightly ajar like somebody had sneaked through and forgot to close them properly... or perhaps avoided slamming the doors shut so as to not alert anyone who was at the dorms at the time. But nevertheless, they were, without a doubt, open.

    And if Kean nor Hwan had done so, then...

    --- Who did?

    "... Let's check that out first. Carefully," Hwan muttered, and his eyes seemed to crackle with energy. "I'll take the front."

    The group, now with a new heading, slowly made their way to the main building, carefully keeping an eye out for any would be shapes or silhouettes hiding in the shadows or the rain. Thanks to the fury of the storm, it was hard to see and even harder to hear. However, it was not overly cacophonic, even on the outside. As said, had someone thrown open the doors in a hurry, they would have alerted anyone in the lobby, be it Kean, Hwan, Lucille, Xeni, or even John.

    The fact that somebody had went out of their way to avoid that was suspicious in itself.

    Just as suspicious as the sudden smell they could all sense as they got to the doors.

    It was a familiar scent for all of them, from the looks of it.

    --- Kean and Hwan frowned.

    --- John could remember it from that night when moon hung low.

    --- Lucille immediately had a momentary flashback of the pool building and Mercedes.

    --- Xeni averted her eyes.

    And as Kean carefully opened the door...

    They all saw the droplets staining the hallway floor.



    "Relatively fresh..."

    Hwan muttered that as he gazed down on the scattered, small bloodstains here and there in the lobby.









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

    And thus, it came to a close.

    The long and arduous fight for one's freedom. Not just the physical freedom, but the freedom of one's heart. From uncontrollable fury, from unending courage. The right to feel peace, the right to be afraid... the right to choose for one's self. How long had the journey been? In a way, it felt like it had always been there. And for the two young men, it was part of their lives that they had not been able to shake... not until now.

    Not until they met these two girls.

    --- The ones now standing under pouring rain that felt much gentler than it had previously been.

    The world of subconscious was gone. As two people had touched the innermost souls of their partners, they had broken them free of their last cage - their last bit of hesitation. They had given them the courage to move forward, and thus... the world was no longer needed. The power of Asserting the Innermost Truth faded away. The light of the real world returned and shattered through the shores of subconscious. The regal clothing of the azure star faded away, leaving behind just Hisa Momoi. The crackling lightning of Destati disappeared, leaving behind just Prushka. Yet neither of them felt any lesser for it - for they still carried themselves with the pride of knowing what they had done.

    They had saved these two. Saved them from their pasts... and their selves.

    And in those final moments of the internal world, they both could sense it. The distant sight of a familiar, hooded figure in a misty forest, cheering for them. And how, at that very moment, something within that clearing changed. For Prushka, it was the appearance of seven, small wooden figures on the tree stump. And for Hisa, it was the appearance of two dolls, reflections of a girl and a lion, sitting together. Permanent additions of their very own internal sceneries, almost as if...

    As if they had managed to forge a bond so strong that time itself could no longer break it.

    --- But what of the real world, in the meanwhile?

    As both Hisa and Prushka stood under the rain and gazed upon the real world they had shunted away for the moment, what did they see?

    A most surprising scenery, to be exact.

    The ground was... destroyed, for the lack of a better word for it. Signs of battle were everywhere. The two bodies had continued their combat while their internal words were being healed. And because of that, two more people had stepped forward to ensure that their friends would be safe as well. The two giants, the two armored lions, could be seen at the center of the clearing... but they weren't alone.

    For one, the trees were littered with strange hexagrams, forming patterns that seemed to surround the area and the two lions. These same hexagrams continued as a grand, spiraling pattern on the ground itself. At the edge of this strange magic circle was the fluffy form of Alpa Baghda, looking exhausted but smiling happily all the same as she saw both Prushka and Hisa.

    "Y-you... you two are alright... thank the heavens..." she spoke out, breathing heavily. "Thank the heavens..."

    And as if to answer her joy...

    "Muuu..."

    Another fatigued sound.

    This one coming from between the two armored titans.

    After all there, grappling both as if she had been holding them back from pummeling each other... was Gradient. Looking slightly beat up and with mud all over her clothes... but with a big grin on her face as she stared at Hisa and Prushka.

    "M-muu...!"

    It sounded like she wanted to give them both a big, crushing hug - only she couldn't at the moment, thanks to holding back both armored Lionhearts.

    Yes, while Hisa and Prushka had dove deep into the hearts of the two brothers, it seemed that these two, who were left back in the physical world with the two giants, had also gotten caught in the conflict. They had done well to mitigate the collateral damage and to hold back the two brothers from tearing up the mill and the surrounding area even more, but pure relief was clear from both of their faces.

    Hisa and Prushka had made it in time, for their sakes as well, it seemed.

    Still...

    --- What of the two brothers?

    What of the two armored forms that Gradient was still grappling?

    As the wind blew, their massive frames started to fade away. Magical energies disintegrated and disappeared, the armors of black, silver and gold fading from the view. What was revealed from beneath them were the far more familiar appearances of the two lions. Pyry Leijonamieli and Ahti Jalopeura. Both with signs of their former battle clear on their faces and bodies. Both with messed up and torn clothes. Both looking like they had just spent the last ten minutes pummeling the everliving daylights out of each other. Even Pyry's overwhelming healing abilites hadn't been able to perfectly keep up - while Ahti had no such thing to begin with.

    Sure enough, they'd probably both look like excessively unlucky boxers come tomorrow.

    But they were still alive.

    They were still standing there, staring at each other with strange looks - almost confused looks.

    Together, these two slowly turned their heads, towards the direction where Gradient was looking.

    Pyry's eyes met Hisa's.

    Ahti's eye met Prushka's.

    The silence grew ever longer as the wind howled around them.

    Seconds seemed to tick away in absolute quiet, aside from the storm. It was as if nobody really knew what to say.

    Not until...

    ".............. *snort.*"

    Which one was it? Ahti? Pyry?

    One of the two boys let out a sound that was akin to a chortle. A weirdly amused grunt they just couldn't hold back.

    "Snrrk..."

    And the other boy responded in kind.

    Both had an expression they could barely contain, like they were holding back blurting something out that they really didn't want to... but the longer the moment of silence dragged, the harder it got. Eventually their faces started to warp from the effort, and they started turning somewhat red on their cheeks from trying so hard. They held on, just for a few seconds more. They did the best they could.

    But eventually...!

    Neither could take it anymore.

    -------------- In perfect unison, the Brothers Lionheart bursted out in roaring laughter and fell backwards like a couple of toppled towers, dropping onto the muddy ground on their backs.

    But it was no laughter to make light of the situation, no.

    It was laughter of pure joy, of relief, of happiness knowing that their long nightmare was over.

    So were the tears streaming down their faces as they continued cackling, staring up at the sky.

    They had been saved.

    Something neither had ever believed to be possible.

    And thus, the only thing they could do was to laugh. Laugh and cry at the same time.

    --- With the Strength of Seven Men.

  6. #4586
    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


    With a steaming hot cup of tea forced into his hand, Colt suddenly found his hair ruffled and jostled by the older woman who had just returned from her medical operation.

    “…” It was an unfamiliar thing. Colt could tell that this wasn’t sisterly behavior, though he had no remaining memories of what being subjected to an older sister was like. He also had no memories of any brothers, neither older nor younger, but the straightforward, rough handling of his hair felt like the hand atop his head might belong to an older brother. “Thanks.”

    Rather than protest, he took the drink and the gesture with a hesitant word of appreciation. The message was clear, as Max Savage wasted no time explaining who she was, and why she was here.

    "We're also not stupid enough to trust anyone in the town. The amount of lies that permeate that place is staggering. So we keep to the outskirts, we watch and we plan - until it's time to strike. But it's not easy. Information here is scarce. Your current predicament, us seven years ago, the massacre twenty-one years ago... McLampet's downfall in the 60's, the air force activity in the 40's, the lighthouse in the 1800's, the early settlers... it's hard to say where it truly starts, and what's just build-up. So, for now, we're focusing on what bothers us the most."

    The manly woman downing the piping hot drink in front of Colt was not the type to beat around the bush.

    "Max..."

    The night to her day, Nevada, spoke up. The ranger’s upfront and open approach stood out and shone even brighter in comparison to the soft-spoken, reserved one-eyed man. Clearly, he didn’t agree with how honest and talkative she was getting with someone who, by all rights, was as a stranger, and thusly as untrustworthy as anyone else.

    "What, I think he deserves to know it. After all, it involves him too. It's the kid's sister, for God's sake."

    The disagreement was mutual, as Max quickly defended her choice of what to divulge to Colt. Her reasoning drew the boy’s attention and he stopped sipping slowly on his scalding drink.

    "So yeah, right now, we're after Remmie's killer."

    Max Savage came out with it without any hesitation. It was so casual that Colt, had he still been sipping his tea, might have spat some out.

    "---- We're after Guildenstern."

    “Guildenstern?”

    That name prodded Colt’s brain. He knew that name. He’d seen it, he carried it around with him. It was even here, with him at this moment.

    “I assume you found it, right? The pistol I was carrying.” Colt glanced around the room, looking for the rest of his clothes. “It’s not mine. I found it in a busted up old car at Tommy’s place. It has a creepy little rhyme etched onto it, and it mentions Guildenstern by name.”

    The name that belonged to his sister’s killer rolled off his tongue as casually, as normally as it had when Max Savage said it. What should have bothered him simply did not. Perhaps because he had known, for quite a while, that pistol was ominous. Something was wrong with it, it had a history that someone wanted to run from.

    “Tommy saw it, and he acted pretty odd once he did. He recognized it, I think. And he didn’t want anything to do with it. So I kept it, I could tell that it was… that I shouldn’t just hand it over and pretend I never saw it.”

    Guns are, after all, weapons made to kill. That gun just screamed, with pride, that it had drawn blood. It had taken a life, perhaps many. It was proud of that fact, and it wanted to do it again.

    That was one reason he had put off ever loading it.

    The other…

    “Before that, can you tell me what you know about my predicament? I could take that a lot of ways. You could mean my sister, the person who murdered one of my classmates, the vampire who wants me dead, or the fact that when I die I’m going to wake up Wednesday morning and do all of this over again.”


  7. #4587
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "..."

    She watches Dorothy go.

    Deep into the shadows of the house, unsmiling eyes masking that always mischievous grin, revealing the truth behind that particular facade. The older woman says some things, many things, some she could have perhaps put together on her own and others that strike at her core like the merciless tip of an oh-so-wicked lance.

    "..."

    Her own expression has gone entirely blank.

    For a young woman who reveled as hard as she did in her emotions, the sudden blank expression, like all humanity had just been stripped from a doll, is perhaps reminiscent of what one might think a machine should be... Blank and emotionless, something that could just play at human feelings, but...

    That's a lie too.

    Numb.

    That's the feeling, the sudden removal of feeling, a dark-grey numbness that flashes across the surface of her thoughts and spreads rapidly to her most distant limbs. She watches just like this, a blank stare that realizes on some level she has upset the fae, but simply cannot care about that in this instance, torn between this sudden numbness -her mind's way of blunting a particularly heavy blow- to the sudden urge to just start laughing, laughing at all the implications of dark truths, that the woman she had worshiped like a Goddess, whose perfection she had based her own life around trying to live up to, was in fact nowhere close to such a thing, of really considering all those memories she held from an outside point of view, but that way lies a certain sort of madness from which there would likely be no recovery.

    Perhaps if Zane hadn't warned her earlier, introduced the idea into her mind, she might have gone that way.

    Instead...

    "..."

    Blank.

    She breathes, as she's always done, as she's inherited from that person to do. Her blank face and still body are in harsh contrast to the newfound storm around her limbs, Qi being more honest even as the mind tries to just pretend that everything is fine, just smooth it over like always, ignore the things that don't make sense, that make your heroine look less like a heroine, that make you question why you weren't given all the memories, when the person who had made her was a genius who should have easily been able to do so, the odd points in the tale.

    "..."

    She breathes.

    In and out, the slow reemergence of emotion necessitating that she do something to avoid the oncoming panic attack, after all, it has always been in her nature to assume worst case-scenarios so that she can be prepared for them, Dorothy had implied much but actually confirmed little, even so-

    Even so-

    Even so-

    Even so-

    Even so-

    Even so-!




    ---

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


    ---Rain.

    A slow steady sound, accompanied only by my own strained breathing... Nothing much else to say or think now, having apparently fallen to one knee over all of this, I slowly stand back up from where I've fallen, sparks of silver fire dancing around me even amidst this endless storm. I don't feel good anymore, there's a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach, a knot born of stress and anxiety, and it seems like it'd all been a bit too much for me for a moment. Only a moment perhaps, but for someone like myself, falling to a knee over my own intrusive thoughts isn't the sort of sight that I think would make anyone see me as being particularly reliable...

    "..."

    ...Can't really afford to freak out.

    Gotta hold my own mentality together at least, lord knows we're on the precipice of destruction as it is; regardless of whatever ambiguous truths big-sister had gotten up to in her own days, it's not like me to have all these emotional episodes. It's a bit too much, so all of this just has to...

    Stop now.

    I know it's not that simple, not really, the relentless knot in my stomach proves that to me no matter how much I brace myself against it, but this is the reality of my situation... I have a kid and some friends I need to look after right now, perhaps someone like me isn't actually fit to do so, but...

    Fit or not, it's still on me to do it.

    "..."

    Hey, Ciel.

    I mentally poke her again, although I don't really expect her to answer me. Whatever Dorothy might imply about Sora, Ciel at least has never abandoned or betrayed me, so Ciel is still just Ciel.

    She was the one with blind, arrogant ideals, right? Sounds like us, doesn't it?

    Gotta be the hero after all, that was the dream, but...

    A school?

    I can't remember it as such a place, although the fact that it was located here in town already means my memory isn't reliable... There had been a lot of questionable aspects to the story I had been told of course, some things that didn't quite add up about the hero narrative if you looked at em from an outsider's perspective, but...

    I can't say I expected... This...

    What was she teaching them? Who killed her? Was this school building Pinefall? If it was, then was she part of the slaughter twenty-one years ago? It'd have to be, right?

    And Stella...

    That must mean she lives here too, right? Was she even still alive, or was that a false memory too?

    Uncontrollable, bestial rage certainly fits a werewolf, much as unflinching devotion to duty fits one of those church punks, but...

    "..."

    What a mess.

    What an absolute mess.

    I stare out into the rain, wanting to wait just long enough to regain my composure before heading inside...

    Can't look weak.

    People tend to worry about you that way, still...

    "...So this town is where you died, huh?"

    ...Those words slip free without me meaning to, a question posed towards the girl I had never met and one that perhaps I had never truly understood at all...

    "Knew there was a reason I didn't like this town..."

    It murdered my sister.

    "What were you doing here, Sora...?"

    I shake my head, unsure of how to feel now.

    Unsure of a lot of things now.

    Unable to even trust my own memories now.

    "..."

    Slowly.

    Ever so slowly...

    I turn to walk into the house myself.
    Last edited by Airen; May 18th, 2022 at 11:50 AM.
    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--"

  8. #4588
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    “Vier”
    Location: Ghostwood National Forest
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    As I carefully waited for something to change, whether it was Lobo appearing or the forest finally placing me out of my misery. And my patience was rewarded with said change. How long that change took was a mystery. Was it just a moment? Did a couple of hours pass? I wasn’t too sure because right now there wasn’t a storm. I was dry as if I wasn’t drenched by a torrent of rain. The shelter I created was sturdily made despite what I thought was under subpar conditions with subpar materials. My fire was burning heartily.

    At this point, I started to figure out what the environment was like beyond my shelter. There was no storm. It was late afternoon and maybe even early night time as the darkness was deep but not unnaturally pitch black. And there was an ambience of sound to the forest. There was the distant sound of animals scurrying to and fro. And much closer, I could make out the sound of something else. I continued listening in, before realizing that it was the cackling of another fire and eventually the smell of coffee wafted over as well.

    I should head back immediately. The storm was long gone or it never existed. I should head back before I can be ensnared in the Ghostwood Forest’s aura again. If someone else was this deep in the forest, they weren’t my issue. I already left someone to die earlier. It shouldn’t be much harder to just make that number increment once more.

    I took a step out of my hidden shelter, turned on my night vision equipment and… started moving quietly to that other fire. Circling it to ensure that I wasn’t walking into a trap, yet looking for the fire’s maker in its light. If the fire’s maker was awake and fully cognizant, then I could leave them be. If they aren’t… Then I could always drag them back with me. It won’t be the first time that I’ve had to deal with traumatic brain injury or someone under sensor manipulation.

    And if they appear to be hostile… Well, then all I had to do was engage them with the element of surprise and disengage if the initial ambush doesn’t go well.

  9. #4589
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    It's the sound that does it. The gentle pitter-patter of rain all around. Rain bringing with it a chill cold that runs down my back. The cold, humid scent of earth rises, and mingles with the laughter. It's the sound that does it. The sound that says we have returned to reality. That we are here. That we've made it.

    "Hah... hah..."

    Alpa, were you fighting this whole time to keep things from getting worse? I'll have to thank you properly later; you didn't even need to be here, but you've done something amazing for people you barely know. That's so admirable. And Gradient, you went into the middle of that storm and came out fine? That's amazing.

    I raise my hand - sore all over but still intact, and wave.

    I'm so tired, but they must have spent themselves just as much. They deserve a reward for sure. Maybe a slice of pie. We could all go together.

    There is someone standing to my left. Another girl, one who worked at least as hard. Turning to look, I'm just in time to catch her red hair fading to black. Her pale skin dims to reveal old scars. Yep, it's still Hisa.

    "..."

    What words are there, to describe what we went through? No two Espers are the same, especially among those that can touch their own Arche. She and I are unique existences that both chose to manifest our innermost selves here and now. It may very well be that such an event will never happen again. And even if it does, no one else will know the sight of that frozen sea. Of the sun and the moon orbiting each other in a cage the size of a mountain, guarded by a serpent of legend. Only she and I.

    So what is there between us now?

    Hm. Perhaps, as humans do, it should be that?

    Yeah, of course! After everything we went through, it's gotta be that!

    Quote Originally Posted by A friend, ages ago View Post
    "No, Prushka, I don't think that is how it works. You are supposed to... See? Like that!"
    "Like this, right?"

    I hold out my fist.

    "You were pretty cool back there."

    The laughter filling the air also fills my chest with butterflies. When you're feeling like this, all you can do is smile.

    Now let's go scold those two idiots for laying in the mud!

  10. #4590
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    A bright light slowly engulfed everything around. It swallowed up the pillar, the cosmos above, the frozen ocean, and just a moment later - it was all over. In just a blink of an eye, I found myself standing back in our world, the undisturbed silence once more replaced by the monotonous and relentless sound of raindrops hitting the ground.

    I stared up at the dark, mean skies, letting the rain fall upon my face as I was recovering from the sudden shift. Then, with a small, almost tired sigh, I released the form that I subconsciously took before the fight even started. Like lit flash paper, the sublime outfit I wore dissolved with a burst of bluish light, leaving behind the much simpler, but also much more real clothes I came here in. Just like that, the scars were back as well, and with them the vast array of emotions too, all that felt so much easier to disregard and tone down while my unwavering form reigned.

    I looked back down again, inevitably noting the considerable changes that the scenery went through. It seemed that the fight went on, despite us being inside the mindscape, and judging by how things looked...It must have been a short while. More than that, it seemed that Gradient and the girl from the second floor were dragged into this mess as well, both of them covered in dirt and mud and looking rather exhausted by now.

    Another sigh escapes my lips, one of relief this time, as I could only be grateful that this did not drag out any longer. Who knows when things would have finally snapped, and how bad things could have got if it came to that...

    "Hm?"

    My thoughts are interrupted by a voice, but it takes a moment for the words to register. My gaze turns to the side, where Prushka stands, with her hand extended towards me.

    "Ah."

    I guess she is fine as well. I was sure that she would manage despite us being separated, but it was better to get actual confirmation rather than just rely on assumptions.

    Extending my own as well, I bump my closed fist lightly into hers.

    "Yeah. You too, good job."

    My voice felt weaker, more feeble as it struggled to be louder than the storm around. Or...Normal, perhaps. Certainly different from the voice that carried so much natural and undisputable authority, so much confidence, while staying calm and cool as ice.

    As I pull my hand back, I'm reminded of the doll that the other one is still clutching. My eyes rest on the small serpent symbol on it for a moment, before I sink it into the pocket of my hoodie. I was curious if the presence would still be there, but it could wait until we got out and away from the storm and the forest.

    With a few steps, I closed the distance between us and the two lying on the ground and crouched down next to Pyry. After noting the sad state he was in, my gaze finally met his;

    "Look at you now," I said with a faint smile, "Can't tell if you have more bruises or dirt on you. Not the most charming look, for sure."

  11. #4591
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: McLampet Saw Mill
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Hehe. We were pretty cool back there, weren't we?"

    I'm right behind Hisa, pausing only to wave over Alpa; she shouldn't stay on the sidelines and miss this, especially when she helped out so much!

    Mud and grass squish beneath my boots as I trudge through the momentarily lightened rain towards the pair.

    Stop by Ahti. Squat down by his side. Fiddle with that thing I bought a few days ago. With a fwoomph the umbrella opens, momentarily shielding us from the rain.

    I lean over the messy cat-guy, noting how his fluffy white fur has been dyed red and brown. But he's alive. And well. In this moment we don't need anything else, do we?

    "What's so funny, Scrooge? Care to share?"

    Seeing him smiling like that is a sight I might just treasure.

  12. #4592
    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
    [BGM]

    After Colt's question, a dead silence fell over the room as both Max and Nevada gazed at the boy with clear surprise and question in their eyes. Slowly, very slowly, they exchanged glances - as if to ask each other silently whether he was off his rocker or not. But while Nevada returned to whatever he was working on with that bulky laptop, Max pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes, descending into deep thought... one which she eventually returned from with a focused gaze aimed squarely at Colt.

    "Die and... do this all over again? That..." She paused, hesitated, and then nodded. "It would explain some things. Mind you, we haven't been able to keep a good eye at the school itself, but if that's the case... then it would explain the erratic, sometimes nonsensical way we've heard some of you students have been behaving. I expect that you're not the only one?"

    The tea in her hand steamed with wispy white strands that rose towards the ceiling.

    "I see... I'll have to take this into consideration. What it means in the grand scheme of thinks. Of course, I'm not that good at deducing crap like this - I've mostly gotten a crash course to the supernatural from Nevada over there," Max nodded towards the man. "But it definitely can't be a coincidence. Not when you take into account the other stuff we've noticed. Namely that... yeah. I'm not surprised that somebody has already been murdered. It'd line up with what we've been thinking of."

    The ranger lifted up one finger and then slowly pointed it at Colt.

    "You guys... your Pinefall... we believe you're repeating events that have already happened in this town. Something dreadful that happened here 21 years ago. A massacre that took the lives of the last full class Pinefall High ever saw. Event which was completely wiped from the records and barely talked about among the townfolk. Then again, it's not like Road's End is a stranger to keeping dirty little secrets," she said and smiled humourlessly. "Even I'd have never even known about it if it wasn't for Remmie. According to her, one of the reasons she came back was because a family member of yours... maybe the last one still living at Road's End, was killed in that event 21 years ago. Him and a whole lot of other people. We tried to find the truth of what happened, but didn't get very far. However..."

    Her eyes narrowed, angrily.

    "There are signs of it all over Pinefall. Messages and scars left by the events that transpired. Just like the how the Klallam were driven out, just like how there was a murder at the lighthouse, just like how the natives were conquered by the vikings, it's yet another grand big festering wound in the spiritual body of this town," she continued her explanation. "And it also ties to what we talked about before. It's no coincidence that tragedies keep happening in this town."

    As Ranger Savage continued, she gestured with her hands to make her point clear. Meanwhile Nevada kept tapping away at his keyboard, but his eye seemed to be trained at Colt at all times to study his reactions.

    "Twenty-one years ago, the last full class of Pinefall met their ends in the hands of each other. Or, perhaps it's more apt to say that they were driven to kill each other. From what we've gathered, it started with a single murder, followed by a string of others. Thanks to the local weather conditions effectively trapping the students where they were, paranoia ran rampant, and eventually... none were left alive. Well, we say none, but there are rumours one or two people survived," Max explained. "However, this was no mere coincidence. There's a specific, clear intent behind these events. Somebody planned them and drove these people into the grips of paranoia. And that someone..."

    The tapping of keyboard had stopped. A hand squeezed the mug of piping hot tea harder.

    "--- Was Guildenstern. The true culprit behind it all. The one who drove their classmates into insanity and to kill each other."

    A lightning cracked nearby with a deafening boom, lighting up the windows and the room with white, blue-ish tint of the storm.

    "And yeah. It's the same Guildenstern as the one who killed Remmie - the original owner of that gun that Tommy apparently hid away. Seven years ago, when Remmie was killed, the culprit used that handgun to do it... and was among us during that time. Only... we're not sure if it was actually any of us. Or if it was one of us... without being one of us." There was a slight hesitation to Max's voice, and her eyes glanced momentarily towards the quiet Nevada. "We know it was Guildenstern because we found the gun that was used to kill her. And we know it was Guildenstern 21 years ago because of the information we found, including a message carved into the storage room's wall at the school. And if people have started dying again... we can only surmise it has to be them again."

    Two decades of murder. Just what sort of monster was really behind this?

    And why did it remind Colt of that shadowy, sneering figure he had seen in the forest of his dreams...?

    "... But what this Guildenstern is, is another question. A shapeshifter? Some sort of immortal? A possessive spirit? What? There must be something that allows them to infiltrate places such as that school, or our group of friends, without any trouble. Something that makes us not realize they're not even there before it's too late. Maybe we're not even dealing with a human..." Max grumbled, sounding angrier and angrier the more she thought about it. "Still, to get back to my original point... I think it's happening again. The massacre from 21 years ago. And it might be orchestrated by Guildenstern again."

    Her harsh eyes locked themselves with Colt's.

    "And I think your class has been forced to re-enact it, against your wills. Perhaps even by Guildenstern among you."




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

    Inside the Canseliet clinic was quiet.

    The living room was as messy as it always was, and that's where most of the group had gathered. Jayesh and Zane were busying themselves in the kitchen, from the looks of it, brewing some tea for everyone. Fyrtio, on the other hand, was standing in the corner, staring out of the window. One gaze towards the staircase and the lights on at the patient room itself told that Dorothy was there - and judging how Scottie was currently ascending the stairs, Jack must have been moved down there. Which meant that the fae had begun her examination. This meant that in the living room itself, there were...

    Aleen, Kajal, Cathie, Tris and Sierra. Aleen was currently sitting on the main sofa with Sierra, holding her hand and whispering encouraging stuff to her. Kajal and Cathie, on the other hand, immediately looked up when they saw that Liana had finally come back inside. However, when they saw her face, they both seemed to sense that something was off since they immediately started to look worried - Cathie in a honest way, and Kajal in her subdued, robotic fashion.

    And lastly, there was Tris... snoring in an armchair, apparently her energy having finally left her.

    "Lia..."

    Cathie started, her brow furrowing.

    "You alright?"

    Well, everybody was more or less present. The girl had promised to give an explanation as to what was going on, so now would be as good a time as any - the only people around were Jack and Dorothy, and perhaps it was best not to bother the fae at the moment. At least when she was healing. And the smell of the apricot tea being made was certainly inviting, as were the cozy armchairs just waiting for someone to sit down.

    "Here."

    Suddenly, a towel flew across the room in an arc and landed on Liana's head.

    "You look like you need it," Jayesh said from the kitchen, nodding at her. "Tea's almost ready, so dry yourself off."

    Well...

    Whatever the past was, at least right now, she had people who went out of their way to worry about her.




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

    Rustling leaves above her, crunching pine needles under her boots, swaying branches that she brushed past by, soft touch of the night-time wind on her cheek, the hoot of an owl somewhere in the distance...

    This was definitely not the same forest that Vier had been previously. Or, well, it was, but at the same time, the atmosphere it had couldn't have been more different. Ghostwood was deep, ancient and suffocating, while this place... it seemed just as endless, but here stars shone brightly through the canopy of pine trees. Yes, stars... so many stars. More stars than Vier had ever seen, in fact. It was like the night sky was lit up by Christmas lights.

    And then there was that smell of coffee wafting through the air. Not the tar-like substance that operatives used on their missions, barely drinkable. No, this was a good roast and good beans. Expensive stuff, but too fancy for a campfire. With its tantalizing fragrance was something sweeter... wait. Was someone making s'mores? Definitely. Someone was definitely making s'mores.

    --- Vier's stomach gave a defiant, quiet rumble.

    She hadn't eaten at all today, had she?

    And finally this whistling... what even was this song? A happy campfire tune or a trail song, echoing through the air without a care or fear. The sound of a woodsman at their element, enjoying a quiet night in the wilds with nothing to bother them, with no dangers in sight and knowing there was nothing that could get them. Perhaps a bit of an optimistic attitude to have while in a forest, but still...

    ... It wasn't the most complex or the most beautiful song. But it was whistled with such genuine happiness that it was hard not to like.

    Thus, it was time to see just who the owner of this mysterious campfire actually was and then make a beeline out of this cursed---

    Crack.

    Wait.

    What.

    What.

    Vier had been in the middle of a stealthy step, moving from the shadow of one bush to another... but instead of stepping into the darkness to hide her, she stepped out into the glowing light of the campfire. Straight into the small clearing that was still good five meters away. It wasn't just that she had accidentally made a mistake. No, the space itself had warped her mid-step to come out of her hiding spot, and... now she was there.

    In the small clearing with a cozy campfire at the center. Three logs set to form a triangle around it. And a person sitting on one of the logs, roasting s'mores while a kettle of coffee happily brewed on the tip of a stick. The glowing light of the fire warmed up her cheeks and the smell of the tasty treats could be felt even stronger.

    But still.

    What the absolute heck.

    How and why had this happened? She was out in the open now, for the owner of the campfire to see.

    And they...

    They turned their head a little to look at her, and their body rotated with them.

    There was an awkward little silence as the two strangers stared at each other.

    And then this mystery person, finally...

    Spoke.


    "Um......... hello?"

    Wait.

    What.





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

    "What? And here I thought I was handsome no matter what."

    Pyry smirked with faux-cockiness in response to Hisa's light ribbing, still laying down in the ground. It seemed that the boy, or both of them, didn't quite have the energy to get up just yet. So instead, they laid there, taking in the sudden lightness of freedom that they were experience. The heavy weights on their shoulders, gone - the chains around their necks, broken. The ease and responsibility of actual free will... to experience it for the first time who even knows how long, it must have been exhilarating. Scary, yes, but also exhilarating.

    No wonder neither of them could get up yet.

    "But well, if that's the case, guess it's a bit of a disappointment," Pyry continued with a grin. "I mean, my dashing princess just rescued me - her beautiful prince locked in a dark and dreary tower. I should at least look the part of a prize, not like I've just went twelve rounds at the night grill."

    His voice eliciated another barking laughter from Ahti, only to have them cut by a cough as the other boy managed to swallow some of the rain water falling from the skies.

    "Hah! That's exactly what you look like! Like you took a beating at the snägäri!"Ahti cackled. "Serves you right!"

    Pyry snorted and rolled his eyes at Hisa, but clearly wasn't annoyed in the least.

    "Yeah yeah, that goes double for you, you goober. Unlike me, you don't got turbo-boosted healing powers," he snarked back, throwing a glance towards the other boy. "What did they even put into you? Some pluck and a go-get-em attitude?"

    Wearily, Ahti lifted his hand to perhaps flip a bird to the boy... but only managed to get halfway there before his arm plopped back to the ground.

    So instead, he just snorted.

    "Enough firepower to overcome even that ridiculous toughness of yours! Don't worry, I'll be sure to show you one day, Mannerheim Line!" The white-haired boy shot back, before descending into more cackles and turning his gaze over to the small girl holding and umbrella over him. "That. That's what's funny, Imp. I mean, just look at us. There's Mr. Dew of the Heavens, barely able to sit up. And me, Mr. Deific Lightning Chieftain... and I can't do jack either! It's hilarious!"

    Indeed, Ahti seemed to find this an absolute riot as he started cackling again - showing genuine happiness in a way he had never before.

    "And instead, it's the damn midget that should be way weaker than me - enough that I even gave you crap about it when we first met - that ends up saving me! How can I not find that funny! If there's gods in this world, they're the Gods of Irony!" The white-haired youth howled. "Man... strength this and strength that, in the end all that strength I had ended up doing nothing for me when it came to saving myself. Shows what those jackasses at Jukola knew about creating powerful guardians for their country. Here we got two espers who did something neither of us could on their own. Hah, shows them!"

    While he laughed for a moment more, eventually the boy calmed down. Ahti's ice blue eye seemed to gaze at Prushka's face for a moment, taking the sight in as if it was the most important thing to do at the moment... and then he smiled. Why? He didn't really say. Instead he glanced towards his brother and the girl squatting next to him... and for some reason he grimaced a little.

    "... Well, I say Imp here's supposedly weak, but I don't know about your partner, bucko," Ahti commented to Pyry. "Seriously, your ladyfriend's frickin' scary."

    This time it was Pyry's turn to chuckle as he finally dragged himself into a sitting position and wiped his muddy hands to his jeans.

    "Eh, I dunno about that," he said mischievously and rustled Hisa's hair. "She's not so bad when you get to know her. Once you get past a whole lot of snark and frown, there's a downright cutie pie underneath all that, y'know? Definitely worth the effort, I'd say. Especially when she's willing to kick the asses of all your mental baggage in quite the literal way."

    The blonde youth raised an eyebrow at the girl and smirked teasingly.

    "Right?"

    Chuckling to himself, Pyry then turned to look back at Ahti, though he kept his hand on Hisa's shoulder, as if it had been the most natural thing. The white-haired boy, on the other hand, had managed to also prop himself up so the two of them could finally look each other in the eye.

    "Besides," Pyry continued. "That shrimp next to you isn't as innocent as she seems. She can be plenty scary too when she gets to it, so you better watch out."

    Ahti grimaced, though it was quite clear he was exaggerating his expressions.

    "Eesh, really? Guess we both might've bitten more than we can chew..."

    This, in turn, made Pyry snicker.

    "But neither of us would have it any other way, right?"

    As they both nodded, the two lions - the two brothers - once again burst into warm chuckles that seemed to resonate within their whole being. As they did, the two of them finally took a moment to wipe the tear stains from their eyes and cheeks, drew deep breathes and exhaled all the quivering and fragile things that they were now carrying with them. It was a new start in many ways, and while there might be more trouble in the future, right now they just wanted to focus on what was important.

    --- The fact that all of them were safe, and that all of them were happy.

    And thus, as if in unison, each boy turned to look at the girl next to them.

    Pyry at Hisa, Ahti at Prushka.

    And they both spoke out:

    "Thanks. For everything."
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; May 19th, 2022 at 11:47 AM.

  13. #4593
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel & Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "We were trying our best, but eh... neither of is really used to stuff like this. I mean, we've known Zane for about a year now. Came to the town thanks to our jobs and hit it right off with the guy. But that don't mean we're the best people to babysit his brother, even if we don't mind doing it."
    A vague statement to say the least, devoid of any meaningful specifics. What were “their jobs”, really? The fact that they were there to take care of Shane was evident enough from the circumstances. Neither did it really cover the question of how these two knew Zane, to begin with. A lot of superficial detail to ofusbucate the fact that her question wasn’t answered to begin with.

    “Aah, well. I’m glad that guy has at least someone to rely on.” Anna’s voice still held that same casual energy as before. “Though I hope he isn’t abusing your good will at least.”

    A moment later, the pair left for the living room, leaving the Estonian girl alone in the hallway. Giving her hair one last rustle to dislodge the last remnants of rainwater from her raven locks, her eyes fell on the doorway leading towards the kitchen. Her memories flashed back to last week, when she had bandaged up Zane’s finger after he had cut himself cooking. Maybe if she’d been just a bit more attentive back then…

    “Eeh, no use crying over spilt milk.” A sigh escaped her lips, even as a predatory grin flashed up to replace it. “…Well, if all goes well, I won’t be bandaging up anyone today.”

    "... 'Sup."
    Aah, it was perfectly clear.

    This man was an idiot. It was as easy as that. A simple glance was enough to completely make it clear to her that this man was completely devoid of any common sense whatsoever.

    Jamming multiple letters in a single box of a crossword? Who did that? …maybe this was the reason he was obsessed with Lockhart? Birds of a feather and whatnot? In hindsight, this would be exactly the type of nonsense she’d expect from the blonde girl outside. And he was too obviously intertwined with the Turnside. The waves coming off him were all wrong. Like that Indian girl in the hotel. Zero capacity in blending in with the “normal” side of the world.

    The inherent irony of Anna Vandemeel of all people making that kind of statement was completely lost to the witch in question.

    “Mhm… I can see now what she meant.” Anna passed the red-haired man a glance even as she was at the same time pouring a cup of cocoa for herself into one of the glasses present on the counter. “…Well, no skin of my back, I suppose. I have no part in whatever beef you two have going on.”

    Having finished pouring her cup, Anna turned around towards Lane, her back resting on the counter and took a tentative sip of her cocoa.

    “Actually, one of my classmates came with me today. But she didn’t quite want to come in for some reason, you know?” A quick grin flashed on her face. “Maybe you know her? Cute, short blonde hair, red eyes…”

    “… and with a smile to die for, y’know?”

    Having seemingly made up her mind about the suitability of the cup of cocoa in her hand, Anna started to head towards the doorway leading back towards the hallway.

    “She’s waiting for you outside. Be a doll and don't keep her waiting for too long, eh? Women do loathe men who make them wait.” Anna gave the red-haired boy a lazy wave goodbye, even as her tone was positively wicked. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, lovebirds.”

    And with those words she was gone from the kitchen.

  14. #4594
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "..."

    For awhile, I can't think of anything to say.

    I just hadn't expected to get caught right away, I figured that I'd be able to put the usual face back on easily enough, the small-half smile, inoffensive and welcoming, a smile to deflect concern away from myself, to not show a single crack in the armor. People pay attention to others after all, humans are social beings that often take their cues from their fellow humans, especially if those humans were put into leadership positions, as I seem to have been... So if I came in here moping around, everyone else would probably wind up following me down that path...

    Not an ideal situation, certainly not the face I had wanted to show anyone, but...

    Guess it's not that easy to hide.

    "...The boys are the ones making the tea, huh? Nice. Men that know their way around a kitchen are pretty popular."

    In the end, I respond to Jayesh first; not because I'm ignoring Cathie, but because I simply don't know what the right thing to say to her is...

    "I can be a pretty picky tea critic though, fair but honest~"

    It's not a particularly large distraction, really it only buys me a couple of seconds, time enough to stare at the towel in my hand, to notice that my little episode outside had screwed with my qi control, the once roaring flames an almost imperceptible glow around the skin, and...

    "Still... Am I alright...?"

    ...I decide to just answer aloud, give voice to the confusion.

    I haven't done much for Cathie, Kajal and Jayesh, so this sort of worry strikes me as a bit confusing, but if they're good enough to sense when there's something off with me, it's not like just deflecting the question would give a good result, they'd just stay worried about it, and...

    Aren't there enough lies in this town already?

    "Hard to say... Guess you could say I learned some painful truths..."

    I dry my hair with the towel, brief flickers of thought of how the rain was going to ruin what was arguably my best feature strangely cracking through the shell of confusion and anxiety...

    "I had thought I was more of an outsider to all the crazy stuff going on in this town... But it's looking like that's not actually the case."

    Having regained control over my breathing and energy flow, I discard the towel onto a chair and grasp the damp hair gently in my hands, smoothing out the curls with flickers of controlled qi in my grasp, just a bit, to finish what the towel had started and to keep myself presentable... Of course, seeing as how Tris was sleeping away in an armchair now, I find myself doing the same thing to my jacket, drying it off with ambient heat, before draping it across her form, after all...

    She'd been out in the rain awhile.

    Silly girl.

    "Twenty-one years ago... My sister died here it seems, at the school," I say simply, keeping the emotion in my voice contained as best I can, "I was never sure about the exact location till now... But I guess I finally... Know where it happened..."

    Of course, it's a bit more complicated than that... Sora and I...

    "Although sister might not be the best fitting term... Well, it's probably the closest I can get to describing what she was to me really, our relationship was a bit... Complicated..."

    I shrug, realizing I'm talking a bit too much, and...

    "...Not the happiest topic. But I'll be alright eventually, don't worry about it. I just... Need a bit to process it..."

    Head over towards the armchairs.

    One closest to Fyrtio, to whom I direct the next bit.

    "Perhaps you knew her, Fio? Her name was Sora, just like me. Sora Hikari. We're not quite identical... But she looked a lot like me... Or well, I guess it would be more correct to say I look like her..."

    As for the others, well...

    "Still... I owe you guys an explanation about all this crazy stuff, right? I don't want to launch into the big mega-lecture about the time-loops until Jayesh and Zane are in here too, so I guess I'll start with a brief fundamentals class for you guys."

    My gaze drifts to Sierra and for a moment I wonder whether I should really continue with her in the room, but...

    Hiding it from her won't help at this point.



    "Okay... So it's like this..."

    This isn't a topic I really get the chance to talk about often, after all, those in the Turnside typically already know how it works and keeping normal people from discovering it was one of our primary laws, but...

    "In this world, there are people and entities with powers beyond the ordinary... Things like androids, ritualists, mages, psychics and church warriors... All of them actually exist. We call these things the Turnside of the World, because they're the parts of the World that people don't see or think about, to use an analogy it's like... The underside of a coin, or the hidden space behind a poster. Something that is there, but that you don't really think about, you see?"

    "We try not to get normal people involved in our affairs, but from time to time someone screws up, or decides they just don't care about the collateral damage... And normal people get pulled into our nonsense."

    I sigh softly, chin resting on folded hands.

    "This town seems to be completely filled with both the Turnside and people that don't seem to care about collateral damage, which is an always dangerous combination... A lot of what happened last night was only possible through supernatural means. Best I can figure, our culprit was either an ESPer or an Android. The scarabs we found were giving off a strange signal to scramble our senses yes, but whether that signal was an actual property of the scarabs themselves, or just the bugs acting like some sort of range booster or catalyst for her powers... I can't really say... But there was no one-eyed shadow woman outside any windows, just a crazy woman with two perfectly functional eyes trying to scare us."

    I look around a bit after this, searching people's faces to see if they're paying attention or not, if my lecture is bad or not, and then...

    "Is everyone following me so far?"

    I ask softly, eyes coming to rest on Sierra.

    As the youngest, and thus the one that most clearly needed to be protected...

    How she took it was the most important of all...

    "I don't give these sorts of lectures very often, so let me know if you want me to elaborate on certain parts... There are some things I'll probably need to ask you guys about later on too, mostly about the town history, since there seems to be an uncomfortable pattern forming in it that might have something to do with our current situation..."

    This will give the boys time to get in here too, as well as for Fio to answer my question, although Scottie...

    Seems super into, huh...?
    Last edited by Airen; May 20th, 2022 at 05:30 AM.
    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--"

  15. #4595
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Outside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Yeah, please don't. If Anna can get this guy outside, that should work," Ramia responded, pinching the bridge of her nose. "But starting to yell and holler just to catch his attention... even in a town as small as this, we're bound to get the police called on us."

    She seemed to think about it for a moment, imagining the scene, before chuckling loudly - guffawing rather honestly at the mental image.

    "That'd be a sight...! A vampire and a lamia, spending their night in the drunk tank because of 'drunken' hollering and attempting to pick a fight with a random guy!" The dusky-skinned mercenary cackled. "I swear there's a stupid Turnside joke there somewhere, but I just can't find it. Would make for a good comedy skit I bet. Though, now that we're waiting, hmm..."

    Alexstrasza could feel the eyes of the other girl studying her from up in the tree.

    It felt a bit like being stared down at by a snake. A rather jovial and good-natured snake, but still a cold-blooded reptile.

    "Say... what type of vampire are you? I get the feeling you're not totally classical model, turning into mists and commanding wolves and that jive," she asked. "If I had to say, there's something else mixed into your folkloric base. Like making a rum and coke, but substituting rum with sherry. I mean, technically it works and looks the same, but at the same time it's... a bit off? If you get what I mean?"

    By now the mercenary seemed genuinely curious, instead of just making smalltalk to pass the time.

    "A bit like how you are as a vampire. I mean, it's rare to see one of your kind so chummy with humans."




    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Mitchell Residence - Inside
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Wha----!!!"

    As Anna exited the kitchen, she could hear Lane let out a grunt of surprise and jerk back in his chair, his wild eyes snapping towards in almost hostile confusion. At the same time, a killing intent flared up like wildfire and... no. This wasnt' a proper killing intent. A desire to fight, definitely - aura of someone who loved the act of combat itself. But it lacked that edge that told of a desire to actually kill their opponent. At least for now.

    However, just as quickly as those reactions had happened... they died down.

    Snuffed out, like a candle.

    The last glance that Anna took towards the kitchen let her see Lane Griffith sitting there at the table, staring at his own hands with a conflicted, almost dejected look on his face. Like he would have wanted to do as Anna told her, but at the same time, something was holding him back. As if he couldn't afford to go on a rampage even though he would have enjoyed it.

    And as for the reason...

    --- Well, it was quite likely this redheaded kid currently sitting on the living room floor with a video game controller in his hands and an excited look on his face.

    "Oh man...!"

    CC groaned in the armchair and threw his arms up, looking at the TV screen.

    "You're a bit too good at this for me, pal!" He chuckled, flashing a grin townards Shane. "I told you to go easy on the beginner. Or what, did you wanna game with Anna that badly?"

    Shane, naturally, sputtered for a moment before responding.

    "W-what, no! No, I'm just too good for you!" He replied, clearly flustered. "B-besides, you shouldn't have picked Zangief, that dude just sucks!"

    The redheaded boy seemed to be referring to the two pixelated combatants who had just been on the screen, having some sort of impromptu martial arts bout on the street. Now the victor (Shane's character, apparently) was telling the loser (CC's character) to... go home and be a family man? What a truly bizarre thing to say. Maybe there was some sort of underlying subtext to this game, about devoting your life to pursuits of martial arts and inner strength, while forgetting the other things in life that mattered, such as your waiting family...

    Was that what these 'video games' truly were?

    "So, wanna change up already?" Chester asked and offered the controller to Anna lazily. "Or should it make it a best of 3? You can take a moment to look how this works if you've never played this before."

    And more importantly, had Anna's utter incompetence with modern gadgets been already found out?




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

    While Liana opened the field for some further questions and answers, the two boys finally got done with the tea. While Zane set up the cups on the table in the middle of the room, Jayesh served the tea to anyone who wanted it - and as it happened, just about everyone did want it. Their "lunch" had been a cold breakfast after all, so something warm at this point of the day was just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps literally, considering the boys had been working with Dorothy's tea leaves. And done a pretty admirable job too, judging by the fragrance.

    While sipping on her tea and letting her eyes scan the reactions from the people around her, Liana could quite easily pinpoint to whom this was new information, and who were already neck-deep in Turnside. While Zane, Jayesh, Kajal and Fyrtio just offered some vague nods like they had all heard this before, Sierra just stared at Liana with her eye wide open, looking utterly surprised. Aleen had a bit of a complicated expression of confusion on her face, like she had heard a cliff notes version of this before, and Scottie... well, he was being Scottie. The secret agent man had a faint smile that kept widening and a twinkle in his eyes - like he had expected something like this to be case, but never before gotten the confirmation.

    However, then there was Cathie. Cathie who looked... conflicted. Like something in this didn't sit right with her. But before she could ask...

    "... Yes. Though I can't say I knew her very well."

    Fyrtio's quiet voice cut the silence.

    "We only talked a... couple of times. Before what happened, happened," the one-eyed woman spoke, clearly reliving some painful memories in her mind. "She was a... strong-willed girl. Confident. The type to act without hesitation."

    If one wanted to be pessimistic about it, that could be read as "stubborn and arrogant".

    Or perhaps not. Fyrtio didn't seem to hold any particular ill will towards "Sora Hikari".

    "Umm... I have a question!"

    Aleen spoke up next, having raised her hand like it was the classroom.

    "If what you say is right and we've totes got all these supernatural things in our midst..." She asked, before cocking an eyebrow at Liana in particular. "Then what are you, Lia? Since, y'know, you know so much about this. N-not that I'm saying you aren't a human, but rather, uh... y'know?"

    Looking a bit embarrassed, the blue-haired girl sank into her seat on the sofa.

    In the silence that followed this rather awkward question, Cathie began to finally speak, giving voice to the thoughts that bothered her. Though what she was saying was... surprising to say the least.

    "So... am I getting it right that the things they told us townspeople aren't true then?" She asked, her eyes piercing Liana, inquisitive. "Or rather, they are true, but not in the way they meant it. See, when Oceandrop Project was starting up, they told us townspeople that they were making a... mental rehabilitation center of sorts. A school for the mentally traumatized teens, where they could study and heal away from the world. They told us that you... that the Pinefall students were all suffering from a rare disorder that made them think the supernatural was real, and that they were a part of it - and that it was important not to challenge this belief before they were ready to accept reality. So, uh... does this mean that they were lying? Or did they just mistake real supernatural people for loon--- s-sorry, traumatized kids?"

    She cast her eyes down, staring at the carpet with a conflicted expression.

    "Or does this just mean I'm starting to go crazy too...?"

    Scottie, who was sitting nearby, let out a reassuring chuckle and a warm smile.

    "Well, at the end of the day, if we all believe in the supernatural, does it matter whether it's a lie or not? If it only exists in places we can't see, wouldn't that make it a lie to begin with?" He asked, cocking an eyebrow at Liana. "A grand lie that can be used to make miracles, as long as reality can't touch it?"

  16. #4596
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    "Well, at the end of the day, if we all believe in the supernatural, does it matter whether it's a lie or not? If it only exists in places we can't see, wouldn't that make it a lie to begin with?" He asked, cocking an eyebrow at Liana. "A grand lie that can be used to make miracles, as long as reality can't touch it?"
    "...Yes, I suppose you could say it's a certain sort of lie."

    I say after a moment, nodding at Scottie, before turning my attention back to Cathie.

    "The World as you know it does not like our kind, you don't think we exist, so as an extension of that belief, it tries to crush us if it finds us out, because we don't fit into what the commonly accepted reality is... That's part of why we keep ourselves hidden from you most of the time, there's a certain direct danger to humans finding out about us of course, but the masquerade... There are metaphysical consequences for just running around screaming your head off about the supernatural, more than one city has been completely wiped out because that sort of knowledge was allowed to spread too openly, the World doesn't care for such things nowadays. It considers the Turnside a danger, so if it has to crush a town to cover something up, it might just do so."

    My eyes narrow slightly, not in anger, just in thought...

    "That's probably why they told you what they told you Cathie, so long as you guys don't believe what we're doing to be supernatural, we can get away with it. A pretense of mentally ill students is a good enough cover for these purposes, we might talk about it to you, but you've been... Preprogrammed not to take us seriously, so the masquerade would remain intact. If I told you about all the stuff that happened last night and you weren't around to see it yourself, you wouldn't believe me, right? You'd just assume I was a crazy person and humor me." I chuckle a bit, waving a hand lazily in a more laid-back manner than my mother would as a teacher. "It's a pretty decent cover. Of course... I wouldn't say that the Pinefall kids are entirely stable either, but I wouldn't say the town itself is much better in that regard... There are tons of skeletons in the closets around here... Spiritual wounds in the land all over the place, a lot of bad things have happened in this town that people are just covering up, and that has effects, really, this place is actually cursed."

    I lean back now, now that I've answered all the questions that I was comfortable answering, and being left with the only one that I wasn't really comfortable with, but...

    "As for me... What I am... Well..."

    I pause.

    It's a painful pause, one where I close my eyes for a moment to gather my strength, because this is always the deal breaker with humans.

    Androids never get a pass.

    Everyone always talks about how the others are a little bit human, so it's okay to empathize with them, but androids, machines, well...

    We're left out in the cold.

    "When Sora died... Mom didn't take it very well..."

    I open my eyes again, deciding to be honest even though it means they'll reject me.

    "Sis didn't take it very well either... Some parts of her soul held on to this world for a bit, Hikari can be stubborn in that way, and a... Friend of hers managed to get it, or so I've been told. A girl named Stella. She brought it to my mom, who... Well, put it in a body she made."

    No way a descendant of fae didn't notice the spirit clinging to that heart.

    "Put simply, I'm an android made in her image. My body is... Mostly biological, most of Sora's powers were Qi based, so I couldn't be overly robotic if I wanted to use them too, but well... It's probably not incorrect to say I'm not really a human..."

    My heart sinks a bit at the admittance.

    Finally.

    Just saying it out-loud...

    "Sora's soul means I have a bit of mage in me too of course, so I guess it's more like... I'm 66% android, 33% mage... I don't fit in anywhere, really, guess I'm a weirdo even amongst weirdos... Ha..."

    I say it.

    And wait.

    Wait for the eyes to change, the perspective to shift...

    It happens almost every time.

    Only Thorne didn't do it before this...
    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--"

  17. #4597
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm

    "Android. Huh."

    Kajal is the first one to speak. For some reason she pushed up her glasses with her index finger, glanced at her brother... and then quietly pumped her fist in some sort of victorious motion. Jayesh, on the other hand, let out a slight groan and put his hand in his pocket, fishing out... his wallet? Wait, why was he suddenly handing his sister a 5 dollar bill? And why did she pocket it with an emotionless expression that just screamed of smug!?

    ... What had these two been betting on!?

    "That's... oh..." Aleen replied, looking somewhat downcast and even ashamed of her question for a moment. "I'm, uh..."

    Finally she looked back up Liana, her eyes practically asking the other girl to forgive her for probing into such a topic.

    "I-I'm sorry, Lia. I didn't realize it was such a sore subject. Y-you should've just totes told me to mind my own beeswax, geez!" She continued, before suddenly hitting her chest with her fist and offering the other girl a confident smile. "Besides! Android schmandroid, what does that even matter in the end! You're my classmate! Also a bit overbearing girl who likes to stick her nose into other people's business! But also definitely human where it counts!"

    She giggled a bit, and awkwardly scratched her cheek.

    "I mean, what's more human than holding someone's hair while they puke in the toilet?"

    Cathie snorted at that, unable to hold back a slight smirk that rose to her face.

    "Yeah, I mean... I'm a newbie to all of this, but you never seemed not human to me. Sure, if you say an 'android' I get a mental image of the whole 'beep boop' sthick, but you Lia? Up until you claimed so yourself I never once doubted that you were human," the redhead said, before offering the other girl an encouraging smile. "So stop looking like we're gonna all treat you like chopped liver from now on. Have a little more faith in us. We all went through the whole nightmare ordeal last night together, right? I'd say that counts for something!"

    She didn't seem to be the only one sharing that sentiment. Jayesh and Kajal were both nodding, the latter even throwing Liana a quiet thumbs up. Fyrtio's did not gesture herself, but her gaze hadn't changed in the slightest. And Zane... Zane actually seemed rather amused by the support that both Aleen and Cathie were throwing her way. Like he had expected Liana's fears to be met with such vehement opposition.

    And as for Sierra?

    "Um..."

    She quietly spoke up, catching everyone's attention.

    "If... if you think and act like a human, and if you feel like a human... doesn't that make you a human already?" She asked, looking at Liana. "I-I mean, there are plenty of people with weirdness to them, or something that makes them different from others..."

    She, perhaps unconsciously, touched her eyepatch.

    "... But that doesn't mean they're not people. That they're not human. I think it's more than just how biological your body is, anyways."

    Scottie, upon hearing that, gave a sage nod.

    "Mm, I think that's very well put. Our humanity is never measured in our biological make-up, but how we act. I, for one, have seen plenty of so-called 'humans' who hardly deserve to be called such. Who've lost touch with themselves to the point that they've lost their humanity too. You, Miss Skye, are nothing like that. Never forget that," the agent said warmly. "Still... I must say. A mother's love is truly a powerful thing. Somewhat terrifying, but also powerful. Though..."

    His eyes snapped towards Cathie.

    "Is something still bothering you, Miss Walker?"

    Cathie, who had been rubbing her chin in thought, looked a bit alarmed that the attention was back at her.

    "O-oh! Err, not much! Just that..." She paused, hesitating. "It's just that..."

    And then she frowned.

    "I swear I've heard the name 'Stella' somewhere before. Here, at Road's End."

  18. #4598
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Main Building – Entrance
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm



    “Hmm…I assume you didn’t forget to close the door, either,” John tells Hwan as he kneels to get a closer look. The torrential rain makes for a boring background threnody. He has to be careful not to ruin the scene he is investigating with the water dripping off his thoroughly wet clothes.

    It is safe to assume he can frame this blood to a point after Hwan and Kean ran back to the dorms. As for the latest point in time…after Miss Faraday and Miss Techne left them for a bit to ready themselves, John and the others acted as lookouts, so they would have noticed anybody in the open space in front of the main building. Then again, the rain acts like a decent curtain; they might have failed to noticed somebody sticking close to the building, arriving from or leaving towards the main building’s back side.

    At the time Souma left his two male classmates, John Dove was knocking on Xylia’s door, and Miss Faraday was on her way up the hill leading to the campus. Team Vandemeel had already left the campus, taking into account the fact that Miss Faraday did not cross paths with them on her arrival. Elaine and Miss Iburi…had yet to make it to Ubon’s door—yes, John is sure of that, because he was on the second floor at the time.

    During this period of twenty to thirty minutes, John “conversed” with Xylia, Elaine and Miss got Ubon to join them, and then went to get Sakura. John then met with the group of four girls (plus dog). In the meantime, Hwan and Kean checked for Inacio in the Music Room; not finding him, they returned to the dorms and bickered for a while on their next move. Lucille made it to the dorms before them, though, meeting Miss Techne in the old section, and then stumbling on the two boys as they left it together. Moments later, John himself arrived.

    Inacio is missing this whole time, but if he was the owner of this blood, then where was he the whole time before spilling this?

    On a side note, Team Elaine must have crossed paths with Hwan and Kean at some point as they left the dorms and the campus altogether, but that’s pretty much not relevant at the moment.

    Based on this information, several possibilities arise.

    The first question is whether this blood belonged to someone entering or leaving the building. The former seems likeliest, but John Dove will not discard the latter. The stains are few and far between, but there are indications that whoever lost this blood went towards or came from the faculty office. John gestures as much to the others, just in case they haven’t noticed.

    “Now, the obvious, likeliest possibilities would be Inacio or Souma,” he speaks in a quiet tone. “Let’s go. Carefully.”

    Of course, there are plenty of other possibilities, like a third party not belonging to Pinefall sneaking in from the forest, but such an option renders the number of suspects pretty much infinite, so it is pointless to even consider. It could be a teacher, of course—we have no guarantee that, like Mister Oceandrop apparently, they just disappear when the weekend arrives.

    There’s also the Coastrise siblings, Minato and Yeong-Hui, who might be skulking around despite Zhou claiming otherwise. Ubon could have flown in and then back in time to meet Elaine and Subaru. To his knowledge, Sakura can’t fly, but she had more time than Ubon to do the same—while they don’t really need to leave their clothes to dry under the sun, most people don’t do the laundry on rainy days. It’s a psychological thing. Furthermore, when they met her, Sakura just came out of the shower. She could have been dealing with wounds, washing off blood.

    However, were Ubon or Sakura the source of this blood, wouldn’t Elaine (or Tonkori) have caught it?

    Well, the only way to find out is moving forward. Based on his knowledge of his classmates’ suitability for violent scenarios…

    “Miss Faraday, please watch the rear. Kean and Miss Techne in the middle; Kean, we need to know the slightest blip in that scanner.”

    Changing the placement of his knife to his waist—held by his belt—, John then settles next to Hwan Bin at the vanguard, because his best use is as a shield for somebody else. No amount of self-discovery has changed that.

  19. #4599
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Canseliet Clinic
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    "..."

    It never comes.

    The shifting of the eyes as the person you're talking too changes their view of you from a person to a thing, the sneer of the so-called holy warriors as they call you a fake person, a soulless machine, an abomination of the modern world born of humans trying to play God. None of it happens, even as my gaze goes from one person to the next, slowly at first and then with restrained desperation, I don't find anything like that from anyone in the room, an odd bet between two siblings perhaps, but...

    None of the usual judgements.

    None of the dehumanizing gazes, just-

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "I-I'm sorry, Lia. I didn't realize it was such a sore subject. Y-you should've just totes told me to mind my own beeswax, geez!" She continued, before suddenly hitting her chest with her fist and offering the other girl a confident smile. "Besides! Android schmandroid, what does that even matter in the end! You're my classmate! Also a bit overbearing girl who likes to stick her nose into other people's business! But also definitely human where it counts!"
    -things like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cathie
    "Yeah, I mean... I'm a newbie to all of this, but you never seemed not human to me. Sure, if you say an 'android' I get a mental image of the whole 'beep boop' sthick, but you Lia? Up until you claimed so yourself I never once doubted that you were human," the redhead said, before offering the other girl an encouraging smile. "So stop looking like we're gonna all treat you like chopped liver from now on. Have a little more faith in us. We all went through the whole nightmare ordeal last night together, right? I'd say that counts for something!"
    This isn't how it's supposed to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra
    "If... if you think and act like a human, and if you feel like a human... doesn't that make you a human already?" She asked, looking at Liana. "I-I mean, there are plenty of people with weirdness to them, or something that makes them different from others..."
    It's never how it goes...

    Even as a mage it had never really went like this, so why...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    "Mm, I think that's very well put. Our humanity is never measured in our biological make-up, but how we act. I, for one, have seen plenty of so-called 'humans' who hardly deserve to be called such. Who've lost touch with themselves to the point that they've lost their humanity too. You, Miss Skye, are nothing like that. Never forget that."
    Why are they being so nice to me?

    I've let them down more than once, I-

    "..."

    -I hide my face in my hands and behind my hair, more aware than anyone else that a scarlet tinge has threatened to take over my normally paler features. It's times like these where this sort of hair comes in handy, it's a pain to take care of this knee-length style a lot of the time, but when you need an impromptu method of trying to hide from people that are suddenly far, far too dazzling, it's...

    "Yeah Sierra... I guess..."

    It's handy...

    "Maybe that does make me human already..."

    My voice is shaky, but I can't stabilize it right now.

    Naturally, this leads to a further attempt to shrink into my hairstyle, but reality has it's limits even for someone like me.

    "I... Uhm... Those sorts of things aren't normally what people say... I... Appreciate you guys..."

    Hopefully that comes out properly, through my hair and all...

    "I'm not usually this flustered, just uh... Gimme a second please, I'll pull myself together..."

    So I do.

    Slowly, I suppress the urge to bury my face in embarrassment, cough weakly into a fist, and...

    "But uhm... Yes, I suppose a mother's love can be quite strong..."

    Even if her absence raises a number of questions, still-

    Quote Originally Posted by Cathie
    "I swear I've heard the name 'Stella' somewhere before. Here, at Road's End."
    This does draw my attention back to matters at hand...

    "That's not too surprising, considering Sora died here, Stella might have been living around here..." Ignoring my still red complexion, I allow myself to slide back to teacher mode, a newfound ghost of a smile on my face, "She was a werewolf, much like Jack."

    I raise a finger.

    "Werewolves have lycanthropy, it's a sort of... Mystical disease that forces your transformation into well... A werewolf during certain times of the month. They're incredibly powerful beings and in terms of Turnside fame, they're the only real rivals vampires have... I guess you could say they're the top tier beings of the Turnside, stronger than most things just because of how well known they are in reality..."

    I frown at this, reminded of how badly things could have gone last night if Jack hadn't been locked in his cage...

    I wasn't exactly at full power last night, might not have won that one...

    "Last night wasn't a traditional Full Moon, but there was a vampire visiting the club that symbolically represents the Full Moon, who carries it around with her, which is probably what forcibly triggered his transformation." I glance towards Cathie again, taking a sip of the apricot tea (pretty okay) before continuing, "That vampire would be the person you went to see with Colt, although calling her a simple vampire would probably be a bit too lenient... She's likely an antediluvian or something of that nature, a primordial vampire, very old, not the sort of thing you want as an enemy... Although she seems strangely fond of Colt."

    I sigh, unable to really recognize that relationship, then-

    "She's also Thorne's boss, so he probably knew all this too... He lied about Jack not being a werewolf, but considering we had a lot of humans with us last night, I can understand a few reasons why he might have done that, it's not the sort of affliction people like broadcasting to others, as werewolves are commonly thought to be dangerous just for existing, and no one wants to be thought of like that, still..."

    I tilt my head to the side.

    "Any old families besides the McLampets in this town? Werewolves tend to... Group together into a pack of sorts from my experience, you rarely ever find just one by themselves. If Stella does live here, she's probably part of something like that, some old family with power or influence."

    I pause, then...

    "Jack himself is probably the same way if he used to live here in town as a kid, member of some other group... I doubt Pinkerton is his actual last name after all..."
    Last edited by Airen; May 23rd, 2022 at 06:25 PM.
    Exodus (Complete)

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

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

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

    Because of you.

    Please, remember it warmly.

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




    Mugen No Sekai

    "The Illusion Incomplete Memories Produce Are,

    Fleeting, Disappearing into the Future,

    Until the Ruins of Yesterday Overflow,

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

  20. #4600
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Storm


    Hm, blacklights and similar sorts of things strengthen their presence.

    I scratched my chin, "So if it's UV, wonder if infrared or microwaves could deter em or something, constructive and destructive, maybe..?"

    I muttered to myself, might be something worth checking out at least, academically or no.

    Something to keep in mind, given it wouldn't be entirely UV.

    Anyway.

    Keep these Eggheads in mind.

    "You know anything about Odin, y'know, Offnir, Ol' One-Eye, we keep running into things about him and some norse shit, so I figured I'd pick your brain some. It got anything to do with those... Kincaid fellows? Supposedly they brought over one of their big fancy swords that Baby Beelzebub had a bit of last night, we're all trying to slap some stuff together, y'know?"

    I glance upwards, "One of our guys thought the Lighthouse's, uh, light had something to do with it," I paused, "The room of amber light, at the top, yeah?"

    I frowned, "Oh, and one more thing, that guy, the Dybbuk, Keany (he says hi, by the way), said he was rambling about 'variables' and 'causality' and how things had to be right for him to pull his stuff off."

    I smiled a bit, "Sorry to kind of dump all the stuff on you, but, well, gotta make the most of the time, ah?"

    I glanced back at the gaggle of girls around me, "Y'all got anything you want ask?"

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