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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3881
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Manor
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Man... that's quite something."

    Sakura echoed Pyry's whispered words with a nod.

    About twenty minutes or so later, the quartet of Hisa, Pyry, Sakura and Gradient were hiding in the bushes near the McLampet Manor proper, gazing upon the old, venerable building that simply oozed history, like a great big shadow that was thrown over the estate grounds that were silent as a grave.

    The infiltration itself had gone without a hitch. Led by Pyry who was comfortable searching his way through the thick forest, the group had emerged to a part of the wall which seemed to border another patch of forest further inside. Sakura had been the first one to scale the wall, using something that looked like tiny metal claws fitted to her hands. She nimbly scampered up the vertical surface, and scanned the area to make sure that there were no security cameras nearby to catch them. After getting an okay from the girl, she vaulted to the other side, clearing the landing zone for Pyry. The boy got to show off his physical might a little bit, making two trips back-and-forth past the wall. THe first time carrying Hisa in his arms, and the second time Gradient. Clearing a perimeter wall that was over two meters tall wasn't an easy feat, but he certainly made it look like a breeze... even though the rain and the muddy ground made him almost slip on the second landing.

    While hiding in the forest inside the walled-off grounds of the McLampet estate, Sakura and Hisa - forming a forward party as they ventured further - were able to map out the area much better now that there was nothing to actually block their field of view. As it turned out, the wall around the perimeter of the area made more or less a half-circle, ending up at the cliffside on both ends. Inside this half circle, the manor grounds were split into three distinct areas.

    First off, there was the cliffside area where the asphalt road ran. This road snaked up the hill all the way to the mansion itself, ending in a paved yard around the building that teetered on the edge of the cliff. Aside from the mansion itself, there seemed to be a large garage full of fancy old cars, but not much else. This all took the western side of the area, against the cliff.

    Second, there was the eastern side of the half circle. Most of this area was dominated by what looked like a very well-maintained, if old, rose garden. The smell of roses was clear in the air despite the rain, and the sprawling area was just oozing opulence - if old, forgotten one. To be honest, it resembled a graveyard more than anything bright and colorful. Still, there was an arbor at the center of the rose garden, and some sort of storehouse near the other end - one with closed metal shutters that were undoubtedly locked. Then, at the eastern end of the rose garden, the two girls could see a smaller building - a house of its own, almost - most likely meant for servants of the manor. Sakura posited that this might be where the Beatrice lived, in case she didn't stay with Josie McLampet in the main building.

    Last but not least, there was the southern side of the mansion grounds, which were mostly dominated by an old patch of forest - the very same place that Hisa and the rest had used to infiltrate the area. The reason as to why a part of the forest had been allowed to grow free here was unknown. Perhaps it simply fit the scenery, or perhaps the McLampets had wanted some sort of reminder to why they were so rich to begin with? Nevertheless, it allowed for an excellent cover that the group could use to sneak further into the estate... though it also brought up another question, eventually.

    Namely, at the northern edge of that forest patch, there was... a chapel. Quite large one at that. An old building made out of stone and standing in the rain like some sort of kneeling giant, towering over the yard with its menacing shadow.

    It certainly was an odd sight, especially considering that unlike the other church that Hisa had seen, this one seemed well-kept - if old and unused for the time being.

    Still, with the help of Sakura's eagle-eyed gaze and Hisa's tools and vision, the group was able to make their way to the northern edge of the forest patch, where they now hid in the undergrowth and watched the area as a whole. That is, the mansion at the cliffside and all the other locations. And thanks to Hisa's radar, she had been able to notice that after the gates, the amount of security cameras dropped rapidly, until there were none. Most of them had been set to watch the road, but none were keeping an eye on the mansion and its surroundings - perhaps for privacy reasons.

    "Gotta say though..." Pyry muttered quietly as he looked at the others. "... It's one hell of a creepy place. Who builds a chapel within their own grounds?"

    Sakura made a small shrug.

    "People too rich for their own good, I suppose, that being said... look," she whispered before nodding towards the mansion entrance. "Is that the guy you were talking about earlier?"

    As she gestured towards the cliffside-building, Hisa could immediately spot the person she meant. There, descending the stairs while muttering something to himself, was Barney Keyhoe - looking like he wasn't in exactly good mood. Perhaps he had had a meeting with Josie McLampet which hadn't gone exactly well. Nevertheless, right now he wasn't headed out of the mansion grounds. On the contrary, he took the paved path to the east, making a beeline towards the distant building while fiddling with his camera.

    So, perhaps he was finally getting ready for his interview proper?

    The one that was meant to happen in that building separated by the rose-garden?

  2. #3882
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Phew."

    Finally! This town's phones really are busted up. To think we had to go all the way to this bar... I stare up at the sign, and frown. Huh. Big Boy's. Gas station. Isn't this that place Hisa mentioned? With the one-eyed former janitor or something? Might be worth going in after Ahti. If they even let me in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahti
    "You guys do your thing, I'm gonna head inside and grab a drink. Ain't no way in hell I'm gonna stand around in this rain..."
    "Will do! Don't get too drunk now!" I give Ahti a thumbs-up. "And uh, lemme know if there's anyone in there wearing an eyepatch! Besides you!"

    The phone booth doesn't seem broken at least. It's just a...

    "Bit too high..."

    Gah. I can barely see the number pad from here! Cursed humans! Why do you build everything for giants!? Fine then, I'll take you on, hostile architecture!

    I wheel in my scooter and wedge it diagonally against the stall. Then I stand at the top of the slope, head finally clearing the bottom. I reach up, lift the receiver off the hook, press it to my ear. "Bingo." Dial tone. We've got a live one.

    Can't get ahead of myself though. Need to make sure it's all okay downstairs. So I shimmy back down and peer at the machinery underneath. Let's see... if this was tapped, we'd probably have a small receiver in there somewhere, hooked up to the line. The military has dozens of ways to spy on phone conversations, and with CALEA on the way it'll have dozens more. Of course the call will probably be recorded on the other side, but that's fine; it's a spy in Road's End that I'm worried about.

    So, let's see. Any nuts or bolts that look like they've been turned recently? If it's as old as it looks everything should be rusted shut. Wires with marks in them? Anything attached to the back or underside? I know most of the usual ways, but we might have an unorthodox method here with all the Turnside happenings, so I'll need to keep an eye out for anything. Maybe even magical talismans or symbols and the like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xandra
    "...Though honestly, I can't remember another person who Ahti's let sit that close to him - physically, that is. What the hell did you do to him to manage that? It's like he's practically calm in your presence, instead of his usual self."
    "Huh?"

    I pause my investigation and look back at the girl leaning against the wall.

    "His usual self... would that be all angry at everything?"

    I think back. To those eyes promising death. To the wounded animal that had nearly killed me. How did we get used to each other, anyway? Now that I think about it...

    "...hm. Dunno."

    All I can offer you is a shrug, Xandra.

    "Now it's bugging me too. Not gonna be able to focus here... why do we get along? Do we even? Maybe it's just 'cus I'm small and weak? No, can't be that, he knows better..."

    I pause and think. Think back to our interactions. To that grumpy cat guy. It's not like anything's changed, right? We still insult each other. Ahti's still a jerk and an idiot. I still haven't stopped lecturing him. He still hasn't stopped with his dumb pranks. But I haven't seen it again: that hostile, murderous look from that first night and the following morning. Those eyes that didn't trust anything haven't reappeared since then. Even if what he said didn't change. Even if he behaved like... like...

    Oh.



    "I used to think humans were awful."

    My fingers brush over the metal as I speak, eyes still meeting Xandra's gaze. The rain drums against my helmet, syncing up with my heartbeat.

    "Wouldn't even bother remembering their names most of the time. Didn't matter; they were all the same. Just horrible creatures covering up their ugly true selves with pleasant lies. Each one a potential enemy. Each one terrifying."

    Lately, I don't believe that as much as before. At the very least, anyone can be awful. Myself most of all.

    "Ahti's similar, isn't he? He must've gone through horrible things before you helped him out. That's where that look of his came from, isn't it? It's a way of warning away enemies. Except everyone's an enemy until proven otherwise. Except you can't prove otherwise; everyone's hiding their true, ugly self."

    I can't even begin to imagine. If what Pyry said was true, then he was an experiment. His body must have been a playground for mages with no morals to speak of. And worst of all, he must have been alone. His only 'brothers' the next ones on the factory line. His situation was certainly much worse than mine. Even so.

    "Well, even when I believed humans were awful, what I really wanted was to be proven wrong. And I was. By this place. A dozen different ways. Ahti... probably wants to be wrong, too. Even if he'll never admit it. So I'll keep calling him a jerk and an idiot until he admits he was wrong, and it's not kill or be killed, and the world isn't the awful place he thinks it is. Or until he decides to eat me. Whichever comes first."

    Maybe it's that simple.

    "Also he kinda reminds me of my little brother. He's the type that thinks he knows everything, but really he needs someone to watch out for him or he'll get in over his head. And you gotta be straightforward and honest. So I'm not going easy on Ahti just because he's all big and strong. If someone's acting like a baby, you gotta tell him to his face or he'll never learn!"

    I look back to Xandra.

    "You two get along too, right? Actually, you've known him way longer than I have, and you seem to know each other pretty well from how you were talking earlier, so aren't you already good friends?"
    Last edited by Bloble; March 27th, 2021 at 05:23 PM.

  3. #3883
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    "...It is sort of ugly, isn't it?"

    In response to Cathie's declarations, her explanation of the Club and the meaning behind it's naming, the dark-haired girl lets out these words with a vague chuckle, reaching down to grasp the edge of her -ever vigilant- board with her left hand, backpack strung across her right shoulder.

    "Even some of the guests think so, and the club heiress too... Really, I think the only one that likes it at all is the owner, Mr. Pinkerton."

    Her voice is more even than back at her aunt's, more serious, and it's only natural for that to be the case, after all...

    Right now, she is functioning as the guardian; or at least, has assigned herself as such...

    Still...

    The statue...

    "It gives the little heiress nightmares at least, so in my book, it'd be better off hauled out of here and destroyed... What do you think Colt? Seem nightmare-like to you?"

    She pauses for a moment to allow the boy to answer if he wishes, then...

    "But yeah, this is it. Doesn't quite fit the town image true, but it has it's good spots. There's a pool here that no one ever uses, at least... Not that swimming is in the cards with this weather."

    She extends one hand, watching the rain fall against her palms for a moment, before closing her hand and...

    "Let's not stand around outside."

    Starting towards the entrance.

    "No reason to catch a cold if we can avoid it, and it'd be really bad to miss your old friend again, eh Colt?"

    A hint of the teasing warmth returns.

    "What does she look like anyway?"
    Last edited by Airen; March 27th, 2021 at 05:56 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  4. #3884
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    "The eyesore of the town. Spade Queen Country Club... named after that god-awful statue they got in the back. Or as we locals call it: One-Eyed Jack's. Fits much better, I think."

    "...It is sort of ugly, isn't it? Even some of the guests think so, and the club heiress too... Really, I think the only one that likes it at all is the owner, Mr. Pinkerton. It gives the little heiress nightmares at least, so in my book, it'd be better off hauled out of here and destroyed... What do you think Colt? Seem nightmare-like to you?"

    “Well, I cannot lie, this seems about normal for these kinds’a places…” Being put on the spot, Colt scratched the back of his head. “I’m gotten kinda used to ‘em, so ugly or not, I don’t even really think about it like that.”

    Being the group’s odd one out who didn’t have any strong objections to such gaudy architecture painted over small-town America, Colt shrugged. He could admit it was overboard for the locale, but at least there was an attempt at tasteful décor. The boy had seen what the rich without a sense for what pleases the eye could do.

    "But yeah, this is it. Doesn't quite fit the town image true, but it has it's good spots. There's a pool here that no one ever uses, at least... Not that swimming is in the cards with this weather."

    Colt chuckled.

    “I had my fill of swimming at the beach party, so even if the weather was perfect I think I’d pass.”

    "Let's not stand around outside. No reason to catch a cold if we can avoid it, and it'd be really bad to miss your old friend again, eh Colt? What does she look like anyway?"

    “Ah, Luca’s, she’s… it’s a bit hard to describe. Like, things just sorta bend to make her stand out. You’d swear the light just wants to shine on her, but it isn’t like a spotlight. More like… uh,” he looked for a way to describe it, but everything sounded cheesy. Almost like describing a crush. Though Luca was his savior, longtime friend, and almost like something he couldn’t help but put absolute trust and faith in… his fondness for her wasn’t that kind of feeling. He didn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about it either. “It’s almost like she’s not even real.”

    Having answered the question as best he could, Colt followed along. Not at all interested in staying in the rain any longer than he already had, there was a bit of pep in his step.

    ‘What’s with that statue Cathie was on about, anyway?’

    As the thought occurred he twisted his neck to look about and find it.

    There. On the other side, in what seemed to be a garden. Standing tall, dark like a black onyx.

    He squinted and without realizing it put a hand on his temple.

    Something about that statue…

    He couldn’t take his eyes off it. It was like he’d seen it before, but the longer he looked, the more his head throbbed.


  5. #3885
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Near McLampet Estate
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “Hmmh...this certainly makes things more difficult.”

    At best I expected a single, if extremely fancy and big house...but certainly not this many separate buildings. It meant that we really had no time to waste, especially if we wanted to ensure that we did not skip any important details…

    “But that’s him, yeah,” I nodded as Sakura pointed out the guy walking down the stairs, “I guess he is about to head over to the other house for the interview. If we don’t want to miss it, we should probably try to get there fast…”

    Fortunately, that building too was relatively close to the forest, enough that we could likely sneak up there without any issues.

    “On another note, the rumours about the McLampets being vampires feels to put the presence of a chapel under a different light,” I said as I gestured towards the building in question, “Though I guess I won’t embarrass myself with my assumptions about vampires in the presence of an actual church inquisitor.”

    She’d likely know a thing or two about vampires, wouldn’t she?

    “Anyways,” I turned towards Pyry, “Can you guys watch this area then? The forest is plenty big, should let you cover most of the place without having to worry about being spotted. Just remember to stay in touch.”


  6. #3886
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Investigating through the old pay phone, Prushka eventually came to conclusion that if there was some sort of wire-tap on it, it was hidden so well that she'd have no way of knowing it was there. None of the usual signs of tampering were present, everything seemed as rusty as ever, and no odd sigils of glyphs had been scratched onto the metal surface - aside from someone having drawn male genitalia onto the side with a sharpie. There wasn't even any talismans or hex-bags hidden into the thing, so from what she could see, it was safe to use.

    As safe as public phones were, that is.

    "Good friends, huh...? Hmm, I wonder about that. Ahti might shoot shit with me, but that's about it. Even though I was part of the group that free'd him, he still kept all of us at arm's length - me included. Never could really find that common tune to sing to, and we went our separate ways pretty fast. After that I've mostly just been checking up on him from time to time," Xandra replied, scratching her chin a bit awkwardly. "That's what made me wonder about it, too. Maybe it's the fact that we were there to see him at his lowest, or maybe it was just that it was a relationship born out of necessity rather than naturally, or maybe... well, who knows? Bottom line is, he never really gelled with us."

    With that, the silver-haired girl took a look at Prushka while keeping her arms folded. A sly sort of grin flashed on her face as she looked at the girl, as if there had been some thoughts better left unsaid regarding their current topic.

    "Still, that past-you certainly sounds like Ahti. To a T, I might add. He used to loathe humans. Even right now, he reacts to people he don't know with anger and hostility."

    Of course, Xandra went and said it anyways.

    Though, almost immediately, her expression softened a bit.

    "... Mostly out of fear, I think. He's, at the end of the day, a coward. He doesn't actually hate anyone - he's afraid of them. Afraid what they might do to him. That's why he lashes out, because he's afraid that if he doesn't hurt them first, they'll hurt him instead," the silver-haired girl mused. "So the fact that he's not afraid of you is a big step forward... so yeah. Maybe. Maybe he wants you to prove to him he doesn't need to be afraid of other people anymore - hopes that you prove him wrong. And since he let you get close, that's certainly a spot of hope for him. Don't go crushing it now."

    There was a hint of a warning there at the end.

    "Still... if he's got you by his side, I think he'll do fine. You don't seem like a bad influence, cutie pie, and if he continues to grow with your help, who knows? He might even become a decent guy one day," Xandra said with a laugh. "That being said, do take care. You might think of him as a brother, but if you continue to stick with him and be there for him, who knows...?"

    For some reason, the girl was grinning like a shark.

    "Florence Nightingale effect is a thing, you know?" She said, wiggling her eyebrows.




    Colt Davin & Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Colt's field of vision grew.

    It was almost like it was stretched.

    Zoomed yet moved further away at the same time.

    Like diving into a deep pool without jumping.

    His eyes were drawn onto the jet-black statue, and in the rain-covered courtyard he saw a shape that had been burnt into the retinas of his mind. That figure had been skulking at the back of his head every night since then. A traipsing figure of nightmares, so wrong and so bizarre - like a cartoon character from the 50's that had turned sapient and evil. It slithered in the dead spot of his brain, at that space which he didn't want to think about and thus avoided even bringing up within his own thoughts.

    The statue... was a physical representation of what he had seen.

    It was a black statue that had been set in the center of the garden. Just a single glance told it depicted a laughing woman, one dressed in frills that were almost gothic in fashion. On one hand, she held a large symbol of spade, like the one visible in playing cards. The other hand was raised over her left eye, hiding it from the view. The doll-like fashion of the woman, along with the near-childish twintails her hair was put up on, made her look like an adult masquerading as a child... though at the same time, one couldn't help but to feel the expression on her face was somewhat sinister.

    No, not simply sinister.

    That sneer had been etched into Colt's very fiber of being.
    And it was back.


    "I'm the unknown in every murder, every death, every mystery... and you ain't got the power to fight me."

    The shadows laughed.

    "I'm Ms. Dot F. Loonwaters, dig - And this is my prison to torture you lot as much as I please."

    Madness.

    Madness in darkness.

    A maelstrom of malice that refused to let go.

    The true horror of the tale they were caught up in, the pure evil that infested Road's End as a whole.

    The personification of everything that had gone wrong.

    Every tragedy.

    Every cruelty.

    Every lie.

    Every hatred.

    Every death.

    She was like a singularity of evil at the heart of it all, and she laughed in the forest within everyone's minds.

    Watching.

    Waiting.

    Feasting on their suffering and laughing at their misery.

    She was the mystery itself.

    And she was their greatest enemy - the one who refused to let go of this prison.

    And her sheer malice seeped into the very reality itself and poisoned those around them.

    For it was that malice, that hatred, that utter cruelty that made her real.

    Within that memory, within that dream, Colt had understood it.

    As long as she existed, as long as she opposed them, they would never be free.

    And now as he gazed into the statue, he was only reaffirmed in his belief.

    But as he gazed at the statue...


    It gazed back at him.


    I__ S_E_E__ Y_O_U

    C_O_L_T_O_N __D_A_V_I_N

    "Colt!"

    It had only lasted mere couple of seconds. To the eyes of others, Colt had simply stopped in his tracks and stared at the distant statue. Then, out of nowhere, he had let out a painful cry, grabbed his head and fell to his knees as if all the strength in his lower body had just left him. Cathie, realizing almost instantly that something was wrong, practically rushed to the boy's side, grabbing him with her eyes wrought with worry. The redhead looked at the boy with growing anxiety, trying to shake him out of his stupor.

    It was that very grip of those hands that woke the boy up from his nightmare as well.

    "Colt...? Colt! W-what's wrong? What the heck happened, dummy!?" Cathie stammered, almost panicking. "Come on, pull yourself together, dude... did... should we go back to the clinic? Are you okay?"

    Well, he was okay now, but...

    He still felt that flash of pain streaking through his mind, and how his field of vision had just suddenly whited out. And then he had simply woken up, on his knees on the wet ground, staring at the faces of Cathie and Liana.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Near McLampet Estate
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “Anyways. Can you guys watch this area then? The forest is plenty big, should let you cover most of the place without having to worry about being spotted. Just remember to stay in touch.”
    Gradient threw a tiny salute with an absolutely adorable face of determination on her face. Pyry chuckled at the sight and nodded... but then, after a bit of thinking, suddenly reached out and squeezed Hisa's shoulder before she and Sakura managed to leave.

    "Yeah, we'll take this area and keep in touch if anything happens," the boy said with a reassuring smile. "And... well, just stay safe as well. And if anything happens - anything at all - contact us. We'll come running."

    Maybe it was just the situation itself, the unknown location and the many problems they would no doubt face, but Pyry clearly was a bit worried about the girl - and didn't hide it. Still, he eventually patted that shoulder and let go, allowing the two girls to head eastward into the forest, looping around the rose garden and getting closer to the servants' building laying in wait. Both Hisa and Sakura kept low, stuck to the undergrowth, and made sure they didn't accidentally run into any security cameras or other troublesome things. While they hadn't seen any outside the road leading to the mansio so far, that didn't mean there couldn't be more still hidden.

    As the two sneaked forward, Sakura suddenly flashed a bit of a teasing smile towards Hisa.

    "He's certainly worried about you," the older girl chuckled quietly, winking at her partner. "Aah~, makes me wish that I'd find someone to fret over me like that, too..."

    She punctuated her exaggerated sigh with another giggle, indicating she wasn't exactly being serious.

    "Still, jokes aside, you're not wrong. A chapel like that could definitely serve as a vampire's hiding spot... we'd have to check inside and see if any actual holy symbols have been removed, or been replaced with fakes that don't actually have any symbolical power or numen with them," Sakura explained. "If the McLampets were vampires, I'd check the basement of the chapel for some, hm, conspicuously fancy coffins set on prime spots in the basement. The bloodsuckers love to be dramatic after all - always have a flair for threatrics, mostly. Nevertheless, it's a good observation. The place is definitely suspicious."

    While whispering to each other in this manner, the duo finally got to a good spot near the servants' house, and settled behind the larger, well-maintained hedges. From there, they had a perfect view of the entrance of the building, but couldn't be seen themselves... and as luck would have it, Barney Keyhoe had just arrived to the front door of the building and had rang the doorbell.

    Minute or so passed in the quiet of the rain, and they could hear the older man grumbling to himself, annoyed by the weather.

    Then, surprisingly silently, the thick wooden door slowly opened, revealing behind it a... dog?

    Wait, not just a dog. Though the dog certainly looked old and aristocratic.

    No, behind the dog was an older woman in wheelchair. A rather calm-looking individual dressed in way that was both fancy yet restrained - a manner that showed some good sense and humbleness. It was hard to gauge the age of the woman herself, but Hisa could make a rough estimation that she had to be in her early 80's at least - perhaps even older. The wrinkles on her face and the slowness with which she moved her body told enough. However, even from this far away, the scarred girl could see it...

    ... There was fierce intelligence in those old eyes. The type that only old people could have.

    Barney Keyhoe had chosen quite the interviewee.

    "Ah, Mr. Keyhoe, I presume? Do come in, do come in... it's the devil's weather outside," the old woman, Beatrice, greeted the man with a calm smile. "There's a towel in the foyer if you want to dry yourself off, and I do advice you leave your shoes there as well. I'd rather you not drag mud all over the carpets, as you can probably understand."

    Barney, chuckling a bit and banishing his bad mood, nodded.

    "W-well, of course! It'd be just rude of me, Mrs. Beatrice," the man responded. "Especially after you invited me to your home for this interview. Ah, here - a little gift."

    With a surprisingly dexterious gesture, Barney pulled out a simple bouquet of flowers from within his raincoat and presented them to the old woman, whose eyes widened ever so slightly. Quickly afterwards, her mouth turned into a genuinely warm smile and she accepted the flowers.

    "My, these are quite beautiful, young man. Certainly a sight on a rainy day like this," she chuckled, before lifting an eyebrow at the man. "Trying to butter me up right before the interview, are you?"

    Barney let out a sheepish laugh and rubbed the back of his neck.

    "W-well, you can't blame a man for trying!"

    Beatrice joined in the laugh and gestured the pudgy man to enter.

    "Bribe or not, I certainly appreciate the gesture. Now come, come - I've kettle of tea ready and some biscuits... and something stronger, if you want to spike your tea a little," she spoke. "Let's move to the lobby for our talk. I've plenty comfortable chairs there. You seem like a man who can appreciate soft cushions."

    Barney laughed again, and with that, the two of them headed inside, closing the door behind them.

    Sakura, who had been watching the conversation like a hawk, snorted.

    "... I wouldn't mind some tea and biscuits right now. Stake-outs are fine, but rain doesn't make them especially cozy, huh?" she asked, glancing at Hisa.

  7. #3887
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Colt froze in place and the world expanded around him. The black statue grew larger, as though towering over him. He, a tiny ant, stared up at it as though standing at its base.

    But he hadn’t moved. He was standing still, far away.

    At the edge of a forest blanketed in mist, in a dream turned nightmare.

    He heard it laugh.

    A horrible sound.

    "I'm the unknown in every murder, every death, every mystery... "

    That voice scraped at his skull from the inside. Every syllable, every breath, every ‘every’ sent that horrible sensation from his brain to his toes. That sickening voice, happily, giddily speaking those ichorous, viscous, slimy words. That burrowed into his ears and clawed at his mind.

    That echoed out from that onyx statue, smiling at him just like it had in his sleep.

    The one-eyed monster…
    I__ S_E_E__ Y_O_U

    C_O_L_T_O_N __D_A_V_I_N

    Looked back at him.

    The wet ground rushed into his vision. Clutching at his searing head, Colt fell with a cry of pain. One hand planted into the soaked pavement, shakily holding him up as he dropped to his knees, he trembled. Breathing heavy, slowly from his mouth, he shut his eyes and shook his head violently.

    Trying to get the sight out of his mind. Trying not to think about it. Trying not to remember. Trying to keep it buried.

    Trying…


    Trying…

    A pair of hands that weren’t his own took hold of him. With a start the boy shuddered at the touch, looking up to find a pair of eyes staring at him.

    Two eyes. Eyes that he recognized. Not the eyes of that thing. Because that thing…

    "Colt...? Colt! W-what's wrong?”

    Wasn’t there. Only a statue that looked like it. A statue that looked out at him just like it. A statue that its grotesque eye peered at him with. But only a statue.

    “What the heck happened, dummy!? Come on, pull yourself together, dude... did... should we go back to the clinic? Are you okay?"

    “I…”

    He spoke, unsure of what to say.

    Wouldn’t it be lying to just say ‘I’m okay?’ Would it help to say what was wrong? To explain what happened?

    His eyes began to drift toward that statue, hesitantly glancing aside to see if the monster was still there, but Colt caught himself. He stopped his eyes from wandering, froze them in place.

    Don’t look at it.

    “Sorry, I just suddenly have a really…” Halfway into speaking his lungs ran empty, and the boy inhaled deeply. “Really bad headache.”

    He stood still for a moment, catching his breath.

    “I think… I think…” He forced himself to smile. “You’re right. That statue sucks.”


  8. #3888
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Florence Nightingale effect...?"

    Ms. Nightingale was so famous they named a whole effect after her? How impressive!

    "Hehe. I don't know what you mean, but... if there's a Florence Nightingale here, it's definitely me!"

    I give Xandra a cheeky thumbs up, matching her grin with one of my own.

    "Don't worry. I promised to get in his way if he does something dumb. And I'll bail him out of trouble if he gets caught in it. No one's crushing any hope while I'm around. So don't sell yourself short either, alright? It might not have seemed like it, but I'm sure Ahti appreciates you, too. He's just like, too shy to say it!"

    Xandra doesn't remember, but I do. She, Xylia, and Xeni helped me realize something important last week. It hurt then, but I'm still grateful for it.

    "Now let's join that idiot in the bar... right after this call. Hopefully he's still in his office... you've got fake ID, right? I've always wanted to try that 'underaged drinking' thing."

    I clamber up the scooter, reaching towards the receiver, pull it off, and press it to my ear.

    Hm, phonebook's here. Maybe I can leaf through it, look for some familiar names. Later, though.

    One by one I punch in the numbers, after putting in the necessary change to get the phone working, and wait as it begins to ring in my ear.

    What was the extension again...? There was a pass phrase, right? Strange, I've never had to call in from an external line before...

  9. #3889
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “I think… I think…” He forced himself to smile. “You’re right. That statue sucks.”
    "Yes, it does."

    Where Cathie panics outwardly at the sight of the boy on his knees, of the cry of pain that had followed moments after his eyes had locked on the distant statue, the violet-eyed girl moves with a different sort of haste; her eyes and voice are clear, clear because such things will be an easier beacon for the boy to follow, to remind him of the here and now, and not of whatever bizarre phenomena had struck him upon gazing at the statue (she doubted it was a coincidence that he had collapsed after looking at it) however...

    "Did I not just say so as well? It should be dragged out of here and destroyed, looks a bit too much like something you'd see in a nightmare."

    ...Yes.

    Before... She had simply been speaking of the statue.

    Dot. F Loonwaters. Or at least, what she suspects is a reflection of that being; the one eyed girl, Pinkerton's Muse, the killer Scottie had spoken of, the entity Prushka had told her about, the one Dorothy could not identity, the one who seems to have taken Sierra's eye, and the creature she suspects she had seen lurking in the darkness of the forest in her thoughts, the monster that loved to lurk at the edges of one's vision, chasing one down like a predator chases down prey...

    ---It's an ugly statue.

    Knew there was something wrong with this damn thing...

    "But it's alright."

    She keeps her gaze on Colt.

    "If your head hurts so bad that you collapsed, then I'll just follow my original plan for all this, okay?"

    And then...

    Smiles.

    In the same enigmatic way as back at the Doctor's house, before...

    "Princess carry, or well... Little brother carry~"

    ...Sweeping his legs out from underneath him, and rising to her feet.

    ---It's brazen.

    So brazen it could almost be called absurd, but...

    She has no intention of bowing to the whims of any (probably) evil statues, if the circumstances were different she might just take a swing at the damn thing just to see what happened if she broke it, but the possible backlash of that was a bit too great with both Colt and Cathie around, she has to protect them, so...

    She'll do so by shattering this 'atmosphere.'

    It may make her come across as a bit silly, but...

    That didn't really matter.

    "Come on Cathie, he'll be fine once we get away from the statue. The statue's so ugly it actually hurts to look at it~"

    Damn forest witch.
    Last edited by Airen; March 28th, 2021 at 05:56 AM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  10. #3890
    S U P R E M E Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Ghostwood Overlook
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Slowly, like waking from some strange dream, my hand fell back to my side, and I stared for a moment, up at the dark grey sky, feeling the patter of rain on my face once more.

    "Inside a dream...?"

    It was a statement that could be taken several ways.

    It was frustrating, and taken without context meant less than nothing to me.

    "Fuckin' old man..."

    Draw some nonsense on your face and act all cool for a few minutes, then just fade out like some weirdo?!

    What an asshole!

    What kind of revelatory meeting was this!?

    He was a complete jerk! A shithead of the highest order!

    Bastard didn't even leave me the keys!

    The absolute worst!

    He was just...

    A dumb old man...

    I sighed, wiped the water off of my face, sniffling slightly, then tugged the hood back over my head.

    "But I said it, didn't I? I'll find us all a way out of this mess."

    Then, slowly, hesitantly, as if I almost expected him to pop up in the corner of my eye, I turned my back on the Overlook, and began my journey back down the trail, jaw set and eyes watchful.

    Right then.

    Right.

    So, here I am, far side of town.

    And, uh, no quick way back to the school, so unless I want to hoof it all the way back, which'll take a while, especially in the rain.

    A memory of the prior Friday stuck out to me, and I frowned.

    Hm.

    Don't really want to get jumped by a ghoulie or something of that nature.

    I'm the one who jumps.

    As I trudged down the mountain, I considered my options.

    I could go looking for Kean, I could head back to the dorm and find little Steph (if she was even still there), or I could...

    I frowned.

    I could go and stick my neck out and go looking for that 'Man of Thorns', I didn't know exactly where he was, only a reference point, but it was something that needed to be looked into.

    But it was something to look into, I supposed.

    Not precisely the safest, though.

    Plus, it's good to have someone at your back, and a certain someone's been missing since this morning.

    I hmm'd again.

    So, let's consider the facts.

    Last night was the last I saw him.

    He'd had something on his mind then, but he was dead quiet after we all crawled out of that rundown wreck.

    So, options...

    Mention of the lighthouse, looking at the ocean.

    I frowned.

    Well, at least I had a stretch of land to look out at, and I doubt anyone's hanging around the old lighthouse, he likes to go off and be alone when he broods.

    Hmm...

    Plus, it would do some good to at least poke this ghost cage action we have going on.

    I sighed, glumly.

    Going to be a long walk.

  11. #3891
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Quote Originally Posted by Subaru Iburi
    "But what of the prophecy that should be coming true. The prophecy where all the pieces are in place yet something is amiss? What of the prophecy that we are living right now? What if what you need is to change your perspective, Child of Man? What if it is not that the prophecy has somehow fallen astray even though everything has been prepared for it to come true? What if... that prophecy has already been fulfilled? What if it is already underway, and you simply do not realize it? What if it is not the prophecy who is wrong... but you are, Child of Man?"
    A chill wind blew through the campus grounds. Elise took a moment to study the mirror-eyed Subaru who was smiling enigmatically at her.

    Subaru did say that she was attuned to the spirits, both human and inhuman. Is she channelling one right now, or is this something more than than? wondered Elise.

    Still, the sudden change in Subaru's demeanor was somewhat disconcerting.

    "You're not quite Subaru, are you? Who are you?" asked Elise, who then added hastily, "If-if you don't mind me asking."

    Elise took a moment to mull over the Child of Gods' questions, "Well, I'll take perspective where I can these days. I don't know the exact details of the prophecy, but the gist of it seems to be that a great evil, a Named Demon, will awaken near the year 2000 in Road's End. The Named Demon in question is- is definitely the one inside my head. Like you said, all the pieces are in place, but something is amiss... "

    What if the prophecy has been fulfilled? What if it is already underway and I haven't realized it yet? What if it's not the prophecy who is wrong, but I am?

    "Just because that other week, that other timeline, was a world where the prophecy was denied, doesn't mean that's necessarily the case in this world, I suppose," sighed Elise, "That would be nice though."

    "As for what's amiss… maybe the demon was forced to reevaluate its plans? We didn't know about the time loop thing last week, but it was clear that something weird was going on in Road's End. Better to err on the side of caution after all," mulled Elise, "It's also possible that the time loops have thrown the prophecy itself through a loop. Maybe this little hiccup has thrown destiny into disarray? Maybe the prophecy just hasn't happened yet because it hasn't happened yet. Maybe it's due for next week and now it's just out of reach."

    Elise hugged Tonkori closer, as she felt a growing sense of dread in the pit of her stomach.

    "Or, what if, I'm looking at this wrong, and the time loops aren't something separate from, or a impediment to, the prophecy at all. What if this is it. What if this is all part of how the prophecy is supposed to play out?" ventured Elise hesitantly.

  12. #3892
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Near McLampet Estate
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “I like the rain,” I answered without looking away from the people at the house, “It’s soothing...reminds me of a lot of things.”

    A shame that in this case, it was reminding me of the coming tragedy first and foremost.

    “What I wouldn’t mind is taking a dip in a hot spring then spoiling myself with some good food and booze,” I added as I scratched my cheek, “Not that anything like that will happen anytime soon, but one can dream.”

    With a dismissive wave, my attention turned back towards our target.

    “Anyways, we best move before we miss the start. The house seems pretty big, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a hiding spot. Hopefully the rain washed our smells away enough that the dog won’t notice us either.”

    The balcony, the roof, maybe even one of the doors or windows at the back on the ground floor...since I assumed that Sakura would be proficient at picking locks too, getting in likely wouldn’t be that hard.

    Though, more importantly...

    [We found the reporter and the old lady. The interview will likely start soon, so we’re moving closer to the house. I’ll keep you informed.]


  13. #3893
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    As for Travis...

    He had come to a halt once more.

    The tiny morsel's grip on my hand grew tighter, and the rain fell harder. I didn't bother to smile, or make a face, or stick out my tongue. I wasn't interested in it. I stood, with a blank expression and a slightly open mouth, feeling breath that I didn't need to exhale leave my lungs, and air I didn't need to inhale. I looked into Travis Gagnon's eyes --

    -- And saw a person I didn't even know.

    "In your head, or part of reality... honestly, it doesn't matter does it? If it feels real to you, then the pain it causes is also real, right? At that point, who the hell cares if it's just a delusion or not. That, in turn, means that a cry for help is just as real, no matter if its origin lies in reality or not. Ergo..."
    Travis looked me in the eye. A person who I hadn't seen before was speaking to me, interacting with me, and trying to understand me. Isn't that what this is all about, in the end?

    Connection.

    Human understanding. The ability to look at another person and feel what they're thinking, like you're stepping into their skin.

    I can't understand Travis Gagnon.

    "... Take it from an expert, Alexstrasza. If you're hurting that much, you don't have to just grin and bear it. You don't have to mask everything by smiling all the time, or laughing all the time. I've... I've been playing the role of someone I'm not for years now. All so I could get in here and save someone who means the world to me. I play the part of an asshole all for the sake of my own goal... so believe me when I tell you that donning such a mask to not let others know you're hurting, is just a stupid, stupid thing to do. Not to mention... don't paint people by colours you think they have, before even the truth - or who they really are. If you already decide that nobody will help you, nobody can help you - because you won't let them. Besides, you already know what you said isn't true, right? The reason why I asked you to come with me..."
    Even when he touches me and says all these heartfelt things, I don't understand. This isn't something that's ever been part of my understanding; connection, what others feel, and how to interact with them. It's hard. It's scary. I don't want to.

    But I already am, aren't I? I already have these connections, I've just been ignoring them and letting them shrivel up because I'm scared. But even if it's scary...

    "... Was because I promised to help you afterwards, didn't I?"
    ...I have to reach out.

    "Hmph," I turned away from him, trying to cross my arms and failing as I realized it would drag the tiny morsel high up in the air. "It is not as if I was expecting you to. It's totally out of your wheelhouse. Completely ridiculous of me to even ask. If anything, I should be yelling at [i[John[/i] or Elaine, not you."

    I shifted nervously on my feet, looking away.

    "...Thank you for that, though. N-not that I want you to come or anything! It'll be terribly dangerous, you know! And there's no way it'll end happily, okay!? S-so if you're still dumb enough to go along with it, it isn't my fault! I told you in advance!"

    I nodded seriously at Travis, my brow furrowed as I stared at him.

    "If you think the world's gonna reset, and that the others will forget... what's wrong with that? Or rather, what's wrong with trying anyway? Get to know them, learn who they are, and learn how being friends with them is. Then, if that reset does come, you'll be back to being friends that much faster. If this world of yours really resets, the people don't change. They'll be the same friends you had previously. So don't give up on them. That way, they won't give up on you either."
    I see... As expected of Travis, he brought up an excellent point I hadn't considered yet. The correct answer, when faced with an impossible scenario --

    Was to cheat. Cheat like the devil. Call it foresight, or pure spite, or whatever you'd like; if nobody remembered anything, use what you learned, right?! If you know that someone likes a specific type of chocolate, buy out the lot in advance! And if you treat others differently, they'll react to you differently.

    I looked Travis in the eyes with a newfound sense of understanding, tilting my head. After all, wasn't he someone I had threatened to maim? His outward appearance and actions didn't reflect who he was at all. Even though he was acting cruel, he wasn't cruel. Even though he had done things that were wicked, he wasn't wicked.

    ...Could I be a bit like that, some day?

    "You don't have to hide that pain behind a smile and a laugh. Everyone here's hurting, one way or another. So, if you have a little bit of courage to open up to them, I'm sure they'll open up to you as well. I mean... I did, just now," the boy said with a quiet chuckle. "... All it took was for me to realize that you're more than what you try to appear to be. That there's real person underneath that attitude and fake smile."
    "A-attitude?! F-fake!? This is the genuine article!" I said, bumping my fist against my chest with a serious nod. "The one and only! Alexstrasza Lockhart! If it hurts too much, you hide from it! If it's too scary, you burn it to ashes! If it's too much to bear, you erase it from history!"

    I smiled, bright and wide with a flash of pointed teeth, leaning forward to point at Travis.

    "I'm just... trying on a new hat for a bit! Well, it's actually a bit of an old hat. I've owned it for a long time, but I've let it get a bit too old and mothworn, so it might fall of at times! And that hat told me I shouldn't let any of my classmates die," I said, giving Travis a thumbs up. "It's impolite to miss class without a good reason after all! And death certainly hasn't stopped me from attending classes!"

    Can I do it alone? Probably not. The issue is, I don't really know anyone heinously competent enough to ask for aid. Elaine is...

    I don't want her to be in danger because of me again.

    "Well alright then!" I said, lifting both my arms into the air and clenching my fists. "I'll befriend Cesarina a hundred times if I have to! Maybe even a thousand times! And I'll befriend Mercedes properly next time! And speak to John properly, too!"

    I paused, and then smiled at Travis. It felt...

    I would never say it was nice. Nor would I call comfortable. A thing that I could feel with all my being or an emotion that I could name at ease. But..

    "And I suppose, if I must," I said with a sigh, "I will have to befriend you again as well, Travis."

    ...That was still far better then before.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it

    #THELEGENDNEVERDIES

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


  14. #3894
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin & Liana Skye
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Ugh, you two are absolute shameless..."

    Cathie Walker's somewhat scathing comment was accompanied by a very definite frown as the trio stepped into the lobby of the country club. Or rather, two of them stepped in - with one of them being carried. That one was, of course, Colt. The mental pain from whatever had happened back there when he looked at the statue was already fading fast, and strength was returning to his limbs, enough that Colt was able to escape by the time they were about to enter the building. Despite Cathie's initial sounds of protest, she hadn't actually interfered with the taller girl carrying the boy - the worry about his state had been too strong. But now that they were out of the rain and Colt was standing on his own two feet again, the redhead had opened her mouth once more.

    "Especially you, dummy," Cathie continued and poked Colt in the stomach. "Just letting a girl carry you around like that where there are people around... if you're feeling fine, don't take advantage of the situation like that, geez!"

    Letting out a loud hmph, the girl put her hands on her hips and took a few angry steps... though soon she turned around with a bit more meek expression and looked at Colt again.

    "... You are feeling better already, right? Your face's gotten its color back but..." she said, hesitating a bit. "... Well, we can still go back to the clinic if you want?"

    Clearly the worry hadn't abated completely.

    That being said, Cathie's worries about Colt showing such an embarrasing side of himself to strangers were more or less unfounded. The lobby was practically empty, to the point that it felt a bit eerie. Sounds echoed just a little too much, and thanks to the stiff, noble decor it was like setting foot in an old castle rather than just your typical country club. Even the receptionist was out, a small sign on the desk showing that they were on a break. How long they had been on one was anyone's guess, but with their absence, the lobby certainly seemed far emptier than usual.

    ... Though not completely empty.

    There, on the western alcove that led into the west wing of the building itself - in the small sitting room underneath the second floor landing - were two figures. They were sitting at a table, quietly sipping on what looked to be whiskey on the rocks and conversing in a quiet manner. One of them was familiar to Liana. A silver fox of a man dressed in quite subdued fashion, holding onto a cane. The wrinkles on his face were off-set by the boyish glint of curiosity in his eyes, and the animated way which he gestured while he was speaking. In other words, Special Agent Ferguson seemed to have found his way to the country club after all. To Colt, this strange older man was unfamiliar, but something twinged in his mind as he looked upon him... as if he should have remember something. Unlike when looking at the statue, this felt more akin to a call from his own subconscious, but what it could be referring to... he had no idea. And soon the feeling had passed.

    After all, just like Liana, Colt recognized the second person. The one Ferguson was talking to.

    A tall man with black, streaked hair and dressed in a dark leather coat. Man whose fashion sense felt both brooding and gritty. A man who sat there in almost insultingly lazy manner, keeping an eye on his conversation partner while letting nothing happening at the lobby escape his attention. There was this aura of certain sarcastic smugness that hung around him, the type of cockiness that easily infuriated people. But both Liana and Colt knew that underneath that attitude lay something else... something darker and much more dangerous. But while Liana might have seen a more vulnerable side as well... to Colt it brought to mind a certain night in the forest, and the instant distaste the two had had for each other.

    --- Hawthorn.

    "........."

    Suddenly, the man's eyes glanced towards the entrance - towards the group that had gathered there. First his eyes looked at Cathie with a hint of surprise in them. Then they moved to Liana, and the expression in them softened just a bit. And finally, he laid his eyes upon Colt who was currently being admonished by the redhead, while being teased by the dark-haired girl. His face fell completely flat at the sight, at least initially. It was like he needed a few seconds to comprehend what he was seeing.

    And when he did.

    "---- Heh."

    A mocking grin, aimed straight at Colt like a gun, spread to his face.



    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Waiting for that guy to pick up the phone felt like forever.

    The rain continued to hammer against the metal roof of the gas station, and only the sound of a lone motorcycle driving through the town broke the sound of falling water. But even that vehicle was soon gone, and instead, it was replaced with more rain. Xandra, waiting for Prushka, rubbed her hands together a little bit to stave off the cold and stared into the empty town, almost as if searching for any signs of life. It was like the rain itself had made the townspeople just disappear.

    The dial tone in Prushka's ear felt like it was getting louder.

    And louder.

    Continuing.

    Without end.

    Like he wasn't going to pick up---



    "H-Hello? Prushka? Is that you, Prushka?"

    Until a slightly meek voice, one that sounded almost like it had never left puberty, spoke after there was a click at the other end of the line.

    Somehow hearing that voice made Prushka feel like she hadn't heard it in ages. The voice of the one scientist who had been too awkward to really hide anything from her back in California. A man so in love with science that he had basically forgotten all the social cues and etiquette of the human world, now existing mostly as a ball of awkardness that sometimes had to communicate with others out of sheer necessity of it - even though he liked being left alone to his own devices.

    And yet, even so, he was someone who called Prushka his friend, without hesitation.

    That was, in a nutshell, this man.

    --- Robert Covington.

    "Oh man, Prushka! It's been... e-err, how long as it... week? A bit more? H-how are you doing over there? Is Washington all it's said to be? You know, big trees, the great outdoors, not a decent fast food place for miles around?" The man asked, and in the background, Prushka could hear him - unsurprisingly - typing away at his computer. "... You're not in trouble again, are you? Oh please don't say you're in trouble, I'm already stressed out enough as it is, the report's due to Monday and I haven't even started properly and the last thing I need is an emergency run to the middle of nowhere because you got a little bit too curious or finally started puberty or something..."

    His words may not have been chosen the most eloquently, but Prushka knew the man well enough to know that he didn't mean anything rude by it. If anything, through the verbal tsunami that poured out of him, the basic intent behind those words was far more important than what was actually being said. That being: Are you alright? If you're not, I'm going to drop the important stuff I'm doing right now and focus on that instead, even if it gets me into trouble later.

    More than a little awkward, sometimes unintentionally rude, but someone with his heart in right place...

    That was the cognitional and behavioral scientist whom his co-workers jokingly nicknamed "Darwin".

    That was Robert Covington.

    New Person Met!






    Elaine Winters
    Location: The Lighthouse
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    By the time Elaine made it to the cliff overlooking End's Beach, she was feeling, like... well, she was feeling like a wet dog.

    The journey down the mountain hadn't been an easy one, and though she stuck to the well-kept paths, it was still a hike in the forested slopes of White Pine Mountain - a challenge of its own. Then, once she had made it down the mountain, she did indeed discover that there was no using the car that Mr. Oceandrop had used to get them there. The car itself, as if following the man, had just vanished. Thus there wasn't even a chance of hotwiring the principal's car and getting back that way. This meant that a long trek through the town was in order - an empty town, where the populace had been driven to hiding by the rain. Lights were on in multiple houses, but barely anyone was outside.

    Thus, hours later, Elaine finally found herself back at End's Beach. The stretch of sand that had just few days ago hosted the lively beach part now looked abandoned and dead, with no one there but the crashing waves and the roiling sea. Even seagulls had been driven away by the incessant rain, and the greyness of the ocean certainly didn't look inviting. Much less inviting was the sight of the towering white structure built on the tall cliff that cut through the beach's western end and extended all the way above the sea. Yes, on that rocky cliff with only a single path stood the lighthouse of Road's End...

    ... Apparently a spiritual beacon that trapped the souls of this land, never letting them move on.

    Gazing up at it, now that she had made her way up the path and to the root of the massive building, filled Elaine with a strange sort of emotion.

    Knowing the white giant's true purpose, what it was meant for, and what it had done to this land... it would have certainly switched anyone's impression of the thing. If anything, the building now looked far more sinister than it had been before. Almost like the shadow it cast had grown longer and darker - far deeper than anyone would have anticipated. It was a building, a beacon with a purpose that was akin to torture of those who had already passed on, and yet it stood so flagrantly at the tip of the beach, gazing out into the ocean...

    --- Who had built it?

    --- Why had it been made into a beacon?

    --- Was it on purpose? Or just the outcome of something else?

    Questions without answers, once again.

    Still, as Elaine rounded the building, she noticed something else that was off about the building. Namely, the thick metal door leading inside... had no lock on it anymore. Or rather, the lock had been broken off, allowing just anyone to access the building. And as she approached said door, she noticed it was slightly ajar, like someone had used it just recently.

    ... Suddenly.

    Her sharp ears picked up something.

    Wasn't that the sound of... conversation?

    Quiet conversation that echoed from somewhere deep inside the building?

    ... Maybe at the top?




    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Campus
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Well... who could I be, indeed?"

    There was something almost playful in the way Subaru spoke that. Almost like she had a momentarily mischievous bout within herself, teasing Elise because of the question she had asked. It was a natural question to ask, but from the looks of it, the answer wouldn't be so simple.

    "--- I am Subaru Iburi. The Child of Gods. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less," the girl continued, presenting herself with her arms at her sides - in a calm and tranquil manner. "I know not if you have heard of the concept of shintai in Shintoism. It is the idea of objects, items, things in general - both man-made and natural - that are capable of housing the kami, the many gods of the land. A vessel pure enough to hold that divine spirit's essence and be their physical representation in this world of ours. Though, in the case of a heretical body as this, I suppose the correct term would not be kami, but kamuy. A purposefully perverted sacred vessel, not for the sake of the gods they brought with them, but the ones that were far older."

    ... Even Elise could sense. And so could the demon inside her too. The demon felt suddenly wary, as if becoming properly aware of the existence before them. He could sense it as much as the brunette could. Standing there, beneath the rain and dressed in such an ancient fashion... there was something almost holy about the sight of the current Subaru Iburi. Not in the way that Elise had gotten used to, the Holiness of her Lord and the one she looked to in search of guidance. No, this was a different type of sacred existence, foreign and from a faraway land.

    But its presence could still be felt, clear as day.

    "But make no mistake, that does not mean that I have ever stopped being Subaru Iburi. There are no two existences within me... just one. The one that is the Child of Gods - that is, myself. That is our nature as the shintai, the representation of those who lay on the further planes of existence," the girl continued, pressing her hands against her chest. "I may be the one who oversees the change and transition itself, but at the same time, I am but the girl you see before you. That is the one and only truth."

    She spoke of complex concepts, and in a confusing way, but the gist of it seemed to be that though she might have been the Child of Gods, that did not separate her from the concept of Subaru Iburi herself. Or perhaps that Subaru Iburi and the Child of Gods were one and the same, and the difference only lay in the eye of the beholder.

    "And as for your other question, Child of Man, I know now the truth or the answer. But what you say may be true. Perhaps a part of this terrible fate we have been dealt with is the awakening of the beast within you. The materialization of the evil within you. Perhaps it is part of the tragedy we must conquer," Subaru spoke in that antiquated way of hers. "Still... make no mistake. Just as you watch me and may see two existences within each other, perhaps you gaze yourself in a similar manner. My truth is that I am just one whole, and nothing more..."

    Those eyes stared deep into Elise's soul.

    "... But what of you? Is the foreign thought within you truly separate from you? Or just another aspect of yourself? Where does Elise-Marie Pelltier end, Child of Man, and where does the unknown begin?" She continued with another strange question. "It is not exactly within my realm of knowledge, but I know of a saying in certain Taoist text..."

    She smiled mysteriously.

    "One may detract from a thing and it is enhanced thereby, or enhance it and so detract from it."

    A silence fell afterwards.

    "What do you think it means, Child of Man?"




    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Hah... well, whaddya know?"

    Travis, for some reason, let out a chuckle that sounded completely genuine - one without any mockery or sneering. Just a happy sound.

    "When you smile for real, you turn out to be hell of a cute girl," the boy said, patting Alexstrasza and on the shoulder and letting go. "You should do that more often. Would make it easier for you make friends, I bet. Well, some of the guys might have ulterior motives past that... ah, I guess that's just how it goes, relationships between the genders. You never know where they end up! Trained from a child by one of the world's foremost neurological and behavioral expert, and I still can't understand those things at all!"

    Speaking with a bit less serious tone, Travis said that and punctuated the whole exclamation with a big shrug. Then he turned around and gestured for Alexstrasza and Stephanie to follow. When they started down the road once more, he fell into a step with them, instead of hurrying along or walking ahead of them like he didn't know them. The little girl by Alexstrasza's side, clearly glad that the situation had changed, let out a soft giggle and squeezed the blonde girl's hand again. Almost like it was a sign that she had done well.

    And even in her shadow, Alexstrasza was pretty sure she could feel Potemkin smiling warmly.

    "Still... if the world does reset, I wouldn't mind it. That is, becoming friends with you again. When I came here I thought I'd have no allies whatsoever, so... having someone besides you feels reassuring," Travis muttered with a bit of a quiet voice. "So, even if it turns out dangerous later, I don't mind sticking by you either. Guess it takes knowing what it feels like to be alone against the world to appreciate someone having your back?"

    With a bit of a chuckle, Travis stretched in an an almost refreshed way and let out a satisfied sigh - like something heavy had been lifted off his shoulders.

    "Alrighty, let's get this damn show on the road!" He announced, adopting back into his usual rougher tone. "We've got plenty of searching to do and that moron that is my sister to find! Let's hop to it!"

    And with that, the group headed towards the town, perhaps with a little more pep to their step this time.




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Estate - Servants' House
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain
    [BGM]

    As Hisa had expected, breaking into the servants' house wasn't too difficult - especially with Sakura there to help with her techniques. The two of them initially looked into the scaling the walls to reach the balcony and get inside that way, but thanks to the slipper nature of the walls due to the rain, they quickly moved to checking out the first floor windows. There were plenty of big ones that could have been used as an entrance... though, before Sakura could open any one of them, Hisa found out that there was actually a back-door exit to the whole building. Thus Sakura began to work at the lock, and just a few minutes later the two girls were inside, finally free from the rain. They quietly dried themselves up in the entrance corridor, making sure the dripping water wouldn't alert any of the people inside. Indeed, the duo could hear Beatrice and Barney making small-talk at the other end of the house, near where the lobby must have been.

    As the two of them waited, Hisa got a response to her earlier mental message. Pyry acknowledged her status report and told that he and Gradient were keeping an eye out for the manor proper - and that they had seen Josie McLampet move around in the second floor, but she had soon shut herself in into one of the rooms.

    Once the duo had dried themselves up, with Sakura's hand gestures issuing orders, they stealthily made their way down the hall way and proceeded further into the building. The layout was relatively simple, with couple of rooms on the first floor that looked like bedrooms, a sizeable kitchen and a break-room adjacent to it, a hallway running through the whole length of the first floor and then, finally, a lobby on the eastern end. This lobby bordered the eastern wall, and the large glass windows showed a view of the Ghostwood expanding outside, along with the rain that fell from the skies. There was also a set of stairs near where Hisa and Sakura had entered that apparently led to the second floor.

    Sakura frowned slightly as the two stood there in a hunched-over manner in the corridor, trying to kill their presence. Then, as if getting an idea, the brunette girl took out the syringe that Hisa had presented to her and swiftly stuck it to her arm.

    Soon enough, Hisa heard the older girl's familiar voice in her head.

    [Alright... can you hear me? Is this working? I'm feeling some sort of connection here, and I hope it's reaching you,] Sakura spoke mentally, aiming a quizzical expression at the other girl. [We've got a couple of options here. I think they're heading to the lobby to talk, meaning that there are few places we could hide. I'd avoid the kitchen, since Beatrice might come back there for more refreshments, but other than that... hrmm... we could either stay here in the hallway, though it's not the most comfortable place. This'd make it easy to hear them, and even give us a chance to watch what they're doing. We could also slip into that bedroom adjacent to the lobby. I'm sure if we keep the door ajar ever-so-slightly, we can hear them pretty good. Third option would be to go upstairs and find a room right above the lobby. That might make hearing them a bit spotty, but it'd be absolutely safe... unless the floorboards are creaky, off course. What do you think?]

    While Hisa pondered upon this part, she could hear the creaking of the wheelchair as Beatrice finally entered the lobby, with Barney following her. She could also hear the paws of the dog rap against the wooden floors, and while for a moment feeling the dog so close to them made things feel a bit unsafe, eventually the two heard a soft bark from the lobby as well. The animal hadn't spotted them so they were good... for now, at least.

    "So... I presume you want to get right down to it, right? You have the eyes of someone truly focused on their work," the two heard Beatrice say. "Depending on the subject there could be a lot to talk about, and the evening won't last forever. Oh, do try one of the cookies. It's one of the only hobbies I have left, so I would love to hear your opinion."

    The sound of Barney sitting down on a creaky armchair and stuffing his face full of cookies couldn't be mistaken. The man washed it down with a big swig of tea and let out a satisfied sigh.

    "Oh, they're very good! Very good! Something sweet after braving weather like that was just what the doctor ordered!" The reporter replied, and Hisa could hear him shuffle through the contents of his bag. "But you're right, absolutely right - best we get down to business right away. Ah, just a moment, I have it in this envelope with me... ghk... come on, open up... ah, there we go!"

    The flat sound of a polaroid picture being dropped on the wooden table could be heard.

    "--- Could you tell me about this person, Mrs. Beatrice?"

    In response to Barney's question, both Hisa and Sakura heard the old woman gasp quietly. She fumbled for the picture with her hands and picked it up, and a long silence followed during which she must have been looking at that same polaroid that Hisa herself had witnessed earlier this morning. Minutes passed, until eventually the old woman put the picture back on the table. Her wheelchair creaked again as she leaned back on it.

    "... I must wonder where you found this picture. I thought James made sure to destroy just about every record of her after the incident, going as far as threatening the owners of the local newspaper..." Beatrice quietly spoke, sipping her tea as if to calm herself down a bit. "Well... no matter. If a picture exists, then that's it. It's a proof enough that I can hardly play dumb regarding this. After all, if you've gone as far as to find this thing, then I presume you already know something, and feigning ignorance wouldn't work."

    The sound of Barney's pen scribbling furiously on paper could be heard in the silence of the lobby.

    "Heh... I figured as much. Proof is invaluable, undeniable proof even more so - especially when it comes to proving the existence of someone, even if the world has wanted to forget," Barney spoke, sounding a little vindicated. "So, Mrs. Beatrice... do tell me. Who is this girl? Why is every record of her, more or less, erased from this town? Why is even mentioning her become such a taboo at Road's End?"

    There was no immediate answer.

    No, just a sound of an old woman quietly sipping tea, choosing her words carefully and thinking them through before speaking them aloud.

    Followed by the clink of a cup being set on a small saucer.

    "... Well, it is quite the long and involved story, and even I do not know it all. However, it all started a long time ago... and it feels as if its been even longer. Yes... it all started, in a way, back in 1947. A miserable year, one could say. Not only because of what happened to the local Klallam population, but because of other various incidents around the town. This was back when Road's End had yet to truly become a logging town, and was instead an old fishing village... one with a port that was very useful to the US military, thanks to its lighthouse. It was during that accursed year that they found... someone. A girl. A girl that was as if the reincarnation of an old legend. A tale of terror that had been twisted into a story of forlorn love about the Keeper and the Sailor of that very same lighthouse. A girl with cerulean hair and a crimson eye," Beatrice quietly spoke with a measured voice. "That girl was the center of a dark time in Road's End's history... like the eye of a storm that was building up above our heads, gathering winds and thunder. She was, rightly, feared. Even the events of her discovery were... troubling. That being said, before I eludicate this..."

    They could practically hear Beatrice aim a sharp stare at Barney, who shivered a bit and recoiled.

    "Mister Keyhoe..."

    There was a strange undercurrent in the old woman's voice.

    "... Do you believe in the supernatural?"

    As if she was testing him.
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; March 28th, 2021 at 12:22 PM.

  15. #3895
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Estate - Servants' House
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    [...Let’s stay here. There are things you just can’t confirm through sound alone...and while it might be more risky, long as I know where they are, I can take certain measures to avoid getting caught.]

    Yes...this was the only opportunity we had at this. There wasn’t going to be another interview, nor we’d get the chance to ask those two questions later. We had to get the most out of it now...even if it meant not taking the safest option.

    [I’ll keep scanning our surroundings, and deal with the dog if it seems like he noticed something.]

    Fortunately, situations like this where my abilities could shine. Normally, for someone like Pyry the only options would be either to run or fight, both which would put an abrupt end to the interview...but with the tools available to us, it was easy enough to keep things seemingly normal.

    [Huh, looks like she agreed to it, much faster than I thought,] I directed the topic back to the interview that was just about to start, [I figured she couldn’t just ignore Barney, with how nosey he is, but I was quite certain that she would try to silence him, rather than comply…]

    However, before she actually started the story, there came a question…

    Of course...a question so often asked. A question that the normal, skeptical human would wave at dismissively, a topic that someone from the Turnside could not discuss with someone unaware of it…

    Not that it gave a clear answer about how this woman was related to this all. Nor was I able to tell what Barney’s answer would be, but...he talked about aliens. He made all those conspiracy theories. At least to some degree, he must have believed, unless he himself thought that he was just deluding himself with non existing things…

    He had to say yes here, for sure.


  16. #3896
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Big Boy's Gas Station
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    After what feels like an eternity, an endless dial tone that will never go through...

    It goes through, and a familiar verbal torrent pours through the other end. A string of words haphazardly slapped together by a man absolutely terrible at building a coherent sentence. Someone so awkward even I couldn't be too hard on him, a soft-hearted geek that wouldn't get mad no matter how many times he was called awful. In other words... he's a guy the me from a week ago would've never accepted as a friend, even though she should've.

    I can't stop the nostalgic smile from crawling up my cheeks.

    "Yeah, Rob. It's me."

    Though really, considering he's known me since I was barely out of diapers, he's more like a weird uncle at this point.

    I hope he's doing okay.

    "Well, uh... let's go one step at a time. For how Washington is, well..." I hold the phone out and away for moment, letting the drops of rain thunder against the plastic surface of the receiver. "It's like that right now. We had nice enough weather to swim on the second evening, but now it's like it's always raining some other day. Hopefully it'll clear out come Monday. There's a big forest nearby, good for hiking and getting lost, air's nice and clear too. No In-N-Out or even a McD's, but the pies at Avery's diner are to die for. I checked, y'know. Each one really does have love in it. I didn't even know you could do that."

    An almost mundane recollection. Something to calm his heart. Knowing the top brass, they're working Rob to the bone even with all of us gone, so it's best to start with the good stuff. Road's End really is a fun place to be, if you take out all the nastiness under the surface. It's certainly somewhere a group of curious students could have fun for a year.

    "You should've kept some of those vacation days and come along yourself. This class is so colourful it's basically an Alphabet Soup of its own. Could have a field day just watching them. Heck, I'm pretty sure Sae Min, our Math teacher, is getting at least a paper or two on developmental psychology out of her observations. For example, second day here, they decided to throw a concert and barbecue at the beach. Bunch of kids that barely knew each other. Even roped the teachers into helping set it up. I got dragged along too... ended up having to sing a song in front of the whole class. So I picked one out from those tapes of yours. But I'm pretty sure like, three or four of the other students actually know Japanese. It was awful." It was amazing and I loved every second of it.

    In hindsight, it really was crazy how fast things moved. I thought silly things like that only happened on TV. But this makes Saved By the Bell look like a documentary.

    "A-anyway, that was the nice stuff! I've got a lot of trouble and I'm gonna start with the worst part, Rob, so brace yourself 'cus I'm not holding back."

    Pleasantries have ended. Now we're getting to serious business.

    The rain drums against the top of the booth and my helmet. A chill creeps up my spine. A cold wind howls through the evening, as I lean closer, cupping the receiver to my mouth.

    "I touched a guy's butt. Then I felt tingly all over. Is that puberty?"
    Last edited by Bloble; March 28th, 2021 at 11:19 AM.

  17. #3897
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Estate - Servants' House
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    [Mm, alright. If need be, I can also work in a distraction. But let's just keep silent for now, then...]

    Sakura's answer was calm and professional, but Hisa could feel a tinge of curiosity from within that mental connection. Clearly this story, and what it might reveal, had piqued even the brunette's interest.

    And as they settled into places comfortable as they could get while squatting in the corridor, they finally heard Barney's voice answer.

    "... I do. I know there's greater truths out there that the normal populace has no idea," the said with conviction and sounding surprisingly serious. "And I've experienced some of that myself. So, no matter how fantastical the story, don't worry - I won't deny anything outright!"

    A quiet chuckle was Beatrice's initial response.

    "I see. In that case, I shall tell you the story as I saw it... or rather, how I experienced it. Now then... where the to start..." Beatrice answered, taking a moment to sip on her tea before finally continuing. "Yes, best we begin from the - well - beginning. You see, as I said, this town was not always called Road's End. That name only came about in the 1950's, after the town's Klallam population met their horrible fate, and after we began to adapt to the lumber industry. It was the idea of of Howard McLampet, but the reason for it I cannot begin to guess. Still, before that, the place was known by another name... x̣ɬám̕ sɬániʔ sč̕ə́yəxʷ, as the Klallam called it. Or 'Watchful-Woman's-Bay'. Some believe that this is related to the native legend among the Washington tribes called She Who Watches. To the white men however, the name morphed into Lady's View. This was even before my time, sometime in the late 1800's. A group of Canadian and American fishermen came together and founded this place in conjunction with the local Klallam tribe. To give a symbol to their found unity, they wanted to build a small monument of some sort... and eventually settled with the idea of a lighthouse. After all, it would be useful for both the community and the ships passing by. That being said, the materials they used... were strange. While it may have been cheap at the time, I cannot imagine it was the only reason as to why they would build the lighthouse out of the rock formed during the Mt. Saint Helens eruption at the time. Still, whatever the reason, it gave the lighthouse its distinctive white color."

    Another brief pause followed, filled by the sound of Beatrice sipping on her tea, Barney munching on cookies and writing down the words furiously, and the old dog yawning and turning its side. The sound of a lazily wagging tail filled the air for just a moment.

    "But I digress. The lighthouse became the centerpoint of the fishing village and guided many ships in the area faithfully... at least until a certain young woman came to hold sway over it. Some say she lived there, others say she was the lighthouse's keeper, but the young woman herself... she stylized herself after the name 'She-Who-Watches'. Indeed, she might have seen herself as the one high above the village and the sea, keeping an eye on everyone. She was the Lady, and this town was her View. And thanks to controlling the lighthouse, she wielded considerable power..." Beatrice explained, her voice darkening. "It was only through her grace that ships made it safely through the rocky shallows and the turbulent oceans. If you had wronged her, she would ruin you, your ship and your life. Almost like a tyrant. In that sense, there was no question about it... she was like a malicious fairy, sitting atop the lighthouse and laughing as the humans below lived in fear. And for reasons unknown to me, the people would not oust her from her position either. Perhaps there was more to her, perhaps it was just dread of her, but whatever the reason... she stayed in power until her death at the hands of a sailor she had toyed with the most. A strange, foreign sailor who came from the woods. Still, the legend of the Sailor and the Keeper these days is a tale of love gone wrong, but make no mistake... the true monster in that story was her. And the bloody tragedy that story ended forever stained those white walls of the lighthouse red."

    Sakura, upon hearing this, shot a quizzical look at Hisa. The brunette hadn't obviously heard the tale of the keeper and the sailor, and was somewhat confused by what was being said. That being said, what Hisa had heard just now was true, then the idea of the lighthouse being a beacon of some sort could make a little more sense. If some sort of evil entity had made its nest there, and if the whole thing had ended in a tragedy, then it could - most likely - cause great harm to the spiritual side of Road's End... maybe even enough to create a prison that trapped the souls of those in town.

    "That young woman was known about two things... first was her cerulean hair, the color of the ocean. The next was her singular red eye, one that was almost like a blazing, bloodied ember. Those marks were left as a forewarning in the old populace of Lady's View, and thus... you could imagine the surprise of everyone when, decades later, in 1947, another young woman appeared at the harbor, flanked by the soldiers of US military. In that time, the port was heavily used by the military for more... covert operations, and this was the case too. A ship by the name of 'Man from Medan' had docked into the harbor few days prior, and then - out of nowhere - a large group of soldiers drove into the town. In secrecy, they brought a single woman, intending to have her board the ship so she could be sent off to somewhere without anyone knowing. But what the soldiers did not realize was that this woman... she bore the marks of horror from the town's past," Beatrice spoke, emotion coloring her story - sounding almost like she had been there to witness it herself as a young girl. "Cerulean hair and a single red eye. The town could scarcely believe. It was as if the old ghost stories had come to life. Still, thankfully, they were going to ship this girl into the parts unknown... or so was the plan, in any event."

    Beatrice took another sip from her cup and the way she set it back to the saucer sounded slightly angry.

    "... Not a month after, we saw that girl again. A young man from an air force base in Spokane arrived back to the port, having been on that ship. The man was somewhat known in the village... he had tried to buy the lands that the Klallam owned in the Ghostwood in order to start up a lumber business. He had failed so far, but people treated him with respect, and he responded in kind. But this time... the stares of the townspeople were cold. After all, the one this man brought with him was none other than that same girl... that same blue-haired, red-eyed girl that had been whisked away by the military ship," Beatrice spoke, emotion coloring her voice. "And that was just the start of everything. For you see, this man... who had so far gone by the name of Hughard Lampe, had taken another name. A more local name in order to fit better in... and in order to mark his new plan. He took the name Howard McLampet... and told us that the girl's name was Allene McLampet - a new member of his family."

    A dry, humourless laugh echoed from Beatrice's lips.

    "I presume you know how Howard McLampet then rose to power here? How the Klallam tribe were killed by unknown assailants, and how he acquired the logging rights for a fraction of their true prices? How he made a fortune with his industry?" The old woman paused, during which Barney must have nodded as she continued. "Well... it was no surprise. With what he had done, Howard McLampet became something of a feared figure in town... at least to the old population. Fear is a great tool for respect, and thus the town began to change. The port was forgotten, and eventually left to ruin, and all that remained was the lighthouse... old ways were forgotten, the Klallam had disappeared, and even the church at the Star Lakes was abandoned. All because Howard McLampet now took the helm, directing the town where he saw its future to be. And nobody of the adults at the time dared oppose him, because of the sign of red eyes and blue hair."

    That caused Barney to let out a confused noise, and Hisa could practically picture him lifting his hand up like he was in a classroom.

    "W-wait, hold on a minute! But that doesn't make sense! You said that the eyes and the hair were a mark of the girl, right? Of this... reincarnation? Shouldn't they have feared her? No, to begin with, I thought that this physical marking of the McLampets came from Howard McLampet himself... or are you saying that this Allene McLampet was the mother of all the McLampet siblings?" Barney asked, the confusion in his voice lcear. "Something doesn't add up here..."

    Beatrice laughed again, but this time, it sounded like she was masking some other emotion.

    --- Fear.

    "... This is why, Mr. Keyhoe, I asked if you believed in the supernatural. For you see, yes... the red eyes and the blue hair used to be a sign of that feared woman. But when her reincarnation returned, she took on the name of McLampet - one she shared with Howard. And no, she was not his wife, simply his... family member. But, you see..." Beatrice paused. "... With that name, the mark - the eyes and the hair - became associated with the McLampet name. They became the sign if someone was a McLampet. And then, one day... that idea became literal."

    A shocked silence reigned in the room, courtesy of Barney.

    "--- One day, the hair of the McLampets became cerulean, and their eyes became red. As if the world itself had changed its mind."

    Sakura, upon hearing this, shot an alarmed look at Hisa.

  18. #3898
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: McLampet Estate - Servants' House
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Silently, I put a finger in front of my mouth, as if gesturing to Sakura to stay calm and quiet.

    [Let’s listen to the rest of the story first before drawing any conclusions. We’re missing quite some detail here still, I feel.]

    Certainly, there was something unsettling about this...but maybe with everything going on, I just could not be as shocked as Sakura or Barney. Nor really surprised that such a thing would be possible...but like I told Sakura, it really was too unclear. Sure, their appearances might have changed...possibly due to something symbolic. After all, Beatrice did mention that Howard accepted the woman as her family, even in name, and an actual family would normally include similar physical and mental traits…

    But still, what significance did it hold? What else changed, other than their appearance? And what happened to this woman then?

    The more thought I gave to it, the more questions it brought forth, and it felt to have made everything I already knew more uncertain as well.

    For now, though, all I could do was listen...


  19. #3899
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Avery’s Dinner (Men’s Toilets)
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain



    It is strange.

    John feels the other man’s intangible presence, remains aware of how dangerous the other man is, but it does not bother him. He feels no worry. It is not his usual dismissal of other people; he is just calm. Indeed, the other man being a dangerous threat is no reason to freak out. John Dove is a serene person; he should not get carried away with the false mask he is wearing.

    “It’s not that simple,” he says, his voice settling somewhere closer to his usual. “You might as well tell me to bend over and accept my fate.”

    He calmly makes his way towards the locked entrance.

    “The sheer concentration of bullshit in this place is not normal. Somebody arranged for such a congregation, and it cannot be for anything good. Like you said, I am just a cat, and I know I’m surrounded by tigers, but, if one of those tigers intends to come after me or my classmates for whatever selfish reason, I intend to see it coming. And I’m going to stare it in the face, even if it means I’ll get my head chomped off.”

    He shakes his head.

    “I wish I could do as you suggest; I sincerely do. But I do not think it is a realistic option in these extraordinary circumstances. When you are adrift in the ocean, you do not just ignore the sharks swimming around you, even if you are not their current prey. For all you know, you could be next.”

    With the other man using the urinal, nothing stops John from unlocking the sole entrance.

    “I do agree with you on one thing: this conversation never happened. We do not know each other, and if we are fortunate, we will never ‘meet’ each other.”

    John turns the doorknob, but stops to say one last thing before making his way out. His side-glance towards Isaiah Kincaid shows one last, half-hearted smile. There is a measure of dejection, but also a hint of kindness. How much of that is real, and how much of it is part of the mask, not even John himself could know.

    “But we both know better than to entrust ourselves to ‘fortune’, right?”

    He nods, as if to seal some sort of agreement between the two men.

    “Have a pleasant evening.”

    With that, he walks out of the men's toilets and back into the diner proper.

    It is as if leaving a different world.
    Last edited by Daneel Rush; March 28th, 2021 at 04:24 PM.

  20. #3900
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    The ground at his feet disappeared. Or he disappeared from atop the ground. It happened too suddenly, too absurdly for him to decide which it was. One second Liana had come down to him, the next he was hoisted up into the air.

    “Hu-wha-?”

    He felt one hand support his back. One support his legs.

    Colt glanced to the one carrying him. The color which had drained from his face came back in a faint hint of pink, creeping back onto his cheeks.

    “Nononononononono.” He rapidly protested, struggling in her grip until she released him from her support. “Nope. Nopenopenope. NOPE. Mercy, mercy!”

    His feet returned to the solid earth, and he clutched his heart.

    He shot a finger at Liana.

    “You tell the doctor…” His face was now bright and full of color. The color of shame. “That you already got her payment.”

    He inhaled deeply through his nostrils and stood up straight. This was all Dot F. Loonwaters’ fault. If it wasn’t for her he’d never leave an opening for a girl his age to emasculate him like that. That’s right, the normal Colt would have stood up just fine on his own. He’d have seen what was happening and stop it before it ever got off the ground, literally.

    "Ugh, you two are absolutely shameless..."

    The word stabbed him like a knife to the back.

    "Especially you, dummy.”

    The girl’s finger stabbed him like a knife to the gut.

    “Just letting a girl carry you around like that where there are people around... if you're feeling fine, don't take advantage of the situation like that, geez!"

    “T-that’s not fair! I was the one that was taken advantage of! My pride… my masculinity… my…”

    Colt protested to the girl as she took a few steps away. But before he could complete his list of all the things Liana had taken from him, Cathie turned back, wearing a sincere but meek expression.

    "... You are feeling better already, right? Your face's gotten its color back but... Well, we can still go back to the clinic if you want?"

    “… I’ll be okay.” Seeing that the incident was over, and that Cathie was actually worried about him, he forcefully calmed himself down. “It was just… I don’t know what it was. But it passed.”

    He likely looked not much different from how Tris had, earlier.

    “If it gets any worse, I’ll say something. Unlike Tris I’m a total wimp. I won’t hesitate to chicken out and head to the doc.”

    They went into the lobby, a place that was surprisingly empty. At a first glance Colt thought it was empty, and just as he began to rationalize such a development, he spotted the pair that was keeping it from truly being empty.

    An older looking man, silver hair and a cane, one who Colt did not recognize. Sipping on whiskey opposite of his company, a man that Colt very much did recognize. He watched the dark-dressed man send mixed expressions from Cathie to Liana then finally to him.

    "---- Heh."


    An insufferable grin. As if Hawthorne had seen what had been happening moments ago.

    Colt stared back with a bitter click of his tongue.

    “I guess no matter how much money ya pour into a place like this, it’s impossible to mosquito-proof it all.”
    Last edited by Spinach; March 29th, 2021 at 02:36 AM.


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